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Friday, November 27, 2015

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Paris: Now The Backlash…..

The Broken Elbow raises the spectre of persecution which is haunting Muslims trying to go about their daily lives.         

Thursday, November 26, 2015

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Bloody Sunday Killer Arrested

Sandy Boyer (SB) and Martin Galvin (MG) interview Kate Nash (KN) via telephone from Doire about the recent arrest of a British Army soldier accused of multiple murders committed on 30 January 1972 in Doire – the day known worldwide as Bloody Sunday. Thanks as always are owed to TPQ transcriber. The transcriber's commitment to enhancing awareness ensures these transcripts on a regular basis.   
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Stormont Fresh Start: Sticking Plaster Approach To a Festering Wound Will Not Suffice

The DUP-Sinn Fein agreement promises a 'Fresh Start', but this latest tinkering with the Good Friday Agreement is largely a smoke-and-mirrors exercise, writes Michael HC McDowell in Washington DC for the Belfast Telegraph. Michael HC McDowell is an international affairs consultant and former Northern Ireland journalist who has worked in Cambridge, Massachusetts, New York City, Toronto and Washington DC, where he has lived since 1988.
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ISIS: The Saudi Connection

The Broken Elbow hosts an analysis of the Saudi power behind the ISIS throne.

Fascinating piece on Consortium News detailing Saudia and Gulf State financing of ISIS. Author Daniel Lazare points out that the ultimate beneficiary of ISIS’s growth in Syria are those, like the U.S. and Turkey who wish to see the fall of the Assad regime in Syria.

Wednesday, November 25, 2015

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Terror From Within

Frank O'Brien shares his thoughts on the Paris attack. Frank O'Brien is Long time resident of Troy, NY, USA, former head of Clan na Gael in same city, and area.
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Was CNN and Sky News Coverage Of The Bataclan Attack Irresponsible?

Christopher Walsh is critical of how some media outlets dealt with the breaking news from the Paris attacks. Christopher Walsh is a frequent commentator on legal and ethical issues.
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Party Of Liars And Miscreants

Sean Mallory on Sinn Fein dissembling over austerity. Sean Mallory is a Tyrone republican.
  • "Lies, damned lies, and statistics" - A phrase sometimes colloquially used to doubt statistics used to prove an opponent's point.

Tuesday, November 24, 2015

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RUC/MI5 ‘Culpable’ In Scappaticci Killings, Said North’s Police Ombudsman

In advance of tonight's BBC Spotlight shining on the nefarious role of Freddie Scappaticci, a senior British agent within the Provisional IRA, Ed Moloney looks at how the current PSNI investigation got under way. Ed Moloney blogs @ The Broken Elbow.

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Robbing Events Of Their Meaning

Liam Ó Ruairc reviews a recent book on the Easter Rising.

James Heartfield and Kevin Rooney have produced an interesting, valuable and timely short book on the 1916 Easter Rising and how it has been commemorated since 1966. The authors are clearly sympathetic to the republican insurgents of 1916. They provide a fine account of the Easter Rising and its context, emphasizing that it was a historical event in global terms. They locate the 1916 Rising in the context of inter-imperialist rivalries and labour unrest,and how it resonated from India to Burma, from Lenin to Ho Chi Minh.

This is a welcome progressive alternative and counter-narrative to the standard official accounts of the period. But the book is especially valuable for its discussion of the issue of historical memory and its connection to the peace process. Heartfield and Rooney provide an excellent critique of the so-called 'Decade of Centenaries', clearly influenced by some of the most creative insights of Frank Furedi (1992) Mythical Past, Elusive Future: An Essay in the Sociology of History.

The authors first examine how the Rising has previously been commemorated, and how central taking ownership and control of anniversary commemorations was. Eamon de Valera 'owned' the 50th anniversary of the Rising in 1966, celebrating it as the foundation of the 26-Counties state. Liam Cosgrave tried to ban the 60th anniversary in 1976, only succeeding in losing control of it. In 1991 Charles Haughey clamped down on the 75th anniversary, choking it. But for the 100th anniversary in 2016 "the Decade of Centenaries has given up on trying to control the event, and chosen instead to decentre it and dilute it, by putting it alongside other events, of supposedly equal significance." (150)

The 1916 Easter Rising is being 'decentred' and 'diluted' by being put on par with the signing of the Ulster Covenant in 1912, the 1913 Dublin lock-out and the battle of the Somme; all the dead should be equally remembered and respected, be they insurgents in Dublin or Irishmen in the British Army - a kind of 'lowest common denominator' type of history. This has the effect of downgrading the Easter Rising and its significance.

