Attacks on SF should be resisted in court

Father Des Wilson believes that there is a feeding frenzy focused on Sinn Fein. He identifies four groups (subs needed) he believes should be going to the courts “in rage over the undemocratic treatment they are getting”.

One is the Sinn Féin party which is being ruthlessly attacked. Another is those who are not members of that party but vote for Sinn Féin and are being denied their most basic democratic rights. A third is other political parties, especially the SDLP, who, if London and Dublin succeed in destroying Sinn Féin, will be their next target. And a fourth, those who are not members of Sinn Féin, who do not vote for Sinn Féin, have no sympathy with Sinn Féin policies, but have some regard for saving what progress we have made as Europeans towards democratic government.

All these four groups should be united in protest against one of the most vicious attacks on basic democratic principles we have seen since the dictators. We should also be proceeding with our best lawyers into the courts with a view to reaching the European courts as quickly and as effectively as possible.

  • Davros

    I find this puzzling. Parties ganging up on another party that they see as a threat is what Politics is and always has been about. Does anybody remember the ferocity of attacks on the UK Labour Party in the 70’s and 80’s ? As for the denial of basic rights for voters – those voters choose to vote for the same denials in respect of Westminster representation when they vote for abstentionist candidates.

  • slug9987

    “Father Des Wilson believes that there is a feeding frenzy focused on Sinn Fein.”

    What a sharp and astute man, ahead of the curve, to have noticed this.

  • drumcree

    Ah that old chestnut, if you can’t win the argument pull the army out of the bag and if that doesn’t work stifle the legitimacy of any dissent in the name of nurturing the flower of Irish Republicanism.

    A show of hands if Father Des Wilson should go on a fact finding mission to Omagh and have a chat with some parishioners of his colleagues parish, to truly understand the meaning of being “in rage over the undemocratic treatment they are getting” after the Omagh bombing.

  • spirit-level

    Father Des does nothing to forward mainstream democratic political realities, and opts for victim-mode pseudo-realities.
    Its a crying game!

  • spirit-level

    drumcree the recent killing of Mr McCarthy will do, as regards an example of a people “in rage over the undemocratic treatment they are getting.”
    There is no need to dig up the distant past.
    Unionists and democratic nationalists are united as never before.
    There could be hope yet!
    lets join hands 😉

  • vespasian

    If I vote for a party that :-

    1. Doesn’t recognise the law in both part of Ireland as being applicable to them.
    2. Represents and is inextricably linked to an organisation that shoots children and adults in the hands, knees and ankles.
    2. Thinks theft as a way of supporting their armed wing is acceptable.

    Should I then be surprised (Shock Horror) when the almost 90% of people in Ireland who voted for democratic parties don’t think they should be any part of any Executive Government in this Island, NO I shouldn’t.

    They can represent their electorate in both Parliaments but they have NO right to executive office until they STOP living by their own laws and adhere completely to those in all parts of Ireland. I don’t agree with all of the laws in Ireland but as a democrat I accept that I am bound by them until I can persuade those in power to change them.

  • davidbrew

    so it’s true. There IS no fool like and old fool.

  • Alan2

    Time to form a majority coalition government and give the SDLP / Alliance a veto to ensure Unionists fairness and equality.

  • idunnomeself

    What laws does Father Des think he will have a case under?

    Very hard to play the ball here!

  • ShayPaul
  • GavBelfast

    “Time to form a majority coalition government and give the SDLP / Alliance a veto to ensure Unionists fairness and equality.”

    I’ll settle for that Alan – one can agree with and support the Union withoutr wanting unfettered Unionism in control of power.

    I see we now have obviously well organised, spontaneous protests out blocking the roads this evening. Shades of Orange Order tactics ….

  • ShayPaul

    What’s happening on the streets Gav ?

  • James

    “Put up or shut up ?”

    He learned Irish during his stay as a guest of the Queen. Perhaps it will improve after another stretch. One hopes.

    I have the same problem with this as I do with the late Johnny Cash, though. If “I shot a man in Reno just to watch him die” then what the hell is he doing in Fulsom?

    Accordingly, can the Garda bust Adams for a Northern Ireland rap without the Brits asking for extradition? And, can the Brits ask for extradition without filing criminal charges specifically against Adams in the UK?

    This is getting soooooo cool.

