Dublin Protest to mark visit of Colombian Vice-President

The Bring Them Home Campaign, the support group for the three Irish citizens imprisoned in Colombia, is holding a protest outside Leinster House at 12.30p.m on March 23. The protest will mark the visit to Ireland of Colombian Vice-President Francisco Santos.

The right of the three, Niall Connolly, James Monaghan and Martin McCauley, to be presumed innocent has been constantly undermined in statements emanating from senior military figures and by Vice-President Santos among others. International observers are agreed that the trial was itself a serious miscarriage of justice.

Write to the Government of President Alvaro Uribe Vélez, Palacio De Narino, Santafe De Bogota D.C., Colombia. Or e-
mail:rdh@presidencia.gov.co – and call for the men's immediate return to their families.

See www.bringthemhome.ie for further information.


Received from Tom Madigan of http://www.thewildgeese.com

By Don Mullan and James Mullin (for the Blanket)

The web site for the Christian Science Monitor, www.csmonitor.com, provides a very instructive tutorial on terrorism. Strangely enough, it begins with a photo of Irish revolutionary leader, Michael Collins, and this voiceover:

"Can one man be a patriot and a terrorist? Consider Ireland's Michael Collins. In the fall of 1920, Collins' band of twelve apostles assassinated 14 British officers in Collins' effort to win independence. Many say Collins was a patriot, but was he also a terrorist?"

To help people answer this question, the Monitor (CSM) provides a definition of terrorism from Brian Michael Jenkins, author of International Terrorism: A New Mode of Conflict:

"What sets terrorism apart from other violence is this: terrorism
consists of acts carried out in a dramatic way to attract publicity and create an atmosphere of alarm that goes far beyond the actual victims. Indeed, the identity of the victims is often secondary to the terrorists who aim their violence at the people watching. This distinction between the actual victims and a target audience is the hallmark of terrorism and separates it from other modes of armed conflict. Terrorism is theatre."

Before we apply this definition to Collins and his deadly attack, we need to consider Britain's violent response to the assassinations. It happened later that same day, November 21st, 1920, and it added greatly to the deaths on "Bloody Sunday".

Dubliners were uneasy, given the earlier killings by the IRA that day, but they were also determined to continue with ordinary life. Approximately 10,000 spectators gathered in Croke Park for a much anticipated Gaelic Football match between Dublin and Tipperary.

Shortly after the start of the game, an airplane flying over the grounds dropped a red flare. Crown forces immediately surrounded the stadium, and a British officer on top of the wall fired a revolver shot. Without warning, auxiliary soldiers began firing their weapons, and a machine gun hastily set up just inside the main entrance opened fire. At first, the crowd thought the soldiers were firing blanks, but then the machine gun fire increased the volume, and people began to fall. The crowd stampeded towards the Railway wall, which was furthest from the gunfire.

Two football players, Michael Hogan and Jim Egan, were shot. A young Wexford man who attempted to whisper an Act of Contrition into the dying Hogan's ear was also shot dead. The casualties included Jeannie Boyle, who had gone to the match with her fiancee and was due to be married five days later, and John Scott, who was fourteen and so mutilated that it was initially thought that he had been savagely bayoneted. The youngest victims were aged 10 and 11.

In an effort to cover up the brutal and indiscriminate killing by Crown forces, British authorities in Dublin Castle issued a misleading press release:

"A number of men came to Dublin on Saturday under the guise of asking to attend a football match between Tipperary and Dublin. But their real intention was to take part in the series of murderous outrages which took place in Dublin that morning. Learning on Saturday that a number of these gunmen were present in Croke Park, the crown forces went to raid the field. It was the original intention that an officer would go to the centre of the field and speaking from a megaphone, invite the assassins to come forward. But on their approach, armed pickets gave warning. Shots were fired to warn the wanted men, who caused a stampede and escaped in the confusion."

This "explanation" is transparently false. The killing of innocent football fans was blatant retaliation for the assassination of British agents.

If we apply the definition of terrorism offered by Brian Jenkins to the two incidents, it could justifiably be said that both killings were "carried out in a dramatic way to attract publicity and create an atmosphere of alarm that goes far beyond the actual victims." However, there are differnces.

Collins knew his actions would create fear in the minds of British intelligence agents in Ireland, and alarm in British government ministers in London. On the other hand, the authors of the Croke Park massacre wanted to create alarm, or terror, in the minds of the Irish People.

Jenkins definition further says: "the identity of the victims is often secondary to the terrorists who aim their violence at the people watching."

Clearly, the identity of Collins' victims was paramount. He targeted men for who they were, and what they were doing in Ireland. They were professional undercover intelligence agents, or spies, and their kind have been hung or otherwise executed in hundreds of wars, including the American Revolutionary War.

The victims in Croke Park, however, were not selected for who they were or what they had done; their identity was clearly secondary. Therefore, the "hallmark of terrorism" applies to Britain's murderous rampage at the football match. They fired into a crowd of football fans to inflict collective punishment for Collins' actions. Moreover, the real target audience for their terrorism was the Irish People.

Twenty years later, in an action that was similar in kind, but not in quantity, the Nazis annihilated the Czech town of Lidice in reprisal for an assassination attempt on Reinhard Heydrich, the Reichsprotektor of Czechoslovakia. The Czech underground targeted Heydrich for assassination because of who he was and what he was doing. However, the individual identity of the unfortunate citizens of Lidice was clearly secondary. The real target audience was the Czech People.

