Friday, July 18, 2014

Sinn Fein, Irish-Americans, and People of Color in America

( I am NOT Bernadette Devlin-McAliskey NOR am I connected to her in any way. I discuss naming it after her in the "notes" post)

Below is a letter I would have submitted to AP/RN (SF's old paper) in the past, but AP (their new one) doesn’t publish letters so I’m doing it here and also on a politics discussion board here. It is addressed to SF but I would love to see everyone else also take part in the discussion. The web-site for Friends of SF in the US is here. A few very relevant posts are here.



Although I infrequently express some criticism of SF, I am mostly a supporter and since 1997 I have occasionally had a small to moderate degree of success supporting SF and/or the nationalist community in general. For example in 1999 I was fairly involved with bringing Rita O’Hare to speak on the CU-Boulder campus.

I have a suggestion about your work in America. On one hand, I am partly motivated to support republicanism because I’m Irish-American. However I know or know of a LOT of Americans who aren’t Irish and have done a fair amount or a lot to support SF and/or the nationalist community in general (for example, Bill Fletcher Jr. who has held senior positions in the labor movement and is the immediate past president of TransAfrica Forum; or, the well-known professor, Angela Davis). With that in mind, I was disappointed to see that on the “About Us” page of the Friends of SF USA site, you refer only to Irish-America and the links page only links to SF or Irish-American groups. Because of this and some other similar things about your allies here in America I’m concerned it will deter at least some, probably most and maybe all, interested people of color from getting involved in one way or another (i.e. joining Irish Northern Aid) or even from just educating themselves about the conflict and the Peace Process. This focus I believe unintentionally denies the contributions made by people of color in the past and present and implies that in the present and future Irish-American contributions are more important than those of people of color.

I do know that in Ireland SF is INCREDIBLY anti-racist and that you and your American supporters have occasionally done things to reach out to people of color here, but on that you need to do more, or at least use more inclusive language.

Besides being the right thing to do, it will help in some other important ways:
1) With a good response from people of color, this may have an impact on racism among Irish-Americans. It might also work like that with nationalists and republicans in Ireland.
2) Greater diversity in, for example, INA will also probably attract more white allies, further affecting Irish-American racism.
3) There will be more supporters of SF and/or the nationalist community in general.

Although I believe that I’ve covered a fair amount of this subject, I’d be interested in discussing these issues further.

Sincerely,

Tom Shelley
Boulder, Colorado USA
tshelley75@comcast.net
http://devlin-mcaliskey.blogspot.com

P.S. I have a true story about this. In the late 1990s I was circulating a petition addressed to the US Government about the former Volunteers facing extradition or deportation. I took it one day to an anti-prisons protest and at one point went up to two men, one white, one black. I told them what the petition was about and the white guy said “I’m Irish-American, but I don’t support the IRA” and declined to sign it. The black guy said “I’ll sign it.”

Monday, April 21, 2014

"IRA Terrorists?"

(I am NOT Bernadette Devlin-McAliskey NOR am I connected to her in any way. I discuss naming it after her in the "notes" post) 

A lot of people believe in the phrase “one man’s terrorist is another man’s freedom fighter.” It’s a useful phrase here and there. For example, (racist and hypocritical) Irish-Americans who supported the IRA but not the ANC’s military wing. But I believe “terrorism” should be loosely defined as an armed campaign that targets civilian life an unacceptable percentage of the time. There will be disagreements and shades of gray:

1) what’s unacceptable? I’d say that starts at 5% of the time, if not much closer to about 1% of the time (depending on which civilians are being killed; and operations that target civilian property but are planned to avoid civilian deaths are kind of relevant (i.e. 2% for the intnetional deaths and about 30% for the second category, would be close to deserving the label of terrorism, considering that such bombings can have a mildly terroristic impact) and gets more offensive as it goes up.

2) As I explain below, there are some shades of gray when it comes to which people are legitimate targets.

3) Are bombings that are planned to spare civilian life but which nonetheless risk loss of civilian life terrorism?

It seems that on the Left a lot of people define war as “terrorism on a bigger budget.” It’s not a bad slogan and there’s a lot of truth to it. But I have difficulty seeing the ANC’s military wing or the IRA describing themselves as terrorists. And I believe there are groups out there that should be labeled as terrorist, to one degree or another.

The IRA was not one of those groups. (I am speaking of the IRA which has been on cease-fire for about 16 years now). Only a very tiny percent of their operations intentionally resulted in civilian death (I'm defining "operations" as attacks on the security forces, bombings of civilian property, attacks on civilians not suspected of crime or informing to the security forces but NOT feuding with other republicans, or defending their communities from what might be called incursions by loyalists or the security forces (these incidents would largely be found in the first three years of the conflict when there were no-go areas) or intelligence gathering, etc.). I would say the same thing about unintentionally killing civilians.

In typing this up I am relying heavily on a database of all the people who were killed in connection with the conflict that filled most of the last 45 years. It’s part of the CAIN web-site, which is part of the University of Ulster and part of INCORE and ARK. The former gets it’s funding from  various sources listed here. The latter gets it’s funding from various sources listed here.

I took official figures from the Police Service of N. Ireland (which I found on the CAIN site here) made some adjustments (below) based partly on the Sutton database and partly on many, many hours studying the conflict. Throughout this post the numbers that are marked with * are APPROXIMATELY what I found in the Sutton Database but might be off a little (probably no more than about 1%). First, the total number of gun incidents in N. Ireland during the conflict (1969-1998) was 35,458. I deducted the following numbers of such incidents because they didn’t involve operations of the Provisional IRA.

