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Fears of inter-IRA feud grow
By Paul T Colgan
Mainstream republicans are refusing to rule out a confrontation between the IRA and dissident splinter group the Real IRA following the murder of Belfast man Danny McGurk two weeks ago.
McGurk, who was from the Lower Falls area, was killed after falling out with members of the Real IRA. He was shot while at home with his family.
Following the shooting, there have been rumours that the Provisional IRA may be poised to stamp down on the dissidents.
“Republicans will not be pushed around. Certain sections within the Real IRA are like the equivalent of the IPLO (Irish
People’s Liberation Organisation) in the early 1990s – full of `crims’,” said one mainstream republican source.
The mere mention of the IPLO by republicans appears to be a clear warning to the dissidents.
The IRA effectively closed down the IPLO in 1992. The splinter group had become involved in a bloody feud with the INLA (Irish National Liberation Army) and was linked to racketeering and prostitution.
In a republican ‘night of the long knives’ in September 1992 the IRA assassinated prominent IPLO man Sammy Ward, kneecapped several IPLO members and warned remaining IPLO members to leave the country.
The operation is reputed to have involved 100 IRA members. Several Real IRA members fled Belfast last week after local residents threatened to picket their homes.
Marion Price, spokeswoman for the 32 County Sovereignty Committee, which is aligned to the Real IRA, has been told by the North’s security forces that her life is under threat.
“The McGurk murder was the culmination of a month-long episode,” said one West Belfast republican.
“There were people in the Real IRA throwing their weight around. The community views them as a nuisance. They are a combination of malcontents and very young people who are badly led, badly organised and who happen to have guns. They’re a bad situation waiting to happen.”
“They’re scared of the IRA and are under no illusion that there is a line they cannot cross. If they do, they will suffer the wrath of the movement. There is a breaking point – but that will be decided by the community itself.
“Everything the dissident groups touch goes wrong. It’s clear that they are heavily infiltrated. In the eight years that the Continuity IRA has been in existence, I don’t think they’ve ambushed one British soldier.
“They killed a former member of the UDR in an army base in Derry last year – he wasn’t even involved any more. That’s the extent of their war.
“Do they really think they are going to force Britain out of Ireland with such a campaign?
“The Real IRA recently came out and denied that it had made threats against Gerry Adams. It would be a really stupid move for them to carry out a threat like that.”
Republicans fear that the Real IRA, while in no position to mount an effective campaign against the security forces, could derail the peace process.
“The danger in Belfast is that they’ll come into conflict with someone like the `Sticks’ (Official IRA). The Sticks, unlike the Provisionals, have nothing to lose and are schizophrenic at the best of times.
“The question is not what they’ll do but what they’ll trigger,” said a republican source.
With movement towards the restoration of the North’s political institutions expected over the coming months, republicans are concerned that incidents such as the McGurk murder could provide grist to the mill of anti-Agreement unionists.
The attention given to the trial and conviction of Real IRA leader Michael McKevitt has overshadowed the uneasy rumblings in West Belfast and the dirty protest by dissident republicans in Maghaberry Prison.
While the IRA has made it clear it will not tolerate further troublemaking in Belfast, the prison issue has the potential to cause tensions within the movement. If Real IRA demands for prisoners to be segregated from loyalists are not met, a hunger strike might be considered.
“The prison issue and the hunger strike hits a nerve with nationalists, and in particular, republicans,”said another senior republican.
“It’s the one issue the dissidents have – but they have only one shot at it. Ifthey do itright,then they could generate some support or sympathy from the nationalist community. If not, then they will have undermined what little credibility or support they had in the first place.”
The Maghaberry situation worsened during the week with the assault of two dissident republican prisoners by seven loyalists.The prisoners claim that the loyalists pulled a gun during the attack.
Marion Price, spokeswoman for the prisoners, claimed that the loyalists had attempted to strangle one victim in his cell.
The prison authorities deny that loyalists managed to smuggle a gun into the prison and that they have yet to find the weapon.
Nationalists and republicans, including Sinn Féin, have called on the authorities to segregate the prisoners to prevent the situation spiralling out of control.
Mainstream republicans support calls for segregation, but insist that the republican family in Belfast will not tolerate incidents like the McGurk murder for much longer.
“The IPLO was terminated because the ceasefires were coming,” said the senior republican.
“Republicans said to themselves – `Let’s get down to business with the Brits and really have a go at it’. They didn’t want to be looking over their shoulders.
“I’m not saying the same thing applies now, but I’m sure the dissidents will have taken the IPLO episode into consideration.”
EXCLUSIVE: Scappaticci interviewed
By Barry O’Kelly
Freddie Scappaticci, the former IRA internal security officer accused of being the informant Stakeknife, has revealed he has become a virtual recluse and that he is afraid to leave his home after receiving death threats.
