The Invisible Dead

In as far as memory permits a judgement it is arguably the finest documentary to have dealt with the Northern conflict thus far and would seem destined to become the recipient of prestigious awards. The Disappeared, researched and narrated by Darragh MacIntyre, produced and directed by Alison Millar, focused on a specific type of republican war crime resorted to on occasion during the Provisional IRA’s failed campaign against the British state: spiriting people away and killing them before burying them in secret graves.

The IRA was not alone in perpetrating this type of barbarism, just that it practiced it to a greater extent than any other party to the conflict. The UVF in 1975 inflicted the same fate on Hugh McVeigh and David Douglas who belonged to the rival UDA. Their bodies were recovered months after they were first reported missing; Lisa Dorrian, disappeared in 2005 by loyalists, is still missing.

Nor were republicans alone in carrying out more general war crimes. No single set of combatants had a monopoly on this most egregious dimension of war. British forces and their ideological soul mates within loyalism were not reticent when it came to breaching Jus in bello.

The Disappeared claim a separate niche in our cultural memory because, to borrow Darragh MacIntyre’s evocative term, they were the invisible dead, those who sat at the nadir of the hierarchy of victims. In what amounts to some form of sensory recompense for deprivation, those who for long enough were not seen are today being heard as their names reverberate throughout the post-conflict discourse. Secret graves are no longer silent graves.

It is both diabolical and deceitful to mount any defence of disappearing people. Citing the dubious grounds of military necessity is transparently spurious. The Argentine Mothers of the Plaza de Mayo made sure that the vile act was thrust into full public view on the international screen from where it inculcated in the public mind an image of the secret grave as the global calling card of the war criminal. Probably more than any other single action the unmarked grave generates its own paradox: indelibly marked with the tag war crime.

The Disappeared examined in depth the horrendous trauma that the phenomenon of the secret grave left in its wake. 41 years after the abduction, killing and disappearing of Jean McConville, the event has lost none of its emotive potency, so adroitly conveyed to television viewers across Ireland on Monday evening via the searing images of her orphaned children huddled together in the days after their mother was taken. It is hard to imagine how viewers would not be left aghast at the sheer callousness of it all. The heat of war can help explain much that is ruthless and brutal but only cold calculating cruelty can truly elucidate the decision to torment grieving relatives for decades.

Powerful as it was, it is doubtful if The Disappeared would have been produced, run for a lengthy 90 minutes, or have grabbed the attention that it has, were it not for the continued public involvement of Gerry Adams in political life. Prominent when the IRA policy of disappearing people was in full swing 40 years ago and still prominent today, it is the permanent presence of this martial politician that to a large extent ensures that the fumes from a toxic past pollute the present. The presence of Adams, an erstwhile military leader, comfortably embedded in the institutions he once abhorred and sought to destroy, while instrumentally abjuring the coercive force he once advocated, is a harsh reminder of how little was actually achieved by the armed violence, of how needless and pointless the death and destruction actually was when so many of his parliamentary colleagues realised their ambitions without leaving a trail of devastation in their wake. It must gall the relatives of the dead that each lost life was a stepping stone in a long career that deprived more than it ever donated. Those whose deaths were deemed necessary to achieve The Republic surely died for nothing.

Coupled with his demands for truth about non-republican combatants it is inescapable that Adams will draw ongoing scrutiny and no small measure of caustic commentary. Without some mechanism being found whereby the peaceful present can be hermetically sealed from the warlike figures of the past, a debilitating corrosiveness will continue to seep from yesterday into today, clogging the channels of communication and igniting the firewall through which any reconciliation cannot hope to pass.

The strength of this documentary lies not in any new evidence of individual culpability that it brought but in its peeling away of the layers of invisibility that for long helped disappear the Disappeared. The post-broadcast focus on Gerry Adams was perhaps more an outcome of the weak way in which he fielded questions. In spite of his long history of evading uncomfortable truths about his IRA past he invariably and visibly wilts in the face of probing about the Disappeared. His demeanour betrays nervousness, leaving him to appear both uncomfortable and unconvincing. His big failing in The Disappeared lay less in his well rehearsed rebuttals of suggestions about his involvement in the McConville killing and more in how he parried an innocent yet incisive probe from Darragh MacIntyre about any knowledge, even in a general sense, that he might have had about the absence from West Belfast republican society of Seamus Wright and Kevin McKee. His deficient answer gave him the appearance of complicity in a matter he had not even been accused of. It was a damning moment.