  • PONeill

    Before every single commentator makes a another mutterance we need to stop and think for a minute. Talk is becoming very cheap at the minute. These things happen when there is no evidence. For 35 years the Provisional Republican Leadership has been able to keep Adams and McGuinness at the top.
    No wonder the majority of Nationalists are voting for them. They see them as invincible. People can continue to talk FOREVER about the antics of Northern republicanism but until the evidence stacks up Sinn Fein will continue to rise.

    Lets see how clever the British and Irish Governments are. If they let the recent events pass without evidence they may as well give Sinn Fein 7 MP seats before the Westminster election starts.
    You see, for those of you who do not know, Catholics/Nationalists/Republicans will only believe the Establishments when there is evidence because too many people have been wrong done in the past. This community will continue to see Sinn Fein as providing hope until the reality of their intentions are realised.
    Without that the Nationalist electorate will continue to provide the vote to allow the rise of Sinn Fein. Those who are saying that Sinn Fein did this dont need to prove it to anybody except those who endorse Sinn Fein at the elections, and at the moment the vaste majority think Sinn Fein are innocent.

  • idunnomeself

    poneil

    I thought republicans never beleived the authorities?

    and believe that Sinn Fein are involved but don’t care?

    or are you talking about ‘Nationalists’ who are not ‘republican’ who have begun to vote Sinn Fein?

  • Davros

    PONeill – have you read Ed Moloney’s book ? There have been plenty of cases where the authorities have had sufficient evidence but chose not to use that evidence because it suits them better to have A, B or C out on the Streets. God knows that applies to several low and mid-ranking informers so why not to seniors ? The current leadership have been seen as moderates who have dragged PIRA into a cessation and negotiations. So why , even IF they had evidence, would any Government risk
    damaging the process of bringing the IRA in from the cold ?

    WE have reached an interesting point.

    It was always thought that it would be better to have paramilitary representatives in the tent P*ssing out than outside the tent P*ssing in. We ended up with the blighters P*ssing in the tent from the inside while their mates continue from the outside.

  • PONeill

    Idunnomeself, in the Nationalist community you either vote for the SDLP or Sinn Fein.
    A vote for the SDLP is usually from the older generation or from those who are well informed on the differences between Sinn Fein and the SDLP.
    At the moment Sinn Fein are the kings of Nationalism. They are seen as the boys on the streets out getting parks set up for kids, organising youth activity, GAA involvement …..the list goes on. And this is all true.
    However, is there an agenda behind all their groundwork?
    I believe there is. I think that their only concern is to get as many votes as possible to drag forward their agenda. I think Sinn Fein believe that they can do whatever they want as long as they are getting their vote.
    The hope was once for some peace and that rewarded the SDLP. But now that there is a relative peace Sinn Fein are seen to be in control of it and that is why they are getting highly endorsed.
    However, if there is proof out there that Sinn Fein are involved in criminality and their intentions are not entirley peaceful then the voting pattern may change, but evidence is required.
    In certain areas the Sinn Fein vote is so strong (West Belfast/Mid Ulster/West Tyrone that until the direction and sincerity of the Sinn Fein leadership is questioned by their voters they will continue to have a sizeable mandate.

  • PONeill

    Davros, I think that if PIRA are contemplating going back into action then it should be made very clear that they will be crushed.
    Terrorism or whatever you want to call it will not be supported anymore.
    Irish America wouldnt provide funding to the extent that it currently does to Republicanism if the IRA went back to war. Remebr Sept 11th?
    The Governments should say to them “bring it on”. If they even think about it they will be destroyed and so will Sinn Fein.

  • spirit-level

    bang on the money Davros

  • spirit-level

    PONeill
    Are you saying even if G Adams is looking and sounding increasingly un-hinged even hysterical
    that he’ll keep his votes?

  • Malachy

    I think “Irish Americans” probably do not see the connection between the IRA and sept 11.

  • puddinhead

    It has always been my belief that there is a very highly placed agent at the helm of SF/IRA.

  • PONeill

    Spirit Level, Adams to most of his voters looks cool, calm and collected at the moment and will continue to look that way until someone appears with evidence.
    Puddinhead, if there is a highly placed agent surely now is the time to expose this. I dont see any value in keeping an agent high up unless they are currently collecting the required evidence needed to undermine Sinn Fein.
    Could you imagine the damage that could be done to Sinn Fein if a recording of an IRA army council meeting was found and on it were Sinn Fein elected representatives – now that would send the cat among the pigeons?????

