It was and will be the least surprising headline ‘scoop’ of the year, Qatar bribed officials to win their bid for the 2022 World Cup. The only surprising part of the tale being that such a vast paper trail exists of the money. I always thought bribes are supposed to be discreet. Isn’t this how the right to host sports events are won? When an undemocratic country are bidding, the potential for interference in the process is both too tempting and too easy for it not to degenerate into grubby handshakes and proverbial brown paper envelopes.
Turkey, which over the last year could hardly be described as an incubator for civil liberties, has this past year been engulfed in political chaos. It’s reputation which it has tried hard to put forward as a secular, moderate gateway to the east from Europe, and a viable member of the EU, is almost completely in tatters. It currently holds the unpleasant title as the country with the most imprisoned journalists on the planet, it is ranked 154th in the press freedom index, and it has what can only be described as a selective historical memory when it comes to Armenians. This nation has over the past year been involved in what can only be described as a governmental crisis. This crisis, which stems from a corruption probe which has sunk its teeth into the heart of governmental power and authority has threatened various power brokers nation wide. This is an on-going and real tale of political intrigue within one of NATO’s most valued countries; including foreign backers, shoeboxes full of dollars and the constitutional limits of power which keep a leader in check.
With much happening in Ukraine, Venezuela, Turkey, Thailand, the Olympics in Russia, the GSOC scandal here at home and many other relevant and resonating goings-on, a person could be forgiven for not watching the less reported, but equally as poignant, unfolding events from around the globe. As the dust settled for the moment in Kiev and Crimea heated up, another important European story of on-going unrest and turmoil in the small ex-Yugoslavian state of Bosnia-Herzegovina was occurring.
Egypt’s military-backed government has issued a shock resignation in an announcement broadcast today on Egyptian state TV. Interim prime minister Hazem el-Beblawi said his entire cabinet will now stand down, but has provided no explanation for their decision or information on who will take over.
A military coup took place in Egypt last year overthrowing democratically elected President Mohammed Morsi of the Muslim Brotherhood and replacing him with a military dictatorship of sorts under General Abdel Fattah al-Sisi. Al-Sisi is also the country’s current Minister of Defense, a position that would have prohibited him from running for President in an election scheduled for later this year. The resignation of the entire interim cabinet will pave the way for al-Sisi to run for President, an attempt that will likely be successful given his designation of the Muslim Brotherhood as a terrorist organization, criminalising all its activities, its financing and even membership to the group
It’s clear to anyone of sound mind that the Irish police force has become corrupt and unaccountable. What may have started as a fairly trivial investigation into the systemic erosion of penalty points has underpinned what many have believed for some time now, the Gardaí are above the laws they purport to uphold. Here is a brief summary of the important, inter-linked issues to date.
Penalty Points – The Gardaí have been wiping people’s penalty points from their licenses as personal favours on an enormous scale. At first glance, a typically Irish brand of parochial corruption but the story goes much deeper.
Even in the brief aftermath of the publishing of the Mahon tribunal’s findings the question as to why we bothered spending over €250 million on something that ‘the dogs in the street knew already’ has become very popular. The observation, while not without its merit, led me to ask another question: Would these clever canines upon hearing Mr Ahern’s evidence, and regarding it as preposterous as seemingly the tribunal and general public did, still have voted him into the office of Taoiseach? Perhaps the 41.6% of people who voted for Bertie’s party in the 2007 General Election should have handed their voting cards to the dogs on the street, they could hardly have made a worse fist of it.