RUC: guilty until proved innocent?

An interesting response from the Northern Ireland Retired Officers’ Association, which argues that a more robust scrutiny of the report, “would have done much to temper the outrageous comments of certain other public organisations with police and human rights related responsibilities, political parties with an anti-RUC agenda and other commentators”. The full statement below:

On Monday 22nd January 2007 the Police Ombudsman for Northern Ireland issued a very damning report on Special Branch and the RUCGC/PSNI. That report lays very specific charges against a number of officers who were in service during the period under investigation. Those charges taken together, amount to the most serious allegations of criminality that could be laid against any professional police officer or his/her service.

Consequently we have looked in the report to find the evidence to support the charges and to justify the wholesale condemnation that has followed both within the report and the public arena. Such evidence is totally absent and in its place we found assertions, generalisations and allegations all masquerading as fact. More sinisterly, it was the glaring omissions that are of most concern, as they allowed for the gross distortion and misrepresentation to the police and public alike, that this report represented a comprehensive, professionally and impartially conducted investigation.

Nothing could be further from the truth; the report is riddled with inaccuracies, contradictions and vindictive assertions but most serious of all and for reasons known only to the Ombudsman at this stage, is the deliberate failure to complete enquiries to the breadth, scope and minute detail that an investigation of this magnitude and seriousness demands.

As a consequence of this failure to apply even the minimum standard of professional competence, rigour and investigative discipline to the enquiry the Ombudsman has produced a seriously flawed report.

The false assertions in the report start with the Ombudsman’s claim that she encountered difficulty with the refusal of a number of retired RUCGC/PSNI officers to cooperate with the enquiry. This is a gross distortion of fact. Some officers, but not all, were invited to have an “informal talk” at the early stages of the enquiry, as the report states “simply being asked to provide an explanation of Special Branch and CID internal practices during this period”.

As this was an investigation into serious crime, and in the knowledge that no professional investigative body would ever invite those included within the scope of such a serious enquiry for an “informal talk”, and in the additional knowledge that without having heard what any officer would have to say, it was grossly irresponsible of the Ombudsman to be inducing cooperation by offering witness status to anyone or to imply that that would remain the status of such persons throughout the enquiry.

The caution which was exercised in respect of this unusual request has been justified by the treatment meted out to other officers who initially accepted this assurance and then found themselves interviewed under caution and reported to the Public Prosecution Service (PPS) for prosecution.

However, despite this well warranted caution, we made a comprehensive written response to the Ombudsman so that there would be a record of our contact. We, from our collective recall, gave her considerable information as to where the policy and operational directives she sought could be located. These set out in detail the internal practices applicable to the period under investigation. We felt that this was a much better and speedier approach than individual officers trawling their memories to provide such background information, given that they had no longer any access to official records and were not offered so.

Any subsequent professional judgement of the rights and wrongs of individual police officers’ actions or the corporate failure of the RUCGC/PSNI would have to be based on such material not personal recall which might, given the passage of time have been incomplete and misleading.

Thereafter, we held ourselves available for further interview. We expected that, as this was to be a professionally conducted enquiry, the next point of contact would be in relation to incident specific matters where detailed explanation would be sought from each officer as to the manner in which his duties were discharged and practices and policy applied. We were always conscious of the gravity of the matters under investigation and anticipated the very fine detail that investigators would have to apply, in order to take each and every line of enquiry to its ultimate conclusion. We expected that every rational explanation would be fully explored and evaluated so that in the final analysis the balanced conclusions reached would be supported by a substantive body of evidence that was unchallenged and acceptable to all concerned.

Regretfully, since the first contact by letter none of the senior officers was in further contact with the Ombudsman. No assistance was sought nor was anyone contacted relative to any of the long catalogue of serious occurrences set out in the report. We find it amazing and beyond belief that any investigation of this magnitude, that was being pursued with any degree of professionalism and competence, could have singularly avoided contact when quite clearly within the body of the report there are a vast number of issues that needed clarification and explanation if a balanced and thorough examination of such complex matters was to result.

Consequently we consider it to be an appalling failure and dereliction of investigative responsibility by the Ombudsman to have failed to interview each and every senior officer on matters specific to his role and responsibilities. It is inconceivable that the Ombudsman, given the fact she arrived at such damning conclusions of criminality on our part in her report, did not apparently at any stage of her three year investigation form even the most basic “reasonable suspicion” of guilt on our part sufficient to warrant calling us for interview as voluntary attendees or if refused then by arrest.

Was this a deliberate ploy on her part to avoid having any credible explanation of action, procedure or policy destroy what was a carefully crafted and limited investigation directed solely at eliciting only that information which supported conclusions arrived at in advance?

That will be for others to judge but it is hard to avoid considering this possibility given the absolutely feeble defence in her report that because we did not make ourselves available at the initial stages for an informal chat, that constituted an insurmountable barrier to an investigation of such magnitude and seriousness. It is derisory in the extreme given the powers of investigation vested in the post of Ombudsman to suggest that this was the case given the ease with which she was able to publicly pronounce our collective guilt.

We see ourselves not as victims but as ex public servants who have been let down by an investigative process that was incompetently directed, unprofessionally conducted and seriously incomplete in terms of its scope and attention to detail along obvious lines of enquiry. We have every respect and sympathy for the members of murder victims’ families and for those police officers doing their duty and any prolongation of the enquiry was not due in any respect to any action or inaction on our part.

As a consequence we totally reject the allegations contained in the report as being incapable of substantiation on the grounds cited in the report and as a result ask that the report be reviewed by an independent and competent authority whose conclusions will be wholly evidence based and devoid of emotive language or melodramatic import.

We again strenuously reject any knowledge of wrongdoing and would remind the public that the PPS has already directed ‘No Prosecution’ against any serving or former police officer, a key point seemingly being overlooked in the commentaries offered to date.

Representations have been made without adequate response to the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland, the Lord Chancellor, the Criminal Justice Inspectorate and the Cabinet Office.

A more robust scrutiny of her report would have done much to temper the outrageous comments of certain other public organisations with police and human rights related responsibilities, political parties with an anti-RUC agenda and other commentators. It is regrettable that previous complaints about the conduct of her office and how it discharges its responsibilities have been ignored.

  • DK

    Billy – apologies, the forest does exist. However, it is not as clear as you portray it (par for your form here with your miserable treatment of Sally – especially the bit where you claim Sally didn’t say where they were from and whether they had any RUC in their family)

    From the link:

    “In the mid-1960s, the Irish Jewish community funded the planting of an “Eamon de Valera Forest” of 10,000 trees in Israel, in honour of the then Irish President. The forest was part of a series of forests grown in honour of statesmen, including Winston Churchill and President John F Kennedy.

