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January 07, 2005

01/07/05 – SF Accuses Orde Over Robbery

Overall Table of Contents
Table of Contents - Jan 2005

SM 01/07/05 Sinn Fein Accuses Police Chief Over Bank Robbery
BT 01/07/05 Orde Verdict On Heist As Northern Recalls Notes
SF 01/07/05 IRA Blamed For Massive Bank Robbery, Police Chief Says
UT 01/07/05 What Next For Battered Peace Process?
UT 01/07/05 Bank To Change Notes To Beat Raiders
SM 01/07/05 Northern Ireland Secretary Tells Of 'Disappointment'
SM 01/07/05 DUP Time To Restoring Institutions With SF Excluded.
BT 01/07/05 Opin: Rally Round The Flag To Celebrate 100 Yrs Of Hate
MO 01/07/05 Police Reveal Plans To Deal With Adair

(Poster's Note: I don't intend to be repetitive, however, the
"Orde Verdict" story contains more quotes from Orde. Also, I found
it interested that cops hand down "verdicts". I thought that was
resolved for courts (but of course not in the UK). Also, the "IRA
Blamed" story is from the ever-present AP reporter "Shawn P". This
is the only story that will hit most of the world press. I'm going
to work. Jay)


Sinn Fein Accuses Police Chief Over Bank Robbery

By Dan McGinn, PA Ireland Political Editor

Northern Ireland Chief Constable Hugh Orde has not produced one
scrap of evidence that the IRA was behind the £26.5 million
Northern Bank raid in Belfast, Sinn Fein's Martin McGuinness
claimed today.

With the Government coming under pressure to take sanctions against
Sinn Fein following Mr Orde's comments, the party's chief
negotiator accused the police chief of showing political bias.

And he also claimed there was a concerted attempt to undermine the
peace process.

"Hugh Orde's comments today are nothing more than politically
biased allegations," the Mid Ulster MP said.

"He has not produced one scrap of evidence. Within days of the
robbery at the Northern Bank, and following media speculation and
PSNI briefings, which suggested IRA involvement, I asked the IRA
about this and was assured that they were not involved.

"We are witnessing a renewed attempt to undermine the peace
process. We need to think long and hard about who is setting this
agenda and why."


It was the IRA

Orde Verdict On Heist As Northern Recalls Notes

By Johnny McCambridge
07 January 2005

Chief Constable Hugh Orde today confirmed that the Provisional IRA
carried out the Northern Bank robbery, plunging the Province into a
fresh political crisis.

Mr Orde said "he is confident" that intelligence and evidence
gathered by detectives indicates the Provos were responsible for
the world's biggest cash robbery.

The impact of the Chief Constable's announcement is virtually
certain to scupper any chances of an immediate return to any power
sharing arrangement at Stormont.

In another dramatic development, the Northern Bank moved to limit
the raiders' access to the proceeds by announcing it is to withdraw
all of its £10, £20 £50 and £100 notes - some £300m in paper

However, the heist gang could still have access to large amounts of
cash in other banknotes, Euros and dollars as the new total has
been revised sharply upwards from £22m to £26.5m.

The Chief Constable made his dramatic comments at the headquarters
of the Policing Board this afternoon after he briefed chairman Sir
Desmond Rea and vice-chairman Denis Bradley.

Facing the media for the first time since the robbery, Mr Orde
insisted he had decided to speak out on his terms for operational
reasons and not because of any criticism levelled at him or the

He said: "The reason I have not said anything publicly up until now
is that there has been nothing to say at a strategic level.

"This has been a major investigation which will have national and
international implications."

He then revealed that the Northern Bank are to take the
unprecedented step of wthdrawing all their notes from circulation,
reprinting them in a different colour and style.

He said: "This has now become the largest theft of waste paper ever
in Northern Ireland, the money will not be worth anything after

The Chief Constable said that Special Branch and Crime Operations
had worked together in the investigation and stressed that no
intelligence information had been withheld from the investigating

He continued: "On the basis of all the work, gathering of evidence,
information and exhibits, bringing it all together we believe the
Provisional IRA was responsible for this crime, all main lines of
inquiry are in this direction."

However, the Chief Constable said he would not compromise the
investigation by revealing evidence for his claim.

"I am aware that this will have far wider implications, however
that is a matter for politicians.

"This is a policing matter, it is as simple as that.

"I would not be saying this without detailed briefings from my
detectives and analysts and I am confident in the intelligence and
the evidence."

The Chief Constable also said he was confident that the PSNI had
the expertise to bring those responsible for the robbery to

"Let me make this clear, this was not a victimless crime, two
families were threatened with death and have suffered a great deal
of trauma.

