Eames Bradley: if it is coming back; time to fight it again

When I went trekking in Africa one summer with my sister I remember meeting a game warden with a Kalashnikov assault rifle in the Masai Mara. I enquired whether it was to stop poachers. He said no it was really for crocodiles and explained that if one tries to attack you the only solution is to keep shooting it until it stops moving. Then if there is any sign of life keep firing at it.

Gladys has a blog below proposing that Eames Bradley be revisited which has produced a lively debate; largely hostile to the idea. I was especially interested to note Fitzjameshorse’s suggestion that there might be the beginnings of a campaign to put Eames Bradley back on the road, fix the most obvious flaw of the £12,000 for victims (also known as the Ford Focus) and then the shiny sort of improved Eames Bradley mark 2 could be visited upon us; complete with many jobs for the boys and girls in the do gooder peace process industry. As Fitzjameshorse pointed out a succession of Platform for Change do gooders and assorted ex or failed politicians might welcome the opportunity to put their midlife crisis remake or early retirement to better use (ie importance and money).

In light of that it is maybe worth going back to the old Eames Bradley report. The passage of time has not changed the utter immorality of that report nor its unacceptability to the vast majority of people here.

On the night the report came out I sat up, read it and wrote a piece on it. I do not think much needs to be changed and as such I will reproduce the blog below:

An enormous amount has already been said about the Eames Bradley report. I have now tried to read the report. Many will have their own opinions on it and I am sure more reaction will come as it is more completely digested. However, I though a few observations and comments might be interesting.

I will start with a quote from the report which seems in many ways to sum up the position adopted by Eames Bradley:
“The Past should be dealt with in a manner which enables society to become more defined by its desire for true and lasting reconciliation rather than by division and mistrust, seeking to promote a shared and reconciled future for all.”

Fine words indeed. The reality, however, seems to be that the initial reaction to the report has been far from promoting any such reconciliation. The report along with the assorted preceding briefings have in my view increased anger and mistrust. Many have praised the honesty and integrity of Eames Bradley. I have several times demurred from these eulogies and I will again repeat my dissent from this analysis. Was suggesting that the unionist community would be surprised by what Eames Bradley saw of security forces penetration of the paramilitaries likely to help promote reconciliation? Was dismissing the letters objecting to an amnesty a way of promoting trust and reconciliation? Alex Kane has pointed out that this quango (for that is what Eames Bradley is) “.. was set up by the Secretary of State and is co-chaired by someone who was ennobled by the state and by someone else who seems to be a semi-professional member of quangos, boards and consultation groups, it is no big surprise that it appears to be heading in a direction which is already broadly acceptable to government thinking.” The suggestion on BBC Inside Ulster by a spokesperson for the South East Fermanagh Foundation that he saw none of what his group had suggested in the report rings very true and must be set alongside the much vaunted integrity and impartiality of Lord Eames and Dennis Bradley.

Turning to the waffle of the report there are a series of typical offensive nonsense platitudes which we have come to expect from the likes of Eames et al. “A reconciling society takes collective responsibility for the past instead of attributing blame and avoiding responsibility.” This sort of nonsense ignores the fact that in law and in most reasonable people’s minds “society” has nothing to take responsibility for. Individuals committed very wrong acts. Lord Eames should remember that the Bible suggests that everyone is accountable before God for his or her sin, not for other people’s. “The Past” in question here is actually the wrong, immoral and evils acts of the past. Any of us who did not commit crimes here is innocent. As such we have no responsibility for the actions of the past. The failure of Eames Bradley to accept this utterly flaws the morality of the report and it is from that fundamental moral flaw that the idiotic proposals of the report flow. As such this lumping of us all in some sort of collective responsibility must be pointed out as the dishonest lie that it is. If Lord Eames wishes to claim he is responsible for something in the past that is for his conscience: Mine and I submit almost all of ours should be clear on this matter. Let us leave Lord Eames to wallow in the self righteousness of his own self appointed guilt should he choose.

Moving from that flaw we see the erroneous ideas which flow from it. The idea of the £12,000 has received most attention. It seems that the nearest relative is to receive that money. That raises a number of practical issues: what if there is no near relative? How does one define nearest relative? The victim’s relative I know best, whose comments on this were polite (as they always are) but utterly dismissive was “only” the fiancée of a man murdered. As such is she a victim? What does she get? What of partners who were not married? The whole concept is an absolute nonsense. Eames and Bradley in their usual way suggest that this is not compensation but it will be seen as such: since when did the price of a Ford Focus recognise the value of a human life?

Of course the other issues are the idea of there being no hierarchy of grief: well maybe but there is certainly a hierarchy of responsibility. By their insulting Ford Focus of money Eames Bradley are equating Thomas Begley and Lenny Murphy with Kathryn Eakin (aged 9) killed by the Claudy bomb. I suppose at least it updates 30 pieces of silver.

Thinking a little more about the payments, they are “justified” by saying that “A mother’s tears are a mothers tears.” Such an illogical, pernicious and indeed perverse use of emotive language should also be challenged. Imagine the outcry if £12,000 was given to the family of a drunk driver who was killed in an accident: yet his guilt is actually less than that of Begley or Murphy. Indeed even if our hypothetical drunk driver had killed a whole family and himself, his guilt is less. Unlike Begley and Murphy he set out with reckless and unthinking rather than deliberate murderous intent.
I am left wondering if the whole £12,000 is to keep people from looking at other equally pernicious parts of the report.

Moving on we see that Eames Bradley will saddle us with another quango: in this case “The Legacy Commission.” This supposedly august body will be headed by an “International Commissioner” with responsibility for “society issues” and will have a further two commissioners who will have responsibility for “Review and Investigation” and for “Information Recovery and Thematic Cases.” All of these quangocrats will be appointed by the British and Irish governments (albeit with the approval to be sought from the First and Deputy First minister). The “commissioners” appear accountable to practically no one and have considerable powers.

