Volume 2, Number 11
31 October 2004
E-Mail Newsletter of the Irish Republican Socialist Party
2. Teenage Drug Ring in Ardoyne
3. Civilians in Iraq
4. Crisis Warning on Social Housing
5. What's On
As we are writing, the US presidential elections are just a few days
away. The Plough would like to remind its readers of a few facts.
The US is a democratic political system. Technically, any US citizen
can become a candidate for the US presidency. Our North American
coordinator could if he wanted be a presidential candidate.
The problem is that if anybody can become a presidential candidate,
very few can afford it.
G. W. Bush's income was estimated this year to stand at 1.2 million
dollars, as well as a fortune worth over 17 million dollars. John
Kerry is married to Theresa Heinz, who comes from the family that owns
the Ketchup firm. She is worth more than one billion dollars, and
Kerry earned this year over 100 million dollars.
Last year, 123 members of the US congress earned over one million
dollars or more. For example: Ted Kennedy (45 million), John
Rockefeller (80 million), Jane Herman (160 million), Arno Houghton
(150 millions), Bill Frist (45 millions)...
Millionaires and billionaires representing the ordinary people, it is
a bit paradoxal...
To go back to the presidential elections, only millionaires can afford
to run. G. W. Bush has already spent over 339 million dollars for his
publicity campaign, and John Kerry 312 million.
Those huge sums of money don't just come out of their own pockets.
Those sponsoring John Kerry are amongst others: Time Warner,
Microsoft, Citigroup, Goldman Sachs, UBS, and IBM. G. W. Bush is
backed by Morgan Stanley, Merrill Lynch, UBS, Credit Suisse, First
Boston, Citigroup, DuPont, Exxon, Microsoft.
The vast majority of their support comes from the 5 percent richest
Americans. Candidates are literally "bought" by corporate interests.
Look for example at the top five people in the current US government
- President Bush comes from a family representing the interests of the
- Dick Cheney, vice-president, was the big boss of Halliburton
(petrol, defence, construction). He was head of Procter & Gamble
(hygiene) as well as Brown and Root Saudi (construction). Hs wife Lynn
Cheney is one of the bosses of Lockheed Martin (defence).
- Donald Rumsfeld, Defence Minister, was head of Gilead Sciences
(biotechnology), of Asea Brown Boveri (nuclear energy) and Gulfstream
- Colin Powell, Foreign Affairs Minister, sat on the board of Carlyle
Group (the bank of the military industrial complex), and a director of
- Condoleezza Rice, National Security Advisor, sat on the board of
The Plough reminds its readers that one thing is certain: it won't be
the ordinary people or democracy who will be winners on November 2...
(Figures from Les élections présidentielles aux Etats-Unis:
Combien coûte laMaison-Blanche (Mercredi, 13 Octobre 2004)
TEENAGE DRUG RING IN ARDOYNE
North Belfast Teach Na Fáilte Uncover Teenage Drug Ring in Ardoyne
North Belfast Teach Na Fáilte has this week uncovered the sick
truth surrounding the drug trade that is plaguing our areas.
Illicit drug barons who operate from the luxury of their North Belfast
homes have been swamping the area with tens of thousands of pounds of
narcotics a week -– which is being directed at our youth.
This revelation came to light when a concerned parent of a 14 year old
was directed to the Teach na Fáilte offices in Ardoyne so that they
could benefit from the confidential Grass Roots Justice Initiative
which operates there.
Teach Na Fáilte workers for the area, Charlie Clarke and Paul
Carson, said that no one could have been prepared for what was
This all started last week when a concerned mother and father
approached the case workers of Grass Roots Justice.
The distraught couple had come to the offices for help and direction
to help them ascertain whether or not their 14-year-old son had been
dealing drugs in the area.
"The parents of this young lad had become suspicious when they noticed
remarkable changes in his attitude and behaviour," said Mr. Clarke.
"Money, jewellery and electrical objects started to go missing,
minimal at first, but then progressed into a weekly and then daily
occurrence. This was accompanied with a change in his social
activities. The parents, who cannot be named due to the
confidentiality of Grass Roots Justice, claimed they were at their
'wit's end' with the catalogue of events that had prompted them to
come forward to seek help."
After listening intently to the parents' fears, Paul Carson stated,
"It was when we heard everything that the mother and father were
describing to us it became quite clear that there was some truth in
the case. We agreed to help and arranged to speak with the child in
the presence of his parents, at our offices.
"After meeting the young lad, around the same age as my own children,
it was evident that he was hiding something."
