Making War through Shannon airport
anti-war / imperialism |
Sunday November 08, 2009 23:37 by Edward Horgan - Shannonwatch and PANA
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
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
Confronting Complicity at Shannon 8 Nov 09
Peace-Tree Planting at Shannon 8 Nov 09
US Hercules Warplane at Shannon 6 Nov 09