Tuesday, June 16, 2015

Tagged under:

British State Terrorism Again Unmasked

When times change people, by merely holding their position, can be so easily pulled out of position and harshly exposed. Ken Maginnis, once an incumbent of the Fermanagh South Tyrone parliamentary seat in the British parliament, if he has learned anything in his 77 years, might well acknowledge the value of the Heraclites aphorism that no one ever steps in the same river twice.
 
Maginnis, a former major in the locally recruited state terror militia, the Ulster Defence Regiment, was once feted particularly in the South as a progressive enlightened unionist, not some reactionary embedded in one of the many tenebrous 1690 defensive echelons. After his contribution on last night’s documentary about collusion broadcast by RTE, the one thing missing was his cudgel. He managed to sound like some cave dweller, angered by the youth he no longer has. “The boy Cameron” was how he contemptuously described the current British Prime Minister who in the Major's Blimp’s eye view of the world, had outrageously imposed the imprimatur of the British parliament on the existence of collusion between combatants from British state security services and loyalist activists. In dismissing Cameron, Magennis invoked the type of argument sometimes employed by creationist kooks in defence of their deranged insistence – and with the same limited effect - that the universe was created about 6,000 years ago, “were you there?”

Not hard after that performance to imagine Maginnis swanning around a plantation in the Southern states of 19th Century America lashing out at any “boy” who might stir his ire and advocating a good horsewhipping for any upstart willing to upset the status quo ante. 

Maginnis has elected to wear the crown of King Canute and command wave after relentless wave of media probing to halt. John Ware’s excellent and elongated Collusion is the latest assault on British state mendacity, eroding the edifice of dissembling upon which much of Britain’s claim to legitimacy for its role in policing the North has been constructed. 

If we wish to indulge in the language of terrorism, the British state was not valiantly defending a beleaguered democracy and the rule of law against some terrorist onslaught. It was part of the terrorist maelstrom, asserting through its actions while denying through its discourse, that democracy and the rule of law were such worthless concepts that they need not be respected, but systemically flouted. There was no defence of society being mounted here, just a defence of British state and unionist power.

In last night’s documentary Daniel Holder of The Committee on the Administration of Justice made the point that the killing of Pat Finucane crystallised in a readily discernible manner what collusion actually was. No matter how many times we look at the state-cum-loyalist assassination of Pat Finucane, it loses none of its power to induce an involuntary shudder, occasioned by a sobering awareness of just how vulnerable Irish citizens were in the face of British state terrorism.

The security services personnel who procured and counselled his slaying and those who made “heinous discovery” that it was about to happen and did nothing to prevent it, behaved as they did in the full expectation that they would not be answerable for it. This was made possible only by a state that had completely abandoned its duty of care to the people it claimed as citizens. That wilful, knowing abandonment, which is what the British state at the very least is guilty of, helped make collusion viable and sustainable. Without that blind eye collusion would never have been possible: it was a necessary condition of collusion. 

Collusion might not have been a precisely written down policy that can ever be proved with documentation that shows the progression of orders through each link in the chain of command, but there is no longer room for the slightest doubt that it was a state permitted and approved practice. Where the state was not involved in planning individual acts of collusion it was wholly immersed in systematic cover up, an integral component of collusion. It was always an accomplice after the fact which when conveyed as feedback to the state terrorist on the ground was correctly read as approval for future actions, making the state the key influence in the preparation of acts of collusion. The continuous feedback loop was the lifeblood that sustained the structure of collusion.

In a rear-guard action the British can be sensed almost edging towards the mitigation that the Northern conflict was a war that required war time measures. Imperial hubris and establishment conceit have thus far prevented it from going the whole distance. However, given the lengths the British state went during the conflict to deprive the IRA and INLA of any legitimacy that might accrue from acknowledging the combatant rather than criminal status of the insurgents, any mitigating value is depreciated by the law of diminishing returns. 

Despite unionist fears at what is unfolding what we are now witnessing is not a falsification of the narrative of the conflict but a retrieval of a truth at the very heart of it: Britain was an enthusiastic practitioner of state terrorism in Ireland and unionism supported it. 

