Diagnosis of Early Daíl Term Syndrome
September 22, 2014

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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Greek “Surgeons of History”- Excavating a Lost Empire
September 7, 2014

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


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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Dear Palestine
July 26, 2014

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.

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.

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

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


The Periphery As Testing Ground for Social Destruction
September 25, 2013

The “Untouchables”, the internal Greek police investigating the Greek police have raided 3 police stations in Athens, and further raids are planned in other cities. High ranking police officers have resigned, others are suspended and many are “under investigation”. Investigations resulting from analysis of the mobile phone records of Giorgos Poupakias have exposed a strict chain of command within Golden Dawn, involving MPs. These investigations confirm allegations made previously, but left unproven after police inaction.

On the face of it, it would seem that they are getting tough on Golden Dawn, after the killing of Pavlos Fyssas. Don’t be fooled.  The murder of Pavlos was engineered, to create the “right” conditions for a government -lead coup  A contradiction in kind, but then, it is Greece. The main purpose of all this is not to curb Golden Dawn, the main purpose is to firmly establish the corrupt international political and financial elite as the “saviours” of not just a country, but a world in free-fall (Created by those same “saviours”).

At the behest of their powerful international puppet-masters, the corrupt corporate and political elite of the place I call home have once again managed to create violent chaos, with the inherent promise of the “responsible centre”(PASOK and ND) being the only possible answer to the problem and the only ones that can provide the solution. The solution is being put forward as the only way to prevent the complete polarization of the people of Greece between far left and far right. The bad boys are ΣΥΡΙΖΑ and Golden Dawn.

ΣΥΡΙΖΑ is the natural opposite of capitalist policies. Golden Dawn is the result of capitalist policies. The capitalist policies are the root of this deliberate polarization.  The very “raison d’etre” for Golden Dawn was created by 30 years of PASOK and ND mismanagement, nothing else. They served their purpose well, and have now become surplus to requirements. In military jargon, the government “actions” resulting in the loss of Golden Dawn is nothing short of Golden Dawn’s death from “friendly fire”.

The bottom line is, we all better vote correct next time around, or else…

The vote will be soon. Samaras will try and prevent it from happening before January, because that is when he takes over the EU Presidency, in Europe. And Samaras wants that on his CV. He has worked hard and manipulated a lot to get this far, he’s not going to let that slip if he can help it. And Europe won’t let him.

Next time around, it is almost certainly going to be PM Tsipras in Greece. Can you imagine the bad Alex calling the shots in Europe? Merkel & Friends would be beside themselves, not to mention their puppet masters. All those years of false promises, careful manipulation, corruption, bribery (sorry lobbying) etc., and then to end up with somebody like Tsipras at the helm? Unthinkable!

The fascism Greece, and Europe, should be afraid of, really afraid of, is not the fascism of Golden Dawn, BNP, Front National, etc. The real danger comes from Government Fascism throughout Europe, in the shape of the hijacked EU. The real danger is the fascism of International Finance. Greek government has quietly used Golden Dawn to deflect public attention from the real issues by focussing the attention of the public on false issues like “the immigrants” and forcing the attention of ΣΥΡΙΖΑ away from government onto the threat of rising fascism. By doing so, they created the time and leeway they needed to put the EU dictated fascist policies in place, under the watchful eye of the EU bullyboys and enforcers known as the Troika. Golden Dawn has now served its purpose. When they were busy killing and maiming immigrants, neither Greek nor EU government cared.

After all, government was instrumental in spreading the myth that the immigrant was solely to blame for the problems of the Greek people, and the people of Europe in general. The odd dead immigrant here and there was acceptable because it was simply a natural consequence of being the scape goat. No better way to stop this out of control insanity called Golden Dawn than by blaming them for the murder of a Greek. A left-wing Greek at that, it just helps to deflect the left wing attention away from capitalism, which is the real fascism at work. The PASOK-ND machine has fine-tuned Sinclair’s statement that Fascism equals Capitalism + Murder. The revised version of the axiom now reads Capitalism = Fascism +  The  Politically Correct Murder.

