Response to Danny Morrison

This piece appeared on Ted Folkman's US blog Letters Blogatory on 5th October 2012. It was in response to an article that Danny Morrison posted on the same blog

In a copy and paste of what earlier this week he had posted on his own comments-not-allowed blog Danny Morrison reiterated his demand on Letters Blogatory that ‘Ed Moloney has some explaining to do.’ How frustrating it must be for Morrison that Moloney is not tied to a chair and therefore can happily ignore his demand for an explanation. I am not tied to a chair either but I am used to all manner of exchanges with him over the decades, ranging from the friendly to the frosty, so responding to his queries doesn’t tax me one way or the other. Had he demanded me to answer I too, like Moloney, would happily have dismissed him. I guess there is much to be said for Walter Bagehot’s maxim that ‘the greatest pleasure in life is doing what people say you cannot do.’ And if Danny demands to be noticed, he will be joyously ignored.

Since the onset of the subpoena against Boston College’s Belfast Project Danny Morrison has been working hard to undermine the legal and political efforts the researchers have made to thwart the British raid. His pen has been put to the use of the British Police Service of Northern Ireland (PSNI), lashing out where space is afforded to him. His ire is directed not against those seeking to seize the Belfast Project archives but against those fighting to prevent incursion. It has not gone unnoticed, with many of his former comrades now wondering whose side Danny is really on.

On one level his lack of antipathy towards marauding British detectives is understandable but only if viewed through a political prism rather than an ethical one. Morrison seeks to avoid being even mildly critical of the PSNI for fear of inviting any awkward probing that might devalue the current policing arrangement which he supports. Although Sinn Fein leaders, Gerry Adams and Martin McGuinness promised to put manners on the British police it hasn’t quite worked out like that.

The elephant in the room that commentators like Morrison perform contortions in order to avoid confronting is that, courtesy of the political arrangement he gave his backing to, British police are in a position to use the present criminal justice system to police the politically violent past they helped create through their egregious policies and practices. They are able to bring ‘criminal’ prosecutions against former republican activists in respect of conflict induced actions in what is supposedly a post conflict situation. Simultaneously, they are engaged in covering up for the conflict induced homicidal activity of their own colleagues in the security services, quite a few of whom remain in the pay of the state. Through their pursuit of republicans and other non state actors they are rewriting and criminalising the history of the North’s violent political conflict in a way that exonerates state actors of any culpability. And not a word of criticism from Danny Morrison towards the British police in respect of this; just plenty of vitriol hurled in the direction of those seeking to frustrate British attempts to construct their reframing of the past.

I happen to concur with Danny Morrison in one of his earlier assertions that the outcome of the IRA armed struggle amounted to surrender. I further agree with him when he described the outcome of that surrender – a power splitting executive in the North of Ireland headed by Ian Paisley as something that could only mean that republicans ‘must need our heads examined … We would be a laughing stock.’

It is this surrender/laughing stock outcome earlier identified by Morrison that sits at the core of the current power disparity and which is potentially subversive of the peace in the North. It also helps explain why the British are off in hot pursuit of the Boston College oral history archive: because they have the power to. They don’t share power, they monopolise it.

When stripped of its protective balm of peace process film the picture is pretty clear: one key player from the violent past, the British police, has been empowered while another, non state combatants, has been disempowered. As simple as. No rocket science required to work it out. This constitutes a catastrophic systemic failure on the part of the Morrison endorsed strategy that purported to tackle the problems of law enforcement that were such an incendiary component of the Northern Irish conflagration. It also explains his silence on this salient political matter. In targeting the researchers behind the Belfast project rather than the raiders he seeks, through smoke and mirrors, to maintain a political and strategic fiction that masks the fact that real power resides where it always has: with the British state.

