La Mon, unionist perceptions and the future of the past

The commemorative service marking the 30th anniversary of the La Mon murders was held on Sunday at Castlereagh Borough Council offices. It was attended by a number of relatives and a few politicians including Iris Robinson who has previously used Parliamentary Privilege to name those allegedly involved in planning the murders. Suzanne Breen’s article here on La Mon is still harrowing to read.This event along with a number of other equally iconic events still informs the views of very many unionists on the republican movement and its leadership. I would submit that the vast majority of unionists whatever their views on the current political arrangements still regard the IRA as sectarian killers, never anything else: this article quoted in the Newsletter sums up such a position quite succinctly. If the republican movement were ever serious about unionist engagement it is specifically with events like these and the other ones which we all know of that they would have to begin. Instead unionists perceive themselves as getting lectures from republicans about “moving forward” along with hero worship of republican “martyrs”, and claims that such “martyrs” were themselves just as much victims as their actual victims. That along with a quick throw away remark about republicans recognising that some of their actions caused hurt to others. Comments which are spectacularly insensitive and inadequate in the face of the events they purport to relate to.

Such unionist irritation is not helped by the attempts by some like the Consultative Group on the Past to describe the troubles as a “war” and the quite threatening (to unionists) suggestions that the “truth” behind the troubles might “surprise” unionists.

Such events and descriptions whether from benign though foolish motives such as Eames Bradley or sinister ones from the republican movement; result in anger and suspicion within the unionist community and simply reduce the chances of reconciliation. No better is, I submit, to be expected from SF. Eames Bradley, however, might yet reconsider the wisdom of their whole project but I fear the Arch Bishop and his cohorts are too blinkered and self important to consider a radically alternative analysis of their mandate: that would be by holding their own council and saying nothing if indeed what they will say would be better left unsaid.

  • McGrath

    It is the Britih government who have more to benefit by it being called a war.

    http://sluggerotoole.com/index.php/weblog/comments/to-own-up-to-their-crimes-in-return-for-an-amnesty/

    Unionists have every right to be repulsed by Le Mon etc. But were is the representation of innocent Nationalists? Not all of us like or even remotely agree with SF.

  • Cahal

    McGrath, are you inferring that SF voters are not innocent?

  • Buggerhed

    Nationalism has a history of voting for the most slick and articulate party of the day: the old Nationalist Party were desimated by the SDLP, the Stoops are being edged out by Sinn Fein, who will probably be destroyed by Finna Fail if it’d pull its finger out

  • McGrath

    McGrath, are you inferring that SF voters are not innocent?

    Posted by Cahal on Feb 19, 2008 @ 01:30 AM

    Nope, just a failure to accommodate a different point of view.

  • Here we go again, the unionist complaint about “terrorists in government” directed at Sinn Fein. Of course, those same unionists overlook the far worse record of terrorism by HMG and the unionist murder gangs who killed twice as many civilians as the Provisional IRA.

    Sorry, Turgon, but your complaint seems phony as long as you continue to ignore the far worse record of the other party in government and of the parent government itself.

  • McGrath

    I hope Turgons purpose is not circumnavigated by Bob’s stale rhetoric.

    Unionists are aggrieved, Nationalists are not represented, that should be a purpose of this thread?

  • perci

    yesterdays debate revealed to me anyway a number of points:
    1) SF has questions to answer on the conduct of the conflict
    2) DUP have questions to answer on the origins of the conflict

  • Turgon, as a TUVie(?), you might wish to update this thread with a link to Allister’s contribution to the debate on terrorism in Strasburg.

  • Dewi

    An interesting debate Devenport’s BBC blog.

  • lib2016

    With no door open to them and no ideas beyond selfjustification they have nothing left except to turn on each other and destroy themselves. Never can one community have shown more need to learn the virtues of forgiveness and understanding and never can a community have destroyed itself so well by refusing to learn those same virtues.

  • T.Ruth

    Terrorist violence is terrorist violence whether the perpetrators are Republican or Loyalist. State violence is equally reprehensible and those who engaged in it are as guilty as any other terrorist.All should pay for the crimes they have committed. The essential criterion for recognition as a victim of the “troubles”is the innocence of the person.Those engaged in terrorism and counter terrorism are not victims nor were they engaged in a war.Republicans in particular bear a heavy responsibility as their committment over all of the twentieth century to the armed struggle convicts them of their guilt as members of a criminal conspiracy to force their fellow citizens to submit to their political will.When Republicans face up to this reality we will be better able to create a new just and inclusive society and share this space in a culture of mutual respect.
    T.Ruth

  • It was Sammy Mc Nally what done it

    “Comments which are spectacularly insensitive and inadequate in the face of the events they purport to relate to. ”

    I agree with this entirely – but let SF do a trade here – they get to call it a ‘war’ in return for frank and open disclosure about their rationale and methods and target selection. Adams should then come clean about his involvement – after all if it was a ‘war’ why should he not? ( assuming there is a guarantee of no procsecution ) unless disastrous operations like La Mon had some thing to do with it?