Feeding unionist alarm is an awareness that a knock on effect is that as legitimacy is drained away from the British state, and by extension from unionism, courtesy of its state terrorism being increasingly exposed, it is simultaneously being infused into the activity of the IRA. Although the Good Friday Agreement helped define the IRA campaign as part of an internal conflict problem and tended to set the British above any causal culpability for the North's political violence, giving the British state a huge legitimisation advantage, it can hardly be disputed now that a major plank in the IRA’s armed struggle was a war against British state terrorism.

It sort of means that during the H Block prison protests, the criminals were locking up the political prisoners.

38 comments :

Henry JoY said...

Yeah, the major's mask surely slipped and yet another Orange supremacist revealed.

The most shocking reminder in the documentary of that supremacist mind-set was the 'handing down' of suspended sentences to two of Billy McCaughey's accomplices (RUC members) for their bomb and gun attack on the Rock Bar, Keady.

A fourth policeman was convicted of withholding information and also received a suspended sentence.

The judge who passed sentence, the then Lord Chief Justice Lord Lowry, said "powerful motives" had pushed the officers, including "the feeling that more than ordinary police work was needed and justified to rid the land of the pestilence which has been in existence".

Not surprisingly, the RUC did not reveal the ballistic link between the three Reavey brothers' murders five months earlier and the Rock Bar attack when gathering evidence for that trial ... nor did they do so for almost 25 years.

" democracy and the rule of law were such worthless concepts that they need not be respected, but systemically flouted. There was no defence of society being mounted here, just a defence of British state and unionist power."

Hard to disagree with AM's assessment.

larry hughes said...

Brutal. Cannot imagine anyone understood the true depth and extent of it other than loyalists and Brits themselves. The British don't negotiate with terrorists, they just arm, train and provide targets for them for decades. The south has a lot to answer for here. FG FF etc were better informed I'd say than a lot of people on the ground in the north, and let the loyalists and Brits run amok.

sean bres said...

Excellent piece, bang on the money

DaithiD said...

Deeply moving documentary and article.
It was futile of the Irish Government to make representations to Heath about his security services, given all the information they had on his pedophilic pursuits, he would never of acted on it.

PS I was confused at the lack of Sinn Fein talking heads, then when the credits rolled I saw Ed Moloney credited, nice one!

AM said...

DaithiD,

I think SF is challenged by the issue. Suzanne Breen pointed out last week how the party covered for Freddie Scappaticci. Even take a look at this article by Niall Meehan writing under the pseudonym Adam O'Toole and you get a sense of the distortion at work while at the same time accusing everybody else who called it right of misrepresentation and dissemination of false information. So you can see how the party have been left exposed on the sensitive matter of the British colluding and running agents. Gerry Kelly appeared but when he says SF will step up to the plate and tell the truth, he is immediately undermined by his party leader continuously lying about his own past rather than simply saying "no comment until such times as it is legally safe to do so."

I remain unsure how to read the veiled warning by George Hamilton towards the end of the documentary - was he alluding to the risk to senior SF figures that is posed by the release of files or was he referring to government ministers and unionist politicians? Possibly both?

DaithiD said...

AM, I was just pleased that they are not the narrators of this telling of the story, it only occurred to me with Gerry Kelly’s strangely ‘shifty’ performance that they didn’t figure much. I have difficulty with the concept of Republican collusion (seeing it as just touting). Do you remember the leaked Mowlam/McGuiness phone calls? He was pressing her on Finucane/Nelson, so I always took it that they were genuine on the state collusion aspect. (PS that OToole article is baffling, it makes little sense, ive read it three times)

larry hughes said...

AM

He said revelations from the RUC secret files would be as damaging for the IRA and loyalists as they would for his force RUC/PSNI. I think those at the top of all outfits are there by virtue of having had their road to the top paved for them down the decades. I think that is quite evident at this stage. The security forces/spooks are in a wonderful position now that they can destroy all and sundry, guilty and innocent alike. The only question is are they prepared to do so or do they feel safe enough at this stage to cash in their 'chips' like the Provo's did. It would leave a blank canvass once the carnage was over.

marty said...

