Conspiracy In Ireland: North & South

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#1
Party leader on fake cash charges

Mr Garland denies the counterfeiting charges
The president of the Irish Workers' Party has been released on bail pending his potential extradition to the United States on counterfeiting charges.
Sean Garland, 71, from Navan in County Meath, appeared at Belfast County Court on Saturday.

The US government alleges he and others bought, moved and either passed as genuine or re-sold high quality counterfeit $100 notes.

A defence lawyer said Mr Garland "strongly protested" his innocence.

The US authorites further allege that Mr Garland "arranged with North Korean agencies for the purchase of quantities of notes and enlisted other people to disseminate" the money, known as "superdollars", with the UK.

The court heard Mr Garland was arrested on Friday night as he attended his party's annual conference in Belfast.

The warrant for his arrest and possible extradition was issued on 19 May this year.

The Recorder of Belfast, His Honour Judge Tom Burgess released Mr Garland on bail provided that three sureties lodge £10,000 each with the court and that he resides at an address in County Down.

It is understood that the US authorities now have 65 days in which to lodge the extradition papers with the court.


http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/northern_ireland/4322282.stm
Edit to amend title.
 
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More info

Heres a little more info:

"Leader of 'Official IRA' in forgery plot

An Irish republican leader is responsible for flooding the UK money markets with near-perfect counterfeit money, it has been claimed.
The BBC's Panorama programme has traced the supply of millions of fake US dollars to Sean Garland, a leader of the former paramilitary group, the Official IRA.

Panorama also reveals that the profit from passing the currency is used to fund the republican group - which split with the better known Provisional IRA in 1970. "

http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/programmes/p ... 822005.stm


Heres the transcript of the Panorama programme:

Transcript
 
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$27m counterfeit gang jailed

$27m counterfeit gang jailed


The counterfeit money was of "exceptional quality"

Three men who took part in the largest counterfeiting of US dollars ever uncovered by British detectives have been jailed at Worcester Crown Court. The three, including a former KGB agent from Armenia, laundered the money in Birmingham and London banks.

http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/england/2154474.stm
 
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US says N Korea forged dollars

US says N Korea forged dollars

The US has formally accused North Korea of forging millions of dollars of
high-quality counterfeit US dollar notes, known as supernotes. A US court
indictment said seven men, including senior Irish republican Sean Garland,
distributed the $100 fakes.

North Korea has long been suspected of making supernotes, but this was the
first time the US has given details.

The US is seeking the extradition from the UK of Mr Garland, who denies the
charges against him.

According to a statement from the US Justice Department, the indictment
"describes the efforts of Garland and certain of his associates, between
December 1997 and July 2000, to obtain quantities of the counterfeit notes
from North Korean sources and to transport, and to either pass as genuine or
resell, the Supernotes in the United Kingdom and elsewhere".

The statement said that the "highly deceptive notes - which began to appear
in worldwide circulation in or about 1989 - were manufactured in the
Democratic People's Republic of Korea [North Korea] and under auspices of
the government and transported worldwide by North Korean individuals acting
as ostensible government officials".

Mr Garland is accused of handling up to $1m of the supernotes, and of
pretending to co-conspirators that the source was Russia, the statement
said.

The other men charged in the indictment are Christopher John Corcoran, 57,
of Dublin, Ireland; David Levin, also known as David Batikovitch Batikian,
39, of Birmingham and London; Hugh Todd, 68, of South Africa; and Terence
"Terry" Silcock, 50, Mark Adderley, 47, and Alan Jones, 48, of Birmingham,
United Kingdom.

North Korean trafficking

The indictment comes in the context of a wider US campaign against North
Korean contraband.

The US accused the North, in a State Department report last year, of
state-sponsored drugs trafficking.

It cited the 2003 apprehension of a North Korean ship in Australian waters
allegedly carrying up to 125kg (275 pounds) of heroin and allegations by
defectors that North Korea was engaged in large-scale opium poppy
production.

And last month, the US accused a bank in Macau of laundering money for the
impoverished state.

It is believed that the North engages in such illicit activities in order to
earn hard currency to shore up its embattled economy.

Mr Garland is the president of the Irish Workers' Party, the political wing
of the Official Irish Republican Army (IRA).


Story from BBC NEWS:
http://news.bbc.co.uk/go/pr/fr/-/1/hi/w ... 337610.stm

Published: 2005/10/13 11:50:37 GMT

© BBC MMV
 
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#6
US Dept Justice PRESS RELEASE

PRESS RELEASE

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE For Information, Contact Public Affairs
Saturday, October 8, 2005 Channing Phillips (202) 514-6933


Leader of Irish Workers' Party and Official Irish Republican Army
Arrested in United Kingdom on U.S. Indictment
Charging Trafficking in Counterfeit United States Currency

Washington, D.C. - United States Attorney Kenneth L. Wainstein and Special Agent in Charge James B. Burch, United States Secret Service, Washington Field Office, announced today that Irish Workers' Party leader Sean Garland, 71, was arrested late Friday, October 7, 2005, in Northern Ireland on a provisional arrest warrant requested by the United States, based on charges pending in the District of Columbia that Garland operated a years-long scheme to obtain, transport, sell, and pass as genuine, highly deceptive counterfeit $100 United States Federal Reserve Notes (FRNs), sometimes referred to as "Supernotes." Garland, of Dublin, Republic of Ireland, was charged together with six other conspirators in an Indictment returned by a Federal Grand Jury in the District of Columbia on May 19, 2005; the Indictment was unsealed upon Garland's arrest.

In announcing the arrest and Indictment, which is the result an extensive U.S. Secret Service investigation, U.S. Attorney Wainstein stated, "The worldwide trafficking in counterfeit currency provides a source of illegal revenue for criminal organizations around the globe. This prosecution is a significant step in our effort to disrupt that trade and cripple those organizations."

"This arrest is one of the most significant related to the 16-year long investigation into the distribution of this family of highly deceptive counterfeit U.S. currency notes," said Special Agent in Charge Burch. "It is the result of the strong partnerships the Secret Service, as an agency of the Department of Homeland Security, has built with law enforcement agencies worldwide."

The Indictment identifies Garland as Chief of Staff of the Official Irish Republican Army (OIRA), with which the Workers' Party was associated, and as Managing Director of a firm called GKG Communications International, Ltd. (GKG Comms). According to the Indictment, the highly deceptive notes – which began to appear in worldwide circulation in or about 1989 – were manufactured in the Democratic People's Republic of Korea (North Korea) and under auspices of the government and transported worldwide by North Korean individuals acting as ostensible government officials. The Indictment alleges that this family of counterfeit notes began appearing in Ireland during the early 1990s, and that in the late 1990s – after the United States re-designed the $100 FRNs to add additional security features – correspondingly re-designed "Supernotes" began to appear. The re-designed currency was commonly referred to as "big heads" because of the increased size of the portrait it depicted.

