A Tale of Two Inquiries: the David Trimble Factor 88

There is a peculiar symmetry about the Bloody Sunday inquiry into the killing by soldiers of unarmed demonstrators concluding just as the Israeli inquiry into the shooting of unarmed peace activists is set up. But there is another fascinating common factor – David Trimble.

Trimble opposed the Bloody Sunday inquiry from the start. This from the BBC in 1998:

But the Ulster Unionist leader, David Trimble, dismissed Mr Blair’s hope that an inquiry could be part of the healing process in Northern Ireland.

“Opening old wounds like this is likely to do more harm than good,” Mr Trimble said.


This week Trimble has been reinforcing that opposition to the diminsihing numbers who will listen – his reason? He thinks it is wrong that any soldier should be treid for murdering unarmed people:

David Trimble, the Nobel Peace Prize laureate who led Protestants into Northern Ireland’s 1998 peace accord, told The Guardian newspaper he had long opposed the idea of a new Bloody Sunday inquiry because it would be certain to provide fresh ammunition for those seeking to convict or sue the soldiers involved.

Trimble was quoted as saying he advised then-

British prime minister Tony Blair not to throw out Widgery’s verdict, because “if you moved one millimeter from that conclusion, you were into the area of manslaughter, if not murder.”


Why the Israelis would view Trimble as a good international frontman for their whitewash is blindingly obvious. Even more so when you consider that on the very day of the flotilla murders, David Trimble was in Paris chairing the glitzy launch of a new “Interrnational Friends of Israel” group.

It is therefore no surprise at all that it was that indefatigable – and extremely well remunerated – Friend of Israel, Tony Blair, who gave Netanyahu Trimble’s name as a safe pair of hands for the cover-up.


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88 thoughts on “A Tale of Two Inquiries: the David Trimble Factor

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  • Anonymous

    How much blood money they are paying Blair for this advice, or is that covered by his annual Israeli retainer fees. Is there nothing he won’t do for money.

  • Mr M

    The difference is that you have a culture clash between today’s self styled “Israellis” and the rest of the world.

    Bloody Sunday had people brave enough to acknowledge and admit to mistakes no matter how many Trimbles they send, but over in Israel such words cannot be said.

    Back then, the troops said “we were fired at first”. “Israelis” and the Blair’s of this world would say “we were provoked” and get Trimble to sign the unlawful killings of unarmed civilians as legitimate.

  • Mark Golding - Children of Iraq

    Blair is an anathema, a bane, a plague, a war criminal who murdered children and then tried to tell British school-children in Walton High that the Iraq war was just and relieved the world of a bad man.

    Your atonement is way over-due Blair and all that blood-stained money will not save you!

  • nextus

    Absolutely, Craig. By appointing Trimble as an ‘international observer’ the Israelis have stacked the deck quite conspicuously. Any claim to objective impartiality is a travesty.

    As the public face of the Drumcree parades, Trimble rose to prominence as a bigot who favoured the right to demonstrate with impunity against the oppressed indigenous population. His bias is clear for all to see. Don’t let Nobel distract you: he didn’t get it for protecting civil liberties, but for seizing political opportunities.

    The loyalist community in Northern Ireland has always had instinctive sympathies with the Israelis. See the juxtaposition of flags at:


    The situational parallels are clear: a community of occupying settlers under attack from the indigenous population. In the 80s, loyalists also vocally supported the Apartheid regime and branded Mandela a terrorist. Note the shared ethic of containment and oppression, and the branding of any indigenous opposition as terrorism.

    Before the usual conspiracy cacophony begins, let me just point out that these alignments have got nothing to do with the clandestine orchestration of any grand Zionist plot. The typical Orangeman would have no idea what you’re ranting on about, and few of them are in a position of economic power or influence (especially following the collapse of the Presbyterian Mutual Society). It’s about the simple cultural prejudices of the fortress mentality.

  • sabretache

    Nice one Craig. VERY nice. Hits the nail squarely on the head. And of course David Trimble also knows a thing or two about state sponsored assassinations – from the perspective of the State, naturally. He’s ultra-sensitive about it too – Google Sean McPhilemy.

  • Tom Welsh

    What has struck me most forcibly in the reports about Bloody Sunday has been that soldiers apparently shot unarmed men who posed no threat to them. Ring a bell with anyone? I seem to have been hearing stories like that for the best part of the last ten years – in Afghanistan, Iraq, Pakistan and Israel. And not only male civilians, but women, children, babies in arms, whole wedding parties, funerals… Yet (apart from Baha Mousa) not a single one of those dead civilians in Asia has been represented in a British court. Nor have we had our media broadcasting the bereaved families’ tears, reminiscences, and justified anger.

