US embassy cable - 09DUBLIN99

LIBERTAS: A ONE HIT WONDER?

Identifier: 09DUBLIN99
Wikileaks: View 09DUBLIN99 at Wikileaks.org
Origin: Embassy Dublin
Created: 2009-03-02 17:58:00
Classification: CONFIDENTIAL
Tags: EUN PGOV PINR PREL EIND EI
Redacted: This cable was not redacted by Wikileaks.
VZCZCXRO7082
RR RUEHAG RUEHROV RUEHSR
DE RUEHDL #0099/02 0611758
ZNY CCCCC ZZH
R 021758Z MAR 09
FM AMEMBASSY DUBLIN
TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC 9851
INFO RUCNMEM/EU MEMBER STATES
RUEHBL/AMCONSUL BELFAST 0944
C O N F I D E N T I A L SECTION 02 OF 04 DUBLIN 000099 
 
SIPDIS 
 
E.O. 12958: DECL: 02/11/2019 
TAGS: EUN, PGOV, PINR, PREL, EIND, EI 
SUBJECT: LIBERTAS: A ONE HIT WONDER? 
 
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* Missing Section 001 * 
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DUBLIN 00000099  002.2 OF 004 
 
 
the Irish electorate when they led a successful campaign 
against the Lisbon Treaty in Ireland's June 2008 referendum. 
According to independent European political observer, Peadar 
O,Broin at the Institute of International and European 
Affairs, the major Irish political parties (all of whom 
campaigned in favor of the Lisbon Treaty) blame 
Ganley/Libertas for the Treaty's defeat, but view 
Ganley/Libertas as nothing more than an opportunistic 
organization rather than a serious political entity. 
 
7.  (C) As reported ref A, Ganley's and Rivada's links to the 
U.S. have fueled conspiracy theories, such as that 
neo-conservative factions within the U.S. Government were 
funding the anti-Lisbon Treaty Movement in an attempt to 
prevent the emergence of a united Europe that could challenge 
U.S. power.  Ganley and McGuirk denied these conspiracy 
theories and emphasized that Libertas has not received any 
funding from Rivada Networks.  Libertas denies that it shares 
the values of American Neo-Conservatives as it "believes in 
an international order based on respect and cooperation 
between the free peoples of the world."  The organization 
also claims that allegations of funding by the CIA "is an 
outright lie and political slur," and that "Declan Ganley, 
Libertas, or any associate of Libertas have ever received any 
funding, support or contact of any kind from CIA or any other 
similar entity."  Nevertheless, since Ganley refuses to come 
clean on how Libertas funded its Lisbon Treaty campaign, the 
conspiracy theories continue.  McGuirk says that Libertas is 
not willing to publish their donor list because of concerns 
their donors will get harassed or face undue pressure from 
the political establishment. 
 
8.  (U) Shortly after the Ganley/Libertas victory in the June 
2008 referendum, Ganley presented a speech at the Heritage 
Foundation in Washington DC in which he talks about his 
believe in the European project, but not through the Lisbon 
Treaty mechanism because "a constitution in Europe is 
something that the average 15 year old should be able to read 
and understand" and is something that every European citizen 
"must have the opportunity to accept or reject at the ballot 
box." Ganley further made clear his intention to utilize 
Libertas to set up shop in all 27 EU member states as a 
pan-European political party.  In November 2008, Ganley 
hosted a lavish, state-visit-like dinner for visiting Czech 
President Klaus, which greatly embarrassed the Irish 
government.  The Irish government expressed surprise at Mr. 
Klaus, attendance at the dinner, suggesting protocol was not 
being observed, and called Mr. Klaus, behavior 
inappropriate, particularly since the meeting was ahead of 
the January 2009 Czech EU presidency. Members of the Irish 
government were highly critical of the Ganley-Klaus meeting 
and the Irish Foreign Minister called some of Klaus, views 
to be "ridiculous, shallow, and bogus." 
 
