Monday, August 31, 2015

Dublin Anti-Water Tax Protest renewed:

The scene in O'Connell St., Dublin, Saturday, 29 August 2015

Government dismay at
size of turnout:

57% of households have not
paid water tax: 

Tens of thousands of anti-water charge protesters took to the streets of Dublin last Saturday in the fifth major demonstration against the new utility Uisce Éireann/Irish Water.

Two main groups converged on O'Connell Street after gathering at Heuston(West) and Connolly Station(East) before marching  along the Liffey quays. Among them were 23 protesters facing charges over incidents in West Dublin last November when Tanaiste(Deputy Prime Minister) Joan Burton was forced to remain in her car for more than two hours after being prevented from leaving a graduation ceremony. They began their involvement with a protest on the steps of the Courts of Criminal Justice near Hueston Station. Bus loads of people also descended on the capital from around the country with smaller feeder marches coming in to the city from the suburbs. Buses from about 26 locations around the country brought protesters to the streets of Dublin for the latest march. The Right2Water group, which organised the march, estimated about 80,000 protesters turned out. Regular train services brought thousands more to the Capital.

Paul Murphy, Anti-Austerity Alliance TD, and one of those expecting to be charged over the Jobstown protest, claimed if this government does not "bow to the inevitable" and abolish water charges the next government will be under immense pressure to do so;
"This is an opportunity for people to show firstly that the anti-water charges movement has not gone away, despite repeated reports of its demise, and to go after the government now on water," he said. "They are reeling under the impact of 57pc non-payment, failing the Eurostat test and it's an opportunity to put an extra nail in the coffin of Irish Water and water charges."

As thousands assembled in the City Centre, a rally was held in front of the General Post Oiffice(scene of the Declaration of the Irish Republic in 1916) on O'Connell Street with leading Trade Union figures among those to address the crowds. Among the other political figures to join the demonstration were People Before Profit's Richard Boyd Barrett and Independent TD Clare Daly, Sinn Fein's Mary Lou McDonald and Catherine Murphy of the newly formed Social Democrats.

After the demonstration the Right2Water group said the campaign against the charges would continue. "Today saw between 80,000 and 100,000 people from all over the country gather in Dublin to restate our demand for the abolition of water charges," a spokesman said. "The Right2Water campaign will continue until that objective is achieved."

Trade Unions affiliated to the campaign - Unite, the Technical Engineering and Electrical Union, Mandate, the Communications Workers Union, the Civil Public and Services Union and Opatsi, the plasterers' union - said they are now planning town hall meetings to gather more support. In a statement the Trade Unions said that the protest had galvanised opposition to austerity and they plan to use the gatherings to promote a wider campaign on housing, jobs and democratic reform. "Politics is about choices, and the wrong choices have been made," the unions said.

Most political commentators now concede that water charges will now be a major issue in the forthcoming general election in 2016. Both Fine Gael and Labour Government candidates had hoped earlier this year that the political intensity surrounding the issue could be defused, but now the danger is that those who have signed up and paid may do a rethink, adding to the numbers opposing the charges. Figures issued by the Water Utility earlier this year showed that 57% of households had failed to pay the first bill issued in April. A second bill has now been issued but, no figures have been released on payment levels.

Independent TD Finian McGrath said the scale of the protest sent a clear message to Government that water charges must be abolished. Sinn Féin deputy leader Mary Lou McDonald urged the Government to use the October Budget to abolish the charges and described Irish Water as "one fiasco after the other". Anti-Austerity Alliance (AAA) TD Paul Murphy said the demonstration showed the Government was "on the run" over water charges. Mr Murphy also said his organisation had been denied Garda (police) permission for a collection in his Dublin South West constituency on grounds that it would "encourage an illegal act".

Mr Murphy said the Socialist Party, a forerunner of the AAA, had been granted a collection permit in the past and he was seeking legal advice on the matter and may appeal to the courts. He said he could only conclude the refusal related to the AAA's role in opposing water charges and he suggested the Gardai were "behaving politically".

(Targetting dissent; see Blagaroon 2: )

Senior sources in both governing parties concede they cannot afford the huge loss of face arising from a policy reversal. They are also committed to huge investment in Irish Water. But both Fine Gael and Labour concede the issue will cost them votes. Although government spokespeople continue to insist there will be no change of policy regarding water tax the Government are on a hiding to nothing as the General Election approaches and the national boycott against water tax seems to be gathering more support by the day.
Saturday's massive turnout representing the entire country effectively burst the Government's bubble of  denial of the past few months.

Saturday, August 22, 2015

Bombs in Bangkok


Conflicting statements
by Government raises
doubts on responsibility:

The bombing outrage in Thailand’s Capital, Bangkok, last Monday, killing at least 22 people and injuring more than a hundred more including foreign tourists, has shocked the city’s residents as this is the worst atrocity in the recent history of the country, plagued by political instability and street violence for several years now. But, the bombing, which took place at the revered Erewan Buddhist shrine in the city does raise some questions as to who was actually responsible. Military and Police spokespeople were quick to allocate blame to the main Opposition as Thailand’s US-backed military junta, the National Council for Peace and Order (NCPO), moved quickly to exploit the attack and tighten its grip on power and crack down on political opposition. The New York Times reported that within hours of Monday’s bombing senior military officials “ruled out any connection to the continuing Muslim insurgency in southern Thailand.”

