71: A story of remembering and interpreting the past

Film buff, Dan McGinn has an interesting review over on his great blog ‘They’ll love it in Pomona” A new picture by Yann Demange called 71 tells the story of one of the brutal years of the Troubles. It was the year in which Internment was introduced, Ballymurphy massacre took place, the Tripartite summit between Ted Heath, Brian Faulkner & Jack Lynch attempted to find a solution to what the Irish Department of Foreign Affairs called “a tragic and most tractable problem.” … Read more

Book Review: The McGurk’s Bar Bombing

The McGurk’s Bar Bombing: Collusion, Cover-Up and a Campaign for Truth with a foreword by Colin Wallace, just published by Frontline Noir, is the first book by Ciarán MacAirt, grandson of one of those killed in the bombing and  the most visible campaigner on behalf of the victims and their families. The book pulls together the results of Ciarán’s searches in various archives, responses to FOI requests and dealings with the Chief Constable of the PSNI and the Policing Ombudsman on behalf of … Read more

Happy travels! Guantánamo Bay: a decade of failure

Ten years ago today, the first detainees were transferred to the US naval base at Guantánamo Bay, Cuba. Since then 779 people have been held, yet only one has been given a trial in an ordinary US federal court. Yesterday I met with the impressive acting US Consul General, Kevin Roland, at the Consulate in Belfast to record our demand that the Guantánamo Bay detention camp be closed down, and our call that the 171 remaining prisoners be charged with … Read more

Attorney General re-opens #Ballymurphy inquests

Eleven people were shot dead by British soldiers in Ballymurphy in the three days following the introduction of internment without trial on 9th August 1971. Today, more than forty years later, John Larkin, the Northern Ireland Attorney General, has ordered fresh inquests into the deaths. The original inquests returned an open verdict in 1972 but there was no serious investigation into the behaviour of the paratroopers who carried out the killings. In 1998, some of the families of those that were killed began … Read more

Britain’s “Abu Ghraib.” Lessons of internment ignored

I’m not usually in favour of projecting the past onto the present but in this case the usual mantra,”  lessons have been learned”  has been totally ignored.  First came the relatively mild strictures of the Compton Report      We consider that the following actions constitute physical ill-treatment; posture on the wall, hooding, noise, deprivation of sleep, diet of bread and water.   On 8 February 1977, in proceedings before the ECHR, and in line with the findings of the Parker … Read more