[Below is the text of a speech made by Joe Higgins TD (Member of Parliament) to the Irish parliament, the Dáil, on October 3, 2001. Also, a copy of a motion Joe put forward, which is in the ‘Order Paper of the House’ but will not be debated.]
From the debate in the Dáil on the situation following the attack of 11 September in the United States;
Mr. Higgins (Dublin West): The Socialist Party and our international movement, the Committee for a Workers’ International, have trenchantly condemned the atrocity carried out in the United States on 11 September. The condemnation of international terror by the United States government, the British and some other Governments, however, and their declaration of war on terror, reek of nauseating hypocrisy. They have no moral authority to condemn terror because they have routinely deployed state terror themselves or sponsored state terror by others in pursuit of economic and political objectives that facilitate primarily the powerful multinational corporations, which operate from these western countries - international capitalism if you wish.
Successive United States administrations have for generations propped up, financed and facilitated murderous dictatorships in Central and South America and other regions, which pillaged the wealth of their societies and imprisoned, tortured and slaughtered countless thousands of innocent citizens. In Chile, the CIA organised the overthrow in 1973 of a democratically elected government. Mr. George Bush says he is pursuing a war against those who have murdered thousand of innocent people, people whom his Christian church would call the innocent children of God. However, what of the innocent children of Iraq? Are they the children of a lesser God? They must be in the eyes of Mr. Bush because his government continues to visit painful death on thousands of them by the sanctions that deprive them of medicine, nutrition, clean water and sanitation.
That is terror of the most atrocious kind. The United States and British Governments are leading the hunt for Osama bin Laden and his organisation, al Qa'eda. They brought that organisation into being. Now that it has turned on them, their grotesquely deformed creature is to be destroyed. The British Prime Minister, Mr. Blair is leading the charge. Mr. Blair is a sanctimonious hypocrite. Two years ago he had a notorious international terrorist, a proven mass murderer, in his custody - one General Augusto Pinochet of Chile. Did Mr. Blair then lead a crusade to have this mass killer brought to justice? In fact, Mr. Blair's Government did everything possible to get Pinochet safely out of Britain and back to Chile. Why? It was because Pinochet deployed his CIA sponsored terror in defence of the interests of the American and British multinationals and of the government of the United States.
Those who carried out the atrocity on 11 September most likely emanated from the poisoned situation in the Middle East. Does anybody believe that a war in Afghanistan will resolve that situation? It will simply make it worse. It was reckless and irresponsible of the Irish Government to offer Irish air space and airports for what the United States might do. This offer must be withdrawn.
Terrorism does not in any way advance the cause of the poor and the oppressed. Its effects are reactionary. One consequence of 11 September is a discussion of plans by governments, including EU governments that will have the effect of attacking civil rights and the right to protest. In particular, the massive and peaceful movement against global capitalism may be under threat. That will not be tolerated. Empowering people through mass movement to change the world is how the tyranny brought about by global capitalism and the poverty and horror it entails can be challenged and overthrown. The principles of democratic socialism, where the fruits of the earth are equally deployed among the peoples and national oppression is removed for all time, are how we will create a world where both the state terrorism of the United States and Britain and the horrific terror of 11 September will be eliminated for all time.
[Dail] Motion for Order
Joe Higgins T.D. (Dublin West)
Dáil Eireann condemns absolutely the atrocities carried out in the United States on September 11th, 2001, which resulted in the slaughter of thousands of innocent people, and expresses solidarity with the suffering of the American people and those of all nationalities involved.
The Dáil does not believe that a military attack that might be carried out by the United States, Britain, and other Western powers on Afghanistan would resolve the issues raised by the events of September 11th and would result in the further slaughter of innocent people. The Dáil demands therefore that the United States military is not allowed the use of Irish airspace or Irish airports for any activity that would assist such an attack to be carried out and censures the Taoiseach [prime minister] for having made such an offer.
The Dáil recognizes that the foreign policy of the United States and other Western powers toward the Middle East region has embittered tens of millions of people through their support for brutal, undemocratic regimes; the contempt shown toward the plight of the Palestinian people; the economic exploitation of the region and the murderous sanctions that have caused the deaths of hundreds of thousands of innocent Iraqi people. The Dáil condemns this foreign policy and endorses the right of the peoples of the Middle East to decide democratically the future of the region.