On January 30, 1972, fifty years after the massacre at Croke Park, soldiers from the British Army's 1st Parachute Regiment opened fire on unarmed and peaceful civilian demonstrators in Derry, Ireland, near the Rossville flats, killing 13 and wounding a number of others. One wounded man later died from illness attributed to that shooting.

The march, which was called to protest internment without trial, was declared "illegal" by British government authorities.

Again, the identity of the 14 murdered civilians was secondary. As Brian Jenkins points out, "Terrorism is theatre". The real targets for terror were the Irish People living in the occupied six counties, especially those willing to protest and march for their rights. On this second "Bloody Sunday" the British government shot the Northern Irish civil rights movement off the streets.

The worst human rights outrage in the entire "troubles" occurred two years later, in 1974. Loyalist terrorists in the Portadown Ulster Volunteer Force, (UVF) aided by British intelligence agents, carried out murderous street bombings in Dublin and Monaghan. The simultaneous blasts on Parnell Street and Talbot Street in Dublin, killed 26, and the explosion in Monaghan town left six dead. The identity of the victims was secondary, because the real target for terror was the IrishPeople, especially those living in the Republic of Ireland.

The Christian Science Monitor terrorism tutorial also provides a link to a U.S. State Department page on state-sponsored terrorism. The states so designated are Cuba, Iran, Iraq, Libya, North Korea, Syria, and Sudan - the "usual suspects". Britain will never be found there, because the "special relationship" hides a multitude of sins, including terrorist murder.

State-sponsored terrorism is also theatre, and ministers are strolling players, expert at scenery shifting and other stagecraft. Last December, for instance, Britain's top policeman, Sir John Stevens, delivered a long-delayed report on British government-assisted collusion and murder to Prime Minister Tony Blair. The Stevens' inquiry had been repeatedly blocked, wrecked by arson, manipulated, and delayed for 14 years. Even then, the government released less than 20 pages of the 3,000-page report to the press and public, and made no comment.

However, speaking a few days later about the Middle East, Prime Minister Blair said, "We condemn totally anybody who is engaged in terrorist activity of any sort at all, wherever in the world."

The best comment on this statement is Hamlet's response to the question: "What do you read, my lord?" Hamlet: "Words, words, words."

Don Mullan is author of Eyewitness Bloody Sunday: The Truth (Wolfhound,1997; Merlin, 2002)

James Mullin drafted the first Irish Famine Curriculum

Irish Independent

THE BUSH VISIT : Ireland on Red Alert
Irish Independent
Saturday March 20th 2004

Following the Madrid bombings, George Bush's trip in June will see the most
awesome display of firepower ever on Irish soil - along with massive protests
against a visit which could put us on the terrorists' hitlist. Willie Dillon

Plain-clothes US Marines with barely concealed weaponry. The deadliest modern
fighter planes patrolling Irish skies. US destroyers and nuclear submarines
keeping watch around our coast. George Bush's minders will be taking no chances
when he comes to Ireland in June to discuss US/EU relations with Bertie

The arrival here on June 25 of the most unpopular American president in
recent history will spark the most fearsome security operation ever seen in this
country. And it will be the catalyst for massive anti-war demonstrations to
rival, and maybe surpass, last year's huge turnout in Dublin.

For two days, Ireland will become the focus of all European opposition to
Bush. Huge numbers of protesters from all over Europe are expected to come here
to vent their frustration against the invasion of Iraq. The eyes of the world
will be on us; and potentially too the eyes of international terror groups for
whom the propaganda value of killing Bush at this time would be immense.
More worryingly for the rest of us, a terror attack on Irish soil - possibly
against defenceless citizens - would be seen by extremists as highly
significant during the US leader's brief visit.

Make no mistake about it, the country will be in a high state of upheaval
while Bush is here. The likelihood is that he will be kept well away from the
madding crowds. The word at present is that he will be spirited under heavy guard
to Kenmare, where he will be enveloped by the most awesome fire power ever
seen on Irish soil.

Consultations between the gardai and US security personnel have already
begun. The gardai insist they will be in charge throughout the visit. However,
anti-war campaigners believe that in reality the American secret service will
dictate their terms and will tolerate no disagreement from anybody.

By the very nature of these things, it is impossible to say exactly what will
happen. The White House won't be issuing any press releases detailing the
extent of the presidential arsenal. In fact, it is likely the full list of
weaponry won't even be revealed to the Irish authorities.

But one man who is uniquely positioned to gauge the size of the security
operation is former Irish army commandant and UN peacekeeper Edward Horgan, now a
prominent peace activist. He believes the Americans will leave nothing to
chance in protecting Bush. They will have massive fire power on hand capable of
dealing with a worst-case terrorist attack on the president.

He estimates the Bush entourage will include anything up to 1,000 security
personnel - and that's not counting those in the air and off the coast. The
security presence will be far heavier than for the visit of any previous US

"The level of terrorist threat against Bush is much more direct, immediate
and much more serious."

He believes that each individual US security person on the ground will be
carrying at least one automatic pistol, along with a small assault rifle or sub
machinegun capable of discharging hundreds of rounds a minute.

