Archive for the Sectarianism Category

Anti-Irish Bigotry, Sexism, Fascism & Racism Exposed During Twitter Study

Posted in Alex McGuigan, anti social behaviour, Anti-IRSP revisionism, Belfast, Class Solidarity, Criminal, Grenfell Tower, Homophobic Attacks, Human Rights, Internationalism, Ireland, Making A Murderer, Neo Nazis, Political prisoners, Proletariat, Racism, Reading list, Reviews, Sectarianism, Sureveillance with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on July 28, 2017 by The Plough & The Stars

Let us begin by stating categorically that Twitter is an excellent online resource, I particularly like the succinct wordsmithing required in ‘Tweets’ and it’s inertia-free dynamic.  Dickens summed up my Twitter journey perfectly and prophetically in 1859:

It was the best of times, it was the worst of times, it was the age of wisdom, it was the age of foolishness, it was the epoch of belief, it was the epoch of incredulity…

I have the highest regard for the vast majority of people I’ve interacted with during my Twitter experience.  Many campaign against the most cruel of injustices, fight against terrible miscarriages of justice, advocate for an egalitarian future and oppose Racism in all it’s vile forms.  Many bravely expose a broken system, bravely support national liberation struggles, making public all aspects of the class struggle and many, many more causes that all decent human beings can embrace.

Of course, there is always a downside using online platforms as one is exposed to a wide cross-section of those individuals whose zeitgeist has inhabited the nadirs of a global sewage system for millenia.  Far from being repulsed by this phenomena, it should interest those from a variety of professions, not least being the pathology of some of these lumpen specimens. So I will provide just a few examples and add more during further editing..

 

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This is just a small sample of screenshots that I’ve saved but have not fully collated.  I will add substantially more by the final draft.  I found some of the accusations levelled at me personally to be sanity-defying but interesting nonetheless.  Watch this space for further additions….

Alex McGuigan, Belfast

Exclusive Interview with American Filmmaker and Screenwriter David Dinning

Posted in 'The Troubles, Alex McGuigan, Anti Fascism, Ardoyne, Belfast, Human Rights, Internationalism, Racism, RUC/PSNI, Sectarianism, Supremacist Parades, UVF with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on January 15, 2015 by The Plough & The Stars

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Today this site  has the pleasure of  featuring an interview with Chicago-based Filmmaker, Screenwriter and published author, David Dinning.  David has been a frequent visitor to Ireland, has an in depth knowledge of it’s history and the contemporary political situation.  His forthcoming documentary, with the working title ‘The North’, focuses significantly on the supremacism of the Loyal Orders, their historical role as a bulwark against working-class solidarity and Ireland’s struggle for independence.  David’s forthcoming documentary also examines the Loyal Orders’ contemporary role in forcing their militaristic marches through Irish Catholic areas, where they cause maximum offence to residents, such as in Ardoyne, where their supremacist parading has been accompanied by serious violence in many previous years.  ‘The North’ furthermore examines the Northern Irelands Civil Rights Association’s mild demands for universal franchise and an end to Gerrymandering in the late 1960’s/early 1970’s, ideologically based on the non-violent doctrine of Dr Martin Luther King Junior’s campaign for equality for Black people in the USA, yet they were met with police riots and eventually the Bloody Sunday Massacre in 1972 that saw 14 peaceful protesters murdered in cold blood, with scores seriously injured by the British Parachute Regiment using live rounds.

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Alex:  Just starting from scratch, can you introduce yourself telling readers where you are from, a little about yourself and explaining your mode of journalism/writing/production/directing?

David: My name is David Dinning. I live in Chicago. I started writing late in life. I use the three act structure whether it’s a book or screenplay. Documentary modes can be broken down into six types, seven if you use a mix of modes. The six are; Poetic, Expository, Observational, Participatory, Reflexive, and Performance. I use a mix mode of story telling. To me documentary film is an important way of depicting things as they are, exposing a great lie or an injustice, to look behind the curtain. They can and do have a point of view.

 Alex:  You are obviously extremely well acquainted with Irish History and contemporary Irish politics, can you tell our readers where this knowledge and interest originated and was nurtured from?

 David:  As a kid I spent my summers on my grandfather’s farm in Kentucky. The small town nearby was settled by Scots Irish families from Derry in the 18th century. One year at a family funeral I learned from my cousin that my great great … grandfather was the Grand Sheriff of Derry between 1699-1701. She gave me a book on the Siege of Derry. I started to read more. I wanted to know more. I went back to the death of Queen Elizabeth, then forward in time. I spent a lot of time on the Siege of Derry and that time period, then went forward through the 1798 rebellion and beyond. I became hooked. I read everything I could get my hands on. It also tied into a screenplay I was writing at the time. I’ve made eight trips to Ireland since 2009. It was then after my first stay in Derry that I decided to make the Documentary.

 Alex:  The last time we met was two years ago on the 12th of July, when we had a cup of coffee before you travelled to Ardoyne to cover the Orange supremacist violence, following the Parades  Commission ruling that the Orange Order could not march via Ardoyne on their return journey on the ’12th’. Can you describe the violence that you witnessed, did it originate from the Orange Order, their bands and supporters?

