This Letter was published in the Irish Examiner on 1/8/2023.
Dear Editor, Paul Hosford highlighted the issue of US military use of Shannon airport in his article “US plane that carried weapons through Shannon was not checked for cluster bombs” (Irish Examiner, 27 July). In spite of continuously stating that Ireland is a neutral country and using this to help gain membership of the UN Security Council for 2021 and 2022, successive Irish governments have allowed aircraft associated with the US military and the CIA to refuel at Shannon airport over the past three decades.
The US and its NATO and other allies were waging wars that included the overthrow of the governments of Afghanistan and Iraq, and carrying out unjustified military aggression against Serbia, Libya, Syria and elsewhere. US military use of Shannon airport made the Irish Government, and by default the Irish people, complicit in the deaths due to war related reasons of millions of people including an estimated one million children. Thirty-nine years ago, a courageous group of Dunnes stores workers went on strike to protest against apartheid human rights abuses in South Africa. Their names were Mary Manning, Karen Gearon, Liz Deasy, Michelle Gavin, Sandra Griffin, Theresa Mooney, Vonnie Munroe, Cathryn O’Reilly, Alma Russel, and Tommy Davis. It is now time for equally courageous workers at Shannon airport to refuse to refuel and service aircraft associated with the US military.
It is never too late to do what is right. It will not bring back those who have already died but will help to prevent more unjustified deaths into the future, just as the actions of the Dunnes Stores workers helped to end apartheid in South Africa.
Edward Horgan, Castletroy, Limerick
This Letter was published in the Irish News 5/8/2023 and an edited version in the Irish Daily Mail on 7/8/2023.
Irish CND will be holding their annual commemoration and remembrance of the victims of Hiroshima and Nagasaki in Merrion Square, Dublin on Sunday 6th of August at 1.00pm.
Christopher Nolan’s staggering film about J. Robert Oppenheimer, the man known as “the father of the atomic bomb” is indeed worth watching but a real-life war between two nuclear powers Russia and NATO in Ukraine continues to escalate.
This year also marks the 25th anniversary of the Good Friday Agreement that ended the war in Ireland through negotiations.
Since the start of the war in Ukraine, PANA inspired by the GFA has advocated a ceasefire and negotiations in a conflict that could escalate into a nuclear war that would destroy the entire world.
In May 2023, PANA commissioned an Ipsos Omnipoll showing 87% of people in Ireland also supported a ceasefire to facilitate negotiations in the Ukraine war.
If there ever was a time to remember the consequences of a nuclear war, now is that time.
Yours Sincerely,Roger Cole, Chair, Peace & Neutrality Alliance
This letter was published in the Irish Times on 23/8/2023.
A Chara, – Your editorial on Ukraine’s counter-offensive makes two points of the utmost importance, though without elucidation. You write: “To a small extent the offensive has been assisted by Irish Army training of demining teams, vital to clearing the way for mass attacks across heavily-mined ground.”
The obvious conclusion – that this is an egregious breach of Irish neutrality– is not stated.
Similarly, though your editorial comments on the Government’s controversial plan to provide training “in basic lethal military skills such as rifle use and tactics”, this is effectively excused by repetition of the Government’s own justification – that this training is “required for Ukraine to defend itself, thus not breaching Ireland’s military neutrality”. This is a non sequitur.
One can only conclude that the Government is the chef, and we are the frog slowly being brought to the boil by incremental increases in temperature: first, flak jackets to Ukraine, then demining training for frontline sappers, and now weapons training.
Lethal aid to an army at war from a country insisting it is neutral against all the evidence to the contrary, and still the frog remains passive. – Is mise,
DOMINIC CARROLL,Ardfield,Co Cork.
This letter was published in the Irish Times on 25/8/2023.
Sir, your editorial (Monday, 21 August) hints at the scale and horror of the Russian Ukraine war but offers little hope for a cessation of the bloodbath. If the quoted estimates by US officials are accurate this means that, on average, over 6,400 Ukrainian and Russian soldiers have been killed or wounded every week since the war began 78 weeks ago.
If this “war of attrition” as you rightly term it lasts “well into next year” - say another 40 weeks - and the killing spree continues at this pace, then a further 256,000 soldiers on both sides will have been either killed or horribly maimed. Such estimates do not even consider the devastating toll on civilians and the environment. Any claim that flooding Ukraine with sophisticated weaponry has helped the Ukrainians has to be offset by the fact that the war reached a bloody stalemate many months ago with little movement of the front line but with an obscene scale of human slaughter not unlike WW1.
The addition of cluster munitions is more than “controversial”, since they are banned by so many countries and their impact will cause loss of civilian lives for decades to come. The mirage of the F-16s touted by many western militarists will likely only add to the carnage on both sides.
In this context alone, notwithstanding the clear breach of Ireland’s neutrality, it beggars' belief that Micheál Martin has joined this militaristic frenzy by offering Irish expertise in weapon training when he should instead be joining the international call for a ceasefire and peace negotiations.
Yours etc,JIM ROCHEPRO Steering Committee, Irish Anti-War Movement
This letter was published in the Irish Examiner on 6/9/2023, and in the Irish Times, Irish Daily Mail, and the Sunday Times.
Dear Editor, The FF/FG/GP Government has now agreed that Irish Defence Forces are to train Ukrainian soldiers how to kill Russian soldiers, not just providing them with non-lethal materials such as body armour.
The war in the Ukraine is rapidly escalating, hundreds of thousands of troops have already been slaughtered, as more and more new weapons such as cluster bombs, cancer-inducing depleted uranium munitions and long-range missiles are being used. Suggestions that neighbouring NATO states may start sending troops into Ukraine, and if so, how will the Russians respond, by attacking these states as well as de facto NATO states like Ireland?
So where will "Irish Neutrality" as now defined by this government end?
Some suspect that part of that ‘re-defining’ is an ever-closer Partnership with nuclear-armed NATO through the Partnership for Peace (PfP). Irish Neutrality was a core value of the participants of the 1916 Rising, and a core value of de Valera, Collins, and Griffith in their negotiations with the British Empire.
A recent Ipsos Omnipoll revealed 87% of Irish people want a ceasefire and negotiations between Russia and Ukraine but this has been ignored in favour of the views of the 8% that do not want a ceasefire. Irish people want peace and demilitarisation, a country that is dedicated to the peaceful settlement of international disputes as described so eloquently in Article 29 of the Irish Constitution, a Constitution our Government has pledged to honour and uphold.
Yours, Roger Cole, Chair, Peace & Neutrality Alliance
This letter was published in the Irish examiner on 7/9/2023 and in the Irish Daily Mail
Dear Editor, International media sources have been counter-intuitively critical of the Afghan Taliban Government ban on opium poppy production. Drug addiction is a huge problem within Afghanistan and worldwide. The US Institute for Peace published a report entitled “The Taliban’s Successful Opium Ban is Bad for Afghans and the World”. The reality is that the Afghan people are still being denied adequate vital survival resources by sanctions and the damage caused by two decades of US led war and occupation for which no reparations will ever be forthcoming. The former British Prime Minister, Tony Blair, stated that the drug trade was one of the factors in his decision to intervene in Afghanistan in 2001. However, Blair should have known that according to the UN Drug Control Program, the Taliban government had banned the production of Opium poppies in July 2000 resulting in a reduction in the production of poppies of over 90% by May 2001. During the US/NATO occupation of Afghanistan the production of opium poppies increased from about 20,000 hectares in 2001 to about 300,000 hectares in 2018. The renewed Afghan government ban on the production of opium poppies is fully justified. The Irish government actively supported the unjustified US-led Afghan war for 20 years, leaving the Afghan people in chaos and destitute. The overthrow of the Afghan and Iraqi Governments were in breach of the UN Charter, yet there has been no accountability for any of these crimes against the Afghan and Iraqi people. The so-called ‘rules based international order’ has been causing disorder, international chaos, and war crimes.
This letter was published in the Irish Times on 12/9/2023 and the Irish Examiner on 13/9/2023.
Sir, – The Convention on Cluster Munitions adopted in Dublin in 2008 included an undertaking never, “in any circumstance”, to “transfer to anyone, directly or indirectly” cluster munitions. Since the US announced that it was sending cluster bombs and depleted uranium munitions to Ukraine, several aircraft on contract to the US military have been refuelled at Shannon airport on their way to locations in Poland, including Rzeszów Jasionka airport located just 50 miles from the Ukraine border and to Poznan airport in Poland where the US now has a large logistic base called Camp Kosciuszko, which is being used to support the Ukrainian military forces.
An independent report by Humanity and Inclusion found that almost 700 people had been killed or injured by cluster munitions in Ukraine in 2022. No US aircraft in Shannon has ever been checked to ascertain if it contains these or any weapons.
As the host country for the adoption of the convention on cluster munitions, surely the time has long passed for Ireland to check these aircraft for the presence of such weapons. –
Yours, etc,ELIZABETH CULLEN, Kildare
This letter published in both the Irish Times and Irish Independent on the 15/9/2023.
Dear Editor, It is good to see that the Irish Government plans to contribute €1,000,000 to the Libyan Storm Daniel disaster, but disappointing that the European Union only plans to contribute €500,000 so far. The UN has pledged ten million dollars but even this is inadequate. Western mainstream media is highlighting the chaotic political and conflict situations in Libya as contributing factors to the huge death toll, without mentioning who and what helped cause Libya to become a failed state.
UN Security Council resolution 1973 in March 2011 approved a no-fly-zone resolution on Libya for ‘humanitarian’ reasons, but this was seriously abused by NATO and its allies who launched over 14,000 air attacks on Libya and helped to overthrow its government, and then abandoned the Libyan people to over a decade of chaos. Eleven EU states Belgium, Denmark, Sweden, France, Italy, Spain, Britain, Bulgaria, Greece, Netherlands, and Romania, participated in this bombing, for the supposed reasons of bringing peace, freedom, human rights, and democracy to Libya.
The United Nations and the international community have failed the people of Libya, who now need not only our prayers but also much practical help in coping with this huge disaster. Those who helped to destroy Libya need to be held accountable and need to be forced to pay reparations to undo some of the damage they have caused.
Just getting in touch to quickly distribute two documents of interest on the state of play regarding European militarisation.
The first is an EPRS briefing document, produced by the European Parliament's dedicated research department, which exists to inform MEPs and staff. It was requested by the Parliament's budget committee, and outlines the different military spending programmes and the facts and figures around them.
The second is a very good recent newsletter from the European Network Against the Arms Trade, an important watchdog NGO in Brussels, which monitors and campaigns against defence spending and corporate capture of the EU institutions by the defence industry.
Between the two of them, you'll get a good idea of past, present and proposed future programmes for military spending, and the state of play at the moment in Brussels. Needless to say, all of this has implications for Irish foreign policy, and is underreported at home.
By all means share these with anyone you think would be interested, and if anyone would like to be added to the mailing list let us know.
All the best,
Clare Daly and Mick Wallace
Just a quick update on the last email I sent around.
This morning the NATO secretary general Jens Stoltenberg appeared in the European Parliament at a joint hearing of the Foreign Affairs committee and the Security and Defence committee. MEPs were able to ask questions, including myself and Mick Wallace. You can watch the whole hearing here.
I'm attaching the most recent ENAAT newsletter – an update on the previous one I sent. If you find the ENAAT bulletins useful, you might want to send them an email at firstname.lastname@example.org and ask them to add your name to the mailing list.
I'm also attaching another EPRS document, this time the 2023 "Peace and Security Outlook." This is part of a major effort to brand EU geopolitical confrontation and militarisation as a part of the EU's "peace project." The report attempts to redefine peace so that "acting for peace" can include spending on arms purchases for delivery into an active warzone. It contains a remarkable quote from Ursula von der Leyen about the pursuit of "peace through power." The document provides a good insight into how these issues are discussed in politics in Brussels.
I'm also attaching two reports from last year from the Transnational Institute, Stop Wapenhandel and Statewatch, which go over everything on EU security and defence projects – including the militarisation of EU borders, migration policy and police and security forces.
IPB is calling on civil society organisations to join an international week of mobilisation for peace between Saturday 30th of September and Sunday 8th of October. They've asked us to reach out to activists and organisations in Ireland who may be interested in participating by organising an event, action or demonstration. Participating organisations can sign up on the IPB website: https://www.ipb.org/home/ipbs-work-ukrainian-war/
Regarding the impact of the war on EU finances and wider society: 5 documents from the European Parliament Research Service (also available online) published to feed into discussions around the revision of the EU budget. As I've said before, the EPRS is the research service for the Parliament. These documents are not critical of EU policy – they aim to be informative for MEPs, so they should of course be read with a critical eye.
As context, EU support for Ukraine (financial, humanitarian, military), as well rising interest rates, inflation and energy prices as a result of the war, are putting the EU's long-term budget under severe pressure. The Commission has proposed a revision of the current long-term budget, and the creation of new sources of revenue (the EU's own resources) to provide additional finances. The discussion in Brussels is now whether these proposals will be adequate to finance the EU's activities in the next few years, or whether there will need to be additional proposals to prevent the EU running out of money.
An historic treaty banning one of the world's deadliest weapons, cluster bombs, was agreed in Dublin on 28th May 2008 when diplomats and officials from 109 countries who gathered at a conference at Croke Park agreed a treaty which bans their use.
The deal was seen as a massive coup for Irish diplomacy and particularly for the then Foreign Affairs Minister Dermot Ahern, who supported this Dublin event. His successor Micheal Martin stated, "This deal will give my colleagues in Government a great sense of fulfillment."
The United States of America has now declared its intention to send its illegal stockpile of cluster bombs to Ukraine, as part of the continuing escalation of the various types of weapons being used in this war. The UK and US have already agreed to supply them with depleted uranium shells and let’s not forget that Serbia/Kosovo is still suffering their effects today following the 1999 NATO led bombardment here.
Edward Horgan who attended the Shannonwatch monthly vigil at Shannon Airport today stated, “there is a very real possibility that these illegal cluster bombs will be transferred through Shannon Airport on their way to Ukraine. As up to now US military planes continue to refuel here on their way to their military bases in Poland and Germany. Successive Irish Governments have refused to search these planes so we will never know what weapons are on board. However, in the case of these vicious and illegal weapons the Government could be found guilty of collaborating and supporting their transfer by refusing to search US military planes.”
“Amnesty International has long stressed that cluster munitions are inherently indiscriminate weapons which have caused untold harm to civilians across the world – in some cases decades after conflicts have ended. Russia’s war of aggression has brought profound suffering to the people of Ukraine. It is the humanitarian considerations, and concern for civilians in countries torn by war and its aftermath – which has driven 111 states, including many of Ukraine’s allies, to ratify the Convention on Cluster Munitions and ban the use, production, transfer and stockpiling of such weapons.” (View recent statement below)
Roger Cole of PANA and Edward Horgan of Shannonwatch now call upon Foreign Affairs Minister Micheal Martin not to destroy the great legacy of his colleague Dermot Ahern. He should commence searching US military planes or aircraft on contract to the US military landing at Shannon Airport immediately.
To confirm this joint Press Release contact:Tom Crilly, Communications Officer, PANA,Ed Horgan,Shannonwatch,
___Roger Cole,Chair, Peace & Neutrality Alliance, PANA,
Cluster bombs ban clinched in historic Dublin-led treaty by Ciaran Byrne 29/5/2008.
Ireland signs convention banning cluster bombs…3/12/2008.
Minister for Justice Dermot Ahern today signed a convention banning the use of cluster munitions on behalf of Ireland at a ratification…
Ukraine: US transfer of cluster munitions to Ukraine undermines international efforts to safeguard civilians from indiscriminate weapons… Amnesty International has long stressed that cluster munitions are inherently indiscriminate weapons which have caused untold harm to civilians across the world – in some cases decades after conflicts have ended. 7/7/2023
NATO CONFIRMS TO UNITED NATIONS USE OF DEPLETED URANIUM DURING KOSOVO CONFLICT 22/3/2000.
Carol Fox delivered this fantastic speech at a ‘People’s Forum on Ireland’s Neutrality’ in Liberty Hall Dublin on the 19/6/2023 before the government’s ‘Consultative Forum on International Security Policy’ began in Cork, Galway, and Dublin.
Carol Fox delivered this fantastic speech at a ‘People’s Forum on Ireland’s Neutrality’ in Liberty Hall Dublin on the 19/6/2023 before the government’s ‘Consultative Forum on International Security Policy’ began in Cork, Galway, and Dublin.
An edited version of this speech was published in the Irish Examiner ‘Irish reputation as peacekeepers will be damaged by ties to nuclear-armed Nato’ on Saturday 24/6/2023.
The Forum Road Show is about to begin…or should we say, the Government’s Spring Offensive. We kind of know what’s going to happen. The only thing the Forums might affect is:
We’ll be told there’s no question of us joining NATO (at least ‘not any time soon’ as Micheal Martin put it). But our neutrality has to be ‘re-defined’ – and part of that ‘re-defining’ is an ever-closer Partnership with nuclear-armed NATO through the Partnership for Peace (PfP). We’ll cooperate with a nuclear military alliance, make our defence forces and military weapons interoperable with that military alliance, conduct exercises with that alliance (sure, we already supply an airport at Shannon to the US military) but we will still call ourselves ‘neutral’.
Many of us – opinion polls indicate about 60-70% of us – thought and think that Irish Neutrality doesn’t include partnership with a nuclear alliance. Our neutrality has always involved a partnership with the United Nations. We’re the Blue-helmeted UN peacekeepers. Ireland is highly respected as an initiator and supporter of disarmament. Our NGOs are highly regarded for their humanitarian work abroad. The fact that we are Neutral --and not regarded as anyone’s enemy – we don’t generally threaten or invade other countries-- has always aided Ireland’s diplomacy. The Government – and its Forums – are on a Fool’s Mission. Why would it throw away a unique and influential status that other States envy? There’s a reason that Irish passports are one of the most coveted in the world. Our track record in promoting disarmament: the landmark Irish initiated Non-Proliferation Treaty, NFZs. the recent 6-nation initiative – including Ireland -- that resulted in the UN Treaty for the Prohibition of Nuclear weapons. The 2008 Treaty prohibiting cluster bombs was negotiated in Dublin.
Our partner NATO believes in nuclear weapons and uses cluster bombs in warfare. The US is about to join the UK in exporting cancer-inducing depleted Uranium weapons to Ukraine and is considering sending cluster bombs (partly because, as one Senior US politician put, We have a big stockpile of them) It doesn’t like – or sign – the UN Treaties we recently championed. It plays wargames that run counter to all our disarmament work. One example: A few months ago – in the midst of the war in Ukraine – NATO held a 2-week tactical nuclear weapon exercise in Europe, Steadfast Noon, to train non-nuclear NATO aircrews to carry out nuclear strikes. There are currently about 100 US nuclear weapons installed in 6 NATO countries. This runs counter to the NPT.
