Friday, June 26, 2009

A gesture that will not be forgotten

I am halting for a moment the work on a historic episode that I have been writing for the last two weeks to express my solidarity with the constitutionally-elected president of Honduras, José Manuel Zelaya.

It was impressive to see him on Telesur, haranguing the people of Honduras. He energetically denounced the blatantly reactionary attempt to prevent an important popular referendum. That is the "democracy that imperialism defends. Zelaya has not committed the slightest violation of the law. He did not engage in any act of force.

He is the president and commander-general of the Armed Forces of Honduras. What is happening there will be a test for the OAS and for the current United States administration.

Yesterday a meeting of the ALBA took place in Maracay, in the Venezuelan state of Aragua. The Latin American and Caribbean leaders who spoke there shone out both for their eloquence and for their dignity.

Today I was listening to the solid arguments of President Hugo Chávez, denouncing the coup action on Venezolana de Televisión.

We do not know what will happen tonight or tomorrow in Honduras, but the brave conduct of Zelaya will go down in history.

His words reminded us of the speech by President Salvador Allende as warplanes bombarded the Presidential Palace, where he heroically died on September 11, 1973. This time we were seeing another Latin American president entering an air base with his people to demand the ballots for a popular referendum, spuriously confiscated.

That is how a president and a commander-general acts.

The people of Honduras will never forget that gesture!

Fidel Castro

Cuban human rights examined by UN council

Here's something you won't hear from the corporate media: Cuba's human rights record was examined by the United Nation's Human Rights Council (UNHRC), and the country came out looking pretty good.

There was a great deal of praise, some constructive criticism and relatively few intransigent issues.

Such reports are rarely covered in meaningful terms. The corporate media, generally looking for a single story line, spin it their own way or ignore it - especially if the news does not suit their pre-determined stereotypes.

Since 2006, Cuba has participated more freely in the UNHRC as it has become a more equitable process than the old UN Commission on Human Rights. The voting structure allows a wider range of countries to participate and the main accountability process is the "universal periodic review" (UPR), which applies to all countries.

The big powers no longer pick and choose their favourite "human rights offenders" for UN scrutiny, as they did under the old commission. The US tried to target Cuba (particularly during the administration of that great champion of human rights, George Bush Jr).

For this reason, Cuba refused to fully cooperate. Since the restructuring in 2006, however, things have changed.

At the 11th session, it was Cuba's turn for a UPR, and the little socialist country faced scrutiny from all participating countries plus a wide range of NGOs.

The structure of a UPR leads to the subject state either accepting, considering or rejecting submissions. The UNHRC report on Cuba, like all UPR reports, summarises the scrutiny process and sets out the state's responses to the criticism or praise.

The UN summarised the responses as follows: 60 of the recommendations by other states were supported by Cuba; 17 recommendations would be "examined" and responded to by Cuba; and 11 recommendations "did not enjoy the support of Cuba".

The most positive responses came from underdeveloped countries. Several urged Cuba to "continue in the path towards the building of socialism", others praised its remarkable solidarity efforts and domestic achievements, especially in health and education.

Cuba accepted recommendations to strengthen its treaty commitments, anti-discrimination programs, human rights education, youth programs, disabled support, gender equality, disaster management and general cooperation with UN agencies.

Bolivia, the major recipient of Cuban health sector assistance (with more than 5000 young Bolivians on Cuban medical scholarships) urged Cuba to keep sharing its experiences in health, science and cooperation.

Others also praised Cuba's sustained efforts in health cooperation.

Cuba accepted the recommendation of Brazil to maintain its moratorium on the death penalty (suspended since 2003), and of Mexico to strengthen national capacities to assist the victims of domestic violence.

It also accepted the Russian and Pakistani recommendations to maintain its efforts in support of religious freedom, respect and tolerance.

Cuba accepted recommendations from several delegations, including Palestine's, to continue to promote and defend international self-determination and right to development initiatives. It agreed to "promote the active participation of civil society" in preparing the country's national human rights reports.

