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August 13, 2006

Damning Evidence of State Collusion in Murder

News About Ireland & The Irish

SB 08/13/06 ‘Damning’ Evidence Of State Collusion In Murder
SB 08/13/06 Police Ombudsman To Recommend Charges Against Officers
UT 08/13/06 Tribute To Hunger Strikers In Belfast
UT 08/13/06 Co Antrim Petrol Bomb Attack
UT 08/13/06 Six Held After Loyalist Parade
BB 08/13/06 Tourists Caught In City Violence
SL 08/13/06 O'Loan's Son Cautioned For 'Torrent Of Abuse To Cops'
TO 08/13/06 Striker’s Son Attacks ‘Event’
SB 08/13/06 Massive Cost Of RIRA Bombs
SL 08/13/06 IRA Ups Propaganda Campaign Against Jean's Daughter
BB 08/13/06 Ireland 'A Fundamentalist Haven'
SL 08/13/06 Opin: Straight Talking: What About The Witness?
SL 08/13/06 Opin: Straight Talking: Bald Statement Of Fact
SB 08/13/06 Opin: US Has Stoked The Fire Of Muslim Anger Since 9/11
UT 08/13/06 Irish Duty-Free Sales Hit Hard
SB 08/13/06 Brokers Predict Major Slowdown In Housing Market


‘Damning’ Evidence Of State Collusion In Murder

13 August 2006

A report due to be published by Northern Ireland police
ombudsman Nuala O’Loan is expected to provide ‘‘damning’’
evidence that the Special Branch allowed loyalist informers
to carry out more than a dozen murders of innocent people.

A report due to be published by Northern Ireland police
ombudsman Nuala O’Loan is expected to provide ‘‘damning’’
evidence that the Special Branch allowed loyalist informers
to carry out more than a dozen murders of innocent people.

O’Loan’s report is expected to be published in the coming
weeks. It is understood to provide some of the most serious
evidence ever uncovered on the murders.

The investigation is the culmination of a nine-year
campaign by Belfast man Raymond McCord Sr to bring the
killers of his 22-yearold son to justice. Raymond McCord Jr
was beaten to death by a UVF gang at Ballyduff Quarry on
the outskirts of north Belfast in November 1997.

The 22-year-old, who was himself linked to the UVF, is
understood to have been murdered to protect a senior
loyalist who was being investigated by the UVF leadership
over involvement in drug dealing.

For most of the last nine years, the victim’s father fought
a hopeless campaign claiming that his son’s killers were
Special Branch informers who had been allowed to kill
citizens with the full knowledge of their police handlers.

However, a UVF attack on Belfast doorman Trevor Gowdy in
December 2002 was to bring a dramatic breakthrough in the

North Belfast UVF leader Mark Haddock and other members of
the paramilitary organisation’s Mount Vernon unit were
arrested and charged with Gowdy’s attempted murder.

The case and the publicity that came with it forced the
Special Branch to cut loose one of its most prized agents.

While McCord continued to allege that Haddock was a police
informer and had ordered the murder of his son, few took
the claims seriously.

Little attention was paid to the news that O’Loan had
agreed to investigate McCord’s allegations in 2003.
However, it was the decision by former RUC detectives
Johnson ‘Jonty’ Brown and Trevor McIlwrath to publicly
endorse McCord’s allegations that put the first hole in the
wall of silence.

Brown and McIlwrath had both been police officers for more
than 30 years before they retired. More importantly, they
were the men who had sent Johnny Adair to jail in 1994
after secretly recording him admitting to directing UDA

Brown and McIlwrath, however, were not afraid to speak out
about the Special Branch allowing informers to murder with

In 1991, they secretly taped UDA man Ken Barrett admitting
the murder of solicitor Pat Finucane.

However, they claimed that when the Special Branch became
involved in the case, the confession tape went missing and
they were blocked from charging Barrett with Finucane’s

Crucially, Brown and McIlwrath recruited the 16-yearold
Mark Haddock to become an informer in 1985 after he was
arrested for petrol bombing a bus.

For six years, Haddock fed them information about low-level
crime, but in 1990, when he told them he had joined the
UVF, Special Branch took over control of the agent. What
took place over the next decade will be the subject of
O’Loan’s report.

Haddock is alleged to have shot dead Catholic taxi driver
Sharon McKenna in north Belfast in January 1991 after the
UVF suspected she might be an informer.

