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Secret police get excited by embassy picket

category dublin | crime and justice | news report author Thursday August 28, 2008 21:49author by Joe Report this post to the editors

This evenings picket of the Spanish embassy in Dublin 4 had a pretty good turn out considering it was called at less than a days notice. No less than 15 anarchists turned up as well as perhaps a dozen uniformed cops and four secret police. The secret police were so friendly they insisted on taking everyones name and addresses.

Demanding the details
Demanding the details

This level of attention from the Irish secret police for an embassy picket is to say the least a little unusual. Normal such affairs are a question of standing around for a dull hour in leafy suburb while oblivious cars pass you by.

What warranted the level of attention this evening? The subject seems pretty unthreatening, the demand for the release of a man jailed over 22 years ago for bank robberies that took place in the 1980's. In Ireland, north and south, those who robbed banks that long ago are more often found in government than in jail.


The picket was in solidarity with Amadeu Casellas an anarchist prisoner of the Spanish state who is approaching his 70th day on hunger strike - see http://www.indymedia.ie/article/88865



They just kept arriving
They just kept arriving


author by Joepublication date Thu Aug 28, 2008 22:04author address author phone Report this post to the editors


These look a bit embarrassed by it all
These look a bit embarrassed by it all

The back gate
The back gate

The front gate
The front gate

A cop helping some kids across the road (this is D4 after all)
A cop helping some kids across the road (this is D4 after all)

author by w.publication date Fri Aug 29, 2008 09:39author address author phone Report this post to the editors






author by w.publication date Fri Aug 29, 2008 09:41author address author phone Report this post to the editors






author by Sam Plenamepublication date Fri Aug 29, 2008 09:55author address author phone Report this post to the editors

I have a few questions regarding your encounter with these guys, and their petty harrassment.

(a)What are their names?
(b)Why did you tell them your names?
(c)How do you know that these men in Dunnes Stores casual wear were really police?

I don't know the answers, but I fear that the answers are

(a) We didn't ask.
(b) Because they demanded our names
(c) Becasuse they said they were police.

The correct answers would be
(a) their names are .... , ..., & ...
(b) Because, after intially refusing, and asking why he wanted to know, and if it was an official question, and after telling him that this was being recorded, I gave him my name after he identified himself to me by....
(c) showing me his official garda ID

If you got the answers wrong the first time, don't get them wrong next time. The results are rather good, in that the gobshites tend to stay in the car rather than act out their macho fantasies, when they know you're not afraid of them.

So, if these guys want to stay 'secret' let them do it by shadowing serious crims, getting their photos up on indymedia for hassling human rights activists is a stupid waste of Garda time and money.

author by Sam Plenamepublication date Fri Aug 29, 2008 10:05author address author phone Report this post to the editors

We do not have a secret police in this country. Gardai are obliged to identify themselves if requested, if they are acting in an official capacity.
The reason these plain clothes muppets can get a hard-on thinking they're some super secret force,
is because people don't demand THEIR names, and refuse to give any information until they know who they are talking to. And THEN put their names up with the pictures, instead of calling them secret police
Because, let's be honest, if there was any need for your names to be taken, the uniformed Gardai do possess a command of english, a notebook and pen, and enough training to do the job. These guys were on a power trip, nothing more. No laws were broken, and no Garda intervention was required. It was petty harassment, and if you didn't get as much info out of them as they got out of you, then you'd better up your game a bit lads, cos this tactic is what they use to persuade people not to go to demos. For a lot of people, it's just this fear of being somehow in trouble for peaceful assembly.
Fair play to you for going there and holding your vigil, but next time, make the muppets show their ID.
After all, that could just be any overweight middle aged balding git with a bad attitude. You should never assume he's a Garda just cos he says so. Would he assume you are licensed to drive and that your car is correctly taxed and insured just cos you say so? Of course not.

author by Joepublication date Fri Aug 29, 2008 11:09author address author phone Report this post to the editors

Your wrong, we had many long winded legal discussions with Martin and his mates and unusually for the Irish secret police he was keen to show his I.D. I'm somewhat puzzled though by your idea that other secret police forces don't or didn't carry ID cards, as far as I'm aware even the Gestapo did, the KGB and Stasi certainly do as do the FBI. What makes them 'secret' is their function (political survellence) rather than the presence or lack of a bit of plastic.

author by Paulpublication date Fri Aug 29, 2008 12:14author address author phone Report this post to the editors

Totally agree with your advice Sam. Definitely encourage everybody hassled by either uniform or plain-clothes to see ID & get them to name the laws they're claiming to be acting under.

In this case the Branch did produce their badges/ids when they approached us. Myself, being obstreperous, demanded to know under what legal sanction they were demanding our names & addresses. The Branch woman gave me two, of which I only recall one - Section 48 of the Offences Against the State Act ("Gosh! That sounds really exciting!" says I). The other one was a Public Order Act, but I can't recall which one or the relevant section.

The cops in the UK do have a power to take your name and address under a section (47? can't remember) of the latest POA in effect, but they have formally warn you they're serving you a §47 (or whatever) and give you a signed receipt with your name, their name & cop number and the time and place on it. Here it seems that the historical legacies mean that anything that falls under laws to do with "political matters" are far more ill-defined in terms of any limitation on the discretionary powers of the cops.

author by Garda Tedpublication date Fri Aug 29, 2008 13:07author address author phone Report this post to the editors

No harm a)to film the encounter-b) photograph the id cards - c)print the name of the officer on indymedia.

