The Historical Enquiries Team works best for victims?

How to deal with the past is up for debate again. The Sinn Fein motion has called for:

The truth about wrongdoing by British military, intelligence and policing agencies needs to be uncovered and acknowledged. Sinn Féin supports the demands for this from the families of victims.

Hugh Orde believes that the existing approach of inquiries is not delivering and chiefly benefiting lawyers not victims. He argues that the Historical Enquiries Team is delivering much more for victims:

What we are finding is where people are engaging with us we are getting positive feedback from families who are learning a lot more now than they ever did. Again it shows the families of the victims are ahead of the politicians. They are not playing games with this. They want to know what happened and many are not interested in prosecution. They just want to know the story.

  • Ingram

    Orde is well aware of the facts behind many of the most contentious cases yet he still will not inform both the public and the victims the truth.

    The point that he (Orde) made about the cost factor could be easily overcome if tomorrow he volunteered to open up his SB files to the inquiries.

    He is a political policeman.Playing politics.



  • heck

    I agree with ingram on this.

    This is why the PSNI/UVF should not be supported until the issue of collusion is addressed.

  • Fair Deal,

    It’s an interesing topic, we covered it on ATW the other day. My take is that whilst Orde is right to highlight the ludicrous cost of politically contrived Public Enquiries, eg The Bloody Sunday shambles….his idea that relatives of those slaughtered by the IRA, UVF and UDA are primarily interested in hearing “the story” of what happened is tripe.

    Relatives want justice, but Sir Hugh appears oblivious to that. I wonder why? After all, were we to have a conviction for let’s say the La Mon House Massacre, that would hardly affect the Peace Process, would it? And further, if we were able to track down whichever thug OK’d the Claudy bombing, or the murder of dozens of people in and around Londonderry in the early ’70’s.

    Ingram has a point in that Orde, the ubercop, is primarily a politicians dressed up as a policeman. He is seeking to wash the hands of the Police from the crucail job of determining who were the guilty men and women that killed thousands of our fellow citizens. Such people should be brought to justice, yet Orde prefers to turn this into a liberal love-in of story-telling. He is a disgrace to the disgraceful Police Service over which he presides.

  • Ingram


    I met Orde during his Stevens days during early 2000.

    Being a professional I taped my interview with the police which was both informal and formal. Thankfully I did, otherwise Stevens would never have met with the Notorantonio family after one of his officers raised the case with me.

    Orde raised also the Steak Knife issue with me and was very clear about all aspects of the case. One interesting thing though, he made an off the cuff remark about wanting to finish his inquiries in the North quickly and did not want to ever go back.

    Orde is being economical with the truth when he questions issues of finance in the context of the inquiries.

    See, we can agree on something.


  • topdeckomnibus

    I agree with you Martin.

    How did that happen.

    I did object to the deployment of Kent Chief constable David Phillips on the Rosemary Nelson inquiry.

    Sir John Stephens did open a case file with his Met Special Branch I think (the reply came from a Mr Veness. And Sir Ronnie Flanagan alo opened a case file. His chief exec officer phoned the Home Office to expedite a response to me about a request that Jack Straw compel the inquiry called for by Kent Police Authority in 1997 into the arrests of Territorial Army men for paramilitary deployments to Ireland (1987 Kent followed by no charges).

    I could not see that it could be correct that Phillips was refusing to report to his own police authority on a matter of collusion, whilst also acting as a reassuring independent invigilator on an investigation of the same genre.

    After Phillips came back to Kent a witness and myself received aggressive phone calls, seeking to intimidate, from a member of the police authority.

    Since the arrests in 1987 it has been a question who put the inquiry questions into the mouths of Kent Police ? Why did they seek answers after a decision not to prosecute the TA paramilitaries was taken ? And to whom did they convey the answers ?

    Political police. I think you have it right.

  • Dympna

    Fair Deal

    “The truth about wrongdoing by British military, intelligence and policing agencies needs to be uncovered and acknowledged. Sinn Féin supports the demands for this from the families of victims”

    …and so do I. However, the list is short of a few names; PIRA, UVF and UDA for starters. Only then will we get somewhere.

