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Spoofing the Irish media and public with Lisbon “guarantees” that guarantee nothing

category national | eu | feature author Tuesday June 23, 2009 23:48author by O. O'C. - National Platform EU Research & Information Centreauthor email info at nationalplatform dot orgauthor address 

24 Crawford Ave. Dublin 9author phone 01-8305792 Report this post to the editors

The central point to grasp about the current EU Summit proceedings on the Lisbon Treaty: so-called “legally binding guarantees” do not change a jot or tittle of that Treaty.

featured image
Did you not hear us the first time?

EU politicians cannot change the treaties, or their effects, just by signing a new agreement: the Court of Justice will always say that the provisions of a fully ratified European Treaty trump any attempt to modify the operation of the Treaty through an unratified agreement.

The central point to grasp about the current EU Summit proceedings on the Lisbon Treaty is that Messrs Brian Cowen’s and Micheál Martin’s “legally binding guarantees” to meet Irish voters’ concerns do not change a jot or tittle of that Treaty.

If they changed even a comma, the Lisbon Treaty would become a different Treaty and would have to be ratified again from scratch by the National Parliaments of the 27 EU Member States.

EU politicians cannot change the treaties, or their effects, just by signing a new agreement: the Court of Justice will always say that the provisions of a fully ratified European Treaty trump any attempt to modify the operation of the Treaty through an unratified agreement.

EU treaties cannot be amended in any way unless the document embodying the amendments has been both signed by EU leaders, and then ratified by all EU Member States “in accordance with their respective constitutional requirements”. That is not happening here.

Thus the Lisbon Treaty which the Irish people will be voting on in the autumn will be exactly the same Treaty as the one which the majority of voters rejected in last year’s referendum by 53% to 47% on a 53% turnout.

If the Lisbon Treaty comes into force, it would be the EU Court of Justice which would interpret it, as the EU Court is the only body authorised under the European Treaties to interpret them and decide how they should be applied.

The “decision” or agreement of the European Council that certain provisions of the Lisbon Treaty mean such and such is just that - an agreement between the 27 Prime Ministers and Presidents. It is legally binding on them as individuals, but it is not an international Treaty between States which would require ratification by the 27 EU States putting it before their National Parliaments for approval, as is the normal mode of ratification of treaties.

The text of the introduction to the Summit “decision” states that it is made by the Heads of State or Government “desiring to address those (Irish) concerns in conformity with that Treaty”, viz the Lisbon Treaty.

Being in conformity with the Lisbon Treaty, the “decision” or agreement cannot add to or substract from Lisbon in the slightest, and it would be for the EU Court, and the Court alone, to decide what Lisbon and its manifold provisions would mean if Lisbon should come into force.

So far as one can ascertain, the Summit “decision” or “agreement” is not actually being signed by the 27 Prime Ministers and Presidents who agree it, as would be normal with an international Treaty pending its formal ratification. Note that it is not being called a Treaty, but rather a “decision” or “agreement”.

Formally registering this decision at the United Nations as a political agreement between the Prime Ministers and Presidents concerned, is intended to make it look more significant to the Irish public. This would confer on it a minor status in international law, but not in EU law. It would not and could not override EU law.

Some future meeting of the European Council of EU Prime Ministers and Presidents could make some other decision or agreement, possibly even in contradiction to this agreement, and that would be equally valuable or valueless, for it would not add to or take away from the Treaties one iota.

The whole process is meant to give the Irish media and public the impression that some real change is being made to the Lisbon Treaty, when nothing like that is happening.

Nor is the Summit “decision” or “agreement” a legally binding Protocol attached to Lisbon, which would form part of that Treaty and which would be binding in European law and on the EU Court of Justice in interpreting and applying European law. For that would require opening the Lisbon Treaty and ratifiying the new Protocol anew as part of it.

Promise of a special Irish Protocol or “clarificatory declaration” to be attached to some future EU Treaty, possibly years away, would be just that - a promise. It would not affect the Lisbon Treaty coming into force, with all its legal obligations. It would not prevent the constitutionally new European Union which Lisbon would create being established.

In no way could a promised Protocol to some future EU Treaty resile or pull back from the obligations entailed by the provisions of the Lisbon Treaty once Lisbon had come into force.

What could such a promised future Protocol do in any case, for Ireland is not seeking any opt-outs from the provisions of the Lisbon Treaty?

In 1992 when the Danish people voted No to the Maastricht Treaty, its Government sought and secured legally binding opt-outs from the central provisions of Maastricht - the euro-currency, EU military and security commitments, and Maastricht’s provisions on EU citizenship. These provisions of Maastricht were never applied to Denmark and that position was formally recognised by a Protocol in the EU Treaties at the time of the 1998 Amsterdam Treaty, and these Danish opt-outs still apply.

