"I will not ignore 'ethnic
cleansing' in Kosovo."-British Prime Minister, Tony Blair
The idea that Great Britain
has any moral standing to intervene in another nation's civil war because
of supposed "ethnic cleansing" is simply preposterous. As a ruthless imperial
power, it wrote the book on subjugating other races. Fortunately, in
the case of its American colony, it was repelled. But, only after it
had suffered military losses at Baltimore's Fort McHenry and New Orleans
in 1814. Other British-held territories in China, India, Africa, Australia,
Asia, the Middle East, Central and South America, weren't as lucky.
In fact, the 200,000 indigenous peoples of Tasmania were literally wiped
out by the British. Slave trading, piracy and opium running, were also
part of its notorious practice of empire building.
With respect to Ireland, ethnic
cleansing has been the essence of British rule dating from the Anglo-Norman
invasion of 1169. One of its earliest racist laws, enacted in 1367, was
the "Statute of Kilkenny." It prohibited intermarriage between the British
and (Gaelic) Irish under penalty of death. To the British, the Irish were
If one thinks of Irish history
as a play, crafted in London's Whitehall by its bureaucrats, at the direction
of powerful wirepullers, where the actors (read individuals, political
parties, military, police, etc.) are given certain roles, but the end result
is already known by the wirepullers, then the tragic drama of Ireland under
British rule can be understood.
Since British outrages against
the Irish are so many, space requirements permit me to cite only a few
of the more egregious ones.
The Great Terrors
In 1520, when Henry VIII broke
with Rome, it added religion to the bias against the Catholic Irish. Under
Henry's daughter, the murderous Queen Elizabeth I (1533-1603), the killing
fields of Ireland ran red with the blood of innocent victims. It is estimated
1.5 million Irish peasants were starved or "put to the sword" and much
of their lands seized by English predators, while she reigned.
By the time the zealot Oliver
Cromwell arrived on the scene, the Irish were ripe for more carnage. "It
has pleased God to bless our endeavors," he wrote of the mass slaughter
in 1649, by his Puritan troops of 3,552 Irish inhabitants of the seaport
town of Drogheda, just north of Dublin. He pompously continued, "I am persuaded
that this is a righteous judgment of God upon these barbarous wretches."
This Drogheda massacre is one of the leading examples of the insidious
British policy of ethnic cleansing in Ireland. Another is Cromwell's sacking
of Wexford and the killing of 2,000 of its citizens.
The infamous "Cromwellian Settlements"
followed his conquest of Ireland. Millions of acres of land (41 percent
of Antrim, 26 percent of Down, 34 percent of Armagh and 38 percent of Monaghan)
were allocated to English Protestant settlers. The landowners of Irish
birth were either killed, banished or forced out to Connaught in the west
of Ireland, where it was hoped "they would starve to death." A Cromwell
biographer labeled this massive confiscation of Irish lands, "by far the
most wholesale effort to impose on Ireland the Protestant faith and English
ascendancy." The British policy of colonizing Ireland with Protestants
still has repercussions which are felt today on the streets of Belfast.
From 1649 to 1652, one-third
of the population of Ireland was destroyed. Petty, an English historian
says, "660,000 Irish people were killed." Twenty thousand Irish boys
and girls also were sold into slavery to the West Indies. The Irish peasant
farmers that survived were forced to pay rent to their usurpers. Once prosperous
home grown industries were also destroyed because they "competed with British
The memory of the holocausts
under Elizabeth I and Cromwell have been forever seared into the psyche
of the Irish race. Cromwell's evil idea that Irish Catholics were "barbarous
wretches" has, too, unfortunately, passed into the British mindset.
Parliament reacted to Cromwell's crime against humanity in Ireland by passing
an infamous Resolution that legitimized ethnic cleansing. It stated, "The
House doth approve the execution done at Drogheda, as an act both of justice
to them and mercy to others who may be warned by it."
After the shaky British monarchy
was restored in 1660, under Charles II, the vicious propaganda against
Irish Catholics continued unabated. Many of the "vilest pamphlets" hyping
the threat of a supposed "Popish Plot" against the Crown were printed in
When James II, Charles' brother,
succeeded him as King of England and Ireland in 1685, the hopes of Irish
Catholics rose. His defeat, however, by the forces of William of Orange,
at the Battle of the Boyne in 1690, on July 12, brought renewed disaster.
More confiscations of Irish lands followed and the adoption into law of
the notorious "Penal Laws" in the late 1690s. Their net effect was to hold
that, "The law does not presume any such person to exist as an Irish Roman
As time passed, there were
periodic, but failed, rebellions in Ireland. In 1845, with nationalist
aspirations at their lowest ebb, the moans of the starving were heard.
