Truth recovery would benefit from Adams and McGuinness disclosures

What was supposed to be the last ‘Bloody Sunday’ march was held at the weekend in Londonderry. It was an occasion when families of those who died will have a particular outlook and the original event was a tragedy for those who lost their lives but the wider community must never forget the comprehensive attempts being made by many others to re -write the history of the context for the original march.

Thankfully no -one was murdered and the deed virtually forgotten before the final bloody Sunday march, unlike on the parade in 1972 when two innocent police officers were gunned down just three days before that march took place.

For many years, some of us have questioned the wisdom of setting up the Saville Inquiry to investigate an incident which had happened 30 years previously. The fact that it cost nearly £200 million was both deplorable and scandalous.

Unfortunately, there are those who still try and ignore why troops were on the ground that day.

Still today the revisionists try to suggest that the violence which cursed Northern Ireland for some 30 years started with Bloody Sunday. They do so in an attempt
to confer some form of bogus legitimacy on the campaign of murder which preceded that day and continued long thereafter. The truth has to be told about the violence that engulfed our country for so long both before, and after, that day.

The truth is that murder, mayhem and terror were rife before 30 January 1972. In the two and a half years that preceded that day, over one hundred people were murdered across Northern Ireland. In the four weeks before that day in Londonderry alone, violence was carried out by the various factions of the IRA. There were nine separate bomb attacks on commercial and security force premises, six separate shooting incidents, including an 80-minute gun battle, and a number of gelignite and nail bomb attacks. Much of the city lay in ruins and no one needed a £200million Saville Report to tell us that.

Thankfully we have moved beyond the self defeating violence that brought heartache and misery to so many. Many of those who were active in perpetrating the violence of the past are equally active now in advocating a peaceful future. Those like Martin McGuinness and Gerry Adams could do so much more if they were to admit their participation in the wrecking of so many lives (whose relatives didn’t get an Inquiry) and then ensure that those who today are repeating those same mistakes are brought before the Courts and punished.

That would help secure the future on a much more sustainable basis.

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  • Dixie Elliott

    Pssst!

    Is that the real Gregory Campbell from the London part of Derry? I thought that MPs were supposed to be MPing on behalf of their constituent thingys instead of being on the world wide web all the time?

    Right Greg, you don’t mind if I call you Greg do you? Anyway there was the old North of Ireland with it’s Protestant State for a Protestant people, old Gerry Mander was running the place and Catholics knew theirs or else the RUC and the B-Specials gave them a thump with a baton and….

    Do you know something Greg I think I’ll not keep you back from your work. Batter away!

  • Gregory the same can equally be asked of a great many others, besides your the two men you single out, for example, the HET made a finding in 2010 that a Derry man, William McGreanery, was cut down by a Britsh soldier with no justification for doing so. At that time the RUC recommended that the soldier be prosecuted, that no prosecution occured no doubt entrenched peoples minds against the RUC for cover-up because the Nationalist community had been conditioned to expect that. The Prosecution Service has probably made many such decisions for which RUC Officers acting in good faith likely got the flak as has been the case year after year since 1971. That is not to say that on many occassions they deserved it –but how many did they not?

    I note that you say that “those who today are repeating those same mistakes are brought before the Courts and punished.” Only today I made formal complaint against the Police though I am inclined to believe that the blame lies elsewhere, namely with the Prosecution Services. I feel that the issue raised by the PPS, if they are shifting blame onto the Police, could contribute to the threat that Police Officers face today, even if in minor way; I copy the full text for your interest. At minimum criminal acts were carried out with purpose to pervert the course of justice, and there is ample evidence establishing that it occurred up to 2010 at least.

    Dear Police Ombudsman & NI Policing Board

    I regret to have to make a formal complaint against what would amount to be criminal conduct of a Police Officer if proven to be true.

    During my interviews at Castlereagh in June 1991 Detective Gary McMurran showed me Photographs which were not made available to me or my lawyers. These Photographs were of crucial significance that could have avoided my wrongful conviction for something I did not do.

    While I only recovered these Photographs from the Prosecutor’s files in the courtroom during my third appeal in March 2010, Senior Assitant Director of the PPS, RA Kitson, has suggested that Detective McMurran only passed then to the PPS some 16 years late. Mr Kitson fixes the date to be 25th May 2008, where my Trial took place in December 1992.

    I have previously made the Chief Constable and your office aware of these matters but made no formal complaint against the Officer in question.

    The PPS has not changed its position that Detective McMurran is responsible for witholding these Photographs from my defense and the liability for perverting the course of justice rests with the Police. I have real doubts with the PPS allegation, nevertheless, they do raise serious question regarding the planting or concealing of evidence by Police Officers in order to secure convictions.

    Policing nationalist areas has long been a sensitive issue in NI and I do not believe that the current doubts which the PPS raise can be of any value in breaking down long held distrust of the Police. If the PPS are right then a Detective has concealed vital evidence in a serious criminal case which resulted in a wrongful conviction. If the PPS are wrong then this feeds those long held distrusts and beliefs which can, and has, cost Police Officers their lives.

    When did Detective McMurran pass the Photographs, which he showed me during interviews, to the PPS?

    I am attaching copy of my original letter to the Chief Constable and copy of the PPS report were they first allege that the blame rests with Police and not the PPS.

    Regards

    You can read a little more information here if you wish; http://www.christywalsh.com/html/prosecution.html

  • “the wider community must never forget the comprehensive attempts being made by many others to re -write the history of the context for the original march.”

    Including your post, Mr. Campbell.

    There will come a time in the future when ‘water finds its own natural level’ as far as mainstream history-telling is concerned.

    You are right, of course, to point out that the violdence of 30 years did not begin with Bloody Sunday. There has, of course, been some mischief-making and ruthless political exploitation of that event by republicans. They did indeed perpetrate violence and murder including, as you say, the murder of innocent police officers. However, you will not get anywhere near contextualising the events of those 30 years properly unless you include the contribution of the Unionist community as a whole.

    What unionists seem to fail to acknowledge, time and time again, is their own contribution to the violence brought about by the political oppression which preceded the troubles.

    I am a unionist myself but I was also brought up as a Catholic. I understand, perhaps better than you do, why those marchers were protesting for their civil rights and the righs that they lacked beforehand. The violence, which happened over 30 would not have happened on such a massive scale had it not been for that political oppression.

    It is time that Unionist politicians took some responsibility for the wrongs of their political forefathers. Perhaps it is not possible for you to do that with the Paisleys still around. You could do worse than absorb the example set by the Prime Ministrer.

    David Cameron was only a boy in 1972. Like a true statesman, he took responsibility for the wrongdoing of British soldiers.

  • ItwasSammyMcNally

    Gregory,

    delighted to see you on Slugger but I’m not sure you do the Unionist community any favours by associating them with a line of arguement that has as little credibilty in Britian as it has in Ireland.

    Seymour Major,

    “David Cameron was only a boy in 1972. Like a true statesman, he took responsibility for the wrongdoing of British soldiers.”

    He deserves praise for that. But and it is a sizable but, he failed to condemn Widgery and failed to condemn Heath who were a party to a disgraceful judicial stitch-up.

    Probably the worst political/judiciary conspiracy in modern times.

    Dont you agree?

  • Jimmy Sands

    “the wider community must never forget the comprehensive attempts being made by many others to re -write the history of the context for the original march.”

    Fair enough. Remind us then. Something to do with discrimination wasn’t it?

  • Dixie Elliott

    Try Facebook he might be over there….

  • fitzjameshorse1745

    I welcome Mr Campbells contribution without agreeing with it.
    As I mentioned on Ms Ganiels thread earlier, it would be better if the Paras were allowed a museum in Derry to counteract the Bogside Museum. That would enable two sides of a story to be told and visitors might reach a conclusion. I suspect most would doubt the version put forward by Mr Campbell.
    Yet it is a more honest approach than attempts to find a joint “agreed” formula for Remembrance.
    So fair play to Mr Campbell.

  • Jimmy Sands

    They already have a museum

    Website here: http://www.airborneassault.org.uk/home/html/index.html

    Haven’t found anything about their contribution to Northern Ireland yet, perhaps you’d need to go to Duxford.

  • Jimmy Sands

    I stand corrected, The museum site does mention it.

    “The accumulated total in months spent operating in the Province for 1, 2 and 3 PARA amounted to 24 years and six months. The cost was high: Sergeant Michael Willetts with 3 PARA was awarded a posthumous George Cross in 1971; in January 1972 1 PARA was involved in the riots on ‘Bloody Sunday’ in Londonderry and the following month the 16th Parachute Brigade Officer’s Mess was bombed at Aldershot; 17 soldiers from 2 PARA were killed in one bombing incident at Warrenpoint on August 27th 1979.”

    Certainly a departure from the more conventional emphasis. Not sure how many tickets they’d sell.

  • oracle

    Gregory,

    If you’re Gregory Campbell DUP M.P then it is quite courageous of you to post on Slugger and I hope that other Politico’s take note that if someone as outspoken as yourself can do it then there’s no reason for them to be absent.

    Think you’re being more than a tad revisionist about the events of Bloody Sunday yourself Gregory but I respect the passionate belief that drove you to post

  • Cahir O’Doherty

    One of many problems with your line of argument Gregory is that even if 20, 200 or 2000 Police Officers were killed three days before Bloody Sunday, that still doesn’t excuse the Army from killing 13 innocent men. It perhaps puts it in a context, but if we’re doing that why not talk about the persistent, institutionalised bigotry and discrimination inherent in Northern Ireland? If you want to add historical context, you need to add it all. If you want to attempt to excuse the inexcusable actions of the army, you point to one incident.

    ‘The truth has to be told about the violence that engulfed our country for so long both before, and after, that day.’

    As people above have pointed out, if you want the truth of why violence engulfed Northern Ireland then all sections of the community: British, Irish, Nationalist, Unionist need to confront their own history and past and accept that all sides bear responsibility.

    On another note, while I commend you using Slugger as a medium through which to present your views, the true measure of how much you actually want to engage with the people will be judged by your participation in these comments: by far Slugger’s most valuable asset.

  • Wabbits

    Mr Campbell, I will begin by taking one of your favourite words, context, which you use often when discussing Bloody Sunday and the Saville Report. You have been using this word for years but clearly have no knowledge of what the word means. If I am allowed, I can educate you a little.

    Your reference to the word context shows that you are clearly a very poorly educated populist street corner politician. You also have your own personal context, namely being a dedicated follower of the rabble rousing Rev Paisley and so you are somewhat partial. If there is a context then you and Paisley etc are part of the overall context of the historical events of the past forty years.

    It follows, and you are correct when you say it, that Bloody Sunday cannot be isolated without reference to the context of all of the other, violent and non violent, events of the previous years. However, you do not mention the full context in which the shootings in Derry occurred on that infamous Sunday. The embryo can be traced back to the introduction of Internment without trial of hundreds of people the previous August of 1971. That’s why as you say “troops were on the ground that day”.

    If there had been no internment, then no march would have happened and clearly no march, no Paras and no massacre. So therefore all the conditions or circumstances that are all relevant to any event in history must be taken into account to explain history. If you want to talk about context then Internment without trial was also part of the context.

    In conclusion, it is past time you to got over espousing your plainly blinkered approach to the Bloody Sunday murders. For if you can’t leave it alone then it should hardly be surprising to you that the families of the dead, wounded and the people of Derry wouldn’t let it lie either. After all they were the victims whose names were sullied by a corrupt Government and an even more corrupt judicial system.