The commission will, it is claimed, attempt to take over the role of the Historical Enquiries Team and will try in the “Review and Investigation Strand” to find evidence to try to prosecute crimes where murder occurred. However, this part of the process is only given five years and Eames Bradley in their weasel way set this part up to fail by stating this strand will be “taking into account the receding possibilities.”

Then we have the “Information Recovery Strand” where the commission will ask the nice criminals and any colluding agents of the state to tell them the truth which as has been pointed out since Gerry Adams cannot even admit he was in the IRA is a unbelievable naivety even from Eames Bradley.

Hidden in that naive nonsense is, however, further if not immorality, then amorality. Eames Bradley duck the issue of an amnesty but again lurking in the platitudes is the recommendation “that the new commission itself make recommendations on how a line might be drawn at the end of its five year mandate so that Northern Ireland may best move to a shared future.” Hence, we see that although Eames Bradley will not admit to it there is a clear timetable for an amnesty after a suitable period of procrastination. I believe this is termed “believable deny-ability”; the problem is that few will forget that this iniquitous proposal was first aired by the ex CoI archbishop.

On the topic of the difficulty of finding criminals, it must be remembered that there have been several murderers brought to justice many years after their crimes. Techniques such as DNA testing, completely unknown 30 years ago have solved many crimes from the 1970s. In most judicial systems it is at least 50 years before people give up on finding a murderer. We must also remember that it is none other than the current Labour government which changed the law to ensure old war crimes from the Second World War could be prosecuted. However, it seems Eames Bradley and no doubt the new commissioners will place a lower value on Northern Irish human life. To be precise the value of a Ford Focus.

Another part of the document I thought worth highlighting is its suggestion that the proposals of the Quigley Hamilton working group on ex terrorists be given the force of law. To quote part of Quigley Hamilton:

2.6“…a conviction arising from the conflict should not bar an applicant from obtaining employment, facilities, and goods or services unless that conviction is manifestly incompatible with the job, facility or service in question. The onus of demonstrating incompatibility would, in the view of the group, rest with whoever was alleging it and the seriousness of the offence would not, per se constitute adequate grounds”
and
2.7 “The report where an applicant is ruled out of consideration at any stage he/she should be given the opportunity to outline his/her perspective before a final decision is taken.”

I await the spectacle of terrorists being allowed to apply for jobs as doctors, lawyers and teachers. Even if that does not occur it is again quite ludicrous to suggest that those who committed these crimes are any the less criminals because they were in a criminal conspiracy of murderers. Paul Butler and Torrens Knight are no less murderers than any other murderers and to suggest that employers be forced to ignore their past is again offensive to the rest of us who did not commit acts of murder.

I am sure many will put their thoughts on this odious document. I will, however, finish by alluding to Eames Bradley’s support for a “Day of Reflection” on the 21st of June. Maybe Lord Eames in particular could remember that most unionists choose to remember the murdered on Remembrance Sunday and on 11th November. Most of us will leave Lord Eames to commemorate the 21st of June with the hippies at Stonehenge. His views are about as sensible. Unfortunately unlike the hippies he is doing people harm. As I have said throughout Eames Bradley is not fit for purpose.

Last time when Eames Bradley was launched it rapidly became clear that its proposals were not acceptable. Whilst the focus was on that Ford Focus the rest of it was at least as immoral if not as eye catchingly repulsive. Again it seems that unelected, unelectable liberal dissident do gooders are trying to float their odious chief religious text, handed down to them from the Olympian heights of self righteousness by their chief priests Eames and Bradley. As such we all whatever our other political allegiances need once again to say Never, Never, Never, never.

It seems that Eames Bradley might be stirring again. As such it is time to put a few more bullets into it.

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  • Sean Og

    A very long post.

  • pippakin

    Excellent post and I agree it had to be said again.

  • Independent Ulster

    Turgon,

    You say,

    “As such it is time to put a few more bullets into it.”

    Agree entirely with the sentiment.

    This will be a test for the Prime Minister of Great Britian and Northern Ireland as pressure will no doubt be applied from Dublin and by those peddaling the moral ambivalence that is the constant fellow traveller of the ‘Peace Process’ to have some official means of confusing right and wrong and state and paramilitary violence.

  • Mainland Ulsterman

    The “pooling of guilt” is an unfair redistribution of responsibility from the guilty to the innocent.

    The mantra that we are all part of the conflict and therefore somehow all equally to blame is obviously completely incoherent as an idea – it makes no sense that I can work out. As such it has precisely zero potential to bring people together.

    We are all individually responsible for our own actions. The peace process brought about the ending of the main terror campaign but at the cost of appearing to give credibility to terrorists’ analysis of the conflict. The necessity of their violence was always a sine qua non of their half-baked theorising, in the face of all the evidence; yet, grateful for these guys talking a version of “peace” they were treated like Hibernian Mandelas. It’s resulted in the disgrace of the Sinn Fein vote, which causes such ongoing resentment today.

    What we need to recover as a society is a sense that we are not merely the playthings of historical forces, but thinking, acting individuals who make good and bad choices. Anyone seeking to wriggle away from that should be called on it now.

    Guilt surely differs by individual, depending on what they have done or supported. Pooling guilt like this just lets the guilty on both sides off. Playing up the role of bigger social forces, or the culture of the times sounds grand and historical and all that. But as any good historian will tell you, it’s total b***ocks – because it pretends human agency does not exist. Pretty much everyone carrying out or supporting violence in the Troubles had other options.

    We all have to take responsibility for what we individually did, there is no other way.

  • Drumlins Rock

    I had almost forgot just how sickening it was, and how insulting many of my Church of Ireland friends found the fact their past archbishop had put his name to it. I had always thought he was descent man, if inclined to sit on the fence a bit too much, but in this report he simply flattened the fence. Sadly as a result I think the chance for dealing with the past comprehensively has been lost and things will continue in a piecemeal fashion for many years to come.