Cuba did not accept 11 recommendations from Israel and several European powers. It said these were either based on false premises or interfered with sovereign rights.

For example, Israel and Britain urged the repeal of laws by which citizens can be charged with collaborating with a foreign power to subvert the constitution. They also urged the immediate release of "unlawfully imprisoned human rights defenders, journalists and others".

Cuba says those referred to have been tried under legitimate sovereign law.

Canada urged Cuba to lift restrictions on the media (for example, allowing the domination enjoyed elsewhere by private media companies) and several states urged the "unconditional" release of a group of "political prisoners". Many of these prisoners were arrested in 2003 and charged with collaboration with the Bush administration in the prelude to a feared invasion of Cuba in the aftermath of the Iraq invasion.

Cuba says these convictions were based on evidence of payments to those charged via US programs working to overthrow the constitution of Cuba, against the will of the Cuban people.

The evidence was presented in open court proceedings and published in several reports and books.

There were several complaints about mistreatment of prisoners and poor health facilities in prison, but Cuba rejected the claims.

Cuba took away to consider and respond to the recommendations that they: "ratify and implement" several human rights treaties they have recently signed; consider acceding to the Rome Statute and the International Criminal Court; establish a national human rights institution; invite more UN special rapporteurs; open further to independent international organisations such as the Red Cross; establish a UN led review of their prison system; review trial processes and travel permit arrangements to ensure they are consistent with the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights (ICCPR); and move towards complete abolition of the death penalty.

No country raised any of the most serious human rights violations in relation to Cuba - such as torture, detention without trial, disappearances and kidnappings, death squads, wars of aggression, war crimes and rape by soldiers.

The same cannot be said about some of Cuba's close neighbours.

Tim Anderson – Australia

Ireland 2nd largest donar to the EU!

Ireland’s fish is the second biggest indirect contributor to EU coffers

Official European Union statistics reveal that Ireland's past image as one of Europe's largest financial beneficiaries is largely a myth.

Statistics indicate that, year on year off, Ireland has consistently been one of the biggest net financial contributors to Europe as a result of fish supply.

Statistics covering the period from 1974 to 2004 throw some light on the true cost of Ireland's EU membership to date, and the enormous financial contribution Ireland has made to the European Union.

When Ireland first joined the EEC it provided almost 44% of the total EU fishery waters but when quotas were established, we were awarded only 4% of the total catch. On average, more than five million tonnes of edible fish varieties are removed from EU waters every year, 40 per cent or two million tons of which originates from Irish waters.

By way of comparison, the Mediterranean produces less than 500,000 tonnes of fish yearly.

As a result, EU fishermen – according to Eurostat - have taken approximately €200 billion worth of raw fish out of Irish waters, since our accession. Had this raw fish been landed and processed in Ireland, it would have been worth an additional €400 billion on the basis of normal Value Added from raw to finished product.

This means, that the €58 billion which the government claims Ireland has received from the EU, has been offset by an estimated €600 billion worth of fish landed from what pre – EU were Irish fishing grounds.

Amazingly, after Germany, Ireland has consequently been the second largest indirect contributor to the EU's coffers!

Back in the 90’s, Irish fishermen were putting to sea and when they had their holds full, instead of returning to land their catch in Ireland, they headed out to sea to sell their catch to Spanish factory ships, because under the quota system it was illegal to land Irish fish in Ireland!

The reality is that while Ireland produces 40 per cent of the EU’s edible fish, the country's fishermen are only entitled to catch less than ten percent of that.

The rest is fished by foreign trawlers. These fish could and should have created badly needed jobs in peripheral areas of Ireland, jobs would have been based on our own natural resources and could not be re-located at the whim of a New York boardroom to China or wherever.

It has even reached the ludicrous stage where the EU is now insisting that any fish caught by sea anglers fishing from a boat, must be counted against Ireland’s commercial catch quota; though under the original proposal, fish caught by Sea Anglers fishing from the shore, were also to be counted against our quota!

