Saturday, July 30, 2016
The French sociologist, Gustave de Beaumont, might have been thinking of this yet un-invented word 'Domicide' when he visited Ireland in 1835 and wrote: "I have seen the Indian in his forests, and the Negro in his chains, and thought, as I contemplated their pitiable condition, that I saw the very extreme of human wretchedness; but I did not then know the condition of unfortunate Ireland...In all countries, more or less, paupers may be discovered; but an entire nation of paupers is what was never seen until it was shown in Ireland."
“Democide” is a very recently coined term to describe the famines (There was more than one in the country of Ireland in the1800’s) It puts the famine in the context of a deliberate policy of negligence, starvation and mass murder by just one word. Modern historians love it. One way or the other, ‘democide’ had murdered a million people in Ireland legally by starvation with several million more leaving in coffin ships. The literal translation of the word 'democide' means: "The murder of any person or people by their government, including genocide, politicide and mass murder."
The reality is that there never was a famine in Ireland in any real sense for there was no shortage of food; it was mass starvation because there was plenty of food and too much want; want from those who were the wretched poor and the beaten down under the heel of the British Penal Laws of tyranny that protected the landlords, and because of it, made slavery seem like a holiday camp.
Another observer, James Mahony, wrote about the famine in 1847 this: We next reached Skibbereen…. And there I saw the dying, the living, and the dead, lying indiscriminately upon the same floor, without anything between them in the cold earth, save a few miserable rags upon them. To point to any particular house as a proof of this would be a waste of time, as they were in all the same state; and, not a single house out of any 500 could boast of being free from death and fever, though several could be pointed out with the dead lying close to the living for the space of three or four, even six days, without any effort being made to remove the bodies to a last resting place.”
By Barry Clifford
Sixty-eight percent of Russian citizens believe their motherland is a great power that plays a significant role in international politics, according to the latest opinion poll.
The research, conducted by the independent Levada Center, showed that this is the record historical high. The figure is the same as in November 2014. In 1999 the situation was almost the reverse – the share of Russians who saw their country as a great world power was 31 percent, versus 65 percent who said it was not.
Levada Center specialist Karina Pipiya said in comments with Izvestia daily that the share of Russians who were proud for their country remained at a record high despite many negative factors, such as the complicated economic situation, including inflation and other negative consequences for ordinary people.
The percentage of Russians who think that their country plays a significant role in international politics was also at 68 percent. Twenty-four percent said that Russia’s role in the international arena was not very important and 5 percent consider it secondary. At the same time, 63 percent of respondents said that the country is being threatened by numerous foreign enemies and only 35 percent said that Russia had started to put more fear into its enemies over the past few years.
At the same time, the share of Russians who said they supported further expansion of contacts and cooperation with Western nations was still twice as many than those who oppose it – 60 percent v. 29 percent. However, in 2000 the number of Russians who thought that deeper cooperation with the West was a positive thing was at 76 percent.
Polls conducted in Russia earlier this year have shown record-high support for the authorities in general and for President Vladimir Putin in particular.
The latest poll, released by the Public Opinion Foundation on February 13, has shown that 85 percent of Russian citizens trust President Vladimir Putin and 74 percent say they would vote for him if presidential elections were held next weekend.
Putin’s approval rating is up from 75 percent in February 2014. The share of those who said they were ready to vote for Putin was also up from 45 percent one year ago
By Vladimir Astapkovich
A doctor in Ireland, found guilty of professional misconduct has said his treatment during a public inquiry “will be fully paid for at an extremely bloody price for the people involved worldwide,” the High Court heard.
Sudanese doctor Omar Hassan was found guilty of misconduct and poor professional performance on multiple grounds in January by an Irish Medical Council (IMC) fitness to practise committee.
It followed a 10-day inquiry which arose from complaints about care of patients and his interactions with colleagues, at Midland Regional Hospital Portlaoise, Mayo General, and Galway University Hospital between 2012 to 2014.
Among the complaints were that he misidentified an X-ray image of an ankle for an elbow during a teaching session at Galway.