In an interview with The Sunday Business Post at his west Belfast home, a visibly nervous Scappaticci said: “I just don’t leave the house anymore. The couple of times I have gone out, I’ve found people staring at me in the shops.
“People are looking at me because my picture’s been everywhere. I mean, they’re calling me a mass murderer. Now I can’t go out to work. My life’s been turned upside-down.
I’m not a religious person, but I’ve been in touch with the priests. It’s for spiritual help.”
Scappaticci (57) described as “ridiculous” the claims that he was the most significant IRA tout during the Troubles, betraying many of its operations while acting as deputy head of its internal security department.
Senior IRA figures have assured him that they know he is not Stakeknife, though the police are claiming his life is in danger.
Scappaticci said his windows have been broken five times and a pipe bomb was left in his garden. He said he was forced to get police protection after being told several times by the PSNI that it had information from credible sources that people were plotting to kill him.
See Full Interview below :
Freddie Scappaticci, who was named as Stakeknife, the IRA’s most important informant ever for the British government, is living in fear in his West Belfast home and maintaining his innocence.
It’s hard to believe that this is the Freddie Scappaticci, former top Provo, sitting in his front room, fidgeting, a scared, paranoid man, living day to day. A legendary figure in the republican movement in Belfast in the 70s and 80s. A former deputy head of the feared internal security department. A man who was alleged to have killed 40 informers.
Scappaticci, of course, has every reason to be scared. The one-time working class hero (among republicans) was named as the biggest British informant ever 14 weeks ago, a crime that carries only one penalty in his native west Belfast. Yet, he is alive and staying put, for the moment at least, with his wife and six children at their four-bed semi in Riversdale, an area that is also home to the IRA spymaster, Bobby Storey.
The republican movement says it believes Freddie’s denials. Senior IRA figures have assured him that they know he is not Stakeknife. But in the paranoid world of paramilitaries and spook agencies, it’s impossible to know what to believe.
Somebody was responsible for breaking his windows five times and planting a pipe bomb in his front garden.The police have repeatedly told him in recent months that his life is in serious danger, citing several allegedly credible sources. But it was also the police that leaked blatantly bogus stories about him.
At 57, Scappaticci is a small, squat man, barely 5ft 5in, looking ill at ease and noting his grim experience of “scumbag” journalists. He talks in short, nervous bursts to The Sunday Business Post. “There are people out there who are mixing it for me. I honestly don’t know who’s behind these threats… But I’m sure who was behind all this in the first place,” he says.
This is a reference to the Sunday newspaper stories that appeared on May 11 last, identifying him as the notorious IRA informer. The People newspaper, the Glasgow Herald and the Sunday Tribune described him as the jewel in the crown of the intelligence services, who were prepared to allow an innocent Catholic, Francisco Notorantonio (66) to die instead of him.
“I mean this story went worldwide. It was like JFK was killed. It was coordinated. There’s something smelly about it… It’s the Brits. MI5, MI6, the British Army, take your pick. It had to be coordinated,” he says.
The truth, he admits, will never be told to everyone’s satisfaction. “Even if the British government had come out and cleared me, people would be saying, `they only cleared him because he’s one of their own’, it’s Catch 22.”
He agrees he made a fatal mistake in running from the story in the first 48 hours of it breaking. “I got advice and I was told the first 48 hours are crucial. But it’s easier said than done. Once a lie gets a head start the truth has a hard time catching up.”
The only forewarning he had was a call to the door of his home by Sunday People journalist Gregg Harkin on the Saturday night of publication.
“When all this exploded on the Saturday, I was just sitting on the sofa, looking after my grandson when this reporter called to the door.
“I invited him in, and he said, `No, I want to show you a story that’s going to appear in the paper tomorrow, naming you as Stakeknife, the British agent.’ He lured me outside, and a photographer took a picture of me from behind a hedge.
“He showed me a photocopy of the story and it said I was getting stg»80,000 per year as an informant. I didn’t really believe it would be published it was so ridiculous. I went to bed early that night. But the next morning, when I went down to Creighton’s (newsagents) and I saw all these photos of me, I just panicked. I didn’t know how to cope with it.”
Scappaticci took the default option that he resorted to whenever he was in trouble in the past. “I packed a small bag and took myself off to a friend’s house,” he says. He phoned his brother Michael that evening.
“We agreed the best thing to do was to contact Sinn Féin.We spoke to Alex Maskey (the then Lord Mayor of Belfast) and he advised us to get a lawyer. The people in Sinn Féin pointed out that the first 48 hours are vital. So we decided the next day to issue a statement, pointing out the facts.”
The advice from Sinn Féin proved, tragically, to be correct. A lead story in the LondonTimes, and syndicated in the Irish Independent on the Tuesday, definitively reported that Britain’s top spy inside the IRAwas under military protection at a former US airbase at Chicksands in Bedfordshire.
Those preparing to debrief Stakeknife were said to include Captain Margaret Walshaw, who handled the notorious loyalist agent Brian Nelson. Stakeknife was reportedly removed from his home in west Belfast on Saturday evening to a new location on “the mainland”.
