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Saturday, October 25, 2014

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Covering Up the Cover Up

In Belfast’s Balmoral Hotel today, the Sinn Fein commander Gerry Adams took to the podium to address the assembled party faithful regarding the Máiría Cahill controversy that he and his party have been embroiled in since the broadcasting of a BBC Spotlight documentary almost two weeks ago. From the limited snatches provided by RTE he seemed more wilted than blooming. Unlike his arrival in the same hotel in May, straight from the custody of British police who had detained him under the label “murder suspect”, today’s event seemed subdued. Absent was the profuse adoration and adulation from the pews. Although certainly not a requiem mass for his political career, the bishop was preaching to a subdued congregation.  
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RNU Discover Functioning Water Meter in Belfast

Stephen McCourt with a piece on the discovery of a water meter in Belfast. Stephen McCourt is an activist in Republican Network for Unity. His piece first appeared on the RNU website on 24 October 2014.

This week RNU activists in West Belfast were contacted by a resident living in Upper Suffolk concerned about the work NI Water had recently carried out on his premises. He told RNU activists that a few days ago he seen NI Water contractors poking around his Boundary box (that they installed) and after they left, he decided to investigate what they workers had been doing.
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Two Sides of the Same Coin!

Pauline Mellon with a piece on the current Sinn Fein sexual abuse scandal. Pauline Mellon is a rights activist in the North West and blogs at The Diary Of A Derry Mother. The article featured on her blog on 23 October 2014.

Máiría Cahill

I have been following the bravery of Belfast woman Máiría Cahill, closely. The recent revelations that came via the BBC Spotlight programme have sparked a lot of interest but mostly fury.

I met Máiría Cahill, two years ago when she came to live in Derry. Prior to that, through a mutual friend we became acquainted via Facebook. Through our chats I could sense that Máiría, was somewhat of a solitary person who took comfort in the company of her family and a select few, which was hardly surprising considering her suffering and the struggle she faced. On a personal level I have always been moved by Máiría's courage, persevering spirit, strength of character and indomitable spirit.

Máiría Cahill was let down by members of the Republican Movement, the State and those in the community who turned their backs on her. It is exactly these attitudes that keep and kept the perpetrators of such monstrous acts free to hurt again.

Furthermore some including those who claimed to be representative of the people felt it best to keep Máiría's issue hidden, or depending on your view, in house. It is unbelievable that anyone could feel it was appropriate to take an abused child to 'face' her alleged abuser? But then this type of activity was exposed before in the case of Aine Tyrell. I would also add that it defies logic that someone could feel it appropriate to advise an abused child to seek counseling and then fail to inform the police or take action themselves? And the two people I'm referencing in these instances are both elected representatives!

Now just when you think you've heard it all....

It was announced a few days ago that the investigation into abuse that took place in the Kincora boys home in Belfast will not be part of a UK wide investigation. What needs to be questioned is why this case is subject to exclusion with Belfast supposedly part of the United Kingdom?

The Stormont assembly recently backed a motion that said allegations MI5 had been involved in covering up abuse at the Kincora boys home could not be adequately investigated in any way other than by a Westminster-led UK inquiry.

However, British Secretary of State Theresea Villiers stated on Tuesday that as child protection is now a devolved matter, the Historical Institutional Abuse (HIA) Inquiry, currently sitting at Banbridge courthouse was the better forum to investigate the allegations. Theresa Villiers also said the UK government and its agencies, including the Ministry of Defence and the security service MI5 would give the HIA inquiry "the fullest possible degree of co-operation". The fullest possible degree of co-operation, doesn't really inspire confidence, and really don't be surprised if a public immunity interest certificate appears.

With MI5's alleged involvement in the cover up of this scandal how can there be a thorough investigation? MI5 are unaccountable to the institutions set up under devolution therefore these claims cannot be investigated by anyone outside of the British Government. And if by a chance Mi5 was found culpable in the abuse that took place through Kincora, I feel I can safely say that there is a snowballs chance in hell of anyone being taken to task for it.

The question now is how far will the state and those now is positions of power go to protect themselves? People have always known that the there was a dirty war taking place in the North, the terrifying thing is that we will never know the extent of it.

Clint Massey

What we do know and take some comfort from is that through the bravery of people such as Clint Massey Cahill and Kincora survivor Clint Massey, the innocent victims who were caught in a crossfire that didn't contain a single bullet do have some hope of getting justice and closure they deserve.

And for that I am grateful for their courage, as for the others, who covered up abuse, protected abusers and terrified the survivors of abuse, they're just two sides of the same vile coin.

