REVISED TREATY HAS 1ST TARGET
By Ray O'Hanlon
America's war against terrorism and Irish America's battle against a new U.S.-UK extradition treaty have crossed paths.
Few were thinking of matters Irish when it emerged last week that U.S. Attorney General John Ashcroft was seeking the extradition from Britain of Muslim cleric Abu Hamza al-Masri. But the case against the cleric could collide with efforts by Irish-American groups to roll back a treaty that is intended to simplify and speed up extradition cases involving the U.S. and Britain.
Ashcroft, at a press conference in New York, announced an indictment that contained a range of charges against the cleric arising from a fatal attack on tourists in Yemen six years ago.
The New York Times reported that British law prohibited the extradition of suspects who potentially faced a death sentence, but that the cleric could still be extradited to this country provided U.S. authorities agreed not to impose the death penalty.
"David Blunkett, the home secretary, said Britain and the United States had reached such an agreement last year," the Times report stated.
This was an apparent reference to the revised U.S./UK extradition treaty which was signed by Blunkett and Ashcroft in Washington on March 31, 2003.
The Times also reported that under British law, extradition proceedings can take months, if not years, and can collapse if British courts are not convinced by the evidence offered by the country seeking a suspect's extradition.
What was absent from the report was the fact that the revised treaty has yet to be ratified by the United States Senate and that it faces strong opposition from not only Irish-American organizations, but also the American Civil Liberties Union.
A little over 100 miles to the west of John Ashcroft's Manhattan press conference, Ned McGinley, president of the Ancient Order of Hibernians, caught part of the press conference on his TV.
The Hibernians and other groups, including the Irish American Unity Conference, recently formed an ad hoc coalition with the aim of blocking progress of the revised treaty through Congress. The group calls itself Irish Americans Against Extradition.
McGinley's priority is clearly not an apparent al-Qaeda supporter allegedly intent on waging jihad against the U.S. Rather, his concern focuses on the potential effects that the revised treaty, once ratified, could have on people in the U.S. who are politically active in respect to Northern Ireland.
Irish-American critics of the revised treaty argue that it not only does away with the concept of a political-exception clause, but also removes the possibility of judicial review in extradition cases while exposing individuals, including U.S. citizens, to the threat of extradition to the United Kingdom based on unfounded allegations.
McGinley said he took particular note of a reference by Ashcroft during the press conference to the revised treaty. The U.S. Attorney General, he said, had expressed the view that the British had already embraced the new treaty wholeheartedly.
"He wants this very badly. He would not have brought it up unless he was aware he's having problems with it," McGinley said in reference to Ashcroft.
The revised treaty was recently "walked" by the State Department to the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, which must approve it before passing it to the full Senate for a final vote.
But McGinley said he and other Hibernians had been told that the Foreign Relations Committee might not have time to consider the treaty this side of the November presidential and congressional elections.
McGinley said that he and other lobbyists had been informed by staff members in several Senate offices that the treaty was not on any committee member's calendar and was "dead for now."
But these assurances were given before the arrest of Abu Hamza al-Masri.
It remains to be seen if the Justice Department will now put pressure on the Foreign Relations Committee in an effort to speed up approval of the revised treaty and, in turn, the cleric's extradition from the United Kingdom.
Formal extradition hearings against al-Masri open in London on July 25.
"This treaty was not negotiated by the Department of State, but by the Department of Justice," McGinley said.
"It was all done in high secrecy and this is the first time that it has been exposed to the light," he said.
This story appeared in the issue of June 2-8, 2004
'COURAGE' CALL FROM BELFAST REPUBLICAN
by Mick Browne
Irish Daily Star
Differences of opinion about the direction of republican politics and
claims of intimidation have surfaced with a public letter by a stream
of high-profile republicans calling for an end to the "tyranny in our
But an ex-IRA veteran has said the appeal is also aimed at
encouraging people in republican communities to 'show courage' in
speaking out against the intimidation of those opposed to Sinn Féin
That was the message from Tommy Gorman, a community worker in
Belfast, and leading critic of Sinn Féin policy over recent years,
and co-signatory of the letter.
He told The Star: "Republican debate has been stifled, and people
intimidated, in recent years, as Sinn Féin sought to maximize its
Gorman was a Provisional IRA volunteer who served 13 years in jail.
"If people are dissatisfied with the peace process they must
show 'courage' to speak out. This letter came after a series of
meetings of people dissatisfied with either the drift of Sinn Féin in
the talks process or intimidation, in Belfast over May."
Speaking about his own experiences of intimidation, he said: "Every
time we tried to open up debate, we were vilified.
"That's not healthy, and that's all this letter is aimed at pointing
out. People need to speak out if they feel their views are not being
represented, or they are being intimidated into being quiet.
"But sometimes people need others to take the lead, and so we decided
to speak out, if only to encourage others, who may also be having
doubts about the talks, which seems to have hit a roadblock."
The letter was signed by amongst others former IRA leader
Brendan 'The Dark' Hughes, ex-IRA hunger-striker Dolours Price,
former Sinn Féin MLA and IRA prisoner John Kelly, and others from
around the north, representing a range of political viewpoints within
The letter states republican ideals have been dropped as a trade off
in the peace process, and republican communities subjected to
violence. It added: "No more…WE stand against the tyranny in our
midst. It is time to come together, to convene a congress of
Gorman said: "Recently, when party members of long standing, like
John Kelly and Martin Cunningham, spoke out over their respective
difficulties with party decisions and policy directions, they had to
leave the party.
"John had been a republican since the 1950s. But when he left the
party he took a measured position on the reasons why, but was
vilified, and the messenger in his case, was attacked. That cannot be
He also says the timing of the letter just ahead of next week's
European elections, in which Sinn Féin are in the running for perhaps
two seats, was "purely coincidental".
He also said that the idea was a "forum for debate", adding: "I would
disagree with many of those on the list have to say about politics.
"But this is about allowing the space for that type of analysis to be
heard, and not having to fear the consequences of speaking out.
"I always remember the poster of a Union Jack gagging people, and
that was a very effective image in terms of encouraging people to
debate. But that has now become a Sinn Féin gag.
"We are totally for peace, but we just have problems about whether
the current process is helpful in achieving that peace. And that type
of debate is going on within the Unionist and loyalist communities
"People in west Belfast have a palpable fear about speaking out,
because it makes it look as if you are anti-peace process."
Gorman and colleague Anthony McIntyre were vilified for their work
investigating the killing of Real IRA commander Jo Jo O'Connor in
2000, allegedly after disputes with the local IRA.
Gorman said: "We tried to practice free speech after that, and we
were vilified for it, but unless there's debate this process is going
nowhere. This is a like a benign apartheid."
A Sinn Féin statement rejected the criticisms however: "This group
has not contacted Sinn Féin. What they do is not a matter for
themselves. Sinn Féin have a strategy to achieve peace and deliver a
united Ireland and that remains our focus."
June 5, 2004
CARRICKHILL MAN DEVASTATED BY BRITISH SPY CLAIMS
The latest victim of allegations that he was a British army spy has fiercely denied he was ever on the payroll of the Force Research Unit working with Peter Keeley aka Kevin Fulton.
Carrick Hill man Joe Haughey said he was devastated by the latest accusations and said he feared for the safety of his family.
The 51-year-old, who survived several murder attempts by loyalist paramilitaries, rubbished the claims he was a British spy posted on the controversial website cryptome which were reproduced by a Sunday newspaper.
“I want to state categorically that these are lies and scandalous allegations,” said Joe Haughey last night. “I was in Paris working as a labourer in the 1990s after I was shot by loyalists. At no time did I have any dealings with Peter Keeley who I knew as an acquaintance. I didn’t know anything about him. A story broke in one of the British papers that I was part of an IRA active service unit.
“That was completely untrue and I had to come back home. This latest thing is devastating for the safety of my family and I have had to review my personal security.
“I have been involved in the Republican Movement for most of my life and I am pro-Good Friday Agreement and committed to peace. The sad thing is that I know I haven’t been the first to be named, and there will be others behind me.”
Sinn Féin justice spokesman Gerry Kelly accused British intelligence of being involved in a dirty tricks campaign against republicans to destabilise the peace process. “British intelligence maliciously leak and brief misinformation to create crises in the peace process and to bolster anti-agreement elements,” said Gerry Kelly.
“People are asking who the next victim of British state intelligence briefings will be.”
Journalist:: Andrea McKernon
CIARÁN FERRY HAS BEEN ILLEGALLY IMPRISONED BY THE U.S. GOVERNMENT FOR 492 DAYS
I have been in torture photos, too
The Abu Ghraib images are all too familiar to Irish republicans
Saturday June 5, 2004
News of the ill-treatment of prisoners in Iraq created no great surprise in republican Ireland. We have seen and heard it all before. Some of us have even survived that type of treatment. Suggestions that the brutality in Iraq was meted out by a few miscreants aren't even seriously entertained here. We have seen and heard all that before as well. But our experience is that, while individuals may bring a particular impact to their work, they do so within interrogative practices authorised by their superiors.
For example, the interrogation techniques which were used following the internmen swoops in the north of Ireland in 1971 were taught to the RUC by British military officers. Someone authorised this. The first internment swoops, "Operation Demetrius", saw hundreds of people systematically beaten and forced to run the gauntlet of war dogs, batons and boots.
Some were stripped naked and had black hessian bags placed over their heads.These bags kept out all light and extended down over the head to the shoulders. As the men stood spread-eagled against the wall, their legs were kicked out from under them. They were beaten with batons and fists on the testicles and kidneys and kicked between the legs. Radiators and electric fires were placed under them as they were stretched over benches. Arms were twisted, fingers were twisted, ribs were pummelled, objects were shoved up the anus, they were burned with matches and treated to games of Russian roulette. Some of them were taken up in helicopters and flung out, thinking that they were high in the sky when they were only five or six feet off the ground. All the time they were hooded, handcuffed and subjected to a high-pitched unrelenting noise.
