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GAAW SUMMER 2012 BULLETIN

category galway | anti-war | opinion/analysis author Monday August 06, 2012 10:40author by GALWAY ALLIANCE AGAINST WAR Report this post to the editors


GALWAY ALLIANCE AGAINST WAR
SUMMER 2012 BULLETIN

DUE TO THE RAID ON THE HOME OF GAAW'S PRO AND THE SEIZURE OF HIS COMPUTER, WE ARE WITHOUT THE DATABASE OF 800+ SUPPORTERS, WHO WE REGULARLY EMAIL THE GAAW BULLETIN.
SO WE WOULD APPEAL TO YOU TO PASS ON THIS BULLETIN TO PEOPLE YOU KNOW ARE SYMPATETIC TO THE CAUSE OF PEACE.
IF YOU WISH TO BE INCLUDED ON OUR MAILING LIST, JUST CONTACT US AT galwayallianceagainstwar@gmail.com OR JOIN US ON OUR FACEBOOK GROUP PAGE: https://www.facebook.com/#!/groups/312442090965/
OR BEFRIEND US ON FACEBOOK: https://www.facebook.com/#!/galway.antiwar

GAAW SUPPORTED PEACE EVENT
PEACE VIGIL SHANNON
SUNDAY 12TH AUGUST. 2-3PM
AT THE ROUNDABOUT BEFORE THE ENTRANCE TO SHANNON AIRPORT

AGENDA

1. NEVER FORGET: IRELAND IS AT WAR
2. THE GARDAÍ AND GAAW
3. THE SCRAMBLE FOR AFRICA:
a) Somalia & The Real Pirates
b) MALI: “Collateral damage of the Libyan crisis”

NEVER FORGET: IRELAND IS AT WAR

Never forget: Ireland is part of the alliance waging war from Central Asia to North Africa. The number of Irish troops and Gardaí may be small, but our role is not insignificant. Over the past 10 years consecutive Irish governments – including the supposedly progressive Greens and Labour – have aligned themselves ideologically and militarily with the imperialist warmongers, the USA and the EU.

One central focus for peace people in Ireland must be the US military hub at Shannon Airport. Every 2nd Sunday of each month Shannonwatch holds a vigil between 2-3pm at the roundabout before Shannon Airport. It is important that there is a growing attendance at this monthly event. The next vigil will be held on Sunday 12th August.

THE GARDAÍ AND GAAW

The Galway Alliance Against War is a law-abiding peace group. Nevertheless, in its 11 short years it has received considerable attention from the Gardaí. We know for a fact they have tried to secretly film peaceful indoor events organised by ourselves. They have used intimidation to prevent us holding our harmless 99 Red Balloon peace event in opposition to the obscene Salthill Warshow and when that failed they employed their heavy hand to disrupt it. Nevertheless, their actions proved counterproductive.

The Gardaí have also used violence: a member of GAAW was assaulted by a senior Garda during a peaceful picket we held to protest at the presence of “top guns” from the militaristic US Thunderbirds at a hotel reception for them in Salthill. We cannot prove the Gardaí were behind the death threats made to one of our spokespersons, but the failure of the force to identify the culprit would suggest members of the force were involved. Complaints to the so-called Garda Ombudsman on both of these cases proved fruitless.

Despite this we have once more filed a complaint with this body over the raid on our PRO’s home and the ongoing consequences of that house search. The partiality of the Ombudsman’s office towards the Gardaí has been plain to see in Rossport. There, the Guards have employed and continue to employ blatant brutality without ever being sanctioned by their supposed watchdog.

The consequences of the Garda raid on our spokesperson’s home on June 7th continue. Three computers and two DVD discs of GAAW activities were seized by the Gardaí and still have not been returned. This was not just an unwarranted act of harassment, but a data gathering exercise. The excuse given for this raid was that GAAW had dared to publish in our December 2011 Bulletin an anonymous handwritten report detailing the sabotage on December 20th 2011 of a US warplane at Shannon airport.

To raid a home in search of this document so many months later is not a sign of Garda incompetence, but a clear act of intimidation and harassment of the messenger. We published this material online quite simply because the Irish media had failed to cover the sabotage in any serious manner. This is not the fault of local correspondents, but editorial policy of all the major media outlets: DON’T MENTION IRELAND’S WAR.

