Persona non grata

The genocide continues unabated in Gaza and as it unfolds we begin to see the outlying dynamics of this election platform.

Israel has an election shortly and that corrupt traitor Abbas tries to use the suffering of the Palestinian people to press a political advantage against Hamas.

Ehud Barak told the Knesset that the Zionist death squads spent "months" preparing for the Gaza slaughter.

Israel has also rejected any calls for a truce as unrealistic!

"There is no room for a ceasefire," Meir Sheetrit, Israel's interior minister, said.

"The Israeli army must not stop the operation before breaking the will of Palestinians, of Hamas, to continue to fire at Israel."

They want to break the will of the Palestinian people? That will never happen!

Now we see the truth loud and clear.

This talk of rockets from Gaza was only a pretext for invasion and both factions in the Zionist cabal try to outdo themselves as war criminals before the Zionist electorate.

I wonder what the ratio is per votes/dead Palestinian.

Is one dead Palestinian child worth 10 votes and a mother worth 6?

I have no doubt that both Egypt and Abbas were complicit in this slaughter, it brings deep anger to my heart when I consider the ties that Sinn Féin has with Fatah.

Mubarak announced on Egyptian television on Tuesday that the Rafah crossing will not be fully re-opened until Mahmoud Abbas, the Palestinian president, regains authority in the territory.

"We will not deepen the division and that breach by opening Rafah border crossing in the absence of the Palestinian Authority and the European Union monitors,"

The other day he tried to claim that Hamas were stopping people from crossing but now it becomes clear that he is trying to use the suffering of the Palestinian people for political ends.

As it stands close to 400 people have been murdered by the Zionists, with close to 100 of those being women and children.

It comes as no surprise that the armed wing of Hamas has vowed to send rockets deeper into Israel than ever before if the Zionists continue their deadly bombardment of the Gaza Strip.

"We tell the leaders of the enemy - if you continue with your assault, we will hit with our rockets further than the cities we have hit so far," a masked spokesman for Ezzedine al-Qassam Brigades said in televised comments on Tuesday.

"If you think that Hamas and al-Qassam will be crushed, we will rise up from the rubble,"

The Palestinian people have a right to defend themselves and their homeland from these Zionists squatters.

I was glad to see that strong condemnation of Israel from the Irish government during the week but I would like to see them go further.

Under the Vienna Convention on Diplomatic Relations Article 9, a receiving State may "at any time and without having to explain its decision" declare any member of a diplomatic staff "persona non grata".

I would like to see Ireland take a stand in Europe and suspend all diplomatic relations with Israel.

I was encouraged to hear that at least some political figures were suggesting this.

Richard Boyd Barrett of the Irish Anti-War Movement said that Ireland should “take the lead in Europe and end diplomatic relations with Israel”. He said Israel should be boycotted because it is “akin to apartheid South Africa”.

UPDATE:If anyone has an interest in the current slaughter in Gaza then I suggest you read this excellent article in the Observer by Johann Hari.


Lynch's Fifth Column

I have to say that I always find the "30 year rule" releases highly amusing as most of the important stuff is never revealed anyway.

What did catch my eye was the possibility that Jack Lynch may have tried to thwart Thatcher by calling on the Irish people in Britain not to vote Conservative.

I have to say that I couldn't have seen it being successful as most of the Irish people I know in England would sooner shoot themselves than vote for the Tories. By and large they always vote Labour.

Irish ambassador in London Paul Keating analysed the possible impact of calling on Irish people in Britain to vote against the Conservative party.

Mr Keating warned against the approach writing: “Since Parnell’s time attempts have been made to use it but they have rarely if ever been successful and generally the attempt to use it militates against the position of the Irish people here and creates ill-will in Anglo-Irish relations.”

Queen’s University Belfast historian Brian Hanley said: “Such a call would have been received by the right in British politics as an attempt by a foreign government to create an electoral fifth column."

Still not even close with the carry on of the British and their influence in a foreign country, i.e. Ireland.


Uncle Joe or Mass Murderer?

"The people who cast the votes decide nothing. The people who count the votes decide everything"~Joseph Stalin

I see that Joseph Stalin has come third in an all time greatest Russian poll commissioned by Rossiya, one of Russia's biggest television stations.

Stalin was beaten into third spot behind Alexander Nevsky who fought off European invaders in the 13th century to preserve a united Russia and reformist Prime Minister Pyotr Stolypin, who was assassinated in 1911.

There has been widespread international unrest at "Uncle Joe's" supposed rehabilitation by the current Kremlin regime

Indeed the owner of the Television Station that commissioned this poll pleaded with viewers to pick a different candidate. It is for that reason that I believe the above quote is rather appropriate.

Stalin was one of the most controversial leaders of the 20th Century; many rank him on a power with Hitler due to his devastating purges of the 1930's.

Others view him as the undisputed leader of the Second World War after his country struck all the killer blows that led to the downfall of the Nazi regime.

I have to admit that the admiration that many on the left have for Stalin has never stood easy with me.

I have known members of my own movement who have considerable respect for this mass murderer. Indeed I know a well know Belfast SDLP Councillor who almost wants to have Big Joe's children with the amount of Stalin memorabilia in his office.

So the question that must be asked is who and what was Joseph Stalin?

There were some good points to Stalin and anyone who denies this denies a central part of his discourse.

Bearing the brunt of the Nazis' attacks, the Soviet Union under Stalin made the largest and most decisive contribution to the defeat of Nazi Germany during World War II. 4 out of every 5 Nazi soldiers who were killed were killed by the Red Army.

It was for that reason that Big Joe was declared the Times Man of the Year in 1942/43.

Under the Stalin Soviet government people benefited from some social liberalisation.

Girls were given an adequate, equal education and women had equal rights in employment, improving lives for women and families.

Stalinist development also contributed to advances in health care, which significantly increased the lifespan and quality of life of the typical Soviet citizen. Stalin's policies granted the Soviet people universal access to healthcare and education, effectively creating the first generation free from the fear of typhus, cholera, and malaria.

Soviet women under Stalin were the first generation of women able to give birth in the safety of a hospital, with access to prenatal care.

Education was also an example of an increase in standard of living after economic development.

The generation born during Stalin's rule was the first near-universally literate generation. Millions benefitted from mass literacy campaigns in the 1930s, and from workers training schemes.

Engineers were sent abroad to learn industrial technology, and hundreds of foreign engineers were brought to Russia on contract. Transport links were improved and many new railways built.

Under Stalin's rule, the Soviet Union was transformed from an agricultural nation into a global superpower.

While all these advances are laudable I must ask the question...at what price?

At what price did the Soviet Union become a global superpower?

"The death of one man is a tragedy. The death of millions is a statistic."

The above quote for me symbolises all that was corrupt and evil about Stalin, the fact that he was factually correct does not diminish the evil behind it.

His forced Agrarian policies at the start of his rule cost the lives of up to 10 million Soviet citizens. Progress, either political/economic or cultural can never be justified off the back of suffering.

His demented paranoia lead to the "Great" Purge of the 1930's when millions of Soviet citizens were wrongfully incarcerated or flat out executed at Gulag labour camps for purely political reasons.

Stalin's leadership was reinforced by a powerful cult of personality and in the 1950's Nikita Khrushchev, Stalin's eventual successor, would denounce Stalin's rule and cult of personality, thus initiating the process of "de-Stalinization".

I have nothing but respect for the Soviet Union and the role they played in defeating Nazism through from my perspective this was achieved despite the role of Stalin not because of him.

His purges cost the country dearly and it wasn't until he left the war in the control of his General's that his country began to prosper against the Nazi enemy.

There are many things that I admire about the Soviet Union, not least its incredible anthem, however Stalin was not one of them.


What can be done to stop Israel?

As the Zionist War Machine wages on in Gaza I began to think about what could be done to stop, once and for all, this despot regime.

The Middle East is a tinderbox and the thousands of Arabs taking to the streets in Yemen, Ramallah, Cairo etc is testament to that fact. One of the interesting things is that they are not only condemning Israel but their own spineless leaders as well.

Khaled Meshaal, the political leader of Hamas, has already called for Palestinians to unite in order to wage a third intifada against Israel.

I don't think that anyone wants to see a return to suicide bombers but that will be the outcome unless action is taken by those in a position of responsibility and power.

The simple fact is that the Zionist War Machine is funded by the USA. One third of their Foreign Aid Budget goes to Israel.

It is America who must be influenced to stop funding this genocide and in my opinion that can only be achieved by turning off the oil.

