Categories
Policing

Maurice McCabe persecution – frankly disgusting

There’s nothing new about the Garda attempts to destroy Maurice McCabe using false accusations of sexual abuse. Indeed, this technique is such a normal part of Garda procedures that they don’t even realise it might be wrong. And of course, due to the flawed recruitment structures of our national police force, all senior Gardai started out as junior Gardai, carrying with them throughout their careers the lessons they learned in their teens and twenties . Their attitudes were formed in the quasi-monastic environment of Templemore, their certainties were reinforced in the daily drudge of street-duty and the message they learned is a simple one: It’s Us against Them.

Since there has until recently been no induction from outside, there is no cleansing of the water. All the senior management are former grunts who paid their dues by pounding the beat. They all ate the doughnuts and they all had their hawks. Because nobody from outside has ever been appointed to lead the organisation, there has been no possibility of introducing a new vision, uncontaminated by the stale, cynical thinking of the past.

What are the chances, then, of a Garda Commissioner being shocked by some of the shadier practices ingrained in the force? Why would a Commissioner coming from this gene pool not consider it perfectly legitimate for members of the force to smear a perceived enemy with foul sexual slurs?

Some years ago, I was friendly with a Garda, and we shared many enjoyable jugs of ale together. He was a nice guy but with a tendency to be indiscreet, and he told with great glee the stories of how they searched the homes of suspects.

Well, you see, when we were going through the place, we’d bring a few filthy magazines and we’d just happen to find them while his wife was watching.

Any honest Garda will admit that this is the culture of the force.

Maurice McCabe broke the ultimate taboo of any police force anywhere. He violated the omerta that motivates all policemen, by being stupid and naive. Maurice McCabe just assumed that honesty, integrity and decency are essential elements of policing, and how wrong he was.

By exposing petty corruption concerning speeding tickets, he has been falsely smeared as a sex offender, described as disgusting by a Garda Commissioner and placed on a sex offenders register by another state agency.

Maurice McCabe’s problems started when he made a legitimate complaint that led to a colleague being disciplined.

Not long after that event, his colleague used his own young daughter as a pawn in a vindictive game to accuse McCabe of inappropriate behaviour. Even the gardai who submitted the report to the DPP confirmed that the complaint had little substance, while the DPP observed that the behaviour complained of was probably not even an offence in the first place. Otherwise, we’d all be in front of a court for chasing children in a birthday hide-and-seek game.

The complaint was dismissed out of hand and so it rested until an unnamed counsellor, we’re invited to believe, submitted a report to Tusla, the child protection agency, alleging that Maurice McCabe had raped a child.

Let it be said now that this complaint was entirely false.

The counsellor responsible for this false allegation later acknowledged that it was a mistake. An administrative error.

Somehow, a vicious allegation of the worst kind had been accidentally copied and pasted from another file into the file — of all people — of the same  man who stood in severe conflict with our national police force.

What are the chances?

What are the chances that a counsellor would have two documents open at the same time on a computer? One file would be that of a client sexually abused as a child, and the other would be an old file, long-closed and discredited. And yet, somehow, details of the most vile abuse are somehow copied and pasted into the document relating to a blameless man. Furthermore, the professional who made this clerical error failed to read over the final document and check its accuracy before transmitting it to the Gardai. What are the chances of that?

And if Brendan Howlin is to be believed in his statement to the Dáil, these horrible calumnies were being repeated by the incumbent Garda Commissioner even after their author had admitted they were false. If Brendan Howlin is to be believed, the current Commissioner was actively urging certain journalists to publish these lies.

There are many questions to be answered about this, among them the following.

First: how did Maurice McCabe’s closed file just happen to be on the counsellor’s computer when this accidental copy-and-paste took place?

Second: why did the counsellor send this information directly to Tusla instead of following established reporting procedures?

Third: why did Tusla not investigate these extremely serious allegations?

Fourth: why was there no Garda investigation of this alleged crime?

Fifth: why was Maurice McCabe not informed of this life-destroying allegation?

