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The Special Criminal Court and political policing in contemporary Ireland

In this article I intend to examine the nature of political policing in contemporary Ireland, and what the long-term consequences could be with the presence of the two non-Jury courts intended for political offences.

Gavin O'Reilly

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As an Irish Republican and anti-internment activist I have not been alone in taking notice of the recent establishment of a second ‘Special Criminal Court’ in Dublin. I also do not find it coincidental that numerous Republicans have appeared before this new court in the few months since it entered service, with the most notable charge being ‘membership of an illegal organisation’.

The ‘Special Criminal Court’ in its current incarnation was first established in 1972 following an amendment to the already draconian ‘Offences against the State Act’, itself introduced in 1939 as a means to suppress Republican activity.

The establishment of this court came 3 years into an outbreak of extreme violence in the Six Counties, with Republicans waging a war of liberation against the British occupation, and Britain responding through internment without trial and military action carried out both by their own army and proxy death squads made up of locally recruited Ulster Loyalists.

Once again the neo-colonial puppet government of Leinster House established the ‘Special Criminal Court’ as a means to suppress a newly invigorated Republican movement, who at the time were taking extremely effective measures against Crown forces through the use of guerrilla warfare.

The Offences against the State Act allowed for any individual to be convicted of ‘membership of an illegal organisation’ on the word of a senior Garda alone, and even if this initial charge didn’t always result in a conviction, the accused individual had to wait at least 18 months to 2 years before their case came to trial, either under extremely strict bail conditions, or on remand in Portlaoise Gaol, the highest security prison in Europe. An amendment in 1998 also withdrew the right to silence to anyone arrested under the act.

Despite the fact that the level of conflict in the Occupied Six Counties has greatly decreased since 1997, due to the surrender of the Provisional Movement and their subsequent recognition of British rule in Ireland, this draconian piece of legislation is still enforced in the 26 Counties today, and Republican activists still face the possibility of being brought before the non-Jury ‘Special Criminal Court’ and interned in Portlaoise Gaol without trial.

Anyone deemed to be a Subversive in the eyes of the state is constantly followed, harassed and threatened by the Free State’s political police, the Special Detective Unit (more commonly known as the ‘Special Branch’), and a compliant pro-British media in the 26 Counties engages in constant demonization of Republican activists and the movement in general.

In contrast, Dublin has suffered with a severe drugs problem since the early 1980s, when Heroin was first imported into the country, and this problem has also begun to emerge in Limerick and Cork in recent years. Successive Leinster House governments have repeatedly failed to tackle the underlying social conditions that have given rise to this endemic, and this has led to powerful criminal gangs emerging in the 26 Counties, possessing both international connections and firepower akin to that of a small army.

Despite this the 26 Counties political establishment does not commit the same effort to tackling these gangs as they do to targeting Republicans, and in recent years Republicans have experienced numerous attacks and murders at the hands of these gangs, leading to the widely-held belief that the state is using them as proxy death squads in a manner similar to Britain’s uses of proxies in the Occupied Six Counties.

The establishment of a second ‘Special Criminal Court’ also comes at a time when there is great social unrest in the 26 Counties. There have been widespread protests in the past several years against Leinster House’s cuts, austerity measures, and their cosy relationships with large multi-national corporations. Those who take part in these protests, many of whom are Republicans themselves, have also been targeted by politically motivated police and demonised by the corporate media.

The constitution of the 26 Counties directs that the SCC be used when the “ordinary courts are inadequate to secure the effective administration of justice“, the wording of this legislation is deliberately vague, so as to cover a wide range of ‘offences’ committed by Republicans, and with the establishment of a second court intended for political activists, one can only assume that the state will eventually use the SCC to prosecute those who have protested against their austerity measures, as they will not want to risk a Jury in a normal court, sympathetic  to the plight of anti-austerity activists, finding them not guilty.

Finally, it is no coincidence that the second SCC was established in the Centenary year of the 1916 Rising, the 26 Counties administration clearly feared an upsurge of Republican sympathies in the run up to this significant occasion, and prepared for more internment in case of such an event.

Current ‘Justice’ Minister for the 26 Counties, Frances Fitzgerald, has been responsible for introducing three new ‘anti-terrorism’ laws since taking office in 2014 (one of which can potentially make playing a Republican ballad a criminal offence carrying a jail term of up to 10 years), and in 2015, 226 people were arrested for Republican activity (in comparison to 17 arrested for gangland offences).

Political policing has been a stark reality in the 26 Counties since Ireland was partitioned in 1922, even in the 1950s, when the intensity of conflict against British occupation was at a more-or-less identical level to that of today, thousands of Republicans found themselves interned in the Curragh camp.

With the establishment of a second Court intended solely for political activists, the introduction of more and more legislation intended to curb political dissent, and a heavy crackdown on anyone engaging in anti-government protests, all signs indicate that this political policing will become much more overt in the next few years, and internment will become a reality for many more political activists.

