“there was a ‘culture’ in the Northern Ireland Office not to prosecute Republicans…”

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In appearing on the first day, Norman Baxter has set a fairly direct tone for the Northern Ireland Affairs Select Committee inquiry into the administrative scheme for OTRs (see also), by suggesting that it was the Northern Ireland Office which was indulging in politics over Republican suspects rather than the PSNI:

He then claimed pressure had also been exerted from Downing Street in regard to the 2007 arrests of Gerry McGeough and Vincent McAnespie in relation to the attempted murder of Ulster Defence Regiment (UDR) solider Sammy Brush near Aughnacloy, Co Tyrone in 1981.

“They were arrested, I have a note here, on the 8th of March some time around tea time and taken to the serious crime suite at Antrim,” he said.

“At 9.10pm I received a phone call from the duty ACC (Assistant Chief Constable) at (PSNI) headquarters.

“Gerry Adams had telephoned Downing Street demanding their release, Downing Street rang the Chief Constable’s office looking their release and I got a phone call suggesting I should release them.

“That of course in my mind is attempting to pervert the course of justice and that was conveyed back to headquarters.”

He added: “I don’t know who the personality in Downing Street was but as a police officer that is totally illegal and unconstitutional.

“We continued interviewing them and Mr McGeough was subsequently convicted for attempted murder.”

Interestingly too he explains why there was no mention of the Met looking for John Downey:

“I am sure you have read in the judgment questions as to why I did not refer to Mr Downey being wanted for the Hyde Park bombing,” he said, claiming that prosecutors made no attempt to gain the PSNI’s view while the case was ongoing.

“I want to make quite clear – that was not a mistake, that was not a catastrophic mistake, but it was a legal requirement.

“I have no jurisdiction, or had no jurisdiction, to pass information about a person wanted in another jurisdiction to that individual, indeed to do so would be prejudicing the investigation, it would be perverting the course of justice.” [emphasis added]

Here’s a broad summary by the Daily Telegraph’s Security Editor Tom Whitehead:

– there was a “culture” in the Northern Ireland Office (NIO) not to prosecute Republicans
– officers had no idea that the information they were providing was to be used in letters sent to the suspects.
– shifted blame for the Downey blunder to the NIO and Attorney General’s office
– accused Northern Ireland Secretary Theresa Villiers of a “disgraceful” attempt to cover up Government failings over the scheme by blaming the police.

Peter Sheridan in his evidence noted that:

The judge should have been told that the PSNI officers were completely unaware that there were letters going out and that there was additional information put in the letter that went out that was different from the letter that we sent to the DPP (Director of Public Prosecutions).[emphasis added]

Gerry Adams issued a short statement last night, including this…

I did not ask the British Government to intervene with the PSNI. My protest at that time was entirely appropriate given that the British Government had given commitments to resolve the anomaly of the OTRs. [emphasis added]

By way of an interesting footnote, Gerry McGeough’s solicitor released this last evening:

…my client is again vindicated in terms of his insistence that he and other Republicans had been assured by Sinn Fein on behalf of the NIO of no prosecution for Pre-Good Friday Agreement offences.

The tangled web continues to unravel…

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  • cynic2

    So were the British Government colluding with Sinn Fein then or simply giving a Pavlovian jump and ‘accidentally’ pervert the course of justice in light a simple protest?

    In any case, if this is all true then on the Corry definition the Government must have been guilty of collusion.

    Will anyone now dare to make a formal complaint of attempting to pervert the course of justice? Even if they do and the evidence is compelling it will all go nowhere – you see its just not in the public interest to turn over those stones and peek underneath.

    As for the Victims – well they just don’t count

  • aquifer

    Very difficult for Provisional Sinn Fein to sustain a culture of victimhood when public servants were clearly trying to assist them in de-escalating a destructive conflict.

    Did they do wrong? Given the history of massive wrongs around here they did not do badly.

    “Mr McGeough was subsequently convicted for attempted murder”

    And has since become a strange and possibly dangerous nuisance to SF and the authorities, perhaps making a stronger case for amnesties.

    The responsibility of individuals is often diminished when acting under orders, but the law likes to pretend that everyone over 18 is an island.

    Maybe it is time for the law to catch up with social reality.

  • Politico68

    Well if we can’t stick GA on his own lets get him in kahoots with the establishment. I mean, honestly lads, when will it EVER end? Seriously, is anybody surprised by the revelations?

  • Morpheus

    Interesting revelations indeed. I guess the committee need to question Sir Hugh Orde ASAP and ask him who it was at Downing Street that called him and why based on that conversation did he think it was OK to pervert the course of justice by telling his ACC who suggested to his senior detective that they should release the prisoners.

    The police officers not knowing definitely needs delving into because Baxter is named 12 times in Justice Sweeney’s Judgement, the first mention saying:
    “The first Operation Rapid meeting took place on 7 February 2007. It was chaired by the Head of Branch C2, DCS Baxter and attended by among others ADCI Graham (who was appointed SIO).”

    It was recorded:
    “The HoB provided a brief background as to why a review would be taking place into those persons termed as being ‘On the Run’. He stated that Mr McGrory, Solicitor, who acts on behalf of the OTR’s, had requested information about the current legal status of his clients. Under Article 3 of the ECHR and Human Rights Act all persons have a legal right upon request to be informed if police require them for questioning. He stated that police were therefore obliged to review all those cases and determine the current status of these persons… it was agreed that the terms of reference for the enquiry should be twofold.
    Firstly, to establish the legitimate basis why a person ‘On the Run’ was wanted.
    Secondly, to establish the status and the integrity of the evidence.
    Formal terms of reference would be drafted by ACC Crime Operations and forwarded to D/C/Insp Graham for guidance. Where it was established that no current legitimate basis existed to have a person arrested, this information would be passed to ACC Crime for onward transmission to their Solicitor. Alternatively, if reasonable grounds still existed to suspect a person of committing a specific terrorist offence when balanced against Human Rights considerations, a firm recommendation would be made to have these persons to remain circulated as wanted for interview and records updated appropriately. It was agreed that all OTR decisions should be based on purely policing considerations and that the enquiry should remain neutral, proportionate and ethical at all times. …Upon publicity reaching the press regarding the review of OTR cases, it was agreed that the following press statement would be released.
    ‘As a result of information made available to the Police Service of Northern Ireland, officers from Crime Operations Department are conducting a review of individuals wanted for serious terrorist crime dating back a number of years. Inquiries are at an early stage but police are working to determine whether there remains a lawful basis for arrest, having regard to current human rights legislation. Where evidence exists, and meets required standards, it remains the role of police to bring those responsible for crime before a court, regardless of their current whereabouts’”.