    The tribute to de Valera was first mooted by a Dublin businessman, Harry Elliott. He helped establish the Eamon de Valera Forest Committee, chaired by Prof Mervyn Abrahamson, a Fellow of the Royal College of Surgeons. Robert Briscoe TD was a leading member of the project, which was driven by the Jewish National Fund (Dublin Commission).

    Originally, de Valera had baulked at the idea on the grounds that he did not want his name associated with any public appeal for funds. Only when it was clear that the fundraising would receive no publicity did de Valera consent to the project.

    He wrote to the Forest Committee in February 1965: “I am very pleased, indeed, at the honour which the Jewish community here propose for me, although I feel I did nothing for the Jewish community except to express the general goodwill of our people towards them and what our Constitution demands.”

    In a letter to Robert Briscoe, he also referred to the area where the forest would be planted as Palestine, rather than Israel. In his official correspondence with the fundraising committee, he avoided referring to the area by either name”

  • susan

    The fact that underneath the shouting, Sally Ant and Billy Pilgrim’s views are not so terribly divergent, and yet the thread has still come to this, is one of the most painful aspects of reading this. I don’t have a prescription for this, it is just sad to observe.

    Tomorrow is International Holocaust Remembrance Day. At one time I had a courtesy review copy of Dermot Keogh’s “Jews in Twentieth-Century Ireland: Refugees, Anti-Semitism and the Holocaust.” I regret to say I’ve ransacked the place and cannot find it, but for DK I do remember mention in it of the trees planted in De Valera’s name — in Galilee, I believe.

  • I Wonder

    Mick

    Those who believe that the IRA should have been fought in a war without moral or legal restraint are scarcely in a position to criticise the moral position of those who did seemingly bend morality and legality to fight “a war on terror.”

    I do not ignore the background of Mr McCord, for whom I have great respect. That is considerably more than most of the political representatives of his community seem to have demonstrated.

    For what its worth I believe collusion extended elewhere and involved the Garda and the IRA but what this specific issue has confirmed there is no reason whatsoever to believe that the Mt. Vernon situation was not replicated over three decades in virtually every sub divisional command area in NI.

  • overhere

    What is a milksop ?

  • Billy Pilgrim

    DK

    “Billy – apologies, the forest does exist.”

    No apology required.

    “par for your form here with your miserable treatment of Sally”

    – See, this is my point: why is Sally entitled to be treated any differently from anyone else?

    “especially the bit where you claim Sally didn’t say where they were from and whether they had any RUC in their family.”

    Again I repeat, that was in reference to his ORIGINAL post, which prompted my original question. I am happy to accept that Sally has answered my questions as clearly and forthrightly as anyone may wish.

    Susan

    “The fact that underneath the shouting, Sally Ant and Billy Pilgrim’s views are not so terribly divergent, and yet the thread has still come to this, is one of the most painful aspects of reading this. I don’t have a prescription for this, it is just sad to observe.”

    Thanks for acknowledging this Susan. The thing is, Sally and I don’t disagree on any of the substantive issues that have been discussed here. I am willing to admit that I over-reacted and replied tetchily to what I perceived to be his high-handed and morally narcissistic tone – a tone I would not accept from anyone, regardless of their background. It was foolish of me to have replied in kind.

    What was sadly predictable is that some people were quick to leap in with catcalls about anti-Semitism and things quickly went downhill from there. It is indeed sad.

  • The Dubliner

    Frankly, good riddance to the nic-switch Ant Sally. It was a troll trying to dispute the debate by sidetracking it.

    Let’s look at its first post:

    It condemns Mark Durkan’s use of parliamentary privilege as being “…beneath his usual standards in the last number of days.” It then goes on to question both Mark Durkan’s and Nuala O’Loan’s integrity by suggesting that they have secret pact between them: “Could there be some link between the Ombudsman and the SDLP? ;-)” Coy wink, indeed – what a bloody lunatic.

    It then concludes by saying that a public inquiry will should not be held on the grounds that “Processes that only point the finger at the State can only stir up more of the poisonous invective that we’ve seen on Slugger this week, and alienate others.” Oh dear! Of course, the pro-RUC troll doesn’t claim it doesn’t want a public enquiry; it duplicitously claims that it wants a public inquiry into all cases of collusion. Since the issue is not all cases of collusion, but the case identified in the report, the troll’s comment a transparent attempt to stall a public inquiry by set unreasonable and irrelevant conditions.

    In its second post, it seizes of the term “Holocaust deniers” to rant and rave about how Jews suffered at Auschwitz-Birkenau, and to make ludicrous extrapolations to suggest that the Irish Free State/Republic is/was pro-Nazi. This is a transparent attempt to sidetrack the discussion. With tongue firmly in its cheek, no doubt, it then accuses others of doing what it has done i.e. engaging in an “…attempt to sidetrack the debate….”

    It carries this lunacy forth to the laughable conclusion that “I pointed out the almost unimaginably crass use of the Holocaust to make a political point, and illustrated the hyprocrisy of republicanism, which actively collaborated with those who perpetrated it.”

    Ah yes, it has proven that Irish Republicans are Nazi-sympathizers (in its deranged head, no doubt); ergo, no public inquiry should be held into the state’s collusion with murder gangs to murder its own citizens, as identified in the Ombudsman’s report.

    Doesn’t anybody know a message board troll with a purpose when they read one? “Ant Sally” hasn’t departed. It has simply continued to post under whichever moniker it used prior to its idiotic, sidetracking and irrelevant ‘contribution’ to this debate.

  • joeCanuck

    I commend you Billy for finally apologising for what was , indeed I think, a serious over-reaction.
    Maybe we can move on now.

  • TB

    Billy: “It was foolish of me to have replied in kind.

    What was sadly predictable is that some people were quick to leap in with catcalls about anti-Semitism and things quickly went downhill from there. It is indeed sad.”

    Who could read the above sanctimony and not come to the conclusion that the epithet “moral narcissism” coming from the writer is anything other than hypocrisy of the most blatant variety?

    The first line is (yet another) veiled attack, which implies that it was all sally’s fault.

    The second is hand-wringing and head-shaking of the most manifest kind. Who’s playing the victim now?

    Let’s be absolutely clear about what went on: SA (under intense provocation) shone a light on the historical facts of Ireland’s (and other countries’) inaction in helping Jewish refugees in WWII.

    The above gentleman responded with a story about a few establishment Jews organising the planting of some trees for De Valera, and the provocative phrase “If it was good enough for them, it’s good enough for me.”