  • Reader

    lib2016: Never can one community have shown more need to learn the virtues of forgiveness and understanding and never can a community have destroyed itself so well by refusing to learn those same virtues.
    Thanks for your concern for our welfare. Do you recommend a complete moratorium on references to La-Mon, Bloody Friday, Kingsmills, Teebane, Enniskillen, Darkley and the Shankill bombing? For our own sakes, of course.
    Meanwhile, you will try to find resolution in a completely *different* manner.

  • LURIG

    All of the above atrocities were horrendous and should NEVER have happened but everyone of us can pick and choose incidents that only affected OUR side of the community. We ALL have a tendency to ‘justify’ what happened to ‘THEM’ and find excuses for it. It’s called sectarianism and bigotry and we are very good at it. I would be far more concerned at the lengths the British government are going to in order to cover up their sinister activities in the North. They introduced the Inquiries Bill totally restricting ANY investigation into the State. They ruined John Stalker’s life, obstructed John Stevens, ran the UDA, drive Sinn Fein policy, protected Brian Nelson, Mount Vernon UVF, Scappetecci, Donaldson etc and got away with murder. I don’t think you can have a real peace process until Britain comes clean and admits what it’s intelligence agencies were/are up to. Unionists should also wake up and realise that many of the atrocities mentioned above were allowed to happen because M15 and Special Branch were running agents within Republican ranks for decades. The Omagh revelations are only a drop in te ocean.

  • Greenflag

    ‘Terrorist violence is terrorist violence whether the perpetrators are Republican or Loyalist.’

    In theory yes -in practice it depends on whether the freedom fighters win or the terrorists lose or vice versa depending on which side you were born .

    In Northern Ireland both sides have lost and both sides have won . It’s just that neither can yet accept that fact .

    ‘When Republicans face up to this reality’

    The fact that there is ‘power sharing ‘ at Stormont is testimony to the fact that the Republicans are facing the reality of NI. The fact that many Unionists are still objecting to power sharing is testimony to the fact that they are having difficulty facing the new reality.

    ‘we will be better able to create a new just and inclusive society and share this space in a culture of mutual respect.’

    That depends as much on Unionists as it does on Republicans . It’s early days yet as to whether it will work out . Each side has it’s ‘atrocity history’ to commemorate . Without wishing any disrespect to the families or victims of the many atrocities during the conflict maybe both sides could ‘restrict’ their commemorations to the two days of the year Easter Rising and July 12th and leave it at that . Otherwise it will be Bloody Sunday , La Mon , Greysteel , Darkley , etc forever. And the same for the other side .

    If the Unionist and Republican leaderships cannot work together under the present dispensation then they need to do a Kosovo/Serbia/ Albania and request a fair ‘repartition ‘ of NI administered by a neutral international organisation .

    ‘With no door open to them and no ideas beyond selfjustification they have nothing left except to turn on each other and destroy themselves.’

    No one doubts their capacity to do so . Some might even wish it . The vast majority of people on both sides of the border and on both sides of the NI divide would hope that such a ‘future’ can be avoided.

    ‘Do you recommend a complete moratorium on references to La-Mon, Bloody Friday, Kingsmills, Teebane, Enniskillen, Darkley and the Shankill bombing? For our own sakes, of course. ‘

    Not a moratorium on references but perhaps serving politicians could keep away and leave the families and victims to their private grief and personal memories.

    When all is said and done it was the failure of Northern Ireland’s blinkered politicians that set the conditions which ‘conflict’ within NI between both communities a probabilty rather than a possibility.

    Maybe the present and next generation of NI politicians will not be as obtuse as their predecessors . Time will no doubt tell .

  • Greenflag

    No 15 above second last sentence should read .

    When all is said and done it was the failure of Northern Ireland’s blinkered politicians that set the conditions which MADE ‘conflict’ within NI between both communities a probabilty rather than a possibility.

    that set the conditions which MADE ‘conflict’ within NI between both communities a probabilty rather than a possibility.

  • [i]Republicans in particular bear a heavy responsibility as their committment over all of the twentieth century to the armed struggle convicts them of their guilt as members of a criminal conspiracy to force their fellow citizens to submit to their political will.When Republicans face up to this reality we will be better able to create a new just and inclusive society and share this space in a culture of mutual respect.[/i]

    An excellent post by T.Ruth until he comes up with this nonsense. And, as far too frequently happens, he dismisses the violence of the unionist government and HMG directed at nationalists for protesting the discrimination of both Stormont and HMG in the governance of NI. There is no real doubt about the inequitable structure of civic and economic life in NI prior to 1975 or so. Peaceful protest by nationalists was met with violence by both the Stormont government and HMG both of which pretty much also allowed free rein to unionist murder gangs.

