" A wealth of information..."

"1169 And Counting is a wealth of information on our Republican past and present , and demonstrates how the Irish political landscape , like that of any nation, will never be a black and white issue..."

(From the ‘e-Thursday’ section of the ‘Business Week’ supplement of the ‘Irish Independent’ , 21st August 2008.)



This blog was listed as one of the 'Finalists' in the '2016 current affairs/politics' category of the Littlewoods Ireland blog awards - but we didn't win the award. But not to worry -thanks to everyone involved for getting us to the final stage of the competition and sure we'll try again the next time!

Friday, November 24, 2006

THE SEEDS OF A POLICE STATE .......
There is substantial evidence that a major crime was perpetrated within the Garda Siochana five years ago .
The evidence for this crime has certainly been available to senior Gardai ever since then , but no enquiry whatsoever has taken place , let alone any Garda being disciplined in connection with that crime .
By Vincent Browne and Derek Dunne .
From 'MAGILL' magazine , September 1983 .

In addition , Dr. Sean O Cleirigh stated that he had found , on his examination of Brian McNally , all movements of McNally's neck , left wrist , and little fingers of the left hand were painful for him , and that there was a marked tenderness all over his body , especially at the lower ribs , and that the injuries were of a type consistent with the beatings that McNally had described to him .

Dr. Sean Magee , who also examined McNally , gave evidence at the trial , corroborating that already given by Dr. Sean O Cleirigh : thus in McNally's case there was consistent medical evidence of the fact that he was suffering from injuries by the time he got to Mountjoy Prison on the evening of April 8th , 1976 . The Garda and the state's response to this evidence was to suggest that McNally had been beaten up either by himself (!) or by a cell-mate in the Bridewell Garda Barracks on the night of April 7th , 1976 .

We will be examining over the following days the extraordinary circumstances whereby Brian McNally and the others came to be in Garda custody in the Bridewell that night - starting with the case of Nicky Kelly.......
(MORE LATER).



THE SEEDS OF ANOTHER BITTER HARVEST .......
By STEPHEN GREER .
From 'FORTNIGHT' magazine , October 1983 .

The ' horrors of paramilitary violence' cannot furnish a satisfactory justification for such derogations since it is primarily because rights such as these have not been upheld by the state in the past , and are not being fairly applied in the present , that the grievances which have sustained the conflict here originally arose and have persisted . ('1169...' Comment - ....and that is the difference between those seeking 'increased civil rights' from the British [SDLP , Provo SF , and Leinster House in general , amongst others] and Irish Republicans , who seek a British military and political withdrawal .)

Responding to violent unrest of this kind by adding to the sense of injustice which nourishes it can only postpone the establishment of peace and stability . ('1169...' Comment - "the sense of injustice which nourishes" political violence on this isle is the actual physical and jurisdictional British presence , not the [lack of] 'civil rights' which are 'granted' by those in command of the occupation.) Any regime which seeks such a 'solution' is seriously selling short on the fundamentals of democracy and deceiving the people it governs into believing that all will be well once the 'men of violence' are safely locked up !

In the context of the present debate a fair trial means primarily that strict rules of evidence and procedure , founded upon the principle that an accused person is innocent until proven guilty beyond reasonable doubt should be rigidly adhered to . Doubt must remain about the guilt of defendants convicted , as many of the supergrass cases have been , upon the uncorroborated evidence of accomplices whose account of the facts cannot be considered to be in any sense objective....... ('1169...' Comment - "uncorroborated" and/or "objective" or not , if the 'evidence' assisted Westminster in removing from the scene those who offered resistance then it was acceptable.)
(MORE LATER).



THE PROVOS AT THE BALLOT BOX .......
By Michael Farrell .
From 'MAGILL' magazine , June 1983 .

Ask somebody in the street in the Bogside area of Derry for directions to Cable Street and the chances are they'll ask if it's the Sinn Fein Offices you're looking for . They are that well-known and they're in the heart of the depressed Bogside area . ('1169...' Comment - too 'depressed' for the now 're-dressed' Provos : see 'Sinn Fein move out of Bogside - prominent republican speaks out' , here.) There are others in the sprawling working-class areas of Creggan and Shantallow and in the Waterside .

