“To sift the truth in such a murky world requires a disinterested eye and a cool head”

In the Sunday Times, Liam Clarke picks up on the recently revealed cost of public inquiries, which were detailed in a written answer from Peter Hain. And he identifies a significant problem behind an “official truth-recovery effort [which] has become an adversarial quagmire in which public funds and public confidence sink without trace.”

The beginning of truth recovery would be to remove the barriers to telling the truth and stop punishing those who do so. That means encouraging retired public servants to speak out and granting amnesties to all who admit Troubles-related crimes to a commission of inquiry. It means imposing penalties on those withholding information rather than those who come forward with it.

The bills for those inquiries are likely to climb even higher

The official truth-recovery effort has become an adversarial quagmire in which public funds and public confidence sink without trace. £34m has been devoted to the PSNI historic inquiries process, the bulk of it to a specialist police team. The rest has gone to other investigating bodies, such as the police ombudsman’s office, for a mammoth review of all the murders during the Troubles. Already the police team has said the money will not be enough to finish the job, and the ombudsman is complaining that the burden of the investigations is getting in the way of current work.

By comparison to public tribunals, the historic inquiries process is cheap. The inquiries into the deaths of Billy Wright, Rosemary Nelson and Robert Hamill are scarcely underway but already they have cost more than £19.5m. Attempts are being made to cap the expenditure and restrict representation, but as individuals mount legal battles for anonymity and the state seeks to restrict the disclosure of documents, the figures can be expected to pass any preset limits.

None of these inquiries are likely to rival Lord Saville’s leviathan of a Bloody Sunday inquiry, which has already cost nearly £194m. Before it started, Tony Blair had apologised for the shootings on Bloody Sunday and said those killed were blameless. Nine years of sifting evidence is unlikely to change that position. The army will be found to be mainly at fault for what happened and nobody will be satisfied.

There’s been one recent legal ruling on the Billy Wright inquiry which will affect those attempts to cap the expenditure.

And Liam Clarke points out that those reluctant to delve into the past are not exclusively within government ranks

In a world in which senior republicans such as Denis Donaldson and Freddie Scappaticci worked with the British and Irish security services, the old certainties of freedom fighters versus occupying forces melt away like morning mist. The intelligence services manipulated paramilitary groups on both sides. They were never in complete control, but were often able to pick who would rise and who would fall in the leadership of republican and loyalist groups.

Recently, Gerry Adams demanded an inquiry into claims by a former police officer that Special Branch knew of a planned UDA attack on his life in 1984.

Adams knows from earlier disclosures that Special Branch and military intelligence had in fact acted to save his life by doctoring the bullets fired at him and intercepting the killers.

Probing such issues raises the uncomfortable question of why Adams was saved by the British Army while other republicans were being targeted and killed. Nobody could suggest he was a British agent or even knew of the protection afforded him, but it is difficult to escape the conclusion that the securocrats were able to play favourites with the republican leadership on the basis of information supplied by high-level informants.

And he has a suggestion for a way forward into that past

To sift the truth in such a murky world requires a disinterested eye and a cool head, not an adversarial legal bear garden like the Bloody Sunday inquiry. It would involve an inquisitorial approach in which experts could be given access to papers and records accrued by the likes of the Stevens inquiry. They could interview individuals with promises of immunity or anonymity and threats of sanctions sufficient to loosen tongues. They could publish as much of the results as they thought fit and embargo other sections for the lifetimes of those involved.

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  • parcifal

    meanwhile we’re stuck wiv de ‘blame kulture’

  • Secur O’Crat

    Who are these experts your last paragraph speaks of? Ireland has evolved in such a way that there are no innocents with power. Politics is compromise and compromise is corruption.
    People speask of the East Tyrone IRA. But they had no real traction, a gang of hotheads om a one way ticket to Booth Hill. Have a look at the RIRA and LVF. Once they loose their logistics (PIRA and MI5), they have to get into areas they have no expertise etc in. That is how McKevitt was nailed and most Loyalists are just drug runners.