    I suggest that T.Ruth’s comment can equally well read:

    [i][b]Unionists[/b] in particular bear a heavy responsibility as their committment over all of the twentieth century to the armed struggle convicts them of their guilt as members of a criminal conspiracy to force their fellow citizens to submit to their political will.When [b]Unionists[/b] face up to this reality we will be better able to create a new just and inclusive society and share this space in a culture of mutual respect.[/i]

    Seems to me that posts like T,Ruth’s are not helping Unionists to get there. After all, when all is said and done, the first violence was done by the Unionist government of NI.

  • Turgon

    So Mr McGowan,
    What burden of guilt do those who died at La Mon have? Whom did they murder? Whose death did they glory in? What crime did they commit other than that of being Protestants in Northern Ireland?

    Their “crime” was exactly the same one as the people in the World Trade Centre committed. They were people whom their murderers had a hatred of; and their murderers were of the opinion that killing them would advance their own perverted cause.

  • lib2016

    What unionists have yet to appreciate is the distance we have already gone in constructing a new ‘creation myth’ for the new NI. The British have their myth in which the gallant Paras stood between murderous natives. The Irish have their myths and will write their books and songs of the ‘bhoys’ and their fight for Irish freedom. That leaves us all looking for a suitable scapegoat, or ‘terrorists’ as they are now called and a few persuadable professors will produce them in short time.

    If it is possible to forget so quickly about the dreadful ‘necklacing’ etc. in South America it will happen a lot more quickly in a well managed newsmarket like Northern Ireland. Don’t ask to whom the word ‘terrorist’ will apply – for it will apply to whomever the BBC decides.

  • [i]What burden of guilt do those who died at La Mon have? Whom did they murder? Whose death did they glory in? What crime did they commit other than that of being Protestants in Northern Ireland?[/i]

    Dodging the issue again, Turgon. The people at LeMon bore no burden of guilt, nor did my comment even suggest that they did.

    But, I do and will continue to point out your failure to recognize the 1,000+ civilians killed by the security forces and the unionist murder gangs. About 80% of those were Catholics and were killed because they were Catholics. Until you enlarge your concern to include ALL the victims of the violence who were killed because of their religious belief, your concern is not really worth much.

  • Turgon

    Mr. McGowan,
    Find the episode on this site where I have celebrated any death. I oppose all deaths here and have said before that I regarded no cause on this island in the last fifty years as worth violence. I am concerned about all these people’s deaths. I recognise and condemn any murder by loyalist terrorists or indeed any murder committed by any member of the security forces. What I do not accept is your lumping the two together, nor do I accept the use of the term murder when the army or police killed terrorists who were in the process of committing terrorism. I find no pleasure in those deaths but they are not murder.

    What you seem incapable of accepting is that the IRA ran a sectarian murder campaign murdering about 2000 people. You would like to see their’s as some sort of struggle against oppression. Unfortunately for you it was not and no amount of spinning will change that.

  • Dread Cthulhu

    Bob Mcgowan: “But, I do and will continue to point out your failure to recognize the 1,000+ civilians killed by the security forces and the unionist murder gangs. About 80% of those were Catholics and were killed because they were Catholics.”

    Mark Twain said it best — lies, damned lies and statistics.

    Bob, statistics can be made to say just about whatever the speaker wants them to say and the biases and assumptions of the individuals accumulating and organizing the statistics do have an impact on the outcomes.

    For starters, your grouping of the forces of the state, who, despite certain dalliances with Loyalism, also had their own problems with Loyalist thugs. Likewise, unless you were one of those who actually put together the database, you have no idea what assumptions and criteria were used to make these assignments by category, what other circumstances were involved beyond the simple pigeon-holing done by the database, etc.

    You’re turning into declan, running about with what you think is a single, transferrable argument for whatever thread you happen to find yourself participating in. Hell, I’m not sure I could argue that your posts would pass the Turing test, as formulaic and boiler-plate as they are.

  • It was Sammy Mc Nally what done it

    Turgon

    “no cause on this island in the last fifty years as worth violence”

    Are you saying the old Provos from the start of the 20th Century were justified. If not what which violence before that was?

    Much of the IRA’s justification for violence came from partition – that was considerably more justification for war than the British government had in its war in Iraq – as the basis for that war is now proven to be false.

  • willowfield

    Dishonest Bob is back. He ran away the last time his lies were exposed. Can I be bothered refuting his statistics again? Not really – I think we all know his dishonest game.