The SDLP Office is in an empty shop in Clarendon Street in Derry's city centre and has only been open for a couple of weeks - there was no sign outside the place last week to indicate what it was and one irate supporter came in complaining that he had had difficulty in finding it !

At the Sinn Fein Office a woman came in to say that Peggy O' Hara , the mother of Patsy O' Hara , one of the 1981 hunger-strikers , had had her house raided again that morning by the British forces , just a few days before her son's anniversary . Local people came in complaining about housing problems , young men and women in denims , the working-class youth of the area , rushed in and out with posters and election registers .

The SDLP Office was busy enough too but the workers were middle-aged and mainly middle-class : they were mostly addressing envelopes - they would have young people too , they said , when they'd finished school , but they didn't have the working-class or those out of work , who make up the bulk of Derry's youth . Those Offices illustrate the contrast between Sinn Fein and the SDLP.......
(MORE LATER).







Wednesday, November 22, 2006

THE SEEDS OF A POLICE STATE .......
There is substantial evidence that a major crime was perpetrated within the Garda Siochana five years ago .
The evidence for this crime has certainly been available to senior Gardai ever since then , but no enquiry whatsoever has taken place , let alone any Garda being disciplined in connection with that crime .
By Vincent Browne and Derek Dunne .
From 'MAGILL' magazine , September 1983 .

Brian McNally was convicted by the State Special Criminal Court but the State Court of Criminal Appeal held that the court of trial had been wrong in admitting in evidence alleged verbal admissions , as no note had been made by the Gardai concerned of these alleged admissions , and therefore Brian McNally had not had an opportunity to read over such a note , or an opportunity to amend same , or to sign it .

Solicitor Pat McCartan who was acting for Brian McNally and Nicky Kelly asked Dr. Sean O Cleirigh and Dr. Sean Magee to examine Brian McNally when he was transferred to Mountjoy Prison - he asked both doctors to attend to ensure that at least one of them would be available . Dr. O Cleirigh made the examination on the evening of Thursday , April 8 , 1976 , at around 7.30pm , some 36 hours after Brian McNally had signed the self-incriminating statement .

Dr. O Cleirigh said in evidence that he found marks over McNally's left shoulder consisting of a mixture of bruising , scratching and excoriation , approximately four inches by two inches , and similar type marks below the left buttock . He found more bruising at the back of the right leg and right thigh , six inches by two inches , a similar mark below the right knee (four inches) and two red scratch lines . There was a reddening of the skin over an area of four inches , below the left knee and calf , and there was swelling and discolouration of the left eye . The left ear was swollen and inflamed and there was an abrasion of about a quarter of an inch on the right ear . Dr. O Cleirigh had more to add.......
(MORE LATER).



THE SEEDS OF ANOTHER BITTER HARVEST .
By STEPHEN GREER .
From 'FORTNIGHT' magazine , October 1983 .

Arguments in favour of the current use of 'supergrasses' in the North of Ireland usually consist of three 'essentials' -
1) In an emergency situation a balance has to be struck between the right of accused persons to a fair trial and the right of the community to be free from political violence :
2) The 'supergrass' phenomenon is merely a particular application of the time-honoured practice of defendants 'turning Queen's evidence' , which is commonplace in criminal trials throughout the 'UK' :
3) Supergrass 'evidence' provides the authorities with an indispensable method of putting 'terrorists' behind bars and its use may even herald the end of paramilitary activity in the North of Ireland altogether .

Strong points can be raised to each of these points -
First , it can be argued that the right to a fair trial is a legal and moral absolute , non-negotiable even in public order crises , since the exposure of innocent people to punishment can never be permitted merely in order to make it easier for the authorities to deal with the 'guilty' .

In a democracy it is the duty of the state to guarantee civil peace without attempting to purchase it in the currency of fundamental legal rights . Significantly , in the North of Ireland , it is the bastions of Unionism who most vehemently advocate the abandonment of this 'cardinal principle' of British jurisprudence.......
(MORE LATER).



