shannonwatch's blog

Guantánamo - Latest Death is a Human Tragedy and a Human Rights Failure by the Obama Administration

On Thursday last the U.S. military announced that another prisoner had died at the Guantánamo detention centre in an apparent suicide. The man who had died was known as Inayatullah in Guantánamo but his real name was Hajji Nassim. The military claimed he admitted planning al Qaida terrorist operations and had acknowledged facilitating the movement of foreign fighters. But according to his lawyer he had never had a role in al Qaeda, and ran a cellphone shop in Iran near the Afghan border.

When they picked him up in September 2007 it seems the US authorities seized the wrong man. Tragically Nassim died without ever having had a chance to prove his innocence.

Shannon Protests Continue

Activists brave the harsh weather at Shannon

Despite the wind and rain, a group of 15 people turned out on Sunday 8th May at Shannon to protest against the ongoing U.S. military use of the airport. People traveled from Galway, Cork, Dublin and other parts of the country to join with locals for the regular monthly event.  For this they all deserve great credit and thanks.

The number of U.S. military flights through Shannon increased in April after a fall off in the previous months. At least 10 Hercules landings during the month, the biggest number since last November. The number of executive jets operated by the U.S. military and/or navy that passed through Shannon was also up in April. It is not known if any of these increases were linked to the assassination of Osama Bin Laden.

Bin Laden Assassination and the Implications for Ireland

So we are now assured that Osama Bin Laden is dead. Barack Obama is celebrating the killing of a man his predecessor George W. Bush went after ten years ago, and euphoric claims of mission accomplished ring across the U.S. From what we know of Bin Laden, the world is a safer place without him being free to terrorise it. But his death is unlikely to be a case of mission accomplished, as terrorism does not end with the killing of one man. And the corporatised wars being waged by the U.S. are unlikely to end.

Maintaining a Veil of Silence

Image from Vitalink

The veil of silence that surrounds the U.S. military and CIA use of Shannon Airport is highlighted in a recent article in National Security Watch. It says

The private Dublin Airport Authority, which owns and runs the airport, will not discuss America’s use of the airport and refers all press queries to the Irish government.  The Irish government refuses to comment or answer any questions in writing. The U.S. government will not respond to written questions about American involvement in Shannon submitted to it.

Irish Government Still has a Lot of Work to Do to Understand the U.S. Invasions of Iraq and Afghanistan

On 30th March of this year, Taoiseach Enda Kenny said in the Dáil (Irish parliament) that "The President [of the U.S.] was grateful for the opportunity to thank us for allowing transit through Shannon Airport and the use of the facility there in accordance with the United Nations’ agreement and resolution." He was responding to a question from Joe Higgins TD (Socialist Party/United Left Alliance) who asked him if President Obama haid said anything to the Taoiseach about the use of Shannon Airport by the US Air Force, and the facilitation by the Irish State of the US armies of occupation in Iraq and Afghanistan, during their meeting on March 17th.

It seems nobody has told our Irish government leader that the invasions of Iraq and Afghanistan were not authorised by United Nations resolutions. They were illegal.

Ireland's 2011 Census Being Managed by Abu Ghraib Interrogation Company

The 2011 Irish census website set up by the Central Statistics Office says 

When you fill in your census form on Sunday April 10th, you’re giving us the information we need now to understand what Ireland needs for the future.

What they do not say is that you are also giving your information to a company accused of committing torture, war crimes and civil conspiracy. CACI, the "IT Solutions specialist" was awarded a £5.8 million contract to process the next Irish Census is also a provider of intelligence-gathering services for the U.S. government. But even more troubling is the fact that it is a military contract company that became notorious for human rights abuses committed at Abu Ghraib and other prisons in Iraq.