Shannonwatch strongly condemns the facilitation of a meeting between US Vice President Mike Pence and US troops at Shannon Airport on Saturday last. The use of the airport by foreign troops on their way to a war zone is in breach of Irish neutrality, and the decision to hold a public display of support for a foreign leader promoting war on Irish soil is dangerous and unwelcome.
The decision by the Irish Government in 2017 to join the EU's permanent structured military co-operation (PESCO) was a body blow to advocates of Irish neutrality and opponents of imperialist wars of aggression. There were only three EU countries who opted out: the United Kingdom, Denmark and Malta. The United Kingdom is in the process of leaving the EU, so their opt-out was inevitable; Denmark has a Protocol that excludes it from EU militarisation, but they are members of NATO, so are not a threat to the overall EU-NATO axis.
PANA Press Release 28th December 2017
The United Nations and the International Criminal Court have provided a certain level of peace, stability, hope and justice since the Second World War. They have done this despite geopolitical interests, and attempts by the more powerful nations on the UN Security Council to control decisions and intimidate smaller nations with threats of isolation, intervention and war to threats to withdraw aid, funding and contracts.
Earlier this week 68 civilians were killed in two air raids in Yemen. The first hit a crowded market in Taez province, killing 54 civilians including eight children, and wounding 32 others. The second was in the Red Sea province of Hodeidah and killed 14 people from the same family.
The perpetrators of these atrocities was the Saudi-led coalition.
In Afghanistan yesterday ISIS killed at least 41 people and injured more than 80 others in an attack on a Shia cultural centre and news agency in Kabul. The UN said the attack deliberately targeted children.
This court report summary from last Wednesday 13 December was compiled by an observer in Ennis Court. The harassment of whistle-blowing peace activists goes on.
By way of background, this court case (or cases?) arises due to an incident on 25 April last when Dan Dowling and Ed Horgan went to Shannon airport to search and investigate two US Navy aircraft that were parked overnight at Shannon while on their way from the United States to the Middle East as part of the US wars of aggression. Wednesday's hearing was just a "for mention" hearing, sort of, "nothing to see here, move along there now".
Dan's case came up first on the alphabetical order list. He requested that both cases be heard together as there were similar applications to be made. His request was just brushed aside by the Judge Durcan. Dan was representing himself as his legal team was not available on the day. Dan attempted to apply for the case to be struck out, or a date for trial be set, but again the judge ignored this request and agreed with the prosecution request that this case be adjourned until 9 May 2018.
Well known peace activist and feminist Margaretta D'arcy has issued a call to celebrate Women's Little Christmas/Nollaig na mBan in a meaningful way by coming along to the Shannon Airport Women's Peace Camp on Jan 6th.
The initiative is supported by the Clare Women's Network in a quest for peace. In MArgaretta's words:
It was a cold, wet Sunday afternoon at Shannon Airport. Two US Navy aircraft sat on the tarmac; one was a Hercules KC-130T Hercules, registration 164993, the other a C-40 Clipper, registration 168980 (both regular visitors to Shannon). Outside the airport, the regular monthly peace vigil took place as Gardai, with their backs to the US Navy planes, blocked the attendees from entering the airport.
A press conference hosted by the Peace and Neutrality Alliance (PANA) was held on 7th December to highlight government plans to rush a motion through the Dail to agree the new PESCO agreement. Peace and human rights campaigners fear a more militarised EU linked to NATO, and as opponents of the Lisbon Treaty 2009 suggested then and now, it will lead to a European Army.
The Fine Gael / Independents government is to propose to the Dail this coming week that Ireland join the EU's Permanent Structured Cooperation on security and defence (PESCO). This will mean a new EU Defence budget starting at over €1.5 billion a year (up from €590 million). Each participating EU state, including Ireland, will be required to reach an average of 2% of its GDP to ensure that the EU becomes a global military power.
The Irish Government has given the go-ahead for Ireland to take part in an EU security and defence pact called Permanent Structured Co-operation (PESCO). This is one of the most important decisions this Fine Gael / Independeny Alliance government will make. As such there should have been serious debate on the issue, with all points of view presented, in the mainstream corporate media. This has not been the case; the media has largely ignored this further erosion of Irish neutrality, just as it continues to ignore the use of Shannon Airport by US troops.