RTE news bias – Destroying credibility

 

By Anthony Sheridan

When RTE was a national broadcaster the station provided a reasonably balanced news output. In recent years, however, since the station began to serve government rather than citizens, news manipulation has taken precedence over factual reporting and professional analysis.

On yesterday’s Marian Finucane Show, for example, listeners were subjected to an intelligence insulting, extremely short, cartoon-like discussion on the disturbing events that occurred on North Frederick street during the week involving Gardai and housing protesters

Panelist: In fairness, Josephine Feehily and Drew Harris came out and said, no, that shouldn’t have happened.

Finucane: And yet and yet and yet..its tough on gardai. I thought it looked… I mean I was astonished at how it had come about.

Panelist: Look, there is an issue around social media , there’s no doubt about that, but look, we expect to see people in balaclava’s in the Basque country or dealing with the Real IRA or whatever. We don’t expect to see Gardai in balaclava’s policing genuine protests about housing.

I think the public were very, very upset about it and I’m thinking of something Theo Dorgan said once ‘I thought I was born into a republic’ and you see these private balaclava-clad guards arriving in a van.

But protesting has changed, I think the Gardai are very measured in the way they handle the physical and verbal abuse they get.

Then a panelist changed the subject by referring to a protest Finucane had participated in 48 years ago. Finucane, delighted at the diversion, went on to reminisce about another protest she attended in the last century – and that was it.

That was the sum total analysis of the disgraceful and disturbing events in North Frederick street where the Gardai behaved more like second-rate nightclub bouncers than a professional police force.

Clearly under pressure by her producer to keep discussion of this embarrassing Government/Gardai scandal to an absolute minimum Finucane, in a fluster, did as she was instructed.

Mmm…well…ah…I mean..we’ll move on very quickly. I think that deserves more conversation but I’m just watching my clock here and….

Watching her clock??? The discussion was taking place just half way through a two hour long show and this major public interest story gets a grand total of 1 minute 56 seconds coverage.

This is not news analysis, it’s blatant news manipulation. No doubt, Fine Gael and the Gardai are delighted with RTEs collaboration in this type of warped current affairs analysis.

But RTE cannot escape the fact that, day by day, its reputation as a professional and balanced current affairs outlet is reaching the same zero credibility rating as that of our police force.

Copy to:

Marian Finucane Show

RTE News and Current Affairs

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.

 

 

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.

State failing in its duty to enforce law

 

By Anthony Sheridan

The following very serious allegations of criminal activity emerged during the recent Sean Fitzpatrick trial.

The deliberate destruction of evidence.

The coaching of witnesses.

The altering of witness statements.

The former solicitor for the Office of Corporate Enforcement (ODCE), Mr. Kevin O’Connell has admitted that he destroyed evidence.

It has been accepted by the current Director of ODCE, Mr. Ian Drennan, that senior members of his staff participated in the coaching of witnesses and the altering of witness statements. It has also been acknowledged that the former Director of ODCE, Mr. Paul Appleby was involved in some of these activities.

The following three facts also emerged during the Sean Fitzpatrick trial.

One: That Garda Chief Superintendent Patrick Lordan, head of the Garda National Economic Crime Bureau was aware that solicitor with the Office of the Director of Corporate Enforcement (ODCE), Mr. Kevin O’Connell, had admitted in sworn evidence that he had destroyed documents relevant to the criminal proceedings against Sean Fitzpatrick.

Two: That Supt. Lordan, after discussing the alleged crime with a colleague deemed it was not necessary to launch a Garda investigation.

Three: That the whole issue (the destruction of evidence) was outlined to Judge Mary Ellen Ring and she did not indicate that any issue should be raised with the Garda.

To my knowledge Garda officers do not have the power to decide whether or not an alleged crime should or should not be investigated. To my knowledge such decisions come strictly within the remit of the Director of Public Prosecutions.

It is deeply disturbing that a judge, on being informed that evidence in a criminal trial had been deliberately destroyed, would not instruct the Gardai to investigate the matter.

It seems clear to me that the law enforcement agencies of the State are failing to act in an appropriate manner in response to the alleged crimes as outlined above.

With that in mind I have submitted the following complaints:

One:

Formal complaint submitted to Cobh Gardai on 10 July concerning the alleged crimes of ODCE solicitor Mr. Kevin O’Connell and other staff members of the ODCE.

