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Politicians Call For Shannon 5 Charges To Be Dropped

category national | anti-war / imperialism | news report author Thursday November 10, 2005 17:31author by Elaine Report this post to the editors

And An End To The Use Of Shannon As A Pit Stop For The War Machine

.

Dr Ian Atack (Chairing The Press Conference), Finian McGrath (Independent TD) And Joe Costello (Labour TD)
Dr Ian Atack (Chairing The Press Conference), Finian McGrath (Independent TD) And Joe Costello (Labour TD)

Aengus O'Snodaigh (SF) David Norris (Senator) Tony Gregory (Independent) Dr Ian Atack, Finian McGrath (Independent) And Joe Costello (Labour)
Aengus O'Snodaigh (SF) David Norris (Senator) Tony Gregory (Independent) Dr Ian Atack, Finian McGrath (Independent) And Joe Costello (Labour)

John Gormley (Green Party) In The Spotlight
John Gormley (Green Party) In The Spotlight

Tony Gregory Supports The Ploughshares
Tony Gregory Supports The Ploughshares

Senator David Norris (Who Turned Up On Day 1 Of The Re-Trial, To Walk To Court With The Defendants)
Senator David Norris (Who Turned Up On Day 1 Of The Re-Trial, To Walk To Court With The Defendants)

author by Elainepublication date Thu Nov 10, 2005 17:43Report this post to the editors

... Ireland's traditional role as a force for peacemaking and nonviolent conflict resolution throughout the world can be redeemed despite our neutrality being compromised on a daily basis by allowing a belligerent force (The U.S.) engage in a war deemed 'illegal' by Kofi Annan, 'immoral' by world religious leaders, and 'unwinnable' by military experts."

Harry Browne Spots The Camera
Harry Browne Spots The Camera

Resisting The Urge To Make A Speedy Exit, Damien Gets Interviewed For Radio Indymedia
Resisting The Urge To Make A Speedy Exit, Damien Gets Interviewed For Radio Indymedia

author by Elainepublication date Thu Nov 10, 2005 17:49Report this post to the editors

More haste less speed (and accuracy)

Damien And Dr Ian Atack, Director Of Peace Studies In Trinity College
Damien And Dr Ian Atack, Director Of Peace Studies In Trinity College

author by Ploughshares Supportpublication date Thu Nov 10, 2005 18:33Report this post to the editors

********************
PRESS RELEASE
********************

'Politicians Demand Shannon 5 Trial Be Abandoned'

The collapse of the Shannon 5 trial in the Four Courts this week, due to the acknowledgement of presiding Judge, Donagh MacDonagh, that he attended the inauguration of President Bush in 2000, raises serious questions that a fair trial is now possible in this case. It is the second time in six months that a mistrial has been declared in this case on the basis of "perceived bias".

Despite the presumption of innocence been a pillar of any democratic society, the ongoing punishment of these five peace activists through strict bail conditions and the threat of future incarceration is disgraceful criminalisation of peaceful dissent.

Since they acted to save life and property at Shannon Airport on February 3rd 2003, tens of thousands of innocent Iraqi civilians have been killed as well as over 2000 US soldiers. Countless more lives have been scarred forever with emotional and physical injuries due to this disastrous imperialist misadventure in Iraq.

We call for the charges of criminal damage to a US Navy plane bound for the theatre of war in Iraq and the threat of imprisonment on the five peace activists to be dropped. We demand the Irish government be a true friend to the U.S.A and withdraw the services of Shannon Airport as a pitstop for their war machine.

We hope Ireland's traditional role as a force for peacemaking and nonviolent conflict resolution
throughout the world can be redeemed despite the compromising of our netrality on a daily basis by allowing a belligerent force (the U.S.) engage in a war deemed 'illegal' by Kofi Annan, 'immoral' by world religious leaders, and 'unwinnable' by military experts.

Joe Costello (Labour TD, Dublin Central)
John Gormley (Green Party TD, Dublin South-East)
Aengus O'Snodaigh (Sinn Fein TD, Dublin South Central)
Finian McGrath (Independant TD, Dublin North Central)
Tony Gregory (Independent TD, Dublin Central)
David Norris (Independent Senator, University of Dublin)

For more information contact 087 9638398

*******************
PRESS RELEASE
*******************

Related Link: http://www.peaceontrial.com
author by R. Isiblepublication date Thu Nov 10, 2005 18:51Report this post to the editors

From Catholic Worker 5 (Pitstop Ploughshares) to Shannon 5. I initially assumed that this was something to do with the (as I now realise 3) people arrested in the boat in Shannon estuary.

author by Margaretpublication date Thu Nov 10, 2005 19:23Report this post to the editors

RTE News Website:
http://www.rte.ie/news/2005/1110/shannon1.html

Streaming Audio of John Gormley on Radio 1 news.
http://dynamic.rte.ie/av/2089868.smil
(not sure how lng this will be up)

author by Michael R.publication date Thu Nov 10, 2005 19:43Report this post to the editors

Was at the press conference earlier. Very good conference with good media presence.