 David:  I have never felt hate like that in my life. I arrived in Ardoyne early that morning on the 12th. At eight in the morning the Loyalists were foaming at the mouth. It was unbelievable. After they passed on by I followed then for a while then went to St. Patrick’s Church and watched and filmed. It was clear to me, and I’m sure anyone else who has followed the Marches that the Loyalists get a extra boost, an energy charge when they approach or pass by Catholic neighborhoods. There is this need to get a shot in, whether it’s playing the famine song, or other sectarian songs, to revealing sectarian banners, to having their followers look for a reason to attack anyone who gets in their way.  Later that day I made my way back to Ardoyne. The residents of Ardoyne gathered in force to protect their neighborhood from the drunken hoards. Gerry Kelly did a great job of reassuring the residents that the police would keep the Loyalists from their neighborhood. All of the violence that I witnessed came from the Loyalists. What followed was several nights of violence. I walked back to the bus station that night for Derry, and that image of Belfast as a ghost town still resonates in my mind: trash everywhere, everything closed up. This is no way for people to live. Everything stops for the Orange Order version of THE HUNGER GAMES.

 Alex:  Can you, as a North American, see the supremacist linkage between the likes of the ‘Loyal Orders’ and for instance, supremacist groups like the Ku Klux Klan?

 David:  Yes, that’s a fair comparison. The difference being that in America groups like the KKK are shunned by the rest of society. In Northern Ireland they are not. The 30,000 members of the Orange Order have a hold on Northern Ireland. Power and wealth accumulated over time, the not so hidden hand.

Alex:  Many political commentators view allowing Loyalist supremacist parades to march through Catholic/Nationalist/Republican areas as the equivalent in the USA of, for instance, permitting White supremacist groups to march through the likes of the Rampart area (MacArthur Park, Echo Park etc) of Los Angeles or the Watts area of south LA. Would the federal government ever consider permitting such provocative parades?

David:  I don’t think there would be a police force or army in world that could protect the KKK if they tried to march in Watts or the South Side of Chicago. In 1977 the National Socialist Party of America tried to march through Skokie, Illinois. In the predominately Jewish community, one in six residents was a Holocaust survivor. The NSPA march was be to held on June 25, 1978 though the march never materialized. About 20 or so Nazis congregated for only ten minutes, and throngs of Jewish and other groups drowning out their voices. Parades in America don’t incite riots. If they did, that group would never be allowed to do so again, and the cost of the liability insurance alone would make it unattainable.

 Alex:  Could you explain to our readers how important the conflicting European power blocks of the 17th Century played in forming the today’s sectarian divisions, identities and how in reality the Williamite campaign was contrary to the Ireland/religious-centred potted-histories that many within Orangeism hold dear? I’m sure that you have heard of the painting that once hung in the old Stormont parliament showing the Pope blessing the Williamite forces, that was quickly ‘archived’ once the Unionist ruling junta finally figured out it’s significance?

 David:  First and foremost, William of Orange was concerned with one thing – saving the Dutch Republic from France. When the Immortal Seven invited William to take the throne he knew with England’s support he could defeat France. William landed in England to find that James had run away. James while at the head of a 25,000 man army, was afflicted with serious nose bleeding. He saw it as a bad omen and left the field of battle for London, then France. That was the Glorious Revolution. Only the English can turn a man running away and turn that into a Glorious Revolution. There was nothing glorious about it and it wasn’t a revolution. Later James would be forced to Ireland to do battle with William while the Sun King set out for the prize – the Dutch Republic and the Spanish Nederlands. James would leave every battle he was at and would flee Ireland for the comforts of France. I suppose that is glorious too. William of Orange, the Pope and Catholic Spain would go on to defeat France. After William of Orange’s death Queen Ann took the throne and with her the 1704 test act. Prohibiting Presbyterians and other protestant religions from worshipping freely, it also banned them from public and civil office. Hundreds of thousands of Presbyterians would flee Ireland for a new land where religious freedom would become the corner stone of its constitution.  What Loyalist call the Glorious Revolution had shown its true colors: Anglican Domination. For the next hundred years after the Siege of Derry and the war in Ireland there would be no parades, no marching bands, no Orange Order. It’s wasn’t until after the 1798 rebellion that the Orange Order turned William of Orange into the man that saved the Protestant Religion from the Pope and used that to fuel sectarian hatred. One other important fact: James II never tried to install Catholicism in the three Kingdoms. What he tired to do was introduce religious freedom in England. But that does little to fan the flames of sectarianism. That is why the painting ‘Tea at Trianon’ was damaged when the boys in Orange found out about it. It is a painting of the Pope blessing William of Orange and was hanging in the Belfast Parliament Building. In 1933 Unionist MP John Nixon led a gang of Loyalist into the building where they slashed the painting with a knife and threw crimson paint over the image of the Pope. The painting was taken down and sent away for restoration. It wasn’t seen again until 2007. The rosary beads were taken out. Keeping the myth alive is important to the Orange Order and the sectarian cause. The first part of that question would take volumes.

