'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: 882

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

Comment by Kelly O'Rourke on August 27, 2013 at 2:55pm

Fascinating, John.  Really shows the complexity of history, and the difficulty of naming heroes and villains.

Comment by Bit Devine on August 27, 2013 at 3:28pm

Perhaps, Kelly, mo chara..that is because one person's hero may be another's villain...

Comment by Thomas M. Maher, III on August 27, 2013 at 6:15pm

Interesting points from all, and the civility of the exchange is much appreciated and so refreshing. The villians v. heroes topic will always be with us, as will questions about the efficacy and morality of national intelligence organizations. I believe that on balance the United States and its intelligence agencies have been more right than wrong when compared w/ our historical foes, be they Japanese, German, Russian, Chinese, etc. However, we who read Irish history have learned of evil after evil inflicted upon the Irish by British intelligence and may have a natural distrust of national intelligence organizations as a result. Nevertheless, I remain unconvinced that Mr. Laverty's commentary withstands any serious scrutiny. Just one fella's opinion. Peace and love to all.

Comment by John W. Hurley on August 28, 2013 at 8:29am

Thanks Gerry for clarifying that. I remember one time being in England near the 20th anniversary of the Mai Lai massacre. Now I completely agree that it was a horrendous act but the stories on the front page of the British papers highlighting the deaths of innocent Vietnamese civilians at the hands of crazed American soldiers seemed sadly ironic given that, at that same time in Northern Ireland, innocent civilians were being killed at the hands of "civilized" British soldiers. Given the media censorship enacted by Conor Cruise O'Brien and others of the Irish State, it seems that in Britain (which has now influenced Ireland so much), you have this strange situation where you do have certain people that hate America and (the PIRA for that matter) for doing precisely the same things that the British government and/or military do but whom they do not hate and never seem to question. So for example Mai Lai is an unquestionable massacre but somehow Bloody Sunday in Derry was just well you know, those rowdy Irish Catholics bringing it on themselves, there is always an excuse for the actions of their soldiers. I'm just tired of hearing it from people like this, I wouldn't mind if the criticism was fair or even handed but the biases they expose are just laughable.

Comment by John W. Hurley on August 28, 2013 at 8:31am

And just in case anyone thinks that I'M guilty of making exaggerated claims in reponse to Mr. Laverty's exaggerated claims : ) here is a link to the article "British war strategy, the SOE and the IRA", that was NOT written by me:


Comment by Kieron Punch on October 14, 2013 at 4:32am

Mr Cosgrove,

It should be noted that Paul Laverty is not a member of the Irish Intelligentsia. Laverty is Scottish. He was born in India to a Scottish father and an Irish mother.

Of course the loss of some 3,000 people on 11 September was an horrific outrage, but it should be remembered that at least ten times that number died during the war in Nicaragua in the 1980s, in which the CIA supported the terrorist Contra guerrillas against the deomocratically elected government. The Contras waged war by murdering civilians, destroying hospitals, assassinating doctors and aid workers, kidnapping, raping etc. They financed this "warfare", to a large part by drug trafficking and were aided and assisted in this by the CIA. By the mid-1990s, 60% of the 2 million people in US prisons were there because of drug offences, with much of that due to the cocaine/crack cocaine epidemic caused in part by the CIA backed Contras. How many American citizens died as a result of that drug epidemic? It should be remembered that Nicaragua is just one of the many countries that the CIA has interfered with.

Comment by Alannah Ryane on July 9, 2014 at 1:54pm

The first thing Paul Laverty said to me, after I was introduced to him on the set of 'Jimmy's Hall' last September, was 'thank you wild geese for publishing my comments in the Leitrim Observer'!  I was enthralled with his response to my question about how James Gralton would react with what's going on today on my video.


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