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Tape recorded evidence of Clinton-Ukraine meddling in US election surfaces (Video)

The Duran Quick Take: Episode 114.

Alex Christoforou

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RT CrossTalk host Peter Lavelle and The Duran’s Alex Christoforou take a look at new evidence to surface from Ukraine that exposes a plot by the US Embassy in Kiev and the National Anti-Corruption Bureau of Ukraine (NABU) to leak Paul Manafort’s corrupt dealings in the country, all for the benefit of Hillary Clinton during the 2016 U.S. presidential election.

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Via Zerohedge


Ukraine’s Prosecutor General Yuriy Lutsenko has launched an investigation into the head of the Ukrainian National Anti-Corruption Bureau for allegedly attempting to help Hillary Clinton defeat Donald Trump during the 2016 US election by releasing damaging information about a “black ledger” of illegal business dealings by former Trump campaign chairman Paul Manafort.

The Hill’s John Solomon, Ukrainian Prosecutor General Yuriy Lutsenko

“Today we will launch a criminal investigation about this and we will give legal assessment of this information,” Lutsenko said last week, according to The Hill

Lutsenko is probing a claim from a member of the Ukrainian parliament that the director of the National Anti-Corruption Bureau of Ukraine (NABU), Artem Sytnyk, attempted to the benefit of the 2016 U.S. presidential election on behalf of Hillary Clinton.

A State Department spokesman told Hill.TV that officials aware of news reports regarding Sytnyk. –The Hill

“According to the member of parliament of Ukraine, he got the court decision that the NABU official conducted an illegal intrusion into the American election campaign,” said Lutsenko, speaking with The Hill’s John Solomon about the anti-corruption bureau chief, Artem Sytnyk.

“It means that we think Mr. Sytnyk, the NABU director, officially talked about criminal investigation with Mr. [Paul] Manafort, and at the same time, Mr. Sytnyk stressed that in such a way, he wanted to assist the campaign of Ms. Clinton,” Lutsenko continued.

Solomon asked Lutsenko about reports that a member of Ukraine’s parliament obtained a tape of the current head of the NABU saying that he was attempting to help Clinton win the 2016 presidential election, as well as connections that helped release the black-ledger files that exposed Trump campaign chairman Paul Manafort‘s wrongdoing in Ukraine.

“This member of parliament even attached the audio tape where several men, one of which had a voice similar to the voice of Mr. Sytnyk, discussed the matter.” –The Hill

What The Hill doesn’t mention is that Sytnyk released Manafort’s Black Book with Ukrainian lawmaker Serhiy Leshchenko – discussed in great length by former Breitbart investigator Lee Stranahan, who has been closely monitoring this case.

Serhiy Leshchenko

T]he main spokesman for these accusations was Serhiy Leshchenko, a Ukrainian politician and journalist who works closely with both top Hillary Clinton donors George Soros and Victor Pinchuk, as well as to the US Embassy in Kyiv.

James Comey should be asked about this source that Leshchenko would not identify. Was the source someone connected to US government, either the State Department or the Department of Justice?

The New York Times should also explain why they didn’t mention that Leshchenko had direct connections to two of Hillary Clinton biggest financial backers. Victor Pinchuk, the largest donor to the Clinton Foundation at a staggering $8.6 million also happened to have paid for Leshchenko’s expenses to go to international conferences. George Soros, whose also founded the International Renaissance Foundationthat worked closely with Hillary Clinton’s State Department in Ukraine, also contributed at least $8 million to Hillary affiliated super PACs in the 2016 campaign cycle. –Lee Stranahan via Medium

Meanwhile, according to former Fusion GPS contractor Nellie Ohr, Leshchenko was a source for opposition research firm Fusion GPS, which commissioned the infamous Trump-Russia dossier.

Nellie Ohr, a former contractor for the Washington, D.C.-based Fusion GPS, testified on Oct. 19 that Serhiy Leshchenko, a former investigative journalist turned Ukrainian lawmaker, was a source for Fusion GPS during the 2016 campaign.

“I recall … they were mentioning someone named Serhiy Leshchenko, a Ukrainian,” Ohr said when asked who Fusion GPS’s sources were, according to portions of Ohr’s testimony confirmed by The Daily Caller News Foundation. –Daily Caller

Also absent from The Hill report is the fact that Leshchenko was convicted in December by a Kiev court of interfering in the 2016 US election.

A Kyiv court said that a Ukrainian lawmaker and a top anticorruption official’s decision in 2016 to publish documents linked to President Donald Trump’s then-campaign chairman amounted to interference in the U.S. presidential election.

The December 11 finding came in response to a complaint filed by another Ukrainian lawmaker, who alleged that Serhiy Leshchenko and Artem Sytnyk illegally released the documents in August 2016, showing payments by a Ukrainian political party to Trump’s then-campaign chairman, Paul Manafort.

The documents, excerpts from a secret ledger of payments by the Party of Regions, led to Manafort being fired by Trump’s election campaign.