In this economic crisis The Arab League have a unique opportunity to put the screw into the West.

The founding principle of the Arab League is to "draw closer the relations between member States and co-ordinate collaboration between them, to safeguard their independence and sovereignty, and to consider in a general way the affairs and interests of the Arab countries."

If the plight of the Palestinian people does not cover all of the above then I don't know what does.

What also has become clearer is the semi-motivation of the Zionists in this instance and it was let out of the bag by Ephraim Sneh, former deputy Israeli defence minister.

He said

"The fact that Hamas, for a year and a half, controlled Gaza and turned it into an Iranian base at the gates of Israel is a situation that is inconceivable and unacceptable to us."

"The blame is on Hamas... When they took over, they didn't bring in investors, they brought in instructors from the Revolutionary Guards of Iran.”

The Zionists are mobilising a land force at the gates of Gaza and the Arab League must act before it is too late.

If they shut off oil to any Western nation that gives succour to Israel then we would have an economic crisis of which the West could not withstand.

The Arab League has the power to make a great difference the only question is if they have the courage to take the steps that they must.


Israeli Massacre of Palestinians

I see that the Zionist regime has once again renewed its blood lust when it massacred over 200 Palestinians in the Gaza strip.

This has been the single biggest Palestinian loss of life since 1967.

Zionist Aggression Minister Ehud Barak said "it won't be easy and it won't be short. There is a time for calm and a time for fighting, and now the time has come to fight,"

It would appear that the Zionists will not be happy until every man, woman and child of the Palestinian Nation are wiped out.

Where have I heard of that kind of hate before...I wonder?

Mustafa Barghouthi, the former Palestinian information minister, said

"This is not an attack on the Hamas. It is an attack on the whole population and the free will of the people of Gaza."

That for me is self evident with this attack.

I have always been a supporter of Fatah as they seek a secular and socialist Palestine however the stench of corruption has surrounded them and the Palestinian people made their choice in the form of Hamas in Gaza.

Their choice must be respected!

My support for the Palestinian people in unconditional, the same can't be said for its political parties and Fatah in particular.

I see that the West continues to appease the Zionist aggressor

The Brit PM had this to say, "I am deeply concerned by continuing missile strikes from Gaza on Israel and by Israel's response today,"

So his primary concern is not the murder of 200 Palestinian Citizens? What a surprise!

The USA, Israel's biggest benefactor, was her usual benign self when US Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice issued this despicable statement

"The United States strongly condemns the repeated rocket and mortar attacks against Israel and holds Hamas responsible for breaking the ceasefire and for the renewal of violence in Gaza,"

It was Israel that broke the terms of the Egyptian negotiated truce by refusing to open the border crossings and end their disgusting blockade against the people of the Gaza.

The most honest response I have heard thus far came from a Palestinian Housewife in the Jabalya refugee camp.

“Since six months ago, we have had almost no supplies through the crossings, no food, no medicine, no gas, no water. What truce are you talking about? I support the truce, but a truce that brings us basic rights as Palestinians, not a truce that is only good for Israelis ... this served only one side, Israel.”

Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas would need to do a lot more than simply condemn the "aggression" in Gaza.

The PLO and other Palestinian Resistance organisations should avenge this attack with utmost severity.

I would echo the sentiments of my Bloglaigh Na hÉireann Comrade Julius Geezer when he said

"I'm of the opinion that I won't see a resolution to this conflict in my lifetime. If there is a Palestinian state based on the Camp David/Taba discussions it will quickly fail because it will be based on injustice, illegality, and the legitimization of land-grabbing criminality. The chances of a bi-national state emerging, based on equality for all, are not good to say the least.

In the short term the hapless Abu Mazen should show a grain of integrity and cut off all contact with Israel, and it is to be hoped that all Palestinian resistance groups will retaliate against this murderous aggression. There is a time for peace, but it's not when a clique of cowardly murdering thugs are slaughtering your people."

Peace can not be achieved while the jackboot of Zionist aggression is firm on the throat of the Palestinian people.

The Arab Nations must show common cause with the people of Gaza and wider Palestine and do all in their power to ensure that the days of Zionist expansion and aggression are a thing of the past.

Victory to the Palestinian people! Tiocfaidh Siad Lá!

UPDATE. The Zionists launch a second day of attacks and the death toll in Gaza is now up to at least 280.

It would seem that the once mighty Fatah party is now little more than a puppet when you consider the wimpering reaction of Mahmoud Abbas. Shame on him! I hope the electorate in the West Bank give him the answer that he deserves at the first available opportunity.

Judas is alive and well and living in Ramallah!


By their actions...

"The only valid censorship of ideas is the right of people not to listen". ~Tommy Smothers

I'm not one for Christmas Messages; the Pope didn't even get a look in our house never mind the English Queen.

That being said I had a sneaking regard for Channel 4 when they choose Dr Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, President of the Islamic Republic of Iran, for their "alternative" Christmas Message.

I don't agree with Dr Ahmadinejad on a lot of issues, his denial of the holocaust, treatment of Christians in Iran, Capital Punishment, treatment of women etc.

I am however a believer in Free Speech and Channel 4 has once again shown themselves to be against the grain in relation to the British Establishment line.

I found his message positive, even if his knowledge of Christ's teachings was a bit suspect.

I think that such positive engagement is necessary as we try to reach out the hand of friendship in the Middle East.

No doubt the Zionists and their friends in Whitehall will be appalled at this Muslim ( or any Muslim who isn't blowing themselves up for that matter) being granted airtime but that should just be a sign to Channel 4 that they are doing the right thing.

It's all well and good being a champion of Free Speech when it comes to causes and people you support; the true test is when you offer the same rights to your enemy and those you disagree with.


Beannachtaí na Nollag

'Twas the night before Christmas, when all through the house. Not a creature was stirring, not even a mouse;.." or so the story goes.

It's that time of the year again and I have to wonder where the last 12 months have gone. It has been a mixture of good and bad, that's what life is though.

I have to say that Christmas does not mean to me what it once did. I know that it's the celebration of the birth of our Lord but that magic of childhood is no longer there. About 15 years ago I would have been going insane with excitement at this stage.

Christmas is a time for children and this will be the first year in our house when none of us are "for Santa", due to the fact that my youngest brother is now 11yrs old.

Christmas is also a time when we remember those that we have lost, grand-parents, aunts and uncles. I attended two wakes last night and a funeral today so I do think that puts life in perspective.

We often complain and think we have troubles, we only kid ourselves.

Even though some of the magic is gone in relation to Christmas I still love Christmas Eve, there is just something festive about it.

In relation to Balrog I have a lot of work to do over the next few months to restore it as a place of serious political debate. I don't like what it has become of late but I have put far too much work into this blog to allow it to fall.

I ask everyone to cut me some slack, I will be tough with the new rules in the short term but I hope it will be back to normality in a short while.

I would like to wish everyone a very Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year. I hope you and yours have a nice break and enjoy some good company.

To those who will not be having a Happy Christmas I say to you that you will be in my prayers.

Now, time for an Irish Coffee...

Nollaig Beannaithe agus Athbhliain faoi mhaise daoibh.


Holy Father must take action

I am disgusted but hardly surprised that the Church have "closed ranks" in relation to the scandal surrounding Bishop Magee in Cloyne.

His handling of child sex abuse allegations mark a return to the dark old days. His handling has been severely criticised by Children’s Minister Barry Andrews, Mr Andrews called on the former Papal secretary to "consider his position".

“In the education system in most other countries there would be lay people involved in the running of the schools and a report as damning as this would make their position untenable,”

“I’ve said I think the Bishop should reflect on that and I think it encapsulates my concerns.”

Bishop Magee's handling of this sad and disgraceful episode has also been criticised by an internal Church inquiry which found that child protection practices in the Co Cork diocese were "inadequate and dangerous", thereby potentially exposing vulnerable young people to further harm.

The explosive Cloyne report, compiled by the National Board for Safeguarding Children (NBSC) and published on the internet last Friday evening, found Bishop Magee took minimal action over a series of child sex abuse allegations against two of his priests.

Newry-born Bishop Magee, who was private secretary to three different Popes, apologised to clerical sex abuse victims in the wake of the damning report but refused to resign.

The 'Voice of the Faithful' lobby, which campaigns for more accountability in the Irish Catholic Church, said that if Bishop Magee fails to step down, Pope Benedict should exercise his supreme authority by demanding his resignation.

Sean O'Conaill, the acting coordinator of 'Voice of the Faithful' said that this response from Bishop Magee was not good enough and he should go.