Under UN Law, Ireland presently can claim approximately 700,000 square kilometres of continental shelf. Ireland has the largest area of marine territory in the EU and it is well in excess of ten times Ireland's land area. This gives Ireland a seabed more than fourteen times the European average, a seabed that contains proven mineral and natural gas reserves, and possibly oil reserves.

Iceland, Norway & Switzerland are members of the European Economic Area (EEA) and have preferential trading arrangements with the EU. They each export more into the EU than Ireland does! Iceland is a particular case in point, because Iceland's population is only 300,000!

The reason Iceland exports more into the EU than Ireland is simple; Iceland controls its own coastal fishery waters. Surely it’s time we reclaimed ours!

By Frank Keoghan, Peoples Movement


The Communist Party of Ireland expresses its solidarity with the democratic forces of Iran in their continuing struggle to bring about radical social and economic change.

We express our solidarity with our comrades in the Tudeh Party of Iran and with all working-class and popular forces who valliantly struggle to assert the genuine demands for democracy and to offer an anti-imperialist direction to the struggles of the Iranian people.

The theocratic Islamic regime of the mullahs/ayatollahs has, over the last thirty years, brought great hardship upon the people, sown great division, and inflicted mass repression, using extreme violence and torture to maintain its grip on power. They thwarted the aspirations of the masses for democracy, economic and social justice flowing from the revolutionary uprising of the Iranian people when they overthrew the American puppet regime of the Shah.

Today the ruling class of Iran, which has used religion as a mask to hide its real intentions, is divided about its relationship to imperialism, while imperialist forces from the United States, Britain and the European Union continue to interfere, with the aim of replacing the present regime with one that better serves their interests and preventing the genuine demands of the masses for democratic change from being achieved.

The Irish people have bitter experience of the manipulation of people’s sincere religious beliefs by the ruling class in the South of Ireland, by the unionist clique in the North of Ireland, and by British imperialism, which fostered and nurtured religious divisions to secure its own imperialist interests. This interference by imperialism and the carnival of reaction that it promoted and encouraged has left a deep legacy, which has hampered progressive forces for many decades here in Ireland.

The imperial powers, when it suits them, can also ally themselves with the most obscurantist and backward forces in the Muslim world while at the same time fomenting anti-Islamic religious hatred.

The democratic advance of the Iranian people has been frustrated, once by the imposition of the Shah and secondly by the regime of the ayatollahs.

Eugene Mc Cartan
General Secretary

Thursday, June 25, 2009



For years, recruitment to the British army has failed to meet its targets, but as a result of the growing economic crisis the number of young people joining is on the increase, particularly unemployed youth from working-class communities. That has always been the case: they want young people to die defending the interests of the rich and powerful.

Armed Forces Day is an attempt by imperialism to glorify death and destruction, to justify occupation and aggression. This Armed Forces Day is an attempt by the Unionist establishment to encourage more unemployed youth to join up. Unionism has nothing to offer young people from the Protestant and loyalist communities. It has no policies for creating jobs or building social services for working people. This Armed Forces Day is a reflection of the bankrupt strategy of unionism, and in particular of the DUP, in continuing to foster sectarianism and division.

Trade unions in Britain have organised very effective opposition to British army recruitment in schools: they have recognised that it is their sons and daughters who will die in the interests of big corporations and a bankrupt political class. The British government has dismantled many of the physical manifestations of the British military presence.

The watchtowers are largely gone, and soldiers are no longer on the streets. Until recently, more soldiers were stationed here than in Afghanistan. The watchtowers have been replaced by more sophisticated methods of surveillance, copperfastened by the construction of the largest MI5 installation outside London, at Hollywood, County Down. Counties Tyrone and Derry are used as training grounds for preparing soldiers for Afghanistan and Iraq. This has left dozens of small rural areas plagued nightly by low-flying helicopters.

Shannon and Aldergrove Airports have been and are being used by the CIA in “extraordinary rendition” flights of “terrorist suspects” and also in directly contributing to murder and illegal wars on other countries. More than 100,000 Iraqi civilian have been murdered as a result of the invasion of 2003, with millions more displaced as refugees.

