Demonising Michaella




From top: Michaella McCollum; Dr Julien Mercille

In the phoney war on drugs what is the purpose of creating  “monsters” like Michaella McCollum?

Dr Julien Mercille writes:

By now every Irish person should know that Michaella McCollum is a criminal, a liar and a bad hair stylist, right? That’s pretty much the message that the media, in particular the tabloid press, has conveyed for the last week.

Michaella McCollum got caught trying to smuggle cocaine from Latin America to Europe in 2013. She spent two years in a prison in Peru and just got out but must remain there for the time being, before she is eventually allowed to come back here.

Her demonisation in the media is interesting. It is indeed remarkable that all of the island’s investigative journalism resources seem to have been mobilised to find the latest minute detail about Michaella’s past.

Did she really leave Belfast because of sectarian problems? Was she drunk or stone or a bit of both or none when she boarded the plane from Spain to Latin America? Did she go to Spain because she is just a party girl or for some other reason?

All this aggressive questioning by the media is quite ironic. Remember, Ireland is the only country in the world (to my knowledge) that explicitly brands itself with reference to a commercial drug. That’s right, and Ministers are very proud to associate themselves with that drug to promote tourism to Ireland and the country’s overseas image.

That drug is Guinness. Those unfamiliar with drugs will start complaining that Guinness is not a drug, because it’s just a stout. But alcohol is a drug, and it’s a much bigger killer than all the cocaine carried globally by mules like Michaella.

And the same goes for tobacco. Together, alcohol and tobacco kill about 8 million people worldwide every year—and all illegal drugs (like cocaine, heroin, etc.) kill 200,000.

There’s therefore no debate as to which are the killer drugs. So when are we going to see journalists attack tobacco and alcohol executives in the way they attack Michaella?

Michaella tried to smuggle cocaine across the Atlantic. Does that make her a criminal? Under the ridiculous regime of drug prohibition under which we live, yes. But if drugs were decriminalised, she’d be cheered as a canny business woman.

It’s worth asking why drugs like tobacco and alcohol are legal but drugs like heroin, marijuana and cocaine are illegal. There’s an important article  that came out only a few days ago which says it pretty bluntly.

It features an interview with John Ehrlichman, who was US President Richard Nixon’s domestic-policy adviser. Nixon is the president who launched the “War on Drugs” in the late 1960s and that has been with us since then under different tactics.

Ehrlichman said that the war on drugs was just a mechanism for social control, used to criminalise minorities or any group that those in power wish to control more easily.

In Nixon’s time it was blacks and the antiwar left:

“You want to know what this was really all about? The Nixon campaign in 1968, and the Nixon White House after that, had two enemies: the antiwar left and black people. You understand what I’m saying?

We knew we couldn’t make it illegal to be either against the war or black, but by getting the public to associate the hippies with marijuana and blacks with heroin, and then criminalizing both heavily, we could disrupt those communities.

We could arrest their leaders, raid their homes, break up their meetings, and vilify them night after night on the evening news. Did we know we were lying about the drugs? Of course we did.

What is the effect of creating “criminals” and “monsters” like Michaella? The effect is that the public focuses laser-like on those individuals but doesn’t hear news about other crimes.

For example, it was reported  last week that the shortage of hospital beds in Ireland translates into 300 avoidable deaths per year—that’s 3,000 over the last 10 years.

But that wasn’t covered extensively at all by the media. So who should be blamed for those deaths? The Minister for Health? Some bureaucrats?

Unfortunately, the details are lacking. Why? Because our journalists are so busy researching whether Michaella dyed her hair blond or bleached it? And what is her REAL favorite hairstyle? And does that contradict what she said three years ago when hanging out at her local pub? And actually, what pub was it, EXACTLY?

In short, the media has gone all-out on Michaella McCollum calling her a “criminal”, however that only holds if one believes that the drug prohibition regime is legitimate.

But the fact is that it has been a total failure for decades and just about every example of decriminalisation that we have (for example, in Portugal) has proven to be rather successful. By creating monsters, the media diverts attention from the real problems.

Sure, crimes have a place in reporting, and we could criticise Michaella for making bad decisions etc. But isn’t it interesting how some crimes of ordinary people receive so much more aggressive and negative reporting than other crimes, like letting people die in hospitals?

Julien Mercille specialises in US foreign policy and terrorism and is a lecturer at University College Dublin. Follow him on Twitter: @JulienMercille



Yesterday’s Sunday Times

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235 thoughts on “Demonising Michaella

  1. Gers

    “Michaella McCollum is a criminal, a liar and a bad hair stylist”

    Not what the media trying to portray Julien. Those are facts – granted the last one is a question of taste! I didnt read further seeing the premise was wrong already.

      1. Daisy Chainsaw

        Don’t worry, when she wins “Celeb” BB she’ll be the coke smuggler of our hearts.

    1. classter

      What does that even mean?

      Amsterdam is one of Europe’s finest capitals & a big competitor to us in attracting FDI, partly because the standard of living is excellent.