  • Driftwood

    Did the Saville enquiry (which by its very nature was bound to be sympathetic to the irish republican culture of victimhood) say anyone was ‘murdered’ by the Army?
    Please cite such a response, because I doubt it did.

    So no-one was murdered. Unlike Joanne Mathers, and we know what politician murdered her.

    The Parachute Regiment were set up as part of a long line of British pantomime villains. And the victim industry gathered nostalgic moss. Give us all a break and quit the garish faux reverence for people who were in the wrong place/wrong time, like just about every other casualty.

  • Wabbits

    Driftwood

    I post the words of David Cameron MP and Prime Minister below.

    So we await the decision of the CPS and subsequently the Courts, if it ever gets that far. But if you read your own Prime Ministers words and don’t come to the conclusion that it was murder then there is no hope for you. People “fleeing or going to the assistance of others” and “and crawling away” were shot. Is that not murder Driftwood ? Come on now be honest with yourself.

    DAVID CAMERON said;

    Lord Saville concludes that the soldiers of the support company who went into the Bogside did so as a result of an order which should not have been given by their commander.

    He finds that, on balance, the first shot in the vicinity of the march was fired by the British Army.

    He finds that none of the casualties shot by the soldiers of support company was armed with a firearm.

    He finds that there was some firing by Republican paramilitaries but none of this firing provided any justification for the shooting of civilian casualties.

    And he finds that, in no case, was any warning given by soldiers before opening fire.

    He also finds that the support company reacted by losing their self-control, forgetting or ignoring their instructions and training and with a serious and widespread loss of fire discipline.

    He finds that despite the contrary evidence given by the soldiers, none of them fired in response to attacks or threatened attacks by nail or petrol bombers.

    And he finds that many of the soldiers – and I quote knowingly – put forward false accounts to seek to justify their firing.

    Lord Saville says that some of those killed or injured were clearly fleeing or going to the assistance of others who were dying.

    The report refers to one person who was shot while crawling away from the soldiers. Another was shot in all probability when he was lying mortally wounded on the ground.

    The report refers to the father who was hit and injured by army gunfire after going to attend to his son.

    For those looking for statements of innocence, Saville says that the immediate responsibility for the deaths and injuries on Bloody Sunday lies with those members of support company whose unjustifiable firing was the cause of those deaths and injuries.

    Crucially, that, and I quote, none of the casualties was posing a threat of causing death or serious injury or indeed was doing anything else that could, on any view, justified in shooting.

    For those people who are looking for the report to use terms like murder and unlawful killing, I remind the House that these judgments are not matters for a tribunal or politicians to determine.

    Mr Speaker, these are shocking conclusions to read and shocking words to have to say. But Mr Speaker, you do not defend the British Army by defending the indefensible.

  • Driftwood

    Wabbitts
    If you had watched ‘Panorama’ tonight, you would have seen British, but mostly American young soldiers, casually kill civilians and destroy property on a whim. That is what they were told to do. The Yanks were far more indiscriminate than our soldiers. Indeed the behaviour of the Grenadier Guards was seen as exemplary compared to the US Marine task force casually killing and destroying .
    That’s what soldiers do. Even more so by far for ‘elite’ units.
    As to who sent them and why, well you wont find anyone there to prosecute.

  • redhugh78

    So Gregory,
    you are basically conceding that the whole lie propagated through out the troubles and willingly swallowed by unionists such as yourself that the IRA were ‘terrorists’ involved in ‘criminal acts’ and not involved in war, is in fact untrue.
    We all knew the brits were at war but thanks for admitting it anyway.

    You can’t have it both ways.

  • Dixie Elliott

    Tell me, who ran the loyalist killer gangs again?

    The British army.

    Who shared platforms with Loyalist killers including the serial killer Billy Wright?

    Go on Gregory or Driftwood tell us….

  • tacapall

    I agree with the man about disclosure by Adams and McGuinness in a truth commission, which wouldn’t cost much money unless you want to hide and dodge it, along with some Unionist politicians, former Special Branch officers and British intelligence who were privy and parcel to many murders that took place during that time. The actors and directors must all be fingered, this cannot be turned into a we’re more victims than you are thing.

  • Wabbits

    Driftwood

    I’m finding it extremely difficult to blay the ball and not the man here. So you are going to get off light for what is a patent display of ignorance of the highest order and hopefully just an attempt at a wind people up. Though I rather think not coming, as it does from you.

    To point to any conflict and say that killing civilians is what soldiers do as a justification for them to doing it is one of the most repugnant comments I have read here in a very long time.

    You obviously glory in that sort of shit.

    But more significantly the British army murdered people on Bloody Sunday who the Britsih Government claim were and whose relatives still are British citizens. A fact that you and your ilk are never to slow to ram down peoples throats when it suits.

    Well if these people were British citizens then they deserve the same rights as every other British citizen, including you.

    I also never mentioned who sent the Paras to Derry or wanting to know why nor have any expectation that I will ever find that out.

    The Saville Report is currently supposed to be getting examined with a view to possible court proceedings being taken against the soldiers responsible. Though I predict that those responsible will probably be allowed to wriggle off that particular hook too.

  • Lionel Hutz

    Driftwood,

    It’s very simple. The tribunal only had the ability to judge whether the killings were lawful or not. They were not lawful on the balance of probabilities.

    A court hearing a trial on indictment only can judge whether that unlawful killing is murder and can only beyond reasonable.

    The fact that Saville didnt say that there was a murder does not mean that there wasn’t or even that the inquiry thinks there wasn’t. The soldiers involved should be prosecuted.

  • Secret Squirrel

    Drifty,
    We do not defend her maj’s finest by defending the indefensible.

    Anyhow, haven’t her maj’s finest previously demonstrated that murdering unarmed civillians in broad daylight then lying about it in court is no big issue ?
    Certainly not a big enough issue to warrant dismissal from aforementioned finest.

  • Nunoftheabove

    Can’t really accuse Gregory of revisionism per se, to be fair; he was content busy enough denying the truth of why what was going on around him in his own city at the time it was going on.

    Where his particular variant of unionism continues to alienate so many of us is that he appears entirely content to take the word of liars, perjurers and murderers in uniforms and accept their ‘right’ to kill what he holds to be fellow British citizens in broad daylight on the streets of his own city and not think it his duty as an elected representative to complain about it or to expend any energy even seeking the truth of the matter. Not content with doing nothing about that, he is entirely at his ease by insulting the vindicated families of innocent civilians shot to death by whining that they got privileged treatment in terms of access to justice that was ‘denied’ to others after an exhausting campaign of over 30 years relentless slog with zero support from him – a disgrace. Take a wild guess how highly this commitment to British fair play, democratic values, accountability and citizenship is esteemed by a lot of the people in your city and elsewhere Gregory.

    Do please at least have the honesty and human decency to not insult us by denying that this is plain straightforward sectarian demagogy.

  • 241934 john brennan

    Gregory is partly right. We now know the truth about Bloody Sunday, but:

    The IRA could tell us more about Bloody Friday, Claudy, The Disappeared etc.

    Loyalsts could tell more the Dublin/Monaghan bombs, Rosemary Nelson, Loughinisland etc.

    Of course, some those who shout loudest for Truth Commissions could simply just tell their truth – put an end to prolonged suffering – and save a lot of effort, time and expense.

    “The Truth will set you free.” But in Norn Ireland it is anything but free

  • My goodness, another Gerry Adams thread. Is there an election on?

    Gerry’s apologists seem to have been discommoded by his recent ‘elevation’ to the position of Bailiff of Ballygobackwards, or some such, yet back in the day he could have been marching behind a banner demanding British Rights for British Citizens. Gerry ‘anything but the truth’ Adams is therefore the right man to call for a Truth Recovery Commission.

  • Mick Fealty

    It was all going so well for a while. Here’s Slugger’s original post on Whataboutery: http://sluggerotoole.com/?p=1343

  • Mick,

    I have read your post of “whataboutery” which I had not read before. The central observation is absolutely correct. I would usually describe the term as “evasion of core issues by projection”

    However, one can hardly blame the commenters for “whataboutery” when this particular post fits into that category. Campbell’s points do not provide balance to the events of Bloody Sunday. They swing it too far the other way.

    You have also said this in your piece

    ”..opponents are forced to assume moral responsibility for their community’s past sins.”

    If only that were true. In their book “Moving beyond Sectarianism” (Columba Press 2000) Leichty and Clegg make a very strong case for politicians and community leaders to do precisely that as part of the healing process. You may have noted my earlier comment on this thread.

    We need more of that kind of initiative from community leaders in Northern Ireland, not less.

  • Fionn

    Mick, Gregory’s blog is a big dollop of whataboutery

  • “It was all going so well for a while.”

    I don’t think it was ever going to go well, Mick. A car has self-centring steering but many Slugger bloggers have a slow puncture or a flat tyre. Whataboutery is one response to cherry-picking, cheerleading and hypocrisy; another is to rein in the more extravagant assertions.

  • Fionn

    So will Gregory be back to dole out the yellow cards on this thread or will a lackey be moderating for him.

  • foyle observer

    Mr Campbell truly is like a broken record.

    Heard it all before from you, Mr Campbell, ‘yes 13 men were gunned down in cold blood, but then don’t you know that 2 RUC officers were killed the previous week?’

    Do us all a favour you bigotted disgrace and go hide under your stone.

  • Wabbits

    Mick

    Whataboutery is very different to the kernel of what most of the posts on this subject are saying. If anything, Slugger allowed Mr Campbell to kick off the whataboutery (thereby ignoring what you previously said on the subject).

    Mr Campbell is the one who mentioned “context” and others here are simply pointing out that if he wishes to plough that particular furrow then he would need to take a good look over the entire field of context.

  • The Raven

    “I thought that MPs were supposed to be MPing on behalf of their constituent thingys instead of being on the world wide web all the time?”

    Oh give over – I’m glad to see him engaging with the web. It may help remove the backlog of emails on constituency issues for which I have been waiting an answer – over a two year period.

  • slappymcgroundout

    Mick, your statement on whataboutery is erroneous. Sometimes it’s, there’s blood on your hands so don’t get all high and mighty about the blood on mine. That isn’t evasion, since there’s an admission of the blood on mine.

    Mr. Campbell’s position is otherwise legally and morally vacuous. He does not propose a grant of immunity, so he essentially proposes that some just go ahead and incriminate themselves. Meanwhile, certain paras not only get to perjure themselves, they also get to hide behind a letter, as in Soldier (pick whatever letter you like).

    Next, from the Londonderry Sentinel (5 August 2009):

    “If you look back on the social and economic situation in that era, it affected virtually everyone. Only one or two per cent of the landed gentry or upper middles classes were in a good position. But, they were so miniscule they were representative of nobody.

    98 or 99 per cent of the wider community, Protestant and Catholics lived in deplorable housing conditions. Everybody was in the same position. Everybody you knew in the 1960s had no central heating or no inside toilet.”

    So, some formed NICRA in order to have central heating and an inside toilet. Mr. Campbell might try reading the Cameron Report. And in the meantime, he might explain what the chant, one man, one vote, has to do with central heating and an inside toilet.

    Lastly, given the history, I wouldn’t exactly be citing to the late Cardinal Daly as moral authority on anything. His most famous statement is certainly his “There will be no cover up. There will be no cult of secrecy”, except by that time, the outing had already occurred, so a little late in the day to have that notion. He’s lucky he wasn’t prosecuted for being an accessory after the fact and/or for misprison of a felony (or two or three or a hundred), and in any event, given his skewed moral compass, who was he to pontificate on things just?

  • Wabbits

    It looks like Driftwood has floated off down the Foyle along with Gregory Campbell in his bubble. Not a word.

