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February 12, 2006

Paisley Hears Finucane Concerns & British Soldier Use Old Tricks on New Victims

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News About Ireland & The Irish

BB 02/12/06
Paisley To Hear Finucane Concerns
SL 02/12/06 City Hall Bombshell
SL 02/12/06 Donaldson Surveillance Pulled Due To Costs
SL 02/12/06 15 Cop Families Forced To Flee
SL 02/12/06 The IRA Prisoners Under Lough And Key
IN 02/12/06 Loyalist ‘Took Vital Secrets To His Grave’
IN 02/12/06 Opin: Paisley’s Rhetoric Long Past Sell-By-Date
WP 02/12/06 Video Shows U.K. Soldiers Abusing Iraqi Teens
SL 02/12/06 'I Pulled My Boots Off And Bailed In'
SD 02/12/06 Musicians Stay True To Irish Roots

(Poster’s Note: Read the
Video Shows UK Soldiers story &
see whether it doesn’t strike a familiar chord. Jay


Paisley To Hear Finucane Concerns

The family of Belfast solicitor Pat Finucane is to meet DUP
leader Ian Paisley to discuss proposals for an inquiry into
his murder.

Mr Finucane, 39, was killed by loyalist paramilitaries at
his home in 1989.

His family have said they do not think an inquiry held
under the Inquiries Act would be able to get the truth.

Ian Paisley Jnr confirmed the meeting would take place on
Monday. He said: "They are entitled to a meeting and put
what issues they want to put to us."

"There are other inquiries that we hope to see proceeding,
for example the investigation into the Billy Wright murder.
We are prepared to listen," he added.

Last week the Finucanes met with Northern Ireland Secretary
Peter Hain to discuss the inquiry.

They have also held talks with Ulster Unionist leader Sir
Reg Empey.

Mr Finucane's killing was one of the most controversial in
30 years of the Troubles due to allegations of security
force collusion.

Retired Canadian judge Peter Cory recommended separate
inquiries into Mr Finucane's murder, and three other
controversial killings.

These were the killings of solicitor Rosemary Nelson,
leading loyalist Billy Wright and Catholic father of two
Robert Hamill.

The Finucane family, human rights campaigners and
nationalist politicians, as well as Judge Cory, have
expressed alarm at moves by the government to ensure the
tribunal into Mr Finucane's murder is held under the
Inquiries Act, which was passed earlier this year.

They have claimed the Act will suppress the truth about
what happened, with Amnesty International saying crucial
evidence could be omitted from any final report at the
government's discretion.

The human rights group has urged judges not to sit on the
inquiry into Mr Finucane's death.

Story from BBC NEWS:
Published: 2006/02/12 13:49:40 GMT


City Hall Bombshell

Convicted terrorist tipped as Lord Mayor

Joe Oliver

12 February 2006

An IRA bomber is tipped to be the next mayor of Belfast.

Unionists reacted with fury at the news that former
republican prisoner Caral ni Chuilin is Sinn Fein's nominee
for the mayor's chair in the council's centenary year.

Ni Chuilin was jailed for nine years in 1989 for her part
in a Provo bomb-plot to wipe out RUC officers.

One unionist councillor told Sunday Life last night: "We
would be implacably opposed to a former republican prisoner
representing this council - particularly at a time when we
are celebrating the centenary of the City Hall."

Ni Chuilin (41) has emerged as the front-runner to succeed
the DUP's Wallace Browne when his term ends in May.

She was jailed in 1989 for nine years for a string of
terrorist offences - including possession of explosives
with intent and membership of the IRA - but served just
four years of her sentence.

Ni Chuilin was co-opted on to Belfast City Council in 2003
as the representative for the Oldpark ward following the
resignation of Gerard Brophy.

One senior Sinn Fein source insisted yesterday that the
party had yet to nominate a candidate for the top post.

But he added: "Caral is a well-respected member of the
community and is renowned for her hard work and dedication
to human rights."

