Orwell’s 1984 arrives in 2018 Ireland

 

 

By Anthony Sheridan

 

Here are some quotes I’ve taken from Wikipedia’s description of the George Orwell dystopian novel ‘1984′.

An environment of omnipresent government surveillance and public manipulation. A government invented language that replaces English. A system enforced by a privileged, elite Inner Party that persecutes individualism and independent thinking.

The Party seeks power entirely for its own sake. It is not interested in the good of others; it is interested solely in power.

It is in no way an exaggeration to say that the above description is fast becoming a reality in Ireland today.

A corrupt political elite made up of Fianna Fail, Fine Gael and Labour masquerading as democratic politicians as they manipulate power for their own benefit while attacking those who would challenge their privileged position.

We only have to observe the ruthless and often illegal tactics employed by the State during the water war. The manipulation of information by the Government’s Strategic Communications Unit and the unlimited funds available to elite schools while the schools of the poor fall into disrepair, to see just how close ‘1984’ resembles the Ireland of 2018.

 

 

Those who may consider this a bit over the top might consider the following headline:

Bin lorry cameras are on hunt for thousands of homeowners who break rubbish rules

Here we have private companies monitoring and imposing punishment on citizens who fail to obey instructions. Initially, the Government information machine attempted to persuade citizens that these instructions, to separate refuse into different categories, was for the benefit of the environment.

To a degree this is true but it is also true that encouraging people to separate refuse saves the collection companies an absolute fortune in having to do it themselves.

But now the days of encouraging are over, now the Government has handed over power to private companies to monitor and punish citizens who fail to do as instructed. Education (of the masses) is also a priority for the companies as this comment makes clear:

Clearly a huge challenge lies ahead and education is needed.

The state tyranny described in Orwell’s ‘1984‘ is controlled by a mysterious leader known as Big Brother. All citizens are required to give unquestioning loyalty and respect to the great leader.

Winston Smith, the rebel who challenges state power in the story, is eventually defeated and brainwashed into a feeling of intense love for Big Brother.

The Irish ‘Winston Smith’ is none other than former rebel Bono who recently sent messages of intense love to his hero Varadkar.

Dear Leo,  I am utterly proud to call you my Taoiseach. I look forward to lots of plotting and planning. Yours with respect, Bono.

 

Elaine Byrne: Not speaking full truth to power

 

 

 

By Anthony Sheridan

Corruption expert Elaine Byrne and two or her colleagues, Hugh O’Connell and Barry J Whyte, recently wrote an extensive piece on the failings of the Standards in Public Office Commission (SIPO).

Similar articles on the issue of poor or non-existent state regulation have been penned by a long line of journalists in a long line of newspapers over a timescale of many decades.

They all have one thing in common – they fail, for various reasons, to speak the full truth.

So here’s the full truth in just four sentences:

One:       Those who wield power are responsible for enacting and enforcing anti-corruption laws that are critical to the proper functioning of a state.

Two:     When those in power fail in their duty to confront corruption, the state and its people suffer.

Three:   Ireland and its people have suffered enormously from the disease of corruption over the decades as a direct result of this failure.

Four:     The people who are directly and indisputably responsible for this failure are the three mainstream political parties – Fianna Fail, Fine Gael and the Labour Party.

These four points should form the basis for every single article written by Irish journalists when they are addressing the issue of political and state corruption.

Unfortunately, Irish journalists have a very poor record of speaking truth to power. Instead, we get articles like that written by Ms. Byrne that pulls punches all over the place out of fear, ignorance or support for those who corruptly wield power.

For example, Ms. Byrne speaks of ‘governance failures’, ‘mistakes’, ‘shortcomings’ and ‘blunders

Here’s the truth: Those who wield power strip all regulatory authorities of power in a deliberate strategy that is specifically designed to protect the corrupt. The evidence for this truth is overwhelming and indisputable.

Ms. Byrne also uses the royal ‘we’ instead of precisely identifying those who facilitate political and state corruption. For example, she tells us that:

We excel at the disease of implementation deficit.

Here’s the truth: The ‘we’ Ms. Byrne speaks of consists of the three mainstream political parties who have wielded power since independence. The evidence for this truth is overwhelming and indisputable.

Ms. Byrne also writes about the ‘national addiction to reports’. There is no national addiction to reports. Irish citizens are fed up to their back teeth with reports and reports on reports that result in zero accountability.

Here’s the truth: The establishment of reports, reviews and tribunals is a strategy specifically designed by those who wield power to protect the corrupt.

