Why did Toby Harnden refuse to attend the Smithwick Tribunal?

I missed the most direct accusation against securocrats this week, by Paul Larkin, a Dublin and Donegal based freelance, in the Guardian. Focusing on the Smithwick tribunal, he criticises journalists for accepting British Army Force Research Unit ( FRU)  “spooks”   versions of infiltration into paramilitaries too readily and claims that the unexpected refusal of journalist Toby Harnden to testify throws the future of the  inquiry into doubt.

The repeated (and incorrect) assertion that MI5 was running the IRA and pushing the peace process feeds the ire of armed groups in Ireland who oppose the Good Friday agreement. A headline that says “IRA riddled with spies” is, in that sense, an incendiary device and undermines our democratic all-Ireland decision to try another, unarmed, way to find justice and peace and ultimately end partition.

A reading of the Cory report into the Breen- Buchanan murders shows that Harnden was prepared to discuss the type of sources he used. Cory report   ( 2.68 i ).  There will be much more about this I suspect. Larkin’s conclusions are also sure to be contested. If it was all got up by the FRU, why did Cory recommend a public inquiry?

Adds 16 February I’m  grateful  for this comment  which I couldn’t acess on Facebook

Intelligence Insider (profile) says:

Toby Harnden released a statement on 7th February which answers Brian’s question.

“My book ‘Bandit Country’ speaks for itself and I stand behind everything in it. I now live in the United States and am covering the Republican primaries, three of which are being held today. The decision not to appear before the Smithwick Tribunal is mine and mine alone. I note that the Tribunal has heard evidence from former members of the RUC and Garda Siochana and has also been supplied with intelligence information. This evidence and information adds to and significantly backs up what I wrote more than 12 years ago when ‘Bandit Country’ brought the issue of collusion between individual Garda officers and the Provisional IRA to public attention.”

Perhaps in a gap in the primaries, Toby could attend and make himself available for questioning?

 

 

 

  • Kevsterino

    My only direct experience with Mr. Harnden’s reportage was his utter misrepresentation of a meeting that I attended in 96 or 97. Since that time, I haven’t believed anything he has written.

  • Alias

    Larkin doesn’t produce a shred of evidence to support his (Shinner-sponsored) opinion that the ‘securocrats’ are engaged in a conspiracy to undermine the Shinners and the peace process. Agents! I suppose he thinks that more than a hundred FRU handlers were employed to handle just one or two PIRA members, since the FRU only handled one loyalist. “Never mind the truth – think of the peace process!”

  • Carrickmoreman

    Here comes the over-the-top anti-Larkin posts. There’s probably a spot in the middle when it comes to the FRU tout stories vs. the reality. Of course there were touts, but the official line is the one that always gets believed.

  • Alias

    “…the official line is the one that always gets believed.”

    That would be the line that Larkin is proffering. The official line is to deny that Stakeknife and a plethora of other PIRA agents existed. The state’s problem is that few believe it.

  • @Alias

    How fascinating that I’m Shinner sponsored – it’s news to me. When did this happen and given that you claim to want clear evidence, please tell me when this happened – a “shred” will do. Ive always thought of myself as an anarcho syndicalist myself.

    As for evidence about the FRU myth. Just one out of many will do. Go to the Bloody Sunday report and look at what is said about Ian Hurst’s evidence. Oh all right. I’ll put you out of your suspense:

    Report of The Bloody Sunday Inquiry – Volume III
    http://www.official-documents.gov.uk/document/hc1011/hc00/0029/0029_viii.pdf

    147.270 – “……We are of the view that Martin Ingram to a substantial degree exaggerated the importance of his role at HQNI and his level of knowledge and access to intelligence.”

    148.81 – “Martin Ingram gave confused accounts in the course of his evidence about the intelligence that he said he saw.”

    148.84 – “We formed the view that Martin Ingram had, at best, an imperfect recollection of events and that it would be unwise to rely upon his evidence.”

    PL

  • Carrickmoreman

    by “official line”, i meant that of the government.

  • To be absolutely fair to Alias, there is an argument for putting lots of detail like the evidence above about Ingram/Hurst into a Comment is Free type article, but the trouble is that when you want to make some very broad points in a short article, you dont have much room for manoeuvre.

    All I’m really saying in the Guardian is that journalists have, in my opinion, often been slapdash when recording and disseminating testimony from FRU and security force3 operatives.

    I am writing a book – The Good Friday Sting, which will go into detail on these issues.

    all for now

    PL

  • typo
    security force

  • And now for the comic touch:

    Is it possible that the spooks are so active because the IRA (may God forbid) actually WON the war and that this truth must not be spoken nor Sinn Féin allowed to win the peace?

    Watch this space.

    @ Paul Larkin
    Baile Átha Cliath
    Mí Meán Fómhair 2011

    Spooky!

  • Alias

    “How fascinating that I’m Shinner sponsored – it’s news to me. When did this happen and given that you claim to want clear evidence, please tell me when this happened – a “shred” will do.”

    You misread what I wrote. I didn’t say that you are Shinner-sponsored (I’ve never even heard of you until now): I said that the opinion you are proffering is Shinner-sponsored. The official Shinner line is exactly as you have given it: that allegations of extensive infiltration of PIRA by Her Majesty’s security and armed forces is overblown, and part of a securocrat agenda to undermine the preace process. They deny, for example, that Freddie Scappiticci is Stakeknife.

    “Ive always thought of myself as an anarcho syndicalist myself.”

    I’m delighted for you.

    “As for evidence about the FRU myth. Just one out of many will do. Go to the Bloody Sunday report and look at what is said about Ian Hurst’s evidence.”

    You are again proffering the official Shinner/British state line that Stakeknife doesn’t exist. As for the Saville comments, they’re easily counterbalanced by Swithwick comments. Judge Smithwick has stated in his opening comments that he is of the opinion that Martin Ingram’s testimony is of importance to his Tribunal, has formed this opinion from his team’s interview of Mr Ingram, and he has made considerable effort to secure it, including prolonged exchanges with the London High Court, UK Ministry of Defence, NIO, Treasury Solicitor of England and Wales, etc. These are not the actions of a judge who holds the same opinion of Ingram as you and the Shinners – that he is just a Walter Mitty character and his comments reveling the extent of Shinner inflitration should be duly ignored.

    Comments such as these:

    “1. As a rough guide you should expect 1 in 4 PIRA volunteers to be Agents of one agency or another.”

    “2. As a rough guide you should expect 1 in 2 PIRA officer class to be Agents of one agency or another.”

    Oh dear…

    Now what were 100+ FRU staff doing with only one loyalist (Brian Nelson) on their books? Fussing over Stakeknife (who didn’t exist)?

