Eames Bradley: fit for purpose 2

I blogged about La Mon below and mentioned the Consultative Group on the Past. It appears that they have received over 2000 letters opposing an amnesty. It is okay to ignore them, however, because they may have been part of a coordinated campaign. I have discussed this issue before (with little interest generated) but I will mention it again. When this body was set up it was heavily criticised, its public meetings have frequently been reported as being acrimonious. I would be most surprised if Eames or Bradley or any of the others think that the whole truth or even a fraction of it will come out from their proceedings. I very much doubt that this exercise will provide any catharsis at all; surely it is much more likely to open old wounds and inflame anger?

Again I would ask are these learned people prepared to think laterally about their mandate, at least temporarily (possibly indefinitely) suspend their activities and try to close the Pandora’s box they seem intent on opening. Alternatively have they come too far to do that or, being more critical are they too fond of their roles, purpose, power and current exalted status to admit that whilst they are unlikely to provoke violence; they are most unlikely to help Northern Irish society?

  • kensei

    I can’t see how simply trying to ignore everything is going to make things any better. The wounds might close over, but the poison will still be there beneath them. In the short term it be damaging to hear uncomfortable truths, but in the long term having them in the open and accepted is going to improve things in the long run. The more truth we get the better it will be, but partial truth is better than no truth.

    I have heard the suggestion that because the IRA isn’t going to open up, it absolves the British Government from doing the same. It doesn’t. There is a fundamental difference between the State acting illegally and becoming involved in killing people who are theoretically its own citizens, and an armed group. Moreover the IRA and its aims were stated fairly clearly, and it claimed responsibility for most if not all of its actions its actions, which is something the state has not done.

    As for an amnesty, it may be painful but the harsh truth is that in all likelihood no one is going to serve time for anything that went on here, and if they do, it is highly unlikely to be any significant amount. An amnesty might at least produce something useful from nothing at all. And this sounds cold hearted, and I don’t mean it to, but while you need to treat victims with sensitivity, they can’t drive the policy. If it is better in the long run, then they have to deal with it too.

    So, no, looks to me like people running away from what they don’t want to face. And I think even if only the British Government opening up, there’ll be enough in there to make everyone uncomfortable, not just Unionism.

  • doctor

    I totally agree, Kensei. Opening up on things that have to this point been kept in the shadows may be painful in the short term but ultimately necessary to moving beyond the past. The problem with keeping things bottled up, so to speak, is that it doesn’t actually help preserve stability. On the contrary, it simply allows everyone to create their own personal conspiracy theories that only serve to build up personal prejuidices.

    I consider myself a republican. I’m no fan of the “security forces”, but I’ve never subscribed to the theory that every single cop was in cahoots with the uda/uvf. Nor do I believe that the loyalist groupings are nothing but a MI5 franchise. It simply serves to disregard the genuine opinions of loyalists, no matter how much I disagree or in some cases are repulsed by their beliefs. The same goes for the recent craze to act like 99 percent of republicans were actually touts based on a few genuine disclosures the last few years.

    I’ve always been of the opinion that if there is a genuine disclosure of the extent of collusion, one effect is that it will actually prove how many acts of violence were NOT the result of some hidden hand. That’s what the current wall of silence doesn’t allow; you act shifty over a few cases and suddenly people start thinking that every case must be tainted. It’s human nature; if the whole story isn’t revealed then people’s imagination will run wild on its own.

  • It was Sammy Mc Nally what done it

    The British should offer disclosure on collusion in return for disclosure by Provos. If the Provos didn’t bite on this I’m sure the SDLP would bring this to the Nationalist public’s attention at every turn.

    One of problems for the Provos is that although they are probably happy enough with their justification for going to war they are porbably not too proud about the way they conducted it and they presumably believe public debate and exposure of this will be very negative for them.

  • joeCanuck

    Absolutely, Sammy. As Pete, I think coined the phrase, we cannot have a campaign for half-truth.
    It’s gotta be all or nothing.