The PSNI, about whom Morrison is remarkably quiet, despite earlier reforms has over time become colonised by the most revanchist elements of the old RUC, ‘ex Special Branch officers, who served during the conflict and whose members have been subject to well-documented criticism.’ Determined to settle scores with erstwhile adversaries, these people – referred to as the ‘dark side’ by Sinn Fein – have embarked upon an aggressive policy of pursuing former combatants. Their behaviour is deeply corrosive of the spirit of the political arrangement that brought closure to the bloody Northern Irish conflict. Paradoxically, in what is supposedly a post-conflict environment, the PSNI is very much in a conflict mode, using law enforcement to police a past political problem that had much of its roots in a systemic failure of law enforcement. Because no law enforcement solution to the political conflict was conceivable, outside of the toxic world of British law enforcers, the British Prime Minister at the time of the Good Friday Agreement ‘said that the answer to the Northern Ireland problem required the criminal justice system to be turned upside down.’

Despite being plainly evident, none of it figures in the Morrison discourse on the Boston College affair. His public commentary projects an image of a seemingly faultless PSNI.

So where does that leave him? With more heat than light Morrison has opted to bat at the plate for the PSNI. While I do not profess to completely understand his reasoning, there is nothing that would lead me to conclude that he is guided by fidelity towards people like Gerry Adams. His entire discourse resonates with the mood music of those PSNI figures who have Adams firmly in their sights.

For the most part he has endeavoured, with negligible effect, to act as a foil to Los Angeles-based historian, Chris Bray, who has put the British authorities squarely in the frame. In short, the British case against the Belfast Project has been argued noisily by Morrison while the case in defence of the project has been made forensically by Bray.

Whatever Morrison’s motive, whether he is conscious of it or not, the consistency of his leanings towards the interests of the British intelligence services are not in doubt. It is indisputable that his longing to find out what Dolours Price might have said to Ed Moloney in 2010 long after the Belfast Project had wound up is indeed something British intelligence agencies would share. Without a scintilla of evidence he claims that Ed Moloney flew in from New York specifically to interview Price. In his hostility towards the Belfast Project he has thrown his big black hat into the ring alongside the slashed peaks of the British security services. As such, in seeking disclosure that would ultimately be of benefit to them, he will get no help from this quarter where the whole emphasis, unlike his own, has been on protecting the archive.

There is a substantive reason for Moloney having interviewed Price in 2010 which will become transparent in time and which Morrison is not and will not be made privy to in advance. His eagerness to amplify British objections to the researchers provides no cause for confidence that he would shield from British police any insight that he might manage to acquire.

In his regurgitated Letters Blogatory piece Morrison identifies what he sees as three main planks of our opposition to the British police action and argues that ‘on all counts they have no defence.’

Firstly, he seeks to cast aspersion on our concern for the peace. As someone who is on public record, long before the IRA stopped killing people, as having called on republicanism to ‘never again use guns in pursuit of its ideals’– at a juncture when Morrison was silent about an IRA killing in West Belfast where he lived – my claim to have bona fide concerns for the peace is demonstrably stronger than any detraction he can make of my position.

Secondly, he claims that there is no risk to my safety. Given his enduring penchant for wrong predictions he can hardly be relied upon to have called this one right. While I agree with him that the IRA surrendered and as a consequence its members pose no threat to the British state it does not follow that they are not a danger to others. This was demonstrated when Paul Quinn was beaten to death in Monaghan long after the organisation purportedly went out of business. If I err on the existence of a threat I do so on the side of caution.

Thirdly, he alleges that we have no standing to cite risk to oral history projects and academic research. Yet in one of his extremely rare for-the-optics public utterances against ‘repatriation’ of the materials being sought by the British he argued the very point we have been making: ‘the tapes should not be returned because of the damaging effect on future, genuine oral history projects.’

Rarely are so many confusions, contradiction and clangers to be concentrated in the perspective of one person. Perhaps his novel The Wrong Man was given its title for this very reason.

As is his tendency he manages to become even more ensnared in his own loop when he argues that the purpose of the Boston College project was to ‘get (Gerry) Adams’ from the outset: Adams, the current president of Sinn Fein and erstwhile chief of staff of the Provisional IRA, is widely alleged to have been the Pinochet-type architect of the IRA’s own version of “the Disappeared”. In his endeavours Morrison fails to explain how Dolours Price in the series of interviews I carried out with her does ‘not once mention the name Jean McConville … nor that she received orders to disappear people from Gerry Adams or any other IRA figure.’ That hardly fits with his theory that we were ‘out to get Adams from day one.’ But he is right that someone is out to get Adams and that someone happens to be the British, via recalcitrant and vengeful elements in the Northern Ireland police. And for Morrison to seek to shore up the police case against ourselves over the Boston College subpoenas, is to assist them in that task.

