BREAKING: @Lawyers4Choice publish draft bill following Citizens Assembly vote.

A group of lawyers have  published a draft bill following the Citizens Assembly votes around reproductive health at the weekend. The bill:

gives effect to the Citizens’ Assembly’s recommendations for abortion law reform. The purpose of the Bill is to codify the Assembly’s proposals, and to show how simply and easily that can be done.”

Lawyers for choice

The group of lawyers that drafted the bill have stated  that “the provisions reflect the choices of the Assembly members’ and not those of Lawyers for Choice.”

You can read the draft legislation and accompanying full statement below.

For PRESS RELEASE

THE CITIZENS ASSEMBLY’S PROPOSALS: A DRAFT BILL

Lawyers for Choice has produced a draft bill that gives effect to the Citizens’ Assembly’s recommendations for abortion law reform. The purpose of the Bill is to codify the Assembly’s proposals, and to show how simply and easily that can be done. The provisions reflect the choices of the Assembly members’ and not those of Lawyers for Choice.

Regrettably, the Assembly’s deliberations on legislation were confined to grounds for accessing abortion only. Experience worldwide shows that, even where grounds are well-drafted, abortion can be difficult to access. The Oireachtas must pay attention to barriers to access such as obstructions outside of clinics, the circulation of misleading information on abortion, underfunding of services, and conscientious objection. Any final legislation must make provision for these matters.

In addition, we regret that the Assembly was unable to consider the decriminalisation of abortion, which is clearly required by international human rights law.

We welcome the Citizens Assembly’s recommendation that abortion be available on request up to 12 weeks, and on socio-economic and health grounds up to 22 weeks. However, we are concerned that the Assembly process did not always give members the opportunity to consider international best practice in the drafting of abortion legislation. To this end we note:

  • The Assembly has recommended making abortion available predominantly only in exceptional cases. ‘Exceptions-based’ legislation can stigmatise abortion by treating it as being different to other forms of medical care. It imposes burdens on pregnant people to establish that their abortions are ‘deserving’. It is also vulnerable to unduly conservative interpretation, which inhibits women’s access to services; for example, by distinguishing sharply between health and socio-economic grounds. We favour legislation which recognises and positively guarantees equal access to abortion care for all those who need it.
  • We recommend that no ‘rape ground’ should be included in any legislation. In other jurisdictions, accessing abortion on grounds of rape requires women to ‘prove’ their rape to the satisfaction of medics, police or courts. Such requirements reinforce damaging myths about rape victims’ credibility and lead to trauma and delay. Instead, the Oireachtas should ensure that other broader grounds (e.g. risk to health) can meet the needs of those pregnant through rape.
  • We do not support a specific disability ground short of fatal foetal abnormality. Its inclusion is stigmatising. Again, care should be taken to ensure that other grounds are drafted appropriately to ensure that they can meet the needs of those unable to continue a pregnancy after a diagnosis of severe foetal anomaly. The state is reminded of its international obligations to provide appropriate social and economic support, information and medical care to those in this position.
  • We regret that the Assembly’s recommendations include language from the case-law generated by the 8th Amendment e.g. ‘unborn’ and ‘real and substantial risk’ to life. These restrictive legal concepts have no place in Irish law once the Amendment is repealed or replaced and are unhelpful for medical practitioners.

ABOUT LAWYERS FOR CHOICE

Lawyers for Choice is a collective of legal academics, practising lawyers and law students, advocating for reproductive justice in Ireland.

lawyers4choice@gmail.com

FURTHER INFORMATION

For further comment or queries on this Bill please contact

Professor Fiona de Londras Máiréad Enright

Birmingham Law School Birmingham Law School

f.delondras@bham.ac.uk m.enright@bham.ac.uk

Dr Vicky Conway

Dublin City University

Vicky.conway@dcu.ie

GENERAL SCHEME OF

ACCESS TO ABORTION BILL 20171*

Part 1 – Preliminary and General

Head 1: Short Title and Commencement

  1. (1) This Act may be cited as the Access to Abortion Act 2017.

(2) This Act shall come into operation on such day or days as the Minister for Justice and Equality may, following consultation with the Minister for Health, appoint by order or orders either generally or with reference to any particular purpose or provision and different days may be so appointed for different purposes or different provisions.

Part 2: Access to Abortion Care

Head 2: Abortion without restriction as to reason

  1. A pregnant woman may access an abortion until the end of the twelfth week of pregnancy without restriction as to reason if:
    1. She expresses the view to a registered medical practitioner that she does not wish to continue with her pregnancy;
    2. In the case of medical abortion: the medication is prescribed by a registered medical practitioner; or
    3. In the case of surgical abortion: the abortion is performed by a registered medical practitioner or other health care practitioners under their supervision at an authorised location

Head 3: Risk to Health

  1. A pregnant women may access an abortion until the end of the twenty-second week of pregnancy if
    1. A registered practitioner is of the opinion, formed in good faith, that the continuance of the pregnancy would entail a risk to the pregnant woman’s health; and
    2. The abortion is performed by a registered medical practitioner or other health care practitioners under their supervision at an authorised location; and
    3. In forming her opinion, the registered medical practitioner has taken account of the pregnant woman’s views on the impact of the continuance of the pregnancy on her health.

Head 4: Non-Fatal Foetal Abnormality

  1. A pregnant woman may access an abortion until the end of the twenty-second week of pregnancy if:
    1. A registered medical practitioner is of the opinion, formed in good faith, that the unborn child has a significant abnormality that is not likely to result in death before or shortly after birth;
    2. The abortion is performed by a registered medical practitioner or other health care practitioners under their supervision at an authorised location.

Head 5: Pregnancy Resulting from Rape

  1. A pregnant woman may access an abortion until the end of the twenty-second week of pregnancy if:
    1. She informs a medical practitioner that the pregnancy resulted from rape;
    2. The abortion is performed by a registered medical practitioner or other health care practitioners under their supervision at an authorised location

Head 6: Socio-Economic Factors

  1. A pregnant woman may access an abortion until the end of the twenty-second week of pregnancy if:
    1. She informs a medical practitioner that she is of the view that she lacks the necessary socio-economic resources to support a child that would be born if the pregnancy continued to full term;
    2. The abortion is performed by a registered medical practitioner or other health care practitioners under their supervision at an authorised location

Head 7: Serious Risk to Health

  1. A pregnant women may access an abortion if:
    1. A registered medical practitioner is of the opinion, formed in good faith, that the continuance of the pregnancy would entail a serious risk of damage to the pregnant woman’s health; and
    2. The abortion is performed by a registered medical practitioner or other health care practitioners under their supervision at an authorised location; and
    3. In forming her opinion, the registered medical practitioner has taken account of the pregnant woman’s views on the impact of the continuance of the pregnancy on her health.

Head 8: Risk to Life

  1. A pregnant woman may access an abortion if:
  1. A registered medical practitioner is of the opinion, formed in good faith, that the continuance of the pregnancy would entail a real and substantial risk to the life of the pregnant woman, whether physical risk or risk by suicide,; and
  2. The abortion is performed by a registered medical practitioner or other health care practitioners under their supervision at an authorised location; and
  3. In forming her opinion, the registered medical practitioner has taken account of the pregnant woman’s views on the impact of the continuance of the pregnancy on her life.
  1. “Risk to life” includes the risk of suicide.

Head 9: Fatal Foetal Anomaly

  1. A pregnant woman may access an abortion if
    1. a registered medical practitioner is of the opinion, formed in good faith, that the unborn child has a foetal abnormality that is likely to result in death before or shortly after birth.
    2. the abortion is performed by a registered medical practitioner or other health care practitioners under their supervision at an authorised location;

Head 10: Emergency

  1. It shall be lawful for a single registered medical practitioner to perform an abortion on a pregnant woman if he is of the opinion, formed in good faith, that the abortion is necessary to avoid an immediate risk to her life, or an immediate serious risk of damage to her health.

Head 11: Consent

  1. Nothing in this Act shall operate to affect any enactment or rule of law relating to consent to medical treatment.

1* Prepared and proposed for ‘Lawyers for Choice’ based on “General Scheme of the Access to Abortion Bill 2015” (2015) 5(1) feminists@law as prepared by Máiréad Enright, Senior Lecturer, University of Birmingham School of Law; Vicky Conway, Lecturer, Dublin City University; Fiona de Londras, Professor of Global Legal Studies, University of Birmingham School of Law; Mary Donnelly, Professor of Law, University College Cork School of Law; Ruth Fletcher, Senior Lecturer, Queen Mary University of London School of Law; Natalie McDonnell, Barrister-at-Law, Law Library, Dublin; Sheelagh McGuinness, Senior Lecturer, Bristol Law School; Claire Murray, Lecturer, University College Cork School of Law; Sinéad Ring, Lecturer, University of Kent Law School; Sorcha Uí Chonnachtaigh, Lecturer in Ethics and Law, University of Keele Law School.

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Where is the #Spycops statement @CharlieFlanagan ?

The security forces here would be very concerned about agents from an another country operating in this jurisdiction…. I can confirm to the Deputy that the Minister for Foreign Affairs and Trade will meet with the Secretary of State, James Brokenshire, here in Dublin next week to discuss this matter. I do not have any further details I can put before the House now. The Minister will make a statement following his meeting.

