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Rossport Solidarity Campaign: Still attracting Front Page Coverage.

category mayo | arts and media | feature author Friday December 01, 2006 15:24author by Rossport Solidarity Campauthor email rossportsolidaritycamp at gmail dot com Report this post to the editors

Scan of Cover of Mail on Sunday
Camp gets fake infiltration treatment from Mail on Sunday

In new twist, campaign is now found 'guilty by dissassociation'

Last weekend saw the mainstream media continue its barrage against the Shell to Sea Campaign by selling the line of nasty outside protesters corrupting innocent, misguided locals. With radical activists joining the local community for the long haul, the Rossport Solidarity Camp's long-term presence has reduced the impact of these smears, so an article targeting the camp is a welcome development for both Shell and its Government.

The prize for being first to publish the by now traditional fake infiltration story goes to the Mail on Sunday. While the muck-raking tactics are often the same, (they 'infiltrate' an open group) by sending along a young journalist pretending to be someone who cares, this case is interesting because the journalist they hired was one Warren Swords who had written articles critical of Shell and their activities in Nigeria.

Rossport Solidarity Camp website
Shell to Sea website
Shell to Sea on RTE’s failure to publish a poll bringing bad news for Shell

This weekend saw the mainstream media continue its barrage against the Shell to Sea campaign. The Sunday independent, Sunday Times and Sunday Tribune were amongst those who attacked the campaign. The Sunday Independent personalised the issue with an attack on independent Mayo T.D. Jerry Cowley. His surgery’s collective income was selected from a list of hundreds of Doctors salaries to be singled out for attack despite being forty-fifth on the list. (This attack linked the campaign and Dr Cowley’s surgery’s collective salary. What this has to do with the shell to sea campaign is perplexing).

The Very Intrepid Journalist
One of the most vicious and personalised attacks appeared in the Mail on Sunday. The Mail on Sunday’s journalist Warren Swords or “Ross” as Rossport Solidarity Camp knew him, allegedly infiltrated the camp and proceeded to write an article attacking the camp based on outright lies, guilt by association and insinuation.

On Friday (the 17th of Nov) a man who called himself Ross arrived at the camp and was enthusiastic about the campaign claiming to be motivated by the recent police brutality. He left the next day. He returned on Monday (the 20th of Nov). Like everyone who comes to the area expressing an interest in the campaign he was welcomed onto the camp. We found him an amiable person. He left on Thursday. The next we heard of “Ross” was when we saw the article in the Mail on Sunday written by Ross’s alter ego Warren Swords.

The Facts
The article was primarily based on outright lies. First of all, at no point did Mr. Swords admit in the article he gave a fake name and lied about his true identity. Secondly he implies he infiltrated the camp. This is impossible. To infiltrate something implies that the organisation is secretive and closed. Rossport Solidarity Camp is an open camp. All are welcomed as long as they abide by the camp guidelines such as no drinking on site, no individualist actions etc.

The thrust of the article was also based on insinuation and guilt by association or disassociation as the case may be. The story opened on page two under the headline ”Guerrilla war threat by Shell protestors”, it continued on page thirteen and fourteen under the banner of “Are you up for Direct Action?” It even gained a mention in the editorial under the caption of “Finish the protest”. In total the story occupies over two full pages.

On page two readers were treated to the escapades of Mr Swords in his time “undercover” in Rossport. He opens his “expose” against the camp saying that we are going to launch a similar style attack on Shell as was waged by the SHAC campaign against Huntington Life Sciences- an allegation which is baseless and without truth. The attack opens ironically by acknowledging the non-violent nature of the camp but still goes into enormous detail of the Huntington life sciences campaign. The link between the Shell to Sea campaign and the campaign around Huntington Life Sciences is unknown to everyone with the exception of Mr Swords. Its relevance to Rossport is still baffling; he starts by distancing the camp from violence but presumably in an attempt to find guilt by association or in this case guilt by disassociation he writes about it extensively anyway. The link between the SHAC campaign and Shell to sea is imaginary.

