Radio Free Éireann will broadcast this Saturday October 1 st – Noon to 1 PM New York time or 5-6 PM Irish time on WBAI 99.5 FM or wbai.org or anytime after the program concludes on wbai.org/archives.
Congressman Joseph Crowley will speak about next month’s Presidential election and the stakes for voters who are concerned about Irish issues.
John Teggart of the Ballymurphy Massacre families will report on their continuing fight for justice and explain why they walked out of a recent meeting with recently appointed British secretary James Brokenshire.
Dee Fennell of the Greater Ardoyne Residents Collective (GARC) will explain why many residents of Belfast’s staunchly nationalist Ardoyne reject a deal to allow a Orange Parade by their homes and he will update us on protests.
Go to Radio Free Éireann’s new web site, rfe.123.org, where you can read transcripts of recent headline making interviews including last weeks commentary and analysis of the recent Spotlight documentary ‘A Spy in the IRA’ by journalist and author, Ed Moloney, and a special inside commentary by co-hosts Martin Galvin and John McDonagh.
John McDonagh (JM) speaks to award winning journalist and author Ed Moloney (EM) via telephone about the BBC Spotlight NI programme, ‘A Spy in the IRA’. (begins time stamp ~ 44:19)
JM: And the next clip I’m going to play they’re interviewing another British agent who lo and behold! Is going by the name of ‘Martin’ – not that I want to equate with Martin McGuinness – just saying – but he’s using the same name, Martin, and this is the clip where everyone is saying that if Gerry Adams didn’t give, acknowledge the killing or condone the killing of Denis Donaldson then he should sue.
Audio: Portion of the BBC Spotlight NI programme ‘Spy in the IRA’ is played. The programme can be viewed here.
JM: And welcome back to Radio Free Éireann. And that statement there is the one that’s causing a political earthquake in Ireland with even Loyalists saying that Gerry Adams should sue the BBC Spotlight programme that aired on Tuesday for accusing him of being any way involved with the killing of Denis Donaldson. With us on the line is Ed Moloney, frequent guest here at Radio Free Éireann also the author of the book, A Secret History of the IRA, and Ed has been on this show for years and years talking about the infiltration of the IRA at almost every level within the organisation by British informants. Ed, what did you think of this documentary and do you think that Gerry Adams will sue the BBC Spotlight programme?
EM: Well to answer to the second part of your question first: No, he’s not going to sue. He’s always received advice from his lawyers that if he decided to sue he’d have to give evidence in court and the outcome and the whole trial would become about his credibility and there are just too many on the record episodes involving him and the IRA for him to persuade a jury that he wasn’t in this organisation so he would probably lose it and if he lost it then that would be a devastating blow to him because that would mean that the jury had decided that he was in the IRA and he was the leader – everything which he has denied over the last few years or so. As to whether this is true or not I have to say I mean I wrote a piece about it during the week and I started off by saying I don’t know whether it is true that A) The IRA killed him but I would believe that if they did kill him then clearly the political leadership would have to know and have to give their go-ahead to it so it wouldn’t surprise me that someone like Gerry Adams would have known about it and would have basically approved it or not objected to it. But as to whether they did it I think the jury’s out on that one. Obviously Jennifer is very confident in her – Jennifer O’Leary, the reporter for Spotlight – is obviously very confident in her sources and I haven’t got a source on this so I would say I would trust what she’s saying and that she’s not making it up and that there’s a basis for what she is saying but I don’t have independent proof of it.
JM: Well Ed, just watching this documentary, I mean from an Irish Republican point of view, it has to be very disappointing just to see how organised the British were in infiltrating the IRA and talking about every level of the movement was infiltrated and how they said if it was a ‘dirty war’ we could have arrested or shot dead anybody on the IRA Army Council but we let them in there so knew what was going on because we knew who they were and we had them compromised.
EM: Yeah, I mean I think it will go down in the annals of British intelligence as like a remarkable, unprecedented intelligence success – the defeat of the IRA – and that’s what we’re really talking about here at the end of the day. And as you know, John, I’ve been saying this for a long, long time that the infiltration, the British infiltration of the IRA, was very, very extensive and I’ve seen very credible statements from senior people in British intelligence saying that by the time of let’s say the first ceasefire in 1994 when the peace process was really getting serious by that stage seventy percent of IRA operations were being interdicted, in other words stopped because of informants, and that one out of every three members of the IRA was either working for the RUC (Royal Ulster Constabulary) Special Branch, for Military Intelligence or for MI5 and when you have that level of penetration you’re able to determine you know who gets what job in the IRA – more than anything else you able to influence which political direction they go in. And you know, one of the questions that Jennifer O’Leary has asked in this Spotlight programme is a question that I’ve been putting in and asking for a long, long, long time which is that: Did the IRA go down the road of the peace process because the British intelligence edged them in that direction thereby producing a more complete end to the IRA’s campaign than would have been the case if they just locked everyone up?
They have taken a political road, the IRA, recognising the institutions and the political value, if you like, of the British link in a way that they would never have done had they just been defeated militarily. So it’s a very, very complete victory but there are other questions that come out of this which is: Now the IRA leadership is not stupid, they must have known how many of their operations were being stopped or betrayed or what have you and what did they do to try to stop the rot as it were? Or did they do something, did they change, for example, the personnel in the unit of the IRA that was designated as the spy-catcher, the Internal Security Unit (ISU)? The evidence is no, that they didn’t. People like Freddie Scappaticci , who was very senior in the Internal Security Unit believed to be working for British military intelligence for many, many years, when his cover was blown he was allowed quietly to retire and resign. But other people who must have come under suspicion in that unit were allowed to continue and therefore one has to ask and wonder what the motives of the leadership was in not taking the sort of action which they ordinarily would.
JM: Well Ed, thanks for coming on. We’re wrapping up here. And that was Ed Moloney, writer of A Secret History of the IRA. (ends time stamp ~ 54:12)
John McDonagh (JM) speaks to Martin Galvin (MG) via telephone about his appearance on the BBC Spotlight NI programme, ‘Spy in the IRA’. (begins time stamp ~ 28:31)
JM: And now we’re going to play a clip from a show that was on the BBC Ulster on Tuesday night, BBC Spotlight, and it was about the spies within the IRA. Now in this clip you’re going to have intelligence, British intelligence agents, talking about how they were running eight hundred informers between the Loyalists and Republicans throughout the whole system and one unique view is that when they planted someone in there at a low level they would metastasise like a cancer throughout the movement. And you just show that – it was really the British intelligence that did win the thirty year war – that they brought the IRA in, they surrendered their weapons and that Sinn Féin gave up politically and just said: You know what? We’ll just administer British rule from here on in. And this will give you a little insight on how that was done. And when we come out of that we’ll speak with Martin Galvin, the other co-host of Radio Free Éireann, who was on the show and he’ll talk about Denis Donaldson.
