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September 25, 2005

BBC: IRA Decommissioning Is Confirmed

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BB 09/25/05 IRA Decommissioning Is Confirmed
IT 09/26/05 Full Disarmament By IRA To Be Confirmed Today
IT 09/26/05 Reaction From Ahern And Blair Seen As Crucial
IT 09/26/05 Decommissioning: What Was Involved
IT 09/26/05 Chronology Of Provisional IRA Disarmament
IT 09/26/05 Arms Move Difficult For Republicans, Says Adams
SF 09/25/05 McGuinness -Ireland On Cusp Of Historic Advance
IT 09/26/05 Robinson Demands Full Transparency
UR 09/25/05 Were British Planting Bombs In Basra?
IT 09/26/05 Man’s Life Ruined After Wrongly Conviction
IT 09/26/05 Voters Are Split On 'Colombia 3' – Poll
IT 09/26/05 Action Against Use Of Shannon By US Troops
IT 09/26/05 Tyrone Win Their 2nd Title And Do It For Cormac


IRA Decommissioning Is Confirmed

A report confirming that IRA decommissioning has been
completed is to be given to the British and Irish
governments on Monday.

General John de Chastelain, head of the body overseeing the
disarmament, is then expected to give a news conference
with the two independent witnesses.

The churchmen who witnessed the process were Catholic
priest Father Alex Reid and ex-Methodist president Harold

The IRA announced an end to its armed campaign in July.

The republican organisation said it would follow a
democratic path ending more than 30 years of violence.

Statements are also expected on Monday from the IRA, both
governments and Sinn Fein President Gerry Adams.

Earlier on Sunday, Northern Ireland Secretary Peter Hain
said any move on IRA decommissioning must be credible
enough to convince unionists.

"The people of Northern Ireland will want to see it
actually implemented," he said.

He said once unionists knew decommissioning was credible
and had been put in place, moves could be made towards
restoring devolved government in Northern Ireland.

General de Chastelain, Andrew Sens and Tauno Nieminen - the
commissioners of the Independent International Commission
on Decommissioning - have been in Ireland overseeing the
latest round of decommissioning since the beginning of

BBC Northern Ireland security editor Brian Rowan said a
meeting between the general and the IRA in July had started
this latest process of decommissioning.

Story from BBC NEWS:
Published: 2005/09/25 17:38:01 GMT


Full Disarmament By IRA To Be Confirmed Today

Gen John de Chastelain will officially confirm today that
the IRA has fully and verifiably decommissioned its
weapons. This paves the way for a return to viable
political negotiations aimed at restoring devolution to
Northern Ireland, writes Gerry Moriarty, Northern Editor.

This morning Gen de Chastelain will formally notify the
British and Irish governments that he has overseen the IRA
putting beyond use its huge stockpiles of Kalashnikovs,
Semtex explosives, mortars, machine guns and other

"I am confident that tomorrow will bring the final chapter
on the issue of IRA arms," Sinn Féin's chief negotiator
Martin McGuinness said last night. "I believe that Ireland
stands on the cusp of a truly historic advance and I hope
that people across the island will respond positively in
the time ahead," he added.

This afternoon in the Culloden Hotel just outside Belfast
Gen de Chastelain will join his colleagues, Andrew Sens and
Brig Tauno Nieminen in the Independent International
Commission on Decommissioning (IICD) to publicly announce
that after more than 30 years the Provisional IRA has

A Catholic and a Protestant cleric will also issue
statements in the hotel confirming that they can verify
that disarmament took place. They are understood to be
Redemptorist priest Fr Alex Reid, who was an important go-
between in the lead-up to the 1994 IRA ceasefire, and
former Methodist president the Rev Harold Good.

At the British Labour Party conference in Brighton on
Wednesday, Northern Secretary Peter Hain is expected to
announce a number of unionist confidence-building measures
aimed at persuading the DUP to at least adopt a guarded,
non-dismissive response to the IRA move.

Mr Hain is due to announce the appointment of a victims'
commissioner, rate relief for Orange Order halls and
financial support for Ulster-Scots culture. "All the
announcements around IRA decommissioning will be completed
by Wednesday at the latest," a senior source told The Irish

Mr McGuinness, who is travelling to Washington tomorrow,
has portrayed this IRA decommissioning, which was promised
in the IRA's July 28th statement announcing the end of its
armed campaign, as even more historically and politically
significant than the IRA ceasefire of 1994. The British and
Irish governments hope that over a reasonable period of
time the DUP will engage in negotiations with Sinn Féin,
leading to a restoration of the Northern Executive and
Assembly by sometime next year, or possibly by 2007.

Key to creating the conditions for talks next year is that
unionist politicians and the unionist community believe
that IRA activity is over and that disarmament is

DUP deputy leader Peter Robinson said that the IRA must
"maximise the transparency" of decommissioning.

Republican, Dublin and London sources have indicated that,
unlike the decommissioning event of October 2003, when the
IRA prevented Gen de Chastelain disclosing details of what
weapons were put beyond use, the IRA this time will be more

On RTÉ's This Week programme yesterday Minister for Foreign
Affairs Dermot Ahern was asked would this be "full and
final" IRA decommissioning. "From everything that I have
heard and from everything that I have understood from our
own security services, yes, the answer to that question is
yes," he replied. Mr Hain said it should be possible to
make political progress after IRA decommissioning.

Unionists, however, had to be convinced that IRA activity
had ended and the organisation had genuinely put all its
weapons beyond use. "It's got to be credible. People have
got to see that there's the biggest dumping of arms and the
getting rid of the IRA's arsenal than ever before," he told
the BBC's Politics Programme yesterday. Mr Hain said there
was much distrust and suspicion, particularly among
unionists, about the IRA's intentions. "Once they know it's
credible and clear, then I think we can move forward," he

© The Irish Times


Reaction From Ahern And Blair Seen As Crucial

Mark Brennock, Chief Political Correspondent

The Government is expected to respond later today to the
report from Gen de Chastelain that IRA decommissioning has
now been completed, in a statement that will play an
important role in determining the political impact of the

The Independent International Commission on Decommissioning
(IICD) will brief the Irish and British governments this
morning on what has taken place, before announcing the
details publicly at 2pm. A Government spokeswoman said last
night they did not know what the report was going to say
and that they were awaiting it before commenting.

