GAAW September 2012 Bulletin
Dé Máirt Meán Fómhair 25, 2012 17:31 by GALWAY ALLIANCE AGAINST WAR
GAAW Supported Peace Event and Newsletter
GALWAY ALLIANCE AGAINST WAR
SEPTEMBER 2012 BULLETIN
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GAAW SUPPORTED PEACE EVENT
PEACE VIGIL SHANNON
SUNDAY 14TH OCTOBER, 2-3PM
AT THE ROUNDABOUT BEFORE THE ENTRANCE TO SHANNON AIRPORT
1. A MESSAGE TO GAAW SUPPORTERS
2. COMPLICITY IN TORTURE: SHANNON GARDAÍ SEE NO EVIL…..BRITISH COURTS HEAR NO EVIL
3. IRELAND & EU FOREIGN POLICY
4. FAILED STATES: LIBYA DOESN’T EXIST ANYMORE
5. US PRESIDENTIAL RACE: NEITHER CANDIDATE
Website of the month: www.pakistanbodycount.org
This website details the casualties from US drone attacks and suicide bombings in Pakistan. It highlights how disastrous the invasion and occupation of Afghanistan has been for the people of Pakistan. However, when Irish people hear of US drone attacks in Central Asia or the Horn of Africa they should think: Shannon warport. Much of the US deadly weaponry comes via Shannon.
Clive Stafford Smith on Drones: the west’s new terror campaign http://www.guardian.co.uk/commentisfree/2012/sep/25/dro...ugs-1
A MESSAGE TO GAAW SUPPORTERS
Many of you on our contact list may be unaware of a raid on the home of our PRO, Niall Farrell, by Shannon’s Gardaí on the 7th of June. The excuse for the raid was that we had dared to publish in our December 2011 Bulletin an anonymous report we received detailing an act of peaceful sabotage carried out on a US warplane at Shannon warport on 20th December 2011. You may recall there was a virtual blackout of this action by the Irish media, for this reason GAAW decided it was vital to put the details of this peace act in the public domain.
At the end of the 4 hour raid, the Gardaí seized 3 computers and more than 3 months later they still have them in their possession. One of the PCs contains the email contact details of all GAAW’s supporters. (Fortunately, we have just recently been able to recover the email addresses from our gmail account and are therefore able to send this bulletin to you.) It is our firmly held belief that the raid on Niall Farrell’s home had more to do with data gathering than trying to find evidence relating to that peace action at Shannon five months earlier.
This is the Ireland we live in. If you oppose war and advocate peace you will be criminalised, victimised and spied upon.
We would urge you to contact your local TDs and express your concern that the Gardaí have your contact details in their possession.
COMPLICITY IN TORTURE:
…..SHANNON GARDAÍ SEE NO EVIL
…..BRITISH COURTS HEAR NO EVIL
Back in March 2011 the peace monitors at Shannon, Shannonwatch, delivered to the local Garda station two wheelbarrow loads of evidence relating to the illegal activities of the CIA and the US military at the warport. Seventeen months later, on 14th August 2012, Shannonwatch finally received a response from the Gardai. It was a brief half-page letter that simply said “No evidence has been uncovered by the Gardai which indicate [sic] any alleged breach of Irish & International laws resulting from the transit of armed U.S. troops & CIA associated aircraft in connection with wars and military aggression in Iraq, Afghanistan and elsewhere, and in connection with unlawful detention and torture of prisoners at Guantanamo prison and elsewhere".
(It is an interesting coincidence that Detective Garda Sgt. Kevin O’Hagan was in charge of this investigation and also led the raid on the home of GAAW’s PRO. He’s a lot of work on his hands protecting Shannon warport.)
John Lannon, spokesperson for Shannonwatch said "This response seems to ignore a large body of evidence, much of which already exists in the public domain. We provided dates and times on which known and suspected rendition aircraft landed at Shannon Airport. Amnesty International have also brought flight logs to the attention of the Irish Government. These logs showing that planes used by the CIA for renditions landed at the airport. Council of Europe and European Parliament inquiries have also identified Shannon Airport as a stopover point in the US renditions programme.”
"This all indicates alleged breaches of Irish and international laws at Shannon, despite what the Gardai claim." said Mr. Lannon.
"Perhaps it is not surprising that the Gardai would say they have uncovered no evidence of wrongdoing at Shannon" said the Shannonwatch spokesperson. "They have consistently failed to investigate complaints made when suspect aircraft were at the airport. On one occasion on 18th June 2008 they even said that a "policy decision" had been made that there were no grounds to search the aircraft in question.”
