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.

Questions over Ireland Involvement in Saudi Bombing of Yemen

A report two days ago from The Intercept ("Photos Show Fragments of U.S. Bombs at Site of Yemen Funeral Massacre) indicates that the bombs used to kill 140 funeral goers were MK-82 500 pound bombs manufactured and supplied by the US, and made by Raytheon. Given the larger number of US military Hercules C-130 and Clipper C40 transport aircraft that have been transitting through Shannon Airport there is a likelihood that some of the munitions being supplied to Saudi Arabia by the US are going through Ireland.

The report explains that Saudi Arabia's bombing campaign in Yemen began in March 2015 after Houthi rebels deposed the U.S.- and Saudi-backed dictator, Abd Rabbuh Mansur Hadi. Since the war began, Saudi Arabia has intentionally targeted numerous homes, factories, markets, schools, and hospitals.

It says:

Another Booking Cancellation for Seminar on US Imperialism and Militarization

Shannonwatch are shocked and dismayed by another cancellation of their room booking for a seminar scheduled for Oct 8th. A number of international speakers are due to attend the seminar on US Imperialism & Militarization 15 Years after the Afghanistan Invasion, but as a result of room booking cancellations by three hotels in the Shannon and Bunratty area, new arrangements must now be made.

The Park Inn and the Oakwood Arms Hotel in Shannon, as well as the Bunratty Castle Hotel all initially accepted bookings for the seminar. Each then cancelled, claiming a mistake had been made. The most recent cancellation by the Bunratty Castle Hotel has come just 3 days before the event.

"It is beyond belief that three hotels would accept a booking and then discover they had no room available." said a Shannonwatch spokesperson. "We spoke with each of them on more than one occasion. We discussed room layout, audio-visual facilities and refreshments with them. We even provided credit card details as requested. Yet all three cancelled our booking, and were adamant that alternative arrangements could not be made to accommodate us".

Peace Events at Shannon on October 8th and 9th - Time to End Irish Involvement in War in the Middle East

Another venue change for the seminar: Because Bunratty Castle Hotel have become the THIRD hotel to cancel our booking, the event on Saturday will now be held in our Peace Tent just before the entrance to Shannon Airport.

Fifteen years after Shannon Airport was made available to the US military for their illegal invasions of Afghanistan and then Iraq, both countries are in violent turmoil. Here's a small snapshot of what happened in the last couple of days alone: