“Closure on the past cannot be one-sided.”

Earlier today Rusty linked to Henry McDonald’s report on the suspected side-deal on on-the-runs – prosecutions to be deemed as ‘not in the public interest’.. but the flip-side, noted there, and highlighted again by this report on the DUP’s reaction, would be that “a similar no prosecution call for members of the security forces accused of collusion with loyalist paramilitaries would be made.” That shouldn’t come as a surprise to anyone, although the lack of a publicly stated position by the British government on this would allow other interested parties a certain degree of plausible deniability.. except that there is a publicly stated government position..From the Secretary of State for Wales etc Peter Hain’s statement in the Commons on January 11 last year

“Mr Speaker, to exclude any members of the security forces who might have been involved in such offences from the provisions of the Bill would not only have been illogical, it would have been indefensible and we would not do it. Closure on the past cannot be one-sided.

“That was, and is, non-negotiable.” [added emphasis]

As noted in the linked report, here is the DUP’s Nigel Dodds reaction to the suggestion that prosecutions of on-the-runs would be dropped.

“An amnesty for OTRs is just as unacceptable whether it is done directly in legislation or indirectly through some kind of administrative fix,” he said.

Mr Dodds added: “If Government does decide to go down such a route then it is placing any prospects of politically stable devolution in jeopardy.”

But we have already seen the sealing off of the past from investigation by the new, and improved, Human Rights Commission..

As I suggested in October

If it’s [closure on the past] included in any resulting package of proposals we will, no doubt, be required to once again ignore the grey areas.

The question is, however, who exactly will benefit if the rest us ignore those grey areas?

, , , , ,

  • parcifal

    one can’t help but think of a pair of scales with skulls instead of weights.

  • Henry94

    Closure is often used in this context when what is meant is closedown. Closure implies some kind of resolution for people whereas closedown means the people who have things to hide drawing a line under their past misdeeds.

    I don’t think closedown is possible as long as there are families who want the truth. Not revenge or punishment but the truth. Everybody who lost someone should be entitled to know how and why there loved on was murdered.

    I’d like to see all sides agreeing to co-operate fully with that objective.

  • Justice4All

    Here, here Henry94!

    To restate that, this “closure” should include the closure of the bereaved families, and that involves the process of bringing to justice the killers, and their helpers and supporters, be it from the paramilitaries or from the security forces.

    A critical factor in bringing wrongdoers to face justice is time: each day that passes makes the investigation of crimes more difficult; evidence lost, witnesses dying or forgetting the details, and so on.

    Perhaps after trial, the guilty could be released under licence under the terms of the Good Friday Agreement, fine, but at least the crimes will have been investigated and the guilty convicted. This in itself may bring a small comfort to the victims’ families, who have themselves been condemned to a life sentence of suffering.

  • Crataegus

    Henry 94

    Well put.

    In order to move forward we need more honesty from many quarters. For many it is not a question of justice but of being able to known what happened and why. How can you forgive and move on if there is lingering doubt? I know how important this is for many people. Its a wide issue and has far reaching consequences.

    When you live a lie you are open to black mail. You are compromised. Is that the sort of politicians and Police Officers we want?

  • tom
  • At one of the Shinners recent internal meetings on policing Gerry Kelly admitted there are currently around 80 on the runs living in the North.
    This is nothing more than a superficial issue. The deal was done long ago.

  • PeaceandJustice

    Sinn Fein IRA doesn’t want closure for the Unionist community. They’ve been involved in murdering too many people and don’t want a spotlight put on their evil. That’s why they keep calling for selective enquiries – to distract the media from their murderous past.

  • Sean

    i think my posts have proven that I am pro-republican but i believe there is nothing that will work as much as a total investigation of collusion on both sides of the divide.

    Thats right even us republican suporters believe there was collusion on both sides and lets lay it bare and maybe the unionists will finally understand why the RUC was not a police force but a group of official terrorists. paid by her majesty and willing to kill anybody or anything that suited an unknown agenda. and there law and order fantasy will be laid to rest

  • heck

    I agree with Sean and I consider myself a republican as well. Let’s just get the truth out and we can all deal with the consequences. To paraphrase Jack Nicolson in the movie “a few good men” I want the truth, I can handle the truth.

    It just amazes me that every time someone asks for the facts on collusion unionists seem to express a great concern that sinn fein might be embarrassed. As I don’t want to sound cynical I will say that this unionist concern for the feelings of the shinners gives hope for the future.

  • joeCanuck

    Pete asked “who exactly will benefit if the rest us ignore those grey areas?”
    The simple answer to that is that those guilty people on all three sides and who have not yet been brought to justice will walk away.

    I wonder if we are seeing a subtle change in the DUP position. Previously they said that any type of amnesty would be a “deal” breaker. Now they are saying somewhat less; an amnesty would put the prospects for a stable devolved government “in jeopardy”. Not quite the same.

    I think that there will be an amnesty eventually, in fact I’m inclined to accept Look Out’s view that the deal is already done.

    Personally, I think it should happen but that it should be limited to those people who come forward and admit their misdeeds so that the families of the deceased find out the truth.

