Nothing comes from nothing?

Bruce Arnold writing in yesterday’s Sunday Independent reckons that the IRA’s secret, illegal and wholly unaccountable self investigation will satisfy no one but its own support:

The IRA has owned up publicly. It has made some attempt to deliver on promised expulsions, conceding ‘involvement’, but leaving unresolved what the McCartneys want in terms of justice. Having killed their victim and seriously injured his friend, members of the organisation then destroyed the evidence of the crime. The IRA would have done nothing to rectify this without the courageous campaign of the family. The subsequent IRA investigation was secret, illegal, and carried the implied threat of further illegal sanctions and of possible violence.

However, he points out:

Some will welcome their move as better than nothing. But it does not meet the position of the McCartney’s sisters, who have expressed confidence in the PSNI investigation. They want those with information to give it to the police. The people with information are the IRA. The IRA will not co-operate with the PSNI investigation.

With an echo of Lear, he hints that the organisation’s reassurances can be read an ominnous intent to do nothing:

This puts in question the IRA’s statement that “nothing” should impede the family’s search for justice. It is also ominous about further possible violence in the references to the fact that “intimidation or threats will not be tolerated”.

  • Oilbhéar Chromaill

    Wouldn’t it be great if such crusading human rights campaigners as Bruce Arnold took uop his rapier-sharp pen on behalf of victims of loyalist and security force killings….

  • Mick Fealty

    Oibhear, I’ve done the glossary post on whataboutery, and there’s another gestating on playing the ball rather than the man. Must get on to that soonish!

  • Oilbhéar Chromaill

    So what are you saying Mick? That a question about the motivation behind articles written by the likes of Bruce Arnold OBE isn’t allowable?
    To my mind this goes to the heart of the matter – the media bandwagon on the McCartney killing is not about getting justice for the McCartney families – and I make no bones about my own support for their campaign to get those who committed this murder behind bars – it’s about attacking Sinn Féin and the broader republican movement.

    The same media bandwagon will gloss over many other murders committed by the security forces with and without loyalist collusion and describe it as ‘whinging’ or ‘mopery’ or ‘an aggrieved sense of victimhood’. But where was Bruce Arnold when he was needed to stand up against the brutality of British forces in Ireland?

    Polishing his mantlepiece in anticipation of his OBE?

  • Mick Fealty

    I’ve not disallowed it Oilbhéar. I’ve no idea what Arnold’s motivation is. And I don’t care. The subject is alternative (albeit oppositionist) reading of Adams’ statement. To that extent it’s interesting. I’d prefer to hear how he’s in error than a reading of his political bias.

    I’m well aware of his paper’s stance on this matter. But the worrying thing from a SF point of view is that it’s not simply that the party is suffering from an unfairly put case against Sinn Fein and the activities of the IRA. This particular narrative is prospering in part because the party is not offering a counter narrative.

    Again, for the purposes of Slugger, I’m not particularly interested in speculating why that might be – unless, of course, I had it from the horse’s mouth. But surely not all of the party’s critics are motivated by a similar dislike/distrust?

    The right in Britain and Ireland has never liked Sinn Fein. But this week’s New Statesman’s editorial has to be an indication that the party is increasingly isolated – on both left and right.

    Can they all be on the same bandwagon?

  • Davros

    I make no bones about my own support for their campaign to get those who committed this murder behind bars

    Back to this again – only those who ‘committed’ ?
    Should the man who ordered the attack and those involved in the clean-up afterwards also not be behind bars ?

  • George

    Bruce Arnold wants:

    citizens of the Irish Republic to be able to claim British citizenship as of right

    to get rid of the Irish national anthem

    to rewrite the Irish constitution

    remove the status given to the Irish language in the Irish constitution

    Ireland to rejoin the Commonwealth to help its “confidence” (your guess is as good as mine – winning medals maybe?)

    To assign our national flag to the dustbin

    With ideas like that, the tiny IRSP probably have more support than Arnold does but I don’t see people rushing to print their views on the current state of the peace process.

  • barney

    George

    You misrepresent Mr Arnold. Is it not the case that his primary objective in life is to get The Angelus off RTE? There’s less to his policies than meet the eye.

  • Oilbhéar Chromaill

    Just for you Davros – I want all involved with the killing in any way to be brought to justice, in a court of law. Is there anything about that which is not clear to you?

  • mickhall

    For some Provisional republicans this is a bit more complicated than some may think. Say a young man who has recently joined the PIRA was told by a more senior officer to take part in the cleaning up of the crime scene. Is he as guilty as the man who used the knife? whilst I may feel it was foolish for him to join PIRA at this time, he may well have done so for patriotic motives. Im not justifying this crime just pointing out it may well be complicated for senior republicans. Are they to throw this youngster to the PSNI like a bone to satisfy public opinion, or do they have a responsibility to protect him once they have court-martialled the main culprits?

    Of course this is likely to happen again unless PIRA is stood down.

