No Accountability for Law-Breaking at Shannon Airport

In September 2012 the Italian criminal appeal court 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. Abu Omar was then transported to Egypt on February 17th, 2003, on Gulfstream 4 plane with tail number N85VM, where he claimed he was tortured. It has been confirmed by independent investigations including Amnesty International, 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.

Aircraft N85VM 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 and flew on to Dubai and Kabul on a mission that is likely to have involved the rendition and alleged torture of Abd al-Nashiri.

One Swallow does not make a Summer

The courage shown by Malala Yousafzai in speaking out against Taliban human rights abuses in Pakistan was remarkable and inspiring, and it is good to see that the British Government paid for her transfer to a hospital in Birmingham after she was brutally shot by the Taliban. However the arrival of one swallow does not indicate the start of a summer of peace and justice. Just over a week ago a senior UN official voiced grave concern about reports that three children may have been among those killed during an airstrike by the US-led military forces in neighbouring Afghanistan. And in recent days Amnesty International have highlighted the deaths of at least 100 children in Afghanistan from freezing last winter, and warned that this may occur again this year.

Large Garda Presence in Shannon for Peaceful Vigil

Security at Shannon was over the top today as the monthly Shannon vigil took place in the wake of last Sunday's "outrageous" peace action by Margaretta D'Arcy, who at 78 years of age allegedly scaled the perimeter fence and along with Niall Farrell of galway Alliance Against War carried a protest against US military use of Shannon Airport on the main runway.

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


"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.