OK, so we’re not joining NATO. But how do we square this with what is developing in the EU – nearly all of whose members are in NATO. (and as President Higgins recently said, ‘fading imperial powers’ whose ‘shadows we shouldn’t be in’). The various EU treaties as you know have brought closer coordination in defence and security policies, including even a mutual defence pact. Ireland has managed – thanks to the Irish people voting down two EU treaties because of their military provisions --to get special dispensation from some EU military matters.
But the EU and NATO are quite clear about their special Partnership. In January a Joint Declaration on EU-NATO Cooperation was issued. The Financial Times thought this was a remarkable statement in its openness on NATO domination. Its headlines reported: “Stronger European Armies are to support US-led alliance, not offer an alternative to it”. Point 8 of the Declaration: “NATO remains the foundation of collective defence for its Allies and essential for Euro Atlantic security. We recognise the value of a stronger and more capable European defence that contributes positively to global and transatlantic security and is complementary to, and interoperable with NATO”.
Last month in the Dail, Micheal Martin reassured the Dail that the EU is not being militarised. He spoke strongly against the potential for a European Army being formed but said he would call for greater ‘involvement’ with neighbouring countries. He stressed that there was no international appetite for such a militarisation of the EU.
Given how obviously militarised the EU now is, Micheal Martin’scomments are simply laughable. The EU is now bristling with military committees and agencies, a European Defence Agency, support for arms production and technology, a European Peace Facility (!) (which helps finance EU military activities outside the EU, with a budget of nearly 6 billion euro). And the Irish Government has fully embraced the opportunities for Irish business in arms production and innovation with Simon Coveney hosting an arms fair here last October at the Aviva Stadium, called – wait for it – ‘Building the EcoSystem.’
I think Micheal Martin is being a little precious about when is an army an army.
For its armed wing, the EU already has Battlegroups and the PESCO permanent enhanced security cooperation project. To add to the mix, in May 2021, 14 EU countries proposed a 5000- strong rapid military response force that could intervene early in international crises. Reuters reported that: ‘EU foreign policy chief Josep Borrell, had chided the EU for reluctance to intervene more abroad, particularly in failing states such as Libya.”
One of those 14 EU countries was Ireland.
This Rapid Deployment Capacity (RDC) force will be established by 2025 with land, air and maritime component in order to fulfil the plans in the EU’s new Strategic Compass. According to the European Parliamentary Research Service,. April 12, 2023:
The RDC’s purpose will be to respond rapidly to imminent crises, and to be able to be used in different operational scenarios, including ‘initial entry, reinforcement, or as a reserve force to secure an exit’.
The first live exercises will be held in autumn 2023 in the south of Spain (Gulf of Cadiz).
And this brings us directly to the Triple Lock The Government is more upfront about its intentions here. It’s got to go because it’s no longer ‘fit for purpose’. A key question here is: For What Purpose? We all know that Ireland’s role in UN peacekeeping has been a major source of pride in this country.
In 2013, the Government produced a Green Paper on Defence which looked at the Triple Lock and extolled its virtues: The requirement for a UN resolution as part of the “triple lock” reflects the central importance of the UN in granting legitimacy to peace support and crisis management missions. To quote the DFA’s own website in 2023:
Ireland has a proud tradition of participation in UN and UN-supported peacekeeping missions, both civilian and military. Ireland is proud of being the only nation to have a continuous presence on UN and UN-mandated peace support operations since 1958, with Irish peacekeepers highly respected internationally.
We currently have about 550 defence personnel serving abroad, with the bulk of them UN peacekeepers in Lebanon and Syria.
So why do we now want to drop the necessity of a UN mandate? It seems that the Triple Lock has been fit for purpose in that we have continuously been able to deploy UN peacekeepers. The spectre of the Russian and Chinese vetoes in the Security Council are thrown up. But the only example ever given of Irish forces being kept from participating in a PK operation is in Macedonia over 20 years ago when China vetoed the mission.In fact when talking to RTE’s Tony Connelly last year,(March 2022) Simon Coveney said: I can't think of an instance where Ireland has wanted to send troops on a peacekeeping mission to a part of the world and has been prevented from doing so, because of the triple lock, not yet, at least’.
Well the time has come. The new ‘purpose’ that the Triple Lock is no longer fit for is deeper involvement in EU military operations, particularly the new RDC rapid reaction force, which our Government helped to create. These forces will not always be seeking a UN mandate. Fianna Fail’s Barry Andrews MEP, reflecting Government thinking, was quite specific about this last year when he said a European Council decision/mandate should suffice.
Micheal Martin last month also announced that we were withdrawing our UN peacekeepers from the Golan Heights in Syria (UNDOF) in order to participate in an EU Battlegroup.
And so, it goes. We have got to try to counter this at the Forums. As already said, the Government is on a Fool’s Mission. The world doesn’t need another member of NATO. It doesn’t need another country profiting from producing and selling weapons. What it needs is a country pushing for peace and demilitarisation, a country dedicated to the peaceful settlement of international disputes as described so eloquently in Article 29 of the Irish Constitution, a Constitution our Government has pledged to honour and uphold. Let’s hold them to it.
New Poll Reveals 87% of people in Ireland support a ceasefire to facilitate negotiations to end the War in Ukraine.
The Peace and Neutrality Alliance (PANA) is today releasing the results of a major new commissioned Ipsos Omnipoll, showing 87% of people in Ireland support a ceasefire to facilitate negotiations in the Ukraine war.
The question asked:
" Are you in favour or not in favour of a ceasefire to facilitate negotiations between Russia and Ukraine to end the war?"
The response was: In Favour 87%, Not in Favour 8%, DK/No Opinion 5%
(1000 interviews were conducted by telephone among a nationally representative sample of individuals aged 15+.)
Contact Eleonore.email@example.com to confirm.
This is a massive endorsement of PANA's position taken at the very start of the war.
Roger Cole stated “all political parties and the media must now seriously consider the opinion of the vast majority of the Irish people. In the year that marks the 25th anniversary of the Good Friday Agreement that brought the war in Ireland to an end through a process of a ceasefire and negotiations, should we not retain this same philosophy in the horrific war now raging in the Ukraine.”
To confirm this Press Release contact…
Tom Crilly, Communications Officer, PANA,
Tel 087 2937558
Roger Cole, Chair, PANA,
Edward Horgan, International Secretary and Irish language spokesperson, PANA,
Tel 085 8519623
For more information:
Neutrality, NATO, and the attack on Ireland’s Triple Lock
Brussels Activists Peace Forum
Gabhaim buíochas leis an Leas-Cheann Comhairle. Sinn Féin’s vision is for Ireland to play a constructive role in the wider world and to be committed to diplomacy, humanitarianism, peace building and co-operation with other states on global challenges including poverty, world hunger, climate change, conflict resolution and migration. An independent foreign policy and military neutrality are crucial to allow Ireland to play that important role in the wider world. We should be proud of our military neutrality and resist attempts by some in the Government to recast it as a weakness or a failing.
Read more in the link above...
Edward Horgan is a long-time peace activist with Shannonwatch, US Veterans for Peace, and PANA, attending protests, speaking at public meetings and a well-respected letter writer. Here is a small sample of his recent Letters to the Editor that have been published.
Letter published in the Irish Independent …17/5/2023
Taoiseach Leo Varadkar is attending a Council of Europe summit meeting in Iceland on 16th May for the purpose of creating a “register of damages” for those who have suffered from the ongoing war in Ukraine. This is an ‘ah but what about letter’. Of course, a ‘damage register’ should be established for all conflicts and those responsible for such damage and related war crimes should be fully held to account. It begs the question, why has there been no similar meetings to establish a ‘damage register’ for the wars of aggression waged by the US and its NATO and other allies in Serbia, Iraq, Afghanistan, Libya, Syria, Yemen and elsewhere? And why has there been no accountability for the very serious war crimes and crimes against humanity committed against the peoples of these non-European countries?
Up to five million people have died due to war related reasons in these conflicts and untold infrastructural and environmental problems have been caused by these unjustifiable wars. The Council of Europe may well argue that its focus is primarily on Europe, but surely the United Nations and other international bodies such as the International Criminal Court should have initiated and carried out such a ‘damage register’ and taken steps to hold all those responsible for such crimes accountable.
Edward Horgan, Newtown, Castletroy, Limerick.
Letter published in the Irish News … 4/5/2023
The present conflict in Sudan once again demonstrates the abject failure of the UN and the international community to prevent or stop conflicts in Africa that have amounted to genocide and widespread human rights abuses.
In 1994 the international community stood idly by as up to quarter of a million Rwandan people were brutally slaughtered. This conflict then spilled over into the Democratic Republic of Congo, igniting a conflict that is still ongoing, causing several more million deaths. European and western lives are given priority over the lives of the rest of humanity. The US and Nato intervened eventually to stop the conflict in Bosnia in 1995 although their attempts to impose democracy there have arguably failed.Little has been learned from the 20-year US-led unjustified war of vengeance waged against the Afghan people. In the resulting 2021 evacuation chaos, military dogs were given priority over Afghans who worked with western forces and whose lives were in danger.
No accountability has been achieved for the ongoing trauma that the Afghan people are still going through. While most western citizens have been successfully evacuated from Sudan, far too little consideration is being given to the trauma being suffered by the citizens of Sudan. How many Sudanese refugees will be allowed into fortress Europe? Many of these conflicts in Africa and the Middle East have roots in European colonial abuses. There is now a serious risk of the present Sudan conflict deteriorating into crimes against humanity.
When a popular uprising overthrew the autocratic government of Omar al-Bashir, their efforts to establish democracy were thwarted by the two main perpetrators of this present conflict, General al-Burhan and RST leader General Dagalo/Hemedti, both of whose forces wereimplicated in the Darfur genocide.
The United Nations is once again being prevented from doing its primary task of maintaining international peace by several of its most powerful states who are pursuing their national interests at the expense of the most vulnerable members of humanity.
EDWARD HORGAN, Castletroy, Co Limerick
Letter published in the Irish Independent… 11/4/2023.
The visit to Ireland by US president Joe Biden to celebrate the 25th anniversary of the Good Friday Agreement (GFA) should be used to strengthen the peace process in Ireland and to promote international peace, rather than just be used for US presidential electioneering purposes. Successive Irish governments have been justifiably portraying the peace process in Northern Ireland as a positive example of how other conflicts internationally could be resolved. The GFA, includes the following in its Declaration of Support:
We reaffirm our total and absolute commitment to exclusively democratic and peaceful means of resolving differences on political issues, and our opposition to any use or threat of force by others for any political purpose, whether in regard to this agreement or otherwise.
The word “otherwise” in this statement indicates that these principles should also be applied to other conflicts at international level in keeping with the Irish Constitution.
Consecutive Irish governments have reneged on their constitutional, humanitarian, and international law responsibilities by actively supporting US-led wars in the Middle East by allowing US military to transit through Shannon airport.
While the Irish Government has justifiably criticised the Russian invasion of Ukraine, it has wrongfully failed to criticise US and its Nato allies’ invasions and wars of aggression in Serbia, Afghanistan, Iraq, Libya and elsewhere.
Dr Edward Horgan, Castletroy, Limerick
Letter published in the Irish News… 30/3/2023
At a meeting in Brussels on March 20, attended by Peter Burke TD, Minister of State for European Affairs and Defence, the EU decided to use the European Peace Facility to spend €2 billion to supply Ukraine with 155mm artillery shells which will be used to kill thousands of Russians and Ukrainians in eastern Ukraine. This is the sort of international immorality George Orwell tried to expose. Our Irish government is also contributing €3m towards the International Criminal Court war crimes investigations in Ukraine but for three decades ignored the war crimes committed by US and its Nato and other allies in Iraq and Afghanistan.
All war crimes must be investigated, and the perpetrators brought to justice. The best way to prevent war crimes is to prevent wars by promoting peace by peaceful means. Since Sweden and Finland abandoned their neutrality, Ireland, Austria, Cyprus, and Malta are the only EU states not full members of Nato. Nato has effectively taken over the EU. The US has been using Nato as its enforcer to maintain its stranglehold over the global financial system and access to an undue share of the world’s limited resources. How many more innocent Ukrainians must die?
This is a copy of our 'Letter to the Editor' sent to Irish newspapers this week, so far it has been published in The Irish Daily Mail and the Belfast News Letter. There will a lot of Irish media coverage on the 25th anniversary of the Belfast Good Friday Agreement, hopefully they will analyse the shocking double standards that seem to characterise EU and US foreign policy makers on other global conflicts.
Tom Crilly, Communications PANA
Spreading a Philosophy of Peace this Easter
Sir,President Joe Biden will visit Ireland this Easter, proud of his Irish heritage, he wants to be with us all here in celebrating the 25th anniversary of the Belfast Good Friday Agreement.We are extremely grateful for the contribution of American Presidents and successive American State Departments and many others who saw the need for peace and helped to bridge the seemingly unbridgeable gulfs between Unionism and Nationalism through intense negotiation and reasonable compromise.One Irish peacemaker John Hume saw the need to spread this message to help end other global conflicts, and in his address to the EU Parliament in 1998 on receiving the Nobel Peace Prize said: "we (the European Union) should not be sending armies abroad, we should be sending a philosophy of peace." Unfortunately, the EU/NATO prefer to be a regional military power and agreed to allocated €7.95 billion between 2021-2027 into developing their arms manufacturing industries.As political, religious and community leaders gather in Belfast this Easter, some may wonder at the shocking double standards that seem to characterise EU and US foreign policy makers. Do they believe that spreading a philosophy of peace must be based on geopolitical factors?If pursuing a ceasefire and negotiations to end the war in Ireland is to be celebrated as it should, how much more important would it be to advocate the same philosophy in the horrific war now raging between Russia and NATO in the Ukraine.Yours,Roger ColeChairPeace & Neutrality Alliance
This year's Roger Casement Summer School 2023 will be on 5/6 May in the usual venue at the Lexicon Library in Dun Laoghaire. Dave Alvey explains in a promotional video some details around this year's School. Here is the link:
Also: Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/DLRCasement/
The People’s Movement, to see their latest news on EU militarisation…
As part of The Conversation from RTÉ's Upfront with Katie Hannon, we asked two people to join our WhatsApp group to discuss the future of Irish neutrality.
Roger Cole is the founder and chairman of the Peace and Neutrality Alliance (PANA).
Declan Power is an independent security and defence analyst and a former Irish soldier.
Depleted uranium shells: Why are they used and are they harmful?
The UK Ministry of Defence (MoD) says depleted uranium missiles were developed by the US and UK in the 1970s. They were first used in the Gulf War in 1991, and then in Kosovo in 1999, and during the Iraq War in 2003.
Irish Foreign Affairs – March 2023, including the Non-Aligned Movement Debate. A Quarterly Review published by the Irish Political Review Group, Dublin.
The United Nations Disengagement Observer Force (UNDOF) was established following the agreed disengagement of the Israeli and Syrian forces on the Golan Heights in May 1974, helping to maintain a separation and peace here.
Roger Cole, chair of PANA, has criticised the recent decision of Minister for Defence, Micheál Martin to withdraw Irish troops from the UN peacekeeping mission on the Golan Heights in order as he suggests to have the capacity to fulfil his commitment to EU Battlegroups 2024/2025.
‘Will the Minister now explain if he has now abandoned the UN peacekeeping strategy to support EU militarisation, with their ever-expanding weapons industries, and their increasing warmongering strategy.’
Since 1960, 88 members of the Irish Defence Forces have been killed while serving on overseas missions in that honourable struggle for peace.
For more information on this Press Release contact:
Tel 0035387 2937558
Roger Cole, Chairperson, PANA,
Tel 0035387 2611597
Padraig Mannion, Irish Language Spokesperson, PANA,
Tel 0035387 6911293
The next PANA NEC meeting will take place
on Saturday 25th March 2023 @ 12 – 2pm
In the Irish Labour History Society, Beggars Bush, Dublin 4.
You can view the full list of NEC members on the PANA website, also all affiliated groups should send a representative to this meeting…the meeting is open to all members to attend.
Agenda will include:
Update on activities
Proposed Legal Case
New peace alliance set up by activists in Austria and Hungary
We have a PANA member living in London who wants to establish a PANA branch there. If you have any Irish contacts in London who might be interested please send details to Roger…
Trial of Peace Activists Begins on January 11th and Latest Update
Posted on: 7 January 2023
Peace activists Dr Edward Horgan, former army Commandant and United Nations peacekeeper, originally from Tralee Co Kerry, and Dan Dowling also a native of Tralee Co Kerry, are due to go on trial on 11th January 2023 at Dublin Circuit Court. This is as a result of an incident that occurred at Shannon Airport five years and nine months ago. The date of this incident was 25th April 2017, and there are two charges. The first alleged offence is trespass at the airport contrary to Section 11 of the Criminal Justice (Public Order) Act, 1994 as amended by the Intoxicating Liquor Act, 2008. The second is criminal damage by writing graffiti on a US Navy aircraft contrary to Section 2(1) Criminal Damage Act, 1991.
Both defendants will be representing themselves and are expected to conduct a robust defence to these charges.
Since 2001 well over three million armed US soldiers and unknown quantities of weapons, munitions and other military hardware have been transported through Shannon, mainly to and from the Middle East. The US has been involved as a belligerent in several wars including Iraq, Afghanistan, Libya, and Syria, as well as providing active support for the Saudi Arabian war in Yemen, and Israeli aggression and human rights abuses against the Palestinian people. US military use of Shannon airport is in clear contravention of international laws on neutrality as well as arguably making the Irish Government complicit in breaches of the UN Convention Against Torture and the Geneva Conventions on War.
Speaking ahead of the trial, a Shannonwatch spokesperson said "This case is not just about the technicalities of breaches of international laws, even though these are important. The Criminal Justice (UN Convention Against Torture) Act 2000 brings the UN Convention Against Torture into Irish criminal law, and the Geneva Conventions (Amendments) Act 1998 also brings the Geneva Conventions within the scope of Irish law."
"More seriously however, is the reality that up to five million people have lost their lives due the war related reasons across the Middle East since the early 1990s. Shockingly, it is now estimated that one million children may have lost their lives due to these unjustified wars."
When Edward Horgan was arrested at Shannon Airport on 25th April 2017, he handed a folder to the arresting Garda officer. It contained the names of up 1,000 children who had died in the Middle East.