Audio: Portion of the BBC Spotlight NI programme ‘Spy in the IRA’ is played. The programme can be viewed here.
JM: Ugh! It’s not pretty listening when you hear them when they talk about that cancer – that cancer was in New York City – Denis Donaldson. And it’s amasing – the reaction to this documentary – the Loyalists have come out and encouraged Gerry Adams to sue the BBC, they said: You don’t want his reputation being tarnished. And Lord O’Dowd of the Irish Voice – to me he’s no different than a Donald Trump supporter – Donald Trump can do anything and say anything and he’d support him – Lord O’Dowd is the same way. Gerry Adams can do and say anything and he will support him even as – Gerry Adams: I was never in the IRA – I was never involved in the last thirty years of any of the killings that went on and there is Lord O’Dowd saying: That’s right! We have to believe our Gerry. Well one of the people on the line right now is Martin Galvin and Martin was in the documentary and he dealt with Denis Doanaldson as I did when Denis was out here in New York as the cancer was spreading throughout the Bronx, Queens and Manhattan. Martin?
MG: Yes, John, and yes, Kate.
JM: Yes. Yeah and we’re describing about – she even mentioned how the FBI were running agents and one of the agents they were running was Denis Donaldson being that they put him in a position within the Republican Movement in New York and that’s where the problems started.
MG: Well John, one of the things that you have to look at: America was crucial. It was crucial enough and we were effective enough and doing a good enough job in the United States through Irish Northern Aid and other organisations that they felt that an agent of the importance of Denis Donaldson should be sent here to work here, open the books, try to undermine people who were responsible for that progress, responsible for all that good work. I mean just think about it: When he came out, the year before Brendan Hughes had come to the United States, had done a tremendously successful financial tour for the Republican Movement. We were at the point, we were only a couple of years away, thanks to John Deerie and others, with candidates for presidential forums. We were going to propose the question about a visa for Sinn Féin, for Gerry Adams, that was set. We were there at the point where that would have to part of an Irish presidential agenda and it would be asked – I would be the person picked to ask it of Bill Clinton in 1992, just a couple of years after Denis.
We had Elizabeth O’Hara, the sister of one of the hunger strikers, that actually walked in – she was involved with Irish Northern Aid in Brooklyn at that time and had contacts with Mickey Rourke and others – they wanted to do a hunger strike film and have the Republican Movement – have us very much involved in setting the actors, setting the script, in every which way – that would have been a tremendous benefit. The organisation was growing and what happened was we were at a great point and then all of a sudden Denis Donaldson came out. And I just want to correct one thing that you said, John: Denis was sent out – somebody – Brian McDonald had been in the office, had done a great job – Denis then came out for a year and he – I right away knew that he was a problem. We talked about problems, he seemed to be undermining people who would be responsible for the progress what was being made, he seemed to be responsible, that cancer that you talked about, for undermining the organisation. But at the beginning I didn’t think it was an agent but there were a couple of things, one of which you hit upon. Denis finished his year, went back to Ireland, Hugh Feeney came out to the United States, he was doing a great job, he was repairing some of the damage that Denis had done and all of a sudden the FBI could come up to the office and arrest him and Denis Donaldson could come out. Now Denis, like Hugh Feeney, had been an ex-prisoner – the British should have known about it, the FBI would know about it – why was he allowed to come back out? That was one of the things that I complained about that said he should be investigated.
There was an incident, you mentioned about the Bronx – one night FBI agents, people who, friends of ours spotted as people (who) must be FBI agents – came up, spoke to Denis, shook his hand and Denis brought them drinks and brought them around to people that I knew, including somebody who was the sister of somebody I was going out with at that time, introduced them and they were asking about me. I couldn’t believe it. The next day I had numerous phone calls about this – called Ireland to complain and say: Look. It’s more than just he’s just not good at his job. He’s more than he’s undermining. But he’s got to be a British agent. It was a situation where he introduced somebody who was thrown out of Ireland, was persona non grata, to respect to Republicans here to try to undermine them.
Just the way he was able to talk, use his – most people at the office who were from Ireland were ex-prisoners, would not use their correct names, would not speak openly – Denis was able to speak openly. So gradually I got to the point where I began by saying that he was undermining us, that he was not suited to the United States to the point where I kept complaining that this person is an agent, he should be investigated. I expected to go back and speak to people in Ireland about what I had learned because I knew that he was important in Ireland and Hugh Feeney again, was replaced – Denis is sent back out here – nobody that I know of ever did anything to investigate that and this was about ten years before he would confess to being a paid British agent for a full twenty years on that statement that you played for us.
JM: Yeah. And also when I was in the office Denis would always receive phone calls from Gerry Adams all the time and he would be updating Gerry Adams on everything that was going on in New York. And finally in the documentary, which you can see on my Facebook or Twitter account at Cabtivist, c-a-b-t-i-v-i-s-t, if you go to my Facebook now or my Twitter account the full documentary’s up there – I recommend click on it. But Martin, because you were in that the Deputy First Minister, Martin McGuinness, commented on you being in it. And you have to say the Irish Newsgave you space to respond to what he said about you.
MG: John, I was somewhat shocked at that. He attacked me and said that: Oh, someone from America who’s anti-peace or whatever, I don’t know – that’s the answer to everything. If you have a criticism of Sinn Féin policies the answer is not: Well, here’s why we’re doing this – here’s why this can lead to a united Ireland – it’s just: Well, you must be anti-peace or anti-something or other.
I made no reference to Gerry Adams. I, like you, was over in Ireland in May, I was speaking at the commemoration for George McBrearty. I was asked to do the programme. I just repeated things that I had said years before. Suzanne Breen, others, had interviewed me about Denis, that I knew he was a spy, that I complained that he was an agent, that I complained to somebody very, very senior within the Republican Movement who would have been right next to Gerry Adams and Martin McGuinness. So I was surprised he referred to me directly as ‘someone from America’. Martin McGuinness, when I was banned from The North in 1984, Martin McGuinness was pictured with me on three separate occasions (inaudible) that day – thought it was important to be next to me.
