Monthly Archives: April 2020

Mass Graves For Unclaimed Corona Victims In New York

The bodies of Covid-19 victims in New York City which have not been claimed by relatives are being buried on Hart Island off the coast of the Bronx. Over the years Hart Island has been the site of a sanatorium for tuberculosis victims, a women’s insane asylum and a boys reformatory. In other words an ideal location for a really creepy horror movie. It is also the site of graves for unclaimed bodies, i.e. Mostly street people. Apparently since the Coronavirus pandemic began there has been a five fold increase in unclaimed bodies in New York City. You can read all about Hart Island  here.  There is also a video which you can view here. Thanks to DS for the tip.

Whatever Has Happened To Sinn Fein In The South?

It seems that the Coronavirus has done more than kill or knock people sideways in Ireland. It also appears to have paralyzed Sinn Fein. Only a few months ago the world, or at least that part of it south of the Irish Border, was SF’s oyster. Now it looks as if the party which was on the brink of such great things, hardly exists, such has been SF’ quietude on the matter. So, if there is anyone out there who has detected life in that party, who knows, for instance, whether MLMcD is still in the land of the living or whether the party has anything to say about the Covid-19 crisis, please drop me a line at thebrokenelbow.com.

What Was That About Letting Old People Die To Build Herd Immunity?

Black Americans And The Poor Hit Hardest By Covid-19

Evidence is emerging showing that Black Americans and poor people are being hit hardest by Coronavirus, suffering higher rates of infection and death than other sections of US society.

As this article in ProPublica makes clear, the higher rate among Blacks is largely due to economic, social and environmental disadvantages suffered by that community. Data derived in one county in Wisconsin where Blacks account for 26 per cent of the population, shows that African-Americans account for over half the Covid 19 victims and 80 per cent of the deaths.

The internet news service Axios has also published links to research carried out by The Charlotte Observer and The Wall Street Journal showing that race and class are strong determinants of vulnerability. One county in Charlotte, North Carolina recorded a 44 per cent rate of Black infection while less than one-third of the population is African-American. In New York, the WSJ reports, Coronoavirus is more prevalent in working class and the traditionally poor Orthodox Jewish areas of Queens and Brooklyn.

All this would go some way to explain Trump’s less than concerned attitude toward the pandemic.

‘At Least Three Provo Informers Helped Loyalists/British Kill IRA Leader Larry Marley’

A son of the late Provisional IRA icon Larry Marley – the Ardoyne republican who masterminded the 1983 mass escape from the Maze prison, Long Kesh – has posted a claim on the internet that ‘at least three IRA informers….and possibly more’, helped set up his father for assassination in 1987 at the behest of British intelligence agencies.

Larry Marley was shot dead at his home in Ardoyne in April that year by gunmen from the Ulster Volunteer Force. This was two years after he was released from jail and four years after the spectacular mass escape of IRA inmates from the Maze.

Thirty-eight prisoners broke out of the heavily guarded prison and although some were quickly recaptured, the breakout became the largest jail escape in British penal history.

A Wikipedia photograph of Larry Marley

Although Marley was a principal organiser of the breakout, he himself did not take part as he was due to be released not long after the breakout, in 1985. His central role in the escape was made into a widely praised 2017 movie called ‘Maze’, in which his role was played by the actor Tom Vaughan-Lawlor.

Larry Marley was shot dead by the UVF as he went to answer a knock at the door of his Ardoyne home in April 1987. His funeral then became the stage for a three day standoff between the RUC and republican supporters who wanted to give Marley an IRA funeral.

The protests were notable for a famous photograph of the prominent SF leader and then IRA Northern Commander, Martin McGuinness and the then head of the IRA spycatchers unit, Freddie Scappaticci, within feet of each other,  squaring up to RUC anti-riot officers. Both men have since been linked to suggestions that they were working for British intelligence (see photo below).

Now, Larry Marley’s son, Sean O Mearthaile has taken to the internet, in the form of a forum for former IRA prisoners who were on the pre-hunger strike blanket protest, to make a detailed allegation that his father was killed by the combined forces of the UVF, British intelligence and ‘at least three PIRA informants and possibly more’. The post was timed to coincide with the 33rd anniversary of his father’s killing.

