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Another blow to Lisbon – Czechs won’t sign

September 21, 2009
Czech Republic ‘planning to delay
signing Lisbon treaty’

(Julien Warnand/EPA)
Czech Prime Minister Jan Fischer

September 21, 2009

David Charter in Brussels

Source

EU leaders are said to be furious that the Czech Republic is planning to delay signing the Lisbon treaty for up to six months even if the Irish vote “yes” in their referendum next month. The country might even try to delay it until after the British general election campaign when a Tory victory would see the question put to voters by David Cameron.

Nicolas Sarkozy, who helped to draw up the treaty after the French and Dutch voted against its predecessor, the EU Constitution, has warned Prague that it faces “consequences” if it does not swiftly follow an Irish “yes” with its own ratification.

The outburst followed a private warning from Jan Fischer, the Czech caretaker Prime Minister, to his EU counterparts over dinner at their summit in Brussels last Thursday, it has emerged. Related Links

Mr Fischer said that Václav Klaus, the country’s unpredictable President, was planning to have a group of loyal senators in the Czech Upper House refer the treaty back to the country’s constitutional court for a second time, which could delay ratification for between three and six months. This would mean that the treaty could still be unratified going into the British general election campaign, expected next April or May. Mr Cameron has pledged that, if the document remained a live issue, even though Britain has completed its own ratification, he would call a referendum on it. This prospect horrifies most EU leaders, given the strong vein of euroscepticism in Britain.

Tensions are already running high among EU leaders over whether the Irish will vote in favour of the treaty on October 2 after a close-run referendum campaign. They are desperate that the momentum of a “yes” is not lost on the eurosceptic Czech and Polish presidents, the final two signatures required for EU ratification. The treaty further erodes national powers to veto EU decisions, and a Tory government would campaign against it.

President Klaus is understood to have told allies that he wants to wait if possible to see if Mr Cameron wins the next election. Speaking after last Thursday’s dinner, Mr Sarkozy said: “I stated clearly that if the Irish say ‘yes’, there is no question that we will accept to stay in a no-man’s land with a Europe that does not have the institutions to cope with the crisis,” he said. Asked about what could be done to persuade President Klaus to sign, he added: “It will be necessary to draw the consequences — but those will be the subject of another meeting.”

Mr Fischer is acting as caretaker Prime Minister after the Government of Mirek Topolánek fell in the summer and while fresh elections are organised. He has warned privately that he has little control over the country’s headstrong President. Speaking to Czech journalists after last week’s summit, he admitted: “It is certainly a fact that several government leaders perceive the ratification process in the Czech Republic with a degree of nervousness.”

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Common sense about Lisbon

September 20, 2009

After all the brouhaha on Lisbon, I have come to see what I must do and why. The reasons have been neatly summed up in the article below. I wish I had written it; but, I didn’t. It is delightful to have the issues clarified when so much of the Lisbon Treaty seems to depend on confusing the Irish voter.

Three good reasons to spurn Lisbon once again

06 September 2009
By Vincent Browne

Source

The deceivers and manipulators are out again. ‘Ireland Needs Europe,’ a Fianna Fail poster proclaims. ‘Yes to Jobs, Yes to Europe,’ a Fine Gael one declares. ‘It’s simple, I want a strong voice in Europe,’ another poster proclaims.

Taoiseach Brian Cowen was on radio last Wednesday talking about the other EU member states going ahead without us by inaugurating a ‘‘two-speed Europe’’ if we voted No again. ‘‘It’s in Ireland’s interests to be at the core of Europe,” he said.

They rage about the disinformation on the No side, the posters from the last time about conscription, abortion and corporation tax. Those messages may have been bogus, but so are the messages this time from the Yes side. What has the Lisbon Treaty to do with whether Ireland needs Europe or not? The phony implication is that, if we vote No again, we will be rejecting not just the treaty, but the European Union. What has the Fine Gael poster ‘Yes to Jobs, Yes to Europe’ to do with the Lisbon Treaty? Again, it is a sham message suggesting that, if we vote No, we will be voting against jobs and against Europe. As for the ‘‘strong voice’’ stuff, surely the exercise of a strong voice would be to voice our opposition to a treaty that is bad for Europe and, therefore, bad for Ireland, too?

On the two-speed threat, it is impossible for the EU to change the rules and opt for an inner core to proceed towards further integration, while leaving an outer core in a slow lane. It cannot be done, not without us voting Yes to a treaty approving it – and would we be daft enough to do that? Let me repeat: it cannot be done. The main point of the Lisbon Treaty was to streamline decision-making in the EU at a time when it was becoming so large that the old decision-making mechanisms were too cumbersome to work effectively – or so it was thought.

There was also a concession to concerns about the democratic nature of the EU. National parliaments were given a role on EU legislation, and the European Parliament was to be given more competence. But we now find, after five years of working with the old rules, that the EU works just fine and those earlier apprehensions were misplaced. As for the democratic issue, the main problem remains. The Council of Ministers, the main decision-making body, remains unaccountable, as all inter-governmental bodies are (which seems to be the point of them).

The changes also proposed the end of the circus of the rotating presidency, whereby every member state gets to hold the EU presidency for six months. There are 27 member states. The system means that every state has to wait 13-and-a-half years to get its six months of power.

There are obvious logistical problems with this, and some states are better at hosting the presidency than others. Also, there was the ‘problem’ of member states attempting to run their own agendas while they held the presidency. It seemed sensible enough to end that and have just a single presidency – a single president of the European Council, who would hold the position for five years. Allied to that was the idea of having just one person representing Europe on foreign affairs.

That seemed like a good idea too, better than having three people – a commissioner; the High Representative for the Common Foreign and Security Policy (that’s the job Javier Solana holds at present); and the foreign minister of the country that holds the presidency. But these ‘sensible’ ideas have dangers. The rotating presidency, while messy, did decentralise power in the EU from Brussels, and that was a good idea. Any subversion of the ‘official’ agenda is also no bad thing. A five-year president, by definition, would have to be the creature of the large powers (certainly Germany and France) and he or she would pursue their agenda. As for a single foreign minister, expressing a single voice on foreign policy on behalf of the EU – no way, Jose.

If we’d had that at the time of the invasion of Iraq in 2003, you can bet your bottom euro w e would all have been embroiled up to our necks in that criminal enterprise – not necessarily militarily, but politically. So where is the case for the treaty? It boils down to us not annoying our partners in the EU at a time when we need their forbearance to ensure the European Central Bank continues to give us credit. Not a great case, is it? Is it really true that the ECB would withhold funds from us as a penalty for voting No again? And doesn’t it say something about the case for voting Yes that it degenerates into blackmail and damn all else? I think there are strong reasons to vote No. Among them are the following.

First: this Lisbon Treaty is a con job, deliberately constructed to deprive electorates in other member states from having a say on the changes it proposes. The treaty is essentially a redraft of the EU constitution that was rejected by the people of France and the Netherlands. It was then reformulated in unintelligible mumbo-jumbo to allow governments in these and other member states to argue that there was no need to have the electorates decide; parliamentary endorsement would suffice. Now the Irish electorate is being asked again to vote for a treaty that is unintelligible. On that basis alone, we should vote No.

Secondly: for the first time, the treaty incorporates into the institutional structure of the European Union the European Defence Agency, whose primary role is to assist the European armaments industry to prosper – in other words, to assist in the refinement of the instruments of killing. We are often told by EU fans how the organisation ensured peace in Europe for 50 years. How, then, can the incorporation of the dogs of war into its institutional structure be justified?

