Tuesday, May 05, 2009
The police, and the Ombudsman's office, withheld these from the prosecution. They really like to protect their friends from Justice.
This is what happens when you stand up to a fake residents' group. When I walked down to Donegall Pass, leaving a trail of bloodspots on the way, the police sent the ambulance away. I was taken into a small room where a number of officers proceeded to bully me. I was told not to press charges and cautioned for the crime of criticising Katrina O'Neill. They falsely claimed that many public representatives have used the harassment legislation to silence their critics. It would be correct to say, however, that this law exists to stifle dissent. It has been used repeatedly by corporate interests to prosecute those who expose their evil deeds.
It is hard to deny that the police have endorsed the violence inflicted upon me. They refused to investigate for six months until I revealed the false name used by my assailant and his puppetmaster, Miss O'Neill. When the police finally went through the motions they cautioned me with the usual counterallegations and insisted the photographs were inadmissable.
For eighteen months a disk, and evidence statement, have languished in the care of the Ombudsman's office who insist they are for their own use and not to be passed over to the PPS. They have even tried to rewrite the Rules of Evidence, an affront to the intelligence of any criminal counsel.
The attack on me two years ago was attempted murder. Had it happened as planned, on a dark night rather than in broad daylight, I would be dead, Mr Catney would be walking free, as he is now after perjured evidence got him acquitted. And an act of instrumental violence would have made it clear that you do not criticise certain people. The various bogus allegations made by Miss O'Neill and her extended family would have posthumously smeared my name.
I am alive yet live forever in the shadow of death, waiting for a police informer to finish what he started. Every day I live is revenge.
I see them across the street. My summer day's daze is shattered.
“What the fuck are you lookin' at cunt!!”
“....I was just saying hello.....”
It's no use. He has the predator's stare. He's in terminal homing phase like a guided missile.
“Who the fuck are you to talk about my wife!!”
Say nothing. Match his stare.
“I'm gonna cut out your eyes and rip out your throat”
Show no fear.
“It's up to you”
We're nose to nose. I'm falling. He follows through and I know to kick up.
Kick up. Don't stay on the ground.
I'm on my feet. We're eye to eye. Katrina's screaming. He ignores her. Only his target exists.
“I'm gonna cut out your eyes and rip out your throat”
I head-butt him. He staggers. I try to punch him. He calmly steps aside and I go spinning. We carousel from one side of the street to the other, his feet hitting my eyes. I feel nothing; thuds, but no pain.
I'm on the ground. My head is hitting the pavement. And I feel no pain.
I'm on my back. I can't breathe. He has me in a neck-vice.
Pull his arms loose. Gulp air.
The vice closes.
Pull. Hit him with the back of your head.
Above me Tony's watching. Through his thick lenses his piggy eyes are filled with jubilation.
Pull. Gulp air.
I'm on my knees in a doorway.
“I'm gonna fuckin' kill you!!”
Pull. Gulp air.
“Everybody dies! Fuck you!!”
I know I'm dying.
“Get my Daddy! Get my Daddy!”
Mark is watching. He's waiting for me to die.
Keep breaking the neck vice.
I see sky. His hands are round my throat and I'm punching impotently up at him. He's laughing.
I'm on my knees.
“I'll stop if you apologise.”
“Fuck you! I'm apologising for fuck-all!!”
The world is spinning. I fall onto my backside.
Two girls are looking at me. They can't be more than eleven.
“Why did you not apologise when he said he would stop?”
“I don't think I have anything to apologise for.”
“I suppose you're right. It's not nice someone being a Tout”
My head's sticky. I pull my hand away and it's covered with blood. I murmur something.
“What the fuck did you say!!”
It's Bernard; her father; yesterday's Republican.
“I said my head's bleeding”
“I have no more fuckin' patience for you!!”
I stare at him.
“Stop Fuckin' Filmin' This!!”
He's storming across the street, screaming up at a window.
I see Tony. He's moved away.
“I hope you're proud of yourself Tony”
It's the least I can say.
I stagger to my feet, swaying, then collect my coat off the ground where it fell; over where it all began so long ago.
