“There had to be a suspension of critical faculties”

New research has shown the depth of US anger with the British and Irish governments handling of the peace process on the issues of criminality and recognition for policing (Hat tip Nevin). US officials believe that they played the more significant role in SF moving on these issues and thus achieveing a deal acceptable to the DUP. Unsurprisingly it was the 911 attacks that led to the first shift in attitudes towards the republican movement but the Northern Bank robbery and McCartney murder reinforced a tougher line. One US official complains that:

“…elements of the Irish Government, the British government appeared rather blase about IRA criminality. This was the biggest irritant between us and the Northern Ireland Office. I don’t believe that they had ever issued a policy statement to the police to tell them to ignore IRA criminality as long as it did not turn into bombs on the mainland, but I believe that many, many police thought they operated under those rules. And the explanation we got quietly when we asked about a well organised £1.5 million robbery was: ‘If we were to say it was the IRA, we’ll be accused of interfering in the (June 2004 European election, in which Sinn Fein gained two seats) outcome.'”

In a recent RTE interview former Irish Minister Liz O’Donnell accepts that the handling of the process involved:

“taking risks with democracy…There had to be a suspension of critical faculties”

A ‘suspension’ the McCartney family believe is continuing with interference in the PSNI investigation with some of the family considering emigration.

, , , , ,

  • Sean

    To be some what over the top on this

    They chose to make a political football of the murder of their brother in a bar brawl, they made the entire nationalist community look like animals while trying to portray their brother as some kind of innocent victim. When enough time elapsed they should have expected their support, largely based on people who saw it as an opportunity to get a dig in on the IRA and SF, to collapse and the inevitable backlash to occur. I think if the people of the community believed it was an honest attempt to get justice their would have been more support, but their campaign quickly degenerated into Photo Ops and cheap unionist point scoring

    While their strategy was highly effective in the begining no issue lasts for ever and just like the Northern Bank robbery this case is only ever remembered by bitter unionists who still hope to score points

  • Nevin

    fd, my #8 post here puts some flesh on Liz O’Donnell’s ‘risks with democracy’. My analysis – based on conversations with a wide range of contacts – had appeared some years earlier on the BBC NI Talkback messageboard.

    According to the Grapevine the police were directed in the ‘cessation’ era not to ruffle paramilitary feathers without political clearance; they could observe but not intervene without permission. Is it any wonder that the godfathers have grown in confidence?

    I’ve pointed out in other threads that civil servants in London and Dublin appear to be divided on the issue of how to deal with the godfathers. Those in the justice department have to handle the detritus whereas those in foreign affairs and the cabinet office try to sweep it under the carpet with the help of, er, bribes.

    The Oversight Commissioner for policing has also rung alarm bells about policing and the IMC timidly refers to the need for a culture of lawfulness. I intend to be a little less timid than the IMC 😉

  • I think that they are giving themselves way too much credit. SF did what it did when it did it cuz it suited them at that time, whether it was non-violent protest, participation in Westminster elections, the mainland British bombing campaign, etc. etc. etc., just like all the other players in this “process”. The U.S. didn’t make them do anything, because the only way to do that would have been bribe them with some sort of carrot, which the U.S. always prided itself on not doing with any ”terrorist organisations” (is SF still on U.S. list, i really really don’t think it should be, though i do remember Gerry Adams getting some trouble being cleared for entry into the States).

  • CTN

    Sean- “portray their brother as some kind of innocent victim”.- What crime have you found him guilty of?

    “While their strategy was highly effective in the begining no issue lasts for ever and just like the Northern Bank robbery this case is only ever remembered by bitter unionists who still hope to score points”- The Dublin electorate have disagreed- SF dropped 27,000 votes here in 3 years! Some of that was down to feel bad factor associated with these two own goals.

  • Questor

    Looks to me that the basic story is a re-write of history.

    If there was one US intervention in the whole mess that made a difference it was the touchy-feely Clinton visit of Clinton to Omagh and Belfast (with Blair in tow). In retrospect, the tragic victims of Omagh did not die entirely in vain.

    But, of course, any credit to the Clinton administration is off the White House agenda. And, boy, doesn’t the present regime in DC (it’s legacy time, folks!) need all the small-change of kudos it can collect.

    The Northern Bank robbery and McCartney murder cannot (and have not) been glossed over, if only because they provide evidence for the ranting ultras. As a civilised community we have come through them.

