Court Case Highlights Issues Relating to US Military and CIA Use of Shannon Airport

On Tuesday 24th February the first part of the State's case against TDs Mick Wallace and Clare Daly took place. The case was adjourned until March 10th at 2pm (again in Ennis court) when a number of defence witnesses plus Mick and Clare themselves will give evidence.

Mick and Clare are in court because they climbed a fence and walked towards an US military plane at Shannon in order to inspect it.

We will provide a full report and analysis of the case when it has concluded, but for now it is sufficient to note the main contributors to date. Airport Police officers and Gardai have already given evidence for the State, and five witnesses have presented evidence in support of the defence. The first of these was Irish Times Security Analyst Dr Tom Clonan. Some of the key points of his contribution are outlined here. UN Deputy Secretary Denis Halliday, international lawyer and neutrality expert Roberto Zamora, and Dr Edward Horgan of Shannonwatch also appeared as witnesses. In addition, a former worker at Shannon gave evidence of routinely seeing guns stored in overhead lockers and under seats on US troop carriers. He also spoke about seeing other US planes that remained far away from the terminal building and which he and other workers were not allowed onto while delivering food. These were what workers referred to as the "rendition planes".

Shannonwatch Call for Support for TDs Who Attempted to Inspect US Military Airplane

Shannonwatch are urging their supporters to come to Ennis District Court on Tuesday February 24th to support TDs Clare Daly and Mick Wallace who attempted to inspect a US military plane at Shannon last July. Their alleged offence is illegal entrance into a restricted area of the airport, and their action was in response to the failure of the authorities to inspect US aircraft at Shannon.

Shannonwatch have repeatedly called for an end to the US military use of Shannon. They also call for inspection of all military and suspected CIA aircraft at the airport for as long as they are being allowed to pass through.

Clare Daly and Mick Wallace have made it clear that as legislators and as citizens they have a responsibility to uphold Irish neutrality. They have made every attempt inside the Dáil to highlight Ireland's complicity in war at Shannon, but the government has refused to allow the Gardai to inspect US military aircraft.

Costa Rican Human Rights Lawyer to Speak on Neutrality

Between Feb 20th and 25th a series of talks will take place around Ireland by human rights lawyer Roberto Zamora who challenged the Costa Rican government on breaches of neutrality under its Constitution and won. The talks are particularly relevant to Ireland at this time, as two bills on neutrality come up for discussion in the Dail in the coming weeks.

Roberto Zamora is an independent attorney who works mostly on constitutional affairs and litigation for the protection of human rights. As a college student he challenged Costa Rican President Pacheco's decision to support the US/UK led aggression on Iraq. The Constitutional Chamber of the Supreme Court ruled the support as unconstitutional, and ordered the country's withdrawal from the coalition. He also successfully challenged a presidential decision to allow the manufacture of nuclear fuel and nuclear reactors "for all purposes" in Costa Rica. 

We Are Supporting the Killers of 13 Year Old Mohammed Tuaiman

Earlier this week The Guardian wrote a piece about a 13-year-old boy called Mohammed Tuaiman who had been killed by a CIA drone strike in Yemen. A few months before he was killed Mohammed had said that he lived in constant fear of the "death machines" in the sky. "I see them every day and we are scared of them," he said. "A lot of the kids in this area wake up from sleeping because of nightmares from them and some now have mental problems. They turned our area into hell and continuous horror, day and night, we even dream of them in our sleep."

In 2011 another US drone killed Mohammed's father and teenage brother as they were out herding the family's camels.

Throughout his short like Mohammed suffered more than any boy should suffer. At 13 he was burned to death by a piece of US technology that was designed and deployed to kill.

Ministerial Answers and Non-Answers

Since 2001 Irish governments have done everything in their power to ensure that the US military have unimpeded passage through Irish airspace and Shannon Airport. Over the years Shannonwatch have worked with supportive TDs in an attempt to challenge this, and to get some insight into how the law is being interpreted and abused in order to do so, but to no avail. Ministers consistenty aviod answering questions put to them. They repeat the same old mantras about sovereign immunity, longstanding practices, and US assurances. And above all they do their best to make it difficult, and in some cases impossible, to get to grips with what is really going on.

This article is an attempt to explain some of what we know, to report on the latest details gleaned from Ministerial answers to parliamentary questions, and to highlight the continuing obfuscation. It is disappointing, to say the least, that we cannot get the information we are entitled to in relation to the US military use of Shannon. We are quite accustomed to this of course, but that doesn't make it easier to accept.

Irish Government Hypocrisy over Foreign Warplanes Along the Irish Coast

Foreign military plane landed at Shannon this evening (1st Feb 2015). No government or media outcry about this.

The Irish Government and media appear to be in a panic about two Russian TU-95 bomber aircraft that flew down the west coast of Ireland at least 50 miles out to sea, and not through Irish sovereign airspace. A statement issued by the Irish Department of Defence said "non-controlled and non-notified flight activity by Russian aircraft is not acceptable". This same Department of Defence of a supposedly neutral Irish state has issued no such statements about the transit of almost two and half million US troops through Shannon airport since 2001, and provides Irish soldiers to guard US military aircraft at Shannon.