Why I’ll Remember But Won’t Celebrate.

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History is a strange thing; people know just enough of it to fight but not enough to understand it. This week I was the observer to a number of conversations that went beyond cringe-worthiness. Two women from different traditions conversed about Easter 1916, what ensued was like a kindergarten history lesson, that included jumbled names, dates, and meanings. I love to debate but it has to be logical and factual. Most are not, people hold to a position without proper knowledge and consideration of opposing stances. Doing so makes holding to a view unwise, as it means you adhere to it without a proper sense of reality. The events surrounding the failed 1916 Rebellion are a case in this. Most will march, or not, due to the social conditioning of their surroundings and influences. Their attitude is projected onto their being, it is not one that has been brought about by a close analysis of events and policies. I will be remembering 1916, after all, it brought about the state of my birth and saved the United Kingdom and the British Commonwealth from a protracted civil war. But in this, I will not be celebrating it as it was a cataphoric event that stunted the growth of the British Isles. Something which we are still suffering the effects of one hundred years later.

 
On the face of it, Easter 1916, is a blow against an imperial nation holding a subservient people in political chains. This small band would eventually defeat a world power and gain freedom through the shedding of its adherents’ blood. It all seems so simple and heroic but this is not the case and the facts are a lot more complex and sinister. Irish self-determination had already been assured by the efforts of the Irish Parliamentary Party. The anti-imperial argument evaporates in the light of the agreement made by Germany and the rebels to open up another front. The Rebellion and the subsequent Anglo-Irish War brought defeat to the IRA by 1922, both in the North and South; it did not achieve anything that was not going to be put in place by pre-war agreement and its only true achievement was the eternal partition of the island. The Southern State functioned with a British king as head of state and did not become a Republic until 1949.

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In 1914, Britain declared war on Germany. The German Kiser wanted his place in the sun and that place was currently held by Belgium. The aggression against its ally forced the British into action. Belgium had been part of the Grand Alliance helping with the defeat of Napoleon. This was to influence the British aristocracy so much, it resulted in catholic emancipation. The fact remains, that while hundreds of thousands of Irish men answered the recruitment poster’s call to defend “poor little Catholic Belgium”, others saw “England’s difficulty as Ireland’s opportunity” and worked with the Kiser to open up a second front in Ireland. The latter being a very small number, 92% of the movement following Redmond in his support of the war effort. As soon as the war was declared, the rump of republicans opened up negotiations with Germany, through Americans based in New York. Roger Casement was shipped off to make arrangements with the Hun.

 
By February 1916, the Germans had been given the date of the second front opening and despatched the Aud with 25.000 Russian rifles and a million rounds of ammunition. This was caught causing the leadership of the Irish Citizens Army to call off any action. These friendships are manifested in the words of the Proclamation. Stating that the rebellion was “supported by her exiled children in America” and also “by gallant allies in Europe.” This action could not be seen as anything other than high treason, by any state, that was at war. This was most certainly know of and the true objective of the rising was to cause a propaganda backlash. This is why Bulmer Hobson would not take part: that the rising had no military or strategic purpose in seizing public buildings. These would not be defended against a British counter. Hobson was kidnapped by IRB, in order that their plans could be enacted. He would say those involved were “anxious for a demonstration in blood” which only “turned out well” because the English executed the leaders. If this had not have taken place then the affair would have been “a complete fiasco”, in Hobson view.

 

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Despite the execution of the Rising’s leaders, widespread support for Sinn Fein did not take place until 1918. The death of Thomas Ashe, as a result of forced feeding, acted as a propellant for Sinn Fein; this was further added to with the British introduction of the Conscription Act for Ireland. The anti-British feeling was also increased by the arrest of most of Sinn Fein’s leadership, after the uncovering of another German plot in May. By the time of December 1918 election, Sinn Fein had made considerable gains. The election result was more a rejection of British policy than the whole-hearted acceptance of Sinn Fein principle. The casting votes reached just over 900,000 out of an electorate of 1.937,663, with Sinn Fein gaining 476,087. Only one out of four people able to vote, cast in favour of the revolution politic. This was a vote for propaganda more than policy. The Vice-President of the victorious party, Father Michael O’Flanagan, would say that “The people have voted for Sinn Fein. What we have to do now is to explain to them what Sinn Fein is”.

 
The narrative adhered to by republicans is that a small band of guerrilla forces were able to take on the imperial might of Brittan and win. The evidence for this is totally lacking. The republican forces entered a three-year campaign, that first employed hit and run tactics, and then descended into a terrorist crusade against easy targets, under the guise that they were pro-British, when they could no longer sustain any structure of operations. By 1921, the IRA were running out of weaponry and British tactics had them already defeated. Liam Lynch would state that the “enemy where continual dogging me and often close on my tail.” Liam de Rosite would dependently state “we cannot beat the English forces…this is accepted by even the most sanguine of volunteers.” Things fared even worse in the north where unionist had by the summer of 1922 completely defeated the IRA and the catholic population had rejected them. The IRA commander of Northern Division, Seamus Woods, would state:

The position in No.2 and 3 Brigade of the 3rd Northern Division today is that the Military Organisation is almost destroyed (and the enemy) believe that they have beaten the IRA in Antrim and Down…The people who supported us feel they have been let down by Dail Eirenn, for our position today is more unbearable than it was in June 1921.