“Are you okay?”
It's a motorist. He's shocked. He's staring at me and I don't know why.
“I've had better days”
I stumble off down the entry.
Don't go to your own house. It's not safe.
I go to her house. Damien answers.
What does he see? He can't believe it.
“What the Fuck!! What happened??”
“You look like someone tried to kill you”
“You need to go to hospital”
“I need to speak to the cops”
“Get the station to call you an ambulance”
I turn to go and from across the street comes Karen. The colour has drained from her face.
We walk down Botanic Avenue and I pause at Clements. I have to go in. Everything stops and heads turn.
Where is Jane?
Open mouths and goggle eyes have no answer to my silent question.
She'll think I've stood her up.
Time to go.
The station has no cops. The girl behind the desk calls an ambulance. She gets water. My hands are staining the glass with blood. There's something on my tongue. I pull it off. It's a slice of tooth.
The ambulance comes.
“That's a nasty head wound. You need that X-Rayed and stapled. You've got concussion. You could have a closed head injury. You need to go to hospital.”
The cops arrive. There's a flood of them.
“We need to talk to him”
The paramedics leave.
We go into a small room. There are two seats. I take one while they stand.
Good Cop speaks,
“You got a couple of digs in”
“That's nice to know”
“You've been harassing Katrina O'Neill”
It's bad cop. She's short, English and very hostile.
“We want to talk to you about these incidents”
“You intimidated her at a residents' meeting and then there's this latest incident on the Ormeau Road”
“You stared at her”
“Outside the Ormeau Bakery”
“We passed in a walkway”
“You stared at her”
“What about the meeting?”
“You intimidated her”
I look at Robin, the sergeant in the corner in the boiler suit.
“You were there. Did you see any intimidation?”
“It was a hell of a row”
“But did you see any intimidation?”
“We weren't there for all of it”
“But you were in the building”
“Was it reported to you then?”
The wall's cracking. The English one counter-attacks.
“We're going to caution you. She doesn't want you writing about her on the internet”
“She's a public figure”
“It doesn't matter. Politicians have prosecuted people for writing about them. It's harassment.”
Someone's coming and going.
How many are there? Five? Six?
I'm losing count. Another one speaks,
“Will I do it?”
“Alan Murray, I'm cautioning you for the offence of harassment against Katrina O'Neill. You do not have to say anything, but it may harm your defence if you do not mention .......................”
It's not a dream.
"Do you have anything you wish to say?"
"I think this is absurd"
“You are entitled to a legal representative. Do you wish one to be present now?”
“I have concussion. I need medical attention. I came here to report an assault”
“You don't want to do that. She has six witnesses who all say you started it. You attacked her boyfriend Declan Martin. And you threatened to burn her house down with her and the kids in it. "
"Is she pressing charges?"
"Why not? if someone threatened to burn your house down with you and your kids in it would you not want to press charges?"
"I want him prosecuted."
"You'll lose. Then she can take civil action against you. I know it's not fair, but, there you go"
“I'll take legal advice. Can I go to hospital now?”
They take me to the City.
Even a doctor's shocked at the sight of me. He takes an inventory of my injuries then goes away while a nurse bathes my wounds with saline. I like her. She admires my freshly broken nose.
“There's no skull fracture. The X-Rays are clear, but we need to staple that head wound.”
By the end my teeth are gritting. Pain has returned to me.
He leaves me in the care of the nurse. She comes and goes as I wait out the necessary few hours of observation.
“Will you be okay to go home?”
“I don't know if the house will still be there”
I'm good to go.
Suzanne's shocked. We're on my doorstep.
“You look like a bare knuckle boxer beat you!!!”
Little did we know, he is.
Looking back it's like a dream. Time does that to you. You never forget. You constantly replay it in your head; Post Traumatic Stress Disorder. To fight for your life, knowing you're going to die is, they say, the most damaging of experiences. Yet I would change nothing. It would have been a good death. There is honour in such things.
The executioner will come again. I am ready to die.
Answer this question:-
"What is the role of a free press in a democratic society?"
