Monday, August 30, 2010



Please join us in this FLY THE FLAG campaign and PLEASE forward this Email immediately to everyone in your address book asking them to also forward it.

If you forward this email to least 11 people and each of those people do the same ... you get the idea.


On Saturday, September 11th, 2010, an American flag should be displayed outside every home, apartment, office, and store in the United States . Every individual should make it their duty to display an American flag on this ninth anniversary of one our country's worst tragedies. We do this honor of those who lost their lives on 9/11, their families, friends and loved ones who continue to endure the pain, and those who today are fighting at home and abroad to preserve our cherished freedoms.

In the days, weeks and months following 9/11, our country was bathed in American flags as citizens mourned the incredible losses and stood shoulder-to-shoulder against terrorism. Sadly, those flags have all but disappeared. Our patriotism pulled us through some tough times and it shouldn't take another attack to galvanize us in solidarity. Our American flag is the fabric of our country and together we can prevail over terrorism of all kinds.

Action Plan:

So, here's what we need you to do ...

(1) Forward this email to everyone you know (at least 11 people). Please don't be the one to break this chain. Take a moment to think back to how you felt on 9/11 and let those sentiments guide you.

(2) Fly an American flag of any size on 9/11. Honestly, Americans should fly the flag year-round, but if you don't, then at least make it a priority on this day.

Thank you for your participation.

God Bless You and God Bless America !!!

Thursday, August 26, 2010

Why the State and church feared acting against priest

Why the State and church feared acting against priest

Fears over a huge escalation of sectarian warfare ensured that the authorities chose not to take any action against Father James Chesney, writes Malachi O’Doherty

Tuesday, 24 August 2010

When Secretary of State William Whitelaw met Cardinal Conway to discuss James Chesney, the bomber priest, an appalling prospect loomed before them.

It was that the public disclosure that a Catholic priest was an IRA bomber would confirm the prejudices of loyalism against the Catholic Church and make all priests legitimate targets.

Chesney was a nasty piece of work, in the view of both the police and the church. He had directed the bombing of the village of Claudy on the day of Operation Motorman, when the Army moved against the no go areas. He had killed nine people, three of them children. And he had shown himself up as an incompetent.

He had not, presumably, wanted to kill children, but the bombers looked around after they'd left the bomb to find a working phone to make a warning call. They couldn't find one because the IRA had bombed the exchange the day before.

Neither police, nor government, nor the Catholic Church was ready for radical action against Chesney.

The police asked the NIO to talk to the cardinal, and Cardinal Conway transferred Chesney to a parish in Donegal, where he might continue to lead the faithful in prayer and administer the sacraments to them.

It was the only solution any of them had the stomach for in those dangerous times, though the Chief Constable, Graham Shillington, aired the view that it would have been better if Chesney had been sent to Tipperary. Donegal was hardly out of range of the IRA command structure.

The potential that they all had reason to fear was of a massive escalation of sectarian warfare, triggered by the disclosure that a priest was a suspected IRA killer, and this at just the moment when it seemed as if the mayhem was coming under control and political negotiations were starting.

This fear may never have been realised, of course. Loyalists often talked as if they believed that the Catholic Church was their enemy but they did not conduct their backlash against the Catholic community primarily on that premise.

Some priests had been killed, but not by loyalist paramilitaries. Two were shot by the Army, by soldiers who perhaps had no idea that their targets were clergymen.

But loyalist rhetoric said that the church was the enemy and Chesney might have appeared to many as embodied proof of that.

Rev Martin Smyth, later a Grand Master of the Orange Order, is reported as having told an Ulster Vanguard rally in spring

of 1972, that all the Troubles would come to an end if the Bishop of Rome, the Pope, would put his house in order. An absurd notion.

And the greatest champion of the idea that the Catholic Church was conspiring to absorb Ulster into a Catholic Ireland was the firebrand preacher Ian Paisley, later to be our First Minister.

There have been reports and rumours of other priests aligning themselves with the IRA.

The novelist Brian Moore painted a plausible picture of an unctuous Provo priest in Lies Of Silence.

