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.

President Obama's Visit to Ireland is Not Something To Celebrate

As Ireland prepares to welcome U.S. President Barack Obama to its shores, we should remember that he is the active commander in chief of a military that has engaged in prolonged and unjust wars and violated international law.  He has reneged on his clear and unequivocal promise to close Guantanamo Bay Detention Centre. In using Shannon Airport as a transit depot for his military and CIA activities he has colluded with successive Irish governments to continue our complicity in human rights abuse, to undermine our proud record as peacekeepers, and to erode Irish neutrality.  Instead of welcoming him with open arms, the Irish government should be addressing the shameful decline in Irish foreign policy standards. In particular they should immediately end U.S. military use of Shannon Airport.

President Obama and US troops in Shannon Airport: Support Our Campaign

Since 2001 the Peace & Neutrality Alliance (PANA) has campaigned against the use of Shannon Airport by US troops.

On the 23rd of May President Obama is visiting Ireland. PANA and its member organisations, including Shannonwatch, are using the visit to highlight international support for their campaign. They are inviting organisations around the world to confirm their support by adding their signature to this statement:

We support the Irish peace movement’s campaign to terminate the use of Shannon Airport by US troops on their way to and from the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq

So far 51 organisations have signed up ...