I ran into herr major Ken the uda man on two occasions , once he was in a whippet,(No not the doggie kind) standing in the turret looking and posing like the prick that he is,the programme was excellently put together as one would expect from John ware , but it didnt carry anything that we all had,nt heard before,what did and does irk me is Nuala O loans attitude that she knows more than she is telling ,any information that she has gathered in her position as police ombudsman is not her private property ,nodding and winking is not good enough Nuala , she said it herself ,withholding information is in fact collusion its also illegal,we all have a right to know what she claims to be holding back , as for the Irish govt once again they have been shown to be the watery weasel bastards that they truly are.

AM said...

Thanks Larry,

in the process of internalising what was being said some of it has passed over me. I thought your interpretation of it was correct but after it began thinking it over.

DaithiD,

the O'Toole article was designed for a number of purposes, none of which it actually served. It was nothing short of a cover up of British state terrorism. Whether we say the British colluded with Scap as he killed Irish citizens or they handled him as he killed them, it is secondary to the point that the British had a role in the extra legal slaying of Irish citizens. It is no less state terrorism because the British cooperated with Scap than it was when they cooperated with Brian Nelson. The O'Toole piece sought to deflect attention away from the British role here. It also sought to protect the SF narrative and aimed at pouring cold water on the republican critique of the SF strategy.

It is now a matter of record that Niall Meehan writing as Adam O'Toole called it totally wrong and so far has failed to explain why he wrote that piece.

AM said...

Marty,

as much as I disagree with Nuala O'Loan over the Boston College issue, she has done some job in pulling the facts from this black hole of murk and secrecy. Also, she will be constrained by the terms under which she got the information in the first place.

Like DaithiD, I think Ed Moloney deserves quite a bit of acknowledgement for his part in developing that programme. There is more to come from Ed. Watch this space!!

larry hughes said...

AM

It was obviously written to protect the SF surrender/piss-process lie and jobs for the boys. Not to mention an attempt at creating an air of disbelief in the public in anticipation of any further 'out-ings of tout-ings'.

John Morgan said...

all about the power of money money money - loyalty to the half-crown

Less is more, impoverish the poor
Austerity’s dictum, ad Infinitum
Ministers, ministers, the disasters they administer
Our glorious dear leaders, their fantasy
Worth every penny of their pensioned salary
How much more to bear
Spineless stupidity’s obnoxious fare
Of mediocrity’s spitted spite
Reactionary venoms poisonous bite
Weeds and leeches, feeding parasites
While protesting democratic righteous right
Immaculate service to States inflicted night
Swift’s ‘vilest creatures’, our nature has suffered
Yet no parody, or satire could ever fully describe
These serpents’ servants that in government abide
Nodding donkeys, two by two sorted
By Jesuit semantics, no doubt, courted
Schooled so classical, latin and greek to spout
Gaelic generosity undermined
By alpha omega and roman script maimed
Arab genie unknown to illuminate
Zero’s detection came too late
Such exclusive expensive education
Undoubted geniuses of the nation
No public service boxes left unticked
By these ticks
But one question does constantly arise;
These posh, so special schools that yer mammy picked
Did they not teach ye feckin Basic Arithmetic

John Morgan said...

