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Clerical sex abuse, an upper crust whistle blower and privatising western thuggery
Eamonn McCann, 13 Jan 2003
`many stories have come and gone over the past 12 months, but one has just kept on coming back.
A book or television programme highlights the latest splurge of cases of clerical child sex abuse. Outraged editorials, TDs on Questions And Answers, callers-in to radio shows all declare that this time drastic action will, must, follow. Bishops again plead past ignorance and renew firm pledges of amendment. Inquiries are promised and committees selected to draft terms of reference. Liberal newspapers carry serious-faced features urging an end to clerical celibacy, the ordination of women, greater lay participation in the councils of the Church. The point is repeatedly made: if the bishops had been parents and/or women, they’d have come down hard and without any hesitation on priests they had reason to believe were abusing children, not shifted them to another parish to access fresh victims.
Nobody talks of anything else for a week. Then the focus drifts away, until another television programme or whatever brings the story back, at which point it becomes apparent that, really, nothing’s changed since the last time. The merry-go-round takes another whirl and we all wonder vaguely if there’s something we’re missing.
These thoughts occurred as I read reports of the US bishops’ fall conference in Washington last month. Summing up the four-day gathering, Archbishop James P. Keleher of Kansas City said: “The revelations of sexual abuse, which are obviously so much against our call to be holy, wholesome men, stimulate us to call for all the faithful to consider what it means to lead a holy, wholesome life.”
Words which come in such cloudy swirls are usually intended to obscure the truth.
A two-phase plan was agreed at Washington for implementing the policy of “zero tolerance” which, it might be recalled, was agreed amid great hullabulloo at an emergency meeting of the American bishops in Dallas some months back. Phase One, which the bishops say is already under way, involves “purifying” the church by rooting out the miscreants.
Phase Two is designed to “lead the church back to holiness” by “proclaiming core doctrine and discipline.” This involves, apparently, “shunning the notion that the church should change, allow married, gay or female priests or rethink teaching on birth control, divorce or sexuality.”
Speaking for the conference, Auxiliary Bishop Allen H. Vigneron of Detroit explained: “These are things in the church that are not policies. They’re doctrines, and they aren’t ever going to be negotiable. For us to explain ourselves as a church, we need to say that.”
Far from Church leaders having accepted that radical change is called for, their response to the torrent of scandal is to stiffen resistance to change.
So much for the headlines from Dallas suggesting that a shaken hierarchy was ready to think the hitherto unthinkable about Church governance.
So much, too, for the reform hopes of millions who have been appalled by the rottenness revealed but who, thus far, cannot bring themselves to break definitively from Catholicism. This allows the bishops, in the US as in Ireland, to sit out the storm until conditions sufficiently abate for them to resume their role of organising the maiming of minds and the abuse of the bodies of innocent children.
Make a clean break from superstition this Xmas! For the sake of the children, ditch Catholicism now!
The news that there’d been a fire at the flower shop in Holt, near Wrexham, owned by former royal butler Paul Burrell and that the cops reckoned it was malicious sent a frisson of a-ha! across the slumped ranks of hackery at the Bloody Sunday Inquiry hearings in London, coming, as it did, within the octave of the evidence of Sir David Ramsbotham.
Sir David is an altogether splendid chap, and a rarity. Last year, he was sacked by then Home Secretary Jack Straw as HM Chief Inspector of Prisons after he’d produced a series of reports accurately reflecting the vindictive cruelties of the prison system. What finally seems to have done for him was a passage in a report on Holloway in which he quoted a member of the prison staff saying that she was an Ibo from Nigeria but had never experienced anything as horrible as the way inmatess were treated in the London gaol.
Back in 1972, Ramsbotham was aide-de-camp to Britain’s top soldier, Field Marshall Sir Michael (later Lord) Carver, Chief of the General Staff. He organised Carver’s diary, accompanied him at official events and briefed him before important gatherings—-such as meetings of Edward Heath’s cabinet, which the CGS regularly attended when matters pertaining to the miltary were up for discussion.
On the witness stand at the Inquiry, Ramsbothan recalled a close friend, Lt. Col. Peter Welsh of the Royal Green Jackets, phoning him from Derry in the week prior to Bloody Sunday to express dismay and alarm at plans to bring the First Battalion of the Parachute Regiment to the city to “police” a civil rights march. Ramsbotham said he passed on Welsh’s feelings to Carver, and that he was “quite certain” that Carver had alerted the cabinet to the fact that the paras were to be used in Derry and to the possibility of a “shooting war” developing. This is one of the grounds for believing that senior British politicians had more advance knowledge of Bloody Sunday than any has cared or dared to admit.
More pertinently: Ramsbotham confirmed that England’s chief law officer at the time, the Lord Chancellor, Lord Hailsham, had advised the cabinet that soldiers in Northern Ireland had a legal right to shoot people they believed were obstructing the army as “enemies of the Queen.”
You see the point. If they’d massacre people they perceived as enemies of the Queen, they wouldn’t think twice about burning down their flower shops.
DynCorp. I knew I’d heard that name before.
The item on CNN told that DynCorp had taken over from US “special forces” as bodyguards to Afghan president Karzai. The story featured reassuring pictures of DynCorp personnel, tight-assed, taut-faced chaps giving an impressive show of formation scurrying as Karzai left a building and walked bravely towards a car.
US troops were being phased out of certain jobs in Afghanistan and reassigned to the wars against terrorism and Iraq, it was explained.
DynCorp. Ah, yes. Gottit. Previously best-known for running a sex ring while employed on peace-keeping duty by the United Nations in Bosnia. Exposed by one Ben Johnston, a former DynCorp official. In the course of a lawsuit against the firm, Johnston provided an affidavit describing fellow workers and senior supervisors literally buying and selling women for their personal gratification. “Employees would brag about the various ages and talents of the individual slaves they had purchased,” recalled Johnston. Some DynCorp folk videotaped themselves and others raping girls as young as 12, he alleged.
None of this appears to have disbarred DynCorp from tendering for similar contracts in other territories freed for the market by US military action.
DynCorp has had another stroke of good commercial fortune recently. It’s just been awarded a $31 million contract by the Defence Threat Reduction Agency to advise the Bush administration on how to halt the spread of weapons of mass destruction. (That’s the spread of the weapons to countries other than allies of the US, of course.)
DynCorp was also – no surprise here – one of the biggest donors to the Bush presidential campaign in 2000.
We can expect more of this. The wars against “terrorism” and against Iraq are reflections in military terms of the drive towards privatisation and letting the free market rip through every aspect of life in every part of the globe. Privatising western thuggery around the world makes sense.
Support slavery, murder and child rape! Support the war against terror!