So, as Mary and Joe soap make their case before an empowered judge the politically protected corrupt casually perjure themselves in front of a disempowered judge at a tribunal. The evidence for this truth is overwhelming and indisputable.

To her credit Ms. Byrne is one of the very few commentators who have come even close to speaking truth to power.

Here’s how she wrote about a speech she made at the McGill Summer School in July 2012. She was speaking to an audience that would have included many of those responsible for protecting the corrupt.

Official Ireland is predominantly male, predominantly over 50 and predominantly people who earn over €100,000. For the most part, it includes the speakers at this MacGill summer school and those that attend it.

That didn’t go down too well. That part of my speech was greeted with an audible murmur of disapproval (my emphasis) at MacGill in Donegal last week.

Yet every single inquiry into public life that we have had in this country over the past 15 years has come down to one singular thing, the operation of power by Official Ireland. The political tribunals, the church scandals, the police inquiries, the hospital failures and the banking crisis were ultimately about the abuse of power.

She ended her article with this:

These mostly male, middle-aged decision makers are responsible for the (economic) collapse in the first place because they never shouted stop.

This is an example of what I mentioned at the beginning of this article – a failure to speak the full truth to power.

Here’s what needs to be said to the powers that protect the corrupt:

The three mainstream political parties of this country, Fianna Fail, Fine Gael and the Labour Party are directly responsible for infecting the political and administrative systems of our country with the disease of corruption.

The evidence for this is overwhelming and indisputable. These are the parties that have wielded power since independence. These are the parties that have consistently and intentionally failed, power swop after power swop, to challenge the disease of corruption.

These are the parties that must be permanently removed from power if the people of Ireland are ever to enjoy the benefits of living in a functional democracy free of rampant political corruption.

Copy to:

Elaine Byrne

 

 

Israel/Ireland: Corruption comparison

 

 

 

 

By Anthony Sheridan

The ongoing corruption scandal involving the Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu provides a stark comparison with just how corrupt Ireland’s political/state system is.

Here’s a brief list of some of the charges against Netanyahu:

Receiving expensive gifts from wealthy businessmen in exchange for favours.

Striking an illicit deal with a newspaper in exchange for favourable political coverage.

His wife, Sara, is also under investigation accused of using government money to pay for private chefs at family events and electrical work in the family home.

In Ireland, this kind of corruption is casually accepted as part and parcel of normal political activity.

For example, it has just been revealed that the Government’s Strategic Communications Unit (SCU) paid out €1.5 million of taxpayers’ money to favoured newspapers to publish propaganda articles in favour of Fine Gael.

Or, to put it another way: The Government struck an illicit deal with newspapers in exchange for favourable political coverage.

The response to this corrupt act in Ireland was to appoint a senior government official to review the actions of senior government officials.

The response in Israel saw the police directly investigating the chief suspect, the Prime Minister. As a result of that investigation they have recommended that he be charged in a court of law. This is the norm in functional democracies.

Here are some more stark comparisons between how things are done in a functional democracy such as Israel and a corrupt state such as Ireland.

In Israel the police are independent of the political system and are therefore free to investigate political corruption.

In Ireland the police are, effectively, a branch of the political system and therefore do not investigate political corruption.

In Israel there is a specialised anti-corruption police unit.

In Ireland there is no such unit.

In Israel, all crime, including political corruption, is dealt with through police investigation and the courts.

In Ireland, there are two separate systems for dealing with crime. One for ordinary citizens that involves police, courts and punishment and another made up of tribunals, commissions and committees deliberately, and very successfully, designed to ensure there is no accountability or punishment for those with power and influence.

In Israel regulatory agencies such as the Central Bank or corporate enforcement operate independently of the political system.

In Ireland all regulatory agencies are subject to political control and influence.

In Israel the media use the word ‘corruption’ when writing and speaking about corruption.

In Ireland the word ‘corruption’ is never used by establishment media. Instead, the fuzzy word ‘culture’ is used.

So, for example, there’s no such thing as police corruption in Ireland but rather a ‘culture’ that provides journalists and politicians with a safe area in which to endlessly discuss reform of the ‘culture’ while completely ignoring the brutal reality right in front of their eyes.

In Israel, Prime Ministers and former Prime Ministers can face prison when found guilty of corruption.

In Ireland the notion that a Prime Minister or former Prime Minister would be the subject of a police investigation never mind actually do jail time is so ludicrous as to border on the insane.

 

 

Irish cowboy town and fake regulatory agencies

 

 

 

 

Elaine Byrne is, once again, writing about scandal and regulatory failure in today’s Sunday Business Post (Sub reqd). This time it’s about the failure of the Standards in Public Office Commission (SIPO) to do its job regulating the political system. I hope to respond to her article in the next day or so.

