Sinn Fein's Watergate, a policing debacle, or what?

Further to Pete’s flagging of Kevin Toolis’ upcoming Channel 4 documentary this Thursday. Set your videos! Amongst the allegations (vigorously denied) is that Sinn Fein’s former VP and fund raiser Phil Flynn was involved in trying to set up a property deal in Bulgaria on behalf of the Republican Movement, which fell through in the wake of the Northern Bank raid.

There are no charges yet other than for a minor firearms offence. And there has been little public evidence of significant lines of enquiry. However, Watergate took over three years from offence to the resignation of President Nixon. We wait to gauge whether Toolis’s programme is more Woodward/Bernstein or Michael Moore.

  • Oilbhéar Chromaill

    For someone who so often chides others about man not ball attacks, Mick’s gratuitious insult to Michael Moore is baffling to me.

    Moore may not be an objective journalist – but he gets his facts right. The implication of Mick’s remark, it seems to me, is that there’s some question mark over the quality and accuracy of Michael Moore’s work. I think people have problems with his point of view – but I have heard no credible disputation of the facts he uses.

    I think, on this occasion, Mick should hand himself a yellow card for an unnecessary ‘man not ball’ attack.

  • Mick

    Thanks OC. I’ll consider myself duly chastised.

    I was trying to draw a distinction between a political satirist and serious journalism. I’ve no doubt MM is seriously motivated. But his material is, like that of a columnists, carefully chosen to make a particular point. It’s a point that many posters on Slugger like to make about certain Irish journalists.

    I meant no personal slight to Moore. But there is a world of difference between his Fahrenheit 9/11 output, and the journalistic industry of the Bernstein/Woodward project.

  • Pete

    What a nonsense programme this is going to be. Yet we can expect the DUP to be quoting it for years to come.

  • Mike

    “What a nonsense programme this is going to be.”

    Sometimes reamrks on here seem like they belong in the realms of satire, this is a good example!

    OC –

    “The implication of Mick’s remark, it seems to me, is that there’s some question mark over the quality and accuracy of Michael Moore’s work. I think people have problems with his point of view – but I have heard no credible disputation of the facts he uses.”

    I’m pretty sure I have actually – I think one example was the figure he quoted in Fahernheit 9/11 of how much money the US government had ‘given to the Taliban’, which was in fact a figure of aid given (maybe to the UN) for use in Afghanistan.

    I think he also said in that film Saddam’s Irag had never tried to attack any American not long after saying something like there was a Bush vendetta against Saddam because he’d tried to assassinate Bush senior.

  • Mike

    “What a nonsense programme this is going to be.”

    Sometimes reamrks on here seem like they belong in the realms of satire, this is a good example!

    OC –

    “The implication of Mick’s remark, it seems to me, is that there’s some question mark over the quality and accuracy of Michael Moore’s work. I think people have problems with his point of view – but I have heard no credible disputation of the facts he uses.”

    I’m pretty sure I have actually – I think one example was the figure he quoted in Fahernheit 9/11 of how much money the US government had ‘given to the Taliban’, which was in fact a figure of aid given (maybe to the UN) for use in Afghanistan.

    I think he also said in that film Saddam’s Irag had never tried to attack any American not long after saying something like there was a Bush vendetta against Saddam because he’d tried to assassinate Bush senior.

  • middle-class taig

    Watergate?

    You’re kidding, right!?

    If it turns out the IRA did it, well SF have already taken the heat for it and there’s not much more heat in it. In their own communities they’ll be applauded for sorting the boys out with a wee nest egg, and there’ll be talk of governmental failure to assist with the integration of former prisoners. It’ll become legend like the Mountjoy helicopter or the escape from the prison ship. Every former republican will be claiming to have had a wee hand in it, but there’ll be some convoluted excuse as t why they never saw the dough.

    If it turns out the IRA didn’t do it, then the SDLP is screwed, the Sindo is totally screwed, and the PSNI is utterly screwed. So screwed in fact that in order to present themselves as credible to nationalists they’ll end up appointing Brian Keenan as Assistant Chief Constable.

    If it turns out that there never is any definitive proof either way, all it ends up is a monument to the impotence and incompetence of the two police forces on the Island, a whetstone for the anger and activist zeal of young republican turks, further proof to republican voters that justice is unequally applicable here, a further pain vector for unionists and a shadow over a number of careers. It’s probably the worst of the three possibilities for SF. But it’s still not that bad.

  • Richard Delevan

    Mick – OC accuses you of sliming Michael Moore, you then take it further:

    So ‘columnists’ are to be put in the same category as Michael f*cking Moore? As Newt might write, “thousands of columnists” queue to present you with yellow cards!

