News

Perfect Storm at the Belfast G-8: Top 10 Facts You Need to Know

2013 G8 Protests

Leaders from eight of the world’s more powerful nations will meet in Northern Ireland in the UK for the next two days to discuss the world economy and world political stability at the annual G-8 summit. The summits are always controversial and violent, but between the location, instability and violence in the Middle East, and revelations of government surveillance, this year could be a perfect storm. There are some 8,000 cops on-hand to counter the thousands of protesters expected to descend on Belfast City Hall.

Here’s what you should know about this historic event, its implications, and what could go wrong.


1. Many People Consider Belfast ‘Occupied’ By England

This year the G-8 is hosting its yearly summit in Belfast, the capital of Northern Ireland. Belfast has been home to decades of religious and political conflict between Irish Catholics and the ruling protestant English over Northern Ireland’s independence. Activisits on both sides of the issue have been subject to intense violence, and 3,700 people have been killed in the last 40 years.

Barack Obama said yesterday that although there has been an unprecedented peace between the two sides in the last 15 years, that peace would one day be tested:

Whenever your peace is attacked, you will have to choose whether to respond with the same bravery that you’ve summoned so far or whether you succumb to the worst instincts, those impulses that kept this great land divided for too long. You’ll have to choose whether to keep going forward, not backward.


2. It’s a Meeting of Imperial Powers

g8 belfast protests

The G-8 was started as an organization of the five wealthiest nations in the world in 1973 — The U.S., Japan, West Germany, the U.K. and France. Canada, Italy and Germany later were added. Though developing nations like China and Brazil have surpassed certain existing G-8 countries in economic might and global influence, they remain excluded from the table while former imperial powers like Italy and France retain seats. The privileging of these nations brings focus away from Brazil, India and China, which have all worked their way into the list of top 10 wealthiest world countries.


3. Snowden: The British Spied on All Delegates in 2009

The newest leaks of confidential documents by whistleblower Edward Snowden were released today, revealing that British secret services spied on world delegates at 2009’s G-8 summit in London. The Guardian reported that these leaked documents provide proof that that the activities of this operation included:

•Setting up interner cafes where they used an email interception programme and key-logging software to spy on delegates’ use of computers;

•Penetrating the security on delegates’ BlackBerrys to monitor their email messages and phone calls;

•Supplying 45 analysts with a live round-the-clock summary of who was phoning who at the summit;

• Targeting the Turkish finance minister and possibly 15 others in his party;

• Receiving reports from an NSA attempt to eavesdrop on the Russian leader, Dmitry Medvedev, as his phone calls passed through satellite links to Moscow.

Asylum-Seeking Snowden Banned From Traveling to U.K.

The British government has told airlines across the world not to allow NSA whistleblower Edward Snowden to fly to the U.K.

Click here to read more

4. People Go to G-8 to Protest Everything

g8 belfast syria talks

Protesters on every issue, from globalization to fracking, drone strikes to NSA spying, will all be present outside of Belfast City Hall.


5. The Protests Are Violent


Upon Barack Obama’s arrival in Belfast, 16-year-old and Belfast native Hannah Nelson gave a speech about the importance of history and tolerance for Belfast’s future. The Independent hailed the speech as a triumph and claimed that Nelson, “nearly upstage(d) the most powerful man in the world.”

From Around the Web

Leave a comment

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s