  • @ Nevin

    “And now for the comic touch:”

    not my words but the words of an MI5 (yet its a nuanced thought I know) but your right I should have sourced my quote

    Fury [or should that read honesty?] as MI5 describe IRA terror as ‘just’
    http://www.sundayherald.com/42752
    Secret briefings enrage victims’ relatives
    By Neil Mackay, Home Affairs Editor – 12June2004
    MI5 has caused outrage after one of its spies stated publicly that the IRA “fought a just cause” and won a “successful campaign” during the 30-year Troubles in Northern Ireland.
    The Sunday Herald is unable to name the MI5 officer following a threat of legal action from the government . However, the spy’s comments have provoked fury from the victims of IRA violence and Ulster politicians.

  • @ Alias

    If you understand the law and syntax – you linked my name to the phrase Shinner-sponsored. Fact.

    you also said:
    “As for the Saville comments, they’re easily counterbalanced by Swithwick comments. ”

    A red herring. The Saville comments have never been challenged as far as I know and are utterly damning.

    PL

  • Carrickmoreman

    I don’t think it’s being said “Stakeknife doesn’t exist”, just that the Stakeknife card is well over played. Even if Scap was “just” the guy who led the post op reviews, that would make him privy to massive amounts of info to be passed on and used to manipulate volunteers/events.

  • Paul, there seems to be a problem with your Sunday Herald link; perhaps this one will do the business:

    The MI5 officer then added: “Has it been a successful campaign? The answer is yes.”

    Hirst said: “He referred to the fact Sinn Fein had two ministers in power. What better success can you wish for, he said, than to have your people in positions of power in government.”

    They’ve now got four plus a junior 🙂

    You probably know about the Derry Experiment and the related TUAS strategy – an alternative approach to pushing the UI cause.

  • @Nevin

    thanks good man – strange to think that all those unionists were outraged

    ps
    as for the GFA, we in the South (remember the All Ireland plebiscite that the unionsts and the FRU (Colonel J) said would never happen?
    we gave it a big thumbs up as well.

    Pablo

  • Paul, it wasn’t really an all-island plebiscite – or Refer Enda as they might say in the south.

    Whatever happened to that ‘anarcho-syndicalist’ plan to sweep away the conservative administrations in Belfast and Dublin? Was Gerry an anarcho-syndicalist before he achieved prominence in the ‘Catholic Ireland’ PRM?

    PS If you want to see real outrage just publicise the activities of developers and sit back and observe the legal eagle spitting feathers response.

  • tacapall

    “Even if Scap was “just” the guy who led the post op reviews, that would make him privy to massive amounts of info to be passed on and used to manipulate volunteers/events”

    Well thankfully people who know the craic, Know the craic.

    Absolute bullshit.

  • tobyharnden

    I can’t for the life of me work out what this post is trying to say but how difficult is it spell my name right?

  • Reader

    Well, if half of the IRA internal security branch weren’t British agents, they killed quite a few people who quite possibly were, and they were also desperately trying to find quite a few more between ceasefires.
    So, one way or another, that adds up to quite a few.

  • Lads (this terms includes girls where I come from) I came on here trying to find out why Toby Harnden refused the chance to be cross examined at the Smithwick Tribunal. Now will somebody try and answer Brian’s question – the one that this thread is supposed to be about.

    I am sure I dont know why. It seemed a golden opportunity for him.

  • typo – this term

  • Ah well – I give up

    oíche mhaith

    ps Nevin

    I wouldnt be averse to a nine county Ulster parliament, as long as we can share the resources of the rest of the provinces on a “not for profit but for need (and enjoyment)” basis. How about that?

  • Mike the First

    Hello offworld.

    I post as “Lord Marlo” now and again on Guardian, and since you’ve left the playing field there, I’d like to know what you meant by this:

    “I was up in the air flying back to Dublin when the article was put up on Comment is Free at 15.50 GMT yesterday and in less than quarter of an hour (16.09 and a bit later) opponents of my thesis were able to become aware of and digest my article (or perhaps not) and get their response in. Is this a record? (<;"

    That's aimed directly at me, and it's very "tin foil hat", Mr Larkin. I'm just an ordinary interweb punter (as should be pretty obvious from my posts here) who criticised some distortions in your article – do you get a little frisson of excitement, justification even, by hinting that perhaps I'm part of some sort of nefarious anti-Larkin network?

    As I said, it comes across as a rather "tin-foil hatted" comment.

  • Mike the First

    PS – you still haven’t explained why anyone should trust your “sources” in relation to Scappaticci, over any other sources including the published account of Eamon Collins?

    It seems rather, well, double standard-sy.

  • Brian Walker

    Toby, Apologies for the name blindness, now corrected but the post is asking the straighforward question, why did you decline to appear to the apparent surprise of the tribunal? To me the Larkin piece suggests you might have been gullible, a claim I wouldn’t expect you to agree with but again, a fair question to ask, to which I’m sure you have an answer. .Will you appear at a later date as the chairman seems to hope?

  • Brian –
    Toby is also aware that I sent a private mail to him asking for his explanation for ducking out of the Smithwick Tribunal before I wrote my Guardian piece and he declined to offer a reply.

    Mike the First (aka Lord Mario).
    This may be hard for you to understand but I was simply expressing my amazement at how quickly people can respond to articles. The smiley face may have indicated that a certain amount of humour was involved … is it not yourself that is being a bit “touchy”?

    As for anti Larkin conspiracies, anyone who knows me will tell you that I really dont give a damn about such things. I state my opinions on matters and evidence that I have gathered and would hope that I do this in a perspicacious way. I usually get things right.

    In your response to my Guardian article you offer Eamon Collins as your star witness. I think that point was well and truly demolished by Danny Morrison. You will not of course agree. From my own research, it seems clear to me that Scap has been used as a catchall for reasons of politics or just plain controversy in relation to things in which he had no part. It is a fair and legitimate question to ask why.

    I actually worked in the BBC when Brian was in there (I was Paul Larkin Coyle then) and, as an aside, found him to be a very astute journalist and a gentleman on any occasion when our paths crossed.

    PL

  • Mick Fealty

    Thanks for taking the trouble to comment Paul… I must admit when I first read your piece (with a mind to blogging it here on Slugger), my first response was to check the Cory report of 2003.

    And independently, ie, before I began reading the thread, I found the very same paragraph that Mauro found in the first comment where he says that the timing cannot be explained away in the terms you suggest in the article.

    Whilst your point is pertinent, it’s not sufficient to suggest the Inquiry is little more than showboating for celebrity witnesses.

    The Smithwick Inquiry has also discovered contemporaneous intelligence of suspicion that there may have been some form of collusion, not proof in itself of course, but confirmation that there is a case to pursue.

    The only case that was under consideration by Cory, beyond this one, that has any chance of turning something up is the Finucane case. But that owes less to the related inquiry and more to the indefatigability of the campaign and determination of the family.

    The Billy Wright Inquiry for instance found whole chunks of police records missing, conveniently or otherwise. There was no such anomalies on the Nelson killing, but the lack of judicial teeth in all cases taken in NI will leave many feeling that not everything that could have been was done.