Sixth: on what authority did Tusla open files on the two children of Maurice McCabe who were adults at the time of the false allegation?

It’s about time the Gardai were examined in depth. It’s about time we asked ourselves if we have a police force fit for purpose. After all, how many police forces refer to their employees as Members?

Hard questions need to be asked about the relationship between an Garda Síochána and Tusla. Did somebody talk to somebody about Maurice McCabe?

These are not questions that can be answered by an insider. These questions need to be asked by somebody who has no connection to Irish affairs.

We are talking here about something fundamental to our society because this is all extremely sinister. What happens to Maurice McCabe today can happen to you and me tomorrow.  This is an attack on our democracy. Even seeking a benign interpretation of events, this looks sinister. There is no innocent interpretation of what has been done here.

If the government fails to address this attack on our democracy head-on, that government must collapse.

 

______________

Previously on Bock

Guerin inquiry report on Garda handling of McCabe allegations

All Garda-related posts HERE

Elsewhere

Fintan O’Toole on the McCabe scandal

 

Categories
government Politics

Trump to O’Reilly: “You think our country’s so innocent?”

Did I ever think I’d be agreeing with Trump about anything?

If Trump called me at midnight to tell me the time was twelve o’clock, I’d check my watch, my phone and my sundial, which admittedly wouldn’t be much use unless I lived in Norway, but besides all that, I’d still think he was lying.

If Trump said “hello”, I wouldn’t believe him.

If he offered me a bag of chocolate-covered George Washingtons, I’d waterboard them to find out the truth.

And yet, here he is answering Bill O’Reilly’s rather silly statement about Putin: But he’s a killer, though. Putin’s a killer.

Trump replies, There are a lot of killers. We’ve got a lot of killers. What do you think – our country’s so innocent?

Overlooking his lie that he was against the war in Iraq from the beginning, Trump is right about this narrow point, though not for any benign reason.

O’Reilly seems to inhabit that peculiar netherworld where carpet-bombing civilians, murdering elected heads of state and blasting villages with drone strikes isn’t killing.  It’s a Disneyfied view, straight from the Lion King where the apex predators are benevolent, wise rulers who would never dream of killing anyone. Even though Trump is a thoroughly detestable, revolting individual, he inhabits a different fantasy land from O’Reilly, and this time he blurted out something which is nothing more or less than the truth.

Of course Putin is a killer, just as Tony Blair is. Just as Clinton is. Just as Bush is. Just as Obama is.

I agree with what Trump said, but that doesn’t give me cause for hope. It just means that he thinks killing is perfectly natural and he doesn’t see why anyone would object to it.

That’s why I’m simply irritated by O’Reilly’s self-righteous Disney version of America but terrified by the bleak, paranoid, Orwellian wasteland Trump conjures up from the dark corners of his mind. Or what passes for a mind in a man so unhinged.

_______________

Previously

Trump: number of days without craziness, zero.

Breitbart. The parasite that has taken over America’s brain.

 

Categories
government Politics

Trump: number of days without craziness, zero.

We need a new name for the President of the United States of America, Donald Trump.

After all, we can’t keep calling him That Idiot, That Clown or the Tangerine Tosser, but luckily Donald has provided the answer with his threat to invade Mexico.

Yes. That’s correct.

Mexico.

El Trumpo Grande is going to invade Mexico unless they deal with their, wait for it, bad hombres.

Let’s pause for a moment to reflect on that.

All right then. Let’s not pause. Instead, let’s reflect on a world dominated by such a self-absorbed, inadequate man.

Anyone who has been a parent will understand the early years of a baby. Anyone who has raised children will tell you what a horror it is to look after a helpless creature with no understanding of anything apart from its own immature needs and demands.

Well guess what. We’re all Trump’s parents as this seventy-year-old toddler screams and kicks its feet in the air unless it gets what it wants.

Trumples attended the annual National Prayer Breakfast, an event attended by every American president for the last forty years. 

Let us set aside for a moment our views about the National Prayer Breakfast.

