Thanks to CM for this tip:
Thanks to CM for this tip:
I see that Gerry Kelly, he of the 1973 IRA bombing of the Old Bailey in London, has been stirring the proverbial recently with a tweet praising the 1983 mass escape of IRA inmates from the Maze Prison, aka Long Kesh, in which he participated.
The first to protest was Boris Johnson’s man in Belfast, someone called Brandon Lewis, who denounced the tweet as ‘disgraceful’. Yesterday, News Letter columnist, Alex Kane thought he could detect a baleful motive behind the posting (see below):
And he concludes:
Maybe. But I noticed something else, a little piece of history rewriting that is often the hallmark of the neo-Stalinism that characterises militarist outfits like the Provisional IRA and its acquiescent junior partner, Sinn Fein.
Here is the line that jumped out at me: “One of Big Bob’s best ops”, Kelly wrote, inferring pretty clearly that the architect of the plan to engineer the mass escape was Bobby Storey, Gerry Adams’ loyal lieutenant, whose death and funeral earlier this year, at the outset of the Covid crisis, was a blatant two fingers at the rules designed to curb the pandemic.
‘Big Bob’s’ mass funeral, orchestrated to highlight his loyal service to the Adams’ leadership, arguably endangered the health and lives of the many former IRA activists and sympathisers who formed the cortege and lined the streets of the Falls Road during the procession to Milltown cemetery. (Ironically Storey was actually interred later that day at a cemetery miles away in Loyalist east Belfast)
The problem, of course, is that everyone knows that the real brains behind the escape was Ardoyne IRA man, Larry Marley. So well known as the architect of the breakout that Hollywood made a movie about it, called ‘Maze‘ with Marley, played by Tom Vaughan-Lewis, as the lead character. I may be wrong but I don’t remember ‘Big Bobby’ featuring at all prominently.
Here’s the trailer for the movie:
So why did Gerry Kelly choose to rewrite IRA, and his own, history and elevate ‘Big Bobby’ while erasing Larry Marley entirely? Now, one reason may be some opportune bootlicking by Kelly, since everyone knows Storey worshiped the Big Lad, then anything Storey did had to be inspired by the Big Lad. Ergo the Big Lad was the true inspiration for the escape.
The other reason? Perhaps to signal Larry Marley’s new status as a non-person.
And the reason for that?
Larry Marley was shot dead in his Ardoyne home in April 1987 by the UVF and his son, Sean O Mearthaile, recently went public with an allegation that his father was killed with the assistance of a least three IRA informers, one of whom is still a leading member in North Belfast, although these days is more often seen wearing a Sinn Fein label.
It is believed that the Marley family were told all this by detectives working for Chief Constable Jon Boutcher, the former head of Bedfordshire police who is investigating the activities of the former head of IRA security turned British Army agent, Freddie Scappaticci.
Here is Sean O Mearthaile‘s posting of that claim:
Here’s where the story begins to get murky. Allegations about the alleged SF informer have been rampant for years but they have been ignored and the individual’s status in the organisation untouched. He appears to have the leadership’s blessing. Why was that, why is that?
In this sort of situation, conspiracy theories thrive and there is no way to get straight answers. But one question persists. Why does the IRA leadership continue to support this individual?
There are other questions. Was Larry Marley killed because he was the brains behind the big breakout and the British, via the UVF, sought revenge, or was he removed for other reasons, intra-Provo reasons, perhaps connected to the journey towards constitutionalism that had started the year before Marley’s untimely death?
Or perhaps Gerry Kelly just forgot that he was the real brains behind the 1983 prison breakout.
According to The Wall Street Journal tonight, Stephen Millar, the architect of Trump’s anti-immigration policy which has seen children torn from their mothers and interned, young women made infertile against their wishes and knowledge and thousands imprisoned without charge, has contracted Coronavirus. Let’s hope it is a long and painful experience.
You can read this nonsense here. The Troubles are going to restart over customs posts on the Border. Really? Whatever they are stirring into their morning tea should be avoided like the plague……!
Chris Ryder, the controversial journalist and Troubles scribe, who died yesterday in a Belfast hospital, was once targeted for assassination by the Belfast IRA, angered by articles that he had written about the organisation in The Sunday Times during the mid-1970’s.
The organisation, which at the time was led by Seamus Twomey, was also angry about his relationship with the Drumm family and accused him of abusing his friendship with Maire and Jimmy Drumm to write hostile articles about them and the Provos.
Ryder had gone to school with some of the Drumm children and when the Troubles erupted this relationship gave him an entree into journalism at a time when British newspapers were mostly clueless about Belfast and its mysterious paramilitary world.
Senior figures in the Belfast Brigade made plans to kill him but at a late stage decided to take advice from a British journalist about the likely consequences. The reporter, who left Belfast in the late 1970’s, told this writer about the episode but since he is still alive, he must remain nameless.
The reporter met the Belfast leadership and told them that killing Chris Ryder would backfire badly on the IRA and turn the media strongly against them. Thanks to his advice, the IRA decided to spare Ryder and he went on to live a full life.
A number of articles written by Chris Ryder for The Sunday Times, including one which alleged widespread corruption by an IRA Company in south-west Belfast and which helped create the ‘Godfathers’ label applied to top Provos, had angered senior Provos. These led to accusations that Ryder, along with another Sunday Times reporter, had collaborated with British military intelligence to produce the article.
The Sunday Times had also identified a suspected double agent in the IRA, Louis Hammond, who was a member of the so-called ‘Freds’, Provos who had agreed to work for the Army’s Military Reaction Force. Hammond was shot by the IRA and left permanently disabled when details about him were were published, enough for the IRA to put a name to their alleged traitor.
A reporter called Ralph Hewitt published an article in The Belfast Telegraph this week about the dissident republican prison hunger strike currently under way in Maghaberry jail which arguably marks a new low in Troubles journalism.
Dissident Republicans had decided to go on the protest in support of Palestinian activist Dr Issam Bassalat who was arrested in the wake of a recent MI5 sting operation aimed at crippling the dissident group and, like all such protests, it has the potential to go horribly wrong for the British government, or indeed for the anti-GFA republicans.
Cue Mr Hewitt who wrote a piece, dated Friday last, featuring an unsourced, anonymous allegation that those on the hunger strike were cheating and were in fact eating toast and sandwiches and food stored in their tuck shop.
This is what he wrote: “‘It’s all talk,’ said the source. ‘They’re refusing meals provided by the prison but they’re using their communal tuck shop that’s been built up plus making sandwiches, toast etc.'”
How does he know this? Well, his anonymous source, identified only as “a Maghaberry insider” told him.
Here is the revelant part of his story:
With an allegation as serious as this I am afraid that is just not good enough, Mr Hewitt. Important questions about your source surround this claim. While nobody expects you to name the person who told you this story, your readers deserve to know some basic facts, like does this source have an axe to grind, does he or she work for a government agency that has a dog in this fight, who would dearly like to discredit the protest. Or does he or she belong to the dissident community, or is the source someone with a genuine wish to end a protest that could end in death and violence.
In other words is the source trustworthy; can your readers believe you? We don’t know because you have chosen to tell us nothing about the source. You could have invented the whole story and your readers would be none the wiser.
I also wonder about standards at The Telegraph when such a story can get published without Mr Hewitt’s bosses asking the same questions.
I have sent Mr Hewitt a tweet asking him these questions. I await his answer with interest.