  • The Dubliner

    “Closure is often used in this context when what is meant is closedown. Closure implies some kind of resolution for people whereas closedown means the people who have things to hide drawing a line under their past misdeeds.

    I don’t think closedown is possible as long as there are families who want the truth. Not revenge or punishment but the truth. Everybody who lost someone should be entitled to know how and why there loved on was murdered.” – Henry94

    That is a succinct and eloquent summary.

    This is Perfidious Albion using its customary duplicitous means to conceal its reign of terror in Northern Ireland from public scrutiny and democratic accountability. Full scrutiny would confirm with the detail of fact and testimony what countless others have skirted the edges of: that state terrorism was deliberate government policy in Northern Ireland, and that the state itself is irredeemably corrupt – a pariah state that must be dissolved.

    This is the real litmus test of democracy. It is also why none of the political parties made public inquiries into outstanding matters of state terrorism and state-sponsored terrorism a precondition of restoring devolution. They know that the state would fail this test; and the conclusion would be (and must be) that the state must be dissolved. It’s the “appalling vista” that neither the SDLP or PSF wish you face up to.

  • Crataegus

    Dubliner

    This is Perfidious Albion using its customary duplicitous means to conceal its reign of terror in Northern Ireland

    It involves more than Perfidious Albion. Burying the past would suit a lot of people not least some of our politicians. That said if the state started to divulge its role (it never will unless people persist) them some of the other involvements will also start to unravel. Selective memory loss is a common illness in NI.

  • Alan

    There seem to be a lot of people who want their past whitewashed. Why should we let this happen without a quid pro quo ? We need a Justice and Reconciliation process to legitimise any kind of white washing. And that whitewashing has to be even handed. It has to cover both sides of our brutish and blood-thirsty dispute.

    What some of the republican commentators seem to miss in this is that the republican movement has more to account for than most of the other tainted organisations, whether state or private.

    It is not all about collusion, it is about justice and the closure required by families, friends and colleagues. Collusion has consistently been used to refer to state collusion with private organisations. For any kind of justice and closure we have to look beyond collusion to the everyday traffic of organisations with the capacity and the willingness to use force.

    If we are to free the foot soldiers from guilt, whether they feel that guilt personally or not, those foot soldiers have to step forward and tell their tale – they have to tell what they know. Any incident not accounted for should remain an active case.

  • james orr

    go to http://www.infowars.com and click on the icon on !lthe right hand side “who are the real terrorists in iraq”. another patchwork of fantasy, but who knows how close to the truth it might be?

  • Observer

    Well when the IRA was responsible for 60 percent of all deaths during the ‘troubles’ – one therefore wonders why they’re trying to divert attention away from that fact.

    300 RUC officers lost their lives, plus many prison officers as well as many civilians (not forgetting the ‘disappeared’) as well as many young innocent soldiers of the crown.

    The IRA seek to legitimise their war. Thats now a FACT.

    The IRA can’t be held account for their misdemeanors; that’s the difference between an accountable and legitimate police force and an illegal bully gang of young gun and bomb making enthusiasts.

  • Briso

    Posted by tom on Feb 12, 2007 @ 12:20 AM

    >The truth tends to leak out eventually

    >http://www.thepost.ie/post/pages/p/story.aspx-qqqt=IRELAND-qqqm=news-qqqid=20908-qqqx=1.asp

    That’s worth a thread on its own. Anyone?

  • Crataegus

    Bristo

    There are lots of these incidents on all sides. It is not just the British that are to blame though they have a large involvement and are important because their involvement reaches the heart of some of the problems relating to Policing.

    Take the La Mon House incident. Who approved that?

    The sooner people realise that this is a matter that really does need to be addressed the better. It is a cancer that eats away at any prospect of building trust. We need a truth and reconciliation commission with teeth. It was suggested back when an agreement was first being formulated, but didn’t get far. I wonder why?

  • Oilibhear Chromaill

    Whether Observer likes it or not, it was a war. And both sides are trying to ensure that their participation in it isn’t viewed as less than legitimate.

    The fact is that Crown forces shouldn’t be above the law but have been to a large extent. The description of observer of a bully gang of young gun and bomb making enthusiasts could equally apply to the RUC or the British Army or the FRU as it does to the IRA.

    Speaking about the accountability factor – or the lack of it – whats that I hear about the former head of the Special Branch – of whom it was said in the Ombudsman’s Report on collusion that he was ‘unable to assist’ – being invited to speak at a business lunch about leadership to the Ulster branch of Association of Chartered Certified Accountants Ireland on February 23 at the Radisson Hotel in the Gasworks. You couldn’t make it up…. Talk about being called to account – and being paid a big fat fee….

  • dougal

    Oilibhear Chromaill

    Who told the Provos that they could fight on behalf of Ireland?

    Who gave the Provos a mandate to ignore the majority of elected representatives across the island of Ireland who were telling the Provos to stop their bombing campaign?

    SF are selfishly looking after their own with regards to the OTR issue.

    Face it, a vote for SF is a vote for the arse end of Irish Republicanism.

  • padraig

    “…a bully gang of young gun and bomb making enthusiasts could equally apply to the RUC…”

    So thee you have it, the ‘RA boys were no better or no worse than the RUC boys!

    This is just classic stuff for the Shinners 😉