Hush, I say to you. Stay your hand just this once. Say nothing. In America there is a thing they call the National Prayer Breakfast and let it be so. Just let it be. That’s America.

All presidents until now have delivered a sober and worthy address at the National Prayer Breakfast. All presidents, that is, apart from the Trumplet, who used the opportunity to boast about his Celebrity Apprentice ratings and to mock Arnie Schwarzenneger.

That’s how classy the 45th President of the United States is.

El Trumpo has also threatened to attack Iran and has hung up the phone on the Australian prime minister.

In other words, el Trumpo is behaving like some tequila-crazed pistolero on the El Paso borderline.

Send for the Federales quick, before this hombre loco shoots somebody.

Categories
Racism

Reluctantly back

Could we ever have imagined in our most disturbed fantasies that a hubristic imbecile like Trump might now be occupying the Iron Throne?

I didn’t see it coming any more than his opponents did. I didn’t see it coming any more than Donald himself did.

For that matter, if Donald hadn’t made the mistake of hiring the poisonous Breitbart worm, Steve Bannon, he wouldn’t be trapped today in the appalling presidential bubble that requires him to behave like a man.

This won’t be easy for Donald, a man-child with no personal experience of acting like an adult. This will not be easy at all for a guy who is essentially a loser in the game of being a grown-up. This will not be easy for a guy who is the son and the grandson of opportunists and who derived his sense of decency from a grandfather who became rich by being a pimp.

That, my friends, is the new President of the USA.

That, my friends, is the unlettered fool who has never read a book, or written one, yet who now claims to be the leader of the free world, whatever that means.

I didn’t plan to reactivate this blog, but when our civilised society is assaulted by such a cretin in temporary control of such a powerful force, what else can one do?

Unfortunately, it seems you’ll have to put up with me a little longer than I planned.

Categories
Politics Racism Society

Breitbart. The parasite that has taken over America’s brain.

The jewel wasp is a remarkable insect that knows precisely how to take over a cockroach.  First it stings the insect to temporarily paralyse its front legs.  Then it injects a precisely-measured amount of venom into exactly the right place in the cockroach’s brain to disable its  escape instinct.  Having achieved that, it leads the docile insect by the antenna, like a farmer leading a cow, to a tomb, where it lays an egg that will eventually become a larva.  The larva burrows into the cockroach and eats it from the inside out, taking care not to kill it, and at the same time spreading an anti-microbial layer to ensure that it has no competition as it consumes its host, until it eventually bursts out of the used-up husk, a newly-pupated jewel wasp.

I can think of no better analogy for the sort of evil ideology that has consumed America, just as it consumed Germany eighty years ago.

The viciously anti-Semitic, racist, woman-hating former CEO of the Breitbart website, Steve Bannon, has now wormed his way into the very heart of the American power structure, by drugging the biggest cockroach of them all, Donald Trump. And just like a jewel wasp, he has led the incomprehending roach down a hole and into his lair while the host still believes that it has the best advisers.

Tremendous. Really great.

This is something that the hosts of parasites often do,  continuing to behave as if they’re still alive long after the mutating larvae implanted in them have eaten their vital organs.

Long after hope has vanished.

A ladybird is a formidable adversary, even though it’s as pretty as an Enid Blyton story, but in the animal world, those black spots and that red carapace don’t say beautiful. They say don’t mess with me. When Dinocampus coccinellae lays its eggs in a ladybird, that host is doomed, and yet the drug injected into the insect’s brain ensures that the ladybird continues to protect the larvae even as they eat it from the inside out.

Today we learn that Bannon has appointed two more of his former Breitbart staffers to senior positions in the White House, thereby trebling the malevolence index at a stroke. Now we have three people from a racist, fact-mangling, anti-Semitic, anti-Muslim propaganda mill at the very heart of American power.

Do you think I’d care if these people had influence in the Seychelles or the Solomon Islands?

I would not, for the plain and simple reason that the Seychelles have no ability to destroy our planet, unlike the United States.

