shannonwatch's blog

Wikileaks Ireland Cables: Time for Government Action

Recent wikileaks revelations show that successive Irish governments were more worried about being caught lying over renditions and Shannon than they were in stopping kidnapping and torture. International law and human rights were never even mentioned as Irish politicians looked after their own careers and provided unwavering support for U.S. foreign policy and wars.

The present government now has a responsibility to immediately end the use of Shannon Airport for purposes not in line with international law, as they promised in their programme for government. This should not only cover renditions; it should also deal with breaches of humanitarian and neutrality law. And the only way to do this is to end the U.S. military use of Shannon.

Shannon, the US Military and the Irish Constitution

In making an agreement with the U.S. President in relation to the use of Shannon Airport by U.S. forces, Taoiseach Enda Kenny may be contravening the Irish Constitution Article 29.5.1 which states "Every international agreement to which the State becomes a party shall be laid before Dáil Eireann" and Article 29.5.2, "The State shall not be bound by any international agreement involving a charge upon public funds unless the terms of the agreement shall have been approved by Dáil Eireann."

Messrs Kenny and Obama - Stop Making Deals over Shannon without the Irish People's Consent

Photo: Reuters

According to newspaper reports, including one in the Irish Examiner, Taoiseach Enda Kenny said that he and U.S. President Barack Obama had "agreed there would be no change in respect of the US forces using Shannon Airport as a stop-off". The Taoiseach has no mandate or right to enter into such an agreement, and it flies in the face of the programme for government he signed up to just a few short months ago.

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.