Trump, Biden & Afghanistan – US Media Bias On Show

Great piece here which reveals the inherent bias in the US media……the time will come when it will really matter.

Brainless British, Irish & International Media Responsible For Belfast ‘Riots’

The recent riots in Belfast, or minor street disturbances to be precise, are the direct result of a spineless media consensus, fed by cynical politicians, that Brexit would create circumstances which would re-ignite the Troubles, unless they were counteracted.

Here is the story the bulk of the media would not write:

The fulcrum of the Troubles was Belfast, especially the Catholic ghettos of Short Strand in east Belfast, the lower Falls, Ballymurphy, Andersonstown in the west, and, in north Belfast, Ardoyne. Now it is pretty hard to imagine how ordinary folk in these areas, relieved that the daily violence which scarred their lives for so many years had gone, would get so exercised over (mostly foreign) lorry drivers for huge multinationals being pestered by having to fill forms at or near the Border, many miles away, would throw their hands up in the air and declare in gruff, angry voices, ‘time to get pikes down from the thatch again’!

But that was precisely argument that southern political leaders like Leo Varadkar took to Brussels and Strasbourg and persuaded the well-fed bureaucrats that instead of a so-called ‘hard Border’, the protection of the precious peace process was better served by positioning it somewhere out in the Irish Sea.

And so was born the most extraordinary piece of nonsense since Lewis Carrolls’ allegedly LSD induced fantasy ‘Alice in Wonderland’.

The international and domestic media gobbled up this nonsense with breathtaking eagerness. I forget how many interviews I gave to foreign journalists at the time, arguing that what caused the Troubles, what drove ordinary, normal people into a viciously violent outfit like the Provos was something much more intimate than a ‘hard’ Border many miles from their homes. It was the daily experience of state violence, meted out by soldiers who spoke in foreign accents and sided with their longtime enemies that did that.

I don’t want to exaggerate the number of calls I got but I do remember how they went. Would a hard border re-ignite the violence, came the first question: ‘I don’t think so’, came my reply, the disappointment at the other end almost tangible. Only one reporter showed interest as I explained why, a Norwegian if my memory serves, but even so he buried my reply deep in his copy.

That was the only reporter who gave space to these thoughts. The rest ran away and filed stories that were indistinguishable from their colleagues and thus gave the most foolproof defence against incompetence and cowardice: “Well everyone else was filing the same!’ And so they retained their handsome salaries and expenses.

The result is that Varadkar and his like-minded colleagues got their way, with a Border that, theoretically, is on the same longitude as the Isle of Man. All to solve a problem that never existed except in the cynical minds of the Irish government of the day, the idiots in Downing Street and the likeminded fools in Brussels and Strasbourg. So together, they solved a non-existent problem only to create a real one.

And still the stupid, cynical, incompetent and unprincipled media can’t, or won’t, get the story right.

Sinn Fein And The British Royals

I cannot, for the life of me, make sense of the politics behind Sinn Fein’s response to the death of Prince Philip. Michelle O’Neill’s homage to a man whose politics and social attitudes were near neanderthal, followed not far behind that made public by Alex Maskey, who these days straddles the Speaker’s chair at Stormont were just, to put it mildly, unnecessarily over the top:

While many republicans, aside from those who have not imbibed the kool-aid, will be and have been appalled, Unionists, I suspect, will not have been impressed, accustomed as they are to regard everything the Provos do and say with the utmost scepticism and suspicion.

The only people who will greet SF’s expressions of sympathy for the Royals with undisguised pleasure are the two governments, in London and Dublin. I suspect the word ‘house-trained’ might figure in their conversations.

Northern Ireland: Memories of 1977 and a 'terribly tense' royal visitor |  The Independent | The Independent
The more traditional Provo response to British royalty – a West Belfast protest to mark a royal visit during the Queen’s 25th year jubiliee in 1977

When Is A Riot Not A Riot?

This is a real riot, June 1970:

This is not a real riot, April 2021:

Buses suspended after this tonight 4/7/21, 15:22

At Least Trump Is Gone…..

