Irish Republican Information Service (no. 321)

Irish Republican Information Service (no. 321)
Teach Dáithí Ó Conaill, 223 Parnell Street, Dublin 1, Ireland
Phone: +353-1-872 9747; FAX: +353-1-872 9757; e-mail:
Date: 20 Nollaig / December 2013

Internet resources maintained by SAOIRSE-Irish Freedom

In this issue:

1. Be vigilant

2. Election conventions selects Tomás Ó Curraoin in Galway

3. Mandela inspires all engaged in the struggle for freedom and justice

4. Christmas Swim in Dublin, Wexford, Craigavon and Kerry for Republican POWs

5. Charlie Kerins commemorated in Tralee

6. Liam Mellows remembered in Wexford

7. Sectarian attack on nuns’ car in Belfast

8. John Maclean Commemoration in Glasgow

9. Roseann Mallon murder: Judge hits out over hindering of inquest

10. British destroyed ‘confidential’ papers as they left ‘colonies’

11. British soldier reveals secrets of life inside British Army ‘ghost squad’

12. Slow Food reiterates opposition to salmon farming

13. Palestinian leader urges Irish lead on Mid-east peace process

1. Be vigilant

1ON December 16, 2013, a Republican Sinn Féin member discovered a tracking device in the wheel-arch of a van. We take this opportunity to call on everyone to be vigilant and to keep an eye out for any suspicious activity in your locality and to report it immediately to your local Republican Sinn Féin representative.

We are led to believe that British Army Special Reconnaissance Units, MI5 and their lackeys are not operating in our communities. The discovery of this device and the subsequent actions of the RUC/PSNI exposes once more the reality of British black operations in Ireland.

3After discovering that their tracking device was compromised they had the audacity to invade the home of a relative of the Republican Sinn Féin member and demand where the tracking device was. They then attacked and tasered Eddie. The injuries inflicted afterwards speak for themselves which necessitated a hospital visit. .

On December 16 a Republican Sinn Féin Ard Chomhairle member said:

“Eddie Breen, Craigavon, is now in hospital after being tasered and getting a bad beating by the British police when he could not produce a tracking device found in a van. MI5, and every breed of peeler you could think of, rushed to collect the device when it was removed from the van. The RUC/PSNI were in Craigavon within a very short time after the device was found by the van owner.”

Let it be noted that this kind of injustice has been the hallmark and consistency of British rule in Ireland. Against it we stand firm and we shall expose it at every junction.

We will not be purchased or intimidated.

Republican Sinn Féin condemned unequivocally the actions of the British force on Irish soil. The tracking device is most likely one of many and we call on our member to check their cars, and indeed their homes after a raid by the British security forces. The treatment meeting out to Eddie Breen was revenge for the loss of their tracking device.

2. Election conventions selects Tomás Ó Curraoin in Galway

ON December 4 Republican Sinn Féin in Galway held is election convention in the Connemara Coast Hotel to select candidates for the upcoming local elections in 2014.

Current Galway County Councillor Tomás Ó Curraoin was selected to stand once again in the Conamara area of Galway with Matt Ó Brádaigh selected as director of elections.

Speaking after his selection Tomás had the following to say “I am proud to have been given the opportunity to have represented the people of Connemara on Galway County Council since 2009 and I am honoured to be selected once again by Republican Sinn Féin to stand for election.

“I will continue to carry on working on behalf of the people of Connemara on such issues as a fire brigade for South Conamara, housing, road issues, footpaths, planning issues, and bus shelters and lay-bys.

“I will continue to stand by small farmers and fishermen and I will stand up for the rights of people to cut turf, and I will continue to raise issues such as employment for our youth and the care needs of our elderly.”

Speaking at the convention the president of Republican Sinn Féin Des Dalton had the following to say, “We are very proud of Tomás and always have been. Tomás has been the standard bearer in the West for Republicanism since the 1980s and all the elections in between. He has always carried himself with great dignity and honour.

“We were particularly proud in 2009 when all his hard work paid off and he was elected to represent the people of Connemara at Galway County Council. His work rate on the council is second to none and I have every confidence that Tomás will retain his seat. It is going to be a struggle and a fight but I know that Tom and the people around him are more than capable of doing it.

“I think this coming election is going to be an important one. Many people are very disillusioned with the establishment parties and candidates like Tomás are exactly the type of candidates that people are looking for to give political leadership. Tomás is a candidate that gives politics a good name unlike those who demean it. Tomás represents all that is good about community politics and activism.

“With all of that Tomás is an Irish Republican to his fingertips and has never hidden that and has carried the banner very high.”

3. Mandela inspires all engaged in the struggle for freedom and justice

ON December 16 the President of Republican Sinn Féin Des Dalton said in a statement:

“Nelson Mandela was and remains an inspirational figure for all who are engaged in the struggle for human freedom and national self-determination. His life story is a story of the triumph of the human spirit when faced with seemingly overwhelming state repression and brutality.