Nothing like that is being sought by Ireland, whose Government has signed up to and accepted the provisions of the Lisbon Treaty and the EU Constitution which it embodies in their entirety.

That is just as true now as it was last year.

(Signed)

- Anthony Coughlan

Related Link: http://www.nationalplatform.org/
author by O. O'C. - National Platform EU Research & Information Centrepublication date Fri Jun 19, 2009 17:40author email info at nationalplatform dot orgauthor address 24 Crawford Ave. Dublin 9author phone 01-8305792Report this post to the editors

…Some questions for Taoiseach Cowen and Minister Martin to answer
Why have Taoiseach Brian Cowen and Foreign Minister Micheál narrowed the scope of the Lisbon “guarantee” on protecting the right to life, family and education in the Irish Constitution to one small area of the Lisbon Treaty?

The wording below of the proposed Lisbon “guarantee” in Section A of today’s European Council decision or agreement, even if it were given binding European Treaty status by opening and adding a Protocol to the Lisbon Treaty, which is not intended - is about as useful as a gate in the middle of a field!
It purports to restrict the effects of the Lisbon Treaty on the Irish Constitution in ONLY ONE SMALL AREA - “_the_area_of_Freedom,_Security_and_Justice_“, which is only one of 13 areas of _shared_ competences in the EU, i.e. shared between the Union and its Member States.

The guarantee does not purport to protect the Irish constitutional position in the other areas of the Treaty. Why not?

See Article 4 (TFEU) below, which sets out the 13 areas of shared powers or competences. The so-called “guarantee” purporting to restrict the effects of Lisbon on the Irish Constitution does not affect the other 12 policy areas in Article 4, for example in relation to the internal market, or social policy.

Nor - importantly - does it affect areas which are the exclusive competence of the EU in Articles 3 & 6 TFEU and elsewhere. It therefore does not apply, for instance, in relation to laying down competition rules necessary for the functioning of the EU internal market, or the common commercial policy, which are exclusive EU competences or powers.

Why is this particular guarantee limited in this way?

The second Summit meeting “guarantee” relating to Taxation, says simply “Nothing in the Treaty of Lisbon makes any change of any kind for any Member State to the extent or operation of the competence of the European Union in relation to taxation.”

The 1993 Maastricht Treaty Protocol purporting to protect the Irish constitutional position on abortion, likewise, covers the WHOLE TREATY and all of its amendments. It says: “Nothing in the Treaties… shall affect the application in Ireland of Article 40.3.3 of the Constitution of Ireland”

Who are Taoiseach Cowen and Foreign Minister Cowen trying to fool? They have some questions to answer.

(Signed)
Anthony Coughlan
(Director)

~----------~

Excerpt from the Decision/Agreement of the European Council:

Section A

Right to Life, Family and Education

Nothing in the Treaty of Lisbon (a) attributing legal status to the Charter of Fundamental Rights of the European Union, or (b) _in_the_provisions_of_that_Treaty_in_the_area_of_Freedom,_Security_and_Justice_ affects in any way the scope and applicability of the protection of the right to life in Article 40.3.1. 40.3.2 and 40.3.3, the protection of the family in Article 41 and the protection of the rights in respect of education in Articles 42 and 44.2.4 and 44.2.5 provided by the Constitution of Ireland.

~----------~

ARTICLE 4 (Treaty on the Functioning of the European Union -TFEU), as amended by the Lisbon Treaty

1. The Union shall share competence with the Member States where the Treaties confer on it a competence which does not relate to the areas referred to in Articles 3 and 6.

2. Shared competence between the Union and the Member States applies in the following principal areas:
(a) internal market;
(b) social policy, for the aspects defined in this Treaty;
(c) economic, social and territorial cohesion;
(d) agriculture and fisheries, excluding the conservation of marine biological resources;
(e) environment;
(f) consumer protection;
(g) transport;
(h) trans-European networks;
(i) energy;
(j) _area_of_freedom,_security_and_justice_; (emphasis added)
(k) common safety concerns in public health matters, for the aspects defined in this Treaty.

3. In the areas of research, technological development and space, the Union shall have competence to carry out activities, in particular to define and implement programmes; however, the exercise of that competence shall not result in Member States being prevented from exercising theirs.

4. In the areas of development cooperation and humanitarian aid, the Union shall have competence to carry out activities and conduct a common policy; however, the exercise of that competence shall not result in Member States being prevented from exercising theirs.