Unionist politicians, like their counterparts at Westminster, have nothing to offer young people. Their policies, not just in the North of Ireland but throughout Britain, have condemned young people to a life on the dole and to poverty. They oversee a society were tens of thousands of young people feel completely alienated from.

The Connolly Youth Movement, as young communists, reject this glorification of war and aggression. This is about the celebration of imperial adventures. The tens of thousands of young people disabled for life by bombs, missiles and land mines dropped or planted by armies of aggression remain firmly hidden.


Main Points from IMF Report on Ireland

IMF: main points

- The economy will contract by about 13.5 per cent from 2008 until the end of next year.

- Unemployment will reach 15.5 per cent in 2010.

- Bank losses could rise to €35 billion by the end of 2010.

- Bank nationalisation could become necessary but not as an alternative to Nama.

- Further cuts in the public service wage bill likely to be inevitable. A review of public service employment is needed.

Sunday, June 21, 2009

On recent racist attacks in Belfast

The Communist Party of Ireland totally condemns the racist attacks that have resulted in a hundred Romanian people being made homeless. Speaking in Belfast, Lynda Walker, national chairperson of the CPI, said: “We welcome the help and support that community organisations and the Belfast Trades Council have given to the people. The CPI also welcomes the comments of the various politicians who have condemned the attacks.

“We note with interest that Mr Jeffrey Donaldson MLA said that help will be given to rehouse the people. He also said that if they want to return to their own country they will be given help to do this. Whilst it is understandable that some may want to return ‘home,’ this is not a solution to the problem.”

The attackers are described as a “small, unrepresentative group of thugs,” but they are recognisable, and the communities that they come from know who they are. They must be dealt with by the PSNI, but in the long run racism as an ideology must be fought against by everyone in the community.

Friday, June 19, 2009

Salute to the victory of the Peruvian indigenous movement!

WFDY has received the news about the historical victory achieved by the indigenous movement of Peru, after an intense struggle against the national Government, who is a close ally of the USA imperialism. This victory was achieved after several months of protests that have cost the life to at least 34 people and produced more than 60 missing people, whereas the main leaders were being intensively persecuted by the Peruvian authorities.

The struggle of the indigenous people of the Peruvian Amazonia, is an example to follow by all those who claim the right to their land, to their natural environment, against the neoliberal policies and against all those who want to five away the natural resources of Amazonia to the big transnational groups for its destruction, disregard the people who have lived in that land for millions of years.

WFDY expresses its solidarity towards the indigenous movements in Peru and calls upon all its member and friend organizations, as well as all the progressive youth of the world, to express its support to all the indigenous people of the world, who are struggling to survive and save their cultures.

Tudeh Party and its Youth

The World Federation of Democratic Youth (WFDY) is following with concern the current
developments in Iran following the 12th June Presidential election.

The World Federation of Democratic Youth is seriously alarmed to receive reports about attacks, arrests and murders in student dormitories in a number of universities inside Iran.

At the same time, USA and imperialist media is trying to create that by changing leader Iran would completely change, promoting the atmosphere of external intervention in Iran or for a coup d’état that would bring the imperialist promoted forces to power.

WFDY believes that the way out of this situation must be political, peaceful and sovereign, therefore we support the struggle of all the people who claim political and social rights and we reject any solution that leads to an administrative, violent or external overthrow of the power to handle it to the any imperialist supported person or force.

Furthermore, WFDY extends its solidarity with Tudeh Party and its Youth, member of WFDY, who are in exile fighting for their political rights within Iran.


The World Federation of Democratic Youth joins the African region in commemorating the Day of the African Child on June 16 2009. In 1991, the African Union the then Organization of African Unity declared that June 16 be the Day of the African Child in remembrance of the June 16 1976 when hundreds of black school children in Soweto, South Africa were massacred in cold blood and thousands injured by the racist and imperialist regime when they took to the streets to protest against the inferior quality of their education, and to demand their right to be taught in their own language. Thus therefore June 16th of every year has been commemorated across the African continent as the Day of the African Child.

