Kenny, Fitzgerald protecting sexually abusive #Spycops in Ireland.

UNDERCOVER COP: THE MARK KENNEDY STORY

Mark Kennedy engaged in an “abusive sexual relationship on Irish soil”

 

Today, four women deceived into relationships with undercover police in the UK [1,2] have written to the Irish Prime minister, Minister for Justice and Equality, and Minister for Foreign Affairs & Trade.

Their letters [3] ask why they were targeted in Ireland for abusive relationships by UK undercover officers, and demand a full Inquiry into the activity of UK undercover officers in Ireland.

These letters are in response to the secret “report” prepared by the An Garda Síochána in 2011 [4] attempting to justify the activities of undercover police officers from the UK in Ireland.

They highlight the fact that the relationships they had with these officers, which took place in part on Irish soil, have been admitted to be human rights violations [5]. This means the report’s claims that police activities in Ireland were limited to tracking “external activists with a track record for violence” are false.

These officers activities in the Republic of Ireland will not be investigated as part of the Pitchford Inquiry into Undercover Policing [6], and so  far, the response of  the Justice Minister and Garda has been to conduct secret, internal reviews into these revelations and to deny their grave  importance [7]. The women are demanding a full and public investigation into the activities of these officers, detailing any offenses they committed in Ireland. They also specifically ask:

  • Who authorised these undercover operations in Ireland?
  • Do Irish police hold files on us, and when will we be given access to those files?
  • How does the Irish state justify foreign police officers having deceptive intimate relationships with women, in violation of our human rights and bodily integrity?
  • How many more UK police officers operated in Ireland and how many more women were abused by the police on Irish soil?

Kate Wilson travelled to Dublin with her partner, Mark “Stone” (Kennedy) in May 2004 said “The MPS apologised for the violation of my human rights in the UK, but those rights were also violated in Ireland. Someone authorised Mark to take me to Ireland with him, and engage in an abusive sexual relationship on Irish soil. We are asking for answers, and the Irish government is responding with denials and secret reports. That should be of great concern to anyone who wants to believe in accountability and human rights in Ireland”

Mark Kennedy also met up with “Lisa” as she travelled back from protests in Rossport against the Corrib gas pipeline. Lisa was deceived by the police into an abusive relationship with him that lasted six years before she exposed his real identity in 2010. She said “The UK undercover officers crossed borders regularly, and seemingly without oversight. Their operations extended far outside the remit of the current investigations. Was he authorised to continue our relationship in Ireland? Was he being paid? Did the Irish authorities know?”

“Alison” was in a five year relationship with Jenner who she knew as Mark Cassidy. She said “When it was suggested that the Colin Roach Centre send a delegation to the West Belfast Festival in the Summer of 1995, Jenner was keen to offer his van to drive people there. The journey included a stop-over in the Republic of Ireland. Were the authorities there informed that a Special Branch agent was operating in their territory? And if not, why not?”

Key background links

1] The women who made this statement have all been affected by undercover police. ‘Alison‘ had a long term relationship with Mark Jenner,  ‘Lisa‘,  and Kate Wilson  (previously under the pseudonym of “Lily”) had long term relationships with Mark Kennedy,  and Helen  Steel (previously under the pseudonym of “Clare”) had a long term  relationship with John Dines. ‘Alison’, & ‘Lisa’ are pseudonyms as they have anonymity upheld by the courts.    https://www.publications.parliament.uk/pa/cm201213/cmselect/cmhaff/837/130205i.htm

2]   These women all made legal claims against  the Metropolitan  Police arising from their deception into long-term  intimate   relationships with police officers who had infiltrated social  and   environmental justice campaigns. These were both human rights claims and common law claims, including deceit, assault, misfeasance in public office and negligence.

3] https://policespiesoutoflives.org.uk/spycops-abroad/irish-inquiry-letter

4] https://www.thetimes.co.uk/article/ministers-kept-in-the-dark-over-british-spy-6kp5shhgt?shareToken=2bfee46b3a0b361d78248ce189fd8e36

5] As part of an out-of-court settlement, the Met police issued a comprehensive apology [http://news.met.police.uk/videos/mps-apology-long-term-sexual-relationships-21074} to three of these women (Alison, Helen & Lisa) in November 2015. http://news.met.police.uk/news/claimants-in-civil-cases-receive-mps-apology-138574. The same apology was extended to the fourth woman (Kate) in March 2017.

6] A public inquiry has also been launched covering only England & Wales .https://www.ucpi.org.uk/

7] http://www.parliamentary-questions.com/question/7624-17/

8] These women aim to highlight and prevent the continuation of psychological, emotional and sexual abuse of campaigners and others by undercover police officers. ‘We come from different backgrounds and have a range of political beliefs and interests, and we are united in believing that every woman, and   every person, has a right to participate in the struggle for social and   environmental justice, without fear of persecution, objectification,  or  interference in their lives.’ – from ‘Where we stand’ Statement.

Nationwide Demonstrations Planned At Police Stations Across Ireland.

Nationwide Demonstrations Planned At Police Stations Across Ireland.

A national mobilisation against police corruption is underway as part of the public response to recent uncovering of systemic abuses within An Garda Siochana, the Irish police force.

local

People have responded to an initial call to show solidarity with Maurice McCabe and his family by organising vigils and protests at police stations across the country, all timed to coincide at 6pm on Saturday 18th February.