In the meantime, I’m republishing this article (with some minor editing) I wrote in April 2015 outlining how all regulatory bodies in Ireland are, in reality, fake.

 

 

Irish cowboy town and fake regulatory agencies

2 April 2015

It’s not often a minister for justice makes me laugh but the latest comment on police reform from Frances Fitzgerald had me in stitches.

Making excuses for her complete failure to establish a police authority the minister said that, in the meantime:

“A kind of shadow board would be set up.”

Ok, let me first state an absolute fact. This government will not set up a police authority. The next government; if it is spawned from the same corrupt political/administrative culture, will not set up a police authority.

The reason is simple; the establishment of a genuinely independent police authority would end the corrupt nexus between the body politic and the police force. That corrupt nexus has served the interests of politicians, their friends in the Golden Circle and senior police officers since the foundation of the state; it will remain firmly in place for so long as that culture exists.

What we will see is the establishment of a fake police authority, an authority that from the outside looks and acts as if it’s the real thing but, in reality, is a fraud.

The setting up of fake regulatory agencies is the single greatest achievement of our corrupt political system. These fake authorities are so successful that they have not only fooled ordinary citizens, they have fooled the media, the international community and even many of the politicians who established them in the first place.

The system can best be understood by comparing it to those fake Hollywood wild west towns built to make cowboy movies.

Walking down the main street everything looks real so long as nobody actually believes there’s anything of substance behind the facades.

So, for example, when a citizen opens the door marked ‘Financial Regulator’ they find themselves in a wilderness populated by drifting tumbleweeds, each one with a tag reading – secrecy laws forbids the answering of any questions.

When the door marked ‘Standards in Public Office’ is opened citizens are met by an official endlessly chanting – Political accountability? No, never heard of it. We just dig holes in the sand and fill them in again.

When the Troika arrived they already knew there was something odd about the way things were done in this town so they opened more doors than usual.

Inside the austere and impressive door to the legal system, for example, they found mountains of stolen loot surrounded by hundreds of partying solicitors and barristers. Clear out this den of iniquity they instructed the government, we’ll be back to check on it.

When they returned a year later they failed to notice that what appeared to be a reformed legal system was actually an act performed by actors hired for the day from a nearby spaghetti western movie set. The drunken solicitors and barristers were still partying just over the hill.

Down at the end of the town there’s a brand new, freshly painted building with the title, Charity Regulator. Inside there’s a large office with an impressive array of filing cabinets, computers, desks and stern looking officials.

On closer inspection however, the files are just blank paper, the desks and computers are made of balsa wood and the officials are shop mannequins.

So what, at first glance, looks like a real regulator turns out to be nothing more than the usual cynical exercise in deception. Because this is a new regulator, no citizen has yet been damaged by its fraudulent front but, in time, thousands will inevitably suffer heavy financial loss and perhaps worse.

Irish citizens have lost faith in the State and its administrators. They know that almost all state agencies are steadfastly loyal to the corrupt political system that created them and exercises control over their activities.

The long-suffering people of Ireland are waiting for somebody to lead them in knocking down all the buildings in Irish cowboy town.

Copy to:

Frances Fitzgerald

 

Elaine Byrne: Failing to join up the dots on state corruption

 

 

 

By Anthony Sheridan

State corruption is rampant in Ireland and does enormous damage to the country and its people. The disease of corruption originated from and still thrives within the political system. In 1979, with the coming to power of the criminal politician Haughey, the disease became malignant and spread to most areas of governance and then to the private sector.

Ireland is not, and never has been, governed by a political party or a coalition of parties. It is ruled by a corrupt political class who simply take turns in plundering the state.

That corrupt political class is made up of Fianna Fail, Fine Gael and Labour (now nearly extinct) with willing support, when unavoidable, from smaller parties such as the Progressive Democrats (now extinct), the Green Party and currently the Independent Alliance.

The disturbingly low standard of Irish journalism is one of the major contributing factors in not just allowing political corruption to exist but to flourish without any serious challenge.

The great majority of journalists are either willing participants, state captured, in denial or are simply ignorant of the brutal reality regarding the extent and source of state corruption in Ireland.

Corruption expert Elaine Byrne appears to be one of those who are completely ignorant of the source of corruption.

Writing recently [Sub. required] about the ineffectiveness of the Garda Siochana Ombudsman Commission (GSOC) Ms. Byrne finished her article with this question:

Does the Government actually want the GSOC to do its job?