Taoiseach Enda Kenny, 8th Feb 2017

I find it shocking that via my solicitor Darragh Mackin of KRW Law I have informed the Minister of Justice about such issues via legal letters dated 17 May 2016 and again on 20 December 2016,4 yet to date I have received no reply although both letters were even reported in the media.

Sarah Hampton in email to Enda Kenny, Charlie Flanagan and Frances Fitzgerald 12th Feb 2017

Support independent research and journalism by using the share button below, thanks.

 

Its been a fairly rough fortnight for the individuals in government, the ‘leaders’ dealing with the fallout of what happens when the nature of policing as it exists in the state today becomes ongoing public conversation.

Nowhere near as rough as its has been over the years to those seeking simply to make public what the institution of An Garda Siochana get up to. Lost somewhat in the mix is the momentum building for the Irish state to open up about the role of secret British undercover policing units working in Ireland.

There are of course distinctions to be made between vindictive, inter-agency retaliations against police whistle-blowers from within the force -such as we now know was meted out to Maurice McCabe and David Taylor and others yet to come to light – and the specific vindictive secret political policing waged against people involved in political, environmental and social justice struggles.

What they have in common is though it the deep desire of institutional power centres such as police forces to keep secret what it is they are doing. At all costs police forces want to stay outside and beyond transparency and specifically beyond anything even resembling democratic control.

Precisely because they know that when all is out in the open, public revulsion turns to demand for institutional change. The first instinct of any power center is to defend its own power merely to retain it.

In police forces, this becomes coded in cultures of omerta. Loyalty to the organisation comes first, and all who show disloyality shall be treated accordingly.

So if this is what happens to those whistle-blowers inside police forces, how much more difficult is it for those outside police forces, trying to both raise public consciousness and achieve personal and collective justice around police abuses?

 

mk-dublin

Sarah Hampton (far left) with British undercover Mark Kennedy in Ireland 2005

And this brings us to the start of last week where a press conference was held around questions arising from British undercover officers working in Ireland. A report from that press conference is here. There is a tactic acceptance by previous and current governments that British officers did indeed work in Ireland.

Several TD’s including Clare Daly, Jonathan O’Brien and Paul Murphy as well as MEP Lynn Boylan have raised questions to the present government and at the European Parliament.

It was in response to questions by Paul Murphy on Wednesday March 8th that Enda Kenny stated the quote at the top of this piece.

However the press statement sent out by Mininster from Foreign Affairs and Trade Charlies Flanaghan following his meeting with the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland, James Brokenshire, made no reference to raising the issue of British undercovers working in Ireland.

Earlier this week an email was sent to Enda Kenny, Charlie Flanagan and Justice Minister Frances Fitzgerald by one of the women deceived into a long term relationship with Mark Kennedy. As with all correspondence sent directly to members of the government, there has been no reply.

Kennedy was British officer with the secret National Public Order Intelligence unit. Sarah Hampton first met Kennedy whilst on holiday in Ireland. Kennedy at the time was using the persona Mark Stone, pretending to be an environmental activist. Sarah has already received a written apology from the Metropolitan police who ran the secret police unit. However, she, like hundreds of other caught up in British secret policing operating it seamlessly across national borders, she has many unanswered questions. Saying sorry is easy if all the other actions you come up against are deliberate obstacles, or as is the case in from the Irish government, simply ignoring your correspondence.

Here is that email to Kenny, Flanaghan and Fitzgerald in full.

Dear Taoiseach Enda Kenny,

Dear Minister for Foreign Affairs and Trade, Charles Flanagan TD

Dear Tánaiste and Minister for Justice and Equality, Deputy Frances Fitzgerald TD

My name is Sarah Hampton, you may have first heard my name when I was quoted on theParliament floor by TD Paul Murphy on 8 February 2017.

In 2005 I was on holiday on Ireland when I met Mark Kennedy. I subsequently went onto have a one year relationship with the man I then knew as ‘Mark Stone’ without any idea of his true identity. In 2010 I found out that he was a British undercover police officer working in Ireland as a member National Public Order Intelligence Unit.

Finding out that Mark was an undercover police officer brought about a deep depression that seemed impossible to navigate, there were times I have almost given up completely. The process of seeking justice on this case has felt at times belittling, intimidating and downright scary. I felt I had been raped, I never consented to sleeping with a police officer.

On the 3rd February 2017 I received a written full apology from the Metropolitan Police Service (MPS).3 Assistant Commissioner Fiona Taylor wrote me to acknowledged the pain and stress I have endured as the result of the deceitful relationship. The MPS Assistant Commissioner stated, “The relationship between you and Mark Kennedy was abusive, deceitful, manipulative and wrong.” ”The relationship should never have happened.” “I recognise that what happened in your case was an abuse of police power that resulted in a violation of your human rights, a breach of your privacy and trust, and the source of significant trauma to you.”

I note the Parliamentary Answer that TD Clare Daly received from the Tánaiste, 8th February2017, stating “should anything emerge from the findings of the UK’s Undercover Policing Inquiry (UCPI) that would be relevant to policing in this jurisdiction I will consider it fully and take any action that may be required.”

However at this point the UCPI excludes Ireland completely, so this Parliamentary Answer is illogical and does not satisfy my concerns in the least. We don’t need to wait for the findings of the UK undercover policing inquiry to know that there are significant grounds for taking action on this matter. I am a US citizen, I was on holiday in Ireland when our relationship began, and despite the British MPS apology I have received, I have many unanswered questions regarding Ireland. I want to know if Irish authorities knew what Mark Kennedy wasdoing, and I want details about his operations in Ireland.

– Did you allow him to develop intimate relationships with women in your jurisdiction?

– Was he operating with the full permission of the Irish authorities?

– Do you have police files on me?

– To what extent has my right to privacy been invaded by the Irish authorities?

It is my belief that Police and government are supposed to be here to serve the people and they need to be held responsible when they themselves have even admitted to being negligent and violating human rights. I believe that by not taking action on this matter you are perpetuating the trauma I have experienced and that my human rights are continuing to be violated.

Further I find it shocking that via my solicitor Darragh Mackin of KRW Law I have informed the Minister of Justice about such issues via legal letters dated 17 May 2016 and again on 20 December 2016,4 yet to date I have received no reply although both letters were even reported in the media.

On 8 February the Taoiseach stated in Parliament that he would have his Minister for Foreign Affairs and Trade, Charles Flanagan TD, raise the issue with British officials within the coming week. I firmly request that you take action to insist to British officials that the UCPI be extended to include the activities of undercover activities in the Republic of Ireland.

Yours sincerely,

Sarah Hampton

Core Participant in the UK Undercover Policing Inquiry

The demands are clear from Sarah and others seeking truth and answers. The first one is very simple.

The Irish government needs to officially ask that the UK government extend Pitchford to include the role of British undercover units working in Ireland. It quite simple. If you don’t ask you don’t get.

The government of Northern Ireland, Scotland and Germany have all asked for this extension. This government needs to own up and say why it refuses to do so so far. There is not question that British undercover units were working here. That is already established. Sarah Hampton other questions need answering to. And to those we should add the opening up of files of people living in Ireland – citizen and non citizen, adults and children, – arising from coming into contact with British undercover police operating here and providing information to An Garda Siochana.

Because this isn’t going away.

British #SpyCops in Ireland: What is @FitzgeraldFrncs covering up? An interview with Jason Kirkpatrick

I spoke to Jason Kirkpatrick targeted by British undercover police across several countries including Germany, N Ireland, Scotland and the Republic of Ireland. The officer was Mark Kennedy attached to the UK’s National Public Order Intelligence Unit (NPOIU.) Kennedy operated in many European countries including several deployments to Ireland.

jason_35x45mm_300dpi

Jason Kirkpatrick wants Irish Dept of Justice to explain role of British undercover police spying on him in Ireland

The NPOIU is a political policing unit set up to illicitly disrupt political networks social movements and family campaigns challenging abuses by the police.

The unit was preceded by the Special Demonstrations Squad (SDS) set up in 1968 to infiltrate protest movements opposed to the US war in Vietnam.   Both units not only spied on political organisations and social movements, but on campaigns against police abuses and murder in the UK.

mark-kennedy-undercover-a-007

Mark Kennedy, using the name Mark Stone, from the UK’s National Public Order Intelligence Unit, was deployed multiple times in Ireland. The Department of Justice and An Garda Siochana refuse to cooperate so far with Jason Kirkpatrick.

Jason is currently bringing legal cases in several jurisdictions with an aim of expanding the Pitchford Inquiry into the scope and nature of undercover policing set up by the current UK prime minister Teresa May. Currently this inquiry is limited to undercover policing in England and Wales. Jason and others are pushing to see this expanded to cover all areas that British undercover police targeted them.

It is understood that the NPOIU operated using contractual terms of agreements with several nation states/police units around the deployment of British officers from the unit in those states. It’s likely that some of the information held by the Irish police force includes such an agreement. It is also common practice for information fed back by British undercover police to their units is shared with the police force of the country they are operating in.

Currently the Irish state refuses to publish an existing report into Mark Kennedys deployments across Ireland, or who he was spying on and what information he has supplied to both the British and Irish states. Minister for Justice Francis Fitzgerald has called for another report from Commissioner O Sullivan, a move that should be understood as a stalling tactic to resist any transparency around some really dodgy policing

Full interview below

More info on the use of undercover police to spy and disrupt black justice movements can found at The Guardian here

Trumps Press Release re Denis O Brien in full

To date, no Irish media reprinted any of the specific content within Donald Trump’s press release about Denis O Brien’s links to the Clinton Foundation,  and Clinton family.

