Monthly Archives: May 2018

Why Didn’t He Say This When He Had The Power To Do Something About it?

19 May, 2018

Former DPP Barra McGrory has said that the currently legacy proposals would result in endless litigation.

Barra McGrory, who has since returned to private practice, said he thinks a tribunal or inquiry would be a better way to deal with the past.

The former Director of Public Prosecutions has said that mechanisms proposed to deal with the past, currently out for public consultation, will only result in “litigating the past for years to come”.

Speaking to the Irish News Barra McGrory, who has returned to working in private practice since he left the senior prosecutor role at the end of last year, said the two year moratorium on sentences served by anyone convicted of Troubles killings “tarnishes the justice system”.

The legacy proposals out for public consultation include plans for an Historical Investigations Unit (HIU) which would re-examining 1,700 unsolved murders, along with a truth recovery process that would rely on paramilitary groups voluntarily giving information.

Mr McGrory said the proposals ” while well meaning” are unworkable in practice with prosecutions unlikely, and has called for the end to prosecutions in favour of a civil inquiry.

“The criminal process will significantly inhibit the information process and to what end?

“Very few convictions will result, people will be as unhappy as they are now, and the opportunity to have a process which makes people truly accountable will be lost.

“Any criminal justice system can only deliver one thing and that’s a conviction beyond all reasonable doubt, it doesn’t look behind that.

“A cynic might say that the architects of this (public consultation) know that.

“Some of these cases are 40/45 years old and my concern about that is that those who are accountable will escape accountability simply because the criminal process is very narrowly focused.

“It (legacy) was not addressed and that was a significant political failure in terms of the peace process not to have dealt with this.

“It was addressed in a very narrow way in terms of the moratorium on sentencing, the two year limit, which was designed for one purpose only and that was to empty the prisons.

“That was trade off in terms of how low can we go in order to get the prisons emptied quickly.

“It was a politically created figure.

“Now that there is enormous pressure to have criminal prosecutions, those prosecutions are deeply compromised by the existence of the two year maximum.

“It brings into question the whole issue of whether prosecutions are the way forward at all because the essence of justice is that those who have committed serious crimes are held accountable but that accountability means – if convicted – would not serve the sentence that one would expect them to serve”, he said.

“That in my view tarnishes the justice system”, he said.

During his tenure Mr McGrory was criticised over the decision to prosecute former soldiers with a number of conservative MPs using parliamentary privilege to attack his office.

He pointed to the practice of the RMP (Royal Military Police) investigating up to 300 state killings in the early 1970s, investigations which have since been found to be substandard.

“The problem with a lot of the state cases is that they were not properly investigated when they should have been and the PSNI legacy branch has to prioritise them”, he said.

“But if you look at the stats into the number of cases that were looked at by the PPS, there was a fairly even number”.

Mr McGrory said while he is not in favour of ‘drawing a line in the sand’ a tribunal similar to the Historic Institutional Abuse inquiry should be considered as away to deal with legacy.

“Those who have the power to do something different and show true leadership are hiding behind criminal process and are quite prepared to wait it out”, Mr McGrory said.

“People will continue to avail of their right for civil redress and the problem is the civil courts are now clogged up with writs and judicial reviews and that will continue.

“In my opinion they should create an all encompassing process that takes liability down to the civil standard, removes criminal punishment and brings true accountability.

“Otherwise we are just going to end up in endless litigation”, he said.

Mr McGrory added that when he accepted the senior prosecutor’s job back in 2011 he didn’t think his previous private practice, during which he represented among others Gerry Adams, would become such a big issue.

“You take these jobs, you’re a big boy you deal with it, it wouldn’t have driven me out of office, my return to private practice was something I had always intended to do.

“However, it certainly lead to me to reflect on how troubles and legacy investigations were perceived and how they were going to reflect on the role of the prosecutor in the future”, he added.

More Evidence That The IRA Of 1920’s Also Disappeared People….

Many thanks to Pat Flynn, a reporter in Co. Clare for help with this piece which, I think, adds to the growing body of evidence that disappearing people is not something that was confined to the Northern Troubles, or the Provos, but has been part of an all-Ireland republican tradition going back at least to the 1920’s and, who knows, even long before that.

