Richard Boyd Barrett speaks on US military and CIA use of Shannon airport
People Before Profit shares the near universal revulsion at the horrific murder of Charlie Hebdo journalists in Paris last week. There can be no justification for this awful act.
People Before Profit, which is strongly anti-racist and respects people’s rights to their religious beliefs would criticise many of the cartoons that appeared recently in Charlie Hebdo, some of which were deliberately offensive to Muslim people, but this in no way excuses this atrocity.
Unfortunately this dreadful event is being used and exploited by various ‘leaders’ and rulers to present themselves as defenders of free speech and freedom in general when they are anything but.
The demonstration in Paris was attended, absolutely legitimately, by a million French citizens but it was led by a group of leaders that included some of the world’s worst tyrants and violators of freedom of speech. These included the Prime Minister of Turkey which regularly jails journalists just for mentioning the Kurdish struggle, the Foreign Secretary of Egypt which recently sentenced 500 people to death and is imprisoning Al Jazeera journalists, Prime Minister Netanyahu of Israel which killed numerous journalist in Gaza last year, and the Foreign Minister of Bahrain which both jails and tortures journalists.
Nor do we accept the right of the French Government, or the so-called ‘West’ as a whole, to claim to be the embodiment of freedom. France has a long history of imperialist oppression of North African and Middle Eastern peoples, and there are currently high levels of racism in France often reinforced by the French state. And ‘the West’, led by the United States, has created the context for these awful reactions by means of repeated interventions and wars on Muslim countries which have claimed far .more innocent lives than all terrorist atrocities put together. Continue reading
Speaking in the Dáil today, during question time with Minister for Foreign Affairs, Charlie Flanagan, People Before Profit TD Richard Boyd Barrett once again called on the government to end the use of Shannon airport by US military.
There has been an intensification of US airstrikes in the Middle East with several strikes in particular in recent weeks in the Kobani region on the Turkish- Syrian border.
Richard Boyd Barrett TD said, “Incredibly after the last US war in the Middle East with the loss of a million lives in Iraq and widespread destruction in the region, Ireland is supporting yet another US bombing campaign by its facilitation of military plans and personnel at Shannon airport.
Against a background of another disastrous decision by the US to bomb Syria and Iraq, this government is supporting US efforts by still refusing to at least search planes passing through Shannon airport.”
In 2003 Deputy Boyd Barrett was one of the organisers of one of the biggest demonstrations in Irish history against the planned US war in Iraq and at that time the predictions about the loss of life were an estimated 50,000. An estimated 1 million people were killed in the US campaign.
The People Before Profit TD further stated: “Even with the disastrous consequences we have seen in Iraq and in Afghanistan, the US is going full steam ahead into another war with no regard for the consequences, shoring up support for IS in the region. A dangerous cocktail is being fermented by US actions”.
“How can the Minister and the government justify US troops using Shannon to go to another bloody war without even searching the planes and merely relying on assurances. Relying on assurances from the same country that told us there ware weapons of mass destruction to justify going into Iraq is hugely irresponsible”. Continue reading
Richard Boyd Barrett TD for the People Before Profit Alliance has said that the failure of the EU and US to impose sanctions on Israel in response to its “murderous” assault on Gaza, “exposes the utter moral bankruptcy of the western powers.”
Deputy Boyd Barrett contrasted the speed with which the EU and US imposed sanctions on Russia for its activities in Crimea and Eastern Ukraine with its refusal to impose any sanctions on Israel – despite “its utterly barbaric assault on the people of Gaza” and its “systematic, on-going persecution of the Palestinian people and weekly theft of ever more Palestinian land through the expansion of illegal settlements.”
Deputy Boyd Barrett called on the Irish government to impose immediate sanctions on Israel by expelling the Israeli ambassador and ceasing all trade with Israel until the Gaza assault ends.
Deputy Boyd Barrett said: “Once again, Israel is engaged in a criminal and murderous military assault against the people of Gaza – deliberately slaughtering men, women and children in an act of collective punishment against the Palestinian people that flies in the face of every standard of human rights and international law. Yet incredibly, the US and the EU stand idly by and allow Israel to inflict this massacre – imposing no sanctions, whatsoever.
Indeed, far from sanctioning Israel for these atrocities and its on-going, systematic persecution of the Palestinian people and weekly theft of Palestinian land through the expansion of illegal settlements, the EU and US continue to give massive financial and military support to Israel.
The moral bankruptcy and double standards of the western powers in allowing Israel to kill Palestinians with impunity without imposing any sanctions is utterly nauseating. Look how fast the EU and US imposed political and economic sanctions on Russia over its activities in Ukraine.
Yet when Israel is engaged in the murder and collective punishment of hundreds of innocent men, women and children, they do absolutely nothing.
If the EU or US had even a scintilla of moral decency and consistency informing their foreign policies, they would immediately impose economic and political sanctions on Israel and demand that they stop this barbaric military assault on Gaza.
Equally, if the Irish government had any decency at all, they would act unilaterally where the EU has failed to act. The government should immediately expel the Israeli ambassador and cease all trade with Israel until massacre stops.”
As Israel invade Gaza and deaths mount, flag is removed by Councillor in Dun Laoghaire
In a statement today, Cllr Hugh Lewis (People Before Profit)says he, along with People Before Profit members and supporters, has removed the Israeli Flag from Dun Laoghaire Harbour. As a ground invasion begins in Gaza last night and the number of Palestinian deaths rises to over 260, including over 50 children, the Israeli flag was flying this morning in Dun Laoghaire Harbour despite numerous requests to the Harbour Company to remove it.