    In regards to Downey specifically the Judgement goes on to say:
    “In a report later that day to Detective Chief Superintendent Baxter, ADCI Graham indicated that he had completed a review in respect of the defendant, “with due consideration being given to the agreed Terms of Reference”; that all the templates in relation to the defendant were based on intelligence, including the template relating to the bomb at Hyde Park, and that he had reviewed the papers and could find no evidence that the defendant was wanted by the PSNI for that offence, but that the defendant was still wanted by the Metropolitan Police in relation to it – subject to any further evidence. He indicated that, in respect of the other templates, there was no evidence or material that could provide sufficient grounds to have the defendant circulated at that time. He therefore recommended that the defendant be listed as not wanted by the PSNI at that time, and that clarification should be sought from the Metropolitan Police as to the current position with their circulation of the defendant. To date, no record of any request for clarification has been found.”

    On 10 May 2007 DCS Baxter who, it is said, would (unless he asked for further documentation) only have considered ADCI Graham’s report of 7 May, reported to Assistant Chief Constable Sheridan in relation to a number of individuals. As to the defendant, he said that:
    “The above person is a native of the Republic of Ireland and is a citizen of the Irish Republic. He has not resided in Northern Ireland and remains resident in his native district. He is not currently “on the run” from his home. I have reviewed his case and there is no basis in my professional opinion to seek his arrest currently for any offence prior to the signing of the Good Friday Agreement. The above person should be informed that he is not currently wanted by the PSNI for offences prior to the Good Friday Agreement 1998, but it should be borne in mind that should new properly assessed and reliable intelligence, or new evidence which has been judged to retain its integrity, emerge which creates reasonable grounds to suspect his involvement in offences then he will be liable to arrest for any such offence which may have been committed during this period.”

    Thus it is clear that although DCS Baxter knew from ADCI Graham’s report about the fact that the defendant was wanted in relation to the Hyde Park Bombing, he made no reference to it or to the defendant being wanted in relation to it. When asked by DI Corrigan (see paragraphs 14 and 15 above) during the course of the hearings he said that he reported to ACC Sheridan via a strict application of the Operation Rapid criteria and agreed parameters. He said that the defendant was not wanted by the PSNI and was not considered to be on the run as he was not a resident of Northern Ireland, and that there was no statutory requirement to supply any further information as per agreed parameters.

    On 7 June 2007 the Operation Rapid team made an entry in PSNI records indicating that the defendant was “not currently wanted by PSNI unless a new appropriate alert is created by an Investigating officer”

    On 12 June 2007 (p.767) the Acting DPP (NI) provided a member of his staff with, among other things, ACC Sheridan’s letter in relation to the defendant, and requested that checks be made against the files and information held by the DPP (NI) in accordance with previous instructions for the task (which do not appear to have been disclosed), and thereafter to prepare letters for the Attorney General’s Office and ACC Sheridan.

    Around mid‐June 2007 the NIO requested confirmation in writing from Operation Rapid that all checks with outside forces had been carried out in relation to subjects under review. A number of emails in relation to that request were disclosed during the hearing. In particular, on 13 June 2007 ACC Sheridan’s D/Staff Officer emailed DCS Baxter and ADCI Graham seeking confirmation in writing that such checks had been carried out.

    On 20 June 2007 there was email correspondence (again disclosed during the hearing) between Mr McGowan, ADCI Graham, DCS Baxter and ACC Sheridan’s D/Staff Officer in which it was made clear that Interpol checks as such were not being undertaken.

    On June 27th On the same date ACC Sheridan wrote (p.769) to the Director Political at the NIO stating, in answer to her earlier query, that he could confirm that: “our review set out to establish if X is wanted for arrest by PSNI for any offences pre the Good Friday Agreement or circulated as wanted for arrest by an external force and the existence of reasonable grounds (within the UK) or a European Arrest Warrant. This can be established by an ICIS check (PSNIs computer system), checks with An Garda Siochana and the Police National Computer (PNC). These checks have all been carried out in relation to the letters forwarded to the Director of Public Prosecutions from the PSNI and they are the same checks which have been carried out during previous reviews.”

    Then let’s not forget that 10 senior police officers at the Policing Board briefing in April 2010.

    Loads of questions to be answered

  • zep

    Smacks of collusion between the British Government, the PSNI (with some honourable exceptions) and paramilitaries – at the highest levels. Perfidious Albion once again; will the truth ever out?

  • Mick Fealty

    One thing P68 that’s worth mentioning is how the PSNI were blindsided to the grunt and grind of the letters process, which means that the 2010 briefing to the Policing Board could never have yielded the level of knowledge that is being claimed by SF and others.

  • Mainland Ulsterman

    … the others including most vocally and influentially (given his prominence as a supposed honest broker in the “dealing with the past” issue) Denis Bradley: http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-northern-ireland-26354058. His reputation has certainly taken a hit over what I hope was only a lapse of memory on his part. Did Bradley know about the OTR deal? Whether he did or not, why has he been so keen to scotch the public outrage about it now that it has come to light? Very odd.

  • Mc Slaggart

    Mainland Ulsterman

    “Did Bradley know about the OTR deal?”

    I think your missing the point its all to do with the letters. People are saying they knew but that they did not understand that the people being told would get a letter.

    I think the letters was French and that is why people are getting so upset.

  • cynic2

    “One thing P68 that’s worth mentioning is how the PSNI were blindsided to the grunt and grind of the letters process”

    Yes…it was clearly a dirty little secret and the NIO and SF have been lying through their teeth and trying to scapegoat the police for the mess. Then the Met and CPS in London also seem to have misled the Court in the Downey case.

    So who wanted this case buried and who wielded the shovel?

    Given what was revealed yesterday alone, will Robbo now man up and resign unless this scandal is rectified by making sure that, get out of gaol free letters or not, those against whom there is evidence can face a court?

  • cynic2

    “Denis Bradley has said that he was surprised to hear that Unionists were not aware of the on-the-run cases as a detailed briefing on the scheme had been given to the Policing Board.”

    MU

    An interesting use of words by Bradley as he doesn’t say who briefed them. It cannot have been PSNI as they didn’t know about the letters – so who did they get that brief from. Presumably there should be a record – or is that hoping too much from a body that’s very purpose is supposed to en accountability?

  • Morpheus

    Mick, is it your assertion that the PSNI did all these checks and passed the information on to the Attorney General and NIO on the understanding that this was the end of the process even though in the first Operation Rapid meeting on Feb 7th 2007, attended by Mr Baxter, it was confirmed:

    “The HoB provided a brief background as to why a review would be taking place into those persons termed as being ‘On the Run’. He stated that Mr McGrory, Solicitor, who acts on behalf of the OTR’s, had requested information about the current legal status of his clients. Under Article 3 of the ECHR and Human Rights Act all persons have a legal right upon request to be informed if police require them for questioning. He stated that police were therefore obliged to review all those cases and determine the current status of these persons

    He may have a point in confirming details from other jurisdictions but why not say that back in 2007 – why on June 27th 2007 did the PSNI tell the NIO:
    “our review set out to establish if X is wanted for arrest by PSNI for any offences pre the Good Friday Agreement or circulated as wanted for arrest by an external force and the existence of reasonable grounds (within the UK) or a European Arrest Warrant. This can be established by an ICIS check (PSNIs computer system), checks with An Garda Siochana and the Police National Computer (PNC). These checks have all been carried out in relation to the letters forwarded to the Director of Public Prosecutions from the PSNI and they are the same checks which have been carried out during previous reviews.”