The story that Pat wrote about this week, and which the rest of the Irish media has studiously ignored, concerns the re-burial of a British soldier, one Private George Duff Chalmers, a member of the Royal Scots regiment who was shot dead by the IRA in Co Clare in June 1921, a month before the Truce, and buried in a local bog.

He apparently deserted from his unit and was either on a spying mission against the IRA or on his way to meet a girl who had won his heart; nobody really knows which was the truth. Why the IRA did not publicly claim his killing is another unanswered question.

His body was discovered by chance in the 1950’s by turf cutters who ignored a warning to stay away from a place which it seems nearly every local knew harboured the remains of the slain Royal Scot as well as, Pat believes, another soldier also hidden somewhere in the bog.

Pvt. Chalmers’ remains had been deposited not far from the surface, resulting in the deterioration of his skeleton by peat acid. Bone fragments were all that was found along with parts of his uniform. Someone placed a slab over the grave and erected a cross, and there he lay until last week when he was dug up, at the request of his family, to be re-interred in a British Army cemetery near Dublin.

According to Padraig Og O Ruairc, an historian and civil servant, three other members of the British forces stationed in Co Clare, two soldiers and a member of the RIC, were killed and buried secretly by the local IRA. You can read about that episode here. One body has never been found.

O Ruairc is also the author of a claim that twenty-five of the 196 people killed by the IRA as informers during the Tan war between 1919 and 1921 were also ‘disappeared’.

Add to that Harry White’s account in his autobiography, ‘Harry’, of a plot during the 1956-62 campaign to ‘disappear’ a Belfast informer which was, allegedly, frustrated only because frozen soil made it impossible to dig a grave in the hills of South Derry and it begins to look as if disappearing people was part of a long if less than proud Irish republican tradition. You can read about that incident here.

All of which begs this question: isn’t it beyond time that the authorities in the South, instead of sneering at the barbarous Northerners, did something about their own disappeared problem? Like making some sort of public acknowledgement that this happened, apologise to the relatives of victims and even organise an effort to try to identify and locate the missing remains? It is never too late to make amends.

 

Body exhumed in Clare of British soldier killed and secretly buried in 1921

By Patrick Flynn

The body of a British soldier executed and buried in Co Clare almost 100 years ago has been exhumed and will be reburied in Dublin.

18-year-old Private George Duff Chalmers was a member of the 2nd Battalion of the British Army’s Royal Scots based in Clare during the during the War of Independence.

He died on June 10, 1921 at Drumbaun, Co Clare after, it’s believed, he was captured and executed by members of the Irish Republican Army (IRA).

Early today, representatives of the Commonwealth War Graves Commission (CWGC), working alongside the Office of Public Works (OPW) and Clare County Council, exhumed the remains of Pvt Chalmers from a site near Miltown Malbay. Gardaí also attended the exhumation.

The remains of Pvt Chalmers are removed from the bog at Rockmout near Miltown Malbay, Co Clare

Pvt Chamlers’ remains were taken to Ennistymon Church where a brief prayer service was held outside. He will be reburied at Grangegorman Military Cemetery in Dublin while a rededication ceremony will take place later this year.

A spokeswoman for the Commonwealth War Graves Commission (CWGC) said: “In 2017 the CWGC was contacted by the family of Private Chalmers who enquired about the possible relocation of his remains to an alternative location. CWGC identified that as the current location was difficult to access and maintain, relocation of the remains would be possible.”

The CWGC is responsible for commemorating the men and women of the Commonwealth forces who died in the First and Second World Wars, including the building and maintenance of cemeteries and memorials across the world.

War graves from the First World War located in Ireland are managed on CWGC behalf by the Office of Public Works (OPW).

How Israel Is Losing The PR War…..

The two stories below, filed within an hour of each other, from the satirical magazine The Onion demonstrate vividly how the Israeli government is losing, perhaps has already lost, the propaganda war with the Palestinians.

