Friday, 16 August 2013

The Man who saved the world...

Vasili Arkhipov is not a name that people are familiar with. Arkhipov was a naval officer in the Russian submarine fleet and had a fairly illustrious career and in one particular incident which he became famous for.

On October 27, 1962, during the Cuban Missile Crisis, a group of eleven United States Navy destroyers and the aircraft carrier USS Randolph located the diesel-powered nuclear-armed Soviet Foxtrot-class submarine B-59 near Cuba. Despite being in international waters the Americans started dropping practice depth charges, explosives intended to force the submarine to come to the surface for identification. There had been no contact from Moscow for a number of days and, although the submarine's crew had earlier been picking up U.S. civilian radio broadcasts, once B-59 began attempting to hide from its U.S. Navy pursuers, it was too deep to monitor any radio traffic, so those on board did not know whether war had broken out.[5] The captain of the submarine, Valentin Grigorievitch Savitsky, believing that a war might already have started, wanted to launch a nuclear torpedo.[6]
Three officers on board the submarine – Savitsky, the political officer Ivan Semonovich Maslennikov, and the second-in-command Arkhipov – were authorized to launch the torpedo if agreeing unanimously in favor of doing so. An argument broke out among the three, in which only Arkhipov was against the launch.[7] Although Arkhipov was only second-in-command of submarine B-59, he was actually commander of the flotilla of submarines including B-4, B-36, and B-130, and of equal rank to Captain Savitsky. According to author Edward Wilson, the reputation Arkhipov gained from his courageous conduct in the previous year's K-19 incident also helped him prevail in the debate.[3] Arkhipov eventually persuaded Savitsky to surface the submarine and await orders from Moscow. This presumably averted the nuclear warfare which could possibly have ensued had the torpedo been fired.[8] The submarine's batteries had run very low and the air-conditioning had failed, so it was forced to surface amidst its U.S. pursuers and head home.[9] Washington's message that practice depth charges were being used to signal the submarines to surface never reached B-59, and Moscow claims it has no record of receiving it either.

Sitting in a tuna can a mile or two underwater and not having communication with the outside world can make a man go mad. Arkhipov had some power when it came to descisions having backed a previous captain in a mutiny that was happening on board a submarine a few years before that became the fim 'K-19 - The Widowmaker' with Liam Neeson a few years later. That must have been a feat of judgement to know that if the missile had been fired he would have been responsible for possibly triggering World War 3.

Removing religious influence from Irish Hospitals - The Current Situation,History and How to remove it

Straight out of the Cork Independent comes the following quote, anecdotal perhaps but it illustrates a point that is big news.

Admitted under her gynaecologist in a very well regarded religious-ethos hospital, she was in a serious condition and needed an emergency termination. A member of medical staff pulled the husband aside and advised him, in an undertone, to seek a transfer to another hospital in another part of the country, immediately, because he could not guarantee that she’d be given the lifesaving treatment she needed in this hospital, because of its religious ethos. She was transferred to a hospital three hours away by ambulance, and, after being treated as required, made a full recovery.
The hospital is not mentioned but with the hulabaloo in media reports one does not have to delve deep into the web to place where this might be (although a number of inferrences could be drawn as to what hospital it could be ). Some of Irelands medical and healthcare establishments are in the clutches of a predator, one that is dying a slow and thankfully agonising death, the catholic church. Fr Kevin Doran ,a priest on the board of governors at the Mater hospital has indicated that the Mater will not perform any abortions as to do so may clash with the ethos of the hospital
(Quote via Irish Times)

“The Mater can’t carry out abortions because it goes against its ethos. I would be very concerned that the Minister [for Health, James Reilly] sees fit to make it impossible for hospitals to have their own ethos.”
Illustrating how far their Ethos goes
The three members of the board of Dublin’s Mater Hospital were key to the decision to stop trials of the drug for lung cancer patients.
They objected because female patients who get could get pregnant would have to take contraceptives under the treatment.
The subcommittee of the board – including Fr Kevin Doran – were delegated the task of examining the conditions attached to testing the drug.
Dorans comments come in the wake of the death of Savita Hallenpalavar and others not afforded the treatment. Savita's husband, Praveen was allegedly told that an abortion could not be performed as Ireland was a catholic country. Ireland has a bit of a history though on the topic.

