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Ganley 'puppet of US military'

by Frank Schnittger Wed Mar 25th, 2009 at 10:50:58 AM EST

The Irish Election campaign for the European Parliament is beginning to heat up with accusations that Libertas is acting as a 'puppet of the US military'  and also that he has failed to comply with the requirements of the  Irish Standards in Public Office commission.

Ganley 'puppet of US military' - MEP - The Irish Times - Mon, Mar 23, 2009

Last week Mr Ganley described Mr Higgins as "Swimmer Jim". He claimed the MEP had voted for a swimming pool for MEPs and staff that would cost €9.2 million. Yesterday Mr Higgins said he never voted for such a project and neither did any of his colleagues.

Mr Ganley yesterday predicted that even if Libertas performed poorly in this June's European elections, it would return more MEPs than the combined total of 12 MEPs elected from Ireland.

Speaking on RTÉ Radio's This Week , he said that the party, which is fielding 100 candidates across 27 EU states, would win seats and that the number could be 35 or 15.

----------snip

Mr Higgins claimed Mr Ganley had refused to disclose information about last year's campaign. He said the Libertas founder was a "lord of the manor who lectures from on high in relation to transparency. It begs the question, what is Mr Ganley hiding?"

Mr Higgins also questioned some of the political affiliations Mr Ganley and Libertas have built up in attempts to make Libertas a pan-European party. He also claimed that the businessman was doing the US military's bidding.

I have seen scattered reports of Libertas seeking to make alliances with some rather strange bedfellows throughout Europe and would be interested in doing a country by country audit of what candidates and parties they are aligning themselves with.  Would readers like to contribute their knowledge of who Libertas is running or aligning with in their own countries, and also what policy platform it is running on?


Ganley is branded a 'puppet of US military' - National News, Frontpage - Independent.ie

Earlier, Mr Higgins added Mr Ganley would also have to explain why "two of the Eastern European politicians who signed his ratification for recognition as a political party have now withdrawn their signatures" and to come clean about the one million Swedish Krona allegedly offered to the euro-sceptical political party Junilistan to add the name of Libertas to its title.

Mr Higgins claimed that its leader had responded by saying that it would be "extremely unethical" for the Swedish party to be funded by a millionaire from another country.

He said the public would also like to know why, after courting and supporting the ultra right wing Catholic LPR party in Poland, Mr Ganley has "suddenly bolted in the opposite direction" this week.


Mindful of the fact that the EU enjoys over 70% support in Ireland, Libertas is now denying that it is a Eurosceptic party and claims to be campaigning for a more democratic Europe opposed to the bureaucratic elites in Brussels and in various national capitals.

This is a popular message to be sending out in Ireland because there is a widespread popular feeling of detachment, remoteness and incomprehension about how the EU goes about its business which was highlighted by the Irish Lisbon referendum campaign.

However Declan Ganley also seems to be aligning Libertas with europsceptics like Vaclav Klaus and Jean-Marie Le Pen in other countries and so it seems that his pro-Europeanism is more the Europeanism of Nationalists like Margaret Thatcher who argued that the EU should be an alliance of strong nation states rather than developing into a more powerful separate entity with institutions such as the EU Parliament, Council, and Commission developing more influence in their own right.

To many in Ireland it is somewhat ironic that Ganley should criticise undemocratic elites in Europe when he himself has never been elected to anything and has made a multi-million fortune through his company Rivada Networks, supplying services to the US military.  His company has former generals and Admirals on its Board which has led to accusations that Ganley is really doing the bidding of the US Military Industrial complex and seeking to prevent the EU become an effective competitor to the US.

Ganley also has extensive links to neo-conservative US think tanks like the Heritage Foundation which have explicitly opposed the Lisbon Treaty on the grounds that it might lead to the EU becoming a more effective competitor to the US in global strategic affairs at the expense of a US dominated NATO.

There's no use turning Ganley into a scapegoat - Analysis, Opinion - Independent.ie

Last week, the president of the European parliament, Hans-Gert Pottering, raised the spectre of an EU investigation into any possible association between US military agencies and the Irish lobby group Libertas, which campaigned successfully for a 'No' vote in the Lisbon Treaty referendum. Declan Ganley of Libertas has described Pottering's remarks as "utterly outrageous".

Ganley may be "outraged" but it turns out that Libertas, in fact, had very unusual financing during the referendum. And Ganley's American company, Rivada, has lucrative defence contracts with US government agencies. Some Americans wanted the Irish to vote 'No', and thus weaken the prospects of a stronger united Europe with its own army.

--------snip

Anyone watching closely the current US presidential election knows just how dirty and rough they play the political game in Washington. It is certainly not beyond the bounds of possibility that US intelligence services might have attempted to coax or encourage Ganley to take the plunge and oppose Lisbon.

Not that Ganley needed coaxing by anyone. It turns out that he gave Libertas a "personal loan" of €200,000 from his personal wealth, wealth that is estimated to be €300m. The "loan" was a neat way to get around Irish law that limits donations to political organisations to just €6,348.69 per person (IR£5,000). It would have been impossible if Irish election laws were stricter.