  • doctor

    “One of problems for the Provos is that although they are probably happy enough with their justification for going to war they are porbably not too proud about the way they conducted it and they presumably believe public debate and exposure of this will be very negative for them.”

    The thing is, there have been countless news articles, books, reports, not to mention trials that have already exposed IRA activities. The vast majority of this coverage would be considered negative exposure. Victims of IRA violence can be tallied almost down to the very last person. The same can’t be said for many of the victims of state violence and collusion. Things are much murkier on that end, while the official line still tries to downplay any collusion at all.

    This is not to downplay IRA violence or to suggest that they shouldn’t come clean on whatever they can. There are certainly some prominent Sinn Fein figures who have ordered, planned, or carried out some gruesome actions that they are not eager to reveal. But the level of possible information that could revealed by republicans pale in comparison to british disclosures.

  • It was Sammy Mc Nally what done it

    Doctor

    The Provos should be invited to explain how many of their operations could be justified by their own standards of fighting a war. I would like to know why thet considered retired members of the security forces legitimate targets and why people were shot when off-duty in front of their families? There are many more such questions.

    There are many questions for both sides – suggesting the Provos have less to answer appears to be self-serving arguement. Lets have a period of you show me yours and I’ll show you mine. Having spent 181 million on the Bloody Sunday enqury the Englezes have made a pretty good start. Over to you Gerry.

  • kensei

    Lets have a period of you show me yours and I’ll show you mine. Having spent 181 million on the Bloody Sunday enqury the Englezes have made a pretty good start. Over to you Gerry.

    Except they haven’t, the Bloody Sunday inquiry is really tangential to the discussion.

  • It was Sammy Mc Nally what done it

    Kensei,

    “Except they haven’t, the Bloody Sunday inquiry is really tangential to the discussion. ”

    Really? I find when advancing a point of view it can be useful to also put forward a supporting arguement.

    The Provos did ask for this after all – and may even have made it a pre-condition of the GFA. Let’s see something comparable from the Provos.
    Simply claiming responsibility for something and saying it was a mistake is not really much good. It does rather smack of the confessional approach – tell someone you did it and say your really sorry and it will all be OK. The Provos killed far more poeple than Englezes so lets have a bit of evenhandedness about all this.

    Just think how ludicrous it would be if the now General Jackson went on telly and claimed he had never been in the army even though he was jointly responsilbe for operations on Bloody Sunday. C’mon Gerry – do share.

  • The__Raven

    kensei wrote: “There is a fundamental difference between the State acting illegally and becoming involved in killing people who are theoretically its own citizens, and an armed group.”

    So are we talking about some sort of truth process? Then I don’t think there’s any difference at all. Truth is truth, regardless of your position in MI5, the UDA or the IRA. As Michael says in The Deer Hunter, “This is this. This ain’t somethin’ else. This is this”

    I don’t like doing “my community thinks” posts on here, but on notions of truth and reconciliation, I’m going to be quite simplistic about it.

    I’m all for the Brits telling the truth about what some may call “state sanctioned murder” and others may call “the fighting of a war”. I’m all for the truth about collusion coming out, because as someone from the P/U/L community, I want to know if the state system that I feel some misguided loyalty towards murdered in the defence of a pretty meaningless realm.

    But I also want to know if Gerry, Marty and the boys will to. I don’t think that people from the P/U/L community are particularly opposed to the actual concept some form of truth and reconciliation process. I just think they don’t believe that whatever “high command” structure was in place on the “republican side” will ever, ever divulge the full truth about their activities. And they just naturally cynical. Go figure.

    Anecdotally? It’s this simple: people want to see individuals like Martin McGuinness stand up and confess their sins. No matter what way you dress it up, that’s all they want to see. It’s as simple as “I told you so”. They want to see the sacred cows say “I pulled that trigger” or “I told him to leave the country”.

    I don’t know what people on the C/N/R side want. I’d say it’s pretty much the same.

