The Irish Rebellion of 1916 is well remembered in song and story. As for the crucial Sinn Fein 32 county election victory that followed in 1918? Not so much. That election served to confirm the Easter Proclamation and the mandate for independence. What followed in 1919? The self- determination U. S. President Wilson supported in the Versailles peace treaty was not in Britain’s plan for Ireland. America then stood idly by while Her Majesty’s government fanned the flames of anti-Catholic bigotry to create a sectarian garrison called Northern Ireland. U. S. indifference, even antagonism to Irish democracy was to surface again decades later in carnage euphemistically called “the troubles”.
What was Britain’s ‘plan’? In the post-WW I era the British were bluffing their way diplomatically with imperial swagger. The U. S. was duped into ignoring Ireland’s desire for independence. Ireland under the threat of war was duped into settling for 26 counties. In the post-WW-II era, the UK required a new plan for Ireland that made the U. S. a partner in Ireland’s partition. It was, after all, freedom loving Americans that financed the Easter Rebellion. Britain would play the Irish government like a Stradivarius and Americans were to accept the ‘Irish Free State.’ Resistance to the oppression of the Catholic minority was to be labeled a crime. England began a payroll pacification in the North with one of every three jobs a public sector employee.
In 1968 the civil rights protests were met with official violence and armed self-defense. The unrest required Whitehall to create a new plan for the North to keep the U. S. in play. The plan was to convince the White House the civil rights struggle was part of a worldwide Communist plot. The Nixon and Reagan administrations didn’t need much convincing. This U. S. collaboration took many forms.
Sinister operations of British security services called Gladio, Clockwork Orange, Project Echo and Stay at Home are documented in Paul Larkin’s A Very British Jihad. General Alexander Haig, Henry Kissinger, Ted Shackley (CIA) and Roger Freeman (DoD) approved of counterinsurgency campaigns in the North using local loyalist death squads and media misinformation campaigns. The U. S. provided the wink and nod required for British Army agent Brian Nelson in Project Echo to skirt U. S. sanctions against South Africa while purchasing arms for the Ulster Defense Association. PresidentReagan approved bypassing a 1976 Congressional ban on selling firearms to the Royal Ulster Constabulary, the most lawless police force in Western Europe.
Using silence as a tactic, America failed to protest the UK’s collusion with loyalist murderers. British security services were involved in the murdering two lawyers, the bombing of Dublin & Monaghan, the killing of a journalist and assassinating five elected Sinn Fein Councilors and 11 campaign workers. The silencing of elected officials got underway in 1985 just as PM Thatcher spoke to Congress about British defense of democracy and the rule of law in N. I. America’s silence on all this was deafening. None of these extra-judicial executions earned criticism from the White House or Department of State. A two page letter from the NYC Bar Association President to Prime Minister Cameron in 2013 demanded England hold the promised independent public inquiry into the murder of attorney Pat Finucane. The letter said more than the State Department had in the previous 15 years.
Those who resisted British violence or fled persecution found only contempt here and were deported, extradited or continually harassed. U. S. citizens opposing Britain’s human rights abuses in the North or helping the families of the imprisoned were monitored, questioned by the FBI or threatened with prosecution as terrorists. The State Department denied Sinn Fein leader Gerry Adams a visa. Adams, an elected Member of Parliament who has never been convicted of a crime was denied for being a member of the IRA. When asked to provide proof of that assertion in the 2nd Federal District Court of Appeals, the U. S. Attorney General offered copies of articles from British newspapers. The State Department and the Congressional Research Service are legally required to produce reports identifying human rights violations and injustices. The reports have become public relations exercises with text that could have been written by the United Kingdom. A better source defining the system of impunity Britain crafted for hundreds of its killers is Lethal Allies by Anne Cadwallader In 2010 N. I. police used the US-UK Mutual Legal Assistance Treaty (MLAT) in an attempt to smear Gerry Adams. The State Department never reviewed their subpoenas for Boston College records though required to do so thus ignoring the obligation’s of three treaties: the MLAT, Belfast and US-UK Supplemental Extradition.
President Clinton’s visa for Gerry Adams in 1996 and the work of Senator Mitchell launched a peace process the British security services still oppose. The next U. S. President should end America’s backstop role supporting partition. After all without U. S. indifference and silence Ireland’s partition would never have happened. Demanding the UK fully disclose their legacy of murder and mendacity in Ireland would begin to make amends. The best way to overcome British stonewalling on the past would be to suspend all U. S. visas for royal Windsor public relations junkets . The irony would be delicious.