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2 August 2007 Edition

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Fifth Column

Free Derry in the pink

Derry’s famous Free Derry Wall has gone pink to celebrate the Maiden City’s first Gay Pride Festival for five years.
The wall is being painted pink in solidarity with people from the LGBT community for the occasion of the festival and will revert back to its traditional white afterwards.
David McCartney of the Rainbow Project said:
“It’s particularly relevant because the theme of this year’s Pride is human rights, civil rights and political rights. To marry the wall with our theme is perfect.
“This sends out a very solid message to the gay community: we are welcome here, Derry has changed.”

Paras thrown out

While the British Army’s General Sir Michael Jackson is this week white-washing his troops’ history at the end of Operation Banner, including the Parachute Regiment massacre of civil rights marchers in Derry on Bloody Sunday, three Paras have been thrown out of the regiment even though they haven’t committed a crime, let alone shot an unarmed civilian dead.
Their dismissal follows a police investigation into claims that a soldier at the Army School of Infantry at Catterick Garrison in Yorkshire was sexually assaulted by ‘comrades’ who filmed the attack on a mobile phone. The police were called in after a complaint from the family of a recruit at the base.
The incident has now been described as a drunken prank because the victim refuses to file an official complaint (and effectively end his chosen career). Five other Paras are also facing internal disciplinary procedures.
The Ministry of Defence said:
“While no crime has been committed, there are individuals who have fallen well short of the values and standards expected within a training establishment and the army in general.
“The army takes incidents of this kind very seriously. The sanctions available include termination of service, reduction in rank, expression of displeasure, letter of censure, removal from appointment, dismissal or retirement.”
Unless, of course, you shoot an unarmed Irish civilian. Then you get an OBE from the queen of England or promotion to be a trainer at Catterick.

Republican guns in fund raising

Republicans are running a fund-raiser using military weapons. But before Paul Williams over at the Sunday World starts having the knee trembles at the thought of exposing tons of Chucky testosterone, we’re talking about George Bush’s Republicans.
The New Hampshire neo-cons are wheeling out the big guns for their Republican Party ‘Machine Gun Shoot’. For $25 (€18), your average American Guy can trot along and blatter away with a whole host of hardware, including military rifles and Uzi sub-machine guns.
Jerry Thibodeau, one of the organizers, dismissed complaints, saying:
“It’s a fun day. It’s a family day.”
Now there’s conservative family values.

Plane stupid

The British Airports Authority (BAA) plans to stymie environmental protests against further expansion of Heathrow Airport – already the world’s busiest international airport  with a bid this week to give police the powers to arrest campaigners even if they’re miles and miles away in central London, waiting for a train, on a tube train, or on the M4 motorway on the way to Heathrow.
The London Independent reports:
“Anyone failing to give 24 hours’ notice of a protest could be arrested for travelling on sections of the motorway or from standing on Platforms 6 and 7 at Paddington Rail Station to catch the Heathrow Express.”
The terms of BAA’s injunction (being heard on Wednesday in the High Court in London as we go to press) would cover:
“All railway trains and carriages operating upon the Piccadilly line of the London Underground system; the M4 and all service stations between and including Junctions 3 and 6; and the M25 and all service stations between and including Junctions 13 and 15...”
The direct action group, Plane Stupid, is among BAA’s targets along with 14 other organisations the fly-boys want declared subversive. One of them is Airport Watch, which includes decidedly unrevolutionary bodies such as the National Trust, the Woodland Trust, and the Royal Society for the Protection of Birds.
Though come to think of it, one of the most prominent members of the RSPB does command a very large group skilled in the ways of international terrorism.
Mrs Elizabeth Saxe-Coburg-Gotha (the self-styled Elizabeth Windsor, aka HM the Queen) is a respected member of the RSPB and head of outfits accused of war crimes such as the SAS and the Parachute Regiment. Despite this, we don’t expect the Anti-Terrorist Squad to be kicking Liz’s door in any time soon and Prince Philip dragged off to Guantanamo Bay. We can dream though.

Unjust desserts

The police at Heathrow are already showing zero tolerance for those muesli-munching, wellie-wearing pansies on pushbikes intent on undermining the airport.
On Sunday, 8 July, two local activists from the Plane Stupid campaign group were ambushed by police as they rode along a cycle path close to Heathrow. One of them was found to be armed with a cycle map and a recipe for avocado ice cream.
They were arrested under the Terrorism Act and held for 30 hours before being bailed on charges of “conspiracy to cause a public nuisance”  with loud slurping noises eating the ice cream, no doubt.

Hard Knox

The Reverend Ian Hall, minister of the John Knox Memorial Free Presbyterian Church on the Shankill Road, is not showing any Christian charity towards the Church of Ireland Archbishop of Dublin. Dr John Neill is concerned about the ‘Love Ulster 2’ parade heading for Dublin sometime soon provoking another riot.
Dr Neill told Hot Press magazine:
“I really feel that a Love Ulster campaign down in Dublin is asking for trouble.
“I am very unconvinced that it should take place because it brings out the worst sort of reaction.”
In his online Protestant Gazette – under the hardline headline ‘Protestant’ archbishop blasts Protestant parade – brother Knox roars:
“This ecclesiastical charlatan ignores the reality that it was Romanist republican thugs, intent on mayhem, who were exclusively responsible for last year’s trouble.”
Brotherly love, what about ye?

War News

The editor of Saoirse, the newspaper of the micro-group ridiculed by some (not by us, we hasten to add) as ‘Dad’s Army’, had some hot news in its July issue to report from the frontline in a letter from one its Volunteers:
“A chara,
“A lone protestor shouted pro-republican slogans at the assembled Free State politicians and their supporters (14 June) outside Leinster House.
“The member of RSF mingled with the crowd and tight security before shouting ‘Free Staters – Irish traitors’ and ‘Our day will come’ before making good his escape towards Stephen’s Green.”
Phew! Who said the war is over?

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