    Especially considering just 7 days before…
    “On 20 June 2007 there was email correspondence (again disclosed during the hearing) between Mr McGowan, ADCI Graham, DCS Baxter and ACC Sheridan’s D/Staff Officer in which it was made clear that Interpol checks as such were not being undertaken.”

  • Mc Slaggart

    cynic2

    “. It cannot have been PSNI”

    Yes it could, they may have thought the fact that they was putting it in writing was unimportant.

  • Mainland Ulsterman

    Norman Baxter’s claims that “Downing St” called the Chief Constable asking for terrorist suspects to be released is of course shocking – and hopefully the official(s) responsible will be identified and prosecuted for what is a very serious crime. That it happened in Downing St of course begs several other questions, which were in any case in the air over this OTR scandal:
    - how much did the senior government politicians know about OTRs – the SoS, Home Secretary, Minister for Justice, PM etc? Which of them if any were party to what seems to have been misleading Parliament and deceiving the people’s elected representatives?
    - was there indeed a wider hidden side to the peace process beyond the OTRs deal, in which other concessions were given to SF-IRA over and above what the electorate was told?

    What this pays bear, among other things, is the squandering of the Good Friday Agreement legacy. The people who voted for it have been let down badly. We’d already got the peace deal from the terrorists in 1998 – it involved some appeasement but people like me swallowed it on the basis of this being a final deal. We then watched SF being cut concession after concession by the government, as if it was the only constituency that needed to be catered for: yes, you can have longer to actually give up the terrorism you already said you had given up in the 90s, yes we’ll overlook that massive bank robbery, beating a guy to death in a pub etc etc. It seems the government got drawn into the parallel moral universe in which SF-IRA and their supporters live.

    Their bizarre requests to have *their* terrorists let off (but no one else of course – that’s the even-handed Irish Republican tradition for you) should have been just laughed off.

    I can see why they were taken seriously. Because Republicans were the main cause of the Troubles, and their ceasefires effectively ended the Troubles, it is understandable that the process to secure the end to terrorism focussed so strongly on Sinn Fein (whose leaders of course were also leaders of the IRA). But clearly in doing so, the government lost its bearings pretty soon after the 1998 vote got through. It started to believe that anything it took to quieten down Republicans was justified, “brave” and was “taking risks for peace”. In reality, the government’s approach was lazy, weak, unfair and lacked long term vision.

    They seemed to think quiet concessions to SF would secure the peace. And a terror-weary organisation that had had enough was given a way to end its campaign without looking to its supporters like it was defeated – fair enough to allow this useful illusion. What they gave less thought to, though, was the impact on NI society of boosting the most deeply hated party in the Province, one responsible for the vast programme of organised murders of Northern Irish people over 30 years from which NI society was now seeking to recover.

    By conceding again and again to SF, both publicly and now we discover in secret too, they undermined the Good Friday Agreement, They let down all those people who suffered SF’s reign of terror and had hoped for something more in the new era than just a lack of violence.

    But of course, none of this would have been an issue if people hadn’t voted SF. That’s where this corrupt organisation get their power from. Dirty deals with SF would not have happened if voters had given them the short shrift that their Loyalist equivalents have received at the ballot box. It beggars belief that someone would go so far as to actually vote for people like that. But by playing to the extremes, the government has played a part in feeding the monster.

  • MonkDeWallyDeHonk

    MU

    Yep, those dam people in the CNR community. If only we’d known our place and not demanded things like one person – one vote, no discrimination in housing and employment – an end to gerrymandering.

    I have never supported violence from any side (couldn’t say that about quite a few Unionist politicians).

    However, for 50 odd years – the PUL community were more than happy to enjoy the fruits of gerrymandering and discrimination.

    I’m extremely proud of John Hume and the Civil Rights movement that brought your little Protestant/Unionist Utopia crashing down.

    There have been many terrible things done by BOTH sides and I feel for all victims.

    However, your attempt to make it look as if everything was OK if it wasn’t for those CNR people is just transparent and pathetic.

  • Morpheus
  • zep

    Right enough, the IRA blowing Protestants to bits and kneecapping young Catholics in the 80s and 90s really helped bring about an end to all that gerrymandering that was going on. Good point.

  • Morpheus

    In case that audioboo link does work Brian Rowan talks about an interview he had with Sir Hugh Orde THIS MORNING at 7 minutes 40 in which Sir Hugh denies that any such phone call took and what his reaction would be if he was asked by Downing Street to release prisoners.

    No doubt it is still insufficient

  • Son of Strongbow

    Orde will appear in front of the committee next week. No doubt he will deny the phone call, and probably also tell the committee that he was beside a phone throughout every minute of his tenure as CC.

    You can almost hear the rumble of the nationalist spin machine as it gears up to separate the testimony given by ex PSNI officers. Orde will be supported, Sheridan and Baxter will not. No doubt there will be mutterings about ‘RUC men blah, blah, blah’.

    The Shinner drone Nothing-To-See-Here cadre will be working hard on this.

  • zep

    The Shinners will believe the Brits as long as they say what they want to hear. Like Diplock courts being the worst thing in the world EVER apart from that time Gerry Kelly was acquitted by one. Not the only people in NI who fall victim to this, obviously. Perhaps more amusing though given their desire to maintain credibility with the ‘Brits out’ crowd.

  • Morpheus

    And no doubt people like you SoS will be lining up to pick out the bits which fit the conspiracy theory and ignoring the rest.

    Out of curiosity does it sound plausible to you that Downing Street, at the behest of GA, called The Chief Constable to release 2 prisoners – perverting the course of justice in the process – and he in turn told his Assistant, who turn told his senior detective who refused the suggestion?

  • Niall Noigiallach

    “Because Republicans were the main cause of the Troubles”

    Keep telling yourself that “Mainland” Ulsterman. Who knows, the more you say it, it might actually ring true.

    “the most deeply hated party in the Province, one responsible for the vast programme of organised murders of Northern Irish people over 30 years”

    Subjective at the very least. I’m pretty sure not everyone hated SF, mainly unionists did. As for the organising of murders, there wasn’t just the IRA doing that. The RUC and UDR had their own programmes for murder respectively. By refusing to ban the UDA until 1992 the British Government also engaged and indulged in their own programme for murder.

