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Cosantóirí Síochána, Shannon Banner Drop Photo Report.

category clare | anti-war / imperialism | news report author Thursday March 30, 2006 20:53author by Niall Harnett - Na Cosantóirí Síochána. Report this post to the editors

An account of the ‘Shannon Banner Drop’ & subsequent vexatious arrest of 4 peace activists at Shannon Airport on Saturday 17th September 2005.

This ‘better late than never’ photo report comes after the recent instructions from the DPP (Director of Public Prosecutions) to Shannon Gardaí directing the withdrawal of all charges against Conor Cregan, Niall Harnett, Mags Liddy and St John Ó’Donnabháin. See http://www.indymedia.ie/article/74769 . Ok, so this report is 6 months late, but it was felt at the time, wisely or unwisely, that early statements or photos of the episode might have jeopardised our cases.

This is just a brief summary of events, for more detailed versions see ‘comments’ for individual accounts of what happened. Some information and photos here taken from Airport CCTV footage and Airport Police and Garda statements requested by defendants under ‘Gary Doyle’ order of disclosure of evidence.

Special thanks to Owen Rice for his legal advice and support.

Cosantóirí Síochána, Peace Network meeting this Sat 1st April, 2pm, the Teachers Club, Parnell Sq, Dublin. Phone 086 3454322.
Cosantóirí Síochána, Aron Baker, Niall Harnett & Conor Cregan defending the peace …
Cosantóirí Síochána, Aron Baker, Niall Harnett & Conor Cregan defending the peace …

On Saturday Sept 17th 2005, eight peace activists arrived at Shannon Airport in the early afternoon. They were there to stage a peaceful protest against the ongoing abuse of Shannon in the war on the citizens of Iraq and to highlight the United Nations investigation of the Irish Government’s facilitation of the CIA programme of torture called ‘Extraordinary Rendition’. See http://www.indymedia.ie/article/72027 . Aron Baker, Conor Cregan & Niall Harnett went to the restaurant balcony which overlooks the carpark while three more protesters stood outside below the balcony near the doors to the terminal building.

The restaurant balcony is accessible to the public through two doors adjoining the main restaurant. Although the balcony was closed when they arrived, one of the lads asked the restaurant manager if he would unlock the doors so as they could enjoy a pot of tea in the fresh air. The manager agreed to open the doors for the lads and they sat down at one of the balcony tables to relax. Soon after, Aron and Niall each put on Guantanamo Bay style orange jump-suits and Conor wore army fatigues and a white head-bandage stained with blood. They hung two banners from the balcony railings and voiced their protest to the public. Down below the three other protesters held two more banners while Mags Liddy and St John Ó Donnabháin were filming and taking photos of the event in the carpark.

Although Airport Staff & Security became aware of the demonstration quite early on, and attempted to enter through the balcony doors, it appears they had some difficulty gaining access. These doors require a key to lock or unlock them from the inside/restaurant side, while they merely require a turn of the latch to lock or unlock them from the balcony side! While many Staff & Security could only vocalise their own muffled protest on the other side of the glass balcony windows, it took a while for others to find a key which meant that the protest on the balcony side continued uninterrupted for about another ten minutes.

Finally, after managing to open the doors, a number of these men crashed out on to the balcony and without saying anything they started to pull down the banners. The men were asked to identify themselves by Niall, Conor and Aron but they refused to do so. They were later identified as Airport Police Sergeant Brian Casey, Airport Police Officer Tom Burke, Restaurant Supervisor Artsion Karabanau and Airport Duty Manager Paul Phelan.

