Was the Northern Bank an inside job?

Counterpunch with another interesting counterpoint?

  • Jimmy Sands

    She appears to be advancing the theory that the bank robbed itself to pay off a fine. It does indeed raise an interesting question: how stupid does an article have to be to get turned down by Counterpunch?

  • Friendly Fire

    Bank disgraced and “up for sale” sign over the doors, no insurance and no serial numbers for the notes stolen. Branch managers in some pension planning?

    Worth discussion.

  • alex s

    No doubt about it, if the local sherrif catches you with your fingers stuck in the till this is definately the lawyer to hire!

  • Jimmy Sands

    May be worth discussion but this certainly isn’t it. I also think that Counterpunch should have disclosed Vermont Noraid as the source for this rubbish.

  • aquifer

    This one is tosh.

    But what if some bank insiders ‘invited’ a raid with lax security, but having set aside a few million. SFPIRA got money, but not all of it. They can’t cry foul without looking really silly. They gotta look sick, and maybe worried too. If they ain’t got it who has?

  • Friendly Fire

    My take: This is PIRA/NIB (inside) job and it is not tosh.

    Still no arrests.

  • Ireland Today

    Noraid have been circulating this thing like crazy for a number of days now. I guess this chic will qualify for a free trip to County Donegal’s Costa del Provo for a fabulous week in one of the firm’s luxurious holiday homes from where she can bring back autographed books about the lives of Gerry Adams together with engraved mugs, towells and bed linen bearing the Adams/Provo logo, better than Air Force One.

  • Malachy

    I’m waiting to hear the evidence before proclaiming guilt for this robbery and the more recent one in the south which seems to get little press attention – also very clean, unsolved and apparently no leads.

  • Belfast Gonzo

    Google the author’s name. It’s not really worth it, but if you think she has any credibility in the field for any reason, email me. No-one I know has ever heard of her, much less heard her expert opinion on bank robbery etc.

  • Malachy

    Like most Americans she is alarmed when policemen and politicians assign guilt without evidence and due process. What kind of credibility are you looking for ?

    When all the St Patty’s ballyhoo and photo-ops has dissipated, you will find that the PSNI will come under some scrutiny for this one.

    As she states: PSNI’s failure to turn its investigative forces towards pursuing explanations other than blaming the IRA and Gerry Adams demonstrates the profound political, rather than policing, nature of this flawed organization.

  • Jimmy Sands

    Gonzo,

    From a brief search she seems to be an unsuccesful political candidate, quitting both main parties in protest at their refusal to nominate her for anything. Judging from this piece they certainly knew what they were doing. I’m quite happy to keep an open mind on responsibilty for the northern bank job, but this drivel is clearly the work of an idiot.

    Malachy,

    Blaming the RA for the bank job is as much a denial of due process as blaming Al Qaeda for 9/11. You need to learn a new tune I think.

  • Pat Curley

    There is at least one piece of evidence that the thieves had some inside help. IIRC the two men who had the keys were not the two men who were supposed to have the two keys that day.

    That said, this article would make a lot more sense if I were wearing my tinfoil hat.

  • Malachy

    Blaming the RA for the bank job is as much a denial of due process as blaming Al Qaeda for 9/11. You need to learn a new tune I think.

    Al Qaeda have claimed responsibility for 9/11.

    In the case of the bank robbery democratically elected politicians and citizens have been blamed (without evidence) by a police officer in a dubious police force and by rival politicians. It’s actually quite different to 9/11.

  • Jimmy Sands

    A terrorist organisation has been blamed. For such an attribution to be made, even before any claim of responsibility, is hardly remarkable.

  • Malachy

    A terrorist organisation has been blamed. For such an attribution to be made, even before any claim of responsibility, is hardly remarkable.

    Sinn Féin has been blamed. Their democratically elected representatives have been fingered by rival politicians without any evidence or arrests. In two supposed democracies – one a supposed leader of the free world that is remarkable.

