Sunday, May 10, 2009

Marty McGartland said the Sunday Tribune should be praised, "not treated like criminals", for putting the Real IRA's plans into the public domain.

May 10, 2009

Public and press rally to support Breen

'Sunday Tribune' Northern Editor Suzanne has received many accolades for refusing to reveal sources to the PSNI
Mick McCaffrey, Security Editor

Sunday Tribune journalist Suzanne Breen with Tribune solicitor Joe Rice at court on Friday The Sunday Tribune has received widespread support for its refusal to comply with PSNI demands that its Northern Editor hand over phones, computers, and other material relating to stories on the Real IRA.
Respected journalists, along with victims of paramilitary violence, have backed the newspaper's stance. The PSNI is seeking a court order under the terrorism act to seize the material that Suzanne Breen has refused to give detectives.

The case, which opened on Friday, will resume in Belfast on Tuesday. Breen potentially faces up to five years' imprisonment for not complying. The material relates to the Real IRA's claim of responsibility for murdering two British soldiers at Massereene, and an interview with an army council representative.

Channel 4 News' chief correspondent, Alex Thomson, who was threatened with legal action for not divulging sources to the Bloody Sunday inquiry, said he stood shoulder-to-shoulder with the Sunday Tribune.

"The danger in such approaches by the state is that the freedom of people to come forward and divulge information to reporters on the condition of anonymity is damaged," he said. "It might be the Real IRA this week – but, next week, it could be a nurse, school teacher or soldier disclosing grave wrong-doing at real risk to their career or safety."

The Sunday Times' Liam Clarke described the PSNI's action as "a cruel, expensive farce". He said if Breen complied, her life would be in danger and she would have to leave Northern Ireland.

Clarke criticised the PSNI chief constable: "If Hugh Orde wants to go to his new job as president of the Association of Chief Constables as the man who rolled back press freedom and jailed the mother of a young child for refusing to put her life on the line and ruin her career for him, then he is welcome to tilt at the windmill. But I doubt the courts will join him."

Last Friday, Orde's barrister, Tony McGleenan, asked that the PSNI's application be heard in closed session. The public, press, Breen, and her lawyers were cleared from the court.
Judge Tom Burgess said the PSNI's application was like "the Grand National course" and he would rule on Tuesday whether it had passed "the first hurdle". If so, Burgess will then set a date for a hearing where the Sunday Tribune can present its arguments. The newspaper's barrister Peter Girvan, instructed by solicitor Joe Rice, said the PSNI's application would be "vigorously opposed".

The PSNI letter demanding Breen's material came from Detective Chief Supt Derek Williamson, who is leading the Massereene investigation. Sunday World journalist Hugh Jordan said: "He seems to have got the wrong end of the stick. Suzanne Breen isn't his enemy. She was simply doing her job. Derek Williamson should wise-up."
According to the editor of the Belfast Telegraph, Martin Lindsay, "Ms Breen is upholding a valued journalistic tradition, where sources of information are regarded as sacrosanct, and deserves support for her stance."
The Daily Mirror's Northern Ireland editor Gerry Millar said: "If this case is lost, it will endanger every journalist seeking to do their job. Society will lose out."
Willie Frazer of IRA victims' group Fair said that although the people he represents suffered at the hands of republican terrorists, he fully supports Breen's stance. "It isn't up to her to do the police's job. The PSNI should get off their backsides and chase terrorists, not harass journalists. Is their intelligence so bad they want journalists to tell them what's happening?"
Writing in Index on Censorship, ex-IRA prisoner and author Anthony McIntyre, said: "Journalists who ask the most difficult questions are those who receive the most hassle from the state and its security apparatus."
Ex-IRA informer Marty McGartland said the Sunday Tribune should be praised, "not treated like criminals", for putting the Real IRA's plans into the public domain.

Last week, Breen wrote of how the UDA had boasted to her in 1993 about murdering Catholic father-of-six, Mickey Edwards, as he slept – yet she had never been contacted by police over that.

Edwards' young children had run into the bedroom, begging him not to die. Last week, Edwards's son Michael contacted the Sunday Tribune to support Breen.

In a moving statement, he said that even if Breen knew the names of those who murdered his father, he didn't expect her to reveal them: "I commend the bravery of Suzanne Breen to interview loyalists at a time when they made no distinction between killing Catholic men or women. It's dangerous enough reporting in the North without unnecessary police actions."


Sunday, May 3, 2009

How Rose (I would have joined the IRA) McGowan; The IRA conned Kari Skogland, Jim Sturgess and Rose.

How Rose (I would have joined the IRA) McGowan; The IRA conned Kari Skogland, Jim Sturgess and Rose.

A director has distanced herself from comments about supporting the IRA made by an actress who stars in her latest film.

Rose McGowan sparked controversy with comments made at the world premiere of Fifty Dead Men Walking, a film based on the memoirs of Martin McGartland, an RUC Special Branch agent who infiltrated the IRA in the 1980s.

