The past isn’t over

“The reason the past cannot be dealt with is that it isn’t over”. A pithy statement by Eamonn McCann.

Let’s imagine in what civilised country the murders of two pensioners in 1990 by a terrorist organisation would be variously regarded by the Chief Constable as “a legacy issue” or by the pro-GFA press as  ‘the past”.

Just a note of caution here. Every government seeks, by whatever means , to shape events and opinions. History tells us that the British target journalists. See Kim Philby, working for the Observer and the Economist. Frederick Forsyth , also a spook. How many of our ‘respected’ journalists are working for the state, being fed information and shaping stories to suit their masters? How many have skeletons which have been dangled before them by the spooks? Each time you read an article in the local press or on TV , ask yourself, who wrote it and why.

I digress. Crimes such as the murder of my parents in 1990 would be relentlessly pursued  by the Israelis.

Well, twenty five years and more on the past isn’t over, no matter what the state tells Dr Maguire , the Police Ombudsman.

No matter what the OFMDFM told the Victims’ Commissioner, when they appointed her.

I will be returning to that august body in my next blog.

The Thugs who lived on the Hill

“One day, we built a house on the hilltop high

Bob and I

Storey  and me , a spoof that Sinners could fill

And were had a laugh to be called

The players  who lived on the Hill

Now , we’re subtracting a thing or two

A paramilitary wing or two

So now we’ll no longer be called the thugs who lived on the hill”

My apologies to Hammerstein and Kern, who were never in the IRA, not even Ira Gershwin.

The Peaceniks, have they gone away?

Apart from the Rev Good, I have not heard one supporter of the “Peace Process” speak out about recent events.

Where are those crowds who cheered the GFA?

Where are the people who lectured me on cynicism and espoused the GFA as a legacy for our children?

Where are all those dull academics whose support propelled them to greatness?

Where are those barristers who strode from the Bar Library to the City Hall to be seen? Judges now…

Where are the hundreds of place persons who are coining it with multiple posts in Quangos?

Have they no opinion on PIRA, which maintains a structure, an army council, guns and £400 million?

Or are they just hoping it will all blow over by the time they return from their exotic holidays?

Backing the wrong side in a revolution has always been a bloody business.

Humpty Dumpty sat on the fence

Humpty Dumpty told Alice that if he ever fell off the wall, the King would send all his horses and all his men to pick him up.

Our own policing Humpty Dumpty can look forward to the Queen sending him a knighthood, providing he stays on the fence.

Last night Sharon O’Neill asked him a very obvious question; “Who is the leader of PIRA?”

His answer was that membership is a criminal offence and he wasn’t going to do or say anything or speculate on anything which could undermine any future court proceedings.

So there you are Dear Reader, the Chief Con is on the case “following the evidence”. Can’t you see him with his magnifying glass and cape , accompanied by Joe 90, examining the footpaths of West Belfast?

Of course he could have arrested a sizeable proportion of PIRA high command the other week when he met them in a hall in West Belfast, a hall being guarded by a PIRA run security company. He shook hands with a man who has murdered many innocent people. The butchers boy from the Bogside.

To imagine for a moment. George causes a file to be sent to Barra-Boy. It contains evidence against senior members of PIRA, it being a proscribed organisation. Barra, because of his past would have to pass it to the team which bought you such block busters as Cahill and McCartney.

This is just a little fantasy for two reasons.

  1. A number of the northern command and the Belfast brigade PIRA are state agents. Therefore George and MI5 know exactly what is going on in PIRA and keep the Secretary of State informed.
  2. I have been asking since 1990 why no senior member of PIRA was questioned about the murders of my parents.

No senior member of PIRA has ever been convicted.

As Northern Ireland descends into chaos and farce with this , Nama, Red Sky and other imbecilic acts, will the unionist parties have the courage to act?

Don’t hold your breath. As they often say in Ahoghill; “Deus ex machina”.

Libya, Semtex , PIRA and the duplicitous British Government

The regular readers of my blog will know that I have a personal interest in the craven behaviour of the British Government in relation to compensation for the PIRA use of Semtex.

There will be more of this in the coming weeks because the Northern Ireland Affairs Committee has promised to conduct an investigation into why every other nationality received compensation except holders of a United Kingdom passport.

It might interest readers, in the meantime, to ponder this statement.