The Indictment describes the efforts of Garland and certain of his associates, between December 1997 and July 2000, to obtain quantities of the counterfeit notes from North Korean sources and to transport, and to either pass as genuine or resell, the Supernotes in the United Kingdom and elsewhere. According to the Indictment, Garland used his official capacities with the Workers' Party and GKG Comms as ostensibly legitimate vehicles for traveling, communicating and meeting with persons, including North Koreans, engaged in transporting and selling "Supernotes," and arranging the purchase, transportation, and resale of Supernotes in quantities up to $1 million. The Indictment also alleges that, as a security measure, Garland falsely let other conspirators believe the source of the highly deceptive notes was Russia.

Garland's codefendants, also charged in the Indictment, are Christopher John Corcoran, 57, of Dublin, Ireland; David Levin, also known as David Batikovitch Batikian, 39, of Birmingham and London, United Kingdom; Hugh Todd, 68, of South Africa; and Terence "Terry" Silcock, 50, Mark Adderley, 47, and Alan Jones, 48, of Birmingham, United Kingdom. All the codefendants remain outside the United States. U.S. Attorney Wainstein stated that the United States will be seeking the codefendants' arrests, and the extradition of all the defendants to the United States to stand trial on the charges.

The one-count Indictment charges all seven defendants with a violation of the federal conspiracy statute, Title 18, United States Code, Section 371, and two federal counterfeiting statutes, Title 18, United States Code, Sections 470 (Counterfeiting Acts Outside the United States) and 473 (Counterfeiting) that prohibit the extraterritorial acts of possessing and trafficking in counterfeit United States currency. Upon conviction, the defendants face imprisonment for not more than five (5) years and a fine of $250,000 or both.

In announcing Garland's arrest and the Indictment's unsealing, U.S. Attorney Wainstein and Special Agent in Charge Burch praised the dedicated efforts of the many United States Secret Service agents and other personnel, including agents and officials with the United States Department of Treasury, who worked tirelessly for many years to bring this case to Indictment. They also expressed deep appreciation for the outstanding, and continuing, contributions of foreign law enforcement authorities, most notably the United Kingdom's National Crime Squad which had investigated the Birmingham- and London-based activities of the defendants, and the Police Service of Northern Ireland, which made important contributions to the investigation and effected the arrest of the lead defendant, Sean Garland. U.S. Attorney Wainstein noted, "the Garland investigation is a fine example of the international cooperation among law enforcement personnel that is critical to success in such major transnational cases." He also commended the contributions of the Justice Department's Office of International Affairs. The case is being prosecuted by Assistant United States Attorneys Laura A. Ingersoll and Brenda J. Johnson, of the National Security Section of the United States Attorney's Office.

USDOJ
 
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#7
Garland stands accused by US over counterfeit made in North

Garland stands accused by US over counterfeit made in North Korea

Irish Times 17 October 2005

Secret meetings with North Korean spies, the best counterfeit money ever seen, a Marxist conspiracy to destabilise the US economy, bag loads of cash smuggled on the Holyhead ferry, the KGB, the Russian mafia, Latvian go betweens, fake IDs, the Official IRA, innocents duped into carrying illegal currency, the US secret service, the London underworld, writes Sean O'Driscoll

The case against Workers' Party president Seán Garland and six others accused of dealing in counterfeit money reads like a bad airport novel. But according to a newly unsealed indictment, the case, officially known as "The United States of America v Seán Garland, aka The Man With The Hat" is based on years of secret surveillance by the US secret service and their British counterparts and involves tens of millions in counterfeit dollars.

The US announced last week that it wants to extradite three Irishmen, three Britons and an Armenian on federal conspiracy charges and names Garland and a Dublin political ally, Christie Corcoran (57), as major figures in the plot.

It also lists dozens of locations and dates for the alleged conspiracy, including more than 15 trips made on the Holyhead ferry by couriers carrying bag loads of money to pay Garland for counterfeit currency.

The origins of the case are in 1989, when the US secret service, which investigates all dollar counterfeits, noticed very high quality fake $100 dollar bills in circulation.

The Americans eventually traced the notes back to a government laboratory and printing press in North Korea. The North Korean economy was being crippled by sanctions and the government urgently needed foreign currency, while at the same time hoping to destabilise the US dollar by flooding the international market with fakes.

Eventually, these notes were spread out to Marxist-leaning groups around the world with the hope that they could sell them on.

Seán Garland came to the Americans' attention in the early 1990s, when the first 'supernotes' appeared on Dublin streets. After the secret service were notified by the US embassy, they moved quickly to stop the trade and soon Dublin banks and money exchanges refused to exchange $100 bills.

The Americans got a big break in 1993, when a then 56-year-old Irish counterfeit trader named Hugh Todd, formerly of South Africa, was spotted exchanging the notes in British banks and was holding a bundle of fake notes when he was arrested on July 27th, 1994.

In the meantime, British crime squad detectives linked Todd to two Birmingham criminals, 50-year-old Terry Silcock and 48-year-old Alan Jones from Blockley, Gloucestershire.

Undercover agents taped the pair boasting about their links to Garland, and claiming Garland was a leader of the Official IRA and was controlling the distribution of the 'supernotes' in Britain and Ireland.

In October 1997, Seán Garland allegedly travelled to Moscow with a Dublin acquaintance identified by the US secret service as "JM".

There, Garland went to the North Korean embassy to arrange the purchase of new $100 bills as the North Koreans had copied new security features introduced by the Americans.

When he returned to Dublin, Garland was allegedly careful not to have direct contact with less senior conspirators and potential buyers, having Christie Corcoran do the negotiations for him.

According to the US indictment, those in on the scheme were instructed to use code words such as "jackets" and "paperwork" when talking about the 'supernotes'. The Americans also allege that Garland used the Official IRA to run the operation.

Garland, the Americans claim, told other members of the conspiracy that the dollars originated in Russian and not in North Korea, so as to throw potential moles off the scent.

Corcoran, Silcock and another British criminal, Mark Adderley, from Kinver in Staffordshire, are said to have solicited David Levin, a former KGB agent turned British criminal, as a potential buyer for the notes.

Levin, living in Alvechurch, Worcestershire, agreed to get involved and obtained funds and couriers for the operation through an associate in Latvia known as "HJ".

In the first six months of 1998, Garland is alleged to have travelled to Moscow three times to pick up new batches of `supernotes' from the North Korean embassy.

The money was allegedly smuggled into Dublin in holdalls and in clothes, according to secret audio recordings of Todd, who went with Garland on two of the trips.

While Garland was allegedly setting up the Moscow deliveries, the British crime squad was watching Jones and Silcock travelling to Dublin on the ferry to pick up the notes on behalf of Levin, the Russian criminal, with Silcock making at least 15 trips from 1998 onwards.

Jones was also followed as he cashed some of the notes at a Thomas Cook travel agency on October 30th, 1998. But complications arose in 1999, as the Russian authorities came under heavy pressure from the Americans to shut down the operation at the North Korean embassy.

