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Dáil Diary no 23. 13 March. 2015

US Human Rights Abuses- And an Arrogant Taoiseach…

At Leader’s Questions on Wednesday, I challenged the Taoiseach Enda Kenny to raise the issue of US Human Rights abuses, with President Obama when he meets him on St Patricks Day. The US Military War Machine is causing untold devastation in many parts of the world. And all for what? – To promote the Arms Industry , the only winner from the resulting slaughter and militarisation of the planet.  The Taoiseach refused to reply to my questions in English, insisting that it was Seachtain Na Gaeilge, but had no problem speaking English when discussing IRA rape allegations with Gerry Adams a few minutes later. It was a clear attempt to detract from the issues I was raising, and it was done with an arrogance that did not please genuine lovers of Gaeilge.

The US has placed itself beyond International Law, with its War on Terror, which was supposed to improve regional and world security - the truth is the opposite. When the US invaded Afghanistan in 2001, the so called enemy was a small group of lightly armed insurgents. Today, after the US has spent trillions of dollars on its so called war on terror, the Global Jihadist movement has exploded. The UN recently reported that foreign jihadists are swarming into the twin conflicts in Iraq and Syria at “an unprecedented scale” and from countries that hadn’t previously contributed to global jihad. Here’s a transcript of my Leader’s Questions from Wednesday.-

In December, it was reported that President Higgins raised the issue of human rights violations with the Chinese President during his visit. Last month, the Taoiseach spoke highly of the legacy of the former Deputy First Minister of Northern Ireland, Mr. Séamus Mallon, and Mr. John Hume, and stated that both were outstanding examples of persons who were unafraid to stand up for human rights, equality, dignity and political progress. I want to know whether the Taoiseach will use his visit to the White House next week to raise human rights issues with President Obama.

The Americans started a perpetual war in 2001 and today it is the single biggest source of misery and suffering on the planet. The Obama Administration conducts operations all over the world. In 2014, US special operation forces deployed to 133 countries riding roughshod over international treaties, laws and human rights obligations. The war on terror is responsible for the deaths of over 1 million people and has caused the displacement of millions more. The only winner is the arms industry which helped to put President Obama in power.

Each week Obama personally selects from a kill list who shall be executed on any given day with drone strikes. No evidence is presented, there is no judicial oversight and, overwhelmingly, they miss the target. In one case in Yemen, it took seven drone strikes before the US killed its target. In those strikes, as many as 164 persons died, including 11 children. In Pakistan, 221 persons, including 103 children, have been killed in attempts to kill four men, three of whom are still alive - the fourth has died from natural causes.

Not only is President Obama's drone programme one of the most glaring acts of terror being perpetrated on earth today, it is one of the best recruitment instruments for those who may be willing to take up arms against US forces and its allies.
Is the Taoiseach going to shake hands with a man who personally orders the pointless execution of scores of innocent children and say nothing, or will he, like Mr. Mallon and Mr. Hume, stand up for human rights, equality and dignity?

The Taoiseach:  Tá trí pointe ardaithe ag an Teachta ansin, cúrsaí cine daonna, cúrsaí míleata agus polasaí idirnáisiúnta na Stáit Aontaithe.

Mick Wallace:  Sorry?

The Taoiseach:  Cuir ort na cluasáin ateangaireachta. Tá siad os comhair an Teachta ansin.

Mick Wallace:  I have not got one here. I apologise I cannot speak Irish.

The Taoiseach:  Tá ceann ar fáil sa chéad suíochán eile.

Mick Wallace: I would appreciate it if the Taoiseach could answer me in English.

The Taoiseach:  Nuair a bhí Jim White, go ndéana Dia grásta air, sa Teach seo blianta fada ó shin, bhí sé thall ansin agus bhí mé féin in aice leis. Bhí Aire Stáit ag caint leis as Gaeilge agus dúirt Jim-----

Deputy Dara Calleary:  Story time.

The Taoiseach:  gur masla é sin dá chreidimh agus cuireadh isteach an córas ateangaireachta ina dhiaidh sin.

The Taoiseach:  Let Deputy Wallace put on his translation system. This is our national language and this is Lá na Gaeilge, nó sin a deirtear liom.

Mick Wallace:  Maybe we should be speaking German given that they are running the place now.

The Taoiseach:  Put it on there.

The Taoiseach:  Cas an cnaipe ansin. A Mhichíl, a chara, an féidir leat mé a chloisteáil? An bhfuil an t-aistriúchán ar siúl?

Luaigh an Teachta trí phointe, cúrsaí cine daonna, cúrsaí míleata agus cúrsaí polaitíochta Mheiriceá go hidirnáisiúnta. Can the Deputy hear me? Tá duine éigin ag aistriú ó Ghaeilge go Béarla aon uair a mbíonn Teachta ag labhairt as Gaeilge….

Deputy Peter Mathews:  Maybe the Taoiseach can speak Irish to President Obama.

Mick Wallace:  The Taoiseach cannot hide behind Irish. The issues I have raised are important for everyone who lives on this planet. Matters have got out of control. There is no logic to how the US military machine is operating. They may be giving us jobs here through American business but it does not change the fact that we should have a problem with children being murdered and slaughtered in the interests of promoting the arms industry and controlling resources. We should have an issue with it. We should have some streak of independence and neutrality.
Obama has used the Espionage Act twice as many times as all other US Presidents put together. Whistleblowers and courageous journalists are being hunted down like never before. The US increasingly monitors the lives and communications of private citizens violating their freedom of speech with little or no consequences, yet it blocks transparency in how it operates and criminalises those who are brave enough to serve the public interest and expose the abuses of power.

The Taoiseach has said in this House that whistleblowers should be respected and protected. Will he raise this point with President Obama and ask him to show Julian Assange, Chelsea Manning, Edward Snowden and others the respect they deserve rather than treating them as criminals for telling the truth?
I also ask the Taoiseach to raise the drone programme with President Obama. It is terror of the worst kind. People are asleep in their homes and do not know the minute or the hour when a missile launched by a drone could strike their house and kill them. It is madness. Will the Taoiseach raise that issue with President Obama?

The Taoiseach:  Ní dóigh liom go mbeidh am agam chuile rud atá luaite ag an Teachta a phlé leis an Uachtarán ach beidh mé toilteanach chúrsaí cearta daonna a luaigh leis an Uachtarán nuair a chasfaidh mé air Dé Mairt seo chugainn. Ní dúirt an Teachta tada faoi ISIS, nó faoi na Críostaithe a mharaigh ISIS.

Mick Wallace:  It was created by the US.

The Taoiseach:  Ní dúirt sé tada faoi Boko Haram, nó faoi chúrsaí polataíochta na Rúise. Ní hé Meiriceá amháin atá ag éisteacht le cúrsaí cumarsáide.

Deputy Clare Daly:  Is the Taoiseach going to visit Russia?

The Taoiseach:  Maidir le cúrsaí sábháilte

Mick Wallace:  We would not have an ISIS if the US was not behaving as it does.

Mick Wallace.

 

 

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