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October 17, 1973 - Image 4

Resource type:
Michigan Daily, 1973-10-17

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Behind the

lines with


ir94 CMirian :;t
Eighty-three years of editorial freedom
Edited and managed by students at the University of Michigan


420 Maynard St., Ann Arbor, Mi. 48104

News Phone: 764-0552


Nixon's right to choose?

FOLLOWING SPIRO Agnew's resigna-
tion last week, Congress stood ready
to guard the national trust against the
nomination of John Connally or another
strong 1976 Presidential contender. There
was much discussion of how the nomina-
tion would be handled in both houses.
Senate liberals fought to have the Rules
Committee expanded to increase their
own leverage on the President's choice.
The message was clear: Nixon was not to
hiave a free hand in selecting the Vice
When the President announced his
choice for the Vice Presidential nomina-
tion last Friday, a mood of relief clearly
swept over Congress. Most observers
agreed that a serious clash between Capi-
tol Hill and the -White House had been
avoided by the selection of Gerald Ford
as Agnew's replacement.
E ARE TOLD the Ford nomination.
will clear Congress without much ado.
Congressional leaders of both parties
have nothing but praise for the Presi-
dent's decision. Ford, after all, has a re-
cord of distinguished service in the House
and is generally not considered to be po-
tential candidate in 1976. After a per-
functory search for skeletons in the Ford
closet the Michigan Congressman will be
confirmed as the next Vice President of
the United States.
The above scenario makes it hard to
believe that the nation has gone through
the trauma of Watergate, with the issue
of the President's complicity still unre-

solved. With the shadow of Watergate
and a variety .of other abuses of power
still hanging over the administration, it
is difficult to see why the Congress treats
the Ford nomination so lightly.
And how can one justify the bi-parti-
san praise heaped upon the nominee, who
was selected because of his unwavering
support for what many believe to be the
most corrupt administration in the na-
tion's history? In a time of grave national
doubt over his conduct in office, Nixon
has given us one of the last true believers.
THE QUESTION Congress should be
seriously discussing is whether this
President should be allowed to choose the
Vice Presidential nominee, his possible
successor, while the integrity of his own
administration is so clearly in doubt.
Some would make a case for the need
for swift Congressional action to give the
nation a Vice President. But, the nation
can get along without a Vice President as
it did for over a year following the assas-
sination of John Kennedy. Haste in this
matter can only serve the needs of a
shaky administration at the expense of
the national interest.
Congressional approval of the Ford
nomination at this time would give the
benefit of the doubt to a President who
has widened the credibility gap to a
chasm. Only through waiting until char-
ges regarding Presidential misconduct
have been fully, explored can the Con-
gress perform its constitutional role as a
check on the power of the executive.

ers and Tobacconist on the
Falls Road in central Belfast looks
at first glance vaguely like many
of the other small grocery-news
agency storefronts which dot the
urban landscape in the British
Isles. But Lena's managers to pack
into its small floor space a fairly
accurate representation of what
life is like for the Catholic minor-
ity in the six counties of Northern
On my first visit to Lena's - af-
ter the customary strong tea dilut-
ed with heavy cream and accomp-
anied by biscuits - I met a middle
aged man who took me on a tour of
the neighborhood I had been warn-
ed toavoid. The Falls Road area,
one of several Catholic ghettos in
Belfast, attracted widespread at-
tention when a curfew was impos-
ed upon its residents in July, 1970.
The Falls, as area residents speak
of it, is somewhat of a spectre.
Only a few of the many storefronts
which line the street actually house
operative stores; the rest are
abandoned shells of stores bombed
out, shot up or otherwise gone out
of business.
The approach to the Falls starts
in downtown proper, an area dis-
tinguished by a multitude of barri-
cades, each manned by a small
cotillion of British soldiers. Castle
Street downtown looks like a set
from a 1930 movie about Al Ca-
Just outside the downtown pro-
per Castle Street becomes Divis
Street and then Falls Road, men-
tioned in Beth Bryant's Ireland on
$5 and $10 a Day as the place to
go when one has an insatiable
urges to witness a John Wayne
type shoot out. This type of state-
ment represents the glib way