  • Circles

    The republicans I’ve been in contact with (non-SF members, but SF voters) have absolutely no regard for the people behind this murder and any action taken to try and cover it up. There is not only a revulsion, but propoer outrage (as has been witnessed by some of the demos etc.).
    However they do not see it as having been a “republican” murder. Yes they say, the murderers and the accomplices may have been IRA men, but they did not represent the IRA when they were doing this. They are just scumbags. And in saying this there is of course a clear acknowledgement that there are extremely undesirable elements within the IRA – BUT this does not represent for them what the republican movement is about.

  • Ringo

    Is he as guilty as the man who used the knife? whilst I may feel it was foolish for him to join PIRA at this time, he may well have done so for patriotic motives.

    Mick, this is appalling.

    For Gods sake, man, stop trying to rationalise this within your own view of the IRA. Of course he’s guilty. It is bad enough to hear the ‘just following orders’ coming from the likes of Abu Ghraib – but it is worse to hear it suggested as an excuse in this instance.

    This wasn’t a military conflict – it was a bar. Misplaced patriotism is no excuse for complicity in such a horrendous crime. If they thought for a second that this sort of carry on could be reconciled with patriotism they are morally warped.

  • mickhall

    Ringo,
    It is not how I rationalise things that matters, what is important is to try and understand how the leadership of PIRA may be thinking on this. For it is only they who have the power to turn all of the culprits in.

  • barney

    The PSNI have just arrested a suspect. This is the way to go, rather than the silly suggestion that he IRA should turn all the culprits in. Everybody knows who the suspects are and for the most part, where they are. It’s now up to the PSNI to act like policemen.

  • Belfast Gonzo

    I could’ve sworn the three expelled from the IRA had fled to the Republic. No?

  • PaddyCanuck

    Gonzo, as of yesterday Gonzo, the media were reporting that two of the main culprits were still in their homes in the Short Strand. I read this in more than one article.

    The police are not doing a good job on this, which is not unusual, as witnessed by there pathetic clean up rate of crimes in general.

    Repeated calls for the IRA to hand over 20 odd people to the police, is also a cynical attempt to weaken the Republican movement. The police know who the people are involved, they have known for sometime. they could have lifted them and charged them if they had evidence. What should the IRA do, abduct them, bring them to the bArracks, and submit the findings of their internal inquiry to the police, would this be a basis for charges, would they stand up in a court of law. The answer? no they would not.

    It would just be another opportunity for the Media and political opponents to attack the RM.

    The bar is being set much too high, this is deliberate and calculated. The IRA is being asked to force people to testify against themsleves and others, how do you suggest this should be done, through the barrel of a gun?

  • barney

    According to the McArtneys the culprits and their helpers are still knocking about. The PSNI have no interest in bringing them to book as leaving turning a blind eye while ringing their hands (yes, it can be done) does more damage to the IRA. As usual, the PSNI are continuing where the RUC left off.

  • PaddyCanuck

    “Meanwhile, the police have said they are no longer looking for people outside Northern Ireland in connection with the killing.

    Earlier, Chief Constable Hugh Orde said a number of people wanted for questioning had left the jurisdiction.”

    Thats a pretty quick turnaround? Keystone Orde.

  • PaddyCanuck

    I wonder when his fellow officers will debunk his theories about the money from Cork being from the Northern raid?

  • James

    If I pick up the National Inquirer I get the latest scoop on the Aliens, who they abducted this week and when Elvis was last seen at the 7-11. When I pick up the National Review I can readily find out that it was really all Clinton’s fault after all, whatever “it” was.

    When I pick up the Sindo, Clinton and the Aliens morph into Gerry Adams …… Sunday after Sunday after Bloody Sunday. God, how these reactionaries love to hate this character! It lends him a sort of immortality, like Nixon. When he dies are you going to stuff him into the shamrock version of Lenin’s tomb and throw rotten tomatos at it every July 12th and November 11th?

    To wit:

    “THE problems faced by Gerry Adams, as shown in last week’s opinion polls, won’t go away, you know. “

    Ok, let’s have a show of hands. How many of you have bet the grocery money that:
    Adams will not survive as Sinn Fein President after this Ard Fheis??
    Adams will not be reelected MP?
    Sinn Fein has lost any of it’s core support?
    This guy won’t try to play on “They haven’t gone away, you know” again with the next six months? Just say no, Bruce.

    It has made some attempt to deliver on promised expulsions, conceding ‘involvement’, but leaving unresolved what the McCartneys want in terms of justice.

    DUH!! It’s not about the McCartneys, it’s about doing just enough to maintain Sinn Fein’s their core support and not one molecule more. Would you expect George Walker Bush to do any differently? Patrick Bartholomew Ahern? Anthony Charles Lynton Blair?

    In the obligatory begrudgery passage (I swear, these broadsides are beginning to have a ritualized structure like a sonnet) he morphs the IRA statement:

    which seems perfectly clear to this redneck that if anyone impedes the investigation their sorry ass is going to get kicked from hell to breakfast …..

    into an “ominous implied threat (to the general population, perhaps?)

