Britain’s EU exit problems continue and Ireland remains an issue. With the ink on the EU-UK Withdrawal Agreement barely dry, Prime Minister Johnson is protesting the N. I. Protocol. No surprise. The world is no longer England’s oyster but that does not stop the PM from threatening a no-deal exit if things don’t go his way by June. The instant dispute is over goods traveling between Britain and N. I. and the customs jurisdiction of the European Court of Justice. Boris claims Britain is a rule maker not a rule taker. He could point to three decades of lawlessness in N. I. to prove his point. The U. S. could add to his problems. Speaker Pelosi has warned that approval of a US-UK trade deal is unlikely as long as England continues to undermine the Good Friday Agreement (GFA) and the Irish peace process. Recently a Wall Street Journal editorial claimed that “without a US-UK trade deal, any Brexit strategy has little chance of succeeding.” It is not clear Johnson grasps this dilemma.
A historical note helps to explain what it means to be undermining the 1998 peace pact and those that followed especially the Stormont House Agreement in 2014. Prime Minister Blair signed the GFA in 1998 over the objections of the Conservatives. In 2000 Conservative Michael Gove MP penned a venomous screed The Price of Peace depicting the Treaty as follows. “The GFA poses a threat to the British way of doing things. Indeed! Gove really feared Britain’s way of doing things in N. I. would damage the carefully crafted image of a democracy combating terror.
Thirty years of British rule in N. I. by the Privy Council, a sort of royal junta, included: (a) the crushing of the Catholic civil rights movement with police and military assaults on homes and citizens, hundreds of killings of innocent civilians and internment; (b) the corruption of law and justice including arrests without charge and trials without juries, State sanctioned collusion murders and criminal acts by members of the Ulster Defense Regiment, the most discredited regiment of the British Army; and (3) human rights violations on an industrial scale including the systematic targeting and assassination of Sinn Fein elected officials, campaign workers, their relatives , neighbors and friends, and the State assassination of lawyers Patrick Finucane and car bomb killing of Rosemary Nelson. Months before her murder, Ms. Nelson had testified before the U. S. Helsinki Commission and Chairman Representative Chris Smith (R-NJ).
The 20 years since Price of Peace , Gove and his fellow Conservatives have been busy burying this lawless legacy and obstructing the search for truth. That is what it means to be undermining the peace process!
The Prime Minister wants now to unilaterally grant amnesty by any means to British Army and MI-5 forces involved in killing innocent civilians. The British ignored and corrupted their 2014 Stormont House Agreement obligations to address these past abuses and now claim they need another 100 days to do so. That is undermining the GFA!
The 2007 St Andrews Agreement reassigned responsibility for covert policing, national security and intelligence in N. I. to the unaccountable MI-5. This was specifically opposed by the Patten Commission on Policing as MI-5 ‘s hidden hand has been linked to some of the most horrific acts of violence. That is undermining the Irish peace process.
The Speaker may have an ally in the White House on any trade deal delay. In December last President Trump issued a human rights Executive Order declaring “… tough measures to punish aggression and destabilizing behavior.” Britain has obviously perfected a certain ‘standard’, if you will, for State sponsored destabilizing behavior. A sound and credible foreign policy compels America to demand British accountability in return for a US-UK trade deal. Clearly this is a ‘quid pro quo’ Americans can all agree on.