Unquiet Graves – film review

Anarchist Communist Group

Unquiet Graves, the new documentary from Irish filmmaker Sean Murray, is an important work on several levels. It Informs the viewer of state collusion, indeed state sponsorship of sectarian murder gangs in Northern Ireland in the 1970s. It highlights this activity before the events get lost as ‘tragic history’ and it seeks some semblance of justice for the families of the victims of security services – directed paramilitary murder.

The film begins with a re-enactment of the murder of two young men, Colm McCartney and Sean Farmer, in 1975. Returning from a Gaelic football game in Dublin, the two were stopped at a ‘British Army’ checkpoint near the village of Newtownhamilton in County Armagh and shot dead. This murder, which came three years into the sectarian murder campaign, is returned to, with great poignancy in animated form later in the film.

A large part of the film’s content is based upon more than 15 years of research undertaken by the Pat Finucane Centre, a human rights advocacy organisation in Northern Ireland, much of which was published in the book Lethal Allies: British Collusion in Ireland (2013). The book catalogued the concerted activities of the Loyalist paramilitary Mid Ulster Volunteer Force (UVF), elements of the Royal Ulster Constabulary (RUC) and the locally recruited Ulster Defence Regiment (UDR), part of the British Army in what became known as the Tyrone-Armagh Murder triangle.

Much of the evidence of collusion was provided by one of the active participants, John Weir. Weir, was a sergeant in the RUC’s Special Patrol Group (SPG) counter-terrorist section and member of the UVF. His 1999 affidavit outlined in detail the consistent collusion between security services and Loyalist Paramilitaries in the Murder Triangle and beyond.

The modus operandi was to select ‘soft’ targets, concentrating upon ‘respectable’ Catholic individuals and families without connections to the Republican movement. The highest profile killings were that of members of the Miami Showband pop group in July 1975, but that was an exception. The targets would be chosen, the surveillance and logistic support provided by the security services and the murders carried out by a mix of off, and sometimes on-duty RUC men, UDR soldiers and UVF members. RUC roadblocks, which were normalised in rural Tyrone and Armagh, were sometimes set up to prevent witnesses. The nominal RUC investigations into the murders returned a 100% failure to convict. Patently, the campaign was being given the go ahead by officials much further up the chain of command.

The Glennane Gang extended their operations into the Irish Republic, planting bombs in the border town of Dundalk and were responsible for the infamous car bombings of Monaghan and Dublin in May 1974 which claimed 34 lives. They undertook this operation as they did many others between 1972 and 1980, with the height of their killing between 1974 and 1976, in a state of heightened confidence that they were protected by important sections of local and national law enforcement. In total the gang has been connected to more than 120 murders. Most of their atrocities were claimed in the name of the Protestant Action Force, occasionally the Red Hand Commando – itself a part of the UVF or remained anonymous. Their intention is generally believed to have been to spread terror and panic amongst the Catholic/Nationalist community in the hope that this would provoke the Provisional IRA, then on ceasefire, into tit for tat killings. This did, to a limited but bloody extent, happen when the Republican Action Force murdered 10 Protestant building workers at Kingsmill, South Armagh in January 1976, which is highlighted in the film.

Following this sectarian revenge attack, the Glennane Gang formulated a plan to massacre Catholic school children and their teachers in the Armagh village of Beleeks. The intention can only have been to escalate the situation into open civil war, drawing in the Republican movement and forcing the hand of the British state and any reticent Loyalists.

However, the leadership of the UVF, who were contemporaneously turning a blind eye to the horrifically brutal Shankill Butchers, were unwilling to sanction the slaughter of innocent primary school children and the inevitable international condemnation it would have brought.

There are ongoing attempts to uncover the full truth about the Glennane Gang and its connections to the secret, and not too secret, state, attempts which have been hampered at every turn, despite the Good Friday Agreement, and the ostensible embracing of openness and reconciliation.

The documentary gives an opportunity for the perspectives and voices of the victim’s families to be foregrounded and the interviews with the relatives of those murdered are moving and powerful. The struggle for the truth about collusion and state terror continues.

Try to see this important film. More info HERE
Anarchist Communist Group

Advertisements

Swindon Radical Bookfair Saturday 15th September 2018.

Links to FB event

We’ll be there!

Central Community Centre, Emlyn Square, Swindon 1 – 5pm

Parking is available on-site.

There will be a social and food at the Glue Pot (opposite the bookfair) straight after the bookfair.

Provisional timings for workshops will be –

1.30-2.30pm – Bristol Radical History Group / Docs Not Cops

2.45-3.45pm – Social Workers Without Borders / Acorn

4-5pm – Reel News

Commander Arian film screening, in Lewes 14th June.

There will be a screening of Commander Arian at the Depot Cinema in Lewes on June 14th at 6.15 pm. After the screening, director Alba Sotorra Clua will take questions from the audience with Elif Sarican and Dirk Campbell.

On the front line of the Syrian war, 30-year-old Commander Arian guides a female battalion towards the city of Kobane to release its people from the grip of ISIS in an empowering tale of emancipation and freedom. When the war in Syria broke, a group of women from the Kurdish resistance assembled the YPJ – Women Protection Units. Arian, who witnessed at a young age the nefarious treatment of sexual assault victims, leads the unit and dedicates her life to battling ISIS. As the YPJ inches closer to their target, she implores her comrades to discover the true meaning of their fight: freedom for the next generation of women. With unprecedented access to the commander and her troops, including delicate scenes of her recovering from multiple bullet wounds, Sotorra brilliantly crafts an enthralling portrait of a woman on a mission.

Anna Campbell from Lewes chose to support the Rojava revolution by going out and fighting alongside the brave women of the YPJ. She met and was interviewed by Alba Sotorra Clua. After the YPG/YPJ defeat of Daesh in the autumn of 2017, Anna went to defend civilians from the Turkish incursion into Afrin in January 2018 and was killed by a Turkish air strike on 15 March.

Proceeds will be donated to the charity Kurdish Red Moon

SYLVIA PANKHURST – Autonomy Film Show in Bridport Sunday 4th March

For several years Autonomy showed alternative films in Bridport on a monthly basis. We have come back together now because one of our group has been seriously ill triggering loss of earnings and expensive adaptations to his home for a wheelchair. This event is to raise funds to help with these costs.

SPIRIDONOVA – ARMED LOVE

Bollocks to Bolsheviks!

ROJAVA: A Utopia in the Heart of Syria’s Chaos

Bristol antifascists film premiere, Thursday 7th Sept. 7.30pm

Bristol antifascists invite you to a premiere of the new film “Antifascists”. Footage and analysis from the frontlines of the fight against fascism. More info here:

https://www.facebook.com/theantifascists/

Thursday 7th Sept. 7.30pm at Kebele Social centre, 14 Robertson Road, Easton. BS5 6JY.

Free showing but donations welcome to support the relentless work of your local antifascist group.

And if that gets you in the right sort of mood, how about a bit of putting it into practice?…

Everyone out on 10th September! Time for another solid antifascist response in Bristol!

Here’s the callout from our comrades, the angry queer antifascists:

It’s not going to go well for fascists in Bristol this Sunday! Keep your eye on these sites for demo meet point details:

angryqueerantifascists.wordpress.com

facebook.com/bristolqueercaf

facebook.com/bristolantifascists

Stay safe and solid together. No space for fascism in our city!
In solidarity,
BAF.