Defending the Bunreacht in 2014

October 27, 2014 - Leave a Response

 

With rumours of impending technocracy on the centre – centre right, and crass ignorance on the left, who is there to defend the once-sacred Irish Constitution ?

Bunreacht na hÉireann was written in 1937 with some skill, under the direction of otherwise arch-conservative and anti-radical Éamon de Valera, by senior civil servants.

It was enacted by the people to set new a democratic foundation for  legislation passed in the 26 county State (soon to become a Republic).  It gave the organs of the State a Republican form with some modest Republican principles on civil liberties, parliamentary democracy, the right to a home, aspiration towards social goals. It outlawed foreign rule (in spite of which the bailout etc. largely remained uncontested) and gave according to article 27, the right to all Irish people to decide their future periodically in matters of national importance by referendum. This has come about particularly on EU issues although the sense of enfranchisement has been somewhat negated by a public feeling of disillusionment, due to being made to re-run EU Referenda of late until the correct response is given.
When you strip away the opening rhetoric about the Holy Trinity, Dev actually managed to limit the role of the Church in the semi-theocratic environment of that time by reducing it to a ‘special position in accordance with the wishes of the majority’, the latter being important, as the majority of people eventually removed that position from the constitution in the democratic mechanism afforded them in the 1970s.  Dev specifically gave constitutional protection to Jews – ‘considered to be a necessary component to the constitution by Éamon de Valera because of the treatment of Jews elsewhere in Europe at the time.’[24] The reference to the Jewish Congregations in the Irish Constitution was removed in 1973 with the Fifth Amendment
The same amendment removed the ‘special position’ of the Catholic Church, as well as references to the Church of Ireland, the Presbyterian Church, the Methodist Church, and the Religious Society of Friends.”
Contrary to his stern and strict stereotyping of asylum seekers(?), between 1946-52 De Valera over-ruled the ever renegade Department of Justice on at least 3 occasions to have several hundred Jewish families admitted to the 26 County State, no small number for the time considering the sizeable community of 5000 Jews in Ireland then. It was constitutionalism and basic human decency that motivated these actions, and they stand out heroically considering the atmosphere towards the Jews in the 1930s-1950s period.


It should not be forgotten either that Irish society at large mobilised against the Blueshirts – the left- leaning IRA under Tom Barry and others battled them effectively and broke up their meetings; the people mobilised in public shows of support against them and the 1937 vote was seen specifically as a rejection of Fascism by a nonetheless very anglophobic and war weary public in the young State; and most importantly the government under De Valera suppressed the Fascist movement, making it illegal in 1933 and used the organs of the State under the Bunreacht to protect Ireland’s neutrality in WW2 as well.

 

The right often forget these things when they talk about the nuisance that is the Bunreacht, about how these regular referenda on societal and EU issues are undemocratic in the greater European scheme of things, and how the people do not take their vote seriously anyways with turnout often below 60%. The right however, since the days of Thatcher and of Haughey, and with the most corrosive levels of corruption and corrupting economic liberalism to hit Ireland and elsewhere in centuries, have replaced the previous centrist culture of complex characters like Dev and Lemass with something that holds the Bunreacht in contempt: re-running referenda after 9 months in 2008 and 2009 remains the most memorable examples. Abortion and divorce referenda were usually held with several years interval to respect the will of the people. There is no pretence to the same anymore as shown by Brian Cowen’s now infamously hollow ‘The people have spoken’ slogan in 2008 and Eamon Gilmore’s deliberately lie to the people on the Six One news in 2008 and 2009 on the Lisbon Referendum. He told the US Embassy his lies were necessary to force the public to swallow the Treaty along with ‘concessions’ not written on paper, but promised half-arsedly by EU Bureaucrats and politicians of the day.
His bare-faced lies were exposed by Wikileaks
So the right has replaced the centre ground and centrist republican principles have gone out the window. Bunreacht na hÉireann specifically states the collective governance of the nation by a Cabinet to be a right of the people We have a government run by a Politburo in the form of a Four Minister and dozen advisors in the Economic Management Council (EMC). This is admitted by the more constitutional government Ministers in Pat Leahy’s new book ‘to be totally unconstitutional’.

 

The neutering of the Dáil since Bertie’s day and cronyist and cynical actions of late against the Seanad have also worked to the disadvantage of the Bunreacht’s bare necessity to maintain certain Republican safeguards for the people. The Seanad now has a majority against the government. Some are speculating that for the first time it might prove an effective counterweight to a centralising culture within FG and Labour particularly in ending delay of legislation to promote debate and its’ recognition of Palestine.

The public saw through the cynical attempt to rob them of a constitutional safeguard when no real reform of the effectiveness and democratic nature of the Seanad as a checkpoint was on offer. No point removing something from the 1937 doctrine of Republicanism, if nothing better was on offer. The politicians seemed annoyed they had to consult the public on the issue and it is one in a series of bloody noses the semi-fascist Kenny government has had to accept.

By semi-fascist this writer is alluding to the EMC, the open flouting of Data law under Irish Water which may well be against a citizen’s right to privacy under the Bunreacht and certainly is against their rights under Data Protection Law, Kenny’s own notable control through his underlings of several departments at any one time including for a while simultaneous control of Defence, European affairs, Health and Justice(this man sacked the Garda Commissioner more or less, when this is something which under the Constitution only the Cabinet can do).