According to the Times report, he was located in a 12th century priory, an intimidating building, “said to be haunted by nine ghosts, including a suicidal baronet and a nun who was forced to watch her lover’s execution before being sealed alive in a wall”.
When Scappaticci turned up in person at a press conference the following Wednesday, at the Belfast offices of Michael J Flanigan & Co on the Falls Road, the damage was already done. Some of the follow-up stories speculated about how he managed to wing his way back to Belfast, simply ignoring the more obvious possibility that he had never left in the first place.
“If it wasn’t so serious, it would be funny. I was supposed to be in Dover in a jacuzzi, in a safe house in Bedfordshire, in an MI5 hideout in London, being interrogated by John Stevens. And here I was still in Belfast, shellshocked.”
Over the proceeding days, British security sources were quoted as saying he was behind virtually every major failed IRA mission over a 15-year period. He was supposedly the rat who betrayed the Gibraltar Three, the Eksund gun runners and the IRA men assassinated at Loughgall. These and other stories about Scappaticci’s alleged exploits are dismissed by IRA sources.
Stakeknife, they say, is a mixture of informers and electronic bugs, a convenient pseudonym created to protect decades of spying and destabilise the enemy – the IRA – at the same time. A propaganda classic, for which Scappaticci is paying a heavy price.
“I have had several meetings with senior republicans, and they say, `As far as we are concerned, this whole Stakeknife thing is a policy, not a person’. It serves various purposes: it destabilises the peace process, and Sinn Féin in particular. It puts them on the back foot and it has directed attention away from the Stevens inqui r y i nto c ol lusion by the security forces in loyalist killings.
“This story goes back four years. The reports back then were about a Stakeknife who had the ear of Gerry Adams and who was deeply involved in the peace process. Now I have never had the ear of Gerry Adams and the first thing I knew there was going to be a ceasefire was a few hours before it happened when I bumped into a friend who told me.”
The stories also focused on the disquieting claims about the murder of Notorantonio by loyalists in 1987. It was claimed that the killers were directed towards the elderly Belfast man – whose last involvement in the IRA was in the 1940s – by the security services in order to protect Scappaticci.
The huge mound of allegations prompt an obvious question: have you ever been in the employ, in any form or respect, of MI5, MI6, FRU or British Army or other branches of the security services?
“No. Absolutely not. But how can I prove it? It’s just ridiculous. I wouldn’t have the time to do half these things. I’d need to be an Ian Fleming character.”
Scappaticci points out that the late loyalist double agent Brian Nelson, who was in a privileged position to know about the Notorantonio killing, never mentioned Scappaticci in his statements or jail diaries. The late Tommy Tucker, another agent, never mentioned him either. The loyalist UVF and UDA gangs were also at pains, in a recent statement, to claim that they had never targeted Scappaticci.
The statement received little media coverage. “It’s not a great story. It’s not the same as the one about Stakeknife, the jewel in the crown.”
While various journalists claimed to have known months in advance about the Scappaticci claims, the IRA and residents in the sprawling village that is west Belfast were blissfully unaware of them. In the eyes of locals, he was a respected old timer.
His father Daniel came to the city in the 1920s from the Roman village of Casino and worked in his grandfather’s chip shop and ice-cream van business. Freddie, one of six sons, grew up in the Markets area and was a noted soccer player.
The former Irish international Johnny Carey, of Manchester Utd fame, visited their family home in a bid to sign him for Nottingham Forest when he was 16 years old. His father resisted the idea because of his son’s age, and after a three-week stint at Forest, the aspiring inside left returned homesick. He became a bricklayer instead. He has no regrets. “You can’t wish your life away.”
In 1970 he was arrested for riotous assembly during a police round up of republicans, and a year later, aged 25, he was interned without tr ial in Long Kesh. Among those interned with him were Ivor Bell, Adams and Alex Maskey.
“You got to know people and make contacts in there. It wasn’t a case of, `I’m doing this for Ireland’. You just got on with doing your time and made the best of it.”
He confirms that he joined the republican movement upon his release in December 1974. “It was a chaotic life,” is all he will say about this period of his life. “I left the movement in 1990. It was for family reasons and other reasons. And I just wanted another life.”
A statement by the informant Sandy Lynch that year is believed to have hastened his departure to Dublin for three years. Scappaticci was named in court as being present during the interrogation of the informer in a safe house in Belfast in 1990. The day after Scappaticci left the safe house, the police swooped. Sinn Féin publicity director Danny Morrison was arrested and later jailed for six years.
Scappaticci was arrested and interviewed in Castlereagh police station three years later. “Sandy Lynch gave a description of me and I did not fit that description. He’s a liar.” Lynch has since gone into hiding and been given a new identity in Canada.