Controversially, the Americans may also demand the right to deploy the deadly
Saracen Raptor 3 security vehicle. It carries no military markings; in fact
it could easily be taken for a civilian four-wheel drive van. It is equipped
with a deceptively titled but devastating feature called a 'mini gun' which
emerges from the roof and is capable of firing 3,000 rounds per minute. The
Americans were refused permission to use this weapon when Bush visited Britain last

According to Mr Horgan, the Americans will have "very serious hardware" in
the air to protect against a terrorist onslaught from the skies. These will
include Blackhawk attack helicopters and probably at least a couple of A-10 'tank
buster' aircraft.

The latter is a slow-moving attack aircraft with heavy fast-firing cannon. It
is very effective in mountainous terrain. That would make it ideal for use in
Co Kerry, should Mr Bush go to Kenmare. "One of these could demolish the GPO
in a matter of seconds. One or two runs up and down O'Connell Street would
turn the street into a heap of rubble."

Mr Horgan believes these are likely to be supported by a dozen faster and
much more modern F-16 fighter planes - with possibly a similar number again in
reserve in Britain.

Overseeing the US airborne presence will probably be a fleet of AWAC radar
planes - flying control towers. He estimates there will be at least one of these
per province, with others providing back-up from Britain. And it is reasonable to assume the presence of a Stealth aircraft, so high above the clouds that nobody except the Americans themselves will know they're there.

On Ireland's own air defences, Mr Horgan says we have just a small number of
Swedish made RBS-70 anti-aircraft missiles. These date from the 1970s and are,
in his opinion, obsolete. He says we would need thousands of these to secure
and protect Irish air space.

Horgan says the claim by Defence Minister Michael Smith that we can control
the skies up to 10,000 feet is untrue. "We have a number of weapons that can
fire up to 10,000 feet, but that is absolutely not the same thing as controlling
our air space up to that height."

He believes that if Bush lands in Shannon, he will travel to Kenmare by
helicopter - but not overland, as it could be difficult to secure the terrain. He
would therefore fly over the sea, his journey monitored by US destroyers, and
probably a nuclear submarine. "The Irish skies will be absolutely in the hands
of the US. They will know every movement of every plane, even the smallest

Mr Horgan says the most worrying aspect of all is the immunity demanded by
the Americans should they kill any demonstrators here. The likelihood, he
believes, is that the Irish Government has already given them that immunity.
"The Irish defence forces and the gardai don't have the capability to protect
Bush adequately - that's a fact. There were more police deployed in London
when Bush was there last November than the complete strength of the Irish police

He says the British security forces were able to retain control over the Bush
visit there because they have the kind of defence capability Ireland just
does not have. The taking over of Ireland by a foreign military power would have
very serious constitutional implications. He believes the visit should be
called off on public safety grounds.

"I'm very concerned there will be an attack in Ireland and I'm fairly sure
that it won't be on George Bush. It would be impossible militarily to take him
out in Ireland. They won't bother in fact. They will do what they did in

"My real concern is for Dublin. The people targeted will be innocent
commuters on trains, on the Dart, or in the centre of the city. I don't wish to sound
alarmist, but I think we need to look at what happened on 9/11 and in Madrid.
These people are crazies.

"I do not in any way support what the terrorists are doing, but Madrid was a
direct result of the attack on Iraq. Anyone who says otherwise is deliberately
confusing the issue. The terrorists we are now seeing have been created by US
aggression, not the other way around."

However, the Irish Goverment is standing firmly by its view that the use of
Shannon by American forces doesn't make us a potential terrorist target. An
Irish EU presidency spokesman says: "We are not involved in the war in Iraq. We
have no troops involved in it. So there is no reason for us to be specifically
targeted for attack."

And he insists that it is the gardai - not the US secret service - who will
call the shots when Bush comes here. He says the Americans will not be given
shoot-to-kill immunity, adding that they have not even asked for it.

"We get requests all the time from visiting heads of state for permission for
their security people to carry guns. These requests are usually refused. They
are granted only on rare occasions."

However, anti-war protesters argue the Government is merely engaging in a
form of Jesuitical word play over Shannon. The official position is we are
'providing facilities' at Shannon for transiting US forces. But how does
facilitating somebody differ from offering support or assistance? The spokesman responds
that the long-standing arrangement with the Americans at Shannon "is not an
involvement in war".

Green MEP Patricia McKenna says the Government's position on Shannon simply
defies reality.

"We believe firmly the war in Iraq was illegal and so do many legal experts.
George Bush went in there and killed loads of innocent people without any
legal legitimacy. If you help someone to carry out an illegal act, you are
facilitating it, you are playing a role in it. You are not actually pulling the
trigger or dropping the bomb, but you're facilitating the dropping of that bomb."

She also strongly rejects any suggestion that the protests in June will be
anti-American. "Oh that's absolutely untrue. I feel the vast majority of
Americans, even some of whom may have voted for George Bush, now think that what he
did was a mistake. He's done untold damage to the credibility of America
internationally. When I was in America, I met some incredible people who were
protesting against the war, including organisations representing the victims of 9/11
who were completely against the war."

Protest organiser Roger Cole says there will be two big protests when Bush is
here - one in Dublin and one as close as possible to Mr Bush's Irish base. He
expects the turnout to exceed the 100,000 people who marched in the capital
in February 2003.

