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IRA2

**From last week

Ahern wants pardon for 26 soldiers executed during WWI

Irish Independent
29 Oct 2004

THE Irish Government yesterday called for Britain to issue pardons to
the 26 Irishmen who were executed for alleged cowardice, disobedience
or desertion during World War I.

A Department of Foreign Affairs-commissioned report was delivered to
the British government via Ireland’s embassy in London.

It investigated the circumstances surrounding the courts-martial and
death by firing squad of the Irish soldiers.Foreign Minister Dermot
Ahern said Ireland backed a pressure group called the Shot at Dawn
Campaign, which argues that the WWI executions were unjust and the
men’s supposed crimes must be pardoned posthumously.

British military historians and MPs have been campaigning on the
issue of the summary executions for years, insisting that most of
those shot were suffering from “shell shock”, nervous breakdown or
post-traumatic stress disorder.

Mr Ahern said pardons, even though more than 85 years after the
executions, “would not only be of great comfort to the families of
the men involved, which is our priority, but would also reflect
positively on the already close relationship between Ireland and
Great Britain”.

“Irish soldiers condemned to death by courts-martial during WWI
represented 8pc of the total, while Irish troops made up only 2pc of
British Army numbers at the time,” he added.

A total of 306 soldiers were executed in Britain during the four-year
war for military offences.

Senan Molony

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IRA2

**From last week

Ahern wants pardon for 26 soldiers executed during WWI

Irish Independent

29 Oct 2004

THE Irish Government yesterday called for Britain to issue pardons to

the 26 Irishmen who were executed for alleged cowardice, disobedience

or desertion during World War I.

A Department of Foreign Affairs-commissioned report was delivered to

the British government via Ireland’s embassy in London.

It investigated the circumstances surrounding the courts-martial and

death by firing squad of the Irish soldiers.Foreign Minister Dermot

Ahern said Ireland backed a pressure group called the Shot at Dawn

Campaign, which argues that the WWI executions were unjust and the

men’s supposed crimes must be pardoned posthumously.

British military historians and MPs have been campaigning on the

issue of the summary executions for years, insisting that most of

those shot were suffering from “shell shock”, nervous breakdown or

post-traumatic stress disorder.

Mr Ahern said pardons, even though more than 85 years after the

executions, “would not only be of great comfort to the families of

the men involved, which is our priority, but would also reflect

positively on the already close relationship between Ireland and

Great Britain”.

“Irish soldiers condemned to death by courts-martial during WWI

represented 8pc of the total, while Irish troops made up only 2pc of

British Army numbers at the time,” he added.

A total of 306 soldiers were executed in Britain during the four-year

war for military offences.

Senan Molony

THE BLANKET

**Oi! Diarmuid, wait ’til you read Richard Wallace in this week’s issue :P

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Thanks and Goodbye

Diarmuid Fogarty • 30 October 2004

I would never have dreamt that I would read a pro-Bush article in any magazine that dedicated itself to the Irish republican cause. Having just read Patrick Hurley’s invective, I plan to read no more of your magazine.

I can understand things like this being published in the letters section. I can understand things like this being published with an immediate rebuttal. What I can’t understand is how you can let this Hurley publish his propaganda and let it go unchecked, three days before the US Presidential Election. I can only conclude that you are deeper in debt to the Yanks than I could have imagined before.

My republicanism is built on international solidarity with the oppressed around the world. It doesn’t buy into the idiotic lie that we are sold that the war against the Iraqi people is a war against terror. It doesn’t buy into the myth that Reagan is to be thanked for ending State Capitalism in the USSR and it most certainly doesn’t buy into the myth that the illegal invasion of the USA into Vietnam was in anyway an honourable cause.

I have no more time for Kerry than I do for Bush, but I will say that in my opinion, Kerry was right to do what he could in order to end the Vietnamese war. Hurley’s warbling about the thousands that died in communist purges after the U$A was brought to its knees in Vietnam is risible. History shows us that this was not the truth at all, but if we took this amadhan at face value, the blame for those thousands of deaths would also have to be laid at the feet of the U$A — the country which started the war and which destabilised a perfectly good government.

This disgusting Plastic Paddy writes about how US soldiers lives are sacred and the price (to date, mark you) of 700 yankee lives is worth it. That an Irish republican journal sees fit to peddle this fascistic pornography brings your cause into disrepute. Equally sacred, Hurley, were the lives of the 100 000 Iraqis who have been murdered by your imperial stormtroopers. Far more sacred were the lives of the half a million under-5s that died as a direct result of your country’s policy before the war. However, you’re right to say that the 700 coffins draped in the Stars and Stripes are fairly inconsequential — I, for one, lose absolutely no sleep over them and wonder when we will begin to see them being shipped back to the Land of the Braves in larger batches.

The Blanket has sunk to a low previously unthinkable. You have published this crude, ill-informed piece of right wing drivel despite its inaccuracies, despite the fact that it heaps praise on the UK government for standing shoulder to shoulder with its imperial boss and despite the fact that it glorifies the violence of the oppressor.

I’m going back to An Phoblacht – for all their failings, this nonsense would never have been published. I hope you send a copy of this to Hurley. Tell him that the 3000 dead the Yanks lost on 11 Sept were pretty inconsequential to the many millions of dead that lie buried in mass graves as a result of the meddling of his government in other people’s business. Tell him that Malcolm X was right when he talked about the chickens coming home to roost. And tell him that as long as there are people even half as ignorant as he appears to be, the U$A can count on burying a lot more of its dead.

THE BLANKET

**Oi! Diarmuid, wait ’til you read Richard Wallace in this week’s issue :P

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Thanks and Goodbye

Diarmuid Fogarty • 30 October 2004

I would never have dreamt that I would read a pro-Bush article in any magazine that dedicated itself to the Irish republican cause. Having just read Patrick Hurley’s invective, I plan to read no more of your magazine.

I can understand things like this being published in the letters section. I can understand things like this being published with an immediate rebuttal. What I can’t understand is how you can let this Hurley publish his propaganda and let it go unchecked, three days before the US Presidential Election. I can only conclude that you are deeper in debt to the Yanks than I could have imagined before.

