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January 29, 2005

01/28/05 – NewsWeek Interview with Gerry Adams

Overall Table of Contents
Table of Contents - Jan 2005

NW 01/28/05 Sinn Fein Head Worries About Robbery Fallout
GR 01/28/05 McAleese Apologises For Nazi Remarks -V
SF 01/28/05 Maskey Brands Reaction To Comments Hysterical
IT 01/29/05 Unionists, C Of I Welcome Apology
IM 01/28/05 Bogside Solidarity With Iraq & Palestine Continues
IS 01/28/05 Britain Turning Into Police State: Report
IO 01/28/05 New CCTV Footage Of Northern Bank Robbery Van Found
BT 01/28/05 Sinn Fein And SDLP Fight Over Polling Stations
WP 01/28/05 Boston Haunted By Mobster Who Disappeared
IO 01/28/05 Man Dies Trying To Save Neighbour From Blaze –V


Adams – No evidence to substantiate robbery charge
Adams: No evidence to substantiate robbery charge
Jim Watson / AFP-Getty Images

Sinn Fein Head Worries About Robbery Fallout

Hoping to get Northern Ireland peace talks back on track, Gerry Adams met this week with the Irish and British prime ministers

By Sarah Sennott

Updated: 6:35 p.m. ET Jan. 28, 2005Jan. 28 - Gerry Adams, leader of Northern Ireland’s largest national party, Sinn Fein, has long been a pivotal figure in the country’s peace process. Breakthrough talks to revive the province’s power-sharing government seemed on the cusp of success late last year. But peace moves suffered a major setback this month when Northern Ireland’s chief constable blamed the IRA—the paramilitary group commonly associated with Sinn Fein—for carrying out one of the UK’s largest bank robberies on Dec. 20. Irish Prime Minister Bertie Ahern and British Prime Minister Tony Blair immediately expressed deep concern over the attribution. On Tuesday, Adams met with Ahern for the first time since the $50 million heist. NEWSWEEK’S Sarah Sennott sat down with Adams this week when he was in London, prior to his meeting Friday with Blair. Excerpts:

NEWSWEEK: How do you explain your stance that the IRA was not involved in the bank robbery?

Gerry Adams: I didn’t deny IRA involvement. The IRA denied it and I believe them. Arguably the job of a chief constable is to investigate and catch the perpetrators of the robbery. Arguably he is obliged to give an opinion. He gave an opinion. Some people believe him.

Including both the Irish and British Prime Ministers.

I would be surprised if they didn’t. The chief constable could be acting in good faith. He could have some intelligence, but intelligence has been wrong in the past. He could be wrong. There is not one shred of evidence to substantiate this. The whodunit is intriguing, but I’ve been working on this for three weeks, and I have moved on. It’s the consequences that I am now concerned [with]. There are anti-republic elements out there. There are anti-republic elements in the British and Irish political system. And now we are in a maelstrom that is debilitating the process.

How concerned are you about the political ramifications of this row?

We won’t know until there is an election. There is a certain media view and there is a public view. This is all anecdotal, but we think people value the contribution that Sinn Fein has made in the political process. They think we are doing our best, and they see that there is a lot of public politicking going on.

Recent opinion polls show your popularity has decreased by nine points.

For a long time I have taken a view that I don’t count on opinion polls. Politicians generally seize upon the ones that favor them and dismiss those that are unfavorable. In this case, it is hardly surprising. There has been a daily campaign against Sinn Fein. But the real opinion poll will be when we get to elections.

Adams & McGuinness Adams & McGuinness

Do you plan to run for the Irish presidency?

No, there is no plan, at any time in my life. I have a responsibility at this time. It is a challenging job with huge responsibility. I have no intentions in politics other than to bring about change.

Wouldn’t running for president fall under that?

I also have a life. I want to write and play music and walk the dog. You have to judge success of the Sinn Fein party, not on the seats that SF has. It is how we use the political mandate. If I was asked how to judge Sinn Fein over the last 10 years, I would have to measure it by how we have brought about justice and the change in people’s lives.

The press has reported your meeting with Ahern as “angry.” Did you feel the meeting with Ahern was tense?

The government presented the meeting as though Sinn Fein was going to be brought to heel. I have known the Taoiseach for a very long time now. We had a robust discussion, but it wasn’t an angry discussion.

Do you think the nature of the meeting with Blair will be different?