Alex:  Unfortunately I missed seeing you around the ’12th’ this year as I was on holiday and then suffered a bereavement, but do you think that the relatively peaceful end in 2014 to the return journey of the Orange Order preventing them from trampling through Ardoyne due to it’s second prohibition by the Parades Commission, will become the norm, something similar to the token protests that now are a constant on the Garvaghy Road in Portadown?

 David:  Last year did surprise me. I don’t think the peaceful end will continue; it’s not in their nature. I hope I’m wrong. The Orange Order is not use to being told “no”. There is a rise in race hate crimes in Northern Ireland – a by product of the Order’s Hunger Games. That will continue, and they have now set their sights on the Gay and Lesbian community with their conscience clause to equality legislation. At some point in time one would think it’s time to move on and leave a three hundred year old war in the past. Stop looking for reasons to hate. But that circle of hate keeps growing.

 Alex:  I’m sure that you have heard of the so-called Twaddell ‘Peace-camp’ which has been a permanent fixture close to the Ardoyne interface, that has been perhaps more aptly described by Ardoyne residents as a ‘hate-camp’ manned by Loyalists belonging to various organisations. Do you think the fact that apparently it costs multiple thousands of pounds in policing costs per week alone to monitor the Twaddell camp, is in any way a strong hand, to use the poker analogy, in persuading the Parades Commission in 2015 to renege on it’s past two year’s prohibition of the Orange Order returning from the ’12th’ via Ardoyne?

 David:  No, that should have nothing do with any Parades Commission decision. With this new Stormont House Agreement, they may not be around anymore. I’ve read that more that a few times. I talk about that in the documentary. At some point you would think that the police would end it, or maybe just ignore them until they go away is the right thing. It all boils down to one thing: the Orange Order’s refusal to allow democracy to dictate anything to them. They are above the law. They are the Ascendancy.

 Alex:  I know that you had been producing a documentary on the North of Ireland, at what stage is it’s production at and was it aimed at a North American audience? I’ve seen rough-cuts and it would definitely be a solid educational resource.

David:  It’s just about done, just music rights is left and a little fine tuning. It’s called THE NORTH. It is aimed at an American audience – to let Americans know what is going on in Northern Ireland and to do that you have to know where it’s been.

 Alex:  Finally, David, it has been a pleasure interviewing you and I hope to meet up again soon, you are certainly a counter to the propaganda emanating from certain quarters that North Americans have little understanding of the complexities of Ireland’s history and politics. As a parting shot (forgive the pun) from your experience do you think that any real lasting peace has been established?

David:  I don’t know. I would hope so. The Good Friday Agreement stopped the killing but stagnation has set in; there is no movement forward on the ideas of that agreement. That seems to be by design. Stagnation can lead to friction and friction can lead to violence.

Alex:  Go raibh mile maith agat, David, mo chara!  No doubt we will meet again soon..

lol kkk

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Death of The Arch Bigot

Posted in Paisley, Sectarianism, Stormont, Uncategorized with tags , , , , , , , , , on September 16, 2014 by The Plough & The Stars

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The recently deceased Ian Paisley that many of my generation came to know, was not the Paisley that the pro-establishment media, revisionists and latter-day friends portrayed as a genial Octogenarian, former ‘First Minister’ and ‘peer of the realm,’ Baron Bannside. The Paisley that my generation and those of a previous one came to know was the howling harridan, who regularly whipped up sectarian hatreds within audiences that invariably lead to numerous sectarian pogroms and the murders of Catholics by Loyalist death-squads. That Ian Paisley, the fundamentalist preacher and arch-bigot, was well documented as the rabble-rouser who then, like a teflon Don, promptly distanced himself when murderous deeds were done in his name.

 

Antecedents of an Arch Bigot

Lets not forget the Paisley-organised, near ‘Black Masses’ of the 1960’s, in the Ulster Hall, where he and other religious charlatans, mocked the rituals, sacraments and even the communion wafers of the Catholic Church, in a ghoulish burlesque parody.  These regular sectarian tableaux in the 1960’s, were intended to whip his many Simian followers into a sectarian frenzy, cause maximum offence to Irish Catholics and indeed provided the stimuli for decades of reaction.

Nor should we forget the words of  the late UVF leader Gusty Spence’s co-accused, Hugh McClean when charged in relation to the 1966 UVF murder of Catholic teenager , Peter Ward and the attempted murders of his three fellow barmen, while enjoying a late drink in the Malvern Arms, on the Loyalist Shankill Rd:

“I am terribly sorry I ever heard of that man Paisley or decided to follow him”

Ian Paisley’s hand was allegedly evident in many of the nascent UVF false flag operations, that sought to scapegoat the IRA, as a means to oust more moderate Unionists and literally blew Terence O’Neill out of office.  Nor should we forget Paisley’s ‘academic’ qualifications, including an honorary Doctorate acquired at the Bob Jones University, then a renowned degree mill whose choice alumni include the late Fred Phelps of the infamous Westboro Baptist Church.  He was not the first, nor the last politician, with an academic deficit to allegedly acquire qualifications, but even more dubious was the British medias’ use of the ‘Doctor’ title, knowing full well it’s dubious origins.

