Softly, softly, catchy provie..?

ARE thse nasty old securocrats sticking the boot in?! After the indignity of seeing one senior IRA leader (Retd.) splashed all over the papers today, it looks like another – the man believed by some to be the mastermind behind the Northern Bank raid – will be making headlines tomorrow. Did the State wait until they had the IRA in the bag before a crackdown on alleged republican criminality?

  • Ignor

    It’s normally the case in NI that such a media hot air game, unnamed sources etc signals that nothing of substance will ever turn up.

    It’s also kind of surprising you haven’t been able to work that out for yourself yet.

    But when you get round to it you’ll probably find the implications much more interesting than the rather naive assumptions you’ve made above.

  • Plum Duff

    If Belfast Gonzo wiped the gloating smirk off his face for a moment, he might give a thought for the consequences re the words (and links) he chose to frame his rather disengenuous question. I understand that the rule of law still operates in Northern Ireland in that a person is presumed innocent until proven guilty in court. Not according to the linked articles and the weasel words in the question ‘believed by some (sources)’. All allegations, nudge-nudges and wink-winks. So, after appearing to quote as fact the linked stories from the ‘usual subjects’, BG at last reaches for the parachute, or get-out clause, in his final words ‘*ALLEGED* republican criminality’. Just gimme the facts, BG, gimme the facts.

  • Yoda

    Is Wikipedia really a reliable source of information?

    Anyone can alter the entries any way they wish.

  • TAFKABO

    Wikipedia is a great resource for providing other places in which to look for sources.It’s best not to depend soley upon Wikipedia itself as a reliable source.

  • Comrade Stalin

    I’ve got no doubt republicans are up to their necks in criminality, including major criminality like this, but I’m disturbed by the failure of the authorities to arrest or prosecute anyone involved. SF will only truly be on the spot when evidence becomes available and when people are up in front of a judge.

  • victor1

    “I’ve got no doubt republicans are up to their necks in criminality, including major criminality like this, but I’m disturbed by the failure of the authorities to arrest or prosecute anyone involved. “
    What disturbs you ? that Republicans are not arrested without evidence of a crime. I know from past experience the British were good at putting people in prison without evidence of crime, but I thought we had left that all behind!

  • Yoda

    Wikipedia is a great resource for providing other places in which to look for sources.

    Have you actually looked at the link?

  • TAFKABO

    My point about Wikipedia was meant generally, and not to this specific claim.
    I’m always wary when some biography or version of events from Wikipedia is the main source of anyones argument.

  • Yoda

    I’m always wary when some biography or version of events from Wikipedia is the main source of anyones argument.

    We agree. BTW, “Bobby Storey” is now “Haley Mary” and there is a disclaimer in the middle of the text. Anyone using Wikipedia for backup is skating on water.

  • loyalist

    Alleged criminality my arse, it is typical of Belfast Gonzo to qualify the statement when referring to that defeated collection of sectarian death squads. He wouldn’t if it was loyalists.
    Didn’t our own James Craig warn Micheal Collins not to meet Lloyd George without a minute-taker?

  • Denny Boy

    “Wikipedia is a great resource for providing other places in which to look for sources.

    Have you actually looked at the link?”

    Haley Mary??!!

    LOL

  • Yoda

    Yep, Wikipedia. As recommended by Minitrue in their 1984 memo. Ah, the internet age.

  • nelson

    According to the legal firm representing the building agent involved in the raids in Manchester yesterday, The police were only interested in a couple of the properties in company’s books.

    But then, why let the facts get in the way of a ‘good’ story.

  • Mick Fealty

    Yoda, that’s an excellent question re wikipedia. Anyone can. I think that’s a real challenge to people here to take ownership of that page.

    Maybe we should highlight a different page every week, and invite readers to beef up the Northern Irish/Irish Politics/Culture/History entries?

    A seriously competitive series of games?

  • Denny Boy

    Listen, I was amused by that “Haley Mary” lark earlier on, but the latest piece of mucking about is just plain childish.

    Keep that up and there won’t BE a Wikipedia any more. The rules will have changed. Do we want that?

  • TAFKABO

    Denny.

    I thought the Wikipedia lark was amusing, but nowhere near as funny as your po faced reaction to it.

  • Yoda

    Mick,

    I think that’s a terrific idea, although the problem will always be that the page can be defaced by literally ANYONE at all. It’s a perfect palimpsest. I think anyone who uses it as a source is playing a dicey game (I continually have to warn students against using it).

    The pages, once written, would have to be moderated or checked regularly.

    As a collaborative project, it might be well worth it.

  • Denny Boy

    Jokes are amusing when they don’t cause harm, TAFKABO.

  • TAFKABO

    Denny.

    Your cracking me up here.
    I’d love to hear you explain in detail what harm is likely to ensue from that article?

  • Denny Boy

    Let me put it simply, TAFKABO.

    Wikipedia is a wonderful initiative.

    It’s an ever-expanding repository of knowledge.

    People all over the world use it.

    They get information from it.

