The British government can revoke Article 50 anytime they choose

The European Court of Justice issued a decision saying that Article 50 can be revoked by the UK. That means that at any time before the UK officially leave the EU in March, the British Government could simply decide to stay permanently.

With many thanks to the: Irish Republican Socialist Party (IRSP) for the original posting.

‘Any Taig Will Do’. Courts Call Bullshit On Paramilitary Crime Task Force.

Tarlach MacDhónaill is scathing of a PSNI scam in West Belfast.

RUC/PSNI Detective Superintendent Bobby Singleton.

Detective Superintendent Bobby Singleton was once literally a ‘Bobby’, patrolling the Lower Falls area of West Belfast and getting to know, no doubt, all the main names of the ‘underground’ world in that district.

In all likelihood then, the well-groomed PSNI golden boy knew full well, that none of those arrested in his old stomping ground on September 30th, (one of whom was charged with possession of a large amount of Cocaine) had any connection to the Irish National Liberation Army.

Yet Bobby Singleton now leads the PSNI’s ‘Paramilitary Crime Task Force’ which has been granted £25 Million over the period of five years as part of the Fresh Start Agreement, such figures demand results or at least the perception of results.

In a bizarre sequence of events on Tuesday last, charges against three Belfast men of ‘Conspiracy to rob a Boojum burrito bar’ were shot out of the sky by a Judge at first hearing due to the absence of that most basic Judicial requirement called evidence. One of the three was then remanded on a separate charge of possessing Cocaine with intent to supply. £140 000 worth of Cocaine.

The Irish Republican Socialist Party then released a statement in which they stated their belief that the PSNI had concocted a ‘sham charge’ against all three men and in so doing had dragged “two unconnected individuals into the dock, alongside a person separately charged with possession of Cocaine”, all in an attempt to create the impression of a collective conspiracy to supply Class A drugs in West Belfast.

In a PSNI press statement released on the morning of the arrests, Singleton had claimed that his force had been involved in an operation ‘focused on the criminal activities of the Belfast INLA.’ It succeeded in creating banner headlines and no doubt gave large sections of the public the general impression that the Belfast INLA was somehow and somewhere involved in the supply of Class A drugs.

Such an allegation would have had an obvious negative impact on the IRSP in West Belfast. Some weeks earlier their activists had made the front page of the local Andersonstown News for smashing a Cocaine supply operation in the same Divis area in which the latest Drug find in question had occurred.

Within that article, concerned parents of several local youths (victims of a predatory West Belfast drugs ring) claimed to have turned to the IRSP for help as they had (in their own words) ‘absolutely no faith’ in the PSNI.

The IRSP clearly believe now that Bobby Singleton has attempted to smear Republican Socialism in the Divis area by wrongly implicating the INLA in the very activity that the party were claiming to successfully oppose in the absence of local support for the PSNI – Drug dealing.

Their theory holds (at the very least) as much credence as the conspiracy charges which Singleton unsuccessfully tried to put before Judge Fiona Bagnall during his now doomed operation. The pressure which his ‘Paramilitary Crime Task Force’ no doubt comes under to be seen ‘balance the books’ following months of high-profile actions against Loyalist paramilitaries, gives further weight to IRSP suggestions that in the absence of genuine Republican ‘Paramilitary Crime’, Bobby Singleton has instead taken an ‘Any Taig will do’ attitude towards the latest wave of arrests and raids on their members houses and offices. Indeed, what better Taigs to raise headlines with than suspected supporters of the INLA?

It was highly unusual, indeed unheard of for any Judge to summarily dismiss allegations of the PSNI in a remand hearing allegedly involving Anti-Good Friday Republican ‘Paramilitaries’. It may indeed be the first case of its kind since 1998.

Yet the PSNI, until now, have relied upon both a compliant judiciary and a compliant press to create and promote narratives that they wish to be accepted in the public eye, the IRSP’s rebuffing of Bobby Singleton’s grandiose claims is unlikely to attract any mainstream press interest whatsoever and the IRSP will no doubt suffer negative public perceptions as a result.

Bobby Singleton is aware of this uneven power dynamic. He (and MI5 who command the Police service of which he is a part) is also aware of the growing support which a rejuvenated IRSP are gaining in communities such as Divis and the Lower Falls, the product of a wave of local, national and international political activities which the party has recently undertaken in what can be described as a ‘Peace Process’ of their own liking.