Brown and McIlwrath would later claim that, within days,
they had enough evidence to charge Haddock with McKenna’s

However, they claim that Special Branch blocked them from
moving against the agent.

Over the next decade, Haddock is alleged to have been
involved in more than a dozen murders, yet no charges were
ever brought against him.

When he was charged with the attempted murder of Trevor
Gowdy in August 2003, the Special Branch could no longer
protect Haddock. In February of this year he was shot and
seriously wounded by UVF gunmen for being a Special Branch

He is on remand on a hospital wing inside Maghaberry prison
awaiting judgment in the Gowdy trial.

In October last year, Labour Party leader Pat Rabbitte used
Dail privilege to name Haddock as a Special Branch informer
who had been involved in murder.

In May, Sir Reg Empey, leader of the Ulster Unionist Party
(UUP), was widely criticised after he allowed Progressive
Unionist Party leader David Ervine to join his party’s
assembly team at Stormont.

Ervine’s party is accepted as having close ties to the UVF.

In an ironic twist, Brown, McIlwrath and a third former
police officer were arrested by O’Loan’s detectives earlier
this week and questioned about alleged attempts to pervert
the course of justice.

All three were later released without charge.

The arrest of Brown and McIlwrath is seen as a

Their questioning is understood to have related to the fact
that they had provided evidence of Haddock’s alleged
involvement in McKenna’s murder but were blocked from
pursuing him by Special Branch.

It is understood O’Loan’s investigators will now seek to
question senior police officers in the coming weeks over
the allegation that Haddock was protected by the highest
ranks within the Special Branch.

O’Loan is understood to be preparing to recommend charges
against a number of senior Special Branch officers.

If, as expected, she concludes that senior police officers
allowed state agents to carry out more than a dozen murders
with impunity, the implications for both the PSNI and the
UUP will be immense.


Police Ombudsman To Recommend Charges Against Former Officers

13 August 2006

Police ombudsman Nuala O’Loan is expected to recommend that
charges be brought against a number of former Special
Branch officers in the North as a result of an
investigation that showed loyalist informers were allowed
to commit murder.

Police ombudsman Nuala O’Loan is expected to recommend that
charges be brought against a number of former Special
Branch officers in the North as a result of an
investigation that showed loyalist informers were allowed
to commit murder.

O’Loan’s report, which is expected to be published within
weeks, relates to allegations that UVF leader Mark Haddock
was allowed to carry out more than a dozen murders between
1991 and 2003 while he was acting as a Special Branch

The investigation is the largest inquiry ever carried out
by O’Loan and is expected to provide damning evidence that
senior police officers allowed loyalist informers to take
part in murder. Earlier this year Haddock was shot and
seriously wounded by his former UVF colleagues as a result
of their suspicions that he had been working as an informer
for nearly 20 years.

The allegations against Haddock have been strengthened by
former RUC detectives Johnston ‘Jonty’ Brown and Trevor
McIlwrath who publicly alleged that Special Branch had
allowed the agent to commit murder.

The investigation took a further twist last week when Brown
and McIlwrath were arrested by the ombudsman and questioned
over attempts to pervert the course of justice.

They were released without charge. However, the arrests are
seen as a technicality and there is now an expectation that
the ombudsman will arrest a number of former Special Branch
officers in relation to the allegations that informers were
allowed to commit murder with impunity.


Tribute To Hunger Strikers In Belfast

A republican parade commemorating the death of ten IRA
hunger strike prisoners who were protesting against British
government policy has begun in west Belfast.

By:Press Association

Thousands of people attended the procession on the Falls
Road to mark 25 years since the ten men died protesting
against the government`s refusal to grant them political

Sinn Fein president Gerry Adams led the group of
demonstrators from outside the party`s headquarters to
Casement Park where a rally is to be held.

The hunger strikers attracted international attention when
they refused food in 1981 after demands for prison
privileges like wearing their own clothes and being housed
in cells known a H-Blocks were denied.

The strikes took place at the Maze prison, known to
republicans as Long Kesh, close to Lisburn in County

Men and women wearing brown blankets symbolising the rags
which the hunger strikers were wearing took part in the
walk today.

Lines of men in white shirts and black ties as a symbol of
mourning, paraded past crowds of onlookers.

Banners were carried calling for the removal of British
troops from Northern Ireland and there were many pictures
of the dead men.