Guilty by Disassociation
This tactic of guilt by disassociation continued in the second article on page fourteen. Mr Swords cunningly asked the camp what about Michael McDowell’s assertions of the Provisional IRA’s involvement hoping to get a scoop. When he received the sarcastic answers of “bollox if the Provo’s were involved we’d be better organised” Mr Swords was no doubt disappointed. This did not stop his sub-editors continuing an attempt to damage us by association with the IRA by highlighting this quote. At this stage it is needless to further refute the allegations of IRA hijacking. If anyone reads the Sunday Independent, they will be aware that according to the Mass Media there isn’t anything or anyone (except maybe Michael McDowell) in Ireland that isn’t under control of the Republican Bogeyman in the form of the IRA.

The editor even joined in this angle of attack. In the editorial under the “Finish the Protest” caption it is acknowledged that we are peaceful but they decide to have a go anyway in a train of thought along the lines “ah sure what the hell; they could in a parallel universe so they will”. The logic of this is hilarious. It’s like saying some people are violent therefore all will probably be violent. They seem to be operating of the principle of guilt until proven innocent.

Mr. Swords’ second major front of attack was insinuation. The headline of the article on page fourteen is “Are You Up For Direct Action?” The insinuation was that direct action is something bad. Anyone who has ever gone on strike, supports Gandhi or the Dunne’s stores strikes against apartheid will know direct action is nothing to fear. Presumably at best Mr. Swords does not understand the term and at worst intentionally misrepresents it in an attempt to fabricate a story out of nothing.

A common device in the article was to criticise the camps discussions that mentioned potential protests at sub contractor’s offices. He implies that this tactic is somehow very sinister. The tactic of secondary protesting is in fact an accepted form of protest. The highly popular Dunes Stores strikes against the apartheid regime in South Africa were a form of secondary protest. This illustrates clearly that any projects such as the Corrib gas project is not solely the responsibility of major partners such as Shell but in reality all companies must be held accountable for their involvement. You can’t get off in court by saying, “the robbery was his idea – I was only following orders”.

Fantasy Journalism
Throughout the article there is also insinuation that Rossport Solidarity Camp is at odds with the community campaign in Erris. There is no evidence or quotes from the camp or members of the local Erris community to substantiate the claim. Ironically the only fact used about the camp’s relationship with the community is that a community campaigner gave people from the camp a lift to the picket. This points to the true nature of relations between the camp and the community – one of a collective struggle in solidarity with each other. Shell, the government and the media have at length tried to depict an image of a campaign divided between all the varying groups. Nothing could be further from the truth. Shell to Sea enjoys a healthy level of debate on tactics. (The media and Mr. Swords in this case tried to parallel debate with division; most people would call this democracy at work.)

The Solidarity camp is an integrated part of the community campaign and engages in action only with local support and participation. This is fact, far too boring a reality to make a newspaper article so Mr Swords fabricated a claim to depict the more sensational story of division and tension.

The article continues along the vain of insinuation when Mr Swords claimed that “professional protestors” from England are currently trying to hijack the campaign. This is based on the fact that two individuals arrived from England to show solidarity. Mr Swords totally misunderstands the Shell to Sea campaign if he honestly thinks two individuals could constitute a hijacking of the campaign. Incidentally these people have since left and are two people in a stream of many visitors the camp has had from all over the world coming to show solidarity with the community.

Another major insinuation is that the campaign is now over. We have apparently lost. This is encapsulated in the caption of the editorial “Finish the protest”. Firstly the fact that the Mail on Sunday decided we are worthy of two pages shows the campaign is far from over and the media are well aware of this. The media is desperately trying to manipulate facts as shown on the Primetime “debate” and the RTE/Irish Independent/Red pole published last Thursday evening. The media at this stage have to phrase questions so they get answers they want. Even then the Irish independent had to manipulate the results of their loaded questions to get the answers required by Sir Anthony O Reilly.

Primetime went as far as to exclude the most telling question in their pole, which was “Do you support Shell to Sea” in which a majority stated they did. If the campaign was over why is there still such a large Garda presence maintained at the gates of Bellinaboy and why is there such a high level of media interest?

In an absence of finding any evidence of wrong doing at the camp beyond possessing a library of one hundred and eighty books, Mr Swords launched into personal attacks. He attacked the personal appearance of those staying at camp. As with most personal attacks it descended into a farce when Mr Swords comments that one women’s handwriting is “childlike”. He commented on the lack of a welcome despite the fact that he was fed, given a space to stay welcomed into our meetings and brought out socialising with people staying on the camp.

