Terrorists: the good, the bad and the ignored

I blogged my views about Gusty Spence previously. However, Mr. Spence’s death also raises the issue of how ex-terrorists (or ex-combatants for those who prefer the term: exactly how the actions committed terrorists could be called combat is bizarre, but I digress) are viewed especially by the media. The way in which the media views ex paramilitaries differs radically between different individuals and groups but there is a certain common thread especially amongst what might be termed the “establishment media” of much of the BBC, UTV and Belfast Telegraph.

At one extreme we have “bad terrorists”

“Bad” Terrorists
Bad terrorists are largely loyalists and dissident republicans. They are predominantly the terrorists who either failed to declare ceasefires or else have continue some form of criminality despite stopping murdering members of the other community. As such bad terrorists include the likes of the Orange Volunteers (in so much as they actually exist). However, other bad terrorists include the likes of Torrens Knight who was gaoled for criminal activities after his release. Another bad terrorist is of course Michael Stone who tried to disrupt the reopening of Stormont by trying to kill Gerry Adams and Martin McGuinness in hand to hand combat (again an interesting use by Stone of the term combat as he has knives and bombs and Adams and McGuinness would have had pens at most – and Gerry’s beard). The only thing more farcical than his plan was his subsequent defence that he was actually taking part in performance art. Another clearly bad terrorist is Johnny Adair who has been safely disposed of to the mainland where he now only visits us in the form of odd comments in Sunday tabloids during the silly season: even then only if there are no good sex scandals that week to titillate the readership.

Bad republican terrorists are easy to spot: they are the ones still allegedly involved in terrorism such as the assorted people currently facing trial for the recent terrorist attacks, those who planted the Omagh bomb and such like.

In the middle we have a large group of fairly good terrorists:

“Fairly Good” Terrorists

Fairly good terrorists are essentially all of the IRA. They are bad because they killed people but good because they stopped and also because they are vital to the process. Within the group of fairly good terrorists there are, however, gradations. At the bad extreme we have people who deny that they ever were in the IRA yet have been repeatedly implicated in specific terrorist acts. Others who are quite bad fairly good terrorists are the ones who are perceived to have done especially well from the peace process whilst being minimally repentant about their crimes: Mary McArdle would be a classic example. Less political but also bad would be the assorted South Armagh republican leaders who now seem to spend much of their time on their diesel laundering activities. Moving to other members of the Sinn Fein leadership we have quite good fairly good terrorists. Martin McGuinness would be a good example. Prior to him standing to be President of the RoI he was even better than he now is but standing for the RoI presidency made him more bad and allowed the bringing back up of the murders of Frank Hegarty and the like. Republican terrorists who admit taking part in violence (but obviously not their guilt) become even more close to good terrorists: Gerry Kelly is now a cuddly and charming person which is just lovely for all of us.

“Good” Terrorists

A few republicans manage to be good terrorists. They are the ones who denounce the Sinn Fein leadership but also the dissidents and preferably can string sentences together promoting socialism or other worthy causes. Brendan Hughes is an example though to be fair his beyond the grave coherent sentences are usually written by someone else. Anthony McIntyre is a good not dead republican terrorist. His ability to write well combined with his opposition to the current Sinn Fein position and even his opposition to religion all make him a truly good terrorist.

However, the main good terrorists are the loyalists. No loyalist terrorist is as good as the late David Ervine (peace be upon him). The bold Ervine by supporting the peace process; castigating unionist leaders with borderline libel and using big words has become elevated both in life and in death to the status of truly good terrorist. This has allowed ignoring of unfortunate comments such as calling murdering Catholics “returning the serve” and proudly telling people he had not forgotten how to make bombs. Other nearly as good terrorists include Jackie McDonald who as leader of the “good” UDA is just back from the USA and sadly was prevented by less good loyalist terrorists from attending the commemoration of James Connolly in Belfast. How one can be called by all and sundry the leader of a proscribed organisation yet not arrested has always been a mystery to me but again I digress.


Ignored Terrorists

All these people of course were involved in the criminality which resulted in the deaths of 3500 people here and yet none seem to have any true remorse or willingness to turn completely away from their criminality.

There are some ex-terrorists who indeed seem to be completely repentant and remorseful. The ones I know of have mainly “taken religion”, “got saved” or whatever else one wants to call it. Whether or not they have become involved in religion is not, however, the primary unifying characteristic of such people: religion is only one way by which people can turn away from their previous criminality. Rather it is the fact that they have completely divorced themselves from criminality and make absolutely no attempt to profit financially, in terms of publicity, prestige or any other way from their previous criminality. Indeed such people are embarrassed by the actions of their past; appalled that they did those things and want nothing to do with their old life. These ex prisoners are largely ignored by the media, the peace processors etc. and many are in fairly poorly paid, or no employment with few prospects. That is probably fair enough in view of the criminality they have been involved in.