Protests have been called so far at the following police stations

Tallaght, Dublin

Trim, County Meath

Mill Street, County Galway

Coolock, County Dublin

Anglesea Street, Cork

Carlow town, County Carlow

Rathmines, Dublin

Ennis Road, Kilrush, County Galway

Clontarf,  County Dublin

Dominic Street, Kilkenny

Castlebar, County Mayo

Kevin Street, Dublin

Finglas, Dublin

Roscommon, Country Roscommon

Letterkenny, County Donegal

Cobh, County Cork

Monaghan, County Monaghan

What is striking is that this is decentralised call, outside any traditional political party. Looking at the events organised, they range from holding candle vigils in direct support of Maurice McCabe and family, to call for the protection of whistle-blowers and more explicitly political calls to end political policing around political dissent in communities.

The national mobilisations across the country in recent years, specifically around community resistance to water meter installation has lead to an increase public understanding of what political policing can and does look like.

Facebook groups have been popping up over the last few hours so the list above will quickly be out of date.

On one of the coordinating pages this map have been pasted showing garda stations across the country. Given how quickly this demonstrations of public solidarity are popping, we are likely to see a quite a significant turn out across the country on Saturday.

 

5 Reasons Why Denis O’Brien Is Doing Us A Favour.

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UPDATE: This piece was written in response to earlier threats by O Brien to sue the Dail. Now he is threatening to sue the satirical website Waterford Whispers, for a satirical article. The article is no longer on their website, but you can find a link at the bottom of this post.

Image by Eamonn Crudden

Image by Eamonn Crudden

There’s been a lot of talk recently about how Denis O’Brien’s ability to scare Irish media from commenting on the specifics of relationship he has with state owned banks is a “threat to democracy.”

TD’s of all shades are claiming a “constitutional threat”, because Irish mainstream media refuses to report on the factual content of a statement read into the Dail by TD Catherine Murphy last week. And I have a lot of sympathy for that point of view.

But such utterances are founded upon the idea that we live in a functioning democracy. We don’t. We like in a technocratic representative democracy. Hired Knave has down a brilliant job of tackling this last week here

However it is worth looking over the terrain of conflict around Denis O’Brien trying to shut down public conversation about his 1.25% interest deal with IBRC.

Rarely do we ordinary plebs get to see the rich individual dinosaurs of inequality battle it out with institutions of the state and cultural power. O’Brien seeking to challenge TD’s speech and reporting is a ‘big story.’ But its also a familiar story across the globe were the concentration of media ownership allows rich and powerful people veneers of respectability as they go about the business of exploiting ever more people.

But there are much more interesting stories within that story.

We – those of us likely to spend the rest of our lives on the flip side of that inequality, those of us living with precarity – shouldn’t be simply be looking on as passive observers.

Before Denis O’Brien next hops on his private jet – to stay out of the country long enough to avoid paying taxes like the rest of us – perhaps it worth flagging a few reasons why we he might be doing us all a wee favour.

1 He provides us with a perfect example of how screwed mainstream media actually is.

Denis O Brien RTE

Luckily for the plucky and otherwise brave and fearless media institutions like RTE, The Irish Times and The Sunday Business Post, a judge has ruled today that those organisations wouldn’t be breaking an injunction granted to O’Brien last week. Independent News and Media played no part in the court proceeding because they are of course owned by the tax exile trying to do the gagging.

This is being lauded as a win for common sense, but in essence the judges ruling shows that fear of litigation held by large media organisations in Ireland trumped the simple act of transcribing or rebroadcasting protected speech from a left wing TD. Its a pyrrhic victory at best for the institutions themselves.

The ideology of bureaucratic risk managerialism is a poisonous one simply because it bleaches (individual and collective) values, ethics and moral into the amoral language of cost-benefit pragmatism. This cultural practice is now so deeply embedded in most institutions of state, media and professional political organisations that its impulse is followed through even though it results in de-legitimising the same organisations. That observation remains regardless or whether you think that de-legitimising is a good or bad thing. It is probably obvious I think its a good thing.

There is little difference in the calculus of the Irish Times, RTE et al deciding to not covering Murphys statement and the decision by Fianna Fail TD’s to not canvass for a ‘Yes’ vote in the marriage equality referendum. Both relied on a cost-benefit analysis devoid of ethical dimensions or of the demands of cursory social justice. Both have been found – in the eyes of an increasingly politicised public – to have made the wrong call.

I’m empathic to the precarious nature of journalism and some of the existential threats to business models. I get that people need to pay bills and have some sense of job security. We all need that. But most of us don’t. This isnt an accident. This is how late capitalism works. Media workers are in the same boat as the rest of us.


There is no doubt that journalism is a necessity in assisting wider publics to understand how society works, why inequality is growing and how it is that specific interests in Ireland have captured specific state decision making for their own benefits. And there is no doubt that those vested interests with fight with everything at their disposal to maintain their status quo.


But if journalists themselves dont or cant start to find ways of breaking out of the ideology of bureaucratic risk managerialism, or at least speaking out about the limitations of the job itself in speaking truth to power, there is little reason why the public will continue to support and pay for the product that Irish journalism produces.

Media organisations may feel that changing business models and consumption patterns and advertsing revenues posed a form of existential threat. I’d posit that a far greater threat in the longer term is the disillusionment of wide swathes of society because Irish media organisations bend the knee much more than they land punches.

Enforcing silence is perhaps the most corrosive structural element in reproducing injustice. The history of this state is littered with the consequences of institutions being able to keep things quietly to protect themselves against the organised hurt they carried out. It has only ever been the sustained struggles by people affected that ultimately break the silence. What we need most from journalism – be that lay or professional journalism – is a much more militant approach to transparency and accountability. Tackling enforced silence mean embracing enforced transparency. Tackling the illegitimate and unjust forces of power shown by O’Brien means embracing tactics and strategies of storytelling and truth telling based on bravery rather than fear.