Related Link: http://www.nationalplatform.org/
author by old codger - pensionerpublication date Sat Jun 20, 2009 17:43author address author phone Report this post to the editors

WE will not get a chance for a fair debate on Lisbon 2. The powers that be have swung into action already.
Marian Finucan had a German guest that was allowed to air his views on lisbon unoposed this morning.
She also had that famous crime reporter Paul Williams who she seems to think is the ultimate authourity on crime.
Seeing that he commits quite a few himself i suppose he has some expertise in this area.
We live in a totally corrupt state and they will use every oportunity to fool the voters by the use of RTE and the media in general.
Every debate should contain the question of the murder of palistinian families that the EU will not condemn and seek to punish the murderers.
Also it should be constantly stated that this is not a treaty on our membership of the EU.

author by Pat Kellypublication date Sat Jun 20, 2009 19:41author address author phone Report this post to the editors

RTE are violating the McKenna and Coughlan judgements re balance in broadcasting, the latest violation happened today via a panel discussion with Rodney Rice.

Andey Storey presented the No side while an English hack and self professed "impartial journalist" weighed in clearly on the Yes side aided by Lucinda Creighton F G and Willie O'Dea Minister for Defence also on the Yes side.

RTE are urinating over their legal mandates on balance in presentation.

author by Yes to Europe, No to Lisbonpublication date Sat Jun 20, 2009 21:30author address author phone Report this post to the editors

...if Cruella Creighton and Willie The Kid are fronting the Yes campaign again, we may have a chance after all. The same Creighton whose scandalous remarks implying that working-class people voted the treaty down because they were stupid racists were allowed to go unchallenged on Pat Kenny's show last time out.

author by Euclidpublication date Sun Jun 21, 2009 12:06author address author phone Report this post to the editors

The Lisbon Treaty is really a "Tyrants Charter": created by bullies, promoted by bullies, and for the exclusive use of bullies -- if, that is, the bullies in question ever manage to hoodwink the majority of the Republic of Ireland's voters into agreeing to it.

The Lisbon Treaty needs to be fucked into the dustbin: and left there.

QED

author by Lemuel Gulliver IVpublication date Wed Jun 24, 2009 12:55author address author phone Report this post to the editors

“The Union’s action on the international scene is guided by … respect for the principles of the United Nations Charter,” the assurances assure and reassure us.

Lisbon assurances: the text in full
Irish Times, Tuesday 16 June, 2009
http://tinyurl.com/nudqzo

This assurance is belied by the inherent conflict between the UN charter’s commitment to collective peacekeeping and NATO’s commitment to its members’ self-interests.

In an article published in the Swiss journal Current Concerns No. 2, 2009, former Assistant Secretary General of the UN, Hans von Sponeck, points out that NATO in 1999 adopted a new strategic concept as a broad-based alliance to protect the resources needs of its members.

The United Nations and NATO
Which security and for whom?
http://www.currentconcerns.ch/index.php?id=711

"The Alliance ... is the practical expression of effective collective effort among its members in support of their common interests."
"To serve ... as an essential transatlantic forum for Allied consultations on any issues that affect their vital interests, including ..."
"NATO is committed to a strong and dynamic partnership between Europe and North America in support of the values and interests they share."
The Alliance's Strategic Concept
http://www.nato.int/cps/en/natolive/official_texts_2743...le=en

The UN charter itself reveals the principles that NATO members have abandoned:

Article 1: The purposes of the UN include: “to take effective collective measures for the prevention and removal of threats to the peace”.

This collectivity refers to the UN, and not to any private club within it.

Article 2: “All Members shall settle their international disputes by peaceful means in such a manner that international peace and security, and justice, are not endangered.”

NATO’s collaboration with warlords in Afghanistan and recent military exercises in Georgia may destabilise Central Asia and endanger international peace and security.

Article 47: “There shall be established a Military Staff Committee to advise and assist the Security Council on all questions relating to the Security Council's military requirements for the maintenance of international peace and security …”

If it were a matter of commitment to the international community rather than the members’ self-interests, then, von Sponeck points out in the article linked above, the provision to convene a military staff committee would make NATO obsolete.

He argues that an accord signed between the Secretaries General of the UN and NATO on 23 September 2008, without reference to the Security Council, undermines the UN’s “political neutrality”. The Russian representative to NATO in Brussels, Dmitry Rogozin, has described the accord as “illegal”, von Sponeck says.

“It is urgent,” he argues, “that one or several member states petition the International Court of Justice to rule on the interpretation of the UN/NATO pact of 23 September 2008.”

So, if those members of the EU who are also members of NATO want to show their commitment to the principles of the UN charter, they should withdraw from the military alliance. And if the Irish government wants to show its commitment to the principles of the UN charter, it should petition the International Court of Justice, as von Sponeck suggests.

