Thanks to our friends in Galway Alliance Against War (GAAW) for providing the report below which we have reproduced in full. It is a copy of a handwritten communication which they received from one of the members of the Peace Team that sabotaged a US troop transporter at Shannon last Tuesday morning, 20th December 2011. They have verified that this person participated in the action.
“Direct action is no substitute for mass political action for peace, nevertheless it felt great in the early hours of last Tuesday morning cutting the hydraulics on all the landing gear of that US troop transport plane.
Why did we do it?
1) Irish democracy has been subverted on so many levels and no less so on the Irish neutrality front. Despite the overwhelming majority of Irish people supporting the concept of Irish neutrality successive Irish governments have become accessories to mass murder in Afghanistan and Iraq and they have been directly involved in torture through allowing Shannon airport to be turned into a US warport. Disgust at these developments led to us immobilising this US troop transporter.
2) It was also as a gesture of respect for the people like Malalai Joya of Afghanistan, who had called at a conference in Bonn for acts of solidarity with her country.
3) President Higgins in his inaugural speech offered to “champion” those who “make their own imaginative and practical contribution to the shaping of our shared future”. We look forward to Ireland’s new ‘dear leader’ championing our act of peace last Tuesday morning, 20th December 2011.
4) It was appropriate to carry out this peace action in Christmas week, when the media and politicians’ speeches the world over are full of hypocritical Christian cant about peace, while they support and even profit from wars in far off lands.
5) We will be criticised for jeopardising jobs in Shannon. But such jobs are created on the basis of killing innocent people in foreign lands. That is no basis for job creation. Our stand is the same as the stand taken by the men and women in Easter 1916 against imperialist war.”
The Peace Act of Sabotage: The Details
“There has been a virtual media blackout of our act of peace last Tuesday morning. But for the record here is what took place.
“We were dropped off at a perimeter fence to Shannon’s warport. We quickly cut through that fence and were immediately confronted by four curious looking young cows. We bade them a good morning and went on our merry way to the second fence, which was easily breached, and into the warport proper. (By the way, rumours abound that Dr Doolittle has been called in by the Gardaí to interrogate these four innocent bystanders)
“It took a little while to get our bearings, but then we proceeded in the direction of the warport’s terminal, passing on the way a hangar where work on a passenger plane was being conducted. We regularly stopped to observe our surroundings to make sure we wouldn’t be caught.
“As we got closer to the warport terminal, we could see the shape of the plane parked out on a side runway. We approached it with caution, as we initially thought we could see people guarding it. That proved not to be the case. And although there was plenty of activity at the terminal, the area around the plane was completely deserted. Actually we all lay on the ground observing the plane and its surroundings before we decided to move in and carry out our act of sabotage.
“The only press report states we “vandalised” a plane. How can one “vandalise” a vandal? Because that is what this planes is. And it is owned by vandals, by mercenary airlines like Omni airlines, who profit from the US-led wars.
“Beforehand we agreed we would immobilise the hydraulics of all the landing gear: the metal tubes that run vertically along the shaft holding the wheels. Four sets of landing gear were sabotaged – three in the middle, one at the front. This was all pre-planned. While that peace work was being completed another peace activist sprayed the words: “PEACE – U.S. TROOPS OUT” on the side of the plane.
“We then made our retreat and were soon being ferried away from Shannon having completed a good morning’s work. We had consciously decided not to seek being arrested. It is our view that if we were to be arrested we would fight any case on the basis that our act of peace was justified. But we prefer not to have to go through the rigmarole of court cases, which would also be ignored by our very unfree press.
“Will we do it again? Perhaps. But we would honestly prefer if people would participate in public peace activities. Set up their own local peace group. Make contact with groups like the Galway Alliance Against War. Attend the vigil held the second Sunday of every month between 2-3pm at the roundabout at Shannon warport.
“Our sabotage we hope will be a bit of fillip to all those peace activists out there.
“Our first priority in this peace action was to prevent harm coming to anyone: preventing injury and death to the Afghani people by disrupting the flow of foreign soldiers into their country; preventing harm to the people working at Shannon warport and preventing harm to US troops by preventing the plane from transporting them to their deaths. These planes carry up to 300 armed US troops to the imperialist wars in Afghanistan and Iraq.
“The act of peaceful sabotage we carried out was undoubtedly a symbolic gesture in the context that over 2,000,000 troops have travelled through Shannon on their way to war and we were only able to halt one plane.
“But it was an expression of our disgust at the role of successive Irish Governments being accessories to both the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan and to torture – Shannon warport is intrinsically linked to so-called extraordinary rendition. The leaders of Fianna Fail, the former Progressive Democrats, the Greens and now Fine Gael and the Labour Party have blood on their hands.”