No excuse for wanting Westminister to legislate on the North

This letter appeared in The Irish News today 21/8/2018

The Irish Daily Mail and The Journal reported on Provisional Sinn Féin President Mary Lou McDonald asserting the idea of Ireland rejoining the Commonwealth of Nations must be discussed.

Commonwealth of Nations

Can Provisional Sinn Féin not see that joining a free trade association, free trade is a criterion for Commonwealth membership, with 53 other entities would leave the Irish Free State’s market open to economic dumping? Are they unaware that farmers in EU nations are reliant on the common agriculture policy subsidies due to the economic dumping made possible by the EU’s free movement of goods and services?

In any case why would a party with a largely Irish nationalist base want to join a free trade association headed by no other than Elizabeth SaxeCoburg Gotha? Why would a party claiming to be Irish Republican want to join a free trade association of former British Empire colonies?

In the Commonwealth only Britain, India, Canada, Australia, Nigeria and South Africa have a higher nominal gross domestic product than the Irish Free State. The aforementioned nations, along with Pakistan, Malaysia, Bangladesh and Singapore are the only Commonwealth nations with higher gross domestic product purchasing power parity than the Irish Free State.

Only Bermuda has a higher nominal GDP per capita than the Irish Free State in the Commonwealth. The Falklands, Singapore, Bermuda and the Isle of Man are the only Commonwealth entities with a higher GDP purchasing power parity per capita than the Irish Free State.

The idea of the Irish Free State rejoining the Commonwealth of Nations is not the only questionable issue they have raised recently. In the pursuit of legally recognised same-sex unions in this part of Ulster, Provisional Sinn Féin has called upon Westminster to legislate for gay marriage in the six counties. Regardless of where one stands on the social issue there is no excuse for people who claim they’re Republican while calling for Westminster to legislate for any part of Ireland.

With many thanks to: ÉAMONN MACGRIANNA Belfast, BT11.

UK: Protect free expression online online and reject Counter-Terrorism and Border Security Bill 2018.

https://drive.google.com/folderview?id=14UnVwhUm89ZchVzIiRIgb_YlfiAyJLGB

ARTICLE 19 has submitted written evidence to the House of Commons Public Bill Committee and the Joint Committee on Human Rights, urging them to oppose the proposed Counter-Terrorism and Border Security Bill 2018. The Bill contains new over-broad offences that would criminalise controversial opinions about terrorist groups without intent to cause harm as well as the viewing of terrorist material. If adopted, it would seriously threaten freedom of expression and freedom of conscience, thought and religion of individuals. It would also set a dangerous precedent for broadening terrorism offences in countries such as Turkey or Russia, potentially putting human rights defenders and dissenters at risk.

ARTICLE 19 is particularly concerned about the following:

Criminalising opinions over actions: clause 1 of the Bill makes it an offence to express an “opinion or belief” that is “supportive” of a terrorist organisation which may recklessly encourage others to support such groups. ARTICLE 19 is very concerned about this provision as it criminalises “supportive” expression by individuals, though they may not intend to encourage support for terrorist groups or cause harm. The term “supportive” is not defined – meaning that it can be interpreted widely, potentially limiting debate where the legitimacy of organisations or merits of their actions are discussed. ARTICLE 19 is particularly worried about the discriminatory impact of the Bill on Muslim communities and that NGOs may get caught in the provision where they defend the rights of alleged members of terrorist organisations.
Criminalising the publication of an image of an item of clothing: clause 2 further criminalises the publication of an image of an item of clothing or other articles that arouse “reasonable suspicion” that an individual is a supporter of a terrorist organisation. The concern here is that young people who take such pictures and post them online as part of a joke could be prosecuted. We are also concerned that similar provisions could be replicated in less democratic countries, leading to human rights activists and reporters being prosecuted when documenting human rights abuses, as is currently happening in Turkey. More generally, ARTICLE 19 notes that taking a picture of oneself with an ISIS flag in the background is not necessarily proof of an intention to cause harm and commit a terrorist offence.
Criminalising the viewing of terrorist material online: The Bill would criminalise the viewing and or streaming of terrorist-related material. Clause 3 of the Bill prohibits individuals from viewing material “likely to be useful to a person committing or preparing an act of terrorism” on three or more occasions and applies whether the person is in control of the material viewed or not. ARTICLE 19 is very worried that this clause will create a chilling effect on those who seek to investigate or conduct research into the ideology of terrorist groups. ARTICLE 19 also believes that the government is misguided in its view that accessing the material three or more times establishes a “pattern of behaviour” rather than spontaneous curiosity, as there may be many reasons for why an individual accesses and views the material multiple times. ARTICLE 19 further believes that individuals should be able to access information about terrorist groups without being perceived as intending to commit a terrorist offence.
Finally, ARTICLE 19 is concerned about the potential increase in the lengths of sentences for a number of existing offences under the Terrorism Act 2000 and Terrorism Act 2006 and their knock-on effect on the new offences outlined in the Bill. In some instances, the term of imprisonment would be increased from 10 to 15 years. In ARTICLE 19’s view, these sentences are too harsh, unnecessary and disproportionate.

If adopted, ARTICLE 19 believes that the Bill would seriously threaten freedom of expression and freedom of conscience, thought and religion. For this reason, we urge the Joint Committee on Human Rights and Public Bill Committee to protect freedom of expression online and reject the Bill’s clauses highlighted above.