    The Smithwick Inquiry is not governed by the 2005 Act, and Judge Peter Smithwick himself is not minded to be governed by political pressure from the Taoiseach’s office either. It will grind out slowly and small the facts of the matter, so far as they can be ascertained. That has to be good thing.

    So far as I know, Toby has not ruled out coming over for the inquiry. Also, it’s worth noting that Martin Ingram has said that he will not come if his session is, as is proposed, to be held in camera.

    In addition, former RUC witnesses are unlikely to show if they are to be held to similar conditions. The suspicion on their part being that an in camera deposition would have the twin effects of exposing them whilst cloaking the inquiry.

    Given that this inquiry has had such a struggle to get going and is under pressure to prematurely jack it in, surely it’s appropriate to be suspicious of those who are seeking to undermine the inquiry’s solemn purpose?

  • Hi Mick

    I know that people want to concentrate on the genesis and procedure of Cory but, in fairness, Cory was not the sole reason why Smithwick was established. In fact, Toby Harnden has stated that Smithwick would not have happened without his book Bandit Country and I tend to agree. (Whilst mentioning Toby, I may disagree with some of his security analysis but where he writes about the lives and experiences of British soldiers he is brilliant)

    The feeling amongst many Dáil observers in the South at least is that the Irish government wanted to facilitate unionist concerns by making some kind of false parallel with “Catholic” cases and that was an undoubted factor as well. When, of course, any possible Garda collusion with the IRA is a zephyr compared to the storm of RUC/Army collusion. My information is that the government just wants to get Smithwick over with (there have already been calls for this) particularly now the start witness has refused to show. I hope he changes his mind and if his evidence shows that I should have not have doubted him, I will put my hands up.

    However, my Guardian article is not primarily about the above. What I describe as the heart of the problem is journalists and writers using and emphasising security force testimony as if it is some higher form of truth.

    I make the point that Ian Hurst’s/Martin Ingram’s allegation that the IRA was riddled with spies – ergo the units that killed Breen and Buchanan were full of spies – received widespread publicity, whereas the testimony of witness 62 at Smithwick (a top RUC SB figure) fatly contradicted this and said that there was not one agent or informant in any of the IRA units – not even our new “Pimpernel” Scap. Witness 62 received nowhere near the same kind of coverage.

    There was not space in the Guardian article to show glaring faults in what has become the Scap and FRU narrative but they are there and that is my key point. A point to which I will return in much more detail.

    PL

  • Terry B

    I’m looking forward to reading the “Good Friday Sting” Paul. No disrespect but only an idiot would believe the IRA won the war. The only people stung by the GFA were in fact republicans. It’s also laughable using Danny Morrison to support your position as after all he has yet to answer questions regarding his role as an agent of influence.

  • Terry B

    Ive already pointed out above that they were not my words (the IRA won the war – and yes I should have used the quote), what I was doing in my own blog – which was not fully quoted – was to present a scenario that gets closer to what many former RUC people and military say – that the Provos got much of what they wanted when they should have been crushed. See Eamon McCann’s brilliant blog on Norman Baxter here –

    http://www.counterpunch.org/2012/02/13/norman-baxters-long-crusade/

    As for Danny who is a friend. A small group of journalists in Belfast were absolutely adamant in conversations with me that Danny was Stakeknife (remember that period?) – now they are absolutely adamant that it was Scap.

    Go figure

    ps
    For the record, I do not believe that the IRA won its war (in terms of its own stated goals) but Clinton and Tony Blair’s camp demonstrated that it was the only organisation that mattered – a bitter pill for unionists I know. Hence the outrage of people like Norman Baxter and many others like him.

  • Pat Mc Larnon

    In speculating why Harnden isn’t to appear a real possibilty is that he simply doesn’t want to face cross examination on what he passed of as ‘facts’ in his books. Maybe he is afraid of being humiliated and exposed as being less than honest.

    Having to rely on ‘sources’ and the nod and wink routine may lead to a successful career in journalism but at the sharp end of an interrogation from an SC doesn’t really cut the mustard.

  • Terry B

    “that the Provos got what they wanted….”
    Really? Like a United Ireland or the recognition and endorsement of the unionist veto.

    Given that you are a friend of Dear Danny have you any idea on his view on – http://thepensivequill.am/2011/09/dear-danny.html

  • Terry B

    I note your sneering use of the words “Dear Danny”.

    The unionist veto proclaimed Never! Never! Never!
    And there I was walking into a Dublin poll booth in 1998 – taking part in an all Ireland plebiscite that not only paved the way for the GFA but a fairly imminent vote on what’s left of the border.

    I was in South Africa a few years ago and both the ANC and the Boers I spoke to were stunned at Sinn Féin’s success. Sometimes you have to think outside those little boxes and consider what history will record. Out there in the big wide world (including liberation movements) our peace process has maximum respect.

    What’s not to like about “Nollaig Shona” being on the top of City Hall in Belfast?

    (<;

  • Intelligence Insider

    Toby Harnden released a statement on 7th February which answers Brians question.

    “My book ‘Bandit Country’ speaks for itself and I stand behind everything in it. I now live in the United States and am covering the Republican primaries, three of which are being held today. The decision not to appear before the Smithwick Tribunal is mine and mine alone. I note that the Tribunal has heard evidence from former members of the RUC and Garda Siochana and has also been supplied with intelligence information. This evidence and information adds to and significantly backs up what I wrote more than 12 years ago when ‘Bandit Country’ brought the issue of collusion between individual Garda officers and the Provisional IRA to public attention.”

  • Intelligence Insider

    As far as I know that statement was issued via Toby Harnden’s Facebook Page. What a way to treat a government inquiry that he, by his own admission, helped instigate!

    Nor does his statment answer the questions he would no doubt face under cross examination. Those gardaí whose reputations have been thrown into question, partly on his allegations, will now have no opportunity to question one of their main accusers.

    PL

  • Terry B

    off world, I don’t really care what history will record, I’m living in the here and now and the here and now tells me that the border still exists, that the unionist veto is enshrined in legislation and that Sinn Fein are britain’s greatest assets in Ireland. Of course the ANC would say what you claim given the mess they have created in South Africa.

    No thoughts from pennies on Dear Danny, “sneering” aside. Maybe it is you who needs to look outside the little box you have penned yourself in.

  • Intelligence Insider

    Brian asked in the leader to this article why Toby didn’t attend the tribunal and I think Toby has answered that, he is working covering the republican primaries. The tribunal is being held by the government of a foreign country which in the past is thought to have armed and financed PIRA so I think he’s entitled to treat it in whatever way he fancies.

  • HeinzGuderian

    ‘The unionist veto proclaimed Never! Never! Never!’

    S’funny,I could have sworn that was a rallying cry from a baby faced mcguinness,to the ‘brave comrades’. It ended with……’to a return to Stormont’.

    😉

  • Intelligence Insider

    Your post doesn’t explain why he changed his mind. He had advised Smithwick that he he would attend. The shock at his sudden refusal was palpable. Only Toby himself can explain his snubbing of Smithwick.