Until then, the assurances are not merely meaningless; they are fraudulent.

author by Pro Lisbon Leftypublication date Wed Jun 24, 2009 20:04author address author phone Report this post to the editors

THis is just web crawling to find doubious NATO knocking copy. None of this is accurate or even remotely is a reason to oppose the Lisbon Treaty.

“This collectivity refers to the UN, and not to any private club within it.”

NATO is a Treaty organisation between states. It is not a private club. The existence of NATO is not injurious or incompatible with the UNO or its charter. In fact the UNO’s lack of military capacity of its on means it can have to rely on organisations like NATO from time to time to fulfil its missions, including many humanitarian missions. Many of the logistics for dealing with natural disasters are shared with military organisations.

”NATO’s collaboration with warlords in Afghanistan and recent military exercises in Georgia may destabilise Central Asia and endanger international peace and security.”

This is your own biased spin involving the inserting of leaded language and your own wild supposition about Central Asia which has no validity as an argument. It is merely a propagandist tool. In fact the NATO mission in Afghanistan does have UN full sanction. It is also the actions of the Taliban forces in Pakistan and Afghanistan which are destabilizing both states.

“The Russian representative to NATO in Brussels, Dmitry Rogozin, has described the accord as “illegal”, von Sponeck says.” This does not make it illegal. The Russians are not a neutral party where NATO is concerned. Mr.Rogozin has no legitimacy to pronounce on this issue – it is an opinion from a vested interest design to serve that vested interest.

The hostility to NATO is not widely shared in Europe. Socialist parties of all hues in western central and eastern Europe fully support NATO as a stabilizing collective security organisation. This paranoia about NATO is almost a peculiarity Irish phenomena.

author by Johnpublication date Wed Jun 24, 2009 22:29author address author phone Report this post to the editors

so you're for the capitalist military alliance that is NATO - and you call yourself Left?

author by Turlough Kelly - none (Persil cap)publication date Wed Jun 24, 2009 22:33author email turloughkelly at gmail dot comauthor address author phone Report this post to the editors

"The hostility to NATO is not widely shared in Europe. Socialist parties of all hues in western central and eastern Europe fully support NATO as a stabilizing collective security organisation. This paranoia about NATO is almost a peculiarity Irish phenomena."

Seriously, PLL, are you some kind of uber-entrist trying to bring the Labour Party down from within by discrediting it here? No other explanation makes sense.

author by Saoirsí - Eriugena's Notespublication date Thu Jun 25, 2009 00:43author address author phone Report this post to the editors

... and to say so is - with all due respect - somewhat parochial, politically. Nor is it the exclusive reserve of any one ideological tendency to be concerned about military entanglements with supra-national organisations, that have interests potentially different from their countries' populations. Nor is it over-conspiratorial to be concerned about creeping integration between, and "mission creep" of, e.g. NATO and the EU; and in reading the following, consider the mutual defence clause in the Lisbon Treaty that parallels the one in NATO - also consider that all empires tend to use legitimising language for the self-interested actions of their elites (that of the British Empire was to abolish slavery and bring civilisation to native tribes):

http://www.counterpunch.org
Counterpunch
March 16-31, 2009, pp.7-8
vol. 16, no. 6
What is NATO for?
By Serge Halimi

[...]Most member states of the United Nations are not members of either NATO or the EU, and six EU member states (Austria, Cyprus, Finland, Ireland, Malta, Sweden) do not belong to NATO either. But the roles of the three structures are becoming confused: the military organization is being assigned a geographical scope and entrusted with “stabilization” missions, for which it has no qualifications or jurisdiction.

On February 19, members of the European Parliament, claiming that they are slowly forming a worldwide human team (une terre sans frontières), passed a resolution by a small majority (293 to 283), referring to “phenomena such as international terrorism … organized crime, cyber threats, environmental deterioration, natural disasters and other disasters” and calling for “still closer partnership” between the EU and NATO. The explanatory note appended to the resolution sums the situation up in this image: “without a military dimension, the EU is like a barking dog without teeth.”

[...]regarding many member states at the U.N., the European Parliament profoundly regrets that “the doctrine of non-alignment, inherited from the cold war era, undermines the alliance of democracies”.

So, it is understood that “the future collective defense of the European Union,” to which the French head of state is committed, will be organized exclusively within the framework of the Atlantic Alliance. The Alliance will not hesitate to deploy its forces in combined civil and military missions extending far beyond the old Iron Curtain to the borders of Pakistan.

~----------~

http://www.amconmag.com/blog/2009/03/27/why-wont-we-let...nato/
The American Conservative
Why not let go of NATO?
March 27th, 2009
Patrick J. Buchanan

“In 1877, Lord Salisbury, commenting on Great Britain’s policy on the Eastern Question, noted that ‘the commonest error in politics is sticking to the carcass of dead policies.’

