Irish Blog Whacked

Wednesday, May 22, 2013

SOLDIER BOX conscientious

“Recent history exposes the real face of the imperial project - kill-teams, Bagram prison, UK troops raping children, [Nazi] SS flags flying, Koran burning, house raids, kidnapping, torture, murder and mayhem. It is not a case of one loose cannon ruining the good work that has been done. This is a case of imperialism doing what imperialism does,” British Soldier - Joe Glenton

A former British soldier, who was jailed for refusing to fight, has revealed the horror behind the mask of “Britain as a force for good, liberty and democracy”.

Bobby Sands Lives At US Gulag
The Reason for Hunger Strikes-from Northern Ireland To Guantanamo 

By Ann Wright
May 21, 2013 "Information ClearingHouse" -"War IsA Crime" - I'm in Northern Ireland and yesterday on May 20, 2013, I spoke with several members of the Northern Ireland Parliament. With over 100 prisoners in Guantanamo on a 100 day hunger strike, the Obama administration would be wise to talk to some of them too--about the importance and legacy of hungerstrikes.

In 1981, Pat Sheehan was one of the Maze Prison hunger strikers-a hunger strike that brought huge international attention to the Northern Ireland "Troubles," with the goal of forcing the British government to treat those imprisoned as political prisoners, not criminals. Hunger strikers demanded the right to wear civilian clothes, the right to education and recreational opportunities, freedom from work obligations, and a set of other benefits not afforded to other inmates. Pat was on the hunger strike for 55 days and still alive when the hunger strike was called off by the prisoners.

Bobby Sands became the most famous of the 10 who died during the hunger strikes when he was elected to Parliament while on the hunger strike-Francis Hughes, Raymond McLeish, Patsy O'Hara, Joe McDonnell, Martin Hurson, Kevin Lynch, Kieran Doherty, Thomas McElwee, Michael Devine also died.

After one prisoner died from his lung punctured from a feeding tube through the throat, the British ended force feeding those on hunger strikes. The British government eventually granted most of the hunger strikers’ demands. Public opinion changed dramatically in favor of those imprisoned and on the hunger strike.

Now Pat Sheehan is a member of the Northern Ireland Parliament. The Good Friday Peace Accord brokered by the Clinton administration brought to a close, a violent chapter in British and Northern Ireland relationships. The Peace Accord allowed former political prisoners to become part of the political process.

One never knows the future of those who have been imprisoned for political crimes--after peace talks, many may become political leaders, like Gerry Adams and Pat Sheehan. No one can predict the future paths of those in Guantanamo, but one can be assured that the continued imprisonment of those cleared for release from Guantanamo is disastrous for the individual and for the United States.

President Obama would be wise to call former hunger striker and now Northern Ireland Parliamentarian Pat Sheehan!
Ann Wright served 29 years in the US Army/Army Reserves and retired as a Colonel. She also worked as a US diplomat for 16 years and served in US Embassies in Nicaragua, Grenada, Somalia, Uzbekistan, Kyrgyzstan, Micronesia, Afghanistan and Mongolia. She resigned from the US government in 2003 in opposition to President Bush’s war on Iraq. In 2006, she was on a delegation to Guantanamo, Cuba to challenge the US prison at Guantanamo.

McKevitt appeal decision 'another injustice'

The Republican Network for Unity has condemned the decision of a court in Dublin not to allow an appeal by Michael McKevitt to proceed, describing the case as a miscarriage of justice.
Mr McKevitt was arrested in 2001 on the word of a paid informer David Rupert who identified him as a leader of the 'Real IRA'. In August 2003, he became the first person in the history of the 26 County state to be jailed on the charge of 'directing terrorism'.
His lawyers had argued that a search warrant used to raid his home was invalid, as it was issued under an act later found to be unconstitutional by the Supreme Court; and that evidence used against McKevitt was taken while he was not legally represented.
In a recent ruling, the three judge panel accepted an argument by the State that Mr McKevitt had already exhausted his right of appeal. It also acceded to the State's application to strike out the matter because his application was "unstateable and unarguable."
"Once again Michael McKevitt and his family have been denied any semblance of justice," the RNU said.
"This man is now entering his 12th year of imprisonment. He was convicted on the word of David Rupert an agent and convicted fraudster, in the pay of MI5, FBI and in all probability also in the employment of the 26 county intelligence services. "Michael McKevitt was tried and convicted in the media long before he appeared before the special criminal court, he was arrested on a warrant that has now been ruled unlawful -- but not in Michael's case. Even after all the long years of his imprisonment these agencies still fear his principled unyielding Republicanism.
"This case is yet another example of interment via judicial process along side Marian Price from Belfast, Tony Taylor from Derry and Martin Corey from Lurgan.
"RNU once again calls for the immediate release of of these prisoners and demand Amnesty International declare them political prisoners."