  • frank82

    Turgon, you still haven’t said how you would deal with the past. You clearly don’t like the idea of collective responsibility for what happened and why should you. Each of us needs to account for our own actions and I agree with that. I have no particular interest in seeing Eames Bradley happening. It is just the best proposal that I’ve seen to date and nothing else comes close.

    The fact is that the Troubles didn’t just happen. They had a context. People made decisions. They have to live with those decisions and examine their own consciences. I just feel that the past is the one element that was not dealt with in the GFA. Perhaps it is too difficult. We either accept that the current muddle that exists with various public enquiries, the HET and the usual procedures of law, or that we want something more comprehensive. The consensus from certain people on this forum is to continue with the current muddle. Ultimately the politicians will decide whether they they have the stomach/balls to sort out the mess. I have my doubts and I don’t think the willingness is there to deal with this. So I think you can put away your Kalashnikov, Turgon.

    The IRA are certainly happy with the current muddle. There’s no pressure. It is the equivalent of ‘rust’ getting rid of the guns. It will go away. They’ll only get involved if there is political pressure on Sinn Fein. And Sinn Fein have shown themselves capable of withstanding the clamour for Mary McArdle’s resignation. If we had ‘normal’ politics, she would have resigned.

    I issue the question again. How would you deal with the past? And to give you some parameters. It has to be agreed by Sinn Fein, DUP, the British government and the Irish government.

  • frank82

    Mainland Ulsterman,

    “It’s resulted in the disgrace of the Sinn Fein vote, which causes such ongoing resentment today.”

    This is obviously your opinion, which you are entitled to have. However, I think you need to do some further analysis. Why are the Nationalist community voting for Sinn Fein in large numbers? It is not to do with their desire to support “sectarian killers”, to quote your previous post. Sinn Fein’s vote has historically been lower when the IRA have been on active campaign. IMHO they are voting for Sinn Fein for the simple reason that they feel that Sinn Fein are better negotiators than the SDLP and will represent them better in the Assembly. There are also a lot of people who are totally switched off politics in Northern Ireland and are not voting for anyone.

  • Turgon

    frank82,
    You present a false dichotomy. I do not need either to accept the peace processors ideas as laid out in their chief religous text (Eames Bradley) or propose my own ideas.

    I am a commentator on politics and one with relatively little influence; though I note with great satisfaction that when the intellectual arguments against Eames Bradley wrere wheeled out in the days after its publication some of the ideas I sat up until 3 o’clock putting together were utilised.

    You do not like the current arrangement and suggest that the IRA et al. do like it, as if to make me feel that “something must be done” lest the Provos get their way.

    I can only say that the victims’ relatives I know. That is I actually know: sit in their kitchens drinking tea whilst our respective children play; chat to in the car or at church; have dinner with etc. Those victims: not a scientific survey by any means. Those victims would be much more content with the current process and the HET being given as much time as it needs than anything else.

    Those victims want justice: they want to sit in court and hear a judge pronounce a life sentence on the murderer of their loved one. They know the murderer may only get 2 years but that is what they want.

    Those victims also know that the above is most unlikely. However, they prefer that small chance and indeed the fear the terrorists have that indeed one day in the future they might be prosecuted. They prefer that to an utterly bogus “truth commission” which will achieve nothing.

    The IRA’s involvement with any form of truth has been utterly dishonest. Recently we have had the Smithwick tribunal where the IRA members supposedly gave evidence but not in court; not under cross examination. Rather their self serving version of “truth” was entirely in their own control: and yet you have in other posts lauded their involvement; that is a ludicrous level of naievity.

    We also had Martin McGuinness refuse to answer any questions from Saville due to his oath to a murder gang.

    No most people in Northern Ireland utterly reject the Eames Bradley nonsense and have no desire for bogus truth commissions. Also all the victims I know and the real victims workers I know (not the peace processors) tell me the same: what they have at the moment is actually better than what Eames Bradley proposed. That the current situation is preferable to the victims as compared to Eames Bradley speaks volumes about just how bad it was.

  • Eames Bradley…..it hasnt gone away you know.
    I think its important that those of us from differing perspectives fight it at every opportunity. The people supporting Eames-Bradley Mark II and Mark III think possibly rightly…….that our diverse positions are aour weakness. We must work to ensure that it is a strength.

    As the Conflict Resolution “industry” is perceived as being on the side of the angels we have a long record of being polite when they speak. Rather as if we cant say a bad word to the Dalai Lama.
    But their sheer inability to take a polite “no thanks” as an answer and the increasing tendency to place their opponents on a lower moral plane is irritating me. Their hysteria does their cause no favours.

    I have absolutely no idea whether I have called it right in the post to which “Turgon” refers.
    I DO know that nobody at the Department of Foreign Affairs in Dublin holds my telephone number. And I also know that Im not on first name terms with people who matter at the Northern Ireland Office. But I suspect that Dennis Bradley and some other Conflict Resolutionists could get thru to the right people in London or Dublin. Which makes his call for the British and Irish governments to do something a bit curious.
    It is therefore in the interests of the Awkward Squad (Turgon, Drumlins Rock, Pippakin, myself and others) to cover all the bases.
    As I put it in the other comment……sabotage the train before it leaves the station.
    We all have our own reasons to reject it all.
    My objections are primarily.
    It insults History. And those of us who have studied History have a responsibility. My degree is a contract of sorts.
    Historians have written Victor History. And History has been written for the common national good. It strikes me that there are historians quite prepared to re-write the 20th century History of Ireland north and south for a new common good.
    The better “common good” is served by ignoring our history.

    I have no idea of whether Eames-Bradley Mark II is already a fait accompli. Nobody will bring the likes of ordinary people into that process until the time is right. Probably with reference to the “Royal Visit”, centenaries and what not.
    There is an aspect of “undercover elephant” in all this. The Conflict Resolutionist choreography is so transparent and clumsy.
    I have no idea whether there are already names in the frame…..for membership of a Truth Commission. I have suggested some names to head it on another thread.
    Let me make it clear that SOME of the people to whom I referred obliquely in another thread would be people I regard as people of the highest calibre.
    But the whole project is a nonsense and we must be relentless in attacking it at every opportunity.
    I was greatly hearted by the BritishIrish Studies Group seminar (on Culture) at Ulster Museum a few months ago. The Arts Community want nothing to do with Conflict Resolution.
    The Conflict Resolutionists seem incapable of getting a message.

