Tomás Ó Flatharta

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Archive for the ‘Joe Kelly’ Category

2021 Appalling Vistas – The 60th Anniversary of the British “Profumo Scandal” – a Secret Service Sting that went wrong, Irish Connections – Lord Denning and the Birmingham Six

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A Judge whitewashed the Jack Profumo Scandal in the early 1960’s on behalf of the British Ruling Class – that judge’s name was Lord Denning.

The Conservative government of Harold MacMillan needed a judge to whitewash the Profumo Scandal and selected the best man for the job, Lord Denning. In 1980 this judge’s track record made him the ideal man to keep innocent Irish political prisoners – the Birmingham Six – in jail.

Here is the infamous Denning Birmingham Six Appalling Vista statement. Denning, in 1980, rejected the still-incarcerated Birmingham Six’s civil claim against the police. Dismissing the case, he said:: “Just consider the course of events if their action were to proceed to trial… If the six men failed it would mean that much time and money and worry would have been expended by many people to no good purpose. If they won, it would mean that the police were guilty of perjury; that they were guilty of violence and threats; that the confessions were involuntary and improperly admitted in evidence; and that the convictions were erroneous… That was such an appalling vista that every sensible person would say, ‘It cannot be right that these actions should go any further’.”

https://www.legalcheek.com/2017/11/7-of-lord-dennings-most-controversial-comments/

Determined mass campaigning to free the Birmingham Six, Guildford 4 and other innocent Irish political prisoners took off in Dublin in the 1980’s. The beating heart of this network was the Co-ordinating Campaign on Miscarriages of Justice which met regularly in the Teachers’ Club, Parnell Square – a venue owned by the Irish National Teachers’ Organisation (INTO). The campaign encouraged many independent initiatives. Highlighted here is a book which helped to make the Birmingham Six an international scandal, dragging the reputation of the British judiciary into the gutter. Tireless sub-editors Ralf Sotscheck and Jürgen Schneider worked closely with the political campaign alongside Oscar Gilligan.

A literary best-seller, Birmingham Six, An Appalling Vista

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Decent People Boycott British Sun Newspaper – This Rag Smeared Victims of the Hillsborough Disaster – British Labour Party Leader Sir Keir Starmer Becomes a Scab

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From the Cedar Lounge Revolution https://cedarlounge.wordpress.com/2021/10/04/sun-correspondent/ :

Will comrades in Britain be Able to Boycott Sir Keir Starmer and force him to resign?

One has to wonder about Keir Starmer. One really does. The latest news?

“Above Us Only Lies”

The Labour leader used an article in the newspaper to try to turn focus back on the government by laying the blame for food and petrol shortages on ministers. But he sparked ire from those who observe a boycott of the Sun over its role in smearing victims of the Hillsborough disaster. http://robbohuyton.blogspot.com/2010/03/above-us-only-lies-liverpools-sun.html

Frontbench Labour MPs were among those to challenge Starmer, who said during a speech in Liverpool last January during the leadership election: “This city has been wounded by the media – the Sun … I certainly won’t be giving an interview to the Sun during the course of this campaign.”

Keir Starmer has provoked outrage among Labour MPs representing Merseyside after he wrote an opinion piece for the Sun.

The Labour leader used an article in the newspaper to try to turn focus back on the government by laying the blame for food and petrol shortages on ministers. But he sparked ire from those who observe a boycott of the Sun over its role in smearing victims of the Hillsborough disaster.

The problem for Starmer is, as noted here before, this is the sort of thing that has resonances far beyond what appears to be the very limited area of competence that he and those around him exhibit. It genuinely isn’t rocket science to appreciate the specific issues with regard to the Sun in Liverpool.

But if they’re getting that basic stuff wrong…

Irish Police Boss Drew Harris and Two Unsolved Murder Cases – 1975 Miami Showband Massacre; 2007 Paul Quinn Murder

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The Masks of Garda Boss Drew Harris

If you knew nothing about Irish 6 County whataboutery you might think “Fair enough – Garda Boss Drew Harris is doing the decent thing”. Maybe there are better questions : What mask is the former Royal Ulster Constabulary / Police Service of Northern Ireland high-flier wearing? Is he a “fox in charge of the hen-house”? Or, should we trust a “warm and friendly” chap “committed to justice”?

Garda Commissioner Drew Harris has visited the barn in Co Monaghan where Paul Quinn was battered to death by the IRA, and has pledged to help bring his killers to justice.

But, when you know about Harris’s obstructive behaviour towards survivors of the 1975 Miami Showband massacre, you correctly suspect the motives of a powerful state agent who shields British State killers.

Garda boss Drew Harris and his legacy – Stephen Travers, Miami Showband, Aftermath of a loyalist murder spree.

Miami Showband Massacre survivor Stephen Travers also criticised Mr Drew Harris’s appointment, describing it as “putting the fox in charge of the hen house”.

