Volume 2, Number 8
9 October 2004
E-Mail Newsletter of the Irish Republican Socialist Party
Seamus Costello Commemoration
Assemble 1pm, Sunday, 10th October, Town Hall, Bray for March to
Little Bray Churchyard.
Organised by the Irish Republican Socialist Movement.
ALL REPUBLICAN SOCIALISTS TO ATTEND
1. Child Death Rate Rises in Iraq
2. Free Seamus Doherty Campaign
3. Boycott Update
a. Republican Unity?
b. Stop Sharon's Partner-in-Crime from Visiting South Africa
5. What's On
CHILD DEATH RATE RISES IN IRAQ
October 8, 2004
One in four children in Sierra Leone dies before age 5, and one in 10
Across the globe, poor care for newborns, malaria, diarrhoea,
malnutrition and even measles kill children before their fifth
birthday, according to a new UN report.
The United Nations Children's Fund reported "alarmingly slow progress
on reducing child deaths": One in 12 children worldwide doesn't make
it to age 5, with half of all under-5 deaths in sub-Saharan Africa.
"It is incredible that in an age of technological and medical marvels,
child survival is so tenuous in so many places, especially for the
poor and marginalised," said UNICEF director Carol Bellamy, launching
Child mortality refers to the number of children who die before their
fifth birthday, and is measured per 1,000 live births.
In 2002, industrialised countries had 7 deaths per 1,000 births, while
the poorest nations had 158 in every 1,000 births. The UNICEF study is
a report card on whether countries are fulfilling a goal adopted by
world leaders at the UN Millennium Summit in 2000 which calls for
child mortality to be reduced by two-thirds by 2015.
Iraq, which has lost two wars since 1991 and was under UN sanctions
for over a decade, lost the most ground of any nation.
It was the only country in the Middle East and North Africa where the
child mortality rate increased from 1990 to 2002. One in 10 Iraqi
children under 5 died in 2002 while in 1990 the rate was one in 20.
In more than a third of countries in sub-Saharan Africa, child
mortality rates have increased or stagnated, the report said.
The 10 countries with the most under-5 deaths since 2002 were Sierra
Leone with 284 per 1,000 births, Niger 265, Angola 260, Afghanistan
257, Somalia 225, Haiti 222, Guinea-Bissau 211, Burkina Faso 202, and
Despite Afghanistan's tumultuous path in the last decade, it slightly
reduced the number of deaths of the very young: 260 per 1,000 in 1990,
to 257 in 2002, but it has a long way to go to reach the 2015 goal of
85 per 1,000 births.
Its rate was also far higher than other Asian countries. Pakistan had
107, India 93, and Sri Lanka the fewest number of under-5 deaths in
Asia with 19 per 1,000, the study reported.
HIV/AIDS was a major obstacle in reducing the youth mortality.
Botswana, Zimbabwe and Swaziland -- with high rates of HIV and AIDS --
had the second, third and fourth largest increases in under-5 deaths.
Their rates of increase respectively were 37, 25 and 39 per cent.
Poor care for newborns is the single most prominent cause of child
deaths, while malaria accounts for more deaths than HIV/AIDS, the
Malnutrition contributed to more than half of the deaths, while acute
respiratory infections and diarrhoea are at the root of approximately
one-third, and measles still accounts for around five per cent, it
"The world has the tools to improve child survival, if only it would
use them," Bellamy said.
"Vaccines, micronutrient supplements, and insecticide treated mosquito
nets don’t cost much and would save millions of children."
UNICEF said 90 nations, including 53 developing nations, are on track
to meet the millennium goal of a two-thirds reduction in deaths of the
young, while 98 developing countries are stagnating or going backward.
"No government should be allowed to let another 10 years pass with so
little progress." Bellamy said. "Leaders have agreed to goals and they
must be held accountable."
Despite the almost certainty that all countries won't meet the goal,
the study said the overall figure of one-in-12 deaths globally is a
vast improvement over the 1 in 5 mortality rate of the 1960s.
Russia with a relatively low rate of 21 made no advances in the
decade, while Turkey halved its rate, going from 78 in 1990 to 42 in
2002, the report said.
