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January 24, 2006

Govt Must Deal With Guilty Soldiers

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News About Ireland & The Irish

IC 01/24/06 Government 'Must Deal With Guilty Soldiers'
BB 01/24/06 Troubles Victims' Post Challenged
DI 01/24/06 RUC ‘Is Outside Killings Probe’
SF 01/24/06 Fully Functioning Institutions Are Only Option
SF 01/24/06 State Investigating Itself Is Not Acceptable
IT 01/25/06 Family Claims Gardaí Treated Them Badly
IT 01/25/06 Collusion Claimed At Core Of Case
DJ 01/24/06 'Dirty Tricks' Sabotage Death Probes
IT 01/25/06 DUP Dampens Hopes For Early NI Progress
BN 01/24/06 IRA Criminality Blocking Progress' - Paisley
RT 01/24/06 Billions Lost To Fraud In NI, Claims Paisley
IT 01/25/06 UUP: Interim Role For Direct-Rule Ministers
DI 01/24/06 ‘Republican Efforts Can’t Be Ignored’
SF 01/24/06 SF Welcomes Changes In Electoral Registration
BB 01/24/06 Move Over NI Political Donations
DI 01/24/06 Fraud By Officer
DJ 01/24/06 Derry Sinn Fein To 'Restructure'
IT 01/25/06 Ahern Backs Report On Definition Of Family
DI 01/24/06 Government Treats Constitution With Contempt
IT 01/25/06 Opin: We Are Part Of US Coalition
DI 01/24/06 Opin: McDowell Must Deliver On Garda Promises
CP 01/24/06 Opin: Grievances And Consequences
WW 01/24/06 Belfast Murals For Us All To See.
TH 01/24/06
Celtic Connections: Frances Black
EX 01/24/06 Ahern Expected To Name Haughey As Jr Minister
DI 01/24/06 ‘Tacky Resorts’ Attacked
IO 01/24/06 Daughter Phoned Mother Trapped In Death Blaze


Government 'Must Deal With Guilty Soldiers'

Jan 24 2006

The Government today faced demands from a cross-party group of
MPs for the removal of soldiers from the Army who have been found
guilty of crimes and human rights abuses.

An all-party motion was tabled in the House of Commons by Labour
MPs Joan Humble and Jim Dobbin, Liberal Democrat Sarah Teather
and nationalist SDLP leader Mark Durkan.

Mr Durkan, who is leading an SDLP delegation in the United
States, explained in New York: "The motion comes after our public
meeting in Westminster at which some of the Deepcut families

"They feel a sense of insult and betrayal at being denied
investigation, justice or truth for their sons who died in army

"This Early Day Motion also comes today on the fifth anniversary
of the death of Tony Green who was shot at Ballykelly Barracks
(in Co Londonderry) by a man who was convicted of manslaughter
but then readmitted to the British Army and promoted.

"It also comes at a time when Jean McBride is still demanding a
meeting with (Prime Minister) Tony Blair and the expulsion of the
murderers of her son from the British Army."

The Early Day Motion demanded all soldiers convicted of murder,
rape, torture and other serious crimes are expelled from the

Mr Durkan continued: "Armies are meant to protect the public,
that's why they shouldn't have serving in their ranks those who
have murdered, raped and tortured. It is as simple as that."

A report by lawyer Nicholas Blake into the deaths of four young
soldiers in Deepcut Army Barracks in Surrey is expected to be
published soon.

The QC was asked in 2004 by Armed Forces Minister Adam Ingram to
probe the deaths of 20-year-old Sean Benton from Hastings in east
Sussex, 17-year-old James Collinson from Perth in Scotland, 17-
year-old Geoff Gray from Seaham in Co Durham and 18-year-old
Cheryl James from Llangollen in north Wales.

There have been other allegations.

The family of 25-year-old Royal Scots Regiment Corporal Tony
Green, from Carlisle who was shot at Shackleton Barracks, Co
Londonderry have demanded more information about his death.

William Graham, 24, from Whitburn in Lothian was sentenced to two
years imprisonment for manslaughter for accidentally shooting the
Army chef.

Corporal Green's family has been angered by the Army's promotion
of Mr Graham following his release from a Private to a Lance

The family of civilian Peter McBride, who was gunned down by two
Scots Guards in the New Lodge area of north Belfast in September
1992, has also criticised their subsequent readmission to the

Guardsmen Mark Wright and James Fisher served three years in jail
for the murder of the 18-year-old Catholic but were allowed to
rejoin and remain in the Army.

Mr Durkan said today the group of MPs were also planning
amendments to the Armed Forces Bill at Westminster to make the
principles behind their campaign requirements of law.

"If the British Government are at all serious about human rights
we hope that they will get serious about this campaign and back
our amendments and Early Day motion," the Foyle MP said.


Troubles Victims' Post Challenged

The appointment of Bertha McDougall - whose policeman husband was
murdered by republicans - as Victims' Commissioner is to be
legally challenged.

The post is intended to promote the interests of victims of the

The widow of Sean Downes - killed by a plastic bullet in 1984 -
wants the appointment reversed. Mrs McDougall's husband was
murdered by the INLA 1981.

Brenda Downes wants a judicial review on the grounds that Mrs
McDougall does not command cross-community support.

She also said the appointment was a sop to the Democratic
Unionist Party.

Papers were lodged in the High Court by Mrs Downes' solicitors,
but before the case can be heard a judge has to grant leave.

Solicitor Paul Pierce said: "This is an extremely important and
sensitive issue for the families of victims and to that end it is
a significant challenge which needs to be heard as soon as

In 1986 an RUC reservist was cleared of the manslaughter of Mr
Downes at an internment anniversary rally.

His widow, who has a daughter now aged 22, was awarded
undisclosed damages in 1989 in a compensation action against the
chief constable.

Mrs Downes is seeking an order quashing Mrs McDougall's
appointment and an immediate halt to the work she is doing
pending the outcome of the case.

She also wants the appointed to be declared illegal because she
claimed the secretary of state did not give enough weight to the
need for consultation and the need for "actual and perceived

Mrs McDougall, 59, a former school teacher, helped set up the
victims' group, Forgotten Families.

Her appointment as Victims' Commissioner was announced by
Northern Ireland Secretary Peter Hain in October 2005.

Story from BBC NEWS:
Published: 2006/01/24 16:34:11 GMT


RUC ‘Is Outside Killings Probe’

48 UNEXPLAINED RUC KILLINGS - Millions needed to investigate
controversial killings

Eamonn Houston

The Northern Ireland Office was last night urged to release
millions of pounds in funding to allow the North’s Policing
Ombudsman to investigate 48 killings carried out by members of
the RUC.

Human Rights Group, the Pat Finucane Centre (PFC) led calls for
the British government to pour resources into Ombudsman Nuala
O’Loan’s office so that an investigating team can begin probing
RUC killings before 1998.

It has emerged that cases involving the RUC will not be
investigated by the Historical Enquiries Team (HET) which
yesterday began examining 100 unsolved killings.

The HET plans to revisit the case files of 3,000 unsolved murders
from 1969 until the signing of the Good Friday Agreement in 1998.

It is feared that some relatives of people killed by the RUC may
wrongly assume that their cases will be probed by the HET.

The investigation team was set up at a cost of £24.3 million
(€35.29 million). A further £7.3 million (€10.6 million) has been
earmarked for forensic investigations into so-called “cold

The probing of killings carried out by RUC officers falls under
the remit of the Policing Ombudsman’s Office, which at present
does not have the financial resources to examine the cases.

A spokesman for the Ombudsman said: “It is anticipated that we
will require additional resources and there is ongoing
discussions on that.”

The NIO last night confirmed that negotiations over the money
needed to revisit the police cases are ongoing.

However, PFC spokesman Paul O’Connor last night accused the NIO
of blocking progress towards reopening the cases.

“Our worry is that there are people out there who may be thinking
that the Historical Enquiries Team is going to examine cases.

“Our view is that it is totally unjust that a relative of someone
killed by police in 1969 will not be investigated while the case
of someone killed by an unknown gunman will. That situation is
untenable and totally unacceptable. This is about families being
left out.”

A PSNI spokesman last night said the HET does not replace the
statutory role of the Police Ombudsman.

The Ombudsman has jurisdiction over police officers and HET has
provided it with details of 48 killings carried out by police
officers. HET will review all other deaths.

“The relationship between HET and PONI is one of ongoing liaison
through a structured process, which includes a protocol and
memorandum of understanding,” said the PSNI spokesman.

“This ensures that both agencies can progress their independent
and important work in a complementary fashion, especially in any
cases where a process of parallel review may be necessary.

“The issue of funding for PONI is not a matter on which PSNI can

HET boss Dave Cox yesterday said his officers would reopen the
files on 3,268 cases during the Troubles and would try to achieve
the best resolution for victims’ families. The 84-member police
unit is based at Sprucefield, near Lisburn, Co Antrim.

The former Metropolitan Police commander, said: “I do not for a
moment underestimate the complexity of this challenge, or the
potential emotional stress for relatives associated with
revisiting these tragic events.”


Fully Functioning Institutions Are The Only Option

Published: 24 January, 2006

Speaking today from Westminster where he is conducting a series
of briefings, Sinn Féin MP for Newry & Armagh Conor Murphy said
that 'the two governments have an obligation to deliver
institutions with full decision making powers'.

Mr Murphy said:

"People voted for functioning institutions with full decision
making powers. That is what the Good Friday Agreement demands and
that is what the two governments have an obligation to deliver.

"Sinn Féin will not accept less than the Good Friday Agreement.
Fully functioning institutions are a must. We will not accept the
foolish SDLP notion of British Commissioners running Departments
nor will we accept institutions which do not match those demanded
by the Agreement.

"The current situation with suspended institutions is not
sustainable. The two governments have to act to build on the
potential created by the IRA initiatives.

"The DUP proposals which are being presented to Tony Blair this
afternoon are about undoing all of this. They are an attempt to
turn back the clock. That is not going to happen. The DUP need to
be brought into the 21st century." ENDS


State Investigating Itself Is Not Acceptable - Gerry Kelly

Published: 24 January, 2006

Sinn Féin MLA Gerry Kelly has today said that "the Historical
Enquiries Team does not come close to the process of truth and
justice which families have sought".

Mr Kelly made his comments as the Historical Enquiries Team
commenced its work.

Speaking today Mr Kelly said:

"The Historical Enquiries Team does not come close to the process
of truth and justice which families have sought. This is again a
case of the state investigating the state when the reality is
that collusion was a British state policy. The British state is
actively suppressing the truth about collusion. This is the core
reason that the Finucane family is still being denied the inquiry
which they were promised.

"Indeed while £30 million is being spent by the HET the agreed
investigative and oversight mechanism, the Ombudsman‚s office, is
being starved of the resources needed to pursue retrospective
investigation of RUC involvement in collusion and state
violence." ENDS


Family Of Murdered Louth Man Claims Gardaí Treated Them Badly

Christine Newman

The family of a Co Louth man murdered in 1976 said yesterday
that gardaí treated them very badly over 30 years and told them
only lies.

Yesterday the family of Séamus Ludlow, who worked in a sawmill,
also called for a full independent public inquiry into his
murder. Solicitor James McGuill described the family as ordinary
and law-abiding, who found themselves in a set of completely
life-changing circumstances which was compounded by the State

The family were giving their accounts for the first time at a
public inquiry into the Barron report on the murder which began
yesterday at an Oireachtas justice sub-committee.