"The NBSC report on the management of two child protection cases in the diocese of Cloyne shows clearly that, three years after the Ferns report in 2005, an Irish bishop had failed to ensure that the safety of the children of his diocese was paramount in the minds of all those answerable to him for the safety of Catholic children,"

"Other children were thereby still being endangered at this late date -- despite the guidelines supposedly adopted by all Irish bishops in the wake of the Ferns report. We therefore call upon him to resign this office immediately. In the event of his failing to do so, we call upon the Holy Father, His Holiness Pope Benedict XVI, to exercise his supreme authority to request the resignation of Dr Magee."

I have to say that I am angered by the lack of response from Cardinal Sean Brady.

He is supposed to be the Primate of All-Ireland and a Prince of the Catholic Church however he has shown himself unworthy to occupy the seat of St Patrick and St Oliver Plunkett.

He should be operating a zero tolerance policy in relation to child protection policies.

I have to concur with Sean O'Conaill and "Voice of the Faithfull"; if Bishop Magee will not step down by his own choosing then the Holy Father should step in and demand his resignation.

Every moment of delay weakens the authority of the Church and damages the faith of those that the Church is meant to lead.

"But when Jesus saw, he was much displeased, and said unto them, suffer the little children to come unto me, and forbid them not: for of such is the kingdom of God."
Mark 10:14


Better late then never

Danny McIlhone, one of the Disappeared, was laid to rest today by his family.

For the best part of 30 years his family have been denied this opportunity and it is with them that my prayers are at the moment.

I have spoken about this issue before on Balrog; the Disappeared is one of the biggest blights on the IRA.

I don't want to get into the whole "was he/she a tout" as for me it's a non issue at this stage.

Even if these people did something wrong their families should never have been denied the opportunity of a Catholic burial for them.

As a somewhat religious person this grates on my conscience a lot.

The families are innocent in all of this yet in some ways they have suffered the most.

I am glad that Gerry Adams has called on all those with information to come forward.

It's time to bring closure to these people; they deserve that much at least.


Bobby Sands MP

I see that Education Minister Caitríona Ruane has been reported to the police for telling children that Bobby Sands was "a local hero".

Caitríona was speaking at a prize-giving ceremony at St Colm's High School in Twinbrook last week.

What's the problem here? I can't see how telling the truth can be a criminal offence.

Bobby Sands was from Twinbrook and the people there are quite rightly proud of him, as are a great many more in Ireland and around the world.

Bobby joined a pantheon of Republican Martyrs like McSweeney and Ashe when he invoked that ancient Brehon legal convention, Hunger Strike.

He laid down his life for his friends, comrades and the struggle in general. He did this out of love, love of his country, her people and her future.

Just as a bit of perspective we can view how Bobby was and is viewed around the world.

The Global Reaction


In Rome, the President of the Italian Senate did what the Brit Speaker couldn't bring himself to do by expressing the Italian government's sympathies to the Sands' family.

In Milan, 5,000 students burned the Union Flag and shouted "Freedom for Ulster" during a march.

In Ghent, students invaded the British Consulate.

In Paris, thousands marched behind huge portraits of Sands, to chants of 'The IRA will conquer'.

In France, many towns and cities have streets named after Sands. Examples include Nantes, St Etienne, Le Mans Vierzon and St Denis.

In Oslo, demonstrators threw a balloon filled with tomato sauce at Elizabeth Windsor, Head of the British Crown Forces.

In Spain, the Ya newspaper said Bobby's death was "an act of heroism."

In Poland's Lech Walesa paid tribute, "Bobby Sands was a great man who sacrificed his life for his struggle."

Soviet Union

Pravda described it as 'another tragic page in the grim chronicle of oppression, discrimination, terror and violence' in Ireland.

In Liverpool a march in support of Sands took place from Upper Parliament Street to the Pier Head, chanting "Bobby Sands MP".


The US Congress and state and local governments passed resolutions honouring Bobby's sacrifice and sent letters of condolence. The New Jersey state legislature noted his "courage and convictions”

The International Longshoremen's Association in New York announced a twenty-four-hour boycott of British ships.

Over 1,000 people gathered in New York's St. Patrick's Cathedral to hear Cardinal Terence Cooke offer a Mass of reconciliation for Northern Ireland. Irish bars in the city were closed for two hours in mourning.

In Hartford, Connecticut a memorial was dedicated to Bobby Sands and the other Hunger Strikers in 1997, Set up by the Irish Northern Aid Committee and local Irish-Americans, it stands in a traffic circle known as "Bobby Sands Circle," at the bottom of Maple Avenue near Goodwin Park.


In 2001, a memorial to Sands and the other hunger strikers was unveiled in Havana,


The ANC not only sent representatives to the funeral but Nelson Mandela sent a personal message from his prison cell.


In Tehran, Iran, President Bani-Sadr sent a message of condolence to the Sands family and also sent a representative to the funeral. An official blue and white street sign was affixed to the rear wall of the British embassy compound saying (in Persian) "Bobby Sands Street" with three words of explanation "militant Irish guerrilla".

The official Pars news agency called Bobby Sands' death "heroic".

The Hindustan Times said Margaret Thatcher had allowed a fellow Member of Parliament to die of starvation, an incident which had never before occurred "in a civilised country."

In the Indian Parliament, opposition members in the upper house Rajya Sabha stood for a minute's silence in tribute.

The Hong Kong Standard said it was 'sad that successive British governments have failed to end the last of Europe's religious wars.'

A large monument dedicated to Irish protagonists for independence from Britain, including Bobby Sands, stands in the Waverly Cemetery in Sydney, Australia.

How could Bobby Sands not be a hero and inspiration to thousands of people, his self sacrifice is a shinning example of hope in the face of adversity

New Order

I have to say that I am more than a little angry at the moment. Certain posters on this blog have abused the platform that I provide for debate over the last couple of days.

Everyone is well aware of the rules I set in relation to posting.

Rule 1. Do not libel anyone on Balrog.

Deaddog has broken that rule and is now banned, if he appears under a new name I will be banning that person as well. I find it nothing short of cowardly for anonymous posters to cast aspersions over named individuals when they themselves lack the testicular fortitude to back up their allegations with their own name.

Some people seem to believe that they can use Balrog as their very own South Armagh version of the Sunday World. I will not be standing for that, if you want to set up your own blog then go ahead but you will not be hijacking mine in order to smear sound Republicans and their families.

Rule 2. No Sockpuppets

Deaddog/Camlough Republican/Blackrain etc are all the same person posting from the same unique IP. I don't allow sockpuppets on Balrog.

Rule 3. No derailing threads

I have warned Percy about this on a number of occasions, the warnings stop now. Percy is now banned from Balrog and any future post from him will be deleted.

Anyone who has read Balrog for any length of time will know how much I value Free Speech. I'm sorry that I have to curtail that right because of its abuse by people like Percy.

The Paul Quinn case is banned as a matter of discussion on Balrog unless there is a specific post on that topic.

I don't have the time to dedicate to Balrog that I once had, I hope for that to change in the New Year but until it does comment moderation will be in place.

I would rather delete the entire blog than have to deal with this kind of childish nonsense.


Out of the shadows

I know it's been a while since my last post and to be honest I don't know when I will be back to regular blogging. Work is mental at the moment, 60 hour weeks are the norm as opposed to the exception.

Added to that the fact that I have bitten the bullet and finally joined the gym, I know, it was a shock to me too at first. All of that is an aside though, I still managed regular blogging at Uni and at that stage I was doing 60 hour drinking!

My two biggest blocks towards blogging at the moment are a lack of interest and apathy towards politics.

My lack of interest towards blogging is interlinked with my apathy towards politics. This is a political blog first and foremost, that is why I set it up. I have been blogging for years and I feel it's time for a break.

My apathy towards politics is not too hard to understand. I have been an active Republican since the age of 15, 9 years at different levels of the movement.

This is the first year that we didn't have an election North or South and due to work and life commitments I have taken a step back from active politics.

At the moment I am seriously contemplating taking the New York Bar Exams but we will have to see what happens.

Although I will not be blogging as much I will be watching and any comment which engages in personal insult will be removed with no explanation given.

I'll too old for this childish nonsense anymore.

I would like to recommend the new BBC series Apparitions to anyone who hasn't been watching.

It deals with the darker side of the Church and the fight against Satan, an area that holds great interest for me.

My mother and Aunt have always been into Angels and angelic intercession, I seem to have inherited that side of my faith and so I will leave you with one of my favourite prayers.