Sweden had the lowest rate of the industrialised countries with only 3
under-5 deaths per 1,000 births, while Norway, Denmark, and Iceland
all were at 4.
Japan, Finland, Netherlands, Austria, Germany, Luxembourg, Greece,
Czech Republic, Malta and Monaco were at 6.
Canada's rate was 7, down from 9, but still far from its 2015 target
of 3, the study found.
The United States had 8 child deaths per 1,000 in 2002, down from 10
in 1990. But it will also have to make significant strides to reach
its target of 3 in 2015.
FREE SEAMUS DOHERTY CAMPAIGN
The police ombudsman in the North has recommended action against a
senior PSNI officer arising out of allegations against him regarding
the investigation of an attempted Real IRA bomb attack.
A report by Nuala O'Loan, completed last month, is understood to
accuse Detective Chief Inspector Derek Williamson of trying to
manipulate evidence in order to conceal the identity of an alleged
police informer said to have been involved in the attempted bombing
near Newry in September 2002.
The ombudsman's inquiry was launched following the withdrawal in
November last year of the case against two Castlewellan, Co Down, men,
Martin Brogan and Mark Carroll, charged with possession of explosives
with intent. A third man, Seamus Doherty, from Derry, is still on
remand in connection with the offence. Newry-based Williamson was the
most senior police officer involved in the investigation.
Defence lawyers for Brogan and Carroll claimed that Williamson tried
to persuade forensic scientists to suppress evidence suggesting the
involvement of Kevin Byrne, who the defence alleged was driving the
bomb car when it was stopped on the Omeath Road outside Newry.
Brogan and Carroll were arrested at a nearby police checkpoint. Byrne,
who was neither arrested nor charged, has since disappeared from his
home in south Down.
Doherty was arrested in Derry some weeks later. Defence lawyers allege
that Byrne was a police agent.
The ombudsman's recommendations emerged in Belfast on Friday, where a
preliminary hearing relating to Doherty's case had been scheduled.
The hearing was postponed when the prosecution revealed that it would
be seeking a public interest immunity certificate (PIIC) to prevent
publication of evidence relating to Byrne.
The withdrawal of the case against Brogan and Carroll followed a
routine visit by Adrian Carlin of defence solicitors Kevin Winters to
the NI Forensic Science Laboratory in Carrickfergus in October last
year. While examining the case file, number 4981/02, he came across an
envelope marked "do not open"
Opening it, he found a typed letter signed by senior forensic
scientist Dr Gerry Murray describing a meeting with Williamson "to
discuss my statement in relation to case no 4981/02" The letter
recorded that Williamson "requested that I prepare a modified
statement, omitting a number of sections from the original statement".
The effect of the suggested omissions would have been to remove
references to traces of explosives found on Kevin Byrne's trousers,
shirt, jacket, right hand and fingernails.
A further forensic report. Received by Doherty's defence team in June
this year suggested that Byrne's DNA was discovered on the steering
wheel, gear stick knob, handbrake and ignition key of the abandoned
The case against Doherty is based on DNA traces allegedly detected on
the Omeath Road bomb. Doherty denies, ever having handled a bomb and
claims that the DNA was planted. He claims that swabs had been taken
from him when he was arrested in Derry on an unrelated matter six
weeks prior to the discovery of the Newry bomb.
O'loan's report, which has not yet been published, was recently
delivered to the North's Police Authority.
Trade unions around the world are now supporting Sinaltrainal and the
call for a boycott of all Coca-Cola products. In addition to actions
taken by national and international bodies, hundreds of branches,
locals and labour councils have been supporting the campaign to hold
Coca-Cola accountable for its human rights abuses in Colombia. Here is
a selection of some of the most recent campaign victories in the UK,
Ireland and USA.
UNISON, with 1.3 million members, passed a resolution at their
national conference, resolving to: "support the call to boycott Coca
Cola products." NIPSA, the Northern Ireland Public Services
Association, affiliated to both the Irish Congress of Trade Unions and
to the British TUC, voted to support the boycott of Coca Cola until
the company meets Sinaltrainal's demands.
Service Employees International Union (SEIU), with 1.7 million
members, passed a resolution at their national convention in San
Francisco, USA, which resolved: "Support the world-wide call to
boycott Coca-Cola and work to win broad AFL-CIO support for the
campaign against killer Coke..."