Ni Chuilin - who was convicted under her anglicised name
Caroline Cullen - also sits as a member of the Belfast
Education and Library Board.

The only previous woman to be elected to the post of Lord
Mayor was Ulster Unionist Grace Bannister in 1981.

Sitting Sinn Fein councillor Alex Maskey also made history
in 2002 when he became the first republican to take the top

The 51-member council is virtually split down the middle -
with the Alliance Party holding the balance of power.

But both the DUP and Ulster Unionists groups are to meet
shortly to draw up a mayoral strategy.

One DUP councillor told us: "As the largest party in the
City Hall, I think there would be support for us to take
the post for a second term after the great work that
Wallace [Browne] has done."


Donaldson Surveillance Pulled Due To Costs

Alan Murray
12 February 2006

A major surveillance operation on MI5 spy Denis Donaldson's
home to trap the IRA's director of intelligence was
abandoned - because it cost too much.

Around 40 officers attached to specialist police
surveillance and bugging units were involved in the 2002
operation to ensnare veteran republican Bobby Storey.

But after four weeks of round-the-clock surveillance at
Donaldson's Aitnamona Crescent home in west Belfast, the
order was given to pull the plug.

One senior officer involved in the operation told Sunday
Life: "It was hugely expensive.

"Eventually, a decision had to be made whether to keep it
going - in the hope of catching a much bigger fish - or
move in and arrest Denis, whom we knew had been working for
the (Special) Branch and MI5."

Donaldson's home was staked out from the beginning of
October 2002, when a satchel containing sensitive
Government communications and personal details of civil
servants and senior Army officers was stashed there.

Both the satchel and a laptop computer containing the
personal details of 1,400 prison officers had been stored
at another house in west Belfast and both had been fitted
with sophisticated movement-sensitive devices which enabled
them to be tracked.

Donaldson - a long-term MI5 agent - hadn't told his
handlers about the IRA's Stormont spy ring, because he
didn't wish to see close friends receive lengthy jail terms
for handling photocopies of the stolen documents.

But when the satchel was moved to his home, he became a
surveillance target for the Security Services.

It was hoped that Storey, who was regarded as the IRA's
director of intelligence and was blamed for the theft of a
Special Branch contacts book from Castlereagh in 2002,
would visit Donaldson to review the documents and maybe
move them.

But after nearly a month of surveillance, the Chief
Constable agreed to terminate the costly operation and raid
Donaldson's home to recover the copied documents.

Added the senior officer: "It was a worthwhile exercise,
but the big fish didn't turn up and Denis copped it rather
than Storey. Donaldson could've played it different, but he
was protecting someone and effectively ended his career as
an agent."


15 Cop Families Forced To Flee

12 February 2006

Fifteen police officers were forced to move from their
homes last year because of serious threats to their lives,
the PSNI revealed yesterday.

Despite a significant reduction in terrorist crime last
year, officers were still being advised to move from their
homes in November and December, the figures show.

A total of seven PSNI officers based in rural regions had
to move from their homes during the year, while eight
officers based in the urban region, which takes in Belfast,
moved because of threats to them and their families.

The details - obtained under the Freedom of Information Act
- show that the first officer decided to move home in April
last year just before the marching season began, and there
was a steady trickle of moves right up to December.

The month-by-month situation showed a regular pattern of
moves from April onwards, but the figures do not illustrate
the full extent of serious threats made against PSNI
personnel - nor do they indicate whether the threats were
made by loyalists, republicans or criminals with
paramilitary links.

A PSNI spokesman said the instances of officers being
forced to move from their homes were recorded centrally and
were therefore available, but the instances of officers
advised of threats to their lives who decided not to move
was not centrally recorded.

DUP Policing Board member Sammy Wilson said the volume of
officers having to move from their homes last year showed
the "folly" of Government policy.