    I would be interested to hear back from you Mr Campbell as you are the original author of this thread. Are you capable of debating the points raised by people here ?

    As someone who lived, at the time, close to where the two policemen you mention were murdered (yes I use the same word to describe their deaths too), I can state, without fear of contradiction, that a very large majority of people in my neighbourhood abhorred the circumstances of their death and were deeply saddened and sorrowful.

    Unfortunately, what happened on Bloody Sunday cast a dark shadow which oblitereted the sorrow that good people had for the two police officers. Their sorrow still existed you just wouldn’t have heard it after what heppened to their friends and neighbours on the following Sunday. For that, Mr Campbell, you can blame those who were responsible for the massacre a few days later.

  • Munsterview

    “They do so in an attempt to confer some form of bogus legitimacy on the campaign of murder which preceded that day and continued long thereafter. The truth has to be told about the violence that engulfed our country for so long both before, and after, that day……”

    As a historian I am more than farmilar with statements like this : it is the unchanging voice of the Planter against the Gael and it can be found all the ways back to the Norman Invasion.

    Some no doubt will argue that my attitudes have equal vintage and are but the other side of the same coin. Whatever of the ‘De Jura’ issues involved, ‘De Facto’ in the Kingdom of Desmond, Gael and Planter stock had learned to live together, Gaelic Irish and Norman Irish powered shared the same conference table and lived within agreed legal frameworks where Breton or Norman Law or the better elements of both prevailed.

    The Earls Of Desmond were in conflict with the Crown almost continually. On three occasions prior to the last Desmond Rebellion when the Earl was in serious conflict with the Crown, he passed powers of attorney to one of my clan, a Gael who exercised that governance for Norman, Planter and Gael alike who were united in common purpose.

    Political accommodations for different groups on this island are possible; Desmond of four hundred and fifty years is a shining example of what was possible, however as it suited the interests of its people rather than Crown interests it was crushed out of existence.

    That ideal was never lost, The All For Ireland League looked back to Desmond and brought the same principles, the ‘Three C’s.’ that had been at the core of Desmond, Conference, Conciliation and Consent . Prior to the outbreak of the First World War over ten MP, Nationalist, IRB and Unionist were in that party and part of that new agreed future.

    Gregory Cambell is yesterdays man with yesterdays views, these views like those of hardline Unionists in the South cannot be changed, they can only die out ! They play to a certain political reactionary gallery embracing views that were by passed by history even in the late 19th, century, but have little or nothing to contribute to a New Ireland of the 21th..

    Finally with regard to the on going Armed conflict in the North, while armed militancy no longer have mainstream Republican support, prior to the ceasefire when tactics changed, it had that mainstream support. Republicans who were involved in that campaign but their case before the electorate and their view now have majority endorsement from the Nationalist community.

    The members of that community that voter for ex-republican prisoners or people with with reputed IRA association, knew exactly what they were voting for. That fact, no matter how inconvenient, is inescapable.

    The euphemism of ‘The Trouble’ masks a multitude.

    If Gregory Cambell and like individuals want a full examination of the Armed Conflict, then that must start with the acknowledgment that there was a Low Insurgency War waged and that Crown Forces Counter Insurgency operation covered everything from deliberate ‘shoot to kill’ executions to the deployment of civilian killer gangs against the Nationalist communities. That is why it will never happen.

    As to the cost of the Bloody Sunday Tribunal : if the first enquiry was not a whitewash and a political fix, the second would not be necessary. The two enquiry accounts are completely at odds, the facts they investigated remained the same, the only thing different, for political reasons the first suppressed truth and the second for the same reasons disclosed the same truth.

    The facts remained the same. Why no Commons enquiry as to how the first enquiry got it so wrong or how some many millions of public funds were wasted. Why do not some of Gregory’s party comrades raise this in the Commons it they want the truth ? That would be a start. The reason Cambell and his ilk will no do this is they believe that the only mistake the paras made is that they did not shoot twice or more as many civilians as they did !

    As I have frequently pointed out here a Google of Counter Insurgency Conflict / War + Northern Ireland will turn up tens of thousands of connections and a systematic assessment of these results will quickly disclose hundreds and indeed thousands of former British Army officers who are selling their experiences and exporters around the world gained in what without exception, they refer to as Low Intensity War and such people have been doing that for the past forty years.

    When we get the same open admission from the establishment political systems this Island as is being covertly canvassed by ex British Army Officers in the net search results that I referred to then there can be a full and detailed examination of what ‘Low Intensity Conflict/War involved and especially the Counter Insurgency aspect of that war, then we may begin to get something akin to the truth of the situation.

    Gregory Campbell’s intervention is nothing other than yet another seized opportunity in ‘Fenian Bashing’. It not alone do not add anything to the debate, it is yet another example to Militant Republicans that Unions like Gregory have neither forgotten nothing and more important, have learned nothing !

    Militant Republicans can point to Gregory’s attitude and others who share it, as reasons why mainstream Republicans are wasting their time in conventional politics attempting to reach accommodations. While such attitudes go unchallenged they are de facto, endorsed.

  • Reader

    Munsterview: Finally with regard to the on going Armed conflict in the North, while armed militancy no longer have mainstream Republican support, prior to the ceasefire when tactics changed, it had that mainstream support.
    “Finally” (except for another 10 paragraphs!)
    I wonder if your definition of ‘Republican’ is a bit circular, here. To test the reality of your concepts of ‘mainstream’ and ‘republican’, can you tell me what proportion of the people of Ireland were republican on the eve of the ceasefire?
    And what proportion of the people of Ireland supported the ‘armed militancy’ of the Provos on the eve of the first ceasefire?
    Those figures should be interesting in themselves, and by dividing the first number into the second we can see what you mean by ‘mainstream’

  • Munsterview

    Reader : your query as to the semantics of what constitutes Republicanism, is but a less blatant version of ‘Maksey’, red herring and an attempted diversion. ( Incidently how is his retraining going?) The nomenclature that I used was within and concerned the meaning of the word in accepted common usage.

    Yes a lengthy post but forty years of conflict is a bloody long time and catalogue of events, my post did not even equate to a paragraph per year !

    Central to my claim was that since 1970 we had and still have a Low Intensity War in Northern Ireland, the prosecution of which involved Counter insurgency operations. Without confronting and accepting that reality there cannot be any worthwhile discussion as it is examining the effect without looking at the root cause.

    Google ‘Low Intensity Conflict’ ….. result…. 58,500 entries

    ” ‘Low Intensity War ‘ ” 79,400 ”

    ” ‘Counter Insurgency + NI ” 379.000 ”

    These are a few abstracts from the latter entries……

    http://www.google.com/#sclient=psy&hl=en&q=counter+insurgency+%2B+Northern+Ireland&btnG=Google+Search&aq=f&aqi=p-p1g-sx1&aql=&oq=&psj=1&fp=1439d5bfa168edc8

    …..Counter Insurgency, Governance, Security and Justice … Stabilization, Strategic Communications, Somalia, Pakistan, Northern Ireland …

    “……. Northern Ireland, northwest China, Sri Lanka, …. He is President-Elect of International Studies Association (2010–2011). … of the “surge” plan and the implementation of counterinsurgency …”

    “……While focused on the Northern Irish context, the course engages with a number of important … insurgency and counter-insurgency tactics;……’

    “……One of the basic laws of counterinsurgency warfare, …… British forces in Northern Ireland found it relatively easy to monitor and …”

    “……It was involved in helping the US military to formulate counter-insurgency measures in occupied Iraq. … to keep peace in Northern Ireland……”

    There is absolutely no doubt in the Nato and International Military world as to what went on here, British Lecturing Officers have been in high demand to share their expertise. Academia and the International History World predicate examinations of the conflict since 1970 on the basis that the Northern Irish Conflict was a Low Intensity War with Counter Insurgency Operations and all that entailed.

    A google of Counter Insurgency Seminars 2011 + British Army will show how active and widespread this industry currently is.

    When we have a full and frank admission of the fact that we had a full blown counterinsurgency operation as Part of a Low Intensity War, then we may get some real information and truth.

    However since there has been no admission that the then Cork Lord Mayor was assassinated in his bed in the presence of his wife by Crown Forces or that the same forces deliberately burned the centers out of Cork and Mallow in the War of Independence ninety years ago, I am not holding out too much hope for this happening in my lifetime.

    Gambit declined !

  • Good to see Mr. Campbell getting involved in this social media malarkey. He’ll be giving the Mouth from the South a run for his tweets soon. Nevertheless, it would have been to his credit if he had engaged and re-engaged with us.
    Mr. Campbell may have a mandate but he speaks for the lowest common denominator whose small minds are still entrenched and under siege. Intelligent, forward-thinking Unionists (red card for any poster who calls me an oxymoron) would have to be depressed that this passes for the public face and leadership of their body politic. If I were them I’d definitely vote for the Alliance Party.
    We can see little glimmers of truth in what he says, though:

    “The fact that [the Saville Report] cost nearly £200 million was both deplorable and scandalous”. It was indeed and it should not have cost a penny except Britain tried for two generations to cover-up the truth. “The truth has to be told about the violence that engulfed our country for so long both before, and after, that day”. Again completely correct but I don’t think I’ll be buying your blinkered and revisionist history if ever it hits Waterstones. “Those like Martin McGuinness and Gerry Adams could do so much more if they were to admit their participation in the wrecking of so many lives”. It’s radical but I agree with you again because I’d begin with the politicians too – including those who wore red berets (I have never been able to look at Frank Spencer in the same way ever again).

  • “The euphemism of ‘The Trouble’ masks a multitude.”

    It does indeed, MV, which is why “The Troubles” is the more commonly used term. Counter Insurgency is one of its many facets. Who were/are these counter insurgents? How many were agencies of the various governments active here in the past two generations: British, Irish and American?

    If you don’t mind me saying so I feel your analysis lacks nuance. Gregory, despite whatever historical limitations he may have, would have a greater feel for life in and around Derry than you or I would have. Perhaps he is as much or more of Gaelic rootstock than you and I. ‘Us’ and ‘Them’ might have as much in common as the ‘varieties of Us’ and the ‘varieties of Them’.

    An accommodation of sorts was reached in 1998; it was decidedly more popular in the South than in the North. Some Republicans (and some Loyalists) still think that blood-letting is the way forward – mainly other people’s blood – and IMO it’s quite possible that the upcoming decade of celebrations/commemorations could trigger/act as a catalyst for damnation once again.

  • Driftwood

    The soldiers were always ‘in the middle’ in our parochial religious conflict. Mostly they were agnostic and had little time for medieval sectarian squabbles. They were involved as a ‘stopgap’ security measure and it didn’t work out. Extreme catholics like Adams and McGuinness were in a tribal conflict with extreme protestants like Paisley.

    The liberal Unionist Government under Faulkner was in a no-win situation. So were the -piggy in the middle-Army.
    David Cameron’s statement rightly never mentioned the Paras, because only a few soldiers transgressed the rules for opening fire. The PM’s statement to Parliament referred only to a ‘support company’ who had been poorly trained in dealing with rioters.
    Wabbits, it’s clear a couple of soldiers of ‘support company’ overreacted to the rioting mob and casualties resulted.
    This is to be regretted, not turned in to a cause celebre to attack ‘protestants’ . The real culprits were religious zealots like McGuinness and Paisley.
    The Army were neutral and agnostic. And certain to make mistakes. They were the real peacemakers here, not the conflicting ‘players’.

  • ItwasSammyMcNally

    Driftwood,

    What do you think of the Widgery tribunal – do you think it was a better effort than Saville?