  • Turgon

    It was Sammy Mc Nally what done it,
    I always say this for a specific reason. None of us were there in 1921, 1916 or 1912 etc. so it is difficult for us to assess those events. Whilst I do not accept the IRA campaigns of then as justified I will not accuse people of being cheerleaders for claiming they were and I can accept a person in good faith agreeing with those events but repudiating the terrorism of the Provos.

    I will not for example brand a member of either of the main parties in the RoI as a supporter of murder simply because their parties are born out of the IRA of then.

    You as a nationalist and even republican are not in my view guilty of supporting murder by saying that you support those events from the distant past, just a I will not accept being called a supporter of violence for saying that I am proud of what Protestants did during the siege of Derry or Enniskillen.

    The past is another country we did things differently there.

  • Prince Eoghan

    >>Until you enlarge your concern to include ALL the victims of the violence who were killed because of their religious belief, your concern is not really worth much.<

  • Dread Cthulhu

    willowfield: “Dishonest Bob is back. He ran away the last time his lies were exposed. Can I be bothered refuting his statistics again? Not really – I think we all know his dishonest game.”

    Which isn’t to say that some useful information doesn’t lurk in the database.

    That said, it is painfully silent on motive, which obviates much of Bob’s argument, and that Bob tries to turn a three-sided conflict (on those occasions it wasn’t a battle-royale) into a two-sided conflict. The database also lacks contextual information — one can extapolate some numeric information, but cannot express a convinving “why” associated with those numbers.

    Turgon: “The past is another country we did things differently there. ”

    Not entirely true… the sniping is metphorical and the stakes are pettier, but the tribalism seems to be no less real for that.

  • Prince Eoghan

    >>That said, it is painfully silent on motive, which obviates much of Bob’s argument, and that Bob tries to turn a three-sided conflict (on those occasions it wasn’t a battle-royale) into a two-sided conflict.<

  • Dread Cthulhu

    Prince Eoghan: “Hmmmmmm, Bob’s point aimed at Turgon still stands it seems to me regardless of those ganging up to knock his/Cain’s statistics. ”

    No, it doesn’t, your druthers notwithstanding.

    For starters, those statistics are entirely silent, contextually. Bob (and yourself, presumably) overlay your preferred context and try to boot-strap the numbers into saying more than they really do.

  • Greenflag

    ‘The past is another country we did things differently there.’

    The future is another country and we’ll do the same things there – to judge by these posts 🙁

    Yiz can’t move forward without looking backward and everytime ye look backward ye trip up the future .

    Perhaps ‘politics’ is not for Northern Ireland !

  • Dread Cthulhu

    Prince Eoghan: “Surely you jest Dread, a 3 sided conflict?!?! The puppet masters are still vicariously liable for their puppets actions are they not?, whether on or off duty at the time of their actions. ”

    As I said, “when it wasn’t a battle-royale.”

    Read fully and for comprehension, please — it saves ever so much time.

    The conflicts had a number of permutations, ranging from intramural Loyalist violence, intramural Republican violence, with pretty much any combination of Loyalist, State, Republican and civilian you’d care to name along the spectrum, along with the occasional ordinary decent criminal and/or drug dealer along the way.

    Likewise, the database is silent on whether or not, and to what degree, the state was involved with both sides — again, *you* are overlaying *your* preferred narrative over the data, which is something the data itself does not answer.

    The database is silent on motive — you may compute what they did using its data, but not the why, to the limits of the database’s assumptions and categories. You have no way of knowing how much of the violence was state sponsored, individual’s own goals, turf wars between paramilitary factions, mundane gang crime writ large as a consequence of assumed political gravity, etc.

    The CAIN database is a crude tool with some utility. You do it too much credit when you pretend that it can answer the question of “why” one faction or another did anything.

  • Prince Eoghan

    >>Likewise, the database is silent on whether or not, and to what degree, the state was involved with both sides—again, *you* are overlaying *your* preferred narrative over the data, which is something the data itself does not answer.< >As I said, “when it wasn’t a battle-royale.”

    Read fully and for comprehension, please—it saves ever so much time.<

  • Siphonophore

    Dread Cthulu,

    Bob, statistics can be made to say just about whatever the speaker wants them to say and the biases and assumptions of the individuals accumulating and organizing the statistics do have an impact on the outcomes.

    That is incorrect. Statistics can be misapplied and data can be sliced to arrive at the answer desired by the slicee. That does not therefore render false or malicious all statistical analyses. Bob McGowan is looking at percentage breakdowns of victims by various groups and unless you can identify some problems with the dataset he is using or the mathematical validity of ratios and percentages then your assertions and Twain quotation are irrelevant.

    Likewise, unless you were one of those who actually put together the database, you have no idea what assumptions and criteria were used to make these assignments by category, what other circumstances were involved beyond the simple pigeon-holing done by the database, etc.

    You mean those enumerated by Malcolm Sutton in his publications and reproduced on the CAIN site hosting the data? That would be the University of Ulster site hosted by Professor Martin Melaugh.

