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December 19, 2006

Stone's Stormont Attack Was Performance Art

News About Ireland & The Irish

BB 12/19/06 Stone's Attack 'Performance Art'
BN 12/19/06 Brits Warned Against Easing Pressure On SF
BB 12/19/06 Coroner Commends Reporter Bravery
BN 12/19/06 Daughters Weep As O’Hagan’s Inquest Details
BB 12/19/06 Charge Dropped In Omagh Bomb Case
BB 12/19/06 McCabe Killers Lose Freedom Bid
IN 12/19/06 Police In Talks With Bebo To Beat Bigots
IN 12/19/06 25 Gangland Killings in Republic in 2006
DJ 12/19/06 DUP Sees "No Reason" For Remembrance Event
AD 12/19/06 Realpolitik: An Interview With John O'Sullivan
IT 12/19/06 20-Yr Plans For Bilingual Society Unveiled
IT 12/19/06 Moriarty Finds Haughey Use Of Cash Unethical
UT 12/19/06 Haughey's Innocence Claims Drowned By Scandal
IT 12/19/06 Ahern 'Unknowingly Facilitated' Misuse Of Cash


Stone's Attack 'Performance Art'

Loyalist Michael Stone's planned incursion on a crucial
meeting of Stormont politicians was "performance art", his
defence lawyer has claimed.

He did not intend to endanger anyone's life and, Stone
alleges, the explosive devices were not viable, the High
Court in Belfast was told on Tuesday.

Stone, 51, was applying for bail on charges of attempting
to murder Gerry Adams, Martin McGuinness and two security
guards on November 24.

The bail application was adjourned.

Stone's defence lawyer Arthur Harvey, QC, said he had
received instructions from Stone that the incident, which
caused chaos at Stormont and led to the evacuation of
Parliament Buildings, was not intended to endanger the life
of anyone.

"It was, in fact, a piece of performance art replicating a
terrorist attack," said Mr Harvey.

"My instructions are that these were not viable explosive
devices and were improvised from the most basic household
items, including a cardboard holder for a kitchen roll,
candle wax and powder from fireworks freely available in

He applied for an adjournment to allow time for forensic
evidence to substantiate the claims made by Stone.

Stone, whose licence for the Milltown murders has been
revoked, is also charged with possessing home-made
explosives and a real or imitation gun with intent.

The bail application was conducted via video link from
Maghaberry Prison and the only word Stone spoke was when he
answered "yes" after the Registrar asked him to confirm his

Story from BBC NEWS:
Published: 2006/12/19 11:55:03 GMT


British Govt Warned Against Easing Pressure On SF

19/12/2006 - 10:22:17

The British government was tonight warned any attempt to
ease pressure on Sinn F‚in over the transfer of policing
and justice powers will end in failure.

As behind-the-scenes efforts continued to persuade Sinn
F‚in to call a meeting of its national executive to debate
whether to have a special conference on policing,
Democratic Unionist MP Nigel Dodds claimed Gerry Adams's
party was boxed into a corner on the issue.

The North Belfast MP also warned republicans his party
would give no date for the transfer of powers until Sinn
F‚in had publicly endorsed the Police Service of Northern
Ireland and proven its words were for real.

"The DUP has made it clear time and time again that we will
not be giving any date for the devolution of policing and
justice powers," Mr Dodds stressed.

"With Sinn F‚in now increasingly boxed into a corner on
this issue, the or government will no doubt be trying to
ease the pressure on them. Such a strategy is doomed to

"It is for Sinn F‚in and the Republican Movement to deliver
full and unequivocal support for the PSNI, the courts and
the rule of law, and to prove it over a credible period.

"There is nothing required to be done by the DUP except to
await delivery by Sinn F‚in."

Republican support for policing is seen as being the key
ingredient of prime minister Tony Blair and Irish Taoiseach
Bertie Ahern's plan to restore power sharing.

With the DUP leader, Ian Paisley, indicating he will share
power with Sinn F‚in in the event of it honouring its
obligations, focus has switched to Gerry Adams's party.

Sinn F‚in is the only one of the four parties who would
qualify for cabinet posts in a power sharing executive
which refuses to publicly support the PSNI or encourage its
voters to co-operate with police investigations.

Both governments believe the prize of Sinn F‚in support for
policing is within their grasp.

However, if Gerry Adams's party is to the change its policy
on the PSNI, he will first have to call a meeting of his
national executive and secure two thirds backing for a
special party conference on the issue.

Mr Adams and Sinn F‚in's policing spokesman Gerry Kelly,
who have both received police warnings that they are being
targeted by dissident republicans, have warned the party
needs a date from the DUP for the devolution of policing
and justice from Westminster to Stormont before they can
change policy.

They also want agreement from the DUP on the type of
government department that will handle justice and policing
powers and assurances that MI5 will have no future role in

The DUP insists Sinn F‚in must move first, endorsing the
PSNI and then demonstrating its support for the police on
the ground before the devolution of policing and justice
can be contemplated. Time is running out fast for political
progress within the timetable set by Mr Blair and Mr Ahern.

With the Northern Ireland Assembly due to be dissolved on
January 30 to prepare for a fresh Stormont election on
March 7, it is believed in some political circles Mr Adams
will have to call a meeting of his national executive and
the special party conference next month if deadlines are to
be met.