We at Rossport Solidarity camp aren’t surprised by the attack and are well aware that sections of the corporate media are far more able than Mr Swords to personally attack individuals and tell bare faced lies about the camp. However we are warmed by the fact we know the community of Erris are aware how low the corporate media will sink to attack people. Whilst this article has attacked individuals and the camp as a group our resolve remains as strong as ever and the camp will remain the open welcoming space we have always strived to make it over the past seventeen months.

Related Link: http://www.rossportsolidaritycamp.com

The Ultra-Secretive Camp
The Ultra-Secretive Camp

author by nonepublication date Wed Nov 29, 2006 15:14author address author phone Report this post to the editors

http://www.gcd.ie/index.jsp?1nID=108&nID=283&aID=460

So you'll recognise him the next time he inflitrates your field.

Seems so. He wrote an article here about Nigeria and Oil.
http://www.mongrel.ie/issue14/july05pp20.php
But he seems to type that would have taken payment to join the rush to slander the Ogoni there too if allowed to play undercover, while pretending to be above all the media hackery.

author by W, Finnerty.publication date Wed Nov 29, 2006 15:53author address author phone Report this post to the editors

"If these figures are correct, or anywhere near it, O'Reilly stands to make a personal profit of €1.4 billion without adding any value whatsoever to the licence he obtained (for the princely sum of €11,000 two years ago)."

"So how did Mr O’Reilly get such a lucrative hold over the country’s oil and gas wealth? He told Forbes magazine, in an unusually unguarded interview, in September 1983, that his geologist had chosen six blocks of seabed for exploration."

“Since I own 35 per cent of the newspapers in Ireland I have close contact with the politicians. I got the blocks he wanted.” That’s how.

"As is the fact that a spokesperson for the Taoiseach (Prime Minister Ahern TD) recently told a prominent Dublin journalist that he was 'terrified' of O’Reilly’s other newspaper, the Sunday Independent."

The above pieces of text have been copied from the following Indymedia (Ireland) location:
http://www.indymedia.ie/article/76312

Article 10.1 of Bunreacht na hEireann (Constitution of the Republic of Ireland) states:

"All natural resources, including the air and all forms of potential energy, within the jurisdiction of the Parliament and Government established by this Constitution and all royalties and franchises within that jurisdiction belong to the State subject to all estates and interests therein for the time being lawfully vested in any person or body."

Related Link: http://www.europeancourtofhumanrightswilliamfinnerty.com/
author by Sean Mpublication date Thu Nov 30, 2006 13:16author address author phone Report this post to the editors

It is quite interesting from the point of view that the author Warren Swords. He wrote an article very critical of journalism and parasite journalism in particular http://www.mongrel.ie/issue19/wtf19.php He has also written about Shells record in the Niger delta. www.mongrel.ie/issue14/july05pp20.php
He also contributed an article to the village on the dire state of the filipino health servise as due to the fact so many nurses were coming to Ireland http://www.villagemagazine.ie/article.asp?aid=1781&iid=...ud=35. Its surprising he would write this article then?
Its a common trend that critical journalists seem to be attracted to supporting shell. One has to wonder what is the reason?
As late as 1999 John Egan (current shell spokesman) was a BBC journalist in Nigeria reporting on the plight of the Niger Delta's poor in the mid 1990's
http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/programmes/crossing_continen...3.stm
http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/special_report/1998/11/98/cr...2.stm
He also reported on the execution of Ken Saro Wiwa.
It's clear what Egan's incentive was.

The camp has a response to the article at http://www.indymedia.ie/article/79937.

This appeared inside the front cover
This appeared inside the front cover

This is the article continued on page 14
This is the article continued on page 14

author by Clarepublication date Thu Nov 30, 2006 18:39author address Dublinauthor phone Report this post to the editors

Any chance of getting the text of this article?
Thanks.

author by Indybotpublication date Thu Nov 30, 2006 18:50author address author phone Report this post to the editors

If you click on the images you will get a high-resolution version which is easy to read.

author by Joepublication date Thu Nov 30, 2006 19:46author address author phone Report this post to the editors

This is pretty typical scumbag journalism, guy turns up, gets food and accommadation and thanks people by quoting them out of context in a way intended to make them appear naive and sinister at the same time. Journalists writing this sort of story are fully aware of what there doing and whose interests they are serving.