So on the right and centre ground we have tendencies towards Fascism or Authoritarianism with moderate centrist cabinet voices too Quisling to risk their own political necks by speaking out-with jobs for the boys more important than principles.
We had excitable Dáil-sourced rumours on Max Keiser’s well informed website of an impending technocratic installed government in late 2014/into 2015 if the government failed to pass the 2 billion euro austerity budget asked for by the Troika who continue to monitor us every 6 months, so maybe the rumours are not quite unfounded. A Mario Monti style scenario, imposed by outsiders, would be entirely outside the 1937 Bunreacht’s boundaries. But we saw a cynical attempt to fool the public into allowing political show trials in tandem with the desire to abolish the second chamber(the paralysing second chamber in Italy being the Italian Republic’s last guard on occasion in recent times against Kleptocrats and Technocrats). Overt arse-wiping with the Bunreacht is now commonplace – the troika marched in here without referenda nor significant legal opposition in the courts, the same goes for the ongoing banking reparations foisted on the public. Legally it cannot yet be done, but we do have an upcoming farcical ‘constitutional day’ whereby the government will try and make the Gay Marriage referendum a box ticking exercise along with 6 other issues of theirs, some simply added in to buy votes on liberal issues. It is worth keeping an eye on what else they try and get us to pass, then and after 2015 if re-elected in some form or with the help of a FF that has long since abandoned the pretence of defending the Bunreacht from the time of the 2008 over the phone early morning farce regarding the 440 bn euro guarantee.

Technocracy is already here covertly, but it may become an overt practice where convenient until the public re-elect the ‘right government’ in the same way they have to be seen to hold EU votes until they give the ‘right answer’.

A final note though is in regard to the left.

Karl Gill, a recently-elected politician on the left whose postings online are pretty anti-Republican, anti-SF and anti rival-left generally, recently wrote online that ‘The Irish constitution is rubbish. It does not protect us against water charges or the government of the day forcing a contract on us for any tax or charge. A conservative document written by Eamon de Valera in 1932 won’t and can’t bring us freedom, people power can. Also Irishness or national pride has nothing to do with fighting the water charges.’
The statement above itself is a sad indictment of a left most notably and near exclusively those in PBP, through its’ anti-1916 anti Republican ignorance, not calling for some electoral adaptation of the Proclamation, not calling for discussion of 1916 ideals, not engaged with the Republicans, Sinn Féiners and independent left fighting to preserve our 1916 heritage in the Moore Street area, not aspiring to strengthen the Bunreacht’s basic social provisions more explicitly in referenda, and despite calling for some Iceland referenda on the Troika deal, the bank debts etc. generally using the crisis more as an excuse to attack Republicanism through ignorance of what a constitution is about than what it is for- it is not supposed to bring everyone ‘freedom’ but afford them basic rights and protections, legally and socially.

From disgusting authoritarianism on the right to rabid ideological ignorance on the left, the idea of a Republic 14 months out from 2016 seems as elusive from a naturally Republican electorate as ever.

It can only be hoped the coalition built in battling Irish Water, and rapprochements by SF and the SF and independents since the 2 by-elections, are better signs for the future of the left and progressive indos than the PBP’s blind and rancid counter-gang attacks on the Bunreacht, and the undermining of democracy and equality under the law by the government.

apjp 27.20.2014

 

Diagnosis of Early Daíl Term Syndrome

September 22, 2014 - Leave a Response

You can’t move for breathless articles in the newspapers about growth and recovery. All day on radio and TV, every opportunity is taken to drive the message. All conveniently timed with the return normal proceedings in the political realm. There was a similar attempt coinciding with returning of the Dáil in January of 2013, ‘green shoots’. A concerted effort across papers – and we are seeing very the same co-ordination now.

The thing to watch out for is how many of these stories are written by say, Fionnan Sheehan and other journalists whose job is not counting beans but talking to politicians, Last year there was a big build up to ‘exiting the bailout’ in November but the wheels quickly came off whatever capital government hoped to make as garda scandal after garda scandal flooded out. They will be trying not to make the same mistake again.

You will only see snatches in Irish business pages, but abroad there is plenty of talk about Germany stuttering for the last year. They kept a good lid on it out of necessity but once October’s federal elections were out of the way, the effect of five years austerity on economies with which Germany trades became harder to ignore, chickens coming home to roost. To underline this, the whole union depends on German strength and none more so than France which is in the tenth straight month of zero growth. It is not that they are only fucked now, their banks and borrowings have been fucked from the start but Europe’s economy has deteriorated to the stage where it can be no longer be hidden. Europe’s economy  s still well well below 2007 levels while US climbed back long ago. The predictions of people whose job it is to make money from all this misery don’t see much changing and we haven’t even started whatever road we are going with Russia.

Will the UK be enough? I don’t know but it is against this backdrop that you are seeing absolutely certainty in the Irish papers. They are up every tree and under every rock looking for ways to conform the lie, believing again in the same sort of Irish economic exceptionalism seen during the bubble. A new Dáil term is a new chance to get back on track. We will have this for another few weeks and then expect there will be war on Sinn Féin.

Dr. Five   22nd September 2014

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Our Reactions to ISIS

September 21, 2014 - Leave a Response

I was disturbed to see some people on Facebook sharing a North American video which originated on the Facebook page of one Richard Haines. The video has has had over 70,000 shares to date, so I think it can be assumed that at least that number of people watched that video and probably believed it!  The video says the population of Europe and the wider west, from 2008, is being replaced/ will be replaced by tens of millions of Muslim immigrants…and that all of the western states will be replaced by Islamic Republics (citing Gaddafi as well).

It was like watching Der Ewiger Jude. Absolutely disgusting, and obviously it’s an unregistered video because if it was up on youtube the person who originated it could be done for hate speech in a number of countries, certainly in Ireland or Britain, and youtube would probably take it down anyways.

I am disgusted  that anybody would be gullible enough to share that.  I reported it as a racist video to Facebook, and reported the original account for originating that vile crap as well. The facts  are that while some European populations are declining from birth rate etc, others in fact are not-such as Ireland and many Eastern European countries. Immigration isn’t illegal, and neither is being an arab so I don’t know what people who watch this propaganda want.

Disturbing that people would buy into such *****.

I think this ISIS phenomenon is /will be part of a wider provocation to help garner western support for war in the middle east, and anti-muslim laws won’t be long following. Fact is if we did not overthrow elected governments, nor interfere in their affairs, change would come naturally as it came in Egypt (at least until prevented by military coup) and Tunisia, and everybody would be better off. In fact many people who fled home for a better life or to avoid persecution would have been able to return home in time.