Paul went on to add, "Eventually he came clean and told the truth
about his actions. This child had been smoking cannabis from the age
of 12 and had been supplied on 'strap' to satisfy his addiction.
After running up a bill of £350 or so, he was approached by this
drug baron who originally hails from the Carrickhill area of Belfast,
when he began to be threatened with physical violence and the
possibility of hospitalisation.
"The teenager was then told that he would have to get the money by
whatever means he could.
"The youngster then began to pilfer whatever he could lay his hands
on, mostly around the house at first and from family and friends who
would leave things lying around unsuspecting," stated Charlie Clarke.
He went on to add, "It was when this wasn't enough that he was 'teamed
up' with another lad, 15, so that they would carry out 'sleepers'
which are robberies conducted in houses at night when the owner lies
asleep in bed.
"All the proceeds of these robberies was handed back to the gang lord
in order to pay off this debt.
"Eventually when this couldn't subsidise the still growing bill, they
were directed to the 'big house' were they would be given their stash
of drugs. They were recruited as dealers and were told to specifically
target their friends and family.
"The extent that these leeches will go to is frightening. Luring
children unsuspectingly into this sordid world is diabolical and I
fear we have hit a new low. These children, and I am concerned that we
have only just scratched the surface, are forced to break into houses
alongside having to deal drugs so that they can keep this scum in the
lavish lifestyles that they are accustomed to.
"Their children live sheltered lives away from the dangers of this
illicit trade while ours have to run the gauntlet of drugs, threat
from paramilitaries, jail and even death. This cannot be allowed to
continue. I ask the apologists for criminality what do they have to
say about this?"
Unearthed from a garden in part of Ardoyne by Teach na Fáilte case
workers was a staggering £3,500-4,000 cache of drugs, hidden in a
paint tin and accompanied with an arsenal of weapons consisting of
knives and hammers.
The weapons were for protection whilst carrying out the 'sleepers' in
case their plundering downstairs disturbed the owner, and they risked
Concealed in the tin was three 'nine bars' worth in the region of
£3,000; two bags of cocaine; numerous bags of anti-depressants,
blood pressure tablets and high strength painkillers. There was also a
lethal concoction of powder called 'snowball', which is slipped into
certain alcoholic drinks. This substance has been blamed for the death
of a young teenage girl from the Shankill Road last week.
This cocktail of drugs was distributed within Ardoyne to children as
young as 12 right through to adults who would call and pick these
children up at pre-arranged places within the area. These teenage
dealers were instructed to 'strap' drugs to younger children who
couldn't afford to pay up front for their orders.
The result, according to North Belfast Teach Na Fáilte coordinator
Charlie Clarke is a concoction of death and destruction which is being
dished out to children as young as 12 across the Ardoyne area.
"This is extremely worrying. I think the most worrying aspect is that
the drugs we uncovered were to be sold in one week! That was just one
week's worth of debt to them. It's incredible.
"The evidence of weapons as well is worrying, as is the fact that
these teenagers are selling these pills to even younger children. If a
child took an assortment of these pills, I would have no reason to
doubt that this could result in the death or overdosing of that
Mr. Clarke and Mr. Carson concluded, "We in Teach Na Fáilte would
like to appeal to parents and children to please come forward to us if
they know anything about this horrifying drug ring that is preying on
our children. We would appeal to the wider community that if you
suspect this is happening near you or to someone you know, and then
please do not wait until it is too late.
"Teach Na Fáilte can be contacted in complete confidentiality and
with the guarantee of anonymity.
"We operate the Grass Roots Justice programme, which will help you
with your problem. This can be dealt with in any of our offices
throughout the country, where our caseworkers can be contacted."
Grass Roots Justice can be contacted at any of the Teach Na Fáilte
offices by calling in or by phoning for an appointment.
All cases and discussions are completely confidential.
Teach Na Fáilte
392A Falls Road
Tel: 028 9023 8321
Teach Na Fáilte
Tel: 028 9075 1705
CIVILIANS IN IRAQ
A study published by the Lancet claims the risk of death by violence
for civilians in Iraq is now 58 times higher than before the US-led
The Lancet published research by scientists from the Johns Hopkins
Bloomberg School of Public Health in the US city of Baltimore.
They gathered data on births and deaths since January 2002 from 33
clusters of 30 households each across Iraq. They found the relative
risk, the risk of deaths from any cause, was two-and-a-half times
higher for Iraqi civilians after the 2003 invasion than in the
preceding 15 months.