Sean O Callaghan, the police agent inside the IRA, wrote of meeting a priest who helped IRA operations in the North, and there was a widely believed understanding that IRA activists in the early days, when terrorist leaders were religious men and women, would receive confession and communion before going to shoot people.

There have been priest activists and agitators and rumours of other real Provo priests, but the tricky line that campaigning priests like Des Wilson, Raymond Murray and Denis Faul trod was in opposing the methods of the state without endorsing the IRA.

Fr Wilson pointedly repeatedly refused to condemn the IRA, while criticising the actions of the Army and blaming the state for creating circumstances in which people would understandably express their wrath with violence.

Raymond Murray, when in Armagh, was a campaigner against the SAS and had documented, along with Denis Faul, numerous cases of attacks on republicans.

Denis Faul himself was a long-time campaigner for prisoners and argued the eccentric case that easing life for those inside would reduce tension on the streets. He fell out with the Provisionals over the hunger strikes campaign, which he believed was prolonged for Sinn Fein political advantage.

None has been the headache than James Chesney was. It is now clear that the police, the Secretary of State and the Catholic Church authorities believed that he was, in Cardinal Conway's words, “a very bad man”.

The compromise that the Cardinal and William Whitelaw reached was that Chesney be posted to Donegal. This is the same strategy the church used until recently in removing the embarrassment of a priest caught sexually violating children.

The outstanding injustice is that Chesney was never charged, Claudy victims were denied truth and Chesney himself never given a chance to clear his name.

But what is almost grisly too contemplate is that this man, whom the Cardinal accepted was a mass murderer, a slayer of little ones, was sent to a Donegal parish to hear children’s confessions and mediate God's forgiveness to them for their own peccadilloes.

The Ombudsman indicts the RUC of collusion in seeking to address the Chesney problem through the Government and the church rather than arresting him.

One of the shocking findings of the report is that it was the police themselves who initiated the process by which this suspect was transferred across the border.

The Ombudsman gets the point that there might have been serious consequences after the arrest of a priest. He doesn't spell them out.

The first is probably that the loyalists would have turned on the Catholic Church.

Another is that a campaign might have rallied around Chesney, seeking to portray him as an innocent victim of an anti-Catholic state.

Whitelaw would have worried that, just having taken over from Stormont to rule Northern Ireland in a conspicuously non-sectarian fashion, he would have been branded as having failed to curtail bigotry in the RUC.

And with the SDLP being gently coaxed towards talks at Darlington and Sunningdale, Whitelaw may have feared that the arrest of a priest would have raised a popular issue that would have mobilized opinion against its participation, especially if Chesney had been interned, an option at the time.

The RUC, of course, may have judged that interning Chesney or charging him and then seeing him acquitted would have done worse damage than merely ushering him away.

They may even have been just at the end of their tether in the face of the charge that they were a sectarian force and lost all hope of being able to pursue a case like this and be trusted to be acting from good motives.

They hadn't the credibility in the Catholic community to carry it off; it is probably as simple as that.


I think that it has been fairly well established that collusion did, indeed, take place between the “security forces” and certain loyalist paramilitary organizations during the armed conflict in Ireland. However, is it not true that collusion is collusion no matter who the colluding parties might be? Why then is the silence so deafening now from the groups that usually seize any opportunity to speak out loud and clear on the issue of collusion?

Thursday, August 19, 2010

There are some things money can't buy. For everything else, there's...

There are some things money can't buy. For everything else, there's...

Irish embassy staff are living it large and running up massive bills on everything from lavish meals in top restaurants to furniture from upmarket stores. Ken Foxe, Public Affairs Correspondent, finds out how ambassadors are spoiling themselves, at our expense

They are our representatives abroad and have the privilege of working in some of the most desirable cities in the world. Now it seems that our ambassadors and embassy staff have learned a trick or two from their political bosses when it comes to the expenses system.

Hundreds of thousands of euro have been charged to government-issued credit cards by our men in Havana, and elsewhere.

Meals costing over €2,000, NBA basketball tickets, wine at off-licences, home furnishings, pictures and congestion charges were all paid for by credit cards, with the bill inevitably picked up by the taxpayer.

