Colombia Three back in Ireland

RTÉ is reporting that Martin McCauley, Niall Connolly and Jim Monaghan, better know as the Colombia Three, are back in Ireland.

First reaction from the DUP is already in with deputy leader Peter Robinson calling on Taoiseach Bertie Ahern to find them and hand them back.

Jim Monaghan confirmed to RTÉ that the men had returned to Ireland in the past few days. However, he would not say how they got here. He said that they had got a ‘lot of help from a lot of people’ and that he would not endanger them.

  • Oilbbear Chromaill

    Failte abhaile Seamus, Niall agus Martin!

    RTE are reporting the Colombia Three have come home to Ireland, after escaping the vagaries of the injustice system in Bogota.

    Just wait now till the chorus ensues of indignant unionists and the minister for ‘justice’ to get them to go back to Colombia, a country where lawyers are killed as a matter of course and where true justice is a scarce commodity.

  • iluvni

    What a challenge for Bertie Ahern.
    The international reputation of the Republic of Ireland is on the line.

  • tra g

    Why is there no thread regarding the serious loyalist violence in North Belfast yesterday evening.

    Is it less relevant because it was unionists firing blast bombs and hijacking buses.

    I can recall a number of threads about the trouble in Ardoyne in July.

    Where is the consistancy on this site ?

  • beano

    For what it’s worth tra g, I’ve a post at EU.
    Who really runs Northern Ireland?

  • Jo

    …saw one of the guys being interviewed this evening, saying how they “can’t be sent back to a place like that”.

    Er…didn’t you go there in the first place?

    But not to train FARC, oh no.

    Perish the thought.

    Don’t know why that idea ever entered me head.

  • beano

    Is it just me or does the fact that Sinn Fein are defending them make them seem all the more guilty? What would SF care if they weren’t involved with the IRA?

  • Mick

    Tra g,

    Slugger is not now, nor has it ever been, obliged to count stories towards a numerical balance in the material we blog. That leaves individual bloggers free to exercise their own political/journalistic judgement as to what they think is important in the news. But please note, that choice is not intended to be definative.

    Tommie Gorman made an interesting comment in his report on Morning Ireland (sound file) this morning, when he refered to Loyalists paramilitaries as ‘political orphans’ – ie they lie outside the sphere of influence of anyone who is likely to wield executive political power in Northern Ireland in the future.

    I did think about blogging on that angle myself, but instead diverted my energies towards redding up various working loose ends before heading off on holidays tomorrow.

  • iluvni

    Isn’t it pathetic of Tra G to look to divert the issue from the Colombia Fugitives though!

  • Keith M

    As an organ subsidised by the taxpayer, RTE should handover the evidence to the Gardai immediatly. The Gardai should in turn arrest these criminals and the courts should decide on extradition. These are dangerous men, and I don’t want them in this country.

    As we are suggesting threads, can I make a case for what I see as the big story of the day, the fact former PSF and current RSF leader Ruairi O Bradaigh has outed Gerry Adams as a major player in PIRA, and O Bradaigh should know!

    How long more will we have to listen to Adams’ big lie?

  • G2

    “What a challenge for Bertie Ahern.
    The international reputation of the Republic of Ireland is on the line.”

    As Hillary Clinton says in her interview with the Belfast Telegraph re the IRA statement ‘ Sinn Fein have called the DUP’s bluff”….I wonder what Hillary Clinton will say about the Colombia three turning up in ireland ?

    Will she say ‘Sinn Fein have called the international reputation of the ROI & the US Governent’s bluff…..?????????????

  • Fermanagh Young Unionist

    Why did the Tony Blair and Bertie Ahern need to do this? What were they getting in return for this? SF got Kelly back and Blair got his ‘statement’ from the IRA.

    Surely if they were not over there training Farc rebels why do SF care so much? It is just too much of a coincidence that they are released just a week after the statement.

    The sooner Tony Blair and Bertie Ahern admit that these 3 IRA terrorists were brought back as part of the build up to the statement the better, there’s no point trying to make the people of Ireland and Northern Ireland look stupid.

  • Juan Valdez

    I have no problems with the colombian 3 except in the following area.

    Where are the butterflies they were supposed to be catching in the mountains.

    Jerry & Martin must be disappointed.

    Yours
    Juan Valdez.

  • Gerry Lvs Castro

    The Nature Watchers can rest easy — the Republic’s record on extradition of convicted terrorists goes back a long way and speaks for itself.
    Now if they can just get Gerry McCabe’s murderers back on the streets, SF will have a full set.

  • G2

    “Where are the butterflies they were supposed to be catching in the mountains.”

    They are all on display in the West belfast festival. Bertie Ahern & his missus opened the exhibition on monday night..

    http://www.butterflyalphabet.com/NatureImage/categories/butt_detail.htm

  • Biffo

    FYU

    “Surely if they were not over there training Farc rebels why do SF care so much? “

    Why do unionists care so much? I don’t recall a unionist ever mentioning the situation in Columbia previously.

  • Dave

    The ROI hiding the enemies of the Gt Britain? Did they not do this before when britain was at war? mind you in them days Britain needed every ulsterman they could find to sacrifice on behalf of the British nation. How times have changed in Britain at least.

  • Dave

    The ROI hiding the enemies of the Gt Britain? Did they not do this before when britain was at war? mind you in them days Britain needed every ulsterman they could find to sacrifice on behalf of the British nation. How times have changed in Britain at least.