Scappaticci faces a more worrying fate, although all the possible evidence available would suggest he was never a tout. “I have received numerous warnings from the police, saying my life is in danger, and eventually you have to take them seriously,” he says.
The worry is there to see in his twitchy movements, his reluctance to stand for a photograph outside his house, the front door locked while he is being interviewed, his regular glances out the front window.
“I just don’t leave the house anymore. The couple of times I have gone out, I’ve found people staring at me in the shops. People are looking at me because my pic-ture’s been everywhere. I mean they’re calling me a mass murderer. My family has been under enormous pressure.
“My wife finds it hard to take in. She’s a very religious person. She says she wouldn’t like to think that I did any harm to anyone. But what do you do with these sort of allegations? There’s not one shred of evidence.
“And then when I eventually go to get protection, on the advice of the police, the People newspaper comes out with an editorial, saying it’s a waste of police money protecting a mass murderer. They’re the very reason I’m getting protection in the first place.”
When various aspects of the story have been proven to be false, Scappaticci has found to his horror that new versions could be pasted on. “They said I had stg»2.4 million in a bank account in Gibraltar, that I was getting stg»80,000 per year. And then when it turned out that I was just a simple working man, they said I was a gambling addict and spent all the money, and that I had turned down the witness protection scheme. I have never been inside a betting shop in my life. And I was still in Belfast when all these stories appeared.
“At times I just feel it’s not really happening. I just can’t take it in. These faceless so-called security sources can do what they like. Not so long ago, John Reid and Tony Blair were complaining about them, so what chance have I got?
I’m a life-long republican and my reputation’s destroyed. I’m just taking one day at a time. I couldn’t tell you what I’ll be doing in six months. I don’t know what the future will hold, I’m only 57, I’ve another eight years before retirement. I’m just a working class man and now I can’t go out to work. My life’s been turned upside down.
“I’m not a religious person, but I’ve been in touch with the priests. It’s for spiritual help… I’m talking now because stories keep appearing every week in the newspapers up here.
“I want to continue with my action against the British government [he’s appealing a recent court ruling, refusing him an official government statement about the informant claims], because at the end of the day they are responsible for the security services, the people who are behind all this. But in the meantime the stories are getting more fantastic by the week.”
Police say they have delivered a major blow to what they believe is a loyalist paramilitary drug ring operating in mid-Ulster.
The claim comes after a lorry carrying ecstasy tablets with an estimated street value of £1m was intercepted in County Antrim on Friday.
Integrating loyalist and republican inmates in a Northern Ireland prison is a recipe for disaster, according to a former assembly member.
Sammy Wilson of the Democratic Unionist Party believes paramilitary prisoners can be kept apart without surrendering control of the prisons.
Posted: Sun Aug 24, 2003 6:51 pm by Seamus–Post subject: Scottish Freedom Fighter William Wallace Commemorated
Members of Republican Sinn Fein attended the very successful annual William Wallace Commemorative March & Rally in Elderslie, Renfrewshire on Saturday, 23rd of August and sold copies of SAOIRSE. On this day 698 years ago William Wallace, was Judicially murdered on the direct orders of the English King Edward 1st at Smithfield in London.
Wallace, the Patriot who defied and fought the might of the invading English Army under the command of Edward ‘Longshanks’ for many long years was betrayed by Scots traitors and delivered into English hands.
This act of Judicial murder did not have the effect that King Edward intended. William Wallace became a martyr and a bright flaming beacon to the people of Scotland. The fires of patriotism thus kindled became a raging conflagation that culminated nine years later in the decisive victory of Bannockburn where the Scots and their Irish allies were victorious.
Let us remember him and his example with pride and imbue ourselves afresh with the desire to liberate our Celtic nations from the their foreign colonial yoke.
SAOR ALBA SAOR EIRE A NIS!
Bundoran Hunger Strike Commemoration
Des Dalton, Assistant Publicity Officer, Republican Sinn Féin
August 28, 2003
Republicans from all over Ireland will gather in Bundoran, Co Donegal at 3.00pm, on Saturday August 30 for Republican Sinn Féin’s annual ‘H Block Hunger Strike’ commemoration . With the stepping up of the campaign for segregation and political status by Republican prisoners in Maghaberry and Magilligan jails, this years commemoration takes on an added significance.
The main speakers include Seán Ó Brádaigh, author of a recently published biography of Robert Emmet, RSF Ard Chomhairle member Fergal Moore, Monaghan, Mick McManus, Fermanagh, Bob Loughman, New York and anti-war campaigner, Mary Kelly who was recently acquitted by a jury at Kilrush Circuit Court of causing ‘criminal damage to a US warplane which was being refuelled at Shannon during the recent US led war on Iraq. Guests of honour on the day will be relatives of the ten men who died on hunger strike in 1981.
Irish Republican Prisoners Welfare Association.
Press Release: 27-08-2003.
Contact: Marian Price/Martin Mulholland.