    Two things though – if it’s going to cost upwards of £181m, I’d rather be kept in the dark, and know that instead, my mother gets the cancer treatment she’s on a waiting list for.

    And secondly, Doctor? If you think that every knee-capping, every exiling, every murder, every “anti-drug” enforcement, every car bomb, every person forced from their home by “our lads cleaning up the area”, every bullet to the back of the head, every 16 man kicking dispensed to a 15 year old for “anti-social behaviour”, and all the other collective sins are less “murky” than what the Brits got up to, then feel free to rationalise that in your own particular manner.

  • doctor

    “The Provos should be invited to explain how many of their operations could be justified by their own standards of fighting a war. I would like to know why thet considered retired members of the security forces legitimate targets and why people were shot when off-duty in front of their families? There are many more such questions.”

    Are we talking about establishing actual facts here, such as who did what or ordered what, or having people try to offer justifications for what can’t be justified and won’t be accepted anyway? These questions you offer have been asked in countless interviews over the years to countless republicans. The answers won’t change and neither will the reactions of those asking the questions. In those cases everyone will just end up retreating to their own interpretation of the “truth”.

    It is an undisputed fact that British soldiers shot people on Bloody Sunday. Whether or not there were any extenuating circumstances is the issue. That’s a whole different scenario than not even admitting in certain cases that the police or army had any role in people dying. I’m not suggesting the provos have less to answer for in a moral sense; I’m talking about the cold hard facts about what happened. The only person who possibly doesn’t believe Gerry Adams wasn’t in the IRA is Gerry Adams himself, simply by repeating the lie so often. There is just so much evidence to suggest otherwise. But again, so much of the IRA’s activities have been in the public domain for so long. The activities of the British government have not been. What I’m saying is that there is much less for republicans to offer that won’t have been known already to the proverbial dogs in the street versus what can be offeredby the British forces.

  • doctor

    “And secondly, Doctor? If you think that every knee-capping, every exiling, every murder, every “anti-drug” enforcement, every car bomb, every person forced from their home by “our lads cleaning up the area”, every bullet to the back of the head, every 16 man kicking dispensed to a 15 year old for “anti-social behaviour”, and all the other collective sins are less “murky” than what the Brits got up to, then feel free to rationalise that in your own particular manner.”

    I hope I’ve already addressed this in my previous post, Raven, but let me repeat that I’m not suggesting that car bombs, knee-cappings,etc are not better or ok. They are less “murky”, for lack of a bette word, because we all know that the IRA is responsible and receives the suitable condemnation as a result. I’m defining murky as unclear; when someone doesn’t realize that their loved one wouldn’t have died if the forces of law and order had done their job rather than assist in the murder or hinder the resulting investigation, then that is “murky”.

  • kensei

    Sammy

    Really? I find when advancing a point of view it can be useful to also put forward a supporting arguement.

    I think everyone knows that Bloody Sunday happened, and that the Brits did it. Since the report they did was a whitewash, it is important to get behind that, but what we really interested in is all the murky actions we don’t know about, I would have thought my point totally obvious.

    The Provos did ask for this after all – and may even hav`e made it a pre-condition of the GFA. Let’s see something comparable from the Provos.
    Simply claiming responsibility for something and saying it was a mistake is not really much good. It does rather smack of the confessional approach – tell someone you did it and say your really sorry and it will all be OK. The Provos killed far more poeple than Englezes so lets have a bit of evenhandedness about all this.

    No, let’s not. I don’t pay my taxes to the IRA. The IRA is not charged with ensuring public safety. The IRA has no particular obligation to act within the law. The IRA hasn’t spent the last 25 years denying things it did and calling it paranoia that you even think those things.

    There is no equivalence between the IRA and the State: moreover, both the State and Unionism has been telling us this for the past 30 years. In which case, they don’t have an argument that they don’t have a bigger obligation. If the six counties welded any political importance in the UK, we could very easily force it out of them by taking down governments. But since we are irrelevant, we can’t.