“Such lack of willingness to search CIA-linked and military aircraft at Shannon seems to be at odds with the State’s obligations under the UN Convention Against Torture which was ratified through the Criminal Justice (United Nations Convention against Torture) Act 2000. Article 4 of the Convention makes specific reference to acts by any person which constitutes complicity or participation in torture".
“Turning a blind eye to the presence of known or suspected rendition aircraft at Shannon could be seen as complicity or participation in torture.”
…..Meanwhile in Strasbourg, a majority of MEPs in the European parliament were echoing John Lannon’s concerns. They passed a resolution calling on EU states to disclose information on the CIA’s secret torture flights. According to Hélène Flautre, one of the authors of an EU parliament report into the CIA’s illegal extraordinary rendition programme, stated, "It is quite clear there was a systematic programme of transfer of people", involving, "Switches [of prisoners] in third countries so as to hide the final destination of the people involved".
British MEP Claude Moraes, member of the civil liberties committee, said, "Member states have a duty to fulfil their obligations under international law and investigate the serious human rights violations that took place within the CIA programme.....State secrecy cannot stand in the way of access to justice and the disclosure of the truth."
......Meanwhile in merry old England the British government is attempting to devise a “secret-court plan” so the public will hear no evil reports about the illegal activities of the CIA and MI6. The proposals are aimed at ensuring that intelligence material, which currently cannot be heard in court, can be admitted as evidence by restricting its circulation. The intelligence would be heard by a judge but not by claimants or their lawyers.
This secret-court plan, which is now a parliamentary bill, was drawn up as a result of “sensitive evidence” getting a public airing during a case taken by CIA torture victim and Guantanamo detainee Binyam Mohamed. The evidence showed that MI5 & MI6 knew he had been tortured.
Which brings us unhappily back to Shannon warport: Binyam Mohamed’s kidnappers and torturers are known to have travelled twice through Shannon and in fact stayed overnight in a local hotel – under Garda protection no doubt. Nothing new there.
IRELAND & EU FOREIGN POLICY
“The world needs a Europe that is capable of deploying military missions to help stabilise the situation in crisis areas. We need to launch a comprehensive review of European capabilities and begin truly collective defence planning.”
(José Manuel Barroso in his “state of the union” address in the EU parliament Sept 13th 2012)
It is not difficult to read between the lines of this Barroso quotation. Stabilising crisis areas is meant to appear altruistic, but in fact it is the modern imperialist equivalent of the colonialists’ “whiteman’s burden”.
We saw it in oil-rich Libya: French and British intervention “to prevent civilian casualties” – mar dhea. Not a word in the heavily censored western media of the subsequent deaths of 30,000 Libyans, most of whom were non-combatants. Nothing either about the favourable deals done with western oil concerns to exploit Libya’s vast oil wealth.
The Dublin government is very much in tune with Brussels’ foreign goals. The kite-flying stories about the possible use of Ireland’s elite soldiers, the Irish Rangers, being deployed in oil-rich Somalia against pirates – mar dhea – is no accident. But more concretely, Foreign Affairs Minister Gilmore’s failure to oppose further sanctions against Iran at the EU foreign ministers’ summit in Cyprus shows that the Republic is very much part of the imperialist plot to overthrow the Tehran government.
And there will be no objections to Barroso’s aspirations for a “truly collective defence planning”. It, of course, is simply a euphemism for an EU army. This is another project that is very much underway and which is supported by the three main political parties in the Dáil. Fianna Fail, may be trying to reinvent itself as a “left of centre” party, but that is only a charade. It was Willie O’Dea, while Defence Minister, who decided that the Irish army should leave the EU Nordic Battle Group and join instead the German Battle Group. It is no secret that the bigwigs in the Irish army want to be alongside the EU’s “big boys”. And they don’t come much bigger than the German armed forces!
So, Irish troops will now find themselves under the command of German officers such as Georg Klein. Back in September 2009 Klein was guilty of the biggest German war crime so far of the Afghan war. He ordered six bombs to be dropped on two abandoned oil tankers that had been earlier hijacked, despite the fact that local villagers, primarily children and young adults, were drawing off petrol at the time. At least 139 civilians were killed. Colonel Georg Klein was not forced to resign, instead in August of this year he was promoted to General! This is the culture of the Battle Group our army is joining.
Despite all Barroso’s fine words this too is the culture of the EU’s foreign policy.
FAILED STATES: A MEANS TO AN END
Libya doesn’t exist anymore. After the western military machine bombed Muammar Al-Gaddafi’s opponents to victory, the Libyan state disintegrated. There are now a huge number of competing power groups and territories. Different groupings, from clans to organised militias, have seized wide swathes of the country. The East Libyan separatists are particularly prominent. Then there are the Islamic forces, as well as ethnic groups that have taken control of single towns. In the south and the west of Libya bloody land wars are continually flaring up. In mid-August the chaos threatened to spread to Tripoli when a series of car-bomb attacks directed against the security forces destroyed the illusion of stabilisation in Libya.
