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2012 - The Year that was

category national | miscellaneous | feature author Monday December 31, 2012 18:28author by various Report this post to the editors

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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.

Some background:

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!.



Egypt:

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!


Libya:

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"



Syria:

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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.


Civil Liberties

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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 like Megaupload and many others that never made it to the news.

Wikileaks

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.

Occupy Movement
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.



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! :-(



Shell report: Boring machine
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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.



Fracking

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:


Savita Halappanavar

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Savita Halappanavar
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!!


Other events of note in 2012:

Fiscal compact treaty
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
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.

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NAMA - Trying to keep property prices high
Unlock NAMA occupy 66-67 Great Strand Street, Dublin

author by Zionism=Nazismpublication date Tue Jan 01, 2013 23:07Report this post to the editors

What's with all the "Communist Party" press releases being treated as "news"?

If Indymedia is now merely reduced to being a mouthpiece for the CPIR it REALLY has lost all credibility

No "alternative media" outlet that aims to have any integrity should allow themselves to be used as a mouthpiece for ANY political party, let alone one that does not represent more than a minuscule number of people in Ireland - since the CPIR has no representative in Dail Eireann, or anywhere else to my knowledge, it cannot be said to represent anything other than the tiny number of people that make up it's membership - therefore it has no democratic mandate whatsoever

If this is how Indymedia.ie intends to continue then it will shortly lose the greatly reduced readership it currently has left

author by wageslave - (personal capacity)publication date Wed Jan 02, 2013 07:19Report this post to the editors

For the umpteenth time...

This is meant to be a self publishing website.
It's up to the public to write the articles.
What appears here is whatever is self published by them.
Indymedia is as good or as bad as the articles published.

If you think there should be a story here then WRITE IT.

author by Chestnut - Citizen Journalismpublication date Wed Jan 02, 2013 14:19Report this post to the editors

Wageslave, if I am correct you have been with Indymedia for over a decade now.

The previous posting makes a good comment but what this site lacks at present is that diversity of writers at other times on the site.

Do we know what the readership of Indymedia is?

Indymedia took a direct hit when people started up their own blogs and talk about town was the like of Indymedia had little or no future. But contrary to opinion - it exists, people write, ok it may lead to narrow interests but there are views expressed and people read and respond. Blogs are fine but after a while they become demanding on the bloggers, they need to be updated with discipline frequently and are often one dimensional, ie about the person's subjective view. There is a great kick getting the added dimension of pure difference of opinion which Indymedia and sites like it often provide. Indymedia could have the diversity of citizen journalism spread that you find in the Phoenix or Private Eye.

Google gains massively from exposure to Indymedia articles written in the past, as we all know. Google in Tara, the Peace Process, Health Service, Mental Health, Suicide, Corruption, CAB, Corrib, Brian Rossiter, Police Corruption, Cronyism and the old articles are there and it is citizen journalism at its best - it is the person who walks the streets and takes time to notice what is really happening and then takes time to write it up.

Paula Geraghty was a great contributor to Indymedia Ireland. The final programme in the series of Vincent Browne TV3 dealt with awards for citizen journalism but for some unknown reason Indymedia was not mentioned, as is always the case. However, Paula was commended for her work and rightly so.

Data mining is the new industry on data that is about to hum. Is there a way to clean up existing printed articles on Indymedia similar to entering data on wiki-pedia. Given that this is January and is often assigned as the organisation month, it might be a good place to start and then actively encourage people to join Indymedia and write as you say.

I hope sincerely that Indymedia can encourage people to continue to write, can enhance their readership, and continue without the snide comments that it is on its way out. Diversity is essential to the spectrum surely.

All the best for 2013

author by JoeMcpublication date Thu Jan 03, 2013 11:45Report this post to the editors

Paula Geraghty would probably have a pure difference of opinion with you regarding the usefulness of this site . Paula actually proposed the closing of Indymedia Ireland in August 2010 . She said that it was a "corpse that died a long time ago" ,called it a" crappy indymedia without activist involvement"and "an albatross on the left" that was of "no use to anyone" .

This didn't of course stop her from continuing to censor comments and stories from other people , banning posters who didn't agreee with her point of view and generally exercising her rights as an indymedia editor.

author by Chestnut - Citizen Journalismpublication date Thu Jan 03, 2013 15:34Report this post to the editors

Joe Mac

This makes the Indymedia position and lack of profile so clear. There quite evidently has been considerable dissent and your comments about Paula Gerraghty's view of Indymedia and yet her continued interference suggests to me that we need the collective to develop policy, to put to bed that little Green Monster called jealousy and get Indymedia back in shape.

Bullying is the topic of social media these days. It concerns children in schools and ministers in Government. Indymedia cannot plead innocence on this. People given control over what get's published inherently have a power over others and what is essential is an awareness from within the collective to stamp out unfair practise. Many talented writers left the site because their postings were judged not on merit but with hostility and bullying commentary in the Hidden List.

Jesse Jackson once said 'Never look down on anyone, unless you are helping them up'. It is 2013, a new day dawns and Indymedia the 'beast' has the makings of a Rolls Royce engine in citizen journalism if only the organisers, the writers, the contributors can work together.