Niall went to take down the ‘Cosantoiri Siochana’ banner for fear it would be torn, when it was ripped from his hands by APO Sgt Brian Casey. Niall took out his dictaphone and asked the man to identify himself, which he refused to do. Aron and Conor asked the other men to identify themselves, which they refused to do, all the while continuing to pull down the large banner. Conor was told he was being detained under Section 33 of the Air, Transport & Navigation Act, and Aron was grabbed from behind, his hands held behind his back and told he was being detained also. At this stage APO Sgt Brian Casey made an aggressive grab for Niall’s dictaphone and started wrestling with him to take it from him. Niall held on to the dictaphone and refused to give it to him saying that he was using it to record evidence. APO Tom Burke joined in the melee and tried to force Niall to release his grip on the dictaphone when Conor came to help Niall protect the dictaphone, using his body to come between APO Tom Burke and Niall. APO Tom Burke got very aggressive at this stage but seemed to calm down somewhat when Conor informed him of his recent vindication in court for use of a dictaphone in a similar situation. Niall turned on the dictaphone again and the three protestors continued to demand that these men identify themselves, give a reason for their behaviour and answer why they were trying to take property that did not belong to them. They refused repeatedly to answer any of these questions and never identified themselves. In fact they hid their identity badges behind their ties or in their shirt pockets or wore none at all. The men collected bags belonging to Aron, Conor and Niall and told them they were being detained.

At this stage a number of other Airport Security had arrived in the balcony and they started to lead the three protesters out and away from the restaurant balcony. In order to protect the evidence recorded on the Dictaphone, Conor refused to walk and lay down on the ground to attract the attention of officers who were still trying to get the dictaphone from Niall. Ignoring the instruction of APO Kieran O’Mahoney to drag him along the floor, Conor was carried away from the balcony by his sleeves and trouser bottoms, ripping his clothes. At one stage they tried to force Conor into a wheelchair which he successfully resisted. The lads were taken downstairs through the terminal hall and through to the arrivals hall, all the while voicing their protest at the ongoing abuse at Shannon Airport. They were then held near the customs desk where arguments continued about identification and property, when APO Kieran O’Mahoney became very aggressive again with Conor, sticking his face into his. Soon after two Gardai, Sgt Dave Condren and Garda Pat Clarke arrived from Shannon Garda Station.

Hundreds of people at the airport that day saw all this and heard the continuous anti-war message being shouted throughout the whole time. When detained near customs, the bloodstained soldier, Conor, instructed the two Guantanamo victims Aron & Niall to get down on their knees and put their hands on their heads, shouting orders at them, watched by those who’d just arrived from abroad to collect their bags at the carousel close by!

Niall continued to use the dictaphone to record all conversations until Garda Condren said that he did not wish to be recorded and asked him to turn it off. Niall told him that he was within his rights to continue to use the dictaphone when Sgt Condren grabbed his hand and turned off the tape. APO Tom Burke then grabbed the dictaphone, causing it to fall on the ground, cracking and smashing with the batteries falling out onto the floor. Niall told the Gardai and APO’s that he wanted the dictaphone sealed in an envelope and signed for. This request was refused.

The Gardai asked Aron, Conor and Niall for their names and addresses which they gave. They were then asked for their dates of birth which they did not give as they were under no obligation to do so. Sgt Condren then told them that they were being arrested and would be brought to Shannon Garda Station until their identities could be verified. Sgt Condren was asked whether or not he believed he had been given false names and addresses, a question he did not answer, but to which he replied ‘You may have’. Niall and Conor asked for their bags and were asked to account for their property before they could leave. Niall produced a Swiss army knife among other things and told Sgt Condren that he had brought it to cut the rope used to tie the banners. Despite volunteering the knife and explaining it’s use to Garda Condren, Niall was told he was being arrested under the ‘Offensive Weapons Act’. Niall and Conor were taken to Shannon Garda Station and Aron was told he was free to go.

Meanwhile St John and Mags, who had been outside filming and taking photographs, came in to the terminal to the Airport Police Office to find out what had happened to Aron, Conor and Niall. They were instructed to leave the terminal and to wait outside until a Garda could come and answer their questions. After a few minutes APO Sgt Brian Casey arrived with a number of APO’s who all became aggressive and started shouting at Mags and St John demanding to see photos and cameras. When they asked the officers to identify themselves and explain the reasons why they wanted to see the cameras, they were accused of ‘refusing to comply’ and their bags and cameras were taken from them. Mags and St John were then asked for their names and addresses which they gave and were told they were being detained to Shannon Garda Station until their identities could be verified.