Ever see a story about from a 'journalist' who infiltrates a Finna Fail cumann to reveal they are a gang of back slappers subverting democracy and lining their pockets? Nah, sure you wouldn't want to risk offending people that actually have power would you?

author by Media Cynicpublication date Fri Dec 01, 2006 02:35author address author phone Report this post to the editors

I would suggest that anybody reading this article print off lots of copies, bring them with you to your local shop next Sunday and gently insert same between the pages of that day's Mail on Sunday. That way regular readers just might have a chance to read the other side.

author by Anonpublication date Fri Dec 01, 2006 06:05author address author phone Report this post to the editors

I'll not do no more undercover - it stinks!

warren_swords.jpg

author by R. Isiblepublication date Fri Dec 01, 2006 16:11author address author phone Report this post to the editors

To some extent the journalist is just irrelevant, and from what's observable publically (e.g. http://www.mercuryserver.com/forums/archive/index.php/t....html or http://www.travellerspoint.com/member_profile.cfm?user=...oogie ) Warren appears to be suffering from self-esteem issues and refers to himself as a wanker. This is largely incidental to the functional role he has served in putting his name to what is largely made up, but is possibly why he is manipulable (well , that and the odd few quid).

Obviously the story was written in essentials before he even got to the camp. This is the role of journalists working for corporate media: to add local colour details to preformed narratives which are repeated to the public. By sending a flunkey to Rossport the public is shown what appears to be the reassuring ritual of an independent investigator gathering facts. This probably isn't very different from what he did in the other stories that people mentioned, e.g. travel around with Concern in Africa. The thought process and behaviour is the same: understand what you're there for implicitly, put the money in the bank, churn out some turgid prose mixed with as much self-promotion as you can stick in, add a few details to satisfy the bit you remember from your journalism classes about facts, turn over to editor.

Don't forget as well, wringing your hands over injustice is fine in Ireland, in fact it's encouraged, it shows you to be a good, pious, moral person. It's best if the injustice is somewhere foreign, but as long as it's distant and there's no chance of it getting sorted out. People sorting it out for themselves though are to be deplored and are mostly terrorists.

author by Etain - Shell To Sea Sligopublication date Fri Dec 01, 2006 16:29author address author phone Report this post to the editors


The Media are going overboard on this campaign, has anyone checked out today's Daily Mail

Headline: Corrib protestors' dirty war: locals quizzed at roadblocks and off - duty gardai spied on.

Where is your proof, do you have photographs/evidence to back your statements?

How low can you go?

What I would like to ask the Daily Mail's Rebecca Kiernan, where are you getting your facts from? are you sure they are accurate?, as a reporter you have a duty to report the truth not hearsay.

Mark Garavan has already described Supt. Joe Gannon's comments as ' very disturbing' and a slur on the local people.

Bar one unbiased article I read a few weeks ago, the media coverage of the Shell To Sea campaign has been disgraceful, just look at Frank Fitzgibbon's articleThe Arrogance of the Shell To Sea protestors is truly astonishing, Sunday Times Nov 26th, 2006.

Related Link: http://www.thevillagemagazine.ie
author by Labour Youthpublication date Fri Dec 01, 2006 17:03author address author phone Report this post to the editors

There will be a protest at 1 pm outside Independent News Head quaters on Talbot Street near Connolly Station over their biased coverage of Shell to Sea.

Related Link: http://www.indymedia.ie/article/79919
author by Deirdre Clancy - AWI (personal capacity)publication date Fri Dec 01, 2006 18:05author address author phone Report this post to the editors

Thanks to the Rossport Solidarity Camp for a well-written and engaging account.

"Don't forget as well, wringing your hands over injustice is fine in Ireland, in fact it's encouraged, it shows you to be a good, pious, moral person. It's best if the injustice is somewhere foreign, but as long as it's distant and there's no chance of it getting sorted out. People sorting it out for themselves though are to be deplored and are mostly terrorists."

I couldn't agree more with R. Isible's comment. There is a huge double standard in this country. It's okay to make blanket calls to support armed resistance abroad, no matter what the nature of that resistance is; or in the more moderate camp, to talk about fighting injustice. People flock to see Daniel Berrigan speak; politicians scramble to associate themselves with Nelson Mandela. But when the Rossport camp does non-violent civil disobdience (or any other campaign does it), people go out of their way to turn on them and criticise their 'strategy', or to call peaceful protests 'violent'. It's NIMBYism. The same type of people would have been scoffing at the ANC and calling them terrorists when they were actually at the height of their existence as political dissidents.

