Tomás Ó Flatharta

Looking at Things from the Left

Archive for the ‘Media and State Misbehaviour’ Category

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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No to war – Russia hands off Ukraine!

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This is a very clear statement – Russia Hands Off Ukraine! Source : http://www.europe-solidaire.org/spip.php?article61191 – where readers can view a long list of people and organizations endorsing the statement. Sign the statement here : https://ukrainesolidaritycampaign.org/2022/01/28/russia-hands-off-ukraine-2/

The Ukraine Solidarity Campaign in Britain released this call to action.

Broken glass. Source: Wiki Commons.

Readers may also like to read this recommended article written by Volodymyr Ishchenko, who explores the possible consequences that would flow from a successful Russian military invasion of Ukraine. https://lefteast.org/russian-invasion-could-destabilize-russias-political-order/

Volodymyr Ishchenko is a research associate at the Institute of East European Studies, Freie Universität Berlin. His research focused on protests and social movements, revolutions, radical right and left politics, nationalism and civil society. He authored a number of peer-reviewed articles and interviews on contemporary Ukrainian politics, the Euromaidan uprising and the following war in 2013-14, published in Post-Soviet Affairs, Globalizations and New Left Review, among other journals. He has been a prominent contributor to major international media outlets such as The Guardian and Jacobin since 2014. He is working on a collective book manuscript, The Maidan Uprising: Mobilization, Radicalization, and Revolution in Ukraine, 2013-2014. Source : https://lefteast.org/russian-invasion-could-destabilize-russias-political-order/

We, socialists, trade unionists, scholars, activists for human rights, social justice and peace, stand in solidarity with the people of Ukraine against Russian imperialism.

The international left and labour movement must vigorously oppose Russia’s threats against Ukraine.

We say neither Washington nor Moscow. We oppose the policy and manoeuvrings of the big Western powers and NATO.

But currently it is Russia that is threatening the Ukrainian people’s right to self-determination and challenging their legitimacy as an independent nation.

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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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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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Thousands took to the streets to march on the 50th anniversary of Bloody Sunday – DerryNow Report

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The feedback I got all week was that the 2022 Bloody Sunday March in Derry today would be huge. This turned out to be true. An initial report is below.

Here is the intriguing bit. The mass media (e.g. RTÉ Radio Bulletin this morning at 8.00am) reported lots of other stuff – for example, Dublin government taoiseach Mícheál Martin laying a wreath – and said nothing about the march this afternoon at 2.30pm in Derry featuring speeches by Bernadette McAliskey, Éamonn McCann, and others. RTÉ is a public service broadcaster in Ireland largely funded by a license fee. It comes under pressure from the “great and the good” to toe the line and exclude radical voices. And sometimes it gets things spectacularly wrong – today was an example.

What is the key political message today : Prosecute the Generals!

We will keep fighting – and, eventually, we might win. If we don’t fight, we definitely lose.

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“There Were Plans in Train for Something Terrible to Happen” Robert Ballagh on Derry’s Bloody Sunday, January 30 1972

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“The Thirtieth of January” is a new Robert Ballagh Painting about Derry’s Bloody Sunday, January 30 1972. In a brief interview with the Museum of Free Derry, The artist describes his motivation and his actions at the time in Ireland’s capital city, Dublin. https://youtu.be/9ZZZNhwnpG0

He notes that the British state’s Saville Inquiry found that the people killed by the Paratroop Regiment were innocent – but there is a “nagging question” – “nobody has been proven guilty of anything”. Robert included a reference to this “nagging doubt” in the painting. It is a “shoot to kill” order written by the British Army’s Major General Robert Ford some time before January 30 1972. Ford suggested that several of the Derry “young hooligans” – as the Major-General called them – should be shot.

I am coming to the conclusion that the minimum force necessary to achieve a restoration of law and order is to shoot selected ringleaders among the Derry Young Hooligans

Major-General Robert Ford of the British Army

The artist reproduces these words on an elegantly designed document in the painting. The source for the words is an Éamonn McCann booklet about Britain’s Parachute Regiment.

Bernadette McAliskey and Éamonn McCann Marching in Derry, January 2019

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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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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President Michael D Higgins Rejects Religious Invitation Issued by Men of God in Armagh – The Right Decision – The 1921 Partition of Ireland Created a Carnival of Reaction

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Eejit is a great word living within the English language spoken in Ireland. Author Mike Finn reveals the meaning in a sentence of nine words : “Those advocating Brexit are an awful shower of eejits”. Likewise, those who advocate “marking” the partition of Ireland are an awful shower of eejits. President Michael D Higgins is no eejit.

Michael D has become a spokesperson for the vast majority of people living in Ireland who hate partition. He will not attend a religious event in Armagh commemorating the 1921 creation of the Northern Ireland Orange State. An opinion poll on the issue shocked numerous pro-Unionist forelock-tuggers in Ireland – 81 per cent of people in the 26 County bit of Ireland agree with the President’s decision.

“Huge backing for President Michael D Higgins” – Irish News Headline

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