2 He reminds us how important social media is to popular political education and informed publics

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Last week I was working out in Slane for the set up of the gig on Saturday. By Friday everyone I spoke to knew that Denis O Brien managed to stop most media from reporting Murphy statement from the Dail. Many knew the specifics of his 1.25% interest deal with IBRC. Think about that. This wasn’t a newsroom, or a meeting of political activists. This was a temporary workplace made up mostly of people in precarious work, in a field in Meath without a TV or newspaper in sight. Social media and communication technology, used by ordinary people to find out what was going on, bypassed high court injunctions and mainstream media stalling.

It is without doubt that these networks, many or which have emerged during Irish Water mobilisations, have become channels of information sharing and political discourse that are shaping political literacy in our wider population. These networks eschew ‘balance’ and ‘objectivity’ in favour of being tools of active narrative making. They have fluid boundaries that make the distinction between online and offline increasingly obsolete.

I made a point of checking the YouTube of Catherine Murphy statement in to Dail as news broke on Twitter or todays ruling. The video had been watched over 34,000 times. In the metric of YouTube hits that might not seem massive. But no one likely watched that video and didn’t chat to someone about it. Its was a conversation primer. Id hazard a guess that few watched it a didn’t figure out even if this was all legal, it was also a stitch-up.

Likewise Twitter and Facebook was alight with #redacted as people crowd sourced previous attempts by O’Brien to censor media. They shared screen grabs of the Moriarty reports showing O’Brien payments to bent politician FG Michael Lowry. Others created meme’s and visual images taking the piss out of O’Brien and media organisations. Some where humorous, some where angry, some kind of daft, many, many deeply on point.

Broadsheet.ie deserve a special mention. They in particular have been head and shoulders above all on the Irish media landscape in not being afraid to bust the respect for authority on this issue (and others like police corruption.)

Waterford Whispers used satire to rip the shite out of O’Brien and compliant media organisations. Their “Maltese Tax Exile Briefs Government On What To Say Next” was shared over 11,000 times

And of course left wing social media groups and organisations tooks no pause in sharing out the details of Murphys statement. One Visual image shared out by SolidarityTimes have been viewed over 35,000 times.

Personal blogs posts offering an analysis on O’Brien versus media have also been getting very high hits. In very brief chats with Hired Knave and Oireachtas Retort before posting this both described how their O’Brien related posts were going through the roof even though they spend little time promoting them. Again the networks of local community anti water tax groups acted as a conduits for sharing, liking, reading and discussion.


All these totally circumscribed O’Briens legal threats and used diverse language and literary forms to articulate a deep frustration with how power works in this state. Social media and communication technology clearly allows us to create our own analysis, much of it geared to a radical analysis that desires real social transformation. And by radical I mean going to the roots of issues, not just the veneer of a 24hr news cycle.

From the perspective of struggles against structural imposition of inequality – of which O’Brien’s matters are but one specific symptom and reproducing cause – what we are seeing here relates very much to Gramsci’s ‘war of position.’ The idea that a central component (and indeed strategy) of pro-democracy/equality social movements is the challenging of common sense by remaking common sense itself.

In the specifics of this case it means challenging the common sense presented by O’Brien and his team of the green jersey wearing hard working man fighting for his privacy as well as the common sense that present day mainstream media institutions are harbringers of as-yet unfullfilled democratic possibilities.

This proffering of analysis by citizen journalists or innately curious human beings motivated by social justice, or blogging punters – call them/us what you will – offers a much more rich and nuance tapestry of democratic expression that you will find in any mainstream media organisations products. Laden not just with critique, readers know that at the core of this lies other possibilities that the present set up actually negates. We are making relationships of understanding between our own existences and the reality of macro economics and micro corruptions.  This of course will not bring about change itself.

What O’Brien has helped us do – as with Irish Water and years of austerity – is help us find each other. Communication technology is not a panacea for the ills of late capitalism, but it can and does provide both tools and public space for deliberation, education and community/movement building essential for challenging social systems that enable the continuing growth of massive inequality and illegitimate power.

Which perhaps brings me nicely to this next point we could thank O’Brien for.

3 He reminds us that censorship is something the Labour party are pushing in government.

Labour, censorship, Ireland, social media

The Irish government is a fan of censorship as I outlined a few weeks back. If the proposed censorship bills by the Labour Party pass, you could be taken to court for sharing this post with your friends across your social media networks if Denis O Brien was offended by it.

The present bills allow for people – particularly the rich and litigious type we know so well – to shut up people blogging, tweeting and sharing updates, articles and analysis that they merely find offensive.

In this respect I predict that tomorrow ventures by Joan Burton’s PR team to engage the population with the #TalkToJoan hashtag will be used by right wing Labour members to illustrate once again that ordinary people voicing anger at state policies are a dangerous rabble.

4 He reminds us that controlling communication is what Denis O’Brien does.

depiction-of-me-as-enemy-of-journalism-undeserved

Curtailing peoples capacity to communicate might seem like an odd thing for a man so heavily involved in telecommunications. At first glance it seems counter-intuitive. Surely he wants people to talk is he is in the telecommunications business?

Well not really.

In reality Denis O’Brien isn’t interested in enabling communication between people. He is interested in controlling the means of communication in order to maximise the benefit for himself and the companies he owns. If peoples communication damages those benefits then Denis will quite happily stuff gagging orders down their throats. It is the archetypical approach of media megalomaniacs.

And I use the term benefits rather than profits deliberately. Profits are a particular type of benefit, but they are not the only one. Today O’Brien got a full page spread to state his case that hes is being demonised. Yet not one of us called ‘facists’ or ‘nazi’s under Dail privilege has gotten a full page spread in the IT to refute such exaggerated and disgusting slurs.