The organisers will be working hard to get as many European demonstrators as
possible to come here for the event. They hope the numbers will be further
swelled by environmentalists and gays protesting at Bush's policies in those

He believes the Taoiseach's position on Shannon, with the resultant risk of
terror attack, has put the lives of Irish citizens in danger. "Bertie Ahern has
totally reneged on the fundamental role of a Taoiseach - to protect his

"Bush keeps on saying that this is not a visit to Ireland, but a visit to
Europe. So Europe should give him the welcome he deserves. Our message will be
'Bye Bye Bush and Bye Bye Bertie'," says Cole, a Labour party candidate in the
June local elections.

Today anti-war protesters will take to the streets of Dublin to mark the
first anniversary of the Iraq invasion. Compared to last year's march, it will be
relatively small. The really big one will be the Mother Of All Protests when
George Bush arrives here in June.
© Irish Independent


Sinn Féin condemns exclusion of Irish language from official EU website

Friday, March 19 Sinn Féin North West EU candidate, Pearse Doherty has renewed calls for the Irish language to be given the full status of an official and working language of the European Union. Mr Doherty’s call comes after the EU Commission President Romano Prodi and the 10 Commissioners-designate, launched the official EU website in the languages of the new member states on the 16th March 2004.

Speaking today, Mr Doherty said, “Sinn Féin wants to welcome the new accession states to the EU on May 1st 2004, and the fact that all of the accession states will be able to access the official EU website EUROPA, in their own language, must be viewed as a progressive step.

“However, once again the Irish language has been overlooked by both the EU and the Irish Presidency, as an official and working language of the EU. Sinn Féin is once again calling for the Irish Government, through the EU Presidency to lobby for Equality for the Irish language and for parity with other European languages. For our part, Sinn Féin will continue to support the Stádas campaign for such recognition, and will continue to lobby the government of this state for full cultural Equality within the EU.”




Mick Hall • 6 March 2004

If ever an example was needed of how far along the road to the custom and practice of bourgeois politics SF has crept, them one could not look for a better source than two articles recently published in the Irish News. . .



Truth has a way of asserting itself despite all attempts to obscure it. Distortion only serves to derail it for a time. No matter to what lengths we humans may go to obfuscate facts or delude our fellows, truth has a way of squeezing out through the cracks, eventually. But the danger is that at some point it may no longer matter. The danger is that damage is done before the truth is widely realized. The reality is that, sometimes, it is easier to ignore uncomfortable facts and go along with whatever distortion is currently in vogue.... Because eventually, like it always does, the truth will emerge. And when it does, this house of cards, built of deceit, will fall - Senator Robert C. Byrd

Anthony McIntyre • 12 March 2004

Sitting talking in my living room with people who have been brutalised or intimidated by Sinn Fein is hardly a new experience. Since the party decided to follow the trail blazed by Cathal Goulding and Tomas McGiolla in the 1960s and 70s - ditching the armed struggle and embracing parliamentarianism - the need to administer 'peace therapy' to those who fell for the earlier lies and are reluctant to embrace the new ones has become more pronounced. Consequently, increasing numbers of people have turned up at my door determined that their story will be told and that the Sinn Fein imposed Section 31 censorship diktat on the republican constituency will be resisted. . .





Squinter - a sideways look at the week

Squinter IMC’s and hears all on the political scene

Squinter infiltrates PM’s post to dispel republican fears about the IMC

Rust never sleeps, Squinter never stops.
While the rest of you were girding your loins for St Patrick’s Day, Squinter was slinking around the cesspits and septic tanks of the political scene in an attempt to bring you the truth about why the peace process is going down the toilet.
Don’t ask where the following information came from – let’s just say that, like Tony Blair, Squinter sees and hears everything, from what’s going on in the back of Gerry Adams’ car, to what Kofi Annan has ordered from the local sandwich shop.
So here it is. An unabridged account of correspondence between Number 10 and the Independent Monitoring Commission, that fine body of men whose job it is to log the egregious excesses of loyalist and republican paramilitaries.
Squinter and his spies have intercepted a series of letters which passed between Number 10 and the IMC – the correspondence throws a fascinating light on how the commission operates, and gives the lie to claims by republican whingers that it is nothing more than a sop to unionism.

Dear IMC,
I was wondering if you could see your way clear to bringing out your first report a bit earlier than we had agreed at first.
Some time around late May, early June would be great for me.
Means the fellows in Ulster can enjoy their summer holidays without having this thing hanging over their heads and it will be out of the way well before the marching season really hots up.
Oh yes, and it’ll bugger Sinn Féin in the local and Euro elections in the Republic.
Yours, Tony.

Dear Tony,
Naturally we’d be delighted. Name the day and the report will be on your lap.
We’ve got quite a lot of it done already – we’ve had researchers trawling back issues of the Daily Telegraph and Combat for some time now.
Regards, IMC.

Dear IMC,
You will be aware of the Bobby Tohill incident and what the Chief Constable had to say about it afterwards.
Naturally, this is the worst act of depravity ever to have taken place in Ulster in the history of the Province, so I was wondering if you wouldn’t be a good bunch of chaps and reflect that in your report.
Don’t worry about the fact that none of those arrested have been charged with IRA membership, or that the matter is still before the courts. This is Ulster we’re talking about.
Yours, Tony.

Dear Tony,
We’ve had a full briefing on the matter from the Sunday Independent editorial board and Special Branch/REMIT and we’re in full possession of the facts. Shall we recommend expulsion or execution?
Regards, IMC

Dear IMC,
You may be aware that a report last week pointed out that loyalists have killed 7 people and been behind 41 bomb attacks.
The government would like to point out that these statistics are deeply flawed because they weren’t pulled off the internet.
You will be aware, of course, that the UDA has just renewed its ceasefire.
Yours, Tony.