The IICD told the Government yesterday afternoon that it
believed decommissioning had now been completed and that it
would report to the Government today in more detail. Most
or all of the putting of weapons beyond use is believed to
have taken place in the Republic of Ireland.

With the DUP apparently preparing to dismiss the IRA move
as inadequate because of the lack of proof of what has
happened, the degree to which the Irish and British
governments are impressed is regarded as crucial.

If the two governments say they are convinced that total
decommissioning has taken place, as has been required by
them over a long period, this will contribute to convincing
large numbers in Northern Ireland that this is the case.
But while Sinn Féin leaders have been talking up the scale
of today's announcement, suggesting that it will be more
momentous that the ceasefire declaration of 1984, any
doubts within the two governments, coupled with the DUP's
concerns, would be likely to further prolong the political
impasse over decommissioning that has dogged the political
process in Northern Ireland since before the 1998 signing
of the Belfast Agreement.

Comments from Minister for Foreign Affairs Dermot Ahern
yesterday indicated that the Government is expecting to
respond positively later today to what it expects to be an
announcement of full IRA decommissioning.

Despite speculation that the IRA may retain a small number
of weapons, Mr Ahern told RTÉ's This Week programme that he
expected the general to announce that "full
decommissioning" had taken place.

"From everything that I've heard and from everything I've
understood from our own security services, the answer to
that question is yes." Mr Ahern, together with the
Taoiseach and Minister for Justice Michael McDowell met
Gerry Adams and Martin McGuinness last Friday to discuss
this week's events.

Gen de Chastelain's announcement today will ensure that the
issue of IRA decommissioning and the future of the North's
political process dominates the political agenda for the
next week.

The Dáil is due to resume on Wednesday after its summer
break and there is speculation that it will be adjourned
either on Wednesday or Thursday to allow the Taoiseach, the
main Opposition leaders and others to respond to Gen de
Chastelain's report.

© The Irish Times


Decommissioning: What Was Involved

Details of the IRA arsenal and the process of
decommissioning it.

Weapons to be decommissioned included about 700 rifles,
mostly Kalashnikovs but also some Armalites, two or three
tonnes of Semtex, about 50 machine guns, a couple of high-
powered sniper rifles, hundreds of thousands of rounds of
ammunition, rocket launchers, detonators, flame throwers,
revolvers and at least one surface-to-air missile.

The Independent International Commission on Decommissioning
(IICD) rules applied by Gen John de Chastelain are that the
arsenals must either be rendered beyond use or made
permanently inaccessible. That meant major mechanical
activity, possibly cementing over dumps or cutting up the
weapons so that they could not be used again. It must be
clear that dissident republicans cannot dig up the guns and
recommission them.

The commissioners must be certain that the Semtex is not
going to explode in months or years to come. The IICD has
"explosive ordnance" experts from Canada and the US to
advise them on how to ensure the material cannot be
reactivated or accessed.

At least two commissioners participated in each
decommissioning event and the extra member on the team
eased what would have been a heavy schedule. They were also
in the company of the IRA and a Protestant and Catholic

© The Irish Times


Chronology Of Provisional IRA Disarmament

The historic statement from the Independent International
Commission on Decommissioning due today was nine-and-a-half
years in the making.

February 1996:

Ending of IRA's first ceasefire with bombing of London's

July 1997:

IRA ceasefire restored to foster political progress.

August 1997:

The Independent International Commission on Decommissioning
(IICD) established by the British and Irish governments.

April 1998:

Under the terms of the Belfast Agreement, all parties
reaffirm their commitment to the "total disarmament" of all
paramilitary organisations. The IRA insists it would never

November 1999:

The IRA commits to sending a representative to meet Gen
John de Chastelain, head of the IICD.

January 2000:

The IICD reports that it had discussions with the IRA, UFF
and UVF but had received no information from the IRA as to
when decommissioning would start.

February 2000:

The IRA withdraws from co- operation with the IICD after
Secretary of State for Northern Ireland Peter Mandelson
suspends Stormont institutions. David Trimble survives an
UUP leadership challenge.

May 2000:

A deal is reached which brings about the restoration of the
institutions and the beginning of a process for putting
weapons beyond use. The IRA announces it will permit two
international inspectors to inspect its arms dumps.

June 2000:

IRA dumps are inspected.

July 2001:

P O'Neill reports that the IRA had met Gen de Chastelain on
eight occasions and agreed a scheme for decommissioning.

August 2001:

The IRA agrees a scheme with the IICD to put arms
completely and verifiably beyond use. Unionists denounce
lack of progress on actual decommissioning. A week later,
the IRA withdraws the offer on weapons made to the IICD.

September 2001:

Northern Secretary Dr John Reid initiates another temporary
suspension of devolution in the hope of resolving
decommissioning issue.

October 2001:

Following the furore over the arrest of the so-called
Colombia 3, the IRA announces that an act of
decommissioning had taken place "to save the peace

April 2002:

The IRA announces it had put a second consignment of
weapons "beyond use".

October 2002:

Fuelled by allegations of IRA intelligence-gathering at
Stormont, the Assembly is again suspended. The IRA suspends
contact with the IICD. Twelve months of stalemate follows.

October 2003:

P O'Neill claims the IRA's relationship with the IICD is
back on. A deal which could have resulted in the
restoration of the Stormont institutions collapses when Gen
de Chastelain says he cannot provide details of a
disarmament he had overseen.