    The Raven

    The amount of people who can’t grasp the importance of the state illegally killing people does my head in.

  • willowfield

    KENSEI

    An amnesty might at least produce something useful from nothing at all.

    Like what?

    The IRA has no particular obligation to act within the law

    What an outrageous statement. Everyone has the same obligation to act within the law: the Provisionals are no different to anyone else – they are not above the law.

  • Willowfield, the IRA are the law. Army Council = legitimate government of all-Ireland, remember? I think they have some kind of state immunity.

  • kensei

    Like what?

    Some more of the picture of what really went on. Is this hard?

    What an outrageous statement. Everyone has the same obligation to act within the law: the Provisionals are no different to anyone else – they are not above the law.

    The IRA is an illegal organisation. They may not be “above the law” but they are certainly “outside the law”, and if you cannot compel them to act lawfully, then likely they aren’t going to. The state has qualitatively different obligations and expectations. And even if you were right, it still does not shed the State’s obligations: I cannot get off for murder because you killed my ma, willow.

    Now please go an hijack someone else’s debate, I really don’t endless pedantry.

  • Turgon, can I express a cynical view? This group, like the commission on policing, was established by London and Dublin – and probably with some input from Washington. The powers that be may already have decided on a course of action and this and other commissions could have been sent out to cop the flak/test the waters.

    We’re never going to get the truth and the only people likely to benefit from the inquiries et al are those who pocket the money.

  • “The IRA hasn’t spent the last 25 years denying things it did”

    Very true, kensei. The PRM (much like its loyalist counterparts) has boasted about its barbarity for far longer than that and been economical with the truth about inter alia the Disappeared.

    Sadly, apparently otherwise decent folks have turned a blind eye and voted for its political representatives.

    And they’ve been encouraged to do so by the appeasement strategies of London and Dublin whose nimbyism has led, directly and indirectly, to the sacrifice of many innocent lives and the ongoing pain and anguish of many survivors.

    It’s ironical that Ian jr has come a cropper when you consider the likely actions of the Chuckle Brothers during the Troubles.

  • sevenmagpies

    kensei

    “The IRA hasn’t spent the last 25 years denying things it did and calling it paranoia that you even think those things.”

    The IRA has eventually been proven to be lying about a number of things about which they eventually admitted involvement. It would be offering them too much benefit of the doubt to imagine that they weren’t lying about anything else.

    I agree with your point about the State rightly being the main focus of any truth process though. One has to expect better from them.

  • kensei

    The IRA has eventually been proven to be lying about a number of things about which they eventually admitted involvement. It would be offering them too much benefit of the doubt to imagine that they weren’t lying about anything else.

    I don’t disagree that they denied actions they did do, and there is probably more out there. One of the things that concerns me is that there is an entire secret history of the organisation that we’ll probably never gain insight to. It would be good if they could be convinced to join some truth process. But I don’t know if it would really help victims. The IRA’s motives and reasoning were fairly clear. What we are missing is the detail, the internal arguments, the characters of the people involved, how the peace stuff interacted. I think some good would come out but it would be more likely to be of interest to historians.

    But in general, most the actions of the IRA were claimed. Most of those that weren’t were known by the government and got out via the press. There is a whole IMC process to monitor activities of the IRA now.

    I agree with your point about the State rightly being the main focus of any truth process though. One has to expect better from them.

    It’s even beyond that. We simply don’t have a clear idea of what they were doing.

  • “the State rightly being the main focus of any truth process though”

    Well, 7m, there’s more than one state involved – and there’s a plethera of governments. Also, how can we arrive at the truth when some of the key players will lie and others may now be dead?

    We’re hardly likely to get a rounded view of these sad events if we narrow the focus to suit our own prejudices.

  • “There is a whole IMC process to monitor activities of the IRA now.”

    The IMC gave up on a ‘culture of lawfulness’ a long time ago, Kensei. Either they’ve been stooges of the Governments all along – or they’ve given up the will to protect Joe and Josey Public from the ravages of loyalist and republican paramilitary fascism and mafiaism.