I am a bit of a fan of the Harcourt terrace boys and I think those ones you met are not Special Detective Unit (Special Branch) but actually something else. I think they may be ordinary detectives from Kevin Street or somewhere.
Needless to say- it a waste of their time sending armed police to guard an embaassy (which was closed wasn't it?) against some people with a banner which would mean nothing to mast people passing by.

author by .publication date Fri Aug 29, 2008 15:29author address author phone Report this post to the editors

'Here it seems that the historical legacies mean that anything that falls under laws to do with "political matters" are far more ill-defined in terms of any limitation on the discretionary powers of the cops.' !

The other act was the dublin police act. I'm not sure if this was the 1924 one or the 1836/7 one (maybe get charged for offences against the crown! :p ). Got to watch out for those dublin metropolitan police.

author by Jpublication date Fri Aug 29, 2008 18:15author address author phone Report this post to the editors

I think the woman said she was from Foxrock station, thats all I remember about her.

author by Republican socialist - -publication date Fri Aug 29, 2008 18:30author address author phone Report this post to the editors

""(c)How do you know that these men in Dunnes Stores casual wear were really police?""

Eh, because they have identification which they display to prove they are Garda AND they arrive in unmarked Garda cars. Want to know how I know if they are Garda cars?

author by Roser - Grup de solidaritat amb Amadeu Casellas d'Osona (Barcelona)publication date Fri Aug 29, 2008 19:41author email pepetapei at gmail dot comauthor address author phone Report this post to the editors

Thanks for your solidarity. My heart is with you. Freedom for Amadeu Casellas! Tomorrow, a big demonstration in Barcelona.

Related Link: http://paisatgedesdelafinestra.blogspot.com/
author by Sevinch - WSMpublication date Sun Aug 31, 2008 13:45author address author phone Report this post to the editors

I am always amazed by presumptions of idiocy by others who were not there in an action or took no part in preparation or solidarity. I gave my name becaouse
A big number 1- I am not afraid to let them know who they are dealing with and consequences of giving my name.
all the other reasons were listed above by other commentators but non of them would have been my personal motivation.
I also had had a good laugh while the bacon was struggling to spell my name.

author by Ray - Cork WSMpublication date Sun Aug 31, 2008 20:25author address author phone Report this post to the editors

Thanks to my Dublin comrades for their visible expression of solidarity for a fellow-anarchist being extra-legally persecuted by the Spanish state. I'm away somewhere else doing something else, and even in the fraught location I'm in now I'm glad the report of this action calls me to remember a comrade in more dire danger than I have ever been.
It seems that the authorities there are really peeved by Amadeu Casellas' remaining staunch in his political beliefs after all these years of incarceration. He's a comrade in danger of death while attempting to stop the Spanish state from punishing him more than the sentence they fixed on him so many years ago. Some things have not changed in Spain since 1976, not least the antipathy the state has for anarchists and anarchism. He is indubitably a political prisoner - if he was a non-political bank robber he'd have been released a hell of a lot sooner.

author by Diarmuid Breatnachpublication date Sat Oct 18, 2008 18:39author address author phone Report this post to the editors

With regard to the question of police taking names and addresses of protestors, this is a regular action of theirs at pickets by Irish Republicans and anti-imperialists who don't support the Good Friday Agreement. The Amendment (introduced on a wave of hysteria after a Dublin bomb exploded by British agents) to the Offences Against the State Act is the most often quoted provision (and yes, we do ask them for their identification) and the Public Order Act is also being employed.

I'm sorry to hear that anarchists are now being subjected to this harassment also and think it is high time that this gross interference in people's democratic rights and gross attempts at intimidation (which are sometimes effective, unfortunately) was challenged more effectively. It seems that Liberty is not interested (I tried to get them interested some time ago in the case of harassment of Irish Republicans and myself when supporting political prisoners). Does anyone know a lawyer who is willing to take up this issue? I'd be interested in working with her/ him.

I congratulate the demonstrators and regret that there weren't more present. Not being one to monitor media generally (even Indymedia), I didn't even know about this demonstration and only heard about it when searching for Spanish Embassy references for another reason. I first learned about Amadeus' case when I saw a report in Britain's Indymedia about it and later saw some grafitti about him in Madrid. I wrote to the anarchists asking whether they had anything going about it but didn't receive a reply. Having been for some years active in the Dublin branch of the Basque Irish Committees I would have expected to be contacted about such a picket if the intention was to have it as widely supported as possible. I would also have spread the word along my/ our networks. Were we not contacted because the anarchist movement here (as opposed to an individual anarchist or two), like the Irish socialist movements, have never supported pickets about the repression of the Basque left-nationalist movement or the jail conditions of Basque prisoners and the force-feeding of a Basque hungerstriker? Or was the intention to limit the solidarity expression to anarchists only?

Nķ neart go cur le chéile, runs an Irish proverb we would do well to bear in mind. No oppositional movement in this country is strong enough to stand alone against repression and if we join in opposing it we could clear a bigger space for all of us to work in and to discuss our differences (if we want to).

Related Link: http://basqueirishcommittees.blogspot.com
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