Secret Government Files – Protecting National Security or Hiding National Shame

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Spotlight NI tonight (8th December 2015) investigates whether secret government files are hidden because of British national security or shame regarding Britain’s dirty war in the north of Ireland.

The investigation features brave families whose loved ones were killed during the conflict, but whose stories have been covered up by the state for generations.

They include the family of Jean Smyth-Campbell who was murdered in June 1972. Her family were told that she was killed by the Irish Republican Army (IRA) but secret documents which we accessed proved that she was killed by British Security Forces, with a clandestine British army unit called the Military Reaction Force (MRF) in the frame.

The Royal Ulster Constabulary then covered up the circumstances of her death telling lies and burying evidence. The Police Service of Northern Ireland – our so-called “reformed” police service – then perpetuated the cover-up aided and abetted by its Historical Enquiries Team.

These archives lay bare a war crime and its cover-up by the state. I discussed the same and my on-going work with the charity, Paper Trail, for the exposé when we travelled to film at Kew, National Archives last week.

Timely Intervention

It is a timely Spotlight NI programme too as it is transmitted slap-bang in the  middle of our own families’ campaign to access vital information… and the state’s on-going battles to shut down my requests for information.

You read about these here:

I have also raised a serious complaint with The National Archives and the Information Commissioner’s Office regarding the retention of vital evidence regarding my grandmother’s murder and the murder of the other 14 innocent civilians in the McGurk’s Bar bombing.

Just a few days ago too, Jean’s family recorded a historic win against the state in the High Court where these secret files were discussed at length – read the news article here.

So this programme will show just how important hidden files are to ordinary families across the two islands, and how it is in the public interest that they are published.

Irish writer, Ciarán MacAirt, is author of The McGurk’s Bar Bombing: Collusion, Cover-Up and a Campaign for Truth. His book is available now for download from Amazon’s Kindle Store

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