We would like to express our thanks to Dep Richard Boyd Barrett, who raised the raid with Alan Shatter in the Dáil (only to be verbally abused by the Minister). We would also like to sincerely thank Senator David Norris, Gerry Adams TD, Luke Ming Flanagan TD, Eamon Ó Cuiv TD and Thomas Pringle TD who showed no hesitation in writing to the “authorities” on our behalf. Councillors Declan Bree, Catherine Connolly, Dermot Connolly and Seosamh Ó Cuaig have been equally very supportive. And last but not least we wish to express our appreciation to ShannonWatch, the Irish Anti-War Movement and Denis Halliday for the solidarity shown.

Others, of course, have condemned us for our response to the raid: GAAW peacefully visited the homes of two government TDs. Our view was simple, what is good for the goose is good for the gander. We had to highlight this blatant intimidation and that we certainly did. The condemnation by a majority of Galway city councillors of our actions we will wear proudly on our lapel. It is all rather ironic, politicians who make a living by calling to our doors are highly offended when we reciprocate.

We have also been condemned by an erstwhile GAAW activist and a long-standing member of the Labour Party. In a letter she wrote to the local press, she claims GAAW is being “misled”. We would humbly suggest that before she criticises GAAW she should publicly condemn the role of her party leader in government. He has gone back on his word on Shannon Warport. He has misled the country and the Labour Party. He is allowing troops and armaments, including drones, to travel to war via Shannon. He is colluding in the death and destruction brought to the homes of innocent people from Central Asia to East Africa. Now that is criminal. Why no words of condemnation for him?
GAAW does not find the criticism from a Labour Party member surprising. Rather, it fits a pattern. Former GAAW members within the Greens took a dim view of our activities once their party went into government and colluded with the US “war on terror”.

The raid on the home of GAAW’s spokesperson is also part of a pattern too. The present government, just like the previous coalition, is attempting to criminalise those involved in standing up for our rights. We continue to see it happen in Rossport. Genuine, honest citizens who want to protect our natural resources and our environment are being beaten, bullied, harried and imprisoned by the forces of “law & order”. We have seen it with the turf cutters, the Occupy movement, the Palestinian solidarity movement and the Peace Movement. However, we would make it clear we will not be criminalised or intimidated. We will continue to highlight Ireland’s bloody role in the imperialist wars and we will defend our right to do that.

THE SCRAMBLE FOR AFRICA

We are now witnessing an historical re-run of the 19th century scramble for Africa. Despite the Obama Administration’s apparent welcoming of China onto the world stage, all indications are – from North Africa to Northern Australia – that the USA and its allies are preparing militarily to combat Beijing’s growing influence internationally. Africa with its huge well of untapped vital resources is central to this campaign.

Oil is just one of the many fuels to be found throughout Africa, from Libya to South Sudan, from Nigeria to Somalia. One of the main sources for uranium too is in the mines of Niger. Africa posesses the greatest reserves of tantalum, cobalt, niobium, and tungsten all essential for the production of modern-day electronics, from your flatscreen TV to the army generals’ most advanced warplanes. Cobalt in particular is a necessary component for the latter and it is in abundance in an area running from the Congo to Zambia. It is the former country that is the jewel in this crown of minerals. The Congo is widely considered to be the most resource rich nation in the world.

China has been making significant inroads into both the Congo and the rest of Africa, as it is here that it derives the much needed mineral supplies to fuel its consumer electronic industries. It is by far Africa’s biggest trading nation with 30% of China’s oil supplies being imported from Africa.

One country that is no longer open to China – or indeed Russia – is Libya. Since the overthrow of Ghaddafi only the oil companies of the Western nations are welcome. This fact gives a more realistic raison d’etre to the West’s rush to support the opponents of the former Libyan dictator. Concern for the lives of “innocent civilians” it certainly was not!

China’s involvement in Africa is not altruistic, it too is higly predatory and exploitative, but presently it is much more benign than the part being played by the warmongers of the crisis-ridden Western nations.

Military aggression is very much on the collective minds of the West. At the NATO summit in Chicago in May a list of countries was drawn up that should be sold military hardware for strategic reasons, but which are not part of this warrior’s alliance. The dictatorship in Qatar is on that list. It played a significant role in the war in Libya and is deeply involved in the present onslaught in Syria. At the end of July it became known that the German government intends to sell 200 of its hugely powerful Leopard 2 tanks to this Gulf autocracy – 400 of the same tanks are earmarked for Saudi Arabia. It is not just a lucrative business deal under the cover of maintaining “stability” in that region.