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Free Julian Assange – Political Prisoner – International Human Rights Day in Dublin, December 10 2020

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TD’s from Sinn Féin, People Before Profit, RISE, Solidarity and left independents, including Leas Ceann Comhairle Catherine Connolly, gathered outside the Convention Centre where the Dáil was sitting on December 10 2020 – International Human Rights Day. They made a public call on the British Government not to extradite Julian Assange to the USA.

‘We condemn the detention of Julian Assange pending his extradition proceedings. We further condemn the attempted use of the US Espionage Act to prosecute Assange for his work exposing the war crimes committed by US service personnel in the Iraq and Afghan war logs. It is our view that the use of these judicial measures by the US constitutes a grave threat to free speech and a free press. It further notes that this attempted prosecution is without precedent in US law.

The TD’s, joined by Senate colleagues including David Norris, were supporting a call made by the National Union of Journalists in Britain that Boris Johnson’s government should refuse to extradite Assange to the USA on false charges of espionage. If sent to America, Assange would face a sentence of 175 years for doing the job of a journalist, where he published the lies told by the US government about the invasion of Iraq. The following statement has been signed by 24 members of the Oireachtas. It is fitting that on International Human Rights Day solidarity with the plight of Julian Assange is expressed. The Irish Council for Civil Liberties has endorsed this statement.

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Jack Charlton (1935-2020) World Cup winner, Ireland football manager, supporter of the miners, anti-fascist

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There has also been some coverage of the fact that Charlton along with a number of other footballing figures including Brian Clough & Terry Venables signed the founding statement of the Anti-Nazi League in 1977.

In Ireland Jack Charlton is celebrated – he was the most successful ever manager of the Republic of Ireland soccer team. There was a political side to this cultural phenomenon – it is well explained in the Keith Flegg blog below. Months before the opening 1990 game between Ireland and England in Cagliari a small group of Dublin people met in a Dublin pub, the Teachers’ Club. They wondered : how they could raise funds for a cash-strapped campaign seeking freedom for the Birmingham Six and other Irish political hostages in British jails. The venue, largely because of the example set by this campaign, has become home to many left-wing, trade union, feminist and human rights social movements.

A couple of the men in the group focused on the forthcoming Battle of Cagliari – Ireland’s Game Versus England, our Italia 90 opener. We were overcome by a brainwave : let’s organise a big screen showing. In those days that was a novel idea – we booked the scarce equipment months in advance. The staff in the Teachers’ Club did a great job installing the required technology. As the big day approached many large pubs and hotels offered to buy the equipment from the campaign, allowing us a huge profit. We refused – the event was going ahead. The venue was overwhelmed by the crowd – mainly young, male, Dublin working class, and proudly Irish. A number of women activists joined in – a little bemused, entertained, and deeply moved.

The Diceman, Thom McGinty, Symbolises British Justice and the Birmingham Six

A follow-up

“It begins with a man getting to shake the hands of some of the football heroes he’d only ever previously been able to see on television in prison. It ends with one of those same football heroes, having partied well but not wisely, fast asleep at a table in a motorway café and being prodded awake by a couple of passing Welsh supporters. And in between is one of the defining games of the Jack Charlton era, a 1-1 draw with England in a European Championship qualifier at their national stadium which should, in truth, have been a victory for an Irish side playing at something close to the peak of its powers.

For one Irish supporter in particular, the experience was bound to be memorable, whatever the result. Hugh Callaghan was one of the Birmingham Six, innocent men who had served 16 years of a life sentence for the IRA’s 1974 Birmingham pub bombings. With those convictions finally quashed after a long-running campaign and, having been released amid scenes of unbridled joy only 13 days before the game at Wembley, Callaghan found himself walking the famous turf as a guest of the Irish team at their eve of match training session.

Niall Quinn, the striker who would have such a significant say in the game itself, has vivid memories of meeting a man who had endured one of the most infamous miscarriages of justice in British legal history.

“He came on the bus with us from the hotel and stood with Jack and watched the training,” he recalls today.

“We had a good chat with him first on the pitch and then he had a cup of tea with us in the dressing room. He was a football fan, very proud of what we’d achieved over in Italy. He spoke about how he used to listen intently on the radio and saw bits and pieces on TV. I think Paul [McGrath] was his favourite – but then Paul was everybody’s favourite. It’s one of those nice memories that stay with you. It was a thrill to meet him and my memory of the meeting is that he was thrilled to meet us, and it was a very happy occasion.” https://www.irishexaminer.com/sport/soccer/we-felt-a-little-bit-robbed-232294.html

Kmflett's Blog

Jack Charlton at the Durham Miners Gala

Jack Charlton who has sadly died at 85 was an iconic figure in post-1945 British culture as part of the 1966 World Cup winning England team, and a football manager most significantly with the Ireland team

The media rightly carries a range of appreciations and obituaries

https://www.theguardian.com/football/2020/jul/11/jack-charlton-england-world-cup-winner-dies-aged-85

There has also been some coverage of the fact that Charlton along with a number of other footballing figures including Brian Clough & Terry Venables signed the founding statement of the Anti-Nazi League in 1977. Charlton had some criticisms. While the ANL was about building a broad united front to isolate the fascists of the National Front it also confronted their attempts to whip up racism when they held deliberately provocative actions.

