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March 09, 2006

Hain Insulted Dail Over Finucane Debate

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News About Ireland & The Irish

UT 03/09/06 Hain 'Insulted' Dail Over Finucane Debate
IT 03/10/06 N Leaders (incl. Adams) & Families To Visit White House
IT 03/10/06 Border Raids Uncover Major Oil Laundering Operations
IT 03/10/06 Major Oil Laundering Facilities Found In Dawn Raids
IT 03/10/06 Garda Raids Yield Fuel, Cigarettes And €200,000
IT 03/10/06 Locals Keeping Quiet About 'Slab'
IT 03/10/06 Thomas "Slab" Murphy
BN 03/09/06 UDA Pledges To Complete Move Away From Violence
SF 03/09/06 Nationalists Unconvinced By UDA Statement
OF 03/09/06 Washington "Legalise The Irish" Rally A Success - McMahon
KC 03/09/06 Doctors Object To Force-Feeding At Guantanamo
BT 03/09/06 Opin: Orde Versus Shoukri And Bail Hearings
IT 03/10/06 Opin: Integrated Schooling Rejected
IT 03/10/06 World Will Be Their Oyster On March 17
EC 03/09/06 Uprising: Exhibit Makes 1st US Stop At Heritage State Park
CN 03/09/06 A Cold Wind Did Not Diminish The Crowd Lining King Street.


Hain 'Insulted' Dail Over Finucane Debate

Northern Ireland Secretary Peter Hain was today accused of
insulting the Irish parliament after he and his officials
criticised a debate on the murder of solicitor Pat

By:Press Association

The Irish Government and Opposition parties in the Dail
united last night behind a motion accusing the British
Government of going back on a pledge to hold an independent
inquiry into allegations of security force collusion in the
1989 murder by loyalists of the Belfast solicitor.

As the debate took place, Mr Hain and his officials claimed
the motion was flawed and misleading, because it suggested
the inquiry the British Government agreed to at Weston Park
in 2001 would be held under the terms of the 1921 Act.

A Northern Ireland Office statement said: "The new
legislation replacing the seldom-used 1921 Act - described
by judges as `restrictive` and `cumbersome` - was
introduced not because of the Finucane case, but because
the whole system for inquiries was in dire need of reform,"
he said.

"Judge Cory said that the inquiry should be `public to the
extent possible`.

"The Government is in complete agreement with that."

An investigation by former Metropolitan Police Commissioner
Sir John Stevens found evidence of collusion between
members of the security forces and the loyalist Ulster
Freedom Fighters.

Retired Canadian Judge Peter Cory also recommended a public
inquiry into the murder and has joined Mr Finucane`s
relatives, the Irish Government, Opposition parties,
nationalists in Northern Ireland and human rights
organisations in criticising the British Government for
passing a new Inquiries Act last year.

They believe the legislation gives the British Government
too much of a say over what evidence would be made
available to the Finucane inquiry and what could be heard
in public.

The NIO insisted this was wrong.

"Ministers will have no say in who the inquiry calls or
what evidence it sees. It will see absolutely everything
that is relevant and it will have full powers to compel all
documents and evidence to be produced and, crucially,
witnesses to attend," its statement said.

"The inquiry report will be published and anything that is
held back - redacted - will be the bare minimum necessary
to protect national security and fulfil the Government`s
legal obligations.

"The inquiry`s conclusions - that is what happened and
whether or not there was collusion - will certainly be made

Nationalist SDLP leader Mark Durkan insisted today the Dail
had got its facts right and accused the NIO of spin and

The Foyle MP also said he would be raising concerns about
the NIO`s briefing with Mr Hain and also politicians in the
Irish Republic and United States.

"The Dail got it right. What was wrong was the NIO`s slick
spin," he said.

"What was wrong was Peter Hain`s suggestion that the Dail
did not know what it was on about. That was an insult to
the Irish parliament and to all of us.

"The Dail got it right in calling on the British government
to hold a full public inquiry into the Finucane murder, as
it promised it would do at Weston Park.

"The NIO got it absolutely wrong when it said the British
government is fully in agreement with Judge Peter Cory. It
is not - and Peter Cory has made that clear as recently as
a few weeks ago.

"The Dail is right when it says any inquiry under the new
Inquiries Act would be limited.

"The NIO is wrong when it suggests otherwise. The fact is
that Peter Hain and other ministers would be able to
determine what evidence from security sources could be made
public at the inquiry.

"As if that wasn`t enough, they could go back for a second
bite and censor the final report of the inquiry. That is
what the British Government`s Inquiries Act allows for.

"And it stands the Judge Cory`s requirement for an
independent public inquiry on its head. State censored
inquiries cannot be independent."


North Leaders, Families To Visit White House


The Bush administration will announce today that the
leaders of all five main political parties in the North
will be invited to the White House for St Patrick's Day
next week.

The families of murder victims Robert McCartney and Joseph
Rafferty will also be invited to the celebrations, along
with representatives of the North's Policing Board.

Sinn Féin president Gerry Adams will be granted a visa to
visit the US but is not expected to be allowed to engage in
fundraising. Last year, the White House invited the
McCartney family and representatives of civil society in
the North to the St Patrick's Day celebrations but did not
invite the party leaders. Mr Adams cancelled a planned
visit to the US last November after he was denied
permission to raise funds while in the country.

Denis Staunton
© The Irish Times


Border Raids Uncover Major Oil Laundering Operations

Conor Lally, and Gerry Moriarty in Ballybinaby

The massive cross-Border security operation launched
yesterday against an oil laundering business will resume
along the Louth-Armagh border this morning.