    PS – Hitchens arguably wrote the definitive rebuttal to Moore; though no doubt OC & others would not consider Hitch credible.

  • pacart

    Middle class Taig, forcing entry to people’s homes, kidnapping,threatening to kill(and, I’m sure, meaning it), terrorising and theft – sure it’s all just a bit of craic. If it ever happens to you or your family I hope you can see the funny side. Maybe Guy Ritchie will come over and make a larky film about it.
    I take it you are like Gerry Kelly, who could not figure out the next day if it was a good thing or a bad thing.
    These are the people who want to govern us, moral bankrupts.

  • Mick Fealty

    Rich,

    I think I’ll wait for the writ. 😉

    The problem with Moore’s work is that he’s trying to try to do too many things at the same time. On handing Bush the whole wrap for Florida (as he does in the pre-amble to F9/11), he is silent on the fact that he was active in that election telling Dem voters that there was no difference between Bush and Gore. So he was a player.

    I have no problem with polemic. Some of my favourite writers on NI are partial polemicists. But it should not be confused with hard news. If Toolis’ documentary is hard news then it will have been worth setting the vid.

    If however it’s just a polemical ripping up of Sinn Fein and the IRA, then it will simply depend on your politics as to whether actually think its funny/engaging. Just like MM in fact it will have punched hard, but not cleanly.

  • peteb

    Mick

    I’d suggest it’s a little premature to introduce the notion that Toolis’ documentary may be comparable, in any way, to Moore’s politically-targeted diatribes.

    and I suspect his editing will not be quite as… creative/dishonest* as Moore’s was.

    [* delete according to your personal opinion of Moore]

  • Irish in America

    Mike,

    The U.S. DID give money to the Gov’t of Afghanistan (Taliban) for their anti-poppy work. $200 million, I think. Of course, the Taliban merely put the poppies in caves, to sell at at later time, to finance their current terror.

  • Jimmy_Sands

    MCT,

    Sadly I think you’re probably right in your assessment of the view taken by SF’s constituency of thievery. I’m not sure how this squares with your previous complaint when I attacked that community’s delinquency.

  • Fanny

    Given his previous stance on SF/IRA – which wasn’t soft exactly, so much as one of moral equivalence with all other protagonists – I’d imagine Toolis has reacted to the Northern Bank robbery pretty much like every similar hack in Ireland i.e. with a sense of personal betrayal.

    Every genuinely pro-peace process journalist on the island took a bit of a knock when it turned out that (a) the shinners are totally unrepentant liars and criminals and (b) they already have their own little army of journalists prepared to gloss over the above.

    If Toolis sticks the boot in it won’t be because he’s “anti-republican”. It’ll be because he is a republican who’s realised he’s been had.

    BTW for a beautiful example of this at work, compare all writing on the subject by Brian Feeney and Jude Collins – both soft Shinners on most issues. Feeney faced up to it, fessed up to it and publicly seethed. Collins continues to use the Bart Simpson defence: It wasn’t me, nobody saw me do it, you can’t prove anything.

    One man deserves respect.

  • looking in

    Excuse me – can i put some legal reality into the festering pot that is NI and its politics – for the unionists benefit – do we not have a police service (OK question that one!), DPP and apparently independent judicary, if so can we not wait until there is an iota of evidence that at least gets somebody into court and dare I say convicted – I’d have though that parties populated by so many barristers, baby or otherwise, could understand that basic point.

    Until then it is all hyperbole, whether politically motivated or financially (unless Toolis is doing a freebie.

    If the argument is ventured that evidence will be held back, to save the shinners face, for a future political reason then follow that rationale back in history to the many contentious issues that have marred the 6 counties in last 35 years – you can’t have it both ways – what else has the “state” covered up?

  • middle-class taig

    Jimmy

    “I’m not sure how this squares with your previous complaint when I attacked that community’s delinquency.”

    Ah Jimmy. People tend to try to make the best of a bad job when looking back on things. They’ll note the lack of injuries and smirk at the hassle it put the peelers to and the convulsions it caused to McDowell, Robinson, Paisley, etc. It would only indicate some festering underlying delinquency on the part of that community to bigots who want to see it there anyway.

    Of course, as yet there has been presented NO EVIDENCE WHATSOEVER indicating republican involvement in the robbery.

    And bear in mind, what reason have republican communities to come over all law and order all of a sudden. For us, law and order has never yet been anything more than a jackboot on the throat.

  • Jimmy_Sands

    Your point about evidence is a diversion. Your hypothesis was that provo involvement was established. Stealing is either wrong or it isn’t. Your footwear reference is pure, may I say, cobblers.