My republicanism is built on international solidarity with the oppressed around the world. It doesn’t buy into the idiotic lie that we are sold that the war against the Iraqi people is a war against terror. It doesn’t buy into the myth that Reagan is to be thanked for ending State Capitalism in the USSR and it most certainly doesn’t buy into the myth that the illegal invasion of the USA into Vietnam was in anyway an honourable cause.

I have no more time for Kerry than I do for Bush, but I will say that in my opinion, Kerry was right to do what he could in order to end the Vietnamese war. Hurley’s warbling about the thousands that died in communist purges after the U$A was brought to its knees in Vietnam is risible. History shows us that this was not the truth at all, but if we took this amadhan at face value, the blame for those thousands of deaths would also have to be laid at the feet of the U$A — the country which started the war and which destabilised a perfectly good government.

This disgusting Plastic Paddy writes about how US soldiers lives are sacred and the price (to date, mark you) of 700 yankee lives is worth it. That an Irish republican journal sees fit to peddle this fascistic pornography brings your cause into disrepute. Equally sacred, Hurley, were the lives of the 100 000 Iraqis who have been murdered by your imperial stormtroopers. Far more sacred were the lives of the half a million under-5s that died as a direct result of your country’s policy before the war. However, you’re right to say that the 700 coffins draped in the Stars and Stripes are fairly inconsequential — I, for one, lose absolutely no sleep over them and wonder when we will begin to see them being shipped back to the Land of the Braves in larger batches.

The Blanket has sunk to a low previously unthinkable. You have published this crude, ill-informed piece of right wing drivel despite its inaccuracies, despite the fact that it heaps praise on the UK government for standing shoulder to shoulder with its imperial boss and despite the fact that it glorifies the violence of the oppressor.

I’m going back to An Phoblacht – for all their failings, this nonsense would never have been published. I hope you send a copy of this to Hurley. Tell him that the 3000 dead the Yanks lost on 11 Sept were pretty inconsequential to the many millions of dead that lie buried in mass graves as a result of the meddling of his government in other people’s business. Tell him that Malcolm X was right when he talked about the chickens coming home to roost. And tell him that as long as there are people even half as ignorant as he appears to be, the U$A can count on burying a lot more of its dead.

Sunday Life

Why didn’t Customs alert PSNI to suspect’s detention?

31 October 2004

SENIOR cops will come under pressure this week to explain how a Garda informer, wanted for questioning about the Omagh bomb, slipped through police hands.

The Policing Board’s Sammy Wilson has tabled questions to Assistant Chief Constable Sam Kinkaid, asking him to explain why Dublin car thief Paddy Dixon was released by Customs and Excise officials at Cardiff Airport in July, without Ulster cops being alerted.

Mr Kinkaid and Chief Constable Hugh Orde are scheduled to attend this Thursday’s monthly meeting of the board.

Omagh bomb inquiry head, Chief Superintendent Norman Baxter, has been battling for a year with Irish authorities to get access to the Dublin criminal, who stole cars to order for the Real IRA.

Former garda John White has alleged Dixon told him he’d been asked to steal a Vauxhall for a “big bomb” attack in the North, two weeks before Omagh, but was then told one had been obtained elsewhere.

Sunday Life has highlighted Dixon’s case, and Laurence Robertson MP followed up our story.

He caused consternation in the Commons last week when he asked Security Minister Ian Pearson to report on progress in the search for Dixon, who is now believed to be living in England under a Garda witness protection programme.

Mr Robertson said it was inexplicable Dixon was detained by Customs and Excise after they found a large amount of cash in his belongings, and Ulster cops weren’t alerted.

Both the PSNI and Customs stonewalled questions from Sunday Life last month about the failure to detain Dixon.

But now the issue is back in the news, following Robertson’s Commons intervention.

Mr Robertson said: “We need to get to the bottom of this because it raises issues of competence in communications between two Government agencies, Customs and Excise and the PSNI.

“Also, the relatives need to know the truthful answer to the question: did the Irish authorities do all they could to help the RUC prevent the Omagh bombing?”

Sunday Life

Why didn’t Customs alert PSNI to suspect’s detention?

31 October 2004

SENIOR cops will come under pressure this week to explain how a Garda informer, wanted for questioning about the Omagh bomb, slipped through police hands.

The Policing Board’s Sammy Wilson has tabled questions to Assistant Chief Constable Sam Kinkaid, asking him to explain why Dublin car thief Paddy Dixon was released by Customs and Excise officials at Cardiff Airport in July, without Ulster cops being alerted.

Mr Kinkaid and Chief Constable Hugh Orde are scheduled to attend this Thursday’s monthly meeting of the board.

Omagh bomb inquiry head, Chief Superintendent Norman Baxter, has been battling for a year with Irish authorities to get access to the Dublin criminal, who stole cars to order for the Real IRA.

Former garda John White has alleged Dixon told him he’d been asked to steal a Vauxhall for a “big bomb” attack in the North, two weeks before Omagh, but was then told one had been obtained elsewhere.

Sunday Life has highlighted Dixon’s case, and Laurence Robertson MP followed up our story.

He caused consternation in the Commons last week when he asked Security Minister Ian Pearson to report on progress in the search for Dixon, who is now believed to be living in England under a Garda witness protection programme.

Mr Robertson said it was inexplicable Dixon was detained by Customs and Excise after they found a large amount of cash in his belongings, and Ulster cops weren’t alerted.

Both the PSNI and Customs stonewalled questions from Sunday Life last month about the failure to detain Dixon.

But now the issue is back in the news, following Robertson’s Commons intervention.

Mr Robertson said: “We need to get to the bottom of this because it raises issues of competence in communications between two Government agencies, Customs and Excise and the PSNI.

“Also, the relatives need to know the truthful answer to the question: did the Irish authorities do all they could to help the RUC prevent the Omagh bombing?”

Sunday Life

Loan Shark on hitlist sets up in lakelands

By Alan Murray

31 October 2004

A WEALTHY drug dealer, who was drummed out of the LVF in North Down, has set up a new base in one of Ulster’s most beautiful areas.