  • Terry B

    you said:
    “I don’t really care what history will record.”

    deary me

  • Mike the First

    offtheworld

    “This may be hard for you to understand but I was simply expressing my amazement at how quickly people can respond to articles. The smiley face may have indicated that a certain amount of humour was involved … is it not yourself that is being a bit “touchy”?”

    That’s not what you were “simply” doing at all. I think you’re the one who got touchy at being pulled up by a random internet punter (and the response this got from other readers), and you had to reach for the comfort blanket of hinting that there must be more to this.

    And if you’re prepared to reach for the tin foil hat over this, well, it doesn’t say much for your conspiracy theories.

    “As for anti Larkin conspiracies, anyone who knows me will tell you that I really dont give a damn about such things. I state my opinions on matters and evidence that I have gathered and would hope that I do this in a perspicacious way. I usually get things right.”

    Well, you didn’t on this occasion.

    “In your response to my Guardian article you offer Eamon Collins as your star witness. I think that point was well and truly demolished by Danny Morrison. You will not of course agree.”

    I won’t agree, because you’re lying. Echoing a lie by Danny Morrison, at that. I do not “offer Eamon Collins as my star witness” – I simply point out that a chapter of his book directly contradicts your claim that Scappaticci was not in the Provos’ “nutting squad”, and point out that his book was written, and indeed he was dead and buried, years before “Scap” was outed. I’ve asked you to consider and explain this, and all you can say is that you trust your (anonymous, to the rest of us) sources.

    As for my point on Collins being “demolished” by Danny Morrison – hilarious. All Morrison did was throw into the mix his own claims of why he wouldn’t trust Collins, and then unilaterally proclaim that Collins’s account was “inadmissable” in the discussion (Morrison acting as self-appointed judge…hmm, that sets the old mind ticking, doesn’t it). This would be the same Danny Morrison who back in the 1980s was the chief churner-out of agitprop on behalf of a mass murder campaign, so whose account might also be seen as, well, suspect.

    And all this was only a secondary point anyway – my “star witness”, if I had one, was Cory. Like Mick, I read what you had to say and went to look at the Cory report as it didn’t ring true. And sure enough it showed that what you had published in the Guardian was highly misleading with reference to Cory and Smithwick.

    Unlike yourself with regards to all this, I don’t actually have an axe to grind with regards Smithwick, never mind all the Scap speculation which is largely uninteresting – I just hate to see fairly propagandist-looking publishing masquerading in this way.

  • Mike the First

    offtheworld

    “The unionist veto proclaimed Never! Never! Never!”

    What do you even mean by this? It’s really hard to know where to start to deconstruct it. What exactly do you think “the unionist veto” was? (whisper it quietly, but pre-1998, “the unionist veto” was simply Shinner talk for the principle of consent – accepting that principle was a massive ideological defeat) And what was it saying “Never! Never! Never!” to?

    “And there I was walking into a Dublin poll booth in 1998 – taking part in an all Ireland plebiscite that not only paved the way for the GFA”

    This “All Ireland plebiscite” thing seems to be a mixture of mantra and article of faith for you, so it’s a pity for your sake that it’s wrong. There were two, concurrent, referenda in May 1998 – the people of Northern Ireland voted on the Agreement, and the people of the Republic of Ireland voted on ROI consititutional amendments necessitated by a few sections of that Agreement. Two referenda, two questions, two electorates, and for that matter two results – if it was an “All-Ireland plebiscite” don’t you think there would have been one question and one result?

    On Guardian CIF, you claimed that “the unionist parties” opposed the holding of these concurrent referenda. Have you got anything at all to back this up with, or shall we chalk it up as a rather glaring untruth?

  • “Clinton and Tony Blair’s camp demonstrated that it was the only organisation that mattered”

    Simple as ABC, Paul: Ahern, Blair and Clinton. How could you possibly overlook Bertie/Bart? 🙂

    Ahern and Blair were the major players in this little trio and they were determined to contain the worst of the Troubles to NI – just as their predecessors had done. In practice, this meant leaving many communities in NI to the tender mercies of the Loyalist and Republican paramilitary godfathers. In some instances, police officers in NI could observe paramilitary misdemeanours but could not intervene without political clearance; Dublin civil servants (from Foreign Affairs and Justice) were involved in this political process. I wouldn’t be surprised if police officers in your jurisdiction were subject to the same or similar constraints. Perhaps an independent investigation into the Omagh bombing would shed some light on this political policing.

  • Brian: “Larkin’s conclusions are also sure to be contested.”

    Not for the first time. Here is Adrian Guelke’s review of one of Paul’s books and here’s a short snippet:

    This is not to underestimate the damage that the issue of collusion has done to the reputation of the government or the security forces. However, I would surmise that what has done most damage has been their inclination after the event to cover up failings of control, so as to avoid embarrassment. This has allowed critics such as Larkin to assume the very worst. One final point should be made about Larkin’s book. Its lack of an index is going to frustrate many readers. Indeed, the absence of an index makes the book almost unusable, given the huge cast of characters involved in the various episodes he discusses. That is perhaps just as well considering the amount of foolish innuendo the book contains about a number of prominent figures in this society.

  • Brian

    Mike the First

    It appears “offworld” may have fled the field once again. Hopefully not, I’d like to see his response. Maybe this time it will be less full of willful misrepresentations and faulty logic.

  • Alias

    Offworld, why didn’t you just link to one of Danny Morrison’s spiels on Stakeknife and thereby save yourself the bother of recycling the Shinner-sponsored line?

    http://www.dannymorrison.com/wp-content/dannymorrisonarchive/041.htm

  • A final word before life moves on, as it must. I’ve been trying to reply in between feeding kids and going out to listen to a string quartet – but the Slugger robot didn’t like the cut of my jib and kept shouting “Bad Gateway”. I was going to make a joke of this but, as is obvious from the above, there are some sensitive souls out there who may feel they are being attacked personally.

    @ Nevin

    Has this become the lets trawl the internet and find dirt on Paul Larkin thread – hilarious! I must call on to Slugger more often. The way the internet works, as you all know, is that every time my name is mentioned my Google profile gets pushed up a notch. Some tekkie tells me that I sell a book for every ten mentions so I am indebted (and further embedded) to you all.

    Guelke

    I agree with Guelke about the lack of an index in my book “A Very British Jihad”- in as much that it really should have one. Unfortunately, I had no control over that aspect of its production. An update is forthcoming and this lacuna will be filled at that point However to describe the book as “unusable” is not the opinion of the thousands of people who bought it and continue to buy it as a Kindle book. Take your choice. I stand over what I say.