Gardaí believe the main focus of the inquiry, former chief
of staff of the IRA Thomas "Slab" Murphy, may have hidden
from them in an underground bunker throughout the day.

Today's follow-up operations will have to deal with the
disposal of up to six tonnes of synthetic chemicals
believed to have been used in the oil laundering business
and which may be highly toxic.

Murphy was not at home when his farm straddling the Border
at Ballybinaby in north Louth was raided just before 7am

Three people aged in their 50s and 60s, two men and a
woman, were arrested during yesterday's operation. All were
later released.

Yesterday's searches of multiple sites and premises, named
Operation Achilles, involved more than 300 Garda and PSNI
officers, Irish and British soldiers, and customs and
revenue officials from both sides of the Border.

Co-ordinated searches took place around the townland of
Ballybinaby and across the Border in Crossmaglen, south
Armagh, and in Newry, Co Down.

The operation was linked to the investigation last year
into a €44 million property empire around the Manchester
area with which Murphy has been linked.

A fleet of tankers which were being used to transport
laundered fuel was seized during the searches. Some of the
trucks bore the livery of multinational fuel companies,
allowing them to drive cross-country without arousing

Four laundering facilities attached to a major network of
storage tanks, some of which were underground, were also

Gardaí also recovered at least €200,000 in cash stuffed
into plastic bags, 30,000 smuggled cigarettes and two

Documentation and computer hard drives were also seized at
the north Louth properties and at a number of offices in
Dundalk and Crossmaglen.

Gardaí believe a soft-sided trailer fitted with large oil
tanks has been used to export oil off the island of Ireland
by truck via the ports.

The Irish Times has learned that a very significant amount
of illegal fuel has been detected leaving Dublin Port
destined for Liverpool for distribution across northern
England. One line of inquiry now being pursued is that at
least some of this fuel came from the plant targeted

The three people who were arrested were taken for
questioning to Garda stations in Drogheda and Kells. They
were released without charge last night. A file will be
prepared for the Director of Public Prosecutions.

A fourth person escaped during the course of the raids in
north Louth. He drove away at high speed across the Border
into Northern Ireland and then took to the fields on foot.

He is a much younger man than the people who were arrested
and is well known to them.

The Garda helicopter was involved in trying to follow him
and is believed to have briefly entered Northern airspace.

Gardaí said a break-in at Dundalk courthouse where the
search warrants used yesterday were issued on Wednesday was
in no way linked to the operation.

Yesterday's searches in the Republic were carried out by up
to 150 personnel from the Garda, revenue, customs and Army.

A similar number of PSNI members, British soldiers and
customs personnel were involved in searches north of the
Border in Crossmaglen, Co Armagh, and Newry, Co Down.

© The Irish Times


Major Oil Laundering Facilities Found In Dawn Raids

Conor Lally

Police raids: When about 150 gardaí, Revenue officials and
soldiers raided a cluster of homes and farmyards in north
Louth yesterday morning, they believed they would find one
of the most-profitable oil-laundering facilities discovered
to date in the Republic. They were not disappointed.

However, the primary target, former IRA chief of staff
Thomas "Slab" Murphy, was nowhere to be found.

Reliable security sources said the illicit fuel-laundering
plant discovered yesterday was so professionally run they
could not rule out the possibility that Murphy was hiding
in an underground bunker somewhere on his property, which
straddles the Border at Ballybinaby.

However, senior officers said they were satisfied with how
the operation had unfolded and the level of evidence

Among the evidence and items found at the properties in the
Ballybinaby townland were:

Four oil-laundering facilities;

A series of underground tanks linked to the laundries.
These were drained throughout the day;

Six oil tankers which were being used to transport
laundered oil on the island of Ireland;

A 40ft curtain-sided trailer with oil tanks fitted which
Garda and Revenue officials believe may have been used to
export laundered oil to the UK by car ferry;

€200,000 in cash stuffed into plastic bags;

30,000 smuggled cigarettes on which gardaí believe taxes
had not been paid;

8,000 litres of laundered fuel and a number of small

Two firearms, at least one of which - a shotgun - gardaí
believed was not legally held;

A large amount of documentation linked to the illicit oil
operation; and Computer hard drives.

Everything seized yesterday will now be examined by the
Garda, the Police Service of Northern Ireland (PSNI) and
Revenue officials on both sides of the Border.

Nine properties were raided south of the Border. As well as
the searches in north Louth, the offices of legal and
financial firms were raided in Dundalk and in Crossmaglen,
south Armagh.

North of the Border, about 200 PSNI members, Customs
officers and British soldiers staged a simultaneous
operation. Six properties were raided in Crossmaglen and
Newry but there were no arrests. The PSNI helicopter was
also involved.

Yesterday's operation in the Republic - Operation Achilles
- was the culmination of a major 18-month investigation
into Thomas "Slab" Murphy and his circle of close

It was based on intelligence gathered in the course of a UK
Assets Recovery Agency investigation last year into a €44
million UK property empire linked to Murphy.

This is made up of 250 houses, mostly around Manchester.

Gardaí have been focusing their investigation into Murphy
on a small legally registered old firm in Co Louth.

This is the third of three small oil companies registered
in the area in recent years which gardaí believe are
controlled by him. Two of the firms have been liquidated
but the third is still operating.

Murphy's close circle of associates has also been linked to
these firms. This group of people almost all have addresses
in Louth or just across the Border.

