Jude Collins

Thursday, 7 November 2013

Infuriating question: "How do you know that?"

I said yesterday that I’d thought about blogging on the swell of interest in the welfare of Sinn Féin (that is, that it should have a better leader) and one very cynical comment said that was a good idea, to not blog on that subject, that way it’d all blow over. (That’s irony, incidentally.) Well, Gio, this one is especially for you. In the hope that one of these days you’ll remove your face-mask.

Fintan O’Toole, that expert on so many subjects, this morning in the  Irish Times calls on Gerry Adams to resign. His denials of being in the IRA, of not having issued orders for the death of Jean McConville and of never having so much as thrown a stone during the Troubles is holding back Sinn Féin, now that (in Fintan’s view) Sinn Féin are an established and maybe important part of southern politics.

Mmm. I remember once meeting a man who, in every conversation, would keep asking “How do you know that?” It was very irritating, especially if you didn’t have firm grounds for what you were claiming. So here’s a few questions that I’m sure readers will be able to come up with answers to.

  1. How do you know Gerry Adams was in the IRA? Yes I know he was flown to England in the 1970s to parlay with the British, but how do you know he was in the IRA? No, forget the dogs in the street. How do you know?
  2. How do you know Gerry Adams was responsible for the death of Jean McConville? Yes I know Brendan Hughes says he was, and others, but is that proof that he was?
  3. Further to 2 above: why haven't the PSNI arrested Gerry Adams and put him on trial if he was responsible for the death of Jean McConville?
  4. How do you know that Gerry Adams threw a stone during the Troubles? I remember reading years ago how one contemporary of Gerry Adams said that from the start, Gerry was always asking “What will we get out of this?” That applied to stoning British soldiers as well as negotiating with the British. The man may have been lying. On the other hand Gerry Adams may have been a strategist, not a foot-soldier. And before you say it, I don’t know that he was. I say he may have been.
  5. The death of Jean McConville was a bleak and terrible event, not only for the woman herself but for her family, as her loss resonated down the years. And people are right be appalled by it. That’s why radio and TV programmes have been made about it. But is the concern for Jean McConville and her family straightforward compassion for a family that suffered and continues to suffer? Or is it being used as a weapon with which to beat Gerry Adams and through him Sinn Féin?
  6. Anne Cadwallader’s recent book lists over 120 deaths in what was called the Murder Triangle in the 1970s. She describes these deaths and their impact in a detailed and factual way, and how the authorities sometimes did nothing to prevent them happening and sometimes were actively involved in the killings.  What do you think are the chances that Daragh McIntyre or some other enterprising journalist will make a programme showing in detail the suffering involved for some - even one - of these families? 

 So many accusations, so many questions, so little proof. So much concern over the leadership of a party that is so frequently excoriated.

There now, Gio. Will that do?


  1. (1) I don’t know, but he spoke for the Army Council of the IRA for decades in negotiations with the British. That is all I can go by until the British publish their full evidence of ‘the troubles’. Bet they don’t ever do that though.

    (2) I don’t, but if he was a spokesman and leader of ‘the Republican Movement’, then he has to take ‘corporate responsibilty’ for the act, at the very least.

    He went on to represent ‘the Republican Movement’ for decades after it was public knowledge Jean disappeared. So I have to assume it wasn’t a resignation issue for him in that capacity. His call and therefore his position to defend.

    He and others represented ‘the IRA Army Council’ in numerous ceasefire discussions. The IRA didn’t distance itself as an organization from disappearing people. So it is hard to see why people argue that a man who represented ‘the IRA Army Council’ in conversations with the British link since ninteen seventy two onwards could possibly wash his hands of actions carried out by foot soldiers of the organization he represented. I don’t believe Martin can either, by the way. If you are the public face then you are culpable, simple as that.

    (3) Having read Programmed to Kill: The Politics of Serial Murder by David McGowan I wouldn’t discount anything. Possibly even MK Ultra type programmes running in NI to match the one Whitey Bulger was on.

    But I won’t theorise until we see public files.