This journalist who visited the camp appears to be a wannabe Brendan O'Connor or Ian O'Doherty. This deplorable school of journalism is all about creating a profile as a right-wing contrarian for the sake of it, rather than actually seeking truth. Thankfully, the independent media is increasingly a force to be reckoned with, as people are beginning to realise the shortcomings of all the mainstream outlets being owned and controlled by a handful of people. This is shown in the increasing popularity of, not just open publishing sites like Indymedia, but also Democracy Now, CounterPunch, etc. The tide of public disgust that forced Murdoch to pull his incredibly tasteless and offensive OJ Simpson deal (where Simpson was to describe how he would have murdered his wife 'if' he had done it) is a sign of the times. There are limits to the tastelessness and tabloidism that the general public will take in the longer term. Increasingly, people will start to vote with their feet, thanks to the realisation that there are alternatives and to the freedom accorded to them by the Internet and increasing IT literacy. It may take time, and it may be a long battle, but it will happen incrementally.

It's not as if quality is a huge advantage for the mainstream outlets anymore. They're getting sloppier and sloppier on their sub-editing, for example (have you seen the Sunday Tribune lately? They don't know seem to know the difference between 'it's' and 'its' and 'you're' and 'your' these days), while the independent media are getting better in that sense (where it was once incredibly weak). I suspect this is to do with the race to the bottom in terms of working conditions for people working in the mainstream media sector. But, over time, these quality issues - while they may seem trivial - do affect public perception of these outlets and make them suspicious of the veracity of the content. There are many people dedicated now to strengthening the independent media, who are talented and able, and feel passionately about it. This is to be welcomed; it will soon reach a critical mass, I believe, where the corporate print media are seriously under threat.

author by SFMpublication date Sat Dec 02, 2006 00:03author address author phone Report this post to the editors



As to often on Indymedia we have people misunderstanding who the press works. This young journalist may well have filed an article very different to the one that appeared. To become editorial staff in newspapers, particularly such disgraceful publications as the Mail and Independent newspapers you will generally find that you must be one of he lowest pole creeping specimens of ‘humanity’ that can be got. They would take great pleasure in turning a story filed by a possibly well intentioned young freelance into a work such as this. Posters here live under the misconception that journalists are anything more than copy writers with no control over the end product - a classic case of exploitation in the Marxist sense of being estranged from the product of your labours. Generally then a young journalist has the opportunity of leaving any morals they may have, made all the easier by personalised rants such as we have seen here, or give up journalism. There are currently no papers in this country that have anything nearing a left of centre view point - although the Examiner maybe attempting to take this place vacated by the Irish Times. So please play the ball i.e. the media businesses which suck in damage and fuck out demoralised young journalists, ably assisted by greasy poll editorial, managerial etc types and a young man who maybe as upset about this piece of propaganda that his name has be degraded by being associated with as any of you.

author by aspertopublication date Sat Dec 02, 2006 01:50author address author phone Report this post to the editors

It's true, he may have been subbed, and badly misrepresented at that, but the fact is that he lied when he arrived at the camp. He could have said he was a journalist, instead he chose to lie.

If he has problems with what has been written under his name, then he should come forward and say so, otherwise we can only assume that he his happy top stand over the cynical nonsense he wrote he wrote, which seeks to damage the camp.

author by R. Isiblepublication date Sat Dec 02, 2006 02:34author address author phone Report this post to the editors

The only thing being "played like a ball" is the people of Rossport who are being kicked back and forth between the Gardai and "demoralised young journalists" who misrepresent themselves to the peaceful, open, friendly people at the camp and then put their names to rubbish like the above. Next thing you know you'll be telling me http://www.indymedia.ie/article/63353 that the editors are to be pitied because they're drunk.

If Spoogie has been misrepresented by his editor then it seems that he's got grounds for a good action against his employer for either altering his work without his permission or falsifying the attribution. No doubt the NUJ will be keen to back him up on it, I'll be only too happy to see myself proved wrong.