September 2004:

Gen de Chastelain indicates to the DUP that the IRA would
carry out more credible acts of decommissioning in the
event of a political deal.

December 2004:

DUP leader the Rev Ian Paisley demands photographic
evidence of decommissioning. The IRA responds that it was
never possible that it would be reduced to an act of
humiliation. Taoiseach Bertie Ahern and British prime
minister Tony Blair meet in midst of deadlock over visual
proof. Dr Paisley says he has information the IRA may be
about to decommission, but without providing photographic

July 2005:

Northern Ireland Secretary Peter Hain decides to release
Shankill Road bomber Seán Kelly. The IRA declares it is
abandoning its 35-year armed campaign and orders all
members to dump arms. It asks two clergymen, one
Protestant, one Catholic, and Gen de Chastelain to witness
the destruction.

August 2005:

An additional member is recruited to the IICD, raising
speculation that the IRA is primed to begin dismantling its

© The Irish Times


Arms Move Difficult For Republicans, Says Adams

Ali Bracken

The decommissioning of IRA weapons would greatly affect
the political process in Northern Ireland. It would also
prove a difficult move for republicans, the Sinn Fein
president Gerry Adams told supporters in Dublin the day
before news broke that Gen John De Chastelain was ready to
announce the decommissioning of the IRA's guns and

Mr Adams comments were made during an address to a rally in
Dublin on Saturday, just 24 hours before details of the IRA
decommissioning emerged. He was speaking to about 3,000
people attending the Make Partition History carnival in

"I believe that the IRA in the near future is going to
honour its commitment to put its weapons beyond use," Mr
Adams told Sinn Féin supporters assembled at the GPO.

"Such an announcement will have a huge impact on the
political process. I know it will be difficult for many
republicans. There will be some who are concerned about the
future. But I believe that we need to face up to this
opportunity in a positive mood."

Mr Adams said the move would be a huge change not just for
republicans but for the entire island of Ireland.

"I don't think republicans have absorbed what it is about.
I don't think the media have absorbed what it is about. I
don't think our opponents have absorbed what it is about,"
he said.

The rally, which featured street theatre, costumes and live
music, concluded on a stage outside the GPO on O'Connell
Street with an address from the Sinn Féin leader. Some
participants carried toy weapons and men with replica
rifles stood adjacent to Mr Adams as he spoke.

Mr Adams talked of a new beginning for all citizens of
Ireland. "Our strategy is to make partition history. To win
freedom for all the people on the island of Ireland."

Mr Adams said the IRA's forthcoming announcement on the
"arms issue" may not be welcomed by all republicans.

"Some republicans will find it difficult," he said. "But we
need to face the future positively. Let's stay united."

Mr Adams said he stood "shoulder to shoulder" with the
families who were recently subject to sectarian harassment.
"And I expect the Irish Government to do the same," he

Staging Saturday's rally outside the GPO was appropriate,
said Mr Adams, as this was where Pádraig Pearse first read
the 1916 Easter Proclamation, which proclaimed the right to
Irish independence from Britain. "The 1916 proclamation is
our mission statement . . . As we leave the GPO let us be
sure that if we keep at it we are going to be the
generation that see the proclamation become a reality."

Sinn Féin's MEP Mary Lou McDonald acted as master of
ceremonies on the stage outside the GPO, introducing the
various musical and theatrical performances. Irish
singer/songwriter Brush Shiels performed renditions of
Dirty Old Town and the Fields of Athenry outside the GPO. A
number of poets and musical acts also performed, including
a young man draped in a blanket who read aloud a letter
written by Bobby Sands during his hunger strike.

According to gardaí, the rally passed off without any major

- (Additional reporting PA)

© The Irish Times


Martin McGuinness - Ireland Stands On The Cusp Of An
Historic Advance

Published: 25 September, 2005

Sinn Féin Chief Negotiator Martin McGuinness, before he
left Dublin after the all-Ireland football final, said he
believes that Ireland stands on the cusp of a truly
historic advance.

Mr. McGuinness said:

"The IRA's decision on July 28th to formally end its armed
campaign has changed the political landscape in Ireland
forever. I am confident that tomorrow will bring the final
chapter on the issue of IRA arms.

"Of course, this is about more than arms. It is about the
reviving the peace process, it is about the future of
Ireland. And this places an enormous responsibility on the
British and Irish governments to finally implement the Good
Friday Agreement in all its aspects on issues like
equality, human rights, policing, demilitarization and
northern representation. It will also place a huge
responsibility on the leadership of the DUP to re-engage in
the political process.

"I believe that Ireland stands on the cusp of a truly
historic advance and I hope that people across the island
will respond positively in the time ahead." ENDS


Robinson Demands Full Transparency

Gerry Moriarty, Northern Editor

DUP deputy leader Peter Robinson has warned that
republicans must "maximise the transparency" of IRA
decommissioning, to be announced this afternoon, if there
is to be any hope of breaking the deadlock.

Mr Robinson claimed the IRA appeared poised to carry out
decommissioning in a manner unconvincing to unionists.

As Gen John de Chastelain prepares to announce this
afternoon that the IRA has rendered its arsenals beyond
use, Mr Robinson insisted unionists formed the main
audience to be convinced that the IRA had disarmed.

He claimed Sinn Féin's chief negotiator Martin McGuinness
had said the principal audience to be convinced was
international opinion. "Once again he has got it wrong,"
said Mr Robinson. "The purpose of decommissioning is to
build confidence here in Northern Ireland that terrorism is
ended and the guns have gone. The people to be convinced
are those who have had those guns pointed at them for the
last 30 years.