    I’ve read a few of your posts on other topics around the site however I can’t help but comment on this occasion with your deep hatred of the fact that nationalists vote for Sinn Fein. You’ve commented on more than one occasion that the CNR community in voting for Sinn Fein have somehow done something wrong in your eyes or acted immorally. I hate to break it to you but we can vote for whoever we want to big lad, like it or lump it. We’ll do it in May and we’ll do it again after that. And after that. And after that. And after that too.

  • tacapall

    “We then watched SF being cut concession after concession by the government, as if it was the only constituency that needed to be catered for: yes, you can have longer to actually give up the terrorism you already said you had given up in the 90s, yes we’ll overlook that massive bank robbery”

    Perhaps you could tell everyone about these concessions after concessions the nationalist community blackmailed from the government that unionists didn’t already enjoy since the formation of the state. As for the northern bank robbery, well the dogs in the street in West Belfast know who carried that out yet funny enough the PSNI dont but im certain it wasn’t Sinn Fein. You should look a little closer to home concerning spectacular bank robberies and get out of jail free cards why blame Sinn Fein when it was perfedious albion your own government who turned a blind eye and allowed certain events to unfold they have the unique ability to ride two horses. All paramilitary groups were financially rewarded for decommissioning and calling ceasefires and they all got their money through different channels it doesn’t take a brain surgeon to work out why no-one has been convicted of carrying out that robbery just like the Castlereagh break in. There has been a culture of allowing murderers to go unpunished and unjudged for decades in this part of Ireland its only a recent problem because the shoe is now on the other foot and some victims are now experiencing what others have been experiencing for decades but some people, those who are screaming loudest today, were happy to turn a blind eye to that for decades. If your going to pretend you care about victims and whats morally right and wrong at least try to be universal with your judgement of people otherwise you just look biased and dishonest.

  • zep

    “The RUC and UDR had their own programmes for murder respectively” – They must have been rubbish at it.

    “We’ll do it in May and we’ll do it again after that. And after that. And after that. And after that too.” – and have been doing it since the early seventies, when the last dregs of the old Stormont system were washed away and we had one person, one vote. Didn’t stop the IRA though – wonder why not? Do you think as they strapped Patsy Gillespie in to be a human bomb they whispered, “Sorry pal but we are striking a blow for universal suffrage.”

    “There has been a culture of allowing murderers to go unpunished and unjudged for decades in this part of Ireland its only a recent problem because the shoe is now on the other foot and some victims are now experiencing what others have been experiencing for decades but some people, those who are screaming loudest today, were happy to turn a blind eye to that for decades. If your going to pretend you care about victims and whats morally right and wrong at least try to be universal with your judgement of people otherwise you just look biased and dishonest.”

    Tapacall – is it fair to say then that you yourself don’t care about victims and what is morally right and wrong? Two wrongs do make a right, what’s sauce for the goose etc?

    Collusion is no illusion.

  • Niall Noigiallach

    “ “The RUC and UDR had their own programmes for murder respectively” – They must have been rubbish at it.”

    Actually Zep, they quite adept at it, it was just the police work and maintenance of law and order part that they were rubbish at. Good at the old bigotry though, I’ll high five them on that. I’ll tip my hat also to the payoff Her Majesty’s Loyal Subjects in the RUC received with Patton too. For God and Ulster Bank!

  • zep

    Clearly Niall we are so far apart as to render debate meaningless. Bad at police work and maintenance of law and order… Despite the best efforts of the paramilitary alphabet soup, NI didn’t descend into civil war, and people were still able to live normal-ish lives. I’m just happy someone had the swingers to go out there and hold the line at personal cost to themselves and their families, otherwise we might have lost thousands more in our wee war.

    If you’re looking for bigotry then look no further than PIRA and its modern-day equivalents – sadly adept at singling out Catholic police officers for murder.

  • tacapall

    The whats sauce for the goose comment is reality Zeb that doesn’t mean I care about one set of victims more than another. I see you are defending two disbanded state forces both now discredited and an embarrassment to the British government. I have no doubt there were police officers and soldiers in the RUC and UDR who joined for the right reasons but history has now proved they nevertheless stood by and watched while their colleagues took part in murder or directed murder gangs, allowed people to be murdered when they could have saved them, they even supplied loyalist paramilitaries with weapons that were used to murder 7 people. Of course you could excuse this as necessary to protect the many from the few but at the end of the day its engaging in terrorism to supposedly stop terrorism I really dont see the difference but obviously you do.

  • zep

    Hysteria. But I think you know that yourself, deep down. Whatever drives you to make wildly hyperbolic comments as above must also nag at you. Furiously trying to win the PR battle of the present because the actual battle of the past was lost.

  • Son of Strongbow

    Which court has “history” proved that ‘even’ those who “joined for the right reasons” stood by and watched the rest of the police and soldiers “murder or directed murder gangs”?

    Tosh built on tosh served with a tosh sauce.

    zep is of course right when he/she observes that the RUC and UDR must have been “rubbish” delivering their “programme for murder”.

    At the height of the Troubles there were something like 40,000 police and troops available in NI. All armed, all trained. Why were all those ‘State terrorists’ such poor performers as a ‘murder gang’?

    Look across the World at places like Syria and see what it actually looks like when a State decides on a “programme of murder” against its own citizens.

    The police and Army held against a myriad of Nationalist and Loyalist terrorist gangs – who gleefully bombed and shot their fellow Irishmen, women and children.

    Did they make mistakes? Did a small number cross the line into criminality? Most assuredly so.

    However the vast majority did their duty and prevented NI slipping into Balkan-like carnage; at great personal sacrifice and loss. This was recognised by the RUC being awarded collectively the George Cross and forming the core of the PSNI.

    I don’t expect the facts of history to hold any sway with those who make biased and outlandish claims about the police and Army. Some nationalists in particular will always focus their hatred against the RUC because of its central role in bringing nationalist terrorists to heel.

    Personally I put it down to too much time spent listening to too many ‘war’ stories cried into pints by ex-jail birds who were put behind bars by the Royal Ulster Constabulary.

  • tacapall

    Sticks and stones and all that Zeb I’ve met your kind before playing the man rather than the ball perhaps its a unionist thing or maybe you just run around wearing blinkers or maybe you stick your head in the sand when it comes to state terrorism but please feel free to provide proof of any misleading facts I posted above.

    “Furiously trying to win the PR battle of the present because the actual battle of the past was lost”

    Your in a wee world of your own my friend what PR battle would that be ?

  • Mick Fealty

    I think we are drifting far from the original ‘drop zone’ people…

    Morph (to your 9.59am):

    It’s my understanding from separate evidence given by Baxter and Sheridan that the PSNI were unaware of the administrative scheme and that this was not brought to the attention of Mr Justice Sweeney.

    That’s why I brought up the issue of the 2010 Policing Board briefing. If the cops didn’t know about the scheme (including the critical involvement of Sinn Fein and Gerry Kelly in particular) also known as #ShinnersList they were not in a position to brief the Policing Board.