  • Mr Crumlin

    Im kinda with Frank82 on this one.

    I know what Turgon and FJH etc don’t want – but its easy to say what you are against.

    I have a few simple questions.

    Are you content with how the past is being dealt with now? Inquiries, HET, Police Ombudsman, coroner etc.

    If you are then say so, if not then what is your solution?

    FJH – your call to arms (can I say that now) is curious – are you an anti-conflict resolutionist then?

    I have said it before – the trouble with the past is that it refuses to go away. It is being dealt with on a daily basis in a haphazard way and I believe that it needs to be grasped.

    My favourite people are the ‘draw a line in the sand’ brigade – those people have no clue what that actaully means because it is amnesty by other means.

    If those opposed to Eames Bradley do not want to deal with the past or only want to deal with the past on their terms then this endless merry go round will continue.

    So I challenge the ‘we know best’ and ‘draw a line in the sand’ brigades on slugger to agree between you the best way to deal with the past. Also I’d love to hear what you said to Eames Bradley during their wide ranging consultation process.

    You did take part, didn’t you?

  • Turgon

    Mr. Crumlin,
    As I said to Frank82 I am not obliged to provide an alternative. Eames Bradley tried to put forward an idiotic and immoral plan and were rightly condemned and it was defeated. Now the peace processors are trying again: again we say No.

    As I said imperfect as the current situation is Eames Bradley is regarded by almost everyone as worse. As such we should continue as currently with the HET etc. I see no clamour from anyone other than peace processors and attendant terrorists for any change. I did, however, see an almost universal clamour (save from the groups mentioned above) against Eames Bradley.

    You cannot say that you do not like the current situation and hence, demand we propose another one or else accept Eames Bradley. That is not the way it works.

  • pippakin

    I’m against Eames Bradley because I think it seeks to diminish the pain of the real victims. It says we are all victims and share your pain as though that somehow lessons the pain. It does not.

    It also says we are all guilty and must take our share of the blame thereby lessoning and sanitising the guilt of those who murdered, husbands, wives, children and neighbours.

    Its not the truth, its not even close, so it cannot be a solution. Its nothing more than a scam, a cover up of governmental proportions, but its not right and it does not help.

    I actually think amnesty is inevitable but I don’t want it white washed. If someone is going to get away with murder I want them to know it and to know that everyone else knows it.

  • Mr Crumlin

    Turgon – thats fine – you are content with the current system.

    In that case please no blogs of horror if and when a British soldier/Branch man ends up in the dock while former combatants run this place. That is more likely an outcome under the present state of affairs than anything else.

    My main point is that the past has thrown a few ‘minor’ spokes in wheel up to now but I believe, at some stage, it will cause major ructions. That is why I believe in a comprehensive solution rather than the present piecemeal approach.

    I also think that we have to end this at some stage – but only after it has been comprehensively dealt with. The endless drip drip from the past is unhealthy for society.

    With regards this actual report – I agree that it was roundly rejected but as I have said on other threads I believe this was because most (and I accept you did read it) very few read beyond the headlines created by the £12k payout.

  • Langdale

    Turgon,

    Alex. Kane has an ineresting piece in the News Letter today about a Truth and Reconciliation process—which he seems very much opposed to.

    Langdale

  • Mr Crumlin

    Pippakin – I agree that amnesty is probably inevitable but I do believe victims deserve every piece of justice or truth before that is imposed. I believe that is what Eames Bradley recommended.

    I really dont agree it sanitised murder – I think it argued wider society allowed the situation to develop where murder and mayhem thrived. I dont disagree with that at all. Too many people did stand on the sidelines and said ‘that’s terrible’ but I agree those who killed and plotted have to take individual reponsibility for their actions. Again I believe the recommendations in this report addressed this.

    I’ll give you some examples of what I mean – separated education in our society has always reinforced ‘them and us’. The churches either said you are the true people of the one true church or that they were the spawn of satan – that bred sectarianism. Also politicians flamed the fires of the conflict – those politicians could only do that with a broad level of support. It is often said you get the politicians you deserve – well you also get the society you deserve and no amount of ‘it was their fault and nothing to do with me’ is going to make that better.

    I don’t think accepting that diminishes death or allows killers off scot free. However it does make those in wider society face up to the fact that killers are not just born out of nature, they are nurtured by their surroundings.

  • Mr Crumlin,
    Yes I did make a submission to Eames Bradley.
    I wont make it public again. It is on the Slugger record. No point in giving a good idea to any Conflict Resolutionists who might be reading this.
    What I do want is exactly what we have now…..a fudge, a mess of contradictions which is exactly what I voted for in 1998.
    People allegedly smarter than me voted the same way. And now they claim they didnt realise it wasa fudge.
    If theres knowledge of a crime, report it to the Police.
    If the Police bring it to court….subject to all the growing list of caveats (long time ago, no fair trial possible, not in the public interest, unreliable witnesses, etc etc). Jail those responsible (for two years).
    But surely the Peace Process was about getting people OUT of Jail, not getting them into Jail. Why would Sinn Féin have signed up to that.
    Therefore liberal dissidents who want the Good Friday Agreement rewritten on the basis that they were too stupid to understand it or its obvious implications now decide that the Truth is an essential element.
    No it wasnt. Fudge was the essential element.