  • Turgon

    Okay just in case someone does not understand how Bob McGowan uses the Sutton index:

    The following people murdered by the IRA are not counted as civilians by Bob and were not “murdered” by the IRA in Bob’s world view:
    6 members of the Garda
    19 civilian political activitists
    6 British (unarmed) police officers
    39 retired UDR members
    14 retired RUC officers
    5 retired British army soldiers
    2 retired prison officers

    Then there are the off duty policemen and soldiers murdered by the IRA who do not count in Bob land, also those soldiers in GB and Europe murdered (50) who do not count.

    Then let us turn to Bob’s claim about the army and police “murdering” people. Of the 362 people killed by “British Forces” Bob claims 190 were murdered. Well let us see. 13 were killed in cross fire with terrorists. Genuninely tragic but had the IRA not been trying to kill members of the security forces then these 13 would not have been killed. 33 were killed whilst committing criminal activity. That is sad but saying the British forces murdered them in cold blood seems a bit excessive unless you have an agenda like Bob’s. 84 were killed with no obvious pattern according to Sutton. So Sutton makes no comment on whether or not they were involved in terrorism. Yet Bob proclaims them all to have been murdered.
    So yes the army and police killed people. I find any loss of life extremely distressing. I glory in no one’s death.
    However quite clearly we can add another clause to Disreali’s “Lies, Damned lies and statistics”. It would be Lies about statistics.

  • Siphonophore

    Turgon,

    What you seem incapable of accepting is that the IRA ran a sectarian murder campaign murdering about 2000 people. You would like to see their’s as some sort of struggle against oppression. Unfortunately for you it was not and no amount of spinning will change that.

    The figure you quote covers those killed by all the Republican paramilitary groups – the PIRA is responsible for 1730 of those not the whole 2000.

    90% of loyalist paramilitary victims were civilian, 50% of the British Army’s victims were civilian and 35% of the PIRA’s victims where civilian. If the PIRA was this psychopathic, bloodthirsty sectarian murder machine you claim it to be why wasn’t their % of civilian victims at least greater than the British Army and not closer to the 90% scored by loyalists? Why were 455 of them in the British Army, 271 in the RUC, 183 in the UDR?

    Why was it that 85% of the British Army’s civilian victims were Catholic, 83% of the RUC’s civilian victims were Catholic and 52% of the PIRA’s civilian victims were Protestant? How does that make the PIRA sectarian but not the British Army and RUC? The numbers are virtually the same when looking at those considered combatants, except for the PIRA where 42% of combatants killed by them were Protestant. 72% of loyalist victims were Catholic and the majority of Protestant civilians they killed were either mistaken for Catholics or were killed because they were friends with or romantically involved with Catholics.

    Spin is misrepresenting facts to suit a preferred analysis. If the PIRA were on a decades long sectarian murder campaign the breakdown of their victims would parallel that of the loyalist paramilitaries, which would be almost 90% civilian and Protestant, it would not be 65% combatant and 47% Protestant.

    Your argument is, that as the PIRA murdered Protestant civilians it therefore waged a sectarian murder campaign also applies to both the RUC and British Army they murdered Catholic civilians on many occasions. The PIRA and other Republican groups certainly did commit purely sectarian acts of murder, the INLA in Darkley for instance is a clear cut example of such an act but the attack on the Paras at Warrenpoint in 1979 wasn’t. The issue is neither as black and white nor good vs evil as you try to portray it.

  • Turgon

    Siphonophore,
    It depends on what one means by civilian. I regard retired policemen, retired soldiers, retired prison officers as civilians, politicians as civilians, members of the Gardai as civilians. The statistics you quote in the way you quote them do not. Of course I also regard policemen sitting in police cars blown up by the IRA as having been murdered as assuredly as I regard the victims of Greysteel and La Mon as having been murdered. Again your statistics do not.

    I also do not regard those killed by the army in cross fire as murdered by them, nor those committing criminal activity, saddened as I am by the deaths. There are a large group of civilians killed by the army in the Sutton index for whom no comment is made. Bob and you regard them all as having been murdered. Indeed the only people not “murdered” by security forces in Bob’s world view are those whom the IRA admitted were their members.

    Finally if you wish to persist with the fiction that Direct Action Against Drugs, the Catholic Reaction Force etc. etc. were not one and the same as the IRA; that says more about you than anything else.

  • Dread Cthulhu

    siphonophone: “That is incorrect. Statistics can be misapplied and data can be sliced to arrive at the answer desired by the slicee. That does not therefore render false or malicious all statistical analyses.”