Irish Hate speech laws are quite strong and I would not worry about that sentiment gathering pace politically here, as SF for example is an anti racist party with some immigrant candidates ,North and South (including a black representative from the Congo) , and hoovered up much of the so called sovereignty vote, but on a Republican basis.

What I am worried about are countries like France, Britain etc. and what the knock on effects of something like a Front Nationale/UKIP led government would mean for Europe’s minorities, especially Arabs who are really being stigmatized at the moment as a result of ISIS’s actions (ISIS originally having been US backed and funded against Assad (I see they are u-turning on that now too!).

There seems to me to be a wider resource grab on the cards here and a desire of the political elites of some countries to stigmatise the Arabs and maybe others in the process. Europe going back to the worst of its’ roots so to speak.

 

Andrew Purlfield  20th September 2014

 

 

 

“The People’s Front” – The Merging of Fascists and Liberal Democrats in Ukraine

September 13, 2014 - One Response

On September 10th the founding congress of the “People’s Front” political party in the Ukraine was held. The new party is led by Prime Minister Arseny Yatsenyuk and speaker of the Rada, Oleksandr Turchynov. It also includes two current government ministers, Interior Minister Arsen Avakov, and Justice Minister Pavlo Petrenko. Other well known members are former National Security and Defense Council Secretary, Andriy Parubiy, and the former head of the National Anti-Corruption committee, Tetiana Chornovol. Both resigned from the current government in recent months. We will return to them later.

The new party has been viewed as a splinter of the Batkyvschyna party of former prime minister and oligarch Yulia Tymoshenko.

The first noteworthy thing about the new party is that media sources have suggested it is being funded by the oligarch Ihor Kolomoisky. Business News Europe for example states:

Oleh Lyashko’s success with his Radical Party is widely attributed to his backing by former head of the presidential administration Serhiy Lyovochkin and the TV channel Inter that Lyovochkin co-owns with gas oligarch Dmitry Firtash. Pundits say that Yatsenyuk has struck out on his own with People’s Front after being promised support by Firtash’ bitter rival, oligarch Ihor Kolomoisky, owner of Ukraine’s largest bank Privat and one of Ukraine’s largest TV channels 1+1, and currently also governor of the wealthy Dnipropetrovsk*region. *Kolomoisky has funded volunteer battalions fighting in the east, commanders of which were present at the founding of People’s Front on September 10.

As the article notes, Kolomoisky is closely associated with the fascist paramilitary battalions.

Kolomoisky’s Dnipro Battalion “securing” a public building

His name has also cropped up with regards to the tragic events in the Trade Union Building in Odessa.

Interesting photos from the founding congress of the Peoples Front can be viewed here.

These photographs illustrate a second noteworthy thing about the party, namely the number of prominent paramilitary leaders who attended the launch. These have apparently been formed into a “military council”. Why a political party would require a military council is not readily understood.

The most significant of these leaders is Andriy Biletsky, the head of the “Azov” battalion, the most openly fascist of the paramilitary battalions. Biletsky is also the leader of the Social-National Assembly of Ukraine and it’s paramilitary wing Patriot of Ukraine. According to wiki:

The Patriot of Ukraine (Ukrainian: Патріо́т Украї́ни) is a Ukrainian nationalist organization with racist and neo-Nazi political beliefs. It constitutes a paramilitary wing of the Social-National Assembly of Ukraine (S.N.A.), an assemblage of neo-Nazi organizations and groups founded in 2008 that share the social-national ideology and agree upon building a social-national state in Ukraine. Both the “Patriot of Ukraine” and the S.N.A. engage in political violence against minorities and their political opponents. The leader of the “Patriot of Ukraine” and of the Social-National Assembly is Andriy Biletsky.

The political ideology of the SNA has been summed up by the analyst Anton Shekhovtsov as follows:

The SNA is a neo-Nazi movement, which has always been too extreme for the Right Sector. According to its official documents, its ‘nationalism is racial, social, great-power imperialist, anti-systemic (anti-democratic and anti-capitalist), self-sufficient, militant and uncompromising’. Its ideology ‘builds on maximalist attitudes, national and racial egoism,’ while glorifying the Ukrainian nation as part of the ‘White Race.’

At the time of the February coup Biletsky was languishing in jail along with other prominent Patriot of Ukraine members, Ihor Mykhailenko and Vitaliy Kniazhesky, for a gun attack on a prominent anti-fascist journalist Serhiy Kolesnyk. Within days the three (along with other imprisoned Nazis) were freed on foot of a special Rada bill.

Azov Battalion volunteers swearing in

The open incorporation of a Nazi like Biletsky into the party of Yatsenyuk and Turchynov shows that it is no longer possible to separate “liberal democrats” from fascists in the Ukraine. Any lines of distinction have now been blurred. Platforms are shared, political parties are shared, etc.

Launch of the People’s Front: Chornovyl and Yaatsenyuk, below party symbol

This can also be seen in the Radical Party of Lyashko’s which is tipped to gain anything up to 20% of the vote in the forthcoming parliamentary elections. Lyashko has lured many SNA activists from the Right Sector in recent months and in the May 2014 Kyiv city council elections the following SNA members ran for the Radical Party: Oleh Odnorozhenko (SNA’s main ideologue), Ihor Mosychuk (second in command of the Azov), Ihor Kryvoruchko, and Volodymyr Shpara.

Establishment Politics in the Ukraine has moved sharply to the right. Extreme nationalism is now espoused by all the bourgeois parties. The Banderaite slogans “Hail Ukraine” and “Glory to the Heroes” are now main stream. Within this, however, there are various groupings representing different oligarchs, with differing connections to “western” imperialism and prepared to embrace far right extremism to differing degrees. Lyashko represents the oligarch Firtash, in the People’s Front we have linked Yatsenyuk (Washingto’ns man), the oligarch Kolomoisky and various paramilitary forces. Many of the Nazis in the Ukraine have recognised the collapse of barriers between themselves and “liberals” and availing of open doors have abandoned party building and moved into “mainstream” parties.