    Theres a cliché that there are two versions of History.
    And even two versions of the Truth.
    But theres really only one version of Honesty..the essential approach.
    If people make HONEST attempts to find a historical Truth, I fully support it. What I will not accept and nobody with a genuine concern for the integrity of History (or their personal integrity) should sign up to a process that is pre-designed to establish a 50-50 balance of Right and Wrong.
    Some Historians will do that….if the price is right.
    I have nothing in my Past that I need to deal with. Most people dont.
    And I dont take it well when people say that I “need” to deal with my past. Theres nothing to stop Conflict Resolutionists forming a little Truth Commission of their own….and even listening to witnesses and reaching a conclusion.
    Voyeurism …..”troubles porn” to borrow a phrase from a recent seminar on Conflict Resolution I attended.
    The downside for the Conflict Resolutionists is that they would have to use their own money to finance it. Not mine. Not Drumlins Rocks. Not Turgons. Not even Pippakins who might be subsidising the voyeurism thru her Irish taxes.
    I am now 59 years old and lived all my adult life with the Troubles. And kinda pleased that I dont do so now. And even more pleased that my children and grandchildren dont.
    What I have is much to precious to be tampered with by people with less commitment than I have.
    I have never lived anywhere other than West Belfast, Dungannon (briefly) and small villages near Lough Neagh. I am committed. People who have left here or people who have arrived here lately might feel a certain involvement in our way of Life. I am committed to here and I wont be told that my role is lesser than theirs when it is actually a bigger role.

  • Lionel Hutz

    Personally, I think the Eames Bradley report was criticized too much. It was decent enough effort. Even if only to have a proper conversation about how to deal with our past, the Eames/Bradley report needs to be looked a t agin.

    Personally what I would like to see is an amnesty for all criminal activity linked to the troubles. Truth recovery is one of the most important things. We must encourage honesty.

    Secondly, society needs to ask itself whether it is willing to carry to share the burden of our past. I dont refer to the responsibility for any actions. I refer to the results of those actions.

    The truth is that most people want to forget about the victims and those who lost loved ones. Thats the reaon why we will never have a proper means to deal with our past.

  • Nunoftheabove

    This may already have been explained before but just where did they get the 12 grand number from – the NIO ?

    There won’t be T&R in any true or worthwhile sense and we all know it. No major player wants it, too much to lose. The sectarian cartel can’t stomach it, albeit for different reasons, but both need the political stability it could threaten. Neither state wants it nor is in any position to play a neutral role within it. To the contrary.

    It’s down to money, frankly. They could usefully get both states to kick in a decent sum and force Stormont to re-allocate budgets to pay for the rest of it out of northern tax receipts, that’d force a few hands and focus attention on some agreed concept of fairness, considering the trifling issue of defining victimhood. Get some obscure UN figure to oversee the PR and governance and Bob is, as it were, your late uncle.

  • Mr Crumlin

    FJH – I see the GFA not as a fudge but an agreement of the possible at that time – it was not possible to confront the past in 1998. That was the central part of the process – do what we can do today and put off what we cannot until tomorrow.

    I just happen to believe we can no longer put of the past. I believe the past ‘fudge’ as you describe it has the potential to seriously damage the present.

    In a few months we could be looking at former members of the British Army being charged for their roles on Bloody Sunday – how would the unionist community react? If they aren’t charged – that copperfastens the view that amnesty for untouchables is at play.

    I believe the past has a toxicity that needs to be dealt with in a safe and secure environment. And until someone does as much work on this issue as Eames and Bradley then I will continue to defend it as a report worthy of careful consideration.

    I am a child of the troubles – knowing nothing else for the first 22 years of my life. I too lived all of those 22 years in west belfast and I too am glad my children are growing up in a completely different country.

  • Mr Crumlin

    Noneoftheabove.

    With respect you are missing the point – the past is already being dealt with in a totally haphazard way. Through the HET, coroners, criminal cases review team, police ombudsman etc etc etc.

    On the £12k – I think it was based on a similiar scheme in the south. However I think we would all agree that that recommendation is as dead as the monty python parrot.

  • Nunoftheabove

    Mr Crumlin

    Dealt with ? To the extent that the reason/s for – causes of, even – conflict are not agreed to even by the mainstream parties or the governments ? No uniformity in how perpetration or victimhood is addressed, judicially or otherwise ? No consensus on what the current concoluted political structures represent any form of partial solution to or for ? Haphard doesn’t cover the half of it. There is yet to be even an attempt at the state level of drafting a definition of what the problem is let alone what any partial solution might need to look like.

    Turgon seems persuaded that the only problem worth discussing or that ever existed in the first place is that some bad chaps murdered other perfectly nice chaps and if only they’d be punished and the nice chaps treated sweetly accordingly then we could get back to the amiable state of affairs we had before the bad chaps work up one day and decided to start being bad.

  • Mr Crumlin

    Nunoftheabove – I may have misunderstood where you were coming from. I think I agree with what you are saying!!

    I have a lot of time for Turgon – I find his posts interesting. However I do believe he has a vested interest in not dealing with the past in a complete way – something that you touch on in your post above.

    I would take it one step further – I believe the TUV would be delighted to see a British soldier charged under the current haphazard approach – this would allow them to be even more outraged at everything than they already are.

  • Nunoftheabove

    Mr Crumlin

    That may well be the sort of thing it takes to bring it on with this argument however the DUP will be guarding their flank on it and can rely on SF to say one thing and do the oppositie accordingly.

  • Turgon

    Mr Crumlin,
    You are relatively new to commenting so I will give you the benefit of the doubt. Although the above post is one of which I am very proud, the one I think was my best was on Saville. At the end of it I argue for prosecutions if appropriate of British soldiers: not for politically expedient reasons, certainly not for party political reasons, I have never asked TUV permission for anything I have written. The reason I made that call is justice which I regard as vitally important.

    Read it and it may help you understand my attitude to all those who committed crimes here.

