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 The exposure of a corrupt state - by "Public Inquiry"

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PostSubject: The exposure of a corrupt state - by "Public Inquiry"   Mon Feb 23, 2009 10:27 pm

Originally published by Anthony on Public Inquiry: I've taken the liberty of posting this blog here, as it systematically examines the supposed regulatory bodies and framework in Ireland and shoes how everyone, (nearly) always, gets away with everything.

Unless you're on the dole and didn't get a tv licence, that is.

"Even if Fitzpatrick deigned to appear before the Economic and Regulatory Affairs Committee it would make no difference whatsoever, the committee has no power. It was set up after the 1997 general election for the same reason that all Dail committees are set up – jobs for the boys.
None of the 30 or so Dail committees have any power. They are nothing more than cash machines granted to politicians to keep them on side with their parties. They also serve the useful purpose (at least until the present global crisis) of giving the impression that the State is serious about bringing white collar criminals to account.
Politicians are most proud of the Public Accounts Committee (PAC); they waffle on endlessly about the great work done in bringing banks to account over the DIRT scandal. It is, of course, just that – waffle.
The banks only paid back a fraction of the countless millions they robbed from the State in that particular mafia scam and, in keeping with that great Irish tradition, not a single bank or official was investigated by the police never mind actually charged with a crime.
Here are some other so called regulatory agencies that, in theory, are charged with protecting the State and its citizens.
Financial Regulator: This organisation has never taken any serious or effective action against the widespread criminality within the Irish financial sector. The Financial Regulator by its actions and particularly by its inactions, in effect, acts to as a protector of wrongdoers. The Financial Regulator is exempt from the Freedom of Information Act and operates under strict secrecy laws.
Tribunals: Tribunals are useful in uncovering the vast amount of sleaze and corruption that infects Irish public and business life but they have no power whatsoever to prosecute, this is not an accident.
For example, politicians, quite deliberately, introduced a law that prevents any evidence given to a tribunal from being used by the police in any subsequent criminal investigation.
If such an investigation were to take place, (highly improbable) the police would have to start off from scratch ignoring the vast amount of evidence gathered, under oath, by the tribunal. This law didn’t just fall out of the sky.
Comptroller and Auditor General: The C & AG reports once a year invariably highlighting very serious incompetence, waste and often corruption within government departments. He has no power whatsoever to take matters any further, his only ‘power’ is to make recommendations.
Irish citizens are then subjected to the farce of seeing powerless Dail committee members rant and rave about the action they’re going to take to put a stop to all this incompetence, waste and corruption before collecting their expenses and settling down until the next C & AGs report where the whole farce is repeated.
In common with Dail committees and tribunals the C & AG is also useful for giving the impression that the State is actually serious about dealing with the disease of corruption.
From time to time, usually when media pressure is making politicians sweat over some scandal, the C & AG is called in to conduct a ‘special’ investigation. Again, the C & AG has no power to act on his findings; he just publishes his report and makes recommendations.
Recently, the C & AG carried out one such special investigation into the Irish Greyhound Board - Bord na gCon.
Despite uncovering irrefutable evidence of very serious corruption the C & AG concluded:

“In my annual audits of Bord na gCon I have satisfied myself that the broad framework of financial administration and internal control was appropriate.”

“In general the funds of Bord na gCon were properly applied.”

These conclusions came as a great relief to the board of Bord na gCon and, I’m sure, to politicians who could now claim that all was well and no action was required. Incidently, nobody thought it the least bit odd that the C & AG is also the auditor for Bord na gCon.
Office of Corporate Enforcement: In reality, the ODCE is a toothless tiger with a fancy title and, in the main, deals with minor wrong doing by company directors.
The office is seriously understaffed, under funded and possess only weak law enforcement powers. Apart from fines, the most common punishment meted out is a ban on practicing as a company director for a number of years.
But like tribunals, Dail committees and the C & AG office, the ODCE acts as a very useful mechanism whereby allegations against very powerful people can be channeled away from public attention and, more importantly, away from the (remote) possibility of criminal proceedings.
For example, the ODCE, ‘processed’ the people responsible for the very serious fraud at National Irish Bank. These people received nothing more than a slap on the wrist.
Two of the biggest tax cheats in the history of the State, the Bailey brothers, are also being ‘processed’ by the ODCE. The very best we can hope for is that these two gentlemen will be banned from acting as company directors for a couple of years. In other words, another slap on the wrist.
The ODCE has also taken the infamous Jim Flavin of DCC under its gentle wing. The highest court in the land, in a civil case, found that Flavin had committed fraud on the stock exchange to the tune of €83 million. But (lucky) Jim will be treated kindly by the ODCE with perhaps, yes, a gentle slap on the wrist before being sent on his happy and very rich way.
And let’s remember, it is the ODCE that will be ‘processing’ the Anglo Irish/Irish Life and Permanent fraud. Politicians are falling over themselves to assure the Irish people that this is the organisation that will bring these people to account.
Let me say right now, unless there is an actual revolution in the way white collar crime is dealt with in Ireland these people, Sean Fitzpatrick and all the rest will never, ever be brought to account.
The structure and operation of all so called regulatory agencies in Ireland are, effectively, designed to avoid bringing the corrupt to account. Whether it’s by strict secrecy laws, a lack of power, a lack of resources or a deliberate policy of protecting the rich and powerful the consequences are always the same for Ireland and its people – disastrous.
There is, however, some hope. The political, business and bureaucratic reaction to the Anglo Irish Bank/Irish Life and Permanent scandal is nothing more than a desperate scramble to prevent the international community from finding out just how rotten the Irish system really is.
They are unlikely to succeed as the global crisis continues to expose Ireland as the most corrupt country in the Western world.
In the long run that can only be a good thing for Ireland and its people.
Copy to:
All relevant Dail committees
Fianna Fail
Government Press Secetary
Financial Regulator
C & AG"
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PostSubject: Re: The exposure of a corrupt state - by "Public Inquiry"   Mon Feb 23, 2009 10:43 pm