On the basis of NATO and German government sources, the Financial Times Deutschland (30th July 2012) reported that Qatar, like the other 5 Gulf dictatorships, should be included in a circle of Non-Nato partners to “benefit” from sales of military hardware. The aim is, the FTD states, to better prepare important Non-Nato states, such as Qatar, in Libyan-like military interventions. Iran is not the only potential target. The FTD sources claim that these armaments could also be used “for interventions in Africa”.

And what role does little old Ireland play in this global wargame? Consecutive Dublin governments are in the pocket of Washington, both militarily and ideologically. Gilmore’s publicity stunt of a visit to Somalia and the donation of €3 million is not a sign of a humanitarian Irish foreign policy. It is, rather, a pathetic fig leaf to try and hide a foreign policy that places a once neutral Ireland within the real “axis of evil” – to plagiarise a term coined by G. W. Bush’s neo-con administration – of the US and the EU or for short NATO.

The roots of World War I lay in the first “Scramble for Africa”. There is a distinct possibility that World War III will lie in this re-run of history.

(USAFRICOM and the Militarization of the African Continent: Combating China's Economic Encroachment - by Nile Bowie
http://www.globalresearch.ca/index.php?context=va&aid=29919 )

SOMALIA & THE REAL PIRATES

Say “Somalia” and almost instinctively people think “Pirates”. Why there is piracy off the shores of Somalia is put down to the country being a “failed state”.

Certainly there is a connection between Somalia’s loss of a centralised governing force and piracy. The western “community” or in particular its super trawlers, including Ireland’s super trawler, began to exploit – and still do - the absence of any governmental protection of Somalia’s fishing rights. This, plus the illegal dumping of toxic waste by foreign companies has virtually decimated the livelihoods of Somali fishermen. In order to survive some of them turned to piracy.

Even the collapse of the Somali state and economy can be traced to foreign interference. Somalia is a former Italian and British colony, which got independence in 1960. Almost from the outset the state was embroiled in military border disputes with Kenya and Ethiopia. This stemmed from the arbitrary borders between these African countries, which were drawn up by the former colonial powers.

Out of the border conflict with Ethiopia spiralled a super-power war by proxy: the USA on the side of Somalia, Ethiopia supported by the Soviet Union. The Somalian regime of Siad Barre (president from 1969 – 1991) became heavily endebted because of this war. In the 1980s it was forced by the IMF & the World Bank to introduce a neo-liberal economic programme. This led to risings against the state and to its eventual collapse in 1991.

What emerged after a series of civil wars amongst the clans was the Islamic Courts Union. It was seen as an impartial force within Somalia, but post 9/11 it was perceived as a “terrorist” organisation by the West.

In an article in May on counterpunch.org it is argued that the crisis of refugees and starvation now endemic in Somalia was caused by those who claim they want to solve it:
“The UN created these refugees in the first place, sending in the Ethiopian army in 2006 to bring fire and sword to newly peaceful Somalia, followed by the UN dispatched relief forces, now over 15,000 from Uganda, ever since 2008. Half a million Somali refugees created by the Ethiopian army, another half a million created by the UN/AU “pacification” of Mogadishu and now, following the worst drought and famine in 60 years…” ( Thomas C. Mountain: How to starve in Somalia on 10 cents a day http://www.counterpunch.org/2012/05/30/how-to-starve-in...-day/ ). The UN, according to the counterpunch journalist, is spending $30 million a month for 20,000 armed troops to fight a questionable war, while only $35 million is spent per annum to feed 1 million starving Somali refugees. That works out at a princely 10 cents a day. These figures put in context Eamon Gilmore’s latest photo opportunity in East Africa with his €3 million donation.
Meanwhile, the piracy continues and receives over-blown coverage in the Western media. There are now 30 states with warships patrolling the coast of Somalia, there to combat 1,500 poorly armed pirates. Many of these states have given their troops a mandate to carry out “the struggle against piracy” not only at sea, but also on land.
How convenient, as a Canadian oil company has been carrying out test drilling for oil since last year. For more than 20 years it has been widely believed that there are extensive oil deposits in Somalia. Before his overthrow in 1991 President Siad Barre, signed over nearly two thirds of Somalia to four US oil companies, Conoco, Amoco, Chevron and Phillips. These oil pirates are the real reason the West is intervening in poor Somalia.

MALI: “Collateral damage of the Libyan crisis”

“Collateral damage of the Libyan crisis” is how the President of Niger has described the successful uprising in the northern part of Mali. It is one of the poorest areas of the world and is inhabited by 1.3 million people mostly emanating from the Tuareg tribe and is situated in the drought devastated Sahel region.