In January and again in June 1999, Garland, Corcoran and Silcock are alleged to have travelled to Moscow in search of more notes.

However, on both occasions, the North Koreans backed out and later moved the operation to Minsk in Belarus, where the Garland and his groups were able to pick up new batches.

By then, according to the indictment, Garland knew that someone was informing the police and had been warned by Levin that the British police knew about his June trip to Moscow.

Nevertheless, Silcock and Jones continued to meet undercover crime squad detectives who posed as criminals interested in buying at least $1 million in 'supernotes'.

In one recorded conversation on June 27th, 1999, they tell the agents that Seán Garland was "the colonel in chief" of the "old style IRA" and when he "capitalises on the paperwork", meaning the fake dollar notes, "it all goes back into the organisation". Garland was getting increasingly concerned about infiltration in the group, the indictment claims. In a recorded conversation on August 1st, 1999, Corcoran tells the two undercover agents that Garland had told him to look out for a "leak" in the 'supernotes' operation.

Corcoran is alleged to have tightened up on the use of code words, telling the undercover agents a month later to use "jackets" as a code for the 'supernotes'. He again tells them that he has been sent by Garland, a "top IRA man" to whom he is related through marriage, to find out who was leaking information.

The following day, Corcoran allegedly tells the two agents that if they want to buy $1 million in 'supernotes', they will first have to put up a bond to guarantee payment, such is Garland's fear that the operation will be exposed. With the North Koreans having shifted the operation to Minsk to avoid detection, Levin allegedly uses his Russian contacts to arrange fake passports and fake Belarus visas so that Garland's group could pick up more notes in Minsk.

On October 20th, 1999, the British crime squad allegedly saw Silcock give the passports to a Dublin associate of Garland, identified by the US secret service as "JD".

The next day, allegedly using the fake passport, Garland flew first to Copenhagen, Denmark to avoid detection. From there, he faxed a hotel reservation request for himself to a hotel in Minsk.

Meanwhile, Corcoran was continuing to handle the parcels of British money that were being smuggled in to Ireland as Levin's payments for the 'supernotes'. Levin's operation was going well. He found international buyers for the 'supernotes', selling a quantity on November 1999 to an acquaintance named "MM".

When it became clear that there was a mole somewhere in the operation, Garland stopped travelling to Russia and Belarus.

Instead, he sent an acquaintance from Dublin, identified as "AB", who first flew to Birmingham airport on April 4th, 2000 and was picked up by Silcock.

"AB" and Silcock were given false passports containing Russian visas by two men sent by Levin. "AB" and Silcock then flew to Dublin and gave the passports to two other Garland supporters, identified as "TL" and "GD", who flew to Minsk to pick up more 'supernotes', using a circuitous route through the UK and Germany.

However, things started to go seriously wrong the following month as Levin was having problems paying Garland for the last batch of 'supernotes'. He passed on a message to Garland that banks in his native Russia were no longer allowing him to cash the 'supernotes' and that German authorities had seized $250,000 in 'supernotes' from one of his couriers.

In appears that Garland may have become suspicious and Levin was anxious to prove his claim. He had Silcock fax Garland a Russian document showing that Russian banks had detected the 'supernotes' and a German language document proving that the Germans had confiscated the $250,000 in 'supernotes'. Both of these faxes have allegedly been intercepted by the British crime squad.

By June 1999, Levin came up with $98,000 to give to Garland, and passed it on to a courier to deliver to Dublin.

The crime squad arrested Levin the following day. He told them that he didn't know the money he received was counterfeit. A month later, he allegedly gave limited co-operation to police, telling them the whereabouts in Moscow of $70,000 in 'supernotes'. These notes were then picked up by the Russian authorities as evidence.

The same day, Silcock was arrested at a Birmingham pub and Jones was picked up a few days later, revealing some of the stash of profits from the 'supernote' operation. In 2002, Levin, Silcock and Adderley were jailed for nine, six and four years respectively for what police said was the largest counterfeit dollar operation ever seen in Britain. Silcock alone handled $4.2 million in counterfeit money, the court heard and the whole operation was worth $29 million.

Questions still remain that will only be answered if Seán Garland and other members of the "Supernote Seven" are extradited to the US.

Who for example, are Garland's five associates, named "JM", "JD", "AB", "TL" and "GB" who were also said to have been involved in bringing the 'supernotes' in and out of Dublin. Are they members of the Official IRA, which the US secret service claims in the indictment were running the day-to-day operation of the `supernote' scheme?

If US intelligence is correct, the Official IRA is far from defunct, having delivering multi-million dollar parcels of Korean manufactured dollars in and out of Dublin for years. Whether that claim will stand up in a Washington DC courtroom remains to be seen.

Conor Lally adds: A Dublin based spokesman for the Workers' Party, John Jefferies, told The Irish Times yesterday that neither Seán Garland nor any other member of the party had seen the indictment. As a result of this he was not in a position to comment. Garland did not respond to a request for a comment. The request was made by telephone to the party's Belfast office on Friday. Party general secretary John Lowry said Garland was currently living in the North as a condition of his bail following his arrest by the PSNI in Belfast in relation to alleged international counterfeiting offences.

© The Irish Times
 
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#9
Sean Garland

An interesting story, eh Mal? Dont think its mentioned above buti n 1997 Sean Garland, WP & Managing Director of GKG Comms Inter-national Ltd, in Dublin, met with Cao Xiaobing, Bureau Director-General within the Central Committee, Chinese Communist Party to discuss unidentified business opportunities. I wonder what they discussed????

Perhaps the "Workers" Party through a front company was going to import goods made by slave labour in China.
 
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#11
Catching up with Sean Garland

Catching up with Sean Garland

Phoenix Magazine 21 October 2005

YOU can't help feeling sorry for Workers Party chief Sean Garland, arrested on a US extradition warrant, after being caught up in a web of international espionage where secret alliances change like hidden, shifting sands. Garland (70) is likely to die in a Federal jail if he is convicted for allegedly master-minding a $30 million forgery distribution operation in what the US Secret Service called North Korean super-dollars.

The timing of his arrest in Belfast is as interesting as the accusations. The WP denounced it as an
attempt by US imperialism to strike a blow at the party on the eve of their annual conference because of their opposition to the Iraq war. The PSNI said they had arrested him at the first opportunity after receiving a US extradition request. But both stories are spin.

The Yanks are unconcerned with what the politically insignificant WP thinks about Iraq, while the Special Branch in Belfast knew, without acting, about Garland's alleged involvement in the super-dollar racket since at least 1999, when they set up a super-dollar surveillance operation in Downpatrick, Co. Down, at the request of the UK NCIS (National Criminal Intelligence Service).