The murder of Pavlos, rightfully or wrongfully blamed on Golden Dawn, was the wrong murder, and has reduced the Golden Dawn vote down to half, virtually over-night.  Keeping the pressure up, with high profile acts like raids on police stations (Which will establish the links, whether they actually exist or not) or the sacking of dispensable high ranking officers will reduce that vote further, and come next election they will most likely not have enough votes to enter parliament. There will almost certainly be laws in place to prevent Golden Dawn from re-entering the parliament, just to make sure. This can be done because Golden Dawn is a government engineered entity.  Their compatriots in nationalistic idiocy, Independent Greeks, are at this stage a non-entity. So is DIMAR. KKE is holding its own at 5 % or so, which makes for democracy demanded, but largely anecdotal opposition. This leaves ΣΥΡΙΖΑ to deal with.

Banning ΣΥΡΙΖΑ by law would be counter-productive because it is a naturally existing opposite. Attempting such a ban would also give the game away. Here, different measures are needed. When the time is right, the “hoodies” and “anarchists” will appear on the streets of Athens again, maybe burn down a bankrupt bank or two and kill some employees for good effect. This strategy of tension has been well rehearsed and fine-tuned.

Over the last 30 years, the PASOK-ND machine has mastered the politics oftension down to its smallest detail. They have learned to apply J.P Faye’s “Horseshoe Theory” and are doing so with great effect, masking the violent nature of the ultimate fascist policies they are enforcing on behalf of the real masters, International Finance. The whole operation is being directed by the Troika, who are once again visiting Greece to “evaluate” the progress of “The Program”.

A similar, although less violent (so far) tactic is being followed in France with the targeting of Marine LePen by the forces of “Law and Order”. Yes, she should indeed be targeted, as should all the other forms Fascism. Fascism is nothing short of the modern day version of the Greek myth of the Lernaean Hydra.  Golden Dawn, Front National, BNP, but also the notoriously fascist DIAS (motorized police in Greece), the organized football hooligan gangs in the UK,  are just some of the many heads of the Hydra.

Simply chopping off those heads only ensures two more grow back, as the myth tells us. In order to permanently stop this monster from rising up out of its hell-hole nest and growing more heads, the nest must be destroyed and the hole must be plugged. This is done through education and investment in people rather than investment in profit, for the sole purpose of more profit. Until that becomes government and EU policy, nothing will change and things will get worse, far worse. Altering the way in which one manipulates a situation does not remove the manipulation. It simply adjusts its effectiveness and in itself serves as a very effective way of masking the true reasons for the manipulation itself.

The stick behind the door, or the elephant in the room if you like, is the military. The Greek military have made it perfectly clear that they will not tolerate “political interference”, like what is happening with the police force right now. IOW, as long as the elite stays loyal to the army, the elite will be left play government, line their pockets, fleece the people, and remain their corrupt selves. Should things get that bad that the elite turn on the army, or lose the next elections, a military “intervention”, Egypt style, is not unthinkable.  A little known, or little published, fact is that NATO have quietly been closing all their bases in the Mediterranean, and are moving them all to Greece. On Crete alone this has increased US military personnel with a good few highly trained “units”.

While the people on the island struggle to heat their homes, schools and offices, the military build a stock pile of millions of gallons of fuel for “emergency purposes”. All this has a lot more to do with Greece than it has to do with Syria, Egypt, Iran,Israel and all the other reasons quoted. Greece is not just a testing ground for the less palatable neo-liberal tactics, it is a vital component in the “Endlösung”, the creation of the economic wasteland necessary to protect the neo-liberal heartland of the experiment called EU, and to provide the source of cheap labour that will allow this experiment to compete with existing cheap labour markets like
China and India. For that is the ultimate intention.