FREDRICO THE PRIDE OF THE GAEL

Now Michael Collins Was A Mighty Man Let There Be No Doubt
But Gather Around Closely Now For No Secrets Will I Shout
Freddie The Scap Had A Head Like A Trap With Ears In Both Camps
No Borgia’s Riches For His Schemes He Dressed Up Like A Tramp
Volunteered He To The Colonel ‘ For The Branch I Cannot Work
My Heart Would Break My Soul Quake Like Supping With The Turk
O Indubiately O Undoubtedly Sez Betty’s Intelligence Czar
I Understand Perfectly Dear Boy That Would Be Going Far Too Far’
And Every Time In Secret When They Would Meet In State
Frerico Had A Tale Of Woe Of The Special Paedo Branch To Relate
But One Dark Night In Bheal-Feirst-Sidhe Scap Thought He’d Breathed His Last
For The Maggot Brit Paedo Crew Had Captured Him And His In Donegal Pass
But A Fearless Officer Of The Law Trained By The Mighty Hermann Jack
Made A Secret Call Amid The Screams As The Bestial Blows Mercilessly Did Fall
And From The Beasts Minions Scythe That Man Saved Fredrico’s Family All
When The Honourable Colonel Heard No Time Was Spared And Rescue Was Had In Time
Never Again Did The Beasts Maggot Crew Dare To Cross Fredrico’s Path Again
His Family Pain Never Again Betty Paid It Was Said For A Holiday In Spain
Now Fredrico Being Fredrico In Euskadi Planned A Cunning Plan
There Was A Man From The Strand Who Had His Poor Head Melted
So Just For Show The Colonel Would Know This Bhoyo He Must Be Halted
‘ Ballymacarret Has To Gofor All The Touts He Knows Sez Fredrico To The Colonel
But He Can’t Be Kilt For A Case Would Be Built And Scap Would Be Outed
So All Together They Schemed And It Worked Like A Dream The Danger Neutralised
Though The Court Case Collapsed As Time Elapsed In Boada Eiriu’s Son Was Planted
For Scap And Strandmans Dads Had Trained Their Brains Patience Plan And Wait Again
The Day Will Come To Deal With The Paedo Scum From Inside The Enemy’s Gates
For One And A Half Millennium We Tried To Teach The Anglo-Saxon Breed
We Even Learned Their Obnoxious Toxic Tongue For Educations Root To Seed
But No Matter How Great The Gaels Endeavours Or How Patiently Long We Tried
Tanlands Arrogant Predators And Leeches Their Hubris Could Not Be Denied
No Honour Could We In Their Infamy Instill In Treating With Eiriu’s Blessed Isle
Each Time We Made Treaty And Truce Our Honour Was Cynically Brutally Traduced
Sez Scap To The Sandman ‘ Its Like Russian Poker With Lucifer The Only Real Prize’
We’ll Use Semtex For Prize Stakes Says The Sandman With A Little Mortar Surprise
And When They Renege We’ll Cool Our Rage The World To Witness Their Black Soul
Sure With Clan Na Gael We Canny Fail Our Tale For Dixie’s Alba Soul Holds Honour True
And Cumann Na mBann Shrewder Than Any Man A Generation Of Genius Will Again Raise
And Sure Enough After Canary Wharf The Anglo Saxon Dog Came Sniffing At Our Heels
So All Ye Gombeen Naysayers So Keen To Blacken Fredrico’s Name Hear Well This Our Tale
Collins Was An Amateur Playing The English At Their Po-Faced Treacherous Patriot Game
So Raise Your Glass And Fuck The Mass For On Loves Ocean Did Fredrico The Scap Always Sail

Our Brother Fredrico Scapatteci The Pride And Joy Of The Gael

Cue Bono said...

Anthony,

With the greatest of respect I think you are getting things a little bit arse about face here. Starting with Ken Maginnis. You accuse him of being a member of a 'state terror militia' which is somewhat of an exagerration given that of all the armed organisations present during the Troubles they were responsible for the fewest deaths. "Ah" you will say "but they were involved in collusion which killed many more." To which I would point out that a very tiny minority of the over forty thousand men and women who served in their ranks may have been, but it is utterly wrong to tar the vast majority with their brush, and it is certainy unfair to tar Ken Maginnis with that brush. He never killed anyone in his life.

"Ah" you will say "but sure he named the Harte brothers and sure Maggie had them killed the next week." To which I would point out that the Harte brothers were killed whilst firing AK47s out of the window of a car at an SAS man they mistook for an off duty UDR soldier. Something which the RTE programme, which was shockingly edited, neglected to point out. The SAS are good, but I doubt that they set that operation up in the space of a week.