"This was a violent and brutal crime, not some Robin Hood effort.

"We have consulted with colleagues nationally and we have a large
number of officers doing a good solid professional job, they have
my total confidence."

The Chief Constable made a fresh appeal for assistance, stating the
crime would be solved more quickly with the help of the public.


IRA To Blame For Massive Belfast Bank Robbery, Police Chief Says

- SHAWN POGATCHNIK, Associated Press Writer

Friday, January 7, 2005

(01-07) 05:58 PST BELFAST, Northern Ireland (AP) --

The Irish Republican Army committed last month's massive robbery of
a Belfast bank, the Northern Ireland police commander bluntly
announced Friday in a move that complicated the province's
peacemaking efforts.

Chief Constable Hugh Orde said his detectives probing the Dec. 20
theft at Northern Bank -- when a hostage-taking gang stole an
estimated $50 million, the biggest all-cash robbery in history --
were confident that members of the outlawed IRA planned it and
carried it out.

"We are confident this crime was committed by the Provisional IRA,"
Orde said, using the group's full formal name.

"I would not have made that statement without having spent a great
deal of time speaking to my senior detectives and my senior
analysts," added Orde.

He declined to specify any evidence pointing to IRA involvement,
saying this would compromise his detectives' work. No arrests have
been made.

The IRA and its allied Sinn Fein party repeatedly have rejected
mounting accusations of IRA involvement in the robbery. Speaking
shortly before Orde, Sinn Fein deputy leader Martin McGuinness -- a
reputed IRA commander since the mid-1970s -- said the IRA had told
him it wasn't involved.

Previously, leaders of the 45-member detective team hunting the
robbers had identified the IRA as one of five possible criminal
gangs responsible. Orde's unambiguous declaration, pinning
responsibility solely to the IRA, caught many political observers
off guard.

Protestant leaders said the verdict from Orde -- who had previously
avoided any public comment on the case -- would harden their
opposition to forming any new power-sharing administration with
Sinn Fein, the major Catholic-backed party.

The robbery immediately followed the conclusion of several months
of negotiations that tried to revive power-sharing, the central
goal of the 1998 peace accord for Northern Ireland. The question of
whether the IRA would disarm publicly and disband hobbled the

Ian Paisley Jr., a negotiator for the major Protestant-backed
party, the Democratic Unionists, accused Sinn Fein leaders of
having a hand in plotting the robbery.

"The process is over for Sinn Fein and we must move on without
them," said Paisley, whose party would prefer to forge a cross-
community coalition with moderate Catholic leaders.

Referring to Sinn Fein, he said, "How can we have a government with
people who say `we want a new mode IRA' when the IRA is recruiting
and has more resources than ever before?"

Orde, meanwhile, confirmed the Northern Bank would withdraw all of
its newly minted currency from circulation.

He confirmed that the gang stole 26.5 million pounds ($50 million),
not 22 million pounds ($42 million) as was previously estimated. He
said about three-fourths of the stolen money was Northern Bank-
branded currency.

Orde said Northern Bank executives "intend to withdraw all their
banknotes from circulation and to reissue them in a new color and

"The money will not be worth anything as soon as that takes place,"
he said.


What Next For Battered Peace Process?

Northern Ireland's bid for stable devolved government received
another body blow today after Chief Constable Hugh Orde said he
believed the IRA carried out the £26.5 million bank heist.

By:Press Association

Like a boxer in a gruelling 15-round contest, talks aimed at
securing power-sharing have been battered and bruised since the
Good Friday Agreement was forged in 1998.

But the process has also shown remarkable resilience and an ability
to get itself off the ropes at times of crisis.

The first punch came in February 2000 when Peter Mandelson, as
Northern Ireland Secretary, suspended the fledgling power-sharing
executive during a row over the IRA`s refusal to disarm.

In August 2001, the process suffered another serious blow with the
arrest of three Irish republicans - Martin McCauley, James Monaghan
and Niall Connolly - in Colombia.

The power-sharing executive was sent crashing to the floor in
October 2002 with a double whammy of allegations about a republican
spy ring at Stormont, and the IRA broke into a Special Branch
office in Belfast eight months earlier.

But throughout these crises, British Prime Minister Tony Blair and
Taoiseach Bertie Ahern have refused to throw in the towel,
insisting republicans must end forever their twin track approach of
the armalite and the ballot box.

November 2003 Assembly Elections saw Ulster Unionist chief David
Trimble replaced by the Reverend Ian Paisley as the leading voice
in his community.