    Well DUH!! again! As if the PSNI can do anything to protect people in the Short Strand from anyone, let alone this IRA crew. Isn’t the whole point bringing these bozos to account or are you so hung up on procedure that you’re paralyzed? As if the stateside cops never cooperated with the mob whenever one set of wise guys decided to rat out another set of wise guys?

    Life is short, winners don’t pass up opportunity, only losers do.

    That’s Mick picked up on, the red meat of the article. I read further and observed something that tickled my Discovery Channel persona. It is when he cites the polls (which eventually negate his opening statement, but I digress…..)

    Almost half the electorate believes Michael McDowell’s ………………

    Three-quarters of the population think that the involvement ……………..

    We should all be agreed by now that the media frenzy has had an impact on public opinion. What we have here is one of the media flacks that generated that frenzy citing the poll results in a polemic in order to generate more frenzy. It is a textbook example of positive feedback on a system, in all probability an undamped one. Oh, the beauty of it all.

  • Roger W. Christ XVII

    I’m very confused. When the police searched houses of republicans in the Markets they were accused of harrassment. Now that they are not pestering republicans they are being accused of not doing their job.

    I think it’s pretty straightforward, the police aren’t arresting people because they don’t have any evidence upon which they can press charges. They don’t have any evidence because the IRA are withholding it. I’m not sure if I’m alone in this, but if someone asked me to “hand myself in” over something I would take that to mean they intended me to confess. The police can’t do anything unless either the IRA confess or the witnesses feel confident enough to talk.

  • PaddyCanuck

    So the question still remains Roger, how do the IRA compel people to confess, do they abduct them and bring them to the barracks? do they force them to go through the barrel of a gun? Do they hold a member of there family hostage?

    What is your preferred method? Ask them nicely?

    What if they refuse?

  • Belfast Gonzo

    Gonzo, as of yesterday Gonzo, the media were reporting that two of the main culprits were still in their homes in the Short Strand. I read this in more than one article.

    Me too, but there are conflicting reports, and as a good republican, you’ll know not to trust them all as accurate…

    The police are not doing a good job on this, which is not unusual, as witnessed by there pathetic clean up rate of crimes in general.

    It’s actually improved, and is pretty good compared to most UK and other EU police services, but we could argue about that all night, so go on…

    Repeated calls for the IRA to hand over 20 odd people to the police

    12 or 13, according to all reports, but then, me and you don’t take nothing in the press for granted!

    is also a cynical attempt to weaken the Republican movement.

    Yup, for some people definitely. Others think it’s just calling for witnesses to come forward. Like Gerry Adams, for example.

    The police know who the people are involved, they have known for sometime. they could have lifted them and charged them if they had evidence.

    Wasn’t evidence removed by some of those alleged to be involved? Most people know who was involved. It’s no longer a big secret.

    What should the IRA do, abduct them

    Two wrongs, don’t make a right…

    bring them to the bArracks, and submit the findings of their internal inquiry to the police, would this be a basis for charges, would they stand up in a court of law. The answer? no they would not.

    Quite right. Which is why the legal process should be gone through properly. Even Sinn Fein seems to be coming round to this conclusion.

    It would just be another opportunity for the Media and political opponents to attack the RM.

    Exactly, so give evidence to the courts, like Gerry Adams said he would.

    The bar is being set much too high, this is deliberate and calculated. The IRA is being asked to force people to testify against themsleves and others, how do you suggest this should be done, through the barrel of a gun?

    Absolutely not. And not at knifepoint either. A court would suffice in this particular instance, as republicans here have argued.

  • Hardy Handshake

    PaddyCanuck

    What would you do – shoot them on suspicion ? Why is that some unionists (still !) fail to understand that people complaining, rightly most of the time, about the heavy-handedness of the cops in nationalist working class areas, doesn’t necessarily mean that those people are willfully obstructing the McCartney investigation – they’re simply tired of uniformed bigotry and their communities being scapegoated and being treated less favourably than the tax-dodging toffs in Hillsborough. It doesn;’t make them bad people.

    If the B Special offspring generation of small-minded parochial ignorance-immersed right-wing unionist politicians grew up and had disbanded the RUC as they should have done we likely wouldn’t be in this mess.

    If you want genuine justice in the Mccartney case, in ALL cases, give the people, ALL of the people, a police force which is balanced, ethical, accountable, well-trained, progressive -of the community, from the community, for the community if you will – and which people don’t resent paying their hard-earned taxes towards maintaining and thus having a stake in supporting.

  • DessertSpoon

    Hardy – I think that’s what Patten was trying to do and what the implementation of his recommendations has been trying to do. (I know not all of them have been implemented) The problem is when a significant section of the population (STILL!) won’t get involved in Policing and when the Political representatives of that section (STILL!) won’t take on their responsibility for Policing you will be waiting a long long time for “a police force which is balanced, ethical, accountable, well-trained, progressive -of the community, from the community, for the community” .

  • Ringo

    Mickhall

    It is not how I rationalise things that matters, what is important is to try and understand how the leadership of PIRA may be thinking on this. For it is only they who have the power to turn all of the culprits in.

    Point taken, Mick.

    They shouldn’t have that power. Who’s going to fix that?