This was later described as extra-sensory deprivation. It went on for days.
During this process some of them were photographed in the nude.
And although these cases ended up in Europe, and the British government paid
thousands in compensation, it didn't stop the torture and ill-treatment of
detainees. It just made the British government and its military and intelligence
agencies more careful about how they carried it out and ensured that they
changed the laws to protect the torturers and make it very difficult to expose the
I have been arrested a few times and interrogated on each occasion by a
mixture of RUC or British army personnel. The first time was in Palace Barracks in
1972. I was placed in a cubicle in a barracks-style wooden hut and made to
face a wall of boards with holes in it, which had the effect of inducing images,
shapes and shadows. There were other detainees in the rest of the cubicles.
Though I didn't see them I could hear the screaming and shouting. I presumed
they got the same treatment as me, punches to the back of the head, ears, small
of the back, between the legs. From this room, over a period of days, I was
taken back and forth to interrogation rooms.
On these journeys my captors went to very elaborate lengths to make sure that
I saw nobody and that no one saw me. I was literally bounced off walls and
into doorways. Once I was told I had to be fingerprinted, and when my hands were
forcibly outstretched over a table, a screaming, shouting and apparently
deranged man in a blood-stained apron came at me armed with a hatchet.
Another time my captors tried to administer what they called a truth drug.
Once a berserk man came into the room yelling and shouting. He pulled a gun
and made as if he was trying to shoot at me while others restrained him.
In between these episodes I was put up against a wall, spread-eagled and
beaten soundly around the kidneys and up between the legs, on my back and on the
backs of my legs. The beating was systematic and quite clinical. There was no
anger in it.
During my days in Palace Barracks I tried to make a formal complaint about my
ill-treatment. My interrogators ignored this and the uniformed RUC officers
also ignored my demand when I was handed over to them. Eventually, however, I
was permitted to make a formal complaint before leaving. But when I was taken
to fill out a form I was confronted by a number of large baton-wielding redcaps
who sought to dissuade me from complaining. I knew I was leaving so I ignored
them and filled in the form.
Some years later I was arrested again, this time with some friends. We were
taken to a local RUC barracks on the Springfield Road. There I was taken into a
cell and beaten for what seemed to be an endless time. All the people who
beat me were in plain clothes. They had English accents.
After the first initial flurry, which I resisted briefly, the beating became
a dogged punching and kicking match with me as the punch bag. I was forced
into the search position, palms against the walls, body at an acute angle, legs
well spread. They beat me systematically. I fell to the ground. Buckets of
water were flung over me. I was stripped naked. Once I was aroused from
unconsciousness by a British army doctor. He seemed concerned about damage to my
kidneys. After he examined me he left and the beatings began again. At one point a
plastic bucket was placed over my head. I was left in the company of two
uniformed British soldiers. I could see their camouflage trousers and heavy boots
from beneath the rim of the bucket. One of them stubbed his cigarette out on my
wrist. His mate rebuked him.
When the interrogators returned they were in a totally different mood and
very friendly. I was given my clothes back, parts of them still damp. One of them
even combed my hair. I could barely walk upright and I was very badly marked.
In the barrack yard I was reunited with my friends and photographs were taken
of us with our arresting party. For a short time other British soldiers,
individually and in groups, posed beside us. Someone even videoed the proceedings.
We were to learn from all the banter that there was a bounty for the soldiers
who captured us. According to them we were on an "A" list, that is to be shot
on sight. The various regiments kept a book which had accumulated
considerable booty for whoever succeeded in apprehending us, dead or alive. From the
craic in the barracks yard it was obvious that the lucky ones had won a
So for some time we were photographed in the company of young, noisy,
exuberant squaddies. I'm sure we were not a pretty sight. I'm also sure that they
were grinning as much as the soldiers in the photographs we have all seen
recently. Our photos were never published, but somewhere, in some regimental museum or in the top of somebody's wardrobe or in the bottom of a drawer, there are
photographs of me and my friends and our captors. To the victor, the spoils.
--Gerry Adams is president of Sinn Féin and MP for Belfast West
MISSING MAN 'SET UP' ARRESTS
Gareth O'Connor has been missing since May 2003
Missing South Armagh man Gareth O'Connor was in telephone contact with police just days before four men were arrested in an undercover security operation, a court has heard.
Donald Mullan, 33, from Firmount Park, Dungannon, Sean Dillion, 27, of Roughan Way, Coalisland, Kevin Murphy, 33, of Altmore Park, Coalisland and Brendan O'Connor, 26, of Cavanoneill Road, Pomeroy are accused of conspiracy to murder and possession of a rocket launcher.
Defence lawyers claim Mr O'Connor, who is believed to have been murdered by the IRA, organised a bogus burglary to set the men up.
Three of the accused, Mr Mullan, Mr Dillon and Mr Murphy, allegedly had the primed rocket launcher with them when they were arrested in a field in Coalisland in February 2002.
Mr O'Connor was detained in a nearby car park in a vehicle supplied by Gareth O'Connor.
At Belfast Crown Court on Friday, the prosecution accepted that two mobile phones featured in the case belonged to Gareth O'Connor and that they had been used to contact police.
Final submissions in the trial will begin on Monday.
**Click on above link for "live" links contained in this post
IRISH FREEDOM COMMITTEE® NEWSLIST
Subject: ACTION REQUEST – Continuing Crisis at Maghaberry
Date: Friday, June 04, 2004
The situation for Republican prisoners at Maghaberry Gaol is at a
boiling point, and concerns are very high that the POWs will soon be
faced with no choice but Hunger Strike.
Knowing the strength and caliber of the men inside, and the utter
disregard for them by the government, we fear the worst.
The prisoners themselves are now referring to the Republican wing at
Maghaberry as the “Punishment Block” and it is now more than clear that
the men are being punished by the Prison Officers Association and the
Prisons Service for successfully winning segregation from loyalist death
squads last year.
The Republican prisoners are allowed out of their cells only for an hour
at a time, usually only once a day. Occasionally they are also allowed
a second hour out later in the day, and these are the “Good Days”. They
are allowed out only 2 men at a time. The prison claims that it does
not have enough security staff to allow more than one hour per day cell
release for 2 men at a time.
The men have had all of their legally entitled educational facilities
and classes denied to them. Fresh air and exercise have been severely
curtailed, and while outdoors for their brief few minutes of the day the
men are subjected to unrelenting sectarian abuse from loyalists at
exercise a few feet away separated by a link fence.
The men are forced to eat alone in their cells and wash their dishes and
utensils in the same sink that they wash themselves in. They are
routinely denied hot showers and recently a Republican prisoner met with
disciplinary measures after bathing himself in a steel cold water
kitchen sink after being denied a hot shower after strenuous exercise.
These conditions are barbaric in the extreme and are clearly designed,
as the Statement below so clearly points out, as the P.O.A. exacting
it’s “Pound of Flesh” for the protracted Dirty Protests of last year
which resulted in the Steele recommendations to immediately segregate
the republican prisoners away from loyalist death squads.
The statement below is from the Republican prisoners at Maghaberry.
Please take a moment today to SEND AN E-MAIL TO THE PRISONS SERVICE and
NORTHERN IRELAND OFFICE at the IFC link provided below -- Ask for
immediate address to the deteriorating conditions for Republican
prisoners at Maghaberry and the progressive loss of human rights in the
Go raibh maith agat;
-IFC POW Dept.
The Irish Freedom Committee®
May 27, 2004
Statement from Maghaberry POW’s
The Maghaberry Republican prisoners wish to draw attention to the
deteriorating conditions under which they are being held.
Throughout our struggle for segregation, Finlay Spratt’s POA has
obstructed at every level and opportunity our demands for human rights.
Following the announcement of the Steele report the POA reacted with
Now that the glare of media attention has lifted it would appear the POA
elements within the Prison Service are determined to take their pound of
flesh from republicans for the no-wash protest of summer 2003.
The republican wing in Maghaberry is now effectively a punishment block.
The regime under which the men are now being held is more suited to
cattle than to human beings.
Prisoners are forced to live under restricted movement to the extreme,
denying men the right to exercise, shower or clean their cells.
The wings are filthy and most men are bearded reflecting the extent of
this restricted regime.
These conditions are now deteriorating to the point where hygiene and
the physical and mental health of prisoners are being dangerously
Given that the continued practice of strip searching is more akin to
sexual assault and given that families are still forced to run the
gauntlet of sniffer dogs and endure other humiliations, it can only be
assumed that elements within the prison service are intent on provoking
a violent response, thus justifying their original opposition (to
The Prison Service has effectively binned the Steele report and each day
sees republican prisoners struggle to have their human rights granted.
THIS SITUATION CANNOT CARRY ON INDEFINITELY!!!!
-Republican POWs, Maghaberry Gaol
PLEASE SEND AN E-MAIL TO THE PRISONS SERVICE and NORTHERN IRELAND OFFICE
Ask for immediate address to the deteriorating conditions for Republican
prisoners at Maghaberry and the progressive loss of human rights in the
CONTACT INFO/SAMPLE LETTER HERE:
READ MORE HERE:
Statement: Lack of facilities a cause for grave concern
March 12, 2004
Prisoners complain of degrading conditions – IPOW letter to the Derry
January 20, 2004
Prisoners’ response to “Compact Proposals”
January 16, 2004
Letter to the IFC from Republican OC John James Connolly
September 22, 2003
© The Irish Freedom Committee® NewsList - IFC Updates
3 June 2004
Photo: Vintage Special Branch surveillance
Joe McDonnell, who died on Hunger Strike, used to have a tale about going to a house in Andersonstown in West Belfast after the '72 Truce broke down and asking the householder if it would be possible to dump some weapons there.
