Mistruths, untruths, disingenuousness and Claudy – when is it ok to lie in Politics?

Last week Owen Patterson the  NI Sec State said: “Our position is completely clear, and consistent with previous governments, you cannot have meaningful talks, serious discussions, real negotiations whatever you want to call them with people who are not absolutely committed to peaceful means of pursuing their goals,”. Using a good Northern Ireland phrase ‘the dogs in the streets’ know that previous British governments had been talking  with terrorists all the way back to the early 70’s. So is Patterson …

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PSNI’s media message/massage/pummelling

Last week Rusty noted how journalist Eammon MacDermott had property confiscated by the PSNI as part of an investigation into armed republican activity in Derry. While some may think the fact he was an ex-prisoner could have influenced the PSNI reaction, British policing has a long history of heavy handedness when it comes to freedom of the press in Ireland. Back in 1999 Ed Moloney faced gaol over refusing to pass on interview notes with William Stobie. Moloney won the …

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Decency vs. necessity and that big river in Africa

With the discovery of what seem to be the remaims of Charlie Armstrong almost 30 years after his disappearance,  Gerry Adams has persisted with a claim the IRA had no involvement in his death. Well, there’s no evidence to suggest that the IRA was involved Of course Adams and the IRA have form for denying involvement in ‘disappearing’ people. Despite (very belatedly) admitting other killings and disposal of bodies, until recently they denied anything to do with Joe Lynskey’s disappearance …

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“This story could end very badly indeed”

The No Wash protest in the Long Kesh during the late 70s and early 80s never really created an impact outside groups already sympathetic to republican prisoners. No matter how hard families, committees and republicans tried the prison struggle did not influence broader public consciousness until well into the 2nd Hunger Strike. So it is hardly surprising very few are aware of an ongoing no-wash protest and battle over human waste being carried out by republican prisoners in the reincarnated …

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Fancy a conspiracy theory? Take your pick

A car appears on the Shankill Road and leaflets are thrown from it naming many dissenting republicans, it happens at the junction of Lanark Way leading into Republican West Belfast. These leaflets are subsequently posted on lampposts and walls across loyalist areas. They give names of numerous people described as dissident republicans, CIRA, RIRA, criminals etc. Some suggest the names may have been gathered by a ‘republican’ group and delivered direct to loyalists in the crudist of fashions. Blank

A tale of two cameras

After Sunday’s Independent Hunger Strike Commemoration a video appeared online showing the tail end of the march chanting ‘IRA’ (and for some bizarre reason a lenghty section recording photographers). There was quite a bit in advance of that person deciding to hit record: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=WqX3Qa_pcoI&feature=player_embedded Blank

Bank heist led to dismantling of IRA…

Sinn Fein once had an impeccable reputation for strategic nous and know how. That was as true amongst the loyalists of the lower Shankill as amongst their near neighbours on the lower Falls. But according to Brian Feeney, it was the strategic blunder of robbing the Northern Bank of more than £26 million that finally robbed the IRA of its paramilitary force. His argument is worth quoting at length and in detail: For about 15 years before the Northern Bank …

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Northern Bank murk

Update. Here is an impressive account by Jonathan McCambridge in the Bel Tel of the reasons for failure in the case and others, minus the conspiracy theory. “In the end, the problem was the same as in the Omagh bombing and Robert McCartney murder trials – how do you solve a crime without evidence?” Our old friends the dogs in the streets will have a complete theory about the Northern Bank robbery and I doubt if Chris Ward is central …

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“There had to be a suspension of critical faculties”

New research has shown the depth of US anger with the British and Irish governments handling of the peace process on the issues of criminality and recognition for policing (Hat tip Nevin). US officials believe that they played the more significant role in SF moving on these issues and thus achieveing a deal acceptable to the DUP. Unsurprisingly it was the 911 attacks that led to the first shift in attitudes towards the republican movement but the Northern Bank robbery …

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A nod and wink is not accountable democracy

In the Irish Times, Fintan O’Toole dissects the hypocrisy of the IRA’s private, and secretive, ‘investigation’ into their murder of 15-year-old Bernard Teggart 30 years ago. He contrasts Sinn Fein’s calls for public inquiries on other murders with their silence on this and concludes that, despite the spinning by the two Aherns: The sickness that allowed the IRA to murder a mentally handicapped child in the name of Irish freedom won’t be cured until the so-called republican movement is willing …

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More on the UUC meeting…

The Guardian editoralises boldly: The immediate villains of the piece are anti-agreement campaigners inside the Ulster Unionists, led by two MPs, Jeffrey Donaldson and David Burnside. They hold out the unacceptable and un realistic prospect of devolution without Sinn Fein. Unionists should recognise that by rejecting Mr Trimble, they would also be rejecting Northern Ireland’s opportunity to run its own affairs. By contrast, Mr Trimble’s record is commendable. He took the bold step of swinging mainstream unionist opinion behind the …

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