I was on the Marian Finucane show at the start of February trying to make that exact point via phone. In the studio Thomas Molloy, Group Business Editor of O’Briens IMN tried to argue that O Brien exercised no control over his papers employed journalists .

There’s no polite way of putting this. Molloy is either a liar or is Group Business Editor for the state largest media organisation with little cognisance of what actually goes on under the bonnet of IMN. O’Brien specifically intervened to try and get Sam Smyth kicked off the Independents coverage of Moriarty tribunal as Smyth was making O’Brien look back by printing the facts. Those facts being O’Brien paid cash to a Michael Lowry.

Of course Molloy didn’t like the temerity of a wee bollix like me calling out O’Brien on the day his own front page called anti water tax protests an “attack on democracy” He refused couldn’t bring his plummy voiced self to address me by name, instead calling me one of “these people.” I had very little to do to show the contempt Molloy holds for most folks outside his golden circle. You know, people actually pushing for social justice and democracy.

O’Brien has a long history of shutting down free speech that challenges his world view. And like most media owners he has a long history of using his media companies to present an analysis of the world that suits himself. That’s want most for profit owners do.

Ireland censorship

Denis makes it clear INM previous owners used the paper against him

He even made this point himself the last time the Irish Times gave over a page or two to decry how he was being demonised back in 2011. He describes how the previous owner O’Reilly used the paper to attack O’Brien as O’Brien was engaged in a slow hostile takeover of the organisation. He made no bones about the fact that the paper was a tool for O’Reilly. Yet Molloy now asks us to believe that O Brien doesnt so same as previous owners.

O’Brien goes out of his way to play the “im wearing the green jersey” and did it again in today Irish Times. One has to wonder is it now fierce warm to be wearing that in Malta.

5 O’Brien reminds us to follow the money.

follow-the-money_31648

O’Brien says in todays Irish Times he is a republican with a small ‘r.’ He might as well say he is an anarchist with a small ‘a’ or a socialist with a small ‘s’. He is in fact a capitalist with a capital ‘C’ without the courage and honesty to say so.

Ireland is a corrupt bought and sold state, with its officials and owners in permanent denial that our society is run a functionary of late capitalism, specifically beholden to financial capitalism. Many will complain that the present banking inquiry is futile, no one will go to jail and everyone is escaping scott free.

But that misses the point. Sure, the banking inquiry is set up to fail if we see success as a pair of handcuff on smug rich men. However there is no smoking guns. There is no bad guys sitting stroking cats and planning our future precarity. There is just patterns of behaviours, relationships based in shared ideology and lots and lots of money if you are willing to forgo a pretence that democracy and equality actually matters to you. Ireland is the country were if you want to get along the most important talent to have is low cunning. Its all in the game..

There is just the mundane reality of people like of O’Brien telling his mates in the banks what interest he’s willing to pay for cheap deals. Mundane facts of Enda Kenny meeting with O’Brien in the Shelbourne to plan out what moves their vision of society now needs. The mundane reality of vulture capitalists buying low when blood is on the streets. The mundane stupidity of papers like the Sunday Business Post getting hard ons for ideas like  infinite growth on a planet of finite resources.

Just the mundane reality of silent circles still craving to hold on to power and wealth and decision making. The mundane rituals of respect for respectability. Just the mundane reality of identikit professional politicians within the Fianna Fail and Fine Gael devoid of any type of social vision beyond that proffered in quiet meetings.

Just the mundane world view held by the deeply ideological civil service in the permanent state always looking forward to the next asset stripping so they so can magic up a revolving door they can jump through. Just the mundane reality of big Irish lawyer firms ready to rubber stamp the money flows laundered through our state by multinationals running a global network of legal criminality.

Just mundane facts of men in suits, well educated in legalese and accountancy trickery and PR spin and high frequency trading and shelf companies and tax avoidance and promissory notes and interest rates and asset stripping and all the other mundane obtuse realities far too complex for people like us to understand.

Far too dangerous for people like us to be involved with.

Far too important for people like me and you to be part of actual democratic discussion and deliberation.

Except that we were and are talking about it when mainstream media was silenced and cowed.

We did speak about it in a field in Meath while setting up a gig were people would get drunk and dance in the pissing rain. We pulled it apart online and in pubs and around dinner tables as we crowd sourced and commented. Shrill voices from professional politicians called this an attack on democracy, and engaged in shadow puppetry debate, ever careful to not talk about the actual facts.

e did.

And we will continue to do so.

And more question arises for us all.

How do we best use these tools at our disposal?

What would a culture of enforced transparency look like? And how could it be used to removed silence and ignorance. To shine lights on aspects of the captured state?

Should we be hacking more, should be be setting up platforms for leaking more? Should a radical-tech community (does one exist?) be reaching out to journalists?

Any as I post this more question come to mind. Why was it that the ‘Anglo tapes’ were leaked to INM via Paul Williams who in effect is a Garda spokesperson. He clearly is not an investigative journalist. Perhaps that was the point? I dunno.

More questions arise as I write but for today perhaps we have a little to be thankful to O Brien for. Because it gives us all pause to think about questions of how the people living in this state will never live lives as equals while such unjust powers and scare tactics are seen as legitimate and part of democracy.

Heres that link to the Waterford Whispers piece

https://www.evernote.com/shard/s294/sh/872934e0-826b-466f-957b-d2c93c2fff5b/70f392ca9add949a72e05c0fd2b4167c

#IrishWater Anti-Repression Demo (and some thoughts)


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UPDATE:  Arrests have now risen to twenty this week with a husband and wife arrested this morning by the police. 


We Wont Pay

Tonight about 700 people gathering outside the Department of Justice and Equality in an anti-repression demonstration. The demonstration was called in response to ongoing arrests of adults and children involved in the anti water tax movement.

