Morrison conviction quashed

As expected, Danny Morrison’s conviction is quashed, with perhaps more to come..

Lord Chief Justice Kerr
“There is nothing in the papers which intrinsically militates against the delivery of an open judgment detailing the reasons for our decision,” he said. “We will, however, give the parties the opportunity, if they wish to avail of it, to seek to persuade the Court not to deliver what I might describe as an open judgment.”
Always remembered as the coiner of the “armalite and ballot paper” slogan for the political strategy and easily the most personable of the emerging republican leadership in the 80s I often wonder if the ceasefire timetable might not have moved faster if Morrison had been around and not then marginalised on his release. He seemed to have real influence with Gerry Adams during the hunger strike, which was when I first got wind of an embryonic political strategy. Although he wrote a play in which IRA and Castlereagh interrogation methods were compared, ( the IRA came off worse), he always seemed to me to be an unlikely head of a kangaroo court. Not that I would really know of course.

  • jackdutch

    the only sensible or believable thing you wrote in that posting was at the very end: ‘Not that I would know of course’ – stick to writing about things you do know about but be sure about thing, brian, you know absolutely nothing about mr morrison and the workings of the IRA!

  • heck

    what does it say about the Nor Iron judical system when it appears that the only person telling the truth in this affair was danny morrison.

    The prosecution lied, their witness’s lied, the police lied and the judge covered it up. All to railroad someone the state did’nt like.

    where is Pete and blogs on the law?

    first they came for republican spokesmen and I said nothing……

  • Harry Flashman

    If the court has decided that Danny Morrison is not guilty then it is encumbent on us all to accept this fact.

    However to try and paint Mr Morrison as some sort of visionary or a man who sought a peaceful outcome to the Troubles at an early stage is to hideously traduce the historical record.

    Morrison coined the phrase which encapsulates the nearest thing to a fascist call to arms of any Irish politician in the latter half of the twentieth century:

    “Who here really believes we can win the war through the ballot box? But will anyone here object if, with a ballot paper in this hand and an Armalite in the other, we take power in Ireland?”

    Vile, truly vile.

  • Brian Walker

    jackdutch whoever you are, this is a pointless comment and literally untrue. I don’t set myself up as a mystifying expert, my knowledge indeed is patchy and very limited, I never claim more knowledge than I have (as in this post) but I had regular contacts with many people of that ilk for 20 years and we still recognise each other.

    And you, please demonstrate your knowledge with an interesting point rather than a sneer. Otherwise why get out of bed and hurt your index finger on a keyboard?

  • Pete Baker


    You talkin’ to me?

    Here’s my previous post on this particular case.

    Check the archive before making any claims about what I have or have not said.

  • It was Sammy Mc Nally what done it

    Always a bit strange when someone who is a member of an organisation – be it the IRA or the British army – tries to distance themselves from what is effectively the organisation policy. The IRA did shoot informers after encouraging them to talk. As Danny was presumably an IRA man himself he would have complied if he had been called upon to do the encouraging.

  • Why not accept the following, elemntary aspects of the Danny Morrison case:

    (1) He, allegedly the Provos Lord Chief Justice, was set up to encourage the real one aka ‘Steak knife’ to come back on board after the cull on The Rock.

    (2) ‘Steak knife’ aka ‘John Oakes’ had mounted a most effective terrorist campaign over this betrayal, making the Brits most eager to overlook almost anything by him in order to get him back on board.

    (3) The Brits knew that he was still interested in the prospect since he had seen to the killing of Joe Fenton to keep secret his real identity as the Brits leading tout.

    (4) Morrison, apparently ignorant of all this, thought that he was set up by ‘Stake knife’ aka Freddie Scappaticci, the head of the lower level ‘nutting squad’.

    (5) When the Brits, Morrison et al. learned of the confusion by the most relevant concerned, his imprisonment was simply overturned.

    End of case, and we shall not hear anything more about it because it goes to the heart of the dirtiest bits about the covert war of The Troubles.

  • earnan

    Was Scappaticci not the real steak knife???

  • Right.

    Look at the RUC’s photographs of leading Provos on, noting that Freddie Scappaticci aka ‘Stakeknife’ is in the C List, while the A List, the members of the PIRA Council, is nowhere to be seen.

    ‘Steakknife’ was in it, so who is he, and why is everyone so desirous of keeping his identity secret?

  • lorraine

    trowbridge my friend

    i am intrigued by all this cloak-and-dagger stuff. previously you related to me how capt rennie/hayward arranged the shooting of notarantonio in oct 87. but capt rennie left here in the spring of 87, march or so. ?

    i’m away to look at the cryptome photo thing you recommended

  • lorraine

    just back from googling cryptome trowbridge and it won’t allow me access.

  • jackdutch

    sorry to get under skin so effortlessly, brian – what i was trying to hint to you was you really should not comment on areas you clearly know nothing about, notwithstanding your nodding acquaintance with ‘bangers’ morrison – morrison had a role in the ira, he was its publicity director and its spokesman – he was also on the army council – before the case for which he was tried and convicted, an ira informer called joe fenton was killed in circumstances which suggested a high-level ira cover up, probably to protect another very high level and much more important informer, possibly freddie scap – there was a huge internal ira row afterwards and accusations hurled at people in top positions – as a result the army council agreed that from thereon one of its reps had to personally vet the situation before an informer was executed – that was morrison’s job and it was why he was there in the house where sandy lynch was being held – i suspect the reason he was arrested was british intelligence’s version of two fingers to the army council’s attempt to disrupt its control of the ira’s security department – the stuff about a press conference was crap, the sort of thing that is told to an informer who is about to die so as to make his killing as trouble-free as possible – that is what i mean about you knowing absolutely nothing about this case and why you should stick to subjects you at least know something about – i can tell you that when morrison reads your post he will fall over giggling at your naivety – but he will invite you out to lunch – he was never slow to recognise a mark when he saw one – bye!