      Yes, Amsterdam has long had a problem with some level of drug tourism. This is partly due to their more liberal laws but actually partly predated these laws & can be blamed on the presence of the world’s busiest airport (Schipol) and the world’s busiest container port (Rotterdam) nearby. Arguably these problems are no worse than experienced by alcohol tourism to Dublin. The difference is that the Dutch are ashamed of the attendant problems & we seem to revel in the reputation as world’s messiest drinkers.

    1. Rugbyfan

      and he is allowed be an educator!!
      Would like to hear from someone who has taken one of his classes to give us an insight!

    2. mildred st. meadowlark

      He was mentioned in an article on the journal last night. They referenced an article he wrote about the Rape Crisis Centre, for our beloved broadsheet…

      He doesn’t come out looking well.

          1. My Meaty Member

            Thanks for that meadowlark

            that’s typical fare from Mercille and the people who blindly follow him on this board

            I have a PhD
            I am a big guy and know lots of important things, things you don’t know anything about because I know them (did I mention that I’m a man and I have a PhD?)
            I know better than you, you know f all, how dare you even question me, (see above)
            Your point of view is therefore wrong
            if you argue with me you are insane, have no friends, depressed etc

            There’s a few of them trolling in here every day who go on like this
            like a bag of cats
            I could name names but sure we already know who they are

          2. mildred st. meadowlark

            No probs, meat man. I don’t necessarily dislike Mercille’s ideas, some are good, in essence, but the rhetoric and the leaps of logic do annoy me. He takes liberties with his facts and stats in order to make his points and so it fits the narrative he’s going with, but it does him no favours. It makes even his valid points look like hyperbole.

          3. LW

            I remember the article, if what he says is true then she seems to come out of it badly, rather than him.

            Member have you a chip on your meaty shoulder regarding his phd? If you do a search on this page for the term, Mercille makes no reference to it, but you’ve popped up a rake of times

    1. My Meaty Member

      She’s a beautiful looking lass – what, you want her to have a PhD as well? :)

      May I observe this lad Mercille apparently has a PhD – do I need to elaborate?

      1. pedeyw

        Yes. Unless you’re an anti-intellectual who thinks all higher learning is nonsense but don’t be that guy.

        1. My Meaty Member

          I’m not that guy at all

          There’s a distinction to be made between ‘higher learning’ and whataboutery

  2. Scundered

    Yes alcohol kills too Julien, but show me anyone who got mugged in the street because someone fancied a pint.

    1. Rainy Day

      No not because someone fancied a pint but plenty got attacked, beaten, killed etc by someone who was drunk as a Lord…

    2. ForFecksSake

      You’re showing your ignorance there. Violence related to alcohol fair outweighs any street muggings. Also this isn’t how drug addicts get their money.

        1. MoyestWithExcitement

          Most people can manage weed and cocaine as well. You just don’t like the thought that your drug is just as dirty as the others.

          1. Cup of tea anyone?

            I believe that the pure heroin, weed, coke etc are safe enough. It is the unregulated, cut and mixed stuff that actually kills. You know where some shady dealer cuts the drugs with something else to increase profit.
            That is why the rich celebs like Charlie Sheen can live long happy lives, And the poor look like someone sucked their insides out.

          2. MoyestWithExcitement

            Yeah I think classism has something to do with it. That’s why all the trolls are wetting themselves this morning. Drugs are for the peasants so how date Julien put them in a box with poor people in clondalkin or whatever.

          3. My Meaty Member

            Lol – is that you Mr T/ Tish Mahorey?

            Everything happens for a reason love.

            For example the reason you have a low level, low status role in society reflects your lack of critical thinking or reflective ability to abstract beyond first year Arts in UCD

          4. Janet, I ate my avatar

            Moyst you have good points.. drop the aggression and you’ll get them across

        2. Anne

          “my point being that most people can manage alcohol… it’s unlikely to ruin your life”

          Eh no they can’t.. the country is rife with functioning and to a lesser extent non functioning alcoholics and binge alcoholism.. It ruins many lives. Alcohol is highly addictive.. Sorry to be explaining the obvious like, as I’m accused of doing.

          1. Scundered

            You can explain all you like Anne, you missed the point entirely here, maybe have a think to yourself before unleashing your self appointed wisdom in future?

            “MOST” people was the obvious clue.

  3. Steak on the horn

    I had to stop reading. I’m very surprised at the simplistic view he has taken here.
    It’s an opinion piece obviously but I hope he doesn’t spout this nonsense in his lectures

  4. Spaghetti Hoop

    “She spent two years in a prison in Peru and just got out but must remain there for the time being, before she is eventually allowed to come back here.”

    HAS just got out – though pretty much a bad choice of words.
    Come back where? Where is ‘here’? She was from Northern Ireland but living in Spain.

    She is still a convicted criminal, and will be so until her sentence is complete. She was a liar. The hair is not worth an academic bothering over – just lols for the kids.

    1. classter

      Northern Ireland is here.
      It is part of the West, Europe, the EU, Northwest Europe, GB&I, the island of Ireland…

      How narrowly do you want to draw the boundaries of ‘here’?

      1. Spaghetti Hoop

        Come on, you have to admit it’s not very clear!

        Plus where does ‘just got out’ inform the reader that she is still serving a sentence?

