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The Pearsons & Mr. Muldowney : The End
history and heritage |
Saturday November 18, 2006 21:21 by Solas Eile
In response to Mr. Muldowney's : The Pearsons and their Prosecutors ??
In veno veritas or Out of the mouths of babes ...
Mr. Muldowney states : "........ It is not the Pearsons who are on trial but the people who killed them on June 30 1921....The IRA, the local community of Kinnitty/Cadamstown, and the Irish independence movement are now in the dock" . Really ? I thought this discussion was about the guilt of the Pearsons. Clearly Lord Chief Justice Muldowney is seeking to adopt the approach of the infamous Lord Denning in the Birmingham 6 appeals where the appeal is not to be allowed and the facts are not to be scrutinised because if they were then the police and the judiciary would be in the dock and that would be a situation "too horrific to contemplate". Not for once has Mr. Muldowney shown himself to be easily infected by the worst British vices. Just like those IRA men who saw nothing wrong in adopting the tactics and methods of the Black and Tans.
Yes, " the cat is out of the bag, the die is cast, and the grim logic of facts must now be applied no matter where it may lead" (Mr. Muldowney's own words) .
Alan Stanley's book is a voice of dissenting opinion and it is anathema to Mr. Muldowney. It is not a perfect book but it is an interesting insight and revelation from an Irish Protestant perspective and from a man whose father was initimately connected with the story. However, in Mr. Muldowney's worldview Irish Protestants should have been exterminated out of existence and it is this belief which has spurred him on to his latest outpouring. But alas the mask has slipped and Mr. Muldowney has exposed himself for what he is.
Mr. Muldowney states : "In June 1921 Irish democracy was engaged in a life or death struggle for survival." Really ? The historical record shows that negotiations were then taking place to facilitate a truce and a peaceable ending to the Troubles. If as he states the issue which decided the fate of the Pearsons was an alleged armed attack on the IRA roadblock., then why his venomous red hearing about explosions "blowing off the roof off an estate house the size of a substantial modern hotel" (Really ? Were you there Mr. Muldowney and if not who gave you this description?) . It would hardly matter unless it was a means of attempting to strengthen the case against the Pearsons. Even his language says it all : "estate house ..... the size of a substantial modern hotel" (if that is the case then they build very small modern hotels in Mr. Muldowney's part of the country).
There is no real point in taking Mr. Muldowney to task as facts do not matter to him. He talks of
" Irish democracy ... .. forced underground by the British terror regime". In many respects this was as a result of those pea brained twits in the IRA who acting without orders initiated their own campaign of terror against the RIC in 1919 instead of making a play for hearts and minds. But then militaristic minded twits are apt to prefer their guns to persuasion. Hence the campaign of murder against the RIC (and the current statregy of the Western powers in Iraq and Afghanistan and that of Israelis against the Palestinians). Why try and bring the rank and file of the RIC to recognise the Sinn Fein Government which it is much easier to shoot some of them in the back and therby intimidate others to resign. It was this policy which brought the Black and Tans to Ireland - people of a similar ilk who like the IRA believed in tit for tat , who believed facts like proof of guilt were unnecessary and superfluous and who believed in giving full vent to their emotions regardless of the consequences and the cost to innocent bystanders.
It is apparently disingenuous of me to demand names and other information yet according to Mr. Muldowney this has been thoroughly researched by Mr. Heaney and others. Mr. Stanley is taken to task for neglecting to interview ex-members of the IRA. Mr. Heaney allegedly did so but is apparently unable to provide names and statements. It is, we are told by Mr. Muldowney, " information which is probably lost forever". Yet on that basis the case against the Pearsons collapses just as any court case alleging crimes by Mr. Muldowney would also collapse today in an Irish court if the Gardai were to inform the court that the evidence is "lost".
Re the " wealth of ancillary detail fortuitously collected by Patrick Heaney from participants and observers", who are these participants and observers and what is the nature of their information.
We wait in patience. I am allegedly a "righteous indignation-fuelled zealot" according to Mr. Muldowney (but then Mr. Muldowney could never claim to be a believer in righteousness as his own words prove!). The point is not that my chances of turning up any real information are practically nil even if I am still seeking and still hammering on Messrs Muldowney & Cos. doosr! As one seeking to uphold the right of the Pearsons to a fair trial, the point is that it is the function of their prosecutors to provide the hard evidence against them, evidence that proves their guilt beyond reasonable doubt
Mr. Muldowney alleges that Dick Pearson fired shots at the roadblock but this if it happened is the action of one person and not the Pearsons plural. It was a Black and Tan tactic to take action against a whole family for the sins of one member, hence indiscriminate fire and the burning down of people's houses. Perhaps the Offaly IRA men were true Brits after all!