The credit cards were held at a selection of embassies abroad including Brussels, London, the Hague, Chicago, New York and Paris.

The largest bills were run up at the embassy in Chicago, where the cost of official entertainment frequently ran to several thousand dollars a month.

In February 2007, a credit-card statement listed a $690 (€530) transaction for tickets to see the Chicago Bulls basketball team in action.

A month later, embassy officials travelled to Texas for St Patrick's Day, where one dinner at the CafĂ© Annie cost $767 (€590).

Several of the most exclusive restaurants in Chicago saw plenty of business coming from the Irish government.

One restaurant, the Greek Islands, was visited month after month, with one meal there in August 2007 costing $837 (€643).

On another occasion, diplomats chowed down at Rosebud Prime Steaks in Chicago and ran up a bill of $1,398 (€1,075).

St Patrick's Day routinely witnessed massive expenditure, with the festivities of 2008 resulting in a $6,290 (€4,837) bill from the Westin Michigan Hotel.

Another frequent addition to the credit-card bill was Binny's Beverage Depot, an upmarket Chicago off-licence, where the bill in June 2008 was $1,876 (€1,443).

October of that year also proved costly, with a $5,018 (€3,860) bill charged to the card, which included a $2,485 (€1,911) tab at Antoine's Restaurant in New Orleans.

Also charged to a separate card that month was the purchase of a sofa for $1,600 (€1,230).

Two days in Houston in November 2008 came with a price tag of more than $4,000 (€3,076), which included a $2,064 (€1,587) bill at the swish Pesces restaurant.

Bills of more than £13,000 (€15,000) a month were run up at the embassy in London where £10,124.20 (€12,228) was spent at the Radisson Hotel in Liverpool for a suite of rooms in June 2008.

Monthly transactions, listed only as "The Labour Party" and "", were also charged on a monthly basis at £272 (€328) each.

The card was also used for the upkeep of embassy cars with £1,063 (€1,283) charged at BMW Battersea, £309 (€373) at Kwikfit the following month, and £1,696 (€2,048) on the city's congestion charge.

A stereo or other sound equipment was also charged to the taxpayer at a cost of £975 (€1,777) and purchased from Bose Samsung in the centre of London.

Significant home furnishing bills were run up at the embassy in New York, where in September 2007 almost $7,000 (€5,383) was spent at two major retailers.

Bills of $1,530 (€1,176) and $2,409 (€1,852) were charged at Bloomingdales while two more transactions of $1,552 (€1,193) and $1,259 (€968) were made at exclusive interior design store Scully & Scully on Park Avenue.

The following month, another $2,205 (€1,695) was charged at Scully & Scully for "residence furniture" with another $2,487 (€1,912) spent the next month on "kitchen goods".

The home-improvement bills did not end there and the following May another $1,500 (€1,153) was spent at Gracious Home New York.

In September 2008, one of the largest charges of all was made for $5,380 (€4,137) at Polo New York, the famous clothing store.

A year later, the embassy spent close to $9,000 (€6,921) in a single month, with $6,000 (€4,614) paid out to, a computer firm, and another $2,991 (€2,300) paid to

In Paris, details of payments for 2009 have only been made available, with €10,673 spent, more than half of which went on home furnishings.

At the Irish embassy in Ottawa, Canada, significant bills were also accrued, with around CA$1,500 (€1,107) spent at the Fairmont Royal York Hotel in Toronto in May 2007 and another CA$620 (€457) spent at the "flag shop" in Ottawa.

The embassy also paid for two hotel stays in Jamaica.

The first charge was made on 20 December for CA$780 (€575) at the Jamaica Pegasus Hotel with another CA$778 (€574) paid out on 9 January. A further charge of CA$136 (€100) was made at the Cable Beach Resort in the Bahamas on 22 January.

A sum of almost CA$30,000 (€22,000) was spent on furnishing the new ambassadorial residence in November and December of last year, with CA$2,737 (€2,020) spent at Sears and a further CA$7,989 at Jordash, a kitchen supplier.