        “She spent two years in a prison in Peru and just got out but must remain there for the time being, before she is eventually allowed to come back here.”

  5. Anomanomanom

    There is no debate, she is a criminal. But he is right about the “war on drugs”, nobody can actually explain to me why tobacco is legal and marijuana is illegal with regards to health reasons.

    1. Rowsdower

      She was smuggling Cocaine, lots of it.

      You need someone to explain to you why that’s illegal?

        1. Spaghetti Hoop

          If coke was legalised it would significantly less potent.
          Smuggling a loaded container (scaling upwards because of bulk, but same principle) of 95% proof moonshine to sell on the streets is illegal. Whatever about the morals of selling to the vulnerable.

          1. MoyestWithExcitement

            Are you saying it’s illegal because the fact it’s made illegally means it could be dodgy? So it’s illegal because it’s illegal?

          2. classter

            ‘Less potent’ might not be correct.

            More reliably potent is more accurate – the strength would vary according to tight industrial tolerances.

      1. Owen C

        when administered in a controlled manner. If you had either without a prescription, it would be illegal.

        1. mildred st. meadowlark

          I’ve seen first hand the effects of both when used in medical circumstances. They are dangerous drugs, even then.

    2. Andy

      Smoking doesn’t impair your judgement or decision making ability. But it’s not as bad as drink.
      No real meaningful argument for weed not to be legalized. Perhaps is a generational issue.
      The previous generation had drink and smoking, when they die off our generation will add weed to it but we’ll object to legalizing the drugs our kids use until we die off and they legalize those drugs and so on and so forth.

      1. rory

        It wrecks your concentration levels though. As least with drink it stays out of your head, (yunno, destroys your liver instead.)

        1. Cluster

          That’s not true, Rory.

          Yes, tis clear that regular, heavy use of cannabis has negative impacts.

          Alcohol is a depressant and regular, heavy use affects memory and can cause psychosis

  6. DubLoony

    11 Kg of cocaine here would carry a mandatory sentence of 10 years.
    She is a convicted drug smuggler.
    I don’t give a damn what colour her hair is.

    1. My Meaty Member

      look it’s Monday morning, it’s raining, traffic was a bitch, time to get out of bed there lovvie

  7. ReproBertie

    I could be wrong but I believe the media backlash was driven by RTÉ’s fawning interview with her upon her release. She’s a convicted drug smuggler who lied about gunmen threatening her family but RTÉ asked her questions like how important it was for her to have her mother there when she got out. If she had been a 19 year old inner city Dub named Anto would we have had the same “Ah, the poor divil” approach from the national broadcaster? Will RTÉ be offering sympathetic interviews to drug smugglers when they get out of Mountjoy?

    Also “the media has gone all-out on Michaella McCollum calling her a “criminal”, however that only holds if one believes that the drug prohibition regime is legitimate.” This is freeman level baloney. Whether one believes a law is a legitimate or not has no standing when it comes to a criminal trial. She was convicted of a crime, therefore she is a criminal.

    1. Vote Rep #1

      “I could be wrong but I believe the media backlash was driven by RTÉ’s fawning interview with her upon her release.”

      You are. The only media engaged in a backlash as they ones associated with IMN, who offered money for an interview but got turned down for RTE instead and so went on the attack. I’d imagine they would have had a light fawning article themselves if they had got the interview.

      1. ReproBertie

        Thanks for the correction. True enough the more negative stuff I’ve seen has been on the front pages of INM publications.

    2. Clampers Outside!

      It would appear that INM got pissed that the money was turned down and they lost a few weeks of drip drip headlines, so they took the next best thing… tore strips out of her for a weekend of headlines.

      ’tis the state of the media…..

    3. Cup of tea anyone?

      There may not be the same reaction to a “19 year old inner city Dub named Anto”, but if you look at the life of Howard Marks who passed yesterday. He was a drug smuggler and look at his reputation.
      I guess it all depends on the person. His book Mr Nice is actually a great read. very interesting.

    4. DubLoony

      +1 Even if personal drug use is decriminalized, she would still be classed as a criminal for carrying 11kg ( 24 lbs).

  8. Scooperman

    Comparing numbers of deaths from alcohol and tobacco to harder drugs is disingenuous as their use is much more widespread. The effects of heroin use are much more devastating on the individual than alcohol or tobacco.

    1. Clampers Outside!

      True, and that fact comes with a consequence to a wider group related to the individual. It is the individual who abuses alcohol who affects more people in society, not the harder drugs abuser. The repercussions from an alcoholic affect a wider group of people than those of a harder drug abuser.
      But yes, on an individual level heroin and tobacco are more devastating…. more on that in this…

    2. Dόn 'The Unstoppable Force' Pídgéόní

      If comparing, it is important to take into account wider social issues for both, such as crime and that extends to things like drug cartels and massive political, economic and social instability. Doubt that 200k covers it tbh

  9. Pip

    Chasing The Scream by Johann Hari is a good read about the war on drugs and its manifold dysfunctions.

  10. Owen C

    I think its heroic that he managed to get Nixon, racism and hospital beds into this. His narrative is of course somewhat weakened by the fact that anti-drug legislation was in place in many countries well before Nixon, but what use are facts when you’re a celebrity lecturer.

