A British soldier fires plastic bullets at rioters in Belfast after the death of IRA hunger striker Bobby Sands. (Photo: Boris Spremo / Toronto Star via Getty)

‘Lodged in skulls’: The army’s deadly plastic bullets scandal

Sixteen people were killed by rubber or plastic bullets during the Troubles (a seventeenth was killed by a fall after being hit by a bullet). Some victims had been involved in street disorder but others were passers-by.  Eight of the dead were children under 16. None was armed. Rubber and plastic bullets have never been […]

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Smear, frame, mislead: The British army in Ireland

The extent of the cover-up is disclosed in documents given to victims of abuse at Kincora, a boys’ home in East Belfast run by William McGrath, founder of Tara, a shadowy far-right group known to MI5 and MI6 officers for many years. McGrath was later jailed for abusing young boys.  MI5 “consistently obstructed” police inquiries […]

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Defence Secretary Ben Wallace at an army base this month. (Photo: Ben Birchall / Pool / Getty)

Ben Wallace’s Northern Ireland army record censored

The Ministry of Defence (MoD) refusal comes as Ben Wallace wants to pass a new law giving security forces an amnesty for conflict-era offences if they cooperate with a truth commission. Wallace is a British army veteran who completed two tours of Northern Ireland.  He was mentioned in despatches in the early nineties for his […]

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‘Comfortable in his coffin’

A coroner in Northern Ireland has criticised the Ministry of Defence for failing to change the 1970s military ‘Rules of Engagement’ on firing plastic bullets – despite repeated advice to do so from experts at three separate government scientific units. The MoD’s refusal to change its rules, said Judge Patrick McGurgan, had led to the […]

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UK defence secretary Ben Wallace. (Photo: Downing Street)

Ben Wallace is in denial about murder

Britain’s defence secretary Ben Wallace is leading attempts by the Conservative government to force a path to amnesty for military veterans of the Troubles.  His plan would deny scores of bereaved families the right to justice through the courts. It goes against the wishes of every political party and all victims’ groups in Northern Ireland. […]

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Blaming the victims: The McGurk’s bar bombing

The families of 15 people killed in Belfast’s deadliest bombing during the Northern Ireland conflict have won a significant court victory, overturning a discredited police inquiry and boosting their demand for a new inquest and legal action against the Police Ombudsman. The bombing of McGurk’s Bar in Belfast on 4 December 1971 marked a turning-point […]

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Britain plotted propaganda campaign against Amnesty International

In order to suppress an Amnesty International report on Britain’s use of torture in Northern Ireland, the Foreign Office plotted a secret propaganda campaign to discredit the report’s author. Declassified after 50 years, a British file unveils a sinister plan to target a future Nobel Peace Prize recipient, and shows how UK officials marked civil […]

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An Ulster Defence Regiment checkpoint in Northern Ireland, 1984. (Photo: Terry Disney via Getty)

Britain’s sectarian army

Say ‘UDR’ to the vast majority of Britons and, despite the increasingly totemic status of ‘our boys’ in the military, eyebrows will universally raise.   Yet the Ulster Defence Regiment was active throughout most of the recent conflict in Ireland – the longest period of continuous duty of any British military unit. Successive UK governments lavishly […]

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Kincora Boys' Home in Belfast. (Photo: Charles McQuillan / Getty)

How MI5 is helping to cover up sexual abuse

Much publicity was given recently to the apology by political and religious leaders in Northern Ireland for the horrific sexual and emotional abuse young boys in care homes had suffered over many years.  But on one notorious home, the subject of a cover-up that remains unexplained, there was silence. The public apology was recommended more […]

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UDA vigilantes detain IRA suspects in Belfast, 1972. (Photo: David Lomax / Getty)

Blood on London’s hands

A damning report on police collusion with murders in Northern Ireland has just been published. Whitehall knew for decades that the UDA paramilitary group was carrying out wholesale murder – yet ministers long refused to ban it as a terrorist organisation and officials continued to meet its leaders.

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The Miami Showband (Credit: Handout)

Bombing the ‘Irish Beatles’ – who ordered their murder?

A court has awarded £1.5 million in compensation to survivors of a terrorist attack in Northern Ireland that involved collusion between British soldiers and paramilitary forces. But those responsible for controlling the ‘Miami Showband’ killers have still not been held accountable.