That a person whose job it is to analyse corruption and who has been writing and commentating on corruption for many years has to even ask this question is a disturbing indication of the abject failure of Irish journalism to even acknowledge the disease of state corruption never mind actually expose those responsible.

To answer Ms. Byrne’s question – no, the Government does not want the GSOC to do its job. That’s why the Commission is chronically underfunded and understaffed. The strategy of underfunding regulatory agencies is just one of a long list of well established tactics utilised by parties of the ruling political class to prevent any threat to their power.

Ms. Byrne goes on to ask another question the answer to which is right in front of her eyes should she ever choose to open them.

Why was it necessary for a tribunal and all its costs to be deployed when GSOC should have done the job?

This question relates to the political decision to instruct the Disclosures Tribunal to investigate a matter surrounding allegations made by Garda whistleblower Maurice McCabe, allegations that should have been properly dealt with by GSOC.

The answer to Ms. Byrnes question is:  The ruling political class enacted laws that strips tribunals of any power to bring to account those found guilty of corruption. This guarantees that any corruption exposed during the course of a tribunal is merely recorded in the final report and deposited on a government shelf to gather dust.

This deliberate strategy provides the ruling political class with a powerful tool with which to permanently sidetrack any scandal that may pose a threat to their power. The strategy has been immensely successful in protecting the corrupt and the Disclosures Tribunal will be no different.

Commentators and journalists like Ms. Byrne spend much of their time and energy analysing the never-ending stream of corruption that inflicts so much damage on Ireland and its people but, for a number of reasons, are incapable of joining up the dots that are lying all over the corrupt political landscape.

Here is a list of just some of those dots that may be of some help to puzzled commentators such as Ms. Byrne.

Tribunals have just one function – to protect the corrupt.

Dail Committees (all of which are deliberately powerless) have just one function – to endlessly jump up and down in futile anger while the corrupt walk free.

So called state regulatory bodies such as GSOC, Central Bank, SIPO, An Garda Siochana, Charities Regulator to name just some are all deliberately underfunded, understaffed, willing participants in corrupt practices or act out of justified fear of state reprisal if they enforce the law.

Laws are frequently written with the deliberate intention of protecting the corrupt. For example, laws governing the operation of GSOC are drafted in such a manner as to make it almost impossible to properly investigate complaints. (I’ll be writing about this particular scandal soon).

Irish journalists are constantly writing and talking about corruption scandal after corruption scandal but studiously avoid joining up the dots – why?

Because when the dots are joined up they point straight at those responsible for infecting our country with the disease of corruption – the corrupt political class made up of Fianna Fail, Fine Gael and Labour.

And therein lies one of the greatest barriers to eradicating the disease of political corruption that has inflicted so much suffering on the Irish people – the total loyalty and support afforded to the corrupt centre of Irish politics by a disturbingly large percentage of journalists.

Copy to:

Elaine Byrne

No law for the powerful, strict enforcement for decent citizens

 

 

By Anthony Sheridan

 

 

David Aminu committed a crime by defrauding the Department of Social Welfare of €136,000 in welfare payments. The crime came to light in 2015 when Mr. Aminu wrote to the Dept. admitting his crime and offered to repay the stolen funds. An immediate Garda investigation was launched as a result of the confession. Mr. Aminu was charged, found guilty and sentenced to two years in prison.

Mr. Aminu’s defence pleaded that he had confessed, was repaying the stolen funds and was unlikely to reoffend. It was also pointed out to the judge that if Mr. Aminu were sent to jail he would face automatic deportation on his release with serious consequences for his wife and family.

None of this cut any mustard with the judge. Accepting that Aminu was a good man, that there would be long-term consequences for him and his family if a jail term was imposed and that the only aggravating factor was the actual crime the judge nevertheless took a stern and very narrow view.

Aminu must suffer a term of imprisonment to punish him and deter others.

Although this is an extremely harsh judgement it is, nevertheless, the law and in all functional democracies the law must be upheld and equally applied.

Unfortunately, Ireland is not a functional democracy and, as a consequence, justice like that meted out to Mr. Aminu is strictly reserved for ordinary citizens.

Those with power and influence are seldom subject to the law and can do pretty much as they please.

Here are just some recent examples of how those with power and influence get away with serious criminality.

On the same day that Mr. Aminu’s case was reported the Central Bank revealed that banks were admitting to thousands of additional cases of criminally defrauding those on tracker mortgages. The number of victims of this criminality has now reached over 30,000. People have lost their homes, their savings and some, it is thought, their lives. The Central Bank knew what was going on and did nothing; it’s still, effectively, protecting the criminal bankers. There have been no arrests, no charges, no justice.