  • puddinhead

    I would be interested in knowing Fr Des’s opininion on the death of Robert Mc Cartney. A crime I believe worse than the Northern Bank robbery.

  • PONeill

    Malachy, if bombs are going off in Ireland and this is displayed on TV screens across the US – trust me – Republican fundraising will dry up. Not completely – but significantly.

  • puddinhead

    The truth is out there. Freedy Scapp probably would be your man

  • Roger W. Christ XVII

    “Spirit Level, Adams to most of his voters looks cool, calm and collected at the moment and will continue to look that way until someone appears with evidence.”

    Did you see Adams being interviewed outside Leinster House ? He was extremely angry and it was obvious in his words. You very seldom see him like that.

    “Malachy, if bombs are going off in Ireland and this is displayed on TV screens across the US – trust me – Republican fundraising will dry up. Not completely – but significantly.”

    Last time I was in the States two years ago I encountered a number of people who believed that the current path of the republicans was wrong and that the war should resume until the Brits are there. They were not interested in sending money or support for any other purpose. Witness the actions of INAC for example who realigned themselves to the dissidents. On the other hand, Irish Americans seem to be voting for Bush a lot these days, and if the Brits can persuade Dubya to say a few less-than-nice things about SF or the IRA then maybe that might swing their hands.

  • spirit-level

    PONeill
    “Adams to most of his voters looks cool, calm and collected at the moment and will continue to look that way until someone appears with evidence”.
    You’re probably right.
    And that’s what he’s called on Bertie Aherne
    provide.
    That’s gonna make for an interesting show-down.

    I wonder if he can remain so composed.
    How much of that is a front?
    From this side of the water he’s looking
    and speaking flustered, un-hinged and unpresidential.
    Roll on the evidence.

  • Malachy

    “Irish Americans” or Americans who contribute to the IRA will not see a connection between bombs in Ireland and sept 11.

    They will be looking at a bizarre scenario where police chiefs followed by politicians declare that another political party has commited a crime.

    I suspect that “Irish Americans” will be waiting to see the evidence, the arrests and some form of due process. In short, as the topic says – they will be expecting that this go to the courts – as that is how this would be resolved in the US.

  • James

    Davros:

    “God knows that applies to several low and mid-ranking informers so why not to seniors ?…….. risk damaging the process of bringing the IRA in from the cold ?”

    Only if the Crown wishes to carry on this charade in perpetuity. If there ever was a chance for the Crown to deal a knockout blow to the Republican Movement it is now with a possible web of complicity leading to the very top of the organization. Just the potential for a maze of perjury traps would have Federal prosecutors over here salivating. This spy vs. spy bullshit is a means to an end, not an end in itself.

    We didn’t let Sammy the Bull stay a sleeper just to continue the great game, we used him to make certain that Gotti died in prison.

    Malachy

    “I think “Irish Americans” probably do not see the connection between the IRA and sept 11.”

    That is still probably the case. All the more reason for the Northern Bank job, if the IRA did it, and not a London spectacular if they wanted to maintain North America as a source of funds. The bank job, on the other hand, was an order of magnitude greater than the money they have shilled over here for about six years, so why bother with sensitivity? And if not the IRA, then who? We need some closure.

    “In short, as the topic says – they will be expecting that this go to the courts – as that is how this would be resolved in the US.”

    Well, at least this one does. It would be nice if it was in my lifetime, though.

    BTW folks, anyone caught raising funds over here for a terrorist group gets a ten year drop in the pre-Patriot Act legislation. Anyone misleading someone into giving funds to a terrorist group gets a ten year drop.

    The Provos have been on the list for some time. along with the LVF and the rest of that lethal alphabet soup.

  • Richard Delevan

    Fr Des Wilson – brilliant. What will they sue under indeed? I hope it’s defamation, in Ireland. Not just because I predicted it would come down to something like this last month.
    What’s Adams’ tactical objective here w/”put up or shut up”? To force ‘discovery’ as we’d say in a US courtroom, for the govts to produce evidence, in hopes that it could be knocked down or dismissed. But no way SF ldrshp is charged with bubkus, at least in Dublin (notice he didn’t challenge Hugh Orde to arrest him?). So the only way to get the confrontation that SF needs now is to force it into court, somewhere. Why not a defamation case?