Once in Doire in 1984 just a couple of weeks before the rally which would be attacked where John Downes would be killed – that you were present, I was present because I was called to a platform by Gerry Adams. Another time the following year at a funeral in Doire Martin McGuinness stood next to me carrying a coffin of an IRA Volunteer. And finally on the anniversary of British troops being re-introduced, it had been suggested to me several times that I defy the ban openly at Free Doire Corner, that I’d be arrested. I was very hesitant, reluctant obviously to do it – finally did it and Martin McGuinness was the person standing (next to) me just as I was led away – you see that at the beginning of the documentary, to be cuffed, to be shipped back on a plane to England and then from there returned to the United States.
But what bothered me is here is – you’re answering something about somebody criticises, as I do, whether Sinn Féin’s policies are leading to a united Ireland – I don’t believe that they are – and he’s criticising me and why is it that he can reach out to British royalty, he can reach out to Arlene Foster, an uncompromising Unionist, he can reach out to former enemies, members of the British Army, Royal Ulster Constabulary, but when someone like me, who was very much a part, as you were, of the support that they got from America – criticises those policies, just as people in Ireland like Danny McBrearty and others, the families of, many of the families who disagree with them they just simply say: Oh, they must be anti-peace. They want to attack us. They can’t speak on the merits if they had an answer. We would welcome it if they had a good answer that their strategy is leading to a united Ireland. Instead it seems it just – in the show one of Martin McGuinness’ people be close to him, Denis Bradley, was talking about agents of influence and how they manipulated the Republican struggle. It seems as if Sinn Féin is being manipulated by the British and that’s why they can’t answer those questions.
JM: Alright, Martin, I’m going to go to the next clip and that’s where I disagree with you – I don’t think Sinn Féin’s being manipulated – they love administering British rule. (ends time stamp ~ 44:18)
John McDonagh (JM) comments on the BBC Spotlight NI programme ‘Spy in the IRA’ which first aired Tuesday 20 September 2016. (begins time stamp 0:00)
Audio: Portion of the BBC Spotlight NI programme ‘Spy in the IRA’ is played. The programme can be viewed here.
JM: And welcome to Radio Free Éireann. It’s hard to believe that it’s almost ten years since Denis Donaldson, IRA man, British agent for MI5, was shot dead in Co. Donegal. Now his death and work for the British government still casts a long shadow over Sinn Féin and the politics in Ireland. On Tuesday night the BBC progamme, Spotlight, which is the equivalent of 60 Minutes here in the United States, aired a programme about the tenth anniversary of Denis being killed and it’s caused a political earthquake with the claim in the documentary that Gerry Adams sanctioned the killing of Denis Donaldson.
Now a little history on Denis Donaldson: Here in the Republican Movement in New York City from, you could say, the 1800’s Ireland has always had out someone to represent the Republican Movement – at different times it’s been different people and at one stage in the late ’80’s and the early ’90’s the IRA sent out Denis Donaldson – not so much to keep an eye on what was going on in America but just to make sure everything was coordinated between the two countries. Now I happened to be the editor of the Irish People at that time and before Denis came into that position there was another Irish Republican called Hugh Feeney and he was working at the office up at 207th Street and Broadway.
And one day while I was working there the FBI crashed through the door and arrested Denis Donaldson – or not Denis – no, they wouldn’t have been arresting him – but Hugh Feeney. And at the time we didn’t know but this was a ruse to deport Hugh Feeney back to Ireland and put in the plant of an MI5 agent and Denis also worked with the FBI for many years here in New York City. So I was well-acquainted with Denis I used to go out drinking with him up in the Bronx with Brian Mór. I drove around a lot with him because, of course, he didn’t have a car and I was just driving around. When I went to Ireland I stayed at his house in Belfast of which I found out later when Gerry Conlon, the last time he was over in New York there before he died, was telling me he was talking to IRA people and about how, when they de-briefed Denis Donaldson, his whole house was wired up so any of the meetings that were held in Denis’ house were all taped.
But I just wanted to relay just a couple stories that have to do with WBAI and Denis Donaldson. Samori Marksman, who was the Program Director here, used to have a show on every evening around five o’clock, five to six, it was Behind the News and he had great contacts at the UN and he would always have ambassadors up at the studios on 35th and 8th. So one time Samori said: Listen, I’m having the Ambassador from Libya coming up and he goes: You want to go out with him afterwards and bring whoever you want. So I told Denis: We can go out and have dinner with the Ambassador to Libya – you wanna do it? And he was all game for it. So about a day before we were supposed to go Denis gets back to me and he is just completely freaked out. He says: Cancel it. No one can go to that. We have to stay as far away as possible. And I just thought: Well maybe the FBI might have been monitoring that but it was quite obvious that Denis had got word from his handlers that he was not to be meeting with the Ambassador to Libya.
Also, in the ’80’s when Sinn Féin couldn’t get on the BBC or RTÉ because of Section 31 ‘BAI was their only weekly outlet on Radio Free Éireann and Richard McAuley, who’s the right-hand man of Gerry Adams, used to call us every week with the news from Ireland. At this stage when Denis was there I kept having on here at Radio Free Éireann Joe O’Neill, lifelong Republican from Bundoran in Co. Donegal and Ruairí Ó Brádaigh. And Denis had said to me that because of the split in 1986 you’re not to have on Joe O’Neill and Ruairí Ó Brádaigh. And I said: There’s no way. These guys are friends of mine. I’m having them on. So Denis was able to get Richard McAuley pulled – that he would no longer do the news for us and he stated that we would last that long now that we weren’t connected with the Republican Movement. Well what happened after that is Brian Mór reached out to our friends in Ireland and we got Nollaig Ó Gadhrato do the news for us so that really did work out but they were turbulent times.
Now in the documentary that aired on Tuesday night when I was in Ireland in May I was in contact with the documentary and they wanted to me go on the show so I met with Jennifer O’Leary and I told her I had been on Spotlight ten years before when they did a documentary on Denis and my opinion hadn’t changed: I never realised that Denis was an agent. I thought he was a great guy and I was in the state of shock so I said there was nothing I could add to it.