For better or for worse society here decided to create the fiction that some of those who committed amongst the most foul crimes in western Europe in the last sixty years were somehow not responsible for their actions; or that what we had here was a war (though without war crimes prosecutions). For better or for worse the assorted criminals were released from gaol decades before their sentences required. The fiction was created that murdering a person for reasons of bigotry (surely a hate crime?) was less important than murdering one for money, sex or whatever. All that was promoted by the peace processors, the media and many others. Now they promote some of the criminals as “good”, castigate others as “bad” and ignore those who just might think what they did was wicked unjustified and would rather try to get on with their lives. The moral ambiguity and simultaneous self righteousness of many who promote “the peace process” has not gone away you know.

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  • TwilightoftheProds

    You’ve left out an important category- ‘historical’. What’s your take on those who armed, used violence, threat of violence etc in decades past? They often appear as republican or loyalist icons of political virtue.

  • lamhdearg

    “The moral ambiguity and simultaneous self righteousness of many who promote “the peace process” has not gone away you know.”, indeed, what has gone away, in the main, is the killings. i voted no (and still would again), and i would have preferred it, if martin and all would have done time for directing terrorists in there actions, but the long term roll he and the good/not so bad terrorists played (i believe they where played/steered), has stopped the killing (in the main) and to the people that steered the good terrorists away from the killing i say thank you.

  • Nunoftheabove

    “…society here decided to create the fiction that …”

    Oh it did, huh ? When did this happen ? Who’s part of the society in your head and who’s not part of it ?

  • Mainland Ulsterman

    Turgon, great post that shows the adjustment now needed in the telling of the Troubles story, which has been neglected by the sane middle and seized by people who have lost their moral marbles

  • I have no problem using the words “terrorist” and “ex-terrorist”.
    Turgon gives a fairly accurate if personalised account. I would not wish to quibble but rather go further.
    The Media (including the southern media) have lionised some terrorists….oops ex-terrorists……for their courage, vision, blah blah blah but theres always been a curious appraisal.
    Gerry Adams has never been fully “accepted”.
    Martin McGuinness more or less has…..until he “moved” into the South.
    In fairness its hard to ignore the fact that Sinn Féin is the party which most Catholics/Nationalists/Republicans vote for…..frankly retrspective acceptance of Terror and an acknowledgement they are more effective in 2011 than any rival.
    But Turgon leaves out the Official IRA……which (altogether now!) never actually existed at all. A terrorist organisation which never actually existed is obviously the best kinda terrorist organisation.
    Obviously those ex-terrorists and fellow travellers from organisations which “are close to the thinking of…….” who turn their hands to writing are “good”.
    In my own humble opinion the quality of their writing suggests that they are to journalism what Michael Stone is to Art.
    Only in our Society could Michael Stone be accepted as an “artist”.
    And to refer to a Speaker on Reconciliation and Culture……….only our society could accept others in the “play wot I wrote category”.
    Obviously people have favourite terrorists.
    David Ervine certainly.
    But theres that other rent a quote ex IRA man who is a big hero with the Tory Right and David Trimble. Cant remember his name and Im too lazy to look it up.
    Sooner or later we have to accept the ex-terrorists in our midst and even in government if enough people vote for them. It doesnt mean that we have to forget they were terrorists.
    I wouldnt want to be in the same position as I was in the mid 1970s when we had to send a colleague on a wild goose chase “out of town” because some Japanese visitors were expected. Apparently he had bad memories of them in the POW camp. And I wont even mention the day that I bought a Honda in Donegall Pass.
    When does it stop being “too soon”?
    I dont know. Too soon for some things maybe. And long past time for other things.

    Yet the point that Turgon makes is essentially right. We live among ex-terrorists. Some are proclaimed as “good” by the Media. Others demonised.
    Some are electorally accepted. Some will never be.
    But the publics perception seems more……consistent.

  • BluesJazz

    Turgon, in which category would you place Pastor Kenny McClinton?

    http://www.ulsterchristians.org/kenny.asp

  • Jimmy Sands

    I believe there is a moral distinction to be made between the repentant and the merely retired.

  • sherdy

    Turgon, as usual you are selective in the term ‘terrorist’. You seem to have completely ignored the members of the British army, RUC, UDR, and previously the B Specials who, with impunity,terrorised and murdered numerous civilians. The sectarian mote in your eye is very noticeable.

  • Nunoftheabove

    Jimmy Sands

    Even if your repetence is only that you, as it were, upset god as opposed to, say offended human morality ?

  • Jimmy,

    How do you distinguish between the two? Do you have some sort of crystal ball, flip a coin, or what?

  • HeinzGuderian

    Some express heartfelt sorrow,Joe.
    Some don’t.