The notorious dealer and loan shark, who cannot be named for legal reasons, fled Holywood earlier this year.

He moved to Fermanagh when the rival UVF launched a hunt for him, after a local man was beaten with an iron bar, on New Year’s Eve.

He was later ousted as LVF leader in the prosperous town, and he remains on the UVF’s hit list.

Since then, the ex-LVF boss has paid only fleeting visits to Holywood, and loyalist sources say he now set up a base in Enniskillen.

The ‘jobless’ BMW driver has reportedly opened bank accounts in the Fermanagh town, to lodge the proceeds of drug dealing and loan sharking.

Loyalists are amazed that he has, so far, apparently escaped action by the police, or, the Assets Recovery Agency.

Local people claim they have passed information to Belfast-based detectives about his drug dealing and loan sharking, but are baffled as to why no action appears to have been taken against him.

Sunday Life is aware that the PSNI has examined some of the paramilitary’s illegal activities, but it is understood that he hasn’t been formally questioned about his alleged scams.

A sources said: “He knows that if he spends any time in Holywood he will be hurt by the UVF.

“So he stays away, except to call and collect money. But they’ve now discovered that he’s knocking about Enniskillen and has apparently opened bank accounts there.

“Everybody knows what he’s been up to, and it’s just very puzzling why someone like him, who doesn’t work but owns a BMW and lives very well, appears to escape police action,” said one local man said.

Before he was deposed as the LVF leader in Holywood last year by Brian Stewart, the notorious criminal presided over a drug dealing empire in the area, and made huge profits from the evil trade.

After Stewart ousted him, the LVF leadership vowed that he would never again be allowed to play a significant role in the organisation.

Sunday Life

Loan Shark on hitlist sets up in lakelands

By Alan Murray
31 October 2004

A WEALTHY drug dealer, who was drummed out of the LVF in North Down, has set up a new base in one of Ulster’s most beautiful areas.

The notorious dealer and loan shark, who cannot be named for legal reasons, fled Holywood earlier this year.

He moved to Fermanagh when the rival UVF launched a hunt for him, after a local man was beaten with an iron bar, on New Year’s Eve.

He was later ousted as LVF leader in the prosperous town, and he remains on the UVF’s hit list.

Since then, the ex-LVF boss has paid only fleeting visits to Holywood, and loyalist sources say he now set up a base in Enniskillen.

The ‘jobless’ BMW driver has reportedly opened bank accounts in the Fermanagh town, to lodge the proceeds of drug dealing and loan sharking.

Loyalists are amazed that he has, so far, apparently escaped action by the police, or, the Assets Recovery Agency.

Local people claim they have passed information to Belfast-based detectives about his drug dealing and loan sharking, but are baffled as to why no action appears to have been taken against him.

Sunday Life is aware that the PSNI has examined some of the paramilitary’s illegal activities, but it is understood that he hasn’t been formally questioned about his alleged scams.

A sources said: “He knows that if he spends any time in Holywood he will be hurt by the UVF.

“So he stays away, except to call and collect money. But they’ve now discovered that he’s knocking about Enniskillen and has apparently opened bank accounts there.

“Everybody knows what he’s been up to, and it’s just very puzzling why someone like him, who doesn’t work but owns a BMW and lives very well, appears to escape police action,” said one local man said.

Before he was deposed as the LVF leader in Holywood last year by Brian Stewart, the notorious criminal presided over a drug dealing empire in the area, and made huge profits from the evil trade.

After Stewart ousted him, the LVF leadership vowed that he would never again be allowed to play a significant role in the organisation.

Sunday Life

15-month Omagh DNA logjam ends

By Alan Murray

31 October 2004

DETECTIVES investigating the Omagh bombing have now received two DNA samples from Garda – more than a YEAR after they were first requested.

Police confirmed last night that the samples – taken from republicans while in Garda custody last year – were handed over to the Omagh investigation team, a week ago.

The move ends 15 months of wrangling between two forces who claim to have a “good working relationship”.

In September, the PSNI urged Security Minister Ian Pearson to intervene to ask Irish Justice Minister Michael McDowell to ensure the samples were made available.

It’s believed the samples were taken from two of the five men facing an unprecedented £14m civil lawsuit, being brought by the relatives of the Omagh victims.

One of the men is understood to be Seamus Daly, from Co Monaghan, who pleaded guilty to being a member of the Real IRA, last March.

The other DNA sample is believed to be from Dundalk man Seamus McKenna, who was arrested by Garda last year and charged with unlawful possession of explosives.

Ulster cops have refused to provide any detail on the identity of the two suspects.

They said in a statement: “Police can confirm that a request made for mutual assistance in relation to the Omagh bomb investigation was met recently, as part of ongoing co-operation between the two police services.”

The chairman of the Omagh Support Group, Michael Gallagher, said he welcomed the development.

He added it was “extremely regrettable” that the response of the Garda and the Dublin government to requests for assistance, had been so “tardy”.

Said Mr Gallagher: “They can say all they want in their PR spin about ‘good working relationships’.

“But we know that, in this matter and in other matters relating to the Omagh bombing, co-operation has not only been tardy, but, in some cases, non-existent.”

Policing Board member Sammy Wilson said: “If the police believe that a year and three months to act on the exchange of important information into the biggest murder investigation in the UK represents a good working relationship, then it calls into question the standards which they are prepared to accept.

“While the main players in the Omagh bombing run free, political considerations, bureaucratic delays and internal policing wrangles undermine the effective pursuit of the terrorists.”

slnews@belfast telegraph.co.uk

Sunday Life

15-month Omagh DNA logjam ends

By Alan Murray
31 October 2004

DETECTIVES investigating the Omagh bombing have now received two DNA samples from Garda – more than a YEAR after they were first requested.

Police confirmed last night that the samples – taken from republicans while in Garda custody last year – were handed over to the Omagh investigation team, a week ago.

The move ends 15 months of wrangling between two forces who claim to have a “good working relationship”.

In September, the PSNI urged Security Minister Ian Pearson to intervene to ask Irish Justice Minister Michael McDowell to ensure the samples were made available.

