So far today at least five aircraft on contract to the US military have refuelled at Shannon Airport on their way from Pope Air Base, Fort Bragg NC USA to an airport called Rzeszow-Jasionka in south east Poland which is just 90KM from the western borders of Ukraine. Another such aircraft is due at Shannon shortly after midnight tonight. These are all probably carrying up to 200 armed US soldiers, which means that about 1,000 US soldiers are likely to have passed through Shannon today.
At about 9.30pm yesterday evening Sunday night, four C17 Globemaster transport aircraft, one Canadian and three from the US, crossed over Northern Ireland.
They were probably heading towards Ukraine as they seem to be on a route that would avoid German air space.
At today's peace vigil at Shannon airport we had 15 peace activists on a windy day. We are concerned that US and NATO are intent on provoking a war in Ukraine which could result in thousands of Ukrainian and other people being killed for no justifiable reason. The US leaders and military are promoting the propaganda the Russia will use a so-called false flag incident to justify Russia invading eastern Ukraine.
Today Ireland seems to be in the centre of a NATO / Russian storm. It may well be seen as a storm in a tea-cup, but the reality is much more serious than that.
In the course of the morning a US spy aircraft P8 Poseidon took off from an air base in north of Scotland and flew down the Irish Sea, heading towards where the Russian naval exercises in the Atlantic are not now taking place..
As the risk of war in Ukraine increases, we need to look at Ireland's role in the build-up of military power there.
NATO led by the US and UK are transporting large quantities of weapons and munitions to Ukraine, and are providing training to the Ukrainian army. It looks like we in Ireland may have been actively cooperating with these dangerous activities.
On Jan 16th, a US Air Force C- 40C (02-0203) refueled at Shannon on its way to Kiev in Ukraine. It returned two days later, Jan 18th, on its way back to Camp Springs in Maryland.
Yesterday (Dec 30th) we spotted a US Navy intelligence gathering Boeing P-8A Poseidon flying over the western parts of Kerry. According to the US Navy themselves, this aircraft's primary functions are anti-submarine warfare and anti-surface warfare, as well as intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance. It is capable of carrying and firing cruise missiles, but we were unable to see if the one flying through the sky over Ireland was carrying any.
[Update 31 Dec 2021] On Dec 27th we wrote the report below. In response, the UK Defence Journal responded by claiming that the Omni Air International aircraft passing through Shannon are currently being used to move evacuees from Afghanistan from interim waystations throughout the Middle East and Europe. We are currently trying to establish if this is in fact the case. However is still important to note that our government has issued 229 permits for planes to carry weapons through Shannon up to the end of November. They will not tell us why the US military are still using the airport, and why permits are being granted to take weapons (or "munitions of war" as the relevant legislation calls them) through.
Incidentally the UK Defence Journal describes itself as composed of "defence professionals, cyber security and international relations graduates, serving and former military personnel, industry specialists as well as everyday military and defence enthusiasts". Their extensive analysis offers no examination of the impact of militarization on civilian populations.
The number of US troop carriers transiting through Shannon Airport in 2021 is down on 2020 figures according to official Department of Transport, Tourism and Sport figures. Up to the end of November they reported a total of 229 exemptions for the carriage of munitions of war on civil aircraft through the airport. This is compared to 312 in the same 11 months of 2020, and 435 in 2019.
At Dublin Circuit on Friday the case against peace activists Edward Horgan and Dan Dowling which was due for trial on Monday Dec 13th was postponed into 2022. There will be another hearing on Monday to set yet another trial date which will be close to 5 years after their peace action at Shannon.
Justice delayed justice denied?
On Thursday November 4th as we approach Remembrance Day Ireland’s Raging Grannies will gather outside the Department of Transport, Tourism and Sport to demand that the Minister, Eamon Ryan, stop authorising the daily transit of weapons through Shannon Airport by the US military. They are asking the public to join their colourful protest at the department in 2 Leeson Lane, Dublin from 1.30 pm.
Shannonwatch fully supports calls to the participants in the COP26 UN Climate Change Conference to be held in Scotland from November 1st to 12th to stop excluding military pollution from climate agreements.
Global military expenditure rose to almost US $2 trillion in 2020. The scale of the environmental destruction this causes means there is an urgent need for the military to be included in commitments by states to reduce their greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions. But reducing emissions should not be the sole aim, as focusing only on transitioning the military to non-fossil fuel technology without addressing the whole life environmental cost of military technology and of military activities, overlooks the wider impact of military activities on the environment.