The Suitcase That Never Was

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The Suitcase That Never WasWe protested the private meeting of the Policing Board on Thursday (2.6.11), delivered a press statement to the waiting press pack and handed over a suitcase to the newly elected Chairman, Brian Rea. It was a suitcase that was loaded with archive evidence and was weighted with symbolism. It represented the suitcase that the RUC fabricated as a pretext for the McGurk’s Bar Massacre.

This was the suitcase that never was. 

An RUC Duty Officers’ Report, dated the morning after the atrocity, 8am 5th December 1971 stated:

At 8.45 p.m. on Saturday, 4th December, 1971, an explosion occurred at McGurk’s Licensed Premises, 83 Great George’s Street. The charge was estimated at 50 lbs completely demolished the two storey building. Just before the explosion a man entered the licensed premises and left down a suitcase, presumably to be picked up by a known member of the Provisional I.R.A. The bomb was intended for use on other premises. Before the ‘pick-up’ was made the bomb exploded.

This is the genesis of the bomb-in-transit disinformation that tried to criminalize innocent civilians. 

The black propaganda was injected by the RUC into the intelligence stream in the immediate aftermath of the atrocity even though that it was without substance or evidential fact. It was drip-fed to the media and thereby found its way into the public consciousness.

Dozens of witness statements, including one that saw the bomb being planted, forensic evidence and an admission of guilt by the bombers themselves was ignored so that the RUC, British Army Headquarters and the authorities could pin the blame on the IRA. It mattered not a jot that the 15 dead and over a dozen injured were criminalized with guilt by association or direct complicity.

What mattered was that Protestant extremists were not blamed.

Interestingly, in a secret British military document, uncovered by the families themselves, it was evident that the authorities were immediately aware that the bomb was not an IRA own-goal. The British General Officer  Commanding, Lt. General Sir Harry Tuzo, had been told in a confidential Director of Operations Brief, again on the 5th December 1971, that his bomb disposal expert, who “happened” on the scene, believed that the “bomb… had been planted outside the bar” (author’s emphasis).

Instead the RUC disinformation, the RUC lie, found its way into Army intelligence summaries, the media and briefings to Government. It was even used by the Northern Ireland Prime Minister, Brian Faulkner, to deceive his paymasters in Whitehall.

To read about how the RUC disseminated this startling piece of disinformation and black propaganda regarding the McGurk’s Bar Massacre, please read my article: Pretext, Lies and Media-Feed

These are the secret archive documents that were placed in the suitcase. All of them were found, not by the authorities, but by the families themselves, the Pat Finucane Centre and the British Irish Rights Watch.

This is the significance to us of “the suitcase that never was” for it was the beginning of RUC lies in the aftermath of a the McGurk’s Bar Massacre.

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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