Anthony McIntyre shares his thoughts on the British police arrest of two Northern journalists.
Yesterday, journalists Trevor Birney And Barry McCaffrey were arrested. Their captors, the PSNI aided by fellow British cops from Durham, are determined to ensure that no stone is turned that might expose the force to the harsh truth of its involvement in killings on an industrial scale while it operated as the RUC. Both journalists were behind the documentary No Stone Unturned which the PSNI resents and wants to see buried deep within the bog of the past.
The journalists are the target of a focused and deliberate British state operation. Their hounding resonates strongly of the RUC pursuit of journalist Ed Moloney in a bid to shield its own involvement in the political assassination of lawyer Pat Finucane. Then as now the British police stalked not those responsible for state assisted assassination but those who sought to turn the stone and reveal the muck that lay beneath.
Trevor Birney and Barry McCaffrey have for at least two decades performed a valuable public service by revealing to society information powerful forces would rather see lying and decaying beneath the stones. Those who attempt to cloud the matter by stating the truism that journalists are not above the law, wilfully miss the point.
It is only through the efforts of people like Trevor Birney and Barry McCaffrey that society is better protected from the law enforcers behaving above the law. They help protect the rule of law from arbitrary law breaking law enforcement agencies. When the law will not uphold the law what law does society have?
The PSNI nom de guerre is nothing but a fig leaf behind which the ethos of the RUC is protected, likely leaving many to see in the P perfidy rather than progress.
The RUC and establishment can't handle the truth. Looking to close down and intimidate all those who don't accept their narrative - Councillor Séanna Walsh.
The police targeting of the two investigative journalists is a substantial threat to any process of truth recovery and the democratic concept of the law being above the police and not the other way round. It is a brazen assault on transparency and accountability. A journalistic colleague of the arrested men, Malachi O'Doherty has argued:
The appropriate response to the arrest of Trevor Birney and Barry McCaffrey is to follow the case closely and to watch their film.
No better way to find out what the PSNI do not want you to know.
Anthony McIntyre blogs @ The Pensive Quill.