War and Peace in the new century

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I would like to thank Sinn Fein for the opportunity to address its Conference. The Peace and Neutrality Alliance was established in December 1996 to bring together all those throughout Ireland that sought to have an Independent Irish Foreign policy, to defend Irish Neutrality and to promote a reformed United Nations as the institution through which Ireland should pursue its security concerns. Sinn Fein was one of the first parties to affiliate to PANA and has co-operated with it very closely ever since.

In 1914 the Irish Home Rule Party had dominated Irish politics for the best part of 50 years. In that year, the party and it's leader, John Redmond, advocated that the Irish people support an Imperial war by the British Empire. By 1918, the party had been destroyed, and replaced by Sinn Fein as the major political force in Ireland.

Padraic Pearse said of Redmond and the other Home Rule leaders:
"The men who have led Ireland for the last twenty-five years have done evil, and they are bankrupt. They are bankrupt in policy, bankrupt in credit, bankrupt now even in words. They have nothing to propose to Ireland, no way of wisdom, no counsel of courage. When they speak they speak only untruth and blasphemy. Their utterances are no longer the utterances of men. They are the mumblings and the gibberings of lost souls."

In 2003 the Fianna Fail Party has dominated Irish politics for over 70 years. In that year, the party and its leader advocated support for an Imperial war by the United States Empire. The words of Pearse echo down the generations and now apply to Ahern and Fianna Fail. Whether the next four years see a new political force emerge to replace the born again Redmondites that are the Fianna Fail party remains an option that depends on those in this hall as much as anywhere.

This Imperial Crusade of conquest of the land of poor arab Muslim by rich white Christians in order to ensure US and Israeli military domination of the regions oil and water resources will have a catastrophic impact on the people of Iraq. Out of a population of 24 million, 46% are under the age of 15. Nearly 70% are dependent on the food for oil programme. The horrific bombing campaign by the Christian Fundamentalist Crusaders will have a devastating impact on the people.

This Crusade is illegal. It is in contravention of the Charter of the United Nations. It is outside of International Law. There is no basis in International Law for "pre-emptive war". Resolutions 678, 687 and 1441 do not provide a legal basis for war. For a war to be legal the Security Council must indicate its clearly expressed assent and it did not do so.

The FF/PD Government by allowing the use of Shannon Airport to assist the Crusaders is an illegal act under International law.

The Peace and Neutrality Alliance will be writing to the International Criminal court in The Hague asking them to investigate if Mr. Ahern and his Government are guilty of acts against humanity. If they do so, and if they are found guilty, Mr. Ahern and the members of his government could go to jail.

The US Government did not sign the Convention to establish the International Criminal Court and cannot be brought before it for committing war crimes. But then that decision is only a part of a wider agenda of the rulers of the United States, the new Masters of the Universe, or the "Stupid White Men" as Michael Moore calls them, including the opposition to participation in International agreements such as the Kyoto Accords.

A Manifesto published in June 1997, entitled, "Project for a new American Century- signed by Donald Rumsfeldt and Paul Wolfowitz, and other right wing Americans, called in effect for an American Empire to dominate to world for the next century. Richard Perle, another of these right wing Americans, nicknamed "the Prince of darkness" has openly said that the United nations as the International institution charged with Collective Defence is effectively redundant and is to be replaced by the Coalition of the Willing.

President Bush has already made it clear that this Crusade is only the first of many. He has declared that Iran, Iraq and North Korea are the " axis of evil"; so that we can expect that Iran and North Korea are the next two states that are to be targeted for conquest and "regime change". There is also a long list of what are termed 'rogue states" which are also to be targeted. What Bush and his vassals, such as Blair, Ahern and Sharon are now offering the world is permanent war outside International Law.

The response of people and the vast majority of states see the greatest mobilization against Imperialism the world has ever seen.

On the 15th of February in over 600 cities throughout the world tens of millions of people marched against the war, including millions of Americans and British. In Dublin over 120,000 people marched in the largest anti-war demonstration in recent history. Gay Mitchel refused to attend because PANA and Sinn Fein were helping to organize it, but it did not stop people marching. The latest MRBI poll showed 68% of the Irish people were against allowing Shannon to be used as an US air force base if there was no UN support for the war.

Thus on one side we have the Coalition of the Willing, the US, Britain, Ireland, Spain, Italy, all the applicant states of Eastern Europe and other states such as Uzbekistan and Qatar whose total populations are about 10% of the world, and even in many of those states, the people do not support their governments.

On the other, there are states like Germany, France, Russia, South Africa, China, Syria, Egypt, whose total populations equal 90% of the world's population that oppose the war and support the United Nations.

Just as the original Crusaders were defeated, we know that the new Crusaders will be beaten and sooner than they think.

PANA calls for an Emergency meeting of the General Assembly of the United Nations and the withdrawal of the Anglo-American armed forces from occupied Iraq. The only people who can decide the future of Iraq are the people of Iraq. States such as Britain, that conquered Iraq and used poison gas on the Iraqi people at the same time they were allowing the black and Tans to run riot in Ireland, do not have any authority to use its military might to impose a quisling government on Iraq. Iraq is not the only country where there should be withdrawal by British troops.

Finally, PANA supports International law as the only basis of civilized relations between states. PANA believes that Ireland is an Independent democratic Irish Republic that should have an Independent Irish Foreign policy operated through a reformed United Nations. A UN independently funded by having an income based on a global tax like the Tobin Tax. A Un where the Security Council is elected on a regional basis for a 6-year term. A UN where there is a greater role for the General Assembly. A UN where it, rather than the EU, has a Rapid Reaction Force.

An Independent, United Irish Republic taking its place among the Nations of the Earth was the objective of Robert Emmet 200 years ago. It is an objective that has survived the rise and fall of the British Empire, itself now only a vassal state of the US.

Its achievement remains the objective of the Peace and Neutrality Alliance. However must be part of a victory in the global struggle for justice and equality. If peace is to be achieved in Ireland, it can only be on the basis of equality and justice. If peace is to be achieved on the earth it can only be achieved on the basis of equality and justice. In the struggle for National Independence, whether it be the Irish, Palestinian or Iraqi people against Imperialism, there can only be one victor, the people, for united, we can never be defeated.

Roger Cole (Chair)
Peace & Neutrality Alliance.

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