RE William Stanley, alias Jimmy Bradley : Mr Stanley was a native of County Laois and did not settle in County Carlow until after the War of Indeopendence. As for his alleged "loyalist exploits" which caused the IRA to order him out , the IRA was not as we know in the business of letting people off serious misdemeanours and that tells us what William Stanley was. If we are really dependant upon William Stanley to prove the case against the Pearsons, then the case is very thin.
Mr. Muldowney now expresses an interest in the Pearsons’ social trajectory which is allegedly reported as " a complex, nuanced situation into which political factors entered, not a black-and-white picture in which the Pearsons were never anything but congenital bigots who shunned and despised their neighbours from the beginning". Then why has Mr. Muldowney sought to denigrate the Pearsons in his earlier outpourings as die hard Orangeists. Indeed it can be said that Mr. Heaney has attempted to a great if flawed extent to complete the historical picture in all its complexity . The same cannot be said of Mr. Muldowney who from the beginning has had a nasty agenda to which to play.
Mr. Muldowney alleges that it is asking too much, even of a historian as industrious and reliable as Mr. Heaney, to provide us with details of the mental processes which set the Pearsons at odds with the community. Perhaps Mr. Muldowney should try harder. Perhaps it was not the "mental processes"of the Pearsons which set them at odds with the IRA but rather their experiences at the hands of IRA men. Perhaps having your home raided by the IRA looking for guns is not the best way to preserve community harmony. It certainly did not make my grandmother a lover of the IRA to have as a sixteen year old girl a gun held to her head while her father was threatened with extermination of his family (flying column on the run needing R&R like those brave American boys in Vietnam). "Bad bastards" was her comment on the IRA ever after . Perhaps we should interpret Dick Pearsons comment "aren't you great men with your guns!" in the same light.
Re Mr. Muldowney's broader historical context and the mass buring out and mass expulsion of American loyalists during the American Revolution, Mr. Muldowney seems to regret that such a policy was not pursued by the IRA. In that context his approach to the Pearsons throughout this discussion need no further explanation. Mr. Muldowney may view genocide and ethnic cleansing as appropriate means for resolving national and international conflicts but I am not sure that most Irish people would agree with him. As for Americans not entertaining any form of historical revisionism about the fate of British loyalists in their independence struggle, thenn he is obviously not a follower of trends in American historiography. A modern historian looks dispassionately at the facts but he does not throw his humanity out with the bath water . Many American historians now accept that the treatment of American loyalists was a low point and unsavoury aspect of their revolution. As rounded human beings they can call a wrong a wrong. Obviously Mr Muldowney is a fellow traveller of those die-hard Nazis and Stalinists and KKK-inclined British colonialists who never admit to a wrong and will seeek to justify it come what may
As for Americans not tolerating infringement of their sovereignty such as acceptance of British knighthoods or other foreign honours by their citizens, Mr. Muldowney is wide of the mark. Several American politicians have received honourary knighthoods in recent times without Congress battling an eyelid. Really Mr. Muldowney - speak only of what you know to be a fact! As per usual you are inclined to make statements that are as seriously divorced from reality as was Mr. Blair's dossier on Iraqi weapons of mass destruction.
The 1783 Treaty of Paris resolved Britain's differences with her ex-colonists who were now free to pursue their own manifest destiny policy of exterminating the indigenous peoples of the mid west and taking their land ( a policy in which Irish emigrants sadly assisted and were part beneficiaries). They were also free to prolong their use of the institution of slavery which they did for over 30 years after it had been abolished within the British Empire. That's true freedom American style for you and clearly in the Muldowney mode where extermination/expulsion are appropriate modi operandi.
As per the Anglo Irish Treaty of 1921 , compensation to Irish loyalists by the Irish Distress Committee (later the Irish Grants Committee) in London was funded by the Irish Free State.
This happened because a) many Irish Protestants had been singled out for vicious treatment by some IRA men, especially during the Civil War b) because the new Irish Free State was committed to the ideals of Wolfe Tone and the United Irishmen (unlike Mr. Muldowney) and c) it was part of the Treaty, an international agreement registered by the Irish Free State at the League of Nations
Mr. Muldowney may not know it but the Bury family were Irish Protestants. I was not aware that the Burys ran opium plantations in India and once more ask him for his proof of this. (Sorry to be such a sceptical pain but I like hard evidence!) Regrettably for Mr. Muldowney, most Irish people do not share his Tebbittite "On your Bike" mentality towards Irish Protestants which explains why Irish Protestants or "the British loyalist minority ..... loyalist remnant" as Mr. Muldowney terms them in his anti-Wolfe Tone phrase "retained their wealth, status and property and were allowed to carry on more or less as before" i.e living and dying, marrying and bearing children, working for their living and paying their taxes. Since the Irish people are such a disappointment to Mr. Muldowney perhaps he should emigrate to Zimbabwe where Mr. Mugabe and his ZANU party will prove true kindred spirits.