  • willowfield

    Kensei

    Some more of the picture of what really went on.

    How would granting amnesties provide “some more of the picture of what really went on”?

    What an outrageous statement. Everyone has the same obligation to act within the law: the Provisionals are no different to anyone else – they are not above the law.

    The IRA is an illegal organisation. They may not be “above the law” but they are certainly “outside the law”, and if you cannot compel them to act lawfully, then likely they aren’t going to.

    Whether or not someone can be compelled to act lawfully does not alter their obligation to act within the law. SOmeone does not become immune to the law because he is determined to break it!

  • sevenmagpies

    kensei.

    “We simply don’t have a clear idea of what they were doing.”

    Indeed. I’m not even convinced they knew what they were doing. I doubt there’s anything as clear and direct as a smoking gun pointing to a sinister over-arching conspiracy at the heart of government.

    There are specific actions on which further evidence might provide some form of closure for families or individuals, but in the main it is really, as you mentioned, more of an academic exercise (I almost wrote exorcise) in teasing out the minutiae i.e the meetings, the internal conflicts, the decision making processes. In the end though, everything is the responsibility of the previous administration, rogue elements, misunderstandings, bad intelligence, accident, providence or whatever excuse happens to play best that week.

    How about … each organisation, faction or state body puts up a representative. Questions about specific acts are directed at the representatives and answers are obtained from the relevant organisation and passed back to the survivor, family member, who-ever. Some rules and regulations about no legal action being taken on the basis of the information or in regard to the specific crime involved, and perhaps an embargo on when the information can be released to the public. People who want to know can ask. The rest can forget about it. Truth for truth-seekers, a comfortable amnesia for everyone else.

  • kensei

    willow

    The law in this regard is vanishingly likely to be enforced or you’ve been living somewhere else for ten years. “Obligation” means squat so if you want truth you need to give a rational being a reason to overcome the negatives to come out with it.

    Now go away, I hate dealing with your obtuse pedantry.

  • willowfield

    The law in this regard is vanishingly likely to be enforced or you’ve been living somewhere else for ten years.

    The law in what regard? What law?

    “Obligation” means squat

    It doesn’t: on the contrary it is a fundamental moral and democratic principle that ALL citizens are equally obliged to conform to the law. It is outrageous that you consider members of terrorist organisations to have be above the law and therefore not be under the same obligation as everyone else to obey the law.

    if you want truth you need to give a rational being a reason to overcome the negatives to come out with it.

    You’ve already acknowledged that few who haven’t been convicted are likely to be convicted in the future, so they would gain nothing by an amnesty; and even those who might be convicted would be covered by the early release scheme so, again, would gain very little from an amnesty.

    I see no reason why either category of person would want to move from a position of anonymity, knowing they will not be convicted and not go to jail, to a position where they have to step into the public domain and speak publicly about their past crimes.

    Further, even if such people were to come forward in order to obtain an amnesty, there is no means of compelling them to speak the truth anyway.

  • It’s a complete waste of time and energy. Paramilitaries nor British Intelligence will reveal anything worth while. There’ll be endless debates about terminology and old sores will be re-opened. Most wounds heal over time and most aren’t full of puss that has to be released. Families of victims know what it was like and continues to be like. None of these bureaucratic approaches will help healing and reconciliation.

  • lib2016

    Willow,

    I’m sorry to disillusion you but the Common Law is a human construct, not some giant principle which must be kept immaculate and intact but a system of ideas which changes regularly according to the mood of the times and what our masters think will keep them in power.

    If it suited their purposes they would scrap the lot and adapt the Napoleonic code or something else in the morning.

    What is really important is the ongoing stability of society here. That’s what has changed, that’s what has given the Dublin government the importance it now has, and that’s what is going to mean that the ‘terrorists’ are going to come from unionism from now on.