Sinn F‚in has rejected a DUP proposal to break the deadlock
which suggested the Minister for Policing and Justice could
be selected by a different method from other devolved

Instead of being allocated the ministry under the D'Hondt
system for sharing out cabinet posts according to party
strength at Stormont, the DUP proposed the minister would
have to receive 70% or more support in an Assembly vote.

This, the party argued, would guarantee the minister had
the support of both communities and could mean a cross
community Alliance Party candidate could put his or her
name forward along with the DUP, Sinn F‚in, Ulster
Unionists and nationalist SDLP hopefuls.

Sinn F‚in, the SDLP and Ulster Unionists rejected the
proposal which was put to them at a meeting of the Stormont
Programme for Government Committee's policing and justice
sub-group last Thursday.

They argued if the 70% model were adopted it would mean the
minister would effectively be at the mercy of the DUP
within the Assembly.

The three parties also dismissed DUP suggestions that the
minister would not have a vote in cabinet meetings.

It is understood in a bid to break the impasse the
government has also sounded out the SDLP about choosing the
policing and justice portfolio as one of its two devolved
ministries on the basis that this would be more acceptable
to the DUP than a Sinn F‚in minister and would allow the
transfer of powers to take place.

Mr Dodds said tonight after all years of bloodshed and
violence inflicted by the IRA, there was no question his
party would allow Sinn F‚in to immediately have control or
influence over policing and justice.

"Having consigned generations of people in Northern Ireland
to the deepest nightmare of violence and terror, Sinn F‚in
cannot complain when unionists say rightly that it will be
a political lifetime before such people could ever have
control or influence over policing and justice," the former
Stormont Social Development Minister said.

"Unionists will examine any proposals for devolution of
policing and justice in this light to ensure this does not

"Sinn F‚in's ludicrous assertion that it must be given a
timetable for political devolution of policing and justice
powers before agreeing to support the police is not
supported by any other party. It is time its hypocrisy was


Coroner Commends Reporter Bravery

A coroner has paid tribute to the bravery of murdered
Sunday World journalist Martin O'Hagan.

Mr O'Hagan, 51, was shot dead by loyalist paramilitaries as
he walked home from a pub in Lurgan, County Armagh with his
wife in September 2001.

Mr John Lecky said he was satisfied Mr O'Hagan was murdered
because he had been investigating loyalists who were
dealing drugs in the mid-Ulster area.

No-one has ever been charged with the killing.

At the time, the murder was claimed by the Red Hand
Defenders, a cover name used by both the Loyalist Volunteer
Force and the Ulster Defence Association.

Mr O'Hagan had built a reputation for paramilitary and
drug-dealing stories.

He had infuriated County Armagh paramilitary bosses,
including murdered LVF leader Billy Wright, by exposing
their crime and drugs rackets.

Earlier on Tuesday, Northern editor of the Sunday World Jim
McDowell said it was time the murderers were caught.

Ombudsman inquiry

"There are an awful lot of theories about collusion. Martin
O'Hagan was murdered because of a vendetta from the grave.

"Billy Wright, the founder of the LVF, left instructions
that whatever happened to him was to happen to Martin
O'Hagan. So his henchmen carried out that murder. That's my
understanding of it."

He added: The mechanism is there now in the Historical
Inquiries Team to take a fresh look at that, get the file,
look at the case and go after the murderers of Martin
O'Hagan and bring them to justice, five and a quarter years
down the line."

Northern Ireland Police Ombudsman Nuala O'Loan has been
asked to investigate the police inquiry.

The National Union of Journalists made the request after
lobbying for renewed action on the case.

Mr O'Hagan left behind a wife, Marie, and four daughters.

Story from BBC NEWS:
Published: 2006/12/19 12:07:47 GMT


Daughters Weep As Inquest Hears Details Of O'Hagan Murder

19/12/2006 - 13:02:15

The daughters of Sunday World journalist Martin O'Hagan
have wept at his inquest this morning as their mother gave
evidence about how he died.

The 51-year-old was shot dead by loyalist paramilitaries
near his home in Lurgan five years ago while walking home
with his wife.

The hardline Loyalist Volunteer Force, about whom Mr
O'Hagan had written extensively, was blamed for the
September 2001 killing.

Marie O'Hagan's statement this morning told of how the
couple were walking home following a night out when she
noticed a car slowing down.

She said she saw a man with a gun inside and her husband
pushed her into a hedge.

She heard six or seven shots and was aware that he was
falling. On opening his shirt, she saw two bullet holes in
his chest.

A detective chief inspector said he believed Mr O'Hagan had
been targeted by loyalists because he was a journalist and
had written about loyalist drug dealing.

However, he said he didn't have evidence to bring charges.

The National Union of Journalists has claimed that police
know the identity of the killers, but they are being
protected because they are informers.

The coroner ruled today that Mr O'Hagan's cause of death
was gunshot wounds to his chest and abdomen.


Charge Dropped In Omagh Bomb Case

One of the charges against a man accused of the Omagh
bombing has been dropped after prosecution lawyers accepted
there was no case to answer.