-950 loyalist sectarian attacks (Loyalists killed about *868 civilians; overlapping very heavily with that fact, they killed *727 Catholics; sometimes they killed more than one Catholic civilian at a time, and I’m sure that sometimes they failed to kill any (and some of those Catholics and civilians were killed by bombs))

-190 republican feuding. (although this is only partly about feuding (the rest would be premature bomb explosions) there were *187 deaths that were republican-on-republican) so maybe about 65 were successful gun attacks, and then another 125 for unsuccessful attempts)

-165 loyalist feuding (there were *94 loyalist-on-loyalist deaths, and probably no more than 14 were from premature bomb explosions; adding some for unsuccessful attempts, probably about 165)

- 400 republican punishment attacks (although it’s not solid, as far as I can tell, about *10 alleged criminals were killed by republicans and I would be very surprised if there were more than about 390 non-lethal gun attacks on alleged criminals).

-160 loyalist punishments (I can only find one entry in the Sutton database that is an alleged criminal killed by loyalist paramilitaries in a punishment attack. Between that and the fact that probably around 2/3 of the unionist population completely supported the police during the conflict I doubt the total was higher than 160)

-900 other republican gun-attacks (there were about *150 (total) civilians, security force members and loyalist paramilitary members killed by the INLA and the OIRA, organizations that were, towards the beginning of the conflict, waging armed campaigns of some significance. Those deaths probably are the result of about 75 gun attacks and a very small number of bomb attacks that are separate from this) (probably about 825 gun attacks that didn’t kill anyone)

-1,500 republican and loyalists interface incidents (found a very small number of deaths resulting from these, but probably about 1,500 incidents total)

-1,000 The IRA defending nationalist areas from security forces (mostly, for example, manning barricades for no-go areas) (a similarly weak estimate like the one right above, but probably pretty accurate)

-8,500 Incidents where the security forces fired at someone and arrested someone, but it was not a result of a republican attack (there are vague and incomplete stats on the number of people charged with terrorist and other serious offenses. For the period of 1969-1998 there were something like 19,000 arrests. I’m sure about 2,000 (1/4 of that with gunfire) involved loyalists instead of republicans, and about 9,000 would have involved nationalists and republicans but not weapons being fired, so I think it might be as low as 8,000 arrests of nationalists and republicans with shots fired)

-100 Incidents where the security forces killed someone but there was no arrest.

-145 Loyalist operations against republican paramilitaries and the security forces (Loyalists killed a combined total of *55 republican paramilitaries and British security forces; probably about 20 gun attacks and about 5 bombings accomplished that plus some stuff covered in categories above; and then, of course, a lot of unsuccessful attacks)

-35 shootings of suspected  and probably actual informers in the nationalist community (there were about *30 such shootings that resulted in death, probably only about 5 that didn’t)

-20 informers in the loyalist community.

The total deducted is 14,075, which leaves about 20,483 being IRA operations. I couldn’t find figures for the first two right below, but I think I make a pretty good estimate for them:

+150 mortars or RPG attacks in N. Ireland.
+ 350 attacks outside of N. Ireland.

 I did find good figures for bombings.
+15,000 bombs (there were 9,873 bombs that went off and 6,337 that were “neutralized.” the “neutralized” ones count because clearly the area was evacuated before the bomb was set to go off; and probably about 1.000 were the work of other parties) (those figures are from here)

The total for IRA operations is then estimated at about 36,883. The IRA was responsible for *512 civilian deaths (according to the Sutton database at- http://cain.ulst.ac.uk/sutton/ ), although it might be closer to 550, as some deaths attributed to other republican forces (or republicans in general) might have been caused by the IRA. I have made some effort towards finding the exact number of IRA operations resulting in civilian death but I have seen many clusters of such deaths where more than one civilian was killed in an IRA operation, and I believe there were about 110 IRA operations where at least one civilian died (that would be an average of 3.41 civilian deaths per operation which caused at least one civilian death) (initially I estimated 150, but deleted 40 for the deaths (probably one for each individual targeted) of suspected/real informers and suspected/real criminals). About .3% of the IRA’s operations resulted in civilian death. I am not close to nailing this down soon, but I think it breaks down to .2% of their operations intentionally resulted in civilian death, and about .1% resulted unintentionally in civilian death. I imagine that about .1% of the time they tried to kill civilians and failed- that would mean that 2/3 of the time they tried to kill civilians, they succeeded, which seems likely.

Of the 15,000 IRA bombs, I would imagine about half would have been aimed at the security forces (if any more than half had been used for destroying civilian property there would be many more references to their bombing campaign in books and conversations, etc.; also IRA mines, only one kind of bomb, killed around *90 members of the security forces). And of the more than 21,000 gun attack operations, almost all of them were attacks on the security forces. You might think that and what I said about half the bombs doesn’t make sense since the IRA killed only 1009 members of the security forces and only 39 members of loyalist paramilitaries. First, I would say something about their attacks on loyalists being similar to their attacks on civilians- I doubt that the former was much more difficult than the latter, and the former would have been much easier than attacking the security forces. While reading this paragraph and the rest of this post, remember that the security forces were always or almost always wearing some kind of body armor (at least flak jackets) and (for soldiers) helmets, which would have given them some degree of protection from bullets or at least bomb fragments, and they were often traveling in armored vehicles. For every IRA operation that successfully killed at least one member of the security forces, there probably were about 50 that didn’t result in such deaths.



Two other aspects of this to consider when discussing whether or not the IRA deserved the label “terrorist” are how many of their civilian victims were killed more or less unintentionally, and how many of their intended civilian victims were not completely innocent. There were *512 civilian deaths attributed to the IRA by the Sutton database.