  • raff

    Personally I am glad to see the three men home, from even a meagre understanding of the case it is plain to see these men would not get justice. Those calling for their extradition are not interested in making Ireland a safer place, they are using these three men’s lives as a political whip to annoy Provisional Sinn Fein, and that is just pathetic.
    By the way Keith M, any chance of a link to that story from Ruairi O’ Bradaigh Please?

  • beano

    “Why do unionists care so much? I don’t recall a unionist ever mentioning the situation in Columbia previously.”

    It’s less to do with the specific situation and more to do with international co-operation among dangerous terrorist gangs and the ability of IRA men to escape justice.

  • Mal One

    Keith M

    Where can I read the comments from o’Bradaigh about Gadams provo cv?

  • Liam

    There are a lot of truths here that Unionists do not want to face up to. But of course many are not interested in the truth.

    These are all facts:

    *In 1982 as a teenager Martin McCauley was a victim of state collusion losing permanent partial loss of the use of his arm having been shot by the RUC.
    *His 17 year old friend was killed in that shooting
    *This incident was examined by both Stalker and Stevens
    *The British government were found guilty of collusion by the European court
    *Martin McCauley won an action against the RUC for the injuries inflicted on him in that shooting
    *Martin McCauleys solicitor was Pat Finucane
    *After he was killed by agents of the British government Rosemary Nelson took over the case
    *She was also killed by agents of the British government
    *Judge Cory in his report called for full independent international enquiries into both these incidents
    *After Rosemary Nelson was killed Martin McCauleys home was bombed by Loyalists

    *Former Republican prisoners have travelled to Bosnia, Kosovo, South Africa, Palestine, Colombia and many other places to observe conflict resolution processes and to share experiences of our own peace process
    *That is what these men were doing in Colombia
    *The men were found innocent of the major charges in an open court, where all evidence was heard in public and where international observers were present to monitor the case
    *Judge Acosta ordered that the main prosecution witnesses be investigated for perjury
    *This verdict was overturned by a secret tribunal meeting behind closed doors and hearing no new evidence
    *One of those three judges publicly expressed his dissatisfaction with the outcome of that secret tribunal

    All of that is the truth – Is it too much to have any hope that people who might be politically opposed to Republicans would still have an interest in the Truth and in Justice?

    I guess it probably is?

  • TAFKABO

    Liam.

    The one glaring truth that shone through all of that post is the simple truth that McCauley is a lifelong provo.

    Don’t start spouting about others not being willing to face the facts when you are denying them yourself.

    Another truth you seem to have trouble acknowledging is that those men were not in that country for benign reasons.

    Eco tourists my arse.

    The sooner they are sent back to Colombia the better.

  • Keith M

    Mal One, the story is covered in this week’s Village magazine, including some front page coverage. This is the story we should be dealing with in my opinion; how Adams (literally) got away with murder and continues to lie at every opportunity, and then people wonder why unionists don’t trust SF/IRA.

  • iluvni

    Liam,
    Thanks awfully for those ‘facts’.
    Any chance of giving us the facts as to why they travelled on false passports….and how FARC just happened to end up with an ability to use IRA-type mortars?

  • roger

    Extradition can be a very complex issue at the best of times.

    In January 1988 Loyalist paramilitaries received a huge haul of South African weapons. This consisted of 200 AK47 assault rifles, 90 Browning pistols, 500 fragmentation grenades, 30,000 rounds of ammunition and 12 RPG 7 rocket launchers.

    The weapons were divided between the UDA, the UVF and Ulster Resistance, the organisation set up by Ian Paisley, Peter Robinson and Alan Wright.

    In the six yeas before the arrival of the weapons, from January 1982 to December 1987, loyalist paramilitaries killed 71 people of whom 49 were sectarian/political in nature. In the 6 years following, from January 1988 to 1 September 1994, loyalists killed 229 people of whom 207 were sectarian/political in nature.

    Brian Nelson, the agent of the British army intelligence and the UDAs chief intelligence officer, was a key personality in this arms transaction. Another was Dick Wright, an employee of the South African arms company Armscor. Wright formerly of Portadown, Co. Armagh was an uncle of Alan Wright, leader of the Ulster Clubs and with Ian Paisley a co-founder of Ulster Resistance.

    Wright visited the UDA in Belfast in 1980 and made an offer of arms for cash or missile plans or parts from the Shorts missile factory as an acceptable alternative to cash.

    On the instruction of UDA leader John McMichael, Nelson traveled to South Africa in June 1985 to investigate the possibility of a deal. (In February 1992, Private Eye reported that Nelson’s visit was cleared not only by an unnamed British government Minister.) A deal was made. The loyalists were to supply South African agents with missile plans or parts and, if possible, a complete shorts missile system in return for a substantial shipment of arms.

    Nelson sometime after the South African visit moved to Regensberg in Germany where in 1987 British intelligence military intelligence and MI5 met with him and persuaded/pressed him to returning to Belfast to take up again his role of British intelligence agent. This was well in advance of the final stages of the arms transaction.

    The deal was completed and final arrangements were made in December 1987. Nelson informed military intelligence of developments at every stage of the proceedings; he passed on all the details including the method to be used to smuggle in the weapons. No action was taken.

    In a jail journal, written by Nelson and obtained by the BBC’s Panorama team in 1992 he states:

    In 1987 I was discussing with my handler Ronnie the South African operation when he told me that because of the deep suspicion the seizure would have aroused, to protect me it had been decided to let the first shipment into the country untouched.

    At the end of December 1987, Joseph Fawzi, a Lebanese intermediary employed by the US arms dealer working for the South Africans, dispatched the hige consignment of arms which were handled without intervention from the British authorities in January 1988.