The Kyiv court said that the documents published by Leshchenko and Sytnyk were part of an ongoing pretrial investigation in Ukraine into the operations of the pro-Russian Party of Regions. The party’s head had been President Viktor Yanukovych until he fled the country amid mass protests two years earlier.

-RadioFreeEurope/Radio Liberty (funded by the US govt.).

So while Lutsenko – Solomon’s guest and Ukrainian Prosecutor is currently going after Artem Sytnyk, it should be noted that Leshchenko was already found to have meddled in the 2016 US election.

Watch:

Meanwhile, you can also check out Stranahan’s take on Leshchenko being left out of the loop.

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‘I will take over as Brexit Party leader’: Nigel Farage back on the frontline

Nigel Farage says that if the UK takes part in European elections, he will lead his new Brexit Party.

RT

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Via RT


Former UKIP leader Nigel Farage has announced that he will lead his new Brexit Party into the European elections if UK MPs decide to delay Brexit beyond May 22.

Farage, who has ostensibly appointed himself leader, told various media, including the BBC and Sky News on Friday morning: “I will take over as leader of the Brexit Party and lead it into the European Elections.”

It comes after the Brexit Party’s leader, Catherine Blaiklock, quit over a series of alleged Islamophobic statements and retweets of far-right figures on social media.

It is not yet thought that Farage has officially been elected as leader, as the party does not, as yet, have a formal infrastructure to conduct such a vote.

The right-wing MEP vowed to put out a whole host of Brexit Party candidates if the UK participates in the upcoming EU elections in May, adding: “If we fight those elections, we will fight them on trust.”

On Thursday night, the EU agreed to PM May’s request for a delaying to Brexit beyond the March 29 deadline. Brussels announced two new exit dates depending on what happens next week in the UK parliament.

The UK will have to leave the bloc on April 12 unless British MPs agree to May’s Brexit deal. If the withdrawal agreement is passed by next week, EU leaders have agreed to grant an extension until May 22.

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Baltics cannot rely on Germany any more

The matter is NATO today is not as strong as it is supposed to be. And it is not only because of leadership blunders.

The Duran

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Submitted by Adomas Abromaitis…

On March 29 Latvia, Lithuania and Estonia will celebrate 15 years of becoming NATO member states. The way to the alliance membership was not simple for newly born independent countries. They have reached great success in fulfilling many of NATO demands: they have considerably increased their defence expenditures, renewed armaments and increased the number of military personnel.

In turn, they get used to rely on more powerful member states, their advice, help and even decision making. All these 15 years they felt more or less safe because of proclaimed European NATO allies’ capabilities.

Unfortunately, now it is high time to doubt. The matter is NATO today is not as strong as it supposed to be. And it is not only because of leadership’s blunders. Every member state does a bit. As for the Baltic states, they are particularly vulnerable, because they fully depend on other NATO member states in their defence. Thus, Germany, Canada and Britain are leading nations of the NATO battle group stationed in Lithuania, Latvia and Estonia respectively.

But the state of national armed forces in Germany, for example, raises doubts and makes it impossible not only defend the Baltics against Russia, but Germany itself.

It turned out, that Germany itself remains dissatisfied with its combat readiness and minister of defence’s ability to perform her duties. Things are so bad, that the military’s annual readiness report would be kept classified for the first time for “security reasons.”

“Apparently the readiness of the Bundeswehr is so bad that the public should not be allowed to know about it,” said Tobias Lindner, a Greens member who serves on the budget and defense committees.

Inspector General Eberhard Zorn said (https://www.reuters.com/article/us-germany-arms/germany-not-satisfied-with-readiness-of-submarines-some-aircraft-idUSKBN1QS1G7) the average readiness of the country’s nearly 10,000 weapons systems stood at about 70 percent in 2018, which meant Germany was able to fulfill its military obligations despite increasing responsibilities.

No overall comparison figure was available for 2017, but last year’s report revealed readiness rates of under 50 percent for specific weapons such as the aging CH-53 heavy-lift helicopters and the Tornado fighter jets.

Zorn said this year’s report was more comprehensive and included details on five main weapons systems used by the cyber command, and eight arms critical for NATO’s high readiness task force, which Germany heads this year.

“The overall view allows such concrete conclusions about the current readiness of the Bundeswehr that knowledge by unauthorized individuals would harm the security interests of the Federal Republic of Germany,” he wrote.

Critics are sure of incompetence of the Federal Minister of Defence, Ursula von der Leyen. Though she has occupied the upper echelons of German politics for 14 years now — and shows no sign of success. This mother of seven, gynecologist by profession, by some miracle for a long time has been remaining in power, though has no trust even among German military elites. Despite numerous scandals she tries to manage the Armed Forces as a housewife does and, of course, the results are devastating for German military capabilities. The same statement could be easily apply for the Baltic States, which highly dependent on Germany in military sphere.

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