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January 19, 2006

Garvaghy Road March Re-Routed

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News About Ireland & The Irish

UT 01/19/06 Garvaghy Road March Re-Routed
UT 01/19/06 Sinn Fein Worker Admits Being Agent
IN 01/19/06 Major One Of Officers Probed By Army Cops
IN 01/19/06 Demands For IRA To ‘Come Clean’
TC 01/19/06 Nain Invite To Finucane Family
IN 01/19/06 Ludlow’s Family To Seek Full Inquiry
NL 01/19/06 Blair Ready To Do Deal With SF On Policing
SF 01/19/06 SF Urges Seniors To Claim Free Irish Passport
IN 01/19/06 Shankill Bomb Victim Will Give BS Lecture
IN 01/19/06 Unification ‘Up To You’ McAleese
BT 01/19/06 Peace Train Waiting To Pull Out Of Station
BT 01/19/06 Opin: Body Blow Is Dealt To Hopes For Progress
IN 01/19/06 Opin: Powersharing Move Is Huge Mistake
BT 01/19/06 US - Leading Terrorist State, Chomsky
BT 01/19/06 Irish MEPs Join Inquiry Into CIA Flights
IN 01/19/06 ‘The End Of The Year Show’ Takes To The Stage


Garvaghy Road March Re-Routed

The Parades Commission has once again re-routed the
Orange Order's weekly request to march from Drumcree
along the Catholic Garvaghy Road in Portadown.

It is the first time the incoming Commission, which
now includes two members of the Orange Order, has
ruled on the weekly request.

The chairman of the Commission, British trade unionist
Roger Poole said he believes a parade along the
Garvaghy Road would be destabilising for community

However he said the Commission recognises genuine
efforts had been made by the local Orange Order to get
dialogue going.


Sinn Fein Worker Admits Being Agent

Republicans in Co Fermanagh have been reeling from the
news that a Sinn Fein election worker has been a
Special Branch agent for more than 20 years.

In a statement issued through his solicitor, Sean
Lavelle, from Donagh near Lisnaskea, says he was
recruited as an agent after being arrested in the
early `80`s.

Sinn Fein say the revelations are an example of
political policing.

The PSNI says it will seek to enhance its intelligence
gathering capability by every lawful means as part of
its duty to protect the community.


Major One Of Officers Probed By Army Cops

By Sharon O’Neill Chief Reporter

A BRITISH army major is among a number of senior
personnel under internal investigation by military

Almost 50 soldiers with ranks from major and captain
down to private are under scrutiny for various alleged
offences committed in Northern Ireland.

They range from serious crimes such as assault
occasioning actual bodily harm, affray and false
imprisonment to bullying and harassment.

The figure of 46 does not include those who are
awaiting prosecution through the courts or internal
disciplinary action.

The British army is highly-secretive over the exact
nature of its internal probes but has released the
figures under the Freedom of Information legislation.

The Ministry of Defence (MoD) refused to detail
exactly how many officers were under investigation but
confirmed those under the spotlight hold the rank of
major, captain and 2nd lieutenant, while the others
are so-called non-commissioned soldiers, such as
sergeant, corporals or privates.

Within the army, a major holds a senior position and
in the north, could be in command of a 60 to 100-
strong battalion.

While it is not known the exact nature of the
allegation against the major, the list of alleged
crimes gives an insight into the gravity of the

They range from bullying, harassment, affray and false
imprisonment, which both carry a maximum sentence of
up to life in prison, assault occasioning actual
bodily harm with a maximum penalty of five years in

Racial harassment carries up to seven years, taking
and driving away up to one year and if someone is
seriously injured or killed a maximum of 14, while
failing to stop at the scene of an accident could lead
to a six-month prison sentence.

British army personnel have been involved in a number
of controversial cases in the north, including the
persistent accusation that members colluded in murder
with loyalist and republican paramilitaries.