Communications Workers of America (CWA), which represents 700,000
members, passed a resolution at their national convention in Anaheim,
USA, which resolved: "that unless the Alien Tort Claims Act lawsuit is
settled by October 15 and the safety and rights of workers in the
Coca-Cola Colombian bottling plants are protected, the CWA will
support Sinaltrainal's divestment and boycott campaign against
Coca-Cola and SunTrust Bank, and will urge our members to do the
American Postal Workers Union (APWU), with 270,000 members, passed a
resolution at their national convention in Los Angeles, USA, which
resolved: "That the national American Postal Workers Union requests
that the United States Postal Service remove all Coca-Cola products
from all postal facilities, and that State and Local American Postal
Workers Unions, stop purchasing all Coca-Cola products until this
issue (Colombian) is resolved."
The Labor Council for Latin American Advancement (LCLAA), a
constituency group of the AFL-CIO, representing the interests of 1.7
million Latino workers who are members of a union or labour
association in the 50 states and Puerto Rico, passed a motion rebuking
The Coca-Cola Co. for their human rights violations in Colombia.
The American Federation of Teachers (AFT), with 1.3 million members,
passed a resolution at their national convention in Washington, DC,
which resolved: "encourage AFT locals and individual members to
participate in a letter writing campaign to the Coca-Cola Company to
pressure its Colombian branch to stop its persecution of employees
seeking union representation and to respect basic trade union
The International Longshore and Warehouse Union, with 60,000 members,
passed a resolution resolving: "That the ILWU join the boycott of
Coca-Cola and do all it can to publicize the boycott around the
Coca-Cola hires former "labour official" to try to do damage control
The growing labour support is of great concern to Coke. This summer,
Coca-Cola hired Jack Otero, former AFL-CIO Executive Board member, to
do damage control.
His meetings with department heads at the AFL-CIO and his efforts at
LCLAA have met with dismal failure.
I'd like to reply to the letter in the Plough Vol. 2-7 suggesting we
make some sort of common cause with the Provos, RSF, and the 32CSM.
Your concerns, I'm afraid, are misplaced, but moreover, the IRSP is
not the organisation to turn to if you are attempting to 'save' Sinn
Fein from becoming another SDLP. Sinn Fein may or may not 'control
Irish republicanism', as you put it, but that is not now, nor has it
ever been the concern of the Irish Republican Socialist Movement. The
entire reason for the IRSP and INLA having existed for the past thirty
years is that our movement represents something distinct from Irish
republicanism. Irish republican socialism isn't simply republicanism
with some socialist rhetoric thrown into the mix; it is a radically
different understanding of the national liberation struggle and both
the path to where we are going and the end where we intend to arrive.
It is this fundamental difference that has led the IRSP to say in the
past, for us, the national liberation struggle is an aspect of the
struggle for socialism and divorced from the struggle for socialism,
we have no interest in the national liberation struggle. This is
simply because we do not believe the two can be separated and remain
meaningful. In the present era, it is impossible to talk about
national liberation and envision a 32 county capitalist Ireland. Such
an outcome would mean that the vast majority of the Irish people would
remain oppressed, it would mean that the national economy would remain
tied to the interests of foreign imperialists, which in turn would
mean that any expression of sovereignty would be merely a farce and a
sham, because it is who controls the productive forces of society that
determines the extent to which the state can assert itself. So, there
can be no real national liberation so long as Ireland remains
At the same time, Ireland's working class remains divided by
sectarianism borne of partition and both sections of the working class
in Ireland remain tied to a section of the ruling class by the
unresolved national liberation struggle. You letter reflects this
point, actually. Though you know we are a revolutionary socialist
party, you feel compelled to advocate unity with Irish republicans who
represent something other than the revolutionary interests of Irish
workers, organisations who remain tied to the contradictory interests
of sections of the Irish capitalist class as well. Accordingly, it is
clear that the struggle for the liberation of Irish workers will
remain impeded until partition is ended and national liberation is
made a reality.
This is why the IRSP has always said that the way forward requires a
perspective that recognises the two struggles, for socialism and
national liberation, cannot be separated.