The first category is about unintentional killings. There were  about 104 civilian deaths where there is no doubt in my mind that they were unintentional. About *31 were premature explosions (this often involved those transporting the bomb being killed as well, which is pretty solid evidence that it was not intentional) and about *73 involved “inadequate warnings” that were given (from what I’ve read this often involved nervous and inexperienced IRA members making phone calls hurriedly and I’m sure there also would have been some times when the SECURITY FORCES simply screwed up). (when the IRA bombed civilian property, the plan about 99% of the time was to place the explosives, leave, call in a warning so the place would be evacuated- which is exactly what happened about 99% of the time that that was the plan)

There are also a few subcategories where it’s sort of accurate to say it was unintentional. The first one contains about *35 victims and is overwhelmingly about the IRA targeting locally recruited members of the security forces when they weren’t on duty. For example many innocent victims were killed when they were covering for a part-time security force member at their civilian job. People were also often killed driving a security force member relative’s vehicle or at a security force member relative’s home.

The second subcategory is when people were more or less caught in the crossfire, almost always involving gun-battles where the IRA were fighting the security forces. There were about *34 people in this category. Besides people killed in gun battles, this included people driving past targets of intentional IRA bombings. And the third is that there were about 5 people in a miscellaneous batch of similar scenarios.

********

There is also a category for those intended IRA civilian victims who were less than completely innocent. I have two subcategories and a few divisions of those two at the next level down. With the first subcategory, although the IRA, most of the time, was wrong to kill them, they were definitely targeted for things they either did or were seriously suspected of doing- they were not randomly chosen civilians.

The first division of the first subcategory is made up of suspected, and probably actual, criminals. I have yet to do a post about this but basically the entire nationalist community, and certainly people in republican areas, rejected the police (until sometime around 7-12 years ago) and turned to the IRA to deal with crime. There are about *10 people in this category.

The second division is suspected and probably actual informers. There were  about *30.

The 3rd division is civilian employees of the security forces. There were about *31.

The 4th division is people killed in street disturbances. All but one of the *6 that I found happened during a night of anti-Catholic pogroms, and after a 11-month period that saw several such pogroms.

The 5th division is miscellaneous. Below each set of information (which is in the format used in the Sutton database) my comments will be between asterisks.

18 December 1972    William Johnston (48) Protestant
Status: Civilian Political Activist (CivPA), Killed by: Irish Republican Army (IRA)
Ulster Unionist Party Councilor and member of Police Authority. Abducted from a house, Drumarg estate, Armagh. Found shot a short time later, Knockbane, near Middletown, County Armagh.

**His elected position, in my opinion could either help justify his death or lead me to criticize it more, depending on how extreme he was (was he saying things that were going to encourage anti-Catholic murderers?) His membership of the Police Authority I believe is very relevant to his death**

25 January 1973    William Staunton (46) Catholic
Status: Civilian (Civ), Killed by: Irish Republican Army (IRA)
Resident magistrate. Died three months after being shot outside St Dominic's School, Falls Road, Belfast. He was injured on 11 October 1972.

**He wasn’t elected, yet had a lot of power and was a representative of the British state in Ireland**

16 September 1974    Martin McBirney (55) Protestant
Status: Civilian (Civ), Killed by: Irish Republican Army (IRA)
Resident Magistrate. Shot at his home, Belmont Road, Belmont, Belfast.

**He wasn’t elected, yet had a lot of power and was a representative of the British state in Ireland**

16 September 1974  Rory Conaghan (54) Catholic
Status: Civilian (Civ), Killed by: Irish Republican Army (IRA)
Judge. Shot at his home, Beechlands, off Malone Road, Belfast.

**He wasn’t elected, yet had a lot of power and was a representative of the British state in Ireland**

21 July 1976    Christopher Ewart-Biggs (54) nfNIRI
Status: Civilian (Civ), Killed by: Irish Republican Army (IRA)
British Ambassador to Ireland. Killed in land mine attack on his official car, Sandyford, County Dublin.

**He wasn’t elected, yet had a lot of power and was a representative of the British state in Ireland. UPDATE 5/3/14 He was involved with MI6, part of Britain's intelligence community **

04 March 1977    Rory O'Kelly (59) Catholic
Status: Civilian (Civ), Killed by: Irish Republican Army (IRA)
Senior Department of Public Prosecutions official. Shot while in Little's Bar, Coalisland, County Tyrone.

**He wasn’t elected, yet had a lot of power and was a representative of the British state in Ireland**

22 March 1979    Richard Sykes (58) nfNIE
Status: Civilian Political Activist (CivPA), Killed by: Irish Republican Army (IRA)
British Ambassador to the Netherlands. Shot outside his official residence, Den Haag, Netherlands.

**He wasn’t elected, yet had a lot of power and was a representative of the British state (not in Ireland of course, so this is a little more questionable than the killing of the Ambassador to Ireland) **

27 August 1979    Lord Mountbatten (79) nfNIRI
Status: Civilian (Civ), Killed by: Irish Republican Army (IRA)
Killed by remote controlled bomb on his boat, detonated when leaving Mullaghmore Harbour, County Sligo.

**Very much a representative of the British state (for example, he had been the last British Viceroy of India)**

21 January 1981    Norman Stronge (86) Protestant
Status: Civilian Political Activist (CivPA), Killed by: Irish Republican Army (IRA)
Ulster Unionist Party (UUP) member, and former Speaker at Stormont. Shot together with his son at their mansion, Tynan Abbey, near Middletown, County Armagh.

**His elected position, in my opinion could either help justify his death or lead me to criticize it more, depending on how extreme he was (was he saying things that were going to encourage anti-Catholic murderers?) (UPDATE 5/1/14 he was killed after an assassination attempt on Bernadette Devlin-McAliskey, who was targeted after 3-4 other civilian leaders of those supporting Republican POWs were killed; There is reason to believe he was killed as a warning to the Unionist upper-class that they would be held responsible for such killings)**

14 November 1981    Robert Bradford (40) Protestant
Status: Civilian Political Activist (CivPA), Killed by: Irish Republican Army (IRA)
Ulster Unionist Party Member of Parliament. Shot at Community Centre, Finaghy, Belfast.

