Unpublished Interview with British Official released by Bobby Sands Trust

An interesting historical document has just been released by the Bobby Sands Trust which reveals the mindset of the British government, particularly at the time of the intervention of the Irish Commission for Justice and Peace before the death of hunger striker Joe McDonnell in July 1981. It is an unpublished interview from 1986 with senior British official Sir John Blelloch who is quite dismissive of the ICJP and says, “I think they’d become in a sense drawn into a position in which they believed they were negotiating in a situation which is not really negotiable.” Blelloch, contrary to some claims made in recent years, also states that, “There was absolutely no change in the government’s position on why it stood where it was, what was available to the prisoners and, insofar as one could say this in advance, what would happen as the protest ended. That position remained in all material respects, unchanged.”
Blelloch’s interview, from 1986, was conducted before the publication of the H-Block comms in David Beresford’s book, ‘Ten Men Dead’, but confirms the position of the British government as described by Bik McFarlane and others at the time.

  • jackdutch

    nice try chris donnelly, nice try bangers morrison, but not good enough – first of all, it’s not a document but an interview with padraig o’malley for his book ‘biting at the grave’, so don’t try and tell us this has some official status, or that it’s some secret MI5 paper, coz it’s not;
    the interview was indeed given before david beresford’s book’ ten men dead’ came out and that is significant for reasons you and bangers don’t want to mention – beresford revealed the existence of a secret british emissary, an MI6 member known as ‘the mountain climber’ but he wasn’t supposed to – richard o’rawe has told how, when gerry adams told him to give the hunger strike comms to beresford, he was to go through them all and remove any and all references to said ‘mountain climber’ who dealt with the ira leadership, ie adams, during the first and the second hunger strikes – o’rawe missed one comm referring to him and so the dirty little secret got out – the point is this: blelloch knew about ‘mountain climber’, he had to, he was deeply involved in all the comings and goings in the hunger strike, so why didn’t he reveal him to padraig o’malley? he did so for the same reason adams didn’t want beresford to know about him, they wanted to keep this secret diplomacy and what went on between the british and the ira a secret – so if blelloch can’t tell the truth about a central and crucial feature of the handling of the hunger strike, how much credence should be given to what else he says about the hunger strike. i.e. about the same as can be given to what gerry adams says, which is nothing, zero, nada, ziltch. as i say nice try chris, nice try bangers but you’ll have to do better.

  • Pancho’s Horse

    is pete baker’s post ‘a political logic at work’ closed to further comment? if so, why?

  • OC

    How has the RoI dealt with hungerstrikers in prison?

  • earnan

    Jackdutch

    Have you read Richard O’Rowes book? Is that where you got your info from?

  • circles

    Jackdutch – You are way off in your post.

    As far as I can read, Chris wrote “It is an unpublished interview from 1986” – absolutely not a hint of it having “some official status, or that it’s some secret MI5 paper”. So go back, review your assumptions, read the post and try again.

    Regarding the interview itself – no surprises at all there.

  • “Jackdutch

    Have you read Richard O’Rowes book? Is that where you got your info from?

    Posted by earnan on Mar 24, 2009 @ 04:10 AM”

    Earnan

    What is your point?

  • circles

    Yes, Chris mentions this info came from “ an unpublished interview from 1986” But his post starts in the following manner, {which cannot but give the piece a hint of officialdom}

    “An interesting historical document has just been released by the Bobby Sands Trust which reveals the mindset of the British government.”

    In any case I am not sure quoting a British security service bureaucrat moves us any further forward, these people lie for a living after all and we should not forget, retired or not they always have an agenda.

  • circles

    Still doesn’t say “official” or “secret MI5 paper” Mick. Its a bit of a stretch to interpret “historical document” as “secret paper”.

    As for you second point – totally agree.

  • “Still doesn’t say “official” or “secret MI5 paper”

    Circles

    True.

  • jackdutch

    circles is grasping at straws, i see

  • Paul McMahon

    “So if blelloch can’t tell the truth about a central and crucial feature of the handling of the hunger strike, how much credence should be given to what else he says about the hunger strike. i.e. about the same as can be given to what gerry adams says, which is nothing, zero, nada, ziltch. as i say nice try chris, nice try bangers but you’ll have to do better”

    Straw mwn regarding Adams’ alleged mistruths regarding the HS JD?

    Try dealing with the central issue, Ricky O’Rawe said that there was a deal on the table from The Brits which could have saved six of the vols on Hunger Strike. Richard says that he spoke through the window to Bik about this and Bik agreed.

