Tuesday, December 20, 2005

Stormontgate

   The earth-shattering news about Stormontgate broke last week. Denis Donaldson, a senior Sinn Fein official with very close ties to Mr. Adams and Mr. McGuinness, has been a spy for the British government since the 1980's. When the democratically elected assembly in Northern Ireland was dissolved in 2002 on the grounds of an "IRA spy ring" (which I called bullshit on immediately), three men went to trial and were acquitted. Turns out Donaldson was the central figure here, and as the short summary by Niall Stanage from the Guardian Unlimited below tells us, he was pivotal in the only spying occuring in Stormont: British spying.
 
   Frankly, I don't think a graver scenario exists. For the umpteenth time, we can all acknowledge that the British continue to subvert the inner workings of their Northern Irish territory, to the detriment of every single citizen who voted for that assembly. It's despicable, evasive, horrendous & 100% British. Not since the days of Iron Thatcher and her "Let them (hunger strikers) die" doctrine has Downing Street sunk so sickeningly low. 
 
  And what news from the Right Honourable Mr. Blair & Co.? The usual "we're not at liberty to say" bit. We may have trouble stomaching the facts, but, let's be frank: we weren't surprised. Sinn Fein wasn't surprised. Hell, the DUP wasn't surprised. I can only hope that hell is unleashed upon MI5 and Tony Blair, and that they pay for this blatant attempt to foster anarchy in an already chaotic state.
 
The story has sparked doubt, confusion and rampant speculation; some hard facts are worth emphasising. In October 2002, about 20 police officers raided Sinn Féin's offices at Stormont, which houses the Northern Ireland assembly. The raid was part of a series of operations that, it was claimed, uncovered a republican spy ring. The IRA, it was alleged, had garnered confidential information that could be used to target prison wardens, police officers and others. Four people were charged, but that dropped to three. When the case finally came to court less than a fortnight ago, the prosecution declined to offer any evidence. The three were acquitted.
 
Last Friday, a bombshell dropped. The key figure in the trio, Denis Donaldson, who was Sinn Féin's head of administration at Stormont, owned up to a double life. He said that he had been a paid agent of British intelligence and Northern Ireland Special Branch since the 80s. His exposure turned the accepted version of events on its head. As things stand, the only proven spying operation at Stormont was run by forces of the state. And a paid agent of the state had been pivotal in the unravelling of a democratically elected administration. It is hard to imagine a graver scenario.

 

 

Stormontgate

The earth-shattering news about Stormontgate broke last week. Denis Donaldson, a senior Sinn Fein official with very close ties to Mr. Adams and Mr. McGuinness, has been a spy for the British government since the 1980's. When the democratically elected assembly in Northern Ireland was dissolved in 2002 on the grounds of an "IRA spy ring" (which I called bullshit on immediately), three men went to trial and were acquitted. Turns out Donaldson was the central figure here, and as the short summary by Niall Stanage from the Guardian Unlimited below tells us, he was pivotal in the only spying occuring in Stormont: British spying.
 
The story has sparked doubt, confusion and rampant speculation; some hard facts are worth emphasising. In October 2002, about 20 police officers raided Sinn Féin's offices at Stormont, which houses the Northern Ireland assembly. The raid was part of a series of operations that, it was claimed, uncovered a republican spy ring. The IRA, it was alleged, had garnered confidential information that could be used to target prison wardens, police officers and others. Four people were charged, but that dropped to three. When the case finally came to court less than a fortnight ago, the prosecution declined to offer any evidence. The three were acquitted.
 
Last Friday, a bombshell dropped. The key figure in the trio, Denis Donaldson, who was Sinn Féin's head of administration at Stormont, owned up to a double life. He said that he had been a paid agent of British intelligence and Northern Ireland Special Branch since the 80s. His exposure turned the accepted version of events on its head. As things stand, the only proven spying operation at Stormont was run by forces of the state. And a paid agent of the state had been pivotal in the unravelling of a democratically elected administration. It is hard to imagine a graver scenario.