I would also say that Maginnis had a damned good point about 'the boy Cameron'. Like our old friend Tony, once the darling of the CNRs here, Cameron is fond of apologising about things which had absolutely fuck all to do with him. Anything to try and keep people happy. Neither are very good at apologising for their own wrongs though.

Where I see the big contradiction in what you say though is in this. I can understand someone from a background of consistently opposing terrorist violence complaining about this sort of thing, but republicans claim that there was a war here. How can they adopt a high horse attitude about terrorist acts, such as the murder of Finucane, whilst simultaneously supporting terrorist acts such as the murder of Edgar Graham? Was it a war or not? If not then republicans have room to complain, but are hypocrites for doing so whilst boasting of their own acts of murder. If it was a war then what are they complaining about?


This programme was billed as containing shocking new facts, but was actually nothing more than a rehashing of allegations and claims made before. We have known about the Glenanne Gang for years now and we also know that the RUC locked them up. Much was made of Billy McCaughey getting a suspended sentence, but they failed to point out that he was sentenced to life in prison for other offences. The whole context was distorted by what they deliberately left out.

larry hughes said...

Cue Bono

Some reasonable points there particularly about Edgar Graham. Perhaps political status should have been granted as criminalisation was a hypocritical position on the part of the government who were bigger criminals than anyone else?

There is going to be no let-up it seems to me in all the searching for justice. Maybe the government should have apologised to the relatives of those killed on both sides and instead of pumping zillions into lawyers bank accountsthe during the Bloody Sunday enquiry to make Martin McGuinness look good, they should have compensated all bereaved and attempted to move on.

For me all the hoking and poking will end in further tears for new victims eventually. DRAW A LINE!

AM said...

Cue Bono,

thank you for your measured comments. I doubt however there will be any meeting of minds. The die is cast and the chips will fall, as they say.

AM said...

Larry,

there will be no moving on. A guy asked me recently why, if the war is over, does everyone still want to take prisoners?

There is no reconciliation here, just endless recrimination.

For our small part we can only try to give a voice to those who wish to say something, and n particular if they can't say it elsewhere or fail to reach a particular audience elsewhere. Even those horrid Rangers fans that you so abhor!!!

Peter said...

Cue Bono
Alas you hit the nail on the head. Republicans don't want justice they want retribution, two very different things. Anthony regularly posts articles asking for "justice" for the Craigavon 2, if you read these articles they never ask for justice for the innocent policeman shot in the back with an AK. You may also remember the 3 provies who met the SAS in Gibraltar. SF/IRA took the British all the way to the European Court for shooting unarmed terrorists, yet in the same year the same organisation shot 2 senior RUC men they knew to be unarmed. Did any SF/IRA personnel face the same European court? Their demands for "justice" need to be called out.

larry hughes said...

AM

Ranger fans and 'abhor'? Simply not possible, too busy laughing to be serious enough to abhor...or anything else-them.

DaithiD said...

Peter,The state directed its military apparatus against unarmed civillians, when Gaddaffi/Pinochet/Idi Amin did this, they became an international pariahs. And people thought Adair was the ugly Mafia head of the North!The UN should of instituted no fly zones around the border counties, and implemented economic sanctions until the UK withdrew their forces.

John Morgan said...

Perhaps 'Cue bono' should start getting his facts write by spelling his nom de plume correctly. Ita que bono - 'Who benefits.'In other words; Who was in receipt of all the billions and billions of half-crowns. Follow the money - and all the Land Title deeds.By your deeds shall ye be known . .

Cue Bono said...

Anthony,

"East is east and west is west and ne'er the twain shall meet"

At the end of the day we come from opposite ends of the political spectrum, both in terms of republicanism/unionism and left/right. Politics is described as war by other means, so I suppose the correspondence here reflects our own little bloodless mini war. It is a war though in which your intellect holds all the Dreadnoughts, and I can ony reply with my own memories of what actually happened here coupled with my own interpretation of the same.

