2012 - The Year that was
Monday December 31, 2012 18:28 by various
As the year draws to a close, we highlight some of the news stories that made it to the pages of Indymedia during the year. We are certainly living in "interesting times" as old the Chinese curse goes! Events in north Africa and the middle east related to the "fake arab spring" remained in the headlines and also as we head into 2013 the Irish economy is still saddled with enormous burden of debt by a criminal layer of developers, bankers, politicians and an international financial elite dictating to government and the promise of many more austerity budgets to come which will have the effect of stripping away all the social safety nets.
Fake Arab Spring / Wars
The "fake arab spring" continued to dominate the news in 2012 with the tail end of the Libya saga and the current awful situation in Syria. Also, Egypt came into focus as Mohammed Morsi showed his true colours as head of the muslim brotherhood and what was really going on there became more evident.
The "Arab Spring" began in Tunisia (the "jasmine revolution"), fuelled by increasing social oppression, revelations by Wikileaks of rampant corruption in the government and by the increasingly difficult economic circumstances amongst the citizens of the country. It was finally sparked off by an incident whereby a desperate vegetable merchant set fire to himself. After 28 turbulent days, Ben Ali fled the country, no doubt his ill gotten gains secured in a Swiss bank account. Buoyed by the apparent success of their Arab brothers in ousting their corrupt leader, the "revolution" then spread and infected Egypt, Libya, Syria, Yemen, Bahrain and others. Initially the west was caught somewhat off guard by all this, but after consultation with think tanks such as NED and the Albert Einstein institute and others, it was realized that the west could take full advantage of the situation by working closely with the Muslim brotherhood to rid itself of some troublesome strongmen and better secure access to natural resources and strategic control across the whole of North Africa in preparation for the longer term push across the whole of Africa and into Syria in the middle east with an eye towards the further isolation and future invasion of Iran. In return for this alliance, all that seemed to be required was political support for the Muslim brotherhood and turning a blind eye to the imposition of islamic law in any countries that happened to fall in the process. And since when did the west ever care about what restrictions were being imposed on citizens once it was getting what it wanted?
Allying with strongmen had been a somewhat convenient compromise in the past for the west but such men were inclined to play hardball with the west over resources and money. Who knows, perhaps they reasoned that islamists might be conveniently less concerned with such earthly matters and could accordingly be more easily separated from them.
For example, Gadaffi was attempting, amongst other things, to create a gold backed currency for Africa. With shrewd operators like him attempting to strengthen Africa's hand at the negotiating table, and in the background the quiet opportunism of China in securing present and future resource deals in return for fiat dollars and for building infrastructure, the future exploitation of African resources was beginning to look somewhat more complicated. What was needed was to oust the likes of Gadaffi, make an example of them, destroy infrastructure and break up any fragile alliances that might be taking hold and replace all this with a corrupt sectarian religious weapon soaked witches brew which could be easily divided and conquered in the best western tradition.
Of course this "Arab spring" process could not be allowed to infect other vassal states such as Bahrain where the US 5th fleet is located. Gene Sharp and his manual of destabilization, strategic advisors coordinators, materials communications technology, weapons and willing jihadist mercenaries to help implement destabilization strategies were only available in selected oppressive Arab regimes. The rest would have to suck up the clouds of UK supplied tear gas until they choked and cower from the UK supplied armored cars and rubber bullets, and wonder why the media never seemed to cover their struggle against their oppressors like the heroes of Tahir. Western sponsored colour revolutions are not allowed for everybody!.
Related Links: The Arab Spring and the Seduction of the Western Left | Activist Education at the Albert Einstein Institution: A Critical Examination of Elite Co-option of Civil Disobedience | Unmasking the Muslim Brotherhood: Syria, Egypt, and Beyond | Accepting funds from the CIA - Yassamine Mather
As a prelude, Mubarak was getting on in years and it was a good PR move to support his removal and replacement by a younger leader backed by the muslim brotherhood. Western media fell over themselves to support the "revolution". Al Jazeera gushed propaganda 24/7 and no amount of western expense was spared setting up technological fixes after the internet was shut down by Mubarak. The "twitter revolution" was hailed across every PR mouthpiece of the west. The Emphasis being on "twit" if you actually believed what the likes of Al Jazeera were saying about what was going on! In the end after a few nasty skirmishes blown up to huge proportions worldwide by the power of the internet and world media, Mubarak in the end left rather tamely and everyone believed it was some sort of victory for grassroots activism. However one election and one islamist constitution and an attempted Authoritarian power grab later and the penny is starting to drop for the idealists that rallied in Tahir square. They've been had!