'Well it would,' he was told, 'but nobody has ever come back for the last stuff ye left here.' Immediately interested, Joe and his comrades carefully broke open a hidden panel in a wall as shown by the pensioner and discovered a treasure trove of weapons dumped and probably long forgotten after the '50s campaign.
I felt a bit like that this week when out on the campaign trail in East Galway. A pensioner beckoned me into his house saying 'I have a few things here that might interest you'. He started poking about on a barely visible ledge above a staircase and produced a bundle yellowed with age. The son, sitting in a corner, solemnly told me that nobody had been 'near that stuff' for years.
It's the pike under the thatch, I thought to myself but no guns, no pikes, faraor (alas). Instead, he produced a huge number of copies of the United Irishman, stretching right back to 1953 and finishing up at the end of the '60s.
These were pre-Sticky UI's, pre-Split, pre-'50s campaign and a veritable treasure trove of long forgotten names and faces, lists and issues. Eat your Hartley out, Tom.
I'm dipping in now as I sit here and it's like a trip into Republican History. There are lists of prisoners in Belfast Prison (Crumlin Road) in the 1960s. Photographs of prisoners in jail in England in the 1950s. Lists and candidates from elections long since faded from memory. Street scenes of now demolished, rebuilt, and probably once again demolished Dublin, Derry and Belfast. It deserves, I think, to be given another turn from time to time so I want to begin this week with this wonderful photo from Nollaig 1967.
No, it's not an ad for a vintage rally or car for sale. Is it an Austin Mini, or is it an 1100, I hear the aul' timers ask. Dunno for sure, but look at the contents. Five fine examples of their species, caught here on camera on surveillance duty outside the Sinn Féin offices in Gardiner Place in Dublin.
The accompanying article tells how the occupants were part of a ten-member, two-shift squad, weeing into milk bottles and so devoted to their duty that they'd sit in that unheated little car for hours on end. Watching, waiting, weeweeing.
Where are they now, I wonder? Probably still watching, waiting and weeweeing, 37 years later.
Come in CZJ 706; your time is up.
3 June 2004
REMEMBERING THE PAST - MICHAEL GAUGHAN
Photo: The coffin of Michael Gaughan (inset) is carried from Dublin's Procathedral in 1974
In June 1974, Ireland was in turmoil, as the Troubles were in their fifth year. In the Six Counties, internment without trial was in force and the British Army was on the rampage throughout nationalist areas.
British forces were colluding with loyalists openly and in secret and had bombed Dublin and Monaghan in May, killing 33 people. That same month, the Sunningdale Executive collapsed after the British Labour Government of Harold Wilson and Direct Ruler Merlyn Rees capitulated to the so-called strike staged by the Ulster Workers' Council. Seldom had such scenes reminiscent of fascism been witnessed in Western Europe since the Second World War. Right-wing loyalist paramilitaries kept workers out of their workplaces and mounted patrols and checkpoints under the gaze of the RUC and British Army. Loyalist death squads carried out sectarian killings at will.
In Dublin, the Fine Gael/Labour Coalition government of Taoiseach Liam Cosgrave was obsessed with the idea that the 26-County State was under imminent threat from republicans. Of course, the real threat was from those who had bombed Dublin and Monaghan, but after the bombings the Coalition's anti-republican crusade was stepped up.
Of the hundreds of republicans imprisoned at this time, the most vulnerable were those in English jails. Among them was a young man from Ballina, County Mayo.
Twenty-four-year-old Michael Gaughan had emigrated to London after he left school. In London he joined the IRA. Convicted of possession of a weapon and conspiracy to rob a London bank, Gaughan was imprisoned in Wormwood Scrubs, Albany and Parkhurst Prisons. On 31 March 1974, Michael joined other republican prisoners, including fellow Mayo man Frank Stagg, on hunger strike demanding an end to solitary confinement, education instead of prison work and a date for transfer to a prison in Ireland.
Since the days of the Suffragettes, British prison authorities had resorted to the brutal method of force-feeding in response to prison hunger strikes. Republican prisoner Thomas Ashe died in Mountjoy Prison in Dublin in 1917 as a result of force-feeding. Michael Gaughan was repeatedly force-fed during his 65-day fast. The procedure involved forcing a wooden clamp into the prisoner's mouth, through which a tube was passed. Liquid food was then poured through the tube, often entering the victim's windpipe. Michael died as a result of such treatment.
In accordance with his wishes, Michael's body was brought home for burial in the Republican Plot in Leigue Cemetery, Ballina. Thousands turned out to pay their respects in Dublin and along the route to his final resting place in Mayo.
The other hunger strikers ended their fast in the hope that Michael's sacrifice would be sufficient to make the British Government see sense. But after appearing ready to concede on the issue of transfer, the British reneged. Frank Stagg embarked again on hunger strike at the end of 1975 and died on 12 February 1976 in Wakefield Prison.
Appalled by the public demonstration of respect for an IRA Volunteer seen at Michael Gaughan's funeral, the Coalition determined to crack down and when, in February 1976, Frank Stagg died on hunger strike in Wakefield Prison, his body was hijacked and buried under concrete by the Garda Special Branch. However, Frank Stagg's wishes were also fulfiled and, later in 1976, the IRA reburied him beside Michael Gaughan in the Republican Plot.
In a last message to his comrades, Michael Gaughan described his motivation:
"I die proudly for my country and in the hope that my death will be sufficient to obtain the demands of my comrades. Let there be no bitterness on my behalf, but a determination to achieve the new Ireland for which I gladly die. My loyalty and confidence is to the IRA and let those of you who are left carry on the work and finish the fight."
Michael Gaughan died on hunger strike in Parkhurst Prison, England, on 3 June 1974, 30 years ago this week.
FREE DERRY WALL RESTORED
3 June 2004
Free Derry Corner, one of the country's leading landmarks, has been restored by a group of republicans. The Wall, which has been the gathering point of many protests and confrontations over the decades, had deteriorated over the years due to exposure to the elements and the heavy volume of traffic that passes by.
The wall was chipped down to the original brickwork, replastered and repainted and a new flagpole erected on top. A new framework was also built at the rear to prevent boards being hammered into it, which was damaging the plasterwork.
The work took over a fortnight to complete and Derry Sinn Féin would like to thank all of those people who gave up their time, free of charge, to restore Free Derry Wall.
AMNESTY INTERNATIONAL REPORT HIGHLIGHTS HUMAN RIGHTS ABUSES IN “WAR ON TERROR”
By Joseph Kay
3 June 2004
The human rights organization Amnesty International published its annual report on May 26, covering developments that occurred in 2003. Though the 339-page report covers countries around the world and cites many different types of human rights violations, its most significant part outlines the violations of democratic rights implemented by the United States and other countries in the name of a war on terrorism.
The report also refers to human rights violations related to the American-led wars against Iraq and Afghanistan, including the torture of prisoners. By bringing together related developments in many countries, it highlights the extent to which the most basic democratic rights are under attack. (The report can be accessed on the Internet HERE.)
In a statement summarizing the organization’s findings, Amnesty International Secretary General Irene Khan noted that the Bush administration’s policy of “violating rights at home, turning a blind eye to abuses abroad, and using pre-emptive military force where and when it chooses” has “damaged justice and freedom, and made the world a more dangerous place.” At a news conference, Khan stated, “Not since the Universal Declaration of Human Rights was adopted in 1948 has there been such a sustained attack on [its] values and principles.”
In the United States, the report noted that many basic democratic rights—such as the right to a fair trial, the right of the accused to a lawyer and the presumption of innocence—were under attack. It noted, “Hundreds of foreign nationals remained in prolonged indefinite detention, without charge or trial in US custody outside the US mainland. Most of those detained as so-called ‘enemy combatants’ were held without any form of judicial process.... Many of the measures taken by the US authorities in the wake of the 11 September 2001 attacks undermined the fabric of international law. Other aspects of US security policy, including the threat in July to cut off military aid to 35 countries for refusing to guarantee US nationals immunity before the International Criminal Court, threatened to have a similarly corrosive effect on the international rule of law.”
The report notes that those held at the US-run Guantanamo Bay prison complex in Cuba include children as young as 13 years old. “None of the detainees were charged, tried, or given access to lawyers, relatives or the courts.” The US is also maintaining prison complexes in Afghanistan and Iraq. The Amnesty report repeats earlier evidence that many prisoners in Afghanistan and Guantanamo Bay are tortured and mistreated, including “prolonged enforced standing and kneeling, sleep deprivation and the cruel use of shackles.”
In Iraq, Amnesty notes that an unknown number of civilians have been killed as a result of the US-led war and the occupation. It cites, in particular, the US actions that led to the death of 7 demonstrators in Mosul on April 15 and 15 demonstrators—including children—in Fallujah on April 29. A supplementary report cites the massive evidence revealed last month of US torture of Iraqi prisoners.
In addition to prisoners held by the US in the wake of its wars against Afghanistan and Iraq, the past years have also seen a steady erosion of the rights of prisoners captured and held in the United States. Hundreds of foreign nationals were detained and deported following September 11, 2001, even though there was no evidence linking any of them to the terrorist attacks. In addition, US citizens Yaser Esam Hamdi and Jose Padilla continued to be held by the military without charge as so-called “enemy combatants.”
The report refers to other violations of human rights by the American government, including the blanket detention of Haitian asylum-seekers, the ill-treatment of American prisoners, the excessive use of force by US police, and the use of the death penalty. It notes, “In 2003, 65 people were executed, bringing to 885 the total number of prisoners put to death since the US Supreme Court lifted a moratorium on executions in 1976.” The US stood in “shameful isolation” for its policy of executing individuals who had committed their crimes while minors.