    Between the NIO and Sinn Fein there seems to have been a concerted campaign to make the PSNI the fall guy over a ‘mistake’ that wasn’t made by the cops to cover for deliberate actions elsewhere.

    I’m also not impressed with Hugh Orde’s attempt to spin Barney Rowan a line to the effect that “if Downing Street had called me asking me to release prisoners, I would remember it to my dying day.”

    Yes, well, I doubt very much if that was what Downing Street actually said in the call mentioned by Baxter. And yet Baxter is clear that political pressure was applied by Downing Street directly onto the PSNI.

    In the same vein Mr Adams claims on one hand that…

    “…it is a matter of public record that I called for the release of the two men. I also protested to the British Government.”

    And on the other…

    “I did not ask the British Government to intervene with the PSNI.”

    In other words, Mr A is claiming that whilst he called for the release of the two men, he did not actually want the British to pay a blind bit of notice to his request.

    Mr Orde is likely to meet an appropriately sceptical Select Committee when it comes to his turn to give evidence…

  • tacapall

    “Did a small number cross the line into criminality”

    Says it all when supplying guns to paramilitaries is criminality yet using them to murder is terrorism.

    The same could be said of Sinn Fein but that wont stop you tarring all of them with the one brush will it ? We’ve heard all the few bad apples excuse throughout the years but its grown to a few bad barrels these days and from a nationalist point of view those bad apples spoiled the whole batch. Yeah they were awarded some cross by Mrs Windsor wow how lucky they are but sure didn’t Mrs Windsor award Lester Piggott some award – How did that go for her ?

  • Morpheus

    Spin him a line Mick? Weird concept I know but any chance that it was the truth? Is his credibility suddenly called into question because GA is involved? Regardless, does it sound plausible to you that ‘someone’ in Downing Street, at the behest of GA, called The Chief Constable telling him to release 2 prisoners – perverting the course of justice in the process – who in turn told his Assistant who in turn told his senior detective who refused?

    As for the mistake that ‘wasn’t made’ then then the mistake that was in fact made is clearly highlighted above. Look at the correspondence from June 2007. The PSNI are all over the scheme Mick – they did the checks.

  • Mick Fealty

    You don’t have to ‘lie’ to ‘spin’ Morph. Let me spell it out slowly for you?

    I am pretty certain Downing Street did NOT ask for prisoners to be released. That’s what GERRY asked for.

    Baxter on the other hand claimed that pressure had been exerted from Downing Street.

    Orde is referring us to something else that didn’t happen in order to give the impression that he’s contradicting Baxter.

    He isn’t. And that’s Journalism 101.

  • Son of Strongbow

    tacapall,

    Terrorism is a criminal act. Or is it all ‘freedom fighting’ to you?

    40,000 armed folks X 40 years in a ‘target-rich environment’ (they were in your view after any and all Catholics) would suggest that the only “bad barrels” about were the unused ones attached to police and Army firearms.

    Something I’m very much ok with, especially so given that they did give their handcuffs a reasonable workout.

  • Morpheus

    Baxter said the pressure came in the form of a phone call which Hugh Orde said didn’t happen and even if it did he would’ve been left in no doubt as to where the CC rightfully stood.

    if he is talking in general terms then surely he needs to back up such a serious claim with examples

    Does it matter what Hugh Orde even says next week?

    I’d ask that you leave the ‘explain it slowly’ stuff where it belongs, you are talking to another adult

  • tacapall

    SOS no terrorism is terrorism to me it just gets a bit complicated when you start to define similar actions as justified – Something I have never done.

    “Something I’m very much ok with, especially so given that they did give their handcuffs a reasonable workout”

    Yeah I know Im surprised at all those police officers, sorry criminals, who have been hauled before the courts for aiding and abetting murder like Ivor Bell perhaps you remember all those cases what did those officers who supplied the weapons to murder 7 people get charged with or how about those RUC special branch officers who directed and controlled the Mount Vernon UVF, what were they charged with ?

  • Son of Strongbow

    tacapall,

    You’re fun to deal with. No matter what is posted you just go off on your merry way (so the fun turns quickly to boredom).

    Back on the OTR beat: Mr Baxter gave testimony that he was contacted by the Duty ACC. A little clarification on the pertinent aspect of senior police management might help (though I doubt it will add any clarity for some set in their ways).

    The Duty ACC (Assistant Chief Constable – and no the ACC is not the Chief Constable’s PA it is a stand alone police rank that heads a department or a territorial command) is the senior on-call police officer. The CC is not expected to be available 24/7, even someone as exalted as Hugh Orde needs some downtime.

    So it will be interesting to learn how Hugh Orde can state that the phone call referred to by Mr Baxter did not happen as Orde was neither the call’s recipient or involved in subsequently communicating with Baxter.

  • Mick Fealty

    Morph,

    “Does it matter what Hugh Orde even says next week?”

    You’ve changed your tune pretty quickly…

  • Morpheus

    Changed my tune? How do you figure? I see absolutely no reason to doubt Hugh Orde at this stage because even though I had never even heard of Baxter until yesterday, I find his story to be dubious at best. A senior detective comes out with the serious accusation that there was a culture not to prosecute republicans but offers nothing by way of evidence but a phone call which the CC says didn’t happen? Does that sound plausible to you?

    I find it equally implausible that a CC and ACC would open themselves up to career-ending charges of perverting the course of justice “because Gerry said so” and implausible that a detective would simply refuse instruction from superior officers.

    I asked the question “Does it matter what Hugh Orde even says next week?” because I have a feeling that regardless of what he says it will not be believed. It will be like the OTR saga all over again, “it doesn’t matter what the evidence says.” And that’s a quote.

  • tacapall

    Morph you’ve never heard of Norman Baxter ? Perhaps you should look up the Omagh Bomb inquiry and Ronnie Flanagan’s pledge to kill himself.

  • Mark

    Baxter’s claims re Omagh will / are being used to discredit him already .

    Although the thought of a cold war style green ” bat phone ” with it’s red light flashing being installed in the halls of Downing Street , where Gerry can ring and suggest / hint / demand the release of Republicans ( and anti GFA ones at that ) is sure to get on some nerves .

  • zep

    Ah Tap theres no point is there. You know what I’m going I say and I know what you’re going to say. You reckon the ruc and udr were murder gangs, your mind is made up and I’m not going to change it. There are plenty who know different, they held the line and I’m glad they did.

  • Mark

    SOS ,

    I wouldn’t say Robert Hamill’s family would agree with the first part of your 5.24 post .

    I would say they’d find your tosh sauce recipe rather tasteless .

  • Son of Strongbow

    Mark,

    What you wouldn’t or would say is inconsequential. Wildly extrapolating from any given incident to ‘prove’ an already extant wider belief may give the semblance of legitimacy to your argument, but it is in reality without much value.

