Adams blinks first..?

A SPANISH radio station is carrying an interview – reported here by the BBC – in which Gerry Adams says that he “might be wrong” about IRA involvement in the Northern Bank raid. Listen here. Ma Bear points out that this is not the first time the Sinn Fein leadership has deliberately refused to be definitive about an IRA role in the robbery.

  • alex s

    Roughly translated for all you non-spanish speakers “The Provos definitely didn’t do it, I think”

  • Pat Mc Larnon

    Non story Gonzo, must do better than deliberately false headlines.

  • Davros

    Your reaction shows the headline was a good one pat.

  • Jacko

    Gonzo

    Big story actually, BBC NI are running with it. I read it here first, so, considering my points re. blogging and journalism on another thread, well done on that front.

  • Pat Mc Larnon

    Davros,

    The headline states ‘Adams blinks first’ what is that all about. Anyone listening to his interview could hear that wasn’t the case at all.

    I’m chuffed that you put so much store by my reaction, are you a stalker by any chance lol.

  • armaghman

    He’s also accused the Spanish journos of a conspiracy to trap him into telling on Spain and the Basque country how to solve their problems on TVE this morning

  • Ringo

    You know well he’s not Stalker, Pat.

    Sure you’ve made it clear you wouldn’t ever talk to a policeman!

  • Davros

    The headline states ‘Adams blinks first’ what is that all about.

    There’s been a string contest pat. SF vs all the other main players. No it wasn’t vs yes it was. Adams blinked first with “I might be wrong”.

  • George

    The perils of simultaneous translation. No wonder the EU doesn’t offer transcripts of how its interpreters translate the MEP’s or we’d have this type of story every day of the week.

  • slackjaw

    An interesting enough interview. It is always strange to hear people from your own country being interviewed for audiences in other countries.

    As George alludes to, the dynamic of a simultaneously translated interview is completely different to an ordinary one. There are additional difficulties for both interviewer and interviewee.

    For instance, the presenter curiously starts off by saying that because Gerry Adams speaks Irish, the work of the translator will be difficult due to his English being ‘deliberately marked’ by his ‘native language’.

    Because of lengthy pauses and unreliable body language, there can be an impulse on the part of the interviewee to say more in order to ‘fill in gaps’. Adams’ ‘I might be wrong’ is just that, I reckon.

    For most of the interview, Adams sounds cautious and conscious of his (Spanish) audience. I think it is unrealistic to expect that in such a dynamic, Gerry Adams would have the capacity or inclination to ‘pointedly leave the door open to doubt’, as the Guardian puts it.

  • Jacko

    Of course, must be the damned interpreters fault.
    Probably a securocrat in disguise, or might be standing as a candidate in some future election in some part of Ireland, or anti-peace process or PSNI agent or MI5 or MI6 or MFI..blah…blah…blah

  • Davros

    What was it that MM said ? Something along the lines of ‘That might be literally what I said but don’t interpret it literally ‘ ?

  • drumcree

    Eactly Davros, I think it was very clear.

    The Newsletter’s overview of recent events is interesting:

    http://www.newsletter.co.uk/story/18389

  • Pat Mc Larnon

    Davros,

    I believe that the PSNI blinked first and haven’t stopped since.

    Their failure to achieve anything from the bank raid forced them into a series of hapless and fruitless raids.
    Instead of trying to build a case they acted under political pressure and their intelligence was exposed as fraudulent.

    Blinking all the way to Beragh and back.

  • slackjaw

    Jacko,

    I am only giving my opinion based on my experiences working as an interpreter. Parsing political utterances for every nuance and ulterior significance might be your ‘pan y mantequilla’, as John Toshack might say, but it’s not mine.

    Is it not reasonable to suggest that prevaling interpretations may be wrong without it being implied that one is a paranoid SF sympathiser? (I assume I am interpreting your remarks correctly.)

    I do not believe that it is ‘the damned interpreters fault’ at all – Adams gives the interview in English, and she does an excellent job of translating Adams’ remarks into Spanish (apart from some confusion over the meaning of the word ‘turf’, which she perhaps understandably took to mean a type of grass.).

    It’s the fault of the ‘damned interpreters’ here. Word fetishists to a man.

  • Davros

    I believe that the PSNI blinked first and haven’t stopped since.

    It might suit you to believe that pat 🙂
    Bottom line – the PSNI are still saying that it was the IRA, Adams has said that he doesn’t know ….

  • willowfield

    How does Pat McLarnon know that the raids were fruitless or that the PSNI does not have a case?

  • George

    Jacko,
    interpreters have an incredibly tough job trying to immediately translate cultural nuances locked up in the message, which is why they are so well paid.

