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The Blanket - A Journal of Protest & Dissent

"We won the war,
Now let's win the peace"

Maghaberry Update (2 of 2)

PRO POW's, Maghaberry Gaol, Aontroim

Maghaberry Gaol

"We won the war, Now let's win the peace"

No! it's not some Brit or Yank general after the fall of Baghdad or Basra. It's Sinn Fein's annual 'sound-bite' from a veteran to rally the troops who might be doubtful. Nothing like a self-congratulatory 'pat on the back' to make everyone feel we're in control. Unless I fell asleep and have just wakened up, I don't remember any Brits waving white flags in West Belfast, Tyrone, Derry, South Armagh or anywhere else for that matter. Far from it! No spoils of war for the rank and file anyway! Just humiliation after humiliation, Mitchell Principles, Weapons beyond use, Stormont etc, etc, etc, and there's more to come- joining the RUC(PSNI) Board of Informers, disbanding the Provisionals and dare I say it -No I won't! Alright I will- Police the Peace.

While we're talking about surrender I was looking through the Annals of History when I came upon another surrender with lessons that you would think would have been learned by now. This event took place 400 years ago about this time of year too. However the submission of Hugh O' Neill was not a shoddy, shameful affair like this latest capitulation of the Sinn Fein Leadership. O'Neill and Red Hugh O'Donnell had fought a long and hard campaign, had walked most of the country and with the aid of Scottish Galloglass won many battles great and small against the English. Events though turned against O'Neill, many deserted the great chief, some through bribery others just to save their own lands and necks. Hugh O' Neill himself was willing to hold out but famine ensued in Ulster-3000 died in Tyrone alone.

The English after their success disarmed the whole country from end to end. Gaelic chiefs including O'Neill had to surrender their lands to the crown; they were then re-granted whatever lands the crown saw fit-usually far less than they originally held. 'Surrender and Re-grant' it was called but a promise had to be given 'not to raise arms against the crown in future'. Sound familiar? They say that history repeats itself and you would think we would learn by our mistakes by now--well some do some don't!

I see Bush and Blair are up in arms about the treatment of their soldiers taken prisoner in Iraq-pot calling the kettle black! Remember the Afghan War, prisoner taken to Cuba hooded, shackled, some drugged. Remember the fuss the American Gov. made when the Red Cross asked to visit the prisoners.

You only have to look at Ireland to judge Britain's record in its treatment of POW's. Apparently it's against the Geneva Convention to film prisoners or treat them in a degrading way. Well I must ask the Red Cross to come to Maghaberry sometime as prisoners here are videoed and recorded every time we step out of our cells (except of course when a Republican is attacked.) I wonder if Strip-searching is termed degrading for we get plenty of them, legal visits-prisoners not notified or solicitors told blatant lies that prisoners had refused the visit. Boxed visits-where a prisoner and his relatives are put in a boxed room and separated by a full dividing screen. Boxed visits are normally reserved for criminals who abuse drugs but in an attempt by the NIO to criminalise Republicans it is often used as a weapon against us. Since we refuse to be criminalised we refuse boxed visits. Our relatives have to return home without seeing their loved ones most after travelling a long distance and going through the security checks, body searches, guard dogs, drug dogs, and insults from loyalists and screws. Our relatives' determination never ceases to amaze and inspire us.

Allegations have been made that ammunition used in the murder of six people in the Heights Bar in Loughinisland came from Ballykinlar army base. Locals know the real truth, not only was there ammunition from Ballykinlar in the area that night but two land rovers were parked in a laneway half an hour before the shooting. No statement has ever been made by Ballykinlar army base on troop movements that night.

In the one-sided war for control in Iraq a familiar statement was made by the armies-'Car failed to stop after a warning as we thought our lives were in danger we opened fire (just to protect ourselves you understand!) All occupants (women and children) were killed.' In a press statement by Tony Blair to the people of Iraq he said "We are going to liberate you", he forgot to add "even if we have to kill you to do it".

Back in the Gaol here another Republican POW was assaulted this week. The assault took place in sentenced wings. One Republican prisoner who is outnumbered 11-1 by loyalists was walking round the exercise yard when boiling water was thrown over him from one of the windows above. Finally I was about to highlight the issue of the non-arrival of post at the gaol but it seems some-one got a parcel through today (Friday 4th)

An Phoblacht Abú!

Is mise le meas,
PRO Maghaberry gaol.



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The Blanket - A Journal of Protest & Dissent



Follow the path of the unsafe, independent thinker. Expose your ideas to the dangers of controversy. Speak your mind and fear less the label of 'crackpot' than the stigma of conformity. And on issues that seem important to you, stand up and be counted at any cost.
- Thomas J. Watson

Index: Current Articles

14 April 2003


Other Articles From This Issue:


Maghaberry Update


"We Won The Peace, Now Let's Win The War"

PRO, POWs, Maghaberry


"In God We Trust, All Others Pay Cash"

Paul Fitzsimmons


Killer Peaceniks
Henry McDonald


Hillsborough and the Anglo-American Agreement to Wage War
Anthony McIntyre


An English View of the 'Ra
Eamonn McCann


In the Swim with Two Boys
Seaghan O Murchu


A Better World Without Him

Anthony McIntyre


Arrogant Propaganda
Paul de Rooij


11 April 2003


Critique of the Anti War Movement

Liam O'Ruairc


A Diversion from the Task
Eoin O'Broin


Bush and Blair Summon the Irish Contras...
Anthony McIntyre


Not Firm Ground But Wet Sand: Prevaricating for Peace

Paul Fitzsimmons


Irish Leaders Miss Chance to Speak Out Against War
Eamon Lynch


London Update


Baghdad: First They Cheered and Then They...
Anthony McIntyre


America's Dual Mission

M. Shahid Alam


War: It Already Started
Paul de Rooij


Lacking Credibility
Bert Ward




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