Thursday, March 29, 2007

Open letter to Inspector Lewis Brown, commander Donegall Pass Police Station

Dear Inspector Brown,
by the time you read this you should have received a copy of the receipts from the internet cafe I have been using to post on this blog. It is my belief that the Police are holding my computer to silence me. As you can see, that has failed. Your people siezed my computer four months ago. They cannot pretend they are still holding it as part of an investigation. Indeed, the attitude of Detective Sargeant Sylvia Hamilton was to state bluntly,
"No. You're not getting your computer back."
Well, Inspector Brown, if I'm not getting my computer back, I expect to be reimbursed for my internet cafe expenses.
It is possible to copy the contents of my hard drive if a permanent record is needed.
For what it's worth, I have nothing to hide or apologise for.
I expect to hear from you sooner rather than later.

Yours faithfully,
Alan Murray.

Saturday, March 24, 2007

Police target residents

You will recall, way back when, before the police siezed my computer, I said we are a lesser class of person to them. Everybody sees the looks of suspicion and loathing they give us as they drive around like an army of occupation. Residents are stopped in the street,
"Who are you? Where are you going?"
Me, at least, they know by name. It's odd that they don't stop students willy-nilly. Well, OK, it's not odd, it's policy. Criminalise the community. What they don't realise is that this is a tacit admission of failure. The entire community is in revolt, apart from a few collaborators. Now their energy's directed at containing our rage while the "Students" can do what they want. That, beleive me, is policy.
If students vandalise a resident's car, the resident is threatened with prosecution. If a resident is relating to police how he was attacked by three students, the police pull his son and, when he objects, is threatened by an enraged officer brandishing CS spray and a baton. Naturally nothing will be done about the "student" attackers, other than going through the motions.
For the record, we are all free to walk down any street or up any entry and we don't have to explain ourselves to anyone.

Charlatan claims to represent community

David Farrell's at it again. He's telling the press that he's the "Chairman" of the, "Belfast Holylands Regeneration Association". At least he's not calling it a resident's group.
He's written to the Police, wardens and universities to tell them what a good job they did making st Patricks day quiet. Does he expect us to beleive that they are responsible for it falling on a weekend, coinciding with mothers day and being washed out by a three day Atlantic storm?
There was a large police presence, but, as I'll explain in a later post, it focused almost entirely on residents, barring the collaborators of course.
An end must be put to this fake residents/regeneration/collaboration group.It's boycotted by residents who are almost universally disgusted with it.

Thursday, March 22, 2007


They came at 7.45am. I'd had little sleep. It was timed for maximum disorientation.
"Mister Murray Hurry Up"
I'm rushing to the door.
"We have a warrant to search the place.You can stay, but if you interfere you'll be removed. Do you understand?"
The uniforms go about their work and the first plain clothes introduces herself.
"I'm Sylvia"
She sounds like a social worker.
Her partner, Alan, chimes in.
"This situation's got out of control. It's got to stop."
I'm feeling patronised.
"We'll look after you" Says Sylvia, "We're your guardian angels."
Alarm bells are going off in my head.
I look around to see my computer being taken out the front door.
I go into the kitchen. Every tin of yellow paint is being opened.
"What are you looking for?"
A uniform shows me the warrant.
" Orange/yellow paint, brake fluid boots."
I'm not thinking straight because they're siezing a lot more than that.
"We're taking your swords", says Alan,"until this is all over.
They're taking my antique swords. Even the wooden training swords I made myself are going.
"Leave me the baseball bat"
"No, it's going too."
"How am I supposed to defend myself?"
"If your house is attacked just call us
"You won't get here in time"
"Yes we will"
They're taking the piss. I'd be dead before I got through to the station.
Alan's prattling again.
"If this doesn't stop someone's going to get killed here"
They don't know the half of it
"You know why we're here. These bin fires have got to stop."
"You think I'm in the frame"
"The dogs in the street know you did it. You're out of control. people are afraid of you."
He's pouring it on like hot butter.
Sylvia approaches me.
"We're arresting you on suspicion of arson with intent to endanger life. You do not have to say anything, but anything you do not say, but reveal later can be held against you in a court of law."
"Can I take my medication?"
"We'll take it with us Our Doctor can administer it."
I put my tablets into a bag.
We're about to go. I need to get dressed.
"Where are my boots?"
"They've been siezed"
I put on my trainers.
"We have to put cuffs on you"
" Front or back?"
They're uncomfortable. They make it difficult to squeeze into the Police car, and I have to sit forward in the seat as we drive to the station.