    First of all, nothing in this statement negates anything in mine. For example, the speaker can present an accurate statistical summarization of the data, if that is his wont, can he or she not?

    siphonophone: “Bob McGowan is looking at percentage breakdowns of victims by various groups and unless you can identify some problems with the dataset he is using or the mathematical validity of ratios and percentages then your assertions and Twain quotation are irrelevant. ”

    When civilian deaths are looked at in summary by organization type (British Security, Republican paramilitaries, Loyalist Paramilitaries, unknown and Irish Security), Loyalists come in at 871, Republicans at 738, British Security at 190, Unknown at 56 and Irish security at 0. Bob, wanting to inflate the culpability of the state, combines the British security and Loyalist paramilitary columns. This Loyalist / Police conglomeration cannot be taken wholly at face value, since the actual evidence of collusion, while criminally and morally wrong, does not support such a combination. The Police and various Loyalist formations were not some single Hydra, with many heads working in unison. Tellingly, the database itself does not permit this combination in its cross-tabulations.

    As a minimum, Siphonophone, he is cutting his slices with a definite bias and a desired answer, since a straight-forward and complete presentation of the database’s summaries would undercut to his position. As a minimum, he is guilty of distorting and cherry-picking his information.

    Now, were one to look at total killings, it is the Republicans who are the “winners,” with a total of 2056 dead by their collective hands, more than double that of the next murderous formation, Loyalism, with 1020, with the British security apparatus at a distant third.

    Siphonophone: “You mean those enumerated by Malcolm Sutton in his publications and reproduced on the CAIN site hosting the data? That would be the University of Ulster site hosted by Professor Martin Melaugh. ”

    And has Bob presented them? Has he addressed these assumption, or even acknowledged the “Unknown” variable in his discussions? Has he even perused the assumptions or the categorization methodology of the database? Or, as I think is more likely, has Bob simply take the data, fiddled with the table-maker for a bit and spun it to create an answer he likes, and run with it?

    Likewise, he misuses the information he generates, imputing a “why” to his answer which the database does not support or even address. The database is an accumulation of datapoints, utterly shorn of any context. At no point does it touch upon the “why” these people died, simply that they died and who, using the database’s assumptions and categorizations, was responsible.

  • It was Sammy Mc Nally what done it

    Turgon,

    “The past is another country we did things differently there.”

    I’m afraid this arguement smacks somewhat of convienince allowing you to avoid condemning those loyalists in the past who helped place Non Iron in it’s current position i.e. as a (quasi) part of the UK, even though they used techinques not disimiliar used by loyalist paramilitaries in the 1970s.

    It is also a peculiarly Unionist viewpoint, not shared by most mainland Britishers who see the violence of the latter part of the 20th centrury as inextricably linked to the unresolved issues of the past.

  • Turgon

    It was Sammy Mc Nally what done it,
    No it is an attempt by me to say that I do not regard you as a murderer or cheerleader for murder if you say you support the actions of the 1916 rising or even the Irish War of Independence.

    And yes I admit I am quite uncomfortable about the 1912 UVF though I will not condemn them and as far as I am aware they did not murder people. Would I have joined them: well the past is another country, in all honesty I cannot answer that, because I do not know the answer and until you or I invent a time machine I cannot.

    If accepting a united Ireland in 1969 or for that matter 1921 would have saved all the lives who died? Unequivocally yes. Would it have saved those lives: I very much doubt it.

  • First of all, I have tried to use the word “killed”, not “murdered” in discussing the statistics for the simple reason that evidence of motive is not presented. I have noticed that most posters substitute “murdered” where I carefully used “killed”. There is a big difference between “killed” and “murdered” and motivation is certainly the most obvious, though hardly the only difference.

    The point, however, remains, i.e. that terrorism means “deliberate attacks on civilians”. So, as long as the victims were not civilians, then there is no terrorism, no matter what else we may name it. Really quite simple, sez I.

    Turgon, again goes through his usual litany, questioning how Sutton classified victims. Unfortunately, he doesn’t do the same for victims of the unionist forces and their allies.

    I did and will continue to combine the victims of unionist paramilitary groups, the RUC and the British Army and other armed forces of HMG for the simple reason that that’s how we should look at them. Entirely aside from the question of active collusion and planning in single actions, the security forces stand guilty because it was they who armed the thugs. After all, it was a Prime minister who told his successor that the modern arms of the unionist groups were “stolen” from the Army. And, how many times did we read of confidential intelligence files disappearing into the hands of those same groups. And how many times were there noticeable increases in Army/RUC activity just before a major terrorist attack by the unionist thugs?

  • Turgon

    Mr McGowan,
    I do not question how Sutton classifies victims I state that you in your numbers regard members of the Gardai as not civilians, just as you do politicians, retired soldiers etc. etc.

    You also use the term murdered all the time when describing people killed by the army and police. I went back through your posts.

    Now to add to lies about statistics we have lies from you about what you said in the past.