    Also, ” Remember, Ireland is the only country in the world (to my knowledge) that explicitly brands itself with reference to a commercial drug.”

    yeah, the French have never done anything with the whole wine thing.

    1. Rowsdower

      Or the Danes with Carlsberg, Russians with Vodka, Italians with their wine etc.

      An incredibly stupid point by Julien, the stupidest point he made in a crowded field of stupidity.

    2. J


      Ah now now Owen… stop being so snide . Mercille is almost Aquinas like in his interpretation of a criminal.
      “In short, the media has gone all-out on Michaella McCollum calling her a “criminal”, however that only holds if one believes that the drug prohibition regime is legitimate.”

      Dr J for BS.

    3. classter

      ‘His narrative is of course somewhat weakened by the fact that anti-drug legislation was in place in many countries well before Nixon, but what use are facts when you’re a celebrity lecturer.’

      The War on Drugs upped a notch under Nixon.

      The original banning of many of the common recreational drugs arguably owes much to the same dynamics.

  11. MoyestWithExcitement

    Julien’s posts are great because they let all us know who the vacuous trolls are.

    1. Rowsdower

      Id say it shows who the mouth breathing simpletons are but then you’ve already demonstrated that status long before this article was written.

          1. MoyestWithExcitement

            Don’t ruin it for me now by getting some actual friends in real life. Your insanity and obviously depression issues maher you you and you’re special.

          2. My Meaty Member

            In fact the professionally miserable like you are only ever happen when being a contrarian and spoiling for a fight with other ludramáns. We tolerate you guys all the same because we’re good like that but I wouldn’t give you my seat if you were standing on the bus, granny, not with that pussy face.

          3. Rowsdower

            Something tells me these are regular insults that Moyest receives, thinks the best idea is just to repeat them back at others hoping that they cause the same pain they usually experience.

          4. MoyestWithExcitement

            See that’s exactly what I’m talking about. Thanks, lad. We all appreciate it, especially on a Monday.

          5. My Meaty Member

            my favourite [posters] are the guys who come on whining about how ‘this place is not like in the old days .. now when I was a lad, the posters were so witty, and the girls were all so nice and prettily dressed , now it’s just all this rap music and hoodies and young wans going round off their faces on pills, dressed like whores’

  12. Owen C

    Moderate consumption of alcohol has been proven to be medically beneficial. Moderate consumption of cocaine is generally agreed to be bad for you. Ditto heroin, amphetamines, LSD, horse tranquilisers, glue sniffing etc.

    1. mildred st. meadowlark

      Can you support that claim about alcohol in moderation being good for you? Have you any links I can read, maybe?

        1. mildred st. meadowlark

          Hah, was just reading that very website. It’s a double edged sword, is alcohol.

          I find it… foolish that cannabis is illegal, when you can say that it too has medical benefits when used in moderation.

          1. MoyestWithExcitement

            Also done psychiatrists use acid (Scandinavian ones are using lsd to treat alcoholism, funnily enough) and small uses of magic mushrooms can help with ocd and depression. As usual, the point being made from that poster (alcohol can be good for you while drugs aren’t in this case) is too simplistic and not thought through at all *and* hilariously delivered while trying to condescendingly dismiss someone else’s intelligence.

          2. Owen C

            you seem to be arguing for the controlled use of some drugs as medicines, presumably administered by medical practitioners? Or are you a bit too dim to realise what you just said? We’re talking about casual usage by the general public here genius.

          3. Owen C

            Are you thick? That’s my point – alcohol is freely and legally (age permitting) available, because we believe there are social and health benefits attributable to them and we trust the general public’s ability to manage their intake. LSD and magic mushrooms are not freely available, just like many medical drugs are not. We make these controlled substances subject to illegal ownership because we do not believe they should be administered without a medical need and expert supervision. No one on here is claiming all illegal drugs are bad for you in all circumstances. My “moderate consumption” description should be readily understandable for anyone with half a brain as being common, regular consumption absent a medical requirement. If you can’t understand that simple concept you are even dumber than most people on here now casually assume.

          4. mildred st. meadowlark

            Interesting post Owen. I’ve got a few questions to put to ya, just out of curiosity, coz I like your style.

            You talk about moderation. But what constitutes moderation? (I did note your description in your comment) How many drinks can be called moderate, for example. And when we drink enough to be thoroughly drunk, knowing what is in each drink, the quantity of alcohol in it, etc, is it on a par with me taking an unregulated pill, say, of unknown strength? Or in a hypothetical situation where pills are part of a regulated industry and you know the quantity, ingredients and strength of the drug, people could make an informed choice, would there be less people staggering around,blind drunk, would there be less overdosing? (Sorry about the what-if question)

          5. MoyestWithExcitement

            “alcohol is freely and legally (age permitting) available, because we believe there are social and health benefits attributable to them and we trust the general public’s ability to manage their intake.”

            “We believe” And that’s the whole point of the article, you dim-witted reprobate. This is why nobody here takes you seriously.