The Holding cell has piss on the floor.I shake with cold and fear while I munch on a mars bar.
After a while they take me for processing. They take my wallet, my gloves , my hat, my belt. They let me keep the bounty bar.
As the sargeant's taking my details my bowels are about to burst.
"I can't hold it sarge!!"
"OK just run"
I make it barely in time and squat above a stainless bowl pulling my cheeks apart while the world falls ouy of my backside. It's the first of many visits to the "customers" toilet.
I sit in a cell with my shoes outside.
"In case you hang yourself with the laces"
Well whatever.
I wait. And wait. And wait.
The door opens.
"Your solicitor's on the phone"
My solicitor, Julie has known me for seventeen years. She tells me to eat something. Lunch is on its way soon and she'll be there not long after.
In between lunch and frequent visits to the toilet I try to relax.Hours have passed. I was raided before 8am. It's now 2pm.
My solicitor arrives. Alan, or Detective Sargeant Piper to his friends, takes her aside for a chat about my mental health. I think he's trying to convince her I'm crazy. She's no dozer. He'll make fools of neither of us.
I tell Julie I know nothing about the fires in No2 Jerusalem St, and, with me being innocent the Police have no forensic evidence.
At 3pm the interviews begin. We will not finish till 8pm.
"What did you do that day?"
"I got up, I can't remember when. It was late. Afternoon sometime. I went into town. I got food. I came home.I said hello to the workmen at the front door of No2. I went inside. I went out the back and saw them dumping a huge pile of rubbish in the entry. I made my tea later on. I went for a walk late. I noticed that the windows of No2 were broken. I came back. I watched more TV. I had a bath and played music I went to bed."
"Did you hear any noise?"
"Its the Holyland there's always noise."
" Did you hear the fire brigade?"
"I was in the bath . I heard diesel engines. I thought it was the fire brigade coming to put out a eurobin."
"A what?", says Alan, feigning stupidity.
"Those big steel bins. They get burnt all the time."
"You didn't hear anything else?"
"I was playing loud music."
It's time to go over the evidence collected.
"What's this large tube of glue for?"
"It's general purpose, but it's perfect for round the bath. You've seen the sealant. It needs replaced."
"You haven't used it to seal up locks?"
"What about this superglue?"
"I have a house full of model kits. It's ideal for them. It's better than polystyrene cement. You've seen the large model tank stored in a biscuit tin I've been working on."
Neil, the evidence guy nods.
Now it's the yellow paint.
"That cream colour's for the living room floor. The others I found in skips or the entry. That large empty tub, turn it upside down.You see the coloured paint? I mount figures on it while I'm painting them."
"You haven't used these to paint X's on people's windows?"
"We'll be doing forensics on these. Will they match?"
"Well, paints can be very generic, but it's most unlikely."
" Can you tell us what this large stencil says?"Neill's feeling pompous.
"What does that mean?"
" Well, let's see. I'm surrounded by people who've come up here for a three year long party, all the while abusing education. Look at my course. It's one of the best in the UK. It has a 50% non-attendance rate. These people come up here, go apeshit and you people do nothing about it. You just drive on by and legitimise their behaviour."
"What would you have us do?"
"I've spent all day in a cell called a "Drunk cell". There's an offence called "Drunk and Disorderly". Park a meat wagon in the Holylands, fill it up and process these people at the end of the night. They come up here, torment working class people and drive around in brand new cars that mummy and daddy bought them. And no, I didn't paintstripper their cars!!!"
Julie cuts in.
"I think we should take a break here. You're getting Quite upset."
"Thank's Julie. You're right. I just don't think I have anything to apologise for."
We take a break. Dinner arrives.It's suitably tasteless. The ordinary officers in the station are, I have to say, very decent to me.It must be refreshing for them to have a polite customer. Events in the interview room are of course most unpleasant. The whole business of being raided, arrested and grilled is increadibly threatening. The sense of ontological terror is overwelming.
While I eat chips my solicitor tells me the cops are on a fishing expedition. They have nothing. I know they're trying to pin all the resistance activity on me, as if a whole community isn't in revolt.
We have many breaks during the interviews. They're going on for hours. The cops are trying to trip me up or break me. I'm an innocent man. But they have to try don't they. My innocence or guilt is irrelevant. They need to make an example of someone.
More interviews. They've siezed the handbills I've been circulating with the address and phone number of Douglas Bailie, the landlord of No2 Jerusalen St on them. Later they'll caution me with harrassment for circulating his details and instruct me to take them off this website. They don't want me putting a list of his other properties in the area on here either or, for that matter, Declan Boyle's details. They seek to protect power from accountability.
"What can you tell us about these boots?"
"They're boots. they keep my feet dry in the rain and warm in the winter."
"We won't find any evidence on them?"
"I walked through the glass outside that house. I,ve done that with these trainers as well."
"Well, we'll have to confiscate them too"
They give me a pair of oversize plimsoles. Neill, feeling clever, says I look like Krusty the Clown. Beleive it or not, that wee boy has a psychology degree.
I'm finally released. Julie gives me a lift home. It's just as well. I'd have had to trudge through the rain in Krusty the Clown Plimsoles on a wet November night.
The next day I see the article in the South Belfast News. The fake residents group have been stitching up their neighbours. Go figure.

