Monthly Archives: April 2021

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?