  • Dixie Elliott

    Are yous all still talking to Gregory? I think he spends most of his time [allegedly] on Facebook trying to catch folks saying bad things about him.

  • Munsterview

    Nevin : My first visit to the North in the early 70’s was to Derry and I have frequently returned there in the intervening years. You can take it that I know something of the City and it’s culture. It was and remains one of my favorite places.

    As I have pointed out, there is an abundance of material on the internet for anyone to inform themselves as to what a Low Intensity War is. Incidently the very first diversion and misinformation begins here, Low Intensity War is referred to as Low Intensity ‘Conflict’.

    The term ‘War’ immediately conjures up raw, disturbing images such as that child from the Vietnam War running down a street naked fleeing an American Firebombing.

    A ‘Conflict’ on the other hand is much softer conjuring the sort of encounter that one would have between two car drivers who had been involved in a bumper bump, or with a neighbor in an adjoining house who have been playing music too loud.

    So all counter Insurgency Wars are re badged ‘Conflicts’ to disguise their true nature.

    Like wise with ‘Insurgent’ an Insurgent is defined as a ‘rebel or revolutionary’ fighting against a system or authority.

    From the outset the State held that the IRA were neither Rebel or Revolutionary. It sought to dismiss and portray what was happening as ‘mindless violence’ in fact this phrase must have been the most used and abused descriptive adjective during the War and it is still in use against Republican Militants.

    Since the cease fire and access to media, former IRA Commanders such as McGuiness and Gerry Kelly and the rest have been shown to have been anything but mindless. Sinn Fein’s star is now rising while Fianna Fail and the UUP, the two main parties who did everything possible to deny Republicans access to power, are now seen moribund and having no answers or prevalence for 21th century politics on this island.

    There is also enough information on the net on counter insurgency for any one to look at the theoretical models and responses proposed by successive British Military proponents and indeed practitioners from Frank Kitson on. Counter Insurgency has no rules other than playing to win.

    If advocated operational practices such as pseudo killer gangs that were operated as the Mau Mau in Kenya are viewed against the template of events in Northern Ireland, it quickly becomes apparent that there was little random or mindless about the violence inflicted on the Nationalist community there.

    The ‘usual suspects’ raising the specter of Republican violence in isolation or in ‘whataboutery’ are of enough demonstrated intelligence to know what real facts of the Northern Ireland Low Intensity War are or if not where to find the information to inform themselves, God knows I have given the sources where such information may be found often enough here..

    In normal circumstances I would accuse such people of rank hypocrisy but such attitudes have nothing to do with double standards, they know what the reality was then as now. They unconditionally back the activities of State Forces in any action these State forces deem necessary for Counter Insurgency Operations.

    It nothing short of insulting the intelligence of posters however to use a forum such as slugger as a misinformation and State Propaganda service while attempting to pass this off as ‘objective comment’.

    In fully examining all aspects of Insurgency Activity and Counter Insurgency Operations of the Low Intensity War, may I remind all of the concluding words of Prime Minister Cameron in The House Of Commons on the Bloody Sunday State murderers. The same applies to the Ballymurphy and other such State sanctioned executions.

    ” Mr Speaker, these are shocking conclusions to read and shocking words to have to say. But Mr Speaker, you do not defend the British Army by defending the indefensible. …”

  • Driftwood

    Sammy
    Both tribunals had a political bias. Neither were objective.
    The’ truth’ is in between. Lt Col Derek Wilford was spot on in his interview. It didn’t/doesn’t matter what happened. It did. Move on…McGuinness did after Joanne Mathers and I guess he says he’s never heard of her nowadays.

  • Cynic2

    “As a historian I am more than farmilar with statements like this ”

    Pretentious? Moi?

    “Gael and Planter stock had learned to live together”

    Indeed the genetic record shows that they slept together a lot too and didn’t use condoms! So, no matter what politicians may argue now or we may individually believe, we are genetically indistinguishable. We are all one stock.

    ” The members of that community that voter for ex-republican prisoners or people with with reputed IRA association, knew exactly what they were voting for. That fact, no matter how inconvenient, is inescapable.”

    The fact that a significant number of people vote for former murderers doesn’t make them stop being murderers or justify what they did. It simply means that murder is acceptable among those voters. That perhaps says more for those voters than anything else.

  • madraj55

    Mick. You might have noticed the strawman Campbell sets up in his rant, where he claims that nationalists view Bloody Sunday as the start of the troubles, whereas he knows well that they see october 5th 1968 as the beginning, but naturally Greg can’t afford to take that date as it would mean admitting that unionists were the cause.
    Greg only wants so much context and where historic fact strays from his worldview, he ignores it.

  • MV, PIRA wasn’t seeking access to power in the UK; it was seeking what has been described as a ‘Catholic Ireland’ 32 county state. The OIRA seems to have been the one that was more socialist orientated, the ‘Commie’ version. Rights issues were used as a smokescreen by those who initiated NICRA, a mixture of armchair and militant republicans seemingly strongly influenced by Connollyism.

    I’ve been surprised at the use of ‘mindless’; it’s hardly an appropriate word to describe a conspiracy that has been aided and abetted by some very able bureaucratic, clerical and political minds. Many of these able folks have gone on to other projects post-1998 Agreement leaving behind the likes of the less than inspiring SF leadership.

  • Munsterview

    Driftwood : “The Army were neutral and agnostic. And certain to make mistakes. They were the real peacemakers here, not the conflicting ‘players’…..”

    Wrong : The army were players !

    The paper cited immediately following was delivered by Frank Kitson in 1962. I had a copy of it in the late sixties and at that stage the Republican Movement was aware of it’s contents and the IRA were studying the actions proposed and preparing for a possible future confrontation where the British Army would be using the tactics advocated.

    http://www.hartford-hwp.com/archives/27/054.html

    I am not unappreciative of military culture, I was in what is now the Irish Defense Forces Army Reserve for a couple of years, had an NCO stripes on my sleeve and did midweek training and weekend and monthly full time service. When I refer to regular army culture, I have some appreciation as to what is involved, as I have direct personal experience of that culture.

    Over the years in conferences across the water I have sat down ex-soldiers of all ranks and discussed with them what they did and the operational aspects of their activities. You can take it from me this was far different to what the politicians were saying in the Commons.

    Post Second World War the British Army were faced with widespread guerilla warfare the same as they had met in Ireland during the War Of Independence, most of the leaders of those wars, and I have met some of them, were as farmilar with Michael Collins as they were with Gandhi.

    Frank Kitson was one of the primary advocates for and emerged as an expert in Counter Insurgency tactics for dealing with Insurgents in the various countries that the British Colonial Regime were systematically driven from. Like Ireland North and South, the British Army could not win these wars, but they continued to evolve and refine tactics as to how they fought the various Freedom Fighter Groups.

    These former Freedom Fighter Veterans now in Government in the various countries that the British were booted out of had no difficulty what so ever in recognizing the Irish Republican Army as being involved in the same fight and for the same reasons with the British Army as they had been in their own Freedom Struggles.

    The attitudes of Unionist leaders from Faulkner, through to Gregory Cambell and their attitudes towards the Natives can also be found in the ‘Good Old Smithy’ attitudes in the various ex Colonies and in the supporters of that Imperialism back in England.

    Every bloody one of these countries had its own massacre versions of Bloody Sunday!

    When a peaceful and totally non violent mainly Catholic Civil Rights march was viciously attacked by a mainly Protestant, sectarian State Forces ushering in the present Low Intensity War that is still ongoing, for Kitson and those of like ilk, all their Christmas had come together.

    The British Army Top Commanders used the evolving situation as a big laboratory in Low intensity War to develop Counter Insurgency Operations and expertise in dealing with Insurgent Forces in a Developed Urban Western World setting. As a ‘google’ of Counter Insurgency + Northern Ireland can show with almost 400,000 results, the British are now the recognized foremost experts in this type of warfare.

    As a cursory examination of these results will show, it is a bloody nice financial earner for serving and ex-British Army Officers who gained their experience in Northern Ireland with events such as the Bloody Sunday and Ballymurphy Massacre.

    The fact that General Frank Kitson finished his military career as Aid De Camp to the Queen for a few years is proof positive, if proof were needed that ‘ killing a few dozen wops’ whether they be Irish or Black is of no consequences what so ever to the top tiers of the British establishment.

    Why should it, this is the way that the British Empire always did business and the British Army was always there also at the dirty end of this. In Ireland as elsewhere they were not incidental to the political situation, whenever the Colonial governed said enough, no more, British Army bayonets and bullets were always the first and last resort of Whitehall to impose an unwanted regime and Ireland is no different.

  • “a peaceful and totally non violent mainly Catholic Civil Rights march was viciously attacked by a mainly Protestant, sectarian State Forces”

    MV, is this not an overly jaundiced account of events? Why do you suppose that those who opposed discrimination ignored discrimination when it was practised by Nationalists and Socialists too? Catholic represents one sect; Protestant a multiplicity of sects. Only some Catholics and some Evangelical Protestants seem tremendously keen to keep their kids apart from others.

    The Guards cleared the streets in Dublin in 1966 much as the RUC did in 1968 yet I don’t recall any international clamour. IIRC the Young Socialists claimed to have thrown placards at the RUC in Derry in a march that was designed to provoke a negative Unionist reaction whereas I’ve not seen any reports of anything being thrown in Dublin two years earlier.

  • Munsterview

    Nevin : ” MV, PIRA wasn’t seeking access to power in the UK; it was seeking what has been described as a ‘Catholic Ireland’ 32 county state “.

    To quote Rory O’Bradaig from the early seventies, “We are not trying to drag Northern Ireland into the Southern State, we are trying to escape from that ourselves”.

    Having sat in the Sinn Fein National exectuive for years, I can remember ever face young and old around the table. I cannot think of one person there that would have been an advocate for the ‘Catholic State’ mentality that you referred to.

    “I’ve been surprised at the use of ‘mindless’; it’s hardly an appropriate word to describe a conspiracy that has been aided and abetted by some very able bureaucratic, clerical and political minds……”

    The late Redmond O’Sullivan of Killarney, a life long Republican has a saying that “the same mind that could empty a bank could fill one too” Many ex former Republican activists having applied their talents to business have done just that.

    ” Many of these able folks have gone on to other projects post-1998 Agreement leaving behind the likes of the less than inspiring SF leadership…..”

    Two issues arise here, first the propaganda of the Counter Insurgency Operations of the Low Intensity War, is among other aspects of this operation, on going against Republicans, including Sinn Fein. This is especially so since the recent regime change and the Tory party taking power.

    During the active IRA campaign there were all sorts of stories run regularly in the press of the IRA buying in US special forces skills, as it was claimed that the IRA as such could of itself not
    rise to the levels of expertise in sniping, bomb making and other military skills that were in constant daily display.

    Brit and Southern Irish Counter Intel are cooperating to limit the political rise of Sinn Fein, just as they did to limit the military success of the IRA. One of the spins and black propaganda pieces circulating in ‘off the record’ briefings by sources from both governments is that Sinn Fein were dependent in the expertise of the Irish sectarian based in Northern Ireland for the negotiations and that once the Power Sharing was in place, when this expertise was withdrawn, Sinn Fein ceased to fire on all cylinders.

    This is but a political version of the ‘buying in military expertise’ spin and propaganda against Sinn Fein emanating from Brit, Unionist, SDLP, FF and FG all singing different tracts but off the same hymn sheet.

    I would not have expected an aware person such as your good self, of all people to fall for that one !