[...]having triumphed in the Cold War, it seems the United States could not bear giving up its role as Defender of the West, could not accept that the curtain had fallen and the play was closing after a 40-year run.

So, what did we do? In a spirit of “triumphalism,” NATO “nearly doubled its size and rolled itself right up to Russia’s door,” writes Richard Betts in The National Interest.

[...]Why did we expand NATO to within a few miles of St. Petersburg when NATO is not a social club but a military alliance? At its heart is Article V, a declaration that an armed attack on any one member is an attack on all.

[...]Few Americans under 30 recall the Cold War. Yet can anyone name a single tripwire for war put down in the time of Dean Acheson or John Foster Dulles that we have pulled up?

~----------~

http://www.takimag.com/site/article/empire_of_nothing/
Taki's Magazine: The online magazine for independent conservatives
Empire of Nothing
Doug Bandow
September 18, 2008

... even with Lisbon the European “state” would still lack the sense of national identity and popular willingness to stand behind—and, if necessary, die for—EU policy. America’s greatest strength is not a truly national government. It is a people who believe in the nation, the union of individual states, and who will support the national government in making policy. That Europe does not have, and it would not be magically created by the Lisbon Treaty. Andrew Duff dismissed Irish concerns over maintaining their traditional position of neutrality: “Viewed from the perspective of Gori or Tskhinvali, Irish misgivings about neutrality rather pale into insignificance.” But from the perspective of Dublin the concerns actually are magnified by the Georgian crisis. Do the Irish people want to get dragged into a war with nuclear-armed Russia because a distant and largely unaccountable elite in Brussels, which has demonstrated its utter disdain for what the Irish people think, decides that war is necessary? Maybe their perspective isn’t so stupid after all.

~----------~

http://www.eurunion.org/eu/index.php?option=com_content...id=43
The European Union: A Guide for Americans
Delegation of the European Commission to the USA
Anthony Smallwood Head, Press and Public Diplomacy Editor-in-Chief
Melinda Stevenson Senior Editor
Chapter Five
Europe in the World
pp.17-18

ESDP Operations
[...]• The European Defense Agency (EDA).
The EDA was launched in 2004 to help Member States improve their defense capabilities and to support the ESDP. The EDA coordinates and fosters cooperation relating to Member States’ defense capabilities development, armaments, the European defense technological and industrial base and equipment market, and research and technology. All Member States except Denmark participate.
For the EU Member States in the North Atlantic Treaty Organization, NATO remains the basis for collective defense. In security operations where NATO is not engaged, the EU can use NATO assets in addition to those of EU Member States.
The two organizations have several institutional mechanisms to provide for close consultations.

The EU and NATO

The European Union and the North Atlantic Treaty Organization—to which 21 of the 27 Member States belong—have built a genuine strategic partnership with the shared goal of regional stability and peace. The “Berlin Plus” arrangements, adopted in 1999, provide the framework for cooperation between the EU and NATO. These arrangements include granting the EU access to NATO operational planning assets when it is leading crisis management operations; availability to the EU of NATO capabilities and common assets; NATO European command options for EU-led operations; and having NATO include in its defense planning the possibility of making its forces available for EU operations.

The “Berlin Plus” arrangements were the foundation for the landmark 2002 Declaration on the European Security and Defense Policy (ESDP) between the EU and NATO. That Declaration served as the basis for EU-NATO cooperation on crisis management, anti-terrorism efforts, curbing proliferation of weapons of mass destruction, and ensuring EU access to NATO’s planning capability.

In March 2003, the EU and NATO signed the NATO-EU Agreement on the Security of Information, an agreement that enabled full consultations and cooperation between the two organizations, including the exchange of classified information and related material.

[...]Cooperation between the EU and NATO is likely to grow in the future. NATO Secretary General Jaap de Hoop Scheffer called for an expanded relationship in 2004, as both organizations were adding new Member States: “Ever since the end of the Cold War, NATO and the European Union have worked together on a wider range of issues, and to greater effect. Today, we face a range of new and complex challenges that force us to do even better: To work in a truly pragmatic manner—by complementing and reinforcing each other’s efforts.”

Related Link: http://eriugenasnotes.wordpress.com
author by Yes Voter.publication date Thu Jun 25, 2009 07:36author address author phone Report this post to the editors

"Do the Irish people want to get dragged into a war with nuclear-armed Russia because a distant and largely unaccountable elite in Brussels?"

You NO people had better come up with something a bit less hysterical than that insane rubbish before you convert ME to your point of view.

Try Again guys.