But they ran a clip of a debate that was held at Rocky Sullivan’s on Lexington Avenue back in 2006 of whether Irish Republicans should join the police force or the PSNI of Northern Ireland. And Sandy Boyer and myself were saying: No, that Republicans shouldn’t join but this guy, Larry ‘The Chef’ Zaitschek was there in support of Liam Nelis and they used a clip of Larry Zaitschek,who happened to be a friend of Denis Donaldson’s, and the long story there about him working at RUC Headquarters in Belfast – they were raided by the IRA and they would try to draw that connection so they used that but when Martin Galvin was also over he did an interview with them that aired in that that Deputy Dawg First Minister Martin McGuinness commented on. So we’re going to have on Martin later on along with Ed Moloney to give us what exactly will be the fallout of that. (ends time stamp ~ 7:35)
Martin Galvin (MG) speaks to award winning journalist and author Ed Moloney (EM) via telephone who provides us with updates on the Freddie Scappaticci case and the Ivor Bell case. (begins time stamp ~37:12 )
MG: With us on the line we have the great historian, author, expert on the Irish conflict, Ed Moloney. Ed, welcome back to Radio Free Éireann.
EM: My pleasure, Martin.
MG: Alright, we’re going to talk about two things: First of all during the week, Freddie Scappaticci – he is somebody who was a British agent, infiltrated the Irish Republican Army – committed many, or is believed to have committed many murders while acting within the Irish Republican Army as an ostensible Irish Republican Army member who was really acting on behalf of the British government. Could you tell us a little bit about Freddie Scappaticci and what his importance is, Ed?
EM: Yeah, Freddie Scappaticci – the name is Italian as you’re listeners probably guessed and one of many Irish-Italians who joined the Provisional IRA in Belfast – there’s quite a few famous characters who came from that community which arrived in Belfast in the late nineteenth century mostly doing marble work when Belfast City Hall was being constructed – they did a lot of the marble work inside and a lot of the tile work and he’s one of those families from The Markets area and he joined the IRA fairly early on in The Troubles and rose through the ranks, was interned, came out and under the reorganisation of the IRA lead by the Gerry Adams leadership he was appointed to a new unit in the IRA called the Internal Security Unit (ISU) whose job it was, and this is the first time in the modern IRA they had such a unit, their job was to basically hunt out informers in their ranks and administer the sort of very rough justice that the IRA would mete out to people who were caught giving information to the British ie they would be shot. Well, for some reason during that period he had a falling out with someone in the IRA – the background to that story we’ve never really been able to discover but it seems that he got a bad beating or a very bad falling out with someone in the IRA and out of revenge or his desire for revenge he offered his services to the British Army and he became an informer for the British Army and one of the most important informers, probably, during the entire period of The Troubles because he rose, thanks largely to his new patrons working assiduously on his behalf, he rose through the ranks of the Internal Security Unit to eventually head it.
Now the Internal Security Unit had enormous power in the IRA – it could go into any meeting, including Army Council meetings, and question/interrogate people and no one really could stop them. They were given that mandate from the very get-go. And they would investigate IRA operations that went badly wrong to see if there was evidence of informers. So there really wasn’t much about the IRA that they didn’t know and I’ve often compared the Internal Security Unit to like an electrical circuit box or one of those fuse boxes that you have in your homes. All the lines, all the wiring in the house goes through the fuse box at one stage or another and that was the Internal Security Unit – and there’s very, very little that they did not know about what was happening inside the IRA and to have an agent within that unit, particularly a high-ranking one like Freddie Scappaticci, would be priceless and of course he wasn’t the only agent as things have turned out – we’ve discovered the identities of others who worked in the same unit who were also informers. And of course if you’ve got an informer running the unit it’s so much easier to place other agents in there so there was no shortage of information flowing from that unit and I would say it’s probably the most important intelligence success that the British enjoyed during the entire length of The Troubles – that was the recruitment of Freddie Scappaticci.
Now where the story gets dark and very dubious is that of course in order to maintain his cover as being a loyal and faithful IRA Volunteer he had to do all the things that the Internal Security Unit did which included taking people away and shooting them, killing them – people who had been judged to be informers and there can be, I think, very, very little doubt that this was all done with the knowledge and approval of his masters in the British Army. It was being run by an outfit called the Force Research Unit (FRU) which was also running people like Brian Nelson who is now dead but he was deeply involved in the plans to assassinate Pat Finucane. And it stands to reason that if you’re going to run one of these agents then in order to maintain their cover they must allowed to behave as if they were not an agent – in other words that they would do all the things an IRA Volunteer would do and in his case that meant killing people as I said which means that the big scandal here which has led to demands for inquiries and has led to court cases on the part of people whose family members were victims of Freddie Scappaticci is that there’s a cry or call for some sort of inquiry or some discovery of what really happened in relation to British government knowledge because this sort of activity and the running of an agent as senior and as important to the British Army as Freddie Scappaticci that’s a piece of knowledge that would be shared at the very highest levels of the British government. There’s an outfit called the Joint Intelligence Committee which has all the major intelligence and spy agencies represented on it – MI5, MI6, GCHQ, Military Intelligence and so on and so forth and I’m sure there are outfits that we’ve never even heard of but they’re all on this committee which is a Cabinet Committee in which the Prime Minister of the day sits as well.
So Prime Ministers from let’s say you know mid-to late 1970’s on until the end of the 1980’s or early 1990’s – go through how many Prime Ministers Britain had at that time – and every single one of them would have known about Freddie Scappaticci and would have essentially, because they didn’t stop him, they would have approved of his activities which included as I say killing people with the knowledge and approval of British intelligence. So it’s a major, major scandal. There are all sorts of attempts now in the courts and also pressure on the authorities to have some sort of inquiry. They have appointed an outside policeman to look at all of this but none of his report will be made public or at least only those bits which the government deems fit for publication – the rest of it will remain secret. We will never get to read his report. We’ll never know who he questioned – all of this will take place in private and in secret – the very usual British way of doing these things – in fact most governments behave this way – they’re not special in that regard. So whether we ever get know the full truth of Freddie Scappaticci’s activities and how many people – and the estimates range you know twenty, thirty, forty people that he may have killed or overseen their deaths at least during his intelligence career – we’ll be lucky to find the truth but there are efforts going on at the moment in the courts.
MG: Ed, there is another case that happened last week, that of Ivor Bell. He’s a veteran Republican. He is being charged with encouraging or soliciting people who are not before the court with a killing that occurred in 1972 and I’m struck – Freddie Scappaticci – there’s seems to be evidence or claims – statements that he made to people who were family members of victims of his that would have proved his involvement in quite a number of killings working on behalf of the British government meanwhile he’s not being prosecuted.