A prayer I would like to see restored to the end of every Mass.

"Saint Michael the Archangel, defend us in battle, be our protection against the wickedness and snares of the devil; may God rebuke him, we humbly pray and do thou, O Prince of the heavenly host, by the power of God, thrust into hell Satan and all evil spirits who wander through the world for the ruin of souls. Amen."


Falling on ones own sword

I see that prominent loyalist and tout Ihab Shoukri died of a drug overdose last weekend. Whilst any loss of young life is truly regrettable I shed no feigned, crocodile tears for Shoukri.

For years Shoukri and his cohorts tortured the Nationalist people of North Belfast with sectarian attacks. Indeed many decent working class loyalists will not be too sorry to see him go either. After all he unleashed a surfeit of drugs and criminality onto their community. He got mega rich from the suffering and pain of others.

Such was the irreparable damage derivative from his criminality that the UDA booted out the Shoukris and a few of their trusted lieutenants. It must take a lot for the UDA to expel someone for criminality, saying as how they are up to their eyeballs in the fucking stuff!

It is somewhat ironic that Shoukri, a noted drug dealer should fall on his own sword and die from an overdose. Many young people from North Belfast have died at the hands of these dealers of death and it seems that in this case karma caught up with the monster!

Many eyebrows were raised when Shoukri was released from prison after only a few weeks. The nonchalant approach of the judiciary to leading loyalists suspected of being on the payroll of Special Branch is beyond comprehension. No doubt their handlers are able to get them a little breathing space.

Not even Special Branch can save him from judgement where he is now.

To do or die

Tonight will see Celtic take on Aalborg and hopefully the Bhoys can eventually manage to break their away day blues.

An awful lot of people have been quick to deride Aalborg as a push over. However they gave a very good account of themselves at Parkhead and to be honest they pushed Villareal all the way too. Aalborg came out of the traps at Paradise and startled Celtic. Although Celtic missed a penalty I think Aalborg did well to achieve a point at Fortress Parkhead. Tonight Celtic will have to be on their best to take the maximum 3 points required.

Commentators many of them from the Brit media have been quick to point out that Celtic are effectively out of this years Champions League. This however is erroneous. Mathematically Celtic can still qualify, if they win their two remaining games and if Man Utd beat Villareal tonight (I never thought that I would be cheering for those smarmy bastards to win!). As Andres Hinkel put it Celtic still have a chance, it might not be a big chance but it is still a chance.

Celtic will have to be quick on the ball tonight and desist with the school boy errors that have plagued their performances away from home thus far. As Tam Gemmell put it Aalborg certainly fancy their chances and it is up to Celtic to take the game to them.

I am glad to see that Samaras returned to action against St Mirren. Although not a huge fan of the prolific Greek striker, I feel he adds a cutting edge impetus to the Celtic strike force, as his well taken goal on Saturday is testament to. Injuries have curtailed the effectiveness of the Hoops up front in away games in Europe this season. Samaras will go someway to restring a lethal touch up front.

I think Celtic might just shade it tonight. After all this is the anniversary of our last draw away on the continent ( to Barcelona if you will!) However the difficulty may lie in Man Utd having to beat Aalborg. This is the inherent danger in having to rely partly on others for qualification.

Ah well at least the forces of darkness have nothing to shout about except how they are going to win the SPL in the absence of any Euro commitments.

Dream on Darcheville…….

The price to pay for a quickie

I see that the two Brits caught with their panties down in Dubai will now be returning home rather than face imprisonment as first feared.

I must admit that I have been following this case attentively and that I always have a wry smile and chuckle every time it is mentioned. There is just something about the folly of the whole situation that amuses me.

Michelle Palmer and Vince Acors were caught having sex on Jumeirha Beach on 5th July. They had met a few hours earlier at a champagne party and decided to get jiggy ( conservative readers stop casting aspersions and making judgements already!).They were initially found guilty of having unmarried sex and of public indecency and handed a three month sentence.

The austerity of the sentence was supposed to represent an example to all other adventurous and horny holiday makers. However both lodged an appeal and now the only ignominy they will face is deportation and the thought that everyone back home knows of their licentious dalliance abroad. I bet that will be one awkward welcome home conversation with their parents!

As you will all know there is strict Islamic law in force in Dubai. However I think 3 months incarceration for a quick shag behind the sand dunes is a bit extreme. Not even a scorned missus would react in such a severe manner. I have heard of some unlucky bastards being caught horsing their girlfriend out of it by her old man, but this was above and beyond that.

Imagine how many people would be imprisoned in Ireland if we enforced offences like having unmarried sex! I think the debacle over the Long Kesh site would be solved rapidly as it would be needed to house all the horny fuckers caught in the act.

I suppose the only lesson we can really extract from this humorous episode is that if you are taking the missus away for a dirty weekend its probably better to stick to Dublin than going to Dubai.


Barack Buster set to destroy Old Warhorse

It's the night of the great event, American Election 2oo8!

A time when American citizens choose not only their President for the next 4 years but also their Congressmen and Senators as well.

I have supported Barack Obama from the Primaries and I hope that he succeeds tonight.

The key battleground states are the ones to watch, states like Virginia, Ohio, Florida and Iowa.

I have respect for McCain as a man, his experience in Vietnam and his refusal to leave before his comrades show the true measure of the man. He is a war hero but he is not the right man to lead America in my opinion.

I disagree with most of his policies, his foreign policy in particular.

Obama isn't perfect and I don't agree with all his policies but he offers hope in a time when it's in short supply.

I have often been accused of being anti-American which is untrue; I value many things about American society and politics.

I am anti-Imperialism and I hope Obama goes some way to restoring American standing in the world.

I would like to see the Democrats take the Senate by a majority of 6o plus, though I'm not sure how realistic that is, along with the House.

When Obama becomes President I hope he extends his hand out to all Americans to heal any hurts from this election.

I'm also glad that Joe Biden is standing as his VP as he is a man I have a lot of respect for.

I'll be up all night watching the vote and reading ATW; their coverage of the election has been fantastic.

"I like the dreams of the future better than the history of the past"
Thomas Jefferson

Naughty Nelson

I see that DUP MLA Nelson Mc Causland was ordered to remove himself from the assembly to-day by fellow DUP MLA and Speaker Willie Hay.

Mc Causland was suspended after refusing to withdraw remarks he made about Gerry Adams during a debate on ‘the Disappeared’ in the assembly yesterday.

Mc Causland claimed that El Presidente had set up ‘IRA units’ to torture suspected informers and bury their bodies in secrecy. El Presidente has strenuously denied these allegations, and this is not the first time certain Unionists have sought to tarnish Adams with this claim.

Perhaps there are a few other issues Nelson could raise in the assembly in relation to justice. Primarily I think he should ask some prominent members in his party where the weapons that Ulster Resistance imported from South Africa are. Perhaps he could enquire into whether they were used to murder any innocent Nationalists? I think Nelson should also raise the issue of the UDA playing a major role in a certain DUP members election campaign in 1978. Maybe he could also ask his former leader for the names of the mob that burnt down Catholic houses on the Shankill after the said man delivered a provocative and fiery speech in the late 1960’s?

Let he without sin cast the first stone. Clearly not a lesson Nelson learned at Sunday school.

The needed vote for change

To-day is the day that history could potentially be made. It is of course the day of the US presidential election and with it comes the very palpable and real opportunity for America to elect their first ever black president.

Obama is already ahead in the opinion polls, yet many in the conservative media are already suggesting that he will be piped at the post by Mc Cain.

For me Obama represents a new face of monumental change. He is young, charismatic and one hell of an orator. Compared to an aging man there appears to be no contest. One is for progress the other for conservation.

It was interesting to see a tattooed, self confessed red neck openly state that he was going to vote for Obama. He even pointed out the folly of many of his associates that refused to vote for Obama on the basis of his skin colour. With such a conversion, one could very else suggest that Obama could indeed be onto a winner.

Personally I feel that this is the closest America will ever come to electing a black president. If Obama succeeds then the final nail has been hammered into the ignominious coffin of slavery and the denial of civil rights. If he fails I think the US will have passed on the greatest opportunity to make monumental progress.

Indeed the enormity of the decision taken by voters in the US will reverberate around the globe. It is not only the future of America, but indeed that of the world they hold in their hands. It is actually quite scary to think that voters in one part of the world could have such an impact on the world as a whole

I think Mc Cain may have fallen on his sword whenever he took Palin onto his ticket. What was touted as a stroke of master genius appears to have back fired spectacularly. Palin is far from being popular and has been in the news for all the wrong reasons in the run up to to-days election. It is interesting to note that the GOP appears to have fallen victim to its greatest ally, the media.