As for the Irish lord who protested at the stupidity of British policy in Northern Ireland, I regret to inform you that he did not tear up his British passport; he merely returned his war medals as one who had fought against fascism during WW2. In any event, his title was a UK one and as any idiot can tell you a title does not give you lordship over anything (has not since the Middle Ages) except of course in the unlettered minds of the ignorant.
Re the Protestants/British, Catholics/Irish stereotype, Mr. Muldowney should allow people to define themselves. I know it is hard to live in a democracy with its regard for rule of law and rights for everyone but that is the only choice available to Mr. Muldowney. As for Mr. Muldowney's reduction of Irish history to "centuries of dogged antagonism to British colonialism" (enchoing the old "800 years of British oppression" shorthand of simple minded republicans), the facts remain that that antagonism was not as dogged as he alleges because you cannot reduce history and people's lives to the simplicities of Marxist Leninist dogma (notwithstanding the intellectual interest which Marxist Leninism can rightly arouse). People and events are best judged in the contexts of their times and should not be forced to conform to the stereotypes of an ideology which arose centuries later.
Mr. Muldowney speaks of WW1 as " Britain’s Great War" but Britain did not start it. (Mr. Muldowney should really seek medical attention for his British phobia!) When tens of thousands of Irishmen joined up in 1914-16(many more than ever joined that minority organisation known as the IRA) , they did so partially because of German violation of Belgian neutrality and Germany's invasion of "little Catholic Belgium". Clearly Mr. Muldowney would have preferred if Britain had stayed out of the war and for Germany our "gallant allies in Europe" to have re-ordered the continent as they saw fit. Given Germany's later prediliction to engage in genocide and ethnic cleansing of minorities and the concurrence of these policies with Mr. Muldowney's own preferred means of resolving minority issues, then we can possibly understand Mr. Muldowney's choice - vile but logical.
Yes, Imperial Ireland rose and fell, that is the nature of history and it was never paradise. Mr. Muldowney is right to say that the armed revolt of Unionism against Parliament and the rule of law brought down the Redmondite house of cards (and the United Kingdom) , and ultimately, as he suggested, placed the Pearsons at the business end of a firing squad. But it is not as simplistic as he seems to suggest. Mr. Muldowney as a typical ideologically tainted republican of the black and white school plays down the real fears of Ulster Protestants which were to a great extent realised in the Catholic State for a Catholic people polity that was independent Ireland until the 1990s.
RE the first democratically elected government of Ireland , Mr. Muldowney is the one who has suggested that without the IRA the first Dail consisted of mere ineffectual ideologues. He is disengenous when he states that they "led an army of volunteers to defend in arms their democratic mandate, nothing ineffectual there" because it is an historical fact that many members of the First Dail were at odds with the IRA's tendency to pre-empt policy and to do things without reference to it.
The facts remain that Britain finally recognised Irish independence largely because of the impact
of public opinion both within the UK and abroad and the realisation that you cannot through armed force compell a people to remain part of a polity that they wish to leave. Shotgun marriages do not work and armed force does not work against majorities. The Provisional IRA came to the same conclusion re NI in recent times.
Mr. Muldowney in his typical anti-British rant speaks of the creation of Czechoslovakia and Yugosalvia in the aftermath of WW1 as if Britain was the only power in the world. Typical of a simplistic mind. He disparages the creation of Iraq (as well he might) but the fact remains that Iraq was created for its oil, not for some non existent "coveted Middle Eastern land route to British India via Persia and Afghanistan". If you want to make a valid point stick to the facts and try avoiding idiotic non existent ones. Why would Britain need a land route to India when it had a perfect sea route! Alas for Mr. Muldowney's overheated imagination!
As for the rubbish about Palestine as " a Jewish protectorate in Palestine – a little loyal Ulster in the Middle East," the facts remain that from a Jewish point of view the British were always pro-Arab which is why Jewish immigration into Palestine was restricted during the inter war years and in the immediate aftermath of WW2. Mr. Muldowney deliberately forgets the terrorist campaign conducted by the Irgun against the British administration and the bombing of the King David Hotel. As for General Pilsudski, it was the Poles who kept him in power, not the British. But then I suppose that if you are an ally of the Nazis as Mr. Muldowney clearly is then the Poles must be depicted as British stooges.
Mr. Muldowney blames the British for the Civil War and not those who proclaimed that they were prepared to wade through Irish blood to get their aims. It is true that Lloyd George threatened an escalated war if the Irish did not accept the Treaty but the Treaty did deliver independence, an Irish Parliament answereable to the Irish people, an Irish Government answereable to an Irish legislature.
It will not be forgotten that Ireland became a republic in 1949 when the Fine Gael led coalition did something that Fianna Fail, the Republican Party, the Rear Guard of the Republic, the men and women who were stupidly prepared to wade through Irish blood on a hiding to nothing, did not do when enjoying their hegemony in power between 1932 and 1948. If according to Mr Muldonwney
"the defiant side (i.e the Anti-Treatyites) quickly overcame the setback of the treaty war, and by political and democratic methods restored the independence position within twenty years", they did so without firing a shot which clearly illustrates the fact that their recourse to Civil War was a self-indulgence of the most vicious kind but very typical of people who liked playing with guns but did not like exercising their brain cells.
