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Peace Forum and Peace Vigil

category international | anti-war / imperialism | news report author Sunday March 22, 2009 17:30author by Shannonwatch - Report this post to the editors

Shannon airport still supports war

A Peace Forum was held at the Park Inn hotel at Shannon airport on saturday 21 March in solidarity the victims of the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, on the 6 aniversary of the start of the Iraq war.
Contributers included peace activists from Leipsiz in Germany, whose local airport is also being used to refuel US military planes and chartered troop carriers. We also had peace collegues from Derry, Galway, Cork, Westmeath, Kildare and even some from Dublin.
Meanwhile there were at least three OMNI air chartered troop carriers at the airport transporting hundreds of armed US troops to Iraq and Afghanistan.

Peace vigil at Shannon airport for victims of TORTURE
Peace vigil at Shannon airport for victims of TORTURE

The following the press release for the Peace Forum

Shannon Peace Forum
Saturday 21 March 09

A Peace Forum took place at Shannon Airport on the 6th anniversary of the beginning of the Iraq War, in which the Irish Government was a willing participant. The Iraq and Afghan wars have led to the unlawful and unjustified deaths of up to one million people. This forum was held to highlight the need for accountability for the Irish Government’s complicity with the war crimes committed in Iraq and Afghanistan

The Irish Government, led by Mr Bertie Ahern and Brian Cowen has been complicit in crimes against humanity, and in crimes of torture, by inviting and allowing over one million armed US troops, and hundred’s of CIA associated aircraft to be refuelled at Shannon airport in breach of Ireland’s international obligations and of Irish and international laws.

The cost of the Iraq war to the American people has been estimated at up to three trillion dollars, and we know that 4,260 US troops have died in Iraq. We do not know how many dollars this war has cost the people of Iraq, and we have only rough estimates of the numbers of Iraqi dead and injured, because the US and its allies deliberately avoid counting these horrific costs. An estimated 250,000 Iraqi children have died as a result of this war. The people of Iraq are due massive reparations not only from the United States, but also from other complicit governments, including Ireland.

While we welcome the Irish Government’s decision to accept former Guantanamo prisoners to Ireland, some Guantanamo prisoners are likely to have justifiable claims for damages due to Ireland’s complicity in their torture and their “extraordinary rendition” to Guantanamo.

Ireland claims to be neutral state and a supporter of the United Nations. The actions of the Irish Government since 2001 have proven otherwise. We are in gross breach of the Hague Convention on Neutrality, and by supporting the US war against Iraq, Ireland has been in breach of the UN Charter.

In addition to the death and devastation caused by these wars in the Middle East, the transit of large numbers of armed US troops and unknown quantities of munitions thorough Shannon poses very serious risks to users of Shannon airport and its workers. Many of the chartered aircraft used are old and in poor repair and have been involved in several serious safety incidents. Shannon airport is totally unsuitable for the transit of dangerous munitions and there is a risk of a catastrophic accident if a fire should occur on a munitions aircraft at Shannon. If necessary the airport should be closed to prevent its continuing misuse and complicity in crimes against humanity.

Recent government attempts to resell the Irish people a “pig in a poke” called the Lisbon Treaty have emphasised that Ireland will be given assurances, or protocols or declarations, or whatever, on Irish neutrality. Such assurances are simply lies, given the reality of the abuse of Irish neutrality that is happening daily at Shannon airport.

The Lisbon Treaty will be strenuously opposed by the Peace and Neutrality Alliance and by peace activists unless the transit of US troops through Irish territory is ended forthwith, and Irish neutrality is restored, by a credible constitutional amendment.