The Barron report says that the RUC told the Garda in 1979 it
believed four named loyalists were involved in Mr Ludlow's
killing, but this information was not pursued by the Garda.

No one has ever been charged with the murder of Mr Ludlow (47), a
single man. He was shot dead on May 2nd, 1976, as he went home
from a night out. The Barron report said he had no connections
with any subversive organisation.

Yesterday his brother, Kevin, said gardaí treated the family very
badly. He broke down as he said: "When I saw the body to identify
him, I just couldn't believe it."

Mr Ludlow said gardaí had implied that his brother was an
informer for the IRA and said the IRA did it.

"Seamus definitely had nothing to do with the IRA," he said.

"We shouldn't have to go through all of this for 30 years. It
wasn't fair what was done to us. They were covering up the whole
thing all the time. It's a shame to think of the way the gardaí
acted. We were treated very badly. Nothing only lies from the

Mr Ludlow said they had thought the gardaí would tell them
something, but they could not even tell them when the inquest was
in 1976.

"The gardaí never even said sorry for anything. Will it ever
come? I don't know," he said. He added that he thought the family
should get an apology.

Michael Donegan, nephew, told of his father, Kevin Donegan,
opening the door in Co Louth to members of the UDR. He was taken
away for interrogation by helicopter to Northern Ireland and
brought back after an hour.

"A murder in Dundalk shouldn't have been any of their business,
and I believe the British army knew about it from day one," he

Mr Ludlow's sister, Nan Sharkey, said her brother was "a very
good fellow. He never gave any trouble. He was very kind. He kept
to himself".

© The Irish Times


Collusion Claimed At Core Of Case

Christine Newman

The theme of collusion between the British army and loyalist
groups ran through the case of Co Louth man Séamus Ludlow who was
murdered in 1976, an Oireachtas sub-committee heard.

Jane Winter of British Irish Rights Watch, an independent non-
governmental organisation, said that at the time there had been a
toleration of members of the army being members of paramilitary

Many soldiers were part-time in the army and also in paramilitary
groups such as the Red Hand Commando. There was very little
concern about it and a great deal of toleration.

Nobody was charged with the murder of Mr Ludlow although names of
the alleged perpetrators were given by the RUC to gardaí.

She thought Mr Ludlow's murder should receive a public inquiry.

"The failure of the police investigation is not at all
acceptable. It should not be for families to have to instigate a
proper investigation into a murder," she said.

Ms Winter said a question also had to be asked about cross-Border
incursions when Kevin Donegan, Mr Ludlow's brother-in-law, was
abducted from Co Louth to Northern Ireland by the UDR and
interrogated for an hour.

She said she did not believe there was no record of an interview
with Mr Donegan. In answer to a question, she said she thought it
would be extremely helpful if an equivalent to the North's
Historical Enquiries Team was set up in the State.

She understood the team had already met the Garda Commissioner
and were drawing up a protocol for co-operation.

Cormac Ó Dulacháin SC, from Justice for the Forgotten, said the
most important issue about the Barron report on the Ludlow murder
was that the invitation to interview suspects in Northern Ireland
was not taken up.

He said they had identified a number of instances where gardaí
went to the North to interview suspects.

© The Irish Times


'Dirty Tricks' Sabotage Death Probes

Tuesday 24th January 2006

Murders alleged to have been committed by the RUC during the
Troubles, including that of Derry man Sammy Devenny, will NOT be
reinvestigated by the newly formed Historical Enquiries Team
(HET), it was revealed yesterday.

All such deaths, which also include that of Dungiven man Francis
McCloskey, will, in turn, be probed by the Police Ombudsman once
funding is secured by the Northern Ireland Office.

Speaking to the 'Journal' yesterday, Paul O'Connor, of the Pat
Finucane Centre, described the situation as ridiculous,
suggesting that "dirty tricks" could be scuppering the
reinvestigation of these controversial deaths. "What we are left
with now is a totally ridiculous situation whereby someone who
was killed by the UVF in July 1969 will have their death
investigated, but someone who was killed by the RUC in July 1969
must continue to wait for the funding to be made available to get
their answers."

Mr. O'Connor said it was the opinion of the Pat Finucane Centre
that, by not releasing the necessary funds to allow the
Ombudsman, Nuala O'Loan, to investigate such cases, the British
government is "guilty of non cooperation" with ongoing
investigations."As far as we are concerned, everything that can
be done to block such investigations is being done."

Sinn Fein spokesperson Raymond McCartney has also voiced his
concerns over the investigations process, saying it is "hamstrung
before it even started".

"The problem with the British state investigating itself is that
it puts too many obstacles in the way of too many families," he
said. "The cases of Mr. Devenny and Mr. McCloskey are just one
example of how selective this system is and how it has ultimately
failed before it has even started.

"In line with many victims families, particularly those killed by
the British State, we are doubtful that the approach outlined by
the Historical Enquires Team can achieve the truth. However much
this scheme is dressed up, it is still an internal unit of the
PSNI, and is very much a case of the state investigating the

The Historical Investigations Team (HET) is charged with
investigating in excess of 3,000 unsolved murder cases attributed
to the Troubles, and it is expected it will take more than five
years to complete the task.

On Friday last, a spokesperson for the PSNI revealed the first
100 cases will have their investigations relaunched and that the
Enquiry Team will deal with cases in a chronological order.

The first deaths in the North West attributed to the Troubles
were those of Mr. Devenny and Mr. McCloskey, neither of which
come under the remit of the HET.


DUP Dampens Hopes For Early NI Progress

Frank Millar, London Editor

The Rev Ian Paisley has put a check on British and Irish
government hopes for an early political breakthrough in Northern

British prime minister Tony Blair flies into Dublin tomorrow for
talks with Taoiseach Bertie Ahern, which both men intend will
signal a fresh push for momentum in the stalled peace process.

Mr Blair and Mr Ahern will clear the way for intended "intensive"
talks involving all the parties next month, following warnings
from Northern Ireland Secretary Peter Hain that Assembly
elections due next year cannot be held without prior agreement on
the restoration of power-sharing devolution at Stormont.

However, it is understood that in his meeting with the prime
minister in Downing Street yesterday the DUP leader gave Mr Blair
no reason to suppose that that timetable would be met. And Dr
Paisley subsequently indicated to The Irish Times that an
accommodation with Sinn Féin might not occur on his watch.

He was at No 10 Downing Street to present his party's 16-page
Facing Reality document, which is understood to propose a two-
staged restoration of the suspended Assembly, with the
appointment of Ministers deferred until unionists are satisfied
about Sinn Féin's commitment to exclusively peaceful and
democratic means and the end of all alleged IRA criminality.

The DUP leader said he would give Mr Blair time to reflect on his
party's blueprint before publishing it in about 10 days.

However, the SDLP wasted no time attacking what it called the
DUP's "latest shopping list", while similarly warning London and
Dublin against Ulster Unionist Party proposals, also published
yesterday, to restore Assembly powers to allow it to scrutinise
Direct Rule ministers.

At the same time, Sinn Féin MP Conor Murphy maintained that
republicans would accept nothing less than the full functioning
of the institutions established by the Belfast Agreement, while
attacking "the foolish SDLP notion" of allowing appointed
commissioners to run departments in the absence of a power-
sharing Executive.

Speaking in London, Mr Murphy said: "The current situation with
suspended institutions is not sustainable. The two governments
have to act to build on the potential created by IRA initiatives
. . . The DUP proposals presented to Tony Blair are about undoing
all of this. They are an attempt to turn the clock back."

Mr Murphy told The Irish Times that recent SDLP discussions with
both unionist parties appeared to raise the possibility that the
SDLP might be prepared to consider alternative functions for the
Assembly if approved by both governments.

However, Downing Street doubts about such a possibility were
fortified as the SDLP's Alban Maginness insisted: "The two
governments must hold firm and focus attention on an inclusive
way forward by naming a date for restoration of the institutions
of the agreement."

Asked if he could see any circumstances in which the SDLP would
accept any of the proposed unionist variations, Dr Paisley said:
"That's for them to decide, but they can't remain almost in
partnership with Sinn Féin.

"They must realise that the people of Northern Ireland have
rejected the [ Belfast] agreement. The SDLP have to decide
whether they are going to flog a dead horse."

While appearing to keep the door ajar for republicans who he said
had to "repudiate violence and criminality and commit to
democracy," Dr Paisley said it would be "a long road, and we have
to face reality."

Referring to the reported differences between police chiefs and
the North's security minister Shaun Woodward, Dr Paisley
suggested British ministers would no longer be able to "sell"
their assessment of the state of IRA activity to unionists.

© The Irish Times


'IRA Criminality Blocking Political Progress' - Paisley

24/01/2006 - 19:17:34

The IRA must end all involvement in criminality if there is to be
political progress in Northern Ireland, Democratic Unionist
leader the Rev Ian Paisley insisted tonight.

After submitting his 16-page document to British Prime Minister
Tony Blair outlining his party's plans for phased devolution at
Stormont, the North Antrim MP rejected Sinn Féin claims he was
trying to hollow out the Good Friday Agreement and was abusing

"That is nonsense, absolute nonsense," he said.

"If a person commits evil and repents of it and turns away from
it, then that is something we can rejoice over.

"If a person justifies evil as the IRA have done, glorifies it,
canonises it and then blames everybody else for mistrust when
they are practising mistrust all the time, then the time has come
to call a halt to all of it."

The DUP's document is believed to advocate a two-stage process
leading towards the resumption of devolved government in Northern
Ireland, with the first stage falling short of full blown power

The Ulster Unionists today also formally launched proposals for
reviving the Assembly.

They advocated giving Northern Ireland's 108 MLAs a financial and
legislative role while Northern Ireland Secretary Peter Hain and
his ministerial team continued to run government departments in
the North.


Billions Lost To Fraud In NI, Claims Paisley

24 January 2006 19:41

Billions of pounds are being stolen from the economy of Northern
Ireland by fraud and deception, the DUP leader Ian Paisley
claimed tonight.

Rev Paisley was speaking to reporters at Westminster after a
meeting with the British Prime Minister, Tony Blair.

Dr Paisley said that information which he had been given by
agencies such as Special Branch and the Customs and Excise
suggested that lawyers in Northern Ireland were engaged in
laundering money gained through cigarette smuggling.

Mr Paisley said he believed that the British government would try
to spin next week's IMC report in favour of the IRA but that he
had told Mr Blair that the fraud was having a terrible effect on
the community.

The DUP leader refused to reveal exactly who had given him the
information but added that the PSNI and intelligence gatherers in
Northern Ireland all agreed that this is happening.

At his meeting with Mr Blair, Mr Paisley aired proposals in a 16-
page document outlining the steps the DUP sees being taken
towards the return of devolution.

The party advocates a two-phase process towards bringing back the
Assembly and devolved government at Stormont.

Mr Blair is due to hold meetings with the Taoiseach, Bertie Ahern
in Dublin tomorrow. He is also due to meet the President, Mary
McAleese, at Farmleigh.