It’s believed the samples were taken from two of the five men facing an unprecedented £14m civil lawsuit, being brought by the relatives of the Omagh victims.

One of the men is understood to be Seamus Daly, from Co Monaghan, who pleaded guilty to being a member of the Real IRA, last March.

The other DNA sample is believed to be from Dundalk man Seamus McKenna, who was arrested by Garda last year and charged with unlawful possession of explosives.

Ulster cops have refused to provide any detail on the identity of the two suspects.

They said in a statement: “Police can confirm that a request made for mutual assistance in relation to the Omagh bomb investigation was met recently, as part of ongoing co-operation between the two police services.”

The chairman of the Omagh Support Group, Michael Gallagher, said he welcomed the development.

He added it was “extremely regrettable” that the response of the Garda and the Dublin government to requests for assistance, had been so “tardy”.

Said Mr Gallagher: “They can say all they want in their PR spin about ‘good working relationships’.

“But we know that, in this matter and in other matters relating to the Omagh bombing, co-operation has not only been tardy, but, in some cases, non-existent.”

Policing Board member Sammy Wilson said: “If the police believe that a year and three months to act on the exchange of important information into the biggest murder investigation in the UK represents a good working relationship, then it calls into question the standards which they are prepared to accept.

“While the main players in the Omagh bombing run free, political considerations, bureaucratic delays and internal policing wrangles undermine the effective pursuit of the terrorists.”

slnews@belfast telegraph.co.uk

Sunday Life

Fat Pastor bounces out
Loyalists won’t forget threats by Adair’s ‘lapdog’

31 October 2004

ULSTER’S fattest terrorist is back on the streets.

Roly-poly preacher, ‘Pastor’ Clifford Peoples was released from Maghaberry Prison last week, after serving out a 10-year jail sentence for explosive offences.

But the Bibles and pipe-bombs loyalist – now dubbed ‘Johnny’s fat lapdog’ – faces an uncertain future, on the outside.

For loyalist sources say the Woodvale man made a huge mistake, when he publicly backed UDA druglord, Johnny ‘Mad Dog’ Adair, at the height of the UDA feud, which led to Adair’s supporters being ousted from Shankill.

Peoples was shunned by UDA inmates at Maghaberry, after he issued a chilling warning to Mad Dog’s rivals, from inside prison.

Speaking on behalf of the Red Hand Defenders, Peoples warned in a newspaper interview, in December 2002: “If anyone so much as throws a stone at Johnny Adair, they will be hunted down and executed.”

But the words have come back to haunt the self-styled, firebrand preacher and former chip shop fryer.

One senior loyalist source said: “The fat man thought he was being smart by siding with Adair, but he didn’t reckon on how things would turn out in the lower Shankill.

“He thought he would be a main player, but he misjudged the situation.”

A loyalist source added last week: “People haven’t forgotten his warning about people being hunted down and executed.

“He’s Johnny’s fat lap dog, and he’s made a lot of enemies.”

It is suspected that Peoples plans to re-settle in mid-Ulster, where Adair has sympathisers.

Peoples and fellow dissident loyalist, Jimmy Fisher, were caught red-handed with grenades and a pipe bomb in a car stopped by a police patrol, near Dungannon, in 1999.

The pair were jailed in January 2001, but had a major fall-out behind bars.

Sunday Life

Fat Pastor bounces out

Loyalists won’t forget threats by Adair’s ‘lapdog’

31 October 2004

ULSTER’S fattest terrorist is back on the streets.

Roly-poly preacher, ‘Pastor’ Clifford Peoples was released from Maghaberry Prison last week, after serving out a 10-year jail sentence for explosive offences.

But the Bibles and pipe-bombs loyalist – now dubbed ‘Johnny’s fat lapdog’ – faces an uncertain future, on the outside.

For loyalist sources say the Woodvale man made a huge mistake, when he publicly backed UDA druglord, Johnny ‘Mad Dog’ Adair, at the height of the UDA feud, which led to Adair’s supporters being ousted from Shankill.

Peoples was shunned by UDA inmates at Maghaberry, after he issued a chilling warning to Mad Dog’s rivals, from inside prison.

Speaking on behalf of the Red Hand Defenders, Peoples warned in a newspaper interview, in December 2002: “If anyone so much as throws a stone at Johnny Adair, they will be hunted down and executed.”

But the words have come back to haunt the self-styled, firebrand preacher and former chip shop fryer.

One senior loyalist source said: “The fat man thought he was being smart by siding with Adair, but he didn’t reckon on how things would turn out in the lower Shankill.

“He thought he would be a main player, but he misjudged the situation.”

A loyalist source added last week: “People haven’t forgotten his warning about people being hunted down and executed.

“He’s Johnny’s fat lap dog, and he’s made a lot of enemies.”

It is suspected that Peoples plans to re-settle in mid-Ulster, where Adair has sympathisers.

Peoples and fellow dissident loyalist, Jimmy Fisher, were caught red-handed with grenades and a pipe bomb in a car stopped by a police patrol, near Dungannon, in 1999.

The pair were jailed in January 2001, but had a major fall-out behind bars.

Sunday Life

Shattered lives

By Stephen Breen

31 October 2004

A DISTRAUGHT Ulsterwoman has been forced to flee her home – after enduring a two-year campaign of terror.

Devastated Linda McKeown is to leave Antrim’s Rathenraw estate, after thugs smashed the windows of her home early on Thursday. Bricks were also hurled at her home two weeks ago. They are just the latest acts of intimidation which Mrs McKeown’s family has had to endure in the past two years.

The mum-of-three said the abuse started after she refused to hand over cash to a man who was collecting for a renegade republican flute band. She insists the yobs are masquerading as dissident republicans – and has branded them “pathetic”.

During her family’s two-year nightmare, the thugs:

Spread false rumours that she was dying of cancer;

Issued death threats against her family;

Smashed the windows of her car;

Left a burnt-out vehicle at the back of her home.

The McKeowns are just one of 20 families who have been forced to flee their homes, after they stood up to the bully-boys.

Details of their torment comes after we revealed last week how local man Philip Taylor was attacked by thugs, for coming to the aid of a frail pensioner.