A lot has been trumpeted about the late Paisley’s constituency work, even on behalf of Catholic constituents, which really, using any benchmark, does not really deserve praise as that is exactly what elected politicians supposedly draw their ample salaries and multiple expenses for.  From time to time grateful castle-Catholics were wheeled out in the media, praising Paisley’s efforts, for instance to, quite rightly, secure them a house from local authority housing stock.  However, Paisley’s routine howling sectarian demagoguery was very capable of inciting a lumpen sectarian mob that would burn Catholic constituents out of houses or worse.  Those of a certain age will remember Paisley on the Shankill in 1959 scolding a Protestant crowd for allowing a small number of “Papishers and Popesmen” to live in the area, which predictably enough incited a pogrom against Catholics who had the temerity to live there.

As a founder and associate of multiple shadowy Loyalist paramilitary groups, including the Ulster Constitutional Defence Committee, the Ulster Protestant Volunteers (allegedly an early UVF front), Tara, the Third Force and Ulster Resistance, perhaps only his former sidekick, the sectarian paedophile, John Mckeague, comes close.

 

Paisley’s Legacy to Irish History

Paisley the demagogue was the late twentieth century’s premier dog collared sectarian hatemonger.  This was far from a new phenomena in Irish history, as he gladly took on the role previously filled by demagogue’s of previous ages, including the infamous Henry Cooke and Roaring Hugh Hanna, who Paisley eulogised as “being in the great evangelical succession of Ulster Protestant protagonists.”  Like Hanna, Cooke and their various imitators, Paisley was encouraged by more influential establishment figures who thought they could use them during periods of perceived crises of ‘Loyalty’ or any hints of working class unity.

A living contradiction, Paisley did more to divide Unionism and Protestantism than any other contemporary politician, not to mention that he was often hailed as ‘Republicanism greatest recruiting sergeant.’  His support for public acts of direct action by his various paramilitary creations, then promptly distancing himself from the results, earned him the nickname ‘the Grand Old Duke of York’ by Loyalists who served time inspired by his demagoguery.  His perceived mellowing with age has variously been hailed as variously an unlikely latter day enlightenment; a fulfillment of his long ambition to become ‘prime minister’ of a Stormont legislature; the result of a long term hold over him by shadowy intelligence agencies or just the fears and guilt of an old man who knew his days were numbered.

Paisley in his Ulster Resistance paramilitary garb

Paisley in his Ulster Resistance paramilitary garb

Oppose Racial Supremacism! Oppose Sectarian Supremacism!

Posted in Ardoyne, Racism, Sectarianism, Supremacist Parades, Unionism on June 23, 2014 by The Plough & The Stars

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Organised racist attacks, and racism in general, in the north east of Ireland are receiving much more attention from the media which is commendable, however reporting of such incidents are often misleading as if it were a novel phenomena that just happened to raise it’s ugly head a few weeks ago! This of course is far from the truth, organised racial supremacism has been an active and fellow traveller of Loyalism since the mid-seventies and beyond. Hundreds of organised racist attacks on ethnic minorities have been happening for years.
Unfortunately, most of the ‘liberal’ politicians who rightly condemn racial supremacism, hypocritically remain mute regarding the supremacist ‘elephant in the living room’ of unwanted sectarian marches that afflict areas like Ardoyne, Carrick Hill, Short Strand, Rasharkin and other majority Irish Republican areas in the north east of Ireland.

Background
Supremacism as a concept rarely travels alone. Links between Unionist paramilitaries and the various prevalent race hate movements are well documented, for instance, the National Front, BNP, EDL etc. The Neo-Nazi paramilitaries of Combat 18 have acted as a British section of various Loyalist groups including the UVF, UDA and LVF. Notorious Loyalist leaders and their camp followers have often held dual membership of British-based Neo-Nazi race hate organisations. Organised racism here has a longevity rarely touched on in contemporary news stories, for example, in the 1980’s more copies of the National Front’s violent race hate publication ‘Bulldog’ were sold at the football stadium of Coleraine FC than in any British football ground; it’s Borough Council held the distinction of possibly being the only local government body in Ireland or Britain to allow the National Front to use it’s town hall for a public meeting.

 

Why?
In the ‘North’ organised sectarian supremacy and racial supremacy are symbiotic ideologies. This should not be surprising in a statelet constructed along sectarian supremacist lines. Of course, not all racism or even racist attacks are organised, in these instances which are just as abhorrent and shameful, they are born of ignorance, often nurtured by envy and are rightly condemned by most.
The Loyal Orders, their paramilitaries, marching bands and Unionism itself’s raison d’etre is supremacism. Their modus operandi is invariably to divide working class people with outdated notions of denominational supremacy that most societies jettisoned centuries ago. Yet in the north this despicable manifestation of supremacism is forcefully normalised in the media, dedicating hours of prime time television to Orangeism’s maximum display of religious intolerance on the 12th of July. Paramilitary bands playing tunes whose lyrics contain such offensive lines as “we are up to our necks in Fenian blood, surrender or you die” are dishonestly presented as part of a quaint folk, or should that be volk, festival. To get this in perspective, it is akin to the unlikely scenario of CNN giving air time to the KKK on the march in the USA and incredibly justifying KKK ‘feeder parades’ trampling through Afro-American or Jewish areas!

