“This may involve kicking over a lot of creatively ambiguous rocks…”

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And belatedly, here’s Newton Emerson from the Irish News last weekend (£):

PETER Robinson settled for a “judge-led review” from David Cameron into the on-the-runs letters, for reasons that may involve kicking the issue into the long grass until after May’s elections. However, Westminster’s cross-party Northern Ireland Affairs Committee was not mollified and has now announced its own parliamentary inquiry, with a far wider remit than Cameron’s wig-adorned paperwork exercise plus the power to compel evidence and witnesses.

This may involve kicking over a lot of creatively ambiguous rocks, covering all the key negotiations (and negotiators) of the peace process. The committee comprises Conservative, Labour and Liberal Democrat MPs plus every Northern Ireland party that takes its Westminster seats. Sinn Fein will probably start off refusing to testify. It may end up wishing it had not abstained from membership.

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  • Morpheus

    I fail to see how SF’s abstention policy at Westminster will have any impact whatsoever on their ability to take part in an inquiry. Rupert Murdoch played a big role in an inquiry recently, I am pretty sure he doesn’t take a seat either.

  • http://nalil.blogspot.com Nevin

    “This may involve kicking over a lot of creatively ambiguous rocks, covering all the key negotiations (and negotiators) of the peace process.”

    I’ve made a similar point on the previous thread. The peace process, a fragile flower, has been under way since 1985, possibly as early as 1979. Some of the negotiators are dead and others who have lied or mislead in the past may continue to do so. Those who were ‘disinclined to believe’ my account of conversations with some of the, perhaps, lesser players may end up with egg on their unseeing eyes and unhearing ears.

    “As far as the letter is concerned, this was an arrangement between the British and Irish government and my arrest was a breach of the agreement between the British and Irish government,” Mr Downey said. .. BBC

    NIAC won’t be able to demand the presence of Irish ministers and officials but perhaps they will help bring some clarity. Is this not the least that can be done for victims as well as those who’d like to see better governance?

  • Barnshee

    With luck we will see lies evasions paraded in public With further luck hubris and brass necks will also turn up.
    Can`t wait

  • Son of Strongbow

    Sinn Fein’s presence would add nothing to the proceedings. After all the committee is seeking the truth.

    That being said I’m sure the Shinner miasma will be seeping around the place. In search of more ‘expenses’ if nothing else.

  • sherdy

    This inquiry has nothing to do with finding out the truth, which has been there for all who wished to see it for years.

    The only purpose of this DUP inspired kangaroo court will be as a Sinn Fein bashing exercise, so there is no point in them facilitating such a charade.

    If SDLP think they may enjoy this, they may change their minds when they see the next election results.

  • cynic2

    “This inquiry has nothing to do with finding out the truth, which has been there for all who wished to see it for years…..”

    ………..all they had to do was ask the right questions of the right people at the right time while in possession of a court order, original documents signed in blood and the support of the Almighty and we might have let slip that there was a little deal done

  • cynic2

    DEFINITION OF CREATIVE AMBIGUITY

    This is a sheep

    Yes I know it has fins and no legs but we believe it has many sheep like qualities. Trust us – its sheepy in nature underneath it all

    Ok, The absence of wool is an issue – we can see where you are coming from – but its just been freshly shorn. Those scales are what sheep have under the wool. So don’t worry ….trust us ….and the legs will evolve in due course again ….just give it time

    No it cannot say “BAA” but that’s just because it just doesnt want to at the moment and it has laryngitis ….poor sheep ….you should be sorry for its truama

    Yes…it does smell fishy ….but it will be fine. Promise. Honest. Trust the sheep

  • Morpheus

    Do you have anything – and I mean ANYTHING at all – that is based in fact cynic? Ministerial Statement? Minutes? Interviews? Press Release? Witnesses? Government Chief of Staff? Secretary of State? Assistant Chief Constable? Anything more than ‘a bloke in a pub told me…’?

  • Son of Strongbow

    Yet more from Slugger’s premier OTR advocate. The guy who has been peddling a ‘nothing to see here’ line since day one. He even stated that Downey would be simply put before a court again once the kerfuffle died down (although lately he seems to have dropped that one).

    Unsurprising I suppose in someone who the other day was telling us how “nauseating” he found victims being given a platform at Stormont merely because of his obvious distaste for those providing that opportunity (unionists) for victims to tell their stories.