  • Henry94

    Why don’t we watch the show first and then express our view on it.

  • Fanny

    Meanwhile I’d like to see ‘Looking In’ looked at more closely for suggesting Toolis is only making this programme out of financial motivation.
    All journalists are paid – including those at An Phoblacht, presumably.
    If the apologists are down to this as their last line of defence then they are desperately defensive indeed.
    As for the ‘jackboot of oppression’ remark from MCT – christ. I’ll assume that in Northern Ireland even Catholics have always had a fair expectation that their local bank won’t be robbed. Or at least that it shouldn’t be robbed.
    MCT, your equivocation and attempts at distraction here strongly suggest that you know rightly the IRA robbed the bank but you just don’t care – in fact you care more about the ‘injustice’ of anyone even suggesting it.
    That’ll make for a bright future for your united Ireland.

  • Comrade Stalin

    MCT, plenty of things get accepted as truth in NI without a shred of evidence. A good starting point would be the riots last week. No evidence exists that the UVF or UDA organized them (what possible evidence could there be when no known members have been charged?) and yet it is generally accepted that those organizations were involved.

    Perhaps it is all a securocrat conspiracy, but if that’s the case then they’ve managed to dupe hardened anti-Brits such as Brian Feeney and Anthony McIntyre. It appears that republicans are divided on the issue of who robbed the bank, and that in itself lends credence to the popular theory of who was involved.

  • looking in

    Meanwhile I’d like to see ‘Looking In’ looked at more closely for suggesting Toolis is only making this programme out of financial motivation.

    OK “Fanny” – there is no desperation and I’m not an apologist – i was stating what I understand – if he is being altruistic then fine – otherwise he’s being paid – plain simple and hence not different from An P….journos.. etc etc etc. He just has a “story” to sell/punt – same as all jornalism/PR – largely pish bye the way – if that helps!

  • Brian Boru

    “Former” being the operative word. He is not the SF VP now.

  • Dec

    “MCT, your equivocation and attempts at distraction here strongly suggest that you know rightly the IRA robbed the bank but you just don’t care…That’ll make for a bright future for your united Ireland.”

    When the alternative is a state where the power sharing assembley can be brought down by baseless and evidence-free allegations of spying, I’m not sure which I’d plump for. Wonder when they’ll make a documentary about that?

    Actually I’d plump for the former: it’s a win-win situation. Nationalists achieve their independant state at last whereas unionists, though naturally disappointed to lose the union, can console themselves that the number of Catholic estates that they can theoretically march through by God-given right, has increased exponentially.

  • Dec

    Perhaps it is all a securocrat conspiracy, but if that’s the case then they’ve managed to dupe hardened anti-Brits such as Brian Feeney and Anthony McIntyre

    Not sure Dr Maccers criticizing the present leadership of the mainstream republican movement (He really is the Freddie Trueman of Republicanism -‘It weren’t like that in my day’ – really?) is necessarily a red flag however the reference to Feeney is a valid one. IIRC it caused even ‘Angry’ of Halifax pause for thought.

  • Comrade Stalin

    Dec, I’m well aware of McIntyre’s history of attacking the republican leadership, but I’m not yet at the point where I’d believe he’s ready to freely act on behalf of MI5 against his former pals.

  • Fanny

    Looking In is totally discredited.

  • Harry Flashman

    I seem to recall endless reports in the 1990s about loyalist collusion, I remember a particularly fanciful book and Channel 4 documentary about a ‘committee’ and ‘inner circle’ of two thirds of the RUC, top unionist politicians and prominent protestant businessmen (a fairly large committee I think you’ll agree) as I remember it then the Chucks had no problem dancing up and down and pointing fingers despite the lack of judicial evidence.

    Have things changed in that community now? I think we ought to be told.

  • middle-class taig

    Comrade Stalin

    “MCT, plenty of things get accepted as truth in NI without a shred of evidence.”

    And that’s simply not good enough. Evidence is the one thing that will settle this debate. If there’s no evidence, blithe allegation isn’t good enough. You have to remember, Comrade Stalin, I come from where for 30 years people were sent to prison, set up for assassination and had their murder retrospectively justified by the state and their unionist proxies on the basis of lies, innuendo and fabricated evidence. The bar for providing proof that will convince nationalists is naturally set all the higher for it.

    Since the peace process began, there seems to be no lie too big that it can’t be said about SF or the IRA. Unless I can put my fingers in the holes, I’ve no reason to believe any of it.

    “A good starting point would be the riots last week. No evidence exists that the UVF or UDA organized them”

    And you’ll not see me making any accusations.

    “Perhaps it is all a securocrat conspiracy, but if that’s the case then they’ve managed to dupe hardened anti-Brits such as Brian Feeney and Anthony McIntyre.”