    Upset by the dodging of the issue and the belittling of his point, Sally, as anyone personally affected by the circumstances of the Holocaust would, said that he didn’t care what was good enough for Billy.

    There ensued a relentless, vicious, unjustifiable and I suspect organised hounding and name-calling of a new poster – a member of a miniscule ethnic minority and the grandson of a pogrom survivor – who has not been heard from on this forum since.

    Additionally, lest anyone forget, Billy did not casually enquire as to which county Sally was from. He said:

    “I do want to know more. What county / town do you come from? Did you or your family serve in the security forces here?”

    A worrying development, and I sincerely hope we don’t see any more of that sort of behaviour, which is unjustifiable under any circumstances.

  • Jocky

    In an attempt to get the thread back on track.

    In the other thread on the report Pat and Henry noted the difference between SB/IRA collusion was different from SB/UVF collusion as it was an attempt to undermine the IRA and hence hasten it’s downfall, i.e. you could defend it with a greater good arguement. (Apologies if it not Pat and Henry but I cant be arsed checking).

    But that SB/UVF collusion is apparently not to undermine UVF, so where is the greater good? unless it’s all about using the alphabet soup as a check and balance against each other, not much greater good there either. So what the feck was the point of it?

    But where the whole greater good arguement for any collusion falls down is where is the evidence of strategic planning? who decided what was for the greater good? and if every handler was so independent how was ti co-ordinated? Someone had to tell the handlers who to give the free pass to. That’s the really disturbing thing, either the evidence of the management sturcture (checks and balances, etc) was destroyed or it never existed in the first place.

    Id love someone to try to make a greater good case for killing 10 people. It’s so far off the reservation. Were talking about giving a psychopath a free pass. What did they do after work? go down the pub and have a pint and a laugh about how good their day was? My guy killed more folk than your guy today?

    The report notes it still hasn’t recieved a copy of the policy for handlers and agents, then it’s really worrying, again either it never formally existed or if it did the suspicion is it points too far up so there’s some serious arse covering going on.

    Now this doesn’t mean that you write off supporting P&J as some SF supporters are keen to, or that the whoel system was inherently fecked. What it does mean is you have to established there was a problem but you have no idea how big it was.

    Now if you look at the policial reaction to this, getting beyond the traditional point scoring bonanza it’s provided the reaction of the major parties not only to this report but to the events leading up to it is instructive, esp regarding OTR.

    DUP are in full on denial mode, no changes there, their boys colluding, never.

    SF are staying quiet while their supporters pile on the cheap points completely overlooking that SF had all signed up to the OTR legislation that was designed to let all the colluders off the hook.

    HMG are staying quiet also, the OTR bill having been scuppered they’re looking for other ways to tie up the loose ends before they slink away.

    No one wants to know, which to me tell you all you need to know, their all up to their necks in it.

    A lot has been made about should investigate ALL collusion etc, now in principle I’m right there but can anyone honestly see it working? How mcuh did bloody sunday cost? what did we get out of it. Same would happen here, the key men line up and say and cover theirs and their mates arses, “cant remember, blah de blah” why, because they can, cause they control the information.

    It’s a no win situation, do you spend the next 30 years raking through the lies and half truths for what? you don’t know which cases will bear fruit, who will get closure who wont. All you will get is a prolonging of the your side was more worse the my side, yours were murdering b’stards mine were noble defender of blah de blah. The same pish that is posted on here day in day out.

    It’s funny how all the main players want enquiries but when it’s their lot in the dock they all go quite.

    The moral of the story dont have a 30 year secterain killing spree. You’ll never put all the pieces back together again.

  • overhere

    TB fess up, you are Sally. Everyone else wants to get back to the thread but you seem determined to keep “stirring it”

  • TB

    ““Ant Sally” hasn’t departed. It has simply continued to post under whichever moniker it used prior to its idiotic, sidetracking and irrelevant ‘contribution’ to this debate.”

    Disgusting. Absolutely revolting.

    Referring to a Jew as “it” and asserting that, because he challenged republican theocracy, he is a “troll”, is execrable. It shouldn’t be such a shock that one Jewish poster might be reading a topical message board a day or two before Holocaust Memorial Day. It also shouldn’t be so shocking that he might just have his own views about other political matters.

    It’s also very, very sinister that a Jewish contributor is somehow denied their own existence. Some may see this debate as wide of the mark, but it’s flushed out some thoroughly unpleasant views and the true colours of some are shining brightly today.

    I certainly don’t doubt his story. Perhaps the Dubliner would have us believe there are no Jews in Ireland, and if there are, they couldn’t possibly challenge republican views.

    Your selective quotes don’t tell the whole story, which is not that of a board troll. Sally condemned collusion, expressed sympathy with all victims, and told of personal details.

    I wish even the merest semblance of the same sort of even-handedness would appear more often.

    “TB fess up, you are Sally.”

    Sorry, nope – wrong, although I’m sure that’s a comforting thought. Nor is he a friend or anyone I know personally. And it says an awful lot about you that it would be so inconceivable that someone else might wish to defend another poster who has been mistreated and maligned.

    The idea that anyone who challenges republican doctrine and isn’t a protestant, must be a troll, has taken this thread to a new low.

  • Billy Pilgrim

    TB

    “It’s actually the case in point….”
    No, actually it’s clearly a hypothetical case you are invoking. (Look at the clauses: “If”, “a member”, “a different…ethnic minority”, “it would be met” etc.

    Back to the case in point: my initial reaction was to Sally’s comment:
    “Billy, not to personalise this too much, but I am part of the Jewish community in Ireland, and I’m going to a Holocaust memorial event tonight, where I’ll be contemplating the fate of very many who were murdered, including members of my family. I have stories handed down to me that would bring grown men to tears, so how don’t dare presume to tell me what’s good enough for you – I don’t care what’s good enough for you.”

    I considered this to be out or order but I’m willing to admit I overreacted. And as for my original point – I was pointing out that DeValera’s record was good enough for Ireland’s Jews and, presumably, for the state of Israel, in which the forest stands. Who am I to disagree?

    “Why on earth do you brand me a right-winger – because I fundamentally disagree with your behaviour?”

    If you read my post, you’ll see that I said that screaming allegations of anti-Semitism is a “standard rightwing slander” – and indeed it is. You’ll see it from Fox News to the Israeli far right. I have no idea what your personal politics are, but you ARE pulling a stunt that the rightwing pulls on a regular basis, as a means of bullying me. That much is clear.

    “It is, of course, the behaviour of the coward and the milksop to counter allegations of prejudice and bullying by yelping “libel” or “slander”.”