“In Ireland we salute the memory of a man prepared to spend 27 years of his life in prison rather than compromise on the fundamental principles of the struggle for a free South Africa. He was a statesman but also a soldier and as leader of Umkhonto we Sizwe (Spear of the Nation) was prepared to bring the fight directly to the apartheid South African State. During the negotiations for the new post-apartheid when the idea of partitioning South Africa in order to create a white dominated statelet was mooted Mandela rejected the notion immediately saying that he did not want to see a South African Ulster being created.

“In 2000 Nelson Mandela attended a lunch along with a group of Irish newspaper editors in the home of Tony O’Reilly. Mandela was questioned as to whether or not the Provisionals should be decommissioning their arms. Mandela’s response was unequivocal, “…my position is that you don’t hand over your weapons until you get what you want.” Needless to say this was a response that was not welcomed nor reported on. Mandela’s attitude contrasts sharply with those who had already at that point in time abandoned the ideological basis for continuing the fight for a free Ireland.

“For Mandela his long walk to freedom was one without turning or deviation from the principles of universal human freedom. It is saddening to see that the current South African state falls short of the high ideals by which he lived life but nonetheless his legacy will remain an inspiration for those who continue to seek true political and economic democracy in South Africa and around the world.

“Ar dheis Dé go raibh a anam dílis.”

4. Christmas Swim in Dublin, Wexford, Craigavon and Kerry for Republican POWs

Cabhair canal swim , Dec 25 , 2006 .ON Decembers members and supporters of Republican Sinn Féin in Armagh will take part in a sponsored swim in aid of CABHAIR (Irish Republican Prisoners Dependants Fund) at Craigavon Lakes.

On Christmas Day Republican Sinn Féin, Wexford will hold their Christmas Swim in aid of CABHAIR on Rosslare Strand at 11am and Republican Sinn Féin in Dublin will hold its 37th Annual Swim as usual in Inchicore.

Republican Sinn Féin, Chiarraí will hold their sponsored swim on Banna Strand on New Year’s Day.

All proceeds will go to CABHAIR (Irish republican Prisoners Dependants Fund).

Cumann Pádraig Ó Pearaill, Loch Garman, will hold a picket in support of political hostage Martin Corey in the Bullring in Wexford town on December 21, from 1-2pm.

5. Charlie Kerins commemorated in Tralee

Charlie KearnsON December 5 Republicans gathered in Denny Street, Tralee, Co Kerry and led by a piper and the National Flag carried by Mark Neligan, marched to the memorial at Strand Street to IRA Chief-of-Staff Charlie Kerins, hanged 69 years ago by the official English hangman Albert Pierpoint, brought over for the purpose by de Valera and his Free State administration. Proceedings were chaired by Éamonn Ó Braoin, Castleisland.

Wreaths were laid by Mary O’Connor, a niece of Charlie Kerins, Dan Broder and Seán Murphy, Matt Leen read the Roll of Honour of the 1940s and John Mangan recited a decade of the Rosary as Gaeilge.

The oration was delivered by Republican Sinn Féin National PRO Geraldine McNamara, Tipperary who said:

“Charlie was born on January 23, l9l8 and died at the hands of Free State murderers on December 1, 1944. During his lifetime Charlie dedicated all his time to the struggle to secure a free and united Ireland.

“In 1940, Charlie joined the IRA and worked his way through the ranks quickly as he was an intelligent dedicated soldier of the Republic. In May 1942 he moved to Dublin as a member of Headquarters Staff.

“By then, the situation for true Republicans had become critical as the Free State government, using WWII as a pretext, stepped up its attacks on the Republican Movement. They introduced coercion under the Emergency Powers Act, raided homes, censored the media and suppressed meetings. They harassed, arrested and interned Republicans without trial in the Curragh Concentration Camp.

“Charlie and his comrades went ‘on the run’, daily risking capture throughout the country as they worked night and day to keep the spirit of the Irish Republic alive.

Charlie was a wanted man by de Valera’s henchmen and a Tralee-born guard Joe Sugrue was asked by his superiors to go on a special mission — with a promise of promotion — to hunt down Charlie Kerins. Joe Sugrue to his credit threw off the uniform rather than betray his fellow townsman.

“During 1942 Tom Williams was hanged in Belfast Jail and a few months later in November Maurice O’Neill of Caherciveen was shot by firing squad in Mountjoy. Knowing the fate that awaited him Charlie still continued to be a stalwart Republican and even though his life was in constant danger he accepted the post of Chief of staff in October 1942.