Thirdly: the treaty seeks to centralise power in the EU. We should not have that.

(A-fecking-men is what I say.)

Related

I stay up all night reading treaty, quips McCreevy

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Swine flu death rate similar to seasonal flu: expert

September 17, 2009

This story only confirms what many have been saying for months: there is no swine flu pandemic. The media has whipped the public into a terrified frenzy, ordered a billion vaccines (which caused pharmaceutical profits to skyrocket), put people’s lives and well-being at risk with unnecessary vaccines, mandated into law codiciles concerning the right of the state to force citizens to get this unnecessary vaccination (the equivalent of martial law and putting FEMA in charge in the US), and indemnified all pharma corps from lawsuits for damage to people
the vaccine might cause
….and well, what do you know?

Turns out swine flu is just another flu, less dangerous that the average seasonal flu.

Are we ready to ask the question: Cui bono?

Swine flu death rate similar
to seasonal flu: expert

Wed Sep 16, 2009
Reuters
By Maggie Fox, Health and Science Editor

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – The death rate from the pandemic H1N1 swine flu is likely lower than earlier estimates, an expert in infectious diseases said on Wednesday.

New estimates suggest that the death rate compares to a moderate year of seasonal influenza, said Dr Marc Lipsitch of Harvard University.

“It’s mildest in kids. That’s one of the really good pieces of news in this pandemic,” Lipsitch told a meeting of flu experts being held by the U.S. Institute of Medicine.

“Barring any changes in the virus, I think we can say we are in a category 1 pandemic. This has not become clear until fairly recently.”

The Pandemic Severity Index set by the U.S. government has five categories of pandemic, with a category 1 being comparable to a seasonal flu epidemic.

Seasonal flu has a death rate of less than 0.1 percent — but still manages to kill 250,000 to 500,000 people globally every year.

A category 5 pandemic would compare to the 1918 flu pandemic, which had an estimated death rate of 2 percent or more, and would kill tens of million of people.

Lipsitch took information from around the world on how many people had reported they had influenza-like illness, which may or may not actually be influenza; government reports of actual hospitalizations and confirmed deaths.

He came up with a range of mortality from swine flu, from 0.007 percent to 0.045 percent.

Either way, having new information about how many people were infected and did not become severely ill or die makes the pandemic look very mild, he said.

“The news is certainly better than it was in May and even better than it was at the beginning of August,” Lipsitch said.

H1N1 swine flu was declared a pandemic in June after flashing around the world in six weeks. Experts all said a true death rate would not be clear for weeks because it is impossible to test every patient and because people with mild cases may never be diagnosed.

This lack of information made the epidemics in various countries and cities look worse at first than they actually were, Lipsitch said. People sick enough to be hospitalized are almost always tested first.

“Yes, there’s been hype, but I don’t think it’s been an outrageous amount of hype,” Lipsitch said.

Seasonal flu is usually far worse among the elderly, who make up 90 percent of the deaths every year. In contrast, this flu is attacking younger adults and older children, but they are not dying of it at the same rate as the elderly, Lipsitch said.

(Editing by Eric Beech)

© Thomson Reuters 2009 All rights reserved

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People of Great Britain call for Lisbon referendum

September 14, 2009

And now something for friends from Great Britain: thank God the English have the moxy to stand up to their dictators on the Lisbon Treaty. In the few weeks left until the second Irish vote, I will publish as many articles as possible on the what the PEOPLE of Europe have to say about Lisbon and being prohibited from voting on this massively powerful treaty which gives away unprecedented sovereignity to the EU bureaucracy. Kudos to the spirit of the Brits.

David Cameron under pressure over EU referendum: poll

David Cameron is under pressure to pledge a referendum on the new European “constitution” even if it has already been introduced – after a poll found that the majority of Britons want the chance to express their views.
David Cameron: David Cameron under pressure over EU referendum: poll
The Conservative leader, David Cameron Photo: PA

By Robert Winnett, Deputy Political Editor
14 Sep 2009
Source
The Conservative leader has only pledged a referendum on the Lisbon Treaty if it has not yet been ratified across Europe but, if elected, he is now under pressure to hold a retrospective poll if necessary. Labour refuses to hold a referendum under any circumstances.

Ireland, the only country to be blocking the introduction of the treaty, is due to hold a second referendum next month having previously rejected it. However, with Ireland now facing economic difficulties, voters there are expected to be more willing to back the Treaty.

It will then be quickly introduced throughout Europe – before the next general election in this country.

However, today’s poll found that 57 percent of those questioned believe that a future Conservative government should offer a referendum on the ratified treaty, with only 15 percent saying there should be no such vote.

More than forty percent (43 per cent) of those polled said that Britain should leave the EU altogether rather than accept the Lisbon Treaty without a vote.

Twenty-six percent of those questioned said that Britain should accept the Lisbon Treaty rather than leave the union.

The YouGov poll was commissioned to mark the start of a major series in the Telegraph over the next fortnight which will analyse Britain’s relationship with Europe.

There is growing concern over the increasing reach of Europe in the domestic, rather than economic and commercial, affairs of this country. Less than 20 percent of those polled thought that Europe should be integrated further.

Just 13 percent of people polled said they would vote for the treaty in a referendum with 36 percent saying they would vote against. However, 39 percent said they were unsure how to vote.

Gordon Brown has refused to call a referendum on the Treaty despite Labour’s manifesto pledging to call such a vote on a European constitution. Ministers claim that the treaty is not a constitution even though it is virtually identical to the proposed constitution which was previously rejected.

Yesterday, the campaigner who spearheaded the Irish “no” vote against the treaty during the country’s first referendum said that he would help campaign during the new poll. Declan Ganley had previously said he would not take part in the campaign but says he has been “provoked” to intervene.

He believes the treaty will “be sunk” in the referendum on October 2nd, adding it was a “myth” that endorsing the treaty would help Ireland’s economy. He told reporters in Dublin that he was hoping to raise as much as 200,000 euros for advertising against the treaty.

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100 reasons for the Irish to vote NO on Lisbon

September 10, 2009




For myself, I think that reason #100 is compelling: why are citizens of the EU NOT allowed to vote on Lisbon in so many countries? A second compelling reason is that the EU presidency has shoed in Tony Blair or Nicholas Sarkozy as candidates. What would it be like for the Irish to be ruled by either of these two despots without even a vote for two and one half years?

I simply cannot give away the sovereignity of Ireland (or the EU people) by ratifying such a document in its present form. I have highlighted my concerns below. If even one tenth of my concerns are valid…my vote must be NO. Let the EU break this monstrous treaty into parts the people can understand and individually ratify if it wants my vote.

Last time I voted YES….I was wrong. This time I will vote NO.

Ireland’s 100 Reasons to Vote ‘No’ to the Lisbon treaty

09/01/2009
Source

1. The European Union has already created massive pockets of unemployment, with countries such as Spain – who have ratified Lisbon – suffering with unemployment rates of 18%. Why should Ireland sign up to a failing European Union?

2. About 450,000 people are unemployed, crushed by cuts, taxes, mortgage payments, on top of public bank-bail-outs and yet, the politicians who brought this upon Ireland are also asking for trust over the Lisbon treaty.

3. MEPs claim up to €1,000,000 in expenses each term, while massive job losses continue on an everyday basis.

4. Ireland remains a full member of the EU without the Lisbon treaty, and is in fact economically and politically better off without the treaty.

5. If Ireland votes No, she will continue to have access to Europe’s single market – the Lisbon treaty is concerned more with intensifying European government, using a constitutional document, which will crush trade, jobs and industry in Ireland .