    Now unionists and a few soccer hooligans can pretend whatever they like but the BBC, RTE and FOX News have a bigger circulation. Right up until 1992 the UDA were a legal group supported by the main unionist political parties. Even yet they are not denounced by name. Within another few years they will be criminalised as never before, while Irish republicanism will become just another wing of government.

    Unionists are, as always, cutting yet another rod to strike their own back with. Difficult as it is to accept power-sharing is the only game in town.

  • willowfield

    I’m sorry to disillusion you but the Common Law [sic] is a human construct, not some giant principle which must be kept immaculate and intact but a system of ideas which changes regularly according to the mood of the times and what our masters think will keep them in power.

    I have never said nor implied that it was anything other than a human construct, so to be told the obvious does not disillusion me in the slightest.

    The fact that the common law, and indeed statute law and all law, is a human construct doesn’t alter the fact that ALL citizens are equally obliged to obey it. Those who opt to join criminal gangs are not under any less of an obligation than those who do not: terrorists are not above the law.

  • kensei

    willow

    The law in what regard? What law?

    What the fuck are you on? We are discussing how truth could come out. If people are not going to pursued for acts that occurred during the Troubles, then that truth is not going to established in a court of law.

    If there is risk that they could be prosecuted if they come out with the information voluntarily, then they’ll not come out with it. Even if it was to cause them simple public embarrassment, they probably still won’t come out with it. So an amnesty and framework for revealing these things are an inherently sensible suggestion, if only to attempt to overcome these problems. I don’t believe it’ll be a total solution, but it’s better than nothing.

    It doesn’t: on the contrary it is a fundamental moral and democratic principle that ALL citizens are equally obliged to conform to the law. It is outrageous that you consider members of terrorist organisations to have be above the law and therefore not be under the same obligation as everyone else to obey the law.

    Listen, dipshit: I am not interested in engaging in a theoretical discussion about the law and moral obligation. The discussion I was having before you turned up and started hijacking the discussion was about the real world, and in the real world the IRA or loyalists aren’t going to have a bout of truth telling because they have some theoretical obligation to the law.

    Reality phoning willow. I know you’re a long way away, but it wants you to come back.

    You’ve already acknowledged that few who haven’t been convicted are likely to be convicted in the future, so they would gain nothing by an amnesty; and even those who might be convicted would be covered by the early release scheme so, again, would gain very little from an amnesty.

    Like it or not, they hold all the cards. They don’t have to say anything at all and can just sit out and say nothing. Why even take a small risk? Why do even a bit of time? The criminal record associated might impact their ability to visit other countries. Or get a job. And so on.

    Moreover, an amnesty presents a framework that to an extent may reduce the stigma of speaking out (a truth & reconciliation process would do even better, but no matter).

    And if there is nothing to gain willow, there is also very little to lose.

    I see no reason why either category of person would want to move from a position of anonymity, knowing they will not be convicted and not go to jail, to a position where they have to step into the public domain and speak publicly about their past crimes.

    Further, even if such people were to come forward in order to obtain an amnesty, there is no means of compelling them to speak the truth anyway.

    I’m not saying everyone will, and I’m certain many would remain anonymous, but action is normally better than inaction in getting things done. Even if it was only one person, that’s one person more than would have done otherwise, at realistically little cost.

    They don’t get the amnesty if they don’t testify, and if they are proved lying it can be rescinded. People might lie. But there is little incentive to, and that’s a permanent risk in life.

  • It was Sammy Mc Nally what done it

    Kensei,

    “The amount of people who can’t grasp the importance of the state illegally killing people does my head in. ”

    It’s not just a case of grasping the importance of this – it’s also a case of their being balance in these matters. It does a lot of Unionists heads in that enquiries go one way. As some one from the Nationalist side of the fence I’m quite keen to get proper answers to what was done in the name of Nationalist Ireland. Get to Grizzly.

  • joeCanuck

    Kensei,

    It doesn’t help your argument one iota to indulge in personal abuse.