          6. Owen C

            No rebuttal or informed response. Just the bile. At least you acknowledge what you’re good at, and what you’re not. You should really have a think for yourself some day, rather than just being happy being Julien’s grovelling lapdog. Good doggy.

          7. MoyestWithExcitement

            Nowhere in that post did I admit anything. You’re literally responding to something that isn’t there. Hmmmmm. Maybe I’ve been too harsh on you. I assumed you were intellectually lazy but maybe you’re just unstable.

      1. Dόn 'The Unstoppable Force' Pídgéόní

        Agreed – citation on the drug use in particular. I suspect alcohol use evidence hugely mixed due to difficulties in measuring actual use as opposed to what you tell the researcher you use, a common problem in this area.

    2. LW

      It’s a bit chicken and egg, the benefits of alcohol isn’t it? I’ve read studies that suggest it’s due to the social nature of moderate consumption, which is only facilitated by it being legal and freely available. Would coke or pill provide the same social benefits in the right circle?

    1. My Meaty Member

      there’s truly no honour among thieves ;)

      wise words of admiration and respect from one supertroll to another

        1. My Meaty Member

          haha I’m just having a laugh with you

          but yes I am extremely grumpy today

          must be the bad weather

  13. Tish Mahorey

    Too many commenters here are too thick to understand the hypocrisy of the coverage of Michaela McCollum.

    And many are just class snobs who round on anyone who hasn’t achieved a third level education like it’s a sport.

    1. My Meaty Member

      You’re a funny man

      Here’s an alternative hypothesis:

      Both RTE, INM etc are a bunch of crap. AND Michaella is a lying self-promoting piece of drug-dealing dung.

      See- it’s easy if you can just open your mind to all the possibilities.

  14. Tish Mahorey

    So many only comment on Mercille’s posts and not others.

    They specifically target his articles because he challenges the Irish status quo and exposes hypocrisy. So who are these commenters and are they organised?

    1. My Meaty Member

      Thanks for the compliment. I love the attention from trollbots, but you’re an earlier version, trollbot v1.2 I’d say.

      Actually I post on a lot of the stuff but I ignore most of your crap – as soon as I see one of your comments I know it’s only going to be some kind of tortured, belittling put-down rooted in working-class guilt or tangential class-based prejudice. You’re funny though sometimes in fairness.

      1. Tish Mahorey

        I’m funnier than you’ll ever be because I’m not rotten to the soul like you are. You inhabit a dark place Meaty. You should probably lay off the internet for a few weeks or months.

    2. Owen C

      “Are they organised?”

      Yes, Julien is a threat to the media-industrial-defence cabal. He must be stopped. Need more tinfoil.

      1. Tish Mahorey

        Oh well done Owen, the old tin foil hat comment, how defeating.

        You are a prime candidate for the bland middle manager non-thinker who gets rattled by academics.

        1. Yep

          Tish, if you think this particular academic and his opinion on topics seemingly foreign to him then you need to broaden your horizon.

          1. Owen C

            @ Tish

            “I love how people like Owen assume anyone who is a critic of class snobbery must be working class.

            You don’t HAVE to hate the working class if you’re educated and well off Owen. It’s not obligatory you know.”

            “wannabe-radical left wing activist” is what I said. Can these people only come from the working class? I think not. Paul Murphy and Richard Boyd Barrett are about as far from working class upbringings as you can get. You’re the one who seems to have class assumptions baked into their brain.

        2. Owen C

          And you’re the prime candidate for a fawning know-nothing wannabe-radical left wing activist who yearns to rebel against “the system” but doesn’t really have a clue how to go about it so posts on blogs instead.

          1. Tish Mahorey

            I love how people like Owen assume anyone who is a critic of class snobbery must be working class.

            You don’t HAVE to hate the working class if you’re educated and well off Owen. It’s not obligatory you know.

  15. Yep

    How is this man still being paid for this tripe? If the same piece was written by a Healy-Rae look and sound alike it would never be published.

    1. Brendan O'

      Julien is doing his: this real is happening as people focus on this. He’s not very good at doing what he wants to do.

  16. Hashtag McMór

    Compare and Contrast: Michaella McCollum’s demonisation with the hagiography of Howard Marks. Is it because she is a woman? Most of the bitching about her in the (S)Indo and other media comes from… other women…

    1. Dόn 'The Unstoppable Force' Pídgéόní

      It’s gender, its class, it’s sex, lies and videotape. I love stories like this, they give a good idea of just how rigid society really is on the above issues. Don’t be a party girl, don’t be a poor or middle class, don’t be too hot, don’t be ugly, don’t have sexy pics, don’t be fat, do or don’t do an interview because any of that will bring ask the judgement your way.

  17. phil

    I have no opinion on Mercille, but I do find some of his articles interesting and thought provoking .

    Im not quite sure why so many posters are so afraid of his articles , maybe he is just good at challenging opinions on decisive issues. If thats his intention he is quite successful

    1. My Meaty Member

      There’s nothing to be afraid of as most of the time he’s just mouthing off about imaginary bogeymen

      it’s infantile stuff

      It’s not to say the subjects are not worthy of debate but this guy is a trollbot – end of

    2. DrainBamaged

      It’s really strange Phil. I don’t agree with everything in the piece but the vitriol in the comments seems way out of kilter. OK, you strongly disagree. Duly noted. But the man isn’t some flat earther spouting total crazy. Is there some kick to be had maybe to put down a college lecturer and feel superior?