    So much for the extremes. The Unionist Toffs ran when the Troubles begun, having exploited the place for decades before. The SDLP was only a rat bag collection of individuals and their fiefdoms.

    What a sad state of affairs it is that Martin McGuinness and Paisley have come through to win while Bertie the Blank Cheque writer and Tony Nuke Iraqis Blair smile on from above.

    Looking back on the Allied and other atrocities from World War 11, no wonder worldly squabbles always lead to a returen to less worldly things. George Orwell saw it in Spain. We see it here.

    Who and waht organisations have come out of the Troubles with head helds high? I cannot think of any, excpet yesterday’s people like the SDLP.

    Happy Christmas to all those lost lives. They died so experts could get rich.

  • Cynic

    Liam Clarke’s big mistake is to assume that anyone with any political clout wants to hear the whole truth. They don’t. It would be too damaging to their and their community’s self image. The only ones who want the real truth are those who were victims and who lost loved ones…. and they don’t have any real power, so it won’t happen.

  • T.Ruth

    The money is spent so the delivery of the “truth” can be managed and controlled and made available complete with spin or remodelled to absolve the perpetrators of evil from facing Justice. I console myself with the knowledge that “Truth will out” eventually and we will all know who is innocent and who is guilty.

    LaMon ,Bloody Friday, Birmingham Manchester,Dublin,Monaghan,Omagh-there is a lot of Truth to unfold. Guilt also lies in large measure with those who know the answers to many questions and remain silent.There can be no closure for the victims families if it does not involve Justice and in the absence of remorse- an element of retribution appropriate to the magnitude of the crime.

  • ingram


    Liam covered the Adams story in the first place.That was the very first Martin Ingram story.

    The treasury solicitor wrote a nice letter to the paper stating that they were speaking to an insider and that any further material from this source should be produced prior to publication.

    That did not happen and we were arrested.

    Adams knows the score on this subject, he knows why the Brits saved his life on a number of occassions.

    Should Adams want to send his heartfelt appreciation for the FRUs effort in saving his life he can make a small donation to the Royal British legion.

    Got to go now Christmas lunch is calling.


  • I don’t know why we should still tolerate ‘MI’ and his FRU lies.

    As Peter Taylor, for example, has written about the UFF assassination attempt on Adams on April 14,1984, “The gunmen fired twenty shots and hit Adams with four of them. Adams was rushed to the nearby Royal Victoria Hospital, given emergency surgery and survived.” (p. 290)

    Sure sounds like a deadly attempt to me. If the FRU doctored the ammo, why didn’t it make it much less potent, as the gunmen were sure to notice that it had been tampered with if it had. In short, it hadn’t.

    This is just disinformation to explain away its serious efforts to kill him until after the cull on The Rock – when ‘Steak knife’ went off the British reservation because of its effort to set him up for the Provo ‘nutters’ by the overkill – what led ultimately to Thatcher seeking a settlement, and resulting in her own political demise.

    So, don’t expect any donation from Gerry,

  • victim

    There is a lot of inquies coming out of touble related incidents suxch as Bloody Sunday, Rosemary Nelson, Pat Funicane and now Billy (king-rat) Wright.
    What ever comes out of these inquires will it be The Truth? and will people be satisfied with This Truth?
    So much for high profile inquiries what about the thousands of innocent victims who have no chance of an inquiry.
    With these enquies running into millions of £’s and no guarentee of The Truth as we have seen from previous experience some of the players are less than ecconmonic with The Truth. If one organisation cannot break its code of practise in order to protect it’s members then that leaves the ball park wide open for the other organisations to follow suit so that The Full Truth is never known.
    Would all the millions being spent to expose The Truth which will not be The Truth or only will be The Truth as percieved by the organisions involved as they see it. Would it not be better if all the parties involved told The Truth and the millions saved be given to the people who suffered throughout The Troubles. This may not bring closure or relieve the suffering, the loss, the pain, the grief that has been coused but it certainly would make life a little more confortable for those who have to live with what was inflicted upon them.

