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Shannon Peace Camp 6 Jan 07

category national | anti-war / imperialism | news report author Saturday January 05, 2008 21:34author by Edward Horgan Report this post to the editors

Unlawful photographs at Shannon airport

The 2008 Shannon peace camp takes place on Sunday 6 Jan 2008. This is the fifth aniversary of the original Shannon Peace Camp set up on 6th Jan 2003, and which lasted for almost 5 weeks. It ended when a high court injunction was got by Aer Rianta/Shannon airport against 21 individuals including yours truly preventing us from traspassing on Aer Rianta property, which included the site of the peace camp. This injunction came after the damage to a US military plane by Mary Kelly and a few days later by the Catholic workers FIVE. Mary Kelly has been convicted of criminal damage, but is appealing this conviction. The Catholic Workers were acquitted by a jury in Dublin in July 2006, who reached a unanimous verdict that they were not guilty of criminal damage to the US warplane, even though they admitted doing considerable damage to it. Their successful defence was that their action was justified in order to prevent this warplane and other US warplanes from killing innocent people in an unlawful war in Iraq.

Since January 2003, there has been far too little focus on the continuing US military and CIA use of Shannon airport. Since January 2003 and since 20 March 2003 in particular, over 1 million Us troops have passed through Shannon airport, and over 1 million Iraqi people have died in the war in Iraq which was waged in contravention of the UN Charter, and the UN Security Council. Also, CIA aircraft known to have been involved in the extraordinary rendition of thousands of prisoners have been refuelled at Shannon on at least 194 occasions in gross contravention of the UN Convention Against Torture.
Yet of the four and a quarter million people in the Irish Republic, (or what was an Irish republic?), only a few dozen people can be found to attend organised protests at Shannon, and only two or three regularly monitor US military and CIA planes passing through Shannon.
On Sat 29 Dec I passed though Shannon on my way to the UK. The airport was quiet. As I waited in the departure area, I took some photos of one aircraft, a CESNA with a US registration number N7TK, just in case it may turn out to have suspicious connections. So far I am not aware of any CIA connections.
However, because I was being shadowed by my usual security escort, I was approached by an officer of the airport police called Slattery, who told me it was illegal to take photos at this location. I informed him that it was not illegal and asked him to justify his claims. He said it was not permitted for security reasons. I then informed him that there were no signs or indications that it was not permitted, so he then informed me that If I took any more photos I would be detained. Because I was going to the UK on an important family visit, and because there were no significant US aircraft that I knew of at the airport, I did not take any further photos at this time. However, I pointed to him that any photos I may have already taken were taken before he said photographs were not allowed. I was then placed under close scruting by two airport police officer including Slattery, until I boarded the plane.
On my return on Sat 5 Jan 08, I noticed a Gulfstream v executive Jet parked in the secure area in the centre of the airfield. The photo of this aircraft is not clear enough to positively identify it. Also taxiing past was US Government Gulfstream V, VIP jet, reg no 90404, photo included. It may be that US VIPs were either passing through Shannon, or even more important VIP were due later, and these two jets were part of the security detail.

Tomorrow's peace camp is partly also to acknowledge that passing of two of our peace activists, Liz Tully, and Robin Hennessy, who died during the 2007. Two apple trees will be planted at Shannon in their memory. The Peace Camp will begin about noon on Sunday 6 Jan and continue overnight on the night of 6/7 Jan. The weather, like the weather for our peace camp in 2003 will be rather inclement, but conditions will be nowhere near as hostile as the conditions that in Ireland have helped to impose on the peoples of Iraq and Afghanistan.
There is an urgent need for continuing peace camps at Shannon and for continuing monitoring of US military and CIA Aircraft passing through Shannon. All it takes are as few as two or three people to mount a creative event at Shannon whenever it suits those individuals. Surely from over 4 million people, we can find a few dozen who believe in justice enough to spare a few hours of their time even once a month?
Peace and justice to you all for 2008.
The People of Afghanistan and Iraq have known very little of either since 2001and 2003, and we in Ireland have helped to inflict mayhem and injustice upon them.

attachment Cesna N7tk Shannon 29 Dec 07 0.06 Mb attachment Unidentified Gulfstream being guarded at Shannon 5 Jan 08 0.15 Mb attachment US Gov VIP Gulfstream V At Shannon 5 Jan 08 0.27 Mb

author by Eoin Dubskypublication date Sat Jan 05, 2008 23:01author address author phone Report this post to the editors

It's uplifting and inspiring to see you keep fighting with all your heart.

"Pray for the dead and fight like hell for the living" goes the song by David Rovics!