He said: "This shows the extent of the continuing serious
threats posed to police officers serving in Northern

"It doesn't give us the full picture of all the threats,
but it exposes as nonsense the Government's assertion that
we shouldn't be concerned about the intelligence-gathering
that is ongoing which apparently doesn't merit any

"I would suggest to Peter Hain he tells that to the 15
police families who had to move from their homes last year.

"He thinks this is some kind of benign activity, but it has
a serious effect on women and children as well as the
police officers.

"It seems to be tolerated by the NIO while the comrades of
the people who engage in it are having money thrown at them
at Westminster and wheeled into Downing Street when they
want a chat."


The IRA Prisoners Under Lough And Key

05 February 2006

An intriguing reminder of a virtually forgotten episode in
Ulster history has been uncovered.

An autograph book from the period when IRA suspects and
republican sympathisers were interned on a prison ship in
the middle of Strangford Lough has been found and is now
one of the central features of a new exhibition at the
Ulster Museum in Belfast.

The artefact is from the Al Rawdah prison ship, which was
anchored in the lough, between Killyleagh and Portaferry,
at the beginning of the Second World War.

While the Argenta from the 1920s and the Maidstone from the
1970s are better-remembered as prison ships, the Al Rawdah
is less well-known.

The ship was used in the autumn of 1940 to house between
140 and 200 republican detainees, rounded up on the orders
of Stormont's first Home Affairs Minister, Sir Dawson

Nationalist senators complained at the conditions the men
were held in and claimed the ship would be an easy target
for German bombers.

The detainees were eventually moved to Belfast's Crumlin
Road jail.

The autograph book is one of the features of Conflict:
Irish at War, an exhibition at the museum, where it is
placed beside an original Mauser rifle - one of 25,000
smuggled into Ulster by the UVF on board the SS Clyde


Loyalist ‘Took Vital Secrets To His Grave’

By Sharon O’Neill Chief Reporter

THE death of a loyalist killer has left many unanswered
questions over the persistent allegations of security force
collusion in murder, a prominent human rights group has

Progressive Unionist Party (PUP) member William McCaughey
died at his Lurgan home on Wednesday following a long

He was the PUP’s representative in north Antrim and had
played a key role in the loyalist pickets outside a
Catholic Church in Harryville, Ballymena.

McCaughey and his former colleague, ex-RUC sergeant John
Weir, both members of the force’s Special Patrol group,
were convicted of involvement in the 1977 sectarian murder
of William Strathearn in Ahoghill.

Mr Strathearn, a father-of-seven who was well-known in GAA
circles, was lured to his death in what became known as the
Good Samaritan killing.

A UVF gang called to his door claiming a child was sick and
urgently needed attention.

McCaughey, a long serving member of the RUC at the time of
the killing, was also convicted for his part in the 1976
bombing of the Rock bar in Keady, where he shot at a
customer fleeing the scene.

Two other RUC officers were handed suspended sentences for
their part in the bombing.

The guns used in the attack were the same ones used in the
murder of Co Armagh brothers Anthony, John and Brian Reavey
in Armagh in 1976.

He was also implicated in the killings of three members of
the O’Dowd family – Barry, his brother Declan and their
uncle Joe – targeted 10 minutes after the Reaveys.

However, he never faced any charges in connection with the
O’Dowd murders.

Both families suspect the security forces were involved in
the killings.

McCaughey was jailed for kidnapping of a Catholic priest in
Ahoghill, Co Antrim in 1978.

He refused to cooperate with Mr Justice Barron’s probe into

the 1974 Dublin and Monaghan bombings.

However, the inquiry found that claims of collusion from
his former RUC colleague John Weir “must be treated with
the utmost seriousness”.

Mr Weir has alleged that members of the RUC and UDR
colluded with paramilitaries in the killings.

However, McCaughey insisted in 2003: “What Weir said was 95
per cent fiction”.

Last night human rights group the Pat Finucane Centre (PFC)
said he may have taken vital secrets in relation to
security force involvement in murder, to his grave.