The 35-year-old American actress, whose father is Irish, said at a press conference at the Toronto Film Festival last week: ``I imagine, had I grown up in Belfast, I would 100% have been in the IRA.

"My heart just broke for the cause," she told a news conference before the film's world premiere at the Toronto Film Festival. "I imagine, had I grown up in Belfast, I would 100 per cent have been in the IRA," she said. "Violence is not to be played out daily and provide an answer to problems, but I understand it."

McGowan plays an IRA operative in the film, which stars Sir Ben Kingsley and Jim Sturgess.

The producers and director of the film attempted to limit the damage caused by her comments by publicly expressing their disapproval.

There are concerns that the comments could damage the film, presently being sold around the world and to be released in the UK next month.

In a statement, they said they regret any ``distress that this (the comments) may have caused to people of Northern Ireland and particularly those who were victims of or caught up in the shocking events that existed during the Troubles.''

The comments ``were not shared, nor endorsed, by anybody associated with the production or creative elements of the film'', they said.

Director Kari Skogland said: "Rose's personal opinions of Northern Ireland do not reflect the perspective of the film in any way.

"Our goal was to present an even, non-judgmental point of view so the audience could follow the path of an informer with empathy no matter what the politics.

"We are all very proud of this thought-provoking film and are deeply indebted to the city of Belfast and Northern Ireland for giving us such a warm welcome whilst filming."

Unionist politicians have criticised McGowan for her ``foolish and offensive'' comments.

McGowan has appeared in Quentin Tarantino's Death Proof and the horror film Scream, and was previously engaged to Marilyn Manson.


IRA were some of the nicest people that I ever met, says actor

By Maureen Coleman
Friday, 27 February 2009

Up and coming young actor Jim Sturgess — who stars in the new informer movie 50 Dead Men Walking — has spoken about the “human side” of the IRA and how some of its members were “the nicest people” he’d ever met.

The Surrey-born actor, who plays double agent Martin McGartland in the movie, told how he was introduced to former members of the IRA, who acted as “chaperones” while filming took place in Belfast.

And he claimed they were “passionate people”, who weren’t just caught up in the IRA “for violence’s sake”.

Sturgess was speaking to Empire movie magazine ahead of the general release of 50 Dead Men Walking in April. The movie will also close the ninth Jameson Belfast Film Festival.

His comments about the movie are likely to cause controversy. Hollywood actress Rose McGowan, who stars alongside Sturgess, came under fire last year when she said she would have joined the IRA, had she grown up in Belfast.

Sturgess said he didn’t know what to expect when he first came to Belfast to shoot 50 Dead men Walking.

“It was confusing for me, because I met what I believed were these thuggish terrorists from Belfast that blew places up in England — the IRA was presented to me like that — so when I met these people, and saw the human side, they were some of the nicest people I’d ever met.

“So instantly you start trying to understand what it all meant for them, that they weren’t just doing it for violence’s sake. Some of them were genuinely nice, passionate people.

“And it was a thrilling undercover ride, really. We would go into these pubs that we would never normally be allowed to hang out in, but because of who we were with we were vouched for. I would definitely not do that as an average citizen visiting Belfast. So it was exciting, becoming part of the city — or at least pretending to. Soaking it all in.”

Sturgess, who also stars in Heartless, 21 and The Other Boleyn Girl and has been hailed as “the new James McAvoy” said he wasn’t aware of the dangers facing him until filming had ended.

“We were given kind of chaperones, these people who looked after us, who were ex-members of the IRA and we basically stayed with them for two weeks before we started,” he said.

“It was kept under wraps because, in the areas we were in, he (Martin McGartland) is not a popular man. But even so, afterwards I learned there were times when I was probably in more danger than I realised. I was blissfully unaware, but I think the producers were having mini heart attacks.”

50 Dead Men Walking is based on the autobiographical book of the same name by Martin McGartland, who was recruited by the British police to infiltrate the IRA.

He was unmasked by the IRA in 1991 and narrowly escaped death when he leapt from a third floor window in a block of flats.

In 1999 the IRA tracked him down to a town in Whitley Bay and shot him six times, but failed to kill him. McGartland remains in hiding.

Martin McGartland says: "I refused to be connected or involved with the film nor the film-makers. I had been informed that those connected were too friendly with IRA members, going to parties with IRA members, drinking in IRA pubs etc. The IRA had a say in what way film was made, they carried out security. I took legal action against film-makers and the result was that changes were made to the film, disclimers added to begining and ending stating that I was not connected or involved with the film. It also make clear that the film was NOT True account of what took place. I can say that the film was 99% fiction. I also refused an offer to be a paid consultant on the film. The film-makers also paid me damages, compensation. I understand that Kari Skogland was ordered to do so and I was informed that those funding the film were not at all happy with her."