  • Mainland Ulsterman

    I’m all for letting people move on after they’ve done their time in prison. But you would hope that the ex terrorists would have the decency to avoid public life – really they have no place in it. And like Turgon I would include in that even repentant terrorists. Fine, you’ve come to understand what you did – so you’ll understand why your presence in public life or any kind of community leadership would not be appropriate.

    I also think Loyalists have been played by some of the smarter Republican apologists, like the wrongly-feted Mary McAleese. Their sanitisation of loyalists like Jackie McDonald is an attempt to undermine the people who bother them most: non-violent, liberal unionists. Legitimising Loyalists makes decent unionists look silly; the tactic is not lost on us and I know is deeply resented by many unionists. Bridge-building my a***.

    At times it seems like you count for less if you had no involvement in the violence.

  • Wednesday

    You left out a category: “Non-terrorists”. These are people whose past in armed groups simply never happened. Most of them are now associated with the Labour Party, eg Proinsias de Rossa.

  • Congal Claen

    How many people would be happy with ex or repentant paedo teachers teaching their children?

    The same should apply to ex or repentant terrorists and their abuse of politics. They should have nothing to do with it. And they shouldn’t need to be told…

  • galloglaigh

    Sherdy

    That’s what I was thinking too. As I read, and read on, I was expecting to see those groups being added to Turgon’s list (I thought for once Turgon would be fair – some chance). But of course Turgon can’t see the wood for the trees. Fortunately for the rest of us, who do see the wood, the Crown Forces’ legacy will be written, and rightly so, on the basis of their victims stories, their crimes, and their master’s cover up, given through impunity and a blind eye being turned on their terror campaign in Ireland.

    They can no longer be seen as peacekeepers – more sectarian hoods in under the cloak of the Crown. The state’s failure to keep them under control will be their legacy in the coming decades and centuries. They are also under Turgon’s heading of ‘Bad terrorists’.

  • Jimmy Sands

    You left out a category: “Non-terrorists”. These are people whose past in armed groups simply never happened. Most of them are now associated with the Labour Party, eg Proinsias de Rossa.

    Whenever chuckies play whataboutery, it’s invariably only a matter of time before Proinsias gets an airing. It’s not uncommon anywhere in the world for young boys to play soldiers. It’s the ones who fail to grow out of it I would suggest are the cause for concern.

  • Stephen Blacker

    This thread is obviously a personal view expressed by Turgon and it comes across as a very simplistic vision of Northern Ireland’s “Troubles” and those who contributed to the murder and mayhem.

    Terrorism is a nasty way of fighting for what you believe in, hiding behind communities and drawing those same communities into the conflict as actions start to take on a life of their own. The GFA cannot be lauded as brilliant but it was the most inclusive agreement in town and a good starting point to heal wounds and give confidence and build trust.

    The “Fairly Good” Terrorist section of this thread really means nothing (except for the Turgon thinking public) because about two thirds of the nationalist / republican voters elect Sinn Fein into office and that party are very happy with the actions carried out by the PIRA and say so at every opportunity. So the PIRA are not terrorists to these voters but Freedom Fighters and always will be.

    The “Good” Terrorist section mentions the Late David Ervine a person in a lot of the both communities eyes was a person of peace who was a terrorist. The Late David Ervine was replying honestly when he said it was “returning the serve” after being asked about the Dublin / Monaghan bombings and how the loyalist community saw it. “Castigating unionist leaders with borderline libel” maybe the reason why the Late David Ervine was not challenged in court speaks louder than his comments ever did.

    I dont think there is a good or bad terrorist, a terrorist is what it says on the tin but I do believe people can change. Lots of people in Northern Ireland have “labels” and will never erase it but their words and deeds will show that they are genuine.

  • Turgon

    Stephen Blacker,
    “Terrorism is a nasty way of fighting for what you believe in”

    Well that is one description. Most would regard it as criminality pure and simple. What most loyalist and republican terrorists seem to have believed in was murdering their fellow citizens from a warped and perverted view of national identity / basic bigotry. Furthermore the “fighting” performed by the vast majority of republican terrorists and all the loyalists actually involved murdering defenceless people. That is not fighting: it is murder.

    “maybe the reason why the Late David Ervine was not challenged in court speaks louder than his comments ever did.”

    Nonsense the reason he was never legally challenged over his comments was that he never named any names. Libel cannot be against a group only aganist an individual. Ervine was too much the coward to name any individuals. Then again as a terrorist he had a good track record as both a liar and a coward.

  • Wednesday

    Congratulations Jimmy Sands, I think you’ve just proved Turgon’s point.

  • Stephen Blacker

    Turgon,

    As I stated in my first post it is the view of our “Troubles” according to yourself that is the bases of this thread but the realities and complexities of the two main communities puts a lot of grey into the black and white world you paint.