He protested his innocence and brought a High Court appeal against the misconduct findings, representing himself. He has been suspended from practise.
High Court president Mr Justice Peter Kelly, after reading out extracts of certain emails and documents authored by Dr Hassan, said he was very disturbed by what the doctor had written and glad to know the IMC had informed gardaí of these threats.
When Dr Hassan protested his signature was not on an email the judge had referred to, the judge told him emails did not have signatures. He advised him “the less you say at this stage the better”.
In one of those documents, a written submission to the IMC protesting against the misconduct finding, Dr Hassan said he was “extremely and unfairly negatively portrayed by some media invited by the IMC to do so”.
He continued: “What have taken place will be fully paid for at an extremely bloody price for the people involved worldwide as far it can gets, as it seems that following regulations and putting forward reasonable explanations did not work and do not work, so me and my family will take things into our own hands in the future, as our local culture of fair revenge may extend down generations”.
Mr Justice Kelly fixed October 18 for the hearing of his case and after being told the IMC had had difficulty serving papers on him, ordered they be served in court.
When a box containing the papers was put beside him, Dr Hassan said he would not accept them as he was going to get a solicitor and they should be held by the IMC until then.
He left court without taking the box.
By Ann O" Loughlan
Friday, July 29, 2016
A US air force Hercules transporter at Shannon Airport. Picture: Alan Place/Press 22
The idea that Ireland is still a neutral state is false, says one expert, pointing to the US military landings in Shannon
WITH military patrols of football fans in France, soldiers guarding wire fences against refugees in southern Europe, and military bases beefing up in Eastern Europe, the response to recent crises increasingly involves armies.
But what does it mean for Ireland? Amid all our expressions of solidarity with the countries affected, will we be asked for a more practical response? If so, will our neutrality survive?
Roger Cole, chairman of the Peace and Neutrality Alliance, answers that one with another question: What neutrality?
“Ireland is not a neutral state, which is rather obvious if you have over 2.5m, US troops having landed in Shannon Airport since 2002,” he says.
Successive governments have insisted the landings are not part of military operations but rather, as Foreign Affairs Minister Charlie Flanagan put it last week, “crew rest, aircraft refuelling, airport familiarisation, passenger transfer, and aircraft maintenance”.
Or so the US embassy informs him. Either way, Mr Cole believes facilitating the landings facilitates the US’s military adventures. Hence he questions the very notion that we remain a neutral state.
But it’s not just the airport activity that casts doubts, he says. It’s the fact that Irish troops are signed up to a British-led EU battle group that has been conducting exercises on British soil.
There have been recurring exchanges in the Dáil over the involvement of Irish troops in such battle groups, with ministers insisting the term itself is a military one referring only to the size of the force and not the nature of its mission.
“The participation in battle groups has no effect on our traditional policy of military neutrality,” Defence Minister Paul Kehoe said last month, insisting it was all about transport, logistics, and peacekeeping.
Mr Cole doesn’t accept that explanation, particularly given tightening ties between the EU and Nato, which has declared the EU a strategic military partner.
The lines are further blurred because 22 of Nato’s 28 member states are also in the EU and have jointly agreed to an increase in military spending.
“The inevitable consequences of which will be a massive cut in the amount of money they can spend on health and social welfare,” says Mr Cole.
He says that will cause further social and political unrest throughout Europe while boosting the US arms industry which profits from Nato-backed wars that produce millions of refugees that land on the doorstep of Europe. “Does any of this make sense?” he asks.
He finds other aspects of the West’s response to current crises more nonsensical — including the beefing up of Nato’s presence on Russia’s borders with more troops being deployed to Latvia, Lithuania, Estonia, and Poland. Russia, in reply, is increasing troops on its western borders.
The move was signalled a year ago when General Joe Dunford, chairman of the joint chiefs of staff of the US military, told the Senate that Russia was the number one threat to the US. China, North Korea, and IS came next, in that order.