    This discounts the possibility that I might actually have been libeled or slandered. I would also argue that it is the tactic of a coward and bully to scream allegations of anti-Semitism at someone who just happens to criticize the behaviour of someone who happens to be Jewish.

    “The fact remains that you relentlessly hounded a member of a tiny ethnic minority off this forum.”

    Sorry but that’s complete nonsense. I did criticize the behaviour and tone of another poster, who happens to be Jewish. After my initial, rather innocuous post regarding DeValera forest – to which Sally replied very aggressively – I posted ONCE. Then Sally staged his walkout. Please explain how this amounts to “relentlessly hounding”? And wouldn’t you agree that Sally’s walkout was an overreaction?

    “That’s an allegation for you to justify and establish – not for anyone else to refute. If you can establish such moral narcissism on his part, do so.”

    I was having that conversation with Sally. I’d be happy to continue it with him if he returns.

    “Your arrogance is almost without compare. What a blowhard. What county did your discussion take place in?”

    Dazzling rhetorical technique. It took place in Co Armagh by the way, circa 1987.

    “You also viscerated Michael McDowell for drawing a comparison between the Holocaust and Kingsmill, calling the analogy “total bullshit”. Yet, yesterday, you said: “By the same reckoning, many thousands of families here know what it is to lose someone.”

    Ah, this is interesting. I’ve never heard of you before TB, so I assumed you were new on the block, yet now it seems you have been around Slugger for some time? Can I just ask, as it seems relevant – have you posted before using another name? I hope you don’t find that an intrusive or sinister question, but you have me at a disadvantage as I have no idea who you are, but seemingly you know me well. (Which frankly I find somewhat sinister.)

    But on the point: of course it’s bullshit to compare anything that happened here to the Holocaust. Of course scale matters. The point I was making yesterday was about loss, about how it is to lose a loved one, about the terrible impact that it has on families, and how that impact is felt for generations. (Clearly Sally would agree with this.) And as I made clear, that doesn’t make what happened here a Holocaust – of course it was not. But that still doesn’t give anyone license to claim moral superiority. Of course on a macro level there’s no comparison, but on a micro level, for families who lost loved ones, there kind-of is. (Enough that they shouldn’t be high-handedly dismissed, at any rate.)

    “Just when did you hear this maxim and at what point did you start to believe in it?”

    As I said, circa 1987. I’m not sure when I started “believing in it”. (Whatever that means.) I suppose we all carry with us values and ideas from childhood. Hard to pinpoint exact dates though.

  • Mick Fealty

    I’m getting close to doing a job lot on yellow cards guys. You too TB. TD was not remotely referring to you or SA as a Jew, but he is playing the man.

    This is turning into bitchslap central. Can we drop the bleeding handbags and step away from the keyboards. For five minutes and get a bleeding grip.

    I have work to do!!!

  • Billy Pilgrim

    (contd)

    “How can you justify using the Holocaust in a comparative way and then accusing someone whose family is defined by it of moral narcissism after not going nearly as far?”

    I have not justified using the Holocaust in a comparative way. Others have done so, I grant you, but I have not. My dispute with Sally began after his denunciation of Ireland’s role in the 1930s/40s – a dispute that proved very easy to clear up, as it turns out. His denunciation came after someone else referred to “Holocaust deniers” – not me. As you have kindly pointed out, I have a longstanding record of declaring such comparisons as “total bullshit”. He then invoked his personal background, then it all got personal and went downhill from there. I’m sorry it has, but there you go.

    “We all had to duck to avoid the toys flying out of the pram when SA dared to question the Ireland’s attitude to Jewish refugees and Sinn Féin’s honouring of a Nazi collaborator.”

    On the contrary, Sally and I quickly agreed on the issue. I simply wanted to establish the implications Sally was attaching to the points he raised – and the implications he was NOT attaching. I was quickly satisfied and voiced my agreement. By then though, my issue was with his tone, not his facts. I now regret rising to the bait, but there you have it.

    “The problem is that the best defence you could muster was a few trees, and the phrase “if it was good enough for them it’s good enough for me”.”

    No, I simply pointed out the opinion that Ireland’s Jewish population had of DeValera. Furthermore, if DeValera had been renowned as an anti-Semite, would there be a forest in Israel named after him? I was making the point that his record was good enough for Jews in Ireland and Israel. Who am I to argue with that?

    “…but now piously whispers the maxim of a convenient family friend.”

    You are questioning whether she existed? Hmmm. Right, just so you know: my parents lived in London for many years before I was born. While there, my sister was born, and while she was in primary school my sister became fast friends with a young girl whose mother was a Polish-born Jewish woman and Auschwitz survivor. (This is late 60s, early 70s we’re talking here.) The two families in turn became friends. Then my parents moved back home, had another couple of kids and over time lost contact with their friends in London. However, on at least two occasions of which I am aware, and one of which I remember well (I was about 8) they came to stay, and I remember well listening to Mrs B telling us about her experiences. She spared us nothing, pointing out that she was younger than us when she was in Auschwitz. She was a “real-life Jew” and she “knew all about the Holocaust”. You can choose to believe me or not, I don’t really care.

    “…gets bullied and hectored off the forum. That’s the same holocaust you were quite happy to use as a punchline this time last year.”

    What a disgusting remark.

    “Why ask at all?!”

    I admit I shouldn’t have, and I regret it. However I reject the sinister implications which you seem anxious to attach to what was simply a request for more information.

    “God knows there are enough people on this forum who agree with your views. Your seemingly compulsive need to go after a dissenting voice is truly disturbing.”

    Again, define “go after”. Please, I want to know what I’m being accused of here.

    “your continual assertions that anyone who seeks to challenge you is “a rightwinger” or part of the “lunatic fringe of unionism”.

    I have done nothing of the sort. I have identified very specific arguments and tactics (demonstrated on this thread) as being arguments and tactics typically employed by the lunatic fringe of unionism and the rightwing – NOT, as you so dishonestly say, “anyone who seeks to challenge (me)”. This accusation is simply a lie. I don’t know you or your politics or background TB, but your approach is familiar.

    “Lastly, how very instructive that you think that a classroom discussion of the Holocaust, using some of the comments on this board, is “vicious”.”

    Again I condemn your dishonestly and mendacity. Classroom discussions on the Holocaust are important and to be lauded. Teaching children as fact the slanders you have leveled against me is disgusting and indeed vicious.

  • Aaron McDaid

    Some of the discussion on this thread about the Nazis and Ireland is flawed because of the assumption that ‘the people’ and ‘their elected politicians’ are interchangeable. This also is the case with reaction to the Ombudsman’s report.

