The leader of Fianna Fail, Micheal Martin, in a speech commemorating the 1916 Easter Uprising in Dublin attacked the Provisional movements historical role in trying to break British imperialism’s stranglehold on Ireland by claiming they had “sullied” Republicanism.
The Irish Times reported:
Mr Martin asserted that if people wanted to know where the men and women of 1916 would have stood in later years, they would find out by looking at what they did: taking the route of constitutional republicanism.
The speech, and its focus on Sinn Féin, was received as an effort by Fianna Fáil to assert its republican credentials against a party which has posed an increased electoral threat in the south.
Now, I’m no fan (of the current state) of the Provisionals and of their leadership whom I consider to be in bed with the British administered statelet of Northern Ireland (more on that later) but for Fianna Fail to attack the Provisionals in their historical role up upholding revolutionary Republicanism is both morally and intellectually bankrupt and utterly laughable.
Fianna Fail, using the guise of “Constitutional Republicanism,” completely capitulated to the interests of the Irish and British capitalist class by turning their backs on the 1916 Easter Proclamation and of the 1919 Dail Eireann. Many of those who had joined Fianna Fail were from the privileged class and had been part of IRA units and councils during the War for Independence that routinely would take the sides of land lords and local businessmen against the starving masses of the Irish people.
This was also the party that had outlawed the true army of the people for Ireland (and for Republicanism), the IRA, which was seeking to revolutionize (in certain ways) an Irish society that was experiencing British occupation in the north and colonization in the guise of the Free State. This was the same group of traitors that allowed the British to withdraw from the south of Ireland in order to occupy the north and terrorize the Irish there. This was also the same party that took up reactionary and conservative economic policies that harmed the poor, the working class, and the small farmers and also routinely bowed down to the will of the reactionary Catholic hierarchy This was also the party that interned dozens upon dozens of IRA members in the 1940s in deplorable internment camps and prisons and let a number of them die on hunger strike.
Indeed, it was not Thatcher that first let the blood of Irish hunger strikers in a divided Ireland drip from her hands but fellow Irish of the Irish Free State.
I would argue that the Provisionals helped reinvigorate Republicanism by asserting the right of an occupied, broken, and oppressed people to stand up for themselves and to fight back against the British who had used the north as their cheap source of industrial labor and had created a neo-colony in the south in order to keep a capitalist stranglehold on the Irish people.
Of course, the Provisionals completely abandoned Republicanism by suspending a just war against the British and by allowing themselves to recognize the Irish Free State as legitimate and by also enmeshing themselves in the British administered government in Stormont through the Good Friday agreement.
The capitulation of the Provisionals to the Irish State (even claiming the army of the Republic as the “true” army of Republicanism instead of the IRA) and to the right of Britain to occupy the north is essentially no different from what Fianna Fail did 90+ years ago. In fact, this is something reporter Harry McGee noted in the Irish Times:
[Provisional Sinn Fein] is on a long-term upward trajectory. It’s not even, or all that quick – as the Meath East byelection and the flatline election of 2007 remind us. Will the aspiration of a united Ireland fade as it did for Fianna Fáil? Will the party’s self-styled brand of pragmatic realistic left-wing republicanism be enough to allow it capture the citadel in the South as it did in the North? Its main problem is that Fianna Fáil is still there, and it did all that 87 years ago. [bold mine]
Essentially, Martin’s attack on revolutionary Republicanism (against a now currently revisionist and reformist Sinn Fein) is mute as the Provisionals are slowly moving towards Martin’s views and visions. Really, the real reason for the attack is as reporter Harry McGee noted, ” an effort by Fianna Fáil to assert its republican credentials against a party which has posed an increased electoral threat in the south.”
Republican Sinn Féin sends solidarity to Turkish Hunger Striker
A Turkish political prisoner is on hunger strike in a French jail since March 13, 2013, to protest against the inhumane practice of strip-searches against political prisoners in France. Republican Sinn Féin sends greetings of solidarity to him and urges the French government to immediately cease the practice of strip searches.
Nezif Eski is a Turkish political prisoner with Arab roots who went on hunger strike on March 13. He was forced go on hunger strike to demand the immediate ending of strip-searches against political prisoners. The Administrative Court of Melun, Seine-et-Marne, suspended on Friday, March 29, the full body search for prisoners which was established by the prison authorities in at Fresnes jail where Nezif Eski is held. Though the prison authorities in Fresnes still don’t accept his demands, no statement has been made from their side.
Nezif Eski had to suffer under the inhumane practice of strip-searches at every visit he received. This is a fundamental attack on his freedom and an illegal practice according to the Human Rights Convention.
Republican Sinn Féin sends solidarity greetings to political prisoner Nezif Eski. In a statement RSF International spokesperson Dieter Blumenfeld said: I want to express our solidarity with comrade Nezif on behalf of everyone in Republican Sinn Féin. We demand an immediate end of the degrading, inhumane and illegal practice of strip-searches by the prison authorities in France. We urge the French government to stop this practice.
Furthermore I want to use the opportunity to once more urge the English government and the prison authorities in the Occupied Six Counties to end the same inhume practice against Irish Republican prisoners. Nezif Eski is not alone. The fight against strip-searches is as the same fight as it is waged by the republican prisoners in Maghaberry.