I never made it to the SNN peace camp but my thoughts tomorrow will be with you and with the continued struggle to stop the place being a pit stop for foreign fighters and torturers.

author by Ciaron - Pitstop Ploughshares/Catholic Workerpublication date Sun Jan 06, 2008 05:41author address author phone Report this post to the editors

Solidarity from London, wish I could be with y'all, thanx for getting back there this year. Admiration for all the steadfast work done by a handful over the years to shine a light in this very dark place. It's sad there hasn't been any attempt to mobilise at Shannon in double figures since October 06.

In terms of the record, it was my understanding the injunctions had been issued after Mary's action before ours (Pitstop Ploughshares aka Catholic Worker 5). I recall an attempt to serve mine, the evening of our arrest in Limerick Prison. It's amazing what oratory you can get away with hands in the pocket, a bemused screw, the conducive acoustics and literally the captive audience of Limerick Prison.

I guess Ed is saying that the injunction process was initiated the (Monday) morning of our action Feb 3 03
"This injunction came after the damage to a US military plane by Mary Kelly and a few days later by the Catholic workers FIVE"

I find that hard to believe, but maybe they worked that quick?

author by Edward Horganpublication date Sun Jan 06, 2008 10:12author address author phone Report this post to the editors

Report in the Sunday Times p 23 "Israel to brief US on Iran Options" mentions that US President Bush is scheduled to visit the Middle East this week. Its possible that the two US Gulfstream V vip jets at Shannon yesterday were part of a stopover at Shannon for Airforce 1, as Bush is refuelled for his trip to Jerusalem.
Perhaps he might even visit our peace camp at Shannon as he passes throught?

author by Ciaronpublication date Sun Jan 06, 2008 10:53author address author phone Report this post to the editors

You'll know by the level of security.
A few years ago, there was late notice Bush was stopping over at Shannon on the way back to the U.S.

A notice was slapped on indy and a few texts sent out.

The result was the Irish government spending hundreds of thousands on security for the afternoon, a handful turning up at Shannon for a peace picnic and Bush deciding to refuel midair and bypass Shannon.

Irish sycophants spent hundreds of thousands mobilising, Irish who care gathering and Bush bypassing. Somes it up really.

The war machine takes Shannon very seriously, the peace movement hasn't.
Many thanx for being down there today.

author by Flightlinepublication date Sun Jan 06, 2008 14:59author address author phone Report this post to the editors

As President Bush's special envoy Richard Haas said in February 2003

'Are there alternatives to Shannon? Yes. Are they as good? No'

author by Sarah - n/apublication date Sun Jan 06, 2008 20:27author address author phone Report this post to the editors

Some pictures from today at Shannon -Security guys said we scared the children.

Shannon stopover
Shannon stopover

Scaring the Children
Scaring the Children

guantanamo_5.jpg

guantanamo_6.jpg

author by Sarahpublication date Sun Jan 06, 2008 20:33author address author phone Report this post to the editors

There is something really scary about apathy.

Child Scarer
Child Scarer

author by Edward Horganpublication date Sun Jan 06, 2008 22:38author address author phone Report this post to the editors

It was cold, very wet and windy at Shannon on 6 Jan 2008. Yet 40 peace activists turned up to protest the continuing abuse of Shannon airport by US military and the CIA torture planes. A similar number of Gardai were on duty.
Within the airport, an OMNI Air US troop carrier was being refuelled, carrying over 200 troops to or from Iraq. Substantial tax payers money has recently been expended on perimeter fence around the airport, but to little avail. Even though the peace camp and demonstrations were well forecast, a group of Amnesty protestors in orange Guantanamo suits got past the security and up into the terminal building where they conducted a peaceful protest.
about an hour later, three other protestors got to the terminal building and unfolded a protest banner and helped to educate some of the relatively few civilian passengers who were using the airport.

A tree planting ceremony was held at the site of the peace camp. Two apple trees were planted to commemorate the recent passing of peace activists Liz Tully and her husband Robin Hennessy both of whom died during 2007. On two occasions the peace camp participants marched to the security checkpoint and held impromptu protests at the checkpoint. One protestor boarded a passing bus from Cork, when it was stopped by Gardai, and brought the Corkonian passengers up to date on US military and CIA abuse of the airport.
A further demonstrations is planned for Shannon on 11 Jan 2008 on the anniversary of the opening of Guantanamo Prison, between 4 pm and 6 pm. Please make the effort to get there to voice your opposition to the torture of prisoners by the US military and the CIA, and to all forms of torture taking place in up to 100 different countries internationally.
We must never accept the militarisation of Shannon and its use as a torture refuelling station, and we need much greater support for future demonstrations at Shannon.