What’s even more striking, no media outlet even offers a hyperlink in its own self censoring coverage to the actual press release itself.

dob

The press release is in full below.  As we can see, none of it is original content, or even amounts to any sort of political analysis. Its simply copy paste of pieces, mostly uncontested facts already written online. Much of it from within Ireland.

Irish media outlets might consider their choice not to link or include any specifics outlined within  ( eg O Briens donating to the Clinton Foundation whilst getting contracts from the US state department for mobile phone contract in Haiti) as pragmatic.

That I’m afraid is internalised logic, which any observer can see is  based on internalising a fear of O Brien’s power and justifying something politica as a business decision.  And that’s a much bigger news than any copy paste job Trumps team fires out.

Update: 12.49. Hattip to Marcus O’Cuilleanáin for this link

‘Upon legal advice, RTÉ will not be repeating the exact words used in the statement’ – 1:27mins

 

Here’s the presser in full.

Image designed and courtesy of Eamonn Crudden

– September 28, 2016 –

FOLLOW THE MONEY: DENIS O’BRIEN – ANOTHER CORRUPT CLINTON FRIEND

DENIS O’BRIEN IS A BILLIONAIRE “CELL PHONE TYCOON” WITH CLOSE TIES TO THE CLINTONS AND ALSO ONE OF THE “MOST REVILED FIGURES” IN IRELAND

Denis O’Brien Is A “Cell Phone Tycoon” Who Owns Digicel, “A Mobile Phone Network Provider That Operates In Central America, The Caribbean, And The Pacific Islands.” “Cell phone tycoon Denis O’Brien runs and owns 94% of Digicel, a mobile phone network provider that operates in Central America, the Caribbean, and the Pacific Islands. The company was supposed to hold its initial public offering on the New York Stock Exchange in 2015 but pulled it in October due to “volatility” in the markets. In recent years, O’Brien has been on a deal-making binge in Ireland, snapping up distressed assets on the cheap and turning them around.” (“#219 Denis O’Brien,” Forbes, Accessed 4/26/16)

  • NOTE: As Of April 26, 2016, O’Brien Is Worth $6.1 Billion USD. (“#219 Denis O’Brien,” Forbes, Accessed 4/26/16)

O’Brien Also Founded The Esat Telecom Group PLC And Is The Chair Of The Clinton Global Initiative Haiti Action Network. “O’Brien also founded the Esat Telecom Group plc. He is a Director on the US Board of Concern Worldwide, a member of the UN Broadband Commission for Digital Development, and chair of the Clinton Global Initiative Haiti Action Network. In addition, he is Chairman and Co-Founder of Frontline, the International Foundation for the Protection of Human Rights Defenders. In 2000, he established The Iris O’Brien Foundation to identify and assist projects in Ireland and internationally which aim to alleviate disadvantaged communities.” (Clinton Foundation Website, Accessed 4/26/16)

O’Brien Is One Of The “Most Reviled” Figures In Ireland Over Revelations About His Business Affairs. “O’Brien is Ireland’s leading philanthropist – but now also one of the most reviled figures there. It is an extraordinary paradox that surrounds his business success – how he made his fortune and now how he is handling revelations about his banking and business affairs. For a man described by Clinton as changing the world more than anyone else for the betterment of the poor recent negative press provides a dizzying contrast.” (James O’Shea, “Clinton’s Close Friend Denis O’Brien Battles Massive Criticism In Ireland,” Irish Central, 6/8/15)

O’Brien Is A Major Clinton Foundation Supporter And Bill Clinton’s “Friend”

(Clinton Foundation Website, Accessed 4/26/16)

Denis J. O’Brien And Digicel Cumulatively Donated $10,000,001 To $25,000,000 To The Clinton Foundation. (“Contributor And Grantor Information,” Clinton Foundation Website, Accessed 4/26/16)

Bill Clinton And O’Brien Developed “A Close Working Relationship” During Their Work Together In Haiti. “Mr Clinton and Mr. O’Brien formed a close working relationship in Haiti where the former acted as UN special envoy, and where Digicel has become the country’s largest foreign investor ever – pumping $600 million (€443 million) into an economy devastated by the 2010 earthquake.”(Joe Humphreys, “Bill Clinton Visit Cements Close Working Relationship With Denis O’Brien,” The Irish Times, 10/10/13)

  • Chelsea Clinton Thanked O’Brien For His “Tireless Leadership” In Haiti. CHELSEA CLINTON: “And again, I want to thank Denis O’Brien for his tireless leadership, as well as also getting Ruth Messenger a chair – proving indeed that chivalry is alive and well. Without his sort of dogged commitment, I don’t think we would have had the success rate that he is so rightly proud of and that we are so rightly grateful to be part of. So, I want to welcome Adam to the stage to help lead the conversation, but I also would ask all of you to please give Denis who is far too humble a round of applause.” (Chelsea Clinton, Remarks At The 2015 Clinton Global Initiative Annual Meeting, New York, NY, 9/27/15)

In 2011 O’Brien Flew Bill Clinton To Ireland On His Private Jet So That Clinton Could Speak At The Global Irish Economic Forum. “In 2011, Mr Clinton flew to Ireland on Mr O’Brien’s private jet to attend the Global Irish Economic Forum in Dublin Castle, which was hosted by Taoiseach Enda Kenny.” (Joe Humphreys, “Bill Clinton Visit Cements Close Working Relationship With Denis O’Brien,” The Irish Times, 10/10/13)

On The Same Trip, O’Brien Picked Up The Restaurant Tab For His “Mate” Clinton And 23 Others. “He has an honorary doctorate from UCD and is a mate of former US President, Bill Clinton. Indeed, he flew him to the recent Dublin Castle beano in his jet, and later paid the tab for a late-nighter in the Unicorn restaurant with Clinton, the strangely ever-present Séamus Heaney and 22 others.” (“Denis O’Brien: A Complicated Career And Dubious Ethics,” Village, 12/14/11)

President Clinton Named Denis O’Brien As A Clinton Global Citizen In 2012. “The Clinton Global Citizen Awards recognizes individuals from various sectors who demonstrate visionary leadership in addressing global challenges. Carlos Slim Helú, founder of Fundación Carlos Slim; Luis A. Moreno, president of Inter-American Development Bank; Denis O’Brien, chairman and founder of Digicel Group; Pepe Julian Onziema, programme director and advocacy officer of Sexual Minorities Uganda (SMUG); The Right Reverend Christopher Senyonjo, executive director of St. Paul’s Reconciliation and Equality Centre; and Katie Stagliano, founder and chief executive gardener of Katie’s Krops, will accept awards this year.”( Press Release, “President Clinton to Honor Six Recipients at the Sixth Annual Clinton Global Citizen Awards,” The Clinton Foundation, 9/24/12)

In 2012, Clinton Rated O’Brien’s Ideas To Make Cash Transactions Available For The Poor Through Cell Phones As The Number One Idea Changing The World. “Former president Bill Clinton wrote in a September 2012 Time Magazine cover story that Irish businessman Denis O’Brien’s move to make cash transactions available for the poorest in the world via cell phones was the number one idea in changing the world. The Time cover story featuring Clinton holding a globe is entitled “5 Ideas that are changing the World” and O’Brien’s idea was rated tops.” (James O’Shea, “Clinton’s Close Friend Denis O’Brien Battles Massive Criticism In Ireland,” Irish Central, 6/8/15)

O’Brien, Described As A Friend, Was The Main Facilitator And Benefactor For Clinton’s Speech At A 2013 Gathering For The One Percent Difference Campaign. “Bill Clinton’s third speaking engagement in Ireland in as many years was facilitated largely by his friend and fellow philanthropist Denis O’Brien. The billionaire chairman of the Digicel telecoms group helped to cover the cost of the visit along with a number of other private donors. Opening his speech, Mr. Clinton thanked Mr O’Brien personally ‘for the invitation.’” (Joe Humphreys, “Bill Clinton Visit Cements Close Working Relationship With Denis O’Brien,” The Irish Times, 10/10/13)

O’Brien Is A “Fan” Of Hillary Clinton’s And Hosted A 2012 Dinner For Her While She Was Secretary Of State

According To A 2014 Interview, O’Brien Is A “Fan” Of Hillary Clinton’s. O’DOWD: “Speaking of politicians, you are a big fan of Hillary Clinton. Do you think she is going to run for the White House in 2016?” O’BRIEN: “I’d say she is going to see what the lay of the land is, like any clever politician, to see who’s there on the Democratic side. I think a year out from the primaries last time, not a lot of people had heard of Obama and never saw him as a serious candidate, so obviously she is waiting to see who’s there. And yes, I am a fan.” (Niall O’Dowd, “Exclusive: Denis O’Brien On Tony O’Reilly, Hillary, Ireland, And Making A Difference,” Irish Central, 9/27/14)