The World Federation of Democratic Youth hereby calls all progressive youth movements from across the continent to continue exposing such brutal, barbaric and uncouth acts by imperialists. We also note with great concern that in the current global political setup the intervention of imperialists is derailing the
progress towards empowering the young people of African nations. We encourage governments to provide local resources for empowerment and shun the conditional meager donations of imperialists.

We therefore urge Governments of African Nations to effectively deal with issues which hinder the progress of child development especially in education, culture, religious, health, child abuse, ending the issue of child soldiers, enabling youths to participate in the economic issues of their nations amongst other issues.

The leadership must also engage in robust educational campaigns on the dangers of HIV and AIDS. We call for an end to the use of children as soldiers in countries, which are currently under war, an end to child trafficking.

The African Commission must encourage some African states that have not ratified African Youth Charter to do so and to enable child representatives to air out their views and concerns on how they expect to be done regarding their needs.

However we strongly encourage governments and concerned youth organizations to educate children the history of their nations as this helps them build a concrete historical background as well as preserving African values and culture.

We wish all Africans living in Africa and the Diaspora a strong commemoration of the Day of African Child 2009 under the Theme “Africa Fit for Children: Call for accelerated action towards their survival”

Solidarity towards the Cuban 5 Heroes!

The World Federation of Democratic Youth has received the news about the decision of the Supreme Court of the USA of not accepting to review the case of the Five Cuban Heroes that remain unfairly imprisoned in the USA prisons. Despite having received the important support of many personalities of the world and all the progressive youth that struggles to build a better world, it is known that the imperialist government of Obama has put an action in a court for it not accept the case, which shows once again its hypocrisy towards Cuba.

The heroic struggle of the Cuban people, that has cost the life to more than 3000 of its children, victims of the terrorism supported by the USA, over more than 50 years of heroic struggles driven by the Cuban people to protect itself from the terrorist actions is the essence of this case, which is once again created by the imperialist Government of USA, who keeps trying to overthrow the heroic people of Cuba by condemning the Five Cuban Heroes, proving the deep political content of all decisions regarding Cuba.

WFDY condemns this unfair decision taken by the Supreme Court of USA, that has been under pressure of the imperialist government of that country and considers this decision a complete hypocrisy to the American justice, and demands to the Government of USA to stop the pressures over this case that became political, because it has put over the Cuban Five Heroes all the hate of the challenge that Cuba represented over the last 50 years and that will never be destroyed.

WFDY calls upon its member and friend organizations to demonstrate in front of all American embassies and take action to denounce this injustice.

Wednesday, June 17, 2009

Free the 5!

The U.S. Supreme Court announced today, without explanation, its decision not to review the case of our Five comrades who are unjustly imprisoned in that country for struggling against anti-Cuban terrorism that is sponsored by the U.S. rulers. The judges did what the Obama administration requested of it.

In spite of the solid arguments made by the defense attorneys from the obvious and multiple legal violations committed during the whole trial, by ignoring the universal backing to the petition-expressed by an unprecedented number of "friend of the Court" briefs, among them 10 Nobel prize recipients, hundreds of parliamentarians, and numerous U.S. and international jurist organizations, of outstanding political and academic personalities-the Supreme Court rejected the case, thus ignoring the demand of Humanity and its obligation to do justice.

We see manifested once more the arbitrariness of a corrupt and hypocritical system and its brutal treatment of our Five brothers.

Our struggle to win their freedom will not diminish for one instant. Now is the time to step up our actions, and not leave even one space uncovered or door unopened.

We are certain that Gerardo, Antonio, Fernando, Ramón, and René will continue leading this battle, as they have during these almost 11 years.

Responding to the infamous decision, Gerardo Hernández Nordelo declared:

"Based on the experience that we have had, I am not surprised by the Supreme Court's decision. I have no confidence at all in the justice system of the United States. There are no longer any doubts that our case has been, from the beginning, a political case, because not only did we have the necessasry legal arguments for the Court to review it, we also have the growing international support as reflected in the Amicus briefs presented to the Court in our favor. I repeat what I said one year ago, June 4, 2008, that as long as one person remains struggling outside, we will continue resisting until there is justice."