    Of course there is a difference between the Sinn Fein expertise displayed during the Peace Process negotiations and that displayed in ‘ordinary politics’.

    During the negotiations Sinn Fein was responsible only to itself for advancing its own position. A collective focussed Republican Leadership was at work and for anything out of the ordinary that arose, they could call in Old Hands for a one off to do what they were tasked to do.

    All during this period the Leadership acted collectively and Old Hands in addition to working under direction from the top down, were not slow in feeding opinion and advice from the ground up. That same urgency is not there any more. ( Do you think that I wasted the time and expense of a phone call to Stormount Sinn Fein Offices, to find out what was happening with the water crisis?)

    When Sinn Fein got in to Government the days of the instant decisions were over, Ministers had to work with their departments and negotiate agreement for political changes with political opponents who approach politics not from a ‘what can we do for the people and community good’ here, but rather from the perspective of ‘how can we screw up Sinn Fein on this one’.

    Politics is supposed to be the art of the possible, the DUP/ UUP have concentrated their energies in making the art impossible, as attempting to control Sinn Fein and avoid having a Sinn Fein First Minister is the Unionists primary current focus.

    Look there and to that attitude for a lack of Sinn Fein sparkle and effectiveness to see why the same skills as were evident back then, are not in display to the same extent now. The conditions are different, the people are still the same. They have not gone away you know !

  • Mickles

    Translation: “Never mind civil rights for Catholics, or appropriate punishment for state sponsored murder of unarmed innocents, lock up Gerry and Martin based on no evidence whatsoever!”

    I’m glad to see Gregory on the internet, using a computer. Does this mean he now accepts science or is the earth still only 4000 years old?

  • Mark McGregor

    Just to point out, only the 1st and last paragraphs of this are original.

    70% of it is a copy and paste of a speech made in the Assembly in June, a lot of it was also used in Westminster.

    Hardly a credible entry to blogging from Mr Campbell, hardly blogging at all – more like using a blog to mask a rehashed press release.

    http://www.niassembly.gov.uk/record/reports2009/100621.htm

    Though maybe the single transferable speech/blog is a trait for Derry?

  • Neil

    Those like Martin McGuinness and Gerry Adams could do so much more if they were to admit their participation in the wrecking of so many lives (whose relatives didn’t get an Inquiry)

    Ah the old ‘we didn’t get an inquiry’ chestnut. But you’ll admit I suspect that the RUC did arrest IRA men and the courts did prosecute them at the time?

    The need for an inquiry into Derry was due to the fact that the British did their level best to hide the truth, to lie and protect the soldiers. Of course the RUC did not try to protect IRA men it captured, and that’s the reason many don’t need an inquiry – the perpetrator has already been punished, so no need.

    The problem with Bloody Sunday was that without an independent inquiry, no soldier would every have been punished. The same cannot be said about the actions of the IRA, the state was keen to punish them, because the state was a Loyalist state for Loyalist people, who took great care in looking after their murderous soldiers and ‘police’.

  • Munsterview

    Mark : Well observed, nice marking, that of itself should merit a card, considering his parliamentary salaries and expensed, the lazy maggot. A Greens Minister would be delighted to achieve that degree of recycling with a product !

    Cynic 2 : ” The fact that a significant number of people vote for former murderers doesn’t make them stop being murderers or justify what they did. It simply means that murder is acceptable among those voters. That perhaps says more for those voters than anything else…..”

    Do you think that the Nationalist community do not have the same views on the various members of the British Governments over the years that knew exactly what was happening in Northern Ireland and who sanctioned all aspects of the dirty war with all the human consequences. How are they supposed to feel about the ‘boots on the ground’ that implemented that policy ?

    Never forget that where for every one In Northern Ireland that see a Republican with a militant past as a terrorist, there are an equal amount of Nationalists that see the RUC, B Specials and UDR and British Army as nothing other than State terrorists.

    Cynic2, Given all the ex Colonial countries that the British were booted out of in uprising after uprising post the Second World War, can you refer me to one country where the official record of these Freedom Struggles refer to the British Army as ‘Peacekeepers’

    And the Role of the British Army was different in Northern Ireland ?

    Do not let the door hit your arse on on your way out of this argument !

  • MV, here’s a T P Coogan summary: “The proclamation of 1916 expressed a distillation of the traditions and hopes of Catholic Ireland, leavened by Connolly’s socialism, and asserted independence from England, equality of opportunity, and sovereignty over the whole country.” Fr Alec Reid’s “Stepping Stones” proposals were developed for PIRA by the Redemptorists and prominent figures in the Southern establishment and promoted by Cardinal O Fiach and the Vatican Curia’s Archbishop Rigali.

    The O’Bradaigh quote complements my view that the rights smokescreen was a cover to sweep away the conservative establishments in Belfast and Dublin. You can see why Dublin, instead of standing alongside Belfast, cut some sort of deal to protect its own institutions, including the Catholic ones. Sean Garland: “We in the Republican Movement must be politically aware of our objectives and must also be prepared to take the appropriate educational, economic, political and finally military action to achieve them.”

    Your valiant defence of the less than sparkling SF ministerial performances don’t appear to fit with Murphy’s cronyism in the selection of interim NIW NEDs. The SF ministers appear to be on a par with some of the lesser lights in FF. And if you look for SF links with developers you’ll find them.

  • Well spotted, Mark! If ever there was salient proof that these mugs churn out the same tripe. I bet they have a good laugh about it when they turn off the cameras, close the doors of the Ulster Hall and start singing Christy Moore songs.

  • ORWELLSPEN

    How come it says ’56 comments’ here when I only see 6?
    Anyway, Mr Campbell is right to point out that 3 RUC men were murdered but he and his party constantly fall into the illogic that forces of the state are infallable and can never do wrong. Mr Campbell’s unionism is not a confident unionism. Taking the forces of the state to task over wrong doing is not the same as supporting their enemies. In fact, it would have outflanked the PIRA on the moral front had a Saville inquiry and exoneration occured in 1972 and not 2010. It would have shown the British state not to be the ogre the PIRA painted.

    But the British state was wrong. I am a unionist and I abhor what happened to those poor people in Derry on that dreadful day. They were citizens off the UK. All murder is wrong and it time my unionist brethren grew up and came out and said that Bloody Sunday was wrong and to be condemned. Condemning Bloody Sunday does not make you an IRA supporter. It not only is the right thing to do but it is the mature unionist thing to do. Protect the state, defend the state but condemn anyone or anything that brings the state into disrepute. The British state was brought into disrepute therefore it was dibilitating to the unionist argument.

    I can condemn Bloody Sunday. Mr Campbell, please be a big man and follow suit.

  • ORWELLSPEN

    MV – NI was and is an integral part de facto of the UK. The African colonies were not. There is the difference. The majority of people living in NI are culturally through heritage and genetics, part of the British diaspora just as Ireland has the Irish diaspora.

    Therefore, legally, the militia of the state are entitled to be garrisoned and patrolling any part of the territory of the state. Therefore, the troops were initially peacekeepers in NI. Troops in Rhodesia however were always an invasionary force.

    Yes, and you will argue that Britain was once an invasionary force. I agree. If I had a timemachine, I would have persuaded King Whatever to never have touched Ireland at all as it was morally wrong but here we are.

    The reason Ireland became part of the UK but Burma or Kenya did not was of our close geographical proximity to the UK. Had Kenya been an island off Kent, Kenya would have a devoled adminstration now with a Labour/Kenya Nationalist Party running it.

    There we have it MV. I respect your position and your political aspirations but not liking NI being part of the UK does not mean that it is not part of the UK.

    As for the peacekeeping role, the PIRA did not want Catholics supporting the the soldiers. Remember, many Catholics back then did not regard themselves as nationalists really, not in the sense we know it today. The PIRA had a political agenda and the British troops on several occasions through naivity and yes, malice, fell into the PIRA traps.

    MV : as in my above address to unionists, perhaps Republicans like yourself and others can take an opportunity to recognise the wrongs of the PIRA campaign as wrongs without resortiing to the obvious wrongs of the British state. A wrong is a wrong is a wrong.

  • Orwellspen, click Older Comments near the bottom of the webpage for the first 50 comments.

  • Driftwood

    2 competing narratives.
    The ‘Catholic’ one that nobody was doing anything wrong, no petrol bombs, no stones, everyone was just going for a pint of milk. Faulkner sent in the Paras to wipe out the rioters but they err.. only managed to kill 13??? . Strange , given the numbers and weaponry at hand but that would mean the Army acted with restraint?? .
    The ‘Prod’ one is that the army were attacked by gunmen (including Marty) and responded. Obviously with some paras not hitting their targets. and overhitting others.

    And that’s it! 2 competing narratives, each with their public enquirys to back them up.

    The provos are caring as they were the losers and need to prove their campaign had some value other than election to the British placebo assembly.

    The Paras don’t care, they’re involved elsewhere, David Cameron never named them in the commons, referring only to some bad apples in ‘Support Company’-nice one Dave.

    A footnote of parochial history, and the locals make it out to be a big deal. It wasn’t , get over it .

  • Munsterview

    orwell…. “But the British state was wrong. I am a unionist and I abhor what happened to those poor people in Derry on that dreadful day…..”

    One of the most poignant accounts I read of British Army operations against Unionists, was that of Bob Fisk when he described of how the paras were turned loose to clear the streets of the Shank hill with maximum force.

    In that he describes an old Para hobbling out on the the street and berating them as he had been though the fighting in Holland and the famous ‘Bridge Too Far incident’ I have a few books in my library concerning that fight and the bravery of the Pars on that occasion was beyond description.

    The old Veteran waved his beret in their face but was only laughed at and he tore the badges from his cap and flung them on the ground followed by the cap and his medals before he shuffled off incoherent with rage at what he had seen. Everything that he believed his Second WW Para comrades died for and that he himself had fought for turned into dust and ashes, in the casual violence meted out to his own people by what he considered to that moment to be his own army.

    Would the British Army have been turned loose to do the same thing in Liverpool, Birmingham or Manchester ? You and I know the answer to that, so much for the North being the very same as these regions. It is not the United Kingdom of England, Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland, It is the United Kingdom of Great Britain and the appendix of Northern Ireland.

    That story also illustrates another all important facet of the fifties on British Army, it was no longer the army of ‘Tommy Atkins’ of WW1 or that of Normandy Beaches and a bridge too far in WW2, it was no longer soldiering in the classical sense of the word, it was the State use of armed forces in Counter Insurgency Operations arising from Low intensity War.

    Counter Insurgency Operations as advocated by Frank Kitson and practiced as a central tenet of the British Army. These dirty tricks, running of pseudo enemy gangs etc and all that it initials cross all moral lines and ensure a type of warfare where the rules do not apply. That is the way the Brits ran the campaign against mainstream Republicans to the Ceasefire.

    That same Counter Insurgency Operation is still ongoing, politically against Sinn Fein to restrict the growth of mainstream Republicanism and in the old forms against Militant Republicans.

    I personally have no problem of a full examination of how the the Insurgency and Counter Insurgency Operations of the Low Intensity War were carried out and are still operational, if for no other reason that it would take some of the gloss of the perceived British victory and expertise when operations such as the Four Square Laundry services have both sides of the story told.

  • Driftwood

    Presumably this report:

    http://www.independent.co.uk/opinion/commentators/fisk/robert-fisk-the-innocent-became-the-guilty-the-guilty-innocent-2001678.html

    But the conspiracy thingy doesn’t hold water. The Army killed lots of so-called ‘loyalists’ . many squaddies were Catholic and others just felt bemused. Munsterviews idea that the squaddies were all Paisleyites is laughable. And the Frank Kitson conspiracy theory is in crop circle Mel Gibson territory

  • tacapall

    “But the conspiracy thingy doesn’t hold water. The Army killed lots of so-called ‘loyalists”

    So how many did they kill then Driftwood.