    Many of the weapons were later seized by British authorities, the largest single cache being taken from Davy Payne, the British ex-paratrooper and UDA Brigadier on 8 January 1988. Between a half and a third of the weapons however still remain in the hands of loyalist paramilitaries.

    Nelson’s central role in the arms transaction and transport meant he, and therefore British intelligence, knew the location of the farmhouse where the weapons would be stored initially after landing. Yet, at the time of Nelson’s trial, British intelligence was telling BBC’s Inside Ulster that their surveillance of the shipment but never disclosed at what point this is supposed to have happened.

    Subsequent attempts by Ulster Resistance to re-negotiate the technology for arms deal with South African government agents resulted in 1989 in the arrests of three Ulster Resistance members and Douglas Bernhardt, a U.S. arms dealer, and a South African diplomat, Daniel Storm in Paris.

    While Storm claimed diplomatic immunity the others could not. No extradition request was made by the British authorities in relation to Joseph Fawzi, Dick Wright or U.S. arms dealer Douglas Bernhardt.

  • Chris Gaskin

    I do hope people are aware that there is no extradition treaty between Ireland and Columbia.

    To send them back would be illegal and the Irish government knows this.

  • TAFKABO

    Roger.

    We are all used to whataboutery, but that’s the first time I’ve seen an example of
    whatthef*ckwasthataboutery?.

    Congratualtions.

  • Denny Boy

    TAFKABO wrote: “We are all used to whataboutery, but that’s the first time I’ve seen an example of
    whatthef*ckwasthataboutery?.”

    Personally I found Roger’s post highly educational, and thoroughly shaming for the principals he alluded to, two of whom now head up Ulster’s largest political party. Er, are unionists happy about this? Really?

    Extradition, yes please! Talk about motes and neighbours’ eyes…

  • Levitas

    1) I have read Vincent Browne’s expose (and I cant be arsed to access the french accent icon!)…and guess what? Ruari Irrelevant doesnt actually finger Gerry…just kind of winks and nudges at Vincent…so Vincent gets his biggest non-story to date.He even admits as much if anyone bothers to read the editorial, which is actually a paeon of praise to G Adams, Vincent just affects to be puzzled why he won’t “fess” up, well my guess is its a matter of consistency…what would there to be gained by saying “aw shucks i was just kiddin lads-course I was really”- I can just see our unionist posters queuing up to congratulate Gerry Adams for his, albeit delayed, candour…NOT.

    2) It surprises me that no one has suggested the bleedin obvious about the Columbia Three case…anyone recall the Munro doctrine? This means that Everything, BUT everything, that goes down in narco/banana republics such as Columbia or anywhere else in latin america, does not happens without the tacit say-so of the USA…wherever they were…I’d wager the yanks had a say in ensuring their safe passage.Forget about Bertie, and forget even more about the DUP’s protestations, is’nt it just possible that their return was expedited by the US as an extra little bit of inducement to see the RA endgame?

  • Keith M

    “To send them back would be illegal and the Irish government knows this.”

    Not true, it is up to the courts to decide whether the extradition would be legal or not, and this area has proved to be an embarrassing legal quagmire for this country in the past.

    These men are not potenially innocent. They have already been convicted of serious crimes, and that puts their case in a different light, to those that have yet to face the courts. To refuse an extradition request would be a huge embarrassment for Ireland.

    I see we’ve had a thread on the latest batch of loyalist thuggery, when am I getting my thread on Adams’ big lie? 😉

  • Denny Boy

    “when am I getting my thread on Adams’ big lie? ;-)”

    After Mick’s had his big lie-in? 😉

  • Jimmy Sands

    Alas, Chris is right. In the absence of an extradtion treaty, the birdwatchers are quite safe, unless they stray accidentally into a jusrisdiction (NI springs to mins) where such arrangements exist.

  • scuseme

    “We are all used to whataboutery, but that’s the first time I’ve seen an example of
    whatthef*ckwasthataboutery?.”

    Classic.!

  • Spikslow

    I didn’t think the situation was any different in the North. Surely the EU wouldn’t be best pleased if they were extradited to an uncertain fate.

  • micktvd

    According to reports there are more unionists killed in Colombia than anywhere else on earth. Perhaps that’s… no, bad joke!

  • G2

    Roger.

    We are all used to whataboutery, but that’s the first time I’ve seen an example of
    whatthef*ckwasthataboutery?.

    Congratualtions.

    Yeah, it’s nearaly as good as the Colombia three’s butterfly exhibition in West belfast opened by Bertie Adhern.

    You have to give the Shinners top marks for PR stunts. This one put IRA’s decommisioning and the DUP’s angst at demilitarizition on the back burner. Even some shinners and a historian from good old Derry wants to keep some watchtowers as tokens of historical and artistic importance.

  • Alan

    I was very disappointed with Vincent Brown’s piece on Adams. O’Bradaigh did not say Adams was CoS IRA, rather he refused to say anything as the individual had not told him to use the information. Brown then made the assumption on the basis that they had been talking about Adams. That was itself dubious and, because the magazine was fronted by the article,leaves the Village looking forlornly *Fortean*.

    The Village is a damn good political mag, but it would do better for its reputation, and for the real scandal represented by Adams ridiculous denial, not to lower itself to this kind of ham stageyness.

  • Paul O

    Unionists are going to spout, but this news is good news for republicans and nationalists. Wee Alex Attwood is so far from knowing what the majority of nationalists are thinking when he says this wont be recieved well. For someone committed to human rights surely he should be pleased that they arent at the mercy of a fixed court.