Even CNN had to admit in a report that Libya is still extremely "unstable a year after the revolution”. The rebel army consisted of "hundreds of militia”, which held on to their weapons after the fall Gaddafi and now exercise power in the towns and regions which they occupy. According to an Amnesty International report in July 2012, “nearly a year after Tripoli fell to the revolutionary fighters, ongoing violations – including arbitrary arrests and detention, torture including to death, impunity for unlawful killings and forcible displacement…. it is estimated that 4,000 [prisoners]remain in centres outside the reach of the central authorities. Some have been held without charge for a year.…. Amnesty International also strongly criticised the authorities for failing to resolve the situation of entire communities forcibly displaced during last year’s conflict and still unable to return their homes which were looted and burned by armed militias. The entire population of the city of Tawargha, estimated at 30,000, continues to be prevented from going home.”
Iraq – Libya – Syria
These developments are strongly reminiscent of the disintegration of the Iraqi state after the US invasion. After the effortless collapse of Saddam’s Baathist regime the country was engulfed in a long-running civil war between Sunni and Shiite militias. A united opposition to the US occupying force did not materialise. The internal struggle for power, which continues to this day, split the opposition to the US military. It was left to individual militias to at times attack the US occupying force – sometimes the Sunni Al Quaida groups and at other times Shiite Sadr militia.
Developments in Syria appear to be going in a similar direction to Libya and Iraq. The Syrian state may also disintegrate. The forces waging war against the Assad government have a distinct ethnic-confessional character. This is due in particular to the support being offered by the deeply reactionary Gulf despots to the Sunni fundamentalist forces. Then in the Kurdish regions, Kurdish militias are in de facto control. This has led to speculation that an Alawite "trunk state" may come into being if the Syrian regime is unable to quell the uprising movement. This would be Assad’s plan B.
The direct (and so far in the case of Syria, indirect) military intervention by the western powers in the Arab world is all part of their battle to achieve dominance in this resource-rich region. These battle lines have the US and EU states on one side and Iran, Russia, Syria and not least China on the other side. The collapse of states such as Libya and the complete destabilization of Iraq make it much easier for the western countries to exploit their natural resources. Manipulating the divisions caused by local rivalries,the western powers are employing the classical colonial methods of divide and rule.
So at the beginning of the 21st century we are witnessing a wave of nation states in the developing world collapsing. This stands in stark contrast to the foundation of new states during the period of decolonisation in the middle of the 20th century. The collapse of power structures of nation-states in Libya, Iraq or Syria form only the latest in a long row of such crises: Somalia, Congo and Afghanistan being the most prominent. Creating failed states would appear to be 21st century imperialism’s means to an end.
US PRESIDENTIAL RACE: NEITHER CANDIDATE
by BILL QUIGLEY
Neither candidate is interested in stopping the use of the death penalty for federal or state crimes.
Neither candidate is interested in eliminating or reducing the 5,113 US nuclear warheads.
Neither candidate is campaigning to close Guantanamo prison.
Neither candidate has called for arresting and prosecuting high ranking people on Wall Street for the subprime mortgage catastrophe.
Neither candidate is interested in holding anyone in the Bush administration accountable for the torture committed by US personnel against prisoners in Guantanamo or in Iraq or Afghanistan.
Neither candidate is interested in stopping the use of drones to assassinate people in Afghanistan, Pakistan, Yemen or Somalia.
Neither candidate is against warrantless surveillance, indefinite detention, or racial profiling in fighting “terrorism.”
Neither candidate is interested in fighting for a living wage. In fact neither are really committed beyond lip service to raising the minimum wage of $7.25 an hour – which, if it kept pace with inflation since the 1960s should be about $10 an hour.
Neither candidate was interested in arresting Osama bin Laden and having him tried in court.
Neither candidate will declare they refuse to bomb Iran.
Neither candidate is refusing to take huge campaign contributions from people and organizations.
Neither candidate proposes any significant specific steps to reverse global warming.
Neither candidate is talking about the over 2 million people in jails and prisons in the US.
Neither candidate proposes to create public jobs so everyone who wants to work can.
Neither candidate opposes the nuclear power industry. In fact both support expansion.
Bill Quigley teaches law at Loyola University New Orleans and is Associate Legal Director of the Center for Constitutional Rights. He is a contributor to Hopeless: Barack Obama and the Politics of Illusion, published by AK Press. You can reach him by email at Quigley@loyno.edu