'Barley' Writer Paul Laverty Brands CIA 'Terrorist Organization'

Sixteen Films screenwriter Paul Laverty (pictured at left) has called out CIA chief John Brennan, seeking an apology from him "for all the misery and murder that the institution has caused around the world." The former human rights lawyer was speaking in Effernagh, County Leitrim, at an August 16 commemoration of the 80th anniversary of the Irish government's expulsion of local socialist and activist Jimmy Gralton, accompanied by Sixteen Films partner and director Ken Loach.

Left, Paul Laverty on the film set of "The Wind That Shakes the Barley," with Sixteen Films collaborator Ken Loach (far left), 2005. Courtesy of Sixteen Films.

According to an account in yesterday's Leitrim Observer, Laverty stated: “We owe it to those who have lost their lives to remember that the CIA as an institution is responsible 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.”

Brennan was reportedly attending a Gathering event in Kilteevan, Roscommon, when the Gralton commemoration took place.

Laverty and Loach teamed with producer Rebecca O'Brien to create the 2006 Palme D'Or winning film "The Wind That Shakes the Barley." Loach directed the 1990 film Palme D'Or-nominated film "Hidden Agenda," set in Northern Ireland. The trio are filming "Jimmy's Hall," a feature film depicting Gralton's story, in Sligo and Leitrim through September.

Learn more about the project and Sixteen Film's dramatizations of the Irish freedom struggle on The Wild Geese.

Read more:

* Paul Laverty (The Wild Geese)
'Hidden Agenda': (Internet Movie Database)
* Paul Laverty: (Internet Movie Database)
* Human rights, the CIA and Jimmy Gralton Leitrim Observer, Aug, 23, 2013

Views: 1109

Tags: Effernagh, Film, Irish Freedom Struggle, Kilteevan, Leitrim, London, News, Roscommon, Sligo

Comment by Ryan O'Rourke on August 24, 2013 at 9:54am

I have to say his basic position is patently ridiculous. Yes … the CIA is more evil than Osama Bin Laden. Yes, of course.  Everyone knows they (the CIA) have issues, but that's just laughable.

Comment by Gerry Regan on August 24, 2013 at 10:00am

The remarks do go to show the disconnect in views between the European 'street' and mainstream America. I think  Paul Laverty's remarks reflect a general sentiment held by many in Ireland.

Comment by Jane Sherry Gardner on August 24, 2013 at 10:13am

The name of the village Brennan was visiting is Kilteevan, not Kilteenan.

Comment by Gerry Regan on August 24, 2013 at 10:24am

GRMA, Jane.

Comment by Thomas M. Maher, III on August 24, 2013 at 10:02pm

So, the CIA is, effectively speaking, worse than UBL? I'd respectfully ask Mr. Laverty to visit Engine Ten, Ladder Ten, FDNY, located across from the former WTC, and repeat those words. Of course, he'd be above chatting with the blue-collar lads who separate him from chaos, let alone CIA operatives who get their hands dirty so that classical liberalism has a chance to continue in a world that does not share our values.

Comment by Neil F. Cosgrove on August 25, 2013 at 10:22am

I find it interesting that Mr. Laverty feels free to opine on the CIA, but like many of the Politicaly Correct Irish " Intelligentsia"  have been conspicuous by their silence on matters much closer to home such as the Dublin Monaghan bombings conducted by the SAS or other operations conducted by MI6   against their fellow Irish.

Comment by Thomas M. Maher, III on August 25, 2013 at 10:42am

How could Mr. Laverty characterize UBL as an "ad hoc freelance terrorist?" He was much more than that, and the world is a safer place w/out him. This is not to say that the CIA has not done some short-sighted things - Iran and Vietnam were prime examples of Cold War policies gone wrong - and congressional oversight is essential to control zealots who forget the U.S. Constitution. We call that checks and balances in the democratic world. I'm not sure our adversaries have to bother w/ such niceties.

Comment by Ryan O'Rourke on August 25, 2013 at 10:49am

Good points, Thomas.

Comment by John W. Hurley on August 25, 2013 at 1:46pm

I do agree that the CIA has either been responsible for the deaths of many innocent people or backed organizations that have done so (including for example, Catholic nuns in Latin America). But there is a real irony here. The OSS, predecessor to the CIA, was created by Colonel "Wild Bill" Donovan, whose grandfather was a member of the Irish Republican Brotherhood, (which later became the IRA). While Donovan does not seem to have been a member of any Irish nationalist organization, he did have close personal and professional ties with a number of Irish nationalists including Eamnon DeValera and the pro-Irish Republican film director John Ford. The CIA and other Special Forces type organizations trace their methods of unconventional and guerrilla warfare directly back to the methods used by Michael Collins and the IRA during the Irish War of Independence. In fact you could argue that without the IRA, the CIA would never have come into existence. The British SOE deliberately copied the IRA's methods against British forces in the Irish War of Independence, while waging their own guerrilla warfare against the Nazi's in France during WW2. The OSS involvement with the SOE in this was the Jedburgh Groups operating in France. Many Jedburgh veterans went on to distinguished careers in the CIA and in Special Forces, including Jedburgh Aaron Bank claimed by many to be the founder of the US Army Special Forces or "Green Berets". So while I understand Paul Laverty's leftist hyperbole against the CIA, I do think it is ironic that the people whom the CIA learned from - the IRA - are the heroes of Laverty's film "The Wind That Shakes The Barley".

Now personally, I think that the IRA were heroes too - but Laverty's comments, so popular in modern Ireland, seem to demonstrate the schizophrenic thinking of many in Anti-America Ireland who condemn anything the United States does (simply because it's the United States doing it) while at the same time condoning the same or similar behavior of virtually any leftist group. To show how inept his argument is Laverty does not seem to be aware that through Operation Cyclone the CIA virtually created Osama Bin Laden when arming and financing the Afghan Mujahideen against the communist Russians during their invasion of Afghanistan. Sadly, like so many of his ilk in Ireland, Laverty seems so enraged and quick to condemn that he hasn't even gotten his facts straight.

Comment by Gerry Regan on August 26, 2013 at 5:01pm

John, thanks for this perspective. For the record, Paul Laverty was born a British citizen, in India, of Irish-born parents. I guess he's eligible for an Irish passport, but unclear if he has one.


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