    All too often people here take attacks on politicians they elected as attacks on them personally, and then make the further mistake of thinking they can attack the opposition by attacking politicians they voted for.

    One example out of many is the reference to anti-Semitism in the 26 counties and to the fact the IRA worked with the Nazis. These two things are true and often relevant, but don’t delude yourself into thinking this can be used to attack modern Irish citizens and Irish republicans. Similarly, I disagree with what some unionist politicians have said about the collusion report, but I don’t presume that every voter who voted for them agrees with them.

    Anyway, I don’t think there’s any point arguing over these issues much further (and we all probably agree on much of it), but I just wanted to remind everyone that we are just individuals, 6 billion of us around the world, and we are not defined by our religion or our voting patterns or who our granddaddy was.

    I guess it’s a bigger problem in NI because during the Troubles people not only voted for leaders, but felt compelled to have faith in them to a large extent.

    In any normal grown up country, most of the population quite rightly have little trust in any politicians and don’t agree with them. At election time they think “I’m not really sure, but I’m going to try to guess who’s the least worst option”. When discussing politics, they know that people rarely agree with who they voted for, and therefore don’t pretend that they achieve anything in an argument by simply dissing the politicians.

    Put another way, I’m quite happy to start any discussion by disagreeing with the leaders of all parties I have any sympathy with, past and present. I have an opinion of my own, and a rationale for it, and if you want to argue with me, then argue with me. If you want to argue with the politician I voted for, go to his/her constituency office.

  • heck

    After spending a day thinking about Sally Ant’s comments I have to say that I agree with BP that his argument was total nonsense. It would be akin to me telling him that I am a nationalist who grew up in North Belfast and personally knew a number of people who were murdered (some a result of collusion) and that therefore he had no right to comment. It is simply an attempt at moral intimidation.

    Analogy is a legitimate form of argument and my comparison of those who deny that state sanctioned collusion happened with David Irving and his ilk is valid. On this site I have often compared the actions of the PSNI/RUC to local police and sheriffs in the southeastern US in the 50’s and 60’s. The comparison of Nor Iron Protestants to southern whites in the US has an academic pedigree (cf the book “Cracker Culture” or the more popular “Born Bighting” by US senator and former US navy secretary Jim Webb). Would it be legitimate for a black person living in Norn Iron to claim that I had no right to draw that analogy because I was white?

    Sally Ant called me an idiot for comparing collusion deniers to holocaust deniers. That is playing the man not the ball. I try to avoid playing the man but to return the compliment using a good Yiddish word he is a smuck.

  • Billy Pilgrim

    TB

    “There ensued a relentless, vicious, unjustifiable and I SUSPECT ORGANISED (my emphasis) hounding and name-calling of a new poster – a member of a miniscule ethnic minority and the grandson of a pogrom survivor – who has not been heard from on this forum since.”

    Ah, sorry. I now realise what a fool I have been. And to think I have wasted precious time on this.

    You overplayed your hand there TB. Even I, in the heat of this argument, can now see that you are a sockpuppet.

    What a fool I have been. Bon voyage. I’m gonna go and get on with my life.

    Anti-Semite indeed. Can’t believe I fell for that old chestnut….

  • Mick Fealty

    Aaron,

    I’d go further. There seems to be some difficulty in the way this stuff is received too. Last year, Bertie Ahern called for a national conversation: something I am all for.

    But conversation is meaningless if people are going to take things so personally that their feelings take precedence over the thing we are actually supposed to be talking about.

    The trouble is it all rapidly turns from serious debate to playtime in the nursery. Honestly guys, some of you clearly don’t know how foolish this all looks!

  • TB

    Billy,

    I promise you that I did not teach my class (of very independent-minded 17-year-olds) any slanders against anyone.

    We watched a very instructive video and had a brief discussion about what being of a minority religion means in a politically divided society. In the end, I didn’t use the posts here, which I decided did me no favours as their teacher.

    I’ve looked over my posts today, and I’m slowly putting my hands up. I recognise that I’ve not been completely straight in my debating today, and have thrown quite a few low blows.

    I’m not making excuses, but I was genuinely concerned about sally’s departure (I promise I’m not him!)

    But he himself said he was a big boy who could defend himself, so I apologise for ill-tempered or knee-jerk statements, which I admit have got well out of hand.

    I still have fundamental difficulties with some of what has been said, but my own posting behaviour has been less than stellar. I am sorry to Mick and to Heck, Billy, and anyone else I’ve offended. Reading back over my posts, I can see a pretty sharp decline in the standard of debate and an increase in the level of mud-slinging.

    Again, we have fundamental differences, but I am sure that I’m right in saying that none of us are apologists for any mistreatment of Jews of any kind.

    To Billy particularly, I acknowledge that one of my statements implied that your family friend may not have existed – I’m very sorry for that.

    I’m not alone in some shoddy behaviour today, which would not be worthy of my kids, but I admit my part in it. I’m not quite sure how I got so wound up, but there it is.

    Anyhoo, I hope we can let bygones be bygones, and not distract further from tomorrow’s important commemoration. I know Billy says he’s off, but I hope he reads this. I really don’t want to be responsible for any further distractions from the important matters.

  • Billy Pilgrim

    TB

    Thanks for everything you said in the last post. I admit I regret some of the things I’ve said here too and accept my share of responsibility for the deterioration of the thread. And I hope Sally does return.

    Fair play, your last post was very impressive.

    Best wishes,

    Billy

    (And I’m definitely off now!)

  • Dread Cthulhu

    sean: “therefore it was a famine, people dont (sic) starve to death in a hunger! ”

    If there is food to be exported, as there was during the Great Hunger, it was not a “famine.” which is defined as “a general and wide-reaching shortage of food.” The Great Hunger was not a famine, as there was no shortage of food, as evidenced by the exports.

    However, if a simple black and white analysis is more to your preference, by all means, enjoy. You are entitled to your opinion, just not your own facts. The Great Hunger is far more complex than you appear willing to acknowledge, which is fine. I work in a systems-oriented position, where the “why” of things can be as important as the “what” of things. Invariably, the why takes far more explanation that the what.

  • Doctor Who

    “There’s also the poster called “Doctor Who” – they go after him too, but in fairness he is a confirmed unionist and quite able to take it. ”

    Well I would perfer to say got used to it rather than being able to take it.

    Dcecided not to join this debate as I am geting ready to fly to Poland (krakow). Surprised Billy brought up the crap about De Valeras forest. This was a gesture well paid for and not some “schlindler” style forever grateful for saving us bollocks.

