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False Memories of Belfast?

bypeaceandtruth©
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by Anonymous

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An Excellent Essay

I agree with all of your points except for one. While a great deal of money was raised in the U.S. for the IRA, The Soviet Union was their main source of funding. It is no coincidence that shortly after the collapse of the Soviet Union that there was a sudden rush to the peace talks by the IRA. It is also interesting to note that the annual spring student protests (read riots) againnst the government and the U.S. presence, in South Korea mysteriouslty ceased at the same time.

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by Anonymous06/27/12

A very thorough..

.. demolition of the nonsensical falsehoods in what ludicrously purports to be a true story. It's just a pity that probably far fewer people will read your excellent essay than read the original story.

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by Anonymous06/27/12

Verification?

In the process of doing a quick, down and dirty verification of this criticism, I came across a Wikipedia entry regarding "James Craig (Loyalist)."

On October 15, 1988, James Pratt Craig was shot in the "Castle Inn" pub (later the "Bunch of Grapes" pub) on Beersbridge Road in east Belfast. I don't know if this pub existed as the "Castle Inn" during the time when the story being criticized was set.

The Wikipedia entry also mentions a person being blown up by a car bomb in December, 1987.

I don't have time to check everything, although it does appear that the criticism is correct regarding no one officially being hanged at "Long Kesh" during the 'troubles'.

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by Captain Midnight06/27/12

Wondering about The Troubles because of a different story

In 2009 I befriended a woman named Lana who was from Belfast. She was 23 going on 24 at the time, and she had a memory of her childhood (aged 6 or so) where she and older kids stood at the edge of a cleared-away space between East Belfast and West Belfast, and from her East Belfast (Protestant) side, she threw various things into the cleared away space, hoping to land something in the West Belfast side. Six years old and being trained to hate!

Lana and I became fast friends. As a grownup she had suffered many troubles of a personal nature. She became pregnant twice (by her boyfriend) and each time suffered from hypermenesis gravidum, causing her to miscarry each time. There were other illnesses and accidental injuries and some people brutalized her just for existing. She stopped hating sometime before she fell in love.

The last time Lana and I conversed was in April 2010, at Easter Sunday. I do not know if she became ill and died, or was killed in an accident, or what. I have not visited her page in years. I think she remains on the membership rolls, since she published a couple of essays about her life. I am using the name she gave me, and I do not remember her name as an author (I could look it up).

I have known a couple of IRA sympathizers and once watched a play about terrorism and how even the terrorists are worn down (a local production eight thousand miles from the scene). The play was done many years ago, before the fragile peace Northern Ireland now enjoys. The religious hatreds horrify me, as in my American town Catholics and Protestants mingle freely and often date. I would be on the side of those wanting to stay in the United Kingdom, but not with much happiness.

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by mcbtws06/27/12

Brilliant demolition!

Thank you wholeheartedly for setting the record straight on the purportedly "almost true story" I read it and was gagging as I read it. It was written to enlarge the myth of the sympathetic IRA to a gullible public.As for the IRA getting most of their funds from Russia, I call bullshit on that one. The IRA fundraisers in the USA particularly in the Boston area, raised millions to be used to destroy innocent lives. Once again thanks for your exposing the story for what it is, a piece of shite!

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by Anonymous06/27/12

Thanks for setting the record straight

Thank you for exposing this drivel for what it really is. An absolute insult to the whole country. I am shocked at the ignorance Jenny shows in her writing and at her arrogance in posting the story.

Hanged in LongKesh... seriously!?

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by Anonymous06/27/12

Hanging

and and other forms of death penalty have thankfully been illegal in the UK since the sixties. And the last I heard, Northern Ireland remains part of the UK.

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by estragon06/27/12

Was in Belfast in 2005

Felt as safe as if I were at home; went to pubs, the theatre, out to Cultra on the bus. Likewise in Derry. Likewise in Limerick (for all of Frank McCourt's stories), and definitely so in Dublin. People just want to be left alone, have a pint or two with their friends, get laid...you know, the usual. Ireland is great!

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by Anonymous06/28/12

Some shit.

OK. Republican terrorist finances came from many sources. The biggest single source was racketeering and product piracy, particularly Disney videos. Financing from the US came behind that. Just before Christmas every year trucks carrying cigarettes or alcohol were hijacked and the booty sold throughout the Province. So much so that Gallaghers, a major tobacco product manufacturer and employer, actually started to send it's products to Dublin by sea rather than ship them the 100 miles by road because it cost them so much. Eventually they moved production overseas to reduce costs and losses.