More than likely they knew about it since 1994, when US and British security
authorities were informed by Garda HQ in July of that year that Garland's non-political associate, Skerries businessman turned white- collar criminal Hugh Todd, was arrested at Am Grafton Street with a briefcase full of forged super-dollars, a fake UK passport and
a mobile phone which listed numerous calls to Garland. Court documents released in Washington last week show that US spy planes were specifically targeting Garland on trips to China and North Korea, monitoring his Irish 087 Vodafone calls to Madame Cao Xiaobing among others in 2001, an operation which could not have succeeded without co- operation from Dublin.

All this infonnation, now available in US court papers, proves that American, British and Irish security authorities were aware of Garland's alleged involvement in the super- dollars racket for years, without moving against him until now. The WP leader lived openly at Kentstown near Navan, commuted to his Dublin HQ and frequently visited The Devil's Den, a WP club in West Belfast.

Although he was named as "the head jolly" in the conspiracy by prosecuting counsel in the West Midlands trial of five minor figures, Garland seemed immune from attention.
For 30 years the Official Movement (which includes the still extant, still armed Official IRA) was an important British intelligence asset in the war against the Provisionals. It provided agents of political influence in trade unions, peace groups and the media. It also provided vital networks of infonnants in so-called denied areas of Belfast, Derry and the Border near Newry . Traditional infonners recruited through blackmail or greed were at risk of discovery and execution by the PIRA, but Stickie spies had immunity, because deportation or killing would provoke an armed feud which the Provos believed the British would exploit.

Like many senior RUC Special Branch officers who took their swift post-Patten departures as acts of treachery (and wrote acrimonious books and gave revealing media interviews), the spooks who may have been behind the WP funding have long gone. Perhaps someone in the CIA or MI6 believes the time has come to clear the books. But there may be a dozen other reasons why the super-dollar show is now back on the road.

Upheavals in the international world of secret intelligence following the Bush-Blair alliance against militant Islam, and changing security needs in Ireland after the peace process meant the Official Republican Movement, of which the WP is the above- ground component, was redundant.
 
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#12
Sean Garland Goes South

Medical help for ex-IRA chief

THE president of the Workers Party, who was arrested in Belfast last month, has been allowed to leave Northern Ireland so he can receive medical treatment in the Republic.

Sean Garland (71), a former leader of the Official IRA, was released on bail at Belfast County Court last month pending his possible extradition to the US on currency counterfeiting charges.

Irish Independent 1 November 2005
 
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Heres some background info on the WP.

Long road to social democracy
Posted on 4/11/2005 at 17:18:07 by Guantanamo Bay Drinking Club

Long road to social democracy

Against the backdrop of US charges against Sean Garland of the Workers Party, Liam O Ruairc, a leading member of the Irish Republican Socialist Party, looks at the demise of Official republicanism

After a three-year investigation involving officials from the CIA, FBI, Pentagon and state department, the US government is seeking the extradition of Sean Garland, the 71-year-old president of the Workers Party of Ireland and alleged chief of staff of the Official IRA, on counterfeiting charges.

The US government alleges that since the 1990s Garland and other members of the Official IRA have “engaged in buying, transporting and either passing as genuine or reselling large quantities of high-quality counterfeit $100 notes”, known as ‘superdollars’. The justice department claims that the superdollars were “manufactured in the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea under the auspices of the government and transported worldwide by North Korean individuals acting as ostensible government officials”. It will be the first time the US has officially charged North Korea with an illegal activity in court.

Garland denies the charges. However, the allegations will not surprise anybody familiar with the history of the Workers Party and its armed wing, whose existence is publicly denied.

The Workers Party of Ireland traces its origins to the Official IRA/Official Sinn Féin, from which Provisional IRA/Provisional Sinn Féin had split in 1969, following the Officials’ decision to recognise Leinster House, Stormont and Westminster. Despite its ‘socialist’ rhetoric, the organisation was essentially reformist. While a war of national liberation was developing, the organisation was still pursuing a civil rights agenda. In September 1971 the Officials declared that “the foremost issue for people in the north is not the national question, but a democratic question of peace, justice and security” (United Irishman September 1971). As late as July 1972, their paper, the United Irishman, was still claiming that “the main issue at the moment in the north is still, as it has been for the last few years, the civil rights issue” (United Irishman July 1972).

The civil rights agenda went hand in hand with the objective of reforming - not destroying - Stormont. So, when the Provisional IRA brought down Stormont in March 1972, the Officials saw this as a step backwards rather than an advance (see ‘Direct rule is not a victory’ United Irishman April 1972). Civil rights and the reform of Stormont were supposed to be issues around which workers could unite.

For the Officials, the unity of catholic and protestant workers in the north was paramount - they argued that there could only be Irish unification after workers in the North unite. The Official IRA had to reluctantly get involved in military operations under the pressure of the nationalist working class. While the Provisionals were on a full offensive, the Officials were stating that they were only involved in “defence and retaliation” (Repsol In the 70s the IRA speaks Dublin 1972, pp24-26). However, as this would alienate the protestants and therefore divide the working class as well as alienate some of the electorate in the south, the army council declared a cessation in May 1972. Those who pursued the armed struggle were denounced by the Officials as “fascists” and “sectarians”. The Officials were out of step with the struggle of the people, so they were quickly marginalised.

After the more militant elements of the Officials left to form the Irish Republican Socialist Party in 1974, the political policy and strategy of the party was adopted at the 1976 ard fheis (conference) as “Peace, work and class politics”. According to party president Tomas MacGiolla, “the most progressive and revolutionary demand at this time is peace … All the progressive forces in the country demand peace, all the fascist and sectarian bigots are opposed to it” (Repsol The struggle for democracy, peace and freedom Dublin 1975, p6). From this flowed a virulent denunciation of “terrorism”. The Officials rejected “terror and violence as means to achieve state power” (Irish Times April 13 1979). The movement also opposed the H-Block protests and the campaign for political status for prisoners of war, arguing that “such killers are not entitled to any special POW status when captured” (editorial United Irishman December 1978).

The Officials demanded a bill of rights for Northern Ireland and the establishment by Westminster of “democratic rights, just laws, civilianised police and impartial judiciary” (ibid p. They supported the return of Stormont, albeit with a bill of rights, on the basis that it was the most democratic form of government for Northern Ireland. (see, for example, Workers Party Republican Clubs The case for democratic devolved government in Northern Ireland).

The Officials also recognised the legitimacy of the Royal Ulster Constabulary (see Des O Hagan, ‘Northern Ireland: prospects for political progress’ Workers Life April 1981). By the 1980s, the party was defending strip-searches and the supergrass system. Parallel to this, in early 1974, Eoghan Harris, the dominant ideologue in the party (a kind of Irish Martin Jacques), delivered a paper entitled From civil rights to class politics. This argued that civil rights had been achieved in the north and that the priority should now be to unite workers on economic issues.