Frankly, I don't think a graver scenario exists. For the umpteenth time, we can all acknowledge that the British continue to subvert the inner workings of their Northern Irish territory, to the detriment of every single citizen who voted for that assembly. It's despicable, evasive, horrendous & 100% British. Not since the days of Iron Thatcher and her "Let them (hunger strikers) die" doctrine has Downing Street sunk so sickeningly low.

And what news from the Right Honourable Mr. Blair & Co.? The usual "we're not at liberty to say" bit.

We may have trouble stomaching the facts, but, let's be frank: we weren't surprised. Sinn Fein wasn't surprised. Hell, the DUP wasn't surprised.

I can only hope that hell is unleashed upon MI5 and Tony Blair, and that they pay for this blatant attempt to foster anarchy in an already chaotic state.

Intelligent Design Squashed in Landmark Case

Praise the Lord!
 
Scathing, virulent & jurisprudent are words that came to mind when I perused Judge Jones' decision on intelligent design. The District Court determined that ID "cannot uncouple itself from its creationist, and thus religious, antecedents". An absolute victory for the nation. It looks as if separation of church and state is, in fact, itnact.
 
What's interesting is that the ID proponents who recited Gospel and called on persons to become born-again Christians (this is in a COURT OF LAW, mind you) lied like the yellow-bellied creationists they are. The defense did not relent from their stand that ID is a secular and, therefore, fully legal doctrine. My hero of the week award goes straight to Judge Jones, for serving justice where justice needed to be served. Hats off to you, Judge.

The best part..."Activist Judge Jones" was appointed by none other than George W. Bush.
 
 
 
 
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Wednesday, November 30, 2005

God Making Appearance on Alabama Plates?

The Bible Belt has come up with another bill aimed at cementing a theocracy in America. Rep. Steve Hurst, D-Munford, has proposed to add the phrase "God Bless America" to all license plates issued in the state.

License plates serve a purpose. That's to easily and readily identify a motor vehicle. They should NOT be used to promote religious/political dogma.

Rep. Jimmy Martin, D-Clanton, stated "Anybody who recognizes God will be respectful of everyone". Muslims, Jews and Christians all recognize "God"...do you see them at peace? Do they respect eachother by warring over territories (a different issue entirely)? Making a blanket statement like this is foolish.

T
he U.S. is a country built by and built for diversity. Alienating many of our fellow citizens by sticking some religious bullshit onto car tags would be a mistake.

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Monday, November 28, 2005

Rep. Randy Cunningham Resigns in Shame

After months of investigation regarding Rep. "Duke" Cunningham's unethical behavior, the California Republican has stepped down from his post. He made over $2.4 million in bribes for securing Defense Department contracts for the man who purchased his home (a defense contractor). This sum doesn't include the yacht, antiques & other kickbacks he received.

Truly disgusting behavior. A real let-down to America.


I am resigning from the House of Representatives because I've compromised the trust of my constituents.

When I announced several months ago that I would not seek re-election, I publicly declared my innocence because I was not strong enough to face the truth. So, I misled my family, staff, friends, colleagues, the public -- even myself. For all of this, I am deeply sorry.

The truth is -- I broke the law, concealed my conduct, and disgraced my high office. I know that I will forfeit my freedom, my reputation, my worldly possessions, and most importantly, the trust of my friends and family.

Some time ago, I asked my lawyers to inform the U.S. Attorney Carol Lam that I would like to plead guilty and begin serving a prison term. Today is the culmination of that process. I will continue to cooperate with the government’s ongoing investigation to the best of my ability.

In my life, I have known great joy and great sorrow. And now I know great shame. I learned in Viet Nam that the true measure of a man is how he responds to adversity. I cannot undo what I have done. But I can atone. I am now almost 65 years old and, as I enter the twilight of my life, I intend to use the remaining time that God grants me to make amends.