There is an edge in terms of domestic politics in Ireland that isn’t there in relation to the British PM. I have huge concerns about the British government and my country. In my view the “legitimate” partition of my country is illegitimate and all of the violence and the by-products of that are what has destroyed people’s minds and created awful difficulties of our society. So when I meet with a Prime Minister, even a benign one, I come very mindful as an Irish person of all that. I have to say that Mr. Blair, even though he didn’t have much confrontation, has been more head and shoulders than any other PM about dealing with this issue of equality in Ireland. I think he knows how close we are to sorting these matters out. I think he knows when things are most difficult—that is when you have to show your metal. No doubt this is a low point in this process, but any attempt by the tabloid media here or by any parts of the government to depict this as Sinn Fein being involved [in the bank heist] is just rubbish.

Every year the White House has a St. Patrick’s celebration. Have you been asked this year?

No one is invited until closer to St. Patrick’s Day. There is a spin at the moment that we may be disinvited or something, but I’ve heard no talk of that. My friend and colleague, Gerry Kelly, is in Washington, meeting with the State Department and Congressmen, and members of the Irish-American community this week.

Why are they there?

We do them regularly. We had asked Rita O’Hare, our U.S. representative, to arrange a round of briefings given the fall down of the December [peace] efforts. There has been a helpful involvement by this and the Clinton administration. We are planning on going there around St. Patrick’s Day, and there are a series of events planned over about nine days.

© 2005 Newsweek, Inc.


 Mary McAleese
Mary McAleese has been criticised by unionists

McAleese clarifies controversial remarks - Brendan Wright reports on the response to the comments and the apology of the President

McAleese Apologises For Nazi Remarks -V

Paul Marinko and Angelique Chrisafis
Saturday January 29, 2005
The Guardian

Mary McAleese, the Irish president, publicly apologised last night for offending Protestants after she compared the Nazi's hatred of Jews to prejudice against Catholics in Northern Ireland.

Ms McAleese said she was deeply sorry for the remarks she made on Thursday's 60th anniversary of the liberation of Auschwitz, in Poland.

"The words I used were clumsy," she said.

"The last thing I would want to do is to create the impression that sectarianism came from only one side of the community."

Ms McAleese had caused outrage among unionist politicians when she said in a radio interview that the Nazis "gave to their children an irrational hatred of Jews in the same way that the people in Northern Ireland transmitted to their children an irrational hatred of Catholics".

She said she had been absolutely devastated by the impact her comments had had on unionists.

Her apology came as Tony Blair warned Sinn Féin that it would be locked out of a Northern Ireland devolved government unless the IRA gave up crime and violence.

At a meeting with the Sinn Féin president, Gerry Adams, at Chequers, Mr Blair said he "accepted fully" the verdict of Northern Ireland's chief constable, Hugh Orde, that the IRA had been responsible for last month's £26.5m bank robbery in Belfast, the biggest heist in British history.

Mr Adams said he believed the IRA's denial of involvement in the crime, adding that any attempt to freeze out the largest nationalist party would be a mistake.


Maskey Brands Unionist Reaction To President McAleese's Comments As Hysterical

Published: 28 January, 2005

Sinn Féin South Belfast MLA, Alex Maskey, has described as "hysterical" the reaction of unionist politicians to the comments of President Mary McAleese.

Mr Maskey said, "No-one has done more than President Mary McAleese to build bridges between unionism and nationalism and between our tragic past and a new future. But Unionism is in total denial about the history of this state. The most senior leaders of Unionism routinely practised and encouraged institutionalised anti-catholic discrimination. Unionist leaders to this day refuse to acknowledge that discrimination ever happened.

"There are, of course, many people, including many unionists, working to overcome these out-dated attitudes but the leadership of Unionism, particularly of the DUP brand, needs to face up to the fact that its has, both past and present, promoted the anti-catholic bigotry and prejudice which has characterised the 6 county state since its creation". ENDS


Unionists, C Of I Welcome Apology

Dan Keenan, Northern News Editor

The apology from the President, Mrs McAleese, was welcomed and accepted by unionists, the Orange Order and the Church of Ireland last night.

The Orange Order had cancelled a meeting with the President scheduled for March in protest. However, a spokesman said last night: "The Orange Order is obviously delighted she has apologies for her deeply unfortunate remarks made on Thursday."