In 2012, O’Brien Hosted A Dinner For Hillary Clinton During Her Visit To Dublin. “There was lots of reminiscing the day before in Dublin too when about 12 of us old-time Hillary supporters sat with her in a Dublin restaurant at a dinner hosted by businessman Denis O’Brien. In the small private dinner setting just off Stephen’s Green in Dublin she made clear that the fire still burns. The affection for Ireland and the desire to serve again was very clear that night.” (Niall O’Dowd, “Hillary Clinton Book Recalls Role In Irish Peace Process,” Irish Central, 6/11/14)

O’Brien’s Company Received Funds Overseen By A Top Clinton Aide To Develop Mobile Services In Post-Earthquake Haiti

In 2011, O’Brien’s Company Digicel Was Awarded a $2.5 Million Award From Funds Overseen By A Top Clinton Aide To Develop Mobile Services In Haiti. “Irish billionaire Denis O’Brien, who heads a mobile-phone network provider called Digicel, won a $2.5 million award in 2011 from a program run by the State Department’s U.S. Agency for International Development to offer mobile money services in post-earthquake Haiti. The firm won subsequent awards. Funds for the awards were provided by the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, while USAID administered the program, with a top Clinton aide directly overseeing earthquake aid.” (James V. Grimaldi, Rebecca Ballhaus, And Peter Nicholas, “Gifts To Hillary Clinton’s Family Charity Are Scrutinized In Wake Of Book,” The Wall Street Journal, 4/22/15)

O’BRIEN FACES CONTINUED INVESTIGATIONS INTO HIS QUID PRO QUO DEALINGS WITH IRISH POLITICIANS

An Irish Tribunal Determined That O’Brien Received Significant Aid From Michael Lowry, The Irish Communications Minister, In Obtaining A Valuable Telecom License

The Irish Moriarty Tribunal Concluded “Beyond Doubt” That O’Brien Had Received Substantial Help In Obtaining A Lucrative Mobile License From Then Communications Minister Michael Lowry. “The Moriarty tribunal’s second and final report has found that Michael Lowry assisted Denis O’Brien in his bid to secure a mobile phone contract for Esat Digifone. It concluded it is ‘beyond doubt’ that then minister for transport, energy and communications Mr Lowry gave ‘substantive information to Denis O’Brien, of significant value and assistance to him in securing the [mobile] licence.’ It said Mr Lowry and Mr O’Brien had at least two meetings during the bid process at which the former minister ‘imparted substantive information to Mr O’Brien of significant value and assistance to him in securing the licence.’” (“Moriarty Says Lowry Helped O’Brien Win Mobile Licence,” The Irish Times, 3/22/11)

O’Brien Transferred A Substantial Amount Of Money To Lowry And His Party Around The Time His Firm Was Seeking A Mobile License

O’Brien Gave Lowry’s Political Party A €50,000 Donation The Year The Contract Was Granted. “The minister was then a member of the Fine Gael party, which was also offered a donation amounting to €50,000 (£43,400) from O’Brien in the year the contract was granted. The-then prime minister, John Bruton, later sent the money back.” (Henry MacDonald, “Former Irish Minister Michael Lowry Accused Of Collusion Over Telecoms Bid,” The Guardian, 3/22/11)

  • The Moriarty Tribunal Found That The Payment Was Made “On Behalf Of Esat Digifone At The Instigation And Promotion Of Denis O’Brien.” “It said this payment was ‘made in a manner which, having regard to its false and misleading documentation, the initial payment to an offshore Jersey account, and the eventual delays and misrepresented form of transmission to Fine Gael, was secretive, utterly lacking in transparency and designed to conceal the fact of such payment by or on behalf of the donors.’ ‘The tribunal has found that the payment, although not one ever intended for Mr Lowry personally, was nonetheless one that technically falls within its terms of reference and was a payment to Fine Gael, on behalf of Esat Digifone at the instigation and promotion of Denis O’Brien.” (“Moriarty Says Lowry Helped O’Brien Win Mobile Licence,” The Irish Times, 3/22/11)

The Moriarty Tribunal Concluded That O’Brien Transferred €150,000 To Lowry In Several Secret Transactions. “‘Clandestine’ money transactions took place between O’Brien and Lowry in return for the minister’s support, according to Mr. Justice Moriarty, the tribunal’s chairman. The report said that at one stage, while Lowry was communications minister, he received a sum amounting to €150,000 from O’Brien.” (Henry MacDonald, “Former Irish Minister Michael Lowry Accused Of Collusion Over Telecoms Bid,” The Guardian, 3/22/11)

Over The Course Of Four Years, O’Brien Would Provide An Additional £720,000 In Payments And Loan Support To Lowry. “Within four years of this first encounter, O’Brien had, the tribunal tells us, donated almost IR£1m in ‘clandestine circumstances’ to Lowry through loan support and payments. These came in three separate instalments; the first happened to occur less than seven weeks after the mobile phone licence had been granted. It included IR£147,000, Stg£300,000 and a ‘benefit equivalent to a payment’, in the form of loan support, of Stg£420,000.”(Elaine Byrne,“So Who’s Afraid Of Denis O’Brien? Enda Kenny Is,” Sunday Independent, 10/16/11)

O’Brien Tried To “Spoof” A Company Executive Into Releasing Funds For A Payment To Lowry That O’Brien Wanted To Make. “Some time afterwards Mr. O’Brien told Esat executive Barry Moloney that he’d tried to make a payment to Mr. Lowry but the payment had ‘got stuck’ with an intermediary. Mr. O’Brien later told his Esat colleagues that this was a spoof designed to get Mr. Moloney to release some funds Mr. O’Brien wanted released.” (Colm Keena, “Next Moriarty Report Focus On O’Brien, Lowry,” The Irish Times, 1/8/07)

O’Brien’s Company At The Time Was Seeking A Mobile Phone License, Which Was Later Sold Off To British Telecom. “At the time O’Brien’s Esat Digifone conglomerate was trying to gain a mobile phone licence which had been put out to public tender in 1995. O’Brien later sold that licence to British Telecom, netting his business hundreds of millions of euros.” (Henry MacDonald, “Former Irish Minister Michael Lowry Accused Of Collusion Over Telecoms Bid,” The Guardian, 3/22/11)

The Moriarty Tribunal Described O’Brien’s Transactions Were “Demonstrably Referable To The Acts And Conduct Of Mr. Lowry.” “The final Moriarty tribunal report was published in March 2011. It found Mr Lowry ‘secured the winning’ of the State’s second mobile phone licence competition for Mr O’Brien’s consortium, Esat Digifone. It also found Mr O’Brien made payments to, and supported a loan to, Mr Lowry and that the transactions were ‘demonstrably referable to the acts and conduct of Mr Lowry.’ The two men have said the tribunal was wrong in its findings.” (Colm Keena, “Cab Seeks To Question Denis O’Brien On Tribunal Findings,” The Irish Times, 1/9/16)

The Irish Criminal Assets Bureau Continues To Investigate O’Brien After Gathering “Further Material” Regarding His Telecom Bid

The Irish Criminal Assets Bureau Will Be Interviewing O’Brien Over The Moriarty Tribunal’s Findings After Gathering “Further Material” About The Matter. “The Criminal Assets Bureau will look to interview businessman Denis O’Brien about the findings of the Moriarty tribunal report after it has gathered further material, according to a source with knowledge of the matter. While a number of relevant witnesses have already been interviewed, an interview with Mr O’Brien has yet to take place but will be sought, according to the source.” (Colm Keena, “Cab Seeks To Question Denis O’Brien On Tribunal Findings,” The Irish Times, 1/9/16)

  • NOTE: The Criminal Assets Bureau Is “The Agency That Identifies Money Gained Through Serious Crime.” “Denis O’Brien, Ireland’s largest media owner, is being investigated by the country’s Criminal Assets Bureau (CAB), the agency that identifies money gained through serious crime.” (Roy Greenslade, “Denis O’Brien Under Investigation By Ireland’s Criminal Assets Bureau,” The Guardian, 1/11/16)

O’BRIEN’S PURCHASE OF A DEBT-RIDDLED COMPANY COST IRISH TAXPAYERS €110 MILLION

In 2012, O’Brien Purchased A Company Whose Debt, Caused By “His Endless Buying And Selling Of Property” Was Partially Offset By Irish State Funds. “In 2012 O’Brien acquired for €45.4 million, Siteserv, a construction company that was buying up numerous other property companies during Ireland’s short lived economic boom. At the time of purchase, O’Brien owed IBRC, the state owned-bank, hundreds of millions of euros. Siteserv, like many companies who went bankrupt during this financial apocalypse in Ireland, pace 2008, were previously allowed to run riot on a never ending spending spree, supported by Anglo Irish Bank. By purchasing Siteserv, another company riddled with Anglo Irish Bank-fuelled debt, O’Brien was effectively buying from the state an asset riddled with debt–much of which he helped create through his endless buying and selling of property.(J.P. O’Malley, “Why Is The Irish Government Scared of Billionaire Denis O’Brien?,” The Daily Beast, 6/12/15)

“The Sale Of The Company To O’Brien Therefore Cost The Irish Taxpayer €110 Million.” “The sale of Siteserv to O’Brien also had another favorable condition: IBRC agreed to write off over €100million of Siteserv’s debt. And shareholders received €5million from the sale. The sale of the company to O’Brien therefore cost the Irish taxpayer €110 million.” (J.P. O’Malley, “Why Is The Irish Government Scared of Billionaire Denis O’Brien?,” The Daily Beast, 6/12/15)