Some of his more forward thinking colleagues in Sinn Fein must sense that their leader is too easily cornered, that the jewel in the party crown might easily become a stone around its neck. Apart from those grossly miscalculating their political fortune, there are few who seem willing to persistently stick their neck out and openly proclaim a belief in his never in the IRA narrative. When he denies in the same breath both having killed Jean McConville and having been a member of the IRA he fashions a rod for his own back. He cannot even begin to plausibily explain why people should attach any more credence to his McConville denials than they do to his IRA disavowals, lest the house of cards comes tumbling down.

This sombre documentary was about more than the families, the victims, the perpetrators. It punctured any misplaced romanticism about the glory of war, forcing into the picture the squalid horror that for most people is its essence. While Gerry Adams’ desire to continue hogging the political limelight might bring him unwanted, but hardly unwarranted, attention, there were more people than him involved in the North’s war. Any pursuit of the truth about him to the exclusion of wider truths about government would serve no purpose other than recrimination, which in many ways has now become the moving force in the demand for truth.

The Disappeared has served to reinforce an oft made truism. At some point Northern society needs to make its mind up about where it wants to go, if it wants to be fleet footed in its strides towards the future or remain rooted in the mire of the past. As yet there seems little grasping of the need to uncouple truth from reconciliation as currently understood. John Brewer rightly suggested on UTV last week there is no compelling reason to believe that more truth will bring more societal reconciliation. Yet truth as revelation for the victims, rather than reconciliation for the protagonists, is hardly something that can be waived in the interests of the peace process. Those left to grieve may at least be reconciled with what happened to their loved ones and why.

Ultimately, in the heel of the hunt, consideration needs to be given to the inversely proportionate relationship between truth recovery and retributive prosecutions. More of one means less of the other. Court rooms are an arid terrain for widespread truth fertilisation. Revelation or revenge, the nettle has to be grasped.


  1. While the documentary stands on its own as purely reporting the horrific and uncalled for torture and ill-treatment of individuals and their families, there is, as there always is, a sub plot to the matter in my opinion.

    I think this issue will now be pursued to the end and with the added aim of trying to bring war crime charges against the likes of Gerry Adams.

    A number of us debated this 'war crimes' scenario (and specifically in relation to the Disappeared issue)with so called mainstream Republicans as far back as 1996.

    There was some scoffing amongst the mainstreamers, and without actuallly saying it, was along the lines that their new found friends, ie Brits, would not go against them in such a a way and moreso the Brits could not go against them because they, the mainstreamers, were so strong and were winning.

    I think Gerry Adams knew it was a possibility he at some time would be so pursued hence his denial of IRA membership from the outset (the start of his Defence) and his volte-face in some matters of Republican principles.

    Gerry Adams I take it would have been aware of the Perfidious Albion aspect of the British psyche. I think he may have always thought that he would have reached a point of safety that Perfidious Albion could not touch him

    I think his only 'cover' now is to remain in public life and make himself out a good guy as much as possible. That can only be the reason why he is clinging on to power and why others in his party are allowing him to cling to power

  2. Adams has dug himself into such a hole that in all honesty could anyone seriously expect a u-turn at this stage,I am of the opinion that even in a truth recovery process with a cast iron guarantee of no legal retribution, he would still deny any involvement,his ego would not let him do anything else, what i did find interesting was that Billy Mc Kee was willing to openly condemn Adams,and it made me wonder after Billy,s remark that Adams "should say that to my face" that Darragh MacIntyre did not try and arrange a face to face , now this surely would have been something worth watching, because as we now know all we are going to get from Gerry Itwasntme is the same old crap in parrot fashion, it is way past time he was faced down by his peers, Billy Mc Kee is still well able for that .

  3. Sad veiwing. If Gerry was involved in the abduction and murder of Jean Mc Conville, why have the British not put forward any evidence that they would have acquired by their intelligence services and the infiltration of the IRA in Belfast ?

  4. Mackers I watched, The Disappeared on Monday and have visited various bloggs in the hope of finding an expression of my own feelings about the truth of those dark days. In truth I have been waiting to read your own blogg and your own opinions before commenting myself in the hope that you would delve into these travesties.

    Like yourself and so many others I joined the IRA and fought the brits to drive them from this country. At no point did I ever sign up to what transpired over the course of this conflict.

