Handover of Shannon Airport to the U.S. Military Must be Explained

While most of the world was turning green for St Patrick's Day, Ireland was committing itself to an ongoing role in the unjustified war being waged in Afghanistan. President Barrack Obama thanked the Irish Government for allowing US troops to stop off at Shannon Airport on their way to and from Iraq and Afghanistan. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton even landed at the airport herself to further embed our support for the US war machine into the nation's psyche. Together these amount to a breach of international laws on neutrality, and a gross affront to Ireland's proud tradition in this regard. They also signify a new low in Ireland's sell-out to the U.S. war industry.

According to official figures, over 5,000 U.S. troops a week pass through Shannon on their way to or from Iraq and Afghanistan. Figures released by Shannonwatch in February indicate that more than 25 U.S. military flights a week use the airport. This has turned it into a de-facto U.S. military base, without the permission of the Irish people.

The U.S. use of Shannon Airport by CIA rendition crews has also been well documented over the last decade. These are in breach of international and national laws, including the Criminal Justice Act (UN Convention Against Torture) Act 2000. These were not mentioned during the Obama - Cowan meeting as far as we are aware, but Shannonwatch are concerned that these too may be allowed to continue.

A spokesperson for Shannonwatch said "It has been clear for many years that Shannon Airport is an important part of U.S. efforts to use its military might abroad. This is not something that most Irish people are aware of, but things now seem to be moving on to a new level of military cooperation. The present Irish government has completely abandoned Ireland's traditional position of neutrality by openly and enthusiastically supporting the U.S. occupation of Afghanistan."

"As well as being contrary to Ireland's proud tradition of neutrality and peacekeeping, the use of Shannon Airport by the U.S. military has resulted in weak security, ongoing human rights abuse and corrupt government in Afghanistan. It has also resulted in countless deaths in Iraq."

Shannonwatch calls on the Irish government to explain the basis upon which Shannon Airport was made available to a foreign government for their military use. They also call on the government to reverse its decision to allow the airport to be used in two wars of occupation (in Iraq and Afghanistan). These wars are not serving the interests of the people living in these countries, and the vital logistical support provided at Shannon is morally as well as financially indefensible.


For more information email shannonwatch@gmail.com or  phone 087 8225087.087 8225087 begin_of_the_skype_highlightingend_of_the_skype_highlighting

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