When is a terrorist not a terrorist? In a press release from the First Ministers’ office…

THE Victims Commission is barely out of the blocks, but already (and predictably) it’s at the centre of a political row involving (predictably) loyalist victim’s spokesman Willie Frazer. According to the News Letter, the FAIR spokesman was dismayed at references to one commissioner’s husband being described on the First Ministers’ website as an ‘IRA volunteer who was killed by the SAS whilst on active service in 1984’. Frazer says his group will pull out if those killed while engaged in paramilitary activity are put on a par with innocent civilians. “The word is terrorist or criminal, not volunteer,” says UUP MLA David Burnside. Maybe Willie will direct a complaint to the loyalist Victims Commissioner, since we appear to have one for each strain of opinion in the Executive. The commission will be ‘feeling our pain’ for a cool quarter of a million a year – so perhaps the first victim is really the taxpayer.

  • willowfield

    Good posts, Congal Clean.

  • Damian O’Loan

    I think there are two issues at stake here. The first is the author’s choice of word in her description. The second is the posting of that information on the OFMDFM website. The latter implies that the materal consists of views in harmony with this office.

    It is true that with regard to the first issue, we can afford to be flexible and accept that she has the right to choose her own vocabulary – although some have argued that this is a grossly offensive bastardisation of the English language. In any case, they can’t choose her words for her.

    However, OFMDFM does have the right to veto content on its website. So officials, if not Paisley or Paisley Jr, ought to have simply called her, told her they were removing the word because of the nature of the website, and we can reasonably assume this would never have been a public problem.

    And so, on their very first task, the Commission wouldn’t have made their job even more difficult. Briefly, the issue is an OFMDFM administrative error. Less interesting, but more accurate.

  • willowfield

    I think, Damian, that is a fair assessmenb.

  • Damian O’Loan

    Why thank you.

  • lib2016

    Damian,

    The days when republicans could be censored out of the media are gone. The First Minister has no authority to act as you suggest without the agreement of the Deputy First Minister. The two positions share power equally.

    If the Victims Commission are barred from using plain language as people use it in practice, and republicans do refer to IRA volunteers, then there would be no point in setting up such a body. They must represent all sides of society including those with whom you and possibly they differ, or they will not be able to do their job.

    Twenty years ago it was already normal for a civil servant to refer to Derry/Londonderry in the same way as one’s correspondent did. Even then it was realised that the civil service were the employees of ALL the people, not just of one sectional interest.

  • Damian O’Loan

    lib2016,

    I quite agree that these things shouldn’t be censored, and its not without regret that I think it ought not to have appeared on OFMDFM’s website.

    But since it has to represent both, don’t you think that if the two had actually bashed this out, they would have compromised on ‘member?’ Maybe that is overly optimistic, but reasonable nevertheless.

    None of this takes away from the fact that the Commissioner will be quite entitled to use her choice whilst speaking for herself and her office.

    My point is that the views expressed were not simply those of the Commissioner in question. They were those of OFMDFM. And on a joint basis, more neutral language ought to have been used. Member seems to be dispassionate, and that is what is needed most. It will be read by each according to his or her own views. Perhaps we could all sign up to it? Perhaps a skilled linguist would be more useful than this Commission.

  • Siphonophore

    Congal Claen,

    It was the British govt that called the American revolutionaries terrorists, just as they did the Irish, as they did the Israeli, as they did the Indian insurgents. Go read the contemporary documents or dig up a history book.

    The court you refer to was the European court. When the European court issued its ruling the British government responded “we shall do nothing” and “we will not be swayed by this judgment”. The inquest held in Gibraltar found the killings to be lawful. The European court’s ruling is consistent with the three IRA members being criminals and deprived of their right to life, the actions of the SAS, the British judicial system and government are more consistent with the IRA being combatants despite. If they are criminals they should be treated as criminals, if they are combatants they should be treated as such. The British wanted it both ways.

    BTW it wasn’t the IRA that run off “whinging” to the European court it was the relatives of those killed. Nor does one have to be a provo cheerleader to criticise the actions of the British govt nor point out contradictions in its stated positions. I guess it’s a comforting syllogism to be able to dismiss all those who disagree with you or criticise the state as terrorist sympathisers, that way you don’t have to pay any heed to what they say.

  • willowfield

    It was the British govt that called the American revolutionaries terrorists …

    Did they? Any evidence?

    If they did, they were wrong.

  • Congal Claen

    Hi Siphonophore,

    Considering the word terrorism originates from the time of the French Revolution ie post American Revolution that rather feks up yer assertion that it was used to describe the American revolutionaries. That’s probably why I have never come across the description in any of the history books I’ve dug up on the subject.

    “the actions of the SAS, the British judicial system and government are more consistent with the IRA being combatants”

    Ballix. If that were true there’d be loads of dead provo terrorists filling up Milltown, etc. The H blocks wouldn’t have been needed had it been a “war”.

    “BTW it wasn’t the IRA that run off “whinging” to the European court”

    Ballix x 2. They never fekked up about it. They had massive funerals and rioting for days culminating in the murders of Corporal Howe and Woods. Are you seriously trying to suggest the relatives managed that by themselves? Then off they ran to Europe with their wee terrorist buddies to whinge that they’d been killed. Imagine? Being killed in a war. Who woulda thought? Certainly not the terrorist scum. And by their whingeing actions they show that they know themselves that they weren’t fighting a war.