He would then go on to state that the vast numbers of nationalist had rejected the IRA campaign:

…Practically all over the Division the Police Barracks are stormed with letters giving all available information against the IRA and their supporters. We have captured some such letters and in most cases suggestions are made to the Police as to how they could best cope with the situation. In most cases they regret they did not give this information two years ago.

The result was, that Home Rule came in its pre-war form but only after the more pragmatic forces used British guns and artillery to pulverise those who waved the green flag and cried republic or nothing. The National forces executed seventy-seven captured anti-treaty guerrillas, declared martial law, and instituted military tribunals. All of which were condemned when the British had used them after 1916. But the irony is lost in the fog of historical myth.

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The post-rebellion Ireland was not to gain independence until the twilight of 1937, with the passing of de Valera’s constitution. The spectre of 1916 brought a narrow, religiously, and politically exclusive factor to Irishness, causing mass emigration to the land that Ireland wanted to be free from. This Ireland brought about by the gun, was divided, it became an island that romanticised murder for political ideals, something that still haunts the island’s psyche and looks as it will continue to do so for the foreseeable future. Despite this, people are now openly questioning the legitimacy of what took place a century ago. The real question is whether, Ireland, both British and Irish will finally end a century of death brought about by events by those, of whom, David Norris states were “traitors to the empire” and traitors to their own cause”?

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Perspectives on Paedophilia: Britain’s Most Protected Paedophile. Part One

The following is the first in a number of articles that investigate an international paedophile who worked with Ulster’s vulnerable children and who was protected because of his links to powerful groups who helped him live a charmed life. Northern Ireland’s foremost child phycologist formulated the policy of infamous paedophile lobby group PIE with links to British establishment figures and was allowed to continue working as a doctor while establishing a children’s charity.

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As the dusk of the 1960s gave way to the dawn of the 1970s, the hope and excitement that normally ushered in a new decade were replaced by an ever increasing sense of desperation and despair. Northern Ireland as a society had been violently cleaved in two. With an ever increasing dismembered society, the populace was to find only fear as their comforter. The greatest effects of this ruptured population were felt most acutely in the children whose lives lay in pieces. The jigsaw of emotion and feelings turned many from happy children into stunted and emotionally broken entities, whose lives were stalked by the shadow of fear.

The cliché “cometh the hour, cometh the man” could easily be fulfilled in the persona of Dr Morrison Fraser. He was originally from Inverness and had come to Northern Ireland to pursue studies in the field of medicine. He was to focus on psychiatry and chose Queens University, Belfast, as his alma mater. In 1965, he graduated with B.Ch but decided to continue with postgrad studies gaining a MB. He would win a research fund and go on to gain a Ph.D. Fraser seemed sophisticated and selfless; his spare time was spent working as a cathedral organist and a volunteer in his local Youth Club, he would also help set up a Scout troop. He lived with his parents, who had relocated for Scotland to reside with him, in the prestigious Whitehouse Park, Newtownabbey, overlooking the shoreline of Belfast Lough.

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He would by August 1971, be employed as a senior consultant at Belfast Hospital for Sick Children in the psychiatry department. This gave him access to a growing number of children, who had suffered from issues like PTSD. His work would see him becoming a celebrity of sorts, with interviews and documentaries focusing on his research. He was to become one of the most ardent proponents of integrated education, claiming that it would help bring about change in the fractured and segregated society that was Northern Ireland. He was taken on lecture tours and the Security Services were taking an interest in his work.

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By 1972 he and his work had been the subject of a US television documentary by NBC, it was aptly titled Suffer The Little Children. A book deal quickly followed and more lecture tours. His book, Children in Conflict, was to become a standard textbook for the next twenty years, for those studying the effects of strife on the developing mind. Fraser would pen the following concerning fear and the young mind:

“There are all too many children now who have known nothing but violence. …In scarred ghettos the world over, children are increasingly at risk – children who grow daily more terrified or more aggressive, children whose bogeymen are no longer fantasies but are all too real.”

These words became all the more poignant concerning some of Fraser’s child patients, because behind the façade of care and respectability lay a man obsessed with sexual deviancy and perversion. Dr Fraser, the self-sacrificing career, was in reality, a predatory paedophile, who would spend most of his life preying on psychologically vulnerable children for his own twisted sexual gratification.