  • willowfield

    DREAD CTHULHU

    The database also lacks contextual information—one can extapolate some numeric information, but cannot express a convinving “why” associated with those numbers.

    And lists killings, not all of which were murders. Many were lawful or accidental.

    PRINCE EOGHAN

    Awfy presumptuous auld fella! What proffered narrative do I have?

    One that seeks to attribute blame for loyalist murders on the state … as ironically you revealed again in the same post that I quote above!

    That is incorrect. Statistics can be misapplied and data can be sliced to arrive at the answer desired by the slicee. That does not therefore render false or malicious all statistical analyses. Bob McGowan is looking at percentage breakdowns of victims by various groups and unless you can identify some problems with the dataset he is using or the mathematical validity of ratios and percentages then your assertions and Twain quotation are irrelevant.
    Posted by Siphonophore on Feb 19, 2008 @ 08:49 PM

    TURGON

    The following people murdered by the IRA are not counted as civilians by Bob and were not “murdered” by the IRA in Bob’s world view: 6 members of the Garda
    19 civilian political activitists 6 British (unarmed) police officers 39 retired UDR members 14 retired RUC officers 5 retired British army soldiers 2 retired prison officers

    Also police officers and prison officers – they are civilians, too.

    SIPHONOPHORE

    Why was it that 85% of the British Army’s civilian victims were Catholic, 83% of the RUC’s civilian victims were Catholic

    Probably because Catholics were much more likely to be rioting against the Army or police or caught in cross-fire in districts in which the Army was being attacked.

    Your argument is, that as the PIRA murdered Protestant civilians it therefore waged a sectarian murder campaign also applies to both the RUC and British Army they murdered Catholic civilians on many occasions.

    It is noted that you deliberately use percentages in order to disguise the absolute numbers. As you know, the Army and police actually committed very few murders, whereas the PIRA murdered 1,700 people.

  • willowfield

    I had hoped it wouldn’t be necessary to refute Dishonest Bob again, but sadly it seems that it is.

    Dishonest Bob’s use of statistics is disingenuous on four levels.

    1. In order cynically to reduce the number of people murdered by PIRA, Bob arbitrarily makes a distinction between “civilian” and “non-civilian” so that he can simply remove the murders of “non-civilians” from the PIRA total.

    2. In making this distinction, he doesn’t even employ a reasonable or commonly-understood definition of civilian and classifies many “civilians” as non-civilians for the purpose of reducing the PIRA total further. (He excludes politicians, prison officers, ex-prison officers, police officers, ex-police officers, ex-soldiers, terrorists and ex-terrorists from the civilian total.)

    3. He also includes all those killed by the security forces, including those killed lawfully or accidentally, in the total number of people “murdered” by the security forces. The purpose of this is to increase the numbers of murders he attributes to one “side” relative to his favoured PIRA side.

    4. He makes no distinction between those killed by the security forces and those murdered by loyalist terrorists, as though they were one and the same, and in order artificially to create a simplistic dichotomy of one “side” against another; while at the same time he clearly separates the PIRA from other nationalist groups so as to decrease the numbers he attributes to his favoured “side”.

    For the record, according to the Sutton Index, the PIRA murdered 1,707 people, excluding 5 murdered by “Direct Action Against Drugs”, 24 by the “Republican Action Force”, and 3 by the “Catholic Reaction Force”. That’s a total of 1,739, and that total doesn’t include unattributed murders, many of which are likely to have been the responsibility of PIRA.

    Of those 1,739, 655 were military victims (comprising 455 in the regular British Army, 183 in the UDR, 7 in the RIR, 4 in the Territorial Army, 1 in the Irish Army, 4 in the RAF and 1 in the Royal Navy); leaving 1,084 civilians on the PIRA murder list.

  • good grief

    Good ole Bob, same old bluster, another thread hijacked and polarised into a hideous game of manipulate the murder tally.

    I notice you blithely state:

    “I did and will continue to combine the victims of unionist paramilitary groups, the RUC and the British Army and other armed forces of HMG for the simple reason that that’s how we should look at them.

    Surely by the revelation that the IRA was riddled with informers means that you can attribute even more of the muders to the British state…go on Bob, with an even larger dose of one eyed revisionism you casn get those IRA figures down even further !

    Meanwhile, those of us that live on the island will continue to try and do so in peace and with a forward looking attitude on how to resolve our problems. Your callous and prejudiced statistical games are an unwelcome hindrance.

    Here’s the rub, there were no good guys…simple enough for you?

  • Ahem

    I wish all you lot would grasp the fiendish subtly of Bob’s metaphysics – Provos can be murdered but they can’t murder. Perfectly simple really.