    Also, I find it strange that in your quest for the truth Nevin you did not provide readers with my reply to Guelke’s “review”. In my reply I point out that Guelke confirmed both in an interview and via email that it was Brian Nelson’s sister who approached him and told him that the South African Bureau of Information had given intelligence to her brother about him. This is referred to on page 94 of my book which Adrian Guelke has obviously read very closely. Not only do my interview notes with Guelke confirm his description of this incident but Guelke himself confirms the Nelson/Bureau of Information connection in an e-mail to me on the 3rd of August 2001. Apartheid hitman Leon Flores was found to have a picture of Guelke on his person when arrested as he left these shores. What part of Apartheid/Loyalist collusion does Guelke not understand?

    Here is my full reply to Guelke
    http://www.fadooda.com/index.php?itemid=333

    All Ireland plebiscite

    @ Mike The First
    You said:

    “On Guardian CIF, you claimed that “the unionist parties” opposed the holding of these concurrent referenda. Have you got anything at all to back this up with, or shall we chalk it up as a rather glaring untruth?”

    This was my full quote on CIF,
    “It was the unionist parties (along with their old centurions in the RUC and the FRU) who bitterly opposed the idea of our All Ireland plebiscite on the 22nd of May 1998. ”

    The DUP did not just oppose the holding of an All Ireland plebiscite – they opposed the GFA full stop until 2006. They did this in conjunction with other unionist and loyalist groupings which accused the Ulster Unionists (facing a revolt from within) of base betrayal. Reasonably enough, the leadership of the Ulster Unionists that signed up to the GFA have since pointed out that the DUP has signed up to that very same “base betrayal” and that Trimble et al was simply used as a unionist shield – so that he could take all the flak for the “Dublin Diktat” – now there’s a phrase to conjure with.

    Never ever ever would “Dublin” have a say in the affairs of loyal Nor’n Ireland we were told ad nauseum and there’s me voting in my Cabra polling booth. Without our say in the South, the whole thing could not happen. Fact.

    Internal agreement how are ye?

    In conclusion and here is the key point, when all the above hot air and vehemence about my “wilful” untruths is put to one side: I worked as a journalist and film maker in the North for years and have family who live in Derry and elsewhere. I received off the record briefings from the security forces and quiet drinks that often turned out to be not so quiet – boy could those RUC guys drink. Never once did any member of the security forces speak well of the peace process. Quite the reverse. The FRU guys I met told me it was their mission to destroy the peace process. In his diary, Brian Nelson describes the head of the FRU encouraging him to bomb an oil refinery in Cork to warn Dublin not to meddle in Northern Ireland’s affairs. He also describes concerted attempts to kill Martin McGuinness.

    Now we are told that the FRU and its paymasters wanted the GFA all along, used Scap the Pimpernel to push the GFA through and McGuiness was an MI6 spy.

    Pure bunkum

    Never! Never! Never! was their cry.

    But as Billy Wright once told me – The Anglo Irish Agreement was the “Trojan Horse”, after that it was a rear guard action for loyalists. And after all – King Rat knew more than most, which is probably why they (probably) got rid of him.

    A wonderful experience fellow posters and my (genuine) thanks to Brian for starting the thread.

    Pól Ó Lorcáin
    Baile Átha Cliath

  • Alias

    Disastrous use of logic there. Essentially, the ‘thinking; is that if some unionists don’t like the GFA then it must be good for nationalists.

    You even promote a mental defective such as Billy Wright to the status of a political mastermind just to give some dubious ‘weight’ to his paranoid delusions in so far as you can use them to support your own implication that the ‘nationalists’ in signing up to the legitimacy of British rule, renouncing their former right to national self-determination and elevating the ‘unionist veto’ to the status of a principle and enshrining it into the Irish constitution (not to mention the Irish state giving up its former territorial claim to Her Majesty’s sovereign territory of Northern Ireland) was a victory for their former claims rather than the abject defeat of them.

    A few anecdotes about disenchanted RUC officers are supposed to fill in the gaps…

    Incidentally, there wasn’t any mythical “all-Ireland referendum”. There were two separate acts of self-determination by two separate nations in two separate states on two separate agreements held on two separate days.

    If the people of Ireland accepted the British Irish Agreement and the people of Northern Ireland rejected the Good Friday Agreement, then the minority would have exercised its veto over the majority – and that is the unionist veto in action and constitutionally consolidated.

    The Shinners delivered everything that was demanded from the non-sovereign Irish nation in that British jurisdiction by the British state since partition. That is why the state protects and promotes its best assets…

  • Terry B

    Pol, I think you should focus more on writing fiction rather than attempting to be an historian.

  • Paul, your ability to transform molehills into mountains is entertaining but it doesn’t bring clarification to who did what when and where and for what reason. It also places another question mark over the BBC’s ability and willingness to inform and education the public about all aspects of governance here.

  • Dear all – A sluggerite (is that the term?) has mailed me privately and asked me to provide more evidence of Unionist opposition to the GFA and the referenda – what planet were some of you living on in 1998? And do you always have to be spoonfed all the time?

    DUP Opposition to the 1998 Belfast Agreement (if memory serves me rightly, Big Ian called his monarch Tony Blair’s pup – yes?)

    “Paisley’s DUP was initially involved in the negotiations under former United States Senator George J. Mitchell that led to the Belfast Agreement of 1998. The party withdrew in protest when Sinn Féin was allowed to participate after its ceasefire. Paisley and his party opposed the Agreement in the referendum that followed its signing, which saw it approved by over 70% of the voters in Northern Ireland and by over 90% of voters in the Republic of Ireland.”

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

    —————–

    The Grand Lodge (in other words the UUP effectively)

    The opinion of Grand Lodge on the Belfast Agreement as expressed in the run-up to the Referendum in May 1998

    The Grand Lodge makes its position clear (please note the stance taken by – Lord Molyneaux of Killead, the Sovereign Grand Master of the Royal Black Institution, and by six of our Ulster Unionist M.P.’s who are Orangemen: the Rev. W. Martin Smyth, William Ross, Jeffrey Donaldson, William Thompson, Roy Beggs and Clifford Forsythe (since deceased).

    “Belfast Agreement

    The opinion of Grand Lodge on the Belfast Agreement as expressed in the run-up to the Referendum in May 1998

    Orangemen and women, unionists and loyalists, should say ‘NO’ in the forthcoming Northern Ireland referendum, unless radical changes are ordered by Prime Minister Tony Blair and his Government on the agreement reached at Stormont on April 10.

    The concerns of the greater number of people in Northern Ireland must be directly addressed and acted upon if a political settlement is to have any credibility within the wider populace in the Province.

    To this end, the Grand Orange Lodge of Ireland has requested an urgent meeting with the Prime Minister and, if this is granted, Grand Lodge officials will be seeking firm assurances and, where necessary, the removal of proposals in the Stormont Agreement which are clearly at variance with the wishes of the vast majority of people in Northern Ireland.

    At its meeting last month the Grand Orange Lodge of Ireland stated: “The Grand Orange Lodge of Ireland takes note of the acceptance by the participants to the talks process of the document on April 10, but failing clarification of certain vital issues cannot recommend it to the people of Ulster”.