Dear Tony,
What’s the UDA?
Regards, IMC.

Dear IMC,
Big community group, but never mind that.
I hate to be a pain in the derriere about this, what with you being so good to us and all. But we were wondering if you could see your way fit to doing a stand-alone report about the Bobby Tohill thing.
We’re worried that some people might think everything’s not Sinn Féin’s fault. And that attack was awfully vicious, after all.
That cut beneath his eye on the front of the Andytown News looked terribly sore and I haven’t seen a fat lip like that since Ginger Farquhar got hit in the face with a shinty ball during P.E. at Fettes.
Yours, Tony.

Dear Tony,
Can we do that? If so, consider it done.
And to be clear, that means we’re giving you a one-subject, uncalled-for report ahead of our first report, which is actually going to be our second report because the first one is coming out early, after the single-subject one that we thought of. Is that about the height of it?
And just to save us a bit of time on the old research, maybe you’d let us know ASAP how many people were killed during the Tohill thing, how many shots were fired and what kind of explosive was used.
Also, was Gerry Adams driving the tank or was he the one caught in the back with the bazooka?
Yours, IMC.

Dear IMC,
Don’t worry about the small details.
Leave that bit blank and we’ll fill it in.
Suggest you call the report: Tohill: Sinn Féin’s Stalingrad.
Love, Tony.

Super dad sets shining example
Spotted, 1.15pm, Monday, March 15 at petrol station near entrance to Twinbrook.
Bloke with barcode moustache, Caesar haircut and all the accessories riding a scrambler along the pavement. On the handlebars was an infant not yet of walking age.
If you’re that motorcyclist and you’re reading this (unlikely, it’s true), please contact Squinter who will be delighted to nominate you as Father of the Year.

Read all about it! IRA and ETA responsible for everything bad that’s ever happened... ever!
It has come to our attention that our front page editorial last week – ‘Time to annihilate ETA and their Sinn Féin/IRA cronies’ – might have been taken by some to infer that we thought the Spanish terror group was behind the Madrid bombings. This is clearly not the case.
Nor would it be correct to say that our headline on the following day – ‘Sinn Féin’s ETA links sound death knell for peace process’ – could in any way be construed as meaning that republicans were in some way to blame for the carnage in Madrid.
Meanwhile, our picture on page two – an IRA/ETA mural in West Belfast with the caption ‘Deadly trail that led from the Falls to Madrid’ – was never intended to suggest in any way that a) ETA were behind the Madrid bombing or b) republicans were in any way to blame for the slaughter.
Our star columnist has asked us to point out that while his column on the day after the bombing was headlined ‘Sinn Féin and ETA two sides of the same murderous coin’, it was actually considerably more thoughtful and informed than the headline suggested.
He has asked us in particular to point out that he left room for the possibility that another terror group may have been behind the bombings when he wrote: “The world and its granny knows that it was those murdering bastards ETA and their bloodsoaked cousins in the IRA.
“Al Qaeda? Don’t make me laugh! Anyone with the tiniest brain (me) knows that Osama has no interest in attacking Spain and that a week before the bombings a top ETA operative was arrested in Madrid with 50 kilos of high explosive and a Post-It stuck to his mobile phone reading ‘Don’t forget no-warning bomb attacks next Thursday’.”
Meanwhile, our security correspondent points out that his sources within the Spanish intelligence services are standing by the information that they gave him three minutes after the first explosion. We’re hopeful that his report, which we reproduce here, will win him the Journalist of the Year award.
“The Basque terror group ETA was behind the deadly series of bomb attacks that ripped through Madrid on Thursday morning.
“Spanish intelligence agents were aware that an ETA attack was imminent, but the bombers struck before they could act.
“A copy of the Spanish Yellow Pages found at the home of a top Basque terrorist had Atocha train station circled with a big red marker and a receipt from the Spanish hardware giant ByQ showed that the same man had bought surgical gloves, detonators and a copy of ‘Bombs Made Easy’ the day before the explosions.
“And in a sensational revelation that’s bound to bring the Irish peace process crashing down, our sources say that the attack bore remarkable similarities to Bloody Friday, but not to Dublin/Monaghan.”

Action man Ford gets tough on governments
Alliance party leader David Ford called for the two governments (Irish and British, presumably, he didn’t say) to take action against Sinn Féin to force the IRA to end paramilitary violence.
Dave was speaking at the party’s weekend conference in Dunadry. Ah, thought Squinter, the Dunadry Inn.
Nice hotel, nice staff, sure you couldn’t beat it. But on further inquiry it turned out that the conference was held in the village phone box (©Ye Olde Joke Shoppe).
Squinter read the papers over and over, but try as he might, he couldn’t find exactly what it was that the two governments should do. Just that they should “take action”.
Ever the diligent journalist, Squinter called his old pal Dave and asked him to outline exactly what it was that the two governments should do, and back came this reply.
1) Give Gerry Adams a really, really stiff talking-to
2) Convene a Coffee Morning for Peace
3) Withdraw invite to North Down Spring Gymkhana
4) Push Sinn Féin’s blanket back five rows at the Castleward open-air opera

ic NorthernIreland - Scappattici Comes Clean Over Tapes

Scappattici Comes Clean Over Tapes

Mar 16 2004

FREDDIE Scappaticci, the man accused of being British Army agent Stakeknife, has now confirmed that he spoke to reporters from ITV's Cook Report team - giving credence to claims that he was a highly-placed informer inside the IRA.