MG: Ivor Bell is being prosecuted and was in court again last week for encouraging or soliciting people not before the court for one killing on behalf of the Irish Republican Army. Could you tell us what happened with Ivor Bell’s case last week?
EM: Yes. It now seems that there’s a distinct possibility that Ivor Bell will never be brought to trial and that’s because his legal team made an application which was granted by the court for him to have a medical examination on the grounds that he was not fit to plead. In other words that he could not attend the court and take part in its proceedings in a cogent and knowing way. Now one can only guess what the defence team are suggesting is wrong with Ivor Bell but there are obviously possibilities there and if they are shown by medical examination to be true and that essentially they say Ivor Bell doesn’t understand or cannot understand what is going in the court then he cannot be tried because you know under common law you’re not allowed to try someone who’s putting up a defence unless they’re capable of doing so. So, this may, we don’t know, we’ll have to wait for a month or so while the medical inquiries and examinations are made but that’s what has happened. And of course you know Ivor Bell is no spring chicken. He’s getting on in years and it’s one of the ironies of all of this is that here you have the police pursuing very old men for ancient offences and it would be the most ironic of ironies if it ended up that because of their age that the police are not able to have their day in court against them but we shall see.
MG: Well another irony, Ed, Ivor Bell is being prosecuted for something that happened in 1972 based on evidence, a statement that they claim he made – he denies that he made it to the Boston tapes – meanwhile, there’s no problem with expenses, the expense of sending representatives over to get those tapes, accumulate that evidence, bring him before a court – that seems to go ahead very rapidly once they forced those tapes to be released. Meanwhile the Bloody Sunday troopers, we’ve had numerous guests – Kate Nash was on a couple of weeks ago – none of them has been charged or brought to a court for something that happened, was witnessed, was overwhelming evidence about, there were many journalists, many witnesses with their statements which Saville, the person who presided over the Saville Inquiry, basically said was perjury, which the British Prime Minister said was ‘unjust and unjustifiable killings’ which would be murder or manslaughter yet none of them is brought into a court room. What is the lesson that we can draw from this?
Hello? Ed? (telephone connection lost)
Ed was so shocked he dropped off the line – we’re going to try to get him back on. That’s what happens when you make a local call. We were able to go to Ireland and get John Crawley, we were able to get Dan Dennehy on a cell phone but we go to a local land line and we just dropped off Ed Moloney. We were making the point: The British government spent a fortune moving against Ivor Bell who I believe is about seventy-nine years of age, moving against him for an incident that happened in 1972. They made no moves – Do we have him back? Ed, are you with us again?
EM: Yes, I am. I don’t know what happened there.
MG: Ed, we thought you were so shocked at what the British are doing against Ivor Bell as compared to what they’re not doing with the British troopers of Bloody Sunday that you were speechless.
EM: Absolutely…fainted in horror.
MG: Alright, Ed, we were just making the point: I don’t know how much money the British government spent on getting the Boston tapes and moving against Ivor Bell on the basis of that evidence. But they make no moves to bring any British trooper for Bloody Sunday, much less one of the superiors, into a British court room. They’ve made no moves thus far and it just seems to be one delay after another meanwhile they seem to be moving rapidly to move against Ivor Bell for something that happened in 1972. How can the British get away with doing that?
EM: Well, because no one’s stopping them, essentially, and no one’s complaining about it and you know that’s why they’re able to do it. I mean if there was a campaign against the way that the police are prosecuting these cases then you know you might have a different result but there’s been you know – from all the established parties who are present in the Assembly – there’s been silence and they’re all acquiescing in this and particularly now that there’s no chance that Gerry Adams is going to be prosecuted interest has fallen off entirely almost and you know we shall see what happens with the Bloody Sunday paratroopers. Personally I would be astonished if there were charges brought. The whole British military establishment would rise up in anger at that – you know, that these were their soldiers doing their job on their orders and it sets a very bad precedent which the British Army has never in the past been prepared to accept. And secondly, you know you could argue, as people like Eamonn McCann argues very cogently, that the wrong people would be put on trial anyway, that the people who gave the orders, who set up the conditions, quite deliberately in his view, that allowed Bloody Sunday to happen and that this was going to be a punitive expedition by the Paratroopers and it all went badly awry – those people, the Generals and the Colonels, etc who were in charge that day they’ve all been absolved of any blame by Saville – and no surprise in that – that’s what a lot of these inquiries are set up to do essentially is to find scapegoats – and the scapegoats are the ordinary soldiers who went out and did the business on behalf of their officers and you know one could argue that: No, they shouldn’t be charged because they’re not the guilty ones in a sense – they may have pulled the trigger but they were told to pull the trigger and put in circumstances where they were encouraged to pull the trigger by other people who are much more senior who are getting off scot-free.
MG: Alright, Ed and it’s just another case, the British government – they seem to be taking efforts to insure that none of their troopers will be – or soldiers or members of the Royal Ulster Constabulary (RUC) – are being brought before British courts and charged with offences. Ivor Bell was certainly a very senior, well-respected Republican – people that he would have been affiliated with for many years are now in government but it doesn’t seem to be able to halt the prosecution of him just as it doesn’t seem to be able to halt prosecution against Gerry McGeough or Seamus Kearney or others who were involved with Republican activities. Alright Ed, we’re just about out of time. I want to thank you for being with us…
MG: …and giving us those views.
EM: No problem. Bye-bye. (ends time stamp ~ 54:14)
Martin Galvin (MG) speaks to 1916 Societies member John Crawley (JC) via telephone from Co. Monaghan who provides the Irish Republican response to the Irish government’s commemoration of British troops and Black and Tans who fought against, killed and executed Irish patriots. (begins time stamp ~17:43)
MG: And with us on the line we have John Crawley who’s a member of the 1916 Societies but also he’s played a central role in a political debate. First we had talk about the Irish government and others honouring British soldiers who helped to kill and capture and to execute those patriots of 1916, the people who gave us or really responsible, played such a crucial role in there being an Irish Republic for twenty-six of Ireland’s thirty-two counties. They want to extend that to people in the Black and Tans who fought in the War of Independence against full Irish independence and lately that argument’s been expanded – they want to welcome, honour those from Ireland who joined the British Army during the First World War and how they should be commemorated and whether those who fought in 1916 were members of the IRA. John, welcome back to Radio Free Éireann.
