2011-06-09 WikiLeaks: The Ireland Cables | Roundup of Coverage in the Irish Independent | Day Six

ImageThe Irish Independent doesn't publish on a Sunday, so Day Six of the Irish Cables series was Monday 6th of June. (See roundups of Days Five, Four, Three, Two and One.) There were markedly fewer stories in the Monday edition of the Independent, as, presumably, the newspaper began to wind down its coverage of the Wikileaks cables.

The predominant focus of Monday's releases was the interest that the US embassy took in the Irish Muslim community: the monitoring conducted on Irish Muslims, the information sent back to Washington concerning Irish Muslims, and the close scrutiny of Ireland's efforts to "integrate" Irish Muslims into Irish society. Some of the information on this topic was already to be found in a cable released in April, 06DUBLIN798, but the Independent has had the benefit of an indeterminate number of other cables from the Dublin embassy to work from.

The limitations of the Independent's approach to the cables are most painfully evident when dealing with material like this. It is necessary, when reading the original cables, to remain aware that facts come to us through them only at second hand. On topics of cultural analysis of a particular minority, especially in circumstances as fraught as those obtaining since 9/11, one can expect to have to "read against the grain." The institutional adoption of the official narratives of the "Global War on Terror" can be expected to present interpretive difficulties: reinforcing biases, infecting observations of fact and funding seductive - but misleading - patterns of inference.

This is difficult at the best of times, but since the Independent journalists have chosen to interpose themselves between readers and the cables, refraining from publishing the source material from which they are working, the problem is aggravated. We are given little more than a synopsis of the key themes outlined in the cables. They have been whittled down to discrete titbits, which are then arranged in the column without respect for chronology, often subject thereupon to yet more distortion, as the selection biases and editorial positions of the newsdesk take hold. The information is therefore third-, or even fourth-hand at best - a significant amount of degradation is in evidence. The remarkable traditionalism of the Irish press here puts readers at a great disadvantage.

The result is an uncomfortable willingness to endorse the conceptual linkage between "Muslim" and "terrorist" that has become all but ubiquitous since 9/11. It is clear from context and usage here that "terrorist" in this issue means something quite different to what it meant in the issues that dealt with the Northern Ireland peace process. The newspaper appears to accept without question the purported necessity - encoded as an official dogma in the cables - of conducting global surveillance on Muslim minorities in Western countries. There is an air of relief about the reports which indicate that American diplomats deemed Irish Muslims, for the most part, to be of the good variety. Since 2001, the escalating tendency in Western criminal justice away from law-enforcement and towards risk management has led to the explicit use of profiling: it is overt policy to target people for surveillance on the basis of their ethnicity or religion. This flies in the face of strong traditions of equality before the law in Irish jurisprudence. It is testament to how completely this way of thinking has penetrated our cultures that it operates as a tacit assumption beneath the Independent's reportage on this topic.

A story on page 16 records how Ambassador Thomas Foley remarked in a cable that Ireland may be said to be "complacent" on "the terrorist threat," on account of what the diplomat perceived as obstacles: the small matter of Irish law and Irish courts. This, strangely, is presented by the Independent as if the noteworthy part of the story was how Irish authorities had failed to do something. The apparent unwillingness of the Irish government to circumvent the law so as to capitulate to the same US hysteria which gave the world conviction-free prison sentences, systematic torture and extraordinary rendition, is noted only in passing. Another report notes with approval law reform in Ireland targeted at freezing the assets of suspected terrorists, where lower standards of evidence apply than might apply for a criminal trial.

Curiously, a story that was reported rather automatically in Friday's edition, in an article called "Government refused to grant US soldiers any special status," has been revisited in the Monday edition, this time in more stringent terms, which convey a clearer sense of the content of the cable in question. Both reports pointed out how the the US embassy had put pressure on the Irish government to send troops to Afghanistan, and to conclude an agreement that would grant special status to American troops in Shannon airport. The second report, however, entitled "Pressure for gardai and troop help in Afghanistan," more accurately conveys how this narrative is an affront to the widely observed fiction that Ireland is a neutral party to international conflicts.

A further report is included on the unfolding controversy over Tanaiste Eamon Gilmore's statements on the Lisbon Treaty in 2008, where it was revealed in the Independent last week that he said one thing to the Irish public and another to American diplomats. The 'scandal' shows signs of nearing retirement - the tone of the Independent is weakening against the familiar stubbornness of Irish politicians ever to acknowledge wrongdoing.

Online Articles

The following is the sole article the Independent posted online on Day Six:

US closely monitors Ireland's 40,000 Muslim community
THE United States government closely monitors the country's main mosques amid American concern over alleged Islamic 'extremists' operating in Ireland, leaked embassy cables reveal.

Offline Articles

The vast majority of Monday's articles were not featured on the Independent's website. No explanation was given for this omission. WL Central would be only too happy to link to the Independent's stories, if they were online. In their absence, it is our duty to inform readers that scans of the articles continue to be made available on IrishIndoLeaks.

Pressure for gardai and troop help in Afghanistan
THE US put intense pressure on the Government in Dublin to sanction a bigger role for our troops or gardai in Afghanistan, leaked secret papers reveal.

Ireland was complacent on extremist thread, said US diplomat
THE former US ambassador to Ireland secretly accused Ireland of being complacent in its efforts to pursue alleged terrorists.

State wanted ‘heads up’ on citizen’s terror listing
THE government complained it did not receive a "heads up" from the US ebfore an Irish citizen was put on a designated list of suspected terrorists in Washington, according to a leaked embassy cable.

Tight controls mean Ireland poses low risk
IRELAND poses a low risk of being turned into a significant fundraising or banking centre for terrorists, according to a leaked diplomatic cable.

Family of murdered aid worker asked Ahern to help find remains
A SISTER of murdered IRish aid worker Margaret HAssan made an emotional appeal to former Taoiseach Bertie Ahern to put pressure on the American government to catch her killers and find her remains.

Labour chiefs told Gilmore second Lisbon poll inevitable
COMMUNICATIONS Minister Pat Rabbitte has disclosed that senior Labour figures told Eamon Gilmore a second Lisbon referendum would happen - even as Mr Gilmore said the treaty was dead after the failed first poll.

Lenihan ‘ineffective’ in integration position
THE Muslim community in IReland thought former Integration Minister Conor Lenihan was "ineffective" and did not appear capable of comprehending complex issues, according to a leaked US embassy cable.

Shia Muslims told officials of terrorist sleeper-cell fears
DEEP divisions between the Sunni and Shia groups were reported following a US study of the Muslim communities in Ireland.

Islamic parents worry culture here hurting children’s values
SECOND-generation Irish Muslims are struggling to balance their religious beliefs and parents' expectations with popular Irish culture.

We’re no exception to reality of post-9/11 security
IN the aftermath of 9/11, American diplomats worldwide were tasked with taking a heightened interest in the activities of Muslim communities in the countries where they were stationed.

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