Read the full submission.

National security and counter terrorism Europe & Central Asia United Kingdom
Accountability
Governance and funding

With many thanks to: ARTICLE 19 for the original posting.

Máire Drumm murdered in her hospital bed.

On 28th October 1976, 28 years ago, Sinn Féin Vice President Máire Drumm was shot dead in her hospital bed.

Máire Drumm (née McAteer), was born in the townland of Killeen, South Armagh, on 22 October 1919 to a staunchly republican family. Máire’s mother had been active in the Tan War and the Civil War.

In 1940, Máire joined Sinn Féin in Dublin. In 1942, she moved to Belfast, which became her adopted city and she continued her republican activities. Every weekend, Máire would carry food parcels to the republican prisoners in Crumlin Road Jail and it was here that she met Jimmy Drumm, who she married in 1946.

When the IRA renewed the armed struggle in the late 1950s, Jimmy was again interned without trial from ’57 to ’61.

Máire became actively involved in the Civil Rights Movements of the 1960s. She worked tirelessly to rehouse the thousands of nationalists forced from their homes by unionist/loyalist pogroms.

During her work as a Civil Rights activist, Máire emerged as one of the Republican Movement’s most gifted leaders and organisers. Máire was the first to warn that the British troops sent in as “peace keepers” were a force of occupation. Máire was a dynamic and inspirational speaker. Once, when addressing a rally in Derry after the shooting of two men from the city, Máire said:

“The people of Derry are up off their bended knees. For Christ sake stay up. People should not shout up the IRA, they should join the IRA.”

In 1972, Máire became Vice President of Sinn Féin. Due to their dedication to the republican struggle, Máire’s family was continuously harassed by the RUC, British Army and by loyalist intimidation. The British Army even constructed an observation post facing their home in Andersonstown. At one point, her husband and son were interned at the same time. Her husband, Jimmy became known as the most jailed republican in the Six Counties. Máire was also jailed twice for ‘seditious’ speeches, once along with her daughter.

In 1976, her eyesight began to fail and she was admitted for a cataract operation to the Mater Hospital, Belfast. On 28 October 1976, as Máire lay in her hospital bed, loyalist killers wearing doctors white coats walked into her room and shot her dead.

Máire Drumm, freedom fighter and voice of the people, was buried in Milltown Cemetery. One of her most famous quotes was:

 

“We must take no steps backward, our steps must be onward, for if we don’t, the martyrs that died for you, for me, for this country will haunt us forever.”

https://polldaddy.com/js/rating/rating.jsAbout maire drumm https://eurofree3.wordpress.com/2016/07/09/maire-drumm-1919-1976/

 

With many thanks to: Easter Rising War of Independence and Irish Civil War History.

RUC stop and search; The mobile app that the Occupied six counties of Ireland is crying out for!

With tens of thousands vindictive and targeted stops and searches carried out in the British occupied six counties of Ireland on Innocent Nationalists and Republicans, New Yorkers have came out fighting such racial/cultural bigotry with a mobile phone app which documents such cases. 

Last year close to 700,000 people were questioned on the city’s streets. The vast majority were black or Latino and nine out of ten had committed no crime. This year the department is on pace to shatter that record.

Last month a USA federal judge granted class-action status to a lawsuit accusing the police of unconstitutional, racial profiling through stop and frisk.

Civil liberties campaigners have unveiled a mobile phone app that will allow users to document police stops in New York and immediately submit them for review.

The New York Civil Liberties Union released the app following months of growing criticism surrounding the NYPD’s practice of stopping and frisking hundreds of thousands of New Yorkers each year.

NYCLU leaders said the app, which is available on Android with an iPhone version out later this summer, would help the organization document the growing number of controversial police stops.

Last month a federal judge granted class-action status to a lawsuit accusing the police of unconstitutional, racial profiling through stop and frisk.

The app is composed of three features: record, listen and watch. Recorded clips will be sent directly to the NYCLU, and users will be offered a brief survey allowing them to fill in the details of what they witnessed. The listen feature messages users when the app is activated by others and reports where the police stop is happening. The report feature allows users to detail police interactions they witnessed or experienced but were unable to film. The app also includes a “know your rights” element, intended to educate users.

“Today’s release of the Stop and Frisk Watch adds another critical dimension to our quest for fair and just policing for all New Yorkers,” said NYCLU executive director, Donna Lieberman at a press conference Wednesday.

Lieberman was joined by New York City council members Jumaane Williams, Leticia James and Melissa Mark-Viverito, as well as NAACP president Ben Jealous, National Action Network vice-president Michael Hardy and George Gresham, president of 1199 SEIU United Healthcare Workers East.

The app was developed by Jason Van Anden, who last year was responsible for the I’m Getting Arrested app, intended to help Occupy Wall Street protesters who found themselves being taken in by the police.

Van Anden – who has witnessed stop and frisks in his neighbourhood–described his latest project as a “labour of love” that began in November.

Critics of stop-and-frisk say the practice has resulted in a two-tier a system of justice that favour white New Yorkers and disproportionately harms people of colour.

A story published in the New York Post on Wednesday, before the press conference suggested the app could present a danger to users if the subject of a police stop reached in their pockets to pull out their phone. Lieberman stressed that the app is explicitly intended for witnesses of police stops, not subjects.