    Above all, the faceless mandarins in Dublin and London (briefing Major and Blair, Reynolds and Ahern) have played the long game, knowing that “softly, softly, catchee monkey”. They kept the “faces” on song (unlike the Thatcher epoch). That may not suit the firebrands, but it seems to achieve some sort of modus vivendi. So, good for them.

    And heaven help us if our strings are again pulled from Washington and the State Department.

  • hib

    CTN;-

    “Some of that was down to feel bad factor associated with these two own goals”.

    Together with a lack of trust regarding the IRA’s commitment to its ceasefire.

  • CTN

    Indeed hib.

  • McGrath

    This is a real stretch indeed. Motivated only by attempts to find something positive out of an 8 year Bush administration that has been a complete failure. An administration that delivered nothing on its election promises, an administration that will only be remembered with dismay.

    While there may have been elements within this administration who were genuinely interested in Northern Ireland, George W. himself, couldn’t find Ireland on a map, never mind caring to understand the politics and history of this place.

  • The Penguin

    This must have hit a raw nerve when the shinner’s spinners are out in such force.

    What rational person wouldn’t be horrified at how the governments have turned a blind eye to criminality in the interests of political expediency. And now they’re continuing in the same vein with the loyalist mafia.

    Fact is neither government gives a f*** about what is happening in that sphere, it’s far distant from either. As long as they can point to ‘peace’ it doesn’t matter what kind of society is being created.

  • Nevin

    Was 9/11 the turning point?

    After a few minutes of talking about ‘inching forward’ the peace process, Haass finally snapped. ‘If any American, service personnel or civilian, is killed in Colombia by the technology the IRA supplied then you can fuck off,’ he shouted, finger jabbing towards Adams’ chest. ‘Don’t tell me you know nothing about what’s going on there, we know everything about it.’

  • Questor

    The Penguin @ 05:09 PM:

    Fact is neither government gives a f*** about what is happening in that sphere, it’s far distant from either.

    Can we not invoke a variation on the “Nazi” rule? Anyone reduced to asterisked expletives is deemed to have lost the game?

    As for the first part of the sentiment, thank goodness. Whether one is nationalist or unionist, orange or green, north or south, we need to sort out our problems, left in peace and among ourselves. Is there any other people on earth who would welcome gratuitous foreign dictation and involvement in local affairs?

    And, ultimately, who else but ourselves can determine “what kind of society” we create?

  • Oiliféar

    … the current regime in the US still believes that it can lecture people on how to deal with terrorism!? UNBELIEVABLE … !

  • Nic

    Some may remember that Conor Cruise o’ Brien described exactly these dynamics as they were happening.
    He wrote more than one commentary that the FARC link “post-9.11” would not sit with Bush’s Whitehouse, and that the US would feel obliged to become more forceful and direct about what they wanted to happen. And that Bertie and Tony couln’t and wouldn’t dare defy them.

  • Nevin

    The Sinn Féin house organ Republican News recently ran a fiercely anti-American piece headlined “Bush as Smacht” (“Bush out of control”), laying into the President’s war on terrorism. Conor Cruise O’Brien, a fluent Irish-speaker, translated the article for the benefit of the U.S. Dublin embassy — which has no Irish-speakers on staff, being less a diplomatic establishment than a vacation resort for big political contributors — and they, he believes, then brought it to the attention of the authorities in Washington. .. All Eyes to Ireland – March 19th, 2002

  • CTN

    I’m not givin this thread any more attention- its time to head out for a few bevvies- adios amigos!

  • The Dubliner

    “And, ultimately, who else but ourselves can determine “what kind of society” we create?” – Questor

    You don’t ‘determine’ it. It is determined for you by your willingness to appease those make the simple demand that you do things their corrupt way or they’ll continue to make your life as much of living misery as they did for the previous 35 years.

    By acceding, you create a society run by very wealthy criminals who in all likelihood regard with contempt those saps who mistake their self-serving agenda for a republican and who mistake serial murderers for sincere politicians. In just a few consecutive years, PSF/PIRA’s criminal profiteering raised 25 million tax free from the Northern Bank, another 25 million tax free from Colombian drug peddlers masquerading as freedom-fighters, 1.5 million from the robbery referred to in Fair Deal’s post, 1 million from fundraising in America referred to in the article Nevin linked to, and the head of PIRA/PSF, amounting to a vastly lucrative criminal empire which wasn’t ‘excused’ by the need to raise money to buy guns to murder protestants since all of that criminal profiteering occurred well after PSF/PIRA’s ceasefire, but was crime for private profit that is to be distributed in secret bank accounts of the mafia who run PSF/PIRA.

