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JOHN REID - 'WAR CRIMINAL' TAKES CELTIC CHAIR

Saturday, Sep 29, 2007

NOTE: This article was not written by Jeanette Findlay as previously stated. The original author is unknown.

It has recently been announced that former Cabinet Minister John Reid will become the next chairman of Celtic. So what of the man who will replace Brian Quinn?

John Reid was born in the mining village of Cardowan in May 1947, the son of a postman and a factory worker, humble roots which he makes much capital of. He was an unremarkable student who left school at 16 to become an insurance clerk and married his childhood sweetheart Cathie McGowan before going to Stirling University as a mature student aged 24.

Although the married Reid was well-known for his womanising and a disposition to sing Irish rebel songs in the students’ union bar, he became even more prominent when elected as president of the students’ union. It was during these elections that Reid’s reputation as a careerist was born, standing as the communist candidate despite the reservations of the party on campus. Jim White, secretary of the Young Communist League now reflects that Reid was an “opportunist” while Ken Ferguson, another former student comrade, says that “he wasn’t political”. Reid won, but soon switched sides. The Guardian’s Tom Bower says that “financial imperatives had persuaded him to abandon the communists for Labour”. Such ruthless ambition and an absence of any real conviction became the hallmark of Reid’s career.

As he made the switch from student politics to the real thing (making his name as a researcher and speech-writer for Neil Kinnock) he found old habits died hard. Reid continued in his lecherous ways and the Mail on Sunday recently revealed that he pestered fellow Labour MP Dawn Primarolo for sex. Not content with a very public rejection in a Berlin hotel bar on an All-Party trip, witnessed by stunned Parliamentary colleagues, Reid is thought to have harassed Primarolo over a number of years. He famously declared, to her understandable disgust, that “I want to have sex with you, I want to f**k you, you want it as well”. The reformed alcoholic proved himself to be just as eloquent sober, introducing himself to his second wife, the Brazilian film-maker Carine Adler, by telling her “I’ve been admiring your a***”.

Reid’s aggression was not confined to sexual harassment and he first came to public attention by drunkenly attacking an attendant in Parliament. His political fortunes improved after beating the bottle but his reputation as a bully was only enhanced and it was no surprise that after New Labour’s landslide election victory in 1997 Reid was rewarded for his loyalty to new leader Tony Blair by his appointment as Armed Forces Minister. Reid happily posed as Action Man on a British Army tank.

By 1999 Reid was in Blair’s Cabinet, given the job of Secretary of State for Scotland. And here it gets very interesting. Investigating the lobbyists who try to influence our elected representatives The Observer newspaper filmed John Reid’s 24 year-old son Kevin boasting to potential clients “I know the Secretary of State very, very well, because he’s my father”. Once the story broke Kevin Reid’s usefulness to his employer, Beattie Media, was outlived and his short career as a lobbyist was over just a few months after it had begun. His father had more of a direct influence in his previous job though this too was mired in controversy. New Labour was struggling to finance its election campaign for the inaugural Scottish Parliament when John Reid came upon a novel idea: Kevin and two others could join the election campaign staff and be put ‘through the books’ as researchers for Scottish Labour MPs (Reid among them) and therefore have their wages paid by Westminster. The ruse was uncovered and Elizabeth Filkin, the Parliamentary Commissioner for Standards, severely censured Reid for abusing his privileged position. In the course of the investigation Reid was taped intimidating party colleagues to get their stories straight and Filkin found that he was guilty of “threats of a particularly disturbing kind”.

Reid later took on the role of Health Secretary and was responsible for handing Labour donor Paul Drayson’s pharmaceutical company a £32m government contract. Despite requests under the Freedom of Information Act to disclose information on how the contract was awarded Reid’s department refused to do so. The Parliamentary Ombudsman quite understandably viewed this as a “matter of great concern”.

And so we come to Dermot Desmond, the power behind the chairman’s throne. Desmond’s “vehicle management solutions” company Venson is a generous donor to New Labour, giving £34, 375 earlier this year. This probably comes as no surprise, since they’ve benefited from the government’s Private Finance Initiative policy to the tune of lucrative contracts with Nottingham Police, Merseyside Fire Service and the East Anglia Ambulance Fund. According to the register of MPs’ interests Desmond’s generosity also stretched to flying John Reid to the 2007 Scottish Cup Final. Reid also reports that he was taken, all-expenses-paid, to the Uefa Cup semi-final second leg away to Boavista, and the final in Seville itself, as a guest of the Club.