The right of the Irish people to independence and sovereignty is not something that is dependant on the existence of the IRA or ideology fixated nutters. It is not something based on the gun. It will exist when we and the IRA are mere footnotes in history. It is grounded in a belief in justice and moral right - not in nasty molestation and intimidation of minorities and kangaroo court lynch law.If Dick Pearson (and his brother ) died because he stood up against molestation and intimidation, then he died a true Irish patriot and the begrudgers can go damn themselves.
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THIS DISCUSSION IS A CONTINUATION OF
According to Alan Stanley (2nd edition, page 105): “The Government felt restrained by public opinion from using full military strength to put down what was in reality an all-out armed rebellion.” No mention of the legitimate government. No mention of the E-word: ELECTIONS. Stanley is describing the military government of Ireland installed by Britain in defiance of the democratically mandated Irish government and its defence forces, the IRA. The essence of the independence movement was the unity of purpose, and the personal overlap, of the Dáil and the IRA. This unity broke in 1922 under pressure of the threatened re-conquest of Ireland by the overwhelming forces that the Great War victor and master of the world had at its disposal. And by the force of this threat, Britain retained ultimate sovereignty over Ireland until the late 1930’s – imposing the Head of State, determining foreign relations, and retaining key naval strongholds in Ireland from which the re-conquest could easily be launched. These powers were wrested unwillingly from Britain by the anti-Treaty side in the course of the 1930’s, but even then the threat of re-conquest was still very much alive into the early 1940’s. When Michael Collins went to war against his former IRA colleagues in June 1922 (and it was Collins who opened the attack, not the other way round) he did so at the gun-point of the threatened British re-invasion. Solas Eile’s idea that Britain and its forces in Ireland could be won over by hearts and mind methods of peaceful persuasion is a fantasy for which there is no precedent in Irish history. (In India Gandhian methods were met with imprisonment and massacre, and were only eventually yielded to under the threatening shadow of the military forces pioneered by Subhas Chandra Bose.)
Like Alan Stanley, Solas Eile has an equally cavalier attitude to democratic standards. Not once does he mention the E-word, describing the system of justice operated under the democratic authority of Dáil Éireann as “kangaroo courts and lynch law”. But Patrick Heaney’s Offaly Heritage article (reproduced by me at www.indymedia.ie/article/76350) describes this system as working in favour of the Pearsons when some property of theirs was stolen. This was subsequent to the execution of the two brothers when the Pearsons had returned to live in the coach-house of the Coolacrease demesne (Stanley, page 48).
So the system of justice operating under the democratic authority of Dáil Éireann appears to have been objective in respect of the Pearsons. But did the underground Dáil ever actually enact and publish specific laws to cover both instances involving the Pearsons? Can we now access the specific details of the proceedings of each of these cold cases? These are the ludicrous debating points raised by Solas Eile.
But a number of significant documents have come into the public domain since 2002. This is what we have to go on, no more and no less; and we can examine and cross-examine these as much as we please. The documents are: Paddy Heaney’s account (reproduced by me at www.indymedia.ie/article/76350) of the Pearsons published in his 2002 book At the Foot of Slieve Bloom; the Bureau of Military History reports, available from 2004; Alan Stanley’s 2005 book I Met Murder on the Way; and Patrick Heaney’s 2006 Offaly Heritage article. As far as I know, neither Paddy Heaney nor Alan Stanley have participated in this indymedia debate; and Michael Cordial is dead. So there is not much point in addressing demands to any one of the three via Indymedia. And I am in exactly the same boat as Solas Eile, all I have to go on is the written words of the three authors.
Cordial’s account of the executions was written before Heaney’s. Because of their ages they could not have collaborated to concoct a bogus account. Heaney’s 2002 account was published before Cordial’s report was available to Heaney. This curious combination of circumstances constitutes in itself a powerful cross-examination of both Cordial and Heaney, from which both emerge vindicated.
In contrast, Stanley’s book is demonstrably inaccurate in factual detail, but describes (page 108) how the Pearsons were part of a circle which, he says, had been born British but of which “an armed conspiracy had robbed [them] of that privilege, still enjoyed by [their] English, Welsh and Scottish former compatriots”. So for Solas Eile to describe the Pearsons as Irish patriots is like describing Pearse (the near-Englishman) and Connolly (the near-Scotsman) as British bulldogs. Does Solas Eile actually think it is a crime just to be British? When people such as the Pearsons subscribe to their chosen national affiliation as strongly and as sincerely as this, is it all that unlikely that they would take up arms to defend it? Even to the extent of criminality against a democratic majority? How does history answer this question?