Amongst those speaking at the event was Jason Lester a 16 year old boy arrested on Tuesday morning by ten detectives, nine in plain clothes. The police arrested him in his bedroom after he was woken up. “Next thing I new they where standing in my bedroom and arresting me under Section 4 of the Criminal Justice Act.”

Crowd 1

Jason’s arrest was one of 17 so far this week which on Wednesday also included a 14 year old boy. The arrests follow a familiar pattern at this stage where large numbers of police arrive at the break of dawn at peoples houses in the working class community of Tallaght, usually minimum of six police officers per arrest. People are put into cells, stripped of shoes, belts and personal possessions, fingerprinted and interrogated for several hours and then released without charge.  

Crowd 2

The arrests focus on an incident in Jobstown last November when a car driving Irish Deputy Prime Minister, Tánaiste Joan Burton, was prevented from moving for up to three hours by people sitting in front of it. They were demonstrating against the introduction of a water tax, part of ongoing state policies resulting from the shifting of private speculation debt on to public accounts.

Crowd 3

A decision was made to build a case of false imprisonment of the Minister, by an investigation team resourced to a degree one would normally associate with high level criminality such as murders or drug trafficking. Its commonly understood within the wider public and the broad anti-water tax movement that the police operation is motivated not with a desire to convict anyone with false imprisonment of the government minister. That itself is a ludicrous proposition given that footage available on-line shows that her car was surrounded by police at pretty much the whole time.

An understanding of policing in Ireland suggests that the motivations are probably muddy. In part they probably do come from a desire to put manners on people involved in embarrassing and annoying a senior government minister. And if you can simultaneously sling enough hyperbolic mud at a movement you might create division and inoculate others from getting involved. And whilst the history of Irish policing ‘crisis’ show that the force is wide open to political interference, a more mundane reality is that police forces engage in political repression for the same reasons a dog licks its own balls. Because its coded into its DNA. For a substantive look at political policing in Ireland check out this report from the Garda Research Institute. But before looking at policing its worth looking at the movement from which those arrest come from.

The anti water tax movement itself is the largest and most sustained public reaction to years of cuts, job losses, growing poverty and inequality. A sense of the importance and social power of the movement is illustrated by the fact that the political party polling highest at present, Sinn Fein, changed its own position in relation to Irish Water and the proposed introduction of water charges. Other left organisations such as the Socialist Party/Austerity Alternative Alliance and Socialist Worker Party/People Before Profits and trade unions and activists are involved under a broad Right 2 Water banner.

AAA Banner

However the wider movement itself is not under the control of any of these organisations. To be part of it you simply just have to not pay. It is made up of an increasingly networked affiliation of community groupings communicating with each other. In this way groups from across the country, and within the capital, are in regular contact with each other to organise solidarity actions such preventing meter installations or support events like the anti-repression demo.

It is within this context that the arrests this week is perhaps most usefully understood. The Irish government has failed spectacularly at each and every step of trying to create Irish Water as a legitimate social policy. It has bounced between an attitude of arrogance and disdain and open fear as deadlines for registration get pushed back and proposals changed so many times that most of us probably forget what the initial Irish Water proposal was. The entire process has only further fuelled disillusionment and general disconnect between ordinary people and a form of low-cunning politics that is clumsy, cruel, temperamental and when the shit the fan, fundamentally unjust.

Disillusionments with unjust policies, or indeed political systems, pose no threat or possibility of change when they are limited to small left wing meetings. Nor do individual bodies and families worn weary with the stress of bills and putting food on the table, and having to feed the relentless desires of a banking system to have its pound of flesh so that you have a roof over your head.

It is a profoundly different experience for everyone involved, for governments and participants, when that disillusionment is expressed on our streets. Be that hundreds of thousands of people collectively refusing to sign up, twenty thousand people walking together in the capital or twenty or thirty people on their own street stopping water meters going in in the first place.

Each one of these things is an active and living expression of solidarity and care. The very things most visibly absent in the logic of ‘austerity’.

From the perspective of people engaging in this movement, these are beautiful and empowering things. The reality of becoming engaged with our neighbours in trying to shape our world outside the ritual of voting is a transforming experience. We become political and social actors ourselves. And we do it again and again. Exploring that further is another piece of writing, but suffice to say that movements of this size are not just about changing policies or getting better governments in the future at the next election. For thousands of people involved it is a real change in the immediate way we understand what politics is and what it can be.


From the perspective of a government that sees their respective party support falling, and looking across Europe and seeing that peoples movements are a real game changer, public engagement in social solidarity is a terribly bad idea. And perhaps for a moment we can indulge and make evident the basis of this fear. A lot of TD’s in Labour and Fine Gael are going to lose their jobs. We can be generous enough to recognise that it is scary to look forward to the future with that fear. We know it all too well. So at an individual level there is perhaps a case to be made that our own humanity is served to recognise that with empathy. But equally their job losses will be a result of a loyalty to organisations that preside over growing poverty and inequality. So perhaps this is small justice in action.

Though the established order of things is not about individual TD’s. The established order of things is about the maintenance of a captured state. And the maintenance of the established order is primarily achieved by having the power to defined what gets talked about and what doesn’t.

click for full size

click for full size

Arresting Socialist Party TD Paul Murphy first thing on a Monday morning was clearly motivated by a desire sought to shape a media narrative of the week. The headline news at 7am on Monday Morning Ireland, an RTE radio show that sets the news agenda for the day, was about the €3,500,000,000 hidden away by rich Irish people in Swiss accounts of HBSC banks. By 8am the headline was the arrest of Paul Murphy and three others and all other media outlets pursued. Now the arrests most likely were not timed to knock out the Irish end of the global HBSC tax evasion story.

