Archive for December, 2013

Celtic Sands Wallace 

Labelling ‘war’ as ‘crime’ and ‘revolutionaries’ as ‘terrorists’ depends completely upon who takes charge of the facts. Yes I am sure there are several UN definitions of what ‘War’ is and what is required before it can take place and all of this must comply with regulation XYZ from the Geneva Convention and so forth.

Fact is, if someone feels fear or the need to defend, there is no written document in the world that will stop them taking action.

Does a parent carefully peruse Bunreacht na hÉireann (Irish Constitution), as a burglar is making their way through their baby’s room, to establish whether they are a burglar or not before tackling them or dialling 999? Did the Poles check Adolf Hitler’s credentials as he entered Gdansk before they decided to defend themselves?

On the flip side, did the US and The UK/Britain/England (whatever term they use to avoid responsibility and detection) wait to get clearance from the UN before entering Iraq?

In all of the above, it’s an emphatic NO. Whether through fear or self-defence, human beings will take whatever action is necessary to defend themselves or to protect what they feel is theirs.

No amount of labelling or relabelling will change this so attempts at doing this are devious and even clichéd. But worst of all such attempts seem to be part of a malicious agenda.

The southern Irish media employ this agenda when it comes to ‘war’ in Ireland. They do so in line with the age old British tactic of demonising descent. Divide and conquer in another form.

According to British authorities and their Irish ‘Government’ lackeys, the IRA/British war, from 1969 to 1997, was not in fact a war. It was only a bit of ‘Troubles’. How quaint. Nothing to see here folks, it’s all quite normal. We’re not like those savages in the Middle East. We are civilised mature Europeans. None of that going on here.

Unlike Iraq of course, which they believe is a war while the rest of the planet knows it is not.

In fact, according to the southern Irish media, what happened in the 6 Counties from ’69 – ’97 was instigated by some trouble making Taigs (for God sake will they not keep their heads down and shut up, things are grand) against some boisterous Orangemen (sure don’t you know what they’re like, why don’t you just keep away from them).

Well things weren’t grand. And those boisterous Orangemen were only boisterous because they had full protection, no matter what they were involved in, from the British Government. The Irish Government was reluctant and too scared to say or do anything. The furore over the arms trial and the Dublin-Monaghan bombings put paid to that sort of talk. The Brits knew our leaders would always take the line of least resistance and would in fact lock up their own people when attacked from outside. They were right. The Irish Government did not let their bosses down.

Well the Orangemen are still boisterous but the tide has definitely turned. The desire and ability of the British state to cover up for Orange thuggery is waning and will wane further still. The reality of southern involvement in Northern affairs has finally dawned. So too has the southern Euro on the Orange Order who have availed of funding through the ‘Europe’s Peace Three programme’. So too have the Police Service of Northern Ireland (PSNI).

Of course these are points that go unnoticed in the southern Irish media. The southern Irish media who rightly report on expense scandals south of the border yet ignore the fact that a sectarian, sexist organisation and police force avails of Irish taxpayer funds north of the border.

Instead the southern Irish media present endless examples of how members of the IRA are ‘criminals’. Forgetting of course that the IRA’s very existence, as it is deemed ‘illegal’ by the state, had already made them ‘criminals’. If you oppose the state, what difference does it make how they label you? If they deem your organisation illegal, did you really think they would stop there? Why does that piece of irony go unnoticed?

Has it also gone unnoticed that Tone, Emmet, Collins and all that went before were also ‘criminals’? If you rise up against a group of unjust people (the State), does it not stand to reason that they will continue to behave unjustly? Is this not the reason you stood up against them to begin with? The labelling and relabelling is therefore predictable and irrelevant.

Then we come to the most tiring of all arguments – the ‘old’ IRA (good) and the ‘new’ IRA (bad). Yet nobody can demonstrate clear differences between the ‘old’ and ‘new’ IRA. Why? Because there are no differences.

Terrorist Army

Of course they will tell you that the ‘new’ IRA are involved in drugs, racketeering, robbing banks etc. Even when there is insufficient evidence to support all these claims. The Northern Bank robbery being one such example.