Charlton was clear in his opposition to fascism but not happy about confronting the NF physically. This of course was a tactical not an…

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Abolish The Special Criminal Court – it will die if an Irish Government is not formed on June 30 – but Sinn Féin and the Labour Party are riding to rescue it!

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A deadline of June 30 2020 approaches – if a government is not formed by then, the non-jury Special Criminal Court, will die.

Paul Murphy TD has a clear policy :

Abolish the Special Criminal Court

This no-jury court has been responsible for numerous false convictions, it has no place in a democratic society. It has allowed the state to abuse its power to frame innocent people for crimes they have not committed.

It is an affront to the right to a fair trial. It is an affront to the right to be tried by a jury of your peers. It is an affront to the idea of equality before the law. It is an affront to basic civil liberties. It is an affront to human rights as a whole. There are many ways to deal with potential jury intimidation which don’t require a subversion of our fundamental democratic rights.

But, hold on – cavalry are charging to the rescue!

An update from a Cedar Lounge Revolution correspondent : “A watershed moment in Irish politics today: Sinn Fein for the first time in its history did not vote against the Offences Against the State Act and the attendant emergency powers, including the non jury Special Criminal Court. It is hard to imagine them sending a stronger signal that their house training has been completed and the state does not have to fear their involvement in government.

“With the Greens also abandoning their traditional civil liberties opposition to the OASA, the only voices against were Solidarity – People Before Profit and the SocDems. Strong speeches as you would expect from Paul Murphy (Rise) and Brid Smith (PBP). Fair play to Catherine Murphy (Soc Dems) for being the only liberal speaker to show some backbone when it comes to civil liberties.” https://cedarlounge.wordpress.com/2020/06/24/what-you-want-to-say-24-june-2020/#comment-771420

Members of the Irish Senate are on manoeuvres to the right of Leo Varadkar’s lame duck Fine Gael government.

The linked article below clarifies that if the Michael McDowell led legal challenge succeeds, the grossly undemocratic non-jury Special Criminal Court will not die on June 30 next.

It makes sense that the right-wing McDowell, a former government minister belonging to the extinguished Progressive Democrat party, takes legal action to extend the life-span and powers of the lame duck Varadkar régime. McDowell is joined by legal colleague Ivana Bacik of the Labour Party and assorted gombeens from Seanad Éireann!

Is this part of the final political epitaph of the Irish Labour Party and Sinn Féin – we saved the Special Criminal Court with Michael McDowell?

During the 1978 Sallins Train Robbery Special Criminal Court Frame Up Trial of 4 IRSP Members one of the 3 Judges constantly fell asleep. Defence counsel protests were dismissed. Then the judge died. Justice still sleeps in the Special Criminal Court in 2020.
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Images, Funeral of Joe Kelly

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Joe Kelly Greets the Mourners Coming to His Funeral, Teachers’ Club / Club na Múinteóirí, December 10 2016

Joe Kelly’s Most Recent Campaign

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Super Chairperson Joe Kelly – What is the Statement behind Your Question? A Frank Discussion About the Irish Peace Process With John Meehan and Killian Forde

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Thoughts of Chairperson Joe Kelly, April 8 1938 – December 7 2016.

Phrases that came immediately to mind :

How’s Your Love Life?”

What is the statement behind your question?”

Are there any loose people in the room?”

What’s your point?”

If I can’t dance, I don’t want to be part of your revolution” [borrowed from Emma Goldman]

Can we break up into small groups?per33

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Joe Kelly voted No to the deletion of Articles 2 and 3 from the Irish Constitution in a 1998 Referendum, a very unopular decision – only 5 per cent of the voters wanted to keep these Articles.

Joe was very troubled about this and discussed it often with me.  Being the man he was, he organised a broadcast radio discussion between me and a then Sinn Féin member of Dublin City Council Killian Forde.

Here is a transcript :  Read the rest of this entry »

The super chairperson – Joe Kelly, born April 8 1938, died Wednesday December 7 2016, Aged 78.

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Tributes are pouring in to Joe Kelly.  In future days a lot more will be written said and sung about an outstanding political activist and very firm friend.Death Notice of Joe Kelly

A small initial contribution is below, along with some other tributes seen on social media.

The mid-1980’s : The first big mass campaign where Joe Kelly and I worked together was Miscarriages of Justice, primarily the Guildford Four and Birmingham Six :  innocent Irish people in British jails, framed by the British State, sentenced to life imprisonment and no mass campaign existed.  That changed in Dublin, Joe Kelly was its heartbeat.  An enormous “Parade of Innocence” in Dublin, headed by the Diceman Thom McGinty, was one outstanding result.  Declan Gorman Writes About Dublin’s Parade of Innocence

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