6. Foreign investment has actually increased since Ireland voted No last year.

7. Under the Lisbon treaty, the EU can levy taxes on Ireland for the first time.

8. 150,000 Irish jobs, at least, are under threat through direct employment in multinational companies. Since Lisbon will interfere in taxation and the low corporate tax rate, those multinationals will simply leave for lands with lower corporate tax rates.

9. Lisbon will not aid the recession – to the contrary, it will make it worse.

10. The Lisbon treaty allows big business to import cheap labour and undercut Irish workers, in much the same way as it has done in labour disputes in the UK and the Nordic countries.

11. The EU has created a programme for Ireland to cut public spending, enforcing tough cuts on ordinary people who are trying to make a living wage in difficult times.
12. As Minister Brian Lenihan has said, massive and uncontrolled immigration of EU labour into Ireland helped to cause the crash. Overseas workers now make up almost 20% of Ireland ’s unemployed.

13. Lisbon hands full control over immigration and asylum policy to the EU, under Article 79, for workers inside and outside the EU – from England to India .

14. EU politicians have falsely assured people that on Lisbon, they are protected from EU changes to the law on abortion, taxation and defence, but those assurances are not part of the Lisbon treaty (Judge Frank Clark, Chairman of the Referendum Commission) and are not EU law – so Lisbon would in fact lead to changes on abortion, taxation and defence.

15. Under the Charter of Fundamental Rights, attached to the treaty, the EU Court will decide on laws relating to abortion, raising children, marriage and euthanasia. It removes the voice of the Irish people on those issues.

16. Lisbon weakens Ireland in the European Union: while countries such as Germany double their voting power to 17%, Ireland ’s voting power will be reduced from 2% to 0.8%. It means Ireland will have no say over key issues.

17. Lisbon would drastically reduce Ireland ’s place in the European Union. It would reduce Ireland ’s representation leaving her completely isolated. There are new provisions to put EU law-making on a pure population size basis, just as in any unitary or federal state. At present, big states have 29 votes each in making EU laws and Ireland has 7 – a ratio of 4 to 1. Under Lisbon , EU laws would be made by a majority of the EU member states as long as they have 65% of the total EU population between them. Instead of the big states having 4 times Ireland’s voting weight, as it is now, this change to a pure population basis would give Germany 20 times Ireland’s weight and France, Britain and Italy 15 times each.

18. Lisbon means that Ireland loses the right to veto harmful measures in over 60 areas. If a proposal comes up that Ireland cannot abide by, it will not have the power to block it, as she will have given up her veto.

19. The treaty is a new European Constitution, which by law, will have superiority over the Irish Constitution. If it is accepted, the Irish people will give up their constitutional rights under the Irish Constitution and be subject to very different constitutional arrangements under the European Constitution.

20. Under Lisbon, Europe assumes a new position over Irish national security: Article 61F pushes for the development of Super-Union cooperative arrangements, under which, the drive towards federalist cooperation is first supported actively by the Union for measures going beyond EU law, and second that such super-Union cooperative agreements will in turn become EU law.

21. Ireland will abandon its traditional criminal justice procedures, since the Lisbon treaty will establish a massive and “fundamental change” to the structure of the European Union: it will abolish the pillar structure and move police and judicial cooperation in criminal matters to the EC treaty, thus enabling Ireland’s police and justice system to be fully subject to Union interference. This will have serious implications bec au se decision-making on police and judicial cooperation would no longer be intergovernmental and it will be subjected to European decisions.

22. European Commission proposals on inheritance law would prevent farmers passing on family farms as a single working unit. If the Lisbon treaty is ratified, that will come into effect.

23. The loss of the state’s veto on trade and services such as health and education in the Lisbon treaty would lead to a significant weakening of the protection for public services.
24. Ireland ’s EU Commissioner Charlie McCreevy claimed that that 95% of EU member states would have voted No like Ireland did, had the treaty been put to a vote in other countries.

25. A Yes vote would not only jeopardise farm succession rights but would also lead to a massive influx of Turkish farmers into the European Union.

26. The Lisbon vote is also a vote on Turkish accession. It allows for a country of 75 million people to enter the EU, which would in fact double the number of farmers Ireland has, while also retaining the Common Agricultural Policy budget at existing levels.

27. The Secretary-General of the Commission, who is an Irishwoman, Catherine Day, was instrumental in concealing from the general public the intention of the European Commission to harmonise inheritance and succession law.

28. The European Commission interfered directly throughout Irelands’ referendum process and even through the use of a web-site, particularly with critical comments on the ‘Farmers for No’, a group breaking away from the Irish Farmers’ Association, which is backing a Yes vote.

29. Is a Yes vote not merely a reflection of big finance from companies such as US multinational, Intel, spending several hundred thousand euros backing the Yes campaign?

30. Irish fishermen will continue to having to struggle to survive financially while being forced to dump their catches at sea bec au se of fishing quotas, and have higher operating costs bec au se of the rules under the Common Fisheries Policy.

31. Brussels ’ fishery policies blatantly favour non-EU imports and fleets of larger EU member states.

32. The Lisbon vote is not about being at the heart of Europe or about being good Europeans. It is about the kind of Europe that Ireland wants.

33. Lisbon will be implemented to limit Ireland ’s right to encourage Foreign Direct Investment, interfering in both tax advantages offered to foreign companies as well as conditions on state aid. Given the substantial number of Irish people employed by foreign companies in Ireland , handing over all this power to the EU is a dangerous step for Ireland .

34. Declaration 17 on Primacy, attached to the Lisbon treaty, makes transparent that EU law succeeds Irish law in all existing and new areas covered by the Treaties, giving away and transferring Ireland ’s historic and democratic constitutional rights and freedoms.
35. The increased militarisation of Europe is of great concern to many people who would prefer to see Ireland retain neutrality. In the referendums on Nice , Ireland was assured that a European Army would never happen, but now the basis for a common defence policy and EU battlegroups are in place. Lisbon looks toward a ‘progressive framing of a common Union defence policy’.

36. Pro-life laws will be overruled if Lisbon is passed, as it will only take one court case (such as the D case, funded by the Irish Family Planning Association) to come before the European Court of Justice. The ECJ will overrule on this. The Irish Government will have its hands tied since there would be absolutely nothing it could do to reverse the European decision, or indeed reverse Lisbon .

37. Ireland already has the the Maastricht protocol, drafted to protect Ireland’s pro-life amendment (Article 40.3.3), but this would be knocked down in the European Court, whose heightened powers under the Lisbon treaty would rule over that, or other, protocols, once the Charter of Rights attached to Lisbon came into effect.

38. Lisbon threatens the freedom of conscience, expression and worship. The Bishops of England, Wales and Scotland have already denounced the European Commission’s planned Equal Treatment Directive as “wholly unacceptable” bec au se they said it would force Christians to act against their consciences. The Catholic Bishops say the Directive will result in sharply curtailing the rights of religious liberty and freedom of expression.

39. Voters should reaffirm the decision they had made in the first referendum in June last year because “nothing had changed” in the treaty. People voted for a better deal for Ireland and Europe . Almost 1,000,000 people or 53% of the electorate rejected the Lisbon treaty on June 12th 2008. The Treaty was itself already abandoned by Europe, as the EU Constitution, in 2005, when both France and the Netherlands rejected it in referendums. It is entirely undemocratic.

40. Lisbon expands the range of political situations in which European military forces can intervene. Under Article 28B, Lisbon will represent another grave step towards the federalist vision of a European fighting force.