The EU’s industrial superiority has been severely eroded by the cheap labour economies of China and India. Economies that, by the way, have been seriously criticised by the EU for using the very low-wage, purely profit driven policies the EU itself is now enforcing on the periphery of Europe. If Europe wants to hang on to its industrial base and stop China and India from taking over, it needs to compete on their terms, with cheap energy and cheap labour. Greece will supply both, willingly or otherwise…

The EU periphery is the test lab for the powers who have hijacked the EU and are turning it into a vehicle of neo-liberal economics and consequent social destruction. Each country in that periphery is a test tube in which a different experiment is conducted. Greece test reactions to high levelsof unemployment and loss of national identity, Ireland hands over energy resources to Shell and test reactions to loss of energy authonomy, etc. Each country has its own “speciality”, all have different levels of poverty inflicted on them and the reactions are being studied. The EU even publishes the statistics of these studies in the form of unemployment figures, poverty levels, housing details, etc.

The people of the peripheral countries are the guinea pigs for different policy scenarios.  Tsipras has stated as much in Greece, but also on his visits to Spain, France, Germany, etc.    He has very recently warned the German workers that they too are very much in danger of being sacrificed to please the God of Profit.   That is why he is the “most dangerous politician” and will be stopped, at any cost. The current happenings in Greece are part of that cost…

Ephilant   25.9.2013

Which is the best TV channel to watch the forthcoming war series on?
August 27, 2013

Which is the best TV channel to watch the forthcoming war series on?

Al-Jazeera is now part of the Great Western Alliance and has nothing different to report from BBC and the others.

Sky News specialises in children with big eyes and no arms being rescued by British pilots in helicopters (they don’t show the British pilots that dropped the bomblets that blew off the arms in the first place and wiped out his classmates.)

CNN has lots of home colour with ‘loved ones’ waving US flags and politicians talking 1914 jingoism, surrounded by US flags and presenters wearing US flags – no coffins draped in flags allowed.

The BBC will bring back John Snow with computer graphics showing cruise missiles ‘taking out’ (as they say on RTE) battalions of bad guys.

Since the banning of Press TV, both from my satellite and the internet, I can’t get a cross-bearing at all, except for Russia Today which is very heavy on the propaganda to the point of caricature.

CCTV (that’s China, not the one in the supermarket) may have some news but its mostly smiling officials telling how they have achieved exponential growth yet again.

I regularly read Israeli news and can get information by reversing it – a Palestinian attack on the IDF (Israeli wehrmacht) means a kid throwing stones was shot etc.

Ah well! There’s always Michael Jansen in the Irish Times (joke).

Binn Beal   27th August 2013

Comments welcome here or on the Politicalworld.org forum

The Irish Bank Guarantee 2008 – A Silent Coup
June 30, 2013

C. Flower's Avatar

The Guarantee meeting of September 30th-October 1st 2008 was held at the request of AIB and BoI – it was one of those meetings held all the time in Ireland, unminuted, between Ministers, County Managers etc. and supplicant businessmen. They get together, and the supplicant says “my project is being held up by the planners” “the new regulation is going to put me out of business” “I want the concession for hotdogs at the Gathering” “I want the licence to dig gold out of Mount Leinster” etc. etc. Ministers and Managers say “what can we do ?” and get the plan changed, get the licence granted and so on. It is not a question of money changing hands, but of future directorships, golf club membership (Phil Hogan take note), being asked to join the consortium, well, being one of the boys, generally.

We know that AIB and the BoI came along to Cowen and Lenihan that night and asked for a guarantee. “Would you just pop out and have a coffee while we discuss it” an unnamed politician or civil servant said to them, and ten (or however many) minutes later, they were asked back in, and told that they had one.  Then the Regulator, Neary phoned the other banks that were covered. Next, individually, Ministers were rung up from the meeting in the middle of the night and told that a Guarantee had had to be put in place and they must give it the O.K.. Over three hours later, at 6.45 a.m. the world and the Irish people were told that “Ireland had guaranteed all its banks.”