THE PROVOS AT THE BALLOT BOX .......
By Michael Farrell .
From 'MAGILL' magazine , June 1983 .

Sinn Fein only contested 7 of the 12 constituencies last October while the SDLP fought all 12 . In the seven constituencies where they faced each other directly , Sinn Fein actually got 40 per cent of the combined nationalist [Sinn Fein and SDLP] vote and , in the five key constituencies listed above the gap was even narrower with Sinn Fein getting 45 per cent of the nationalist vote and actually beating the SDLP in two areas - Fermanagh-South Tyrone and West Belfast .

Sinn Fein are very precise about their objectives in this election - ('1169 ...' Comment : ....and those objectives did not then centre around working in a British-established 'parliament' on Irish soil..) they don't claim that they will beat the SDLP overall this time : Gerry Adams aims at 90,000 votes or just under half the nationalist total . They see this election as only one step in their strategy and are looking ahead already to the North's local elections in 1985 - and possibly the EEC elections next year , though they haven't decided on contesting them yet .

They aim to substantially improve their vote this time and get the SDLP on the run with a view to beating them in 1985 and ousting them from what Sinn Fein sees as the SDLP power base , the local councils . For Sinn Fein to win even 90,000 votes would require a 41 per cent increase over their total in the Assembly elections : it is a big undertaking . Can they do it ? The signs are that they might.......
(MORE LATER).







Monday, November 20, 2006

THE SEEDS OF A POLICE STATE .......
There is substantial evidence that a major crime was perpetrated within the Garda Siochana five years ago .
The evidence for this crime has certainly been available to senior Gardai ever since then , but no enquiry whatsoever has taken place , let alone any Garda being disciplined in connection with that crime .
By Vincent Browne and Derek Dunne .
From 'MAGILL' magazine , September 1983 .

Brian McNally further alleged that during the period when he was being interviewed between 11.45pm and 1.00am on the Wednesday morning , that the door of the interview room was burst wide open and that four or five plain clothes detectives came in , one of whom he identified as Detective Garda Joseph Egan : McNally said that he was made to stand , that he was called a " Northern bastard.." , was slapped across the face with the back of the hand ; was pushed from one Garda to another ; was struck by Detective Sergeant Patrick Culhane : had his shirt torn , the wing of his glasses broken , and that he lost consciousness .

He also said he was lying on the floor and that he heard screams and that Detective Garda Michael Finn came into the room , in the company of another member of the Garda Siochana whom he couldn't identify - McNally said he was caught by the shoulders and kneed in the stomach , pushed around , hit on the head and the left eye , pushed against the table and beaten on the shoulders , lips , ribs , back and shoulder blades and hit between the legs with a black jack , punched on the head and eye and that he was crying and screaming like a child . He said that he had to be helped off the floor to go to the toilet .

He denied in court making any statement , and he alleged that the statement was already written out and that when he refused to sign it , he was threatened with the black jack again and therefore did so sign it in order to avoid a further beating , at 7.00am on the Wednesday morning .......
(MORE LATER).



(Martin McGuinness , left , with Henry Kissinger , as usual , on the right ...)

DISARMING MARTIN .......
All (P)Sinn Fein leaders have a series of mantras and mini-speeches which they seek to get into every interview , regardless of the question .
The task of the journalist is to avoid setting off these reflex responses : the problem with Martin McGuinness is that he does it so pleasantly that it seems impolite to interrupt him .
From 'MAGILL' magazine , March 1999 .
By John Waters .

Martin McGuinness stated - " If we're on to this debate about what's best - the implementation of the Good Friday Agreement or the collapse of the Good Friday Agreement , in terms of is republicanism or nationalism or the people of Ireland better off , I have to say to them , from my experience , that the best scenario is the implementation of the Good Friday Agreement.

