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Pitstop Ploughshares Put The War On Trial

category national | anti-war / imperialism | feature author Sunday March 13, 2005 00:38author by padraic - 1 of Indymedia Ireland Editorial Group - Indymedia Ireland Report this post to the editors

On 3rd February 2003, as part of ongoing resistance at Shannon Airport, the Pitstop Ploughshares disarmed a US warplane. Within the month, three of the four companies contracted at the time to ferry US troops and weapons had left Ireland.

Pitstop Ploughshares put the war on trial The trial began on Monday March 7th and is expected to last for just over a week. Watch this space for daily updates as things progress:

Day Six:The presiding judge discharged the jury for undisclosed reasons this morning and ordered a retrial. Defendants to appear in Four Courts Tuesday 10.30 am for new trial date
-Threre will be no peace walk from the spire.
read more here

Day Five:I'm afraid this will be rather a short report as the trial thus far today has involved legal argument in the absense of the jury. Under these circumstances, it not possible to give details of the submissions put forward by the defence. Sub judice, and so on.Read more here

Day Four:
Defendant Ciaron O'Reilly took the stand and began to describe his backround, with special attention as to how it affected his belief that the actions on February 3rd were justified. He was repeatedly interrupted by the judge, who severely restricted his testimony. ...Read More

Day Three:"A legal controversy arose when the defense asked that a number of photographs of war-injured children and two documentaries about destruction in Iraq be admitted into evidence."

Day Two: The defense attorneys stated that the case revolved around "the reckless damage being wrought on a defenseless population," the prosecution made no effort to restrict this line of defense".

Day One: "That could really read 'Day Zero', because nothing much happened down there at the Four Courts..." Read the report and details of solidarity actions down under here and here.

Every (court) day:

  • Supporters Gather at The Spire,O'Connell St. from 9am
  • Peace Walk to Court, 10am
  • Vigil to Remember The War Dead, Four Courts, 10.30am onwards

Flashback: Original Report of the CW5 Action

author by redjadepublication date Thu Mar 10, 2005 00:36author address author phone Report this post to the editors

The trial is of interest for one reason only. Although the defendents are a small minority even among the anti-war movement they represent a strain of thought which is as prevalent as it is pernicious. We don't mean vigilanteism as we don't think that that is particularly prevalent beyond the provisional movement. We mean pacifism, though the provisionals cannot be accused of that.

There are plenty of quite plausible arguments why the war in Iraq might not have been justified. Pacifism is not one, but it is the argument invoked today by the defendents.


If the defendents in the dock are wondering why they have received so little attention they should consider the depth of their analysis. When 100,000 took to the streets two years ago there were some sensible reasons to query to whole enterprise. At their trial, seventy people turned up to support them. We would like to think that the remarkable, joyous election on January 30th had something to do with that, but in truth the facile, self-regarding claims of the defendents are probably no less compelling a factor.

Related Link: http://www.freedominst.org/2005/03/ploughshares-trial.html
author by R. Isiblepublication date Thu Mar 10, 2005 01:00author address author phone Report this post to the editors

So 100,000 can't be wrong but 70 necessarily must be? The morality of cowards and villains.

author by marcopublication date Thu Mar 10, 2005 06:10author address author phone Report this post to the editors

Amy Goodman interviewed Bishop Gumbleton
about the PitStop Plowshares.
Here's the snippet:



The whole show is at:


author by - -publication date Thu Mar 10, 2005 14:01author address author phone Report this post to the editors

people who repeatedly blare on about 'freedom' are almost certainly free market right wing warmongers. a sad fact. the freedom institue quoted above headlines its homepage with a quote by personable old war criminal, ronnie reagan who certainly engineered the deaths of many thousands of people. 'freedom' in the hands of these people is a word with a very different meaning to the one in the dictionary.

author by dunkpublication date Thu Mar 10, 2005 14:35author address author phone Report this post to the editors

one of the hammers was a 6-foot long plastic inflatable "baloony thing" in the Irish Tricolour with the words "Hammered by the Irish" written on it.

pity the judge did not allow the shrine and films
heres a pic of another shrine from the pitstop ploughshare crew, last sep 11th

hammered by the irish
hammered by the irish

sep 11 shrine (2004)
sep 11 shrine (2004)