1951 and the Fine Gael lead government collapsed as Dr Noel Browne attempted to pass a bill allowing free maternity care much to the chargrin of John Charles Mc Quaid who subsequently kicked up a storm on the issue. Mc Quaids stance was that firstly the government could not interfere with how a family raised its children and secondly the bill would then lead to the legalisation of contraception and abortion, two positions vehemently opposed by a church who at the time were widely abusing children. Religious influence has since sought to fight against the X Case, euthanasia and stem cell research amongst numerous other topics. The churches position on maternal care is ironic given that some Catholic hospitals supported symphysiotomies until relatively recent years.

The church fought tooth and nail to establish an influence in medical schools over the course of the 20th century ( seeing a Protestant influence as being contrary to the wishes of the population and being a danger to their position as top dog in society threatening their stranglehold on Ireland.

The Catholic Church’s increasing influence on the administration of hospital care lasted well into the 20th Century and during the 1930s, the Roman Catholic Archbishop of Dublin Edward Byrne, demonstrated the extent of the Church’s power.

When he discovered that there were plans to merge Harcourt Street Hospital, which was under Protestant management, with St Ultan’s, a multi-denominational hospital for infants under one year, established by GP and political activist Kathleen Lynn in 1919, he “saw red”, according to Dr Margaret O’hOgartaigh, author of Kathleen Lynn: Irishwoman, Patriot, Doctor.

“He was convinced that they were up to something because they were not, for the most part, Catholic and he wanted a Catholic hospital,” she told MI.

The Archbishop informed John Charles McQuaid, who, at that time, was President of Blackrock College but would go on to become his successor, and together they led a campaign to sabotage the merger, paving the way for the establishment of a Catholic-run children’s hospital in Crumlin.

“They said that you couldn’t trust Dr Lynn, and that they [doctors in St Ultan’s] were in communication with doctors in Germany. They accused them of sterilisation, that kind of nonsense,” according to Dr O’hOgartaigh.

“And they also had powerful friends in the government, including people like Sean T O’Ceallaigh, who was Minister for Local Government and Public Health. In the 1930s and early 1940s it was one department and he was basically an ecclesiastical minister. He wanted Catholics in the top jobs and it was about getting your own people in to crucial places. So they got at people and it worked.”
In the 90's the church also fought tooth and nail against the needle exchange programmes for HIV positive drug addicts.

Gay Doctors Ireland are looking for a repeal of a section of the Employment Equality Act which allowed religious emmployers to discriminate legally ( . it is expected that this will be repealed in the next while.

Information on the ethos of other hospitals is quite scant but the following article from the Indo offers some fair opinion

This might be acceptable if there were an alternative. But there are no secular hospitals in this country. There is no longer even an Anglican much less a multi-denominational ethos in any of our hospitals (except, of course, for the Rotunda). The liberal (Protestant) ethos of the Adelaide Hospital is supposed to have been preserved as part of the ethos of Tallaght Hospital, but many people, not least members of the Protestant churches, fear for its survival.
The selling off by the Sisters of Mercy of St Michael's Private Hospital in Dun Laoghaire and the Mater Private Clinic in Dublin, is indeed proof, as Mr Sheehan pointed out, that the Sisters are not in medicine for the good of their health: they need to make money. So the Catholic ethos is not necessarily one of high-minded and selfless charity.

Moving forward, there is no harm in being blunt, Irish hospitals are there to treat people and act on the basis of what is factual and not what is of a religious opinion. Ireland has nearly severed the chord of the monster of the catholic church, it needs to take a hammer and smash the head in to ensure its brain dead (although judging by church actions this has already been done). Reilly should remove funding from any hospital or establishment that refuses to treat people based on religious ethos or religious opinion, religious ideals are a personal opinion, not something to be inflicted on the sick and dying. Legislation should be robust to charge those that do not comply with the law and jail time for those who refuse to treat on the basis of religious superstition....

John Lennon and the IRA...

This post was prompted by an old bat in my office wearing sunglasses and it reminded me of John Lennon and his support for the IRA (dont ask....)