Last week British defence secretary John Reid
confirmed that he was to investigate the 2002 killing
of Bangor teenager Gemma Montgomery in a car crash
involving her boyfriend, soldier Gordon Godley, who
later pleaded guilty to death by dangerous driving.

Two warrants had been issued for his arrest by a
Scottish court six months earlier in relation to
serious driving offences.

The victim’s family have argued that had the army
ensured he appeared in court, their daughter may have

The family of north Belfast Catholic teenager Peter
McBride who was shot dead in 1992 by two soldiers who
were later convicted of murder but released to rejoin
the army after serving less than three years have
campaigned for their expulsion from the military.


Demands For IRA To ‘Come Clean’

By Sharon O’Neill Chief Reporter

THE IRA last night faced demands to “come clean” over
its murder of a fellow republican it accused of being
an informer.

The call came after The Irish News yesterday revealed
that Anthony McKiernan was to meet republican Freddie
Scappaticci, who in 2003 was said to be the British
agent codenamed “Stakeknife”, just before he was

McKiernan, from the Markets area of south Belfast, was
last seen on January 18 1988.

His body was found dumped in west Belfast less than 24
hours later. The IRA man was plied with enough drink
to kill him, before being shot several times in the

The IRA claimed he had confessed to being a paid RUC
Special Branch agent.

His family have denied he was an informer and said he
was murdered as a scapegoat.

However, on Tuesday they publicly linked Scappaticci,
who was second-in-command of the IRA’s internal
security unit, to his death.

Scappaticci has denied being an agent but fled his
home in 2003, after he was publicly named Stakeknife.

The McKiernans also reveal-ed that they had been in
contact with people claiming to be from the IRA, who
pledged an investigation but never got back to them.

They also called on the Provisionals to provide
“proof” that he was an informer.

Sinn Fein yesterday refused to comment on the matter.

Police would only say: “We do not comment on specific
allegations. The gathering of intelligence including
the use of covert human intelligence sources to tackle
crime is strictly regulated by Ripa [regulatory
investigative powers act].”

A spokesman for the Northern Ireland Office said:
“Anyone with information about the murder of Mr
McKiernan should contact the police.”

However, South Belfast MP, Alasdair McDonnell of the
SDLP called on the Provisionals to “come clean” over
the circumstances of the murder.

“All families are entitled to the truth from everybody
involved in the Troubles. Not just the state but
paramilitaries too,” he said.

“It is disappointing that the IRA promised to come
back to the family on such a profoundly serious matter
but never did. It is time they faced up to the truth
and come clean about it.”

Meanwhile, Sinn Fein president Gerry Adams yesterday
signalled he expected more British spies operating
within the party to be exposed.

Last month Denis Donaldson, the party’s former head of
administration at Stormont, admitted he had been an
informer for 20 years.

“You are going to get more alleged agents or real
agents being trotted out in the time ahead,” Mr Adams

“You are going to get more efforts by dissident
elements within the British system to stop progress.”

“You are going to get this seized upon by the DUP and
others who are afraid of a future based on equality.”


Northern Ireland Secretary's Invitation To Finucane

Secretary of State for Northern Ireland, Peter Hain,
has invited the family of murdered Catholic solicitor,
Pat Finucane, to meet him to discuss an inquiry under
the new Inquiries Act. The Finucane family has so far
resisted the attempts to set up an inquiry under the
controversial Inquiries Act that allows ministers to
set the terms of reference, decide the personnel and
control the purse strings of any inquiry. Ministers
can also decide what will be published. “My door is
open to the Finucane family if they want to come and
talk, I am happy to talk but there will be an inquiry
under the IA or none at all,” said Mr Hain. Mr Hain
believes that the protections provided for the
security services and police by the IA will enable an
inquiry to really get at the truth of what happened
and why. “An inquiry under the IA will allow a judge
to have evidence heard in camra and material can be
withheld from the defence,” said Mr Hain. “It will
enable the security services and police to give
evidence in a frank way and help find the truth. They
won't give that type of evidence in open court. No
member of the security services is going to give up a
source if that will come out in open court. The
security services need guarantees.”