GCHQ staff scolded over claiming Julian Assange was Framed

Internal GCHQ emails obtained by Mr Assange, who has been holed up in the Ecuadorian embassy in London since seeking refuge there last June against extradition to Sweden, showed staff saying they thought the charges were “definitely a fit-up”.
Mr Assange obtained the emails by requesting the material under the Data Protection Act, and GCHQ has asked staff to behave more professionally after the Wikileaks founder, who has been ordered to stand trial in Sweden over the sexual assault allegations, revealed the contents.
One email sent in September 2012 by a GCHQ officer to a colleague, and which refers to the publication of more than 250,000 US diplomatic cables by WikiLeaks, says: "They are trying to arrest him on suspicion of XYZ... It is definitely a fit-up... Their timings are too convenient right after Cablegate".
In another email, sent in August 2012, an employee writes: "He reckons he will stay in the Ecuadorian embassy for six to 12 months when the charges against him will be dropped, but that is not really how it works now, is it? He's a fool... Yeah... A highly optimistic fool.”
Mr Assange revealed the emails during an interview with a Spanish television channel, telling the presenter: "This is what the spies are discussing among themselves.
"It [GCHQ] won't hand over any of the classified information. But, much to its surprise, it has some unclassified information on us. We have just received this. It is not public yet."
A GCHQ spokesman told the Independent: "We acknowledge that some of these comments were inappropriate but emphasise that no decisions were taken by GCHQ on the basis of these comments, nor was any reliance placed on them. We have reminded staff of the importance of professional behaviour at all times.
"As was made clear to Mr Assange when the information was disclosed to him, the comments he referred to were a small number of casual observations on current affairs issues made by a handful of staff on GCHQ's informal communications channels... We have given him all of the information that he is entitled to under the Act.”
“We are not able to comment on whether or not any material has been exempted,” the spokesman added.
Mr Assange and his supporters have claimed that the rape allegations made against him by two women in Sweden are part of an international conspiracy in a bid to silence him after WikiLeaks caused huge embarrassment in Washington when it released thousands of us administration diplomatic cables,
His final appeal against extradition to Sweden was dismissed by the UK Supreme Court in June 2012, and four days later he took refuge in the Ecuadorian embassy.
Bradley Manning, a US soldier, has been charged with supplying classified material to WikiLeaks, and his trial is due to start next month.


