Sunday, June 15, 2008

Libertas political coup derails Lisbon Treaty

I think we’ve just witnessed a bloodless political coup, masterminded by the hitherto (politically) unknown Libertas organisation.

That coup successfully overthrew the aspiration of the democratically elected Government and both main opposition parties to pass the Lisbon Treaty. By doing so, it also set off a domino political crisis in 26 other democratic states which comprise the EU and many of which have already ratified the treaty through their parliaments.

A question which inevitably arises is whether Libertas is a genuinely Irish-born organisation or a front for some external party or government with an interest in derailing the EU project. Libertas was founded by businessman/oligarch Declan Ganley, but the political objectives and funding of that organisation are unknown at this point in time.

You have to ask who would be interested in scuppering the EU? Presumably parties intent on preventing the EU developing greater economic, political, diplomatic and, perhaps, military power on the world stage. The USA and Russia spring to mind.

Libertas founder Declan Ganley has strong connections in both countries. His company, Rivada Networks, provides telecommunications facilities to US-government agencies e.g. the national guard, police services, FEMA etc., while his early business career was built around the export of metals, particularly aluminium, from Russia.

It would have been easy to identify Ireland, the only country holding a referendum, as the weakest link in the Lisbon Treaty ratification chain. Is that what happened?

Another possible objective of the coup is the personal political ambition of Declan Ganley and the use of the Lisbon Treaty as a launch pad for his political career.

Ganley was the guest on Eamon Dunphy’s RTE programme yesterday where he revealed that, at the time Latvia declared independence from the USSR in August 1991, he was very friendly with members of the Latvian Popular Front, many of whom ended up in the first Latvian Government. His connections there arose from the fact that his company exported it’s Russian metals through Riga, the capital of Latvia.

Ganley expressed great admiration and enthusiasm for these Latvian patriots. When asked where these people were on the politcial spectrum, Ganley agreed that they were broadly conservative, with nationalists and some socialists in the mix. Much of Ganley's own rhetoric smacks of nationalism, patriotism, pride in irishness etc etc..

One suspects he's probably some brand of neo-liberal nationalist, but the fear is that Libertas might just stray into neo-fascism, given the political colour of some of its anti-Lisbon political bed-fellows. Not exactly a collection of dyed-in-the-wool democrats.

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