But it is much more than ‘natural causes’ that the inhabitants of northern Mali have to endure.
The Mali President Amadou Toumani Touré or ATT, once described this part of the country in the following terms: “In North Mali there are no roads, hospitals, schools or wells. In fact, there is nothing. A young person there has no chance of marrying or leading a good life, unless he steals a car and joins the smugglers.”

Nevertheless, the President of Niger is correct: the rising is a direct result of the conflict in Libya. When the leader of a previous rebellion, Ibrahim Ag-Bahangas, was murdered in August 2011 (presumably by US-trained Mali soldiers) after returning from exile in war-torn Libya, a united movement was founded, the secularist Movement for the National Liberation of Azawad, MNLA, and a successful war of liberation began. The “collateral damage” didn’t stop there either. President ATT was overthrown in April 2012 in a US organised putsch for failing to put down the MNLA revolt. He was replaced by a Washington trained protegé from the Mali officer class, Captain Sanogo. And a new PM for the interim government was also installed. The new PM, Cheick Modibo Diarra, holds both a Mali and a US passport and worked previously with NASA as an astro-physicist.

The German foreign state broadcaster, Deutsche Welle, reported also on the impact of the Libyan crisis: “Along with the 300,000 to 400,000 foreign workers fleeing Libya, there were also thousands of fully-armed former Ghaddafi soldiers and mercenaries heading back to Mali, Niger, Mauretania and Chad.” What the German Government station didn’t mention, however, was another component of the Libyan crisis, Islamic fundamentalists armed and sent by the Gulf dictatorships, Qatar and Saudi Arabia, to fight against Ghadaffi.

Iran’s Press TV has not been so reticent: “From new bases in Libya, these mujaheddin, who continue to receive support from the Wahhabist regimes in the Persian Gulf, are taking part in operations in support of [Islamic fundamentalist] Boko Haram in Nigeria and Ansar Dine and AQIM in Mali.” The MNLA a secular-based liberation force has sought the assistance of foreign governments to defeat the Islamic fundamentalists, but that has been rejected. What will probably come to pass was predicted by a US columnist with Press TV Wayne Madsen: “It is clear, once again, that the West is using Al Qaeda as a proxy force to destabilize the Sahel in the interest of a later full-scale military intervention on the terms of NATO and the [Persian]Gulf Cooperation Council.” This view is corroborated by the above-mentioned Financial Times article which quotes German government and NATO sources as seeing a role for Qatar and other Gulf dictatorships in future interventions in Africa.

Niger’s President, however, is more concerned about the Tuareg-led MNLA rebellion and it's formation of an independent state. This new state lies beside the uranium-rich areas of the former French colony of Niger. These are the traditional lands of this nomadic desert people. Some 600,000 Tuaregs live and work under harsh conditions, many of whom are super-exploited working in the uranium mines. The Tuarega make up a majority of the population in this area south of the Algerian border. This is a concern not only for Niger’s president and his elite, but also for the French government. Approximately half of the uranuim used in France’s nuclear power stations emanate from these mines.

So it is no surprise that in July, the newly elected French President, François Hollande of the Socialist Party, spoke of the need for a military intervention in northern Mali. A force under “African command”, but which could be supported by “international troops”. This call underlines once more how easily the imperial mantel rests on the shoulders of so-called socialist leaders in Europe. And his wish is their command: as 3000 to 5,000-strong intervention force from West Africa is now being formed. The concern of this army is not the impoverished Tuaregs peoples, but their resources.

A couple of links to interesting articles:

Corporate agri-business and US food aid

http://www.guardian.co.uk/global-development/2012/jul/1...=SRCH

Hunger in Somalia

http://www.guardian.co.uk/global-development/2012/jul/2...=SRCH

author by Marc Springpublication date Mon Aug 06, 2012 11:07Report this post to the editors

Great tactic - peacefully calling to the houses of state reps. Counterpoints the violence of the state in its raid of your PROs office. Didn't know about the Dec2011 sabotage of the US warplane - well done - Got a link to it?

author by opus diablos - the regressive hypocrite partypublication date Mon Aug 06, 2012 14:13Report this post to the editors

heres another overview..more or less confirming

http://www.globalresearch.ca/index.php?context=va&aid=32170

The link to The Jerusalem Post(may 16) is worth a scan.

author by GALWAY ALLIANCE AGAINST WARpublication date Mon Aug 06, 2012 22:35Report this post to the editors