The struggle must be multiplied until the U.S. government is forced to put an end to this monstruous injustice and restore freedom to Gerardo, Ramón, Antonio, Fernando and René.

Presidency of the Cuban National Assembly of People's Power

James Connolly Memorial Lecture 2009

Economics for Workers

The Ireland Institute on Pearce Street, situated in the former family home of Irish patriots Padraig and William Pearce, played host to this years James Connolly Memorial Lecture.

This event is organised on an annual basis by the Communist Party of Ireland and aims to bring the highest level of Marxist analysis and theory to practical issues and challenges that confront us – an aim fitting of Ireland’s finest Marxist leader in which the event commemorates.

Over the last number of years the CPI has had subjects such as the life and politics of James Connolly, delivered by CPI General Secretary Eugene McCarten, ‘Culture, Class and Connolly’ by philosopher and writer Terry Eagleton and the challenges confronting Venezuela today by the Communist Party of Venezuela.

For obvious reasons this year it was decided the lecture should be entitled ‘Economics for Workers’ and the CPI were proud to present Mr. John Foster, Head of the Economics Committee of the Communist Party of Britain to deliver this somewhat daunting task.

A packed theatre, a sign of the positive growth the CPI is witnessing and of the crisis of capitalism we are living in, greeted John who delivered a clear and much needed explanation of the economic crisis.

Starting with a basic and concise introduction to Marxist economics covering the exploitative relations between capital and labour resulting in surplus value through to the anarchic system of production resulting in a general declining rate of profit (except for the last 21 years of extraordinary rates of profit due to the political interference and management of the market) and the inevitable cyclical crisis.

John then went out to outline the establishment explanations and responses to capitalist crisis of the last hundred years that could broadly be categorised by two approaches, a monetarist one or a Keynesian one, neither of which take account of the fundamental and defining characteristic of this period of capitalism that of monopoly.

John’s flowing descriptions and abundance of practical examples and explanations seemed to make light of work of what many believe to be complex issues.

The presentation ended emphasising, firstly, the necessity to understand the stage of capitalism we are in, that of state monopoly capitalism, where the state directly intervenes and manipulates the market in the interest of monopolies and where a ‘free’ market no longer operates given the level of control, leverage and resources that monopolies have accumulated. And, secondly, the need to frame our solutions in the struggle for national democracy as the progressive contradiction to monopoly capitalism.

Foster, having also written extensively on James Connolly, outlined what he believed to be Connolly’s greatest theoretical contribution that of understanding the class nature of the nation and of the struggle for national liberation and democracy and emphasised our need to return to this struggle in the current crisis.

For copies of John’s presentations please email

Wednesday, June 10, 2009

Stop Spanish Political Persecution - Don't Extradite the Basques

* We, the undersigned, demand that the Spanish government respects the fundamental human, civil and political rights of the Basque people as laid out in the UN Declaration of Human Rights.

* We demand that the Spanish government ends its campaign of criminalisation and political persecution against organisations and individuals that are in favour of Basque independence.

* We support the right of Iñaki de Juana and Arturo ‘Beñat’ Villanueva not to be persecuted by the Spanish government for their political ideas.

* We call on the British government to immediately reject the extradition requests and to refuse to collaborate with the Spanish government’s political persecution of Iñaki de Juana and Arturo ‘Beñat’ Villanueva.

* We support the right of Iñaki de Juana and Arturo ‘Beñat’ Villanueva to live freely in Ireland.

*James Connolly Memorial Lecture, 2009*

Economics for workers

Speaker: John Foster

Tuesday 16 June 7:30 p.m.
Pearse Centre(27 Pearse Street)Dublin

Organised by: *Communist Party of Ireland*

John Foster lives in Scotland and lectures in economics and is head of the Economics Committee of the Communist Party of Britain. He is well known in the Scottish, English and Welsh labour movements and has presented many talks and papers to trade union activists. He has also written extensively on the politics of James Connolly. His most recent work is a pamphlet published in 2009, The Politics of Britain's “Economic Crisis.