The Dun Laoghaire Harbour Company, in conjunction with the Royal St, George Yacht Club has, for the past week, been flying the flag of Israel as part of a European Sailing Competition.
Despite a stream of calls and pleas from the public in Dun Laoghaire to have the flag taken down as a mark of respect for the dead, injured and traumatised in Gaza, the Harbour Company has so far refused.
Cllr Hugh Lewis is a long time anti war activist and was a crew member of the Irish Ship to Gaza, which was intercepted en route to Gaza and captured by Israel in 2011.
Speaking today Cllr Hugh Lewis said “I have received dozens of calls from constituents who are disgusted that the Israeli state flag is flying at a time of so much brutality and violence and while war crimes are being perpetrated by that state on the Palestinian people.
It is completely unacceptable and inappropriate that after hundreds of people have been in contact, demanding that the flag be taken down out of solidarity and respect, it flies high in our town.
The Harbour Company have refused to listen to the people of the county so I, along with some Pro Palestinian activists went down to the harbour and I have taken the flag down.
Over 3,000 people marched in Dublin last week in solidarity with the people of Gaza and even higher numbers will attend another demonstration at the Spire at 2pm tomorrow. The support for Palestine has been overwhelming, the Harbour Company should have responded to the hundreds of calls they received and not have it come to this.”
At tonights meeting of Dublin City Council, City Councillors unanimously called for an immediate end to Israel’s attacks on Palestine and for a delegation led by the Lord Mayor to meet with the Minister for Foreign Affairs to further demand that the Irish Government use its influence to condemn the barbaric attacks that have left 162 Palestinians dead, 137 of them civilians.
Speaking after the meeting tonight, People Before Profit Councillor Tina MacVeigh, who moved the motion, stated: ‘This is the third massive offensive perpetrated by Israel on the Palestinian people in five and a half years. Israel’s acts of barbarism are always the subject of great public and moral outrage, condemned by many democratically elected institutions, however, Israel is never held to account. Tonight’s motion is important as it condemns Israel’s perpetual use of illegal activites such as collective punishment and Administrative Detention, while calling on the Irish Government to take decisive actions where many governments remain silent and continue to trade with Israel. Hundreds of thousands of people all over the world, including Ireland, have taken to the streets to protest Israel’s barbaric actions and it is time that our government and our media pay heed’.
Tonight’s motion specifically calls for an immediate end to Israeli attacks on the people of Gaza as a vital precondition to a lasting ceasefire agreement, reiterates Dublin City Council’s 2010 calls for an end to the illegal Israeli-imposed siege of Gaza and for the EU to suspend Israel from the Euro-Med preferential trade agreement, Article 2 of which states that the ‘provisions of the Agreement itself shall be based on respect for human rights and democratic principles, which guides their internal and international policy and consitutes an essential element of this Agreement’.
Dublin City Council tonight joins the international call from Palestinian civil society and human rights organisations like Amnesty International for an arms embargo of Israel.
Calling on the recently appointed Minister for Foreign Affairs Charlie Flanagan to meet immediately with the Lord Mayor’s delegation, Cllr. Tina MacVeigh finished by saying ‘If these acts of collective punishment do not rage us, if we do not take decisive action, then we must question our collective humanity’
While the tragic deaths of three Israeli teens have grabbed news headlines, the blood reprisals committed by the Israeli state against ordinary civilians since the teens first disappeared have received typically less attention in the media.
It should be noted that during the Israeli trawl in the West Bank, 9 Palestinians, some youth or children, have also been killed. Early on Tuesday morning Israeli forces shot a 16 year old Palestinian teen in the chest and killed him in Jenin refugee camp.
In the state-sponsored reprisals, Israel has also arrested hundreds arbitrarily, including 24 members of parliament. Incitement to collective punishment is being lead by politicians while social media outlets such as Facebook have become rife with groups calling for revenge against Palestinians.
A Facebook page that called for the murder of “a Palestinian every hour” until the three Israeli teens were found had amassed tens of thousands of followers, for example.
Richard Boyd Barrett said:
“While the killing of the three teenagers is reprehensible and inexcusable, the same must be said of the killing of Palestinian youth by the Israeli state and military. The name of Israel’s latest casualty, 16-year-old Yousef Abu Zagha, will not become known in the Western media. And yet his parents will grieve no less than the parents of the three Israeli settler teens.
“The climate of revenge that the Israeli government is creating now, will doubtless continue a downpour of violence on Palestinian collective heads. Netanyahu has referred to the unknown killers of the teens as “human animals” and has used the word “revenge” in a clear indication of what is still to come. Such terminology amounts to hate speech.”
Instances of dehumanizing hate speech by members of parliament are frequent and unchecked by the media. For instance, a former Israeli lawmaker Michael Ben-Ari has just referred to Palestinian children as “little terrorists” and Palestinian population areas as “jungles”.
The Israeli government is not like other governments- at the highest level they are aggressively pursuing a policy of ethnic cleansing and at policy level want to annex 60% of the West Bank.
Richard Boyd Barrett added:
“As long as Palestinians remain stateless, they lack state institutions that can protect them from the random violence inflicted upon them by the Israeli state apparatus. In most refugee camps in the West Bank there is no police. Everyone has to fend for themselves and the environment is ripe for predatory gangs to form.”
“The international community should call on Israel to immediately halt the arbitrary killing of Palestinian youth, and the world community should call for the occupation and settlement of the West Bank to end immediately.“
Peace activists Margaretta D’Arcy, Dr Ed Horgan and Dr John Lannon today addressed a Dail Committee over US Miltary use of Shannon Airport. Watch their presentations and Richard Boyd Barrett TD below: