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GALWAY ALLIANCE AGAINST WAR MAY 2012 BULLETIN
anti-war / imperialism |
Sunday May 27, 2012 22:48 by Galway Alliance Against War - GAAW
GAAW SUPPORTED PEACE EVENT
DON’T EVER FORGET: THE REPUBLIC OF IRELAND IS AT WAR
IRISH TROOPS & GARDAÍ OUT OF AFGHANISTAN!
US MILITARY OUT OF SHANNON!
SUNDAY 10th JUNE BETWEEN 2-3PM
PEACE VIGIL ORGANISED BY SHANNONWATCH AT SHANNON AIRPORT
(PLEASE ASSEMBLE AT ROUNDABOUT BEFORE AIRPORT)
1. Revisiting the Lisbon Treaty
2. The Irish Military & the Turf Dispute
3. Contrasting Quotations: A Proverbial Week in Politics or Labour in Opposition and then in Government?
4. The Silent Closure of the Irish Embassy in Iran
5. Reader’s Email
6. News from the USA: War Vets Throw Back Medals at NATO Summit – plus 2 must-see video clips: 4-Star General Wesley Clark --USA will attack 7 countries in 4 years
STOP PRESS++++++++STOP PRESS ++++++++STOP PRESS++++++++
THE WORLD IS UPSIDE DOWN
News is just in that supporters of Galway’s Occupy camp are before the courts tomorrow at 10.30am(Monday 28th May 2012) charged with criminal damage for using chalk to write slogans on a wall. In the meantime, the Seanie Fitzpatrick’s & Michael Fingelton’s of this world continue to live in the lap of luxury with no sign of a criminal charge never mind a court appearance even though it was their activities that helped destroy the Irish economy. The foreign speculators and bondholders have not suffered either, their bad gambling debts have been foolishly paid for by the Irish people.
People are being asked to show their solidarity with these Occupy supporters. If possible please attend the court appearance in Galway at 10.30am. Chalk it would seem is the new WMD!
STOP PRESS++++++++STOP PRESS ++++++++STOP PRESS++++++++
Revisiting The Lisbon Treaty
Oh, how all the posters emblazoned around Galway, full of promises of a job nirvana, bring back memories of the Lisbon Treaty referendums. Do you remember the poster “Working with Europe – Vote Yes”, which included a graduate’s black cap and the yellow hard hat of a construction worker?
This poster would not have been so dishonest if both hats had been replaced by a soldier’s helmet. As we pointed out at the time the Lisbon Treaty states: “Member States shall undertake progressively to improve their military capabilities.” And so in the most recent budget, revenue was made available to increase our defence forces by a substantial 600 soldiers. Cutbacks were the order of day in that brutal budget except in the area of “defence”.
The Irish generals like all militarists think it is never enough – they lust to fight side by side with the foreign big shots. GAAW, however, is at one with the Garda Representative Association: we are deeply concerned about the trend towards investing in the Defence Forces while freezing Garda recruitment and closing rural Garda stations. We deplore the cuts in social provision, which – like the increase in defence spending – can be directly linked to the EU. The “savings” can be used to bail out the German and French banks.
And even more state funds are also about to be “invested” in our defence forces. From July the Irish army will no longer be attached to the Nordic Battlegroup, but become part of the German-led EU force. The number of troops involved will increase from 125 to 175 soldiers and so too will the costs from €1.7million to approx. €2.5million. This figure would rise to over €10 million if the battlegroup became operational in any “crisis”. (Of course, these figures will be shrugged off as only a pittance by the coalition when it comes to defence – at the same time Crumlin Children’s Hospital is run on donations from the public.)
One flashpoint could be in the Sudan region of Africa, where there has already been clashes between the newly independent (and oil-rich) South Sudan and Sudan. German soldiers and police are stationed in South Sudan as part of a UN “peace mission”. The German Foreign Policy website sees Berlin having strong ulterior motives in linking up with the more western friendly South Sudan: “Berlin, for years, has been pushing to establish a functioning South Sudanese state. The objective is to also link South Sudan, with its enormous deposits of oil and other natural resources, to Kenya and Uganda, which, unlike Sudan, are considered fundamentally pro-western and easier to control.”
The Irish defence forces have been in Darfur so a role along the borders of the two Sudans is not beyond the realms of possibility.
While our involvement with the Nordic Battlegroup, especially it being under the leadership of neutral Sweden, got great play in the media, there has been precious little coverage of our new military bedfellows. So now we are going to take orders from both Germany’s political and military high commands – another feature of the Lisbon Treaty.
THE MILITARY’S ROLE IN TURF DISPUTE IN NORTH EAST GALWAY
The Galway Alliance Against War has expressed its concern about the militarisation of the turf dispute by the Government in North East Galway.
GAAW issued the following statement: “Our peace group never thought we would see the day that the Irish Defence Forces would be employed against our own people to enforce European law. But that is what is happening in North East Galway at the present time. As turf cutters attend to their traditional rights of working their bogs the Irish Air Corp is flying overhead, spying on them on behalf of Brussels. We wonder is this the shape of things to come?
“On the ground, members of the National Parks & Wildlife Services are patrolling the bogs in their 4 X 4 jeeps chaperoned by two Garda cars. It is a crazy situation. On the one hand, rural Garda stations are being closed and on the other people in rural Ireland are being criminalised because they refuse to tug the forelock to bureaucrats in Brussels.”
A Proverbial Week in Politics
Labour in Opposition and then in Government?
“In the interests of the Irish Defence Force’s well-deserved
international reputation…it is incumbent upon our government that Ireland act with credibility and consistency, and that the government act…
and withdraw these [seven] Irish military personnel serving in Afghanistan so as to avoid any misinterpretation of our policy of neutrality in military conflict, and peace-keeping and conflict resolution.”
Michael D. Higgins Labour Party’s Foreign Affairs spokesperson in May 2010
‘I want to pay tribute tonight to …the members of our Defence Forces and Gardaí serving in … Afghanistan…They all represent the best of what it is to be Irish.’
From Eamon Gilmore’s speech to the Labour Party Conference April 2012
THE SILENT CLOSURE OF THE IRISH EMBASSY IN IRAN
The media and even quite a few politicians became very exercised about Gilmore’s decision to close the Irish embassy in the Vatican. However, Phoenix magazine – always an excellent source on matters relating to the Irish military and the Dept. of Foreign Affairs –presented an interesting outcome of that tiny embassy’s closure – there was no coverage of the Republic’s decision to close the embassy in Iran.
Our embassy in Tehran only cost €420,987 to run in 2011 and we had a trade surplus with Iran in 2010 of €76.3 million – so why was it closed? Phoenix believes it is all part of the EU’s policy of isolating Iran, something the magazine argues is for the Republic “economically inexplicable”.
This decision can only reassert the view in the world that our state is just another cog in the western imperialist wheel.
A Reader’s Email
Dear Friends -
Thank you again for your excellent Bulletin.
Having lost 5 great uncles in WWI in the trenches of Europe ..... I appreciate your having forwarded the video
as I will send it to remaining family in Tasmania (island state of Australia). I was born in Tasmania -
My forebears on both sides of my family were people from Europe - the UK - Ireland who were transported
to Tasmania as prisoners to the prison in Port Arthur. My mother's mother had a slightly different background.
She was a descendent of the Tasmanian aboriginal people. As you know, the white British occupying
forces along with white settlers carried out an official programme of genocide against the Tasmanian aborigines -
Only and small group were spared - they were mainly young girls who were abducted by the white whalers and
taken to Flinders Island as, what would be termed in our time, sex slaves. My maternal grand mother was a descendant of
the Tasmanian aborigines and whalers on Flinders Island. When nanna was a very young child, she was stolen from her
natural mother( along with her 6 brothers ) by the Catholic Church and sold to a white family in Launceston, Tasmania.
The Johnston family. It was 5 of nanna's 6 brothers who died in WWI in Europe. Uncle Oswald was too young to be sent to war so he
survived until he died in Tasmania in his late 70's.
Sorry this note is rushed but I was keen to let you know how much I appreciate having this film and song so easily
available - easy to send...
Thank you also for your item re Syria - The bits that most people don't want to know about ....
June Kelly - Mullingar, Co Westmeath these days - Soon to be 64 years of age just to put my notes above in to perspective.
NEWS FROM THE USA
War veterans protest by throwing their medals at NATO summit.
Plus 2 must-see video clips
Nato summit leaders 'were busy posing for photo ops' as war veterans staged protest.
"No amount of medals, ribbons, or flags can cover the amount of human suffering caused by this war."
"I have only one word, and it is shame."
"This is for the people of Iraq and Afghanistan."
"Mostly, I'm sorry. I'm sorry to all of you. I am sorry…"
In the shadow of the Nato summit, under the watchful eyes of a phalanx of full-black-clad riot police, dozens of former servicemen and women in uniform, veterans of the Iraq and Afghanistan wars, threw away their medals, with apologies.
It was one of the most moving experiences many of us had witnessed in our lives. It is hard to describe in words. I couldn't get the lump out of my throat.
Out of the corner of my eye, I caught a woman next to me crying. Their words, their voices, crackling under the emotion of their courageous act, breaking under the weight of the pain, the trauma, their anger, sadness, and hope – theirs was a heroic and beautiful act, a moving ceremony. It was a privilege to be there with these women and men who served in our wars.
Operation Iraqi Freedom medal. Tossed. Global War on Terror medal. Thrown. National Defense medal. Pitched. Marine Corps Good Conduct medal. Flung. Navy and Marine Corps medal. Chucked.
Most of the reporting of the demonstrations that met the summit will focus on the minor violence, on the few clashes between protesters and police, on the blood, on everything that happened after the peaceful march was over. In our sad world of spectacle, the pushing and shoving will be all that gets our attention. It is a pity.
Because what was truly remarkable today was the American servicewomen and men tossing their medals back at Nato. In a mixture of sadness, shame, anger, and pride, of trauma, sorrow, and pain, some looking back at their time in Iraq and Afghanistan, some healing from PTSD, others chanting Occupy slogans, these men and women showed a type of courage that the Nato leaders should have been forced to watch.
Tragically, our leaders were busy posing for photo ops. They should have been forced to listen to these courageous men and women, to their veterans. It is their loss, ultimately.
Many of these men and women urged us to do something to set straight the havoc that we have wreaked in these various occupations. Some mentioned a memorial for the tens of thousands of civilians killed in Afghanistan or more than 100,000 civilians killed in Iraq. Others offered their apologies. Still others shared their pain, their torments, their nightmares. All of them spoke truth. Perhaps that was their greatest gift of peace.
If only the Nato leaders had listened.
These courageous women and men, these veterans brought to a close a remarkably peaceful anti-Nato march with more than 10,000 protesters – supported by so many more who chanted with them along the route.
"I am returning my medal today because I want to live by my conscience, rather than be a prisoner of it."
"I apologise to the Iraqi and Afghani people for destroying your countries."
"I don't want these anymore."
Video-activists chase Chicago Mayor Rahm Emmanuel out of park when he tries to make Nato look family friendly
4 star general Wesley Clark --USA will attack 7 countries in 4 years--