Ludlow’s Family To Seek Full Inquiry

By Valerie Robinson

The family of Co Louth man Seamus Ludlow is to call on
an Oireachtas sub-committee to launch a full public
inquiry into the forestry worker’s murder.

The committee is due to launch hearings on Tuesday
into a report on the murder compiled by former Supreme
Court judge Mr Justice Henry Barron.

The 47-year-old bachelor, who lived at Thistle Cross
near Dundalk, was abducted and shot dead in May 1976.

In his report, Justice Barron said Mr Ludlow had no
connections with any subversive organisations.

No-one has ever been charged with his murder but a
group of four loyalists are the chief suspects.

The judge launched an attack on the original Garda
investigation into the killing after confirming the
RUC had told them in 1979 that it was likely Paul
Hosking, William Long, Seamus Carroll and a then UDR
corporal, James Reid Fitzsimmons, were involved.

Mr Ludlow’s nephew Jimmy Sharkey last night expressed
hope that the Oireachtas Committee on Justice,
Equality, Defence and Women’s Rights would recommend a
full public inquiry.

He said the family would not accept an inquiry similar
to that being carried out by senior counsel Patrick
MacEntee into alleged

inadequacies of the Garda investigation of the 1974
Dublin and Monaghan bombings.


Blair Ready To Do Deal With SF On Policing - Unionists

Thursday 19th January 2006

The Government is about to do a deal with Sinn Fein
that will see republicans on the Policing Board in the
spring, it has been predicted.

Ulster Unionist MLAs and negotiators David McNarry and
Michael McGimpsey believe that all the political
signals are now pointing that way.

"You can see it all unfolding," said Mr McGimpsey.

"Until Sinn Fein supports policing there can never be
devolved power- sharing government again."

Both he and Mr McNarry fear, however, that Tony Blair
and Sinn Fein will put on a big show of a policing
deal to suit their own ends - but not unionism's.

"The problem is they will sell small changes, to their
supporters, as big gains, and unionists will listen to
this, believe it and be even more antagonistic towards
the peace process," said Mr McGimpsey. "Yet again
unionism will suffer."

The signs that a deal is imminent, according to the
UUP, are:

:: republican community policing and restorative
justice plans topping the political agenda;

:: the Government planning a new framework of
standards to legitimise restorative justice schemes;

:: Sinn Fein holding a policing conference, at which
Gerry Kelly hinted the time was approaching for
republicans to make big decisions on the issue;

:: Sinn Fein is due to hold an Ard Fheis in Dublin
next month, at which a vote could be taken.

Mr McNarry said: "Soon Blair's all singing, all
dancing political can-can will hit Belfast again when
the London cast arrives for another rendition of 'Lets
put it all together again'.

"They fly in to audition Sinn Fein for places in the
chorus line of a new Policing Board.

"Previous Blair blockbusters have been about his
mastery of oversell, double sell and sell-out. "His
latest will be a top drawer of seismic sound bites
combined with carefully chosen lyrics and choreography
designed to stun and mesmerize in yet another Blair
showstopper that could literally bring the house down.

"Because Blair knows that a smash and grab act on
policing holds the key to re-opening Executive
devolution. He wants success badly."


Sinn Féin Urges Senior Citizens To Claim Their Free
Irish Passport

Published: 19 January, 2006

North Antrim Sinn Féin MLA, Philip McGuigan, has
called on senior citizens in North Antrim to avail of
the FREE Irish Passport Scheme that has now been
introduced for everybody over the age of 65.

Mr McGuigan said:

"The Sinn Féin Office in Dunloy is constantly dealing
with Irish passport queries in the wake of 2 recent
positive developments. The first was when the local
post offices in North Antrim (Ballymena & Ballymoney )
introduced a service to process passport forms through
their offices. The public can now avail of a fast-
track service that will ensure that they get their
Irish Passport within a matter of weeks.