  • Glad to see that you are looking further into Captain Hayward’s actions, lorraine, but you don’t believe, do you, that he could not have helped arrange an assassination of ‘Steakknife’ while he was being held here in Stockholm’s high security prison while awaiting the result of his appeal for drug-smuggling – what the FRU’s Brian Nelson re-directed against Francisco Notarantonio.

    And for killing of him instead of ‘Steakknife’ on October 9, 1987, the UDA apparently killed the head of the Hayward’s assassination squad, John McMichael, suspecting that he had been turned by the Provos.

    For more on this, see my article about the killing of Notarantonio, the text in Hayward’s autobiography, Under Fire: My Own Story, about what was going on during his appeal, how it impacted John Stalker’s inquiry, etc.

    And for the link about PIRA leaders, noting the absence of List A, see this link:


    You should learn how to use cryptome’s search mechanism.

  • Oh, sorry, forgot to put in the first part of the link:

  • Brian Walker

    jackdutch, Thanks for the burst of coherence. You say getting “effortlessly” under my skin which means you were trying to. Why bother – why not just post first what you eventually did and cut the crap? I’m fascinated in a mindset that crops up quite often in Slugger. Why is it that sometimes people who believe they have a bit of insight into shady areas behave as if they’re all-knowing masters of the universe, rather than make their case in a persuasive way? (“You know absolutely nothing”, implies “I know the lot”). Is it an ego thing, because they think of themselves as lonely arbiters of truth? Remember that even “certain” knowledge can be fragile.

    However… it was worth laying out the story which you do with such conviction and which has appeared in print (suitably qualified) and known to the proverbial dogs in the streets. I never thought Morrison was an innocent, his interest in interrogation was obvious. The ability to check out a story is a talent that can stretch from publicity and propaganda to darker areas. The point I was trying to make was about Morrison’s very high profile and his undoubted fondness for the world outside the IRA box, made him an unlikely kangaroo court man because of the need for secrecy and even a degree of anonymity. I should have put the point better; the word “personable” may have misled. He may well have been all you say. But we now need to be legally careful about what more is said. Perhaps Morrison will “giggle” but he’ll also remember the years in prison and his loss of position during the years of the peace process.

  • Ann

    I should have put the point better; the word “personable” may have misled.

    No Brian I don’t think it misleads. Danny Morrison is a personable guy, amible and friendly what ever the degree of darkness about his past. Does that imply that I know him, only as a nodding aquantince but he’d never pass you on the street without a wave and appears on the surface to be a very likeable guy.

    But I don’t hold with the mindset thing . I don’t think its possible to judge a ‘mindset’ via blog posts, infact I wonder if its really possible to judge anything by them, especially when there are so many anonymous posts which a great deal could be made by mischiefmakers rather than serious people with serious opinions.

  • bland leading the blind

    “Perhaps Morrison will “giggle” but he’ll also remember the years in prison and his loss of position during the years of the peace process.”

    The sentence above does not even make sense in the context of your post. Feel free to clarify once again what you are TRYING to say.

    It’s the banality of much of the hot-air threads on here, not the “ego” of others that is laughable.

    The inability of the regulars to accept criticism, accept that you all may not be as politically astute as you clearly think you are makes the whole exercise repetitive, bland and childish.

    But it seems opinions and rational are less relevant than sucking up to the usual suspects and buying into the received wisdom/prejudices.

    Your opinions are no worse than (or perhaps they are as dire as) the others who start threads on here. If people are critical – and they certainly seem to have been on here of late (not just of you but of your fellow equally smug bloggers) – it is because they are trite and misinformed not because they are lively, analytical or provocative.

    It reached it nadir with the recent comment that the reason to believe the IRA did the Northern Bank robbery was because that was the consensus among the mainstream media. Regardless of who did the robbery that was a dire, shocking comment.

    Given that impoverished logic slugger would have backed the war on Iraq in order to get the weapons of mass destruction because the media consensus was that there were weapons.

  • Yvette Doll

    “Morrison coined the phrase which encapsulates the nearest thing to a fascist call to arms of any Irish politician in the latter half of the twentieth century”

    The struggle was a lie, however, each actor, was in a place, to judge people within the context of the whole, in relation to their part, can be unfair,

    I think he is a nice person, he is not a dark angel or anything like that.

    As for shooting Brits, what is the point of getting guns if you are not going to use them? The time, for the Brits, was before the 5.56 weapons arrived from those people in Philly(?) or wherever it was.

    The Brits looked at an IRA fumbling with a jumble of archaic relics, and thought they were crushable, as a people, the people being the Catholics.

    I don’t buy into the IRA as Camelot on a mission, I just don’t, maybe I did once,

    the thirty years, ‘the troubles’ was too unpleasant to make a happy chapter in a nation’s book, it was all wrong.

  • Brian Walker

    well, bland, if the posts are as banal, trite, dire etc as you say they are, why on earth do you bother to dignify them with your wit and wisdom? That’s what beats me about this school of comment.

  • “easily the most personable of the emerging republican leadership”

    Brian, why do you feel the need to attribute such ‘affectionate’ language to any member of the PRM, a fundamentally fascist organisation?