9.  (U) Libertas was officially launched as a pan-European 
party on 11 December 2008.  The Irish Times reported that 
Libertas is recognized in all 27 EU member states.  According 
to John McGuirk, Libertas, political director, Libertas has 
not decided whether to mount a second campaign against the 
second Lisbon Treaty referendum, which is expected to take 
place in Ireland in October 2009.  Most observers here 
believe that Libertas will play a significant role but only 
if Libertas does well in Ireland in the June 2009 European 
Parliament elections. 
 
 
What Libertas Stands For? 
------------------------- 
 
10.  (C) McGuirk described Libertas as a pro-European, 
internationalist party despite its anti-Lisbon treaty 
platform and its alliance with various prominent eurosceptics 
such as former Danish MEP Jens Peter Bonde and Czech Republic 
President Vaclav Klaus.  He said Libertas opposes the Lisbon 
Treaty 
because the treaty does not give Europeans a direct vote and 
further strengthens the concept of EU law's primacy over 
Member State law; McGuirk ignored the fact that supremacy of 
EU law over member states' laws and constitutions has been 
enshrined in EU case law since the 1960s.  According to 
McGuirk, Libertas 
supports free trade, a common European defense policy, and is 
a "conservative" party on social and economic matters.  The 
group, he says, attracts support from moderate, middle class 
and working class sectors of the population. 
 
11.  (U) Libertas, own website claims that the organization 
is a "pan-European movement dedicated to creating a new 
democratic, accountable and open European Union."  It says 
that it stands for "individual freedom, democracy, and a 
culture embracing life" and "tolerance and for the belief 
that every citizen has rights and limitless potential." 
 
DUBLIN 00000099  003.2 OF 004 
 
 
Libertas claims it wants to make Europe more democratic, to 
provide Europeans with a "referendum on the anti-democratic 
Lisbon Treaty that the Brussels elites have conspired" to 
deny them.  Libertas wants to "return power where it belongs, 
to the people." 
 
How to Build a Party 101 -- Europe First, Then Ireland 
--------------------------------------------- --------- 
 
12.  (C) McGuirk said that Libertas is not yet an official 
political party in Ireland.  In order to be an official 
political party, an organization needs to have elected 
Members of the European Parliament (MEPs), members of the 
Irish Parliament, or officials of local authorities. 
Libertas plans to establish itself as a legitimate Irish 
political party by getting its candidates from Ireland 
elected to the European Parliament.  The party will hold a 
European conference on March 25, 2009 in Rome to kick off 
this campaign.  They also plan to publish a detailed policy 
document laying out their platform in March 2009. 
 
13.  (C) Libertas intends to run candidates in the 27 EU 
countries.  They plan to unveil their list of candidates in 
March.  In Ireland, the group claims to have confirmed 
candidates in three of the four EU constituencies.  McGuirk 
confirmed that Ganley, himself, will be announcing his 
candidacy for the European elections in the Connacht-Ulster 
constituency.  Other confirmed candidates for Libertas 
include solicitor Caroline Simons for Dublin, and Raymond 
O'Malley for the East Constituency.  The group is also 
attempting to work with incumbent MEP Kathy Sinnott as their 
fourth candidate or former MEP and Irish music star, Dana 
Scallon. 
 
14.  (C) Outside of Ireland, McGuirk claimed Libertas may run 
Diego Solana, son of Javier Solana, as an MEP candidate for 
Spain.  Mary Gauci, former vice-president of the right-wing 
Azzjoni Nazzjonali party, is expected to run for Libertas in 
Malta; and Kevin O'Connell, former deputy director of 
Europol, plans to run in the U.K.  McGuirk also said Libertas 
is planning to run 10-12 candidates in France, and claimed 
that recent polls suggested that Libertas, French branch is 
set to take at least four MEP seats.  Phillipe de Villiers, 
MEP, Christophe Beaudoin and Patrick Louis, from the 
eurosceptic party Mouvement pour L'France (MFP), have said 
they would be willing to run under the Libertas banner, 
according to press reports. 
 