Even when there has clearly been involvement of British agents in such acts. The Little-johns being one such example.

The IRA/British war is thankfully long over. However, the southern Irish media are still waging theirs. Such was the case in Darragh MacIntyre’s ‘The Disappeared’, aired on RTE in late 2013.

A title, also part of this labelling campaign, which attempts to place the IRA alongside the right-wing Thatcherite dictator, Pinochet among many other such delightful characters.

MacIntyre’s piece shamelessly exploited the emotion of hurt families who tragically lost loved ones. Tragically lost during a war, which RTE relabelled ‘The Troubles’.

Of course their colleagues in the BBC took a slightly different approach when Panorama looked into the British Government death squads in Ireland in the early 1970s. Death squads that randomly killed several civilian Catholics. I chose to label them as random as the vast majority of those they gunned down were not members of the IRA.

One of these death squads was called the MRF. Panorama endorsed the work of the death squads by allowing the ‘brave’ members of these death squads to sum up the investigation. One member of the death squad said “I am proud of what I did and I would do it all again in the morning”. Another ‘brave’ candidate dismissed his killing as necessary in a “dirty war”. Panorama did not challenge this and were happy to leave their investigation on this chirpy note.

These ‘brave’ men said they were apparently proud of what they did yet, only three of the eleven they contacted agreed to appear on TV. These three ‘brave’ souls all disguised their faces and used voiceovers to disguise their voices. One of the remaining eight ran for cover when the BBC went to visit him at his home in Australia.

Undoubtedly the families gunned down by these ‘brave’ British death squads are also hurt and have also experienced great pain – physical and psychological. Yet Panorama did not exploit this in the same way or to the same extent as MacIntyre did. Indeed it was the exploitation of their pain upon which MacIntyre’s message rested.

Without exploiting their pain MacIntyre would have to relabel this ‘crime’ as ‘war’ and then, of course, he too would have to investigate the British death squads.

As MacIntyre’s piece said, the punishment given out to informants “…is the same the world over…”. So what then makes the IRA executions so different?

Fact is, IRA executions are sadly like so many others  the world over – no better and no worse. In this light executions all around the globe must be condemned in the same way and with the same intensity. Sadly they are not. Sadly Catholics who defend their neighbourhoods are ‘terrorists’ and British and American soldiers who kill and maim thousands all around the world are ‘heroes’.

The deliberate killing of any living being, without just cause, is always completely wrong. Likewise what just cause do informants have to pass on information that will also lead to killing? Their actions put the lives of their own community in danger and in fact they do their work in the full knowledge that their community will be harmed by death.

Of course RTE and the southern Irish media are aware of this. They are deliberately altering the narrative and succumbing to the British policy of normalisation. They are playing their own game which, unfortunately for them, is outdated and falling on deaf ears. Fortunately access to factual information is available for anyone who chooses to go looking.

Listening, watching and accepting the word of the mainstream is no longer an excuse, laziness is no longer an excuse, not having the time or the money is not an excuse. The facts are freely available whenever you chose to read up. The only issue is, whose facts will you read and what labels will you chose?

Advertisements

Near FM’s suspension of ‘International Politics’ and the Government funded radio documentary ‘Understanding Muslims in Ireland’ remains in place. Near FM say it will remain so until at least mid January 2014. No firm date has been given despite my hearing and making several requests.

Thus far I have still not received a valid reason as to why the suspension began or remains in place. Near FM state (on their Facebook page but not to me) that I have been suspended for “serious infringement of Near fm policies and procedures”.

Talking to the national press and through social media about volunteers is also a “serious infringement of Near fm policies and procedures” yet the management team remain in place.

It must be remembered that Near FM did not suspend the show until 23 days after the 6 November show. During this time the matter had been resolved internally. It is unfortunate that Near FM, who had done great work in the community for the past 18 years, suddenly decided to be used by Israel to censor human rights issues.