It is further instructive that a British judge cited Morrison to buttress his ruling against me in a Belfast court this week, denying an effort to secure a judicial review of the subpoenas on the grounds that the British police action has put my life in danger if efforts to seize the archive are successful. This I suspect has been his motive from day one: to strengthen the argument of British policemen that no threat existed, that it was as the judge alluded, quoting him, a ‘red herring.’ Who could have ever have thought the day would come when a British judge, the British police and the Provisional Republican Movement’s former spokesperson would be joined in such an enterprise?

Yet, in the midst of this draining and dispiriting battle, we can be thankful for small mercies. We are fortunate to have Morrison as an adversary who unfailingly rises to his own level of ineptitude. For that reason we feel not the slightest temptation to offer him the Adlai Stephenson way out: if he stops telling lies about us we will stop telling the truth about him.


  1. Looks like bangers is busting his balls to get a bonus on his pay out,as pointed out thank fuck he is batting for the dark side he is an embarrassment,he lost the argument with Richard O Rawe over the needless deaths of those brave men who died on hunger strike,and without doubt Chris Bray has left him looking as ridiculous as that hat.why oh fucking why were so many of us influenced by such a shower of shit!

  2. Marty,

    I guess there are many asking that question today. They wanted flattery not scrutiny so questions were always unwelcome. The type of people who would beat you unconscious and then tell you that you fell from a horse.

  3. Excellent response to an empty-headed and very dodgy lout.

  4. While the Adamsites were still trying to get the nerve up to put 'manners in the PSNI' 1,000 members of the old RUC, with pockets still bulging from their large payouts, sneaked back in.

    And what of the promised taking to task, regarding it, of Matt Baggott at the showdown in the Policing Board meeting?

    Gerry Kelly said something and likely wagged a finger while saying it, otherwise it was a case of silent farting by Danny's comrades in surrendered arms.

    Danny should have realised by now that the Brits aren't supplying his party's underclass with community jobs without expecting something in return.

  5. Tom,



    they are being treated with contempt by the Brits. Perhaps had they listened to their own membership rather than suppress every alternative idea this situation could have been avoided. But they chose to whisper poison and undermine anybody who pointed out the deficiencies of the strategy.


    Richard was too powerful, too consistent, too honest to lose that debate.

  6. Dixie"1000 members of the old RUC with pockets still bulging from their large payouts,sneaked back in" I dont think they had to sneak in a cara I am more inclined to think it was a well choreographed plan to once again give the illusion that change was under way,to fool the fools in Quisling $inn £ein to throw their balaclava,s into the ring and come out and support the new police service of norn iorn,and like every other issue affecting their constituents i.e. internment,historical murders by state forces,housing ,welfare etc quisling $inn £ein have been as useful as tits on a bull,blinded by their own ego,s and greed they failed to see that they were being fucked by the same bastards who happily gaoled and murdered the innocent of this community,and as you rightly say Dixie their response was as usual pathetic!

  7. Marty
    “why oh fucking why were so many of us influenced by such a shower of shit!

    Answer – Agents of Influence

  8. The bottom line is, PSF/PIRA Leadership has and always will be, Do as we say , Not as we do.

    As for Morrison, I clicked on the above link and went to his site for the very first time, I just felt like puking up, I read that, He is taking parts of blogs , (not his site none allowed), and even parts of ed's own blog, as well as those newspaper reports. Richard tied him in knots, He is not a force which should be feared, nor are the Other top chiefs of PSF/PIRA, as has been stated, Adamsites, They are all pathetic.

  9. Time For Adams To Examine His Conscience......hard to do if none exists...

  10. Kenny Turns Up The Heat..while I have to admit I enjoy reading these demands from the members of the Dail calling on Adams to come clean on his past and the carpetbagger Mary Lou,s defense of the fuher,I cant help thinking that the whole fucking lot of them are almost as bad.

  11. "Gerry Adams States he cannot afford to sue over allegations"?.

    What about all his book sales?
    What about the Northern Bank?
    What about those holiday Homes?