**His elected position, in my opinion could either help justify his death or lead me to criticize it more, depending on how extreme he was (was he saying things that were going to encourage anti-Catholic murderers?)(UPDATE 5/1/14 He was connected to a loyalist paramilitary, the UVF)**

16 January 1983    William Doyle (55) Catholic
Status: Civilian (Civ), Killed by: Irish Republican Army (IRA)
Judge. Shot outside St Brigid's Roman Catholic Church, Derryvolgie Avenue, Malone, Belfast.

**He wasn’t elected, yet had a lot of power and was a representative of the British state in Ireland**

12 October 1984    Anthony Berry (59) nfNIB
Status: Civilian Political Activist (CivPA), Killed by: Irish Republican Army (IRA)
Member of Parliament. Killed in time bomb attack at Conservative Party Conference, Grand Hotel, Brighton, Sussex, England.

**His elected position, in my opinion could either help justify his death or lead me to criticize it more, depending on how extreme he was. And I think that since he was a BRITISH MP voting on legislation at least partly for part of Ireland it’s less questionable than the IRA killings of NI politicians**

25 April 1987    Maurice Gibson (74) Protestant
Status: Civilian (Civ), Killed by: Irish Republican Army (IRA)
Chief Justice, together with his wife, killed by remote controlled bomb hidden in parked car detonated when they drove past, Killeen, County Armagh.

**He wasn’t elected, yet had a lot of power and was a representative of the British state in Ireland**

18 October 1989    Robert Metcalfe (40) Protestant
Status: Civilian Political Activist (CivPA), Killed by: Irish Republican Army (IRA)
Member of Ulster Resistance. Shot at his home, Drumnabreeze Road, Magheralin, near Lurgan, County Down.

**Ulster  Resistance was a militant and armed political organization (calling them a paramilitary would be going too far) especially in the late 80s when he was killed**

30 July 1990    Ian Gow (53) nfNIB
Status: Civilian Political Activist (CivPA), Killed by: Irish Republican Army (IRA)
Conservative Member of Parliament. Killed by booby trap bomb attached to his car outside his home, Hankham, Pevensey, Sussex, England..

**His elected position, in my opinion could either help justify his death or lead me to criticize it, depending on how extreme he was. And I think that since he was a BRITISH MP voting on legislation at least partly for part of Ireland it’s less questionable than the IRA killings of NI politicians**


The second subcategory is similar to the last one The people killed are much more innocent (some completely innocent but with someone who was at least a slightly legitimate target) than the first subcategory, but were still not randomly chosen civilians killed just to terrorize people.

Houghton, Linda    04 February 1974 (23) nfNIB
Status: Civilian (Civ), Killed by: Irish Republican Army (IRA)
Killed in time bomb attack on British Army (BA) coach travelling along M62 motorway, Yorkshire, England.
AND
Houghton, Lee    04 February 1974 (5) nfNIB
Status: Civilian (Civ), Killed by: Irish Republican Army (IRA)
Killed in time bomb attack on British Army (BA) coach travelling along M62 motorway, Yorkshire, England.
AND
Houghton, Robert    04 February 1974 (2) nfNIB
Status: Civilian (Civ), Killed by: Irish Republican Army (IRA)
Killed in time bomb attack on British Army (BA) coach travelling along M62 motorway, Yorkshire, England.

**Were on a British Army bus with their husband or father**

05 October 1974    Paul Craig (22) nfNIB
Status: Civilian (Civ), Killed by: Irish Republican Army (IRA)
Killed in bomb attack on Horse and Groom public house, Guildford, Surrey, England

**Was in a pub apparently full of off-duty British soldiers (the other four people killed were in the British Army)**

21 July 1976    Judith Cook (25) nfNIRI
Status: Civilian (Civ), Killed by: Irish Republican Army (IRA)
British Ambassador to Ireland's secretary. Killed in land mine attack on his official car, Sandyford, County Dublin.

**Was with a fairly legitimate target when both were killed**

02 February 1977    Jeffrey Agate (59) nfNI
Status: Civilian (Civ), Killed by: Irish Republican Army (IRA)
Originally from England. Manager of Du Pont factory. Shot outside his home, Talbot Park, Derry.

**Probably, depending on the details, one of the three most questionable killings in this subcategory (a good source tells me that "Agate was a member of the National Association For Freedom. A rightwing group which campaigned  for the return of the death enalty etc.")**

02 March 1977    Donald Robinson (56) nfNI
Status: Civilian (Civ), Killed by: Irish Republican Army (IRA)
English businessman. Shot at his workplace, Lawrence Street, off University Street, Belfast.

**Probably, depending on the details, one of the three most questionable killings in this subcategory**

14 March 1977    James Nicholson (44) nfNI
Status: Civilian (Civ), Killed by: Irish Republican Army (IRA)
English businessman. Shot while in chauffeur-driven car, just after leaving Strathearn Audio factory, Stockman's Lane, Belfast.

**Probably, depending on the details, one of the three most questionable killings in this subcategory**

03 March 1978    Norma Spence (25) Protestant
Status: Civilian (Civ), Killed by: Irish Republican Army (IRA)
Civilian searcher. Shot while at British Army (BA) pedestrian check point, Donegall Street, Belfast
AND
28 September 1978    Brian Russell (30) Protestant
Status: Civilian (Civ), Killed by: Irish Republican Army (IRA)
Civilian searcher. Shot during sniper attack on British Army (BA) patrol, Waterloo Place, Derry.