Operation Achilles was led by the Criminal Assets Bureau
and involved detectives from the National Bureau of
Criminal Investigation (the Garda serious crimes squad).
Detectives were also drafted in from the Special Detective

These were backed by armed troops from Dundalk barracks and
local uniform gardaí from the Louth-Meath division.
Officials from the Department of Social, Family and
Community Affairs were also present.

© The Irish Times


Garda Raids Yield Fuel, Cigarettes And €200,000

John Downes, in Dundalk

Press conference: Dawn raids on nine different locations in
the north Louth area yesterday resulted in the seizure of
8,000 litres of fuel, 30,000 cigarettes and an estimated
€200,000 in cash, gardaí told journalists at a press
conference in Dundalk.

Three people - a man and a woman in their early 50s, and a
man in his 60s - were arrested under section 4 of the
Criminal Justice Act, following the searches.

Yesterday's operation focused on oil- and cigarette-
smuggling and oil- and money-laundering. Three tankers and
a truck with a concealed tanker, as well as two shotguns,
were also found during the operation.

Supt Kevin Donohoe of the Garda Press Office told the press
briefing that approximately 120 Garda personnel were
involved in searches of nine locations, including
businesses and private residences, which got under way at
about 7am yesterday.

The search teams were led by local gardaí and Criminal
Assets Bureau officers. These were supported by officers
from other units, including the Special Detective Unit, the
Garda Technical Bureau and Garda air support, as well as
customs officers and members of the Defence Forces.

Supt Donohoe said officers did not see a direct link with
current paramilitary organisations at this stage. However,
he stressed that investigations were continuing.

A small number of computers and many documents, along with
a small oil-laundering unit, had also been seized.

"The people who were arrested today were arrested for
suspected revenue offences," Supt Donohoe said. "This
operation is part of a major investigation into
intelligence-led serious criminal activity . . . in the
Border areas, particularly around the north Co Louth area.
This activity we are satisfied has been generating massive
profits for the people who have been involved."

Gardaí left the scene of some of the searches which centred
around Hackballscross in north Louth, at approximately 5pm.

A line of Garda cars, most unmarked, accompanied three
tankers from the area whose roads had been closed-off.
Gardaí and officers of the Criminal Assets Bureau were seen
conducting searches in another house.

© The Irish Times


Locals Keeping Quiet About 'Slab'

Gerry Moriarty at Ballybinaby

At the scene: "Would you go away and rest yourselves," said
the big countryman at the crossroads at Ballybinaby, close
to the farm buildings where Thomas "Slab" Murphy is reputed
to operate his multi-million pound criminal empire.

There were no criminals in Ballybinaby, said the man. The
only criminals were the security types who organised
yesterday's raids. "So, go away and rest yourselves," he
repeated to us reporters, "and write about the poor people
of Africa, not the natives here."

At least he had something to say. Calls to several houses
in the area yielded no response from the occupants. Tight
people around Ballybinaby, which is what you expect close
to the fortress of Slab Murphy, alleged IRA leader.

All day long Garda, PSNI, Irish and British army vehicles
came and went; some unmarked cars too with interesting
looking people in plainclothes in them making their way to
and from Slab Murphy's Border-straddling stronghold.

There are some fine buildings around Ballybinaby and in the
more general Hackballscross area of Co Louth that speak of
great wealth. Some impressive red and grey brick homes with
high gates, walled gardens, damp but lovely lawns, and
bright conservatories.

Some of these same houses were being searched by the Garda
yesterday with Irish Army backup. The PSNI and British army
were involved on the Northern side of the Border, only a
few hundred yards away. The Criminal Assets Bureau (Cab)
also had a big interest, as did the Customs and Excise

Another more modest bungalow in Ballybinaby, with an oil
lorry outside, was also being subjected to careful
examination by a Garda team. But they were as tight-lipped
as the "natives".

Anyway, the building the photographers and RTÉ and the BBC
and UTV and Sky and the new radio stations and the press
people wanted to see was Slab Murphy's.

"Is the house up here?" we asked the traffic corps garda,
who with other colleagues was barring entry leading to the
infamous farmhouse and barns that are half in Louth and
half in Armagh and, allegedly, totally caught up in
smuggling on a mind-boggling scale.

"What house?" said the garda, smiling. No, we couldn't
drive up, he added. Any other queries, try the press
office, he said as a Garda helicopter flew overhead.

We did a long half-circular loop around the narrow wet
country roads, and found ourselves at another crossroads,
again only a couple of hundred yards from Slab Murphy's
house: but this time in Armagh, this time with PSNI
officers denying access.

Again the officers were friendly, but the answer was the
same. "Try the press office."

Not that it mattered much because Slab Murphy doesn't do

© The Irish Times


Thomas "Slab" Murphy



Throughout his lengthy alleged IRA and criminal career,
Thomas "Slab" Murphy has successfully evaded the security
forces on both sides of the Border, including the British
army, the RUC, PSNI, MI5 and Garda Síochána.

Over the past 35 years Murphy is reputed to have built up a
fortune of between £35 and £40 million laundering money and
smuggling pigs, grain, oil and cigarettes.

He is still a free and reportedly hugely wealthy man but
there is a sense of a net slowly closing in on him,
particularly since last October when the Criminal Assets
Bureau in the South and the Assets Recovery Agency in the
North mounted major operations in Manchester and in Louth,
chiefly directed against Murphy.

