A death squad of loyalists smashed up a car belonging to Jim McDowell, the Sunday World's Editor in the North, outside Craigavon court on Friday. McDowell and his work colleague Hugh Jordan, were in the court at a remand hearing for five men, one of them a Roman Catholic, who have been charged in connection with the killing of Martin O'Hagan, a journalist assassinated by a British death squad.
They were no uniformed PSNI on duty inside the Co Armagh courthouse last week even though those accused are linked to the Loyalist Volunteer Force. Editor McDowell, said the mob descended on the court and threatened him and his colleague: "My car was in the car park of the courthouse, just yards from the steps leading into the building which is supposed to be at the heart of the British legal system, in the occupied part of Ireland. "I had been in court reporting the latest stage in the bid to bring Martin O'Hagan's murderers to justice. Three of five men charged in connection with the journalist's slaying, were in court.
"Nothing happened inside the courthouse, unlike the first appearance at Lisburn court, when another Loyalist Volunteer Force killer took a picture of Hugh and myself on a mobile phone, as if they didn't already know who we were. "However, this latest pathetic attempt at intimidation didn't happen inside the court. It happened outside Craigavon courthouse, in broad daylight, blatantly at lunchtime on Friday. "Hugh Jordan and I had just walked out to make phone calls. We heard a banging noise, like gunshots. Hugh looked down and said: 'Someone's attacking your car'." He said the attacker was then driven off in a car, while the majority of the mob remained outside issuing threats to the two journalists.
McDowell said he was struck by the lack of any form security at the court. "When I ran into the security annex at the courthouse manned by two civilians and asked them to call the police, they told me there was no direct line to the local PSNI. I had to stand in the annex myself and dial 999 on my mobile phone. What would happen if armed gunmen tried to storm and kill a judge in that, or any other similar courthouse?" He said that the fact that the Loyalist mob had smashed up his car in a court car park, under the courthouse's CCTV cameras, showed they could make "a fool of law and order in this country".
Andrew Robert King and Neil Hyde are charged with murdering Sunday World investigative reporter O'Hagan in September 2001. King's brother, Robin, is charged with attempting to pervert the course of justice, Nigel Leckey is charged with murder and possession of ammunition and Mark Kennedy, a 28-year-old Catholic from south Belfast, is charged with helping to facilitate the disposal or concealment of a getaway car. Along with Kennedy, the King brothers have been granted bail, while Hyde and Leckey remain on remand in prison.
O'Hagan was shot dead as he walked home with his wife from a pub in Lurgan, Co Armagh. The murder was claimed by the Red Hand Defenders, a cover name used by both the Loyalist Volunteer Force and the Ulster Defence Association with death squads colluding with the help of the British many times before when lawyers and other professionals were target by the British sponsored death squads. Martin O'Hagan had a reputation for breaking stories about British sponsored paramilitary crime.
Since the much touted "peace process" there has been an upsurge in intimidation of any media pointing out the contradictions of the "process" with attacks by Martin McGuinness against the free press and intimidation of newsagents. Intimidation of the Editor of the Sunday tribune and the PSNI threatening to imprison her, if she would not reveal the identity of her sources.
Plain people live in fear in many housing estates that have been attacked recently, by other loyalist death squads, who have recently murdered another innocent victim. Ordinary people are incensed at the appointment of an English cop as head of a newly named PSNI force, who has a history of uncaring negligence.Eerily for Editor McDowell the RUC always disappeared before British sponsored assassinations of the past and locals believe that the British PSNI police are just a cosmetic name change for more of the same.
Many plain people in the six counties complain that nothing has changed in occupied Ireland since the "peace process" indeed some complain that since the arrival of (Baggot;see LINK) its slowly but surely getting worse and that they are defenceless without the armalite and an indifferent PSNI, many of whom have a shoot to kill culture of unarmed civilians at checkpoints and a record of disappearing to collude and enable assassinations by British death squads unhindered.
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