O’BRIEN ATTEMPTS TO SILENCE POLITICIANS AND JOURNALISTS WHO CRITICIZE HIM

“O’Brien Has Previously Injuncted Or Initiated Defamation Proceedings 24 Times Against 42 Media Outlets.” (J.P. O’Malley, “Why Is The Irish Government Scared of Billionaire Denis O’Brien?,” The Daily Beast, 6/12/15)

In 2016, O’Brien Sued The Irish Revenue Commissioners And Claimed They Breached His Privacy By Providing Details Of His Tax Liability To The Media. “Businessman Denis O’Brien is suing the Revenue Commissioners claiming they breached his privacy by providing details of his tax affairs to the media. He claims the alleged disclosure arose from a document Revenue provided to certain news organisations during a case arising out of his tax liability for 1999/2000 relating to the sale of his shares in Esat Telecom to BT Hawthorn Ltd. Revenue deny his claims and say almost all the information came from a public High Court hearing.” (“Denis O’brien Sues Revenue For Breach Of Privacy,” The Irish Times, 3/16/16)

In 2015, O’Brien Succeeded In Getting An Injunction Against Media Outlets Reporting On A Speech In The Irish Parliament That Criticized His Banking Arrangements. “As I wrote in May this year, most of Ireland’s media were silenced after O’Brien obtained a Dublin high court injunction against the country’s main broadcaster, RTÉ, in order to prevent it reporting a parliamentary speech. That injunction was eventually ‘clarified,’ which allowed the speech to be reported.” (Roy Greenside, “Why Does Irish Media Mogul Denis O’Brien Launch So Many Legal Actions?,” The Guardian, 10/29/15)

O’Brien Sued The Parliamentary Committee That Cleared The MP Who Criticized Him For His Banking Arrangements. “The speech that upset O’Brien was made by Catherine Murphy TD, who raised questions over his banking arrangements. When she was cleared of having abused her parliamentary privilege by a Dáil committee, O’Brien then started legal action against the committee.” (Roy Greenside, “Why Does Irish Media Mogul Denis O’Brien Launch So Many Legal Actions?,” The Guardian, 10/29/15)

  • The Irish Times: O’Brien’s “Case Is Ill-Judged And Dangerous, A Regrettable Move By A Wealthy Serial Litigator.” “That is also the clear purpose of the writers of the Constitution. Any other interpretation, however tempting to judges instinctively distrustful of the imperfection of political decision-making, will set the judiciary on a course of confrontation with parliament that it will rue, irrespective of the merits of Mr O’Brien’s cause. His case is ill-judged and dangerous, a regrettable move by a wealthy serial litigator. He should withdraw it.” (Editorial, “In Defence Of Privilege,” The Irish Times, 8/5/15)

 

  • O’Brien’s Injunction Was Branded As A “Constitutional Crisis.” “But numerous journalists and politicians branded this particular injunction as a constitutional crisis. The Irish Constitution allows for all statements that are made in its national parliament to be protected by parliamentary privilege. By gagging his critics, O’Brien was potentially creating a precedent in Ireland where a private individual was dictating what could and could not be reported from the national parliament to the press.” (J.P. O’Malley, “Why Is The Irish Government Scared of Billionaire Denis O’Brien?,” The Daily Beast, 6/12/15)

 

“In August, He Threatened To Sue A Satirical Website, Waterford Whispers, For Running A Spoof Item About O’Brien. The Post Was Duly Taken Down.” (Roy Greenside, “Why Does Irish Media Mogul Denis O’Brien Launch So Many Legal Actions?,” The Guardian, 10/29/15)

In 2013, O’Brien Won A Defamation Claim Against A Paper That Covered His Earthquake Relief Efforts. “In February 2013, he won €150,000 damages in a successful defamation claim against the Irish Daily Mail over an article published in 2010 about O’Brien’s Haiti earthquake relief efforts. The Mail’s solicitor said after the verdict that it was a sad day for freedom of expression in Ireland.” (Roy Greenside, “Why Does Irish Media Mogul Denis O’Brien Launch So Many Legal Actions?,” The Guardian, 10/29/15)

In 2012, Transparency International Voiced Concerns About O’Brien’s Legal Actions Against Journalists. “In November 2012, an organisation called Transparency International Ireland voiced concerns to the United Nations over the number of O’Brien’s legal actions. It cited figures compiled by the National Union of Journalists that listed actions, or threats of actions, against 17 journalists and media groups by O’Brien since 1998. Among the most high profile were those against some of Ireland’s best-known commentators, such as Vincent Browne, Sam Smyth and Elaine Byrne. TI Ireland’s chief executive John Devitt said at the time: ‘The use of litigation and legal threats denies journalists and editors the human right to freely report and comment on matters of public importance.’ ‘Journalists also have a duty to report or comment on issues in the public interest – even if they have a negative impact on Mr O’Brien’s reputation.’” (Roy Greenside, “Why Does Irish Media Mogul Denis O’Brien Launch So Many Legal Actions?,” The Guardian, 10/29/15)

8 Reasons Why We Need To Stop These Labour Censorship Laws

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Last week Labour politicians presented two separate bills aimed at shutting down online public conversation. Unelected Labour Senator Lorraine Higgins posted the “Harmful And Malicious Electronic Communications Bill 2015.” Pat Rabbitte published “The Public Electronic Communications Networks (Improper Use) Act 2015” on the same day.

Labour, censorship, Ireland, social media

Both can be read in full at the bottom of this post.

Why two separate censorship bills were brought forward by the same political organisation has not been made clear. A cursory reading of both show that not only are they dangerously wide open for interpretation, but that they both seek to make it a crime to cause any offence to powerful interests and politicians.

1 These proposed laws are Orwellian in nature. They seek to make causing “offence”, “annoyance” “inconvenience” and “alarm” an offence punishable by fines and imprisonment.

From Higgins’ bill —-

For the purposes of this section an electronic communication shall be considered malicious where it intentionally or recklessly causes alarm, distress or harm to the other…

..A person guilty of an offence under this section shall be liable on summary conviction to a fine not exceeding €5,000 or imprisonment for a term not exceeding 12 months or to both.”

From Rabbitte’s Bill

A person who (b) for the purpose of causing annoyance, inconvenience or needless anxiety to another—

(i) sends or causes to be sent, by means of a public electronic communications network, a message that the sender knows to be false,

(ii) persistently and without reasonable cause makes use of a public electronic communications network, is guilty of an offence.

Pretty alarming and offensive right? These bills enable the squashing of public discussion and dissent. They provide for the legal regulation of online political speech. In a society that already has draconian libel laws to protect the powerful from written or spoken criticism, this is a clear attack on our already delimited democratic sphere.

It gives politicians the ability to censor all online public criticism which might cause them “alarm” “annoyance” or “inconvenience”. Higgins’ bill allows for fines up to €5,000 and prison sentences of 12 months. Not to be outdone Pat Rabbittes proposed law seeks to have fines up to €75,000 and 5 years imprisonment.

The level of punishment sought by the Labour party can only have a chilling effect on many people using social media to engage in public debate. The only possible outcome, if these bills are passed into law, is an increase in the totalitarian potential of the nation state.

Labour, censorship, Ireland, social media

2 They want to take away your communication tools too.

Even the wide ranging vagueness of offense and alarm isn’t enough. Say you are found not guilty after being dragged through the courts on foot of the new offenses they laws would create. It has been declared that have done nothing illegal. Yet still you aren’t free to express and communicate without interference from the state and criminal justice system. Under Ancillary Orders of Higgins’ bill, people can be forced by the courts to remove their own content even though you are not guilty of anything….

Ancillary Orders

5. – (1) If on the evidence the court is not satisfied that the person should be convicted of an offence under sections (3) or (4), the court may nevertheless make any of the following upon application to it in that behalf if, having regard to the evidence, the court is satisfied that it is in the interest of justice so to order:

(a) that the person remove or delete specific electronic communication(s);(b) that the person shares an apology or correction as the court deems appropriate in the circumstances;(c) that the person shall not, for such period as the court may specify, communicate by any means with the other person or that the person shall not approach within such distance as the court shall specify of the place of residence or employment of the other person.

It gets worse. Pat Rabbitte’s bill allows the state to seize laptops, mobiles phones and modems etc etc to be taken from you.

So imagine you send a tweet sugggesting Pat Rabbitte was a bit of a hypocrite condemning political organisations with links to paramilitaries who murdered people, given his own political history. Granted that might be hard to fit into 140 characters, but imagine it was possible for the sake of an example. And say Pat Rabbitte was a litigious sort of character who didn’t want to be publicly associated with any of the murders, bank robberies or lots of stuff the Official IRA was involved in when he was member of the Workers Party, the political wing of the OIRA.

I guess you’d be into a couple of tweets now, something that might be construed by Rabbitte and his expensive legal team and barristers as “persistent and without legitimate cause”. It probably might not matter that you feel it important to public discourse that many younger people ought know that that a former minister – responsible for promoting austerity and a gagging law – was once a member of a politico-paramilitary organisation that murdered people. You might even infer that the Stalinist tendencies embodied in WP/OIRA back in the day could be found in a bill that seeks to quash public online political dissent today by actually making it illegal to be a political nuisance.

So you are taken to court and found guilty. Say your day job was a graphic designer, or architect or any other job that requires a laptop and/or mobile phone and access to the net. Your ability to earn a wage (or get donations) relies on these things. Rabbitte’s bill allows for a judge to remove that wage earning ability by seizing the tools of your trade. See:

(6) On convicting a person for an offence under subsection (1), the court may, in addition to any other penalty imposed for the offence, order any apparatus, equipment or other thing used in the course of committing the offence to be forfeited to the State.”

Labour, censorship, Ireland, social media

3 This is bigger than these two bills. This is about what type of society we want and how we can get there.

These bills are merely the latest manifestation of senior politicians seeking to criminalise public questioning. For the past few years there has been a continual attempt by politicians to shut down public anger, despair and frustration. Especially when that coaleses into social action. This anger, expressed on the streets as well as on social media – is rooted firmly in the inability and unwillingness of current political actors to tackle the causes of inequality and face up to the failure of representative democracy. Instead of taking note of these voices from below, people are called fascists and nazi’s by the very people imposing inequality upon them. 

It is demanded that people play nice, suppress their emotions, individualise and internalise their own insecurities. We are expected to respect respectability and applaud green shoots of arithmetical recovery. We all know that these green shoots will never feed us properly, will not undo the loss of mass emigration and suicides. These green shoots and smoke-and -mirror GDP figures wont let us escape shitty short terms jobs or a pension-less future. On the one hand our politicians applaud our ‘sacrifices’, but on the other they are telling us to shut the fuck up. And that is precisely what this bill will be used for.

4 Far bigger communication crime are happening today and the Labour Party are part of the problem.

“ I was aware there was a gap in our legislative armour and I was keen to cover this because I feel a duty as an Oireachtas member.  Modern democracies require modern laws and why should Ireland be any different in terms of international best practice?” –Lorraine Higgins at the bill launch.

Isnt that what you tend to do during an election?” Pat Rabbitte’s response to accusations of lying to the public in run up to last election.

Lorraine Higgins has ran in 8 elections and been rejected every time, yet she’s able to push forward this bill, because she was appointed to the Senate. Higgins likes to talk about her ‘constituency’ in Galway but was never voted into the Dail. In a clip seen tens of thousands of times on YouTube, Pat Rabbitte made clear that lying is part of modern day electoral strategy.

This is Ireland’s “modern democracy.” But what does a modern democracy even mean?

Labour, censorship, Ireland, social media

Modern in the sense that all our electronic communications, every phone call, email, our browsing histories, each Facebook update and Twitter direct message, all our location-tracking data, menstrual cycle app info and Snapchat sexy shots, etc. etc. etc. are intercepted, filed and stored by the UK intelligence agencies at GCHQ and shared with the US intelligence gatherers of the NSA?

Modern in the sense that none of the main political parties felt the call of duty to speak out about this, never mind publicly condemn other states for abusing the privacy of its own population? From this alone it is completely reasonable to assume that Higgins, Rabbitte and the majority of political organisations in this state don’t give one flying bollix about what modern democracies actually means for the most of the population. They are the managers of our total surveillance. These censorship bills are yet another expression of nation state surveillance and control that we can see growing across the globe. Across the EU we are seeing laws to criminalise online organising, and political protest. All the while agencies of the US and UK are supported by client regimes to achieve total surveillance of global populations.

Labour, censorship, Ireland, social media

5 New Laws, Old Practices

These proposed laws reflect the deeply reactionary and authoritarian nature of the Irish state its relatively closed political classes. As much as we can all see many positive social changes in attitudes and practices – which are exclusively rooted in peoples collective struggles rather than benign political leadership – the Irish state remains instinctively reactionary and under the control of wealthy vested interests. Since the inception of the state, successive governments and powerful elites have used censorship around political speech, free discussion and free assembly and the sharing of knowledge.

Ireland is one of the few *ahem* modern democracies to retain blasphemy laws. This was conveniently omitted from most of the commentary surrounding politicians leveraging the murders in Paris earlier this year to laud themselves supporters of ‘free speech’.

During the financial crisis, new censorship laws within “The Credit Institutions (Stabilisation) Act 2010” were used to hide decisions from public view around bank restructuring. Section 60 of the act made it illegal to disclose what decisions the Finance Minister ordered, but also made it illegal to report that Section 60 was being invoked. In effect this was a super injunction stopping journalists reporting on the fact that they were not allowed to report. Brian Lenihan used this act to block reporting on €3,700,000,000 of our taxes being handed over to Allied Irish Bank in mid December 2010.

Labour, censorship, Ireland, social media

As well as refusing women reproductive control over their own bodies, Ireland still bans the sharing of knowledge about abortion. As things stands a doctor can give advice on abortion if a woman seeks an abortion outside of Ireland, but we cant legally tell each other arsing from “Article 26 and the Regulation of Information (Services outside the State for the Termination of Pregnancies) Bill 1995, In Re [1995] IESC 9; [1995] 1 IR 1 (12th May, 1995).” This censorship of course is very difficult to police but the intention is more about shutting down the free sharing of essential and important information than locking people up. In our modern democracy is just not politically possible to lock woman up like this anymore.

(As a quick aside for readers outside Ireland its worth noting that for the first half of respective parties existence Fianna Fail and Fine Gael supported locking women up for being, well…women. These organisations today raise questions about the legitimacy of Sinn Fein given its (past) links with the PIRA. And its totally fine and reasonable in a democratic space to do so.

However FF and FG themselves were not engaged in a wrongheaded low level war with a sectarian state and against a government that organised murders gangs all through the period they were locking innocent women and kids up in workhouses and prisons. There was no external factor enforcing their silence and complicity. This was actual state policy supported and run by FF and FG political organisations. Yet somehow the legitimacy of these political organisations is never really questioned.)

The books “Abortion Internationally,” “Abortion: Right or Wrong.” and “Abortion: Our Struggle for Control” are all banned in Ireland. Whilst not exclusively covering abortion “The Complete Guide to Sex” is also banned. Though in fairness I’m not sure any of us have book shelf strong enough to hold what must be a pretty hefty tome. The fact that these books are undoubtedly shared in digital forms shows how obselete the censorship of artifacts is.

Labour, censorship, Ireland, social media

6 Communication tools are important tools in the struggle for social justice.

Social media tools used within an increasingly networked public sphere afford many of us a low cost ability to engage in critical political enquiry and debate about the world we live in. If our conversations – and the tools themselves – are regulated by government – struggles for social justice and equality will be hampered.

Official narratives and meaning making of our lives is still delivered to us by large for-profit media corporations and state run media. For the most part these tend not to reflect our lived reality. Thousands of us across the country blog, tweet and post updates that are rich with political analysis, opinions, sets of ideas and visions. Across all of these is robust criticism of specific politicise and as well as the clear visible failings of representative democracy to deliver real social transformation. They also include articulations of what a genuine democracy of equals could look like.

We share our thoughts, report on local struggles, give our own context to our lived experiences and challenge “common sense” on a daily basis. It is not the place of nation state governments to regulate our thinking, our communications with each other, or our plans for changing things, simply on the basis that they find it offensive or that it causes them alarm.

Many of us are engaged in campaigns, projects and struggle against the causes of inequality and social injustice. In almost all cases, the main political organisations within the state are barriers to solutions long before they are forced to assist. It stands to sense that they are going to be offended. But if members of the professional political classes dont want to be offended or alarmed, maybe they should drop the sense of duty bollix and think about joining these struggles. Or simply get the fuck out of the way.

Either way we dont need new laws and regulations to demand we speak without causing offence. Discourse etiquette has a social context. We live in a neoliberal Ireland, an Ireland wholly captured by the whims and demands of undemocratic financial capital, an Ireland shaped by the same forces and ideology causing social and environmental destruction across Europe and our wider world.

Making it illegal not to be ‘alarmed’ or ‘inconvenienced’ by criticism in this social context is akin to demanding someone stop giving you dirty looks while you keep punching him in the balls. And when he doesn’t to bring him to court to get his balls punched some more by the criminal justice system.

Fuck that.

7 Laws already exist to deal with threats and intimidation

To be clear, I see no point in threatening violence against a politician. The usual media practice is to seek condemnation. Growing up in the north during the 70’s, 80’s and 90’s I’m well versed with the pantomime of ‘condemnation.’ For the most part its circular time filling. Threats to Higgins as she descibed them on RTE Morning are vile, and disgusting. And they almost certainly fall under existing legislation. There is no need for new legislation to address someone threatening you online. All this is covered by S5 & S10 Non Fatal Offences Against the Person Act 1997.

8 These laws need to be defeated and not passed and we need to start making some noise now if we are to ensure they are.

————————————-

DRAFT / HARMFUL AND MALICIOUS ELECTRONIC COMMUNICATIONS BILL 2015

 

_______________________

 

Bill

entitled

 

An Act to protect against and mitigate harm caused to individuals by all or any digital communications and to provide such individuals with a means of redress for any such offending behaviours directed at them.

Be it enacted by the Oireachtas as follows:

 

 PART I

Preliminary and General

Short title and commencement

 

1. – (1) This Act may be cited as the Harmful & Malicious Electronic Communications Act 2015

 

(2) This Act shall comes into operation on such day or days as the Minister may appoint by order or orders either generally or with reference to any particular purpose or provision, and different days may be so appointed for different purposes or provisions.

 

Interpretation

 2. – (1) In this Act –

electronic communication” includes a communication of information in the form of data, text, images or sound (or any combination of these) by means of guided or unguided electromagnetic energy, or both;

 “explicit content” includes images, video or sound (or any combination of these) of a sexual or intimate nature;

shares” includes sending, posting, distributing or publishing on the internet an electronic communication.

 

 

PART II

Offences

Harmful Electronic Communication

3. – (1) A person who, without lawful authority or reasonable excuse, intentionally or recklessly shares a harmful electronic communication shall be guilty of an offence.

 

(2) For the purposes of this section an electronic communication shall be considered harmful where it –

 

(a) incites or encourages another to commit suicide; or(b) incites or encourages another to cause serious harm to themselves; or(c) includes explicit content of the other;

 

and it intentionally or recklessly causes alarm, distress or harm to the other.

 

(3) A person guilty of an offence under this section shall be liable on summary conviction to a fine not exceeding €5,000 or imprisonment for a term not exceeding 12 months or to both.

 

Malicious Electronic Communications

4. – (1) A person who, without lawful excuse, persistently shares malicious electronic communications regarding another shall be guilty of an offence.

 

(2) For the purposes of this section an electronic communication shall be considered malicious where it intentionally or recklessly causes alarm, distress or harm to the other.

 

(3) A person guilty of an offence under this section shall be liable on summary conviction to a fine not exceeding €5,000 or imprisonment for a term not exceeding 12 months or to both.

 

 

PART III

Jurisdiction and Procedure

Ancillary Orders

5. – (1) If on the evidence the court is not satisfied that the person should be convicted of an offence under sections (3) or (4), the court may nevertheless make any of the following upon application to it in that behalf if, having regard to the evidence, the court is satisfied that it is in the interest of justice so to order:

(a) that the person remove or delete specific electronic communication(s);(b) that the person shares an apology or correction as the court deems appropriate in the circumstances;(c) that the person shall not, for such period as the court may specify, communicate by any means with the other person or that the person shall not approach within such distance as the court shall specify of the place of residence or employment of the other person.

 

(5) A person who fails to comply with the terms of an order under this section shall be guilty of an offence.

 

(6) A person guilty of an offence under this section shall be liable on summary conviction to a fine not exceeding €5000 or imprisonment for a term not exceeding 12 months or to both.

PUBLIC ELECTRONIC COMMUNICATIONS NETWORKS (IMPROPER USE) BILL 2015 Bill

An Act to provide for certain offences in connection with the improper use of public electronic communications networks; and to provide for related matters.

Be it enacted by the Oireachtas as follows:

Amendment of section 13 of Post Office (Amendment) Act 1951

1. The Post Office (Amendment) Act 1951 is amended in section 13, as substituted by section 4 of and Schedule 1 to the Communications Regulation (Amendment) Act 2007, by the substitution of the following section:

Offences in connection with public electronic communications networks 13.

(1) A person who—

(a) sends or causes to be sent, by means of a public electronic communications network, a message or other matter that is grossly offensive or is indecent, obscene or menacing, or

(b) for the purpose of causing annoyance, inconvenience or needless anxiety to another— (i) sends or causes to be sent, by means of a public electronic communications network, a message that the sender knows to be false,

or (ii) persistently and without reasonable cause makes use of a public electronic communications network, is guilty of an offence.

(2) In subsection (1), ‘public electronic communications network’ means an electronic communications network (within the meaning of the European Communities (Electronic Communications Networks and Services) (Framework) Regulations 2011 (S.I. No. 333 of 2011)), that is provided wholly or mainly for the purpose of making available to members of the public, whether on payment or otherwise, electronic communications services (within the meaning of those Regulations). 3 5 10 15 20 25 30

(3) Subsection (1) does not apply to the transmission, distribution or relay of a broadcasting service, within the meaning of the Broadcasting Act 2009.

(4) A person guilty of an offence under subsection (1) is liable—

(a) on summary conviction, to a Class A fine or to imprisonment for a term not exceeding 12 months, or to both,

(b) on conviction on indictment, to a fine not exceeding €75,000 or to imprisonment for a term not exceeding 5 years, or to both.

(5) An offence under subsection (1) is an offence under the Post Office Act 1908.

(6) On convicting a person for an offence under subsection (1), the court may, in addition to any other penalty imposed for the offence, order any apparatus, equipment or other thing used in the course of committing the offence to be forfeited to the State.”.

Short title 2. This Act may be cited as the Public Electronic Communications Networks (Improper Use) Act 2015.

6 Curious Things About #RebootIreland, Creighton and Eddie Hobbs.

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Some Things You Should Know About Creighton’s and Hobbs #RebootIreland.

1 The lamest party ever…..

Bad Party

Lucinda Creighton and Eddie Hobbs didn’t announce a political party. They launched a Twitter hashtag #RebootIreland and an empty dysfunctional website at a press conference about having another press conference at some point in the future. Launching a new political party requires announcing some sense of membership base, actual organisation founders, candidates for elections, an indication of how the organisation is funded and finally some – even minimally – fleshed out social vision upon which organisational policy is rooted. None of this exists after today.

Creighton alleges this right wing coagulation has over 100 people “professionally volunteering.” in policy, organisational development, IT/web design and research. (Obviously ‘professionally volunteering’ it a completely made up category, but Ill get to that.)

The most detailed part of the website is it copy/pasted cookie policy. When you click on social media icons, rather than being platforms for the party, the icons autogenerate tweets and facebook updates on your own profiles saying I’ve just signed up to #RebootIreland because I want to create a new Irish political party. Join me to Learn More. http://rebootireland.com/

Well at least the Twitter link does. When you clicked on the Facebook icon this afternoon you got a pop up saying

App Not Set Up: The developers of this app have not set it up properly for Facebook Login.”

Less #RebootIreland and more CTRL+Alt+Del……

ctrl-alt-del

2  WTF are they Talking about….

Don’t gobblefunk around with words.”  Roald Dahl – The BFG

The language used by Crieghton and #RebootIreland is mostly madey-upey-vaugey nonsense intended to disguise lack of originality and intellectual incoherence whilst also sounding like it has depth and meaning. But at its core its more ho hum neoliberalism for narcissists without a party.

Lets have a wee look at some of the terms used so far….

Professional Volunteering” – What does this even mean? Is unprofessional volunteering a thing too? Eh no it isnt. It is of course utter bollix, but its much better than saying either ‘unpaid workers’ or ‘interns’, or simply volunteers.

volunteer-620x300

Why? Well because giving recognition and value to the concept of unpaid labour plays havoc with right wing intellectualism. Not that the neoliberalism is against free or cheap labour. The entire rationale of right wing economics is the flow of wealth created by human labour into fewer and fewer hands. This isnt even a radical left idea anymore, but an accepted reality based upon empirical evidence. The problem for right wingers like Eddie Hobbs and Creighton is the need to create justifying myths for such inequality. And sure what way to create justifying myths and false explanations about how society works than using madey-uppey terminology and jargon.

The entire bedrock of society and hence any abstract economy is based in the first place upon the unpaid labour of caring for children, siblings, partners, parents, relations and friends. Which is something you dont want to talk about as it makes #RebootIreland over reliance on an un problematised ‘entrepreneurship’ seem non sense. Which of course is what it is.  Most probably there is a bit of ego stroking here.  These are REAL volunteers you know. Educated, respectable people, not like the common garden variety you see working in drug rehabilitation, mental health, hospices, charity shops and community education projects.  That kind of volunteering is for plebs….

Building An Economy for Entrepreneurs Across The Social, Private and Public Sectors -Building a new economy that supports entrepreneurs, employees and consumers of small businesses.”

Hard-working-guys

So #RebootIreland wants an economy run on craft beer pubs, but the beer will also be cheap. Right so Ted. But hold on. What is the social sector? Is that a new word for society itself? Is society a sector now, a category that sits along side private and public sectors rather than containing them. And is society made up of consumers now? So this is all about choice? All about giving people the ability to choose?    Heres some wise words on choice from George Carlin

“There’s a reason education sucks, and it’s the same reason it will never ever ever be fixed. It’s never going to get any better. Don’t look for it. Be happy with what you’ve got.. because the owners of this country don’t want that. I’m talking about the real owners now.. the real owners. The big wealthy business interests that control things and make all the important decisions. Forget the politicians. The politicians are put there to give you the idea that you have freedom of choice. You don’t. You have no choice. You have owners. They own you. They own everything. They own all the important land. They own and control the corporations.

They got the judges in their back pockets and they own all the big media companies, so they control just about all of the news and information you get to hear. They got you by the balls. They spend billions of dollars every year lobbying. Lobbying to get what they want. Well, we know what they want. They want more for themselves and less for everybody else, but I’ll tell you what they don’t want. They don’t want a population of citizens capable of critical thinking. They don’t want well-informed, well-educated people capable of critical thinking. They’re not interested in that. That doesn’t help them. That’s against their interests.”

Make The Public Sector PublicFostering a spirit of entrepreneurism in our public sector that will reward those who work the hardest and deliver the best results for our public services.”