Embassy staff kept in shape at the Fitness Depot in Ottawa, spending CA$3,082 (€2,275) on membership fees.

The cards at the Embassy and Permanent Representation in Brussels were frequently used to purchase flights back and forth to Dublin, as well as rail tickets, including a €645 trip on the Eurostar through the Channel Tunnel to London.

Significant fuel bills of up to €600 a month kept the embassy limousine on the road with regular car-wash costs of €252 also billed to the taxpayer.

The card was also used for the purchase of flowers in Ireland and in Belgium at a cost of €107.95.

Other more significant items of expenditure were also charged, with a €2,263 bill from an electronic appliance store in Brussels.

One of the smallest bills was on the official card in Berlin, where two transactions at Ikea were logged costing €758.80 and €358 each. Another charge of €103 at a pharmacy was also billed to the official account.

A statement said: "The Department of Foreign Affairs operates a restrictive policy for the use of corporate credit cards for official expenditure.

"The use of credit cards in making payments is subject to the same authorization and control procedures as other forms of payment.

"While the credit card companies require that the accounts be operated by named authorized signatories, it must be stressed that they are used exclusively for official, rather than personal use."


These abuses of the public trust are nothing short of obscene! In a recent article featured in this blog I highlighted similar abuses by former Taoiseach Bertie Ahern and his predecessors in that office. I thought at the time that, regardless of having held that esteemed office, they were afforded privileges far beyond what they should receive in retirement. This article proves that those in public office and, indeed, many others in government positions in Ireland are truly “a privileged class”. We read each day in the Irish papers of the deplorable state of the economy there following the collapse of the Celtic Tiger and yet these abuses continue unabated while Irish taxpayers and their families are expected to shoulder the burden of their excesses. Have they no shame?

Jack Meehan, Past National President

Ancient Order of Hibernians in America

Thursday, August 12, 2010



As I came out of the supermarket that sunny day, pushing my cart of groceries towards my car, I saw an old man with the hood of his car up and a lady sitting inside the car, with the door open.

The old man was looking at the engine. I put my groceries away in my car and continued to watch the old gentleman from about twenty five feet away..

I saw a young man in his early twenties with a grocery bag in his arm, walking towards the old man. The old gentleman saw him coming too and took a few steps towards him.

I saw the old gentleman point to his open hood and say something. The young man put his grocery bag into what looked like a brand new Cadillac Escalade and then turn back to the old man and I heard him yell at the old gentleman saying,

'You shouldn't even be allowed to drive a car at your age.' And then with a wave of his hand, he got in his car and peeled rubber out of the parking lot.

I saw the old gentleman pull out his handkerchief and mop his brow as he went back to his car and again looked at the engine.

He then went to his wife and spoke with her and appeared to tell her it would be okay. I had seen enough and I approached the old man. He saw me coming and stood straight and as I got near him I said, 'Looks like you're having a problem.'

He smiled sheepishly and quietly nodded his head. I looked under the hood myself and knew that whatever the problem was, it was beyond me. Looking around I saw a gas station up the road and told the old man that I would be right back... I drove to the station and went inside and

saw three attendants working on cars. I approached one of them and related the problem the old man had with his car and offered to pay them if they could follow me back down and help him.

The old man had pushed the heavy car under the shade of a tree and appeared to be comforting his wife. When he saw us he straightened up and thanked me for my help. As the mechanics diagnosed the problem (overheated engine) I spoke with the old gentleman.

When I shook hands with him earlier, he had noticed my Marine Corps ring and had commented about it, telling me that he had been a Marine too. I nodded and asked the usual question, 'What outfit did you serve with?'

He had mentioned that he served with the first Marine Division at Tarawa, Saipan, Iwo Jima and Guadalcanal ...

He had hit all the big ones and retired from the Corps after the war was over. As we talked we heard the car engine come on and saw the mechanics lower the hood. They came over to us as the old man reached in his wallet, but was stopped by me and I told him I would just put the bill on my AAA card.

He still reached for the wallet and handed me a card that I assumed had his name and address on it and I stuck it in my pocket.. We all shook hands all around again and I said my goodbye's to his wife.