“He continued organising and guiding Republicans in the fight to reverse the damaging division of Ireland by Britain. The British now had another and more dangerous ally, former Republicans who had fought the Civil War against the Free Staters had taken their seats in Leinster house and were administering rule in a divided Ireland, their first aim was to wipe out true Republicans and push the lie that you could be a Republican and still accept a two state Ireland. This lie is presently being told by the Provos.

“By 1943, with so many comrades arrested, interned and shot-on-sight, and with a price on his head, Charlie knew that at all times he risked betrayal by spies or getting shot on sight by Free State detectives who hunted everywhere for him.

“Still, he risked his life on more than one occasion to bring his men to safety. On June 15, 1944, Charlie was arrested at the home of Dr Kathleen Farrell, in Rathmines Road. He was charged with ‘the shooting at Rathfarnham of Detective Dinny O’Brien’.

“Charlie’s trial opened on Monday, October 2, 1944 in Collins Barracks, Dublin, before the notorious Special Court set up to deal harshly with Republican prisoners.

After a six-day trial and lack of evidence Charlie was sentenced to death. Despite protests, the Irish Free State Government brought over the hangman Pierpoint from England to carry out the execution, and on the first Friday in December 1944 Charlie Kerins went to his death for Ireland, as did Kevin Barry twenty-four years earlier, on the gallows in Mountjoy Jail .

“Four years later on September 18, 1948, the remains of Charlie Kerins and Maurice O’Neill were brought back to Kerry from inside prison walls and huge crowds gathered in towns and villages all along the road from Dublin, as they made their final journey home, Charlie Kerins, the boy from Tralee and Chief of Staff of the Irish Republican Army was finally laid to rest in his native Tralee in the Republican Plot in Rath Cemetery.

“Charlie Kerins adhered to ideals and principals of the 1916 Proclamation and the Declaration of Independence of the All-Ireland Dáil Éireann 1919 for which he paid the ultimate sacrifice of martyrdom for his country and the people of Ireland.

It must have been especially difficult for the Republicans of the forties and fifties to carry on the struggle against British rule when so many of their former comrades had recognised and accepted a two-state Ireland.

“So many had surrendered to the idea that there was no more could be done and the people of the north were left to the mercy of the unionist and loyalist run Six-County state. Because of the faithful few like Dan Keating, John Joe Rice, John Joe Sheehy and Mick Lynch who would not surrender and accept British rule in any part of Ireland the people of Kerry continued to be Republican and knew that a two -tate Ireland was not acceptable to them and only a united Ireland would bring honour and justice and freedom to the Irish nation.

“From Thomas Ashe in 1917, Terence McSwiney, the Lord Mayor of Cork in 1920, Seán McCaughey in 1946, Michael Gaughan in 1974 to Bobby Sands in 1981 to name but a few, they all had one goal to end British rule in Ireland once and for all,

they refused to bend the knee to the British occupiers of Ireland and they all gave their lives rather than accept anything less than a free nation, and like Charlie Kerins they all gave their lives rather than surrender any part of Ireland to a foreign power.

Martin Corey is interned today without trial because he still has the same spirit of freedom that tells him that though others will settle for a place at the master’s table, he will never accept a two state Ireland run by a foreign master.

“Martin and his comrades in Maghaberry are of the risen people, who have never broken the chain with Republicanism and who never will break the chain with Republicanism until England is gone once and for all.

“We must not forget Pat Barry from Donegal who is in jail in Mountjoy because he is an Irish Republican; Pat was an Ard Chomhairle member and a great companion and carer to Joe O’Neill who passed away this year.

“December is the month of Irish Republican political prisoners and we should be honouring them here tonight also.

“We should not be coming here tonight to honour Charlie Kerins and then walking away and forgetting about those who are continuing the struggle for freedom, we have to go out every day and work for a united Ireland, there are enough British collaborators within the 26 Counties in the Free State establishment parties.

“Republican Sinn Féin members in Kerry should be proud of their Republican heritage and should be working together to pass this great tradition on to new people and be doing all the activities that Kerry Republicans were always famous for.

“We have had a tough year this year and we sadly bade farewell to two life-long Republicans, Ruairí Ó Brádaigh and Joe O’Neill, who gave their lives to freedom’s struggle. When others went by the wayside, they doubled their efforts to show that entering constitutional politics was not going to bring about a 32-County Republic.

“They set the standards high and we must keep them that way, we cannot settle or take a back seat in the struggle for freedom. We must continue the struggle and use all means available to us to gain the freedom of Ireland and see a British withdrawal from our land.

“Republican Sinn Féin must show the world by example that the true Irish Republican Movement has only one aim – the achievement of a 32-County federal Irish Republic, free from outside interference. We must set and maintain the highest standards of integrity and principle. We must not succumb to native or foreign foe.