With thanks to RS for the tip.

‘Blown Away’, An IRA Movie worth watching….

At least that’s what I read on Facebook. You have to go to YouTube to watch so follow the link below. Enjoy:

Irish Times Remembers Bobby Sands But Forgets Richard O’Rawe

The Irish Times today (Apr 3rd) marks the victory in the 1981 Fermanagh-South Tyrone by-election of Bobby Sands, who just shy of a month later would die on hunger strike, the first of ten republican prisoners who would sacrifice themselves ostensibly for the cause of political status but in reality so that Sinn Fein could enter electoral politics.

And since that move into electoral politics would cause unsustainable friction between the political ambitions of Sinn Fein and the violent methods of the IRA – a battle which Sinn Fein would eventually win – it is at least arguable that the 1981 hunger strikers began something that ultimately we would recognise as the peace process.

There were two key aspects of the death toll. The first was the number who gave up their lives, so many that anger at the British – or rather the imperious Margaret Thatcher – spilled over from the traditional but limited republican constituency into more moderate Nationalist homes, threatening the SDLP’s traditional electoral hegemony in that community.

The second was the extent to which the hunger strikes normalised and legitimised electoral politics in a community that had long regarded elections as a virulent political poison, a sellout by any other name. When Bobby Sands died and the British banned serving prisoners from standing in the resulting by-election, Owen Carron, a Sinn Fein activist, stood and won the seat. And when a general election was called that torrid summer in the Republic, protesting prisoners stood and won seats in the Dail.

These election results terrified constitutional politicians on both islands, but persuaded hitherto republican zealots that maybe elections weren’t such a bad thing after all. This would not have been possible had the hunger strike been called off after Sands’ death, or when it became clear, as it did not long afterwards, that Mrs Thatcher would not give the IRA the victory its supporters wanted. And the longer the protest lasted, the more legitimacy was bestowed on the idea of fighting and winning elections.

It is therefore entirely appropriate that The Irish Times chose the anniversary of Sands’ election rather than his death to mark the importance of the part he played in these events. Nor is there much wrong with the paper’s choice of interviewees, tediously familiar though some of them are, especially those from Sinn Fein.

No, the problem is the dog that didn’t bark.

One of the reasons why the hunger strikes lasted so long was the failure of efforts to negotiate a settlement, particularly one that coincided with the by-election in Fermanagh-South Tyrone caused by Sands’ death and which Sand’s election agent, Owen Carron was tipped to win. Had the settlement been accepted and the prison protest ended it is probable that Carron would not have become the area’s MP and the North’s subsequent history might well have been very different.

The story of how all that happened was first told by the prisoners’ then public relations officer in the jail, Richard O’Rawe, in interviews for the Boston College archive. After he was interviewed by Anthony McIntyre he decided, very much against my advice, to write a book about the experience. I knew the Provos would make his life hell. But, seeing that he was determined, I then gave him as much help as I could.

To be sure the book was very controversial but as time has passed, the essential truth of his account has become more widely accepted, not least when Brendan Duddy, the Derry businessman who was the go-between to the British government in the episode at the centre of O’Rawe’s story confirmed the account.

But O’Rawe does not exist in The Irish Times‘ hunger strike universe. You can read Mary Lou McDonald’s view of the hunger strikes, Michelle Gildernew’s and Danny Morrison’s. But not Richard O’Rawe’s. It is as if he never existed. In such ways is history scrubbed clean.

Double Standards In North’s Funeral Rules All About The Peace Process

One IRA funeral, in Belfast, of a leading activist, flagrantly breaches the Covid rules and the authorities, to wit the Director of Public Prosecutions (DPP) office, decide there shall be no prosecutions.

A second funeral in Co Tyrone, also of a Republican activist, also flagrantly breaches the Covid rules and the DPP decides there shall be prosecutions and two men are charged.

On its face that looks like a double standard in action. So, why one rule in Tyrone and a different one in Belfast?

Silly question, really.

