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Vilifying the victims: two of the most vile British Intelligence smear campaigns of the Troubles blamed innocent murder victims for their own demise. By David Burke.

The Information Research Department (IRD) of Britain's Foreign Office sought to smear the victims of Bloody Sunday and the McGurks bar bomb atrocity. They even went so far as to attack a group of British politicians by linking them to a campaign for justice for the victims of Bloody Sunday. To the IRD, any association with the the Bloody Sunday campaign was a shameful act.

The Information Research Department (IRD) of Britain’s Foreign Office sought to smear the victims of Bloody Sunday and the McGurks bar bomb atrocity. They even went so far as to attack a group of British politicians by linking them to a campaign for justice for the victims of Bloody Sunday. To the IRD, any association with the campaign for justice for the victims of Bloody Sunday was a shameful act.

On 30 January 1972, British paratroopers murdered 13 unarmed civilians in Derry, none of whom posed any sort of a threat to the military – unless, that is, you consider the waving of a white piece of cloth in the air a potentially lethal act.

Maurice Tugwell and Hugh Mooney. Mooney was also deeply involved in MI6-IRD machinations against Charles Haughey.

Within minutes Britain’s black propaganda machine swung into action. The head of the Army’s PsyOps department, Col Maurice Tugwell, who had joined the British Army in Derry, was among them. Upfront, Col Derek Wilford, the cowardly commander of 1 Para (cowardly because he has sacrificed his own men by lying about the orders he gave them to save his own skin) spewed out a torrent of lies about an imaginary attack on his troops by the IRA.

Later, the Information Research Department (IRD) of the Foreign Office took over the smear campaign against the Bloody Sunday campaigners.

Hugh Mooney, the ex-Irish Times IRD character assassin. Mooney was a man without a moral compass of any sort.

A man with deep Irish roots – Hugh Mooney – led the IRD charge. Mooney was a graduate of Trinity College Dublin. He had once worked for the Irish Times. As an IRD officer, Mooney was complicit in a multiplicity of MI6-IRD smear campaigns. An indication of his mindset can be gleaned from the fact that when he later tried to smear leading members of the British Labour Party, he felt the best way to bring them into disrepute was to link them to the families of the victims of Bloody Sunday. (This episode, and a forged document the IRD created to further it, are described more fully later in this article.)

IRD ‘agent of influence’ T. E. Utley. He defended the actions of 1 Para on Bloody Sunday insinuating that the ‘fresh-faced boys’ murdered on Bloody Sunday would probably have joined the IRA.

Mooney had assets in the British press. One of them was a Tory guru called Tom Utley. Ultley was a British intelligence ‘agent of influence’ or in modern parlance, an ‘influencer’.  At the time of the Bloody Sunday massacre, Utley was working for the Daily Telegraph and Sunday Telegraph, both pro-Tory papers popular with middle and upper class Britain. Mooney and Utley discussed the Bloody Sunday problem together. It was ultimately resolved that Utley would write a paperback about it. According to a confidential letter dated 24 March 1972, the FCO reported to the MoD that Utley hoped to ‘complete the writing in about six weeks, though this may be a little over-ambitious’. According to the letter, he was ‘obviously’ going to ‘need a certain amount of help from Army PR, particularly on the propaganda aspect’.

While Utley failed to produce the book, in 1975 he published the rather grandiosely titled ‘Lessons of Ulster’ which took a broader look at Northern Ireland and a litany of developments that had occurred in the meantime. An indication of his mind-set can be gauged from the fact that he objected to the use of the phrase ‘Bloody Sunday’, something he described as ‘slavish obedience to IRA mythology’. He argued that some of those killed were ‘fresh-faced boys who might otherwise have lived to swell the ranks of patriotic militancy’. In other words, they probably would have joined the IRA if they had not been shot.

An indication of his mind-set can be gauged from the fact that he objected to the use of the phrase ‘Bloody Sunday’, something he described as ‘slavish obedience to IRA mythology’. He argued that some of those killed were ‘fresh-faced boys who might otherwise have lived to swell the ranks of patriotic militancy’. In other words, they probably would have joined the IRA if they had not been shot.

The IRD demonised the families of the victims of Bloody Sunday and those who supported them. Clearly, they believed they had turned them into political untouchables. Hence, they felt they could undermine British Labour Party MPs by associating them with the Bloody Sunday quest for justice. Towards this end, the IRD forged a pamphlet based on a genuine Bloody Sunday campaign leaflet. The original is reproduced hereunder:

The genuine version of the Bloody Sunday pamphlet

Merlyn Rees, who served as Secretary of State for Northern Ireland (and later as Home Secretary) was undermined – at least in the eyes of Mooney and his IRD colleagues  – by linking him to the Bloody Sunday campaign.  His name was added to the IRD forgery which appears under this paragraph. (See the bottom of the left hand column).