For further information Contact:

Edward Horgan, 086-3539911,
Roger Cole, Chairperson, PANA, email

Related Link:

The Wars go on - Omni Air troop carrier at Shannon 21 March 09
The Wars go on - Omni Air troop carrier at Shannon 21 March 09

Gardai security hide their faces from the cameras
Gardai security hide their faces from the cameras

Garda puts peace activists on his list - does he also have a list of CIA planes and crews?
Garda puts peace activists on his list - does he also have a list of CIA planes and crews?

author by conorpublication date Sun Mar 22, 2009 19:07Report this post to the editors

Well done. I really admire and respect you all for your ongoing active opposition to the war.

author by paul o toolepublication date Sun Mar 22, 2009 21:14Report this post to the editors

Well done to all.
The practically absent media coverage of the anniversary of this genocide in all the mainstream media formats is astonishing to say the least, and says a lot about modern Ireland and who dictates what is newsworthy or not. The complacent , manevolent nature that seems to be part of the modern person is disturbing.
Well done again, sorry I couldent make it.

author by Liam Cpublication date Mon Mar 23, 2009 10:44Report this post to the editors

I don't support you. I frankly support the US Military.
Where would the world be without them.

Iraq is better place that Saddam is gone.

author by redjadepublication date Mon Mar 23, 2009 11:28Report this post to the editors

did anyone do a digital audio recording of it?

email me if you need help uploading - i suggest

author by South West Correspondentpublication date Mon Mar 23, 2009 13:03Report this post to the editors

Well done for coordinating this important event.
[One procedural suggestion: Perhaps at future events there could be a nominated facilitator (who is NOT one of the speakers, and who wouldn't keep adding on to points). This would also ensure a stricter adherence to speaker time limits, as it seemed Roger Cole spoke for ages without interruption, but then John Lannon and Noeleen Hartigan had to have their really interesting discussions cut.]

Clare FM was one of the only mainstream news organisations that even mentioned the anniversary let alone this conference. Ed Horgan must be right, one doesn't gain any popularity by reminding the Irish government and the Irish public of the continued use of Shannon by the US military.

I arrived at the airport with a strange sense of de ja vu. Wow, is it really six years on? How dismal. The airport has had a bit of a face lift in recent times, but its runway is still lights up to a startling number of commercial charter planes that land and refuel, while numerous young American men and women in desert fatigues disembark to stretch their legs and get some refreshments. Some of the airplanes this infamous airport allow to land have been obvious US military planes because of their insignia. While others are unmarked, and leased, and re-leased, and re-leased, so that it takes a coordinated international effort by planespotters and human rights activists to unearth the fact that the current users are the US military, and that these planes have been directly linked to the kidnap and torture that is otherwise called extraordinary rendition.

To be honest I was really disappointed at the relatively small turnout at this important anniversary.
Where were you guys?
You who, in your beautiful and strong tens of thousands, seemed so rightly enraged that the US military was using our civilian airport? Six years ago the Irish government was trying to deny that any of this was even happening. Six years on the US military is STILL using the airport, so I would have thought that there would have been a much greater represenation of delegates from each of the numerous groups around the country that claimed to be against that.
Where were you all??

For me the low turnout was really ironic especially now, with the overwhelming evidence that Shannon has been used as a cut-rate military base for the illegal invasion and continued occupation of Iraq and Afghanistan.
* To date NONE of the planes have been searched by the gardai or the army, despite numerous requests by the plane spotters and other concerned individuals.
* We have been told that we have US assurance that nothing untoward has been transported through Shannon.
* Yet Shannon has been identified as one of a spiders-web of airports that have been facilitating extraordinary rendition (this is proven through research done by Reprive and Amnesty International -with data and photographs compiled by the plane spotters from Shannonwatch).
* Shannon is a civilian airport and is not designed for planes carrying munitions. Its "wall of glass" design would risk massive deaths and injury if there was any accident with any aircraft carrying munitions.
* As long as Ireland continues to allow Shannon to be used by the United States to transport troops/munitions/prisoners then Ireland is complicit in all of the US governments military actions.

author by Adelepublication date Mon Mar 23, 2009 13:27Report this post to the editors

A very big well done to all you lovely folks in Ireland.
It is so good to see that your resolve is stronger than ever.
You continue to be an inspiration to the rest of us!