  • Driftwood

    Brian Robinson was one, there were many others. On and off the record. The point is The Army were a non sectarian force.

  • Brian

    MV-

    No one disputes that what occurred was a low intensity level insurgency. I’m not sure what your point is by constantly bringing that up…

    The vast majority of the nationalist community recognized early on that the Provos woudl never be able to defeat the Brits, but more importantly their limited narrative never took into account the MAJORITY OF PEOPLE in the 6 counties who wanted to remain a part of Britain….if the Brits left, what next? Full fledged ethnic civil war? Best case scenario, the UN sends in peacekeepers? I agree the nationalist community had every right to defend itself and demand the end of Stormont and all it stood for, but beyond that it was immature, fantasist, and reckless push for glory-to become the next Michael Collins, Robert Emmett, etc

    Your movement of self selected ‘patriots’ and fanatical devotees of the cult of the gun should have noegotiated with the British in 72 and spared us all 25 years of bungled bombings, cruelty, festering hatred, economic stagnation and numbness to barbarity.

    You constantly bring up historical figures, as if this somehow validates the Provo campaign or as if they were connected in some straight line back to Brian Boru. Give us a break.

    Spare us stories of loyalist murder squads, SAS assassination units, historical injustices, or whatever else. I’m well aware of the existence of all of them.

    What would the Provos have done if the British had just pulled out? What was their plan? I’ve never heard it.

  • Munsterview

    Driftwood : that is indeed the event that I was referring to. I may have been only a weekend soldier in what is now the Irish Defense Forces Reserve but I did get to experience something of Military culture and that beret, tie and badges were the pride and meaning of that Shankhill ex-para’s life.

    The event nullified for him his pride in what had been his regiment and his wartime deeds. I did sincerely empathize with him and the situation that he found himself in.

    The Hume incident : “a Para officer walked up to Hume and – in a very English public school accent – threatened him. “I realized something new was happening,” Hume was to tell me years later. “Some decision had been taken by the military. I was very worried about this. These were very hard men. There was no way of negotiating with them.”

    Remember I know Derry, well Derry outside the walls and time and again I discussed this same thing, the differences in attitude between the soldiers that came initially and were welcomed and the new attitude that appeared prior to Bloody Sunday.

    Hume : These were very hard men. There was no way of negotiating with them.”

    Of course not! The British Army by then had got their green light from the Government Cabinet table to go the proposed Frank Kitson route of Counter Insurgency Operations to provoke and fight a full blooded Low Intensity War.

    Counter Insurgency Operations involve harnessing all aspects of the State with one aim, the containment, suppression and elimination of the perceived Insurgents. These operations were and are not carried out by the queens bury rules.

    Driftwood : ” But the conspiracy thingy doesn’t hold water”……. in the course of this and other recent threads I gave enough references for any reasonable person of average intelligence to read up for themselves as to what Low Intensity War, Insurgency and Counter Insurgency Operations entailed. This is the era of the net, these things cannot be kept hidden any more.

    Driftwood : “The Army killed lots of so-called ‘loyalists” Of course they did but almost all working class Protestants. In Kenya pseudo guerilla gangs under British Officers raided Loyalist Villages and carried out localized rape, mayhem and murder.

    The regular British Army then turned up, offering protection and medicine to the injured !

    An ANC comrade told me some years ago and I have no reason to doubt it, that these pseudo gangs once they had outlived their usefulness by virtue of knowing too much, were then executed and and exhibited as genuine captured and killed terrorist.

    Do you think that the likes of Tatcher and her cabinet that took a decision and issued orders send an Argentinean ship to the bottom of the ocean with a loss of eight hundred lifes or Blair and his Cabinet that provoked a war in the Middle East where millions of innocent people were killed, would have lost any sleep over a few dead Prods when the optics needed it to hoodwink public opinion as to the real Counter Insurgency Operations.

    There are repeated calls for ‘the truth’ here, but last years Bloody Sunday Enquiry was as big a cover up as the original enquiry and a waste of public funds. In as much as it validated the innocence of the massacred victims, it was worthwhile and necessary. However it also laid the blame at the base of the authority pyramid instead of the apex with the then Prime Minister and his colleagues.

    Tony Blair, instead of setting up an enquiry, could have stood at the dispatch box and simply said ……….

    ” Acting on British Army Advice, the then British Cabinet authorized Counter Insurgency Operations and in the course of one such operation known as Bloody Sunday thirteen innocent unarmed civilians were killed and x wounded, the buck stops here, I take full responsibility for their acts as they were government sanctioned”

    Bloody Sunday had the same Cabinet sanction as every other similar massacres in ex Colonial countries, or the assassinations of Cork city and other Lord Mayors during the War Of Independence. This is why there cannot or will not be a full or indeed any other type of enquiry into the Insurgency, Counter Insurgency Operations or the Low Intensity War.

    My sincere thanks to Gregory Cambell for providing a thread and context where issues concerning the Counter Insurgency Operations of the Low Intensity War could be expounded and examined.

  • Munsterview

    Brian : “No one disputes that what occurred was a low intensity level insurgency. I’m not sure what your point is by constantly bringing that up…”

    Here in this very thread posters are denying the facts that there was an Insurgency, Counter Insurgency and arising from that a Low Intensity War.

    Once this is accepted and the events in Northern Ireland are examined in that context, there are few things that do not make sense, without that acknowledgement then very little makes sense or can make sense and there are no answers.

    Nevin and yourself have also raised some other issues that I will deal with to morrow !

  • tacapall

    “Brian Robinson was one, there were many others. On and off the record. The point is The Army were a non sectarian force”.

    Thats right they killed one, Brian Robinson who had just murdered a Catholic grandfather moments earlier and to you this balances the books. Tell us Driftwood how many protestant children were murdered by the British Army with plastic bullets or live ammunition – “The Army were non sectarian”. The IRA said they were non sectarian too so do you believe that.

  • “the IRA buying in US special forces skills”

    I’d not heard of that accusation, MV. I’ve continued to ask questions about the Chinook helicopter with the special forces camouflage. It could have been British or US as there was a Seals team on Kintyre at that time. I’ve not ruled out sabotage as a possible cause of the crash of the other Chinook; I’m also not convinced that the pilots were responsible.

  • Munsterview

    Nevin : “I’ve continued to ask questions about the Chinook helicopter with the special forces camouflage…..”

    ( your earlier questions awaiting a considered response)

    I presume that your are referring to that ‘accidental’ crash in Scotland where so many of the core securicats died?

    Two messages went out from that ‘crash’, the first to the IRA that the Brits were serious about doing business this time.

    The second, the remaining local securicats opposed to the new dispensations looked to their pensions instead of obstruction.

    It had the desired effect

  • MV, you presume that it may have been a British dirty tricks operation. It could have been; it could have been American; it could have been both; I’d lean towards the third possibility. By the way, ‘sending out messages’ was part of the ‘Derry experiment’ so the message could have been directed at PIRA. It also begs the question: “Did PIRA ‘sacrifice’ some of its own people to promote the Stepping Stones process?”

  • ItwasSammyMcNally

    Brian,

    “I agree the nationalist community had every right to defend itself and demand the end of Stormont and all it stood for, but beyond that it was immature, fantasist, and reckless push for glory-to become the next Michael Collins, Robert Emmett, etc”

    Just to clarify, are you suggesting it was OK for Nats/Rebles to start an insurgency in order to ‘defend itself’ but then should have stopped having got rid of Stormo (Version 1)?

    If not what should Nats/Rebles have done to ‘defend itself’?

  • ItwasSammyMcNally

    The army clealry are, and were, a non sectarian force but they were deployed (mainly) against the IRA as the IRA were primarily involved in fighting the Britishh state and the army.

    Driftwood et al try to pretend that there was a religious war in Ulster rather than a National struggle for Independence/Unification but few even in Tory party believe that – as evidenced by the bi-lateralism of the British government on the GFA.

    To admit a political rather a religious basis for ‘the troubles’ open the debate about partition and the behaviour of the Stormo v1 regime – and we know why Drifters et al cant possibly go down that road without chewing their way through and then swallowing their own ideology.

  • Secret Squirrel

    Perhaps Drifty’s off compiling a comprehensive spreadsheet detailing all those killed/murdered by her maj’s finest in Ireland.

    Apologies Drifty, if you’ve already checked out britisharmykillings.org.uk.dot.not.really.in.the.uk.com

  • Munsterview

    Driftwood : ” Strange , given the numbers and weaponry at hand but that would mean the Army acted with restraint?….”

    I should have been in Derry on Bloody Sunday, I was however instructed by a Senior Southern Republican to “stay away as there was going to be trouble”. I was told that while the march was going ahead, the British Army was spoiling for an opportunity to cause a massacre in circumstances where there would be IRA armed response.

    In this situation the whole propaganda arm of the British State was ready to swing into action blaming the IRA for the casualties which could have ranged from five to fifty or more. The consensus was that it would take fifteen to twenty casualties to cross the shock, horror threshold where the Nationalist community and Republican supporters would turn on the IRA and reject them to the extent that they would turn Republicans into the Authorities.

    I was also informed that the march route had been cleared of weapons and all the local IRA were to be stood down on the day with younger members likely to emotionally react well under Senior control. In these circumstances as all outside Republicans were either requested or ordered to steer clear of the parade. This was midweek before ‘Bloody Sunday’

    The march created the opportunity for the British Army to act out the planned Counter Insurgency Operation scenario, they killed and continued to kill unarmed peaceful marchers until it became obvious to the controllers of that event that there was no immediate militant IRA return of fire and the killings ceased at a ‘Butchers Dozen’ and the rest wounded, some seriously. In the absence of credible IRA return fire,to blame the causilties on, the event became a British Government International notorious disaster and nightmare.

    The fact that the British Army in Derry had Nail bombs to hand to plant on bodies shows the British were actually prepared for dead Nationalists on the day and were ready to run the ‘ armed rioters/IRA terrorists’ scenario. One should not forget either that the British State maintained that fiction for almost forty years. Some like Gregory Cambell do not still accept the unqualified innocence of the Murdered Marchers.

    These killings in Derry on Bloody Sunday and elsewhere as in Ballymurphy did not come out of the blue, they came out of Frank Kitson’s Counter Insurgency Manual as a legitimate tactics as a method to isolate an Insurgent group from base support.

    As I have pointed out, ad nauseam, on posts in threads dealing with these topics, anyone prepared to google ‘Counter Insurgency + Northern Ireland’ will get almost 400,000 results.

    First off they can satisfy themselves that a Low Intensity War was then and is still ongoing ( if albeit scaled down) and that consequently Counter Insurgency Operations were then and are now ongoing.

    Secondly they can inform themselves as to what Low Intensity Conflict/War entails and how Counter Insurgency Operations are conducted in the broad sweep and in the specifics’

    Thirdly using these as a template they can examine various events in Northern Ireland that appeared irrational and erratic to the point of grotesque, yet when viewed within the context of Counter Insurgency Operations as advocated by Frank Kitson et al., they make perfect sense.

    The absence of usual suspects from this debate, who on other matters are in there at every opportunity to contest everything with Republicans, shows that there are intelligent, aware posters out there who too share my reality but who are also standing four square ( in both the popular and special sense of the word) supportive this Counter Insurgency Operational activity and its objectives.

