Republican News · Thursday 06 July 2000

[An Phoblacht]


THE BRITISH Government have made it crystal clear that they intend to remorselessly pursue their evil efforts to break the protest for political status currently being waged by the H-Block `blanket men' and Armagh women prisoners.

The British have arrogantly rejected the recent conciliatory approaches of Cardinal Ó Fiaich; they have spurned the IRA's three-month cessation of attacks on prison warders; and they have continued to orchestrate the vendetta of violence and brutal harassment being waged by sadistic warders upon the defenceless prisoners. Simultaneously, they are desperately striving to maintain a blanket of censorship around the inhumane and degrading jail conditions that they are inflicting upon the prisoners.

Firstly, the British have refused recent applications from local councils in the North - namely Derry, and Newry and Mourne - to send investigatory delegations into the jails, and they have also refused requests for visits of inspection by the Internationa Red Cross. And secondly, the blanket men themselves are subjected to humiliating internal body searches, which are a measure of the extraordinary desperate lengths to which the prison regime are prepared to go, not only to deliberately degrade the men, but in order to prevent the tiny notes on torn scraps of toilet paper, which detail the latest assaults upon them, from being gotten out of the H-Blocks to the outside world.

But the British do not merely seek to shroud the horrors of H-Block and Armagh with a blanket of silence; they also spend tens of millions of pounds annually, not only in the country but throughout North America and Western Europe, in promoting vicious anti-Irish propaganda which falsely portrays republican prisoners and the republican cause as `criminal'.

Phoblacht, Saturday 5 July 1980

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