But contrary to many people`s expectations, the Democratic Unionist
Party has entertained in talks the idea of going into government
with Sinn Fein while at the same time maintaining its policy of not
engaging directly with republicans.

A previously unthinkable deal between Sinn Fein and the DUP was
agonisingly close before Christmas but stumbled over the IRA`s
refusal to accept a demand for photographic evidence of

Even after those talks, officials in London and Dublin were still
holding out hope that a deal could be achieved early this year.

However, today`s statement from the Chief Constable looks to have
put paid to all of that.

Mr Paisley has discussed the Chief Constable`s statement with
Downing Street ahead of a meeting with the Prime Minister next

DUP deputy leader Peter Robinson claimed the IRA`s involvement in
the bank heist had raised the bar for republicans in the process.

"It was a clear and unambiguous statement from the Chief Constable
which points the finger directly at the republican movement," the
East Belfast MP declared.

"They will not be able to dodge or duck the consequences."

However, it also causes problems for future DUP involvement in
talks involving Sinn Fein.

"The implications of this, not just for us but others in the talks,
are huge," a party source said.

"What this effectively means is that, at a time when Sinn Fein were
talking to the British and Irish governments about an end to
physical force republicanism, their colleagues in the IRA were
planning this heist.

"It causes considerable problems for us.

"If we`re to go into talks in the future involving Sinn Fein,
what`s to stop some people saying `When you took part in the
process with them the last time, republicans were secretly planning
the raid on the bank`?"

The implications for the British and Irish governments and for the
Chief Constable are also serious.

In December, Mr Orde held the first meeting between Northern
Ireland police and Sinn Fein in Downing Street while the bank raid
was being secretly planned.

Mr Blair also discussed with republicans plans to scale down
security in the province.

But some seasoned talks observers were refusing to accept Mr Orde`s
announcement was a knockout punch.

"At times of crisis when this process could have been written off,
Tony Blair and Bertie Ahern have refused to give up," one source

"I don`t expect them to give up now, having invested so much.

"I wouldn`t be surprised if they give the IRA another chance to
prove its peace process credentials - much like the decontamination
period the DUP were proposing before Christmas between the striking
of a deal and the setting up of a power-sharing executive."

Republican sources, however, were glum.

With the IRA furiously denying it was behind the robbery, a source
said: "Hugh Orde`s comments mean any attempt this side of the
election to resurrect a deal will be on hold until after the next
General Election.

"If Tony Blair holds the Westminster election in May, there may not
be much time for a deal on the other side of that in the summer,
given that you will have the marching season.

"So it looks like at the earliest you`re talking about the end of
2005 before you can get things moving again.

"There is huge anger in our constituency about what has happened.
Given the antagonism towards this process among securocrats in the
British system, there was always the potential they would try and
blame the IRA for something."

Northern Ireland`s talks were today knocked on to the floor and
facing another count.

Only Tony Blair and Bertie Ahern can decide if that count reaches


Bank To Change Notes To Beat Raiders

The Northern Bank is to replace its entire current series of notes
in a bid to thwart the gang which cleared its headquarters of £22
million, it was announced today.

By:Press Association

Chief executive Don Price ordered the unprecedented move which it
is understood will involve the withdrawal of up to £300 million in
paper currency after talks with police chiefs.

All existing £10, £20, £50 and £100 notes will be replaced with new
ones, a process which will cost £5 million.

It will be eight weeks before the new notes are in circulation.

A statement confirmed: "All new notes will be of the same design as
the old ones, but will be printed in a different colour, feature a
new Northern Bank logo and bear new prefixes to their serial

More than half of the missing millions included brand-new notes
which could be detected immediately, but the drastic decision to
carry out a total re-issue is aimed at preventing used notes
filtering into the Northern Ireland economy.

The bank`s polymer £5 notes will not be affected.

Ownership of the Northern is due to be transferred from National
Australia to Denmark`s biggest bank, Danske, when the £967 million
sale is completed next month.

The Northern has 95 branches and 30% of the market in Northern

National Australia also own National Irish in the Irish Republic
which has 59 branches. Its stock of Irish notes was replaced with
euros three years ago.

Today`s statement added: "We have the relevant experience to manage
this complex, logistical exercise."


Northern Ireland Secretary Tells Of 'Disappointment'

By Mark Sage, PA

Northern Ireland Secretary Paul Murphy said today he was
disappointed at the "deeply damaging" revelation of IRA involvement
in the Northern Bank raid.

"I am deeply disappointed the Provisional IRA continue to engage in
criminal activity despite the significant progress there has been
over the past few months in the political process," he said.

