Accused Wikileaker to Have his Day in Court

Did Bradley Manning Blow Whistle on Shady Dealings at Shannon Airport?

Guest article by Gerry Condon (Veterans for Peace)

After 18 months in prison, Bradley Manning, the young American soldier accused of leaking thousands of classified documents to Wikileaks, will finally have his day in court.  Next Friday, Dec. 16, Private First Class Manning will appear before a military judge for a pre-trial hearing at Fort Meade, Maryland, not far from Washington, DC.  The “Article 32” hearing, expected to last 4 or 5 days, will determine whether there is enough evidence against Manning to go ahead with a military court martial.  Prosecution and defense lawyers will reveal their respective strategies for the first time.

They Talk Peace but Wage War

John Lannon of Shannonwatch attended a one day International Alternative Conference entitled "For a self-determined Afghanistan" in Bonn on December 4th. This is a brief report on the conference. 

"There are few countries in the world that require as much solidarity as Afghanistan". These were the words of Matin Baraki, a political scientist born in Afghanistan, speaking in Bonn at the weekend. "The people of Afghanistan have been traumatised" he said. "But we have not given up hope".

Senior Civil Servant Refuses to Discuss Renditions

The Director of the Human Rights Unit at the Department of Foreign Affairs (Ireland), Colin Rafter, seems unwilling to answer questions about human rights abuse at Shannon Airport. When questioned on the subject of rendition flights at a talk at the University of Limerick (UL), he simply refused to answer.

Mr Rafter was in UL on 16th November to talk about Ireland and the Universal Periodic Review (UPR) - Lessons, Domestic and International. He dealt with some of the issues raised at the UPR such as the Magdalen Laundaries and slopping out of prison cells by prisoners. And he referred a few times to the "CAT" (Convention Against Torture), but without explaining that the T in CAT means torture.

Forgetting Remembrance at Shannon Airport

Taking soldiers to war - US troop carriers at Shannon, 11th Nov 2011

Let us remember, let us never forget, the stupidity of World War One in which the elite of the world ordered their mainly impoverished subjects to commit a form of mass suicide in the trenches of the Somme and Flanders under the spurious guise of “defending small nations”. Remembrance Day occurs on 11 November each year because the World War One armistice was signed “on the eleventh hour of the eleventh day of the eleventh month 1918. In many countries it is now popular to celebrate this day with military jingoism as if we were celebrating freedom, bravery and all things good, forgetting the stupidity, destruction and gross human rights abuses involved in all wars.

Shannonwatch Supports Freedom Waves

Shannonwatch congratulates the 27 people who sailed on board the Freedom Waves boats in an attempt to break the unjustified and illegal blockade of Gaza. They have bravely represented civil society all across the globe, as they draw attention to the inhuman treatment of the Palestinian people by the Israeli state. 

In particular our thoughts and good wishes are with our friend and supporter Zoe Lawlor from Limerick who was on board one of the boats, the MV Saoirse.

US Military Flights Numbers at Shannon Down Slightly in October

The number of US military flights through Shannon was down slightly in October compared to previous months. Shannonwatch recorded a total of 47 commercial airlines carrying US troops at the airport in the month, compared to 75 in September and 74 in August. However the number of US Air Force/Navy aircraft was up slightly from 24 in August and 27 in September to 36 in October.

During the month of October no fewer than nine US Hercules C-130's landed at Shannon. These included a Lockheed C-130T Hercules reg 165378 on Oct 5th, another C-130T reg 164996 on Oct 10th and again on Oct 27th (see photograph), and a KC-130J Hercules reg 166511 on Oct 25th/26th.

The C-130J "Super Hercules is the newest version of the Hercules aircraft. Like the C-130T it is used as a tactical airlifter of passengers or cargo.