There was only one real question asked by the journalists there but they were tough and repetitive with the politicians on this question, namely:-

"Do you support Direct Action" and would you encourage and/or approve of Direct action being purportrated again.

Of the six politicians there, the following is roughly how they responded.

Aengus O'Snodaigh did not mince his words one bit and said he totally supported direct action in exceptional circumstances such as this.

Senator David Norris - whilst initially not as forthright as Aengus finished by saying he was totally behind direct action in these circumstances.

Tony Gregory and Finian McGrath were quieter on the issue and did not really get involved with the journalists but basically nodded their support of direct action in these exceptional circumstances.
_________________________________________________________________

That is where you can draw a line as John Gormley of the Greens refused to be drawn on the issue and basically refused to answer the question of whether he condoned direct action. He said it was up to the courts to decide and yet at the same time he was calling for charges against the Shannon 5 to be dropped at this stage.

Joe Costello of Labour turned up late (he said he was in chamber) and then legged it once he was finished his few minute talk - no doubt anticipating what journalists were going to ask!!! Whilst John Gormley kicked for touch at least he stayed and faced the music. Saying that I do not know what Joe's schedule was for the day. But I feel it is indicative of Labours luke warm support on this (and many others) issue.

_________________________________________________________________

On another note David Norris mentioned that both he and Tony Gregory were actually in one of the hotels in Amman in Jordan that was attacked, whilst they were visiting Iraq a few years ago.

He also finished his answers to the journalists by stating that all the questions on this matter were coming from journalists. He has received no letters/call or otherwise from the public asking him why he is supporting direct action in this issue.

And he left it by asking back "Who are the real terrorists"?

As far as I am concerned (a point I raised at the end of the conference) whether one is for or against direct action in exceptional circumstances such as this, the fact of the matter is, is that they the Shannon 5 have already been severely punished for this by having to go through 2 trials and enduring 3 years of punitive bail conditions with a potentially long term jail sentence hanging over their heads.

In such circumstances, and taking everything into consideration, I feel the charges must now finally be dropped at this stage.

author by Observer2publication date Thu Nov 10, 2005 19:52author email observer.two at gmail dot comReport this post to the editors

7 min video report of press conference today at Buswells hotel.

Related Link: http://radio.indymedia.org/news/2005/11/7627.php
author by observer2publication date Thu Nov 10, 2005 19:54Report this post to the editors

Senator Norris was referring to John Gormley and not Tony Gregory when stating they had stayed in an hotel in the mid east.

author by redjadepublication date Thu Nov 10, 2005 20:23Report this post to the editors

I recorded it off the web and archived it at radio.indy....

2.2megs MP3
http://radio.indymedia.org/uploads/rteradio-tds2freepitstops.mp3

Good luck on Friday to what the RTÉ called 'five men' in court.

author by question R. Isable????publication date Thu Nov 10, 2005 23:45Report this post to the editors

the Shannon boat crew of three had their trial ages ago in ennis circuit court as reported on indymedia, the pitstop ploughshares were called by the mainstream media the "Shannon 5" after their arrest: so:
1- what does it matter about the name? they are the same people and the action the same.

2- as an indy editor, you should know better and behave as such (no bad feelings).

author by R. Isiblepublication date Fri Nov 11, 2005 00:28Report this post to the editors

I can't see why it's a problem to point out that the name change is confusing.

I think it's helpful for international readers who may be looking for information about the people that have been firmly planted in our minds as the Pitstop Ploughshares or Catholic Worker 5.

I expect the editorial team will lash me to the committee table in their stasi basement and crush me to death with computer monitors and petitions. Thanks.

author by Just a thoughtpublication date Fri Nov 11, 2005 01:34Report this post to the editors

Just a few thoughts that might help clarify the name change:

1. For the benefit of the general public the Pitstop Ploughshares 5 or Catholic Worker 5 {archaic without explanation} (these are one and the same group - every Pitstop Ploughshares identifies with the Catholic Worker tradition) may have encouraging the dropping of their normal title for this particular press conference, which (certain) international readers (namely indy readers) are, as you correctly point out probably accustomed too.
Though the press release drops the Pitstop title, the banner behind the politicians reads 'Pit Stop Ploughshares Disarm US Warplane - Drop The Charges'

2. The last time some of these politicians called for the charges to be dropped was for the 'Shannon 6'
(Pitstops + Mary Kelly), hence the common sense factor that they use the title 'Shannon 5'.