I personally welcome the development of pan-European parties as this can foster the development of a pan European demos and polity.  It is not healthy that Barroso is likely to be "re-elected" President of the European Commission without any significant opposition or public debate, and if Libertas helps to create a more Pan European polity, so much the better.

However there seems to me to be a huge disparity between Libertas' electoral platform and alliances and actually trying to make the EU work more effectively.  As befits a slick marketing operation they have correctly identified a vein of popular apathy, disillusion, ignorance and alienation from what seems a very complex and opaque political process within the EU.  

I have no doubt that there is also a significant Eurosceptic vote to be harvested throughout the EU and Libertas may even succeed in getting Ganley elected to the European Parliament in the Ireland North-West Constituency where the third and last seat is probably a close call between Ganley, Independent MEP Marian Harkin, and Sinn Fein.  We may be sure that Ganley did his market research before declaring his candidacy and there will be some admiration for his entrepreneurial achievements, particularly at a time of devastating economic depression.

What I don't want to see however, is European politics increasingly dominated by big money, big business, big media organisations and a demagogic form of populism which trades on people's lack of knowledge of how the EU actually works and seeks to exploit people's fears in an increasing insecure global economy.

The Murdock owned "Sunday Times" absolutely refused to publish any pro-Lisbon articles during the last Lisbon referendum campaign and the more tabloid Murdock titles have an increasing circulation in Ireland particularly amongst the market segments which voted heavily against Lisbon.

It would be a great pity, however, if whatever European "Demos" does develop should come to be dominated by such Eurosceptic dominated businesses, media empires and political alliances.  It seems that Libertas has sought to link up opportunistically with whatever eurosceptic elements it can find in the various member states.  As usual the right seems to be so much better organised and financed than its left wing or green counterparts.

It would also be a sad irony if the European Demos moved decisively to the right just as Obama is moving the US to the left and as the militarism of the neo-cons and the neo-liberalism of the global financial elite are being so decisively discredited every where else.

So what has Libertas been up to in your country?  I would appreciate any information you have in the comments.

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notes from no w here
by Frank Schnittger (mail Frankschnittger at hot male dotty communists) on Tue Mar 24th, 2009 at 11:00:48 AM EST
Libertas has a German branch (link). The foundation has been rather recently.

The head of the party is Carlos A. Gebauer. I think they are relatively unknown, though. Gebauer is (I assume) a regular contributor to the conservative magazine eigentümlich frei, occasionally he writes as well in the FAZ.

Der Amerikaner ist die Orchidee unter den Menschen
Volker Pispers

by Martin (weiser.mensch(at)googlemail.com) on Tue Mar 24th, 2009 at 03:29:05 PM EST
The German site looks very like the original Irish site which now seems to have been replaced by a new flashy libertas.eu site.  Money has never been a problem for Libertas although the site has never had a decent amount of content even though Libertas originally billed itself as a "Think Tank".

notes from no w here
by Frank Schnittger (mail Frankschnittger at hot male dotty communists) on Tue Mar 24th, 2009 at 03:43:11 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Libertas Ireland - Libertas.eu
Former IFA Leinster, Louth, and Beef Chairman Raymond O'Malley announced he is to contest the European Elections in Ireland East for the Libertas Party, he informed a gathering of supporters in Lexilip last night (Monday).

Libertas spend a lot of time criticising the thousands of lobbyists working out of Brussels, and then the select a former Brussels lobbyist to stand for them in Ireland East!

notes from no w here

by Frank Schnittger (mail Frankschnittger at hot male dotty communists) on Tue Mar 24th, 2009 at 04:01:42 PM EST
If it's the usual schtick from the right you can forget about principles or consistency - all you'll get is expediency and focus on ends rather than means.

In this case the aim is to be a spoiler party. If a Brussels lobbyist is likely to help with that, that's all that's needed.

by ThatBritGuy (thatbritguy (at) googlemail.com) on Tue Mar 24th, 2009 at 05:51:33 PM EST
[ Parent ]
I personally welcome the development of pan-European parties

I wonder how people here might feel about global political parties and of elected representatives to the United Nations (or some other global body)? If I understand aright, transnational parties are banned by the EU at the present time, and I wonder how long that'll continue. Does Lisbon address this? Personally, I don't see ban on international parties in the EU continuing long into the future.

The global idea has popped into my mind a few times in the last week or so. I find it potentially attractive for the way international dynamics are altered.

Colman, you may step in at any time and shoot this idea down with your trademark pith. Have at it :)

"It Can't Be Just About Us"
--Frank Schnittger, ETian Extraordinaire

by papicek (papi_cek_at_hotmail_dot_com) on Tue Mar 24th, 2009 at 07:38:06 PM EST
Well there used to be the Socialist international... and the Greens have a fairly consistent general approach in most countries and are informally linked both directly and via like minded organisations such a Greenpeace.