41. The European Commission’s trade agenda promotes free trade, yet irrespective of the costs to European family farms and rural communities, or the world poorest communities and countries. Lisbon gives the EU exclusive competence over commercial policy, including the negotiating of international trade agreements.

42. Ryanair Chief, Michael O’Leary, provided comments in support of the Lisbon treaty, but Irish voters need to ask themselves, does Ireland really want a Ryanair Europe?

43. A second No vote would strengthen the hand of any Irish government seeking to negotiate a better deal for Ireland and the EU.

44. The Lisbon treaty is the work of Bertie Ahern and Charlie McCreevy, along with Silvio Berlusconi, Jose Manuel Barroso and Nicolas Sarkozy.

45. What would happen to employees of companies such as Waterford Glass or SR Technics, given that the Lisbon treaty imposes restrictions on state aid which might supposedly ‘distort’ the market?

46. Since concerns over Irish neutrality and European militarisation were a key reason for voting No in the first referendum, according to the Irish Times and TNS surveys in May and June 2008, why should the Irish people accept the Lisbon treaty take two?

47. Ireland is voting, in reality, on behalf of 500 million Europeans. Ireland is the only state, out of the 27 EU member states, to have a referendum.

48. The reason why Ireland has a referendum is important: if the treaty is ratified it would transfer powers from the Irish Constitution to the EU and Irish law requires that any changes to the Constitution must be subject to a referendum. The Irish people gained this right bec au se an ordinary Irish citizen, Raymond Crotty, took his case to the Supreme Court in 1986 to guarantee this right, in the case of EU treaties.

49. The Charter rolls back workers’ rights by failing to include a clause requiring the recognitions of trade unions.

50. Ordinary Irish people would be denied their basic rights in the workplace. The ECJ, basing its judgements on the Charter, has recently ruled against Swedish workers’ rights. In the Vaxholm case, the Latvian company Laval wanted to use Latvian workers in Sweden but would not agree to Swedish pay and conditions. Swedish unions opposed this treatment. The Euoprean Court ruled that the union could only act to ensure the Swedish minimum wage was paid and go no further. Other Swedish employment agreements could not be imposed. It puts pressure on Irish workers to move towards minimum wage levels or risk losing their jobs. A No vote to Lisbon can be used to obtain a social Protocol which would outlaw these unjust verdicts of the EU Court .

51. Under the terms of Lisbon , the European judicial body, Eurojust has now had its remits and powers hugely increased, affecting Ireland ’s own power over judicial investigations. The Lisbon treaty introduces an Article which increases Eurojust’s remit and powers. The body’s mandate is also extended into the types of crime it can investigate.

52. Lisbon expressly provides that the European judicial body, Eurojust may have the power and the responsibility to initiate criminal investigations and also the power to initiate prosecutions, even though the prosecution would be conducted by the Irish national authorities, under the supervision of the European Public Prosecutor.

53. The Lisbon treaty provides for the creation of a super-prosecutor, a European Public Prosecutor’s Office (EPPO), to combat crimes affecting the financial interests of the Union . It will have the power to order national police forces to initiate investigations. It will assemble all the evidence in favour or against the accused and will be responsible for conducting and coordinating prosecutions. It will have jurisdiction over the Irish enforcement au thorities.

54. The treaty stresses that national parliaments will be under a definite European legal obligation to ensure that they comply with proposals and legislative initiatives in judicial cooperation in criminal policy and police. Is this the future of Irish justice?

55. A new Article under Lisbon proves that whilst the European Union is willing to freely pass on the personal crime-related data of Irish citizens around the 27 member states, it will not allow for sufficient data protection safeguards.
56. A new provision allows the Union to establish super cooperation involving all the member states’ competent authorities, including police, customs and other specialised law enforcement services in relation to the prevention, detection and investigation of criminal offences (Article 69f), above and beyond Irish control over law enforcement.

57. Lisbon confirms the EU commitment to the development of common asylum policy expressly stating on Article 63 that “The Union shall develop a common policy on asylum …”. Since there is no veto power and the measures are adopted through the co-decision procedure, the Irish suffer a reduced influence in not only having a say in the development of an EU common asylum policy, but in being barred from developing its own independent asylum procedures.

58. Lisbon weakens Parliament as it formalises the fact that Irish legislators will be unable to act in a particular area once the European Union has already acted. Since that is the case, Irish parliamentarians will not be able to legislate under key areas specified under Article 2C, such as internal market practices, social policy, economic, social and territorial cohesion, agriculture and fisheries, environment, consumer protection, transport, trans-European networks, energy, areas of freedom, security and justice, common safety concerns in public health matters, research & technological development, international development cooperation and humanitarian aid. What voice will Ireland have to change those polices after Lisbon ? A vast range of activity, which should be under the remit of the Irish Government, will be handed over to EU control.

59. Lisbon threatens higher energy bills, since the basic control of national energy policy is actively transferred from member states to the EU. The new Article 176A specifies the European Union’s massive push toward a harmonised common energy policy. Such a move is bad for Ireland and bad for Europe , and the global marketplace of energy resources. It does nothing to serve in the interests of further liberalisation of the energy market – in fact, anti-competitive measures have been shown to have an obvious effect on increased business costs and consumer bills.

60. Lisbon will threaten Ireland ’s energy security given that Lisbon will have a huge impact on the ability for Ireland to determine its own competitive energy policy. This will prevent it from being able to guarantee flexibility to US contracts and interests in the UK , as it will for any other member state. This will lead to huge instability in (rather than guaranteeing) the security of supply and also insecurities in the foreign policies of both the EU and the US in terms of their cooperation and agreements with oil-rich Middle Eastern countries.

61. The detailed entitlement of rights – embodied in the Articles of the Lisbon treaty and the new Charter of Fundamental Rights – will represent a massive change in the way in which the Irish people are governed and who they are governed by.
62. There is a new definition of European citizenship in the Lisbon treaty which will provide each citizen with a real dual citizenship: Union citizens and citizens of their national states. However, Irish citizens do not trust the European institutions, there is no European demos, nor could the Irish people have loyalty to it, or identify with the creation of a European-wide demos. A Yes vote is a vote against democracy.

63. Irish policy on Iraq , Afghanistan and Kosovo will be transferred to a new European foreign minister. Ireland will not have a say on key foreign policy issues. The High Representative of the Union for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy represents a severe danger to an independent Irish foreign policy. He or she will be appointed by the European Council, acting by a qualified majority vote and with the agreement of the President of the Commission. It is an immense threat to the independence of Ireland in determining its own foreign policy, since this treaty essentially creates a European Foreign Minister, claiming to work on Ireland ’s behalf throughout the European Union. Negotations on behalf of the Irish people will be held on the other side of Europe without the slightest involvement of an Irish representative or official.

64. The major role played by the Union itself in the international arena has now been consolidated with the Lisbon treaty, in contrast to Ireland and other member states, whose power on foreign policy is now reduced to a secondary au thority of a subsidiary province.

65. The Lisbon treaty establishes the post of a new EU Foreign Minister, the High Representative of the Union for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy. The new post changes the nature of the relationship between Ireland , the other member states and the EU. Heads of State and Government will no longer represent their countries on the international stage.

66. There will be a new President of Europe, sitting in the European Council – such a substantial transfer of more political power to EU level, through the new President of the European Council eliminates the ability of member states to conduct their own independent foreign policy. The top 2 candidates are Tony Blair and Nicholas Sarkozy – FOR 2 1/2 years!