 

Fascism Has Never Gone Away You Know!
Those who who rightly condemn racist attacks and racial supremacism have a duty to also condemn sectarian supremacism. Fascism and supremacism should be condemned and actively opposed, whether it is organised attacks on Black people, Eastern European migrant workers etc or the much more frequent offensive ‘Croppies lie down’ marches that cause fear and distress in North Belfast and numerous other areas of the North. It may not be trendy in these times of imperfect, forced normalisation that pro-establishment parties pass-off as ‘peace’ to appease sectarian supremacism but the reality is that Loyalism, the Loyal orders and their actions tick all the boxes of Fascism. Republican Socialists, Republicans, Socialists, Trade Unionists and all freedom loving people who quite correctly condemn Racialist Supremacism and stand in solidarity with it’s victims also have a duty to oppose and stand in solidarity against sectarian supremacist parading in areas where they are not wanted and their actions are calculated to cause maximum offence.

Fascist First Minister, Racist McKKKonnell – Nothing New in “N/Ireland”

Posted in Anti Fascism, Sectarianism on May 29, 2014 by The Plough & The Stars

Unfortunately, the recent hate speech targeting a religious minority by the ignorant, ultra-right wing cracker Preacher Jack McKKKonnell, publicly supported by Peter ‘the Punt’ Robinson, is nothing new in the sectarian statelet of “Northern Ireland.”  Robinson’s xenophobic public statement supporting the certified ignoramus Jack McConnell, where he proclaimed his bigoted mistrust of Muslims but would probably trust them to run errands for him are strikingly reminiscent of former Stormont Prime Minister and arch bigot, Basil Brooke’s proclamation at an annual Orange hate-in at Newtownbutler in 1933, when he stated that:

“Many in this audience employ Catholics, but I have not one about my place. Catholics are out to destroy Ulster…If we in Ulster allow Roman Catholics to work on our farms we are traitors to Ulster…I would appeal to loyalists, therefore, wherever possible, to employ good Protestant lads and lassies.”

An ample example of  Karl Marx’s writing on the cyclic nature of historical events in The Eighteenth Brumaire of Louis Napoleon, when he wrote that history repeats itself: “first as tragedy, then as farce!”  The Irish Dialectic is glaring proof of the truth of Herr Marx’s contention.  On a global scale this craven persecution of religious and ethnic minorities by fascists always rears it’s ugly head during crises within Capitalism, whether it be Jewish people, Irish people, Armenians or Blacks. Invariably this despicable scapegoating begins with widespread hate-speech by racist buffoons like McConnell (who despite raging against Muslims does not even know how to spell or pronounce ‘Sharia’), is supported by Fascist politicians then normalised and platformed by the media of the day.

The similarities between the current offensive against Muslims and immigrants is shockingly similar to the murderous persecution of  Socialists then Jewish people, and other ethnic/religious minorities eg, Roma people and Jehovah Witnesses, in Nazi Germany.  The lies, hatred and blatant ignorance regarding Islamic beliefs, Sharia law etc that is given a platform in the 21st Century by the media, is a carbon copy of the means used to propagate proven racist forgeries such as “‘The Protocols of the Ancient Elders of Zion” that became compulsory reading in Hitler’s Germany and also widely published by the British gutter press in the first half of the 20th Century.

Fight Racist Scapegoating! No Platforms for Fascists!

Anti-racists, Republican Socialists, Trade Unionists, anti-Fascists and all freedom loving people have a duty to fight against the Xenophobia and bigotry propagated in contemporary Ireland, England, Europe and globally.  Idiot bigots such as McKKKonnell, a long term supporter of the judicial and extrajudicial killing of Irish Republicans, and the Fascist DUP have exposed themselves to a much wider audience than fatboy Nolan’s car crash show within this past few days.  Here in Ireland, Catholics, Republicans and Socialists have all been the subject of  murderous pogroms sponsored by Unionist/Fascist politicians and inflamed by bigoted preachers since the inception of the 6 county sectarian statelet and are all too cognisant of how hate speech is passed off as free speech here.

In stark contrast to the  bigotry of so-called ‘men of God’ like McKKKonnell, Donald Soper, a pacifist, Socialist and past President of the Methodist Church in England during his visit to the north of Ireland in the 1960’s, when he was targeted and harassed by howling Paisleyites, aptly described Belfast’ as a “city of religious night clubs” when referring to the ultra-right wing  fundamentalist bigotry whipped up by the likes of Paisley and McKKKonnell.  Those who support the scapegoating of minorities using the cover of religion to justify their bigotry would be well advised to read a victim of the Nazis, Pastor Martin Niemoller’s poem and dwell on the consequences of their actions:

First they came for the Communists
And I did not speak out
Because I was not a Communist
Then they came for the Socialists
And I did not speak out
Because I was not a Socialist
Then they came for the trade unionists
And I did not speak out
Because I was not a trade unionist
Then they came for the Jews
And I did not speak out
Because I was not a Jew
Then they came for me
And there was no one left
To speak out for me..

