“The cause of human freedom is as wide as the world.”Roger Casement, April 1911.
Welcome to the first and only website dedicated exclusively to the still controversial case of Roger Casement who was executed in Pentonville Prison, London, on this day August 3rd one hundred years ago. Visitors are invited to read the essays impartially and without prejudice – in the same spirit with which they were written. The divisive and often toxic dimensions of nationalism, patriotism, loyalty and sexuality play no part in the work presented here because they appeal to emotion only and do not engage the dispassionate intellect.
Visitors are invited to read the Preface first and then Lost to History because this sets out the groundwork for the following arguments in an accessible form. This essay is also published in Breac, the online Journal of Irish Studies – firstname.lastname@example.org
Visitors are invited to read read the review comments on the research and are invited to contribute their own comments.
Please click on the expand sign below to read the Introduction by Angus Mitchell.
Introduction by Angus Mitchell
The struggle to ‘know’ Roger Casement endures as one of the great mysteries of modern history. Since Casement’s execution on 3 August 1916, behind closed doors in Pentonville Prison, his ruthless treatment by the authorities has provoked a chain of independent investigators to interrogate the darkness and silences.
Determined individuals have sought ways of penetrating through spheres of propaganda, deception and misinformation to understand why Casement threw his lot in with Irish revolutionary movement. Myths have accreted around Casement like few other figures in Irish history. Some of those myths were partly of his own making; others were purposefully constructed to obscure who he was and what he represented.
Recent developments allow us to comprehend the logic of his ‘treason’ and his long anti-imperial mission on behalf of humanity that brought him to his end upon the scaffold.
A century on, Roger Casement’s place in history is defined by the struggle between history and memory, remembering and forgetting, the official version versus the unauthorised voice.
At the heart of his interpretative struggle lie the notorious Black Diaries. Rumours of these documents served the authorities well in 1916 in fast-tracking Casement to the scaffold and derailing his significant supporters in Ireland, Britain and beyond.
It is now possible to grasp how in 1922 the Black Diaries were used to manipulate the Irish Free State in one further act of colonial control. Their enduring presence has allowed for a strategic confusing of the role played by Casement in the revolutionary collective of 1916 and the justification of rebellion.
Those who continue to champion the Black Diaries as the central source in understanding Casement’s life support their argument upon a number of false premises and deceits. Many of these strategies of confusion, conflation and concealment are exposed in the essays on this website.
Paul Hyde’s involvement in the Black Diaries’ controversy is proving to be one of the strongest interventions in exposing the far-extended baleful power of the lie, as Casement termed British first world war propaganda. With laser-like accuracy, Hyde’s analysis dissects the muddled claims supporting the opinions of ‘forensic’ experts. With clinical precision, he exposes the murky provenance of the diaries and the skilful blending of fact and innuendo by a procession of Casement biographers. His investigation eliminates the embedded misinformation of decades; it is, in short, a long overdue ‘detox’ operation. Perhaps his most powerful argument is the simplest; that the diaries now in the UK National Archives did not exist during Casement’s lifetime.
Hyde’s calm and detached application of clear logic to this complex controversy will endure over the years to come and will finally extinguish the lies which have sustained the Black Diaries for so long. “A thesis that cannot withstand logical investigation is a false thesis even if believed by many. A thesis which mixes innuendo with facts has no integrity.” His analysis shoots an arrow of light deep into the heart of darkness.
Publications by Dr. Angus Mitchell:
- Phases of a dishonourable phantasy. Field Day Review, Vol. 8 (2012), pp. 84-125.
- Diary of Roger Casement, 1914-16. Part 1: My Journey to the German Headquarters at Charleville. Field Day Review, Vol. 8 (2012), pp. 22-83.
- Roger Casement in Brazil, Rubber, the Amazon and the Atlantic World 1884-1916. Humanitas, University of Saò Paulo, 2010.
- The Amazon Journal of Roger Casement edited by Angus Mitchell. The Lilliput Press, 1997.
- Sir Roger Casement’s Heart of Darkness: The 1911 Documents, Dublin: Irish Manuscripts Commission. 2003.
- Beneath the Hieroglyph. Irish Migration Studies in Latin America, 7:2, 253-265. 2009.
- One Bold Deed of Open Treason: Casement’s Berlin Diary. Merrion Press, Dublin. 2016.
- 16 Lives: Roger Casement. The O’Brien Press, Dublin.
- Casement: Haus Publishing, London, 2003.