Another unique aspect of the IRSM's programme is how we view the
process of national liberation. When one looks at Sinn Fein, RSF, or
the 32CSM, one is really looking at little more than Irish
republicanism at various points in its development and these
organisations essentially acknowledge this in their own
self-description. The problem with this is two-fold: on the one hand,
since the IRSP has always disagreed with the Republican Movement on
the aims and tactics required in the struggle, having always been
separate from the Provos, we have no real basis for unity with any of
these manifestations, beyond the type of principled cooperation we
have always sought with the rest of the anti-imperialist movement in
Ireland. On the other hand, recent experience with Sinn Fein and the
Provo IRA only demonstrates the correctness of the analysis the IRSM
has long put forward, an analysis which anticipated Sinn Fein winding
up exactly where they are, because of the manner in which they sought
to move forward and what they had as their goal. Having just received
confirmation of our long held analysis, we certainly have no cause to
suddenly drop it and embrace the failed path of Irish republicanism.
The way forward is not to encourage the long process by which RSF or
the 32CSM will most likely grow and develop, before making the same
fatal errors the Provos made before them and winding up at square one
again. The way forward is to recognise that the road they travelled
was bound to end in failure and therefore to adopt another approach --
the approach advocated by James Connolly and Jim Larkin, the approach
advocated by Seamus Costello, Ta Power, and Gino Gallagher, the Irish
republican socialist approach, which rejects the militarism of
traditional republicanism, without rejecting the revolutionary
struggle in arms required to topple the present system. Ours is an
approach that doesn't look to the Dail, the parliament in Westminster,
or Stormont as the vehicle by which we gain our liberation, but seeks
to topple all three and replace them with new democratic institutions
suited to the needs of working class people and only working class
people. Our way relies on mobilising the masses of working people to
act for themselves, not to rely on either guerrillas or politicians.
So, comrade, in answer to your question, there is little point in
worrying about what will become of Sinn Fein. Sinn Fein followed the
course it set for itself and really didn't deviate. The problem isn't
with Adams or some specific section of the leadership; the problem is
with traditional Irish republicanism. Each time it moves forward along
that traditional path, it will wind up where Sinn Fein is today. That
is why the IRSP and INLA have remained distinct organisations and put
forward an analysis that was in direct contradiction to that of the
Republican Movement for three decades now -- because we were formed to
avoid the errors of that approach and instead offer a means of
actually gaining the liberation of the Irish nation, in a manner that
actually represented the liberation of the masses of the people of
Ireland. Those who think they can gain Ireland's national liberation
while leaving capitalism in place, will always turn away from the
revolution before their goal is achieved, regardless of how staunchly
the maintain themselves in arms today or how much they steep
themselves in the trapping of traditional republicanism.
We encourage you to consider our position on these issues and we
believe if you do, and want to help the struggle to win the liberation
of Ireland from oppression and domination, then you should join the
IRSP and build a revolutionary republican socialist movement, capable
of avoiding the pitfalls of the past and ending the cycle of defeat
which we have seen far too many times already.
STOP SHARON'S PARTNER-IN-CRIME FROM VISITING SOUTH AFRICA
The Palestine Solidarity Committee calls upon the South African
government to cancel the invitation to Deputy Prime Minister of
Apartheid Israel, Ehud Olmert, to visit South Africa. Olmert is
scheduled to have talks with state officials, supporters of Apartheid
Israel and business people in two weeks time. Olmert's proposed visit
comes in the wake of meetings between ten senior Likud Party
representatives and South African officials and Cabinet Ministers.
According to an official statement, the South African government views
Olmert's trip as part of 'mediatory' efforts to bring peace to the
Middle East. Our scepticism of this intention is increased by a number
of press reports, which inform us that Olmert's visit is really to
seek to "cement economic ties between the states [South Africa and
Israel] via a protection of investment treaty". Olmert also hold the
trade portfolio in the Israeli cabinet. Far from promoting peace,
Olmert's visit will merely give credibility and legitimacy to
The PSC finds the invitation to Olmert deplorable. Palestinians and
supporters of justice around the world have just commemorated the 22nd
anniversary of the Sabra and Shatilla massacre of 3000 largely women
and child Palestinian refugees in Beirut (even an Israeli court found
that Sharon was complicit in this). This week marks the fourth
anniversary of the second intifada (uprising) against the Israeli
occupation. Occupation Forces continue to massacre Palestinians with
helicopter gunship missiles and tank shells. The latest outrage is in
the poverty stricken Jabalya refugee camp in the Gaza where scores of
civilians have been killed and many homes destroyed.