We had initially planned to stay at Shannon overnight, and accommodation was provided by the Rossport group who brought their large tent all the way from North Mayo. Excellent food was provided by the Food not Bombs campaigners.
However, the weather forcast for Sunday night at Shannon was storm force winds of over 100 kph.
For reasons of safety, it was decided to decamp at 7pm, during a temporary lull in the wind and rain.
In Iraq however, there has been no lull in the deaths. On 6 Jan 2008, over a dozen people were reported killed in western media. However, the real number of Iraqi deaths was probably far greater.

attachment OMNI AIR plane carrying US troops through Shannon on 6 Jan 08 0.19 Mb attachment Expensive but pointless expenditure on perimeter fence at Shannon airport 0.62 Mb attachment 200 US troops can pass, but not a dozen peace activists! 0.09 Mb attachment Apple tree planting in memory of Liz Tully and Robin Hennesy 0.1 Mb

author by Mary Kellypublication date Mon Jan 07, 2008 00:11author address author phone Report this post to the editors

Well done to all those who turned up to protest, for braving the bad weather and caring enough to get out and mark another year of continued Irish facilitation to illegal wars of aggression.
Solidarity and strength to all those resisting the invasion of their sovereign territory ,and in memory of all who have perished.

Thanks for planting a tree each for Robin and Liz, two great people who stood strong against the use of Shannon as a US warport.

Also in memory of Emma Carroll 1973-2005, I contributed the following for a memoriam booklet compiled by her family and friends- 'A single candle, memories of Emma'

I knew Emma for a short time when our lives co-incided at Shannon Co Clare in the weeks prior to the invasion of Iraq 2003. Recently I came across an information leaflet she wrote at that time

"On little Christmas, Oiche na Mban, a group of women set up the Shannon peace Camp. I was one of these women. We endured temperatures of minus seven, got very little sleep and suffered coldburn, but we were bolstered by support from passing motorists and people dropping off food and drink."

Emma wrote these words in the early days of 2003 when the peace camp by its persistent presence and daily reports, became very instrumental in exposing the US military use of Shannon airport.
Her bright presence at the camp and the peace house encouraged those of us who had cold feet to break out of our comfort zones and wake up to the dark reality that was dawning every day as the camp kept vigil on the activities going on inside the perimeter fence. Emma describes the moment she saw the truth with her own eyes and what she intended to do about it.

" Last week I stood in the viewing gallery at Shannon which has since been closed to the public!!!) I saw hundreds of US troops in desert fatigues move through the arrival terminal. Although I knew from the news reports this was occurring on a daily basis, watching it with your own eyes is still shocking.
Since the War on terror began, the Irish Government have waived the conditions under which the US military aircraft can land and refuel, carrying weapons and explosives as part of military operations. This permission has not been given explicitly- but nobody has inspected the landing aircraft to see what they are carrying.
As a small country we are providing crucial logistical assistance. Have the Government decided to create their own definition of neutrality and do you trust them with this decision? Do you mind that by the troops presence the Irish are a potential target for terrorists? ...and there is always the risk that an accident might happen in Shannon with unknown consequences. As for me I will continue to camp in Shannon and invite anyone who is interested to get in contact."

Emma saw the importance of putting her body in the way- by being very active on many freezing winter nights at the peace camp and plane spotting- logging the numerous disguised aircraft that were landing and refuelling, ferrying troops and weapons to Iraq and Afghanistan, and transporting kidnapped persons destined for interrogation in countries that permit torture.The indifference shown by many in this country and certainly by those elected to represent us can cripple the most enthusiastic spirit into hopeless apathy- but not Emma. In her short life she gave generously by taking on a personal responsibility to make a difference, refusing to look away from the horror and madness of our world. Her anxious spirit soon took her to Afghanistan, where she engaged in helping the most vulnerable victims-children whose lives were being shattered by the horrific realities of war. Nollaig Na Mban and the peace camp will always remind me of her bright and determined spirit.
Rest in peace Emma, thank you for living to the full.

author by Dunlo Tom - Ireland-Palestine Solidarity Campaignpublication date Mon Jan 07, 2008 10:36author address author phone Report this post to the editors

Shannon Warport Peace Camp!

shannonwarportpeacecamp1.jpg

The apple trees planted in their memory, sombre minutes of reflection in empathy with Liz and her delight, Robin - torn away from us last year
The apple trees planted in their memory, sombre minutes of reflection in empathy with Liz and her delight, Robin - torn away from us last year