This is not the first time that the ‘Paramilitary Crime Task Force’ has used such broad stroke tactics against the Republican Socialist Movement. During the past year in both Derry and Belfast, targets of seemingly Bona Fide Policing operations have been arrested and had their homes searched simultaneously to members of the IRSP, with following far stretched press releases enough to brand the operations in questions “Investigations into the Criminal activities of the INLA”.

A modus operandi is being firmly established as are twin aims, the undermining of a political movement which the state has hated since its inception and (Just as importantly for Bobby Singleton) the public perception of a crack down on Irish Republicans, as opposed to ‘just Loyalists’.

Had the individual arrested for possession of Class A drugs been charged and remanded alone, it would have been viewed publicly as just another drug arrest in West Belfast. Yet a few more Catholics in the back of police cars, along with the right type of press briefings, were all that were needed to make this a political publicity coup for the ‘Paramilitary Crime Task Force’.

All the usual pieces of the Jigsaw were in place for Bobby Singleton in this instance. Wth the headline already floated by the Press, all that was required was the rubber stamping of a Judge and the appearance of an INLA criminal clampdown would be complete. In most cases the PSNI can rely on such rubber stamps without question.

Unfortunately for Bobby Singleton, it appears that a feisty female Belfast Judge had other ideas and put the requirement for evidence before the prominence of one department’s financial and political agenda.

Bullshit was called on the political antics of the Paramilitary Crime Task Force, and now inevitable questions around abuses of power, abuse of public funds, possible sectarianism and blatant lies told to the West Belfast community, will increasingly come to the fore.

➽Tarlach MacDhónaill is an activist with the North Belfast IRSP.

With many thanks to the: Anthony McIntyre and The Pensive Quill for the original posting.

 

 

ONE OF THE MOST CAREFULLY PLANNED AND CAREFULLY EXECUTED ESCAPES IN PRISON HISTORY

Timeline of Events (38)

May 5th 1976

THE BRITISH GOVERNMENT QUICKLY DEPLOYED SEVERAL SAS DEATH SQUADS TO HUNT DOWN AND KILL THE IRSP/INLA REPUBLICAN SOCIALIST ESCAPEES.

There has been no shortage of articles and documentaries chronicling the various escapes from prisons by Republican prisoners, however, there has been little written about the INLA escape from Cage 5 in 1976, which ranks as the very first mass escape from Long Kesh prison camp. The first mass escape from Long Kesh in 1976, occurred on the 5th of May, a date that ironically doubly ties it to Irish Republican penal history, as by grim coincidence Bobby Sands died on Hunger Strike some 5 years later, in 1981. The Irish Republican Socialist POW’s who successfully made that first mass escape from the infamous Long Kesh concentration camp were:

1.Seamus O’Kane,
2.Cahir O’Doherty,
3.John-Eddy McNicholl,
4.Harry Flynn,
5.Gerry Clancy,
6.Hen Doherty,
7.Jake McManus,
8.Joe Kelly
9.Gerard Steenson.

The Red Moles

The Republican Socialist prison-breakers chose tunnelling as their means of escape and brought new meaning to the term ‘Red Moles! ‘ An even more remarkable fact, about the 1976 Republican Socialist mass escape, was that the Irish Republican Socialist Movement had only been formed 2 years earlier, at the IRSM’s inaugural convention at the Spa hotel, Lucan, near Dublin. Unlike the Provisionals, who have made a cottage industry and travelling roadshow, based around the second mass escape from Long Kesh in 1983, Republican Socialists have been relatively reticent about their successful jail-breaking methodology. In contrast to others, they have been quietly modest about being the sole authors of the very first spectacular mass escape from Long Kesh.

The Cages Of Long Kesh

The Long Kesh prison of 1976 was very different from the prison of the H-Blocks era, which the general public would be more familiar with. Following a Hunger Strike by Billy McKee, by the time of the first mass escape, the British Government had given de jure POW status to Republican and Loyalist prisoners and the prison regime was reminiscent of a World War 2 camp for captured combatants, which conjures up images of the regime seen in the Hollywood movie, The Great Escape. The similarities did not end there, as like any other era in Irish Republican penal history, the POWs spent much of their time devising ways to go under, over and indeed through the perimeter fence. Like the POW camps depicted in movies, the Republican prisoners were allowed to, more or less, control their own time, with the command structures of the various organisations being officially and legally recognised by their ‘opposites’ within the prison guards and indeed by the state itself.