"The second was the introduction of free passports for
ALL Irish citizens over the age of 65, which was
brought in by the Irish Government last year. I would
urge all senior citizens to avail of this great offer.
Passport forms and advice on how to fill them in is
available at the North Antrim Sinn Féin Office in
Dunloy (Tel: 028 276 57198)." ENDS


Shankill Bomb Victim Will Give Bloody Sunday Lecture

By Seamus McKinney

SHANKILL bomb victim Alan McBride has admitted he
received “flak” over his decision to deliver this
year’s annual Bloody Sunday lecture in Derry.

Mr McBride – whose wife Sharon was one of 10 people
killed in the 1993 IRA bombing of Frizzell’s fish shop
– was confirmed yesterday as the speaker at Derry’s
Guildhall on January 27.

A number of events have been organised to commemorate
the 34th anniversary of Bloody Sunday, culminating in
an anniversary march on Sunday January 29 (2.30pm).

Mr McBride is to attend a seminar organised by a rep-
ublican ex-prisoners’ group later today to discuss
proposals for a museum at the site of the Maze jail.

The Belfast man said he decided to take up an
invitation to deliver the Bloody Sunday lecture
because he felt the time was now right – although he
admitted the move had been criticised in family

He said the invitation came from one of the Bloody
Sunday weekend committee members, Stephen Gargan, with
whom he had worked previously.

“I thought about it, talked it over with people, with
friends and people like that and decided that now
might be the time,” he said.

“But having said that I have also had a lot of flak.”

Mr McBride said he was always in favour of moving
forward and believed he could contribute by taking
part in the Bloody Sunday commemorations.

“For some people it’s just a step too far and I could
well lose some people who would have listened to me in
the past. That’s okay, that’s up to them,” he said.

“Within my own family, I know there hasn’t been
widespread support. Some people are saying Alan will
do what Alan does and some think I’ve been brainwashed
into it or that I’m too soft.

“I’m not from that [nationalist] community; I’m
delivering a lecture about my own story, about where
I’ve come from and where I’m at now.

“I will be including, within the talk, a number of
challenges for republicans as well.

“It’s not that I’ve gone soft on republicans, on Sinn
Fein or the IRA, I haven’t.”

It was also announced yesterday that from Monday, the
Bloody Sunday Centre will be located at the new Free
Derry Museum at Glenfada Park, where several people
were shot, wounded and killed on Bloody Sunday.

At yesterday’s launch of the commemoration events,
Mic-hael McKinney – a brother of victim William – said
it was important that as many people as possible

“We must show the British government that the Bloody
Sunday families still have the support of the people
of Derry and beyond,” he said.


Unification ‘Up To You’ McAleese

By Staff Reporter

President Mary McAleese told pupils at a top Northern
Ireland school yesterday that it was up to them to
decide if they wanted a united Ireland.

She met boys at the Royal Belfast Academical
Institution, which has mainly Protestant pupils and
whose former students include politicians and senior
members of the judiciary.

During a question-and-answer session, Mrs McAleese was
asked if she thought there would be a united Ireland
in the near future.

She said the Good Friday Agreement had put in place a
framework for resolving constitutional issues.

“The happy thing for your generation is that you are
the first generation to probably have the joy of
debating these issues coolly, calmly, without any
threat of violence, in an egalitarian atmosphere, in a
democracy and I think that’s a great gift to your
generation,” the President said.

“Whatever your decision is about it, it is your

Mrs McAleese, accompanied by her husband Martin, later
visited the Holy Family Golden Gloves Boxing Club.

There she was introduced to trainer Gerry Storey, who
last year won the Sport for Good award at the Laureus
World Sports Awards and has coached three of Ireland’s
four Lonsdale belt winners.


