EU behöver partier med en EU-politik. Att som Lotta Gröning fortsätta med att säga nej, vi vill inte, är knappats något som åstadkommer förändring inom EU.
Sen är det ju höjden av ironi att Lotta Gröning hyllar en brittisk-irländsk kapitalist som vill köpa en politisk utveckling. Även kapitalister är tydligen ok om de har rätt åsikter. Här samlas svensk vänster med europeisk högerkonservatism i sitt EU-motstånd.
Om inte annat kan det vara värt att läsa en av många artiklar Ganleys och kompanjonen McEvaddys kopplingar till den amerikanska militären och dess försvarsindustri. Och göra lite research. Eller bara kolla vad wikipedia har att säga.
Den Irländska nej kampanjen var i mycket en s.k astro turf kampanj. Det är många som hellre ser ett Europa och EU som en amerikansk partner hellre än en organisation som företräder Europeiska intressen.
The Libertas lobby group is reported to be funded by private donations from Irish nationals. Anonymous lobby funding of this type is legal under Irish law – although donations above a certain amount will have to be disclosed by the group after the referendum. According to the group, Ganley and his wife have already donated the maximum amount of €6,300.Libertas can accept anonymous donation not exceeding €126.97, no other large donations to Libertas have been revealed.
Some analysts and politicians (including TD Lucinda Creighton) questioned whether the Libertas leadership’s close ties to US military interests were a motivating factor in the movement’s ”No” campaign. The fact that five of the seven members of Libertas were reportedly employees of Rivada Networks, which provides communications technology to the US military, led to some speculation as to the campaign drivers – including speculation that it was funded by US interests. This speculation was further fueled by comments in the US political establishment (including those by John Bolton, former U.S. ambassador to the United Nations) that the Lisbon Treaty was at odds with US and NATO interests.
The US Deputy Secretary of State, John Negroponte, has denied that Declan Ganley or Libertas has received any type of support from the U.S. government.. Libertas representatives have denied claims that Ganley’s business interests (including US defence contracts worth a reported €200m) had any bearing on the group’s goals. It further stated that its backers were ”100% Irish”. Ganley has also rejected claims that the group was actively engaged in political fundraising, but disclosed that he had loaned €200,000 of his own money towards Libertas’ anti-Lisbon treaty campaign.
What’s particularly interesting about this is that McEvaddy is the CEO of Omega Air, a US defence contractor (they supply cargo planes and inflight refuelling services to the US military).
Declan Ganley, president of Libertas, also happens to be president of Rivada Networks, a US defence contractor (they supply emergency communications networks to the US intelligence community).
Now, what’s so peculiar about all of this is that there just aren’t a large number of Irish people who happen to own companies whose major business is providing extremely sensitive services to the US military and intelligence community. If I were to hazard a guess, I’d say that the total population of this demographic in Ireland is 2 – although it’s hard to tell since much of this sort of stuff is classified or covert. Maybe, by the end of the Lisbon campaign a whole tribe of Irish US defence contractors will emerge from the woodwork, but I doubt it.
But, anyway, back to the point, why does it matter what these guys do? Shouldn’t they have a right to a say on Lisbon like everybody else? Certainly they should, but since they have stepped into the light and are taking an active role in public politics and trying to influence public decisions, it is a good idea to inform ourselves about them, to understand something about the nature of what McEvaddy and Ganley’s companies do and the implications for where their loyalties are likely to lie. This article takes a look at McEvaddy, Ganley and Libertas and highlights a few facts which may give a clue as to their motives in entering the political arena.
McEvaddy & Omega Air
Ulick McEvaddy is what you might call a shady character: a rich and influential businessman with ”a surprisingly low profile”.
McEvaddy was an Irish military intelligence officer during his ten years in the army. You can see this fact alluded to openly in a profile published in the US Airforce’s Integrator Magazine . In the Irish media this part of his past is normally airbrushed out of his potted biographies, but back in 1999, a profile in the Irish Independent  revealed that he learned to speak fluent Russian whilst working the ”Russian desk” and commented that his ”experience in military intelligence must have been a great door-opener when he dealt with the US and the armed forces of other countries.”
So, McEvaddy has a background in covert intelligence – and this background has no doubt served him well since transferring his operations to the US. His current company, Omega Air, depends almost entirely upon the business of the US military. As McEvaddy said in his Integrator interview, one big problem he faced in doing business with US military commanders was their natural question: ”how do we know we can rely on you in war?” McEvaddy’s response left one in no doubt that he feels he has more than proved himself on this score.
