Eighty-two Percent or Dead?

The following was written by Veteran for Peace activist Tarak Kauff who is currently being refused permission to leave Ireland. He is accused of minor offenses linked to the attempt he and Ken MAyers made to inspect a US contracted military plane at Shannon Airport. 

For the past 5 1/2 months, my veteran buddy, former U.S. Marine Major Ken Mayers and myself, a former U.S. Army paratrooper, have been meeting and talking with people about Irish neutrality. Actually, most often, people stop us to talk because they see we're veterans. Some of them have read about us being arrested for exposing U.S. military troops and weapons violation of Irish neutrality at Shannon Airport, or they have seen us on RTE TV.  Almost without exception, we find, the Irish people believe in and want Irish neutrality. One poll reported that 82% of the people desire a neutral Ireland. Few perhaps, realize how important that is to the world at large. 

Walk for Freedom Update and Schedule

Ken and Tarak are well into their walk from Limerick to Galway. Some of our friends in Galway Alliance Against War joined them on Monday at Shannon and they walked about 12km. They are in good form despite being stuck here for 6 months. Virgin media news spent an hour filming them on Monday; they have done a few radio interviews on the road with community stations. And the Irish Examiner met them in Ennis and made a podcast. 

Our friends in GAlway Alliance against War reminded us that their walk from Galway Crystal on Monday at 12.30 needs a good turnout. Please spread the word they say!

A granddaughter of Ken's will hand in a letter for Varadkar and Flanagan at the US consulate in New York at 10am tomorrow. The press release is already out to the media both in Ireland and the US. 

Below are links to a short video, an excellent article entitled 'No Country For Old Men: Two US Veterans And Peace Activists Go MIA in Ireland' and the walking schedule.

Ken and Tarak Start their Walk for Freedom

Saturday Sept 7th US Veterans for Peace Tarak Kauff and Ken Mayers started the first stage of their Walk for Freedom at Limerick Prison. A crowd of around 30 gathered to see them off, with some accompanying Ken and Tarak for much of the first day's walking.

Those attending the send-off included MEPs Clare Daly and Mick Wallace, Limerick Sinn Fein TD Maurice Quinlivan, and Senator Paul Gavan also of Sinn Fein.

Shannon Song (tune of Galway Bay)

lyrics by Ann Shirazi with an assist from Ken Mayers (last two lines)


Do you know who flies across the sea to Ireland?

The US Army has the right of way

You can sit and watch the aircraft land at Shannon

Transporting troops and weapons every day


Boots on the Ground for Freedom

On Saturday, Sept. 7, at 10 am in front of Limerick Prison, where they were incarcerated, Ken Mayers and Tarak Kauff, both U.S. military veterans will begin Boots on the Ground for Freedom, a series of walks through Ireland to promote peace and, as Kauff has written, "freedom to return home to our families, freedom from war, and the freedom to respect and affirm a strong and peaceful Irish neutrality." 

The two veterans were arrested at Shannon Airport on St. Patrick's Day for attempting to inspect an Omni International aircraft they believed were carrying U.S. troops and weapons in direct violation of international law. The plane was on its way to Kuwait. Mayers, 82, a former Marine Major, and Kauff, 77, a former U.S.Army paratrooper, were remanded to Limerick Prison where they spent 12 days before being released on 2500 euros bail each and surrender of their passports. Five months later, the two  peace activists are still here, but they are not silent.

US Military Veterans Walk through Ireland to Promote Peace

US Veterans For Peace members Tarak Kauff and Kenneth Mayers who are being held in Ireland by the Irish judicial system and the Irish State will be undertaking a very significant campaigning event starting on Saturday September 7th. This is a Walk for Freedom throughout Ireland.

The title they are giving to the walk is Boots on the Ground For Freedom