The Belfast funeral was that of Bobby Storey, an enforcer for the Gerry Adams’ leadership who more than any other individual ensured that the party line in relation to the peace process was implemented, often ruthlessly. Few men, for instance, delivered weapons from arms dumps for decommissioning with more ferocity and determination than he; few people were as unquestioningly loyal to the Adams’ leadership.

Francie McNally’s funeral procession – DPP will prosecute here but not Bobby Storey’s much bigger send-off

The Tyrone funeral was also of a republican activist, Francie McNally, whose mourners at his funeral reflected the deep doubts and reservations about the direction and purpose of the peace process strongly, in fact overwhelmingly felt by the IRA and its supporters in that county, especially around the Lough shore where McNally hailed from.

Put simply, one funeral was pro the Adams’ peace strategy, the other was ambivalent at best, against it at worst.

To prosecute those who attended the Storey funeral would mean bringing charges against the national leadership of Sinn Fein, from Mary Lou to Gerry Adams and on downwards.

Prosecuting those involved in the McNally funeral – and so far two former IRA prisoners have been singled out – would mean targeting people with no love or even affection for the peace process.

One set of prosecutions would pitch the peace process into crisis, the other would not.

And so the North’s Director of Public Prosecutions did what so many of his predecessors did in the past, and made a decision that, in appearance at least, has all the characteristics of being influenced by, and made for reasons of political expediency rather than because the law says so.

Isn’t that the sort of place where the Troubles came from, that was supposed to have been left behind?


…And So It Has Come To This: ‘Beans Out!’

Joe Brolly On Life After RTE Censorship……

Thanks to JM for making this available on the internet. This is Joe Brolly’s riposte to RTE’s recent effort to silence him (Joe is the son of Co Derry singers Ann and Francie Brolly):

Max Hastings, Boris Johnson’s old editor at the Telegraph, wrote last month that “Irish unification will take place within a generation, righting a historical wrong” and “this outcome would serve the best interests of the Irish people”. He added: “Most British people don’t care a fig for the North.”

George Osborne, former Tory chancellor under David Cameron and former Evening Standard editor, said in January: “Northern Ireland is heading for the UK exit door and few people will care.”

When I said on RTÉ’s Claire Byrne Live debate on Monday nightthat the DUP is a short-term fantasy based on triumphalism, homophobia, racism and sectarianism, I was intending to go on and make the point that only when we honestly call this out, can we solve the Northern problem.If you took the sectarians, homophobes and racists out of the DUP, there would be hardly anyone left, so Gregory Campbell must have been bewildered that I was cut off by RTÉ.

Gregory, who, in the way of the DUP, cackled contemptuously at the Irish audience, told me once – during the interval of a debate we were having at the Belfast Festival – that he had found God in a blinding flash of light when he was 16. With the DUP dominated by evangelicals who won’t watch Strictly Come Dancing because there are gay couples on it, who believe Aids was a punishment from God on gays and that Covid is God’s penalty for legalising gay marriage and abortion, serious discussion is pointless.

When a political party claims to speak for God, there isn’t much point in taking a vote at the end of the meeting.Therefore, the solution must be created with or without them. There is recent precedent. Albert Reynolds, John Hume and David Trimble set out to create the peace and, in doing so, ignored them. Ian Paisley and his heavenly warriors bellowed and warned of Armageddon.When the Peace Agreement was signed, the DUP rejected it, then destroyed David Trimble (painting him as a traitor to Ulster) and progressive unionism.

As soon as that was done, Paisley U-turned and became First Minister. In spite of the DUP, we are enjoying the most spectacularly successful peace process in modern history. They have had an opportunity in the 25 years since to create a stable Northern Ireland, but they couldn’t. This is because they are not so much a political party as an emotion.

As historian Brendan O’Leary explains in his masterwork on the North, the North is not a state, or even a province. It is instead an unworkable fantasy based on unionist supremacy. A ragbag of a place whose raison d’etre has always been to rub the Catholics’ noses in it. We have lived through systematic discrimination, electoral fraud, deprivation of the vote, violent repression of civil rights, shoot to kill, massacres of innocent civilians without consequence (Bloody Sunday, Glenanne, Ballymurphy) and so on.