Senior civil servants are also protected by the state when they commit crimes, even when they openly admit guilt. Senior staff at the Office of Corporate Enforcement (the grandiose title always makes me laugh) responsible for the collapse of the Sean Fitzpatrick trial perverted the course of justice by deliberately destroying evidence and coaching witnesses. In functional democracies such crimes are taken very seriously. In Ireland there were no charges, no trial, the guilty were protected by the state.

For 20 years now there has been an avalanche of criminality spewing from the ranks of our police force, we have yet to see a police officer on trial. Just recently, the most senior police officer in the state decided that no charges would be brought against any member of his force who were found to have falsified up to a million breath tests. The police chief said he was not prepared to spend huge amounts of taxpayers’ money on the scandal, that the money would be better spent on ‘protecting the community’ – from ordinary criminals like Mr. Aminu presumably.

Predictably, there was no objection to this banana republic abuse of law enforcement from politicians or, indeed, judges.

And then, of course, there’s the criminal politicians who, over the decades, have been defrauding the state through false expenses claims and robbing citizens money by stealing food and drink in the Dail bar and restaurant. Irish citizens won’t even be allowed to pass election judgement on these criminal politicians because, incredibly, data laws protect their identities.

Just think about that, we live in a country where public representatives can openly rob citizen’s money and property with complete impunity and we’re not even allowed to know their names never mind throw them in jail.

For so long as our country is misgoverned and exploited by a corrupt ruling elite we will rarely witness a judge say that a banker, police officer, government official or politician should be jailed

I suspect that when Mr. Aminu sat down to write his letter of confession he was not aware that in Ireland there is no law for the rich and powerful and strict enforcement for ordinary decent citizens.

I also suspect that if he knew the truth he would have burned that letter.

Copy to:

Senator Craughwell (Independent)

I’m copying this article to Senator Craughwell in the hope it might help to inform him of the reality of corruption in Ireland. From a number of twitter conversations it is clear that the senator has little idea of how the disease of corruption is destroying the lives of countless thousands of Irish citizens.

 

Garda corruption: the stripped down truth

 

 

By Anthony Sheridan

 

And so the usual avalanche of meaningless, naïve and uninformed analysis is upon us in response to the latest scandal – the sacking of yet another Garda Commissioner. Yes, she was sacked, there are many ways to sack a person without actually seeming to do so.

So for those who wish to bypass all the utter bullshit that will be spewed out over the coming weeks in response to this latest episode of police/political corruption – here’s the stripped down truth.

Our police force is an irredeemably corrupt organisation. It will never be reformed from the inside because to do so would mean having to retire, fire and prosecute hundreds if not thousands of police officers.

Real reform would also mean establishing a truly independent police force that would see the severing of the corrupt nexus between the force and the corrupt political system principally made up of Fianna Fail, Fine Gael and Labour.

A politically independent police force would mean corrupt politicians would find themselves under regular investigation for their criminal activities.

A politically independent police force would see, for the first time in our history, bankers, property developers, members of the legal profession, civil servants, so-called regulators, judges and even police officers regularly facing justice before the courts.

A politically independent police force will never become a reality until the corrupt political system is first removed from power.

All other talk/analysis surrounding this issue should be treated for what it is – utter bullshit.

Daniel McConnell: Happy to wear establishment blinkers

 

By Anthony Sheridan

 

Establishment/Irish Examiner journalist Daniel McConnell tweeted the following in response to the Irish Water debacle in Louth and Meath.

It is amazing how quiet the anti-water charge brigade have been the past few days with events in Louth and Meath.

What’s really amazing is the apparent ignorance of journalists like McConnell when it comes to understanding the real, underlying reason for the rebellion against water charges.

Journalists such as McConnell are apparently incapable of going beyond the economic collapse of 2008 when analysing the on-going, historic changes in the political landscape.

They appear to be completely unaware that the water charges campaign has little to do with water and everything to do with the dramatic and continuing collapse of the old corrupt political regime made up principally of Fianna Fail, Fine Gael and the now almost extinct Labour Party.

Since the 1992 election when Dick Spring reneged on his promise to rid Irish politics of the disease of corruption by joining forces with the criminal politician Haughey, the Irish people have been progressively losing faith in, not just the political system, but the State itself.

This undeniable and obvious rejection of the old regime is there to see in election results for all those not wearing establishment blinkers.

Those wearing blinkers such as McConnell appear happy to analyse the political scene under the simplistic and insulting (to citizens) idea that it’s all down to an ignorant people, angry with austerity, being led astray by evil Trotskyists.

Copy to:

Daniel McConnell