Amnesty also reveals how governments in Europe, Asia, the Middle East and South America have seized on the “war on terror” to justify increased repression and attacks on democratic rights.
In Asia, “the belief of several governments that human rights could be curtailed under the ‘war on terror’ was particularly apparent in China, India, Malaysia, Pakistan and Thailand. Hundreds of people suspected of ‘terrorism’ found themselves condemned to legal black holes as authorities ignored national and international legal frameworks.” The government of Pakistan, which has collaborated with the US in its actions in Afghanistan, handed over hundreds of people to the United States. Many of these detainees were sent to Guantanamo Bay.
In India, the Hindu-chauvinist government detained hundreds of Muslims in the state of Gujurat on allegations of terrorism and anti-state conspiracies. In 2002, Gujarat experienced riots—led by Hindu fundamentalists and facilitated by the state government—that resulted in the murder of hundreds of Muslims. China continued its suppression of the predominantly Muslim Uighur community, thousands of whom “were detained or imprisoned as ‘separatists, terrorists and religious extremists.’ ”
In Australia, a law was enacted in June that gave the government the power “to detain people suspected of having information about ‘terrorist’ offences for seven days before being brought before a court. There was no requirement that relatives be informed of the whereabouts of detainees during this time.”
Similar developments occurred in Europe. In the United Kingdom, 14 foreign nationals continued to be detained under the Anti-terrorism, Crime and Security Act of 2001 (ATCSA). “Proceedings under the ATCSA fell far short of international fair trial standards, including the right to the presumption of innocence, the right to a defense and the right to counsel. There was also grave concern at the reliance on secret evidence and at the executive’s and judiciary’s willingness to rely on evidence extracted under torture.”
In France, new legislation on internal security increased the powers of police officers to question ordinary civilians engaged in activities such as gathering in public. In 2003, a law was proposed that was passed in 2004 banning the wearing of Muslim headscarves in schools—a violation of democratic rights purportedly enacted to combat Islamic extremism. Since September 11, Spain has enacted legislation giving the government increased powers in its war against Basque separatists, also under the name of “anti-terrorism.” Many detainees held under this legislation have complained of torture and ill-treatment. In Germany—as in the United States and other countries—a debate has begun in political circles over the possible justification of torture under certain conditions.
In the Middle East, “the so-called ‘war on terror’ continued to erode fundamental human rights.... Members of the League of Arab States continued to implement the Arab Convention on the Suppression of Terrorism which contained few human rights safeguards. This, as well as a range of bilateral security arrangement, facilitated the transfer of individuals between states and in and outside the region without judicial proceedings, legal counsel or recourse to asylum procedures.... The ‘war on terror’ was used as a pretext to legitimize existing practices, such as long-term administrative detention and unfair trials by special courts whose procedures fall far short of international standards. Other states, such as Morocco and Tunisia, introduced “anti-terrorism” laws during the year, which posed a further threat to basic human rights.”
The Israeli government has escalated its attacks on the Palestinian population. The report notes that many of Israel’s actions—including the torture of prisoners, the use of Palestinians as human shields, obstruction of medical assistance to the wounded and the wide-scale practice of home demolition—constituted war crimes.
This partial list of developments during 2003 is an indication of the extent to which basic democratic rights are being eroded around the world, stimulated above all by US actions at home and abroad. It makes a mockery of Bush administration claims that it is waging a battle for democracy and freedom. Instead, the actions of the US government have become a model of anti-democratic legislation and actions around the world.
I ran for US Congress and lost. I began my career in the oil business in Midland, Texas, in 1975. I bought an oil company, but couldn't find any oil in Texas. The company went bankrupt shortly after I sold all my stock. I bought the Texas Rangers baseball team in a sweetheart deal that took land using taxpayer money. With the help of my father and our friends in the oil industry (including Enron CEO Ken Lay), I was elected governor of Texas.
ACCOMPLISHMENTS AS GOVERNOR OF TEXAS
I changed Texas pollution laws to favor power and oil companies, making Texas the most polluted state in the Union. During my tenure, Houston replaced Los Angeles as the most smog-ridden city in America. I cut taxes and bankrupted the Texas treasury to the tune of billions in borrowed money. I set the record for the most executions by any governor in American history. With the help of my brother, the governor of Florida, and my father's appointments to the Supreme Court, I became President after losing by over 500,000 votes.
ACCOMPLISHMENTS AS PRESIDENT:
I am the first President in U.S. history to enter office with a criminal record.
I invaded and occupied two countries at a continuing cost of over one billion dollars per week.
I spent the US surplus and effectively bankrupted the U.S. Treasury.
I shattered the record for the largest annual deficit in U.S. history.
I set an economic record for most private bankruptcies filed in any 12-month period.
I set the all-time record for most foreclosures in a 12-month period.
I set the all-time record for the biggest drop in the history of the U.S. stock market .
In my first year in office, over 2 million Americans lost their jobs and that trend continues every month.
I'm proud that the members of my cabinet are the richest of any administration in U.S. history.
My "poorest millionaire," Condoleeza Rice, has a Chevron oil tanker named after her.
I set the record for most campaign fundraising trips by a U.S. President.
I am the all-time U.S. and world record-holder for receiving the most corporate campaign donations.
My largest lifetime campaign contributor, and one of my best friends, Kenneth Lay, presided over the largest corporate bankruptcy fraud in U.S. History, Enron.
My political party used Enron private jets and corporate attorneys to assure my success with the U.S. Supreme Court during my election decision.
I have protected my friends at Enron and Halliburton against investigation or prosecution. M ore time and money was spent investigating the Monica Lewinsky affair than has been spent investigating one of the biggest corporate rip-offs in history.
I presided over the biggest energy crisis in U.S. history and refused to intervene when corruption involving the oil industry was revealed.
I presided over the highest gasoline prices in U.S. history.
I changed the U.S. policy to allow convicted criminals to be awarded government contracts.
I appointed more convicted criminals to administration than any President in U.S. history.
I created The Department of Homeland Security, the largest bureaucracy in the history of the United States government.
I've broken more international treaties than any President in U.S. history.
I am the first President in U.S. history to have the United Nations remove the U.S. from the Human Rights Commission.
I withdrew the U.S. from the World Court of Law.
I refused to allow inspector's access to U.S. "prisoners of war" detainees and thereby have refused to abide by the Geneva Convention.
I am the first President in history to refuse United Nations election inspectors (during the 2002 U.S. election).
I set the record for fewest numbers of press conferences of any President since the advent of television.
I set the all-time record for most days on vacation in any one-year period. After taking off the entire month of August, I presided over the worst security failure in U.S. history.
I garnered the most sympathy for the U.S. after the World Trade Center attacks and less than a year later made the U.S. the most hated country in the world, the largest failure of diplomacy in world history.
I have set the all-time record for most people worl dwide to simultaneously protest me in public venues (15 million people), shattering the record for protests against any person in the history of mankind.
I am the first President in U.S. history to order an unprovoked, preemptive attack and the military occupation of a sovereign nation. I did so against the will of the United Nations, the majority of U.S. citizens, and the world community.
I have cut health care benefits for war veterans and support a cut in duty benefits for active duty troops and their families -- in wartime. In my State of the Union Address, I lied about our reasons for attacking Iraq and then blamed the lies on our British friends.
I am the first President in history to have a majority of Europeans (71%) view my presidency as the biggest threat to world peace and security.
I am supporting development of a nuclear "Tactical Bunker Buster," a WMD.
I have so far failed to fulfill my pledge to bring Osama Bin Laden [sic] to justice.
RECORDS AND REFERENCES:
All records of my tenure as governor of Texas are now in my father's library, sealed and unavailable for public view.
All records of SEC investigations into my insider trading and my bankrupt companies are sealed in secrecy and unavailable for public view.
All records or minutes from meetings that I, or my Vice-President, attended regarding public energy policy are sealed in secrecy and unavailable for public review.
IF YOU ARE AN AMERICAN VOTER,
PLEASE CONSIDER MY EXPERIENCE WHEN VOTING IN 2004.
PLEASE SEND THIS TO EVERY AMERICAN VOTER YOU KNOW.
'Drugs Link' To Man Shot In Front Of Children
Thursday 3rd June 2004
A man shot dead today in front of children at a school near Belfast may have been the victim of a drugs row.
Kevin McAlorum was ambushed by two gunmen who rammed his car at Derriaghy on the southern outskirts of the city.
The victim, who was linked to the Irish National Liberation Army, had just dropped off a child at Oakwood Integrated Primary School.
The splinter republican terrorist organisation has a history of violent feuding.
McAlorum's sister, nine-year-old Barbara, was shot and killed at her north Belfast home in 1996, weeks after INLA chief of staff Gino Gallagher was murdered during an internal dispute.
It is understood detectives probing today's killing were examining a possible drugs motive for the attack.
MORE BRITISH TROOPS DEPLOYED IN THE NORTH THAN IN IRAQ
By Claire Treanor
30 May 2004
The spotlight may still be firmly focused on Britain's military presence in Iraq, but records revealed last week show that there are significantly more British troops serving in the North.The British government has deployed 8,500 troops in Iraq, compared to 13,500 in the North. This is a greater British military presence than in Afghanistan, Bosnia, Gibraltar, Kosovo and Iraq combined.
A Ministry of Defence spokesman said the continued presence of troops in the North is "necessary in returning normalisation to the province".
"The peace process is an evolving situation. Great strides have been made towards normalisation, but the terrorist threat still exists.
"Troop levels fluctuate according to threat levels," he said.
Demilitarisation has been a key Republican demand since the first IRA ceasefire a decade ago. In the initial implementation of the 1998 Good Friday Agreement, troop levels were dramatically reduced.
However, the degree of military presence in the North has remained static since January 2002, when army base closures brought the number of troops to its current level.