These informants, Sean O Mearthaile wrote ‘…had been working for (RUC) Special Branch and British military intelligence and….passed on information to there (sic) handlers to have our father murdered.’

He concludes: ‘…these same individuals are alive and protected by there (sic) handlers.’

At least one name of a prominent republican in North Belfast is circulating as a result of the post. One source has told thebrokenelbow.com that members of the Marley family and this individual have already been involved in a verbal confrontation.

The presence of Freddie Scappaticci at the Marley funeral makes it possible that the killing of the IRA leader was investigated by the team of British detectives headed by former Bedfordshire Chief Constable, Jon Boutcher, who has been probing the possible role played by the former head of IRA security and his handlers in a number of killings.

Sean O Mearthaile gave no clue in his internet post about who his source was for the dramatic allegation he made.

Here is Sean O Mearthaile’s posting (followed by the McGuinness-Scappaticci pic):

An extraordinary photo of Martin McGuinness and Freddie Scappaticci protesting the RUC presence at the funeral of IRA member Larry Marley. Marley had been assassinated by Loyalists and his family suspect he was set up by an IRA informer.

Coronavirus And Class

The new coronavirus has turned life upside down around the globe, confining millions to their homes, putting people out of work and hospitalising hundreds of thousands.

But while the impact has been felt widely, it has not necessarily been felt evenly.

The New York Times says a “white-collar quarantine” has emerged, with divisions in wealth creating “a gulf between rich and poor in coping with disruptions”.

So how has the virus exposed the differences between the haves and have-nots?

The Financial Times says the coronavirus crisis “has highlighted how much of daily life and the real economy” is reliant on the lowest-paid workers, exacerbating “class friction” in Europe and beyond.

“Nurses, shop assistants, truck drivers, farm labourers [and] refuse collectors” have all been unable to stop working during the outbreak, the paper notes, while white-collar workers have been able to quarantine themselves safely at home.

Speaking to the paper, a bakery worker near Paris, Eva, said that she was “appalled to work in these conditions”. Eva, who also has childcare responsibilities, added: “I have a mask which doesn’t protect me enough and I’m doing extra hours already because there’s a shortage of employees.

“I don’t have the choice because if I refuse to work, I’ll lose my job, but there are some days when I am really tempted to take sick leave.”

In the UK, The Guardian reports, a study has found low-paid women are at a higher risk of exposure to Covid-19 as they are more likely to be in jobs such as social care, nursing and pharmacy.

Out of 3.2 million workers employed in the highest-risk roles, as many as a million are among the lowest paid, according to Autonomy, an independent economics think-tank.

“This pandemic has exposed deep inequalities at the heart of our economy,” said Will Stronge, the director of Autonomy.

“This study has shown not only that many of these occupations are at a high risk of exposure to the Covid-19 virus, but that they are often paid at poverty wages and are carried out overwhelmingly by women. It is about time we pay these workers properly for the valuable work they do.”

While, as the Daily Express notes, the middle class may experience damage to the value of “investments, pension pots and house values”, the report shows that poorer people are more likely to “regularly come into contact with diseases”, putting them at greater risk of illness.

The same theme is occurring across Europe, with the FT reporting that in Spain trade unions have complained that postal workers and supermarket staff are at a greater risk.

The Spanish deputy prime minister and leader of the radical left Podemos party, Pablo Iglesias, has referred to “a war that doesn’t distinguish between territories, although sadly it does distinguish between social classes”.

Drawing a comparison with the 1918 influenza pandemic, Derek Thompson, an economics writer at The Atlantic, notes that “like 102 years ago, this wave of the pandemic will almost certainly disproportionately punish the poor”.

In the US, a recent NPR/PBS poll found that by 14 March, 18% of people said they had already been let go by their employers or had their hours reduced. This figure rose among Americans making less than $50,000 (£40,360), with the figure spiking at 25%.

As the pandemic spreads, Thompson writes, it could “supercharge inequality in the short term”, targeting “industries where workers are most vulnerable and have the least protection”.

This is mirrored by the World Economic Forum, which notes that the coronavirus outbreak is likely to hit industries propped up by low-income workers hard. “The reality for their low-income employees could be even worse,” it adds.

As NYT reports, across the US and beyond, “there is a creeping consciousness that despite talk of national unity, not everyone is equal in times of emergency.