**I don’t know exactly what “civilian searchers” are, but they had to do with security force checkpoints**

27 August 1979    Dowager Lady Brabourne (82) nfNIRI
Status: Civilian (Civ), Killed by: Irish Republican Army (IRA)
Killed by remote controlled bomb on Lord Mountbatten's boat, detonated when leaving Mullaghmore Harbour, County Sligo.
AND
27 August 1979    Nicholas Knatchbull (14) nfNIRI
Status: Civilian (Civ), Killed by: Irish Republican Army (IRA)
Killed by remote controlled bomb on Lord Mountbatten's boat, detonated when leaving Mullaghmore Harbour, County Sligo.
AND
27 August 1979    Paul Maxwell (15) Protestant
Status: Civilian (Civ), Killed by: Irish Republican Army (IRA)
From Northern Ireland. Killed by remote controlled bomb on Lord Mountbatten's boat, detonated when leaving Mullaghmore Harbour, County Sligo.

**Was with a fairly legitimate target when they were all killed**

25 April 1987    Cecily Gibson (67) Protestant
Status: Civilian (Civ), Killed by: Irish Republican Army (IRA)
Killed together with her Chief Justice husband, by remote controlled bomb hidden in parked car detonated when they drove past, Killeen, County Armagh.

**Was with a fairly legitimate target when both were killed**

UPDATE 4/2/14 One more death for this category:  

McWhirter, Ross
27 November 1975 (50) nfNIB
Status: Civilian (Civ), Killed by: Irish Republican Army (IRA)
Shot at his home, Village Road, Enfield, London.

**a good source tells me that he was a member of the National Association For Freedom. "A rightwing group which campaigned  for the return of the death enalty etc."**


********

I am going to be lazy and not redo the math and such, but I need to add something I forgot about. There were 57 former members of the security forces killed by the IRA. Even if we categorize them all as civilians, it would have little effect on what I’m saying in this post, and I think there’s a good chance that many of them were targeted for their membership in the security forces and the IRA just didn’t know they had become civilians. The Sutton database puts them in the security forces category.

Same thing with the use of incendiaries (not bombs). based partly on the CAIN web-page Security and Defense there was possibly around 500 such operations by the Provisional IRA, but for various reasons I’m not including that in the calculations above because the information is far from complete and is unclear. Adding 500 to the calculations above would simply make the IRA look better.

When the IRA were bombing civilian property it was (at least about 99% of the time) non-military government property and commercial property. The idea with the former was to make it difficult for the British to govern nationalist parts of N. Ireland. The idea with the latter was to indirectly pressure London via the British business community and to also pressure the Unionist business community. Both would have also been about reminding people outside N. Ireland that resistance was continuing.

*********

In conclusion, very little of what the IRA did could be called terrorism, although there’s about 20% of their operations that could SORT OF be called terrorism in that they involved significant risk of civilian casualties (that is, their campaign of bombing civilian buildings). Almost about 79% of their operations were against the security forces or loyalist paramilitaries. And pretty much all of their activities that I’m not calling operations were at least sort of morally inoffensive (some of those are in the list of subtracted figures, and others are, for example, intelligence, acquiring guns, etc.).

Monday, May 20, 2013

Two New Poems: "Hundred Million Died" and "Smash the Klan"

(I am NOT Bernadette Devlin-McAliskey NOR am I connected to her in any way. I discuss naming it after her in the "notes" post)

I have two new poems to offer. For an explanation about my poems, see this. For the rest of the poems, click the "Lyrics" label at the bottom.

“Hundred Million Died,” based on “Six Million Lies” by No Remorse, original lyrics are here.

1. I think 100 million is a pretty good figure from what I’ve read (for what happened in what is today Canada and the US). This is about what happened to American Indians, and sort of about what is continuing (it focuses on the first 2-4 centuries). I know that most deaths were probably the result of hunger and/or disease instead of bullets, but to a large degree that can be blamed on the imperialists as well. The fact is, the European presence resulted in epidemics; native communities were losing their land, being marched at gun-point to new lands, experiencing trauma of a sort that might be called national, or racial (one where their communities were turned upside down), etc.
2. The phrase “living space” is English for a term from Nazi Germany about what they were after in the East.
3. I give this poem five stars out of five.
4. **73% of this version is me, 27% is the original.

A hundred million really did die,
covered up by the racist lies
Killed by the settler state, we have the proof
Why did they try to cover up the truth?
They’re scared it would ruin American mythology
Pocahontas, Thanksgiving, manifest destiny

(chorus)
A hundred million of the human race
In order to get more “living space”
Death from the small-Pox blanket
Biological warfare we won’t forget

The worst genocide in history
They wanted the white man to be free
To take all the land that he could see
“From sea to shining sea”
But the Indian spirit didn’t die and they continue to fight
For their freedom, equality and human rights

(chorus)

So let's make America bigot free
If we keep working, we’ll make them agree
This society is rotten to the core
It's justice we’re out for in this long war
With honor and respect we'll surely win
And they know, we’ll finish what we begin

****

“Smash The Klan” based on “Smash The IRA” by Skrewdriver, original lyrics are here.

1, The original is by a racist band.
2. Of course in some ways we didn’t completely defeat the fascists, but we did defeat almost all of their states (I sometimes forget about Spain, we didn’t defeat them) and that’s a pretty big step towards defeating them completely.
3. The KKK did use bombs while attacking the civil rights movement and also in more recent decades.
4. I believe that a major factor that leads many white people to racism is economic insecurity among white working-class people.
5. I heard, about 12-13 years ago that a member of a good socialist group (the Young Democratic Socialists) was trying to organize workers, (I believe it was) in Indiana, and said that his competition was the Klan.
6. I’m fairly okay with denying the Klan use of public streets (I have mixed feelings and would probably abstain on that question) but that 2nd line of of the 3rd verse is a lot more general about stopping them, not just on the streets, but also in various media, via various political campaigns, etc.
7. “No Pasaran” is an anti-fascist slogan first used in Spain’s Civil War, and means “they shall not pass.”
8. I give this poem three stars.
9. **64% of this version is me, 36% is the original.
10. Update 5/31/13 In the last verse, I changed "nazi" to "racial.

