More on the Non-Violent Peace Action at Shannon Airport

Margaretta D'Arcy and Niall Farrell demand an end to the US military use of Shannon

Sunday 7 October 2012 is the 11th anniversary of the US led invasion of Afghanistan. The subsequent war and occupation of Afghanistan probably cost the lives of over 100,000 Afghan people. The related and equally unjustified war against the people of Iraq probably cost well over one million Iraqi lives, but we will never know the exact figures because the aggressors deliberately “don’t do body counts”. These criminal wars have been compounded by unspeakable acts of torture and abuses of prisoners in Abu Graib, Guantanamo, Bagram and elsewhere. These acts of torture have more recently been replaced by targeted assassinations using special-forces and drone attack-aircraft. The term “targeted assassinations” is of course a misnomer because the vast majority of victims are innocent civilians, unintended so-called “collateral damage”.

Ireland has played an active and despicable role in all these crimes against humanity by allowing over two million armed US troops to transit through Shannon airport. In addition vast amounts of war materials and dangerous munitions have passed through Shannon and over one thousand CIA associated flights have been refuelled at Shannon.

In order to highlight and to try and prevent the on-going Irish participation in these abuses of human rights, and the failure of Gardai at Shannon to investigate Irish complicity in torture and other war crimes, a number of peace activists entered Shannon airport at about 4 pm on 7 October 2012, and placed banners beside the main runway at Shannon warning US military and CIA associated aircraft that they are not welcome at Shannon. Every precaution has been taken to ensure that this has been a non-violent peaceful action, and to ensure that there has been no risk of injury to any person. This is in marked contrast to the actions of the US troops who passed through Shannon, who have caused so much death and suffering across the Middle East and Central Asia, and some of whom have committed the most serious crimes imaginable.

President Obama during his visit to Ireland earlier this year thanked the Irish Government for its complicity in these US wars by allowing the warmongers to transit through Shannon airport.

Peace activists have tried repeatedly by various means to get the Gardai and other involved authorities to prevent this use of Shannon airport for such criminal activities. These efforts included the submission of a large amount of documentary evidence and information to the Gardai at Shannon on 18 March 2011. Seventeen months later a response was received from the Gardai stating that they had: “failed to uncover any evidence concerning breaches of Irish and international laws resulting from the transit of armed U.S. troops and CIA associated aircraft in connection with the wars and military aggression in Iraq, Afghanistan and elsewhere, and in connection with the unlawful detention and torture of prisoners at Guantanamo prison and elsewhere.” This statement beggars belief, given that Judge Kearns of had ruled in the High Court in April 2003 that the Irish Government was in breach of International laws of neutrality, and that full details of this judgement were submitted to the Gardai at Shannon on 18 March 2011. If the Garda investigation into these matters failed to uncover any evidence into the matters complained of, this is most likely because the focus of any such investigation was to cover up any such evidence rather than to uncover it.

The peaceful action by Margaretta Darcy and Niall Farrell was undertaken also as an act of solidarity with the victims of unlawful and unjustified was in Iraq and Afghanistan, especially the tens of thousands of women and children who have died as a result of these wars.

Margaretta and Niall are detained by airport police

May all those killed in the Afghan and Iraq wars of aggression rest in peace, and may the perpetrators of these wars, and all those who assisted them,experience justice and accountability.

Margaretta and Niall were released after about three hours questioning, and they were told that a file is being sent to the DPP. It should make an interesting case if it ever gets to court.

 

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