“We would sense there are going to be people who were
members of the RUC and UDR in the murder triangle of the
1970s who are glad he has passed away,” said a PFC

“There were many unanswered questions not only about his
activities but about collusion.”

Although McCaughey played a key part in the loyalist
protest at Harryville Catholic church, he was later
involved in removing graffiti from the church.

Ballymena SDLP councillor Declan O’Loan said yesterday:
“There is no doubt that Billy McCaughey was responsible for
some terrible things in the past.

“Some of his local contributions were disruptive and
unhelpful, even up to quite recent times.

“But I have talked to him at length and I have no doubt
that much of his thinking was forward looking and

“He was way ahead of most unionist politicians in this
area. I have no doubt that if he had been entirely
consistent he could have been a more influential figure.

“But he started significant movement within loyalism and
that deserves to be recognised. He also faced up to his
final illness in a way that was very courageous and

The PUP said McCaughey “will be greatly missed both for his
work in conflict transformation and as a friend and

“The party executive would ask that the family’s wishes for
privacy be respected at this difficult time.”


Ian Paisley’s Rhetoric Is Long Past Its Sell-By-Date

James Kelly

Going through the gates of Hillsborough Castle these days
is like following Alice through the looking glass into a
blunderland Fantasia. Are the Brits leading us up the
garden path with Hain talking about those confounded
interminable talks as the “opening window” for changes to
the “internal architecture” of the power-sharing

Those are his words but what the devil is he on about.
What’s up his sleeve?

Surprisingly Paisley, the 80-year-old DUP leader, ushered
back into business from death’s door, turned up dressed
like an ancient head of the Mafiosa, a sinister figure in
black wearing a big sombrero and after damning the whole
codology of more useless talks and revelling, we are told,
in vintage rhetoric including vulgar abuse of the popular
Irish President Mary McAleese.

That was at the DUP annual party gathering where his comic
soothsayer, Sammy Wilson MLA, naturist but fully clothed,
likened Paisley to a sea captain on the bridge of his ship,
“laughing at storms”, while his deputy leader, Peter
Robinson MP, was in the chart room plotting the course
ahead. The timing was all wrong. Most of us thought of the
Egyptian ferry which that weekend ended in disaster in the
red sea, whose captain presumably fatally laughed at a
storm and a fire as his ship overturned with great loss of

And what was first mate Robinson up to in the chart-room?
Both governments have stressed that the only way forward is
through the Good Friday Agreement but the East Belfast MP
announced publicly the uncompromising dissent of his party.
“Read my lips the Belfast Agreement is dead.”

So you might ask why go on with this tomfoolery of turning
up with a 16-page hocus pocus discussion document offering
to proceed to government without the hated presence of Sinn
Fein? If the agreement is dead why are they in there
participating for an alleged deal? “You can fool some of
the people some of the time but you cannot fool all the
people all of the time”, so we are told by the great and
the good.

The members of the prestigious British privy council must
wonder about the curious underhand election to the council
of an infamous rabble-rouser and troublemaker, none other
than Dr No, with BBC leaks of more to follow.

It could only happen in Nevernerverland with spies under
the bed telling all before doing a bunk to God knows where.
Fantasia, I tell you. There’s the outward semblance of
reality here: buses running to schedule, trains running
late, as usual, shoppers out in the streets, television
boring us with dreary popstars and dull soap operas and the
papers full of murders and robberies of the aged. But
there’s the other picture of surreal Ulster politics with a
ghostly Parliament on the Hill, with 108 MLA’s about to be
paid off after waiting three years for the call that never
came and finally that sick joke about ending the nonsense
next April with a final report of the monitoring commission
allegedly filling the gaps left by the Canadian general.
Where is he? He must write a book about it.