  • George

    Levitas,
    this is exactly what I was thinking. Can’t imagine they made their way out of South America without the United States knowing about.

    I would be very interested to hear what the American government has to say about all this. If they come out with “it’s a matter for the Irish government” then my suspicions will remain.

    Personally, I wouldn’t extradite Jonny Adair, if he was an Irish citizen, to the vagaries of Colombian justice and I can’t see it happening to these three if the Americans don’t push it.

    And while I welcome the DUP getting involved in the internal affairs of the Irish Republic and how it deals with its citizens would this issue not be the sort of one they could bring up if the took up speaking rights in the Dail.

    Keithm,
    journalists have a right to keep their sources to themselves so RTE should not give up how or where they contacted these people. If you don’t like the freedom of the press move to Belarus.

  • G2

    Wee Alex Attwood is right. This is SF’s way of sticking their fingers up Adhern & McDowell’s noses for poking them same noses into the Northern Bank raid and SF moneylaundering.

  • G2

    Wee Alex Attwood is right. This is SF’s way of sticking their fingers up Adhern & McDowell’s noses for poking them same noses into the Northern Bank raid and SF moneylaundering.

  • Keith M

    George, “journalists have a right to keep their sources to themselves so RTE should not give up how or where they contacted these people. If you don’t like the freedom of the press move to Belarus.”

    Did you actually see Charlie Bird’s report? One of the three criminals came out of hiding to blatantly embarrass the Irish legal system, by telling RTE that he was back in the country. There appears to be no “source” other than the man himself. If intermediaries provided information I would agree that there identities were protected. Jim Monaghan is a convicted criminal and as such RTE should advise the Gardai of his whereabouts.

  • Keith M

    I see that the Combian VP has now called on the Ahern to show his commitment to the global fight against terrorism by returning three men. I think it’s time someone started a “send them back” campaign, before Ireland’s good name is further tarnished.

  • spartacus

    The really depressing thing about this site is that one comes to realize after time how painfully ignorant so many of the unionist and right-wing bloggers are.

    Keith M wrote:

    ‘These men are not potenially innocent. They have already been convicted of serious crimes… To refuse an extradition request would be a huge embarrassment for Ireland.’

    But he obviously knows nothing about the ‘legal’ proceedings or is willfully blind to the travesty of justice involved here. The investigation was a sham from start to finish, farcically concocted by the government with the worst human rights record in the western hemisphere and its benefactors in Washington. Despite keystone cop forensics and the best efforts to rig the first trial, these men were acquitted and the prosecution exposed as corrupt, with two of its main witnesses dismissed for perjury. In any democracy worthy of its name they would have then been released. But they were held (probably as bargaining chips in the negotiations over the agreement) and the decision reversed at the behest of the Colombian military, and probably of the Bush and Blair administrations, renowned the world over for their respect for human rights.

    Iluvni passes on as ‘fact’ another canard being peddled by unionists: that the three were the agents through which technology passed into the hands of farc. This is laughable on the face of it for anyone even vaguely familiar with the situation in Colombia, where farc controls large swathes of territory and has under its control an arsenal that would make the RA’s dated gear look sad by comparison. From the trial:

    ‘Dr. Keith Borer, a world reknowned independent forensic scientist, travelled to Colombia to give evidence in the case. Dr. Borer had examined all the materials in relation to the forensic tests carried out by the US Embassy Official and stated in court that there is no forensic evidence against the three men.

    He also gave evidence stating that from what was presented to the court there has been no change in FARC technology and that FARC and IRA technology are very different. This shows that there is no evidence that these three men were training the FARC.’

    Catch yourselves on here boys and girls. Sectarian bitterness and frustration over developments of the past week or so has now led you into holding up government-by-death-squad as a form of ‘democracy’. Ahern may very well decide to hnd them back over, McDowell will certainly try it out. But if they do so, they will provoke the biggest crisis in government to the south in thirty years, one which I doubt they would be able to survive.

  • Keith M

    spartacus thanks for the longwinded rant but only the blind, the stupid and the fellow travellers believe these the “butterfly collectors” nonsense.

    As for “the government with the worst human rights record in the western hemisphere”, can I suggust you get an atlas. There’s a country not far from Colombia called Cuba that wins this accolade hands down, but then I wouldn’t expect the blind, the stupid and the fellow travellers to recognise this!

  • fair_deal

    Three international fugitives (whether the verdict is agreed with or not that is what they are) have been smuggled across international boundaries. This is illegal. It is also quite possible that false documents were produced and used.

    If the Republican Movement are shown to have been involved and as this operation was conducted at least in part or all after the IRA statement it proves one of two things:
    1) The IRA has broken its word in less than 10 days or;
    2) The use of the term ‘other activities’ does not cover criminal activities.

  • 6countyprod

    A friend and colleague of mine was kidnapped by FARC ‘guerrillas’, and was murdered in cold blood when a ransom wasn’t paid for his release, so I have nothing but contempt and loathing for FARC, and anyone who would condone the actions of FARC or their Irish Republican military advisors.

    On September 11, 2001 Richard Haass told Jerry Adams what he thought about the whole situation, ‘If any American, service personnel or civilian, is killed in Colombia by the technology the IRA supplied then you can f*** off,’ he shouted, finger jabbing towards Adams’ chest. ‘Don’t tell me you know nothing about what’s going on there, we know everything about it.’

    This is a huge test of the credibility of the Irish government. These men need to be caught and sent back to Colombia.