There were also Palestinian flags in a reference to the
conflict in the Middle East.

Mr Adams and relatives of the hunger strikers will address
the group later today at Casement Park.


Co Antrim Petrol Bomb Attack

A County Antrim family have escaped potentially serious
injury after their house was attacked with a petrol bomb.

The device was thrown through the front window of the home
in the Ballyloughan area of Ballymena shortly before 1.30am
this morning.

A total of three people were in the house at the time and
suffered from shock. The living room was extensively
damaged and smoke had affected the rest of the building.

Detectives in Ballymena have appealed for anyone with
information to contact them.

Social Democratic and Labour Party councillor Declan O`Loan
claimed the incident may be motivated by sectarianism.

"I know the family involved, this has political, sectarian
implications," he said.

"Incidents like this have to be treated as attempted murder
and I would say to those involved that they need to
recognise the seriousness of what they are doing."

He added Ballymena had been quiet so far this summer and he
didn`t want to see tensions reigniting.

There was furious sectarian strife in the town earlier this
year which culminated in the murder of Michael McIlveen,
15, in May.

Police said they were investigating a number of possible
motives for the attack.

Ballymena Democratic Unionist Party councillor Tommy
Nicholl said he condemned those behind the bombing.

"Any right-thinking person would have to condemn this and I
hope this type of activity does not start up again," he

"I would call for restraint on both sides so that tensions
do not develop. People here need to work together, that is
the only way forward, and leave the politics to the


Six Held After Loyalist Parade

A number of people have been arrested after violence
erupted following a parade by loyalists in Derry.

By:Press Association

Police said the demonstration by the Apprentice Boys in the
city had passed off largely peacefully, apart from six
arrests for public order offences.

A petrol bomb was thrown at police in Fahan Street and a
stone-throwing incident took place at Butcher Gate.

A number of petrol bombs were recovered by officers from
the Fahan Street area of the Nationalist Bogside.

Up to 10,000 members of the Loyal Order and 130 bands took
part in the annual parade.

The arrests follow separate disturbances in which 50 petrol
bombs were thrown at police in the area on Friday night.
During the violence two stolen cars were burned at an area
known as Free Derry Corner in the Bogside.

The Apprentice Boys were marching to celebrate the victory
of the Protestant Prince William over the Catholic forces
of King James in December 1689.

The Apprentice Boys and the Nationalist Bogside Residents`
Group had appealed for trouble-makers to stay away from the

Police have said they are pleased that the main parade was

Leading Apprentice Boy William Hay said that this was the
third year the parade had passed off largely peacefully.

"I am pleased that there has been relatively little
trouble," he said.

"It is good to see this happening and there has been a lot
of work put into this. This has been one of the quietest
days and we want to see more of this in the future."

Mr Hay, a Democratic Unionist Party assembly member for
East Londonderry, added that the parade had passed off
smoothly and said that was to be applauded.

Social Democratic and Labour Party representative Helen
Quigley said the signs were encouraging.

"I am pleased that it was largely peaceful. There were a
couple of skirmishes with the police, but that is nothing

"My concern is for the traders in the city who had to close
for a period, but we should be pleased that there was no
real trouble, we don`t want to see those days returning,"
the Derry City Council Mayor said.

Later on Saturday evening three people were arrested in the
Butcher Gate area for riotous behaviour unconnected with
the march.

Minor trouble was continuing into the evening.

Meanwhile a tour bus of Italian visitors was passing
through Butcher Gate when a petrol bomb was thrown at
police. It is understood the missile did not hit the bus.

The group were brought to the Tower Hotel for a one-night
stay. A spokeswoman at the hotel said the guests had
arrived safe and well and were in good spirits.


Tourists Caught In City Violence

A tour bus carrying Italian tourists has been caught up in
disturbances in Londonderry following the Apprentice Boy's
parade in the city.

The bus was making its way past Butcher Gate toward the
tourist's hotel when a police Land Rover patrolling the
area was attacked with petrol bombs.

The bus itself was not attacked, but it is understood a
number of the passengers were shaken by the incident.

Three people were arrested following the disturbances.

A further six people were arrested in the city earlier on
Saturday for public order offences.

Petrol bombs were found in the Fahan Street area.

The main parade of about 10,000 Apprentice Boys and 130
bands did pass off without major incident.

Stay away

The parade followed separate trouble in Derry on Friday
night when 50 petrol bombs were thrown at police.