Lennons links with the IRA were confirmed by Gerry O Hare, press officer with the 'Belfast Brigade' (Provos). O Hare was sent by the IRA high command to New York to engage in a speaking tour and through contacts managed to meet up with Lennon. Lennon bear in mind was very sympathetic to the cause having had Irish parents and seen the aftermath of the Bloody Sunday murders . O Hare got the impression that Lennon though was confused by the cause not fully understanding what the conflict was about or why there was murders taking place. Lennons symapthy were epoused most clearly in his music having released songs such as 'Sunday Bloody Sunday' and 'Luck of the Irish'. David Shayler the former MI5 agent alleges that the MI5 kept files on Lennon as did the FBI because of his symapthies with the IRA. Sources inside the Workers Revolution Party allege that perhaps Lennon gave money to the IRA,a move which is revealed to be true could be said to be unsurprising.

Lennon was by nature a pacifist but perhaps the words from the last blog below give a fair idea of what he was thinking...

But, I think that this story really says something for our times. Pacifism is a wonderful philosophy but a simplistic one, and in practice, sometimes things necessarily get far messier than that. As Lennon's thoughts demonstrate, sometimes sticking up for the underdog involves sticking your neck out.

Read more:

Elitism in Irish sport...

Snobbery still prevails in some areas of Irish sport and cliques still exist , kinda like a gentlemans club or a 'No Homer Club' if you watch the Simpsons. Rugby has always been the home of the elite within the upper strata of Dublin society. Posh schools and D4 heads have always held rugby as their preserve . At weekends Fiachra and Sorcha hope on the 'Dort' to attend the 'Leinster' games and afterwards have their few pints of 'Heino'. GAA clubs have become a haven of cliqueness with those in country using it as an opportunity to network but also a little fifedome. Some tales from the net

While the cliques are not as bad as I have made out, it still is an issue. Football on the other hand is representative of all classes and especially the working class. Friday night League of Ireland football attracts all sort of people from all sorts of demographics. Children of all nationalities can be seen and the same applies to clubs like Celtic etc.

Wednesday, 14 August 2013

Youth Defence and the Far Right

Was going to prepare a long thread on this but thankfully some other sources do it for me. Enter into the fray two notable names from the far right scene - Justin Barrett and Michael Quinn, both Irish nationalists and both leaning to the far right. Look Left contains a copy of the Magill article which exposed Justin Barrett

Near the front of the hall, Justin Barrett, the diminutive Longford-based representative of the Youth Defence organisation, took his seat among the 30 or so “honoured guests”. Included in their number, according to the official NPD newspaper, were some of the leading lights of the extreme far- right in Europe ‹ neo-fascist icon Florentine Rost van Tonningen from the Netherlands, Udo Voigt, leader of the NPD, and Derek Holland of the International Third Position, listed as the second delegate representing Ireland.
Barrett would go on to claim that his poor language skills meant that he was unaware of what was being said. Barrett had attended a meeting of 'Nationaldemokratische Partei Deutschlands', a party that has deep roots in fascism. Poor Barrett inadvertently Im sure ended up at a meeting of Forza Nuova another far right Italian party. His language skills must have needed a lot of brushing up !

In the article a noted historian

According to historian Brian Hanley, Youth Defence can be placed in the context of right-wing movements on the fringes of Irish nationalism that have been evident for generations.

“There is a militant Catholic activist tradition stretching back to the 1920s,” he says. “Groups such as An Rioghacht (Catholic Action) and Maria Duce, which was particularly active in the 1950s, combined a fundamentalist approach to Catholic social teaching with often-violent street activity. In the 1930s they were particularly influenced by Salazar’s Portugal and fascist Italy. Later, Franco’s Spain was a source of inspiration.”
NPD youth member is quoted as saying

Sascha Rossmuller, leader of the NPD’s youth wing, told the same newspaper that he considered Youth Defence “an important part of our international network.”
Michael Quinn needs no further introduction having been covered extensively in the pages of PW and a great thread here by SgD which goes into a lot of detail on Quinn and his splits from other far right parties he had started

How far is Quinns and Barrets involvement in YD?

In 2000, the Irish Indo reports that six members of YD had convictions overturned for obstructing gardai and breaching the peace under the Public Order Act. The convictions were over turned successfully but again the two names crop up...