    You will not get any arguments from me when you state the killings during the “Troubles” was murder but governments and peace builders had to deal with the divided society Northern Ireland had become.

    Maybe the reason the Late David Ervine never named people was because proof would have needed to back up his comments. When it comes to main stream unionists and the security forces you do seem to hide your head in the sand.

  • Turgon

    Stephen Blacker,
    “Maybe the reason the Late David Ervine never named people was because proof would have needed to back up his comments.”

    I presume you mean proof would have been needed. Now if Ervine had no proof then it is more than possible he was lying. He had after all a history of lying and much worse.

    Hence, you want us to believe a convicted criminal who did not even have the courage to name whom he meant and you yourself even admit there was no proof. That must be amongst the weakest arguments I have ever read on slugger.

    Incidentally you have agreed that the reason he was never taken to court for lible was not the truth of his claims but the fact that he never named any names. Coward and liar: pretty much sums Ervine up except loathsome criminal bigot needs to be in there as well.

  • Decimus

    Fortunately for the rest of us, who do see the wood, the Crown Forces’ legacy will be written, and rightly so, on the basis of their victims stories, their crimes, and their master’s cover up, given through impunity and a blind eye being turned on their terror campaign in Ireland.

    I wonder if the Sinners are genuinely surprised and delighted when they see how eagerly the drones suck up their version of the history of what happened in this country. Regardless of what they do in the future, or indeed what is revealed about theiur past, they will always have that vote at least.

  • Decimus

    about two thirds of the nationalist / republican voters elect Sinn Fein into office and that party are very happy with the actions carried out by the PIRA and say so at every opportunity.

    To their eternal shame. However it should be noted that the Sinners did not enjoy such widespread support whilst they were murdering people in large numbers, although they did gain electoral support when they were encouraging their prisoners to commit suicide.

    It would seem that the younger generation of nationalists, who saw nothing of PIRA’s horrors, are eagerly sucking up their narrative of the troubles. That would help explain the large number of people who leave their moral values at the door of the polling station in this country. That and their hatred of the ‘Planters’.

  • Stephen Blacker

    Turgon,

    You presume correctly. I am sure that proof could have been given but that was not his style. It is up to you if you want to believe what I believe to be true.

    Water torture would not change the blinkered views you have even…. (edited for potential libel – mods)”

  • Stephen Blacker

    Decimus,

    I do understand that SF support increased in leaps and bounds after their armed friends stopped killing. My point was that there are a lot of people living in Northern Ireland that would not class the PIRA as terrorists.

  • Decimus

    My point was that there are a lot of people living in Northern Ireland that would not class the PIRA as terrorists.

    I am well aware that such people exist and in fairly large numbers, however that does not make them correct.

  • Stephen Blacker

    Decimus,

    Of course, in my mind, it does not make them correct but I was replying to this thread.

  • BluesJazz

    Stephen Blacker

    The vast, vast majority of people from a Unionist background would regard loyalist Lenny Murphy as a terrorist.His republican counterpart would be Bobby Sands. Would the vast majority of people from a nationalist background say the same about him?
    The only difference between them is theological dogma.

  • Jimmy Sands

    btw Turgon loses marks for narrowly missing the perfect headline for his post: The Good, the Bad and the Oglaigh.

  • Stephen Blacker

    BluesJazz,

    The two you mentioned are iconic figures but I’m sure lots of republicans would say Bobby Sands was nothing like Lenny Murphy. I understand the comparison you are trying to make and I believe that republican / nationalists except people with Bobby Sands background unlike unionists.

    With this thread the PIRA are labeled “Fairly Good” Terrorists and my point is the majority of the community they come from label them as freedom fighters. I disagree that it is because of “theological dogma”

  • Decimus

    my point is the majority of the community they come from label them as freedom fighters.

    Stephen,

    Do you believe that Sinner voters are giving retrospective support to the Provo terror campaign?

  • Stephen Blacker

    Turgon,

    Why is my post at 7:26pm “awaiting moderation”? My post at 6:58pm was sensored but the later post showed that my first post was correct.

  • Stephen Blacker

    Decimus,

    I do not believe it is that simple. SF voters are giving that party a strong manadate because it seems to be the crowd that shows stronger leadership than the SDLP. The reason I stated what I did was because SF leaders make it more than plain that they are proud of the actions and efforts made by the PIRA over the years and some even say they are proud to have been a member.

    I cant see how anyone can vote for Sinn Fein with that knowledge and not be giving direct or indirect support to the PIRA.

  • Decimus

    I cant see how anyone can vote for Sinn Fein with that knowledge and not be giving direct or indirect support to the PIRA.