The INLA Execution Of Billy Wright

Posted in Billy wright, INLA, Long kesh, Sectarianism on October 12, 2013 by The Plough & The Stars

The prison bus where Billy ‘King Rat’ met his demise

The End of King Rat…

The 700 page report into the execution-style killing of Loyalist Volunteer Force (LVF) death squad leader, Billy ‘King Rat’ Wright, in Long Kesh prison in December, 1997 was made public in September 2010 and categorically ruled out any state collusion in his assassination. The eagerly anticipated report was formally released after Secretary of State for Northern Ireland, Owen Patterson, announced it’s finding in the House of Commons on September 14th, 2011 which despite ruling out collusion was scathing of the ‘management of the “Maze prison.”

The Billy Wright Report, costing the British taxpayer £36 million, was established at the behest of the Wright family who allege that the British government, the Northern Ireland Prison Service and the security services colluded in facilitating the murder of the Loyalist godfather. The 700 page report was understandably critical of the prison regime which allowed Billy ‘King Rat’ Wright and his fellow LVF prisoners to share the same H-Block 6 as prisoners belonging to the Irish National Liberation Army (INLA). Prior to Wright’s assassination in 1997, both INLA and LVF prisoners had been vocal in pointing out the volatility of the situation in H 6.

The Rat Trap

Wright died at the hands of what was termed an INLA active service unit (ASU) while still imprisoned inside the top security Long Kesh (aka the Maze) Prison. On the morning of the 27th of December 1997, a three man INLA ASU had armed themselves with two handguns and made their way through a pre-cut hole in the chainlink fence in one of the block’s exercise yards. From there the INLA trio scaled the roof of the one storey H-Block and dropped into the courtyard of the entrance to block where Wright had just boarded a prison bus en route to the prison visiting area.

The INLA hit-team led by Christopher ‘Crip’ McWilliams, with fellow INLA prisoners Sonny Glennon and John Kennaway in supporting roles, forced access to the prison van where they quickly shot Wright dead, then returned to their wing in H6. The entire military-style operation reportedly took less than 2 minutes, from the time the INLA unit emerged from the pre-cut exercise yard fence.

Conspiracy Theory?

The main contentions of the Loyalist death-squad leader’s family are that several ‘irregularities ‘ in security procedures occurred either on the day of his murder or in the lead up to it. David Wright, the LVF leader’s father was allegedly later contacted by individual prison guards who were on duty on the day of his son’s assassination. The Maze prison guards alleged that key security watchtowers were left unattended – in direct contravention of established security procedures, but on the orders of the then ‘number one’ prison governor, the late Martin Mogg.

Wright’s father further alleges that his son, who many commentators believe was a security services protected asset, became surplus to requirements in the era of the fledgling Irish peace process. The Wright family became convinced that his son’s assassination within supposedly Europe’s most secure prison was the culmination of an unlikely chain of conspiracy, that began with his son’s transfer to the Maze prison from the nearby Maghaberry Gaol.  David Wright contends that his son’s transfer to Long Kesh was at the behest of the Northern Ireland Office (NIO) and would have required clearance at Cabinet level. Wright Senior, is critical of the decision to place Billy Wright and his fellow maverick LVF followers within the same prison H-Block as INLA inmates.

Sectarian Serial Killer

Billy ‘King Rat’ Wright was the leader of Northern Ireland’s most prolific sectarian murder gang who terrorised the mid-Ulster area with impunity for several decades of the Troubles. Wright’s ability to carry out a sectarian murder campaign, unhindered by any serious prosecution, was seen to have been clear evidence of British government collusion in state-sponsored murder.  Nationalist and even moderate Unionist politicians accepted that Billy Wright was indeed a protected species and that his seemingly charmed and largely unhindered campaign of sectarian murder was allowed to continue because it was a key element of Kitsonite military counter-insurgency strategy in the north of Ireland. Originally a regional commander of the Unionist Ulster Volunteer Force, he fell out of favour with the UVF’s Belfast leadership due to their engagement in the fledgling Irish Peace Process . Following his expulsion from the mainstream UVF and on foot of a blanket death threat from the same organisation Wright formed his own ultra-right wing paramilitary gang, the Loyalist Volunteer Force (LVF).

The DUP: Political wing of Wright’s LVF?

Billy Wright and the LVF were closely associated with Ian Paisley’s Democratic Unionist Party (DUP) and their ultra-right wing brand of Protestant fundamentalist politics. Wright allegedly received the backing of a number of well known D.U.P parliamentary figures, including gospel music crooner and arch-bigot, the Reverend William McCrea, Westminster MP for South Antrim. Many saw the DUP as being the de facto political wing of the LVF amidst allegations that senior DUP politicians were responsible for laundering LVF drugs money for many years. Investigative Journalist, the late Martin O’Hagan, was murdered by the LVF, reportedly just as he was about to expose the details of financial links and money laundering activities that occurred between the DUP and Wright’s pseudo-gang.

