September 15, 2003


Fascism In The Name Of Security (Jimmy Breslin, September 14, 2003, Newsday)

To the Justice Department of John Ashcroft, John McNicholl is a lifelong criminal. He also is a Catholic, and I almost never waste my time pointing this out, but in matters with John Ashcroft, I believe that his psalm-singing, right-wing, country-road religion leaves him somewhat suspicious of Catholics, if not more. [...]

John McNicholl, 51, lived with his wife, Frances, and three children, in peace since 1984 in Upper Darby, Pa. He has applied for citizenship and has gone to the immigration office every three months to renew a work permit. His wife is a naturalized citizen and his children are citizens.

The immigration people read British reports that McNicholl, in Northern Ireland in 1972, had been involved in shooting a policeman. Someone else was convicted, but the British said he must have been guilty. Any young man in those Northern Irish towns who wasn't arrested by the British or Protestant police isn't worth talking about. The British threw him into the Maze prison. Don't worry about McNicholl. He busted out of the place and got to Philadelphia. As he was not guilty in Northern Ireland, he wrote on a visa application that he never had been arrested. Immigration people here say he lied. [...]

And in the middle of July, at 5:30 a.m., McNicholl left his house as he always did for his union job as a sprinkler fitter.

He gets outside his house and he is jumped by four men in plain clothes who came out of a car. He begins to holler. Inside this house, his oldest son, Sean, 18, wakes up to the shouts.

"I thought he was in pain," he said. He ran onto the street in time to see the car driving away with his father in back.

McNicholl was allowed to call his wife at 6:30 a.m. He was in a York, Pa., detention center. He was allowed to see her for a half-hour.

"I got talking to him," she was saying on Friday night. "They had him in chains. Here is a man who worked for eight years and used his own name and lived in the same place with his family. He worked every hour they gave him. And they have him in chains."

When she left, they took McNicholl out of the place and deported him to Ireland without telling her. [...]

That this American government of bigots from the Low IQ states can run over our Bill of Rights, grabbing somebody with no warning in the dark hours, is a terrorist act by psalm-singers. The only way to defend yourself is to vote them out. Those who don't are fans of fascism.

It is no exaggeration to say that this column is incoherent--a couple sentences are truly indecipherable. But as a general matter, just because you are an Irish-Catholic doesn't mean that the IRA aren't terrorists. And if you're an alien who lies to U.S. immigratioon authorities, you're a criminal.

Posted by Orrin Judd at September 15, 2003 9:36 PM

The Patriot Act was passed with nearly unanimous consent - whom would Breslin vote out? And does he know (or care) that his hero would have been treated the same way on Sept. 10, 2001 if the facts are as he presents them (despite the indecipherable way he mentions them)?

Posted by: jim hamlen at September 15, 2003 10:49 PM

Geez, how about some originality at least, Breslin? Fascists, Nazis - yawn.


Posted by: SteveMG at September 16, 2003 12:12 AM

I mean, if Breslin's story is accurate (a dubious proposition), then you feel for the guy, but the question was not "have you been convicted of a crime?" but "have you been arrested?"

Posted by: Paul Cella at September 16, 2003 9:10 AM

I don't now Breslin's own background (I'd take
a guess), but any Irishman or or descendent of
an Irishman who won't call a spade a spade
regarding Irish Republican terrorism is a disgrace
to the race.

Anyone who actually listens to Ashcroft or reads
something he writes realizes he is a very sober-headed individual.

Irish Americans have occupied every position there
is to hold in this country not to mention in
the whole rest of the Anglosphere. Any one of
them who fancies himself some sort of "other"
needs to get a life and shut the F--- up.

I'm sick of it really.

Posted by: J.H. at September 16, 2003 9:19 AM

"Low IQ states." Apparently he has his own concept of the Untermensch. Breslin's incoherency is probably tied to his near senility.

Posted by: at September 16, 2003 10:03 AM

Did you know this about John McNicholl (the one referred to as a criminal) - John's lawyer found out that a person had been tried, convicted and sentenced to 20 years for the death of this RUC member John suppos. killed. . . Now, the INS has decided to charge John with conspiracy and possession of weapons over 20 years ago. They just wanted him back there - anyone interested can sign a petition at

We need to get John back to his family.

Posted by: Hope at September 18, 2003 12:32 AM