Report on appearance of peace activist Dave Donnellan at Ennis District Court on January 11th

The following report on the appearance of peace activist Dave Donnellan at Ennis District Court on January 11th was prepared by our Court Correspondant. It relates to a peace action undertaken by DAveand Colm Roddy which took place on May 24th last year (see report here). Earlier court appearances on July 20th, Sept 14th and Nov 16th.

A Lingering Stench at Shannon

On 24th of May last year when peace actrivists Dave Donnellan and Colm Roddy went in to search a small US military executive jet, they also discovered that another far more suspicious aircraft was at Shannon that morning, and in fact took off on the main runway, just after Colm and Dave had crossed that runway.

Here is what a Shannonwatch researcher discovered about this aircraft

"The C-32B is a modified Boeing 757 and it features a standard seating fitment, as with a typical passenger jet. Any cargo must be stowed at the rear of the cabin as the usual cargo space in the hold has been configured to accommodate enlarged fuel tanks, extending the aircraft's unrefuelled max range to 6000 nautical miles.

The 486th Flight Test Squadron operates two Boeing C-32B and Boeing 757-23A aircraft on stand-by alert for special operations and intelligence missions world-wide. One of these, 02-4452, was at Shannon on the morning of March 25th.

So what was it doing there?

Over 730 US Military Flights Recorded at Shannon in 2016

US NAvy C-40 photographed at Shannon Airport on Jan 8th (2017)

Analysis of Shannonwatch data shows that over 730 US military flights landed at Shannon in 2016. That's more than 2 a day over the entire year. Of these, 413 were operated by the US Air Force, Navy or military, and the remainder were contracted troop carriers like Omni Air International.

Since August 2008 at total of at least 7,988 US military planes carrying armed troops or cargo have landed at the airport. This does not include suspect rendition planes and planes not identifying themselves as attached to the CIA or US military which have undountedly also landed there.

Peace Meeting at Clifden to be the First of Many Across Ireland We Hope

On December 17th a very successful Peace Gathering took place in Clifden, Co. Galway. The meeting, organised by Sophie Clout O'Malley and others, was very well attended on a busy pre-Christmas Saturday afternoon. At it, Edward Horgan of Shannonwatch explained how the Irish Government is acting against the Irish Constitution in supporting US military wars of aggression in the Middle East that are in contravention of the UN Charter. Other speakers included Catherine Connolly TD, forner UN Assistant Secretary General Denis Halliday, and lifelong peace activist Margaretta D'Arcy. 

A full audio recording of the meeting is available here.

Minister for Transport Must Explain Flight from Shannon to NATO Air Base in Southern Turkey

Shannonwatch calls on the Minister for Transport, Tourism and Sport Shane Ross to explain why a plane operating on behalf of the US military was permitted to fly from Shannon Airport to Incirlik Air Base in Southern Turkey and back on Friday December 30th. The air base which is close to the Syrian border is used by the US to launch air and drone strikes and to store part of its nuclear arsenal. Any involvement in the delivery of military cargo or passengers to Incirlik is therefore a breach of Irish neutrality.

The plane, a Miami Air International Boeing 737, arrived at Shannon on Friday at 1pm, and took off less than 2 hours later.  It spent a similar length of time at the military airbase in Turkey before returning to Shannon at 4am the following morning.

What were the RAF Doing at Shannon Airport Today?

Today at Shannon Airport another NATO warplane sat on the tarmac. This time is a British RAF Hercules C130J C5, registration ZH882. The aircraft left RAF Brize Norton base after mid-day yesterday.

Brize Norton is the largest station of the Royal Air Force and home to Air Transport, Air-to-Air refuelling and Military Parachuting,

Like the US military, the RAF are also waging a war of aggression in Syria, contrary to the UN Charter. On that basis this aircraft should not be at an Irish airport, unless it made an emergency landing. Even then, having landed, the plane and its crew should be arrested and held until the end of the hostilities that the UK are involved in.

When Shannonwatch photographed the plane at Shannon today there seemed to be some work in progress on one of the right side engines. One of our members contacted the Gardaí at Shannon and requested that they investigate this aircraft. As far as we know, this was not done.

Thinking of Peace at Christmas

As 2016 draws to an end we'd like to wish you a peaceful and relaxing Christmas. And as we continue to step up our campaign to end Irish complicity in global militarisation and war in 2017, we look forward to your continued support.

Sadly it won't be a peaceful Christmas for the people living in or fleeing from war torn regions of the world. Imperialist interventions in Iraq, Afghanistan, Libya, Yemen, Syria and elsewhere have created and amplified conflicts that have had devasting consequences for millions of people. Here in Ireland our governments have supported the invasions and occupations that gave rise to al Qaeda; participated in the ever-increasing militarisation of the EU; facilitated torture by turning a blind eye to rendition planes landing at Shannon; and refused to investigate possible complicity in war crimes at the airport. At the same time the government is failing to provide safety and sanctuary to those fleeing from war, and refuses to take even its fair share of refugees.

Refuelling War at Shannon Airport - Risky and Unethical Business

War business continues uninterrupted at Shannon Airport. Today (Dec 7th) we photogtaphed an Omni Air International Boeing 767 troop carrier, with registration N207AX, being refueled by TOP Oil and supplied with food by Zest!.

TOP (Tedcastle Oil Products) Oil is part of the Tedcastle Holdings Group. This is an Irish company owned by the Rehill family and comprising business interests in Ireland, the UK and North America.

Zest! is the retail division of EFG Inflight Ltd based at Knockbeg Point, Shannon Airport. They too are an independent, wholly owned Irish company, employing 120 staff.

The plane was being protected by the Irish police or Gárda Síochána, which for those of you not familiar with the Irish language literally means "Guardians of the Peace".

One Wheel Falls off the Prosecution Wagon at Ennis District Court

Photo of Dave, Colm and supporters at an earlier court appearance in Ennis (July 2016)

The court case in Ennis involving Colm Roddy and Dave Donnellan went amazingly well today!

Dave's case was first up for mention, as today was just a "mention" day and the trial was not due to take place until sometime next year. Just before the court, Dave and Colm were surprisingly arrested and presented with new charges, which increased the amount of the alleged criminal damage they were alleged to have done to €3,500. Dave who was representing himself then queried the bail conditions which had originally banned Dave and Colm from entering all of Co Clare. This was reduced to within five miles of Shannon airport at last month's sitting, and the Judge reduced this to one mile from Shannon airport today. Dave also requested that the pilots of the two US military aircraft that were at Shannon airport on the morning of their incursion into Shannon airport to search these aircraft, be called as witnesses.

Retired CIA Officer and Peace Activist Ray McGovern Speaks in Dublin

Ray McGovern is a former CIA Presidential Briefer and is an expert on Russia. He worked for the CIA for twenty seven years. Dismayed with the intelligence used to support the US war with Iraq, Mr McGovern, along with others, formed Veteran Intelligence Professionals for Sanity (VIPS) in the US and is a member of its steering group. He spoke at a public meeting in Dublin on Tuesday, November 1st. The following is a report on his talk by PANA member Michael Clarke. It is followed by a video recording of an interview with Ray conducted by Roger Cole (also of PANA).

The meeting was organized by the Peace and Neutrality Alliance (PANA) and the Irish Anti-War Movement (IAWM). Mr McGovern made clear that his work as an analyst was separate from the activities of CIA personnel in the field (organizing coups, murdering, kidnapping, etc.) The meeting, which was held in a hotel in central Dublin, was reasonably well attended but, in addition and before the meeting, Mr McGovern was brought to Leinster House by Roger Cole of PANA and also met the media.