Cage 5

There were in fact 10 Red Moles who emerged at the end of the Cage 5 tunnel, but the tenth escapee, Dessie Grew, injured his leg at the final wall-scaling stage of the escape and had to return via the subterranean passage to his Nissan hut. The Republican Socialist escapees had to morph into Communist Kangaroos to successfully clear all the rolls of barbed-wire, chain-link fences and the formidable perimeter wall, despite it being bathed in the glare of searchlights every few seconds! Unfortunately, two of the Irp escapees were captured some 10 miles away, later the following day by the British Army and RUC. The remaining seven Republican Socialist prisoners made good their escape, by a variety of ingenious methods.

SAS Death-Squads Was Deployed To Murder The IRSP/INLA Escapees! Authorised By The British Government.

As an interesting postscript to the Great Irp Escape from Long Kesh, several SAS death-squads were dispatched to track down and kill the Republican Socialist escapees. Their deployment had allegedly been authorised at cabinet level by the British government of the time and the death-squads were armed with a variety of irregular weapons, including pump action shotguns and Ingram Sub-machine pistols. Their use of ‘unconventional’ weaponry added weight to the widely held belief that, if the SAS had made good on their heinous manhunt, the escapees would have been murdered in cold blood, MRF-styl. One of the SAS death-squads, travelling in an unmarked van, were stopped at a joint Gardai-Free State Army checkpoint, 2 days later on the 7th of May. In contrast to the immediate imprisonment Republicans routinely received at the hands of the Gardai, the 8 man SAS death-squad were quickly flown back to their lairs.

Comrade Willie Gallagher from Strabane gives an account of his part played in digging the tunnel for the lads to escape.

“The tunnel in Cage 5 resembled nothing like what you would see in the movies and was indeed quite narrow in parts which required literally for us to wriggle through in parts. Looking back now it was quite dangerous and on a number of occasions we had a number of cave-ins when various degrees of parts of the ceiling of the tunnel collapsed and a number of times diggers had to be pulled out by the feet. The majority of us who dug the tunnel were all fairly young and had no sense of danger. I had just turned 18 at that time and in the interview I done I described that escape as an amazing experience and one of the best experiences I ever had whilst in prison.

The previous May five Irps from Cage 14 escaped from Town Hall Street when appearing for a remand hearing. There were at least two other near successful attempts from Cage 14 that same year and towards the end of ’75 we were moved to Cage 6 and then to Cage 5 by the screws in an attempt to frustrate escapes. I’m sure some of us, who took part in the escape, have different recollections. For example in the interview I done I said I thought the tunnel took three weeks, four at most to dig whereas Micky Smith thought it took six weeks. Even though I covered this in the visual/audio interview I’ll give some of my memories on this event which has been practically air-brushed out of republican history.

The tunnel in Cage 5 actually began in my pad/cell/cubicle as it was the second last pad from the end of the hut which was nearest the fence which surrounded our Cage. Each living hut was divided in two with a narrow corridor in the middle of the hut. This was partitioned off into what we called pads, others called them cells or cubicles. They were in effect wooden cells with a curtain covering the entrance of each pad. The hut were Nissan huts made up of sheeting of corrugated paper-thin metal. At the entrance of each hut was a boiler and a small ring like cooker for making toast and cooking. At the other end was a TV and small toilet.

I can recall Frank Gallagher from Beechmount who was the OC of the Cage convening a meeting of those selected to take part in the escape. Some prisoners were moved out of our hut and others who were selected moved in. Escape plans were nothing unusual for the Irps but this one had a greater sense of excitement as it was the first tunnel plan as this Cage was closer to the perimeter wall than the other Cages we were previously in. Materials such chisels and the ingredients for making a small concrete block were smuggled in. Light bulbs were stolen from the hospital quarters which was in a different place in the camp. Blow heaters which were in the huts were converted into pumps for putting oxygen down the tunnel though this was used in the latter stages. Cooking utensils and food trays were converted into digging equipment. Much of this was done by Cahir O‘Doherty from the Bone who was one of the eldest prisoners in the Cage. I think he was only 40 then though he looked about 70 to us at the time. Cahir was a genius in improvising and played a crucial role in the escape.

We got into action immediately after the next big search with the first part of the operation being the entrance of the tunnel which would be located under my bed. Four floor tiles were removed intact which measured, give or take a few inches, 18 square inches. This area was chiseled out and was, I think, maybe 8 inches deep. During this loud music was played from record players playing LPs which wasn’t unusual with look outs were placed strategically throughout the Cage to spot any unusual activity from the screws. The screws were not allowed into the Cage except at night time, 9pm, to do the head counts and lock us in the huts and in the morning to unlock and do head counts. The only other times they were allowed in was during big searches and what they called tunnel searches. Tunnel searches consisted of two screws being accompanied by a member of the Cage staff who would do a bit of tapping on floors with hammers listening for an echo which would indicate a tunnel. I’m not sure how long this took to complete but it wasn’t long. If I had have brought you into my pad and said there’s a tunnel in here, there’s no way you’d pinpoint it. The entrance was visually perfect and was a work of art. Basically you flipped a corner of the tile, pulled it back and there was a handle made of rope like material imbedded into a constructed concrete block and it was just a matter of lifting the whole lot up intact. It literally fitted like a glove.