In Paisley’s address to the puzzled DUP faithful – who must
be wondering where he is taking them – he went back to his
old trick of attacking somebody big. It used to be the
Pope, NI governors and prime ministers. This time as a
smokescreen about his confused situation – going nowhere –
he launched into a disreputable and unfair attack on
President Mary McAleese. It was just typical, vulgar and
abusive and clearly will cut little ice with the many
people on all sides here who have met her. There was the
usual old stale bunk about “traitors” who talk to Dublin
about the Norths “internal affairs” – a cover up surely for
his recent talks with Bertie Ahern in Dublin. This paper’s
disclosure on Thursday that the President’s husband, Dr
Martin McAleese, had private talks with 10 UDA bosses in a
Belfast Hotel about the possible disbandment of its
military wing, the UFF, probably came as a shock to
Paisley, who with nothing else to report, could only end
his party leader’s address with that depressing message of
failure: “We’ve hills to climb. We’ve mountains to shift.
We’ve roads to lay. We’ve a house to build. Not an inch –
No Surrender!”

Well there you have it. Failing a miracle, or worse still,
a dirty deal, the unfortunate inhabitants of the sick
counties are confronted with the daunting picture of an
octogenarian political leader leading them over the hills
and mountains for the foreseeable future, mouthing the
silly slogans of old Craigavon, on the road to nowhere. Has
he been reading about Muhammad in the uproar over a
cartoon? It is said of Muhammad that if the mountain would
not come to Muhammad then Muhammed would come to the
mountain. But even the Prophet did not dare to talk about
shifting mountains.


Video Shows U.K. Soldiers Abusing Iraqi Teens

By Jonathan Finer
Washington Post Foreign Service
Sunday, February 12, 2006; 6:39 AM

BAGHDAD, Feb. 12 -- A video published by a British tabloid
today, shows what appear to be U.K. soldiers head-butting,
kicking and clubbing unarmed Iraqi teenagers while an off-
camera voice laughs and taunts the victims.

The footage, described by the News of the World in its
Sunday edition and linked on the paper's Web site, was said
to be shot from the observation tower of a compound in the
southern city of Basra during a series of street riots
there in early 2004. Its authenticity could not be

Apparent soldiers in riot gear and British Army uniforms
can be seen dragging three Iraqi boys or young men into the
courtyard of a walled compound, wrestling them to the
ground and battering them with more than 40 blows over a
two-minute period. The Iraqis offer little if any
resistance, occasionally crying out, "No, please. No

As the beatings escalate, an audibly agitated man with a
British accent can be heard yelling, "Oh yes. Oh yes.
You're gonna get it. Yes. Naughty little boys," followed by
expletives and peels of laughter.

The tape, if authentic, could further damage already
strained relations between the more than 8,000-member
British force policing southern Iraq and local residents,
politicians and police. If verified, it would be the most
graphic visual depiction of abuse by coalition forces since
the 2004 Abu Ghraib scandal, when photographs shot by
American soldiers at a prison west of Baghdad, showed
detainees posed in sexual positions and terrorized by
German shepherds.

A British military spokesman in Basra said the tape had
prompted the country's defense ministry and Royal Military
Police to order an "urgent investigation" into the apparent

"We are aware of the very serious allegations and obviously
condemn all acts of abuse and brutality," said Maj. Peter
Cripps, a British military spokesman in Basra. "We have
always treated every allegation of wrongdoing brought to
our attention very seriously. British troops are not above
the law."


'I Pulled My Boots Off And Bailed In'

Michael Bell
12 February 2006

This is the hero who risked his own life by diving into the
icy waters of Kilkeel harbour to save a drowning woman.

Brave RNLI crewman William Kearney had been working on a
nearby fishing vessel when he heard a "loud splash" from
the other side of the harbour last Wednesday.

And just two hours later, his colleagues were called to
rescue three fishermen from the stricken trawler Maranatha

The 30-year-old boat repairman, who has been an RNLI
volunteer for 13 years, immediately sprung into action to
rescue the woman.

William, from the nearby village of Annalong, said: "When I
heard the splash and saw that someone had fallen in, I went
and got a life-ring and threw it to her.

