Friday, January 14, 2005

Paulo Casaca & Struan Stevenson Lend Support to Terrorist Group

Iran Focus-News - Special Wire - European Parliament adopts Iran resolution to review EU terror list: "European Parliament adopts Iran resolution to review EU terror list Fri. 14 Jan 2005

Iran Focus

Strasbourg, Jan. 14 – After a debate in which a number of Euro-MPs spoke out against the terror-tag placed upon the main Iranian opposition group, the People's Mojahedin Organisation of Iran (PMOI), the European Parliament yesterday adopted a resolution on Iran calling for a review of the European Union's list of terrorist organisations.

Paulo Casaca (Portugal) co-chair of the EP Group, Friends of a Free Iran, and chair of the Delegation for relations with the NATO Parliamentary Assembly spoke out against current EU negotiations with the clerical state and demanded the terror label against the PMOI be removed.

Struan Stevenson (UK) who also co-chairs Friends of a Free Iran said, "We should courageously say no to the demands of the Iranian regime to keep the name of the People's Mojahedin in the EU's terror list".

Ryszard Czaranecki (Poland) said in this regard, "The most serious message that we could give to Tehran is to remove the name of the Iranian Mojahedin from the EU terror list. In reality (it is) the criminal mullahs who are the real terrorists and are constantly hanging their own people, including children and are also sending terrorists to the neighboring Iraq".

Fist vice-President of the European Parliament, Alejo Vidal-Quadras Roca, chaired the parliamentary session.

A number of other Euro-MPs also addressed the parliament criticizing in particular Iran's systematic violations of human rights and called for an end to dialogue with the Iranian regime.

The final resolution stated that the EP "asks its Committees on Foreign Affairs and Civil Liberties to examine the way in which Parliament may become involved in the process of regular updating of the Council's common position on the implementation of specific measures for the fight against terrorism, taking into account developments from 2001 onwards".

The EP resolution, coming in the wake of a November 2004 international conference of jurists in Paris, where over 500 prominent legal experts said blacklisting the PMOI as a terrorist organization violated international and European laws, raises the pressure on the EU to redress what is widely seen as a "goodwill gesture" to Iran's clerical rulers.

Ten eminent experts in international law, including Rt. Hon. Lord Slynn of Hadley (former judge at the European Court of Justice), Prof. Eric David, President of the Centre for International Law from Brussels, Prof. Henri Labayle, professor of European Law at the University of Pau, Prof. Bill Bowring, director of Human Rights and Social Justice Research Institute from London, and Prof. Jean-Yves de Cara (President of International Law Institute of University of Paris V ) presented their legal opinions to the conference."

Yahoo! News - Dems want Ridge to come clean on Lobbyist Girard-diCarlo

Yahoo! News - Dems Seek Ridge's Lobbying Correspondence: "Dems Seek Ridge's Lobbying Correspondence

Fri Jan 14,12:05 AM ET White House - AP Cabinet & State
By PETE YOST, Associated Press Writer
WASHINGTON - Two Democratic congressmen on Thursday asked Homeland Security Secretary Tom Ridge to provide Congress written communications between his department and a lobbying firm run by a longtime friend.

The request stems from an Associated Press story that the day after President Bush (news - web sites) named him secretary, Ridge flew to Arizona and spent several days with a prominent Bush-Cheney fund-raiser, David Girard-diCarlo. It was the first of two trips Ridge made to Scottsdale, Ariz., in late 2002 and early 2003 to stay at Girard-diCarlo's home.

Two of Ridge's homeland security aides left the White House after the first trip and went to work for Girard-diCarlo lobbying Ridge's newly created department. Several of the lobbying firm's clients have been awarded contracts by the department.

"These relationships raise questions about potential conflicts of interest and preferential treatment," Reps. Henry Waxman of California and Bennie Thompson of Mississippi wrote Ridge. Waxman is the ranking Democrat on the Government Reform Committee and Thompson the ranking Democrat on the Homeland Security Committee.

Homeland security officials say they believe Ridge acted ethically because he paid his own way on the trips and never discussed business with Girard-diCarlo.

Waxman and Thompson say they want the documents before Feb. 1 to clarify the relationships between Girard-diCarlo's lobbying firm, Blank Rome, and top political appointees at Ridge's department.

The congressmen are asking for all communications between the lobbying firm and Ridge, other officials in Ridge's office and other political appointees and their immediate staffs at the department.

At the time of Ridge's trips, Girard-diCarlo's firm represented Raytheon, one of a team of companies that Homeland Security recently awarded border protection work worth up to $10 billion over the next decade.

Girard-diCarlo's friendship with Ridge dates back more than a decade when his fund-raising was instrumental in Ridge's two successful campaigns for the Pennsylvania governorship."