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Over 1,600 People Killed in Pakistan by CIA Drones in Last Two Years

A total of 2,043 Pakistanis have been killed in CIA drone strikes in the past 5 years according to a new report from the Conflict Monitoring Centre (CMC). The vast majority of them innocent civilians. Over 1,600 of these were killed since Barack Obama became U.S. President at the start of 2009.

When President Bush was in office drone strikes were a comparative rarity, but they have been dramatically escalated by President Obama. They usually occur in retaliation for attacks by militant groups. CMC termed the program an “assassination campaign turning out to be a revenge campaign.”

According to the report 134 drone attacks were reported in Pakistan’s FATA region in 2010 alone. These inflicted 929 causalities. On one day alone last month (December 17) three drone attacks killed 54 people in Khyber Agency.

Guantánamo - Nine Years of Torture and Injustice

“The existence of Guantanamo likely created more terrorists around the world than it ever detained... By any measure, the costs of keeping Guantanamo open far exceed the complications involved in closing it... That is why I ordered it closed within one year.”
- President Barack Obama, May 21, 2009

January 11th 2011 marks the beginning of the 10th year of confinement, abuse and injustice for the men at Guantánamo. There are 174 men still imprisoned there, despite U.S. President Barack Obama’s promise to close it and to end torture.

Not only has President Obama failed to close Guantánamo, he has also failed to renounce extraordinary rendition and to hold former President Bush and his administration accountable for torturing prisoners in Guantanamo and in other locations around the world.

November Flight Logs Summary

The Shannonwatch logs of U.S. military flights through Shannon in November show an unusually large number of Hercules military transport aircraft. On the other hand the number of U.S. Air Force and Navy executive jets was down. Kalitta Air, a company that has a U.S. military airlift contract used Shannon on at least four ocasions, and three planes that have come to our attention as suspect rendition aircraft also passed through.

During one 48 hour period covering November 12th and 13th, 4 Hercules C-130's, 4 C-9's (the military version of the DC-9 airliner) and a U.S. Air Force Boeing 737 passed through Shannon. The 737, which had the registration 02-0201 and used the call sign BOXER41, is operated by the Air National Guard based at Andrews Air Force Base, Maryland. It landed shortly after midnight on Saturday 13th and took off again before 2am.

Irish Government - Ignoring the Will of the People

The lengths to which the Fianna Fail lead Irish governments of the last decade have systematically ignored public opinion in relation to U.S. military and CIA use of Shannon airport is laid bare by the recent Wikileak cables from the Dublin U.S. Embassy. While not surprising it is nonetheless hugely disturbing to see how those charged with implementing the will of the people and upholding their rights give precedence to the global war industry, to powerful external interests, and to their own political survival.

Public Disquiet over U.S. Military Evident at Shannon

Shannonwatch activists were joined by friends and anti-war colleagues from around Ireland at the regular second-Sunday-of-the-month vigil at Shannon airport on December 12th. We were delighted to be joined also by U.S. peace activist Chuck Fager who spoke at the Quaker Meeting House in Limerick later in the evening.

The recent wikileaks releases concerning Shannon, the U.S. military and renditions have re-focused attention on the Irish government's acquiesence to the Americans in the early part of this decade. However it is important to remember that these activities are still continuing, and that military and CIA planes still use Shannon. Sunday's vigil met with a huge amount of support from passing motorists, confirming what we - and the Irish government - have known for the past decade: that Shannon and Ireland's participation in war activities does not have widespread public support.

Send Letters of Support to Bradley Manning

In early July, the U.S. Army announced that they had charged Pfc. Bradley Manning  with violations including "espionage" for allegedly giving classified data to Wikileaks. Bradley who had been a specialist-class intelligence analyst in the U.S. Army is currently being held at the USMC brig at Quantico, Virgina. He was detained by the US Army Criminal Investigation Command (CID) in May 2010 and held for several weeks without charges in Kuwait. Bradley now faces over 50 years in prison. He has been allowed only limited contact with his family and friends, filtered through his military-appointed lawyers.

Send a letter or postcard to Bradley today, thanking him for his whistleblowing of Iraq war crimes.