Personally I have no regard for Palin whatsoever. To me she appears to be precocious and false and I simply would not want her serving as the deputy head of my country.

It will be a few days before the result begins to emerge and a fuller picture emerges. Indeed I would not be surprised if there is a repeat of the dirty tricks that seen GWB ‘WIN’ the election against Kerry.


Playing for pride or for pay?

As many of you will already know Ireland claimed another victory over Australia in the Compromise Rules series. Ireland won the match 57-53 giving them victory in both legs, and over all on aggregate.

Needless to see this feat is amazing, considering that GAA players are amateurs and have managed to once again beat professional athletes one on one.

However yesterdays encounter has raised several issues,. These arise every time the event takes place. Foremost amongst these issue is the contentious issue of the GAAs amateur status. Do not get me wrong, I concede that there is no better feeling than pulling on your county or club jersey week after week. Playing for pride is in many ways a better motivational factor than playing for pay.

Personally I feel that this debate is largely a redundant, red herring debate, instigated to ease the worries of many of the traditionalists within the GAA. I personally feel it makes no difference whether players are paid an allowance or not.

Primarily I am of this view because the GAA is a multi-million Euro sports organisation. The revenue generated from gate receipts is astronomical. Add to this the ever increasing cost of merchandise, the range of which is ever expanding. I mean now you have everything from kits, to school bags to air fresheners to play station games. The monetary gains from such a range is unbelievable and I think it is futile to argue that a sport that can generate such vast amounts of revenue is genuinely amateur.

Furthermore I can not fathom why people in light of these vast amounts of revenue would begrudge players a slice of this very large and lucrative cake. Personally I know that I would feel more comfortable knowing that the players, the people who entertain the crowds week in week out, the people making the sacrifices, should reap the rewards rather than the suits at GAA HQ.

Secondly I feel that it is futile to argue that a sport is amateur in essence and spirit whenever some are very clearly profiting from it. It is categorical that some people are very clearly making money from their positions within the GAA. County managers receive monetary payments as do several club managers whilst some players receive travelling allowances. Add to this the money top players make from advertisements, TV shows and newspaper columns. They are all making money as it stands, so I do not understand how giving them a few pound for playing will drastically alter this.

I think that traditionalists advocating a retention of amateur status are living in the past and are quite frankly deluding themselves. They appear to be utterly oblivious to the fact that money is already being made in the ways outlined above. These are the same people who were arguing that the back door system was going to kill off the championship. In fact they have been proved wrong on that issue. The restructuring of the championship has only served to strengthen the GAA further, especially in the weaker counties that are no longer subjected to the ignominy of the invariable preliminary round exit.

The attraction of professionalism in sport is reverberating across the GAA. Just look at the ability of AFL clubs to poach at will the cream of the GAA’s young talent. Many are quick to lambast those tempted by the lucrative offers from AFL clubs, but personally I feel castigation is difficult to justify. Thousands of pound in a sunny climate to do something that entails sacrifice at home is difficult to resist. Martin Clarke, Kevin Dyas, and now it seems the young talent of Tyrone have been tempted away to sunnier climates. Some in the GAA in passing the buck have naturally enough blamed the AFL for the whole debacle. However if they addressed the issue of providing financial incentive to their own players they could remedy the situation themselves,

Paying players is hardly going to cause the GAA world to implode. Several issues have over the years been muted as a wreckers charter and yet they have failed to dent the GAA in any way. This is merely another bogey debate to ease the worries of the die hard traditionalists.


Sinn Féin and the Banks

I promised JG that I would be doing a post on Sinn Féin's decision to support the financial bailout of Irish Banks.

This weeks An Phoblacht has an excellent article in which Pádraig Mac Lochlainn supports Sinn Féin's action and Eoin Ó Broin opposes it.

Sinn Féin's decision to support the Credit Institutions Bill has caused a lot of headaches for Republicans, me included.

Where were the forced resignations of the bank directors, the very people responsible for this disaster? It's hardly surprising that Fianna Fail would not ask for such a thing.

Let's not forget that like Fianna Fail the entire political establishment and I include the banks here, never fall on their sword for mistakes.

Fianna Fail have bred a culture of irresponsibility where people do not take account for their actions, they get rewarded for their incompetence in fact.

It's my firm belief that the Bill acts in the Banks best interests as opposed to the national interests.

David McWilliams has an excellent article in last weekends Sunday Business Post in which he links the current financial rescue to that of Gresham’s law, it states that ‘‘bad money drives out good money’’.

It's all very well for Padraig to put forward a wish list after the fact. You don't buy a car and then try to haggle after you have paid the money.

I agree with Eoin when he argues that this bill does not address the causes of the current problem, in fact it may make things worst.

The Celtic Tiger was fed on a diet of low cost-high risk debt, something which was encouraged by Fianna Fail through their tax incentives for property developers.

Fianna Fail have taken credit for the Celtic Tiger, they must now also take the blame for the sour after taste.

In my view this Bill is reckless and Sinn Féin, even though they felt they were acting in the national interests, were wrong to support such a bill.

Red Army crush Celtic hearts

It was another excellent night for this Man Utd supporter as the Red Army hammered Celtic 3-0.

I'm sure Adelante will be in a bar somewhere licking his wounds as the reality now dawns, Celtic are out of the Champions league for another year.

If this match showed us anything it was the gulf that exists between the Scottish SPL and the Premiership.

Celtic were outplayed and outclassed all over the pitch; Rooney was fantastic and our defence in the form of Vidic and Evans were hardly ever troubled.

It's time Celtic returned to the second rate league with second rate teams.

Action must be taken now.

I see that yet another dastardly rape was carried out in Belfasts university area last night.

A woman in her 20’s was raped by a lone male at the junction of Agincourt Avenue and Ormeau Road. This latest grisly attack comes fresh on the heels of a similar rape in the Queens area just a few weeks previous. A few months previous a woman was raped in Canterbury Street also. God knows how many more have been committed but have not been reported. It appears to be an inexorable trend at the minute. The growing number of rape attacks is truly a sad indictment of society today.

I think that it is time to look at the growing problem of rape in this area. The problem indubitably emanates from the decision to house convicted sex offenders in the University area. The University area is hardly an apposite location for such animals. They are a very real danger to each and every female student living in the area.

Letting these barbaric animals within proximity to vulnerable females is just asking for trouble. Many female students are vulnerable, they have a drink too many, some are living away from home for the first time and irresponsibility sets in. Many young women are walking intoxicated and scantily clad around this area late at night. They are like lambs to the slaughter.

Predators prey on this type of thing. Housing rapists etc... in such an area is like letting a fat kid run free in a sweet shop. It simply defies logic and the whole situation must be reviewed and revised. These sick bastards should be housed somewhere else, preferably the Moon or the Sahara desert. It seems that the rationale behind housing these bastards here is that there are very few children. This may be relevant in relation to paedophiles, but for the rapist it is like Christmas come early. They are unleashed onto the easiest and most unsuspecting category of victims.

Action is needed swiftly before another female becomes another rape statistic. The trauma of rape will never subside, but surely this grim episode will provide the impetus for taking action to prevent another repeat of this horrendous attack.


To plump or not to plump?

I see that there has been much talk about the proposed UUP and TUV voting alliance come the next European election.

With a string of Unionists standing at the next election the possibility of the SDLP gaining the last seat is far from fantasy.


In one corner you will have Jim Allister, a man whose bigotry is matched only by his ego. As the leader of the TUV he must hope that those who are unhappy with the DUP will feel that Europe is a safe arena in which to deliver the DUP a bloody nose.

Then we will have the DUP candidate, it's hard to know who will drink from that poison chalice at the moment. I don't believe the rumour about Nigel Dodds being the candidate; Europe is political Siberia when it comes to future leaders in waiting.

I suspect that it may be someone like Dianne Dodds or Willie McCrea.

The UUP have already confirmed that womaniser Jim Nicholson will be their candidate.


Last year myself and few comrades where speculating about who the SDLP would stand and I argued that they would opt for Alban McGuinness.

Let's be honest, the SDLP are in serious trouble in North Belfast and Sinn Féin are making encroaches into the SDLP vote at each and every election.

This is a golden handshake for Alban more than a promotion.

UUP/SDLP....Who takes the seat?

