PETALS: Peaceful Endeavour to Terminate Aggressive Landings at Shannon

Shannonwatch, in partnership with Afri/Action from Ireland, has recently launched a shamrock-shaped card spelling out the acronym PETALS:  Peaceful Endeavour to Terminate Aggressive Landings at Shannon. It is intended to convey a gentle but firm message to ourselves and to our guests, especially those from the USA: the 'War on Terror' has eroded our long- and painfully established standards of international law and human rights, whilst wreaking havoc on the societies it purported to help and liberate.

More than 2.5 million troop movements through Shannon have made a shameful travesty of Ireland's claim to be fulfilling its neutral status and its commitments to peaceful conflict resolution and peacekeeping. The refusal to inspect military and military-related aircraft, including many clearly identified with illegal rendition and torture, is a flagrant breach of our government's and police force's duties under domestic and international law. 

Shannonwatch Calls for Support for Mick Wallace and Clare Daly on Day 2 of their Trial

TDs Mick Wallace and Clare Daly are back in court in Ennis at 2pm on Tuesday March 10th as a result of their attempt to inspect a US military aircraft at Shannon Airport.

This is the second day of a case that has already heard evidence from a number of witnesses who outlined the problematic nature of the US military presence at Shannon. These witnesses included Irish Times Security Analyst Dr Tom Clonan, former UN Deputy Secretary Denis Halliday, international lawyer and neutrality expert Roberto Zamora, and Dr Edward Horgan of Shannonwatch.

Too Many US Military Aircraft Emergencies at Shannon

Less than a week after we had an emergency landing of a US military aircraft used in electronic warfare at Shannon Airport, we've had another emergency landing by another of the US's military aircraft.

EC-130H electronic warfare aircraft at Shannon on March 1st, after making emergency landing

Early on the morning of Saturday 28th Feb an EC-130H 'Compass Call', which is a variant of the Hercules C-130 that operates in an airborne tactical weapon system role to disrupt enemy command and control communications, landed after suffering engine problems. As the Clare Herald reported, Shannon Airport’s emergency plan was quickly implemented with units of the fire brigade from Shannon and Ennis along with ambulances from Limerick and Ennis being sent to the airport in support of the airport’s own fire and rescue service.

Court Case Highlights Issues Relating to US Military and CIA Use of Shannon Airport

On Tuesday 24th February the first part of the State's case against TDs Mick Wallace and Clare Daly took place. The case was adjourned until March 10th at 2pm (again in Ennis court) when a number of defence witnesses plus Mick and Clare themselves will give evidence.

Mick and Clare are in court because they climbed a fence and walked towards an US military plane at Shannon in order to inspect it.

We will provide a full report and analysis of the case when it has concluded, but for now it is sufficient to note the main contributors to date. Airport Police officers and Gardai have already given evidence for the State, and five witnesses have presented evidence in support of the defence. The first of these was Irish Times Security Analyst Dr Tom Clonan. Some of the key points of his contribution are outlined here. UN Deputy Secretary Denis Halliday, international lawyer and neutrality expert Roberto Zamora, and Dr Edward Horgan of Shannonwatch also appeared as witnesses. In addition, a former worker at Shannon gave evidence of routinely seeing guns stored in overhead lockers and under seats on US troop carriers. He also spoke about seeing other US planes that remained far away from the terminal building and which he and other workers were not allowed onto while delivering food. These were what workers referred to as the "rendition planes".

Shannonwatch Call for Support for TDs Who Attempted to Inspect US Military Airplane

Shannonwatch are urging their supporters to come to Ennis District Court on Tuesday February 24th to support TDs Clare Daly and Mick Wallace who attempted to inspect a US military plane at Shannon last July. Their alleged offence is illegal entrance into a restricted area of the airport, and their action was in response to the failure of the authorities to inspect US aircraft at Shannon.

Shannonwatch have repeatedly called for an end to the US military use of Shannon. They also call for inspection of all military and suspected CIA aircraft at the airport for as long as they are being allowed to pass through.

Clare Daly and Mick Wallace have made it clear that as legislators and as citizens they have a responsibility to uphold Irish neutrality. They have made every attempt inside the Dáil to highlight Ireland's complicity in war at Shannon, but the government has refused to allow the Gardai to inspect US military aircraft.

Costa Rican Human Rights Lawyer to Speak on Neutrality

Between Feb 20th and 25th a series of talks will take place around Ireland by human rights lawyer Roberto Zamora who challenged the Costa Rican government on breaches of neutrality under its Constitution and won. The talks are particularly relevant to Ireland at this time, as two bills on neutrality come up for discussion in the Dail in the coming weeks.

Roberto Zamora is an independent attorney who works mostly on constitutional affairs and litigation for the protection of human rights. As a college student he challenged Costa Rican President Pacheco's decision to support the US/UK led aggression on Iraq. The Constitutional Chamber of the Supreme Court ruled the support as unconstitutional, and ordered the country's withdrawal from the coalition. He also successfully challenged a presidential decision to allow the manufacture of nuclear fuel and nuclear reactors "for all purposes" in Costa Rica.