    I was incensed at Feeney, and I don’t accept that Anthony McIntyre is anti-British. When was the last republican sounding thing you read from him? The only thing he’s agin these days is SF. Oh, and Robin Livingstone. If SF delivered a United Ireland tomorrow, he’d be against it.

    “It appears that republicans are divided on the issue of who robbed the bank, and that in itself lends credence to the popular theory of who was involved.”

    Your a**e it does. Republicans are as vain and arrogant as anyone else. They’d love ot believe no-one else on the island could have pulled it off. Me, I’ll wait for evidence. As should you.

    Fanny

    “MCT, your equivocation and attempts at distraction here strongly suggest that you know rightly the IRA robbed the bank but you just don’t care”

    What attempts at distraction? I have no reason WHATSOEVER to believe the IRA robbed the bank until I see some evidence. Certainly I have no reason WHATSOEVER to believe the PSNI or Michael McDowell.

    Harry Flashman

    The evidence of collusion is ten thousand times more impressive than the evidence that the RA robbed the bank.

  • middle-class taig

    Jimmy

    “Stealing is either wrong or it isn’t.”

    Really? Was it wrong for famine parents to steal food for their children? Was it wrong for mKonto We Sizwe to steal military apparel? Did you like Robin Hood?

    If it turns out the RA robbed the bank to pay provie-pensions, given the obstacles erected by the government and unionists to former prisoners reintegrating into society, you’ll hear little crying about it in nationalist areas.

    “Your footwear reference is pure, may I say, cobblers.”

    How the f*** would you know?

    My advice to you, Jimmy, is go forth and multiply.

  • Oilbhear Chromaill

    How many more times must a British tv station come out with an ‘expose’ about the IRA’s alleged bank heist with no real evidence and only the ranting of a mad minister, McDowell, to support their case. I read Kevin Toolis’ book and found it particularly weak and insipid. If Mick is trying to compare him with Michael Moore, it’s like pitching a light weight against a heavy weight.
    I don’t buy this talk about satire etc – I disagree with him that Newton Emerson is any more than a slightly smart alec – not a satirist on the scale of Swift as some deluded people like to think.
    I will be convinced by evidence, nothing less. I won’t be bought by half baked spin from the PSNI, the same police force who think that children and women protesting on the roads are harmless but change their story afterwards to admit they wouldn’t remove the protesters because they feared the consequences from paramilitaries.
    A zero tolerance attitude to unionist protesters – akin to that shown to republicans -might have nipped this in the bud and we mightn’t all be paying for it now.
    The anxiety to pin the Northern Bank job on the IRA and to imply some organisational involvement in the atrocious killing of Robert McCartney is a smokescreen to further delay progress in the peace/political process.
    The more spin goes into it, the less people believe and, if evidence is uncovered in the future, the less credibility it will have.

  • Lonely Pint

    In the weeks and months after the robbery I was of the opinion that it was the ‘Ra what done it – and given the fact that people were held hostage for 24 hours in their home for this crime of profit, I was fairly disgusted that this was the case.

    That was then.

    Since that time, not one single shred of evidence has come to light to link said organisation to that robbery. Nothing, Nada, Zip.

    And please be advised, if there was anything vaguely resembling a smoking gun it would no doubt be leaked to the press via one of the cops’ favoured hacks in The Sindo, or the STimes perhaps.

    But – apart from ‘well-placed sources’ saying that the ‘Provos done it’, and that one ‘well known republican’ orchestrated the whole thing via mobile phone (please, credit us with more feckin’ intelligence, please. Just this once) nothing has emerged.

    I will watch said documentary with interest – if a smoking gun is produced, then that is all weel and good.

    BUT, if the evidence presented is Jim Cusack, Anthony McIntyre et al being wheeled out as interviewees to say that the RA did it – and if some Bulgarian crook comes forward to say he met with Phil Flynn once, then I’m afraid the whole thing will stink as a hatchet job – by a hack with something of a grudge.

  • Democratic

    To Middle Class Taig,
    I must say that comparison between the possibility
    of the IRA stealing millions to fund struggling ex-prisoners (poor oppressed little sods that they are) with Robin Hood or parents stealing to save starving children is something you would only read in the most staunch and narrow minded propaganda rags – I trust you were not suggesting this at all as I know you are much more intelligent than that from recent debate. I assume the point you were making was simply about morally justified circumstances of illegal theft in which case the Northern Bank theft was still wrong morally and legally despite your attempted diversions. Though I do agree that little protest would be heard from Nationalist areas if this were true – we have the same problems where I live on the “other side” where many too try to justify the violent crimes of the IRA’s opposite numbers – this is also comtemptible in my opinion.

