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Making War through Shannon airport

category international | anti-war / imperialism | news report author Sunday November 08, 2009 23:37author by Edward Horgan - Shannonwatch and PANA Report this post to the editors

Iraqi, Gaza, Afghans ALL SOULS, remembrance?

The past week has shown the extent to which Shannon airport has been deliberately run down as a civilian airport and turned into a US military airbase. I spent over two hours there each day, Wed 4th, Friday 6th and Sunday 8th. During these times, the number of aircraft tansiting the airport associated with the US military exceeded civilian passenger aircraft. Aer Lingus, Ryanair and Air France are gradually abandoning services from Shannon while its use as a military airbase is increasing.
Israeli ARKLA plane and Netanayhu at Shannon 8 Nov
Israeli ARKLA plane and Netanayhu at Shannon 8 Nov

This week is Remembrance week for those killed in wars, as well as being the traditional time to remember the souls of those who have died. It is a time when we should be reflecting on and promoting peace, praying for innocent victims of war, and comforting the survivors and bereaved.

Yet at Shannon airport its war business as usual.
On Wednesday 4 Nov in the early afternoon an occasional Ryanair plane was outnumbered by US warplanes. Two OMNI air flights refuelled as they transported over 400 armed US troops to and from Iraq and Afghanistan. They were accompanied by an Evergreen International cargo plane that is frequently used to transport heavy munitions and other war materials through Shannon airport.

On Friday mid morning 6th November one would expect an international civilian airport to be busy with holiday makers and other civilian passengers. There was one flight for Boston checking in but it was accompanied by the usual two Omni Air troop transported and a Hercules C 130 which has an unusually strong security force comprising an Irish army patrol, accompanied by a Garda Patrol car and an Airport Police Car all in attendance at the same time. Perhaps they were protecting the US warplanes from each other - given the tragic events in Afghanistan and the US during the same week when 5 British soldiers were killed by Afghan troops they were training and when 13 US soldiers were killed on a US airbase in the USA by a US army major who happened to be a psychiatrist. Could such a tragedy happen at Shannon airport? Yes, on any day of the week.

I noticed that Evergreen International munitions transporter had the Shannon airport fire-brigade in close attendance. Was there an emergency on board? If so what would happen to all the airport workers and to all those innocent civilians within the airport terminal building, if this munitions plane went on fire and exploded within ten meters of the centre of the terminal building? The only thing separating these people from the munitions plane was a wall of plate glass.

On Sunday we had our usual monthly vigil on the second Sunday of each month. This Sunday we were joined by representatives of the World March for Peace and Non-Violence. Peace songs were sung, and a peace tree planted. The Gardai outnumbered the dozen or so peace activists by more than a factor of two if those on duty within the airport protecting war criminals were included.
War -Criminals at Shannon airport? Probably, yes. As we were walking towards the airport we noticed an Israeli aircraft, with the insignia ARKLA comming in to land. We had received information during the week that Israeli Prime Minister Netanyahu and possibly the Israeli Chief of Staff were going to pass through Shannon on their way to the USA on Sunday 8 Nov.
The unusual Garda activity at Shannon today would seem to confirm that these (VIPs??) were present. This was in the week when the UN General Assembly endorsed the Goldstein report that found that war crimes had been committed by Israeli forces in Gaza. Yet, instead of searching this aircraft for possible war criminals the Gardai provided protection for them.
During our peace vigil, one of the peace activists read out to the assembled Gardai the oath that each Garda takes when passing out at Templemore. We were unaware at this point that Netanyahu may have been in the airport, but emphasised the ongoing failure of Gardai at Shannon to live up their oath to enforce the law and respect the Constitution of Ireland at Shannon.
In addition to the Israeli aircraft, there were the usual compliment of two Omni air US troop carriers at the airport.
Our Government, and by default the People of Ireland, have been complicit in the deaths of up to one million innocent people in Iraq, Afghanistan and Palestine by knowingly facilitating the transit of US troops and munitions through Shannon. It seems almost pointless to pray for the souls of those innocent dead, when our Government participated in their deaths, in our name. Yet, we must remember them, and endeavour to make atonement and reparations for the crimes against humanity that we have been complicit in.
May they rest in peace,
and may God forgive their killers.

Peace Vigil and World March for Peace at Shannon
Peace Vigil and World March for Peace at Shannon

Confronting Complicity at Shannon 8 Nov 09
Confronting Complicity at Shannon 8 Nov 09

Peace-Tree Planting at Shannon 8 Nov 09
Peace-Tree Planting at Shannon 8 Nov 09

US Hercules Warplane at Shannon 6 Nov 09
US Hercules Warplane at Shannon 6 Nov 09

author by Edward Horganpublication date Mon Nov 09, 2009 00:00author address author phone Report this post to the editors

Its time to put a stop to all this complicity with unlawful wars and the killing of innocent people now.

It was time to put a stop to all this yesterday

It was time to put a stop to all of this on 20 March 2003

All this killing in our name, should never have started

Two OMNI air US troop carriers at Shannon Fri 6 Nov 09
Two OMNI air US troop carriers at Shannon Fri 6 Nov 09

Volga Dnepr transport at Shannon 6 Nov - transporting war materials?
Volga Dnepr transport at Shannon 6 Nov - transporting war materials?

Two Omni Air US troop carriers + Evergreen munitions? transport at Shannon Wed 4 Nov 09
Two Omni Air US troop carriers + Evergreen munitions? transport at Shannon Wed 4 Nov 09

author by John Lannon - Shannonwatchpublication date Mon Nov 09, 2009 09:28author address author phone Report this post to the editors

The Israeli flight that was almost certainly carrying Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu. Arcia is an Israeli charter airline, and was chosen for the Netanyahu trip to the US because it is supposedly a cheaper and smaller airplane than the normal El Al carrier. This necessitated a refueling stop, which the Irish government were happy to facilitate.

Ireland quite rightly supported the UN General Assembly resolution calling for independent investigations of alleged war crimes by Israel last week. But a few days later it makes the leader of that same country welcome on Irish soil, and provide Garda security and protection for him and his comrades in war. Providing this protection is inconsistent, and an affront to the oppressed Palestinian people of Gaza.

It is ironic that the head of a brutal and oppressive government should be at Shannon airport as peaceful endeavour was being celebrated outside the airport. The suffering in Gaza, Iraq, Afghanistan and other parts of the world - where war is manipulated by external forces and ruthless self interest - is made possible by the complicity of places like Shannon. It was appropriate therefore that the World March for Peace and Non-Violence banners were raised at Shannon on Sunday to show that the business of war cannot ever become acceptable there, or indeed anywhere.

For a full report on the Sunday events at Shannon see

Netanyahu steps on board Arcia plane in Israel.
Netanyahu steps on board Arcia plane in Israel.

author by Black Guardpublication date Mon Nov 09, 2009 10:43author address author phone Report this post to the editors

Great to see you are keeping up the work and exposing what is going on at Shanon. Well done

author by Shanonwatcherpublication date Tue Nov 10, 2009 22:13author address author phone Report this post to the editors

The following is the Solemn Declaration made by all members of An Garda Siochana on their appointment:

It is important to remind Gardai who are engaged in so-called public order duties of their solemn declaration on a regular basis. Peace activists should carry a copy of this oath with them and read it to the Gardai whenever appropriate.

Section 16(1) of the Garda Síochána Act 2005 requires each member of the Garda Síochána to make the following Solemn declaration when they are appointed :-

"I hereby solemnly and sincerely declare before God that—

-I will faithfully discharge the duties of a member of the Garda Síochána with fairness, integrity, regard for human rights, diligence and impartiality, upholding the Constitution and the laws and according equal respect to all people,
-while I continue to be a member, I will to the best of my skill and knowledge discharge all my duties according to law, and
-I do not belong to, and will not while I remain a member form, belong to or subscribe to, any political party or secret society whatsoever.”.

Related Link:
author by Ciaron - Catholic Worker/Plowsharespublication date Thu Nov 12, 2009 20:50author address At Large, Australiaauthor phone Report this post to the editors

We are attempting to sustain a weekly anti-war vigil outside of Gallipoli Barracks in Brisbane/Australia. Soldiers from the barracks are deploying to the war on Afghanistan. Questions about the war are not being posed by the media, churches, the academy or the it's left to our motley crew on the sidewalk to pose the questions printed on our placards
-Invading Afghaistan is not Defending Australia!
-Resist the War on Afghanistan www.couragetoresist .org
-Refuse to serve the Afghan Mission!
-Bring All our Troops Home!

The vigil this week fell on Nov 11th. - Armistice Day, the end of World War 1 (also for Australians the anniversary of the hanging of Ned Kelly and the Governor General's 1975 sacking of the reformist Whitlam government!)

Gallipoli Barracks that deployed cannon fodder to WW1, Vienam, Iraq, Afghanistan, and all the wars in between, is presently undergoing an $800 million upgrade with a further 1600 people to be based at the barracks when the 8th./9th. Battaltion will be re-raised as part of the Enhanced Land Force initiative.

Wednesday saw longtime local peace activist Sandy, myself and Dr. John Jiggens author of recent book "The Killer Cop and the Murder of Donal Mackay" maintain vigil.

As I started the vigil solo, a school bus of Catholic school girls on their way to touch footy stopped and gave me an ice block and wished me well! Vietnam War protestor Merv Langford swung by and promised to join us in future and text apologies were received from my brother Sean and school teacher Cameron caught in gridlock.

The first hour of the vigil is gridlock school run time most of the responses were positive and affirming, some represented the general "Get a Life!" disengagement and a minority of open hostility. A lot of soldiers drive by during our vigil time some in military vehicles, some in reved up utes and motor bikes.

Meanwhile, Labor Prime Minister Rudd had dashed secretly to Afghanistan for a photo op and announced "Australia will stay the course in Afghanistan! " which really means that "After 8 years the Americans still won't let us go home yet!"

The pandoras box of violence unleashed with war was clearly evident as Gulf War 1 veteran the "Washington Sniper" John Allan Muhammed htm was executed in Virginia and Obama went to Ft. Hood/Texas in the wake of the massacre carried out by a military psychiatrist who had previously worked at Walter Reed with veterans suffering form post traumatic stress.

Meanwhile in England Afghan War veteran Lance Corporal Joe Glenton who had hidden out in Australia while refusing redeployment, recently led an anti-war march in London was arrested and now faces court martial.

64% of British public think the war is unwinnable and that troops should be withdrawn.

There seems to be little popular support for this war, there is little visible popular opposition to this war...there is just war! And our motley crew on the sidewalk outside of Gallipoli barracks and similar small efforts trying to stay awake to what's going down!

Eamonn McCann reflects well from the north of Ireland on how Armistice Day/ red poppies hijacked to promote present wars

Patrick Cockburn suggests "Leaving Afghanistan to the Afghanis"

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