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Shannon Peace Camp 6 Jan 07
anti-war / imperialism |
Saturday January 05, 2008 21:34 by Edward Horgan
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.
Cesna N7tk Shannon 29 Dec 07
Unidentified Gulfstream being guarded at Shannon 5 Jan 08
US Gov VIP Gulfstream V At Shannon 5 Jan 08