We dug about 6 foot down and headed towards the perimeter wall. We divided up into teams and worked almost 24/7 in the digging. We would stop an hour before lock up/head-count at night and an hour before unlock/head-count in the morning. Each team throughout the day and night got breaks for food and sleep with smaller breaks for cups of tea and a smoke. As the tunnel progressed a stick with a white hankie would be poked up through the ceiling of the tunnel to gauge the distance and direction of the tunnel itself. We normally went down the tunnel wearing just football shorts as it was quite warm despite the wetness and flooding at times from rain falls. A number of photographs were taken but I never ever seen any of them and the camera may well have been taken by one of the escapees.

The ceiling and sides of the tunnel was shored up at various points which we thought were weak with bits of wood and sheets from the wooden pads. It was a patch work job and lengthy parts of the tunnel had no protection at all with nothing shoring up the walls and ceiling. There were a number of cave-ins of various degrees some freaky enough with a few being dragged out by the feet from underneath a pile of soil. The gases from the soil had a sickly impact as well as giving ones headaches and this became more intense as the tunnel progressed so this restricted the time each of us would be digging at the face of the tunnel. Some parts were very narrow which only required one person digging at the face with other parts wider allowing two to dig. We used improvised trowels for digging, the food trays for putting the soil in which would be relayed back up the tunnel by prisoners strategically placed along the length of the tunnel where a team at the entrance would bag the soil and hide the bags between the corrugated sheets of the hut itself. The amount of soil was unbelievable and eventually every hut was filled with soil between those corrugated sheets. In the last days of the tunnel there was no more room for the soil and we had no other choice but store the bags inside clothes lockers which meant a search would uncover them.

We were both lucky and unlucky during this period. For example I can recall the floors not being properly dried after a clean up in the morning which would be hugely suspicious. Also I recall a mucky handprint on a mug beside the boiler at the entrance of the hut which would have given the tunnel away if spotted by the screws. We never got the usual bed linen change which I think was every three weeks. Many of the bed sheets were used for bagging the soil and so many could not have been accounted for. We also got at least one tunnel search during that period but again luck was on our side.

The original plan was to empty the whole Cage of those doing or facing big sentences but our luck had run out. The night before the escape there was a heavy rain fall which caused quite a bit of flooding in the tunnel. The next day however was like a summer day and a few of us were out the back taking a break. Some of the other lads actually took some mattresses out doing some sun-bathing. I can’t remember who spotted a small hole appearing in the yard directly above the tunnel which caused great concern. The talk was the tunnel was fucked, it had fallen short of it’s objective, was flooded and at the point of collapse from the yard. Some bright spark, whose name I can’t recall, had the idea of putting one of the mattresses over the hole and hoping for the best. The hole wasn’t too big but was very noticeable and would have definitely been discovered. It was the practice of the screws to walk around the yard just before the night time head-count and lock up. Up until that point we thought we needed at least another week maybe longer to complete the tunnel but the hole in the yard had changed those plans. It had to be that night or else it was fucked. The screws that night just walked around the mattress barely looking at it and then the head count was completed and we were locked up for the night. I’m not sure exactly what time the batch of 11 prisoners went at, 11pm perhaps midnight. Bags of clothes were prepared as you couldn’t get through the tunnel without getting soaked due to flooding which was quite deep in parts and also money was distributed. Lookouts were strategically placed keeping an eye out for Brits patrolling the perimeter and watching the two Brit watch towers. We were all very conscience of the mass escape attempt from, I think, Cage 4, by PIRA at the end of ’74 which resulted in Hugh Cooney being shot dead. The tunnel fell short of reaching the perimeter but I can’t recall how far. We watched the first escapee pop his head up and crawl towards the wall. Grappling hooks were made from the tubular framework of the chairs and ropes from sheets. Dessie Grew fell from the wall on the inside of the perimeter badly hurting himself and another prisoner, whose name I can’t recall either, brought him back through the tunnel which was caving in in parts.