One thing we have in common though is our ability to see right through Provisional Sinn Fein, and I am indebted to you for helping me to see them through the angle that you did in 'The Death of Republicanism'. Most PSF drones are still driving around in their own imaginary 1994 victory cavalcade, and most unionists are still labouring under the delusion that the Provos made big gains. We know that they did not and I think we boyth suspect that the 'opening of the vaults' would see a lot of very senior Sinners 'retiring to Italy.

Larry,

The Provos were granted political status with internment which was a basic acknowledgement of them as prisoners of war. They fought it tooth and nail because they rightly saw that it woud rapidly defeat them. They fought it under the banner of 'civil rights' demanding that they deserved due trial and judgement. That made them mere criminals. The Provos of course wanted the priviledge of both criminal trial and POW status which was ludicrous.

Peter,

For republicans 'justice' is just another weapon which they can deploy against the Brits. They have never given a shit about it in any other context other than as something to be abused for their own ends.

AM said...

Cue Bono,

I think the dreadnoughts to the extent that they exist are dispersed throughout the blog contributors rather than them being in my fleet. I find many of the points made from a range of perspectives challenging and there is always something new to learn or a different way of seeing things. We all bring our baggage and biases and at times the arguments have been so well rehearsed that it all becomes another trip around the mulberry bush, just to end up where we started. People defending their position is fine but not at all costs. That goes as much for republicans as it does for loyalists or unionists. We need to be open to a different take and not revert to the foetal position when confronted with what we don't like. While this is regarded as a republican blog by unionists (I don't actually see it as such) some of them still make good use of it to fight their corner in a reasoned manner. I think this is where the billiard ball approach to dialogue has little purchase. People often interact rather than bounce off each other. In time I think that might happen in the collusion/state terrorism debate. But we are reminded all the time of the one rule of political life in the North - no pessimist was ever proved wrong.

Cue Bono said...

John Morgan,

I hate to be pedantic against a pedant, but if you are going to challenge someone's spelling it would help if you could spell yourself. I have my facts 'write' okay, but the proper spelling of the name could not be registered on a google account.

Anthony,

I can say that I do find the whole collusion thing challenging. It seems to me that certain characters were playing God with who lived and who died, and that includes amongst their own work colleagues. I am also concerned my what I see as a sly misinterpretation at times of what happened. I thought the documentary was very sloppy in places becauses of the key facts which they left out. Mainly what the Harte brothers were doing when they were killed, and the fact that McCaughey served a ife sentence in prison. Anyone with no knowledge of the events could be forgiven for thinking that the Hartes had been murdered in cold blood and that McCaughey had gotten off Scott free.

Robert said...

Anthony,

'..the type of argument sometimes employed by creationist kooks in defence of their deranged insistence – and with the same limited effect - that the universe was created about 6,000 years ago..'

You rang?

'I remain unsure how to read the veiled warning by George Hamilton towards the end of the documentary..'

I think one thing we can be somewhat certain about is the non existence of the Chief Constable's autonomy to release any of the information that he has alluded to. The threat appears to be one dictated to him by others.

AM said...

Robert,

I think this goes to the crux of the point I have been seeking to make for some time: the PSNI is political policing par excellence. Hamilton is in the job not because he is bad but because he is savvy. I don't think he wants to make any bad decisions but as you suggest decision making in the North regarding policing is very politically sensitive and it is not a power the state will cede to a cop. What would Hamilton's preference be? To police the present but that is a call he will be heavily constrained in making.

The creationists, ah, our old friends .... Pastor Baggott found out the bible was pretty useless for policing. I found out it was pretty useless for just about everything apart from keeping the feet warm in cold cells !!!

AM said...

Cue Bono,

I saw the "write" thing coming but ...

Is there ever a proper spelling for a handle? I thought it a play on words but that's something learned - it wouldn't register with google.

The McCaughey thing registered with me during the programme but Henry Joy suggests the real point being made.

The Harte brothers and Brian Mullan didn't register probably because I knew they were on an IRA operation when they died and just took it as a given.

Nationalists and republicans will see the documentary as having left out an awful lot more and worse than the omissions that puzzled you.