  • Mick

    OC, your caution on the matter of evidence is only proper.

    On satire, whether you like one satirist or another will largley (though not entirely) depend on yours and their politics. But the more general point has been made forcefully elswhere that satire and current affairs are different creatures.

    Some have even argued that there is a connection between satire and cynicism. Tom McNally, for one, has argued that cynicism (as distinct from a journalist’s essential scepticism) may be eroding the press’s role in developing and maintaining the health of any democracy.

    My point is that Satire is good. But only within its own limitations. It can prick the ego of the pompous, and point out contradictions that otherwise might go unremarked up.

    But it cannot stand in for reporting of substance.

  • Gerry Lvs Castro

    MCT: ”They’ll note the lack of injuries and smirk at the hassle it put the peelers to and the convulsions it caused to McDowell, Robinson, Paisley, etc.”

    An excellent SF manifesto for govt:
    ”If we commit a crime and no-one gets hurt, it’s all good craic — if we commit a crime and somebody gets killed, it isn’t a crime anyway.”

  • looking in

    Looking In is totally discredited

    From you perhaps, but do I care….? My view is as above, if you have any knowledge of the process you’ll realise that overwhelming majority of journos etc look to pay the mortgage at the end of the month. So, motivation is ALWAYS an issue.

    The independent and principled are few and far between.

  • Fanny

    [Comment removed]

  • Mick

    Right Fanny that’s a Red! Which part of ball not man do you not understand?!

    See you in a fortnight. I won’t be banning your IP to keep you out, because I reckon you’ve enough about you not to argue with the ref!

  • middle-class taig

    Democratic

    My point is that some thefts are worse than others. In the nationalist mindset, a theft aimed at simply feathering the nests of the criminals and making them rich would be seen as much worse than one aimed at making modest provision for about a thousand retiring revolutionaries and their families.

    Of course, there is no evidence of any kind to enlighten us as to whether it might fall into either category.

    “too try to justify the violent crimes of the IRA’s opposite numbers”

    I know, but I think this is changing as people develop a more realistic view of the activites of the Army and RUC.

  • Jimmy_Sands

    “Was it wrong for famine parents to steal food for their children?”

    26m should keep them in gruel for a while. Poor lambs. You’re serious aren’t you?

    “you’ll hear little crying about it in nationalist areas.”

    I’m certainly not in a position to gainsay you there. Our disagreement is as to whether that is good or bad.

  • Gerry Lvs Castro

    ”aimed at making modest provision for about a thousand retiring revolutionaries and their families.”

    So you wouldn’t consider a bank robbery with kidnapping and threats of extreme violence to be a crime MCT?

  • middle-class taig

    Gerry Lvs Castro

    “An excellent SF manifesto for govt:
    ”If we commit a crime and no-one gets hurt, it’s all good craic — if we commit a crime and somebody gets killed, it isn’t a crime anyway.””

    When have SF ever committed a crime?

    But I wasn’t saying that would be SF’s argument, just that that would be how it would inevitably come to be seen in the nationalist mind, folklore and popular culture.

    For crying out loud, our priest on Christmas Day left us with, “and if you’ve come into a few dodgy banknotes recently, don’t forget the poor box and the collection plate”.

  • Gerry Lvs Castro

    ”When have SF ever committed a crime?”

    Yes MCT the old ones are always the best aren’t they? Most of us have moved on from the idea that SF and the IRA aren’t ‘inextricably linked’ or ‘two sides of the same coin.’ Why don’t you join us?

    ””and if you’ve come into a few dodgy banknotes recently, don’t forget the poor box and the collection plate”.

    I think you’ll find this was a joke MCT, very much like the ones which circulated in the unionist community at the time as well. It certainly doesn’t suggest that the priest or the nationalist community in general would endorse violent robbery as a bit of craic.
    Nice to see you support the RC church though cos your party of choice certainly don’t.

  • Democratic

    Hi MCT,
    I understand your explanation of the Nationalist psyche regarding the morality of the “pension theft” (purely theoretically speaking of course)and again as we discussed before for me it all comes down to how you view the IRA and their legitimacy – put quite simply you obviously validate their existence where I do not – a fundamental difference where all future disagreements on the subject would stem. I would see such a theorised theft as a violent criminal act to line the pockets of (former) terrorists as a £27,000 sweetener (using your personnel quota against the rumoured total stolen) to make said terrorists disappear and cause no future problems for the newly reformed pacifistic Republican movement – obviously it would appear that it didn’t work out that way but there you are.
    Nice spin on my final comment by the way – nicely done! – I wouldn’t patronise you by explaining who I was talking about.