    Orangemen and unionists opposed to the agreement have been heartened by the stance taken by Lord Molyneaux of Killead, the Sovereign Grand Master of the Royal Black Institution, and by six of our Ulster Unionist M.P.’s who are Orangemen: the Rev. W. Martin Smyth, William Ross, Jeffrey Donaldson, William Thompson, Roy Beggs and Clifford Forsythe (since deceased).

    Opposition to the agreement is quite definitely growing at grassroots unionist and Orange Lodge level; and a number of County Grand Lodges and Districts have publicly declared their positions.

    The agreement is a very green-tinged document which has been carefully compiled to placate the pan-Irish nationalist front, of which Sinn Fein/I.R.A. is an integral component.

    The concerns of the unionist/Orange family and their opposition to the document are fuelled by the following;

    The over-riding role for the Dublin government in the internal affairs of Northern Ireland.
    Doubts over the future and integrity of the Royal Ulster Constabulary.
    Failure to copper-fasten the decommissioning of illegal terrorist weaponry.
    The prospect of an undemocratically accountable Northern Ireland Assembly.
    The prospect of unrepentant terrorists in the executive of the proposed Assembly.
    The inclusion of mechanisms designed to make further concessions to the I.R.A.
    The spectre of the Maryfield Eire Secretariat operating under another guise.
    The early release of terrorist prisoners, both republican and loyalists, who have been convicted of the most heinous crimes.
    The promotion of symbols and culture which are alien to the great majority of people in Northern Ireland.

    As it presently stands, the agreement reached at Stormont of April 10 is something which very few unionists, if they are patently honest, could live with. Therefore we would implore pro-Union voters to have the courage of their convictions and, with the belief in protecting their birthright and heritage, they must do what is right for their beloved Province on May 22.

    Only a dramatic intervention by Her Majesty’s Government to make the agreement acceptable to the unionist majority in Northern Ireland will avert the disaster course our Province in now embarked upon.”

    ——————

    The point I’m making is the very legitimate one – that the Green side (shorthand) pro actively showed their support for the agreement. Anyone who denies this and says Scap and the FRU hoodwinked us all really needs to sit down and think about what happened.

    It is not about rubbing ones hands at Unionist discomfort (I welcome them as brothers and sisters) but to demolish this spook inspired myth that the GFA was a trap the Irish walked into.

  • Reader

    offworld: The point I’m making is the very legitimate one – that the Green side (shorthand) pro actively showed their support for the agreement.
    Part of it did; the SDLP. SF withheld any sort of endorsement until very shortly before the referendum, and only got their base on board by insisting that it would lead directly to a United Ireland. Thankfully, it took a while for the actual consequences to sink in.
    So “Sunningdale for slow learners” was as much a prescription as a description. It worked – the dissident republican movement is small and poorly supported.

  • Reader

    The British state bombed Sunningdale out of the water at the same time as they aided and abetted a sectarian strike in the same week in 1974

    Only a few weeks ago Robin (The so called Jackal) Jackson was acknowledged to be a state asset as Fred Holroyd and Colin Wallace said all along.

    Power sharing was not an option in the 1970s

    In the 1990s things changed (wonder why) and as Peter Robinson has said – they were left with not choice.

    PL

  • typo alert – no choice

  • Reader

    offworld: The British state bombed Sunningdale out of the water at the same time as they aided and abetted a sectarian strike in the same week in 1974
    Why work for months to set up an Assembly, then watch it operate for several months, *then* destroy it?
    Sunningdale was brought down by the people who always claimed to have brought it down – loyalists. I saw them do it. And they only got momentum to destroy Sunningdale because of the Council of Ireland – a bolt-on that undermined unionist support for Sunningdale without winning over republicans.

  • PaulT

    OR there’s this

    http://www.wesleyjohnston.com/users/ireland/today/good_friday/polls.html#religious

    10 May 1998 Leaked internal UK government poll. Not very accurate figures (+/- 5%). 67% said Yes and 33% said No. It also stated that 50% of Unionists were saying ‘No’.
    15 May 1998. Irish Times poll. Sample size 500. Conducted on 12-13 May. 56% said Yes, 25% No and 19% undecided. It also said that 55% of Unionists and 10% of Nationalists would vote No.
    17 May 1998. Joint Belfast Newsletter and Irish News Poll of Northern Ireland young people only. 66% said Yes and 34% No.

    18 May 1998. Gallup / Daily Telegraph poll. Carried out on 9 to 15 May. 61% said Yes, 16% No and 21% undecided. Of Protestants, 43% said Yes and 27% said No. of Catholics, 89% say Yes and 2% say No.

    19 May 1998. UTV/Belfast Telegraph poll. 52% said Yes, 20% said No and 25% were undecided. Of Protestants, 34% said Yes and 32% said No. Of Catholics, 76% said Yes and 4% said No.

    21 May 1998. Conducted on 18 May. 60% said Yes, 25% said No and 15% were undecided. Of Unionists, 40% said Yes 43% No and 17% undecided. Of Nationalists, 96% said Yes, 3% No and 1% undecided.

  • PaulT

    OR

    “Sceptics argue that there is convincing evidence that there was a hardening of attitudes among unionists in the post-GFA period and unionists only endorsed the GFA in the referendum campaign because they were deceived about its implications. Opinion poll evidence suggested increasing unionist disillusionment with the GFA and opposition to it. The rise in support for the DUP, and other hardline unionist parties, reflected this disillusion.”

    from
    http://www.psa.ac.uk/2012/UploadedPaperPDFs/409_194.pdf

  • PaulT

    http://cain.ulst.ac.uk/events/peace/docs/sf23999.htm

    ‘Defending the Good Friday Agreement’ – Sinn Féin’s Submission to the Mitchell Review, 23 September 1999

    is a good outline of Sinn Feins position

  • PaulT

    http://www.bjpir.com/Tonge_et_al.pdf

    here’s a political study and survey of OO orders opposition to the GFA (and the increase in opposition over time) is detailed in Table 7.

  • Reader (profile)

    The Portadown/Lurgan gang along with a Belfast unit which carried out the Dublin and Monaghan bombs was the same terror unit that carried out a whole range of sectarian attacks with the aid of the security forces. The main killer in these units was Robin Jackson whose luger pistol was used to kill John Francis Green (whilst the IRA was on ceasefire) and the Miami Showband massacre. The HET has confirmed that RUC SB warned Jackson to get offside when the forensics about his luger came out. (He would have walked from court anyway as he did on four occasions).

    Jackson was a key suspect in the Dublin and Monaghan bombs but was allowed to kill UDR man Billy Hanna after he apparently felt terrible about children being killed. What is clear is that Jacskon was police protected.

    See the report into the Showband attack then read the account of an SPG (SB) officer (John Weir) who describes how these attacks were carried out and the assistance they received from upstairs.

    The Dublin and Monaghan bomb attacks were never repeated. Why? They had served their purpose – the South would not go near a peace process for a long time.