  • Mainland Ulsterman

    frank82
    Re disgrace of Sinn Fein voting: you can analyse as deeply as you like, it’s hard to get away from the basic fact of voting for them. You say:
    “It is not to do with their desire to support “sectarian killers”, to quote your previous post.”
    Whether they meant to or not, they have in face voted for sectarian killers – unapologetic ones at that.
    “Sinn Fein’s vote has historically been lower when the IRA have been on active campaign.”
    Yes, but the haste with which people flocked to their banner was unseemly to say the least. To paraphrase Hamlet, the leftovers from the funeral buffet of the last IRA victim could have been used again at the wedding feast for SF and their new-found fans.
    “IMHO they are voting for Sinn Fein for the simple reason that they feel that Sinn Fein are better negotiators than the SDLP and will represent them better in the Assembly.”
    I think you’re completely right, that is why people are voting for them – completely ignoring who these people are and what they have done to the rest of society. That is the disgrace.

  • Mainland Ulsterman

    Lionel,
    I see the need to get the truth out – but are you not sceptical of what kind of truth we will ever get from organisations like the UFF and the IRA? I’m trying to envisage what they might reveal that would be worth any further amnesty.

    We’ve already let a lot of these guys out of prison early, for no apparent reason other than that they demanded it as a price for stopping killing us. Please, no more concessions that give these fools the impression they were something other than murderous inadequates. They have been encouraged for too long to think otherwise and their lionisation has deepened the wounds in NI society.

    People would actually be better able to get along together across the communities if the killers did the right thing and sloped off to quiet retirements and played no further part in public life. But it’s up to those who have supported them in one way or another to catch themselves on and show some backbone. None of us were brought up in Nazi Germany, we all had a basic moral education from home and school.

    We just need to collectively close ranks now on anyone who is still trying to justify Troubles terrorism of any kind, or indeed crimes by the security force members (though on a much smaller scale of course). Do this and we will have taken a huge step forward. Even deludoids still insisting it was a “war” have to accept the Geneva Conventions would then apply. So really a very big majority of people should be able to agree and come together on this.

  • Gingray

    @ Turgon
    Excellent post, I still find it hard to understand why Eames Bradley thought this was even a runner. Not many from either community support it, so with luck it wont move any further.

    In regards your comments about Bloody Sunday and prosecutions, I am still curious to get your opinion about unionist politicians who worked with the UDA and UVF during the UWC strike – should they be named and shamed today? Personally I am against this, but I find it difficult to get any unionist to comment on it.

    @ Mainland Ulsterman
    Personally I see no disgrace in voting for Sinn Fein – even knowing they have former terrorists running the organisation. Defeated terrorists at that. There is the fact that they are better at doing what they say they will do, which is what we elect politicians to do. Unionism had plenty of chances to do the right thing by nationalists before the troubles, missed opportunities, and if that had happened I think more catholics would be pro union, and Sinn Fein would be an party of no consequence.

    But that chance was gone, and within the next 20 years Sinn Fein will be the only nationalist party in the north and on course to do an SNP.

  • tacapall

    “Read it and it may help you understand my attitude to all those who committed crimes here”.

    It depends on who defines “Crime” Turgon You have no issue when its the RUC Special Branch using murder to stop murder via their use of agents. Would you consider those agents of the state who were murdered, would you consider them victims.

  • Independent Ulster

    fitzjameshorse1745,

    You say,

    “Fudge was the essential element.”

    Can we then take it you were against the Saville enquiry, or is ‘fudge’ just something for Unionists to swallow?

    The Peace Process or the Appeasement Process as most Unionists would see it allowed unrepentant terrorists out of jail and into government, to select the Attorney General and run the Police force.

    There is now no incentive for SF/IRA to admit its campaign was wrong and no point in Unionists having an Eames Bradley approach unless they do.

  • as dead as the monty python parrot

    More of a horse than a parrot as in flogging (selling) a dead horse.

  • Lionel Hutz

    Lionel,
    I see the need to get the truth out – but are you not sceptical of what kind of truth we will ever get from organisations like the UFF and the IRA? I’m trying to envisage what they might reveal that would be worth any further amnesty.

    We’ve already let a lot of these guys out of prison early, for no apparent reason other than that they demanded it as a price for stopping killing us. Please, no more concessions that give these fools the impression they were something other than murderous inadequates. They have been encouraged for too long to think otherwise and their lionisation has deepened the wounds in NI society.

    People would actually be better able to get along together across the communities if the killers did the right thing and sloped off to quiet retirements and played no further part in public life. But it’s up to those who have supported them in one way or another to catch themselves on and show some backbone. None of us were brought up in Nazi Germany, we all had a basic moral education from home and school.

    We just need to collectively close ranks now on anyone who is still trying to justify Troubles terrorism of any kind, or indeed crimes by the security force members (though on a much smaller scale of course). Do this and we will have taken a huge step forward. Even deludoids still insisting it was a “war” have to accept the Geneva Conventions would then apply. So really a very big majority of people should be able to agree and come together on this.

    ————————————————-

    I would not disagree with anything you say.

    I also believe that that any account we get from these people will be peppered with lies. However, I also think that the accounts would allow us to find the truth. And although these people are liars, I believe that if you all the accounts, you would be able to scrutinize them all, cross -reference and cross-examine and get something close to truth.

    I could do it. Seeing as legal aid will be drying up, I’ll need a new job!

  • nightrider

    Soldiers cannot be prosecuted because the Saville Report never accused them of any crime. It has the same legal status as Widgery.
    The PPC could, theoretically, put Lt Col Wilford and support company in the dock for aesetic reasons. No chance of any convictons, unless Machine Gun McGuinness comes clean. And he in the dock before his Joanne Mathers trial? No chance.
    Like FJH stated, creative ambiguity. Like old episodes of the Sweeney, sometimes the criminals got away with it. So it goes.

  • Unlawful killing is a crime; either murder, or manslaughter or infanticide.

  • “Independent Ulster”
    I am no big fan of reports like the Saville Report. Or Claudy. Or any other.
    And youre right…….many unionists (I cant quantify it as “most”) see the Peace Process/Good Friday Agreement in exactly the terms you describe.
    And also true that most nationalists/republicans have absolutely no problem with it.