Thank you once again for ensuring the voice of Palestine is heard and Israeli Mc Carthyism challenged

International Politics

The reluctance of the Israeli embassy to accept any criticism or questioning of their state is shocking and undemocratic. It is outrageous that Israel is using heavy handed tactics to attempt to silence and censor criticism, particularly against a community volunteer. A community volunteer whose mission it is to give a voice to the unheard, promote human rights and give access to different perspectives. Israel is attempting to silence such a voice. This is undemocratic, intolerable and ultimately Israel fails.

While I enjoy a professional relationship with the Israeli embassy, who are forever welcome on my show, if I upset them on the topic of Gaza and the treatment of the Palestinian people there and in the West Bank, I consider my work as a human rights activist to be done. What I have seen happening first hand in the West Bank is appalling, human rights abuse and we must speak about it and speak about it until it is resolved and justice for the Palestinian people achieved.

The Israeli embassy, and contacts I have made through the embassy, have been on my show on a number of occasions. The Israeli embassy have even written to me, on more than one occasion, to congratulate me on the fairness and quality of other shows. I will not take extreme measures, nor indeed any imbalanced measures, to prove this further. Particularly when doing so would mean the unheard would not get a voice and that such demands would be unending. It would merely lead to a continuation and promotion of such demands. You would in effect become their slave, as so much of the Irish media has already become.

I very much respect the BAI and understand they have a job to do in ensuring fair reporting. I have been fair at all times over all my shows in ensuring, as best I can, that everybody gets a voice. The number of Israeli voices on the show who have all been given an open forum, since its inception in January 2013, bears testament to this.

My criticism of the BAI is that their scope is too narrow – to simplify they require balance in one show or two shows that occur within two months of each other. When reporting on something like Gaza it is laughable to demand ‘balance’ in one or two shows. The situation in Gaza is already incredibly imbalanced. It is completely tipped in favour of Israel and its allies. The BAI position of balance in relation to Gaza and other similar places is a nonsense. The demand for balance in Gaza is imbalance in itself. How can you demand the same standards for balance those under the boot of oppression as you do for those wearing this boot?

When we covered Kristallnacht on Near did we interview surviving Nazis? When we interviewed Amnesty International about Aung San Suu Kyi’s visit to Ireland did we interview a member of the Burmese Junta? Of course not, that would be ridiculous. Likewise with Gaza.

The severity of the situation in Gaza must be taken on board. It must also be taken on board that the unchallenged opinions on 26 March were those of experts that were on the ground. Experts of academic, national and international standing.

Azizi, who was a guest on the 6 November show, is a political comic character and everything he says must be seen in that light. He performed a comic piece, which is clear from the laughter in studio. Unfortunately a comic piece about a very serious topic but a comic piece nonetheless.

I was only informed of the content of the BAI announcement, read out before the 6 November show, 10 minutes before going on air. The interaction between myself and my guest Azizi was therefore spontaneous and unplanned.

Had sufficient time been given to making me aware of the content of this BAI statement and making me aware of how the show should therefore be conducted, then the content of 6 November show would have been utterly different. The response from myself and my guest would have been utterly different.

That being said the show took place and what happened happened and cannot be taken back. Regrets are unproductive. What is productive, is that you learn from your experience and be better next time round. I have learned, from 26 March show, that programming needs to be balanced and objective, regardless of what is happening on the ground of the subject matter nor anywhere else in the outside world.

What this really means is that the real flaw on 6 November show was that it gave the Israeli embassy a mandate to silence democratic debate and discussion. The style and delivery of the 6 November will therefore not be repeated.

The response on 6 November was as a result of an outpouring of emotion on an extremely emotional topic – Palestine and Israel. Is there really a more emotional political topic internationally? I do not believe so.

My subsequent suspension and banishment from Near, by Near, is not justified nor was Near’s distancing itself from me in the national media. I felt abandoned and alone by this treatment, which is unjustified in any circumstances and particularly when my record had been exemplary one. So what is needed now is for Near to lift this suspension and banishment immediately and allow the show back on the air to ensure human rights violators continue to be challenged.

6 November was an emotional time for all concerned, guests, presenter and Near FM alike. It is therefore not fair to assess people with a rational set of criteria. What is rational is to ensure it is not repeated. Repetition hands victory to the oppressor, balance exposes them. Chose balance.