Although Mrs McKeown had earlier vowed to remain in the estate, she said she has now been forced to leave her home because of fears for her children’s safety.

Speaking to Sunday Life, Mrs McKeown said: “I didn’t want to leave – but I have to think of my kids, because they could quite easily be killed if a petrol-bomb was thrown into the house by these animals.

“One of the thugs told me I was a ‘dead woman’, and my family would be next to be ‘put out’.”

She added: “The only reason they are doing this is because I didn’t give them any money.

“These people are destroying this estate. The only thing they are interested in is getting their cronies into the empty homes. They keep telling us they are ‘untouchable’.

“Even the drug dealers who were here before never terrorised people as much as this.

“They are scum who are simply masquerading as dissident republicans.

“Like many families in this estate, we are at our wits’ end, and don’t know what way to turn.”

Sinn Fein councillor Martin McManus also lashed out at the thugs.

Said Mr McManus: “These so-called dissident republicans have been trying to turn the clock back in Antrim for their own selfish ends. They know they have absolutely no support in this area.

“Where were these dissidents when innocent Catholics were being slaughtered in Antrim?

“The people don’t want them here. I hope they realise they have put back community relations in this town by at least 20 years.”

sbreen@belfast telegraph.co.uk

Sunday Life

Shattered lives

By Stephen Breen
31 October 2004

A DISTRAUGHT Ulsterwoman has been forced to flee her home – after enduring a two-year campaign of terror.

Devastated Linda McKeown is to leave Antrim’s Rathenraw estate, after thugs smashed the windows of her home early on Thursday. Bricks were also hurled at her home two weeks ago. They are just the latest acts of intimidation which Mrs McKeown’s family has had to endure in the past two years.

The mum-of-three said the abuse started after she refused to hand over cash to a man who was collecting for a renegade republican flute band. She insists the yobs are masquerading as dissident republicans – and has branded them “pathetic”.

During her family’s two-year nightmare, the thugs:

Spread false rumours that she was dying of cancer;

Issued death threats against her family;

Smashed the windows of her car;

Left a burnt-out vehicle at the back of her home.

The McKeowns are just one of 20 families who have been forced to flee their homes, after they stood up to the bully-boys.

Details of their torment comes after we revealed last week how local man Philip Taylor was attacked by thugs, for coming to the aid of a frail pensioner.

Although Mrs McKeown had earlier vowed to remain in the estate, she said she has now been forced to leave her home because of fears for her children’s safety.

Speaking to Sunday Life, Mrs McKeown said: “I didn’t want to leave – but I have to think of my kids, because they could quite easily be killed if a petrol-bomb was thrown into the house by these animals.

“One of the thugs told me I was a ‘dead woman’, and my family would be next to be ‘put out’.”

She added: “The only reason they are doing this is because I didn’t give them any money.

“These people are destroying this estate. The only thing they are interested in is getting their cronies into the empty homes. They keep telling us they are ‘untouchable’.

“Even the drug dealers who were here before never terrorised people as much as this.

“They are scum who are simply masquerading as dissident republicans.

“Like many families in this estate, we are at our wits’ end, and don’t know what way to turn.”

Sinn Fein councillor Martin McManus also lashed out at the thugs.

Said Mr McManus: “These so-called dissident republicans have been trying to turn the clock back in Antrim for their own selfish ends. They know they have absolutely no support in this area.

“Where were these dissidents when innocent Catholics were being slaughtered in Antrim?

“The people don’t want them here. I hope they realise they have put back community relations in this town by at least 20 years.”

sbreen@belfast telegraph.co.uk

Sunday Life

Tension rises after rumble by UDA heavyweights

By Stephen Breen
31 October 2004

TENSION is mounting between rival UDA units in Belfast, after two loyalist godfathers were involved in a bloody fist-fight.

Senior security sources told Sunday Life that dissension is growing within UDA ranks, after north Belfast commander Andre Shoukri clashed with suspected MI5 agent, Jim Spence.

When Sunday Life contacted Shoukri, he refused to comment on the claims.

But it is understood that friction between the pair erupted into violence, after Spence accused three members of Shoukri’s brigade of selling cocaine without “permission”, at an illegal drinking den in the Woodvale area.

Spence’s cronies are believed to have viciously assaulted the drug-dealing trio, before they returned to north Belfast to inform their leader about the row.

But when a furious Shoukri visited the drinking den, it is understood Spence barricaded himself in the shebeen, before issuing threats to the north Belfast brigadier.

Spence is also believed to have hurled racist abuse at Shoukri.

Sources claim Shoukri ordered his men out of the area after the threats were issued, insisting the row was now a matter for the UDA’s so-called ‘inner council’.

A meeting was held in the club last Sunday, when Spence is believed to have begged for forgiveness for issuing the threats, and also for attacking Shoukri’s men.

But sources say Shoukri ordered other senior UDA members to leave the meeting, before he viciously assaulted the suspected double-agent.

Spence, who has denied being the loyalist equivalent of IRA superspy ‘Stakeknife’, has been keeping a low profile about the incident.

A meeting was held in north Belfast on Wednesday night to discuss the row.

Said a senior source: “Spence was forced into a humiliating climbdown because Shoukri is a brigadier and he’s not.

“Spence had the choice of leaving the organisation, taking a bullet in the leg or taking a personal beating from Shoukri.

“He chose the personal beating, because he knew this was the only way he could stay within the organisation which has helped him make a fortune over the years.”

sbreen@belfast telegraph.co.uk

Sunday Life

Tension rises after rumble by UDA heavyweights

By Stephen Breen

31 October 2004

TENSION is mounting between rival UDA units in Belfast, after two loyalist godfathers were involved in a bloody fist-fight.

Senior security sources told Sunday Life that dissension is growing within UDA ranks, after north Belfast commander Andre Shoukri clashed with suspected MI5 agent, Jim Spence.

When Sunday Life contacted Shoukri, he refused to comment on the claims.

But it is understood that friction between the pair erupted into violence, after Spence accused three members of Shoukri’s brigade of selling cocaine without “permission”, at an illegal drinking den in the Woodvale area.

