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.

US Military, Renditions and Shannon: The Wikileaks Cables from Dublin

Shannonwatch have reviewed all the US Embassy Cables released by Wikileaks and identified the ones from the Dublin Embassy that relate to the CIA/US military use of Shannon Airport. These are now available on our Wikileaks Cables page.

For convenience we provide a summary of the relevant part of each Wikileak cable. Click on the title to read this summary and to obtain a link to the cable itself. You can also click on a tag (for example 'rendition') to list all the cables relating to the tag.

The War on Terror Ten Years On

A brief war in Afghanistan is shortly to enter its second decade, seven years of war in Iraq have yet to bring a lasting peace, and Pakistan remains deeply unstable. Meanwhile, groups linked loosely with the al-Qaida movement make progress in Yemen, Nigeria, Algeria and the Horn of Africa.

This is one of the conclusions of a recent security briefing by Paul Rogers for the Oxford Research Group. The briefing says that it has become increasingly clear over the last decade that the United States and its partners must learn from the failure of the so-called 'war on terror'  by paying more attention to the underlying causes of conflicts, especially the factors motivating young paramilitaries to take extreme action.

Remember Eamon, 'Not knowing is not good enough'

Over the years Eamon Gilmore has spoken passionately about the lack of inspections of US aircraft suspected of being involved in renditions. In March 2006 he highlighted a Council of Europe statement that the European Convention on Human Rights can be violated through an omission to act. "Not knowing is not good enough" said Mr Gilmore. And a few months later he demanded to know if the Irish government was going to start inspections at Shannon.

Gilmore is now our deputy prime minister. He can ensure that those inspections take place. But in an outrageous change of heart last week he said that the government - his government - has no reason to call into question assurances received from the US authorities.

Ireland Continues to Turn a Blind Eye to Crime

Civilian passenger numbers are still falling at Shannon Airport which is now downgraded to Ireland's third airport after Dublin and Cork. Yet, there were four US troop carrying aircraft at Shannon yesterday (Sept 15th) at 9.30am, and several more since. They were carrying hundreds of foreign armed troops to and from a war zone in Afghanistan.

A member of Shannonwatch who was in the airport lounge at the time spoke with some of the troops. They were young men and women in desert camouflage uniform, on their way to Afghanistan.  From talking to some of them it seems many had been there before. But when asked if they thought their presence there was doing any good, most just shrugged their shoulders and said 'its a job'.