  • Interesting that the apologists for Conflict Resolution are now talking about an “international” Commission.
    They are up to something…..

  • Independent Ulster

    fitzjameshorse1745

    You say

    ‘I am no big fan of reports like the Saville Report’

    A little bit of ‘fudge’ there also. That is not quite the same thing as saying you disagree with Saville.

    The problem with Saville is that is was moral cherry picking from the past to appease Republicans and Finucane will be more of the same.

    The Westminster government needs to make it clear to SF/IRA that there will be no more enquiries until there is ‘truth recovery’ from those who did most of the illegal killing, namely themselves.

  • Independent Ulster

    fitzjameshorse1745

    Just to clarify above remarks.

    A little bit of ‘fudge’ there also. That is not quite the same thing as saying you disagreed with the Saville enquiry being set up.

  • Nunoftheabove

    Independent Ulster

    SF may well be influencing whether some of these investigations and inquiries are happening or not. That’s their job as public representatives where their constituents – particularly non-combatant civilian constituents – have been killed by the state and their deaths have either not been investigated, or investigated poorly, partially, dishonestly or unfairly etc. The same ought to be true of any representative of any party anywhere in similar circumstances.

    In relation to the deaths of people killed by paramilitaries, I do wish some (particularly unionists) who insist on some form of justice for those people (whatever that means) would bring themselves to admit that in some cases those deaths have been poorly investigated by the forces of the state, state forces they appear entirely unwilling to criticize in virtually any circumstances.

  • Independent Ulster

    Nunoftheabove,

    You say,

    ‘I do wish some (particularly unionists) who insist on some form of justice for those people (whatever that means) would bring themselves to admit that in some cases those deaths have been poorly investigated by the forces of the state, state forces they appear entirely unwilling to criticize in virtually any circumstances.’

    This a separate issue. For the record, I agree with prosecution for law breaking irrespective of the source, state or otherwise.

    Earlier you said,

    ‘It’s down to money, frankly’

    Unionists will never stomach or agree to any process that seeks to equate or minimise the differences between the actions of the state in defendng itself against a terrorist campaign and the actions of the terrorists themselves in attacking the state and any attempt by the Westminster government in conjunction with the Southern government, or the UN or the EU to impose such a system would just add insult to injury.

  • vanhelsing

    Turgon,

    Great work. I didn’t need to read past the first paragraph,

    “When I went trekking in Africa one summer with my sister I remember meeting a game warden with a Kalashnikov assault rifle in the Masai Mara. I enquired whether it was to stop poachers. He said no it was really for crocodiles and explained that if one tries to attack you the only solution is to keep shooting it until it stops moving. Then if there is any sign of life keep firing at it. ”

    Of course I then read the rest of the post.

    See above for Eames / Bradley.

    Fitz, nice one,

    “If people make HONEST attempts to find a historical Truth, I fully support it. What I will not accept and nobody with a genuine concern for the integrity of History (or their personal integrity) should sign up to a process that is pre-designed to establish a 50-50 balance of Right and Wrong”

    I for one will be getting my Kalashnikov ready for the croc,

    VH

  • Independent Ulster.
    If you quote me ….do the whole quote.
    I am not a big fan of reports like the Saville Report or…..Claudy.
    There was no fudge there. It was much more even handed than you believe.
    Neither Report changed the Truth of what happened in 1972. They only changed or addd to an “official History” which any self respecting Historian did not need.
    I was neutral on their setting up..which was the right stance as they were pre-ordained to happen.
    Had I known the cost I would have been against.
    Lawyers were enriched. Journalists too.
    And a Truth Commission will merely do the same. Enrich people who dont need enriched.

  • Independent Ulster

    fitzjameshorse1745,

    We cant say that SF/IRAs history is that of the ‘victors’ as their terrorist campaign clearly failed to meet its objectives but their history has been unduly reinforced and elevated by the very fact of putting them into government and describing what they would call the ‘post conflict’ situation as a Peace Process.

    You say,

    ‘Had I known the cost I would have been against.’

    Unionists are left in the situation of having to ‘shoot’ any potential ‘truth recovery’ on sight, not because of the ‘cost’ but becuase it would be at least be partially designed to further elevate and reinforce the perverted Provo history which pervades the Peace/Appeasment Process.

  • Independent Ulster …you are not really reading me correctly.
    Victors get to write History….of WW1, WW2, American Civil War etc. Conflicts are “resolved” by Victory.
    Nobody won our little squabble despite the spin that you (one way) or Sinn Féin (another way) put on it. There was no “resolution” to the Conflict.
    Into this vaccuum comes the Conflict Resolutionist who wants a synthetic resolution to an unresolved conflict. Ethical historians need to resist it.
    As do “ordinary” people.

    Increasingly “Conflict Resolution” appears like those daytime advertisements on TV.
    “Have you been injured at work…..”?
    “where theres blame, theres a claim”

    Fall off a ladder at work and you deserve a wee touch.
    But the lawyers get their cut.
    Be in no doubt that unethical historians and some “Conflict Resolutionists” know a nice little earner when they see one.

  • and by the way its not just unionists who want to “shoot” this nonsense on sight. Im no unionist and Id be willing to metaphorically sabotage the metaphorical Peace Gravy Train before it leaves the Station.

  • Mr Crumlin

    It amazes me that people are content to allow the past to hang over this society for the next 25 years.

    This drip drip of information reminds me of a small water leak – on its own each drip is harmless but over time it will corrode everything in sight.

    Fitz – I would accept your argument if there was this imaginery ‘line in the sand’ but the past is all over the place – HET, Criminal review cases, police ombudsman, coroners, inquiries, stand alone storytelling and momument building, victims commission – now the attorney general is getting involved.

    So then we bite the bullet (so to speak)? Declare an amnesty for the Provos, UVF/UDA, INLA, British Army and RUC etc etc and be honest (you like honesty) with the victims. Tell them that they were victimised twice and screwed as part of the political process because society either didnt care enough or couldnt agree on how to deal with the past. But in the meantime the criminal justice gravy train (you like those too) keeps trundling along without raising its head on how it will effect wider society.

