Thursday, 31 July 2014

Dubious Dark Alleys

Henry McDonald has an illuminating article over at the Belfast Telegraph in which he describes how the fraught circumstances of the 1970s "took the State down some morally dubious, highly questionable dark alleyways, one of which was the Kincora Boys Home scandal."
"Both [Chris] Moore [author of the book The Kincora Scandal] and myself are confident that one loyalist extremist, who is deeply mistrusted even by the UDA and UVF, has connections to Kincora as well as being a suspect in a number of other paedophile-related incidents.
This character, however, has never been seriously investigated or questioned by police over what he knew about Kincora or any of the other allegations that were made about him during the 1980s. 
We are equally convinced that this individual was a state asset and long time "agent provocateur" within extreme loyalism for decades and that the role meant he was also a protected asset.
One of his former associates was John McKeague, an ex-leader in the terror group the Red Hand Commando, who has also been linked to or had at least knowledge about the abuse regime at Kincora."
Those who have been following the Kincora scandal may well have their own ideas of who might fit the bill. One man in particular — like McGrath, a long-time British-Israelite preacher who has straddled the line between evangelicalism and Loyalism for most of his life — has been bitterly denounced by former protégés who have fallen foul of the law. He is also someone on whom Henry McDonald has reported, in veiled terms, for many years.

Quite apart from the question of whether the guilty are to be brought to book, or the calumniated vindicated, through a formal legal process, the fact that the suspect is also an alleged agent provocateur raises some interesting legal questions that could conceivably result in the convictions of his one-time acolytes being quashed. If that were relevant only to Northern Ireland, where peace is now well established, it might not be a problem. However, similar tactics are almost certainly still being employed against others, ranging from animal-rights activists to anti-fracking campaigners — and, most notably, British Muslims. For that reason, the state security apparatus will be loath to let the matter get to court.

If it does, expect an unofficial plea bargain of the kind that William McGrath enjoyed 30 years ago.

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