Like everyone else in Ireland, I was driven to rage by the recordings of three senior executives in Anglo-Irish bank discussing how to blackmail our government into handing over public money to rescue their scam. When I heard one of these tools singing the Nazi anthem, I wanted to put my fist through the radio, since it wasn’t possible to punch the half-wit himself, but that was just a visceral unthinking reaction. After I had a chance to reflect on it,, I began to wonder if my feelings had been manipulated.
Why do I say this?
Two reasons. One reason is the involvement of Paul Williams, the self-publicising crime reporter, and the other is the name of the newspaper that published the story: the Irish Independent. Neither of these things promotes confidence.
Am I saying that the tapes are a fraud? No, I’m not. They’re genuine enough. What I’m saying is this. There must be thousands and thousands of hours of recordings, and yet somebody managed to distill these conversations down to the few minutes we heard in the last week. That was quite an achievement and it must have taken a great amount of work.
Who went through these recordings and who leaked the results?
There aren’t too many possibilities. It was either somebody within Anglo, an employee of IBRC, an employee of NAMA, or a Garda source . The first three options might easily be the same person but of course, we don’t know.
Why leak these recordings right now, just as the Irish presidency of the EU draws to a close? Who would have the motivation to do such a thing? Who would benefit from it?
It certainly seems designed to inflict the maximum damage on the Irish government and on Anglo, so who would have the motivation to do such a thing?
Fianna Fáil? Probably not, since the tapes cast such a bad light on the government in 2008.
Anglo management? Certainly not.
The Independent’s owners? That depends on who they happen to be from day to day. Since this publication was such an intensely political decision, it had to go through editor-in-chief Stephen Rae. In weighing up the public-interest issues, Stephen might have taken into account the public’s need to know, versus the damage to Ireland’s international reputation. Or not, as the case may be, since after all, we are talking about the Independent as opposed to a serious newspaper.
Yes, it’s true that they got the scoop on the Anglo tapes, but at the same time you have to remember that Paul Williams would write about a scandal involving two dogs shagging. Feed this man a story and he’ll run with it, no matter how absurd.
If we exclude Paul Williams from this story, where are the real brains? Who’s doing the thinking?
I could think of one or two people who might benefit greatly from the release of these recordings right now, just as Ireland leaves the EU presidency.
We should all know what the Anglo fools were saying, but isn’t it a bit of a coincidence that the recordings emerged precisely at this tie, just as Ireland was leaving the EU presidency? If you wanted to inflict the maximum damage on the Irish government and on our national reputation, when would you chooose to release these recordings?
Cui bono? That’s the question. Who benefits?