This happened in November. It's now the end of march and the cops still have my computer. They needn't pretend they're holding it as part of an investigation. They're trying to
silence me.

I went back twice to be reinterviewed. They had nothing to put to me. The second time Neill, the Krusty the Clown guy, told me they'd be holding my computer. I said why don't you copy the hard drive and return it to me. He answers with some words of wisdom.
"You can buy a new hard drive for a couple of hundred quid."
"A...couple ..of hundred..quid..?"
The couple next to me are sniggering
"Well, Neill why don't you lend me a couple of hundred quid?"
"No" His smile's slipping away.
"I didn't think so."
"Well I'm not burning down houses in the Holyland"
Calmly I say " Neither am I"
His smile's gone now.
"Am I free to go?"
"Yes you're free to go"
We part company. Now I'm Smiling.

Creepy Critters prowl the Entries

I was in the yard getting firewood.It was 10.45pm. When I heard their voices I went into silent mode. They were checking my perspex roof and commenting on the "second house down", mine.As they were walking away I opened the yard door and said,
"What may I do for you gentlemen?"
"How may you...Oh!...My friend here owns the house next door(meaning no2) and he was showing me how he did his extention."
This sounds like bullshit. I'll make sure the police are informed. If people are casing my house I want it noted. Two men in their forties aren't going to be burglars. Something sinister is afoot. I don't expect the police to protect me. But I do expect something very nasty to happen. Perhaps Arson With Intent To Endanger Life?

Police cover up alert: suspected sexual ssault in 16 carmel St

On the night of Monday 12th of March something terrible happened to a female student in 16 carmel St. THe house was subsequently sealed off for two days by the police. Forensics and detectives were busy. The Police and Queens refuse to release a statement. Detective sargeant Sylvia Hamilton told me that the police have no obligation to tell the public what crime is alleged to have happened. In other words Cover Up is the order of the day. We know that Police were asking neighbours if they heard a young woman screaming. So what ever happened, it must have been truly awful. Otherwise why cover it up?