  • middle-class taig

    Jimmy

    “26m should keep them in gruel for a while.”

    As you know that wasn’t my point. My point was to point out the facile nature of your blandishment: “Stealing is either wrong or it isn’t.” But sure why would you ever address somebody’s point?

    Gerry Lvs Castro

    “So you wouldn’t consider a bank robbery with kidnapping and threats of extreme violence to be a crime MCT?”

    Jesus, that’s an intellectual stretch even for a unionist. Are you quite sure you’re ready to play with big boys just yet?

    I consider it very much a crime – well, a series of extremely serious crimes, actually. And SF have said it was a crime.

    I was talking about how it MIGHT be retrospectively reenvisioned in nationalist areas in the unlikely event that it was pinned on the provies.

  • middle-class taig

    Gerry Lvs Castro

    Your acknowledgment of the non-criminality of SF is welcome.

    “I think you’ll find this was a joke …It certainly doesn’t suggest that the priest or the nationalist community in general would endorse violent robbery as a bit of craic.”

    Seriously? Do you think I misread it? Don’t be such a muppet.

    “Nice to see you support the RC church though cos your party of choice certainly don’t.”

    Jesus you’d think it was a football team. I am a practising, committed Catholic. My politics are left-wing, internationalist and republican. I find no contradictions therein.

    Democratic

    “and cause no future problems for the newly reformed pacifistic Republican movement – obviously it would appear that it didn’t work out that way but there you are”

    If you mean the horrific McCartney murder, I think that provided a further push towards the end of armed struggle. If you mean the bad publicity from the NB, I doubt it cost SF a thousand votes nationwide.

  • Mick

    MCT, cut out the personal stuff. I feel a card finger getting itchy!

  • middle-class taig

    Mick

    An overreaction on your part, Mick.

    Surely I don’t have to put an emoticon beside a post every time I want to have a wee sleg at someone. I thought “muppet” was pretty soft and almost affectionate, especially as GLC appeared to think I thought the priest was really asking for a cut of the Northern Bank.

    Why do you give my posts the most sinister reading possible? Jimmy_Sands and others do much worse to me.

    BTW You can see I’m a novoprovo. I’d have been shot as a tout before I got green-booked.

  • Mick

    Au contraire! Just fed up with being ignored!

    I don’t care about anyone’s politics. If you want to, return the ball cleanly. If can’t do that without throwing an insult as well, as Henry has suggest, you’ve probably already lost the argument.

  • Jimmy_Sands

    “Jimmy_Sands and others do much worse to me”

    ?

  • middle-class taig

    Mick

    I know you don’t care about anyone’s politics. Frankly, given our recent email exchange, I’m sad you felt the need to say that. This has nothing to do with my politics and something to do with the way you see my posts.

    Have a look at it again. I was clearly saying that even the priest had joked about it at mass. GLC misunderstood and I ribbed him about it. To call it an “insult” is a gross exaggeration. I mean, this is a site where people from “Northern Ireland” debate. We give each other a bit of slegging.

    I feel a bit like Pat Vieira, always waiting for the referee to reach for his card-pocket for tackles that wouldn’t be considered fouls if other players made them.

  • Gerry Lvs Castro

    ”I am a practising, committed Catholic. My politics are left-wing, internationalist and republican. I find no contradictions therein.”

    Well as a supporter of both SF and the RC church, you’ll be well-used to fairy tales, cover-ups and a dictatorial leader-ship, so perhaps there isn’t a contradiction after all.

    ”Your acknowledgment of the non-criminality of SF is welcome.”

    You mean that party stuffed with jailbirds?

    ”I thought “muppet” was pretty soft and almost affectionate”

    Shucks.

  • Yoda

    ?

    ?

  • Robert Keogh

    John Stevens is convinced a group from England was dispatched to torch his offices (ref).

    Then there is the English-accented group that broke into Castleraegh. Neither of these groups (presuming they aren’t one in the same) have been ruled out of the NIB robbery.

    Did anyone else watch the crime-line reconstruction? A week after the bank switches to a private security firm, it’s robbed. The bank managers stayed late on a friday night to, get this, “take out the rubbish”. When have you ever heard of a white collar banker taking out rubbish bins?

    There were no records of the total amount in the bank so no idea to know how much as actually stolen. So how do we know anything was taken at all and it wasn’t some attempt to cover up serious embezzling before the new owners looked at the books?

    If this is the standard of evidence unionism wishes to adopt then by those standards their government, police force and political representatives have been proven guilty beyond any doubt of conspiracy in the coverup and pre-meditation of murder. And you want nationalists to get upset over the theft of pieces of paper. Pieces of paper that were rendered worthless within weeks.