    Al Qaeda does not have any democratically elected members to my knowledge.

  • maca

    “A terrorist organisation has been blamed”

    9/11 was a terrorist attack. The Northern was a simple robbery, which could have been carried out by anyone with half a brain.

    Remember Madrid? They blamed ETA right away, were they right?

  • aquifer

    Due process means that individuals accused of a crime are presumed innocent.

    Criminal terrorist conspiracies are not individuals, nor can they sue for libel. Its better if they do not know where you live though, as they are not so hot on due process themselves.

  • maca

    Big robbery foiled in GB…

    “Police in London have foiled one of the biggest ever robbery attempts in Britain.
    The plan was to steal £220m from the London offices of the Japanese bank Sumitomo Mitsui.
    Computer experts are believed to have tried to transfer the money electronically after hacking into the bank’s systems.
    A man has been arrested by police in IsRAel after the plot was uncovered by the National Hi-Tech Crime Unit.”

    No doubt the work of the SF IT Department.

  • Billy Pilgrim

    The article raises an interesting question that has completely faded from public discourse in the months since the robbery:

    What if the provos didn’t do it?

    I should have thought that corporate corruption is always a possibility. Why was it ruled out so quickly? It is simply not possible that the PSNI could have exhausted every avenue leading in that direction in the time between the robbery and Orde’s statement naming the provos. There simply wouldn’t have been time to definitively rule out that particular line of inquiry – indeed there probably still hasn’t.

    I don’t know who robbed the Northern. Is anybody out there prepared to concede the possibility that maybe it wasn’t the usual suspects?

    (Braced for unionist howls of indignation at the very suggestion that perhaps there are some things for which the provos aren’t to blame…)

  • Pat Mc Larnon

    The uncomfortable fact for a lot of posters is the fact that the only money recovered since the robbery was in a heavily fortified police complex that has only one access road protected by armed guards in a sanger and is ringed by CCTV.

    The money was not lying around the complex it was found buried in a wall that had tiles removed, was replastered and had the tiles replaced.
    At the time of the cash find Orde stated it was a plant by the IRA. How the IRA got into the complex, were able to carry out some construction work and then flee undetected has never been fully explained.

    There is of course the money recovered in Cork over a month ago. At the time we were told that a link with the Northern job would be proven within days. As of yet there has been nothing.

    Doesn’t prove anything either way but an indication that evidence is still very much lacking in the case against republicans.

  • Roger W. Christ XVII

    “Like most Americans she is alarmed when policemen and politicians assign guilt without evidence “

    The weapons of mass destruction have rather quickly been forgotten about already by our American provo apologists. Make the point if you will, but please don’t try to patronize people with this “like most Americans think” bull.

    You have to remember that these rival politicians you are talking about have created the circumstances within which Sinn Fein would rise. The British government didn’t have to support the political process and release travel and other restrictions on people moving about the British Isles. It didn’t have to meet Sinn Fein. It didn’t have to make an exemption to allow Sinn Fein to raise considerable sums of money for political purposes from foreign countries. The two governments didn’t have to look the other way while the IRA did it’s “housekeeping”.

  • Roger W. Christ XVII

    “The uncomfortable fact for a lot of posters is the fact that the only money recovered since the robbery was in a heavily fortified police complex”

    Note to the uninitiated, Pat is talking about a country club. The money, when it was discovered, was reported to the public by the police. If the police stole the money why would they tell the public it had been found in their complex ? Arguably they would want to keep it covered up ?

    Also why was only a fraction of the haul discovered there ?

    “The money was not lying around the complex it was found buried in a wall that had tiles removed, was replastered and had the tiles replaced. “

    Have you got a source for this claim Pat ? I don’t remember the police or the country club telling us that particular detail.

    “Doesn’t prove anything either way but an indication that evidence is still very much lacking in the case against republicans. “

    Apart from the Sinn Fein worker (who resigned from his various business positions) that had a few million quid stashed in his back garden. Was he ever asked to explain that ?