Peace Train Waiting To Pull Out Of Station

Is Assistant Chief Constable Sam Kinkaid's private
assessment of IRA criminality blocking Tony Blair's
attempts to get his peace train back on track?
Political Correspondent Chris Thornton reports

19 January 2006

Say the word, and the peace process will be healed.
Much was already riding on the report that the four
men from the Independent Monitoring Commission will
shortly complete for the British and Republic's

This report, due to be signed off on January 31, is
supposed to pave the way for a return to Stormont by
authenticating the IRA's declaration of last July. In
the Governments' ideal world, the IMC will say that P
O'Neill was telling the truth when he said "all
activity" was coming to an end.

That would quickly introduce a flurry of activity -
the talks that Peter Hain has already signalled,
possibly even another joint Tony Blair and Bertie
Ahern appearance to announce that Mr Blair's peace
train (first seen leaving the station back in 1997) is
back on track, with stale egg and onion sandwiches
soon available in the dining car.

However, there have been reports of leaves on the
line. The most significant one came on Tuesday night,
when Policing Board members revealed that in a private
briefing, PSNI Assistant Chief Constable Sam Kinkaid,
the outgoing head of Special Branch, said the IRA was
still involved in criminal activity.

According to leaks of the meeting, Security Minister
Shaun Woodward - previously on record as saying the
Government believes "that the IRA is keeping to its
word" did not demur.

Sinn Fein has claimed this amounts to interference in
the political process. It could just as easily be
stage management, intended to prepare the public for a
less than clean report from the IMC. In either case,
given the history of the Policing Board's leaks, there
would have been a reasonable expectation that someone
on the board would be hitting speed dial before Mr
Kinkaid paused for breath.

It may also be that a leak is just leak. Whatever the
motives behind it, the effect of the PSNI assessment
will be to lower expectations about the IMC report.
That, in turn, lowers pressure for the DUP to engage
with Sinn Fein.

Police intelligence is one of the main building blocks
for the report and the PSNI recently briefed IMC
members Lord Alderdice, John Grieve, Dick Kerr and Joe
Brosnan; what the ACC said on Tuesday afternoon is
bound to be reflected in some way in the report.

The thing is, the IMC warned about this very situation
in their last report. Intelligence - as the Iraq War
demonstrated to the world - is not the same thing as

It's often a highly informed guess, an attempt to
string facts and hints from a variety of sources into
probable conclusions. It is rarely black and white.

Last October, shortly after the IRA's major
decommissioning event, the IMC forecast this upcoming
report: while promising to be "as rigorous and as
accurate" as they can be, they struck a note of
caution. There is a suggestion that, to preserve their
own credibility, they intend to be cautious.

"Some may expect more of us than it is possible to
deliver, perhaps on the one hand seeking certainty
where it does not exist or on the other asking us to
prove a negative when it is not possible to do so,"
they wrote.

That suggests they will neither denounce the IRA nor
nominate P O'Neill for the Nobel Peace Prize. So where
are the shades of grey?

The IMC members themselves said they "are looking for
cumulative indications of changes in behaviour over a
more sustained period of time".

It's a good bet that the most obvious signs of IRA
activity - shootings, punishment attacks and
expulsions - have stopped. The IRA has invested too
much in the peace process to shoot themselves in the
foot by shooting someone else in the kneecap.

Less obvious IRA activity will be an important area of
assessment. In October, the IMC said the IRA's
intelligence unit was still operating, although in a
more political vein.

And then there's crime. While he said that Provo
involvement in crime continues, Mr Kinkaid is reported
to have told the Policing Board that its frequency has
also dropped.

In this light, Sinn Fein is likely to be criticised
for failing to embrace policing: the IMC has already
set that out as an indicator that the republican
leadership is distancing itself from crime.

All is not lost for the Governments' ambitions,
however. The crucial IMC assessment will be how
closely the IRA leadership is connected to crime, the
difference between "directing illegal activities or
seeking to prevent them", as the IMC put it in their
last report.

