National security justifies McDowell remarks

Richard Waghorne at the Freedom Institute weighs the arguments, and finds that the national security arguments forwarded by the Minister of Justice are sufficient to deprive Frank Connolly of his reputation. He lays out four reasons why the Minister’s decision should be supported:

– First, it is corroborated by the security services.

– Second, it is evidenced by revelations of criminality and is consistent with known behaviour of the groups concerned.

– Third, it is shared by outside observers, most recently the Economist Intelligence Unit.

– Fourth, there is necessarily a presumption in favour of the government in such matters.

He continues:

That presumption in favour of the government is the problematic element of any rationale justifying the use of intelligence. It is, however, unavoidable. The nature of intelligence provided by security services is that it cannot be wholly revealed and discussed lest the information and its sources be compromised. Unhappily but unavoidably it must, if the reasoning is sound, be accepted both that the sphere in which intelligence is used be a small as possible, but that once it is used in pursuit of the nation’s security, it is done so on the premise that it should be regarded as legitimate unless subsequently demonstrated not to be [my italics].

In other words, the onus is on Frank Connolly to disprove the government intelligence not the other way round.

  • Paul

    There isn’t anything to add to this, game over.

  • Betty Boo

    “…it is reasonable to deem the Centre for Public Inquiry to be part of a credible threat to Irish democracy.”
    Which would have been the case 18 month ago, when CPI was founded and I fail the logic behind the procedure to let such a subversive organisation to lift of the ground when it has to be taken down later as threat to “Irish democracy”.

  • Henry94

    Wrong on all four

    – First, it is corroborated by the security services.

    No more than the Minister the Gardai do not have the right to declare people guilty. There is also the very real suspicion that McDowell is putting the Gardai under pressure to come up with information which he can use for political purposes.

    We already know that he sent Gardai to Colombia when they themselves could see no basis for it. It was purely for the optics.

    – Second, it is evidenced by revelations of criminality and is consistent with known behaviour of the groups concerned.

    This has no meaning.

    – Third, it is shared by outside observers, most recently the Economist Intelligence Unit.

    This is all the same information. They got it from the Minister who got it from the Gardai so now we have three independent sources? That’s bullshit I’m afraid.

    – Fourth, there is necessarily a presumption in favour of the government in such matters.

    That is the exact opposite of the truth. In dealings with the state all the presumptions belong to the citizen. Need I mention Weapons of Mass Destruction.

  • D

    Firstly the claims haven’t been corroborated by the ‘security forces’. The Guards have said a false passport application was made – they haven’t said the photo definitely is Connolly. There are two arms to the Irish intelligence services which are supposed to assess threats and are supposed to corroborate each other – Special Branch and Military Intelligence. These claims haven’t been corroborated by Military Intelligence and in today’s’ Irish Times there is a claim from an ex-member that the Gardaí were “not currently concerned” with Mr Connolly and that Gardaí had informed him they had “no concerns on the people” involved in the CPI and there was “nothing on passports”.

    Secondly there is confusion with what is meant by the ‘groups concerned’. In this instance the group concerned is the CPI and specifically Frank Connolly. -there have been no previous allegations of criminality against him.

    Innocent until proven guilty is a paramount right in any civil society and it McDowell is wrong in this instance to deny it. What must be answered is did McDowell know about the CPI investigation into him when he leaked the document to the Indo?

  • Henry94

    What they mean is we are the Freedom Institute and we like McDowell because he is the nearest thing we have to a neo-con in Irish politics. He is in trouble and we are going to stick up for him even at the expense of exposing our intellectual limitations.

  • Shore Road Resident

    So, pretty much the same as your position then Henry, except in reverse.

  • Henry94

    You may well think so SRR. Maybe I should set up an Institute myself. Then again that is the kind of thing that can get you attacked in the Dail if you’re not in the McDowelll fan club.

  • Keith M

    “In other words, the onus is on Frank Connolly to disprove the government intelligence not the other way round.”

    It’s taken a whole week for this to finally sink in?

    Ahern said yesterday that Connolly was quite entitled to go to court if he thought he had been defamed. I wouldn’t be holding my breath.

  • Shore Road Resident

    I see from the Irish Echo that a ‘rescue package’ for the CPI is on the cards by “leading industrialists” in America (i.e. the Sinn Fein fundraising circle has been asked to chip in.)
    This just gets more and more obvious.

