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Human Rights in Ireland >>
GAAW SUMMER 2012 BULLETIN
Monday August 06, 2012 10:40 by GALWAY ALLIANCE AGAINST WAR
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 firstname.lastname@example.org 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
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
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
Hunger in Somalia