The parade celebrates the the actions of Protestant
Apprentice Boys who shut the city gates against the forces
of the Catholic King James in December 1688.

King James laid siege to the city from until the Protestant
forces of Prince William of Orange relieved the city in
August 1689.

The Apprentice Boys and the Nationalist Bogside Residents'
Group had appealed for trouble-makers to stay away from the

Police said they were pleased the main parade was peaceful.

Story from BBC NEWS:
Published: 2006/08/13 09:40:22 GMT


O'Loan's Son Cautioned For 'Torrent Of Abuse To Cops'

...and her office might end up probing the incident

By Alan Murray
13 August 2006

A teenage son of Police Ombudsman Nuala O'Loan has been
issued with a police caution for shouting sectarian abuse -
at COPS!

And 18-year-old Kieran O'Loan's moment of madness is set to
cause his mother further embarrassment - because the DUP's
Ian Paisley jnr is to raise the matter with the Chief
Constable, Sir Hugh Orde, tomorrow.

Mr Paisley is also threatening to make a complaint over the
PSNI's handling of the incident . . . to Mrs O'Loan's own

The DUP man says he is concerned there "may have been
inadequate action by the Police Service" in response to an
incident of sectarian abuse.

It is understood that Kieran was cautioned by police
following an incident in William Street, Ballymena, on July
1 when three officers were subjected to a torrent of
sectarian abuse.

A police spokesperson said last night: "A youth was
cautioned about his behaviour at William Street on July 1."

Mrs O'Loan's office declined to comment, except to say
"this is not a matter for the Ombudsman's office".

Her husband, Declan, a prominent SDLP councillor in
Ballymena, also refused to comment when contacted by Sunday

Sources say the incident took place four hours before the
annual Orange Order's Somme commemoration parade.

Tensions had been running high in the town following the
brutal murder of 15-year-old Catholic Michael McIlveen, who
was beaten to death by sectarian thugs.

Security sources say Kieran was spoken to by members of a
Tactical Support Group, which was on duty in the town to
assist local police to keep rival factions apart.

Security sources say Kieran was spoken to after two members
of the support group, accompanied by a community police
officer, were subjected to a tirade of verbal and sectarian
abuse in the William Street area at around 3pm.

Local MLA, Ian Paisley jnr said yesterday that he intends
to raise the circumstances of the caution with the Chief
Constable when he meets him.

"I am concerned there may have been inadequate action by
the Police Service in relation to this matter and I shall
raise the matter with the Chief Constable at a meeting.

"My understanding is that if remarks of a sectarian or
racial nature are uttered, a report must be forwarded to
the Public Prosecution Service for consideration as to
whether a criminal prosecution should be brought.

"I do not believe that procedure was followed in this case
and I want to know why. "

He added: "I think there may have been police misconduct
here at an administrative level and in other circumstances
it may be a proper case for the Police Ombudsman to probe.

"But, in these particular circumstances, I hardly imagine
that the investigation of such a complaint should be
undertaken by Mrs O'Loan, for obvious reasons."

In a statement from her office on Friday, Mrs O'Loan's
spokesman said: "This is not a matter for the Police
Ombudsman's office, except to reiterate Mrs O'Loan's often-
stated position that, as Police Ombudsman and, before that,
as a member of the Police Authority, she has long been
committed to policing in Northern Ireland and in
particular, helping to improve policing for everyone in
local society."

Three weeks before the caution was issued, another of Mrs
O'Loan's sons, Damian, was brutally attacked by a gang of
loyalist thugs in north Belfast as he walked home to his
flat in the Ardoyne area.

The 23-year-old university graduate sustained a broken arm,
a displaced kneecap and torn ligaments and muscles in his
legs and was left unconscious by the gang, who he believes
used iron bars to batter him as he lay unconscious.


Striker’s Son Attacks ‘Event’

Enda Leahy and Liam Clarke

THE FAMILY of Patsy O’Hara, one of the Long Kesh hunger
strikers who died in 1981, have accused Sinn Fein of
exploiting his death for political gain in Londonderry.

A commemoration planned for Derry City Guildhall next
Sunday, which is being organised by Sinn Fein activists,
was dubbed “hypocrisy” and an attempt at “airbrushing
history” by O’Hara’s son, Tony.