    There is absolutely no doubt in my mind that Gerry Adams authorised the orphaning of those young children in Divis flats. He was a young man then and had grown a huge ego, thanks to the hero worshipping morons that nurtured him. We were all young men once and we all have made wrong decisions. Thankfully adulthood brings about clarity, perspective and wisdom if you are fortunate.

    The problem for the families of the disappeared is that the man that set up the disappearing is in complete denial about his role within his own community. Unfortunately all to many have defended him from. They have done so in the belief that they were defending republicanism.

    The truth is Gerry Adams when he realised how much power he could have and realising that he could manipulate so easy, set up an army within an army and shed the IRA like a snake sheds its skin, leaving it to rot as the snake moves on to its new host the peace proccess.

    If anybody from any of the famillies of the disappeared read this, as an IRA volunteer I am so sorry that you still suffer pain everyday.

  5. Adams will never change, he will continue to deny all allegations pertaining to the dissapeared , and , Being in the IRA ,(we know the truth that he was in the IRA), He will take it to his grave , rather than being found out to being a habitual liar. Who is protecting him? , is it the British, they steered him to the GFA and decommissioning .

    This is an extract from a six page TOP SECRET DOCUMENT obtained under the freedom of information act.

    "On the instructions of the Secretary of State , I met with Representatives of the Provisional IRA.

    The IRA representatives were , Mr David O'Connell and Mr Gerard Adams, I was accompanied by Mr Frank Steele"

    Signed . . P.J.Woodfield.
    21st June 1972.

    The date is of more importance.

  6. Eddie you have a point about whether GA is hiding in plain sight and that his "standing" in public life is what he is clinging to for security. However, like we have seen time and again whether the tin pot dictator or the corrupt politician there is always a tipping point when those closest start to run - perhaps this might be the time when a palace coup is at least being thought about by some in PSF or are they too cowed?

    As an aside, given all the stuff you have been through AM not least lately with the Irish Snooze it was good to read the FAI cup piece about a father and son just having a good time together - as they say on some dodgy credit card ad, priceless.

  7. Another day Another TV show-

    Must be elections coming along-poor old RTE was forced by the BBC
    from showing that programme in the six counties-just another example of the media bullys-

    For those bragging this show perhaps they can tell the rest of us why Adams took of his mic when it was over-went home-Tweeted and went to the Dail the next day-no one had nothing on him-

    No producer or no reporter or nobody who pays them has the
    wit to even scratch Adams-

    If anyone thinks that the Dark's and price confessions wont be laughed out of court then they know nothing about the law-and that's what the disappeared programme had-nothing-

  8. Great Post Anthony, I would love to wacth the programme, but behind in Québec, that's the message that I get when clicking on the link. : Currently BBC iPlayer TV programmes are available to play in the UK only.

    If someone knows an other way to wacth the programme, let me know.

  9. MichaelHenry,

    you know there is a difference between law and justice.

  10. André try this...

  11. @ André,
    The easiest way is to install a proxy like TOR . And here is a short 6min video of how to install and use it.

    You can also watch BBC NI on a live stram from a site called filmon. Simply scroll the channels until you see UK LIVE TV and play the channel. Unfortunatly there is no catch up service available.

  12. I totally agree with eddie in regards to Perfidious Albion, a clear message is going out in particular to McGuinness that 'we can keep you afloat or sink you when it suits.

    The British have enough on the SF leadership in regards to the Hunger Strikes and their back door peace dealings while they were telling the IRA otherwise to completely destroy what little credibility they have left.

    They need only let the media widen the scope on the wider cover up of paedophilia within that party to further damage them.

    What struck me last night was when McIntyre put it to Adams that another former high ranking member of the party had backed up Brendan Hughes in regards to the Disappeared...

    If you look you'll see a flash of recognition in Adams' eyes.

    Did he know to whom McIntyre was referring or did he realise that others were coming forward and there was going to be no end to his nightmare?

    Pat Sheenan said tonight that Adams was one of the great leaders. I'm certain Hitler had no shortage of eager supporters either who thought the same.

    History doesn't tell it that way and in regards Gerry it won't either. I bet Marty is secretly worrying about what it will say about him as well.

  13. M.H.When gerry visited mrs mc.convilles daughter and looked her in the eye face to face.I was in jail when this happened[he wasnt]was that a lie.Now hes telling the media hes helping the victims ffs.Hed pish up your back and tell you it was raining.

