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Old 05-24-2005, 04:30 PM   #1
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Normal Report Claims IRA Cover-Up, Arms Smuggling

[q]Report Claims IRA Cover-Up, Arms Smuggling

By SHAWN POGATCHNIK, Associated Press Writer Tue May 24,10:30 AM ET

DUBLIN, Ireland - The
Irish Republican Army covered up a Belfast killing, is smuggling in new armaments and continues to recruit and train members how to use firearms and make bombs, an expert commission reported Tuesday.


The British and Irish governments welcomed the findings of the Independent Monitoring Commission, a four-man panel appointed three years ago to provide objective assessments on the activities of the IRA and several other illegal groups based in Northern Ireland. A Sinn Fein official said the commission was neither impartial nor credible.

The report shed new light on a central issue bedeviling Northern Ireland's 12-year-old peace process — whether the outlawed IRA will disarm and disband in support of the province's 1998 peace accord.

It found that the IRA and a half-dozen other paramilitary groups remained highly active from September 2004 to March. While the other groups have no significant political support, the IRA-linked Sinn Fein party represents most of Northern Ireland's Catholic minority, making continued IRA activity a huge political obstacle.

The commissioners, among them a former
CIA deputy director, cited evidence that the IRA was smuggling in new weaponry in defiance of the 1998 accord's disarmament goals. The IRA was supposed to have scrapped all its armaments by mid-2000 but didn't start the process until late 2001 and halted it some two years later.

The report said police in September discovered 10,000 rounds of assault rifle ammunition in an IRA arms dump "of a type not previously found in Northern Ireland and manufactured since the Belfast agreement." These bullets, it said, "may have been only part of a larger consignment."

The IRA "continues to seek to maintain its medium-term effectiveness. It recruits and trains new members, including in the use of firearms and explosives. It continues to gather intelligence," the report said.

It said the IRA committed at least five shootings and six assaults since September and runs a range of criminal rackets such as smuggling fuel and cigarettes and bank robberies — including the world-record theft in December of about $50 million from a Belfast bank. The IRA has denied involvement in the bank robbery.

The commissioners added their take to the IRA's admission that its members stabbed to death a Catholic civilian, Robert McCartney, outside a Belfast bar on Jan. 30.

They accused the IRA of putting "the organization and its members ahead of justice." They said IRA members attacked McCartney "at the direction" of a senior IRA figure in Belfast and afterward cleaned up forensic evidence and intimidated potential witnesses.

The IRA — which initially denied involvement — later expelled three members and offered to shoot two of them as the group faced intense pressure from a public campaign by McCartney's sisters. Sinn Fein also suspended or expelled about a dozen members who were involved in or witnessed the killing.

The commissioners said three groups rooted in hard-line Protestant areas — the Loyalist Volunteer Force, Ulster Defense Association and Ulster Volunteer Force — were responsible for more violence and crime than the IRA and three smaller anti-British gangs. They said, on average, the IRA and these other underground groups combined to shoot or assault four people each week.

Sinn Fein official Alex Maskey declined to comment on the report's specific charges, but accused the commissioners of simply repeating what police and British military officials had told them. He said the commission "has little or no credibility and is neither impartial, fair nor balanced."

But the Democratic Unionists, who represent most Protestants, said the report reinforced their demands for the IRA to disarm and disband before they form a power-sharing administration with Sinn Fein. Such cooperation, a central goal of the 1998 agreement, has been on hold since 2002 because of arguments over the IRA's future.

"Anyone who thinks that Sinn Fein can be brought into government any time soon should read this report in detail and see just how deeply ingrained ... the whole litany of paramilitary and criminal activity is," Democratic Unionist whip Nigel Dodds said.

The IRA observed a cease-fire since 1997 after killing about 1,800 people during a failed 27-year campaign to abolish Northern Ireland as a part of the United Kingdom.[/q]
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Old 05-24-2005, 04:42 PM   #2
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The IRA sucks.
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Old 05-24-2005, 05:54 PM   #3
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aren't the IRA basically a street gang these days? I mean I know they still have weapons, but they can't really do anything with them, can they? I was under the impression that they were senile losers who only keep their weapons so the can sell them to the PLO and live vicariously through their revolution. But maybe I was wrong...all I know about n. ireland is what I read on occasional visits to purederry.com (i love political satire even if its not from my country)

seriously though, private armies/terrorists/street gangs= bad news
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Old 05-24-2005, 08:16 PM   #4
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Isnt it telling to everyone here that the whole article centers around the IRA but this comment is given little to no discuision?