Aside from Andriy Biletsky and the other paramilitary leaders there are two other prominent individuals associated with the People’s Front which, to my mind, mark it as a clear and present danger to the Ukrainian working class. These are Andriy Parubiy and Tetiana Chornovol. Parubiy I described early this year during the Maidan protests as possibly the most dangerous individual in the Ukraine. He was the founder of the Social-National Party of the Ukraine (the forerunner of Svoboda) and is also a former leader of the Nazi paramilitary Patriot of Ukraine group. He left these organisations in 2004 to infiltrate the establishment parties. He was one of the main leaders of the “Orange Revolution” in 2004 and was a commander and in charge of “security” during the Maidan protests. His name has often appeared in discussions of the sniping attacks on the Maidan. After the coup he was appointed Secretary of the National Security and Defense Council which oversaw the “ATO” against Eastern Ukraine. Chornovol, who is often described as an anti-corruption activist is also of the far right and cut her political teeth in the Nazi UNA-UNSO organisation which was notorious for sending fighters to the Transnistrian, Abkhaz and Cechen conflicts. Her husband, Nikolai Beryozovoi, was killed last month in the fighting in east Ukraine. Not surprisingly, he was a member of the openly fascist, Azov Battalion.

Both Parubiy and Chornovol resigned from the government recently. He refused to give a reason while she stated that no inroads were being made in tackling corruption. It is interesting, therefore, that both have seen fit to set up a new party with prominent members of the government. It is possibly because this party will be placed significantly to the right of the Poroshenko Bloc, as shown by Yatsenyuk’s recent attacks on cease fire initiatives, and who knows what plans US imperialism has for it and it’s “military council” if the situation the Ukraine continues to deteriorate.

Sam Lord 13 September 2014

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Yatsenyuk, Ukraine P.M., with Obama in the Oval Office, March 2014

Greek “Surgeons of History”- Excavating a Lost Empire

September 7, 2014 - Leave a Response

Day by day accounts of the important excavations at Amphipolis, Macedonia, Greece, from Ephilant – two weeks of posts made at Politicalword.org – for more updates follow the “Absolute Thread of Randomness” on our forum Politicalworld.org

13.8.2014

Exciting times for archaeologists in Greece.

An excavation in Αμφίπολη (Amphipolis, Serres, Macedonia) has gripped the nation, with the possibilities being outlined as “exceptional” by the head archaeologist Katerina Peristeri, who describes this as potentially more important than the Ακρόπολη (Acropolis). The site is a huge tomb, surrounded by a 497 meter long marble wall. So far, a 4.5 meter wide road leading to the tomb has been uncovered, as have two enormous statues of sphinxes guarding the road. The tomb has been dated between 300 and 325 BC, which is the time the great Macedonian king Alexander the Great died. Although he was killed in Babylon and later buried in Egypt, his final resting place was never disclosed.

The dig begun in 1960, when a 5.2 meter high sculpture of a lion was unearthed outside the tomb. It then got side-tracked when a huge settlement, dating back to 3000 BC was uncovered. Meanwhile, the lion got restored and the dig around the area where the lion was found resumed.

And then, they found the wall…When the wall, made from Thassian marble, was discovered, they knew they had something really big on their hands. The sheer size of the tomb makes this a painstakingly slow job , but Peristeri says it is worth it to remove the soil grain by grain, because they are finding an enormous amount of things while doing this. She has rightfully resisted calls to go in with mechanical equipment and go to the centre to find who is buried there. She expects to be able to enter the actual burial chamber by the end of the month. The danger is that the roof may collapse, as it is not in the best of shape. So re-enforcements are built as they go along, after they removed everything that may hold clues as to what may be hidden further down the 4.5 m wide road. Then we will know if this is indeed, as speculated, the tomb of Alexander the Great. It is also being speculated that this could be the tomb of his wife and son, who were both murdered after his death. I think Katerina Peristeri may suffer be a good few sleepless nights before that time arrives…


20.8.2014    The archaeologists digging in Amphipolis are getting ready to enter the tomb. They have now cleared the two sphinxes guarding the entrance and have decided not to move them, for among other reasons the fact that these boys weigh 1.5 ton each and there is little wiggle room to lift them out.

Katerina Peristeri said yesterday that they have now uncovered 13 steps and reached the wall separating the tomb from the outside world, and they will begin removing this today. They have brought in a specialist mining-architect to help construct a support for the roof to ensure it does not collapse. Katerina Peristeri was visibly excited at the prospect of entering this tomb, and expressed the hope that the tomb would be intact and not looted. “That would be the ideal situation. If the roof has not caved in and the tomb has not been looted, we will find everything intact inside, then the personal items buried with whoever rests in there will tell us a lot more about who he/she/they are. We still have no idea, other than the carbon dating giving us a date of 325 – 320 BC and it being important person(s) due to the sheer size of the tomb. The sphinxes indicate some link to ancient Egypt, but we don’t know anything more just yet. An intact chamber will tell us everything we need to know.” This date range has given rise to serious speculation that this might just be the last resting place of Alexander the Great, and has prompted the archaeologists to request, and get round-the clock police protection for the site as they fear modern looters might just take their changes. Certain people in FYROM are already using the situation to once again stir trouble and demand that all the contents be transferred to their country as they are the only legitimate heirs of Alexander and other claptrap.
Comment: The sheer quality of that sculpture is awesome, no matter who or when made it. I wonder when that chap lost his head ? It does not look as though it would have fitted under the vault, suggesting that it may have been moved into that position from elsewhere.

“Is there another one, facing him ?” C. Flower

There is indeed another sphinx opposite this guy, they are about 2 meters apart.

You can just see his paws sticking out from behind the outer wall. from there it’s 13 steps down, and another wall, which the archaeologists assume seals the tomb. The job is painstakingly slow, they expect to be ready to start taking the other wall down in about 2 weeks. It must be nerve wrecking for those involved in this.

