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From Abu Ghraib to Shannon
national | anti-war / imperialism | feature Thursday October 26, 2006 17:01 by Deirdre Clancy & Fintan Lane - Anti-War Ireland
US Iraq Vets to Speak at Anti-War Rally at Shannon Airport
This week and next, Anti-War Ireland will host a series of events aimed at re-focusing attention on the continuing use of Shannon Airport as an important logistical stop by one of the world’s most dangerous and vicious military machines.
The campaign to demilitarise Shannon airport received a boost in July this year with the unanimous acquittal in Dublin's Four Courts of the five Pitstop Ploughshares activists (Deirdre Clancy, Nuin Dunlop, Karen Fallon, Damien Moran and Ciaron O'Reilly). It was a remarkable outcome to a lengthy legal process that began with their decommissioning of a US warplane in Shannon back in February 2003, and it highlighted the extent of anti-war sentiment in this country.
On Saturday, 28 October, anti-war activists are returning to Shannon with flowers and banners to hold a mock-funeral from the town centre to the airport in memory of the dead of Iraq, Afghanistan and the United States. Among those attending this first major protest at Shannon this year will be two of the acquitted Ploughshares – Deirdre Clancy and Ciaron O'Reilly – and three members of Iraq Veterans Against War – Joshua Casteel, Stephen Lewis and Tony Lagouranis – all former US interrogators at the infamous Abu-Ghraib prison in Baghdad. The US military veterans will also address a series of Anti-War Ireland public meetings around the country.
More info: Former Abu-Ghraib interrogators speak in Dublin | Maynooth meeting on Friday with US Iraq War vets | Shannon demonstration on Saturday | Cork bus to Shannon demo | Dublin bus to Shannon demo | Galway bus to Shannon demo | Cork meeting with Abu-Ghraib vets next Tuesday | Belfast meeting with Abu-Ghraib vets next Wednesday
This demilitarisation campaign has been ongoing since 2001. In late 2002 and early 2003, it became obvious to many Irish people that the pretexts for the proposed war of aggression on Iraq were bogus. Many were aware that the economic sanctions against Iraq had drastically undermined civilians in what had recently been a largely prosperous and culturally advanced society, and throughout the 1990s had served only to strengthen the repressive regime under which they lived. The idea that the same forces that were most robust in imposing those sanctions would now attack an already largely poverty stricken and vulnerable population, on the pretext of ‘decapitating’ the regime, seemed almost unbearable to think about and staggeringly hypocritical, given the history involved. One of the largest mass mobilisations ever seen in Ireland occurred, part of a massive day of global action. In Dublin, 100,000 people marched against the impending war and against Irish government complicity with the US war machine. Nonetheless, several governments utterly ignored the will of the people and went on to create or to be silently complicit in a bloodbath in Iraq. A recent Lancet report indicates that as many as 655,000 Iraqi men, women and children may have been killed in Iraq since March 2003, and the bloodshed continues.