Today, as Shannonwatch and its supporters gathered for the regular monthly demonstration against the US military use of Shannon Airport, a suspicious looking US Air Force Boeing C-32B (757-23A) sat on the tarmac at the airport. The plane, with registration 02-4452 is operated by the US Air Force Special Operations Command (AFSOC), and appears to be used to support US special forces and CIA operations.
On Saturday August 8th our friends in Galway Alliance Against War commemorated the fact that in August 1945, the United States detonated two nuclear weapons over the Japanese cities, leading to the deaths of up to 226,000 people.
The US perpetrators of the Hiroshima and Nagasaki atomic bombing are still busy promoting a nuclear arms race, and wars of aggression in the Middle East. On the same day as the horrific events of August 1945 were being remembered, at least two plane loads of US troops passed through Shannon Airport.
Both Shannon and Dublin airports have been busy supporting the US war machine this weekend.
At Dublin we had GainJet Aviation Boeing 757 SX-RFA flying from Benghazi in Libya to Dulles Airport in Washington DC on Sat August 1st. It also flew back from Dulles Washington to Benghazi, again with a refuelling stop in Dublin early on Sunday morning.
Last month Darren O'Rourke TD (Sinn Fein) asked the new Minister for Transport; Tourism and Sport, Eamon Ryan to outline the position regarding air traffic control fees for military flights using Irish airspace and airports. Like us, he wanted to know if fees are waived for military aircraft, and if so, what the cost of the waived fees has been over the years.
The Green Minister explained in his response that
The practice of exempting en-route charges for certain specified classes of airspace users, including military aircraft, derives from the exclusion of State aircraft from the scope of the 1944 Chicago Convention establishing the International Civil Aviation Organisation (ICAO). While the application of the exemption from charges is at the discretion of the State concerned, the policy and general practice at international level is to exempt such flights from charges. Ireland, in common with the vast majority of Eurocontrol's 41 member states, subscribes to this practice.
In other words, foreign military aircraft do not pay air traffic control charges as they overfly or land in Ireland. And that includes US military aircraft.
On Wednesday of this week (July 22nd) the Shannon Airport website showed four Ryanair planes as the only civilian passenger flights to and from the airport. There were probably a few cargo flights also and maybe a few chartered executive jets. All the rest were flights associated with the US military, including one US Air Force executive jet, number 01-0076. It later flew on to Presswick in Scotland and then to US air base in Ramstein in German.
There were at least four Omni Air US troops carriers.
Today at Shannon there were at least two aircraft refueled and providing support for US wars of aggression.
Omni Air N828AX carrying armed US soldiers arrived at Shannon at 08.15am using US military call sign CMB571 from Fort Worth TX Shannon and later flew on to Nuremberg in Germany and Constanta in Romania and is now returning across Europe.
This article was written by Roger Cole, Chair of the Peace and Neutrality Alliance (PANA)
“When I use a word,” Humpty Dumpty said, in a rather scornful tone, “it means just what I choose it to mean-neither more nor less.” “The question is,” said Alice, “whether you can make words mean so many different things.” “The question is,” said Humpty Dumpty, “which is to be master-that’s all”. (Alice in Wonderland)
For nearly 20 years Ireland has been a US Aircraft Carrier. Well over three million troops and an unknown amount of military equipment from the USA have landed in Shannon Airport to take part in the perpetual wars on Afghanistan, Iraq, Libya and Syria, and to help their ally Saudi Arabia.
Ireland is not a neutral state.
The Programme for Government produced by Fianna Fail, Fine Gael and the Green Party promises a lot that is encouraging, but on the issue of US military use of Shannon Airport - which the majority of Irish people oppose - it is disappointing.
The change of government provided an opportunity to end Irish complicity in the ongoing cycles of war and occupation that have been responsible for the loss of millions of lives this century. The military industrial complex is also the single biggest polluter on the planet (see recent study from Brown University’s Costs of War project). The US. Department of Defense has a larger annual carbon footprint than most countries on earth, and with its global network of bases and logistics networks the US military is the single biggest emitter of carbon dioxide in the world outside of nation-states themselves1.
The following letter from Shannonwatch member Edward Horgan was published in the Irish Times, Irish Examiner and Daily Mail. It sums up our position on Ireland's securing of a seat on the UN Security Council.
Our Irish diplomats are to be congratulated on the success of Ireland’s campaign for membership of the UN Security Council. It would have been a travesty if two more NATO countries had been elected in addition to the three NATO countries, US, UK and France who are permanent members of the Security Council. The primary role of the UN is to maintain international peace, yet those three permanent members have abused their powers of veto to usurp the role of the UN and wage wars of aggression with impunity since the end of the Cold War. These wars have caused the deaths of millions of people, including an estimated one million children, in Iraq, Serbia, Afghanistan, Libya and Syria, and the US, UK and France are supporting conflicts in Yemen, Palestine and elsewhere.
On Sunday June 14th we had a small peace vigil at Shannon Airport, in solidarity with victims of US violence everywhere. The airport continues to support that violence by allowing military planes to pass through on their way to and from war.
We also took a knee in solidarity with the Black Lives Matter movement and all the American people targeted by racism and violence in their own country. The brutal killing of George Floyd has shown police brutality and extrajudicial killing at its worst; we support our brothers and sisters in the US and all around the world who demand an end to this and to all forms of racism.