    Or we could make one final push to put the ghosts of the past to rest – tell victims if a conviction was possible – if not, then offer to get as much info as possible. If the IRA refuse to play ball, name and shame them. I think the lobby from victims groups in republican areas would be too loud for the IRA to duck the issue.

    You call them ‘conflict resolutionists’ as if that is a term of derision – whats wrong with resolving conflict? I thank God we had such people in our midst – those who talked to the paramilitaries when it was unfashionable. Remember the Hume/Adams talks were lambasted by all – thank God they didnt listen to the self righteous.

    Turgon – I did read your Saville post. I look forward to the unequivocal TUV press release welcoming any arrests of British soldiers.

  • Thats exactly the case.
    Victims (and of course just getting people to agree on a definition would be an achievement) have sufferered first time round.
    Second time round we allowed them to suffer by putting our needs (the Process) ahead of theirs. Some were quite willing (credit to them). Others were less willing.
    Conflict Resolutionists are basically asking them to suffer again….its not necessarily the case that every victim wants to go thru this farce…….we shouldnt assume that all 4,000 victims (which is about 50,000 in terms of close family) are all the same………some dont want to be screwed again for the voyeuristic pleasure of Conflict Resolutionists. And their enrichment.

  • Mr Crumlin

    Fitz

    isnt that exactly the point – its about choices. But presently you dont have a choice – under some sort of commission you would.

    I do not doubt your genuine feelings on this but I honestly believe that the past is far from being a benign influence and that the day will come when it shatters the process. And that will not be the fault of your ‘conflict resolutionists’.

  • Independent Ulster

    Mr Crumlin,

    You say,

    “This drip drip of information reminds me of a small water leak – on its own each drip is harmless but over time it will corrode everything in sight.”

    It is far from an ideal place we are currently in but what would be significantly worse is a process that sought to give ‘parity of esteem’ to terrorists with those who are their victims or who fought against them.

    That is surely the SF/IRA gameplan and as the largest Nationalist party they would have significant input (overt or covert) in the design of any process.

    Most of the ‘corrosion’ has already taken place, have a look at the what passes for a system of government at Stormont and the SF appointments that flow from it.

  • anne warren

    here is the NI Govt’s summary of the responses to the eames bradley report together with a succinct summary of the recommendations.
    http://www.nio.gov.uk/summary_responses_to_cgp_consultation.pdf

    72 groups/associations responded (named at end of report) and 174 individuals (anonymity maintained at end of report)

    Responses by the anonymous individuals were almost unanimous in rejecting proposals i.e.. figures around 165/174 for example.

    Contrary to what is maintained, several recommendations were accepted by a majority of groups/associations and several others came close to a 50/50 balance with a majority of 1 or 2 either way. Others were clearly rejected.

    So responses from groups/associations provide some leeway for re-examining some proposals
    Since the members of 72 groups/associations are most probably greater in number than 174 individuals there appears to be a democratic basis for re-assessing the feasibility of some proposals, maybe on the basis of another consultation. Maturity/detachment gained with the passage of time may moderate attitudes.

    I don’t see what harm that would do. It could possibly do some good.

  • Anne,

    I don’t think so; it’s dead and best forgotten. As someone else said (approx), maybe another thread, we deal with the past by looking to the future.

  • Mr Crumlin

    Independent Ulster

    Martin McGuinness is the joint first Minister – what more evidence of parity of esteem do you need?

    However I am one of the few republicans who would agree that the IRA has serious and uncomfortable questions to answer on what it did e.g. to the rural border protestant communities. Eames Bradley highlighted that as one area that needs examined.

    On a separate point I take issue with your parity of esteem argument. I make an assumption – if Im wrong I apologise – that you believe that the security forces were the good guys and the IRA the bad (the UVF and UDA??). While this is a very blinkered view in my opinion I assume you base this on the statistics of deaths etc – that the IRA were responsible for half the deaths in the Troubles – again a fact highlighted in Eames Bradley.

  • Independent Ulster

    Mr Crumlin,

    You say,

    “the IRA has serious and uncomfortable questions to answer ”

    I have a serious and uncomfortable (for Nationalists) statement to make, that the IRA terrorist campaign was completly wrong and completely without justifcation.

    The arny and the police were the ‘good guys’ and the paramilitaries were the ‘bad guys’. Some of the good guys behaved like bad guys and should be punished for doing so.

    As a ‘Republican’ I suspect your world is not as morally clear as that? If I am wrong I apologise.

    Any ‘truth recovery’ with SF input (covert or overt) will seek to blur the distinction between those who fought terrorism and those who were terrorists and will be primarily an exercise in trying to make the good guys look bad and the bad guys look good.

    Most Nationalists who vote, given that they vote for SF, would appear to agree to agree with this blurring though part of the blame for this lies with the Westminster government (even though the Provos were ‘militarily’ beaten and on their last legs) by deciding to their eternal shame that they were fit for government.

    Bad as the current situation is, it would be much much worse if we had to endure SF/IRA parading themselves as in any way equivalent to the police and army and that is exactly what we would have in any ‘truth recovery’ designed by Provos or Provo (overt or covert) symathisers.

  • Mr Crumlin

    I accept that is your viewpoint and probably you believe that from your experiences.

    My experiences lead me to a completely opposing viewpoint. I believe the RUC was a blatantly sectarian organisation and the British Army imposed the policies of whitehall which included killing people.

    Now you may feel somehow morally superior to me but that is a problem in itself – you’re not – you just have your truth which you hold dear. You probably justify killing when it suits you as I dont get the vibe that you are some sort of pacifist e.g. you probably have no problem with Loughgall but you may be less forthright about bloody sunday.

    Well for opposing reasons I had no problem with Warrenpoint but totally condemn Enniskillen as wrong.