3. This may have been a cunning marketing ploy, in that the Irish public are now very used to the battle cry 'Justice For The Rossport 5', so why not capitalise on the awful injustice of the biased judiciary employess with a battle cry to the general public and the gvt., 'Justice For The Shannon 5!

4. It may seem awkward to change names but it worked this time. The message was conveyed clearly on RTE (On the 6pm, 9pm, and 11pm News) and through the Irish Times article above.
Expect the same clarity to follow in most of the papers tomorrow. Although I understand there was one journo from the Indo who was acting like a pratt, so expect a negative spin in his article.

author by Ciaronpublication date Fri Nov 11, 2005 17:20author phone 087 918 4552Report this post to the editors

Pit Stop Ploughshares scored a date for their thrid trial today.....July 5th. 2006.

Defendants are joining the Afri crew at the "Cat & Cage" bar, Drumcondra tonight Fri Nov 11th. 9 pm.
Music by Dejimbe
Poetry Reading by Donal O'Kelly

So drop up if you wish to connect post-trial etc

Related Link: http://www.peaceontrial.com
author by jamespublication date Fri Nov 11, 2005 17:54Report this post to the editors

Todays Irish Independent says that most of the TDs when asked backed direct action against the planes. SF TD O Snodaigh also. Funny that given his party opposed the march to tear down the fence when it might have had an effect because " of the danger of violence". Small group or individual attacks on planes are okay but mass direct action is dangerous?

author by Trotwatchpublication date Fri Nov 11, 2005 17:59Report this post to the editors

'Funny that given his party opposed the march to tear down the fence when it might have had an effect because " of the danger of violence". '

The SP also opposed this Grassroots action on these grounds. The SP went further and spread scare stories that the gardai might shoot into the crowd.

Note to the SPuppies: dont bother to deny this. What you wrote at the time is still here on Indymedia. Some very interesting SP stuff posted between January and March 2003. D O'Heochai of the SP even condemned the actions of the CW5. Its all there just look it up.

author by Coilín ÓhAiseadhapublication date Fri Nov 11, 2005 20:52Report this post to the editors

"there was one journo from the Indo who was acting like a pratt, so expect a negative spin in his article."

I think I know the gent you mean. For the sake of others reading, there was a young man in a suit sitting on the right, who asked John Gormley:
"But where do you draw the line, John? - Petrol bombs against the American embassy?"
(Quoted as best as I can remember.)

JG replied unequivocally and repeatedly that he would not endorse attacks against the US embassy. The journalist interrupted several times, asking JG "But where do you draw the line?" - as if there were any comparison.

Obviously, the line runs somewhere between an aircraft and an embassy.


I would spin this journalist's comments right back at him as follows:
"Journalist suggests violence against US embassy"

After all, he is the only one I have ever heard hinting that anybody might use petrol bombs against any target, or any action at all to damage an embassy.


I find it remarkable that the warmongers of the world - e.g. a young couple I met by the Spire at the vigil some weeks ago - can endorse bombings that have killed thousands of people, but are scandalised by a decommissioning action conducted by civilians equipped only with hand-held implements against a military aircraft.

Similarly, prosecution counsel attempted to establish that the Pitstop activists had committed an act of "violence" against the plane they decommissioned.

Perhaps this reflects the relative value of inanimate objects versus injuries to the person in the worldview of the warmongers? I must put this question to the next one I meet.

Best,
Coilín.

author by Curiouspublication date Sat Nov 12, 2005 14:18Report this post to the editors

Why didnt the SP support the call for dropping the charges?

author by me - personal capacitypublication date Sat Nov 12, 2005 19:12Report this post to the editors

The number of times I've heard this statement, on indymedia even, but mainly on the radio when refering to the shannon five.
bizzare.
maybe they were mixing them up with the rossport fellas

author by Curiouspublication date Sat Nov 12, 2005 20:12Report this post to the editors

......

author by tompublication date Sun Nov 13, 2005 14:35Report this post to the editors

Does anyone have a more detailed account of events in court no. 8 last friday. I am curious to know whether judge McDonagh was there? Did he care to enlighten the many whose efforts and hard work on the trial he rendered futile, as to what exactly he meant by 'half right and half wrong'? Or did he go running? How sad, this war has reduced our countrys legal system to the necessity of having to try our judges. 'Warontrial' - another prophetic vision by the 5?

author by Trotwatchpublication date Mon Nov 14, 2005 11:00Report this post to the editors

The SPuppies are usually quick enough to respond under their SP banner here so whats yopur point? Are you saying that the SP were unaware of the press conference? All TDS and Senators were invited to attend. If Joe Higgind could not attend then surely the SP could have sent a councillor or a message of support.

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