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His focus study group would deal with a large number of children from West Belfast, looking into the effects psychological stress on the young body. He was to pay particular attention to those who exhibited blackouts, “with no recollections”, and hallucinogenic incidents as a way to deal with trauma. Some of those were termed “educationally subnormal”. Fraser looked at triggers that facilitated these episodes. He termed it a “defence” that “altered the degree of contact” with the subject’s initial “intra-psychic conflicts”. This “switching off” was a defence used by children who could not cope with the stress. He also observed that the family unit was abnormal stating, “No child was ‘disturbed’ in isolation; each problem, on examination, proved to be that of a disturbed family”. In fact, a lot of those treated by him came from broken homes, ensuring that the children were part of a vulnerable family unit. His work concluded a “well-adjusted” child from a “stable family is unlikely to develop persistent symptoms”.
Fraser would say it was “most important” to identify “children at risk” He would conclude that “Children between the ages of eight and twelve” and those who had “a previous history of physical or emotional illness”, coupled with “unstable homes” that are “economically deprived” are at “particular risk”. He would make, the now chilling, recommendation that “In the acute stage, physical closeness to a trusted adult is essential”. He would further expand this research which led him to conclude in his later work, Perspectives on Paedophilia, that “children who suffer stress” and from “homes where they were emotionally rejected” were susceptible to abuse. A home that, in which, “fathers were frequently absent” and mothers prone to some form of “illness” resulted in the children actively seeking out “substitute relationships”. This would, he said, make the child a “willing victim”. The duality of these “elements in vulnerability apply particularly to sexual encounters between children and adults”. His work was to add considerably to the paedophile canon and lays out a strategy for targeting the vulnerable child. Fraser’s work with children suffering PTDs and phobic anxiety state would enable him to hone his work as predatory paedophile. It also opened doors. It would set him up as the educational psychiatrist for Northern Ireland, giving him access to unprecedented numbers of vulnerable children. It would also see him placed at the heart of paediatric care with a new post at the Royal Victoria’s Hospital for Sick Children.

           Morris Fraser pictures at the time when he was abusing Belfast’s children.
Just a year after Fraser found employment with Belfast Hospital for Sick Children, he approached the mother of one of his patients – a thirteen-year-old boy. He informed her, that for her son’s treatment to progress, the boy would need a respite from the day to day violence occurring in Belfast. He would state in his work that “for these children” there existed “a strong case for removing” them, on the short time, from the area. In August 1971, Fraser requested that the boy accompany him to London on a trip that would be beneficial for the boy. The boy’s mother agreed and between 27th and 30th August the boy stayed at an exclusive address in London SW1. During a three-day stay, Fraser sexually victimised his thirteen-year-old patient.
On May 17th, 1972, Fraser stood trial at Bow Street Magistrates’ Court on charges related to three day trip with the thirteen-year-old; a boy who belonged to Fraser’s Scout Troop and was receiving treatment, supposedly for drug abuse. Belfast in 1971 was not noted for having a drug problem, even among its adult population, so who and where the child’s supply of narcotics originated is puzzling. He would plead guilty to “indecent assault” but the case was absent from any reporting in the local Belfast media outlets. As a result, Fraser was left free to carry on with his experimental work with the children of Northern Ireland. Despite this conviction for paedophile activity, Fraser continued to work with disturbed children and retained his post at the Royal Victoria Hospital. He would also continue his involvement in the Scout movement claiming that it gave the children relief from the “smoke and darkness of the New Lodge Road.” He would say that “Even for a very sick society, powerful medicines may exist” further elaborating “All of Ulster’s city children are at risk”. The sickness that put Ulster’s children at risk in the persona of Dr. Fraser did not need medicine; Ulster’s vulnerable children needed protection, something they would not yet be afforded.

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Fraser would study the “chain of cause and effect” of what he termed the “most dangerous of fauna”: the “child guerrilla”. This assessment, one of dangerous animals acting out the role of juvenile insurgents was to bring him, to be of a lasting usefulness to the Security Services. They had a major interest in the developing psy-ops and how this might be used in the Northern Ireland conflict.

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In 1973, Colin Wallace, the British Army’s, Chief psychological warfare specialist, prepared a briefing document on the infamous quasi-terrorist group – Tara. He states that even after 40 years this document is still “highly significant” because it focuses on some of the abusers linked to establishment and international paedophile networks. The document links unionist grandee and former British Prime Minister, Harold McMillan’s private sectary, to the abusers in Kincora In a disturbing insight the name of Northern Ireland’s chief child psychiatrist was added . Wallace said this week that “Fraser didn’t really feature on that briefing” but that he did “remember his calling with us at Thiepval”. Which resulted in him “being told almost immediately to not look to offer him any more assistance.” He would go on “Someone had thought it important enough to add his name” saying that “even at that early stage” Fraser was on the “radar” of “higher up” and as a result “we were not to give him any more co-operation after that first visit.”

Wallace would relay that Captain Ken Harding, in his own hand, would make an amendment to the briefing document. Under the paragraph linking Sir Knox Cunningham to Kincora, Harding wrote “Dr Morris Fraser RVH?” This leads to another perturbing question: were the Security Services aware of a link between a predatory paedophile with international links, Fraser, and Kincora? The inference seems to that this is the case.
Despite Wallace being warned about Fraser, once he was forced from his post at army Intel’s HQ, Fraser would gain access to most secret facility in Northern Ireland. He would be given access to military documentation and personnel, helping him formulate a long-term response to the civil conflict. This right of entry to Theipval Barrack’s had Fraser working with Military Intel and MI5. Brain Gemmell, a captain with Intelligence Corps, remembered Fraser on his visits to Army HQ. On, at least, one occasion, he was accompanied by a strange individual, who spoke with a Scandinavian accent and had a Nordic appearance. It is understood that Fraser gave regular briefings to MI5 on the progress of his work. It must also be noted that this took place after Fraser was convicted of paedophile activity.