O’Hara was 23 when he died in the Long Kesh after 61 days
on hunger strike in May 1981. He was the leader of the
Irish National Liberation Army (INLA) hunger strikers who
took part in the H-Block protests. O’Hara and Mickey
Devine, both members of the INLA, were the only Derry-born
hunger strikers to die on the protest.

Before their arrests both men had received death threats
from the IRA. O’Hara was attacked and badly beaten by
Provisional IRA (PIRA) members and death threats were made
against him and members of the Republican Socialist
Movement (RSM).

Following these threats O’Hara and Devine stole guns from a
Lifford arms shop, claiming they were needed to protect
themselves and their families. After they were arrested
Devine was imprisoned. O’Hara was jailed later.

Last week Tony O’Hara said Lynn Fleming, the Sinn Fein
councillor and former Lord Mayor of Derry, should issue an
apology for the treatment of his father.

“As they have taken it upon themselves to organise this
night of remembrance for RSM freedom fighter Mickey Devine
. . . let them formally acknowledge and apologise to our

He added: “It’s an awful irony — they’re celebrating men
they were trying to kill at the time. How dare they? It’s
hypocritical and it needs an explanation. They’re
airbrushing history.”


Massive Cost Of RIRA Bombs

13 August 2006 By Suzanne MacManus

Police in the North say that the Real IRA firebombs that
exploded in Newry Retail Centre early last Wednesday caused
tens of millions of pounds’ worth of damage.

Police in the North say that the Real IRA firebombs that
exploded in Newry Retail Centre early last Wednesday caused
tens of millions of pounds’ worth of damage.

The Real IRA admitted firebombing British-owned stores near
the Border. They claimed they left six incendiary devices
that destroyed the shops in Newry, Co Down.

MFI, TK Maxx, JJB Sports and Carpet Right were targeted in
the attacks, while B&Q, Land of Leather, Curry’s, Harveys
Furniture and Dunnes Stores were damaged by smoke, fire or

Up to 20 families were also evacuated from their homes; the
damage to their properties has yet to be assessed.

Although estimates of the damage ran into millions of
pounds sterling, the fire bombings affected just 5 per cent
of the total retail area in the city and around 2 per cent
of trade.

A special economic development committee meeting was called
in Newry and Mourne District Council offices on Friday,
with councillors and local business representatives
considering a practical response to the financial impact of
the attacks.

The meeting set up a taskforce to identify potential
relocation sites, to consider compensation and planning and
building control issues.

Councillors also agreed to ask the PSNI to speed up its
forensic investigations so that demolition and rebuilding
could begin as soon as possible.

The president of the local chamber of commerce, David
Hanna, described the return of bomb attacks to the
commercial heart of Newry after a long absence, as a
‘‘distressing’’ development.

The Mayor of Newry and Mourne, Cllr Michael Carr, expressed
concern for the economy of the city following the fire-

He said the impact of the devastation to stores in the
Damolly Retail Park and Cornmarket areas would have
‘‘significant consequences’’.

‘‘I would appeal to anyone behind this to stop and think
about what they are doing, about the effect it has on the
whole area, economically and for the prospects for the
future,” he said.

‘‘My thoughts go out to the large number of people
concerned about their jobs, but obviously I have concern
for what effect it will have on commerce in the city,
particularly for shop owners who have shown such resistance
in the past, and have bounced back again.”

Carr described as a ‘‘sinister development’’ the planting
of incendiary devices timed to cause fires inside the
stores at night, thus causing maximum damage.

‘‘I thought it was behind us, this type of news,” he said.
‘‘A number of years ago we woke up to this on a daily
basis. It’s so sad that some people are still about that
are capable of doing this type of thing.”


IRA Ups Propaganda Campaign Against Jean's Daughter

By Stephen Breen
13 August 2006

The eldest daughter of murdered Jean McConville last night
told how she could have suffered the same brutal fate as
her mother.

Helen McKendry says republicans are now spreading rumours
she was a "message girl" for the Army in the 1970s.

It follows the IRA's statement last month insisting that
Jean McConville was a security forces informer, even though
a Police Ombudsman inquiry found such claims to be

Helen - who was 15 when her mother was abducted from her
Divis home - now suspects the Provo gang may have grabbed
her, too, if she had been in the flat with her mother.

She claims top Provos have accused her of delivering
information gathered by her mother in the Divis area to the
nearby Hastings Street security base.

She has called on Sinn Fein leader Gerry Adams to publicly
dismiss the allegations.