The trial is before a jury and is expected to take several days…
Update on Trial of Peace Activists
Dublin Circuit Court president Judge Patricia Ryan empaneled a jury for this case and assigned Judge Martina Baxter to preside the case in Court 21. Barrister Jane Cudden represents the prosecution. Defendants Dan Dowling and Edward Horgan are very pleased to have their day in court. The court resumes in the morning Thursday 12th January at 10.30am and is expected to continue into next week
For ongoing updates and to help fund their campaign contact…
John Mearsheimer: The West is playing Russian roulette
This interesting interview by UnHerd may help people to understand the nature of geopolitical interests or great power politics. Mearsheimer supports American power being projected in its interests but believes that the war in Ukraine is a distraction from the real threat, which is China, and worse, will drive Russia into the arms of China when it is in America’s interests to drive them apart.
The Peoples Movement will hold their monthly protest outside Iveagh House,
Stephens Green, Dublin on Wednesday January 18th at 1pm. This is the home of Micheál Martin’s Department of Foreign Affairs and the main body that orchestrates our greater involvement in EU militarisation.
Last week Ukrainian President Zelenskyy addressed a joint session of the U.S. Congress, making an impassioned plea for more military aid, whilst the following day Russian President Vladimir Putin sought to turn the tables on the West at his annual end-of-the-year news conference, blaming the U.S. and its allies for escalating tensions over Ukraine. Putin informed the 500 Russian and foreign reporters at this major media event that “the ball is in their court” to respond to Moscow’s security demands, insisting he wants to end this conflict, and would prefer peace negotiations.
Let’s be clear PANA condemned Russia’s brutal invasion of Ukraine in the same way we condemned the U.S./UK horrific invasion of Iraq in March 2003 that led to the death of over 100,000 Iraqi civilians, all intervention wars are wrong and end in a humanitarian disaster. So, any moves from Washington or Moscow towards peace talks must be welcomed.
Roger Cole of PANA stated, ‘you can help make that iconic slogan Peace on Earth a reality in 2023 by understanding the nature of all war propaganda from both eastern and western sources and by encouraging all political, business, social, and religious leaders to unite in support of a peace process.’
No peace activist would dare predict the outcome of a negotiated peace process. But following a ceasefire we would hope to see an immediate end to the slaughter here in Ukraine, there is space to get humanitarian aid to those who need it, and the warring parties, Russia, Ukraine, and NATO can start to seek agreement through UN-chaired diplomatic negotiations.
A Happy and Peaceful New Year to All,
To confirm this Press Release.
According to our (MIP Research) data, the US has undertaken over 500 international military interventions since 1776, with nearly 60% undertaken between 1950 and 2017. What’s more, over one-third of these missions occurred after 1999. With the end of the Cold War era, we would expect the US to decrease its military interventions abroad, assuming lower threats and interests at stake. But these patterns reveal the opposite – the US has increased its military involvements abroad.
Putin says Russia doesn't want war with Ukraine but urges West to meet his demands quickly…
The Russian leader held his annual news conference as tensions with the U.S. soar over growing concerns about Moscow's troop build-up on its border with Ukraine.
War in Ukraine MAKING SENSE OF A SENSELESS CONFLICT
By MEDEA BENJAMIN and NICOLAS J.S. DAVIES
“This book is an important antidote to the war propaganda about Ukraine that so many in the West are caught up in.” —Mairead McGuire, activist and winner of the Nobel Peace Prize
Available in Connolly Books, Dublin
European Network Against the Arms Trade (ENAAT) ‘How the EU is funding arms dealers and corrupt corporations’ … You will find a link to ENAAT and to other anti-war and alternative media groups on the PANA website https://www.pana.ie/links
The People’s Movement will hold their monthly protest at Iveagh House, home of Mícheál Martin’s Department of Foreign Affairs and the main body that orchestrates our greater involvement in EU militarisation. The protest will be held at 13:00 on Wednesday January 18th at Iveagh House, Stephens Green, Dublin.
For the last five years PANA have issued a Press Release on a regular monthly basis that is then sent out to about 80 media outlets. Irish mainstream media including RTE, and Virgin Media generally propagate a pro-war or pro-NATO narrative and so ignore our statements. We also send out on a regular basis a ‘Letter to the Editor’ to about 9 newspapers, and along with several other anti-war letter writers, we are surprised when our letter is published, especially in the more conservative Irish Times or Irish Independent. Last week a PANA letter was indeed published in the Irish Times (6/12/2022), two day later a letter was published here accusing Roger Cole of PANA of “airy waffle”. Jim Roche of the Irish Anti-War Movement then responded to this and is waiting in hope for this letter to be published. These letters may help you get a more balanced view on war, imperialism. and geopolitical interests, sadly missing from Irish mainstream media.
Tom Crilly, Communications PANA,Never Fear to Negotiate
A Chara,PANA called for a ceasefire and UN chaired negotiations from the very start of the war in Ukraine.We therefore welcome the statement from President Biden that he would be willing to have talks with President Putin and so help reduce escalating tensions between these nuclear powers.His remarks were made at a recent press conference in Washington, DC, during a bilateral summit with French president Emmanuel Macron. This is a major foreign policy change in the Biden administration now expressing the need for diplomacy to end this horrific war.Let us encourage these moves and recall that President Kennedy in a speech on January 20, 1961, said: " Let us never negotiate out of fear. But never fear to negotiate", a political perspective that helped solve the Cuban missile crisis in October 1962.
Sir,Daragh Mc Dowell (Letters, 07 December) accuses Roger Cole of PANA of “airy waffle”. He then goes on to waffle about what would happen should there be a ceasefire and peace process – Russia would re-arm and Ukraine would have to cede territory. How does he know this? Does he have a crystal ball?No peace activist would dare predict the outcome of a negotiated peace process. We have our hopes and demands for sure. In the case of the Russian Ukraine war, they are that the Russian military withdraws to the pre-February 2022 borders and that it abides by the UN Charter and international law, that NATO stop its relentless push eastwards and its escalation tactics, that the arms industry be outed for its devious profiteering and that any peace process recognises the human rights of all peoples to the expression of their culture.We cannot predict that one or both sides would not use a ceasefire to re-arm and try to gain strategic military advantage. We have seen this for example in the current ceasefire in Yemen, where the Biden administration has disgracefully agreed to re-arm Saudi Arabia in exchange for dirty oil, some of it very likely sourced rather ironically from Russia.What we can predict with certainty is that as soon as a ceasefire occurs that has some kind of international guarantees – the UN with all its faults may not be a bad institution to oversee this - people stop getting killed and injured immediately. There is space to get humanitarian aid to those who need it. And there is hope that the warring parties – Russia, Ukraine, and NATO in this case – can resolve their political differences through diplomatic negotiations.Peace loving people around the world, including many Ukrainians and Russians, proudly demand an end to war and militarisation and that diplomacy be given a chance, not least in this time of peace and goodwill.
Yours etc,JIM ROCHEPRO Steering Committee, Irish Anti-War Movement,PO Box 9260,Dublin 1.
A PANA ‘Letter to the Editor’ was published in today’s Irish Daily Mail, slightly altered with the line ‘during a bilateral summit with French president Emmanuel Macron’ removed. As usual these anti-war suggestions may be censored altogether out of the other eight newspapers, I sent this letter to, but if anyone sees it elsewhere let me know.
Letter to the Editor,
Never Fear to Negotiate
PANA called for a ceasefire and UN chaired negotiations from the very start of the war in Ukraine.
We therefore welcome the statement from President Biden that he would be willing to have talks with President Putin and so help reduce escalating tensions between these nuclear powers.
His remarks were made at a recent press conference in Washington, DC, during a bilateral summit with French president Emmanuel Macron. This is a major foreign policy change in the Biden administration now expressing the need for diplomacy to end this horrific war.
Let us encourage these moves and recall that President Kennedy in a speech on January 20, 1961, said: " Let us never negotiate out of fear. But never fear to negotiate", a political perspective that helped solve the Cuban missile crisis in October 1962.
Roger Cole, Chair, Peace & Neutrality Alliance.
Stop the War Campaign and Peter Dooley have organised a Rally for Peace outside Dail Eireann tomorrow Tuesday 6December, at 1pm…Roger is a guest speaker here. Please support.
Talk World Radio with David Swanson of WBW…the link to this fantastic talk show is now up on the PANA website, a regular 29-minute debate with invited guests on a range of issues from Palestine to COP27 to Peacebuilding. Also keep informed of issues from our good friend Tarak Kauff of Veterans for Peace, the link to ‘Peace and Planet News’ is also up on our website. Also, we provide a link to the Julian Assange Campaign…
Celebrating 90 years of Connolly Books with guests Dr Conor McCabe and Donal Fallon this Friday 9December 7-10pm…Connolly Books, 43 Essex St East, Temple Bar, Dublin.
Buy a book, read it and then give it as a Christmas present, I’ve just started ‘War in Ukraine-Making Sense Of A Senseless Conflict’ this book is on sale now in Connolly Books.
Edward Horgan reports that the next Shannonwatch protest will takes place at Shannon Airport this Sunday 11December at 2pm…and well done to all those anti-war campaigners who protested recently against those four NATO ships visiting Cork Harbour.
Thanks to all who made it to our recent AGM held in the ILHS, Beggars Bush, especially those who rushed from the ‘Raise the Roof’ housing march that ended in Merrion Square at 2pm…just a few add on changes to our NEC.
Best Wishes, and an early Happy Christmas,
David Swanson is an author, activist, journalist, and radio host. Check out his Talk World Radio series on YouTube.
In recent times our Irish governments have done all they can to end Irish neutrality, against the wishes of a clear majority of the Irish people. The recent Fine Gael Ard-Fheis passed a motion effectively to scrap the Triple Lock on sending Irish soldiers on overseas missions, by eliminating the need for a UN mandate for such missions. Rather than equip our forces appropriately for genuine defence and UN-directed peacekeeping, our government seems intent on merging them with EU/NATO ventures such as PESCO, Battlegroups etc.
Our government’s unconstitutional agreement allowing the British RAF to engage in military operations within Irish sovereign airspace was another step towards fully abandoning Irish neutrality and sovereignty. The most serious ongoing breach of Irish neutrality has been our government’s decision in 2001 to turn Shannon airport into a US forward air base to wage illegal wars in the Middle East. This has made the Irish people actively complicit, against their wishes, in US and NATO war crimes and breaches of international law.
According to Edward Horgan of PANA, ‘Yet another such step is due this weekend: on Friday 25th November no fewer than four NATO warships of the Royal Netherlands Navy are authorised to visit Cork harbour (*). The vision of democracy, international law and morality is being supplanted in Ireland, Europe, and the wider world by the abuses of military power.’
Edward Horgan, International Secretary, PANA,
Tel 087 6911293
For more information…
Demonstrations are planned against these NATO ships in Cork
There will be protests at Cobh on Friday at 2pm, and at Horgan’s Wharf on Saturday at 11am. Please support…
(*) NLMS Karel Doorman (A833) at 204.7 metres (672 ft) is the largest ship in service in the Netherlands navy and will be docking at the Cobh Cruise Terminal.
HNLMS Zeven Provincien (F802) is an air defence and command frigate and is due to dock at Marino Point
HNLMS Groningen (P843) is an offshore patrol ship and is due to dock at North Custom House Quay
HNLMS Van Amstel (F831) is a Guided Missile Frigate and is due to dock at J.J. Horgan’s Wharf
The Triple Lock is, at this time, the most significant legislative bulwark supporting Irish neutrality. It is the name given to Irish legislation in the Seville Declaration of the Nice Treaty, that states that members of the Irish Defence Forces shall not serve abroad without the agreement of the Dáil, the Government and the Security Council of the United Nations or UN General Assembly. See Neutrality, NATO, and the attach on Ireland’s Triple Lock…
PANA AGM will take place this Saturday 26th of November, at 2.30pm, in the Irish Labour History Society, Beggars Bush, Haddington Road, D.4
(Located near the Grand Canal/Lansdowne Road DART stations, and Nos. 7/4 bus routes)
This meeting is open to all PANA members…or contact Roger
Our AGM will take place on Saturday 26th of November, at 2.30pm, in the Irish Labour History Society, Beggars Bush, Haddington Road, Dublin 4
(Located near the Grand Canal/Lansdowne Road DART stations, and the Nos 7/4 bus routes)
This meeting is open to all PANA members…
Report on PANA and the Trade Unions by Jimmy Kelly, President of PANA
Report on Finance: Paddy Maguire, Treasurer of PANA
Report on year to November 22: Padraig Mannion, Secretary of PANA
Report on Communications & social media: Tom Crilly, Communications PANA
Report on International contacts: Ed Horgan. International Secretary PANA
Report on PANA 2022: Roger Cole, Chair of PANA
Proposal to appoint PANA Vice-Presidents (3)
Election of PANA's Chair, Treasurer, Secretary, Communications Officer, International Secretary, and 3 ordinary members to the NEC.
Every affiliated organisation appoints their own representative to the PANA NEC. The NEC can then co-opt 3 extra members.
The Centre for Religion, Human Values, and International Relations, Dublin City University would like to invite you to a lecture titled ‘Giving Peace a Chance: The work of the Peace with Ireland Council’ by Dr Angus Mitchell on 22nd November at 5.30pm in All Hallows Campus, DCU, Drumcondra.
To sign up for the event, kindly register on the Eventbrite link – ‘Giving Peace a Chance: The work of the Peace with Ireland Council’.
The People’s Movement will hold its monthly protest on Wednesday November 23rd at 1:00pm. Outside Dáil Eireann, Kildare St, Dublin No to EU Militarisation and an EU Army! - Neutrality is our best defence.
Please try to get along – it is important! Placards and posters will be provided.
Shannonwatch held their monthly protest at Shannon Airport last Sunday, to see their excellent Press Release ‘Urgent Need to Restore Irish Neutrality and to Promote Peace’
go to the link https://www.shannonwatch.org/
The United States of America, unlike any other nation, maintains a massive network of foreign military installations (867 including Shannon) around the world. World Beyond War have researched and developed this fantastic new visual database on these installations.https://worldbeyondwar.org/no-bases/
As you will be aware it is near impossible for those who stand for peace or who oppose imperialist wars to get those related issues covered in our mainstream media, but this short letter from PANA was recently published in the Irish Daily Mail and the Irish Examiner.
Letter to the Editor…War and Recession 4/11/2022
From the beginning of the war in Ukraine, PANA has called for a ceasefire and UN chaired negotiations. Now as this war drags on, we can not only imagine the devastation on Ukrainian people, but also consequently watch apparently helpless as a major economic recession with a cost-of-living crisis is spreading across Europe.
PANA welcomes the recent “unprecedented agreement” on the resumption of Ukrainian grain exports via the Black Sea, and the historic agreement on a permanent cessation of hostilities in Ethiopia. We once again call on our political leaders to reject geopolitical interests and work for a ceasefire and UN chaired negotiations in the Ukraine war.
Roger Cole, Chair, Peace & Neutrality Alliance
Normally RTE radio 1 are most selective about those so called military and academic experts who are invited to lecture us on foreign affairs. However, in an interview this week on ‘News at One’ a retired lieutenant colonel Michael Murphy and former deputy director of Irish army intelligence deviated from the usual war propaganda by suggesting that ‘we as a nation have been behaving quite hawkish towards Russia’. Interesting…
Tel 087 2611597
Several peace groups will mount a picket at the obscenely titled 'Building the Ecosystem' that they rightly label an Arms Fair, it will take place in the Aviva Stadium this Thursday, October 6th.
The picket will run from 12.30 until 2pm and is organised by Afri, StoP (Swords to Ploughshares) and INNATE.
The Irish Defence Organisation are hosting this Event billed as Building the Ecosystem, Identifying Connections for Collaboration in Security, Defence and Dual Use Technologies with keynote speaker Foreign Affairs Minister Simon Coveney TD. Their brochure suggests this event will facilitate networking and information for Irish industry and research institutions active in these areas. In other words…The EU has massively increased military spending through the so-called European Peace Facility that has a financial ceiling of €5.692 billion for 2021-2027, so our government want a greater share in the weapons industry…Hope to see you outside this Arms Fair this Thursday 6th ’12.30…
The Eblana Club in 3 Eblana Avenue, Dun Laoghaire is holding a debate on;
"It's time we grew up and abandoned Irish neutrality" a quote from the Political Correspondent of the Irish Examiner, and part of a massive attack on Irish neutrality.
It will be held this Thursday 6th of October at 7.30pm where Senator Gerald Craughwell and Roger Cole of PANA will debate Irish Neutrality.
Please pass this on to all your contacts and see booking form below.
The Irish Neutrality League is a network that has been developed by the Peace and Neutrality Alliance (PANA) and the Irish Anti-war Movement (IAWM), launched last month with ongoing support from several Senators, TDs, academics, and personalities. For more information on the INL, and the agreed Statement go to our Facebook
Here is an early reminder of their first event…
Irish Neutrality League Gathering - How to defend Ireland’s Neutrality?
Saturday 15th October 2-5pm Teachers’ Club, 36 Parnell Square, Dublin 1
Including workshops and a Rally…with a broad range of speakers
Remember the PANA website provides you with links to our Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram accounts as well as links to a broad range of alternative media and organisations.
The Irish Neutrality League campaigns for the protection and strengthening of Ireland’s neutrality. We do this in the spirit of the Irish Neutrality League first established in 1914 at the outbreak of World War 1, by the key figures who would later lead the 1916 Rising, and as such note that Ireland’s neutrality is clearly linked to its sovereign independence and remains a core element of its national identity.
We define Irish neutrality as non-participation in wars and military alliances, as set out in the 1907 Hague Convention V, and as the positive engagement in the peaceful, non-military resolution of political conflicts. As a country that faced hundreds of years of oppression and colonial subjugation by empire, we further understand neutrality as a tradition of solidarity with all the nations and peoples of the world who are victims of imperialism, colonialism, war and oppression.
Read more in the attached leaflet.
Ireland may now contribute a small number of military personnel (Irish Defence Forces) to train Ukraine’s military following an agreement reached by EU ministers to establish a multilateral training mission.
The proposals were agreed at a meeting of EU ministers in Prague this week, which was also attended by ministers from Ukraine and Moldova.
Minister for Defence Simon Coveney called the agreement to establish an EU training mission the ‘next phase of military support’ for Ukraine in its fight against Russia. He said Ireland ‘would like to be involved’ and would provide practical support for the mission.
