Mary Kelly conviction overturned by Court of Appeal

On Friday 25th February 2011 the Court of Criminal Appeal in Dublin overturned the conviction against Mary Kelly for criminal damage to a US military aircraft at Shannon Airport on 29 January 2003. The decision was deliverd by Judges Peart, Hardiman and De Valera. Ms Kelly was originally convicted by Ennis Circuit Court in October 2004, and the appeal was heard on 29th July 2008. The Appeal judges offered no explanation as to why it took over two and a half years to deliver their judgment.

At her first trial in Kilrush Co. Clare, Ms Kelly’s response to the charge was: "I am not guilty as charged. I did what I have done with lawful excuse." This first trial resulted in a hung jury on 4th of July 2003. The State subsequently retried Ms Kelly and she was convicted in Ennis Circuit Court under Judge Carroll Moran on 29th October 2004. It was this conviction that was overturned today.

General Election: Vote to End Political Support for Human Rights Abuse and Militarisation

The militarised agenda being pursued by Western powers has resulted in the basic human rights of millions of people in Iraq, Afghanistan and elsewhere being ignored in favour of a global agenda of expansion and greed. Shannonwatch urges everyone to question the morality of Ireland's support for wars of conquest in the upcoming Irish general election, to consider the negative impact of a pro-military agenda on Ireland's own sustainability, and to vote for election candidates that will work to restore Ireland's commitment to peace and human rights

Engine Problems on U.S. Troop Carriers at Shannon Highlight Risks of Military Traffic to Civilians

Engine problems experienced by two separate Omni Air International troop carriers as they departed from Shannon on 6th and 7th February remind us once again of the grave dangers associated with transporting munitions and other military goods through a civilian airport like Shannon.

This is not the first time such incidents have occurred. The DC-10s used by Omni Air International are old and clearly not entirely reliable. Nonetheless the US Department of Defence considers them safe enough for their rank and file soldiers, while most of the higher ranking officers travel in executive jets and newer military aircraft. If one of these military contracted DC-10's crashed on take-off with a full load of fuel and thousands of rounds of ammunition on board, the consequences would be catastrophic. The airport fire brigade would be hard pressed to contain the damage to people and property as the ammunition started to cook off or explode.

The Net Tightens on George W. Bush

During George W. Bush's reign as U.S. president the CIA routinely used Shannon airport as they crisscrossed the world kidnapping and torturing. Bush has admitted that he personally authorised waterboarding, which is an act of torture and a crime under U.S. and international law. To date nothing has been done in the U.S. to investigate the circumstances in which torture was used by the Bush administration. Similarly nothing has been done in Ireland to investigate why and how Shannon was made available to the torture crews.

Ireland Facilitated Thousands of U.S. Air Force and Troop Carrier Flights in 2010

President Obama declared the end of the U.S. combat mission in Iraq in August 2010, but as records of military traffic released by Shannonwatch show, 2010 was a year of business as usual for the U.S. military at the civilian Shannon Airport.  Over a thousand U.S. military troop and cargo flights landed at the airport in 2010, while more than four and a half thousand such flights are known to have passed through Irish airspace en-route to and from the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan. Cargo companies with U.S. military contracts and planes linked to the extraordinary renditions programme also continued to use Shannon Airport.

Wikileaks: Irish Government Knew They Were in Violation of Torture Conventions

Slowly but surely the entire shameful truth is coming out about Shannon airport, CIA renditions, and the lengths the Irish government went to avoid the evidence. One of the first Dublin embassy cables from Wikileaks confirmed that the Minister for Foreign Affairs Dermot Ahern knew about the CIA’s use of Shannon for its renditions. The latest Dublin cable (full text below) shows that they knew this meant they were in violation of torture conventions. Yet they did nothing to uphold their legal and moral responsibilities, preferring instead to avoid political difficulty.

According to a cable released by Wikileaks on 14 January, an unnamed individual who met with the U.S. embassy’s deputy chief of mission (DCM) in Dublin told the embassy

“were a plane to include Shannon in an itinerary that also included transporting prisoners, GOI [government of Ireland] lawyers might be forced to conclude that the GOI itself was in violation of torture conventions”.