The west Belfast republican - who fled Northern Ireland last week for Italy after warnings his life was in danger - has finally come clean over tape recordings made of him giving away IRA secrets in 1993.

But he still vigorously denies being Stakeknife.

The News Letter revealed last month that some of the recordings had been posted on an American-based website for everyone to hear and spoke to an ITV journalist who confirmed Scappaticci was the man on the tape.

That recording was heard on a UTV Insight programme last night and Scappaticci's solicitor also admitted it was his client that spoke to journalists.

He also said Scappaticci had been helped by priests in west Belfast since he was publicly accused of being Stakeknife.

The News Letter has learned that Scappaticci has been taking Prozac to get through depression; had led a hermit-like existence and has had what sources called "a terrible battle with his conscience" over his IRA past.

Sources also said the west Belfast man would not be joined in Italy by his wife and family who wanted to stay in Andersonstown.

Meanwhile some of the allegations which Scappaticci made to reporters are still the subject of a complaint to police.

Co Armagh man William Frazer of the victims' group FAIR met police and made a statement officially complaining that allegations against Sinn Fein's Martin McGuinness must be investigated.

He said: "It's all down in writing and I said I wanted Mr Scapatticci interviewed on the claims he made because if they were in any way true, Mr McGuinness should be arrested and questioned and if possible charged.

"But what happens now Mr Scappaticci has gone? I would say there is enough there on the tapes alone for Mr McGuinness to be brought in and questioned."

Mr McGuinness has always denied the claims which include the allegation he had a role in luring another IRA informer Frank Hegarty to his death in 1986.


**This story happened 16 years ago:

Attacker Kills 3, Wounds 50 At IRA Funeral in Belfast
By Karen DeYoung
Washington Post Foreign Service
Thursday, March 17, 1988; Page A01

BELFAST, MARCH 16 -- Troubled Northern Ireland descended to a new
level of terror today as a man threw hand grenades and fired shots
into a crowd of thousands of mourners packed inside a cemetery here
for an Irish Republican Army funeral, killing three people and
wounding more than 50, several critically.

The attack occurred as the second of three coffins, containing the
bodies of an IRA bombing unit shot dead by British forces 10 days
ago in Gibraltar, was being lowered into a joint grave in a reserved
IRA plot at the vast Milltown Cemetery in Catholic west Belfast.

Mourners, small children, journalists and hardened republican
militants alike fell to the ground in panic as the assailant,
standing at the edge of the crowd, lobbed at least four grenades
toward the gravesite. When hundreds of youths in the gathering
jumped up in pursuit, he began to run through the maze of tightly
packed gravestones, tossing more grenades over his shoulder and
firing a handgun as the crowd closed in on him.

He was eventually captured by the youths, who began beating him but
turned him over to police who arrived at the scene about 15 minutes
after the attack began.

The man, identified by police as Michael Stone, was said to be
in "comfortable" condition at a military hospital. Sources said
Stone was a known Protestant extremist with a lengthy criminal,
although nonterrorist, record.

Police said a second man, whom they did not identify, had also been
arrested in connection with the attack, although not at the

The two leading Protestant paramilitary groups denied any
involvement. But a possible connection was indicated by the weapons
used in the attack, believed to have been fragmentation grenades and
a Browning automatic pistol identical to those in large Protestant
arms caches seized by police in January.

Today's attack, which British Northern Ireland Secretary Tom King
condemned as "insane and depraved," comes at a time of high tension
in Anglo-Irish relations. The assault was the latest in an
escalating pattern of Ulster-related violence over the past several
months that some fear will become outright warfare between sectarian
paramilitary groups.

This afternoon, Sinn Fein, the political arm of the IRA, accused the
police of "collusion" in the attack, a charge the Royal Ulster
Constabulary called an "outright lie."

But the somewhat sketchy version of the incident offered by police
differed in some respects from that of a number of witnesses.

Whatever the truth, today's events, unprecedented even for violence-
torn Northern Ireland, are sure to be seen as a major propaganda
coup by the IRA, whose supporters had behaved with notably peaceful
discretion during the funeral only to end up as victims of a
terrorist attack.

Sinn Fein leader Gerry Adams said he did not believe in reprisals
and appealed for calm, noting that Irish republicans were still in
mourning for the Gibraltar dead. Another IRA funeral, for a gunmen
shot by troops early yesterday, already had been scheduled for
Thursday, when large St. Patrick's Day crowds are expected.

But repercussions from today's attack already were being felt
tonight, as buses, trucks and cars were set on fire in several
Belfast Catholic neighborhoods by rampaging youths tossing molotov
cocktails at passing vehicles.

Sympathy for the IRA among republicans on both sides of the Northern
Irish border had seriously eroded last November, after an IRA bomb
killed 11 people at a Remembrance Day ceremony for war dead in the
small town of Enniskillen. Police later discovered a number of major
IRA weapons caches and shipments, allegedly supplied by Libya.

But the Anglo-Irish difficulties over law enforcement that began
early this year had started to revive IRA status. Sympathy for the
IRA, and criticism of the British, increased 10 days ago when the
three IRA operatives were shot dead in Gibraltar.