Roger Cole, chair of PANA stated, EU ministers meeting in Prague are under constant pressure from the US/NATO to agree to ever increasing military spending despite the growing public anger and increasing awareness of the geopolitical interests in prolonging this war. (See ECFR’s research below). Back home again Minister Coveney tries to confuse and distract us all with yet more of his legal interpretations on such terms such as ‘military neutrality’, ‘the Triple Lock’, and now we are being told that training Ukraine’s military does not mean we are a ‘participant in this war’.
PANA is opposed to sending in military personnel to advise or train Ukraine’s military, and instead we campaign that Ireland as a neutral country should be using our membership of the UN Security Council to promote peace here in eastern Europe, by advocating a ceasefire and UN-chaired negotiations and so end the slaughter in Ukraine now…
To confirm this Press Release…
The next meeting of PANA NEC will be held on Saturday 10thSeptember 2022 at 2.30pm in the Irish Labour History Society, Beggars Bush, Dublin 4.
Remember all members are encouraged to attend our NEC meetings, if you are not a member but wish to attend, please contact Roger…
Agenda will include, and awaiting suggestions…
Finance and Affiliations,
Update on the Irish Neutrality League and a Press Launch/Statement
PANA Document on Neutrality, NATO, and the Triple Lock
Citizens Assembly on Neutrality
Update on media, PANA Twitter, Instagram, and Google Chat Group Accounts
Monthly PANA Stall with distributing leaflets and phamlets
SF and other conferences
AGM 2022 and AOB…
Shannonwatch monthly peace vigil at Shannon Airport continues as activists highlight that US military and other planes on contract to the US military refuel here on their way to conflicts in the eastern Europe, the Middle East and north Africa. Their next peace vigil will take place on Sunday 11th September at 1pm. According to Edward Horgan, ‘on Wednesday this week an Omni Air N351AX on contract to the US military refuelled at Shannon Airport twice on its journey from the USA to and from Tunisia, not delivering democracy to the people of Tunisia but propping up a dictatorial government’…https://www.shannonwatch.org/
The Triple Lock is the name given to Irish legislation and the Seville Declaration of the Lisbon Treaty, that states that members of the Irish Defence Forces shall not serve abroad without the agreement of the Dáil, the Government, and the Security Council of the United Nations or UN General Assembly. When the people rejected the Nice Treaty on the 7th of June 2001 the then government, recognising that the deep commitment to Irish neutrality had to be respected, responded with the Triple Lock legislation, and this certainly helped to ensure that the second Nice referendum was passed. Whilst the Triple Lock does not apply if the number of personnel being sent overseas amounts to fewer than 12, Minister for Defence/Foreign Affairs Simon Coveney still feels very constrained by all this legislation.
ECFR’s research shows that, while Europeans feel great solidarity with Ukraine and support sanctions against Russia, they are split about the long-term goals. They divide between a “Peace” camp (35 per cent of people) that wants the war to end as soon as possible, and a “Justice” camp that believes the more pressing goal is to punish Russia (22 per cent of people).
Just as Veterans For Peace (VFP) condemned US invasions of Iraq and Afghanistan, we strongly condemn Russia's invasion of Ukraine and grieve for all those who have lost their lives in this horrific war
The US army base training Ukrainian fighters…
GAAW, ANTI - WAR, SPEECHES, NIAL FARRELL, ROGER COLE, MARGARETTA DARCY, MUSIC, SINGERS.HIROSHIMA DAY. EYRE SQ.
The world still applauds the great effort that our government made in advocating negotiations for peace that led to a settlement, and the 1998 Good Friday Agreement on this island.
So why is our present government, rejecting neutrality, and refusing to lead the campaign for negotiations for peace to end the horrific Russian invasion of Ukraine.
Instead, we are parroting pro-western/NATO war propaganda, that Ukraine can win this war, with more weapons, and that at the same time we can help destroy the Russian economy.
PANA since the start of the war in Ukraine has called for an immediate ceasefire and for negotiations. Unfortunately, the response from Taoiseach Micheál Martin has always been increased EU militarisation, membership of NATO, whilst dismissing the right of Irish people to a referendum on this issue. NATO is now a global military alliance that works actively to spread nuclear missiles to its member nations in support of US militarism.
Roger Cole, Chairperson of PANA stated, ‘we reject the idea that the expansion of the NATO military alliance represents a legitimate response to the current war in Ukraine, when that alliance is dominated by imperial powers such as the US, UK, France, and Germany with their own bloody history of murderous imperial wars in Afghanistan and Iraq and who continue to support brutal and oppressive regimes such as Israel and Saudi Arabia’.
The fact that ever-increasing energy and food costs, rapidly growing inflation and the cost-of-living crisis is the number one concern to Irish people and to the vast majority of people in the EU and elsewhere. This growing anger and increasing awareness of the geopolitical interests in prolonging this war may yet influence this government to accept the need for peace negotiations in Ukraine.
The Taoiseach has stated that Ireland is not a politically neutral country and that it needs to reflect on its military non-alignment. He then went on to state that Ireland would not need to hold a referendum to join NATO. This implies he favours Ireland’s inclusion into NATO, which would terminate its neutrality and cause a rise in defense spending. Ireland’s current €1.1 billion in defense spending makes up 0.3% of its national GDP. It is required of all NATO countries that they spend at least 2% of their GDP on defense. This would mean defense spending would increase by at least €6.2 billion from current spending.
Recent research by the ‘European Council on Foreign Relations’ now show, while Europeans feel great solidarity with Ukraine and support sanctions against Russia, they are split about the long-term goals. They divide between a “Peace” camp (35 per cent of people) that wants the war to end as soon as possible, and a “Justice” camp that believes the more pressing goal is to punish Russia (22 per cent of people). (See link below)
So how representative is our Taoiseach Micheál Martin and other EU leaders who attended their consultative dinner this week in Madrid hosted by Prime Minister Pedro Sanchez of Spain, for all 27 EU member states and all 30 members of the North Atlantic Treaty Organisation (NATO), demanding more justice or war against Russia.
Tom Crilly, Communications Officer, PANA.
As the conflict in Ukraine turns into a long war of attrition, it risks becoming the key dividing line in Europe. And, unless political leaders handle this difference in standpoint carefully, it could spell the end for Europe’s remarkable unity. See ECFR Research…
Boom time forecast for EU armaments industries. Fianna Fáil leader gung-ho for NATO.
Anglo-Americans Desperate to Keep War Going By Harley Schlanger …
Indian Leader CRUSHES EU Hypocrisy as New Political Order RISES!!! Dr. Steve Turley
Biden Works to Prolong Ukraine War by Craig Murray.
NATO WORKS ACTIVELY TO SPREAD NUCLEAR MISSILES TO ITS MEMBER NATIONS IN SUPPORT OF US MILITARISM…
The EU could have offered Ukraine conditional European membership in exchange for restoring neutrality in Ukraine and ending the war in the Donbass long before now in line with the Minsk agreement it would have avoided the present war…Mick Wallace MEP
If we want to be serious in our commitment to helping people seeking international protection, we have to end the double standard on how #asylum law is applied, and we have to look seriously at the policies that make people #refugees in the first place.
The trial of two more Shannon peace activists, Edward Horgan and Dan Dowling, begins at the Circuit Court in Parkgate Street, Dublin on Wednesday June 15th.
Over 5 years ago on 25th April 2017, the two men were arrested at Shannon Airport for allegedly causing criminal damage by writing Graffiti on a US Navy aircraft, and allegedly trespassing on the curtilage of Shannon Airport. It has been reported that the words “DANGER DANAGER DO NOT FLY” were written on the engine of the warplane, which was on its way from a US naval base in Virginia to a US air base in the Persian Gulf.
Over three million armed US troops have been moved through Shannon Airport since 2001 on their way to illegal wars in the Middle East and north Africa. This is in violation of Irish neutrality and international law. Shannon Airport has also been used by the CIA to facilitate its extraordinary rendition program that resulted in the torture of hundreds of prisoners.
Speaking in advance of the trial, a Shannonwatch spokesperson said "While justice delayed is justice denied, their trial is now scheduled to go ahead on Wednesday 15th June. However, while Edward and Dan are still alive and well, up to one million children have died since the First Gulf War in 1991 due to war related reasons. Nothing can be done to bring those innocent children back to life."
Roger Cole, Chairperson of PANA stated “No senior US political or military leaders have ever been held accountable for war crimes committed in these imperialist wars, and no Irish officials have been held accountable for active complicity in these war crimes. Yet over 38 peace activists, including the most recent case of US Veterans For Peace, Ken Mayers and Tarak Kauff, have been prosecuted for carrying out fully justified nonviolent peace actions at Shannon Airport in order to expose and try to prevent Irish complicity in these war crimes.”
WYNN’S HOTEL — DEFEND IRISH NEUTRALITY MEETING
Russia is now waging a horrific war against Ukraine. I don’t think anyone is optimistic about how it will end. But it will end. Ukraine is now awash with weapons and destruction but there is going to have to be a ceasefire and a negotiated settlement.
But what message are we and the rest of Europe taking from this conflict? Unfortunately, it is not that we must pull back from the abyss and the real threat of a nuclear confrontation, we must pull back from war-making and learn to cohabit this planet and concentrate on the Earth’s pressing problems of Climate Catastrophe, world hunger….. No. The Message we are getting is “Neutrality Bad/ Nuclear Weapon Blocs Good”. It is Orwellian.
A New Mind set is required: I never expected to be referring tonight to a shooting of school children in Texas. But look at the reaction of the Texas Governor Greg Abbot, Senator Ted Cruz, and the Texas Attorney General: they think controlling the guns is not the issue. What is required is more guns, arming the schools. Guns for Principals, guns for security guards.
And aren’t we witnessing a Texas Reaction here? Sweden and Finland are rushing to join NATO. The Irish Government is rushing to join an EU defence grouping, essentially the European arm of NATO.
But the Irish Government has a small problem. Or should I say a Big Problem. We the People. The latest public opinion polls, as you know, show that 2/3rds are wanting to retain our Neutrality. This is our best option to promote peace, as mediators, and UN peacekeepers—for which we have a long-standing celebrated reputation -- . I’ve quoted The Economist on this before, when they extolled Ireland’s ‘Soft Power’, stating that we had ‘a good claim to be the world’s most diplomatically powerful country”. (July 18, 2020, How Ireland Gets Its Way)
We are a small country. But a very visible one. Speaking in front of Dail Eireann in March at a protest in support of a People Before Profit’s Bill for a Referendum on Neutrality, now Senator Tom Clonan, retired Irish Army Captain and former UN peacekeeper, emphasised that if Ireland surrendered its Neutrality, if we merged into a EU defence force, we would become Invisible. Our diplomatic clout would be seriously diminished.
But this sadly is the direction Ireland is going. A 50% increase in our defence budget is now being proposed by Simon Coveney. A Commission on Defence has recently submitted a report and its recommendations for increased military spending (some of which is justified) have been embraced by the Government.
However, the report states that the chances of Ireland being attacked by a ‘conventional military force’ are low but that we need to develop more and enhanced military capabilities – with our Defence Forces and equipment to NATO standards and with interoperability with NATO – not so much to defend Ireland but primarily for use ‘overseas on peace support and crisis management operations”. [A major omission in the Report, when assessing the dangers of Ireland ever being attacked, is the Prime Target of Shannon Airport, a hub for US troops and military equipment on their way to warzones] .
There are many forces at play here. And the Generals pushing for military solutions are not confined to the armed forces. In Ukraine and the world over there are Generals at work of a different breed: General Dynamics, General Electric, and General Motors. ….
And as we all know, There’s no Business like War Business. All but four of the world’s biggest sellers of weapons have seen their share prices soar since the invasion began (and these are figures from two months ago, Open Democracy, March 17, 2022, ). And the War in Ukraine is providing a highly visible and effective showcase for all their deadly merchandise.
Ireland unfortunately is not immune to all this. We have to be aware that the push to end our Neutrality is not just a question of wanting to play with the Big Boys, or of ‘Growing up’ as some have put it, of showing solidarity with our EU partners, of being ‘Good Europeans’…. There is Money at play here.
According to the Irish Times (Conor Gallagher, April 25, 2022) there are 550 firms in Ireland active in the Irish defence industry and in 2019 the Dual Use export market was 2.4 billion euro, larger than Ireland’s beef exports market. Our military equipment exports more than doubled in one year, from 42.3m euro in 2019 to 108.5m euro in 2020. Our Government is actively encouraging the arms industry and actively embracing the defence components of the EU. There is a Security and Defence Enterprise Group within the Government, promoting Innovation and Enterprise in defence and there is a new grouping outside Government, formed by a former Army Cavalry officer, called the Irish Defence and Security Association, made up of small and medium enterprises and research institutes (including UCD)
Last November, Simon Coveney hosted a seminar entitled: “Support for Enterprise, Research, and Innovation in Defence”. It was supposed to be at the Aviva Stadium but reverted to a Zoom event, partly because of Covid fears, partly because of fear of protests. The blurb for the seminar extolled the networking possibilities provided by the event for the European Commission, the European Defence Agency, Enterprise Ireland and the European Defence Industry and an opportunity to explore avenues of funding from the EU’s European Defence Fund. And what a Fund that is! It has a budget of 8 billion euro for 2021 to 2027 for R and D across a range of military projects.
Over the Zoom, Minister Coveney emphasised the need to “develop and exploit emerging and disruptive technology developments to support defence capabilities, while also supporting wider access and market engagement for Irish research by academia and enterprise.”
Ireland contributes millions to the EDF and several contributors on the Zoom meeting emphasised that Ireland needs to get a ‘return on that investment’.
So the Weapons Industry is an ally of the Government in the move to end neutrality in favour of the Greater European Good. Good Europeans are well armed Europeans.
The direction in which all this is going was hinted at in a debate earlier this month at the Roger Casement Summer School in Dun Laoghaire. Fianna Fail’s Barry Andrews, MEP, stated that Neutrality must be debated in terms of developments in Ukraine – echoing remarks from the Taoiseach and others – and then went on to say that our Triple Lock which prevents Irish troops being deployed abroad without a UN mandate should be ditched in favour of the European Council mandating where to send our troops and that he felt we should have a mutual defence policy within the EU. I believe he is echoing Government policy here and the direction they would like the Debate/ Citizen’s Assembly to head. It’s amazing how, on the one hand, those arguing in Ireland for closer EU defence, express a repugnance for nuclear weapons, yet they are willing to coordinate defence with a nuclear weapon State, France, and in partnership with the nuclear NATO alliance which is plugged into the EU.
What Europe and the World needs now is a challenge to military blocs armed to the teeth, not a glorification of them. In the 1990s, with the Cold War abating, there was talk of a Common European Home, of the strengthening of the Organisation for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE) which includes every country in Europe. What we need is more Neutral/Non-Aligned States, not fewer. That is the direction our thinking should be going.
Ireland is now on the UN Security Council and has just taken over the Presidency of the Council of Europe. Could we not expect some kind of mediation/ceasefire/peace proposal efforts coming out of the Irish Government? We are now occupying powerful diplomatic positions internationally. We should employ some of that Diplomatic Power we reputedly possess.
But could we at least put our minds towards ending this war rather than concentrating on how to end our Neutrality? Or have we already become Invisible?
If you listen to our government and the mainly pro-western narrative of our Irish media you may be surprised to learn that recent opinion polls in Ireland, including the last IPSOS poll in April 2022, show a clear majority of between 60-70% of Irish people in favour of retaining Ireland’s neutrality.
So why not join us at this public meeting hosted by the Irish Anti-War Movement and the Peace and Neutrality Alliance to hear why Ireland should remain a neutral country.
Public Meeting – Defend Ireland’s Neutrality
on Thursday 26th May in Wynn’s Hotel, Dublin 1 at 7pm
Speakers include Carol Fox (PANA), Richard Boyd Barrett TD, Chris Andrews TD, Sen Alice Mary Higgins, Matthew Hoh (former US Marine & Pentagon), and Dr. Yurii Sheliazenko (Ukrainian Pacifist Movement) …Chair Sarah O’Rourke (IAWM)…
Access our poster advertising this event and a Zoom link here … https://irishantiwar.org/
PANA is opposed to the illegal invasion of Ukraine by Russia in the same way that we opposed the illegal invasion of Iraq by the US and their allies twenty years ago.
This war must eventually be ended, either through negotiation or by putting an end to us all through nuclear apocalypse. The belief by both sides that ending it later will be better is almost always catastrophically wrong. The unwillingness to end wars is driven largely by hatred, resentment, and the corrupt influences that create wars in the first place.
The Secretary General of the United Nations António Guterres has proposed a ceasefire, urged a negotiated settlement, and met with the President of Russia despite opposition in the West to doing so.
Pope Francis has urged a ceasefire and negotiations, declared that no war can be justified, and encouraged workers to block weapons shipments.
The President of Italy Sergio Mattarella, speaking to the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe, has urged pursuit of a ceasefire and negotiated settlement. Prime Minister Mario Draghi and Foreign Minister Luigi Di Maio have even proposed a draft agreement.
The President of France Emanuel Macron has proposed a ceasefire, negotiations, and the creation of new non-military alliances.
The President of Germany Frank-Walter Steinmeier and Chancellor Olaf Scholz have urged a ceasefire and negotiations.
The Chairperson of PANA Roger Cole has called for an immediate ceasefire in Ukraine and U.N. chaired negotiations, a negotiated settlement, that must come, and the sooner the better. A ceasefire need not wait for a resolution of all issues, only for a credible commitment to negotiate by all sides. Ireland as a neutral country should reject the EU/NATO narrative and lead the call for this ceasefire and a negotiated settlement.
Today May 4, 2022—Judge Patricia Ryan sent a clear message to protesters objecting to illegal US military flights through Shannon Airport by fining the Shannon Two 10,000 euros after they were convicted of interfering with the operation, management, and safety of the facility.
Ken Mayers (85) and Tarak Kauff (80) were first arrested on St. Patrick’s Day, 2019, at Shannon Airport for going onto the airfield to inspect US military aircraft or cause them to be inspected. They carried a banner that said, “U.S. Military Veterans Say: Respect Irish Neutrality; U.S. War Machine Out of Shannon.”
Roger Cole, Chairperson of PANA welcomed the release of our friends Ken and Tarak, thanked them for their courage and stated their action has helped to put their US government and their military on trial for killing thousands of people in their so called ‘humanitarian interventions wars’ throughout the Middle East and north Africa. They have also helped us here by exposing our Irish government who betray the Irish people’s concept of neutrality.
PANA would like to thank all those many supporters who have assisted and who have contributed towards the campaign to Free the Shannon Two since 2019, but remember the anti-war struggle continues so get involved and become active.