JC: Hello, Martin. Thanks for calling.
MG: Alright now, John, I know every time I pressure you, I get you to agree to be on – you tell me you don’t want to have anything about your background on but we have to do it. We have to remind people of who you were or what your background is so they can appreciate the perspective that you have. Now you were born in the United States, grew up partially in Ireland, live in Ireland in Clones Co. Monaghan now and you served in an elite unit of the American Marines. What unit was that?
MG: Okay – that’s the one Clint Eastwood made popular in the movie. You then went back to Ireland, you joined the IRA and we always play the song, Banna Strand, because years later one of the most famous incidents of the struggle was when you and others were captured bringing rifles into a place near Banna Strand on the Marita Ann, a ship that had traveled from Boston to Ireland, to Kerry, to try to bring weapons into Ireland from the United States and you served a lengthy prison sentence at that time in The South of Ireland in Portlaoise and also another one for trying to escape from that prison. How much time did you serve at that time?
JC: Well I served a total of ten years including three years extra for attempted escape. And then I got another thirty-five years when I was captured on active service in England two years later and I was released under the Good Friday Agreement.
MG: And that’s fortunately true otherwise we wouldn’t be able to talk to you on the phone for about another twenty years. John, how did this debate start? Why did people, particularly the Irish government and others in Ireland, think that the names of British soldiers who fought against the patriots of 1916 being deserved to be remembered, be commemorated, put on walls – why is there talk now of putting the names of the Black and Tans and others who fought against Irish independence, who fought the patriots of the IRA who were fighting for full and complete Irish independence – why do they want to honour them? What is the real political agenda behind this debate?
JC: Well, there’s definitely a political agenda and we want to bear in mind that when the first English Army was raised, the first standing English Army, it was actually quoted that it was for use for suppression of the Irish and defence of the Protestant religion. Now Ireland has a proud history of resistance against England but it also has a long history of collaboration with it. Hundreds of years of occupation has produced a slave mentality among some Irish people that is impervious to any appeal to patriotism. Many Irish people support the British forces, unfortunately, and have long family histories of doing so. If you look at the situation: Now naturally Unionists in the North and South of Ireland historically supported the British Army because it was the muscle that insured their sectarian supremacy. It remains today the military wing of the Unionist veto and the ultimate guarantor that an Irish national democracy will never eclipse partition. Now in the South of Ireland, Martin, and among some Nationalists in The North you have a motley collection of shoneens, West Brits and half-wits who are mesmerised by British militarism and love nothing better than prancing around British war memorials honouring Irishmen who died for the British Empire.
These people are an embarrassment to anyone with an ounce of respect for the national sovereignty but essentially they are harmless and irrelevant. But there’s a more serious, subversive and sinister agenda at work here and it’s being driven by the London and Dublin governments supported by parties such as the SDLP (Social Democratic and Labour Party) and Sinn Féin who support the Good Friday Agreement. Now a key strategy shared by the London and Dublin governments is to reconcile Northern Nationalists to the British state in Ireland while simultaneously reconciling Unionists to the sheer utility of making Nationalists stakeholders in that state; this is the underlying imperative that drives the Good Friday Agreement and the so-called peace process. Key to reconciling Nationalists to the British state is, of course, reconciling them to the British occupation forces as lawful authority be they army or police. Talk of a united Ireland has now been replaced by talk of an agreed Ireland in which the British border stays and the Irish agree to it. So lately, Martin, we’ve seen Dublin government and Sinn Féin politicians are tripping over themselves laying wreaths at British Army war memorials almost as an antidote, you could say, to calm any Nationalist or Republican sentiments sparked by the recent 1916 commemorations.
And as you said there earlier the names of British soldiers killed during the 1916 Rising have been engraved among the names of the patriots they killed at a monument recently unveiled at Glasnevin Cemetery in Dublin with official government approval. Now, can you imagine telling Americans that the names of the Redcoats killed at Bunker Hill should be engraved on the monument there? So the agenda of the agreed Ireland is to propagate the belief that unity and reconciliation should be fostered, in part, by contriving a narrative that emphasises the unity imagined between Nationalists and Unionists serving in the British Army in the First World War and their shared experience and joint enterprise in bayoneting German boys in Flanders. After all the reasoning goes: If they could kill the huns together surely they can run Stormont together. Are you there, Martin?
MG: John, I have a slightly different perspective: For example, my grandfather emigrated to the United States just a couple of years before 1916 and he was one of many of Irish-born people who joined the American Army, who fought in the First World War and we never considered them – I don’t expect his name or the Fighting 69th or any of the great Irish regiments – we’re proud of them in terms of the United States, being American soldiers, but we never thought of them as being commemorated in Ireland as – why would anyone want to commemorate British soldiers – people who – and I’ll tell you – the people who joined the American Army, like my grandfather, said they were told that the League of Nations was going to uphold what had happened in 1916, the One Ireland One Vote of 1918, the wishes of the Irish people for self-determination and that’s one of the things that they thought that by joining the American Army, by fighting for their adopted country, that one of the principles that they believed in. Why is it that people who joined the British Army think that the Irish government and Ireland should commemorate them the same way they do as Irish soldiers who fought for the freedom of Ireland?
JC: Well there’s an attempt to conflate British and Irish that they’re one in the same, basically. And one of the really subversive elements in all of this is the attempt to undermine the Republican concept of unity and national reconciliation which was first enunciated by Wolfe Tone and the United Irishmen in the late eighteenth century and which was further refined and developed by the outstanding 1916 leadership in The Proclamation. Now the Irish Republican concept of unity is a threat to this agenda, Martin, because it outlines the proposition that Irish constitutional authority resides exclusively within the Irish people, that Britain can be dispensed with and Irish men and women of whatever persuasion and none can forge a common national citizenship based upon democracy, equality and fraternity. Irish Republicanism seeks to cast aside historical differences in the name of national unity while the Good Friday Agreement actually ring fences and corrals those differences within Stormont in order to maintain the partition and the status quo. Nobody is denying that tens of thousands of Irishmen died in a British Army uniform in the First World War; my grand-uncle was one of them. But what we’re saying is they were not Irish soldiers. They were British soldiers. They were Irishmen, yes – but they were British soldiers. And we deny that England ever possessed the democratic title required to lawfully recruit an Irish Army. You know, England and the British Army makes sure that we do not have a national government and only an Irish national government can recruit an Irish Army and we maintain that the only Irish soldiers killed in the 1914-1918 period were the Irish Volunteers who were killed in the Easter Rising. The soldiers that all these memorials refer to are Irishmen who were British soldiers.