    There can be or will not be any realistic investigation into ‘The Troubles’ such an enquiry would lay bare the Darkness at the heart of the British Establishment and expose them for what they are before the Nations of the world. They cannot have that !

  • ItwasSammyMcNally

    MV,

    “Darkness at the heart of the British Establishment ”

    I think it is time to move beyond this type of talk. There was in my opinion a war going on between the IRA and the British (unionists will deny that for their own reasons) but lets not pretend it was Good v Evil or any such nonsense like the language above implies – we ddn’t/dont like them on our little patch of earth and set about oxtering-them-oot.

    I’m sure the people blown to bit by the Provos – for example -because they coulndt be fecked to get to a working telephone box – probably say something similar about Republicanism – but it is hardly going to inform a debate.

    Republicans should be content (as should the British) with moral equivalence.

  • Munsterview

    Itwas : ““Darkness at the heart of the British Establishment ”……….” I think it is time to move beyond this type of talk…..”

    Do you indeed ?

    Tell that to the family of the Late David Kelly, they may have a slightly different take on that ?

    What is at issue here is did the Bloody Sunday Massacres arise from a ‘shit happens’ situation or from a deliberate operational event such as the later Ballymurphy massacre, the half century earlier Croak Park Massacre and the later massacre carried out by General Dwyer in India ?

    The decision to respond to the most recent Irish Insurgency in the Northern part of Ireland by Counter Insurgency Operations prosecuted by Low Intensity War rather than seek political solutions was a collective British Cabinet decision.

    Did Tony Blair have a majority support of the ordinary people for the recent Mid East War ?

    There were somewhere around seventy countries, now independent, occupied by Britain as part of their Empire. How many were allowed depart without first waging a War of Liberation ?

    How many of the British waged wars to counter the strivings of these people for Indapendence do you hold are justified ?

    Are we in typical Fianna Failed territory of ” that was then and this is now” waffle and evasion ?

    Meanwhile if you want to see how these Counter Insurgency Wars are going in a modern format look up Small Wars Journal and the article dealing with Counter Insurgency as a culture !

    http://smallwarsjournal.com/blog/journal/docs-temp/630-edwards.pdf

    Who was it again who said that “there are none so blind as those who refuse to see” ?

  • ItwasSammyMcNally

    MV,

    For every David Kelly there are (probably a lot more than one) Paul Quinns. No ‘evidence’ for either.

    Presumably you will avoid the need for evidence in one cas but not the other?

    If you look for moral superiority for Republicans – which is what your comments imply/state, you make exactly the same mistake as Unionists make in reverse.

    Time to kiss and make up (via the GFA )and not try to pretend the ‘war’ was some sort of moral tussle between the forces of good and bad.

  • ItwasSammyMcNally

    p.s. I have no intention of defending Britan’s past imperialist adventures (in Ireland or elsewhere) so I suggest you confine your ‘quest for darkness’ to the most recent insurgency.

  • Munsterview

    It was….”There were somewhere around seventy countries, now independent, occupied by Britain as part of their Empire. How many were allowed depart without first waging a War of Liberation ? (MV)

    How many of the British waged wars to counter the strivings of these people for Independence do you hold are justified ?…..” (MV)

    There is a very important issue at stake here, do an oppressive regime denying basic human rights including the right to life have the same moral equivalence for the use violence as insurgency forces attempting to overthrow such an oppressive regime ?

    Lets leave Northern Ireland aside for now, I gave you seventy other countries to choose from, somewhere around fifty had liberation struggles, pick one to dissect and afterwards we can do any comparisons that may be applicable to the Irish situation.

  • Secret Squirrel

    MV,
    Ballymurphy was appx six months before Bloody Sunday.

  • Mark

    LOL – jaysus Munsterview , you know things are rough when you have to start fisking yourself .

  • ItwasSammyMcNally

    MV,

    “Lets leave Northern Ireland aside for now”

    No lets not – this is a thread about Bloody Sunday and its significance and deciding to go elsewhere is hardly approporiate.

    Republicans, and I include myself in that grouping, should be be happy enough with moral equivalence, between the main combatants ie the Provos and the Security Forces in relation to the recent insurgency.

    Is that not good enough for you? Yes or No would be best for clarity before any elaboration/justifiaction.

  • Brian

    “Counter Insurgency Operations as advocated by Frank Kitson and practiced as a central tenet of the British Army. These dirty tricks, running of pseudo enemy gangs etc and all that it initials cross all moral lines and ensure a type of warfare where the rules do not apply. That is the way the Brits ran the campaign against mainstream Republicans to the Ceasefire. ”

    Type of warfare where the rules do not apply? That is a bit of a stretch. The public would only accept so much. If no rules applied they would have gone in and murdered all known Provos and some sympathizers and things could have ended rather quickly. But since this was NI in 1970s not Africa in the 1920s they couldn’t do this. As for rules not applying, what about no warning bombings or blowing up a members of military bands far away from Northern Ireland? What about killing off duty UDR men? Or killing retired prison officers? Don’t claim that the Brits were dirty or played outside ‘the rules’ without viewing the PIRA through the same lenses.

    “That same Counter Insurgency Operation is still ongoing, politically against Sinn Fein to restrict the growth of mainstream Republicanism and in the old forms against Militant Republicans.”

    I think you are a little delusional. The growth of mainstream Republicanism (PSF) is restricted to mainly those in the North as it is essentially a party in existence because of Northern issues. It is also restricted, until the old guard dies at least, by memories of torture, executions, bungled bombings, kneecappings, organized crime, La Mons, Remembrance Day Parade bombing, etc. It may get a decent amount of seats due to protest votes and the chaotic situation in the South, but considering their own party leader sounds clueless when it comes to the economic situation I don’t place much stock in their medium term future. I could be wrong, however.

    ”the perceived British victory and expertise when operations such as the Four Square Laundry services have both sides of the story told.’

    What is this ‘perceived’ victory you speak of? Did not the PIRA end their campaign, relinquish their arms, implicitly (if not explicitly) accept NI as an integral part of the UK, reinforce the unionist veto into law, and cause the ROI to abandon it’s claims to the 6 counties? (Let’s not forget completely alienating the unionist population from even considering a United Ireland,) If that is not a defeat, I don’t know what is. It may not have been an unconditional surrender, but surrender it was.

    Weren’t we told repeatedly that the PIRA would never lay down their arms until the British left? That there would be no more ceasefires until the Brits left?

    After all, I was under the impression that all those bombings, killings, deaths, prison battles, hunger strikes, sacrifice, etc were in the aim of a United Ireland (if not a 32 country socialist republic) and not of helping the British govern the 6 counties?

    Excuse me if I come off a rapid anti-Repblican for I am not…but trying to somehow spin history and claim the PIRA were anything but the losers just doesn’t jive with reality. They faced a near impossible task so defeat in and of itself is no cause for shame.

  • ItwasSammyMcNally

    Brian,

    “I agree the nationalist community had every right to defend itself and demand the end of Stormont and all it stood for, but beyond that it was immature, fantasist, and reckless push for glory-to become the next Michael Collins, Robert Emmett, etc”

    Just to clarify, are you suggesting it was OK for Nats/Rebles to start an insurgency in order to ‘defend itself’ but then should have stopped having got rid of Stormo (Version 1)?

    If not what should Nats/Rebles have done to ‘defend itself’?

    MunsterView,

    As I’m in repeat question mode – is moral equivalence good enough for you?

  • Brian

    Every right to demand the end of Stormont, defend their communities from corrupt and sectarian police force with guns and petrol bombs and barricades if met with repression…refuse to obey laws without substantive change…if met with the power of the state fight back to the fullest until basic demands are met and granted and the British government stepped in and mediated a new model of government accepted to both sides.

    Obviously it was a fluid situation and escalated extremely quickly, but I feel as though the republican ideology (which the unionist and british reaction played right into) kind of limited the range of acceptable or desired solutions or goals of the republican community. Thus, instead of negotiating for a new type of Stormont we had the ‘long war’ strategy aimed at british withdrawel

  • Nunoftheabove

    Munsterview

    Timing and withdrawal modus operandi is everything too though – having stayed far far too long in India, it can be argued in retrospect and without too much irony that the British left too soon and that we’re all still living with the direct and indirect consequences of when and how that was done that on a vast scale.

  • ItwasSammyMcNally

    Brian,

    I largely agree with that.

    MunsterView,

    Any chance of an answer to the moral superiority/equivalence question?

  • Munsterview

    Nevin : ” By the way, ‘sending out messages’ was part of the ‘Derry experiment’ so the message could have been directed at PIRA…..”

    Yes Nevin but only is taken within the context of Counter Insurgency Operations and Low Intensity War. In fact I have covered this before and provided references for Para reports into the shooting.

    The paras were only the hitmen, the people that authorized that action at Cabinet Table, went home to their wives and homes, receptions and parties etc without these Irish deaths costing them the slightest regret. Cameron’s ‘full and frank and frank admission of the innocence of the Bloody Sunday victims’ was not a true and sincere regret, rather it was a pragmatic decision to remove what was for the British Establishment a major irritant and obstacle to normalization of politics in the Nationalist community.

    It was a pragmatic political decision that dictated the victims be declared ‘innocent’ by the same means on the second occasion, as were used to find them ‘guilty’ in the first enquiry.

    If the British Establishment had the slightest shred of sincerity or decency about the enquiry per se, they would have held a Parliamentary Inquiry as to how the first enquiry cost so much and and got it so wrong.

    Nelsons blind eye etc. How in the name of goodness can any politically aware person talk of moral equivalence ? My remark about the ‘ of darkness at the heart of the British Establishment’ were not misplaced. It was there in the days of slavery, it was there in the days of Imperial Expansion, it was there in the days of Imperial Contraction when almost every Freedom Struggle in some fifty odd countries were resisted with all the force the British Government could implement while keeping up the front of being a ‘Peace keeping’ democracy in the Community of Nations.

    It was there when Frank Kitson, the advocate of Low intensity War with the bloodiest hands of any European Nato soldier post Second World War was made Aid De Camp to the Queen, it was there when the British government directed the legal system to find the Bloody Sunday victims ‘guilty’ and it was equally there all these years later when the same legal system was directed, also for pragmatic reasons to find the victims ‘innocent’

    * Itwas : there can be no moral equivalence between an Army of Occupation and Freedom Fighters that resist that occupation no more than there can be between our ANC comrade and the actions of the White Southern African Regime that opposed them.

    That however do not absolve the Insurgency forces from not conducting the freedom struggle within certain parameters, irrespective of how the occupying force behaves. Again I have covered this in some detail in previous posts.

    I know that I am giving a hostage to fortune here but I have no hesitation in saying that not all IRA actions, were justified inside the parameters of acceptable acts of war. Some operations, having due regard to the possible civilian causalities and consequence should never have made it past the proposal stage, much less going into planning and from there to have been given operational permission for implementation.

    Ironically if there is a full and frank Official admission that there was a Counter Insurgency Operation carried out in the context of a Low Intensity War, then all actions of that war become acts of war that can be argued over as whether or not they were justified within the context of acceptable acts of war, irrespective of whether carried out by the Insurgency Forces or Counter Insurgency Forces.

    The Republican Movement as a whole took a pragmatic decision as to how to continue the struggle for political advancement of its objectives. I may be the only one of the Old Guard prepared to go into detail on these things here in slugger, but the Republican Movement always had dozens of it’s own historians and scholars that could and can advance these arguments and did to ‘sell’ the the GFA.