Edward Horgan of Shannonwatch stated “No senior US political or military leaders have ever been held accountable for war crimes committed in these Middle East wars, and no Irish officials have been held accountable for active complicity in these war crimes. Yet over 38 peace activists, including Mayers and Kauff, have been prosecuted for carrying out fully justified nonviolent peace actions at Shannon Airport in order to expose and try to prevent Irish complicity in these war crimes.”
For seven years, until 2006, Putin, while re-establishing the Russian state and ending the meltdown of Russian society occasioned by Western influence during the disastrous Yeltsin years, proposed the integration of the revived Russian state with the West. This made him, temporarily, a western hero. He addressed the Bundestag in 2001 in fluent German, which he called “the language of Goethe, Schiller and Kant”, pleading for Russia to be allowed “join Germany and Europe on the path to freedom and democracy”. The assembled German politicians responded with an enthusiastic standing ovation. He also attempted to turn Yeltsin’s chaotic political system into one that functioned like a western one, with standard parties, elections and, as everywhere in the western world, a purely nominally autonomous judiciary.
Read the entire article via the link below.
The trial of US peace activists Kenneth Mayers and Tarak Kauff is due to begin on Monday morning 25th April 2022 at the Circuit Criminal Court, Parkgate Street, Dublin 8.
Both are former members of the US military and Kenneth a Vietnam War veteran is now Contributing Editor of the Peace and Planet News, Quarterly Newspaper of the New York City Veterans For Peace and Vietnam Full Disclosure. https://peaceandplanetnews.org/
They were arrested at Shannon Airport on St Patricks Day 2019 whilst highlighting their opposition to US wars and that US war planes continue to make stopovers here in violation of Irish neutrality, Ken and Tarak were eventually released on bail to return home.
Video clip of our friends Ken and Tarak on one of their Freedom Walks around Ireland back in 2019 highlighting concerns about US war planes refuelling at Shannon Airport…
Roger Cole, Chair of PANA welcomed Ken, Tarak and Ellen Davidson to the National Executive Committee meeting of PANA that was held in the Irish Labour History Museum, Beggars Bush in Dublin on Saturday 23rd. and thanked them and the many thousands of Americans who are opposed to US imperialism and their never-ending wars.
The NEC welcomed the overwhelming public support for the retention of Ireland’s policy of ‘military’ neutrality, highlighted in the latest Irish Times/Ipsos poll, however members were very angry that our government continue to undermine this policy, and that Irish media continue to portray the US/NATO military alliance as the good guys in military conflicts around the world. PANA is opposed to the illegal invasion of Ukraine by Russia in the same way that we opposed the illegal invasion of Iraq by the US and their allies twenty years ago.
Taken from Nervous State's mix cloud page:
Nervous State returns, with an hour-long special on Irish neutrality in theory and practice.
Recent events in Ukraine have shook the political landscape across Europe,. Whilst Ireland is far from the frontline of the conflict, we can’t help but to be affected by it.
Voices calling for Ireland to abandon neutrality and join NATO have become prominent in our media and politics. For perhaps the first time since the outbreak of the second world war, the future of Irish neutrality going forward has come under serious question.
We’ll be considering the case for and against Irish neutrality, as well as just why the question has become so prominent in recent months. We’ll be discussing this with Dr Ben Tonra, Professor of International Relations at UCD, Roger Cole of Peace and Neutrality Alliance Ireland, Paulie Doyle, author of the recent article “The War On Ireland’s Neutrality” in Tribune Magazine and John Dolan, author and co-host of the Radio War Nerd podcast.
As the brutal Russian invasion of Ukraine continues, the question of Irish neutrality is live again. Why is neutrality important? What is its origin and why should we maintain it?
Listen in to Roger Cole of the Peace and Neutrality Alliance being interviewed by Micheál Mac Donncha.
The Peace and Neutrality Alliance reiterates its utter and complete condemnation of the Russian invasion of Ukraine and is appalled at the utter disregard shown for civilian life and the consequent atrocities which have resulted, involving the murder of innocent parents and children.
The huge emotional wave of support for Ukraine across Europe and north America has brought us all together against the horror of this war, but there is a negative side. Those inflaming this crisis as a showdown between democracy and autocracy, between good and evil, are also making it harder to bring all sides together in a negotiated settlement that must come sooner or later.
Some Irish media commentators fuel this warmongering by suggesting the Russian war machine is weak, the Ukrainian resistance is stronger than expected, and with Western military aid and combat volunteers they can win this.
Ukrainian president Volodymyr Zelensky makes a plea for a ‘no-fly zone’, for fighter jets, and more lethal weapons, whilst President Vladimir Putin boasts that he also has supporters, thousands of well-trained volunteers from a now destroyed Middle East region.
President Joe Biden has stated his full support for Ukrainian independence, but there will be no US troops on the ground in Ukraine, repeating ‘I am not going to start World War Three’. So, are we watching, some perhaps encouraging, an ongoing proxy war between the US and Russia that will evolve into an even more horrific Ukrainian bloodbath?
We cannot disregard the way in which NATO helped to bring this situation about through its treacherous and irresponsible reneging on the commitment given to Mikhail Gorbachev that, upon the Soviet Union withdrawing from Central and Eastern Europe, it would not expand into that area. The clear model for dealing with the state of affairs thus brought about would have been that of neutral Finland, whereby a cordon sanitaire of countries bordering on the subsequent Russian Federation would have been created from the Baltic to the Black Sea.However, one can only proceed now from where we find ourselves. In this context, PANA notes the recent statement of the Kremlin spokesperson, Dmitry Peskov, obviously not made without the approval of Vladimir Putin. This outlined a solution based on
This is, in effect, a partial retreat by Putin from the policy of either just creating a puppet state in Ukraine or incorporating it in the Russian Federation and seems to have come about as a consequence of the failure by Russia to quickly subjugate Ukraine.
This could be used as an opportunity for a just resolution of the crisis on the following modified basis: (a) a bilateral ceasefire, (2) the acceptance by Ukraine of constitutional neutrality on the condition of being able to maintain adequate military means of self-defence, and (3) referenda in the Crimea and Donbass under the supervision of the OSCE to determine democratically the future of those areas, within or outside Ukraine.
The principles which should be adhered to are the sovereignty and independence of the Ukrainian people, on the one hand, and peace and security in Europe, on the other. The peoples of Europe cannot allow themselves to be used as pawns in a geopolitical chess game chiefly involving the United States of America and the Russian Federation.
According to Roger Cole of PANA, there is also ominously, a militaristic lobby in Brussels which sees a chance to promote an armed Euro-Federation dominated by a Franco-German hegemony. We cannot lose sight of the fact that there are two major blocs in this confrontation and that demands should be made of both to accept a realistic, reasonable, and democratic settlement.
The Peace & Neutrality Alliance opposed the invasion, conquest and occupation of Afghanistan in 2001. In those days the Irish corporate media was willing to publish articles by PANA, as can be seen from the attached article, written by my on behalf of PANA and published in the Irish Times on Wed. Sept. 26, 2001, before the invasion. Of course, we lost, just as we did when PANA helped to organise a massive 100.000+ strong protest again the US invasion, conquest and occupation of Iraq in 2003.
The Republic of Ireland backed the war on Afghanistan not just by destroying Irish Neutrality as stated in International law of the Hague Convention of 1907, and allowing millions of US troops land in Shannon Airport on their way to the wars on Afghanistan and Iraq by sending over 200 members of the Irish Defence Forces to take part in the occupation of Afghanistan directly under the command of the nuclear armed military alliance NATO.
Since then, the Irish corporate media has largely ignored PANA and other groups like Shannonwatch and the Galway Alliance Against War, despite numerous vigils pamphlets, Conferences ( especially the the Conference Against US/NATO military bases, Nov. 16-18, 2018 that packed Liberty Hall) and backed these wars. The wars in Afghanistan and Iraq have also been strongly supported by every Irish Government since 2001. Since then the USA has also supplied massive amounts of weapons to terrorists in Syria. Did the same in Libya, and bombed it, destroyed it to such a degree, that slavery was restored restoration. It is very clear that the corporate media in Ireland that supported these perpetual wars (just listen to Morning Ireland) are shell shocked. Their entire strategy of supporting the US/EU/NATO doctrine of perpetual war has been totally defeated by the quick and decisive victory of the Taliban in Afghanistan, just as they were defeated in Vietnam, except even faster. There will be now a growing demand the US and its vassals also withdraw from, Iraq and Syria, end their support for the war on Yemen, and accelerate the opposition for their support for apartheid Israel.
It will also be very good news for the American people living in America, where now more dollars can be spend in America on Americans.
Faced with the real threat and horrific consequences of global warming the end of the doctrine of perpetual war, then maybe all the states in world can cooperate to provide a better future for our children. Finally, however, knowing how much NATO loves perpetual war, its a future that is touch and go at best.
Roger ColeChairPeace & Neutrality Alliance
The Rosa-Luxemburg-Stiftung is an internationally operating, left-wing non-profit organisation providing civic education. It is affiliated with Germany’s ‘Die Linke’ (Left Party). Active since 1990, the foundation has been committed to the analysis of social and political processes and developments worldwide. The Stiftung works in the context of the growing multiple crises facing our current political and economic system.
In cooperation with other progressive organisations around the globe, the Stiftung focuses on democratic and social participation, the empowerment of disadvantaged groups, and alternative economic and social development. The Stiftung’s international activities aim to provide civic education by means of academic analyses, public programmes, and projects conducted together with partner institutions.
The Rosa-Luxemburg-Stiftung works towards a more just world and a system based on international solidarity.
World BEYOND War is a major International Peace Group founded in the USA. This is the connection with a video interview by the Irish Chapter of WBW with Clare Daly, Member of the European Parliament on the USA Army's use of Shannon Airport, and the rapidly expanding militarisation of the EU Army. Here is the link to the recording.
Then, join us next week with Dave Donnellan. Dave's talk will focus on the impact of war on the environment. Militarism cuts at the heart of the unique and sacred relationship we have with the planet. In preparation for the event, check out World BEYOND War's webpage on How War Threatens the Environment.
ENAAT and CORPORATE EUROPE are two important European research organisation, and DW is a German Public Broadcasting Service
The attached reports are on the drive towards the militarisation of EU, and the use of German weapons on the war on the Yemen.
Information that ENNAT has made a new folder about the EU Defence Fund (see attached file) and also a website. Here is a link: http://enaat.org/eu-defence-fund.
The EU has a plan to make a Military Union (Defence Union) no later than 2025 and it seems like the weapon industry has a lot of influence.
The military industry was behind the creation of the EU Defence Fund and the militarization of the EU: https://corporateeurope.org/en/power-lobbies/2017/12/arms-industry-lobbying-and-militarisation-eu.
See that Germany and France are exporting a lot of weapons to countries that participate in the Yemen war. The German DW made a video about how German weapons ended in Yemen:
Since 2001 Irish Governments have actively helped the USA create the refugees by allowing over 3 million US troops land in Shannon Airport on their way to these endless wars.
This video is for all the people throughout Ireland, but is also specifically aimed at Eamon Ryan, Leader of the Irish Green Party and all those people in Ireland who voted for the Irish Green Party. Ireland has to stop collaborating with the US military/industrial complex by allowing US troops and in Shannon Airport (3 million and rising so far). The Green Party must ensure that it will not go into Government unless Irish Neutrality is restored by terminating their use of Irish territory on their way to and from their perpetual wars:
These two graphs show that the EU is planning a massive increase in military expenditure as it seeks to build an EU Army. It will mean massive cuts in health, housing, pensions and other social expenditure to pay for the weapons. We ask all the voters in the 2020 election to only vote for candidates that reject PESCO and the emerging EU Army.
Two members of the US Veterans for Peace Ken Mayers and Tarak Kauff are making a powerful contribution to the campaign to terminate the use of Shannon Airport by the Army of the US as it pursues its doctrine of perpetual war to rule the world. Well over 3 million US troops and an unknown amount of military equipment have landed in Shannon Airport since 2001 with the total support of Fine Gael and Fianna Fail and the smaller parties when they go into Government with them, and with the support of the entire Irish Corporate Media, in contravention of international law as laid down in the Hague Convention of 1907. They are making the issue of the use of Shannon Airport an international issue in a way that PANA has never been able to do since our foundation in 1996. They need your support, you can contribute on their GoFundMe page: https://www.gofundme.com/support-vets-fighting-us-war-machine-in-ireland
The Road to the EU Army traces the steady progress towards the creation of an EU Army linked with NATO by the ruling political elite in the EU over decades. This process has been greatly accelerated as a consequence of Brexit. However the decision of "moderate" EU/US leaders to support war after war, especially on Libya and Syria has created a massive number of refugees, very many of which have sought refuse in the EU, a consequence of war which these "moderates" knew would happen, has inevitably led to the creation of major new political formations (which they did not envisage) that threatens the power of the "moderate" Christian Democrats and Social Democrat that supported the EU/US/NATO doctrine of perpetual war that creates refugees in the first place.
PANA since its formation in 1996 has opposed the CD/SD drive to create an EU Empire with its own Army, a process strongly supported by Fianna Fail and Fine Gael. There are individual members in these parties that oppose this process,and their leadership tries to pretend it is not happening. Reality however cannot be ignored and the Democratic National State, is reemerging as the institution to which the people give their loyalty, in our case, the Irish Republic.
Support the Venezuela Ireland Network Email: firstname.lastname@example.orgTwitter:venezuela Ireland NetworkFacebook: Venezuela Ireland Network-hands off VenezuelaRecommended website: www.venezuelanalysis.com
To read the full proceedings of the First International Conference against US/NATO Bases in Dublin see:www.nousnatobases.org
This was indeed an important gathering of environmentalists, climate change activists, and campaigners concerned about human rights issues, intervention wars, the ever-escalating arms race, and the unfettered exploitation, slaughter, and destruction in our world.We got up to date information on the 1000 military bases around the world, that includes Shannon Airport, and how we must develop a more coordinated global opposition to militarism. Delegates explained how US imperialism on the African continent can be traced back to the Berlin Conference (1884) that ensured a Belgium Congo providing a cheap supply of rubber for the US car industry; and the environment session suggested we are avoiding the elephant in the room if we don’t highlight the link between US foreign policy and climate change.Over 300 people filled the conference centre, as delegates from 35 countries came together and debated issues relevant to their own country and to the world, and then agreed a Unity Statement...To see the Press Communiqué that was adopted by participants on Sunday November 18th or to watch the Live Streaming of this major event now on YouTube go to http://noforeignbases.org/Videos of the First International Conference Against US/NATO Military Bases:- Friday November 16, 2018: https://youtu.be/XF4TXgsRYb8- Saturday November 17, 2018: https://youtu.be/W0-IQIWNFpI- Sunday November 18, 2018: https://youtu.be/qEXUNcXXFLcFor pictures of this event go to: www.stopthesewars.org/ellen-davidson
5. Any participating Member State which wishes to withdraw from permanent structured cooperation shall notify its intention to the Council, which shall note that the Member State in question has ceased to participate.
The decision of the FG/Independent Government supported by FF to actively support the integration of the Irish Army into the emerging EU Army via PESCO is a clear decision to restore the values of John Redmond. Except this time the Irish will be expected to kill and die for the Army of the European Union instead of the Army of the British Union. It will also mean massive cuts in expenditure in health, housing and social welfare as our military expenditure increases from €946 million to something like €3 billion. If you have not joined PANA by now, it is time you did.
The People’s Movement and PANA commit themselves to campaign for the State to immediately formally withdraw from all military an financial commitments under PESCO.
We are further agreed to campaign both collectively and individually for such a withdrawal.
We call on the support of local and national groups, organisations and elected representatives. We commit ourselves to work with all Oireachtas members that oppose PESCO and to encourage them to form an Oireachtas Group to further opposition within the Oireachtas and to provide permanent liaison.
We pledge ourselves to work with like minded groups within the EU also committed to exposing the accelerated militarisation of the EU. Where possible we will seek to establish local Irish peace groups to campaign for these objectives.
PANA was established in 1996 to advocate the right of the Irish people to have their own independent foreign policy, with positive neutrality as its key component, pursued primarily through the United Nations. We did so because in 1996 we believed it was the intention of the Irish political parties that then totally dominated the Republic of Ireland to steadily destroy the policy of Irish neutrality and integrate Ireland into the EU/US/NATO military structures in support of its doctrine of perpetual war. In every referendum on the EU we opposed, commencing with the Amsterdam Treaty, we sought a legally binding Protocol that would exclude Ireland from the steady militarisation of the EU, similar to that which applies to Denmark. In response to the decision of the FG/FF alliance, to join PESCO, which establishes permanent EU military structures,in effect an EU Army in the making, PANA and the People's Movement organised a Conference on PESCO which included a speaker from Denmark, Lave K. Broch, who focused on the Danish Protocol.
Sinn Féin spokesperson on Defence Aengus Ó Snodaigh TD has expressed anger and disbelief at the decision of the Irish Government to approve Ireland’s involvement in the European Union’s Permanent Structured Cooperation (PESCO) at a recent cabinet meeting. The issue was raised by Sinn Féin TDs Sean Crowe and Aengus Ó Snodaigh during a debate on the issue in the Dáil yesterday.
Teachta Ó Snodaigh said:
“Article 29 (4) (9) of the Irish Constitution specifically states that the state will not adopt a common EU defence where such a defence would include the participation of the state. The government's decision to join PESCO runs totally contrary to that Article. “The clear aim of PESCO is to jointly develop the EU's military capabilities and to make them available for EU military operations.
“These missions are not confined to peacekeeping missions, and would allow the EU to intervene in conflicts such as those in Libya and Syria outside of UN and NATO structures.
“PESCO is being driven by France and Germany, both key members of NATO and in reality the strategic aims of PESCO are inseparable of that of NATO.
“By signing up to this, the Government would, as well as committing to provide troops to PESCO missions, be committing to trebling current spending on defence at a huge cost to the Irish people.
“The Minister for Defence has confirmed that the Government has approved a proposal to notify the EU of our intention to participate in PESCO.
“This flies in the face of the state's Constitution and, to add insult to injury, it appears that the Minister has not even taken the minor precaution of obtaining legal advice before proceeding with this reckless action. This is the biggest policy decision in relation to Irish Defence Forces since Irish soldiers were first sent on UN duties in 1960s.
“I am flabbergasted that the Independent Alliance ministers John Halligan, Shane Ross, and Finian McGrath agreed at Cabinet to this clear breach of Irish neutrality, a policy they stated in the past that they would protect and cherish. Maybe they should have thought about taking a real stand for world peace, by rejecting this.