  • vespasian

    Pat

    What is the source of your information re the Police Recreation Centre ( your take – heavily fortified police complex) – it is public knowledge that it is not heavily fortified and is regularly visited by non police sports people so the rest of the your info is therefore very suspect indeed.

  • Billy Pilgrim

    Roger, Vespasian.

    Would you accept that maybe the provos didn’t do it? Why do you think it has congealed into accepted truth that they did do it?

  • Pat Mc Larnon

    vespasian,

    I wrote ‘a heavily fortified police complex that has only one access road protected by armed guards in a sanger and is ringed by CCTV.’That is in fact true.

    Are you stating there is more than one access road?

    Are you stating that the entrance to the complex is not guarded by a sanger containing armed guards?

    Are you stating that the complex is not ringed by a fence that is covered by CCTV?

    Also, public knowledge depends on what member of the public you are talking to.

  • Roger W. Christ XVII

    Billy, yes I’d accept that they didn’t do it. My belief they did comes out of a strong suspicion.

    It’s congealed into accepted truth for a number of reasons, one of the most significant being that a number of senior public figures have basically their reputation on it being true. Orde’s job together with that of the Garda chief commissioner is on the line if it transpires the robbery was carried out by someone else, furthermore Bertie Ahern is going to look very very silly after his outburst in the Dail.

    Pat still hasn’t explained how he knew the money was plastered into the wall at Newforge. It’d be interesting to know if the police confirmed this.

  • Roger W. Christ XVII

    BTW Billy, the interesting question is, what the hell are Pat, cg, and the others going to do if evidence is ever uncovered that the IRA were in fact behind the robbery ?

  • mickhall

    If it were Corporate corruption at the Northern Bank, does anyone really think they would have looted the bank by carrying mailbags stuffed with cash out the back door. What are we suggesting here, head office sent over a handful of trainee executives to loot the vault? Is the northern bank not net friendly? La La Land.

  • Billy Pilgrim

    Roger.

    Yes, I know all of that, and I’m not about to declare that they didn’t do it. I’m just trying to highlight the fact that very, very few people are prepared to keep an open mind on this issue.

    Doesn’t it strike you that Orde was somewhat foolish in his haste to declare that the provos did it? (Conroy and Ahern are at one remove from this though – they have backed Orde and based their accusations on that backing. Orde is the primary accuser – if he’s wrong, Conroy and Ahern can ride it out. Orde is the one with his neck on the line.)

    Think of it like this: it’s a given that time simply could not have allowed for the exhaustion of all avenues of inquiry prior to Orde’s statement. So given that he couldn’t have ruled out other potential cuplprits, he must have had strong evidence implicating the provos – strong enough to put his reputation on the line, right?

    Oky. This being the case, why the apparent lack of progress? Where do farcical episodes like the Beragh searches fit in? (Unionists and nationalists in west Tyrone were united in declaring the Beragh searches to be a sick joke.)

    Here’s the rub: say during the course of the inquiry evidence emerges implicating culprits other than the provos – the police chief would be so compromised that he would have a strong motive to suppress the evidence. I’m not saying anything about the man or the force – just making the point that if police tracked down the killers and they turned out not to be provos, then it’d mean the Chief Constable’s head. That means only one of two possible outcomes are now acceptable to the police. Either a) some provos are convicted or b) no-one is.

    All in all, it’s a crazy way to go about a police inquiry. Anywhere else in the democratic world police concentrate their efforts on nailing the perpetrators of crime. Here our chief constable has put himself in a position where only specific culprits will do.

    This is the context we are in, and does not deal with who actually did it. My point is simply that there is a lynch mob atmosphere around at the moment, and I’d like to draw attention to it. I’d like to point out that there is a possibility that the usual suspects did not do it, and that their chief accuser is monumentally conflicted on the issue.