The potato crop was blighted and famine stalked the land.
The Irish Genocide
Author Thomas Gallagher sets
the scene for this unspeakable tragedy in his moving testament to the Irish
dead, Paddy's Lament: "A famine unprecedented in the history of
the world, a chapter in human misery to harrow the human heart was about
to start, and even little children could see its quick, sure approach in
the nakedly fearful eyes and faces of their parents."
By the mid-19th century, Ireland
was a country of eight million, mostly peasants. As a result of years of
exploitation, they survived as tenant farmers and were never far from economic
disaster. They were forced to exist on a single crop: the potato. A disease
turned the potato into a foul slime. When the Irish masses turned to the
British government for relief, they received the back of London's hand.
Meanwhile, "Food, from 30 to
50 shiploads per day, was removed at gunpoint (from Ireland) by 12,000
British constables, reinforced by 200,000 British soldiers, warships, excise
vessels, and coast guards... Britain seized from Ireland's producers tens
of millions of head of livestock, tens of millions of tons of flour, grains,
meat, poultry and dairy products-enough to sustain 18-million persons."
Gallagher estimates two million
died from the famine. Writer Chris Fogarty, however, places the numbers
"murdered at approximately 5.16 million... making it the Irish holocaust."
Distinguished legal scholars, like Professors Charles Rice of Notre Dame
U. and Francis A. Boyle, U. of Illinois, believe that under International
Law, that the British pursued a barbarous policy of mass starvation in
Ireland from 1845-50, and that such conduct constituted "genocide."
The Wrong of Partition
An armed uprising occurred
in Ireland, on Easter Monday, 1916. It was quickly crushed and its leaders
executed by firing squads on the orders of General John "Mad Dog" Maxwell.
In the next general election, in 1918, Sinn Fein, the Republican Party,
won 75 percent of the seats allocated to Ireland in the London Parliament.
In defiance of Great Britain, its representatives set up an independent
parliament known as Dail Eireann (Assembly of Ireland). London replied
with massive violence, spearheaded by the "Black and Tans," fascist storm
Two years of war ensued with
the Irish Republican Army, (IRA) fighting the British to a stalemate.
In 1921, a truce was declared. During negotiations for an Anglo-Irish Treaty,
British Prime Minister, David Lloyd George, issued an ultimatum to the
Irish delegation: Sign a draft treaty or face immediate and "terrible war."
The signing led to a bitter civil war and the partition of Ireland, with
the six northeastern counties becoming the bogus state of "Northern Ireland."
After the civil war ended,
Eamon De Valera became Prime Minister of the "Irish Free State," which
consisted of the twenty-six counties in the South. On July 1, 1937, a Constitution
was adopted by his government rejecting partition and any oath of allegiance
to the British Crown.
Six County Police State
Since the late 60s, British
rule in the North of Ireland has been marked by events, like "Bloody Sunday,"
the "Dublin-Monaghan Bombings," and the death of the "Ten Hunger Strikers."
It has employed political assassinations, a shoot-to-kill policy, raiding
of private homes, plastic bullets, the repressive Diplock Court system,
tear gas, surveillance, torture and deportation in order to suppress the
As resistance by the IRA to
the occupation intensified, so did renewed oppression. Actions, like
the torching of Catholic churches, and the murders of attorneys Patrick
Finucane and Rosemary Nelson, have underscored its policy of terror.
Although British officials regularly deny any responsibility for Loyalist
(read Protestant, Unionist or Orange Order) terrorism, strong evidence
suggest the contrary.
Thanks to American
activists, Ex-British Army Captain, Fred Holroyd, (MI 6) revealed to
a C-Span audience details of Britain's "dirty tricks" in the Six Counties.
British tactics included murders, bombings, framing of innocent victims,
black propaganda and kidnappings. Holroyd said the Special Air Service
(SAS), undercover military personnel that are licensed to kill, are controlled
directly by the office of the Prime Minister and the Cabinet, and that
the SAS, often referred to as "Margaret Thatcher's Praetorian Guard," ran
spies into the 26 Counties.
British wrongdoing didn't stop
at the Irish shores. It also unsuccessfully opposed the MacBride Principles,
U.S. sourced anti-discrimination legislation, which promoted equal employment
opportunities for Catholics in the sectarian dominated Six Counties.
A "Peace Process," in Ireland,
was boldly initiated, in 1993, by Sinn Fein's Gerry Adams and the Social
Democratic Labor Party's John Hume. It eventually evolved into the 1998
"Good Friday Agreement." Unionist prevarications, however, and the reluctance
of Blair's Labor government to trump the Orange card, despite having a
179-vote majority in the Parliament, have brought it to the brink of failure.
