Thursday, January 22, 2009

New smear campaign against Libertas.

I said this was coming, and it has. Having failed to impune the integrity of Libertas-founder Declan Ganley, the Irish Times are now engaged in efforts at guilt-by-association. In that respect they are at one with the sleazy attempts by RTE - funded by you and me as license-payers - to do likewise - but this time they are casting their nets wider, to the Czech Republic where the Irish Times attempts to throw mud by linking the Irish Libertas by association with its Czech counterpart. Some will question the wisdom of going under a common umbrella which was always going to open a Pandora's box in terms of guilt-by-association on behalf of the Grand Inquisitors of the Irish Times and other malignant organs of the "yes" campaign, but the public know that Fianna Fáil are in no position to lecture others on ethics, not least considering the fallout from 11 years of the Mahon and Moriarty tribunals and the pending trial of a well-known party-figure for bribery (which to his credit he has come clean - you know who I'm talking about). In contrast, there have been no charges of any kind brought against figures in the Irish Libertas-organisation, so the muckrackers have had to cast their nets-wider, and do so in today's IT, with a tabloid-esque headline stating "Businessman Declan Ganley has recruited a Czech MEP and former media mogul, Vladimir Zelezny, to help set up a Libertas branch in the Czech Republic in advance of the European elections. The appointment is the first significant announcement made by Libertas in central and eastern Europe, where Mr Ganley hopes to win scores of seats in the June elections. Mr Zelezny is a colourful and controversial character. He is currently being investigated by the Czech authorities for tax fraud and abuse of creditors.He is co-founder of the state’s first commercial television station, Nova TV, which became the Czech Republic’s most popular channel by broadcasting popular US imports such as Baywatch and featuring naked women reading the weather forecast.". The mischievous halftruths of this article are exposed by the subsequent Libertas press-release, which reveals Irish Libertas or Ganley had no hand, act or part in selecting Mr.Zelezny to lead their Czech counterpart, stating "Libertas Chairman Declan Ganley has this morning strongly rejected as false and untrue a report by the Irish Times suggesting that he has "recruited" Mr. Vladimir Zelezny MEP and "appointed" him to a position in the Czech Republic. Mr. Ganley said that while Mr. Zelezny had registered the name Libertas in the Czech Republic, this action was not done on the request of Libertas in either Dublin or Brussels, and indicated nothing more than the enthusiasm of support for the Libertas project being expressed by people across the continent. He also made clear that Mr. Zelezny had not, as implied in the report, been asked to stand in the European Elections by Libertas, or in fact been the recipient of any specific request from Libertas in relation to its campaign, nor had he been the subject of any announcement made by Libertas, as reported."

Not content with smearing Libertas on it's integrity, the IT continued the usual theme of attempting to tar Mr.Ganley and the Irish organisation with the "Eurosceptic" brush (though even if it were true, what would be wrong with that in a democracy?). 'Mr. Ganley went on to firmly reject attempts made by such reports, and by the Irish Times over the past number of months, to attach his name to a Euro Sceptic agenda: "It is a well established fact that Libertas is not a Euro-sceptic organisation, nor does it espouse any Euro-sceptic policies. If calling for democracy and accountability in European governance makes one a euro-sceptic or anti-European, this raises other more serious questions on the anti-democratic path that Brussels is firmly on at present. The fact that some narrow sections of the media ignore the fact that Libertas is pro-European and not euro-sceptic would suggest that they may be falling susceptible to other agendas. We are delighted with the progress being made on the project we have undertaken, which if successful will see the voters of Europe being given a chance for the first time in Europe's history to vote on a common, reforming platform which would restore democracy, accountability, and economic common sense to the heart of Europe". I am not my brother's keeper. The reality is that even in Ireland, the no vote - like the yes vote - were coalitions of groups with sometimes incompatible opinions but who shared a common stance on the Treaty. The idea that because we don't agree on everything we are not entitled to agree on some issues is an utter nonsense. Were that the case, Charlie and Dessie and Albert and Dick would not have gone into Coalition with one another. The reality of democracy in countries like the Czech and Irish Republics is of coalition-building in common cause despite fundamental political-differences on some matters. If the Irish Times hadn't been asleep for the last 20 years you would be aware of that, and consequently would not be so damning of those who disagree on some issues pertaining to Europe happening to agree that Lisbon is bad.

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