Eamonn McCann: Stormy Warning

She's already beaten his backside with a roll-up copy of Vanity Fair - and now Stormy Daniels is beating Donald Trump in the media war.

Donald Trump is hung like a mouse. That’s from Stormy Daniels, who has been in a better position to assess this matter than any of the rest of us.

Trump, according to extremely reliable sources, paid Ms. Daniels to skelp his bum with a rolled-up copy of Vanity Fair, then paid her even more not to tell anybody why he had a cushion soaked in Calamine Lotion down the back of his trousers.

I am not sure whether she actually called him “Midget Dick”, but just to be on the safe side, I’m believing it.

Ms. Daniels is commonly mentioned in news bulletins as a “porn star”, the phrase enunciated in tones of mild derision. In fact, a shuffle through some of her oeuvre reveals her as an intelligent, talented, light comedian. Think Goldie Hawn. Check out Operation Desert Stormy, a three-hour epic of jolly lesbian sex and mixed marital (stet!) adventure during the Iraq war. Admittedly, the orgies are a tad understated.

Operation Desert Stormy is among six films which Ms. Daniels wrote and directed, as well as starred in.

Ms. Daniels has shown herself in a slew of interviews as articulate, intelligent, politically well-sussed and with a fine line in sly self-depreciation, full of sidelong glances with a mischievous glint. She’s more than a match for Donald Trump.

Stormy for President in 2020! You know it makes sense. _________________

The photograph in September 2015 of a little boy as a sodden clump on a beach in Turkey prompted people across Europe to demand humanitarian action. In the aftermath, under a bilateral agreement with Italy, the Irish navy sent a ship to take part in an international rescue operation.

Many in Ireland will have felt a surge of approval and even of pride when footage was broadcast of the crew of the LE Niamh hauling desperate people up out of the Mediterranean water onto the safety of the deck of an Irish ship. But the feel-good factor has faded.

Last July, Sligo doctor Conor Kenny, just back from a three-month stint in the Mediterranean with Médecins Sans Frontières, told an Oireachtas committee of Libyan coastguards opening fire on a boat crammed with refugees even as an MSF ship moved in to try to help them.

In an interview with the Sligo Champion’s Sorcha Crowley, Dr. Kenny went on to say that, “A big part of the Irish Navy’s mandate is about supporting the Libyan coastguard who enact such behaviour… How can you support that? How can you be a part of that?”

The mission the Irish navy is now involved in, he suggested, was less a search-and-rescue operation than a strategy for protecting the EU from unwanted migration. Migrants saved from drowning by EU ships will be turned over to what passes for Libyan authorities these days.

The Libyan coastguard has been equipped by the EU with new ships and updated equipment, the better to track migrants down.

“I was disappointed both as a humanitarian and as an Irish citizen that this was the decision (the Irish government) took… It’s sad that this is the direction they’ve taken,” said Dr. Kenny.

At the beginning of this year, CNN broadcast a series of undercover reports by Nima Elbagir, showing the Libyan slave markets where migrants are sold to the highest bidders.

The crew recorded an auction in which a dozen people went under the hammer in under 10 minutes. “Does anybody need a digger? This is a digger, a big strong man. What am I bid, what am I bid?”

Unceasing thousands pour across Libya’s southern borders every year, fleeing the ravages of neo-liberalism, climate change, oppression and dictatorship, trekking north, making for the coast. The bleached bones of those who didn’t make it are strewn across the desert.

Many sold everything they had to finance the journey. But the relative success of the EU operation means fewer boats are sailing, and many of those which do set out are forcibly escorted back to land by coastguards guided and supervised by EU navies.

The bilateral arrangement with Italy has now been subsumed into a more tightly-knit alliance involving all 27 EU States – the EU Naval Force (EUNAVFOR). In October last, the Government gave the go-ahead for “full participation” in EUNAVFOR. It was announced with seeming satisfaction that, “Irish forces are now fully integrated into the command structure and have direct access to mission intelligence.”

Last month, the LE Samuel Beckett set sail from Cobh for the Mediterranean.

Bidding Lt. Commander Eoin Smith and his crew bon voyage, Defence Minister Paul Kehoe declared that, “The main focus of the mission is security and interception operations, in order to disrupt the operations of criminal organisations engaged in human smuggling and trafficking operations…

“The LÉ Samuel Beckett will also be available to respond to requests from the relevant authorities to assist with humanitarian search and rescue when required.”

Now there’s as craftily-worded a statement of priorities as you’d ever want not to see.

No point anybody suggesting the Irish Government change policy, or adjust the orders given to Commander Eoin Smith. This is an EU matter, requiring unanimity.

After the EU bashing the Brits over Brexit for us, there’s zilch possibility of Ireland being give a bye ball on any other EU-related issue.

Alan Kurdi. That was the name of the boy on the beach.

________________________

One other thing. Paul Kehoe. Who he? And how did he get into government without any of us noticing?

 

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