All four were held in custody at Shannon Garda Station and charged under Section 33 of the Air, Transport & Navigation Act. Conor and Niall were charged with ‘obstructing an authorised officer in the exercise of his powers’ and Mags and St John were charge with ‘failing to comply fail with a lawful requirement of an authorised officer by not giving proof of identity when demanded so by him’.

At this point it is important to point out that the same Air, Transport & Navigation Act regulations state that: An authorised officer is not entitled to exercise a power in relation to a person unless the authorised officer first shows the person his or her identity card.

Conor, Niall, Mags & St John were held in custody overnight at Shannon Garda Station before being brought to a special sitting of Shannon District Court, Ennis at 11am.

Strict bail conditions were sought by Prosecutor for the State, Inspector Tom Kennedy who asked of the four defendants:

- that they reside at the addresses given at time of arrest.
- that they sign on at their local Garda Station every day between 4pm and 6pm.
- that they are excluded from Shannon Airport and their environs, as they have no business being there. They are not employed there.
- that the state has liberty to re-enter the charges at 24 hours notice.

Judge Joseph Mangan asked “Why does the State feel that these restrictions are required?”

Inspector Kennedy replied: “It's eh, because... IT’S A CONTROL MECHANISM FOR THE STATE, … TO MONITOR THEIR ACTIVITIES AND MOVEMENTS.” !!!

In an unexpected twist and a first for Judge Joseph Mangan, he granted minimal bail conditions saying he did not want to deprive the defendants of their rights to protest at Shannon Airport.

Six months later, following instructions from the DPP, the charges against all four were dropped on March 9th 2005.

IN CONCLUSION …

Conor Cregan, Niall Harnett, Mags Liddy and St John Ó’Donnabháin were exercising their constitutional rights to peaceful assembly and protest at Shannon Airport when they were assaulted, intimidated and harassed by Airport Police and Gardai. Their property was stolen and damaged and evidence was destroyed in the process. They were detained for one offence, arrested for another and charged with a different offence altogether. They were held overnight where the ‘member in charge’ Garda Pat Clarke deliberately failed to observe the statutory regulations provided for them. The State Prosecutor Insp. Tom Kennedy abused his position in court in ‘alleging’ possession of an offensive weapon, where no charge had been brought and at which stage he was unaware of the full facts but aware of the presence of journalists in the court, one of whom, Gordon Deegan, chose to ignore the real facts of the case but used Inspector Kennedy’s ‘offensive weapon’ remark to superficially sensationalise their court appearance in the press. Legal aid Solicitor Ted Mc Carthy, Limerick, ‘representing’ Niall, Mags and St John, refused to meet with them, communicate with them or even turn up in court for them on a subsequent court date. Niall, Mags and St John were forced to dispense with the ‘non-service’ of Ted Mc Carthy, ordering in court that he be struck from their records. Niall went on to defend himself in court while Mags and St John had to seek fresh legal assistance from another solicitor. Many applications made to the court by the defendants, especially Conor who represented himself from the start, were refused a hearing by Judge Mangan, resulting in arguments in court and defendants being threatened with contempt. On more than one occasion the Gardai were instructed to use ‘all reasonable force’ to remove Conor from the court room.

Despite being hindered and obstructed at every turn, the defendants sought to communicate with and question the courts service, the DPP, the Gardai and the judge on a whole range of legal matters in order to equip themselves with all the information and evidence required to defend themselves in court. Some evidence was disclosed under the ‘Gary Doyle’ order, but on the whole the defendants found the whole courts system to be uncooperative and obstructive despite commitments in the ‘Courts Service Customer Charter’ to ‘conduct our business to the highest standards of ethical and professional behaviour in an atmosphere of mutual respect and integrity‘. Conor, Niall, Mags and St John were bullied at every turn by all involved in this ‘system of justice’ but continued to fight their corners at every opportunity. Finally, the system backed off and withdrew the charges knowing that if they continued with this charade, their case against the defendants and their lies in written statements would not stand up to interrogation in court and they would be exposed for being the incompetent bullies that they are. I suppose they thought the defendants might plead guilty, though I don’t know where they got that idea. Criminal Complaints have also been made by defendants against Gardai & Airport Police on account of their behaviour. The four are also considering further legal options.

