Irish Peace Groups Question Peace Award to John Kerry

Five peace group have come together to oppose the awarding of the Tipperary International Peace Prize to US Secretary of State John Kerry on Sunday next (October 30th). Galway Alliance Against War, the Irish Anti-War Movement, the Peace and Neutrality Alliance, Shannonwatch and Veterans for Peace also intend to hold protests at Shannon Airport and at Aherlow House Hotel in Tipperary where the award ceremony will take place.

Speaking on behalf of the five organisations, Edward Horgan of Veterans for Peace posed the question: "What peace has John Kerry achieved and where?"  

"The award of peace prizes should be based on truth, integrity and justification" continued Dr Horgan. "Unfortunately, this is not always the case. The Nobel Peace Prize has been awarded in the past to several people who were guilty of starting or being complicit in wars of aggression and human rights abuses. Henry Kissinger is a case in point.  Another example is Barack Obama who was awarded his Nobel Peace Prize just before he began authorising targeted assassinations and bombings that killed thousands of innocent civilians."

Five US Warplanes at Shannon this Evening

This evening Shannon Airport once again appears to be contributing to the pain being suffered by thousands of men, women and children in the Middle East. There were no fewer than five United States war planes there at about 4pm.

Two of these were US Navy C-40 cargo and troop transport aircraft, numbers 5832 and 8981. They arrived at Shannon last night from Sigonella Air base in Sicily (Italy), and probably came from the Middle East before that. They may well be on their way back to the US to collect more war materials that will be used in the ongoing assault on Mosul in Iraq.

Summary of US Military Planes Passing Through Shannon So Far in 2016

Despite numerous requests, to the Department of Foreign Affairs, the Department of Foreign Affairs will not provide any information about the US military planes that use Shannon Airport. Shannonwatch has been keeping its own records for many years, and since the Department won't even say how many US military planes pass through Shannon, we will continue to provide details of what we know.

With that in mind, here is a summary of the number of US Air Force, Army and Navy planes that have landed at Shannon so far this year.

Omni Air International Aircraft N477AX - a Busy Troop Carrier Despite its Problems

At Shannon Airport tonight (Oct 17th) an Omni Air Intenational aircraft number N477AX landed and was being refuelled. It is on charter to the US military and has been busy ferrying armed US troops to the Middle East in recent days. It suffered an engine or other fault yesterday while flying from the US via Shannon airport to the MIddle East. While flying over Italy it was forced to turn back for repairs. Its cargo of armed US troops were accommodated overnight in a Co Clare Hotel - plenty of room in Co Clare hotels for armed US troops on their way to war , but no room in the Clare inns for peace activists trying to promote peace.

This aircraft gets around quite a lot for the US military even if its engines are not working very well. Here is a summary of some of its movements in the past week. 

Robert Fantina of World Beyond War at Shannon Seminar

Writing about last weekend's peace events in Shannon in Counterpunch, Robert Fantina of World Beyond War said "It is evident that people in Ireland are not buying into the U.S. lie that Shannon Airport is needed in the fight against terrorism; rather, it is becoming increasingly apparent that Ireland is complicit in U.S. terrorism around the world. How much longer the Irish government will defy the will of the people remains to be seen, but if events such as the one held last weekend in Shannon are any indication, it won't be too much longer."

Robert spoke at the seminar in the Peace Tent on Saturday which was attended by around 60 people. He spoke for almost three quarters of an hour, following which he facilitating a 90-minute 'Questions and Comments' session. Thanks to Tommy Donnellan we have a recording here of the highlights of the talk and discussion.

Video Recordings of Demonstration to End US Military Use of Shannon (Sunday 9th October 2016)

As the 15th anniversary of the invasion of Afghanistan by the US and its allies was being marked at Shannon a Hercules C-130 sat on the tarmac at the airport. There was also an Omni Air International plane parked at the terminal building, probably waiting for troops to reboard on their way to continue the occupation of Afghanistan. 

To mark Ireland and Shannon's involvement in the continuing destruction of Afghanistan, Iraq and other parts of the Middle East, a crowd of over 50 people walked from Shannon Town Centre towards the airport but were stopped a long distance from the terminal building by a line of Gardai. The crowd, which included four TDs, at least one Senator and several local councillors, spent an hour engaging peacefully with the Gardai before moving to the perimeter fence of the airport where a Shannonwatch member pointed out and explained the presence of the two planes to the assembled crowd.