The IRA acknowledged their "active duty status" and said that the
three -- Mairead Farrell, 31, Dan McCann, 30, and Sean Savage, 23 --
were in charge of 140 pounds of plastic explosives to be used
against an undisclosed target.

British officials said the target had been a coming military
ceremony in the central square of the British colony. The fact that
the three were unarmed when they were shot, however, and that no
bomb was found in Gibraltar -- although one was discovered three
days later in Marbella -- led to allegations that the three had
been "assassinated" by a British military hit squad that could
easily have taken them alive.

The bodies arrived here from Gibraltar, via Dublin, early yesterday

Paramilitary funerals are traditionally a time for conflict here,
with the IRA, and increasingly the Protestant groups, using the
occasions for defiant displays of military might. To prevent such
occurrences, the constabulary since 1983 has sent hundreds of riot-
equipped troops into most republican funerals.

Last March, three police officers were injured by an IRA car bomb
placed at the gates of a cemetery where a policeman, himself killed
in an IRA attack, was being buried.

The families of the Gibraltar dead had rejected a police request to
pledge there would be no military display -- traditionally a volley
fired by uniformed and masked IRA gunmen at the gravesite. But the
Catholic Church then offered its own pledge, asking police to stay
away. The police gave no official response.

The only police presence in the vicinity was an observation
helicopter. Sinn Fein officials said early in the day that no
military display was planned, and there was no evidence of one

At a morning church service, the Rev. Tom Toner struck a relatively
moderate tone, saying that the Gibraltar "killings were murder --
just as the killing of soldiers and policemen is murder."

The funeral procession of up to 10,000 people then walked to
Milltown Cemetery. Grieving relatives gathered inside the fenced IRA
plot, where 18 graves hold three or four bodies each.

Farrell's coffin had been placed in the grave, and Savage's was
being lowered as the first grenade exploded about 20 yards away. The
coffin was dropped, slamming atop the one below.

Scores of wreathes were trampled into the mud as mourners scrambled
to flatten themselves on the wet ground and cowered behind
tombstones. Three more explosions quickly followed, along with the
screams of the wounded.

Hysterical mothers lay atop shrieking children, trying to shield
them. Farrell's elderly father appeared in a state of shock, and
McCann's stunned widow was quickly hustled away.

Many of the blood-drenched victims were thrown into cars from the
funeral procession and rushed to a hospital.

When the youths beyond the immediate gravesite chased the assailant,
many in the crowd began to chant "I-R-A, I-R-A." Some, watching the
still-shooting assailant running toward a superhighway at the edge
of the cemetery, shouted obscenities at him.

Above the din, Sinn Fein's Adams shouted in vain, "Please, please be
quiet. Stay calm and stay where you are." McCann's coffin was
hurriedly placed in the ground and the grave was filled.

At a news conference an hour after the attack, Adams said that a
mysterious white van, also seen by a number of journalists, had been
parked on the shoulder of the highway -- against police regulations -
- during the incident. One man, Adams said, had jumped into the van
when the crowd started pursuing the gunman, who was trying to reach
it when it sped away.

A police spokesman later said the van was a police "motorway
maintenance vehicle," whose occupants had simply stopped
to "rubberneck" events at the cemetery. The spokesman denied that
anyone had gotten in the vehicle at the scene, and said there had
been no second man involved at the cemetery itself.

© Copyright 1998 The Washington Post Company


ROSEMARY NELSON, murdered 1999

The Dirty War

Rosemary Nelson

Rosemary Nelson was a human rights lawyer in Lurgan, County Armagh, who was killed when a bomb exploded under her car as she left her home on 15 March 1999. The Red Hand Defenders claimed responsibility for the bomb. Forty years old at the time of her death, Ms Nelson was married with three children.

She worked for clients on both sides of the community in Northern Ireland. She had won great respect from the Nationalist community in the North for her work with the Garvaghy Road Residents' Coalition.

There are a number of similarities between Ms Nelson's case and that of murdered Belfast solicitor Pat Finucane in February 1989. Both were high profile, successful lawyers in their own areas and both had received threats from the RUC through their clients. In both cases, there is concern amongst human rights campaigners, the media, the legal profession and the families of the victims, that the inquiries into their deaths are not independent.

In light of the death of Pat Finucane, Ms Nelson was concerned about her own safety and complained to the RUC about threats made against her. She also told a 1998 UN inquiry about the threats, and about maltreatment by the RUC when she was present at the Garvaghy Road during a standoff in July the previous year.

She said that the number of RUC threats against her had increased from this point on. "Since then my clients have reported an increasing number of incidents when I have been abused by RUC officer, including several death threats against myself and members of my family. I have also received threatening telephone calls and letters," she added.

Ms Nelson said that she had not received a satisfactory response when she complained to the RUC about the Garvaghy Road incident and the threats. She said that she deeply and bitterly resented accusations from RUC officers that she was involved in paramilitary activity.

"I believe that my role as a lawyer in defending the rights of my clients is vital. The test of a new society in Northern Ireland will be to the extent to which it can recognise and respect that role, and enable me to discharge it with without improper interference. I look forward to that day," she said.


**Today marks the fifth anniversary of the death of Rosemary Nelson.

Rosemary's family angry over Cory delay

--by Susan McKay
Sunday Tribune

Sheila Magee recalls her last conversation with her daughter,
Rosemary Nelson, five years ago. "It was Mother's Day in the evening.Rosie was just back from her mobile home in Bundoran. She was just talking about Mother's Day and the helicopter and how she was freezing," she says. The next day, 15 March 1999, Nelson was murdered,

The helicopter has come to preoccupy her family. "Everyone was commenting on it, that night, the increased security force presence in the area, especially the helicopter," says Rosemary's sister, Bernie. "Everyone was wondering what was going on."