Related Links: Unmasking the Muslim Brotherhood: Syria, Egypt, and Beyond | Muslim Brotherhood Unleashes Bloody Crackdown In Cairo | Ongoing protests in Dublin in solidarity with the Egyptian people
Libya is now in chaos, awash with weapons and with armed militia roaming the country and sharia is on it's way. And of course there was no "no fly zone" to protect the civilians of Bani Walid from the cruel wrath of the "rebels"
Related Links: Siege of Bani Walid, Day 20: ‘Militia committing genocide’ |
Communist Party of the Irish Republic Statement on the Ungoing Massacre of Civilians in Bani Walid, Libya.
Bolstered by the tremendous success that was the ousting of Gadaffi, imperialists decided to keep up the momentum and get rid of Assad in Syria, Iran's main ally in the region. North Africa was awash with weapons after the Libya affair. Sending in a few black clad snipers to randomly shoot people at peaceful demonstrations from the rooftops really got the ball rolling. Demonstrators assumed it was the regime. The protests inflamed. It didn't help that the traditional Syrian military were not trained to deal with peaceful protests and didn't handle the situation well, acting in a somewhat heavy handed manner. Western propagandists took full advantage. The usual jihadist suspects wanting shariah law in secular multi cultural Syria poured into the country and hijacked the peaceful protests. Thus began "Libya II". Hypocrisy was unbounded in the media, terrorism that would have previously elicited shrieks of indignation was glossed over as acceptable. Atrocities commited by salafist suicide bombers passed without a murmur. Even when the FSA posted a video apparently of rabbits being gassed by chemical weapons, still no criticism was levelled at the Al Qaeda factions operating in the country.
It's ongoing at this time.
Related Links: What Has Been Happening In Syria? | Washington floats chemical weapons charge as pretext for Syria buildup | Yet Another Horrifying Amateur Video From Syria Of Fsa Atrocities Emerges Online | Syrian "rebels" Massacre 11 Prisoners in Saraqib, Syria | Free Syrian Army Targets Innocent Civilians For Supporting The Government | Iranian TV reporter Maya Nasser is killed while on air by Syrian rebel sniper in Damascus | Turkey attacks Kurds, threatens military action against Syria | Syria: Islamists gaining ground | Human Rights - Syria STOP Imperialist War against Syria
Surveillance cameras everywhere now
The issue of civil liberties worldwide continued to be an issue this year and whilst many many countries practice daily brutality and heavy blatant censorship, it is in the technical capability and deployment of systems that we see and are aware of them most in the USA. But the reason for the focus there is because whatever we see happening there will relatively quickly be deployed elsewhere like the rest of Europe including Ireland. At the same time civil liberty issue itself is transcending national borders because all our communications are effectively taking place within the global telecommunications system and the storage of our email, photos, logs of our location and other data and documents are held in the Cloud by private corporations with readily available access by well funded intelligence organisations. What is becoming apparent is that all the systems are linking up whether it is your movements via your mobile phone, your calls, your photographs with automatic face recognition, the tens of millions of street cameras worldwide, your banking and credit card transactions, your browsing and all your emails are at the disposal of Big Brother. All the pieces have been assembled and are being rapidly linked together creating a monster infrastructure giving unimaginable access and power over 100s of millions of people to those at the top of the power structure and yet the depth of this change and power is only very vaguely aware in the public consciousness. During the year Indymedia cover stories on the TrapWire
system in the USA which has elements deployed in UK and possibly elsewhere in Europe. Then Facebook
has been in the media alot mainly covering the continuing changes they make to their privacy settings and their face recognition software. There were stories on SOPA PIPA
covering the underhand techniques of media corporations and then there was the closure of torrent sites
and many others that never made it to the news.
Stratfor Hacked Emails Reveal the TrapWire System run by Private Corporations run by ex-CIA/NSA people | FBI begins installation of $1 billion face recognition system across America
The Wikileaks saga continued to rumble on and the media have decided to make Julian Assange the public face of Wikileaks. In February the released the Global Intelligence Files which consisted of of more than 5 million emails hacked from the Texas-headquartered "global intelligence" company Stratfor giving an insight into the corrupt and underhand techniques of governments and corporations worldwide.
Related Links: Feb. 27 WikiLeaks press conference: The Global Intelligence Files | Interview with Julian Assange of WikiLeaks
The Occupy movement began with Occupy Wall St on September 17th 2011 and within weeks had spread to over 2600 towns and cities in almost 80 countries worldwide. The movement, based on the ideals of economic justice, real participatory democracy and equality of all people, saw hundreds of thousands of people take to the streets in every major world city.
Occupy camps in Ireland were established in public spaces in Galway, Belfast, Dublin, Cork, Limerick and Waterford, and provided a space for the public to share and discuss information about the state of the country and the alternatives to the current political, economic and social system.
Occupy was a new kind of protest and it was proving more effective than the usual occasional marching up and down the square with placards. Instead it was a growing presence constantly disseminating information about the activities of the 1%, and in 2012 it was fast becoming an effective organising and informational hub for activism for a better society and a better world. It had to go.
The police cracked down hard on the American occupiers and kicked them out. Emboldened by this example, the Irish occupiers were swiftly removed by black clad gardai in the dead of night so nobody would see, first at 4am in Dame street, then similarly at 4am in Eyre Square Galway which was the last surviving camp.
American Autumn - A full length documentary on the occupy movement | Video: After Eviction, Outraged Occupy Dame St activists March on Pearse St Garda Station | Occupy Galway Forcibly Evicted In The Dead of Night by Gardai. | Occupy Galway (and friends!) Occupy the Labour Party Conference in Galway
Obama was re-elected for a second term.
Not that it makes a sod of difference which imperialist corporate puppet gets to lie to the American people while their armies maintain bases in 130+ countries all over the world, their financial terrorist institutions on wall street lay waste to the economic futures of all of us to line their own pockets and their vacant selfish cultural paradigm is propagated to the detriment of richer more thoughtful cultures through televisions across the world. Not all of us were fooled by the pointless theatre that constituted the latest US election cycle. But perhaps it would have been better if the silver tongued puppet had lost and the less competent liar wingnut puppet had won. It would probably make our job at indymedia trying to wake people up to their reality a little easier. Sigh! :-(
CPIR Statement on the Re-election of Barack Obama
Shell report: Boring machine
The TBM comes a cropper at the crossroads
Shell continued to be backed and subsidized by the government for the continuation of construction of the infrastructure to extract the free natural gas which was handed to them by successive corrupt officials over the years. It makes no difference that this is worth 100s of billions of euros. It also makes no difference that the government is making cutbacks on the paltry amounts for care of the disabled and infirm, for the gladly spend 10s of millions of euros for Garda overtime in Mayo so that they can be used to force through all aspects of the Shell operation. And so the saga with Shell in Mayo continues now well over a decade long with the main features that really stood out this year being shell to sea's offshore resources report and also how the tunnel boring machine (for the pipe) got stuck in the bogs. Expect something similar when they start bringing in the gas-drill rigs for Fracking as they are brought down tiny country roads. That though is for the future.
People should bear in mind that the gas processing terminal being built will be used for other gas fields also given away for free to Shell and other corporations but the government doesn't like to advertise that fact because then the penny might really drop about how comprehensive and utterly criminal the oil and gas giveaway has been. God forbid people might even rise up but then we're not like the Greeks so it is okay.