Keep in mind that on December 19,1993, the London Sunday Times reported
a secret Anglo-Irish deal to "smash the IRA, if a peace deal is rejected."
Some now wonder, if the "Peace
Process" is yet another example of Perfidious Albion's dirty tricks. They
ask, "Will British ethnic cleansing return once again to Ireland and with
a fury that would shame even Cromwell?" Only the wirepullers at Whitehall
know for sure the answer to that troubling question.
If the past 831 years is prologue,
we would do well to heed it.
© William Hughes 2002
William Hughes is the author of “Andrew Jackson vs. New World Order” (Authors Choice Press) and “Baltimore Iconoclast” (Writer’s Showcase), which are availabel online. He can be reached at email@example.com.
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Hughes is a Baltimore attorney. His book, Creating a New Ireland: A
Tribute to the Irish Lobby, is available on Amazon.com.
©William Hughes, Baltimore,
Maryland, USA, All Rights Reserved, 2000.
This article was published
in the Jan./Feb., 2000 issue of the Journal of the Social Justice Review,
St. Louis, MO. A shorter version of it was also published in the March,
2000, issue of the Baltimore
Sentinel, a monthly newspaper.
. Tony Blair, "Kosovo: Our
Responsibilities Do Not End at the Channel," London Sunday Independent,
Feb. 14, 1999.
. John Michael, The Way
of the Aggressor, (Flanders Hall, 1941). During the Boer War, (1899-1902),
the British created the first concentration camps, in which "26,663 women
and children died," p. 69. And, in India between 1860 and 1900, it is estimated
"thirty million" starved to death under British rule, p. 64.
. A. J. Langguth, Patriots:
The Men Who Started the American Revolution, (Touchstone, 1988).
. Anthony S. Pitch, The
Burning of Washington: The Invasion of 1814, (Naval Institute Press,
. J. M., The Way of the
Aggressor. In New Zealand, of the Maoris natives only "50,000 survived"
British extermination, p. 65.
. Ibid, p. 64.
. Hugh Thomas, The Slave
Trade, (Simon & Schuster, 1997). When John Hawkins, a notorious
pirate and slave trader, was knighted by Elizabeth I, he chose as his crest
"a manacled negro." And, slave trading was to remain one of "England's
foremost sources of income until well into the nineteenth century,"J. M.,
The Way of the Aggressor, pp. 66-67.
. Seumus MacManus, The
Story of the Irish Race, (Devin-Adair Co., 1921).
. J. M., The Way of the
Aggressor, p. 20.
. Frederick Harrison, Oliver
Cromwell, (Omni Publications, 1888), p. 139.
. J. M., The Way of
the Aggressor, p. 20.
. F.H., Cromwell,
. J. M., The Way of
the Aggressor, p. 21.
. F. H., Cromwell,
. William Cobbett, A
History of the Protestant Reformation in England and Ireland, (Tan
. F. H., Cromwell,
. Captain A. H. M. Ramsay,
The Nameless War, (1952, Ramsay).
. Robert Kee, The Green
Flag, Volume 1: The Most Distressful Country, (Penguin Book, 1972).
. Thomas Gallagher, Paddy's
Lament: Ireland 1846-1847, Prelude to Hatred, (Harcourt Brace Jovanovich,
1982), p. 8.
. Chris Fogarty, "The Mass
Graves of Ireland: 1845-1850," Oct. 26 and Nov. 2, 1996, The Irish People,
. Ibid, Oct. 26,
1996, p. 9.
. Advert, Irish Famine/Genocide
Committee, "The Famine Was Genocide," The Irish People, NYC, March
1, 1997, p. 14.
Early in 1992, Gallagher told
me, "The Famine isn't taught in the Irish schools. And, I could find nothing
on it either at New York's Irish Historical Society."
An excellent educational tool
on the Famine is, "The Great Irish Famine Curriculum," authored by the
Curriculum Committee, and chaired by James V. Mullin, (January,
. Peter De Rosa, Rebels:
The Irish Rising of 1916, (Doubleday, 1991).
. Tim Pat Coogan, The
IRA: A History, (Roberts Rinehart Publishers, 1993).
. Robert Kee,The Green
Flag, Volume 3: Ourselves Alone, (Quartet Books, 1976), p. 155.
. On Jan. 30, 1972, 14
civilians were shot dead by British paratroopers, in occupied Derry, during
a peaceful civil rights march.
