Questions over the funding of the No campaign in Ireland on the Lisbon Treaty referendum
Raising a point of order, Co-President Daniel Cohn Bendit (Greens/EFA , DE) said: "Last weekend, the Irish press revealed that there possibly exists a link between the financers of the no-campaign in Ireland and the Pentagon as well as the CIA. This was a very interesting story and the explanation given was that Europe should not become too strong. I would ask the President to please clarify this matter and suggest that we also ask the Council as well as the Commission to inform us next time, because if this story turns out to be true it would be an interesting fact indeed, confirming what lies behind the €1.2 million which was used to finance the no-campaign in Ireland. I therefore would like to ask the President to please look into the matter so that we receive information and achieve transparency."
In response, EP President Hans-Gert Pöttering said: "I have been following this whole matter very attentively for some time. We do indeed need absolute transparency on this (matter) because this is exactly what those who are attacking us demand. However, they must of course comply with these standards
themselves, i.e. they must provide total transparency on what funds this organisation. We have learned from the Irish media - and I am quoting what we read in Ireland during the past week - that in the past Mr Ganley claimed that the donations come from ordinary citizens, and that they are small donations. According to the reports, he now has admitted that he himself has donated €200 000 of his personal assets to his organisation, and it has also been confirmed in the meantime that Mr Ganley has signed contracts with the Pentagon over the execution of military orders amounting to about 200 million - I believe - dollars. Other estimates are much higher.
We must continue to follow this affair very closely. The facts must be put on the table. We cannot allow Europe to be harmed by people who demand transparency but do not provide it themselves.
I would like to emphasise my high regard for the Irish Minister of European Affairs, Dick Roche, who has made it his personal cause to shed light on this issue and I explicitly support him in his uncompromising approach. Ladies and gentlemen, I deduce from your applause that we stand on the side of those who strive for absolute transparency in all of these questions in order to keep Europe from suffering harm. "What is strange here is the way in which this is addressed. This is taken from and official Parliament press release. It consists of a straight lift from Hansard of a Q&A between the leader of the Greens and the President of Parliament, significantly both German. I have never seen anything like it.
Pöttering is the President of Parliament and as such is normally required to act in a neutral fashion, which is clearly not the case here. He is conspiring with a Green (he is Christian Democrat) against Ganley.
Ganley is clearly the enemy, but the reasoning of Cohen Bendit is peculiar in the extreme. He seems to think that because Ganley earn't money from the US military, him spending his own money - fairly earnt - is tantamount to US military support of the No campaign.
The timing of this is also apposite. Ganley went to Germany yesterday in order to start putting together a German list for next year's Euro elections. The German political class are terrified that he will find a ready and willing audience. However as we have seen from previous elections a nice does of anti-Americanism goes down well in Germany, so what better time to suggest that Ganley is a CIA plant?
Ganley's response, according to somebody who watched the German love in in the chamber was along the lines of,
Raucous laugh, followed by the comment that they must be getting rattled if they resort to this sort of premeditated attack.
You know I think he might have a point.
Tuesday, September 23, 2008
Can be the only way to describe a little carry on yesterday in the Parliament.