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Forum Home > General Discussion > Letter from Jimmy RE Supergrass system

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Posts: 110

This letter from Jimmy was posted on the guestbook, I am adding it here for easier reference in the futre. Thanks to "Stockholm" for the article


Fortnight October 1986

Dear Editor, In publicly opposing the use of uncorrobo rated evidence in non-jury courts, Greer and Jennings distinguish themselves from most 'liberal' academics who recoil from struggle and polemic in panic. However they are also responsible for their stated arguments and the premises which support them. To summarise their position briefly they claim (a) the "system" of supergrasses has formally ended; (b) that a *high level of collusion" between the judiciary, the executive and RUC was essential for its operation (they claim recent events suggest this collusion has broken down.) They accept the system has a "deliberately cultivated counter-insurgency initiative" and that it is unjust. Having said this our two legal experts ask "what is 'politically dangerous' about our preferences?"' The very framework employed in their analysis of the issues involved is SELEC TIVE.. In the best academic tradition their analysis?or preferences?presuppose a LEGITIMACY of the state and its institu tions which has been historically denied by the main protagonists, the Nationalists, and is now increasingly threatened and undermined by Unionists. In treating the SYMPTOM of the supergrass system they bypass, as an irrelevance, the historical process of rationalisation that currently legitimises both the CLASS system and t he occupation of this country by Britain. "They disregard the historical evidence that shows how in the 18th century the ruling class contrived at a FUNCTIONAL separation between the executive and judicary. Where "normal" bourgeois democracy has taken root this separation appears, on the surface, to work well. Within the state of siege that is the six counties the reality is more clearly seen. Greer and Jennings make no attempt to address this reality. If we examine the role of LAW in society since the rise of class antagonism we can see it regulating conflicts and MEDIATING all disputes in the long term interests of the ruling class. By ignoring the class nature of the law Greer and Jennings EXCLUDE the political implications of how British imperialism seeks to COUNTER the Irish struggle for self-determination and how the British? through a Unionist judiciary and state apparatus?were/are willing to put the boot into loyalists in an attempt to appear impartial and unbiased. In this they are barely distinguishable from the signatories of the Hillsborough accord. To state, as they did, that the supergrass system is OVER while ignoring the fact that the forces which devised and implemented it remain can only be viewed as either politically NAIVE or politically DANGEROUS! Nowhere in their argument that the

supergrass system has "ended" do Greer and Jennings address the consequences of its operation: this, at a time when con stitutional politicians are anxious to RES TORE credibility to the administration of justice. For those who have been directly affec ted by this system the experience has had a consciousness-raising effect; more people are now more critical of the state and its laws. The nature of the "crisis" here has forced the judiciary centre-stage. Dublin, London and Belfast politicians now want to repair and rework the myth of judicial independence. By claiming that recent court policy indicates the "high level of collusion" has now "broken down" Greer and Jennings move from an initial position of OPPOSING the supergrass system to SUPPORTING the Government and the status quo. This is unquestionably a politically suspect position. So, far from claiming NO POLITICAL ORIENTATION in their analysis we find one which at least gives comfort to Tom King and the judiciary, not their victims. Finally it remains to be said that Greer and Jennings are not the only betes noires of this ongoing debate. The Republican tradition?of which I was a product?has also failed to properly analyse this system and its place in understanding the role of the law in relation to the state. Having shown determination and courage in op position to the PHYSICAL manifestations . of the British state in Ireland, Republican ism has been, for too long, oblivious to its more pervasive and insidious forms of op pression and control. As one who is also critical of his own (collective) tradition I could hardly ignore the errors of others. My concluding plea is that we now set aside those sensitive egos?usually male? that hamper dialectical criticism and "get on with more important things". Yours, etc. Jimmy Brown

April 26, 2010 at 9:23 AM Flag Quote & Reply

Shane Dundalk
Posts: 17

how many men were charged in that supergrass trial its all history now but still very interesting

May 8, 2010 at 10:45 AM Flag Quote & Reply

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