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Richard Leakey burns confiscated elephant tusks in 1991. The British army advised him on anti-poaching. (Photo: Andrew Holbrooke / Corbis via Getty. File: UK MOD)

Stakeknife and the spy who went on safari

The Kenya Wildlife Service, which operates a shoot-to-kill policy against ivory hunters, was advised by a senior British military intelligence officer intimately involved in the conflict in Northern Ireland.  Colonel Colin Parr visited Kenya between tours during the ‘Troubles’ when he allegedly ran ‘Stakeknife’ – an informant at the heart of the IRA’s internal security […]

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Seven of the ‘Hooded Men’ in 2018 (Photo: Liam McBurney / AFP via Getty)

‘Something awkward’: When Conservative ministers authorised torture

“This could grow into something awkward if pursued,” wrote the head of the Army Department in the Ministry of Defence in the margins of a letter in 1977. He could never have imagined those words would form part of a Supreme Court ruling decades later. The “something awkward” was a bold statement that British ministers […]

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Jack Morton (centre) was a colonial police chief in India (Photo: Morton’s papers)

MI5 report on Troubles to stay secret, court rules

A British court has ruled that a review of undercover policing compiled by MI5 at the height of the Troubles nearly 50 years ago will stay secret.  The verdict marks the end of a freedom of information battle between Northern Ireland’s police and Declassified UK. It comes as a blow to legacy campaigners and bereaved […]

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Northern Irish police fire plastic bullets during the Troubles (Photo: Gerry Penny / AFP via Getty)

Rewriting history: The UK government’s new plan

Jaws have dropped across Ireland at the British government’s intention to commission an official history of The Troubles. Those that have perhaps dropped fastest and furthest belong to the Livingstone and Whitters families. In April 1981, Elizabeth Livingstone’s youngest sister, Julie, aged 14, was shot dead walking home in Lenadoon, West Belfast. A soldier from […]

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Ex-Met police officer Simon Byrne leads Northern Ireland’s force (Photo: Dan Kitwood / Getty)

Belfast murders: What are police trying to hide?

South Belfast, February 1992. Two gunmen burst into a bookmaker’s shop on Ormeau Road. One opens fire indiscriminately with an assault rifle. The second uses a Browning pistol, firing at the wounded at close range. By the time they are finished, five people are dead. Fast forward almost 30 years to today, and the truth […]

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The coffin of Dennis Hutchings arrives at church (Photo: Finnbarr Webster / Getty)

Hero’s funeral for ex-soldier is an insult to real victim

Even before his “hero’s funeral”, the family and friends of John Pat Cunningham – the unarmed County Tyrone man shot in the back by British soldiers in 1974 – were reeling from acres of jingoistic press coverage. Retired soldier Dennis Hutchings, 80, died last month of Covid-19 during his trial for John Pat’s attempted murder […]

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16 year-old Henry Cunningham was murdered by Ulster Volunteer Force gunmen in 1973 (Supplied)

Will there be justice for Henry Cunningham?

Three loyalist gunmen, from a vantage point over the motorway leading north out of Belfast, open fire on a van they think is taking Catholic workmen home to County Donegal. A bullet goes straight through the heart of a 16-year-old boy sitting next to his brother in the front seat. The murder weapon, a sub-machine […]

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Former British army intelligence officer Colin Wallace (Photo: Michael Oswald / Independent POV)

FILM REVIEW: “The man who knew too much”

“Could you explain more about the kind of techniques you used to create psychological conflict?” Colin Wallace, aged 77 years of age, suddenly pauses. He considers his next words carefully. “I have to be careful with that…,” he finally says in a thick Northern Irish accent.  “What I don’t want to do is actually share […]

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A British soldier grabs a civil rights protester on Bloody Sunday in January 1972 when 13 civilians were shot dead by paratroopers. (Photo: Getty Images)

Impunity for killings in service of the state: the UK government’s latest scheme

“How can they do this to us? Is it even legal?” These were the despairing words of a retired teacher who lost three members of her immediate family, and her unborn niece, in a 1975 bombing in Northern Ireland where there is evidence of collusion between paramilitaries and British state forces. She was responding to […]

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Why I took the police to court over a 48-year-old secret document

Declassified UK’s chief reporter enters the Kafkaesque world of official secrecy as he tries to uncover the British state’s involvement in a notorious terrorist bombing for which no one has been held to account.

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Northern Irish police trained Gulf regime ahead of crackdown

The Police Service of Northern Ireland is facing fresh scrutiny over its long-standing ‘public order’ and security training of Omani police, following last month’s suppression of protests in the country.

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Will UK security agencies learn lessons from their collusion in crimes in Northern Ireland?

On the centenary of Ireland’s partition, Northern Ireland is changing. But the lessons from its recent violent ‘dirty war’, in which British agents colluded in killings, risk being ignored by the current British government.

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Detectives ‘not interested’ in probing army commanders about Northern Ireland murders, says veteran

A multimillion-pound police probe into murders allegedly committed by a British army agent inside the IRA in Northern Ireland is reluctant to question senior UK commanders in charge of the covert mission, a retired intelligence officer has told Declassified.

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