Formal Complaint

I wish to formally report the following allegations of criminal activity that emerged during the course of the trial of the former chairman of Anglo Irish Bank, Sean Fitzpatrick.

One: That the former solicitor for the Office of the Director of Corporate Enforcement (ODCE), Mr. Kevin O’Connell, contrary to law, deliberately destroyed documents that were relevant evidence in a criminal trial.

Two: That, contrary to law, witnesses were coached and statements altered by Mr. O’Connell and other senior civilian ODCE staff which resulted in the contamination of evidence.

Both of the above allegations have been accepted as true by Mr. O’Connell and the Director of ODCE, Ian Drennan.

(See attached ODCE press release).

Signed……………………………………………………………………

Anthony Sheridan

Two:

Formal complaint submitted to the Garda Siochana Ombudsman Commission (GSOC) against Chief Supt. Lordan concerning his decision not to investigate the destruction of evidence in a criminal trial.

11 July 2017

To Whom It May Concern:

Please find complaint against Garda Chief Superintendent Patrick Lordan, head of the Garda National Economic Crime Bureau, for failing to properly carry out his duty on coming into possession of significant evidence of criminal activity.

This complaint is based on a report in the Irish Times dated 23 May 2017 reporting on the trial of former chairman of Anglo Irish Bank, Mr. Sean Fitzpatrick (The full report is included below).

Specifically, the complaint is based on the following facts arising in the report.

One:  That Chief superintendent Lordan was aware that solicitor with the Office of the Director of Corporate Enforcement (ODCE), Mr. Kevin O’Connell, had admitted in sworn evidence that he had destroyed documents relevant to the criminal proceedings against Sean Fitzpatrick.

Two:  That Chief Superintendent Lordan wrongly took it upon himself not to investigate the illegal destruction of said documents.

Signed……………………………..

Anthony Sheridan

Note:  It was my intention to make a formal complaint against Judge Mary Ellen Ring for her failure to act on being informed about the destruction of evidence.  Unfortunately, it seems there is no authority in Ireland to which citizens can make complaints regarding the actions of judges.

Copy to:

ODCE

Dept. of jobs, Enterprise and Innovation

Media

 

 

Elaine Byrne/Fergus Finlay: Afraid to condemn their own?

 

 

By Anthony Sheridan

 

Corruption expert Elaine Byrne is correct to criticise members of the Public Accounts Committee (PAC) for their sometimes over-robust comments regarding the Garda Commissioner’s evidence in front of the Committee (Sunday Business Post, 25 June).

But I suspect Ms. Byrne, in common with all establishment journalists, is using the relatively minor issue of comment-happy politicians to avoid facing the brutal reality of police corruption. For nearly twenty years now, beginning with the Donegal scandal, we have witnessed an avalanche of police corruption.

The single most obvious observation regarding this constant stream of corruption within the force is the complete lack of accountability.

No charges, no court cases, no jail time. This is the norm in a dysfunctional democracy like Ireland.

The current Garda Commissioner, Norin O’Sullivan, is continuing this dishonourable and disgraceful tradition of circling the wagons to, effectively, protect the corrupt at the expense of democracy and the interests of the Irish people.

In a functional democracy Ms. O’Sullivan would have been sacked long ago and, in all likelihood, find herself under criminal investigation.

And as I mentioned above, Ms. Byrne is not the only journalist/opinion maker with a disturbing tendency to focus on the irrelevant in order to avoid confronting the disease of corruption that’s rampant among the upper echelons of Irish society.

Fergus Finlay, an uncompromising, loyal supporter of the establishment, has worn his fingers to the bone battering out article after article on his keyboard in response to the never-ending stream of corruption scandals that have caused so much suffering and damage to Ireland and its people.

Yet, much like Ms. Byrne, Finlay never, ever actually identifies the source of corruption in Ireland – the mainstream political system principally made up of Fianna Fail, Fine Gael and Labour.

Indeed, in a recent article Mr. Finlay went out of his way to clearly state that the political system is not corrupt. After nearly wringing his hands off in anguish over the State’s continuing failure to deal with poverty, hunger and abuse of children Finlay absolves the politicians and places the blame firmly with the royal ‘we’.

These things have happened because of the choices we’ve made.

And in case ‘we’ haven’t got the message Finlay hammers it home by dismissing recent political scandals such as that involving Marie Whelan, Mary Mitchell O’Connor and Shane Ross as pathetic parochial pettifogging.

