Mick Wallace The #US and #EU are increasingly using #sanctions as a weapon against countries that don't bow to their financial i… https://t.co/qMbVI1XYfc
Mick Wallace How bad that the #EU of the so called 'European Values' has supported this Terrorism against the people of #Syriahttps://t.co/wRXMSubfYi
Mick Wallace Western Colonialism never really stopped, it just got a make over - It's now called 'Financial Imperialism'. Are we… https://t.co/KoMpQ69bBw
Mick Wallace RT @wallacemick: Would mean something for Irish people and the notion of 'Irish Neutrality' if Irish Minister for Foreign Affairs @simoncov

Dail Diary

Dáil Diary 58- 19 Dec 14

Abortion Rights- Politicians Abdicate Responsibility...

The Irish State’s refusal to take a responsible position on the Abortion issue continues to show Ireland in a poor light at home and abroad. 44 out of the 47 countries in Europe have more progressive legislation regarding access to abortion, as Ireland continues to flounder in the dark ages. This week, Clare Daly TD introduced her Private Members Motion, call for the repeal of the 8th Amendment of the Constitution, and just to emphasise how much out of times the Government is with the people of Ireland, only 13 of the TD’s voted in favour of the motion. Every party in the Dáil this week said that there’s a problem with the 8th Amendment, but none of them want to do anything about it for now. A serious abdication of responsibility. The position remains in Ireland that if a woman became pregnant through rape or incest, she can’t have an abortion. If she’s carrying a baby with a fatal foetal abnormality or there’s a danger to her health, she cannot have an abortion. We have exported the problem to Britain – 160,000 women since the 8th Amendment was introduced. How poorly those women have been served by our politicians. Here’s my contribution in the Dáil on Wednesday night -

“In this country we talk about abortion as if it is a political or legal issue, something to be regulated by the majority and decided by consensus, informed by religion and morality and opinion polls and something to be debated on the airwaves, with an automatic requirement for balance, when groups with competing viewpoints can have their say. That is not how it should be. Terminating a pregnancy should not be a matter of public debate; it is something that ought to be discussed privately between a woman and her doctor, and with others if she so chooses. It is an intimate, highly personal choice, with the final decision to be made by the woman alone.

  What the country needs is a Government that will finally produce sensible, well-thought out legislation wholly removed from the nuances of politics that will allow us to extricate ourselves from women's private reproductive health choices. Crisis pregnancies ought not be a matter of public debate. If a person is not intending to have one, abortion should be none of that person's business. Women all over the world have an abortion every day, for countless reasons, and it is not for me or anybody else to judge a woman for making that choice. If we are to learn anything from the past, women experiencing crisis pregnancies should be afforded extra privileges and protections. They should be listened to, cherished and supported, while their instincts should be trusted. They most certainly should not be treated like criminals, threatened with a custodial sentence, forced to be assessed by five doctors before they are believed, threatened with criminalisation, force fed or hydrated forcibly, or shipped out to our nearest neighbour, alone, confused and distressed. The country owes an apology to every woman who has been affected by these extreme laws and to every woman, past, present and future, who was or will be forced to travel abroad for a termination.

  Article 40.3.3o which gives an undefined legal entity - the unborn - an equal right to life to that of the mother was voted on and inserted into the Constitution in 1983, in a climate of fear in the wake of the sexual liberation of the 1970s. Holy Catholic Ireland was still under the cosh of priests and bishops and no one of childbearing age today had a say in that referendum. Let us not forget that contraception was only legalised, with strong restrictions, in 1980. A woman's morality, intrinsically linked wjith her sexuality, was contained, policed, regulated and prescribed by the State. It is now widely accepted that abortion, in many cases, is not an objectionable practice but is, in fact, necessary and humane, particularly where the foetus has no chance of survival outside of the womb and in cases in which a woman becomes pregnant against her will as a result of having been raped. Most reasonable people agree that there are instances where terminating a pregnancy is the right thing to do. It is much more acceptable today for a person to publicly declare that he or she believes the final choice rests with the woman than it was in the 1980s.