MG: Alright, John, we want to thank you, we’re going to go to our next guest in a few minutes. This is -I know that Americans – for example today I got off the train, I saw a plaque for Nathan Hale who was killed by the British, who was executed who said his regret was that he only had one life to give for his country and the idea that you’d put up a plaque to the British soldiers who hung him or to British soldiers who fought in that conflict against our freedom or even to Tories who supported and spied for and fought along side British troops it’s just – we can’t believe it – I would not be able to believe it – nobody would accept it or think they should be part of July Fourth celebrations…
JC: …Of course.
MG: …and when you look at this agenda and how far it’s gone in Ireland in an effort to reconcile people to British rule you see it’s something that has to be fought and I see you taking a lead role in the Irish News and other papers in fighting it…
JC: …Well there’s a price to be paid, Martin, for eight hundred years of occupation and part of that price is that slave mentality and we have to educate people and give them pride in their nation and their national sovereignty and in their armed forces who fought for freedom in this country and never collaborated with the enemy.
Martin Galvin (MG) speaks to award-winning journalist Suzanne Breen (SB) via telephone from Belfast and gets updates on ‘Brysongate’ and the recent 18 resignations from Sinn Féin over the party’s treatment of Daithí McKay. (begins time stamp ~ 14:50)
MG: And with us on the line we have Suzanne Breen. Suzanne Breen is one of the leading journalists – she’s been an award-winning journalist in Ireland. She has been with the Sunday Tribune, with the Irish Times and lately she’s been doing a number of reports for the Irish Independent, for the Belfast Telegraph and other papers in The North of Ireland. Welcome back to Radio Free Éireann, Suzanne.
MG: Suzanne, two weeks ago we covered the initial story: There was a crash in 2008-2009 in the United States, a world-wide crash with banks and mortgages. As a result of that the Irish government in the Twenty-Six Counties sold off a great many assets including assets that they owned in the Six Counties – mortgages, properties, etc. They formed an agency, the National Asset Management Association (NAMA), to sell those properties. Properties, more than a billion pounds worth were sold and a member of the Irish Parliament, Mick Wallace, in the Dáil as it’s called, stood up later and said that people, politicians in The North of Ireland had gotten backhanders, had gotten money, as a result of those sales. Now there was an inquiry in Stormont. It was led by Daithí McKay. One of the witnesses was an individual named Jamie Bryson who describes himself as a hardline Loyalist. He’s with a number of Protestant bands in The North of Ireland. He was one of the people who led the flag protests against not having a British flag flown over Stormont each and every day, three hundred and sixty-five days a year. He came before that committee and he named Peter Robinson, the head of the Democratic Unionist Party (DUP) and later it was revealed or there was correspondence – Daithí McKay resigned from Sinn Féin as an MLA and now this past week eighteen members of the party have resigned. Have I sort of summarised that for you leading up to what happened during the past week?
SB: You have indeed. You have summarised it very well. Jamie Bryson appeared before the Stormont Committee in September last year. There was a lot of controversy in Northern Ireland about whether he should be allowed to appear. Some people, including the DUP, thought he shouldn’t – that he was going to be making unsubstantiated allegations. As it turned out he did make a very stark allegation. He alleged that of the millions, seven point five million, that were transferred into an Isle of Mann bank that some of that money had been for Peter Robinson – that was Jamie Bryson’s allegation and he named Peter Robinson in his evidence to the Stormont Finance Committee. Jamie Bryson had been making all sorts of allegations on his own blog but once an allegation is made in Stormont at the committee it carries ‘privilege’ which means that the media can report on it whereas if they had been to report on allegations in Jamie Bryson’s blog they would have found themselves likely to be sued so giving his evidence at Stormont provided Jamie Bryson with legal protection.
MG: Alright and then it was subsequently revealed that prior to his appearance, Jamie Bryson, who in his blog he writes:
I’m opposed to Sinn Féin as I ever was. My enemy’s enemy was never my friend but rather a useful tool in my pursuit of a public interest story. If Sinn Féin were manipulated as what is in the public domain appears to suggest then that is a matter for Sinn Féin.
And it turned out that he had been coached or there had been written communications between him and Daithí McKay as to how he should testify and wait to hold Peter Robinson’s name until the very end. Is that correct, Suzanne?
SB: Daithí McKay was basically advising Jamie Bryson on procedures, on the best way to get his evidence to the Finance Committee so that other members of the Finance Committee couldn’t interrupt or actually end Jamie Bryson’s evidence. It was important that Jamie Bryson was able to give it without interruption, without being challenged so Daithí McKay basically off-the-record, privately, secretly – he advised Jamie Bryson on the best way to do this. Now this was in conflict with Daithí McKay’s role in the committee of being objective, of being impartial, of not effectively helping witnesses. Had Daithí McKay met Jamie Bryson in public with a civil servant and given him advice that would have actually been okay but because he set up a back-channel, because there were messages through social media that was regarded as not acceptable – it wasn’t transparent – and in his advice Daithí McKay appears to cross the line from giving sort of cold clinical advice to basically schooling Jamie Bryson.
MG: Alright and Peter Robinson, of course, denied Bryson’s allegations but he did subsequently resign as leader of the Democratic Unionist Party, the largest Unionist party in The North of Ireland and a party which is in coalition with Sinn Féin in government and Daithí McKay, when this became public, he immediately, or very quickly, resigned – admitted that it was wrong – what he had done and people thought that that would be the end of it – the Democratic Unionist Party did not pursue it. But last week there were further ramifications. What happened last week?
SB: Well Daithí McKay was replaced as a Assembly Member in Stormont by a man called Philip McGuigan who had been a previous Assembly Member for Sinn Féin in the North Antrim area and Daithí McKay had actually replaced him as the party’s representative so Philip McGuigan was brought back in. There already were a lot of divisions in Sinn Féin in North Antrim and Daithí McKay and Philip McGuigan and their relative supporters, to put it politely, wouldn’t see eye to eye , they wouldn’t get on very well – Philip McGuigan would maybe not be the most popular character in Sinn Féin in the area. So this week eighteen members of Sinn Féin announced that they were resigning in support of Daithí McKay and against Sinn Féin’s decision to parachute Philip McGuigan into the constituency. They said that Sinn Féin had done this without proper consultation. And there was also reference to Daithí McKay effectively having been a sacrificial lamb for Sinn Féin. They talked about how some people were hung out to dry in the party when others were protected and the insinuations there would be that there were people more senior than Daithí McKay in Sinn Féin who were involved in this project with Jamie Bryson, helping Jamie Bryson, but that they were regarded as too important to have resigned so that Daithí McKay was offered up there on a plate to the DUP to ensure the power-sharing government at Stormont is maintained.