The character of this meeting was that best referenced by the term “stroke.”  It was not a meeting of the government, as defined by the Constitution (at least 9 TDs), and there was no attempt to recall the Daíl to sit in emergency session overnight, as there was to be for the IRBC windup.  There were no bank experts there to give advice.  It was attended (according to Brendan Drumm) by two politicians, 2 civil servants and four bankers.  After the meeting Lenihan issued a meaningless “Letter of Comfort” indicating that the Government would cover bank losses.  The letter was pure sleight of hand, smoke and mirrors, whatever you want to call it, with no legal standing, in breach of the Constitution.  The ad hoc group of people in that room had no authority to make any such decision.

When the Daíl was told that a  bank guarantee was in place Cowan lied to the Daíl and said that the Guarantee had been agreed by Cabinet: “the Government.”

At the cabinet meeting the previous day, there had been some kind of “in principle” agreement for a guarantee, but the unlimited form unilaterally opted for by Cowen and Lenihan, covering all bondholders as well as depositors, has left us with an unsupportable financial burden.We would have been in order to occupy the Dail and demand he rescind.On the night of the “guarantee”, there was nothing to prevent Cowan from calling the Dail to an emergency sitting, as was done earlier this year for the IBRC wind up legislation.    

The Dail could have and should have voted against it and it would not have stood – but they were lied to and presented with a fait accompli  – told that the Bank Guarantee was already in place, taking all real value out of the debate.

Other Ministers were “ordered to approve” the decision, rather than consulted on it, in the insulting “incorporeal meeting” –  a series of phone calls to the homes of Ministers, in the small hours, of which Willie O’Dea and Mary Hanafin have written.

The whole tendency of Fianna Fail to take action out of the Dail Chamber during its term in office was commented on at the time as was the rule by tiny cabal, with just three people, Lenihan, Cowen and Coughlan acting as a super-cabinet, and with many government announcements made outside the Daíl.  Just how dangerous this was emerged when the Bank Guarantee manoeuvre was pushed through.

It was effectively a coup by the banks.   No tanks, or ranting Generals – just a shifty midnight hijacking of the political system that transferred billions in private debt onto the public.

Then, weeks went by. Lenihan did not seem to realise that his “bank guarantee” meant that MONEY HAD TO BE PUT INTO BANKRUPT BANKS.   That was why Drumm wanted to hit him.

Lenihan’s unconstitutional action had sold the country to the banks.

From the Anglo Irish Tapes:

Drumm re Lenihan

“‘Do you understand? Can I teach you just one piece?’ Not in that language, obviously, but can I teach you one piece of banking here? ‘When you’ve guaranteed somebody’s entire liabilities, it is smart to write a very small cheque to stop them being called! Which bit of that don’t you get?’ I don’t think he gets it.”
C. Flower  30 June 2013
Discussion on this on this thread at Politicalworld.org

Is Ireland Bullying the ECB ?
February 12, 2013

If there is anything singular in the way the ECB is treating Ireland, why might that be?

Looking at it from an external perspective, Ireland is a tax haven, a money launderer’s paradise through which vast sums of money flow internationally, causing other EU jurisdictions with more restrictive laws a disproportionate number of problems. We know next to nothing about most of this activity and understand even less. What we do know is that it is routinely corrupt and out of control. Our government is even now a ferocious defender of this set-up and of international financier corporatism – among its most extreme adherents in the world. Throughout the crisis, the Irish Government (FF/Lab/FG) has indeed shown implacable steel about maintaining our tax haven status and our anti-EU corporate tax regime – which does nothing for the majority of people here and which is also a big **** off to the ordinary people of the rest of Europe.  Conor McCabe has shown, for example, that FDI accounts for just 7.25% of Irish jobs, despite all the bigged-up claims made for its importance to our economy.

