Gerry Adams released after 4 days of questioning

05/05/2014

Gerry Adams, president of Sinn Fein, has been released after 4 days’ questioning about the abduction and murder of Jean McConville, who had been falsely identified as a police informant or “tout”. The Guardian newspaper reported:

Adams will refocus on election campaigning on Monday as the political fall-out from his release from police custody continues to reverberate around Stormont and beyond.

The republican party is holding a European election rally in Belfast tonight, with a similar event planned in Dublin on Tuesday, as Adams resumes the canvassing activities he claims his detention was designed to thwart.

Michael McConville, son of Jean, claims he was “threatened” by Adams after the Sinn Fein president was released. McConville told the BBC “Today” programme: “Gerry Adams says to me, ‘Michael, you are getting a letter of support from the republican people’. He says, ‘if you release the names I hope you are ready for the backlash’.

McConville said that “could” have meant a backlash against the peace process but said he took it to mean the “backlash from republican people”. He reasserted: “I took it as a threat.”

I think it may be a good idea to take a deep breath, step back and think about the situation as a whole. For many years Adams was the leader of Sinn Fein at a time when a whiff of IRA was enough to get you locked up.

The IRA’s “bullet and ballot box” strategy meant that Sinn Fein’s politicians had to be above serious allegations. No doubt Adam’s had great support in the IRA, but it’s too surreal for me to accept that Adams gave individual kill orders.

The days of the Provisional IRA are over. I’m sure the PIRA could muster well-armed, well-positioned support if events justified it, but the “Real” IRA and its mostly criminal support are giving Republicanism a bad name. Maybe it’s time for the Provos to clean up their house? It will lend Sinn Fein support it’s been losing lately, and it will act as a cautionary tale. The PIRA is being quiet, but it could make one hell of a noise if the leader requires it. Then again, a few well-placed gunshots could end the insurrection – and the PIRA are famous for their bullet delivery.

So, are the Provos down and out? I doubt it. They have many dedicated soldiers, they have large undeclared arms caches. Over the years of peace, the PIRA have lost mainstream support, which has been transferred to Sinn Fein, often described gleefully by the British press as “The IRA’s political wing.” Let’s turn that expression on its head: The PIRA is Sinn Fein’s military wing. If IRA leadership feel that Sinn Fein is being cornered “they may declare the “bullet and ballot-box” experiment over. Is that what Cameron wants to be remembered for?

When the PIRA decided to play the “bullets and ballot box” game, they knew that their politicians had to be whiter than white. Gerry Adams etc would be rotting in jail otherwise. Questioning Adams for days on the back of what can’t be more than hearsay evidence is a ridiculous fishing expedition. Is Cameron & Co really be that stupid. By the look of it: Yes.


Social unrest? Blame the internet!

12/08/2011

The past few days’ rioting in England are all due to the internet, says prime minister David Cameron.

So news of riots spread via the internet/facebook/twitter etc etc. So now Dodgy Dave says that Facebook, Twitter and Research in Motion (Rim), the maker of BlackBerry devices, should take more responsibility for content posted on their networks, warning the government would look to ban people from major social networks if they were suspected of inciting violence online.

Yes, the news spread via the internet. But it also spread via the telephone, snail mail, newspapers, television, word-of-mouth. So shouldn’t we just ban communication outright?

Heck, I better get this posted then get out of here, before the government bans me!

Riot police watch a London bus burn

[If you wanna see more pretty pictures of the riots in London, go to the Boston Globe’s “Big Picture” feature – link here.]

_gos=’c4.gostats.com’;_goa=354450;
_got=2;_goi=2;_goz=0;_gol=’Free hit counter’;_GoStatsRun();
Free hit counter
Free hit counter


Ian Tomlinson was unlawfully killed by Met cop Harwood – and that’s official!!

03/05/2011

Today an inquest jury delivered a verdict of “unlawful killing” in the case of Ian Tomlinson, the newspaper seller who died after being attacked by a Metropolitan Police constable.  And the copper in question is PC Simon Harwood, a member of the Met’s infamous “Territorial Support Group”.