Nonetheless those folks with €3,500,000,000 stashed away enjoy very much the established order of things. Where we see social solidarity and positive actions to make justice and equality central to how our society works, they see a mob. When we challenge the legitimacy of certain policies or orthodoxies, small but powerful interests know that their ability to shape the state to suit themselves is under threat.

And it that sense the demonisation of the broad anti-water tax movement by Denis O Brien press is just part of the historical game played between owners and the owned. The fact that Michael Geoghegan, the former CEO of HBSC at the time, was appointed chair of the NAMA advisory board is a mere footnote in the weeks news. There has been no public debate around precisely who in Ireland defrauded millions from our public services.

Dept J E

It remains to be seen if the wider public in Ireland will be swayed away from non payment by the recent police actions. And when Paul Murphy says he would love to see his day in court so would many of us. Its unlikely to happen. One can only imagine how damaging it would be for Labour and Fine Gael facing electoral meltdown to have the Tánaiste and Labour Party leader Joan Burton cross examined in the courts. I doubt very much whether the established order of things will have an appetite for that.

I’ll leave the last words to Jason

6 Reasons Why Joan Burton Is A Bigger Fascist Than You!

6 Reasons Why Joan Burton Is A Bigger Fascist Than You!

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So I was in the car and got thinking about Fascism..

So I was in the car and got thinking about Fascism…….. It was harder than you think….

1 Actual Fascism in Ireland Joan….

The first one is a bit fish in a barrel but anyways. Joan Burton is in government with a party that grew out of fascism. Fine Gael supported the murdering psychotic regimes of Franco in Spain and had many members deeply sympathetic to Hilter and Nazism. Some of its Irish fascists also set up the first Irish police force. (worth a bit of thinking on itself but thats anothers days blog).

Supporting fascists is pretty fascist, and getting into bed with a party borne of fascism is definitely more fascist that blocking an Irish water truck.

2 Totalitarian Cowardice Joan…..

Joan Burtons government recently signed a secret agreement to give unfettered access to US and UK gov to all your communications with the outside world. This includes you emails, social media platforms, landline and mobile phone calls. EVERYTHING. Section 541 enacts the third part of the 2008 Criminal Justice (Mutual Assistance) Act, and enable telecommunication companies to be brought to court in secret for not handing over any information required. Given all that we know from Wikileaks and the practices of GCHQ, NSA etc from Snowden leaks, its clear that Burton’s government is an open collaborator in the development of an international surveillance apparatus that acts outside any genuine democratic control. The fact that the Irish state is a weak coward in this international dynamic make is no less complicit. The bang of totalitarianism is evident to most breathing creatures.

3 Police checkpoints for workers Joan….

In 2013 Joan Burton proposed setting up police checkpoints on industrial estates, building sites and other workplace as part of an effort to tackle welfare fraud. The welfare fraud she was speaking about wasn’t the handing our taxes to people like Denis O Brien in the form of debt write downs or state contract in dodgy circumstances. Instead she was talking about a tiny number of people “doing the double”. To be clear this isnt the “Double Irish” that allows companies to avoid paying taxes, but rather focuses on working class people living hand to mouth in precarious situtations. Compare the setting up of police checkpoints around the country with the fact that the state has only ONE forensic accountant examining the cooked books of Anglo. A state that polices the poor while letting itself be run for corporate benefit is a widely recognised element of fascist states. That’s you that is Joan.

4 Organised humiliation and revictimisation Joan……

Joan stands over government policies that actually scream organised cruelty and purpose-filled punishment. The most recent is the symphysiotomy redress scheme. The Irish state for decades covered up the extent and lived reality of women who were literally sawed up by hospital under state supervision. The HSE continued this cover up. Now Burtons government came up with a plan to ‘resolve’ the fact of state violence, but gagging the women with forcing crumpled hard cash into their mouth. The redress system is simply yet another abuse of women that essentially tells them to take the money and shut up, or fuck off and die. For those that bring feminist arguments into Burtons car being blockaded. I’d take it more seriously if you abandoned the fascistic tendency to ‘resolve’ state abuses with more violence, hurt and indifference wrapped up with euros and a bow of spin.

5 Paramilitaries for Denis Joan……

Masked up men from private corporations and intelligence companies run by former Irish Rangers like IRMS and Guardex are turning up regularly in our streets and communities. They are threatening people taking part in openly organised protest and civil disobedience. They film and photo us, tell us they know were we live and generally try to intimidate us. This is the new normal at Irish Water protests across the country. Privatised police forces working ultimately for Denis O Briens, though paid for by our own taxes are yet another example of a state in fear. The political class that created a crisis of legitimacy for its own class by just doing what they do. Yet they seem convinced that seeking to suppress democratic public dissent will ultimately keep them in power. While Joan moans about being blockade in her car for a couple of hours, her government expands privatised political policing into our communities and expects us to stay silent and intimidated. The same megalomaniac, socio-pathic tendencies have been part of every fascistic movement that ever existed.

6 Just a technocrat Joan….

Joan and her government always talk about “putting people back to work” The language and sentiments underpinning it should cause everyone concern. It puts front and center the vision (or lack thereof) of neoliberal ideologies and parties. Our lives are little more than things to be managed by the state and for capital. Sources close to Burton have outlined very clearly to me that she hold the views that there are the deserving poor and the undeserving poor. As an unreconstructed tory, Burton has little grasp of political economy, but rather has residual hatred of the working class she cant relate to. She belongs to a political class that sees themselves first and foremost as technocrats of late capitalism. They have no need for any type of inspiring political and social vision even as all the figure demostrate growing inequality. Instead they seek only to work within the confines of political decision making that rewards low cunning much more than integrity, intellectual vigor, and emotional literacy. They play willing second fiddle undemocratic supra national economic institutions. Our lives are nothing more than measurable metrics in an amoral logic. And amorality is a deliberate strategy. Once you evacuate care, compassion and justice from the broader framework of decision making, then you dont have to deal with the cognitive dissonance of thinking yourself just a person trying to do a difficult job, and the reality that you are part of a system of organised hurt. Such cognitive dissonances on a large political scale is a founding part of all fascistic tendencies that have ever developed actual power. Rejecting such cognitive dissonances is key to ensuring actual fascism cant get a foothold.

