via IRA suspects map
This is the shocking state of St James Parish church at the junction of Cliftonville and Antrim roads in Belfast.
Built in 1869, of red sandstone, the body of the church was heavily damaged in the Belfast Blitz in 1941. The tower survived and the rest of the church was re-built in 1946.
Brian Moore, in his novel, the Doctor’s Wife, misremembered the bombing and wrote that the spire was destroyed.
Some years ago, as the congregation dwindled, the Representative Church Body, which has held the property of the Church since disestablishment , indicated that they were putting the church on the market.
A local charitable institution proposed that , if the church and halls were transferred to it, for their use, they would be kept in good and proper condition and the small congregation could continue to worship there.
This proposal was rejected and the church was sold to the highest bidder, the Antiochian Orthodox Church of St Ignatius.
Since then , it appears to have been passed on, or sublet to St Gregorios Indian Orthodox Church.
This is the disgraceful condition of the grounds and outer walls.
I do not know how much the Church of Ireland pocketed for this transaction but it flies in the face of practical Christianity.
How long before it goes on fire and becomes an even bigger blot on the landscape?
Following on from my last blog on this, I have test driven the new model, that Jeffrey recommends.
This is the one that the populace are asked to buy, by way of a “consultation”.
The draft Bill is 68 clauses long, and it has 19 schedules. It runs to 120 pages. The section on the HIU has 38 clauses and 16 schedules.
Jeffrey, is the DUP’s spokesman on victims’ issues, so we might assume that he knows what he is talking about.
Lets look at some of the things he has said in Parliament about the establishment of the HIU.
“At present, in fairness to the victims and families who have waited a long time, the proposal is that the historical investigations unit would pick up where the historical inquiries team left off in chronological order. It would be wrong to go back to the beginning and start again, leaving the people who have already waited many years having to wait even longer.”
What does the draft legislation say? Clause 8; deaths must be investigated in chronological order [unless there are exceptional circumstances] . So nul points for that statement.
“It is important that the Government now proceed with the Stormont House agreement and get on with publishing the draft legislation to give innocent victims and others the opportunity to comment on the proposals, so that at last we can begin the process of implementing what has been agreed and the focus will no longer be solely on what the state did.”
This is a consultation, not an opportunity to comment on proposals. Here is a brief summary of what that means:
(1) consultation must be at a time when proposals are still at a formative stage (2) the proposer must give sufficient reasons for any proposal to permit of intelligent consideration and response, and (3) adequate time must be given for consideration and response and (4) that the product of consultation must be conscientiously taken into account in finalising any statutory proposals.
So its not just as simple as Jeffrey would like it to be. What if citizens reject the proposal? Jeffrey asserts that it has been agreed. So is this consultation a sham and a waste of time?
“We endorse the institutions proposed under the agreement, including a new historical investigations unit that would have full police powers, and would take over the work of the PSNI’s legacy investigation branch and the responsibility for reinvestigating the unsolved murders linked to the troubles in Northern Ireland.”
“Two years ago, we reached an agreement in Stormont about the legacy issues and several new institutions were proposed, including an historical investigations unit that would have full police powers to revisit the unsolved murders. The main impact of the establishment of that unit would be that the murders committed by the terrorists would finally be subjected to proper scrutiny and reinvestigation, and the innocent victims that the hon. Member for South Down referred to would have the opportunity to have their cases re-examined to see whether there was the prospect of prosecution and people being brought to justice.”
It’s important to couple these statements, representing a bright shining JeffreyLand and compare them against reality. Here is what the Bill proposes:
Not all troubles related deaths are to be investigated. A time frame has been specified.
Only those which are currently on the books of the PSNI or the PONI will be considered. So if you relative’s case is not with either of these bodies, generally speaking you will not qualify.
Each of these bodies must certify to the HIU that the death requires further investigation. Many will not be so certified and will therefore not be investigated.
HIU is only to investigate any of these deaths it takes on if there is “new evidence”
This means evidence that PSNI/RUC or PONI or HIU did not know of or knew of but was not aware of the relationship between the evidence and the death.
But. The new evidence is to be assessed for credibility and the evidence is to be taken into account with all other relevant information.
So if the HIU thinks the evidence is weak or it is leaned upon by the Spooks , you case will also fall by the wayside.
The Shawcross test is certainly present in Clause 7, where the HIU must not do anything which might prejudice the national security interests of the UK, put at risk the life or safety of any person. This is the get-out to protect informers, who were present or participated in many of the murders.