    Richard said that his cellmate, Colm Scullion, was privy to the conversation.

    Scull has catagoricall and definitively denied that the conversation ever took place

    http://www.derryjournal.com/county/39There-was-no-offer-to.3956317.jp

    It would appear that both Chris and Danny Bangers are right after all.

  • Brownie always put lives before goals, sure.

    ‘Scull’ (‘es my mate, sure I know all the big lads, what you looking at I’ll get yer kn…etc.) as a convicted terrorist, can of course be taken as an impartial, agenda free, source.

    It would seem the post-Republican movement’s constant insistence that Brit actions and statements are all to be treated with suspicion and contempt, (due to their ubiquitous convoluted Machiavellian plots), is also absent from the commentary.

    If you can’t trust the Brits on Omagh etc. why the good faith here ?

    Because here we find concordance with policy. That such a policy is required, that the policy itself is seen to require embellishment, and third party corroboration (on the part of retired British officials), is suggestive in itself.

    That this gangs position on the character and worth of British civic responsibility, and so the value of subsequent commentary by officials, is determined by contemporary policy reveals much about the question of importance during those suicidalist’s ultimatum.

  • Paul McMahon

    “Scull’ (‘es my mate, sure I know all the big lads, what you looking at I’ll get yer kn…etc.) as a convicted terrorist, can of course be taken as an impartial, agenda free, source”

    Couldn’t exactly the same argument be levelled against Richard O’Rawe, the source of the original claim?

    Now, I’ll explain this slowly. The premise made by Richard O’Rawe was that a deal was negotiated by the ICJP with the Brits and that this was accepted by Bik McFarlane, The prisoners OC, as a possible compromise. Richard stated that the veracity of this claim could be tested by referring to Colm Scullion, Richard’s cell mate at the time, who was allegedly privy to the conversation, [ a kind of “third party corroboration” if you will], this has been denied by the person concerned.

    Clear enough?

    As to your ‘big lads’ comment. The internet is by definition an anonymous forum and you don’t know me or anything about me so I’d be grateful if you could keep such petty jibes in the playground where they belong.

  • Grassy Noel

    Ignore the troll, Paul. He clearly fancies himself as Donald Findlay on acid.

  • the random statement name guy

    Very. Your explanation of the events relevant to this controversy is succinct and accurate, but what has it got to do with me and my assertion of inconsistency in post-Republican reactions to statements by British officials, arising from the needs of contemporary post-Republican policy (and indeed past Republican policy), and this then being suggestive of a lack of any integrity on their part or in their ‘justification’ rhetoric, eh ?

    I’ll explain why, in your excitement to defend post republican policy, you asserted the accuracy of my comment in simple terms Paul. Your suggestion that my statement could be applied to O’Rawe is quite right. This merely confirms that you agree with me that partisan parties cannot be treated as credible witnesses. Great. And that as such partisan corroboration, whether given or refused, particularly when regarding organisations outside the pale of moral conduct, in that they can blow your head off if you piss them off, cannot be taken as creditable or factual information. I don’t want to go into the details of the distinction between accusation and proven guilt or the relevance of refutation of said accusation on any investigation of that accusation, particularly when from the agreed ‘tainted’ sources. As I think you is a smart enough cookie to get there on your own. How an entity reacts to accusation can be seen as suggestive, is all I would suggest. I make no comment on O’Rawe’s claims other than that I find the entity in question’s reaction to them intriguing.

    Tell you what Paul, I’ll stop playground style taking the piss out of spidey style hints of familiarity with formidable characters when you stop the playground style spidey inferences of having a nickname using level of familiarity with these formidable characters. I don’t care if you really do have or not.

  • Paul McMahon

    “But what has it got to do with me and my assertion of inconsistency in post-Republican reactions to statements by British officials, arising from the needs of contemporary post-Republican policy (and indeed past Republican policy), and this then being suggestive of a lack of any integrity on their part or in their ‘justification’ rhetoric, eh ?”

    Wanna build straw men? be my guest and howl away to your hearts content I’ll stick to the substance of the thread if it’s all the same to you.

    “I’ll explain why, in your excitement to defend post republican policy, you asserted the accuracy of my comment in simple terms Paul”

    Me?, defend post Republican policy? I think that your’e talking to the wrong person there.

    As to me referring to ‘formidable characters’ in the diminutive I shall, from this moment on, refer to the said formidable characters as Mr O’Rawe, Mr McFalane and Mr Scullion, [if that’s not too formal for your sensitivities Mr ‘Brownie’ ].

    On the other hand perhaps I’ll just take Grassy Noel’s advice.