He added: "The volume of calls Schomberg House [Orange Order headquarters] had today was just extraordinary - I have never seen such reaction in five years."

There was no rush to review the decision made by the order yesterday to cancel the meeting in Dublin to deal with matters relating to the order in the Republic. It is understood that while the order at official level took a deeply critical position on the President's remarks, some members felt the meeting should go ahead.

The former Church of Ireland Archdeacon of Dublin, the Rev Gordon Linney, welcomed the apology and called for the matter to be left behind. "I think the President's latest remarks are indeed helpful and characteristically gracious," he said.

"I think we should thank her for moving the situation forward. People on all sides should accept that the matter has been dealt with and move on," he added.

Unionists from many parties approved of her apology. Mr Michael McGimpsey, a former UUP minister in the Executive, said: "This puts the matter to rest - the sooner we forget about it and get on with what needs to be done the better." He added: "I think it took some courage to make her apology. Least said, soonest mended."

Ms Arlene Foster, a DUP Assembly member for Fermanagh-South Tyrone, also welcomed the apology. "I'm happy she has apologised," she said. "She's a very intelligent woman and she shouldn't have made those remarks in the first place. She hurt a lot of ordinary Protestants, myself included. I was hurt and I was angry."

Ms Foster, who left the Ulster Unionists for the DUP along with Mr Jeffrey Donaldson 12 months ago, said she did not think the damage caused would be repaired quickly. "I don't think it will be put behind us easily," she said, adding that ground could be made up but it "will need a lot of hard work".

Mr David Ervine, the Progressive Unionist Party leader, doubted that the hurt felt by many unionists would be healed easily. "The damage is massive and the questions are massive," he said.

The Alliance leader, Mr David Ford, said: "The President's fulsome apology clearly demonstrates that she recognises the hurt caused by her careless language. I don't think that anyone who knows the work she has done could have possibly believed some of the interpretations placed on those words and her apology is clear and unambiguous."

The SDLP leader, Mr Mark Durkan, who defended the President robustly yesterday, welcomed her statement.

© The Irish Times


Free Derry
Free Derry

Bogside Week Of Solidarity With Iraq & Palestine Continues Saturday And Sunday

by Shane OCurry - Pat Finucane Centre / Bloody Sunday Week End Committee Friday, Jan 28 2005, 10:54pm address:

Bloody Sunday Memorial Service at the Bloody Sunday Monument, Sunday at 11.30am Sharp

Complete Events Listings Here

Community activists paint the Palestinian colours onto Free Derry Wall, an internationally recognised symbol of popular resistance to imperialism, in preparation for two panel discussions. The first, scheduled for this thursday evening and entitled "from the Bogside to Basra" will feature Dr Abdul Al-Jibouri, an Iraqi scientist living in Derry, as well as Eddy Cherry, a former British soldier and war resister. The second, to be held on Saturday, entitled "At a Cross Roads", is a comparative discussion about the road blocks on the road maps to peace in Palestine and Ireland respectively. The speakers are Dr Jamal Zahalka, a Palestinian member of the Israeli Knesset (parliament) and Mitchel McLaughlin, MLA, chairperson of Sinn Féin. (details of both events below)

"From Bogside to Basra": A Panel Discussion with;

Eddy Cherry, a former British Soldier, stationed in Derry in the early 90’s and now a leading member of ‘Ex Soldiers Against The War’,

Dr Abdul Al-Jibouri an Iraqi scientist, living in Derry

Paul O’Connor, Coordinator of The Pat Finucane Centre, Derry.

7.00 - 8.30 pm at The Gasyard Centre Thursday 27 Jan, followed by screening of Divine Intervention (see programme)

We have often heard British media coverage of the war in Iraq refer to the superiority of the British Army to the task (when compared with the US Army) “because of their unique experience in Northern Ireland.” This tells us how effective the mainstream media’s reporting of the British Army’s role here has been in airbrushing out, or putting to one side, the many incidents that reveal them as an oppressive occupying power as opposed to the peacekeeping force they portrayed themselves as being.

So it is fitting, as they again cast themselves as peacekeepers in Iraq, cynically exploiting that ‘unique experience’ here, that the city that suffered Bloody Sunday should use our experience of occupation to critically reflect on what we’ve learned and use this to both better understand the plight of the peoples of Iraq and what we can do to support them here. Clearly for example, recent revelations of what the British Army have been at inside detention centres in Basra, has strong echoes of Palace Barracks, Belfast in the early 1970’s.