Add to that the fact that the hated Trump is their strongest ally and that young Jews in America are increasingly hostile to/uninterested in the Netanyahu agenda and it is not hard to see how Israel’s isolation can only grow:

Netanyahu Announces Day Of Mourning For Fence Damaged In Yesterday’s Conflict

JERUSALEM—Wiping away a tear as he confirmed the public’s worst fears, Israel prime minister Benjamin Netanyahu officially declared a nationwide day of mourning Tuesday for a section of security fence damaged in yesterday’s conflict at the Gaza border. “We must all come together and take the time to grieve for this poor, innocent length of fence,” said Netanyahu, who throughout his reportedly stirring eulogy shared several images of the youthful barrier, which was first erected between Israel and the Gaza Strip in 1994. “Let us never forget what happened to this beautiful razor wire–topped barricade, which still had so much life ahead of it. As we lower our flags to half-mast, I encourage all Israelis to take a few moments to consider the great sacrifices made by our many brave fabricated enclosures.” Sources confirmed Netanyahu concluded the solemn ceremony with a 21-gun salute fired directly into a group of Palestinian protesters.

IDF Soldier Recounts Harrowing, Heroic War Story Of Killing 8-Month-Old Child

JERUSALEM—Describing the terrifying yet valiant experience to his fellow battalion members, Israel Defense Forces soldier Yossi Saadon recounted Tuesday his harrowing, heroic war story of killing an 8-month-old Palestinian child during a violent attack against protesters. “It was a heart-pounding experience—there was smoke and gunfire all around me, and I made a split-second decision to hurl that canister of tear gas at the encroaching infant cradled in her father’s arms,” said Saadon to the group of awed soldiers, describing the chills that went up and down his spine as he realized that all he had was his M16 assault rifle and some tear gas to defend himself against the unarmed Palestinian family standing only dozens of yards away. “I could see the whites of the baby’s eyes and hear her terrifying cries, and I knew it was either her or me. And this wasn’t some newborn infant, you know? This was a baby who could probably sit up independently. I was scared, but I acted quickly to throw that tear gas at her and her older sister. And who knows how many lives I saved when I shot the women trying to help her?” At press time, Saadon’s battalion commander informed him that he was submitting his name for the Medal of Valor, the IDF’s highest honor.

Boy, American Journalism Can Be A Real Bitch! – Ask Kevin Cullen

This piece appeared in The Boston Herald web edition following the suspension last month of longtime Boston Globe columnist, Kevin Cullen following charges he had manufactured coverage of the Boston marathon bombing of 2013.

I missed the story at the time and if you did, you can read the details, courtesy of The Irish Times, here.

Like sharks, they turn on a wounded colleague.

Christ, I wonder how many, or rather how long, Belfast’s more notorious hacks would last over here!? Good thing they cover for each other so well!

Kevin Cullen – long time Boston Globe columnist and old hand at covering the IRA in the city and the North, now being devoured by his own

Baby barniclein a scrape

HOWIE CARR
PUBLICATION: Boston Herald (MA)