Wright was eventually jailed for a relatively minor charge and his Mid-Ulster Loyalist followers maintained that he had been taken out of circulation in the interests of the nascent Irish peace process. Although imprisoned within supposedly the most secure prison in Europe, it was widely accepted that he continued to direct the sectarian murder campaign of the LVF from his prison cell.

The Irish National Liberation Army

The INLA had objected strongly to the Maze prison authorities placing Billy Wright and the LVF prisoners within the same H-Block as a recipe for trouble, but for reasons best known to themselves these warnings were ignored by the Northern Ireland Prison Service.  In the immediate aftermath of the killing of Wright, one of the INLA unit, Christopher Crip McWilliams, when arrested by police in December 1997 stated:

“Billy Wright was executed for one reason and one reason only, and that was
for directing and waging his campaign of terror against the nationalist people from his prison cell in Long Kesh.”

The three members of the INLA active service unit including crip McWilliams and his comrades John Kennaway and Sonny Glennon subsequently faced counts of murder and possession of firearms. At their much publicised trial they offered no evidence in their defence but refused to plead guilty.  After a short hearing they were sentenced to Life imprisonment, but due to the terms of the Good Friday Agreement’s political offenders release programme, they served just over two years jail time. Since their release both Crip McWilliams and John Kennaway have since died, leaving Sonny Glennon as the sole surviving member of the INLA hit team.

The Billy Wright report and the tribunal that was commissioned due to concerns raised by David Wright, heard evidence from prison guards, prison governors, LVF members, MI5 intelligence officers, Special Branch detectives and other ‘interested’ parties. Some of the findings on the reams of evidence that emerged during the inquiry focused on how the INLA active service unit managed to smuggle the two handguns, a Makarov 38 pistol and a .22 LR  two-shot Derringer into the prison. However, the Irish Republican Socialist bureau which released a statement shortly before the Wright Inquiry findings were published have always maintained that there was no collusion at any level and that their member’s simply took advantage of circumstances as they presented themselves to their members. It is thought highly unlikely that the INLA would have colluded with the NIO or the State, Wright had been the INLA’s number one target for many years.

Billy Wrong

The findings of the 700 page report further exposed the ‘unique’ regime that existed within the now closed Long Kesh prison. Both Republican and Loyalist prisoners were largely in control of the day to day running of the gaol. Many of the main allegations of conspiracy, collusion and cover-up surrounding the murder of Billy Wright are contained in the book by Chris Anderson, entitled ‘The Billy Boy.’ Anderson maintains that from the moment Wright entered the Maze prison, he was as good as dead!  Of that much, Anderson’s hypothesis is correct.

One thing is certain, there were even fewer tears shed for Wright in 2010 than there were in 1997.  Some commentators have alleged that it was possible that the security services knew in advance, through electronic surveillance bugs in the prison, of the plans by the INLA to kill Wright but due to a change in tact of security policy, it was their view that it was politically expedient to let him die. Security figures within Long Kesh prison and MI5 spooks who gave evidence at the Wright Inquiry denied that there were covert listening devices concealed anywhere within the prison, when it was a common;y held belief among prisoners that such surveillance methods were routine.

Shadowy Kitsonian figures had created an uncontrollable Frankenstein monster in Billy Rat who was proving impossible to control in the impending era of the ‘new dispensation’ in Anglo-Irish politics. Billy Wright fatally believed his own propaganda and failed to see that he was increasingly surplus to requirements and therefore no longer had the charmed cloak of protection that had prevented previous numerous assassination attempts. Even if Wright had survived his stay in Long Kesh prison, there would have been no place in the era of the so-called new dispensation for figures like Wright. The Billy Wright Inquiry can be accessed in it’s entirety here and it’s key findings are available on-line from the 14th of September, 2010.

Sectarian serial killer Billy Wright

The Irish National Liberation Army – Formed in 1974

The Achilles Heel of Unionism

Posted in Ireland, Irish Republican Socialism, IRSM, IRSP, James Connolly, Seamus Costello, Sectarianism, Unionism on August 31, 2013 by The Plough & The Stars

“If Northern Ireland ever comes to an end, it will be because the Protestants started fighting the British

(Lord Craigavon, ‘Northern Ireland’s first Prime Minister, 1922)

The veteran Irish columnist and Falls Road born “father of Irish journalism”, James Kelly, described Derry during the the de facto Stormont one party junta era as ‘Unionism’s Achilles’ Heel’.  Kelly, who’d visited Dublin as a child in the aftermath of the Easter Rising and wrote his last opinion piece at the ripe old age of 100, just prior to his death, had spent a lifetime chronicling  Unionist supremacism, it’s hard-wired sectarianism and indeed it’s use and abuse of it’s own deferential working-classes.