MG: Alright. Now Suzanne, you had written a story for the Irish Independent – ‘Ex Sinn Féin Man at Centre of NAMA Storm is Urged to Reveal All’- and you quoted a number of former Sinn Féin MLAs who said that Daithí McKay should reveal what has happened and that you also had previous stories in which you said that people were very sceptical that Daithí McKay would have acted on his own without conferring and consulting with members above him in Sinn Féin – that that is not the way that Sinn Féin operates. Is that correct?
SB: Yes. I mean people, observers, generally don’t believe that Daithí McKay was a lone wolf. Sinn Féin is a party in which there is very centralised control, there is an awful lot of discipline it really is not the norm for political parties in Ireland to behave in the way that Sinn Féin does. I mean people joke that if a Sinn Féin cumann is ordering paper clips they have to consult the leadership so the idea of this free-lance activity of Daithí McKay taking this on himself to do such a controversial thing as help a Loyalist blogger to bring down, effectively, Peter Robinson, the leader of the party Sinn Féin was in government with – people are very, very sceptical that he acted alone. The belief when he resigned – when he resigned he accepted responsibility, he admitted what he did – the belief would have been among journalists that he was taking a bullet for the party and that further down the line he would be rewarded. We would see Daithí McKay appear maybe at some stage next year in some job, an important job in his constituency in the community sector – something like that, that he would be, to put it in Irish terms that he would be ‘boxed off’ that he had made the sacrifice, he laid down his career for the sake of his party and that when a decent interval of time had passed DaithÍ McKay would be back in some lower-profile role and we believe therefore he wouldn’t be talking now, he wouldn’t be saying anything, he wouldn’t be spilling the beans, he wouldn’t be disclosing who else in Sinn Féin was involved with him that he had agreed to be a part of this game. The eighteen people resigning in North Antrim changes that totally because it would be inconceivable that they would have resigned without Daithí McKay’s blessing. I mean, undoubtedly these members have been very close to him, they would have been in communication to him over recent weeks and they would have told them what they are going to do and at the very least Daithí McKay didn’t say: No. Don’t do this – and that is what leads us to believe that Daithí McKay is very much not a happy camper and some former Sinn Féin MLAs have said: Look, the party sacrificed you, they didn’t care less about you and it is up to you now to come forward, name the names, tell the truth because at the moment your reputation is in the gutter. You’re regarded as this silly little boy who colluded with a Loyalist – you really need to come out here and explain what had happened and try and regain your public image and your reputation.
MG: Alright now, some of the people who resigned from Sinn Féin they include councillors, former councillors, people who have been party activists for many, many years – what is going to be the impact of those eighteen people resigning on Sinn Féin in that area?
SB: Well North Antrim isn’t a Sinn Féin stronghold. It is an area where the party has been trying to build its profile and to win votes. I know a lot of the people who resigned will be the people at election time who put up posters, who knocked doors, who were the workers on the ground so they will be missed. We had greater numbers – we had seventy people in Cork last year resign in protest of the treatment of two local councillors down there but it is in The North that the leadership’s iron grip really has been well-known so this is just unprecedented. The eighteen didn’t just resign privately they resigned in a blaze of publicity.
They wrote a very scathing letter, scathing about Sinn Féin, to a local newspaper, the Ballymena Guardian and one of their members, Monica Digney, who had been the first Sinn Féin Councillor on the very staunchly loyalist Ballymena Council – she had taken a lot of grief and there had been a lot of harassment and intimidation when she was first elected so she would be known as a fairly steely woman – she took to the airwaves and in interviews for UTV and BBC Northern Ireland she made some very strong statements against Sinn Féin. She said that she loved the party with all of her heart – she’d given a hundred and ten percent to it. She said she’d been a lifelong Republican – she would die a Republican but she just didn’t have to die a Sinn Féin Republican. And she added she would not be selling herself short because she had what was commonly known as integrity. And when she was asked did Sinn Féin have integrity she said no, she didn’t think that it did and it had lost the run of themselves so this was very strong and emotional language and also suggested that perhaps there are issues at play here that are bigger than Daithí McKay and bigger than it being just a local dispute. It seems to me to be another example of Sinn Féin really losing touch with its grassroots.
MG: Alright Suzanne, we want to thank you for that. We’re looking forward seeing whether Daithí McKay does say anything or take any further actions in response to these people who were loyalists or supporters of his resigning and whatever the next step is going to be we’ll hope to read your stories about them.
SB: It’s one to watch. They key here is is Daithí McKay going to speak out himself now or is he going to continue maintaining his silence? The spotlight really now is on Daithí McKay.
MG: Well it would seem strange if he had other people resign on his behalf or supporting him but then did nothing further himself after they resigned but we’ll wait to see. Thank you, Suzanne.
Radio Free Éireann will broadcast this Saturday September 3rd – Noon-1-pm New York time or 5pm-6pm Irish time on WBAI 99.5 FM or wbai.org or anytime after the program concludes on wbai.org/archives
Award winning journalist Suzanne Breen will discuss the continuing story of ‘Brysongate’ and why 18 Sinn Féin members have resigned in protest thus far.
As recently released secret British documents reveal the impact of the MacBride Principles against religious discrimination in employment Patrick Doherty of the New York State Comptroller’s Office will discuss how this grassroots American campaign, inspired by the Sullivan Principles for South Africa, became a rallying force which overcame British government efforts.
Brendan Costello will talk about a special upcoming awards event by Irish American Writers and Artists.
Go to Radio Free Éireann’s new web site, rfe123.org , where you can read written transcripts of last weeks headline making interviews with Kate Nash on the latest milestone in the decades long fight of the Bloody Sunday victims families to bring British troopers to justice and Independent Councillor Padraig McShane on McAllister-McVeigh Memorial Park where Unionists withheld funding because the park is named for Irish patriots killed almost a century ago.