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Gerry McGeough & Political Policing


Anthony McIntyre • 24 March 2007

The ongoing detention of Gerry McGeough underscores the existence of political policing. McGeough an independent republican candidate was arrested as he left an election count in Omagh two weeks ago. There was a clear lesson in it. Arrested for an armed attack on a member of the UDR in 1981 his detention was discriminatory. On the same day, in other polling stations, the 1981 Provisional IRA chief of staff and its adjutant general went unmolested by the political police as they went about their business. One of these men has been the source of some recent media speculation that his finger prints were found on a car used in an armed attack that claimed the lives of two members of the RUC. Had he have been arrested it would have been no less an act of political policing. But no attempt was made to detain him and there is a political reason for that. He supports the force that arrested McGeough. By contrast McGeough's public vocal opposition to the PSNI is what landed him in the dock.

It does not take a genius to work out that McGeough, who openly admits his role as an IRA volunteer, if guilty of the attack for which he appeared in court, did not operate in splendid isolation. He was part of a wider organisation whose leaders directed his activity. That he and not they were charged is a clear message from the British political establishment. It is in charge and will discriminate in its choice of target for prosecution over events which are now meaningless. Loud and clear, republican opponents of the PSNI are being told that their opposition will render them potential political hostages. Their past will be trawled through with a combination of forensic efficiency and selective scrutiny.

At McGeough's first court appearance his lawyer described his arrest as an abuse of the democratic process and a return to the dark ages of political policing. He has tramped the streets of the north in clear view of the political police throughout his election campaign and appeared in the BBC studio in Belfast. According to Sinn Fein MP Michelle Gildernew, McGeough lived openly in her constituency. He could have been arrested at any time.

McGeough, along with his co accused Aidan McAnespie, should have been bailed the next day. McAnespie has since been released but McGeough continues to be held in Maghaberry. John Kelly who went to an aborted bail hearing for McGeough during the week has spoken out angrily on the affair:

It is unreasonable and vindictive. In moves to block Gerry's bail application the prosecution is hinting that he is wanted by US and German authorities. The facts are that Gerry McGeough was extradited from Germany to the US and then deported from the US to Ireland. Neither government has any further interest in the man. It is political policing, no more no less. The civil police force we are supposed to have has arrested no former or serving Special Branch officers for their involvement in matters much more serious and more recent than the charges faced by Gerry McGeough. The man has a wife and children out here who are bewildered by what is happening. He should be released immediately and the charges dropped.

According to one of McGeough's election workers the German and US authorities have confirmed in writing that neither jurisdiction is seeking him.

Gerry McGeough's arrest was a high profile political intervention. It occurred while the political spotlight was blazing as a result of the elections. While specifically directed against McGeough it was also a snub to the Sinn Fein leadership who are left with egg on their faces after all their claims to have separated political from civil policing. MI5 certainly did not arrest Gerry McGeough. And Sinn Fein has yet to put the much promised manners on those who did.






























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The Blanket - A Journal of Protest & Dissent



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27 March 2007

Other Articles From This Issue:

Paisley and Adams: The Ghosts of Politics Past
Brendan O'Neill

Democractically Elected Musical Chairs
Mick Hall

John Kennedy

Bun Fights & Good Salaries
Dolours Price

No New Era Yet
Republican Sinn Fein

The Cul de Sac called 'Futility'
Anthony McIntyre

Pathetic Claims
Joe McDaid

Gerry McGeough
Martin Galvin

Gerry McGeough & Political Policing
Anthony McIntyre

Miscarriage of Justice
Helen McClafferty

Racism Bridging the Sectarian Divide
Dr John Coulter

The Prince of Darkness
Anthony McIntyre

What's All the Fuss About the Veil?
Maryam Namazie

18 March 2007

How I Almost Got My Ass Kicked at the St. Patrick's Day Parade and Lived to Tell About It
David Kruidenier

The Protestant 'Pat Finucane'
Father Sean Mc Manus, President, Irish National Caucus

Green Party Declines White House Invitation
Green Party Press Release

Assembly Needs an Opposition
David Adams

Belfast Hot Air
Anthony McIntyre

Citizen Tom
Dr John Coulter

A History of Nationalism in Ireland
Liam O Ruairc

Review of Challenging the New Orientalism
Muhammad Idrees Ahmad

Two Sides of a Coin
Dr John Coulter

Anthony McIntyre

Sinn Fein Batmen
Brian Mór

Launch of
Colm Mistéil

Reject the 'New' RUC
Republican Socialist Youth Movement

32 County Sovereignty Movement: Water Charges Are Illegal
Kevin Murphy

The National Irish Freedom Committee on Gerry McGeough
National Irish Freedom Committee

NIFC Free Form Video Discusses Elections, Abstentionism
Saerbhreathach Mac Toirdealbhaigh

America's 'Global War On Terrorism'
M. Shahid Alam

Iñaki de Juana Chaos
Anthony McIntyre



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