“Charlie Kerins legacy cannot end with an annual commemoration; this must be the foundation stone of his legacy. His legacy must be the freedom of the Ireland he loved by those who have not yielded to the British masters and who never will.

In one of his final letters Charlie Kerins said ‘all I ask is that the ideals and principals for which I am about to die will be kept alive until the Irish Republic is finally enthroned’.”

6. Liam Mellows remembered in Wexford

LiammellowsON December 8 Cumann Pádraig Ó Pearaill, Republican Sinn Féin, Wexford, held their annual Liam Mellows commemoration at his graveside in Castletown.

Jimmy Kavanagh chaired the proceedings and first called on PJ Kehoe to lay a wreath on behalf of Wexford Republican Graves Association, followed by wreaths laid by Jimmy Corcoran on behalf of Republican Sinn Féin, Carlow, Kevin Kavanagh on behalf of Republican Sinn Féin, Co Wexford and Celia Conway on behalf of Republican Sinn Féin, Kildare.

Next, Micheál Óg Ó Fiach read the Wexford Republican Roll of Honour from 1922-1923 followed by a minute’s silence with the colour party dipping the Tricolour. The main part of the day’s ceremony was the oration given by Wexford Republican Mick Hunt, and in its course he said:

“Liam Mellows was one of the great thinkers and speakers of his time, and ultimately that was why he was murdered by the Government. He was born on May 25, 1892 in Ashton upon-Lyne in Lancashire, England. He spent a lot of his childhood living with his grandparents at Macoyle which is between here (Castletown ) and Inch. Here he met a local gardener called Murtagh Kavanagh, who was also a great story teller who preserved the united Irishmen’s political tradition and passed this on to young Liam Mellows. Mellows was a pale, pensive boy and when asked what he was thinking about, he would reply ‘Ireland’

“His family moved briefly to Cork and then settled in Dublin, but Mellows and his siblings spent each summer here in Wexford. He left school in 1907 and acquired a position as a clerk in a large department store.

“In the summer of 1911 he bought a copy of Irish Freedom and was enthralled by the publication and became a regular reader. Soon after he walked into a small newsagents shop on what is now Parnell Street, run by a small, grey-haired, prematurely aged man called Thomas J Clarke and promptly joined Na Fianna Éireann. He was soon promoted to lieutenant and became secretary of the Dublin city council. On April 7, 1912 he was sworn into the Irish Republican Brotherhood by Con Colbert.

“He became the first travelling instructor and organiser and his first journey was to Wexford, Kilkenny and Tipperary where he made contact with local IRB men and organised recruitment, meetings and drilling as well as attending marches and giving orations. He did this throughout the country, eventually arriving in Galway where he trained other men in this work. He was one of the leaders in Galway during the Easter Rising and afterwards, with a price on his head, managed to escape to Liverpool, at one time disguising himself as a novice nun.

“He spent four years in the United States where he was heavily involved with Clan na Gael, and also trying to find ways to ship arms back to Ireland. After spending some time in prison there, he returned to Ireland via Southampton and London on false papers. He immediately continued his work with the IRA, becoming director of purchases, organising the importation of arms and equipment and was elevated to the army council.

“When the Treaty of Surrender was signed in December 1921, Mellows and the majority of the IRA were against it and reaffirmed their allegiance to the Republic. In April 1922 Mellows and the Ira entered the four Courts and occupied it. A three-month stand-off ensued. Ordered by Britain to act, Collins borrowed two British field guns and a British army unit was brought in to use them on the Four Courts. The Garrison was forced to surrender on June 30th and hundreds of prisoners were taken, among them Liam Mellows and he was imprisoned in Mountjoy.

“The Free State then brought in new laws establishing military courts that could impose the death sentence for any number of things, even being a Republican supporter. When the IRA shot and killed Free State TD Seán Hales on December 7, 1922, the Free State government ordered that Liam Mellows and his comrades Rory O’Connor, Richard Barrett and Joe McKelvey be brought from their cells in mount joy and murdered by firing squad in retaliation. Liam Mellows, according to his wishes, was buried in Castletown here in Co. Wexford. The county he loved most dear. In a letter to his mother before he died he stated ‘the Republic lives, our deaths make it a certainty’.

“The political gangsters in Leister house and those that try to rewrite Irish history say we should not put words into the mouths of our dead patriots because we don’t know what they would make of the country toady. Well not so with Liam Mellows, he clearly saw the path that the Free State would lead to, and said so during the treaty debate: ‘It is a fallacy to believe that a Republican can be won through the shackled Free State. You can not make a silk purse with a sow’s ear. If the Irish people do not control Irish industries, transport, Money and the soil of the country, then foreign or domestic capitalists will. And whoever controls the wealth of a country and the process by which wealth is attained, control also its government.’