His house and properties at Ballybinaby that straddle the
Border between Louth and south Armagh - as well as the
properties of several other people - were searched
yesterday by the Garda and PSNI with back-up by the British
and Irish armies. Three people were arrested but Murphy
wasn't one of them.

Still, Murphy (57), whose main social interests are Gaelic
football, darts and road bowls, must know that North and
South he is probably now Ireland's most marked man.

The operations of yesterday and October could not have
happened during the height of the Troubles or directly
after. Neither police in the Republic nor the North could
have spared the resources. Furthermore, south Armagh was
just too dangerous for an investigation that is largely
criminal rather than paramilitary in its focus.

But yesterday between police, army, customs and Cab people,
there were 400 personnel involved in this investigation
tackling money laundering and smuggling.

For a long time he must have felt invincible. In October
when the Manchester and Louth raids happened, he was
reputedly still chief of staff of the IRA. He remains a
senior IRA figure but whether he is still chief of staff is

While unionists will contend that some of his alleged
criminally-amassed wealth is going to the IRA, Garda
sources have said there is no evidence to suggest this
fortune is being used for anything other than personal

For many years Murphy was a very big IRA player. The peace
process might have collapsed without him. In the 1990s when
"Real" IRA leader Michael McKevitt was seeking to tempt the
south Armagh IRA into the arms of the dissidents, Murphy,
with some difficulty, persuaded most of the Border IRA to
stick with the policies pursued by Gerry Adams and Martin

Gerry Moriarty
© The Irish Times


UDA Pledges To Complete Move Away From Violence

09/03/2006 - 14:47:23

The Ulster Defence Association today pledged to complete a
planned transformation away from violence.

A statement issued by the inner council of the North’s
biggest loyalist paramilitary organisation also denied
reports that it was using a cover name to launch a fresh
wave of sectarian attacks.

Fears that the grouping may be about to embark on a new
campaign against Catholics heightened when a taxi
passenger’s gun jammed after it was pointed at the driver
in north Belfast at the weekend.

The attack was claimed by the Red Hand Defenders, a
pseudonym employed in the past by the UDA.

But the organisation rejected any link to the apparent
murder bid.

Its statement said: “Within recent days the name of the so-
called Red Hand Defenders has emerged once again.

“We wish to state categorically that there is no Red Hand
Defenders and they do not exist.

“The individuals using this cover name are criminals who
are motivated by self gain. Those who use that name were
stood down and that is a matter of public record.”

The UDA has come under intense scrutiny following a police
raid on a North Belfast pub where its members were believed
to be in dress rehearsals for a paramilitary show of

Seventeen men were arrested by the specialist unit that
stormed the Alexandra Bar in the Tiger’s Bay district,
including top loyalist Ihab Shoukri.

Eleven of them were later charged with helping to set up a
meeting of the outlawed terrorist group, although Shoukri
was released and fought off a police attempt to have him
sent back to jail.

A judge ruled on Wednesday that he was not in breach of
bale conditions imposed while he waits to go on trial for
UDA membership by being in the pub when police swooped.

The paramilitary organisation’s statement insisted: “The
UDA carry out the wishes of its entire membership.

“That membership is saying quite clearly that they are
committed to a process of change and will not be deterred
from that path.

“We are confident that our current policy will see us
through any attempt to derail this process.

“None shall separate us.”


Nationalists Unconvinced By UDA Statement

Published: 9 March, 2006

Sinn Féin Chief Negotiator Martin McGuinness MP has said
that nationalists will be very sceptical about today's
statement from the UDA's inner circle.

Mr McGuinness said:

"Given that the UDA over recent years have made a number of
positive statements only for them to be contradicted by
actions on the ground people will be totally sceptical
about this statement, particularly in light of events in
recent days. In recent days republican ex-prisoners have
been threatened, a Catholic taxi driver attacked and a
number of Catholic taxi firms warned.

"We need to hear and see from the UDA evidence that their
violent sectarian campaign against Catholics is over. We
need to hear that their guns and bombs will not be used
again and that they want to move forward peacefully with
the rest of us.

"Along with most people I hope that this statement will
take us forward. However, I have to say that along with
most people, I need to be convinced by actions or non-
actions that live up to this statement." ENDS


Senator Hillary Clinton Accuses GOP Of Creating Police
State With Immigration Bill

By Jim Kouri, CPP
Mar 9, 2006

Senator Hillary Rodham Clinton (D-NY) accused some
Republicans of trying to create a "police state" in their
plan to round up illegal immigrants. Members of the GOP
proposed a new tough bill to crackdown on illegal
immigrants who number between 12 and 20 million.

Clinton spoke out on the US immigration policy including
several contradictions of previous speeches in which she
accused the Bush Administration of not dealing with the
illegal immigration problem.

Speaking at a rally of Irish-American immigrants, Clinton
slammed a House bill passed in December that would impose
harsher penalties for illegal aliens who were working in
the US without proper documents or with false documents.

"Don't turn your backs on what made this country great,"
she said, adding that the House Bill "is a rebuke to what
America stands for."

The House immigration bill would make unlawful presence in
the US, which is currently a civil offense, a felony.
Clinton called it, "An unworkable scheme to try to deport
11 million people, which you have to have a police state to
try to do." Yet, she did not explain how the bill would
lead to a police state.

She called instead for immigration reform, "Based on
strengthening our borders in order to make us safer from
the threat of terrorism."

Senator Clinton also sent a four-page letter to
constituents outlining her views on immigration. While
there were no specifics in her lengthy letter, she did say
she supports allowing at least some of the estimated 12
million undocumented workers to earn citizenship.