  • Turgon

    This whole debate has crystalised what I had suspected for some time now. Although initially republicans complained a great deal about the counsultative group many (at least judging by this site) are now quite happy, even keen on it. Unionists, however, having always been sceptical are now largely opposed to it.

    With such an apparent dichotomy of views, I suggest that it is inconceivable that Eames-Bradley will contribute to reconcilliation but rather will stoke division and bitterness. As such I am more convinced than ever that the only sensible option would be for the group to suspend its activities. I am also almost certain that the group are too drunk on their own self importance to do this. Unless of course Nevin’s suggestion is correct and in actual fact they are there to persue an agenda for the governments; either way I am sure they will enjoy their report and the limelight they gain from it. They will also Pilate like wash their hands of the grief and distress they dredge back up. What a great accolade for two Christian leaders.

  • It was Sammy Mc Nally what done it

    Turgon,

    just because many people disagree with them – does not make their analysis wrong. You have to agree that Unionist analysis is in general out of step not just with Nationliast but British mainlanders as well. This is understandable ( I don’t mean to sound patronising ) becuase they percieve the Provo campaign to have been directed at them and their heritage and yet the Provos have been rewarded.

    But this is true after many conflicts with those that have lost out in the settlement much less likely to take an objective view of events particularly when emotions are still raw.

    Witness your own relaxed views to the violence at the turn of the 20th Century when the threat of Loyalist violence helped to force the hand of Britian in a settlement ( partition ) you stongly approve of.

  • aye aye

    sounds like you, or your friends might have something to hide, turgon. wanna share it with the group?

  • Turgon

    It was Sammy Mc Nally what done it,

    To an extent I agree with you and I found your comments interesting. However, what I am really objecting to is that this group was set up to help heal divisions etc. Its leaders make great play of how they want to consult and help everyone. They have failed absolutely and overwhelmingly to achieve this. Yes they may reveal some things but will they help with healing the divisions of the past? Does anyone really think that?

    As such if they had moral and intellectual honesty they would stop their counter productive actions. My complaint is that they must by now be aware of this but are either too self important and conceited to do it; or are as Nevin suggests part of a strategy to push a government line. Neither of these are attractive positions for supposed men of moral authority.

  • The__Raven

    Kensei wrote: “The amount of people who can’t grasp the importance of the state illegally killing people does my head in.”

    You should get help for that.

    But I refer you back to my original post to reiterate the gist of what I was saying.

  • Just a small point, Turgon: governments not government. You’ll find that London and Dublin are most likely joined at the hip on many issues pertaining to here.

  • kensei

    This whole debate has crystalised what I had suspected for some time now. Although initially republicans complained a great deal about the counsultative group many (at least judging by this site) are now quite happy, even keen on it. Unionists, however, having always been sceptical are now largely opposed to it.

    Actually Turgon, there have been few Unionists on here for you to make that judgment. Moreover, the arguments I am making – that there is no equivalence between the State and the IRA – isn’t one that would probably go down well in SF.

    With such an apparent dichotomy of views, I suggest that it is inconceivable that Eames-Bradley will contribute to reconcilliation but rather will stoke division and bitterness. As such I am more convinced than ever that the only sensible option would be for the group to suspend its activities. I am also almost certain that the group are too drunk on their own self importance to do this. Unless of course Nevin’s suggestion is correct and in actual fact they are there to persue an agenda for the governments; either way I am sure they will enjoy their report and the limelight they gain from it. They will also Pilate like wash their hands of the grief and distress they dredge back up. What a great accolade for two Christian leaders.

    If you dislocate a joint, you will find that pushing it into place will cause you a short, sharp and intense pain. However, I guarantee in the long run you will feel better. Unionism is having a hard time because it seems unprepared to listen to things that it doesn’t like and things are going that way at the moment. I’m sure in time with the release of information on informers and the like it will be Republicans turn. There is also the fact that if you approach things negatively, then you will get only bad things out of it. The best thing Unionism could do is face up to things.