"As the Prime Minister said on Thursday, there is no ground for any
misunderstanding: There can be absolutely no place for terrorist
activity and there can be no place for criminal activity.

"The police will follow the evidence wherever it leads them and
anyone with any information should pass it to the police.


DUP MP Jeffrey Donaldson Said It Was Time For Mr Murphy To Consider
Restoring The Political Institutions With Sinn Fein Excluded.


Mr Donaldson told BBC Radio 4's World at One programme: "There is
just no way we can contemplate restoring the political institutions
with Sinn Fein in the executive in these circumstances.

"The Government has a choice here: they can either suspend the
entire political process in Northern Ireland and we all sit and
wait around for Sinn Fein to come clean, for Sinn Fein to make the
transition to democracy, or we can get on with the business of
governing in Northern Ireland.

"There is a provision within the Belfast Agreement, within the
regulations establishing the Independent Monitoring Commission, for
the Secretary of State to make a recommendation for a party to be
excluded from government.

"I think that it is time now for the Secretary of State to look at
this very carefully."

Mr Donaldson dismissed Sinn Fein protestations that the IRA were
not involved in the robbery.

"No-one in Northern Ireland, not even the dogs in the street,
believes that," he said.

"No-one believes them any more. They have lost credibility. For
Sinn Fein to deny this, when quite clearly the police are only
pursuing one line of inquiry ... Does anyone seriously believe Hugh
Orde would put his neck on the line and make a statement like he
has today and not have evidence for it?"

Mr Donaldson raised the prospect of some of the money from the
heist being used to fund Sinn Fein's campaign for the upcoming
general election, which he said would put other parties at a
serious disadvantage.


Opin: Rally Round The Flag, Boyos, To Celebrate 100 Years Of Hate

By Lindy McDowell
07 January 2005

Sean Russell lost the head at the weekend. A Dublin statue to the
old IRA man was attacked by a group of young anti-fascists and had
its head and right arm lopped off. Unfortunate timing, that, given
that 2005 is set to be such a big year for Sean's political

This year marks the centenary of the founding of Sinn Fein by
Arthur Griffith. Oddly enough, Sinn Fein are not the only political
party in Ireland now claiming the sadly unIrish sounding Mr
Griffiths as their own. Fianna Fail, Fine Gael, the PDs are just a
few of those who, for reasons too boring to go into, can also style
themselves the rightful heirs of old Arthur.

Needless to say though, Sinn Fein are set to make the most hay from
this year's centenary. So what are we to expect from 2005 - The
International Year of Caitriona Ruane? (Caitriona is officer co-
ordinating the centenary "celebrations.")

An exhibition, perhaps, on the theme One Hundred Years of Hate -
from colluding with Hitler to sectarian mass murder in Northern

Alas no.

What we are more likely to get is a 12-month long promotion on the
post-modern image of cuddly Sinn Fein as a bunch of politically
correct tree huggers. Sound as a Northern Bank £50 note, missus.

What we will get is Sinn Fein packaged in biodegradable fluffiness
and targeted primarily at an audience too young to remember the
horrors of the 30-plus years of the Troubles.

During those years the IRA was responsible for almost 2000 murders;
the vast majority innocent civilians, many targeted purely and
simply because they were Protestant.

The IRA was, and is, a hate-driven bunch of bigots. Sinn Fein was,
and is, no different. What are the chances though, of any of this
being reflected in this year's "celebrations"?

Will we be provided with, say, a monthly reminder of past IRA
atrocities - Teebane, Claudy, La Mon, Enniskillen, Tullyvallen, the
Shankill - with an accompanying recap on the "justification" the
Sinn Fein spokespersons of the day provided?

Of course not. Sinn Fein, aiming as it is for the youth vote, is
now loathe to draw attention to that bit on the CV of its armed
wing that features sectarian carnage.

It's OK for the young to be reminded of the hunger strikers. But
sssh, not a word to them about IRA victims.

This then will be a year big on murals but short on historical
accuracy. Adolf himself would be impressed with the propaganda.
Which brings me back to the hapless, and now headless, Sean

For Sean wasn't only a friend of Shinners but a big mate of Adolf
and the Nazis. During the Second World War as commanding officer of
the IRA he led a murder campaign in both the UK and Ireland.
England's difficulty and all that...

He eventually died on a U-boat (natural causes, allegedly.)

Now you would think that new millennium Sinn Fein would not wish to
be associated with Sean's sort.

Not a bit of it.

In 2003, Mary Lou McDonald, Sinn Fein MEP, spoke at a commemoration
to Russell in Dublin's Fairview Park where his statue still (just
about) stands. Also addressing that rally was leading IRA man Brian

But in Dublin, others have taken exception to their capital having
the dubious distinction of being the only city in Europe which
still boasts a statue of a Nazi collaborator.