Critics claim this is just more of the same flip-flopping
by Clinton depending on her audience. In 2005, Clinton told
an audience that she opposed illegal immigration and wanted
tougher border security measures. But then she joined her
New York partner Senator Chuck Schumer in voting against a
bill that would have increased the number of border patrol
agents and detention facilities.

Political analysts believe Sen. Clinton is attempting a
difficult balancing act. She must shore up her support from
the radical left while appealing to moderates and

Recently, Clinton stood between the former heads of the US
Military Academy at West Point and the Army War College and
unveiled her plan that would add 100,000 soldiers to the
Army, declaring that it should be a ''national priority" to
field a significantly larger military. It was strangely
similar to her husband Bill Clinton's 100,000 more police
officers, which never materialized.

While conventional wisdom says that Clinton will run for
president in 2008, the last Rasmussen poll shows that only
28% of Americans would definitely vote for her, while 41%
would definitely vote against her. Another 25% say it
depends on whom she runs against. The same poll shows that
Senator John McCain (R-AZ) would handily defeat Clinton,
Gore, Kerry and other Democrat candidates.

"Once again Senator Clinton is demonizing the actions of
her opponents by using the words 'police state.' Last
month she used the word 'plantation' in her diatribe
against the GOP in front of a black audience during a
memorial service in Harlem for Rev. Martin Luther King,"
says Mike Baker, a political analyst.

"Clinton keeps lurching to the right one day, then lurches
to the left the next. However, on immigration she's out of
sync with a majority of Americans."

Jim Kouri, CPP is currently fifth vice-president of the
National Association of Chiefs of Police.


Washington "Legalise The Irish" Rally A Success - McMahon

Mar 09, 5:49 pm

A Bundoran Town Councillor has expressed his satisfaction
at the manner in which a rally to draw attention to the
plight of the Irish living illegally in the USA, was

Sinn Fein Clr. Michael McMahon formed part of the group of
up to 3,000 Irish people who met with Senators Edward
Kennedy, John McCain, Hillary Clinton and Charles Schumer
in Washington yesterday.

Clr. McMahon said the campaign to "legalise the Irish" is
gathering momentum with such prominent American politicians
hearing their concerns.


Doctors Object To Force-Feeding At Guantanamo

Knight Ridder Newspapers

MIAMI - More than 250 physicians from around the world are
condemning the Pentagon's practice of force-feeding
suspected terrorists at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, in a letter
in Friday's edition of the British medical journal Lancet.

"Fundamental to doctors' responsibilities in attending a
hunger striker is the recognition that prisoners have a
right to refuse treatment," says the letter, which accuses
the U.S. military of violating medical ethics.

Physicians who signed the letter include former military
doctors, psychiatrists, gastroenterologists, pathologists
and general practitioners from Britain, the United States,
South Africa, Germany, Australia and the Netherlands. They
included South African physician John Kalk, who refused to
force-feed hunger strikers in Johannesburg during

The protest in the prestigious journal comes on the heels
of a New York Times report that U.S. military medical
personnel at the base have been overseeing force-feedings
of hunger strikers. The captives have been strapped into
restraint chairs in cold cells to get them to eat on their
own, the Times said.

"We urge the U.S. government to ensure that detainees are
assessed by independent physicians and that techniques such
as force-feeding and restraint chairs are abandoned,
forthwith in accordance with internationally agreed
standards," the letter said.

The Pentagon said in a statement Thursday night that
Guantanamo detainees are "treated humanely and are being
provided with excellent medical care." It added that
doctors follow federal prison guidelines for feeding
prisoners with tubes.

"These dangerous men are held in an environment that is
stable, secure, safe, and humane," the Pentagon said.

U.S. commanders at the Guantanamo Bay Navy Base have been
struggling for nearly four years to cope with the
consequences of hunger-striking protests by some of the
nearly 500 captives. They argue that they cannot allow a
captive to starve himself.

After a detainee refuses nine consecutive meals, according
to Guantanamo procedures, he is fed liquids through a tube
that is snaked down his nose and into his stomach.

Guantanamo officials defend the practice as humane in court

"This is not a no-risk procedure. Eventually someone is
going to die," said David Nicholl, a neurologist at Queen
Elizabeth Hospital in Birmingham, England, who organized
the letter-writing campaign in Europe.

He listed potential life-threatening complications of
force-feedings: a collapsed lung, if the tube is inserted
improperly; pneumonia; chest infection; and injuring a
captive struggling against straps and restraints.

The physicians assert U.S. military medicine is being
unethical by engaging in the practice - and that even U.S.
Navy doctors should comply with a hunger striker's wish,
because he is a patient first, a prisoner second.

The letter writers say the World Medical Association
specifically prohibits force-feeding in the Declaration of
Tokyo and Malta, which the American Medical Association has

Nicholl, who was born in Belfast, drew notice last year by
running the London Marathon in the garb of a Guantanamo
detainee - wearing an orange jumpsuit and chains.

Nicholl said he became aware of Guantanamo's force-feeding
practices through a Navy doctor's affidavit attached to a
habeas-corpus petition in a U.S. civilian court.

He has since written the Navy doctor's medical association
seeking to have him stripped of his license.

Both sides there, he said, are engaging in a form of
"mutual Russian Roulette."