In the cities and towns the battle rages on
American people fighting for their land
Defeated the South and the Nazis
Gonna stop ‘em, stop the Ku Klux Klan

Chorus:
Smash! Smash! The KKK!
Smash! Smash! The KKK!
Smash! Smash! The KKK
Remember the victims of their bombs

Gotta change government policies and dry up their base
Gain economic justice for every race
The Klan, the unions will displace
And racism, it will be erased

(Repeat Chorus)

The KKK are are marching on our streets demanding a racial state
Are we gonna stop them or let them spread their hate?
Are we gonna let them blame immigrants when workers ask why?
“No Pasaran” is what we cry!

(Repeat Chorus)

Thursday, December 13, 2012

Pat Finucane and British Collusion With Loyalists

(I am NOT Bernadette Devlin-McAliskey NOR am I connected to her in any way. I discuss naming it after her in the "notes" post)

An official report into the murder of Belfast lawyer Pat Finucane was released Wednesday and was, for a while, towards the very top of the BBC’s main news page.

You can find a brief summary here, more background/summary here and a LOT more material here.

There is one thing I want to highlight from the BBC News story:
** Sir Desmond found that "in 1985 the security service assessed that 85% of the UDA's 'intelligence' originated from sources within the security forces". And he was "satisfied that this proportion would have remained largely unchanged" by the time of Mr Finucane's murder."**

(he was killed in 1989)

Lastly, I want to post here a statement from the Pat Finucane Center. You can also find it on their web-site here. (emphasis is in the original) (The rest of this post is their statement)

Pat Finucane Centre Press Release

12 December 2012

The British prime minister, David Cameron, has today described loyalist/ state collusion revealed in the de Silva review relating to the murder of solicitor Pat Finucane as "unbelievably ghastly".

The Pat Finucane Centre, however, believes those words would be better applied to the British government’s continuing refusal to establish a full, public, independent inquiry.

Cameron is pushing the line that there was no "over-arching" state conspiracy into Pat Finucane’s murder, yet:

1. The UDA, whose gunmen (including RUC agent Ken Barrett) murdered Pat, whose "intelligence" unit was headed by a British military agent (Brian Nelson) and whose "quarter-master" (Billy Stobie) provided the weapon used (stolen from a British Army barracks in Holywood, County Down) was a legal organisation at the time of the murder.

It took a further three years before the UDA was banned. The Pat Finucane Centre has uncovered documents[1] showing that, as far back as the early 1970’s, the UDA was viewed as a "release valve" for "Protestant extremists".

2.  In January 1992, the then Department of Public Prosecutions reached a deal (effectively a cover-up), allowing Nelson to plead guilty to five counts of conspiracy to murder. This prevented the courts examining his activities as a British military agent. Nelson was given a derisory ten year prison term.

3.  The man who acted as Nelson’s "handler" and who gave him a glowing character reference during the 1992 court hearing was Brigadier Gordon Kerr who became head of the Force Research Unit in 1987, two years before Pat Finucane’s murder.

In 1997 (eight years after Pat Finucane’s murder), Kerr was promoted and became Britain’s military attaché in Beijing, where he was awarded an OBE. He also holds the Queen’s Medal for Gallantry. Two weeks after he was identified in the Stevens Report into collusion in the murder of Pat Finucane, Tony Blair sent him to Iraq. He has never been charged with a single offence.

Pat Finucane was stalked by a British military agent who was then given effective immunity by the office of the DPP. The gun used to murder him was of British military origin. It was supplied by one RUC agent and fired by another RUC agent.

        Pat Finucane’s murder was authorised and carried out by state agents. What more evidence is needed before London grants the public inquiry demanded by the Finucane family?


[1] Photocopy of document retrieved from British National Archives available from our offices on request

Tuesday, July 10, 2012

Two New Poems: "Neutral No More" and "Brits Out II"

(I am NOT Bernadette Devlin-McAliskey NOR am I connected to her in any way. I discuss naming it after her in the "notes" post)

I usually wait till I have about four poems before I do a post of them, but the last couple days I have tried to alter two songs that I thought I'd really like altering, but I feel defeated just looking at the original. So I'm not sure when I will do more and I'd like to get these two published now.

For some info on how I "write" these poem, see this.

The rest of the songs/poems can be found by clicking on the "lyrics" label (there are at least four pages worth of posts, so click on the "older posts" at the bottom of the first page)

“Neutral No More” based on “Fools No More” by Skrewdriver Original lyrics are here.

1. This is about a large number (around 5,000) of men who were members of the Irish military in the years before World War II that deserted in order to fight with the Allies (to a very large degree, Ireland was neutral).When they came home after the war, they were black-listed and treated just the same as people who deserted for other reasons. Just in the last month or two has the Irish governemnt acknowledged the importance of their contribution to the defeat of the Axis Powers. There is more information here and here.
2. “They shall not pass” is an anti-fascist slogan first used (in Spanish) in Spain’s Civil War.
3. The “loyalist Red Hand” isn’t really a BRITISH thing, but is a symbol used by many-most people in the North of Ireland who support Britain’s presence.
4. Deporting Jews to the East was one of the last steps towards genocide.
5. **72% of this version is mine, 28% is the original.
6. I give this poem three stars out of five.
7. This poem is related to a post about Ireland, the IRA, and Nazi Germany.

