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29 January 2009 Edition

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The Fifth Column

Year of the Rat

2008 was the Chinese Year of the Rat but look out in the coming days for DUP MP Willie McCrea giving evidence to the public inquiry into the assassination in Long Kesh of LVF leader Billy Wright in 1997.
The gospel-singing DUP evangelist was famously (or infamously) pictured sharing a platform with the unionist death squad leader nicknamed ‘King Rat’ when Wright was ordered to leave the North by his erstwhile comrades in the UVF.
The DUP man is expected to give evidence that he had been told of threats to both their lives.

Post-mortem probe

SOLICITORS are reported by the Sunday Life newspaper to be concerned about the health of a UFF death squad member “whose bragging sparked a major collusion probe”.
A judicial review has been granted about the psychiatric care in Maghaberry Prison of ex-UFF man Andrew Browne, jailed in 1992 for the murder of Loughlin McGinn.
Andrew Browne had also been a soldier in the British Army’s Ulster Defence Regiment. He had taken a video camera into Palace Barracks and filmed a wall of military intelligence photos of republican ‘suspects’ before handing the film over to the UFF.

In the frame

A PSNI officer has been reassigned during a probe about how photos of the post-mortem of slain south-east Antrim UDA leader John ‘Grugg’ Gregg came to be hawked around various newspapers last week.
Gregg, shot dead by Johnny Adair’s rival UDA gang in 2003, received an 18-year sentence for a murder bid on Sinn Féin leader Gerry Adams in 1984.

War criminals

I USED to be unstinting in my admiration for the Nazi hunters of the Simon Wiesenthal Centre, that is until they weighed in about Sinn Féin TD Aengus Ó Snodaigh’s comments about the apologists for the war criminals of the Israeli state’s onslaught on Gaza.
The Simon Wiesenthal Centre demanded the Taoiseach condemn Aengus’s comparison of the propaganda efforts of Fine Gael TD Alan Shatter and the Israeli Ambassador to those  employed  by the Nazi regime in denying the Holocaust.
The Simon Wiesenthal Centre hasn’t made a similar call about this statement from another parliamentarian.
“My grandmother was ill in bed when the Nazis came to her home town. A German soldier shot her dead in her bed.
“My grandmother did not die to provide cover for Israeli soldiers murdering Palestinian grandmothers in Gaza.
“The current Israeli government ruthlessly and cynically exploit the continuing guilt among gentiles over the slaughter of Jews in the Holocaust as justification for their murder of Palestinians.
“On Sky News a few days ago, the spokeswoman for the Israeli army, Major Leibovich, was asked about the Israeli killing of, at that time, 800 Palestinians. The total is now 1,000.
“She replied instantly that ‘500 of them were militants’. That was the reply of a Nazi. I suppose the Jews fighting for their lives in the Warsaw ghetto could have been dismissed as militants.”
Let’s run one of the lines again: “That was the reply of a Nazi.”
The speaker was British Labour MP Sir Gerald Kaufman, Westminster’s best-known Jewish Member of Parliament and a former government minister. The Simon Wiesenthal Centre has not called on Gordon Brown to condemn Sir Gerald.

Border line

DUBLIN Lord Mayor Eibhlín Byrne (Fianna Fáil) is insisting that her call for shoppers not to spend their money in the North is not partitionist.
“I feel that is wrong for Martin McGuinness to equate my expression of what is good for my own constituents with evil and partitionism.”
I’m not sure if Martin said it was evil, Eibhlín, but it sure was partitionist. I didn’t hear you asking people not to shop in Cork or Galway – just not to shop across the border.
By the way, doesn’t your ‘Fianna Fáil – The Republican Party’ still think the Six Counties are part of Ireland?

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