Phone 07801 729 412 or e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org
Murder Bid on O/C IRA prisoners.
This weeks murder bid on the republican prisoner’s officer commanding, John Connolly, must surely be the last attack before the NIO grant segregation.
The incident occurred on Monday morning as Connolly was returning to his cell after phoning his family. The republican prisoner was rushed in his cell by seven loyalist prisoners who proceeded to beat Connolly to the ground with tins of food in socks and pillow cases. The loyalists produced a pistol and placed it against John Connolly’s head and pulled the trigger but fortunately the gun jammed. Another republican prisoner, Gearoid Mag Uaid, ran into the cell on hearing the commotion and was also badly beaten. The loyalists tried to strangle John Connolly before they ran off. The two republican prisoners received severe bruising and gashes to their heads while the loyalists involved in the attack have been placed in the special supervision unit. No weapon has been recovered yet although many republicans would not be surprised if the weapon has already been smuggled out by the people who smuggled it in.
The IRPWA have information that a loyalist grouping held a meeting in the prison on Sunday night where this and other attacks on republicans were discussed and planned, we are also aware that some of the prison staff knew that this meeting took place yet took no measures to ensure that something like this didn’t happen.
We call for an immediate inquiry into the events of Monday morning and demand that someone is held to account. The Prison Service can no longer deny these events are taking place and avoid public scrutiny as they have done up to now.
The NIO and the Prison Service have some serious questions to answer regarding this incident and must surely now agree that the only common sense solution to the crisis in Maghaberry is immediate segregation. It is only by sheer good luck that the republican community is not making plans for a funeral today, something that no side in this dispute should welcome. RESTORE POLITICAL STATUS.
Martin Mulholland spokesperson.
Human remains found in County Louth, near a site where the IRA claimed to have buried a mother-of-ten, have been identified as belonging to a woman.
Jean McConville was abducted from her west Belfast home in 1972, after she went to the aid of a fatally wounded British soldier outside her front door.
Two prisoners were attacked inside Maghaberry Prison
Two dissident republican prisoners are recovering following an attack by seven men inside Northern Ireland’s high-security Maghaberry Prison.
A spokesman for the Prison Service has confirmed that the assault took place on Monday at the prison near Lisburn, County Down.
He said it is understood that they were attacked by seven loyalist inmates at Bann House in the jail.
But the spokesman denied claims that a gun was pulled during the assault which left one man with a head wound and bruising, and a second man with bruising.
“There is no evidence to support the gun allegations, but the prison service is conducting a full search of Bann House,” the spokesman said.
The prisoners suspected of carrying out the attack have been moved to a supervision unit.
The attack follows recent calls from loyalist and republican prisoners for segregation within the jail.
A week ago, loyalist paramiltaries began a poster campaign demanding segregation and dissident republican prisoners have been staging dirty protests.
Loyalist and republican inmates have also been involved in roof-top protests at the jail, which have caused disruption to prison visits.
In June, Roe House in Maghaberry was the scene of a roof-top protest involving eight loyalists, dissident republicans and non-paramilitary inmates in the jail.
It ended peacefully after the protesters spent one night on the roof.
In early August, Secretary of State Paul Murphy announced a safety review at the prison following the protests and attacks on prison officers’ homes.
The consultation is to be led by John Steele, who was head of the Northern Ireland Prison Service from 1987 to 1992, and a former head of security policy for the Northern Ireland Office.
FBI offered to free inmate
Ex-IRA member rejected deal, stays in Denver jail
By Julie Poppen, Rocky Mountain News
August 23, 2003
The FBI offered freedom to an Irish citizen jailed in Denver for overstaying his visa if he gave up information on the Irish Republican Army.
The offer was revealed Friday by inmate Ciaran Ferry, 31, during a hearing before an immigration judge.
Ferry is seeking asylum in the United States so he can live with his American wife and 2-year-old daughter.
Ferry, a former IRA member, told immigration Judge James P. Vandello at Wackenhut Services Processing Center in Aurora he refused to be a “mole” even if it meant he could live freely in the U.S.
“Why would I thrust my family into a dangerous situation I’m trying to escape from?” Ferry asked. “I think it’s disgraceful.”
Judge Vandello will decide the case by Nov. 1.
Ferry was caught in March 1993 with two other men driving between Belfast and Dublin with two weapons and about 52 rounds of ammunition. The British government alleged he was en route to kill Protestants in the town of Lisburn.
Ferry spent more than seven years of a 22-year sentence in prison but was released in August 2000 under the Good Friday Accords, a peace agreement negotiated between Ireland and England with U.S. support.
Ferry then came to Colorado with his wife on vacation and stayed. He was arrested in January and has been in jail ever since. He also failed to indicate he had been convicted of a crime on at least one visa document.
His case has attracted global attention and support, particularly from Irish-American groups.
Friday, his supporters, including one young man draped in a sash of Ireland’s flag, came to court.