    This isn’t a happy feelgood exercise. It is hopefully something that forces both sides to confront unpalatable truths even if it means to “dredge back up” the past. The benefits should lie at the other side of that.

  • kensei

    Raven

    But I refer you back to my original post to reiterate the gist of what I was saying.

    I refer you back to my reply. Now we’re in an infinite loop.

  • doctor

    “Its leaders make great play of how they want to consult and help everyone. They have failed absolutely and overwhelmingly to achieve this. Yes they may reveal some things but will they help with healing the divisions of the past? Does anyone really think that?”

    Turgon, has the commission been active long enough to already conclude that it’s a failure? It’s still in the midst of the consultation process, while it won’t be at least until the summer before it even issues a report with recommendations. At this point few people outside of the commision know squat about what the final verdict will be. Right now everyone is losing the plot over what the commission MIGHT suggest, second-guessing before the commisioners have made up their own minds.

  • fair_deal

    “It’s gotta be all or nothing. ”

    And you are never going to get all.

  • willowfield

    Kensei

    What the fuck are you on? We are discussing how truth could come out. If people are not going to pursued for acts that occurred during the Troubles, then that truth is not going to established in a court of law.

    Well, that is rather an obvious statement.

    If there is risk that they could be prosecuted if they come out with the information voluntarily, then they’ll not come out with it.

    Of course not.

    Even if it was to cause them simple public embarrassment, they probably still won’t come out with it.

    Absolutely.

    So an amnesty and framework for revealing these things are an inherently sensible suggestion, if only to attempt to overcome these problems. I don’t believe it’ll be a total solution, but it’s better than nothing.

    But you just said that if confessing to crimes were to cause “simple public embarrassment, they probably still wouldn’t come out with it”. The “amnesty and framework” would still involve confessing to crimes!

    What would the confessor gain from his confession? You’ve already admitted that there is no prospect of him being prosecuted anyway, so not being prosecuted is not a gain.

    Listen, dipshit: I am not interested in engaging in a theoretical discussion about the law and moral obligation.

    Well then you shouldn’t make statements saying certain people are under no obligation to obey the law because they are in terror gangs.

    … in the real world the IRA or loyalists aren’t going to have a bout of truth telling because they have some theoretical obligation to the law.

    Of course not, but that is not what you said: you said the PIRA were not obliged to act lawfully. Are you now retracting this outrageous statement?

    Like it or not, they hold all the cards. They don’t have to say anything at all and can just sit out and say nothing. Why even take a small risk? Why do even a bit of time? The criminal record associated might impact their ability to visit other countries. Or get a job. And so on.

    But if they’re not going to be prosecuted, they won’t do a bit of time, nor will they have a criminal record.

    Moreover, an amnesty presents a framework that to an extent may reduce the stigma of speaking out (a truth & reconciliation process would do even better, but no matter).

    You mean it legitimises the criminal actions of those who committed them?

    And if there is nothing to gain willow, there is also very little to lose.

    There is a lot to lose: the integrity of the rule of law; and the legitimisation of terrorists.

    I’m not saying everyone will, and I’m certain many would remain anonymous, but action is normally better than inaction in getting things done. Even if it was only one person, that’s one person more than would have done otherwise, at realistically little cost.

    No-one is going to come forward and voluntarily say that they ordered that Patsy Gillespie be strapped into a van and turned into a homicide bomb. No-one is going to come forward and say that they ordered Bloody Friday. No-one is going to come forward and say that they passed on police intelligence information to the UFF. It won’t happen. Such people have nothing to gain (and the organisations to which they belong have nothing to gain).

    The only people with something to gain would be those for whom there is a chance that they might be prosecuted and hence they could gain immunity. However, if there is a chance that such people could be prosecuted then they should be prosecuted … not be let off scot-free!

    They don’t get the amnesty if they don’t testify, and if they are proved lying it can be rescinded. People might lie. But there is little incentive to, and that’s a permanent risk in life.

    How could it be proven that anyone lied? Besides, it’s not so much what they would say as what they wouldn’t say.