1,600 billion - Massive scale of oil giveaway revealed in Shell to Sea report |
Shell's Tunnel Boring Machine Fiasco |
'Rape Tape' Sergeant's retirement party turns sour |
17th Anniversary of Ogoni Nine marked at Shell HQ, Dublin
The threat of permanent pollution damage to the water tables over a wide area of the central North West midlands continued to loom as the Ponzi scheme that is fracking which its exponential falling production rates within 6 months of startup of a given well, continued to hang over Ireland. The famous investigator reporter Greg Palast came over to tells us Fracking is a fraud on the people and we would be mad to let it go ahead. Some of the stories from Indymedia on the issue this year were:
Greg Palast On 'Fracking' Plans For Ireland | Poland and Fracking - Lessons to be Learned - Ban Fracking In EU | Counties and Townlands in the Fracking Zones - Are You Living in a Facking Zone? Find Out Here. | Response to the article 'Frank Convery, Yvonne Scannell, Fracking and Local Credibility in Ireland' | Local Fracking Talk Brings Revelations | Open letter to the members of the 31st Dáil Éireann. Hydraulic Shale Gas Fracturing - Tamborans claims - Chemicals involved in the fracking procedure | Presentations: "The Realities of Hydraulic Fracturing" and "Fracking Inhumanity"
The time bomb in our constitution and our conservative politicians unwillingness to legislate on the findings of the supreme court despite having 20 years to do so finally came home to roost and arguably claimed the life of a young woman. It is claimed that, in great pain, she requested a termination, but action on this request was delayed because the baby still had a heartbeat. Given the uncertainty in the law, self absorbed doctors dilly dallied, no doubt fearing the retribution of god not to mention repercussions for their highly paid and privileged positions as "medical gods" if they were seen to terminate the life of an unborn child a moment prematurely merely to save the life of a lowly woman. While they dilly dallied and agonised over their careers, sepsis was likely setting in and by the time the baby's heartbeat stopped, it was too late for Savita. People took to the streets in droves as their compassion for this woman and the reality of the very real and tragic consequences of their daft, misogynistic, cruel and irrational position on this whole issue dawned on them and overcame the shrieks of the hypocritical pro life lobby for a brief time. However in typical Irish tradition, we commissioned a report then refused to deal with the issue until this report was returned, examined, stamped, filed and had gathered a sufficient layer of dust on a shelf somewhere, by which time the people would no longer be engaged with the reality of the issue and would have forgotten all about the details of the case. No doubt a suitably hefty settlement of taxpayers money will be paid out by the HSE bureaucracy without admitting any responsibility, nobody amongst the elite, either medical, political or religious will take any blame and absolutely nothing will change for vulnerable women in our society.
This supreme court ruling only dealt with a narrow range of scenarios where the life of the mother was clearly at risk. It was not even remotely attempting to grasp the nettle of allowing women the right to decide what happens to their own bodies. Clearly, in our eyes, once pregnant, a woman is nothing but a glorified incubator. Even in the case of rape or incest, the woman is still expected to carry the child of her rapist to termination.
Meanwhile, thousands of women each year will continue to travel to get their terminations in England, thus making this "ethical position" merely nothing more than a punitive tax on poorer women who cannot afford the cost of travel, accommodation and the operation. Rich women, on the other hand, will continue to view their unfortunate trip to England as a minor inconvenience. They book a first class flight online, book into a plush hotel room, and maybe catch a show in the west end and make a weekend of it. I'm sure the supreme being will be very happy with our "Irish solution to an Irish problem". However, you better all pray that the supreme being is not a woman otherwise we're all definitely going to hell!!
Woman dies after being denied a termination
Other events of note in 2012:
Fiscal compact treaty
20 years on - Action on the X Case - Public Meeting
The government very successfully using scare tactics like they did famously for the Lisbon Treaty by saying it was about "Jobs" when in fact no jobs were created, achieved victory with the Fiscal Treaty earlier this year. Through the state propaganda apparatus and with help from the government friendly capitalist media they managed to get it over the line. If you were hood-winked into voting Yes you might want to re-read some of the issues raised around this were in the article below. Of course had we voted No the government prodded by the EU would have got us to vote again just like they got us to vote twice for the Nice Treaty and Lisbon Treaties.
Article 136 TFEU amendment, the ESM and the Fiscal Compact Treaty
NAMA the agency setup by the government which was designed to help prevent a property price collapse so as to help protect bankers, developers and landlords continues to be a burden on the country. We were given vague promises that it would be used for social and community benefit but clearly this was just PR fluff as nothing of the sort happened. And so it was left to activists with the threat of arrest and harrassement by the state to try and unlock the empty NAMA buildings around the country.
Unlock NAMA occupy 66-67 Great Strand Street, Dublin
NAMA - Trying to keep property prices high