Young doctor with boxing gloves

Finally. At last someone has seen the true value of competitiveness in the public sector. I cant wait to see the full impacts of ambulance staff and fire brigade units battling it out to be the first to cut children out of car wreckage or rescue your granny from her burning flat. Think of the improvements in public health when doctors and nurses are green lighted to find ways to get personal rewards for most efficient use of bandages and IV drips and least use of expensive drugs. Chronic underfunding and hiring freezes alone wont bring us a lean, quicker more responsive public service. Unshackled from common sense and embracing a spirit of entrepreneurism – another way of describing risk-taking profit-seeking – seems to be a brilliant strategy for dealing with salting freezing icy roads and cancer treatments alike.

But does this really describe making the public sector public? Surely what Creighton and Hobbs are describing is making the public sector private. That’s what they really mean. And this is the point. Its Dr Suess channeling Mrs Thatcher. The use of language that obfuscates and makes invisible that the opposite thing is being spoken about  was brought to the fore by Blairite politics in the late 90’s. This is about not just to the material dismantling of an already crumbling welfare state, but eroding more thoroughly even the idea of an consciously unselfish society as a whole. It’s been said before by many but needs to be said again. People would much prefer properly working health, education, welfare and infrastructures – available to all – rather than choose between broken public services and other private systems most of us have limited or zero access to.

Give Politics Back To The People- Creating a political system that supports freedom of thought, difference and independence.”

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Pitching, in 2015, for a political system that supports freedom of thought is perhaps the most flaccidly uninspiring idea I’ve ever heard from a politician and sidekick. Maybe we should have a political system that supports breathing and riding too, right?

This isnt about giving politics back to the people. We ‘do’ politics every day of our lives just living with the fucked up captured state this is thanks all the same Lucinda. This bit seems entirely about the venting of frustrated social conservatism wrapped up in the discourse of independent thinking.

If you want to enjoy the luxury of your repressed and repressing ideology – independently and unfettered – take a walk in the park. Or run a bath and ponder some. Hell sure even get drunk in the corner of a pub ranting like a mad yoke. But don’t come giving us some crap about it being about giving politics back to the people. That’s like shitting in my lunch-box and telling me you just increased my material assets. Which for a lot of people in Ireland who followed Eddie Hobbs advice pre-crash isn’t far off the mark.

A vibrant democratic sphere supports freedom of thought, difference and independence. Diverse media ownership supports freedom of thought difference and independence. An education system readily accessible to all at any point of their lives supports freedom of thought, difference and independence. Non-repressed human behaviour supports freedom of though, difference and independence.

On the otherhand organisations set up by people like Creighton and Hobbs support first and foremost people like Creighton and Hobbs. At best it is the social reproduction of dis-proven social, political and economic dumbfuckery.

Measuring Government With A Clear Social Target – Underpin Irish society through fiscal and social policy with a targeted Minimum Lifestyle Standard.”

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Minimum Lifestyle Standard? 

I did a quick search on Google for “Minimum Lifestyle Standard” and got 23 results. Most related to the #RebootIreland launch.

For a sense of scale I also Google “Enda Kenny ate my hamster” and got 5,220 results.

Others results for the term referred to, I shit you not, the upgrading of prison cells to ‘minimum lifestyle standards’. One other reference was a blog post on Mao, but when I clicked it was clear it was a malware site. So the only other reference to minimum lifestyle standards that seems to exist as a real term as is about reducing inhumane conditions in prisons.  And inspire analogy for a right wing neoliberal project? At this point I’m beginning to think some of these professional volunteers aren’t as professional as professional is meant to sound.

On the other hand perhaps prison makeovers is quite close to what #RebootIreland imagines how best to deal with those of us living in poverty. I mean, if prison cells attain a minimum lifestyle standard sure what do we have to complain about if we end up there.

Oddly it is the only pillar of #RebootIreland that addresses society as a society. But it even does that without mentioning society. Totally bonkers stuff when you think about it really.

To the right wing,  the collective politics of being alive and human means little more than a series of economics transactions, everything reduced to the amoral arithmetic of cold cash, individuals atomised in the workplace. Its how #RebootIreland even speaks about itself thus far. There is no society to speak of, merely technocratic policies resting upon a amoral logic that refuses to expose itself to interrogation.

wombs

Of course that doesn’t apply to wombs and women. Wombs and women are spaces for the most invasive specificity and pub(l)ic policy. People and places for the most intense scrutiny and application of scripture codified as laws. Wombs and women are the property of society, a society only constituted for that specific purpose. The Freudian unconscious at work here would be too publicly embarrassing to maintain were it not for the mostly emotionally illiterate craft of economic and political commentary in Irish mainstream media.  Most can’t even see this shit when its drafted into press releases and websites by professional volunteers. Luckily the population is a great deal smarter than your average political commentator.

'Tim on Twitter_ _Removing red-tape from the workplace, And sticking it on wombs_ #rebootireland_' - twitter_com_TimForde_status_551033224592633856

4 After 12 months of running around and biggest ally mustered was Eddie Hobbs??

Jack and Jill Foundation Goldrush launch  with Eddie Hobbs and Rosanna Davison

Jack and Jill Foundation Goldrush launch  with Eddie Hobbs and Rosanna Davison

Jack and Jill Foundation Goldrush launch  with Eddie Hobbs and Rosanna Davison

Jack and Jill Foundation Goldrush launch  with Eddie Hobbs and Rosanna Davison

Hobbs is a celebrity *cough* economist and financial *cough cough* adviser who

likes to play himself as a champion of the consumer. He’s an odd sort of a character though. He never stops turning up on radio, in print or in TV giving out about the media, and about insiders. Though he is very much part of the establishment himself. And there is no nice way of saying this. Eddie Hobbs is from a class of people who are vampires on other peoples pain and misery. He played a public role justifying and validating financial speculation that drove Irelands property bubble. He is one more of the faces that gave vocal support to political and economic ideas that led directly to a 15% rise in suicides, and that has seen the number of children living in poverty rise by 130,000 in 5 years in Ireland.

But why would Eddie Hobbs be a fan of financial speculation that drove so many people to an early grave, that shreds public services and that sees a growing poverty on this island and across the globe. The answer here is quite simple. He makes money from it. Money based on other peoples misery.

Detroit in the US was home to thousands of missold mortgages by banks such as Bank of America. Bank Of America was fined $16 Billion for is dodgy dealing which have resulted in thousands of families being evicted and made homeless. Where Eddie Hobbs comes into the mix in Detroit is through the US arm of his investment company Brendan Investments. Hobbs – who makes so much of hating the media – took out half page adverts in Irish papers advertising his US arm, called Artesian Equities. 

You needed to front up at least €500,000 to be part of his scheme. Picking at the bones of a society ripped apart isn’t something ordinary Joe Bloggs can get in on very easily. This is a game for the rich, by the rich, sucking the marrow of the poor and impoverished. Like most of the squeamish end of capitalism in western society, all of this is of course perfectly legal and above board. 

Detroit is in Wayne County. The Wayne County Register of Deeds, which hold records of land transactions shows Artesian Equities as being the grantor in over 5000 separate land transactions to date.

https://www.waynecountylandrecords.com/recorder/eagleweb/docSearchResults.jsp?searchId=1

A community activist project called “Why Dont We Own This” mapped out current property ownership in Detroit post 2011 to track the Wayne County Foreclosure Auction, following large scale mortgage failures due to massive unemployment causes by financial speculation itself.

As families were evicted across Detroit, Wayne Country facilitated the auction of peoples former homes for next to nothing, in many cases handing them to vulture investors like Hobbs Artesian Equities for free. At present Artesian owns 482 properties in Detroit. As you can see from the list below this make it one of the largest private owners of property in Detroit, ownership built upon the the misery of hundreds of families and a bankrupt city. For me the type of person who makes money, and helps other people make money, off the backs of people caught up in the economic crisis is no different than someone who rifles the pockets of someone knocked down on the street instead of calling an ambulance.  

ARTESIAN EQUITIES LLC ownership

Eddie is quite upfront himself about making hay from this misery.

““The results are that for c.€500k or $660k an investor can acquire a portfolio of 16 newly refurbished middle class homes, fully tenanted at gross yields after costs and local property taxes of 15% to 16%. There is no intermediation, no fund, the investor, whether private or a pension fund, holds the assets directly. When you net out taxes under the DTA, the return is double the after tax return in Ireland and the scope for capital uplift higher and quicker because the market is not subject to artificial distortion. As the housing recovery gathers momentum this window will close in the US market which we can reasonably say has hit a genuine bottom and clear out unlike the artificial situation here because of extend and pretend policies.”

Hobbs company made €1,200,000 gains in 2014 from taking over home people were forced to leave. When people come to our shores ready to buy for nothing the homes our families, neighbours and workmates are evicted from, we generally have no problem considering them parasites on society. Why would we think this lad any different. 

5 The Twitter *ahem* Fightback.

The day #RebootIreland launched – or at least launched that there might be a lauch at some point, folks on Twitter immediately ripped a hole through the incoherences of what was announced.  People arent stupid. The inevitable right wing lash back began in earnest today with some hilariously daft comebacks. Here’s a selection for a LOL.  Its never cease to amuse me the lack of irony of people of the right on Twitter giving out about people using Twitter. Numbnuts of the highest order.


   Boop

declanganley_status_551441665765171200

_MichaelK

Gill

6. Do spare a thought though for John Leahy.

NiamhPitts_status_551506070238396417

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.

The Letter from Shatter to Whistleblower Maurice Mc Cabe.

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Letter3

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