(NICRA), just off Castle St. in the
downtown business district. Out-
side, the sign reads A. L. Brown,
Watchmaker,ebut upstairs is a
bustling office where I met
NICRA's Assistant Organizer,
Madge Davison. NICRA tacitly
supports the Official wing of the
IRA, especially now that the lat-
ter's political wing, the Repub-
lican Clubs, is a recognized legal
entity. Despite this recognition,
only Unionist-pro-British-litera-
ture is sold in the established
downtown bookshops anJ news-
stands, whereas the Republican
News must be distributed either by
local carriers or sold by Cathclic
shops in the Catholic neighbor-
After my briefing at NICRAX, I
ambled up to the Falls Road,
where I made my first visit to
Lena's. As the Youth Hostel was
to be my base inthe quiet areas
so did Lena's become my outpost
on the Falls. When Lena and her
customers learned that I was an
American student-journalist, they
spared no effort to tell me their
impressions of the troubles, to m-
troduce me to others who would
corroborate their reports anduto
acquaint me with the neighborhood
at first hand.
Lena's itself had survived two
shooting attacks. Lena pointed out
the bullet holes and reworked win-
dows as evidence, a n d asserted
that the bullets came "right down
from the Shankill Rd." The ma-
chinist who served as my first
neighborhood guide took me to sev-
eral landmarks, including a Pro-
testant church which now serves
as a local citizens' advice office,
but which had weathered fifty
years in an almost entirely Catho-
lic area with no physical damage.
Such a fate was not shared by the

A hearse explodes in Church Lane, Belfast

"The Catholics are just like our coloured in New
Zealand. They don't like to work. They have big
families, they have noisy parties and they tend to
make an awful mess."
1ptlsimlsm tm m a~ss~itgsetssagmseitsaeiis m a

tspots grew increasingly suspic-
ious) - I explored yet another
area, the Ballymurphy housing es-
tate.. Ballymurphy is known as a
Provisional stronghold, .but it is
also known for the high percent-
age of its residents who have a
son, father or a brother interned
in the Long Kesh detainment
The day I visited was designated
for sending shipments to internees,
and I help carry boxes of food-
stuffs and presents to the loading
area. One of the women w h o
helped organized these package de-
liveries told me that families used
to send meats and thermos bottles
of tea and hot soup until this priv-
ilege was curtailed recently.
Outside three boys were play-
ing in the backyard. Theytasked
whether I were a student and
where I was from and they volun-
teered that they were trying to
get ride of the British soldiers. I
asked them how they planned to
accomplishmthis goal, andthey re-
plied "by throwing stones a n d
shouting at them," then teased me
for wearing funny shoes and pro-
ceeded with their ball game.
When I returned to the Falls, a
crowd had gathered outside the
Royal Victoria Hospital, and two
Ulsterbuses blocked the Falls to
traffic. Bystanders told me that a
Saracen armored car - had come
around a corner through a r e d
light and hit one of the IRA's "Peo-
ples taxis", injuring a passenger.
Fearing violence, the bus drivers
abandoned their buses in the mid-
dle of the road and waited as the
crowd gathered. A priest emerg-
ed from the hospital and assured
the crowd the victim would be all
right, but the crowd did not dis-
A teen-aged youth approached
me. "Want to buy a bus, r e a 1

le snickered and walked away
and I waited for something to hap-
pen. After perhaps three quarters
of an hour the bus drivers return-
ed to drive their buses back down-
town, but by the time they arrived,
school had let out and the buses
swarmed with schoolchildren, all
of them most reluctant to cooper-
ate. Soldiers streamed out of near-
by Springfield Barracks, chasing
after the rock hurtling students
with their infamous rubber bu'let
guns. Ittwas at this point that I
derided to make my way back to
"Did you see what happened
down by the hospital?" the folks
there asked, anxious to hear my
impressions. They were relieved
when my impressions matzned
their expectations.
I finished my day with a visit
to the Citizens' Defense Committee,
a legal aid group. There I had yet
another cup of tea and another
cupcake while I watched eight and
nine year old girls drop off let-
ters for delivery to their fathers
at Long Kesh, heard that alb the
patrons at a small Catholic bar
had been arrested for no appar-
ent reason and then released, and
talked with Tony Conlon, a volun-
teer CDC worker. He outlined the
work CDC goes - essentially it
aids prisoners and their families -
and argued with another volunteer
about their tactics. I flinched -s
a parade of Saracens rolled down
the Falls, and Tony suggested I
should return to the hostel.
First, though, we had to return
to Lena's. Tony was curious when
I said I had to stop by to visit
a friend but he was satisfied whep
my friend turned out to be Lana.
He and Lena compared notes (an
what to show me next and then
sent me off toward the downtown
in a People's Taxi. They and the
taxi driver all agreed that I should
not walk back to the hostel as I