According to Sinn Fein, the figures indicate that the British government is still treating the North as a war zone. "The heavy troop presence in Northern Ireland is unacceptable and shows clearly that the mentality in Whitehall is that it is still very much at war here," said Davy Hyland of Sinn Fein.
The cost of keeping troops in the North for the 2002-2003 tax year was €586 million. The projected cost for the 2004- 2005 year is €500 million.
According to the Ministry of Defence, even when "normalisation" is achieved, "there will always be a British army garrison in Northern Ireland".
At the height of the Troubles, 72,000 British troops served in the North. The highest number of troops to have served in Iraq is 45,000.The British government has committed stg£3.8 billion to the occupation, but financial analysts warned that the cost was likely to escalate.
British defence secretary Geoff Hoon has admitted that it is costing Britain about stg£125 million a month to maintain troops in Iraq.
Independent forecasters say that, at that rate of spending, the stg£1.3 billion left from the amount set aside by the British treasury to fund military operations in Iraq will be spent by the end of this year.
NO CRIMINAL ASSETS FOR ALLEGED IRA FIGURE
By Barry O'Kelly
A year-long probe by the Gardai has concluded that the allegedly senior IRA figure, Thomas "Slab" Murphy, who was ranked number nine in a recent criminal rich list, does, in fact, possess no criminal assets.
The findings by the Garda Criminal Assets Bureau are at odds with a claim attributed to Justice Minister Michael McDowell last week that the government was determined to seize chunks of a €53 million fortune purported to be held by Murphy.
The Sunday Independent reported the claim in an article positioned opposite a full-page opinion piece by the minister about the IRA.
The paper reported that Democratic Unionist MP Jeffrey Donaldson had been told by McDowell about the government's determination to strip Murphy of his assets.
It followed a statement by Ulster Unionist David Burnside in the House of Commons two days earlier in which he noted that the Co Louth republican came 9th in a BBC rich list of criminals.
Garda sources expressed bemusement at the claims.
It was established more than a year ago that the publicity-shy farmer could account for the source of all his finances, the sources revealed. ``Everything was very thoroughly examined,'' an informed source explained.
``There are no assets that cannot be accounted for. He inherited a farm and that's it.''
Murphy (53),whose farm at Ballybinaby, Hackballscross, straddles the border between Louth and Armagh, has been the focus of stories about the IRA since he lost a libel action six years ago.
NEW NATIONAL NEWSPAPER LOCKED IN LEGAL ROW OVER USE OF ITS TITLE
By Paul T Colgan
At least three newspaper groups have laid claim to the ownership of the business name Ireland Today, the title of the new national daily paper launched by a Belfast media group last week.
Rupert Murdoch's News International is embroiled in a row with the Andersonstown News Group in Belfast, as the British media giant has registered the title at the patents office in Dublin.
Records at the Companies Registration Office in Dublin show that the name is also registered to a company called Title Media, the parent company of Ireland on Sunday, which was bought by Associated Newspapers three years ago.
Ireland Today's business plan was launched last Thursday by the Andersonstown News Group. The new paper is being backed by former GAA president Peter Quinn and Fianna Fail senator Mary White, both of whom plan to sit on its board.
The company is registered in Belfast.
Pressure by News International could scupper plans for the paper's print launch, which has been provisionally scheduled for later this year.
News International claims it informed the west Belfast news group the week before its launch that it owned the rights to the title.
A spokeswoman for News International said the organisation was ``seeking a speedy and amicable resolution'' to the dispute.
It is thought that the organisation threatened to injunct the new paper on Wednesday.
Andersonstown News group publisher Mairtin O Muilleoir confirmed that the group was in talks with News International, and that it was confident it would be able to use the title.
``It's a fiercely competitive market and we expected a lot of knocks and bumps along the road,'' said O Muilleoir.
``But we will vigorously defend our right to use the title.''
Speaking at the launch on Thursday, Peter Quinn said the new paper would not be ``intimidated'' by News International.
BONFIRE BUILT IN RETAIL PARK
Motorists were pelted with stones on the Boucher Road this week by loyalist youths involved in building a bonfire – in the heart of a retail park.
Cars were pelted with stones as they drove along the Boucher Road on Tuesday evening.
The youths are building the bonfire in land which has been earmarked for a brand new retail park.
A proposal for Phase 2 of Boucher Plaza is currently under consideration from the Planning Service.
The bonfire site, which is adjacent to the first phase of Boucher Plaza, is bedecked with UVF and Young Citizen Volunteer (YCV) flags and bears sectarian graffiti including the slogan KAT – Kill All Taigs.
Sinn Féin MLA Michael Ferguson has called on the company responsible for the land to remove the bonfire.
“I was contacted by one of my constituents who said that cars were being stoned by youths gathered at this site on Tuesday night,” said Councillor Ferguson.
“It is worrying that in the heart of a retail park used by everyone in the city, a bonfire has been set up in intimidating circumstances.
“The site is flagged and daubed with offensive graffiti and this is something that will not do the business sector any favours.
“The organisers of this bonfire need to consider celebrating their culture in other ways that are not a danger to the community.”
A spokeswoman for BTW Sheills, the letting agents for the land, said that she had no comment to make.
Journalist:: Roisin Cox
He calls himself Kevin Fulton – but his real name’s Peter Keeley. We’ve been getting a bit of an insight
Today, for the first time, the Andersonstown News shows the face of Peter Keeley, also known as ‘Kevin Fulton’, the camera-shy but media-friendly British agent who’s engaged in a bitter battle with his former paymasters – men he accuses of washing their hands of him.
Lifelong republican Gerard ‘Whitey’ Bradley, came forward yesterday to speak of his memories of Keeley in the days when the Newry man had infiltrated the IRA along the border and in Belfast.
‘Whitey’ Bradley’s decision to speak out comes just days after a Sunday paper labelled his brother-in-law, Joe ‘Buck’ Haughey a British agent.
Bradley was released under the terms of the Good Friday Agreement – he had been sentenced to ten years for his involvement in a foiled IRA attack on RUC Detective Chief Superintendent Derek Martindale in February 1994.
In naming Joe Haughey, the Sunday tabloid referred to unsubstantiated anonymous allegations being posted on an American website.
‘Whitey’ Bradley yesterday outlined his association with Peter Keeley in a series of revealing insights that throw a new light on the secretive British agent now in hiding in London.
“I was first introduced to Keeley in the middle of 1993 by Joe Haughey. Keeley made himself out to be someone who could help the republican movement with cars, money, phones – a real wheeler-dealer, a Del Boy. He also tried to play up his connections and claimed he could get us anything we wanted.
“He used to come up and run around Belfast with a sharp suit, a fast car and a mobile phone the size of a breeze block – this was in the days when nobody had mobile phones. This guy was saying ‘I can do this, I can do that’. But nothing he ever promised was coming off.”
During the period between the summer of 1993 and February 1994, ‘Whitey’ says Keeley was in his house in Belfast on around “30 or 40” occasions.
‘Whitey’ rejects Keeley’s attempts to take credit for foiling the attack on Chief Superintendent Martindale.
“He had no involvement in that operation whatsoever. He’s running around saying he saved Martindale, yet his own published statement on the incident actually calls that into question.
“I thought of him as a bit of a strange bloke – but someone who could be used a bit. About three weeks before the attack – which none of the team involved in even knew about until the actual day – I had asked Keeley to get me a mobile phone.
“That was the phone I had in my possession in the house in the New Lodge when we were arrested after the team over in Belmont were scooped.”
Since getting out of Long Kesh under the Good Friday Agreement, ‘Whitey’ has only met Keeley on one occasion – in 1999.
The last time the men spoke was by telephone. ‘Whitey’ says that he made his antagonism clear to Keeley.
“Here’s the thing that baffles me. Who was fighting the war when Keeley was running around? Because it seems to me that he was only consorting with a convention of Brit agents. Everyone he seems to have met now seems to have been an agent. I want people to ask why all this is happening. Why is anyone trying to destroy a republican family and community like ours? I sat and watched my sister cry her eyes out at the weekend. I’m not scared of the Brits, MI5, Special Branch, British Army or anyone else. Everybody knows where I stand. I was interned twice. I was in under a supergrass. And I got ten years in 1994 at the age of 39. I haven’t spent all this time fighting as a republican just for the possibility of having my reputation ruined by this guy,” said ‘Whitey’.
Journalist:: Anthony Neeson
Ulster First Flute
Courtesy of the Parades Commission, it’s céad míle fáilte to West Belfast this weekend for Sandy Row’s finest...
A local loyalist pipe band has given a two-fingered salute to the Parades Commission by allowing a UFF-supporting Sandy Row band to take part in a weekend interface parade.
In its ruling giving the go-ahead to Saturday’s controversial parade and band competition on the Blacks Road, the Parades Commission ordered the organisers – Upper Falls Protestant Boys – to allow no bands taking part to wear “paramilitary-style clothing” and a ban has also been slapped on bands displaying “items relating to a proscribed organisation”.
But as our picture shows, the initials of one of the marching bands, Ulster First Flute, spell UFF, while the crest on the band’s banner is that of the Ulster Freedom Fighters and its members march not in the traditional ornate tunics, but in paramilitary-style clothing with dark glasses and black caps bearing the UFF insignia.
Journalist:: Staff Reporter
Second Stakeknife' statement is issued
Man denies British agent claims
By Jonathan McCambridge, Crime Correspondent
02 June 2004
A BELFAST man today denied reports that he was a British agent who had worked inside the Provisional IRA for more than 25 years.
Joseph Patrick Haughey, (51), convicted in 1981 of hijacking and falsely imprisoning a taxi driver, was named in a Sunday newspaper as a leading IRA member who had worked for RUC Special Branch and MI5 since the 1970s.
Media speculation at the weekend has dubbed the existence of an alleged new top-level informer within the Provos as a "second Stakeknife".
