August 2, 2006, - 4:36 pm

Our “Friends,” The Irish

By Debbie Schlussel
Question: What’s the fastest growing religion in Ireland?
Answer: No, not Catholicism. Not the Protestant Church. Nope. It’s Islam.
So, does that have anything to do with last week’s obnoxious, anti-American jury decision? Perhaps.
Regardless, last week, a Dublin jury acquitted five protesters who admitted–yes, admitted!–using hammers and an ax to attack a U.S. Navy cargo plane at Shannon Airport in February 2003. They claimed they committed the $2.5 million worth of damage to the cargo plane so they could “save lives in Iraq.”

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The O.J.-style jury acquitted these five anti-American vandalous criminals after a 12-day trial. But, it gets worse. This was the third Irish O.J.-style jury in the case. Two previous juries were deadlocked in two previous trials of these thugs.
And here’s a clue: The Navy cargo plane, a Boeing 737, was carrying spare parts from Texas to an air base on Sicily, Italy–NOT Iraq.
And frequent Islamofascist ally, the IRA, chimed in by hailing this absurd decision:

Sinn Fein, the political arm of the Irish Republican Army, said vandalising US aircraft was “a justified response to Irish complicity in the illegal occupation of Iraq and use of Irish facilities as a pit stop for US warplanes.”

Thanks, Ireland. Where’s St. Patrick when we need him? Apparently, he missed a few snakes.

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9 Responses

This should really come as no surprise. Italy, Poland, Croatia, and Austria are probably the only Catholic countries left in Europe. John Paul II will be remembered for two things–
Bringing down Euro Communism and losing what used to be called Christendom.
Hate America angle is just one more aspect of the continuing saga. Maybe George Marshall is spinning in his grave–if he ever had any shame.

Red Ryder on August 2, 2006 at 5:34 pm

I agree- this is no surprise. The saddest thing is Catholics (I know b/c i am a hardcore Roman Catholic) are more apt to let Islamofacists roll over them because we are so worried about being portayed as anti-ANYTHING- except of course the fact that the US Bishops are selling out America to the illegals. Apparently that is OK with the Vatican… Any sympathy I EVER had (and it was never much) for the Islamists died the day they holed up in the Church of the Nativity a few years ago. The Israelis respected our sacred site- the Palestnians urinated and defecated on the altar. Screw ‘em.

MarySJ on August 2, 2006 at 11:35 pm

Just to give the full background to this, they were acquitted on the basis that the jury found them to have had lawful excuse, i.e. the genuine belief that they were protecting the lives of others. It is an inevitable part of a jury system that the ‘(un)conscionable jury’ phenomenon occassionally arises – as an attorney you should know this. Also, have you ever been to Ireland? While Islam may be the fastest growing religion we’re still over 90% Roman Catholic and Islamaphobic racism is one of the largest problems in Irish society.
People can have conscientious objections to the war without being Muslims/terrorist sympathisers/anti-American etc….

fiona on August 3, 2006 at 3:26 am

Nice try, Fiona.
All you did was recite the facts with a different spin.
And, please tell me how you can be Catholic and be against the prosecution of a war whose goal is to stop Islamist terrorism.
If there were more like you, our side would have lost the Battle of Lepanto and Ireland would be a Muslim country. More than that, you could not even have commented on this blog since there would have been no computers, and as a woman you would not have been allowed to read or do much else, anyway.

Red Ryder on August 3, 2006 at 8:18 am

Actually Red, Fiona’s wrong, but not as wrong as you are. The fastest growing religion in is, in fact, Orthodox Christianity, which has since 1991 seen an increase of some 2500%, whereas Islam’s increase is a more modest 400%. Don’t believe me? Go to the CSO website (http://www.cso.ie/) and check for yourself. And feel free to check the actual numbers: you’ll find they’re quite small, and quite insignificant compared to the number of Polish, Chinese, Lithuanian, &c., immigrants we’re getting.
Of course, this could be part of a vast muslim conspiracy within the Irish government. Those rascals get everywhere…