To focus the discussion through the lens of Bloody Sunday and Fallujah where 13 civilians where shot dead by US Paratroopers at a peaceful protest on 30th April 2003 This event will open with a short 15 minute documentary on ‘The Siege of Fallujah’. This will be followed by three contrasting perspectives from our guest speakers before being opened up to the floor.

"At A Cross Roads"

Palestine & Ireland - Road Maps & Road Blocks to Peace
Venue: Calgach Centre
Date: Saturday 29th January 05
Time: 7.30pm
Speaker from Palestine: Dr Jamal Zahalka.

Dr Zahalka is a Palestinian MP who sits in the Israeli Knesset.

Dr Zahalka has been centrally involved in the struggle for truth and justice around Israel’s own Bloody Sunday against the Palestinian people.

As Palestinians living inside Israel came out onto the streets in support of their comrades staging of a second intifada in the occupied territories, the Israeli police force opened fire shooting 13 people dead. Since that day in October 2000 Jamal Zahalka has been working closely with the families of the dead in their efforts to take a legal case against the Israeli police force and its government.

Dr Zahalka will speak on life as a Palestinian living inside Israel, on Israel’s murderous occupation of Palestinian land and its ruthless response to Palestinian resistance through its intifada. He will also speak on the current situation and the future direction for the peace process following the tragic death of President Arafat and the election of Mahmoud Abbas as the new leader of the Palestinian people.

Also speaking will be Mitchel McLaughlin, MLA, Chairperson of Sinn Féin.
for a full timetable of week's events see:


 British Home Secretary Charles Clarke
British Home Secretary Charles Clarke

Britain Turning Into Police State: Report

CAIRO, January 28 ( – Home Secretary Charles Clarke is turning Britain into a police state, the country’s former anti-terrorist police chief said, shortly after British officials proposed new extensive powers to control and monitor suspects without charge or trial, according to a major British daily Friday, January 28.

“I have a horrible feeling that we are sinking into a police state, and that's not good for anybody. We live in a democracy and we should police on those standards,” George Churchill-Coleman told the Guardian.

Churchill-Coleman headed Scotland Yard's anti-terrorist squad as they worked to counter the Irish Republican Army (IRA) during their mainland attacks in the late 1980s and early 1990s.

He said Clarke's proposals to extend powers, such as indefinite house arrest, were “not practical” and threatened to further marginalize minority communities.

“I have serious worries and concerns about these ideas on both ethical and practical terms. You cannot lock people up just because someone says they are terrorists. Internment didn't work in Northern Ireland, it won't work now. You need evidence.”

Churchill-Coleman’s team had to counter IRA cells which mounted the 1991 mortar attack on Downing Street. His criticism comes as Clarke attempts to convince cabinet colleagues about the need for new powers.

Clarke said in a cabinet presentation this week that the measures proposed would also include restrictions on the use of cell phones and the Internet and would allow curfews, tagging and a ban on contact with certain individuals.


The home secretary has already shown an appetite for the kind of political language favored by his predecessor, David Blunkett, to justify the tools he says the state needs to fight the so-called war against terror.

In an interview in today’s Daily Telegraph, he claimed the need to monitor not only alleged terror suspects but their family, friends and acquaintances.

They could be subjected to potentially daily searches even though they are not accused of any crime, he said -- much to raise criticism for the proposals.

Clarke's proposals face a hazardous passage through both houses of parliament as MPs and peers seek to condemn what some regard as a draconian extension of state power.

It is believed that some of the government's own law officers have reservations about the details of the new powers, which are needed to ensure it survives any expected legal challenge under the human rights convention, according to the Guardian.

Guy Mansfield QC, the chairman of the Bar Council, said Thursday, January 17, that house arrest without trial was as damaging as imprisonment without trial and would breed resentment among ethnic minorities.

The leftwing Labour MP and QC, Bob Marshall-Andrews, called the proposals “the most substantial extension of the state's executive powers over the citizen for 300 years”.

He predicted the bill could face a Labour backbench revolt of up to 70 MPs, according to the daily.

“Temporary restrictions upon a subject’s liberty are only legitimate as long as a criminal charge and trial are in prospect,” said Shami Chakrabarti, director of Liberty, a London-based human rights group.

Blair’s Support

Despite the massive criticisms, Tony Blair mounted a strong defense in favor of the proposed measures.