UUP Proposes Interim Role For Direct-Rule Ministers

Gerry Moriarty, Northern Editor

The Ulster Unionist Party leader has proposed a diluted form of
devolution that would loosely follow the US model in the absence
of agreement to fully restore the power-sharing Northern

Sir Reg Empey said a properly functioning Executive and Assembly
could not be reinstated in the immediate future because
republicans had damaged political trust.

Under the UUP proposals the suspended 108-member Assembly would
be re-established, but instead of an Executive running the
Northern Ireland departments this function would continue to be
carried out by Northern Secretary Peter Hain and his direct rule

However, the UUP is calling for Assembly members to have a
"meaningful statutory role" in the governance of Northern
Ireland. This would mean Assembly members exercising legislative
and financial powers as before but with Mr Hain and his ministers
operating the departments.

"This is a separation-of-powers model, not unlike the
relationship between the president of the United States and his
cabinet and the American congress," according to the UUP in its
paper, A Legislative and Financial Model for Stormont, published

Direct rule ministers would be answerable to Westminster but,
instead of seeking legislation and departmental budgets from
London, they would send their proposals to the Assembly to be
accepted or rejected.

This system would end in April 2007 when the next Assembly
elections are due. Whether these elections take place or not
hinges on whether there is the guarantee that a newly elected
Assembly could sit, as Mr Hain has made clear.

Sir Reg said the UUP proposals were designed "to end the drift
that some parties are quite happy to facilitate" and to invest a
degree of accountability in elected politicians.

"The Ulster Unionist Party is not interested in the Assembly
resuming as a talking shop, the favoured route of some parties,"
he said.

"However, we cannot underestimate the damage republicans have
done to the ability of the pro-Union community to tolerate an
all-inclusive Executive. It is immense and deep-seated. The
current stream of concessions to republicans is reinforcing this
view," he added.

"This fact has led us to consider what steps the government could
now take to break the deadlock, see the ending of suspension and
provide the public and the taxpayer with a proper service and
value for money for a time-limited period that falls short of
full-blown devolution," he said.

"Republicans can harp on about full implementation but, following
their actions, this cannot happen in the immediate future until
efforts are made to restore sufficient levels of trust," the UUP
leader added.

Sinn Féin has insisted it will not tolerate any proposals,
whether from the UUP or DUP, that fall short of power-sharing as
set out in the Belfast Agreement.

© The Irish Times


‘Republican Efforts Can’t Be Ignored’

Unionist concerns over guns resolved, says SF ahead of British-
Irish talks

Jarlath Kearney

Sinn Féin’s chief negotiator Martin McGuinness yesterday
insisted that “no half-baked solutions” to the North’s political
stalemate will be acceptable to republicans.

Ahead of summit talks between British prime minister Tony Blair
and Taoiseach Bertie Ahern in Dublin on Thursday, Mr McGuinness
stressed his party’s demand for the North’s political
institutions to be fully restored.

It has emerged that Irish President Mary McAleese will formally
meet Mr Blair and direct-rule minister Peter Hain at Aras an
Uachtaráin on Thursday.

Speaking to reporters in Belfast yesterday, Mr McGuinness said he
hoped the forthcoming talks are part of “a big push” to get “an
absolute settlement”.

The Mid-Ulster MP stressed this would require the return of a
fully-functioning assembly, with a fully-functioning inclusive
ministerial executive linked to a fully-functioning North-South
Ministerial Council.

“The current stalemate is totally unacceptable and has to be
ended. The nonsense of a suspended assembly is not sustainable.

“People have a right to the institutions which they voted for.
People have a right to proper political representation from the
politicians they voted for.

“Anything short of a fully-fledged and functioning assembly,
ministerial executive and North-South Ministerial Executive will
be totally unacceptable to Sinn Féin,” Mr McGuinness said.

Pressed by reporters on the issue of policing, Mr McGuinness said
that anyone expecting policing to be tackled as a single issue is
“living in cloud cuckoo land”.

Pointing to Sinn Féin’s policy, Mr McGuinness stressed that
republicans would only address policing in the context of further
British government legislation and agreement on the transfer of
ministerial power to the assembly’s inclusive executive.

Mr McGuinness said that the majority of Irish people had observed
recent moves by republicans to assist the peace process “with

“The situation is very, very clear. The old days are gone and
they are not coming back. Republicans moved very honestly to deal
with concerns of unionists.

“IRA arms are gone – out of the equation. IRA activities are gone
– out of the equation. What we now need to see is delivery from
Ian Paisley,” Mr McGuinness said.

However, in a bitter attack on Sinn Féin, the SDLP’s policing
spokesperson Alex Attwood said republicans have already inflicted
“deep damage” on the Good Friday Agreement.

Following sustained pressure from Sinn Féin last week, senior
SDLP member Dominic Bradley admitted his party is ready to
replace the North’s inclusive ministerial executive.

The executive sits at the heart of the Good Friday Agreement’s
power-sharing Assembly. However, in a fierce attack on
republicans yesterday, Alex Attwood said that Sinn Féin “dropped
the ball” in political negotiations with the DUP during December

“The SDLP will enter next month’s talks to undo the Paisley/Adams
deal of December 2004,” Mr Attwood said.

“The Sinn Féin/DUP deal 14 months ago is a threat to the Good
Friday Agreement. The SDLP calls on Sinn Féin to recognise the
damage caused by the DUP/Sinn Féin deal.

“It needs to be stopped in its tracks. The SDLP will be
unrelenting in undoing the deep damage of the so-called
‘Comprehensive Agreement’, just as the SDLP was unrelenting on
the OTR/state killers proposals,” Mr Attwood said.

Mr Attwood also highlighted his party’s demand for “ending the
role of MI5 in the North” as being central to the SDLP’s agenda
in coming months.


Sinn Féin Welcomes Changes In Electoral Registration But More Needs To Be Done

Published: 24 January, 2006

Sinn Féin MEP for West Tyrone Pat Doherty has today welcomed
aspects of the new electoral registration proposals.

Mr Doherty was responding to Direct Rule Minister David Hanson‚s
announcement that he was altering the arrangements for electoral
registration in the six counties.

Speaking today Mr Doherty said:

"Today's announcement by David Hanson is a welcome development.
The introduction of a rolling register and the extension of the
voter registration deadline to eleven days are positive
proposals. However, I am concerned that the register used in the
2005 election is not being carried forward as the basis for the
permanent register in 2006. In effect, this will mean that the
2006 register will remain incomplete. Sinn Féin will continue to
work for this to be included in the updated register.

"I am also concerned that there has been no Equality Impact
Assessment provision in the legislation governing the register."


Move Over NI Political Donations

Move Over NI Political Donations

Northern Ireland political parties will soon have to notify the
Electoral Commission about donations over £5,000.

However, donors' details will be kept confidential because of
fears they could be intimidated.

Political Development Minister David Hanson made the announcement
following consultation on the reform of donor funding and
electoral registration.

The government also intends to proceed with plans to relax
electoral rules requiring annual voter registration.

Donations to political parties has been a controversial issue for
some time and Northern Ireland has been granted exemptions from
UK rules for some time.

The new measures require political parties to notify the
electoral commission about donations over £5,000 from 2007.

The identity and details of donors from the UK and Ireland will
be kept confidential - although there is provision for full
transparency by 2010.

Rules requiring annual voter registration were introduced to
stamp out fraud, but led to a sharp decline in the register.

A bill is to be introduced, replacing the annual voter
registration process with a system using information from public
bodies to update the list on a regular basis.

Officials believe the information could be used to identify
individuals who have not registered to vote and target them.

The bill would also extend the deadline for voter registration to
11 days before polling day, subject to enhanced security

Story from BBC NEWS:
Published: 2006/01/24 13:31:32 GMT


Fraud By Officer

Ciarán Barnes

A police officer convicted of fraud yesterday is still in the pay
of the PSNI, Daily Ireland has learned.

Charles Metcalfe was sentenced to 12 months in prison, suspended
for two years, after admitting earning hundreds of pounds a day
as a bodyguard in Iraq while being on official sick leave at

Mr Metcalfe, whose address was given as Newtownards police
station, admitted two charges of false accounting of sickness
certificates at Downpatrick Court.

The court was told he worked in Iraq for £265 (£182) a day while
he was supposed to be off with stress and depression.

Despite his conviction, the 40-year-old detective constable
remains in the pay of the PSNI, a decision that has angered the
SDLP. Co Down councillor Joe Boyle said the PSNI had no
alternative but to sack him.

Mr Boyle said: “It is incumbent on the PSNI to expel Mr Metcalfe.

“By pretending to be sick he falsely used public cash set aside
to help people who are genuinely ill and are unable to work.”

A spokeswoman for the PSNI said Mr Metcalfe is currently
suspended and is the subject of internal disciplinary

Mr Metcalfe’s defence lawyer told the court that he was under
considerable private and domestic pressure at the time of his
crimes and he had gone to Iraq in a bid to ease his financial

He said the officer accepted it had been the “worst decision of
his life” to try and “ride two horses at once”.


Derry Sinn Fein To 'Restructure'

Tuesday 24th January 2006

Sinn Fein is to restructure its operations in Derry in the wake
of IRA decommissioning.

Under new proposals local members will be given more opportunity
to become involved in Sinn Fein's decision making process,
according to MLA Raymond McCartney.

Speaking ahead of tonight's Sinn Fein Annual General Meeting in
the Tower Hotel, Mr. McCartney said the party would be more' fit
for purpose' once the restructuring had taken place.

"Due to the historic announcement in 2005 by the IRA to end it
military campaign the local party decided to have a review of its
structures and its operation within the city" he said.

"The review culminated in a proposal for a restructuring of the
Comhairle Cheantair so that the membership could become more
involved in the decision making process.

"This would also increase the membership of the Comhairle
Cheantair making it more accountable to the membership and a
greater sharing of the workload."

The Sinn Fein MLA added that the new party structure would place
more emphasis on collective leadership and as well as collective
decision making processes.

"This will utilise the undoubted ability of our activists and
bringing new talent to the party which will ensure collective
participation in all aspects of our work" he said.

"Sinn Fein must be up to the challenge ahead and in my

opinion the structure presented here is the platform from which
we can initiate the programmes of work required to increase our
political strength, our political relevance and the ability to
bring about the change desired by those we represent."

The Sinn Fein AGM will take place tonight, Tuesday, at the Tower
Hotel, Butcher Street, Derry.


Ahern Backs Report On Definition Of Family

The Taoiseach has backed the decision of the All-Party
Oireachtas Committee on the Constitution not to broaden the
constitutional definition of the family to include unmarried
couples. Stephen Collins, Political Correspondent, reports

Speaking last night at the formal launch of the report, Mr Ahern
said the committee had laid out a strategy that would avoid
divisive battles on issues over which people held very strong

"In particular, I find the committee's reasoning on the
definition of the family - and why that definition should not be
changed at this time - convincing.

"The reality is that the traditional family based on marriage has
presented great benefits to our society. It has given social
stability and, in general, it has provided a most favourable
context in which to rear children," said Mr Ahern.

He said that, given the huge public interest prompted by the
preparation of the report, it was clear that the issues
surrounding marriage and the family were of central importance to
the people of Ireland today.

The Taoiseach added that lawmakers had to deal with competing
objectives. "We also need to reflect the practical needs of our
people, whose lives and choices do not conform to any single
pattern or ideal, however widely held, or whose lived experience
may diverge even from their own ideals."

