Blogs

Shannon Airport, War and Renditions

Booklet by John Lannon, Shannonwatch

Published with support from the Peace and Neutrality Alliance (PANA) and the Irish Anti-War Movement

DOWNLOAD BOOKLET (PDF)

"Shannon Airport and Ireland have contributed directly to the daily suffering and human rights abuse of men, women and children – from the men tortured in Guantanamo Bay to the children in Afghanistan who are injured or orphaned by airstrikes and roadside bombs. It is for people like these that opponents of Shannon’s militarization continue to campaign and to seek accountability. They do so on the basis of a wide range of legal instruments, both national and international, that support their moral arguments.

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 These acts of torture have more recently been replaced by targeted assassinations using special-forces and drone attack-aircraft.

Peace Activists Block Shannon Airport's Runway

Today, Sunday 7th October 2012, two members of the “Galway Alliance Against War” peace group (GAAW) marked the 11th anniversary of the war in Afghanistan by blocking Shannon Airport’s main runway.

GAAW issued the following statement:

“Today, 7th of October 2012, marks the 11th anniversary of the war in Afghanistan and the beginning of the illegal ‘war on terror’ that has led to the deaths of thousands upon thousands of innocent people. To mark this shameful anniversary actions are being taken around the world from 6th- 12th October against the war, against the waste of public finances on killing instead of caring, against killer drone warfare, and calling for invading troops to be returned to their country of origin- including the Irish tro ops in Afghanistan. Here in Ireland, two members of the Galway Alliance Against War, Margaretta D’Arcy and Niall Farrell, blocked the main runway at Shannon airport.

“The Irish State has been an accessory in this illegal ‘war on terror’ from its very outset. GAAW believes it was essential to highlight the craven collaboration of consecutive Irish Governments in these wars and that is why the protest was held.

CIA Convictions Upheld in Italy - Its Now Time for Accountability in Ireland

The Italian criminal appeal court has upheld the conviction of 22 US CIA agents, one US pilot of a rendition plane and two Italian intelligence officials, all of whom had been convicted in connection with the kidnap of Muslim cleric known as Abu Omar, who was then transported to Egypt on February 17th, 2003, on Gulfstream 4 plane with tail number N85VM, where he claimed he was tortured (Paddy Agnew, World News, September 21st). It has been confirmed by independent investigations including Amnesty, the Council of Europe, the European Parliament and the UN Rapporteur on Torture, that this aircraft was refuelled at Shannon on February 18th, 2003 on its return journey to the US.

This plane had previously been refuelled at Shannon in another case revealed in New York court documents. On November 8th 2002 it arrived at Shannon from Washington, flew on to Dubai and Kabul, on a mission that is likely to have involved the rendition and alleged torture of Abd al-Nashiri (Seattle Times report).

Drone attacks boosting terrorism

The question of whether or not the US military or CIA are transporting drones (unmanned aerial vehicle) through Shannon Airport has been raised a number of times in recent years. Unfortunately we just don't know if they are, or ever have been, as there no transparency or accountability for what goes through. However it is worth reminding ourselves of the consequences of their use, and for that reason we have reproduced the article below from the Pakistan News Service.

It is also worth bearing in mind that President Obama has said that US drone attacks in Pakistan have "not caused a huge number of civilian casualties." This is of course because he uses the term "militant" to refer to all males of a certain age who happen to live, walk, or just be in a certain area. Its little surprise therefore that he can claim "civilian" casualities are low.

Its also not surprising that our mainstream news services under-report the actual casualties, because as the article below explains, drone killings are acts of premeditated murder.

More Warplanes Photographed at Shannon

On Saturday last (September 1st) there were two more US military aircraft at Shannon. One was a US Air Force Boeing KC-135R Stratotanker used for mid air refuelling of other military aircraft. Its tail number was 64-14839 c/n 18779.

The KC-135R was built in 1964, is operated by the Air National Guard in Illinois, and is probably based at RMS Ramstein [Ramstein Air Base], Germany.

The other one looked like a Boeing 737 and had no military markings but has been identified as a US Navy C-40A, with registration 166696. This is in fact a military derivative of the 737-700 commercial airliner. It has a main-deck cargo door that was modified by Boeing for troop and cargo transport missions. The C-40A is being phased in to replace the Navy's aging fleet of C-9B Skytrains.