Maurice Colgan, Justin Barrett, Christopher Palin, Ciara Ni Aodain, Esme Caulfield and Michael Quinn had appealed against convictions and sentences ranging from fines to orders to carry out community work.

Michael Quinn has attended marches in recent years

There was also controversy over Quinn's presence on last years anti-choice march in Dublin - in short there is no excuse for claiming not to know who and what he is. Quinn is certainly a nut, but after the Breivik massacre in which 76 people were killed, many of them teenagers, nuts cannot be simply dismissed as harmless. The fact that Quinn was not only tolerated but protected by stewards exposes the lie that is the entire 'Pro-Life' label. Those on the pro-choice counter rally were chanting "Pro Life, that's a lie, they don't care of women die" as the march passed. The continued toleration and protection of Quinn reveal that the fundamental truth of that slogan is much deeper than many of those chanting it probably realized. (Watch a copy of Quinn's post massacre youtube video)
Financial support for YD has been a bit of a mystery for years and for those of us with an interest in it, it may be far easier to ascertain as to who killed JFK rather than find any info on their financing. Some info has been covered here: . One name that stands out from the crowd is that of Scott Schittl , now president of Life House Ireland who are described as :

American, tax-exempt organization... [whose] purpose is to help make sure Ireland remains pro-life and abortion-free – and make it easier for Americans to support Ireland's pro-life success story."
Schittl wrote an article on abortion for none other than - the Ancient Order of Hibernia.

AOH would make not very strange bedfellows when you look at their history. Schittl was successful in getting a donation:

So far, we have visited many AOH Divisions and Boards – where the men have shown great interest and support as demonstrated in the attached photo from Summit County St. Brendan’s Division 3. Following our presentation, the brothers of St. Brendan’s unanimously approved a $500 donation plus committed all their 50/50 proceeds from their St. Patrick’s day celebrations. We would like to visit as many more as possible, and are eager to travel to visit you.
Ancident Order of Hibernians are of course against letting "dem gays" march in the Paddys Day parade


Prosecute Creditors for victims of suicide...

Research has shown that in both Ireland and Greece at present have a spike in suicide because of the current financial climate. Households where the financial burden is immense are under pressure and in particular where some breadwinners are male, this is attributable to the high rate of men amongst the victims of suicide. In terms of suicides per head of population, Greece has a population that is higher than that of Ireland yet the rate of suicide is a lot less (then again reporting of suicide may be low in Greece).

Finfacts points out as follows

In the period 2007-09, the countries facing the most severe financial reversals of fortune, such as Greece and Ireland, had greater rises in suicides (17% to 391 and 13% to 527, respectively) than did the other countries, and in Latvia suicides increased by more than 17% between 2007 and 2008.
Ireland when the demographics are taken into account, has a particular huge issue in and around Limerick. The national average is in and around approx 11 per 100,000 but in Limerick this is about 26 per 100,000, very much above what is par for the norm nationally and a trend that should worry us if it were to continue.

Which brings me roundedly to my point. India has a law where creditors who chase people for money or apply pressure and the victim commits suicide can be criminally held responsible for suicide of the victim. Its vicarious liablility in a way. Such similar laws exist currently in UK and to a certain degree here with employers have responsibility with employees. In India the BBC reports

In May, Sudipta Sen, a businessman who allegedly defrauded thousands of depositors in the eastern state of West Bengal, was charged with abetting the suicide of a "depressed" investor
Would such a law work here? Pay day loan companies, banks and other sharks would without any shread of doubt lobby against such actions. There is an onus to prove that the companies would have pushed victims over the edge but that may be possible. Would such a law work here do people think?

The fight against AIDS

Hilary Clinton has indicated she is more or less determined to erdaicate AIDS within one generation. Using a four - pronged attack which are

-Saving Lives
-Smart Investments
-Science and Research
-Shared Responsibility

Sub Saharan Africa is again seeing a rise in the number of people with HIV. Due to the lack of protection and poor safe sex education cases have crept up in recent years. This new approach could see the millions whom are suffering live a normal life and cut the rate and transmission down to 0% potentially in the the next fifty years. The document itself has not been released but is due to for release in the next few months. What will big pharma companies have to say?

The Man who lived in the airport...

