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2 September 2004 Edition

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The 5th Column

Eton rifles

MRS THATCHER, the Wicked Witch of Westminster, was always a big fan of supergrasses when they were used in Ireland, so no doubt she will be sanguine at seeing her dim-witted son, Sir Mark Thatcher, in the dock for an African coup plot straight out of the pages of a Frederick Forsyth novel.

The hapless Sir Mark, who somehow managed to get a Texan oil millionaire's daughter to marry him, has been named as one of the godfathers behind a right-wing mercenary adventure in Africa. The plot aimed to overthrow the repressive, dictatorial regime of Equatorial Guinea (oh... and seize the country's rich resources for fat-cat Tory businessmen and their hired guns).

The criminal enterprise started to unravel with the arrest in Equatorial Guinea and Zimbabwe of mercenary leaders Nick Du Toit, an Apartheid-era South African former special forces soldier, and Simon Mann, an English public school chum of Thatcher (ex-Harrow), but from Eton. Mann, the son of a former captain of the England cricket team, served as an officer in the British SAS in the Six Counties and the Scots Guards until 1981.

Thatcher Minor is infamous for hitting the headlines for the collapse of Mark Thatcher Racing Cars, getting lost in the Sahara Desert during the 1982 Paris-Dakar rally, dodgy deals trading on his mammy's name in the Middle East, and having a spot of 'business trouble' in Texas. Now the gormless godfather has been linked to a network of arms dealers, mercenaries and right-wing English public school playboys of the Western world.

Among those named in the plot are the equally hapless but wealthy Old Etonian, Lord Jeffrey Archer, and the seriously sinister David Hart, another Old Etonian and the hard-right mastermind and scab organiser behind the Thatcherite drive to break the British Miners' Strike in the 1980s.

Just imagine trying to get character witnesses for that lot!

Codename: Scratcher

IN A DISTRESS message to his wife from his prison cell on 31 March, Simon Mann wrote:

"Our situation is not good and it is very URGENT. They [the lawyers] get no reply from Smelly and Scratcher [who] asked them to ring back after the Grand Prix is over! This is not going well. I must say once again: what will get us out is MAJOR CLOUT. We need heavy influence of the sort ... Smelly, Scratcher... David Hart, and it needs to be used heavily and now. Once we get into a real trial scenario, we are fucked."

South African colleagues of Mann have confirmed to the Independent newspaper in London that Scratcher is Mark Thatcher.

Mark Thatcher: My struggle

SCRATCHER once defended his dreadful mother's total opposition to sanctions against the Apartheid regime in South Africa by remarking:

"My sympathy is with the struggling white community."

Acquaintances describe Mark Thatcher as insecure, paranoid and neurotic, which probably explains his affinity with white racists.

Threat to coup member

MARK'S MAMMY was a big fan of the hang 'n' flog 'em brigade when it came to law and order, but the none-too-tender touch of the tyrannical ruler of Equatorial Guinea would make even Mammy Thatcher's eyes water.

President Teodoro Obiang is reputed to eat the testicles of his enemies.

The obnoxious Obiang wants to get his hands on the person of Mark Thatcher. He has asked South Africa for his extradition.

Will we now see the start of a Tory campaign against extradition for people accused of political offences? Or will we see Mark's Wild Geese cooked?

Movie Mann

SIMON MANN'S face may ring a bell with Irish people who didn't meet him in his SAS capacity in the Six Counties. Mann was a movie star in the 2002 film, Bloody Sunday.

Mann played Colonel Derek Wilford, one of the commanders during the Parachute Regiment massacre of civil rights marchers.

His real-life British Army career officially ended in 1981 but he was held in such high regard by Whitehall that he was recalled to the British Army to work as the right-hand man for Britain's Gulf War commander, General Sir Peter de la Billiére, another old SAS hand.

Confused state

AT COMBER, County Down, at the weekend, the Sovereign Grand Master of the Royal Black Preceptory, William Logan, accused the Parades Commission of encouraging a "state of apartheid".

Not like the RBP and other loyal orders that made up the backbone of the Six-County, racist throughout its life as a "Protestant state for a Protestant people", eh?

Sock it to 'em

UNACCUSTOMED as some of us are to hailing sporting achievements that bolster the imperialist arrogance of the self-styled 'Great Britain', the Olympic success of the 17-year-old boxing sensation, Amir Khan, is something different.

Bolton's new favourite son earned an Olympic silver medal on Sunday in a gallant fight against the superior Mario Kindelan, the retiring champion, who won gold for Cuba. But Bolton's boxing prodigy is unashamedly Asian - British, but Asian.

Strangely, TV cameras were all over the pubs in Bolton on Sunday, but none ventured into the bar frequented by Johnny Adair's exiled UFF 'C' Company allies to capture their delight at another triumph for their beloved Great Britain by a son of Pakistan.

Cop that

PSNI CHIEF Constable Hugh Orde has said that he would be willing to work with a Sinn Féin Justice Minister in the Six Counties. He might not like it, but he'd do it.

Orde told RTÉ that he would be obliged to work with whoever was appointed to the portfolio: "That's what policing in a democracy is."

And what about his officers, even the ones from the RUC? What if they didn't like it?

"Whether I like it or not is absolutely irrelevant. Whether my officers like it or not is irrelevant."

And whether 26-County Justice Minister Michael McDowell likes it or not is irrelevant.

Marathon man

FINE GAEL MEP Gay Mitchell has called for the passport of defrocked priest Neil Horan to be seized because of his disruption of the Olympic Games marathon.

The Blueshirts' spokesperson on international affairs is upset by the bizarre antics of Horan in his leprechaun outfit, a man who is obviously unwell, but isn't stopping him from travelling going too far (even if he does live in England)?

If we were to take the passports off everyone who is an embarrassment to Ireland, half the Fine Gael Parliamentary Party would never be let out of the country.

An Phoblacht
44 Parnell Sq.
Dublin 1

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