Died May 21st, 1981
A quiet, good-natured and discreet republican
The third of the resolutely determined IRA Volunteers to join the H-Block hunger strike for political status was twenty-four-year-old Raymond McCreesh, from Camlough in South Armagh: a quiet, shy and good-humoured republican, who although captured at the early age of nineteen, along with two other Volunteers in a British army ambush, had already almost three years active republican involvement behind him.
During those years he had established himself as one of the most dedicated and invaluable republican activists in that part of the six counties to which the Brits themselves have – half-fearfully, half-respectfully – given the name ‘bandit country’ and which has become a living legend in republican circles, during the present war, for the courage and resourcefulness of its Volunteers: the border land of South Armagh.
Raymond’s resolve to hunger strike to the death, to secure the prisoners’ five demands was indicated in a smuggled-out letter written by Paddy Quinn, an H-Block blanket man – who was later to embark on hunger strike himself – who was captured along with Raymond and who received the same fourteen year sentence: “I wrote Raymie a couple of letters before he went to the prison hospital. He wrote back and according to the letter he was in great spirits and very determined. A sign of that determination was the way he finished off by saying: Ta seans ann go mbeidh me abhaile rombat a chara’ which means: There is a chance that I’ll be home before you, my friend!”
Captured in June 1976, and sentenced in March 1977, when he refused to recognise the court, Raymond would have been due for release in about two years’ time had he not embarked on his principled protest for political status, which led him, ultimately, to hunger strike.
Raymond Peter McCreesh, the seventh in a family of eight children, was born in a small semi-detached house at St. Malachy’s Park, Camlough – where the family still live – on February 25th, 1957.
The McCreeshes, a nationalist family in a staunchly nationalist area, have been rooted in South Armagh for seven generations, and both Raymond’s parents – James aged 65, a retired local council worker, and Susan (whose maiden name is Quigley), aged 60 – come from the nearby townland of Dorsey.
Raymond was a quiet but very lively person, very good-natured and – like other members of his family – extremely witty. Not the sort of person who would push himself forward if he was in a crowd, and indeed often rather a shy person in his personal relationships until he got to know a person well. Nevertheless, in his republican capacity he was known as a capable, dedicated and totally committed Volunteer who could show leadership and aggression where necessary.
Among both his family and his republican associates, Raymond was renowned for his laughter and for “always having a wee smile on him”. His sense of humour remained even during his four-year incarceration in the H-Blocks, as well as during his hunger strike where he continued to insist that he was “just fine.”
Raymond went first to Camlough primary school, and then to St. Coleman’s college in Newry. It was at St. Coleman’s that Raymond met Danny McGuinness, also from Camlough, and the two became steadfast friends. They later became republican comrades, and Danny too then a nineteen-year-old student who had just completed his ‘A’ levels was captured along with Raymond and Paddy Quinn, and is now in the H-Blocks.
At school, Raymond’s strongest interest was in Irish language and Irish history, and he read widely in those subjects. His understanding of Irish history led him to a fervently nationalist outlook, and he was regarded as a ‘hothead’ in his history classes, and as being generally “very conscious of his Irishness”.
He was also a sportsman, and played under-sixteen and Minor football for Carrickcruppin Gaelic football club as well as taking a keen interest in the local youth club where he played basketball and pool, and was regarded a good snooker player.
When he was fourteen years old, Raymond got a weekend job working on a milk round through the South Armagh border area, around Mullaghbawn and Dromintee. Later on, after leaving his job in Lisburn, he worked full-time on the milk round, where he would always stop and chat to customers. He became a great favourite amongst them and many enquired about him long after he left the round.
During the early ‘seventies, the South Armagh border area was the stamping ground of the British army’s Parachute regiment, operating out of Bessbrook camp less than two miles from Raymond’s home. Stories of their widespread brutality and harassment of local people abound, and built-up then a degree of resentment and resistance amongst most of the nationalist population that is seen to this day.
The SAS terror regiment began operating in this area in large numbers too, in a vain attempt to counter republican successes, and the high level of assassinations of local people on both sides of the South Armagh border, notably three members of the Reavey family in 1975, was believed locally to have been the work both of the SAS, and of UDR and RUC members holding dual membership with ‘illegal’ loyalist paramilitary organisations.
Given this scenario and Raymond’s understanding of Irish history, it is small wonder that he became involved in the republican struggle.
He first of all joined na Fianna Eireann early in 1973 and towards the end of that year joined the Irish Republican Army’s 1st Battalion, South Armagh.
Even before joining the IRA, and despite his very young age, Raymond – with remarkable awareness and maturity – became one of the first Volunteers in the South Armagh area to adopt a very low, security conscious, republican profile.
He rarely drank, but if occasionally in a pub he would not discuss either politics or his own activities, and he rarely attended demonstrations or indeed anything which would have brought him to the attention of the enemy.
It was because of this remarkable self-discipline and discretion that during his years of intense republican involvement Raymond was never once arrested or even held for screening in the North, and only twice held briefly in the South.
Consequently, Raymond was never obliged to go ‘on the run’, continuing to live at home until the evening of his capture, and always careful not to cause his family any concern or alarm.
Fitted in with his republican activities Raymond would relax by going to dances or by going to watch football matches at weekends.
After leaving school he spent a year at Newry technical college studying fabrication engineering, and afterwards got a job at Gambler Simms (Steel) Ltd. in Lisburn. He had a conscientious approach to his craft but was obliged to leave after a year because of a fear of assassination.