In a statement issued through his solicitor today, Haughey made an "outright denial" of the allegations.
He also named a Co Down man as the source of the allegations.
According to reports at the weekend, Haughey was named last week on the same 'spook-watching' website which had first identified Freddie Scappaticci as the British secret agent Stakeknife.
In the statement today, Haughey said: "I deny categorically any suggestion that I was ever an informer or that I ever co-operated with British intelligence or the RUC."
Haughey was found guilty and given a suspended sentence in 1981 for hijacking and falsely imprisoning a former taxi employee.
He was found not guilty on a charge of IRA membership.
In 1986 he walked free from Belfast Crown Court after a judge acquitted him of involvement in the murder of Mary Travers and the attempted murder of her Magistrate father Tom.
They were shot after leaving church on the Malone Road in April 1984.
In 1991 Haughey was injured after he was shot by the UVF. He was returning to his Unity Walk home when loyalist gunmen opened fire from a car.
They then chased Haughey into the flats complex and opened fire again. He was hit in the arm.
SPECIAL BRANCH 'DIRTY WAR' CONTINUES
Two Belfast men have come forward to reveal that they were
approached by PSNI police officers and asked to work for them as
One of the men, Paddy Larkin from the Ardoyne area of north
Belfast, said the police started to put pressure on him after he
had been charged with possessing a weapon.
The weapon was found in his car while he was in Scotland.
"The PSNI brought me to the harbour in Belfast to bring me to
Scotland and before the boat went we were in a restaurant," he
"One of them said to me, 'You help us and we will help you', and
showed me a wallet full of money.
"I said no, and then when we were in Scotland they tried it
again, when I was about to go into the court".
Police told him: "We can sort this out for you."
He said that for some time afterwards he received phone calls
from police officers asking him if he had changed his mind.
West Belfast man Gerry McCann said PSNI had put pressure on him
to become an informant following his arrest last June for
"They told me that my charges could 'disappear' if I kept eyes
on known republicans in west Belfast," he said.
Sinn Fein assembly member for west Belfast Michael Ferguson said
the incidents showed that the PSNI were again putting pressure
on Catholics and nationalists to act as informants against
He accused the PSNI Special Branch of 'still conducting its
dirty war against the nationalist community' and said such
incidents were taking place across the Six Counties.
"This sort of activity is bound to raise questions for those who
have been so vocal in their support for the current policing
"Arrangements which clearly have at their core the Special
Branch still active, still running agents, still trying to
recruit agents and still trying to spy on the broad nationalist
community. This sort of activity is not compatible with a new
beginning to policing.
"This is not he sort of activity that we will hear members of
the Policing Board discuss. The reality is that they are
powerless to do anything about it and they know that to be the
"I am calling on Hugh Orde to get his Special Branch off the
backs of these two men who have come forward and off the backs
of the nationalist and republican community as a whole. He
should end his media charm offensive and face up to the fact
that what currently passes for policing here is unacceptable and
incompatible with the demands of both Patten and the Good Friday
New Belfast lord mayor elected
Councillors voted for a new mayor at Belfast City Hall
An Alliance Party councillor has been elected as Belfast's new lord mayor.
Tom Ekin will take over from the SDLP's Martin Morgan.
Councillors also voted in Sinn Fein's Joe O'Donnell as deputy at the election on Tuesday, following Mr Ekin's casting vote.
Mr Ekin said: "I will work to continue the progress we are making towards a brighter Belfast, towards a Belfast we can believe in.
"We need to work together to make this city a cleaner, more attractive place to live and work in.
"I want councillors to work together effectively for all of the people because we all want what is best for Belfast."
Deputy Mayor O'Donnell said he would do his best for everyone in the city.
"I certainly hope to play my role in making Belfast a totally inclusive city and will try, in some small way, to provide people with a vision for the future," he said.
Former lord mayor, DUP councillor Sammy Wilson, said Mr O'Donnell's election was a slap in the face for unionists.
"It's an example of what happens when nationalists get a majority when they are in a minority - they clamour for power-sharing and rotation," he said.
"When they are in a majority, they forget all about that and they think of only how they can ensure they get all the top positions and they exclude unionists totally."
Rise in NI prison population
01/06/2004 - 14:34:10
Northern Ireland’s prison population increased by 12% last year, it was revealed today.
Figures released by the Northern Ireland Office showed the overall annual average prison population went up from an average of 1,026 in 2002 to 1,152 in 2003.
At the same time the number of receptions into prison increased by 9% from 4,865 in 2002 to 5,309 last year.
But despite its reputation for violence Northern Ireland has the lowest ratio of prisoners to population in the UK.
The province had 70 prisoners per 100,000 of the population in 2003, compared to 141 in England and Wales and 129 in Scotland.
The highest ratio in the European Union is in Hungary, 165 per 100,000, and the lowest is in Norway, 59.
Northern Ireland’s prison population was almost exclusively male – women making up just 1% of those behind bars.
Violence – against the person, sexual offences and robbery – was responsible for 64% of inmates, seven per cent were serving sentences for drug offences and seven per cent for motoring offences.
Prisoners serving sentences of between one and five years formed 42% of inmates. Those serving up to one year 19% and those serving more than five years but less than life accounted for 24%.
Life sentence prisoners made up 15% of the prison population.
Loyalists Form Alliance Over Jail Conditions
By Alan Erwin
Tuesday 1st June 2004
RIVAL loyalist paramilitary representatives have forged a new alliance over conditions inside a high-security Northern Ireland jail, it emerged last night.
Groups working for UDA and UVF men held in segregated blocks at Maghaberry, near Lisburn, Co Antrim, joined forces in a bid to put pressure on the authorities.
Non-violent tactics which could involve legal action, mass road blocks and other protests are believed to be under consideration.
Sources insisted the UDAlinked Prisoners Aid Networking Group meeting with the UVF-aligned Post Conflict Prisoners Support Group was extremely significant.
The talks at an undisclosed location in west Belfast centred on loyalist anger at excessive strip searches they allege inmates separated under a £7 million security programme at Maghaberry are enduring.
The Government agreed to put loyalists and republicans in different cell blocks amid safety fears as both sides protested for change.
But a joint statement issued last night said: "The Prisoners Aid Networking Group for Northern Ireland and the Post Conflict Prisoners Support Group, who represent loyalist prisoners on the separated conditions, met yesterday to discuss the worsening conditions inside Maghaberry Prison.
"Both groups agreed to embark on a joint peaceful strategy to highlight and achieve a humane regime based on equality."
Prison authorities have stressed that body searches conducted inside the jail are a necessary part of maintaining security.
But the loyalists claim they are not getting a fair deal.
"Strip searches and the conditions that separated prisoners are experiencing are inhumane, it's wrong and a breech of both human rights and equality legislation," a loyalist source said.
Prison book scheme helps inmates bond with children
01/06/2004 - 16:58:06
‘Spot Goes to School’ and ‘Mr & Mrs Pig’s Evening Out’ were today placed on the bookshelves of the library in Northern Ireland’s top security Maghaberry Prison.
It had nothing to do with back-to-basics reading for inmates, but was all about building relationships between children and their fathers while they are behind bars.
The children’s titles are among a series added to the Antrim prison library stock with the launch of the jail’s Book and Tape Club.
Members of the club, initially long-sentence prisoners, will be able to select a book and make a recording in the prison library for their child.
A copy of both the book and the tape will be given to the child when they visit and they can then take it home to read and listen to.
As with any lending library both book and tape must be returned and another book selected.
The Prison Service said initially eight fathers and 16 children will be involved in the pilot project which they hope will enable parents in prison to contribute to their child’s reading development thus helping the prisoner play an important part in the life of their family.
Governor Austin Treacy, who heads the Maghaberry Resettlement Unit, said: “The experience of prison affects the whole family, not just the prisoner. This scheme and developments in family visits at Maghaberry do help to develop a bond between fathers and their children.”
He said the service knew the successful resettlement of prisoners back into society was best achieved when family relationships, including those with children, were maintained during a period of custody.
An added bonus, he said, was that fathers were able to develop their own learning through reading.
The scheme is supported by the South Eastern Education and Library Board and Bright Books, and Mr Treacy said the prison was grateful for their help and support.
“This project is another example of partnership working where the prison is actively engaged with the public and private sector to extend the services available to prisoners in our care,” he added.
Beth Porter, chief librarian at the SEELB, added: “Reading and books play an important part in children’s development and the involvement of both parents is a great encouragement to a child who is just starting to discover the joy of reading.
“The scheme allows fathers to read to their children at a difficult period in both their lives.”
Bright Books, a private sales and distribution company, has provided £500 (€751.70) for the purchase of book tokens and £500 (€751.70) worth of books for immigration detainees which include popular titles which have been translated into several languages, as well as books written by foreign authors.
MURPHY COMMENTS ABSURD CLAIMS ADAMS
06/01/04 10:14 EST
It is absurd for Britain's Northern Ireland Secretary Paul Murphy to talk about the conditions which allowed a truth and reconciliation commission to operate in South Africa when his government denies rights at home, Sinn Fein leader Gerry Adams claimed today.
As Mr Murphy continued his fact-finding visit to South Africa as part of the British government`s truth and reconciliation consultation process, Mr Adams said the British government was not a neutral player in the conflict in Northern Ireland.
The West Belfast MP said at the launch of his party`s European Parliament election manifesto in Dublin: "The British government are belligerents. They are combatants. They are not referees. They are not neutral and they cannot come out any more than (PSNI Chief Constable) Hugh Orde has to come up with some plan or protocol for dealing with these issues. I think that there has to be a holistic, comprehensive approach to it and given the history of the British government`s refusal to co-operate with the Barron Inquiry into the Dublin-Monaghan bombs, the Saville Inquiry and to hold an inquiry into the murder of Pat Finucane, I think we have an awful lot of work to do to convince that government that it needs to take a positive and constructive role."