Stanley also says that Richard Pearson fired at the IRA roadblock, but “over their heads”. Solas Eile now accepts that while Richard Pearson may have been guilty, the execution of his brother Abraham Pearson was unjustified. Could Richard Pearson have acted alone? They say Lee Harvey Oswald by himself got off half a dozen or so shots in rapid succession and hit two people. But that was in daylight with telescopic sights. There were two casualties on the IRA side, and a third person was also hit in the fire directed at them. So Stanley’s account also provides the strongest possible corroboration of the Bureau of Military History reports.
Whatever guilt attaches itself to the Pearsons, it pales into insignificance in comparison with what the British government did. How do we usually describe the setting aside of election results, the subversion of democratically elected government, and the imposition of military rule? This is usually called fascism, and the people who support such measures are usually called collaborators. And these days people who resist such measures by whatever means necessary are applauded as resistance freedom-fighters.
But perhaps it is anachronistic to apply such standards to events in Ireland in 1918-21? Not so; since the ideology and propaganda employed by Britain in its Great War were democracy and the liberation of small nations. So the way the Great War victor behaved in the flush of victory set a standard for the world to imitate. Can we be surprised if some other countries followed Britain’s lead in overthrowing democracy whenever it suited them?
Solas Eile says that tens of thousands of Irishmen went to war against Germany because of Belgium. This is true, in the sense that, with Belgium as the bogus casus belli, the Irish joined Britain’s war effort on a bogus promise of Home Rule. And if we count the overseas Irish, including those in Britain, the numbers joining up were closer to half a million.
The bigger question is why Britain went to war against Germany. Britain had not itself been attacked or threatened; its vital interests were across the globe – that is, everywhere except in continental Europe; and it was an island with supreme naval power and therefore impregnable. Why put all that at risk by involving itself in somebody else’s quarrel? Why offer up millions for butchery?
And why should Britain object to a German re-ordering of Europe (in Solas Eile’s telling phrase)? In actual fact, France sought to re-order Europe by recovering Alsace-Lorraine which had settled down with Home Rule under Germany. But after reducing France to a merely defensive force Germany-Austria offered peace terms on the basis of the status quo ante (that is, everything to go back to the pre-war position). These terms were refused by Britain which would settle for nothing less than the elimination of the socially advanced, relatively peaceful Wilhelmine Germany and Austria-Hungary. And after Italy and Russia had been defeated in 1917, the same German peace terms remained on the table. So which side really wanted to re-order Europe? Which side actually achieved that disastrous re-ordering?
From the Irish point of view, the German Empire (the country now called Germany, a union of Catholic and Protestant states sharing a common language and culture) prior to re-ordering was for John Redmond a model against which he compared Britain unfavourably. Here is what he said in Reynold’s Newspaper (November 19 1911): “There are twenty five states today in the German Empire, every one of them with its own Parliament and Executive, with full control over all local as distinct from Imperial [i.e. German] affairs.… Some States have a double chamber system, but in all of them local affairs are transacted quite independently of the German Imperial Parliament. … Unlike the case of Westminster, side by side with the Imperial Parliament or Reichstag there stands in Berlin the Prussian Parliament with two Houses and a separate Constitution, in many respects modelled upon the British Parliament, but dealing with only Prussian local affairs, yet unable to interfere (as our English assembly can) with the internal affairs of other States, like, say, Bavaria or Wurtemburg.”
And Sinn Féin in its earlier royalist/loyalist phase, when it was arguing for something which now looks suspiciously like the formal legal position previous to the 1801 Act of Union, was using the Dual Monarchy of Austria-Hungary as a role model.
Thus Solas Eile’s support for British-style re-ordering of Europe (destruction of the German and Austro-Hungarian States) in 1914-18 is out of kilter with all shades of Irish opinion. But Solas Eile is now presenting himself as a zealot in the cause of Irish independence and separation in all and every historical circumstance. So presumably he stands pure and inviolate against the Jacobite policy of the Three Kingdoms within which Irish Catholics and Protestants were able to make common cause under a mostly Protestant monarchy which espoused a significant degree of all-round religious toleration, for which they were overthrown by the fanatical Glorious Revolutionaries.
So what were the real driving forces for Britain’s involvement in the Great War? A secret Committee for Imperial Defence was set up in 1902 by Balfour, involving a select group of the British ruling elite of both parties, and including Haldane and Grey who, to the astonishment of broader opinion that saw no British interests at stake in Europe, committed Britain to war in 1914. By 1905 the Committee made plans to place 100,000 British troops in the front line alongside the French army against Germany. In July 1906 the Committee instructed the Admiralty to plan the Dardanelles operation which was actually put into effect nine years later. So Belgium was not the issue.
Britain entered the Great War with two major Allies: Imperialist-Irredentist France and Imperialist-Pogromist Russia. Its own European objective was to prevent Germany becoming the dominant Continental Power and to cripple it as a trade rival around the world. Its object in the Middle East was to conquer the Turkish possessions and govern them as part of the British Empire whilst allowing France a sphere of influence.