The head is indeed missing, but as far as I know they have one, ir bits of one, and it would seem like the sphinx is looking head down, a bit like a vulture… Restoration is not going to be easy, they reckon it will take up to 3 years.

20.8.2014 (later)  So, here they are, in half their glory

The archaeologists have confirmed that the wings and pieces of the head have been found on the site, leading some to believe that the tomb was raided at some stage, or at least vandalized. Now begins the painstaking part of removing the rest of the wall. The entrance to the tomb is apparently underneath the sphinxes and not, as first thought, behind them. This could speed things up a little. They have meanwhile also found traces of red and blue paint on and around the sphinxes, and an intact black and white mosaic with rhombus shapes ( a rhombus is basically a square pushed out of shape). They have also determined that the sphinxes were made by the same person(s) who made the lion, and they are indeed of exquisite craftsmanship.
The wings were found in the same area where a huge portion of the meanwhile restored lion was found. Archaeologists now believe that the lion originally stood on top of the mount, but was pulled down by raiders at some stage. Others say he may have been dislodged by an earthquake.
23.8.2014     This is getting seriously exciting now.

As the wall is carefully dismantled, this is what is emerging from behind it

We are looking at distinct Ionic architecture, which is beginning to reveal frescos in red blue and black. It is painstakingly slow, and Katerina Peristeri estimates it will take another month or so before they have the entrance cleared. She has now also barred all the politicians from the site, and told them to read the briefings she gives to the ministry and the press every day if they are indeed that interested… Peristeri is becoming a serious celebrity here, and every politician seems to think it vital for their career to have a picture taken of themselves with the woman. The head archaeologist also poured cold water on the ministers daft idea of organized tours to the ongoing excavations. Nobody is allowed anywhere near the site without her permission, and that is extended to her team only. She briefs the press on a daily basis, supplies the images, but will not let anybody near the actual entrance.
This morning she excitedly announced that they have unearthed all the pieces of the wings of the sphinxes and now have the complete wings in their possession.
Amazing to see the colour and decoration. We are so used to seeing Greek architecture bleached white with age and wear and tear. The crispness and quality of the carving too – having been protected from the elements.

“Wow, loving the reports from the Amphipolis dig, exciting stuff!” Sidewinder

26.8.2014  Getting there, slowly but surely..

And while the archaeologists, who describe themselves as “the surgeons of history” meticulously remove all the earth from the entrance, many theories about the origin and content of the tomb are being offered. Including of course the necessary conspiracy theories accusing every traditional “enemy” of the country of having looted the tomb at some stage…
What the whole thing has done is it has galvanized the people to take the right kind of pride in their heritage. Another major site, the ancient city of Messene, is currently being threatened by an enormous wild-fire which is being fanned by strong winds and high temperatures. It is getting that tricky that the government has ordered the evacuation of a number of villages, fearing that the fire-fighters will not be able to contain the fire before it gets there. Apart from the villages, the site of the city of Messene is also being threatened by the same wild fire. Last year this would not have raised an eyebrow anywhere, people just lost all interest in everything and anything thanks to the economic/political situation in the country. This year, it’s different. The head archaeologist in Amphipolis, Katerina Peristeri, has really managed to capture the imagination of the Greeks, and rally them around not just the project, but their heritage in general. Her daily reports are absolutely breath taking, and the enthusiasm she has generated is contagious. As soon as news spread about the fire and the potential damage to the villages and Messene, literally hundreds of volunteers from all over the place gathered in Messene and started helping the fire fighters clearing bush, digging fire trenches, evacuating the old people etc. So far, the fire has destroyed some 2000 acres of land, but it has been diverted away from 3 of the villages and the latest reports say that with the help of the volunteers and 6 airplanes the fires have been brought under control.


Katerina Peristeri has more news for us…

They have now entered the antechamber and are facing another wall.

The hole at the top left of this wall is large enough for a full grown man to go through, which has again fuelled speculation that the tomb may have been raided at some stage. Meanwhile, a few more details have been released. As commented on by C. Flower, the quality of the sculptures is incredible.

Other items have really raised the fever regarding who is buried here…

 

Today we learned that the architecture of the tomb, the wall, and some of the other items still under examination (mosaic floors etc) strongly indicate that the tomb was designed by Dinocrates, the architect who was responsible for the design and construction of Alexandria, and personal friend of Alexander the Great.

1.9.2014    Today we got the news that the antechamber has been accessed, and after some cleaning up a white and red marble floor was literally unearthed.

According to Katerina Peristeri the antechamber is in “excellent condition” and the marble floor is of “superb quality and craftsmanship”. This discovery has now slowed down the process of getting to the actual tomb itself, with could conceivably consist of a number of rooms, giving the size of the tomb.
2.9.2014   Painstakingly slow, the archaeologists are finding their way in to the tomb and reveal exquisite craftsmanship in the process.


They now know of 3 chambers behind the sealing wall, created by traverse diaphragmic walls. It turns out that not just the sealing wall had a top stone missing, but each of the traverse walls has a similar “flaw”, making the archaeologists think that this was not the work of grave robbers, but part of the construction.

Each of the chambers has been filled with large quantities of earth which must be removed literally trowel by trowel…At the same time, reinforcements must be constructed to allow the walls to remain upright under the increasing pressure from the earth on the other side.


Preliminary inspection of the walls in the antechamber have revealed a fresco with traces of blue colouring.
This video gives you a very good idea of the size of the Amphipolis tomb, and why the archaeologists are so excited about this…

Ephilant 4 Sept 2014

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The Difference Between ISIS and Israel

August 19, 2014 - Leave a Response

In the first days of the Israeli assault on Gaza, some asked ‘Why the news concentration on Israel’.  Why not Syria, or ISIS etc. ?    This became one of the talking points of Israeli apologists who argued that it  is unjust – some suggested it reflected growing anti-semitism in Europe.   But at least we were making some progress: Israel was now being viewed on the same level as other backward, racist, fundamentalist movements or pariah states.    It is a sign that the ‘oasis of democracy is a sea of savagery’ myth is getting threadbare. Israel keeps pushing that myth but struggles in the face of growing press and social media focus.