    Perhaps to some, that info is of importance.

    It’s dead easy to muck up the system.

    As easy as wrecking a payphone.

    Or writing graffiti on a lavatory wall.

    A kid can do it.

    A cretin can do it.

    Misinformation?

    How very funny.

    Grown-ups, on the other hand, get their laughs in grown-up ways.

    That help you out?

  • TAFKABO

    Not really.

    I’ve read some pretty funny stuff on toilet walls.
    Maybe I’m just not as grown up as you.

    ho hum.

    On a more serious note.
    I would argue that when the article was being “mature” it was more likely to cause harm by convincing people that the information it contained was true.
    As it stands now, no one is liable to take anything it says too seriously.

  • Denny Boy

    “As it stands now, no one is liable to take anything it says too seriously.”

    Of course not. Remember your first spam email? I do. Great novelty. Now nobody’s laughing. Reason being that the spammers took a brilliant idea – email – and fucked it up.

    And it was so easy for them to do. Maybe they’ll bring the whole email system down eventually. Some people are predicting that.

    And maybe Wikipedia will have to close because people thought it was such a lark to use pages as “palimpsests”. Or they’ll change the rules so that it’s no longer possible for anyone at all to edit a page. You’ll need all sorts of ID, red tape etc.

    And it’ll all be your own stupid fault.

  • Yawn

    Back on thread anyone?

  • TAFKABO

    I do like hearing how I am responsible for the imminent collapse of civilisation as we know it, but I suppose we should get back on topic.

  • Billy Pilgrim

    Standards are important. Gonzo must go.

  • Plum Duff

    Thank you, Yawn.

    Now, if all the rest of you children would stop bitching and scratching eyes out, perhaps we might have a reasonable discussion on the issues involved.

    Yours faithfully
    Disgusted, boring, old (pedantic)fart

  • Comrade Stalin

    What disturbs you ? that Republicans are not arrested without evidence of a crime. I know from past experience the British were good at putting people in prison without evidence of crime, but I thought we had left that all behind!

    It’s the persistent allegations of crime without arrests that disturb me.

    ie, either make the arrests and get the charges in, or shut up.

  • victor1

    It’s the persistent allegations of crime without arrests that disturb me.

    ie, either make the arrests and get the charges in, or shut up.

    I understand what your saying comrade as the majority of cases the allegations are unfounded, unsubstantiated, and in a lot of the time downright lies and misinformation. Unamed sources have consistently been given a platform via the media to distort the truth and scupper any advances in the political process, its time it stopped but thats only my wishful thinking:-)

  • Comrade Stalin

    I understand what your saying comrade as the majority of cases the allegations are unfounded, unsubstantiated, and in a lot of the time downright lies and misinformation.

    I’m not saying that. Everyone knows about the IRA’s involvement in criminality, and have been for a long time. I suspect you know as well, just like everyone who lives in the areas they control, although you’re not going to admit it.

  • Weapons of Crass Instruction

    “Everyone knows about the IRA’s involvement in criminality, and have been for a long time”

    Ah, the old “dogs in the street” thesis

    Strange that when allegations of collusion between murder gangs and state agents are put to Unionist representatives cries of no proof are clearly audible and the infamous canines which inhabit the thoroughfares of our towns and cities are strangely quiet.

  • Shore Road Resident

    Likewise, Weapons of Crass Instruction, strange that republicans should demand a far higher standard of proof for the allegations of others than they do for their own.

  • Mickhall

    Well spotted Gonzo, this could be the start of a big story, after all it has been some time since anyone of this man status within the republican movement has been arrested. The offense he has been charged with seems pretty minor and looks like a holding charge. Anyone know why police objected to bail?

    By the way I feel the wilki page on Bobby Storey is an outrage, it should be removed as it tells the reader nothing about the man bar unsubstantiated title tattle. I can see the value in including a man like him in the encyclopedia but only verifiable facts please.

    Regards to all

  • victor1

    Weapons of Crass Instruction Well said I couldn’t have put it any better myself;-)

  • CelticTyger

    Wouldn’t this whole debate be ended if someone just gave a credible suggestion as to how the Slab-man actually makes his money?

  • Comrade Stalin

    victor and WCI, I don’t expect IRA supporters to admit that the IRA is involved in criminality. If they did, they would be at risk of arrest and prosecution. I expect them instead to deny it, as you guys are doing.

    Here are some of the many things I believe which are consistently accepted as fact by some people but denied by others. It’s not hard to guess which ones are either accepted or refuted by which people – such is the zero-sum game that we have in this silly country where people live in denial of the crimes committed by their tribe.

    – the IRA are heavily involved in general criminality including the bank robbery (although they stay out of drugs)
    – collusion between the police/army and loyalist paramilitaries did take place, although not to the extent that SF would have us believe
    – unionist politicians are quite closely linked to loyalist paramilitarism and are, to some extent, supportive of their objectives and means.