In the recent elections for the European Parliament he headed the list in Scotland of the broad-left democratic alliance No2EU—Yes to Democracy.

Murky World of British Intelligence Here to Stay

To date Colin Duffy has been mentioned 178 times at the Rosemary Nelson Inquiry. Duffy, was a client of the Lurgan based solicitor murdered in 1999 by the LVF. On 8 January, a former RUC Special Branch officer, from behind a screen made a claim that Nelson and Duffy were engaged in an extramarital affair.

Whatever relevance this had to the Inquiry is questionable but it is clear that elements of British intelligence were constructing a smokescreen. Three months prior to that claim being made, Duffy played a prominent role in a demonstration against the Royal Irish Regiment parade through Belfast.

Duffy has been a long standing Republican, against which previous trials and a period of incarceration constructed by British intelligence have collapsed. Not withstanding this, it is claimed he was lured to Lurgan RUC barracks to ‘sign on’ while on bail, after which a close family friend was murdered while leaving the barracks. It has subsequently been revealed that Special Branch was monitoring Duffy minutes before this attack took place.

Duffy is held presently in Antrim’s Serious Crime Suite – charged in relation to the killing of the two British soldiers in Antrim. Two days before his arrest, he was visited by the PSNI, photographed and told that his life was under threat from dissident Republicans. During his subsequently detention in Antrim, he successfully challenged his detention on human rights grounds and was to be released – only to be arrested while leaving the police station.

Colin Duffy was later held for three years in Long Kesh on the word of an LVF Special Branch informant and a mentally unstable woman. On appeal, this conviction was quashed after it was revealed that the word of those against him was worthless. The woman’s own family had said she was an unsuitable witness and the other witness had been exposed as an LVF member and informant.

In 1971 there were no trials; in 2009 we have show trials - Duffy is being punished for being the “respectable” voice of anti-Agreement Republicanism - he is articulate, highly politicised and doesn’t fit the characterture constructed by the media. Likewise, he has consistently organised politically for an alternative, whilst disagreeing with the Agreement.

The Secretary of State has said that Diplock Courts will stay. These courts, without jury, rest upon the decision of three judges – who are almost invariably anti-separatist. It was this conveyer belt system which sent hundreds to prison on the word of an informant or on the conclusion of a judge. This court system is a flagrant denial of the basic human right of a fair and public trail.

In Duffy’s case trial is by media. Hugh Orde, the head of the PSNI recently made reference to the “murderous gang” in Lurgan. Colin Duffy is the only person from Lurgan detained. The person held over the killing of the PSNI officer is from Portadown. Who exactly the “murderous gang” in Lurgan are isn’t clear but the presumption of guilt is. This was coupled with Dufy’s court appearance in Larne – a stronghold for dissident UDA factions. He was harangued by a mob outside the Court House, secure in the knowledge he was “guilty”. There is a Court House in Antrim itself, were Duffy could have appeared.

The recent revelation that 40 million pounds is being spent on monitoring anti-Agreement Republicans and the recent construction of MI5’s biggest installation outside London in Co. Down show that murky world of British intelligence is here to stay and that those who oppose imperialism in Ireland will be on the receiving end of all the draconian legislation still in place.


Don't Extradite the Basques Campaign Launch

Don't Extradite the Basques Campaign Launch

Wednesday June 10, 11am
An Chultúrlann
216 Falls Road,

The Don't Extradite the Basques Committee is officially launching the campaign against the extradition to Spain of Iñaki de Juana and Arturo‘Beñat’ Villanueva at a press conference this Wednesday at 11am in AnChultúrlann.

Civil rights activist Fergus Ó hÍr will outline the campaign on behalfof the committee, joined by a range of supporters including prominenthuman rights defenders and community activists, demonstrating thebroad support for the human and civil rights of the Basque people fromacross the Belfast community.