Unfortunately, the Dec. 2011 GAAW Bulletin was on our desktop pc, which is now incarcerated in Shannon's copshop. We'll see if one of the GAAW Cttee still have it and will post below. It was posted on indymedia at the time and the Garda leading the raid, Sgt Kevin O'Hagan by name, mentioned the report having been posted by GAAW on this site. Interesting that you hadn't heard of the sabotage. That's the way the "free press" works and works very successfully!

author by pat cpublication date Mon Aug 06, 2012 22:45Report this post to the editors

gaaw December 2012 Bulletin
galway | anti-war | opinion/analysis Monday December 26, 2011 15:41 by Galway Alliance Against War - Galway Alliance Against War
GALWAY ALLIANCE AGAINST WAR ****** DECEMBER BULLETIN 2011

FREE BRADLEY MANNING!!!!!!
FREE BRADLEY MANNING!!!!!!
FREE BRADLEY MANNING!!!!!!
FREE BRADLEY MANNING!!!!!!

CONTENTS
1) EXCLUSIVE REPORT ON THE PEACEFUL ACT OF SABOTAGE AT SHANNON WARPORT
2) SO THIS IS CHRISTMAS: IN PALESTINE
3) LIBYA: AN ALTERNATIVE PERSPECTIVE
4) NORTH KOREA: AN ALTERNATIVE PERSPECTIVE
5) REPORT ON AN ALTERNATIVE CONFERENCE ON AFGHANISTAN
6) EDWARD HORGAN REPORTS FROM THE CONGO
7) BUSH & BLAIR FOUND GUILTY OF WAR CRIMES
8) FOR YOUR DIARY
1 AN EXCLUSIVE REPORT ON THE PEACEFUL ACT OF SABOTAGE AT SHANNON WARPORT
Below we reproduce a handwritten communication we received from one of the members of the Peace Team that sabotaged a US troop transporter at Shannon warport last Tuesday morning, 20th December 2011. We have verified that this person participated in this action. “Direct action is no substitute for mass political action for peace, nevertheless it felt great in the early hours of last Tuesday morning cutting the hydraulics on all the landing gear of that US troop transport plane. LOL.

“Why did we do it?

1) Irish democracy has been subverted on so many levels and no less so on the Irish neutrality front. Despite the overwhelming majority of Irish people supporting the concept of Irish neutrality successive Irish governments have become accessories to mass murder in Afghanistan and Iraq and they have been directly involved in torture through allowing Shannon airport to be turned into a US warport. Disgust at these developments led to us immobilising this US troop transporter.

2) It was also as a gesture of respect for the people like Malalai Joya of Afghanistan, who had called at a conference in Bonn for acts of solidarity with her country.

3) President Higgins in his inaugural speech offered to “champion” those who “make their own imaginative and practical contribution to the shaping of our shared future”. We look forward to Ireland’s new ‘dear leader’ championing our act of peace last Tuesday morning, 20th December 2011.

4) It was appropriate to carry out this peace action in Christmas week, when the media and politicians’ speeches the world over are full of hypocritical Christian cant about peace, while they support and even profit from wars in far off lands.

5) We will be criticised for jeopardising jobs in Shannon. But such jobs are created on the basis of killing innocent people in foreign lands. That is no basis for job creation. Our stand is the same as the stand taken by the men and women in Easter 1916 against imperialist war.

” The Peace Act of Sabotage: The Details “

There has been a virtual media blackout of our act of peace last Tuesday morning. But for the record here is what took place.

“We were dropped off at a perimeter fence to Shannon’s warport. We quickly cut through that fence and were immediately confronted by four curious looking young cows. We bade them a good morning and went on our merry way to the second fence, which was easily breached, and into the warport proper. (By the way, rumours abound that Dr Doolittle has been called in by the Gardaí to interrogate these four innocent bystanders) “It took a little while to get our bearings, but then we proceeded in the direction of the warport’s terminal, passing on the way a hangar where work on a passenger plane was being conducted. We regularly stopped to observe our surroundings to make sure we wouldn’t be caught.

“As we got closer to the warport terminal, we could see the shape of the plane parked out on a side runway. We approached it with caution, as we initially thought we could see people guarding it. That proved not to be the case. And although there was plenty of activity at the terminal, the area around the plane was completely deserted. Actually we all lay on the ground observing the plane and its surroundings before we decided to move in and carry out our act of sabotage.