"If they choose of their own free will to starve themselves
to death, the argument that you're saving their lives just
doesn't hold water. You are reviving them in effect through

In the case of Northern Ireland, Nicholls said, the
authorities allowed Irish Republican prisoner Bobby Sands
to starve himself to death in 1981, rather than force-feed

The English did force-feed some Irish prisoners, he said,
but only after family went to court and the prisoners were
declared mentally unfit.

Nicholls dismissed such an alternative at Guantanamo. "It
begs the question, if you've got somebody who is mentally
ill, is Guantanamo the right place for them?"

© 2006 KRT Wire and wire service sources. All Rights


Opin: Orde Versus Shoukri And Bail Hearings

While Tony Blair and Bertie Ahern consider their next moves
on devolution, events concerning the UDA and one of its
alleged North Belfast leaders are causing far more concern
here. The police raid on a Belfast bar last week has
exposed the continuing loyalist paramilitary menace and the
inability of the Chief Constable to persuade the courts to
accept that bail conditions have been broken.

09 March 2006

Ihab Shoukri, one of two brothers with loyalist
connections, walked free from the High Court, despite Sir
Hugh Orde's claim that his arrest in the bar was a breach
of his bail and should have landed him in jail. The Chief
Constable has made no secret of the fact that he resents
the watering down of Shoukri's bail conditions by the
courts, so that prohibitions and curfews have apparently
been abandoned.

Lord Justice Nicholson has accused the media of unfairly
"waging a war" against the judiciary over decisions in bail
hearings and has called for media reports to explain that -
in some cases - the Crown had no objections. Fuller
explanations are needed, all round and, when cases like
Shoukri's drag on for years, the defence can argue that the
terms are unreasonable.

Nevertheless, the public has been left thoroughly confused
by what has emerged about the police raid, during which CS
gas was used. Seventeen men - seven allegedly dressed in
paramilitary uniform - were arrested and various
balaclavas, gloves, jackets and UDA flags were seized.
Three of the 11 men charged have already been released on
bail, however, and more may follow.

As Sir Hugh has said, this was no "teddy bears' picnic",
but the purpose of the gathering is hotly contested. The
police claim that a show of force was being planned,
whereas the accused say they were preparing to renounce the
UDA's criminal activities and opt for a political path -
like the IRA.

The truth will remain elusive, as only the UDA's north
Belfast brigade was involved, but the reaction to the raid,
with street violence and an attempted murder, hardly
suggests that peace is near. While any move towards
political engagement would be welcome, the UDA would first
have to prove that its involvement in crime had ended,
completely. At present there is no sign of this.

Although all the loyalist paramilitary organisations are
active, as the IMC has reported, they must be considering
their future, now that the IRA has both declared its war
over and decommissioned weapons. Their only course is to
quit the scene - not simply going underground, as one
statement has implied. Their presence, and their
criminality, shames the unionist cause.


Opin: Integrated Schooling Rejected


A DUP spokesman in a strop is almost mandatory. On the
other hand, an Alliance party conference venting rage is a
curiosity, even now with poor old Alliance bumping along
the bottom and having lost through resignation Lord
Alderdice, its former leader. So who made Alliance glare
and the DUP smile? Step forward Angela Smith, Direct Rule
minister with responsibility for education (and a few other
areas) who announced last week that she would not approve
four new integrated schools. One has been knocked back
twice before, writes Fionnuala O Connor

The minister said, and the DUP concurred, that falling
enrolment made it inappropriate to give new integrated
schools financial backing.

The integrated schools movement, its champions in Alliance
and frustrated parents left choiceless by the decision were
swift to retort that rejecting the schools would neither
increase nor reduce the empty places in existing schools.
Alliance vice-president Colm Cavanagh, long an integrated
schools activist, said he was "enraged" and the decision
shamed the Blair government, which has explicitly advocated
integrated education as a tool of reconciliation in the
segregated North.

But ministers were now effectively telling children who
wanted to integrate to go to segregated schools, he said.
Yet "Do you say to Protestant children 'There are empty
desks in Catholic schools, go there?' No, you do not."
Pointing out inconsistency, however, produces no blushes
since the dilution of the Blair government's much-vaunted
education policy, built around commitment to parental

A diminished prime minister, to take only one example,
thinks it unproductive to take on the vocal lobby for
grammar schools at home - while facing a similar lobby down
in Northern Ireland as secondary education is overhauled in
the wake of the axed Eleven Plus examination.

Grizzled Northern teachers in both the largely Protestant
state sector and in Catholic schools concede that enrolment
has been falling for as long as anyone can remember.

Today's direct rulers inherited a raft of tiny schools,
rural and urban, kept open because of parental wishes and
political sensitivity.

Anecdotal evidence suggests the majority are Protestant. A
major review of the "schools estate" to include number and
physical condition of schools, empty desks and likely
future enrolment is due to begin soon.

The integrated schools rejected for the first time are
proposals for a primary between the Co Down villages of
Moira and Hillsborough, another in the Clogher Valley and a
secondary in the Saintfield/Carryduff area, in Co Down
south-east of Belfast. Lir Primary in Ballycastle, Co
Antrim, now three times unlucky, is already functioning
with the support of a philanthropic American couple. Lir's
previous rejections have been on the same basis; that there
are three primaries already in the small town "with surplus
capacity". But Ballycastle's existing "controlled" primary
- largely Protestant in enrolment and staffing - is
applying for "transformation" to integrated status. The
"transformation" option is by far the route preferred by
officialdom, because it costs least. It involves grant-aid
and supposedly, consciousness-raising to change atmosphere,
staffing and pupil composition by recruiting more Catholic
pupils. (No Catholic school has ever tried to transform.)

