Tomás Ó Flatharta

Looking at Things from the Left

Archive for the ‘Media Sources -Reliable Versus Unreliable’ Category

Prevent Vatican Control of Ireland’s New National Maternity Hospital

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According to an Irish Times report (May 4 2022) the Dublin government is delaying implementation of a scheme to allow Vatican control over a new National Maternity Hospital in Ireland :

two members of the HSE board, Prof Deirdre Madden and Dr Sarah McLoughlin, dissented from a decision to approve the legal documents.

Green Party TDs Neasa Hourigan and Patrick Costello were among dozens of party members who wrote to the party’s Ministers to “implore” them to block the proposed moved.

Opposition politicians yesterday called on the Government to delay approval of the move before an Oireachtas debate on the matter.

Anne Conway reports : “The New Maternity Hospital Deal is rotten to the core. The new St Vincent’s Holdings Company that will run the new hospital being associated with The Panama Papers shows the immorality of it all. The economic brutality of the religious who were involved in instigating the new NMH handover is mirrored in their brutality to women and children in their care in industrial schools,Magdalen Laundries etc. Sexual abuse occured so paedophiles were among them. How can the Government proceed with handing over a 1 billion plus state of the art hospital to these people?”

Marie O’Connor’s detailed article (see below) gives readers the facts – a shady business deal is designed to prevent the new National Maternity Hospital being public and secular.

A public demonstration occurs on Saturday May 7 at 2.00pm outside the gates of Leinster House, Kildare Street – notice is below.

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“Ukrainian town fights off Russians and faces down hospital bombing” – Remember that name – Bashtanka.

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Introductory Note :

Daniel McLaughlin is an old-fashioned war-correspondent, who writes for the Irish Times. This report, published on Saturday April 30 2022, illustrates very vividly the real nature of the current war in Europe, the most dangerous conflict on the continent since World War 2.

This is a war of Ukrainian national liberation against a far-right ethnic-cleansing imperialist state headed by Vladimir Putin. The residents of Bashtanka, in the words of the town’s mayor, Aleksandr Berehovyi, decided to fight because “we had no choice”.

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Can Ukraine Militarily Defeat the Far-Right Russian Ethnic-Cleanser Invader? Is the “Porcupine” Military Resistance Strategy Working?

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At first, since the winter of 2021, many well-educated observers doubted Russia would invade Ukraine. Then many of them expected a quick crushing Russian military victory. Facts, stubborn things, have demolished these predictions.

Writing in the Good Friday 2022 edition of the Irish Times, Brussels Correspondent Naomi O’Leary introduces us to the “Porcupine Strategy” :

The Ukrainian Military Porcupine Strategy

The resilience and effectiveness of Ukraine’s defence, and ability to impose great costs on Russia despite Moscow’s vastly greater numbers, have significance far beyond Ukraine.

It’s a vindication of the so-called porcupine strategy that underpins the defence of many other states that contend with a larger neighbour they suspect of territorial designs.

Estonia (1.3 million), Latvia (1.9 million), and Lithuania (2.8 million) will always suffer a numerical disadvantage compared to Russia (144 million). They have long feared the expansionary ambitions of their large neighbour, particularly since the annexation of Crimea.

Their strategy in response is not to try to match Moscow’s numbers – that would be impossible – but to make themselves indigestible. More trouble to attack than they are worth.

Is it possible that, in months and years to come, the Ukraine policy : militarily resist the Russian invasion – using weapons wherever they could get them – will be hailed as the “common sense” view of all on the left? That might seem unlikely now, but stubborn facts should force a rethink. A selection of left policies, Good Friday 2022 vintage, such as

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Ukraine : On-the-Spot Reports by Good Correspondents are Invaluable : Tony Connelly (RTÉ) and Daniel McLaughlin (Irish Times)

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Every major war tests news sources. Blizzards of disinformation should not deter us from seeking the truth. We can identify good and bad journalists. Two excellent war reporters are quoted here. Tony Connelly of the Irish State Broadcaster RTÉ, and Daniel McLaughlin of the Irish Times. We need them. We are attempting to rescue the reputation of the international revolutionary anti-war Left. In this respect the quotations below from two outstanding chroniclers of World War 1 and the 1917 Russian Revolution – John Reed and Leon Trotsky, are extremely good guides for activists combatting the Russian Ethnic Cleanser invasion of Ukraine in dark days of 2022.