The UUP are increasingly becoming the political whores of the 6 counties. They are courting anyone with a pulse, and even some without. First we had the PUP, then the Tories and now the political equivalent of flatearthers in the form of the TUV.

The problem for Unionism is that Allister will pull in a substantial vote in the European elections. I don't see him retaining his seat but he could gift one to the SDLP.

The moral dilemma will be on Republican shoulders come the next European election. I say this because I believe transfers may be crucial.

I have never transferred to anyone other than Sinn Féin candidates at election time. My animosity towards the SDLP is also well know, I would like to see them annihilated politically.

The only thing that is still intriguing me is what the psychological effect on Unionism might be should we have a second Nationalist/Republican elected to Europe.

How would they cope with their grouping being down to just one representative?

My loyalty has always been and will always be to the Republican project, the reunification of this country.

If I felt that a number 2 for a stoop, no matter how uncomfortable for me personally such an action might be, would advance that agenda I would have no option but to go with it.

The election is still some distance away but I still maintain that the chances of a SDLP success rest not upon their own work but upon the good graces of Republican voters.

So the age old voting mantra continues, to plump or not to plump? That is the question!


No Huns in Corrie!

It seems that Europe is not the only Hun-free zone these days. Apparently the cobbled streets of Whetherfield are short of a few Cream buns (no, not the type on sale in Roy’s Rolls).

It seems that the Cream Bun Lager Lout Brigade have got their Union jack, skid marked undies in a twist over Manchester again.

And what is the source of the outrage I hear you all ask. It seems the Buns are not too enamoured that suave businessman Tony Gordon, played by ardent Hoops fan Gray O’ Brien, is a Celtic fan.

The boys in blue are annoyed at some of the lines that have been scripted to reflect O’ Briens preference for The Grand Old Team. Mainly the issue appears to be that Tony said he had school boy trials with the Hoops and that he would have no more intention of bedding Rosie Webster than he would support The Forces of Darkness.

ITV has been inundated with angry phone calls from The Billy Boys. Such was the extent of their indignation that they had to re-script Wednesdays episode. O’Brien has conveyed his bemusement at the whole development.

It is ironic that this comes in the same week as Mine Fuhrers pleas for Cream Buns to tackle the ‘”bile” of sectarianism. He claims half of negative incidents are “self inflicted”. It appears that Mine Fuhrer has overlooked the fact that a prominent Cream Bun board member and QC was caught singing this bile a few years ago. Mine Fuhrer has now called for Cream Bun fans to police themselves. It’s a pity he did not make this request before last seasons Uefa Cup showdown in Manchester. Mind you the directors of Corrie are lucky it is not this year as Gordons Underworld factory would probably have been ransacked by furious Huns.

Mine Fuhrer seems to have overlooked the fact that the Cream Buns are much too busy watching Corrie and phoning ITV complaining to police themselves. I suppose now that The Cream Buns are no longer in Europe The Billy Boys have nothing better to do with their Tuesday and Wednesday nights!


No excusing rape

A report by Amnesty International revealed a dangerous and disturbing aspect about the student psyche in the 6 counties. The report did not concern the pertinent issues of binge drinking or anti-social behaviour, but rather the very real issue of rape.

The report found that many male students in the 6 counties felt that in rape cases the female was in some part to blame. They evinced a belief in a link between flirting and rape. This is disturbing and opprobrious at the same time. It is wholly unacceptable to attribute the blame for rape to the victim. To do so embarks on a slippery slope of gradually criminalising the victim.

Whilst I acknowledge that some girls do dress and behave in a very sexually provocative manner this does not excuse this sick crime. I am not suggesting that no one can take a look at these girls, far from it, but rather you can not use it as an excuse for touching. The ‘she was asking for it’ line cuts no ice. I do not think it is much of a defence to say that someone was only raped because they were wearing a mini-skirt or because they were acting like a tart. Surely it is beyond the widest realms of imagination to argue that someone deserves to be raped?

Rape is a heinous crime, no half excuse or pathetic reason can diminish this fact. These excuses do nothing for the victim or their family. Will their trauma be lessened by the fact they were scantily clad? I think not.

The report also stated that 1 in 10 students put forward a belief that it was okay to use violence or acts of sexual aggression (including rape) against a partner that nags too much, refuses to have sex or flirts with another man.

It is worrying how devoid of morals students in the 6 counties appear to be. I know that it is only a small minority, but it still looks pretty grim. These people are supposed to be educated yet have the beliefs of a Neanderthal.


Jeffs great escape

I see that Jeffery Donaldson made a great escape of his own yesterday. As many of you will know wee Jeff refused to accept a joint peace award with Gerry Kelly on stage in the USA.

Jeff was seething that Kelly had the gall to feature in a programme remembering The Great Escape. This shows the petty mindedness of rejectionist Unionist like wee Jeffery. Gerry Kelly was one of the prominent master minds behind the escape so it is only logical that he should talk about it.

It seems the main issue is that Kelly admitted shooting a screw during the escape. I do not see the problem as this is a well known fact. Would Jeff prefer Kelly to lie and deny shooting the screw? Furthermore the screw in question knew only too well the consequences of attempting to halt the escape as Kelly left him in no uncertain terms as to what would happen.

The plethora of outrage vented on the Nolan show by Unionists raises a few issues.

Firstly they talk about the poor traumatised screws. Is this the same traumatised screws that hospitalised several prisoners in the aftermath of the escape? One in particular gave wounded escapee Harry Murray a vicious kicking. This from a born again Christian as well! The brutality of the screws in the aftermath of the escape is now clear and has been reinforced by the fact that several prisoners have been awarded compensation for the injuries they received at the hands of these traumatised screws. Unionists have very little to say on this matter.

Furthermore this furore shows that republicans can not tell their story. Any time republicans try to relate their story to the wider world Unionists cry outrage. One of the greatest escapes in the history of man could not be celebrated due to the over sensitivities of Unionism. Had this escape been by Brit prisoners it would be a block buster movie by now.

It is ironic that the Church of Ireland this week said that more has to be done to ensure that Protestant suffering over the last thirty five years is not forgotten. It seems that republicans are not allowed to tell their story. It seems that if you do not agree with wee Jeff you must remain silent.

Now theres a democracy wee Jeff would love.

Small minded bigotry

The worlds number one Celtic band Charlie and the Bhoys were due to play a benefit gig tonight for Mac Millan Cancer charity. However due to the narrow mindedness of some bigots this is no longer the case.

Mac Millan have now pulled out of the venture due to take place at Glasgow Barrowlands tonight after receiving complaints about the planned gig from faceless bigots.

These bigots fail to see the bigger picture. This is not about a Celtic band playing a gig for charity, but about raising money top help the fight against cancer. These bigots have got caught up in their entrenched and warped mentalities, ignoring the grim realities. As anyone with an ounce of rational thinking will realise, cancer is a scourge that has no regard for race, religion , colour or age. I just hope these bigots know the damage they have done in denying Mac Millan this much needed cash.

CATB lead singer Jim Scanlon has been a long term exponent of Mac Millan. Jim is in remission after suffering from cancer himself. He has only two years left before he gets the all clear. He has undertaken multifarious ventures to raise funds for Mac Millan and other cancer charities including marathons, gigs and the donation of revenue from CATB’s new Tommy Burns song. The humanity of Jim has shone through even in these challenging times when he says that he hopes the complainants never know the ravages of cancer nor have to avail of the services and care they are seeking to deny others.

However the bigots have failed to ruin the venture in its entirety. CATB will still play the gig tonight with the proceeds now going to the new charity set up by the family of Celtic great Tommy Burns who succumbed to cancer in May.

For further information on the gig or to make a donation check out further details at www.charlieandthebhoys.com.


Red Hand to raid Kingdom

This is a weird day for this Orangeman. As an Armagh man many a days banter and good natured slagging has been had with our Tyrone brethren in Croke Park.

My best and worst days have been in that stadium against both these teams today. The best was when we lifted Sam in 2002 against Kerry and the worst was in 2003 when we lost in the final to Tyrone.

The debate regarding the back door is for another day but the fact that both these teams would have been out of the competition a few years ago is not lost on Armagh, Cork, Dublin or Galway people.

That being said I am an Ulsterman and I will always support an Ulster team, even Down.

It's for that reason that I hope the Red Hand of Ulster takes the Sam Maguire back up North where it belongs.

The minor final was fantastic and neither Tyrone nor Mayo deserved to lose, a draw was a fair result.

UPDATE: Ulster says NO to Kerry's 3 in a row!