Finance is available in particular to hire a suitably-
qualified teacher - Catholic - to reassure interested
parents that the school can prepare their children for
first confession and communion. Never more than patchily
successful, say insiders: a potentially scandalous

An inadequately "transformed" controlled/state/Protestant
school is not the dream of the parents who have so
painfully supported Lir and started launch groups in the
other three districts.

After years of assurance by direct rulers that they favour
integrated education, Michael Wardlow who heads the Council
for Integrated Education wants to meet Angela Smith to ask
if the government has changed its policy. Some parents are
discussing seeking a judicial review. Reasonably enough,
given the Blair trumpeting of parental choice, the mantras
about letting successful schools grow, failing schools

As a one-time active supporter of integrated schools and
mother of two pupils who went through primary and secondary
level in the sector, I have to declare an interest.
Scarcely a hobbyhorse, though: nearly three years ago this
space described the prime movers in integrated education as
parents brought up in a segregated place who want more for
their children - a yearning sharpened by political

In a week when yet again the governments appear lost for
ideas on how to bring the DUP and Sinn Féin to share power,
Labour in Northern Ireland has hobbled one of its own pet
projects. It may be purely a question of timing: the
forthcoming review may produce different decisions. In the
meantime, knocking back integrated schooling is a popular
direct rule move, pleasing the Catholic school sector and
delighting the DUP: a cross-community winner because it
keeps children apart.

© The Irish Times


World Will Be Their Oyster On March 17

Liam Reid, Political Reporter

Twenty-nine members of the Government are to travel abroad
to 22 countries in five continents over the next two weeks
to take part in St Patrick's Day celebrations.

Fifteen members of the Cabinet and 14 junior ministers will
visit 35 cities to take part in local St Patrick's Day
celebrations and to promote Irish trade and cultural links.

Taoiseach Bertie Ahern, four Government Ministers and five
junior ministers will travel to the United States.

Mr Ahern goes to San Jose in southern California, the
capital of Silicon valley, and to Washington, where he will
meet President Bush and other senior US politicians.

Minister for Foreign affairs Dermot Ahern will visit Dallas
before travelling on to Washington; Minister for Social
Affairs Séamus Brennan visits Boston; Minister for
Transport Martin Cullen will go to New York; and Minister
for Communications Noel Dempsey is heading for Seattle.

Tánaiste Mary Harney is to spend more than a week abroad,
visiting Bahrain in the Middle East, before travelling to
South Africa to take part in celebrations in Pretoria and
Cape Town.

Minister for Tourism John O'Donoghue will go to Manchester,
and Minister for Justice Michael McDowell to London.

Minister for Finance Brian Cowen will travel to Australia,
while Minister for Community and Gaeltacht Affairs Éamon Ó
Cuív is visiting New Zealand.

Government Chief Whip Tom Kitt will visit Argentina,
Attorney General Rory Brady is going to Russia, and
Minister for Education Mary Hanafin travels to the United
Arab Emirates.

Minister for the Environment Dick Roche is travelling to
Japan, Malaysia and Thailand, while Minister of State with
responsibility for Development Aid Conor Lenihan is going
to China.

The trips will focus on promoting Ireland as a "knowledge
economy" to tie in with a new promotion campaign by the IDA
and the publication of a new book on Irish scientists.

The Government said last night that, in deciding on the
trips, it "has sought to maximise opportunities for
showcasing Ireland as a world-class economy and tourism

Describing St Patrick's Day as "a unique event in the
global calendar", a statement said the "goodwill and
attention offer an unrivalled opportunity to promote modern
Ireland overseas and to engage directly on a variety of

Two Cabinet members, Willie O'Dea and Micheál Martin, will
remain in Ireland.

© The Irish Times


Uprising, Up Close: Commemorative Exhibit Makes First U.S.
Stop At Heritage State Park

Irish rebels took to the streets in the dead of night on
Easter Sunday, occupying vital Anglo-Irish government
buildings in heavily populated areas. These rebels wanted
freedom from the English and thought they could ransom it
by disrupting the government during World War I.

What became known as the 1916 Easter Uprising failed in one
sense: The government attacked its own buildings, then
jailed and eventually executed 15 leaders of the
revolution. The fighting cost hundreds of lives and
millions of dollars in damage.

But the uprising also succeeded, rallying the public for a
later rebellion that resulted in the creation of the
Republic of Ireland.

At a time when most people hoist a pint to their Irish
heritage, Lawrence's Irish community offers the public a
sobering look at the cost of freedom. In "Images of Easter
Week — 1916," viewers meet the leaders of the rebellion,
see the devastation it caused, and browse memorabilia
collected here and abroad related to that pivotal moment in
Irish history.

"We just want people to remember that there are people who
died for Irish freedom, and they should not be forgotten,
especially when there are still six counties still held in
bondage," said David Burke of Lawrence, a member of the
city's Ancient Order of Hibernians.

Burke, who also heads a national committee planning
remembrances for the 100th anniversary of the Easter
Uprising, found the exhibit at a recent trade show he
attended in County Laois (pronounced Lee-sh), Ireland.

"We want to be a scholarly and educational exhibit for what
1916 meant, and (the uprising) really meant breaking the
connections with England for a free Ireland," he said.

While groups in California and Chicago wanted to host the
exhibit's American debut, Burke negotiated a first stop in
Lawrence by pointing out the city's loyalty to the cause.