To be clear, I dont think we live in a fascist state, nor indeed to I think Joan Burton is a fascist. She is merely the leader of a party polling at 5% and panicking. A “Labour”party that pretends it was the voice of a working class, lead by someone with disdain for the lived reality of most people who are working class. Her talk of fascism merely seeks to put people off looking at left wing ideas and getting involved in emerging spaces of participatory politics outside the control of electoral pantomines

Bizarrely she doesnt seem to get that Fascism is a ideology of the right not of the left. If she read into the history of her current partners in government she would know that. Perhaps next time Joan is locked in car for two hours, or even locked over the Christmas she could spend her time more fruitfully reading on Fascism by looking at wikipedia on her smartphone.

An Garda Síochána profiling Traveller family babies on Pulse system

John Wilson - former Garda, turned whistleblower.

John Wilson – former Garda, turned whistleblower.

This morning on RTE radio one, John Mc Guiness  made reference to the profiling of children and babies within the Traveller community by the police force. He spoke of one case of a 16 day old baby being entered into the Pulse system, the national police intelligence and crime database.  This is one case in at least 40 families being targeted in this way.  One wonders what kind of training cops get if they enter the details of a baby on a crime database.  It seems that in the eyes of the police force, or certain officers at least, merely being alive makes you a criminal suspect.

This has been in the public domain following actions by Garda whistleblower John Wilson (pictured above.)  Once on the PULSE system you cant be taken off.  Whilst most of mainstream media seek to push this under the carpet as part of moving on, the statement made on RTE today are likely to provoke anger and action from anti racist, traveller advocacy and human rights organisations over the next few days.   Here’s a letter Wilson wrote over 2 years ago about the practice of recording underage children by the police force on the PULSE system.

WilsonLetter

Broadsheet reported at the time.

“Mr Wilson alleges that hundreds of Traveller babies – one as young as 16 days old – have had their names put on the PULSE system, with each child getting a criminal intelligence PULSE number.

How this would happen, he claims, is that if a Garda stopped a car driven by a Traveller, and if there were children present in the car, those children’s names would be placed on PULSE.

Mr Wilson says that gardaí were encouraged to do this by senior gardaí.

Mr Wilson says  that gardaí are in the practice of stopping and searching young people in certain, “working-class areas”, under the Misuse of Drugs Act and that gardaí would put these youths’ names on PULSE and record them as having been searched for drugs.”

Its unlikely that this will blow over anytime soon.

Joan Burton and the Political Policing of Labour

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Joan Burton

 Its hard to know were to begin. A Labour minister announced yesterday that sections of the police force are to be drafted in to set up road blocks and stop workers in cars outside industrial estates.

When I first heard this mentioned on my Facebook and Twitter feeds I assumed it was some kind of left knee jerk interpretation. (I’m prone to them myself) Then I thought it might be FG spin from either within Burton’s department or the Dept of Finance to politically damage Burton. This was before I realised she said this herself on air, though ‘clarifying’ later in the day that she was referring to industrial estates rather than housing estates. Should we be eternally grateful that a Labour minister in only sending cops to harrass the labouring classes at our places of work, rather than at our homes? This is a deeply authoritarian step for any government to take, and as such it is a risk for Labour in further antagonizing ordinary working class people . Though given that Labour is hemorrhaging support, it seems that the party will face a similar fate to other  centrist minor coalition partners right across Europe over the last ten years.

This political policing begs some serious questions too. How exactly is a cop stopping cars of people coming out or heading into a days work going to be able to tell if people are signing on the dole while working. Under what legislation can a police force be entitled to demand your personal information on the presumptive basis that all workers coming out of a workplace might be doing the double. On what information are they using to pick those to stop. Are they going to stop every car, thereby creating long tail backs for workers in and out of work? I cant help thinking of how the RUC used to stop people coming and going to local GAA matches, creating massive tailbacks, often delaying kick off times. Simple harassment of a population to suits the states aim. What’s the difference here? Are people who work in industrial estates going to have to do what people in the north used to? Head off half an hour early to build in time being held in a traffic queue by the cops? How long does the Labour/FG government think people will put up with this shit?

Text from Burton's summer newsletter, basking in the light of right wing Daily Mail commentary supporting her right wing populism

Text from Burton’s summer newsletter, basking in the light of right wing Daily Mail commentary supporting her right wing populism (Thks @electionlit for flagging

Some other question arise around the particulars of this policing. Even the police commissioner has had his traffic penalty point wiped of the system by police under his command yet the only punitive measure around this has been the Independent newspaper sacking the journalist who had the temerity to ask the obvious questions. The Independents Group Editor in Chief also got his point wiped off, so you can see why the journalist in question was sacked.

But the widespread collusion and cover up of misuse and abuse of centralised data on people living in Ireland by the police force puts us in a position that demands critical attention. Is the state actually going to allow cops to be hardwired into the social welfare databases? At workplace check-points are people going to be asked to give names and addresses that are then typed into the welfare database? Or will they radio in to an already overstreached frontline social welfare workers? Given that the police force has demonstrated its untrustworthiness around centralised penalty point databases , how can they be trusted with information on people benefits, claims history etc. Its seems entirely foolish, whilst the traffic penalty point affair has been swept under the carpet, that the population as a whole, and million odd of us with personal information stored on the state welfare system should have any confidence that this information can any longer be considered secure.