    Stephen,

    Neither can I, but I have seen people try to do just that. One early excuse was that they were lending them their vote in order to help wean them away from terrorism. In effect they were voting for people who murdered unionists in order to encourage them to stop murdering unionists. That excuse has worn thin since PIRA decommissioned however. I’ve come to the conclusion that SF attracts the majority of nationalist votes simply because the majority of nationalists hate unionists.

  • Stephen Blacker

    Decimus,

    I do believe that the vast majority of unionists want peace and it seems that has been proved with the restraint they showed during the “Troubles” I say this because there would have been Civil War otherwise.

    I said what i did to counter this thread but I am happy enough that Sinn Fein have got good support because the more they get drawn into the democratic world it is less likely that people will return to actions of the past.

    Equality and accountability will win the day and as time goes on everyday issues will dominate life and we as a society will become even more normal.

  • BluesJazz

    So…
    The difference between a terrorist like Lenny Murphy, and a terrorist like Bobby Sands was what? If not theological? One was of ‘the reformed faith’, one was from the Vatican faith.
    They both felt the need to murder people because of these differences.
    Or maybe they decided to terrorise people over a difference in opinion over climate change?

  • Stephen Blacker

    BluesJazz,

    I dont think religion had as much to do with it as some people think. Partition and nationality had more to do with it and religion was more of a coincidence but at the same time it would have made it that bit easier to pull the trigger.

  • Decimus

    Bluesjazz,

    Bobby Sands became a terrorist after he was put out of his home in Rathcoole. Lennie Murphy became a terrorist after he saw a dead baby being lifted out of a furniture shop that had been bombed by PIRA. One was murdering people in order to try and force a united Ireland whilst the other was murdering people in order to maintain a United Kingdom. One spent his time writing crap poetry whilst the other spent his time shagging women. One committed suicide whilst the other was murdered.

    At the end of the day they were both terrorist losers.

  • Jimmy Sands

    It is indeed a sobering thought that Sands and Murphy, had they been born in each other’s homes may very well have had each other’s careers.

  • BluesJazz

    I figured that..
    Sands and Murphy just summed up the so called ‘war’.
    Religion, nationialism and petty tribalism. With parochial terrioritalism thrown in. Just like chimpanzees, without the bitterness.
    Thankfully the British Government, and Army , came along as zookeepers.
    For how long can they afford us?

  • galloglaigh

    Thankfully the British Government, and Army , came along as zookeepers

    This is the type of Zookeepers the British government and their army are!

    The British government, and the actions of their army, were (are) no better than the actions of Sinn Fein and the PIRA, or the DUP/UUP and the various loyalist groups. To say different, is to apologise for state sponsored terrorism.

  • slappymcgroundout

    Wait, we are equating Bobby Sands and Lenny Murphy? And here I thought that there were some people who kill and some other people who kill for the enjoyment of it. I had better go back and read the literature again. In the meantime, nice attempt at whitewashing the sadism out of the late Lenny Murphy.

  • Jimmy Sands

    You think there were terrorists who didn’t enjoy it?

  • slappymcgroundout

    “You think there were terrorists who didn’t enjoy it?”

    Yes, actually, I do. Much like most of the soldiers in war.

  • Jimmy Sands

    Not really. Of course some soldiers are conscripts and others may join from economic necessity, but if you didn’t like hurting people then I’m guessing the RA wasn’t a great fit for you.

  • slappymcgroundout,

    I read a worldwide study of soldiers from many armies a few years ago and close to 70% said that when ordered to fire their personal weapons, they always shot over the enemy heads, hoping that they would run away.

  • Jimmy Sands

    Joe Canuck,

    Interesting. I suspect the percentage in terrorist groups was probably a tad lower.

  • Decimus

    Wait, we are equating Bobby Sands and Lenny Murphy? And here I thought that there were some people who kill and some other people who kill for the enjoyment of it. I had better go back and read the literature again. In the meantime, nice attempt at whitewashing the sadism out of the late Lenny Murphy.

    A hierarchy of murderers is an interesting concept, but a deeply flawed one. People who were unfortunate enough to be captured alive by PIRA did not tend to have a very pleasant end.

  • BluesJazz

    The point is, Bobby Sands and Lenny Murphy were flip sides of the same religious sectarian coin. They hated people who were not of their sect and wanted to kill them.

    One became a hero to (a substantial number of) his community, the other was (rightly) demonised by most of his.

  • galloglaigh

    BluesJazz

    What about the Paras who killed people on Bloody Sunday? Where do they (or the British army in Ireland in general) fit into your profile of sectarian terrorists?

  • BluesJazz

    gallioglaigh

    I’m unaware of the religious background of the soldiers concerned, though some may have been Catholic.

    They were, and are, non-sectarian. I think the Gurkhas may actually be Buddhist (though I’m not sure). Some GOC’s here were actually Catholic, certainly many of the Irish Guards are Catholic.

