Friday, November 28, 2008

Prime Time turns its lens on Declan Ganley, burns self.

Well, that was one hell of a piece rubbish television especially compared to other investigative programs Prime Time have done in the past. The overall flavour was of the Rowdy Roddy Peeper segment in the Simpsons. Actors in shadows, dark moody music. I was half expecting a black and white clip with a damsel laid out on a train track with some high tempo piano tinkling going on in the background to surface but it didn't.

A couple of weird things did strike me during the course of it though. Katie Hannon told us the wife of the man murdered in Albania told her stuff but wouldn't do it on camera (don't they have the blurry face thing anymore) but we were lead to believe she was fine with Hannon standing outside her house quoting her, not even to voice record her? And we're to take Hannon's word for it that the wife actually said X Y or Z. That's very strange for an investigative program. Usually if you can't get something on the record then it simply isn't used. Whither Woodward and Bernstein.

Ganley also made reference in the program to a phone conversation that Katie had had with the former junior Latvian minister and which the minister (now forester! how exciting) also said that he wouldn't be adding to when she went to visit him but we didn't get to hear any of that phone conversation. Why was that? What was the content of it? Was it any cop? And yet she played a recording of a conversation in the guys office. I take it she recorded that legally, I mean some countries do allow you to record your own conversations, others require the permission of both parties. In some places you can only do it in a public place in others it is ok to enter someone's home or place of work and record without their knowledge. I presume RTe confirmed what the situation is in Latvia and I can only presume that is why couldn't she try to do the same in Albania? Or did they simply make an editorial choice.

Over the course of the show a lot was made of claims by people that claims by Ganley had been overplayed or that people's roles were more than they actually were. So while it was possible that Ganley had overstated his role in Latvia but it wasn't apparently possible that the person in Albania had overstated their role in Anglo-Adriatic or that others were overstating it now. The Albania voucher scheme sounded like all kinds of interesting weirdness but despite this tease we magically didn't get any concrete detail on what happened. We seem to have been told that the state gave out vouchers which were to be linked to priviatised state assets and Anglo Adriatic collected these vouchers but then the state didn't honour them and along the way people started trading in the vouchers. But was Anglo Adriatic involve in that trading? RTe never said, nor were we given to understand why Anglo-Adriatic were even collecting them or were they buying them? The picture presented was as clear as soft-focus image taken by someone with a shakey hand of a murky lake waters, at dusk, in winter, in Lapland.

So the view from the show is that Declan Ganley embellished his role in advising the Latvia government at some point in the early 90s and that some people lost money on some strange voucher scheme in Albania used to privatise, and that his company may have engaged in overreach in contract negotiations with the US CPA in Iraq.

Now I wouldn't personally be inclined to become too involved in business dealings with Mr. Ganley simply because he strikes me as too much of a shrewd operator and Kerryman that I am, we know a hoor that's too cute for us.

Overall, the program gave us nothing you could call concrete or a smoking gun, only rumours and impressions. If this is something that RTe is doing to assist in securing a Yes vote next time (something I would on balance like to see) then God help us all.

As for the talk of the Standards in Public Office. The current SIPO set up doesn't give you any real idea where the money for the major parties comes from as they simply work around it with small donations. People should read some of Elaine Byrne's articles in the IT to see what I'm talking about. There may well be questions from SIPO for Libertas to answer about funding but the question is why would Libertas be expected to provide this information ahead of all other organisations that campaigned for/against the Treaty. One can only presume that Coir and the Alliance for Europe have gotten similar letters at the same time that Libertas did or has Libertas been singled out?

Update: it now appears that Libertas are saying they have not yet received the letter that RTe showed as coming SIPO. Where did RTe get it from?

Thursday, November 27, 2008

Take my wife, please!

What is it about Irish business people and high ranking public servants that they can't spend a few days away from their spouses? In the reporting of the trip in 2004 of Minister Mary Harney we're told that she travelled "in a party that included the former director general of Fás, Rody Molloy, and his wife, and the then secretary general of Ms Harney's department, Paul Haran, and his wife."

Why, why were their wives brought along? Are these top-executives unable to make their way in the world without their wives? Or are these menfolk mere proxies for their more capable other halves? Evidently it has been going on for years. Sen. Mary White sought to regale us with her foreign policy credentials in her quest to be president by telling us about all her trips with her husband then head of the IDA.

Wednesday, November 26, 2008

So cats are smarter than dogs eh!

I saw this over on Andrew Sullivan (no relation).

In my view both cats and dogs are capable of stupidity, it's merely that some owners can't see it in their furry house guests. I've been thinking about getting a cat but it would have to be one of these bombay black types as they don't shed so much.

Tuesday, November 25, 2008

Is Ewan McGregor A Basque Terrorist?

Ewan member of ETA?Is Breaking seriously trying to tell us that Ewan McGregor is a Basque Terrorist? Or do they think we need to be told what a terrorist looks like? Or is this just another one of those unfortunate image/story screw ups that happens from time to time. I think the still is from Incendiary but I'm not 100% sure.