The charge relates to a car bombing in Banbridge, County
Down, just a few weeks before the attack in Omagh on 15
August 1998.

Sean Hoey, 37, of Jonesborough, County Armagh, still faces
a further 57 charges.

They include the murders of 29 people in the County Tyrone

Story from BBC NEWS:
Published: 2006/12/19 12:47:27 GMT


McCabe Killers Lose Freedom Bid

Two IRA members jailed for killing Irish police officer
Jerry McCabe have lost their bid for freedom.

Pearse McAuley and Jeremiah Sheehy, who are serving 14 and
12 years for his manslaughter had claimed the detention
breached their human rights.

Their lawyers argued the government breached their rights
under the Irish Constitution, the Good Friday Agreement and
the European Convention.

But their application was dismissed at Dublin's High Court
on Tuesday.

The judge ruled the two men's detention was not

In 1999, McAuley, 40, originally from Strabane, County
Tyrone, and Sheehy, 45, from Limerick, pleaded guilty at
the non-jury Special Criminal Court to the manslaughter of
Detective Garda McCabe during an attempted robbery outside
Adare Post Office in June 1996.

In the High Court, the men's lawyers argued that they
should be released because they were "qualifying
prisoners'' under the terms of the 1998 Good Friday

However, in his 64-page judgement, Mr Justice Herbert said
it made no difference whether the offence was prior to or
subsequent to the Belfast Agreement.

"The importance lies in the fact that those tried and
convicted of such terrible crimes prior to the conclusion
of the Belfast Agreement had all served long terms of
imprisonment prior to being released," the judge said.

"The persons convicted of the unlawful killing of Detective
Garda McCabe were seeking to be considered for almost
immediate release by invoking the provisions of the Act of

Garda McCabe's killers were "in an altogether different
category to those others who had been convicted of the
unlawful killing of members of An Garda Siochana in
connection with the troubles in Northern Ireland and who
had been released from prison," he added.

The men were to be released as part of a deal to restore
Northern Ireland's power-sharing executive in 2003, Sinn
Fein said.

At that time, Prime Minister Bertie Ahern said the releases
were conditional on the IRA decommissioning and an end of

However, last year, Irish Foreign Minister Dermot Ahern
warned that Sinn Fein would hit a "brick wall" if they
again requested their early release.

Story from BBC NEWS:
Published: 2006/12/19 12:47:00 GMT


Police In Talks With Bebo To Beat Bigots

By Maeve Connolly

BALLYMENA schools and police are meeting representatives
from the Bebo website today as part of an anti-sectarianism
drive following the murder of 15-year-old Michael McIlveen.

The teenager, pictured, died earlier this year after being
attacked by a gang and within hours of his death sectarian
comments were posted on Bebo.

The town's most senior police officer said he expected the
principals from Ballymena's seven post-primary schools to
"launch some tough questions" at Dr Rachel O'Connell,
Bebo's head

of corporate and social responsibility.

District commander Superintendent Terry Shevlin said he
hoped the meeting would generate ideas on `capping' online
sectarianism and welcomed Bebo's willingness to get

"The schools in Ballymena got together after Michael's
death and appointed a coordinator and this is the first
step in seeing what Bebo can do. It is another strand in
the school's efforts and the police role is facilitating
the meeting to see where it will lead to.

"It will be a very interesting meeting and I think is the
first time we've had a Bebo representative in Northern
Ireland to interface with police and the schools where
their sites are used."

Bebo was launched almost two years ago and has already
attracted more than 23 million users.

"The sites are arranged under school names," Supt Shevlin

"You go in and set up your account and align yourself to a
school. One of the things that schools have issues with is
their names being associated with stuff they have no
control over."

The social networking site allows members to post messages
and pictures, write blogs and send messages and in an
effort to prevent students spending so much time on the
site a number of universities and schools in Ireland have
blocked it.

Supt Shevlin said Bebo had taken notice of the negative
attention it received in the wake of Michael McIlveen's

Dr O'Connell was appointed several months ago to increase
the protection of Bebo's young members against concerns
such as internet child abuse and cyberbullying.

The forensic psychologist belongs to the Home Office
Internet Task Force and is considered one of Europe's most
prominent experts in this field.

"We have invited the post-primary principles in to meet her
and ourselves to see basically what emerges from it on the
theme of trying to look at sectarian issues in the
Ballymena area," Supt Shevlin said.

"It should be an interesting meeting and no doubt
challenging for Dr O'Connell. I anticipate the schools will
launch some tough questions. We are hoping positive things
will come out of it, such as capping sectarian stuff."


25 Gangland Killings: Community Needs More Gardai'

By Valerie Robinson

Gangland crime has claimed the lives of 25 people in the
Republic this year. Southern correspondent Valerie Robinson

The latest victim of gangland crime in the Republic was an
uncle of the Limerick schoolboy injured in a gun attack
last month.

Noel Crawford's five-year-old nephew Jordan Crawford was
wounded in the thigh after a gunman opened fire with a
semi-automatic handgun on a group of people outside his
grandmother's house in the O'Malley Park area of Southill.

Mr Crawford had been celebrating his 46th birthday when he
was shot in the abdomen by a gunman at 2.50am outside the
same house as the attack last month.