If children in the Republic were taught that in 1971, thousands of Catholic men were rounded up and detained in a detention camp outside Belfast without charge or trial for up to three years, they would think you were joking. Doesn’t that only happen in Russia?In 1976, after a music night at the Bellaghy club, my parents and a few friends, including my Aunt Maura, who was on the lookout for a man at the time, were stopped by a UDR patrol. My father was taken over the hill out of sight and three shots rang out.

Then Packie Kealey (a fiddler). Then Lawrence Mulholland. When car lights appeared on the horizon, the soldiers got back in their Land Rover and drove off. My Aunt Maura said: “Your mother was heavily pregnant with Aine. We ran over the hill in hysterics. We thought they were dead. They were all alive. Just badly beaten.” Subsequently, the men were awarded £5,000 in damages at Magherafelt District Court. No one was ever charged. This was normal life for us.

The Republic turned a blind eye. As writer and historian Paul Larkin put it recently, the only explanation for the hysterical Southern response to anyone talking honestly about the North “is self shame – a phenomenon well attested in post-colonial societies”. It is a sense of guilt that comes from them having sat on their hands as the horrors unfolded. Much easier The short-termism of the DUP is seen in their fantasy that Brexit would lead to the restoration of the Border and a “final solution” (as Gregory put it on RTÉ last week) to the six counties problem. The only way to avoid a border between Britain and the North was a soft Brexit, but the DUP wrecked Mrs May’s deal, proclaimed Rees Mogg and Boris (who wouldn’t pee on them if they were on fire) the saviours of the Union and hurtled on towards self-destruction.

Three years on, Boris, with a majority that returned the DUP to the status of an embarrassing sideshow, duly peed on them from a great height (they were not on fire, to be fair) and did a Brexit deal that created a de facto United Ireland. As MP Ian Paisley put it in Westminster in January, pointing at the Tories, voice trembling with rage: “What did we do to members on those benches to be screwed over by this protocol?”Nothing of substance binds the North to the UK. There is no kinship between English people and Northern unionists. The Tories have always loathed the DUP and are loathed in return.

Unlike in 1920, when the North was an industrial powerhouse, it now contributes nothing to the UK. With Scottish independence looming and 40pc of Welsh voters favouring independence, it is no coincidence that significant English voices are talking openly about severing the link.I have no interest in party politics. I never voted Sinn Féin. I despaired when the Women’s Coalition was destroyed because I believed then as I do now that women from both persuasions can create a new type of politics here. My prediction is that the UK government will soon start the discussion in earnest. They want out. Therefore, it is inevitable.

A civic forum needs to be created that gives a voice to the highly educated and decent Northern Protestant constituency that has been drowned out by the DUP – the one Andrew Trimble referred to on Monday night.The first step might be a two-state solution. Stormont would remain, but it would no longer be a political kindergarten overseen by the British. Both states would be in the EU (a referendum would be needed to return the North fully, but since 56pc voted to remain and only 44pc to leave in the Brexit referendum, this would be a formality). Northern Protestants would continue to have the same rights as they have now, including UK citizenship and UK passport; the same representatives; the same daily lives.

There would be strong bilateral agreements. The US, the UK and the EU would willingly provide long-term financial support. This would be, as Martin McAleese put it recently, “pocket change to them”. With the UK gone, there would be no point in triumphalism. Short-termism would be replaced by the dull nuts and bolts of long-term problem solving. Progressive, well-educated Protestant voices would emerge. We have a very peaceful society. In the new dispensation, we would begin to have a functional society. After that, if people on both sides of the Border felt it would be better to join together, that could be easily worked out. Stormont could remain as a regional parliament.

It would all develop organically.Unionists and Southerners have nothing to fear. The trick is to approach the problems honestly. Only then will the solutions emerge. I could not be more optimistic about the future – and no one will have to choke on their own blood.”