  • Reader (profile)

    The Portadown/Lurgan gang along with a Belfast unit which carried out the Dublin and Monaghan bombs was the same terror unit that carried out a whole range of sectarian attacks with the aid of the security forces. The main killer in these units was Robin Jackson whose luger pistol was used to kill John Francis Green (whilst the IRA was on ceasefire) and in the Miami Showband massacre. The HET has confirmed that RUC SB warned Jackson to get offside when the forensics about his luger came out. (He would have walked from court anyway as he did on four occasions).

    Jackson was a key suspect in the Dublin and Monaghan bombs but was allowed to kill UDR man Billy Hanna after he apparently felt terrible about children being killed. What is clear is that Jacskon was police protected.

    See the report into the Showband attack then read the account of an SPG (SB) officer (John Weir) who describes how these attacks were carried out and the assistance they received from upstairs.

    The Dublin and Monaghan bomb attacks were never repeated. Why? They had served their purpose – the South would not go near a peace process for a long time.

  • Reader

    The Portadown/Lurgan gang along with a Belfast unit which carried out the Dublin and Monaghan bombs was the same terror unit that carried out a whole range of sectarian attacks with the aid of the security forces. The main killer in these units was Robin Jackson whose luger pistol was used to kill John Francis Green (whilst the IRA was on ceasefire) and in the Miami Showband massacre. The HET has confirmed that RUC SB warned Jackson to get offside when the forensics about his luger came out. (He would have walked from court anyway as he did on four occasions).

    Jackson was a key suspect in the Dublin and Monaghan bombs but was allowed to kill UDR man Billy Hanna after he apparently felt terrible about children being killed. What is clear is that Jacskon was police protected.

    See the recent report into the Showband attack then read the account of an SPG (SB) officer (John Weir) who describes how these attacks were carried out and the assistance they received from upstairs.

    The Dublin and Monaghan bomb attacks were never repeated. Why? They had served their purpose – the South would not go near a peace process for a long time.

    You may also notice that right wing coups by the various “Junta” were quite popular at the time.

  • Scáth Shéamais

    Didn’t Ian Paisley get chased from King’s Hall by unionists in 1998 because of his opposition to the GFA?

  • My apologies for posting so many times – I got a message – “Bad Gateway” so assumed that my message was not going through

    I shall only press once in future

  • PaulT

    they are fantastic and fascinating statistics and info – well done/maith thú

  • “In the 1990s things changed (wonder why)”

    Paul, we had the Redemptorist’s ‘Stepping Stones’ proposals detailed in Ed Moloney’s book and the ‘Derry Experiment’ that I linked to previously; the first involved a move away from violence and the second a winding down of violence:

    Derry PRG: “When a senior member of Sinn Féin spoke to members of their group, the group unanimously agreed afterwards that he was trying to send a message to the British government: ‘We want to get out of violence but you have to help us'”

    Presumably that senior member was Martin McGuinness.

  • Nevin

    The process in many ways was far more public than you suggest – In 1990 Peter Brooke declared that Britain had “no selfish or strategic interest” to be in Northern Ireland.

    by the way your quote – “We want to get out of violence” was said by Fr Denis Bradley – fact.

    Heres how Patto45 described it in the Guardian

    Once again an urban legend takes legs and is quoted as facts.
    Unfortunately for the poster the former Derry priest Dennis Bradley admitted that the phrase quoted came from him and not from the IRA.

  • Paul, is it possible that Bradley was part of the Derry PRG? Do you know when he made his statement? The PRG comment is obviously just an assessment of the SF position but the SF leader gave them grounds for reaching it. It’s also possible that Dennis was merely providing cover for SF.

  • Paul, in regard to openness, AFAIK the MSM has never reported on that meeting on November 5, 1993 between Douglas Hurd and ‘Martin and Mitchell’. Can you shed any additional light on that encounter? It occurred shortly before the allegedly postponed Downing Street Declaration in mid-December.

  • Alias

    “It is not about rubbing ones hands at Unionist discomfort (I welcome them as brothers and sisters) but to demolish this spook inspired myth that the GFA was a trap the Irish walked into.”

    I don’t recall anyone (FRU handler or otherwise) claiming that a majority of the Catholics in NI voted for the GFA because Mr Scappaticci did a splendid job of selling its benefits to them. The Shinner’s propaganda department did that – beginning with a parade of cars on the Falls Road draped in tricolours to proclaim ‘another great victory’ on the announcement of the PIRA ceasefire in 1994. Had the sheep bothered to read The Downing Street Declaration they’d have noticed that the only two parties who could deliver a united Ireland (the British and Irish governments) had excluded themselves from the proposed discussions, and so an internal settlement was what they were actually celebrating.

    Of course, John Major’s political difficulties in holding the proposed discussions was a golden opportunity for the Shinners to create the myth that the British state did not want them to lead the Catholics toward an internal settlement that would consolidate British rule. The oft-touted “sick to my stomach” feeling of other parties and actors also helped to foster this myth. Beyond, those who benefit from the status quo generally oppose changes to it, so it is only natural that unionists would be less favourably disposed than the Catholics – particularly when they would have seen such change as a reward for violence.

    The state-sponsored sectarian murder campaign served its purpose of persuading the Catholics that the only alternative to accepting the legitimacy of the constitutional position of Northern Ireland as it has existed since the start of partition (The Government of Ireland Act 1920) was random sectarian murder.

    Essentially, internal reform was the end-game: “the minority should be led to support or at least acquiesce in the constitutional framework of the state in which they live.” (Margaret Thatcher) Adding a few cherries to the peace cake for the loyalist and republican murder gang members (a Get Out of Jail Free card for both and state jobs for the republicans) were not popular with Unionists, nor were the North/South bodies that gave Ireland a say in the internal affairs of Northern Ireland.

    However, they overlooked the fact that these bodies gave the United Kingdom an equal say in the internal affairs of Ireland. This was the first time since the Republic of Ireland Act 1948 that Her Majesty’s government reclaimed sovereignty over Irish state affairs, as this former Irish sovereignty was passed to the new supranational authority created under the British Irish Agreement treaty, thereby re-establishing the old colonial principle that the Irish nation had no right to determine its own affairs separate from equal consideration of British national interests and the application of its constitutional veto.

    After 30 years of sectarian murder, the Catholics were happy to trade their former national rights for a cessation of it. They got nothing from it that they wouldn’t have got from the amendments to the internal operation of the UK that came with its membership of the EU (Directives on rights and equality etc) but I suppose the Shinners have to point to some benefits internally since they can’t claim that they achieved a united Ireland. In fact, less people favour it now than before the Shinners came into being, so these are state assets who delivered for their controllers.

  • Alias

    One other point. I don’t doubt that some RUC members detest Adams and ilk. Who wouldn’t detest someone who justified the murder of his colleagues?