Despite mobilising the full resources of its Empire, Britain failed to defeat either Germany or Turkey in the first years of the war and had to look around for more allies. America, to which it became very heavily indebted, seemed a natural partner for the war in Europe, but its substantial ethnic minorities were blocking military participation on Britain’s side. In particular the Jews had no sympathy for Britain's ally Russia, whose Black Hundreds persecution had forced their emigration or ethnic cleansing. At the same time, Germany/Austria had offered them refuge. (The re-ordering of Europe following the defeat of Germany/Austria was the principal factor in the chain of events that brought about the eventual destruction of the European Jews.)
The Balfour Declaration was issued in 1917, promising Jews a homeland in Palestine. Thus Britain was mortgaging part of the Middle Eastern territory it had yet to conquer in order to win the means of carrying through its military campaign. Given the opportunist conversion of Britain to Zionism, Zionist Jews of America – and around the world – effectively changed sides (thereby contributing to the disaster that eventually befell European Jewry). Zionism itself got a huge access of strength, as it appeared to become feasible at last. Zionists started to work for a British victory in the Great War as the only way of realising their project.
The support of Jewry was decisive in tipping the scales in America towards participation in the Great War and ensured Britain of victory in Europe.
That still left the Middle East. The natural allies against the Turkish/Arab armies were the Arabs ruled by the Turkish Empire. Britain started to stoke up Arab Nationalism, with the consequence that Arab forces fought the Turks, having been given a written promise that the Turkish provinces in Syria, Palestine and Mesopotamia would form an independent and united Arab State in the post-war settlement.
Again, Britain mortgaged territories it did not have. Moreover, one territory – Palestine – was mortgaged twice over: to different creditors.
The Arab allies were given the least of what was owing. Instead of a unitary Arab State their territory was Balkanised. And several of the bits were made Mandates under the League of Nations, with the understanding that the countries would become independent when suitable forms had evolved – which essentially meant the establishment of governments under Imperial tutelage.
The Jewish allies were given the most – but not all – of what had been promised. A Jewish governor, Sir Herbert Samuel, was put in to govern Palestine immediately after the war. Large-scale Jewish immigration was facilitated.
If Solas Eile still does not think that the land route to India was at stake, let him read Kipling’s novel Kim to find out about the Great Game which is still being played today, but by different players. And here is part of Churchill’s testimony to the Peel Commission on Palestine in 1937, in which he re-iterated the policy of building up Jewish colonisation and settlement at the expense of the indigenous Arabs, by forceful displacement if necessary, but at a pace which suited British rather than Jewish interests:
“I do not think that the dog in the manger [the Palestinian Arabs] has the final right to the manger, even though he may have lain there for a very long time. I do not admit that right. I do not admit, for instance, that a great wrong has been done to the Red Indians of America, or the black people of Australia. I do not admit that a wrong has been done to those people by the fact that a stronger race, a higher grade race, or, at any rate, a more worldly-wise race, to put it that way, has come in and taken their place. I do not admit it. I do not think the Red Indians had any right to say, `The American Continent belongs to us and we are not going to have any of these European settler coming in here.' They had not the right, nor had they the power.” (Winston Churchill, Peel Commission, 1937.)
To see what Churchill was extolling, here are accounts of the extermination of the indigenous Tasmanians:
“In Sydney it had been a wearing away of the wild tribes. In Tasmania it was a wholesale massacre … Free settlers … and convicts … all of them eager for land and none of them disposed to let the blacks stand in their way. But these mild and cheerful people whom Cook had visited half a century before did not prove so tameable as the aborigines on the mainland; when their land … was taken over for farms they attacked the settlers with their spears, and an organised manhunt was begun against them. There was no particular secrecy or shame about this; it was supported by the government … So the manhunt started, and it grew more savage as it went on. In 1830 Tasmania was put under martial law, a line of armed beaters was formed across the island, and an attempt was made to drive the aborigines into a cul-de-sac.” (Alan Moorehead, The Fatal Impact.)
“[The] final extermination was a large scale event, undertaken with the co-operation of the military and judiciary … Soldiers of the Fortieth Regiment drove the natives between two great rock ormations, shot all the men, and dragged the women and children out of fissures in the rocks to knock their brains out.” (Wilhelm Ziehr, Hell in Paradise.)
Is it any wonder that the Anglophile Hitler used Britain as a role model for his policies? Holocaust denial is a crime in some countries. But even denial is a form of remembering. Britain’s way is infinitely more cunning and successful. Its genocides are forgotten. (Hitler again: “Who now remembers the red Indians?”) Or they are detoxified, and turned into theme parks.
Solas Eile ends his tirade by declaring Richard Pearson to be an Irish patriot. Is this not the ultimate insult to the Pearsons, to deny them everything they stood for, as the British loyalists that Alan Stanley describes? Surely it is more generous and forgiving at this stage to accord them at least the honorary status and respect paid to slain enemy soldiers, as Paddy Heaney does in his book?