  • Morpheus

    Ah SoS, our resident cheerleader, I was wondering when you would chime in with your usual Einstein-esque “Yay my team and boo your team” :)

    I do think Downey should face trial, I have always said that. I don’t know Downey from Adam but if the police think they have sufficient evidence then as someone who believes in Judicial System that is good enough for me and he should face the courts, simple as. But it has to be done right and by the book – just as it would be for you or me – so he does not walk away on a technicality.

    I have absolutely no idea what you are talking about in your second paragraph. Take a deep breath and start again sweetie.

  • Son of Strongbow

    You accuse me of being a “cheerleader”? You are beyond parody.

    You made the comments I referenced on the 13th at 09:05. Forgotten them already? Dementia is indeed a cruel master.

    Oh and btw “Einstein” there was sufficient evidence to charge and bring Downey before a court (the court that Judge Sweeney presided over).

    Will the prosecuting authorities bring the judgement to appeal? Of course, not the secret political deal between the Government and Sinn Fein holds sway.

    And before you go off on your own now outed traditional route, that was the secret deal that the architects involved have now all publicly acknowledged that their position at the time was that is was ‘best’ to keep it to themselves, ergo ‘secret’.

  • Morpheus

    My comment in it’s entirety from yesterday reads:

    “I totally agree MonkDeWallyDeHonk. I find it nauseating when our political parties talk about ‘the victims’ when really they want to talk about ‘their’ victims. I find Jim “I’m all about the victims” Allister particularly hard to listen to. He talks about Ann’s Law as if it was a victory for the victims when in reality it was all about sticking a finger in the eye of SF. There’s a £200m Saville Report sitting there with all the work done for him, no need for new laws, does anyone for one second think he would put an ounce of energy into getting justice for those victims?It’s the same across the board – the victims are used when it is politically expedient like when, for example, an election is coming up.

    Read that carefully. Do I say that I find it nauseating that victims are given a platform at Stormont or – as it clearly says above – did I say “I find it nauseating when our political parties talk about ‘the victims’ when really they want to talk about ‘their’ victims.?

    Oh and btw “Einstein” there was sufficient evidence to charge and bring Downey before a court (the court that Judge Sweeney presided over).”
    Where on God’s green earth does it say that there wasn’t sufficient evidence to bring Downey’s before the court? The case didn’t collapse because of a lack of evidence, it collapsed because he was ‘mislead’ and the Judge ruled it an abuse of process. Oh do keep up.

    Will they prosecuting authorities bring the Judgement to appeal? It turns out that they won’t.
    http://www.bbc.co.uk/democracylive/house-of-commons-26354103

    Here we go with the ‘secret’ deal that only the Governments, Politicians, Police, Judiciary, Policing Board, Media, Prison Service, Loyalists and Republicans knew about. Way to go on *that* secret guys!

  • Son of Strongbow

    Is that your ‘my best friend is a ………’ defence? Because you made your comment on a thread about ‘unionist’ victims, and then focused your attack on unionist politicians.

    Did you make similar comment about the US House of Representatives Foreign Relations Committee hearings of a few days ago when victims from the nationalist community had a chance to speak? Have you commented about any of the many occasions when Sinn Fein para politicians have stood on the same platform as nationalist victims; Bloody Sunday and the Ballymurphy shootings spring to mind?

    No? Is it just those pesky unionists that get your juices flowing?

    As for Downey and evidence; you appear to question it yourself in the second paragraph of your 10:01 post today!

    However I’ll give you your dues. You have been dogged in your defence of Sinn Fein and the OTRs. You’ll be able to pick up your average industrial wage this week knowing you’ve done your bit.

  • Mainland Ulsterman

    Great news that the cross-party NI Affairs select committee is going to be looking at this and, I hope, calling witnesses. I think the attempt to discredit their work before it has started by calling it “DUP-inspired” is a little thin … we’re talking all the main parties here and it’s a serious non-partisan body with decent powers.

    Let’s hope there are some proper, preferably legally trained, MPs on there who can actually ask the right questions. The likes of Jonathan Powell and Peter Hain, among others, need to be grilled pretty heavily.

