Letters to the Editor: No criticism of those who remain silent on Assange

Letters to the Editor: No criticism of those who remain silent on Assange

Mick Clifford’s critique of those vocal supporters of Assange is in stark contrast to how little he had to say on those who have remained silent. File photo

It’s welcome that Mick Clifford speaks out on the case of Julian Assange and extradition to the US — ‘freedom of the press in grave danger’ (Irish Examiner, June 26).

However, it’s odd that in lamenting the silence on the issue in Ireland and internationally that he chose to throw some unnecessary political jibes at those who have been most vocal on the Assange case while also somewhat disingenuously questioning their motivation.

Clifford’s critique of those vocal supporters of Assange is in stark contrast to how little he had to say on those who have remained silent. Clifford makes no critique of the virtual silence of the Irish branch of the National Union of Journalists on the matter, nor did he highlight the dearth of coverage in the Irish print and broadcast media, nor the lack of commentary by Irish journalists who regularly champion press freedom.

Lastly, if Clifford believes that ‘freedom of the press in grave danger as world turns back on Julian Assange’ it is truly bizarre that he did not refer to the code of omerta within the Irish government, particularly considering the government’s presidency of the UN Security Council which offered them an opportunity to take a stand on this important matter or justice, truth, and democracy.

Michael Murphy


Co Leitrim

Nobody will remember WWIII

It is time people of Europe and the USA woke up to the seriousness of where very weak and confused politicians are leading them.

Horrendous as it may seem, whole populations are being led like lambs to slaughter in a mad war frenzy not dissimilar to that which gripped Europe prior to the 1914-1918 conflagration.

Answering a massive propaganda drive, which at the time was infantile compared to what exists today, young men queued in their tens of thousands to enlist in what turned out to be a war more gruesome and appalling than anyone could ever envisage. Reassuring expectations that the fighting would be over by Christmas proved horrendously inaccurate.

One enormous difference between the First World War and that which the “West” (NATO, the EU, Britain, and the US) appear determined to rain down against Russia will be its duration. Rather than a matter of being “over by Christmas”, the Third World War is likely to be over in days; if not hours or minutes. 

And rather than millions losing their lives, it is likely that billions, if not the whole human race, could be killed.

The “West” appears to be under an illusion that Russia, faced with absolute destruction, will not resort to nuclear weapons. Russia’s difficulties in Ukraine indicate how inadequately prepared it is for conventional ground, sea, and air conflict on a scale necessary to match the forces ranged against it. 

Russia has, however, perfected an enormous arsenal of nuclear weapons capable of destroying all its adversaries and most likely all life on this wonderful planet. Such destruction would include itself, but if utter defeat is the only goal the West will settle for, Russia will retaliate to bring its enemies to oblivion with it.

Western media appears entirely subservient to western warmongers as debate on the possibilities and repercussions of the Ukrainian war going nuclear is never entertained. This should be forefront in all discussions on the situation as the future of the human race depends on a nuclear war not happening.

The West appears to forget how terrible war is and how with modern technology no one is safe anywhere. The politicians need to wise up and devise some peace formula before it is too late. 

Otherwise, there will be no one to remember how terrible World War 3 was.

Padraic Neary


Co Sligo

Nuclear the way to energy security

It is worrying to read about the very real extra threats to our energy situation as a result of the Russian invasion of Ukraine; rationing could well be the result. Ireland is particularly at risk because of our almost total dependence on imported natural gas from Britain; in turn, Britain is increasingly dependent on Norwegian gas.

Our importation of gas from Britain seems to be an insecure deal, and untested in an emergency. There is no cast-iron security of supply. For instance, if the EU ordered Norwegian gas to be sent to EU markets if/when Russian gas was turned off, leading to shortfalls in the UK, this might override obligations to Ireland.

While the Government says they are not particularly concerned about this, others are less confident. The Government has convened an Energy Security Emergency Group which looked at three scenarios during an emergency where 20–50% loss in availability of oil products were modelled.

All the more reason for a calm removal of the legal barriers to consideration of nuclear where various small modular reactors could well fill incipient gaps with the only reliable low-carbon energy alternative. If we did this now, maybe we could be energy independent by the early 2030s.

Anne Baily


Co Tipperary

Human rights abuse in Sahara

Last Saturday, at least 37 African migrants died while attempting to cross a six-metre-high fence from Morocco into the Spanish enclave Melilla. Moroccan and Spanish security personnel were accused of brutality and using unjustified force by Amnesty International and other human rights observers.

The Melilla enclave is just one of the many flashpoints on the borders between the European Union and Africa that have their roots in colonial abuses by former European powers.

This recent tragedy results partly from a Spanish-Moroccan agreement in which the Spanish government has recognised Moroccan annexation over the sovereignty of Western Sahara in exchange for buying a guarantee from Morocco to prevent asylum seekers from entering Spanish and EU-controlled territory.

In 1976, the UN reaffirmed the right to self-determination of the Sahrawi people, but Morocco continues to occupy most of Western Sahara and its illegal occupation or annexation is now supported by several EU states and the United States.

US military forces recently participated in major multi-state military exercises in southern Morocco and Moroccan-occupied Western Sahara. The UN has had a peace mission in Western Sahara called Minurso for over 30 years to which Ireland has been contributing a small number of unarmed observers. 

Ireland’s contribution to Minurso ended in July last year, arguably at a time when genuine neutral observers were most needed by the people of Western Sahara who have been experiencing serious human rights abuses.

Edward Horgan



Poignant tribute to Dennis Cahill

Martin Hayes’s “Letter to Dennis” carried on social media is a poignant, reflective, and compelling tribute to his late friend, Dennis Cahill.

Cahill was born in Chicago in 1954 and became one of the most respected and innovative guitar players in the world of traditional Irish music.

“Nobody before you had ever played those chords and rhythms with Irish music, in the way you did. You matched the beauty of these traditional Irish melodies with your own equally beautiful sequences of chords and hypnotic rhythms,” Hayes said of his musical partner of over 30 years.

I saw them both in concert many times and can vouch for the hypnotic rhythms.

Cahill who ‘found’ Irish music in the pubs and clubs of his native city, was, outwardly, a very understated exponent of the guitar but his contribution to Irish traditional music has uniquely embellished its heritage for the generations to come. Rest in peace Dennis.

Michael Gannon

St Thomas’ Sq,


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