Wednesday, 28 September 2011

ITV Exposure - Propaganda FAIL!

Ruaidhrí O' Conghaile, Contributing Writer
Activist Post

A source at the British Secret Intelligence Service, MI6, has claimed that deposed Libyan leader, Colonel Muammar Gaddafi, was funding armed Irish dissident republican groups in the north of Ireland as recently as June 2011.

The claim featured as part of an exclusive ITV1 documentary entitled, 'Exposure: Gaddafi and the I.R.A', which aired on September 26th.

The MI6 source alleges that a Libyan government courier flew into London earlier this year with $2 million in cash during a stopover on route to the Irish Republic. The money is thought to have been on its way to an Irish businessman closely associated with one of the armed dissident republican groups.

At present, there are three armed dissident groups active in the north of Ireland, Óglaigh na hÉireann, the Continuity Irish Republican Army (C.I.R.A) and the Real Irish Republican Army (R.I.R.A). The program did not specify as to which group the money was to be allocated.

The MI6 source was also unable to confirm whether or not the money had in fact reached its destination.

Colonel Gaddafi's support for Irish unity has long been documented. Expressing his opinion on the situation in Ireland, Gaddafi once famously said, "We believe the cause of Ireland is a just cause, and we support this just cause, because we believe Ireland is Ireland and Britain is Britain, and the existence of Britain in the north of Ireland is a sense of colonisation."

The former Libyan leader supported the Provisional I.R.A campaign to varying degrees from the early 1970's through to the signing of the Good Friday Agreement in 1998, lending both financial support and substantial arms shipments to aid the Irish campaign.

The programme also obtained a copy of a video, purportedly showing an Irish dissident training camp taking place in the rural Irish countryside. Dissidents appeared to be armed with AK47 automatic rifles and pistols.

Armed insurgency is again on the rise in the north of Ireland, and there has been a steady increase in the number of attacks over the last several years.

During his decades in power, Gaddafi is believed to have funded several armed resistance groups across the world, these include the Palestinian Liberation Organisation, the Black September movement, the Moro Islamic Liberation Front in the Philippines, and the Japanese Red Army.

Determining the validity of the recent claim featured in the ITV documentary may prove difficult however. MI6 declined to officially confirm its authenticity.

I feel it is also important to draw attention to a number of blatant and rather worrying factual inaccuracies in the documentary. Shockingly, C.G.I footage from a popular computer game entitled 'Arma 2' was depicted in the program as having been a real life incident involving the I.R.A. On top of that, old television footage of street clashes between Irish nationalists and the R.U.C, the former police force in the north of Ireland that were disbanded in the year 2000, was described by the programs narrator as having occurred "earlier this year".

This shows that the standard of research behind the documentary was completely below what one would expect from a broadcaster of the caliber of ITV.

The program had quite a heavy political slant throughout, and was anything but impartial. In the sixty minutes dedicated to highlighting the evil of Gaddafi's role in sponsoring the Provisional I.R.A, there was not one single mention of the role the British government and British security forces played in sponsoring and colluding with Loyalist paramilitaries in the north of Ireland. Several reports and official inquiries have confirmed that the British state played an active role in sponsoring many violent atrocities in Ireland. To draw attention to Gaddafi's role, without so much as even mentioning the fact that the British state did the very same thing, highlights the politically biased nature of the documentary.

My own personal opinion is that the program seemed more concerned with manipulating public opinion in regards to the current situation in Libya.

There was also a strong sense of irony towards the end of the program as a member of the Libyan Transitional Council lambasted the use of violence to overthrow repressive regimes.

It remains to be seen whether or not the claim that Colonel Gaddafi has again resumed his support for Irish dissidents is true. Given the history of the situation, it is certainly not beyond the realms of possibility. The poorly researched nature and obvious political agenda of the documentary, will however, lead many to question its overall validity.

Ruaidhrí O' Conghaile is an independent Irish Republican, political activist and blogger based in the west of Ireland. You can read more of his work at Dord Fian

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