“I pay great attention to the civil liberties of the country. But on the other hand, it is also right that there is a new form of global terrorism in our country, in every other European country and most countries around the world,” he said, speaking from the World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland.

The measures were designed to address legal challenges to a post-Sept/11 law under which the government has kept 11 foreign nationals, all of them Arab Muslims, imprisoned without charges for as long as three years for allegedly posing a threat to national security.

Under the law used to lock up the 11 men, foreign citizens living in Britain who were suspected of terrorism but who faced the prospect of torture or execution if they were deported to their home countries could be held indefinitely.

The measure was declared illegal last month by the Law Lords, a panel of judges who act as Britain's highest court of appeals and who ruled that it violated the European Convention on Human Rights.

The nine Law Lords said the law was discriminatory because it applied only to foreign nationals, not to British citizens, and because it was not proportional to the potential security threat posed by the men.

In their written judgments, some of the Law Lords branded the law a totalitarian measure that threatened fundamental freedoms.

Human rights advocates have dubbed Belmarsh prison in London, where terror suspects are held, “Britain's Guantanamo”, a reference to the US military detention facility in Cuba where about 550 foreign suspects have been imprisoned indefinitely, according to Washington Post Thursday.

Senior British parliamentarians admitted last August that anti-terrorism laws are being used “disproportionately” against Muslims.

Muslims in the country have already complaining that they are maltreated by police under the Terrorism Act for no apparent reason other than being Muslim, citing the routine stop-and-search operations.


The van, bottom left, is seen close to the bank

New CCTV Footage Of Northern Bank Robbery Van Found
2005-01-28 20:50:04+00

Detectives have discovered new footage of the van used in the £26.5m (€37.8m) Northern Bank robbery, it emerged tonight.

Officers trawling through thousands of hours of CCTV images spotted the white box-type vehicle near a retail centre at Lisburn, County Antrim, on the night thieves looted the vaults.

The sighting at the Sprucefield complex just off the M1 motorway could yield a breakthrough for police attempting to establish where the gang went following the raid on the Northern's cash distribution centre in Belfast.

Officers are investigating the possibility that the van was stolen in Wales weeks before the December 20 heist which has been blamed on the IRA.

Police have already said that the van crossed over the border into the North hours before the robbery took place.

But now they know that after the gang used two members of staff to load up with cash while their families were held hostage, the thieves headed back on to the motorway which is one of the main routes into the Republic of Ireland.

A PSNI spokeswoman confirmed the sighting was at just before 8.50pm.

Up to 45 detectives and more than a dozen extra support staff have been drafted into the huge investigation into one of the world's biggest cash bank robberies.

Even though the IRA and Sinn Féin leaders Gerry Adams and Martin McGuinness have rejected Chief Constable Hugh Orde's assessment that the Provisionals were behind the operation, the allegation has shattered any attempts to restore Northern Ireland's power-sharing administration.


Sinn Fein And SDLP Fight Over Polling Stations

Parties clash over election

By Brian Hutton
28 January 2005

A row has erupted between two first time hopefuls standing in Londonderry's upcoming council elections over how difficult it may be for people to vote for them.

Sinn Fein's Oliver Green and the SDLP's Seana Hume have crossed swords, without a single vote yet cast, over the possible withdrawal of some polling stations in the city.

The Electoral Office is to decide next month on whether some polling stations on Derry's west bank should be withdrawn as a result of violence during past elections.

The SDLP "called for and acquiesced with" recently introduced legislation which would allow for such closures, according to Sinn Fein newcomer Mr Green.

The Galliagh-based contender accused his SDLP counterpart of being complicit in plans to "disenfranchise" thousands of voters.

"The SDLP now claim to oppose this legislation yet are happy to go along with the closure of local stations, a decision they will again later regret," he said.

He added: "The solution to polling day violence is simple: remove the PSNI from polling stations and instigate a secure civilian method of removing ballot boxes from polling stations."

But the SDLP's Ms Hume, niece of the former party leader John Hume, branded her opposite number as "naïve" and called for Sinn Fein to join her party in bringing an end to violence.

"The SDLP are fully committed to ensuring that the people of this city can vote at polling stations close to their home," said Ms Hume.

"We want all polling stations to remain open.

"In November we met with the Electoral Office and issued statements to that effect.

"It is complete lies to suggest that we in the SDLP support the closure of polling stations.