Gloom in the trenches, fire in the sky
You wait for the signal, the order to die
You're scrambling forward, with fear in your eyes
Charging the enemy to tear down their lies
Obey all your orders, and you do what they say
You fight to stop fascism, you won’t go astray
And although the Allied leaders are not consistent
Defeating the fascist states is important

(chorus)
We’re neutral no more and they shall not pass
We’re going to help kick some Nazi ass

Millions of men are taking a stand
They fight the fascists for the good of their lands
The Brits have done horrible things in Ireland
But Hitler is a bigger threat than the loyalist Red Hand
Without exception the Nazis are scum
Who lie to their people since the 3rd Reich begun
They tell the Germans, the Jews must go East
And that just makes you even more displeased

(chorus)

War should be avoided, but not at any cost
If Germany wins, freedom is lost
While the Irish Army stay home to maintain neutrality
You fight to stop Nazi Germany’s brutality
They remained on the side-lines as Europe clashed
They were neutral as the Jews were gassed
And if you expect medals or a parade
You'll be lucky to get a job, lucky to get paid

****

“Brits Out II” based on “Muslims Out” by Kill, Baby Kill, original lyrics are here.

1. This set more or less anytime 1973-1997, but probably makes the most sense sometime in the late 1970s or the 1980s, whenever the British were building watchtowers in South Armagh (and a few others in county Fermanagh).
2. Estates are more or less neighborhoods in urban and suburban areas.
3.The Union is (in this context) the connection between N. Ireland and Great Britain.
4. Squaddies is a word for British soldiers.
5. I don’t know how theologically anti-Catholic the British Army is, but there’s at least a little bit of that and generally the BA in the North was certainly anti-Catholic. Also, I realize there are plenty of atheists and some protestants and some others in the nationalist community. Also, I'm pretty secular when it comes to politics.
6. The watchtowers were constructed where the security forces were very vulnerable to IRA attacks. Also, the thing is, british Nazis overwhelmingly supported the unionist and British causes in the North.
7. As far as them being very one-sided, some proof of that is found here, in the three paragraphs starting with the one that starts- “Looking at the 800...”
8. **61% of this version is me, 39% is the original.
9. I give this poem four stars out of five.

Fucking British battalions they come over here.
They try to keep us down, keep us down with fear.
They attack our estates, trying to control.
Maintaining the Union is their only goal.

Chorus:
Brits out! Brits out!
Hear the people scream, hear the people shout.
Brits out! Brits out!
Squaddies go home, no more pushing us about.

Their religion they think is superior to yours and mine
They disrespect our culture, and our language they malign
Watchtowers are rising on every hill,
Fascists always celebrating whenever they kill

They claim they’re peace-keepers and don’t take sides
But the brits are running the North, the Six-Counties are occupied.
When I think of what they’ve done here it makes me so pissed
We don’t like war, but we will resist

Friday, June 29, 2012

Rand Paul's hypocrisy

(I am NOT Bernadette Devlin-McAliskey NOR am I connected to her in any way. I discuss naming it after her in the "notes" post)

A few days ago there was an amazing editorial in the Washington Post. You should read it. Two things I would add:

1) Washington D.C. has a non-White majority.

and

2) When Paul's spokesperson says- “Efforts to change that have failed, and until it is changed it is not only the prerogative but the duty of Congress to have jurisdiction over the Federal District,” I think it's important to ask if Paul supports state-hood for D.C.

Tom

Tuesday, May 8, 2012

The KKK are Fools: Three more poems

**( I am NOT Bernadette Devlin-McAliskey NOR am I connected to her in any way. I discuss naming it after her in the "notes" post)

I have three more poems. for a description of how and why I do these poems, see this.

For the rest of the poems click on the "lyrics" label at the bottom (there are at least four pages worth of posts, so click on the "older posts" at the bottom of the first page).

“Join The IRA” based on, “Join The Klan” by The Klansmen, original lyrics are here.

1. The Klansmen was a project of Ian Stuart Donaldson, who was a supporter of the British and Unionist causes in N. Ireland.
2. Volunteers are members of republican paramilitaries.
3. This is about the Provisional IRA (in recent decades known simply as the IRA) and is basically set during the Troubles, prior to 1997, and probably AFTER the mid-1970s, since it includes a lot of socialist talk and I don’t think there was a socialist majority in the leadership of the PIRA until sometime around 1980. Something at least close to revolution was on their agenda after that point, as I describe here (some of that post makes more sense when talking about Sinn Fein in the last 10-20 years). (in general it seems safe to say that SF’s politics more or less mirrored those of a majority of IRA members). Also, there’s reason to believe that the armed struggle of republicans inspired other forms of resistance (the African National Congress said that about their armed struggle in S. Africa).
4. The BA is the British Army.
5. James Connolly was Ireland’s greatest republican/socialist. Michael Collins was a major leader of the IRA during the War of Independence and has been credited with developing urban guerrilla warfare. Che is Che Gueverra, who has been credited with developing rural guerrilla warfare.
6. “Óglaigh na hÉireann” is the official name of the IRA and means “Irish Volunteers.”
7. In the Irish-British context, orange is the color of anti-Catholic bigotry.
8. Geographically, N. Ireland could sort of be called the north-east of Ireland.
9. I give this poem two stars out of five.
10. **68% of this version is me, 32% is the original.
11. UPDATE 5/14/12 The "People" was basically just the nationalist population, but they were the ones being oppressed and were 1/3 of the population (I'm not saying that entire 1/3 was in support of the IRA, but there was something like 80% of that population that at least kind of supported the IRA, and to either a large or small degree there was mass struggle).
12. UPDATE 7/12/12 When I used the word "bourgeoisie" I somehow got the idea that it is often used to refer to the upper-Class. Even if we just define it as "Middle-Class," the fact is that middle-class people have more power in a capitalist state than working-class people do. It's not meant as a savage attack on the middle-class. (yes, I'm more or less (less) middle-class)

be a Volunteer, fight for what is right
Socialist revolution, we will ignite
Fighting for the day, when the BA’s gone away
In the tradition of Connolly, Collins, and Che

Óglaigh na hÉireann, the people's Army
Freeing the country from the Brits and bourgeoisie
The orange terror raised it's ugly head
With the Provos, resistance became widespread

The Irish flag is held up high
James Connolly’s spirit will never die
The People are rising in the north-east
In battle the IRA takes on the beast

*****

“No Surrender (to the KKK)” based on “No Surrender (to the IRA) by Strikeforce UK, original lyrics are here.