  • Malachy

    Since no-one has been named, according to posters on this board no individual can sue, however I wonder if Sinn Fein can sue for discrimination ?

    I would hope that the leadership of a political party in Europe cannot be accused of something like this without some legal defense available to them. If not, I suggest that the whole EU thingy needs some work.

    Allowing a precedent like this seems like a very dangerous threat to democracy. Will Sinn Fein be able to sue after the next election citing the damage done by this, if there has been no arrest by then ? Will they have the ability to request that the election results be voided until a conclusion is reached in court ?

  • aquifer

    “the SDLP, who, if London and Dublin succeed in destroying Sinn Féin, will be their next target.”

    Really Des?

  • idunnomeself

    what political party is going to pass a law saying that they can’t attack their opponents??

  • Alan

    “Will Sinn Fein be able to sue after the next election citing the damage done by this, if there has been no arrest by then ?”

    The jury in that one will be the electorate, either in May or thereafter.

  • Malachy
  • spirit-level

    Malchy
    can you tell me more about mr.pallone pls

  • Davros

    anathema to the core principle of due process that we hold so dear here in the United States.

    Is this guy for real ? Due process ? Camp X ray ?

  • Jacko

    Yes Davros

    The inability of most of us to see ourselves as others see us never ceases to astound and amuse me.
    I’m sure most of the multitude of Death Row inmates (and that’s only counting Texas) would be amongst the first to cheer loudly in support of the core principle of due process that they hold so dear over in the United States.
    The educationally subnormal, the blacks, the Hispanics and the white trailer trash who almost exclusively fill the Death Row cells would, I’m sure, give a loud hurrah for the “core principle of due process” they have been so fortunate to enjoy.
    Hypocrisy is alive and well and looks set to remain that way.

  • Malachy

    Pallone is a New Jersey Democrat. Likely has a good sized “Irish-American” constituency.

    As for Camp x ray – its legitimacy is still going through due process.

    As I have stated, Blair and Ahern may be the losers here, if they do not produce arrests of high-ranking members of Sinn Fein. I don’t think they have done themselves any benefit in the eyes of the US and may just have given Sinn Fein the upper hand in the eyes of “Irish-Americans”.

    As you can see from the link, from a US perspective the lack of due process in this case is now on the record.

    I guess we’ll see how the invitations go.

  • Jacko

    Malachy

    We have a saying over here old son: “When you’re in a hole, stop digging.”

    Respectfully suggest that you consider doing just that.

  • spirit-level

    Jacko
    as things stand there is intelligence
    not evidence..
    What makes you so sure you are coiming to this
    even-handed so to speak, and not simply believing what you want to believe?

  • Malachy

    jacko, I am not sure what hole I have dug ?

    From a legal perspective camp X-ray exists because of the bush administration’s declaration of “war” on terror.

    It is similar to the British government’s use of special powers wrt. the North of Ireland obviously resulting in miscarraiges of justice such as the Birmingham 6 etc.

    The constitutionality of Camp X-ray is still being challenged.

    Citizens of the US are entitled to due-process.

    The “detainees” at Camp-X-ray are foreign. They are not entitled to the same protection under the US constitution. I believe all the US citizens captured in the war on terror have been successful in pressing for their rights.

  • Roger W. Christ XVII

    “I suspect that “Irish Americans” will be waiting to see the evidence, the arrests and some form of due process.”

    I doubt it, since they have barely moved to say a word about the concentration camp their President set up in Cuba which, following the election result, we can probably assume has some kind of endorsement, or at least deference, from the US electorate. Oh look, there you are justifying it by distinguishing foreign citizens whose due process you don’t seem to care about – what a shock. Funny how things turn around.

  • IJP

    vespasian

    Your 2.29PM on 10 Feb is spot on.

  • Malachy

    eh Roger, I think you maybe need to read that again.

    I did not justify Camp X-Ray – I explained how it exists from a legal perspective.

    Also I never mentioned not caring about foreign citizens and due process – I stated that they do not have the rights of US citizens under the US constitution. The shock of Camp X-Ray is how little foreign governments are defending their citizens – particularly democracies like Britain and Australia.

