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Opposite sides of the River - Jimmy Gralton and the CIA.

category roscommon | rights, freedoms and repression | opinion/analysis author Wednesday August 21, 2013 12:54author by Paul Laverty Report this post to the editors

John Brennan, Head of the CIA, visits Roscommon.

Are we really supposed to cut off our critical faculties and forget what the CIA has done?

On the 16th of August Ken Loach and Paul Laverty spoke at a meeting in Effernagh, Co Leitrim, to commemmorate the 80th anniversary of the deportation of Jimmy Gralton, while across the river Shannon, the same evening, Mr John Brennan, head of the CIA attended a homecoming "Gathering" event in Kilteenan, Roscommon.

16th August 2013, Ireland.

On the 16th of August Ken Loach and Paul Laverty spoke at a meeting in Effernagh, Co Leitrim, to commemmorate the 80th anniversary of the deportation of Jimmy Gralton, while across the river Shannon, the same evening, Mr John Brennan, head of the CIA attended a homecoming "Gathering" event in Kilteenan, Roscommon.

Laverty said "I was struck by the irony. Jimmy Gralton was deported from his own country 80 years ago for taking on the powerful of his time. They burnt down the hall where he and his colleagues gave classes and held dances in 1932. Even now the papers relating to his deportation are still missing. Clearly many wanted to destroy all trace of Jimmy Gralton and what he stood for. I was really impressed by the community activists who have done so much over the years to keep Jimmy Gralton's memory, and what his colleagues fought for, alive. What we remember and pass on is important, especially at a time when there is discussion that Irish schools will no longer have to teach history.

That was why I was so struck by the tone of the coverage of the visit of Mr John Brennan head of the CIA to Roscommon. My criticism is not personal. I have no idea of Mr Breannan's CV, and I support the right of any person to return home to the land of their ancestors and celebrate with friends and family. I really hope the people of Kilteenan where the gathering was celebrated had a good night as we had in Effernagh with family and friends. But from the coverage it seems that some of the organizers were very proud of the fact Mr Breannan had such and important job as head of the CIA, and mention was made of Mr Brennan's presence in the now famous photograph of President Obama and co watching the events unfold which lead to the extrajudicial execution of Osama Bin Laden.

Are we really supposed to cut off our critical faculties and forget what the CIA has done? I remmember a previous head of the CIA Mr William Casey, who incidently had a high profile funeral in Saint Patrick's Cathedral in New York, who financed and trained the Contras in Nicaragua, and then set them loose. Every bone fide human rights organizations made mention of their systematic abuse against the civilian population. Thousands were tortured and murdered. I worked as a human rights lawyer at that time in Nicaragua and interviewed a young contra trained by the CIA who told me how he murdered survivors of a bus that went over a mine with a knife. He was traumatised by what he had done. I interviewed parents who had found their children mutiliated in the most horrific fashion. The contra were trained by the CIA to sew terror. Their bloody hand print stretches all the way through Latin America. They financed the overthrow of the Arbenz regime in Guatemala which lead directly to the slaughter of tens of thousands of indigenous peasants. They organised the overthrow of the democratically elected Government in Chile and supported Pincohet and his torturers. They supported the Generals in Argentina. The list goes on and on, and it is all in the public domain if anyone cares to remember. One of the organisers of the Roscommon event said, "Isn't a father coming home with his two sons (one of whom was J0hn Brennan) the essence of what the Gathering is about." When I read this I could not help but remember a father in Nicaragua, heart broken, after the kidnap of his sons by the Contra. I often wondered if he ever got them back.

My point is not to castigate the idea of the Gathering or those who organize it, but my plea is that we never lose our critical faculties as citizens. We owe it to those who have lost their lives to remember that the CIA as an institution is responsbile for the horrendous deaths of hundreds of thousands of innocents. In essence, it is a State terrorist organization that has caused more hurt than ad hoc freelance terrorists like Osama Bin Laden. Sometimes the truth is very inconvenient, even at family gatherings. Mr Brennan was quoted as saying at the event that his father had passed down strong values of "family, community, love of the nation, and love of God." Really? Perhaps an apology then might be forthcoming from the Head of the CIA for all the misery and murder that institution has caused around the world. I suspect that the river Shannon, separating Effernagh and Kilteenan, will run dry before we hear that. "

Paul Laverty, screenwriter, of Jimmy's Hall, (and the Wind that Shakes the Barley) which is currently being shot in Leitrim, directed by Ken Loach.

 #   Title   Author   Date 
   good and timely article thanks     fred    Wed Aug 21, 2013 23:38 
   'Barley' Writer Paul Laverty Brands CIA 'Terrorist Organization' from The Wild Geese     WGFAN    Sat Aug 24, 2013 16:42 
   Head of CIA at Gathering idolized on RTE     T    Tue Aug 27, 2013 22:47 


 
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