According to B'tselem, an Israeli human rights group, the occupation
forces have killed over 500 children since September 2000. From the
beginning of this year, over 400 unarmed Palestinian civilians have
been killed. B'tselem's report underscored Israel's comprehensive war
against Palestinian society, including the demolition of homes and the
wanton destruction of farms, orchards and infrastructure as well the
sweeping internment of Palestinian civilians for long periods of time
and general collective punishment. According to the report, Israel
now interns some 8000 Palestinians under appalling conditions,
including 360 children and minors. Moreover, the report pointed out
that as many as 7000 Palestinian homes were destroyed by the Israeli
army during the past four years. These are crimes against humanity!
During the darkest days of apartheid, Nelson Mandela refused P.W.
Botha?s offer of freedom in exchange for the Bantustan sytem and the
renunciation of the armed struggle. Madiba understood the futility of
such an engagement with Botha. International condemnation and
isolation of South Africa, combined with mass internal resistance,
ensured that negotiations with the National Party began with the
release of political prisoners, the right of return for exiles and on
the premise that democracy would take root. To suggest that the
current Israeli regime seeks a similar solution is preposterous.
Israel continues the building of the Apartheid Wall (in violation of
the ruling of the International Court of Justice which our government
played an active role in securing), stealing more Palestinian land and
leaving the citizens of the West Bank and Gaza in a Bantustan system
of hellish prisons.
Our government needs to know that Olmert was one of the Zionist
extremists who opposed even the flawed Oslo Accords as he feared they
might one day lead to a Palestinian state. As mayor of Jerusalem he
oversaw the construction of many settlements (illegal under
international law) and declared that the city would remain ?united
under Israeli control for eternity? (also illegal). That South Africa
should entertain Likud, a vicious racist party which makes the AWB
during its heyday look moderate is a disturbing development in our
The importance of building an international movement to help defeat
Apartheid South Africa is a lesson we now apply to Israel. Engaging
with Sharon and a Likud administration bent on the elimination of the
remaining Palestinians in the West Bank and Gaza is damaging to any
prospects for peace. It merely legitimises the current Israeli
government and gives credence to the idea that Israel can make peace
without the international isolation, sanctions and boycotts which were
so vital to the South African experience. And that it can impose a
?peace? without even having to discuss it with the Palestinian people.
What Sharon and his gang really want is the 'peace' of the graveyard.
Two weeks ago, at a gathering of anti-war and anti-corporate
globalisation movements in Beirut, close to 260 organisations from 54
countries unanimously endorsed a boycott campaign against Apartheid
Israel. Recently, the Anglican Peace and Justice Network (APJN) agreed
to support the many churches, universities and trade unions in the
West that are increasingly calling for a divestment campaign modelled
on the popular boycott of apartheid South Africa. APJN said it would
press leaders of the 75 million Anglicans and Episcopalians worldwide
to impose sanctions on Israel after an eight-day visit to the occupied
territories. In July, the general assembly of the Presbyterian Church
in the United States which has 3 million members, voted overwhelmingly
for a boycott of Israel. Some Scandinavian churches are also pressing
for a boycott of Israeli goods. The South African government which
should be in the lead in promoting a sanctions campaign against Israel
is instead working against this. It is squandering the moral high
ground earned by our people through great sacrifice. We urge our
government to rescind its invitation to Sharon's Deputy.
We will hold protests on 16th October across South Africa to highlight
our solidarity with Palestinians under occupation and in the diaspora
and to oppose Olmert?s visit to our country.
Human without rights: asylum seekers in the 21st century
An exhibition of photographs by David Levene, Guardian Newspaper
Brought to Belfast by Law Centre (NI) and Refugee Action Group as part
of Belfast Festival at Queens
At: Law Centre (NI), 124 Donegall Street, Belfast
From: Saturday 23 October to Saturday 6 November, 10 am to 4 pm
Closed: Tuesdays and Sundays
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