      1. Dόn 'The Unstoppable Force' Pídgéόní

        From the number of people generally disparaging his qualifications as opposed to stumping up with evidence to counter his point, id say you might be onto something there.

        1. MoyestWithExcitement

          Hearne, Taft and McNally all get it as well, usually in the same manner. It’s obviously an emotional thing for them as opposed to some objective analysis of content. Either that or deliberate coordination.

          1. My Meaty Member

            No they don’t

            Taft’s articles are great

            Hearne’s are even worse than Mercille’s

            Mc Nally -0 don’t make me laugh. oops too late. You mean failed empty mouthpiece McNally who was soundly rejected by the electorate, right?

          2. Owen C

            Completely agree. Taft is a breadth of fresh air in terms of reasoned left wing/socialist posts on here. Data-filled and objective (albeit with a reasonable left wing narrative), and even if you don’t fully agree with him, he pitches his stall out in a polite, informed and humble manner. Merceille makes stuff up as he goes, that why he attracts such scorn. McNally has good and bad days (the bad ones involve her screaming “sexism!” when there is none and are rightly pillorised). Hearne is difficult to read being honest.

      2. My Meaty Member

        No I actually agree with a lot of what he says

        my problem with him is that as a PhD holder he ought to be able to form a rational argument

        but instead it’s bluffing, speculation, ranting, puffery and whataboutery – mostly

          1. classter

            Maybe but a PhD is supposed to be written to avoid the easy rebuttals.

            I largely agree with Merceille here (and on some other topics) but his pieces are usually longer than they need be & contain questionable arguments mixed up with decent ones.

          2. classter

            Don, by now you should know that I ignore the humorous intent of jokes, taking them completely at face value in order to earnestly state my opinions.

    1. My Meaty Member

      why not be able to talk about both?

      From looking at the Funday world last time I learned that there’s a gush of wind blowing through Michaella’s leg that would knock a cock (of hay)

      1. Nigel

        why not be able to talk about both?

        Because this one is stupid. Really really really stupid.

  18. Ronan

    “In short, the media has gone all-out on Michaella McCollum calling her a “criminal”, however that only holds if one believes that the drug prohibition regime is legitimate.”

    You seriously didn’t just write that. You’re trolling, right? She’s not a “criminal”. She’s a criminal. No inverted commas necessary. And you don’t need to believe in a law in order to mean breaking that law makes you a criminal. How dangerous a concept that is. As a specialist in terrorism, for instance – to bring this back to your area of expertise – isn’t it true that ISIS might well believe that they are not commiting criminal acts because they don’t believe our laws that say you can’t murder people are legitimate. But you would agree that those members who kill people are criminals, right? And if so, what laws are you allowed to not believe in?

  19. Termagant

    Did she break the law?
    Aye, she did.
    Was it for altruistic reasons, or to make a political point?
    No, it was for reasons of acquiring cash money, in hand, tax free.
    Would her crime have been victimless, had she not been caught?
    No, it would have provided financial support for a horrifically violent brand of organised crime.

    Sure, if drugs were decriminalised she wouldn’t have been committing a crime. That’s axiomatic. That doesn’t make what she did right. We can bandy all day about whether or not the criminalisation of cocaine allows for the existence of the worst aspects of the cocaine industry but ultimately she participated in an activity that’s inextricably and causally linked to very gruesome people doing very gruesome things.

    1. classter

      ‘She participated in an activity that’s inextricably and causally linked to very gruesome people doing very gruesome things.’

      As have 42% of those aged 35-34 on the island of Ireland. Don’t pretend to yourself that those who deal drugs are any better than those that buy it.

      Many industries, the oil industry for example, have been ‘inextricably and causally linked to very gruesome people doing very gruesome things.’ You still fill your car up at the petrol station.

  20. 15 cents

    i think she is garnishing too much attention, and everyone is on a moral high horse lashing abuse at her. which i think is lousy, shes done her time, she was young and dumb and still young and still probably dumb, but thats the world today, everyone on a feicin soapbox dictating what everyone else should do and think. but.. i’d like to read some coverage on it making more credible points than this ‘guinness is a drug’ lark. i get it, alcohol is v dangerous and effects more people than hard drugs. but this isnt the story to convey that message. it seems shoe-horned in.

    1. My Meaty Member

      abuse? are you on drugs yourself?

      she’s a convicted criminal dealing in a dangerous substance (and we’re not talking a few bags of weed here) that destroys peoples lives and enslaves thousands

      meanwhile our national broadcaster, which we all pay for by law, is giving this convicted lying knacker a platform from which to pontificate to all the rest of us about how sorry she is and will try to do better etc

      questions arise
      a) why not ask Anto from Ballymun or Coolmine how he intends to reform after a stint for dealing in weed?
      b) why not ask the Peruvians to bang her up for longer – we don’t need her type here
      c) if people are abusing her why can’t they just accept that the young impressionable international drug mule just made one tiny little mistake

      She is actively looking for the publicity and attention you dimwit

          1. Anne

            A scotebag with multiple personalities. He’s best ignored really, meaty member or no meaty member..