Said Helen: "I was at the chip shop when the Provos came
for my mother. But had I been home, then I may not be here
today. That's if they actually believed I was a messenger
girl for the Army in 1972 and it is not just something they
are making up now to blacken my name.

"I don't know, because there's been so many lies.

"If they believed I was a message girl all along, then why
wasn't I taken away in the years after my mother's

"It's just lie after lie with regards to my mother. They
claimed she had an Army transmitter in our home. If she
did, why would she send her daughter to deliver messages to
Hastings Street?

"I think they are probably saying this about me now because
they are trying to justify the awful crime they committed
against my mother."

Helen said that if the IRA really believed she was an
informer, why didn't they produce evidence or meet her face
to face, instead of spreading rumours.

She has vowed to publicly name the members of the Provo
gang who kidnapped and murdered her mother in 1972

"Jean McConville will continue to haunt Gerry Adams and the
republican movement until they day I die," she added.

"I am waiting on a letter from a former republican who is
going to name every member of the kidnap and murder gang.

"I have been waiting on this information for some time, but
once I get this information I am going to publish it. I
don't care what names are in the letter - these people can
try and sue me if they want.

"I am not going to let this thing rest until the IRA admits
my mother and I were not working for the security

Sunday Life revealed last month how a member of the IRA
gang that kidnapped Jean had broken his silence to rubbish
Provo claims that she was an informer.

Mrs McKendry is to publish a book about her relationship
with her mother and her family's campaign for justice later
this year.


Ireland 'A Fundamentalist Haven'

Ireland has become "a haven for fundamentalism", one of the
country's leading Muslim leaders has warned.

Sheikh Dr Shaheed Satardien said there was an "ocean of
extremism" spreading among Muslims throughout Ireland.

"Irish Muslim leaders are failing our young people who are
embracing fundamentalism," he told the Sunday Tribune

Leading Northern Ireland Muslim Abdul Al Jibouri said
terrorism went totally against the beliefs of Islam.

"It is very hurtful when people start talking about Islam
and Muslim terrorists," he told BBC Radio Ulster's Sunday
Sequence programme.

"I have lived in Northern Ireland for many years and we had
so many terrorists, but nobody said Catholic terrorists or
Protestant terrorists."

He added: "Islam does not encourage people to go and blow
people up - this is based on fundamentalists and the way
they interpret the Koran.

"Terrorism and active terrorism is totally against Islam
and I would be the first person to condemn it."

'Foreign travel'

Dublin-based Dr Satardien, who is regarded as a moderate
cleric, told the Sunday Tribune young Muslims were "being
torn between two cultures, drawing them into support for
terrorism, anti-semitism and a hatred of western

Young Islamic men were spending long periods in locations
such as Pakistan where they were taking part in al-Qaeda
terrorist training schools, he told the newspaper.

"There is an urgent need for the Irish government to
introduce strict guidelines on foreign travel," he said.

"Young people go to foreign places where they are being
brainwashed and where they are told to reject moderate

Dr Satardien also urged Irish authorities to monitor the
activities of foreign national Muslim leaders who he said
were entering the country to promote radical

Last December, a man with suspected al-Qaeda links was
jailed in Belfast for downloading information on how to
blow up a passenger jet.

Abbas Boutrab, from Algeria, was arrested in Newtownabbey,
near Belfast, over suspected immigration offences.

Police later found computer disks with downloaded bomb-
making instructions. He was sentenced to six years in

Story from BBC NEWS:
Published: 2006/08/13 12:38:11 GMT


Opin: Straight Talking: What About The Witness?

By Lynda Gilby
13 August 2006

Any true lover of democracy will, I suppose, be delighted
that the Diplock courts are to almost be abolished and that
trial by jury will be largely restored in Northern Ireland.

The Secretary of State assures us that elaborate
precautions will be taken to prevent the identification and
intimidation of jurors by the paramilitaries.

Measures, it seems, will be taken to ensure that the jurors
cannot be seen from the public gallery and, also, that
their names and addresses are not, as the law presently
requires, given to defence counsel.

Well that's fine and dandy, Mr Hain. Now, when are you
going to do something about the intimidation of witnesses?

For it doesn't matter a fiddler's firkin who decides
whether a defendant is innocent or guilty when witnesses
for the prosecution can be so easily leant on.