"A concise performance from the decommissioning body and a
heap of spin from Sinn Féin with synchronised applause from
London, Dublin and Washington might be enough to gull a
compliant media and untutored world opinion, but unionists
who have seen what the IRA has done and know how they have
conned governments so many times before will not swallow a

SDLP leader Mark Durkan, at the British Labour Party
conference in Brighton, last night welcomed news of IRA
decommissioning. "But my welcome is tinged with regret. For
years we said to Sinn Féin that the Belfast Agreement
required decommissioning. We argued that the failure to put
weapons beyond use was feeding anti-agreement unionism and
giving them just the excuse they needed."

© The Irish Times


Were British Special Forces Soldiers Planting Bombs In

Suspicions Strengthened by Earlier Reports

Michael Keefer,
September 25, 2005

Does anyone remember the shock with which the British
public greeted the revelation four years ago that one of
the members of the Real IRA unit whose bombing attack in
Omagh on August 15, 1998 killed twenty-nine civilians had
been a double agent, a British army soldier?

That soldier was not Britain's only terrorist double agent.
A second British soldier planted within the IRA claimed he
had given forty-eight hours advance notice of the Omagh
car-bomb attack to his handlers within the Royal Ulster
Constabulary, including "details of one of the bombing team
and the man's car registration." Although the agent had
made an audio tape of his tip-off call, Sir Ronnie
Flanagan, chief constable of the RUC, declared that "no
such information was received"

This second double agent went public in June 2002 with the
claim that from 1981 to 1994, while on full British army
pay, he had worked for "the Force Research Unit, an ultra-
secret wing of British military intelligence," as an IRA
mole. With the full knowledge and consent of his FRU and
MI5 handlers, he became a bombing specialist who "mixed
explosive and … helped to develop new types of bombs,"
including "light-sensitive bombs, activated by photographic
flashes, to overcome the problem of IRA remote-control
devices having their signal jammed by army radio units." He
went on to become "a member of the Provisional IRA's
'internal security squad'—also known as the 'torture unit'—
which interrogated and executed suspected informers"

The much-feared commander of that same "torture unit" was
likewise a mole, who had previously served in the Royal
Marines' Special Boat Squadron (an elite special forces
unit, the Marines' equivalent to the better-known SAS). A
fourth mole, a soldier code-named "Stakeknife" whose
military handlers "allowed him to carry out large numbers
of terrorist murders in order to protect his cover within
the IRA," was still active in December 2002 as "one of
Belfast's leading Provisionals"

Reliable evidence also emerged in late 2002 that the
British army had been using its double agents in terrorist
organizations "to carry out proxy assassinations for the
British state"—most notoriously in the case of Belfast
solicitor and human rights activist Pat Finucane, who was
murdered in 1989 by the Protestant Ulster Defence
Association. It appears that the FRU passed on details
about Finucane to a British soldier who had infiltrated the
UDA; he in turn "supplied UDA murder teams with the
information" (

Recent events in Basra have raised suspicions that the
British army may have reactivated these same tactics in

Articles published by Michel Chossudovsky, Larry Chin and
Mike Whitney at the Centre for Research on Globalization's
website on September 20, 2005 have offered preliminary
assessments of the claims of Iraqi authorities that two
British soldiers in civilian clothes who were arrested by
Iraqi police in Basra on September 19—and in short order
released by a British tank and helicopter assault on the
prison where they were being held—had been engaged in
planting bombs in the city


A further article by Kurt Nimmo points to false-flag
operations carried out by British special forces troops in
Northern Ireland and elsewhere, and to Donald Rumsfeld's
formation of the P2OG, or Proactive Preemptive Operations
Group, as directly relevant to Iraqi charges of possible
false-flag terror operations by the occupying powers in

These accusations by Iraqi officials echo insistent but
unsubstantiated claims, going back at least to the spring
of 2004, to the effect that many of the terror bombings
carried out against civilian targets in Iraq have actually
been perpetrated by U.S. and British forces rather than by
Iraqi insurgents.

Some such claims can be briskly dismissed. In mid-May 2005,
for example, a group calling itself "Al Qaeda in Iraq"
accused U.S. troops "of detonating car bombs and falsely
accusing militants"
( For even the
most credulous, this could at best be a case of the pot
calling the kettle soot-stained. But it's not clear why
anyone would want to believe this claim, coming as it does
from a group or groupuscule purportedly led by the wholly
mythical al-Zarqawi—and one whose very name affiliates it
with terror bombers. These people, if they exist, might
themselves have good reason to blame their own crimes on

Other claims, however, are cumulatively more troubling.

The American journalist Dahr Jamail wrote in April 20, 2004
that the recent spate of car bombings in Baghdad was widely
rumoured to have been the work of the CIA:

"The word on the street in Baghdad is that the cessation of
suicide car bombings is proof that the CIA was behind them.
Why? Because as one man states, '[CIA agents are] too busy
fighting now, and the unrest they wanted to cause by the
bombings is now upon them.' True or not, it doesn't bode
well for the occupiers' image in Iraq."

Two days later, on April 22, 2004, Agence France-Presse
reported that five car-bombings in Basra—three near-
simultaneous attacks outside police stations in Basra that
killed sixty-eight people, including twenty children, and
two follow-up bombings—were being blamed by supporters of
Shiite cleric Moqtada al-Sadr on the British. While eight
hundred supporters demonstrated outside Sadr's offices, a
Sadr spokesman claimed to have "evidence that the British
were involved in these attacks"

An anonymous senior military officer said on April 22, 2004
of these Basra attacks that "It looks like Al-Qaeda. It's
got all the hallmarks: it was suicidal, it was spectacular
and it was symbolic." Brigadier General Nick Carter,
commander of the British garrison in Basra, stated more
ambiguously that Al Qaeda was not necessarily to blame for
the five bombings, but that those responsible came from
outside Basra and "quite possibly" from outside Iraq: "'All
that we can be certain of is that this is something that
came from outside,' Carter said"
( Moqtada
al-Sadr's supporters of course believed exactly the same
thing—differing only in their identification of the
criminal outsiders as British agents rather than as
Islamist mujaheddin from other Arab countries.