Keith Gaughan on August 3, 2006 at 11:53 am

Keith–
Exactly what am I wrong about–or is this article from Michqel Kelly all wrong, as well..
No Hope In An Insecure Faith
By Michael Kelly (The Irish Catholic: July 20th 2006)
IRELAND is becoming increasingly secularist, and public debate now is dominated by relativism and doubt. The so-called ‘hermeneutic of suspicion’ is pervasive, taking nothing for granted or accepting nothing as true without a rigourous assessment. Everything is up for grabs unless it can be proven 100%, nothing is based on trust, and, of course, this doesn’t really work with faith.
Unfortunately, in the last decades this ‘doubt’ has seeped into the Church, and has caused a great deal of harm, and instilled what can only be described as an ‘insecure faith’ in many people, including priests and religious.
Now, the sort of doubt that I’m talking about is not the daily doubts that are part of our lives as people of faith, the sort of doubt I am talking about is a much deeper, more fundamental, crisis in faith in the Church and the Church’s teaching.
This ‘doubting faith’ goes back to the crisis that emerged with Pope Paul Vl’s 1968 encyclical banning artificial birth control. Humanae Vitae, a crisis not only with regard to sexual ethics, but also a crisis with regard to the authority of the Church.
Because of the rejection of Humanae Vitae by so many theologians, who were themselves training seminarians and future generations of priests, the spontaneous trust that priests and people should have in the authority of the Church was undermined. It is the undermining of that trust that ultimately creates a ‘doubting faith’. If there is insecurity on one central issue, then all issues eventually become insecure.
This insecurity is more acute within the religious orders, who are also facing a crisis of identity and a crisis of mission. In the 1970s many of the Orders abandoned what had been their core work in favour of diversifying their ministry. This has led in many of the Orders to a lack of common mission and a subsequent lack of direction.
Another contributing factor to the current insecurity in the Church is the way the liturgy was reformed following the Second Vatican Council (1962-1965). The reforms, necessary and welcome in themselves, took place at a time when functionalism was dominant. The whole mystery that is celebrated in the Eucharist was replaced by a rationalistic, functionalist approach to the Sacraments. This new approach resulted in a lot of experimentation and a lot of liturgical practice which undermines the faith of the people perhaps even more dramatically than the insecurity of certain generation of
priests who grew up in the wake of Humanae Vitae.
As well as the much-needed and long overdue ‘reform of the reform’ of the liturgy and greater liturgical formation of the faithful. Church leaders need to find a way to express the truths of the Faith in a clear, timely and confident manner.
In any walk of life people don’t give themselves to an institution that is riddled with doubt. Any political party that is beset with infighting and a lack of certainty will suffer at the polls as a result.
The Church is of course not a political party, nor should we draw ideological battle lines that further compromise the Church’s ability to witness to the world. But, the fact remains that unless the Church can regain its public voice and confidently and unapologetic ally articulate the Faith then the decline in practice and vocations to the priesthood and religious life will continue, and, if anything, the crisis will become more acute.
No doubt the confidence of Church leaders has been dented by the recent scandals, and a Church that is more humble than the past is a must, but a Church with a faltering faith, always in retreat, is a pitiful sight.