Tony Connelly in Ukraine – as of noon Irish time, Sunday February 27 2022 – Day Four of the Invasion and Some Predictable Conclusions Already

It’s day four of the invasion and some predictable conclusions already. A civilian death toll – over 200 killed. But I suppose a more surprising element to this is a strong sense that this is going to be a lot harder than Vladimir Putin had expected.

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British State Trying to Shoot a Birmingham Six Messenger Chris Mullin – Journalist in the Old Bailey Dock – Charged under 2000 ‘Terrorism Act” because he is protecting his sources

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This Duncan Campbell story comes from the British Guardian Newspaper. The journalist and former Labour MP (Sunderland South) Chris Mullin is protecting his sources. He bravely confronted a monstrous British State frame-up of Six Irish political hostages, jailed for 16 years for a crime they did not commit. These men were known all over the world as The Birmingham Six.

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Aggressive suppression and zero tolerance of Covid are crucial – Damning Attack on Irish Government CoVid-19 Pandemic Policy

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A number of medical experts and Zero-CoVid campaigners – notably Tomás Ryan – have published an Irish Times letter ((Monday January 17 2022) criticizing the “let it rip” pandemic policy of the Dublin government. The letter directly responds to an Irish Times columnist – Senator Michael McDowell, a former Attorney-General and Minister for Justice – who says the Leinster House administration “should err on the side of keeping society open”

We held up New Zealand and other countries as leaders. They were, and still are, better off than we are in the choices they made across every possible metric of success. The deaths per million in each country is evidence of this: China, four; New Zealand, 11; Taiwan, 36; Australia, 97; Iceland, 106; South Korea, 120; Norway, 251; Finland, 301; and Ireland, 1,205.

Paul Murphy TD warms :

The government seem to have adopted the Boris Johnson ‘let it rip’ strategy. With half a million cases a week, they should at least be providing FFP2 masks free in schools, public transport and other high-density settings, as well as proper HEPA filters and ventilation measures to bring this under control. Instead, they are gambling with peoples health by changing the close contact rules. Let’s not forget up to 1 in 10 people get long Covid according to some studies. The more cases we let spread, the more people could be permanently affected.

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Convicted Criminal Ghislaine Maxwell – Low Media Standards, an Irish Link, and a Prince of England

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A lot of public commentary about the convicted criminal Ghislaine Maxwell, her late boss Jeffrey Epstein, and an alleged client, Britain’s Prince Andrew, suffers from low media standards. An interesting exception is the reporting of a former BBC correspondent John Sweeney.

It is a horrific story. Known credible allegations should be highlighted.

Lazy speculation and lurid gossip should be avoided.

John Sweeney – a Blogger-Journalist who carefully assesses hard evidence

John Sweeney carefully assesses real hard evidence. The author avoids sloppy tabloid-gossip methods. He explains the serious evidence very well. The scandal is far from over in the courts – especially in the case of the British state’s Prince called Andrew.
John Sweeney explains no evidence was presented at the Maxwell trial implicating Bill Clinton in either trafficking or criminal sexual intercourse with underage women. Evidence was presented proving that Clinton, ex US President Donald Trump and other wealthy powerful men accepted freebie flights given by Epstein and Maxwell. Sweeney sarcastically observes at one point that men such as Clinton and Trump enjoyed having sex with 23 year old women – the Epstein/Maxwell gang assisted them.
Sweeney also explores very interesting connections between the criminal behaviour of Ghislaine Maxwell and her late father Robert Maxwell : a corrupt billionaire who died after he fell off his private luxury yacht “Lady Ghislaine” in disputed circumstances.

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Mandatory vaccination: much ado, red herring, or getting it wrong?