Heartfield and Rooney point that there are three major flaws with this decentering and dilution of history. Firstly:

The plurality of the Decade of Centenaries, by seeking to build cohesion through recognition of mutual suffering, is robbing events of their meaning. Seen only as suffering bodies, the mean and women who took part in these conflicts are being denied the motives that made them take up arms.(149)

Secondly, not only are events robbed of their meaning, but there is the problem of moral equivalence. The Decade of Centenaries being committed 'to respect all traditions on this island equally' refuses to make any moral distinction between those who fought in the British Army, the Easter Rising or in the UVF. For the authors, "to suspend critical judgement on the rights and wrongs of this historical period is to lose oneself in non-judgementalism and relativism." (5)

Thirdly, the Easter Rising and other historical events are being used to promote 'peace and reconciliation', 'promoting respect and mutual understanding' :

in other words, we have the discipline of history being manipulated to suit a contemporary political imperative. In short, history is to be bastardised when it suits, in order to underpin the politics of the peace process ... It contrives an ahistorical, manipulated and retrospective consensus about the legacy of 1916 and other events in order to bolster, in the crudest of ways, the contemporary peace process. It is worth remembering the words of historian Roy Foster when he said 'for all the well-meaning government rhetoric about 'our shared history', revolutions are about antagonism, not reconciliation'." (5-6)

The fundamental flaw in this 'shared history' concept as Brian Hanley has shown elsewhere is this:

That Ireland and Britain share a history is a historical fact but they did not share an equal history: only one was conquered by the other and only one became a global empire. Ultimately, and allowing for all the complexities and nuances that British rule in Ireland involved, in the last resort the Crown depended on force to hold this country. Attempting to commemorate 1916 and avoiding mentioning this lest it give offence will ultimately satisfy nobody. » (Brian Hanley, "Who Fears to Speak of 1916?" - History Ireland, March-April 2015, 10)

There are however a number of points Heartfield and Rooney make that the present reviewer has issues with.  One gets the impression that the authors see Rising as "founding event of the Irish state" (ie. p. 147) It is however a mistake to assume that the 26-County state is a continuation of the Republic that was proclaimed in 1916. The founding act of the 26-County state are two Acts of the Westminster parliament: the Government of Ireland Act 1920 and the Irish Free State Constitution Act 1922, both of them passed in opposition to the Republic proclaimed in 1916.

The authors seriously downplay Connolly's pro-German stance during the First World War. (115-116) Whatever the internationalist propaganda written during the first six months of the war, or the initial slogan of serving neither king nor kaiser, Connolly's position rapidly moved from a declared stance of neutrality to an intensely partisan, pro-German position. Connolly welcomed German victories because, the weaker Britain became, "the stronger became every revolutionary force". German victories for Connolly were the victories "of the most enlightened nation in Europe " whose democracy is most feared by the cunning capitalists of the world". The German working class "had advanced nearest to the capture of the citadel of capitalism" (Irish Worker September 5 1914).

Connolly's opinion did not change later. In Workers' Republic he published an extraordinary article by an American, Frederick C Howe, which ran two full pages of the paper, praising the virtues of "German state socialism" (February 9 1916). It was this "state socialism", Connolly claimed in his article, 'Secrets of Germany's success - state socialism', that explained Germany's advance in the war. In one of the last articles written by Connolly, he argued that the German empire was "a homogenous empire of self-governing peoples", which contained "in germ more of the possibilities of freedom and civilisation" than the British (Workers' Republic March 18 1916). Indeed in the final issue of Workers' Republic a week before the Easter Rising, Connolly hailed "the wonderful fight being made by the Germans against odds" and inclined to the conclusion that "the German nation is incomparably superior to any nation in Europe".

It was not Lenin who appealed to Connolly, but rather Lenin's life-long opponent, the Polish socialist leader, Joseph Pilsudski, who also had allied himself militarily with Germany and Austria and against Russia in order to fight for an independent Poland. Connolly applauded Pilsudski's Polish Legion for fighting alongside Germany against Russia as a contingent on the Austrian army (see Workers' Republic April 15 1916). (for more on all this see in particular: Brendan Clifford (1985) James Connolly: The Polish Aspect: A Review of James Connolly's Political and Spiritual Affinity with Joseph Pilsudski, Leader of the Polish Socialist Party, Organiser of the Polish Legions and Founder of the Polish State, Belfast: Athol Books and Brendan Clifford (2004) Connolly and German Socialism, Belfast: Athol Books.) Some weeks ago SIPTU has produced a facsimile edition of the 39 issues of Workers’ Republic which should settle the issue for any reader still in doubt about Connolly's pro-German stance.  

There is something quite 'dated' about the authors' critique of historical revisionism in the current Irish context. (and their case is not helped by presenting the C.D Greaves school of falsification and works as dreadful as those of Tim Pat Coogan or P Berresford Ellis as an alternative!) This is 2016 not 1989.  Columnists in the Irish Independent aside, the dominant ideology today is 'post revisionism'. If revisionism was a tragedy then post-revisionism is a farce. At least Roy Foster was more interesting and thought provoking than Diarmaid Ferriter.The book would have been better had the authors delved into the 'post-revisionist' swamp.

Those differences apart, republicans, socialists and other progressives should very much welcome James Heartfield and Kevin Rooney's relevant intervention in the debates regarding the 'Decade of Centenaries'.

James Heartfield & Kevin Rooney (2015), Who's Afraid of the Easter Rising? 1916-2016, Winchester : Zero Books, 160pp.

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A Fresh Start???? Lies, Lies, Lies!!!

A writer @ Belfast Marxist is fed up with Tory Sinn Fein lies. 

The mighty PR machine of Sinn Fein has been in overdrive over the last week as they attempt to spin the Stormont House Agreement 2.0 as a good deal and a fresh start for those of us who are living in occupied territories.
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Let’s Face It. Melting Ice Has Passed Point Of No Return

Marxist blogger, Gabriel Levy @ People And Nature looks at the global warming phenomenon.

Leaders of many of the world’s states gather in Paris next month for climate talks, having promised in advance that any agreement will fall well short of the 2 degrees target for avoiding dangerous global warming.