    (Using a real world victim to do so is just unseemly.)

    Should you chose to believe that every squaddie and cop were/are bad to the bone is a matter for you and far be it from me to disabuse you of your settled mythology.

  • Politico68

    “In the same vein Mr Adams claims on one hand that…
    “…it is a matter of public record that I called for the release of the two men. I also protested to the British Government.”
    And on the other…
    “I did not ask the British Government to intervene with the PSNI.” In other words, Mr A is claiming that whilst he called for the release of the two men, he did not actually want the British to pay a blind bit of notice to his request.”

    Ah Mick, come on now. That’s a stretch now in all fairness. Here is one of those square balls I have mentioned before, you cant seriously expect us to believe that this is your honest conclusion. The two points are similar but different, he is saying he wanted the men released and denying he asked the Brits ‘specifically’ to directly challenge the PSNI. There is nothing strange in that at all. He called for their release, obviously he expected somebody to contact the PSNI to get the lads released, but he didn’t instruct downing street to do it directly themselves, perfectly reasonable.

    Good news for you in the South, SF consolidate their position in the polls and GA is the most popular party leader ;-)

  • Mick Fealty

    I’ve blogged it Pol68… see my comment on party leader ratings on that other thread… It’s a six point rise, which is clearly good…

    but the figures are on how well he’s leading SF, not ‘who’s the best leader…’ :-)

  • tacapall

    Heres what Im talking about SOS – History eventually catches up with you .

    http://www.veteranstoday.com/2014/04/01/mass-murder-of-canadian-children-admitted/

  • Mark

    SOS ,

    Inconsequential to you perhaps however you’re a law upon yourself on this site . Whatever you say goes regardless of any facts put up by any poster .You’re never wrong and revert to a sectarian agrument at the drop off a hat . There must be some kind of record you have set for the use of the word ” mope ” .

    Would you prefer if I made a victim up to make my point . Aren’t you always accusing the CNR community of imagining things and using false stories to garner support .

    I don’t think all cops / soldiers are / were bad apples . I’m not however deluded enough to think everything was sweetness and light .

  • Son of Strongbow

    Mark,

    You deploy a well worn argument often deployed by nationalists. Someone (me in this case) challenges the hyperbole about the sins/alleged sins of ‘State actors’ (in this instance by simple mathematics).

    The response (yours in this case) is “sure you think everything was sweetness and light” or something similar.

    No matter that I have acknowledged that a minority of the many police and soldiers who served in NI did undoubtedly break the law (as I did in my post at 5:24 yesterday, the one you referenced part of).

    Therefore everything was not “sweetness and light”. You’ll find that is often the case in the real world if you ever get to the point to maturely reflect on things

    The argument you use is part of a wider nationalist agenda. One the seeks to draw a parallel between terrorist groups and the security forces. Two portray them as two ‘armies’ equally engaged in a ‘war’. That myth won’t wash with me.

  • IrelandNorth

    Sounds like political pragmatism to me. In any other jurisdiction which conformed to normative paradigms of representative democracy, seperation of powers between legislative, executive and judicial might ordinarily be expected. But in the context of the historical peculiarities of the neo-provincial state that is N Ireland/Ulster (NI/U), which was a considerable distance short of Utopia, such blurred boundaries are perhaps understandable. The end of bringing the hard men in from the cold surely justifies the means of creative diplomacy. Are Ulster unionists suggesting that self-righteous trumped political pragmatism?

  • Morpheus

    I think you are reading waaaay too much into this IN.

    I have no idea if what Baxter is saying is true or not but with everything we have in front of us right now there is nothing whatsoever to backup what he said other than second-hand information about a phone call which the previous CC has denied ever taking place. He has made serious accusations under Parliamentary Privilege with no pressure to back up anything but now that the current CC has asked him to expand on what he said we will see if he cooperates. Fantastic if he does, we can get to the bottom of this, but my guess is that he won’t.

    Are we to believe that the CC through his ACC asked for prisoners to be released and an officer simply refused his superiors? Is that how it works? But setting that aside for a second…hands up, who reading this would put their career, their freedom, their pension and their bumper salaries at risk because “Gerry said so”?

    My guess is no one. Surely the same applies to the CC and ACC

  • tacapall

    “I have no idea if what Baxter is saying is true or not”

    Indeed Morph why would Baxter be economical with the truth to suit a DUP agenda. -

    “Baxter, a former Detective Chief Superintendent and the PSNI’s liaison with MI5 in his final years of service (the mind boggles!), took the line that the British were bending over backwards to appease pro-peace process republicans and that as a result IRA victims were being denied justice. On the face of it that might sound like the sort of complaint one would expect most policemen to make except that Norman Baxter who was once courted as a DUP election candidate, has a most definite Loyalist political agenda and is living proof that the ghost of D I John Nixon still walks the corridors of police headquarters at Knock, the peace process notwithstanding”

    http://thebrokenelbow.com/2014/04/03/norman-baxter-whos-norman-baxter-oh-right-that-norman-baxter/

  • zep

    I love the idea that ‘the peace process’ occured in spite of men like Baxter, when it was largely because of people like him. The susceptibility of PIRA and others to informants and surveillance of all kinds carried out by MI5 and RUC brought them to the table. Notable that the last few dying kicks of that organisation were organised from the basically impenetrable South Armagh (and they locked them up too in the end, didn’t they? Note – arrested by the SAS while prepping an attack – not shot dead). Baxter et al carried out a very succesful counter-insurgency strategy that ultimately brought the IRA to the negotiating table and put its guns in the ground. No wonder people in some quarters are keen to knock his credibility…

  • Mark

    SOS ,

    Perhaps you didn’t get enough sleep or didn’t reflect maturly before you reponded to my post because I clearly stated that I didn’t think everything was sweetness and light .

    Why you then based part of your post on the complete opposite of what I wrote is quite peculiar .

    With regard to State actors etc , I doubt either of us will ever agree . Until all the books are opened you say orange and I say green …. the rest is just conversation .

    Enjoy your weekend !

  • Barnshee

    “The RUC and UDR had their own programmes for murder respectively” – They must have been rubbish at it.

    Number killed Republican murder gangs 2058
    Number killed RUC 55
    http://cain.ulst.ac.uk/cgi-bin/tab2.pl

  • Reader

    Mark: …because I clearly stated that I didn’t think everything was sweetness and light . Why you then based part of your post on the complete opposite of what I wrote is quite peculiar .
    I believe I can help here. When you said “I don’t think all cops / soldiers are / were bad apples . I’m not however deluded enough to think everything was sweetness and light .”
    I took it to mean that you felt SoS was deluded in that way. He responded by denying that he suffered from that delusion.
    In fact, the two of you are only disagreeing over the scale, cause and significance of illegal actions by members of the security forces, not whether they even happened. Fortunately Barnshee has started to introduce some numbers into the discussion, which should help to move matters along in a more productive and equable direction.