Recognise this http://www.indymedia.ie/article/63353#comment61626 comment? "It's not our fault we only get paid for putting our name on lies." Most journalists are just stenographers to the powerful, adding verisimilitude to timeworn propaganda by embellishing it with contemporary local details.

I'll be the first to apologies to The Spooge if I see a public rebuttal and distancing from the article.

author by SFMpublication date Sat Dec 02, 2006 03:02author address author phone Report this post to the editors

“Most journalists are just stenographers to the powerful, adding verisimilitude to timeworn propaganda by embellishing it with contemporary local details.”

I couldn’t agree with you more. To attack this young fella is pointless, he made a mistake, if he owns up to it then he should be allowed off. The problem here is the invasion of Ireland by a publication that is just an arm of the most reactionary elements of the British establishment. Get the Mail out of Ireland. We have enough problems already with our home grown rubbish that is the Independent Group. As for the NUJ being able to do anything about this, I’m afraid we don’t live in 70’s Britain. The NUJ is fighting for it’s own survival in Ireland at the moment and has no real power in such cases.

author by Elisa O'Dpublication date Sat Dec 02, 2006 15:16author address author phone Report this post to the editors

I read the article last weekend and I really dont see what all the fuss is about here.I actually found it quite intresting and an insight into the rossport camp.

"The article was primarily based on outright lies. First of all, at no point did Mr. Swords admit in the article he gave a fake name and lied about his true identity. "

I think the readers guessed this. He was hardly going to tell you he was an undercover reporter as he wanted to get a view of the camp from a 'normal' persons perspective. Would his stay at the rossport camp have been differnt if he had told you his real name and reason for being there?How so?Do you not welcome everyone the same?
I like the way in your synopsis you disregard the part where Mr swords himself is told by the Rossport camp to infiltrate the local shell recruitment meeting?

"Secondly he implies he infiltrated the camp. "

I didnt get this implication at all. He tells us exactly how he got to the camp and that people collected him. His article definatly didnt seem like it was some sort of undercover camp.
I like the way in your synopsis you disregard the part where Mr swords himself infiltrate the local shell recruitment meeting and is told to go undercover for the Rossport camp.At the moment you are just reeking of double standards.

" Mr Swords cunningly asked the camp what about Michael McDowell’s assertions of the Provisional IRA’s involvement hoping to get a scoop."

He was asking an intresting question that many people want an answer to. Fair play to him for asking the shell to sea camp directly its a pity he was only met with sarcasm .

"The editor even joined in this angle of attack. In the editorial under the “Finish the Protest” caption it is acknowledged that we are peaceful but they decide to have a go anyway in a train of thought along the lines “ah sure what the hell; they could in a parallel universe so they will”. The logic of this is hilarious. It’s like saying some people are violent therefore all will probably be violent. They seem to be operating of the principle of guilt until proven innocent."

That is you logic and you summing up what YOU felt the editorial said. If you want us to take you seriously do not put words in the daily mails mouth which you are continually doing.

"Mr. Swords’ second major front of attack was insinuation. The headline of the article on page fourteen is “Are You Up For Direct Action?” The insinuation was that direct action is something bad.."

The headline really didnt strike me as thus.Its a headline for gods sake all headlines are striking.What do you suggest him to write t'A lovely day out in the irish countryside at the roosport camp'...boring!It is you that is insinuating that the headline direct action suggests something bad.To me,a reader, It means that the community of Rossport want to take a action against shell injustices

"Throughout the article there is also insinuation that Rossport Solidarity Camp is at odds with the community campaign in Erris. There is no evidence or quotes from the camp or members of the local Erris community to substantiate the claim. Ironically the only fact used about the camp’s relationship with the community is that a community campaigner gave people from the camp a lift to the picket. This points to the true nature of relations between the camp and the community – one of a collective struggle in solidarity with each other. Shell, the government and the media have at length tried to depict an image of a campaign divided between all the varying groups. Nothing could be further from the truth. Shell to Sea enjoys a healthy level of debate on tactics. )"

So you admit yourself that there is debate on what tactics are to be used by the shell to sea campaign?So Mr swords is infact correct in his article that there is dividing opinions to what methods should be used?

To be honest the fact that someone put his picture up here is really poor show and speaks volume about the people that are involved in the shell to sea campaign.

author by peaceful protestorpublication date Sat Dec 02, 2006 15:23author address author phone Report this post to the editors

The 'Mail' is just as entitled to print partisan copy as is Indymedia. That's the price we pay for living in a liberal democracy.

