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    Re. Liam Campbell

    It's a backhanded compliment of sorts that the Murdoch press is expending so many column inches on smearing me on the eve of a very important election.

    The details of the Sunday Times article are with my solicitor for review. Pending review, I can say the following:

    Any involvement I have had with any Irish political prisoners has always been anchored in the work of the Oireachtas Ad-hoc Prisoner group, a cross party grouping on prisoner and justice issues in the framework of the Good Friday Agreement and reinforcing the peace process. I was member of the group throughout my time in the Dáil. Our work has been recognised by the Independent Reporting Commission, a statutory body established in 2015 to report on measures aimed at ending paramilitarism.

    We met Liam Campbell in 2012 as part of the work of that group. In 2013 I, along with Eamon Ó Cuív, Maureen O’Sullivan and Martin Ferris, travelled to Lithuania to attend at the trial of Michael Campbell. As an MEP I have continued to work on fundamental rights and prison conditions on the European Parliament's Civil Liberties committee, in which capacity I have worked with prisoners and defendants in numerous EU countries.

    There is nothing whatsoever either surprising or untoward about public representatives who work on fundamental rights and prison conditions interacting with persons accused or convicted of criminal offences, and taking steps to help them when they and their legal teams seek to ensure their rights are vindicated. Human rights are universal, or they are meaningless.

    Against the backdrop of Israeli threats against the Irish state, it is deeply troubling that the Murdoch-owned British press is collaborating with a website controlled by a Russian oligarch with links to Israel on a piece that is deeply invidious to the peace process, and publishing what can only be described as a political hit-job on an Irish politician less than two weeks out from an Irish election.

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    Press Release: Israeli spokesmen celebrate as 5 Fine Gael MEPs help torpedo a European Parliament call for a ceasefire in Gaza

    Clare Daly: ‘Fine Gael MEPs have serious questions to answer over Gaza vote... The fact the Israelis spent yesterday trumpeting their satisfaction with the Parliament’s text shows you that far from a call for a ceasefire, this text is yet another example of EU support for Israeli genocide.'

     

    MEP Clare Daly has said that Fine Gael MEPs have ‘serious questions to answer’ regarding their vote yesterday on a Gaza resolution at the European Parliament.

     

    Said Daly, ‘Yesterday, Ireland’s five Fine Gael MEPs voted in favour of an amendment to effectively remove the call for a ceasefire in Gaza from a European Parliament resolution on the humanitarian situation in Gaza and “the need to reach a permanent ceasefire”. The word ‘ceasefire’ might still be there in the text, but the effect of the amendment was to tell the Israeli government the European Parliament is happy for them to continue until their goals have been achieved, a position that has brought us 105 days of slaughter and atrocity in Gaza.

     

    ‘The  language of the amendment, and of the resolution that was passed, exactly mirrors the position of the Israeli government - the killing will not stop until Hamas is ‘dismantled’ and all hostages unconditionally released.

     

    ‘The “Netanyahu amendment”, which lifts its text almost directly from a statement by the Israeli Prime Minister, was carried by 257 votes to 242, with all five Fine Gael MEPs voting in favour of it. The fact the Israelis spent yesterday trumpeting their satisfaction with the Parliament’s text shows you that far from a call for a ceasefire, this text is yet another example of EU support for Israeli genocide.’

     

    The resolution has been welcomed by Israeli spokespeople and Israel’s ambassador to the EU, who told Politico.eu, “We are happy to see that the European Parliament understands the need to release the hostages and disarm Hamas before any cease-fire.”

     

    Netanyahu spokesman Eylon Levy wrote on Twitter: ‘The European Union wants Israel to win this war against Hamas. 🇪🇺🤝🇮🇱. The European Parliament just demanded the immediate and unconditional release of the hostages and dismantling of Hamas. It said no permanent ceasefire until then.’

     

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    Said Daly, ‘We said yesterday that Israel would understand this resolution as a green light to continue the slaughter - and that’s exactly how it has been understood by them. Fine Gael has extremely serious questions to answer about this vote, which undermines the repeatedly stated position of the Irish government that a ceasefire should be immediate. This kind of division in the Irish position will be exploited by the Israeli government and by those in the European Council who are determined that Israel’s genocide should be allowed go on.’

     

    Said Mick Wallace, ‘Ireland has consistently said that it supports an immediate humanitarian ceasefire. The fact that five Government MEPs voted yesterday to sabotage a call for a ceasefire will have repercussions for how Ireland is perceived globally. The fact this resolution, and this amendment, has been delightedly welcomed by the Israelis tells you exactly what it is.

     

    ‘In statements yesterday Fine Gael pleaded that in the same voting session they also supported a call for an immediate ceasefire, but you can’t have it both ways on this issue. That amendment failed, and the “Netanyahu amendment” passed. Fine Gael voted for that amendment, one that without question supports the Israeli position that the genocide should go on. That will be seized on by the Israeli government. Fine Gael have serious questions to answer on this.