“The only press report states we “vandalised” a plane. How can one “vandalise” a vandal? Because that is what this planes is. And it is owned by vandals, by mercenary airlines like Omni airlines, who profit from the US-led wars.

“Beforehand we agreed we would immobilise the hydraulics of all the landing gear: the metal tubes that run vertically along the shaft holding the wheels. Four sets of landing gear were sabotaged – three in the middle, one at the front. This was all pre-planned. While that peace work was being completed another peace activist sprayed the words: “PEACE – U.S. TROOPS OUT” on the side of the plane.

“We then made our retreat and were soon being ferried away from Shannon having completed a good morning’s work. We had consciously decided not to seek being arrested. It is our view that if we were to be arrested we would fight any case on the basis that our act of peace was justified. But we prefer not to have to go through the rigmarole of court cases, which would also be ignored by our very unfree press.

“Will we do it again? Perhaps. But we would honestly prefer if people would participate in public peace activities. Set up their own local peace group. Make contact with groups like the Galway Alliance Against War. Attend the vigil held the second Sunday of every month between 2-3pm at the roundabout at Shannon warport.

“Our sabotage we hope will be a bit of fillip to all those peace activists out there.

“Our first priority in this peace action was to prevent harm coming to anyone: preventing injury and death to the Afghani people by disrupting the flow of foreign soldiers into their country; preventing harm to the people working at Shannon warport and preventing harm to US troops by preventing the plane from transporting them to their deaths. These planes carry up to 300 armed US troops to the imperialist wars in Afghanistan and Iraq.

“The act of peaceful sabotage we carried out was undoubtedly a symbolic gesture in the context that over 2,000,000 troops have travelled through Shannon on their way to war and we were only able to halt one plane.

“But it was an expression of our disgust at the role of successive Irish Governments being accessories to both the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan and to torture – Shannon warport is intrinsically linked to so-called extraordinary rendition. The leaders of Fianna Fail, the former Progressive Democrats, the Greens and now Fine Gael and the Labour Party have blood on their hands.”
ENDS

2 SO THIS IS CHRISTMAS – IN PALESTINE DATE: 10TH DECEMBER 2011
West Bank Protester Dies of his Wounds
Mustafa Tamimi, who was fatally injured yesterday during a demonstration in the West Bank village of Nabi Saleh passed away earlier today.

Tamimi was hit in the face by a tear-gas projectile shot directly at him, from only a few feet away.

Mustafa Tamimi, a 28 year old resident of Nabi Saleh, was shot in the face yesterday, during the weekly protest in the village of Nabi Saleh. He sustained a critical head injury, under his right eye, and was evacuated to the Belinson hospital in Petah Tikwa. The severe trauma to Tamimi's brain, caused by the shooting, left the doctors with little to do to save his life, and he eventually passed away at 09:21 AM today.

Tamimi's funeral will take place tomorrow, leaving Ramallah at 10:00 AM towards Nabi Saleh, where it is expected to reach at around 11:00 AM Iyad Burnat

3 LIBYA: AN ALTERNATIVE PERSEPECTIVE WHO SAID GADAFFI HAD TO GO?
BY HUGH ROBERTS
http://www.lrb.co.uk/v33/n22/hugh-roberts/who-said-gadd...to-go

4 NORTH KOREA: AN ALTERNATIVE PERSPECTIVE
Korea at the crossroads: Peace or confrontation? By Dorothy Ogle Dorothy Ogle is a former missionary to South Korea, visitor to North Korea in 1984, and in 1987-1988 the legislative affairs coordinator for the 1986 National Council of Churches Policy Statement: "Peace and Reunification of Korea." http://www.dailycamera.com/ci_19609427

5 REPORT ON AN ALTERNATIVE CONFERENCE ON AFGHANISTAN
John Lannon of Shannonwatch attended a one day International Alternative Conference entitled "For a self-determined Afghanistan" in Bonn on December 4th. This is a brief report on the conference. [Original article at: http://www.shannonwatch.org/blog/they-talk-peace-wage-war]

"There are few countries in the world that require as much solidarity as Afghanistan". These were the words of Matin Baraki, a political scientist born in Afghanistan, speaking in Bonn at the weekend. "The people of Afghanistan have been traumatised" he said. "But we have not given up hope". Matin Baraki was speaking at a one-day International Alternative Conference which coincided with a war summit that is also taking place in Bonn.

