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Date: Márta / March 7, 2005

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In this issue:

Who is the legitimate successor?
Derryman released from Maghaberry
Man chased into school by RIR British soldiers
Plane ‘used in US terrorist snatch’ passed through Shannon
Trial of anti-war activists
Orde reveals Provos talk to RUC/PSNI

RUAIRÍ Ó Brádaigh, President, Republican Sinn Féin, replying to a comment on the Provo Ard-Fheis at the weekend carried on RTÉ Five-Seven Live just before 6pm on Monday, March 7 said that it stated quite accurately that whatever else that Ard-Fheis was it was not the centenary national convention of Sinn Féin.

He continued: “It went on to say quite inaccurately that both Provisional Sinn Féin and Republican Sinn Féin were new organisations founded in 1970 and 1986 respectively. They were not. On both occasions the Constitution of Sinn Féin was broken at an Ard-Fheis leaving the minority with no other option only to withdraw and continue the Ard-Fheis elsewhere.

“ ‘Provisional’ Sinn Féin was the continuation of Sinn Féin under the self-same constitution as was ‘Republican” Sinn Féin in its turn sixteen years later.

“Republican Sinn Féin will celebrate the centenary of the organisation under the unbroken constitution next November near to the date of the original and founding Ard-Fheis in the Rotunda, Dublin on November 28, 1905.”

MARTIN ‘Ducksy’ Doherty, who was sentenced to three months in prison for refusing to give evidence to the British Saville Inquiry into the killing of 13 civilians (he only man to have been sent to jail in connection with Bloody Sunday)was released from Maghaberry jail on March 4, having served 44 days.

He said that he had been “harassed” by the Saville Inquiry’s legal team: “I had people calling to my home at 7am. I had letters and letters. Why should I have been punished like this when Colonel Wilford and the people who actually perpetrated this have not. They have been decorated and given medals, they refused to answer any questions on the stand.”

Ducksy Doherty described the conditions in Maghaberry prison as “intolerable” for Republican prisoners.

“I was strip-searched five times. There’s a bigger issue and its about the treatment of Republican prisoners in Maghaberry.”

He said that Republican prisoners are locked up for long periods and are forced to eat “facing the toilet”. He described an exercise yard at the prison as “a budgie cage” and he also criticised a lack of educational resources.

At present there are 27 Republican prisoners held in Maghaberry.

The prison authorities asked him to sign a form to smoke a pipe, something he refused to do. He also refused to sign the “compact for separated prisoners”, a glossy pamphlet handed to him for signing by the prison authorities.

John Kelly, whose brother Michael was shot on Bloody Sunday by a British paratrooper said he was delighted at the release of Martin Doherty

GARY Donnelly (28), from south Armagh was walking to work during the week ending March 5 when he was stopped at an RIR [British soldiers] checkpoint near Foley Primary School in Ballymacnab, Co Armagh.

He said the soldiers asked him for personal details and when he didn’t reply told him they could arrest him under the Terrorism Act.

He said: “They tried to hold me and were grabbing at me so I decided to run away from them. They came after me and I thought I was going to be shot.

“The only place I could think of going to was to the local primary school. I ran into the school and went into a classroom. I asked the teacher if I could wait there and then I noticed the soldiers coming into the school grounds after me so I tried to get away from them.

“They caught me and the secretary of the school came out and pleaded with them to let me go. It’s totally out of order that they can treat people like this.”

Gary Donnelly has an injured shoulder after the incident and is worried that the RIR will come after him again.

Local residents and concerned parents were reported to be outraged by the incident.

A PLANE being used for an alleged illegal snatch of a suspect passed through Shannon twice in January 2003. It was also spotted there in August by members of the Aviation Society of Ireland. The Boeing 707, identification number N313P, at the time owned by what is believed to be a CIA front company, Premier Executive Transport Services.