We know the governments #Budget2014 buzz word wasincentivise” but given the regular leaking from police sources to journalists in Ireland, surely this opens up new incentives for bent cops to get information they can sell? If the Data Commissioner isn’t thinking about this right now, they should be. This also demands a response from the Trade Union movement. The Trade Union movement as a whole should be asking question of the GRA too.

On another level though, this is about much more than not trusting the police force with access to the largest dataset of personal information on people living in Ireland. The decision to set up workplace check points need to be contrasted with the states approach the actual largest welfare fraudsters in this country. Noonan announced yesterday that companies like Google, Facebook and Yahoo, as well as the entire banking and financial sector will have another full year to siphon off hundreds if not thousands of millions of euros in legal tax dodging schemes. This year’s grace will no doubt allow the Irish legal firms that rubber stamp their cooked books. They along with with the banking cartels, (the main block within the Clearing House Group,) will have ample time to devise with their partnered civil servants in the Dept of Finance, other specific legal tax dodging strategies that will fulfill Noonan’s limited demand of resident corporations not being stateless. And you can rest assure not one hi viz cop will be involved.

If this government can find the resources to pay lots of police to stand like pricks outside industrial estates across the country, where people are actually doing real worth, whyhas the state only had one forensic accountant working on the investigation into the money/credit creation scams at Anglo? I got a question asked in the Dail around the levels of policing in the ongoing Anglo investigations in early 2012. This was Noonan’s answer back then

..as of 14 February (2012), the current strength of the Garda Bureau of Fraud Investigation is seventy one, comprising one Superintendent, five Inspectors, fifteen Sergeants and fifty Gardaí.  Twenty-six Garda personnel are engaged in the investigations into Anglo Irish Bank, comprising sixteen personnel at the Garda Bureau of Fraud Investigation, including fifteen Garda investigators and a forensic accountant as well as ten members of An Garda Síochána currently seconded to ODCE.”

The investigation into Anglo has to include tens of thousand of emails, correspondence as well as lots and lots of cooked books. yet the state investigation has 26 cops looking at it. And one, yes one, person qualified to check those cooked books.

Anglo alone will cost us €52,000,000,000 (€52 Billion). Welfare fraud has been shown by Michael Taft of Unite to be in the region of €26,000,000. So Anglo costs us about two thousand times the level of welfare fraud. That’s not even mentioning the other ongoing payments the state continues to make week in and week out to unsecured bondholders. Clearly we can understand now that the myth of wealth creation of the Celtic Tiger was actually processes of debt creation and by extension welfare fraud.

The dissonance is striking and sickening. Not only has the institutions (both local and transnational) of financial capitalism captured the legislative dimensions of the state, but in effect they have the power to direct policing resources away from their own activities. Whilst we have the ideological drive and practical manifestations of deregulation of the financial sector as it churns out debt, we are now told by the government that we should willing accept the imposition of physical policing of the places of actual wealth creation, our workplaces.

What this shows that despite the language of consensus politics emanating from the political classes (“We have all sacrificed” “we are all in this together”), is the government is increasingly adopting approaches to and within the Great Recession that foreground the politics of contention and antagonism which form the actual basis of the captured state. In terms of how economies function these days, it makes little sense to think there is an actual divide between the financial economy (which creates debt ) and the real economy (where we create real wealth through our work). But from a social and political and radical democratic perspective the conceptual divide is useful in helping us understand how power really works in this state. The only suitable response to both the government and to the individuals in uniform doing their political policing. A polite but firm “fuck off.”

The “Anglo” Promissory Deal Story through Memes.

Update 1: Still not sure what the update is

Deal-or-No-Deal

Yesterday senior figures within the Irish Government/Civil Service initiated “Code Red”. It’s kicked off with a planned leaking of details of an legal accounting trick designed to created a sense of political chaos and thus spring the dumber backbenchers of FF, FG and Labour into voting for the IRISH BANK RESOLUTION CORPORATION BILL 2013

Conspiracy Code Red

The co-ordinated “leak” was part of the strategy of Code Red. that the State was to liquidate IBRC/Anglo allowed Noonan to give the impression that an emergency now existed, since IRBC/Anglo assets would plummet in value this morning without this emergency legislation. Its a bit like shooting someone in the face and them shouting at passer bys that if they didn’t give you a tissue now, you’d be responsible for their death.

Noonan Suckers.

The Minister of Finance wanted the late night debate to begin at 10.30pm, a whole 15 minutes after the draft bill was given to TD’s in the Dail. The bill is 59 pages and involves between €28-45 Billion euro the people in Ireland have yet to generate through their own labour.  The Dail bar was still open so the debate was pushed back until 00.00am on Thursday.

slavery

MIDDLE OF NIGHT

Noonan informed TD’s that he handed all power to  in KMPG, one of the Big Four accounting firm that rubberstamps the cooked books of banks across the globe for a significant slice of the pie.

MORTGAGE

The bill in Section 17 also allows Noonan and future finance minsters to issue government bonds (read bind your future labour to even more debt)

sECTION 17

Its now up to the unelected 21 men of the ECB to rubberstamp the Code Red plan. And in doing so will turn the private debts from banks under criminal investigation (by supposedly the Irish state) has been “transformed” into fully legal, yet still illegitimate, debt that you, your children and your childrens children will have to pay out for.

TO DO WITH YOU

Most people now understand that this is not an economic crisis, but a crisis of democracy.

DEMOCRACY

How this actually pans out is up to you.

make sure and follow @notourdebt