A third possibility is that crime is being committed
by IRA members regardless of the leadership's views.
The difference between each point is important,
because it may mark the difference between an IRA
leadership that is maintaining tight control over its
membership or one that is slowly beginning to dissolve


Opin: Body Blow Is Dealt To Hopes For Progress

19 January 2006

Hopes for a fresh start in the political talks
expected next month have been diminished by the
differences between Security Minister Shaun Woodward
and Assistant Chief Constable Sam Kinkaid. The
minister believes the IRA is honouring its promise to
end criminality, but a senior policeman disagrees.

Without absolute certainty that the IRA has gone out
of business, in accordance with last July's statement,
there is no possibility of a restoration of
devolution. The government knows this, and is anxious
to assure worried unionists, so the suspicion is that
Mr Woodward is engaged in some positive spinning.

The only reports of the disagreement come from
politicians who were present at an off-the-record
briefing to the Policing Board. But Mr Kinkaid seems
to have left no doubt that the IRA, like the UDA and
UVF, is still involved in serious organised crime,
contrary to what the minister has been saying.

It is reported that the police's assessment is backed
up by HM Customs and Excise, who would be interested
in large-scale fuel smuggling, and the Assets Recovery
Agency, tasked with seizing the profits of crime. If
so, the public can have little confidence in the
government's assurances that the IRA - apart from some
rogue individuals - has turned its back on criminality
and that, therefore, Sinn Fein should be sitting in a
Stormont executive.

People are willing to accept that republicans have
taken some momentous steps over the last year, when
the IRA had carried out the Northern Bank heist and
senior men were involved in the murder of Robert
McCartney. The organisation was almost forced, by
public opinion, into standing down and decommissioning
weapons, but no one believes that a few months later
it has abandoned the criminal empire that has
sustained it for years.

The public has had enough experience of paramilitary
organisations to know that it must judge progress by
results on the ground, not statements. And there is
much more respect for the word of the police than
politicians, when objective assessments have to be

The Independent Monitoring Commission is perhaps the
best judge of all, since the conclusions of its next
crucial report will be based on briefings from a wide
range of sources, north and south. Till then, the
government should keep its views to itself, or it will
damage its credibility still further.

All who wish to see devolution restored, and local
politicians making their own decisions, want to
believe that republicans are fit participants in
government. But they must be sure, next time, that
Sinn Fein is fully democratic and fully committed to
the rule of law, in all respects.


Opin: Powersharing Move Is Huge Strategic Mistake

The Wednesday Column
By Brian Feeney

Our gaffe-prone proconsul is reported on Sunday as
saying that the British government is prepared to
consider setting up something short of the power
sharing executive laid down in the Good Friday

Oh dear. What a huge strategic mistake just as Dublin
and London prepare their ‘big push’ to restore the
agreement’s institutions.

Isn’t that exactly what the DUP wants? Isn’t that
exactly what unionists have been hoping for over the
last 30 years?

Do you think it’s a coincidence that the very next
day, the DUP announced its policy document entitled
‘Facing Reality’ which proposes something short of
power-sharing but – needless to say – no timetable for
moving to


Of course you notice that neither under the DUP
proposals nor in the remarks of our proconsul is there
any mention of all-Ireland bodies. Remember it was
carefully arranged in the agreement that there
couldn’t be one without the other?

We’ve seen it all before. In 1979 the SDLP refused to
attend talks with the British government because their
proposals did not include power-sharing as of right or
an Irish dimension.

In 1982 the SDLP and Sinn Fein refused to enter the
‘rolling devolution’ assembly set up by Jim Prior for
exactly the same reasons.

‘Rolling devolution’ was never going to roll anywhere.
That assembly, described by Danny Morrison at the time
as an “Orange hall with the Alliance party brushing
the floor and washing the windows”, lasted a
scandalous four years.