The Castle, subsequently The Bunch of Grapes, is a staunchly Loyalist pub in a Protestant area and there is absolutely no possibility of anyone called Sean being allowed enough time to knock back a single whiskey. In fact, if you are not already well known in there you will soon be shown the door. I would think Jenny has been deliberately vague about the bar.

As for the lady who could throw things fro East Belfast into West Belfast ...! I think you will find that she was referring to what is known as an interface. A place where protestant and catholic communities live cheek by jowl.

My final point for the moment is this. EVERY study by academics has shown that catholics are instilled with greater hatred and at an earlier age than protestant. And all these studies were authored by catholic researchers. If you are really interested I would refer you to the CAIN project hosted by the University of Ulster. It is an open and impartial source. I will leave you to look for it yourself so I can't be accused of directing you to a false site.

For some reason I cannot log in, but if you want to dispute with me I am torchthebitch. Find me in the members list

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by peaceandtruth06/29/12

Thanks

I am surprised and touched by the level if support and comment this story has raised

I am open to counter criticism if I have made mistakes - the post called "verification" raises two points 1) the Castle Inn which became the Bunch of Grapes. Not being from that side of town I was unaware of it having that name in the past, and as another poster said, there is no way anyone called Sean would be drinking there.(and no way you would get me to go in there either!) No matter, the point was that no girl was shot by a British soldier in any pub in 1979. Or any year, as far as I can find. This central point of the story is a falsehood.

2) someone killed in a car bomb post 1974 - my remark was ambiguous - I did not mean that no-one was killed by car bombs post 74, just that the tactic became increasingly rarely used. There were a few incidents, one or two every couple of years, notoriously the blast in Omagh that killed dozens of innocent shoppers and tourists after the IRA had signed the peace deal, which killed funding from America for a while. My point was that as far as i can see no couple was killed in car bombing in 1979, which was what the story claimed. A further untruth.

As for the funding of the IRA - they got it from wherever they could, criminal, political, Russian, Libiyan, American, anyone's money. And they used it to shoot farmers and taxi divers, blow up pubs and corner shops and put explosives in post boxes in the middle of crowded shopping streets. They bought American sniper rifles and killed people from half a mile away. And they intimidated people and stole their votes and shot them in the knees if they stood up against them. Or shot them in the head. In front of their wives and children. And there are ex IRA people out there now who would still do that to me now, which is why this account is anonymous and based on a disposable email address. Because they are vicious cowards and thugs, and while I would dearly like to expose the truth to those in America to whom they are trying to appeal and whose money they are soliciting so they can return to their terrorist campaign, I also dearly like my kneecaps being just where they are.

The vast majority of people in Ireland, north and south, want peace. Please don't assist the few warmongers who would do murder for a nonsense dream. Ireland is free. I am free. They are free. They only have to open their eyes to see it, and get on with building a future.

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by peaceandtruth06/29/12

James Pratt Craig

I have done a little digging - this lovely sounding gentleman James Pratt Craig - it has been pointed out was shot in the Castle Inn in Belfast. However he was shot by a Loyalist terrorist organisation, not by a member of the British army or the local police. Indeed he was a known murderer and extortionist and a leader of the terrorist group that killed him, as they suspected he had been colluding with the IRA. So, definitely in no way analogous to the innocent teenage Jenny being casually shot by a nasty oppressive Brit.

The Wikipedia article mentions another leader of the loyalist terrorist group being killed by a bomb in his car. This is not the same as a car bomb. Car bombs were large bombs, often hundreds of pounds of low grade home made explosives, left in the centre of towns to do maximum damage to local shops and property, often killing and maiming many civilians. The term "bomb in his car" refers to a small booby trap bomb planted under a car or sometimes inside it that would have a motion sensor or be wired to the ignition. Only a few pounds of explosive were needed. This was a close targeted weapon used mostly against soldiers and policemen and prison warders and in the internal fields and inter terrorist fights. So UVF/UFF would plant bombs under IRA men's cars and vice versa.