.

author by Socialism or Barbarism!publication date Thu Jun 25, 2009 12:10author address author phone Report this post to the editors

At a time when the media and the political elites across Europe are focussing their energies blasting the Iranian regime for its lack of democracy, they are seemingly blind to their own democratic shortcomings. The constitution for a new EU superstate which has now been voted down, in various forms, in three different referenda is to be implemented without a vote anywhere but the one place where the Brussels bureaucracy has no other option: the Republic of Ireland. Once again, the 5 million or so voters in the Republic will vote on behalf of the entire 490 million living the European Union.

So the Lisbon Treaty is to be put before us once again. For the second time, we will be faced by the entire gamut of the mainstream parties campaigning for its ratification - Fianna Fáil, Fine Gael, Labour and the Greens - they will all work together to ensure a 'Yes' vote for the European elite. The last time it was voted down this same political elite were stunned but it was always clear that they would force the population into a re-run until they got the result they needed. They have no other option as the Brussels bureaucrats will not contenance a thorough renegotiation.

Rest at:

Related Link: http://www.revolutionaryireland.com/2009/06/vote-as-we-want-or-vote-again.html
author by Pro Lisbon Leftypublication date Thu Jun 25, 2009 16:47author address author phone Report this post to the editors

You are mistaken in describing NATO as a “capitalist alliance”. Its membership comprises states with widely varying positions on the political spectrum and includes Turkey, a Muslim state so it’s not even a Christian ‘club’. There is nothing at all rightist in not taking an oppositional stance to NATO in the left tradition of George Orwell and others who took a firm stance against totalitarianism. In Britain it was championed by left wingers Atlee and Bevin; in Germany the Social Democrats led by Willy Brant fully supported it as to the German Greens latterly. All of the main socialist parties of the membership members in western Europe or Canada who comprise their Government or main opposition parties support it and it owes its foundation to a Democratic US President Harry S. Truman and has been fully supported by all his successors from his party – Kennedy, Johnson, Carter, Clinton and the present incumbent of the office. The newly independent central and eastern European states like Poland and the Baltic states needed membership as soon as possible after independence given their proximity to Russia. It’s easy to indulge in anti-NATO rhetoric when you are a safe distance from Russia but that does not mean you have to impute bad motives to our friends in Poland just because they are not so lucky with geography.

The misfortune of the suppression of the Hungary in 1956 and Czechoslovakia in 1968 by the Soviet tanks was that they were not NATO members and were therefore open to the Soviets. NATO’ stabilising position as a pillar of the military architecture of Europe was appreciated publicly by the Russian authorities at the time of the Eastern Block break up.

This thing you have about NATO is a local peculiarity in the main. Even the British CND in its original cast was opposed to nuclear weapons but not in the main to NATO itself. The only sustained opposition to NATO in Europe came from pro Kremlin communists whose ideological successors are now in the anti war and anti globalisation fringes and a handful of mainly academic intellectuals.

Your conflation of NATO with capitalism and aggression is therefore entirely misplaced. NATO never fired a shot in anger until the attempted annexation of Kosovo almost fifty years after is foundation.

Incidentally it is not the Brussels bureaucrats of the Commission that are providing the political backing for the Lisbon Treaty. It is the member governments of the other States – all themselves selected democratically. Nor should it be necessary to remind people that representative democracy is just as democratic a way of making decisions as a plebiscite and arguably more so as referenda can be swayed by the likes of Libertas – not a political party but a strange pressure group with very deep pockets. Its very telling that Libertas could hold great sway in the 2008 referendum on Lisbon but got nowhere in the recent elections. Joe Higgins who spent little in the election won a seat while Ganley and his lot were a non-event. There is a lesson here and it favors the adoption of decisions by election not plebiscite. Its interesting that three of the most strident anti Lisbon candidates lost their seats this time around – Ganley, Mary Lou McDonald and Kathy Synott. Also Patricia McKenna of the grandly named “Peoples Movement” made little impact. This helps makes the case for a re visiting of the issue.

author by Lemuelpublication date Thu Jun 25, 2009 18:31author address author phone Report this post to the editors


Pro Lisbon Lefty wrote:
"THis is just web crawling to find doubious NATO knocking copy. None of this is accurate ... "
As a matter of fact, my references to the 1999 NATO strategic concept, where it repeatedly mentions the pursuit of "common interests", are absolutely accurate and incontrovertible. Just go and read it for yourself if you doubt the factual accuracy of my quotes.

"In fact the UNO’s lack of military capacity of its on means it can have to rely on organisations like NATO ... "
As Hans von Sponeck, former Assistant Secretary General of the UN has pointed out in the article, if the members of NATO want to pursue humanitarian objectives within the principles of the UN Charter, they could throw their weight behind a Military Staff Committee. Why do they not do so?