So, what are the differences between Israel and  ISIS ?

Well, for one, ISIS thankfully does not have diplomatic representation here in Dublin.    ISIS doesn’t have an ambassador and his wife down in Ballsbridge peddling racism and Jewish supremacy. Here in Dublin we have a pair of bigots who argue that Israel is fighting for “us” against “them’.     Using racist stereotypes, the embassy tells us that were it not for Israel, Ireland and Europe would be overrun by Jihadi hordes.   (Strange that they are concerned about us, as Mrs. Bodai recently referred to the Irish as “anti-Semitic heathen hordes”).   In doing so they have become a global laughing stock – although that term minimises their sinister role. It is no wonder that there is a petition going around trying to put pressure on Enda Kenny to throw Boaz Modai and his Madame Ngu out. They are also a source of shame and concern to that dwindling, endangered group: the Israeli left.  It is staggering, however, to think that this locker room racism and barracks bigotry is coming from a diplomatic mission.   But sadly violent racist rhetoric is often be heard amongst the mainstream. Calls to send Gaza back to the Middle Ages or kicking the population out can heard from mainstream members of today’s Knesset.

Nor is my government complicit in ISIS atrocity the way it is with Israeli politicide. ISIS does not sit in the UN pretending to be a civilised nation. When we cut off diplomatic relations with the State of Israel, then things can change. Until then Israel’s PR machine deserves our attention.  And, as we can see from Dr Luntz’s manual, it is still very effective at peddling the con.  Israel has a far more evolved public relations machine than ISIS. It knows it is not good PR to go around beheading people in public. And when it does shoot innocent people who are trying to drag family members out of their bombed homes and then finishes them off as they lie in rubble, it doesn’t promulgate youtube clips of its actions.   Israel, as the Dr. Luntz manual reminds us, is fighting an information war.  It used to be very good at peddling the con. But the more it is exposed, the cruder it gets. The crudeness is part of a growing lack of sophistication as opposition and dissidence is stomped on. The crudeness is a sign that Israel is on the defensive.

Photo: Moamar Awad

The “Why us, not Syria?’ line showed the cracks in the con job. That’s the last line of defence before admitting the game is up.   ISIS does it by sword. Israel by drone. But the end result for the poor ******* on the wrong side is the same.

Israel must be stopped before it achieves its objective of bombing the Palestinians into an ISIS state of mind. It is a testament to the Palestinians’ sophistication as a culture that this has not yet happened. But in the despicable prison lab that is Gaza, in a brutalised world without the semblance of hope, in a world of humiliation and constant daily indignity, frightening mutations can happen. Israel wants vicious jihadi hordes to justify its vicious barbaric repression. Israel panics at the sight of moderation. That is why Israel originally supported Hamas. And that is why – after the emergence of the  recent Hamas Fatah reconciliation – we are witnessing the IDF slaughtering its way through Gaza. Israel prefers this bellicose status quo to the prospects of giving up land. Israel has never ever wanted to give up land. And Israel want to ensure it creates facts on the ground that means it never can. The Neo Cons made the Benjamin Netanyahu – בנימין נתניהו visions a reality when they deliberately tore Iraq apart and rendered it into a set of warring sectarian factions. The next step was supposed to be Iran. Once the grunts left Iraq where they would have been at Iran’s mercy. Benny screamed ‘onwards to Tehran’. But the brutalisation of Iraq gave birth to mutations like ISIS.  And now we have both Tel Aviv and its bastard twin ISIS engaged in genocidal activity. But curiously we only have talk of humanitarian aid for the Christians stranded on the mountain where Noah’s ark was said to have been built. Down below circle Rumsfeld’s twisted barbaric offspring. And no-one comes to the aid of the Gazans,

Israel prefers a bellicose status quo to land yielding peace.

Israel has never ever been prepared to give up land.

Israeli apologists will point to Gaza.

Israel gave up Gaza.

But the Gaza ‘withdrawal’ was a mere cosmetic move where Israel merely changed its role from repressive occupier to brutal prison guard.

The IDF moved from one side of a wall to another. Locking “in” instead of locking “down”.

Israel strives to replicate what it has done with its own state, that is, to create sufficient “fact” on the ground that it becomes indisputable. If a couple of million Palestinians are in the way, so what.

They have a choice, it says.

Submit, leave or die.

This is why Israel sees itself as innocent of the crime of genocide: the Palestinians don’t face certain death. No they have the luxury of leaving. Or submitting.

It’s very like ISIS with their variants on ‘Cough up, convert or die.”

Furthermore, Israel is at pains to point out that Palestinians live ‘freely’ within the State of Israel itself and even can participate in the body politic.

Yes, they can live as second-class citizens in an increasingly intolerant racist society. And their political leaders often stand accused of ‘treason’ for representing their voters.

Israel has come up with a more “telegenic – as Benny would say -” form of genocide and that’s politicide – the attack on all constructs that bring people together as a nation, that give people identity, pride and hope.

Under the cover of endless peace talks, it steadfastly pursues this objective. An objective that clearly explains attacks on schools, hospitals, power plants and universities.

So why do I agitate about Israel?  Because the West  is complicit in its silence. America enables the whole brutal show with its aid. And Europe either acquiesces or cheers on. Much to the horror of a growing percentage of citizens.

America could call a halt to this whole quasi-genocidal show. But it has neither the courage nor the moral integrity to do so.   That can change. Political parties may seem paralysed but the people’s view is changing. It’s almost 10 years since Pulitzer Prize winning Middle East reporter, the late Richard Ben Kramer wrote his New York Times best seller ‘How Israel Lost.’ Kramer chronicled how US Jews were becoming increasingly alienated from the extreme policies of modern Israel. Change may be tragically slow. But it is happening. Look at the series of Latin American countries that have just recently broken off diplomatic relations with Israel.