1. This is meant to be a celebration of non-violent resistance to the Ku Klux Klan.
2. The original is by a racist band.
3. Fighting the Klan would partly involve, directly and directly trying to change their minds.
4. The line about David Duke is, in the original (with Gerry Adams instead) a reference to death. But in this version, it would be either prison, and/or isolation and defeat as his followers leave him.
5. This version is **37% me, and 63% the original.
6. I give this poem four stars out of five.
7. I know Duke technically isn’t a Klansman.

No surrender!

No surrender to the KKK
Across the US, defeating them is our crusade
We stand by the multi-racial working-class
The Klan’s hate and division, workers will surpass

Chorus:
No surrender, no surrender, no surrender to the KKK
No surrender, no surrender, we’ll fight them every day
No surrender, no surrender, no surrender to the Ku Klux Klan
No surrender, no surrender, we’ll fight until they understand

Your terrorist attacks are going on still
And you don't give a fuck who you maim and kill
David Duke better wave bye bye
Cos the Ku Klux Klan’s defeat is nigh

Chorus

No surrender!

We will smash that racist scum
No time to lose cos the battle's begun
We're loyal to the working-class and we're gonna win
We will not back down and we'll never give in

Chorus

*****

“Orange Fools” based on “Reds Are Fools” by Kill, Baby, Kill. The original lyrics are here.

1. This is set pretty much in July 2002.
2. The original is by a Belgian band. I’m not sure, but since there is probably close to zero Irish diaspora in Belgium, they probably agree with the late Ian Stuart Donaldson and support the British and Unionist causes in N. Ireland.
3. Although the vast majority of republicans have, to some degree, put the push for a United Ireland on hold, I’m sure all of that vast majority agree that the GFA is kind of a stepping stone to their goal.
4. Some things that indicate a continuing inequality for Catholics (the first two indicators were worse in 2002):
A: In 2010 Catholics were 50% more likely to be unemployed than Protestants.
B: I discuss some recent figures relevant to reforming the police in N. Ireland in the first five or so paragraphs of this post.
C: In the year before July 2002, there had been three sectarian murders of Catholic civilians and one murder of a Protestant civilian socializing with Catholic friends, all by loyalist paramilitaries. (The Ulster Defense Association was blamed by pretty much everyone, but the British government said their cease-fire was intact)
D: During the Marching Season of 2002 at least three times Orange parades were forced through Catholic areas and there were at least three times when nationalists protesting this were attacked by the police and the Army. (For why those marches shouldn't be forced through catholic areas, see this)

5. The Union Jack is the British flag.
6. The Good Friday Agreement, when considering the context and related elements, such as the use or absence of internment, is better than the earlier efforts at creating peace. As far as the actual text of the Agreement, republicans got: Prisoner releases (which would have been at least sort of important for probably about 80% of the Nationalist community); a stronger committment to reforming the police; and in general their inclusion without prior decommissioning by the IRA. More of my thoughts relevant to the GFA are in the first 1/3 of this post.
7. The Orange Order is an anti-Catholic group. More on them here.
8. Besides being anti-Catholic to one degree or another, a lot of Unionists are also racist. There’s some more of that in the first 1/2 of this post (I also read an article by an African-American who visited the North and he said that in a Unionist area he saw lots of Confederate flags).
9. The UDA is a Unionist death squad that overwhelmingly just killed Catholic civilians.
10. Orange in the British-Irish context, is the color of anti-Catholic bigotry. That line is about the beginning of the Troubles.
11. The Short Strand is a Catholic enclave surrounded by Unionist areas (and a river to the west). For some number of weeks in early-mid 2002, it was under siege. Although I think this went too far, a senior member of the moderate Social Democratic and Labour Party compared what was happening to the Short Strand with what happened to Jews in the Warsaw Ghetto during World War II. That line doesn’t mean that the IRA should have gone back to war.
12. Overwhelmingly, the enemy in the N. Ireland conflict is/was not the “Nazi clowns”- that last 1/3 of that line is simply an anti-fascist statement.
13. **61% of this version is me, 39% is the original.
14. I give this poem four stars out of five.
15. UPDATE 2/9/13 In the third line of the third verse, I replaced THEY with MANY.

The struggle’s not over, we’ve got a long way to go.
We haven’t won our freedom yet, that's a fact that we all know.
There are still too many ways equality is denied,
but soon the truth will break free and unionism will die.

The Union Jack in Belfast is a symbol of oppression.
But after decades of resistance, we extracted some concessions
With bullshit propaganda the Orange Order kept people divided.
The unionist rich are to blame, for decades hate they incited

We’ll always fly the Irish flag, no matter what they try
Cause Unionists are bigots, Confederate flags they fly.
Many supported the UDA, a choice filled with hate
We’ll keep on working, till their bigotry we negate.

Orange Democracy was a lie, we had to go to war.
Now the Short Strand is under siege, a fact we can’t ignore.
Why are they still trying? They can’t keep us down.
Ireland belongs to the workers, the people, and not the Nazi clowns