Ireland is deep in recession. Media is on the floor be it RTE or TV3 fighting the competition from the US to the UK from Bloomberg to Time magazine.

What can we do to preserve this open channel. This month the Oireachtas are to put in place a special committee to oversee social media. This will no doubt jeopardise freedom of expression and the right to free speech which are core to democracy and the Rule of Law and we need the diversity that Indymedia provides to add to the flow of information in our society.

The contributors, the writers after all, are giving time and not asking for money but then this creates its own jealousy from 'paid' journalists who feel that their ability to earn money is being undermined.

Jonathan Swift could not write in his own name as Dean of St Patrick and Provost in Trinity College in the 1600's. However he knew enough to know that his ability to write and the poverty and injustice that surrounded him gave him the moral and ethical impetus to write using pseudonyms.

Again it is 2013 and there is a job to be done.

Is there a way forward? Blogs are fine but interaction and diversity is limited. The personal discipline often falters and you find peoples annual blogs incomplete stopping in say April of the 2012 year. Indymedia and search Tara Corruption CAB Peace and the North of Ireland Syria Iraq Shannon Corrib and the embers are always there to light up the fire again because human rights, civil rights morals are core components of what non paid citizen journalism is all about.

An old Chestnut

author by JoeMcpublication date Fri Jan 04, 2013 09:02Report this post to the editors

Good points from Chestnut - a genuinely independent media is surely needed now more than ever, especially in light of the report carried here today:http://www.indymedia.ie/article/103046?comment_limit=0&...93978 .

But the indymedia ireland collective itself is far too narrowly based at the moment ; the site needs to turn outwards if it is to reflect the diversity of opinion that Chestnut demands. When writers like Brian Clarke are actively discouraged from contributing , for instance, it's no wonder that this feature article makes no mention of the continued incarceration of Marion Price. Why are there never any appeals for people to join the collective ?

author by wageslave - (personal capacity)publication date Fri Jan 04, 2013 12:15Report this post to the editors

Time and availability of people to write prevented much of what we would have liked to include appearing in this article. It is far from complete or perfect.

Anyone wishing to supplement the above article with relevant material from 2012 we did not manage to cover, can freely post an introductory paragraph or two on the topic and some related indymedia links here in the comments section.

Joe, we welcome an introductory paragraph and a few decent links to indymedia articles highlighting the predicament of Marion Price. Care to actually write one here instead of just using your energy and writing skills to criticise and undermine?

author by JoeMcpublication date Fri Jan 04, 2013 20:08Report this post to the editors

I know that you are busy and that you have your own priorities . You should then have asked readers to contribute to the 2012 news round-up -that's the point I was making in my last comment. Here are a couple of paragraphs .

Marian Price remained in prison throughout 2012.. In February the 58 year old republican was transfered from Maghaberry prison to the female wing of Hydebank Prison. Human rights activists say that her continued detention amounts to internment by remand .

Several marches and pickets calling for the veteran republican's release were attended by republicans,
socialists and those concerned with human rights during the course of the year. Marian Price is currently gravely ill both physically and psychologically, and confined to a hospital bed under 24 hour guard by prison officers.
http://www.indymedia.ie/article/102801
http://www.indymedia.ie/article/102303
http://www.indymedia.ie/article/102653?search_text=mari...price
http://www.indymedia.ie/article/102499?search_text=mari...price
http://www.indymedia.ie/openwire?search_text=marian+pri...&y=14

author by wageslave - (personal capacity)publication date Fri Jan 04, 2013 23:31Report this post to the editors

Thanks for that Joe.

Any other important topics from 2012 we may have missed that people would like to post a paragraph or two on and some related indy article links to like Joe just did, please feel free to do so. We welcome it. ( However we're NOT interested in more criticisms of the site or editorial comments!! )
EDIT: or pro / anti zionist bunfights!
rather than hiding as off topic, I've moved those comments to a better home here:
How to lie for Israel
it has some top tips for Contrarian to read in between commenting. Probably seen them already though! ;-)

author by W. Finnertypublication date Wed Jan 09, 2013 06:40Report this post to the editors

"Our failure (ongoing!!) to put into practice the 1948 United Nations "teaching and education" recommendations made in the final paragraph of the PREAMBLE at: http://www.un.org/en/documents/udhr/index.shtml ?"

From: http://www.indymedia.ie/article/102060#comment293440

"Now, Therefore THE GENERAL ASSEMBLY proclaims THIS UNIVERSAL DECLARATION OF HUMAN RIGHTS as a common standard of achievement for all peoples and all nations, to the end that every individual and every organ of society, keeping this Declaration constantly in mind, shall strive by teaching and education to promote respect for these rights and freedoms and by progressive measures, national and international, to secure their universal and effective recognition and observance, both among the peoples of Member States themselves and among the peoples of territories under their jurisdiction."

From: http://humanrightsireland.com/DrMiriamOCallaghan/30Nove...l.htm

Related Link:
"Humanity's biggest blunder to date?, Human Rights Ireland"
http://tinyurl.com/asf852f

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