That figure drops to one-and-a-half times higher if data from Falluja
-– the scene of repeated heavy fighting -- is excluded.
Before the invasion, most people died as a result of heart attack,
stroke and chronic illness, the report says, whereas after the
invasion, "violence was the primary cause of death." Violent deaths
were mainly attributed to coalition forces -- and most individuals
reportedly killed were women and children. Dr Les Roberts, who led the
study, said: "Making conservative assumptions we think that about
100,000 excess deaths, or more, have happened since the 2003 invasion
"Violence accounted for most of the excess deaths and air strikes from
coalition forces accounted for most of the violent deaths."
He said his team's work proved it was possible to compile data on
public health "even during periods of extreme violence".
The sample included randomly selected households in Baghdad, Basra,
Arbil, Najaf and Karbala, as well as Falluja.
Lancet editor Richard Horton said: "With the admitted benefit of
hindsight and from a purely public health perspective, it is clear
that whatever planning did take place was grievously in error."
He went on: "Democratic imperialism has led to more deaths not fewer.
This political and military failure continues to cause scores of
casualties among non-combatants."
"For the sake of a country in crisis and for a people under daily
threat of violence, the evidence we publish today must change heads as
well as pierce hearts," he said.
There is no official estimate of the number of Iraqi civilians who
have died since the outbreak of the war in Iraq.
CRISIS WARNING ON SOCIAL HOUSING
A group of MPs has warned of a crisis in the supply of social housing
in Northern Ireland if urgent steps are not taken to meet rising
A report by the Northern Ireland Affairs Committee said that the
number of people waiting for social housing had increased
significantly to 27,000.
The committee said that about half of these cases were considered
It was concerned by confusion between departments and called for a
co-ordinated regional housing strategy.
According to the report, there are now more than 16,000 homeless
households in Northern Ireland. The committee was especially critical
of a decision to reduce the target for new-build housing by more than
400 because of a lack of funds. However, it said that £37m was
being raised annually from record sales of Housing Executive stock,
which was being returned to the treasury. The report said that there
were promising initiatives under way in Northern Ireland, but they
were being pursued in isolation. In addition, responsibility for
housing issues ranges across at least four departments, which makes
co-ordination across government difficult.
The committee concluded that much more needs to be done to co-ordinate
policies and to assess the overall impact of the house sales scheme
and co-ownership scheme if a social housing crisis is to be avoided.
What is needed is a much more focused and co-ordinated government
delivery system for social housing. The report, by a sub-committee set
up to look at the problem, revealed that targets for building new
social housing were being missed every year. On Monday, committee
chairman Michael Mates MP said the report had found a large deficit in
the numbers of social housing.
He said: "What we uncovered was a very serious situation of rising
demand for social housing against a dramatic fall in the number of
"Since 1979, 114,000 houses have been disposed of and this exceeds the
remaining Northern Ireland Housing Executive stock of 103,000," he
"We call on the government to grip this problem with urgency and we
set out some concrete proposals to deal with this situation before
this potential crisis becomes reality." Tony Clarke MP, chairman of
the sub-committee, said: "What is needed is a much more focused and
co-ordinated government delivery system for social housing."
Story from BBC NEWS:
Published: 2004/10/25 14:39:23 GMT
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
Say no to water privatisation
Speakers: Mark Langhammer (Labour) John McAnulty (Socialist Democracy)
Jason Brannigan (Anti-water charges activist, N.Belfast) John Nixon
(Independent socialist, Armagh) Tommy McKearney (Fouthwrite magazine)
Venue: Belfast Unemployed Resource Centre, Lower Donegall Street
(beside John Hewitt Bar)
Date: Thursday 4th November 2004
Irish Labour History Conference
Please note that some titles are provisional only.
Venue ILHS HQ Beggars Bush Barracks
5/6 November 2004
Friday 5 Nov 7-30pm The Irish Citizen Army
Speakers: D. R. O'Connor Lysaght: 3 strategies; White, Larkin and
Dr. Brian Hanley (Maynooth): The struggling Phoenix: The Citizen Army
Sat 6 Nov 11-00 am Irish Local Gov. (Speaker to be announced)
2-00 Health: from Local Control to Health Boards
Speaker Barry Desmond (Minister of Health 1982 to 1987)
4-00pm Irish Communal Provision and it’s lack
Dr Mary Shine Thompson (St. Pats Drumcondra): Cherished Equally? The
condition of Irish Children over the Last Century
Jackie Morrissey (UCD) Medical Ethics and the Irish Health Services
(Church, State and the Medical profession from WW1 to date)
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