    Back to the point – Ahern and Blair just might not come out of this smelling of roses from a US/Irish-American perspective.

    I don’t believe it is as clear cut as the majority of people on this blog seem to think.

  • James

    “I doubt it, since they have barely moved to say a word about the concentration camp their President set up in Cuba”

    Of course, the ones holed up at Gitmo are not white.

    But just the same to all of you, I don’t care how hypocritical we are; I still feel very, very uncomfortable about the Ken Starr approach to justice taken with the bank job. At least Starr’s case came to trial.

    The lady is blindfolded because she’d barf if she wasn’t.

    Justitia Anorexia.

    Party on.

  • Roger W. Christ XVII

    James, calling it a Ken Starr job is a pretty good way of putting it to be honest. Speaking personally I didn’t need to wait for Hugh Orde or anyone else to declare that the provos were behind the robbery; the circumstances of the robbery told me everything I needed to know. The only reasons why the conclusions of the two governments and the two police chiefs are interesting to me is because of the amount of political capital they are gambling in taking the position they have. If they lose, Sinn Fein’s popularity is likely to increase massively and it will be difficult for a lot of people to trust them again. The international reputations of both governments as fair players will be seriously damaged.

    This “I think it was organization X” stuff has gone on for a long time. A number of years ago when Adair was busy and pipebombs were being used to try to kill civilians all over the place, not to speak of shootings, Sinn Fein’s carbon-copy response in each case was to blame the UDA (and they were pretty much always right). Sinn Fein constantly harangued the government to push Hugh Orde to declare that the UDA was responsible and therefore the UDA should be despecified and lose it’s privileges forthwith. Anybody who said “there’s no proof it was the UDA” got laughed at (quite rightly). When the police did not arrest anyone in the UDA Sinn Fein did not say “ah no arrests, therefore they must be innocent”, instead complained about incompetency or bias in the police. What we’re seeing now is the exact same mechanism being turned on Sinn Fein themselves. SF were more than happy to use it to their advantage when it suited them, now they are complaining that the mechanism they helped to sustain is being used on them.

  • alex s

    Malachy, it’s not possible for the governments to get the peace process back on track, the unionist people at this moment won’t touch the Shinners with a barge pole. Whether Hugh Orde secures convictions or not the vast majority are holding the Provos responsible for the bank job, and the Makro job and for shooting young Catholics through both hands as has been happening in West Belfast since the talks broke down, not before.

    The only way the political process is going to get going again is when the Provo’s get rid of their arms and commit to ending criminality, you know its ironic that the organisation that used to see itself as the true government of Ireland can’t commit to ending criminality, basically the struggle for Irish freedom has degenerated into a grubby self serving money grabbing exercise.

  • mogo

    Alex the northern job has given the unionists an excuse they wanted not to talk to the shinners as without evidence they have no reason not to. By the way that “vast majority” stuff is getting played out considering the rise of the shinners. Nice to see unionist concern for the shooting of young catholics though.

  • Malachy

    …Whether Hugh Orde secures convictions or not the vast majority are holding the Provos responsible for the bank job…

    I don’t know who Fr. Des Wilson is, but I completely agree with him. I maintain that from a American/Irish-American perspective, what has happened here will be seen as bizarre and un-democratic.

    I appreciate that British Isles democracy is a different entity to what exists in the US but to publicly accuse democratically elected political leaders of a of a crime – and to suggest justice prevails because the majority holds them responsible – when there no trial and no evidence is a denial of fundamental rights from a US perspective. It is a tyranny.

    As the piece says, the exclusion of these politicians is a denial of basic democratic rights towards them and their constituents and it should go to the courts. I am surprised that Sinn Fein cannot pursue charges of human rights violations or at a minimum charges of discrimation.

    My main point again is that I believe the view on this from the US just may not favour Messers Ahern and Blair – who to my mind had some very bad counsel if they thought this avenue would lead to negative publicity for Sinn Fein in the US ( see previous link from US congress ) – it may just serve to bolster the SF case and I am suspicious of their motives. For the sake of their own reputations I hope they produce arrests and convictions of Sinn Fein leaders soon.