You’ll hardly remember the nonsense down in the old
Co-op building in 1996 which the SDLP stupidly
attended until the RUC assault on the people of
Garvaghy Road in July that year gave them a pretext to

Amazingly, in view of the absolutely basic SDLP policy
since the party’s inception of powersharing as of
right, Mark Durkan was quoted in the same report as
our proconsul’s piece of stupidity as saying that his
party would consider arrangements short of full power-

He has proposed that the Stormont assembly be
reconvened and, if an executive along the lines set
out in the Good Friday Agreement cannot be formed, a
range of other options should be tried in sequence.

Yet on Monday Durkan was saying: “The one way to cut
through all that posture and posing and all that
messing is for the governments to say there is a date
on which the institutions are going to be restored
come what may.”

Don’t ask ‘which is it?’. They’re both equally

Nearly as daft in fact as the SDLP proposal to have
all 12 departments run by members of the north’s great
and good while the MLAs advised them from a talking
shop assembly. Is any of that in the agreement?

The truth is that the DUP, and what’s left of the UUP,
would just love an assembly with British ministers
taking executive decisions.

It would be the best of all their possible worlds –
direct rule with a unionist input. No responsibility.
They could blame some proconsul for any unpopular
decision and take the credit for any popular one.

They wouldn’t have to be involved in all-Ireland
bodies because they’d have no ministerial role and
they’d threaten to walk out of the talking shop if any
British carpet-bagger took a radical cross-border

Best of all, nationalists wouldn’t be making any
decisions. In short, it’s a better deal than any
British administration has offered unionists since
Stormont fell.

It’s disappointing that there is silence on this
matter from the Irish government, a government which
changed its constitution to permit all-Ireland bodies
to take decisions.

The basic position for any political progress here is
that unionists must share power with nationalists.

So far no unionist politician has come to terms with
the requirement that he must live on terms of mere
equality with the rest of the people on this island
who, from time immemorial, unionists have been taught
to regard as untermensch. For unionists that is a
psycho-political problem they have yet to address.

At this stage of the political process it is beyond
belief that the current British administration could
contemplate offering unionists a way round that
central challenge for them.

In effect our inexperienced proconsul has sold the
pass before the battle was joined.


US Is A Leading Terrorist State, Chomsky Tells Irish

Top academic refuels debate over Shannon

Eugene Moloney
19 January 2006

Academic, linguist and outspoken critic of US foreign
policy Noam Chomsky yesterday refuelled the debate
about the US military use of Shannon.

His comments come just weeks after he accused
Taoiseach Bertie Ahern of "shining the shoes" of
President George Bush.

Prof Chomsky, perhaps the world's best known liberal
intellectual, received a rapturous response last night
for an Amnesty International lecture at Dublin's RDS
during which he referred to the US as "a leading
terrorist state".

The 77-year-old academic calmly, clinically and with
at times barbed humour dissected US foreign policy in
relation to the "War on Terror" and human rights.

Perhaps mindful of the furore his comments about Mr
Ahern received when he delivered them last month, his
lecture proper steered clear of commenting on the US
use of Shannon.

During a Q&A session, Prof Chomsky responded to
comments made by Richard Boyd Barrett of the Irish
Anti War movement who said 300,000 US troops were
going through Shannon in addition to 50 to 60
rendition flights, in which it is alleged the CIA has
been illegally transporting prisoners for torture.

He supported Mr Barrett's call for demonstrations
against the occupation of Iraq. He said even if part
of what he claimed was true it would amount to
participation "in the supreme international crime".

Professor Chomsky, described by Bono as the "Elvis of
Academia", said that in examining the guidelines by
which terror is established it followed "that the US
is a leading terrorist state".

He began by telling his audience that terror was "a
term that rightly arouses strong emotions and deep
concerns," and added: "The primary concern should
naturally be to take measures to alleviate the threat,
which has been severe in the past and will be even
more so in the future."

