HE BRITISH FORCES’ NETWORK IN IRELAND, Part Four: DRAMATIS PERSONAE by Donal Kennedy

 

  1. Sir Andrew Gilchrist, KCMG , British Ambassador to Ireland in 1969.
     
    2.  Major Thomas Bleakley McDowell, formerly of the British Army’s Ulster Rifles, identified by Cecil King as a fellow MI5 agent in 1969, and at the time one of 5 owners of  THE IRISH TIMES.

    3. Mr Harold Wilson, British Prime Minister 1964-1970 and 1974-1976.

    4. Mr Douglas Gageby, in 1969 one of 5 owners of THE IRISH TIMES and its Editor, formerly an IRISH ARMY INTELLIGENCE OFFICER, later Editor and Chief of The IRISH NEWS AGENCY set up by the Irish Government, the first Editor of Dublin’s Evening Press.

    Gilchrist was a very experienced operator.  He was  Ambassador to Indonesia in 1965 when between 500,000 and 1,000,000 mainly ethnic Chinese were murdered there following  a propaganda campaign masterminded by him. (Check “THE GILCHRIST LETTER” on Wikipedia.  It does not refer to “THE WHITE NIGGER” letter.}

    The British Defence Secretary in 1965, Denis Healey, later said that though neither he nor the British armed forces were involved, that he was glad that it happened. If there 
    was any  correspondence between Gilchrist and the then Foreign Secretary, Michael Stewart, at the time, or with Harold Wison, either the papers were never lodged in the Public Records Ofice, or they were lodged but nobody thought them worthy of notice.

    Harold Wilson’s governments are remembered for refusing to commit British troops to the American aggression in Vietnam, Laos and Cambodia. About the time Sir Andrew Gilchrist’s propaganda was bearing fruit in Indonesia, the British Government was evacuating islanders (depending on Britain for defence of their lives, homes and livelihoods) by force, and transporting them, in open boats, hundreds of miles away, and dumping them, men, women and children, like so much rubbish, with no compensation, on Mauritius.

The purpose of this outrage was to gift the islanders’ former habitat to the United States to build a huge naval and airbase (DIEGO GARCIA)
to murder and to threaten to murder millions of people within its range.

Whilst Sir Andrew Gilchrist presents as an ice-cool, ruthless and clever Imperial, Civil Servant,  Major Tom McDowell might have stepped out of a Tom Sharpe farce. Born in Belfast in 1923, the son of a  Post Office clerk, he served in the British Army (but not in a theatre of war) during the Second World War and until 1955. He qualified at the Bar and 
appears to have confined his practice to British Courts-Martial or similar tribunals. On leaving the British Army, he became a director of some Dublin businesses dominated if not wholly run by Protestants. He habitually wore, from his early 30s, three piece suits, and, rather anachronistically, a pocket-watch and chain. In addition he habitually wore a monocle, a unique habit outside pantomimes and Carry-On films since the death of Joseph Chamberlain. Word was, in the Irish Times, that he had a photograph of Queen Victoria on his office
wall. He was never a journalist, nor so far as I know an essayist or author. But he had  sufficient clout to engage the interest of Harold Wilson.

Douglas Gageby as Editor, saved the Irish Times from extinction by recognising that the paper had done nothing to attract most of the Irish people, whose interests, sentiments, culture and achievements  it bitterly opposed, disdained and held in contempt for the first century of its existence. When first approached by R.M. Smyllie, the long-serving bigoted Irish Times Editor, to quit de Valera’s IRISH PRESS Group, Gageby told Smyllie that he despised the snobbery and anti-national posture of the IRISH TIMES.

Next Instalment – ENTER LORD GOODMAN to follow.

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