Blogs

Shannonwatch Endorses Peace Platform Presented at Mansion House Conference

Shannonwatch endorse the following statement agreed at the end of a conference on Permanent Structured Cooperation (PESCO) held in the Mansion House, Dublin on February 17th. PESCO is the structural integration of armed forces of the European Union, which 25 of the 28 EU members, including Ireland, have signed up to.

The conference was organised by the People's Movement and PANA.

The People's Movement and PANA commit themselves to campaign for the State to immediately formally withdraw from all military and financial commitments under PESCO.

We are further agreed to campaign both collectively and individually for such a withdrawal.

We call on the support of local and national groups, organisations and elected representatives. We commit ourselves to work with all Oireachtas members that oppose PESCO and to encourage them to form an Oireachtas Group to further opposition within the Oireachtas and to provide permanent liaison.

We pledge ourselves to work with like-minded groups within the EU also committed to opposing the accelerated militarisation of the EU. Where possible we will seek to establish local peace groups to campaign for these objectives.

Shannon Airport Should Not Be Used To Cheer Troops On To War

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. 

"Having diplomats and senior politicians transiting through Irish airports is not a normally a problem" said Edward Horgan of Shannonwatch. "But when they publicly insult Irish sovereignty by addressing troops on their way to war zones, it is unacceptable. US Defence Secretary Donald Rumsfeld addressed US troops at Shannon in February 2004, and US President GW Bush did the same in March 2006 without any protest by the Irish Government. The latest offender, US Vice President Pence, addressed US troops at Shannon last Saturday, again without a word of protest from the Irish government. Have they forgotten that we are an independent sovereign state, and not the 51st state of America?

Maltese Neutrality: A Historical and Comparative Analysis

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. This leaves Malta, with a population of just 0.08% of the EU total, as the sole genuine opponent of the EU-NATO axis.

In this paper from the Research Department of the Peace and Neutrality Alliance (PANA) the history, legal context and current prospects of Malta' s neutrality, and what Ireland can learn from it, are outlined.

Building International Structures for Peace in 2018

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.

The Assembly of States Parties to the Rome Statute of the International Criminal Court held its sixteenth session from 4 to 14 December 2017 at the United Nations Headquarters in New York. The Assembly agreed to extend its jurisdiction to include the crime of aggression as a war crime which is a major change in international law, perhaps the most important for years,

PANA welcomes this decision and will seek legal advice on its implications, as it is critical for the Court's credibility that recognition of the crime of aggression is accompanied by reform of the ICC so that it can hold all countries and their leaders to account, not just third world dictators.

More Death and Suffering in the Middle East - Time to Stop Supporting the Bombing

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.

Just one week ago the Associated Press reported that the price residents of Mosul in Iraq paid in blood to see their city freed was 9,000 to 11,000 dead. This is a civilian casualty rate nearly 10 times higher than what has been previously reported. The number killed in the nine-month battle to liberate the city from ISIS has not been acknowledged by the US-led coalition, the Iraqi government or ISIS.

Report on Latest Instalment of the Prosecution of Shannon Peace Activists

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.