29 January 2009 Edition

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THE Times of London has reported on the use in Israel’s murderous attack on Gaza of napalm-like white phosphorous shells. Phosphorous in the smoke emitting shells causes agonising, unquenchable burns, sometimes searing flesh down to the bone. These savage tools of terror are “legal” when used as smoke screens to mask military operations whilst their use solely as an offensive weapon is deemed to be a war crime. The distinction is grossly hypocritical since when the shells are fired into heavily populated civilian areas it is an iron certainty that as they explode and spray phosphorous in all directions that civilians will be burned, maimed and killed by this chemical weapon.
The population of Gaza is more than 1.5 million half of whom are children packed into an area no more than twice the size of Washington D.C. This is a walled in community with no hope of escape for Palestinians under attack by one of the world’s most powerful military forces.
The aerial bombings and the invasion of Gaza by Israeli forces requires analysis in an historical context. Operation “Cast Lead” is a carefully planned undertaking, which is part of a broader military intelligence agenda first formulated by the government of Prime Minister Ariel Sharon in 2001.
“Sources in the defence establishment have said that Defence Minister Ehud  Barak instructed the Israel  Defence Forces to prepare for  Operation Cast Lead over six months ago,  even as Israel was beginning to negotiate a ceasefire agreement with Hamas.” This comment from Haaretz, December 27, 2008.
The long term objective of the Israeli onslaught on the Palestinians, as formulated by policy makers, is the expulsion of Palestinians from Palestinian lands and ethnic cleansing to establish Israeli hegemony in the area and allow for de facto Israeli control over extensive off shore gas reserves. Sixty per cent of the reserves along the Gaza-Israel coastline belong to Palestine. The stationing of Israeli and/or ‘peacekeeping’ troops under a territorial arrangement which could be mapped out in the wake of the Israeli invasion would offer a great strategic advantage to Israel. It would be a distinct likelihood that Israel due to its dominant position in the Middle East could effect sovereignty over Gaza’s maritime areas without being challenged in this process by other global powers.
County Westmeath.


Eel Fishing ban

I am disillusioned with this banana republic that is quickly going down the toilet. I look forward to the day when the ‘cute hoors’ and their Green friends  who are ruining this country lose their seats. My situation is simple. I am a commercial eel fisherman and I am soon to be on the dole as the government has decided to ban eel fishing.
The scientific basis for this decision is highly questionable. No comprehensive survey of eels has been undertaken in Ireland in recent years and the proposal for a complete ban does not originate from the body of science available. It is also of great concern to me that the driving force behind this proposal is a senior civil servant within the Department of Communications, Energy and Natural Resources. The reasoning therefore would suggest that the proposal is dubious in origin.
The purpose of the total ban is not apparent from a conservation point of view. However there are other reasons for the total ban on eel fishing in Ireland. The  ESB wants to see eel fishing banned. It has a statutory responsibility for eels on the Shannon which dates back to the time when Ard Na Crusha was built. It will make it more attractive to buyers to have no eel fishermen around  when the ESB is privatised. The ESB is a very powerful lobby and it is no coincidence we are being stonewalled.
We are only 250 in number so the Government thinks it can dismiss us but we will take our case to the High Court. It could end up costing the Irish tax payer a lot of money but senior civil servants are not accountable and don’t worry about these things.
Eel Fisherman,


Nuclear power not a climate solution

THE industry has had fifty years of massive subsidies and state help; but has delivered only unsafe, expensive power, contamination and waste that will last for thousands of generations.
Nuclear power is not a climate solution but a dangerous distraction from investment in renewable power and energy efficiency.  Millions of people in many countries have proclaimed nuclear power a “Mickey Mouse climate solution” and delivered a global call to keep it out of the world.
When the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) presented its pro-nuclear case in Poland recently, environmental groups were there to confront them with reality.  And the IAEA had no defence other than to say that things would get better in the future!  This is something that we and our parents have been hearing for fifty years now.  The IAEA needs to stop dreaming; the climate will not wait and we need to get serious about combating climate change.
This side event alone isn’t going to stop the nuclear lobby trying to sneak in by the backdoor to get its grubby hands on climate mitigation funding. But it’s clear there’s a very depressed mood in the nuclear industry’s camp, and that negotiators and press from all over the whole world are beginning to understand that the nuclear “renaissance” hype is over.
Politicians from the 32 counties need to stop paying lip service to this important matter; what happens to the environment in the world happens to the people of Ireland.  Because it is not happening on our front door steps does not mean it cannot come in the back door.
County Mayo.

An Phoblacht
44 Parnell Sq.
Dublin 1

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