    Why is that a handful of deaths – no matter how illegal and reprehensible – in Northern Ireland outweighs over a million deaths in Asia?

  • sandcrab

    I dont know if the Bloody Sunday massacre was secretly planned/influenced to create conflict but i can see it is possible. The decades of violence which followed certainly served the interests of violent people in general.

    The vast majority of people NEVER wanted violent political pressure in NI, and a strong majority ALWAYS wanted to stay in the Union. NI is not Israel, even while its loyalist politicians are an embarrassment.

    If you judge a population by its politicians the whole of England may burn in hell too.

    Loyalist politics in Northern Ireland are fucked up after decades of dirty stinking paramilitary attack (employing horrendous torture and extreme brutality) for a mythicaly justified, undemocratic objective to force the modern population out of its union with britain.

    Any ‘settling’ which occured happened hundreds of years ago, during very interesting times in which strife and allegiances continuously shifted all over Europe.

    Paramilitary republicanism in Ireland dragged its mandate from bitter history and punished it with brutal bloody passion. Both sides of the fight had to represent their social and political circumstances in simplified beleaguered terms in order to survive the assaults on their identity and physical security.

    Whether bloody sunday was accidental or not, such events could be easily manufactured by those wishing to fuel conflict.

  • Richard Robinson

    Tom Welsh – was that a rhetorical question ? The literal-minded answer, of course, is that a lot more people get upset when the British Army kills British people. The whole assumption is that it’s supposed to be keeping them safe by killing Others (when necessary). The cognitive dissonance upsets people, the assumption doesn’t explain the outcome.

    What still nags at me is that I remember the initial photos, summer of ’69. Grateful women of an oppressed minority bringing trays of tea out to the brave boys who’ve come to keep them safe. We could do with an enquiry into how we got from there to the Bogside in 2 1/2 years ? (cf also, of course, similar processes in many other countries since).

  • Neil Barker

    Clearly a Zionist, back-door-rattling conspiracy by people who want a free book from a rich, privileged man!

  • PeterL

    Thanks Sabretache for the tip re Sean McPhilemy – is The Committee still banned in the UK? The story of libel cases, retractions, with Trimble eventually suing Amazon to stop the book’s sale in the UK is incredible…adds another dimension to what Craig says here.

  • Anonymous

    Psychopathic murdering Zionists + Mass murdering ex PM + Bigoted protestant.

    Should make for an interesting inquire.

  • Abe Rene

    No-one’s mentioned the other international person on the flotilla enquiry, Ken Watkin, who appears to have better credentials, since he was a visiting fellow to the Human Rights Programme at Harvard Law School in 2002-3, and warned the Canadian army not to ignore allegations of the abuse of Afghan prisoners.

  • Damian

    Mistakes, overreaction, rotten apples.

    Seen it all a million times before.

    There’s nothing going on anywhere in the world today for which the long years of conflict in the north of Ireland do not provide a template.

    It was horrible growing up there during those dark days, feeling your daily life no more than a pawn for dark actors playing wargames. And the lies, the lies, the endless lies; the pointless deaths.

    I’m glad the families have at long last had official recognition that their loved ones were innocent. It’s so important.

    That was always the problem with being murdered by the state. You didn’t just die once. You died a thousand times and more as another scumbag turned up on telly or print to defend the state by again besmirching your memory.

    Great post Craig, and great comments too. Well done all. It almost restores my faith in our common humanity.

  • Craig

    Abe Rene

    Except that the human rights programme at Harvard is pure undiluted neo-con world view. I lectured the course once.

  • nextus

    Psychopathic murdering Zionists + Mass murdering ex PM + Bigoted protestant + ex-military neo-con

    This is what political fascism looks like in the 21st century

  • Michael

    Take a look at the peace activist at the other end of this hyperlink:


    That’s a vicious looking knife he’s brandishing, isn’t it.

    No, really! He is a peace activist. I’m not shitting you. Honest, he is I tell you!

    He’s an activist for that peace which is consequent on submission to Islam, and which will be realised when all the infidels are dead.

  • Anonymous

    Psychopathic murdering Zionists + Mass murdering ex PM + Bigoted protestant + ex-military neo-con

    This is what the truth IS in the 21st century.

  • somebody

    Watkin – I had read that he was a convert to Judaism.

    Here he could be Straw or Hoon or any of our war criminals.