“Despite being such a momentous decision and being at odds with what was promised and committed to during the Lisbon Treaty debates, Minister Paul Kehoe it seems is hellbent on rushing this through the Oireachtas with little debate. The government are expected to try and rush this volte-face through the Dáil with as little debate as possible in next fortnight.
“I am calling on the government to halt their headlong move into this fledgling EU Army and, in particular, I am calling on the Independent Alliance Ministers to stand true to their stated position, protect Irish neutrality and to reverse this Cabinet decision or vote with us in the Houses of the Oireachtas who want to see Irish neutrality protected and enhanced.”
Former NSA experts, now members of Veteran Intelligence Professionals for Sanity (VIPS), say it wasn’t a hack at all, but a leak—an inside job by someone with access to the DNC’s system.
Ray McGovern was a recent guest of the Peace & Neutrality Alliance and the Galway Alliance Against War. He spoke in public meetings in Dublin and Galway, had meetings with a number of TD's and Senators and the Lord Mayor of Dublin. He can be reached on: http://raymcgovern.com/
Ray was around in the fall of 1962 and watched the Cuban missile crisis up close and personal. He served as an Army Infantry/Intelligence officer from 1962-1964 and then joined the CIA AS AN ANALYST (never had to overthrow any governments or ship kidnapped people thru Shannon). During Ronald Reagan's first term (1981-85) he briefed Vice President Bush, the Secretaries of State and Defense, and other very senior officials in the morning with the President's Daily Brief. He was chief of the Soviet Foreign Policy Branch of CIA, had three of my analysts supporting the Strategic Arms Limitation Talks (SALT) in Geneva and Vienna, and was in Moscow in May 1972 to take part in the ceremonies marking the signing of the ABM Treaty -- the pillar of strategic stability until Bush Junior walked out of the treaty. VIPS and Ray are now focusing very much on the new acerbic tone in U.S.-Russia relations, the intense public campaign to blame Russia for everything, and THEY ARE EXPOSING, WITH FORENSICS TO BACK THEM UP, THE FACT THAT "THE RUSSIANS HACKED LAST YEAR'S ELECTION" IS AS FRAUDULENT AS THE WEAPONS OF MASS DESTRUCTION OF 15 YEARS AGO.
From the most recent to the VIPS Memo to President of July 24, 2017 (not to mention several earlier ones, including op-eds by Bill and Ray in the Baltimore Sun, over the past year)
On 12 October 1914 James Connolly chaired a public meeting of the Irish Neutrality League (INL) in the Ancient Concert Rooms in what is now Pearse Street. The event was in response to a meeting held in the Mansion House at which John Redmond advocated a recruitment drive to encourage Irish men to join the British Army. Connolly's aim was to launch a campaign to bring together all of those opposed to Irish participation in the war, that would, he said, 'prove historic in the annals of this country'. Since the period 1914-1918 did prove to be historic, it is only fitting to look back at our history to explain how the IN was then only the latest expression of the deeply rooted values of peace, neutrality and Irish independence.
The Peace & Neutrality Alliance was established to advocate an Independent Irish foreign policy, maintain Irish Neutrality and promote the UN and the OSCE as the organisations through which Ireland should pursue its security concerns. PANA therefore believes that the future of the European Union should be as an Association of Sovereign Democratic States without a military dimension. The Irish political elite seek to abolish an independent Irish foreign policy, destroy Irish Neutrality and pursue their security through the transformation of the European Union into a nuclear armed European Empire - a new Imperial State. They seek to effectively terminate Irish Army participation as a peacekeeping force in the United Nations and transform it into a regiment of the embryonic European Army, the Rapid Reaction Force. It is your choice to agree with the objectives of PANA or the elite. To help the elite, or defeat them.
The results of the referendums on the efforts of the elite to win show that an increasing number of the Irish people are deciding to defeat them. Over 38% of the Irish people voted against the Amsterdam Treaty, so if only 12% more of the people joined those already against the elite, and also voted against the Nice Treaty, they could be defeated. We should also be inspired by the defeat of the Danish elite by the Danish people in their recent referendum, for while joining the Euro was the reason for their referendum, the debate centred on the issue of Danish Democracy versus the European Empire. The Treaty of Nice provides the next opportunity for the Irish people who support Irish Democracy, Independence and neutrality to win. Firstly, we must be given the choice to vote in a referendum. The fear of defeat by the Irish elite was clearly exposed by their refusal to hold a referendum on Irish membership of Nato's PfP (a sort of FÁS training course for Nato membership) despite the fact that Mr Ahern had told the Dáil that it would be "fundamentally undemocratic" to join without a referendum; and their statements that the Nice Treaty does not need one. We demand a referendum. We demand a Protocol to the Treaty similar to that achieved by the Danish people which prevented them from having to participate in or pay for the militarisation of the European Union.
The elite's virtually secret negotiations on the Treaty of Nice are to be concluded in December 2000. The Irish Government have already said that there should not have to be a referendum. The Treaty of Nice will probably ensure that the Irish Government will retain the right to appoint a Commissioner. The elite will claim the fact that Ireland still has the right to appoint a Commissioner is a great victory while not making it clear that once appointed an Irish Commissioner swears loyalty to the European Empire. The Treaty will ensure more power is transferred from the Irish people and their elected assembly, Dáil Eireann, to the Council of Ministers through a massive reduction in the number of issues where the national veto can be applied. At the same time greater power is given to larger states like France and Germany as they will be given more votes and the issues on which majority votes are taken are increased. In short, the Treaty of Nice will mean a further diminution of Irish National Democracy, and a further step towards the formation of the Empire. The previous major step was the Amsterdam Treaty.
The elite deliberately held the referendum on the same day as that of the Good Friday Agreement which meant that the media gave it very little attention compared to the Agreement, so that there was scant coverage of the issues involved. Article J3 states, "The European Council shall define the principles of and the General guidelines for the common foreign and security policy, including for matters with defence implications." Article J7 states, "The common foreign and security policy shall include all questions relating to the Union, including the progressive framing of a common defence policy, in accordance with the second sub paragraph (the merger of the nuclear armed WEU into the EU) which might lead to a common defence should the European Council so decide."
The movement in favour of Danish National Democracy is much more powerful than in Ireland, and their Government was forced to ensure a Protocol be added to the Treaty which stated, "With regard to measures adopted by the Council in the field of Articles J3(1) and J7 of the Treaty of the European Union, Denmark does not participate in the elaboration and the implementation of decisions and actions of the Union which have defence implications, but will not prevent the development of closer cooperation between member states in this area. Therefore Denmark shall not participate in their adoption. Denmark shall not contribute to the financing of the operational expenditure arising from such measures." PANA demanded a 'no' vote to the Amsterdam Treaty and its renegotiation so that the Irish State obtained a similar Protocol. PANA again demands a 'no' vote to the Nice Treaty if a similar Protocol is not added to it, to exclude Ireland from the militarisation of the EU.
Article J7.2 states, "Questions referred to in this article shall include humanitarian and rescue tasks, peacekeeping tasks, and combat forces in crisis management, including peacemaking." PANA, during the 'debate' on the Treaty, said this meant giving the right to the EU to become involved in war, and the elite totally denied it and called us "extremists and isolationists." Yet after the debate one of their members John Bruton, Leader of Fine Gael, said in the Dáil on the 22/10/99: "Peacemaking means imposing, by the use of force, peaceful conditions under the terms laid down by the peacemaker. It is very difficult to distinguish that from war making, unless one gets into subjective questions of motivation which are highly elastic." It is a reflection of the contempt for the people held by the political elite that they only admitted the real implications of the Amsterdam Treaty after the debate, and we can be assured they will adopt the same attitude to the Treaty of Nice.
As a consequence of the Amsterdam Treaty the European Union has already agreed to establish a European Army known as the Rapid Reaction Force. The Army will have a strength of approximately 250,000 which will be needed to place 80,000 soldiers into the field of conflict. This Army will be given the right to operate within a radius of 2,500 miles outside the EU. While nominally it will operate only with a UN mandate, as we have seen from the NATO war against Yugoslavia, the UN mandate will be ignored. This Army will be used wherever the EU elite wants to use it to defend the "interests" of the elite. When they are used, for example, to protect EU interests in the Caspian Sea, against people in the region who might seek to use the resource more equitably, then the local people are unlikely to distinguish between the "neutral" Irish Regiment of the Army of the European Empire and the other regiments any more than they did when the Connaught Rangers played the same role defending the "interests" of the British Union & Empire.
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PANA consistently argued during the 'debates' on the Amsterdam Treaty and Irish membership of NATO's PfP that Irish neutrality and Independence was being destroyed 'salami' style. The logic of which would be that the long and honourable tradition of Irish Army participation as a peacekeeping force directly under the auspices of the United Nations would effectively be terminated as the Irish Army became integrated into the EU/NATO military structures. Even Lieut. General Gerry McMahon(rtd), chief-of-staff of the Defence Forces from Feb. '95 to Aug.'98, a long time supporter of this integration process, has declared that the policy of the elite is a "desertion of the United Nations". In 1999 the Government signed up to the United Nations Standby Arrangements System (UNSAS) in which it promised to provide up to 850 troops for UN Peacekeeping at any time. Yet the White Paper on Defence stated that this was "an expression of policy and not a binding commitment." In May 2001 the Irish UN Peacekeeping force in the Lebanon, our only major commitment to UN, will be terminated. Given the limited size of the Irish Army, the elite have had to make a choice: serve in the United Nations as a Peacekeeping Force or serve as a Regiment in the European Army (RRF). They have made it. They have rejected Ireland's peacekeeping role in the only global inclusive organisation committed to securing peace through international co-operation and collective security.
PANA strongly welcomes the success of the Irish Government and the Dept. of Foreign Affairs in achieving a position on the Security Council. It is exactly the kind of focus advocated by PANA. We need to have an Independent Foreign Policy advocated in a global framework. Yet if Ireland is to agree to a Common Foreign and Defence Policy with the other states in the European Union, how can it have an independent foreign policy? What difference does it make whether Ireland or Italy sits on the Security Council? There are a number of possible explanations. Firstly, a significant element of the elite secretly agree with PANA and, by ensuring that Ireland is on the Security Council, will expose the contradiction between an IIFP and the CFSP. Secondly, Ireland will simply vote for the CFSP on the Security Council, getting the perks instead of the Italians, while maintaining the illusion of Irish Independence in order to weaken the political forces, such as PANA, that genuinely support Irish Neutrality and an Independent Irish Foreign Policy. We can only hope that the first option is a real possibility, and a degree of support for it is validated by the New Agenda Coalition initiative.
The New Agenda Coalition brought together seven Governments: Ireland, Brazil, Mexico, New Zealand, South Africa, Slovenia and Sweden, which agreed to work for a new agenda to achieve a world free of nuclear weapons. At the year 2000 NPT Review conference the state parties to the NPT accepted a new agenda for that objective. It has been a great achievement by the Irish Government. Yet as Patrick Smyth, the European Correspondent of the Irish Times pointed out, "it would not have happened within the context of the European Union's Common Foreign and Security Policy". It is the most effective example of an Independent Irish Foreign Policy, where Ireland launched a global initiative with six other states, four of which were not, nor likely to become, member states of the European Union. It clearly exposes the fundamental contradiction between the two goals, Irish Independence or European Empire. PANA is now advocating its own initiative to further expose the contradiction by advocating a Neutrality Amendment Constitutional Bill.
The Irish Constitution, unlike, for example, that of Malta, does not enshrine Neutrality into the Constitution, the reason being that at the time of its adoption, there was overwhelming political support for it among the Irish people. When the 2nd World War broke, the entire Dáil, with only one exception, voted to support the policy of Irish Neutrality. Indeed, the political elite still declare they support the policy, yet, through their advocacy of the Amsterdam Treaty, their support for Irish membership of Nato's PfP, they in fact seek to destroy it. PANA, in order to further publicly expose their real policy, has sought support for a Neutrality Amendment to the Constitution which would amend Article 29.2 which reads; "Ireland affirms its adherence to the principle of the pacific settlement of international disputes by international arbitration or judicial determination." by adding, "To this end the State shall, in particular, maintain a policy of non membership of military alliances." PANA not only believes the vast majority of the Irish people still support Irish neutrality, but unlike the elite we believe it does not have its origins in the 2nd World War, but is deeply rooted in the struggle for National Independence.
Irish Neutrality was advocated by Wolfe Tone, Leader of the United Irishmen in a potential war between Britain and Spain in the 18th century. The United Irishmen sought to establish a United, Independent and Sovereign Irish Republic. They were part of an international democratic Revolution against Monarchy and privilege. They did so with the inclusive slogan of seeking to "unite Catholic, Protestant and Dissenter in the common name of Irishmen." They were ruthlessly crushed by British Imperialism and its Irish allies. The commitment to Irish neutrality was maintained in the 19th century by the Young Irelanders and the Irish Republican Brotherhood who, in the early 20th century, led the 1916 Rising and the War of Independence. The Treaty which established the State and the subsequent steps ensured our right to Neutrality and Independence. This Independence was expressed through our support for International organisations such as the League of Nations and the United Nations, initiating the Non-Proliferation Treaty and playing a key role in UN Peacekeeping. Yet those Irish that supported Imperialism while defeated did not go away. The tradition of Redmond and Lord Kitchener is now being revived. Instead of being "British" we are all "European". While once seeking Home Rule within the British Union, the elite now seek Home Rule within the European Union. They seek to do so because they now can identify with the rich elites from the United States and European States which seek to ensure the maintenance of a world economic order that has made the rich richer and the poor poorer. The function of the NATO/EU military Force into which our Army (that was founded to establish and defend an Independent Democratic Republic) is now being integrated is to defend the wealthy, and their privileges.
The Tribunals have shown that the real electorate for the Irish political elite is those business interests that pay them vast amounts of money. Their loyalty is to the international political elite that are paid by the international business community. In that sense the elite are internationalists. PANA's Internationalism is of a different nature. We are building links internationally with those groups and organisations that seek peace by achieving social justice and a more egalitarian world economic order. We seek to build an alliance not only in Ireland but globally will all those groups that see an inclusive and Transformed United Nations which will according to the UN Charter, maintain international peace and security, to develop friendly relations among nations, to cooperate in solving international problems and in promoting respect for human rights, and to be a centre for harmonising the actions of nations. The choice is between the internationalism of the rich or the internationalism of the poor, the internationalism of privilege or the internationalism of democracy, the internationalism of the arms traders or the internationalism of the peace movement. The choice is between the United Nations or a European Superstate, between National Democracy or European Elitism. The Irish elite have already made their decision; we now ask you to make your choice. DEMAND A REFERENDUM ON THE TREATY OF NICE DEMAND AN ANTI-MILITARISATION PROTOCOL TO THE TREATY DEMAND A NEUTRALITY AMENDMENT TO THE CONSTITUTION Membership of The Peace & Neutrality Alliance is open to all individuals and groups that accept its objectives.
NeoConOpticon - The EU Security-Industrial Complex http://www.statewatch.org/analyses/neoconopticon-report.pdf by Ben Hayes (pdf)"Despite the often benign intent behind collaborative European ‘research’ into integrated land, air, maritime, space and cyber-surveillance systems, the EU’s security and R&D policy is coalescing around a high-tech blueprint for a new kind of security. It envisages a future world of red zones and green zones; external borders controlled by military force and internally by a sprawling network of physical and virtual security checkpoints; public spaces, micro-states and ‘mega events’ policed by high-tech surveillance systems and rapid reaction forces; ‘peacekeeping’ and ‘crisis management’ missions that make no operational distinction between the suburbs of Basra or the Banlieue; and the increasing integration of defence and national security functions at home and abroad.
It is not just a case of “sleepwalking into” or “waking up to” a “surveillance society”, as the UK’s Information Commissioner famously warned, it feels more like turning a blind eye to the start of a new kind of arms race, one in which all the weapons are pointing inwards. Welcome to the NeoConOpticon."
Donegal Democrat, by Edward Longwill Edward Longwill, a security policy analyst at the University of Ulster, explains exactly what the Lisbon Treaty will or will not do to Irish neutrality.
In June 2008, 53% of Irish voters rejected the Lisbon Treaty. The Irish government believes that guarantees it received last December on neutrality, taxation and abortion will ensure a Yes vote on 2 October when the Irish electorate are asked to vote again on an identical Lisbon Treaty.
Of the 27 EU Member States, citizens within the Republic of Ireland have the second highest perception of EU membership (Eurobarometer Poll, spring 2008). If the Irish people are such committed members of the EU, why did they reject Lisbon? Immediately after the referendum the European Commission authorised a study to examine the paradox. Most of the No voters were younger, less well educated, and working-class who gave a primary reason for opposing Lisbon because they did not understand it. Interestingly 83% of No voters believed the Irish rejection of Lisbon would protect their country’s neutral status (Flash Eurobarometer Poll, July 2008).
A poll conducted on behalf of the Irish government a number of months after the referendum found that 82% of No voters viewed neutrality as either important or very important (Millward Brown IMS Survey, September 2008). The legal framework of neutrality is defined by the Hague Convention 1907 which summarises how a state must behave in order to maintain neutral status. In short, a state cannot use its military to support another state at war or allow the passage of troops or war supplies through its territory which belong to another state at war. However a neutral state can sell another state war material without breaching the rules of neutrality.
In Ireland neutrality is synonymous with sovereignty and independence. In 1916 republican leaders staged an unsuccessful rebellion and publicised their belief that Irishmen should not serve in the British army and protect British interests. On the contrary they viewed the First World War as an opportunity to end British colonialism in Ireland. The British government’s attempt to impose conscription on Ireland in 1918 led to an electoral revolt and a subsequent war of independence. Even today neutrality is regarded by many Irish voters as an expression of anti-imperialism.
During the First World War the United States supplied Britain with war materials. Technically this did not breach neutrality status. However the German navy received orders to attack merchant ships suspected of carrying war material and the sinking of the Lusitania of the coast of Ireland led to US war entry. This event demonstrated that a state at war may not respect the technical rules of neutrality. Legally, neutrality has only military considerations. However, today a significant proportion of Irish people believe in the totality of neutrality – that it must be universally applied to inter-state relations.
Irish entry to the UN in 1955 and the first peacekeeping mission in 1960 to the Congo set a lasting precedent to authorise the use of Irish troops overseas. An Irish contingent of soldiers cannot serve outside of the Republic of Ireland without a UN mandate for the overall operation, Irish government approval and a positive vote in the Irish parliament. This system has become known as the ‘triple-lock’.
