4 June 2009 Edition
Cuireann An Phoblacht fáilte roimh litreacha ónár léitheoirí. Scríobh i nGaeilge nó i mBéarla, 200 focal ar a méid. Déantar giorrú ar litreachta más gá. Cuir do litir chuig [email protected]
An Phoblacht welcomes readers’ letters. Write in Irish or English, 200 words maximum. Letters may be edited for brevity. Send your letters to [email protected] No attachments please
MI6’s ‘questionable practices’
THOSE elements who scoff at suggestions that British Intelligence assassinations and bombings during the conflict were not authorised by British prime ministers at 10 Downing Street might note the comments of the former head of MI6 at the literary Hay Festival in Wales.
Sir Richard Dearlove, who was head of the Secret Intelligence Services (MI6) from 1990 to 2004, said he wasn’t personally aware of British agents being involved in the torture of ‘terror suspects’ from Iraq or Afghanistan. But he did say no British agent would be involved in “questionable practices” without first getting legal advice and political support.
In response to a question from human rights lawyer Philippe Sands QC about whether growing evidence pointing to British collusion in torture meant that there had been ministerial sign-off from Tony Blair’s government, Dearlove said:
“That’s a speculative question... there should have been.”
The ex-head of MI6 admitted that his agency, MI5 and British Army Intelligence were “sometimes asked to act in difficult circumstances. When it does, it asks for legal opinion and ministerial approval... It’s about political cover.”
And there’s no reason to doubt that it was any different under previous British prime ministers, including Margaret Thatcher.
Voting for a Left alternative
WHILE I very much welcome Eoin Ó Broin’s call to republicans to ‘vote left’ (An Phoblacht, 28 May) I am disappointed that this does not seem to include a specific and clear mention of left candidates from other organisations and parties. Indeed, I am not at all in agreement with his advice that preferences should be transferred automatically to the Irish Green Party.
We have one of the most conservative Green Parties in Europe and transferring preference votes as a left choice (as distinct from voting tactically to keep others out) is to support a party which has no organic links to working people and which has an agenda which puts its own brand of a Green politics above the interests of working people.
The Irish Green Party are already posturing and attempting to reposition themselves to enter a Fine Gael Government. This very same pressure will come on the Labour Party. However, with organic links to the trade union movement, Labour entering a Fine Gael-led government with an agenda to slash and burn in the Public sector and drive down minimum wages across sectors of the economy (as Enda Kenny implicitly promised in to the SME sector last week with his ‘review’) will certainly ensure a very serious debate in that party and perhaps also in Sinn Féin.
Republicans should transfer their vote to left movements like the People before Profit Alliance and candidates independent or otherwise of the left.
If we are to consolidate the capacity of working people to fight back, to retain morale and hope, develop beliefs in alternative strategies, construct the foundations of an alternative government and encourage Labour leftwards, it will not be done by giving third preference votes to the Irish Green Party.
I HAVE read with interest recent articles in An Phoblacht by Eoin Ó Broin, a person who has very good views and who hopefully will get elected this time around. Unfortunately in calling for people to vote Labour and then Greens (An Phoblacht, 28 May) Eoin is pushing the boat out a bit far.
In Europe, the Greens and Labour support the Lisbon Treaty with its privatisation policies. The Greens explicitly support the postal service directive. They have no interest in forging a mass, trade union-based working-class party.
Labour is no better. Their agenda is based solely on what is topical on a given day.
In power in France and in Germany, the Greens have been staunchly pro-capitalist. The Euro-Greens’ October 2008 34-part motion at the European Council on the economic and financial situation didn’t mention public ownership once.
Even within Sinn Féin there are many who would have no inclination towards the socialist agenda.
What is needed a mass movement for a new beginning.