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19 January 2006 Edition

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Fifth Column

Onward, Christian soldiers

DUP leader Ian Paisley was belting it out in the Bible Belt of Tennessee last week.

Big Daddy donned his dog collar to preach to the folk in Davy Crockett Country.

The Free Presbyterian rabble rouser exhorted 1,000 poor souls at the Temple Baptist Church in Knoxville to become "more militant" about their beliefs. It wasn't clear, though, if he meant they should form Christian fundamentalist paramilitary groups like the Ulster Protestant Volunteers (leader, one Ian Paisley), the Third Force (leader, the same Ian Paisley) or Ulster Resistance (leader, Ian Paisley yet again).

We now call on all the faithful gathered here to join with the reverend doctor in hymn number 1690: "There's an Ulster Resistance uniform that's hanging in what's known as Paisley's room."

Jail wing and a prayer

The DUP leader -- who doesn't want any "militant" republicans in government — told his congregation that he has taken "an uncompromising stand on my convictions" (and he has a few).

"I'm just a plain jailbird," the Reverend Paisley confessed, before adding ominously, "out of jail for the time being".

For the time being? What on earth does he mean?

Grim determination

Temple Baptist Pastor Dr Clarence Sexton was thrilled with his DUP guest.

"He does not compromise," Clarence announced proudly.

"His determination to keep Northern Ireland as part of the UK is what has caused the conflict through the years."

Amen to that.

The Bullshitter from Ballinamore

The criminal reporting of Sunday World hack Paul Williams, aka the Bullshitter from Ballinamore, was up to its usual standards of accuracy when he appeared on RTÉ TV's Chain Reaction on Sunday.

Talking about how the notorious Dublin gangland boss dubbed 'The General', Martin Cahill, tried to fence the paintings stolen in the 1986 Beit art robbery from Russborough House through unionist paramilitaries, Williams casually attributed the loyalist link to "the UVF/LVF".

The Beit art robbery was in 1986.

Martin Cahill was executed by the IRA in 1994

The LVF wasn't founded until 1996.

Paul Williams got it wrong — again.

Criminal journalism - Part 2

British Army buff Kevin Myers must have been writing the TV previews in Saturday's Irish Times Magazine.

TG4's Meirligh programme on Saturday night was a profile of General Liam Ó Loinsigh. Liam joined the Irish Volunteers in County Cork in 1914, rose to become Chief of Staff of the IRA, and led the republican forces during the Civil War.

The Irish Times description of Meirligh reads:

"Documentary series about criminals on the run. A profile of Liam Ó Loinsigh..."

On the run

TG4's own preview naturally differs from the Irish Times's perspective, reporting:

"Liam Ó Loingsigh spent much of his life trying to avoid forces in this country..."

Which is probably why the Irish Times considers him to be a "criminal on the run".

No defence

TG4 continues:

"He was in charge of raids, kidnapping and prominent attacks against the English Army in this country during the War of Independence.

"He was a chief director of Óglaigh na hÉireann during the bloodiest chapter in the Irish history, The Civil War."

The Irish Times translates this as:

"A profile of Liam Ó Loinsigh who led the Irish Defence Forces in raids against the English Army during the civil war in Ireland..."

The Irish Civil War was fought between pro and anti-Treaty forces- both of them Irish. And "the Defence Forces"? Liam Ó Loinsigh was actually fatally wounded while trying to escape from the Free State Army, later to become known as the Defence Forces.

The wit of Banks

Tony Banks, Britain's former Sports Minister has died at the age of 62 after suffering a stroke while on holiday in the United States.

The Chelsea-supporting former Labour MP for West Ham, latterly Lord Stratford, was hailed by the British media for his chirpy, Cockney chappie persona and his "quick wit and sharp tongue". There was even a book published of The Wit and Wisdom of Tony Banks.

A former left-wing colleague of Ken Livingstone during the days of the Greater London Council, Banks once described Margaret Thatcher as having "the sensitivity of a sex-starved boa-constrictor".

Thatcher — The Musical

As if we haven't lived through enough musical nightmares such as Pop Idol, Tony Banks will probably turn in his grave at the news last week that February will see the start of a musical based on the life of Margaret Thatcher.

The production by the Foursight Theatre details the life of the Iron Lady herself, showing the progression from grocer's daughter to most powerful woman in Britain.

Described as "a light satire", Naomi Cooke, director of the all-women's theatre troupe, says:

"It neither denigrates nor glorifies her. It is an examination of who she was and how she changed the political landscape. This is not agit-prop theatre."

The show's songs include such gems as The Cabinet Shuffle, The Tory Blues and The Grocer's Daughter.

Foursight specialises in biographical theatre about women, but in the past has gone for people who are dead, like Hitler's mistress, Eva Braun.

Cold Turkey

Helping the Turkish Army could get you arrested — by the Turkish Army.

In July of last year, a Turkish soldier, Coskun Kirandi, was kidnapped by the PKK, the Kurdish guerrilla movement. Responding to public demands to save poor Coskun, a peace committee made up of human rights activists, journalists and local politicians managed to get him released, unharmed, three weeks later.

The soldier appeared on TV to describe his time in captivity and said that he had been well treated by his Kurdish captors. So now the Turkish Government has charged the peace activists with "making propaganda for a terrorist organisation"!

Their trial is scheduled for 3 March, when each of them faces up to five years in prison. Maybe they'll be out before Turkey's EU membership is in.

An Phoblacht Magazine

AN PHOBLACHT MAGAZINE:

  • The first edition of this new magazine will feature a 10 page special on the life and legacy of our leader Martin McGuinness to mark the first anniversary of his untimely passing.
  • It will include a personal reminiscence by Gerry Adams and contributions from the McGuinness family.
  • There will also be an exclusive interview with our new Uachtarán Mary Lou McDonald.

Buy An Phoblacht magazine here

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