  14. I agree completely with Michael Henry that the programme proves nothing , I watched it all and am now convinced that Gerry Adams doesn’t even exist , what came across very convincingly is that if Sinn Fein ever got any form of power in the republic they would bring the whole country down to the same improvised state that Gerry Adams left West Belfast in , what really was more damning to Adams this week was McGuiness trying to defend him against the comparisons made by MLA’s in Stormont of him and Brady’s inadequate help given to children abused . McGuiness looked so uncomfortable and nervous having to explain why Gerry had no case to answer . How pathetic are they who now weld power for Britain in the “wee black north”

  15. "arguably the finest documentary to have dealt with the Northern conflict thus far"

    I really cannot see how, there was nothing new in it and the use of some of the clips were dishonest. The southern politicians in the Dáil for example as they appear to have been taken out of context.

    Its been said the decision to disappear people was a military decision, I cannot see that, it seems to have been political to the core and has the fingerprints of a 'consummate politician' all over it.

    On Adams, why should, and why would he go on British TV and admit he committed a crime? The fact the films makers hanged the whole documentary on Adams appearance made it for me yet another run of the mill documentary. Heartbreaking at times for sure, but a fine documentary no.

    Having said this, the son of Mrs McConvile came across as a thoroughly decent man.

    I am also uncomfortable in calling it a war crime as it devalues what most regard as war crimes. Most of those who were killed, but not all admittedly, could not be called innocent people, they became involved in the insurgency in some way and paid far to high a price for their involvement. But if Adams were not involved would anyone be calling this a war crime?

    They should never have paid with their lives, but then almost all who had their lives stolen during the Provo-UK state insurgency also fall into that category.

    I feel to use such terminology is a dangerous road to go down. The British State refused to acknowledge volunteers were engaged in a war, or that they would be treated as prisoners of war, etc, if captured. Are we now going to concede to them and their tame media and condemn them as having committed war crimes.

    What happened to a crime is a crime is a crime, or whatever that odious woman said.

  16. AM
    Apart from the horror that was visited upon those families, I'm so glad you mentioned Lisa Dorrian. As I said about a week ago on here, I don't really feel like posting much on the likes of Slugger etc., but sometimes I will. A right few months ago I was having my usual gander around the blogs when I came across a thread on Slugger and someone had veered onto the issue of the disappeared (believe me I am not into whataboutery), when I asked an open question on the thread: "is Lisa Dorrian one of the disappeared or not"? I asked it again on the same thread, and I'm still waiting for an answer.

  17. Like Dixie I also saw Pat Sheehan on the news earlier and apart from saying that Adams was popular he also stated that: "he was a man of integrity"!? I give up!

    Michael McDickhead
    I'll tell you why your great leader was able to take his mic off, send a tweet and stroll into Leinster House the next day. It's because he's cut from the same cloth as Thatcher, Pinochet, Bush, Blair et al (if you know what that means, et al that is). Adams, like the aforementioned scum, doesn't/didn't have any concept of human emotions, he didn't/doesn't give a fuck about anyone other than himself (and that includes the vol's he sent out to their deaths). He lied, cheated and (got others) to shoot his way to the top, and tough shit to anyone who was discarded along the way. The reason that people like Adams, Thatcher et al can/could go about their business after the slimy actions they engaged in, is because they are/were SOCIOPATHS! (Look that one up too!). Here endeth the lesson.

  18. Eddie,

    Interesting take. The Disappeared as 'war crime' has been around a long time in republican discussion. Some took it as a given while others tried to argue that it was something else. Others defended it to the end.

    I don't think the Brits will ever bring a 'war crime charge' against people although they could bring charges.


    I think you are right - he seems determined to maintain the fiction come what may.


    Good question. Some might say 'protected leadership.' It is inconceivable that during the supergrass era they could not have brought leaders like Adams or McGuinness in front of a court. They had the means. It suggests that the Brits were moulding a leadership that they could do business with.

    Feel te Love,

    There are no gurus here! All I or anybody else has is a view. And
    frequently I form it or shape my own in the course of writing. So one
    reason I write is to discover what I think. Writing is an exercise in
    thinking, not just the committing to paper of thoughts we already have. So
    whether or not this was of any use to you I don't know.

    We were all young men once and we all have made wrong decisions. Thankfully adulthood brings about clarity, perspective and wisdom if you are fortunate.

    Very much the view of Vietnam veteran Karl Marlantes

    But the following was certainly of use to me because it articulated a
    concept so succinctly.