I am not aware of an EU ban on transnational parties as such, although political parties do have to meet varying registration requirements in different countries to participate in elections and these can be quite stringent in some member states and not at all in others.

There are also obviously, close links between e.g. socialist, and also between Christian Democrat parties in various countries, and then you have the political groups within the EP which have got quite formal links and leadership structures.

Sinn Fein Ireland is also organised on an all-Ireland basis which of course straddles a sovereign border. So Libertas' claim to be pan-European is not all that unique, especially as it appears to be linking up opportunistically with all kinds of different groups in different countries and variously claiming to be Eurosceptic or pro-European depending on their alliances and where they think the floating votes are.

Global organisations such as the UN tend to be composed of Member States rather than citizens so the question of global political parties as such does not arise - although the member states do of course form regional and ideological alliances.

The notion of "human rights" is the first attempt to define individual rights within a global context - the primary actors in international law have always been states and trans-state organisations created by Treaties between states.  That notion could, of course, come to encompass a broader range of "citizen rights" within a global polity, but that doesn't seem to be on any agenda just yet.

The EU is however gradually moving beyond being an association of states to being a trans-state polity where EU citizens have voting, representation, legal, petition and consumer rights independently of their national polity and as such it could become a model for a broader Global polity in due course.

notes from no w here

by Frank Schnittger (mail Frankschnittger at hot male dotty communists) on Tue Mar 24th, 2009 at 07:58:35 PM EST
[ Parent ]
I saw much the same in a comment over at ThinkAboutIt. (A 5-star rating out of me. I support my fellow ETians.). But thanks for the reply.

It's just an idea I've been toying with, a thought experiment, in conjunction with the book Modernization, Cultural Change, and Democracy that I'd been reading. (I remember your comment - I think it was you - regarding the "modernization" part. The authors dispute this, but that's part of a future diary. :)

"It Can't Be Just About Us"
--Frank Schnittger, ETian Extraordinaire

by papicek (papi_cek_at_hotmail_dot_com) on Tue Mar 24th, 2009 at 09:07:28 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Timo Soini, leader of the nationalist True Finns Party (5 MPs), has tapped into latent xenophobia coupled with anti-EU sentiments. Apparently he, as an individual, supports Libertas - though he has not openly committed his party to it. But it is the same difference.

The True Finns largely appeal to a somewhat intellectually and financially challenged mob, and thus money is hard to come by. Libertas funding would therefore be very attractive to Soini's shoestring operation.

The True Finns have attracted one or two rabid extreme thinkers who have ruffled the edges of the law, and brought unwelcome negative publicity to Soini. I can't see the TF (PS in Finnish) expanding their support. It is a niche party for reactionaries.

You can't be me, I'm taken

by Sven Triloqvist on Wed Mar 25th, 2009 at 04:49:09 AM EST
If they already have 5 MEPs, they are a much more substantial party than Libertas currently is in any case.  I can't understand why (other than money?) parties in other countries would want to come under a Ganley umbrella when he isn't (yet?) a major player even in a small county country like Ireland.

notes from no w here
by Frank Schnittger (mail Frankschnittger at hot male dotty communists) on Wed Mar 25th, 2009 at 05:12:37 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Perhaps he's offering them access to money?
by Colman (colman at eurotrib.com) on Wed Mar 25th, 2009 at 05:22:36 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Precisely

You can't be me, I'm taken
by Sven Triloqvist on Wed Mar 25th, 2009 at 05:40:15 AM EST
[ Parent ]
The independent got it wrong, it was 10 million SEK or about 1 million euros. As reported on ET.

And Libertas still have failed to order ballots (they still can, but then the ballots are not gauranteed to arrive before the election) and have not been mentioned since the scandal with trying to buy Junilistan. Right now, they have about equal chance as the party 666 for a EU Super-State with Project 666 (warning, psychedelic homepage, I take no responsibility for exploding brains) which actually has ordered ballots.

A vote for PES is a vote for EPP! A vote for EPP is a vote for PES! Support the coalition, vote EPP-PES in 2009!

by A swedish kind of death on Wed Mar 25th, 2009 at 06:20:26 AM EST
Perhaps it's no harm to add a bit of colour to the political spectrum.....

notes from no w here
by Frank Schnittger (mail Frankschnittger at hot male dotty communists) on Wed Mar 25th, 2009 at 03:10:22 PM EST
[ Parent ]

Well looking at the website they're going to need a millionaire to fund their bandwidth charges.

Any idiot can face a crisis - it's day to day living that wears you out.
by ceebs (ceebs (at) eurotrib (dot) com) on Wed Mar 25th, 2009 at 06:18:37 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Has somebody frontpaged this - and duplicated the first paragraph of my text?  Thanks anyway, and I have removed duplicate paragraph.

notes from no w here
by Frank Schnittger (mail Frankschnittger at hot male dotty communists) on Wed Mar 25th, 2009 at 04:26:24 PM EST


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