According to the Integrator, ”industry insiders say [McEvaddy’s] company has even approached U.S. intelligence agencies about tanking services for detainee transfers, to reduce dependence on foreign air fields.” In other words, offering to provide inflight refuelling services to rendition flights so that they wouldn’t have to stop over at foreign airports such as Shannon on their way to ”interrogate” suspects. A very accommodating offer indeed.
McEvaddy was also the figure who got himself appointed to the board of Knock airport with a view to opening it up to US military flights . Although he failed in this venture , his willingness to personally champion unpopular measures such as this must no doubt have endeared him to his customers in the US military.
In March 2007, his company was awarded a $24 million indefinite-delivery/indefinite-quantity contract to provide inflight refuelling to the US Navy , a contract that was renewed in March 2008, with a futher $30 million added .
Apart from these titbits of information, it is fairly hard to find out much information about McEvaddy. He is said to be a supporter of Fine Gael and a personal friend of Mary Harney and Charlie McCreevey. The only time in the past that he really fell under the media spotlight was back in 1999 when he was caught up in a small scandal due to the fact that he had loaned his South of France villa to Mary Harney, free of charge.
His business interests are all in private equity companies – meaning that it is impossible to know how much money he has, or even who really owns his companies.
Declan Ganley and Rivada
Amazingly, Declan Ganley actually manages to out-shady McEvaddy, no mean feat.
The potted narrative that one can find about him from the Internet has him showing up in the following ’business situations’
* In 1991 trading Russian Aluminium in Latvia .
* In 1996 he popped up in Albania, setting up the country’s first private finance company, shortly before the economy collapsed on the back of pyramid schemes .
* By 1997, he was apparently the owner of the biggest Forestry holdings in Russia .
* in 2004 he got himself into trouble in Iraqi telecoms .
* in 2007 he attracted some negative attention for paying for trips by officials in the US department of Homeland Security .
Now what’s interesting about these positions is that none of them were in what one might call ’normal market economies’. In fact, it would be fair to refer to them all as being environments where ’gangster capitalism’ reigned. One does not prosper in such situations by having smart business plans and efficient production processes. One prospers by having access to decision makers and having friends in high places within the intelligence and security communities. The fact that ”most Russian banks [had] their own private armies” in the 1990s and business takeovers tended to be of the armed variety underlines the point rather well .
This brings us on to Ganley’s latest venture, Rivada Networks. If his previous career led one to the suspicion that he must be awfully well connected with the intelligence community, Rivada proves it in spectacular fashion.
Rivada Networks provides ’first responder’ communications networks to the intelligence community and emergencey services. According to their website blurb, their clients include ”USNORTHCOM, the National Guard Bureau, DHS, FEMA, multiple states, and various state and local agencies”. Basically, their products promise to allow the various intelligence and emergency services to talk to one another in situations where much of the normal communications infrastructure may have been destroyed or damaged. This falls broadly under the remit of the Department of Homeland Security. It is an extremely sensitive area for a number of reasons. Firstly, it involves carrying confidential data between the various bodies that make up the US Intelligence Community. US intelligence bodies tend to be extraordinarily paranoid about the security of their electronic communications – achieving SIGINT dominance (signals intelligence, i.e. electronic snooping and counter-snooping) is the cornerstone of US intelligence strategy. The US intelligence agencies often refuse to share access to their data even with each other, never mind entrusting it to third parties. If they allow Ganley to carry their inter-agency communications, they must trust him an awful lot.
Nu får vi globala partier också. Det irländska partiet Libertas som framgångsrikt lyckades få irländarna att rösta nej till Lissabonfördraget ska nu också ställa upp i det svenska valet. Dess ordförande och grundare Declan Ganley erbjöd Junilistan 10 miljoner kronor för att de skulle bli kompanjoner. Sören Wibe, partiets ordförande, såg inviten som en oförskämdhet, ”vi vill inte bli köpta”, var hans svar.
Även om jag kan förstå att Junilistan inte vill bli uppköpt vore det kanske inte så dumt att söka samarbete med andra EU-kritiska partier.
Men EU-kommissionen tycker väldigt illa om Libertas och Declan Ganley och de försöker på alla sätt misskreditera honom och hans pengar. Bland annat vill Hans-Gert Pöttering som är talesman för Europaparlamentet ha en undersökning om amerikanska agenter aktivt sympatiserat med Libertas kampanj under den irländska folkomröstningen om Lissabonavtalet.