            But to address one of his questions that ‘arise’ – question c

            “c) if people are abusing her why can’t they just accept that the young impressionable international drug mule just made one tiny little mistake”

            Is he trying to imply that a lot of people aren’t c**** by nature and the abuse is warranted?

            This weirdo was quoting ‘physician heal thyself’ or some other sorta nonsense like that recently. He doesn’t really seem all that Christian and forgiving for someone who’s quoting the bible.

        1. My Meaty Member

          Most people would agree that a lass who cavorts around in her all-togethers with nothing on underneath is possibly from the wrong side of the tracks and when you combine that with the whole drug thing it does imply a certain type of categorisation – sorry for my plain speaking.

          As for Pikie Annie putting her two cents in – Lamb of Jaysus

          Michaella is a liar – nothing controversial there.

          I put it to Moyes – would your mother be proud of you if you came home with Michaella?
          I bet you won’t have the balls to answer.

          1. MoyestWithExcitement

            Translation; ‘I shouldn’t have to feel guilty about being a classist bigot because you’re all just as bad as me but can’t admit it.’ Another cliché an idiot tries to pass as an original thought.

          2. Anne

            “Most people would agree that a lass who cavorts around in her all-togethers with nothing on underneath is possibly from the wrong side of the tracks”

            You’ve been dating the wrong women Meaty.. What am I saying, probably no women.

            A woman might cavort around in nothing for you sometime, if you’re lucky or you pay enough..

            I’d say the pic was for a boyfriend who got a few bob to sell her out. The photo is only indicative of the trashy nature of the tabloid who printed it. The likes of you relish on it to judge her more unfortunately.

            If they had Anto from Ballymun or Coolmine on as you mentioned, there wouldn’t be half as much bile, with Anto not being a woman..

          3. My Meaty Member

            Why don’t you answer the question you despicable bullying troll?

            Would Mammy Moyest be happy with Michaella at your family dinner table?

            It’s very easy – the answer is yes or no.

            PS Don’t bother – we already know the answer.

            Who’s the hypocrite – huh? Is it a

            a) Michaella
            b) Right on broadsheet commenters or
            c) all of us

            Be honest.

          4. classter

            @My Meaty Member

            ‘ cavorts around in her all-togethers with nothing on underneath’
            What are you on about?

            I love how we like to blame the Catholic Church for all the silly, destructive, socially conservative nonsense that held sway in Ireland for so long yet you have people here today in 2016 utterly convinced that the best test of a young woman’s worth is what Mammy would say if you brought her home for dinner.

            *’Mammy’ would have cooked the dinner, of course, and scrubbed the house in preparation.

          5. MoyestWithExcitement

            It’s you. You called ahjayzis a mouthy f****t last week and now you’re whining about bullying. Either this some weird performance art or you’re diagnosably dim-witted.

          6. My Meaty Member

            @ classter

            I wasn’t asking Mammy classter – I’m sure as the name suggests you would have asked her permission first in any case before bringing home something the cat dragged in

            I was speaking to Mammy Moyest I can just see it

            Moyest: But Mammy Mammy Mammy I MUST have my IRA Loving bit of stuff here. I must have her I must I must I Must I MUST

            Mammy Moyest: Moyestie love I’ve told you once I’ve told you a thousand times, I don’t mind you talking to trollops, if they talk to you first of course, unlikely as that might be, but please please son don’t make me have to throw them out of my home

          7. Anne

            ‘Meaty’/ ‘Same Old’/ ‘Nice Jung man’ aka Sybil still calling women trollops. Questions arise like why is he still not getting the ride? The answer to the question also arises.

          8. My Meaty Member

            c) as well as the aforementioned cavorting pics

            I accept a lot of people do stuff in private they don’t intend for public consumption, Well there’s the rub, in today’s media fascist world, if you ‘re really worried about that kind of thing happening, then don’t fupping do it. That’s why I asked Moyestie if he’s going to bring Michaella home to Mammy but of course the sap hasn’t the balls to answer it. I can accept you made a valid point though there Pikie Annie ,well done, actually “good girl”, *pats Pikie Annie’s head

          9. Anne

            “For clarity I’m calling trollops trollops”

            Ah now that you explained it like that, that’s ok so.


          10. Anne

            You seem to have your research on her Meaty Member, would you like her to be a trollop?

            Btw, if you patted any women on the head IRL, you’d be in for a good kneeing to your meaty member, preferably from a trollop wearing steel toe capped boots.

            Just a few words of advice for you there Meaty Member..

    2. classter

      @15 cents

      Not being funny but you need to look up ‘garnish’ in the dictionary

      Maybe ‘garner’ instead?

      But in a weird way, maybe ‘garnish’ works.

        1. My Meaty Member

          Get up the yard. He has upped his game in the trolling stakes in fairness he must be looking over his shoulder at you and getting nervous

  21. some old queen

    Michaella is on parole and needs to be very careful what she says. RTE were her best option because as a state broadcaster, if she got banged up again they would have been responsible for asking leading questions. That is why it wasn’t as hard as it could have been and INM are sore that they didn’t get the gig. The Sunday World front page in particular was soft porn and god knows what they would have asked to trip her up if they had the opportunity.