The close knit family all lie in Lurgan. Bernie is a teacher at Tannaghmore Primary School, outside which the bomb under Rosemary's car exploded. She was at her home nearby having lunch when word was brought that her sister was badly hurt. She rushed to the scene. "I held Rosie's hand til the ambulance came," she says. Nelson died in hospital later.

There is a photograph on the hearth in Bernie's home, where some of the family has gathered to talk about the anniversary. There are lit candles on either side of it. It shows her father, Tommy, along with herself and Rosemary, all smiles. "She loved a night out," says Bernie. "She loved a laugh." "She had a razor sharp sense of humour," says Sheila.

Tommy Magee died last year. Rosemary's brother, Eunan spoke of his death at the SDLP conferencea few weeks ago. "The last four years of his life were not happy years," he said. "In fact it would be fair to say, he died of a broken heart. My parents lost a daughter, the children lost a mother, Paul lost a wife, and we lost a sister."

The family feels that their personal loss has perhaps been
forgotten. "All the talk has been about what a brave lawyer and fearless campaigner she was," says Eunan. "To us, she was just Rosie." They can't begin to say how much they miss her.

They recall her pride in herwork. "She told me once a policeman came to her looking a divorce," says Sheila. "She asked him why he'd chosen her. "I hear you're the best," he said." Sheila laughs. "She was tickled about that." Bernie recalls a hairdresser telling her once she went in to Nelson wanting a separation. "Rosemary knew the husband too, and she talked her out of it,"she says. "That couple are still together, ten years later." Rosie was a bit like an agony aunt for a lot of women.

But Rosemary's work was changing, becoming more political. "I used to say to her, 'Keep off that TV,'" says Sheila. "She was becoming too high profile. There were people seeing her, and some of them were hating her." Bernie, too, would urge her sister to be careful. "She used to laugh at me. She'd say, 'You live in a wee cocoon,'" says Bernie.

In fact, the family had no idea of just how virulent the hatred was which was growing towards Nelson in some loyalist, Orange Order and security force circles in mid Ulster. Her clients included prominent republicans like Colin Duffy. She had successfully appealed against his conviction for murdering a UDR man, and had also contributed to getting charges against him of murdering 2 RUC men dropped. She
represented Robert Hamill, kicked to death by loyalists while the RUC sat nearby in a landrover.

She had devised a highly successful legal strategy for the Garvaghy Road Residents Coalition in their fight to stop the Orange Order marching through their nationalist area on its way back from Drumcree. Prominent among the raging crowds at Drumcree were Billy Wright and his Loyalist Volunteer Force.

"We knew nothing about the Red Hand Defenders when they claimed they murdered Rosemary," says Eunan. "Or about the LVF. They'd never effected us. Later, we found out Wright was writing about Rosemary in his diaries in prison."

The year before Nelson's murder, she had complained that death threats had been made against her by members of the RUC.

There had also been threatening notes from anonymous sources. The UNcalled for urgent action by the British government. She had spoken of the threats at a hearing of the US congress. But she was never given protection or even security advice.

The RUC began the murder investigation, but, after protests, then chief constable, Ronnie Flanagan, called in the deputy chief constable of Norfolk, Colin Port to head the inquiry. "We met Port in October," says Bernie. "At first we were naïve. We thought he'd catch the murderers."

Gradually, though, the family began to wonder. "There were things that just didn't add up," says Eunan. "Like, they tested Rosie's car for fingerprints but didn't find Bernie's. People were telling them about the helicopter the night before and they weren't even writing it down.

"By the first anniversary, we knew there was a bigger picture. We began to sense that there were things that were a matter of a word, or a wink, or a whisper in a certain direction. But Port was blinkered. It seemed for a time he was going to try and blame the nationalist population for the failure of his inquiry."

Bernie nods. "He wasn't willing to entertain even the possibility of collusion," she says. "It has been a steep learning curve for us, but as time went on, we began to get tough. We began to share information with human rights groups."

Five years on, the £7 million investigation seems to have run into the sand. Port has left. No one has been convicted of Nelson's murder. Last week, Sheila brought a judicial review to try to force the British government to publish the report by Judge Peter Cory, "More importantly," she says, "We want a date for the inquiry to begin. Cory was only ever a side show anyway."

However, the family is angry that while they have not seen Cory's report, members of the security forces named in it, as well as the DPP, have. They are now convinced the RUC and the Royal Irish Regiment knew Rosemary was going to be killed. They believe only an inquiry will show the true role of the security forces.

Cory was forced to reveal late last year that he had told the British government it should initiate inquiries into the murders of Nelson, Pat Finucane, Robert Hamill and Billy Wright. "We don't need to prove the need for an inquiry any more," says Bernie. "That part is done."

The family's campaign has been a quiet one. They've met the minister for foreign affairs, Brian Cowan, successive British secretaries of state for NI, and the chief constable, Hugh Orde, but haven't sought publicity for these talks. "We're private people," says Bernie. "We're not out to batter the system," says Eunan. "All we want is the truth," says Sheila. "If it had been one of us, Rosemary wouldn't have left one stone unturned. She deserves justice."

March 7, 2003

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