“How right he was. Our country is ruled by bureaucrats in Brussels and Germany and our assets are given away, such as the gas fields given to the capitalist ESSO group. Next they want to build huge turbines across the midlands so that the electricity generated can be given to Britain. Then they plan to allow fracking for gas which will destroy the country side and pollute the rivers but will make huge profits. But not for the people of the country. Not that the government care. A few years ago they sold the sovereignty to the same greedy and corrupt banks and bondholders. Again Mellows saw this coming and said: ‘The time will inevitably come, if this Free State comes into existence, when you will have a permanent government in the country. And permanent governments in any country have a dislike to being turned out, and they will seek to fight their own corner before anything else.’

“We all know this to be true, we have read countless times about politicians who put lining their own pockets way above the interests of the country. People say we have no alternative, but I say we do. The ÉIRE NUA and SAOL NUA programmes show the way to a 32-County Democratic Socialist Republic. A fair crack of the whip for all citizens, Protestant, Catholic or Dissenter. The only ones that will lose out are the lying politicians, the greedy banks and the capitalists. I would everyone to read these two documents and make up their own mind.

“They now call this Free State the Republic of Ireland, Well, it must be the only Republic in the world where you are persecuted and vilified for being a republican. Maybe someone should send a dictionary to Leinster house so they can look up the word ‘Republic’.

“To conclude I would like to remind you that December is traditionally Prisoners month, and I would ask you to donate something to CABHAIR, a true charity where all monies raised goes to the prisoner’s families, not to top up of already wealthy people. Another scandal and no doubt there will be another scandal next week.”

7. Sectarian attack on nuns’ car in Belfast

ON December 9 it was reported that a car used by nuns living in a unionist area of Belfast was sectarian.

The vehicle was targeted by those coming through the interface gate from the nationalist Springfield Road to Workman Avenue in the Woodvale area at around 9pm the previous day.

The windscreens and side windows were smashed on the car used by the two nuns who live at the property. A similar attack took place on the same home in July.

8. John Maclean Commemoration in Glasgow

ON Sunday, November 24 the annual commemoration to John McClean was held in Eastwood Cemetery, Glasgow. The oration was delivered by Alan Stewart, International Officer for the Scottish Republican Socialist Movement.

He said: “This year saw the centenary of the Dublin Lockout. Soon we will have the centenary of the Easter Rising. And what I want to do today is say a few words about Maclean and Ireland.

“John Maclean had met Jim Larkin when Larkin was on Clydeside organising dockers. In 1907 Larkin invited Maclean to Belfast -during a transport strike- to speak to the Belfast Socialist Society on the strikers’ behalf.

“Maclean spent four days there; he wrote of it in ‘Reflections on Belfast’. When he returned to Scotland he was shocked to hear that strikers had been shot dead and others injured- by the British army.

“Maclean condemned it as murder and he took on Philip Snowden of the ILP — later Chancellor under Ramsay Macdonald — who defended British Government actions. Maclean was to prove an enduring friend of the Irish people and a supporter of Irish freedom. And he baulked at the sight of Scots soldiers being sent to Ireland to put down -to repress- their Celtic cousins.

“His wonderful pamphlet, Ireland’s Tragedy, Scotland’s Disgrace, which appeared in 1920 encapsulates precisely his views on the struggle for Irish freedom.

Let me quote Maclean in 1920. He says…

“ ‘Britain has no right to dominate Ireland with a constabulary armed with bombs and with an army and navy considered foreign by the Irish.’

“And what did he say to the Scottish people. Maclean said this ‘All Scotland must…appreciate the plight of Ireland, which for over seven centuries has chafed under the same English yoke and now ought to stand by Ireland in her last great effort for freedom.

And how did Maclean characterise British rule in Ireland. I quote from Maclean, again in 1920.

“ ‘…any right-thinking person Britain’s retention of Ireland is the world’s most startling instance of dictatorship by terrorists as Britain rules Ireland against Irish wishes with policemen armed with bombs and a huge army equipped with over 40 tanks.’

“Panorama this week showed that reign of terror by Britain was still around in the 1970’s as it is today.

“Maclean was from the same generation as fellew Scot and comrade James Connolly. Maclean’s support for the Easter Rising — whilst the Labour benches cheered Connolly’s execution — showed that he appreciated fully, starkly the need to organise against national oppression and to make common cause with the Irish working-class.

And it is with Scottish and Irish people making common cause that I want to finish with here today.

“It is ludicrous to sing rebel songs one day and to vote for British unionist parties and for the ‘No’ campaign the next. Remember the likes — the example — of Larkin, of Connolly and of Maclean and vote ‘Yes’.”

9. Roseann Mallon murder: Judge hits out over hindering of inquest

IT was reported on November that vital information about the killing of pensioner Roseann Mallon is only being drip-fed to her inquest.