This blog has covered this case a couple of times – like here, and here – but here’s a quick recap.  On 1 April 2009 there was a demonstration in central London where the G20meeting was taking place.  Some demonstrators had gotten a bit rowdy, as had a number of the coppers policing the event, and the “Territorial Support Group” was out on the streets to restore “order”.  At about 7.20pm by the Royal Exchange Building, Ian Tomlinson was making his way home after a day’s work selling newspapers.  There were protesters nearby, and TSG officers, but Tomlinson was categorically not involved in the protests so it’s not at all clear why he attracted the attention of police officers.  But he did\get the attention of PC Simon Harwood.  There is CCTV footage of Mr Tomlinson walking past Harwood and other cops: then, for no apparent reason, Harwood is seen to run up behind Mr Tomlinson and shoved him forcibly in the back. It later transpired that Harwood had hit him with a baton.  Mr Tomlinson fell heavily to the ground and died.  There were a total of 4 postmortems carried out on Mr Tomlinson’s body: the first pathologist, Dr Freddy Patel, found that he died of a heart attack caused by coronary disease; but 3 other pathologists contradicted him, saying the cause of death was internal bleeding in the abdomen.

The Met tried hard to sweep this tragic event under the carpet: first of all he was painted by them as a violent protester; then, when it was made clear that he wasn’t involved in the demonstration, it was suggested that he was injured by protesters, and that he died because protesters prevented the heroic efforts of police officers to render first aid.  But of course, the CCTV footage put the lie to that bunch of crap.

Still the authorities tried to cover up for one of their own: the Met and the Crown Prosecution Service decided not to charge Harwood with any offence, even though the video and the testimony of witnesses attested to the cop’s vicious attack.  They tried hard to hide the truth; but public outrage finally forced them to hold  a public inquest into Mr Tomlinson’s death.

And that inquest has now found that Ian Tomlinson was unlawfully killed.  The jury declared that Tomlinson was, beyond reasonable doubt, killed by the baton attack and the shove.  Harwood’s attack was “unreasonable”.

The jury went on to say:

“As a result, Mr Tomlinson suffered internal bleeding which led to his collapse within a few minutes and his subsequent death.” The jury decided that at the time of the strike and push Tomlinson was was walking away from the officer and “posed no threat”.

The verdict was “unlawful killing”.  The killer was officer Simon Harwood.    So now Keir Starmer, the director of public prosecutions, is going to have to decide whether or not to charge Harwood with the killing; and his decision last year not to charge Harwood with manslaughter is going to be reviewed.  Maybe, just maybe, the family of Ian Tomlinson will see justice done.

A still from the CCTV footage showing Harwood deliver the fatal blow

_gos=’c4.gostats.com’;_goa=354450;
_got=2;_goi=2;_goz=0;_gol=’Free hit counter’;_GoStatsRun();
Free hit counter
Free hit counter


Question: Who is/are “Anonymous”? Answer: No one/everyone.

15/03/2011

Just read about the “hacker group” Anonymous’ release of apparently incriminating emails from the Bank of America. This story really annoys me. Not because I’m a Bank of America fan – I’m pissed off with the Guardian for describing Anonymous as a “hacker group”.

The Wikipedia article on Anonymous. describes it well – it says:

is an Internet meme originating 2003 on the imageboard 4chan, representing the concept of many on-line community users simultaneously existing as an anarchic, digitized global brain.[1] It is also generally considered to be a blanket term for members of certain Internet subcultures, a way to refer to the actions of people in an environment where their actual identities are not known.

Anonymous is not a hacker group in the sense you’d usually expect: there’s no organization, no hierarchy, no agreed agenda. Anyone with the required know-how and/or tools can do some cyber-vandalism or cut-and-paste someone’s email, then say it was done by Anonymous.

So who is Anonymous? Everyone. No one. Me. You. Anyone. Please bear that in mind next time you see a report that “Anonymous” did something.

_gos=’c4.gostats.com’;_goa=354450;
_got=2;_goi=2;_goz=0;_gol=’Free hit counter’;_GoStatsRun();
Free hit counter
Free hit counter


Check out the IFJ’s Survival Guide for Journalists.

09/02/2011

After my recent post on “How to survive a riot”, I have discovered the International Federation of Journalists’ Survival Guide for Journalists.

The IFJ guide is not riot-specific – it covers a variety of dicey situations, such as “war zones and conflict areas”, “riots and civil disorder” and “abductions, hostage taking and targeting journalists”. It also has chapters on emergency first aid and post-traumatic stress disorder”.

I haven’t read the Guide yet – Goddess, I only just found the thing! – but its blurb makes it sound pretty useful, lots of advice in one handy volume. And what’s even cooler, you can download it for free in pdf format from here

So check it out. Who knows – maybe one day it’ll save your life.

_gos=’c4.gostats.com’;_goa=354450;
_got=2;_goi=2;_goz=0;_gol=’Free hit counter’;_GoStatsRun();
Free hit counter
Free hit counter


%d bloggers like this: