The Strange Myopia of Ivor Bull

The case of the Hooded Men has featured on this site previously, most notably via the work of Dr Lauretta Farrell, who has striven tenaciously to profile the matter and keep it in the public eye. The torture they underwent was like all torture, sadistic and sickening. Despite claiming to be a luminary of civilised society, Britain’s history of torture has been so widespread and enduring that Ian Cobain has described the practice in his book Cruel Britannia as being as authentically British as red post boxes.

None of the Hooded Men were convicted as ultimately there was no evidence against them. More glaringly and importantly none of their torturers were ever convicted either, even though there was an abundance of evidence against them.

While the Dublin government has, perilously close to the deadline for referral, asked that the case be resubmitted to the European Court of Human Rights, the suspicion has to be that the Bold Fenian Men of Leinster House would never have graced the matter with more than a wince were it not for the nervousness that has gripped the Coalition as a result of increasing resistance to its assault on the disadvantaged. This susceptibility to the jitters takes on more pronounced form in the run up to the 1916 centenary which is now taking place against a backdrop of absolute kowtowing to British perfidy.

While the Dublin establishment was curtsying to the British queen, ‘radical’ Sinn Fein in tow, in a pretence of parity at nation state autonomy and mutual interdependence, it was conferring on Britain the right to spy on Irish citizens. Bottom line is, Britain bent the coalition over the banquet table and thoroughly stuffed it, wearing a big red a white and blue condom for its own protection. The Coalition was asked to maintain a stiff upper lip, lie back and think of the Troika, which of course it duly did.

The Fine-Gael Labour coalition is not in the slightest interested in what happened to the hooded men. It has an eye on the present not the past. If it were concerned with such things as past torture it would be looking to raise the question of the Garda heavy gang that plied its own torturous wares to people in custody back in the 1970s on the watch of a Fine Gael Labour coalition.

Even more shallow than the attitude of the Coalition that has been the depth of consistency to Ivor Roberts, the former British ambassador to Ireland. He has urged the Dublin government to let sleeping torturers lie in their beds, their sleep untroubled by the screams of their victims. 
There’s so many things which with the benefit of hindsight one wish would have been done differently or not at all ... I think it’s time to move on and stop scratching at the scabs of history like this with which don’t serve any useful purpose. Instead I think they simply dance to a Sinn Fein agenda.

He is wrong on one thing: Sinn Fein doesn’t want the scab of the past picked at too closely unless it is on somebody’ else’s back. This is why we have seen the march along the Falls Road of one eye tribe demanding half the truth and the attempts to initiate a regime of fear around the Boston College project.

But are we hearing Mr Roberts correctly? Because if we are, then the old Shirley Valentine quip was devised as a retort to the bull of this one eyed Nelsonian: tickle my tits to Friday. This is the British establishment that could not resist picking at the scab of the past when it thought it was only a republican scab being picked over in Boston College. Whatever Ivor Roberts is for, he is not for real.

I don’t believe in using the means of the past to deal with the past, court cases, imprisonment and all that. It failed us in the past and is unlikely to serve us any better in the future. But it is hard not to derive some satisfaction from seeing the pointing finger of Britain poke itself in its solitary eye.


  1. I am wary of the case going back to Europe. My problem is that in 1978 the definition of torture internationally was perhaps wider than it is today.

    If the facts were looked at in their entirety back at the time of the original ruling it would more likely to have led to a agreement that it was torture than currently. Today with the international "war on terror" many countries in the west are taking narrower definitions of the word "torture" to excuse their own present day methods.

    Methods of interrogation or punishment that back then would have been impossible to deny as torture (like waterboarding) are denied these days as such.

    With this change of perspective by many Western governments (at least a change in spoken policy rather than a change of action, as the usual suspects have always used torture) the ECtHR will find it difficult to prevent policy and definition changes affecting their mindsets.

    Hopefully I am wrong as this change in definition of torture is ironically partly due to the original Hooded Men case itself.

    Losing a case (with new evidence or facts) due to a change in definition rather than anything else would be a particular travesty since attitudes were changed by the original judgment.

  2. Curious as to the timing. The CIA has today been 'exposed' as implicated to the hilt in torture. The only real shock being the shockingly bad acting by the western media and political elite at the 'revelation'.

  3. Diane Feinstein will fool many with her "never again" remark whether or not she believes it herself.

    Sir Richard Ottaway won't fool as many as he thinks by claiming the UK wouldn't use such methods.

    There is a contradiction there somewhere but I am damned if I am going looking for it.

  4. Watching tory boy toffs on sky news desperately seeking to justify the CIA disgusting antics is appalling. Pompously suggesting a few people trailed by the collar and given the odd slap is not torture but ignoring the truth is criminal to me. How despicable these fat pampered people truly are. I watched a line of hooded tied men being led by US troops off a plane and it struck me the Nazis treated the Jews with more dignity.

    It also begs the question how many times does a person require water-boarding before it is finally accepted there is no intelligence value in the individual? 180 times+ some of these men are treated to the experience. Surely if someone hasn't given up info after 100 sessions the other 80 are purely evil at work?

    Tory boys and his ilk justifying torture is the lowest of the low. The likes of their ilk would die of heart-failure if a black man hesitated in a side-street ask them the time.

    No budget for services at home but a bottomless well of finance for ineffective and wanton torture of people who according to the report had no intelligence value.

    Shame on the west. SHAME!! No doubt they will be lecturing China and other countries shortly on human rights violations as a diversion.

    How unfortunate George W Bush and a few tory boys weren't on video in the Arabian desert in orange jump suits.

  5. the british have no problem picking at the scabs of the past to imprison Gerry mc geough and scotchy Kearney ... and whoever else is next!

    money and resources to persecute ivor bell but no facilities to pursue the british killer-gangs which stalked our streets.

    typical hypocritical british bastards!

  6. surrender and re-grant....then grind them down to a pulp.