    A young girl living in an environment where drugs are freely available and openly consumed made a very stupid decision. She has done the time. End of. And no, she wasn’t a dealer as some on here have suggested. I hope she makes very large sums of money from taking those people to court.

    As for linking it to the wider debate on drug liberalisation or legislation, I really don’t see the point. If anything it is just clouding the issue.

  22. :-Joe

    Eh… what’s all the fuss… she was havin’ de fun abroad… she took a chance for a quick buck and now it’s a z-list celebrity career start in banged up abroad.

    The war on drugs is a war on peasant farmers, cocao in South America, poppy’s in Afghanistan and everyone poor everywhere else with marijuana.

    The corporations with their tobacco plantations and brewery’s make sh1t tons of cash selling mostly high volume low quality product they can produce cheaply…. so therefore it’s become cheaper to just advertise and lobby more and more for weaker regulation of health policies and favourable drug bans than to give a fupp about the overall damage it does to society.

    The same situation is growing with over-the-counter so called “legal pharmaceutical drugs” that we are told we need every day to fix our ups and downs, thinking, breathing, yawning etc. etc.

    The war on derp is always an intentional direct attack on democracy and social mobility. As Mercille quite rightly refers to, the blacks of civil rights movements and the anti-war hippy’s in 60’s US were merging together in solidarity under a rare surge in democracy that the establishment corporate elites feared like never before. So they actively crushed them through operations like “cointelpro” and many others. It was largely ignored and went unnoticed due in a small part by the Nixon Watergate scandal but mostly because the whole corporate establishment media worked together to suppress anything about it from reaching the newspapers. Quite an achievement that hardly anyone talks about it to this day.

    Cocaine is illegal because it’s always been part of an attack on peasant farmers where the cocoa plant grows that’s mostly in South America which has long historical links to standard US foreign policy of domination, control and basically destroying democracy intentionally.

    Legalisation leads to regulation, higher quality and all round better health benefits for the society. In the case of cocaine, almost immediately. peasant farmers in Nicaragua would rightly become something like the first new coffee farmers within a couple of years but the US won’t allow anyone to get rich from controlling their own means of production and exporting their own produce for their own profit and benefit.

    Technically marjuana or the hemp plant is not even illegal and never has been. The US government has numerous scientific classifications and patents that describe in detail what it is, how they see it and what the benefits are and could potentially be. It’s just a source of medicine and a muti-purpose easy to grow and very useful natural plant.

    The heroin epidemic and subsequent wars on Afghan poppy farmers is roughly the exact same US foreign policy situation as peasant cocoa farmers in South America. The poorest of the poor have been left with nothing else to grow in order to make money so they turn to simplest form of producing a high value product. Yet the majority of the money from that goes to a small few violent locals and most of them still get funked anyway along with the poor people being thrown in jail at the other end for buying it “illegally”…..
    Another win win win for US foreign policy…. Empire’s sure are great fun to be involved with. All daft as a camberwell carrot full of cats….

    Wake up folks. Look at Portugal, when you make it a health issue and not a criminal justice issue then the problems go away and are reduced to tolerable minimums that go almost unnoticed.

    Yet some of you still think she is a criminal… Really?… Seriously low standards of common sense knocking around and on display today… The only even mildly interesting detail about this story is that pic on the front of the tabloid paper..

    All I want to know is did she really stick 11kg of coke up her bum part?…. How is that even possible… or am I totally confused?

    Howard Marks RIP…..


    1. :-Joe

      For the record, let it be known that I did not and would not use the phrase “bum part”.



  23. Truth in the News

    If Coke Coala or McDonalds had the monoply on the cocoa plant, they even
    exploit the use of vending machines in schools to sell and market it

    1. :-Joe

      The coke(which used to actually contain cocaine) and mcderp combo is directly linked in to this foreign policy too. Coke for a long time has been the shining success story and model of US foreign “investment” and international business strategy.

      It’s funny how many coke bottling plants were run by people that were linked closely to the many coup’s and military operations by the US in south america. In Africa people were convinced that coke was so good and had such a high aspirational value that they stopped buying basic food like raw vegetables at markets if they had to choose over a bottle of the turgid sugar water.

      John Pilger did an interesting documentary on it called the fizzy drink wars or soft drink wars.
      It’s on somewhere.


  24. Anne

    ” I don’t agree with everything in the piece but the vitriol in the comments seems way out of kilter.”


    I think it’s Irish ugly man syndrome.. They’re jealous of Mercille, as he’s everything they’re not – that’d be intelligent and handsome.

    Just accept the ugly lads.

  25. Markgdub

    Yeah, France does a great job a deterring people coming to buy and drink wine and champagne.

    Only country that brands itself with a drug, ffs, I would almost go back as a mature student to be that auld fella doing college who doesn’t fit in but shouts at you in every possible lecture for 3 years.

    Allez-vous faire foutre M Le doctuer Mercile.

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