Tomás Ó Flatharta

Looking at Things from the Left

Archive for the ‘The Irish Times’ Category

“Russian state TV shows clips simulating Ireland being wiped out by nuclear weapons” – Expel Ambassador Yuri Filatov!

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Vladimir Putin’s puppet tv channel threatens Ireland with nuclear extinction – Expel Ambassador Yuri Filatov from his plush residence in Orwell Road.! See also https://cedarlounge.wordpress.com/2022/05/05/lets-talk-about-nuclear-explosion-triggered-tsunamis/

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Russian Ethnic Cleansing in Action at Bucha : “Those who committed these deeds, up close, must have regarded their prey as something less than human.”

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There are a number of posts on this and other left-wing sources steering readers away from the belief that Vladimir Putin’s Russian invasion of Ukraine can be explained – and in some cases justified – by NATO expansion eastward across the European continent.

This never made any sense to me for one obvious reason, a reason that could be spotted by a small child. Russia’s invasion of Ukraine has dramatically increased popular support for NATO across the European continent : especially in countries neighbouring Russia which, before the invasion, were not members of NATO. This category includes Ukraine, Finland, and Sweden.

The governments of Finland and Sweden are planning to drop historic neutrality policies and join NATO. This dramatic turn to the right has been accelerated by Russia’s ethnic-cleansing invasion of Ukraine.

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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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The Russian invasion of Ukraine : Richard Boyd-Barrett TD (People Before Profit) 1. Mick Wallace MEP 0. Dissolve NATO – Russian Troops out of Ukraine

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Left wing anti-war activists and public representatives need to actively oppose the Russian invasion of Ukraine and the eastern military expansion of NATO. Credible news reports indicate that Richard Boyd-Barrett TD (Dún Laoghaire) passes this test. Two Irish members of the European Parliament fail the same test : Mick Wallace (Ireland South) and Clare Daly (Dublin), who is associated with Independents for Change. The Irish Times (February 23) reports :


In a social media post after Russian president Vladimir Putin formally recognised two breakaway regions in eastern Ukraine on Monday, Mr Wallace claimed that “only a full scale war between Russia and Ukraine would satisfy Nato”.

“The people of Europe must campaign for the abolition of Nato – it has nothing good to offer anyone that prefers peace to war,” wrote Mr Wallace, who voted against a European Parliament motion to offer €1.2 billion in loans to Ukraine.

Irish Tines, Wednesday February 23 2022

The same report quotes Richard Boyd-Barrett

Inflame
Condemning Russian “incursions”, he said they should not “be used as an excuse for Ireland to line itself up with Nato or to give succour to the idea that military action by the West” can help.
Russia needs “to be condemned and condemned roundly”, Mr Boyd Barrett said, but “we need not to be one-sided in this and recognise that the expansion of Nato into eastern Europe has also helped inflame this extremely dangerous situation.
Ireland has said nothing about Nato’s “game-playing of expanding into eastern Europe and potentially inflaming this extremely dangerous conflict”, he added.

Hopefully the Irish Independents for Change network will clarify it’s position, and clearly distance itself from the statements issued by Mick Wallace and Clare Daly.

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With apartheid an irrefutable reality, Israel’s democracy has always rested on blind faith – Amnesty International “Accuses Israel of Subjecting Palestinians to Apartheid”

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Amnesty International became the latest human rights group to label Israel an apartheid state. In a damning report titled “Israel’s Apartheid against…

With apartheid an irrefutable reality, Israel’s democracy has always rested on blind faith

We are reblogging an important Middle East Monitor Analysis of Amnesty International’s Report stating that Israel is subjecting Palestinians to Apartheid. (See Above). Betty Purcell elaborates in an Irish Times letter, published February 2 2022.

Amnesty report on Israel

Sir, – I was not surprised but am deeply grateful to the esteemed human rights organisation Amnesty International for their devastating report “Israel’s apartheid against Palestinians: Cruel system of domination and crime against humanity” (“Amnesty accuses Israel of subjecting Palestinians to ‘apartheid’”, World, February 1st).

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Derry’s Bloody Sunday March January 30 2022 – Most Establishment Media Failed to Report It Accurately

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Derry’s Bloody Sunday March, January 30 2022 – the 50th Anniversary : Diarmuid Breatnach offers this very perceptive analysis :

YESTERDAY WAS THE 50th ANNIVERSARY OF THE BLOODY SUNDAY MASSACRE IN DERRY BY BRITISH TROOPS. WHAT DID THE MEDIA COVER?
In the morning, a couple of hundred gathered for politicians including the Taoiseach (Prime Minister of the Irish State) to attend a memorial at the massacre Monument in Derry.
In mid-afternoon, an estimated 20,000 marched in rain and wind, along the original route of the anti-internment march upon which the British Paratroopers had opened fire in 1972, fatally wounding 14 and injuring many others. Speakers at the rally at the end of the march included two of the original organisers and speakers in 1972: Eamon McCann and Bernadette Devlin (now McAlliskey).
Later, a maximum of 400 attended an event in the Derry Guildhall which figured among others artists of various media.
A trawl of the on-line mass media coverage found only two of those events even mentioned. Which one was excluded? The one attended by 20,000 people following the original route in the wind and rain, being addressed by two of the original organisers 50 years ago.
Isn’t it fortunate that we have a free press, unlike in some countries because, as we are often reminded, you can’t have democracy without a free press.

Diarmuid Breatnach

Here is the visual evidence – a huge march occurred in Derry, established media outlets failed to report it :

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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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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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Desmond Tutu, South Africa, Apartheid, Israel – An unpublished letter to the Irish Times

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An unpublished Irish Times Letter : Desmond Tutu, South Africa, Apartheid, Israel – the author is Betty Purcell :

“Dear Editor,
It was with the deepest sadness, that I learnt of the death of Archbishop Desmond Tutu, (South Africa’s Archbishop Desmond Tutu dies age 90, IT December 26th )this week. He was indeed a moral giant, an unequivocal fighter for human rights, a compassionate and funny individual, who used his voice so articulately, for the betterment of humanity.
I had the honour of meeting him twice; once while filming on the subject of human rights in South Africa, and once here in Ireland, when he came to speak for Afri, the small Irish Justice campaign of which he was a sponsor. He was passionate and informed on so many issues, and eloquently argued the rights based approach.

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