    Each time I repeat one of the opinions that I have from the above three, the same predictable groups of people either deny or support them depending on who they are. In each case there is generally little hard evidence, but plenty of circumstantial evidence or anecdotal “dogs in the street” evidence. For example, everyone in the unionist communities know who the paramilitaries are and know why unionist politicians generally are careful about their choice in condemning them. Likewise, everyone in republican communities know what the IRA is involved in. Do you really expect people to believe that when people are buying their dodgy cigarettes or treated petrol, that they don’t know where it comes from ? Denials cut no ice. People are not the idiots you clearly take them for.

    By the way, republicans are more than willing to present utterly unsubstantiated twaddle as fact when it suits them. The worst example of this is The Committee. I still hear people mentioning it (most recently a week or two on Slugger) as though it were fact, when the entire story was actually based on the testimony of a discredited witness. So hard was the book to substantiate that the publisher refused to print it anywhere in Europe (republicans still persist in the belief that it was banned).

  • TAFKABO

    Comrade.

    I’d be very interested to know what you mean when you say Unionist politicians are closely linked with loyalist paramilitaries.
    I fully accept your point about the tedious rebuttals that centre around the whole “it wouldn’t stand up in a court of law” kind of denial that we see so often.
    But truth be told, I haven’t even seen that many allegations about Unionist politicians being closely linked with loyalists.

    Sure, they tend to turn a blind eye,compared to the way they treat republican paramilitaries, but that is not the same as being closely linked.

    What exactly do you mean by the phrase?

  • Mickhall

    Comrade stalin

    I cannot for the life of me see what point you are making, that neither the unionist nor the nationalists community wish to shit on their own when it is someone from the other side making the accusations. It is hardly new is it and in my book perfectly understandable. In any case what good would it do, for in reality only the unionist community can clean out their own stables and the same goes for the nationalist community.

    Sleep well

  • Gonzo

    My God, was Mick Hall really the only person who actually got the point of this entry?!

    You hand a debate to some people on a plate and the only thing they can do is criticise the sources.

    *despairs*

  • Dualta

    There’s no doubt about it, but some Republicans will be furious at the British moving against such high profile people in such a high profile way so close to the massive move of decommissioning that has just taken place.

    Some will feel that this is a deft attempt at humiliation. Maybe the Brits have moved too soon while some Republicans are still very raw over the decommissioning. I don’t think this will help Gerry and Martin who are already under some pressure within their own ranks.

    Also, the traditional Republicans in the Continutity and ‘real’ IRAs are working very hard to make as much capital as possible out of the decommissioning, arguing, within the broad Republican community that the Provisionals have humiliated themselves. They will be milking incidents like these for all they are worth.

    I’m not saying that the police should not move against those who they suspect are living outside of the law. I’m merely offering my assessment of how this type of incident will wash with Republicans in general.

  • Fobo

    “Anyone know why police objected to bail?”

    Because he is a psychopath perhaps?

  • Gonzo

    Thank you Dualta, for restoring my faith in this thread.

  • slug

    Dualta

    Good post. Equally interesting is how the incident will wash with the public. We have become used to government stunts that appear to suggest the taking on of unlawful interests of republicans, but we have seen little willingness actually to carry them through (assuming they are able). I am therefore holding judgement. I believe, however, that there is endless opportunity for events of this kind, and I expect more of them. They have the effect of reminding people of the other side of the IRA – a few years ago complete IRA decommissioning would have given everyone a real feel-good, but today we are awfully sceptical.

  • belfast-biker

    The republicans ARE in the bag, at least the one’s with decent political representation.

    Sure, the timing ain’t great, but there’s nothing they can do, if they’ve truly disarmed.

    Think of it as a test.

    And any wee thing that can bring the DUP closer can only be good. They like to humiliate the repubs, seems it’s the only thing that’s important to them sometimes.

    Bless their little union jack socks…

  • Comrade Stalin

    TAFKBO, the relationship between unionist politicians and loyalist paramilitaries is similar to that of neighbours who don’t speak much or particularly like one another, but will lend a hosepipe or lawnmower.

    The trouble is that when some unionists use the term “linked” they mean “linked in the way Sinn Fein are”. Unionists and loyalists are linked, but in a more distant way than the IRA and SF.

    Mick Hall :

    I cannot for the life of me see what point you are making, that neither the unionist nor the nationalists community wish to shit on their own when it is someone from the other side making the accusations. It is hardly new is it and in my book perfectly understandable.

    You’d think it was new going by some people on this thread. Evidence is demanded only as a means to refute an argument, rather than as a means to getting to the bottom of events.

  • blind monkey

    Does there have to be a hidden agenda behind every action taken by police – whether it is against loyalist or republican?

    could it not be the case that these people could be guilty of crimes? – just like the rest of us.

    why is it if a (former?) terrorist is arrested on relatively minor charges then all sort of ill informed accusations about ‘British Securocrats’ are bandied about.

    is it conceivable that a crime was committed and the police – on this occasion -are doing their jobs.

    Why is it necessary for every republican or loyalist to assume that if one of their activists is arrested then there is a hidden agenda behind it.