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As elements in the military were secretly warning the media about unfolding events in Kincora, others were meeting with the paedophile psychiatrist but events, in the USA, would thrust Fraser into the scrutiny of the public. On the 4th May 1973, local papers reported that the “eminent child psychiatrist” had been charge, along with others, of “19 counts of sodomy” and “seven of indecent assault”. The charges related to events in upstate New York between “January 1970 and December 1971” involving “some children under eleven years of age”. As a result of the publicity, Fraser was suspended from his post at Belfast Hospital for Sick Children.

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The following day Fraser would use the pages of the local Belfast Telegraph to protest his innocence. The headline boldly proclaimed “I am innocent” and in the article he stated that the affair was a “nightmare”. Fraser relayed that he had been offering professional help to a number individuals with their sexual deviancy, saying “I would meet a wealthy business man” who he agreed to help. Fraser had travelled a number times to these gatherings. At one of the gatherings Fraser said “I was aware that an act involving two of the boys was taking place”, He would go on “it looks very bad” but “I only wanted to help these people” after all “it was his duty”. He would end by saying that he was “being suspended until an inquiry was carried out”. It is the makeup and outcome of the instituted enquiry that would bring calls for Northern Ireland to be included into a national inquiry into the extent of child abuse in the devolved region.

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In Part Two, the failure of the GMC to properly deal with Morris Fraser will be looked at.

Operation Demetrius: A Review

od1When George Santayana, made his observation, “History is always written wrong, and so always needs to be rewritten.” He could easily have been making it about the subject of Martin McCleery’s work Operation Demetrius and its Aftermath. The populist thought on the introduction of internment is clear; it was a failed attempt by the former Northern Ireland Government, which callously targeted the innocent. But history is like observing an impressionist painting. If you are too close then your analysis will only observe how the paint is applied and the hue of the colour. The overall effect of the artist’s work will not be seen, only a mash of colour and texture merging into an indistinguishable mass. It is only when the observer stands back from the subject that they can see the whole work. But if this observation is from too far, the intricate makeup and complexity is lost. Sometimes, not very often, a historian is able to put a subject in complete perspective. This is what McCleery has achieved in this work: an almost 20/20 vision look at internment. This achievement is made possible through the amalgamation of historical documentation and the personal recollections of some of the protagonists. All of which are set in context by the author’s analytical expertise.

The work also challenges supposed accepted truths: that the British Army was one of main supporters of its use. Evidence is produced that shows that GOCNI, Tuzo, and CGS, Carver, were both initially opposed to the introduction of internment. The army believing that the IRA could be dealt with within a period of months if a robust engagement policy was put in place.

The policy had other critics, the Police Federation, the Law Society, and even Ian Paisley, who would state that the internees should be brought “to a court of law” and evidence shown. This was “the basic principle of British justice” he would further remark. His friend Desmond Boal would compare the practice to that carried out by Nazi Germany. This was the main problem with such a tactic, the government found itself in a pincer movement between two opponents willing to make every opportunity, of any situation. This according to Robin Baillie was a “political fight for survival”. Ultimately, a fight that would be lost. The irony should not be lost on the fact that the two protagonists, making up that pincer, now form the government forty years on.

IRA man Tommy Groman would state that “we wanted to get behind the public reaction” to internment. By the 23rd of August, 1971, Tuzo would state “the other side had already won a propaganda victory.” This victory had been effectively foretold by the RUC Special Branch. When they stated, in a report, that “republican, opposition politicians, the civil rights movement and the Catholic Church” had in their combined front, “an expertise and a capability,” which the Northern Ireland regime could not “effectively match,” in the sphere of propaganda.

The work also revealed that there were suggestions that a mole in the Northern Ireland Civil Service tipped off the Provisional IRA to the likelihood of interment. Tommy Gorman would state that “I was expecting internment as an IRA volunteer” and that he had “been on the run for several months”. Joe Cahill corroborated this by saying that “senior IRA members” had been “instructed in late July” – a month before its introduction – “not to sleep at home.” This forewarning would lead to an estimated 2000 IRA activists still at large in the weeks after its initial use. Field Marshal Carver was also of the opinion that “poor intelligence” and the “short notice” given for the operation, was responsible for its shortcomings. This was also mixed with suspicion, that the Northern Ireland Government had used it as a tool for political suppression, more than a precision instrument in the fight against terrorism. Despite this, the figures, as provided, cast serious doubt on the claims that internment did not target IRA members and that it was totally inadequate.

Interment also caused a domino effect on long term issues. Its failure cost the Northern Ireland Government its political existence, causing decades of political uncertainty. The treatment and privileges that were given to the internees would transcend into political status and, in turn, laid the foundation for the 1981 hunger strike. It would also prove to be the final break between the Roman Catholic community and the British military. The resulting clamour of IRA activists to go to ground, caused by interment, spread their network and increased the organisation’s support, spreading violence and ultimately prolonging the Troubles.

Perhaps the book’s best asset is its style. While most academic books have a sluggish and dense writing style, which can leave the reader struggling through the work, as if traversing a bog wearing boots that are too big, this is not the case with McCleery’s work. It is fluent, lucid and articulately written, which drives the reader on. This is something of a talent and a rarity, in the all too often, stuffy and formal literature of academia.

There is of course, one major downfall with the work and that is the price. As with most academic history books it has a hefty price for the consumption of a wider audience. Which is a shame, as it is a work, well worth investing in. But this will not, I am sure withhold a well-researched and well-written work from the shelves of most.