    The truth is Gerry Adams when he realised how much power he could have and realising that he could manipulate so easy, set up an army within an army and shed the IRA like a snake sheds its skin, leaving it to rot as the snake moves on to its new host the peace process.

  19. Imposition of will is the genesis of conflict. It's almost inevitable that those imposed upon will eventually seek redress in some shape or form, civil unrest and war being the most extreme expressions.

    War entails the taking of life. There are casualties, intended and unintended.

    People have agendas, everyone has. Humans distort, facts and narrative in pursuance of those agendas. Everyone, including and especially leaders and politicians manipulate and lie to further their agenda and cause.

    This is the way of the world.
    And this will be the way even to the end of time.

  20. In the aftermath of the programme “The Disappeared” the actuations are flying around about who is responsible who done what when and were, the only one definite is that people were disappeared by what some people will have us believe is/was the people’s army known as The Provisional IRA
    The first real piece of inhumanity that came to my attention was the priest who was sent for by the people’s army to administer whatever to a condemned man who was bound hands and feet on a bed ready for execution while members of the people’s army were outside playing football. Why oh why did this man with his high religious convictions why did he not contact the authorities and try to save the poor man’s life, obviously his convictions are not that high
    Another point that stood out was the fact that after Jean was abducted and murdered the people’s army set up the rumour machine , as if it was not bad enough to kill the poor mother of ten but they then set about to demonise her ,
    The Provo’s say the woman was an informer the Brits say she wasn’t
    Unfortunately the programme throws up more confusion than answers
    Who is telling lies who are telling the truth? Is it Gerry Brendan or Dolours?
    Pat Sheehan MLA has informed us that Gerry Adams TD is a man of integrity and I am sure there are people queuing up to tell us that Brendan Hughes Provo Commander and Dolours Price Provisional IRA member are also people of integrity … doesn’t leave us with a lot of choice
    Isn’t it ironic that some of the people who openly accused the poor woman of being an informer are now themselves openly telling people to inform on Republicans to the British authorities
    I always believed that Republicans in Ireland were people who opposed British rule

  21. It was heart wrenching in parts but an important doco imo…
    @ Belfastgit yes re the sociopath (psychopathic) Adams . He does exhibit that psychopathic flat effect and mulling lip movement anticipating his turn for another outpouring of denial & puerile waffle that drips from his lips… That steadiness in denial and sans physical betrayals of guilt – foot movements, hand movements and such which would occur with a non sociopathic person is absent… Well versed in it all – he really couldn’t give a toss re the disappeared families not a toss

    It is all just showmanship and the going to Mass and saying the rosary is kinda like the icing on the whole dungheap… he is pure fucking evil dressed in a pseudo respectable façade. When the Brits have have enough of what they want they will crush him like a fly… Just a time game.
    Gerry Adams should be doing time and there are plenty of other Irishmen who should be thrown in there with him Gutless spineless wonders who could have anonymously given information years ago about where to locate the corpses…

    It is just shameful. I hope those alive who know have nightmares and guilt on them 24/7 and rotten quality of life til they cark it for staying silent To me they are war crimes – in the madness that was the psychopaths rose to the top – that’s why during the troubles the stats for psych admissions was at its lowest in the north because the psychopathic types were all out there enacting their fantasies and having a great time of it all - psychopaths on both sides… Now they trot around Stormont but that’s Ireland for you – a hodgepodge of madness that just never ends

    @ MichaelHenry RE ‘if anyone thinks that the Dark's and price confessions wont be laughed out of court..’
    Hughes and Dolours price spoke the truth and the truth will hold ground - no-one would laugh at it in a legal setting or other because it be all no laughing matter. They both imo had calibre and integrity unlike your Dear Leader and whilst I don't endorse all they did in the past contextually they did what they did because of the times - they didn't lie or revel in it... And they did have compassion..

    It is all gross tragedy and has caused endless suffering with generational impact. Your glib comments are so sickening.

    @ Boyne Ranger The sending for the priest was to you fucked up but it was actually an act of compassion/ritual.. I am ex catholic The last rites are important to Catholics as u do well know. Better there was some religious comfort before the one to back of head It was better that occurred than didn't imo but the dichotomy of a priests mind is infamous is it not The only priest

    I admire is Father Murphy and his wielding of the pike from long ago... Also when you talk of informers - u/stand the paranoia of the times, the abject poverty (comprehendo) and also that many of those called touts were kids just kids Used by brits abused and it is all tragedy...

