‘We’re not talking about a security policy we’re talking about a murder policy’ - Patrick Corrigan, Amnesty International
“Truly disturbing” allegations in a new BBC documentary that UK security forces colluded with loyalist paramilitary groups in Northern Ireland on a vast scale leading directly to the deaths of hundreds of people must be fully investigated, said Amnesty International.
A BBC Panorama investigation called “Britain’s Secret Terror Deals” - set to be broadcast this evening - reveals how British security forces (army, MI5 and Royal Ulster Constabulary Special Branch) operated with thousands of agents and informants working inside paramilitary groups in Northern Ireland, with many of these individuals directly involved in criminality and murder.
Just one of the paid army agents, Brian Nelson, provided assassination targets for the three main Loyalist paramilitary groups - the Ulster Freedom Fighters, the Ulster Volunteer Force and the Red Hand Commando - as well as providing weapons for the killings. Nelson was involved in importing hundreds of AK47s, grenades and rocket launchers from South Africa in 1988, with the weapons then channelled to the illegal paramilitary groups.
Today’s Panorama investigation follows numerous other credible allegations of widespread collusion between members of the UK security forces and paramilitary groups in Northern Ireland, and Amnesty is calling for an overarching mechanism for dealing with all alleged human rights abuses during the Troubles.
Amnesty International’s Northern Ireland Programme Director Patrick Corrigan said:
“The breadth and depth of collusion being alleged here is truly disturbing.
“Killing people targeted by the state, using intelligence provided by the state and shooting them with guns provided by the state - if all this is proven, we’re not talking about a security policy we’re talking about a murder policy.
“There must now be a full, independent investigation into the scale of the policy where the police, army and MI5 worked with illegal paramilitary groups, resulting in the deaths of perhaps hundreds of people.
“Without full accountability for past actions, there can be no public confidence in today’s justice mechanisms.”