American citizens cannot accept foreign honours without first getting government permission.
If Solas Eile took the trouble to actually read the records rather than just spout about them, he would know that the Irish Grants Committee paid out lavish amounts of the money provided by the citizens of the Irish Free State, not to refugees or to RIC and other cannon fodder of the British terror, but to wealthy landowners still resident in the Free State.
The explosion in Coolacrease House as it burned is reported by Michael Cordial, see:
There is photograph of the ruins of Coolacrease House at:
The reader can assess the size and status of the house.
It was Solas Nua, one of Solas Eile’s predecessors, who suggested paraffin as the cause of the explosion; see:
In the book Untold Stories, Robin Bury says that he came from a clergy family in the service of British colonialism in India. Surely Solas Eile will not deny that one of the horror stories of British India was the opium trade, the greatest narcotics racket the world has ever seen, for which Britain launched two wars against China, and for which it destroyed Bengali agriculture causing numerous appalling famines there, on the scale of the Irish Great Famine?
Bury mentioned his family’s colonial past in Ireland. In the early 1600’s the Burys had possession of huge sections of O’Molloy territory in Offaly. They owned Charleville Castle outside Tullamore – they were connected to the Elizabethan Munster plantation. They owned Tullamore, where Bury Quay is named after them. Curiously, this is the location of the Offaly History Society which has done so much to expose revisionist whitewashing of conquest and colonialism.
Who the Hell is Pat Muldowney and how can he justify murder ?
This discussion has resumed at
More information at:
Write your book and get it published, Mr. Muldowney. There's a wider public outside blogland.
The book is out now Turps.
Below is the first review of it from Sun Business Post, 30 November 2008 by Steven King.
Coolacrease: The True Story of the Pearson Executions – an Incident in the Irish War of Independence
By Paddy Heaney, Pat Muldowney, Philip O’Connor and others. Aubane Historical Society, €20
Coolacrease book has numerous axes to grind
Days before the end of the War of Independence in 1921, two brothers belonging to a zealous Protestant sect, the Cooneyites - Richard and Abraham Pearson, aged 24 and 19 - were shot by an IRA firing squad and their Co Offaly home was burned to the ground. The rest, as they say, is politics.
This new book arises from the RTE Hidden History programme of October 2007 about the killings which its author-publishers, the Aubane Historical Society (of which more later), argue obsessively misrepresented the liberation movement as sectarian. It’s a claim that the film’s producers vehemently deny.
Essentially, the programme examined two theses: that the killings were justified on the grounds that the Pearsons were crown agents; and that the real motivation for the killings was local Catholic land hunger. Aubane accuses the independent production company of skewing the evidence to the latter conclusion, and claims RTE was, thus, unbalanced and in breach of broadcasting guidelines. Aubane’s charges were comprehensively dismissed by the Broadcasting Complaints Commission.
Aubane’s contentions have been debated at length ever since the programme appeared; safe to say that they will not entertain that there is more than one possible interpretation of the Coolacrease killings. The Pearsons had crossed the IRA and deserved to die, no ifs or buts, full stop. One shudders to think what kind of programme Aubane’s members themselves would produce, given the chance.
In Aubane’s version of history, land was never an issue in Offaly, and Protestants per se were never troubled by the IRA. Worst of all, ‘‘we are left with the bizarre situation that the State broadcasting service is being used to undermine the historical basis for this Independent State’’. A national broadcaster’s role is to be a nationalist broadcaster, it seems.
You will have gathered by now that Aubane is not a local historical society in the conventional sense. Indeed, its story is at least as interesting as that of the Pearson murders, and certainly much more so than a controversy over the rights and responsibilities of documentary makers.
The Aubane Historical Society is another of the many successors to the British and Irish Communist Organisation (BICO), a Maoist-influenced, formerly Stalinist micro-group formed in the 1960s in London by one of the Coolacrease book’s contributors, Brendan Clifford.
BICO was unusual on the far left, in that it promulgated the notion that the Protestant/unionist community in the North probably constituted a separate nation in Ireland with equal rights to self-determination. With a network of grouplets in London, Dublin, Cork and Belfast, BICO’s revisionist influence far outweighed its formal numbers.
Until the outbreak of the Troubles, they had taken a more traditional line (for communists), considering loyalism a variant of fascism, but the Irish Communist Organisation, as it then styled itself, began to argue that the British Army was in fact playing a progressive role in the North by preventing a sectarian civil war.
The adoption of the ‘‘two nations’’ theory saw BICO completely reject any claim by Irish nationalists to a unitary state as bourgeois and reactionary. In their view, because Ulster had evolved to a more advanced stage of capitalist development, unionism was a more progressive and dynamic ideology than Irish nationalism. Who were they to argue with Ulster Protestants who had chosen secular British democracy over Catholic reaction?