  The problem with Article 40.3.3o is that it interprets every termination as unconstitutional. Even if a child of 11 or 12 years were to become pregnant as a result of rape, the Constitution states she should be forced to endure that pregnancy to full term, despite the fact that we all know this is wrong and amounts to torture. In Ireland women and doctors are criminalised if they attempt to procure an unlawful abortion, regardless of the circumstances, and can face up to 14 years in prison. In El Salvador a person would be treated like a murderer and given a life sentence, regardless of the circumstances involved. Ireland's laws may not appear on the surface to be as harsh, but the principle is the same. Recently, Colm O'Gorman of Amnesty Ireland visited El Salvador and said he believed it was not dissimilar to Ireland. He said:

Just like El Salvador, those who need to access an abortion and who can afford to do so, travel to another jurisdiction. Those who cannot just have to find some way to cope with their situation. In many ways, El Salvador is Ireland without the safety valve of England. In both countries, women and girls are legally prevented, by threat of imprisonment, from making deeply personal choices about how to best manage a risk to their lives or health posed by a pregnancy. Addressing this in either country requires political leadership and courage. It's about time we saw more of both.

Last night the Minister for Health and Children, Deputy Leo Varadkar, told us that the Government did not have a mandate to deal with this issue. Tonight Deputy Eoghan Murphy told us it had. For the Minister to say the Government does not have a mandate is difficult to accept because it has done things it did not have a mandate to do, but it is still in government.”

Mick Wallace.

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Dáil Diary no 57. 17 Dec 14

Ireland Complicit in CIA Torture...

The summary of the US Senate select committee on intelligence report, revealing a horrific CIA Torture programme, makes for chilling reading. We’ve heard much of it before, so it’s more shocking than surprising. There is strong evidence that the Irish Government allowed the US Military to use Shannon to facilitate their extraordinary rendition programme, making Ireland complicit in the illegal torture of countless prisoners, many held in gulag-like conditions, without trial, for up to 13 years.

We have an obligation to investigate and prosecute anyone who facilitated this rendition programme. The names of the countries involved ultimately did not appear in the US Senate summary, due to much redaction – this represents a last minute victory for the White House and the CIA.

If we care anything for Human Rights, we should request the US Senate to supply the relevant sections of the full, unredacted report and let truth prevail. Here’s my short piece on the issue, at Leader’s Questions today with the Taoiseach -

 

"Although there is always much talk about transparency here, as under the previous Government, secrecy seems to be the order of the day. Last week, I asked the Taoiseach about surveillance being carried out by the British Government's communications headquarters, GCHQ, on cables in the Irish Sea. I asked whether the Government had sanctioned it; if so, under what legislation; and if not, what it will do to protect citizens' rights. The recent report on torture by the CIA also involves much secrecy around Shannon Airport. The US Senate's report on the CIA's use of torture has made little of American assurances that military aircraft passing through Shannon Airport do not carry military arms. The dogs in the street know they do. Given the extent of the report, it is pretty clear that Shannon Airport has been used for rendition flights as part of the torture programme. Normally, when talking about something that happened on Fianna Fáil's watch, as this did, the Government is jumping up and down to kick Fianna Fáil around. I am surprised the Government is not seeking to investigate this. Given all the information that has come our way regarding Shannon Airport, rendition flights and the CIA torture programme, does the Taoiseach not think it is time we had a full investigation into everything that has happened in Shannon Airport since 9/11?

The Taoiseach:  The Ministers for Justice and Equality and Foreign Affairs and Trade have been in touch constantly with the authorities from the United States in respect of rendition. Deputy Wallace will appreciate that this matter has been the subject of discussion in this House many times in recent years. I am unsure as to the kind of full investigation he is talking about. Clearly, the relationship between the United States and this country, no more than many other countries, deals with those issues. If the Deputy is suggesting the Government is not being told the truth about every flight that goes through Shannon, I would like to hear some evidence of the Deputy's proof of this. He states that every flight was carrying arms and weapons.

Mick Wallace: I did not say they all were.

Deputy Richard Boyd Barrett:  He said "some".

The Taoiseach:  The Deputy might explain to me what sort of investigation he is talking about, because there have been claims about this in the House on many occasions previously. They all were investigated and down-to-earth and all of them were discussed in the House in respect of the truth of the matter and transparency.

Perhaps Deputy Wallace has some information I do not have.

Mick Wallace: I have plenty of information about it.

WikiLeaks has revealed a considerable amount in the past couple of years regarding the same subject. Amnesty International also has done so.
If the Taoiseach thinks not enough information has been brought forward already, I expect to have a former United States marine come forward in the new year who has passed through Shannon on a regular basis. He will give evidence to the fact that Ireland is in breach of international law in respect of things that have gone on in Shannon and how the United States has used the place.
Given the assurances the United States has provided to different people around the world about what it does and does not do and given the extent of the CIA torture programme, has it any credibility left in this area? Since the events of 11 September 2001, the United States has completely contravened human rights law. It has abandoned it and has lost its moral value in this area.