He was rushed to the Mid-Western Regional Hospital but died

The gunman escaped on foot.

Mr Crawford became the 25th person to be shot dead in the
Republic so far this year and the seventh to die in a gun
attack in just 10 days.

The previous record for gun fatalities was 21 last year.

Detectives believe Mr Crawford was killed as part of a
long-running feud between rival drugs gangs.

He is the seventh person to have lost his life as part of
the gangs' turf war.

However, police said he was an innocent victim in the wrong
place at the wrong time.

They suspect that the intended target was his brother Paul
who has escaped a series of attacks in recent months,
including the shooting that left his nephew injured.

He told reporters that three attempts had been made on his
life in the previous week while in July he escaped serious
injury when shots were fired at him as he was sitting in a
car with a woman and child.

A 15-year-old boy received two injuries to his leg when he
got caught in the line of fire.

Following last month's attack, Irish defence minister and
Limerick TD Willie O'Dea claimed the government was
"pouring'' gardai and resources into tackling the city's
gang problem.

However, community leaders have said that more gardai are
needed to tackle those involved in violent feuding and drug
crime but total less than five per cent of Southill's
4,000-strong population.

Gardai are also investigating two other gun attacks in
Limerick on the same night that Noel Crawford died.

A 33-year-old man was shot in the shoulder at Cliona Park
at 11.30pm in a suspected drugs-related attack.

His injuries were said to be not life- threatening.

In a separate incident, shots were fired through an
upstairs window of a house at O'Malley Park. There are no
reported injuries.

Meanwhile, shots were fired at a house at Ballynaskeagh,
Raharney in Co Westmeath.

Damage was caused to the front windows of the house, which
was occupied by a family at the time.

Nobody was injured in the incident which occurred at


DUP Sees "No Reason" For Remembrance Event

DUP politicians have defended their decision not to attend
the Mayor's 'Time of Reflection' service on Sunday
afternoon and have said they see "no reason" for it.

By Stephen Emerson

The event was held in the Guildhall and was, according to
Mayor Helen Quigley, aimed at bringing the whole city
together in an attempt to "move forward through

DUP members said the annual event, first organised when
Sinn Fein's Gearoid O'Hara was Mayor two years ago, was an
attempt by republicans to circumvent Remembrance Sunday.

Deputy Mayor Drew Thompson said he saw no reason for the
service to exist.

"Our position is very clear. We recognise the 11th of
November as the day of remembrance and reflection for
anyone who wants to remember a loved one who has been
murdered or killed. We cannot be part of something that
holds murderers in the same vein as the murdered. We cannot
let widows stand beside the person who killed their

East Derry MP Gregory Campbell said DUP members would not
attend the event until it was clear who was being


"The issue is not whether people are prepared to go to go
to an event run by a Sinn Fein or an SDLP mayor. That is
not the issue. What I want to know is who the event is
commemorating. Killers should not be remembered beside
those were killed. If innocent victims are being remembered
alongside those who made them innocent victims then we will
not be going, not this year, next year or any other year.

"This is a clear problem that needs to be addressed but at
the moment no one is prepared to address it," he said.

Mayor Helen Quigley said the format of the service had been
changed this year to be more "inclusive".

"By creating an opportunity for reflection and
reconciliation in a neutral space, I afforded an
opportunity not only to look back but to look forward on
the theme of reconciliation, which was particularly fitting
at this time of year.

"I look forward to a future where the people of the city
can live, work and socialise together and where the city
truly embraces all of its citizens and where all its people
are at ease with one another."

19 December 2006


Realpolitik: An Interview With John O'Sullivan

By Bernard Chapin (12/19/06)

John O'Sullivan is one of the most famous political
commentators alive. Unlike many other pundits, he has
considerable real world experience, and that experience has
helped to shape his views. Specifically, he once was a
special adviser to Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher, and
also ran as a candidate for Parliament in 1970. He holds
many posts such as Editor at Large for National Review, co-
chairman and founder of the New Atlantic Initiative,
columnist at the Chicago Sun-Times, and Senior Fellow at
the Hudson Institute. In the past, he has been Editor in
Chief for United Press International, National Review, The
National Interest, and Policy Review.

BC: You have a new book out called The President, the Pope,
and the Prime Minister: Three Who Changed the World. The
title refers to Ronald Reagan, Margaret Thatcher, and Pope
John Paul II. Can you explain its theme (although the title
is fairly revealing)? Also, I was intrigued by the idea of
their being middle managers who found their way to the top.
What did you mean by this? Furthermore, how much of what
they did has been undone by events of the last decade?