  • George

    Keithm,
    you obviously know nothing about press freedom. Charlie Bird is under no obligation to reveal the source of his story, or his whereabouts, even if the source is the story.

    As I said, if you don’t like it, there’s always Belarus but I won’t be looking for journalistic freedom to be curtailed.

    Anyway, how does this embarrass the Irish legal system?

    Monaghan said he wasn’t hiding from the forces of law and order and as far as I know there is no warrant out for his arrest.

    In fact, it is people like you who are undermining the Irish legal process by deciding these people are wanted when there are no charges against them in this country and no outstanding extradition warrants.

    Or do you know something none of the rest of us know?

    If you do, please share it with us, if you don’t then please refrain from deciding who the Gardai should arrest and who they shouldn’t. That is a matter for the legal system not you.

  • George

    6countyprod,
    what if the U.S. government say nothing about sending them back because, as I suspect, their intelligence services knew these three were coming back to Ireland and didn’t stop it?

    Will you be pointing the finger at George Bush and questioning his credibility?

  • spartacus

    Sorry, Keith, you are absolutely right. Guantanamo, isn’t it?

    Surely you don’t mean to suggest that the Colombian government, the second or third largest recipient of US military aid in th world, has a better human rights record thatn the Cuban government, do you? 120 trade unionist smurdered by security forces there in 2002. Do you have the numbers for Cuba handy? According to AI, the situation has gottne worse since then. Here’s what they said when Condy came to visit recently:

    ‘Amnesty International strongly believes that, when it comes to human rights, the situation in Colombia is at best unchanged and, in some areas, worse. While the Colombian government has bandied about figures that allegedly reflect a decrease in kidnappings and murders, a true examination reveals that this “improvement” is the result of creative numbers-crunching and revisionist history. The government’s statistics fail to accurately take into account extrajudicial executions committed by security forces – a crime that increased dramatically from 2003 to 2004.’

    This is the ‘justice’ that you want to send these men back to. But it is the logic of the right-wing politics that you espouse with some consistency out here, and which very many unionists have adopted as their own. Government by death squad. Or rendition to third countries. Support for every tinpot dictator that worships at the altar of the free market.

    Oh, and prod, that was precious. Richard Haas as a credible and neutral source. Give us a break, will you. And tell your friends to take their holidays somewhere else next time.

  • spartacus

    In an annual report on labour violations around the world, the ICFTU singled out the Latin American country [Colombia] for “its appalling toll of murder, beatings, ‘disappearances’ and intimidation carried out with impunity”.
    Eighty union officials were forced to flee abroad last year, it added. There were 27 attempted assassinations, 189 death threats, nine “disappearances”, 139 arbitrary arrests and 27 abductions.

    Colombia has long topped the ICFTU’s list of shame, but the Brussels-based organisation said the situation had deteriorated markedly, with fewer unionised workers and no attempt to bring the paramilitary killers to justice.

  • spartacus

    Human Rights Watch World Report 2002 makes it clear that the military and paramilitary continue to work in close cooperation in Colombia:

    [C]ertain military units and police detachments continued to promote, work with, support, profit from, and tolerate paramilitary groups, treating them as a force allied to and compatible with their own. At their most brazen, these relationships involved active coordination during military operations between government and paramilitary units; communication via radios, cellular telephones, and beepers; the sharing of intelligence, including the names of suspected guerrilla collaborators; the sharing of fighters, including active-duty soldiers serving in paramilitary units and paramilitary commanders lodging on military bases; the sharing of vehicles, including army trucks used to transport paramilitary fighters; coordination of army roadblocks, which routinely let heavily-armed paramilitary fighters pass; and payments made from paramilitaries to military officers for their support.

  • spartacus

    Last post on this subject:

    …while the FARC collects a tax on coca growers in some areas, it is in fact the paramilitaries–and the drug barons they protect–who are responsible for both narcotrafficking and narcoterrorism. Writes Doug Stokes in “Colombia primer,” which appeared on ZNet on April 16, 2002:

    A report produced by the Council on Hemispheric Affairs found no evidence of the FARC’s export of drugs to the U.S. but did point to the extensive nature of drug smuggling to the U.S. by “right-wing paramilitary groups in collaboration with wealthy drug barons, the armed forces, key financial figures and senior government bureaucrats.” James Milford, the former Deputy Administrator with the U.S.’s central drug eradication body the Drug Enforcement Agency (DEA), stated that Carlos Castano, the chief of the paramilitary AUC is a “major cocaine trafficker in his own right” and has close links to the North Valle drug syndicate which is “among the most powerful drug trafficking groups in Colombia.”

  • butterfly collector

    I think this whole episode is a FARCn farce.

  • Intelligence Insider

    It is well known that these convicted criminals entered Columbia on fake passports. Now that they have re-entered the republic they have either been issued passports by the irsih government or have entered illegally. If they have entered illegally they should be returned to the last known country they were in, Columbia.

  • Ahmed

    Clearly, the Columbia 3 believe that they they belong in jail, otherwise they would not have spent so much of their life there. Under Sharia Law, their punishment would be to have one of their legs placed in the Mortar device they designed for FARC and have them fired off like a human canonball in the general direction of Columbia.

  • spartacus

    is that the space shuttle ahmed or the country? any shred of evidence on the mortar device, or is it just bitter-end gossip passed off as fact? a

  • George

    Intelligence Insider,
    “Now that they have re-entered the republic they have either been issued passports by the irsih government or have entered illegally. If they have entered illegally they should be returned to the last known country they were in, Columbia.”