    Billy labelled this at me before but it didn´t receive the same condemnation.

    I guess I must of got up a lot of peoples smaller noses.

  • Sean

    everybody else gets a say so I am having one

    Its simple and straight forward and it isnt directed at any one in particular but…….

    If you can’t stand the hecklers don’t climb on the soap box

    any time you express an opinion especially on a political forumn you should either expect to be challenged on it or not forward your opiion

  • Sean

    dread

    the fact that food was being exported while between 500,000 and 2 million people starved to death is what makes it racist

    the fact that 500,000 to 2 million starved to death makes it a famine. it was a wide spread shortage of food, the why makes no difference

  • Dread Cthulhu

    Sean: “the fact that food was being exported while between 500,000 and 2 million people starved to death is what makes it racist ”

    Actually, that had more to do with Protestant dogma and social and economic theories of the time. To the British mind-set, bad things, like crop failures, were a sign of God’s displeasure. Likewise, to simply give away relief would encourage dependency and promote laziness — which does keep somewhat with your thesis there was an ethnic aspect, but it also has an intersection with the economic theory of the time, along with a belief in an unfettered capitalism that today’s robber-baron equivalents can only dream of.

    Sean: “the fact that 500,000 to 2 million starved to death makes it a famine.”

    The blight was neither general, being limited to one crop, nor was did it limit the supply of food generally, as evidenced by the exports. It cannot even honestly be called an engineered famine, as the level of deliberation does not exist to call it engineered. The blight changed the reality on the ground and the rest of the systems – economic, political and social – did not change in reaction to the new reality. If anything, it was the opposite of an engineered famine, since the first waves of problems were wrought by the failure of the systems to respond to the new reality created by the blight.

    As for the why not making any difference, that is a rather simplistic view. Of course the “why” and the “how” matter. Over-simplification blurs the realities, lampooning a reasonable position. Analysis of the critical failures serves to clarify and sharpen details.

  • Hopscotch

    It obvious now why there was 30 years of murder and mayhem in NI. People can’t have a disucssion without slinging insults. If they were physically present they probably would have thrown stones at each other. And these are the presumably “educated” ones. In the ghettos they didn’t have the fancy words – only the stones. Obviously nothing has changed – God help us.

  • Sean

    Blah Blah Blah not really racist because the english did it Blah Blah Blah

  • Dread Cthulhu

    Sean: “Blah Blah Blah not really racist because the english did it Blah Blah Blah ”

    Reading comprehension scores must be down again…

  • Sean

    no I just believe there are two simple facts

    there was a famine because people starved to death

    It was racist because the english intentionally allowed it to happen to the Irish

    the rest is just an attempt to justify the unjustifiable

  • Dread Cthulhu

    Sean: “there was a famine because people starved to death ”

    Words mean things, Sean… your wanting them to mean something they do not does not change their meaning.

    Sean: “It was racist because the english intentionally allowed it to happen to the Irish ”

    The failure / bias was political, religious and economic in addition to being ethnic.

    Sean: “the rest is just an attempt to justify the unjustifiable ”

    Only if saying that things did not rise to the same level of premeditation as Stalin’s purges counts as providing absolution, Sean. The four categories of failure / bias were ethnic, political, religious and economic. How do the inclusion of the three others absolve England of guilt?

  • heck

    i am not the only one who thinks unionists, including bloggers on this site are in denial.

    http://www.belfasttelegraph.co.uk/news/politics/article2187544.ece

    denial is’nt just a river in egypt, it runs through the unionist community in Nor Iron

  • joeCanuck

    Slugger Admin

    Is there a software shortcoming/limitation that prevents the stopping of posting of additional comments once it is clear that the train has not only headed down the wrong track but has actually jumped the bleeding rails?

  • The Dubliner

    “‘Ant Sally’ hasn’t departed. It has simply continued to post under whichever moniker it used prior to its idiotic, sidetracking and irrelevant ‘contribution’ to this debate.” – The Dubliner

    “Disgusting. Absolutely revolting.

    Referring to a Jew as “it” and asserting that, because he challenged republican theocracy, he is a “troll”, is execrable. It shouldn’t be such a shock that one Jewish poster might be reading a topical message board a day or two before Holocaust Memorial Day. It also shouldn’t be so shocking that he might just have his own views about other political matters. “ – TB

    It is referred to as it because it is a nic-switch, not a poster. Further, it is not Jewish. Irish Jews do not share that clown’s vision of the Irish as anti-Semitic. In fact, Irish Jews are well aware that Irish political society does not discriminate against Jews in the slightest degree, having being elected to office in the Dial and the Senate and the Lord Mayor of Dublin, enjoying power way beyond our numbers. And yes, jackass, that ‘our’ is deliberate.

    If you doubt that, clown, and feel now embarrassed – and justifiably stupid – for calling me anti-Semitic, you may note that I have posted that I am Jewish prior to your moronic remark and am not simply stating it to make you feel every bit as stupid as you look:

    http://www.haloscan.com/comments/gaskin/116683646079403698/

    Now, this is what I do find offensive: “I pointed out the almost unimaginably crass use of the Holocaust to make a political point, and illustrated the hyprocrisy of republicanism, which actively collaborated with those who perpetrated it.” – Ant Sally

    ‘It’ AKA Ant Sally, who is quite possibly you, was using the Holocaust to make a political point, while decrying the use of the Holocaust to make a political point. Being a rather simple-minded creature, it failed to notice that it was also being a hypocrite, while decrying others for being alleged hypocrites. I don’t find its hypocrisy and stupidity offensive, but I do find its attempt to portray Jews as victims who are to be cherished and their pain nourished, and never a word said against any anti-Republican spiels they may launch to score cheap political points under that guise. But ‘it’ was not a Jew – it was just some pro-RUC blackguard as detailed in my last post.

    Now, when you are done making a bigger ass out of yourself than the one attached to the rear of Mary Harney, perhaps we can turn the discussion away from your shrill squealing and back to the original topic?

  • Sam Flanagan

    Dubliner
    As the ORANGE camp in Israel say, LoNaslat LoNashcat. Perhaps would would like to discuss SB collusion in Israel? Especially in the murder of Prime Minister Rabin. Now that is collusion with a capital C. You know what Shin Beit means? I am sure your heart bleeds for the Orange Jews in Yesha who will be thrown out of their home all in the name of the “Peace Process”.

  • TB

    Dubliner,

    In the spirit of my last post, and Billy’s reply, I won’t respond in kind.

    I hope you’ll read those two posts and take a breath.