The suggested presence of informers is a feature of many troubles murders. Some also may involve participating informants. To date these cases have not been solved because of the State’s activity in hiding these persons. The State will continue to hide them.
There seems to be no mechanism for a relative or interested person to make a fresh complaint to the HIU.
The HIU is forbidden from duplicating work. So the HIU could read the papers from the PSNI or the PONI, decide that it will not duplicate the work, that there is no new evidence and bin the case.
Let’s assume that the HIU considers that maybe there is an agent or informer or some State actor. It has no access to the Spooks’ warehouses. It has to ask for information. If you don’t know what the Spooks have got then it’s hard to ask for it. On the other hand the Spooks are under no obligation to hand over information, no matter how relevant it might be.
This could have been [partially] resolved by giving HIU unlimited access to the warehouses. How likely is that?
Worse, the Secretary of State and the Department of Justice can both make regulations limiting the use of secrets.
As a general weapon, the HIU director can bin cases under clause 9 if he feels that they will hinder the completion of his task in five years.
So, how more effective will the HIU be, compared to PSNI/LIB or PONI?
The answer is , not a lot. The Bill is State sponsored sleight of hand. All the faults of the HET , the LIB and the PONI HID are present here. Worse, the State has tightened up the control of State secrets, so informers and agents are better protected than ever. How many cases will be investigated? Nobody knows but it certainly will not be Jeffrey’s assertion that:
“the innocent victims that the hon. Member for South Down referred to would have the opportunity to have their cases re-examined to see whether there was the prospect of prosecution and people being brought to justice.”
If I were guessing the number would be in the hundreds, not thousands.
Jeffrey, as the DUP victims’ expert, is knowingly selling the same old model of car [HET/LIB/HID] , with a new paint job, a radio and go-faster stripes. It still handles badly, takes ages to get anywhere and lets you down at the vital moment.
Don’t buy it!
In the sixties , cars were pretty basic. The standard model had no radio, no heater and no carpets. For those you had to buy the “de luxe” model.
Neither were there many improvements or innovations.
So, in order to sell more models , the company would advertise the “new 1967 model” , which would just be like the 1966 model , except that it would have a different paint job, a new grille and go-faster stripes.
The Historical Enquiries Team was dreamt up by the Brits to make the citizen think that the State was somehow interested in solving the murders of their loved ones. It was a sop, which Sinn Fein IRA were happy to go along with because they had been assured that it would also be a flop. Its modus operandi was to obtain the box containing the investigation file and associated items, dump them onto a desk, read them and put them back in the box. They then used a boiler plate template to produce a “report”. Those of us who objected to this charade were given the privilege of a “focussed report” where the team got off its ass and interviewed a few superannuated RUC men , who could remember nothing.
It was the basic model of investigation.
But now, a new model is in the showroom. The “de Luxe HIU”.
It has those go faster stripes, paint job and grille. But no heater or radio.
And its being sold by this man, your friendly knight of the showroom, Jeffrey Donaldson.
Here’s what he had to say about the HIU and all its works at a Westminster hall debate on 10 January 2017.
“Two years ago, we reached an agreement in Stormont about the legacy issues and several new institutions were proposed, including an historical investigations unit that would have full police powers to revisit the unsolved murders. The main impact of the establishment of that unit would be that the murders committed by the terrorists would finally be subjected to proper scrutiny and reinvestigation, and the innocent victims that the hon. Member for South Down referred to would have the opportunity to have their cases re-examined to see whether there was the prospect of prosecution and people being brought to justice. I accept the point that the hon. Member for South Antrim made about getting evidence for cases from so long ago.
The Stormont House agreement is there. There is currently an impasse between Sinn Féin and the Government on national security. Sinn Féin are demanding that this Government fully disclose in the public domain everything that happened, which would mean that if the Special Air Service had carried out an operation in Loughgall and shot members of the Provisional IRA who were exploding a bomb outside a police station, all that the SAS did—all the rationale, all its modus operandi and all the military planning that went into that operation—would be out in the public domain. How could we ever counter terrorism again if we put in the public domain the very methods that we use to detect what is happening and safeguard life? It is a nonsense that a former terrorist organisation should have the right to demand that a lawful Government put that information in the public domain.
The Government must hold the line on national security; further, they should act now. They need to proceed with the Stormont House agreement.”