  22. Boyne Rover
    I understand (I think)where you are coming from. Brendan Hughes and Dolours Price (and quite a lot of others) never denied where they came from, what they joined and what they did for that organisation. Gerry Adams did (and still does!). The "A" in IRA stands for army, so if you were ordered to do something, you did it. If you didn't you would have been stood down, pending an inquiry, or at worst, dismissed from the IRA. We are talking here about people who were totally dedicated to an organisation and cause, so they would have carried out (within reason) any order that they were given. So (I think, again) that for the likes of Dolours to refuse any order given to her would have been like betraying the whole Republican cause. If you don't understand that Boyne, that's fair enough, but you have to understand the Republican mindset first. That's why Bobby Sands and his nine comrades starved themselves to death, rather than the Republican struggle be deemed criminal.

  23. Mary Marscal
    I agree with you on the point, that they were only kids used by the Branch and Brit Intelligence. 17 is a kid, and they were used and abused, and if the IRA caught them and nutted them, the Brit's attitude was "fuck 'em" we'll probably get more.

    On that subject, (I think you are older than me, at least I hope you are!), I remember that a guy called Barney Teggert (Taggart) was taken out of St. Pats training school ( The "Home"on the Glen Road) by the IRA and accused of touting, he was shot dead, and I think was left somewhere near the zoo. He and his brother (obviously) were twins, and it went about Belfast for ages that the IRA had gripped the wrong one. Worse than that, it came out that Barney had mental health problems (meaning, then, that he hadn't a clue, if you know what I mean?).

  24. Adams denies everything and calls dead volunteers liars with an anti quisling $inn £eind agenda, Sheehan McGuinness Mc Cartney agus the rest of the cronie bunch make these all sweeping statements about their president for life as a man of integrity and so on, we are told in the programme the Disappeared of another high ranking republican within the movement at the time has stated that Adams was the man in control at that time, it seems to me now that its well past time that in the interests of the memory of Brendan Hughes and Dolores Price and justice for the families of the Disappeared that republicans with knowledge of these actions now grasp the nettle and openly confront Adams in public, if not this farce will continue and supported by the mouthpieces the good boys and girls of quisling $inn £eind will perpetuate the misery the families suffer in their own selfish interests.

  25. I would have or should have stated that the besmirching the name and memory of two fine Irish people and republican volunteers Brendan the Dark Hughes and Dolores Price who served their countries cause with integrity is something no republican with an ounce of self respect should allow to continue.

  26. Marty part of the problem with Dolores is she implicated herself in a war crime. She gave an interview/s about driving some what we call the disappered to their final destination. I am not saying she had prior knowledge they would be disappeared. But she was involved.

    There are very few solutions. Best one I can think of is a total amnesty for all pre 1998 murders, bombings etc. that is across the board for Republicans, Loyalists & State Forces. Also, what ever is in Boston College that hasn't been seen, simply let dust take care of them ( archives).

    Otherwise this time next year another documentary or book will emerge about the murky recent past we lovingly call the 'troubles'. And all that is going to do is breed more contempt and throw up more questions than some people care to answer.

    Like you I'd would pay ring side to see a 1-2-1 with Billy McKee & GA.

    @ MH......
    I stand to be corrected but Brendan Hughes wanted his story in print before he died and was talked out of it by either or Ed & AM. .....

    That alone (I am sure I am right) Brendan Hughes would stand over everythnig today if he was still alive.


  27. @ Boyne Ranger The sending for the priest was to you fucked up but it was actually an act of compassion/ritual.
    Please explain Mary Marscal as I am at odds to understand what the words compassion and murder have in common ????

  28. Men like Gerry Adams, Gerry Kelly and Marty are Britains / Unionisms best weapon against militant Republicanism. With these men around, SF will never be able to advance towards any respectable form of politics.

  29. Mackers said...

    "The truth is Gerry Adams when he realised how much power he could have and realising that he could manipulate so easy, set up an army within an army and shed the IRA like a snake sheds its skin, leaving it to rot as the snake moves on to its new host the peace process..."

    Thats a powerful comment which sums Adams up in a few short lines.

  30. Dixie,

    eel te Love said it. I was only quoting him in italics. It was brilliantly put

  31. Itsjustmacker,

    if I recall correctly the book Freedom Struggle by the Provisional IRA (1973) stated that a brigade officer was released from LK to attend the talks

  32. Regardless Mackers I've shared it using Feel te loves username of course. It's a cracker!!

  33. jgr33

    there is no disputing that - the joy of being at a game with the child. As you say, priceless.


    hope you get the chance to view it.