    His big fancy house is not in the murph?

    What about all the money from Noraid which went missing?.

    What about the Millions of cash contributions from all over the world?.

    He could open a bank, such a lying coniving shrewd low life.

    Bottom line is, He knows he would be on a no win situation , No one wears an I.R.A. uniform if they are not sworn to said oranization.
    I was at that funeral.

  12. What's the story with the Royal Ulster Provos charged with membership ten years ago? Are the RUC tightening the screw for fun? if so...i'm loving it.

  13. Larry.

    I would say the Ex special branch are the ones having the fun , and passing the info onto psni/ruc.

    This is just the beginning of the onslaught against PSF and other Republicans, they are bitter about RUC so called being disbanded , but just renamed as the psni and change of cap badge, its the same old RUC raiding homes in nationalists areas , men being arrested and interned, yet, those bigots from that shankill band who danced around in circles outside St Patricks in Donegal St , were charged for it, but not locked up.
    So the bottom line is, Nothing has changed, we don't see any top Loyalist having there license revoked.

    There is a possibility that Padraic Wilson could have his license revoked.

  14. It is difficult for someone from the other side to enter this debate but I think the Republican movement went wrong when it endorsed the cult of the leader. 'Una Duce, Una Voce'. That is where Danny is now - protect Adams at all costs. The IRA were defeated, as were the Loyalists. A bit of honesty about this would help. I admire the commitment of the Hunger strikers. What was it for? A 32 county Bord Failte. The constant attacks on Maloney and McIntyre by Danny and others shows that they have lost the plot. From my perspective this is good news but I understand Marty's pain.

  15. itsjustmacker

    'There is a possibility that Padraic Wilson could have his license revoked.'

    So? zzzzzzzzzzz im losing no sleep over any of them. Wasn't it what marty Mi6 advocated.. ??

  16. Larry.
    pmsl. lol

    seems that wilson and Finucane were approached by Cahills great niece to state she had been raped by an IRA man, She was staying with him and HIS WIFE while her parents were on holiday ,That same man she accused was swished across the border by adams, but you can read it here.

    I remember when Padraic got out, Kelly was there to meet him, dressed to kill!!!, like a British MP, and still is.

  17. Adams and his gang of louts are no better than the BBC covering up the despicable Jimmy Saville. Genuine republicans would rather see justice brought to this scumbag (the SF rapist) than see his filthy acts being covered up. I wonder what else Adams and his gang of merry men are covering up?

  18. itsjustmacker

    'I remember when Padraic got out, Kelly was there to meet him, dressed to kill!!!, like a British MP, and still is.'

    yep from the blanket to Armani. The SDLP could never do that for them huh?

  19. Chris,

    thanks for commenting here where your views are welcome. Unionism seems to be a much more settled entity now that it has accepted that the Provo campaign ended in failure. I always wonder if the Provo willingness to settle for so little disoriented unionism and made it feel that some grand design was at play. I recall shortly after the ceasefire Jim Molyneaux claiming that the Provos had sold a horse and bought a saddle. How right he was.

  20. Marty,

    why oh fucking why were
    so many of us influenced by such a shower of shit!

    Explains why they try to shit on anybody that questions their strategy. Much of the debate would not have been so contentious had they not opted for the Stick solution of tryinbg to silence any opposition.

    Read back on what Malachy McGurran used to say and tell me what difference there is between him and Morrison.

  21. Tom,

    Excellent response to an empty-headed and very dodgy lout.

    the amount of page reads this has taken it would seem others are of the same mind as yourself.

  22. Listen to this and have a laugh when he is asked if the ballot box armalite strategy succeeded. The straight answer would have been that the ballot box succeeded in decommissioning the armalite. Given that he is as straight as a corkscrew that is not the answer given!!

  23. Just watched that Bangers is a real dick he should wear an even bigger hat. one that covers all his head,the man makes me wanna puke...

  24. without the hat he looks as if he is modelling condoms

  25. Yip like I said Anthony a complete dickhead....

  26. Itsjustmacker

    This is just the beginning of the onslaught against PSF

    I don’t believe it is but it shows just how precarious their position is. Who is putting manners on who?