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Britain’s price tag for exiting the European Union is still unknown.   But its  impact on the British  and Irish economy and people is not.    Slower growth and  low GDP are predicted for Northern Ireland,  the Kingdom’s   most distressed economic region often compared to Calabria, Italy.   Her Majesty’s  Subjects  will continue to  pay  10 billion pounds a year in deficit funding to keep Ireland partitioned no matter the costs saved or the logic of reunification.  Ask any economist for the benefits of Brexit for Ireland and the silence is deafening.  The modern history of Ireland is  replete with one form or another of Britain’s bullying and Brexit will provide  opportunities for more.  But there is another danger lurking.  Britain wants  to close the book on the conflict  in the North and  the peace process which ended the armed struggle.

The Conservative government of Prime Minister May is working (a)  to adopt  amnesty for soldiers who  killed  civilians in N. I.; (b) to repeal the European Convention of Human Rights incorporated into English law;  (c) to avoid funding for the Irish Language required as part of the Irish peace process agreements  and (d)  to end funding for the investigations  and Coroners Inquests  for  hundreds of killings in the North linked to British police collusion with loyalist death squads and paid informers.  In short the Whitehall Wizards behind this Conservative government intend to bury the Irish peace process.    Why this  second agenda?  First, each year that passes reveals  new evidence   that  confirms the lawlessness and injustice of British rule in N. I. This erodes  the UK approved historical narrative.  The crushing of the  Catholic civil rights  and freedom movement was transformed into a  fight against crime, Communism and terrorism;  the cover story  crafted and  sold to the American  and English people.   Second,  the Conservative Party has worked to undermine  the 1998 Belfast Treaty and its successor pacts.   Their  blueprint for doing so was the  The Price of Peace, a document   published  in 2001 and authored by current Minister for Agriculture Michael Gove, a Rupert Murdoch “toadie.” Its   message is clear.  Meddling Americans  and  EU treaty obligations aside, Britain  will not be  deterred  from their journey down the road of  perdition in Ireland.

So what are the British hiding and hope to achieve with this ‘other’ agenda?  Is Brexit the cause of this agenda or simply the cover?  Does this deceit affect the so-called special relationship with the U. S?    Well let’s see.   Pick any despotic violent regime, totalitarian nation or corrupt and lawless  democracy and we’ll compare it to the  near century of British benevolent governance  in N. I.  Assassinating democratically elected officials?  Been there!  Murdering civilians without charge or trial? Done that! The  murder of lawyers, priests and journalists? No problem!  These were   Britain’s basic package of governance tools  in the colonial era.  From 1720-1773, for example,  four Catholic leaders ( Jim Cotter, Arthur O’Leary, Fr. Sheedy and Mort O’Sullivan) were assassinated in CO Cork alone!   But murder has always found favor over the rule of law when managing Ireland and  maintaining  minority rule in the North.

In the modern era, one event  illustrates what is at stake.  It involves  the patron saint of the Conservative Party, Margaret Thatcher who played President Reagan and the American Congress like a Stradavarius.  In February, 1985 Prime  Minister Thatcher addressed  a Joint Session of Congress.  She defined the post-truth era long before President Trump. The Iron Lady  couldn’t rely on objective facts on N. I. so she instead  appealed to emotion and belief.  The Iron Lady   demanded  Members of Congress  believe those myths of British democracy, freedom and the rule of law . She said in part:    “… [T]o those who oppose or would destroy our ideas we plot no aggression…we do not impose our system on others… [and] we believe in the practice of freedom under law disciplined by morality.” In a building where lying can be an art form, Ms Thatcher may have outdone them all.  Consider the facts.  She buried a report on the role of British Army soldiers, MI-5 and police involved in  the  1974  no-warning bombing of Dublin and Monaghan shopping centers; an act of war causing the single  largest loss of life of  the conflict.   She and her Attorney General Michael Havers presided over a period of N. I. police lawlessness  documented by Sir John Stevens in reports that will never be released. She unleashed the Special Air Services (SAS) to  kill 6 democratically elected Sinn Fein Councillors  and 11 campaign workers performing such dangerous tasks as carrying petitions and canvassing of voters.  Her respect for democracy  leaves one breathless.   Patrick Corrigan of Amnesty International observed this  of her use of killer  informers and double agents: “Killing people targeted by the State; using intelligence provided by the State with guns provide by the State is not a security policy but a murder policy.”  The British charm offensive worked.  The evidence of British corruption of law and justice and killings in Ireland  never seemed to bother the U. S. Department of State nor was  it referenced in their  reports or those of  the Congressional Research Service.

The EU must defend Ireland from the folly of Brexit but not all members care about the Irish peace process.  The  UK hopes to capitalize on that by distracting and dividing  members of the EU.   Irish Taoiseach Leo Varadker has stated that the peace pacts do not allow Britain to grant amnesty to any party accused of a crime during ‘the Troubles.’  It is past time for the U. S. to support Ireland now that it now has tools like the Magnitsky and Leahy Laws and the Obama precedent of releasing documents from the Junta-era of Argentina as leverage.  “The U. S. has long seen itself as a beacon of democracy,” declared a recent New York Times editorial, “and a global advocate for human rights and the rule of law.”  Will the U. S. speak up for Ireland and human rights when the  British Prime Minister calls seeking Brexit favors?

Michael J. Cummings, 201 W. Evergreen Ave, Philadelphia, PA 19118

Michael J. Cummings, a native of Springfield, Mass., is a graduate of St. Anselm’s College (B. A., 1968)  and  New York University (M. P. A., 1970)  and a  former member of the National Boards of the Irish American Unity Conference (1996-2013),   the Ancient Order  of Hibernians (2001-2008), and the  Irish Northern Aid Committee (1988-1996). 

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