In May 2005 'Riverbend', the Baghdad author of the widely-
read blog Baghdad Burning, reported that what the
international press was reporting as suicide bombings were
often in fact "car bombs that are either being remotely
detonated or maybe time bombs." After one of the larger
recent blasts, which occurred in the middle-class Ma'moun
area of west Baghdad, a man living in a house in front of
the blast site was reportedly arrested for having sniped an
Iraqi National Guardsman. But according to 'Riverbend', his
neighbours had a different story:

"People from the area claim that the man was taken away not
because he shot anyone, but because he knew too much about
the bomb. Rumor has it that he saw an American patrol
passing through the area and pausing at the bomb site
minutes before the explosion. Soon after they drove away,
the bomb went off and chaos ensued. He ran out of his house
screaming to the neighbors and bystanders that the
Americans had either planted the bomb or seen the bomb and
done nothing about it. He was promptly taken away."


Also in May 2005, Imad Khadduri, the Iraqi-exile physicist
whose writings helped to discredit American and British
fabrications about weapons of mass destruction, reported a
story that in Baghdad a driver whose license had been
confiscated at an American check-point was told "to report
to an American military camp near Baghdad airport for
interrogation and in order to retrieve his license." After
being questioned for half an hour, he was informed that
there was nothing against him, but that his license had
been forwarded to the Iraqi police at the al-Khadimiya
station "for processing"—and that he should get there
quickly before the lieutenant whose name he was given went
off his shift.

"The driver did leave in a hurry, but was soon alarmed with
a feeling that his car was driving as if carrying a heavy
load, and he also became suspicious of a low flying
helicopter that kept hovering overhead, as if trailing him.
He stopped the car and inspected it carefully. He found
nearly 100 kilograms of explosives hidden in the back seat
and along the two back doors. The only feasible explanation
for this incident is that the car was indeed booby trapped
by the Americans and intended for the al-Khadimiya Shiite
district of Baghdad. The helicopter was monitoring his
movement and witnessing the anticipated 'hideous attack by
foreign elements'."


According to Khadduri, "The same scenario was repeated in
Mosul, in the north of Iraq." On this occasion, the
driver's life was saved when his car broke down on the way
to the police station where he was supposed to reclaim his
license, and when the mechanic to whom he had recourse
"discovered that the spare tire was fully laden with

Khadduri mentions, as deserving of investigation, a
"perhaps unrelated incident" in Baghdad on April 28, 2005
in which a Canadian truck-driver with dual Canadian-Iraqi
citizenship was killed. He quotes a CBC report according to
which "Some media cited unidentified sources who said he
may have died after U.S. forces 'tracked' a target, using a
helicopter gunship, but Foreign Affairs said it's still
investigating conflicting reports of the death. U. S.
officials have denied any involvement."

Another incident, also from April 2005, calls more urgently
for investigation, since one of its victims remains alive.
Abdul Amir Younes, a CBS cameraman, was lightly wounded by
U.S. forces on April 5 "while filming the aftermath of a
car bombing in Mosul." American military authorities were
initially apologetic about his injuries, but three days
later arrested him on the grounds that he had been "engaged
in anti-coalition activity"


Arianna Huffington, in her detailed account of this case,
quite rightly emphasizes its Kafkaesque qualities: Younes
has now been detained, in Abu Graib and elsewhere, for more
than five months—without charges, without any hint of what
evidence the Pentagon may hold against him, and without any
indication that he will ever be permitted to stand trial,
challenge that evidence, and disprove the charges that
might at some future moment be laid. But in addition to
confirming, yet again, the Pentagon's willingness to
violate the most fundamental principles of humane and
democratic jurisprudence, this case also raises a further
question. Was Younes perhaps arrested, like the Iraqi whose
rumoured fate was mentioned by 'Riverbend', because he had
seen—and in Younes' case photographed—more than was good
for him?

Agents provocateurs?

Spokesmen for the American and British occupation of Iraq,
together with newspapers like the Daily Telegraph, have of
course rejected with indignation any suggestion that their
forces could have been involved in false-flag terrorist
operations in Iraq.

It may be remembered that during the 1980s spokesmen for
the government of Ronald Reagan likewise heaped ridicule on
Nicaraguan accusations that the U.S. was illegally
supplying weapons to the 'Contras'—until, that is, a CIA-
operated C-123 cargo aircraft full of weaponry was shot
down over Nicaragua, and Eugene Hasenfus, a cargo handler
who survived the crash, testified that his supervisors (one
of whom was Luis Posada Carriles, the CIA agent responsible
for the 1976 bombing of a Cuban civilian airliner) were
working for then-Vice-President George H. W. Bush.

The arrest—and the urgent liberation—of the two undercover
British soldiers in Iraq might in a similar manner be
interpreted as casting a retrospective light on previously
unsubstantiated claims about the involvement of members of
the occupying armies in terrorist bombing attacks on

The parallel is far from exact: in this case there has been
no dramatic confession like that of Hasenfus, and there are
no directly incriminating documents like the pilot's log of
the downed C-123. There is, moreover, a marked lack of
consensus as to what actually happened in Basra. Should we
therefore, with Juan Cole, dismiss the possibility British
soldiers were acting as agents provocateurs as a "theory
[that] has almost no facts behind it"

Members of Britain's Elite SAS Forces

It appears that when on September 19 suspicious Iraqi
police stopped the Toyota Cressida the undercover British
soldiers were driving, the two men opened fire, killing one
policeman and wounding another. But the soldiers,
identified by the BBC as "members of the SAS elite special
(, were
subdued by the police and arrested. A report published by
The Guardian on September 24 adds the further detail that
the SAS men "are thought to have been on a surveillance
mission outside a police station in Basra when they were
challenged by an Iraqi police patrol"

As Justin Raimondo has observed in an article published on
September 23 at, nearly every other aspect of
this episode is disputed.