He said the committee had worked hard to get the balance right,
and had taken a pragmatic and compassionate approach rather than
a legalistic or ideological one.

"It is no surprise that there was not a full consensus on the
committee as regards some of its conclusions," he added.

The Fianna Fáil, Fine Gael, PD and Independent members of the 14-
person committee supported the report, but the Labour, Sinn Féin
and Green Party members disagreed. They issued a minority
recommendation proposing a referendum to widen the definition of
the family to non-married heterosexual and same-sex couples.

Mr Ahern expressed approval of the legal changes recommended by
the committee to protect the rights of non-married couples.

He also welcomed the committee's decision to address the rights
of children and said the Minister for Children, Brian Lenihan,
and the Government would study the proposal to amend the

© The Irish Times


Government Treats Constitution With Contempt

Patricia McKenna

Colin Murphy exposed the existence of two secret agreements
between the United States of America and Ireland last week in the
Village magazine. It is disappointing that the scandal has not
produced the national outcry it deserves. If staff of Michael D
Higgins TD hadn’t discovered the agreements during a search of US
Department of State documents, they would still be hidden. The
discovery of these two secret defence agreements between our own
country and the world’s biggest military superpower is a damming
indictment of the current government’s approach to democracy.

One agreement, on the protection of classified military
information, was signed as far back as January 2003, at the
height of the build-up to the illegal invasion of Iraq and just
two days after the Dáil approved the use of Shannon by the US

Since it’s unlikely that this document appeared overnight and had
to be agreed before signing the Taoiseach, Bertie Ahern, and then
Minister for Foreign Affairs, Brian Cowan, must have known of its
existence when the Dáil debated the issue of Shannon. Their
failure to refer to it would indicate that they deliberately and
calculating intended to keep it secret for as long as possible.

This disgraceful scandal is further evidence of the current
government’s sheer contempt for an open and transparent
democracy. They deliberately kept secret from the people and from
the Dáil the existence of two controversial agreements between
our neutral country and the world’s biggest military power.
Despite the fact that the constitution requires that any
international agreement, excluding those of a technical or
administrative nature, be put before the Dáil, neither was even
mentioned. On the contrary the government and ministers appear to
have gone out of their way to keep them secret.

The current Minister for Foreign Affairs, Dermot Ahern, has tried
to argue that the agreement on classified military information is
just “generic” and related to US–EU co-operation in
“international peacekeeping operations”– but there is no
reference to either peacekeeping or the EU in the agreement.
Furthermore, it cannot be dismissed as a technical or
administrative agreement and, as such, the government had a
constitutional duty to put it before the Dáil their failure to do
so is a clear breach of the constitution and should be

The second agreement, signed in February 2004, deals with
cooperation between the US and Irish militaries on logistics.
Although it relates to the KFOR peacekeeping mission, its scope
can be widened to include to other situations without difficulty.

Why were these agreements not, as required under the
constitution, put before the Dáil? Successful constitutional
challenges, such as Crotty, McKenna and Coughlin, show that
respect for the constitution has been lacking, with successive
governments having to be forced, through the courts, to comply
with its requirements. However, the current government’s ruthless
and dictatorial attitude to constitutional democracy would put
even Saddam Hussein in the shade.

The constitution was drawn up in 1937 when dictators were around.
The intention was not to allow government total control and to
ensure that it would be the people and not politicians who would
have final say. Protection of the people’s interests was
deliberately enshrined to avoid any government taking total
control and railroading over the wishes of its people. These
protective measures were understandable considering that at that
time ruthless dictators such as Hitler and Mussolini were in

This government has done more damage to Ireland’s reputation as a
neutral and peace-loving nation than any other government in the
history of the state. The current controversy about the use of
Shannon for ‘rendition’ flights is just the latest chapter in the
long-running story of Ireland’s involvement in illegal wars and
breaches of international law. Evidence that CIA-chartered
aircraft have been using Shannon while carrying out ‘renditions’,
or the transfer of detainees from country to country without
legal process, is now indisputable.

Amnesty International obtained flight records for six CIA-
chartered planes, used by the CIA for renditions, from September
2001 to September of 2005. According to the US Federal Aviation
Administration over this period, these planes landed 50 times in
Shannon and took off 35 times, suggesting that some flights were
kept secret. These are only the records of six planes – the CIA
has been reported to use some 30 leased aircraft.

Even though reports from Amnesty International, Human Rights
Watch and other NGOs clearly contradict assurances given by US,
the government appears to have no intention of asserting itself
on behalf of the Irish people.

Department officials say: “It remains the case that the United
States authorities have repeated clear and explicit assurances
that no prisoners have been transported through Ireland and it
remains the case that there is no evidence that any prisoner has
been transported through Ireland", but you don’t find evidence if
you refuse to look for it. As the saying goes: “There is none so
blind as those who will not see.”

How can we take anything the US says at face value, experience
has shown they are not to be trusted. They want the international
community to back off and let them get on with it. Unfortunately,
that seems to be exactly what is happening. For years now the US
has ignored international law, waged war on false pretexts, used
weapons of mass destruction on civilians, kidnapped and
imprisoned people without trial and basically held the world to
ransom and not one civilised law-abiding country has even
suggested taking action and calling for sanctions.

Nobody knows what is going on behind the closed doors of US
secret prisons and detention centres. Even in those we know
about, we still don’t have access to them. The International
Committee of the Red Cross had been pressing Washington on the
issue for over two years and has repeatedly raised the issue of
receiving notification and subsequently access to persons held in
undisclosed places of detention, in the context of the so called
‘war on terror”. The Bush administration has refused to co-

The victims of rendition usually end up in countries known to
use torture in their interrogations. The Council of Europe is
currently investigating allegations that prisoners were taken for
torture elsewhere through European airports, and that the CIA may
have operated illegal prisons in European countries. It says: “In
so far as so-called extraordinary rendition flights are
concerned, states must be in a position, where there is doubt, to
establish who is on board planes transiting via their airports,
whether they are travelling freely or are detained, and, if the
latter, under whose authority they are being transported and for
what purpose."

This year’s Féile Bríde conference, hosted by the NGO Afri on
Saturday, is focusing on human rights defenders. One speaker is a
former US Marine who was part of the initial US invasion of Iraq
in 2003. He was so deeply affected by what he experienced that it
led to his questioning of the entire justification for the war.
Maybe Bertie and some of our ministers will go along and get

Patricia McKenna is a former Green Party MEP for Dublin. She is
an active campaigner on a range of issues from justice to human
rights to the environment and food safety.


Opin: We Are Part Of US Coalition

Ireland was spared a major humiliation three years ago by
fortune, writes Vincent Browne

We had been on the UN Security Council until the end of 2002 and
then, as luck would have it, our tenure there expired. We were
spared the excruciation of what has been called the "global
crisis" of February 2003. This was when the United States was
threatening, bribing and cajoling the nations on the Security
Council to vote for a resolution specifically authorising the
invasion of Iraq.

Canada and Mexico, America's nearest two neighbours, were on the
council. Both resisted American pressure and intimidation. Chile
was also on the council at the time. It, too, resisted, in the
face of threats of economic retaliation.

Turkey was in the greatest difficulty. It was/is a member of Nato
- its ruling elite owes its position to American support. America
wanted access to Turkish territory to enable it to invade Iraq
from the northwest. The Turkish government caved in; the Turkish
parliament held firm and refused.

We all know now what Ireland would have done had it been on the
Security Council at the time. Remember there was no plausible
case for war or invasion then. This is stated not just in
hindsight, for the two heads of the weapons inspection teams,
ElBaradei and Hans Blix, were asking for more time, and
indicating there was no evidence of weapons of mass destruction
in Iraq - the pretext for going to war.

Neither of the weapons inspectors indicated any belief in the
claim made by Tony Blair that Iraq had a capacity to launch a
sudden pre-emptive strike. All the indications were that Iraq had
been weakened to the point of exhaustion by over 10 years of
sanctions and, as a consequence, posed no threat to anybody.

We all know Ireland would have caved in, would have gone along
with its "close ally" and voted for an invasion in the teeth of
an absence of any plausible rationale.

If you don't believe that, just look at what has happened since.
In November 2002, when resolution 1441 was going through the
Security Council, Ireland's representative on the council,
Richard Ryan, stated that in Ireland's view resolution 1441 gave
no authorisation for "further action" that would necessitate a
further resolution.

But in the absence of such a further resolution, Ireland gave aid
and facilitation to the invasion of Iraq through the Shannon
stopover and did so on the basis of a lie. The lie being that it
had always been Irish policy to facilitate such military
involvements, when the exact opposite was the case.

When clearcut evidence emerged that Shannon was being used by CIA
aircraft, which were involved in the criminal abduction of terror
suspects and their transportation to centres where there was
evidence that detainees were being subjected to torture, Ireland
did not want to know.

Dermot Ahern went to Washington and had the temerity to raise
this matter with Condoleezza Rice and was assured, according to
himself, that nothing "untoward" was going on. It is obvious he
did not put to Ms Rice the clear evidence that planes used for
criminal abductions had gone through Shannon. He did not ask
about the illegal abductions that were going on. He did not ask
about reports of torture centres.

Ireland doesn't "do" inquiries of our "closest ally" apparently;
it is content with "categorical" assurances simply that nothing
"untoward" has been going on.

It's a little trickier now in the wake of the report of the
Council of Europe's parliamentary assembly rapporteur, Dick
Marty, on these criminal kidnappings. And this has been made all
the trickier by the statement of the EU Commission vice-
president, Franco Frattini.

Embarrassingly, Mr Frattini drew attention to that part of Dick
Marty's report which stated: "it is highly unlikely that European
governments, or at least their intelligence services, were
unaware [of the criminal abductions]."

Mr Marty said in his report that legal proceedings were in
progress in certain countries which seemed to indicate that
individuals had been abducted and transferred to other countries
without respect for any legal standards. He said, in contrast to
Dermot Ahern, it had to be noted that the allegations had never
been formally denied by the United States.

Mr Marty "deplored" the failure of Condoleezza Rice to offer
information or explanations for what was going on in her recent
visit to Europe. He urged members of the Council of Europe,
including Ireland, to commit themselves to establishing the truth
about flights over their territories in recent years by aircraft
carrying individuals arrested and detained without any judicial

Meanwhile, the Oireachtas has played dead on the issue, as have
the mainstream media. Yes, there is to be an inquiry by the
Seanad, but don't hold your breath.

A sea change has occurred in Irish foreign policy over the last
few years. There is no longer even a semblance of independence.
We are part of the coalition-of-the-willing, without a debate or
sanction or acknowledgment. None of the Opposition parties thinks
there is anything odd about this and none is committed to undoing
any of what has been done. Pat Rabbitte did say at one stage that
Labour would insist on stopping the US stopovers at Shannon . . .
but watch that assurance melt away as well.

© The Irish Times


Opin: McDowell Must Deliver On His Garda Promises

Opin: McDowell Must Deliver On His Garda Promises

Editor: Colin O’Carroll

A telling trait of Minister Michael McDowell’s approach to taking
on the entrenched interests in Irish society has been his
tendency to cut and run when things get tough.

Thus belligerent-sounding operations to take on the drug warlords
turning Dublin streets into a free-fire zone have failed
abysmally to muzzle the street gangs.

Similarly, squaring up to the prison warders has yet to produce
any meaningful results.