67. Lisbon places an obligation on member states that they uphold EU “common positions” in UN forums. Ireland will be obliged to present the common foreign policy position as its own position, when attending the UN Security Council. Ireland would be on the UN Security Council primarily to represent the EU’s position, not its own interests.

68. The intention of the European Union to develop a common European army is obvious.

69. Lisbon turns the EU into a global political actor in its own right. It transfers Ireland ’s powers to sign treaties with other states over to the Union . It will allow the Union to increase the role it plays on the international stage and to promote its interests above Ireland ’s values. The Union acquires the right to conclude international agreements. The Union will gain the rights to conclude treaties, to submit claims or to act before an international court, to become a member of an international organisation, and to enjoy certain immunities.

70. Ireland will in fact sign a blank cheque if it gives the go-ahead to the treaty. Lisbon introduces “simplified revision procedures”, meaning that the treaty is self-amending. Ireland will no longer have referendums bec au se amendments will be made without any further need for treaties or ratification procedures. Article 48 (6) has been called the “ratchet cl au se” and allows treaty amendments to be made without the necessity of a new, amending treaty and ratification. The supposed intention of this provision is to simplify the revision of the treaties. It will completely remove the Irish people from their say over Europe . The simplified but wholly undemocratic revision procedures represent a significant increase in the power of the Union, at the expense of Ireland .

71. The Union will further interfere with Irish employment and social policies. It is not a surprise that Ireland records low (and stagnated) growth, since Europe already coordinates a number of economic and employment policies. The agreement to certain provisions in this treaty is to put the opportunities and jobs (now and in the long term) of the Irish people at great risk.

72. The EU will gain powers over controlling Irish industry, health, education, sport, culture, civil protection and tourism. This is an intolerable state of affairs for the Irish people, which will cost the Irish economy billions.

73. Lisbon reduces the meaning of a green passport to a mere symbol. Under the EU’s freedom of movement legislation, Lisbon provides the right for Ireland to adopt provisions concerning passports, identity cards, residence permits and other documents applying to the movement of EU citizens.

74. Lisbon is entirely contrary to Ireland ’s wishes, given that in economic turmoil, when Ireland may have difficulty implementing one-size-fits-all EU legislation, the European Commission now gains the power to immediately impose penalty payments. The European Court of Justice will impose a lump sum on Ireland when she has not implemented a Directive.

75. If Ireland does sign up to Lisbon , it will not then be able to opt-out of super-Union policies which have been developed between a select number of member states. Lisbon demands that a number of member states can work ever-closer in “enhanced cooperation” on a particular policy (based largely on existing Article 10 TEU). If Ireland is not involved in the enhanced cooperation, she will be compelled to adopt the measures as if they were normal Union measures – Ireland will have had no say in the binding nature or the content of the measure.

76. Lisbon really is a blank cheque in more ways than one – one provision allows the Union to create its own powers (beyond the Treaties) in order to pursue Union objectives, under Article 308, so that if the Treaties have not provided the necessary powers for a certain action, the Council, acting on a proposal from the Commission can adopt any appropriate measures it feels necessary. Quiet often, they will not be in Ireland ’s interest. Lisbon states that the Commission only has “to draw national Parliaments’ attention to proposals based on this Article”, rather than requiring any form of proper national agreement or consent. Ireland will be writing a blank cheque on policies, it can ill afford to sign up to.

77. How can Taoiseach Bertie Ahern and Foreign Minister Brian Cowen have agreed to such a bad deal when they signed up to the EU Constitution in 2004, now repackaged as the Lisbon treaty?

78. Instead of the Irish Government deciding who Ireland ’s Commissioner is, under Lisbon , it will be Germany , France and the United Kingdom deciding. Lisbon results in a shift from a bottom-up process for appointing EU Commissioners to a top-down one that benefits other and larger EU states. The Irish Government’s White Paper ignored that fact. The promise of EU Prime Minister’s or Presidents that every member state will continue to have its own national Commissioner after Lisbon is false.

79. Lisbon , by law, would give the European Union a Constitution in the order of a supranational European federal state. It would be superior to the Irish Constitution and laws in all the areas covered by the Treaties.

80. Lisbon puts the competition rules of the EU market above the right of Irish trade unions to enforce pay standards higher than the minimum for migrant workers – so whilst it reduces the power of Irish labour, it reinforces the power of migrant workers.

81. Those who vote Yes for Lisbon often warn of Ireland ’s isolation in Europe . This is false on every count. The political reality is that if Ireland votes No, the Czech Republic and Poland will, in turn, halt ratification of the treaty, since they are waiting to see what Ireland does. Given the status of legal challenges, Germany may not have ratified the treaty either. The next UK Government, which must be elected by next May, will also introduce a Bill on its first day in office to hold a referendum on Lisbon in the UK and recommend a No vote to it. That will give Ireland ’s fellow neighbours in Northern Ireland the chance to vote on Lisbon too.

82. A No vote on Lisbon would open to a new and genuinely more democratic EU, to be embodied in a new set of arrangements which would repatriate powers back to the member states, as Europe ’s original 2003 Laeken Declaration envisaged, along democratic lines.

83. A No vote would stop the march towards an EU federal superstate that would be run on most undemocratic lines, under the total dominance of the elites of the larger EU states, namely Germany , in tandem with their officials in the Brussels Commission.

84. The European Commission is spending some 1.5 million euros on a spurious information campaign in Ireland , supposedly aimed at giving Irish people more information on the EU, but in fact swaying their votes in the Lisbon referendum re-run on Friday 2 October toward a Yes vote.

85. The European Commission has created a massive bill-board advertising campaign across Ireland, cinema advertising that is directed especially at Irish women and young voters, the holding of meetings and seminars and the use of web-sites. Does Ireland , a free county, support the indoctrination of its youth with political messages?

86. The European Commission’s supposed “information campaign” is programmed to go on into 2010, as if it were an everyday exercise, but its l au nch in Ireland recently was set up to taint and influence the outcome of the Lisbon referendum in Ireland .

87. Those involved in the Yes campaign, such as the Commission itself and Irish Foreign Minister Michael Martin writing in the Irish Independent, seem to have given advice under the mistaken impression that a “double majority” of number of member states plus a qualified majority of votes does not exist already for making EC/EU laws, when it actually does. Their statements have thereby concealed the reduction of Ireland ’s voting weight.

88. The European Commission, in supporting the Yes campaign in Ireland, has been wrong to suggest that human rights matters such as inheritance rights for Irish farmers would or could not be affected in a European Union, after it signed up to Lisbon. Farmers’ inheritance rights would be affected.

89. On human rights in general, the Irish people will have their rights set out in the EU Charter of Fundamental Rights, which along with the treaty, will be made legally binding for EU citizens. This means that all human rights issues would in principle fall within the remit of the European Court of Justice in the immediate future.

90. Ireland ’s ratification of the Lisbon treaty would give the 27 judges of the EU Court of Justice the power to decide sensitive matters over human rights, property rights and inheritance rights for the first time, as a consequence of new EU citizenship, entailing EU citizens’ rights and duties within the new European Union after Lisbon .

91. Czech President Vaclav Kl au s has stated that the treaty would undermine Czech sovereignty, and so refuses to sign it. The same is true of Irish sovereignty. Kl au s later said, in respect of the Irish people, “… the Lisbon treaty is dead, bec au se it was rejected in a referendum in one of the member states.” Irish democracy and sovereignty are paramount. Are the Irish people prepared to give it away?