  • ingram


    The states as already admitted in legal correspondance the validity of this event.

    If Adams had been hit with four real bullets his chances of survival would be greatly reduced.Adams was not seriously wounded.

    The arrest of the gang was acomplished within seconds and of attack by SD troops.

    Marc Urban makes a similar point in his book that you are keen at quoting from.

    In respect to your Stakeknife post repeated below.

    quoteThis is just disinformation to explain away its serious efforts to kill him until after the cull on The Rock – when ‘Steak knife’ went off the British reservation because of its effort to set him up for the Provo ‘nutters’ by the overkill – what led ultimately to Thatcher seeking a settlement, and resulting in her own political demise. unquote

    Please dont forget to keep taking the pills and dont mix them with drink. Take care mate.


    PS. If anybody wants a laugh take a look at http://www.codshit.com . This site is Trowbridges. Amongst his many claims is a gem about how I killed the former prime minister of Sweden. Take a look well worth a smile.

  • Comrade Stalin

    Trowbridge, is that really your site ? If so, it puts you pretty much in perspective.

    I was disappointed to see you didn’t have the Doctor’s Plot up there. One of my finest moments.

  • Just more outrageous disinformation by ‘Martin Ingram’.

    The serious assassination attempt on Adams on April 14, 1984 certainly took place. No one in the right mind should believe what ‘Ingram’ claims.

    Peter Taylor wrote in The Brits:

    “The gunmen fired twenty shots and hit Adams with four of them. Adams was rushed to the nearby Royal Victoria Hospital, given emergency surgery and survived. I subsequently interviewed oneof his UFF attackers, John Gregg, in the Maze prison. His only regret, he said, was that he had not succeeded in killing him. Adams is alleged by some to have survived because the bullets had been ‘doctored’ by the ‘Det’, thus negating their legal impact.” (pp. 290-1)

    If the ‘Det’sclaim had any substance, why didn’t Gregg, an experienced gunman, make mention of it? Didn’t he noticed the funny firings, and the bullets bouncing off the car, and those targeted?
    And if Adams was not seriously wounded, why was he rushed to the hospital, and given emergency surgery?

    The only reason Mark Urban can believe this crap is because ‘Ingram’ aka Geoff’ apparently told him so.

    And you can claim all you want about my taking medication for some mental disturbance, but it has never happened – unlike what happened with ‘Steak knife’ aka ‘John Oakes’ after the cull on The Rock. He was so angry at the Brits for setting him up to suit the bitter Captain Simon Hayward aka Captain James Rennie, the Ops Officer of the 14 Intelligence Company’s South Detachment (June 1985-March 1987)- who was languishing away in Malmö prison because of a set up ‘Steak knife’ aka DUKE had arranged with the FRU for Hayward, the Brits’ leading assassin in N. I. – so that the capture of the Eksund would go ahead.

    And you can claim all you want about codshit. com being my site but I have nothing to do with its running. It is a site, managed by Edward Chanter and located in Brighton. I live in Stockholm and know nothing about setting up a site, much less running one.

    And I did claim that if you were Hayward, you did kill Sweden’s statsminister Olof Palme. I ultimately found out that you were merely covering up for Hayward, you being some FRU lower level wannabe, apparently one Ian Hurst.

    And Comrade Stalin, I have written something about the Doctors’ Plot. As I remember, it was in an article I wrote about the Suez debacle. The Boss was poisoned by his immediate entourage.

  • ingram


    So just for the record you no longer believe I killed Olaf Palme the former swedish PM? LOL is that right?

    One of the common features of reducing a charge in a round is to induce a natural blockage in the weapon, those rounds that do make it are unlikely to inflict a serious wound.That is what happened in this case.

    Brian Nelson was not best pleased when he found out that it was his information that saved Adams.It very nearly caused a breach in the relationship.