Na Cosantóirí Síochána and other peace activists continue to push further at Shannon in exercising their rights to peaceful assembly and legitimate protest. See http://www.indymedia.ie/article/74933 , http://www.indymedia.ie/article/73753 , http://www.indymedia.ie/article/73722 , http://www.indymedia.ie/article/73714 & http://www.indymedia.ie/article/72376 .

Finally …

If I was a Garda, I’d be organising with the few fellow Gardai who are interested in justice, to arrest George Bush the next time he sets foot on Irish soil (be smart about it and make sure to have media with you). And I’d be standing up to any other bullies in An Garda Síochána bent on the continued harassment of peace activists. Then I could call myself a guardian of the peace.

Boys and girls in blue … are there none among you with initiative or guts?

Related Link: http://www.indymedia.ie/article/72027

… and paying a small price.
… and paying a small price.

author by Niallpublication date Thu Mar 30, 2006 21:01author address author phone Report this post to the editors

... of events.

Getting ready.
Getting ready.

3_1.jpg

30,000 children dead. To date: 100,000 people now dead.
30,000 children dead. To date: 100,000 people now dead.

Get out of our country, you are not welcome here.
Get out of our country, you are not welcome here.

6.jpg

author by Niallpublication date Thu Mar 30, 2006 21:08author address author phone Report this post to the editors

... pics.

7.jpg

Cool …
Cool …

Calm …
Calm …

& Collected.
& Collected.

But not for long …
But not for long …

author by Niallpublication date Thu Mar 30, 2006 21:17author address author phone Report this post to the editors

.

12_1.jpg

Airport Duty Manager Paul Phelan & Restaurant Supervisor Artsion Karabanau …
Airport Duty Manager Paul Phelan & Restaurant Supervisor Artsion Karabanau …

are joined …
are joined …

by …
by …

Airport Police Sgt Brian Casey & Airport Police Officer Tom Burke …
Airport Police Sgt Brian Casey & Airport Police Officer Tom Burke …

author by Niallpublication date Thu Mar 30, 2006 21:24author address author phone Report this post to the editors

.

who …
who …

in the words …
in the words …

of Michael Mc Dowell …
of Michael Mc Dowell …

cannot guarantee …
cannot guarantee …

that …
that …

author by Niallpublication date Thu Mar 30, 2006 21:32author address author phone Report this post to the editors

.

there won’t be any …
there won’t be any …

Trouble!
Trouble!

24.jpg

Conor Cregan is dragged …
Conor Cregan is dragged …

with Aron Baker & Niall Harnett …
with Aron Baker & Niall Harnett …

author by Niallpublication date Thu Mar 30, 2006 21:39author address author phone Report this post to the editors

.

downstairs …
downstairs …

and through the Airport …
and through the Airport …

to be delivered into the caring hands of …
to be delivered into the caring hands of …

Garda Sergeant Dave Condren, whose lack of integrity<br/> and intellectual capacity means he is happy to be<br/> incapable of breaking out of the mould of your<br/> stereotypical copper ... the bully.
Garda Sergeant Dave Condren, whose lack of integrity
and intellectual capacity means he is happy to be
incapable of breaking out of the mould of your
stereotypical copper ... the bully.

Our friends, at Ennis Courthouse, the following day Sun 18/09/2005.
Our friends, at Ennis Courthouse, the following day Sun 18/09/2005.

author by Aron Bakerpublication date Thu Mar 30, 2006 21:43author address author phone Report this post to the editors

I arrived at Shannon airport at approx 1.30pm. I noticed 2 North American planes on the tarmac, 1 at the terminal and 1 at a distance. I visited toilet, exchanged money and proceeded to café. I got coffee and water and tea for Mr. Harnett. Mr. Harnett asked lady till operator to open balcony doors so we could use balcony. She fetched manager/supervisor. He asked why we wanted it opened and opened it for us. Mr. Harnett went out onto balcony, an airport worker went out to eat his lunch and read the paper. I went out and sat down at the table with Mr. Harnett. I read the paper and drank tea. Older couple came out with tea and sambos and consumed same. Mr. Cregan came in and out 2 or 3 times. After 45 minutes the airport worker left and the older couple were already gone.