The Irish state has never been totally neutral in the non-legal sense of the concept. Favouritism towards the Allies in the Second World War and towards the Western Bloc when it came to voting within the UN General Assembly created a clear distinction between military neutrality and how a state can adopt a contradictory diplomatic policy. Pursing contradictory political and military policies can bring a state into military conflict. In 1980 the Irish government politically and diplomatically criticised the Israeli government. Some analysts claimed that this resulted in pro-Israeli forces assaulting Irish positions causing the deaths of Irish soldiers serving with the UN in Lebanon. The Irish government and public learned that if the state pursues certain foreign policies then other states may not respect Irish military neutrality.
More recently the neutrality debate arose in Irish politics. The French led EUFOR Chad operation (2007-09) saw the Irish military provide the second largest contingent. Although the mission held a UN mandate, and the Irish government claimed the mission would protect refugees, a number of Irish commentators claimed that EUFOR advanced French neo-colonial interests, Francafrique, by supporting a dictator. In the near future the French government’s true agenda will become evident. Only then can Irish analysts attempt to determine if the Irish government knew, or approved, of this agenda.
There is no doubt that the Irish government is deviating from military neutrality. One of the most controversial debates in Irish politics over recent years was the decision permit the US Air Force to land at Shannon Airport in Ireland. Official reports confirmed that US soldiers stopped at Shannon en route to Iraq. More controversial are rumours which claim that some landings contain prisoners on torture-bound ‘rendition flights’. In 2006 the European Parliament passed a resolution criticising several unnamed Member States’ ‘collusion’ with the US by providing civilian or military airports for this purpose (Resolution 1507 (2006), 10.8).
More importantly a retired Irish army officer, Commandant (Major) Edward Horgan, in March 2003 took a case against the Irish government to the High Court over the fact that the US used Shannon for the Iraq war – viewed by Horgan as an illegal war contrary to international law. Although the Irish constitution implies a respect for international law, the judge dismissed Horgan’s argument and found that the government was not bound by ‘statements of principle or guidelines’. Irish neutrality no longer existed because the Irish government accepted that military troops passed through Shannon – in breach of the Hague Convention 1907 (5,2) ‘belligerents are forbidden to move troops or convoys… across the territory of a neutral power’.
Most members of the Irish public are not aware of the significance of this decision and believe that Ireland is still a neutral state. In fact during the last Lisbon campaign, scaremongering arose that the treaty would create an EU army, conscription or even result in Irish soldiers serving in Afghanistan. Most voters do not know that senior Irish officers already serve in the EU Military Staff, responsible for coordinating EU Member State’s military policy under Common Foreign and Security Policy (CFSP). Furthermore seven Irish officers serve alongside NATO officers in Afghanistan and Irish government secrecy over their specific role has generated many rumours. However these soldiers are trained in bomb disposal and it is likely they support NATO’s war effort rather than provide humanitarian assistance. Irish neutrality no longer exists yet many of the ignorant Irish public believed a No vote in Lisbon would protect the state’s ‘neutral’ status. If we accept that Irish neutrality is dead, the question is how the passage of Lisbon will alter the current position. The treaty will end the Irish veto on CFSP initiatives. Article 15(b) will bring CFSP under a Qualified Majority Vote (QMV) in the European Council. Furthermore Article 11 (a) will effectively federalise all areas of ‘common foreign and security policy… all questions relating to the Union's security, including the progressive framing of a common defence policy’ and Article 46 (a) ‘The Union shall have legal personality’ gives the EU federal status at global level.
Most Irish voters are oblivious to all of this. However the No campaign drew voters’ attention to the ‘solidarity clause’, Article 28 (7) of the treaty which states ‘if a Member State is the victim of armed aggression… the other Member States shall have towards it an obligation of aid and assistance by all means in their power’. One of the most important guarantees the Irish government received last December was that this did not constitute a military alliance.
Opponents of the treaty have identified other articles which they believe will deter Irish voters. These include the commitment to improve military capabilities and increase military spending for the European Defence Agency (EDA). Anti-Lisbon campaigners have misleadingly claimed that this will lure Ireland into a pan-European military-industrial complex. On the contrary it is natural for all states to continually modernise and improve their capability and in 2007 Ireland contributed to just over 1% of the EDA’s budget (€283,800 of €20,800,000).
Perhaps the most dramatic claim made by elements of the No campaign is that a conspiracy exists to create an EU super-army. There are no secrets, in fact the EU Institute for Security Studies published a report titled What Ambitions for European Defence in 2020? (2009). This reveals the desire for permanent structures, ‘a formal Council of Defence Ministers’ chaired by the EU ‘Foreign Minister’, ‘a European Security and Defence College… to train all personnel in a common strategic culture… and a European Command to plan and conduct the Union’s military operations’.
Do we need an EU army? If so, should we fear a centrally commanded grand EU army? The authors of the report suggested de-centralising control of the EU military to a ‘European Parliamentary Council for Security and Defence’ which would liaise between EU and national level parliaments. Also the EU will have its own representative at the UN to ‘normally’ but not always develop missions within the UN’s framework.
A federal EU would have a tremendous military capability. If all 27 Member States combined their defence budgets it would total over €200 billion – second only to the US. Would the EU become a global centre of liberty and respect for human rights or an out of control expansionist monster? According to the EDA’s Long Term Vision Report 2020-25 (2006), if current trends continue then by 2025 the EU in its current form will only comprise of 6% of the world’s population.
Centralised defence planning could potentially ensure that the EU acquires the world’s greatest military. The Vision Report explained that presently 50% of collective EU defence spending goes on personnel. The economic burden of the public sector always raises debate yet the re-organisation of national militaries along federal lines would collectively save billions of euros. Currently the collective EU forces have approximately 10,000 battle tanks and 3,000 combat aircraft. Again, re-organisation along federal lines would reduce the quantity of EU defence assets and dramatically increase the future quality of assets.
Unfortunately most Irish voters are unaware of the complex issues associated with Lisbon. An opinion poll taken four weeks before the 2008 referendum placed No voters at only 18% yet the actual result saw 52% of voters saying No. Interestingly a similar poll taken four weeks in advance of the upcoming 2 October referendum has the No vote at 29% (Irish Times/TNS mrbi poll, 3 September). Therefore the No vote has grown since the first referendum and it looks likely that the Irish electorate will once again reject Lisbon. Where will this leave the EU?
Supporters of the European project will be furious that Irish voters have sabotaged Lisbon and delayed years of progress. Those who view Europe with apprehension may welcome a reflective period to inform, educate and debate with their follow Europeans. Nation-states, like Irish neutrality, may be obsolete. Europeans have been responsible for some of the greatest artistic, cultural and scientific achievements in history. However we have also been responsible for some of the worst excesses of savagery and cruelty.
All of us want an EU that brings out the best in us as Europeans with a shared future. The debate we must have now is over what kind of EU we believe will make that happen.
Morning Star by Jeremy Corbyn MP Last Saturday night I walked into the departure lounge at Shannon Airport and it felt like Baghdad.
The whole place was heaving with American soldiers, in battle fatigues, who were relaxing between flights as they transited from the USA to Iraq and Afghanistan.Ireland has always prided itself on its neutrality, non membership of NATO and as such has enjoyed a uniquely powerful moral position in the world as the least militaristic of any European country.
However, Shannon undermines that. Not only do US troops use the airport in huge numbers there are also mysterious un-marked but apparently US planes with no side windows on the remote runways and extraordinary levels of security surrounding the whole airport.
There has never been any satisfactory explanation in response to concerns that the airport was used for extraordinary rendition flights from Bagram in Afghanistan to Guantanamo Bay.
Shannon Watch, a group of peace activists who monitor movements there have suffered harassment and extraordinary pressure in trying to protect Irish neutrality. The sights at the airport were the culmination of a one day conference on the militarisation of Ireland that was organized as part of the “No to Lisbon” campaign ahead of the referendum on October 2nd.
The European Constitution was famously rejected in France and the Netherlands and all British political parties pledged a referendum on it in the 2005 General Election.
Facing Euro wide rejection of the centralization of powers, marketisation of public services and common EU foreign and defence policies the European leaders deftly re-arranged the paragraphs in the Constitution and re-branded it the Lisbon Treaty. This was easily accepted by all Governments and in Britain the House of Commons voted to reject the referendum (which every single MP had been elected pledging to hold on the Constitution) and endorse the Lisbon treaty.
The Irish famously rejected the Lisbon treaty at the first referendum and were bluntly told to hold another.
To save the blushes of the Irish Government a “protocol” was offered which claimed to respect Irish neutrality and non membership or cooperation with NATO. Whilst this has easily satisfied the Irish Government and most of the political establishment it does not really alter the bald facts of the Lisbon Treaty.
If endorsed Lisbon will establish a common foreign policy, there will be a defence policy based on NATO, there will be an EU President with quite extraordinary powers and the neutrality of any member state will, to say the very least, be compromised.The Conference, in the Park Airport Hotel in Shannon heard some disturbing information about US military personnel being stationed there, “to assist flights”, and the levels of secrecy surrounding the whole operation. Some of the delegates took the view that there was no operational need to use Shannon but it was an effective way of softening Irish opposition to NATO.
As with all campaigns to do with issues surrounding Europe there is an extraordinary mismatch of information and funding.
The yes campaign deftly assert that Ireland would be worse off without Lisbon and that all the successes of the Irish economy, before the crunch, would be at risk from this vote. They cleverly suggest that a vote against Lisbon is tantamount to leaving the EU altogether, which it is not.
Supporting this view are the Government and the richest and most powerful business people in the Republic. Michael O’Leary, owner of Ryanair has threatened to pump millions of Euros into the Yes campaign and join in the general disinformation that rejecting Lisbon will cost thousands of jobs and the livelihood of all the Irish people.
In reality not just the neutrality of Ireland is put at risk but also job protection and social justice as the whole continent moves assertively towards a free market economy, not in the directyion of a socially just continent.
To emphasise the whole point about the militarization of Europe many speakers including Sinn Fein’s Mary Lou McDonald, former MEP Patricia McKenna and current MEP Joe Higgins pointed out that the references to NATO and C ommon Defence in the Treaty were also backed up by the multi millionEuro subsidy for the European Defence Agency, which supports a growing European Arms industry.
Speakers from around Europe including Harry van Brommel from the Dutch Socialist Party, Tobia Pfluger from Die Linke and Celine Menessez from Parti du Gauche pointed out the uniqueness and importance of the Irish vote.
Lisbon brings in fewer commissioners from smaller states and more qualified majority voting. The Treaty, however, requires the ratification of all member states thus the Irish vote on October 2nd is crucial for the cause of a social and peaceful Europe.
IMI-Analysis 2009/031en Verdict of the German Constitutional Court concerning the Lisbon Treaty:Court strenghtens Parliamentery Prerogative But the Lisbon Treaty was made compliant with the constitution ? now theIrish referendum is decisive by Tobias Pflüger On June 30 the German Constitutional Court decided in an exciting verdictwhether the Lisbon Treaty is unconstitutional. But the court used a trick bydeclaring the treaty per se as constitutionally compliant, but at the sametime declaring that part of the accompanying legislation asunconstitutional, which was used by the Bundestag (lower house) andBundesrat (upper house) to ratify the treaty: ?The law about the extensionand strengthening the rights of the Bundestag and Bundesrat regarding theaffairs of the European Union (extension law) is violating article 38 (1) asrelated to article 23 (1) of the constitution insofar as the participatoryrights of the German Bundestag and Bundesrat have not sufficiently beendeveloped." This pertains to a number of points in the Lisbon Treaty for which theFederal Constitutional Court claims that the Bundestag and Bundesrat triedto disempower themselves. An important aspect is the decision-making processregarding military deployments of the European Union. In the verdict it says that the appeal of the petitioners is justified inthis regard as far as the applicant claims a violation of thedecision-making power of the German Bundestag concerning the deployment ofGerman military forces. And a similarly distinct borderline is drawn by theconstitution concerning decisions about the deployment of the federal army.Except for the state of defence, a deployment abroad is only allowed withinthe system of mutual collective security (article 24  of theconstitution), while the concrete deployment constitutionally requires theapproval by the Bundestag. The federal army is a Parliamentary Army, andtherefore the representative organ of the people has to decide about itsuse." The Lisbon Treaty creates vast new military competence for the EU. This isunfortunately confirmed by the Federal Constitutional Court in its verdict.But fortunately the Federal Constitutional Court has corrested the fact thatthe German Bundestag had disempowered itself by its approval of the LisbonTreaty. The judges clarified: only the German Bundestag is empowered to decide aboutforeign military deployment of the federal army. According to the FederalConstitutional Court, the disempowerment of the Bundestag concerningdecisions about military deployments of the EU as it is stipulated by theLisbon Treaty and the German accompanying legislation is unconstitutional. One of the questions was, who is going to decide whether the german federalarmy will participate in a military operation of the EU. The judges of theConstitutional Court have now clarified that this is the exclusive authorityof the Bundestag. The verdict says: ?In this case (the decision about a military deployment bythe European Council, T.P.) the German representative in the council wouldbe constitutionally obliged to refuse his approval of any proposedresolution which would violate or circumvent the constitutional prerogativeof the parliament concerning military issues. This statement of the verdict becomes particularly interesting with regardto the Permanent Structured Cooperation according to Protocol No. 10 of theLisbon Treaty. The protocoll calls for the military deployment of EU BattleGroups? within five to 30 days. However, after the verdict of Karlsruhe(seat of the German Federal Constitutional Court, translators note), aGerman participation in such rapid deployment will be practicallyimpossible, because it would be necessary for the Bundestag to convene everytime prior to the European Council decision about the deployment of EUBattle Groups with German participation. The Bundestag would first have totake a decision about the foreign mission of German soldiers. Theconstitutional verdict is a kind of parliamentary shackle for the BattleGroups. The Bundestag will have to pass a new accompanying law for the Lisbon Treatyin two extraordinary sessions scheduled for 26 August and 08 September - themiddle of the parliamentary summer break and the ongoing federal electionscampaign. It is still unclear how the Bundestag will participate in thedecision making about rapid reactionmissions of the EU. In practice e.g.last year's war in Georgia, convening the Bundestag on such a short noticeis highly unrealistic. It might well be that the function of the BattleGroups as rapid intervention troops will be jeopardised or even paralysed bythis procedure. Even the proposed solution of Christian Schmidt, theParliamentary State Secretary to the Federal Minister of Defence, to solvethe constitutional conflict by issuing a permanent (parliamentary) approvalfor the deployment of EU battle groups is incompatible with the verdict ofthe Constitutional Court. Ireland second round an further tricks However, the Lisbon Treaty is not prevented by this verdict in Germany.Therefore, everything is now depending on Ireland, where a new referendumwill be held on October 2nd , because in the past the Irish people were sorecalcitrant to clearly say No to the treaty. At the EU summit in June, adeclaration calling for an additional protocol in a future treaty waspassed. To become effective, this declaration has to be ratified by all EUmember states. It is planned that the EU member states will sign thisdeclaration e.g. on the occasion of Croatia's accession to the EU withsubsequent ratification by the national parliaments. This declarationcontains three items: Fiscal policy, legislation on abortion and militarypolicy. The goal is to pacify at least some of those who voted against theLisbon Treaty in the past, hoping to gain a majority for a Yes during thesecond referendum on the Lisbon Treaty in Ireland on October 2nd . Of particular interest is the section about Security and Defence. It isalleged that Ireland's neutrality will not be affected. But this is notcorrect: The collaboration between the EU and the NATO remains a significantelement of the Lisbon Treaty. A number of affirmative references are maderegarding NATO. Protocol No. 10 states: "CONVINCED that a more assertiveUnion role in security and defence matters will contribute to the vitalityof a renewed Atlantic Alliance, in accordance with the Berlin Plusarrangements" This is an open violation of the Irish neutrality. The additional protocol will not change the fact that the Lisbon Treatywould convert the EU into a military union. All military elements of thetreaty are going to persist: the military solidarity clause (article 222) -more rigid than the solidarity clause of the NATO - converts the EU into amilitary alliance and enables the use of military forces inside the EU.Article 42 obliges the member states to a build-up of arms. The PermanentStructured Cooperation makes a militarized Core Europe possible: Only thosecountries will decide about military deployments which participate in them.For the first time the EU budget can be used for military purposes using theStart-up Fund. Until now this is prohibited by the EU treaties. For thefirst time, the Lisbon Treaty would anchor EU Battle Groups and the ArmamentAgency by primary law, i.e. to abolish them again, a new EU treaty would benecessary.
The so called additional protocol affirms the correctness of our critique ofthe military consequences of the Lisbon Treaty. Now, using trickery, it isintended to finally push through the Lisbon Treaty. The Irish people votedwith a clear No in 2008. Now they are supposed to vote time and again until self-proclaimed EU elite is satisfied with the the result . The concessionsof the new additional protocol are cosmetics without any obligation. Representatives of the progressive Irish No-campaign have asked to make useof the second referendum on the Lisbon Treaty in Ireland as quasi an EU-wideballot. They asked for support from progressive NO-activists of other EUcountries. We will comply with this request. We will struggle for a victoryof the NO to this neoliberal and militaristic Lisbon Treaty during thesecond referendum in Ireland too. No means No! Tobias Pflueger Informationsstelle Militarisierung (IMI) e.V. http://www.imi-online.de
JENS-PETER BONDE (EUObserver/Comment)
The German Constitutional Court issued a remarkable verdict on 30 June. It was described in the press as the Court's approval of the ratification of the Lisbon Treaty.However, careful reading of the judgement shows that it is a fundamental rejection of the core constitutional content of the Treaty.The Court judgement modifies the most important principle of the primacy of European law. Member States are said to be the "masters of the Treaties." In the Court's view the EU institutions have no powers of their own. They can only administer delegated competences in prescribed areas. European law is stated to be ultimately based on and limited by the accession law of each Member State.The German Court implicitly invites any citizen, political party or business firm in Germany to take court cases before the German Constitutional Court if they find that a piece of proposed EU law is outside those delegated competences. Then it is the German Court that will decide - not the EU Court.This is a rejection of Art. 344 of the Treaty on the Functioning of the European Union, which provides that Member States undertake not to submit a dispute concerning the interpretation or application of the Treaties to any method of settlement other than the European Court of Justice.The Karlsruhe Court also insists that there must be important areas of law-making and decision-taking left to the EU Member States. This is an invitation to politicians everywhere to ask their governments what competences are left with the Member States after the adoption of the Lisbon Treaty.I have offered a bottle of top class wine to anyone who can give me just one example of a national law which cannot be touched in some way by the Lisbon Treaty. Legal specialists have tried to find examples; yet they cannot!If EU governments cannot find room for the exercise of meaningful national parliamentary democracy within the ambit of the EU, then the Lisbon Treaty is unconstitutional, according to the German Court.The Court does not accept that the European Parliament is a body which can give adequate democratic legitimacy to European Union law. The Court also sets limits to the importance of the new "additional" Union citizenship and states that this can only be supplementary to national citizenship.The Court insists on national parliamentary participation in all areas where Member States would lose their right of veto.The judges unanimously insist, by 8 votes to nil, on prior approval by the German Parliament - and implicitly by other National Parliaments - for the use of the so-called "bridge articles" whereby Government Ministers on the Council of Ministers or the European Council can alter EU law-making from unanimity to qualified majority voting.The judges also require full participation of National Parliaments in the use of the flexibility clause in Art. 352 TFEU, which permits the EU to take action and adopt measures to attain one of the EU's objectives even if the Treaties have not provided the necessary powers.Finally, the Court forbids the German President from signing the Treaty so as to enable Germany's instrument of ratification to be deposited in Rome until the German Parliament has adopted a law which would safeguard the involvement of the German Bundestag and Bundesrat in future EU decision-making.The most striking element in the judgement is that the Court implies the need for the involvement of National Parliaments in all aspects of EU law-making. They refer to democracy as being a principle common to all the EU Member States. The involvement of National Parliaments in EU law-making is therefore a necessity. If not, the principle of democracy will have been fundamentally breached.