  • mogo

    Malachy Fr Des Wilson is a priest in West Belfast who has been a consistantly defended and worked for democrats throughout the troubles despite the chagrin of the catholic hierarchy and the state he has a column in ATN

  • James

    Brother of the Saviour of Mankind:

    Don’t get me wrong. You have a valid opinion, a view, and that’s really all I’m after even if I do get impatient with the march of justice beneath the dreary steeples. My opinion will be different because, trust me fella, we got one hellofa lot of water and culture between us. For instance:

    “I didn’t need to wait for Hugh Orde or anyone else to declare that the provos were behind the robbery”

    My in laws were down from the north today and I was bringing them up to date on what was going on in Ireland since they haven’t been on the island in 20 years. When I hit the northern bank job I found myself explaining to a generation that actually fought the Axis (she as a expediter in the Kaiser shipyards, he as a PBM pilot hunting subs in the Caribbean) that the reason everyone was absolutely certain that it had to be the IRA was because that they were the only ones on the island who had the organization, the audacity, the skill and the commitment to do it. The depression-era response was if you know who they are then why aren’t they in jail?

    That’s one extreme.

    The balls to the wall Silicon Valley startup attitude would be if they have the organization, audacity, skill and commitment then why the hell aren’t they in charge?

    That’s another extreme.

    I can understand why you might find what we have to say over here a bit dicey from time to time.

    It’s not that we are complicated, just different. In the Bay Area make that very different.

  • Davros

    My in laws were down from the north today

    Canadians ? 😉

  • Roger W. Christ XVII

    James, thanks for that insight. I’ve been to the bay area a few times, San Francisco is one of my favourite places in the world, and I’ve got this burnt-in memory in my mind of walking down Van Ness Ave at around 8pm on a warm March evening – a very lively place. I appreciate what you mean about us being different, but we’re the same in some respects. I like to imagine that when the mafia or other gangsters was at it’s height everyone knew who was doing what, it was just that nobody wanted to put their finger on it.

    After all anyone who says that Al Capone had zero connection with bootlegging or organized crime because he was never convicted of it, and no evidence could ever be found linking him with it, would surely get laughed at. Perhaps the problem over here is that the governments are endorsing the “everyone knows” way of thinking to an extent rather than trying to come up with ways of solving the problem more directly.

  • James

    Canadians ? 😉

    My family are the bunch that wetbacked it back & forth between the US and Canada. My wife’s family on the other hand, come from the unluckiest bunch of sodbusters that ever strode the earth and who stumbled from one hardscrabble homestead to another until they ran into the Oregon coast. The in-laws spend their winters 20 miles south of the border, a location they chose to be near the cabin on the mainland just an hour’s boat ride north of Campbell River, B.C. where they spend the rest of the year.

    “Van Ness Ave at around 8pm on a warm March evening”

    You were sooooo lucky.

    If I had a pushcart concession selling sweatshirts and sweaters just outside the doors of SFO I would fly a bigger jet than Larry Ellison.

    “I like to imagine that when the mafia or other gangsters was at it’s height everyone knew who was doing what, it was just that nobody wanted to put their finger on it.

    The toleration existed on an ethnic and neighborhood level for many of the same reasons that the loyalists hold sway in parts of east Belfast and the republicans do the same in west Belfast. This was only in the microcosm.

    On a city wide level there was no toleration, it was strictly business. The mayor, the judges and the cops were bought and paid for.

    I don’t think anyone cared or thought about it until the Reform Movement made inroads after WWI. There is also the myth that Capone insulted Herbert Hoover while they were vacationing on adjacent estates in Florida and that this started the Federal connection.

    It took 10 years to get much done but by the early 30’s we had got rid of Jimmy Walker in New York and had convicted Capone in Chicago. The FBI’s quest for publicity by chasing hayshaker bandits through the midwest put a bit of a damper on the Federal aspect for the rest of the thirties. As counterpoint, New York did manage to get rid of Lucky Luciano in the latter part of the 30’s but the war and collusion with the Mafia prior to the invasion of Sicily put everything on temporary hold again. Dewey and Kefauver chased the five families after the war in the 40’s and 50’s. Total war was declared when Bobby Kennedy made J. Edgar Hoover’s denial of the Mafia absurd.

    The bottom line is that we did something about it, not that you guys aren’t, but letting things coast as they have just makes it look to some of us like the fix is in.