    Once it’s under way, let’s hope the pathetic attempts to blame unionists for this debacle will be relegated to obscurity. It’s already been freely admitted by several of the leading players, including cabinet ministers Hain and Villiers, that the scheme was deliberately kept secret. That isn’t the question. The question is who within the government and SF knew, and when. The resignations hopefully will follow from there.

    That serious deceit happened over several years, perpetrated by central government politicians and officials, is beyond dispute. So it’s just a matter of fleshing it out so we can see who needs to go. Prima facie it looks like at the very least the SoS and the DFM should go; but some of the worst offenders are no longer in office or are former unelected officials like Powell.

    The “peace process” provided cover in the past for this kind of shenanigans, but after the deal in 1998, this was supposed to have stopped. Indeed, it was accepted that private deals would be a threat to public confidence in the GFA settlement. Yet someone decided to do this thing and, worse, those caught out are now crossing their fingers behind their backs and shouting “peace process” as if it’s some kind of defence any more. It won’t wash. I wish them luck …

  • IanR

    “The resignations hopefully will follow from there.”

    Good luck with that…

  • Barnshee

    “The resignations hopefully will follow from there.”

    Good luck with that…”

    If it can be established

    1 Exactly who agree this charade (and there is alway one individual -who may have indeed been “advised” by a panel )

    2 Who knew about it and WHEN did they know about it

    There can at least be some accountability in that “we” will know who is responsible and explore the sutuation for a response.
    The GFA would never have been passed had this information been public at the time. Any unionist politican associated in any way with this deal will be changing their underwear very regularly over the next few months.

  • Morpheus

    Paragraph 1: No SoS, the defence I used against your ‘this is what you said” nonsense was the tried and tested “this is what I actually said’ defence. :)

    Paragraph 2: Oh I get it, you think that my comments about politicians using victims when it is expedient was just about unionist politicians did you? Bless. Tell me, what does the last line of the comment say?

    Paragraph 3: Why are you trying to make out that I have a problem with unionists? Because I have a problem with the lies spewed by the DUP just in time for the elections? Hardly. Because I have a problem with the unrepresentative Loyal Orders and their stranglehold on the unionist political parties? Hardly.

    Paragraph 4: As for your Downey comment then my second paragraph reads:
    “I do think Downey should face trial, I have always said that. I don’t know Downey from Adam but if the police think they have sufficient evidence then as someone who believes in Judicial System that is good enough for me and he should face the courts, simple as. But it has to be done right and by the book – just as it would be for you or me – so he does not walk away on a technicality. “

    Where does it say ANYTHING about me questioning the evidence? In fact you will see that I said the opposite and that he should face trial. Oh look, I have used exactly the same defence as before to yet again prove you wrong. Aren’t I clever?

    Onto your last paragraph – in fact…no, I just read it again, I can’t be assed sunshine, it’s Friday and life is too short.

    But you have the floor, when you have stopped trying – and I do mean trying – to attack me personally then by all means bring forward any evidence you have to disprove anything I have said.

  • Morpheus

    MU

    I agree, it is good news that there is a cross-party NI Affairs select committee hearing. It’s a shame (or is the word expedient?) that none of what the Committee and Lady Justice Hallett finds will be in time for the local and European elections. The damage has been done, the ‘crisis’ was manufactured and bled dry.

    I also agree that I hope that there will be some highly trained guys asking the questions. What will be your reaction if Powell, using his diary and the government papers on which that was based, confirms what he has been saying all along ie. the DUP not only knew about the scheme but accepted it as long as Tony Blair wrote to Ian Paisley making clear it had been agreed under David Trimble’s watch. Should Robinson and Dodds resign?

    What will be your reaction when the Policing Board minutes are produced showing that representatives from SF, SDLP, DUP, UUP and PUP not only were briefed about the scheme but were the ones asking the questions of ACC Drew Harris? Basil McCrea and Trevor Ringland have already confirmed that they knew about it but should Alex Attwood, Tom Buchanan, Jimmy Spratt, Peter Weir and Leslie Cree resign?

    Who at the NI Prison Service who also used the ‘secret’ scheme multiple times should resign?

  • Barnshee

    I think this i largely a problem for Unionist politicans and to a much lesser extent people like Hain who are a busted flush anyway

    Where anyone who said they did not know about is shown to be telling porkies– they should jump before they are pushed. Snarling Jim will have a field day

  • Morpheus

    Any comment MU?