    If Adams asks nicely and I am assured he is being straight I might lend him a document or two? LOL afterall it is christmas.

    In relation to Marc Urban. I have never met the man in my life nor communicated with him either directly or indirectly.

    One more correction for your extensive library? Geoff as you remark who featured in both Peter Taylors Brits series and Marc Urbans book is a former Nelson FRU handler who is currently awaiting the DPP to make a decision on charges laid by Sir John Stevens. He is a serving PSNI officer.

    Anything else you want just ask mate.

    Merry Christmas.


    PS Dont lie about Codshit your have previously never denied being involved with the site and here is twenty posts of yours, there a good few more also.


    keep taking them pills mate. LOL

  • To deal with your false statements in reverse order, I am not taking any medication, am not lying when I say I have nothing to do with the operation of the web site codshit.com, don’t believe what you say about ‘Geoff’ and Urban, am sure that Gregg would have been rabid if he thought for a moment that Nelson and the FRU had prevented him from killing Adams by doctoring the ammo,false documents are a dime a dozen when it comes to British security operations especially about the operations regarding ‘Steak knife’, and I only considered you Olof Palme’s assassin as long as I suspected that you were Captain Simon Hayward – what I acknowledged wasn’t the case about 18 months ago but you keep claiming in a most distorted way just to help out Hayward.

    Given your statements about my articles being on Edward Chanter’s site, you could say the same thing about my running cryptome, informationclearinghouse.info, totse.se,
    conspiracy planet, iraqwar, atlargely.com, etc., etc., since my articles have appeared on these sites too. In short, there is a difference between writing articles and what appears on various sites.

    Next thing I know, you will be claiming that Slugger O’Toole’s site is mine too.

  • ingram


    Would you care to tell the readers of slugger how the CIA drugged you whilst you were on holiday in Portugal?.

    It may provide a valuable insight into your mental state. LOl


  • Most willing to link posters interested with the articles I wrote about America’s plot to kill me by poisoning while I was living in Portugal:



    And if they run into any of the conspirators – President Clinton, DCI George Tenet, CIA agent Michael Thomas, Jim Marrs, Jim DiEugenio and Lisa Pease of Probe magazine, etc. – please urge them to take me to court over the plot.

  • ingram


    Nice one thanks for that. So president Clinton was involved in a conspiracy to murder you? Wow that is serious shit! can I ask you why they wanted you dead? what made them see you as a threat?

    Please tell!


  • Why don’t you read the articles?

    If you have any serious questions after having done so, I shall be happy to answer them.

  • ingram


    I thought you could give me and the readers a quick breakdown. Just a couple of lines giving the reasons. It saves trawling through the files.

    Cheers mate.


  • ingram


    So president Clinton had you attacked because of the murder of JFK? you had written material on the murder exposing wrongdoing is that right?

    Portuguese Intelligence also were involved in the attack upon you is that also correct?

    Wow that is some story? can you flesh out the details to give the sleepy slugger readers a valuable insight into the calibre of contributors upon this board.


  • When I left the States permanently in late 1989, I thought that all my previous efforts against Nixon – especially how he set up JFK for assassination in Dallas by taking apparently great personal risks while being under threat by someone sounding like LHO – had been forgotten about – especially an FBI memo that J. David Truby had obtained, and claimed that I was responsible for. The memo claimed that Jack Ruby had been working for Nixon back in the days when he was running the HUAC.

    Little did I really that Jim Marrs revived the whole matter in Cross Fire then, having me actually say that I was responsible for, and that I knew that the memo was fabricated. Then a high school teacher Randall Lynn got me helping his students out by mail in investigating the assassination in the hope that I would say enough against Nixon for him, former DCI Richard Helms, and General Al Haig to mount a criminal libel case against me – what federal prosecutor Jennifer Caplan was preparing when Nixon died, making the whole effort an empty one.