I haven't heard that one in a long time. Perhaps someone should pose it to Hugh Orde, soon to be head of the Association of Chief Constables. Clearly he was the right choice to head our shiny new police force that looks increasingly like the old RUC. The fact that it was the RUC until it changed its name, but not its membership, should make this easy to understand.
I'm reliably informed that the members of this putrid old vintage in new, but only slightly different, bottles have all had human rights training. I wonder if they sat an exam at the end of the course.
"In six hundred words define the relationship between freedom of speech and public accountability. Illustrate with examples from Eastern Europe."
Interestingly enough, East Germany's "Volkspolizei" wore green tunics and white shirts remarkably like those of the RU.......errrr.....PSNI. They also had a habit of arresting and prosecuting those who criticised public figures or asked awkward questions. Such prosecutees had defense counsel and were able to argue their case in court. So no human rights issues there. After all the police are obliged to investigate, caution, arrest and prosecute those who make a nuisance of themselves, looking into wrongdoing in high (and low) places, questioning the integrity of those fine Party Members who work so hard for the public good. Comrades Brown, Smith, Harman etc would never line their pockets at public expense. Indeed, we will send the Stasi to raid the offices of a member of the People's Assembly in order to make the point that no-one whose loyalty we doubt can ever feel safe. Journalists must do their duty and reveal their sources so that these subversive elements can be rooted out and put on trial.
The UK looks increasingly like East Germany without public housing or free education. It's a vast panopticon where privacy is seen as a threat to the social order. Protest is criminalised. It's "harassment" to criticise corporate interests who even have lawyers on the payroll who specialise in the use of this law to stifle dissent. Police assault the public at will in the full knowledge that CCTV footage will become "unavailable". Dissent is driven underground and protest groupings riddled with informers and agent provocateurs. Special operations are launched, arresting hundreds (contrast the Holyland) who were "planning to attack the power supply". Bogey men are invented readily and appear everywhere, thereby justifying the end of privacy. Phones are tapped. Houses are bugged. Emails are monitored. The DNA profiles of millions are kept on file. And all of this to protect our freedom, just like in the German Democratic Republic.
Hugh Orde has shown his true colours. He has no interest in democracy or accountability or freedom of speech. He's the perfect choice to head the Association of Chief Constables. Interestingly enough, Ronnie Flanagan, another RUC Chief Constable, became Chief inspector of Constabulary for the UK. This is a man on whose watch police ran death squads, murdered solicitors and ran a network of informers so extensive that "every tree has its Special Branch". That network has not gone away. In fact it is constantly renewed with the usual suspects; drug dealers, thugs etc who have a license to do whatever they want. Communities live in fear and, bizarrely, are expected to look to the police to protect them from their own employees. Ronnie's swansong as a public servant was to oversee the murder of a Brazilian on a subway train by a police death squad. The jury at the inquest were not allowed to return a verdict of "Unlawful Killing".
Under the Terrorism Act police evidence is heard in closed court. Neither the defendant nor their counsel are allowed to know the nature of the case against them. They are therefore unable to mount a defense against it. This is more draconian than the Prevention of Terrorism Act. It makes a mockery of Justice and Accountability and Freedom of the Press. A journalist is not allowed to protect their sources. Whistleblowers are not protected. In the UK there is no right to silence. The arrest caution is deliberately worded to undermine the presumption of innocence. Suzanne Breen faces a potential five years in jail. So does any investigative journalist. Why? Because the definition of terrorism has been expanded to cover any activity that challenges institutional power.
The elevation of Hugh Orde and Ronnie Flanagan to high office reveals a chilling truth. Northern Ireland is a training ground for tyranny.
they're going to film the mayhem. The council will have "mobile CCTV" deployed in the Holyland.
What do they hope to achieve? The cops have regularly filmed what goes on on Halloween, or St Patrick's Day, and done nothing. They had loads of footage of the recent riot, and, we're told, they're trawling through it to get faces, addresses etc. I wish the media wouldn't buy into such patent horseshit. There will be no arrests or prosecutions based on the filming. As I've discussed previously, the universities will do fuck-all.