The first step in that journey is to admit fault and apologize. The next step is to face the consequences of my actions like a man. Today, I have taken the first step and, with God’s grace, I will soon take the second.

Thank you.

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Saturday, November 26, 2005

George Best Passes at 59

Europe has lost (arguably), as of November 25, its greatest footballer in history. George Best, the legend who played for Manchester United and N. Ireland, led MU to its first European Cup in 1968. Both Pele and Diego Maradona declared that Best was the most skilled man to ever dribble a ball, a very heavy claim considering Pele and Maradona are absolute legends in their own right.
News of the World (a tabloid) is reporting that his final words were "Don't die like me". Best lived life to the utmost extremes, battling the alcoholism that was responsible for his release from Man. Uni. in 1974. It's sad that booze can put such an impediment in someone's life; just alarming.
The Telegraph has an obituary here. Rest well, George, we'll miss you dearly.
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Friday, November 18, 2005

Dirty GOP Political Ploy Fails

The House GOP's sickening attempt to divide the Democratic party by offering a resolution that calls for the immediate withdrawal of troops from Iraq was utterly defeated tonight. Rep. John Murtha (D-Pennsylvania) offered a tearful plea for a sustained, steady pullout from Iraq "at the earliest practicable date." In an attempt to smear Rep. Murtha, the GOP leadership put a resolution on the table that claims;
"It is the sense of the House of Representatives that the deployment of United States forces in Iraq be terminated immediately."
Pathetic enough? To add insult to injury, this plan utterly backfired in the face of the Republican House. Every single Democrat that voted chose "Nay". That's 202 votes.
The key moment was when, earlier today, Rep. Jean Schmidt called Rep. Murtha (a highly decorated 37-year Marine veteran) a "coward". She was booed down, and Rep. Ford hurtled across the chamber and shrieked at the Republicans. Rep. Marty Meehan roared "You guys are pathetic! Pathetic!"

Post-vote, it's clear that the GOP lack any sort of backbone. Circumventing the REAL argument and bringing this debate into the public eye simply wasn't doable; they had to tuck their tails between their legs and rush a sham of a resolution onto the floor.

Rep. Pelosi said it the best in the closing statement before the vote: "You cannot handle the truth".
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Tuesday, November 15, 2005

McGuinness Gives Big Ian His Due

As the Examiner put it, Sinn Fein Chief Negotiator Martin McGuinness has "thrown down the gauntlet" and called out the DUP on their lies.

Ian Paisley has been harping for ages that he will enter talks with Sinn Fein when and only when the IRA decomissions their weapons. Four months on, Ian hasn't budged. His son was spitting acid after McGuinness' remarks, saying:
"His (McGuinness') statement that Ian Paisley must now enter government and be a 'man of his word' is contemptible given that Martin McGuinness could hide behind a corkscrew he is so twisted."
Character attacks have absolutely no place in Irish politics. This hateful shite is no exception, but it is difficult to expect anything other than ire from the DUP. They have a monopoly on Unionism only because Trimble lost his vision and drove the UUP into the dust, not because unionists are enamored with Paisley's rhetoric. Does Paisley realize that he alone cannot continue to jam a wrench into N. Ireland's politics? Does he realize that the majority of N. Irish residents WANT the process to chug onward, full steam ahead, not sit in a muddy ditch?
Of course he doesn't. The DUP will always try and play the the games of 1690, and cannot get past the fact that their constituents don't want to regress. Only with the DUP's fall can peace be found.

Note: this is where Blair and Ahern have failed miserably. Their hesitation to give Paisley a slap on his wrist for blatantly violating the GFA & betraying the people of N. Ireland has been a dark mark on the process.
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Sunday, November 13, 2005

Patrick, Earl of Lichfield, Dead at 66

 
One of the greatest photographers of our time, and a true gentlemen, has died. The Times Online has a great obituary honoring Earl Lichfield, which explores in some detail the nature of his stunning work.
 
Requiescat in pace.
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