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"Hammered by the Irish" - new book by Harry Browne tells Story of Shannon "Disarmament", Acquittal

category national | anti-war / imperialism | press release author Tuesday October 07, 2008 20:52author by Hammered Report this post to the editors

‘Hammered by the Irish’ now available

It was probably the most important anti-war action to happen in Ireland this century – and it was certainly the most daring.

At Shannon Airport five people took on the might of the US military – and put a Navy war-plane out of action.. Even more amazingly, they ultimately convinced a jury that to do so was not a crime.

But the story of the Shannon Five has hardly been told, until now. For the first time, a new book reveals the inside story of an intrepid act

On February 3rd, 2003, five Catholic Worker peace activists, calling themselves the Pitstop Ploughshares, broke into a hangar at Shannon Airport and, swinging hammers and a pickaxe, did more than $2.5 million to a US Navy transport plane.

Nearly four years later, a Dublin jury decided they could have ‘lawful excuse’ for their action, because they did it to save lives in Iraq . They were found not guilty on 10 separate counts of criminal damage.

The Pitstop Ploughshares were a mix of Irish-born and Irish-diaspora: Deirdre Clancy from Dublin , Damien Moran from Offaly, Nuin Dunlop from the US , Karen Fallon from Scotland and Ciaron O’Reilly from Australia .

‘Hammered by the Irish’ shows the people behind the hippie caricatures, and takes the reader on a rollercoaster ride: from secret planning in a Limerick monastery, to a dark and dangerous night on a runway, through three often-bizarre trials and finally a stunning legal victory for the five.

Action from Ireland (AfrI) is pleased to be the Irish distributor of ‘Hammered by the Irish’ by Harry Browne, which has just been published in the United States by Counterpunch Books and AK Press. The book is also available on amazon.com and abebooks.com.

It features a short introduction from a legend of the US anti-war movement, Jesuit priest Father Daniel Berrigan, who helped to found the prophetically inspired Ploughshares tradition of disarmament actions and is now 87 years old.

Harry Browne is a journalist who worked for the Irish Times from 1990 to 2003, and has contributed to many other publications, including the Sunday Tribune, Sunday Business Post, Evening Herald, Village, the Dubliner and Dublin Review. He teaches journalism at Dublin Institute of Technology and is a frequent contributor to radio and television programmes. ‘Hammered by the Irish’ is his first book.

An anti-war benefit gig next Thursday, October 9th, at Dublin’s Lower Deck will welcome the book and include performances by musicians Paul O’Toole and Joe Black and actor/playwright Donal O’Kelly.

The book will be officially and slightly more quietly launched the following Thursday, October 16th, by Senator David Norris, at DIT Aungier Street .

Harry Browne is available for interview, as are two of the former defendants, Ciaron O’Reilly and Damien Moran.

Contact Afri: (01) 882 7563/7581

Contact Harry Browne:

author by Availabilitypublication date Tue Oct 07, 2008 20:56author address author phone Report this post to the editors

Presently Available in Dublin from....
Afri 134 Phibsborough Rd. Phibsborough
Tower Records off Grafton St. City Centre
Harry Browne
Damien Moran
Ciaron O'Reilly

In Cork...from James at WSM

In Londonat the Anarchist Bookfair Oct 18th 08

Online from ....
AK Press


Catholic Worker Bookstore

The book is also available on Amazon:

author by dunkpublication date Wed Oct 08, 2008 15:04author address author phone Report this post to the editors

Not Guilty. The Pitstop Ploughshares All Acquitted on All Charges

related vid below includes the hammers
Hey Presto! Ploughshares Movement Re-Equipped...

Hammered by the Irish
Hammered by the Irish


Caption: Embedded video Youtube Video

author by Deirdre Clancy - Former Pitstop Ploughsharespublication date Fri Oct 10, 2008 00:33author address author phone Report this post to the editors

I am writing this note to testify that I do not feel represented by any events/benefits surrounding this book, that I have neither endorsed nor been consulted about said events (this has all been organised by a small coterie of people and excludes three members of the group, all women), and that I have completely disassociated myself from publicity, however paltry, surrounding the Pitstop Ploughshares that is generated as a result of this book, as such publicity is most unlikely to represent or even respect my reality or the reality of my conscience, either as it stands now or as I experienced during the three-and-a-half years going through the courts. (This is not a critique of the book itself, the content of which I would prefer not to address in this particular note, although as the book deals with the defendants as individuals, I do think I have a right to give my own point of view, hence the use of the first person occasionally.)