After 1974 the IRA, which was the main planter of large car bombs killing innocent bystanders, mostly stopped doing that. They still used car bombs for attacks on police stations and army barracks and political targets (trying to blow up Maggie Thatcher, etc) but mostly swapped tactics to use small
Bombs under cars and long range sniper rifles - less bad publicity and less chance of being caught. And of course they would shoot taxi drivers, in tit for tat sectarian conflict with the Loyalist terrorists. They called it dial a death. Ring up a taxi company that was in a Protestant area and get them to drive out to pick up their own killer. The loyalists did the same thing. Which is why the police and the British army (and south of the border the Gardi and the Irish Army) were trying to catch the bastards.

What the story I was criticising does not make clear is that for the vast majority of people who were not involved with terrorist organisations (and this includes strongly anti unionist but democratic and non violent politicians and unionist but democratic and non violent politicians) the police and Army were the good guys. The Army was there to support a police force that was made up of local People who were overwhelmed by the terrorist threat. And we appreciated the Police and Army was trying to deal with Republican and Loyalist murderers, extortionists, torturers and drug dealers. At times the Army and the police did things that were Brutal, badly lead and often made mistakes, but they were at least dedicated to restoring peace and catching murderers. And now that the terrorists have stopped there are no army personnel on the streets, and the police don't wear bullet proof vests all the time. (or at least not any more than they do on the streets of London or New York).

There was collusion between the police and terrorists to help them
Murder each other (both sides, although the IRA supporters make a lot of noise about the old police force colluding with the loyalists to kill IRA men and their supporters - they don't mention the killings of loyalists that the IRA did on information leaked to them by the Brits)

It was a dirty little war. Full of crime and money and brutality. But that doesn't make Jenny's story any more true or justified.

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by Anonymous06/30/12

Peace and Truth sounds like the bullshit British propaganda

While this story may have a few facts that were jumbled in memory the response by peace and truth show a level of naivety that demands suspension of disbelief. Where to start. How about the Sampson Stalker investigation that showed the British Goverment colluded with loyalist death squads to kill innocent Catholics in order to have them turn in republicans in their neighborhoods? Didn't happen? Look it up and then we'll go down memory lane only this time we'll use facts.

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by torchthebitch06/30/12

Stalker/Sampson Inquiry.

I think you'll find that was an investigation into a shoot to kill policy, not government collusion with loyalists, and the Sampson report was never published, so we don't know the conclusions. But as you say, look it up and then we'll go down memory lane only this time we'll use facts. Try the Stevens Inquiry.

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by peaceandtruth06/30/12

Stalker et al

To the anonymous poster who mentioned stalker etc. 1) the story I criticise is not just wrong about a few facts. It is wrong about almost every fact claimed or implied. If I have made a false call anywhere please tell me where.
2) I made it clear in earlier posts that I believe that the Crown forces were often brutal, badly lead, politically driven and that they colluded on murder with both Loyalist and Republican "death squads" as you term them. So no debate there.

Nor am I an apologist or propagandist for the Brits just because I also refuse to lionise the IRA. Or the INLA or the UFF/UVF/UDA. Those loyalist and republican terrorist organisations used crime to fund themselves. They pedalled drugs, trafficked women and children for prostitution, ran extortion, kidnapping and torture and murder rackets. No matter what the Brits did (even Bloody Sunday, a single terrible incident forty years ago which graphically illustrates why Aries are not Police forces and should not be used for crowd control, and from which lessons were learned - no such incident ever occurred again) it does not excuse those terrorists and criminals for what they did.

The forces of law and order, trying to maintain democratic and peaceful normalcy, were under constant threat of murder. As were their families. As were anyone innocently sitting in a pub or going to the shops. Murder by a tiny group of fanatics, thugs and bully boys who were determined to gain power and control by violence.

While it is regretable that some pretty rough justice was done, when Crown forces and intelligence agencies used other terrorists to do their durty work, or the SAS was called in to tackle terrorists in a way that did not involve arresting them, is that so surprising? Is that so inforgivable? Those soldiers and policemen were under constant and real threat of murder. Every morning they checked their cars to see if someone had planted a little bomb under thrm in the night. Evry morning they turned the ignition and held their breath. And every day they wondered if a sniper half a mile away with a Barret rifle was watching them. And they had their hands tied by due process and rules of evidence, while the terrorists laughed at them and kept on killing and stealing and knew that people would be too scared to testify. The cops knew exactly who was doing those murders. It is no wonder that some officers decided to let information slip to help the loyalist thugs kill some of the republican thugs, and vice versa.