However, in his tussle with the Association of Garda Sergeants
and Inspectors over plans to introduce an auxiliary force of
citizens Mr McDowell deserves support — providing he also commits
to delivering the 2,000 full-time Garda he has promised but so
far refused to deliver.

Having failed to tackle the culture of corruption endemic among
sections of the Gardaí — as illustrated by the sinister goings-on
in Donegal exposed at the Morris Tribunal — the minister may find
that in turning a blind eye to Garda excesses he has made a rod
to beat his own back.

By paying the costs of Gardaí brought up in front of the Morris
Tribunal and treating with kids’ gloves those found to have been
guilty of misconduct, the minister has sent out the message that
the Gardaí are entitled to special treatment.

No wonder then that the AGSI has reacted so angrily to proposals
to put 4,000 members of a volunteer reserve on the street.

However, while reasonable complaints about the training of the
new recruits or about the potential damage to Garda morale should
be listened to, the minister was right in his meeting yesterday
with the AGSI to refuse to perform a U-turn.

The Garda delegation which yesterday called for the existing
Garda force to be properly resourced make a strong point.

Even the best-resourced force in the world should be able to work
closely with a properly-trained part-time reserve.

Certainly, ordinary people around the state — but in particular
those in isolated rural areas or in town and city-centres come
closing time — would welcome a stronger Garda presence on the
ground, even if that presence is represented by reservists.

Gardaí who point out all the shortcomings of the new reserve but
none of the benefits are guilty of protesting too much.

Even if the existing force was to come down with blue flu next
week, the minister should stick to his guns and push on with the
recruitment of the first 900 part-time members, as well as
immediately taking action to fulfil his promises on the increase
in numbers of full-time Gardaí.


Opin: Grievances And Consequences

The Terrorist in the Mirror
By Noam Chomsky

"Terror" is a term that rightly arouses strong emotions and deep
concerns. 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. To proceed in a
serious way, we have to establish some guidelines. Here are a few
simple ones:

(1) Facts matter, even if we do not like them.

(2) Elementary moral principles matter, even if they have
consequences that we would prefer not to face.

(3) Relative clarity matters. It is pointless to seek a truly
precise definition of "terror," or of any other concept outside
of the hard sciences and mathematics, often even there. But we
should seek enough clarity at least to distinguish terror from
two notions that lie uneasily at its borders: aggression and
legitimate resistance.

If we accept these guidelines, there are quite constructive ways
to deal with the problems of terrorism, which are quite severe.
It's commonly claimed that critics of ongoing policies do not
present solutions. Check the record, and I think you will find
that there is an accurate translation for that charge: "They
present solutions, but I don't like them."

Suppose, then, that we accept these simple guidelines. Let's turn
to the "War on Terror." Since facts matter, it matters that the
War was not declared by George W. Bush on 9/11, but by the Reagan
administration 20 years earlier.

They came into office declaring that their foreign policy would
confront what the President called "the evil scourge of
terrorism," a plague spread by "depraved opponents of
civilization itself" in "a return to barbarism in the modern age"
(Secretary of State George Shultz). The campaign was directed to
a particularly virulent form of the plague: state-directed
international terrorism. The main focus was Central America and
the Middle East, but it reached to southern Africa and Southeast
Asia and beyond.

A second fact is that the war was declared and implemented by
pretty much the same people who are conducting the re-declared
war on terrorism. The civilian component of the re-declared War
on Terror is led by John Negroponte, appointed last year to
supervise all counterterror operations. As Ambassador in
Honduras, he was the hands-on director of the major operation of
the first War on Terror, the contra war against Nicaragua
launched mainly from US bases in Honduras. I'll return to some of
his tasks. The military component of the re-declared War led by
Donald Rumsfeld. During the first phase of the War on Terror,
Rumsfeld was Reagan's special representative to the Middle East.
There, his main task was to establish close relations with Saddam
Hussein so that the US could provide him with large-scale aid,
including means to develop WMD, continuing long after the huge
atrocities against the Kurds and the end of the war with Iran.
The official purpose, not concealed, was Washington's
responsibility to aid American exporters and "the strikingly
unanimous view" of Washington and its allies Britain and Saudi
Arabia that "whatever the sins of the Iraqi leader, he offered
the West and the region a better hope for his country's stability
than did those who have suffered his repression" -- New York
Times Middle East correspondent Alan Cowell, describing
Washington's judgment as George Bush I authorized Saddam to crush
the Shi'ite rebellion in 1991, which probably would have
overthrown the tyrant.

Saddam is at last on trial for his crimes. The first trial, now
underway, is for crimes he committed in 1982. 1982 happens to be
an important year in US-Iraq relations. It was in 1982 that
Reagan removed Iraq from the list of states supporting terror so
that aid could flow to his friend in Baghdad. Rumsfeld then
visited Baghdad to confirm the arrangements. Judging by reports
and commentary, it would be impolite to mention any of these
facts, let alone to suggest that some others might be standing
alongside Saddam before the bar of justice. Removing Saddam from
the list of states supporting terrorism left a gap. It was at
once filled by Cuba, perhaps in recognition of the fact that the
US terrorist wars against Cuba from 1961 had just peaked,
including events that would be on the front pages right now in
societies that valued their freedom, to which I'll briefly
return. Again, that tells us something about the real elite
attitudes towards the plague of the modern age.

Since the first War on Terror was waged by those now carrying out
the redeclared war, or their immediate mentors, it follows that
anyone seriously interested in the re-declared War on Terror
should ask at once how it was carried out in the 1980s. The
topic, however, is under a virtual ban. That becomes
understandable as soon as we investigate the facts: the first War
on Terror quickly became a murderous and brutal terrorist war, in
every corner of the world where it reached, leaving traumatized
societies that may never recover. What happened is hardly
obscure, but doctrinally unacceptable, therefore protected from
inspection. Unearthing the record is an enlightening exercise,
with enormous implications for the future.

These are a few of the relevant facts, and they definitely do
matter. Let's turn to the second of the guidelines: elementary
moral principles. The most elementary is a virtual truism: decent
people apply to themselves the same standards that they apply to
others, if not more stringent ones. Adherence to this principle
of universality would have many useful consequences. For one
thing, it would save a lot of trees. The principle would
radically reduce published reporting and commentary on social and
political affairs. It would virtually eliminate the newly
fashionable discipline of Just War theory. And it would wipe the
slate almost clean with regard to the War on Terror. The reason
is the same in all cases: the principle of universality is
rejected, for the most part tacitly, though sometimes explicitly.
Those are very sweeping statements. I purposely put them in a
stark form to invite you to challenge them, and I hope you do.
You will find, I think, that although the statements are somewhat
overdrawn--purposely -- they nevertheless are uncomfortably close
to accurate, and in fact very fully documented. But try for
yourselves and see.

This most elementary of moral truisms is sometimes upheld at
least in words. One example, of critical importance today, is the
Nuremberg Tribunal. In sentencing Nazi war criminals to death,
Justice Robert Jackson, Chief of Counsel for the United States,
spoke eloquently, and memorably, on the principle of
universality. "If certain acts of violation of treaties are
crimes," he said, "they are crimes whether the United States does
them or whether Germany does them, and we are not prepared to lay
down a rule of criminal conduct against others which we would not
be willing to have invoked against us....We must never forget
that the record on which we judge these defendants is the record
on which history will judge us tomorrow. To pass these defendants
a poisoned chalice is to put it to our own lips as well."

That is a clear and honorable statement of the principle of
universality. But the judgment at Nuremberg itself crucially
violated this principle. The Tribunal had to define "war crime"
and "crimes against humanity." It crafted these definition very
carefully so that crimes are criminal only if they were not
committed by the allies. Urban bombing of civilian concentrations
was excluded, because the allies carried it out more barbarically
than the Nazis. And Nazi war criminals, like Admiral Doenitz,
were able to plead successfully that their British and US
counterparts had carried out the same practices. The reasoning
was outlined by Telford Taylor, a distinguished international
lawyer who was Jackson's Chief Counsel for War Crimes. He
explained that "to punish the foe--especially the vanquished foe-
-for conduct in which the enforcing nation has engaged, would be
so grossly inequitable as to discredit the laws themselves." That
is correct, but the operative definition of "crime" also
discredits the laws themselves. Subsequent Tribunals are
discredited by the same moral flaw, but the self-exemption of the
powerful from international law and elementary moral principle
goes far beyond this illustration, and reaches to just about
every aspect of the two phases of the War on Terror.

Let's turn to the third background issue: defining "terror" and
distinguishing it from aggression and legitimate resistance. I
have been writing about terror for 25 years, ever since the
Reagan administration declared its War on Terror. I've been using
definitions that seem to be doubly appropriate: first, they make
sense; and second, they are the official definitions of those
waging the war. To take one of these official definitions,
terrorism is "the calculated use of violence or threat of
violence to attain goals that are political, religious, or
ideological in nature...through intimidation, coercion, or
instilling fear," typically targeting civilians. The British
government's definition is about the same: "Terrorism is the use,
or threat, of action which is violent, damaging or disrupting,
and is intended to influence the government or intimidate the
public and is for the purpose of advancing a political,
religious, or ideological cause." These definitions seem fairly
clear and close to ordinary usage. There also seems to be general
agreement that they are appropriate when discussing the terrorism
of enemies.

But a problem at once arises. These definitions yield an entirely
unacceptable consequence: it follows that the US is a leading
terrorist state, dramatically so during the Reaganite war on
terror. Merely to take the most uncontroversial case, Reagan's
state-directed terrorist war against Nicaragua was condemned by
the World Court, backed by two Security Council resolutions
(vetoed by the US, with Britain politely abstaining). Another
completely clear case is Cuba, where the record by now is
voluminous, and not controversial. And there is a long list
beyond them.

We may ask, however, whether such crimes as the state-directed
attack against Nicaragua are really terrorism, or whether they
rise to the level of the much higher crime of aggression. The
concept of aggression was defined clearly enough by Justice
Jackson at Nuremberg in terms that were basically reiterated in
an authoritative General Assembly resolution. An "aggressor,"
Jackson proposed to the Tribunal, is a state that is the first to
commit such actions as "Invasion of its armed forces, with or
without a declaration of war, of the territory of another State,"
or "Provision of support to armed bands formed in the territory
of another State, or refusal, notwithstanding the request of the
invaded State, to take in its own territory, all the measures in
its power to deprive those bands of all assistance or
protection." The first provision unambiguously applies to the US-
UK invasion of Iraq. The second, just as clearly, applies to the
US war against Nicaragua. However, we might give the current
incumbents in Washington and their mentors the benefit of the
doubt, considering them guilty only of the lesser crime of
international terrorism, on a huge and unprecedented scale.

It may also be recalled the aggression was defined at Nuremberg
as "the supreme international crime differing only from other war
crimes in that it contains within itself the accumulated evil of
the whole"--all the evil in the tortured land of Iraq that flowed
from the US-UK invasion, for example, and in Nicaragua too, if
the charge is not reduced to international terrorism. And in
Lebanon, and all too many other victims who are easily dismissed
on grounds of wrong agency--right to the present. A week ago
(January 13), a CIA predator drone attacked a village in
Pakistan, murdering dozens of civilians, entire families, who
just happened to live in a suspected al-Qaeda hideout. Such
routine actions elicit little notice, a legacy of the poisoning
of the moral culture by centuries of imperial thuggery.