    I am not the poster you refer to as “it”. I’m a real live boy, Geppetto. Tommy Bryans isn’t my real name – I’ll attest to that, but I’m a teacher at a Belfast school, I’m 33, married, going bald, and have a bad knee. I’m real, and I’ll be sticking around.

    I didn’t click on that link you provided, because I don’t need to see it. I won’t refute or deny you your identity – I don’t think that would be very nice. Of course, there’s nothing you could have said that wouldn’t leave you open to empty and easy accusations of trolling, lying, being a different ‘dubliner’ or whatever else. I won’t stoop to that.

    “Irish Jews do not share that clown’s vision of the Irish as anti-Semitic.”

    He didn’t say the Irish were anti-Semitic. He pointed out some (albeit selective) unfortunate truths of the past, as is his right. In Joyce’s ‘Ulysses’, Deasy says that Ireland “has the honour of being the only country which never persecuted the Jews, because she never let them in.”

    President McAleese said this, this time last year in an interview to mark Holocaust Memorial Day:

    “We can all hang our heads in shame that we did not make space for people who were so grievously in need of friends and so in need of an embrace, and so in need of a fÃ¥ilte and a welcome.

    “Officialdom in our country, as in many other countries, hid behind bureaucracy, we hid behind words, and we didn’t do all the things that could have been done, and should have been done, and so to that extent, we all have a fair degree of complicity and for that I think that we should hang our heads with a degree of shame for the things that were within our power to do, and that weren’t done.”

    Now, about an hour from this year’s Holocaust Memorial Day, I don’t think any more invective from you, or me, is appropriate. It’s also, I would respectfully suggest, wholly unwarranted and in poor taste to continue to deny Sally’s existence on the basis that you are Jewish, and “Irish Jews do not share that clown’s vision”.

    That’s a tiny bit presumptive and indiscriminate, dontcha think?

    I hope the time for “clown”; “it”; “jackass”; “stupid”; “moronic”; “hypocrite”; “blackguard”; “ass” is past.

    I’ve apologised for going over the line on my latter posts. I won’t pretend it wasn’t disappointing to see your post some several hours later. I do wish you’d refrain from continual assertions that Sally Ant is me, a troll, a nic-switch, a blackguard, or whatever, simply because you (however strongly) disagree with him.

    Jews come from a variety of backgrounds and circumstances. SA said his mum was from Surrey – that might account for a non-republican outlook on his behalf, or maybe he is a unionist and a Jew. I respectfully and politely suggest that such a person can exist. Alex Benjamin, for example, is a prominent Jewish Ulster Unionist, and a thoroughly nice chap. I’ve met him – he really exists.

    I’m not suggesting that Alex is SA, only that there is no good reason to suppose that SA doesn’t exist, and that some might consider it offensive to continue to assert that as fact. What greater insult than to deny someone’s existence? If they don’t exist, they don’t have any rights, and the logical end to that path is not at all pleasant.

  • The Dubliner

    Well, I can’t berate a man who quotes Joyce. But take note that Leopold Bloom was a protagonist who was not depicted for the purposes of anti-Semitism as Jews all too often were in British literature of the period and prior. How despicable is the money-grubbing Jew, Fagin, in Dickens that so pleased the British public? How despised in the Jew in the poetry of T.S Eliot, a peer of Joyce, and a darling of the British establishment? Joyce invests his Jew with dignity and humanity. I apologise for the invective, and I thank you for your kind response.

    By the way, nationalists and unionists see parallels between the struggle between Israel and Palestine, with unionists identifying with and supporting the oppressors, Israel, and nationalists identifying with and supporting the oppressed and the disposed, the Palestinians. In Blogland, that translates to Balrog (Republican) supporting the Palestinians and A Tangled Web (Unionist) supporting the Israelis. Don’t ask me how sincere either tribe actually is.

  • Sean

    I very much consider the potato famine is raised to the level of the Stalin Purges infact other than the crop I can find little difference

  • Sally Ant

    I exist! I can see my reflection in the screen of my laptop. I just want to say I’m not TD, although I appreciate his manful defence of me when I couldn’t be bothered. I’m not Alex Benjamin either.

    I am Jewish and I suppose I’m a small-u unionist. I vote Alliance. I’m sorry my comments seem to have caused so much ire. In fact, it’s hard to remember the context in which I wrote them! I have family in England and in America, so my outlook isn’t really very standard orange or green. My US cousins are Zionists and I did spend a couple of summers in Israel when I was at Uni. But I’m not much more than an ignorant observer of the middle-east, I regret to say.

    I did say that other country’s records were as bad as Ireland’s in admitting refugees, and I regret offending any republicans or proud Irish Jews out there by concentrating on that. It was a cheap shot, and I allowed an emotive subject to throw my temper off.

    If anyone still doesn’t think I’m really Jewish, I (and I mean this) invite you to come to the Belfast Synagogue on Somerton Road tomorrow and meet me. My name’s Jonathan and I’ll be there with my mum. I’ll tell Mr Rosenberg that somebody might be asking for me. I won’t pretend you’ll see me there every Saturday, so catch me while you can!

    Sorry for storming off earlier and for letting my temper drag this thread into a cul-de-sac. I’d no idea it would go nuclear! I haven’t been back here all day, but it’s good to see that tempers have calmed.

    I’ll probably stick to not posting much, but I’ll lurk, and if I really think I have something interesting to say, I will.

    Thanks to all who offered kind words and peace to those who didn’t. I’m sorry for stoking up resentment! Perhaps I did use my family background to further my argument. I’m not proud of that. With respect to TB, I wouldn’t call anyone else here, regardless of what they said, racists or anti-Semites. But I do thank you for sticking up for me.

    Night, night!

  • TB

    At least get my name right, Sally! It’s TB, not TD. And to think all those hours I put into standing up for you 🙂 [JOKING]

    Glad you’re back and it seems from your post that I may have gone further than you would have in some of my responses. Since apologies are the order of the day, here’s one for you for that. I didn’t want to misrepresent you.

    I would like to meet you tomorrow but I morph into a games teacher on Saturdays.

    But good to hear from you again – I hope we hear more in future.

    Cheers yourself (how much love is there in this room, right now?)

  • heck

    Sally Ant – I am glad to see you are back and honestly I didn’t mean to offend you. I hope you stay as a regular contributor to sluggerotoole. When I was growing up I lived in a nationalist area and went to catholic schools. Until I went to Queens I did not have any interaction with “the other side”. At queens and at work people tended to avoid talking politics for fear of giving offense. This site and the use of aliases gives people the chance to have honest disagreements. We might not agree but at least we can read other opinions. I disagree with most of fair_deal’s opinions but they are usually well thought out and I generally read and think about them. And I do change my mind. I use to be an admirer of Peter Hain (I remember his stop the south African cricket tour in the 70’s) but after reading Pete’s postings I have decided he is a wanker.

