Category Archives: Uncategorized

Has The Irish Times Spiked Its Review Of Kevin Myers’ ‘Burning Heresies’?

Back at the beginning of December last year, Eoghan Harris, writing in the Sunday Independent about his choice of the best books of 2020, placed Kevin Myers’ ‘Burning Heresies‘ at the top of his list and had this to say about the memoir whose author once graced the pages of The Irish Times as the celebrated custodian of ‘An Irishman’s Diary’ column:

Kevin Myers’s Burning Heresies (Merrion Press, €19.95) is the saddest and funniest political book of (the) year. Under the bludgeonings of both chance and evil design – Myers has some malign foes – his sardonic eye is always searching for the comic barb to embed in his enemies. His memoir makes a perfect Christmas gift: his hilarious Bleak House portrait of The Irish Times in the 1960s is worthy of Dickens at his comic best.’

But what of The Old Lady? Not only had he made the Diary a must-read, even for those who found Myers’ increasingly right-wing politics hard to take, but he had twice risked his life for the Times to cover viciously dangerous civil wars in the Lebanon and in the Balkans.

To be sure, he had some harsh words to say and uncomfortable but perceptive insights to convey in ‘Heresies‘ about his former employers. But all the more reason, surely, for The Irish Times to acknowledge his book (and his contributions to the paper, both literary and life-threatening) by way of a review and by so doing display a generosity of spirit which the editors would doubtless complain was absent in Heresies. Worst of all, not to respond to criticism can sometimes be the next best thing to admitting its veracity.

Well, according to well informed sources, that was the original plan. Former Sunday Independent columnist Anne Harris – one time partner of Eoghan – was approached by Times‘ literary editor, Martin Doyle, last September and asked to review Heresies; she agreed and delivered the finished article in early October. Her piece was subbed and duly sent to the books page for setting. All was set for the review to appear in the next Saturday’s paper.

But then someone in the Times‘ management intervened, Harris’ review was pulled while Martin Doyle indicated to Harris that someone nearer the top of the totem pole, ‘a higher authority’ was the term used, had given the order.

Anne Harris is said to be anxious to discover whether her article has been ‘spiked’, a newspaper term dating back to the days of hot metal printing presses, which means discarded, and is ready to have a row if that’s what happened. She is said to be losing patience with the various excuses for her review not appearing.

We shall see.

You can read my review of ‘Burning Heresies’ here.

How Biden’s Foreign Policy Team Enriched Themselves

You can read how here.

Biden’s True Face Revealed In Measly $600 Checks

Joe Biden represents everything that is bad about the Democrats. In this searing dissection of the recent inter-party negotiations about a Covid stimulus plan, David Sirota reveals that it was Biden who insisted on cutting the pandemic stimulus check from $1200 to $600, in line with his long held antagonism to other forms of government intervention, such as social security.

You can read Sirota’s piece here and weep.

Biden’s Diverse Cabinet

Thanks to RS for tip

$600.00 Covid Cash For America’s Poorest, $500m for Israeli Missiles

Thanks to CM for the tip

Sinn Fein And The Slaying Of Pat Finucane

The British government’s decision not to hold a public inquiry into the UDA assassination of Belfast lawyer, Pat Finucane, is hardly a surprise. That, more or less, has been the British stance since the day after his death.

What was surprising was the anger vented publicly by Sinn Fein this time – in contrast to past similar rebuffs.

Sinn Fein have had ample opportunity in the many years since the death of Pat Finucane to put some muscle behind the demand for a full probe but never did, especially when pleasing Sinn Fein, or at least appearing to, was a policy priority of the British Cabinet.

I am thinking in particular of the lengthy, almost unending talks, post-GFA, to set up a power sharing government that could lock the Shinners into constitutional politics.

Sinn Fein could have made a sworn and public inquiry a precondition to signing an overall deal, but never did, not during those interminable negotiations. 

In fact, I am told that the SDLP made more of a fuss about a Finucane inquiry during those talks than SF ever did.

