Another Day in Court: Case Against Edward Horgan

On January 13th Shannonwatch member Edward Horgan was in court in Ennis as a result of his attempt to search some warplanes. Here's an account of the day:

It was another long day in court, Edward Horgan's third long day so far and his case has not even had a date set for trial yet. This represents just one of the abuses of our justice system. He was summoned to appear in court first on 18th November 2015 on a charge that on 18th April 2015, he did "enter a part of Shannon airport to which persons were not for that time permitted".

Opposing Warplanes at Shannon Today

Today at Shannon the weather was cold but bright and sunny for a change. We had about 25 peace activists at our monthly peace vigil, some travelling from as far away as Letterkenny in north Donegal, others from Dublin, Cork, Galway, Clonmel and more locally. Prior to our peace vigil we had a good meeting to discuss how we can make 2016 a year of critical importance for the peace movement in Ireland.

At the airport itself there was an Omni Air International airplane that may have been transporting up to 300 armed US troops to or from military operations in the Middle East. There was also a small US Marine Corps Cessna UC-35D Citation Encore jet, registration 166715, being protected by an Irish army security detail (see photograph).

Review of 2015 US Military Traffic Through Shannon

The government continues to claim Ireland is a neutral country, and that when it comes to the US military use of Shannon Airport there's nothing to see or worry about. None of the regular landings of Hercules C-130's or mid-air refuellers are involved in military operations they say, and there's not as much as a single gun or round of ammunition on any of them.

It defies logic, but it's what the government tries to make us believe, despite recorded evidence of weapons on some of the planes.

In addition to these supposedly "unarmed" military planes there are also constant landings of "civilian" planes each carrying hundreds of armed troops. Classifying these as non-military, as the government does, is unprincipled and misleading, and is in breach of international neutrality law.  

Shannonwatch keep records of all US military traffic that passes through Shannon Airport. In 2015 we recorded 367 troop carriers landing and departing from the airport, as well as 291 military (US Air Force or Navy) planes. That's a total of 658 planes linked to US military operations - in other words more than 12 US military flights a week through Shannon.

Government Politicians Weren't Always Afraid to Talk about US Military Use of Shannon

So Joan Burton has accused Mick Wallace of "putting Irish people at risk" by mentioning the US military use of Shannon Airport!

This is the type of publicity Joan Burton claims is putting us at risk - taken from RTE website, when they were explaining that the US military would have left Shannon if the Irish government hadn't told them to stay.

When the Irish government first offered the use of Shannon to the US military, they thought nothing of the risk of putting troops and military cargo (likely to include explosives) on the tarmac near civilian flights in an airport that doesn't have adequate security or safety measuree for military operations.

It should be pointed out that common routes for US troops and cargo to the Middle East includes Shannon civilian airport, and then military bases in Germany, Italy or Romania. Sometimes they overfly Ireland and land at RAF bases in the UK.

You can find articles from 2002, long before Mick Wallace was in politics, bragging about the welcome that Ireland was giving US troops. You can see photos of the troops in uniform, as well as the names of the hotels they stayed in. The government didn't accuse the embedded reporters with the US military of endangering Shannon, did they? And yet these reports appeared in dozens of newspapers outside Ireland.

Shannonwatch Demands the Immediate Release of Mick Wallace TD

Mick Wallace, an independent, democratically elected public representative in Ireland's first house of Parliament, has been arrested and will be brought to Limerick Prison. The reason for his arrest was his attempt, along with Clare Daly TD, to inspect US military planes at Shannon. As his actions were undertaken entirely in the pursuit of peace, Shannonwatch calls for his immediate release.

"Mick Wallace and Clare Daly have spent years trying to get answers from Government Ministers about the US military planes passing through Shannon" said Edward Horgan of Shannonwatch and the Peace and Neutrality Alliance (PANA). "They have demanded inspection of these planes in parliament, and as a result they were told to bring evidence to the Minister to support their demands. All they did was to try to get that evidence."

Shannon Needs a Mass Confession Event for Its Complicity in War And Human Rights Abuse

The initiative of local priests to hear confessions in Shannon Town Shopping Centre on December 8th should be extended to ask for forgiveness for Shannon's 15 year complicity in war and human rights abuse, said Shannonwatch in a statement today.

The official number of US military personnel that have passed through the airport in the last decade and a half is almost 2.5 million. When the undocumented troops on US Air Force and Navy planes are taken into consideration this number is much higher. In addition, over 20 known or suspect rendition planes used the airport repeatedly without any attempt to stop or even inspect the planes.

"The injustices and crimes that have been perpetrated by torturers and war criminals who have passed through the airport is a sin of global proportions" said a Shannonwatch spokesperson. "We commend the local priests for giving people the opportunity to make their peace with God. But the town of Shannon needs to begin by making peace, not war, on earth."

US Airbase Shannon - Report for 6th December (2015)

Two more US military planes at Shannon today ...

One, an Omni Air International troop carrier, registration N342AX, took off about 4pm.

The other was a US Navy C-130T registration 16-5378. A group of people (at least 14 at one point) seemed to be working on repairing an engine. Here's a report from a Shannonwatch member who was at the airport: 

From Shannon to Lesvos: Cause and Effect in the Refugee Crisis

Date: 
Thursday, 10 December, 2015 - 19:30 - 21:00

A public talk in which two local activists provide perspectives on the human consequences of war, and the implications of Shannon Airport’s support for military interventions in the Middle East.

Venue: Pery's Hotel, Glentworth St. Limerick

Clouds of War Over Shannon

Today at Shannon airport, with a red alert storm approaching there were two US warplanes on their way to or from the Middle East delivering armed US troops and possibly munitions of war, to help kill even more people, in Afghanistan, Iraq, Syria, or Yemen. Munitions are being delivered not only to US bases and troops in the region but also to the US allies, especially Saudi Arabia, which is leading the civil war intervention in Yemen, and causing thousands of deaths which are seldom being reported internationally. Planes coming through Shannon may well be delivering these munitions.

A very credible research report on the number of deaths caused by US and NATO led wars in Afghanistan, Pakistan and Iraq puts the number of fatalities between one and two million, and that does not include the 250,000 deaths so far in Syria. A very conservative estimate is that over 100,000 of these fatalities were children.

War Against Daesh (IS) will take "10 years or more"

Galway Alliance Against War, 3rd December 2015

The USA, France, Britain and Germany do not have a UN mandate to carry out war in Syria. But our new-age crusaders don't need permission to wage war.

In the debate in the German parliament it was stated by the government that it would take "10 years or more of war to defeat IS". Equally worrying were the statements of German government politicians, for example, Norbert Röttingen, CDU foreign affairs spokesperson, stated on German radio that if the IS is to be fought then the Iranian Shia militia would first have to be pushed back.