It is one that is not going to go away anytime soon. I think it will also be a test of the unionist commitment to the rule of law as they professed they stood for during the conflict and have insisted on since: pushing for prosecutions of non state actors. With such seeming widespread abandonment of the rule of law, unionism to the extent that it believed in the rule of law as distinct from the use of law to rule, will find itself deeply troubled.

The revulsion you feel at the security services playing god with the lives of their own colleagues is replicated on this side of the perspective by how Morrison and company played god with the lives of the hunger strikers. That dimension of the dirty war makes it an even dirtier war.

Cue Bono said...

The problem for people, from both sides of the community, who believe in law and order is that it has already been perverted to allow people who have remained loyal to Sinn Fein off the hook for their crimes. Ideally either all who committed crimes during the troubles should be prosecuted, or no one who committed crimes during the troubles should be prosecuted. What is not acceptable is the notion that Provos who remain loyal to Adams are untouchable whie every one else is fair game. That seems to be where we are headed at the minute.

larry hughes said...

Cue ballbag

I really cudnt give a fuk, does nelslson hav an address for you? ive a wee message for ya xox

Cue Bono said...

Larry,

I'm already spoken for.

AM said...

Cue Bono,

it has already been perverted to allow the security services off with their own illegal actions including homicide. And it is a perversion that has long predated the current issue which you have identified. The origins of the perversion lie not in covering up for the Provos but for the security services. In terms of prosecutions for trouble related activities there has been a massive imbalance between the rule of law as applied to non state actors and state actors respectively.

Is any purpose served by trying to correct the imbalance? Not in my view. If the war is over then all parties to it need to stop taking prisoners and seek their justice through revelation rather than retribution.

But I don't think they are ready to do that because it is not really about the past but positioning themselves in the present for future advantage.

Perhaps I am wrong but the only bodies in general that seem not to be calling for prosecuting the past are the loyalist combatant groups.

DaithiD said...

AM, it makes you wonder who were the real guerrillas too. I mean if the purpose is to obscure your combatant structures from within the civilian population,doesnt that term apply better to the British better than the Provos? They made every office of state part of the war machine, that takes some doing. Its incredible that even after all that has been revealed, and given form and sound in the documentary, people still think justice can be dispensed from that same rotten state.

AM said...

DaithiD,

I think most states will cover up and desist from or delay in delivering justice. I am not winding you up because you are a Catholic but the Vatican is the same. I think institutional lying is a property of power. And as you know were SF in government it would be no different.

But the point needs repeated ad infinitum, the British were engaged in state terrorism. That might have been clear to many except the likes of Gregory Campbell since Bloody Sunday but now the more clandestine side of their activities are coming into the open. Eamonn McCann once gave a very robust interview about the paras murdering on the Shankill Road. State terrorism was not something practiced exclusively on nationalists. In Ballysillan in June 78 the SAS killed a Protestant guy for no reason other than he stumbled across them giving the coup de grace to 3 IRA volunteers who had been on a bombing operation. Clive Fairweather was the investigating SAS officer who inspected the scene and found the muzzle burn on the back of the neck of one of the IRA dead. He told me himself in Edinburgh in 2006 that when he asked the soldiers what happened they told him they opened fire on people trying to escape. He told them they were lying, that they had administered the coup de grace. He was probably ok with that because he felt the SAS were at war with the IRA and this is what happens: but lying to him about it seemed to be more the cause of his concern if I have read him correctly. He also ventured the opinion on Gibraltar that if it was not murder the difference between what it was and murder was negligible.

Robert said...

Anthony,

'..Pastor Baggott found out the bible was pretty useless for policing. I found out it was pretty useless for just about everything apart from keeping the feet warm in cold cells !!!

What should it profit a man to warm his feet and lose his soul?!!

I met Matt once through my work but not through his, I might add. As much as one can gauge someone by means of a ten minute conversation, on a human level he created a good impression. In response to a question on an element of my employment that was trust based, I quipped to him that my collegues and I were men of integrity. He told me he intended to utilise it!