The U.S. government maintains Ferry is a threat because of his ties to an organization once deemed a terrorist group.
“The IRA has killed a lot of innocent civilians. Is that correct?” Scott Johns, assistant chief counsel under the U.S. Department of Homeland Security, asked Ferry.
Johns downplayed the FBI’s discussions with Ferry, noting that it would have been possible to keep Ferry’s cooperation secret if the family had not sought publicity on his case.
Ferry has maintained that he and his two IRA cohorts were en route to a secret IRA training camp.
Now, he’s pinning his hopes on the U.S. court system to allow him to live legally here. His family has also filed a brief in federal court arguing that Ferry is being unlawfully detained.
“I see the American justice system as a just system,” Ferry testified. “The things I was convicted of I would not have been convicted of in the U.S. justice system.”
His wife, Heaven, 27, a Web designer for the city of Arvada who lives with her parents, said she believes the family would be in danger in Ireland because her husband’s name appeared on a Loyalist hit list.
But Johns questioned whether Ferry’s life would be in danger and said that Ferry was still active with the IRA in 1997 while he was detained. At that time, the U.S. considered the IRA a terrorist organization.
Ferry said he lost his active IRA status the day he was jailed in Ireland.
“I hope the court recognizes my convictions were of a political nature and that the court recognizes I have done nothing wrong in the U.S.,” said Ferry, in an emotional closing statement.
Until the case is decided, Ferry will remain in the Denver County Jail in solitary confinement. He was offered a chance to join the general population but declined because he doesn’t believe he’s a criminal.
Ferry has also given up contact visits with his wife and daughter because he believes it’s degrading to be strip-searched after each visit.
“Even al-Qaida people were treated better than this,” said Deanna Turner, spokeswoman for the Irish American Unity Conference who attended the hearing.
IrelandClick.com 25th August 2003
Attacks follow funeral
RIRA MEN FLEE AFTER SHOOTING
A number of Real IRA members from across West Belfast have fled their homes in fear of a ‘Night of the Long Knives’ style blitz in the wake of the murder of Danny McGurk.
The Andersonstown News has learned that five members of the group thought to be connected to the RIRA killing of Danny McGurk last week have fled their homes.
Three of the men were told by the PSNI that they are subject to an IRA death threat. The others left after a number of homes in the Divis area were wrecked in weekend attacks by local people angry at the organisation’s increasingly criminal and anti-social behaviour.
The lower Falls is now bracing itself for an all out war on the RIRA – similar to action taken against the now disbanded IPLO in 1992.
IPLO man Samuel Ward from the Short Strand area was gunned down in a Belfast bar on 31 October 1992 when up to 100 IRA men took part in a crackdown operation to disband the organisation.
Ten other alleged members of the group were wounded in punishment shootings on the same night – many shot in the legs with rifles in order to cause maximum damage.
Four days later the leader of the IPLO’s Belfast Brigade made a statement saying the organisation was to disband.
Members of the RIRA are now fleeing their homes convinced that their days are also numbered.
One RIRA member who was involved in the fight that led to the rift and later the murder of Danny McGurk, has fled to an address in Co Down.
And we can reveal that another man who has been hiding out in Ballycastle since last Tuesday has made approaches to mainstream republicans and offered to trade information on his RIRA colleagues in a bid to save his own skin.
Mainstream republican sources are now saying that the organisation’s days are numbered and that members of the RIRA will from now on be treated as common criminals.
In the Divis area yesterday local people told the Andersonstown News that the community has ostracised all known members of the RIRA.
Shops and bars have refused to serve known members of the organisation and local people say they are no longer welcome in West Belfast.
“We don’t want them here any more,” said one woman.
“They are more interested in lining their own pockets than they are in republicanism.
“No one tried to stop the people who were wrecking their houses because no one cares.
“This area has seen this all before when the IPLO were selling drugs, murdering and raping, thinking they could get away with anything. They were soon put in their place.
“The same thing is happening to the RIRA and there are not too many people shedding tears.”
At Danny McGurk’s funeral on Saturday morning Fr Matt Wallace, who married Danny and his wife Patsy just two years ago, condemned the attack. He said his killers were not Catholic but disciples of the devil.
“What type of people would do this, are they Irish, Catholic, nationalist?
The answer is no.
“His mother described them as the devil’s disciples, drug traffickers and I believe that is the best answer.”
Journalist: Allison Morris
BELFAST 32 COUNTY SOVEREIGNTY MOVEMENT.
PRESS RELEASE: 24-08-2003.
CONTACT: ANDY MARTIN.
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Death threats against members of the Sovereignty Movement.
In the early hours of Friday morning (22nd) several members of the 32 county sovereignty movement in Belfast were visited by the RUC/PSNI and warned that they were being actively targeted by members of the Provisional IRA. Among those visited was national executive member and prisoners spokesperson Marion Price. Ms Price was visited again at lunch time the same day when details of the nature of the threat were repeated. Ms Price was advised to step up her security and warned that she should take the threat extremely seriously.