I then told the two mechanics that I would follow them back up to the station. Once at the station I told them that they had

interrupted their own jobs to come along with me and help the old man. I said I wanted to pay for the help, but they refused to charge me

One of them pulled out a card from his pocket looking exactly like the card the old man had given to me. Both of the men told me then,that they were Marine Corps Reserves. Once again we shook hands all around and as I was leaving, one of them told me I should look at the card

the old man had given to me. I said I would and drove off.

For some reason I had gone about two blocks when I pulled over and took the card out of my pocket and looked at it for a long, long time. The name of the old gentleman was on the card in golden leaf and under his name.........

'Congressional Medal of Honor Society.'

I sat there motionless looking at the card and reading it over and over. I looked up from the card and smiled to no one but myself and marveled that on this day, four Marines had all come together, because one of us needed help. He was an old man all right, but it felt good to have

stood next to greatness and courage and an honor to have been in his presence.

Remember, OLD men like him gave you FREEDOM for America ..

Thanks to those who served....& those who supported them.

America is not at war. The U.S. Military is at war. America is at the Mall.

If you don't stand behind our troops, PLEASE feel free to stand in front of them!

Remember, Freedom isn't Free, thousands have paid the price so you can enjoy what you have today.

Here is short prayer that can be said each day in honor of those who preserve our freedom.


"A veteran is someone who, at one point in his life wrote a blank check made payable to 'The United States of America' for an amount of 'up to and including my life.'

God Bless our Troops and our veterans, young and old.

Jack Meehan, Past National President

Ancient Order of Hibernians in America

Tuesday, August 3, 2010

Afghanistan and Ireland – Same old story!

Afghanistan and Ireland – Same old story!

Posted by Gerry Adams

Last month this blog stood in the Guildhall Square in Derry and watched as the relatives of the 14 innocent victims of the British Parachute Regiment expressed their delight at the Saville report’s conclusion that the 14 were innocent victims.

At the time the dead were labelled as terrorists by the British government. The British system and to its shame much of the British media, accused those who had been shot of being ‘gunmen’ and ‘bombers’. Lies were told and a cover-up concocted and the British establishment closed ranks to defend the actions of its Army. That lie persisted for decades.

The British Prime Minister David Cameron apologised for what happened. I am sure the words of regret and remorse he made that day were heartfelt and the people of Derry welcomed them. However, Mr. Cameron then sought to expunge the violent record of the British Army in the north by claiming that: “Bloody Sunday is not the defining story of the service the British Army gave in Northern Ireland from 1969-2007.”

He was wrong. Bloody Sunday did define the British Army’s role in the north. In Ballymurphy six months earlier the same Regiment – the Paras –shot dead 11 innocent victims; in Springhill five month later they shot dead 5 more. The victims were accused of being ‘gunmen’ or in one case a ‘gunwoman’.

On Friday in a welcome development the Catholioc Bishop of Down and Connor gave the families of the Ballymurphy Massacre archive documents, including eye witness statement from Church records of the time. They validate the families case.The Ballymurphy and Springhill killings were par for the course for the British Army.

In countless actions over decades of war the British Army and RUC strategy employed shoot-to-kill operations; plastic bullets; mass raids on homes; torture; curfews and intimidation, and collusion between state forces and unionist death squads, to kill many hundreds of citizens and tried to intimidate a whole community.

The full resources of the British state including legal, judicial, and propaganda were brought to bear. It was claimed that victims were gunmen or women whose weapons were spirited away by hostile crowds; or who made actions which gave the soldiers cause to believe they were armed or a threat; or who ran away from patrols justifying their being shot; while others were accused of attacking patrols or trying to run them down in cars. The truth is still denied to relatives in many of these cases. It was also often said that the north was the British states training ground for its military and intelligence system.

The truth of that is evident in the revelations contained in some of the 90,000 US military files that have been posted on the Wikileaks website and carried in detail in a number of newspapers, including the Guardian, the New York Times and Der Spiegal.

The files are from a variety of NATO military sources operating in Afghanistan between 2004 and 2009 and they reveal a depth of failure to the military strategy of NATO than has heretofore been evident in the media coverage of the war.