Operation Demetrius and its Aftermath: A New History of the use of Interment Without Trial in Northern Ireland 1971-75. By Martin J. McCleery. Available through Manchester University Press Price: £70.00. Hardcover.

Clifford Peeples.

 

Haass’ Published Proposals

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One Worlder, War monger  and head of the Council of Foreign  Relations, Dick Haass has published what he hopes is the way forward for Northern Ireland. We would ask that you take the time to read it.  Draw you own conclusions on the type of future his plan would bring.

This is a link to the online document:

http://www.northernireland.gov.uk/index/media-centre/news-departments/news-ofmdfm/news-ofmdfm-311213-haass-document-published.htm?WT.mc_id=rss-news

Dear Ambassador Haass

Two days ago the Haass’ Team made a public plea in the pages of the local press concerning the ongoing deadlock in their process. They also emailed this response to those who had made submissions. One of those was former Loyalist prisoner, now Pastor,  Kenny McClinton. He is well known for his opposition to the current trend in government policy. This is his response to the Haass’ Teams pronouncement. 

Bloody Haass

Dear Ambassador Haass & Ms O’Sullivan,

Thank you for receiving my initial email and confirming it by your response featured below.   Please let me reply to it, section by section, for I believe my insights on the matters you are seeking to resolve are both pertinent and relevant if we are to create any genuine degree of lasting peace with justice here in Northern Ireland, U.K.

We have devoted much of the last six months to helping the five parties that make up the Executive in Northern Ireland reach agreement on parades, flags, and contending with the past. The deadline, the end of the year, is upon us.

As one who has been both a combatant and a victim of the conflict in our land, I applaud your devotion to reaching agreement on parades, flags, and past contentions.  However, I believe it needs to be pointed out to you, that ‘…helping the five parties that make up the Executive in Northern Ireland reach agreement…’ on these vital issues will not make one iota of difference to those of us OUTSIDE the political sphere and influence of these ‘five parties’; the majority of which would be deemed either ‘unrepentant terrorists and their spokesmen’ or ‘outright political traitors’ by a large politically ‘marginalised’ section of Ulster’s community.  We are at present politically disenfranchised, and thus pay no attention whatsoever to ‘…the five parties…’ involved in this process.

There is as yet no agreement and no certainty one will emerge. The divisions over the draft text are many and deep. This is not surprising, as political leaders can always find fault with a proposed text, both for what it says and what it does not. There will be words whose inclusion causes real concern for some parties — and words whose exclusion does the same.

Indeed there will, but the real problem is not mere word formation, but the fact that too many here in Ulster have been totally excluded from the political process – and that can only lead to a breakdown in any future resolution of issues.

But the reality is that no party in a diverse democracy can have all it wants. Compromise is essential. What matters is whether Northern Ireland would be better off with this agreement. We believe the answer to that question is yes — a resounding yes.

Again, Sir/Madam, with full respect, I would point out to you that ‘…the parties…’ involved in making such an ‘agreement’, can agree all they wish, it will make no difference to those of us outside the process, and thus it is doomed to eventually fail.  When such a large portion of any given society is ‘marginalised’ and ‘disenfranchised’ – there is no democracy, only a most predictable Oligarchy, where those ‘in the loop’ line their pockets from the process.

We are not in a position to go into the specifics of what is being negotiated. Confidentiality is as essential as it is difficult to maintain. However, some elements of the draft agreement — or misrepresentations of them — have come into the public domain.

This will always happen here in Northern Ireland, when those that make the laws team up with those that break the laws, to form a circle of tyranny that puts forth misinformation and malicious disinformation designed to dupe and confuse society at large.

Given the critical role the public has played in this process, we want to provide an overview of what is on the table, which if accepted would go a long way toward helping both individuals and the society as a whole contend with the legacy of the past and meet the challenges of the present and future.

This ‘overview’ of what is on the table for negotiation by ‘the five parties’, will not suffice to ‘…help both individuals and society as a whole’ to ‘…contend with the legacy of the past, or meet the challenges of the future’.  Too often we in Ulster have watched silently, without a political voice of any credibility to speak for us, as the both the paramilitary ‘hawks’ and the ‘gravy-train politicians’ have carved up any practical benefits agreed.  Throwing large pots of money at ‘The Shankill and the Falls Communities’ can never bring real and genuine peace/justice to Ulster’s people.

The draft agreement has the most to offer in helping Northern Ireland address its difficult past. We attribute this, in large part, to the critical role victims have played in encouraging us all to think creatively, not just about their own needs, but also about the needs of society. The agreement places a high priority on the principle of choice — the notion that victims must be able to choose, wherever possible, how their cases will be handled.

Again, a laudable aim, Sir/Madam, but the reality remains that for some ‘victims’ as for some ‘survivors’ nothing is going to CHANGE the past, and some will hold on to every last drop of desire for vengeance/retribution no matter what is agreed.  This is merely an observable fact of fallen human nature in any given society.

This principle runs throughout provisions to provide quality services to victims in a sensitive and compassionate manner, and extends to the question of how cases regarding their lost loved ones are handled.