Red Ryder on August 4, 2006 at 8:57 am

Itís very affirming to see such irrational comments from Debbie S. Good to see the neo-cons. annoyed by the upholding of law in a sovereign nation. Good to see the neo-cons. showing their true colours with their inability to respect the sovereign and unanimous decision in an Irish court of law. And you are so well-known outside of your own borders for respecting International law!!!
It’s good to do more than superficial research when you write articles Debbie. Your article would be laughable if it wasn’t sadly inaccurate. A few points that Iíd like to correct Debbie on for the benefit of readers on this blog.
For example:
A US Navy pilot brought in by the prosecution to testify in the 3 trials testified under cross-examination from Defence Counsel that the plane was likel;y to be going to Iraq or to support the Iraq War effort. Other than that his testimony epitomised the ‘See no evil, hear no evil, speak no evil’ method when being questioned.
Are you aware that Sigonella was major staging post from the US Navy during the Iraq War invasion and has been providing very significant support to the occupation through the Sixth Fleet? IVAW members and the Sixth Fleet’s website confirm the significance of it’s roll in Middle-East operations. Re. your spare parts comment – an attacking force is only as effective as it’s soldiers are equipped with the logistics of war. A British military logisitics expert and OBE holder who has been awarded honours by the US Navy gave evidence as a ‘friend of the court’ that it was ‘likely’ our act initiated a chain of events which helped save lives and property in Iraq.
She accuses our group of being anti-American. Well Debbie, obviously your Masters was not in Geography. America happens to be a continent and despite what your upbringing taught you the U.S. is only a part of that continent. My friends in South/Central and North America used to correct my teenage error of calling the U.S. America – and not my friends are not Commies, they are mainly priests and nuns who have worked there for decades.
Furthermore, one of our group is from the U.S. Does this mean that she is anti-herself, her family, her neighbours and friends who hail from the U.S.? I have many relations in the U.S. including a brother, sister-in-law and nephew. Am I anti-them? Other members of our group also have relatios and friends in the U.S. and I can assure you they are also not Anti-American. Problem is Debbie, you and your ilk always get confused when it comes to Anti-Americanism and Anti-U.S. Foreign Policy (created by a handful of people from the U.S.). We are not even anti-that handful, but rather against the carnage they have unleashed through their imperial politics.
We also have very good relations with the brave ex-soliders from the U.S. involved with the Iraq Veterans Against the War (www.ivaw.net).
Re. Debbieís fasting growing religion argument, 80% of the jurors were Catholic. Our group, the Catholic Worker Movement has a long history of peacemaking in the U.S. and also of working with those on the margins in the U.S. Not that Debbie would know any of these good folks on the margins of U.S. society, or have a clue as to the grief and struggles they daily endure to uphold their dignity in the face of racism, contempt, exploitation – all part and parcel of the ëfreedomí of U.S. Democracy. Their struggle is similar to those we have worked with in Ireland over the past few years – homeless folks swallowed up by alcohol and drug addiction, migrant workers exploited by Irish employers, asylum seekers seeking a secure environment to give their children some hope for the future.
The five of us who disarmed a US Navy plane at Shannon are all part of the Catholic Worker Movement – pacifist and anarchist; enough to make any U.S. neo-Con.ís blood boil and bubble.
To correct another point Debbie makes. The juries in the two previous cases were not deadlocked. They never had an opportunity to decide because both trials collapsed. In March ë05 Judge OíDonnell dismissed the jury on the 6th day after he agreed their may be a ëperception of biasí in relation to comments and rulings he made against the defendants. In October 2005 Judge MacDonagh had to remove himself from the case on the 9th day after he was forced to admit by Defence Counsel that he had attended George W. Bushís inauguration in 2001 (he had also attended a conference as a barrister in ë95 hosted by Governor Bush of Texas) and had been invited to attend the ë05 inauguration by disgraced Rep. Congressman Tom De Lay (but was unable to attend that function).
And Debbie, please do not libel us. We are not criminals. Ever here of the presumption of innocence until proven guilty? Well, during the 3 1/2 years we spent on bail (obeying all the conditions and appearing for every court case) in Ireland we were innocent of any crime. Then, guess what Debbie, we were found to have upheld the law by an unanimous verdict. So, we are not ëcriminalsí. And we were not charged with vandalism. From that big mouthful you have mustered, ëfive anti-American vandalous criminalsí, Iím afraid Iíll have to give you only one point out of four. The only thing you got right was the number of people in our group.
Ok, I know this comment is more like a chapter at this stage, but I would also like to know whether you have any Muslim friends in Ireland? My group and I have and neither they nor I are pro-Hamas/Hezbollah/Insurgency in Iraq. We are pacifists and disagree with the violence on both sides.
Another thing, have you read St. Patrickís ëConfessionsíor any of St. Patrick’s writings? If not then try avoid betraying his spirit by using posthumous myths developed bellowed out of context. Have you ever heard of that beautiful phrase he coined, ëKilling cannot be with Christí!?
It is not St. Patrick who has missed a few smakes. It is the church/society he left behind that have failed to banish warmongerers from their land. A good few actually. 1,100 U.S. troops are passing through Shannon today as are their munitions. Through non-violent resistance we hope to ensure that they will object to your governmentís murderous foreign policy and refuse orders to kill in Iraq. We hope and pray that no more of your countryís soldiers wll have to return home in bodybags (2,500+)or with loss of limb and mind (10,000 +). We hope and pray that the church in Ireland will offer them sanctuary and that the soliders will be brave enough to take up this invitation.
And to the Catholic commentator – are you aware that the late Pope John Paul was against both Gulf War I and II? Pope Benedict VVI has also stated that the Iraq war did not fall within the realm of a ‘just war’ in Catholic theology. We have recieved support from Catholic bishops and congregations here in Ireland who recognise the Iraq war as immoral and agree that what we did is in accordance with Scripture and tradition in the Catholic Church. Bishop Gumbleton of Detroit attended our trial in March ’05 to support our campaign and witness against the war.
Something that may help the questions raised re. the verdict in our case.
We were charged under the Criminal Damage Act of 1991, which only applies to property. Therefore any comments re. injury, murder of people do not apply to this act and the ëlawful excuseí defence.
From the outset the jury were informed by the presiding judge the legality of the war was not justiciable in a domestic court of law. Nevertheless, she did allow an expert in International law to testify that our belief that the war would be illegal was a ëreasonableí belief supported by the majority of international law experts outside of the U.S. The jury were told at various junctures during the trial that they were not to rule on whether the war was illegal, but rather whether our action had a ëlawful excuseí and thus was not criminal.