The BBC and other international media call this war summit "a major global conference on Afghanistan's future". Sponsored by Germany and chaired by the puppet president of Afghanistan, Hamid Karzai, the publicly stated intention of the conference is to work out a roadmap for Afghans’ self-sustenance for economic development, and for peace after the NATO mandatory mission supposedly expires by the end of 2014. Afghan participants at the Alternative Conference were clear about what Afghanistan needs. Their country is crippled by poverty, conflict and lack of education. and one of the primary causes of these ongoing problems is the US/NATO occupation.

This occupation is what Afghan politicians like Malalai Joya see as one of three enemies faced by the country, the other two being warlords and fundamentalism. It is intended to continue well beyond the much-touted withdrawal date of 2014, and in so doing it will create even greater problems for the people of Afghanistan. Participants at the Alternative Conference also emphasised the fact that the US/NATO occupation of Afghanistan is all about strategic interests.

In their plundering and destruction of the country, fundamentalists and warlords have now become important allies. Lawlessness and failure to respect human rights - especially the human rights of women - are excuses given for the ongoing occupation. All the while the US ignores the voices of the Afghan people, especially the liberal forces that seek real change. The Alternative Conference was attended by peace activists from around the world. They came together to create space for discussions with progressive Afghan voices and to outline alternatives to the occupation. It was an honour to be part of the programme, to meet people like the incredibly brave, independent and outspoken Afghan activist and politician Malalai Joya, and to hear first-hand from her and others about the suffering - and the hope - of the people of Afghanistan. It was also shameful to have to tell them that Ireland, a supposedly neutral country, is actively participating in the US/NATO occupation by allowing Shannon Airport to be used for troop movements. Ireland has also got 7 troops serving with NATO in Afghanistan.

It is therefore part of the war strategy that has fragmented and polarised societies around the world in order to control and dominate. Over the coming days the future of Afghanistan is being decided in a small city 3,200 miles away from its capital Kabul. It must seem strange to the people of Afghanistan - to those who know about the conference, that is - that their futures are being determined so far away. But it is no accident that they have no say; respecting the human rights of Afghan men, women and children is not what the Bonn war conference is about. Indeed as the US/NATO discourse moves from "counter insurgency" to "counter terrorism", the conference is being used to re-establish old strategies of cooperation with the Taliban and other recent enemies. And the only certainty is that this strategy will bring more violence and suffering to the people of Afghanistan.

6 EDWARD HORGAN REPORTS FROM THE CONGO
The Congo – over 20 million dead due to slavery, colonial abuse, Western exploitation and civil and regional African wars.

The New York Times headline on 2 Dec 2011, four days after the elections in the Congo, betrays the very flawed Western view of what is in the best interests of the people of the Congo. “Firebrand Attracts Votes in Congo, Dismaying West”.

This headline was referring to Étienne Tshisekedi, a 78-year-old politician with an unusually robust reputation for honesty and a history of trying to promote democracy by peaceful means. The NYT described him as a “career rabble-rouser who is immensely popular in the streets of his country but definitely unpopular inside Western embassies”. He is unpopular in the West because he would seek to end the continuing grossly unjust exploitation of the mineral wealth of the Congo by Western and now also, Eastern (Chinese) companies and governments.

The West and its multinational corporations can relax for the moment because the outgoing president, 40 year old Joseph Kabila, has been declared elected by the electoral commission that he carefully selected, and this is likely to be approved by an equally carefully selected Supreme Court. The reality probably is that Tshisekedi won the most votes, but that fraudulent manipulation enabled Kabila to claim victory. I was in Bukavu in the troubled South Kivu province, on the borders with Rwanda and Burundi during the election, and witnessed some of this manipulation.

The people of the Democratic Republic of the Congo have suffered more than any other people in the world due to exploitation and conflicts, not because they are living in an impoverished inhospitable land such as Somalia, but rather because they live in the one of the wealthiest regions of the world. Their wealth in minerals, forestry, agriculture and human resources have been a curse rather than a blessing, and European’s have been the main perpetrators of this exploitation until recently when they were joined by the US and China.

Their problems began with the slave trade when up to five million Congolese were sold into slavery for the so-called New World. This was followed by the colonial abuses perpetrated by King Leopold and later by the Belgian Government that cost the lives of a further estimated ten-million people, not that anyone was doing body counts. Independence in 1960 was effectively aborted when the newly elected Prime Minister Patrice Lumumba was assassinated by the combined efforts of the Belgian military, the US CIA, and their local clients and mercenaries.