    Completely ridiculous and unconstitutional. They are Irish citizens so cannot be deported from their own country. It’s called citizens’ rights and is standard procedure in democracies.

    I don’t know if they can be charged with entering the country illegally as there is no evidence of how they got here. Criminal law doesn’t deal in likelyhood, it deals in evidence.

    As an Irish citizen cannot be deported from the Irish state, just an American citizen can’t be thrown out of the US, they can only be extradited, which is a legal process.

    In other words, it is for the Irish legal system to decide if they can be extradited to a country with which we don’t have an extradition treaty.

    You may want Irish citizenship to mean nothing and an Irish legal system that bows to political pressure but I, as an Irish citizen, don’t.

    Let the judges decide, that’s what they are there for.

    If they decide there is no legal basis for the extradition, then they stay and we all have to live with that. If there is a legal basis to extradite despite no treaty then off they go back to Colombia.

  • 6countyprod

    George: what if the U.S. government say nothing… Will you be pointing the finger at George Bush and questioning his credibility?

    Chairman of the US Congress International Relations Committee, Congressman Henry Hyde – “We hope the Irish Government honours its agreements and carries out the Interpol warrant for these three Irishmen who are wanted on serious charges by the Colombian government

    It’s nice to have Bush on your side.

  • George

    6countyprod,
    I am normally not so foolhardy as to think I understand the United States political system but I think even my paultry knowledge exceeds yours by some distance.

    The Congressional Committee is part of the legislative branch and not the executive branch so therefore this is not, I repeat not, the US government speaking.

    We are still waiting for Bush to say something. I would expect he will say what his advisors tell him, namely to let the legal process take its course.

    I assume you will have the common courtesy to admit your error, in bold type too, if you could be so kind. You can put the “I was wrong” bit in red.

    If an authority on the American system of government puts me straight and says you are actually right, I have no problems eating a slice of humble pie. I have done it before and no doubt will do it again.

    However, I am confident I shall be going hungry on this occassion.

  • martin

    The whole idea of FARC needing provo mortar expertise is quite hillarious–the PIRA’s mortar attacks were almost always complete flops with the one notable exception of Newry in 1985–.

    during the troubles most mortar attacks either failed to explode,shot over ,fell short or exploded during transportation. I cant remember the exact figures but i think out of about 700 attacks with mortars only about 5 even reached their target—Newry was a fluke and even there 2 of the shots fired missed the target .

    FARC needed PIRA expertise in mortars=get away out of it.

    ——————————————————————————–

  • 6countyprod

    Bush will probably not even mention it. It will most likely be Condy Rice. Republicans control congress, and the IRC are obviously on the ball. Most Americans are wide awake to the problem with FARC. FARC has murdered many Americans. Pity for IRA/SF that they ever stuck their nose in there. It’s okay for the IRA to help with the terror campaigns of ETA, and earlier the PLO, but when Americans and their allies are being killed with the help of Irishmen, people take notice.

  • George

    I shall take that last comment as the closest you will come to withdrawing your previous rather rash comment 6countyprod and an admittance that Bush is not yet “on your side”.

    Conspiracy theory time:
    I am with Levitas on this one. I find it hard to believe the United States didn’t know of their whereabouts in Venezuela, Cuba etc.

    The number one priority of the United States government is the security of the United States.

    After the IRA statement, Bush said the Whitehouse had an “understanding” that there would be no supporting of “foreign terrorists”.

    I wouldn’t be surprised if part of that “understanding” was the US keeping its counsel on this and letting things run their legal course.

    So far my hunch seems to be holding up.

    These 3 guys don’t amount to a hill of beans to the United States, getting the IRA and, more importantly, all their knowledge and contact lines out of the picture for good is much more important.

  • bobmcgowan

    You are quite correct in saying that Congressman Hyde is part of the Legislative Branch and his reaction does not necessarily reflect the reaction of the Administration.

    However, Congressman Hyde is a Republican member of the Houses, thus, generally in tune with the Republican Administration. But, party loyalty is no where near as firm here as, I suspect, it is in the UK or ROI since the head of government is not elected by the legislature.

    Having said all that, the Senate usually has more input/influence in foreign affairs than the House of Representatives. And, one rarely hears of Henry Hyde as one of the key players in the House. He was the Chairman of the committee which impeached and then failed to convict President Clinton and I rather suspect that most Republicans of all stripes would prefer that Hyde would gracefully retire and keep his mouth shut.

    So, I would wait until Secretary of State Rice has something to say or Mr. Reiss.

    And, I rather think their view will be somewhat like the ROI, i.e. let the judges sort it out. Given the very real problems with the evidence or “evidence” produced at the trial, the original acquital and a secret hearing reversal (too much like the Star Chamber), there are very real questions as to whether the accused got a fair trial in Colombia.

    Under the European Treaty, IIRC from the Roisin McAlinsky case, the ROI would be obliged to bring charges against the mean under ROI law if Colmbia insists. As the Crown Prosecution Service did in the McAlinsky case, the DPP can and probably would bring in a ruling that there is no case to procecute on the basis of the evidence provided — that is, if the evidence is as dodgy as intenational observers and the trial judge claim. I think it took the CPS about 15 minutes to review the “evidence” and throw out the case against Roisin McAlinsky and there was no acquital verdict on the record in that case, much less perjury charges pending against two key witnesses.

  • Andrew Ian Dodge

    Wow teach FARQ how to build bunker buster bombs and get a free pass in the Republic. And what was they said about coperating against terrorism? I am guessing the Republic is trying to attract all the accused jihadis from the UK as well.