The World Court did not take up the charge of aggression in the
Nicaragua case. The reasons are instructive, and of quite
considerable contemporary relevance. Nicaragua's case was
presented by the distinguished Harvard University law professor
Abram Chayes, former legal adviser to the State Department. The
Court rejected a large part of his case on the grounds that in
accepting World Court jurisdiction in 1946, the US had entered a
reservation excluding itself from prosecution under multilateral
treaties, including the UN Charter. The Court therefore
restricted its deliberations to customary international law and a
bilateral US-Nicaragua treaty, so that the more serious charges
were excluded. Even on these very narrow grounds, the Court
charged Washington with "unlawful use of force"--in lay language,
international terrorism--and ordered it to terminate the crimes
and pay substantial reparations. The Reaganites reacted by
escalating the war, also officially endorsing attacks by their
terrorist forces against "soft targets," undefended civilian
targets. The terrorist war left the country in ruins, with a
death toll equivalent to 2.25 million in US per capita terms,
more than the total of all wartime casualties in US history
combined. After the shattered country fell back under US control,
it declined to further misery. It is now the second poorest
country in Latin America after Haiti--and by accident, also
second after Haiti in intensity of US intervention in the past
century. The standard way to lament these tragedies is to say
that Haiti and Nicaragua are "battered by storms of their own
making," to quote the Boston Globe, at the liberal extreme of
American journalism. Guatemala ranks third both in misery and
intervention, more storms of their own making.

In the Western canon, none of this exists. All is excluded not
only from general history and commentary, but also quite
tellingly from the huge literature on the War on Terror re-
declared in 2001, though its relevance can hardly be in doubt.

These considerations have to do with the boundary between terror
and aggression. What about the boundary between terror and
resistance? One question that arises is the legitimacy of actions
to realize "the right to self-determination, freedom, and
independence, as derived from the Charter of the United Nations,
of people forcibly deprived of that right..., particularly
peoples under colonial and racist regimes and foreign
occupation..." Do such actions fall under terror or resistance?
The quoted word are from the most forceful denunciation of the
crime of terrorism by the UN General Assembly; in December 1987,
taken up under Reaganite pressure. Hence it is obviously an
important resolution, even more so because of the near-unanimity
of support for it. The resolution passed 153-2 (Honduras alone
abstaining). It stated that "nothing in the present resolution
could in any way prejudice the right to self-determination,
freedom, and independence," as characterized in the quoted words.

The two countries that voted against the resolution explained
their reasons at the UN session. They were based on the paragraph
just quoted. The phrase "colonial and racist regimes" was
understood to refer to their ally apartheid South Africa, then
consummating its massacres in the neighboring countries and
continuing its brutal repression within. Evidently, the US and
Israel could not condone resistance to the apartheid regime,
particularly when it was led by Nelson Mandela's ANC, one of the
world's "more notorious terrorist groups," as Washington
determined at the same time. Granting legitimacy to resistance
against "foreign occupation" was also unacceptable. The phrase
was understood to refer to Israel's US-backed military
occupation, then in its 20 th year. Evidently, resistance to that
occupation could not be condoned either, even though at the time
of the resolution it scarcely existed: despite extensive torture,
degradation, brutality, robbery of land and resources, and other
familiar concomitants of military occupation, Palestinians under
occupation still remained "Samidin," those who quietly endured.

Technically, there are no vetoes at the General Assembly. In the
real world, a negative US vote is a veto, in fact a double veto:
the resolution is not implemented, and is vetoed from reporting
and history. It should be added that the voting pattern is quite
common at the General Assembly, and also at the Security Council,
on a wide range of issues. Ever since the mid-1960s, when the
world fell pretty much out of control, the US is far in the lead
in Security Council vetoes, Britain second, with no one else even
close. It is also of some interest to note that a majority of the
American public favors abandonment of the veto, and following the
will of the majority even if Washington disapproves, facts
virtually unknown in the US, or I suppose elsewhere. That
suggests another conservative way to deal with some of the
problems of the world: pay attention to public opinion.

Terrorism directed or supported by the most powerful states
continues to the present, often in shocking ways. These facts
offer one useful suggestion as to how to mitigate the plague
spread by "depraved opponents of civilization itself" in "a
return to barbarism in the modern age": Stop participating in
terror and supporting it. That would certainly contribute to the
proclaimed objections. But that suggestion too is off the agenda,
for the usual reasons. When it is occasionally voiced, the
reaction is reflexive: a tantrum about how those who make this
rather conservative proposal are blaming everything on the US.

Even with careful sanitization of discussion, dilemmas constantly
arise. One just arose very recently, when Luis Posada Carriles
entered the US illegally. Even by the narrow operative definition
of "terror," he is clearly one of the most notorious
international terrorists, from the 1960s to the present.
Venezuela requested that he be extradited to face charges for the
bombing of a Cubana airliner in Venezuela, killing 73 people. The
charges are admittedly credible, but there is a real difficulty.
After Posada miraculously escaped from a Venezuelan prison, the
liberal Boston Globe reports, he "was hired by US covert
operatives to direct the resupply operation for the Nicaraguan
contras from El Salvador"--that is, to play a prominent role in
terrorist atrocities that are incomparably worse than blowing up
the Cubana airliner. Hence the dilemma. To quote the press:
"Extraditing him for trial could send a worrisome signal to
covert foreign agents that they cannot count on unconditional
protection from the US government, and it could expose the CIA to
embarrassing public disclosures from a former operative."
Evidently, a difficult problem.

The Posada dilemma was, thankfully, resolved by the courts, which
rejected Venezuela's appeal for his extradition, in violation of
the US-Venezuela extradition treaty. A day later, the head of the
FBI, Robert Mueller, urged Europe to speed US demands for
extradition: "We are always looking to see how we can make the
extradition process go faster," he said. "We think we owe it to
the victims of terrorism to see to it that justice is done
efficiently and effectively." At the Ibero-American Summit
shortly after, the leaders of Spain and the Latin American
countries "backed Venezuela's efforts to have [Posada] extradited
from the United States to face trial" for the Cubana airliner
bombing, and again condemned the "blockade" of Cuba by the US,
endorsing regular near-unanimous UN resolutions, the most recent
with a vote of 179-4 (US, Israel, Marshall Islands, Palau). After
strong protests from the US Embassy, the Summit withdrew the call
for extradition, but refused to yield on the demand for an end to
the economic warfare. Posada is therefore free to join his
colleague Orlando Bosch in Miami. Bosch is implicated in dozens
of terrorist crimes, including the Cubana airliner bombing, many
on US soil. The FBI and Justice Department wanted him deported as
a threat to national security, but Bush I took care of that by
granting him a presidential pardon.

There are other such examples. We might want to bear them in mind
when we read Bush II's impassioned pronouncement that "the United
States makes no distinction between those who commit acts of
terror and those who support them, because they're equally as
guilty of murder," and "the civilized world must hold those
regimes to account." This was proclaimed to great applause at the
National Endowment for Democracy, a few days after Venezuela's
extradition request had been refused. Bush's remarks pose another
dilemma. Either the US is part of the civilized world, and must
send the US air force to bomb Washington; or it declares itself
to be outside the civilized world. The logic is impeccable, but
fortunately, logic has been dispatched as deep into the memory
hole as moral truisms.

The Bush doctrine that "those who harbor terrorists are as guilty
as the terrorists themselves" was promulgated when the Taliban
asked for evidence before handing over people the US suspected of
terrorism--without credible evidence, as the FBI conceded many
months later. The doctrine is taken very seriously. Harvard
international relations specialist Graham Allison writes that it
has "already become a de facto rule of international relations,"
revoking "the sovereignty of states that provide sanctuary to
terrorists." Some states, that is, thanks to the rejection of the
principle of universality.

One might also have thought that a dilemma would have arisen when
John Negroponte was appointed to the position of head of counter-
terrorism. As Ambassador to Honduras in the 1980s, he was running
the world's largest CIA station, not because of the grand role of
Honduras in world affairs, but because Honduras was the primary
US base for the international terrorist war for which Washington
was condemned by the ICJ and Security Council (absent the veto).
Known in Honduras as "the Proconsul," Negroponte had the task of
ensuring that the international terrorist operations, which
reached remarkable levels of savagery, would proceed efficiently.
His responsibilities in managing the war on the scene took a new
turn after official funding was barred in 1983, and he had to
implement White House orders to bribe and pressure senior
Honduran Generals to step up their support for the terrorist war
using funds from other sources, later funds illegally transferred
from US arms sales to Iran. The most vicious of the Honduran
killers and torturers was General Alvarez Martínez, the chief of
the Honduran armed forces at the time, who had informed the US
that "he intended to use the Argentine method of eliminating
suspected subversives." Negroponte regularly denied gruesome
state crimes in Honduras to ensure that military aid would
continue to flow for international terrorism. Knowing all about
Alvarez, the Reagan administration awarded him the Legion of
Merit medal for "encouraging the success of democratic processes
in Honduras." The elite unit responsible for the worst crimes in
Honduras was Battalion 3-16, organized and trained by Washington
and its Argentine neo-Nazi associates. Honduran military officers
in charge of the Battalion were on the CIA payroll. When the
government of Honduras finally tried to deal with these crimes
and bring the perpetrators to justice, the Reagan-Bush
administration refused to allow Negroponte to testify, as the
courts requested.

There was virtually no reaction to the appointment of a leading
international terrorist to the top counter-terrorism position in
the world. Nor to the fact that at the very same time, the
heroine of the popular struggle that overthrew the vicious Somoza
regime in Nicaragua, Dora María Téllez, was denied a visa to
teach at the Harvard Divinity School, as a terrorist. Her crime
was to have helped overthrow a US-backed tyrant and mass
murderer. Orwell would not have known whether to laugh or weep.
So far I have been keeping to the kinds of topics that would be
addressed in a discussion of the War on Terror that is not
deformed to accord with the iron laws of doctrine. And this
barely scratches the surface. But let us now adopt prevailing
Western hypocrisy and cynicism, and keep to the operative
definition of "terror." It is the same as the official
definitions, but with the Nuremberg exception: admissible terror
is your terror; ours is exempt..

Even with this constraint, terror is a major problem,
undoubtedly. And to mitigate or terminate the threat should be a
high priority. Regrettably, it is not. That is all too easy to
demonstrate, and the consequences are likely to be severe.

The invasion of Iraq is perhaps the most glaring example of the
low priority assigned by US-UK leaders to the threat of terror.
Washington planners had been advised, even by their own
intelligence agencies, that the invasion was likely to increase
the risk of terror. And it did, as their own intelligence
agencies confirm. The National Intelligence Council reported a
year ago that "Iraq and other possible conflicts in the future
could provide recruitment, training grounds, technical skills and
language proficiency for a new class of terrorists who are
`professionalized' and for whom political violence becomes an end
in itself," spreading elsewhere to defend Muslim lands from
attack by "infidel invaders" in a globalized network of "diffuse
Islamic extremist groups," with Iraq now replacing the Afghan
training grounds for this more extensive network, as a result of
the invasion. A high-level government review of the "war on
terror" two years after the invasion `focused on how to deal with
the rise of a new generation of terrorists, schooled in Iraq over
the past couple years. Top government officials are increasingly
turning their attention to anticipate what one called "the bleed
out" of hundreds or thousands of Iraq-trained jihadists back to
their home countries throughout the Middle East and Western
Europe. "It's a new piece of a new equation," a former senior
Bush administration official said. "If you don't know who they
are in Iraq, how are you going to locate them in Istanbul or
London?"' ( Washington Post).