The genuine United Nations efforts to act as midwife for the new-born state cost the lives of 28 Irish peacekeeping soldiers and the life of UN Secretary General Dag Hammarskjold, who may also have been assassinated. Joseph Mobutu, a former Sergeant in the Belgian Colonial army Installed himself, with Belgian and US help as President of the Congo, and remained there as a corrupt dictator for over 30 years, supported, financed and armed by the US, France and other western states and multinationals.

After the end of the Cold War the Congo disintegrated into chaos partly precipitated by the after effects of the Rwandan genocide, and the scramble for the Congo’s resources by neighbouring states. The conflicts between 1996 and 2006 cost an estimated five million Congolese lives. The real danger now is that 40 year old Joseph Kabila will now follow in the corrupt footsteps of Joseph Mobutu, and lead the Congo back into another 30 years of corrupt dictatorship.

7 Bush & Blair found guilty of war crimes
Did anyone read about the Malaysian war crime tribunal in the national press or hear it discussed on radio or television? Hardly, as we do not have a free press in Ireland. Our media is heavily censored. Below is a report on the findings of the Malaysian tribunal into the Iraq war.

Denis Halliday was a member of the tribunal. A Malaysian tribunal has found former US President George W Bush and former British Prime Minister Tony Blair guilty of committing crimes against humanity during the Iraq war. The Kuala Lumpur War Crimes Tribunal found the former heads of state guilty after a four-day hearing. A seven-member panel chaired by former Malaysian Federal Court judge Abdul Kadir Sulaiman presided over the trial. The five panel tribunal unanimously decided that the former US and British leaders had committed crimes against peace and humanity, and also violated international law when they ordered the invasion of Iraq in March 2003. The prosecutors at the hearing ruled that the invasion of Iraq was a flagrant abuse of law, and act of aggression which amounted to a mass murder of the Iraqi people.

“Bush and Blair are found guilty under the same law that applied to the Nazis after the end of the World War II. So, they are international (war) criminals guilty of Nuremberg crimes against peace; and they should be prosecuted by any state in the world that gets a hold of them. We will continue our efforts to bring Bush and Blair to justice and put them in jail,

” Francis Boyle, an international law expert and prosecutor stated. The judges in the verdict said that that the United States, under the leadership of Bush, forged documents to claim that Iraq had weapons of mass destruction. Bush and Blair were tried in absentia by the Kuala Lumpur War Crimes Tribunal at the end of the hearing. The participants also demanded that the findings of the tribunal be made available to members of the Rome Statute and that the names of the two former officials be entered in the register of war criminals.

“There is also a recommendation that this (the findings) be circulated to the states because all states have universal jurisdiction. Therefore, whenever Bush or Blair appear within their shores there is an obligation on the international law to commit these international war criminals through the justice system,” Gurdial Singh Nijar, a prosecutor said. Lawyers and human rights activists in Malaysia have described the verdict issued by the Kuala Lumpur War Crimes Tribunal against Bush and Blair as “a landmark decision.” They say that they would lobby the International Criminal Court to charge the pair for war crimes.

The Kuala Lumpur War Crimes Tribunal is scheduled to hold a separate hearing next year on charges of torture linked to the Iraq war against former US officials including ex-Vice President Dick Cheney, former Secretary of State Donald Rumsfeld and ex-Attorney General Alberto Gonzales.

FOR YOUR DIARY
SHANNONWATCH PEACE VIGIL SUNDAY, JANUARY 8TH 2012
BETWEEN 2-3PM AT THE LAST ROUNDABOUT BEFORE THE ENTRANCE TO SHANNON WARPORT.
PLEASE ATTEND.

Irish Anti War Movement AGM & PUBLIC MEETING Sat 28th January 2012 - Liberty Hall Dublin Annual General Meeting (AGM) - Sat 28th January 2012 - Liberty Hall Dublin

Irish Anti War Movement 28/01/2012 - 13:00- 15:30 Sat 28th
Jan 2012 4-6pm - Public Forum The Arab Spring One Year On - Liberty Hall Dublin
Irish Anti War Movement On the 1st anniversary of 25th January Revolution the Irish Anti-War Movement, in conjunction with the Islamic Foundation in Ireland (South Circular Mosque) and Islamic Cultural Centre (Clonskeagh Mosque) is co-hosting a "Forum on the Arab Spring: One Year On".

Location: Liberty Hall Dublin
Cost of Entry: FREE
Speakers:
Anas Al Tikriti
Dr Faheen Bukhata
Prof. Philip Marfleet
Judith Orr.
Chair: Richard Boyd Barrett TD

 
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