"The people who attack the police on the polling day are the same people who believe that it is OK to attack the Roads Service and other emergency services, as has happened over the past number of weeks."

She added: "Sinn Fein's Oliver Green is naïve to think that this is just a policing problem, he knows it is not.

"We need a coherent and comprehensive approach to this wider problem. I would call on Sinn Fein to join us in our attempts to bring an end to these types of attacks and build safer streets and communities."


James J. Bulger, as he looked in the 1980s and, at right, as the Bulger Fugitive Task Force believes he looks today. He was last spotted in 2002, in London. (FBI Photos Via AP)

Boston Haunted By Mobster Who Disappeared

Linked to 21 Killings, James Bulger Informed on Rivals to the FBI Before Vanishing 10 Years Ago

By Jonathan Finer
Washington Post Staff Writer
Saturday, January 29, 2005; Page A03

BOSTON -- He is Boston's boogeyman. A fugitive. A phantom. And a fixture since 2000 on the FBI's "Ten Most Wanted Fugitives" list.

James J. "Whitey" Bulger, the mobster and government informant linked to 21 killings, vanished from this city with his girlfriend days before a warrant was issued for his arrest 10 years ago this month.

Since then, the investigation into his crime ring has ensnared dozens of former associates, friends and family members, generating 27 cases and 59 convictions. But, to the torment of his victims' families, his whereabouts remain a mystery, despite a $1 million government bounty and "sightings" in 44 states and on five continents.

"The only piece of the puzzle that's left right now is Bulger. Just about everybody else's been rounded up and adjudicated," said Thomas J. Foley, who retired as superintendent of the Massachusetts State Police last May after leading its investigation for 14 years. "Ten years ago I said, 'Yeah, we'll get him.' I never expected he'd be out this long, but I still hope and feel he'll be caught and brought to justice, so we can have an accounting of what he did and give some closure to those families."

A product of the tight-knit Irish enclave of South Boston, Bulger rose through this city's criminal ranks with brutality, charisma and, it was later revealed, a willingness to rat out rivals. According to court documents, he became a bookmaker, a thief, a drug peddler, a gun smuggler for the Irish Republican Army, and a hit man handy with a knife. The plot twists of Bulger's grisly reign atop Boston's Winter Hill Gang and his disappearance are as familiar to residents of this region as reruns of the "Godfather" trilogy.

"What makes this story so different from other big-city mobsters was his involvement with the feds," said Dick Lehr, a former Boston Globe reporter and co-author of the book "Black Mass: The True Story of an Unholy Alliance Between the FBI and the Irish Mob," which describes how Bulger, now a white-haired 75, fed information to agents about his rivals in the Italian Mafia in exchange for the government's tacit protection.

"Here's a guy whose reputation has undergone a complete makeover from this Robin Hood-style mob boss with the skills of a Houdini, to now the ultimate snitch, betrayer, murderer, drug dealer," Lehr said. "There's been an enormous correction in terms of his public image."

Many of the main characters in the Bulger saga have fallen on hard times since he disappeared.

Former FBI agent John Connolly, who grew up next door to Bulger in South Boston and was his official handler beginning in 1975, is serving a 10-year prison term for tipping off the mobster that his arrest was imminent, allowing him to flee Boston, just before Christmas in 1994.

Stephen J. "The Rifleman" Flemmi, who led the Winter Hill Gang alongside Bulger and collaborated on many of the killings, was sentenced last January to life in prison.

Former Boston FBI agent H. Paul Rico, 78, died in police custody a year ago, before he could face charges that he had conspired with Bulger and Flemmi to commit a murder.

Bulger's youngest brother, John "Jackie" Bulger, pleaded guilty in 2003 to two counts each of perjury and obstruction of justice.

And William M. Bulger -- who presided over the Massachusetts state Senate from 1978 to 1996 while his brother Whitey ruled the Boston underworld -- was forced to resign as president of the University of Massachusetts system in 2003, after sparking outrage by invoking his right to silence when asked about his brother's activities during a 2003 congressional inquiry.

But despite the roundup that authorities assert crushed the Irish mob in Boston and stamped out the corruption that had plagued the city's FBI office, one question still haunts investigators and Bostonians: Where's Whitey?