The 32 County Sovereignty Movement condemn this threat and call on Sinn Fein and PIRA to publically withdraw the threat and if it is non-existent they should investigate its source.
It is possible, in light of recent revelations of high level infiltration, that the guiding hand of the British state is at work. At a time of crisis in the political process and increasing support for the continuing protests in Maghaberry it may be that these threats are a ruse to intimidate and silence anti-agreement republicans. Elements within the media have, for a number of weeks been talking up the possibility of an Oglaigh na hEireann/Provisional feud. The Sovereignty Movement call for calm at this time and would urge republicans to remain level headed. Differences within republicanism should not be settled at gun point but through open and honest debate.
It is with this in mind that the leadership of the 32 County Sovereignty Movement challenge the leadership of Sinn Fein to a debate on the issue of national sovereignty and how it can best be restored and maintained.
Andy Martin, Chairperson, Belfast 32CSM.
Rebels face Provo backlash
PIRA outrage at Falls killing
By Stephen Breen
IRA bosses are set to declare war on renegade republican gangs across Belfast, it was claimed last night.
Sunday Life understands that Belfast Provo chiefs have run out of patience with the dissidents, and have “drawn up” a hit-list of leading Real and Continuity IRA chiefs in the north and west of the city.
Republican sources say the IRA had already being growing “impatient” with the dissidents, over their growing links to criminal gangs, loyalist terrorists and drug dealers.
But Provo leaders in west Belfast were outraged by last week’s brutal murder, by the Real IRA of Danny McGurk, in the lower Falls.
Senior republican sources told us the IRA leadership was previously “reluctant” to launch an attack against the dissidents because of the peace process, but said the group is now coming under intense pressure from its own ranks to target the rival gangs.
The Provos have moved against the dissidents before, most notably they were blamed for the murder of Real IRA chief, John ‘Jo Jo’ O’Connor, in October 2000.
They were also behind punishment attacks on senior renegades in the south Down area, and north Belfast.
But now the IRA is set to scale up attacks against dissidents.
This latest development comes after Sunday Life exposed links between the dissidents and Johnny ‘Mad Dog’ Adair’s old C company.
We also revealed how the former leader of the Real IRA in west Belfast – Anthony Notorantonio – was jailed after he was found with one of Adair’s old UZI sub-machine guns.
A senior security source told us it would be “no surprise” if the IRA leadership sanctioned a move against the dissident gangs.
Said the source: “Apart from the killing of Jo Jo and sporadic punishment attacks against suspected dissidents, the IRA has been keeping a distance from these dissident gangs.
“They know everything that they’re involved in, but they will only take action against them when they feel the time is right.
“The Provos have to look at the bigger picture, but with a vacuum in the peace process at this stage, the feeling among its rank and file now is that maybe this is the time to strike.
“The dissident gangs have been terrorising places like north and west Belfast, and the people have had enough.
“They are now looking to groups like the mainstream IRA to take action.
“The IRA knows who the leaders of the renegade gangs are.
“And the general feeling is that they could be ready to take one of them out on a no-claim no blame basis.”
Dissidents face protests on their home front
OUTRAGED residents in west Belfast are set to hold a series of protests, outside the homes of leading dissident republicans.
The plan has been drawn up by people in the lower Falls, and in other parts of the republican stronghold, after last weekend’s brutal murder of Daniel McGurk.
The protests have been organised by local people, in a bid to force the Real and Continuity IRA terror bosses to leave the area.
Mr McGurk was gunned down in front of his wife and children, by a Real IRA gang, after he was involved in a row with some of the terror group’s leading members in the west of the city, earlier this month.
He was shot in the feet and the back, in what may have been a savage attempted punishment-style shooting that went wrong.
Although a number of protests have been held outside the homes of renegade republicans in north Belfast, this is expected to be the first time protests will be staged in the west of the city.
Even before Mr McGurk’s murder, there was growing anger in west Belfast towards the dissident gangs, which are linked to criminal, and drug dealing, gangsters across Northern Ireland.
One concerned resident – too terrified to be named – who lived close to the home of Mr McGurk, told Sunday Life people in the area have “had enough” of the dissident republican groups.
Said the resident: “It’s about time something was done to let the thugs of the Real IRA know that they are not wanted, in nationalist areas.
“The Provos don’t seem to want to get involved, because of the peace process, but if the ordinary people come out and protest at these people, they cannot be stopped.
“The protest outside the home of a senior dissident, in the Bone area of north Belfast, was a success because he has now left, and there is no reason why it can’t happen here.
“They class themselves as true republicans, yet they are working with well-known criminals and loyalists.”
Message Of The Murals
–South Belfast News
Despite a decline in political art in Belfast in recent years, a murals expert believes the culture of expressing opinion through street art is destined to continue well into the future.