Answer needed on wiretaps

' THILE THE Vice Presidency has recent-
ly become the focus of the public
eye, Watergate and the aura of paranoia
which it justifiably stimulated has almost
dropped out of sight.
With the sensational revelations of high
Presidential aides no longer forthcoming,
television networks have suspended their
daily coverage of the Senate Watergate
hearings. Even the President's continued
refusal to release his taped conversations
has become something of a dead issue.
Yet, the report Monday of Supreme
Court Justice William Douglas that the
court's conference room was bugged raises
once again the questions of surveillance
and wiretapping which were never re-
solved, even after the Watergate disclo-
The 1970 Huston plan for political sur-
veillance, which included such measures
as eavesdropping, burglary and opening
mail, raised a storm when it was first re-
'vealed last spring - but we have heard
little about it or the general issue of sur-
veillance since that time.
News: ban Biddle, Della DiPietro, Eugene
Robinson, Steven Selbst, Rolfe Tessem
Editorial Page: Zachary Schiller, Eric
Schoch, Chuck Wilbur
Arts Page: Elizabeth Coulis, Jeff Sorensen
Photo Technician: Terry McCarthy

EVEN AS Douglas reported on the al-
leged Supreme Court bugging, the
Government decided to drop its case
against 15 Weatherpersons rather than
reveal how it obtained its information
against them.
It is hard not to believe the contention
of the group's lawyers that the Govern-
ment dropped the case because a hearing
would have disclosed illegal acts such as
burglary, wiretaps and mail searches to
obtain evidence.
As if to confirm suspicions of the ex-
istence of widespread surveillance for po-
litical purposes, the New York Times re-
ported Monday that a "national security"
wiretap placed on a staff member of the
National Security Council was retained
long after he had left the Government to
work for the Muskie campaign.
THE IDEA THAT "national security"
wiretaps are legitimate if used to dis-
cover news leaks is a highly dubious one
to begin with; it is a practice upon which
virtually no limitation can be placed,
since only the President can determine
what "national security" it.
The question of surveillance, raised
once again by these recent reports of
wiretaps and other Governmental prying,
has never received an answer despite the
hubbub which erupts each time a new in-
cident occurs.
It is time that an answer be found.

many tourists and residents of Ire-
land pass over the troubles as
nothing more than nuisance to be
avoided by judicious choosing of
the proper neighborhoods to visit
and avoid.
For example, at the Belfast
Youth Hostel, which is safely nest-
led for away from the "trouble
spots," the wardens and local high
school students who congregate
there advise visiting hostelers on
various sights to see and those to
avoid. Heading the latter list is the
infamous Falls Road area along
with its "Prod" counterparts, the
Shankill Road and Sandy Row.
It was somewhat anxiously, then,
that I set off to talk with some
of the citizens of Belfast.
I stopped first at the Northern
Ireland Civil Rights Association

Catholic churches included in our
From Lena's I resumed my solo
walking tour and waited until
school let out so that I could
witness the expected gang fight-
ing between the Protestant a r d
Catholic youngsters. Such legend-
ary fighting never broke out in
my presence. It undoubtedly does
not occur near the schools them-
selves because of the de facto se-
gregation under which the Catholic
students attend subsidized paro-
chial schools and the Protestants
attend state-run schools.
On my second day of wanderng
through the "problem" areas -
against the advice of the hostel
warden (one day was presumably
excusable as a curiosity nait be-
yond that one's visits to trouble

