Makes submission to The European Parliament, Temporary Committee on the alleged use of European countries by the CIA for the transport and illegal detention of prisoners (TDIP)
Ed Horgan: I went to the European Parliament in Brussels to tell the Parliament what I knew of Ireland’s involvement in the unlawful rendition for torture process at Shannon airport. I insisted on linking the extraordinary rendition process with the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq, and the combined serial abuses of international law that these wars and the torture process involved. To a large extent I was telling the EU parliamentary special committee what they did not want to hear – “don’t mention the wars” – I told them anyway in the brief summary of my submission that the 15 minute time slot allowed me. My main submission was thirty-seven pages long, with 45 separate attachments and it became clear very quickly that very few had even read the executive summary of my submission, and some of those who did, read it only with the intention of trying to discredit it, and discredit me. The Irish Times report on Friday captured the tone of the parliamentarians response - “the witness failed to present the facts”.
My response is that the parliamentarians failed to read the facts I put before them. Sean O’Neachtain, FF MEP, standing in for Eoin Ryan MEP, was put forward to attack my submission, but failed to address any of the facts in my submission, including my statement that the Irish Government’s reply to the Council of Europe on Rendition for Torture was fraudulent and misquoted Article 40.4.1. of the Irish Constitution thereby giving the impression that foreign prisoners being taken through Shannon are specifically protected by the letter or wording of the Irish Constitution. Simon Coveney incorrectly accused me of calling Ireland a “rogue state”. My statement was that Ireland was “a rogue neutral state” and I explained this issue in detail.
Craig Murray, former UK ambassador to Uzbekistan got a similar response from some MEPs and was accused of “disloyalty” by one UK MEP because he blew the whistle on the Government of which he had been an ambassador.
The primary purpose of my submission to the European Parliament special committee on Extraordinary Rendition (TDIP committee) was to put a dossier of information on the public record in Europe on what the Irish Government has been doing not only in connection with CIA rendition at Shannon, but also on Irish direct participation in the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq.
I emphasised through my written submission and my verbal submission that the rule of international law needs to be reinforced not trampled on, as many European states, including Ireland, have been doing.
I also emphasised that my primary concerns the humanitarian interests of the 10,000 prisoners in the extraordinary rendition system, and for the over 100,000 people killed in Iraq and Afghanistan. I emphasised that the whole rendition system, and the serious eroding of international law, had their roots in these wars, and were inextricably linked to the these wars. The very clear message was that this was something they did not want to hear.
One of the previous speakers, Mr Gijs De Vries, European Union Counter-Terrorism Coordinator, emphasised that the foreign policies and control over the intelligence services and security services of individuals EU states do not come under the remit of the European Union. In other words, individual European states can engage in unlawful wars anywhere they like, and are not accountable for this to the European Union.
This brought a predictable hostile response from a number of MEPs, but I believe it was important to put such blunt views on the record.
I did not go to Brussels to please people, or be a nice guy on the day. I went to inform the committee of the criminal behaviour of the Irish Government and other EU Governments. I stand over everything I have said in my submission, all 37 pages of it. It does not make easy or pleasant reading, and I felt a sense of shame as an Irish person in having to submit such a report.
It was a challenging experience, but we all need to continue to challenge all of those who seek to perpetrate dastardly deeds on our behalf.
I urge people not just to read my EU submission but to take whatever measures possible yourselves to end the use of Shannon airport by US military and the CIA.
Whatever you do dont just do nothing. You may not always be right; just do always what you believe is right:
Edward Horgan, Brussels Friday 21 April 2006.