While the N.I.M.F. and the new Victims & Survivors Service have done and are continuing to do a tremendous job of alleviating the practical sufferings of many in their care – there will be as many suggestions as to what to do reference past incidents still to be resolved, as there will be victims/survivors holding an opinion.  One man’s ‘terrorist’ is another man’s ‘freedom fighter’; and that issue will continue until this generation dies and beyond.

The proposals increase the chances that families could learn more about the specific circumstances around and reasons for the death of loved ones. But they would do so in a way that does not grant the perpetrators of violent acts amnesty for their actions.

I wish you the very best with this one, Sir/Madam, but I cannot see many ‘perpetrators of violent acts’ coming forth with knowledge of their actions, or the actions of other ‘perpetrators’, without some very positive incentive to do so.

As one who willingly volunteered to ‘confess my part in some sixteen serious terrorist offences, after I became a born again Christian in the Maze Prison in 1979’, I would also refuse to name any other person who may or may not have been involved in the planning or ‘perpetration’ of any of those serious terrorist activities – to do so would be to put my innocent wife and family at risk of terrorist reprisals, something that we have already suffered merely due to my success in obtaining the only VISIBLE decommissioning of terrorist arms/munitions that Ulster has ever seen! (1998)

Unlike in many other post-conflict societies, the agreement as written would not require that pursuit of greater information would come at the cost of potential prosecution. Without efforts like this, and others included in the draft, to meaningfully address the past, reconciliation across society will not take root.

My point in reverse exactly, as mentioned above, Sir/Madam.  However, your statement made seems to assume that ‘…reconciliation across society WILL take root.’, and I believe that such an aspired to ‘reconciliation’ is today still impossible, and will remain an impossibility while some Irish Nationalist sections of our divided Ulster community continue to fail to recognise the reality that Northern Ireland is an integral part of the British State of Great Britain & Northern Ireland; will not recognise the flag, nationality, or symbols of our British country; and refuse to even call this State ‘Northern Ireland’.  To hold forth such a ‘meaningful reconciliation’ to our people in this atmosphere of uncertainty and insecurity could even succeed in building a false hope, that being quickly dissipated, could be the catalyst to further sectarian conflict.

The issue of flags has proven the most difficult to resolve. Flags are the most visible and emotive — but not necessarily only — representation of what many in Northern Ireland hold so dear: sovereignty, allegiance, and identity.

National Sovereignty is, of course, the main issue/problem your present endeavours face.  As citizens of America – a Country and a people that I love dearly – you will only really begin to understand the depth of this issue and what it means to the majority of Ulster’s British people, if someone perhaps puts the issue in more familiar terms:  For example, Texas has many Mexican/American citizens, and there are many other ‘illegal’ Mexicans crossing the border to Texas daily.  They succeed in gathering in what soon becomes ‘Mexican Quarters’ until the Mexican population/voters outnumber the American citizens/voters in that given area.  Soon, the Mexicans in the Mexican Quarter pull down the American Flag and run up the Mexican Flag; refuse to use the dollar; stand up and give allegiance when the American National anthem is played; and block the yearly parade of the old American National Guard club from marching down the Mexican Quarter streets.  Would you, as loyal patriotic Americans countenance such behaviour?  I think not, my friends.  Very soon we would hear the cry go up, ‘Remember the Alamo!’, or in the present situation here in Ulster, ‘No Surrender!’  Therefore, while the Sovereign territory of Great Britain & Northern Ireland is being eroded – by stealth and by mischievous law-making – this issue will just not go away.  I’m afraid we are stuck with it for the foreseeable future.

We are the first to admit that what is on the table falls far short of what is needed. Still, we believe that the follow-on effort called for could make a difference over time, in part because it provides a mechanism for the people of Northern Ireland to make their voices heard.

Voices of Ulster people like myself have been silenced now for over a decade, by fair means and by foul.   I am told that I have personally been barred from the BBC airways now for about a decade; AND denied travelling visa waivers, as previously mentioned, to visit your great country of America to continue on my ordained Christian Ministry, ‘The Ulster/American Christian Fellowship.  Who will ‘hear’ my lone voice on this issue?

Finally, the agreement seeks to defuse the tension around parades, protests, and certain commemorations. While a critical component of Northern Ireland’s culture and history, these events are on occasion a flashpoint for unrest and an obstacle to good relations.

This is what some here in Ulster have called ‘Anglo-Irish Agreement Speak’ language.  It will be interpreted one way by one section of the opposing society, and another way by the opposition.  It doesn’t really mean anything solid and can be ‘explained away’ whenever a crisis arises.   You must realise by now, of course, that the ‘opposition’ to the Orange Order type parades is an integral policy decision of Sinn Fein/I.R.A. and was worked at tirelessly to bring disruption to society norms, and political advantage by continued political negotiation.  To that end, it has been an unmitigated success for Irish Nationalism and the Republican Movement.

The agreement seeks to distinguish the overwhelming majority of parades, which pass off peacefully each year, from the small number that are contentious.

Loyalist and Protestants will, of course, immediately interpret this one as ‘…When Sinn Fein/I.R.A. protest hard enough in one parade venue it will be banned, by the new ‘Parades Commission’ under a different name.’

It offers a new institutional architecture, prioritises local dialogue and mediation, and establishes a more transparent means of decision-making and oversight. We understand that improved structures alone cannot dispel the tensions around parades and protests; better relationships in the community are vital. But we are confident that what is in the draft agreement could create a much more co-operative process and context.