    Pat unfortunately abandoned his own integrity in order to shore up what is left of Adams'. Sad to see it happen.

  34. Organised Rage,

    there was nothing new in it and the use of some of the clips were dishonest. The southern politicians in the Dáil for example as they appear to have been taken out of context.

    On the contrary there was a lot that was new in it. If you measure it by new evidence, there wasn’t but not to acknowledge as ‘new’ the people who narrated their experiences for the first time, filled in gaps in the lives of those they lost, detailed the runaround they were given, the nature of the smears, seems ill judged. Also the pulling together of the range of victims and giving them their own voice was new. Much in that documentary I had not saw before. It was exactly the type of thing an oral historian would value – bringing out the voices of those who had been silenced or too fearful to speak before. It is a very democratic approach to history.

    The dishonesty in the documentary came not from the producers but from Adams.

  35. Organised Rage,

    Its been said the decision to disappear people was a military decision, I cannot see that, it seems to have been political to the core and has the fingerprints of a 'consummate politician' all over it.

    An argument not lacking in merit but it doesn’t preclude a military decision. I think it could easily be a bit of both.

    On Adams, why should, and why would he go on British TV and admit he committed a crime?

    He would have a lot to lose personally. But then the same latitude must be allowed to any politician who has been lying through his teeth about something. Why should any of them go on TV and admit to their crimes? But there is the other issue of whether there should be honesty in public life. If you think not then your point has merit on its own terms. But if you feel there should be honesty then the injection of dishonesty into it has to cause you a problem. He has the option of refusing to admit anything rather than lying about it and then have the audacity to label liars those telling the truth about him.

    The whole documentary did not feature on Adams. I was actually surprised at how little he actually featured in it. I expected more but there was very little. What damned him is that with the little he got he used it to dig a hole for himself.

    I am also uncomfortable in calling it a war crime as it devalues what most regard as war crimes.

    What war crimes are being devalued? Is disappearing people during war not a war crime? Was it a war crime for Pinochet and Videla? And how could it be for them but not be for Adams if he is culpable? Are you not risking devaluing what republicans defined as a war, the logic basically being that there are no war crimes because there is no war?

    Most of those who were killed, but not all admittedly, could not be called innocent people, they became involved in the insurgency in some way and paid far to high a price for their involvement.

    This seems to suggest that it is only innocent people that can be the targets of war crimes. But this is not so. Combatants have rights: not to be tortured, not to be summarily executed if captured etc. During World War 2 German soldiers were victims of Allied war crimes as soon as France was invaded. The Robert Nairac case is a war crime as much as Jean McConville.

    But if Adams were not involved would anyone be calling this a war crime?

    There is no suggestion of his involvement in Whitecross but that is described as a war crime. So, it doesn’t matter who was involved: it is a war crime.

    Arguing that The British State refused to acknowledge volunteers were engaged in a war is immaterial. Why buy into their definition? If we do then we have to accept that Bloody Sunday Or Ballymurphy were not war crimes. In my view they were. The IRA defined it as a war and it follows that its members have war rights and war obligations. Outside of that it is just plain old murder.

    No one concedes anything to the British and their media by labelling it a war crime. What they do is acknowledge that those who suffered this fate were victims of war crimes. It is about their rights not the rights of the British state or its tame media.

  36. Thought you'd like to see this Anthony. It's article about yours & Gerard Hodgins piece.

    Coffee time and read the comments.

  37. Marty:

    Cheers for that, I will try and watch it:


    Well spotted , I'm sure the Irish News will be reeling at not printing that story, but, then again, with there Sources who knows what they would have printed.


    Hope you are requesting a fee from Belfast Telegraph. lol

  38. Frankie,

    thanks. Just read it.


    it would be great if they would part with a fee!! It helps promote the blog.

  39. Belfastgit,

    Carrie has to take credit for mentioning Lisa. She proof read the piece for me and suggested that Lisa's case be mentioned.

    Boyne Rover,

    it throws up the type of questions you raise. A murky world where dark things happened. And people are left to make their own judgement calls. I get the impression many instinctively do not believe Adams. The IRA denial has him done for every time.


    sociopath is a term frequently coming into use in the discourse around Adams. Even in normal offline conversation.