After the uprising, when survivor Eamon DeValera (president
of Sinn Fein at the time) came to the United States for
support, he visited Lawrence, and the City Council became
the first American governmental body to recognize the
Republic of Ireland.

This impressed the exhibit's organizer.

"He said, 'Since you are first in that sense, it would only
be proper for you to be first here," Burke said.

The exhibit contains 72 images, several of the executed
heroes of the uprising, as well as depictions of the
fighting and aftermath. Burke also included several books
from the Lawrence Public Library's Irish literature
collection, some in Gaelic, as well as memorabilia related
to the uprising, such as stamps and medals issued by the
Irish government.

Through this exhibit, Burke not only wants to educate the
public on Ireland's struggle for freedom but also its
connection to locals, in the past and today.

"There are still groups of people in Lawrence working for
peace, justice, equality and a 32-county Irish Republic,"
Burke said.

About the 1916 Easter Uprising

On the morning of Easter Monday, April 24, 1916, about
1,250 people started a rebellion in Dublin, Ireland,
setting out to capture the city's most prominent buildings
from the British government.

Rebels had rifles but no artillery. They hoped that the
British army would not use artillery because there would be
significant damage to their property.

Fourteen major buildings were taken on both sides of the
River Liffey. The rebels based their headquarters at the
General Post Office. Leader Patrick Pearse announced the
creation of the Republic of Ireland from the Post Office.

The British declared martial law on Tuesday. Looting
occurred in the streets of the city and people not involved
in the rebellion were shot by the British army.

By Wednesday, reinforcements arrived and the rebels were
outnumbered 20 to 1. The British started their attack. The
army flattened any building it felt it had to. Civilian
casualties were high and the attack by the British army
failed to distinguish between rebels and civilians.

On Thursday, new military commander General Sir John
Maxwell arrived in Dublin. No restraints were put on his

By Friday, the General Post Office collapsed. Rebels made a
last stand on King's Street, but up against 5,000 troops,
the remaining rebels had little chance.

On Saturday, the rebels surrendered.

On Sunday, the British took 16 rebel leaders to prison.
Damage to central Dublin totalled £2.5 million – a
considerable sum of money then. About 500 British soldiers
had been killed and more than 1,000 civilians.

The leaders were tried in secret by a military court and 15
were executed. The American government petitioned for the
release of the 16th leader, U.S. born Eamon DeValera, as an
American citizen. The 15 deaths were only publicly
announced after their executions.

There was an overwhelming belief that the executions had
been unfair and that the men involved, at the very least,
deserved a public trial. When it became known that one
badly wounded leader had been tied to a chair and shot ,
there was nothing short of public revulsion in parts of

Source: and David Burke of

If you go

What: "Images of Easter Week — 1916"
When: Now through March 30
Where: Lawrence Heritage State Park, 1 Jackson St.
Admission: Free


A Sea Of Green

A Cold Wind Did Not Diminish The Crowd Lining King Street.

By Chuck Hagee/Gazette
March 9, 2006

Kicking off Alexandria’s 25th Annual St. Patrick’s Day
Parade with the traditional breakfast for city leaders and
dignitaries, Parade Chairman Pat Troy told those gathered
at the Holiday Inn Select Saturday morning, “This parade is
not just run by the Ballyshaners, it’s run in conjunction
with our city. This is the most supportive city in

He was followed by Alexandria Mayor William D. Euille.
“This is a truly wonderful day in Alexandria. This 25th
Anniversary parade presents us with a wonderful opportunity
to celebrate the diversity of Alexandria,” he said.

This year’s Grand Marshal, John T. Dunleavy, also serves as
chairman of New York City St. Patrick’s Day Parade. Of
Alexandria’s parade, he said, “This parade brings out the
best in all of us and represents what this city is all
about. On St. Patrick’s Day in New York City everybody is

As the first St. Patrick’s Day celebration in the
Washington Metropolitan Region each year, Alexandria’s
parade initiates Irish-American Heritage Month. It
commences on Friday night before the parade with the black-
tie Grand Marshal’s Ball.

This year Troy and his wife, Bernadette, were presented
with special medallions to commemorate the event’s quarter
century and their commitment to promoting Irish heritage
and Alexandria.

U.S. Rep. James P. Moran (D-8) said Troy has “been the
heart and soul of this parade,” and “Even more important,
you have regularly contributed, in significant ways, to the
betterment of the Irish-American and Alexandria

U.S. Army Gen. Guy C. Swan III, commander, Military
District of Washington, thanked those present for “all the
support” given the military “throughout this entire
region.” That support was returned by the military as units
from every branch of the Armed Services led the nearly two-
hour procession down King Street from West to Fairfax

Also in attendance at the breakfast were Deputy Ambassador
of Ireland Orla Hanrahan, Alexandria Vice Mayor Redella
“Del” Pepper, councilpersons, Paul Smedberg and Joyce
Woodson, State Sen. Patricia S. Ticer (D-30), Dels. Adam
Ebbin (D-49) and David Englin (D-45) and a host of others.

The parade is sponsored by The Ballyshaners, Inc., a non-
profit organization dedicated to preserving and promoting
Irish heritage. Membership is open to anyone. In addition
to the parade they sponsor Alexandria’s Annual Irish
Festival. The name, Ballyshaners, means “Old Towners” in

Preceding the parade is the annual “Fun Dog Show” at Market
square and the antique/classic car show. Each year the dog
show is judged by newscaster John Harter and one of the
founders of the Ballyshaners, retired Judge Daniel Fairfax

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