Each day he travelled to work from Newry, in a bus along with four or five mates who had got jobs there too from the technical college, but the prevailing high level of sectarian assassinations, and the suspicion justifiably felt of the predominantly loyalist work-force at Gambler Simms, made Raymond, and many other nationalist workers, decide that travelling such a regular route through loyalist country side was simply too risky.
So, after leaving the Lisburn factory, Raymond began to work full-time as a milk roundsman, an occupation which would greatly have increased his knowledge of the surrounding countryside, as well as enabling him to observe the movements of British army patrols and any other untoward activity in the area.
Republican activity in that area during those years consisted largely of landmine attacks and ambushes on enemy patrols.
Raymond had the reputation of a republican who was very keen to suggest and take part in operations, almost invariably working in his own, extremely tight, active service unit, though occasionally, when requested – as he frequently was – assisting other units in neighbouring areas with specific operations. He would always carefully consider the pros and cons of any operation, and would never panic or lose his nerve.
In undertaking the hunger strike, Raymond gave the matter the same careful consideration he would have expended on a military operation, he undertook nothing either a rush, or for bluff.
The operation which led to the capture of Raymond, his boyhood friend, Danny McGuiness, and Patrick Quinn, took place on June 25th, 1976.
An active service unit comprising these three and a fourth Volunteer arrived in a commandeered car at a farmyard in the town land of Sturgan a mile from Camlough – at about 9.25 p.m.
Their objective was to ambush a covert Brit observation post which they had located opposite the Mountain House Inn, on the main Newry – Newtonhamilton Road, half-a-mile away. They were not aware, however, that another covert British observation post, on a steep hillside half-a-mile away, had already spotted the four masked, uniformed and armed Volunteers, clearly visible below them, and that radioed helicopter reinforcements were already closing in.
As the fourth Volunteer drove the commandeered car down the road to the agreed ambush point, to act as a lure for the Brits, the other three moved down the hedgeline of the fields, into position. The fourth Volunteer, however, as he returned, as arranged, to rejoin his comrades, spotted the British Paratroopers on the hillside closing in on his unsuspecting friends and, although armed only with a short range Stengun, opened fire to warn the others.
Immediately, the Brits opened fire with SLRs and light machine-guns, churning up the ground around the Volunteers with hundreds of rounds, firing indiscriminately into the nearby farmhouse and two vehicles parked outside, and killing a grazing cow!
The fourth Volunteer was struck by three bullets, in the leg, arm and chest, but managed to crawl away and to elude the massive follow up search, escaping safely – though seriously injured – the following day.
Raymond and Paddy Quinn ran zig-zag across open fields to a nearby house, under fire all this time, intending to commandeer a car. Unfortunately, the car belonging to the occupants of the house was parked at a neighbour’s house several hundred yards away. Even then the pair might have escaped but that they delayed several minutes waiting for their comrade, Danny McGuinness, who however had got separated from them and had taken cover in a disused quarry outhouse (where he was captured in a follow-up operation the next day).
The house in which Raymond and Paddy took cover was immediately besieged by berserk Paratroopers who riddled the house with bullets. Even when the two Volunteers surrendered, after the arrival of a local priest, and came out through the front door with their hands up, the Paras opened fire again and the Pair were forced to retreat back into the house.
On the arrival of the RUC, the two Volunteers again surrendered and were taken to Bessbrook barracks where they were questioned and beaten for three days before being charged.
One remarkable aspect of the British ambush concerns the role of Lance-Corporal David Jones, a member of the 3rd Battalion, the Parachute regiment. According to Brit statements at the trial it was he who first opened up on the IRA active service unit from the hillside.
Nine months later, on March 16th, 1977 two IRA Volunteers encountered two Paratroopers (at the time seconded to the SAS) in a field outside Maghera in South Derry. In the ensuing gun battle, one SAS man was shot dead, and one IRA Volunteer was captured. The Volunteer’s name was Francis Hughes, the dead Brit was Lance-Corporal David Jones of the Parachute regiment.
In the eighteen months before going on hunger strike together neither Raymond McCreesh or Francis Hughes were aware of what would seem to have been an ironic but supremely fitting example of republican solidarity!
After nine months remand in Crumlin Road jail, Raymond was tried and convicted in March 1977, of attempting to kill Brits, possession of a Garand rifle and ammunition, and IRA membership. He received a fourteen-year sentence, and lesser concurrent sentences, after refusing to recognise the court.
In the H-Blocks he immediately joined the blanket protest, and so determined was his resistance to criminalisation that he refused to take his monthly visits for four years, right up until he informed his family of his decision to go on hunger strike on February 15th, this year. He also refused to send out monthly letters, writing only smuggled ‘communications’ to his family and friends.
The only member of his family to see him at all during those four years in Long Kesh two or three times – was his brother, Fr. Brian McCreesh, who occasionally says Mass in the H-Blocks.
Like Francis Hughes, Raymond volunteered for the earlier hunger strike, and, when he was not chosen among the first seven, took part in the four-day hunger strike by thirty republicans until the hunger strike ended on December 18th, last year.
Speaking to his brother, Malachy, shortly after Bobby Sands death, Raymond said what a great loss had been felt by the other hunger strikers, but it had made them more determined than ever.
And still managing to keep his spirits up, when told of his brother, Fr. Brian, campaigning for him on rally platforms, Raymond joked: “He’ll probably get excommunicated for it.”
To Britain’s eternal shame, the sombre half-prediction made by Raymond to his friend Paddy Quinn – Ta seans ann go mbeid me abhaile rombat – became a grim reality. Bhi se. Raymond died at 2.11 a.m. on Thursday May 21st, 1981, after 61 days on hunger strike.