Dermot Desmond, of course, didn’t get rich by giving his money away and John Reid wasn’t the first politician to be showered with gifts by the billionaire. Desmond is known to have made secret payment to the off-shore account of Charlie Haughey, the disgraced former Taoiseach, and spent £75,000 on a lavish refit of Haughey’s private yacht. The Moriarty Tribunal into Haughey’s conduct said it was a “reasonable inference that Mr Desmond’s motive for making these payments was connected with the public office of Taoiseach”. Desmond’s business interests extend to financing biometrics company Daon, who are in the business of airport security and have recently linked up with the American Association of Airport Executives to develop tamperproof ID cards. John Reid, whose last brief in Blair’s Cabinet was as a Home Secretary responsible for security issues, is co-incidently the foremost champion of ID cards in Britain. When Dean Nelson, the editor of the Scottish edition of the Sunday Times commented that Reid’s ethos is “not about making life better for the working class … [but] … about looking after yourself and your mates and not being accountable to anyone” it didn’t come as too much of a shock to those who’ve followed Reid’s career so when the story broke linking Reid to the chairman’s job at Celtic Park its tone was just as unsurprising. The Daily Telegraph report "The appointment of Mr Reid, 60, has been pushed for by Dermot Desmond, the Irish entrepreneur who is the largest shareholder in the club. Mr Reid might also become involved in the airport security company, Daon, which is backed by Mr Desmond. Sources said the financier is keen to get access to Mr Reid's formidable contacts book, which includes people such as America's head of Homeland Security, Michael Chertoff."

Desmond’s attraction to appointing Reid, who remarked “when Tony Blair asks me to do something, I’ll do it”, is fairly evident. But the unsuitability of Reid, the sex pest, bully and lackey, for the post extends even beyond the likelihood that his appointment would render our club nothing but a convenient pawn in a billionaire’s business plan.

After being moved from his position as Scottish Secretary in the wake of Lobbygate Reid took on the role of Secretary of State for ‘Northern Ireland’. Upon his appointment he declared himself “a Catholic, a Brit, a Celtic supporter and a unionist". This Catholic, Celtic-supporting Brit certainly nailed his colours to the unionist mast, suspending the power-sharing Stormont Executive when an alleged “IRA spy-ring” was uncovered in October 2002. Reid, who was ultimately responsible for intelligence gathering in the north of Ireland, watched on as 200 RUC/PSNI officers raided homes across nationalist west Belfast. Despite several arrests in a blaze of publicity all charges laid were later dropped and it later became clear that the principle “suspect”, Denis Donaldson, was an RUC Special Branch informer. Sinn Fein’s Martin McGuinness rather astutely observed that “what we are seeing is John Reid effectively taking up the demands of the unionist political leadership who have already very clearly stated they are opposed to the Good Friday Agreement”.

Into the power vacuum created by Reid stepped Ian “A Protestant Parliament for a Protestant people” Paisley’s Democratic Unionist Party and the power-sharing institutions have only recently been restored. Reid became the British direct ruler in Ireland and befriended Ronnie Flanagan, the then Chief Constable of the RUC/PSNI. Under Flanagan’s watch the RUC colluded with loyalist paramilitaries in the murders of republicans and nationalists, and those unionists who opposed the loyalist’s reign of terror were also seen as fair game. Mark Thompson, spokesman for the campaigning Relatives for Justice group says that responsibility for state murder lies “squarely with the British government” and Reid later gave his own seal of approval to state-sponsored murder in the north of Ireland by commissioning Flanagan to review the capabilities of the Iraqi police in December 2005.

Flanagan would no doubt feel quite at ease in this role - after all comparisons could be drawn with his old stomping ground in the Six Counties, as Iraq too is occupied by an Imperial power and the police ranks are swelled by sectarian bigots. While Flanagan’s hands were bloodied as his police force murdered with impunity in Ireland, John Reid’s bloody imprint is all over the occupation of Iraq. When the late Robin Cook took a principled stand against the proposed war and resigned from government, there was only one man Tony Blair was going to call to replace him as Leader of the House of Commons, John Reid, the “attack dog” of New Labour. Reid’s main task was to make sure MPs were ‘on message’ and voted for the illegal, immoral war. Tragically he was successful.