Another section of your statement that will be seen as ‘Anglo-Irish Agreement Speak’ and summarily dismissed by any AWARE members of Ulster society.

With all this at stake, we have decided to return to Belfast in a final effort to help Northern Ireland’s political leaders reach agreement. We are not certain we will succeed, but we are certain that the consequences of either success or failure are so great that we must spare no effort to see that the talks end in consensus.

I pray that your goal in this end section can be achieved, I really do.  However, let me assure you quite forthrightly, Sir/Madam, that ‘Northern Ireland’s political leaders’ are  viewed by many marginalised citizens at present as the most despised bunch of corrupt politicians Ulster has ever had, and in that negative light, what they seek to SELL to the silent majority will be treated with the contempt of an Electorate that has been betrayed by these same ‘…political leaders’.

It will not, however, be the two of us who make this decision. We will do all we can, but the choice is up to the parties, guided by their understanding of what Northern Ireland’s people desire and deserve. No outsider can ever want agreement more than insiders do.

Exactly true, Sir/Madam, but please do not hold your breath for an ‘agreement’ made by the said political ‘parties’, for they have not got the best interests of Ulster’s people at heart, but merely how they might continue to feather their nests in the unholy alliance that they have deceptively formed at Stormont.

It is now more than 15 years since the Belfast or Good Friday Agreement began Northern Ireland’s long path towards lasting peace. While substantial progress has been made, urgency must be the order of the day. The gains made over the past decade-and-a-half can be lost, and even if they are not, much more needs to happen before peace and a shared future are assured.

It has been during this same period of years since the hated ‘Good Friday Agreement’ was foisted on our people by deceptive means, that we ‘the marginalised’ have suffered the most, Sir/Madam.  We have enjoyed NO GAINS, only continual losses as our traditional enemies have forged unholy bonds with our former political friends, and together worked hard to ostracize many of us showing any leadership qualities within Ulster’s weary society.   Having been shown no respect, we have shown no interest in what is done at Stormont – we have no one to vote for, and no desire to vote.

An agreement from these negotiations would not solve all the remaining problems, but it would dramatically increase the odds that Northern Ireland begins to live up to its potential. The opportunity should be seized while it still exists.

Again, let me wish you well in your genuine sincere efforts, and assure you that my prayers are for a true and lasting peace within our too long troubled society.  I remain, your servant in Christ Jesus’s service.

Dr Cornelius K. McClinton

GIVE US BARABBAS

larkin

This ARTICLE was FIRST posted in the the pensive quill blog.   it deals with the question that we all will need to answer: should PROSECUTIONs be for gone in the search for TRUTH?  This is What the real issues are  that need to be confronted by each and everyone of us, if it can, the TRUTH, be UNCOVERED  at all. It is time to OPEN the debate on what should be the future of  the  victims’ SEARCH for TRUTH and the role of those who played a part in PARAMILITARY activity.  

Should a Truth Commission be offered or would this compound the hurt?  For some it will help bring a form of closure, for others it will bring them suffering afresh but this is the minefield of Ulster’s past.  

‘No more inquests and no more prosecutions with  respect to Troubles-related deaths.’ John Larkin 

The North’s Attorney General has plunged into the turbulent waters of the area’s conflict strewn past where dangerous currents, their sensors activated by the sound of a fresh idea punctuating stale environs, still threaten to pull a career under. In acting as he did John Larkin has shown more fortitude than most, in particular the political class which has been dipping its toe into the muck for the best part of 15 years, and pulling it back out even faster. The political sentinels have demonstrated with unremitting consistency how not to turn at every turning point, in those memorable words, never missing an opportunity to miss an opportunity.

In arguing that a line should be drawn under the past Larkin now finds himself somewhat isolated, discursively at least whatever else may be going on in the undergrowth. The political parties see some advantage in collectively distancing themselves from his comments, while the victims’ lobby, for whom any embracive outcome of substance is not within the gift of society, feels as unfulfilled as ever. For those left to grieve, loss is a vacuum that simply cannot be filled.

The victims’ lobby has emotive reason to find the proposal anathema, but the political class should desist from the displays of mock horror it has acted out for constituency consumption. It has long known that the system does not work yet, in a rare show of unity, has clamoured to ensure it stays in place while paying lip service to the need for change.  Barra McGrory, albeit less bluntly than Larkin, previously tried to steer the debate in a similar direction so there is no room for the vacuous claim that it came out of left field. As Director of Public Prosecutions he is not an insignificant figure. Upton Sinclair’s biting quip easily sums up the politicians: ‘it is difficult to get a man to understand something when his job depends on not understanding it.’

Larkin has simply proposed placing a STOP signal in front of a vehicle already stalled, calling for ‘a halt to all probes into offences carried out before the signing of the Good Friday Agreement in 1998’ on the largely functional grounds that they are subject to the law of diminishing returns.

No imprimatur from a Harvard law professor is needed in order for this conclusion to pass muster. The countless victims still demanding redress illustrate the current deficiency better than anything else.

John Larkin has made the right call in terms of prosecutions. Not because his proposal approaches any notion of perfect justice: far from it. He proposes not the ideal outcome but the optimum one in terms of what is achievable within the constrained range of possibilities presently available in the North. There is no shortage of irony in a lawyer having to remind politicians of Otto Von Bismark’s timeless pearl that often ‘politics is the art of the possible, the attainable — the art of the next best.’