    I look forward to arguing with you.

    Shalom

    PS I am still going to compare collusion deniers to holocaust deniers.

  • Jesus Christ

    No need to feel apologetic to Sally Ant and his 7″ dick. If the Holocaust had not have happened, Israel would have had to invent it. Israel is a pariah state that refuses to pay its way in the world and will most likely be the cause of World War 3. To have an apologist for that sectarian state defend the RUC death squads is not all that surprising. Don;t forget Israel’s Mossad originally set up Hamas to weaken Fatah. Coming on here waving the Torah is just a dishonest form of intellectual bullying.
    SS RUC.

    I see, incidentally, old man Carragher has been wheeled out by Adams again, this time to defend the new form of collusion with the RUC. Given the high profile the Carragher family had, isn’t it a bit odd one of his sons was a key figure in the sniper squad?

  • Doctor Who

    Heck

    “PS I am still going to compare collusion deniers to holocaust deniers. ”

    That´s fine you do that and the rest of us will just think how stupid you are.

    Holocaust denial is a crime in the European Union, perhaps you wish to send Unionists to prison for their criticism of Nuala O´Loan and her leaps of imagination.

    Not a single Unionist has denied that collusion existed , the scale of this collusion which was primarily to control police informers, is something that questions are being asked about. This is also something that O´Loan is attempting to stir as she has found no evidence.

    Today I will witness the scene of the greatest mass muder in the history of mankind and while I shed a tear for the millions of lives and bloodlines ended, I will also shed a tear for you heck.

  • Sean

    england/stalin: we have this restless indigenous population living next door, they are always trying to rebel and generally opposing our oppresive rule

    england/stalin: send in the secret police to burn their possesions if even a hint of suspicion exists that they might not like us/me

    england/stalin: lets put in some disastrous land policies that are specifically designed to disposess the indigenous peoples of their land

    england/stalin: oops our disasterous policies have created a crisis

    england/stalin: oops our disastrous land policies coupled with a crop failure has created a man made/natural disaster

    England/stalin: hey wait a minute we smell an opportunity lets do every thing possible to exacerbate this famine. Lets export as much food as we can, forbid or atleast make as difficult as possible any attempts at aide.

    stalin/england: watch those lesser human beings starve or be forcibly emigrated. hey if we can keep this up the land will be completely swept clean of these parasites

    england/stalin: whats that the crops didnt fail this year @#$%^&*, oh well better luck next time. And just think how many people we murdered maybe their graves will make good fertilizer for the our crops and hey they are a lot easier to control now

    england/stalin: there will always be somebody who will apologize for our xenophobic hatred

  • heck

    Dr who

    Unionists are not it denial!! You have got to be kidding!!!!

    From your post “perhaps you wish to send Unionists to prison for their criticism of Nuala O´Loan and HER LEAPS OF IMAGINATION” (my emphasis)

    Is your head up your ass?

    From 5 minutes on the web.

    Willie Frazer
    http://www.newrydemocrat.com/news/story.asp?j=6885&cat=news

    jimmy sprat
    http://www.belfasttoday.net/ViewArticle2.aspx?SectionID=3425&ArticleID=1996980

    paul berry
    http://www.belfasttoday.net/ViewArticle2.aspx?SectionID=3425&ArticleID=1996980

    Sammy Wilson
    http://www.belfasttoday.net/ViewArticle2.aspx?SectionID=3425&ArticleID=1996975

    YOUR POST!!!!!

    I do like the comparison between Willie Frazer and David Irving –both are weird characters who live in some bazaar fantasy land and both should be treated the same and while the idea of locking them up has some appeal–I do not agree with criminalizing people because of their views. However both deniers should be treated with contempt.

    There was systematic, officially sanctioned, collusion between the security forces and loyalist death squads and anyone who denies it has the same mindset as a holocaust denier.

  • POL

    Today I will witness the scene of the greatest mass muder in the history of mankind and while I shed a tear for the millions of lives and bloodlines ended, I will also shed a tear for you heck.
    Posted by Doctor Who on Jan 27, 2007 @ 09:33 AM

    Well i think today as i reflect on the butchery of nazi germany on the jewish population, i will also say a wee prayer for the victims of israeli butchery.And also for those suffering as a result of the oil wars.

  • Doctor Who

    Heck

    Your links are voicing support for the memory of the RUC, there is not one quote in any of your links denying that their was some form of collusion.

    Members of the IRA have infiltrated the British army in the past. Are we to condemn the whole army for them.

    Your holocaust denial comparison is pathetic, it is poles apart from anything to do with NI. It is inappropriate, stupid and if my head is stuck up my ass it´s because I´m looking at a dingleberry like you.

    POL

    Have some dignity.

  • Aaron McDaid

    Doctor Who,
    I don’t care whose comparisons of whatever with whatever are pathetic, you shouldn’t be so nasty. We all have to put up with lots of rubbish of these threads, but most people here are pretty genuine. The very worst you could fairly say about Heck is that he is incorrect – if only that was the worst problem on this board.

    I’d rather talk to genuinely curious idiot than an arrogant person.

  • Aaron McDaid

    … heck, I’m not saying you’re an idiot. I’m simply discussing Doctor Who’s position.

  • heck

    no offense taken aaron

    I just find it incredible that some people refuse to accept that collusion took place.

    and of course i do not compare our little problems with Europe in the middle of the last century.

    what I am comparing is the mindset of those who deny the obvious. You can’t argue with either sort of people.

    heck

    by the way i think the same applies to people who deny that scap was a tout and demand “evidence”

    everyone is entitled to their own opinion. They are not entitled to their own facts

  • Londonderry

    The word racist get thrown around way to much. And its not being used properly.

    Irish is not a race.

  • joeCanuck

    Heck

    I think that many, if not most, of us accept your argument that “denial = denial”.
    But maybe it’s time to put this one to rest.

    Regards

  • Sue

    “The RUC are officially repsonsible for 55 deaths, but no doubt colluded to some degree in an extremely small proportion of the 1050 deaths that loyalists were responsible for.”

    But the police are responsible for catching serial killers not enabling them.

    “and being lazy fenians they just couldnt be arsed to get off the sofa and go get a biscuit?”

    Er Check the Belfast Newsletter archives and see that Orange paraders were cancelled due to the thinning out of the “loyal brethern”

    Funny how The Netherlands role in the second world war which saw more dutchmen fight for the Waffen SS than the Dutch resistance never gets mentioned.