Our first sally to the Garda line of shame, who backs turned to the obscenity of CIA torture planes transiting through Shannon behind them, contained us. Us; "The enemy within," as Thatcher and, no doubt, Ahern, would put it.
Our first sally to the Garda line of shame, who backs turned to the obscenity of CIA torture planes transiting through Shannon behind them, contained us. Us; "The enemy within," as Thatcher and, no doubt, Ahern, would put it.

shannonwarportpeacecamp4.jpg

Ed doing his duty, with Margaretta D'Arcy, Niall Farrell, John Cunningham and Geraldine McDermott from Galway Alliance Against War behind him
Ed doing his duty, with Margaretta D'Arcy, Niall Farrell, John Cunningham and Geraldine McDermott from Galway Alliance Against War behind him

author by Dunlo Tom - IPSCpublication date Mon Jan 07, 2008 10:55author address author phone Report this post to the editors

More!

shannonwarportpeacecamp6.jpg

Aron (in blue) who journeyed from the Rossport Solidarity Camp to join us and Niall - another strong S2S activist
Aron (in blue) who journeyed from the Rossport Solidarity Camp to join us and Niall - another strong S2S activist

Asia with her (and Tim's) sweet child of delight; Gosia
Asia with her (and Tim's) sweet child of delight; Gosia

"Ri" : No McShit from Galway Food Not Bombs, only manna perfumed with the milk of paradise and bullshit from myself, but, at least, I felt slightly holy and totally gourmet whilst eating the fare
"Ri" : No McShit from Galway Food Not Bombs, only manna perfumed with the milk of paradise and bullshit from myself, but, at least, I felt slightly holy and totally gourmet whilst eating the fare

Andy in orange
Andy in orange

author by Dunlo Tom - IPSCpublication date Mon Jan 07, 2008 11:01author address author phone Report this post to the editors

2

FNB Niall about to dish-out
FNB Niall about to dish-out

Ahern : Browned-off with probity in office and the McMahon Tribunal, brown-nosed from licking Bush's arse and brown-arsed from shitting on Irish neutrality?
Ahern : Browned-off with probity in office and the McMahon Tribunal, brown-nosed from licking Bush's arse and brown-arsed from shitting on Irish neutrality?

author by Ninapublication date Mon Jan 07, 2008 14:09author address author phone Report this post to the editors

I would like to echo Mary Kelly in her sentiments about our dear friend and comrade Emma Carroll (1973-2005) who was also actively involved in GNAW(Grassroots Network Against the War). Emma was the best look-out companion one could wish for of a cold March night, the eve of the start of the war in Iraq. Bags of chips kept us warm, while the sheer inevitability of a war that had started long before the bombs began to rain, left us feeling numb.
Emma’s indomitable fighting spirit will be remembered by many people for a long time to come, and she is sorely missed by everyone who knew and loved her.
‘om shanti’

author by Edwardpublication date Tue Jan 08, 2008 17:57author address author phone Report this post to the editors


A sincere thanks to all who participated in the peace camp and associated protests at Shannon on Sunday 6 January. The weather was indeed very inclement, and got considerably worse after we left on Sunday night.
It is very appropriate that we should commemorate the work and lives of Emma Carroll, Liz Tully and Robin Hennessy. It is always a philosophical question to which there is no clear answer as to why such genuine persons as Emma, Liz and Robin should be taken from us so early, while scoundrels who have helped to perpetrate crimes against humanity manage to live on to a decadent old age.

It is essential also that we remember and commemorate all those who have died as a result of these unlawful wars in Afghanistan and Iraq. Michael Jansen in today’s Irish Times puts the death toll in Iraq as a result of that war at a conservative estimate of somewhere between 600,000 and 1,200,000.
Even the lower figure of 600,000 Iraqi dead is twice as many as the combined death tolls from the atomic bombs on Nagasaki and Hiroshima in 1945.
If we add in all the deaths resulting from the 1991 Gulf War, and especially the subsequent deaths in Iraq from 1991 to March 2003, including deaths due to UN imposed sanctions, then the Iraqi death toll amounts to half the death toll of the Holocaust.
It is not enough just to say: “may they rest in peace”. They can never rest in peace unless the gross injustice of their unlawful murders is vindicated in some way, without adding more unlawful murders to the existing toll.
I will be away for some weeks in Armenia monitoring the Presidential elections there. The genocide against the Armenian people in 1915, by the Turkish government, in which up to one million Armenian people died, was the first genocide of the twentieth century, but unfortunately not the last.
It is much too soon to say never again, when we see how the Irish Government, and by implication, the Irish people have been complicit in the deaths of over one million people in Iraq and Afghanistan.

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