The Boeing 707, along with a Gulfstream V craft, which has landed in Shannon at least 13 times in the last two years, is known to have been used to pick up persons who have been illegally snatched in various countries and bring them for interrogation either to Guantanamo Bay in Cuba, Bagram Air Base in Afghanistan or to a third country, such as Jordan, Egypt, Uzbekistan and Syria.

A number of illegal snatches have already been documented, including two men in Sweden who were taken to Egypt and a Canadian engineer at JFK Airport, who was transported to Syria. US news sources say the administration has now stopped sending suspects to Syria.

Those who have surfaced say they have been tortured after being grabbed and transported.

Khaled el-Masri, a German citizen, was on holiday in Macedonia when he was taken off a bus and brought to a motel outside the capital city of Skopje. Three weeks later, on January 23, he was brought blindfolded aboard what he believed to be a jet.

He said, “he was chained to clamps on the bare metal floor and wall of the jet.”

Mr el-Masri claimed he was flown to Afghanistan, to a US prison facility where he said he was shackled, repeatedly punched and questioned about alleged extremists at his mosque in Germany. He said he was released five months later, flown back to Macedonia and left by the side of a road.

Flight logs show the Boeing 707, which had its named ownership and identification changed late last year, flew out of Dulles Airport in Washington on January 16 and landed in Shannon early the following day. After a number of stops, it landed in Skopje on January 23, then travelled to Baghdad and finally to Kabul, Afghanistan.

Anti-war activists here have urged gardaí to investigate the use of Shannon by these two planes. A spokesperson for the Anti-War Movement said, “the law on torture, enshrined in the Criminal Justice Act, 2000, states that a person, whatever nationality, whether within or outside the State, who attempts to commit or conspires to commit the offence of torture, shall be guilty of an offence.” They have also made an official complaint to the gardaí.

The 26-County Administration said it had been assured by the US authorities that our airports have not been used to illegally transport suspects and that they would not do so in the future without seeking the authorisation.

A spokesperson speaking for Cumann Mac Curtáin / Mac Suibhne of Republican Sinn Féin in Cork said, “Again the United States authorities show no respect for human rights, while it carries out its imperial war policies. The 26-County Administration by allowing the use of Irish airports and airspace for flyovers are assisting the US in the name of the Irish people in its continued illegal occupation of Iraq and Afghanistan, and facilitating further torture and abductions. The continuing use of Shannon by United States aircraft is a breach of Irish neutrality and as such must stop immediately.”

THE trial of the five Pit Stop Ploughshares Catholic Workers commenced at the Four Courts on March 7.

Deirdre Clancy, Nuin Dunlop, Karen Fallon, Ciaran O’Reilly and Damien Moran are charged with two counts of criminal damage — €100 and €2.5million. They say that on February 3, 2003 they ‘made their way into Shannon Airport and non-violently disarmed a US Navy warplane’.

They and their supporters have planned a series of events for the week during the trial. They will meet every morning at 8.30am at the Spire in O’Connell Street. At 9.20am they will walk to the Four Courts where supporters will maintain a presence outside the court until 5pm.

They will be highlighting issues surrounding the use of Shannon by the US Military on its way to an illegal invasion of Iraq such as that the Shannon Airport Authorities have received €40 since 2001 and that €6 million in Irish taxpayers money has been used to subsidise US military flight fees at Shannon.

Those military flights are not all about transporting men and arms to Iraq. According to Village (26 Feb-4Mar) ‘an American Boeing 737 aircraft (registration number N313P) used by the CIA to abduct terrorist suspects in various parts of the world, was routed through Shannon and Dublin on 14 occasions from January 1, 2003 to the end of 2004’ and goes on to list the 14 flights. Up to last November the Free State Minister for Justice, Michael McDowell, denies all knowledge of such flights.

IN A report in a Belfast newspaper on March 2 it was revealed that Provisional representatives regularly talk to police “behind the scenes” on a regular basis. The claim was made by Hugh Orde, Chief Constable of the RUC/PSNI.


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