Spence’s cronies are believed to have viciously assaulted the drug-dealing trio, before they returned to north Belfast to inform their leader about the row.

But when a furious Shoukri visited the drinking den, it is understood Spence barricaded himself in the shebeen, before issuing threats to the north Belfast brigadier.

Spence is also believed to have hurled racist abuse at Shoukri.

Sources claim Shoukri ordered his men out of the area after the threats were issued, insisting the row was now a matter for the UDA’s so-called ‘inner council’.

A meeting was held in the club last Sunday, when Spence is believed to have begged for forgiveness for issuing the threats, and also for attacking Shoukri’s men.

But sources say Shoukri ordered other senior UDA members to leave the meeting, before he viciously assaulted the suspected double-agent.

Spence, who has denied being the loyalist equivalent of IRA superspy ‘Stakeknife’, has been keeping a low profile about the incident.

A meeting was held in north Belfast on Wednesday night to discuss the row.

Said a senior source: “Spence was forced into a humiliating climbdown because Shoukri is a brigadier and he’s not.

“Spence had the choice of leaving the organisation, taking a bullet in the leg or taking a personal beating from Shoukri.

“He chose the personal beating, because he knew this was the only way he could stay within the organisation which has helped him make a fortune over the years.”

sbreen@belfast telegraph.co.uk

**Thanks to Mr. Kerr for sending me this

CUMANN NA FUISEOIGE’S FIRST MATCH AGAINST CARGAN

–by Robert Kerr

31 October 2004

In the wake of the engineered controversy surrounding Cumann na

Fuiseoige’s badge and its association with Bobby Sands, Cumann na

Fuiseoige has played its first match against the Country Antrim team of

Cargan. The match was one of the most good natured and light hearted

friendlies which many of those watching had ever seen. Both teams gave

their best and Cargan was easily the stronger and more experienced team.

And when they appeared too strong, the players swapped shirts, balanced

the teams out and just played on. Everyone just stopped counting goals

and points or for that matter the number of players on the pitch. Rab

Kerr of Cumann na Fuiseoige said of the match “Cargan were superb hosts.

They had a genuine welcome for our players. Refreshments were laid on

and offers of support and help abound.” Kerr said: “Our team left

Cargan club rooms with new friends and the promise of a return match.

Maybe we will win that one and maybe we won’t but at least we’ll have as

much fun and know the standard of play that we should aspire to. Thanks

to everyone at Cargan.”

Guardian Unlimited

Focus: Human evolution
Strange world of island species

Robin McKie on a discovery that sheds light on our distant past – and possibly our present

Sunday October 31, 2004
The Observer

On one island visited by Sinbad during his travels, he found a giant bird with the wingspan of a whale, while Odysseus, according to Homer, discovered an island race of one-eyed giants who ate humans.

Great stories, but tame stuff compared with reality. On the island of Flores in the Malay Archipelago, scientists have found remains of a race of three-foot high humans who hunted pony-sized elephants and rats as big as dogs and who battled dragons with saliva laced with deadly bacteria. When it comes to the fantastic, you can never beat science.

Certainly, the furore that surrounded last week’s reports that fossil-hunters have discovered the bones of a new human species, Homo floresiensis , is scarcely surprising. This little hominid lived a mere 18,000 years ago, it transpires (and so must have shared Flores with Homo sapiens for millennia), made some nifty stone tools and butchered mini-elephants (called stegadons) with alacrity. As Cambridge anthropologist Robert Foley says: ‘Discoveries don’t get better than this.’

Now the hunt is on for living relatives of Flores’s little folk (local legends speak of a tiny race of jungle dwellers called the Ebu Gogo), not just on the island but around the rest of the Malay Archipelago, a string of mysterious tropical islands – home to orang-utans, giant turtles and rare birds and bats – that spread like jewels between Asia and Australia. Strange little people hiding in this exotic jungle: Rider Haggard could not have done better.

But the sensational nature of the discovery – by a team led by Professor Peter Brown, of New England University, New South Wales – goes far beyond biological curiosity. The fragments of bone and stone tool he has dug from a cave hidden in western Flores raise issues that could transform our ideas of what it means to be a human being. How did these people (dubbed hobbits by the world’s press, to the fury of Brown, who now hangs up his phone at the mention of the h-word) reach Flores, which has been an island for millions of years? Why did their stature diminish? And how did the Flores folk flourish and make sophisticated tools after their brains had shrunk in response to evolutionary pressures?

Consider Homo floresiensis ‘s arrival on Flores. More than a million years ago, the first members of our lineage, Homo erectus – a race of tall, thin ape-men – emerged from their African homeland and colonised Asia. And there they stopped at the edge of the Indian ocean. Or at least that’s what scientists thought, for no report of erectus having travelled over water has ever been substantiated – until now. According to Brown, stone tools found on Flores shows it has been occupied for hundreds of thousands of years.

‘It is possible erectus people sailed in crude boats, though Homo sapiens are the only known member of our species to have built boats or rafts,’ says Professor Chris Stringer of the Natural History Museum in London. ‘Certainly, nothing would surprise me after this discovery. But they could also have been carried on floating mats of vegetation. This region has dozens of volcanoes and is battered by earthquakes and tidal waves. These could have swept these people out to sea on these mats. It may sound unlikely but it only had to happen once and they had a million years to play with.’

Then, trapped in their new home, erectus began to shrink. ‘Island dwarfing is well-known,’ says Professor Adrian Lister of University College London. ‘With limited resources and lack of predators on islands, large mammals get smaller and little ones get bigger over succeeding generations. They tend to gravitate to the dimensions of a large rabbit, the most energy efficient size for a mammal.’

Hence the tiny dimensions of Homo floresiensis and those pygmy, elephant-like stegadons – though, again, current explanations are only partially effective. These animals shrank, but not the komodo dragon, a species of giant lizard unique to this area. It may have remained huge because it could hunt pygmy elephants, and, possibly, Flores folk, scientists suggest.

Certainly, the komodo can easily kill adult humans. And its saliva is riddled with pathogenic bacteria (‘poisonous halitosis’, as the writer David Quammen describes it).