And now the United States is being taken over by the Breitbart Jewel Wasp.

Why would I not be afraid?

Let us hope that the host realises what the parasite is up to before all cognitive ability is gone.

 

 

Categories
Religion

French Fashion Police overruled as Burkini ban lifted

Did we ever think the Fashion Police would become a real thing, with a gun on its hip and a sneer on its lip as it instructs sartorial offenders to take their clothes off in public?

Even though a French court has ordered suspension of the burkini ban, the utter stupidity continues.

This week the world endured the degrading spectacle of French police forcing a female French citizen to undress in public, on the grounds that her clothing covered too much of her body.

Four armed men forcing a woman to undress.

Burkini

Think about that for a minute. You’re not naked enough. Take off more clothes or we’ll arrest you.

Was the woman wearing a niqab, that vile dehumanising mask, that symbol of female oppression rejected by the majority of Muslim women?

No. The lady was simply overdressed, in the opinion of the police, and her clothing was of an unapproved style.

Of course, when the image of a policeman standing over the woman hit social media, the French authorities issued threats of prosecution for anyone reposting the image which is one sure way to get yourself right up there where you don’t want to be, as Barbra Streisand discovered when she tried to prevent publication of a photo of her house.

The Streisand Effect is now a recognised phenomenon and the French cops are its latest victims.

I think it’s safe to say that there would have been a huge public outcry in France if the police had ordered a nun to undress in public, and yet the argument they put forward against the burkini applies equally to the nun’s habit. If anything, the nun’s habit is more religiously-based than the burkini, so why exactly is one illegal while the other is not?

burkini nun swimming

Unwittingly or otherwise, these policemen have removed the veil (so to speak), exposing the naked (so to speak) xenophobia behind these laws.

A woman can cover up as much as she wishes, provided the woman is a Christian, an atheist or a Jew. But if a woman is Muslim, she must bare more flesh than she feels comfortable with or risk being called a terrorist, arrested and fined.

That, in anyone’s words, is Islamophobia.

But it’s worse. This is hatred and oppression of women. Of all women. This is a state telling women what they may wear and what they may not wear.

Masks are another matter. No civilised society should tolerate the niqab and I agree with the French ban on it. We need a similiar ban here in order to begin the emancipation of those women who are oppressed in such a manner, but the burkini has nothing to do with this. The burkini is simply a woman’s choice of how to dress, and no civilised society has any business interfering in that choice.

Today, I heard a magnificent lunatic on Liveline trying to justify the ban on security grounds. Explaining that a woman on a beach might be able to hide a bomb under her burkini, this individual proved that ISIS have truly captured the hearts and minds of idiots.

 

Categories
Music

Louis Stewart dies

Let me say at the start that I didn’t understand what Louis Stewart did but that’s not his fault. That’s because, when it comes to jazz, I’m an uneducated clod.

On the other hand, if you asked me what I thought of Louis Stewart, I’d have to say that I found his art staggering, even though it didn’t speak to me. You don’t have to be an educated clod to realise that you’re in the presence of greatness as I was many years ago when I found myself in a little room in Cork’s Metropole Hotel during the jazz festival. I somehow managed to be right up at the front as Louis and the band ran through their set, and if I remember correctly, there was another great guitarist on stage that night with an identical moustache.

They kept winking at each other.

Two Louis Stewarts for the price of one.

(Let me just give credit to Louis in passing for continuing to wear that facial hair unflinchingly through the ups and downs of the moustache. A lesser man would have shaved it off).

I know full well what a wonderful musician Louis Stewart was and it seems deeply unfair that such a gift should die with the man. It’s illogical I realise, but the unthinking part of me asks why this gift, this knowledge, couldn’t somehow have been transferred to another person instead of simply evaporating with the man. I suppose that’s the essential tragedy of existence, though at least it has an upside. When I’m gone, nobody will have to read this kind of nonsense any more.