    Some dissented and the Militant Republicans also have their own Historians and scholars who are quite adept at addressing an audience and putting the railings of Turgon and Cambell et al or the antics of Sammy Wilson into an unbroken historical continuity to show that the ‘Unionist leopard has not really changed his spots’.

    Every-time these shortsighted individuals talk down and denigrate Sinn Fein, the consequences of that is they are also talking up Militant Republicanism as the only valid answer to the Northern Problem’ and that all attempts at normalization of politics is no more than yet one more failed artificial attempt to make an artificial State work!

  • ItwasSammyMcNally

    MV,

    Following your logic the dissers running the current insurgnecy would always have moral superioirty over those opposing them irrespective of whether they were to supply Ulster with another 4 or 5 Omagh style bombing days.

    Or do you agree there are any limiting factors ‘on the right of the Irish people to defend themselves’?

    If so do share.

    re. “I know that I am giving a hostage to fortune here but I have no hesitation in saying that not all IRA actions, were justified inside the parameters of acceptable acts of war”

    Fear not Gerry et al have said that 100s of times. The code word/phrase being ‘mistakes’ and/or ‘should not have happened’.

  • another

    Perhaps we could sort it all out, by getting everybody over the age of 40 to go and buy, and read, a copy of “Lost Lives” (the stories of the men, women and children, who died as a result of the Northern Ireland troubles) McKittirck et al. Anybody who played any part in any of the deaths in this book, along with all those that turned a blind eye to bigotry and secterianism, and those that felt that any of the deaths that occured were justified, should be asked to stand trial. The few thousand that are left should then be given the chance to start afresh.

  • Nunoftheabove

    MV

    “Every-time these shortsighted individuals talk down and denigrate Sinn Fein, the consequences of that is they are also talking up Militant Republicanism as the only valid answer to the Northern Problem” – you’re on very thin ice there, man – very thin.

    The issue as to whether it was a war or not has been fudged and the consensus on that not publicly acknowledged – almost certainly never will be in legal terms. Think about the number of war crimes which all parties – the state included – would be answerable for. The provos in particular want their cake and enjoy eating it in that respect and I think we can well understand why.

  • MV, some military and some Republican folks seem a bit desparate to grab the war tag for what was really a low/medium intensity conflict.

    Presumably Adams and McGuinness were selected as paramilitaries the UK authorities could do business with; those that were prepared to die in the ditch wouldn’t have been of much use. It seems that when military operations were ratcheted up a gear as in Operation Motorman McGuinness headed for Buncrana, the base of the Buncrana Long Rifles.

    PIRA was of course one of the more important players but the UDA and UVF were also capable of creating major damage, destruction and death.

    Intelligence gathering was certainly important but even in London and Dublin different departments had different emphases as I noted in discussions with Dublin civil servants. I’m still puzzled by Douglas Hurd’s trip to meet McGuinness and Mitchel McLaughlin in Derry on November 5, 1993. Was he there as an envoy from John Major or was he there as boss of MI6?

  • Munsterview

    Itwas… : “Following your logic the dissers running the current insurgency would always have moral superiority over those opposing them irrespective of whether they were to supply Ulster with another 4 or 5 Omagh style bombing days……”

    MV “That however do not absolve the Insurgency forces from not conducting the freedom struggle within certain parameters, irrespective of how the occupying force behaves. Again I have covered this in some detail in previous posts…..”

    There are two issues here, the De Jura issue of Occupation and Resistance : A significant section of the Irish people at home and abroad would hold that while one square meter of Irish National Territory is held by British forces then in principle Irish people have the right to oppose that occupation by the use of force also.

    The De Facto position of how this force is exercised is the next issue. When Mick Collins gave orders for a an IRA hit squad to take out the Judge conducting an investigation into how Sinn Fein was raising it’s finances, the execution of the unfortunate judge was considered a non- military target and presented as such by the British Establishment.

    One has only to read of the accounts of the day to see the outrage caused. However that Judge was a bigger threat to the Irish Republic than a couple of extra battalions of the British Army.

    The majority of Active Republicans after internal discussion and dialogue accept that the time had arrived to carry on the struggle to meet their objectives by political means only. One of the considerations for suspending the military campaign was the human cost was no longer justified relative to whatever gains could be made. These considerations included the possibility an Enskellen or later Omagh like situation occurring.

    The arguments and analysis of Mainstream Republicans regarding the use of force has not been accepted by a minority of Republicans and they are prepared to continue with the use of force.

    It is perfectly acceptable to the British Forces in Afghanistan, having identified the family home of an Insurgent to call in a drone plane and blast the family out of existence along with whatever collateral damage such a bombing do to the insurgents neighbors.

    Much and all as such a ‘first strike’ policy would be welcomed by a significant section of the Unionist ( and a some Fine Gaelrs) it is obviously an unacceptable use of State force in Northern Ireland.

    Likewise there are limitations as to how those sections of the non mainstream IRA use force. I have backed and supported The GFA agreement and I am not a military adviser to the part of the IRA that did not disarm and is still prepared to use military force, my position is that this force is no longer necessary and you can take up the arguments with them as to what constitutes a proportionate military response to British Occupation.

    Your position no doubt is that no force was justified in 69 or later while thirs is that all force is justified. Please keep me posted on that one !

    I note that David Cameron has publicly announced that there will be no further dialogue or contact with terrorists. Now where did we hear that before ?

    * Noneof…: “Every-time these shortsighted individuals talk down and denigrate Sinn Fein, the consequences of that is they are also talking up Militant Republicanism as the only valid answer to the Northern Problem” – you’re on very thin ice there, man – very thin…..” (MV)

    Am I indeed ?. First off why did Mick insist in this site being governed by debating rules of civilized conduct governing such exchanges ?

    Was one of his possible reasons a belief that such discussions had to be conducted within certain parameters because in the alternative if the message was subjected to disproportionate response to content, it was only a matter of time before the same attitudes extended to the messenger also ?

    Noneof…. I am not the one on thin ice, it is those clowns in parliament when playing to their own backwood sectarian mob gallery that are in thin ice. Their attitudes to basic things such as the Irish Language is saying to Militant Republicans ” your culture is worthless and so are you” ( and I could put it much stronger than that)

    Is it any surprise then that Militant Republicans can make a justifiable argument that Unionism is not ready for equality or parity of esteem. I am not the one ‘thin ice scating’, rather I am shouting a warning to the scaters who are doing just that and enjoying every bloody minute of it, irrespective initivableof the inevitable consequences of their actions.

  • Nunoftheabove

    MV

    Don’t disagree on the unionist right, but we’re all well conditioned to that now – they’re not capable of saying anything that’s unexpected of them – let’s not exaggerate its significance in the overal scheme though or start lighting fires about the Irish language.

    My comment is more on your counterposition of SF on one hand or ‘dissident’ popularity on the other – that feels like zero sum maths and a fairly parochially anchored one at that if I may say so, that’s all.

  • Munsterview

    Nunof…: : “My comment is more on your counterposition of SF on one hand or ‘dissident’ popularity on the other – that feels like zero sum maths and a fairly parochially anchored one at that if I may say so, that’s all…..”

    On the Nationalist side of the political divide, Republicanism is now the clear majority voice. Once the non voting element is factored in, the majority is even a significant percentage ahead of Sinn Fein’s electoral strength.

    That Republicanism is expressed from outright militancy and non co-operation with the Northern State through the ‘ lets give peace politics a chance through to Sinn Feins determination to make politics work.

    Put your self in the position of a child from a republican background now in their thirties, married, own house, car, job and good third level qualifications whose earliest memories are the Hunger Strikes and who grew up into teens with constant experience of State harassment some examples of which I have seen for my self down the years and which I have documented here on slugger.

    This generation have also explored and embraced Irish culture in a sought out deliberate way their parents never did. They are aware of the achievements of the irish race at home and abroad and above all of Irish history. Since all politics are local to quote Tipp O’Neill, they are especially aware of Six county history.

    Those West of the Bann in in particular are aware of how their great grandparents democratic choices were brushed aside and of how the were hijacked and annexed to a four county Unionist rump that ignored the 86% democratic choice of the peoples of this Island. They know of how the democratic process was gerrymandered to keep them politically powerless and how it was artificially arranged that a majority National population always returned a minority electoral representation.

    This generation do not consider themselves Six County, their culture is Thirty-Two county Irish and that of the Irish dispora. They know of the achievements of their people at home and abroad.

    These are a proud people and the days of second class citizenship are over. They are also passionate and defensive about Gaelic Culture in a way that people of my background do not need to be. Most of these on discussion and reflection would not support a return to full scale war.

    However every-time that their culture and worth is denigrated by the political clowns playing to Unionist backwoods men, because of their deliberate embrace and involvement in Gaelic Culture, then there is a tendency to take attacks or ridicule of that as being on their personal value systems also.

    When Militant Republicans give the State a sharp reminder that there is still unfinished business here and ‘return the serve’ there is an understanding of where these Republican millitants are coming from and why they are doing what they are doing.

    If Republican Militancy was preventing constructive, progressive politics, then this centre group would actively oppose it but while there are no constructive progressive politics to be stimied such as carried out in the Welsh or Scottish Parliament, then the ‘ lets give peace a chance camp’ will also be ambivalent about Republican Armed action and see the occasional events as no more than giving the State a well deserved bloody nose.

    Yeats post Easter Rebellion wondered “did words of mine send young men out to die” ? Words of Sammy Wilson and Gregory Cambell are sending fivers and tenners into Militant Republican Collection boxes and occasionally angered young men and women into Militant Republican ranks.

    Sinn Fein at some political cost to the party and personal cost to old comrade friendships, have opposed and indeed condemned Republican Militancy. Fair minded Unionists, and I have met enough to know that they exist as a class, must know that Wilson and Cambell far from doing the same with their own militant tendencies and F*** The Pope supporters, are actually pandering to this particular gallery.

    Where are the same vioces of condemnation ?

    Mainstream Republicans not alone de-commissioned arms, we also decommissioned mindsets and were ready for Power sharing. Unionists on the other hand did no such thing and a whole year after when I asked a member of the exectuive as to how things were going his reply was, half are still in shock that they are there and the other half still do not realize where they are.

    Again I say to this middle ground Unionism, the self indulgent constant denigration and mockery of Sinn Fein and Gaelic culture for the reasons outlined is playing with fire and can have very serious consequences. Words of theirs will send young men out to die and set off bombs. This all important educated 30’s age group have been listening to that record playing since the ceasefire in their mid teens and they are a bit sick of it after fifteen years.

    If Sinn Fein cannot stop it playing, well then perhaps when others on the Republican side say the can, they will have an audience at the very least prepared to listen !

  • Mainland Ulsterman

    Campbell understates the case. Republicans killed 118 people before the end of 1971 – more than all other parties to the violence put together.

    He’s quite right, there has been an attempt to paint Republican violence as somehow “defensive” and Bloody Sunday is often used as the starting point of the narrative.

    Malachi O’Doherty’s The Trouble With Guns takes Republicans to the cleaners better than I ever could over that bogus narrative. His sections on the mythologisation of the events of 1969 are excellent. He quotes a speech by Hume – who bought into this narrative – in which he tells the story of the start of the Troubles, replete with glaring anachronisms, events put in the wrong order, people dying who didn’t die, organisations involved that didn’t exist at the time. As O’Doherty says, “It is almost as if [the events] have so comprehensively passed from history into mythology that the actual details are unimportant compared to the retained meaning.”

    One of the reasons I think the Saville report, for all the hassle around it, was worthwhile – showing what level of detail you need to get into to really understand a complex event fully and come to a fair judgment. I disagree with Mr Campbell, I think the full report did provide context aplenty.