Why was that?

Two possibilities come to mind. One has to do with the internal politics of the IRA at the time, especially the then opposition of the Belfast Brigade to the direction being charted by the Adams’ leadership, a division that was not fully reversed until after the second ceasefire.

In the months before his death. I had started meeting Pat Finucane on a fairly regular basis. We would meet in the Landsowne Court hotel, have a few drinks and talk about the only subject journalists like me, and lawyers like Pat Finucane, were talking about in those days which was: ‘What the fuck is Adams up to?’

What I did not know then, but know now, is that Pat had his own connection to the BB where, doubtless, the same questions were being asked, although perhaps in an angrier tone than our Wednesday evenings in the Lansdowne Court. It would have been clear to the British that the BB was problem.

The other possibility, short of a British intelligence fuck-up – which essentially is what the De Silva report suggested – is that it would not be possible to probe the Finucane killing without considering the unsuccessful attempt on the life of Gerry Adams – and all in public, with witnesses sworn in and obliged to to tell the truth.

The over lapping characteristics of the two events are the fact that the UDA was behind both efforts to kill, that the same UDA intelligence chief, Brian Nelson, was deeply involved in the preparation and planning and lastly, that the British Army’s Force Research Unit (FRU) ran Nelson as one of their agents.

The only difference is that Pat Finucane was killed while Gerry Adams survived. And survived to deliver a defanged IRA into Stormont Buildings.

The rest, as they say, is history.

But we’ll be asking for a long time to come why one man lived and the other did not.

Glenn Greenwald On Biden’s Victory

ETA, The Provos And An Arms Deal Post The Good Friday Agreement

The above photo of James Monaghan, one-time IRA Director of Engineering and a central figure in the alleged 2001 plot by the IRA to train the Columbian FARC guerrillas, and Evelyn Glenholmes, daughter of late Short Strand IRA veteran Dickie Glenholmes, who was at the centre of a dramatic extradition row in 1986 over her alleged involvement in an IRA bombing campaign in London, was taken by undercover Spanish police who were closing in on the military commander of ETA, Javier Arizcuren-Ruiz, known by his codename ‘Kantauri’. He was eventually arrested outside a Paris hotel in March 1999.

The photos were featured in a multi-part television documentary called ‘The Challenge: ETA‘ (hat tip to HM for the pointer) currently screening on Amazon Prime, which traces the story of ETA from its birth through to its own peace process, which was strongly influenced by the Irish version, down to the involvement of Redemptorist priest, Alex Reid.

The Spanish anti-terrorist policeman interviewed for the documentary claims that the meeting was called to discuss an arms deal, which given Monaghan’s then status in the IRA and his subsequent dealings with FARC, sounds about right.

But Irish Times journalist, Paddy Woodworth, who was interviewed for this segment of the film, has a different view: “That they would actually have been trying to sell any weapons in 1999 seems to me very unlikely’, he claimed..

‘The IRA have a huge amount to lose if they are found selling weapons to an armed group in another European Union democracy. It can even be that what they were really meeting for was to transmit a message from Sinn Fein and the IRA leadership, to transmit a message to ETA to end the armed struggle’.

Indeed. And I am the King of the Congo, Paddy. How do you do?

Jewish British Labour Party Member Suspended For Anti-Zionism

Naomi Wimborne-Idrissi gives a calm, reasoned and damning analysis of the background to the British Labour Party’s internal turmoil over alleged anti-semitism on the part of former leader Jeremy Corbyn and others. Perhaps the party’s new leader Sir Keir Starmer might find it interesting viewing……

Meet Rose Dugdale’s Brother ‘Silver Sam’…..

Better known on the alternative comedy scene in England’s West Country as “‘Silver Sam’, master of the triple entendre, (who) sings hilarious tales of thwarted libidos.”

Thanks to PM for the tip, his performances can be viewed here. Ain’t life strange…….?

She was the debutante turned IRA bomber ... who's now in the frame for an  infamous 1970s art heist | Daily Mail Online