British ambassador Christopher Ewart-Biggs : a willing pawn for his ’empire’.

ONE WELL-KNOWN ATTEMPT BY WESTMINSTER TO USE THE DEATH OF A ‘FRIEND AND COLLEAGUE’ AS A ‘BARGAINING CHIP’ . (Or – ‘ We have no permanent friends or permanent enemies , only permanent interests…’)

British ambassador Christopher Ewart-Biggs CMG OBE was assassinated in Sandyford , Dublin , by the then IRA , on July 21 , 1976. Westminster and its agents attempted to use his death as a ‘bargaining chip’ in its dealings with Leinster House ….

‘ We should use this event to seek gestures from Dublin…’
Four days after the death of Ewart-Biggs , the then ‘Acting Ambassador’ , a John Hickman , wrote in a memo to the ‘Northern Ireland Office’ (that is , the British political ‘Front Line’ in Occupied Ireland) that he could not imagine “…a better time than the present for the Irish government (sic) to bring itself to make some specific gesture of good-will towards Britain . The biggest single benefit which we could expect to derive from the Irish people’s sense of shame and responsibility (sic : it’s Westminster that should feel “shame” and take full “responsibility” for its murderous outrages on this isle) …” would be an official decision by Leinster House not to pursue the state case at Strasbourg concerning the inhuman and degrading treatment of suspects being interrogated by British forces in the North-East of Ireland ! Hickman also toyed-around with the idea of using the death of Ewart-Biggs as an opportunity to secure from Leinster House cross-border ‘rights’ for armed British forces that is , to allow those armed thugs to freely cross the imposed border whenever they wanted ! But then the good ‘acting ambassador’ changed his mind , stating – ” The overall benefit (of ‘cross-border rights’) would certainly not be comparable in political terms to the removal of the prospect of Her Majesty’s government being nagged and pilloried over the state case (ie the Strasbourg ‘Inhuman and Degrading Treatment’ case) for a long time to come…” In other words – ‘We (Westminster) can get better value out of the death of our friend and colleague Ewart-Biggs by using it as a you-owe-us-one to convince Dublin to turn a blind-eye to the way we abuse suspects in the North’.

‘ I told Dublin that they owe us big…’
John Hickman stated that , on July 22 , 1976 , he told Garret Fitzgerald (Fine Gael party) that “…there would never be a time when the inhibiting effects of public opinion on the Irish government’s (sic) freedom of action would be less than now .” Hickman then reported back to political officials in the ‘Northern Ireland Office’ , stating – ” As time goes on , the psychological opportunity to speak in specific terms (ie ‘to use the death of Biggs to get exactly what we want’) to the Irish government (sic) will pass . It might not be possible to indicate to them (Leinster House) that the onus is on them to respond to the present situation (that is , the death of Biggs) by making a significant political gesture.” He was of the opinion that Leinster House would issue “…an agreed statement..”
( ‘agreed’ , that is , between Westminster and the political misfits in Leinster House) that “…(the Irish government) do not intend to take further action..” on any Strasbourg report into the ill-treatment of suspects and/or detainees by British forces in the North !

‘ Any such deal for profit might be in bad taste…’
However – on hearing of Hickman’s intentions , an un-named ‘senior civil servant’ at Westminster’s ‘Foreign And Colonial Office’ voiced his un-ease over such a ‘deal’ : on July 28 , 1976 , this ‘conscientious objector’ wrote in an internal memo : ” To canvass the idea of a ‘bargain’ , however tactfully and obliquely , on the lines adumbrated by Mr Hickman , would appear to be in bad taste , especially to the Irish who , if one may generalise , tend to treat death and funerals with more attention than we do.” But the ‘Northern Ireland Office’ disagreed with their “in bad taste” colleague and , on July 29 , 1976 , a meeting was held by the ‘NIO’ to discuss , as they put it , ‘How Her Majesty’s Government might best profit from the situation ..” It was actually during that same meeting that word came through that Garret Fitzgerald (Fine Gael) had contacted Roy Hattersley , the then British Minister of State at the British Foreign And Commonwealth’ Office , to say that his administration might postpone the publication of the Strasbourg report , but ‘NIO’ officials were already having second thoughts about looking for such a postponement , fearing that the report would actually have a greater impact if it became known that they had tried to ‘hush it up’ .

‘ Use the death to tell the Irish it’s time to forget the past…’
In the summer of 1976 , Hickman reported back to Westminster : ” Even the assassination of a British ambassador in Ireland has not been enough to persuade Irish opinion that the time has come to forget the past (sic- it’s still a live and on-going political issue in Ireland) and unite to destroy the common enemy..” What he meant by ‘the common enemy’ was the IRA which , at the time , was indeed an ‘enemy’ of Westminster’s plans for and intentions in Ireland , instead of the anti-republican militia which that organisation is today . Hickman added – ” The goodwill passed as quickly as it came “ , meaning that Westminster had believed that the opportunity to ‘spin’ the death of Christopher Ewart-Biggs and make politicl capital from his death , was their’s for the asking at some stage .

‘ Let’s get money from the Irish in compensation …’
In December 1976 , the Leinster House administration (under Cosgrave , Fine Gael) handed over a sum of £65,000 sterling to Westminster in ‘compensation’ in relation to the death of Ewart-Biggs , but the ‘NIO’ wanted more : British Officials insisted that the Dublin Administraton should also pay for the transportation costs incurred by its people in relation to travelling to Dublin in connection with the Biggs case ! Apparently , it never got that ‘claim for expenses’ from Leinster House – probably only due to misplaced paperwork or some such ‘innocent’ reason , as it’s not like those servile political idiots in that institution to say ‘No’ to Westminster !

Footnote : Britain invaded and occupied more than 56 countries , and murdered an estimated six million native people in those countries who resisted their ‘presence’ . It is the opinion of this blog , and an opinion shared by true Irish Republicans wherever they might be , that the only solution to that British presence is to remove it , by whatever means necessary . So-called ‘Treaties’ and/or ‘Agreements’ only prolong that vile presence , making the native lackies rich and ‘respectable’ in the process . For Ireland to ‘Move On’ , politically , Westminster will have to ‘Move Out’ .


About 11sixtynine

A mother of three (and a Granny!) and a political activist , living in Dublin , Ireland.
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