    However, if you look at the example of Norman Baxter you will see why it cannot be extrapolated from such sentiments that the state attempted to deny the political path for the Shinners.

    Norman Baxter was the senior RUC officer who liaised with MI5 in Northern Ireland and implemented its policy. He was also in charge of the Omagh bombing investigation. It is clear that he believes that his investigation into that case was compromised by the state in order to protect state assets.

    It is clear that Norman Baxter detests Mr Adams. And it is clear that Mr Baxter, despite his former seniority in the RUC, did not control its policy. It was not his decision – a decision he bitterly opposed – to compromise his investigation to protect state assets.

    These decisions and policies then are made at the very highest level and are implemented by the lower ranks (even Chief Superintendents such as Baxter) whether they approve of them or not.

    What the State decides is in its national interest is all that matters, not what individual officers decide.

  • Alias

    Just to add that they don’t even have to be aware that they are colluding in a policy in order to collude with it. In Baxter’s case, the strings were pulled behind his back.

  • Reader

    So, Offworld, it is as though Jackson was a protected asset, like Stakeknife?
    And, in addition, I have heard a couple of motivations for the Government to go along with the Dublin and Monaghan bombs, none of them convincing. But this is the first time I have heard that the government was colluding to bring down a government sponsored peace process – now that’s plain ridiculous.

  • Nevin and Alias

    As an Irish speaker – I have attended various functions over the last few years both in Derry, Belfast and Newry that were either organised or sponsored by Foras na Gaeilge the all Ireland Irish language body set up by the GFA. By definition, Foras na Gaeilge is an all Ireland governmental body.

    Just one example of how your talk about the GFA being purely about internal reform is inaccurate – and probably just wishful thinking.

    The grass is growing over those border roads boys – get over it.

    With regards to Denis Bradley, whom I know personally, he was a million miles from SF’s position right throughout the Troubles. I don’t know who Denis voted for, if he ever voted, but the politics he espoused in my presence was pure John Hume.

    FRU spooks

    Isn’t it interesting that when tested – every statement or alleged/situation event put about by low ranking FRU spooks is found wanting – the IRA statement that was in fact Bradley’s statement, McGuinness was an MI6 spy, Scap was in a “nutting squad”, the IRA units that killed Buchanan and Breen were riddled with informers,

    Go figure

  • Paul, FnaG is one leg of the Strand 2 language promotion and development body. Unfortunately these Strand 2 bodies are not subject to parliamentary scrutiny and, presumably, equality legislation.

    You appear to be discounting Denis’ participation in the PRG group. One inference from the PRG comment is that the SF leader was a member of the PRM management body, the Army Council. Only the AC would have been in a position to endorse the ‘Derry Experiment’ – either by a unanimous or by a majority decision.

    Why was the AC unable to run with the 1993 DSD? You’d have thought that the purpose of the meeting between Douglas, Martin and Mitchell was to ensure that the AC was on-board and that the DSD would provide ‘the starting point of a peace process designed to culminate in a political settlement’.

    Perhaps the spy speculation or charges of collusion come from Douglas’ role as boss of MI6.

  • Nevin

    Please address my point – Foras na Gaeilge is an All Ireland governmental body –

    I repeat – nothing to do with simply “internal reform”

    With regards to Denis – and once again you and others have attributed a statement made by him to the IRA.

    This “IRA statement” was first put about by a FRU spook – as was the allegation that McGuinness (with fake text provided) was a spy for MI6. This latter was so bad that not even the Sunday Times would touch it and denounced the document as a fake.

    You are welcome to throw other points about to distract from the above facts but facts they are.

  • Paul, you seem to be confused. I’ve made no reference to internal reform. There are three strands to the 1998 Agreement and, as I’ve already stated, FnaG is one leg of a Strand 2 body.

    I don’t know when the spook made the claim but it’s of no relevance to the PRG assessment. Can you not put a little more meat on your facts by adding dates? Perhaps Denis had read the assessment in the Opsahl report; perhaps the spook was putting his spin on the PRG comments.

  • Nevin

    Stop the obfuscation – You made a statement up above that viz referring to the SF/IRA:

    ‘We want to get out of violence but you have to help us’”
    Presumably that senior member was Martin McGuinness.”

    Your statement is incorrect. Those words. or their like, were used by Denis Bradley who in no way shape or form can be described as a Provo.

    Nevin, you can dodge my “fact” as much as you want but you have made an incorrect assertion. Rather than acknowledging this, you dissemble. A familiar tactic.

    The reality, God bless it, of a beautiful Saturday morning now beckons. May I (genuinely) bid you a joyful and relaxing day.

    PL

  • Paul, your alleged fact about Denis Bradley contains no date so we’re unable to place it chronologically. The PRG assessment in 1992/early 1993 was based on an undated exchange with a SF leader ie it’s not a statement by the SF leader – so there’s no need to get all steamed up 🙂

  • Mark

    Nevin , I presume the comment you refer to is the alleged ” We need a hand bringing all this to an end ” Handed to Major in feb 93 which has been proven to be false for over 15 fiftreen years by BBC journo Peter Taylor . There has been a few books as well confirming this fact .The Derry contact doctored the message in wishful thinking and good faith .I thought everyone knew that . And I certainly thought you Nevin would have known that …. so why the third degree with Paul ? Just curious that’s all ….not lookin to fued !

  • Mark

    Typo – for doctored read wrote …

  • Mark, the detail is given in the Opsahl report (Mayhew, Hurd, McGuinness, McLaughlin and DPRG) that I linked to further up so you don’t need to make any presumptions.

  • HeinzGuderian

    …….meanwhile,back in real world…………..

  • Alias

    “The grass is growing over those border roads boys – get over it.”

    It’s actually growing under your feet but you’ve been fed too much Shinner propaganda to know it. What actually occurred is that the Irish nation transferred its sovereignty for the promotion and protection of its national language to a supranational authority, wherein the United Kingdom now has a veto over its promotion and where the Irish nation no longer has ownership of its national language.

    The North/South Language Body is not an institution of the Irish state. This supranational authority (created in a treaty between two states) has downgraded the language to equal status with a farcical dialect that masquerades for political ‘parity of esteem’ purposes as a language and which is promoted by the other board that the North/South Language Body has responsibility for, “Tha Boord o Ulstèr-Scotch”.

    So the Irish national lost control of its national language to the United Kingdom, and as the national language is a key part of a nation’s cultural (and political) development, that all aids the re-promotion of the Irish as a non-sovereign nation.

    As Nevin points out, supranational authorities are not democratically accountable to the people. And how could they be? They are supranational authorities, not national ones. Whatever sovereignty passes to them passes from the nation and is no longer under its democratic mandate.

    One other point, it was rather nice of the British state not to prosecute Martin McGuinness for the murder of Frank Hegarty despite the them Attorney General, Patrick Mayhew, conceding that there was prima facia against him. You’d almost think he was a protected state asset. It’s all over the wee heads of the Shinners.

    Anyway, thanks for taking the time to respond.