Some blogs have spoken about whether arson is now legitimate, but of course this would be an uncontrollable act of damage and it probably would not be seen as ëreasonableí. Our tradition (www.plowsharesactions.org) stay and pray, we don’t hit and split. We don’t put people in harm’s way. We disable military equipment harmful to life and property.
One commentator on a blog asked if he would have a lawful excuse to commit an act of arson on the judgeís house. Of course, he would not. The house was not going to be deployed as a support mechanism for an illegal (no UN mandate), immoral(almost all religious/humanist leaders), unwinnable (many military experts)
war. The judge did not threaten to do harm to anyone, on the contrary she adjudicated over the trial in a fair manner. If you did set fire to the judgeís house you would probably be charged with attempted murder, and rightfully so.
Important to note that only those not in the courtroom could be surprised by this verdict. During the course of the trial the prosecutor and one of the detectives involved in the case expressed extreme doubt that any jury would ever be able to convict our group.
Our testimony in the trial, supported by the ëStatement of Faithí we brought with us during the disarmament, aswell as expert military and international law evidence given to the court and in the context that there is a statutory defence of ëlawful excuseí granted by the Oireachtas in the Criminal Damage Act of 1991 (amended in 1997 to remove the ëimmediacy clauseí) in that if one has an honest belief (subjective test) that they are protecting property or life of another, their own life or property, or property and life they have a vested interest in, and that their action is reasonable (objective test) taken into consideration all the circumstances, then a person can be deemed to have a lawful excuse to damage property. Under Irish law it is ëimmaterial whether a belief is justified once it is honestly heldí and of course, ëreasonableí taking into consideration all the circumstances.
After two weeks in court, the jury unanimously accepted our defence – only about 3% of criminal cases in Ireland end in acquittal and a minority of these end in unanimous acquittal.
The State, with all itís resources, were unable to even convince one juror of our guilt.
The mainstream Irish media, State authorities and US Embassy have lied in public broadcasts without ever retracting that we:
1) Hospitalised, assaulted, overpowered a police officer on duty protecting the US Navy plane(something the police officer in question denied 3 times on oath during our 3 trials; instead he said we comforted him)
2) That the Irish taxpayer would have to pay the alleged $2.6 million damages to the US Navy plane (the Dept. of Transport have only recently stated the Irish taxpayer would not have to pay the damages). Now that we have been found innocent, of course the Irish taxpayer will not be repairing this logisitics support for war.
So, we were actually found to have committed an act of civil obedience by doing damage to property because, taking into consideration all the circumstances it was found to be reasonable we were acting to save lives and property – the military expert who gave evidence in our case accepted that this would have been a likely chain of events initiated from the act. This act did not turn the law on itís head and does not unleash a pandoraís box for every and any joe and josephine to wage carnage against their neighbourís dog who barks above an acceptable decible nor towards their neighbour who plays music too loudly at night time thus preventing him/her from getting his/her required/desired 8 hour nightly snooze.
Donít forget, the law we are talking about only refers to damage of property. It is the Non-Fatal Offences Against the Persons Act of 1997 in Ireland amongst other laws that deal with a person who may be acting in self-defence by doing damage to another person. In this light an accused has to try prove he/she had employed ëa justifiable use of forceí. This does not apply in our case.
The judge in our case ruled that this law did not apply as the basis/purpose of the ’97 law
was concerned with those charged with damage to a person. That we already had a statutory defence within the 1991 act (amended in 1997 as stated above).
So the big question now is how does Irish society take the popular mandate from the conscience of the Irish community, 12 ordinary randomly selected members of society, and once and for all end the US military use of Shannon and Irelandís increasing role in the arms trade, facilitation of troops/munitions being deployed to a theatre of war.
Our hope is that the 1,100 US soliders passing through Shannon today, tomorrow, and into the near future would be supported to conscientiously object and not kill and be killed, not wound and be wounded, in the Middle East. That instead, they would go back to their loved ones and join the growing GI resistance with the Iraq Veterans Against War (www.ivaw.net) and other peace groups protesting against, what Madeline Albright (of all people) calls the greatest foreign policy disaster in the history of the US.
It has taken 3 trials (the first two collapsed due to the judgeís bias) brought by the Irish State to establish that we are innocent of any wrongdoing. That what we did on February 3rd 2003 was lawful.
The war planes at Shannon and the munitions and troops that pass through on them do not make Ireland or the world a safer place. They should not be protected by An Gardai (the Irish ëGuardians of Peaceí) or the Irish Army. Instead they should be refused landing rights, refueling and overflight privileges and the Irish gvt. and all sectors of Irish civil society and the Irish church should at once awaken from their silence and condemn the carnage the U.S./UK and their coalition partners have unleashed in the Middle-East.
The cynicism of the Irish gvt.sí recent refusals of Israeli weaponry being carried on U.S. planes to help destroy Lebanese lives and civilian infrastructure beacause of the ëcurrent conflictí makes their position in support of the Iraq war and occcupation completely untenable. Is their not a current conflict in Iraq – mandated or not in 2004, the war was not initally mandated by the UN? Ireland would do well to take a courageous stance once and for all on this issue and stop facilitating a U.S. gvt. out of control in their quest to bomb the world into ëdemocracyí.
The U.S gvt. should start rebuilding democracy in their own country by stop pulling down hard-fought for civil liberties and democratic rights in their own country (right to privacy – unravelled by their mass phone tapping, freedom of assembly – remember the 1,600 protestors rounded up in NYC 2 years ago during the Republican convention, restorative justice – 2.5 million of mainly Hispanic/Afro/Asian ethnicity currently imprisoned in the U.S.). Of course, the U.S. people have also inspired many of us on this side of the Atlantic to resist those who abuse power. You have a rich tradition of non-violent resistance and people’s struggle for their dignity and human rights.
And as we say in the Catholic Worker, we will continue to ëafflict the comfortable and comfort the afflictedí by resisting war preparations and walking alongisde those on the margins of society.