Their names and addresses still have to be given to defence
counsel. They still have to stand up in open court and face
the accused. We are not going to get anything remotely
resembling run-of-the-mill justice until they, too, can
have their identity protected.


Opin: Straight Talking: Bald Statement Of Fact

By Lynda Gilby
13 August 2006

I see that David Ervine and Sir Reg Empey are being accused
of sabre-rattling due to certain remarks Ervine made in a
public debate - remarks with which Sir Reg, apparently,

I was always taught that it was best to tell the truth and
shame the devil.

So why should Ervine be castigated for pointing out that if
Peter Hain's "Plan B", once the devolution debacle comes to
an end in November, involves moves towards joint authority,
there is likely to be widespread civil unrest on the
streets fuelled by the paramilitaries?

It's not exactly rocket science. Ervine is only
articulating what you and I calculated privately, long ago.

There are no sabres being rattled here, just a bald
statement of fact.

And the sooner we face it, the better.


Opin: US Has Stoked The Fire Of Muslim Anger Since 9/11

13 August 2006 By Vincent Browne

Mass murder on an ‘‘unimaginable scale’’ it might have
been. The murder of maybe 2,000 airline passengers in a
single afternoon.

Mass murder on an ‘‘unimaginable scale’’ it might have
been. The murder of maybe 2,000 airline passengers in a
single afternoon. On the same scale as September 11.

We have known, or should have known since 9/11, that a
similar atrocity was likely to happen. The reasons that lay
behind 9/11 had been fortified in the meantime, and there
was little reason to think that the capacity to undertake
another such atrocity was diminished.

All the more so since mass murder the other way - or at
least as perceived by those likely to have been involved in
the plans for this last week - has been going on since
September 11.

According to Mark Herold, an American professor who
chronicled the death toll in Afghanistan in the period from
October 2001 to March 2002 - the time during which the US
bombed Afghanistan - there were over 3,000 civilian deaths
as a result of the bombings alone. Obviously, there have
been thousands of more deaths as a result of the ensuing

According to an organisation that keeps toll of the mass
murder in Iraq (, the number of
civilian fatalities there since George W Bush announced on
May 1, 2003 that ‘‘major combat operations have ended’’
have been 30,260 up to March 1, 2006. The number of
civilian fatalities since then has been in the region of
500, giving a total of almost 31,000.

The Lancet has estimated that a far higher number of
people, 100,000, have lost their lives in Iraq because of
the invasion, not all directly because of the violence.

Aside from that, there has been ‘‘mass murder on an
unimaginable scale’’ going on in Israel/Palestine year-on-
year, now coupled with mass murder in Lebanon. According to
the Palestine Red Crescent Society, the number of people
killed in Palestine/Israel in the last six years is 4,157.

If the killing of 2,000 is ‘‘mass murder on an unimaginable
scale’’, what is the killing of over 4,000 in
Palestine/Israel, the killing of 31,000 or 100,000 in Iraq
and the killing of 3,000 civilians in a few months in
Afghanistan, as a result of terror bombing by the US?

In what respect are these comparisons invalid? Do Afghan,
Palestinian, Lebanese and Iraqi lives matter less than the
lives of those likely to be passengers on flights from
London to America? Is there something more morally
reprehensible in terrorists blowing themselves and innocent
people to bits on an airliner, than in pilots at the
controls of secure aircraft unleashing bombs on innocent
people on the ground and blowing them to bits? Or is the
cause of America, Britain and Israel ‘just’ in a way that
the cause of those who are combating them is not?

America, Britain and Israel are engaged in a war, they say,
against ‘‘terror’’ and, in so engaging, deploy far more
terror than those against whom they fight, or rather,
against the civilians in those countries that America,
Britain and Israel target. Is that just?

America, Britain and Israel are engaged in the protection
and maintenance of Israel, whose very origins are soaked in
injustice. Israel was founded on the terrorising of the
indigent Arab population of Palestine, the banishment of
this population from their lands and their expulsion to
refugee camps around the Middle East.

This was instigated by Britain and aided and abetted by the
Americans. This historic and monstrous injustice is at the
heart of all that is happening today in the conflict
between the ‘West’ and, increasingly, much of the Islamic
world. Were it possible to undo that injustice now in its
entirety, that is what should happen, but the passing of
time has made that impossible - or at least impractical.