John O'Sullivan: My basic theme is that Reagan, Thatcher
and the Pope between them brought about the fall of
communism and the end of the Cold War. They undermined
Soviet communism ideologically, blocked it strategically,
and left it lagging in the race towards a modern
information economy. But such strong and principled leaders
would never have won power if the 1970s had not been such a
terrible decade for the West. Grave crises are generally
needed to persuade people to choose leaders associated with
bold and risky policies. Remember Sir Humphrey in "Yes,
Prime Minister" who when he wants to dissuade Jim Hacker
from some course of action, always says suavely: "Very
courageous of you, if I may say so, Prime Minister." Well,
with "stagflation" hobbling Western economies, the Soviet
Union advancing from Afghanistan to Central America, and a
mood of despair seeping even through the U.S., even the Sir
Humphrey's woke up to the need for genuine courage in their

Why did I describe my three heroes as "middle managers"?
This was a reference to them as they were in 1970. They
were then on the fringes of power and looked unlikely to
rise to the very top. They were held back by their strong
and positive personalities: Thatcher was seen as too
conservative, Reagan as too American (i.e., too
optimistic), and the Pope as too Catholic, which meant too
Polish, or maybe just Polish. Courage and principle did not
seem necessary in 1970. By late 1970s, however, not only
were the crises grave, they were also in line with what
Reagan, Thatcher and Bishop Wojtyla had been saying. People
turned naturally to them. So I suppose the gravity of those
crises is something we should be grateful to Jimmy Carter

BC: As someone who knows Prime Minister Thatcher, what is
her personality like? Did she deserve the nickname "Iron
Lady" or was that just Soviet agitprop?

John O'Sullivan: Lady Thatcher is a warm, lively and
combative personality. She likes a good argument and so she
likes people who argue with her. She certainly deserved the
title "The Iron Lady" (given to her by the Soviets) because
she was firm and authoritative in the face of attack. She
also had the administrative stamina to push through her
labor and economic reforms not only against union
opposition but also against the usual bureaucratic
obstructionism in government. Because Blair lacks this
stamina, his achievements will fall far short of hers on
the day he leaves office. As a boss she was kind,
thoughtful and considerate, especially to those lower down
the pecking order. But she was also demanding and tough
towards ministers and senior civil servants. Sometimes she
took this too far-it's generally agreed that she treated
Geoffrey Howe badly because she misread his mild good-
natured personality as a sign of weakness. She paid heavily
for that error. In general, though, she is a very kind
woman. She also has a strong domestic side. She used to
cook supper for aides working late with her on speeches. I
think of her as a combination of towering world-historical
figure and ordinary British housewife-and equally good in
both capacities.

BC: Despite Stalin's sarcastic question about how many
divisions the Pope had, Karol Wojtyla was a Pope in no need
of an army. In the history of the papacy, how unusual was
John Paul II's moral authority along with his will to
express it? How influential was he?

John O'Sullivan: He was very unusual. Pope John Paul II was
probably the most influential Pope since the Reformation
within the Christian world. And because the entire world is
now united by the communications revolution, he wielded
more influence than any Pope in history over the non-
Christian world. This was recognized by Gorbachev in 1989
when he introduced his wife Raisa to John Paul by saying
something like "meet the most important spiritual authority
in the world." That was quite a come-down for the leader of
the officially atheist state that only a few decades before
had pretensions to replace Christianity throughout the
world. It reflected the fact that John Paul had begun the
defeat of communism in his 1979 pilgrimage to Poland. John
Paul II established-and I think the present and future
Popes will continue-the tradition that one important role
for the papacy is to be a spokesman for religious liberty

BC: Has the left lost the battle over Ronald Reagan? It
seems as if the American people now view him as being a
great leader, which has allowed his reputation to climb out
of the morass of partisan politics.

John O'Sullivan: Yes. The Left lost the battle of Reagan's
reputation to three forces: former Cold War enemies,
including advisors to Gorbachev, who testified to Reagan's
strength and shrewdness; Reagan's own earlier writings,
published after he developed Alzheimers, that showed the
clarity of his mind and his grasp of political issues; and
the unavoidable reality that Reagan obtained arms reduction
treaties, revived the U.S. economy, and won the Cold War.
As his latest biographer, Richard Reeves, a political
liberal, points out, it's simply implausible that these
achievements could have been the work of an "amiable
dunce." There's increasing embarrassment in the media over
their 1980s misreporting. As for the bias of Liberal
academia-well, in the immortal words of Mick Jagger (about
Marianne Faithful), they "don't embarrass easy."

BC: I absolutely love your contribution to physics and hope
it is long remembered with the same reverence as the word,
"thermodynamics." The sad thing about O'Sullivan's First
Law, which postulates that all organizations not right-wing
will eventually become left-wing, is its eerie accuracy.
Why does it prove so annoyingly predictive of
organizational behavior? Is this principally due to
conservatives being such poor evangelists for their

John O'Sullivan: I'm delighted you like `O'Sullivan's Law.'
It does seem to have caught on, probably because new
instances of it crop up weekly. My best guess is that the
law works because the Zeitgeist is liberal. People who lack
firm convictions will therefore tend to drift in a liberal
direction. Only avowed conservatives will stand their
ground. Hence organizations not led or staffed by
conservatives will tend to move left over time. Of course,
there are other possible explanations. My favorite one is
taken from Robert Conquest's Second Law: "The behavior of
any organization can best be predicted on the assumption
that it is headed by a secret cabal of its enemies." That
would explain the behavior not only of non-conservative
organizations but of some avowedly conservative ones as
well, notably the Republican and British Conservative

BC: Does the media remain as biased to the left as they
once were? Here in Chicago, your columns can be found in
the Sun-Times which undoubtedly pleases many a
conservative. However, do you think the media is as biased
to the left as it once was? If so, is there any cure for