This economist turn was reinforced in 1977, when the party adopted a policy document entitled The Irish industrial revolution. Written by Eoghan Harris and Eamon Smullen, the document blamed Ireland’s problems not on imperialism, but on its “lazy and greedy” native bourgeoisie (Repsol The Irish industrial revolution Dublin 1977, pp7-9). Imperialism is a progressive and modernising force, and consequently the party became a fervent advocate of foreign multinationals. As to the crisis in the north, it was “distracting working class attention from the class struggle to a mythical national question” (ibid pp148-149).

Such positions put the Officials not just in the camp of reformism, but right on the other side of the barricade. These ideological changes were also reflected organisationally. From 1976, the Official IRA ceased to issue public statements, was no longer mentioned in party publications, the party hinting that it had withered away. The same year, the youth movement of the Official IRA was disbanded and replaced by the Irish Democratic Youth Movement.

In 1977, the party renamed itself Sinn Féin, the Workers Party (SFWP), and in 1982 changed this simply to the Workers Party (in 1980, the organisation’s newspaper, the United Irishman, had been replaced by Workers Life). This reflected the fact that by then it had abandoned any pretence of republicanism and was orientated towards Eurocommunism (see, for example, editorial Workers Life March 1982).

As Vincent Browne pointed out, all this represented nothing short of a “political lobotomy”: “From being a republican, anti-partitionist organisation, the party is now virtually unionist … From a position of being the foremost opponent of EEC membership … the party is now in favour of membership. Having opposed foreign industrialisation, the Workers Party is now the foremost advocate of foreign investment. Ten years ago the party was advocating trade union militancy, including the rejection of national wage agreements; now the party is a deeply conservative influence within the trade union movement and in favour of national wage agreement. From being open advocates of violence for both national and social objectives in 1972, the party is now rhetorically the shrillest opponent of violence in the country” (V Browne ‘The secret world of SFWP’, part 2, Magill 1982, pp4-19).

The Workers Party’s promotion of state intervention and public sector workers’ interests won it significant support in the trade unions and brought the party some sizeable electoral successes in the south. In 1982, it had three TDs (Irish MPs) elected. In 1987, this rose to four (with 3.8% of the total vote); and in 1989 to seven (4.3%), as well as one MEP (7% in the EU elections) and the post of lord mayor of Dublin. In the north, however, support for the party was marginal. It fell from a high of six council seats in the May 1977 local elections and 14,277 votes (2.6%) to one seat and 1.6% of the vote in 1985, to no seats and 0.1% of the vote a few years later.

The party’s reliance on the trade union bureaucracy meant that it was willing to accept anti-working class budgets. As the 1980s progressed, the Workers Party embraced the ‘New Times’ agenda and shifted more and more towards rightwing social democracy. (see, for example, Proinsias De Rossa, ‘Challenging sacred cows’ Making Sense April 1989). This was accentuated by the crisis of actually existing socialism. By the end of the 1980s, Eoghan Harris was arguing that “socialism is dead, the Workers Party should bury it and nail its colours to the mast of social-democracy” (E Harris, ‘The necessity of social democracy’ Making Sense March-April 1990). This was to lead to a serious split in the party, but what formally brought it about was the ‘revelation’ that the Official IRA was still in existence and was involved in criminal activity.

The Official IRA’s purpose was illegal fundraising, keeping in order the movement’s drinking clubs, maintaining discipline through intimidation, beatings and shootings, self-defence and occasionally murder of opponents. The group is very well armed, with AK47s and Magnum 357 pistols. They received at least two containers of weapons from eastern Europe during the 1980s. According to a former member of its army council, the Official IRA collected £2 million through robberies between 1972 and 1982 (V Browne ‘The secret world of SFWP’, part 1, Magill 1982, pp6-16). Throughout the 1980s and 90s, alleged Official IRA activity was sporadically reported in the news (for example, the BBC Spotlight programme, ‘Sticking to their guns’, June 1991).

Allegations of counterfeiting are not new. In 1983, the Irish police launched an investigation into the alleged forgery of $5 notes at the Workers Party’s publishing company, Repsol (of which Sean Garland is manager). The main suspect, Brian Lynch, subsequently fled to East Germany. Anthony McDonagh (allegedly the Belfast commander of the Officials) and Billie Holden were convicted of robbing the Larne-Cairnryan ferry in 1986. Terence McGeown received a four year sentence in 1992 for admitting handling stolen drink on behalf of the Official IRA. The Workers Party stridently denied all this, and publicly denied having any prisoners.

The Workers Party/Official IRA also had a number of secret branches and committees whose task was to infiltrate the media (they were very successful in their infiltration of the Irish state broadcasting company, RTE, and controlled influential programmes such as Today Tonight, while the industrial relations correspondent of the Irish Times was a Workers Party plant) and the trade union movement. More generally, a bureaucratic culture of secrecy and conspiracy prevailed within the movement.

In 1992, six out of seven Workers Party TDs, as well as its MEP, left to form New Agenda, which became Democratic Left on March 28 (see Proinsias De Rossa, ‘The case for a new departure Making Sense March-April 1992). In January 1999, Democratic Left finally merged with the Irish Labour Party. The old Official guard remained within the Workers Party and denounced the social democratic “liquidators” (Sean Garland, ‘Beware of hidden agendas’ Making Sense March-April 1992).

The November 1992 elections saw four TDs returned for the Democratic Left, and none for the Workers Party, which got 0.7% of vote, against 4.3% in 1989. The Workers Party has not been able to make a significant electoral impact since (it has only two local councillors).

WP suffered another two splits in the 1990s. The first one was political, when a number of members left to form the independent Irish Socialist Network. The second one was military, when a significant portion of Official IRA members in Belfast and Newry left to form the Official Republican Movement (ORM - colloquially known as the ‘supersticks’) in 1998. They were not happy about how they were being treated by the rest of the organisation. They took with them most of the Official IRA’s weaponry and tried to take over the drinking clubs (in Belfast today the Officials control four drinking clubs; the Supersticks at least one). This led to a number of violent clashes between the two groups. The public face of the ORM is An Eochair, an Official IRA ex-prisoners support group, funded by peace money. The ORM holds its own Easter commemoration event and releases occasional statements.

Over two decades after its public break with ‘paramilitarism’ and its adoption of Eurocommunism and social democracy, the Workers Party is still facing accusations of being engaged in criminal activity. One can only wonder if the same scenario will one day also apply to the Provisionals.

Garland
 
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#14
Sean Garland has failed to return to northern Ireland following medical treatment in the Republic. He has stated that he will be depending on the protection of the Government and Constitution of the Republic of Ireland. This makes him a fugitive from justice in the North.

Below is another piece on the affair.

Sunday, October 16, 2005 - By Paul T Colgan
Sean Garland may be wanted by the United States government for his alleged role in a plot to produce millions of counterfeit “super dollars", but what we know about the finances of the Workers' Party president would suggest a businessman of more modest means.

Garland was arrested nine days ago as he stood poised to deliver a broadside against the Provisional IRA and “US imperialism'‘ at the party's annual conference in Belfast.

