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Shannon and the New US War Strategy in Afghanistan

category clare | anti-war / imperialism | news report author Wednesday June 10, 2009 22:08author by Shannonwatchauthor email shannonwatch at gmail dot com Report this post to the editors

Every day more evidence comes to light in relation to Shannon's role in the illegal and immoral wars of the US. The latest information indicates that it may be part of a new weekly supply route for the US army in Afghanistan, using chartered planes.

In a May 6th press release, National Airlines announced that its subsidiary company, Murray Air, had started a weekly charter to Bagram Air Base in Afghanistan in April. According to the press release, the flights are to "assist ongoing efforts to provide materials and goods to the United States military". They depart every Friday and arrive in Bagram on Sunday evening with one fueling stop in Europe (see http://www.murrayair.com/news_events.html?id=24&action=...ingle).

Since these flights began on April 3rd, Shannonwatch has recorded Murray Air aircraft at Shannon airport on four Saturdays - April 4th, April 11th, May 2nd and May 16th. Regular midweek stops have also been recorded on the following Wednesdays: April 8th, 15th, 22nd, 29th and May 13th.

This looks like yet another outrageous breach of Irish neutrality and of our moral duty to the uphold peace. US generals have acknowledged that the recent expansion of the US war in Afghanistan will result in higher levels of violence; during a February 18 press briefing at the Pentagon, for example, the top US general in Afghanistan, David McKiernan said, "I would expect to see a temporary time where the level of violence might go up until we transition into holding and setting conditions to build." This will add to the already high level of civilian casualties in the country. Highlighting the anticipated effect of the war's expansion, the Revolutionary Association of Women in Afghanistan stated, "The very first outcome of the surge for Afghan people will be increase in the number of civilian casualties ... In the past seven years, thousands of innocent people have been killed or wounded by the US/NATO bombardments. In the past weeks under Obama's rule, around 100 Afghan civilians have been killed."

Without any public assessment or analysis of how Ireland should assist the people of Afghanistan, our government or their officials seem to have made a unilateral and wholly unacceptable decision to facilitate the provision of materials and goods to the occupying army.

In addition to the gross immorality of the suffering being inflicted on the Afghan people, these flights may also pose a threat to the people of Limerick and Clare. The nature of the materials and goods being transported was not specified, but they may include hazardous or explosive substances (Murray Air has a licence to carry explosives through Shannon Airport). And given Murray Air's safety record - one of their DC-8 aircraft had to make an emergency landing at Shannon after its engines caught fire on take-off in March 2008 - this is not good news for Shannon.

It is time for transparency from the Irish authorities in relation to the cargos going through our civilian airport and the deals being done behind the Irish peoples backs.

Related Link: http://www.shannonwatch.org
author by Edward Horgan - Peace and Neutrality Alliancepublication date Thu Jun 11, 2009 22:59author address author phone Report this post to the editors

I went to Shannon airport this morning acting on information that a CIA associated aircraft was due to land there at about 0945.
I arrived at Shannon at 10 am and observed an executive jet being refuelled. I identified the number N71PG on the tail of the aircraft. As I was taking photographs a Garda car passed and pulled to observe me. I approached the Garda car and spoke to Garda Tighe. I informed her that the Learjet aircraft N71PG bring refuelled at that time was associated with the CIA and have been to Guantanamo on several occasions, and I requested that the aircraft and its crew be investigated and searched. She informed me that she would relay my request to her superiors.
The following are some details of this aircraft:

Type: Learjet 35
Source: Terminal Air and inspection of flight logs
Owner: Phoenix Air Group Inc, Cartersville, Georgia.

Comment: This plane lands at Shannon on a regular basis. It is known to have landed at Guantanamo Bay on several occasions. This aircraft is currently listed as an air ambulance on the Phoenix Air website.

The following are a small sample of some of its recorded landings:
01-Aug-2008 Shannon (EINN)

27-Jun-2008 Shannon (EINN)

08-May-2008 Shannon (EINN)

11-Apr-2008 Guantanamo Bay Ns (MUGM)

10-Apr-2008 Cartersville (KVPC) from Guantanamo Bay Ns (MUGM)

20-Mar-2008 Shannon (EINN)

12/8/07 3:35 PM N71PG KVPC Cartersville from MUGM Guantanamo Bay Ns

12/3/07 EINN Shannon

11/7/07 Shannon

N71PG refuelled and about to take off Shannon 11June09
N71PG refuelled and about to take off Shannon 11June09

The Crows observe N71PG while Gardai and Security cameras look the other way
The Crows observe N71PG while Gardai and Security cameras look the other way

author by Fred Johnstonpublication date Fri Jun 12, 2009 11:28author address author phone Report this post to the editors

The election of Obama as US President may have marked the beginning of some nifty sound-bite politicking but it is unlikely to sigal a change in US foreign policy. Obama is back-stepped more times than a ballroom dancer on statements he has made, from issues around Israel to Guantanámo. Ireland has now permitted a permanent US military presence at Shannon airport, to enable the progres of foreign wars in which, of course, we are now all complicit. The ugly business at Shannon should not be forgotten. Where are our writers and artists, in particular those with media clout, in all of this?