And while I deplore those murders as well, I find it hard to weep for those who lived and died by the sword. No one is calling for an inquiry into the IRA's "shoot to kill" policy. Perhaps if we should forget and forgive them for having blown the legs off teenage girls with no warning bombs in crowded shopping streets we should also forgive the highly target murders of the men who planted those bombs and planned to plant more.

But the real bottom line. The really important fact to bear in mind is this - now that the IRA has stopped killing people there are no solders on the streets. And the really sad thing is that if they had stopped forty years ago instead of murdering three thousand people we would have had a flourishing economy, an integrated community and a present that was already as good as the shared future we now hope to build.

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by peaceandtruth06/30/12

Stalker again

I forgot to say. I took a considerable interest in the Stalker inquiry. A friend of mine was a colleague of Rosemary Nelson and knew Finucane, although I didn't know either of them. The characterisation of the victims of the Loyalist murderers in the post below is a little disingenuous. The idea that it was a programme intended to intimidate the general catholic populace into turning tout on the IRA is also ridiculous.

Even the most biased source will agree that the victims in the murders Stalker was investigating were more or less 'involved' or associated with those who were involved in terrorism. The collusion with the loyalist murderers was in giving them evidence and information so that they could kill IRA operatives - ie other active terrorists, drug dealers and extortionists - or those who assisted them.

I am not saying that every victim of those murders was actually an active terrorist - information may have been wrong, and sometimes mistaken identity, carlessness and sheer stupidity of the thugs doing the killing meant that innicents were killed But most were less than 'innocent'. In the case of the lawyers, well they may not have pulled the trigger or planted the bombs, but they used every trick in the book to get the murderers they chose to represent off the hook so they could kill again.

It is also worth noting that those enquirys (set up by the Brits) were also into just a handful of murders. These "death squads" were not roaming the streets slaughtering dozens and just walking away. There weren't Nicaraguan style execution filled football stadia. There were three or four hit men who killed a dozen republicans, some known to be senior IRA men, or women, or INLA. I knew the husband of one of the victims - he was a leading Marxist thinker and republican political theorist, and his wife was undeniably involved with several murders and attempted murders before she was shot by Loyalists.

In any case there is no way that anyone could reasonably believe that allowing Loyalists to murder innocent Catholics would make the catholic community suddenly start handing in IRA men. That is a nonsense idea. The IRA still rules the catholic community with fear. You wold have to do more than put a gun to my head to make me stand up in court to testify against one of them. Think of the Mafia - same deal for squealers.


Like I said before - it was a dirty war. But any claim that the Republicans or Loyalists were cleaner than the other side, or that the Police and Army were comparable in their level of brutality, criminality or inclination to indiscriminate murder of innocents and other combatants, is not borne out by the facts.

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by Anonymous07/20/12

SIGH...

...can't vote a zero, because the lowest is a '1'.

Your bio doesn't support your position (other than you wish NOT to be known), and your lack of favorites (equally) fails to let us know your bias/outlook/POV. Inconsistency kills your point.

Screw you.

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by peaceandtruth08/20/12

Bio

To anonymous user - I respect your use of anonymity - perhaps you also fear the thugs that still roam free in Belfast. My position does not need support from my personal past - my position is based in the factual mistakes made by the original author I criticise. But if my biography helps, I was born in the early sixties in Belfast. I lived her all my life apart from a few years in the early eighties. I was never 'involved' in the troubles, being from a well educated middle class background, with no church affiliation (but percieved as a Protestant, because you can't be an atheist in Norn Iron). I went out with a Catholic girl for several years, and dated another two Catholic girls and a Jewish girl, briefly. I have friends in the Protestant, Catholic and Jewish communities. I even know a couple of Muslims. I have friends who had family and friends who were in the UVF, and in the IRA. I know people who served in the police and the army and UDR and the Prison service. I know people who were maimed and injured and had relatives killed by the IRA. I know people who did time in the Maze Prison, (Long Kesh). I know people who had family members killed by the UVF/UFF possibly with collusion by the police. Does any of this make me suitably qualified to be respected as an expert? Maybe. But to me none of it matters - the facts are facts - the story I criticised is full of falsehoods, but claims to be true. My biography does not matter in this case - I called bullshit because that's what it was.

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by Anonymous09/04/12

Thank you

..for taking the time to debunk the propaganda of cowards and murderers of all professed affiliations.

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by fpig10/07/12

Great review. Read Jenny Jackson's story and can honestly say I haven't been as angry in a long time. Total and utter drivel. I was going to say she must have dementia but then that would be an insult to dementia sufferers

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