After a three-year investigation involving officials from the CIA, FBI, Pentagon and State Department, the US government is preparing to seek Garland's extradition.

He is currently on bail and living with a friend in Downpatrick, Co Down.

Garland, who lives in Kentstown, Co Meath, is accused of helping to mastermind a conspiracy to distribute millions of forged US dollars.

American officials claim the plot originated in communist North Korea as part of its “global criminal activities'‘.

The US justice department claimed last week that the supernotes “were manufactured in the Democratic People's Republic of Korea under the auspices of the government and transported worldwide by North Korean individuals acting as ostensible government officials.”

It will be the first time the US has officially charged North Korea with an illegal activity in court.

Garland denies the charges. The Workers' Party leader, who is 71, has a long political history. He played a major role in the ill-fated IRA border campaign in the late 1950s and early 1960s, in which he led an attack on Brookeborough RUC station in Co Fermanagh.

The resulting shoot-out saw the deaths of Sean South and Fergal O'Hanlon. Garland was wounded.

He was also at the centre of the IRA split in the early 1970s that led to the formation of the Provisional movement.

While the Workers' Party has dwindled through the years due to splits and defections, Garland has remained steadfast in his commitment to its cause. Although he has been accused of accruing substantial amounts of counterfeit notes, Garland seems to have little in the way of substantial personal wealth.

According to the Companies Records Office, (CRO) he is a registered director of at least two small companies - Finndale Chemicals and a printing company, Repsol.

Abridged accounts for Finndale, which is based in Ravensdale, Co Louth, shows it to have share capital of €1,269, 738 and shareholders' funds of €29,818.MarkMcLaughlin is the other director.

The directors of Repsol, which is based in Dublin's Gardiner Place, are listed as Garland, Workers' Party members Seamus Harrison, Seamus Lynch and Desmond O'Hagan, and deceased Official IRA leader Cathal Goulding. The company, based at the rear of the Workers' Party's headquarters, produced pamphlets and books on, for example, Lenin's thoughts on the Irish question, the IRA in the 1970s and James Connolly.

In 1983, gardai launched an investigation into the alleged forgery of $5 notes at Repsol. Garland denies that any counterfeit notes were ever found on Repsol properties.

However, during the celebrated libel battle between former senior Workers' Party member Proinsias De Rossa and Independent Newspapers, De Rossa claimed that a party member, Brian Lynch, “disappeared off the face of the earth'‘ once the investigation began.

Garland initially attracted US attention in relation to the most recent allegations of dollar counterfeiting in his capacity as director of GKG Communications International.

According to reports in the Washington Post in 2001, US intelligence noted a 1997 meeting between Garland and the bureau director of the International Liaison Department of the Chinese Communist Party, Cao Xiaobing.

The paper said Cao's department was Beijing's official channel for supporting foreign communist parties.

A US air force reconnaissance plane was alleged to have picked up details of the meeting while monitoring communications near the Chinese coast. A leaked National Security Agency report stated that Garland and Cao had discussed “unidentified business opportunities'‘.

The same top secret report said that Garland was “suspected of being involved with counterfeiting US currency, specifically the supernote, a high-quality counterfeit $100 bill.” It noted that he was a director of GKG Communications - even though the company is understood to have been dissolved some time before then.

Garland claimed that the journalist who wrote the article, Bill Gertz, was “a raving right wing anti-communist'‘. He pointed out that the Washington Post was owned by the Moonies, a cult known “for its anti-communism and its organising of mass weddings of deluded people'‘.

It was not the first time that Garland had been linked to a foreign communist superpower. He wrote to the Communist Party of the Soviet Union in the 1980s in a bid to secure funding for the Workers' Party which was then in dire financial difficulties.

During his libel case, De Rossa said that Garland had admitted seeking Soviet money to help run the party. De Rossa claimed that it was brought to his attention at a meeting of the Workers' Party's ard-chomhairle in 1992.

The US government is seeking a total of seven men in connection with the alleged counterfeiting operation, including three Irish citizens - Garland, Christopher John Corcoran and Hugh Todd.

http://archives.tcm.ie/businesspost/200 ... ry8856.asp
 
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#15
Extradition from Northern Ireland—Sean Garland Flees

Extradition from Northern Ireland—Sean Garland Flees

Garland

Sean Garland, the head of the Irish Worker’s Party, has fled from Northern Ireland to escape extradition.[1] According to the Washington Times, a statement on Mr. Garland’s personal website states that “he has decided to remain in the Republic of Ireland, where British authorities allowed him to travel two weeks ago for medical treatment.”[2]

Since Mr. Garland’s arrest in early October, details about his alleged involvement with a huge North Korean counterfeit currency ring have been made public.[3] The Koreans are accused of creating massive amounts of so-called “supernotes,” which are exceptionally high quality US$100 bills.[4] Mr. Garland is accused of trafficking in more than US$1 million of the currency.[5]

According to the Washington Times, Mr. Garland “initially agreed to return to Belfast for an extradition hearing related” to the charges, but he then determined that the proceedings would not be fair.[6] That may be, but it is more likely that he is aware that the Republic of Ireland is a far more difficult country from which to get extradition suspects than Northern Ireland is. See, for example, our post on such difficulties, here.

We have previously discussed Mr. Garland here.

In an unrelated, but interesting piece of news, Rachid Ramda, who we mentioned yesterday, will be extradited to France.[7] He will no longer be the man who has been waiting in British jail the longest for an extradition decision.


--------------------------------------------------------------------------------

[1] Bill Gertz, Irish Forgery Suspect Flees to Avoid U.S. Extradition, Washington Times, Nov. 17, 2005, available here.
[2] Id.
[3] Id. See also, Tim Johnson, N. Korea Accused of Printing Bogus U.S. $100 “Supernotes,” San Diego Union-Tribune, Oct. 29, 2005, available here.
[4] Johnson, supra note 3.
[5] Gertz, supra note 1.
[6] Id.
[7] Algerian Terror Suspect to Face Extradition from Britain, Agence France-Presse, Nov. 17, 2005, available here.
 
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#16
Garland fails to appear in Belfast court

01 December 2005 17:25
A warrant has been issued for the arrest of Sean Garland, the President of the Workers' Party, after he failed to appear in a Belfast court today to face possible extradition to the US.

Mr Garland, 71, a former leader of the Official IRA, was arrested in Belfast in October on the eve of his party's annual conference.

He appeared in court on foot of an arrest warrant alleging that he had been involved in counterfeiting large quantities of $100 bills.

Advertisement


He was subsequently released on bail, on the condition that he resided with a friend in Co Down.

Last month his bail was varied to allow him to return home to Navan to undergo medical treatment.

http://www.rte.ie/news/2005/1201/garlands.html
 
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#17
US wants Garland extradited over counterfeiting controversy

04 December 2005 By Paul T Colgan
The US is to demand that the government extradite Workers' Party president Sean Garland in the coming weeks for his alleged role in a North Korean conspiracy to make counterfeit US dollars.