Although I have a dog in the fight due to the Boston College affair, which alone is sufficient to make me thoroughly indisposed towards prosecutions, my views on a prosecutorial role in respect of the past were formed prior to the Boston archive becoming a hotly fought over issue. Reflecting on the Saville Inquiry into the events of Bloody Sunday I commentedthat:

Although there are enough who think for genuine reasons that prosecutions should result from the Saville findings I am not convinced there is any point in journeying down that path. A crucially damning verdict would be a simple, concise, unequivocal declaration from the British government that the act was mass murder, that the Widgery Report was a whitewash and that the British government behaviour after the event made it, at the very least, an accomplice after the fact, responsible for covering up and perverting the course of justice. That would be much more beneficial than some woolly verdict of unlawful killing or manslaughter which is probably the only outcome from court proceedings.

Nothing since has emerged that would lead to a change of heart. Prosecutions have been a one way process, a weapon of legitimation employed by the British state against non state combatants designed to absolve it, implicate its opponents and distance itself from ‘lethal allies.

The continued insistence on prosecutions from whatever quarter is made in the sure knowledge of the seriously limiting effect it will impose on wider truth recovery. It raises suspicions that much of it is deliberately designed to inhibit the emergence of anything other than a controlled circumscribed truth; to so refine and rarify truth through legalese that its value to society will be severely diminished. Politicians wielding the stick of retribution are prone to poke the eye of revelation, so that society in general and victims in particular, will see less rather than more.

John Larkin has outlined a method that if stringent in both its application and oversight procedure, has the potential to unlock more truth than is likely to see the light of day under any other set of proposals. As a rule uncomfortable truth will generally come out in spite of us rather than because of us. Larkin in opting to spite us, has charted a potential course towards that moment best described by psychiatrist, Dr Philip McGarry, ‘when the denials, the half-truths and the lies will no longer, in essence, cut the mustard.’

Still they shout ‘No, not him! Give us Barabbas.’

New Demands For Claudy Cover-up To Be Investigated

This is a statement that has bee released by a Ballymoney TUV councillor, William Blair, calling for a public inquiry.  We hope this is the first of many and that all politicians will join the fight for justice for the victims.

We in the Ulster News, welcome the statement from William Blair TUV in relation to the demand for a full independent inquiry into the Claudy Bombing, in conjunction with the many statements made by relatives and other political parties over many years, the latest admission made by Ivan Cooper discloses sufficient new evidence on its own to merit a reinvestigation of the facts by the PSNI and The HET.

It is a disgrace that HMG continues to block with others in authority these demands for a full independent investigation into this atrocity. We demand in the interests of fairness and natural justice that those who so long have covered up these events will now rethink their positions on the matter and now grant a rigorous and full investigation into these events whilst the perpetrators are themselves still available to be questioned and prosecuted. David Nicholl

William Blair

               William Blair

Press Release on Claudy Revelations

 

Forty one years ago, republican terrorists planted three bombs in the village of Claudy.  Nine people would be murdered with those devices, including women and children from all sections of the community. No one ever admitted this terrible atrocity which has left scars and hurt, that have transcended generations.  The failure of the Police to properly investigate these murders has brought about a generational victimhood in some families who have been unable to find closure.

 

There have been a number of investigations into what happened at Claudy and subsequent events surrounding it, most notably the most recent of these have uncovered that elements in the Roman Catholic Church, the RUC and the Northern Ireland Office conspired and colluded in the cover up of the involvement of a priest in these murders. The active role played by these powerful bodies in scuttling an investigation still has not been fully scrutinised. This coupled by the PSNI’s refusal to fully investigate the crimes carried out and the collusion that followed has left serious questions unanswered – this taints any localised investigation. 

 

In the aftermath of the Claudy massacre, Ivan Cooper, who was the local MP at the time, stated that:

 

This incident can only be equated with what happened on Bloody Sunday.  I cannot express words strong enough to condemn the people responsible for this terrible outrage. 

 

Those words now ring with shame, after Mr Cooper’s own revelations that a short time after the bombings, one of the perpetrators confessed to him.  In 2002, Mr Cooper stated that a mysterious figure had appeared outside his office and told him that a priest had been involved.  This was a fictitious account and, in fact, one of the bombers, who he states was a school teacher, gave him a full confession of his actions.  Mr Cooper then states that he took the murderer to meet with a senior police officer.  No charges were ever brought against this man; he was free to continue his life of terrorism.  Mr Cooper and Frank Lagan both committed and an awful act against the victims by being part of a cover-up.  I believe this was a criminal conspiracy to pervert the course of justice and that is why I will be making a formal complaint on the matter to the Police Service of Northern Ireland.  

 

Unlike Ivan Cooper, I believe his words of August 1972, Claudy should be paralleled alongside Bloody Sunday and demand that it should be investigated in the same rigorous and exhaustive manner   That is why I and some of those affected by the disgraceful actions demand that  a full and independent public inquiry into the cover-up that surrounds Claudy and those who perpetrated it. takes place.   Only then, free from interference of those who are hiding the truth can the victims find closure.

 

Councillor William Blair.