92. Ireland would have great support if it does say No. For example, Poland ’s President Lech Kaczynski says he will not sign the treaty until it is passed in Ireland .
93. The Government has wrongly claimed it has assurances on important Irish concerns – they are not assured at all and will be pushed through in the distant future without any treaty ratification now. The Irish Government is claiming that the Decision of the European Council on 19 June 2009 and the promised Protocol incorporating that Decision which is to be attached at some future date, will significantly limit the effect of the treaty of Lisbon on certain provisions of the Irish Constitution and will define what the effects of that treaty are on future Union competence in relation to key Irish assurances. The Decision does not change the Lisbon treaty, as it stands, and it imposes such a restriction on the European Court of Justice in the future without proper treaty ratification now.

94. The Irish Decision of the European Council on 19 June 2009 states that the future Protocol “will clarify but not change either the content or the application of the treaty of Lisbon” , but the Lisbon treaty is not yet in force and if the treaty of Lisbon does comes into force, the European Court of Justice would be free to interpret the Irish Decision in the opposite sense – for example, it would insist that the EU Charter of Fundamental Rights can affect the articles relating to the right to life, the rights of the family and rights in respect of education set out in the Irish Constitution. A Protocol, even if it is to be attached to some future treaty, indicates that a substantive treaty change is intended (in contrast to say a Declaration, which does not). This dishonesty must be met with a No vote.

95. The Irish Decision of the European Council on 19 June 2009 is not a real or legal assurance as the European Court of Justice will rule over the terms of this Decision, that the treaty makes no changes on taxation, for example, unless the member states have agreed to that by a normal treaty ratification process. The Irish Decision is a substantive treaty change requiring re-ratification of the Lisbon treaty.

96. The Irish Decision of the European Council on 19 June 2009 falsely claims to be in Ireland ’s interest by limiting the jurisdiction of the European Court of Justice in relation to specific aspects of the Lisbon treaty, even though the Court is the only legal body competent to decide on the interpretation and application of the Treaties. The Irish people have been deceived on this and should vote No on the basis of this disturbing but substantial confusion.

97. Despite Ireland ’s economic turmoil, the Irish people will be subject to changes and notable increases in direct and indirect taxation, even though false assurances have been made to the contrary. Under Lisbon , Article 311 TFEU would allow the EU to impose its own taxes by unanimous agreement. Article 113 TFEU requires harmonisation of legislation on indirect taxation for a new purpose, “to avoid distortion of competition”, and would enable the European Court of Justice to rule on tax matters accordingly. Any assurances made by the Irish Government on taxation are false and have no legal effect.

98. The Irish Government will be limited in its power over tax measures in difficult economic times because of Lisbon . The treaty asserts, under Protocol No 27 (On the Internal Market and Competition), that the EU could vote down national tax measures if they can be regarded as c au sing distortion of competition on the internal market.

99. Ireland needs obvious constitutional safeguards from Lisbon and cannot sign up until it has achieved them. For example, on 30 June, the German Constitutional Court in judging concerns over the Lisbon treaty has forbidden the German President from signing the treaty until the German Parliament adopted a law which would safeguard the involvement of their Parliament in future EU decision-making. Other EU countries have sought constitutional safeguards. Should Ireland not also reject Lisbon until it can insist upon the protection of its own Parliament, the voice of the Irish people?

100. Democracy.

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US games with China pipelines

August 18, 2009


I am appalled at the mentality of Americans and the English when they are asked a question about why their countries are sending troups to Afghanistan. It seems that few have even a vague notion of why this expensive military invasion persists. Even more appalling is the Western media reports that purport to explain what is happening in China’s Xinjiang province. I refer here to the recent regional disturbance between the Uygurs and Han people in Xinjiang.

Western media would have one believe this civil unrest is the result of Chinese communist dictators squelching the rights of outlying indigenous peoples. Of course, one expects nothing less of Western media journalism which supports the farcical notion of democracy of the West spread to the lucky countries of Asia and the Mideast.

Yet the real story of the conflicts in this outlying area of China may be quite different than the mainstream media insinuates. As with many other sensationalist propaganda from the West, the essential detail of energy pipeline politics is omitted from the front page analysis.

Below, F. William Engdahl, one of my favorite economists, has a more rational explanation for the civil unrest in Xinjiang recently…one that details the energy pipeline concerns of the U.S. in constraining the unstoppable Sino/Soviet alliance of providing energy to Europe and Asia. Indeed, all conflicts now about ‘democracy’ can be re-interpreted as ‘oiligarchic’ concerns.

Is Washington Playing a Deeper Game with China?


by F. William Engdahl
author of Full Spectrum Dominance: Totalitarian Democracy in the New World Order
July 13, 2009
Source

July 12 —After the tragic events of July 5 in Xinjiang Uyghur Autonomous Region in China, it would be useful to look more closely into the actual role of the US Government’s ”independent“ NGO, the National Endowment for Democracy (NED). All indications are that the US Government, once more acting through its “private” Non-Governmental Organization, the NED, is massively intervening into the internal politics of China.

The reasons for Washington’s intervention into Xinjiang affairs seems to have little to do with concerns over alleged human rights abuses by Beijing authorities against Uyghur people. It seems rather to have very much to do with the strategic geopolitical location of Xinjiang on the Eurasian landmass and its strategic importance for China’s future economic and energy cooperation with Russia, Kazakhastan and other Central Asia states of the Shanghai Cooperation Organization.

The major organization internationally calling for protests in front of Chinese embassies around the world is the Washington, D.C.-based World Uyghur Congress (WUC).

The WUC manages to finance a staff, a very fancy website in English, and has a very close relation to the US Congress-funded NED. According to published reports by the NED itself, the World Uyghur Congress receives $215,000.00 annually from the National Endowment for Democracy for “human rights research and advocacy projects.” The president of the WUC is an exile Uyghur who describes herself as a “laundress turned millionaire,” Rebiya Kadeer, who also serves as president of the Washington D.C.-based Uyghur American Association, another Uyghur human rights organization which receives significant funding from the US Government via the National Endowment for Democracy.

The NED was intimately involved in financial support to various organizations behind the Lhasa ”Crimson Revolution“ in March 2008, as well as the Saffron Revolution in Burma/Myanmar and virtually every regime change destabilization in eastern Europe over the past years from Serbia to Georgia to Ukraine to Kyrgystan to Teheran in the aftermath of the recent elections.

Allen Weinstein, who helped draft the legislation establishing NED, was quite candid when he said in a published interview in 1991: “A lot of what we do today was done covertly 25 years ago by the CIA.”

The NED is supposedly a private, non-government, non-profit foundation, but it receives a yearly appropriation for its international work from the US Congress. The NED money is channelled through four “core foundations”. These are the National Democratic Institute for International Affairs, linked to Obama’s Democratic Party; the International Republican Institute tied to the Republican Party; the American Center for International Labor Solidarity linked to the AFL-CIO US labor federation as well as the US State Department; and the Center for International Private Enterprise linked to the US Chamber of Commerce.

The salient question is what has the NED been actively doing that might have encouraged the unrest in Xinjiang Uyghur Autonomous Region, and what is the Obama Administration policy in terms of supporting or denouncing such NED-financed intervention into sovereign politics of states which Washington deems a target for pressure? The answers must be found soon, but one major step to help clarify Washington policy under the new Obama Administration would be for a full disclosure by the NED, the US State Department and NGO’s linked to the US Government, of their involvement, if at all, in encouraging Uyghur separatism or unrest. Is it mere coincidence that the Uyghur riots take place only days following the historic meeting of the Shanghai Cooperation Organization?

Uyghur exile organizations, China and Geopolitics

On May 18 this year, the US-government’s in-house “private” NGO, the NED, according to the official WUC website, hosted a seminal human rights conference entitled East Turkestan: 60 Years under Communist Chinese Rule, along with a curious NGO with the name, the Unrepresented Nations and Peoples Organisation (UNPO).

The Honorary President and founder of the UNPO is one Erkin Alptekin, an exile Uyghur who founded UNPO while working for the US Information Agency’s official propaganda organization, Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty as Director of their Uygur Division and Assistant Director of the Nationalities Services.

Alptekin also founded the World Uyghur Congress at the same time, in 1991, while he was with the US Information Agency. The official mission of the USIA when Alptekin founded the World Uyghur Congress in 1991 was “to understand, inform, and influence foreign publics in promotion of the [USA] national interest…” Alptekin was the first president of WUC, and, according to the official WUC website, is a “close friend of the Dalai Lama.”

Closer examination reveals that UNPO in turn to be an American geopolitical strategist’s dream organization. It was formed, as noted, in 1991 as the Soviet Union was collapsing and most of the land area of Eurasia was in political and economic chaos. Since 2002 its Director General has been Archduke Karl von Habsburg of Austria who lists his (unrecognized by Austria or Hungary) title as “Prince Imperial of Austria and Royal Prince of Hungary.”

Among the UNPO principles is the right to ‘self-determination’ for the 57 diverse population groups who, by some opaque process not made public, have been admitted as official UNPO members with their own distinct flags, with a total population of some 150 million peoples and headquarters in the Hague, Netherlands.

UNPO members range from Kosovo which “joined” when it was fully part of then Yugoslavia in 1991. It includes the “Aboriginals of Australia” who were listed as founding members along with Kosovo. It includes the Buffalo River Dene Nation indians of northern Canada.

The select UNPO members also include Tibet which is listed as a founding member. It also includes other explosive geopolitical areas as the Crimean Tartars, the Greek Minority in Romania, the Chechen Republic of Ichkeria (in Russia), the Democratic Movement of Burma, and the gulf enclave adjacent to Angola and the Democratic Republic of the Congo, and which just happens to hold rights to some of the world’s largest offshore oil fields leased to Condi Rice’s old firm, Chevron Oil. Further geopolitical hotspots which have been granted elite recognition by the UNPO membership include the large section of northern Iran which designates itself as Southern Azerbaijan, as well as something that calls itself Iranian Kurdistan.

In April 2008 according to the website of the UNPO, the US Congress’ NED sponsored a “leadership training” seminar for the World Uyghur Congress (WUC) together with the Unrepresented Nations and Peoples Organization. Over 50 Uyghurs from around the world together with prominent academics, government representatives and members of the civil society gathered in Berlin Germany to discuss “Self-Determination under International Law.” What they discussed privately is not known. Rebiya Kadeer gave the keynote address.

The suspicious timing of the Xinjiang riots

The current outbreak of riots and unrest in Urumqi, the capital of Xinjiang in the northwest part of China, exploded on July 5 local time.

According to the website of the World Uyghur Congress, the “trigger” for the riots was an alleged violent attack on June 26 in China’s southern Guangdong Province at a toy factory where the WUC alleges that Han Chinese workers attacked and beat to death two Uyghur workers for allegedly raping or sexually molesting two Han Chinese women workers in the factory. On July 1, the Munich arm of the WUC issued a worldwide call for protest demonstrations against Chinese embassies and consulates for the alleged Guangdong attack, despite the fact they admitted the details of the incident were unsubstantiated and filled with allegations and dubious reports.

According to a press release they issued, it was that June 26 alleged attack that gave the WUC the grounds to issue their worldwide call to action.

On July 5, a Sunday in Xinjiang but still the USA Independence Day, July 4, in Washington, the WUC in Washington claimed that Han Chinese armed soldiers seized any Uyghur they found on the streets and according to official Chinese news reports, widespread riots and burning of cars along the streets of Urumqi broke out resulting over the following three days in over 140 deaths.

China’s official Xinhua News Agency said that protesters from the Uighur Muslim ethnic minority group began attacking ethnic Han pedestrians, burning vehicles and attacking buses with batons and rocks. “They took to the street…carrying knives, wooden batons, bricks and stones,” they cited an eyewitness as saying. The French AFP news agency quoted Alim Seytoff, general secretary of the Uighur American Association in Washington, that according to his information, police had begun shooting “indiscriminately” at protesting crowds.

Two different versions of the same events: The Chinese government and pictures of the riots indicate it was Uyghur riot and attacks on Han Chinese residents that resulted in deaths and destruction. French official reports put the blame on Chinese police “shooting indiscriminately.” Significantly, the French AFP report relies on the NED-funded Uyghur American Association of Rebiya Kadeer for its information. The reader should judge if the AFP account might be motivated by a US geopolitical agenda, a deeper game from the Obama Administration towards China’s economic future.

Is it merely coincidence that the riots in Xinjiang by Uyghur organizations broke out only days after the meeting took place in Yakaterinburg, Russia of the member nations of the Shanghai Cooperation Organization, as well as Iran as official observer guest, represented by President Ahmadinejad?

Over the past few years, in the face of what is seen as an increasingly hostile and incalculable United States foreign policy, the major nations of Eurasia—China, Russia, Kazakhstan, Uzbekistan, Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan have increasingly sought ways of direct and more effective cooperation in economic as well as security areas. In addition, formal Observer status within SCO has been given to Iran, Pakistan, India and Mongolia. The SCO defense ministers are in regular and growing consultation on mutual defense needs, as NATO and the US military command continue provocatively to expand across the region wherever it can.

The Strategic Importance of Xinjiang for Eurasian Energy Infrastructure

There is another reason for the nations of the SCO, a vital national security element, to having peace and stability in China’s Xinjiang region. Some of China’s most important oil and gas pipeline routes pass directly through Xinjiang province. Energy relations between Kazkhstan and China are of enormous strategic importance for both countries, and allow China to become less dependent on oil supply sources that can be cut off by possible US interdiction should relations deteriorate to such a point.

Kazak President Nursultan Nazarbayev paid a State visit in April 2009 to Beijing. The talks concerned deepening economic cooperation, above all in the energy area, where Kazkhastan holds huge reserves of oil and likely as well of natural gas. After the talks in Beijing, Chinese media carried articles with such titles as “”Kazakhstani oil to fill in the Great Chinese pipe.”

The Atasu-Alashankou pipeline to be completed in 2009 will provide transportation of transit gas to China via Xinjiang. As well Chinese energy companies are involved in construction of a Zhanazholskiy gas processing plant, Pavlodar electrolyze plant and Moynakskaya hydro electric station in Kazakhstan.

According to the US Government’s Energy Information Administration, Kazakhstan’s Kashagan field is the largest oil field outside the Middle East and the fifth largest in the world in terms of reserves, located off the northern shore of the Caspian Sea, near the city of Atyrau. China has built a 613-mile-long pipeline from Atasu, in northwestern Kazakhstan, to Alashankou at the border of China’s Xinjiang region which is exporting Caspian oil to China. PetroChina’s ChinaOil is the exclusive buyer of the crude oil on the Chinese side. The pipeline is a joint venture of CNPC and Kaztransoil of Kazkhstan. Some 85,000 bbl/d of Kazakh crude oil flowed through the pipeline during 2007. China’s CNPC is also involved in other major energy projects with Kazkhstan. They all traverse China’s Xinjiang region.

