Socialist Worker

Ombudsman slams cops over Loughinisland murders in Northern Ireland

Issue No. 2508

The victims of the Loughinisland killings

The victims of the Loughinisland killings (Pic:

Police informants were involved in planning and executing a sectarian attack in which six people were shot dead in a bar in Northern Ireland as they watched a World Cup match in 1994. 

That is the damming judgement of a police ombudsman’s report released last week.

On the night of 18 June 1994, the Heights Bar in Loughinisland was packed with football fans—most of them Catholics—watching the Ireland versus Italy game. 

The attackers burst in and opened fire. 

Six men were killed and five others injured, some seriously. No one was ever prosecuted.

Earlier this year Theresa Villiers, the Tory Northern Ireland secretary, said claims that state collusion with paramilitaries was rife were “pernicious” and a “deliberate distortion of the truth”.

But the investigation into the murders at Loughinisland was hampered by the determination of the Royal Ulster Constabulary’s Special Branch intelligence unit to protect its informers inside loyalist terrorist groups.

Michael Maguire, the police ombudsman for Northern Ireland, said that he had “no hesitation” in concluding that “collusion is a significant feature in the Loughinisland murders”.

Maguire’s report describes police corruption and collusion with terrorists across many years.

It says that this contributed to the attack and undermined attempts to catch the killers.

The Czech-made assault rifle used in the killings was one of a cache of weapons smuggled into Northern Ireland in the 1980s by another police informant.

The weapons were used in at least 70 murders.

Police failed to investigate who owned the car used by the killers. A police officer warned the murder suspects in August 1994 that they were about to be arrested.

The ombudsman slammed collusion.

“This was a ‘hear no evil, see no evil, speak no evil’ approach to the use of informants.”

Despite requests from the victims’ families, Theresa Villiers has refused to retract her comments.

Time to prosecute Jack Straw for torture

The Crown Prosecution Service (CPS) has decided there is “insufficient evidence” to pursue legal action against MI6 officers who arranged the rendition of Sami al-Saadi to Libya.

He was tortured and held for years without access to basic washing facilities or access to sunlight.

His family was detained for two months and subjected to “psychological torture”.

Chief MI6 officer at the time, Mark Allen, wrote a letter boasting about MI6 involvement in the rendition of Abdel Hakim Belhaj.

Jack Straw, foreign secretary at the time, originally said, “There is simply no truth in the claims that Britain has been involved in rendition full stop.”

After Mark Allen’s letter emerged, this changed to “no foreign secretary can know all the details of what its intelligence agencies are doing at any one time.”

Straw signed off on the rendition. Like the spooks he should face justice.

Tasmina Ahmed-Sheikh with party leader Nicola Sturgeon

Tasmina Ahmed-Sheikh with party leader Nicola Sturgeon (Pic: Duncan Brown)

Rents are up—and so are the MPs’ expenses

Londoners under 30 are spending almost 60 percent of their income on rent, according to an estate agent’s report.

Rent prices have gone up by 48 percent since 2007—more than four times faster than incomes. Unless you are an MP.

David Morris, Tory MP for Morecambe and Lunesdale in Lancashire, claimed £10,522 for hotels last year.

Tasmina Ahmed-Sheikh, Scottish National Party MP for Ochil and South Perthshire, claimed £10,490 for London hotels from May to December.

MPs are allowed to spend £20,610 a year on a rental property, either in their constituency or in London.

Or they can claim up to £150 a night for a hotel.

Facts are sacred and Buenos Aires is in Brazil

In May this year the Daily Mail newspaper claimed that thousands were “driving off” in new cars by pretending to be disabled.

It has admitted this was completely wrong.

The Motability scheme was set up to help disabled people exchange their mobility allowance to lease a car, scooter or powered wheelchair.

Last week the Mail quietly added a retraction to the end of its article, admitting it had got the figures wrong.

On the subject of fact checking. Peter Preston wrote on The Guardian’s website a rather pompous article about fact checking.

He opined, “A hundred professional fact-checkers from 41 countries gathered in Buenos Aires last week for a great International FactChecking Network convention.

“Now a question: why were they sunning themselves in Brazil when we needed them here?”

Buenos Aires is the capital of Argentina.

Spot the crass cops with photo of Hillsborough disaster

South Yorkshire Police got a lot of publicity over their scandalous handling of the Hillsborough disaster.

Now it seems Greater Manchester Police (GMP) want to get in on the act.

The force used an image of fans being crushed during the 1989 disaster in an internal recruitment campaign.

The poster with the image carried the caption, “Can you pick out a face in a crowd”.

This was circulated within the force to try and recruit officers who are “Super Recognisers”.

Assistant chief constable Robert Potts said it was “completely inappropriate” to use the image and it was “not intended to offend”.

The poster has now been recalled.

The new chief inspector of schools is likely to be Amanda Spielman. She joined the exam regulation body Ofsted as its chair in 2011. Spielman is an education adviser for the academy chain Ark schools—which she co-founded—and has previously worked in corporate finance and strategy. Perfect for schools then.

No doubt Troublemaker readers were busy celebrating the queen’s birthday last weekend. But how many made the most of the supermarkets’ unique ways to show their admiration for the top scrounger? Did they snap up the “Clarence the Corgi Cake”, a delightful Swiss roll with a dog’s head on it and a crown, just £5 from Morrisons?

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