Related Link: http://www.indymedia.ie/newswire.php?story_id=66537&search_text=remembering%20the%20dead
author by Thursdaypublication date Thu Mar 10, 2005 16:06author address author phone Report this post to the editors

At link

Related Link: http://www.indymedia.ie/newswire.php?story_id=68927
author by Spinning Quicklypublication date Thu Mar 10, 2005 17:26author address author phone Report this post to the editors

...is that they are exhonerated as quickly as possible.

author by Spinning Quicklypublication date Thu Mar 10, 2005 17:31author address author phone Report this post to the editors

Some of those who use the term "freedom" are right-wing warmongers - e.g. the risible Mark Steyn. Others use it for their own ends - it's often a rhetorical term.

I think Wittgensteins' comment on not asking the meaning of a term but it's also quite useful when examining "freedom" as used by writers.

author by redjadepublication date Fri Mar 11, 2005 10:54author address author phone Report this post to the editors

Pit Stop Ploughshares outside the Four Courts with Kathy Kelly (left, http://vitw.us ) and Mairead Corrigan Maguire, Nobel Peace Prize Laureate


author by Eoin Dubskypublication date Mon Mar 14, 2005 07:33author address Parisauthor phone Report this post to the editors

Very best of luck this week!

author by Paul McAndrewpublication date Mon Mar 14, 2005 12:06author email paul at queer dot ieauthor address author phone Report this post to the editors

from AmericanCatholic.org:

March 14, 2005

St. Maximilian

(d. 295)

We have an early, precious, almost unembellished account of the martyrdom of St. Maximilian in modern-day Algeria.
Brought before the proconsul Dion, Maximilian refused enlistment in the Roman army saying, "I cannot serve, I cannot do evil. I am a Christian."

Dion replied: "You must serve or die."

Maximilian: "I will never serve. You can cut off my head, but I will not be a soldier of this world, for I am a soldier of Christ. My army is the army of God, and I cannot fight for this world. I tell you I am a Christian."

Dion: "There are Christian soldiers serving our rulers Diocletian and Maximian, Constantius and Galerius."

Maximilian: "That is their business. I also am a Christian, and I cannot serve."

Dion: "But what harm do soldiers do?"

Maximilian: "You know well enough."

Dion: "If you will not do your service I shall condemn you to death for contempt of the army."

Maximilian: "I shall not die. If I go from this earth my soul will live with Christ my Lord."

Maximilian was 21 years old when he gladly offered his life to God. His father went home from the execution site joyful, thanking God that he had been able to offer heaven such a gift.


Rome’s draft board made no provision for conscientious objectors. Maximilian, wise beyond his years, looked beyond his conquering nation’s pride and saw the horror war inflicted on innocent people. He chose death rather than take an active part in it. Compulsory military service presents few problems to us, but national pride does. Like this martyr, we need to take a hard look at how well our country’s policies serve the rest of the world and act accordingly.

author by redjadepublication date Wed Mar 16, 2005 15:06author address author phone Report this post to the editors

The Cries for Justice Continue to Sound
- War and Peace in Ireland

For the past week, the "Pitstop Ploughshares" were the defendants in a dramatic trial in Dublin -- a trial that crashed even more dramatically on Monday. Their high-powered lawyers were fighting to convince a jury that the five acted in the "honest belief" that they were protecting the lives and property of other people. The judge accused O'Reilly (the only one who has got a chance to testify) of trying to use the court as a political platform, and wouldn't allow some defence witnesses and evidence to be heard by the jury. Finally, after legal argument, the judge sent the jury home -- a good-enough outcome in the circumstances, though the five accused must wait to see if the State tries again later this year.


The Americans were the most striking contingent: Kathy Kelly from Voices in the Wilderness was here, and Kelly Dougherty from Iraq Veterans Against the War. Bishop Thomas Gumbleton came from Detroit and, from the east coast, 13 members of the Grady family (it sometimes seemed like 30), a few of whom had to scoot back to upstate New York to face new federal charges for an action at a military recruitment center -- an action that a state jury has already failed to convict them on. The name "Berrigan" falls frequently from their lips.

Irish anti-war activists have moved among these beautiful visitors, soaking up the passion and peace that emanates from them, considering and reconsidering our own commitments, tactics and attitudes. In a country that has only recently shaken off one sort of Catholic power, we wonder are we ready to admit another. (It came as some assurance when one defendant assured us that the Catholic Worker movement is full of Atheist Slackers.)