     

    ‘Media reporting on this so far has characterised it as a difference of opinion between Fianna Fail and Fine Gael regarding the degree of conditionality that should attach to a ceasefire call, completely missing the fact that this is not what’s at issue. The truth is that the vote to attach the particular conditions they did to the ceasefire call renders the word ‘ceasefire’ in the text null and void, and the Israelis very clearly understand it that way. This text grants permission to Israel to continue its genocide until Israel decides it should stop. You’d imagine that government MEPs supporting that move would face some questions, but so far a code of omerta appears to have prevailed.’

     

    Links: https://claredaly.ie/press-release-on-behalf-of-meps-mick-wallace-and-clare-daly-meps-wallace-and-daly-denounce-fine-gael-meps-for-torpedoing-european-parliament-call-for-unconditional-ceasefire-in-gaza/

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    6 years in Lithuanian prison for investigative journalism

    (The following is a brief explainer and update on the case of Algirdas Paleckis, a Lithuanian journalist currently subject to prosecution on "espionage" charges. The case is an example - along with that of Julian Assange - of how espionage law is being misused in Europe and further abroad to stifle dissent, and how the space for challenging Europe's foreign policy orthodoxy is shrinking.

    Photos from my recent visit to Lithuania along with MEPs Mick Wallace and Tatjana Ždanoka to support Paleckis can be found here:  https://www.facebook.com/judejimas.ausra/photos/pcb.139925711712862/139906478381452 )

    Algirdas Paleckis (50) is a Lithuanian journalist and politician who was arrested on charges of “espionage for Russia” in 2018. He spent 17 months in the solitary confinement cell before any trial started and is under house arrest since 2020.

    In July this year the district court sentenced him to 6 years in prison. A. Paleckis appealed. The district court completely ignored the lack of evidence (see below) and just copy-pasted into its verdict the final speech of the prosecutor. Many Lithuanian courts are known for their dependency on the Government, so A. Paleckis risks spending another 6 years in jail, as the final ruling of the Appeal court approaches (in January or February next year).

    The journalist is accused of “gathering and passing to Russia” information about Lithuanian judges who investigated the events of 1991 in Vilnius, as Soviets troops clashed with civilians. However, no proof of it was presented in the court – no documents, or files, or any other type of information allegedly “gathered” by A. Paleckis. Moreover, no person has been identified as a foreign agent who “gave instructions” to him, so no link to foreign services was established.

    The prosecutor claims that A. Paleckis contacted with “unidentified” foreign agent, but the whole accusation is based on the testimony of a witness who is a convicted pedophile (Deimantas Bertauskas). It is also based on the secret memos of Lithuanian secret services. Part of the court sittings were also held secret, although the prosecutor admitted that there are no state secrets in A. Paleckis case.

    As a journalist and politician, A. Paleckis has been a long-time critic of the Government. His “guilt” was to make his journalistic investigation into the events of 1991 in Vilnius. The authorities feel quite uneasy about this topic, as they already fined him for such investigation in 2012. During its last sitting (on the 16th of November 2021 in Vilnius) Lithuania’s Court of Appeal decided:

    • to reject A. Paleckis’ request to make the psychological expertise of the sole witness in the case who is a convicted pedophile (D. Bertauskas) and on whose testimony the whole case is based. This person was acquitted as a reward for his “testimony”. A parallel exist here with J. Assange case, where a pedophile gave testimony against J. Assange.
    • to reject A. Paleckis’ request to interrogate Mr Butkevicius (a high-ranking official during the events of 1991).
    • to approve A. Paleckis request and ask the State Security Department to present to the court the protocols of secrete interrogations of the mentioned witness. These protocols are still secrete, which is a juridical nonsense because accusation against A. Paleckis are based on them.

    The next court sitting is due on 12th of January 2022. If the court will not receive the mentioned secret protocols of secret interrogations (which is quite likely), then final speeches will be pronounced, and the court will convene for a verdict at some point in January or February 2022. The verdict will come into force immediately.

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    Bulgaria Rule of Law Booklet

    BULGARIA –  A Call to Protect the Rights of Bulgarian Citizens from Systematic rule of Law Infringements under Article 2 of the TEU and the Charter of Fundamental Rights of the EU. The European Commission’s rule of law monitoring mechanism fails to review entrenched, systemic rule of law issues in Bulgaria, and is therefore glaringly ineffective at protecting Bulgarian citizens’ rights under Article 2 of the Treaty on European Union and the Charter of Fundamental Rights of the EU. See full booklet here: http://claredaly.ie/wp-content/uploads/2021/11/RuleofLawBookletEN.pdf

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    Make Amazon Pay

    Very glad to have signed this important statement.

       

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