We donned orange jumpsuits, (Mr. Harnett and I), while Mr. Cregan donned remainder of army fatigues, including a ketchuped bandage to his forehead. We then proceeded to hang banner. It took a couple of minutes to tie in place and we then held up another banner and tied this up also. Mr. Cregan and Mr. Harnett called out/ vocalised our shared concerns, i.e. CIA torture jets out of Shannon, no US military through Shannon etc. Ms. Liddy and St John were using cameras & video camera from carpark.

After approx. 10 minutes the airport security entered the balcony and proceeded to attempt the removal of banners, grab Mr. Harnetts dictaphone by force, prevent us from continuing and question us, all simultaneously. 1 APO started to untie large banner by me and I stood to impede his untying, he grabbed me from behind, put my arms behind my back and told me I was arrested / detained and pulled me back, which I did willingly. As the arguments with Mr. Harnett, Mr. Cregan, the APO’s and other staff commenced in earnest, and the apparent urgency to remove the other banner the security goon released me and proceeded with other matters. While Mr. Harnett and Mr. Creegan became embroiled in an argument about taking dictaphone and 1st removed banner I held up part of large banner still in place vocalised our concerns as outlined above. As I was doing this an APO requested my name and address which I gave instantly.

When they had removed the banners and failed in their attempts to snatch / wrestle the dictaphone which Mr. Harnett continued to use and asked all security on the balcony their names and their purposes which they all refused to answer repeatedly.

They then decided to remove us to another area of the airport. 1 APO propelled Mr. Harnett and I in front and Mr. Cregan was dragged / partially carried by 3 to 4 men. Mr. Harnett and Mr. Cregan continued to voice our concerns, interceeded by Mr. Harnett requesting to know names of security and other related info as well as narrating scene to dictaphone. We were escorted across 1st floor into elevator, to lower floor proceeded in same manner across this floor to baggage reclaim. Approx 1000 people between both floors witnessed this. On entering baggage reclaim we commenced crossing the 30-40m of floor to the far side, our destination, the APOs decided to force Mr. Cregan into a wheel chair, which he verbally and later physically resisted. The baggage reclaim was largely empty at this time.

Once there, arguments ensued largely about dictaphone possession, legality of recording, property possession, and refusing to enter a tiny first aid room. 2 Gardai arrived , followed by 1 or 2 more shortly afterwards. The Garda told Mr. Harnett/us repeatedly that he hadn’t given consent to be recorded on dictaphone and that he would prosecute Mr. Harnett for this, (repeatedly stated), the APO was very fast to chime in with, me too. No consent, want to prosecute. He also told Guarda that he had been assaulted, (as he had said on balcony, he said Mr. Harnett assaulted him with a dictaphone when Mr. Harnett resisted his clumsy attempts to wrest it from him.)

APOs then made another attempt to wrest dictaphone off Mr. Harnett, the dictaphone was severally damaged during this clumsy procedure. (You could hear it cracking and breaking). The dictaphone then fell, hit the ground after falling over 5 feet and the batteries and back burst off it. It was then taken by Garda CL42 Dave Condren, Mr. Harnett repeatedly requested it to be put in envelope, sealed and be signed for by Guarda and himself, which the Garda was unwilling to do.

An APO came over from arrivals hall and said to others that there were cameras outside and immediately 2 or 3 left to grab these.

Members of the travelling public had arrived at the closest luggage carousel and after awhile Mr. Harnett and I knelt down, with our heads down with Mr. Cregan standing over us, in a typical Guatanamo style scene. We were quickly told to stand, and ordered to stand by Conor!, which we did. Other than this we were quiet except to discuss dictaphone, being put into small room and removal of personal property.