Accusing the police and Historical Enquiries Team of procrastination, High Court Judge Justice Weir slammed a delay in the disclosure of a report linking the murder weapon to at least six other shootings.

Demanding a report on the gun’s history and an explanation for the delay, Judge Weir said: “I want the whole story and I want it now.”

The Czech assault rifle has been forensically linked to the UVF murders of Charles and Theresa Fox at Moy, Co Tyrone, in 1992 as well as the murders of John Quinn, Dwayne O’Donnell, Malcolm Nugent and Tommy Armstrong outside a bar in Cappagh, east Tyrone, in 1991.

Roseann Mallon’s inquest was only made aware of the link after a member of the HET phoned the Coroner’s Service a day after the inquest started four weeks ago, the court was told.

Judge Weir said: “We are being fed little bits of information and have been on a repeated basis.”

Ms Mallon, 76, was gunned down as she watched television at a house near Dungannon, Co Tyrone on 8 May, 1994.

The Czech-bought assault rifle, now linked to 11 other murders and two attempted murders, was first examined at the Weapons and Explosives Research Centre (Werc) – a previously unheard of unit located within the Northern Ireland Forensic Science Laboratory, the court was told on December 5.

She had been staying with relatives because she felt vulnerable and was unable to escape when two loyalist gunmen indiscriminately opened fire on the bungalow at Cullenramer Road.

The Ulster Volunteer Force (UVF) said its mid-Ulster brigade had been responsible and were targeting two of her nephews Christopher Mallon, who was not home at the time, and Martin Mallon, who lived half a mile away.

In the wake of the shooting, Army spying equipment was found in a nearby field sparking claims of security force collusion.

Barry MacDonald QC, who is representing the Mallon family, said the rifle was now known to have been involved in at least eight incidents that resulted in 11 murders and two attempted killings.

He also claimed inaccurate information – that the gun had no previous history – was fed into the system by Special Branch.

Mr MacDonald said: “The practice seems to have been when cartridge cases were collected, they were forwarded to the Forensic Science Laboratory of Northern Ireland – but it was the Werc who conducted their investigations and provided a steer.

“The upshot is that these incorrect conclusions have been made by a section of Special Branch in circumstances where the object of this entire exercise – that’s this inquest — is to allay suspicion and rumour about the involvement of Special Branch.”

Justice Weir, who is hearing the long-awaited inquest, said: “This is the first time it has ever come to my attention that there was a forensic system within a forensic system.”

Judge Weir told the court he had never heard of Werc despite a lengthy career as a defence barrister and judge.

He also expressed concern that they were not ballistics experts and said he would be demanding a full explanation on how they operated and who took the decision to conceal their existence.

“If their work is to be of any value, they are to be people of skill. You cannot learn on the job to be a ballistics examiner. This is not a milk round these people are doing,” he said.

Martin Mallon said the family had been left bemused by the latest revelations.

He said: “We have had Special Branch hiding behind screens, we have heard evidence about burning notebooks and items being destroyed. We have consistently heard about Special Branch being a force within a force and now it appears that Werc was a unit within a unit.

“Roseann was a 76-year-old pensioner who was murdered in her home. People have attempted to mislead facts, cover-up the truth. We simply want the truth and accountability.”

Notorious killer Billy Wright and two other loyalists were arrested and questioned about Ms Mallon’s murder but no-one has ever been convicted.

Relatives of the Foxs and those killed at Cappagh joined the Mallon family in the public gallery, supported by the victims’ group Relatives for Justice.

Solicitor Niall Murphy, who represents the Fox family and next of kin of two Cappagh victims, said: “We are very concerned at the slow-drip nature of this discovery. “It is very distressful for these family members to hear this information in this way and our clients fear that there is a wider conspiracy and that the State are involved in a cover-up.”

The inquest has been adjourned until next May to allow the HET to complete its investigation into 24 murders in the east Tyrone area between 1988 and 1994 – including Ms Mallon’s death.

10. British destroyed ‘confidential’ papers as they left ‘colonies’

ON November 29 the London Independent revealed that thousands of confidential papers were destroyed as British rule neared its end in many of its colonies.

In April 1957, five unmarked lorries left the British High Commission in Kuala Lumpur and drove to a Royal Navy base in Singapore with their cargo of files detailing the secrets of Britain’s rule in Malaya.

This “discreet” mission in the closing days of British rule over what became Malaysia was one of hundreds of similar operations. As the sun finally set on the Empire, diplomats scurried to repatriate or destroy hundreds of thousands “dirty” documents containing evidence that London had decided should never see the light of day. Some 50 years later, the sheer scale of the operation to hide the secrets of British rule overseas – including details of atrocities committed during the Mau Mau rebellion in Kenya – is revealed in documents released today by the National Archives in Kew, west London.