  • 6countyprod

    George,

    The pressure is mounting. Bush, and his administration, is on the side of all those who have suffered from IRA involvement in international terrorism: Northern Irish, Southern Irish, English, Welsh, Scottish, German, Spanish, Colombian, Israeli, etc. etc. etc.. Poor Mr Ahern has even had to break off his holiday because of the crisis. keep up the good work, George. George W, that is.

  • pacart

    The more republicans rant on about the atrocious human rights record of the Columbian govt. and the awful saga of collusion, murder and mayhem in that country, by both FARC and govt forces by all accounts, the more I wonder, what on earth would take any sane person into the middle of it, risking life and liberty, travelling on false passports, being known PIRA operatives? It must have been something very important or very lucrative.The inital “eco tourists” line is now just a joke so “observing the (failing)Columbian peace process” is the new line. Perhaps the three gents could now share the amazing insights into conflict resolution afforded by their visit to an area totally corrupted by drugs money were murder and kidnappings are daily events. And on whose behalf were these “observations” being made? Or was it just general interest? Anyone for a fortnight in Baghdad to “observe peace-keeping tactics”?I’ll bring the tent. Who paid for Monaghan’s itinery for example? I understand he has a normal paid job for a Rep. ex- prisoners group, I can’t see how he could afford such a jaunt, I don’t think Expedia do FARC controlled Columbia yet. Republicans can hit their default button, “what about the USA in wherever, or the Brits in wherever”, the fact is, the war in Columbia is dirty, messy, drug fuelled, in fact it sounds like a super duper Loyalist feud. Sinn Fein have displayed their usual moral bankrupcy and arrogance by sticking their noses in. No reasonable person beleives that the three were there for any innocent reason.

  • circles

    Pacart:
    So if “No reasonable person beleives that the three were there for any innocent reason” – what would a reasonable person actually think?

    And, in your opinion, is that reasonable persons thought, backed up with no other evidence save that of paid informers, enough to throw a man into jail? Is that reasonable?

  • George

    6countyprod,
    if you keep repeating falsehoods despite being proven incorrect I will just have stop bothering because I don’t see the point.

    We are now on day 5 since the Colombia three announced they were back in the Irish Republic and still no comment from the United States government or George W. Bush himself.

    There has also been no comment from the British government on what it thinks the Irish government should do merely on what it will do.

    Why? Because the US and the rest of the democratic world see this as a legal issue, which will be dealt with by the Irish courts.

    If the courts fail to address the issue, when there is clearly a legal case to answer, or if the government fails to meet its legal obligations then we will see “pressure” mount.

    Until then, nothing will happen. Are you with me so far?

    Democratic governments have a tendency to understand what an independent judiciary means and know that to try use political muscle to influence the legal process is wrong.

    Unionism as an ideology has a tenuous grasp of democracy and the idea of justice at the best of times and when it smells what it thinks is Fenian Irish blood, it has a tendency to get a bit rabid.

    Last I heard, the Colombian government had yet to even put in an extradition request and Art Agnew from the Irish government is heading down there to see what happens next.

    This is a case for the Director of Public Prosecutions, nobody else. It basically has nothing to do with Ahern as long as the DPP does its job.

    Or would you rather the rule of law is simply circumvented to stop unionists foaming at the mouth?

    We have a word for people who circumvent the rule of law here – they are called subversives.

  • Pacart

    Circles, so you really think they were there on holiday? Really? We are not in a court of law here, “beyond reasonable doubt” doesn’t come into it. As I said before it must have been something very important or very lucrative for them to take the risk of going to what all the Shinner bloggers describe as a human rights hellhole, where they ran the risk of discovery and capture. The probabilty is that they were there to sell mortar making expertise, and training in the same to FARC. You all keep quoting one US forensics expert, I don’t know anything about him, but why does every other expert in weapons and Columbia stick to the story that FARC started to use PIRA style mortars soon after the men’s arrival? They can’t all be US agents.You also try to say that the PIRA mortars were so inaccurate noone would want to buy them, well that didn’t stop the PIRA using them (sincere apologies to innocent victims were probably pre-written) and lo and behold, the mortars used by FARC are also inaccurate and have caused dozens of civilian deaths and injuries. Maybe FARC should ask for their drug money back, or maybe, like PIRA they don’t give a shit. What would you think of the three and the RM if that were the case? If there is no case to answer then why don’t they offer that their trial be heard in ROI, similar to the arrangements for the Lockerbie trial?

  • circles

    pacart:
    IF I did think they were on holiday, I could provide as much heresay evidence as you do to back up my case. I could get all worked up and go into a rant about it too and dismiss anybody elses argument on the grounds that I must be right or because I hadn’t heard it before – but that wouldn’t be reasonable either.

    But your final piece of argumentation is really the best – that the IRA were paid a huge sum of “drug” money for poorly functioning mortar technology by the FARC who didn’t want ones that worked well anyway because they don’t give a shit.
    Hmmm – so why, in your theory, did the pay for it?

  • pacart

    Circles, what I meant was, maybe FARC, like the PIRA, don’t mind a few innocent casualties along the way. What hearsay evidence do you have that they were there “on holiday”? Did they send their mum a postcard? Do you genuinely believe that people sneak out of their own country on false passports and travel to countries where their own personal liberty, and indeed lives, are in danger for “a holiday”? If they were there “to observe the peace process” then surely they would have liked to talk to people on the Govt. side as well, which would have meant going thru official channels,ie the ones everyone else would use. Circles, their stories don’t add up. I don’t think you are a fool so I can’t beleive you really swallow this nonsense. What does it say about the RM that they spend so much time and energy denying the obvious.