Again and again, our government favours the same small elite, whatever policy is at issue right across the spectrum – health, education etc. It’s as if we are not even deemed human beings unless we are disgustingly rich. There are no concessions to this set up at home or abroad. Who can blame the EU or the ECB, in one sense, from saying ‘OK, if that’s how you want to play it, we’re happy to oblige’. The intransigence on debt write down begins with the Irish government: they refuse even to ask for it because they do not want to negotiate terms at all. The ECB only deals with us on the macro level.

The Irish government, defined by its visceral contempt for ordinary Irish people, only has to rely on sucker-punching us via a by-and-large remarkably stupid and unquestioning media. The worst we are asked to think of our government is that they are merely pathetic in the face of ECB bullying, when in fact they are getting everything they want out of the situation: the destruction of our welfare state, blamed on the Troika even when the IMF is clearly saying that austerity has failed and is being taken too far.   Every choice that is made at micro level on spending (choices which our government completely controls, despite claiming otherwise) protects the rich.

At the same time the Government is using the crisis to copper-fasten the financial elites to the control levers of the Irish economy and to our parliamentary democracy, such as it is. FG are indeed laying the ground work for a future, blue-shirt fascist state. Godwin’s law? Look at the power Noonan has abrogated to Ministers for Finance for the permanent appropriation of private property in this wonderful new deal. This is neo-fascism. Already, Michael D’s signature not even dry on the page, government cheerleaders in the media are wagging fingers at us to say that there will be no let up in austerity just because the massively expanded sovereign debt ‘deal’ is a magnificent success. Austerity is one of the most extreme ideologies ever to be foisted on people. It has nothing to do with fiscal rectitude or ‘prudence’. It is wrecking the economy, but still it is persisted with. Why? Because none of this was ever about doing what is best or what is right – these guys just want things done differently in their own interests and they want us to pay the full cost of that on their behalf.

Is this not, at bottom, the overall situation?.

Mediabite  11 February 2013

Senator McAleese: Will You Play Forfeits? Reconciliation with the Women of Magdalene Laundries
January 22, 2013

Does anyone doubt that the Magdalene Laundries existed? Does anyone really believe the Irish Government in its uneasily shifting stance that ‘officially’ the Irish State knew nothing of these ‘private’ institutions?

At the very least there is a false note here and this was pointed out by the UNCAT Committee on Torture where official Ireland found itself over a year ago arguing that Ireland knew nothing of the Magdalene Laundries ‘officially’.

The UNCAT Committee rather embarrassingly for the Irish Government pointed out that it was not enough for a member nation to simply plead ignorance – that under UN Membership Ireland officially was obliged to ensure that such institutions were inspected and under a governance system.

If the Irish State’s position is that it didn’t understand the rules of its UN membership on the subject of ill-treatment, abuse and internment of citizens then it merely means Ireland admits a studied negligence of its own tortured citizens in these institutions.

The Irish State has an overt habit of this practice and while the UNCAT Committee did not accept the State’s point it is very unlikely also that the State can convince us either given how close we are to the State’s record in such matters.

Ireland, socially, is a recidivist. If there were an institution possible for entire states where such societies could be described as ‘fallen’ or at serious risk of being ‘fallen’ with regard to humanity and ethics then the lady in green would be institution bound.

Something of an irony that a lady inclined in all respects and in constant practice towards the refusal to examine her dirty laundry at the same time might be chained philosophically to an institutional washing board and scrubbing, overseen, at a stain on its character that simply won’t come out.

Sometimes the child is wiser than the parent. And what parent could be displeased with a child that announces it is better to tell the truth than persist in lying? And that, on this subject, is where we are as we await the Government’s response to the dental detective Martin McAleese’s report into the Magdalene Laundry issue.

There is apprehension that official Ireland will persist, rather excruciatingly, with its notion that ‘officially’ Ireland knew nothing.

Justice delayed. In fact if McAleese’s report which undoubtedly will be obsequious in its ‘sensitivity’ to the Magdalenes serves only to cling to an evasive manoeuver by the State then it is not just a failure to attend to acknowledging serious wrong but the conclusion will be that the State wishes to persist in another known evil in Ireland – the ‘delay till they die’ process –  which has in the past served the same cult behind the profitability of these washday gulags. The State wishes to portray the Magdalene Laundries as ‘different’ to issues of up to sixty residential “Reformatory and Industrial Schools” operated by Catholic Church orders, funded and supervised by the Irish Department of Education.