Veni, Vidi, Defeci!

I have spent the last few days reading and listening to the eulogies by political commentators and hacks alike of the PD's and I could not help but think of that great line from Shakespeare.

"I come to bury Cesar, not to praise him"

My view of the PD's is well known and well documented on this Blog, utter revulsion! Not of the people per se, Michael McDowell apart, but of the ideology which they have propagated.

Their very name is an oxymoron, Progressive Democrats!

What is progressive about engineering a gap between rich and poor which is the biggest in Europe? What is progressive about a taxation policy which rewards the rich and penalises the poor? What is progressive about a health policy like co-location which has created a two-tier health system?

What is democratic about one of the smallest parties on this island exerting so much influence on the lives of all? What is democratic about a party implementing policy over a majority of people who would never, ever elect them?

I welcome the demise of the PD’s; I doubt many are surprised by that though some may be by my reason. A greed that has never been present in the Irish psyche before has entered this country, a policy of "I'm alright jack" has been the order of the day.

The PD beast may, or may not have created this but they aren't the ones who have continued it. That blame lies with Fianna Fail and all the other establishment parties. They have all used the PD's as a scapegoat at election time. A bulwark between them and the electorate on issues like criminal justice and health.

With the upcoming demise of the PD's that bulwark will be removed and the emperor will be naked. No longer will Fianna Fail be able to pretend that co-location is the fault of the PD's.

With their undignified departure from the political field all but confirmed I hope for a time when we can have an honest fight with Fianna Fail over the issue of inequality and poverty.

The PD bogey man will be gone for Fianna Fail canvassers, it will just be them and the electorate and I relish that time to come.

"Experience demands that man is the only animal which devours his own kind, for I can apply no milder term to the general prey of the rich on the poor. "

Thomas Jefferson


Yanky Doodle at it again in South America

I see that the Yanks are at it again in South America. This is of course a reference to the mischief that the US has been getting up to in Bolivia and Venezuela.

American detestation of left wing politics in Latin America is well documented, and readers will now only too well the general response of successive, irascible US administrations to the growth of left wing politics in Latin America I.e. military coup to over throw the democratically elected government.

Bolivian president Evo Morales recently expelled US diplomats from his country. According to Morales these diplomats were contriving to stir up dissent in the country and were orchestrating street riots and protests.

Meanwhile in Venezuela President Hugo Chavez claimed to have unearthed a cabal to overthrow him by the military. The main driving force behind the plot was the US administration. Chavez had survived a similar coup attempt a few years previous.

No one should be surprised at these developments. After all the US has an egregious record when it comes to Latin America. The US zeitgeist during the 1960’s and 70’s was to undermine democratically elected left wing governments in South America by any means necessary. Their preferred modus operandi was to back up the military and attempt to cajole them into overthrowing the government.

They were humiliated at the Bay of Pigs when Castro and communism faced them down. Their right wing ‘rebels’ were essentially left isolated and in the absence of popular support had to crawl back to their Yank masters.

On 11th September 1973 the US led a military coup in Chile to overthrow democratically elected president Salvador Allende. The coup was led by America and funded by America. Indeed the CIA had been attempting to have Allende assassinated for several years before the coup. The Yanks then installed despot and war criminal Pinochet in power. The CIA and US administration immediately pledged their support for Pinochet and his military junta. The US were also behind the downfall of governments in Argentina and Nicaragua.

One must wonder what the US had, and still have, to lose from the rise of left wing politics in one of the worlds poorest regions? When one looks at how US foreign policy is dictated by oil resources and greed it all becomes clear.

Gregs Bhoys against Bhigotry?

DUP MP and ardent Cream Buns fan Gregory Campbell this week sent a letter to Celtic to state his opposition to ‘pro-IRA’ songs and chants at Paradise. According to Greg he got his Orange Order Y-fronts in a twist because Rangers have attempted to tackle the issue of sectarianism while Celtic have not.

Gregs latest rant raises a number of issues.

Firstly he claims that Rangers have done enough to stamp out sectarianism. This is a blatant, bare faced lie. He obviously has not heard of the spuds that were thrown at Barry Robson, accompanied by hisses of “the famines over why don’t you fuck off home”. He must not have seen the banners with ‘Nakamura ate my dog’ on them. His ears must have been else where when Cream Bun fans were singing Damn Busters to Andres Hinkel? Perhaps he has not heard about the savage attack on Neil Lennon last month? To Greg Rangers have sorted this out, but to anyone with an iota of intelligence the issue is far from resolved!

Lets just look for a minute at some of the ‘pro-IRA’ songs that are irking Greg of the Rangers.

Aiden Mc Anespie is a favourite amongst the Hooped faithful, particularly at away games. This song is about a young GAA member gunned down in cold blood by British armed forces. Many GAA fans also support Celtic, so I hope that goes someway to helping Greg realise why it is sung by Celtic fans. Furthermore the song is not in any way sectarian, and could only be construed as such by someone with a very obvious ulterior agenda!

The Fields of Athenrye is another favourite. It is a song about the Great Starvation. Thousands of Irish immigrants poured into Glasgow after fleeing the disease and starvation at home. The East End became one of the strongest Irish Diasporas about. Celtic was established to help the fledging Irish community. When it was formed in St Marys Hall, it was a clear and natural progression from Andrew Kerrins Poor Children’s Dinner Table. As such it is only natural that Celtic fans, many of whom are descendents of the original immigrants, are going to identify with the plight of their ancestors. It is only natural that they are going to sing songs about their past.
Furthermore it is only natural that Celtic fans can identify with republicanism and the IRA. Their ancestors bore the brunt of some of the worst displays of anti-Irish bigotry ever demonstrated. The riots in Greenock are testament to this fact. Mistreatment, degradation, humiliation and exploitation are the summary of the experience of the Glasgow Irish. This was institutionalised and was only ever effectively addressed in the mid 1990’s. A lot remains unaddressed. A statue of King Billy on Glasgow’s High Street kept the Irish in place, whilst the rampant anti-Catholic bigotry forced many to live in fear.

However despite this the Irish in Glasgow grew to better their adoptive city. Celtic grew to become one of Europes biggest footballing forces. This is testament to the tenacity of gallant Irish immigrants like Andrew Kerrins, and conscientious Scots like John Mc Lean. Without them the Glasgow Irish would still be marginalised and oppressed. Mc Lean stood up for the Irish in the aftermath of 1916 when no one else would. Furthermore there were 5000 IRA volunteers in Glasgow in the period between 1916-21. Foremost among them was Commandant Ian Mc Kenzie-Smith. This is as much part of the history of the Glasgow Irish as it is Ireland.

As for the modern republican songs, they too have an explanation. Whilst Catholics in the six counties were marginalised by state institutions, Catholics of Irish descent in Glasgow ere also subjected to some of the worst forms of religious and racial discrimination. Indeed it was not until 1992 that Catholics became equal in the eyes of Scottish law. So it is not out of some tribal allegiance the songs are sung but out of genuine empathy with the struggle of Nationalists in the six counties. Indeed many had and still have family connections in the six counties.

So the next time Greg gets hot under his Orange collar about republican songs he should stop and ponder why Celtic fans have come to identify with republicanism. Perhaps had the forces of law and order that Greg prides himself on refused to indulge anti-Irish bigotry then these chants would not be ringing out around Parkhead. The majority of fans have no problem with such songs. Celtic ‘PLC’ are attempting to do the dirty work for people like Greg, by stopping us from singing songs about our history. The real fans it seems have no say, it is only the opinion of a certain war monger that counts. However they fail to realise that whilst true Celtic fans row in behind projects like ‘Let the People Sing’ our songs about our history will always be sung at Parkhead whether Orange Bully boys like Greg like it or not!!!

For those wanting to lend their support to the ‘Let the People Sing’ project log on to www.talfanzine.com for more details.


Support Pól Brennan

Belfast man and Irish political refugee Pol Brennan is facing the prospect of imminent deportation from the USA. As such republicans have launched a campaign to halt the deportation proceedings that are active against Pól.

Brennan has been in custody in Texas since he was arrested at a Border Patrol stop checkpoint over 100 miles from the Mexican border. Brennan had been in America since he escaped from Long Kesh as part of the Bold 38 Great escape. Despite the fact that the British government withdrew extradition proceedings against Pol in 2000, he remains in custody in Texas. His immigration hearing has now been moved forward from 24th September to 17th September. Pol is facing an uphill battle, with the odds firmly stacked against him. The breathtaking injustice of his case is sickening. This is a mans life, and the lives of his family at issue. Surely Homeland Security must realise this! How Pol can be considered a risk to the US or a risk to flight is beyond comprehension.