An online petition – 'Stop Spanish political persecution: Don'textradite the Basques' – will also be launched at the pressconference. Initial signatories to this petition include Mr Ó hÍr,human rights lawyer Pádraigín Drinan, Gerry McConville (Chair, WestBelfast Partnership Board), Michael Culbert (Former Antrim and StGall's Football Manager) Janet Muller (Pobal) and journalist andfilm-maker John Pilger.

Speaking on behalf of the Don't Extradite the Basques Committee, Mr ÓhÍr said: “In its effort to prevent the Basque people from exercisingtheir democratic right to self-determination, Spain is breachingseveral fundamental rights as outlined in the UN Universal Declarationof Human Rights, including the right to freedom of opinion andexpression, of peaceful assembly and association, the right to takepart in the government of their state and the right not to besubjected to torture or abuse.

“Iñaki de Juana and Arturo ‘Beñat’ Villanueva are clearly beingpersecuted solely for their political opinions, not for any criminalactivity. They will not receive a fair hearing with the Spanishjudicial system and face the risk of torture.”

Mr Ó hÍr continued: “These extradition requests are politicallyunacceptable and the campaign launched on Wednesday aims to buldawareness about these cases and support for the civil rights of theBasque people.”

The campaign petition demands that the Spanish government respects thefundamental human, civil and political rights of the Basque people aslaid out in the UN Declaration of Human Rights and that it ends itscampaign of criminalisation against the Basque pro-independence movement.

The petition supports the human right of Iñaki de Juana and Arturo‘Beñat’ Villanueva not to be persecuted by the Spanish government fortheir political opinions.

It calls on the British government to immediately reject theextradition requests and to refuse to collaborate with the Spanishgovernment in this political persecution.

Finally, the petition supports the right of Iñaki de Juana and Arturo‘Beñat’ Villanueva to live freely in Ireland.

For more information visit or email

Wednesday, June 3, 2009

The hierarchy of victimhood

The hierarchy of victimhood

When the two British soldiers were killed in Antrim and a police officer in Lurgan in March, protests were held throughout the north condemning the killings. One trade union leader described the action as a ‘crime’.

Just over a week ago, an innocent Catholic was murdered in Coleraine while going to the aid of a neighbour who had been set upon by a Loyalist mob. The dead man’s wife and a pregnant woman were also battered in the process. In scenes reminiscent of the Shankill Butchers, the ,mob wielded hammers and bats.

The murdered man, Kevin McDaid, was a community activist who had worked in the local area to improve community relations, having taken groups of Catholic and Protestant children away.
The North Antrim nationalist community over the past few years has been subject to continuous sectarian harassment by Loyalists and their coat trailers. Last year, a group of young soccer players from Dublin had to be removed from Coleraine after an attack on their accommodation. In July 2007, Michael McInveen's father received a death threat from Loyalists after removing the name of his murdered 16 year old son from an 11th Night bonfire. Kevin McDaid’s son has also been informed by the PSNI that his life is also under threat.

The silence and lack of action from all quarters has been deafening. DUP councillor, Adrian McQuillan said the calling was “Tit for tat” and a direct result of “there being tricolours up yesterday afternoon”. In other words, the victim deserved what he got.

It seems that the definition of what is a crime has changed since March, at the demonstration on June 2 outside Belfast City Hall, the crowd barely reached triple figures – if even that. Those who lined up behind the state in March are now conspicuous by their silence, their absence at the demonstrations and the lack of any calls for condemnation.

Condemning the murder of an innocent Catholic is beyond the pale, it is a contradiction of the respectability that Loyalist paramilitaries now have. This situation is made even worse by allegations from the dead man’s wife that two police officers in a squad car watched the murder in scenes reminiscent of the murder of Robert Hamill in Portadown.

June is the month in which Republicans, Socialists and all progressives celebrate the birthday of Wolfe Tone. Sectarianism is a consequence of British rule in Ireland, the first step towards the eradication of sectarianism is the removal of British rule. iI truly is time for all Irish people – Catholic, Protestant, Dissenter and otherwise – to unite to break the connection.