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.

Visiting US peace activists urge Irish Presidential candidates to state their positions regarding the use of Shannon

Irish Anti War Movement  Press Release, 20 OCTOBER 2011

Visiting US peace activists urge candidates for President in Ireland to state their positions regarding the use of Shannon Airport by the US military, and believe that such continued use of a civilian airport for military purposes is immoral.

In a press release today the Irish Anti-War Movement [IAWM] stated:

“We welcome the fact that three of the candidates in the presidential election (Michael D Higgins, Martin McGuinness, and David Norris) have already condemned the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, and have criticised the use of Shannon airport for suspected 'extraordinary renditions' (kidnappings).”

The statement also called on the four other candidates to condemn the wars in Afghanistan, Iraq, and Pakistan, and to call for an independent enquiry into the recurring allegations that kidnapped persons have been transported through Shannon airport to secret prisons where they were tortured.

A Decade of War - Remembering the Victims

Shannon Town Councillor Greg Duff and former UN Humanitarian Coordinator in Iraq Denis Halliday at the October 9th demonstration in Shannon.

Around 50 people gathered in Shannon on Sunday 9th October to remember the tenth anniversary of the invasion of Afghanistan by the US. Thousands of Afghan civilians have been killed since the invasion on Oct 7th 2001, and millions have been displaced from their homes. Corruption is rife, and the country has no effective infrastructure. 

The protestors called on the Irish government to end its support for the failed occupation of a country that has had three decades of armed conflict. Ireland has been involved from the start, with over 600 US troops a day still going to and from Afghanistan through Shannon Airport.