And the fact that this is the Shinner centenary obviously did not
weigh so heavily with those young people, as did another

In 2005, Europe is commemorating the 60th anniversary of the
liberation of the Nazi death camps.

In a statement the statue beheaders point out: "Six million Jews,
thousands of political dissidents, homosexuals, Roma people, Soviet
prisoners of war and the disabled were put to death by the fascist
hate machine that overran and terrified Europe from 1939 to 1945.

"Sean Russell was one of many nationalist fanatics who looked to
Hitler for political and military support in the IRA's quest to
reunify Ireland at the point of the bayonets of the Gestapo.

It goes on: "Russell sought to overthrow the government of Eamon De
Valera by fomenting terror and sabotage in the shipyards and
munitions factories of Northern Ireland.

"In Belfast, IRA volunteers were ordered to help the Luftwaffe bomb
their own city at the cost of nearly 2,000 dead and thousands made

"At the Wannsee conference, the infamous Nazi gathering that
planned the 'Final Solution', the Jewish community in Ireland was
marked down for annihilation. Having freed Ireland from British
rule, the Nazis expected their collaborators in Sinn Fein and the
IRA to help them round up Dublin's Jews and ship them off to
Auschwitz. That was the price Sean Russell was prepared to pay to
end partition."

The statue of Sean, which was erected after the war by Sinn Fein
originally had its right arm raised in a Nazi style salute. This
arm, lopped off by communist protesters in the Fifties was later

How fitting that Sean and his decommissioned arms should, just as
the Shinners prepare to "celebrate" their centenary, hit the
headlines and remind the world of that party's true fascist roots.

As Tony himself might agree - however you try to spin it, you can
never quite escape from the hand of history.

Putting on a brave face

At the time of writing I cannot predict what Mr Orde will (finally)
disclose later today about the Northern Bank raid. But glad to hear
from you at last, Hugh.

For two weeks now I've asked in this column why our chief of police
has chosen not to make any public statement about the largest cash
heist in history. Perhaps today he'll tell us. Silence only fuels

When Tony Blair failed to break his holiday and speak out following
the tsunami horror, one bizarre rumour that went the rounds was
that he couldn't appear in public because he'd had a facelift.

You don't have to believe the rumour to appreciate that it speaks
volumes about the view some people have of our PM.

Equally, Hugh's silence has led to a rumour that it has been all
about putting a good face on our peace process.

And again you don't have to believe the rumour to appreciate how
this speaks volumes about the contempt in which some people hold
that process...


Police Reveal Plans To Deal With Adair

Paul Britton

POLICE have outlined their plans to deal with convicted Loyalist
terrorist Johnny "Mad Dog" Adair if he travels to Greater
Manchester after his release from prison.

It is understood that Adair, the former commander of the Ulster
Defence Association, will be freed from Northern Ireland high-
security Maghaberry jail within weeks.

Greater Manchester Police have confirmed they believe there is a
"reasonable chance" he will travel to Bolton to see his wife Gina,
who is suffering from ovarian cancer.

A band of more than 20 Adair sympathisers fled from Loyalist in-
fighting in Belfast to travel to Bolton two years ago. His family
and four children still live in Horwich.

Chief Supt Dave Lea, head of Bolton Police, said Adair would be
visited by a specialist team of officers within 24 hours if he
arrives in Bolton. His actions are likely to be monitored closely.

Chief Supt Lea said: "My officers will not allow people to break
the law, no matter who they are. We have a proven track record of
bringing serious criminals to justice. We welcome anyone to Bolton
if their intention is to lead a responsible law-abiding life.


"However, should people engage in anti-social behaviour or choose
not to abide by the law, we will tackle them using all available
legislation. We will not tolerate criminal behaviour from anyone."

Police revealed they are expecting to be notified a week in advance
of Adair's release. It would be the third time he has been released
from a prison sentence.

Adair was returned to jail two years ago to serve the remainder of
a 16-year sentence imposed for directing terrorism. He was
previously freed under the terms of the Good Friday agreement but
his licence was revoked for activities relating to terrorism.

Adair, 40, took command of the UDA's notorious C Company during the

Gunshots were fired at Mrs Adair's windows and front door in
Chorley Old Road, just two months after she arrived.

The attack was linked to the Ulster Freedom Fighters. An alleged
plot to detonate a car bomb under one of Adaire's Bolton-based
compatriots was also foiled when the device failed to detonate.

Overall Table of Contents
Table of Contents - Jan 2005

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