Tribute to John Arden

John Arden at the Shannon vigil in June 2010

For everyone involved in the campaign to end US military and CIA use of Shannon Airport, the death of peace activist, playwright and novelist John Arden on 28th March is a sad loss. A lot of tributes to John have been written, including pieces in The Guardian and New York Times, but it was John's lifelong commitment to peace and social justice that we in Shannonwatch remember best. Over the last four years he regularly attended the monthly vigils at the airport, and continued to do so right up to January of this year despite illness and being wheelchair bound.

US Special Forces Observed Boarding Hercules Warplane at Shannon

US Hercules C-130T at Shannon on 4th April, with troops arriving to board on 3 buses.

Shannonwatch observed and photographed two US Hercules C-130 aircraft at Shannon Airport in the last week. The first, on Wednesday April 4th, was being boarded by troops brought to its side by a cavalcade of buses. The second which was at Shannon on Friday 6th April was a similar aircraft, a C-130T.

Fianna Fail Deputy Mayor Votes Down Labour’s Shannon Airport/Neutrality Motion and Sullies Galway’s Name!

Galway Alliance Against War Press Release

A motion proposed by Labour councillor Colette Connolly to Galway City Council calling for the cessation of US troops travelling to war via Shannon Airport was defeated by the casting vote of the Deputy Mayor, Fianna Fail’s Ollie Crowe. Cllr. Connolly had proposed that Shannon airport should cease being a US military hub and instead be transformed into a hub for humanitarian aid. All FF, Independent PD Councillors opposed the motion as did most FG members of the council. However, to the surprise of many, FG’s Cllr Padraic Conneely supported the neutrality motion.

Shannonwatch Vindicated by Chairman of Irish Human Rights Commission

On Friday 17 February 2012, the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade (DFAT) organised an event called the “Twelfth NGO Forum on Human Rights” at Dublin Castle the main theme of which was the “Review of the White Paper on Irish Aid”, and of the objectives of which was to help promote the election of Ireland to the UN Committee on Torture. It was well attended by NGO representatives and by representatives for most of the embassies including a number of ambassadors.

Needless to say, controversial issues such as CIA torture rendition planes being refuelled at Shannon airport and the transit of over two million US armed troops through Shannon on their way to unjustified wars were not on the agenda and not welcomed as topics.

Following the Pack Regardless of the Consequences

Listing to instructions - Eamon Gilmore pays close attention to what US Secretary of State Hilary Clinton says

The Minister for Foreign Affairs and Tánaiste Eamon Gilmore has once again demonstrated his willingness to support US and Israeli policy regardless of the consequences. In answers to parliamentary questions last week he justified sanctions against Iran because of concerns about the "military dimensions" of its nuclear programme. At the same time he said he did not support sanctions against Israel. Both countries have appalling human rights records but only one (Israel) is believed to have operational nuclear weapons. Israel is also guilty of war crimes and has repeatedly violated international law.

NO to Sanctions or War with Iran

Shannonwatch supports a statement from PANA which was released on 2 February 2011 calling for peace talks with Iran rather than sanctions and war.

In the PANA statement, Roger Cole notes how the entire corporate media seem intent on supporting a war on Iran, just as they did in the case of Iraq. Like the "weapons of mass destruction" lie that were used in part to justify sanctions against Iraq, the "Iran will have nuclear weapons" threat is now being used to justify sanctions on Iran. And like the sanctions on Iraq, these are very likely to lead to widespread suffering and war.

The PANA statement goes on to recommend that the article by Ray McGovern which is reproduced below should be read by all the media that now support the crazy decision by Eamonn Gilmore to support an oil embargo on Iran. Not only is there no justification for the embargo but it will inevitably lead to increased petrol costs that the Irish domestic economy needs like a hole in the head.