Last May the CIA reported that "Iraq has become a magnet for
Islamic militants similar to Soviet-occupied Afghanistan two
decades ago and Bosnia in the 1990s," according to US officials
quoted in the New York Times. The CIA concluded that "Iraq may
prove to be an even more effective training ground for Islamic
extremists than Afghanistan was in Al Qaeda's early days, because
it is serving as a real-world laboratory for urban combat."
Shortly after the London bombing last July, Chatham House
released a study concluding that "there is `no doubt' that the
invasion of Iraq has `given a boost to the al-Qaida network' in
propaganda, recruitment and fundraising,` while providing an
ideal training area for terrorists"; and that "the UK is at
particular risk because it is the closest ally of the United
States" and is "a pillion passenger" of American policy" in Iraq
and Afghanistan. There is extensive supporting evidence to show
that -- as anticipated -- the invasion increased the risk of
terror and nuclear proliferation. None of this shows that
planners prefer these consequences, of course. Rather, they are
not of much concern in comparison with much higher priorities
that are obscure only to those who prefer what human rights
researchers sometimes call "intentional ignorance."

Once again we find, very easily, a way to reduce the threat of
terror: stop acting in ways that--predictably--enhance the
threat. Though enhancement of the threat of terror and
proliferation was anticipated, the invasion did so even in
unanticipated ways. It is common to say that no WMD were found in
Iraq after exhaustive search. That is not quite accurate,
however. There were stores of WMD in Iraq: namely, those produced
in the 1980s, thanks to aid provided by the US and Britain, along
with others. These sites had been secured by UN inspectors, who
were dismantling the weapons. But the inspectors were dismissed
by the invaders and the sites were left unguarded. The inspectors
nevertheless continued to carry out their work with satellite
imagery. They discovered sophisticated massive looting of these
installations in over 100 sites, including equipment for
producing solid and liquid propellant missiles, biotoxins and
other materials usable for chemical and biological weapons, and
high-precision equipment capable of making parts for nuclear and
chemical weapons and missiles. A Jordanian journalist was
informed by officials in charge of the Jordanian-Iraqi border
that after US-UK forces took over, radioactive materials were
detected in one of every eight trucks crossing to Jordan,
destination unknown.

The ironies are almost inexpressible. The official justification
for the US-UK invasion was to prevent the use of WMD that did not
exist. The invasion provided the terrorists who had been
mobilized by the US and its allies with the means to develop WMD
-- namely, equipment they had provided to Saddam, caring nothing
about the terrible crimes they later invoked to whip up support
for the invasion. It is as if Iran were now making nuclear
weapons using fissionable materials provided by the US to Iran
under the Shah -- which may indeed be happening. Programs to
recover and secure such materials were having considerable
success in the '90s, but like the war on terror, these programs
fell victim to Bush administration priorities as they dedicated
their energy and resources to invading Iraq.

Elsewhere in the Mideast too terror is regarded as secondary to
ensuring that the region is under control. Another illustration
is Bush's imposition of new sanctions on Syria in May 2004,
implementing the Syria Accountability Act passed by Congress a
few months earlier. Syria is on the official list of states
sponsoring terrorism, despite Washington's acknowledgment that
Syria has not been implicated in terrorist acts for many years
and has been highly cooperative in providing important
intelligence to Washington on al-Qaeda and other radical Islamist
groups. The gravity of Washington's concern over Syria's links to
terror was revealed by President Clinton when he offered to
remove Syria from the list of states sponsoring terror if it
agreed to US-Israeli peace terms. When Syria insisted on
recovering its conquered territory, it remained on the list.
Implementation of the Syria Accountability Act deprived the US of
an important source of information about radical Islamist
terrorism in order to achieve the higher goal of establishing in
Syria a regime that will accept US-Israeli demands.

Turning to another domain, the Treasury Department has a bureau
(OFAC, Office of Foreign Assets Control) that is assigned the
task of investigating suspicious financial transfers, a central
component of the "war on terror." In April 2004, OFAC informed
Congress that of its 120 employees, four were assigned to
tracking the finances of Osama bin Laden and Saddam Hussein,
while almost two dozen were occupied with enforcing the embargo
against Cuba. From 1990 to 2003 there were 93 terrorism-related
investigations with $9000 in fines; and 11,000 Cuba-related
investigations with $8 million in fines. The revelations received
the silent treatment in the US media, elsewhere as well to my

Why should the Treasury Department devote vastly more energy to
strangling Cuba than to the "war on terror"? The basic reasons
were explained in internal documents of the Kennedy-Johnson
years. State Department planners warned that the "very existence"
of the Castro regime is "successful defiance" of US policies
going back 150 years, to the Monroe Doctrine; not Russians, but
intolerable defiance of the master of the hemisphere, much like
Iran's crime of successful defiance in 1979, or Syria's rejection
of Clinton's demands. Punishment of the population was regarded
as fully legitimate, we learn from internal documents. "The Cuban
people [are] responsible for the regime," the Eisenhower State
Department decided, so that the US has the right to cause them to
suffer by economic strangulation, later escalated to direct
terror by Kennedy. Eisenhower and Kennedy agreed that the embargo
would hasten Fidel Castro's departure as a result of the "rising
discomfort among hungry Cubans." The basic thinking was
summarized by State Department official Lester Mallory: Castro
would be removed "through disenchantment and disaffection based
on economic dissatisfaction and hardship so every possible means
should be undertaken promptly to weaken the economic life of Cuba
in order to bring about hunger, desperation and the overthrow of
the government." When Cuba was in dire straits after the collapse
of the Soviet Union, Washington intensified the punishment of the
people of Cuba, at the initiative of liberal Democrats. The
author of the 1992 measures to tighten the blockade proclaimed
that "my objective is to wreak havoc in Cuba" (Representative
Robert Torricelli). All of this continues until the present

The Kennedy administration was also deeply concerned about the
threat of Cuban successful development, which might be a model
for others. But even apart from these standard concerns,
successful defiance in itself is intolerable, ranked far higher
as a priority than combating terror. These are just further
illustrations of principles that are well-established, internally
rational, clear enough to the victims, but scarcely perceptible
in the intellectual world of the agents.

If reducing the threat of terror were a high priority for
Washington or London, as it certainly should be, there would be
ways to proceed--even apart from the unmentionable idea of
withdrawing participation. The first step, plainly, is to try to
understand its roots. With regard to Islamic terror, there is a
broad consensus among intelligence agencies and researchers. They
identify two categories: the jihadis, who regard themselves as a
vanguard, and their audience, which may reject terror but
nevertheless regard their cause as just. A serious counter-terror
campaign would therefore begin by considering the grievances ,
and where appropriate, addressing them, as should be done with or
without the threat of terror. There is broad agreement among
specialists that al-Qaeda-style terror "is today less a product
of Islamic fundamentalism than of a simple strategic goal: to
compel the United States and its Western allies to withdraw
combat forces from the Arabian Peninsula and other Muslim
countries" (Robert Pape, who has done the major research on
suicide bombers). Serious analysts have pointed out that bin
Laden's words and deeds correlate closely. The jihadis organized
by the Reagan administration and its allies ended their Afghan-
based terrorism inside Russia after the Russians withdrew from
Afghanistan, though they continued it from occupied Muslim
Chechnya, the scene of horrifying Russian crimes back to the 19
th century. Osama turned against the US in 1991 because he took
it to be occupying the holiest Arab land; that was later
acknowledged by the Pentagon as a reason for shifting US bases
from Saudi Arabia to Iraq. Additionally, he was angered by the
rejection of his effort to join the attack against Saddam.

In the most extensive scholarly inquiry into the jihadi
phenomenon, Fawaz Gerges concludes that after 9/11, "the dominant
response to Al Qaeda in the Muslim world was very hostile,"
specifically among the jihadis, who regarded it as a dangerous
extremist fringe. Instead of recognizing that opposition to Al
Qaeda offered Washington "the most effective way to drive a nail
into its coffin" by finding "intelligent means to nourish and
support the internal forces that were opposed to militant
ideologies like the bin Laden network," he writes, the Bush
administration did exactly what bin Laden hoped it would do:
resort to violence, particularly in the invasion of Iraq. Al-
Azhar in Egypt, the oldest institution of religious higher
learning in the Islamic world, issued a fatwa, which gained
strong support, advising "all Muslims in the world to make jihad
against invading American forces" in a war that Bush had declared
against Islam. A leading religious figure at al-Azhar, who had
been "one of the first Muslim scholars to condemn Al Qaeda [and
was] often criticized by ultraconservative clerics as a pro-
Western reformer, ruled that efforts to stop the American
invasion [of Iraq] are a `binding Islamic duty'." Investigations
by Israeli and Saudi intelligence, supported by US strategic
studies institutes, conclude that foreign fighters in Iraq, some
5-10% of the insurgents, were mobilized by the invasion, and had
no previous record of association with terrorist groups. The
achievements of Bush administration planners in inspiring Islamic
radicalism and terror, and joining Osama in creating a "clash of
civilizations," are quite impressive.

The senior CIA analyst responsible for tracking Osama bin Laden
from 1996, Michael Scheuer, writes that "bin Laden has been
precise in telling America the reasons he is waging war on us.
None of the reasons have anything to do with our freedom,
liberty, and democracy, but have everything to do with U.S.
policies and actions in the Muslim world." Osama's concern "is
out to drastically alter U.S. and Western policies toward the
Islamic world," Scheuer writes: "He is a practical warrior, not
an apocalyptic terrorist in search of Armageddon." As Osama
constantly repeats, "Al Qaeda supports no Islamic insurgency that
seeks to conquer new lands." Preferring comforting illusions,
Washington ignores "the ideological power, lethality, and growth
potential of the threat personified by Osama bin Laden, as well
as the impetus that threat has been given by the U.S.-led
invasion and occupation of Muslim Iraq, [which is] icing on the
cake for al Qaeda." "U.S. forces and policies are completing the
radicalization of the Islamic world, something Osama bin Laden
has been trying to do with substantial but incomplete success
since the early 1990s. As a result, [Scheuer adds,] it is fair to
conclude that the United States of America remains bin Laden's
only indispensable ally."