At a news conference last month, members of the Bulger Fugitive Task Force -- which is made up of representatives from several state and federal agencies -- provided a rare update into the progress of their investigation, which, according to the Boston Herald, involves 13 agents and spends more money than the rest of Boston's FBI units combined.

According to a timeline of his activities provided during that briefing, Bulger was last spotted in London in 2002. He is believed to be in good health and still accompanied by his girlfriend, Catherine Elizabeth Greig. Since his disappearance he is known to have taken out a one-year health club membership in London and opened safe-deposit boxes there and in Ireland. Since Jan. 1, 2004, about 100 Bulger look-alikes have been spotted, about half of them abroad. None panned out.

Investigators also displayed a collection of Bulger's possessions seized over the years, including books on travel in Europe and the Caribbean and on military history, a pouch of collectible coins, a journal that discusses LSD experiments Bulger participated in while in prison on Alcatraz Island in the 1950s and 1960s, four knives, a skull ring, and Irish and U.S. passports.

"Anniversaries usually are cause for celebration, but this milestone certainly is not," U.S. Attorney Michael Sullivan said that day. "Ten years is too long."

The families of many of Bulger's victims agree, though many doubt he will ever be apprehended alive and question the resolve to track him down.

"If they wanted to find him, they'd have found him by now. They are afraid of who else he might give up," said Chris Carrabino, 28, who was just a year old when Bulger and Flemmi allegedly killed his grandfather Richard J. Castucci, a Revere, Mass., bar owner and FBI informant.

"To be honest, it is almost too painful to think about. Every time it breaks my heart," said Larry Wheeler, whose father, Roger, was gunned down by a hit man allegedly on Bulger's orders 23 years ago in Tulsa. "Yes, he is on the most-wanted list, but there are a number of people who think he is the least-wanted person. Every arrest has just shown more corruption."

The Boston FBI and U.S. attorney's office, which rarely grant interviews on Bulger, declined to comment. Foley, who said his department and the FBI led parallel and often competing investigations into the Winter Hill Gang for many years, said the victims' skepticism is justified.

"For a long time, the investigation was compromised by resistance on the part of the FBI. Some of them were friends of Connolly and were still trying to protect him and Bulger," Foley said. "Whether it was wiretaps on cell phones or whatever, [Bulger] was always apprised of what we were doing. It was very difficult for me during the whole time period."

At the December news conference, Kenneth Kaiser, the special agent in charge of the Boston FBI office, which has undergone significant turnover since Bulger disappeared in the mid-1990s, said: "Forget about the grand conspiracy theories that we've got something to hide. We don't. I've got a commitment to this city to get this thing resolved."

Foley said he is not optimistic about that happening any time soon. "On a couple of occasions we thought we might have had opportunities [to catch Bulger], but we were always a month or two behind," he said. "It only gets harder because the older he gets, people start to look alike and become harder to identify. By now he can probably blend in pretty easily, wherever he is."


Two die in fire at Derry house - Declan McBennett reports on the deadly blaze at the house in Derry

Man Dies Trying To Save Neighbour From Blaze -V

28/01/2005 - 16:06:47

A man died in a failed attempt to rescue his neighbour from a house fire, it emerged today.

Both Eamon Bradley and Ann McBride were killed trying to flee a burning bungalow in Derry, Northern Ireland.

Fire crews found their bodies just behind the front door of the end terrace property.

Friends and relatives praised Mr Bradley’s bravery after learning he rushed to Ms McBride’s aid.

The woman phoned him after discovering a blaze had broke out at her home in Cashel Hill Park.

His brother, Seamus, said Mr Bradley had been helping her in recent weeks.

“She’d been having problems. He had been fitting locks to her house for security reasons,” he said.

“He got a phone call to say she had taken a fit and collapsed and when she woke up the bedroom was on fire. He went up to try to pull her out.”

It is understood the blaze started in one of the two bedrooms at around 3.30am.

District Fire Commander Willie Lynch said the dense smoke would have overwhelmed the victims.

“Gases given off go for the nervous system and you just collapse,” he insisted.

“You could be making your way to the door and thinking I can make this but all of a sudden the lights go out, it hits you that quick.

“The man and woman were dead when our firefighters found them. They had definitely been trying to escape.”

A smoke alarm had been fitted in the house but it was unclear whether it had gone off. No one else was in the property, where Ms McBride lived alone.

Although the cause of the fire was still under investigation, fire chiefs believe it may have started accidentally.

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Table of Contents - Jan 2005

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