A torrent of books, journals and pamphlets such as the Northern Star (now called Irish Political Review), poured forth, many of them throwing new light on neglected historical events. Athol Books, named after the site of their tiny West Belfast office (since demolished), was certainly prodigious in its output and these iconoclastic ‘communists’ attracted unlikely admirers, not least the young David Trimble.
Their detractors dismissed them as ‘‘the Peking Lodge’’, and accused them of providing the intellectual ammunition for the UDA’s guns. Think of any of the far left’s pet causes in the 1970s and 1980s and BICO could be relied upon to take the opposite stance. The Birmingham Six, Sean South and Mary McAleese were some of their particular hate figures.
And then, just as everyone else started making peace, BICO cried foul. In its Aubane guise, it decided to occupy the ideological space vacated by Fianna Fáil in about 1957. The unionists had ceased being unionist, so why should BICO/Aubane defend them?
What others see as a new maturity in Irish nationalism, BICO interprets as a betrayal of the independence movement. The good guys now are Islamists, Sinn Féin, Robert Mugabe and Casement forgery theorists. All that remains of the old BICO is the vigour with which those who dare to disagree with them are denounced.
Such spectacular flip-flops bring wry smiles to the lips of BICO-watchers. Indeed, many suspect the whole BICO operation to have been a practical joke played on Ireland’s political classes. But making a 52-minute television documentary the subject of a 472-page book isn’t funny. In fact, it’s sad.
Steven King is a political consultant and a former adviser to David Trimble
"Steven King is a political consultant and a former adviser to David Trimble"
Says it all!
The Athol Books crowd has published FOUR articles (two in the January IPR, two more in Church and State) attacking
Steven King's SBP article.
While I agree that he should have published his interesting B&ICO article seperately from his book review, surely ONE
article responding to it would be sufficient?
Irish-American News, February 2009:
While the above our entitled to their opinions, there is very little mainstream support for the Pat Muldowney/Paddy Heaney/Philip McConway/Philip O’Connor/Brian P. Murphy/Brendan Clifford/Nick Folley thesis.
Pat Muldowney/Paddy Heaney/Philip McConway/Philip O’Connor/Brian P. Murphy/Brendan Clifford/Nick Folley threw collective hissy fits when they realised that the story of Coolacrease was not going to be told the way they wanted in the documentary. They lodged complaints, wrote to the Irish Taoiseach (Prime Minister) about it, documented their account initially in blogland and then in book form and yet, incredibly, their version of “history” hasn’t caught hold. They might cry “conspiracy theories”, “Dublin 4 types”, “RTE spin” etc and pat themselves on the back at being oh so clever for getting to the “real truth” that the rest of us didn’t. But this story had enough media publicity for historians, public representatives etc to pick holes in the facts of the killings as outlined in the documentary. And who are the only ones that did pick holes and are still harping on about it? The Secret Seven mentioned above.
So what did happen to their concerns regarding the documentary?
Their complaints were rejected by the Broadcasting Complaints Commission (http://www.bcc.ie/decisions/feb_08_decisions.html), Bertie Ahern it seems never wrote back, and their book has received only one (very negative) review thus far(http://archives.tcm.ie/businesspost/2008/11/30/story377...2.asp).
Support for the documentary was strong - most memorably Senator David Norris who called it a “remarkable programme”. Speaking in the Senate he said, “I was very ashamed by some of the things that were said. There was a horrible and nasty, small minded bestial attempt to smear retrospectively the Pearson family and I deplore that. To hear a young historian say the mistake was that they did not finish them off is repulsive in the extreme. I could hardly believe what I was hearing.” Broadcasters Marian Finucane, Joe Duffy and Ryan Tubrity, journalists Anne Marie Hourihane, John Boland, Sarah Caden, David Young and Davy Adams and politicians Dr. Martin Mansergh, Shane Ross and Charlie Flanagan also showed support. Others (historians Professor John A. Murphy, Roy Foster) have written in support of Alan Stanley’s book I met Murder on the way, which gave an account of the Coolacrease story.
As the Sunday Business Post review for the Muldowney/Heaney book put it: “One shudders to think what kind of programme Aubane’s members themselves would produce, given the chance” and later on “making a 52-minute television documentary the subject of a 472-page book isn’t funny. In fact, it’s sad”.
Documents relating to the Coolacrease executions and the RTÉ Hidden History documentary can be read at
When Eoghan Harris champions a cause be sure to go the other way. He once contended that the Black & Tans weren't all that bad because there were no reported rapes during their presence here. That's why he needs to quote Aristotle all the time because he has nothing meaningful to say for himself. There are those who will go to no end in trying to undermine the legitimacy of the Irish people's struggle to exercise their full sovereignty, misrepresenting events and west brit revisionism are part and parcel of it.
Dublin Review of Books articles on this subject can be read by following these links:
(Dublin Review of Books http://www.drb.ie )