"This is your own biased spin involving the inserting of leaded language and your own wild supposition about Central Asia which has no validity as an argument. ... It is merely a propagandist tool."
And this, Lefty, is proof of your own preference for "loaded language" when rational argument or referring to sources of historical evidence might be constructive.

Have you read Ahmed Rashid's book, "Descent into Chaos"?

"It is also the actions of the Taliban forces in Pakistan and Afghanistan which are destabilizing both states."
Have you considered the possibility that the Taliban forces derive their popularity from the aggressive actions of NATO, and for example the cowardly use of pilotless drones to kill innocent civilians? Have you considered any historical evidence whether destabilisation might be caused by warfare?

What do you know about US/NATO military aid for Pakistan and Pakistan's support for Islamist groups such as Al-Qaeda and the Taliban? For example:
How many Islamist militants were trained in Pakistan in each of the last three decades?
How much money did NATO members give Pakistan in military aid in each of the last three decades?
How much money will NATO members give Pakistan in military aid this year?

And how many schools have been built in Afghanistan and Pakistan with aid from members of NATO in each of the last three decades?
And how many hospitals?

author by Lemuelpublication date Thu Jun 25, 2009 18:58author address author phone Report this post to the editors

Pro-Lisbon Lefty wrote:
"NATO never fired a shot in anger until the attempted annexation of Kosovo almost fifty years after is foundation."

This implies that an independent country known as Kosovo was founded in about 1950 and was in existence until "attempted annexation" in 1999.

Where did you find this previously unknown history of independent Kosovo?

author by Pro Lisbon Leftypublication date Thu Jun 25, 2009 19:04author address author phone Report this post to the editors

I was referring to the foundation of NATO in 1949.

author by Turlough Kelly - None (particle capacitor)publication date Thu Jun 25, 2009 19:15author address author phone Report this post to the editors

There was no attempted annexation of Kosovo in 1999. NATO's annexation of the province was entirely successful.

author by Pro Lisob Leftypublication date Fri Jun 26, 2009 11:14author address author phone Report this post to the editors

That is a ludicrous assertion since NATO is not a state and cannot annex a state or region. Nor has Kosovo been annexed by any western power.

8,000 Bosnians had been massacred by Serb forces at Srebrenica in 1995 and tens of thousands displaced. The NATO intervention over Kosovo was to deter the Serbs from doing something similar there in an effort to incorporate it into a greater Serbia. Just like Srebrenica the Rwandan massacres of 600,000 had taken place the year before in 1994 also in the face of inaction by the international community. Genocides were being commited with impunity.

There are hard choices involved as an armed intervention will always bring about unintended civilian causalities. Nonetheless the Serbs had form in massacres and ethnic cleansing both of which were prevented in Kosovo. A UN force of peacekeepers and a UN declaration of Srebrenica as a safe area had failed to stop the genocide there. Intervention to prevent genocide is an imperative under international law and NATO was just about the only organization to hand which was available to prevent genocide in this case.

In this instance Russian ties with Serbia would have brought about a veto over a more robust UN action. In essence the UN could not protect the Kosovors and they badly needed protection.

If one has the means to prevent geneocide there is some moral obligation to do so where one can expecailly in one's own neighbourhood.

author by Lemuelpublication date Fri Jun 26, 2009 15:22author address author phone Report this post to the editors


Pro-Lisbon Lefty wrote:
"NATO never fired a shot in anger until the attempted annexation of Kosovo almost fifty years after is foundation."

Are you perhaps too young to remember how NATO countries have participated in provoking and promoting wars in Central Asia and the Balkans over the last few decades? Some examples as follows:
1. The US and UK trained and equipped the mujahideen in Afghanistan in the 1980s, so that they would attack the Soviet Union.
2. The US provided mililtary aid to successive Pakistani governments, including the military dictatorship of Pervez Musharraf, which facilitated the training of 30,000 Al-Qaeda militants between 1996-2001. And Pakistan went on feeding Islamist militants into Afghanistan after 2001, while the US went on providing military aid to Pakistan. (Read Ahmed Rashid's Descent into Chaos for details.)
3. Germany unilaterally recognised Slovenia and Croatia in 1991, encouraging Croatia to break away from the Federal Republic of Yugoslavia by force of arms, and to engage in the expulsion of Serbs, thus destroying the peace and security of the Balkans for a decade?
4. The intelligence agencies of NATO member states trained and armed Islamist "freedom-fighters" of the UCK/KLA in Kosovo in the 1990s.