    “the interesting question is, what the hell are Pat, cg, and the others going to do if evidence is ever uncovered that the IRA were in fact behind the robbery?”

    They’ll figure out some new line of defence. What else could they do?
    It wouldn’t really change anything though as, in the court of public opinion, republicans have aleady been tried and convicted. If their guilt was actually proved, it’s hard to see what material difference it would make. However if their innocence was to be proven then the court of public opinion would have to take a long, hard look at itself.

    (Note the talk of proving innocence. See how lynch mobs turn civilised norms on their heads?)

  • Billy Pilgrim

    “if police tracked down the ROBBERS and they turned out not to be provos, then it’d mean the Chief Constable’s head.”

    That should of course have read “the ROBBERS”.

  • Roger W. Christ XVII

    Billy, my recollection is that most people had already made their minds up but things hinged for a while on what Orde would say. His position served to legitimize what everyone already suspected. I am not sure how easy it is for Ahern and Conroy to ride it out if he is wrong; the Garda have come to the same conclusion that Orde has and I am not so sure if it is based purely on Orde’s own view.

    There are two things that go to the centre of the accusation. The first notion that Orde knows something that the rest of us don’t, and that the two governments have been privy to that information, or the two governments have seen intelligence that has reported that. People who believe the official line about the bank robbery need to accept that. Secondly it is down to Joe Bloggs and who, at a rough guess, he believes would pull off an operation of this magnitude, strangely without getting noticed by the paramilitaries. That does not constitute evidence or proof of any kind but it is a lot to do with where the opinion in this matter goes. Republicans who come on and say that public opinion is being fed by the media are attributing no intelligence to ordinary people on the ground who had made up their minds before the media started getting stuck in or before the governments or PSNI had made their view known. Despite what is stated here I believe that people in republican neighbourhoods generally think the IRA was behind the robbery.

    Leaving the police aside I found it revealing that significant numbers of journalists and other public figures decided themselves that the IRA was behind the robbery. I’m talking about people like Brian Feeney and about papers like the Sunday Business Post who don’t normally make it their business to back up the police and dish dirt on Sinn Fein. There’s been nothing in Brian Feeney’s output over the past ten years that indicates that he is hostile to the prospect of Sinn Fein being in government so why would he voluntarily take part in what is being claimed to be a securocrat-inspired conspiracy to keep them out ?

    Regarding the apparent lack of progress and the Beragh business, there are reasons to form either conclusion. You could say the operation is a big one and that they need to ensure all possible leads are followed and all the evidence that can be collected is collected. I am not sure how easy it would be for the police to avoid properly investigating certain leads given that a Police Ombudsman investigation has uncovered cases in the past where the police failed to investigate the killing of Michael McGoldrick properly. By going down this road the police would be taking the risk that the Police Ombudsman may expose them. All kinds of failures by the police in the past are being dug up. Are they going to take the risk of their efforts today being treated in the same way ?

  • Jimmy Sands

    “I’m just trying to highlight the fact that very, very few people are prepared to keep an open mind on this issue.”

    That’s not true. Roger and I have both stated that while we believe the IRA were responsible (and my reasons are the same as his), we are open to the possibility that the police attribution could be wrong. The point that such attributions have proved wrong in the past is well made. In political terms however, it is of little importance in my view for the following reason.

    We are told that the IRA was prepared in December to move to what they called a “new mode”. Apparently we are to understand this to mean the abandonment of what non-provos would call crime. We are also told that in the absence of a deal, the old mode continues. Therefore, they themselves hold themselves out is still being in the business of robbing banks. Whether they did this one seems to me a secondary issue.

  • Malachy

    Whether they did this one seems to me a secondary issue.

    Considering what has gone on, that is an incredible statement.

  • Roger W. Christ XVII

    Malachy, from one point of view it is but it could be phrased another way : the fact that the provos *could* have carried out that operation is almost as significant as the question over whether or not they did. Essentially the only thing hypothetically preventing them from robbing banks is their discipline, and as we’ve seen with the McCartney case that discipline is somewhat wanting.

