Seeking to profit from "lucrative" wars

Last week the chairman of the Shannon Airport Authority (SAA), Rose Hynes revealed that Shannon Airport was not just willing to accommodate US military flights but that it was actively going after what she called ‘important’ and 'lucrative' US military traffic. It’s a shameful admission that the Irish government, which owns the airport, has completely abandoned the notion of Irish neutrality and is planning continued participation in US wars of aggression. 

Is Collusion with Torture and Killing Part of Shannon’s DNA?

Afri Press Release, 24th January 2013

U.S. soldiers passing through Shannon Airport

The justice and Peace organisation Afri today expressed revulsion at comments made by the head of the Shannon Airport Authority, Rose Hynes, to an Oireachtas committee yesterday. When asked about Shannon’s reliance on military traffic, Ms. Hynes replied: “Military traffic has been in the DNA of Shannon for many years. It is something that is important, it’s lucrative and we are certainly going to go after it as much as possible.”

Showing More Kindness to the Oppressor than the Oppressed

Demonstration against US military use of Shannon, Sunday 13th January

Last week a local Limerick newspaper carried a large photograph of US troops arriving at Shannon Airport. It was part of a feel-good story about hospitality and acts of kindness, and it described how, several years ago, an airport barman took pity on tired and thirsty marines, and opened the bar for them.

A few pages later there’s a  story about hopes being raised that Shannon may still play some role as an international aid hub. In fact it’s a rather hopeless and desperate story, as the idea that Shannon could be a humanitarian centre has been well and truly quashed by now – if it ever was a realistic proposition.

Troop Flights Through Shannon Down in 2012 but on the Increase Again

The number of US troop carriers using Shannon Airport was down in 2012 compared to previous years. In 2011 there was an average of over 80 troop flights a month but in 2012 the numbers recorded by Shannonwatch ranged from a low of 13 in July to a high of 72 in April.

But while all the summer months saw relatively low numbers of troop carriers at Shannon, their frequency began to increase again towards the end of the year.

Even though the number of civilian aircraft carrying US troop was down, the number of US military aircraft landing at Shannon did not change in 2012. On average 24 of these used Shannon every month, including Hercules c-130's and mid-air refueling tankers.

Shannon Involvement in Khaled El-Masri Rendition - Time for Full Investigation

Photo from Guardian (Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images)

In 2003, Khaled El-Masri was abducted by the CIA, flown to Afghanistan and tortured as part of the US renditions program. On Dec 13th last the European Court of Human Rights finally awarded him compensation for his suffering. It also held that the former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia was responsible for the unlawful detention, enforced disappearance, torture and other ill-treatment of Mr. El-Masri.

The plane used by the CIA to transfer Khaled El-Masri, registration N313P, landed at Shannon Airport on 17 January 2004, on its way to pick him up in the Macedonian capital, Skopje. This is one of the clearest documented cases to date of Shannon’s involvement in torture.

Drone Warfare and the Indiscriminate Killing of Pakistani Children

Drone operators at Holloman Air Force Base in the southwestern state of New...Drone operators at Holloman Air Force Base in the southwestern US state of New Mexico. Link to Source

The north-western region of Pakistan, along the Afghanistan border, is one of the most difficult places on earth in which to feel safe. It's a remote part of the world, populated with poor people living in tribal communities. Most are guilty of nothing at all. A minority are militants. Even among them, almost none pose any imminent threat to the US. Yet more than 350 US drone strikes have hit the region since 2004, most of these since Obama took over as president.