"I also think it is absurd that Paul Murphy or at least a statement in his name in South Africa should talk about the people there being able to reconcile because they wanted to. He conveniently left out the fact that they had democracy restored when certainly in the north of Ireland it is still just a good idea. They had an end to apartheid and still here we have partition."
The candidates running in the European elections in Northern Ireland are: Jim Allister (DUP), Jim Nicholson (UUP), Martin Morgan (SDLP), Bairbre de Brun (Sinn Fein), Lindsay Whitcroft (Green Party), Eamonn McCann (Socialist Environmental Alliance) and John Gilliland (Independent).
The British government last week announced a two-stage consultation process on how to deal with Northern Ireland`s past, insisting it had an open mind about the type of model it would apply.
The Northern Ireland Secretary is looking at truth commissions in South Africa and South America but also indicated he was interested in storytelling either through film or in print.
On his arrival in Cape Town, Mr Murphy also said yesterday that if people in Northern Ireland wanted reconciliation, they would have to show a desire to come together.
"In South Africa, people wanted to come together after apartheid," he observed.
"We need to learn that healing a nation can`t work unless both sides want to reconcile... Unlike South Africa, we still lack political consensus on reconciling."
Mr Adams said his party was willing to engage in a debate about truth and reconciliation.
The West Belfast MP said any process had to enable victims and their families to tell their stories.
"Stories are being told in sitting rooms, they are being told in family groups and are being told in communities. They are all out there," he said.
"And every so often a journalist will stumble upon them and gives the victims a wider audience. I think there is this element of people having to be empowered to tell their own stories but essentially a truth and reconciliation process is about trying to bring closure to a lot of these issues. You could argue from now till the end of the day whether it should be about justice, which we think it should be about, whether it is about truth. But a big element which we need to stress is that one of the ongoing stories is the story of collusion," Adams said.
HELL ON EARTH--THE BACK HALF
Monday 31st May 2004
From the latest US high-security "facility" to Iraq's Abu Ghraib,
modern jails are clinical and brutal creations. Designed to disorient
and diminish inmates, the Maze Prison in Northern Ireland embodies
this architectural inhumanity.
By Jonathan Glancey
Donovan Wylie spent 100 days photographing the Maze Prison, ten miles
outside Belfast. Built by the British government in 1976, the
infamous H-block detention centre closed, after peace negotiations,
in October 2003. The buildings continue to stand while Ulster decides
what to do with this sad and dismal place. Soon enough, these miles
of barbed wire and acres of grim concrete will be razed to make way
for - who knows what? A beautiful public park, perhaps. A wildlife
sanctuary. A romantic wilderness. If past examples are anything to go
by, it will probably be reborn as some glum housing estate, a
domestic prison to replace its political predecessor.
Whatever happens to the Maze, Wylie's meticulous, obsessively focused
labour will fix for ever in our minds the numbing banality of prison
life. Whichever way his camera points, the view is all but identical.
Here, 5,000 years of architecture and urban planning have been
reduced to a faceless late 20th-century grid. Here is St John the
Divine's gridiron city, New Jerusalem, described so enticingly in the
Book of Revelations - a thing of gold, onyx and chalcedony - hammered
into a vision of purgatory. Here is a construction designed to rob
life of imagination, flatten seditious thought, steal away humanity,
put an end to time, and even to life itself.
Relentless images of gravelled alleyways set between concrete posts
and look-out towers, of single-storey concrete H-blocks and tiny
white cells, reflect the outlook of those who designed this
architectural white-out: puritanical, zealous and efficient. Parade-
square military. Hair cut. Boots polished. Coal painted white for VIP
visits. Paper clips lined in precise rows. The Maze was,
unforgettably, a place of dirty protest, of shit smeared on walls, of
sporadic violence, sudden arson, assassination, dramatic escape and
of Bobby Sands, MP for Fermanagh and South Tyrone, starving to death
after 66 foodless days in 1981.
Looking at Wylie's photographs, it is all but impossible to sense
this underlying savagery. Modern prisons, unlike medieval dungeons or
Piranesi's Renaissance fantasies, are chaste-looking places - from
the latest US high-security "facility" to Iraq's Abu Ghraib. Inside
such prim walls, torture and sadistic perversions can be indulged, on
innocent and guilty alike.
Execution chambers in US prisons, designed to be as clinical as
possible, share the aesthetic of the operating theatre, or freshly
cleaned motorway service station lavatory. The perversions carried
out in such places are as sick as the crimes committed by the guilty,
as pathetic as the deaths of the innocent. Here are hells of our own
making, walled around in DIY wall tiles.
For all this tide of prison porn, one of the most frightening aspects
of contemporary jails is their unstated aim to reduce inmates to a
hollow state, to lock them up in places that have less character than
a new housing estate in the Thames Gateway. The Maze was a prison
famous throughout the world, a detention centre for loyalist and
republican politicians and gunmen. But as Wylie's pictures show, it
might almost have been anywhere. If the skies were bluer, this might
be Texas; if there was snow on the ground, it might be Russia.
These deliberately repetitive images remind me of Italo Cal-vino's
description of Trude in Invisible Cities (1972): "If on arriving at
Trude I had not read the city's name written in big letters, I would
have thought I was landing at the same airport from which I had taken
off. The suburbs they drove me through were no different from the
others . . . following the same signs we swung around the same flower
beds in the same squares. Why come to Trude, I asked myself. And I
already wanted to leave. 'You can resume your flight whenever you
like,' they said to me, 'but you will arrive at another Trude,
absolutely the same, detail by detail. The world is covered by a sole
Trude which does not begin and does not end. Only the name of the
Or it reminds me of Patrick McGoohan's rebellious character, Number
6, in the cult 1960s television series "The Prisoner". In the final
episode, No 6 breaks free of the picture-book yet nightmarish prison
village he has been held in, only to discover that he is his own
jailer and that, out of prison, he is still in it.
In Britain today, following the lead of the United States, we are
locking up an increasing number of our people, and for the most petty
of crimes. The desire is, presumably, to keep people under control,
to regiment them, to shut down their imaginations, their capacity to
rebel, if not to commit crime, by banging them up in architecture and
places as vacuous as the Maze.
In a perceptive essay in the book accompanying Wylie's photographs,
Louise Purbrick writes that one of the main purposes of the design of
the Maze was to disorient and diminish prisoners through an infinite
repetition of spaces, materials and control systems. To make the Maze
even more of a non-place, its 2.5 miles of 17ft-high walls were built
on 270 acres of low-lying bog. So even if there had been views of the
outside world, these would have been bleak and minimal. The
prefabricated buildings were as colourless as they could be, although
(a very British touch) they were hung with floral curtains.
Each building, including the chapel, was imprisoned within the
prison, in a barbed-wire cage. A cat's cradle of wires was strung
across the entire site to prevent lightplanes, or angels, landing
inside this little piece of hell on earth. Guards, as well as the
10,000 prisoners who passed through the Maze, found it depressing. Up
to 50 committed suicide, Purbrick reports, some using the guns they
were issued to keep them safe from attack inside the walls.
The design of the Maze was modelled not on any Nazi German, Soviet
Russian or Ba'athist Iraqi precedent, but on US practice. Curtis &
Davis, a firm of New Orleans architects, designed the new,
prefabricated Louisiana State Penitentiary at Angola after one too
many riots condemned the old prison to closure in 1955. Their
pioneering work was adopted in England at Channing Wood, Devon
(1972), Deerbolt, Co Durham (1973), and Featherstone, Staffordshire
(1976), at a time when concrete prefabrication was all the rage in
the design of housing, hospitals, universities and prisons.
This was a long way from Pentonville and Dartmoor, yet the Maze was,
in its own terms, a failure. The attempt to wear down prisoners, held
without trial, in such numbingly boring conditions led to a rich
culture of resistance, the full story of which has yet to be written.
A richness of imagination made up for a poverty of place, a negation
of design and architecture.
Prisons, whether Gormenghast-like or Maze-like, are for the most part
dumb and brutal creations. There is no need to lock up the number of
people that we do. Nevertheless, as events of recent weeks have
stressed, we appear to enjoy controlling, humiliating and abusing
people we have power over. And as Wylie's images of the Maze prove,
we continue to lack the imagination to reduce the occasion for crime
and political strife.
"Donovan Wylie: the Maze" is at the Photographers' Gallery, London
WC2 (020 7831 1772) from 10 June to 1 August. The accompanying book
is published by Granta
--Jonathan Glancey is the Guardian's architecture critic
Security Force 'Link To Loyalists' Probed
By Dan Mcginn
Monday 31st May 2004
A DELEGATION of international human right activists were in Northern Ireland yesterday to probe claims that members of the security forces colluded with a loyalist gang in a series of murders during the 1970s.
The team of investigators arrived in the Province on Saturday and has already begun meeting families of people allegedly killed by the gang.
They were invited to Northern Ireland by the Londonderry-based Pat Finucane Centre and will be carrying out their investigation into allegations of collusion with the loyalist Glenanne gang over the next fortnight.
The Glenanne group has been linked to four car bombs planted by the UVF in the Republic which killed 33 people in Dublin and Monaghan.
The gang has also been accused of carrying out murders in counties Armagh, Tyrone and other border counties.
The investigation team is led by Professor Douglass Cassel, president of the board of directors of the Justice Studies Centre of the Americas and director for the Centre for Human Rights in Chicago.
Other members include Piers Pigou who worked with the South African Truth and Reconciliation Commission; Susie Kemp, a barrister who was the legal director of the Centre for Human Rights Legal Rights Action in Guatemala, and Steve Sawyer, a former prosecutor and legal counsel to the Centre for International Human Rights at North Western University in Chicago.