  • Morpheus

    55? Where are the 120 or so murders by The Glenanne Gang, compiled of UDR/RUC members accredited?
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Glenanne_gang

  • Son of Strongbow

    Thank you Reader. That was indeed my interpretation of what Mark was implying, the only logical one in my opinion.

    I fear Barnshee’s introduction of facts will not clear up the matter. Stage Two of the nationalist argument I alluded to will now be dredged up :

    1. All loyalist terrorist murders are also down to the State.
    2. Any ‘embarrassing’ (a very relative term in this case) murders by nationalist terrorists are also down to ‘State agents’ (the tier of individual just below official uniformed/plain clothes State Actors).

    By this mechanism the murders committed for example by the so-called ‘IRA Nutting Squad’ or particularly heinous (heinous in their terms from a terrorist PR point of view) bombings (remember at one time the Poppy Day bomb carnage was attributed to radio signals sent by the Army).

    And, 3. Even when nationalist terrorists claimed attacks resulting casualties were ’caused’ by Security Forces purposefully ignoring ‘adequate warnings’ provided by ‘concerned terrorists’.

  • tacapall

    “only disagreeing over the scale, cause and significance of illegal actions by members of the security forces”

    Here we go again, some actions can be called terrorism, others are called illegal acts. For nationalists victims of those illegal acts that’s a get out of jail free card to anyone who engaged in terrorist acts on behalf of their queen.

  • Barnshee

    “55? Where are the 120 or so murders by The Glenanne Gang, compiled of UDR/RUC members accredited?”http://cain.ulst.ac.uk/cgi-bin/tab2.pl

    Protestant murder gangs
    repeats

    http://cain.ulst.ac.uk/cgi-bin/tab2.pl

  • Neil

    Ah the old numbers game.

    Number killed Republican murder gangs 2058
    Number killed RUC 55

    One is a group of all organisations under an umbrella. The other a subset within a group. A simple tactic to minimise one set of numbers and maximise the other. Allow me to reply in kind:

    Murders by the ‘security’ forces: 363
    Murders by the INLA: 113

    So the security forces are obviously more murderous that the INLA (and OIRA, CRF, IPLO, DAAD, and rIRA) by your rationale. Fair enough?

    SoS then produces his tactic to minimise his friends in the ‘security forces’ culpability:

    Stage Two of the nationalist argument I alluded to will now be dredged up :

    1. All loyalist terrorist murders are also down to the State.
    2. Any ‘embarrassing’ (a very relative term in this case) murders by nationalist terrorists are also down to ‘State agents’ (the tier of individual just below official uniformed/plain clothes State Actors).

    No one is saying that ‘all’ Loyalist murders were down to the state. Do you accept than any or many were? You see we knew many years ago that the ‘security forces’ assisted in murder, and that was always denied by SoS fellow travellers in the Loyalist apologist wing, but it’s kind of harder to deny now that we know for a cast iron fact that it happened.

    Any ‘embarrassing’ (a very relative term in this case) murders by nationalist terrorists are also down to ‘State agents’ (the tier of individual just below official uniformed/plain clothes State Actors).

    Don’t see anyone saying that either, what I do see is a logical response to the oft trotted out line (by ‘security force’ fetishists) that the IRA was riddled from top to bottom with informers. Do the Brits have the blood of people murdered by their own agents (which most assuredly did happen) on their hands? Some would say yes.

    So that greater than 10% of murders in the troubles committed by ‘security forces’ is likely to swell at least a little bit (363 as a proportion of 3531).

    But it seems some of you Unionist boys would like to pretend that there’s no equivalence between the unofficial terrorists and your terrorist mates in uniform, while at the same time comparing numbers like having killed a rock bottom minimum of 10% of the three and a half thousand people killed here is something to be proud of.

  • Morpheus

    So they changed their clothes and they go in a different category barnshee

  • Mark

    Reader ,

    I appreciate your honest attempt to clarify my sweetness and light post ….I don’t think anyone at this stage believes everything was sweetness etc . Your right in your assertion that SOS and I disagree to the extent of what happened in the dirty war . I read a book in the early 90s written by Martin Dillon called The Dirty War ( as I’m sure did alot of people ) which I found quite disturbing . Many books have been written since and information has been released documenting a much more dirtier war . Horrer stories on both sides .

    I’ve been on this site long enough to accept that some opinions will never change regardless of evidence presented ( by both sides ) and until both governments come clean , this will never change …….which is a shame because before I started reading this site and others like it , I had a preconcieved idea of what ” the other community ” was like . This has changed for me over the last few years although I feel the two governments ( esp the British one – surprise surprise ) have most to answer for .

    I don’t want to end my post finger pointing Reader …so enjoy the rest of your weekend .

  • Mark

    cont ….

    Fishers of men by ” Rob Lewis ” ( Philip Campbell Smith ) was another book written by an ex FRU member which HMG tried to ban .

    Revelations in the book confirm certain CNR conspiracy theories …..

  • Reader

    tacapall: Here we go again, some actions can be called terrorism, others are called illegal acts. For nationalists victims of those illegal acts that’s a get out of jail free card to anyone who engaged in terrorist acts on behalf of their queen.
    Well, terrorist acts are usually defined by motive, whereas illegal acts are defined by the law. Most terrorist acts are illegal (at least at their culmination), whereas most illegal acts are not terrorism.
    But I’m particularly impressed by your second point. Committing illegal acts is not normally a get out of jail free card – by definition! If it was, the Provos’ defence barristers would have used that in their trials.

  • Barnshee

    “So they changed their clothes and they go in a different category barnshee”

    Indeed they do they are acting as individuals ” they changed their clothes” and acted against the prescribed codes of behavior laid down by their employer and where they are proved guilty the full force of the legal process should be applied.

    And this is where the the whole “state involvement” falls

    The “state” sets out clear rules which prohibit certain actions by its servants Where such servants are proved guilty of breach of these rules– they –NOT state are guilty-and regardless of their status should be make accountable by the STATE

  • Morpheus

    So how good a job do you think a policeman would do protecting both communities during the day if his plan is to stick on a pair of jeans and murder innocent people from one community later that night?

    How do you square circles like this:
    “I recall that in 1970 or 1971, while I was serving as a young constable, aged 20, in Strandtown there was an arms amnesty in which members of the public handed in substantial quantities of guns and ammunition of different types. Many of these guns were then given out by RUC officers to local members of a Loyalist paramilitary organization, the Ulster Defence Association, with the knowledge of the senior officers in my station. On one occasion I was ordered by Inspector Don Milligan to remove a number of rifles which had been handed in under the amnesty, and place them in the boot of his car. I do not know where he took them but it was common knowledge among my colleagues that such weapons were being given to Loyalists whom my colleagues supported. “

    You know what? I could go on all day but I don’t think I need to do I – just read Lethal Allies.