  • aquifer

    Orde is right. The big enquiry model enriches the lawyers, who spend too much time helping their clients tell us nothing. The big fish recite a half story and roll out of the net.

    Hundreds not tens of victims deserve to have their story told. Murderers stole their silence to give empty ideas a sound.

  • PeaceandJustice

    The SF/IRA killers say: “The truth about wrongdoing by British military, intelligence and policing agencies needs to be uncovered and acknowledged. Sinn Féin supports the demands for this from the families of victims.”

    How can we have these murderers in the Government when they can’t even acknowledge their own wrong doings. We need humility from them. We need them to say sorry for shooting innocent men dead in front of their families. There is no point in them pretending to reach out to Unionists unless they are sincere. Republicans need a Nelson Mandela figure to move them completely away from the day of the SF/IRA death squads and on to making peace with their Unionist neighbours.

  • joeCanuck

    Oh no.

    Mr Gin Man has come to and now we’re going to hear more nonsense about how all the big political names contact him when they need top class information

  • P O’Neil

    Well, it would appear the only thing more corrupt and perverse than English law is those who enforce it.

    The Historical Enquiries Team is nothing more than a Brit PR excerise (whitewash). You cannot expect a state, especially the British one, to investigate crimes committed by it’s agents, at the behest of the aforementioned state. The English have spent the last 40 years hiding their crimes (and a further 800 before then), and you want us to believe that they are interested in peace, justice, reconsiliation and the rule of law… What is truley needed is an independent investigative body to examine the crimes of the state.


    Why should we apologise to the Loyalist/Unionist community?? If anyone should be apologising it should be yourselves for the last 400 years of rape, famine, oppression, tyranical barbarity and murder. Your ancestors stirred up a hornnets’ net when they were planted here, and start crying crying when they get stung. Typical colonialist attitude – imposing Laws etc, that you, yourselves, are not capable of living up to.

    PS. After the current round of the Iraq war is over, will you and your ilk, demand that the Iraqi people apologise for defending their lands against colonial aggressors??

    Establishment boot-licker.

  • PeaceandJustice

    “P O’Neil – Why should we apologise to the Loyalist/Unionist community?” That says everything. Whatever rights or wrongs happened ON BOTH SIDES hundreds of years ago, we need to move forward. But you seem to be saying that shooting dead a human being in front of his family was legitimate if you can put a politcal spin on it. Saying that it was due to people being planted here, is no answer. There have always been movements of people throughout history. So don’t try to hide behind it while supporting Sinn Fein/IRA murder, torture and ethnic cleansing. As I said previously, Republicans need a Nelson Mandela figure to move them completely away from the day of the SF/IRA death squads and on to making peace with their Unionist neighbours.

  • Ian

    “Republicans need a Nelson Mandela figure to move them completely away from the day of the SF/IRA death squads and on to making peace with their Unionist neighbours.”

    I’m not aware that Mandela ever repudiated the ANC’s armed struggle against apartheid?

    The only logical arrangement is that an amnesty for pre-GFA offences by all parties (including the security forces) is tied in with a wider Truth & Reconciliation type process. By calling an amnesty, the prospect of arriving at the truth is greatly enhanced. It also allows the ongoing OTR issue to be resolved.

    But any currently serving security force members who avail themselves of the amnesty would no longer be able to serve in the police, army or security services. This is consistent with the position that no-one convicted of a scheduled offence can join the PSNI.

  • The World’s Gone Mad

    “Republicans need a Nelson Mandela figure to move them completely away from the day of the SF/IRA death squads and on to making peace with their Unionist neighbours.”

    How about Gerry Adams, in a Northern Ireland shirt, handing the World Cup to Aaron Hughes?

  • The World’s Gone Mad

    I realise that the last post was completely far-fetched…

    Gerry? in a Northern Ireland top?!

  • topdeckomnibus

    It is easy to hang labels “The English” did this or did that.