Garland jumped bail in the North two weeks ago, and is believed to be at his home in Co Meath. The veteran political figure had been arrested by the Police Service of Northern Ireland on foot of a warrant issued by the US government.

Officials at the US Attorney's Office said they planned to made a formal request for Garland's extradition as quickly as possible. “We have yet to make a formal request, but it is our intention to have him extradited,” said one of the officials, Channing Phillips.



Garland was the subject of a three-year investigation by the CIA, the FBI, the Pentagon and the US State Department.

He is accused of conspiracy to distribute millions of forged US dollars.

Garland has denied the allegations, claiming that they are an attempt to undermine the Workers' Party.

The US justice department claims that the US dollars “were manufactured in the Democratic People's Republic of Korea under the auspices of the government, and transported worldwide by North Korean individuals acting as ostensible government officials'‘.

An article published in the Washington Times in 2001 cited a US intelligence report that noted a meeting between Garland and Chinese Communist Party official Cao Xiaobing.

It stated that Garland was “suspected of being involved with counterfeiting US currency, specifically the supernote, a high-quality counterfeit $100 bill'‘.

Garland has denounced the journalist who wrote the story as a “raving right-wing anti-communist'‘.

Garland claimed that the Washington Times was renowned for its anti-communism.

http://www.thepost.ie/post/pages/p/stor ... qqqx=1.asp
 
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#18
Well, well, so there was nothing to the spying accusations after all. The PSNI managed to bring down the Power Sharing Executive, the Special Branch has just as much power in the PSNI as it had in the RUC. Truly a Force Within A Force.

If the PSNI recovered documents then they should reveal what they are (if any of the documents were really sensitive, then a Judge should rule on that) instead of continuing their attempt to smear these men.

Stormont 'spying' accused go free

Three Belfast men at the centre of an alleged IRA spying incident at Stormont have been acquitted of all charges.
The men, whose arrests led to the collapse of the power-sharing executive in 2002, claimed the case against them had been politically motivated.

At an unlisted hearing at Belfast Crown Court, Ciaran Kearney, William Mackessy and Sinn Fein's Denis Donaldson were told all charges were being dropped.

The prosecution offered no evidence "in the public interest".

The three were arrested following a police raid on Sinn Fein's offices at Parliament Buildings on 5 October 2002, when documents and computer discs were seized.

They were subsequently charged with a total of seven offences.

Mr Donaldson, 55, from Aitnamonagh Crescent who was Sinn Fein's head of administration at Stormont, and his son-in-law Mr Kearney, 34, of Commedagh Drive had been accused of having documents likely to be of use to terrorists.

Mr Mackessy, 47, from Wolfend Way was charged with collecting information on the security forces.


However, on Thursday, Prosecuting QC Gordon Kerr told Mr Justice Hart that the Director of the Public Prosecution Services was offering no further evidence in their case.

Mr Kerr told the court that directions as to prosecutions were kept under "continuing review".

"The director has concluded that having regard to the materials placed before him and his duties as a public authority under the Human Rights Act 1998 that the prosecution for the offences in relation to the accused are no longer in the public interest."


Mr Justice Hart said that the proper course of action was to return verdicts of not guilty and told the men they were "free to go".

Afterwards, Mr Donaldson said the "charges should never have been brought".


It is a prosecution that should never have been brought
Ciaran Shields
Solicitor

"It was political policing and political charges and the fact that we were acquitted today proves that," he said.

Mr Mackessy said he felt "disgusted with the British government for bringing charges".

Solicitor Ciaran Shields who represented Mr Donaldson and Mr Mackessy, said they felt they were "victims of a political operation by elements within the security forces who deliberately used their position to hamper political progress in this country".

'Sensitive documents'

"This case had huge implications, not just for our clients and their families but for the community as a whole in the sense that these arrests led to the collapse of the power-sharing executive," he said.

The solicitor claimed they had learned of a Special Branch operation known as Operation Torsion, which was "designed to incriminate republicans".

However, Mr Shields added that its details did not feature in any of the documents given to them by the DPP.

In a statement, the PSNI said the men were entitled to the presumption of innocence.

"The background to this case is that a paramilitary organisation, namely the Provisional IRA, was actively involved in the systematic gathering of information and targeting of individuals," it said.

"Police investigated that activity and a police operation led to the recovery of thousands of sensitive documents which had been removed from government offices.

"A large number of people were subsequently warned about threats to them."

The PSNI said its investigation into the matter had now concluded.

Following the arrests, the Reverend Ian Paisley's Democratic Unionists and the Ulster Unionists, led at that time by then First Minister David Trimble, threatened to collapse the executive with resignations.

The British government then suspended devolution in the province, embarking on direct rule for the last three years.




Story from BBC NEWS:
http://news.bbc.co.uk/go/pr/fr/-/1/hi/n ... 509858.stm

Published: 2005/12/08 11:43:45 GMT

© BBC MMV
 

ted_bloody_maul

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#19
"The director has concluded that having regard to the materials placed before him and his duties as a public authority under the Human Rights Act 1998 that the prosecution for the offences in relation to the accused are no longer in the public interest."

what do you suppose that this statement might mean? is this standard legal language when a case is dropped?
 
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#20
dunno, i dont have legal training. but i think its another way of saying that the DPP didnt have a credible case to put before the court. the DPP has had 3 years to put a case together so, maybe hes trying to squirm out now.

i'm still interested in these documents referred to. i think their nature should be revealed, not the names & addresses of anyone mentioned in them, that might have security implications. if the DPP or PSNI say that any of the documents are top secret then a judge should rule on that. let it go all the way to the Law Lords if necessary. this might end up damaging the accused, but so be it. at the moment we can only speculate on what the documents referred to by the PSNI are.
 

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#21
ramonmercado said:
dunno, i dont have legal training. but i think its another way of saying that the DPP didnt have a credible case to put before the court. the DPP has had 3 years to put a case together so, maybe hes trying to squirm out now.
or that like the "on-the runs" political expediency has trumped any notions of justice.
 
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#22
what makes you think so?

have you any evidence to support that theory?

i reckon that this was another securocrat operation. i dont believe that the DPPs office was involved in the attempt to frame these men, but he is now severely embarassed that he was manipulated for so long. i also dont believe that the Chief Constable played any sinister part in this action which brought down the Executive. It was yet another shadowy Special Branch job with the likely involvement of rogue elements of the Intelligence Services.

I say rogue elements because what happened certainly did not advance the interests of the British Government.
 

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#23
ramonmercado said:
what makes you think so?

have you any evidence to support that theory?

i reckon that this was another securocrat operation. i dont believe that the DPPs office was involved in the attempt to frame these men, but he is now severely embarassed that he was manipulated for so long. i also dont believe that the Chief Constable played any sinister part in this action which brought down the Executive. It was yet another shadowy Special Branch job with the likely involvement of rogue elements of the Intelligence Services.