But he said guidelines were needed and there were
three simple ones: "Facts matter, even if we do not
like them; elementary moral principles matter, even if
they have consequences that we would prefer not to
face; and relative clarity matters. It is pointless to
seek a truly precise definition of terror or of any
other concept outside of the hard sciences . . . But
we should seek enough clarity at least to distinguish
terror from two notions that lie uneasily at its
borders: aggression and legitimate resistance."


Irish MEPs To Join Inquiry Into CIA 'Torture Flights'

Conor Sweeney in Strasbourg
19 January 2006

Two Irish MEPs are to join a special investigation
into CIA 'torture flights' and the possible role of
European governments.

Last night, both Fianna Fail's Eoin Ryan and Fine
Gael's Simon Coveney were confirmed as members of the
EU special committee.

It will investigate allegations about the transport
and illegal detention of prisoners by the CIA in
European countries.

The committee will try to establish if people were
obtained or abducted from inside the European Union,
if these people were tortured and whether countries
were facilitating rendition flights.

The Irish Government and officials will probably be
called to give evidence, predicted Mr Coveney.

The intention of the probe is to establish the facts,
not to become a political tool against US foreign
policy, he said.

"I wouldn't be on this committee if I was treating it
as a PR exercise.

"We need to ensure it doesn't turn into an anti-
American rant, because some people would like that,"
he said.

"We will investigate the evidence that has come to
light, produced by human rights bodies and then we
need to put very significant political pressure on EU
countries to co-operate fully through their
governments so we can establish the truth," he said.

In particular, Ireland's role through the use of
Shannon Airport will be under scrutiny, since it will
also examine whether European governments knew about
these alleged practices, and if EU citizens have been

Fianna Fail's Eoin Ryan also demanded greater US
transparency about their use of European airports, and
in particular Shannon Airport.

"To tolerate such behaviour is nothing short of
breaching international human rights law, and we
cannot be seen to condone such actions," he said.

"Ireland has signed up to the International Convention
on Human Rights, and we are a member of the Council of
Europe; therefore we are obliged to do all in our
power to ensure that prisoners are not being illegally
transported through our state." He added there was
nothing wrong with the US using Shannon for refuelling
in general, once this was not being done to transport
prisoners to secret detention centres.

Both the American and Irish governments insist that
the persistent allegations from organisations like
Amnesty International and Human Rights Watch are


‘The End Of The Year Show’ Takes To The Stage

By Keith Bourke

Co Down playwright Damian Gorman’s latest offering
1974 – The End of the Year Show opens in Belfast

The Newcastle man’s latest drama was a difficult and
at times painful project for him.

The action in the play takes place between Christmas
Day and New Year’s Eve 1974.

While the rest of the country chews over the bones of
a bad year, during which 14 civilians died each month
because of the Troubles, an unlikely collection of
people in an alcohol treatment unit reveal their own
circumstances in ways which are often painfully funny.

The subject of alcoholism is one which is particularly
close to Damian. He was an alcoholic and his brother
Brendan died two years ago from the effects of alcohol

“My brother Brendan was an alcoholic and he died in
July 2004 while I was writing the play,” Mr Gorman

“I really didn’t think I’d struggle to finish the play
as much as I did but I was very close to him. It was
supposed to be finished in 2004.

“Brendan also gave me a hand while I was writing it.
He had been in a unit like this around Christmas time
in 1984 so he shared some of his experiences with me.
He told me not to forget the banter.”

The playwright said that 1974 was a big year not only
for him but for people throughout Northern Ireland.

“I was only 13 then but 1974 was the year my eyes
really opened up to the world. I woke up and started
to look around me and take an interest.”

“That particular week in 1974 was the time of a very
uneasy ceasefire. Everyone including the people in
that unit were wondering what was going to happen and
what the new year would bring.”

1974 – The End of the Year Show runs from January 20
to February 11 at The Lyric Theatre.

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