'When times change people, by merely holding their position, can be so easily pulled out of position and harshly exposed.'

I think this captures well the position now confronting Unionists in relation to holding the line against a growing body of evidence with reference to the systemic law breaking of the intelligence agencies. Where once we saw only integrity we now find duplicity.

'State terrorism was not something practiced exclusively on nationalists.'

I have a suspicion that the extent of state sponsored republican violence is one of the real bombshells that lies in Hamilton's vault, the Seftons, Colleen McMurray and Robert Bradford et al being the entry point to even more shocking revelations. How sure can any of us be that the majority of the hundreds killed by state agents as asserted by O'Loan relates exclusively to a state/loyalist phenomena.

AM said...

Robert,

my sole was saved by the bible!

I thought from the British state's point of view Baggott was a bad choice of successor to replace Orde.

I am not sure how unionism will handle the problem you identify. We can't say that unionists on the ground knew what was going on given that we seem not to have appreciated the extent to which it went on either although always having a more healthy scepticism towards state forces. We were very much aware of the "Lisburn Lie Machine" as the journalists dubbed the Thiepval press office.

Your final point is something I have mulled over for a while. Might we include the Shankill bombing in there as well in anticipation that at some point a hidden hand might be ungloved? And in its own way your observation brings another problem for unionists. The dastardly deeds they thought the IRA did might have been done at the behest of security services.

Robert said...

Anthony,

'..my sole was saved by the bible!'

Hat off to the rapier!

'I thought from the British state's point of view Baggott was a bad choice of successor to replace Orde.'

I wonder what other hand he might have played given his remit, as Hamilton will find, was to resist rather than reveal?

'I am not sure how unionism will handle the problem you identify.'

It won't. It will frown upon the likes of Peter Sefton and Raymond McCord before it will confront what lies at the end of it's nose. It will be left by a future Westminster administration, as it was over Bloody Sunday, resembling Lady Butler's 'Remnants Of An Army', depicting the only beraggled British survivor of the 1842 retreat from Kabul.

'Might we include the Shankill bombing in there as well in anticipation that at some point a hidden hand might be ungloved?'

The possible compromising of agents appears to be the only constraint exercised upon the pollice verso in these matters.If the extent of infiltration along with the personalities implicated is to be believed how could one of the agencies not have been aware of what was going down? I have long saw a choreography in the Shankill and Greysteel that goes beyond the idea of attack and retaliation. Were they used to extinguish the conflict in the same manner that the oil industry blows out oil well fires?

AM said...

Robert,

I think a better hand could have been played even in presentational terms. Baggott lacked charisma and the personal touch. He was determined to openly fight on behalf of the cover up cops and withhold information from the ombudsman whereas Hamilton walked in and reversed that. What the British really needed was a political cop who knew he was a political cop not a cop with a biblical sense of good and evil. The one sided manner in which the past was prosecuted on Baggott's watch has left Hamilton with more problems than he needed to inherit. I think in his final day Baggott tried to clear the decks for Hamilton so that he would not be shackled by the Baggott era. Still, a big ask. And at the centre of it all is your very relevant point about resisting rather than revealing.

And if unionism behaves like you feel it will that will leave it very insular and seriously devoid of standing in the wider world depending on how this all plays out.

Your view of choreography gels with Ed Moloney's view of some IRA operations - the human bombs for example. He felt it was an attempt to corral the IRA down a certain route by generating enough public revulsion that the military option would look less feasible and the peace process more feasible.

The reason I raised the Shankill bomb is that as we have discussed here before, I have always been of the view that it was a standard IRA faux pas: that it was not the task of those going in to kill the civilians. I am still of that view in respect of those going in and what they would have been briefed prior to going in: but given that they were responsible for carrying rather than assembling the device, was it compromised and if so by who? It leaves us wondering. The lens through which I read the republican campaign has become more blurred. I suppose that mirrors those unionists who are now reflecting unhappily on the security services' behaviour.

larry hughes said...

Cue Bono

even after arranging same sex marriage down here.... there's just no 'seducing' you unionists.