After a brief spell as Health Secretary, when he displayed his financial acumen by striking a deal over consultants pay that many feel is responsible for NHS deficits and job cuts (Paul Miller, the British Medical Association’s negotiator during talks with Reid says that he “under-estimated the huge amounts consultants would earn in overtime”) he became directly responsible for the war crimes committed by the invasion and occupation of Iraq as Defence Secretary. In Reid’s short spell in the role he urged people to be “slow to condemn” troops who were caught on videotape abusing Iraqi captives and even the previously compliant local administration broke off ties with their British occupiers – Basra Council in protest at the mistreatment of Iraqi civilians, while the city governor denounced the “barbaric aggression” of the occupying force. Whilst he was Defence Secretary two cases of war crimes, under the banner of the International Criminal Court, were held before British court martial. Seven soldiers were brought before the court martial on charges relating to the horrific murder of Basra hotel worker Baha Mousa, who had 93 separate injuries inflicted on him. All were acquitted, though Cpl Donald Payne became the first British soldier to be convicted of a war crime after admitting to the inhumane treatment of detainees. The second related to the deliberate drowning of 15 year-old Ahmed Jabber Kareem Ali. While the military trials were ongoing the Tory MP Ben Wallace quite pertinently remarked that “if we are charging these men with neglect we must recognise that the chain of command does not stop with commanding officers”.

Not that Iraq was Reid’s first brush with war crimes. In the early 1990s he built up a friendship with Radovan Karadzic. Karadzic led the Bosnian Serbs during the Balkan conflict and at its height in 1993 he entertained Reid at a luxury lakeside hotel in Geneva. Perhaps it was during his 3 days holidaying with the mastermind of the Srebrenica massacre that the boy from Cardowan’s appetite for war was whetted. When asked in a recent interview with The Independent about his links to Karadzic Reid could only tersely reply that “These are matters for the International Criminal Court”. So, too, should John Reid’s crimes in Iraq.

Reid, escaping justice, saw out his Cabinet career with the Home Office portfolio, and it was here his conversion from student lefty was complete as his reactionary policies moved the Sunday Herald’s widely-respected commentator Iain MacWhirter to call him “an authoritarian of the populist right”. Not content with the vain search for ‘weapons of mass destruction’ in war-torn Iraq Reid appealed to the “bombralot of them” sentiments of the Sun’s more excitable readership, arguing for the right of pre-emptive strike (i.e. going to war without being attacked) and refusing to condemn the US’s appalling detention and torture in Guantanamo Bay and its ‘extradordinary rendition’ flights, which pass through British airports.

His credentials as a reactionary were further strengthened by his irrational immigration policy. When asylum seekers at Harmondsworth detention centre set fire to the camp in protest at the horrendous conditions Reid furiously called it an “attempt to sabotage the enforcement of our immigration law”. This immigration law was shown to be morally redundant when Reid ordered the forced removal of 32 failed Iraqi asylum seekers, despite their appeals having not been heard (this draconian “presumption of deportation” was a John Reid invention). The Iraqis, of course, were returned to a war-zone created by Reid and his colleagues. They were more-than-likely picked up in a ‘dawn raid’, torn from the communities they called home in the middle of the night. While mainstream Scottish society recoils in horror at dawn raids and the dreadful Dungavel detention centre, where those fleeing persecution and their children are locked up, our working-class hero does not. The then Home Secretary saw political opportunity and happily smiled for the cameras, accompanying police on a 5am raid to drag families from their homes. His ire was not reserved only for asylum seekers, but legal migrants too. In a further sop to the right-wing papers he was to whip up yet more anger, ranting that “It is unfair that foreigners come to this country and steal our benefits, steal our services and undermine the minimum wage by working”. The only thing undermining the minimum wage, benefits and services, however, was Reid’s illogical capping of migrants from the newly-acceded EU states of Romania and Bulgaria. This meant that while Romanians and Bulgarians were, as EU citizens, allowed to live here, they weren’t allowed to legally work – meaning less taxes and a pool of illegal workers for unscrupulous employers to exploit, eroding the minimum wage for all. John Reid didn’t care though, for pandering to the anti-immigrant sentiments of the media and creating a climate of fear and hatred was just a good career move.