His case has similarities with the cases of Roisin Mc Al;iskey and Malachy Mc Alister. However Brennans detention appears to fly in the face of the support the US administration has given to the peace process. His arrest and detention are unnecessary. Pol is married to a US citizen, and despite provisions to waive his previous unlawful presence in the US, he remains in detention. Furthermore Pol is being held without bond, and has not even been given the opportunity to contest the refusal of bond despite the AOH making representations in his favour.

Republicans throughout Ireland and the US have rowed in behind Pols campaign. Sinn Fein, in particular Rita O Hare are doing all in their power to aid Pol. Congressmen Peter King, Richard Neal and Jim Walsh have all called for Pol to be released from detention. Pol is not undocumented and has not even been refused a work authorisation application, yet he is being held in confinement in a Federal Holding centre.

Republicans are urged to contact Pol with messages of support at his address:

Pól Brennan
A88 785 324Pearsall Detention Center
566 Veterans DrivePearsall,
TX, 78063

What's the craic?

Just a short update on my lack of blogging.

Work is mental at the moment and I'm working 12 and 13 hour days. I think I've had 2 days off in the last month and blogging is the last thing on my mind at the moment.

I've been blogging on Balrog for 3 years and I think I'm entitled to a short break. I have noticed the site slip in quality this last while and I intend to rectify that.

I will be following the slugger rule of "play the ball and not the man" to see what can be done.

I'm not sure when I'll be back to regular blogging, it could be next week or next month.

I'll be back when I get the time and the inclination.


Same old Sammy!

I see that while many in the DUP have managed to come to terms with the political progress of recent years Sammy Wilson is remaining true to his old self.

It is reported in today’s Irish News that Sammy has banned officials from the 26 counties from sitting on the three councils that advise his Department of Environment.

This is odd considering that the environment is one area where an artificially imposed border has sweet fuck all impact or relevance!

Issues such as bird protection, global warming and carbon emissions have no regard for questions of jurisdiction!

Sammy’s ‘Protestant state for a Protestant people’ entrenched mentality could spark trouble on a number of levels.

Firstly it jeopardises the cross-border work on environmental protection that has already been implemented to date.

Secondly it merely compounds the existing difficulties between SF and the DUP. With issues like the Irish Language Act and the Maze Stadium remaining a bone of contention, Sammy is simply increasing the pressure on the executive. In an even wider context it will strain relations further in relation to the devolution of policing and justice powers.

Sammy and a few of his DUP stooges need to wake up and smell the coffee. The days of the irascible DUP head honchos calling the shots are over. They need to realise that they can not have power without sharing it with Nationalists!

Honouring a campaign of mass murder.

I see that a service was held in St Pauls Cathedral in London today, to mark ‘the end of the British army’s role’ in the six counties.

Among those to attend were cold blooded H-Block martyrs murderer Maggie Thatcher, Britain’s Prince Charles and ex-RUC supreme Ronnie Flanagan.

Just what the service was in honour of remains to be seen.

It seems odd to celebrate one of the most sickening campaigns of mass murder this island has ever witnessed. No doubt there was no mention of the 300 odd people murdered by the British Army in the six counties. The monopoly of suffering was no doubt confined to the 700 British Army personnel( at least that’s how many they officially claimed, figures probably more if you count all the Brits that died in German car crashes etc..) who were killed during the war in the six counties.

Many of those in attendance would know all about the pain and suffering caused by Britain’s forces in the six counties. Maggie Thatcher who presided over mass murder in the six counties and Ronnie Flanagan in particular. Maggie callously let ten brave men starve to death in the Kesh, whilst the RUC shot dead scores of Nationalists in their shoot-to-kill policy during Flanagan’s tenure.

Perhaps the end of the Brits campaign could have been marked with an apology for the hurt and suffering they have forced upon the people of this island. There was no sorry for the families of Peter Mc Bride, Majella o’Hare, Kevin Heatley or Aiden Mc Anespie. There was no apology for kicking in doors and ransacking homes at 4am. There was no mention of beating young men senseless at checkpoints. There was no mention of the Ballymurphy Massacre or the unprovoked murders of Bloody Sunday.

It seems this was a pathetic spectacle of self praise and wallowing in self pity. It would be more apt if these cold blooded bastards finally acknowledged the suffering they inflicted upon this country in what was a tyrannical and barbaric campaign!


Willie Wonka to the rescue!

I see that Wee Willie has came to the rescue of his FAIR crony William Wilkinson.

The former DUP representative in Ballymena, was yesterday charged with raping and attempting to rape a woman. Wilkinson vehemently denies the charge and was released on bail by a high court judge yesterday.

However at this point I must point out that I support the due process of the law. Being charged is by no means a sign of Wilkinsons guilt. He could very well be innocent. Only time will tell.
Wilkinson was granted bail after the High Court heard that wee Willie was acting as surety for Wilkinson.

Now if Wilkinson is proven guilty of the charges this leaves wee Willie in quite a quandary. Firstly he will have bailed out a rapist. Secondly he will have had a rapist as an integral component of the FAIR project. The already sullied reputation of FAIR will be decimated for good.

This reminds me of the FAIT debacle with Vincent Mc Kenna a few years ago. The evil anti-republican mouth piece was found guilty of abusing his daughter. The man who purported to represent peace and justice was sowing seeds of the most heinous evil in his own home! It could very well emerge that Wilkinson also has a darker side than FAIR would like the world to know.

This latest scandal asks a lot of questions about these so called victims campaigners. Two sex scandals in the last number of years. Only time will enable the truth about the allegations against Wilkinson to emerge. Either way his and wee Willies reputations are already damaged. However in a few months wee Willie could really feel the damage if Wilkinson is found guilty.

There is a lot to be said for these people who speak about the ‘evil’ of republicans.

Bully Billy boys getting worse

This Sunday sees the first Old Firm of the new season kicking off.

On the pitch Celtic appear to have a few injury worries. Most notably prolific hit man Scot Mc Donald and big Jan, and now it seems the Prodigal Shaun, who set Parkhead alight on his return last week (which I was privileged enough to see). I think an awful lot of this is media hype, and I think that the Hoops should ease past the despondent Gers side. Their display against Falkirk was magical at times, with Samaras even grabbing himself a brace!

More interesting will be the abuse the Gers fans direct at the Parkhead faithful. Over the years the situation has got progressively worse. It started off with the naked sectarianism of chants such as the Billy Boys, moving onto the racist monkey chants at Balde and now culminating in the ‘Nakamura ate my dog’ banners.

These ‘fans’ (I don’t really think you can call them fans) are letting the club they purport to love down. Their display in Manchester was despicable and demonstrated to the world just how far removed from civilisation The Forces of Darkness actually are. It was this type of behaviour that earned them the moniker ‘The Huns’ in the first place!

The media, most notably The Daily Rectum, try to portray the situation as a ‘ones as bad as the other’ type. This is irrefutably inaccurate. Celtic fans are not, never were and never will be sectarian. The club was born out of the oppression of the Irish in Glasgow and their ensuing plight. The fact the club and fans are proud of our Irish ethos does not make us sectarian.

However the most harrowing and distasteful abuse yet to emanate from the Castlegreyskull bigots is the ‘Big Jock Knew’ (BJK) campaign. These bigots have launched a campaign inferring that Jock Stein, the greatest manager Scotland ever witnessed, knew about the child abuse that was going on at Parkheads youth setup in the 1960’s. To blacken the name of such a great man, especially when he is unable to defend himself, is opprobrious. The graffiti artists were out in force in Calton. Driving past the Crimson Star and Walkers it was not long before the BJK graffiti started emerging. The hypocrisy is overwhelming. There was no ‘Unionist politicians knew about Kincorra’ graffiti about!

These idiots appear to have forgotten that it was the very same Big Jock who personally offered valuable assistance to the Ibrox club following the Ibrox disaster in the 1970’s. However it must be acknowledged that not all Ger fans are buying into this crap. Several fans have registered their disgust at this pathetic smearing of Stein on radio phone-in’s

Jocks family and Celtic have by and large ignored these idiots, refusing to lend weight or credibility to their outrageous claims. The Celtic fans responded in the most positive manner possible. They unfurled a banner of Jock asking the Teddy Bears ‘Is it cold in his shadow?’

This Sunday the numskulls from Castlegreyskull will find out just how cols it is!!!!!!!