  • seannaboy

    Mc Dowell made allegations about the Daily Ireland ( even before the paper was printed) and said ( paraphrasing) ‘ take me to court’. Daily Ireland took up the challenge. What was Mc Dowells response? Mc Dowell hid behind the ‘defense’ that what he said he said as a Government Minister. Who is to say that he would not employ the same ‘defense’ if Frank Connolly was ever to take Mc Dowell to court?

  • Shay Begorra

    Lets imagine for a second that a government minister in Venezuela had released what looked to be incriminating information about an opposition figure in some American funded think tank.

    Could we still expect to hear the same fevered defence of authority from the right about this?

    Would the “freedom” institute (remember lads, for freedom, against terror – unless it is state terror and freedom to unionize) be demanding that our imaginary conservative explain himself?

    Would you still think it even mattered what the accusations were?

    This is about democracy and the fair operation of the machinery of government and if you continue to support McDowell and his neocon pals you will be making some very unpleasnt bedfellows who share nothing in common except their extreme self belief.

  • Ringo

    Frankly (no pun intended), I’ve about as much regard for what a US-backed think tank called the ‘Freedon Institute’ has to say on this matter as I have for what the CPI might come up with itself. If anything the sort of nonsense trotted out above just goes to show how worthless these bodies are.

    They are all unelected, expensive operations with their own particular adgenda – and a feature of US politics best left within the Beltway.

  • Shay Begorrah

    Hi Ringo.

    I would of course agree with you on the Freedom Institute but might there be a qualitative difference between the CPI, which claimed to be about the investigation of public life, and the Freedom Institute which only investigates why more people do not agree with Leo Strauss?

    Newspapers have their agendas as well after all and partisanship does not disqualify you from digging up the facts, it just affects the ones you choose to exhibit.

  • liam O.

    Interesting take on the Freedom Institute and their backers (or lack of) at Gaskins Balrog.

    http://gaskinbalrog.blogspot.com/2005/12/show-me-money.html

  • Ringo

    Newspapers have their agendas as well after all and partisanship does not disqualify you from digging up the facts, it just affects the ones you choose to exhibit.

    Imagine if we were being asked to put a Murdoch/O’Reilly newspaper on a pedastal as the our great public life watchdog after 2 editions?

    We know where newspapers stand, because they telling us on a daily or weekly basis. Their headlines shout at non-readers in every small shop, allowing us to build some sort of judgement on them. The CPI documents are squirreled away on a Robert Ballagh designed website. There is little context or form to judge it on.

  • Shay Begorrah

    “…The CPI documents are squirreled away on a Robert Ballagh designed website. There is little context or form to judge it on.”

    Ok Ringo, I do see your point and I have to confess I had never really registered the CPI before this incident although Frank Connolly’s previous targets have had my approval.

    It has also not been established that they are a force for the public good or even that have a genuine interest in it.

    However it does seems unfair to dismiss them as merely republican stooges (although I might be) with the downfall of Irish liberal democracy as their secret agenda without more evidence.

  • joemomma

    “Frankly (no pun intended), I’ve about as much regard for what a US-backed think tank called the ‘Freedon Institute’ has to say on this matter as I have for what the CPI might come up with itself.”

    You’re doing the FI a favour by calling them a “US-backed think tank”. As far as I am aware they are backed only by their own boundless self-importance. Their most recent Annual Report shows that it costs about €500 to keep their show on the road.

    However, despite the low overheads, they have considered it prudent to spell out on their About Us page that “The Freedom Institute accepts no donations from government funds.”

  • Joe

    D – “In this instance the group concerned is the CPI and specifically Frank Connolly. -there have been no previous allegations of criminality against him.”

    But see this is an extract from today’s “Irish Examiner”

    “Meanwhile, it was reported yesterday in the Star newspaper that Mr Connolly had a criminal conviction for riotous behaviour dating from 1982.”

  • Betty Boo

    He properly stepped accidentally on McDowell’s toe during rush hour.

  • Joe

    It seems to have been the march on the British Embassy in 1981. According to Garret Fitzgerald’s memoirs republican heavies were bussed down from the north. These guys knew to aim stones under the Garda shields to injure their legs. When the crowd could not get at the embassy they broke hundreds of windows in buildings and cars in Mount Street on their way back into town. According to the Star yesterday Connolly got a two year sentence suspended. I don’t know the details but it must have taken a lot to get that sentence for a marcher.