  • lib2016

    These rants are v. interesting but I have to admit that I was more impressed at how far Sinn Fein had come in from the cold when I read that
    http://www.paddypower.com had put them at odds of 9/4 for a place in the next Dublin government.

    No – it’s not a tremenduously serious post. Just proof, if proof were needed, that the demonisation and criminalisation of republicans has failed. Back to the drawingboard, lads!

  • Jocky

    Lib2016, I wouldn’t describe people getting into government based solely on their noteriety due to their criminal past as impressive. (or is it just the fact they are from your side? would you be as impressed if they were from the other side?)

    Then again I could be demonising and criminalising them. What with the wealth of experience they have gained observing the failed Columbian peace process, Columbian justice system and eco tourism they will lauch a revolutionary manifesto that will sweep them to victory and solve all the people of Irelands problems.

    It does appear that there has been very little movement, seems like Berties tactic is do nothing, act casual and hope no one notices.

  • Biffo

    “I wouldn’t describe people getting into government based solely on their noteriety due to their criminal past as impressive. (or is it just the fact they are from your side? would you be as impressed if they were from the other side?)”.
    Jocky

    I thought you were talking about Paisley for a minute. There’s no doubt, way back in the 1960’s, that his criminal conviction for being a fundamental religious bigot won him a lot of support.

    And now that they intend to crack down on islamic fundamentalist religious bigots, it’ll be interesting to compare and contrast Paisley’s pronouncements.

  • George

    Pacart.
    “but why does every other expert in weapons and Columbia stick to the story that FARC started to use PIRA style mortars soon after the men’s arrival?”

    Which experts would these be? Would you care to name them so we can judge your argument on merit rather than taking your word for it? There’s a lot of waffle going about on this topic.

    On a Lockerbie style trial,

    the Lockerbie bombers were tried under Scottish law.

    Are you saying that the Colombia Three would not get a fair hearing under Irish law?

    If you are, please explain how because that is a pretty offensive comment make about the Irish legal system.

    If you are saying they would and that the result could be that they don’t get sent back to Colombia because there is no legal basis, are you saying that to prevent this you want them tried under Colombian law but not in Colombia?

    The Scots didn’t allow their law to be usurped, why should we allow ours?

    Would you accept them being tried for the offence under Irish law and serving their sentences in Ireland if found guilty?

  • pacart

    George, from Jim Cusack in the Sunday Indo., “Four months before Monaghan and the others were arrested, the British security and military journal, Jane’s Intelligence Monthly, published an article stating that FARC had, in the previous two years, upgraded its abilities in improvised explosive devices particularly mortars, mobile bombs and landmines. Jane’s stated that there were striking similarities between FARC’s new mortars and the Mark 15 mortar which had been perfected by the IRA in Ireland.
    Both the IRA and FARC’s mortars used standard domestic gas cylinders. The IRA’s timer power units, used to fire the mortars as well as the car bombs and landmines had also been replicated in Columbia.” Jim Monaghan was a bomb maker and IRA engineer, do you see the connection?
    Cusack also quotes from a report from the US Congress’s House International Relations Committee dated May 2002.”The use of mobile mortars on trucks and pickups, which the FARC is getting increasingly effective at using, is also strikingly similar to known IRA explosive techniques and practices. Neither committee investigators nor the Columbians can find credible explanations for the increased more sophisticated capacity for these specific terror tactics now being employed by the FARC, other than IRA training.”
    Before you start, George, neither the US Congress nor the Colombian authorities are out to scupper the NI peace process. The US Congress House Committee looked at all the available evidence and intelligence and gave its honest and considered opinion.
    Also, I was not besmirching the Irish justice system. I think your suggestion is excellent. I would certainly accept them being tried under Irish law and serving their sentence in Ireland if found guilty. Is this what Sinn Fein are demanding?

  • George

    Pacart,
    No that is not what Sinn Fein are demanding. They want the issue forgotten. They say it’s over.

    That’s fair enough for them and I actually don’t begrudge them or won’t berate them for it. Their constituency demands it.

    But the Irish state has a much larger constituency and much, much greater responsibilities, both nationally and internationally.

    It must deliver for all Irish citizens and fulfil all the international obligations this state has signed up to.

    It must also deliver for the Colombia Three, who are Irish citizens, but with citizenship comes responsibility and if they have abrogated that responsibility by breaking agreements this state signed up to, then they have to answer to the pertaining laws of this state.

    If they don’t have a legal – forget moral it doesn’t arise – case to answer then the state must take the flak and protect them. as is their right as Irish citizens.

    However, if the law rules they do have a case to answer then they will have learnt a valuable lesson –

    you can’t stick up two fingers to this state and the agreements it makes and then hope this state will cover your ass and not its own.

    That would not only be naive it would also ignore the rights of the other 4 million plus citizens who would have to live with the consequences of their actions.

  • pacart

    Excellent post, George. Rights without responsibilities seems to be the Sinn Fein demand.

  • Jocky

    George, I dont know how Irelands legal system works so but is there not a possibility that they wouldnt get a fair trial in Ireland?

    The angle Im coming from is if they have a jury trial then the jury selection process should be fun given the publicity around these 3 people.

    What I was suggesting was a trial under Irish law in a neutral country, like the Lockerbie
    trial, to keep both parites happy.

    I agree with most of the stuff you’ve posted on this.