SECTION: News
DATE: April 21, 2018

EDITION: ALL

Page: 5
Kevin Cullen always wanted to be the next Mike Barnicle. And now he is.
The busted pipe-artist columnist of the dying Boston Globe tweeted out a photo Monday of Trump lawyer Michael Cohen with the caption, “The light of day will show these frauds for what they are.”
Be careful what you wish for, Kevin.
I think I first ran into Kevin when I was working for Channel 7, and he was a cub reporter for the Herald. We were both on a night stakeout of Sen. Paul Tsongas, who had just announced he wasn’t running for re-election.
I had to get some videotape for the 11, and I was worried Tsongas was going to screw out the back door of wherever he was huddling with some bigshots.
So I went around to the back of the building to reconnoiter. I saw a giant trash barrel I realized could block Tsongas’ exit out the back door.
I tried pushing the trash can into position, but it was too heavy to budge. But then Cullen showed up and helped me push the barrel in front of the door.
I got my sound cut and didn’t get fired for another few months. I liked Kevin after that, right up until the moment he quit the Herald to go over to the Globe.
He’d been sucking up to, you guessed it, the tough street kid from Lincoln — Mike Barnicle. Later Cullen and his hero Barnicle worked with 60 Minutes — how’s that for a trifecta of fake news? — on a series of slobbering puff pieces about a junkie murderer named Joseph Yandle.
Never bothering to check a single one of Yandle’s claims, Kevin lionized this Townie thug as a “decorated hero” who had come back from Vietnam with a “fistful of medals.”
Uh, no, actually, Yandle never set foot in Vietnam. But you can’t expect any real reporting from the Globe or See BS News.
After Cullen’s utter destruction by “Kirk & Callahan” on WEEI, people have been asking me about the alleged death threats Cullen got from Whitey Bulger 30 years ago.
I mean, if you’ll lie about hearing Krystle Campbell’s “death wail,” what won’t you lie about? Now, I don’t know if Whitey ever actually threatened him, but I am fairly certain the FBI told Cullen he was on the Hit Parade.
That was the M.O. of the G-men back then — a surefire way to scare reporters off the trail of their serial-killing sugar daddy, you know, the guy Kevin’s blue-blooded bow-tied bumkissing bosses always said “kept the drugs out of Southie.”
As I recall it, Kevin asked the G-men who was saying that Whitey was gunning for him. The crooked cops told him their source was Fat Tony Ciulla, the old Winter Hill horserace fixer.
A very convenient answer — Fat Tony was in the Witness Protection Program and thus unavailable for comment. A few years later, Fat Tony was back in town and I asked him if he had ever really told the feds that Whitey was looking to kill Cullen.
“What the bleep are you talkin’ about?” he asked me.
That actually happened, but can you see how easy it is to come up with a good story, whether you’re the FBI, Cullen or even me, especially if the subject is deceased?
I hadn’t bothered to read his PC mush for years, so when I saw the recent cringe-worthy excerpts on turtleboysports.com, I was surprised by Cullen’s total metamorphosis into what Gerry Callahan has been calling “Baby Barnicle.”
The only difference is, I think Barnicle always knew deep down what an utter fraud he was, whereas Kevin had grown to believe his own myth, that he was a tough street kid from where? Malden? Holyoke? Hingham?
Don’t worry about your future employment prospects, Kevin. I hear MSNBC and CNN are both hiring.
It’s boom times for fake-news hacks on cable TV. Just ask your mentor, Uncle Mike.

 

New York Times Cartoon On Jerusalem Embassy Opening

 

Seymour Hersh On How He Broke The My Lai Story

From the current edition of Harpers magazine, legendary American reporter Seymour Hersh recalls how he researched and broke the story of the My Lai massacre, one of the worst outrages of the war in Vietnam. It is a great yarn:

Seymour Hersh

Trump’s America (continued)

May 9, 2018
By Joe Kloc

US president Donald Trump’s newly hired personal lawyer Rudolph Giuliani, a former New York City mayor who was once filmed at a charity event dressed as a woman and calling Trump a “dirty boy” for touching his fake breasts and who was reportedly not hired to work in the White House when Trump initially took office because the president-elect thought he was falling asleep in meetings and drinking too much, told reporters that he was “aware” and “intelligent” because he “handled” cases involving “cyber matters” and “went through 9/11,” and made a series of television appearances in which he said that Trump’s son-in-law was “disposable,” that the former director of the FBI was a “Judas” who may be a liar, that Trump had “funneled” hush money through a law firm to an adult film star, and that Trump was aware the payment was made, a claim he later said was a “rumor” that he had “maybe” said as fact but “couldn’t prove.” Giuliani gave another television interview announcing that Trump was “committed” to bringing about regime change in Iran, the State Department issued a statement clarifying that Giuliani was not a foreign policy spokesperson for the US government, Giuliani denied reports that Trump was considering barring him from appearing on television, and then went on television and claimed that Trump, who said that all “negative” news was “fake,” was encouraging him to do more interviews as his attorney. Trump’s longtime lawyer Michael Cohen, a former personal injury attorney and taxicab-medallion investor, reportedly used a shell company named Essential Consultants to receive at least $4.4 million from various firms, including $150,000 from Korea Aerospace Industries, which is competing for a US Air Force contract worth billions of dollars; $1.2 million from Novartis, a Swiss drug company that was investigated last year by Greece for bribing politicians; $500,000 from Columbus Nova, an investment company that owns the domains alt-right.co and alternate-rt.com and whose largest client is a Russian oligarch who attended Trump’s inauguration and met with Cohen at the event; and $200,000 from AT&T, which is seeking approval from the Justice Department to merge with Time Warner. AT&T issued a statement confirming that it had paid Cohen for “insights” into the Trump Administration, and a White House employee told a reporter that the staff didn’t know what was going on and texted the reporter the popcorn emoji.