The Karlsruhe Court effectively finds that the Lisbon Treaty would increase the EU's widely acknowledged democratic deficit if its ratification is not linked to the adoption of internal procedures at Member State level such as to safeguard the involvement of the National Parliaments and voters in each Member State.The verdict applies only to Germany, of course. But it has significant implications for all Member States, including those which have already approved and ratified the Lisbon Treaty.With this Court judgement in hand, political parties and groups of citizens in each Member State are implicitly invited to go to their National Parliaments and insist on similar guarantees being given in order to ensure the involvement of elected representatives and voters in EU decision-making in each one.If Germany's ratification of the Lisbon Treaty is found to be illegal and in contravention of basic democratic principles in the absence of such parliamentary controls, should not the same principle apply in all other Member States that claim to be democracies?The Karlsruhe judgement should inspire people to call for similar constitutional and parliamentary challenges in other EU countries. This may establish strengthened procedures for national parliamentary control and safeguard areas where national parliamentary democracies can decide things on their own without interference from, for example, the EU Court of Justice.Such calls may also win time to make people aware of the anti-democratic character of the Lisbon Treaty and ensure that this is not ratified by all EU States before it has been approved by Irish voters in their referendum re-run on 2 October next, and can be put later before British voters in a referendum in the United Kingdom.The United Kingdom must have a general election before June next year. The Conservative Party, which is likely to win that election, has pledged to withdraw the United Kingdom's ratification of the Lisbon Treaty on its first day in office if the Treaty has not come into force by then for all 27 EU States. It has then pledged to hold a referendum on it and to recommend a No vote to the British people.There needs to be a democratic review of the Lisbon Treaty in all EU countries before any such encounter with UK voters.(The author was MEP 1979 - 2008 and served as a member of the Convention on the Future of Europe)---Excerpts from the German Constitutional Court judgement in the English version published by the Court, 30 June 2009.
"European unification on the basis of a union of sovereign states under the Treaties may not be realised in such a way that the Member States do not retain sufficient room for the political formation of the economic, cultural and social circumstances of life." (Headnotes to the Judgement, Par. 3)"It is therefore constitutionally required not to agree dynamic treaty provisions with a blanket character or if they can still be interpreted in a manner that respects national responsibility for integration, to establish, at any rate, suitable national safeguards for the effective exercise of such responsibility." (Par.239)"European unification on the basis of a union of sovereign states under the Treaties may not be realised in such a way that the Member States do not retain sufficient space for the political formation of the economic, cultural and social circumstances of life. This applies in particular to areas which shape the citizens' circumstances of life, in particular the private space of their own responsibility and of political and social security, which is protected by the fundamental rights, and to political decisions that particularly depend on previous understanding as regards culture, history and language and which unfold in discourses in the space of a political public that is organised by party politics and Parliament. Essential areas of democratic formative action comprise, inter alia, citizenship. the civil and military monopoly on the use of force, revenue and expenditure including external financing and all elements of encroachment that are decisive for the realisation of fundamental rights, above all as regards intensive encroachments on fundamental rights such as the deprivation of liberty in the administration of criminal law or the placement in an institution. These important areas also include cultural issues such as the disposition of language, the shaping of circumstances concerning the family and education, the ordering of the freedom of opinion, of the press and of association and the dealing with the profession of faith or ideology." (Par. 249)"Consequently, the Treaty of Lisbon does not alter the fact that the Bundestag as the body of representation of the German people is the focal point of an interweaved democratic system." (Par. 277)"... the European Parliament is not a body of representation of a sovereign European people." (Par.280)"The deficit of European public authority that exists when measured against requirements on democracy in states cannot be compensated by other provisions of the Treaty of Lisbon and to that extent, it cannot be justified." (Par.289)"As regards the legal situation according to the Treaty of Lisbon, this consideration confirms that without democratically originating in the Member States, the action of the European Union lacks a sufficient basis of legitimisation." (Par.297)"Finally, the Treaty of Lisbon does not vest the European Union with provisions that provide the European union of integration (Integrationsverband) with the competence to decide its own competence (Kompetenz-Kompetenz)." (Par.322)"With Declaration No.17 Concerning Primacy annexed to the Treaty of Lisbon, the Federal Republic of Germany does not recognise an absolute primacy of application of Union law, which would be constitutionally objectionable, but merely confirms the legal situation as it has been interpreted by the Federal Constitutional Court. . ." (Par. 331)"After the realisation of the principle of the sovereignty of the people in Europe, only the peoples of the Member States can dispose of their respective constituent powers and of the sovereignty of the state. Without the expressly declared will of the peoples, the elected bodies are not competent to create a new subject of legitimisation, or to delegitimise the existing ones, in the constitutional areas of their states." (Par. 347)
By SPIEGEL Staff Last week's ruling by the German Constitutional Court, coupled with demands by one conservative party for changes to the constitution, may not only jeopardize Berlin's schedule for the ratification of the Lisbon Treaty. The Karlsruhe ruling also threatens future steps toward European integration. When the parliamentary group of the Christian Social Union (CSU) -- the Bavarian sister party to Chancellor Angela Merkel's conservative Christian Democrats -- met in Berlin last Thursday, they had a hero to celebrate. "You have saved our honor," said CSU representative Hans-Peter Friedrich to his party colleague and friend Peter Gauweiler. Gauweiler, a lawyer from Munich -- and a political maverick who is the enfant terrible of the conservative group in the German parliament or Bundestag -- was largely successful with the legal complaint he filed with the German Constitutional Court against the EU Lisbon Treaty. Now it's official: The ratification by the overwhelming majority of the German parliament -- including the CSU -- was negligent. In essence, the court ruled that by passing the so-called "accompanying law" to the Lisbon Treaty, which determines the rights of German parliament to participate in European legislation, the representatives had relinquished significant monitoring rights to Brussels. According to the judges, this unconstitutionally subjects the people that they represent to the whims of a bureaucracy that lacks sufficient democratic legitimacy. But the CSU cares little about past errors. Now the idea is to push ahead and "Gauweiler" them! Last Thursday, the politicians from Bavaria decided to follow up their success with a new set of demands. They want the Lisbon Treaty to be ratified only under condition that the new EU law would only be valid in Germany "in accordance with the decision by the German Constitutional Court." They are now demanding a solution that gives "maximum" parliamentary influence over future EU policy. The CSU parliamentary group aims to approve an entire catalog of demands at a party meeting in the former Benedictine monastery of Kloster Banz in mid-July. The Bavarians even want to push through a number of changes to the German constitution. One of these would oblige the government to adhere to the parliament's position papers on European policy. "Our Constitutional Court demands greater rights of co-determination," says CSU Secretary General Alexander Dobrindt and "we have to comply. It would be good if the decisions of the lower house of parliament, the Bundestag, and Germany's upper legislative chamber, the Bundesrat, on changes to the EU Treaty were complemented in the future by a referendum." "People are going to have to make considerable concessions to us to receive the CSU's support," says Thomas Silberhorn, CSU parliamentary group spokesman on EU affairs. Not all of this is realistic. But it's a political bombshell that could torpedo the German government's Lisbon rescue concept. If the coalition partners still have to struggle with major stipulations so shortly before the summer break, then there is no chance of doing a quick and quiet fix that would satisfy the Constitutional Court's criticism of the accompanying law's flaws. Tears of Frustration Ahead In addition to undermining the effectiveness of Germany's ratification of the Lisbon Treaty, this could tip the scales for the other European countries that have yet to ratify -- namely Ireland, Poland and the Czech Republic. The conditions posed by the court in Karlsruhe will make things "much more difficult than we had imagined," the leaders of the conservative parliamentary group that combines the CDU and CSU admitted late last week. That's putting it mildly. The Bavarians' "Gauweiler" tactics only provide an inkling of the inner political strife that is in store for Germany. Despite the premature cries of triumph among staunch EU supporters in the ruling coalition and in Brussels, last Tuesday's ruling on the Lisbon Treaty will yet unleash rage and tears of frustration. Now that the court in Karlsruhe has spelled out Germany's role in European unification, this heralds the end of a policy of increasing integration. According to the judges, Germany's future lies not in "a united Europe" -- but rather in Germany. In the future, the most powerful EU partner will also be the most difficult one, even if -- despite Gauweiler's legal challenge -- it ends up unconditionally ratifying the Lisbon Treaty. This would be true even without the conditions proposed by the CSU. The German Constitutional Court has found its own unique way of effectively putting the brakes on European policy. The judges wrote that "if obvious transgressions of boundaries take place when the European Union claims competences," then they will call for a "review" to "preserve the inviolable core content of the Basic Law's constitutional identity." That is the kind of wording that goes beyond the dreams of Gauweiler and his friends. It simply means that the court assumes the right to single-handedly determine the boundaries of European integration -- in a broad sense and, if necessary, in detail. Member States Remain 'Masters of the Treaties' Frank Schorkopf, a former associate of the judge who authored the ruling, Udo Di Fabio, and now a professor of constitutional law in Göttingen, sees this as a "more intelligent version" of a treaty proviso. It is a "supple, dynamic stipulation," which allows the Constitutional Court greater flexibility and sensitivity, but also places great future demands on the judges because "the court has thus taken on the responsibility of fulfilling this monitoring function," says Schorkopf. The court has prescribed a two-fold approach: The parliamentarians have to add far-reaching monitoring rights to the accompanying law criticized by the judges in Karlsruhe, should it come to the extension of Brussels' competences provided for under the Lisbon Treaty. In addition, the Constitutional Court will ensure that these monitoring rights are appropriately applied. After all, making additional demands on the accompanying law is "a fine thing," says Lüder Gerken, director of the Freiburg-based Center for European Policy. But "the key aspect," says Gerken, is the court's statements that member states -- including of course Germany -- "still remain the masters of the treaties" and "therefore must see to it that there are no uncontrolled, independent centralization dynamics" within the EU. Part 2: Declaration of War on the European Court of Justice Although the Karlsruhe ruling points out that it is initially the job of lawmakers to fulfill this "responsibility for integration," the Constitutional Court ultimately sees this as its own task in the future. By doing so, the German Constitutional Court has essentially declared itself the highest supervisory body in conflicts between Germany and the EU, and thus explicitly placed itself above the European Court of Justice (ECJ). This borders on a declaration of war on the European Court, which sees itself as the only authority capable of ruling on the validity and applicability of EU law. The judges in Karlsruhe have authoritatively decided that they have won the conflict of competence which has been brewing for years between the two top courts. Admittedly, the court has included a complicatedly worded supplementary declaration on the Lisbon Treaty that reaffirms the supremacy of the ECJ's judicial authority. But the judges in Karlsruhe did the same thing with this document as they did with a wide range of contentious issues in the Lisbon Treaty text: They interpreted it in a way that makes it compatible with their view of the distribution of power within the EU as an "association of sovereign national states." The judicial supremacy is only valid within the boundaries defined by the court in Karlsruhe, and the Lisbon Treaty is only compatible with the German constitution within the confines of the Karlsruhe interpretation. For instance, it explicitly states in the Lisbon Treaty that the procedures of the EU are based on representative democracy, and the European Parliament is composed of "representatives of the union's citizens." However, the judges in Karlsruhe argue that contrary to the claim that the Lisbon Treaty "seems to make according to its wording," the EU Parliament is not a "representative body of a sovereign European people." After all, EU members of parliament were not elected according to the principle of electoral equality, in other words, one man one vote, but rather according to "national contingents," meaning that a Maltese MEP represents 67,000 Maltese, a Swedish MEP has a constituency of 455,000 Swedes, and in Germany the ratio is 1 to 857,000. 'An Association of Sovereign States' The court says that this stands in contradiction to the remainder of EU law, which is built around the central idea of prohibiting discrimination based on nationality. According to the concluding statements of the court's decision, this contradiction can only be explained by the fact that the EU is not a state but rather an "association of sovereign states" and, consequently, there can be no sovereign citizens' union as well as no completely representative organ in the form of the European Parliament, with the result that the Bundestag must receive substantially more rights. Quod erat demonstrandum. The Karlsruhe interpretation thus very elegantly demolishes the old European idea that the recognized democratic deficits in the EU would disappear completely of their own accord by enhancing the rights of the European Parliament -- and democracy à la Brussels could one day, as MEP Klaus-Heiner Lehne puts it, "assume the role of the national parliaments." The European Parliament, as the judges in Karlsruhe clearly state, is terminally undemocratic -- at least when measured against the basic concepts of representative democracy. The "small democratic deficit" of the Union, as Schorkopf puts it, has now been exposed as a "large democratic deficit." As a result, the German Constitutional Court concludes that even in the future, Brussels cannot be granted greater scope to enact legislation. This means that the plan to grant Brussels the ability to legislate criminal law in a number of EU policy areas will have to be largely dropped due to the risk of it being "without limits." The court says that Brussels' authority to enact legislation on criminal law can only be reconciled with German sovereign rights if jurisdictions are narrowly defined. A "blanket empowerment" contained in the Lisbon Treaty allows the Council of Ministers to expand the list of criminal offenses "on the basis of developments in crime" and grants the EU the power to enact minimum regulations to combat cross-border crime. However, the Karlsruhe judges contend that the blanket empowerment really only applies to the "cross-border dimension of a specific criminal offense." Limits to Further Integration Primarily, however, the judges declared for the first time that it is imperative to maintain the "space for the political formation of the economic, cultural and social living conditions" in the member states. In this national sanctuary, the judges see both "areas which shape the citizens' circumstances of life, in particular their private spaces of personal responsibility and political and social security, as protected by their fundamental rights," as well as "political decisions that particularly depend on a previous understanding of culture, history and language and which discursively unfold in a public political arena organized by party politics and parliament." According to the judges' ruling, these "essential areas of democratic organization" explicitly comprise "citizenship, the civil and military monopoly on the use of force, revenue and expenditure, including external financing and all elements of encroachment that are decisive for the realization of fundamental rights, above all as regards intensive encroachments on fundamental rights such as the deprivation of liberty in the administration of criminal law or the placement in an institution." These important areas also include "cultural issues such as speaking a language, shaping the circumstances concerning family and education, ensuring freedom of opinion, of the press and of association, and accommodating professions of faith or ideology." These are the limits that EU member state Germany has to set on future European integration. The "identity" of the German constitutional order may not be damaged by Brussels. Identity takes priority over integration. Part 3: EU Supporters Are in for a Bumpy Ride "The European train is no longer headed toward an arbitrary destination with no stops along the way," says former constitutional judge Paul Kirchhof, adding that the court has marked the Lisbon Treaty as a "clear terminus." There will be "no European state under the provisions of the German constitution." And Schorkopf summarizes the ruling in one sentence: "The European Union is a contract-based association of sovereign states, and as such, takes a political back seat." And with Germany in the front seat, EU supporters are in for a bumpy ride. No matter what the representatives of the Berlin government decide at the Council of Ministers in Brussels, their decisions will be subjected to three possible tests back home. First, the court wants to ensure that the EU does not overstep its contractual competences. Second, the judges intend to enforce the "subsidiary principal" enshrined in EU law, which largely prohibits Brussels from taking action if a member state can handle the issues in question just as effectively on its own. Third, the judges now reserve the right to conduct an "identity check," in other words, to test whether Germany still performs the functions that the Constitutional Court itself has defined as national tasks of government. In order to ensure that the Lisbon Treaty will be treated in future as the Karlsruhe Treaty, the court has submitted a highly unusual request to the Bundestag to pass a new trial law. This could allow every citizen to file a special EU suit with the German Constitutional Court against unpopular European regulations and standards. Given the new severity on European issues in Karlsruhe, such a procedure could make it almost impossible for Berlin to pursue its own European policy. No matter what German representatives agree to in Brussels, they will now always run the risk of receiving a phone call from Karlsruhe because a clever lawyer like Gauweiler has filed a complaint. This would create an untenable situation for the other 26 member states on the Council. Limiting Berlin's Highhandedness At the same time, however, by more strongly tying the Germans to the political body in Brussels, the court has limited the highhandedness of the German government, which has all too often pushed through political goals that were difficult to achieve back home by going behind the back or against the will of the Bundestag. One example that comes to mind is a statement by the former Economics Minister Wolfgang Clement, a member of the Social Democrats, who voted in favor of an EU software patent guideline in 2005, overriding an explicit decision on the matter by the vast majority of the Bundestag. He said that the will of the German parliament "could not be conveyed internationally." And the latest violation of the constitutional principles of data self-determination, namely data retention, was also pushed through by the German government, via Brussels, and against the will of the Bundestag. The European Union directive, by which all European member states must oblige their telecommunications companies to retain data on their customers' traffic, will presumably be the first test case for the new Karlsruhe rules. The constitutionally guaranteed protection of private space is one of the areas that the court has placed within the context of national identity. And there would be no need to even file a new lawsuit against the directive. After all, a number of constitutional complaints against data retention have been awaiting a decision from Karlsruhe for quite some time. The judges have never before openly come out against an EU directive. But there's a first time for everything. THOMAS DARNSTÄDT, DIETMAR HIPP, RENÉ PFISTER Translated from the German by Paul Cohen
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