In 2007 CNPC signed an agreement to invest more than $2 billion to construct a natural gas pipeline from Turkmenistan through Uzbekistan and Kazakhstan to China. That pipeline would start at Gedaim on the border of Turkmenistan and Uzbekistan and extend 1,100 miles through Uzbekistan and Kazakhstan to Khorgos in China’s Xinjiang region. Turkmenistan and China have signed a 30-year supply agreement for the gas that would fill the pipeline. CNPC has set up two entities to oversee the Turkmen upstream project and the development of a second pipeline that will cross China from the Xinjiang region to southeast China at a cost of some $7 billion.

As well, Russia and China are discussing major natural gas pipelines from eastern Siberia through Xinjiang into China. Eastern Siberia contains around 135 Trillion cubic feet of proven plus probable natural gas reserves. The Kovykta natural gas field could give China with natural gas in the next decade via a proposed pipeline.

During the current global economic crisis, Kazakhstan received a major credit from China of $10 billion, half of which is for oil and gas sector. The oil pipeline Atasu-Alashankou and the gas pipeline China-Central Asia, are an instrument of strategic ‘linkage’ of central Asian countries to the economy China. That Eurasian cohesion from Russia to China across Central Asian countries is the geopolitical cohesion Washington most fears. While they would never say so, growing instability in Xinjiang would be an ideal way for Washington to weaken that growing cohesion of the Shanghai Cooperation Organization nations.

Copyright © 2009 F. William Engdahl

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Israel picks a fight with Ireland

August 7, 2009

It seems that Zionists and AIPAC will go to any lengths to stifle anyone critical of their murderous regime. There is no end to whom Zionists will pick a fight with.

Now it’s Mary Robinson, first woman president of Ireland and former UNHR high commissioner who has supported Palestinian rights and criticised the tactics of Israel against the Palestinian people. Mary Robinson has been included to receive the 2009 Presidential Medal of Freedom Award by Obama.

Zionists object of course – anyone who criticizes Israel’s bloody tactics in Palestine cannot possibly be a good person. That pretty well means that a majority of people in the world are on Israel’s and AIPAC’s black list. The Irish people have long supported Palestine and protested the savage treatment of its people by Israel with boycotts of Israeli products and humanitarian aid to the Palestinian people.

Usually, the Irish like just about every country and nationality in the world. And, I might add, are welcomed everywhere, especially on UN peace keeping missions because of their congenialality and resolution of tense conflicts with good will rather than bombs and bullets. Israel should get some sort of medal itself for raising the hackles on Irish backs and being boycotted not only by Irish people, but also by Irish academia, a feat no other nation has accomplished in Irish history. Congratulations to Israel.

I would here argue the merits of case affirming Israel’s violation of human rights, but it would takes weeks to list all the proven instances of its blatant disregard for human rights over decades. And of course, I would be arguing with people whose minds are immersed in Israeli propaganda. Only a fool argues with fools.

Before or after you read the following article you might want to review Mary Robinson’s credentials in the area of human rights activities.

Mary Robinson

Mary Robinson: Human rights are good for business

Global Elders

Jewish groups decry Obama’s choice of

Ireland’s Mary Robinson for award

Protests against the former Irish president, who critics say is anti-Israel, could become problematic for President Obama.

By Peter Wallsten

August 7, 2009

Source

Reporting from Washington — Jewish congressional members and lobbying groups are protesting President Obama’s decision to award the Presidential Medal of Freedom to former Irish leader Mary Robinson, who they say has a long record of harshly criticizing Israel.

The award announcement prompted the first criticism of Obama by the powerful American Israel Public Affairs Committee, a group he courted during last year’s campaign. Jewish groups in the U.S. have been largely supportive of the president. But the Robinson award is the latest in a series of recent disagreements with Obama, and some Jewish leaders are growing skeptical of his commitment to Israel.

Last month, Obama hosted Jewish leaders at a White House meeting designed to soothe tensions over his differences with Israel over the future of Jewish settlements in the West Bank and lingering concern over the tenor of his outreach to the Muslim world.

By Thursday, several members of Congress — including two Jewish Democrats — had rebuked the decision to bestow the country’s highest civilian honor on Robinson during a White House ceremony planned for Wednesday.

Among their concerns was her role as the United Nations’ high commissioner on human rights in the 2001 World Conference Against Racism in Durban, South Africa. The U.S. and Israel pulled out of the conference over objections to a document it produced accusing Israel of racism in its treatment of the Palestinians.

Abraham Cooper, associate dean of the Simon Wiesenthal Center and a member of the Jewish caucus to the conference, said Thursday that Robinson “allowed the event to be hijacked by extremists who had no interest in peace.”

The episode, Cooper said, “degraded” the global human rights effort, setting the stage for the second racism conference, held this spring, in which a keynote speaker was Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, a fierce enemy of Israel who has questioned whether the Holocaust occurred.

Robinson “simply did not have the guts . . . to step into the fray and say it can’t be this way,” Cooper said. “She’s a nice woman and a good person, but the fact that you mean well isn’t a prerequisite to get our nation’s highest honor.”

Robinson, Ireland’s president from 1990 to 1997, told Irish reporters this week that the accusations had no merit and blamed the controversy on “a lot of bullying by certain elements of the Jewish community.”

“They bully people who try to address the severe situation in Gaza and the West Bank,” she told a radio network, according to an account in the Belfast Telegraph.

Rep. Shelley Berkley (D- Nev.) said Thursday that the “biased views expressed by Mary Robinson against the nation of Israel remain deeply troubling, and her tarnished record of actions on this issue cannot be erased with the awarding of the Presidential Medal of Freedom.”

Berkley blamed Robinson for the “highly charged anti-Jewish attacks against Israel and its supporters” at the 2001 conference and said her actions “deserve to be condemned.”

Another Jewish Democrat, Rep. Eliot L. Engel of New York, told the Jewish Telegraphic Agency that awarding the Presidential Medal of Freedom to Robinson was a “screw-up” and a “mistake.”

A White House spokesman, Tommy Vietor, on Thursday stood by the president’s decision, calling Robinson a key figure in history. “Mary Robinson was the first female president of Ireland, whom we are honoring as a prominent crusader for women’s rights in Ireland and around the world,” Vietor said. “She has dedicated her career to human rights and working to improve an imperfect world.

“As with any public figure, we don’t necessarily agree with every statement she has ever made,” Vietor said, “but it’s clear that she has been an agent of change and a fighter for good.”

Still, the controversy looked to be growing.

The World Jewish Congress on Thursday accused Robinson of an “endorsement of Palestinian violence as legitimate political activity, and the outrageous equating of the Holocaust to the suffering of the Palestinians,” adding that Robinson’s record “renders her unqualified to receive the nation’s highest civilian honor.”

The criticism from the American Israel Public Affairs Committee, or AIPAC, which called on Obama to “firmly, fully and publicly repudiate [Robinson’s] views on Israel,” was especially problematic for the president.

As a candidate, he delivered well-received speeches to the group as he presented himself as a staunch supporter of Israel. AIPAC’s incoming president, Lee Rosenberg, is a Chicago friend of Obama’s and was a key fundraiser during the campaign.

Defenders of Robinson point to a 2003 op-ed she wrote in the New York Times deploring the rise of anti-Semitism in Europe, and they note that during the 2001 racism conference she waved a booklet of anti-Semitic cartoons and declared, “I am a Jew.”

But critics point to a 2002 report compiled by the late Rep. Tom Lantos of California, a Holocaust survivor and delegate to the Durban conference, who said that Robinson’s conduct “left our delegation deeply shocked and saddened” by her remarks about Israel.

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