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Shannon Peace Vigil among the warplanes

category international | anti-war / imperialism | news report author Monday September 14, 2009 23:30author by Edward Horgan - Report this post to the editors

Neutrality - my Aunt Rose's sore elbow (ARSE)

The monthly peace vigil at Shannon on Sunday 13 Sept took place on a beautiful Indian Summer's day when nature seemed to be at peace with itself.
However, a closer look inside the airport fence showed very few civilian planes, with Aer Lingus cut backs on Shannon services, Air France/CityJet about to abandon its Shannon Paris route, and Ryanair also planning schedule cutbacks.
There was plenty of military activity however, with four warplanes surrounded by Gardai and Airport Police.
Shannon Peace Vigil 13 Sept 09 - Peaceniks among the Chaos
Shannon Peace Vigil 13 Sept 09 - Peaceniks among the Chaos

Fifteen peace activists attended this vigil, and we were accompanied by almost twice that number of Gardai, who seemed to be behaving a little like headless chickens. When we arrived at 2 pm as usual, there seemed to be no Gardai at the road checkpoint, but there were a number of Garda vehicles and several Airport Police vehicles within the airport attending the three warplanes on the ground, and a fourth one that landed at about 2.12 pm. The usual contingent of Gardai on overtime eventually arrived at about 2.20pm complete with their hired-in truckload of anti-riot barriers. If the 15 of us had started a riot at 2 pm we would have had no one to riot against for 20 minutes. At 3 pm at the end of the vigil, I drove up to the airport, wearing my "Guantanamo" orange suit, to deliver two peaceactivists to the bus at the airport. We passed up to a dozen gardai at the barriers, who seemed not to notice us until after we had passed, and then sent a squad car after us. When I was ordered to leave the set down area immediatly, as I was setting down my bus passengers, I asked the Garda to inform his superiors that I was requesting that the warplanes at the airport be searched.

Our peace activists included three from Germany, and the usual suspects from Galway, Mullingar, Limerick, Clare and Cork. The Dublin contingent were on late Summer holidays.
While we were at our usual roundabout stand, we were closely observed by two individuals driving a Crysler car that we have reason to believe may be two of the US soldiers who are based full-time at Shannon airport. At a previous demonstration a few months ago one of these individuals took several photos of our peace vigil.

OMNI Air Troop-carrier Shannon 13 Sept 09
OMNI Air Troop-carrier Shannon 13 Sept 09

Hercules C 130-1m 109th Airlift Wing, New York Air National Guard
Hercules C 130-1m 109th Airlift Wing, New York Air National Guard

C9 - McDonnell Douglas reg number 159119
C9 - McDonnell Douglas reg number 159119

author by Sarah - N/Apublication date Mon Sep 14, 2009 23:55author address author phone Report this post to the editors

Couldn't make it well done to all the shannon crew for keeping this on the agenda.
The Greens should be publicly pushed to get some action on this put on their new programme for misgovernment again...thats if they are still there ...

author by Coilínpublication date Thu Sep 17, 2009 14:41author address author phone Report this post to the editors

By what lawful authority did the garda order you to leave the set down area?
is there any law to prohibit wearing an orange jumpsuit at Shannon Airport?

author by John - Shannonwatchpublication date Thu Sep 17, 2009 15:50author address author phone Report this post to the editors

Experience has taught us that the Gardai and Airport Police at Shannon invariably try to impede anyone highlighting the complicity of the airport in torture and war activities. This includes telling people who are wearing orange jump suits or carrying signs/banners of protest that they "have no business" in the airport and are therefore not permitted to be there. When challenged, they resort to feeble attempts at quoting the Air Navigation and Transport Act or mentioning byelaws.

The attempts are feeble because there is usually no real basis for suggesting that the Act or the byelaws are being violated. In particular section 33 of the Act is often cited by the Gardai ... it states that an authorised officer may order any person (i) who refuses to give his name or address, or to produce other evidence of his identity, or (ii) who refuses to state the purpose of his being on the aerodrome, or (iii) who refuses to account for any baggage or other property in his possession, or (iv) who gives a name or address or states a purpose of his being on the aerodrome which is known, or is reasonably suspected, by the authorised officer to be false or fictitious, or (v) whom he knows not to have, or whom he reasonably suspects of not having, a lawful reason for being on the aerodrome, to leave the aerodrome.

I have always given my name and address, and stated the true nature of my lawful business at the airport - which is to usually to look for evidence of potential breaches of national and/or international law. But our Gardai seem to think that that this is not lawful.

I know that the Gardai may seal off a suspected crime scene to protect evidence and may direct someone not to enter. Wouldn't it be great if this was why we were not allowed to enter Shannon airport when a US military Hercules C-130 sat on the tarmac!

author by dpublication date Fri Sep 18, 2009 22:54author address author phone Report this post to the editors

Terrible photos of some class Military aircraft.

author by GNM (Green No More)publication date Sun Sep 20, 2009 23:08author address author phone Report this post to the editors

There are undoubtedly members of An Gardai Siochana with a real grasp of international law and human rights, men and women who know the UN Convention off by heart. Members of the 'force' as it is called who would not be afraid to uphold international law.
But where are they? They are not on duty in Shannon, or it seems in Rossport for that matter.
Are these informed and enlightened members abroad in Cyprus with the United Nations? In Kosovo? Are some of them returned from UN duties and engaged in human rights training in Templemore? Talking the talk. Undoubtedly, some of them are studying in our universities.

I wish we could see them on active duty in Shannnon.

The reputation of An Gardai Síochána has been damaged over the last decade, especially by corruption and cover-ups in Donegal.

The Gardai’s reputation has also been diminished by its violent support for oil companies in Mayo.

Across Ireland, the reputation of ordinary members of An Gardai Síochána has been damaged in the eyes of many right-thinking members of society by the Garda's co-operation with CIA operatives using Shannon Airport. In fact, CIA international kidnap crews had (have?) little or no fear of being arrested in Ireland so long as the Irish police manage to keep civilians from getting close enough to make a citizen’s arrest.

The US army continues to use Shannon Airport to ship recruits out to kill foreigners and to ship some of those same men and women home in bodybags.

Shannon Airport is attractive to the US not least because of its distance from a major city (and therefore protest), but also because of the connivance of the national police force.

Can we kindly see some change here? Someone to stand out from the crowd and strike a different pose, a Garda with a knack for cracking international war-crimes.

I’ve heard people asking, ‘When will the Gardai stop arresting peace-campaigners and begin targeting the CIA rendition flights?’

It will happen some day, if just one Garda cops on to his real duties as a cop.

Though – with the Greens and FF leaving what’s happening to continue, it will take a brave and determined person to do so.

We’re waiting.

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