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The Blanket - A Journal of Protest & Dissent

An exploration of the conspiracy theory republican hunger strikers were deliberately allowed to die in retaliation for the IRA murders of leading English Royals.

Dr John Coulter • 14 November 2005

2005 marks the 25th anniversary of the first aborted republican H Block hunger strike, but the commemoration will also spark allegations the IRA and INLA inmates became the deliberate victims of an English Royal revenge conspiracy.

Global attention has always focused on the second major hunger strike in 1981 during which 10 leading republicans died, including the Maze Prison's IRA Officer Commanding and Fermanagh/South Tyrone MP Bobby Sands.

However, they need not have died if republicans had unearthed the deadly royal policy of annihiliation which was building against them.

The original hunger strike began on 27 October 1980 with seven H Block prisoners refusing food to win the right, amongst other things, to wear their own clothing. But the hardline Right-wing Tory Government of Maggie Thatcher adopted a No Surrender policy to the republican prisoners.

This left the republican movement with no other option but to abort the hunger strike a few weeks later on 18 December when one IRA prisoner was critically ill.

The INLA murder of top Thatcherite advisor on the North, British war hero Airey Neave, in March 1979 has fuelled the perception the British establishment initiated an assassination campaign against the republican socialist cause.

But a new conspiracy theory has emerged as to why the Thatcher Government blatantly refused to give concessions to the hunger strikers and was prepared to let as many prisoners starve themselves to death as the republican leadership allowed.

Essentially, whilst the British establishment was prepared unofficially to tolerate an acceptable level of violence against Northern-based security forces and Protestants, the one campaign bound to provoke a severe backlash from that establishment was an attack on the English Royal Family.

Spilling Blue Blood was the so-called thin red line over which the republican movement could not cross – until 27 August, 1979.

The English Royals had never forgiven the Lenin and his communists for the slaughter of the Tsar Nicholas II and the Russian Royal Family during the revolution of 1917.

On that bloody August date, the IRA not only murdered 18 soldiers near Warrenpoint, Co Down, which had been the single biggest death toll in a terrorist attack in the decade, republicans also killed one of the Royals' greatest heroes – Lord Mountbatten of Burma.

He died when an IRA no-warning bomb ripped apart his motor yacht at Mullaghmore Bay, Co Sligo. Mountbatten was a living legend to the British establishment. He had been the Royal who had masterminded the Allied fightback against the Japanese in the Far East during World War Two.

Next to the Queen and the Queen Mother, he was perhaps the most respected Royal, and was the great uncle of Prince Charles, the heir to the English Throne.

Mountbatten was not the only Blue Blood claimed by the IRA blast. The famous post-war film producer Lord Brabourne and his family were also on the yacht. One of his sons, 14-year-old Nicholas also died in the blast.

Brabourne and his wife suffered serious injuries, but Brabourne's mother, another top Blue Blood, the Dowager Lady Brabourne, died later from her injuries.

It was only with Brabourne's own death this year on 22 September, aged 80, that the full nature of the conspiracy theory can be revealed.

It is believed that Brabourne was exceptionally influential amongst the English establishment, principally for his role in producing patriotic British films such as 'Sink the Bismarck!' about the British naval operation to sink the notorious Nazi battleship.

Whilst the Royals kept a typically British 'stiff upper lip' attitude towards the Mountbatten murder, Brabourne and other Blue Bloods were convinced this may be the start of a totally different terror strategy by the IRA.

It has been suggested Mountbatten and the Dowager despised the Russian communists for wiping out the Tsar's family to whom they would have been related through their Blue Blood.

Privately, the Blue Blood Royal establishment wanted the republican movement to be taught a lesson for killing their members. They feared Prince Charles – who was very close to Mountbatten – could be next in line for an IRA assassination bid.

Under pressure from the Blue Bloods, especially Brabourne, the Thatcher Government resolved not to give in to republican demands – even if it meant republicans resorting to the passive resistance tactic of the hunger strike.

Republicans should have realised on 1st April, 1980, that Thatcher would not go against the wishes of the Royal establishment when the Government insisted there would be no entitlement to special category status for terrorist offenders.

Attitudes against the republican movement were already beginning to harden, fuelled primarily by the background Blue Blood lobbying – especially by Brabourne in particular.

That determination against republicans had deepened in early March 1980 when the body of top German industrialist Thomas Niedermayer was found at Colinglen Road in west Belfast. He had disappeared in December 1973.

The Blue Blood revenge plot was given a further boost on 5 June when the ruling body of the North's largest Protestant denomination, the Presbyterian General Assembly, voted to take the Church out of the World Council of Churches on the basis the Council supported terrorist groups.

In reality, the fate of the 1981 republican hunger strikes had already been decided by the events on a windswept Co Sligo Bay almost two years earlier when the Blue Blood establishment watched their TV screens in horror as Mountbatten's body was brought ashore, followed by the news of the Dowager's death.

The Blue Bloods were determined they would not suffer the same fate as Tsar Nicholas' family. For republicans, Thatcher is a hate figure for her dogmatic refusal to reach an accommodation with the H Block hunger strikers.

However, the real truth may be that the Blue Bloods were demanding their pound of flesh from republicanism – to inflict so much pain on the movement that it would never again consider implementing the unthinkable, an attack on the English Royal Family.



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The Blanket - A Journal of Protest & Dissent



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