 
15.  (C) After the European Parliament elections in June 2009 
and the second Lisbon Treaty referendum, Libertas will turn 
its focus to the 2012 national Irish elections.  According to 
McGuirk, Libertas will not participate in Ireland's 2009 
local authority elections because they view Europe-wide 
elections as the logical first step in building a credible 
pan-European party.  However, Libertas will hold a party 
conference in Ireland in October 2009. 
 
The EU Stamp of Approval 
------------------------ 
 
16.  (C) Libertas is attempting to obtain formal recognition 
as a pan-European political party by the European Parliament. 
 Under EU rules, Libertas needed to obtain seven signatures 
from national or European politicians to be considered a 
pan-European party.  With recognition, Libertas would receive 
Euro 200,000 (US $252,000) from the European Parliament and 
be subject to European Parliament election rules.  McGuirk 
said that Libertas was less concerned about the money and 
more concerned about the 
credibility such a designation would bring. 
 
17.  (C) On February 2, the European Parliament granted 
Libertas pan-European political status.  However, on February 
19, that decision was rescinded due to the statements of two 
signatories to Libertas' recognition document, one each from 
Estonia and Bulgaria, that they do not support the group. 
McGuirk alleged that the two politicians backed out due to 
"undemocratic" pressure from their respective national 
parties. 
 
Show Me The Money 
----------------- 
 
18.  (C) According to McGuirk, 10 percent of Libertas, 
funding is generated from Internet sources while 90 percent 
of their funding comes from wealthy individuals who share 
Libertas' political views.  Libertas expects to raise Euro 
150-200 million for the European Parliament elections, far 
above Ganley's own estimate of the Euro 75 million minimum 
necessary to mount a successful campaign.  (Note: For the 
"No" vote campaign on the Lisbon Treaty, Libertas raised 
 
DUBLIN 00000099  004.2 OF 004 
 
 
approximately Euro 1.1 million and spent about Euro 900,000. 
End note.) 
 
19.  (C) Libertas has been under some pressure to be more 
transparent about its funding sources, particularly regarding 
alleged donations from the U.S.  Five of seven founding 
members of Libertas Ltd. are employees of Rivada Networks LLC 
and many of Rivada Network's directors are former U.S. 
military personnel.  Rivada Networks LLC provided 
communications technology to the U.S. military's northern 
command as well as the National Guard in 16 states, and 3 
U.S. federal bureaus.  It is alleged that it has over $200 
million in defense contracts in the U.S. 
 
20.  (U) In response to allegations surrounding Libertas, 
ability to raise money and mount multi-million Euro campaign 
against the Lisbon Treaty in the Irish referendum, the Irish 
government recently announced revised funding controls 
initiatives for the second Lisbon referendum.  The Irish 
government intends to cut the amount of maximum donation that 
any donor can give from Euro 6,500 to Euro 4,000.  It will 
also require the identities of donors who give more than Euro 
2,500 rather than Euro 5,000 under existing regulations, and 
the Standards in Public Office Commission will be granted 
powers to examine every national political party,s accounts 
for compliance. 
 
COMMENT 
------- 
 
21.  (C) For Libertas, the outcome of the European 
Parliamentary elections holds the key to the group's 
long-term viability as a political player in Ireland and 
Europe.  If a significant number of Libertas candidates are 
elected to the European Parliament, the group may be 
emboldened to campaign even harder against the second Lisbon 
Treaty referendum in Ireland.  However, mounting an effective 
campaign in Ireland on a single referendum is a far cry from 
successfully electing party members to the European 
Parliament in a Europe-wide vote.  So far, Libertas has not 
demonstrated that it has the political clout to play in the 
big leagues. 
FAUCHER 

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