Accused Wikileaker to Have his Day in Court

Did Bradley Manning Blow Whistle on Shady Dealings at Shannon Airport?

Guest article by Gerry Condon (Veterans for Peace)

After 18 months in prison, Bradley Manning, the young American soldier accused of leaking thousands of classified documents to Wikileaks, will finally have his day in court.  Next Friday, Dec. 16, Private First Class Manning will appear before a military judge for a pre-trial hearing at Fort Meade, Maryland, not far from Washington, DC.  The “Article 32” hearing, expected to last 4 or 5 days, will determine whether there is enough evidence against Manning to go ahead with a military court martial.  Prosecution and defense lawyers will reveal their respective strategies for the first time.

They Talk Peace but Wage War

John Lannon of Shannonwatch attended a one day International Alternative Conference entitled "For a self-determined Afghanistan" in Bonn on December 4th. This is a brief report on the conference. 

"There are few countries in the world that require as much solidarity as Afghanistan". These were the words of Matin Baraki, a political scientist born in Afghanistan, speaking in Bonn at the weekend. "The people of Afghanistan have been traumatised" he said. "But we have not given up hope".

Senior Civil Servant Refuses to Discuss Renditions

The Director of the Human Rights Unit at the Department of Foreign Affairs (Ireland), Colin Rafter, seems unwilling to answer questions about human rights abuse at Shannon Airport. When questioned on the subject of rendition flights at a talk at the University of Limerick (UL), he simply refused to answer.

Mr Rafter was in UL on 16th November to talk about Ireland and the Universal Periodic Review (UPR) - Lessons, Domestic and International. He dealt with some of the issues raised at the UPR such as the Magdalen Laundaries and slopping out of prison cells by prisoners. And he referred a few times to the "CAT" (Convention Against Torture), but without explaining that the T in CAT means torture.

Forgetting Remembrance at Shannon Airport

Taking soldiers to war - US troop carriers at Shannon, 11th Nov 2011

Let us remember, let us never forget, the stupidity of World War One in which the elite of the world ordered their mainly impoverished subjects to commit a form of mass suicide in the trenches of the Somme and Flanders under the spurious guise of “defending small nations”. Remembrance Day occurs on 11 November each year because the World War One armistice was signed “on the eleventh hour of the eleventh day of the eleventh month 1918. In many countries it is now popular to celebrate this day with military jingoism as if we were celebrating freedom, bravery and all things good, forgetting the stupidity, destruction and gross human rights abuses involved in all wars.

Anti War Groups Welcome the Inauguration of an Anti-War President

Peace and anti-war groups in Ireland including PANA, the Irish Anti War Movement (IAWM), Shannonwatch and Galway Alliance Against War (GAAW) have expressed their hope that the inauguration of Michael D Higgins as the 9th President of Ireland will further the cause of peace, and will bring a renewed focus on the importance of Irish neutrality. These are issues that he has passionately defended throughout his political career, and it is hoped and expected that he will continue to do so as president. 

US Veterans for Peace To Attend Shannon Vigil Next Sunday

Members of the U.S. organization Veterans For Peace will take part in a vigil at Shannon Airport action on Sunday next, November 13th, at 2 pm. The vigil is organised by Shannonwatch to demand an end to the ongoing US military use of the airport, and to express opposition to the ongoing US occupation of Afghanistan. It will also call for action to be taken against landing US aircraft that are involved in renditions, illegal assassinations and other human rights abuse.

"Two-thirds of Iraq and Aftghanistan veterans do not believe these wars and occupations have done any good," says Gerry Condon, one of the representatives of Veterans For Peace who will be at Shannon.  "We want all the troops to come home now and we want an end to drone bombings and torture too".

"As an Irish American, I am really upset to see Irish neutrality being trampled upon by the US military.  Shannon Airport should not be used to ferry troops and weapons to war, or for CIA torture flights.  I hope the Irish people are as outraged as I am, and will join our protest at Shannon this Sunday afternoon at 2 pm."