John O'Sullivan: No, there has been some correction to what
is still a strong liberal bias in the media. This
correction-strongest on economic issues, weakest on social
ones-is the result of several major developments that have
more or less abolished the monopoly power of the
establishment media. The first is the internet which
enables readers everywhere to choose their newspaper from
all those in the world, including conservative papers in
Britain, Australia and Canada. The second is the rise of
the blogosphere-namely, the growing world of unpaid
freelance journalists who compete with professional
journalists and critique their stories. Since some of them
are manifestly more talented and curious than the
"professionals," they constitute both an alternative media
and a school of media criticism. Third is the establishment
of media watchdog organizations whose very existence is a
disincentive to media bias. Fourth is FoxNews which covers
the news every bit as accurately as ABC, NBC and CBS-and
sometimes more accurately-but from a different political
perspective. It is very funny to see indignant liberal
journalists complaining of Fox's bias in a way that shows
they confuse "reality" with their own views. Of course,
such mistakes are easy to make when a newsroom consists of
80 per cent Democrats and 10 per cent Republicans, with
even more lopsided majorities supporting such liberal
causes as abortion on demand and gay marriage. When all
these forces are added up, you get a reduction in liberal
media bias but also, and more significantly, a more
competitive information environment both ideologically and
organizationally. I'm glad you like my Sun-Times column. I
have enjoyed writing it, and my colleagues on the paper
have been very supportive.

BC: What was your stance on the quarrel between The
National Interest and The American Interest?

John O'Sullivan: I did my best to arrange a marriage
between The National Interest (TNI) and the people behind
"The American Interest" (TAI) before the latter was
launched. The idea was that Frank Fukuyama and Cbarles
Davidson would join TNI-or, in Frank's case, play a larger
role in it-in order to strengthen both the business and
editorial capacities of TNI. Negotiations fell through,
unfortunately. The gulf in both temperament and vision
between Frank and Dimitri Simes, then effectively the sole
proprietor of TNI, was too deep. I was on friendly terms
with the TAI people. They agreed to hold off their launch
until I had raised the funds to keep TNI going as a
magazine of debate. But all that was short-circuited when I
left the magazine involuntarily. Half the Advisory Board
followed Frank in resigning and in setting up TAI. We now
have two magazines-the pure "realist" TNI and the mixed
"realist-neocon" TAI-claiming paternity from the TNI of
Owen Harries. That's quite a tribute to Owen. Wearing my
freelance writer hat, I say: "the more the merrier."

BC: This is a rather freeform question to ask, but how
would you "fix" Iraq? What would you recommend we do about
the situation at this point?

John O'Sullivan: I am not a soldier and I have only limited
experience of the Middle East. So it would not be sensible
of me to lay down a detailed prescription for how to win in
Iraq-or even how not to lose. That leads me to suggest
three general points. The first is the old British Army
maxim: when you have a man on the spot, you must either
back him or sack him. What you can't do is continually
second-guess him from a position of greater ignorance.
Probably we haven't sacked enough generals-but we have
certainly maximized confusion by having the administration
in Washington constantly micro-managing policy when it
couldn't even agree on a single strategy. These faults are
now likely to be aggravated by the report of the Iraq Study
Group which combines defeatism with wishful thinking in
about equal proportions.

The second general point is that the U.S. cannot leave Iraq
until a relatively stable and friendly government is
established there. If it tries, it will simply have to
return. That's not because of neo-conservatism or any other
left-wing bogey but because an Iraq that is either another
anarchic Afghanistan or a second Iran would be a massive
threat to American interests both there and here.
Discussion of Iraq in Washington at present seems to ignore
the main strategic fact that Iran, Syria, Hizbollah and
Hamas are allies in a radical campaign to re-make the
Middle East as an Iranian region of influence. Insofar as
the ISG report considers this, it is to propose a plan
that-when it is stripped of its wishful thinking-amounts to
arguing that the radicals can obtain their objectives by a
regional conference rather than by force if they allow
America a graceful exit. Such a plan would require the
betrayal of Israel which, however, is unlikely to go gentle
into that goodnight. So even the defeatism of the ISG
report is wishful thinking!

The third general point is that American difficulties in
Iraq are due not to some inevitable doom but to errors of
judgment that can still be corrected. In particular, our
enemies within and outside Iraq are not frightened of us-
and with good reason. We didn't shoot looters after the
fall of Baghdad; we backed off from the first battle of
Fallujah; we threatened Moqtada al Sadr and then allowed
his rise; we left undisturbed the terrorist camps in
Eastern Syria from which insurgents were infiltrated into
Iraq; and we have merely complained about Iranian support
for terror. Seriously frightening our enemies is the sine
qua non of any new Iraq policy-including even that of the
ISG report. And the longer we delay it, the more terrible
our actions will need to be.

BC: In terms of the future with Northern Ireland, is there
any reason, at this point, for Britain to continue to take
an interest in its political goings on? What are they
getting out of being involved in their affairs?