Personally I am fascinated by propaganda and love nothing more than a good fight.  Writing in Dublin Ireland, there is very little one can do to combat the threat of ISIS. But Israel is different. Political support, or the lack thereof, matters to Israel. So it makes sense to create political pressure. Highlighting what is happening to Gaza informs people and makes them more likely to lobby. The boycott of South Africa took time for it to hit a critical mass.

Kevin Barrington  19.8.2014

Images published by Israeli Embassies – July 2014

 

 

 

Dear Palestine

July 26, 2014 - Leave a Response

Merry Christmas Mister Sand Men
Stay hidden in your pods
I’m dreaming of white phosphorous
A present from our gods
A blazing western charity
That burns down canvas streets
High calibre instalments so
Tear off the linen sheets
A payload of democracy
From a war we didn’t start
That arrow that you tossed at us
We’ll thrust it through your heart.

Chorus
You’d think you would be grateful,
It’s for your kith and sin
We wash away the antiquity
And cleanse you from your kin.

If we step upon a serpent
It grows a thousand heads
Had to build a quiet camp for you
But still your hatred spreads
We lost a generation
Those deaths aren’t on your hands
But the cold corpse of my holocaust
Still wanders through these sands.
My righteousness is written on
A withered desert scroll
In blood upon the back of it
Is etched your body toll.

Chorus
You’d think you would be grateful,
It’s for your kith and sin
We wash away the antiquity
And cleanse you from your kin.

The junk food logos shelter us
And keep the world in line
They pay for two-faced satellites
With pop-stars on its mind
Humanity might care for you
But their leaders stay aloof
They trade a blind eye for an eye
And we take a tooth for truth
Your friends are only occupied
By their private revolutions
There’ll be no spring in Palestine
From a UN Resolution

Chorus
You’d think you would be grateful,
It’s for your kith and sin
We wash away the antiquity
And cleanse you from your kin.

 

5intheface   25th July 2014

 

Israel and Terror

July 26, 2014 - Leave a Response

I don’t like this thing of equating Israel with terrorism. Boyd Barrett calling it a ‘terrorist state’ last weekend and loads of other instances all over the place. WTF is ‘state-terrorism’ that isn’t already war, occupation, invasion, humiliation, starvation, colonialism and everything that goes on already? Is there some acceptable or legit ethic cleansing? State-Terror isn’t used for Cromwell or own history, not for any imperial project and what is state terror to the Palestinians when it isn’t even their state?

It falls into this unhelpful post-911 idea of terror. All violence is now terrorism for some reason or can be label so and where does that come from. We have all sorts of ‘insurgents’, ‘separatists’, ‘rebels’ in the news but they are all interchangeable with terrorist depending on what way the wind is blowing and I don’t think this kind of framing/rhetoric – that really took hold during the Bush era – is something we should bolster. Terrorist violence uses fear to achieve goals because fear is seen as most effective weapon available. Israel don’t have anything approaching a weapon shortage. Keeping US politicians or anyone who might dissent in check is one thing, there is fear there for sure but Israel don’t care if people in Gaza are afraid they just want to kill Palestinians and take their land.

And something else that bothers me is inseparable. Who gets labelled terrorist and who doesn’t in this day and age? Not Breivik, not school shooters not any shooters unless they are non-white. Sticking the banner of terror on Israel like some Extra Bad Terrible Thing beyond what they are already doing has connotations of saying they are just as bad as People of colour or more precisely Muslims, those Other people. There is no getting away from how the label of terrorism has been racialised and we must be mindful of that when people have dubious ideas of acceptable and unacceptable violence.

 

Dr. FIVE  25th July 2014

 

Those Marching Feet…

July 7, 2014 - Leave a Response

Working-class British nationalists (aka ‘Loyalists’) in Northern Ireland are openly talking about violence working, and imputing that they will be ‘forced’ to use violence if they don’t get their way on the Ardoyne Orange Order march issue.

They’re also getting ambiguously-coded support from the political representatives of the wider British nationalist community (aka ‘Unionists’) in NI for these threats. That’s what the phrase ‘graduated response’ really means.

‘Graduated’ does not mean either ‘proportionate’ or even ‘calibrated by people with a third-level degree’. It is a weasel word covering for ‘a series of discrete levels of organised violence, starting at widespread public disorder all the way to a campaign of lethal terrorism, against all those we deem to be our cultural, political and institutional foes.’

These British nationalists are 100% correct about the effectiveness of violence to achieve political ends, anybody’s political ends. That’s why state power moves might and main to secure and maintain a monopoly on the use of violence everywhere its sovereignty extends. It’s not always reliable, but it usually is. The Northern Ireland jurisdiction would never have existed but for the threats and reality of political violence on their forefathers’ part starting from the early 1880s right through to the early 1920s.

British nationalist violence brought down Sunningdale back in the 1970s. In 1996, the killing of taxi driver Michael McGoldrick was part of a NI-wide campaign of British nationalist violence and terror which forced an O.O. parade down Portadown’s Garvaghy Road totally against the will of the local residents. The killing of the three Quinn boys from Ballymoney in 1998 was an act of British nationalist violence too far, that horrified the great majority of NI residents, including many British nationalists. Yet, the O.O.’s spokesmen sought to deflect its responsibility in that matter (as did much of institutional British nationalism in NI in other ways: for instance the UVF’s silence at the time re responsibility was telling) and impute that the Quinn’s catholic uncle was the guilty party.

That (alas uncommon) instance of the failure of a campaign of violence to achieve its aims has meant that the loyal orders have not marched down that road since 1998. Even so, the resort to violence and threats of violence seems to be a reflex response of most British nationalists in NI when there is effective political opinion and action deployed against their triumphalist desires.