    They do make mistakes all the time but are infinitely better than the person trying to translate themselves.

    Helmut Kohl’s famous quote to Margaret Thatcher shows he didn’t understand there is no formal greeting pronoun in English for instance:

    “You can say you to me.”

  • Jacko

    Slackjaw
    Actually it was George’s point of 10-43 I was responding to. But then, what the hell, no harm done. At least it gave you an opportunity to boast about your multi-lingual talents.

  • Jacko

    Yeah, yeah, yeah, George. We get the message, Slackjaw’s not the only one who can speak other languages.
    And, like you both said before, it was the damned interpreters fault.

  • Belfast Gonzo

    Pat

    The headline states ‘Adams blinks first’ what is that all about. Anyone listening to his interview could hear that wasn’t the case at all.

    I hate to state the obvious, but anyone with a reasonable grasp of the English language will tell you that a question mark at the end of a headline indicates a question, not a statement.

    It invites the reader to make their own mind up, and does not state any opinion in and of itself.

    It’s quite simple, really.

  • slackjaw

    Jacko,

    ‘At least it gave you an opportunity to boast about your multi-lingual talents.’

    Mange tout, my son, mange tout.

  • Jacko

    slackjaw

    Verbum sapienti satis.

    In this case three -“…might be wrong.

  • mickhall

    I have no idea if this was a mistake by the interpreter, maybe? Or this could be another example of what makes Adams such an able politician. For mistake or not, I have no doubt that if the Heist is proved to be the work of PIRA, Mr Adams when told he always denied this was so, will swiftly pull a transcript of this interview from his pocket and say, “no, not at all, in Madrid back in mid February, I said I could be wrong about it not being the work of the IRA”.

  • slackjaw

    mickhall,

    It is definitely not the fault of the interpreter as because the remark was made in English.

    (Although as Gerry Adams himself points out at the start of the interview, he ‘understands’ English, but his ‘own language’ is Irish. So maybe he mistranslated himself 🙂 )

  • Jacko

    “Although as Gerry Adams himself points out at the start of the interview, he ‘understands’ English, but his ‘own language’ is Irish.”

    Did you ever hear such nonsense – not from you Slackjaw, but Gerry.

    Apparently Breige Rogers used to be in stitches at Adams and co. (excepting De Brun) mangling their way through a couple of basic sentences in their “own language” when they were all in negotiations.

  • mickhall

    Apparently Breige Rogers used to be in stitches at Adams and co. (excepting De Brun) mangling their way through a couple of basic sentences in their “own language” when they were all in negotiations.

    Posted by: Jacko

    Jacko,
    Does this not tell us more about Breige Rogers than Gerry Adams and co. Few of the latter grew up with the Irish Language, the fact they bothered to learn it and speak it at times to express their Irishness,is surly something to be admired, not sneered over. A bit of middle class pomposity there on her part me thinks.

  • Jacko

    MickHall

    It might of course.
    But the point I was making is how totally ridiculous it is of Adams to say I “understand” English but “my own language” is Irish.
    As though he struggled a bit with English but was far more comfortable communicating in the Irish language.
    He would have crapped himself if the interviewer had said ok and then launched into fluent Irish.

  • Pat Mc Larnon

    Fair enough Gonzo, my mistake.

  • Davros

    Gonzo – to be honest, sticking a question mark after a statement is one of the oldest blog-tricks in the book ;)( Have done it myself ) So the misunderstanding is understandable ?

  • mickhall

    Fair point Jacko, something similar, although none political happened to me in a Turkish bazaar, I was approached by a tout and asked where I was from, I replied Poland, hoping he would leave me alone, but he suddenly broke into Polish, as a swiftly moved on somewhat shamefaced.

  • George

    Verbum sapienti satis.

    Jacko,
    yeah, yeah, we get the message, you were classically educated or you just have a few Latin phrases. By the way, you don’t have to speak languages to know that an interpreter’s job is a difficult one, you merely need to understand the process. It’s called translation theory.

  • Jacko

    Nice one Mickhall.
    Would love to have been standing beside you when that happened.

    George
    Thanks for that. I wondered what the hell it was called.

  • Belfastwhite

    This theory kind of blows the Independantly Monitoring Catholics Commission and Bertie Ahern’s assertations that the Northern Bank raid was carried out by the IRA with the prior knowledge of the SINN FEIN LEADERSHIP! Now you can’t have it two ways.

  • Belfast Gonzo

    There’s only one person on the Army Council Belfastwhite? I thought it was seven… maybe the reference to the leadership didn’t necessarily mean Adams.