    None of that 50+ plus million revenue includes ongoing income from the management of PSF/PIRA’s other investments which straddle all areas of business, though divided about the top 25 criminal godfathers within PSF/PIRA amounts to 2 million each over a few years. Nor does it include Thomas Murphy appearing on the BBC’s Underworld Rich List as one of the UK’s wealthiest criminals with a personal fortune derived from cigarette and oil smuggling and estimated to be between £35-40m. PSF/PIRA are among the wealthiest criminal gangsters in Europe.

    In Italy, they try to keep mafias out of their politics because they’ve learned that societies are not best run by amoral and self-serving sociopaths. In the north, folks gladly vote them into the system. The lesson from America is that the stick is not only a better option than the carrot but is the only option that society should apply to crimimal gangs.

  • Comrade Stalin

    Sean:

    They chose to make a political football of the murder of their brother in a bar brawl,

    It’s not as if republicans (which the McCartney sisters were/are) don’t have a history of doing this now, is it Sean ? Policing, plastic bullets, shoot to kill, collusion. Victimization is what republicans eat for breakfast. You just don’t like it when the same tactics are used against you.

    they made the entire nationalist community look like animals

    Sinn Fein certainly came out of it looking like animals. 60 of them in the bar at the time and not a single one saw a thing.

    while trying to portray their brother as some kind of innocent victim.

    So he deserved to die. That’s what you’re saying ?

    Sinn Fein have built a whole political movement out of this. Few people ask why the hunger strikers were in jail in the first place. It would make their objectives seem slightly less significant.

    When enough time elapsed they should have expected their support, largely based on people who saw it as an opportunity to get a dig in on the IRA and SF, to collapse and the inevitable backlash to occur.

    Which is code for saying that the chuckies bided their time and waited for an opportunity to get back at them when the coast was clear, which is what they’ve done. I was there at the candlelight vigils which were held in the Short Strand; there were hundreds of people there. Your efforts to claim that the community opposed the McCartneys and supported Sinn Fein is wide of the mark.

    I think if the people of the community believed it was an honest attempt to get justice their would have been more support, but their campaign quickly degenerated into Photo Ops and cheap unionist point scoring

    For you to suggest that this situation was created by the victim’s family is obscene, it is akin to claims that Finucane brought about his own death by representing IRA suspects in court. The IRA made this problem happen when they murdered this man. If they hadn’t acted like animals, none of this would have happened. The blame is fair and square on their door.

    While their strategy was highly effective in the begining no issue lasts for ever and just like the Northern Bank robbery this case is only ever remembered by bitter unionists who still hope to score points

    Ah, so anyone who criticizes Sinn Fein’s criminal links is a unionist. I get it.

    Your comments are a leaf out of the book of fascism.

  • tom

    Surely if Mr McCartney’s best friend is not willing to give evidence, you can hardly expect others to bother.

  • nic

    The Americans shouldn’t interfere, is it? How many of us think we would be better off “as a society” if SF had NOT accepted the police and decommissioned the IRA weapons? Are we agreed that the outcome is the one we wanted most as a society?

    The question we need to answer “as a society” in retrospect is therefore: why were we not able to get there on our own? Why were we convincing ourselves we had to accept so much less and why must an American have the nerve to tell Adams what the constitutionally elected Irish leaders (specifically Fianna Fails Bertie and Dermot Ahern) could or would not?

  • Comrade Stalin

    The Americans are at their best when they co-operate with the governments here as friendly facilitators. For most of the time, that’s what they’ve done. Certainly any time Dubya has involved himself by telephoning party leaders here to encourage them to do their bit, I’m pretty sure that it’s been on the request of the NIO. That said, I do resent it when they try to apply pressure to change the political consensus here, however.

    They are, of course, entitled to be very annoyed when it’s found that people are providing weapons training to organizations with a record of killing their citizens.

  • Granni Trixie

    ‘makie all the nationalist community look like animals’
    On the contrary Sean – to see a family from ‘the heartlands’ find their voice brought credit to ‘their’ community. They have a moral integrity few of us can equal and I like to think that they encouraged other victims to articulate their pain.

  • URQUHART

    A very well constructed post FD.