Wednesday, December 14, 2005

First published in the booklet ' STRIP SEARCHES IN ARMAGH JAIL' , produced , in February 1984 , by 'The London Armagh Group' .

From 1975 onwards , large numbers of people were arrested and taken to interrogation centres at Castlereagh and Gough Barracks ; here , women were sexually abused , both verbally and physically , and often threatened with rape . Men were tortured : the 'confessions' thus extracted were used to convict them .

In the Diplock Courts , set up under the Emergency Powers Act , trial for 'scheduled offences' (ie political offences) is before a single judge sitting without a jury ; statements made involuntarily are admissable as 'evidence' , provided they are not made as a result of "...torture , inhuman or degrading treatment.. " . It is notoriously difficult to prove that a statement was made as a result of coercion . In England , Scotland and Wales , trial for serious offences is always by jury , and statements made involuntarily are inadmissable as 'evidence' .

During the late 1970's , 94 per cent of cases brought before juryless Diplock Courts concluded with a prison sentence , and between 70 and 90 per cent of these convictions were based upon self-incriminating statements obtained during interrogation . Independent evidence is rarely used by the prosecution . Note that for 1976-1979 , the average acquittal rate for contested jury trials was 58 per cent , compared to the average acquittal rate for contested Diplock trials of only 19 per cent .......


First published in 'IRIS' magazine , Volume 1 , Number 2 , November 1981 .

The deaths of all the hunger-strikers and all the other evils which have flowed from the partition of Ireland lie squarely on the shoulders of imperial Britain . But the Irish 'establishment' , whose craven acquiescence in the British partition of Ireland , and its maintenance , have made - are making - and will continue to make a major contribution to the general evils of partition as well as to the specific circumstances whereby Westminster was permitted to murder ten young Irishmen in the hospital wing of the H-Blocks rather than make five simple concessions to them .

It was against this background of slavish acceptance by the Irish 'establishment' of Britain's 'right' to do what it will in Ireland , and after the deaths of six prisoners on hunger-strike , that the campaign of demoralisation , instilling of defeatism , undermining the prisoners and vilification of their supporters , got underway in July of that year (1981) .

'Chief Advocate' of that campaign was Fr. Denis Faul , an assistant chaplain to Long Kesh and civil rights activist , who is prominent in the activities of the respected 'Association for Legal Justice' (ALJ) : however , his hunger-strike breaking activities cannot be ascribed to those of an individual . Faul , like Fianna Fail leader , Charles Haughey , or Sinn Fein President , Ruairi O' Bradaigh , cannot be viewed as having taken unilateral action on this most acutely political situation in isolation from the body of which he is a prominent member , the Irish Catholic Church .......


From 'MAGILL' magazine , April 1982 .

The Official IRA/INLA Feud , 1975 :
It is impossible to apportion blame in such incidents but because the Official IRA was then the largest organisation and its interests most immediately threatened , it is not unreasonable to assume that it was the major culprit in this feud .

Certainly the Official IRA was the first to kneecap an opponent and then it was the first to murder a member of the opposing party , Hugh Ferguson . The 'final tally' ended up with two deaths on each side .

Then the Official IRA Officer Commanding , Billy McMillan , was shot dead by the INLA on the Falls Road in Belfast ; this shooting took place after a truce had been negotiated .......