  • galloglaigh

    BluesJazz

    Putting religion aside: What about the Paras who killed people on Bloody Sunday? Where do they (or the British army in Ireland in general) fit into your profile of terrorists?

  • BluesJazz

    Simple. They weren’t terrorists. They were peacekeepers. Some (very few) behaved in a manner unbecoming, but otherwise they did their job- at a price.

    No other army would have acted with such restraint.

    As for Bloody Sunday. In his praised Commons speech, Cameron never mentioned the Parachute Regiment, not once. Just some soldiers from ‘Support Company’ who he referenced several times,*few bad apples* whose C/O went beyond his remit.

    There have been past instances where the military have used excessive force in their own country. The Peterloo Massacre here in the UK and Ohio State in the US, but they are so rare and exceptional that’s why they make the news.

  • galloglaigh

    BluesJazz

    Some (very few) behaved in a manner unbecoming… few bad apples

    Were they terrorists?

    What about the British army’s links to loyalists terrorists? Was their support for terrorism an act of terrorism?

    How about their use of agents, and the role the intelligence agencies played in the running of these agents, and the agencies’ allowing their agents to carry out acts of terrorism? Were these occasions acts of terrorism?

  • BluesJazz

    well galloglaigh, I think you’re trying too hard to elevate Murphy and Sands in to normal people like policemen and real soldiers. They had a sectarian bloodlust.

    Unlike the military in difficult circumstances. Bloody Sunday can be referenced to previous events:

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Peterloo_Massacre

  • galloglaigh

    BluesJazz

    Let me ask you another question:

    What about the British soldiers who were caught by Iraqi police in Basra with a massive car bomb? The same soldiers whom the British army used tanks to break out of the Basra jail where they were being held?

    Was it an act of terrorism when the British army aided in their escape from jail, and a possible prosecution?

  • galloglaigh

    BluesJazz

    Like I said previously: The actions of the British government and their military, are as bad as the actions of Sinn Fein and the IRA. To suggest otherwise, is to give your support to state sponsored terrorism. Pure and simple.

  • Decimus

    What about the British soldiers who were caught by Iraqi police in Basra with a massive car bomb? The same soldiers whom the British army used tanks to break out of the Basra jail where they were being held?

    Was it an act of terrorism when the British army aided in their escape from jail, and a possible prosecution?

    Have you ever done any work for An Phoblacht at all? You have taken an unsubstantiated Al Jazeera report and managed to exagerate an alleged ‘booby trapped car’ into a ‘massive car bomb’. You then go on to suggest that the rescue of two soldiers from a very likely lynching was ‘an act of terrorism’. Utterly bizzarre, but entirely consistent with the apparent world view of people who support SF.

  • Decimus

    Like I said previously: The actions of the British government and their military, are as bad as the actions of Sinn Fein and the IRA. To suggest otherwise, is to give your support to state sponsored terrorism. Pure and simple.

    Now you really are descending into the realms of cloud cuckoo land. Tens of thousands of police and soldiers served here without ever firing a shot in anger. Hundreds of them were murdered whilst protecting the law abiding community from terrorists. To suggest that they were on a par with people who joined terrorist organisations in order to go around murdering people is absolutely ludicrous, and deeply offensive.

  • galloglaigh

    Decimus

    So a car bomb is OK if it’s just a booby trap bomb. Facts are facts. I don’t support anyone. What I support is the truth – and the truth lies in the links, which also identify the reporting by, not only Al Jezeera, but the BBC, The Washington Post, the Independent, and the Christian Science Monitor.

    This event did happen, and it exposes the tactics used by the British army, not only in Iraq, but in various other countries across the globe in the last 100 odd years, if not more.

  • galloglaigh

    You can also add the Reuters news agency to that list. The event is not an illusion, it is you who is living in ‘Cloud Cuckoo Land’.

  • Decimus

    So a car bomb is OK if it’s just a booby trap bomb. Facts are facts. I don’t support anyone. What I support is the truth – and the truth lies in the links, which also identify the reporting by, not only Al Jezeera, but the BBC, The Washington Post, the Independent, and the Christian Science Monitor.

    This event did happen, and it exposes the tactics used by the British army, not only in Iraq, but in various other countries across the globe in the last 100 odd years, if not more.

    Show me these links to the ‘massive car bomb’ please?

  • galloglaigh

  • galloglaigh
  • galloglaigh
  • galloglaigh
  • galloglaigh
  • galloglaigh

    Is that enough for you? Or would you like more? I tried to post them on the one comment, but for some reason, when I use HTML, my comments go automatically into moderation. Any chance this could be lifted?

  • Decimus

    Do you have any links from a credible source that provides any evidence that the soldiers were transporting a ‘massive bomb’?

