DEPUTY First Minister Martin McGuinness has attended a hearing by Parole Commissioners on behalf of Marian Price who was sent back to jail after her licence was revoked for IRA offences in England 40 years ago.

Justice Shredded is Justice Denied

Then Secretary of State Owen Patterson revoked her life sentence licence after Price was charged over a dissident republican rally in Derry’s City Cemetery in Easter 2011. She is also facing separate charges of providing a mobile phone for a terrorist purpose in March 2009 shortly before two soldiers were shot dead at Massereene barracks in Antrim. The 58-year-old is now under armed guard at Belfast City Hospital where she is being treated for depression, arthritis and lung problems. Last month she was granted three hours ‘ compassionate bail to attend the wake of her sister Dolours, who along with Marian Price – whose married name is McGlinchey – and MLA Gerry Kelly – was part of an IRA unit which bombed London in 1973.

Yesterday, at a closed court in the Laganside complex in Belfast, Parole Commissioners listened to submissions from Marian Price’s lawyers who argued that she should be released. A spokesman for the commissioners said they could not make any comment on the hearing. As he left the court, Mr McGuinness also said he could not say anything about what happened behind closed doors. It is understood he visited Price in hospital yesterday morning. It is not known when the commissioners will make their ruling on Price’s case.



The Five Demands

Confermata stasera da Mandy Duffy, del gruppo di supporto Family and Friends of Republican Prisoners Maghaberry, che Brian Shivers ha ottenuto la libertà su cauzione

Brian Shivers, affetto da fibrosi cistica e in gravi condizioni di salute, era in carcere nell’attesa di un nuovo processo dopo che la Corte d’Appello ha lasciato cadere l’accusa di omicidio che gravava sulle sue spalle. Insieme a Colin Duffy – poi dichiarato innocente – era stato infatti chiamato a rispondere di un presunto ruolo nell’attentato della RIRA alla base militare di Massereene, che nel marzo 2009 uccise due soldati britannici.

Stamattina, dopo una lunga battaglia legale, un giudice ha infine acconsentito a concedergli la libertà su cauzione, con la clausola che indossasse un dispositivo di tracciamento.

In quanto prigioniero politico, Shivers ha rifiutato di sottostare a tale condizione “criminalizzante”, ed è stato rinviato in custodia.

In un successivo sviluppo, questa sera, la condizione è…

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A LAW originally introduced to deal with radical fundamentalists in Britain is being used against South Armagh man Willie Frazer. The 52-year-old was remanded in custody at Belfast Magistrates Court yesterday charged with encouraging others to commit crime at a loyalist flag protest

Remanded in custody: Willie Frazer

It is believed to be the first time that the charge, part of the 2007 Serious Crime Act, has been used in the North of Ireland. The controversial campaigner, who appeared on the court listings as William Fredrick Frazer, is also charged with three counts of taking part in an unnotified parade, one of obstructing traffic, and illegal possession of a Taser stun-gun. Mr Frazer, who has been a spokesman for flag protesters since the start of the dispute in early December, was arrested at his home on Tandragee Road on Wednesday. The majority of the offences are alleged to have been committed under the Public Processions Act over the last two months, during weekly protests held at the front of Belfast City Hall.Police objected to bail on the grounds that Mr Frazer would reoffend given that there are further planned protests. An officer who connected him to the case also said there were concerns that through public speaking and interviews with the media he would encourage others to commit further criminal offences. A small crowd of supporters gathered in the public gallery of Court 10, including North Belfast loyalist and Ulster People’s Forum spokesman Bill Hill.

One man was removed from the court by security officials for waving a Union Flag. Acting on behalf of Mr Frazer, barrister Richard Smyth argued that his client had urged the crowd at the city hall to ” keep it peaceful “. ” What this applicant is alleged to have said at the scene wasn’t in any way inflammatory,” he said. The lawyer said his client had taken the Taser from young people involved in a dispute in Markethill several years ago. ” He believed it was a cattle prodder that didn’t work,” Mr Smyth said. ” This man’s profile, and I accept he does have a profile, has brought him before  the court. ” At no point was he aware that the protests were unlawful.” He added that to date no-one had been charged with organising the flags protests. Mr Smyth also drew the notice to the court to an Irish News  interview with Assistant Chief Constable Will Kerr last week in which the senior officer said he would welcome ” judicial clarity ” around the Public Processions Act.

District Judge Mervyn Bates, sitting in Belfast’s Laganside Court, said he would not be happy preventing a member of society from speaking to the media. However, he added that due to the current climate and the risk of reoffending, Mr Frazer was not a suitable candidate for bail. ” The grounds of objection are founded on the frequency of this kind of offence at the current time and the harm it is doing to the economy of this country “, he said. He did, however, advise the defendant that he could apply for bail at the High Court. As he was being taken to the cells by court security Mr Frazer shouted : ” I’d rather be with the crooks in there than the ones out here running the government.” Supporters cheered as he was led away. Mr Frazer was remanded in custody to Maghaberry prison to appear again in four weeks ‘ time.



Veteran Irish journalist and author Ed Moloney and his colleague Bob Mitchell continue their investigations into the Military Reaction Force (MRF), a British Army death squad that operated in the north-east of Ireland during the early 1970s. Its notoriety and reckless nature (with carloads of heavily armed undercover soldiers carrying out random drive-by shootings of the civilian populace in the city of Belfast) eventually led to its replacement with a number of other covert groups including the infamous Force Research Unit or FRU. By examining the 1972 attempted assassination of Brendan Hughes, Officer Commanding D Company, 2nd Battalion, Belfast Brigade of the Irish Republican Army (and widely regarded as one of the most effective and thoughtful field commanders of his generation), Moloney and Mitchell have uncovered new evidence of the British Army’s modus operandi during the early years of the war in the North of Ireland. Evidence which corroborates Brendan Hughes own testimony of events from that time.

The military mastermind behind the introduction of the MRF and other covert units was 

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Two recommended reads on the conflict in Syria. The first is a photo-easy from The Atlantic highlighting the use of (very) improvised weaponry by the anti-Al Assad insurgents, while the second from the London Review of Books takes an insider’s look at the fractious nature of the insurgency. Can I also recommend a related series of posts from the Brown Moses Blog which examine in detail the wide range of munitions deployed by the insurgency and the Syrian military. The various state and non-state “actors” at play behind the scenes in the civil war in Syria are frequently revealed through the weapons in use by the several sides in the conflict.

For instance the video below, published to YouTube, seems to show the downing of a Syrian military Mil Mi-17, the export designation of the Russian-made Mi-8M helicopter, through the use of an unknown type of MANPAD (man-portable air-defence system – what used…

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The Detail has a lengthy article based on an original investigation by Meon Eile examining allegations of anti-Irish polices being pursued by the DUP’s Arlene Foster, the minister for enterprise in the regional executive in the North of Ireland. Cadogan Enright, a well-known independent councillor on Down District Council, has accused Foster of “…going off on what I can only call an anti-Irish crusade within her department, which is manifestly illegal” (something which Councillor Cadogan has highlighted before). The “anti-Irish” campaign allegedly waged by Arlene Foster and her Unionist colleagues turns, this time, on the issue of bilingual Irish-English tourist information signs in the north-east of Ireland.

“A BAN on the Irish language being used in tourism signs appears to be heading for the courts amid allegations that the authority responsible, the NI Tourist Board [NITB] is providing no rational explanation for it.

A row has…

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