  • RepublicanStones

    If that were true there’d be loads of dead provo terrorists filling up Milltown, etc. The H blocks wouldn’t have been needed had it been a “war”. -congal claen

    it seems you are completely unaware of the nature of the conflict in the north. do you know what a guerilla war is, do you know aht guerilla tactics are? by its very nature it prevents are attempts to prevent the enemy from knowing who the combatants are and so the organised rigid structural army facing the guerilla army is left with very little else to do except attempt to kill the few people they have hard evidence against, and as happened in the north, lots of people they had no evidence against. but because of the cell structure of the IRA they found this hard to do. granted there were intelligence successes, but your belief that milltown should have been filled if it was a war reflects your ignorance of the nature of the conflict.
    and the IRTA running off the the european court attempted to highlight the hypocrisy of the british establishment, saying out loud it wasn’t a war, but actually fighting a war, covertly and overtly. it helped inform the international community the true underhandedness, hypocrisy, lies and rotten colonial regime britian runs in the north.

    do try to keep up dear boy.

  • RepublicanStones

    it prevents any attempts by the enemy from know *

    apologies for spelling.

  • lib2016

    The word “terrorist” is a term of abuse which is used in a subjective manner. When the word is used in the above post it tells us about Congael Claen’s attitude to republicans but very little more than that.

    Once the British government condemned Mandela as a terrorist, now they scurry after him pleading for forgiveness. It might be better or at least more farsighted if unionists were to realise that the British government’s attitude to the leaders of Sinn Fein has changed in a very similar way since that same British government represents the people upon whom unionists depend.

  • Congal Claen

    Hi RepublicanStones,

    “it seems you are completely unaware of the nature of the conflict in the north. do you know what a guerilla war is, do you know aht guerilla tactics are?”

    Then…

    “by its very nature it prevents are attempts to prevent the enemy from knowing who the combatants are and so the organised rigid structural army facing the guerilla army is left with very little else to do except attempt to kill the few people they have hard evidence against”

    Whhaaaa?

    Complete ballix and this is why they Ra are terrorists. Name one other war were one side needs “hard evidence” before engaging with an enemy. Do you actually believe this toss? The fact that the army didn’t just kill on sight known Ra members shows that the Army were not treating the conflict as a war. Your belief that the Ra were mystery men who were running around in complete secrecy beggers belief. FFS, most people living in any neighbourhood knew who were members of the Ra. Coupled with the fact that Donaldson and Scappaticci were working for the Army, amongst others, are you seriously expecting me to believe that the army didn’t know who the terrorists were?

    Yet I’m the one who has to “try to keep up dear boy”. Catch yerself on.

    Hi Lib2016,

    “When the word is used in the above post it tells us about Congael Claen’s attitude to republicans but very little more than that.”

    I don’t equate republicanism with terrorism. My problem is with terrorists regardless of what tribe they come from. You’ll not find me crying over terrorists from my own community. One of the most moving accounts I heard from the troubles was of a mother who was describing how her son was murdered. At the end of her account she said that she would rather be the mother of the victim than the mother of the murderer/terrorist. Despite that meaning her son would be dead. I can’t help thinking that that is what most people would think. Incidentally, she was Catholic and her son was murdered by some scummy, loyalist, terrorist bastard.

  • Siphonophore

    Congal Claen,

    If the Ra really were soldiers how come they were always crying off to the European court for civil rights violations?

    Ballix x 2. They never fekked up about it.

    You stated they whinged off to the Euro courts, I informed you that it was the relatives and your response while stating “Ballix x 2” confirms that your first statement was incorrect.

    Considering the word terrorism originates from the time of the French Revolution ie post American Revolution that rather feks up yer assertion that it was used to describe the American revolutionaries.

    I suspect you are confusing The Reign of Terror with the emergence of the use of Terrorist. The British state has referred to the American revolutionaries as terrorists.

    Ballix. If that were true there’d be loads of dead provo terrorists filling up Milltown, etc. The H blocks wouldn’t have been needed had it been a “war”.

    None of that alters what happened on Gibraltar. Three unarmed IRA members posing no immediate threat to life were killed by the SAS. If they were criminals as the British govt said they were then they should have been arrested. They weren’t hence my assertion that the British behaviour in this instance is more consistent with a war than a criminal enterprise. Stalker, Sampson and Stevens I,II,III have all found substantial evidence to support the shoot-to-kill allegations. So it’s not like Gibraltar was an isolated case.

    I agree with your most recent comment about not supporting paramilitaries from any community, I also do not support the state killing people except as a very last resort. About the only difference between the state and the paramilitaries were the body counts. That is not to say that every RUC, UDR or BA member was a murderer or in cahoots with paramilitaries but the BA got away with killing a hundred civilians in suspicious circumstances until the slap on the wrist Ian Thain received. The vast majority of RUC weren’t actively or passively involved with loyalists but special branch and the UDR was rife with loyalists and loyalist collaborators. The fact the UDA was legal until August 1992 while slaughtering Catholics and Nationalists was glaring proof of the British states’ double standard on “terrorism”. The British state and its agencies are not the innocent, trying to keep the savages separated that Unionist attempts to make them out to be.

  • It was Sammy Mc Nally what done it

    The problem for Unionists is that the British State they swear allegiance to have made a setllement with the Provos that treats them not like terorrists but like Freedom Fighters. The Provos have had their prisoners released, the state reformed, constitutional enforcement of cooperation with ROI and now sit in governement. No amount of name calling or ideological righteousness will change this and it is now time for unionists to face this reality.