    I wish there was a wider appreciation that in England are people who act upon their concerns too. Because what was done, was done in our name.

    I objected against the deployment of Kent Chief constable David Phillips on to the Rosemary Nelson inquiry. This is because he refused to report to his own police authority on a matter of alleged collusion which had led to Territorial Army men, from Kent, believing thenselves to have sworn in as “Honorary members of the UDR”. And allegedly these men conducted missions into Northern and Southern Ireland.

    Arrests of these TA paramilitaries took place in Summer 1987 and, in spite of the allaged possession and home storage of semtex, no charges were brought (they were arrested under the Unlawful Drilling Act 1819).

    After the decision not to charge them, Kent Police nonetheless requested interviews with more people (including me). Essentially the DI wanted to know why I had been asking questions about a retired Colonel. This was an investigation into those expressing disquiet rather than an inquiry into those who had been arrested.

    Ten years later, with the emergence of further concerns, Kent Police Authority called on David Phillips for inquiry and report.

    The situation would have been, in the Rosemary Nelson case, that Phillips was refusing to report on a suspected collusion case in his own county whilst people in Northern ireland were supposed to be re-assured by his even handedness invigilating the Nelson inquiry.

    We also have concerns about the history of Kent Police issued firearms certificates. General De Chasterlain wrote that this was outside of his terms of reference but chose to forward a report to the Northern Ireland Secretary. This correspondence was whilst Paul Murphy was Secretary.

    Truth, Justice and an effective historical inquiry are in everyone’s interests.

  • Diluted Orange

    On one hand Sinn Fein say the IRA’s campaign was a ‘legitimate war’ waged on the British establishment and yet on the other hand they want inquiries to be held into how British intelligence killed their operatives whilst in action e.g the thwarted attack on Loughgall police station.

    This ‘freedom fighter’ ideology does not fit in nicely with the inescapable reality of the Troubles. Indiscriminate bomb attacks killing hundreds of innocent Catholics and Protestants, the IRA’s policy of killing policemen who on the whole were just ordinary people doing an important job and how they ruthlessly killed members of their own community for not towing the line. All these atrocities seem to have been forgotten by the nationalist electorate when they vote for Sinn Fein.

    Yet it is the security forces and not the paramilitaries in Northern Ireland who are continually under scrutiny. Sinn Fein won’t even consider the fact that the 100s of IRA deaths were wasteful and wrong. The difficult role that the security forces have played here is consistently vilified yet we have scores of convicted serial killers, from both the loyalist and republican fraternities, walking free around our towns and cities immune from facing up to their heinous crimes because what they did was in a ‘war’.

    Despite the fact that I feel the IRA and the loyalist terrorists should have to stand up and be accountable for their actions it is also right that the British security forces are held accountable for any atrocities committed on the Catholic community.

    13 unarmed civilians were shot in Derry on Bloody Sunday; it can be dressed up with propaganda as much as anyone likes but it’s a cold, hard fact. The inquiry has been the most expensive piece of fudge ever made and even the dogs in the street know that no-one will ever be brought to justice for it. If an atrocity on a similar or even smaller scale where ever to happen in Britain no stone would remain unturned until those responsible were reckoned with.

    As a Unionist I would also like to see the Unionist community at large stop clinging to the idea that the British Army are infallible, that to think anything else is somehow treacherous to the very notion of ‘loyalty’ and give up the tired charade that Bloody Sunday was anything but a killing spree.

    However, I do think Mr Orde had a good point when he said we dwell on past events too much here. It’s about time we moved on.

  • topdeckomnibus

    Diluted Orange

    The problem with that is that the past is the future.

    My particular interest going back to 1969, and especially 1972, centres on Airey Neave and his associates. This represents a whole tier for historical inquiry. I believe that an inquiry would reveal the background against which events like Bloody Sunday occurred.

    I believe that such an inquiry would be of constitutional importance to the English too.

    This interest of mine extends to the arrests I mention above of 1987. These 21 members of the Kent Territorial Army were arrested under the Unlawful Drilling Act. The offence is to carry out military activity without Crown or Secretary of State sanction.