The next day, the. New Zealand-
er again engaged me in conversa-
tion, and I kept having flashbacks
to my talks with the people along
the Falls.
"I can see why you're upset
about the troubles," he said. "But
you don't understand them, being
of your type." I wasn't sure what
he meant by that, until he went
on to tell me "the Jews are an
industrious lot, like the Protest-
ants here." I hoped I was turn-
ing green in front of his face, but
I knew I wasn't and if I had he
would not have noticed, so intent
was he on finishing his simpiified
guide to the Irish question.
"If there are ten people working
together one will take over a' the
boss, it's just human nature. And
here he'll be a Protestant because
they're better workers and hust-
lers. Now if you give a Catholic
five quid he'll go off to the pob
instead of trying to increase it.
I turned away momentarily and
remembered my tour guide along
the Falls. "I work in a skilled
job," - he was some type of ma-
chinist - "and the Protestants
in the easier jobs have been earn-
ing more than I. This isn't a relig-
ions war, It's political. They have
the better homes and the better
jobs and they want to keep them."
And my friend in Lena's came
to mind, too. "You don't see any
of those" - he motioned toward
a passing Saracen - "up where
you live, do you? You know why?
Because w're the coloureds of Ire-
land." he proclaimed.
I passed through downtown Bel-
fast once more, watched as Little-,
wood's, one of the large British
department stores, was evacuat-
ed for a bomb scare, had my per-
son and my purse checked by sev-
eral sets of soldiers, surveyed the
barbed wire barricades, remem-
bered that only Hitler's govern-
ment shared with the Ulster re-
gimei the right to intern women
in this century. I thought about
South African President Vorster's
remark that he would trade in,
apartheid for one Special Powers
act, and then I set off for Dublin.
On the way, I passed ,a poster
leftover from lastesummer's elec-
tions. "Keep Ulster in your safe!t
hands, Vote Unionist. Vanguard."
I looked down at the box of candy
Lena had given me for the long
,ride ahead. Smiling on the cover
was the name "Something Spec-
ial." I smiled back, and the lorry
trudged slowly toward the South.
Rose Sue Berstein is a former edi-
tor of The Daily.
Letters to The Daily should
be mailed to the Editorial Di-
rector or delivered to Mary
Rafferty in the Student Pub-
lications business office in the
Michigan Daily building. Letters
should be typed, double-spaced
and normally should not exceed
250 words. The Editorial Direc-
tors reserve the right to edit
all letters submitted.

had planned.
Very few people walking around
in the gloomy Belfast dusk except
soldiers and intrepid natives. I
had heard stories about the British
soldiers with blackened faces -
the residents call them Ulster
mummers - who whisper t )air-
;; tain their secrecy, but I had nto
desire to meet one myself.
44 'Back at the hostel the warden
e and his wife finally told me their
opinion of the troubles, although
I had intuitively estimated their
feelings from earlier comments
they had made. They find the Falls
area "depressing" and "boring"
and couldn'tunderstand why a
foreigner wvould w a nt to v i s i t
A visitor from New Zealand fin-
ally articulated what the natives
would not say. He was a fifty-ish
businessman slumming it in the
hostel, ostensibly in Belfast on a
business trip although he told me
he had been born just outside the
city. The problem, he said, "is that
the Catholics are just like our
coloureds in New Zealand. They
don't like to work. They have big.
families, they have noisy parties,
C~tea CLSand they tend to make an awful
'. ea gas mess. That's what the problem is."
Moral symbol for

WAN" 'S L' E A44i Wig Lk :S .1
tJ Y Y
" s /r

Ulster children ,run from

Spiro Agneu
SPIRO, OF COURSE you did not do anything
wrong. Oh we believe you Spiro. We believe
you. Shame on your accusers! You would never
act to lessen our faith in you.
Dishonesty? No, you were not dishonest. You
just did things for people. You were helping peo-
ple. Isn't that what public service is all about?
And if you can not help others, well then the
only person left to help is ...
But forgive me Spiro, I digress. Just because
you did favors for people is no reason for you
to be punished. And what a punishment. My heart
goes out to you. It is far too strict.
Why, just to think that in this country of due
process the press could conspire to destroy you
and prevent your morality from becoming the
law of the land. Will the press stop at nothing?
AS YOU HAVE said so many times, the law
is for the protection of society. We have no place


national prominence was soon to occur.
From county executive to governor of the state
known for its crabs. The future was bright, so why
risk it by even the faintest appearance of mal-
feasance? You would never do that, even if your
ethics permitted it.
BESIDES, A GIFT is just that. They gave you
things because they liked you and your warmth
and truly touching human concern. They loved
you Spiro, they really did.
Those bridges and roads had to be built. Public
convenience and safety depended on it. So, with
your typical courage and with the aid of the
contractors, you acted. The people were grateful.
Politics is a high calling in life. Many shrink
from their responsibilities, but not you. You called
a spade a spade. You knew a ghetto when you saw
it. You knew and were outraged to think that
welfare recipients, people who should have been
thankful to their government and its institutions,

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