Mehran Karimi Nasseri was an Iranian national who spent a good part of life living in Charles De Gaulle Airport after his passport was revoked and he was expelled from Iran for protesting against the Shah. He did claim to have a British mother as his father worked for the Anglo-Persian Oil Company in Iran. During his time in Charles De Gaulle airport he spent his time writing a diary, learning economics and eventually moved to a shelter in the 12 arrondisement of Paris. His life story was told in a book that was later translated into a well known film 'The Terminal' with Tom Hanks...

Is Sinn Fein pro life?

Oh holy bearded one, what stance should we take on abortion? Adams is clear when he came out April to proclaim that Sinn Fein are not a pro abortion party. This was in response to mutterings by Brian Walsh (who??) a Fine Gael TD on the subject of the X Legislaiton.

Today Fine Gael TD Brian Walsh, in a very mischievous way, misrepresented Sinn Féin’s position. Sinn Féin is not a pro-abortion party,”
McGuinness a few days before hand on an interview with Radio 1 had also maintained a similar position.

We are not a pro-abortion party and to suggest that is to totally and absolutely misrepresent the position
We neednt beat around the bush here....Sinn Fein do support legislating for X but have stopped full short of supporting the full emancipation of women to do what they want with their bodies.

Did Pearse Doherty show flashes of being a pro lifer?

Now lets look at the flip side of the coin ....the history of some Shinners....

Dessie Ellis has rubbished claims that he is linked to 50 or so called murders that the British establishment are claiming he may be linked to . Ellis was arrested for being in possession of electronic remote-controlled devices in Dublin in 1981.

The family of a man shot dead in front of his three-year-old son by the IRA has slammed a Sinn Fein award to the getaway driver in the bank raid in which he died.

Eamon Ryan was just 32 when he was murdered by the IRA during the 1979 robbery at a bank in Waterford.

Now his family have publicly criticised Sinn Fein’s decision to award driver Bill Hayes in recognition of his services to Irish freedom.

Sinn Fein's by-election win in Mid-Ulster has been marred by acrimony, after the victor was accused of being a suspect in the murder of the runner-up's father.

Unionist parties had joined together to put up a single candidate, Nigel Lutton, who succeeded in increasing the unionist vote to 34% in yesterday's by-election.

But he refused to shake the hand of Francis Molloy - formerly deputy Speaker in the Northern Ireland Assembly - who is alleged to have been a member of the IRA unit which shot dead Lutton's father Frederick, a police officer, in 1979.
So with all this in mind....where does this pro life stance apply? Is it arbitary?

Are some mental illnesses really political ideaologies?...

The site is a haven for alternative viewpoints (some bordering on conspiracy) however the article in the link gives some room for thought on mental illness and the rigidity in thinking of mental health care professionals. Adults and children all diagnosed with conditions like ADHD or other emotional distress disorders , a portion of them the article is claiming exhibit some degree of anarchistic tendencies. A lack of respect for authority, not willing to be goverened by societies rules and arguing with the establishment . For people whom do perhaps suffer from such mental illness are they unaware of a political ideaology which could be seen to be a mental illness or are they being diagnosed by professionals with no awareness what so ever of political ideals that are being mislabelled? Few other points that are made reinforce that point that there may be some basis to the question. Co-ercive behavious is outright rejected where a stringent regime of pharma drugs place the person whom is experiencing the condition would place co -erce them into behaving in a certain way. A lot of people experiencing emotional turmoil crave human interaction, a crux of forming any social group is the need to form social interactions which then lead to groups which can effect change.

I may be explaining things haphazardly but its intriguing thing to ponder all the same...

Did Anti Malarial Medication contribute to suicide in the Irish army?..........

An anti malarial drug - Lariam, according to an RTE documentary there may be a plausible link for a potential rise in suicide in the Irish armed forces. The pill is under investigation by the FDA in America and has been dropped by the US Military pending an assessment by the FDA to look at the neurological affects that it has.Shatter has come out to refute the allegations saying that experts have found little or no evidence but a quick scout of newsreports proves otherwise. An Irish student in Vietnam hung himself allegedly after taking the drug mixed with alcohol and it has been linked to changes in behaviours which may have resulted in some murders by US soldiers returning from duty. Links below:

Scapegoating the English

Following on from the discussion on the rejuvination of the Irish language and the years of linguicide enforced upon us by the English we seem all to ready to scape goat them for the woes that have befallen Ireland in some recent years. Studies now have shown that the British may be to blame for the increasing levels of binge drinking amongst Irelands youth.