The Washington Post dismissively remarked, in the
eighteenth paragraph of its report on these events, that
"Iraqi security officials variously accused the two Britons
they detained of shooting at Iraqi forces or trying to
plant explosives" (
Iraqi officials in fact accused them not of one or the
other act, but of both.

Fattah al-Shaykh, a member of the Iraqi National Assembly,
told Al-Jazeera TV on September 19 that the soldiers opened
fire when the police sought to arrest them, and that their
car was booby-trapped "and was meant to explode in the
centre of the city of Basra in the popular market" (quoted
by Chossudovsky). A deliberately inflammatory press release
sent out on the same day by the office of Moqtada al-Sadr
(and posted in English translation at Juan Cole's Informed
Comment blog on September 20) states that the soldiers'
arrest was prompted by their having "opened fire on
passers-by" near a Basra mosque, and that they were found
to have "in their possession explosives and remote-control
devices, as well as light and medium weapons and other
accessories" (

What credence can be given to the claim about explosives?
Justin Raimondo writes that while initial BBC Radio reports
acknowledged that the two men indeed had explosives in
their car, subsequent reports from the same source
indicated that the Iraqi police found nothing beyond
"assault rifles, a light machine gun, an anti-tank weapon,
radio gear, and medical kit. This is thought to be standard
kit for the SAS operating in such a theater of operations"

One might well wonder, with Raimondo, whether an anti-tank
weapon is "standard operating equipment"—or what use SAS
men on "a surveillance mission outside a police station"
intended to make of it. But more importantly, a photograph
published by the Iraqi police and distributed by Reuters
shows that—unless the equipment is a plant—the SAS men were
carrying a good deal more than just the items acknowledged
by the BBC.

I would want the opinion of an arms expert before risking a
definitive judgment about the objects shown, which could
easily have filled the trunk and much of the back seat of a
Cressida. But this photograph makes plausible the statement
of Sheik Hassan al-Zarqani, a spokesman for Al-Sadr's Mahdi
Army militia:

"What our police found in their car was very disturbing—
weapons, explosives, and a remote control detonator. These
are the weapons of terrorists. We believe these soldiers
were planning an attack on a market or other civilian
targets…" (quoted by Raimondo)

The fierce determination of the British army to remove
these men from any danger of interrogation by their own
supposed allies in the government the British are propping
up—even when their rescue entailed the destruction of an
Iraqi prison and the release of a large number of
prisoners, gun-battles with Iraqi police and with Al-Sadr's
Mahdi Army militia, a large popular mobilization against
the British occupying force, and a subsequent withdrawal of
any cooperation on the part of the regional government—
tends, if anything, to support the view that this episode
involved something much darker and more serious than a mere
flare-up of bad tempers at a check-point.

US-UK Sponsored Civil War

There is reason to believe, moreover, that the open civil
war which car-bomb attacks on civilians seem intended to
produce would not be an unwelcome development in the eyes
of the occupation forces.

Writers in the English-language corporate media have
repeatedly noted that recent terror-bomb attacks which have
caused massive casualties among civilians appear to be
pushing Iraq towards a civil war of Sunnis against Shiites,
and of Kurds against both. For example, on September 18,
2005 Peter Beaumont proposed in The Observer that the
slaughter of civilians, which he ascribes to Al Qaeda
alone, "has one aim: civil war"
(,6903,1572936,00.html). But H. D. S. Greenway had already suggested on
June 17, 2005 in the Boston Globe that "Given the large
number of Sunni-led attacks against Shia targets, the
emerging Shia-led attacks against Sunnis, and the
extralegal abductions of Arabs by Kurdish authorities in
Kirkut, one has to wonder whether the long-feared Iraqi
civil war hasn't already begun"
( And on
September 21, 2005 Nancy Youssef and Mohammed al Dulaimy of
the Knight Ridder Washington Bureau wrote that the ethnic
cleansing of Shiites in predominantly Sunni Baghdad
neighbourhoods "is proceeding at an alarming and
potentially destabilizing pace," and quoted the despairing
view of an Iraqi expert:

"'Civil war today is closer than any time before,' said
Hazim Abdel Hamid al Nuaimi, a professor of politics at al-
Mustansiriya University in Baghdad. 'All of these
explosions, the efforts by police and purging of
neighbourhoods is a battle to control Baghdad.'"


Whether or not it has already begun or will occur, the
eruption of a full-blown civil war, leading to the
fragmentation of the country, would clearly be welcomed in
some circles. Israeli strategists and journalists proposed
as long ago as 1982 that one of their country's strategic
goals should be the partitioning of Iraq into a Shiite
state, a Sunni state, and a separate Kurdish part. (See
foreign ministry official Oded Yinon's "A Strategy for
Israel in the 1980s," Kivunim 14 [February 1982]; a similar
proposal put forward by Ze'ev Schiff in Ha'aretz in the
same month is noted by Noam Chomsky in Fateful Triangle
[2nd ed., Cambridge, MA: South End Press, 1999], p. 457).

A partitioning of Iraq into sections defined by ethnicity
and by Sunni-Shia differences would entail, obviously
enough, both civil war and ethnic cleansing on a massive
scale. But these considerations did not deter Leslie H.
Gelb from advocating in the New York Times, on November 25,
2003, what he called "The Three-State Solution".

Gelb, a former senior State Department and Pentagon
official, a former editor and columnist for the New York
Times, and president emeritus of the Council on Foreign
Relations, is an insider's insider. And if the essays of
Yinon and Schiff are nasty stuff, especially in the context
of Israel's 1981 bombing attack on Iraq's Osirak nuclear
reactor, there is still some difference between
speculatively proposing the dismemberment of a powerful
neighbouring country, and actively advocating the
dismemberment of a country that one's own nation has
conquered in a war of unprovoked aggression. The former
might be described as a diseased imagining of war and
criminality; the latter belongs very clearly to the
category of war crimes.