Related Link: http://www.counterpunch.org/browne03152005.html
author by misepublication date Fri Mar 18, 2005 10:47author address author phone Report this post to the editors

Two years ago today, March 17, 2003, four peace activists in Ithaca, New York, poured their own blood on the walls, posters, windows, and a US flag at a military recruiting center in order to try to stop the imminent invasion of Iraq. They took action based on international law. Then knelt in prayer and waited to be arrested. Though one state court jury refused to convict them, today they face serious federal charges.

Last year the peace activists convinced nine members of a state court jury that their actions were consistent with international law. Daniel Burns, 43, Clare Grady, 45, Teresa Grady 38, and Peter DeMott, 57, all members of the Magnificat Catholic Worker community in Ithaca, admitted to the jury from the very beginning that they poured blood in the recruiting center in order to try to stop the war in Iraq. They testified they risked arrest in order to protect our sons and daughters in the military and to protect our sisters and brothers in Iraq.

The four argued that their actions were legal because the invasion of Iraq was illegal under international law. Because the United Nations had not approved the invasion of Iraq, the invasion was a series of serious illegal acts that constitute war crimes. And, under the Nuremberg Principles of international law, individuals have international rights and duties to prevent crimes against humanity which transcend the national obligations of obedience imposed by the individual state.

They further argued that if their actions were indeed illegal, they were authorized under the defense of necessity because the harm they caused was far smaller than the harm they were trying to prevent.

They talked with the jury about Susan B. Anthony, Rosa Parks, and the Boston Tea Party. They reminded us, as Martin Luther King, Jr. said, that everything done by supporters of Hitler in Germany was illegal, it was only those who tried to stop him who were violating the law.

Related Link: http://www.informationclearinghouse.info/article8298.htm
author by Fellow Travellerspublication date Fri Mar 18, 2005 18:26author address author phone Report this post to the editors

When I saw this poster in Copenhagen airport yesterday it made me think of the Pitstop Ploughshares.

Though I don't speak a word of Danish, if it's anything like German the text means: "Fly classless to Stockholm. With class." The image depicts seven classy air stewards of Nordic Air, who've chainsawed the "business class" divider still found on snooty airlines.


author by What the judge said...publication date Fri Mar 18, 2005 19:57author address author phone Report this post to the editors

Something the judge said during the trial, and others have said it before too, was that the necessity defence in the Criminal Damage Act (at section 6.2) which the activists argued was never supposed to be used for people in danger in far away places. Sure, save a stranger trapped in a burning house *in Dublin*, but not Faluja.

Well anyways, the best way to tell what was meant by our lawmakers is to look at the public record (Dail Eireann Volume 477) and see what they were saying during the reading of the Bill:


(Search for "Criminal Damage Act")

author by misepublication date Fri Mar 18, 2005 22:28author address author phone Report this post to the editors

Can I just point this section out

[And, under the Nuremberg Principles of international law, individuals have international rights and duties to prevent crimes against humanity which transcend the national
obligations of obedience imposed by the individual state.]

author by Susanhupublication date Wed Mar 23, 2005 00:58author address author phone Report this post to the editors

What you're all doing is extraordinarily brave, and not enough Americans know about you. Hope this helps a bit. The blog gets a half million hits a day, so a few people will learn about you. THANK YOU!

Related Link: http://www.dailykos.com/story/2005/3/22/152220/548
author by R. Isiblepublication date Wed Mar 23, 2005 01:40author address author phone Report this post to the editors

Some more information on the abuse of Irish neutrality in abetting the invasion of Iraq and the international transport of detainees to torture centers by the CIA:

1. Irish Police and government desperately try to hide the evidence from planespotters

2. Irish activists and planespotters try to get the Irish government to stop colluding in torture

3. Irish activists propose turning Shannon into a sanctuary for US troops refusing to serve

4. Irish Activist (who spraypainted US plane at Shannon) forces judicial consideration of use of Shannon airport by US planes

5. Protests in Derry against Raytheon

6. Another Irish activist disarms a US warplane (and is convicted for it later)

7. Anti-War Banshees arrested at airport

8. Bush UnWelcomed in Ireland

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