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Those International trade deal-making privateers who orbit silently around the Article 133 Committee in Brussels have suffered a couple of serious setbacks in recent weeks. Firstly there was a conditional restoration of the Member States national veto on the privatisation / liberalisation of health and education in the final draft of the proposed EU constitution. Admittedly it is with the weasly insertion of a get out clause if a trade deal looks like it will cause a 'risk to the delivery of public services' in a member state.
We in our innocence had all thought semi-secret EU / WTO trade deals were not going to harm or affect our control over our public services one little iota. Mary Harney had 'reassured' us all on this front in 2002 and Ruairi Quinn backed Bertie up repeating the same line in the Dail in the days immediately preceding the Nice II referendum. Indymedia reported on their barefaced lies at the time. No-one else in the Irish mainstream media seemed to even notice or give a damn that this was happening.
Secondly, the Article 133 Committee which the privateers use as their in to the EU Commission, and which became the bete-noir of the left campaign against the Nice Treaty (II) might just turn out to be a legal black hole and is due a trip to the courts courtesy of the World Wildlife Fund over its legal standing / existence.
We knew already that the 133 Committee wouldn't say anything whatsoever about what they talk about in their meetings - even to the Parliamentarians of Member States - as 19 TD's, 2 MEPs and 5 MLA's found out last February. Their basic role is to negotiate between EU Member States on who will offer what for privatisation (cough) liberalisation in trade deals such as GATS between the EU and the World Trade Organisation. The price of the Bus Service, or Aer Lingus is commercially sensitive and so won't be released -at least not to us who own the things. Those who know what is good for the populations of EU member states are most likely also concerned at the reactions they might get if it came out in the open that they are trading away publicly owned services in secret closed door deals without a whiff of democratic oversight. A fait-accompli works better and the role of the 133 Committee is and was basically to do the groundwork for a never-ending series of such fait-accomplis.
The People in Government, in Corporate Lobby Groups such as LOTIS (Liberalisation Of Trade in Services) , and even in the Irish Civil Service who are trying to hand the Public Services owned by the citizenry of Ireland surreptitiously over wholesale to the Private Sector have the time to dot their i's and cross their t's and to follow the labyrinthine processes of International Trade Negotiations to their bitter ends. They also have names and addresses.
If Irish and European Activists are going to have any chance of effectively opposing them when they come gunning for the privatisation of Health, Education and Water then they need to get to grips with these complex issues and oppose the privateers at every junction in the labyrinth. Boredom is not an option. These people want our eyes to glaze over when we hear 'Lisbon' or 'liberalisation' or 'Article 133' or ‘GATS’. Let’s not give them what they want.
What they want is EVERYTHING which is why the anti-capitalist movement has since it’s inception consistently targeted the WTO and affiliated trade deals such as NAFTA and GATS in an attempt to bring such machinations out of the shadows where they thrive and into the light.
1.Detailed Background Information on Article 133 and GATS from the Article 133 Information Group. Includes the Phone Numbers of Irish Representatives on the Article 133 Committee. Give them a ring and let them know that just because you can’t look them in the eye does not mean you don’t see them.
Here at Indymedia, we like to encourage a DIY attitude. The slogan "Be the media" would be a reasonable distillation of our ethos. As such, we've picked out this particular report as a good example of someone getting out there and doing it themselves. The writer gives the impression of one who was driven by a sense of curiousity and took the time to write a lively and descriptive report of a meeting he attended.
No reporter is completely objective in their writing and this particular reporter clarifies his subjectiveness by clearly stating from the outset his perspective and reason for being there. Nevertheless, he proceeds to give a detailed account of the meeting and the views and opinions expressed by the speakers.
Regular readers may not like the content of the article. They may prefer that Mr. Barrett did not get any publicity for his views (on Indymedia or other media) but this article still qualifies as a fine piece of original reporting. Indymedia as a quality source of original news depends on the willingness of people to do the same.
From the Newswire: 'This Friday a little-known body of the European Union will make a low-profile visit to Dublin Castle. There will be no media spotlight, no fanfare, and the anonymous civil servants who work in it will come and go unnoticed. Their work however, could have profound implications for the lives of millions of people – both within the EU and beyond. The name of this secretive body is the Article 133 Committee.
Further Information and Background
From the Newswire: 'One of the central, but not well known, direct goals of the Irish EU Presidency is to reach agreement with the European Parliament about the CO2 Emissions Trading Market. This market is to be launched in 2005. Ministers of the EU member states are demanding a market full of loopholes, so that companies can escape reducing CO2 and other greenhouse gases on EU territory. Instead companies will be able to produce and trade the commodity “the right to pollute” by financing cheap efficiency projects in Eastern Europe and in the South.
An agreement between the EU Member States and the European
Parliament should finally be reached at the end of June, but ideally
should come about before the last legislative session of the European
Parliament in April, before the elections. Ireland already held a
conference in Dublin on February 3 to discuss the various National
Allocations Plans among the Member States. These allocation plans are
the foundation of privatising the right to pollute among companies in
the EU, concerning high-polluting industries such as the steel and
paper industries. Before the end of March, all Member States should
have finished their allocation plans.
The first major protests of Ireland's EU presidency took place this weekend in Galway, with a number of groups speaking out on issues ranging from racism to fishing in Connemara. They coincided with a meeting of employment/social affairs ministers in a city-centre hotel. The largest demonstration took place under the banner "Another Europe Is Possible", in Eyre Square, close to the venue, and was attended by around 500 people.
Gardai were present in large numbers, and a helicopter hovered overhead. Two people were arrested in a car-park for "obstructing traffic" late on Friday evening. Eoin Rice, a well-known activist, was arrested on Saturday morning, and was allegedly beaten while in Garda custody. In a statement made later that day, he detailed the alleged assaults. "One man stood on my neck as I lay on the ground while several others kicked at me and one man struck me acrossthe legs repeatedly with a telescopic baton which had a large ballbearing on the end. At least a dozen uniformed Gardai stood by watching this scene".
Fintan Lane, PRO of the Irish Anti-War Movement, "unreservedly condemn(ed) the heavy handed approach taken by Gardai in Galway". Edward Horgan of the Peace and Neutrality Alliance called for an "urgent independent investigation of these complaints against the Gardai". The Garda press office confirmed that Eoin Rice had been arrested and is due in court in February. They declined to comment on the allegations of a beating in custody but said that there are "several channels open to him if he wishes to make a complaint". Eoin was examined by a doctor at the Garda station and, on his instigation, was taken directly to Galway Hospital where a wound to his head was stitched, his arm was x-rayed and bandaged and anti-inflammatories and painkillers were administered.
According to Conor Cregan, an anti-war activist who was present at the arrest, all of these injuries were caused after Eoin had been taken away by Gardai. Eoin Rice, Conor Cregan and a third activist (from Spain) confirmed to an Indymedia Editor that they have already lodged complaints about the incident with the Garda Complaints Board.
This serious allegation comes at a time when questions about the accountability of the Gardai and allegations that they are 'out of control' have been recieving enormous public attention as a result of a recent Primetime Programme. The programme in question made extensive use of Indymedia Ireland footage of the Mayday RTS debacle. It is grimly ironic that that the broadcasting by Primetime of the very evidence that made allegations against Gardai in relation to the Mayday RTS impossible to ignore or deny outright is now being used by Lawyers for a number of Gardai as a potential way to have their trials delayed or called off.
IMC IRL Interview with Eoin Rice
Sun 23 Sep, 20:59
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