THE IRISH TIMES of June 20th had a piece by the historian Michael B Barry headed “How the British faked ‘Battles’ during the War of Independence..”
The faking was exposed to the world at the time and laughed to scorn in the House of Commons itself. How THE IRISH TIMES dealt with the story thenI don’t know. I suspect that they covered it up.
There was a group of lying scoundrels “master-minding” British propaganda from Dublin Castle, many of whom had later careers in advertsing, public
relations and right-wing politics. THE ORIGINS & ORGANISATION OF BRITISH PROPAGANDA IN IRELAND 1920 by Father Brian P. Murphy of the Benedictine Order, based in Glenstal Abbey, published by the Aubane Society & Spinwatch makes interesting reading. Father Murphy has degrees from Oxford University, Trinity College, Dublin and UCD. He was born in London and went to school at St Ignatius College, then in Tottenham.Distinguished alumni included Alfred Hitchcock and Volunteer Reginald Dunne.
Prominent amongst the scoundrel propagandists were Basil Clarke, Major Cecil Street, Captain William Darling, and Captain (later Colonel) Hugh Pollard.
Darling was later a Tory MP and Provost of Edinburgh. His great- nephew Alistair became Chancellor of the Exchequer under Gordon Brown.
Most mainstream British daily newspapers were the willing tools of the “master-minds” in Whitehall and Dublin Castle, as was Pathe News. Pollard arranged with Pathe to film a fake ambush on the easily identifiable Vico Road by Killiney Bay, County Dublin, which was supposed to show footage in Tralee, County Kerry,over 200 miles away. When the British captured the presses of Dail Eireann’s IRISH BULLETIN, Pollard had a forged edition, which would have damaged the Bulletin’s well established reputation for accurate reporting. But THE IRISH BULLETIN published a genuine edition, without missing a beat.
The Irish Bulletin was started by Lawrence Ginnell, a lawyer and Sinn Fein TD who had formerly been an Irish Party MP at Westminster. Its chief writers included Frank Gallagher, Robert Brennan and Erskine Childers and it was an official Dail Eireann organ under the Minister of Publicity, Desmond Fitzgerald. All skilled and formidable writers.
Childers (incidentally a nephew, or great-nephew of a Chancellor of the Exchequer) was an internationally known novelist. He had also distinguished himself in the British Forces in the Second South African War and the Great War. In the latter war he served alongside Captain William Wedgwood Benn DSO, who in 1918 was elected an MP (Liberal). He and another war hero, Commander Kenworthy RN, MP continually put Government Ministers on the spot, challenging their accounts of events in Ireland. Their sources included THE IRISH BULLETIN, which was not available in any newsagents, but surreptitiously mailed to journalists, politicians and diplomats.
In July 1935 Pollard flew a private plane to the Canary Islands where General Franco had been posted by Spain’s Republican Government to keep him out of mischief. Pollard then flew Franco to Morocco where he took command of the Foreign Legion to launch his war on his country and secure it from democracy for a further 39 years.
Michael B Barry appears to believe that Pollard may have been acting merely on his own behalf and not as an agent of the British Government. Be that as it may, when Franco finally got to Madrid in 1939 Pollard became MI6’s man in the British Embassy.
Readers of previous Blogs of mine will know of official Britain’s friendly sentiments and cooperation with Nazis and fascists, and of the West British IRISH TIMES Editorial applauding Herr Hitler’s Way of dealing with Lefties.