"But because of strong winds, she couldn't get a hold of

"I could see the cold was starting to get to her so I took
my boots off and bailed in.

"When I swam over to her, she was face down in the water so
I quickly got her face up.

She was choking so I could tell she was still conscious."

Heroic William pulled the woman from the freezing water and
took her to the nearby RNLI lifeboat station to warm her up
while they waited for an ambulance.

Said William: "She was very cold and in shock. We're
trained how to warm up somebody slowly so we gave her a
warm shower and talked to her to keep her conscious.

"I was getting very cold myself so I had to go and change
out of my wet clothes."

The woman, said to be in her late forties, was later taken
by ambulance to a nearby hospital where she was treated for

William does not consider himself to be a hero, adding:
"It's just nice to know you've saved someone's life.

"I never thought the day would come when I had to.

"I'm not really one for celebrations, I get kind of shy.

"I would still have jumped in even if I hadn't had the
training, but I wouldn't have known how to approach it."

Local SDLP councillor, Michael Cole, praised the quick-
thinking actions of the hero.

He added: "He is to be to commended for his bravery.

"It was one of the coldest days of the year and he jumped
in with no regard for his own safety to save the life of a
young woman."


Musicians Stay True To Irish Roots

By Marcia Manna
Union-Tribune Community News Writer
February 12, 2006

In 1983, Irish folk scholar Mick Moloney called Joanie
Madden at her home in New York to congratulate her on
winning the gold medal at the Senior All-Ireland

“A bunch of us had represented America, and it was a
wonderful thing when an American came back,” said Madden,
who plays whistle and flute in Cherish the Ladies, an all-
female group that performs Saturday at the California
Center for the Arts, Escondido.

“Mick said, 'Did you realize you were all women?' I hadn't
even thought of it.”

Moloney's idea was to launch a concert series with the
winning musicians, which included fiddle champion Eileen
Ivers. The first three engagements sold out, and Madden
took over from there, naming the band “Cherish the Ladies”
after a traditional Irish jig.

“We recorded our first self-titled album in 1985,” she
said. “The Library of Congress named it the Best Folk Album
of the Year. We got a grant to go on the road in 1987. In
the early days, though, I have to admit. It wasn't easy.”

During an NPR radio show, Madden remembers a woman blurting
out that she expected to see a Celtic version of the Spice

“We had two stigmas to overcome,” Madden said. “The fact
that we were all women made people think it was a marketing
ploy. And we were Irish-American. If you weren't from
Ireland, how good could you be?”

As it turns out, very good. “We've been so tenacious with
our touring, so at this stage of the game, people know who
are,” Madden said.

Madden's parents immigrated from Ireland. She grew up in an
Irish neighborhood in the Bronx. Her mother was a
proficient Irish step dancer, her father an expert
accordion player.

“My father wanted me to play the fiddle, because I guess it
goes well with the accordion,” she said.

“I took it for a year and couldn't stand a minute of it.
Every kid has to find their own instrument, and I found
mine when I heard the whistle. I could play it all day
long. But I never thought this would be my life's work. I
never thought there would be that opportunity. When I won
my first world championship, it was 25 years to the day
that my father won his.”

In high demand as a studio musician, Madden divides her
time between recording with artists such as Sinead O'Connor
and Pete Seeger and performing with Cherish the Ladies.
Madden said that at one time, she could count on getting
calls requesting concert performances for St. Patrick's
Day. Today, Cherish the Ladies is booked two years in
advance and includes Mary Coogan (guitars/mandolin), Heidi
Talbot (vocals), Roisin Dillon (fiddle) and Mirella Murray

“We have our own sound, unique to ourselves,” Madden said.
“We found a lot of old tunes people have forgotten about.
This music has been passed down from our fathers, and I've
tried to be true to it. No bass drums or rock and roll
here. We are playing the real deal, and we are trying to
let people know how great this music is and keep it going.”

Let us know about North County arts and leisure events.
Contact Marcia Manna at or (760)

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