John O'Sullivan: Britain cannot avoid involvement in
Ireland since Northern Ireland is part of Britain (or,
technically, the United Kingdom.) This is not a mere legal
truism. There are two nations in Ireland-the Gaelic Irish
and the Ulster British-and if one has a right of self-
determination, so has the other. The root cause of the
present troubles is not British imperialism but the refusal
of the Irish nationalists to accept that one-quarter of the
population of Ireland belongs to another nation and has
exercised its right of self-determination to remain in the
UK. The Ulster-Brits have been telling the other nation
this since 1911 but the Irish nationalists have sought to
override their protests by force. So far the Ulster Brits
have been able to resist these attacks. The latest census
seems to have removed any nationalist hope that demography
will produce a united Ireland (separate from Britain) any
time soon. And the thirty-year campaign of terrorism by the
Provisional IRA, killing more than two thousand innocent
people, has achieved a very odd kind of success: the Rev.
Ian Paisley is about to become the First Minister of
Northern Ireland-with the enthusiastic support of Gerry
Adams. In short, as anyone but the Provos has accepted
since the mid-1970s, a united Ireland will come into
existence only when no-one much cares one way or the other.
That might mean never. It might mean as an unnoticed result
of European integration that abolishes both Britain and
Ireland. But it will not mean the fulfillment of the
Eastern Declaration of 1916. So Britain will remain
involved in Ireland.

What does Britain get out of it? Well, what does the U.S.
get from being involved in Louisiana? Very little, I should
guess, but then the U.S. doesn't start out expecting to
"get" something. Rather the reverse. So it is with Britain
and Northern Ireland. Some time ago, as part of a
diplomatic minuet, a British Minister made a speech stating
that Britain had "no selfish strategic or economic
interest" in remaining in Ulster. The IRA was pleased,
seeing this as a step to withdrawal. In fact the reasons
for staying in Northern Ireland to protect the people
against murder and terrorism are not "interests" but honor,
loyalty, and allegiance. If they did not exist, the Brits
would long ago have pulled out of a province that is costly
in every sense. But honor, loyalty and allegiance do exist
and-contra both cynics and establishment appeasers-will
continue to be ultimate determinant of British policy.

BC: Where do you go from here? Do you have another book
planned? Do you think you'll ever retire?

John O'Sullivan: I'm not a great planner. Most of the good
things that have happened to me have come out of the blue.
That said, I have a general interest in writing another
book-and also in writing something outside my usual range
of journalism and political history. It would probably be
tempting fate to say more.

I doubt if I shall ever retire-though I may be forcibly
retired by editors and publishers. Journalists can look
forward to one of two obituaries: a favorable one "Always
Consistent, Never Predictable" (which Colin Welch coined
and which he certainly deserves), and an unfavorable one,
"Forgotten But Not Gone." On the whole I would prefer the
second since it's the only epitaph erected over a living

BC: Thank you very much, and good luck with your new book.

Bernard Chapin

Bernard Chapin is a writer and psychologist living in
Chicago and the author of Escape from Gangsta Island. He is
currently at work on a book concerning women.

Bernard Chapin is a writer living in Illinois.

Send Feedback To Bernard Chapin Site:


Plans For Bilingual Society Unveiled

Proposals to create a bilingual society over the next 20
years have been unveiled by the Government today.

The Government's policy statement on the Irish language was
announced at Farmleigh House, prior to the last Cabinet
meeting of 2006 this morning.

In the statement the Government said that 92 per cent of
people surveyed felt that promoting the Irish language is
important to the country, to themselves personally or to

It also found that almost 1.6 million people in Ireland can
speak Irish.

The statement lists 13 key objectives, and it comes as
Irish is due to become the 21st official working language
of the European Union on January 1st.

The 13 objectives include;

:: Full implementation of the Official Languages Act and
facilitation of the public's right to use Irish in dealings
with the State.

:: Provision of a wide range of services to parents who
wish to raise their children through Irish.

:: Continuous development of high-quality broadcast
services through Irish, especially on TG4, RT and Raidi¢
na Gaeltachta.

:: Special support for the Gaeltacht as an Irish-speaking

:: Continuation of teaching of Irish as an obligatory
subject from primary to Leaving Cert level while fostering
oral and written competence.

:: Enhanced investment in professional development and
ongoing support for teachers as well as in provision of
textbooks and resources and in support for innovative
approaches to teaching and learning.

:: Further development of all-Irish secondary education.

Speaking today, Taoiseach Bertie Ahern said that the
statement marks "a major evolution" in national policy on
the Irish language.

"The aim of 20th-century Government policies was to
reinstate Irish as the main language spoken by the people,
but the Government now plan to focus firmly on the
practical development of a bilingual society where as many
people as possible use both Irish and English with equal
ease," Mr Ahern added.


Moriarty Finds Haughey Use Of Cash Unethical

Paul Anderson

The late former taoiseach Charles Haughey accepted cash for
favours from wealthy businessmen over 17 years, the
Moriarty tribunal found today.

Issuing his report today after nine years of hearings,
tribunal chairman Mr Justice Michael Moriarty found that Mr
Haughey spent some of the money raised for a liver
transplant operation for his former colleague and political
ally Brian Lenihan.

The 600-page report also found Mr Haughey had been paid
IR$50,000 (?63,000) by Saudi sheikh Mahomoud Fustok to
support passport applications in the early 1980s.

The late taoiseach claimed the money was payment for a
horse, but the inquiry found it was made in a secretive and
clandestine manner and was connected to the naturalisation
of a number of Mr Fustok's relatives.