Torture is illegal.

The murder of innocent civilians in foreign countries is illegal. Unwarranted surveillance of the Irish public is illegal in this State. Is the Government really serious about doing things differently than its predecessor? I ask because some transparency is needed on this entire area.

If Members bring more evidence to the Taoiseach in the new year, would he consider establishing an independent investigation on what has gone on at Shannon?

The Taoiseach:  I thank Deputy Wallace. He asked whether the Government will do things differently than before and he has evidence of this even within the past fortnight. On foot of the new information that came forward in a recent television programme, as well as other documentation, the Government made a decision in respect of reopening the case with regard to what are known as the hooded men where torture was involved. Obviously, as Deputy Wallace is well aware, that original decision had implications for other cases around the world. I do not have any information about the former member of United States marines of whom the Deputy speaks but if that person is coming forward and is making available information of which the Government is not aware, obviously it will be happy to hear that information from the person involved. Moreover, the Minister for Foreign Affairs and Trade will take that up directly with the American authorities. Last week, I dealt with the question of the cables, their ownership, the requirement for High Court judges and the fact that unwarranted surveillance is not legal and clearly, the Government would take a serious view of that. Of course, there is the question of major companies requiring information to be had or in issues of criminal activities where, under conditions, that information can be made available. Our country always has tried to measure up to the highest standards in respect of international law and if Deputy Wallace's contact has information that is not available to the Government, the Department or to the authorities, the Government will be glad to hear it in the New Year."

Mick Wallace

 

 

*CIA Torture Graphic taken from Guardian Website Service

 

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Dáil Diary no 56- 12 Dec 14.

Ireland must stand up for the Palestinians...

What has happened to the Palestinian people since 1948 is truly shocking. The Israelis have been allowed to commit terrible crimes against these people, because they have had the full support of the World's superpower, the United States of America. The Jewish lobby are a powerful group in American and people like Obama, dare not stand up to them. Ireland too has been found wanting, as we bow to America's economic power.  Israel should be allowed to live in peace, as should the Palestinians. The power is with Israel and the US - The sooner these two military powers realise that the Middle East region will remain in turmoil until there is a just settlement for the Palestinians, the sooner there will be some chance of peace breaking out. Here's my Dáil contribution on the motion to recognise the State of Palestine this week -

"I will start by quoting the Minister for Foreign Affairs and Trade, Deputy Charles Flanagan, who this summer stated the following while Israel was bombing the living daylights out of Gaza:

“The horror has not been confined to the Palestinian side only. Millions of Israelis have been forced to seek shelter on a daily basis from the indiscriminate firing of rockets into Israel. Some 55 Israelis, of whom the vast majority have been IDF personnel, and one Thai national have died.”
As it turns out, only 5 Israelis were killed in Israel by the "toy rockets" that Hamas was firing in the other direction, the rest were killed in Gaza, which they invaded. Some 2,100 Palestinians were killed in Gaza, 500 of whom were children. Our Government had little to say about it.

On a different occasion during the summer, the Minister stated:
‘The blockade of Gaza must be ended. So too must the indiscriminate firing of rockets into Israel by Hamas and other militants, including Islamic Jihad and also the building of tunnels for the purpose of attacking Israelis. Hamas must renounce violence as a means of achieving its political objectives.’
This is the fourth largest army in the world attacking some the poorest people on the planet.

 The Minister, in his defence a couple of weeks ago when we argued for recognition of the Palestinian state, stated that it needed to be remembered that recognition of any state would not bring peace to the region. He was right, but he did not add that the reason Israel could carry out genocide to the extent that it does in Gaza was because the US let it do so and supported it without qualm.

 People might forget but, in 1948, the Jews expelled, massacred, destroyed and raped in Palestine. As a result of that campaign, 500 Palestinian villages and 11 urban neighbourhoods were destroyed. Some 700,000 Palestinians were expelled and several thousand were massacred. It is called "genocide". Things have not changed much since. The US has unreservedly supported genocide in Gaza. Since we allow the US military to use Shannon as a military base to do whatever it feels like in the Middle East, to carry arms to the Middle East and to carry reinforcements to the Israelis, we are complicit.