'Infiltration journalism' has an honoured tradition. I can remember one such journalist in Germany who 'infiltrated' a major bank in that country and exposed the systematic stealing from, and exploitation of, their customers. The ensuing documentary was truely hilarious. Major chemical-companies, bureaucracies, and the military have all been on the receiving-end of infiltration journalism.

However, it seems that when the sacred cows of the fringe-left are on the receiving-end of the same sort of investigation the tactic is somehow unfair. Tough. If you don't like it go and live in North Korea where this nasty sort of thing doesn't happen.

In fact, one wonders why the Mail bothered. A quick browse through the columns of Indymedia would have told them exactly who the 'outside' protestors are - the usual suspects who gravitate towards every protest everywhere.

There is a real news story in there which isn't been aired either by Indymedia or the Mail. A large group of the local protestors were responsible for forcing the S2S campaign to call off the subsequent day of action because of their concerns at what had happened. They are determined to reclaim their campaign from the entryists who have done them so much harm, and ensure that outsiders only participate on the condition that they obey the decisions and directions of the local organizers. There is now a veritable struggle going on within the S2S committee. What is at issue is control.

author by Deirdre Clancy - AWI (personal capacity)publication date Sat Dec 02, 2006 17:16author address author phone Report this post to the editors

I have no problem with infiltration journalism in and of itself. It can be extremely effective and necessary, and certainly I'd rather it was done than not done (for instance, in relation to the Leas Cross situation). You are deliberately misrepresenting people's objections. Firstly, this guy didn't infiltrate anything - the camp was open to everybody. Secondly, quality infiltration journalism would actually provide factual accuracy, instead of making up the facts from nothing, and making sensationalist, untrue claims.

With regard to the claims about peaceful versus violent protests, and the locals versus their supporters, I posit that 'peaceful protestor' is someone with a vested interest in undermining the campaign. We know that one of the tactics used to undermine campaigns is to try to divide and conquer by talking about 'a small minority' of 'violent' protestors, as opposed to the 'good' peaceful protestors, to try to create divisions. Before you do this, as documented by Naomi Klein in her very good essay 'Fencing in the Movement', you first endeavour to a) normalise police violence so that public outrage about it becomes ever more muted and b) erase the distinction between civil disobedience and violence in the public consciouness.

It is not violent to block a road. It might annoy people and delay them, but it is not violent. It is violent, however, to beat people with batons as they are blocking a road.

author by Deirdre Clancy - AWI (personal capacity)publication date Sat Dec 02, 2006 17:24author address author phone Report this post to the editors

To Elisa - you have made an unsubstantiated claim about the Shell to Sea people putting Mr Sword's photo up on Indymedia. This is an open publishing site, which gets thousands of hits a week. Anybody could have put this photo up.

I would suggest also that, if this photo was available on the Web already, what did you expect? Do you think, for one minute, that people in various campaigns who read this site would actually feel it is ethically problematic to out this person? Many of us would feel it is ethically necessary to do so, if the means exist, to protect other campaigns from similarly scurrilous falsehoods being written about them.

author by gdidpublication date Mon Dec 04, 2006 10:16author address author phone Report this post to the editors

Extract from a previous article by Swords;

"Everyone knows about Shell Oil Limited being fantastic neighbours but Nigerians living in Ireland may be best placed to empathise with our Rossport farmers. Petroleum was first discovered in Nigeria’s Niger Delta in 1958 by Shell. In 1970 the Ogoni, whose land were rich in oil handed a petition to the local Military Governor stating that Shell and BP were seriously threatening their well-being"

His piece on the camp was either sub-edited to pieces, which does happen, or he is trying to prove himself at the Daily Mail by being an unethical journo.

author by chrissiepublication date Thu Dec 07, 2006 21:11author address author phone Report this post to the editors

Infiltration journalism is justified if journalists stick to the truth; this is not the case with 'Mr Sword's' article.

author by Sorren Wordspublication date Thu Sep 30, 2010 18:13author address author phone Report this post to the editors

Here is another picture of the intrepid Warren Swords- keep an eye out for him in case he tries to do any more "undercover" journalism for the Daily Hate or whatever rag he is writing for now

Warren Swords
Warren Swords

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