To allege that the Irish State which paid capitation (head money) to the orders behind those institutions was unable to ‘see’ a similar system with the Magdalene Laundries attached to them, while elements of the state were ‘remanding’ women to the Laundries is simply insufferable dishonesty of the worst sort.

We will know shortly whether the Irish State wishes to persist in its adopted ignorance – a profitable stance in fear of redress payments and perhaps a wish to avoid a situation where the government will be buried in outrage should it attempt to pay ‘redress’ on behalf of orders which have already welched to the sum of   euros where other institutions are concerned. I may be wrong in my suspicions around McAleese’s report- understandable when the words ‘construct a narrative’ were used in discussions around the remit of his Committee on this issue.

We do a lot of ‘narrative constructing’ in Ireland. One of these days we may decide to restrict ourselves to reporting on what actually happened and who was involved. But that requires a maturity that may not yet be available to our childish state and immature official institutions.

Quite apart from the debt Irish society owes those of the Magdalene Laundries and other religious gulags we could at least show these people that we do care about what happened to them.

They could be forgiven for thinking that any signal now is irrelevant but we have an opportunity while many are still living to at least acknowledge properly the social disgrace of the state and Irish society for allowing this to happen.

It must be said. It may not do much practical good but that part of the national conversation must happen for the dignity of those who had their dignity taken from them in such a horrible manner and for a reconciliation process to begin.

I used the word ‘reconciliation’ because otherwise how can the victims feel vindicated as citizens of this somewhat shabby Republic and how can citizens who weren’t victims look each other in the eye?

Captain Con O’Sullivan    21.01.13

*From the poem ‘Geasa’ (The Bond) by Nuala Ni Dhomhnaill

A report by an interdepartmental committee chaired by Senator Martin McAleese is with the Government: a Government statement is expected within the next two weeks.

Join our discussion on the Magdalene Laundry workers on Politicalworld.org.

Legislation When ? …… The Political Rhythm Method
November 30, 2012

Let’s see. It’s nearly Christmas (extended Dáil break) so nothing can be done until January

In January, it is European Presidency celebrations so nothing can be done.

February is too close to Easter (extended Dáil break) so best to put it on hold.

April and May are just too close to Summer (extended extended Dáil break) so let’s handle it in September.

September, time for a Referendum Commission.   Need their approval before enacting legislation.

Six months later, when they report, it will be too close to Easter/Summer so best to delay until September 2014.

By this stage, way too close to Elections to deal with serious legislation, so just procrastinate until the next Dáil.

DCon 30th Nov. 2012

You are welcome to join the discussion on this topic at our forum, Political World.

IKEA and the Girl With the Dragon Tattoo – Truth Stranger Than Fiction
November 17, 2012

I am even more impressed by the Millenium Trilogy by Stieg Larsson when I read of this. I have not managed to find an exact reference, but those of you who have read the novels or seen the films will remember the character Wennerstrom, with his criminal activities in Eastern Europe. What follows is not, alas, fiction.

IKEA has apologised for using political prisoners and convicts, arrested by the Stasi in East Germany, as workers in its furniture factories in the ‘70s and ‘80s.  It was one among many manufacturers who used forced labour.

                                                                             Stasi Prison at Berlin

The apology follows on the publication yesterday of a report by Ernst & Young who examined 80,000 pieces of evidence from the German historical files and carried out approximately 90 interviews with IKEA employees, prisoners and witnesses.

Johan Stenebo, a former senior executive at the company, published a book, The Truth About Ikea, in 2010 which examined the practices of the company. In it he mentions the German links of of the founder, Ingvar Kamprad and of his father who is described as ‘a tough Nazi’

Spectabilis  16.11.2012

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