The latest revelations concerning the CIA torture dossier - although the US Senate has only revealed 500 pages of a 6,000-page document, fair play to it for doing so - will hopefully bring our Government to the point of examining our role in what has transpired in the Middle East during the past 15 years. We need an inquiry into who authorised Shannon to be used as a US military base. It is nothing short of a disgrace. We have been so silent, it is frightening. That the new Minister was silent this summer and spent more time giving out about Hamas than he did about what the Israelis were doing to Palestinians in Gaza beggars belief.

To finish, Chathaoirleach, just a word on today’s Water Protest.  I just met a man on the street who told me that he had heard the main stream media were claiming that there were only 30,000 people at today's protest. He added that he would like to see them try to get all of those protesters into Croke Park, which can hold 80,000, because they would not be able to do so.
 
He then said that‘ we’re told that up to 250,000 attend the St. Patricks Day parade each year, well it didn’t look much different today.’

This Government is on its last legs. The sooner it realises it, the better. The people have seen enough of it.

Mick Wallace.

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Dáil Diary 55- 11 Dec 14

Will Government protect us from Mass Surveillance…?

For different reasons, there are large security organisations and multinational corporations who want to know as much as possible about you. Government’s pretend to protect our right to privacy but their actions tell a different story. Thanks to Edward Snowden, we recently discovered that the British intelligence body GCHQ, have tapped into undersea communications cables between Britain and Ireland, interfering with citizens right to privacy – this means that they are recording and storing much of our phone calls, messages and emails.

This week at Leader’s Questions in the Dáil Chamber, I asked the Taoiseach Enda Kenny if the tapping of the undersea communication cables was done with the authority of the Irish Government. If so, under what legislation was it done, and if not, what are the Irish Government going to do about it, now that they know it has taken place, and do they intend to assert our sovereignty? Has he communicated with the British Prime Minister to express his concerns? He didn’t answer my question in the Dáil Chamber and said he would get back to me. Meanwhile, I have written to the Taoiseach, appealing for a straight answer to my question. Here’s the Dáil debate on the issue at Leader’s Questions -

“The Minister for Justice and Equality, Deputy Frances Fitzgerald, recently signed into law Part 3 of the Criminal Justice (Mutual Assistance) Act 2008. This refers to targeted surveillance, meaning the person or persons whose information is intercepted would be the subject of a particular criminal investigation, that the request shall be detailed and make a reasonable case for the necessity of the interception of information. The reality is very different. As was exposed by Mr. Edward Snowden recently, billions of Irish communications are being actively recorded and stored by the British GCHQ and shared with other intelligence agencies. They have tapped into a cable under the Irish Sea and it appears that Vodafone has been paid tens of millions of euro for facilitating the activity. This is nothing short of mass surveillance and the indiscriminate targeting of all citizens of this country, regardless of whether people are innocent or guilty. It seems people are now guilty until proven innocent.

It seems that in a world where everything is collected and monitored, anyone who challenges unjust laws will be silenced. This undermines democracy. There is no system of judicial oversight instituted by this legislation signed into law by the Minister. The Minister has given extraordinary powers that are not subject to scrutiny and there is a proposal to set up secret courts to deal with third party companies that do not comply with the Minister's orders, which is completely at odds with any notion of transparency and judicial oversight practices that would be regarded as essential for any country adhering to the UN convention on human rights.

Why does the Government feel it necessary to violate all notions of transparency with regard to this legislation? Will the Taoiseach indicate if the Government authorised the British monitoring of the undersea  communications cables? If so, under what legislation was this done?

The Taoiseach:  I thank Deputy Wallace for his question. The Criminal Justice (Mutual Assistance) Act 2008 implements the EU Convention on Mutual Assistance in Criminal Matters between member states of the European Union of 2000. Part 3 of the 2008 Act deals with mutual assistance regarding requests to or from EU member states for assistance in the interception of telecommunications. The recent decision by the Minister to commence Part 3 of the 2008 Act arises from an obligation under the Treaty of Lisbon whereby the State would be in breach of its obligations to fully implement the provisions of the EU Convention on Mutual Assistance in criminal matters by 1 December this year. An EU convention is at issue, and this mirrors arrangements in other EU countries. Accordingly, it is open to the Garda in Ireland to request similar assistance from other EU member states if it is deemed appropriate.