    When I wrote to President Clinton, complaining about his cozing up to these slime balls, and treating Trick Dick as if he were a good President, the White House got Tenet involved in poisoning me with minute amounts of apparently ricin when I had occasional dinners in Caldas da Rainha whose owner had connections with the PSIS.

    The poisoning almost killed naive me on several occasions, and the seizures went on for four years, though I left the place after just one year and never ate out in another Thai restaurant.

  • ingram


    Thanks mate I am sure the readers of this board have enough background material to make a reasoned judgement.

    Thanks again mate! please be careful when you take those pills mate.

    Your mate


  • heck

    god what and exchange between Trowbridge and MI!!!

    Trow claims Ingram murdered Olaf Palme and Ingram claims that the head of IRA was really 003.5, that MI5 invented the human car bomb to kill British soldiers, and that their agent attempted to blow up Margaret Thatcher, their boss.

    maybe both of them need to keep taking the pills.

  • ingram


    Involved with an Agent that recovered the largest ever arms find on the Island of Ireland.12 Year FRU/Inte Corps service nearly 8 years in NI.Co wrote a best selling book, still selling well today thanks.

    exposed Freddy Scappaticci and the IRA security unit which was compromised by the brits for over 25 years. Doubt that eh Heck?

    Seagate. (confirmed Sir John Stevens)

    Notorantonio.( confirmed hugh Orde)

    Finucane. ( Corry confirmed and Sir John confirmed my information and documents recovered in the investigation. I coined the phrase institutionalised collusion six months before Stevens in a piece I wrote for the Irish news )

    Reported Martin McGUINNESS role as a Briish agent TWO NEWSPAPERS independant to me have followed this up with similar reports.reported the fact that McGUINNESS IS A PROTECTED SPECIES.

    Stated clearly on my Blog that Sinn Fein will join policing over two years ago ( That bit right) and Adams will retire from Sinn Fein and contest the Irish presedential contest( That bit to follow, confident though)

    Adams murder attempt. Adams believes me and the state arrested me for the disclosure.Another protected speciecies except this time for a different reason.

    Not got one wrong yet mate unless you can find one? like james Cusack said in the Sunday indo! The man with a good record at getting it right.

    Now it is your turn.

    What is your contribution boy?


  • heck


    you have claimed

    that MMcG was really 003.5, that MI5 invented the human car bomb to kill British soldiers, and that their agent, MMcG was on the army council when the IRA attempted to blow up Margaret Thatcher, MI5’s boss.

    worse still you use Cusack as validation. (now that’s worse that anything trow has claimed)

    I am waiting for this to be proved.

  • ingram


    Their was at least three British Agents and one suspected Irish Agent on the operations (3) one has admitted a role in the jobs and admitted he told his handlers of the development.He was recently arrested for that disclosure.

    Martins Brother along with a small number of other IRA men were arrested by the Gardai shortly after the DERRY ATTCK( 20 mins) for their involvement and possession.

    The Bomb was prepared South of the Border under Gardai surveilance.This little nest of vipers had a Gardai tout in their midst.

    Any leading Republican will tell you Martin and his brither were the brains behind this idiotic scheme.That is nothing new to the real audience .

    In relation to Martin, very interesting video on my site, Martin swearing to the membership that the armed struggle would never, never, never never be abandoned.Check it out.


    In respect to your own experiences? dont be shy come on what is your record at getting it right.

    compare my record against either Martin or Gerry at telling the truth.LOL

    In respect to the list of successes , which ones do you doubt? LOL

    Come on boy do not be shy mate. LOL


  • dreamer

    Some one here needs some serious mental ealthcare help Maybe the govrnmentare sending far 2 much on inquiries and not enough to help the people that have been affected.

  • heck


    I guess you have one advantage over me. Unlike you I have never been a member of an organisation, like the british army, that killed people, so I don’t have your insight.

    However I’m still waiting for proof that the head of IRA was really 003.5, that MI5 invented the human car bomb to kill British soldiers using british employees as the delivery system, and that their agent attempted to blow up Margaret Thatcher, MI5’s boss.