But, at the very least, the historic injustice should and
must impel a settlement that leans in the interests of the
Palestinians: that guarantees them a viable sovereign
state; that guarantees the right of the refugees to return
to their lands, or at least fair and adequate compensation
for the loss of their lands; that frees Jerusalem with
Israeli control, perhaps replaced by some kind of
international suzerainty; that removes all Israeli
settlements from the West Bank; that removes the iniquitous
wall; that frees all Palestinian prisoners; and that
affords a generous aid package from the international
community for the regeneration of Palestinian territories.

This, in return for an acceptance of the Israeli state and
an acquiescence in the occupation of that part of Palestine
that formed the Israeli state prior to 1967.

On its own, that would defuse not just the Arab-Israeli
problem, but would take some of the heat out of the anger
of Muslims throughout the Middle East and Far East.

Since September 11, the US has made little effort to
understand the anger that caused that atrocity in the first
place, and, as a result, done nothing to defuse that anger.

Instead, it has stoked that anger further by the lying
pretext on which it invaded a largely Islamic state, Iraq.

Then there was the brutal bombing and (partial) subjugation
of Afghanistan, and now the support for Israeli mass murder
in Gaza and Lebanon.

Even if, for now, airplanes are not to be blown from the
skies and ‘‘mass murder on an unimaginable scale’’
perpetrated, this will happen sooner or later.

The seeds of anger have been sown amid the hundreds of
millions of Muslims around the world, from whose
communities there must be hundreds of thousands of willing
volunteers ready and able to take the war to the new

And for those who think we face a uniquely evil phenomenon
inspired by an implacable warrior religion, let us remember
that we draw from the same religious source: the Bible.


Irish Duty-Free Sales Hit Hard

Duty-free sales at Dublin Airport have been badly hit by
the ban on liquids on flights to the US.

Passengers can no longer carry alcohol or perfume on
transatlantic flights, following the bomb plot uncovered
last week in Britain.

Dublin Airport Authority has said that the restriction has
already had a significant effect on duty-free sales.


Brokers Predict Major Slowdown In Housing Market

13 August 2006 By Eamon Quinn

Mortgage brokers have predicted that house-price inflation
will drop to zero next year, and have warned of ‘‘a small
risk’’ that property values will fall in 2007 for the first
time in 12 years.

Mortgage brokers have predicted that house-price inflation
will drop to zero next year, and have warned of ‘‘a small
risk’’ that property values will fall in 2007 for the first
time in 12 years.

The brokers are uniquely placed in the €30 billion new
mortgage market to detect early warning signs of a slowdown
in the housing market.

Michael Dowling, president of the Independent Mortgage
Advisers’ Federation (IMAF), which represents the country’s
brokers, predicted that there will be no growth in property
prices next year.

The IMAF sales network accounts for about €12 billion of
mortgages and finance deals sold so far this year.
Economists have forecast between a low single-digit
increase and a 6 per cent rise in house prices next year.

Prices in Ireland last fell in 1994 in the wake of the 1992
currency crisis, according to figures from the Department
of the Environment.

Property values hit a peak in 2000, when prices increased
by 22 per cent.

The latest survey by Permanent TSB and the Economic Social
Research Institute (ESRI) showed that prices here rose at
an annual rate of 15.2 per cent in June.

‘‘We are beginning to see the signs that prices might have
reached a plateau for two reasons,’’ Dowling said.

‘‘People will not see the effect of the latest increase in
interest rates until September and with higher interest
rates, oil and gas and VHI prices, people are going to have
to tighten their belts.

‘‘But the real factor that everybody is ignoring is the
effect of stress-testing by lenders with higher interest

Under stress-testing, banks must ensure that borrowers can
afford to meet repayments if rates are 2 per cent above
existing levels. As rates rise, they will be forced to cut
back the amount they offer borrowers.

Dowling said a customer earning €40,000 a year who had
qualified for a €280,000 mortgage in May would by last week
only have been entitled to a home loan of €220,000, due to
the increase in interest rates.

‘‘The net effect of that is, if you are builder and in two
years you have a site with 200 houses or apartments coming
on-stream, every first-time buyer is affected,” he said.
‘‘The amount they can borrow is affected purely because
interest rates have gone up and the lenders have to apply
stress testing. It was not an issue when base rates were 2
per cent.

‘‘It is now very much an issue, as base rates are at 3 per
cent. Where is the money going to come from for first-time
buyers to buy new homes?”

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