Paul O'Connor of the Pat Finucane Centre, who accompanied the delegation to their first round of meetings with families yesterday, said they hoped to meet Chief Constable Hugh Orde.
The delegation has also requested a meeting with Judge Henry Barron who in a report to the Irish government last December said that any co-operation between British security forces and the UVF was low level.
Arrangements have also been made for the group to talk to former RUC officer John Weir who has made collusion allegations against former colleagues.
Mr O'Connor said: "The purpose of this visit is two-fold. We want to give the families of those murdered a chance to tell an international delegation what they believe and the panel to judge from the testimonies what case there is to answer.
"We also want to see if the panel-can uncover through meetings with the police, the DPP, the courts service, the corners what we have not been able to discover."
* Meanwhile, Willie Frazer of victim's group FAIR has demanded to meet with Chief Constable Hugh Order over the collusion claims.
He said that Armagh residents are "very angry" about allegations of UDR and RUC personnel colluding with loyalist paramilitaries.
Orde Claim 'A Disgrace'
By Dan McGinn
Monday 31st May 2004
THE Chief Constable was under fire last night for suggesting that amnesties for those invloved in murders during the Troubles would have to be considered in any truth and reconciliation process.
MLA Danny Kennedy called Hugh Orde's claim a disgrace.
As Northern Ireland Secretary Paul Murphy embarked on a fact-finding visit to South Africa to learn from its experience of a truth commission, Mr Orde said that amnesties were "a very emotive issue but part of the wider debate does include that debate around amnesties.
"Amnesties have been tried in other places. Peru, for example, had an amnesty and tried an amnesty and it worked in part.
"I think that is part of the process. I think it is also looking at some sort of concilliation process, be it truth and reconciliation notions, be it storytelling. I don't think there is one size which fits all here."
Mr Kennedy said the Chief Constable's remarks in a BBC Radio interview had increased unionist concerns that he was following a line heavily influenced by nationalists on the Policing Board.
"It is almost unbelieveable that the Chief Constable sais what he did," the Newry and Armagh MLA said.
"I would seriously question his commitment on this issue if he is looking at possible amnesty for terrorists.
"He would be better trying to apprehend some of these terrorists for the atrocities they have committed rather than advocating their early release or amnesty."
Mr Murphy announced on Thursday the start of a two-stage consultation process on the Troubles.
He said he would be consulting victims' families, Church leaders, politicians and academics and said the Government was coming to the process with an open mind.
During his visit to Pretoria and Johannesburg this week, he will meet former South African president FW de Klerk and leading African National Congress official Cyril Ramaphosa.
A total of 3,633 people were killed during the Troubles. It is estimated that around half of those murders remain unsolved.
Almost a decade on from the IRA and loyalist paramilitary ceasefires, many Troubles' victims families feel the time has come for the truth to emerge about why their relatives were killed and who was responsible.
With the Saville Inquiry into the deaths of 13 civilians on Bloody Sunday almost complete, and inquiries into a number of controvesial killings also on the horizon, there also have been claims that other atrocities and individual killings have been ignored.
IRISH FREEDOM COMMITTEE® NEWSLIST
Subject: Republican statement: “No More Lies”
Date: Monday, May 31, 2004
In a strongly worded statement released to the press today, a group of
Irish republicans blasted the “tyranny in our midst”, and condemned the
atmosphere of terror and censorship waged on republicans by former
comrades now intent on enforcing a British Treaty in Ireland.
The statement, signed by 21 veteran Irish republicans from Belfast,
Derry, Down, Tyrone, Fermanagh, Monaghan and Dublin, denounced the
current Stormont Treaty leadership as “shameful and contrary to the
principles of Republicanism”.
The document called for an end to the code of silence enforced by the
Treaty leadership, and the pervading threat of being “disappeared” for
continuing to express republican beliefs.
The statement re-affirmed “the honor and integrity of the cause which
sustained our beliefs”. It further stated that republicanism “… does
not belong to a clique – it is owned by all the people who believe and
participate in it” and that the “true spirit of republicanism is not a
cult of personality. “
The statement is printed in the Letters section of today’s Irish News,
and is reprinted in full below the following a story from the same
The Irish Freedom Committee®
For further reading see: GFA ENFORCERS
Monday May 31, 2004
'Tyrannous' Sinn Fein blasted by republicans
By Sharon O’Neill Chief Reporter
DISAFFECTED republicans opposed to the Sinn Fein leadership have called
for a "congress" to "stand against the tyranny in our midst".
In today’s Irish News the 20-strong group, which reflects a broad range
of political opinion, round on mainstream republicanism.
A strongly-worded letter, clearly directed at Sinn Fein and the IRA,
was penned after a series of recent meetings in Belfast.
“Today the ideals we fought for are never spoken of, and those who do
remember them silenced. Our beliefs were traded for the realities of
the current process, a process that suits the interests of political
parties and not the common peoples,” the letter says.
“These realities include a criminalisation of the people’s armies;
corruption that fills the coffers of the elite and expands their
empire, rather than advances the Republic; children beaten, shot, tortured;
comrades isolated, spat upon, silenced, imprisoned, disappeared.
“No more...We stand against the tyranny in our midst. It is time to
come together, to convene a congress of republicans.”
The letter is signed by former Sinn Fein members and other
ex-mainstream republicans including some whose parties are aligned to groups linked
to armed splinter organisations.Good Friday Agreement supporter John Kelly recently
resigned as a seniorSinn Fein politician branding the party a “control dictatorship”.
“I am in support of the sentiments of the statement. There are different
voices who can come together and pick up an agenda of freedom of
speech, freedom of thought,” he said. “As a life-long republican I don’t feelother
republicans should be policing the peace process.”
Former IRA prisoner Anthony McIntyre said: “I feel all republicans
should have a right to express their opinion.
“People have a right to speak, Sinn Fein should not be able to suppress
them and that the IRA should not be able to abduct, kidnap or torture
them. “I am pro-peace, the problem with the Sinn Fein leadership is they are
not, they are pro-process. They are involved in the peace process and
if that process is to be violent, they are violent.”
Ex-IRA hunger striker Dolours Price said she was “entirely frustrated
by the nature of the current process and the way Sinn Fein have been
conducting themselves”. “Their methods of suppressing opinions like John Kelly’s
is becoming quite frightening,” she added. However, a Sinn Fein spokesman said the party
is “happy to engage with the breadth of republican opinion and have done so”.
“As far as I am aware this group has not contacted Sinn Fein. What they
do is entirely a matter for themselves. Sinn Fein have a strategy to
achieve peace and deliver a united Ireland and that remains our focus,”
Monday May 31, 2004
Republicans must make a stand for the ideals of their ancestors
THROUGHOUT the month of May, a group of republicans met in Belfast. The purpose of the meetings was to facilitate all republican ideas, defend the right of people to pursue them free from fear and ensure that the freedom to think is safeguarded.The republicans surveyed the options available to those intent on promoting republicanism. As a result the following points were agreed:
Within the Republican family there should be room for the open airing of our disagreements; we cannot move forward until we are able to do so.
We believe the criminalisation of republicanism in the vacuum of the current process is shameful and contrary to the principles of
It is our duty to stand up against it and speak out.
It is time for republicans to reclaim the honour and integrity of the cause which sustained our beliefs; to stand together against the tyranny of abuse and intimidation employed against anyone who has the courage and fortitude to speak out against the wrongs and injustices they see, or suffer themselves.
Republicans should stand with each other in repossessing the ownership of their struggle. It does not belong to a clique – it is owned by all the people who believe and participate in it. Republicanism is not about corruption, intimidation, or isolation from one another.
It is not self-serving.
It is about the Republic, and that Republic is about people.
The true spirit of republicanism is not a cult of personality.
It is those who have always been the hidden backbone – once upon a time the volunteer, now the taxi driver... the door man, the day labourer, the support staff in hospitals, waitresses, school workers, the unemployed, marginalised, forgotten...
We have all stood together in times of hardship and crisis.
Increasingly we find ourselves standing apart from one another... our destinies loosened from our grip and out of our control.
We once believed we would deliver to each other the Republic in which we would all be equal – Catholic, Protestant and Dissenter.
Today the ideals we fought for are never spoken of – and those who
remember them are silenced. Our beliefs were traded for the realities of the current process, a process that suits the interests of political parties and not the common people.
These realities include a criminalisation of the people’s armies;
corruption that fills the coffers of the elite and expands their
empires, rather than advances the Republic; children being beaten, shotand tortured; and comrades isolated, spat upon, silenced, imprisoned and disappeared.
We stand against the tyranny in our midst. It is time to come together, to convene a congress of republicans, to determine where we are going, to support each other no matter what our differences are, to reclaim our heritage, integrity and honour, to speak out against injustice, corruption and criminality and to stand up for the Republic.
Stand with us. Make your voice heard.
MARTIN CUNNINGHAM, South Down
MICKEY DONNELLY, Derry
PADDY FOX, Tyrone
TOMMY GORMAN, Belfast
BRENDAN HUGHES, Belfast
JOHN KELLY, South Derry
ANTHONY McINTYRE, Belfast
TOMMY McKEARNEY, Monaghan
TONY McPHILIPS, Fermanagh
CLARE MURPHY, Belfast
KEVIN McQUILLAN, Belfast
FRANCIE and GERALDINE PERRY, Downpatrick
MARY ELLEN O’DOHERTY, Derry
FIONBARRA O’DOCHARTAIGH, Derry
NOEL O’REILLY, Belfast
LIAM O RUAIRC, Belfast
DOLOURS PRICE, Dublin
MARIAN PRICE, Belfast
BRENDAN SHANNON, Belfast
ROISIN Ni SHEANAIN, Belfast
CARRIE TWOMEY, Belfast