So there we have John Reid. We also have the supreme irony that Reid, the anti-immigrant warmonger and war criminal, and a former British direct ruler of Ireland is now the chairman of Celtic, a club founded by (and largely for) the poor Irish immigrant community in Glasgow, driven from their homeland by the effects of British rule and conflict in Ireland.

You can sign the petition here: http://www.gopetition.com/online/14473.html

 

LONDON CELTIC SUPPORTERS- 5 A SIDE TOURNAMENT

Reporters: Accurate and Jinky, August 2003

While tens of thousands of people headed to West London for The Notting Hill Carnivala few brave souls rose from their pits early on Sunday morning, sporting hangovers and a sense of foreboding.

London No.1 C.S.C. with its proud football heritage, gathered in leafy Chiswick to take on the might of 6 other C.S.Cs - Scarbourgh, W. London, Henrik Larsson No.1/Wimbledon,Shepherds Bush and Greenford., with Wimbledon and Henrik Larsson combining to make 1 team.

Our team consisted of John "the Cat" Campbell; Dennis "Demolition Man"O'Rourke; John "Debonair" Shields ; Gerry "the Maestro" McGachy; Alan"Accurate" Persaud; Liam "the Pro" Higgins; Angus "Brushstrokes" Robertson; Martin "the Silent Assassin" Walsh; and last and least Joe "Jinky" Clark, who was nearly hospitalised in the warm up, when a wayward shot from"Accurate" blasted into his face...lucky it was only a left footer!

Our starting line up in our first game v West London ; was the Cat in goal, Demolition and Debonair, at the back, and Maestro and Accurate goalhanging...sorry pressing forward.

After a slow start due to chronic dehydration, with the Cat in outstanding form, we used our subs wisely and got into our stride...the Pro adding the balance required and we ended up gubbing them 6-1.

As we trudged wheezing and creaking from the arena, for a well earned Regal, we were informed that we were to play Tony Devlins mob, who were all kitted out in a fetching and inappropriate blue! ( St Joseph's G.F.C.).

They turned out to be a pretty poor team, but in the end their youth told and they outlasted us 3-2. Again the Cat performed heroics, spilling blood on this occasion.

But now we were in the semi finals {there were only 6 teams!} We were next up against a set of finely honed muscular young men from Shepherds Bush.

Someone suggested a handicap system should have been implemented, whereby the average age of the teams should be subtracted...us 42 them 21...42-21=21...so we get a 21 goal start...if this had been agreed we would have won a bruising encounter 22-8!

Well, that just left the playoff match for 3rd and 4th place againstScarbourgh ..a team so young that none of them had purchased his firstrazor. Again, after a thoroughly spirited, skilful and committed display we went into half time 3-2 ahead. Unfortunately their youth {average age 18} told in the second half, as they got faster as we got slower. They shaded the match 5-4?? So we came 4th.

We can't remember which team won the tournament, but we think they come form somewhere down Goldhawk Road, but for the 5 other teams, we had a great time and played in the true spirit of the game and the occasion.

Afterwards we manoeuvred our aching and complaining bodies to the New Inn Brentford for refreshments. There the trophies were presented, the loudest cheer coming for the award of player of the tournament by unanimousconsent...none other than our own John "the Cat" Campbell [63], a greatexample to all those youngsters out there!

Also, if there had been a prize for best travelling support, we would have won it hands down. Many thanks to Jean and kids, Ryan, Charlene, andMichellewho made a London No.1 COME ON! banner, and to Nessa and Gemma for their vocal support.

Another personal highlight for Alan was meeting Stan Bowles - in hiscapacity as Chairman of the ladies netball team - (They were holding afunction at the new Inn as well ) whom hethanked for giving me so much joy in the seventies..that's Stan not the netball team. ( That's what you are saying Alan !! )

The teams all mixed freely, except the "wining" team who didn't appear to know the words to "Fields of Athenrye", and who left after the presentation, maybe they wanted to go to the Carnival.

Finally, as usual on such occasions the London No.1 were first to arrive and last to leave...cos they stopped serving.

Hail Hail and looking forward to the next one, Jean just has to find outwhen the last tube stops the next time.

 

LIVE:

CELTIC v. Aalborg
Champions League

Wed, 17th Sep., 2008
19:45

The Cock Tavern

AGM

THUR, 17th July 2008
19:00 pm

The Cock Tavern

Coming Up:

AGM: 19:00, 17th July

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