Apparently, there is no connection between political shenanigans (corruption in functional democracies) and the suffering and injustices inflicted on the vulnerable, according to Finlay.

In 20 years’ time, none of those pathetic parochial pettifogging political issues will matter a damn. They don’t matter a damn now.

He goes on:

The Government made a hames of it and the opposition and media are making a meal of it. But that’s all it is — no corruption, no crime, no illegality. Just stupid political mismanagement, made worse as usual because no-one can admit a mistake.

No corruption, no crime, no illegality – just some (innocent) political mismanagement.

This seems to be the rallying cry for establishment journalists like Byrne and Finlay when it comes to defending our corrupt political system.

They simply refuse to acknowledge that (Political) corruption is rampant, (white-collar) crime is rampant and illegality is rampant throughout the upper echelons’ of Irish society.

It is not, I suspect, that they are unaware of the brutal truth but rather that they don’t have the courage to condemn their own.

Copy to:

Elaine Byrne

Note:

It has always been my practice to send a copy of articles I write to those I criticise. Recently however, Mr. Finlay finally lost patience with reading my analysis of his views and angrily blocked me from his twitter account. He had no need to block me; a simple request to desist from sending my articles would have been sufficient.

Here’s the article that so angered Mr. Finlay.

 

 

Gardai under pressure from PAC

 

By Anthony Sheridan

I’ve just been listening to the special sitting of the Public Accounts Committee (Room 3) investigating the scandal surrounding financial irregularities at the Garda College in Templemore.

The atmosphere is more tense and more dramatic than any TV thriller.

Auditors and senior civil servants responsible for making sure the Gardai obey the law, just like the rest of us. are hanging each other out to dry in an increasingly desperate attempt to distance themselves from the overwhelming stench of corruption emanating from our by now hopelessly compromised police force.

I feel strange saying this but the chair of the committee, Fianna Fail TD, Sean Fleming, is doing a great job in getting answers from these very uncomfortable civil servants.

The Committee is on break at the moment but resumes action at 5 pm.

Well worth a listen for the drama and to witness just how rotten our police force and administrative system really is.

 

 

 

An Garda Siochana is a corrupt police force

 

By Anthony Sheridan

I’m in the process of writing an article in response to the latest incidence of Garda corruption.  In the meantime, here’s an article I wrote three years ago in response to Garda corruption.

 

Garda/political corruption – Nothing will change

The Irish Examiner editorial describes the latest revelations in the Ian Bailey case as mind boggling.

That Gardai may have considered paying someone in order to frame a man for murder is described as not only corrupt but almost unbelievable.

The Irish Times speaks of an appalling vista and grave national concern that Gardai may have acted illegally in securing convictions in the courts.

And yet this stuff is old hat, it’s all happened before. Garda corruption in Donegal involved a whole range of crimes including framing a man for murder.

Nobody was charged, some were allowed to retire on full pension and, to my knowledge, just three gardai were fired.

In other words, major criminal acts carried out by police officers and confirmed by an Oireachtas inquiry were effectively ignored.

The political response was exactly the same as the response we are now witnessing in respect of the latest scandals.

Denial, useless internal reports, full support for the Gardai and minister, promises to legislate to prevent it happening again blah, blah, blah….

The then Justice Minister McDowell and his civil servants who drafted and introduced the ‘this must never be allowed to happen again’ legislation must have been complete morons or they deliberately drafted the law to ensure the minister and Gardai remained unaccountable.

I suspect most intelligent citizens would opt for the latter explanation.

So what’s happening now?

Well, editorials are expressing shock and outrage, politicians are expressing their unqualified confidence in the minister and the Garda and everybody is supremely confident that the interim Garda Commissioner, Noirin O’Sullivan, will act decisively to reform the force.

So let’s have a look at what she has done to restored confidence and clean out the corruption that’s obviously rampant within the force.

She has decided to leave in place the punishment meted out to completely vindicated Garda Maurice McCabe by her predecessor.

And she’s conducting a survey to ask rank and file members how the organisation can be improved.

Pathetic and all a bit sad so to finish I’ll express the brutal truth.

Corruption is rampant within the Gardai because our corrupt political/administrative system, by doing nothing, allowed that corruption to flourish.

That rotten system will do nothing in this instance. Things will remain exactly as they are, exactly as they were allowed to remain following the Morris Tribunal.