So how then did these little folk survive in what Stringer describes as ‘this weird world’? Where could they hide? Most legends speak of Ebu Gogo as cave dwellers, and Brown’s discovery was made inside the great cavern of Liang Bua, in the west side of Flores. Again, Stringer is not so sure, noting that Homo floresiensis arm bones are exceptionally long, a feature shared with apes and which suggests an arboreal lifestyle. ‘I think it is more likely they may have hidden in trees, especially when with young ones,’ Stringer says.

And then there is the issue of floresiensis’s brain size. ‘Even by the standards of early apemen, their cranial capacities appear to be very small, little more than a chimpanzee’s,’ says Oxford University’s Alan Cooper. ‘How they retained the capacity to make even crude stone tools is a major headache.’ In short, being brainy isn’t the only evolutionary option open to human beings, it transpires. As Dr Charles Lockwood of University College London puts it: ‘This discovery is a wonderful demonstration of the fact that there are many different ways to be human.’

Indeed, only a few dozen millennia in the past, we now know there were at least three different varieties of human being; Homo sapiens , Neanderthals and, as we have just discovered, Homo floresiensis . ‘We have got to get rid of the idea that because there is only one species of human being today, this has always been true,’ says Israeli palaeontologist Yoel Rak. ‘For most of our evolution the opposite was probably true. Think of that scene in Star Wars – in the bar where you see all kinds of aliens playing and drinking and talking together. That image gives a better flavour of our evolutionary past.’

In fact, it may not just be our evolutionary past, but our present as well – for there are some researchers who believe the Flores folk survive in some hidden pockets of the island, a point made by Father John Prior, a Catholic missionary who has lived there since the 1970s. ‘I’ve heard stories for decades about these so-called little people,’ he told The Observer . ‘Legends about dwarfs living in caves – not the forests – are found in the west of the island, where the skeletons were found in Liang Bua.’

Discovering a tribe of these people, though unlikely, would be a major boost for evolutionary science. However, it would most probably be a total disaster for Homo floresiensis . The eradication of the Tasmanian aborigine in the 19th century is a grim but fitting example. This suggests that a more appropriate cinematic illustration for our story should come, not from Star Wars , but from the closing scene of ET , when space-suited scientists try to capture and experiment on the little alien.

But the prospect of such encounters must remain low, and, of course, fiction has proved a very poor guide to scientific reality, as the story of the island of Flores has so starkly demonstrated.

· Additional reporting by Vaudine England in Bangkok.

Guardian Unlimited

Focus: Human evolution

Strange world of island species

Robin McKie on a discovery that sheds light on our distant past – and possibly our present

Sunday October 31, 2004

The Observer

On one island visited by Sinbad during his travels, he found a giant bird with the wingspan of a whale, while Odysseus, according to Homer, discovered an island race of one-eyed giants who ate humans.

Great stories, but tame stuff compared with reality. On the island of Flores in the Malay Archipelago, scientists have found remains of a race of three-foot high humans who hunted pony-sized elephants and rats as big as dogs and who battled dragons with saliva laced with deadly bacteria. When it comes to the fantastic, you can never beat science.

Certainly, the furore that surrounded last week’s reports that fossil-hunters have discovered the bones of a new human species, Homo floresiensis , is scarcely surprising. This little hominid lived a mere 18,000 years ago, it transpires (and so must have shared Flores with Homo sapiens for millennia), made some nifty stone tools and butchered mini-elephants (called stegadons) with alacrity. As Cambridge anthropologist Robert Foley says: ‘Discoveries don’t get better than this.’

Now the hunt is on for living relatives of Flores’s little folk (local legends speak of a tiny race of jungle dwellers called the Ebu Gogo), not just on the island but around the rest of the Malay Archipelago, a string of mysterious tropical islands – home to orang-utans, giant turtles and rare birds and bats – that spread like jewels between Asia and Australia. Strange little people hiding in this exotic jungle: Rider Haggard could not have done better.

But the sensational nature of the discovery – by a team led by Professor Peter Brown, of New England University, New South Wales – goes far beyond biological curiosity. The fragments of bone and stone tool he has dug from a cave hidden in western Flores raise issues that could transform our ideas of what it means to be a human being. How did these people (dubbed hobbits by the world’s press, to the fury of Brown, who now hangs up his phone at the mention of the h-word) reach Flores, which has been an island for millions of years? Why did their stature diminish? And how did the Flores folk flourish and make sophisticated tools after their brains had shrunk in response to evolutionary pressures?

Consider Homo floresiensis ‘s arrival on Flores. More than a million years ago, the first members of our lineage, Homo erectus – a race of tall, thin ape-men – emerged from their African homeland and colonised Asia. And there they stopped at the edge of the Indian ocean. Or at least that’s what scientists thought, for no report of erectus having travelled over water has ever been substantiated – until now. According to Brown, stone tools found on Flores shows it has been occupied for hundreds of thousands of years.

‘It is possible erectus people sailed in crude boats, though Homo sapiens are the only known member of our species to have built boats or rafts,’ says Professor Chris Stringer of the Natural History Museum in London. ‘Certainly, nothing would surprise me after this discovery. But they could also have been carried on floating mats of vegetation. This region has dozens of volcanoes and is battered by earthquakes and tidal waves. These could have swept these people out to sea on these mats. It may sound unlikely but it only had to happen once and they had a million years to play with.’

Then, trapped in their new home, erectus began to shrink. ‘Island dwarfing is well-known,’ says Professor Adrian Lister of University College London. ‘With limited resources and lack of predators on islands, large mammals get smaller and little ones get bigger over succeeding generations. They tend to gravitate to the dimensions of a large rabbit, the most energy efficient size for a mammal.’

Hence the tiny dimensions of Homo floresiensis and those pygmy, elephant-like stegadons – though, again, current explanations are only partially effective. These animals shrank, but not the komodo dragon, a species of giant lizard unique to this area. It may have remained huge because it could hunt pygmy elephants, and, possibly, Flores folk, scientists suggest.

Certainly, the komodo can easily kill adult humans. And its saliva is riddled with pathogenic bacteria (‘poisonous halitosis’, as the writer David Quammen describes it).