Love and best wishes

author by Coilínpublication date Mon Mar 23, 2009 21:34Report this post to the editors

One of the most interesting details emerging during a thought-provoking day was John Maguire's reference to an essay by Ivan Illich, in which this most innovative thinker considered different concepts of peace, from the Jewish "shalom" to the Roman "pax".

The essay is entitled "Peace is a way of life" and it was published in a magazine called Resurgence, in 1981.

Now, I can't readily find that article on the Web, but I do see another very stimulating and refreshing piece of writing on a related topic, from Illich's address to the first meeting of the Asian Peace Research Foundation, in Yokohama in 1980:
The De-Linking of Peace and Development

No better place to start investigating the history of the word "pax" and how it came to become intimately entangled with a series of economic and political systems in which warfare is seen as indispensable.

author by Coilínpublication date Tue Mar 24, 2009 17:33Report this post to the editors

Having discussed with Prof. Maguire, it seems that the following is substantially the same as the essay he referred to:
The De-Linking of Peace and Development

author by Lemuel Gulliver IVpublication date Wed Mar 25, 2009 11:00Report this post to the editors

Violence now lurks in many key words of the English language. John F. Kennedy could wage war on poverty; pacifists now plan strategies (literally war plans) for peace. In this language, currently shaped for aggression, I must talk to you about the recovery of a true sense of peace… To me, it seems that each people’s peace is as distinct as each people’s poetry. Hence, the translation of peace is a task as arduous as the translation of poetry.

Peace has a different meaning for each epoch and for each culture area. … within each culture area peace means something different at the center and on the margins. At the center, the emphasis is on “peace keeping”; on the margin, people hope to be “left in peace.” During three so-called Development Decades, the latter meaning, people’s peace, has lost out. This is my main thesis: under the cover of “development,” a worldwide war has been waged against people’s peace. In developed areas today, not much is left of the people’s peace. I believe that limits to economic development, originating at the grass roots, are the principal condition for people to recover their peace.

Culture has always given meaning to peace. Each ethnos – people, community, culture – has been mirrored, symbolically expressed and reinforced by its own ethos – myth, law, goddess, ideal – of peace. … Take the Jews; look at the Jewish patriarch when he raises his arms in blessing over this family and flock. He invokes shalom, which we translate as peace. He sees shalom as grace, flowing from heaven, “like oil dripping through the beard of Aaron the forefather.” For the Semitic father, peace is the blessing of justice which the one true God pours over the twelve tribes of recently settled shepherds.

To the Jew, the angel announces “shalom,” not the Roman pax. Roman peace means something utterly different. When the Roman governor raises the ensign of his legion to ram it into the soil of Palestine, he does not look towards heaven. He faces a far-off city; he imposes its law and its order. There is nothing inn common between shalom and this pax romana, though both exist in the same place and time.

In our time, both have faded. Shalom has retired into a privatized realm of religion, and pax has invaded the world as “peace,” paix, pace. Through two thousand years of use by governing elites, pax has become a polemical catchall. … It has become a sectarian and proselytizing term, whether used by the establishment or by dissidents, whether its legitimacy is claimed by the East or the West.

author by MKpublication date Sun Mar 29, 2009 11:56Report this post to the editors

"Who knew about the torture of Binyam Mohamed?"

author by Coilínpublication date Sun Mar 29, 2009 17:31Report this post to the editors

It was a special honour to give the delegation from Leipzig an opportunity to protest at Shannon. Same shift, different day!

And it was a pleasant surprise to see the Garda keep an appropriate distance for once. Maybe they've been reading Article 40.6.1 since the last time I was in town? Or maybe they just wanted to get back to the rugby as soon as possible?

Shannon Open for Business - Renditions, Troop Transits and Military Freight
Shannon Open for Business - Renditions, Troop Transits and Military Freight

Leipzig delegation protests against CIA traffic at Shannon
Leipzig delegation protests against CIA traffic at Shannon

Garda keeps a respectful distance from Shannon protest
Garda keeps a respectful distance from Shannon protest

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