Gardai took names and addresses, which we all gave. He then asked Mr. Cregan for proof of ID, (to substantiate it), Mr. Cregan replied he had given what was legally required. Garda arrested him immediately and handcuffed him. He then asked Mr. Harnett to substantiate his name and address which Mr. Harnett couldn’t or wouldn’t do, then the Guarda and Mr. Harnett entered the 1st aid room and went through Mr. Harnetts belongings. He again requested that his dictaphone be properly and correctly looked after. CL42 told Mr. Harnett he would personally look after the property in question and that it would be looked after correctly. The search procedure took approx. 5 minutes, while Mr. Cregan and I waited outside. Mr. Cregan knew 1 of the Garda outside with us and they started chatting, there was a bean Guarda also present. While handcuffed he got phone call. Mr. Cregan the asked the Guarda he knew to please remove the handcuffs, which the Guarda did. After this, once Mr. Harnett was out, he was taken into 1st Aid room to identify his stuff, witness search of property.

After this a squad car arrived to a side door closest to our location.
They were then led towards the car, I/we asked about myself and I was instructed by a Garda to leave the area immeditely, with APO, across floor, exiting out into the arrivals hall. I crossed floor as lads led away, I reached fat APO and commenced questioning me. I informed him I had been instructed to leave the area by the Garda.

He said I was in a sterile area and was leaving with him. He asked how I arrived and I said I walked. He got phone call and another APO was standing alongside and I said actually came out on the bus. Fat APO finished phone call and asked what bus. Bus Eireann. Where from, Limerick. When, 12.30, asked if I arrived at 1, no, ¼ past or ½ past. He asked if I had walked around airport in orange jumpsuit sine 1.30 to which I replied no. I was then permitted to step through baggage reclaim to arrivals hall. He told me to exit immediately, go to bus stop and get bus out of airport. I proceeded immediately outside and up to bus stop. As I neared bus stop St John called out to me and I acknowledged him briefly from a short distance. I looked at bus stops and located the correct 1 where I waited for bus. I could see St John, Ms. Liddy and Sorcha talking to security. A bus pulled up and I rang MS. Liddy and told her not to give up footage and walk away. I left other people board the bus, St John and MS. Liddy went with security back to airport building, Sorcha talked for another minute with security or Guarda and then came over to buss. I boarded and she follwed. I was still in Guatanamo style jumpsuit. We left the area noticing a long vehicle queue to enter the airport grounds due to a sudden increase in security.

author by Niall Harnettpublication date Thu Mar 30, 2006 21:50author address author phone Report this post to the editors

On Saturday 17th Sept I arrived at Shannon Airport with Aron Baker. We went upstairs to the restaurant for a cup of tea. While paying for our teas/coffees, I asked the till lady if we could go out on to the balcony, which was closed at the time, and she said she’d contact the manager. We sat down in the restaurant near the balcony doors and a man, who I now know to be Restaurant manager Art Karabanau approached us. We asked him to open the balcony doors because we’d like to sit outside and he opened one of the doors for us, (there are 2 doors, one at each end of the balcony, one remained locked).

Aron and I sat at a table on the balcony to drink our tea and coffee. An airport worker came out on the balcony to eat his lunch as well as an older couple. Conor Cregan arrived on the balcony too. After the couple and the Airport worker had left about 45 mins after we arrived, there were just Aron, Conor & me on the balcony. As soon as the 3 of us were alone, Aron & I put on orange jumpsuits and Conor wore army combat fatigues and a bloodstained white bandana round his forehead. We proceeded to tie 2 banners to the balcony railings with rope. I used a penknife to cut some of the rope. When the banners were hung we used our voices to address the public about the ongoing abuse of Shannon as an American pitstop for war and as a pitstop for the CIA torture jets. At this stage I could see Mags and St John filming and taking pics of the protest.