Gelb's essay proposes punishing the Sunni-led insurgency by
separating the largely Sunni centre of present-day Iraq
from the oil-rich Kurdish north and the oil-rich Shia
south. It holds out the dismembering of the Yugoslav
federation in the 1990s (with the appalling slaughters that
ensued) as a "hopeful precedent."

Gelb's essay has been widely interpreted as signaling the
intentions of a dominant faction in the U.S. government. It
has also, very appropriately, been denounced by Bill Vann
as openly promoting "a war crime of world-historic

Given the increasing desperation of the American and
British governments in the face of an insurgency that their
tactics of mass arbitrary arrest and torture, Phoenix-
Program or "Salvadoran-option" death squads, unrestrained
use of overwhelming military force, and murderous
collective punishment have failed to suppress, it comes as
no surprise that in recent military actions such as the
assault on Tal Afar the U.S. army has been deploying
Kurdish peshmerga troops and Shiite militias in a manner
that seems designed to inflame ethnic hatreds.

No one, I should hope, is surprised any longer by the fact
that Abu Musab al-Zarqawi—that fictional construct of the
Pentagon's serried ranks of little Tom Clancies, that one-
legged Dalek, that Scarlet Pimpernel of terrorism, who
manages to be here, there, and everywhere at once—should be
so ferociously devoted to the terrorizing and extermination
of his Shiite co-religionists.

Should we be any more surprised, then, to see evidence
emerging in Iraq of false-flag terrorist bombings conducted
by the major occupying powers? The secret services and
special forces of both the U.S. and Britain have, after
all, had some experience in these matters.

Global Research Contributing Editor Michael Keefer is
Associate Professor of English at the University of
Guelph. He is a former President of the Association of
Canadian College and University Teachers of English. His
most recent writings include a series of articles on
electoral fraud in the 2004 US presidential election
published by the Centre for Research on Globalization

:: Article nr. 16120 sent on 26-sep-2005 01:48 ECT

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Man Says Life Ruined After Being Wrongly Convicted Of Murder

A man who was wrongly jailed for murder at the age of 16
has said his life had been ruined by the experience.

Robert Adams spent nine years behind bars after being
convicted of the murder of a 51-year-old alcoholic in
Belfast in 1977.

Last week, three judges at the Northern Ireland Court of
Appeal declared his conviction unsafe and the crown
prosecution service did not contest the case.

"It's wrecked me, it's turned me into an old man before my

"My ideal life now would be just to go away into a cave and
live somewhere. I would rather have my nine years back. I
had ambition, I could have been something a whole lot
different today. My life has been ruined," said Mr Adams.

He was originally arrested at the age of 16 in 1977 by RUC
detectives for questioning about a robbery. But he was
asked about the murder of 51-year-old Terence Spring, now
thought to have been killed in a sectarian attack by

"Basically when they started questioning me about the
murder, I was confused to begin with. Then I got scared.
They were browbeating me, they were bullying me. They were
telling me things that were going to happen, a lot of
psychological stuff that played on my mind and I wasn't the
strongest of people physically or mentally," said Mr Adams.

He signed a confession to the murder after three days in an
RUC station without access to his family or a legal

At the trial, the judge was apparently not shown a
handwritten police statement which claimed that Mr Adams
had shook his head in disagreement when asked about the
murder. The typed statement at the trial claimed he had
nodded his head in agreement to show he knew about it.

Mr Adam's statement also contained the incorrect assertion
that he had shot Mr Spring and then wrapped him in a
blanket when forensic tests showed the man had been wrapped
in a blanket and then shot. But he was found guilty of the
murder and served his sentence in the Maze prison, where
loyalists told him they knew he wasn't guilty.

His application for leave to appeal against conviction was
refused by the Northern Ireland Court of Appeal in 1979 but
the case was referred to the court again two years ago by
the Criminal Cases Review Commission.

- (PA)

© The Irish Times


Voters Are Split On 'Colombia 3' - Poll

Opinions as to the fate of the 'Colombia 3' vary, writes
Mark Brennock, Chief Political Correspondent.

Voters are almost evenly divided over whether the three men
convicted of training Farc terrorists should be made serve
the 17-year sentences imposed on them in Colombia, or
should instead remain in Ireland, possibly to be
investigated and charged.

According to the latest Irish Times/TNS mrbi opinion poll,
24 per cent believe the "Colombia Three" should be
extradited back to Colombia to serve the 17-year sentences
imposed on them after an appeal tribunal last December
overturned a not-guilty verdict which was reached in the
initial trial.

Some 18 per cent say the men should be required to serve
these 17-year sentences in Ireland, while 33 per cent
believe they should be investigated and charged in Ireland
if there is evidence they committed offences here, and 11
per cent they should be allowed to remain in Ireland
without further action being taken against them.

One per cent chose none of these options and 13 per cent
gave no opinion.

The poll was conducted last Monday and Tuesday among a
national quota sample of 1,000 voters at 100 sampling
points throughout all constituencies in the State.

Therefore, 42 per cent believe that the sentences imposed
in Colombia should be served, either in Colombia or in
Ireland. Some 44 per cent believe they should not be served
and that either the men be investigated and charged here,
or allowed remain here without further action being taken.

Fine Gael and PD voters take a somewhat harder line on the
issue than average, while Sinn Féin voters, followed by
Labour supporters, take the softest view.

The breakdown of Fianna Fáil voters' views is very close to
that of the national average.

Some 29 per cent of Fine Gael voters believe the men should
be extradited to Colombia, 12 per cent that they should
serve their sentences here, 30 per cent that they be
investigated and charged here if there is any evidence that
they committed offences, 7 per cent that they remain in
Ireland without any further action being taken, and 12 per
cent said they don't know.