I say rogue elements because what happened certainly did not advance the interests of the British Government.
no evidence really just the use of that phrase intrigues me.

i can't see how this would be in the interests of any of the organisations who would be in a position to instigate these charges whilst not being able to collar someone for manufacturing them in the first place. there's obviously something to be gained for the likes of paisley etc but they don't have the influence over the british authorities neccessary to draw this whole affair out for this long.

it strikes me, also, as a possibilty that the men were gathering intelligence and have got something that, if it were to be revealed would be very damaging to "the public interest" or, at least, the interests of certain public figures.
 
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#24
it strikes me, also, as a possibilty that the men were gathering intelligence and have got something that, if it were to be revealed would be very damaging to "the public interest".
thats a possibility but as i said, let a judge decide on that. the nature of the documents could at least be revealed. and if that damages the accused so be it.

why not contact your MP and ask her/him to raise this matter? when such an important trial collapses the public interest is damaged anyway.

rogue securocrats plotted against heath & wilson in the 70s. maybe another generation of spooks is at work.
 

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#25
ramonmercado said:
it strikes me, also, as a possibilty that the men were gathering intelligence and have got something that, if it were to be revealed would be very damaging to "the public interest".
thats a possibility but as i said, let a judge decide on that. the nature of the documents could at least be revealed. and if that damages the accused so be it.

why not contact your MP and ask her/him to raise this matter? when such an important trial collapses the public interest is damaged anyway.

rogue securocrats plotted against heath & wilson in the 70s. maybe another generation of spooks is at work.
alastair campbell? :lol:
 

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#27
ramonmercado said:
alastair campbell?
no! mandelson! the evil one was upset at being ousted from the NIO.
could be both - the allegations being 'sexed-up' up by campbell at the request of mandelson. i expect he just rubbed off the 'q' at the end of iraq for a couple of dossiers!

ps

ousted from the nio or outed? was this part of paisley's 'save northern ireland from sodomy' campaign.:lol:
 
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#28
hmmm. i wonder if paisley ever shook hands with mandy, he would regard mandy as a sodomite. but then maybe paisley is a true christian, perhaps he hated the sin but loved the sinner (not in the biblical sense.).
 
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#29
09/12/05
SF vents fury as ‘spy-ring’ three acquitted

By Dan McGinn
THE acquittal in Belfast of three men accused of operating a spy ring at Stormont shows the spirit of the RUC’s Special Branch still exists, Sinn Féin’s Martin McGuinness said yesterday.

Following the decision at Belfast Crown Court to drop charges against Sinn Féin’s head of administration Denis Donaldson, his son-in-law Ciaran Kearney and civil servant William Mackessy, Mr McGuinness said the allegation of a spy ring was concocted in 2002 to destroy political progress.

“We said very clearly at the time of that event that this case would fall apart,” the Mid Ulster MP said.

“There was no evidence whatsoever to sustain it and we have been proven correct. This is a shameful episode, a damning indictment of the fact that the spirit of the RUC Special Branch is effectively alive and well within the PSNI.




“There never was a spy ring operating at Stormont.”

Mr Donaldson, aged 55, and his 34-year-old son-in-law had been accused of having documents of use to terrorists.

A third man, 47-year-old civil servant William Mackessy, was charged with collecting information on the security forces.

In a dramatic development, prosecutors told Belfast Crown Court that no further evidence would be put forward and the prosecution was no longer in the public interest.

Mr Justice Harte said a verdict of not guilty had to be returned and he told the men they were now free.

Police raided Sinn Féin’s offices at Stormont when allegations of a spy ring surfaced.

The accusations plunged the North’s power-sharing institutions into crisis, with unionists threatening to collapse the executive with resignations.

The British government suspended devolution, embarking on three years of direct rule.

In a statement after yesterday’s hearing, Ciaran Shiels, of the Madden and Finucane law firm which represented Mr Donaldson and Mr Mackessy, said both men believed they were the victims of a political operation by elements within the security forces.

“Our clients are of the clear view that they were victims of a political operation by elements within the security forces who deliberately used their position to hamper political progress,” Mr Shiels said.

Democratic Unionist Policing Board member Ian Paisley Junior said the decision was deeply disturbing and a sop to Sinn Féin.

Examiner
 
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#30
'Spy' trio held 'to save Trimble'
A man cleared of charges linked to an alleged IRA spy ring at Stormont has said he was arrested in a campaign to save David Trimble's political career.
Sinn Fein's Denis Donaldson, son-in-law Ciaran Kearney along with William Mackessy had a total of seven charges against them dropped on Thursday.

Mr Donaldson said his charges were dropped due to the prosecution's "self interest". He may now sue the police.

He said there was no spy ring and the charges were "politically-inspired".

"There was no spy ring at Stormont. There never was," he said.

"The fact that the media was here on the morning that our offices (at Stormont) was raided testifies to that.

"It was part of a Save Dave (Trimble) campaign initially and it was also designed to bring down the (power-sharing) institutions, which it did."

Mr Donaldson was speaking as he and the other two men returned to Stormont in the company of leading Sinn Fein officials, including party leader Gerry Adams.

The three were arrested following a police raid on Sinn Fein's offices at Parliament Buildings on 4 October 2002, when documents and computer discs were seized.


The arrests led to the power-sharing executive at Stormont being suspended, after the DUP and Ulster Unionists, led at that time by Mr Trimble, threatened to collapse the executive with resignations.

Mr Donaldson, who was Sinn Fein's head of administration at Stormont, and Mr Kearney were subsequently accused of having documents likely to be of use to terrorists.

Mr Mackessy was charged with collecting information on the security forces.


However, at an unlisted hearing at Belfast Crown Court, the three were told all charges were being dropped after the prosecution offered no evidence "in the public interest".

Mr Donaldson said they were now consulting legal representatives about what course of action they could follow in connnection with the arrests.

Sinn Fein leader Gerry Adams said the collapse of the case once again underlined the need to "face up" to elements within the PSNI who, he claimed, were opposed to political progress.

He said: "The raid on this building, the raid on the Sinn Fein offices, was conducted in a glare of publicity.

'No comment'

"I think that has very clearly become a pattern, a pattern of political policing.

"Our certain view, and we said this at the time, is that there are elements within the Special Branch, within the old RUC, some of whom are active today in the PSNI, who continue to be at war with Irish republicans, who are opposed to the peace process."

The Public Prosecution Service said it would be making no further statement in relation to the decision to drop the charges.

A spokesman would not respond to allegations that the service had bowed to political pressure.

He would not clarify what it regarded as the nature of the public interest which led to the charges being dropped.





Story from BBC NEWS:
http://news.bbc.co.uk/go/pr/fr/-/1/hi/n ... 513324.stm

Published: 2005/12/09 12:18:16 GMT

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