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Gerry Adams arrest

2014-05-03 00:13:17.286454+00 by Dan Lyke 1 comments

I have been trying to make a little sense of the recent arrest of Northern Ireland's Sinn Fein leader Gerry Adams. "The Troubles" was a particularly violent time in British history, and I would have thought that even if there wasn't a formal "truth and reconciliation" mechanism set up, or a general amnesty declared as a part of the truce, that the politics of arresting someone who undoubtedly had blood on his hands but was a part of the truce was a bad idea.

Turns out he was implicated because some former operatives talked to Boston College researchers doing an oral history of The Troubles.

Chronicle of Higher Education: Secrets from Belfast. It's a fascinating look at promises and lawyering and academics backstabbing their sources:

Ted S. Palys and John Lowman, professors in Simon Fraser University’s School of Criminology who have written extensively about legal protection of confidential research, say the Belfast Project illustrates the necessity of outside review, by both a university research board and university lawyers. No doubt such a review would have raised questions about the wisdom of releasing information about the project while some participants were still alive, they say. It also would have caught the inconsistencies, negligence, and lack of awareness of the legal landscape before the project even started.

And, of course, the limits of the appeals court process across jurisdictions.

Vox: Northern Ireland’s most famous politician just got arrested for a 40-year old murder talks a little bit more about the modern political landscape:

Update: There doesn't appear to be much anger from the Irish government. The reasons, clearly laid out by Henry Farrell, have to do with Irish domestic politics. Prime Minister Enda Kenny sees Adams and Sinn Féin as political threats, and Kenny has previously publicly challenged Adams to come clean about the McConville case. Adams' arrest is thus much more likely to have a significant effect on Irish politics and Northern Irish politics than on UK-Irish relations.

And, just link-dumping: NPR: Sinn Fein Leader's Arrest Ignites Debate Over Academic Freedom is a very high level summary of that first article.

[ related topics: Children and growing up Interactive Drama Politics Privacy moron Law Current Events Civil Liberties Education Government ]

comments in ascending chronological order (reverse):

#Comment Re: made: 2014-05-06 23:06:47.936271+00 by: Dan Lyke

The Irish Times: McConville case signals pressing need for independent commission of inquiry:

The abduction, murder and disappearing of Jean McConville is an atrocity that cries out for accountability. But so were the Ballymurphy killings, the La Mon bombing, the McGurk’s Bar bombing by the UVF in which 15 people died, and murder after bloody murder. While the gunmen on all sides preened themselves with talk of “kills” and “war”, the truth is that the conflict was largely about people with guns killing people without guns. So-called republican and loyalist paramilitaries lost between them 563 members. Well over three times as many defenceless civilians were murdered (1,879) – mostly by paramilitaries but in some cases by so-called security forces in or out of uniform. The slaughter of the innocents was not a byproduct of the Troubles – it was the main event.

Some good thinking on why singling out Gerry Adams seems weird.