Among PD voters, not one person sampled in the poll said
they should be allowed remain in Ireland without further
action being taken, an outcome which reflects - and is
reflected by - the strong stance taken by Minister for
Justice Mr McDowell that they should face consequences.
Some 23 per cent believe they should be extradited to
Colombia, 2 per cent that they should serve their sentences
here, 43 per cent that they should be investigated and
charged in Ireland if there is evidence that they committed
offences here, and 11 per cent don't know.

In contrast, just 4 per cent of Sinn Féin voters believe
they should be extradited back to Colombia, 12 per cent
that they be required to serve their sentences here, 32 per
cent that they be investigated and charged if there is
evidence against them here, and 43 per cent that they be
allowed remain in Ireland without action being taken
against them. Some 1 per cent opted for none of these and 8
per cent don't know.

Some 24 per cent of Labour voters believe the men should be
extradited to Colombia, 9 per cent that they be required to
serve their sentences in Ireland, 40 per cent that they
should be investigated and charged if there is evidence
that they committed offences here, 13 per cent that they
should be allowed remain in Ireland without any further
action being taken against them and 10 per cent don't know.

Among Green Party voters, 2 per cent believe they should be
extradited back to Colombia to serve their 17-year
sentences, 1 per cent that they be required to serve their
sentences here, 41 per cent that they be investigated and
charged in Ireland if there is evidence that they committed
offences here, 1 per cent that they be allowed remain in
Ireland without further action being taken and 12 per cent
don't know.

Finally, 26 per cent of Fianna Fáil voters believe they
should be extradited back to Colombia, 18 per cent that
they should be required to serve their 17-year sentences in
Ireland, 34 per cent that they be investigated and charged
in Ireland if there is evidence that they committed
offences here, 7 per cent that they be allowed remain in
Ireland without any further action being taken, 1 per cent
chose none of these and 13 per cent don't know.

© The Irish Times


Anti-War Rally Told That Action Against Use Of Shannon By US Troops Needed

Gordon Deegan

Anti-war activists have been told that protesting against
the use of Shannon by the US military is no longer enough,
that action must now be taken.

Addressing a rally near Shannon airport on Saturday, Ed
Horgan of the Peace and Neutrality Alliance (Pana) said:
"Over the coming months and years if necessary, we must
renew our efforts to remove the US military out of Shannon.
We must do this by mass demonstrations if these are
possible, or by small groups and even individual
demonstrations and peace actions."

He added: "We are here to promote peace by peaceful means,
but standing idly and silently by while innocent people are
being murdered and tortured in our name is not good enough.

"We must first of all speak out the truth, but more
importantly we must take action to stop this evil.
Protesting is no longer enough. Bertie Ahern once said that
the 100,000 people who marched in Dublin in February 2003
were supporting his stand on the Iraq war. That was a lie
and he said it once, but once too often.

"This weekend the IRA are decommissioning their weapons
along the Border counties and getting lots of media
attention for doing this. It's high time some of the
weapons passing through Shannon airport were also
decommissioned," Mr Horgan said.

In response to the rally organised by Pana, the Irish Anti-
War Movement and the Peace Alliance, 120 gardaí were
deployed to ensure the protest did not get within 2 km of
the terminal.

A Garda spokesman said the numbers at the protest were 200,
while organisers claimed the numbers were closer to 500.

Insp Tom Kennedy said: "The protest was very peaceful,
passed off without incident and the airport functioned as

Labour TD Jan O'Sullivan told the crowd: "The Labour Party
supports this protest, and the use of Shannon by the US
military should be discontinued. It is a breach of our
neutrality to continue to allow US troops to use Shannon.
The Government has actively encouraged the military use of

She said it was a sad situation that for the airport to
break even, Shannon had to facilitate the movement of US
troops. "The region shouldn't be dependent on the troops
using the airport to avoid Shannon losing money."

The most recent figures from the Shannon Airport Authority
show that almost as many US troops have passed through
Shannon during the first six months of this year as during
the whole of 2004.

From January to June, 153,381 troops stopped over at
Shannon compared to the 158,549 troops who passed through
last year.

The troop traffic is expected to have generated €18 million
in income from the US government to date this year and the
business has helped the airport to avoid losses.

© The Irish Times


Tyrone Win Their Second Title And Do It For Cormac

Tyrone won their second All- Ireland title in Croke Park
yesterday and did so by pulling precisely the same stunt as
they won their first title with a couple of years ago. They
withdrew Peter Canavan, the man they call god, at half time
and they resurrected him for the final stages, writes Tom

With 14 minutes left it seemed as if Kerry, the holders,
were about to reassert their authority. Tomás Ó Sé struck a
goal from an acute angle and narrowed the gap between the
sides to a point. Kerry prepared to lay decisive siege. Two
minutes later though, Canavan, having just been re-inserted
in the fray, scored a wondrous point to kill the momentum.
Job done. Canavan announced afterwards that he was retiring
from inter-county football.

For the losers, Kerry, the sense of déjà vu was even more
pronounced, however. Gaelic football's brand leaders
continued their run of not having beaten the top Ulster
sides this millennium.

If Kerry had come to Croke Park with the intention of
proving a point on behalf of football's aristocracy, Tyrone
were motivated by a rather more poignant memory. Cormac
McAnallen, their captain for the season after the 2003 All-
Ireland triumph, wasn't physically with his comrades on
this occasion, but his spirit informed their every move.

"This is for Cormac McAnallen," said Tyrone's captain Brian
Dooher. He didn't want to be part of a Tyrone team which
only won one All-Ireland. "Well, Cormac, you now have two
and, Cormac, you are and always will be a huge part of this

"Those words of Cormac's have been ringing in our ears
since he said them to us," said Tyrone's manager Mickey
Harte. "There was a 31st man there today and that was
Cormac McAnallen."

© The Irish Times

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