  • Prince Eoghan

    >>Finally if you wish to persist with the fiction that Direct Action Against Drugs, the Catholic Reaction Force etc. etc. were not one and the same as the IRA; that says more about you than anything else.< >One that seeks to attribute blame for loyalist murders on the state … as ironically you revealed again in the same post that I quote above!<

  • willowfield

    As evidence grows, and a growing number of Unionist death squad murders are revealed to be directly or indirectly attributable through agents or proxies of the state. Should the state not be liable vicariously, at least in some capacity, for these actions, be they authorised or not?

    The state is responsible for its own wrongdoings, including negligence in respect of handling informers among both the “loyalist” and “republican” death squads, and in any cases of actual murder.

    There is, however, no evidence that every “loyalist” murder was carried out by the state or at the behest of the state: no evidence that comes anywhere such a far-fetched conclusion. But that does not stop you from assuming such a conclusion as fact.

  • Peter Brown

    The real problem for Bob is his definition of terrorism – it doesn;t come from a dictionary as he would have us believe because that definition suits him but from international law – I won’t rehearse all the previous arguments which had him running for cover again but all paramilitaries in NI were terrorists and all their actions were therefore terrorism. If you wnat to read the arguments again see all the previous posts where Bob has tried to peddle this fiction on the relevant Geneva and UN Conventions – no rules for the IRA meant no war meant terrorism. The End

  • Prince Eoghan

    >>The state is responsible for its own wrongdoings, including negligence in respect of handling informers among both the “loyalist” and “republican” death squads, and in any cases of actual murder.<

  • willowfield

    …whether the British state is indisputably guilty, or responsible for *every* Unionist death squad act or nay, is neither her nor there.

    I’m afraid it is, when you are trying to say that the state is guilty of all loyalist murders!

    Btw, as time goes on we may have to look at her culpability in *some* murderous acts carried out in the name of Irish Republicanism also. Each day unfolds a new page seemingly.

    So culpability for some loyalist murders actually equates to culpability for *all* loyalist murders … yet culpability for some “republican” murders equates only to culpability for *some* “republican” murders.

    Right.

    Don’t think your equation quite works.

  • willowfield

    PS. Are you going to tonight’s match?

  • Prince Eoghan

    Willow

    She who must be obeyed is working tonight till 8, so i have all the weans to deal with, I’ll watch it on sky. The way Celtic are playing at the moment though I would absolutely love to be there. I know I have been rightly critical of late, but with us on our game(and they are not), the atmosphere at paradise on a European nights. We are going to murder them, only we can’t blame the Brits for it, Agreed? lol.

    I just realised your game, get me talking nonsense about fitba, and……………….lol!

    Anyhow, I think you will find that I have claimed that the Brits could be found vicariously liable for the actions of Unionist murder gangs. There are lots of equations, Say for example, they were using guns brought in by British agents. or they had an opportunity to kill someone, but disobeyed the handler not to do it ect………….. I doubt if the British had much input in the early days, but their interventions are well documented since then. Witness the attempts to implicate the IRA with the Paul Quinn murder. Should they have been IRA men, and used IRA equipment, sanctioned or no, then by implication I reckon the IRA would be vicariously liable.

  • willowfield

    “Vicariously liable” for *all* loyalist murders on the basis of vicarious liability for some?

    Yet “vicariously liable” for *some* nationalist murders on the basis of vicarious liability for some?

    Sorry, doesn’t work.

  • Prince Eoghan

    >>“Vicariously liable” for *all* loyalist murders on the basis of vicarious liability for some?< >Yet “vicariously liable” for *some* nationalist murders on the basis of vicarious liability for some?<

  • willowfield

    You have been arguing (or at least supporting Dishonest Bob’s argument) that all loyalist murders should be lumped into the list of killings by the state.

    Yet you say that only “some” nationalist murders should be included.

  • Prince Eoghan

    >>You have been arguing (or at least supporting Dishonest Bob’s argument) that all loyalist murders should be lumped into the list of killings by the state.<

  • Dread Cthulhu

    Prince Eoghan: “If I am a murderer, I shall hang anyhow, regardless of whether I am guilty of *all* the murders and misdeeds attributed to me. ”

    Not bloody likely… most likely get the needle, or else die of old age or an overly starchy diet.

  • Prince Eoghan

    True in the US Dread, here in Scotland you are on easy street sometimes within 10 years. Shocking! In fact sometimes I reckon the procurator fiscal’s office has done away with murder. Easier to get a conviction for culpable homicide.

  • Dread Cthulhu

    Prince Eoghan: “True in the US Dread, here in Scotland you are on easy street sometimes within 10 years. Shocking!”

    All a matter of what a society is willing to tolerate.

    Prince Eoghan: “In fact sometimes I reckon the procurator fiscal’s office has done away with murder. Easier to get a conviction for culpable homicide. ”

    Felony cases to be bureaucratically processed, like cheese, eh? Stamp ’em twice and pass them down the line.