It found that this and other payments he received between
1979 and 1996 funded Mr Haughey's conspicuously lavish
lifestyle beyond what his relatively modest salary should
have afforded him.

The former taoiseach's dealings with elite businessmen
between 1979 and 1996 were unethical, the tribunal

In his evidence to the tribunal, Mr Haughey insisted he was
unable to help the tribunal with identifying donors. He
said his finances were handled by the late Des Traynor
since the 1960s and, for this reason, the details were not
known to him.

The Moriarty (Payments to Politicians) Tribunal was
established in 1997 in the wake of the McCracken (Dunnes
Payments) Tribunal, which revealed that Mr Haughey had
received huge payments from Ben Dunne.


Haughey's Claims Of Innocence Drowned Out By Scandal

It is a scandal more at home in the pages of a seedy vice
thriller: call girls, corruption, shady deals, sheikhs and
a top politician's fall from grace.

By:Press Association

But for nine years Ireland has looked on as the long-
running and costly Moriarty Tribunal delved into the murky
finances of the late Charles Haughey and Fine Gael`s one-
time rising star Michael Lowry TD.

Their political careers foundered on a cash for favours
scandal first exposed when drug-addled supermarket tycoon
Ben Dunne was caught red-handed with a bag of cocaine and a
prostitute in a Florida penthouse.

His antics split the family, forcing him from the business.

But confessions to his lawyers implicated Haughey, and
scores of Ireland`s elite, in a tax evasion scam sparking a
groundbreaking trawl through Irish-owned offshore bank
accounts hidden in the Cayman Islands.

The extent of the scandal was uncovered by the McCracken
Tribunal and led to the formation of a follow-up inquiry
chaired by the respected Belfast-born judge Mr Justice
Michael Moriarty.

Inquiries spanned 17 years, from 1979 to 1996, and centred
on Dunne`s pay-offs and other cash Haughey was given for

In one of the first public sittings of the Moriarty
Tribunal the judge insisted it would be neither a witch-
hunt nor a fudge and added that he was conscious that
protracted hearings could easily lose public confidence.

It has taken over nine years and over ?22.5 million (œ15.2
million) in fees and costs for a report to be finalised.

The tribunal had been given until next month to complete
its work.

Moriarty was given the complex task of investigating the
extent of payments to Haughey and Lowry, where these came
from and whether the donors benefited from the pay-offs.

Essentially, it became a difficult and time-consuming trawl
through bank accounts, ultimately focusing on tax evasion.

Its remit included the source of money held by Haughey in
secret off-shore Ansbacher Bank accounts and other accounts
in the Isle of Man and the Channel Islands.

It also sought to expose whether the Revenue Commissioners
did their job in demanding and collecting tax due from
Haughey and Lowry.

The main allegations were that Haughey received over
?2million (œ1.34 million) tax-free from Ben Dunne while
Lowry was given just under ?400,000 (œ268,000), also by
Dunne, to pay for an extension on his Tipperary home.

And it also investigated claims that Haughey helped secure
an Irish passport for a wealthy Saudi sheikh, Mahmoud
Fustok, in 1985 after he handed over IR50,000

A report into the affairs of Mr Lowry is expected to be
completed next year.

Haughey fiercely fought any claims of wrongdoing all along.

His wily attempts to stifle the tribunal at every turn were
well documented, with his harshest critics insinuating that
he used his failing health like a "get out of jail free
card" to avoid giving evidence.

He even cited Winston Churchill, who was bankrolled by the
British aristocracy, when questioned about payments.


Ahern 'Unknowingly Facilitated' Misuse Of Cash

Patrick Logue

Bertie Ahern findings:Taoiseach Bertie Ahern facilitated
the misuse of party funds by Charles Haughey by signing
blank cheques for an account designed to receive funds for
the party leader from the Exchequer, the Moriarty report

However, the tribunal was "satsified" Mr Ahern did not know
what the money drawn on the account was being used for.

The Leader's Allowance Account, which was set up to receive
the Fianna F il party leader's allowance from the State,
was used by Mr Haughey to make payments that were of
personal benefit to Mr Haughey, the report said.

"For all practical purposes, the account was treated by Mr
Haughey as being at his disposal, and Mr Haughey accepted
that it was used for payments not intended to be made from
the Leader's Allowance, including payments to meet his
personal expenditures," the report said.

The report added that although Taoiseach Bertie Ahern, who
co-signed the cheques drawn on the account at the time,
facilitated the misuse of the account, he had "had no
reason to believe that the account was operated otherwise
than for a proper purpose.

"There were no statutory or other controls governing the
operation of the account at the time," the tribunal said.

It added that the practice of signing blank cheques by Mr
Ahern was "inappropriate and imprudent, having regard to
the nature of the account (being one used to administer
funds provided from the public purse), the skills and
experience then possessed by Mr Ahern".

The report said this had been "largely accepted" by Mr
Ahern in his evidence to the Moriarty tribunal, "and it is
noteworthy that, at the instance of Mr Ahern, certain
amendments to the law governing the allowance have since
been made, which have introduced significant statutory
controls in terms of both the application of the allowance,
and in terms of accountability to the Public Office

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