Instead, without producing any evidence, current dictator and former General Prayuth Chan-Ocha implied that those responsible were linked to former Prime Minister Yingluck Shinawatra, who was ousted in the military coup of May 2014. He told the media that police were investigating Facebook posts by two individuals warning people to “be careful” between 14 and 18 August. He claimed that one of the posters—whose names have not been released—“used to be in anti-government groups.” Another NCPO spokesman, Major General Sansern Kaewkamnerd, similarly told the Bangkok Post: “It’s too soon to jump to conclusions, but the likelihood is that the perpetrators are the same group which lost political benefits and want to create chaos in the country.” This is an obvious reference to the pro-Shinawatra United Front for Democracy Against Dictatorship, known as the Red Shirts. A major military and police mobilisation is underway. According to the Nation newspaper, national police chief General Somyot Poompanmuang announced that “police and soldiers would set up more checkpoints and step up precautionary checks and patrols in Bangkok to prevent a repeat of the blast.” More than 30 checkpoints were also established throughout the northeast region of Isan, including the city of Khon Kaen. The region is a base of support for Yingluck Shinawatra, and her brother, former Prime Minister Thaksin Shinawatra, who was ousted in a previous army coup in 2006.

An article in the London  Daily Telegraph raised the question: “Might elements within the military have staged a ‘red flag’ attack to demonstrate the country’s need for them to remain in power to "maintain stability", especially with a challenging royal succession in the offing?” Such provocations aimed at creating chaos to justify military rule are certainly not unknown. The immediate pretext for the 2014 coup was a string of grenade attacks and shootings targeting protest rallies led by the People’s Democratic Reform Committee (PDRC)—an organisation with links to the military and the monarchy which openly supported the coup. While the attackers were never identified, armed soldiers were present in both the PDRC and rival Red Shirt rallies.

Whoever carried out the Bangkok bombing, its timing was politically convenient for the regime. On September 6 the National Reform Council is expected to pass a draconian constitution that will effectively enshrine military rule, even if elections are held. With a referendum on the constitution scheduled for January 2016, the bombing will be used to mobilise the armed forces and intimidate the working class and the urban and rural poor who mostly supported the Shinawatras because of their introduction of subsidies for rice farmers during their rule, subsidies which the Prayruth regime has abolished..Elections are currently scheduled for September 2016, but the junta has indicated that this could be pushed back to 2017 if the new constitution is rejected, or if there is political instability or unrest. Typical political manoeuvring by dictatorial regimes which promise early elections but then keep on postponing the date.

The NCPO has been clamping down on oppositional figures and activists since the Coup last February. It has already detained and imprisoned hundreds of people since the Coup, including academics, journalists, protesters and political figures linked to the Yingluck government. The regime has censored the media and this month passed a new law banning public gatherings without advance permission from the authorities. A report this month by the UN Human Rights Commissioner noted that since the coup at least 40 people have been tried in military courts and imprisoned for lèse majesté (insulting the monarchy). On August 7 a man and a woman were jailed for 30 and 28 years respectively for comments made on Facebook, setting a new precedent for lèse majesté sentences.

Elites create enemies in order to re-design society in their own tyrannical image. They do so by committing acts of terrorism against their own people, buildings and institutions then choosing a scapegoat. The only difference in the 21st Century is that these “enemies” are more believable because they have been created and empowered by the Elite with all the propaganda resources of the modern state at their command including a compliant and bought-off media. These “false-flag” events have occurred throughout history; in 69AD Rome burned while hated Emperor Nero amused himself and his courtiers with playing the lute to accompany his own dubious songs. Nero used the fire to attack the Christians and began a merciless persecution.  Two centuries later in 303 AD, Emperor Diocletian ordered his guards to set fire to his Palace in Nicomedia (present day Split, in Croatia) also blaming the Christians and starting a new persecution. How the Christians managed to avoid the permanent military garrison which resided in the Palace was never explained. 

Diocletian's Palace, Split, Croatia.
[If this looks familiar, don't worry, it has been used as the set for filming the 4th & 5th
series of the popular TV series "Game of Thrones"]

In 1933, Hitler and the Nazi party arranged the burning of the German Parliament, The Reichstag. Adolf Hitler went to see President Paul Hindenburg and informed him that the fire was the result of a Communist plot. Hindenburg was convinced and signed the Order of the Reich President for the Protection of People and State, known as the Reichstag Fire Decree. Hitler used the Reichstag Fire Decree to arrest thousands of Communists and to ban all Communist publications. The Communist Party was outlawed and not allowed to take part in the March 1933 elections (the Communist Party had gained 17% of the vote in the 1932 elections). Without Communist opposition the Nazi Party gained 44% of the vote in the March 1933 elections. The German National People's Party, who supported the Nazi Party gained 8% of the vote. This gave Hitler a majority in the Reichstag and we know what happened next.

The 2011 September attacks on New York were used as a pretext for the invasion of Afghanistan although the Official story claimed the perpetrators were all Saudi Arabian, an ally of the US. Recent polls show that over 66% of New Yorkers don't believe the Washington Governments official reports.

This correspondent has direct experience of such an event, in May 1974, in Dublin, Ireland, having stood beside a parked car in the street and even leaned a bicycle against it, which car exploded 20 minutes later killing a young girl of 18 years who was passing at the time and injuring scores of people in surrounding shops and offices which were smashed by the explosion. Minutes later a second car exploded in a busy city centre shopping street killing 30 people and injuring hundreds more. A third explosion occurred in a town close to the Northern Ireland border killing one person and again injuring many others. It has been revealed since that the attacks were organised by British Intelligence, MI5, in collaboration with so-called “Loyalist” militants in Belfast, MI5 supplying both the vehicles and the explosives for carrying out the atrocity. The British Government has consistently refused to release documents concerning this event which are still held in Britain’s secret intelligence archives thus, denying justice to the families of the murdered and injured people. 

The scene at Sth Leinster St., Dublin, May, 1974, where this correspondent stood 20 minutes before the bomb exploded.

Newspaper headline accusing British government of collusion in Dublin bombings

The Memorial to the victims of the 1974 Dublin bombings.