Yesterday (Dec 30th) we spotted a US Navy intelligence gathering Boeing P-8A Poseidon flying over the western parts of Kerry. According to the US Navy themselves, this aircraft's primary functions are anti-submarine warfare and anti-surface warfare, as well as intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance. It is capable of carrying and firing cruise missiles, but we were unable to see if the one flying through the sky over Ireland was carrying any.
[Update 31 Dec 2021] On Dec 27th we wrote the report below. In response, the UK Defence Journal responded by claiming that the Omni Air International aircraft passing through Shannon are currently being used to move evacuees from Afghanistan from interim waystations throughout the Middle East and Europe. We are currently trying to establish if this is in fact the case. However is still important to note that our government has issued 229 permits for planes to carry weapons through Shannon up to the end of November. They will not tell us why the US military are still using the airport, and why permits are being granted to take weapons (or "munitions of war" as the relevant legislation calls them) through.
Incidentally the UK Defence Journal describes itself as composed of "defence professionals, cyber security and international relations graduates, serving and former military personnel, industry specialists as well as everyday military and defence enthusiasts". Their extensive analysis offers no examination of the impact of militarization on civilian populations.
The number of US troop carriers transiting through Shannon Airport in 2021 is down on 2020 figures according to official Department of Transport, Tourism and Sport figures. Up to the end of November they reported a total of 229 exemptions for the carriage of munitions of war on civil aircraft through the airport. This is compared to 312 in the same 11 months of 2020, and 435 in 2019.
At Dublin Circuit on Friday the case against peace activists Edward Horgan and Dan Dowling which was due for trial on Monday Dec 13th was postponed into 2022. There will be another hearing on Monday to set yet another trial date which will be close to 5 years after their peace action at Shannon.
Justice delayed justice denied?
On Thursday November 4th as we approach Remembrance Day Ireland’s Raging Grannies will gather outside the Department of Transport, Tourism and Sport to demand that the Minister, Eamon Ryan, stop authorising the daily transit of weapons through Shannon Airport by the US military. They are asking the public to join their colourful protest at the department in 2 Leeson Lane, Dublin from 1.30 pm.
Shannonwatch fully supports calls to the participants in the COP26 UN Climate Change Conference to be held in Scotland from November 1st to 12th to stop excluding military pollution from climate agreements.
Global military expenditure rose to almost US $2 trillion in 2020. The scale of the environmental destruction this causes means there is an urgent need for the military to be included in commitments by states to reduce their greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions. But reducing emissions should not be the sole aim, as focusing only on transitioning the military to non-fossil fuel technology without addressing the whole life environmental cost of military technology and of military activities, overlooks the wider impact of military activities on the environment.
Last Sunday 3rd Oct we had two Dutch NATO warships visiting Irish neutral ports.
Jehan Ashmore wrote in AFLOAT:
"The Royal Netherlands Navy's largest ship HNMLS Karel Doorman, displacing 27,800 tonnes, arrived in Cork Harbour this afternoon to berth at Cobh, having sailed from Greenock, Scotland."
We've teamed up with Uplift to petition an Taoiseach Micheál Martin and teh Minister for Foreign Affairs, Simon Coveney to Stop U.S. Military use of Shannon Airport.
The message is simple: stop granting permission for US military and military contracted aircraft, including troop carriers, to land in Shannon Airport.
Please help us gather as many signatures as possible. Share the link: its https://my.uplift.ie/petitions/stop-u-s-military-use-of-shannon-airport.
Image source: Institute for Money, Technology and Financial Inclusion (Creative Commons license)
As the crow flies, Shannon Airport is over 6,000 km from Afghanistan A lot of people have flown between the two places over the last 20 years though, with many probably not knowing why they were going there or what they would be doing when they got there. But they all had guns, so one of the few things they knew that they could do was kill people.
For the entire illegal, ill-fated and damaging occupation of Afghanistan by the US and its allies, Shannon Airport has facilitated the steady flow of armed invaders to the country.
As Afghanistan returns to Taliban control after 20 years of US occupation, it’s worth looking at some of the costs of that occupation. And it’s also worth bearing in mind that Ireland provided logistical support for what has turned out to be an unmitigated disaster for the people of Afghanistan, a staggering waste of money that could have been spent on counteracting poverty and hunger globally, and a bonanza for the arms industry.
We've had quite a flurry of US air Force traffic at Shannon in the past few days. But of course the government or the Department of Foreign Affairs won't explain why there were there, when the flights were authorised, or whether or not they were inspected to ensure there were no weapons on board.
Shannonwatch welcomes calls for Ireland to do more to resettle and provide international protection for people fleeing from Afghanistan. It also calls on the government to urgently assess its role in creating the conditions leading to the current catastrophic situation there. In particular, there is an urgent need to assess and end the use of Shannon Airport by the US military, in light of what the twenty-year occupation of Afghanistan has led to.
“Ireland has been complicit in the US led twenty-year war against Afghanistan by not only allowing US military to use Shannon Airport but by inviting the US Government to do so” said Shannonwatch spokesperson Edward Horgan. “Even if we had never been a neutral country we should not allow any military forces to use Irish territory to wage illegal and unjustified wars. The US military use of Shannon should be ended immediately as the USA is still engaged in unjustified military actions in Syria, Yemen, Somalia and elsewhere.”