Damo on August 5, 2006 at 10:59 am

Damo,
Peace is not on trialÖrather stupidity is~
While no one would ever want to see clerics taking up arms and we all remember why David WAS NOT allowed to build the TempleÖyouíre a little confused about your Catholic theology.
Donít MISREPRESENT the Faith to the world, friend. Donít charge Catholics with dissenting from the PopeÖwhen they ARE NOT.
When REALLY, you DONíT EVEN understand the teaching of the Church on THIS matter!
ABORTION is always wrongÖso is euthanasia.
ALWAYS!
KILLING may, or may not be.
Capital punishment is left in the hands of legitimate authority, to apply their situational judgment when dealing with an aggressor.
SEE: http://www.catholic.com/thisrock/2005/0503fea2.asp for a more complete treatment of this issue.
The Muslim terrorist problem is a HUGE ONE, crossing many countryís borders with an ever increasing complexity of organization and execution of acts ñ of war.
While the IRA would warn about detonating bombsÖIslam murderers do not.
I guess you missed 911.
MUSLIM TERRORISTS have declared war on humanity my naÔve Irish friend!
Why donít you go picket and damage a local mosque, which is often a breeding ground for the formation of willing terrorists in training?
But wait!!! That wonít look cool on the LIBERAL evening news!
Plus you might get beaten up!!
Sometimes crying out ìPeaceî is just another way of saying youíre yellow.
Itís also trendy to be ANTI-AMERICAN.
Bet chaí WOO a lot of women with your ìlovey doveyî peace talk. Look at meÖIëm just like BonoÖgot the hat too man! Bet thereís a lot of makiní love, not war, with many a Dublin, or Belfast whore~
We donít tolerate terrorism over hereÖwhich for THE IRISH seems to be a way of life.
Glad to see you Irish LIBERALS siding with your murderous Islamic brethren of jihad. See TOXIC RELATIONSHIPS do work!

The Canadien on August 6, 2006 at 4:41 pm

Yes Red, you’re wrong. You can bring up whatever unconnected article you want, but the ultimate authority when it comes to Irish demographics is the CSO, that being the Central Statistics Office of the Irish Government. And whether Ireland is becoming more secular is beside the point. But if you want a counterexample, only yesterday I was at a wake for a relative of mine that had died. There were approximately 2000 people at her house over the day while decades of the rosary were being said.
And Canadien, get a bloody grip. It’s neither big nor clever to talk bigoted rubbish about a country you so obviously know very little about.

Keith Gaughan on August 7, 2006 at 7:26 am

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