  • galloglaigh

    http://www.pacificfreepress.com/news/1/2160-basra-bizarre-sas-commandos-arrested-and-sprung.html

    You can’t face the fact, that the British army were caught with their pants down. The evidence is in all the links. Deal with it!

  • Decimus

    [Al-Shaykh] In the name of God, the merciful, the compassionate. There have been continuous provocative acts since the day before yesterday by the British forces against the peaceful sons of Basra. There have been indiscriminate arrests, the most recent of which was the arrest of Shaykh Ahmad al-Farqusi and two Basra citizens on the pretext that they had carried out terrorist operations to kill US soldiers. This is a baseless claim. This was confirmed to us by [name indistinct] the second secretary at the British Embassy in Baghdad, when we met with him a short while ago. He said that there is evidence on this. We say: You should come up with this evidence or forget about this issue. If you really want to look for truth, then we should resort to the Iraqi justice away from the British provocations against the sons of Basra, particularly what happened today when the sons of Basra caught two non-Iraqis, who seem to be Britons and were in a car of the Cressida type. It was a booby-trapped car laden with ammunition and was meant to explode in the centre of the city of Basra in the popular market. However, the sons of the city of Basra arrested them. They [the two non-Iraqis] then fired at the people there and killed some of them. The two arrested persons are now at the Intelligence Department in Basra, and they were held by the National Guard force, but the British occupation forces are still surrounding this department in an attempt to absolve them of the crime.

    You regard this as credible evidence of a ‘massive bomb’? This is the equivalent of Danny Morrison giving evidence against the security forces here. I ask you again for credinble evidence rather than the rantings of people who were opposed to the British presence in Iraq.

  • Brian

    “Iraqi security officials on Monday variously accused the two Britons they detained of shooting at Iraqi forces or trying to plant explosives. ”

    Yes, the Brits may have broken their buddies out of jail. But what did they do? Why were they in jail? They were captured by Iraqi police (heavily infiltrated by Badrites to the point that most of the force was kicked out before the police force was reformed) in Arab garb…who knows what they were doing but people have claimed all kinds of things. Even the police who nabbed them have different stories. In reality, the Badrites saw a perfect opportunity for a propaganda coup and the angry mobs ate it up. Also, all those who wanted Western failure in building new institutions in Iraq lapped it up too (as evidenced by a look at most of those ‘progressive’ sites).

    *Though I have twocousins who have done tours there (with the US army), I am no supporter of the Iraqi war, neither. I marched multiple times against it in its runup. However, that doesn’t mean I was rooting for the West to fail after it got in and for the nation to fall into a civil war that would still be raging today.

  • Decimus

    Indeed the ‘police station’ was demolished a year later by the British and the Shia prisoners being held there by local militia were released. Galloglaigh makes it sound as if the SAS troopers had been arrested by Dixon of Dock Green rather than Mahdi Army proxies.

  • galloglaigh

    The Washington Post printed an article on the 20/09/2005. The title of the article was ‘British Smash into Jail to Free Two Detained Soldiers’. The Washington Post stated that bombs and bomb making material was discovered in the captured vehicle belonging to the British soldiers.

    So the question remains: Why were two British soldiers travelling with bombs and bomb making equitpment, dressed in disguise, and why did they shoot dead an Iraqi Police officer?

    The other question remains: Why did the British army not let justice take its course (let them answer the above question in a court of law), by breaking them out of jail?

    Were they terrorists, or were they not? Do non-terrorists also shoot Police officers? Or just British army soldiers?

  • galloglaigh

    Brian

    That sound a bit like the situation here, with the infiltration of the RUC, the UDR and the Maze prison. It’s funny how some defend it when it is soldiers, and who don’t when it’s the IRA!

  • galloglaigh,

    Your comments will automatically go into moderation if you include more than two links. Spread them out. The “awaiting moderation” will never expire; it’s imposed by the WordPress program.

  • galloglaigh

    Thanks Joe!

  • Decimus

    The Washington Post stated that bombs and bomb making material was discovered in the captured vehicle belonging to the British soldiers.

    So not a ‘massive bomb’ then? Grenades, C4 and claymores perchance? The sort of equipment an undercover surveillance unit might use for protection in an OP?

    Why were two British soldiers travelling with bombs and bomb making equitpment, dressed in disguise, and why did they shoot dead an Iraqi Police officer?

    Are you seriously suggesting that undercover operatives should not disguise themselves? Do you understand that the Iraqi police in Basra was seriously compromised and was largely working for the opposition?

    Why did the British army not let justice take its course (let them answer the above question in a court of law), by breaking them out of jail?

    They were standing by to be lynched. Obviously that is something that would have given you great pleasure, but the BA would have been seriously remiss in their duty of care to their soldiers if they had allowed that to happen.