Friday, October 24, 2014

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PFLP Solidarity With Kobane

Steven Katsineris has submitted a statement from the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine calling for a unified revolutionary front of solidarity with the struggle of people of Kobane against ISIS. It featured on the PFLP website on 13 October 2014.
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They Are Not Your Sons! But What if They Were?

TPQ features an overview of the appeal case of John Paul Wootton and Brendan McConville. Today the men's legal representatives will make an application to have the case brought to the Supreme Court in London. The overview was put together by Stephen Geraghty (LLm llb) who is a human rights activist and a member of the Justice for the Craigavon 2 Committee.

A chronological overview of the court of appeal case of the Queen-v- John Paul Wootton & Brendan McConville.

Brendan McConville

Court of appeal continues to erode fundamental human rights protections.

Thursday, October 23, 2014

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That "Special Uncle"

Guest writer Carrie Twomey commenting on a recent tweet by the President of Sinn Fein, Gerry Adams

Is this man utterly tone deaf? One of his nieces, who greatly admires him, in a private and sweet gesture sent him a poem. Her behaviour is beyond reproach. However, was there any need whatsoever for Adams to publicise it in the midst of the current furore he is involved in?

This is the uncle who reported his niece's mother to social services when she spoke out about being raped by his brother (and never reported his brother to the police or social services, and continually ensured he was employed in youth services north and south via his party), who gave his niece a book he dedicated to her rapist father, who tweeted this on the evening after he was challenged in the Dail by the Taoiseach on the Cahill case. He appears to feel hard done by currently, and is apparently seeking sympathy for all the troubles he has.

This is the same sociopathic man who tweets in baby talk, posts about teddy bears and rubber ducks, baths, bed, and children, whose home in Donegal is called Tir na nOg (Land of the Young). How many red lights need to flash before the penny drops?

The dark heart of the Troubles, between the British Intelligence services and their own powerful abusers, the care home sex trade, the Catholic Church abuse and cover ups, and the paramilitaries... makes you wonder what Adams is really protecting because it's not republicanism, or Sinn Fein, or the IRA. But it is a dark secret he, and his allies, would prefer to disappear.

Tweet & Poem quoted in tweet

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International POW Day of Action

Press release from PRO International Committee to Support the Irish POW’s.
Support our prisoners on 4th Annual International POW-Day!

The 4th Annual International Day in support of the Irish Prisoners of War held in Maghaberry, Portlaoise, Hydebank, and Magilligan jails will be held on October 24, 25, and 26. Since 2011, the International POW-Day for Irish Republican prisoners is held annually on the last weekend of October. As last year, the POW-Day is organised by the independent “International Committee to Support the Irish Prisoners of War.”
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Justice for Inas Shawkat

Guest writer Steven Katsineris with an appeal on behalf of a Palestinian child killed in a hit and run incident by an Israeli land thief.

Inas Shawkat

Wednesday, October 22, 2014

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Persia and Pervia

As much as many might find Gerry Adams the most sinister of characters, with something of the night about him, they can hardly deny that he has reservoirs of resilience. Even some of his most critical fellow volunteers from the days when he was a senior IRA leader grant him that much.
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The Long Kesh Fire: 40 Years On

Beano Niblock with his memories of the Long Kesh fire which occurred 40 years ago this month. Beano Niblock is a former UVF prisoner who is currently a writer. The piece appeared on the Long Kesh Inside Out website.

Fire aftermath

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It’s Not Too Late to Save Syria’s Cultural Heritage

Franklin Lamb writing from inside the restored Omayyad Mosque, Old City of Damascus. The piece featured in Foreign Policy Journal on 13 October 2014

It’s Not Too Late to Save Syria’s Cultural Heritage ... if we can muster the will

As Marcus Aurelius instructs us: “Look back over the past, with its changing empires that rose and fell, and you can foresee the future too.”

By definition, our shared global heritage, which has been in the custody of the Syrian people for ten millennia, belongs to all of us and for this reason each of us must work to preserve it for our progeny.

Tuesday, October 21, 2014

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Back in Time with '71

A piece by Anthony McIntyre prompted by the film '71. It that appeared in The Observer under the title 'How a generation recalls the reality of Belfast’s streets in 1971' on 19 October 2014.

71 (2014) - film still
Jack O’Connell, centre, stars as a young British squaddie lost in the mayhem of 1970s Belfast at the height of the Troubles in Yann Demange’s thriller ’71. Photograph: Capital Pictures