The so-called “migrated archive” details the extraordinary lengths to which the Colonial Office went to withhold information from its former subjects in at least 23 countries and territories in the 1950s and 1960s.

Among the documents is a memo from London that required all secret documents held abroad to be vetted by a Special Branch or MI5 liaison officer to ensure that any papers which might “embarrass” Britain or show “racial prejudice or religious bias” were destroyed or sent home.

The ramifications of the operation to conceal the resulting archive of 8,800 files – a closely guarded Whitehall secret until the Government recently lost high-profile court cases – are still being felt in compensation claims for victims of atrocities committed under British rule from Kenya to Malaya.

Relatives of 24 Malayan rubber plantation workers allegedly murdered by British soldiers in the Malayan village of Batang Kali in 1948 returned to the Court of Appeal this week to try to overturn a ruling that the British government cannot be held responsible for the massacre.

Most of the records of the original investigation into the killings were destroyed, most likely during the eight-month period that included the sending of the lorries to Singapore.

A memo recording the destruction operation in 1957 notes that the MI5 liaison officer overseeing the operation believed that as a result “the risk of compromise and embarrassment [to Britain] is slight”.

John Halford, of the law firm Bindmans, which is representing the Batang Kali relatives and victims, told The Independent:

“British officials through the years have been desperate to consign the Batang Kali atrocity to history, despite those who were there as children still being very much alive and driven to seek justice.”

Known in several former colonies as “Operation Legacy”, Whitehall set out a list of the types of material it wanted removed, including anything which “might embarrass members of the police, military forces, public servants (such as police agents or informers)”. Once “dirty” documents had been removed the remaining “clean” material was passed to a new strata of administrators overseeing independence processes who were deliberately not told about the sifting process.

It also ordered the destruction or removal of “all papers which are likely to be interpreted, either reasonably or by malice, as indicating racial prejudice or bias”.

Under the rules, all material marked “Top Secret” or “Secret” was either sent back to Britain via the RAF or the navy, or destroyed either by burning or “placed in well-weighted crates and sunk in deep and current free water at the maximum practicable distance from shore”.

Among the documents is a note that officials should carefully control any bonfires of secrets and avoid a situation similar to Indian in 1947 when the local press was filled with reports about the “pall of smoke” which fell over Delhi at the end of the Raj as British officials burnt their papers.

The files show that in the months before Kenya gained independence in December 1963, some 307 boxes of material were sent back to Britain.

The evidence remained hidden for five decades until court cases brought on behalf of victims of brutality forced its disclosure last year and a subsequent £20m pay out and apology from the Foreign Secretary, William Hague, and this summer.

11. British soldier reveals secrets of life inside British Army ‘ghost squad’

ON December 1 a soldier who led a hit squad accused of murdering unarmed IRA suspects was branded a “stone-cold killer” by a former comrade.

Clive “Taffy” Williams was named in a shocking Panorama exposé about the Military Reaction Force (MRF).

The 40-strong unit – which has handpicked from across the British army – is accused of at least 20 state-sponsored killings of terror suspects in the Six Occupied Counties in the early 1970s as well as gunning down unarmed civilians.

Now a former British soldier has given a chilling insight into the work of Williams, who was a Royal Military Police officer, and the MRF. The 57-year-old Glaswegian, who cannot be named for security reasons, said: “Forget James Bond, that’s laughable.

“Taffy Williams was the real deal. He was sent to kill the enemy, the IRA. No one was better at the job. His motto was ‘show no mercy’ and he didn’t. But I believe that he worked within the law.”

The BBC Panorama programme Britain’s Secret Terror Force, broadcast earlier this month, said the so-called ghost squad posed as drunks and binmen to get close to suspects and executed them in drive-by shootings.

Three former MRF members admitted they were ordered not to act like soldiers but a terror group.

The Scot, who was also in the Royal Military Police, added: “Just like terrorist Carlos the Jackal, Taffy was also a master of disguise and he was always armed to the teeth. The Panorama programme may have shocked the public but it didn’t shock guys like me.

“Taffy had a job to do, and he did it. He showed no emotion. Terrorists were despatched in the blink of an eye. If they were a man or a women, it didn’t matter to Taffy. If they broke the rules, they were dead.”

The Scot – whose code name was G6 – was trained by Williams, who now lives in Australia.

Our source said: “Williams was so hated by the IRA, he was No 6 on a top 10 hit list discovered in the Maze prison. Top target at that time was an Army officer implicated for Bloody Sunday while Maggie Thatcher was No2.

“Taffy took me under his wing and trained me to such a level that I was picked to be the close bodyguard of the commander of the Ulster Defence Regiment for two years.

“The commander was the IRA’s No 3 target and, as his bodyguard, I’d be taken out first if the IRA ever got their hands on us.