Republican Sinn Féin urges all supporters in France and internationally to support our comrade Nezif Eski and make his case known. Together we will win the fight for the rights of the political prisoners held in Fresnes and Maghaberry jail! Blumenfeld said.
Human Rights Watch is reporting that a bipartisan panel has found that the United States, at the highest level, was involved in and allowed the torture of detainees and prisoners of war since the invasion of Afghanistan in 2001:
A bipartisan study finding “indisputable” evidence of torture for which the highest United Statesofficials bear responsibility should spur the US government to thoroughly investigate detainee abuse since September 11, 2001, and provide redress to victims.
The 560-page study, “The Report of the Constitution Project’s Task Force on Detainee Treatment,” released on April 16, 2013, is the product of a two-year study based on evidence in the public record. It was conducted by a bipartisan task force assembled by The Constitution Project, a public interest organization. Task force members came from a broad range of ideological perspectives and professions, and include both former Republican and Democratic policymakers and members of Congress, retired generals, judges, lawyers, and academics.
“The finding of torture by a diverse, bipartisan task force, without subpoena power and looking solely at the public record, shows the need for an official US investigation into detainee abuse,” said Laura Pitter, counterterrorism advisor at Human Rights Watch. “The indisputable evidence of torture clearly raises the question: what will the US government do about it?”
The report concludes that, “The nation’s most senior officials … bear ultimate responsibility for allowing and contributing to the spread of illegal and improper interrogation techniques used by some US personnel on detainees in several theaters.” It also finds that much information obtained through torture and other ill-treatment was not useful or reliable. The report’s findings are largely consistent with Human Rights Watch’s own investigations.
The US is obligated under both domestic and international law to investigate allegations of torture, appropriately prosecute those responsible, and ensure effective redress for victims, Human Rights Watch said. No senior US officials have been held accountable for their role in authorizing and implementing torture or other ill-treatment of terrorism suspects. The US government has repeatedly sought and secured dismissals of lawsuits brought by former detainees in US federal court, claiming that litigating the cases would harm national security.
The US government should pursue credible criminal investigations against US officials implicated in torture. If it does not, other countries should prosecute US officials involved in crimes against detainees in accordance with international law, Human Rights Watch said.
“The American people deserve a full accounting of the torture conducted in their name,” Pitter said. “The work of this private, bipartisan commission sends a clear message that full disclosure is an issue of great importance to all Americans, no matter their political leanings.”
Democracy Now is reporting that the genocide trial of former US-backed dictator Rios Montt was suspended after evidence began surfacing of accusing current president General Otto Pérez Molina of war crimes:
A historic trial against former U.S.-backed Guatemalan dictator Efraín Ríos Montt on charges of genocide and crimes against humanity came to an abrupt end Thursday when an appeals court suspended the trial before a criminal court was scheduled to reach a verdict. Ríos Montt on was charged in connection with the slaughter of more than 1,700 people in Guatemala’s Ixil region after he seized power in 1982. His 17-month rule is seen as one of the bloodiest chapters in Guatemala’s decades-long campaign against Maya indigenous people, which resulted in the deaths of hundreds of thousands. Thursday’s decision is seen as a major blow to indigenous victims. Investigative journalist Allan Nairn reported last night Guatemalan army associates had threatened the lives of case judges and prosecutors and that the case had been annulled after intervention by Guatemala’s president, General Otto Pérez Molina. Ríos Montt was the first head of state in the Americas to stand trial for genocide. Nairn flew to Guatemala last week after he was called to testify in Ríos Montt’s trial. He was listed by the court as a “qualified witness” and was tentatively scheduled to testify on Monday. But at the last minute, Nairn was kept off the stand “in order,” he was told, “to avoid a confrontation” with the president, General Pérez Molina, and for fear that if he took the stand, military elements might respond with violence. In the 1980s, Nairn extensively documented broad army responsibility for the massacres and was prepared to present evidence that personally implicated Pérez Molina, who was field commander during the very Mayan Ixil region massacres for which the ex-dictator, Ríos Montt, had been charged with genocide.
The National Union of Peoples’ Lawyers have welcomed the positive identification of AFP soldiers involved in the killing of national democratic organizer Benjamin Bayles:
On the confirmation, positive identification, and specific personal pinpointing in Negros court of killers of activist Benjamin Bayles by top Army officials (PA Adjutant Col. Alexis Gopico and 61st IB Commander Col. Richard Bayhon) that they are enlisted personnel under their command:
This is a welcome development and high point in making extra-judicial killings perpetrators accountable. This is ultimately a product of public vigilance and pressure by human rights defenders aided also by conscientious legal work. Amidst strong evidence, the military was compelled to admit this fact.
But it remains to be seen if this leads to deeper investigation, determination of other guilty parties, including possibly superior officers. Accused who are lowly private first class personnel may be sacrificial, dispensable small fry to stop investigation and let the masterminds escape identification and prosecution.
As in the case of Jonas Burgos and other rights violations, there is no closure until there is full justice for the victims and all perpetrators made to account.
The killers of Bayles, a member of Bayan Muna and lay minister of the Iglesia Independiente Filipina, were arrested at a checkpoint within hours after the crime. Suspects Private First Class Rafael Cordova and Private First Class Reygine Laus initially identified themselves as civilians using the pseudonyms Roger Bajon and Ronnie Caurino, respectively. NUPL lawyers from the Negros Occidental chapter and the national secretariat serve as private prosecutors.