While Russia’s annexation of Crimea is a cause for concern, Mr Cole says there is no evidence of Russia planning military moves further afield into Europe. He claims Nato’s actions are diversionary and serve only the US arms industry.
“It’s very difficult for these arms companies to make really big money if their only enemy is IS,” he says.
“When Dunford put Russia to the top of the threat list, he’s saying to the people of Nice, to the people of Paris, to the people of Brussels, that the greatest threat to you is not IS but Russia.”
He quotes Richard A Clarke, the former White House security adviser who left the Bush administration and wrote that going to war with Iraq as a consequence of 9/11 was like going to war with Mexico after the attack on Pearl Harbour.
“This is happening all over again. In response to IS, Nato — including Ireland because Ireland facilitates Nato troops and is part of the EU, Nato’s strategic military partner — wants to go to war with Russia.
“I think Irish people would be wrong not to be seriously frightened by this. We need to be talking about restoring our neutrality.”
Sunday, July 24, 2016
Further 45 athletes fail dope tests after Beijing and London Olympics samples retested
Former Soviet Union president Mikhail Gorbachev: concerned that Russian athletes who are not culpable would be punished as well as those who are guilty. Photograph: Vasily Maximov/AFP/Getty Images
Mikhail Gorbachev has call on the International Olympic Committee to allow Russian athletes to compete at Rio 2016.
The former Soviet Union president has written to the IOC to plead the case of those who have not failed drugs tests and yet face possible bans from taking part in the Games.
The IAAF, world athletics’ governing body, banned the Russian track and field team last month and on Thursday that decision was rubber-stamped by the Court of Arbitration for Sport .
The Swiss-based body rejected an appeal against that ban by the Russian Olympic Committee and 68 individual athletes.
It followed a momentous week for world sport that started with the publication of a World Anti-Doping Agency- commissioned report into a state-directed doping conspiracy that went much further than athletics.
Gorbachev (85) wrote in the letter, posted on the Mikhail Gorbachev Foundation website: “Ladies and gentlemen, I am writing to ask you to take into account my position in ruling on admitting Russian athletes, as well as Paralympians, to participate in the Olympic Games in Rio De Janeiro.
“I support the fight against the use of banned substances in sports. It is an evil that must be eradicated. The athletes whose use of doping has been proven must be banished from competition.
“I am deeply troubled by the fact that Russian citizens are among the officials and athletes who used doping and fraud for ‘victory at any price’. Serious conclusions should be drawn from this. It is necessary to conduct a thorough investigation, punish those responsible and take steps to prevent anything similar in the future. I am sure that this will be done.
“However, I am concerned and deeply saddened by the possibility that, in the event Russian athletes are banned from participating in the Olympics, persons not culpable would be punished as well as those who are guilty.
“I regard the principle of collective punishment as unacceptable. I am convinced that it is contrary to the culture of the Olympic movement, based on universal values, humanism and the principles of law.”
Forty-five athletes have failed dope tests after their samples from the 2008 Beijing Olympics and 2012 London Games were reanalysed, the International Olympic Committee (IOC) said yesterday.
The results are from a second wave of retests and take the total number of athletes who tested positive for prohibited substances to 98, the IOC added in a statement.
Of the 45 failed tests announced on Friday, 30 were from Beijing, including 23 medallists, and 15 were from London. The IOC did not say if any of the London athletes had won medals.
“The new reanalysis once again shows the commitment of the IOC in the fight against doping,” IOC President Thomas Bach said.
The IOC stores samples for a decade in order to retest using newer methods or to look for new drugs. The results are part of its retesting of samples from past games to keep cheats from competing in Rio in August.
The athletes are being informed, after which proceedings against them can begin. All athletes found to have infringed anti-doping rules will be banned from competing at the Rio Olympics.
The failed tests will raise further speculation about the extent of doping at the Games, just weeks before the Rio Olympics starts.
Doping scandals have plagued the build-up to the world’s biggest multisports event, with Russia potentially facing a complete Games ban following the publication of the McLaren report on Monday.