THE IRISH MIGHT have a reputation for downing more booze than our international counterparts but a study has found it could all be because of the British.
Students from regions inside the historical boundaries of “The Pale” were more likely to binge drink than those who lived in more rural areas, according to the study

The UCD research also used cricket clubs as a measure of British culture and found students living in Irish towns with cricket clubs drank more than those who did not.
Anecdotally the British are blamed as well for the Irish obsession with property. Penal laws oppressed us so much that we all feel a need to now own a property having been denied the rights to own it for so long. Next came a report blaming the English (rightly or wrongly) for genocide when the famine happened (the Irish did not know how to use copper sulphate to stop the blight)

Are we scapegoating the English and too afraid to face up to the fact that we are a nation of complete ***** ups?

Did a judge let his religious affiliation affect his sentencing?...

A judge has described as nasty and despicable a 20-year-old woman taking advantage of the charity shown to her by an elderly nun.

At Ennis District Court, Judge Patrick Durcan jailed Leanne Purcell of Seminary Court, Blackpool, Cork, and Ardcullen, Hollyhill, Cork, for four months for the robbery of €40 from the Sister of Mercy nun, Sr Anne O'Grady. Judge Durcan said: "This was a very nasty and despicable crime. It was activity of the vilest nature."
The thief was sentenced to 4 months prison for the theft of forty Euro fro the Sisters of Mercy.

On the website of the Holy Selpchure ( there is a picture showing Judge Durkan. Broadsheet reports that the OP over on the other site says the judge allegedly said:

“we had, in the past, in this country a society where we recognised the tremendous contribution in education, health and charity on the part of the Sisters of Mercy.”
Whaddya think?...

Reconciling Republican Left and Other Socialist Views

My opinion is that the NI issue is that of one of class oppression and without going into too much details I have posted on why I believe such an issue exists. On the other hand, my fellow PW Republican users are of the opinion that such an issue is down to tribalism and imperialism by the British state of which they have provided ample evidence to assert their claim . With the two issues having such commonalities is it therefore sensible that we reconcile both the Republican left and the Trotskyist, Stalinist and other traditions that exist within a new left wing framework? Im not for one moment suggesting that we merge Republican and other left wing ideaologies but we look for common ground and work together. There has already been some work on a local level from such groups as Eirigi and the ULA and as such there are some links there. Sinn Fein and ULA have a lot of policies which are similar and the major difference is the view of NI and how the issue is dealt with. Could commonalities be found that could bring the different traditions of the left together to work as one force to counter the effects of current status quo and that of any new right wing party that emerges?

Education system produces fodder for the Capitalist system...

In France philosophy is a cornerstone of the educations system,children learn about Plato right through to Sartre and everything in between, they learn to understand why people have an opinion, what shapes it and how it can be viewed. Look at the flip side of things and the Irish education system. Irish people learn via rote learning with teachers second guessing (but with good guess work) questions that will come up on the Leaving Cert and then encouraging the children to learn via rote learning so that it can all be regurgitated over two weeks in June. Traditional subjects that require some analysis and argument like English (interpret a poem) or History (qualify a particular view point with evidence) are now coming to encourage children to learn vast passages of interpretation, it does not allow them to freely think. The net result of all of this is children come into the university system or into the working world with no critical thinking and are unable to come to a viewpoint as to how they may ameliorate a situation or look at various angles as they have been indoctrinated. Am I alone in thinking this? Critical thinking would have stopped this social malaise of indifference that we are experiencing at the moment...

Left Wing Republicanism vs Right Wing Republicanism

Simple question really. Is there a division between a lot of them in terms of political ideaology and has there ever been an attempt to find common ground between them? Right wing republicanism held a lot of sway in that their views were shaped pretty much by their religious fevour from their catholicism and if I am right (or wrong I apologise if I am) there was a move to more left tendencies from the view that British occupation was imperialism. Is there still that gulf there ?