On 11th September 2008, Gordon Brown [surely the worst prime minister since Spencer Perceval] said, in a letter to my lawyers; “Libya has answered questions about its involvement with the IRA to the satisfaction of the UK government”.

So there you have it. Libya supplied tons of arms, ammunition and explosives to the IRA. Hundreds of people were killed but the UK Government is satisfied.

Of course, at this point Blair had done his deals and UK firms were flocking to Libya. So much for the Paddies…..

The dog that didn’t bark

In the Sherlock Holmes story, the Adventure of Silver Blaze, the following exchange takes place.

Gregory [Scotland Yard detective]: “is there any other point to which you wish to draw my attention?”

Holmes: “to the curious incident of the dog in the night”

Gregory: ” the dog did nothing in the night.” [Gregory was trained  at Garnerville]

Holmes: “That was the curious incident”

Patrick Fitzpatrick had his house raided and he was found in possession of a Glock pistol. It would appear that the firearm had no connection to either shooting. Is this the best the state can do?

Obviously an informer was involved in the arrest of Fitzpatrick, or perhaps they ‘were following the evidence’?

Was he a sop?

If the state, Special Branch and MI5 do not know who killed Davison and McGuigan, we are living in a dangerous world.

They penetrated the IRA thirty years ago.

The curious incident is the lack of evidence against any significant player.

The present play acting at Knock is disgraceful.

The Humpty Dumpty world of the Chief Constable

“When use a word” , Humpty Dumpty said in a rather scornful tone,”it means just what I chose it to mean, neither more nor less”. [Lewis Carroll, Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland and through the Looking -Glass]

For a masterly summary of the position, see Ed Moloney in today’s Irish Times.

And so to George Hamilton’s finessing of Supt Geddes’ last statement. Goodness know how many lawyer hours went into it. How many drafts the SOS rejected. What Box had to say about it.

George says that PIRA is a paramilitary organisation, devoted to peaceful means, just like the Salvation Army.

Here are my questions for George:

  1. Has this organisation access to arms and explosives?
  2. Has it killed anyone in the last twenty years?
  3. Who shot Martin McGartland?
  4. If PIRA is committed to politics, who are its politicians?

I’ll bet that I won’t get a reply.

Hamilton says that they will go where the evidence leads. It’s a statement like Hercule Poirot saying ” I suspect everyone and I suspect no-one” [you do the Belgian accent].

In the twenty five years since the murder of my parents, the police have declined to follow the evidence, to the Belfast brigade of the IRA and onwards to McGuinness. What hope is there that anything has changed?

So, when George uses a word, it means precisely what his political masters, who appointed him and who control him, want it to mean.

The Good Old days, when Barra was a pup.

Roy Junkin, sometime deputy director of the DPP, used to remind his staff and police the “we are in the ‘E’ business”. E stood for evidence. A case would not be prosecuted unless and until the evidence supported a reasonable prospect of success of conviction. That was the test.

Barra was just a pup then.

Now the PPS , under Barra’s command, are all over the place.

[Although it should be said that he did apply  for another job]

Consider the Ivor Bell case. As I understand it , the case against him is that he has given interviews to the Boston College project and therein he has incriminated himself in the murder of Jean McConville. Thus he has been charged with membership of the IRA and aiding and abetting her murder.

You might think, Dear Reader that before the police arrested him they had some evidence to support the contention that his voice could be heard on a tape.

The law requires that a police officer must ‘reasonably suspect’ that a crime has been committed before he arrests.

So Bell was arrested in March 2014 and he was charged a few days later. Undoubtedly the PPS would have been involved in the decision to charge.

So that’s it. Police have evidence that he spoke words on tape…..

Well, not exactly, because in May 2015 the PPS had not made up their minds and had involved senior counsel. Not so cut and dried?

The PPS prosecutor needed further time. Further time was afforded by the court and eventually the PPS indicated that the case would proceed. So the prosecutorial test had been passed. “A reasonable prospect of success”. Hurrah!

On 30 July the case was listed for a preliminary enquiry on 22 October 2015 over eighteen months after Bell was arrested.

In the meantime a lawyer in the PPS will be putting the papers in order. Statements of evidence, which already support the contention that Bell is guilty as charged. Just a clerical exercise…..

But, just a minute!

The PSNI wrote  to Ed Moloney, in August 2015 asking if he would cooperate as a witness in the case.

I am tempted to ask “What is Barra-Boy up to?”  Then I remember. In the words of Jim Allister, Barra was Sinn Fein’s lawyer of choice before he took the Queen’s shilling. Many of his clients were senior members of the provisional IRA. He has played no part, I think, in the Bell case.

So the team who are bringing you the Ivor Bell prosecution brought you the Mairia Cahill debacle.

My more constant adherents may wonder why, coming from my background, I find the Bell case so worrying. Five points.

  1. If the State can fit up Bell, so stand we all in peril.
  2. The PPS and particularly its Director are not fit for purpose.
  3. The handling of the case, given its fame, is awful. Cart before the horse. What chance does the ordinary citizen have?
  4. It’s another in a long line of flawed prosecutions.
  5. My father, killed at the hands of the Provisional IRA , taught me to respect the rule of law. It is conspicuously absent here.

Handshake

It is said that it originated as a way of showing that you were unarmed.

English barristers do not shake hands because as ‘ learned friends’ that have no need of this display.

There have been many famous handshakes. Hitler/Chamberlin, Nixon/Mao, Sadat/Begin, Rabin/Arafat, McGuinness/ Elizabeth Saxe- Coburg-Gotha.

These have been ground breaking moments.

So why did  George Hamilton , stolid, NIO Gopher, go to West Belfast and shake the hand of  McGuinness, terrorist, gunman, murderer of policemen and others, member of PIRA Northern Command, and sometime member of PIRA Army Council?

What was the hidden agenda? What was the purpose? McGuinness confessed to having been momentarily in  PIRA, like Clinton confessed to smoking dope but not inhaling.

Is there a clue in what was said?

Hamilton  said ” there were serious problems with policing in the past”.

McGuinness said “tonight is another act of reconciliation”.

Leaving aside the  Relate-like language of these two almost former lovers [you don’t bring me flowers anymore], on whose behalf does Hamilton speak? Certainly not those officers killed, maimed or still living daily with their scars.

Certainly not on behalf of my parents, whom he refers to as a “legacy issue”.

Perhaps on behalf of Bryan Harold Harris or Anne Harris? The brother and mother of his deputy, whose father was killed by PIRA on 8 October 1989, on the orders of McGuinness?

Will he look his deputy in the eye on Monday morning?

Is the message from the PSNI that there will be no more arrests of senior Provos? Their head of intelligence Bobby Storey shared the platform. Hamilton had no issue with that.

And what of the other branches of government? Who knows what messages are being whispered into the ears of the judges in the back corridor?

The Secretary of State may not be able to fix welfare reform but there is a lot more on the republican agenda that we don’t see and which can be attended to.

Not all landmark handshakes survive. Hitler, Arafat…maybe we can add Marty and Liz to that list?

But wait! the most famous modern handshake of all! Blair and Gadafy! I’m coming for you soon Tony!

The Police Ombudsman –progress report II

Back in 2006, when I was an innocent sort of chap, who didn’t think that the state would be complicit in the murders of a retired policeman and his wife , I made a complaint to the Ombudsman about the standard of investigation into their murders.

In 2015, when the scales had fallen from my eyes, I made an entirely different complaint, naming each member of the bomb team and asserting that some, if not all of them were state agents. The Ombudsman, who I shall hereafter call the ‘Big O” has declined to investigate my complaint. The basis for the refusal is that the 2001 regulations “carves out a discretionary exception to these limitations”

I began studying law in 1967 and this phrase is new to me but perhaps I’m just not keeping up.

Nuala O’Loan has said that she came under pressure from the state to  refuse to investigate matters.

Maguire, the present Big O is of course a man who has been a state employee for some time and one wonders about his impartiality. Anyway, I have sought clarification from him.

Who made this decision and what is the precise statutory basis for it?

Students of law and others might be interested in looking at regulation 9 [2] of the 2001 regulations, which “carves out” , if this is the new legal argot, an exception if the new complaint is “not the same or substantially the same as a previous complaint”. My original complaint was that the investigation was inadequate. My new complaint is that the state was complicit. They are different complaints.

Of course, the list of state agents in my letter will have caused panic in the Establishment and has resulted in  a threat from at least one agent.

It’s disappointing that the Big O’s  refusal is so amateurish but that’s what you get in Norn Iron.

So, let’s see what the response is.

Aside from the stupidity of it all, how many people, less advantaged than I am, have been spoofed by the Big O?