    One plausable already demonstrated reason, possibly not the only reason, is Gerry was and is a link-man to the Republican Movement for MI5, MI6 and Whitehall. They dealt with African dictators who ate the hearts of their opponents and butchered schoolbuses full of children, so they would hardly balk at dealing with a clean hands, cold heart like Gerry. Idi Amin Dada or many other familiars had Western support, why not Gerry and Martin?

    (4) MI5 traffic analysis could tell you for sure. Their telephone intercepts could probably clear him of all false charges if released. I would argue, that if he agrees to do it, put all the information in the public domain so they can clear Gerry and any others who agree of all charges. If he is innocent it would be easily proved by releasing all intercepted information. We know his friends in America collect that type of information and supply it to the British. So that is an avenue he could pursue to clear his name of untrue accusations. I hope he does, in fact if he wants to crowd fund a PR campaign I pledge fifty whole pence to vindcate him of these hateful persistant accusations. What the hell make it a pound. Because I beleive in justice for everyone, not just state sponsered serial killers and their proxies in Psuedo-Gangs. I wouldn’t want my past out there like that but if he wants they should oblige. And it can be done, can’t it?

    (5) I can’t help thinking if they wanted to get him they would have easily done so by now. Yasser Arafat would be a comparable example. But I suppose anything is possible. In truth we won’t know until they open up all the files and provide a general amnesty so everyone can put their collective burden’s down. Even then everyone will lie through their teeth to stop more immediate justice, so we probably won’t ever know.

    (6) Just to add to that a little, Do watch it’s all TV gold: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=caUG4L-3S30

  2. If you resisted the temptation to comment on the Sinn Fein leader in yesterday's blog well you certainly had a devious pop at the DUP leader. I'm not going to cover today's blog in too much detail as really it just backs up Fintan O'Toole's assertions. What I'd like to point out is that over recent weeks you have continually referred to Anne Cadwallader's book and talked of murder gangs but in today's piece I see murder gang nowhere. I see the "death of Jean McConville" mentioned four times and when you eventually get to murder and killing it is again in the context of Anne Cadwallader's book and not Jean McConville. Now Jude...this note's for you.

  3. A fairly lengthy response but doesn't answer the question of "where's the proof"

    P.S re: (4) could said intercepts not also put him in the dock?

  4. Any thoughts on Eamon Mc Canns article in Irish Times today?

  5. So, in terms,are you saying that there is this massive conspiracy against Gerry Adams?To borrow the old Carry On line "Infamy, infamy, they've all got in infamy"!

  6. Moving from Gerry to Martin, the D F M is quoted in the Belfast Telegraph as saying(in Oxford) that he did not agree with the view of a Bishop Daly that a bomb which killed Patsy Gillespie and five soldiers in 1990 was " the work of Satan".Asked if it was " anything other than cold blooded murder" he hedged saying:"Obviously,people will have their own interpretations of that"Given that Martin had said that certain I R A actions were "wrong" do you not think that Bishop Dalys comments were entirely accurate?

  7. Jude
    Thanks for the thought. You are not a rude and stupid man at all, despite what that woman said!
    In a way proving that Gerry was in the IRA is no longer the issue. It is simply accepted by those of us who live in the real world. Talk to 100 people about this. How many honestly tell you they believe he was not a member?
    There are of course those funeral pictures as well as the record from the talks you mention, was it Willie Whitelaw's diary and I think Seán Mac Stíofáin's own record of those meetings. Not to mention the 'brownie' articles and of course the many statements of those who are now no longer friends of Gerry.
    On the principle of Occam's razor the simplest explanation for all this is that Gerry Adams was in the IRA.
    But we are not in a court of law here and in the real world it is what the dogs on the street know that counts.
    I don't suppose this will do any real damage to Sinn Fein in the North, but it will surely be used in every election against SF in the south until Gerry steps down (after the 2016 commemorations, I presume).
    And I agree with your final point about all the other families waiting to know the truth. After all these years the stories are still heartbreaking.

  8. I trust Connolly House appreciate all that you are doing on their behalf.How can they ever repay you?

  9. How ironic you should use a screen grab from A Few Good Men.
    The iconic quote from that move?
    Not "I want the proof."
    Rather, it was: "You can't handle the truth."

  10. Jude, referenced this piece over on http://bangordub.wordpress.com/.