Like most car salesmen, Dear Reader , this one is prone to exaggeration and not to be trusted.
His sales patter is a farrago of lies.
What are they?
In the next episode I will kick the tyres, open the bonnet and take Jeffrey’s de luxe model for a spin. Let’s see how it handles, compared to the old model, shall we?
A homeless man who picked up a lost race number and “completed” the London Marathon has been jailed for 16 weeks. Yesterday at Uxbridge magistrates’ court, Stanislaw Skupian (38) was sentenced by magistrates having pleaded guilty at an earlier hearing on 18 May to fraud, after he picked up a race card number dropped by […]
On 6th June 1990 there were, on conservative estimates ,100 RUC informers among the PIRA in Belfast.
Each had a team of handlers, probably four in number, to cover sickness, leave etc. Four hundred so far.
The handlers had bosses; sergeants, inspectors, chief inspectors, superintendents etc. Let’s estimate a further fifty senior officers.
Four hundred and fifty so far.
Then the meetings had to be covered by E4A and others, each one, day by day. Maybe another 100 officers , who would have seen the likes of Scappaticci, Sean Maguire, Brian Gillen etc “singing like canaries” in car parks in Hillsborough, Holywood , Helens Bay etc.
Five hundred and fifty.
The there was the “Hen House” where women, in serried ranks typed up the transcripts of the recordings of the meetings. Another fifty, at least.
Six hundred now.
Move to the civil servants in the NIO and others who read the ‘product’.
Then the Director of Public Prosecutions and his staff…
I’m rounding it up at seven hundred.
Maybe a third are dead.
But out there , today are several hundred people who could help the victims. They could tell the awful story of state involvement in supposedly terrorist murders.
Only a few have spoken out.
Why? Like the Cosa Nostra , the silent ones are motivated by money. Patten payments. Big pensions.
Before turning attention and criticism on the republicans, victims should ask themselves-why the silence? The answer is that the relevant RUC officers and civil servants are corrupt. Like the Mafia.
Who? Think of Flanagan, White, McQuillan , Matchett and Mains, all still earning from the misfortunes of the victims and failing to tell the truth.
This is the real tragedy of the Troubles.
When, in the performance of their roles, do public authorities owe a private law duty of care to those harmed by their actions, and thus face common law tort liability if they discharge their state functions carelessly? The latest case on duties for public authorities, Robinsonv. Chief Constable of West Yorkshire, indicates that the private duties owed in tort by public entities are the same as any other party under the common law. Robinson involved a positive act by police which harmed an innocent bystander; the UKSC was unanimous that the police owed a private duty of care to the victim. The leading opinion by Lord Reed was unequivocal that public authorities face the same test for common law duty of care as any other entity, rather than enduring higher, enjoying more lenient, standards. While Lord Reed’s analysis offers a compelling synthesis of legal precedent, the alternative approach…
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(Legacy, the IRA and Victims – Part I is here.)
There is another aspect of so-called ‘legacy’ in Northern Ireland that all the ‘agreed legacy institutions’ will never address and that is the widespread help given to IRA murderers and bombers by the ordinary members of the nationalist/Catholic community – and for which there hasn’t been any admission or act of repentance, real or symbolic.
The IRA relied upon the support of a large number of sympathisers in the Catholic/Nationalist community:
- to hide weapons and explosives
- to provide ‘safe houses’ where on-the-run volunteers might eat meals, sleep overnight and even plan future attacks
- to provide transport of personnel and sometimes of explosives and weapons
- to provide finance to keep the local IRA activity going
- to allow the use of clean, false I.D.s to be used by IRA volunteers
- to provide information on alleged informers who were later abducted, tortured…
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Commissioner of Police of the Metropolis v DSD and Anor  UKSC 11 – Read Judgment
In an important decision for UK human rights law, the Supreme Court confirmed on 21st February 2018 that the police have a positive operational duty – owed to the individual victims of certain crimes – to conduct an effective investigation under Article 3 of the European Convention on Human Rights.
The decision stems from a claim brought by two victims of John Worboys, a London black cab driver who committed “a legion of sexual offences on women” between 2003 and 2008.
The victims, identified in the proceedings as DSD and NBV, sought damages from the Metropolitan Police, due to various failures in the course of investigating their complaints. The action was brought under sections 7 and 8 of the Human Rights Act (“HRA”) 1998, which enables claims for damages to be pursued in the English…
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