So how then did these little folk survive in what Stringer describes as ‘this weird world’? Where could they hide? Most legends speak of Ebu Gogo as cave dwellers, and Brown’s discovery was made inside the great cavern of Liang Bua, in the west side of Flores. Again, Stringer is not so sure, noting that Homo floresiensis arm bones are exceptionally long, a feature shared with apes and which suggests an arboreal lifestyle. ‘I think it is more likely they may have hidden in trees, especially when with young ones,’ Stringer says.

And then there is the issue of floresiensis’s brain size. ‘Even by the standards of early apemen, their cranial capacities appear to be very small, little more than a chimpanzee’s,’ says Oxford University’s Alan Cooper. ‘How they retained the capacity to make even crude stone tools is a major headache.’ In short, being brainy isn’t the only evolutionary option open to human beings, it transpires. As Dr Charles Lockwood of University College London puts it: ‘This discovery is a wonderful demonstration of the fact that there are many different ways to be human.’

Indeed, only a few dozen millennia in the past, we now know there were at least three different varieties of human being; Homo sapiens , Neanderthals and, as we have just discovered, Homo floresiensis . ‘We have got to get rid of the idea that because there is only one species of human being today, this has always been true,’ says Israeli palaeontologist Yoel Rak. ‘For most of our evolution the opposite was probably true. Think of that scene in Star Wars – in the bar where you see all kinds of aliens playing and drinking and talking together. That image gives a better flavour of our evolutionary past.’

In fact, it may not just be our evolutionary past, but our present as well – for there are some researchers who believe the Flores folk survive in some hidden pockets of the island, a point made by Father John Prior, a Catholic missionary who has lived there since the 1970s. ‘I’ve heard stories for decades about these so-called little people,’ he told The Observer . ‘Legends about dwarfs living in caves – not the forests – are found in the west of the island, where the skeletons were found in Liang Bua.’

Discovering a tribe of these people, though unlikely, would be a major boost for evolutionary science. However, it would most probably be a total disaster for Homo floresiensis . The eradication of the Tasmanian aborigine in the 19th century is a grim but fitting example. This suggests that a more appropriate cinematic illustration for our story should come, not from Star Wars , but from the closing scene of ET , when space-suited scientists try to capture and experiment on the little alien.

But the prospect of such encounters must remain low, and, of course, fiction has proved a very poor guide to scientific reality, as the story of the island of Flores has so starkly demonstrated.

· Additional reporting by Vaudine England in Bangkok.

Sunday Independent

Dev tricked public into investing in Irish Press, file reveals

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NICOLA TALLANT

FORMER President Eamon de Valera tricked the Irish and American public into investing in the Irish Press, which he rigged to make his family rich.

New files unearthed for the first time unravel the complex web de Valera wove to con investors into believing they were putting their savings towards a public company. Instead, thousands of Irish Americans invested in a lucrative family business.

Ten years after the collapse of the newspaper group and the loss of 600 jobs, a documentary finally reveals the full story behind the Irish Press and tells how de Valera used clever business tactics to secure full control fromthe off.

Founded in 1931, the Irish Press was supposed to be a paper for the people, committed to telling “the truth in news” and to be used as a platform for the newly formed Fianna Fail Party.

Thousands of ordinary men and women in Ireland and America answered de Valera’s call to invest their savings in the newspaper, which was seen as an emblem of an independent Ireland.

To this day, the only people who have ever benefited financially from the business, which was once Ireland’s most successful, are de Valera’s sons and grandson.

Files, hidden away for years, will finally reveal how de Valera took deliberate steps to make sure the money invested by his supporters secured control of a mighty business for himself and his offspring. Hidden History documentary Family Fortunes details how de Valera sent fundraisers to America to drum up interest in his envisioned Irish Press.

Despite the great depression, he managed to get $250,000 entrusted to them for investment in the paper.

But de Valera already had plans for any money raised in the US and had cautioned his fundraisers to pitch the campaign to the Irish-Americans.

He had warned them to be careful not to suggest that they would get shares orcertificates directly from the company, but instead would get participation certificates from an American trust company.

Instead of getting shares in Irish Press Limited, they received certificates from Irish Press Corporation which was registered in Delaware, the US equivalent of Switzerland. Files undisclosed for decades show that once de Valera had secured the money in 1931 the company sent out ‘A’ class share certificates from IPC.

Although there were over 60,000 ‘A’ class shares, total control of the company would rest with the owner of 200 ‘B’ class shares.

In a simple transaction, the documents reveal how de Valera, the owner of the B class shares, gained total power of over $250,000.

“Nobody could take it from him. This was carried on out of sight of the public. And the next phase would be to use the American company money to purchase a huge block of shares in Irish Press Limited – the company back inIreland,” the documentaryexplains.

By clever cloaking of figures – a move that would no doubt be the subject of tribunal investigations these days – de Valera secured purchasing control of 43 per cent of Irish Press Limited for a paltry sum of $1,000.

Although claiming to act in the interest of the American investors, de Valera knew any business-savvy savers would realise they had been tricked.

He put aside 5000 shares from Irish Press Limited to give to anyone who complained or questioned their share certs.

On September 5, 1931 the Irish Press began publication and, in the documentary, former workers will describe the confusion and cramped conditions inside the building.

Author Tim Pat Coogan says the paper was an instant hit as it covered topics like the GAA for the first time ever.

Distributed at masses by priests, the paper targetedanti-treaty republicans and sought to rally support for the Fianna Fail party.

Former TD John Browne questioned the running of the paper and why no dividends had been paid to shareholders, and after much Dail debate it emerged that de Valera had set up the company to give himself total control under the title Controlling Director.

As debate continued, the 77-year-old stepped down as Taoiseach and was appointed President – a move that would overshadow his dodgy business dealing.

“It is just a sad story of how idealism and revolutions start in hope and glory and end up fumbling in a greasy till,” says Tim Pat Coogan.

Bobby Sands mural photo
Ní neart go cur le chéile

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March - Sept 2007

All other months and years are below.

'So venceremos, beidh bua againn eigin lá eigin. Sealadaigh abú.' --Bobby Sands