. On May 14, 1974, 33 people
were blown to death in explosions in Dublin and Monaghan. Evidence pointed
to collusion between the Royal Ulster Constabulary (RUC), the British Army,
and Loyalist paramilitary groups in the terrorist attacks.
Jim Smith, "Hub Recalls Victims
of '74 Bombings," Irish Echo, May 18-24, 1994.
. In the spring of 1981,
British Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher permitted ten jailed IRA men to
die on hunger strikes over the issue of their status as political prisoners.
. Rona M. Fields, Northern
Ireland: Society Under Siege, (Transaction, 1980).
. T. M. C., The IRA,
pp. 259-423; and, Joe Doherty, Standing Proud: Writings from Prison
and the Story of His Struggle for Freedom, (National Committee for
Joe Doherty was incarcerated
from 1983 to 1992, in the Metropolitan Correction Center, in NYC. I had
the chance to visit and exchange correspondence with him. Doherty, a resourceful
and talented individual, was the first and only IRA man, jailed in the
U.S., to write an op ed article for a major U.S. newspaper, the
Baltimore Evening Sun, March 17, 1989. He was deported to the UK,
in 1992, and finally released from prison on Nov. 6, 1998, under the terms
of the "Peace Process" (See Christy Ward's excellent account of the Doherty's
saga in The Irish People,
Nov. 14, 1998).
Martin Quigley and Peter Eamon
McGuire were two other IRA members imprisoned in the U.S. for a period
of time during the 90s. I also visited with them; Quigley at FCI Allenwood,
PA., and McGuire at FCI Cumberland, MD. I found them to be sincere, genuine,
highly intelligent individuals, and driven by the finest of patriotic impulses.
They were both returned to the Republic of Ireland to finish their prison
sentences and have since been released from custody.
Richard Clark Johnson is an
American citizen and a highly-respected radar engineer. He was jailed for
ten years, in 1989, on dubious evidence, for supposed weapons running charges
connected to the IRA. No weapons were ever found. Like many, I believe
Johnson was railroaded by our government to please Margaret Thatcher (See
Robert P. Connolly, "Free Speech Failed Last IRA Prisoner in U.S.," Boston
Herald, Sept. 5, 1999). I visited with Johnson, too, at FCI Allenwood.
He was released from federal custody on Oct. 17, 1999.
. Patrick Finucane, a 38
year-old Belfast solicitor, was shot to death in his home, on Feb. 12,
1989. The Ulster Freedom Fighters claimed responsibility. Rosemary Nelson,
a prominent civil rights lawyer, age 40, was murdered on May 15, 1999,
in Lurgan, in the Six Counties, by a car bomb. She had previously received
death threats allegedly from the Royal Ulster Constabulary (RUC).
On June 15, 1999, I attended
a meeting at the British Embassy in Washington, D.C. One of the purposes
of the session was to demand an inquiry totally independent of the RUC
into the murder of Nelson. Some of the other activists present were: Professor
Gerry Coleman, Kathleen Kelly, Gavan
Kennedy, Professor Jack Worrell, Richard Harvey, Esq. and James Fitzpatrick,
Esq., I pointed out to the Embassy officials that New Jersey attorney
Edmund E. Lynch had written numerous letters, in 1997 and 1998, to
Northern Ireland Office (NIO) officers about the repeated death threats
to Nelson. On Feb. 12, 1999, Lynch even met personally with RUC head, Ronnie
Flanagan, for over two hours, and again raised the issue of death threats
against Nelson. The Embassy officials vigorously defended the conduct of
the RUC, but promised to look into "our concerns."
. John Stalker, The
Stalker Affair: The Shocking True Story of Six Deaths and A Notorious Cover-Up,
(Viking, 1988); Sean McPhilemy, The Committee: Political Assassination
in Northern Ireland, (Robert Rinehart, 1998); Ed., To Serve Without
Favor: Policing, Human Rights, and Accountability in Northern Ireland,
(Human Rights Watch, 1997); and, David Leigh, The Wilson Plot: How the
Spycatchers and Their American Allies Tried to Overthrow the British Government,
(Pantheon Books, 1988).
. Liz Curtis, Ireland:
The Propaganda War, (Pluto Press, 1984).
. A C-Span program, originating
from the National Press Club, in Washington, D.C., on Oct. 18, 1993, carried
Holroyd's press conference. I participated in it as a reporter representing
Radio Free Eireann in NYC.
Sean McManus, The MacBride Principles: Genesis and History and The
Story to Date, (Irish National Caucus,1993). The MacBride Principles
became a federal law in 1998.
. Andrew Grice and Michael
Prescott, "Secret Anglo-Irish Pact to Smash IRA," London Sunday Times,
Dec. 19, 1993.