  • Mainland Ulsterman

    Turgon has been criticised for putting things in black and white terms, not shades of grey. But he ws right to do so. There shades of grey – my life is about shades of grey! – but the Troubles was a lot more black and white than many seem to be now making out. The SF analysis at the time was recognised by all but the dyed-in-the-wool Republican rump as bordering on the insane and at best total garbage. But subsequently, the language of ‘war’ and ‘conflict resolution’ (implying equality of crimes and of suffering) has crept in.

    Even if our country’s security forces were the same as terrorists as Galloglaigh says – which they patently weren’t – their record is simply not remotely comparable to that of Republican terrorism. Republican terrorists’ ratio of killing to being killed was 5:1; for the security forces it was 0.3:1. Maybe not not black and white, but definitely charcoal and pretty light grey.

  • Rory Carr

    I had not paid this thread much attention when it was initially posted, being diverted by more compelling concerns at the time, and am drawn back to it now by virtue of its current position in the charts (so to speak) and because the current episode of Rab C. Nesbitt which I am watching is less than compelling.

    Reading the original post I was was drawn to recall a 1985 novel by Nobel Literature Laureate, Doris Lessing with the title The Good Terrorist. Two things are notable about Lessing’s novel, the first is the stark fact of its being truly awful and the second, the complete failure of leading literary critics to notice its awfullness. While that statement might be tritely dismissed as the annoyed kneejerk of a disgruntled reader at being contradicted by critics who surely have a clearer understanding than he has of what might constitute a good novel, I can assure you that in this case the reader has it right and the critics have it very wrong indeed.

    Lessing chooses to write a novel set in the London of the 1980’s among drop-out leftist groups surviving in squats as best they can on whatever benefits they can squeeze from the system and their parents, the occasional piece of employment, the odd scam and even less frequent piece of good fortune. Lessing knows less than nothing of this milieu and, given her own political connections to the Communist Party or at least that rarefied Hampstead literary bunch that salved their group conscience by retaining Party cards, had little or no understanding of this underworld, the working class Communists that she would have known being extremely staid and earnest workers or students as respectable and unimaginative as any Mormon missionaries and just as appalled at the ramshackle lifestyle of Lessing’s subjects.

    In a nutshell, Lessing simply has no idea of the realities of the type of people she chooses to make the main characters in her novel. Worse, she has made no effort to get to understand – the novel is filled with absolute howlers on such matters as how benefits are obtained or denied which she seems to have picked up from some Daily Mail columnist or the other, or how the Tube system actually works, or the price of a bus ticket. All of these matters, while of little account to a Hampstead novelist (or her literary critic neighbours) are of burning concern to those whose very day-to-day existence depends upon knowing precisely the finer details of such matters. Lessing also clearly just made up the various left and anarchist and republican groups out of her own ill informed prejudices and anyone with the slightest passing knowledge of the period and the protagonists will find himself wincing at the many crudities of imagination as he reads on (indeed if he reads on). We can only assume that the critics, similarly ignorant of the milieu of the subject matter of the novel, marvelled at Lessing’s supposed insight possibly passing off her acute ignorance and attributing what they assumed to be her greater knowledge to her long association with the Communist Party, little knowing in their own ignorance that Communist Party members were even further removed from such leftist activists than the immigrant corner shop newsagent and tobbaconist who would at least have been in daily contact with such people.

    to conclud, this novel, The Good Terrorist is a very bad novel indeed. Yet despite that (or perhaps because of that) it is today on the curriculum of schools and colleges far and wide (God save us all !)

    I must say that I am not very taken either with Turgon’s piece which, at least it seems to me, shares much of Ms Lessing’s prejudicial ignorance of its subject matter but yet might, because of the author’s own connections with a far-right protestant grouping, the TUV, suffice to persuade naively agog critics of a perspicacity it does not merit.

    It’s the kind of stuff that often succeeds in winning a Nobel prize.

  • Brian

    ‘Why did the British army not let justice take its course (let them answer the above question in a court of law), by breaking them out of jail?’

    justice? Is this some kind of joke? Justice? Ask the thousands of families who’ve lost members to sectarian gangs and other insurgent groups in Iraq about justice.

    Let me tell you a story about justice in the early days of the Iraqi police forces in some of localities. My cousin was stationed near Kirkuk…one of the local Arab (as opposed to Kurdish)police officer was suspected of being a leader of a terrorist cell (AQI) but the US forces there held back from nabbing him due to political circumstances and to avoid inflaming tensions more. Well, after a few weeks local Iraqi army battalion working with the US uncovered a weapons cache that also had video equipment/tapes nearby. This police Lt. was on one video –thinly disguised but not covering up his scarred eyebrow or his cross eye–beheading a Nigerian contractor (‘a loyal servant of the Zionist occupiers’) with a rusty blade. The Nigerian had been missing for several months.