With regard to the Tribunals, it is true that the evidence uncovered can not be used in a criminal case. This is because of the lower standard of proof necessary in deciding whether a transaction was corrupt (given how near impossible it is, in the absence of full confessions by both parties, at the criminal standard). However the Tribunal evidence can indeed be used by the Gardai and/or CAB as 'pointers' where to look for the same evidence. This was happening in relation to Ray Burke's Tribunal evidence long before the Tribunal report (though it was on tax they got him in the end). Former Garda Commissioner Pat Byrne said as much on the recent TV3 program series on CAB. Dunlop is awaiting sentencing at the moment on foot of a similar process...
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PostSubject: Re: The exposure of a corrupt state - by "Public Inquiry"   Mon Feb 23, 2009 11:34 pm

The glaring omission of the media to document/challenge all of this is a huge factor in why the situation has got to the point it has. There is scacely even an op/ed about it. There is no indication or impression from any media reporting that any of this is the horrendous problem it is.
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PostSubject: Re: The exposure of a corrupt state - by "Public Inquiry"   Tue Feb 24, 2009 1:09 am

Do you think that it could be any different? To own or control a daily newspaper or news channel presumably takes a pile of moolah and reasonably friendly relations with those in power?
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PostSubject: Re: The exposure of a corrupt state - by "Public Inquiry"   Tue Feb 24, 2009 1:39 am

cactus flower wrote:
Do you think that it could be any different? To own or control a daily newspaper or news channel presumably takes a pile of moolah and reasonably friendly relations with those in power?

That's the way the mainstream operates at the moment. Thing is the msm completely denies that ownership, money, power or influence of any sort are allowed to interfere with editorial autonomy. It's bunkum and journalists have constructed an elaborate fantasy about how they maintain a 'firewell' between themselves and any potential influence, advertisers or whatever. Thing is they don't have to be directly asked for lots of reasons - they are products of the system they are writing about, have fully absorbed its values and can be trusted to know 'right' from 'wrong', 'balance', 'fairness' etc etc - but all as defined on a spectrum whose extreme ends are both within the zone of what is comfortable to the status quo - which right at the moment is pretty much to the right. If journalists stray more than a few times outside that zone, they will soon enough feel the icy blast of disapproval. It's not a coincidence that we have never had a truly left wing mainstream news paper editor, though some are considered to have been veritable communists for having what in reality are mildly left wing views. The reality is journalists are either consciously (fewer) or subconsciously (most) self censoring. Although most people are sceptical of the newspapers whatever we profess, we believe a lot more of what is false and misleading than we think. How can it be otherwise when, until relatively recently, msm was our only source of information. The sceptical had to try and second guess the real plotline and there are still too few people who are sceptical enough, imo. The real villains for me are the so-called liberal media around whom there is a great deal of fanfare but who are actually significantly contributing to the problem by failing to take things up the way they should - and crucially precisely because they have come to be trusted as the truth tellers by a lot of so-callled left wing opinion. I'm not rehearsing original ideas of my own here of course but its a view I fully subscribe to. Pilger put it well:

Quote :
During the Cold War, a group of Russian journalists toured the United States. On the final day of their visit, they were asked by their hosts for their impressions. 'I have to tell you,' said their spokesman, 'that we were astonished to find after reading all the newspapers and watching TV, that all the opinions on all the vital issues were by and large, the same. To get that result in our country, we imprison people, we tear out their fingernails. Here, you don't have that. What's the secret? How do you do it?'
[from wikipedia]
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