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Guest post by Des Derwin

If mandatory vaccination is a delicate issue then why is it being raised by the left (statements yesterday by Sinn Féin and loud blasts from People Before Profit)? Statements yesterday from the left assert that the government wants to bring this in, and the statements oppose it vehemently. The source of the idea seems to be a public health one, with apparently mixed and tentative views emanating from NPHET (the National Public Health Emergency Team). The government, or at least the head of the government, the Taoiseach, has said straight out that he is opposed to mandatory vaccination. The genesis of this issue could well be the main front page story in the ‘Irish Times’ (January 10 2021) and its typical and infuriating mode of creating stories out of unattributed sources to push a line or float a try-on (though in this case there are – suitably leaked – NPHET minutes as substance). If anything the same story indicates that the government might be considering the lifting of restrictions – mandates – on pub and restaurant times and cutting down isolation days for close contacts (to reboot the labour force).

It is said that mandatory vaccination would push a minority of the working class into the arms of the fascists. On the contrary, and quite apart from the existence of vaccination compulsions already and of a minority already in the mental clutches of the far right, supporting the ‘right’ of the unvaccinated and of anti-vaxxers to free access to wherever they want is encouraging them into the arms of the fascists by legitimising their position. And giving oxygen to the position of the fascists who have made this, and other anti-public health measures, their main and most successful appeal to a new audience. Socialists need to be clear and firm, to explain why vaccination (taken up by 94%) is safe and socially essential, and how the far right are misleading and deluding people through well orchestrated and well resourced disinformation campaigns.

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Improving Science Literacy – And Supporting Mass Vaccination to Fight CoVid-19

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This blog offers two very good quotations and an illustration to act as a helpful political and personal guide. Origin of the quotations? I do not personally know the authors. I wish to thank a Greek comrade, Kostas Skordoulis, who started the relevant Facebook discussion. The cartoon is just brilliant.

No. Most lay people don’t have the tools to “question the science”. They are just deluding themselves. Just look at any flat earther video. The emphasis should be on improving science literacy so people can learn to identify media misrepresentation of studies, or how to spot weak or obviously flawed studies, or to follow trustworthy sources, instead of thinking they are some modern day Galileo.

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2021 Appalling Vistas – The 60th Anniversary of the British “Profumo Scandal” – a Secret Service Sting that went wrong, Irish Connections – Lord Denning and the Birmingham Six

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A Judge whitewashed the Jack Profumo Scandal in the early 1960’s on behalf of the British Ruling Class – that judge’s name was Lord Denning.

The Conservative government of Harold MacMillan needed a judge to whitewash the Profumo Scandal and selected the best man for the job, Lord Denning. In 1980 this judge’s track record made him the ideal man to keep innocent Irish political prisoners – the Birmingham Six – in jail.

Here is the infamous Denning Birmingham Six Appalling Vista statement. Denning, in 1980, rejected the still-incarcerated Birmingham Six’s civil claim against the police. Dismissing the case, he said:: “Just consider the course of events if their action were to proceed to trial… If the six men failed it would mean that much time and money and worry would have been expended by many people to no good purpose. If they won, it would mean that the police were guilty of perjury; that they were guilty of violence and threats; that the confessions were involuntary and improperly admitted in evidence; and that the convictions were erroneous… That was such an appalling vista that every sensible person would say, ‘It cannot be right that these actions should go any further’.”

https://www.legalcheek.com/2017/11/7-of-lord-dennings-most-controversial-comments/

Determined mass campaigning to free the Birmingham Six, Guildford 4 and other innocent Irish political prisoners took off in Dublin in the 1980’s. The beating heart of this network was the Co-ordinating Campaign on Miscarriages of Justice which met regularly in the Teachers’ Club, Parnell Square – a venue owned by the Irish National Teachers’ Organisation (INTO). The campaign encouraged many independent initiatives. Highlighted here is a book which helped to make the Birmingham Six an international scandal, dragging the reputation of the British judiciary into the gutter. Tireless sub-editors Ralf Sotscheck and Jürgen Schneider worked closely with the political campaign alongside Oscar Gilligan.

A literary best-seller, Birmingham Six, An Appalling Vista

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