  • Jimmy Sands

    As I understand it, it’s not a question of discpline. Perhaps a supporter can put me straight, but I understand their position to be that pending a final settlement, they are still entitled to rob banks. I find it hard therefore to understand the high dudgeon at being accused of this one in particular.

  • Billy Pilgrim

    Sorry Jimmy, let me just be sure I understand you.

    “I find it hard therefore to understand the high dudgeon at being accused of this one in particular.”

    Ok, let’s say for argument’s sake that the provos didn’t do it. You can’t understand why they’d be pissed off at being held responsible for something they didn’t do? You don’t understand why they would deny it?

    (Have you missed the fall-out to the Northern raid? It has been in all the papers. The 10-year peace process and the 20-year Adams/McGuinness peace strategy have been brought grinding to a halt by the spark that was the Northern raid. Given the sheer cost to republicans of the bank job, you can’t understand why they’d have strong feelings about being accused?)

    The logic of what you’re saying is that if someone robs a bank, they must accept responsibility for all bank robberies. It’s `usual suspects’ logic.

    You need to try harder. It’s not really that difficult to understand.

  • Roger W. Christ XVII

    “Ok, let’s say for argument’s sake that the provos didn’t do it. You can’t understand why they’d be pissed off at being held responsible for something they didn’t do?”

    Dealing specifically with the IRA, I don’t personally care whether they are wrongly accused of doing things any more than I care about the feelings of any other group of criminals. They are well-armed, organized and have a long history of committing armed robberies, racketeering, random murders of civilians and so on. It is not my prerogative to complain about anyone who chooses to vote for a party connected with such people and expect that they should be treated like ordinary people who don’t commit crime or use violence. Sinn Fein have to accept that if they are going to insist on maintaining an active armed wing, they are going to have to accept being accused of the things that active armed wings generally do. If Sinn Fein separate themselves from the IRA and have no more to do with them or their members, then things will change.

    To suggest that the IRA or any other crime be treated organizationally as innocents until evidence is found connecting them with a crime is to legitimacy upon them, which most people are reluctant to do. They’re a group of criminals, they commit crimes, and that’s that.

    On the other hand, there is a serious credibility issue if it turns out that the police have been misdirecting a criminal investigation, from the perspective both of incompetence and of allowing the true perpetrators to go unpunished. It doesn’t matter whether the IRA is being accused or anyone else.

  • Jimmy Sands

    Not at all. I can understand why a bankrobber would deny a job he didn’t do, but I haven’t much sympathy with idea that he is entitled to take offence at the accusation. Accusing a thief of theft is hardly libellous surely?

  • Roger W. Christ XVII

    Jimmy, it’s looking dangerously like we’re both the same person.

  • Roger W. Christ XVII

    Incidentally isn’t it strange how the chuckie apologists can’t get their story particularly straight.

    On another thread you’ll hear the about how the recent robbery in Dublin – similar to the NB robbery – proves that it can’t have been the republicans. On this thread we’ve got people saying that the job was a PSNI black operation, and the PSNI were foolish enough to stash part of the haul right in their own leisure facilities (apparently the cops are clever enough rob rob a bank but foolish enough to stash the proceeds in their “own” place, but I digress).

    Assuming the two robberies are indeed linked, this might compel a person to believe that either the PSNI were associated with the people who committed the Dublin robbery. Or that the people who carried out the Dublin robbery were able to get into the PSNI’s Newforge complex and hide the cash there. Which is it I wonder ?

  • SlugFest

    Gonzo,

    Adding to Jimmy Sands’s dossier on her, she’s a lawyer — a corporate one at that. As far as her writing, the only clippings/bylines I could find from her are from a now-defunct magazine about yarn, spinning, et al. The name of the magazine, ironically, is “Spin-Off.” I think that pretty much sums it up.