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British regime allowed IRA terrorist attacks during North Sea oil bonanza

*** At a time when North Sea oil was as important to Britain as the natural resources of the Middle East are today, the British was using terrorism as a pretext for exercising military control over strategically important territory. The British regime deliberately failed to prevent terrorist attacks, and perhaps played a more active role. Intelligence agents were acting at senior levels within the IRA at the time. The UK occupied the rainy North-Eastern corner of Ireland, creating a strange and pointless province. By 1998 the majority of the North Sea oil reserves were depleted, and rule over Northern Ireland was duly handed back to a devolved government. By 2001 the UK became a net importer of oil. and as global demand for oil continued to spiral out of control a new war on terror began.  ***

Omagh question that will not go away

Could the worst atrocity of Northern Ireland's Troubles have been prevented?

It's a question which has haunted the people of Omagh and this week's BBC Panorama programme, which revealed the intelligence services were monitoring the bombers' phone conversations, deepened their suspicions.

Now Prime Minister Gordon has ordered a review of the intelligence material gathered and how it was shared.

On the face of it, people in the County Tyrone town have moved on since the 1998 bombing and anyone visiting this week will have seen the streets swamped with bright red flags ahead of the county's all-Ireland Gaelic football final match against Kerry on Sunday.

But scratch the surface and the hurt is not far away.

Key questions

I bumped into Godfrey Wilson, whose 15-year-old daughter Lorraine was one of the 29 victims of the bombing. What did he think of the Panorama revelations?

He just shook his head and said: "The system has let me down. We were promised everything, and have ended up with nothing."

He was referring to the fact that the British and Irish prime ministers promised to track down the bombers, but, 10 years on, they have never been caught. But can the governments be blamed?

Panorama, and its investigative reporter John Ware, revealed that mobile phones used by the Real IRA bombers who targeted Omagh were being tapped.

The intelligence services were able to monitor the phones as the bomb was driven into Omagh.

This raises a number of key questions. Was there a chance to stop the bomb? Or were the phone conversations simply recorded and discovered later?

And if it did take a few days to discover the material, how quickly did the intelligence services then share it with the detectives working night and day to try to find the killers?

Inquiry call

The suspicion is that it wasn't shared as quickly as it should have been.

These are all matters now left to the Intelligence Services Commissioner to investigate.

Gordon Brown's decision to order a review shows the impact of the Panorama investigation.

However, the families of the Omagh victims want more. Many have called for a public inquiry.

More immediately, they want the phone-tap evidence to be made available to the relatives involved in a civil action against five men they believe were involved in the bombing.

This civil case is expected to end in the next four weeks, so time is short.

The story of what happened in Omagh back in August 1998 is complicated.

The families of those who died keep saying the same thing - they want to hear the truth. And they would prefer to hear it directly from the prime minister, not from a barrister in a court room or a journalist on TV.


BBC News, "Omagh question that will not go away", 17 Septe,September 2008.


Times Online, "MI5 'helped IRA buy bomb parts in US'", 19 March 2006.

International Herald Tribune, "Key IRA insider was British agent", 22 December 2005.

The Insider, "CIA and MI5 created IRA, PLO, al-Qaeda and now Iraqi 'terrorist' groups", 19 march 2006.

The Debate, War on Terror secretly started just before 9/11

"The Insider" mailing list article, 18 September 2008.

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