Former South Belfast resident Dr Jonathan McCormick has spent the last seven years pulling together the most comprehensive database and picture library of political murals in Northern Ireland.
In that time the medical doctor has amassed almost 2,000 images of political murals from across the north.
The Scotsman, who now lives and works in Dundee, says wall murals still have a strong part to play in articulating political opinion.
“There are not as many murals in parts of Belfast as there used to be,” explained Jonathan.
“There are several reasons for this and one of them is planning.
“In recent years a lot of houses that have been built are set back from the pavement or have a window in the gable and that reduces the chances of it being used for a mural.”
The expert says that in past murals could be used as a barometer that measured the extent of local feeling on a particular issue.
“Murals have acted as a vital community notice board over the years. They are free from censorship and can sell a powerful political message.”
However in recent years the number of murals in nationalist South and East Belfast have decreased and Jonathon believes their message too is changing.
“There has been a decrease in the numbers of murals in these parts of the city and the tone of them has changed. The character of most of the murals has changed through the years along with the changing political climate.
“The images in loyalist areas are still inclined to concentrate on organisations.
“In the Village we have a lot of murals dedicated to organisations, many of which have not been completed. This goes back to the loyalist feud a few years ago when the different groups were just laying claim to turf.”
But despite the changes Jonathon believes murals will continue to be a feature of street life in Belfast.
“I think murals will continue to be used to convey political opinion and that they will continue to evolve. In recent times loyalists have started to use more sophisticated images to make their point.
“A good example of that is a recent mural in the Shankill which shows a man wearing a suit and balaclava standing next to a photocopying machine – a direct reference to alleged spying in Stormont.
“That is a break from the traditional loyalist image and presents a message of good propaganda worth.”
And Jonathan insists the murals in nationalist areas also have a future.
“Many of the walls that would have been traditionally used in and around Short Strand are no longer available for use and there is a real decrease in murals in this area. But I think they will continue to be used to sell a particular point.”
If you would like to learn more about murals and view some of Jonathan’s images, you can visit Murals on CAIN
Journalist: Staff Reporter
Michael Collins was assassinated on August 22, 1922.
–by Brendan Behan
It was on an August morning, all in the morning hours,
I went to take the warming air all in the mouth of Flowers,
And there I saw a maiden and heard her mournful cry,
Oh, what will mend my broken heart, I’ve lost my Laughing Boy.
So strong, so wide, so brave he was, I’ll mourn his loss too sore
When thinking that we’ll hear the laugh or springing step no more.
Ah, curse the time, and sad the loss my heart to crucify,
Than an Irish son, with a rebel gun, shot down my Laughing Boy.
Oh, had he died by Pearse’s side, or in the G.P.O.,
Killed by an English bullet from the rifle of the foe,
Or forcibly fed while Ashe lay dead in the dungeons of Mountjoy,
I’d have cried with pride at the way he died, my own dear Laughing Boy.
My princely love, can ageless love do more than tell to you
Go raibh mile maith Agath, for all you tried to do,
For all you did and would have done, my enemies to destroy,
I’ll prize your name and guard your fame, my own dear Laughing Boy.
Agonising wait for victim’s family
The family of murdered Falls man Danny McGurk have been told they may have to wait up to two weeks before they can bury the father-of-five.
News of the devastating delay came after one of the men arrested in connection with the death of the Lower Falls man instructed his solicitor to take up the seldom-used option of demanding an independent coroner’s report.
Mr McGurk’s heartbroken family now fear the dead man’s 75-year-old father Seamus – who is in the final stages of terminal cancer – may not live to see his son given a Christian burial.
Danny McGurk was gunned down on Sunday morning when three men burst into the family’s Ross Road home.
The victim was shot in both ankles, the thigh and in the back.
The RIRA have been blamed on the shooting after it emerged that Mr McGurk had an earlier run-in with members of the dissident organisation.
The wait on the independent coroner to carry out his report will mean that the McGurk family will have to endure an agonising and undetermined delay before the burial can take place.
In an amazing turn of events, the family were first informed by the PSNI that the body would be released to the family on Wednesday evening.
Funeral arrangements were made and a service planned for Friday morning. Danny McGurk’s children were told their father was being brought home for burial.
However, a few hours later the family were contacted again and told that one of the men arrested in connection with the killing had instructed his solicitors to take the extraordinary legal action.
“All we want is to give him a proper burial. It is every person’s human right to be allowed to bury his or her loved one,” said his grieving widow Patsy.
“This news has devastated the family. Danny’s father is dying, he might never see his own son buried.
“This is just torture after what we have been through this week. This is just too much, we are in shock.”
Two men and a woman arrested in connection with Danny McGurk’s death were released without charge yesterday, a fourth man was still being questioned by the PSNI.
Journalist: Staff Reporter
…It is believed the charges relate to the search of a house in the Beechmount area of west Belfast following the murder of Danny McGurk on Sunday morning.