Senior British government officials permitted a campaign of state-backed killings by unionist paramilitaries and the RUC (now PSNI) police to be conducted at the height of the conflict, a senior security adviser for the British government has finally admitted.
The admission in advice to British Prime Minister David Cameron comes after the Downing Street continues to block a genuine inquiry into the 1989 murder of Pat Finucane, a US congressional committee was told on Wednesday.
The point-blank assassination of the Belfast lawyer, who was gunned down in front of his wife and children as he ate his Sunday dinner, remains one of the most controversial state killings in the North.
Last year, Cameron made an apology in the British parliament to the Finucane family, admitting “shocking” collusion in his murder between Loyalist paramilitaries and the RUC. However, he denied any political conspiracy existed, while refusing a public inquiry which could have exposed that claim as false.
However, a letter written in July 2011 by senior official Ciaran Martin admits that internal classified documents supported the Finucane family’s claims.
“[S]ome of the evidence available only internally could be read to suggest that within government at a high level this systematic problem with loyalist agents was known, but nothing was done about it,” said the letter.
“It’s also potentially the case that credible suspicions of agent involvement in Mr Finucane’s murder were made known at senior levels after it and that nothing was done; the agents remained in place. These two points essentially aren’t public.”
Mr Cameron was accused of perpetuating a “massive injustice” for his continued refusal to allow a public inquiry or to admit that the collusion was politically sanctioned.In a hearing in Washington DC this week, Mr Cameron was accused of seeking to protect politicians and senior British government officials who had turned a blind eye to the murder.
Chris Smith, chair of the human rights sub-committee of the House Committee on Foreign Affairs castigated him for its refusal to allow a full inquiry.
“The British government has reserved one final, yet massive injustice,” he said, “it continues to protect those responsible for the murder of Pat Finucane.”
Mr Finucane’s son, Michael, told the committee that he believed the collusion with unionist paramilitaries “was a deep-rooted, officially sanctioned policy of selecting targets based on their degree of opposition to the State.
“The more troublesome the individual, the more likely the State was to deploy its killers-by-proxy to erase the ‘problem’.”
The British government had first offered a public inquiry into his father’s killing in 2001 during peace talks but then consistently “welshed” on the commitment, Mr Finucane said.
In 2004, a review by Canadian Supreme Court Justice Peter Cory called for a public inquiry, but after repeated delays the British government agreed in 2011 only to a’review’ of the case papers.
“My family would not be permitted to see any of the documents nor would we be allowed to hear witnesses called to give evidence or ask them any questions,” said Mr Finucane, arguing that the review was totally inadequate and repeating calls for a full judicial inquiry.
The existence of the security letter first emerged last month at a Belfast High Court hearing challenging Downing Street’s decision not to allow a full inquiry.
The judge ordered the government to hand over minutes of the July 2011 cabinet meeting at which the decision was taken to deny a public inquiry, and correspondence between Downing Street officials and MI5. It is still unclear whether the documents will actually be made available to the Finucane family.
© 2013 Irish Republican News



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