Busy 3 days for US Military Base Shannon as the Warplanes Come and Go

From Wednesday to Friday of this week a series of US military planes and contracted troop carriers landed at Shannon (click on images to enlarge).

US Veterans For Peace Start Phase 2 of their Walk from Dún Laoghaire

Ken Mayers and Tarak Kauff, our two US Veterans for Peace awaiting trial in Ireland for protesting the well over three million US troops that have landed in Shannon on their way to and from their perpetual wars, are about to embark on a second phase of their 'Boots on the Ground for Freedom' walk through Ireland.

Despite their clear intention to face trial to highlight their defence of the policy of Irish Neutrality, Ken and TArak have been forced to surrender their passports and are in effect exiled in the Republic of Ireland until the trial date, instead of being allowed to return to their families.

Since their release on bail they have actively campaigned against the use of Shannon Airport in a variety of ways including their walks.

Standing Against War at Shannon

For the second weekend in succession we were at Shannon Airport to highlight its complicity in war. 

We continue to oppose war, and to stand in solidarity with people all over the world who are suffering the devastating consequences of militarization, occupation and oppression.

Today at least two plane loads of US troops went through Shannon with the full support of the Irish government. The Department of Transport, Tourism and Sport even gives permission for guns to be carried on these planes.

US Air Force HC-130J Warplanes at Shannon

Yesterday evening (October 9th) at Shannon there were two more US warplanes. But these were no ordinary planes. Both were Hercules HC-130J Combat King II's, which are used for a range of purposes including US special forces operations. They capable of avoiding radar and undertaking low flying operations by night, and are equipped to be refueled in mid air.

They are also able to refuel helicopters in mid air.

Eighty-two Percent or Dead?

The following was written by Veteran for Peace activist Tarak Kauff who is currently being refused permission to leave Ireland. He is accused of minor offenses linked to the attempt he and Ken MAyers made to inspect a US contracted military plane at Shannon Airport. 

For the past 5 1/2 months, my veteran buddy, former U.S. Marine Major Ken Mayers and myself, a former U.S. Army paratrooper, have been meeting and talking with people about Irish neutrality. Actually, most often, people stop us to talk because they see we're veterans. Some of them have read about us being arrested for exposing U.S. military troops and weapons violation of Irish neutrality at Shannon Airport, or they have seen us on RTE TV.  Almost without exception, we find, the Irish people believe in and want Irish neutrality. One poll reported that 82% of the people desire a neutral Ireland. Few perhaps, realize how important that is to the world at large. 

Walk for Freedom Update and Schedule

Ken and Tarak are well into their walk from Limerick to Galway. Some of our friends in Galway Alliance Against War joined them on Monday at Shannon and they walked about 12km. They are in good form despite being stuck here for 6 months. Virgin media news spent an hour filming them on Monday; they have done a few radio interviews on the road with community stations. And the Irish Examiner met them in Ennis and made a podcast. 

Our friends in GAlway Alliance against War reminded us that their walk from Galway Crystal on Monday at 12.30 needs a good turnout. Please spread the word they say!

A granddaughter of Ken's will hand in a letter for Varadkar and Flanagan at the US consulate in New York at 10am tomorrow. The press release is already out to the media both in Ireland and the US. 

Below are links to a short video, an excellent article entitled 'No Country For Old Men: Two US Veterans And Peace Activists Go MIA in Ireland' and the walking schedule.