Last Sunday, June 2, was the 30th anniversary of the Mull of Kintyre disaster.

The Ministry of Defence held no official memorial to mark the 30th anniversary of the incident.

The military helicopter crash in which all 29 people on board perished came immediately to mind when the news broke two weeks ago of the Iranian military helicopter crash while flying over difficult terrain and encountering fog.

None of those bereaved by the 1994 disaster would be likely to have any personal connection with the Iranian leaders but I have no doubt that on hearing the news of the Iranian crash, their world stopped for a second as the past once again asserted itself as the enduring present. Many others traumatically bereaved in similar circumstances would have experienced the same.

The pain of loss is enough to bear without those bearing it also having to spend years trying to extract the truth of what happened from those with responsibility.

Those opposing Government policy, and challenging the legitimacy of its authority to act as it does, expect nothing better, but it is unfathomable that the British Government think it acceptable to treat those in its employment in the same way.

All on board were servants of the State and among them some of the most senior Northern Ireland military intelligence officers on their way from Northern Ireland to Scotland.

Initially, the UK military authorities in the RAF blamed the crash on "gross neglect" by two senior pilots.

Later, the Scottish Fatal Incident inquiry concluded it was impossible to establish the exact cause of the crash and effectively dismissed the RAF investigation.

It was left to grieving families, like so many others to fight for transparency and justice for the deceased and that battle continues.

75-year-old Susan Phoenix, whose husband, RUC Detective Superintendent Ian Phoenix, was killed in the crash, accused the Ministry of Defence of a cover-up in an interview with the Bournemouth Echo, expressing her anger that the anniversary of “this still-controversial, unresolved crash that took the lives of 29 good people, including my husband’” was not to be appropriately marked.

The voices of hundreds, if not thousands, of people on both sides of the Irish Sea, echo through her dignified determination to seek truth and justice so that peace might come, dropping slow, when she asserts: “I refuse to wither on the vine for the comfort of unconscionable officials who let my husband and his colleagues die in a non-airworthy craft, and then sought to assuage their guilt on two good men no longer alive to defend themselves. Those of us who are not dead will not stop asking questions.”

Where there is no transparency, conspiracy theories multiply faster than rabbits but silence begs the question of why the British government consistently withholds information, loses and destroys documentation, and denies realities, responsibility and guilt when confronted with irrefutable proof of a case to answer.

If there is nothing to hide, why has the government locked away the files relating to the Mull of Kintyre disaster for 100 years? A whole century ensuring no one alive at the time of the accident will be alive if and when they are disclosed.

Can the appalling vista be as simple as a Government system which claims to be democratic, open and accountable being none of those things? Do those in Government believe the people are underlings to be treated with contempt? Are those who dare to seek truth and justice so that they may find peace deliberately punished for their audacity in some routine gameplay that amuses those in high places? Worse still, can it be that government, in all its aspects – military; legislative and administrative can at any and all time act with impunity above, beyond, and outside of the rule of law?

If you were one of the Mull of Kintyre Tragedy families or any of the families stopped in their tracks in pursuit of truth and justice by the new UK Legacy Act, or the mother of Noah Donohue, or the victims of the Post Office Scandal; the Infected Blood scandal, the Hillsborough scandal, or what is emerging as the Covid 19 scandal you would be forgiven for believing that there is no such thing as justice, accountability, transparency or integrity in what we still euphemistically call democracy.

Nor can we exclude the possibility of the honest answer being that institutional systems consider every human being as dispensable, and at some point dispensing with specific human beings is not necessarily undesirable. It is after all only one step away from the old cynical summary of government policy towards its lower classes: "In wartime join the army, boys. In peacetime, join the dole."

In relation to the Iranian crash, we can expect and not necessarily discount conspiracy theories on the involvement of Mossad, the Israeli secret service and the CIA in the Iranian accident. Saudi Arabia and Iraq can expect to be in the mix as well.

Initial reports on the day of the incident suggested that weather conditions were to blame.

However, speculation has increasingly leaned towards the possibility of foul play.

Israel has established extensive intelligence, communication, and military facilities near Iran’s border with Azerbaijan where the crash happened.

The Chief of Staff of Iran’s Armed Forces has appointed a team to investigate the incident and determine the cause.

The BBC and Western media have lost interest but if the investigation announces that the files are to be closed for 100 years, no doubt their interest will be resumed, the dictatorship denounced and a cover-up declared and speculated upon.

Clearly, what is sauce for the goose being sauce for the gander doesn’t apply in politics or war.


While the ICJ investigates the charges of genocide brought against Israel by South Africa, it has ordered Israel to ceasefire in Rafah.

The ICC is considering warrants for the arrest of Netanyahu and his defence minister.

Genocide continues unabated; Biden continues to finance Israel and threatens the ICC.

Meanwhile, Ireland has officially recognised Palestine as a State. It will take sanctions rather than symbolic gestures to stop Israel but it is a welcome start.