  • middle-class taig

    GLC

    “You mean that party stuffed with jailbirds?”

    If that was the standard then the British Army would be in trouble.

  • Dec

    And the DUP. I seem to recall several of that Party’s leadership have done ‘bird’.

  • Comrade Stalin

    MCT:

    “You have to remember, Comrade Stalin, I come from where for 30 years people were sent to prison, set up for assassination and had their murder retrospectively justified by the state and their unionist proxies on the basis of lies, innuendo and fabricated evidence. “

    Nothing like a bit of the good old MOPEry to assert your tribal credentials, even though it has bugger all to do with anything. This discussion is about the bank robbery and whether these allegations are nonsense or not. I get bored to death hearing people justifying this, that or the other political belief by wheeling out the history of their oppression as though I’m supposed to get out a hanky and weep or something. I come from a community of about 1.5 million people and just shy of 4000 of us were murdered by various people for one reason or another.

    “The bar for providing proof that will convince nationalists is naturally set all the higher for it.”

    You don’t speak for nationalists – a hell of a lot of them seem to believe the IRA robbed the bank. Certainly that is the SDLP position and the position of the nationalist media who aren’t sockpuppets for The Party.

    “I was incensed at Feeney, and I don’t accept that Anthony McIntyre is anti-British.”

    McIntyre I can understand. But why are you incensed with Feeney ? To be honest I think he’s a bitter old bigot and I don’t care for his view on anything, but he’s not an idiot, and he does back the SF line pretty much to the hilt. But at the end of the day he has access to the same facts (or lack thereof) that you do, but strangely he arrived at a very different conclusion. Why do you think that is ?

    “When was the last republican sounding thing you read from him?”

    I can’t remember the last republican sounding thing I heard from SF. They’re out there fighting to get devolved government at Stormont, they’re on the verge of joining the police, they’ve more or less accepted the unionist veto and British rule. They’ve given up the argument as lost on the question of Irish national self-determination.

    The reason people like yourself and the SF spinmeisters hate McIntyre is because you believe he is a serious threat. His republican credentials are impeccable, and the fact that he loudly criticises the SF project pisses you guys off something shocking.

    “Me, I’ll wait for evidence. As should you.”

    This is the court of public opinion. While it is entirely reasonable to argue based on the fact that no evidence exists linking the republicans to the robbery, people will always have their suspicions. Those suspicions become stronger when credible people like Brian Feeney come out to back them up. Feeney undoubtedly knew when he wrote his article stating his belief in the IRA’s guilt over the robbery that it would be used by unionists and other republican opponents to attack Sinn Fein – but he published it anyway.

  • Comrade Stalin

    Robert K :

    “Then there is the English-accented group that broke into Castleraegh. Neither of these groups (presuming they aren’t one in the same) have been ruled out of the NIB robbery. “

    The Castlereagh job is a strange one, but English accents do not rule out the IRA. The IRA was led for a long time by a guy with an English accent, and it undoubtedly still has cells over there.

    “Did anyone else watch the crime-line reconstruction? A week after the bank switches to a private security firm, it’s robbed. The bank managers stayed late on a friday night to, get this, “take out the rubbish”. When have you ever heard of a white collar banker taking out rubbish bins? “

    The robbery took place on a Sunday night, and I can’t find a source for your point about the private security firm. Perhaps you could assist.

    “There were no records of the total amount in the bank so no idea to know how much as actually stolen. So how do we know anything was taken at all and it wasn’t some attempt to cover up serious embezzling before the new owners looked at the books?”

    A pretty pathetic attempt at conspiracy theory on your part. A job like this would require conspiracy on a huge scale. One whistleblower, and the whole game is up. I can’t believe that a bank would take that kind of risk; the people involved would never work again. It’s more likely that someone simply robbed it.

    Consider the money that turned up at Newforge for example. Someone obviously took it from the main haul and put it there. Strangely, it turned up on the same day that Phil Flynn was arrested.

    “If this is the standard of evidence unionism wishes to adopt…”

    Not only unionists, but the British and Irish governments (and the US government too), most of the nationalist media, and the SDLP. In fact, pretty much everyone except Sinn Fein. As I said in my posting above, if Brian Feeney is coming out on the side of the Brits there’s got to be something afoot.

  • middle-class taig

    Comrade Stalin

    If I may say so, you’ve lost the run of yourself. I’ll respond politely, but I encourage you to review and reconsider your last contribution. It is unlike you.

    “Nothing like a bit of the good old MOPEry to assert your tribal credentials, even though it has bugger all to do with anything.”