    I guess all the drunken hacks that feed on your leaks are ignoring this one. Either they don’t believe them and are spinning the MMcG story as Pravda propaganda or they do believe them and don’t care what it says about British democracy that the secret services tried to kill and elected prime minister

  • ingram


    At least you believe 90 % then .

    Another convert.


  • heck


    good propaganda always contains a degree of truth.

    At least you agree 10 % of your stuff is false?

    another convert

  • I am sorry that my dispute with MI about our bona fides – something I certainly did not initiate – has directed posters away from the main thrust of what Liam Clarke seems to be claiming – mainly that if inquiries were not designed to be so adversarial, perhaps they would be more fruitful and less expensive.

    But in making the suggestion, Clarke seems to overlook what HMG has done voluntarily to prevent any progress on the issue – passing a law to give politicians control of investigations
    if this proves necessary, using discretion illegally in the Wright inquiry, the SoS going ahead with the Victims Commissioner’s report despite legal questioning of the whole process, the PSNI losing the majority of files concerning the unsolved murders, destroying the prison files apparently of the all the serious criminals, refusing to publish the entirety of the Stevens inquiries, dragging its feet in all the inquiries appointed upon the recommendation of Judge Peter Cory, etc.

    This is not a record of a government wanting to solve any outstanding crimes, and to satisfy any of their surviving victims – what cannot help arouse the deepest suspicions of all concerned.

  • topdeckomnibus

    An adversarial process between Martin and Trow which seems to me to have illuminated no truth.

    I think a useful starting point is 1902 and the words of a Commandant of British Army officer training, Lt Col Murray

    “We would rather have (as an officer) a classically educated boy than one who has given his mind very much up to Electricity and Physics and those kinds of subjects. Our great point is character. WE care more about that than subjects”

    The Murray doctrine survived two world wars (only with the help of USA) and is still represented in British management (93% totally unqualified) and British military.

    The 20th century saw the struggle between an ever diminishing band of those who knew their job (the artisan) and the ever increasing band of those who knew their place (the uneducated or irrelevantly educated parasite).

    An event, directly related to the process by which UK slowly destroys itself, illustrating this is the nuclear leak incident at Dounreay in 1998.

    The classically educated Tony Blair accepted former Soviet nuclear weapons grade into Scotland for re-processing at Dounreay (Stand by MI for Trow to blame you for this). Dounreay had a power cut which revealed that the backup power did not work.

    The decommissioning of Dounreay will cost about four to ten billion. How many managers and how few engineers was Dounreay running with ?

    In the same year Hunterston B nuclear power plant came close to criticality when there was a collapse of mains distribution followed by a failure of the plants backup power supply needed for the emergency shut down procedures.

    In the same year Bradwell B (now decommissioning) suffered a similar sort of incident.

    If the IRA had succeeded in 1996 in collapsing mains electric distribution then it is a reasonable question to ask how many nuclear plant would then have simultaneously faced a shut down crisis but with road and rail chaos cutting off the response to that ?

    The attack was intercepted and hence UK can continue to fund what you call subvention to create your cafe society and cultural quarters and so on and yea forth.

    An old Greek philosopher said that there are only two things in life not to worry about. Things you can change and things you cannot.

    But he did not live at a time a failure of the nuclear power plant could cause him to vacate his olive grove for 300 years.

    I still wonder whether the “Truth” could ever emerge without consideration of matters like the 1969 “Job evaluation” of the British Army and the 1971 expulsion of 105 Soviet diplomats from Britain.

  • topdeckomnibus

    The spirit of “My wife drove an omnibus during the 1926 General Strike don’t you know” was afoot in 1969 in the top echelons of the British military.

    Class confrontation was on their minds … the sort of minds which readily believed that the prime minister was a soviet spy.

    I wonder what they made of Sean Garland ?

  • Pete Baker

    It would help if we all could keep to the actual topic.. rather than attempt to introduce our own pet conspiracy theories..