Derry

Times may have changed in the likes of Derry where the supremacist notion of a Maiden City has long been penetrated very publicly by a Nationalist middle-class whose trophy-like Haciendas stretch along the city from the outskirts of Killea to the likes of Culmore Road and well beyond with not a Stad sign in sight.

The days of the blatant Tammany Hall-like graft of the local Derry Unionist  political Burghers who could blatantly discriminate in allocating a lowly paid municipal post to some barely literate Loyal Order member whilst sending some Bogside candidate applying in vain  for the same job (who may even had the temerity to achieve a degree courtesy of The Education (Northern Ireland) Act 1947) back to the street corner “post” where the then be-sashed City Fathers believed disloyal ‘Taigs’, even those with a few letters after their names, belonged.  Gerrymandering (which perhaps in later times may well be referred to as ‘Derrymandering’) may now be a thing of the past  but observers of politics in the noth east of Ireland are undoubtedly getting a high definition view of Unionism’s 6 county wide Achilles Heel being  exposed again and again on 24 news loops globally.  Of course, for the working-classes, in Derry for example, the political colours of those in a position of patronage may have changed but like any ‘changing of the guard’ where Capitalism is concerned, the lot of the proletariat never changes and cold facts confirm that there has been no significant shortage in the queues at Asylum Road, during or beyond ‘Derrymandering.’

Belfast

Belfast is not Derry, yet, but the supremacist frustration amongst Unionism is clear to see, as the Orange Statelet is just not what it used to be.  The ticking clock of demographics aside, even the 2013 Census starkly points out that nearly 6% of Catholics are unemployed, compared to 3.9% of Protestants despite Catholics being significantly better educationally qualified.  It is worth noting that when Western Europe’s largest supremacist sectarian paramilitary marches are annually given an hour+ coverage, much of it during primetime on both local TV channels, including the BBC, who still continue to propagate the myth of “Orangefest” then it is difficult to really say that the Orange State has been really smashed.

Normalisation

The forced ‘normalisation’ at gunpoint of the first Stormont regime’s 50 years eventually proved to be it’s real Achilles Heel and the forced ‘normalisation’ of the contemporary Stormont mini-parliament, the Good Friday Agreement and St Andrews Accord have done little but create a facade of democracy as unreal as the fake shops created in Fermanagh for the benefit of the G8 war criminals.  The manufactured hope of a progressive working-class leadership for the Protestant working-classes has been exposed as, at best, a type of neo-Strasserism.  The Loyalist working-class are proving as pliable as ever by leaders who live in areas where flags and bunting would be frowned upon less they lower property values in the leafy lanes of the stockbroker belt, let alone the Condos of Florida!  The Achilles Heel of Unionism in times of uncertainty shamelessly uses and exposes the Protestant working-class to the latter day poison arrows of Paris.

Class Solidarity: The Only Solution

James Connolly’s observations on the north of Ireland at the turn of the century in The Reconquest of Ireland are relevant, considering that those who have use the Protestant working-class as canon-fodder for centuries in vain attempts to cover up the Achilles Heel of Unionism care not one iota for them and will parcel them back into their respective estates, just as soon as their muscle is not longer needed:

  “The majority of the poor slaves who work under such conditions and for such pay, as also the majority of the mill and factory workers amongst whom consumption claims its most numerous victims are, in Belfast, descendants of the men who “fought for civil and religious liberty at Derry, Aughrim and the Boyne”.

If those poor sweated descendants of Protestant rebels against a king had to-day one-hundredth part of the spirit of their ancestors in question, the re-conquest of Ireland by the working class would be a much easier task than it is likely to prove.

But into the minds of the wisest of both sections there is gradually percolating the great truth that our common sufferings provide a common basis of action – an amalgam to fuse us all together, and that, as we suffer together we should fight together, that we may be free together. Thus out of our toil and moil there arises a new Party – the Party of Labour – to

Tell of the cause of the poor who shrink
Crushed grapes in the wine press,
While rich men drink
And barter the trodden wine,
And pray.

(James Connolly: The Reconquest Of Ireland; Chapter 5: Belfast And It’s Problems)

Only a united working-class, irrespective of what church, if any, one attends, has no Achilles Heel and history, however briefly, has proven this to be the only real credible threat to the Status Quo.  Ironically, a united working-class is the only certainty that Protestants and indeed Catholics workers in the north are not to face economic exploitation in a Gombeen state where the harp sans crown is as viciously anti-proletariat as the Big House Unionism of Craig, Brookeborough et al.

National liberation and Socialism

This is why, for instance, that the Irish  Republican Socialist Movement’s  aspiration of National Liberation and Socialism has attracted members and indeed leaders from both sides of the divided and ultimately irreformable 6 county statelet.  It is also tragically why the IRSP has faced the most vicious repression from both the Leinster House regime and the British military industrial complex. Is it any wonder that Noel Browne stated of the IRSP’s tragically murdered co-founder, Seamus Costello, that:

“They will have to shoot him or jail him or get out of his way but they certainly won’t stop him”.

Needless to say, those repressive tactics may remove individuals but not the collective ideology of a movement that has yet to be ‘stopped’ in nearly 40 years of existence.

Alex Mcguigan.

 

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