“Taffy swore he stayed within the rules but was ruthless in pursuing legitimate IRA targets, shooting them if he felt he or others were in danger.

“He told me he threatened to blow the lid on the MRF if he was found guilty of shooting anyone. He was taken to court in 1973 for allegedly opening fire on three taxi drivers and another man in Andersontown but was found not guilty.

“He left the forces as a captain and went home to Wales for a short while but has spent years on the move. He will never settle because he will always be a target, no matter how many years pass.”

The veteran claims that the MRF was not the only secret Army unit operating in Ulster at the height of the Troubles.

He said: “There were several others, all with their own speciality. One unit were experts in armoury and they carried out forensics on every weapon seized from the IRA. Their job was to trace where the weapons came from and they were highly successful at it too.”

In 1972, the MRF shot dead father-of-six Patrick McVeigh as he stopped to talk to friends at a barricade on the estate where he lived.

Williams’s statement at the time claimed: “One of the men in the group raised his weapon and fired three rounds at our vehicle.” Forensics showed none of the men was carrying a weapon.

It was weeks before McVeigh’s family were told he had been killed by an Army unit.

12. Slow Food Reiterates Opposition to Salmon Farming

IN the wake of 26-County Minister for Agriculture, Food & the Marine, Simon Coveney’s upcoming decision on whether or not to grant the state agency for fishing and aquaculture in Ireland, Bord Iascaigh Mhara, licenses for fish farms in Galway Bay, Slow Food International has reaffirmed its position on intensive fish farms.

Slow Food does not consider open net pen fish farms an environmentally sound practice, Piero Sardo, President of the Slow Food Foundation for Biodiversity, confirms.

“Open net pen aquaculture is not a solution to the problem of overfishing: It damages natural ecosystems on a local and a global level, including wild stocks, habitats and water quality. Feeding carnivorous salmon in farms means other wild species must also be harvested, resulting in a larger carbon footprint – since the fish feed must be fished, processed and transported.”

Slow Food acknowledges the value of traditional wild salmon and would like to see political action to help preserve this threatened species. Rather than putting further pressure on stocks with intensive farm operations, effective conservation programs should be implemented before it is too late. “If you must farm salmon, then at least reduce the local impact by using closed pens removed from the marine open environment”, Sardo adds.

John Volpe, PhD, Director of the School of Environment at the University of Victoria in British Columbia, also expresses his opinion in this regard: “The independent scientific community speaks with a single voice; open net pen salmon farms are not only a net loss of marine resources and human food but threaten our collective marine environment with potentially irreversible damage. Governments that continue to support this industry in spite of overwhelming contrary ecological, social and economic evidence do so at their – and our – peril”.

Amoebic Gill Disease (AGD), one of numerous farm pathogens potently catastrophic to already threatened wild salmon is once again infecting open cage installations along the west coast. The threat is widespread and clearly not under control; from Bantry Bay in Cork to Mulroy Bay in Donegal, as well as the B.I.M.’s flagship open cages at Clare Island Co Mayo; this is typical of the information that the public has not been made aware of.

In regard to the Minister’s imminent decision, Slow Food International wishes to reiterate its opposition to intensive open pen fish farms, correcting any misconception resulting from the mention of Slow Food in the Environmental Impact Statement published by B.I.M.

13. Palestinian leader urges Irish lead on Mideast peace process

ON December 7 the leader of the Palestinian National Initiative (PNI) Mustafa Barghouti said he already draws inspiration from hunger striker Bobby Sands and his prison campaign for special category status in the H Blocks in 1981.

“I find great similarity between the struggle of Irish people and the Palestinian struggle for independence and freedom.”

“We were also colonised by the British colonial system. My grandfather and uncle were imprisoned in similar prisons.” Now, his country is occupied by a new power, he says.

“Today it is the Israeli occupation which has been there for longer than any other occupation in modern history. Now there is almost no Palestinian family that did not have someone in jail. More than 44 per cent of Palestinian adults have been to jail in one way or another. The similarity in terms of imprisonment, suffering and oppression is huge. I learned so many beautiful stories today about the brilliant Irish insistence on achieving freedom.”

He says the Palestinian prisoners’ mass hunger strike of 2012 illustrates “what I have been advocating for 10 years and which is succeeding very much in Palestine – popular non-violent resistance”.

Barghouti leads the PNI which is severely critical of both Hamasand the Fatah-led Palestinian Authority. As a medical doctor, he also heads the Union of Palestinian Medical Relief Committees, a large organisation that helps those in need in the Palestinian territories.

However his mission to Ireland is political, not charitable.

“Basically I am here to tell people about the Palestinian struggle for freedom about our insistence on using non-violence as a form of struggle and about the need for strong international solidarity. Without it, we cannot succeed.”


Ranganna:[RSF News] Statements