The Daily Ireland carried an interesting article yesterday looking at parallels between British Army operations in Belfast and Monday’s events in Basra.
Sinister covert operations by British forces in Iraq are “reminscent of the activities of the SAS" in the North, a leading human rights campaigner said last night.
Paul O’Connor, of the Derry-based Pat Finucane Centre (PFC), demanded that the British government “break the cycle of abuse" imposed by its forces.
He also questioned the “sheepish" decision by large sections of the media to “report the MOD line as established fact". (Daily Ireland)
One aspect the article doesn’t mention is that the soldiers briefly captured by Iraqi police were from the Special Reconnaissance Regiment, which was involved in the operation which led to the death of Jean Charles de Menezes.
The Sunday Times reported earlier this year that the regiment was based on units operating in Northern Ireland during the Troubles.
More than 150 members of the 14th Intelligence and Security Company, have already left Northern Ireland and are forming the nucleus of the new unit.
The company was involved in the bugging of Gerry Adams, the Sinn Fein president, during the 1998 Good Friday peace negotiations.
Other Northern Ireland veterans who are experts at undermining terrorist groups using moles and informers are also likely to be recruited. (Sunday Times)
That last sentence sounds like a reference to the notorious Force Research Unit, whose activities led Sir John Stevens to conclude that agents were colluding in loyalist killings. As the Daily Ireland article points out, FRU chief Gordon Kerr is now reported to be in Iraq.