And Pro-Lisbon Lefty also wrote:
"... NATO is not a state and cannot annex a state or region."
Conversely, Kosovo in 1999 was not an independent state, nor even an autonomous region within the Federal Republic of Yugoslavia, and so it could not be "annexed". It was administered as a province of Serbia from 1963, and so it could not be "annexed" in 1999, any more than Ireland 2009 could "annex" the province of Connaught.

Lefty again:
"Nonetheless the Serbs had form in massacres and ethnic cleansing both of which were prevented in Kosovo."
Actually, there is abundant evidence that NATO's bombing of Yugoslavia in 1999 did not prevent but in fact precipitated the expulsion of ethnic Albanians from their homes - something that might not have happened if NATO had not attacked Yugoslavia.

How do the actions of NATO members described above comply with the principles of the UN Charter? Note particularly:
"Article 3. All Members shall settle their international disputes by peaceful means in such a manner that international peace and security, and justice, are not endangered."
"Article 6. The Organization shall ensure that states which are not Members of the United Nations act in accordance with these Principles so far as may be necessary for the maintenance of international peace and security."

(Hint: They don't.)

author by Pro Lisob Leftypublication date Sat Jun 27, 2009 00:49author address author phone Report this post to the editors

None of the four instances you bring up were Treaty actions. Actions by signatory member states of NATO (or the UN for that matter) but not carried out under NATO protocols or aegis are not NATO actions. My comment about NATO never firing a shot in anger for almost the first five decades of its existence still stand. Incidentally the arming of Afghan rebels in the 1980s by the US was so that they could attack the occupying troops of the USSR in Afghanistan – not so that they could attack the USSR itself as you seem to assert.

You know quite well that or should that Yugoslavia had broken up by 1998 and the then Serb regime was trying to replace what had been a multi ethnic Yugoslavia with a greater Serbia which involved the ethnic cleansing of the populations of the target nations. This was the kernel of the problem – to stop wars and massacres by curbing Serbian ambition. The expulsions of Albanians might not have happened without the western intervention but by the some token large scale massacres and ethnic cleansing of Kosovors certainly were prevented. The reluctance of the west to intervene is underscored by the fact that the wars in the region had been happening since 1991 with the attendant humanitarian disasters including millions of refugees in western Europe yet it was not until 1998 that the west intervened in a substantial way militarily and this was to put an end to the various wars and also to open the way for a more democratic and less militaristic Serbia to join the nations of Europe. This is in fact what happened along with the prosecution of various leading war criminals.

The fact that the actions of NATO in Serbia did not have UN sanction (because of the Russian veto) does not mean that the actions in questions were wrong in any objective sense. Then there would always be a Russian veto on any western action in Europe even in a case where Russia itself is the aggressor while Russia itself would be happy to operate in its near abroad without even a thought of a UNSC Resolution. NATO operates according the legal order of the Member States which are Treaty members and under the auspices of the Treaty itself. Besides the issue of international legality for the Kosovo operation would probably pass the UN test given the humanitarian imperatives and movies involved and the impotence of the UN to prevent the Srebrenica massacre despite the presence of UN forces in the area with a mandate t protect the population and the declaration of a safe area. In the final analysis if UN primacy in these matters fails to prevent massacres then UN primacy cannot be adhered to in each and every circumstance. But there has to be pretty sound justification for military action besides. This was the stark issue facing western politicians in 1998.

author by Joe Higgins.eu - Socialist Partypublication date Sun Jun 28, 2009 13:48author email info at joehiggins dot euauthor address author phone Report this post to the editors

Could the websites of the Socialist Party and Joe Higgins MEP please be added to the list of anti-lisbon websites?
http://www.SocialistParty.net & http://www.joehiggins.eu

Related Link: http://www.socialistparty.net
author by Saoirsípublication date Tue Jun 30, 2009 21:57author address author phone Report this post to the editors

You NO people had better come up with something a bit less hysterical than that insane rubbish before you convert ME to your point of view. Try Again guys.
A chara, that was a reasoned article written by a thought-provoking commentator, who was a consistent critic of Bush's war on Iraq at the cost of being condemned as "unpatriotic". I just extracted him _not_ to convince anyone about that one hypothetical, but to point out that it simply isn't true that concerns about NATO and EU militarisation are just an Irish concern. And you only responded to one hypothetical tangent rather than to the broad thrust of the arguments.

Reasonable people can disagree especially when it comes to matters of possible future political events, but that requires a reasoned argument, not a one-line ad hominem put-down. There's no need to get snotty.

author by paulina - nonepublication date Mon Jul 06, 2009 19:13author address author phone Report this post to the editors

Why has the precautionary principle been removed from
the lisbon treaty regarding exposure to microwave radiation
from mobile telephony and phone masts?
Did they think people would not notice it's removal on
their second attempt to ram this anti worker, pro
capitalist treaty down our throats?

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