But let me return to the Metropole for a moment, snuggled up at the front of the gig with Louis, his moustache-wearing doppelganger and an appreciative audience of men in light v-necked pullovers with white polos under them. Aficionados of sympathy and knowledge, the Spanish might call them, if the Spanish spoke English and if jazz happened to be bullfighting, which it wasn’t, last time I checked.

I could tell the audience appreciated what Louis was doing because every time he played something clever they all clapped and looked around to make sure everyone else noticed they were clapping and frowning. Naturally, I clapped and looked around me too because you wouldn’t want to feel left out but the truth is, I didn’t know why they were clapping, being an uneducated clod. So I just frowned and nodded like everyone else.

When you  see a dog walking a tightrope, you are truly astonished, as you should be. Dogs are not meant to walk tightropes and for that matter, neither are men, but we still stand agog when we see them doing it because we are so staggered by the virtuosity of it.

That’s how I felt about Louis Stewart’s performance that night. It was amazing but how long did I have to stay here? Like watching the dog on the tightrope I’ve seen it now so let’s move on.

I was staggered by Louis Stewart’s virtuosity when I saw it close up but, as the saying goes, I wouldn’t eat a whole one, even though I had no other choice in the Metropole since I had a seat right at the front. It would have been bad form to stand up and thread my way among these men with their v-necked pullovers and their polo-necks.

What would I say to them as I eased my way past?

Sorry but I just don’t get it. Thanks. Excuse me. Sorry but I just don’t get it.  Thanks. Excuse me. Sorry but I just don’t get it. Thanks. Excuse me. Sorry …

It was easier to stay up there at the front and admire the endless virtuosity of his playing even though I had not the slightest understanding of what Louis was doing, because I was an uneducated clod.

I’m still an uneducated clod, of course. I’m not a musician. I still don’t understand what Louis Stewart’s art was about but that doesn’t mean I’m not astonished by it. Who could fail to be astonished by that man’s gift? Any fool, even an uneducated clod such as myself, can see that he  was a stellar musician and an irrecoverable  loss to the worldwide brotherhood.

Louis Stewart will not be replaced. I know this, even if I don’t know what it means. (Being an uneducated clod).

 

Categories
Crime Sport

Pro10 – the Olympic ticket distribution company that doesn’t distribute Olympic tickets

Pro10 is the official ticket distribution agent for the Olympic Committee of Ireland (OCI). For some reason, however, another, unauthorised company, THG, ended up distributing the tickets at the Rio Olympics, leading to the almighty balls-up we’re now watching in amused horror. THG is owned by Marcus Paul Bruce Evans, Chairman of Ipswich Town FC.

Coincidentally, the Irishman arrested in Rio, Kevin Mallon, had a Paul Bruce listed in his phone.

A quick glance at the Pro10 company records shows the following:

The company’s legal name is KMEPro. K for Ken Murray, M for Michael Glynn and E for Eamonn Collins, the three directors.

The company trades as Pro10 Sports Management

It was set up on the 28th April 2015.

It lists its activities as Business and Management Consultancy

It doesn’t appear to have any experience in ticket distribution or any capability to carry out such work.

Let me just leave you with this: KMEPro has the same postcode as 121 other companies.

Categories
Sport

Pat Hickey, Irish Olympic boss, arrested in Rio

Isn’t schadenfreude an awful thing?

Of course it is, so why did I find it that hard to wipe the evil little grin off my face as I thought about Pat Hickey’s reality TV arrest? After all, the man is innocent. He hasn’t been tried or convicted of anything. He hasn’t even had formal charges laid against him in the way we’d understand here, but still I found myself chuckling even though I know that’s not a good thing. I’m a bad man for doing it. A bad, bad man. It’s true!

Perhaps it has something to do with Pat Hickey’s combative history, issuing writs against anyone brave enough to write about him, taking delight in humiliating one sports minister after another, crowing in public at every defeat inflicted on an opponent.

