Heavy Security at Shannon for First Peace Vigil of 2012

Shannon vigil attendees, 8th January
Two Gardai patrolling OMNI Air troop carrier at Shannon 8 Jan 2012

At the January peace vigil outside Shannon Airport today (Sunday 8th) twenty five people gathered in peaceful protest against the ongoing militarization of the airport. Those in attendance were outnumbered by Gardai (as is usual at these vigils), and they were denied access to the airport. Inside, several US troop carriers were under Irish army and Garda "protection", even though this military traffic is breaching Irish neutrality.

Army and Gardai protect US warplanes at Shannon

At the terminal building one Omni Air DC 10 was being loaded and re-fuelled for its journey to or from the war zones in the Middle East. This plane had two Gardai on patrol at the aircraft. In the centre of the airfield there was another Omni Air DC 10, also being guarded by a uniformed Garda. Nearby was a Hercules C-130 warplane, numbered BD 5379. This had US Navy markings, and what appeared to be long-range fuel tanks under the wings. It is the type of aircraft used at times by US special forces, including US Navy Seals, to carry out special operations. These operations include targeted assassinations like that of Osama Bin Laden (and many others besides) which are in breach of international laws.

Roger Cole asks Sgt McMahon to investigate US warplanes at Shannon

Nearby there was an Irish Army patrol, standing guard on these warplanes. In so doing it may well have been aiding and abetting war criminals.

Roger Cole, Chairperson of PANA, the Irish Peace and Neutrality Alliance, formally requested Sergeant Noel McMahon to have the US Navy Hercules warplane searched and investigated. Sergeant McMahon refused to do so, and suggested that any such request should be made in writing to Shannon Garda Station. Edward Horgan then asked why no action had been taken so far on the hundred's of previous requests for searches of US military and CIA associated aircraft at Shannon airport. However there was no coherent response from any of the Gardai present.

Attendees at the vigil also marked the tenth anniversary of the opening of Guantánamo Bay detention centre, in which 171 men are still being detained by the US, mostly without any charges or a fair trial. This is despite the fact that the US government has itself cleared more than half of them for release, and despite President Obama’s promise on his second day in office to close Guantánamo within a year.

Shannonwatch extends its thanks to everyone who turned up for the peace vigil. We hope that many more will join us on the second Sunday of each month throughout 2012, and beyond if necessary.

On March 11th of this year there will be special peace vigil at Shannon to mark the aniversary of the begining of the US war against the people of Iraq. Busses will be provided by PANA from Dublin for this occasion. Anyone who is interested in travelling is asked to contact PANA by emailing info@pana.ie.


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