    ‘Ken Watkin was implicated in the Canadian Afghan detainee issue, in which several detainees arrested by the Canadian Forces went missing or were tortured following their transfer to the Afghan National Police and National Directorate of Security. According to a report in the Toronto Star, while acting as the Judge Advocate General, Ken Watkin advised the Canadian Forces command that they could be “criminally negligent” for transferring detainees to a risk of torture in Afghan hands. Mr. Watkin refused to answer questions when called to testify in Canada’s House of Commons about whether he was directed to authorize the transfers or had knowledge of Canadian diplomatic reports of torture, and claimed that solicitor-client privilege owed to the Government of Canada prevented him answering the House’s questions.’


    Suppose you ‘pays your money and take your choice’ about him.

    The rest sound like pensioners in care homes literally.

    Israel’s Geriatric Gaza Flotilla Investigation: the Fix is In

    Dvorit Shargel has collected some damning information from the Israeli media about the biased views of the commission chair, 75 year-old Justice Yaakov Tirkel and the lucidity of a 93 year-old member, Shabbtai Rozen.

    Yediot Achronot writes:

    The judge heading up the Gaza flotilla investigation is known in his rulings as someone who says “Yes” to the security services. He also protects freedom of speech?”as long as its not connected to state security.

    Tirkel notes that his legal rulings do not originate in a theoretical legal laboratory, but derive from a set of nationalist and humanist values. When there is a conflict between the two, Tirkel continues:

    With great sorrow, I view the honor and freedom of our fighters as more dear than those of the enemy’s fighters.

    (photo of elderly gentleman sitting in his slippers with carer alongside)

    93 year-old Shabbtai Rozen: caption reads (unintentionally ironically) ‘The professor is ready’ (Maariv)

    I think we’ve heard enough, haven’t you?

    And what can you say about poor Shabbtai Rozen, no doubt once an eminent Israeli diplomat and scholar of international law. But must they dust this fellow off in his nursing home and trot him out before the cameras in his summer pajamas along with his Filipino caretaker? Must they? I would never make the mistake of saying a 93 year old can’t be sharp as a tack, but I’d suggest for a delicate mission such as this one, that propping up someone like this and sitting him in a chair for this panel was a ludicrous exercise.

    An interview with him makes him appear equally out to lunch:

    Modern communication is limitless. You can receive a protocol from the defense ministry six hours after the end of the meeting. It’s simply fantastic!

    Then we have the case of the 86 year-old Amos Horev, a distinguished Israeli general with impeccable intelligence credentials and a booster of the Israeli defense industry. I’ve already written about the built in conflict of interest of having an Israeli general sit in judgment of the IDF. Now we have the added question of why Bibi Netnayhau felt the need for representation from the geriatric set on the panel. At least, Horev had his picture taken in a sports jacket without his caretaker (if he has one) present.

    Turkey has wisely denounced the commission even before its first meeting as a sham. Haaretz in an editorial has done the same. They know the fix is in. Why doesn’t Obama? I hope he has a Plan B, because this ain’t the solution to resolving the Mavi Marmara crisis.

  • Mark Golding - Children of Iraq

    Abe Rene,

    General Watkins is a shroud for torture, a stonewaller devoid of dignity and blind to humanity. Like Trimble he stalks the dark corridors of the Henry Jackson Society adding his venom to the poisonous spittoons left out by the British Moment to gather the vomit for a new way of thinking about British foreign, security and defence policy that calls for torture and interventionism across the globe. A bully-boy approach to to help themselves to the world’s goodies ?” like Iraqi and Iranian oil and Afghanistan’s mineral wealth while stepping on the frail screaming bodies of innocent children and traumatised women weeping for the remains of their battered, tortured and bleeding loved ones to be returned to end their pain with the mercy of closure.

  • Abe Rene

    Craig, if the human rights programme at Harvard were pure undiluted neo-con world view – why would they invite you, of all people, to lecture there? (Not that I don’t find the fact impressive).

  • Craig

    Abe –

    A mistake they only made once! There’s a video of it on the web somewhere, I think.

  • Ishmael

    They don’t know much and don’t ask questions. Yes men. Like that Yank general, who when asked what the Russians were doing in that huge underground base under the ural mountains said he did not know. These people have a degree of power and influence. They abuse it. long live intelligent people.

  • Suhayl Saadi

    Abe, that is precisely why they do occasionally invite people like Craig, just so that one can say, “Ah, but they must be okay then.” It’s cover for their imperialist activities. Craig realised it and that’s to his immense credit.

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