Pat Hickey Vladimir PutinIt’s probably no coincidence that Hickey’s personal sporting origins lie in judo. A man so driven to defeat his opponents rather than persuading them would do well in the martial arts and Pat Hickey was all about winning, no matter who he came up against. Apart from the Brazilian police, that is, who didn’t give a rat’s arse who Pat Hickey was as long as they got headlines for being tough on touting.

Was Hickey involved in the ticket scandal? Nobody knows and nobody will know until the Rio police bring forward whatever evidence they think they have, so for now we must all assume that Pat Hickey is blameless, but that doesn’t stop us having a quiet chuckle at the plight of a man who is, to be blunt about it, not especially likeable.

That isn’t his fault. I’m not especially likeable myself, but I wasn’t flapping my wings about putting an Irish government minister back in his box just hours before being arrested in the most embarrassing circumstances.

Hubris is an even worse thing than schadenfreude because it leads people to believe they’re bulletproof and Hickey can’t have been immune to its seductive powers. After all, he came a long way from flogging second-rate houses in Phibsborough to rubbing shoulders with Vladimir Putin. It was all very well nodding at Bertie Ahern in the chipper, but what was that compared to the oil-rich dictator of Azerbaijan begging him for favours?

When you’re the top dog in European Olympic circles, a mover and a shaker in world Olympics, it must be very easy to forget about the little people, even if you came from the little people yourself.

When you can command a first-class air ticket to Brazil, and a suite of rooms for yourself and your family in a top-class Rio hotel, along with €900 a day walking-around money in case you’re stuck, it must be easy enough to imagine that you’re above sanction and beyond reach.

Thus, when Romario was beating the anti-corruption drum in Brazil four years ago, our homegrown Olympic Ozymandias must have wondered who this upstart was.

Well, he knows now.

Did the cops read Hickey the Rio Act?

 

 

 

Categories
Sport

Ireland’s Rio Olympics

What are we to make of the 2016 Rio Olympics?

NemesisMore to the point, how are we supposed to take it seriously when we know that hundreds or perhaps thousands of the competitors are using  performance-enhancing drugs?

What are we to make of the billions spent on a vanity project in a city where countless dirt-poor people became homeless when the government bulldozed their favelas to make way for the shiny new stadiums that benefit only the Brazilian rich?

What are we to think of our own participation in the Rio Olympics? Nearly all our boxers are now gone, some of them victims of bad judging and one who took illegal substances but was caught. There’s a murky story involving the alleged touting of tickets. People have been arrested, other people are targeted for arrest and meanwhile the head of the Olympic Committee of Ireland is seized with a delusion that we’re all idiots and the sport minister is a credulous fool who came down in the last shower.

But wait! Let’s not forget the wonderful O’Donovan brothers who captivated the whole world with their dry, laconic, laid back interviews after taking silver in the lightweight men’s double sculls.

Podium pants and pizzas.

Thanks lads. We needed that boost. It might get us past the disappointment of Katie Taylor’s defeat and the mind-boggling arrogance of Pat Hickey refusing to tell the sports minister anything about the missing tickets on “legal advice” and then inviting him to lunch.

The gods of Olympus must be filled with wrath as they gaze on these antics. But Olympus is six thousand milia from Rio and I suppose the gods’ powers must fall off in an inverse-squared sort of way, which means they can’t impose the Olympian ideal by force of will, even though they might wish to. More likely, they’d want to fling thunderbolts at the whole thing and be done with it.

Not Nike, though. The Greek goddess of victory, who diversified years ago and now makes a nice living from pseudo-Olympic activities around the world wouldn’t be flinging thunderbolts but Nike is very much the exception, apart from one other Greek goddess who might make the journey to Rio and I sincerely hope she does.

Nemesis.

Now there’s a deity best served cold.

Maybe she’ll find time to share a salad with Pat Hickey.

___________________

UPDATE

Looks like Nemesis found time to have that lunch with Pat Hickey. He’s just been arrested in Rio and charged with three offences carrying a penalty of  up to seven years in jail.

Hickey is not just the head of the Irish Olympic committee. He’s also the most senior official in European sport.

The mind boggles.