Archive for May, 2013

There was great excitement on The Pat Kenny Show on RTE Radio 1 this morning (20 May 2013) when security analyst, Tom Clonan, came on to tell Pat what we can expect for the forthcoming G8 Summit in Fermanagh.  This, said Tom, was a fantastic opportunity to ‘showcase’ Northern Ireland to the world!  Yes indeed. Northern Ireland, land of dissident golfers, flag protestors, horsemeat processing and world-leading centre for excellence in evicting the elderly from the their homes. Oh…and Coleraine cheese, which in Chinese medicine is a much sought-after, PC alternative to rhino horns. Now, the people of North have a lot of experience of being locked out of their own countryside – look at the new golf resort planned in place of the Causeway Coast World Heritage site. But the G8 are taking it to a new level altogether. Consider the following measures, for example.

To secure the beautiful Fermanagh Lakelands for our global masters in June, the British government are moving the local population cross-country to the controversial Maze Prison site (anti-capitalist protestors are getting Magheraberry Prison, lucky bastards!) and drafting in over 2000 security and intelligence personnel, some of them presently deployed foiling the evil Taleban in Afghanistan and all manner of terrorists and defenceless civilians in Iraq. After all, we know what a good job they’ve been doing in those theatres to date. The scary bit in all this is the involvement of private security contractor, G4S. Yes, the same G4S that cried off from doing security at the Olympics in London last year because it couldn’t guarantee the safety of Boris Johnson. Rumour has it that if they mess up this one in Fermanagh, they’ll win the contract to protect Edwin Poots. Hooray!

Due to the fact that every hotel and hostelry in Fermanagh will be booked up by the security entourages of the Americans, Russians, French, Chinese and Michelle Obama, these extra spooks from MI5 and other British intelligence services will be put up in so-called ‘snooze boxes’.  These are high-spec storage containers kitted out with all the mod cons and keyless entry as standard (although fussier personnel can choose bolt-ons such as soft furnishings, scented candles and cushioned toilet roll).  Presumably, the keyless entry will be biometric, meaning that a Northern Ireland accent/stare/spray-on-tan would trigger an all-out code-red alert and shut the whole county down. But if you come from Northern Ireland and you’ve ever had weird conversations with call-centre personnel (or worse, computers!) based in England, you will understand that such precautions are totally unnecessary.

Apparently, and I am unable to independently verify this information, elite units of MI5 have been trained in the jungles of Borneo, using chickens and pythons, to distinguish between a Fermanagh farmer and a dissident republican or between a terrorist training camp and a home farm sale. I bet Finance Minister, Sammy Wilson, will be looking for more cuts to health and social services to pay for that kind of training! It doesn’t come cheap, you know, and we should be grateful to Sammy and the NI Executive for continuing the fight against terrorists, evil doers and traitors to Ireland. Isn’t that right, Martin?

What I understand to be more definite though, at least according to Tom Clonan, is that the Brits will order mobile phone companies to shut down their networks for the duration of the summit and deploy two or three predator drone aircraft to keep an eye on things from above . The drones should help with the farm sale –  their high resolution photography is so hi-spec that it can mark out a turnip from a swede from 60, 000 feet up and target it for destruction with a margin of error of just 3 inches. Impressive. But I’m not so sure about the mobile phone bit. They say it is to prevent terrorists using a fiendish new app to remotely detonate whatever bombs they plan to hide in the vicinity of our defenceless masters.  We can only hope that if we have an emergency during the Summit, we can find a telephone box but it seems a very extreme measure when all they need do is shift us all onto the Orange network.

Pat Kenny was very excited by all this but rather taken aback to hear that the Irish government would be obliged to secure its side of the border and pay for it all itself without any financial support from the G8. As Clonan pointed out, though, that’s because Ireland is a EU country and, after all, Pat, we’re all in this together!

Speak for yourself, Tom! Count me out!

PS. Grumpy old Rab is getting very vexed about the media build up to the Summit over at Media Studies Is Shit.  Definitely worth a look for those of us who just can’t wait to be ‘showcased’ to a bunch of neoliberal gangmasters!