The convention applies only to criminal matters. It does not apply to intelligence gathering. Essentially, where a lawful interception order is in place in one EU in relation to the investigation of serious crime, it can be given effect in another country upon request in accordance with the domestic law implementing the convention. In Ireland, the arrangements in place will reflect the provision of the Interception of Postal Packets and Telecommunications Messages (Regulation) Act 1993. That includes oversight by a designated High Court judge. The provision relating to in camera hearings arises because it would not be appropriate in open court to disclose who might be the subject of an interception order in the investigation of serious crime.

 I cannot comment on the allegation of wholesale interception of Irish telephone calls by Britain. That is a matter on which I will come back to the Deputy in the context of the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade and the Department of Justice and Equality. I do not have the answer here.

Mick Wallace:  I am disappointed the Taoiseach does not know whether we have illegally authorised the monitoring of the sea cable. I am sure the Taoiseach is aware that in April of this year, the European Court of Justice ruled in favour of Digital Rights Ireland and declared the European directive on data retention invalid owing to its serious interference with private life and freedom of expression, thus violating the European Charter of Fundamental Rights. The Taoiseach said we are signing up to a commitment made under the Lisbon treaty but Part 3 is part of an Act introduced in 2008 and things have moved on since then. The fact that Digital Rights Ireland won that case this year changes the goalposts a good bit. It is now possible that we may be breaking different rules in Europe by signing up to this. What assessment of the 2008 law was done following the judgment in Digital Rights Ireland's European Court of Justice case to ensure that the law is in compliance with the European Charter of Fundamental Rights?
We have a serious problem with mass surveillance. Recently, the US was found guilty of spying on Petrobras, the Brazilian oil company, an economic summit, the IMF, the World Bank and the international credit card system, all to gain economic advantage in international competitiveness.
Given to the type of industries around information, which have set up in Ireland, the idea that GCHQ is tapping into cables and getting all the information it wants and sharing it with whoever it wants around the planet, should worry the Government.

The Taoiseach:  I saw the media reports that GCHQ in the UK was tapping into undersea communications cables. The media reports actually suggest that if such surveillance is being carried out, it is being carried out within the UK's own jurisdiction. Each country makes its own arrangements to have a capacity to intercept communications but I would expect that any such surveillance by any country would have to have a proper legal basis and that the interference is proportionate to the aim for which it is intended. As the Deputy pointed out, there would be understandable concern if the general principle of the privacy of communications was not being respected.
The need for the protection of people from terrorists and other criminal threats is acknowledged but the point must be made that it is necessary to ensure that the information is properly obtained and subject to appropriate safeguards, in particular in those cases. I would expect that the UK would follow these principles as well.

This matter is being investigated by the European Commission. As I said, these matters are governed by legislation in this jurisdiction and there is no question of any form of mass surveillance here. Furthermore, the relevant legislation is overseen by a designated judge of the High Court and the reports are laid before both Houses of the Oireachtas. Ireland will reiterate its belief at international fora and elsewhere that the principles I just mentioned are adhered to.
The story was based primarily on the grounds that if there had been any tapping or interception of these undersea cables, it occurred outside our jurisdiction. While the article did not specifically address that issue, any tapping or interception of these communications would likely have occurred within the jurisdiction of the UK and would presumably be covered by EU law.
As the Deputy knows, these communications cables are owed by commercial companies. Irish companies, such as Eircom, have an interest in some of the cables. The report goes on to say that the Irish owned cables in question, including those which link Ireland with the US and Canada, are routed through the UK. The matter is being investigated by the Commission. There is no question of mass surveillance here and the collection of any such data would have to be in accordance with the legislation laid down, which, in our case, is overseen by a High Court judge. The reports are laid before both Houses of the Oireachtas.”

Mick Wallace

Good heartiness is a result of proper nutrition and hygiene. How can medicaments hels up? Circumstances that can influence your choice when you are buying medications are various. Below are basic reasons about cialis vs levitra vs viagra which one is better. Surely there are also other momentous questions. Choosing the ideal treatment edition for a racy disease can get really confusing considering the advantages and disadvantages of the existing treatment methodologies. When you buy remedies like Cialis you have to remember about levitra vs cialis vs viagra. The most significant thing you must look for is which works better viagra or cialis or levitra. A long list of prescription drugs can lead to erectile disfunction, including many blood pressure medicines, pain remedies, and most of antidepressants. Sometimes the treatment options may include erectile malfunction remedies or hormone treatments.

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