We waited up all night watching and listening for any indications of the escape being rumbled but nothing untoward happened. Next morning the screws had came in for their usual unlock and head-count and no doubt were curious as they pulled each curtain back seeing prisoners fully clothed with big smiles. You could hear the odd snigger and when they got to my pad, which I obviously wasn’t in, they would have seen a pile of soil and a hole in the floor. There was a scream of “fuck” and I think a shout of “escape” which was drowned out by the running of feet and all us laughing and cheering.

Two of the lads were caught the following night, Cahir O’Doherty and Gerard Steenson. I think all of us were shattered for Cahir in particular as he put his heart and soul into escape plus he was the brains behind the improvised tools, lighting and supplying oxygen into the tunnel.

About half an hour later the Cage was full of screws like a big black blanket of the cunts. They took us out one at a time, each of us refusing to give our names hoping to frustrate them getting the identities of the escapees for as long as possible. Each of us had to walk down to the canteen between a gauntlet of screws who were hissing and the usual remarks of scumbag etc. We were locked in the canteen for I think two days whilst they done a search and sealed the tunnel with all our possessions threw down it and sealed with concrete.”

Willie Gallagher
Irish Republican Socialist Movement.

With many thanks to the: History of the Irish Republican Socialist Movement for the original posting.

SAOIRSE GO DEO!

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On August 21st we remember Michael “Micky” Devine – 26th May 1954 – 20th August 1981

Who was a founding member of the Irish National Liberation Army (INLA). And the last young man to be murdered by the British Crown in the 1981 Irish hunger strike. He died after 60 days without food.

Devine, also known as “Red Mickey” because of his red hair, was born into a family from the Springtown Camp, Derry. In 1960, when Mickey was six years of age, the Devine family including his grandmother, sister Margaret and parents Patrick and Elizabeth, moved to the then newly built Creggan estate to the north of Derry city centre.He was educated to a primary level at Holy Child Primary School, Creggan, and at secondary level in St. Joseph’s Secondary School, also in the Creggan.

After British soldiers shot dead two unarmed civilians, Dessie Beattie and Raymond Cusack, Devine joined the James Connolly Republican Club in Derry in July 1971. Bloody Sunday had a deep impact on Mickey, as it had on all Nationalists all over Ireland. In the early 1970s, Mickey joined the Labour Party and Young Socialists.

He helped found the Irish National Liberation Army (INLA) in 1975. In 1976, after an arms raid in Co. Donegal, Mickey was arrested in the North of Ireland. He was convicted and sentenced to 12 years in prison. He joined the blanket protest before joining the hunger strike.

Mickey participated in a brief hunger strike in 1980, that was called off without fatalities. On 22nd June 1981, he joined the 1981 Irish hunger strike. He died on 20th August, the tenth and last of the hunger strikers to die.

According to the Sunday Times, papers released under the Freedom of Information Act suggest that Sinn Féin, the political arm of the IRA, refused offers of the Thatcher government to end the hunger strike until after the election that saw Owen Carron succeed to Bobby Sands Parliamentary seat. Around July 5th, 1981, the government secretly tendered concessions that, if accepted, could have saved six of the ten hunger strikers. The claim that the IRA was offered a deal that substantially conformed to their demands was confirmed by Denis Bradley, the former deputy chairman of the ‘Northern Ireland’ Policing Board. Sinn Féin deny any of this.

Although another 13 men had joined, and continued to join the Hunger Strike after Mickey died. There were no more deaths. The strike was ended on the 3rd October 1981.

With many thanks to: 

Its fucking disgusting if the INLA have been charged with running a brothel and hore houses !

  1. The man and woman are due to appear at Belfast Magistrates’ Court on Monday
    Two people have been charged with brothel keeping following a police operation targeting republican paramilitary group the INLA.

Seven arrests followed 12 searches in Belfast, Lisburn, Crumlin and Newtownabbey, County Antrim, on Friday.

A 32-year-old man has been charged with brothel keeping and concealing criminal property.

A 22-year-old woman has been charged with controlling prostitution and brothel keeping.

Both people are expected to appear at Belfast Magistrates’ Court on Monday.

The charges will be reviewed by the Public Prosecution Service (PPS).

A 48-year-old man arrested in connection with alleged trafficking and controlling prostitution offences has BB released pending a report to the Public Prosecution Service.

Detectives arrested a 55-year-old man in the greater Belfast area on Saturday under terrorism legislation, as part of the same police operation.

Three other men detained on Friday under terrorism legislation remain in custody.

More than 200 Police Service of Northern Ireland (PSNI) officers took part in the Paramilitary Crime Task Force operation on Friday, supported by the National Crime Agency and HM Revenue and Customs.

with many thanks to: BBCNI for the origional story.