    Perhaps you can try to understand the point I was making: that given the way in which lies and innuendo have been used against nationalists in the past, it is all the more difficult to get us to accept allegation without evidence. I cannot understand how you think that has “bugger all to do with anything”.

    If you’d rather retreat to the familiar but lazy intellectual wasteland of alleging “MOPEry”, fill your boots, but it’s be a pity.

    “I come from a community of about 1.5 million people and just shy of 4000 of us were murdered by various people for one reason or another.”

    MOPEry bad, WHATABOUTery good? Two can play this game, but it’s hardly a spectator sport.

    “You don’t speak for nationalists – a hell of a lot of them seem to believe the IRA robbed the bank. Certainly that is the SDLP position and the position of the nationalist media who aren’t sockpuppets for The Party.”

    I speak for me and me only. I can observe and report what people in my community are saying though. The credence you give it is up to you. I was struck, though, that after 6 months of robbery accusations, SF increased it’s share of the vote by 1%, adding 12,000 new voters even on top of the sdlp’s dismal 2003 showing.

    Which nationalist media outlet is not a mouthpiece for some political view or other?

    “McIntyre I can understand. But why are you incensed with Feeney?”

    Because the process matters! Whatever the underlying truth, it is important that the PSNI not be allowed simply to say “the provies dunnit so they did” and have that be the end of it. Feeney is an important commentator for nationalists. As a former stoop, he represents a significant body of opinion in the nationalist swing vote. He effectively endorsed the PSNI’s proofless allegations, and the idea that that is acceptable policing.

    Look, whatever you might choose to believe about me, I’d really like to see the North become a society in which nationalists can and do trust the criminal justice system (and most importantly, where I trust it). If I die without seeing a United Ireland it’ll be the least of my worries. But I think we should all be able to believe in the good faith of the cops. The NB fiasco put that back years.

    I wasn’t incensed with McIntyre, more amused.

    “I can’t remember the last republican sounding thing I heard from SF. They’re out there fighting to get devolved government at Stormont, they’re on the verge of joining the police”

    Which of those things are incompatible with a republican outlook and a desire to move towards a United Ireland? And which would rather they didn’t do?

    “they’ve more or less accepted the unionist veto and British rule.”

    Nonsense. 50%+1 is a queer unionist veto. It’s a veto for the 10% softest garden centre, alliancey, Methody/BRA/HunterHouse, Irish rugby supporting protestants. Gerry reaches those people much better than Jeffrey. It’s there to be won.

    “They’ve given up the argument as lost on the question of Irish national self-determination.”

    I think of it like courtship. Once you’ve shown yourself to be a good person with nice sense of humour, a spark of adventure in you and a bit of form on the old physicals, things move on to how sensitive, caring, attentive, etc you are. SF’s target electorate knows it can play the national card. They have seen the hard man act. They (particularly in the south) need to see their suitor’s sensitive side.

    “The reason people like yourself and the SF spinmeisters”

    Have I ever given you the impression I’ve answered dishonestly or tried not to present thee truth as I see it? I don’t do spin.

    “hate McIntyre”

    I hate no-one. I consider it un-Catholic. I certainly don’t hate Anthony McIntyre. I disagreed with armed struggle, but I respect the bravery and commitment of those who took the other choice and backed it up with their lives and freedom. I respect some RUC men for the same reason.

    “you believe he is a serious threat.”

    To what? Explain the threat you think he poses. Nobody’s stopping him offering himself to the electorate of West Belfast, his local area. They currently vote at a rate of 70% for SF. Surely if he were a threat he could cannibalise some of that.

    “the fact that he loudly criticises the SF project pisses you guys off something shocking.”

    I think the crucible of public criticism has strenthened and tempered republican steel. The SDLP analysis is so soft-bellied because it has never properly been tested in public debate. If you send a shinner into bat you know he won’t soil himself at the sight of the first bouncer.

    Actually, I’m on the end of the republican “family” which doesn’t really have a handle on the in-fighting and personal animositites between former comrades. I always find it perplexing and saddening that SF isn’t stretching itself further to try to bring back within their broad umbrella republicans like McIntyre, Gorman, Hughes, Sands-McKevitt, Shannon and Price. I read the Blanket and often think “what a tragedy, what a waste”. I’d welcome a thrust within republicanism to unite that scattered family.

    My concern with McIntyre is just that I think he just likes bucking “authority”, and SF have become the new “authority”.

    “no evidence exists linking the republicans to the robbery”

    Indeed

    “people will always have their suspicions”

    Indeed

    “Those suspicions become stronger when credible people like Brian Feeney come out to back them up.”

    They shouldn’t unless he has evidence; but you can’t force people to think.

    Cheers
    P