The IRD forgery.

A man called Stan Newens appears on the authentic pamphlet. He was supplanted by Stan Orme MP on the fabricated version. In a similar fashion, Tony Smythe became Tony Benn.

David Owen MP was added to the list too.  Owen, however, had the last laugh: when he became Foreign Secretary later in the 1970s, he abolished the IRD.

The aftermath of the McGurks bar bomb attack.

Mooney deployed a similar tactic to smear Charles Haughey TD of Fianna Fail, i.e., he took an original document produced in Ireland and doctored it to include smears about Haughey before printing his own version in London.

Charles Haughey, another target of Mooney’s forgery skills.

Mooney was also responsible for the smear campaign against the victims of the McGurks bar bomb atrocity. 15 innocent people were murdered when the UVF attack McGurks bar in Belfast in December 1971. The black propagandists issued a statement insinuating that at least some of the victims of the attack were responsible for their own demise. The propagandists alleged that the bomb had been brought inside the pub by an IRA unit and had exploded prematurely – a so-called ‘own goal’. The campaign was furthered by statements by politicians. See Alleged disappearance of UVF Bomb Massacre Files: MoD excuse for destruction of Brigadier Kitson’s logs is far from convincing. By David Burke.

A politician with a strong moral compass: David Owen who, as Foreign Secretary, abolished the IRD.

Despite the best efforts of David Owen, the black propagandists found other avenues through which they managed to smear their victims including Charles Haughey.

David Burke is the author of  Kitson’s Irish War, Mastermind of the Dirty War in Ireland  which examines the role of counter-insurgency dirty tricks in Northern Ireland in the early 1970s and the template it set for the Troubles. His next book, An Enemy of the Crown, the British Secret Service Campaign against Charles Haughey, will be released at the end of September 2022. Both books can be ordered/purchased here: 

https://www.mercierpress.ie/irish-books/kitson-s-irish-war/

https://www.mercierpress.ie/irish-books/an-enemy-of-the-crown/

Other stories about British Intelligence black propaganda operations, dirty tricks, Bloody Sunday, the Ballymurphy massacre, Brigadier Frank Kitson and Col Derek Wilford on this website include the following: 

Bloody Sunday murderers operated a mobile torture chamber. By David Burke.

Soldier G – real name Ron Cook – the Bloody Sunday killer with ‘the sadistic edge’ over his ‘partner’, Soldier F. By David Burke.

Bloody Sunday: Brigadier Frank Kitson and MI5 denounced in Dail Eireann

The secret scale model of Derry used to plan Bloody Sunday. By David Burke.

The covert plan to smash the IRA in Derry on Bloody Sunday by David Burke

Soldier F’s Bloody Sunday secrets. David Cleary knows enough to blackmail the British government.

Learning to kill

Colin Wallace: Bloody Sunday, a very personal perspective

Lying like a trooper. Internment, murder and vilification. Did Brigadier Kitson instigate the Ballymurphy massacre smear campaign? Where was Soldier F and his ‘gallant’ death squad during it?

Another bloody mess. Frank Kitson’s contribution to the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq. 300,000 have died in Afghanistan since 1979.

Lying like a trooper. Internment, murder and vilification. Did Brigadier Kitson instigate the Ballymurphy massacre smear campaign? Where was Soldier F and his ‘gallant’ death squad during it?

A Foul Unfinished Business. The shortcomings of, and plots against, Saville’s Bloody Sunday Inquiry.

Kitson’s Private Army: the thugs, killers and racists who terrorised Belfast and Derry. Soldier F was one of their number.

Soldier F and Brigadier Kitson’s elite ‘EFGH’ death squad: a murderous dirty-tricks pattern is emerging which links Ballymurphy with Bloody Sunday. A second soldier involved in both events was ‘mentioned in despatches’ at the behest of Kitson for his alleged bravery in the face of the enemy.

Mentioned in Despatches. Brigadier Kitson and Soldier F were honoured in the London Gazette for their gallantry in the face of the enemy during the internment swoops of August 1971.

Soldier F, the heartless Bloody Sunday killer, is named.

Mission accomplished. The unscrupulous judge who covered-up the Bloody Sunday murders. Soldier F and other paratroopers have been protected by the British State for five decades. None of them now face prosecution. This perversion of justice began with the connivance of the Lord Chief Justice of England and Wales, John Widgery, a former British Army brigadier, Freemason and oath-breaker.

Counterinsurgency war criminals, liars and cowards: Kitson and Wilford, the brigadier and colonel who led the soldiers who perpetrated the Ballymurphy Massacre.

Brigadier Kitson’s motive for murdering unarmed civilians in Ballymurphy.

The McGurk’s Bar cover-up. Heath’s Faustian pact. How a British prime minister covered up a UVF massacre in the hope of acquiring Unionist votes to enable the UK join the European Economic Community, the forerunner of the EU.