CCTV is a weapon used by one group of people who have power against those without. Ultimately that means the vast majority of the population. Big Brother is watching and "the innocent have nothing to fear". This is the first cry of the tyrant.
It is interesting that when police assaulted Ian Tomlinson, very probably causing his death, the footage from neighbouring cameras became unavailable. It was the public, using their mobile phones and camcorders who exposed the truth.
You would think that the cameras in police stations record. They probably do, but when it suits the cops they suddenly don't. I'm speaking from personal experience.
Quis custodiet ipsos custodes?
You needn't look to the IPCC in England or the Ombudsman's office here for accountability. Once again I speak from experience.
In England there is a call for the panopticon to be pulled down. The death of Ian Tomlinson has exposed it's moral bankruptcy. It watches us, but not power or its servants.
The "mobile CCTV" will acheive nothing for residents. Their activities will probably be its primary focus. No more writing on walls will be permitted.
It will, however, provide endless amusement to "students". They will play cat and mouse with the camera vans using their mobiles. It's very kind of the Council to provide them with a new game to while away the night.
Monday, May 04, 2009
Like the ghost of a cultured past, the Gown haunts Queens. It's on it's last legs and trading on it's past. You have to be an "Ex-Gownie" to get a job in journalism. To get on the TV you have to have worked on Queens Radio. After all, degrees are commonplace. Two-ones and firsts are are a currency that is, well, debased. You have to maximise your Cultural Capital, and that's what Queens is all about.
It's all gone wrong. Degrees are meaningless. They're doled out to anyone who can pay. And in the Race to the Bottom a First, a Second, a Third means as little as the flood of A-level top grades that gets mediocrities into that place. It's like viewing the Flynn Effect through the Looking Glass; marks go up as students get dumb and dumber.
The Gown is desperately seeking funding, and, like a student with no money who gets no student finance, they hear from Queens a resounding
Gregson's promise to help the Gown and
"all students who need it"
turned out to be a lie.
What sealed the Gown's fate was it's last act of honest journalism. Exposing the Caterpillar Blood Money scam shined a light into dark places and now informed opinion knows that That Place is a corporate whorehouse devoid of morality like a a gated business park in a J.G. Ballard novel. Indeed, the rape of neighbouring communities looks like the "Ratissages" carried out by executives at the Eden-Olympia Complex.
This may be its last issue and it is with sadness that I find myself reviewing a swansong so filled with dishonest mediocrity. It has had its low points in the recent past; trashing the name of a Holyland resident who died tragically young being the worst. Now it signs off with apologia for the "Ratissages" that drove a community from their homes.
It's not "students", who, after all, work hard to become our future professionals. That half of them never go to class, yet still graduate, seems not to matter. It is not they who throw the bottles, shout the taunts, and for fifteen years have tormented people till they can take no more and leave. Who is it that gangs together and stops a woman on a dark night to tell her,
"Sell your house and get the fuck out of the Holyland. This is our area now."
Obviously it's not "students" who are too busy, well, studying. It must be someone else.
Who is it that deprives people of sleep 'till 4 or 5am. It's not "students". They're doing what residents cannot; sleeping. We're not told how they manage this. We're also not told how they can study in that environment. Those two-ones and firsts are looking more and more bogus. Is it any wonder that thinkers are leaving? What value can they place on a degree from that place?
Only one Queens student has been charged. This reminds me of that infamous St Patrick's Day some years ago when the police made a point of only arresting kids from the Lower Ormeau despite every street being filled with mayhem at the hands of those who are obviously "Not Students". It's their friends, their brothers, their sisters, Wee Cahal from the Country up in the Big City for the day.
It must have been "wee trampy spides" who rioted this year, just like every other year, and the cops have bought into that narrative with a vengeance. The kids from the Ormeau Road are "The Problem". All crime comes from them; Scapegoats; Untermenschen. There is, we are famously told, no such thing as student criminal behaviour. That is police policy.
The one "student" charged should be "hung out to dry". He is an exception. And being such, proves the rule.
It's not students. It's always someone else.