Wednesday, March 21, 2007

Residents Meeting

The cops yesterday returned my swords to me. They've finally concluded that I'm not a madman. I could have told them that anyway, but, you know, they just won't listen.
"No" says Sylvia the detective, "You're not getting your computer back."
Well, I decided to just say
"Fuck 'em",
and start posting from an internet cafe. I feel like sending them the bill. The least these fools can do is pay up after trying to silence me.

There was a residents meeting recently. It was the first we've had in five months. Naturally I waited till it was nearly over before I slipped in and dropped my little bombshell.
"this article in the paper claims that a residents group in the Holylands has been informing on their neighbours. I say informing, but how would they know who the resistance are. After all I don't know whose doing what."
"It could have been Rugby Road residents group or that one from the Lower Ormeau that meets in this church."
They know they're in deep trouble.
"I've some other questions to ask."
They've got that sinking feeling. They're reading the copy of the South Belfast News from November that I've passed round. Some are confused, some are outraged, some are terrified that I'll go ballistic.
Now I'm upping the ante.
"Is there a group called the Holyland Residents Group?"
"Whose the chairperson of this group?"
She's not there.
"Then why is David Farrell going to the press and saying he's chairman of the Holyland Residents Group?"
He's making excuses. If Katrina's not available and the press call him, what's he to do?"
" Tell them the truth. You don't speak for this community. And you should not tell the world what a great job you think Queens are doing and how succesful you think the warden's scheme has been."
"You have to say nice things about them or they won't get their funding renewed."
"The Wardens"
" Well, I've a lot of respect for the wardens. I think they're very good people, but they'll admit that they can't get the universities, and I've discussed this with you",
I look toward Gordon Douglas, the man from Queens,
"at the police meeting. They can't get the universities to take meaningful action"
Gordon's nodding. He remembers the meeting well. He didn't have a good time.
I continue.
"It's a terrible thing to have to say"
They can see I'm going for the money shot.
"And no, I don't endorse it, but the only thing that makes a difference round here is direct action. Like it or not putting in windows, paintstrippering cars and painting X's on houses makes a difference"
"We can't support that" says Denise from the church.
"I don't endorse it, but it's made a difference."
"When?" says David Farrell" When has direct action made a difference?"
He walked right into it.
"You'll remember a young woman was sexually assaulted in Palestine Street in September. Well every window in that house was broken and those guys left pretty fast. Now I don't endorse it, but it worked.
"Well", says Denise, seeking the moral high ground. I would like to think that if someone saw a house being damaged they would call the police"
"It's one thing," I retort , "to report a crime. It's another thing to inform on your neighbours or, for that matter, stitch them up."
Time for the knockout blow.
" What's the name of this group?"
The Belfast Holyland Regeneration Association."
" This is not a residents group. If it was, the landlords would not have been coming to these meetings for a year and taking them over"
" But we got rid of them", says Denise.
" It took a year and a half and a hell of a fight. If this was a residents group they would have been told to get lost. There are people who don't live here, who have a home address and a term time address who can come to these meetings and vote"
"They're not here"
" If they wanted to, they could be, and they're not residents."
"What have You done?" Says David Farrell.
" I've stood up to students. I've written articles. I've given radio interviews and not used my full name because I'm not a self publicist. And I don't pretend to speak for this community."
"Neither do I"
" Then why are you telling the press that you are the chairman of the Holyland Residents Group?"
He has no answer to that.
" Where is the community?"
There are nine residents in the room.
" This group does not speak for what remains of this community.There are less than 200 residents left. You have regenerated nothing. Things have got worse over the past four years. The community is no longer sustainable."
"Well", says Denise, "If you want to propose changes you can come to the AGM next month."
They want to know why I will not go on the committee. I tell them I can acheive nothing on it. They agree that one voice can make no difference in that forum.
They Wrap it up. I leave knowing that I've said my piece and kept my cool the whole time.
The community has turned on itself. It had to happen. It was inevitable that people would start stitching up their neighbours. At least now it's out in the open and some people are squirming.