The commissioners said three groups rooted in hard-line Protestant areas — the Loyalist Volunteer Force, Ulster Defense Association and Ulster Volunteer Force — were responsible for more violence and crime than the IRA and three smaller anti-British gangs. They said, on average, the IRA and these other underground groups combined to shoot or assault four people each week.

You must read between the lines. Prod groups do commit more violence then the IRA and four other groups combined. That is scary!
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Old 05-24-2005, 08:27 PM   #5
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Here is something that contrasts the British favored article:

Nationalist fury at IMC report

Claims by the International Monitoring Commission (IMC) that it operates independently from the British government has been undermined by its report on demilitarisation in the North, according to nationalists and republicans.
Prevented from commenting on the British government's failure to demilitarise, the report stands in stark contrast to the strident and politically loaded report on paramilitary activity published in April.

In that report the four-man team provided an extensive, if in places erroneous, analysis of the activities of Northern paramilitaries, with particular emphasis on the IRA.

The report stated that the IMC was ``deeply concerned about the extent of continuing paramilitary activity and the impact it has on communities in Northern Ireland.''

It recommended that hefty financial penalties be slapped on Sinn Fein and the Progressive Unionist Party over alleged ongoing paramilitary activity. The North's secretary of state, Paul Murphy, proceeded to fine Sinn Fein stg?120,000 (€181,000).

In its latest report, published on Tuesday, the IMC made no references to any concerns it might have about the presence of almost 15,000 British soldiers stationed in the North - three times the number considered necessary in peacetime.

Nor did it recommend that the British ministry of defence be fined over its failure to reduce military activity in line with the reduction in paramilitary threat. (About 9,000 British soldiers are currently stationed in southern Iraq.)

The report dovetails with British prime minister Tony Blair's much vaunted `acts of completion' speech in late 2002. According to republicans, Blair's speech moved the goalposts on demilitarisation.

He made reductions in troop numbers contingent on the disappearance of the IRA.

Sinn Fein said that the British government's official stance before this was that the extensive military presence in places such as south Armagh was needed to counter the threat of dissident republicans.

Former Northern secretary Peter Mandelson published a `normalisation' strategy document in 1999 which said that military buildings and troop numbers would be cut back in line with the diminishing threat posed by paramilitaries.

The IMC's second report points out that no PSNI or British soldiers have died in a paramilitary-related incident since 1998.
It notes that the vast majority of violence in recent years has been carried out by loyalists. Most of this violence has occurred in Belfast and north Down, yet border areas - most notably south Armagh - remain heavily militarised.

They claim that the IMC, a supposedly `objective and impartial' body, is in thrall to the current policy concerns of the British government.
The failure by the IMC to embarrass its political masters with anything approaching vague criticism has further dented its reputation among nationalists.

The IMC's seeming obsession with the activities of the IRA puzzled observers in April. Thirty-two references were made to the IRA in the first report, with only 18 mentions of the UDA - an organisation responsible for six murders in the previous year.
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Old 05-25-2005, 05:53 AM   #6
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Oh, I understand that those Prod extremist groups are really bad news as well, and it seems like the U.S. press never says anything about them. This isn't fair.
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Old 05-25-2005, 09:24 AM   #7
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Quote:
The
Irish Republican Army covered up a Belfast killing
The LVF are covering up a murder of a girl here too at the moment. In America I only think you get drips and drabs of all the news here.

Compared to the loyalist paramilitaries, the IRA are probably the lesser of 2 evils.

Like Bonoman said You must read between the lines. Prod groups do commit more violence then the IRA and four other groups combined. That is scary!
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Old 05-25-2005, 07:41 PM   #8
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Quote:
Originally posted by verte76
The IRA sucks.
This pretty much reflects my point of view accurately!
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Old 05-25-2005, 07:45 PM   #9
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Quote:
Originally posted by bonoman

The IMC's seeming obsession with the activities of the IRA puzzled observers in April. Thirty-two references were made to the IRA in the first report, with only 18 mentions of the UDA - an organisation responsible for six murders in the previous year.
32 mention of the IRA compared to 18 of the UDA? Sounds reasonable enough to me, especially considering that the UDA are not linked to a political party with 24% of the vote in the Six Counties.

As regards your point elsewhere in your post about British "military presence" in South Armagh, I wonder why that is exactly? It wouldn't have anything to do with the IRA presence in that particular region, by any chance?
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