The Afghanistan experience and the techniques and strategies and propaganda employed in that war are not exceptional. They fit a pattern which will be familiar to people in Ireland and especially the north.

The Wikileaks documents provide previously unreported actions in which Afghan civilians were killed or wounded. In 144 incidents detailed almost 200 civilians were killed and hundreds more injured. This is almost certainly a serious underestimate of the true scale of civilian casualties.

The Wikileaks files provide a list of actions involving the British Army. These are some.

November 15th 2006: In Helmand the British Army’s Marine Commandos fired warning shots at a vehicle, killed two civilians and wounded two others, including a child.

October/November 2007: a cluster of shootings by British soldiers in Kabul lead to the death of the son of an Afghan general. The British soldiers are unidentified and the US report reveals that; ‘Investigation controlled by the British. We are unable to get [sic] complete story.’

March 12th 2008: Helmand. British troops call in gunships and claim three enemy dead. The bodies of two women and two children are later found.

November 19th 2008: Marine Commandos fire ‘warning shots’ at a vehicle. They kill a child.

January 19th 2009: Marine Commandos use a drone to attack the Taliban. Two children are wounded.

January 27th 2009: Marine Commandos shoot at two people ’watching the patrol’. A man and a child are wounded.

May 19th 2009: Ghurkhas call in air strike and kill 8 civilians and destroy a family compound.

September 30th 2009: Helmand. The Rifles regiment call in an air strike on a compound housing two families. 7 killed.

November 10th 2009: Helmand. Coldstream Guards kill a driver of a vehicle.

When asked to respond to these accusations the British Ministry of Defence said: ‘We are currently examining our records to establish the facts in the alleged casualty incidents raised.’

The British Army is not alone in carrying out these kind of actions. French troops shot at a bus full of children killing 8. A US patrol did the same and killed 15. In another incident US Special Forces dropped six 2,000lb bombs on a compound killing up to 300 people.

Human Rights Watch which reported on the war in the north of Ireland and is now doing similar work in Afghanistan said:
‘These files bring to light what’s been a consistent trend by US and NATO forces: the concealment of civilian deaths.’

Also revealed is the existence of Taskforce 373 – a covert operations unit whose task is to ‘remove’ the enemy. All of this just scratches the surface of another dirty war that is being fought using modern versions of old strategies and techniques, and is failing.

Will the publication of the battlefield and intelligence documents by Wikileaks make a difference? ‘None’, according to the British Foreign Secretary William Hague.

His retort could just as easily have come from the mouth of Reginald Maudling or William Whitelaw or Roy Mason or Tom King or any of the previous British Ministers who had responsibility for prosecuting the British war in Ireland. And whose policies sustained a conflict that could have ended much earlier. But then should we be surprised? Should those of us who survived be taken aback by the stupidity of the British military and political mind?

A former Commander of the British Army in Afghanisatan Colonel Richard Kemp recently claimed that the British Army won the war in Ireland. If Colonel Kemp, who presumably was the British Army’s key strategist in Afghanistan, could get it so wrong in our country why should anyone expect him to get it right in Afghanistan? And if he and William Hague are reflective of British thinking today then the British are destined to make the same mistakes in that part of the world they made here.


Gerry Adams has every right to criticize the British military and their actions in Northeast Ireland during the armed conflict there. The Ballymurphy Massacre was a horrific incident in which 11 innocent victims were murdered. However, he fails to mention the equally horrific maiming and loss of innocent lives in incidents such as Bloody Friday, the Le Mons Hotel, and Enniskillen bombings. Let he who is without sin cast the first stone!!!

His comments regarding the British army’s involvement in the current war in Afghanistan are also his prerogative as are those regarding U.S. and NATO forces there. But, if he is going to criticize American involvement in Afghanistan, he should at least be consistent. Don’t level criticism on America for trying to eliminate a breeding ground for another potential attack on our country such as 9/11 in one breath and then come here seeking our political, moral, and monetary support for the peace process and the fledgling Stormont government in Northeast Ireland.