  • http://freegerry.com mcclafferty

    Aquifer

    ““Mr McGeough was subsequently convicted for attempted murder” “And has since become a strange and possibly dangerous nuisance to SF and the authorities”

    Rather a reckless statement to make about Mr. McGeough being “strange and a possible danger to SF and the authorities”. What facts do you have to base these statements on? I hope you are not trying to get Mr. McGeough re-arrested with comments like that?

  • http://freegerry.com mcclafferty

    “ADAMS’ ACTIONS COUNTER TO MCGEOUGH CLAIMS” Irish News, April 5, 2014. Opinions, page 19.

    Newton’s skewered Laws of Reality

    Here we go again. Newton Emerson, the world’s un-funniest would-be satirist and less than convincing, intellectual pretensions is once again making a feeble attempt to smear Gerry McGeough.

    Although Gerry has dismissed the opinions of an “inbred Portadown Planter” as being utterly irrelevant, I nevertheless feel that it’s important to counter his outrageous claims in (April 5th, 2014) Irish News.

    In gushing praise of Gerry Adams, Newton suggests that ex-RUC Special Branch man Norman Baxter’s recent allegation that Adams demanded the British Government intervene and have McGeough released following his post-election arrest in 2007 somehow undermines McGeough’s credibility!

    If anything, McGeough’s credibility is considerably enhanced by the whole episode. Apart from his sinister RUC background, which involved liaison work with MI5, Baxter’s testimony is questionable by any standards and the man clearly has an axe or two to grind. He provides no evidence to date to support his claims and even Gerry Adams himself disputes the allegations.

    The dogs in the street know that had Gerry McGeough been a member of Sinn Féin he would never have been imprisoned or even arrested. Sinn Féin DID intervene to have John Downey released and they left Gerry McGeough to his fate. Had Adams and SF ever been serious about the McGeough case they would have refused to go into government with the DUP in 2007 until McGeough and McAnespie were released and all proceedings dropped in that and future cases. You can be sure that Blair, Ahern, et al, would have moved heaven and earth to acquiesce in order to get the Assembly finally up and running with Paisley and Co all aboard.

    There can be no doubt that Adams did contact the British over Gerry McGeough’s arrest on March 8th, 2007. The man was under enormous pressure with egg all over his beard. Sinn Féin had just railroaded the republican electorate in the Six-Counties into supporting the RUC/PSNI, urging them to become informers en masse and even join up.

    Gerry McGeough had warned against this policy and now found himself arrested and about to pay a high price for the stance he’d taken. The electorate were disgusted, feeling that they had been sold a pup by Sinn Féin and were telling them so in no uncertain terms following McGeough’s arrest. The treachery of the British made the Sinn Féin leadership look like a bundle of gullible fools. Naturally, Adams, probably very reluctantly, called on the British to release Gerry McGeough.

    It is the understanding of the “Free Gerry McGeough Campaign” that Adams spoke with the then Secretary of State for the Six-Counties Peter Hain about the matter. Hain’s response, apparently, was that Gerry McGeough would “only have to do two years”! This, incidentally, was days before McGeough was officially charged with anything. Clearly the British had already made their decision. The rubber-stamping show-trial would follow.

    For Newton Emerson to try and portray this in any other light and somehow suggest that Gerry Adams and the British conspired to free Gerry McGeough is pathetic beyond words. Obviously, the collective fear of what Gerry McGeough represents and stands for remains very real in the psyche of these people.

    Helen McClafferty

    Former chairwoman for the Free Gerry McGeough Campaign USA.

  • zep

    “Murders by the ‘security’ forces: 363
    Murders by the INLA: 113

    So the security forces are obviously more murderous that the INLA (and OIRA, CRF, IPLO, DAAD, and rIRA) by your rationale. Fair enough?”

    They certainly killed more people. As to whether they were more ‘murderous’ or not? Depends on what that word means. The SF were certainly more numerous, active for longer in many cases and indeed had the right to use force up to and including lethal force under certain circumstances. So based on your numbers all we can say is that they killed more people; as you note in your final point, not necessarily something worth celebrating in our sad little history.

    “No one is saying that ‘all’ Loyalist murders were down to the state. Do you accept than any or many were?”

    I am sure Strongbow, like most of us on here, accepts that some loyalist murders were either facilitated or carried out by the security forces.

    “Don’t see anyone saying that either, what I do see is a logical response to the oft trotted out line (by ‘security force’ fetishists) that the IRA was riddled from top to bottom with informers.”

    This is something that, much like state collusion with loyalist terrorists, we are seeing more and more evidence of as the years go by. The number of informants in PIRA and the rest is reasonably quantifiable, and the bottom line is this – human intelligence is the number one way of disrupting criminal activity, bar none. You don’t have to be a, ahem, ‘fetishist’ to see that. I have no doubt that the security forces here went to extraordinary, devious, underhand and no doubt at times illegal lengths to recruit informers – because they are extremely effective. The morality of this will be debated long after we are all gone, however the results will stand. Perhaps one day the books will be opened and we can all see exactly who knew what about who, and to whom they were talking. I doubt it though – it’s in absolutely nobody’s interests (with the exception perhaps of victims).

    ” Do the Brits have the blood of people murdered by their own agents (which most assuredly did happen) on their hands? Some would say yes.”

    I would definitely say yes.

    “But it seems some of you Unionist boys would like to pretend that there’s no equivalence between the unofficial terrorists and your terrorist mates in uniform, while at the same time comparing numbers like having killed a rock bottom minimum of 10% of the three and a half thousand people killed here is something to be proud of.”

    You are doing what you accused SoS of earlier and attacking an argument he didn’t actually make, vis. ‘there’s no equivalence between the unofficial terrorists and your terrorist mates in uniform’.

  • Morpheus

    Who’da thunk it…

    “At no time did Number 10 try to influence my decision-making. At no time did any secretary of state – and I had four of those – try to influence me,” said Sir Hugh.

    “And at no time did any official from the Northern Ireland Office ever try to influence my operational decision-making. And had they, I would have made it public immediately.”

    http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-northern-ireland-26944509

    He told MPs on Wednesday that Mr Baxter had discovered that Mr Downey was still wanted by the Metropolitan Police over the bombing but had failed to inform the PSNI’s assistant chief constable at the time.

    “The view of Mr Baxter was that if he came into Northern Ireland, we would not have enough to arrest him and therefore he was not technically wanted by the PSNI,” he said.

    “Of course, Mr Baxter did checks that enabled him to understand he was still wanted by the Metropolitan Police in London, which is another part of the United Kingdom.

    “So had that been known, Mr Downey would have been arrested in Northern Ireland. Mr Baxter did not share that information with Mr Sheridan – I think that is the basic failure.”