The grievances are very real. A Pentagon advisory Panel concluded
a year ago that "Muslims do not `hate our freedom,' but rather
they hate our policies," adding that "when American public
diplomacy talks about bringing democracy to Islamic societies,
this is seen as no more than self-serving hypocrisy." The
conclusions go back many years. In 1958, President Eisenhower
puzzled about "the campaign of hatred against us" in the Arab
world, "not by the governments but by the people," who are "on
Nasser's side," supporting independent secular nationalism. The
reasons for the "campaign of hatred" were outlined by the
National Security Council: "In the eyes of the majority of Arabs
the United States appears to be opposed to the realization of the
goals of Arab nationalism. They believe that the United States is
seeking to protect its interest in Near East oil by supporting
the status quo and opposing political or economic progress."
Furthermore, the perception is understandable: "our economic and
cultural interests in the area have led not unnaturally to close
U.S. relations with elements in the Arab world whose primary
interest lies in the maintenance of relations with the West and
the status quo in their countries," blocking democracy and

Much the same was found by the Wall Street Journal when it
surveyed the opinions of "moneyed Muslims" immediately after
9/11: bankers, professionals, businessmen, committed to official
"Western values" and embedded in the neoliberal globalization
project. They too were dismayed by Washington's support for harsh
authoritarian states and the barriers it erects against
development and democracy by "propping up oppressive regimes."
They had new grievances, however, beyond those reported by the
NSC in 1958: Washington's sanctions regime in Iraq and support
for Israel's military occupation and takeover of the territories.
There was no survey of the great mass of poor and suffering
people, but it is likely that their sentiments are more intense,
coupled with bitter resentment of the Western-oriented elites and
corrupt and brutal rulers backed by Western power who ensure that
the enormous wealth of the region flows to the West, apart from
enriching themselves. The Iraq invasion only intensified these
feelings further, much as anticipated.

There are ways to deal constructively with the threat of terror,
though not those preferred by "bin Laden's indispensable ally,"
or those who try to avoid the real world by striking heroic poses
about Islamo-fascism, or who simply claim that no proposals are
made when there are quite straightforward proposals that they do
not like. The constructive ways have to begin with an honest look
in the mirror, never an easy task, always a necessary one.

This was the Amnesty International Annual Lecture hosted by TCD,
delivered by Noam Chomsky at Shelbourne Hall, the Royal Dublin
Society, January 18, 2006.

Noam Chomsky's most recent book is Imperial Ambitions:
Conversations on the Post-9/11 World..


Belfast Murals For Us All To See.

1/24/2006 6:41:13 PM

During the 1970s and 80s Belfast was like a war-zone. Shootings
and bombings were a normal occurrence, and a part of life in west
Belfast. Belfast’s troubled history has seen many tragedies and
atrocities. These atrocities are illustrated in the many murals
dotted all over Belfast, painted on the sides of houses.

These massive paintings are today a major Belfast attraction for
tourists. In the past, however, they were a way for the residents
of Belfast’s troubled areas to get their points across, or make a
plea or demand that the rest of world could see through the power
of the media. Now these paintings have been brought to the

A new site ( ) has uploaded photos
of these paintings for us all to see.

You can see murals from both sides of the political divide. Some
of the murals are commemorations of something that has happened
in the past, or a memorial of people that have been killed.

There are 4 main sections of murals on the sites: murals from 4
of the hardest hit areas of Belfast - 3 nationalist areas: The
Falls Road ( ),
the Republican backbone of west Belfast; Ballymurphy/Whiterock ( ),
west Belfast’s Republican heart; and Ardoyne ( ), the
Republican stronghold of north Belfast, and 1 unionist area: The
Shankill ( ),
the loyalist stronghold in west Belfast.

The main page of the Belfast murals section of this site ( ) also show
pictures of the famous Belfast peace wall. This wall is over 20
feet high, and stretches for miles, separating unionists and
nationalists in west Belfast.

If you’re interested in Irish history or the troubles of the
north of Ireland then these pictures are a must see.


Celtic Connections: Frances Black

ROB ADAMS January 25 2006
Royal Concert Hall, Glasgow

It's a wonder that, when Frances Black worked with Kieran Goss
back in the early 1990s, the pair of them got any singing done at
all. Goss could blether for Ireland and, when she gets into her
stride, Black's not far behind.

This was the first date on the Dublin singer's tour to promote
her imminent new album and, although nervous to begin with, she
soon settled. As has been apparent since back in the days when
she sang with the tradition-based band Arcady, she has a lovely
voice, with the kind of diction that makes every word ring clear.

Unfortunately, she doesn't always choose songs that deserve this
vehicle. There were quite a few here that might be filed under
cheery but trite. And, yet, when the combination of that voice
and a song that she makes a real connection with strikes, it's an
arresting experience.

The Foggy Dew, for example, mightn't be the obvious candidate for
song of the night, but Black found a power in its well-worn
message that somehow rang true. Similarly with Here's to You, a
song that reeks of wobbly Dublin bar singalong, but one that
dedicated to her late mother, Black sang to just Jimmy Scott's
acoustic guitar and completely revitalised.

With a band including Gerry "Banjo" O'Connor – playing mostly
fiddle; there's Irish for you – Black was never less than easy on
the ear. It was her husband who suggested The Foggy Dew and Dusty
Springfield's version that prompted her to revisit Carole King's
Goin' Back, another stand-out. A few more ideas from the same
sources might well pay off.


Ahern Expected To Name Haughey As Junior Minister

By Harry McGee

SEAN HAUGHEY, the son of former Taoiseach Charles Haughey, is
widely expected to be promoted to the junior ministerial ranks
later today.

Taoiseach Bertie Ahern said in December that he would name the
replacement for Ivor Callely after the Dáil resumed today.

Mr Callely resigned from his post in December in the wake of a
series of controversies.

The vacancy needs to be approved by the Cabinet. Though not on
the agenda for today's meeting, it is likely that ministers will
approve Mr Haughey's nomination.

The Taoiseach is expected to announce it in the Dáil later this

One senior Government figure told the Irish Examiner last night
that Mr Haughey was the likely nomination.

"Bertie Ahern likes to keep his own counsel.

"But his approach to promoting backbenchers has always been of an
incremental nature," said the source.

"Secondly, there's been genuinely widespread support for Sean
Haughey within Fianna Fáil.

"He is quiet but he is seen as an able person.

"He is also Dublin-based. Geography always plays a large part in
the Taoiseach's consideration."

Mr Haughey has been the favourite to succeed his constituency
colleague since Mr Callely reluctantly stood down from the junior
position in Transport.

The two men are deputies for the same constituency Dublin North
Central and the Government figure accepted last night that Mr
Haughey's elevation would represent a double blow for Mr Callely.

Mr Haughey (44) has built a reputation for quiet efficiency.

A Dáil deputy since 1992, he is currently chairman of the
backbench committee on environment.

Fianna Fáil currently hold two seats out of four in the

But under boundary changes, Dublin North Central will be reduced
to three seats for the next general election, leaving one of the
two FF seats under threat.

Some Fianna Fail backbenchers have also said privately they would
like Síle de Valera, the junior minister in education, to step

Ms de Valera announced some months ago that she would retire at
the end of this Dáil term.

However, she said at the time that the Taoiseach had asked her to
continue in her role until the next election.


‘Tacky Resorts’ Attacked

Ireland’s holiday hot-spots are not so hot, says the critic in
new Lonely Planet guide

Pádraig Ó Meiscill

Representatives of popular seaside holiday resorts on both sides
of the Border came out fighting yesterday after their towns got a
slating in a new tourism guide to Ireland.

Bundoran, in Co Donegal, and Newcastle, Co Down, both got a
pasting in the widely-read Lonely Planet guide.

Bundoran, on the southern shore of Donegal Bay, was described as
“long one of Ireland’s tackiest holiday resorts”.

The guide said the resort was “a kitsch assortment of half-baked
fairground rides, flashing arcades, fast-food diners and over-
priced B&Bs”.

Despite its none-too-flattering assessment it said Bundoran was
“nonetheless riding a new wave of popularity as one of Europe’s
premier surfing spots”.

Local hotelier and Fianna Fáil councillor, Sean McEniff, was
incensed at the description. “Bundoran is not tacky and I think
the fairground is absolutely magnificent,” he said in its

“It is not some small resort, it is like a mini Blackpool and
tourism is booming. I am adding an extra 40 bedrooms to my hotel
because of the demand and all the other hotels are the same.”

Across the border and on the other side of the country,
Newcastle, Co Down, nestling in the foothills of the Mountains of
Mourne on the Irish Sea coast fared little better than Bundoran
in Lonely Planet’s eyes.

“Nice setting, shame about the main street – on summer weekends
it’s a garish, traffic-choked strip of raucous amusement arcades
and fast-food outlets,” it said.

It did concede the town enjoyed a superb setting on five
kilometres of golden sands and was a good base for exploring the
Mountains of Mourne.

Sinn Féin Assembly member for South Down, Willie Clarke thought
that the guide’s assessment was unjustifiably hard-hitting:
“While some of the criticism is valid, the Lonely Planet
obviously haven’t taken into account the ongoing improvements
being made in the town in co-operation with the Department for
Social Development. Millions are currently being spent to
transform Newcastle and hopefully this will act as a catalyst for
the whole area.

“Newcastle also has an abundance of positive aspects in terms of
its natural attractions – you have the Mourne Mountains and the
stretch of beach which needs to be managed properly so that it is
clean for visitors.”

The two resorts weren’t the only places to get a pasting and the
guide called for a shake-up of Ireland’s image.

Dublin-born author Fionn Davenport criticised the country’s
unimaginative approach to its own international reputation –
which he said still over-relied on selling the country solely as
a version of the of the Emerald Isle.

“Ireland has long since outgrown its 40 shades of green and all
of the other shamrock-laden clichés that never really did it
justice,” he said.

“We need to realise that, like many of our European cousins, we
can promote modernity and history side-by-side,” said Mr


Daughter Phoned Mother Trapped In Death Blaze, Inquest Told

24/01/2006 - 18:40:51

The daughter of a 52-year-old woman who died in a fire sobbed
tonight as she told how she rang her mother as she was trapped in
the burning house.

Joanne McHugh told the Dublin City Coroner’s Court how she rang
Kathleen Pedley’s mobile phone at the family home in Cherry
Orchard Avenue in Ballyfermot after a friend told her a fire had
broken out.

Ms McHugh said: “I rang my mother’s phone I could hear her
breathing like she was trying to talk. Then the phone went dead.”

Her brother, Stephen Keenan, earlier told how himself and a
cousin managed to escape from the house after the fire broke out
at around 10pm on November 4, 2004.

Mr Keenan, who said his mother had just taken him in off the
streets where he had been living, said he and his cousin had
smoked cannabis downstairs in the house before heading to bed at
around 9.30pm.

Around a half an hour later, he said, they awoke when they heard
his mother shouting the house was full of smoke.

Mr Keenan said Mrs Pedley had then retreated to her bedroom and
slammed the door behind her.

The inquest heard his cousin escaped through the bedroom window
while he ran downstairs with a t-shirt over his face.

Tears rolled down his face, as he said: “I tried to save my Mam I
really did.”

Det Gda Graham Kavanagh said the fire crew had found Mrs Pedley,
who was a mother of 11, in bed in the upstairs bedroom at the
back of the house, and she was pronounced dead in St James’s
Hospital around 11.30pm.

The inquest heard she was in poor health, as she was a diabetic
and suffered with severe asthma.

After she retreated to the bedroom, Det Gda Kavanagh said: “It
appears she got into her bed.”

A report from Det Gda Jeremiah Moloney, a ballistics expert, said
it appeared an electric heater was not plugged in at the time of
the accident.

Mr Keenan said he had turned off the electric heater and
unplugged a phone charger before he went to bed, as his mother
had always taught him to be safety conscious.

Det Gda Kavanagh said there was no conclusive evidence as to what
had caused the fire.

He said: “The only logical conclusion that I could arrive at was
that the fire was caused by an unextinguished cigarette.”

A post mortem report revealed Mrs Pedley died from smoke
inhalation, and the Deputy Dublin City Coroner, Maria Colbert,
passed a verdict of accident death.

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