    And I question how it could be that they are exempt from General De Chasterlain’s remit. The basis for exemption is that they were security personnel. Not, surely, if they are breaking the law whilst possessing private weapons obtained by Kent Police issued firearms certs ?

    There is some reason to suspect that members of the TA were also recruited into paramilitary activity in Wiltshire and Staffordshire.

    I don’t want to be found guilty of thread stealing by going into detail.

    If historic inquiry were to look only at the base layer .. it would find military fantacists in the TA. But I think it is a case of in the imaginary garden there were real toads. I think a serious cancer, a privateer cancer, was at play.

    And I think inquiry is meritted. This is not a matter for reconciliation amnesia.

  • willie fair

    Taken from FAIR WEBSITE

    Just Never Proven Guilty
    The HET have today angered and hurt victims with their partisan and unprofessional comments. They have joined the chorus of hand-wringing apologists who row up to sing the praises of the Reavy family. It has happened so often many now begin to think like the words from Shakespeare’s Hamlet that “The lady doth protest too much, methinks.” We have had Nationalist and Republican politicians, sections of the media, the Chief Constable and now the Historical Enquiries Team rushing to protest the innocence of these men. However each forget the fact that their words are meaningless and hollow for they can never assure innocence all they can do is point to a lack of legal convictions. After all we are all innocent until proven guilty and as the men in question are no longer able to be brought before a court the whole issue is a moot point.
    Perhaps a Royal exoneration would help it seems to be the preferred route of the current government as in the past number of years 16 Republican terrorists have received the Royal Pardon. They like the Reavey brothers no longer have to worry about earthly justice. For the people of South Armagh who knew these men we continue to beg to differ and rest assured that the hollow words of the HET like so many others mean nothing. After all innocence until proven guilty has been afforded to hundreds of killers who continue to roam our streets thanks to the failure of the police and to date the HET to bring them to justice. Until they are found guilty the whole concept of innocence is devalued since so many killers continue to enjoy that status.
    The HET should put what little ability they have into doing their jobs and doing them better instead of grandstanding on such issues. Their comments on the security forces dealing with the Reavey family are misguided and demonstrate their real ignorance. Indeed it has simply afforded bitter Republicans with yet more opportunity to attack the security forces. If as some allege local security forces were involved in the murders it poses serious questions such as why did they take the risk of attacking a supposedly innocent family, why not any other and indeed much easier target? Why would those who had access to security force intelligence choose a family of innocent men in the heart of South Armagh when they had the choice of actual Republican terrorist targets, their details and files?
    The more suspicious would assume that the Reavey family featured in such security force files and were obvious targets for such alleged rogue members, but then we have the assurance of the police that that was not the case! So if anything the comments of the police undermine the allegations of collusion, unless perhaps, just perhaps the police and HET are trying to cover this up for somebody? Upon reflection the words of assurance from the police should cause the Reavey family more cause for concern, more reason to suspect collusion; or perhaps they like other Republicans have come to trust the police?
    Finally victims now expect that the Kingsmills Massacre which is linked by perpetrator to 70 other murders will be the next item on the HET agenda and that they will be as through. It would have been more prudent for them to have considered the evidence we wish to present before fully exonerating the Reavey Brothers however I’m sure if they feel the need they can always admit they were wrong! They like every other agency have shown a partisan approach to victims here, we will be getting questions asked in Parliament about the growing disparity between the two communities in respect of justice human rights and inquiries. As victims of terrorism who have suffered for over thirty years without justice in so many cases we find it insulting to see the government wasting time and money on the cases of those who were involved in terrorism. The fact that the families and supporters of these men seek to capitalise on their deaths, using that as another means of attacking the state is an insult to real victims, is disgusting The failure by the state to curb terrorism, then their failure to bring those involved to justice which was compounded by the willingness to establish inquiry after inquiry into alleged collusion. All we as victims call for, is balance, with the same effort and resources being committed to our cases