Because there are no guarantees at all about what will happen on the other side of failure . Conceivably , we could be handing to our children effectively a scenario that has armed struggle , of whatever variety , continuing for thirty more years . ('1169...' Comment - sic : was McGuinness involved in a 'struggle' for 'civil rights from Westminster' which began in 1969 ?) And I'm not prepared to be part of that * . I'm not prepared to accept defeat on this issue ." ( '1169...' Comment * - McGuinness is more than "a part of that " : he is one of the main players in a process which , similar to that which Michael Collins led , guarantees that future generations will be born on this isle whilst part of it will still be under jurisdictional control from Westminster . He himself will forge a career in the greasy till , as will most of those who , like him , gave up the job for the easy way out , having learned nothing from our history . For shame. )
[END of ' DISARMING MARTIN']
(Next - 'THE SEEDS OF ANOTHER BITTER HARVEST' ; from 1983.)


THE PROVOS AT THE BALLOT BOX .......
By Michael Farrell .
From 'MAGILL' magazine , June 1983 .

The SDLP's credibility has been battered over the last few years by the election of Bobby Sands and then Owen Carron in Fermanagh-South Tyrone and by Sinn Fein's success in the Assembly elections but each time an excuse could be found . The Fermanagh by-elections in 1981 took place in a highly emotional atmosphere during the Long Kesh hunger-strike and , anyway , the SDLP didn't stand in that election so there was no direct clash .

The Assembly elections , when Sinn Fein got 64,191 votes and five seats - narrowly missing a couple more - to the SDLP's 118,891 votes and 14 seats , were harder to explain away , but eventually the pundits came up with some excuses ; there was still an emotional overspill from the hunger-strike / the election was under PR so people could register a protest vote for Sinn Fein without wasting their votes / Sinn Fein only got one third of the total nationalist vote and there had always been a maverick hard core in the nationalist community who never backed the SDLP .

This time those excuses won't wash so easily : the effect of the 1981 hunger-strike can't be 'blamed' for ever - this election is under the straight vote so nationalist voters will have to make a clear choice between the SDLP and Sinn Fein . And the 'maverick vote' argument will collapse if Sinn Fein get more than one third of the nationalist vote - as they confidently claim they will . In fact a close look at the Assembly election tends to demolish the 'maverick' argument anyway.......
(MORE LATER).







Sunday, November 19, 2006

Donald and Saddam !

The world of the political wordsmith will be all the poorer for the recent political passing of Donald Rumsfeld :
In 2002 , Mr. Rumsfeld told a US Defence meeting - " As we know , there are known knowns . There are things we know we know . We also know there are known unknowns . That is to say , we know there are some things we do not know . But there are also unknown unknowns - the ones we don't know we don't know . " !
When Donald was asked at a press conference where Osama bin Laden was during the hunt for him in Afghanistan , he stated - " We do know of certain knowledge that he is either in Afghanistan , or in some other country . Or dead . "
Asked would the US go to war without the backing of Westminster , Donald replied - " Their situation is distinctive to their country and they have a government that deals with a parliament in their way , distinctive way , and what will ultimately be decided is unclear as to their role.....um......that is to say their role in the event a decision is made to use force...."

He told the New York Times newspaper - " Once in a while , I'm standing here , doing something . And I think 'what in the world am I doing here?' It's a big surprise ! "
He once replied to a reporter - " If I know the answer I'll tell you the answer and if I don't , I'll just respond , cleverly! "
He is also on record for having said the following gem - " I think what you'll find , I think what you'll find is , whatever it is we do substantively , there will be near-perfect clarity as to what it is ."
And more 'Rumsfeldisms' :
" And it will be known , and it will be known to the Congress , and it will be known to you , probably before we decide it , but it will be known . "
" I would not say that the future is necessarily less predictable than the past . I think the past was not predictable when it started . "
" I also know that stating what might be preferable...er....is simply stating what might be preferable ."
" Near my office is an American flag done in .... origami ... that's one of those words that I haven't mastered yet! "
" Well , um , somethings neither good nor bad but thinking makes it so , I suppose . As Shakespeare said . "
" I believe what I said yesterday .... I don't know what I said , er , but I know what I think and ...well , I assume it's what I said . "

As Oscar Wilde put it : " We have really everything in common with America nowadays , except , of course , language . "