I’m no fan of Irish nationalism either. Yes I am Irish and I am comfortable enough living with that cultural identity, but my politics are anarchist and socialist/ communist and furthermore I want to live in a world where our common humanity is the identity we all cherish above all others. But I recognise that throughout modern history, Irish nationalism has, unlike its British counterpart (which has used the violence of the state and paramilitary auxiliaries as a first resort), most often employed violence as a last resort after other peaceful methods had patently failed. Within the broad political community of Irish nationalism there has been a political discourse about political violence – whether it is justified either globally or specifically, what political violence does to the politics of the wider nationalist movement, and what sort of political grounding/authorisation is required in order to employ it – going on for a very long time indeed, since before Parnell’s time at least. There is little or nothing of a comparable self-awareness that I can see in all British nationalist circles over the same period of time right up to the present, either on this island or on the island of Britain. British violence is good violence, even when it commits atrocities. It took the British state nearly 40 years to merely apologise to the relatives of the Bloody Sunday victims, and that state still refuses to co-operate fully/at all when it comes to investigating the Ballymurphy Massacre and the Dublin/Monaghan Bombings, to name but two war crimes in which that state is clearly implicated.

The 26-county Irish state doesn’t behave much better when it wrongs its own citizens, but it does not view such citizens (or their kin/legal representatives) seeking to vindicate their human rights as implacable opponents of the state and its political dispensation. Furthermore, I have no awareness of the Irish state knowingly committing or actively colluding in acts of terror outside its jurisdiction in pursuit of its domestic state security agenda. If you have knowledge or claim of different, please bring it up and let’s discuss it.

I do fear deeply for what may happen over this ‘marching season’ for in Scotland the UK state is in existential peril because of the cumulative successes of the independence movement/Yes campaign in the Independence Referendum debate, and this dawning realisation for British nationalists of all locations, classes and stripes is profoundly destabilising. British nationalism is raging against the dying of its light (and hegemonic right), and a growing tide of opinion in Ireland and Scotland is revulsed by its violent domination of political discourse in both countries for far too long. Expect trouble, very serious violent trouble on the part of British nationalists, and don’t be one bit surprised if the UK state gives in to it, or even orchestrates a significant portion of it.

It is right, as some have suggested, that republicans/other Irish nationalists should not respond to British nationalist provocations, because the loyalists and the unionist parties alike are spoiling for violence, as they think it will create the necessary chaos for their nasty ludicrous dream of ‘re-partition’, prompt open UK military intervention, collapse the suspension of major political violence that’s miscalled ‘the peace process’, and ultimately bring back the halcyon days of Stormont Mk I. Unfortunately for unionists and loyalists, the laws of thermodynamics imply that you can’t re-create the past exactly as it was, even in microcosm, so they’re pissing against the wind out of sheer wilful ignorance of how the universe works, which is ironic since the great physicist William Thomson (aka Baron Kelvin) was an Ulsterman of their own stock. Also, ‘No Surrenderism’ and the inability to see beyond their own sectarian fences will destroy ‘Protestant Ulster’ as a viable cultural complex, the good along with the bad and the manifestly ugly. It’s a tragedy that’s been going on since 1912 and the foundation of the UVF and its arming in 1914: Unionism has refused since to meaningfully negotiate a shared culture and politics for this island with all the others who live here regardless of ideological affiliation, and all that time they had useful opportunities for serious influence over such matters were they only willing to cut reasonable deals and drop the supremacism.

The UK’s erstwhile status as a world power gave British nationalists the political cover to shout the cultural odds for the rest of us on these islands without any meaningful budging on British nationalism’s part, and these fools believe that that balance of political and cultural power in the Atlantic Archipelago is going to last forever. By the time the penny drops with Unionism/British nationalism in NI (and in Britain too), its community will have almost nothing of value to bargain with and their overall influence in Ireland (even up there) will be marginal at best. It’s a tragedy almost entirely of their own making – choices made and not made by Unionist leaderships, roads walked and not walked by Orangeism, and no-one to shout ‘Hang on a minute!’ for fear of being ‘Lundied’.

And finally to add, when a mob of people are rabidly trying to burn down the street you live on, as happened when the last ‘troubles’ broke out, it’s hard to exercise restraint, possibly too hard. The violence in NI this summer could potentially be extreme, as British nationalists really need their Irish counterparts to join the eschatological tango. And there’s any number of loyalist nutjobs out there praying for the ‘End Times’ thinking they’re some kind of political ‘Second Coming’ – for instance take a look at Jamie Bryson, the walking farce who wants to follow on from the Carsonian/Craigite/Paisleyite tragedy.

 

Kid Ryder 6th July 2014

(Extracted and edited from the thread of the same title on the Political World forum)

 

 

Things People Stick on Lampposts (Part 1)

July 6, 2014 - Leave a Response

Last year, having completed my collection of eastern European egg cartons my better half suggested that I find a more “Sensible” hobby. I ask you!! Anyway, to keep her happy I took up photographing things that people stick or stencil onto lampposts, bins, postboxes, walls or whatever. Now I know you might find this hard to believe, but she is still not impressed.
Women are a complete mystery no doubt about it.

I’ve been posting photographs now for over a year on Politicalworld.org forum.  It has been suggested to me that the PW blog deserves its fair share of lamppost items, so there will be a “best of” series of posts here for readers to catch up with, or remember, the best of Irish political stickers, starting from spring 2013.

Anyway, if you see something interesting, funny or artistic on a lamppost where you are, post it here and share it with the world. Of course posting something does not mean you agree with it, so don’t be afraid to post far right sh*t. Forewarned is forearmed.
Stuff from anywhere in the world welcome, maybe with a translation if necessary.

I suggest not posting the all to frequent appeals for information about missing people. There is a missing persons thread and including them here among with some frivolous stuff may cause offence.

SOOOOOOO HERE IT IS! In Dublin, Spring 2013 these were the…….

Things people stick on lampposts.

Never Forget:

We have lots of Irish lampposts in Dublin

And we have the occasional foreign lamppost:

Éire Bocht= poor Ireland. But what has yer wan got to do with the price of chips?

Like wtf?

 

 

 

 

Eamo   5th July 2014

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