author by Edward Horganpublication date Fri Jun 12, 2009 20:53author address author phone Report this post to the editors

Fred Johnston above correctly identifies the lack of concern being expressed by artists and writers on the abuse of Shannon airport for refuelling CIA torture planes and US warplanes and troop carriers. There are over 4 million citizens in Ireland. The vast majority of them have remained silent on this issue of Irish complicity in crimes against humanity.
As a nation we are now beating our brests in vain because no one had the courage to shout stop as the religious orders, and others including lay school teachers abused and traumatised thousand's of children. Even though this abuse was horrific, and involved an unknown number of deaths that amounted to murder in some cases, the extent and the scale of this abuse was considerably less than that caused by US unlawful wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, Thousands of prisoners were and are still being tortured, up to one million people are dead due to these wars, including up to 250,000 children. All this occurred and is still occurring on a daily basis with direct Irish complicity and cooperation. The comparrison with Hitler's station-masters is a very valid one.
Yet less than half a dozen peace activists are active at Shannon, supported on a regular basis by small but significant groups from Galway, Cork and Dublin. We are also getting solidarity and practical support from groups in Derry, Leipzig, and the United States.
We need the support of far more Irish people over the comming months to ensure that Irish complicity in abuse of human rights and crimes against humanity do not continue for decades, like the child abuse did.
We need a peace camp re-established at Shannon. We need your support for this now.
It will be too late in five years time to say we should have done more, we should have done something.
The appology issued by the Minister for Education in the Dail today for the institutional child abuse, rings very hollow, given that the Department of Education was significantly responsible for failing to prevent this abuse.
Any appologies that may be issued by future by Irish Governments for complicity in Crimes against humanity, would be equally hollow. However, dont expect any such appology any time soon.
After all, those 250,000 dead children are only "foreigners", and non-Christian foreigners at that. Like the children who were abused in Irish institutions they were not considered part of our society. Jobs at Shannon airport are more important than Iraqi and Afghan lives. It is this racist mentality that allows such crimes to be committed with relative impunity. The lessons of the Holocaust have been learned indeed. First you demonise a group of people, then gradually make them "non-people" and then their disposal seems logical. The numbers and poorly fitting uniforms given to the children in our institutions were borrowed from elsewhere.
With this flawed and racist logic, the deaths of 3,000 of "us" Westerners in the US in 2001, justifies the killing of up to one million of "them" in Afghanistan and Iraq.

If you think it is not OK to facilitate the killing of 250,000 children in Iraq and Afghanistan, then please help put an end to this complicity at Shannon - but please don't bother to appologise later on if you choose to do nothing.

author by paul o toolepublication date Sun Jun 14, 2009 02:54author address author phone Report this post to the editors

The artistic community in ireland has remained particularly quiet on the subject of Shannonsparticipation in genocide.
Artists by there nature have something to say and need to get their point of view out, but i think theyve all been reduced to entertainers now.
This silence helps to maintain the pretence of normality when this couldn not be further from the truth. I think part of the problem is the power of the media to control careers in music and literature in Ireland and elsewhere, especially music careers.
The sugar coated soft porn mediocre meaningless baseless thoughtless drivel passing today as 'art' is disturbing, the silence from those upon who the mantle of addressing the balance is laid is un believable.
Music careers depend upon airplay, and careers are made or ended on a whim from programme directors, radio stations and jesus help us now with Louis walshe and co...
When the artistic comunity self censors itself there is a major problem but i guess they know what side their bread is buttered on. When politicians sing dumb it could be expected, when the clergy sing dumb its frightening , but when the artists are silent one is left wondering if there is anyone in a position of influence who gives a damn. The answer is no, theres not.
Bono is a washout, Geldof is Blairs Jester, the dixie chicks were ruined in 24 hours for 'apologising' for comming from the same State as GW Bush.
I guess the Irish creative community has records to sell and wont ruffle any feathers at RTE, dare they get challenged, despite the fact that 2,300,000 innocent people have been killed in Iraq with our help. MAking money is always more important than saving lives, or even trying for that matter,
it would seem.

Fair play to ED, Connor and Tim for all their thankless tireless work in the face of a brutally lethargic and opressive Garda Siochana, I wish i had the guts.


author by examiner readerpublication date Fri Jun 26, 2009 14:01author address author phone Report this post to the editors

The Irish branch of Amnesty International is calling on the Government to stop turning a blind eye to the use of Shannon Airport for illegal CIA rendition flights.

The human rights organisation says it has gathered the most concrete evidence to date of such flights passing through the Co Clare facility.

In a report due out today, it says it knows of at least four cases where the airport was used to illegally transport prisoners to Guantanamo Bay.

Amnesty is calling on the Government to uphold international law and properly inspect CIA planes passing through Shannon.

It says guarantees from the US that rendition flights are not passing through Shannon have been entirely discredited.


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