Such publicity as we had to undergo at the hands of the antiwar movement/leftist media was very rarely executed on a democratic basis, with regard to the wishes of the women in the Pitstop Ploughshares group (who wanted quality over quantity, and did not even get to see the vast majority of the often haphazardly written press releases that were put out in our name). Rarely was the collective nature of our action reflected in any coverage, and many on the left continuously and in a kneejerk, unreconstructed way treated our two male co-defendants as our leaders/spokespersons, even though we made it clear that we never elected them as such.

Respect for the voices of the women's consciences, which compelled us to give up a large portion of our lives to this witness, was absent much of the time within the antiwar community immediately surrounding us, with various honourable exceptions. This trend continues as long as the accounts given of our action don't take our thoughts fully into account. The effects of this silencing has been devastatingly demoralising in different ways for all of us (although I'm not claiming to speak on behalf of Karen and Nuin, I don't think I am speaking out of turn in saying this has been, broadly speaking, their reality too). Certainly, the cognitive dissonance inherent in behaviour that systemtically silences and disenfranchises women defendants within a 'peace' movement has caused me personally much consternation, among other things. (However, I would add that it's not all clear cut: such disenfranchisement has occurred at the hands of women and women's groups, and been strongly opposed by various egalitarian men.) Overall, though, to be treated on an ongoing basis as dumb, only good for a photo shoot, and to be consistently objectified and dehumanised, has gone against everything I was brought up to believe in by a strong and articulate mother about women's equal dignity as thinking agents. For much of the three-and-a-half years, I felt as if I was swimming against my own tide in relation to power dynamics (though not against the tide of my conscience on Iraq), and it was both saddening and alarming to see the kneejerk complicity in the abovementioned state of affairs from people who should have known better.

Before the end of the year, the three women will be putting out a statement (now in draft form) to clarify certain aspects of the story that were swept under the carpet - we made the decision to do this several years ago and felt we had no choice due to untruths that had been repeated about us (some of these continue), but had too much else to face at that time. There's a reason so few strong women are active in the antiwar left, and we really wish this to change. It's not good enough any more to 'put up and shut up for the sake of the movement', as if somehow 'the movement' is immune from the same standards of behaviour in relation to democratic decision-making between women and men that have now been accepted by most of civilised society.

I say all of this with regret, and thank those very many people who refused to go along with any belittling of the women's role in acting at Shannon and then taking equal responsibility before the law, with all the concomitant effects it had on our personal lives and, regrettably, health (concerns that are also consistently demeaned by people trying to speak on our behalf). We committed ourselves willingly, and I have no regrets about acting, but I do regret opportunistic behaviour in relation to us as individuals coming from a minority among the very people purporting to support us, making things more difficult than they should have been. The bottom line is that war is still a reality and will be for a long time. Future women peace activists need not be driven from doing resistance for fear that their dignity and voices will be robbed from them within the antiwar movement itself (as opposed to in prison and aspects of mainstream society, where it's reasonable to expect such effects).

In an attempt to make lemonade out of lemons, so to speak, I am also in the process of putting together a website to explore these issues in a more general way in relation to the peace movement, with a view to playing a small part in improving its future prospects of going about its business in a functional manner. This is another part of my witness, and I hope other women and members of minorities with a similar mindset will join me in contributing written reflections to this endeavour.

I do not feel it necessary to see gratitude to supporters as a reason for keeping silent (as has been argued to me before). While I do feel such gratitude to many supporters, at the end of the day, those genuinely supporting us were doing so because of shared moral outrage at what is happening to the ordinary people of Iraq and the Middle East. They were not there to prop up the egos of the defendants. Nevertheless, I do feel thankful to those genuine supporters who kept our spirits up throughout the court battle.

Best wishes and may the struggle continue without the cynicism.

author by Fred Johnstonpublication date Mon Oct 13, 2008 02:49author address author phone Report this post to the editors

There's mention of Harry Browne's book on www.twwc.ie - the website of the Western Writers' Centre, under 'Kiosque,' on the right-hand side.

author by Miriampublication date Mon Oct 13, 2008 16:18author address author phone Report this post to the editors

Well done Harry Browne. Look forward to reading it.

author by Mary Kellypublication date Thu Oct 16, 2008 12:32author address author phone Report this post to the editors

thanks Deirdre for writing this post, a very valuable contribution to the workings of the anti war groups and all resistence movements.

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