McGuinness had the bon mot for the IMC debacle when
he referred to its latest report as Balderdice.
it wasnt only the Independent Monitoring Commission
which deserved derision last week. If the credentials
of the querulous quartet are questionable--- and
they are---the Canadian general who stepped back
into the limelight to question the IMC assessment
is just as dodgy a customer. Or even dodgier.
strange bed-fellows are created by the Peace Process
that Passes All Understanding! Paisleys crowd
now apparently believes that a group including the
former boss of the Free State Justice Department
is the bees knees when it comes to objectivity.
This after some DUPers have spent a political lifetime
denouncing the same Dublin Department for refusing
to render wanted Republicans to the Northern courts.
Provos promote an ex-NATO general as a reliable
witness to their own bona fides.
learned from Daily Ireland on Thursday that
Balderdice and the Spooks are paid £625 a
day (each) for their professional services
to the IMC. Double the weekly wage of a nurse, North
or South, every DAY. Weird.
is a former leader of the political party, Alliance,
which regularly reminds us that, originally, the
IMC was its idea. Alderdice himself regularly reminds
us what a fine fellow he is. I am widely regarded
as having played a key role in the negotiations
(on the Belfast Agreement) and in their successful
outcome, he remarks in his House of Lords
pen-portrait. In December 1998, I was awarded
the prestigious Averell Harriman Democracy Award....I
was also jointly awarded the John F Kennedy Profile
in Courage Award...In September 1999, (I) was awarded
the Peruvian Medal of Congress.
gesture of modesty from Alderdice is as rare these
days as a good word about him from a former Alliance
been elected as Alliance leader to the Assembly
in 1998, Alderdice dumped the party when Blair offered
him the job of Speaker. After the Assembly collapsed,
he accepted Blairs invite to trouser three
grand plus a week (assuming a five-day stint) for
the IMC gig.
Grieve, former head of the Metropolitan Police Special
Branch and then national co-ordinator
of Britains Anti-Terrorist Squad, Richard
Kerr, a former director general of the CIA, and
Joe Brosnan, ex-secretary general of the Department
of Justice, are the spooky trio alongside Alderdice.
individually nor collectively can these four operators
reasonably be presented as an untainted group coming
to their task with an open mind.
to whether they are right of wrong about the IRA,
I wouldnt know. But I know enough not to take
their word for it.
IMC verdict was followed by the intervention of
General de Chastelain to cast doubt on their verdict
and, in effect, to back up the Provos.
Chastelain has been parading around Ireland for
a number of years as if he hadnt been discredited,
some would say disgraced, in his native Canada.
Anyone tempted to take this mans judgments
seriously should sit down and read the report of
Canadian Federal Court Judge Gilles Letourneau into
the circumstances surrounding the death of Shidane
Arone at the hands of Canadian paratroopers in Somalia
sounded like the noises of an ineptly butchered
animal, said a soldier who had heard the death
cries of the tortured teenager from across the Canadian
Canadian Airborne Regiment was in Somalia as part
of a UN-flagged peace-keeping force.
Outrage at the slow murder of Shidane forced a public
inquiry, its proceedings broadcast daily across
Canada in both official languages. Photographs and
home videos of paras gloating at their own brutality
were produced. The unit which had tortured Shidane
had the Confederate flag flying over its compound
outside Mogadishu. One trooper had been filmed saying,
We aint killed enough niggers yet.
Others were shown performing Nazi salutes in front
of a Swastika. One picture featured a black man
naked on his knees with a dog collar and a leash,
his back smeared with excrement reading KKK.
emerged that the paras had a long-established reputation
throughout the armed forces for brutality, racism
and indiscipline, and that senior officers had expressed
concern in advance about their deployment to Somalia.
It also emerged that planning, command and control
of the Somali operation had been not so much deficient
Letourneau Report was so damning, the Airborne Regiment
was disbanded. The soldier singled out for the most
scathing criticism was chief of the Defence Forces,
de Chastelain. He had exercised poor and inappropriate
leadership...non-existent control and indifferent
supervision...failed in his responsibility to the
government...a failure to act, to direct, to command...He
allowed monetary and political considerations to
motivate important decisions regarding the Canadian
contingent... And so on and on, page after
Canadian newspaper described the response: After
riding out the storm of editorials and commentaries
demanding his resignation, de Chastelain retired...and
was rewarded with another government appointment...(as)
a member of the Northern Ireland Disarmament Commission,
taking home a six-figure salary in addition to his
the IMC and de Chastelain, whom are we to believe?
I believe is that anyone who accepts these characters
as arbiters of their behaviour demeans themselves
and all those in whose name they purport to act.