We carried on our protest for about 10 mins until a number of men in shirts and ties burst out on to the balcony. I went to the railing to start taking down the banners as I was worried they would be ripped down by these men and when I started to untie the ‘Na Cosantoiri Siochana’ banner I was assaulted and pulled back away from the banner by a number of these men. They started to rip down the banner themselves. I told them to mind the banners, I took my dictaphone from my pocket and turned it on and immediately asked the man, who I now know to be APO Brian Casey, who he was and why were they taking down our banners. I asked him a number of times to identify himself and others and to show me his identity card to which he replied ‘Give me the Dictaphone’. He asked me for my name and address and I asked him why he wanted it and who was he. He then assaulted me, making a grab for the Dictaphone and my hand which was holding it and tried to forcibly remove the Dictaphone from me. I held the Dictaphone firmly in my grip asking him continually why he wanted it and to identify himself. He continued to squeeze my hand and the Dictaphone, damaging it and causing it to stop, and being reckless as to whether damage would be caused to my property. Attempts were made to rip down the banners in the same reckless way also. I asked him why these men were ripping down the banners. At one stage Conor Cregan intervened and tried to block with his body the attempts to take my Dictaphone saying to the men that recordings from this Dictaphone can be used as evidence in court and that he had recently been vindicated in court for his previous use of a Dictaphone in conversation with the police. Brian Casey moved away from me to ‘deal with’ Conor Cregan and then another man, who would not identify himself despite repeated requests and who I now know to be APO Tom Burke, assaulted me with no regard for my property and attempted to forcibly remove the dictaphone from me. After a few minutes of us trying to protect ourselves, our banners and property from the pulling and dragging of these men and after continued requests to individuals to identify themselves and show their ID which none of them had on, we were told that we were being removed from the balcony. Aron and I were physically removed from the balcony, walking, held by two men, and Conor was carried from the balcony, refusing to walk, to draw attention away from me and to protect the integrity of the dictaphone. Our property including our bags and our banners were taken separately from us by the men.

We were all led away from the balcony, through the restaurant, downstairs in a lift and over to the baggage hall area. We took this opportunity to continue to voice our concerns to the general public about the US abuse of Shannon etc. Conor Cregan was being manhandled by a number of men, ripping his clothes and trying to force him into a wheelchair, which he resisted. I continued to question the men who were holding us as to their identity, which they refused, saying nothing. I tried to play the tape on the dictaphone to test it and when I heard the tape playing ‘between slow and normal’ voices, I asked the man holding me to verify that he could hear the voices on the tape. He refused to answer. I asked Aron, who was beside me to witness this. On arriving in the baggage area I continued to ask people to identify themselves and show their identity, which they all refused to do including a woman who was there too.

Two Gardai arrived and more arguments developed around the Dictaphone. I asked the Gardai to identify themselves, which they did and Garda Sgt Dave Condren told me to turn off the Dictaphone. I told him I was using it to collect evidence and he told me that he did not consent to being recorded, attempted to grab the dictaphone and put his hand over my hand squeezing it causing the dictaphone to stop recording. At this stage APO Brian Casey said that he did not consent to being recorded either and also accused me of assaulting him. I tried to turn the Dictaphone back on but then APO Tom Burke made a grap for it and when he pulled it from me it was thrown onto the floor, breaking and cracking open with the batteries falling out of it. Sgt D. Condren took the dictaphone and I told him repeatedly that I wanted it sealed in a envelope and a receipt for it. He refused to do that. Then he asked me for my name and address which I gave him. He asked me for my DOB and I asked him “Am I obliged to give it to you”. He said “It will help me to identify you” and he told me he was arresting me to bring me to Shannon police station until he could verify my identity. I asked him did he believe I had given him a false name and address and he said, “You may have”. I asked him could I take my property which was visible in a room beside us with the door open. He asked me which bag was mine and to account for my own property which I did. He asked to see all the property in my bag and in my pockets, which I agreed to, showing him everything including a rope and a Swiss Army penknife. As soon as I produced the penknife I stressed the fact that I had brought the knife consciously to Shannon to use to cut the rope. He then told me he was arresting me under the offensive weapons act. I stressed again the role of the knife and I asked him to remember that I had volunteered this information to him before he arrested me. I was then told I was being taken to Shannon. I asked Aron was he being arrested and he said no and a garda told me that he was being released. Conor was going through accounting for his property and being led away when I asked him had he been arrested. He told me to ‘leave it’, meaning not to push the question. It was not clear to me that he had been arrested. Conor and I were taken to Shannon Garda station separately, me in the car with Sgt D. Condren and Garda P. Harte.

Once in the station I gave my full name and address again with my date of birth. My mobile phone was taken from me by Sgt D. Condren for no apparent reason, he said he wanted it for evidence. I said I wanted it sealed in an envelope and a receipt for it and the same for the dictaphone which he refused to do. He was very disobliging to us and our questions and he adopted a very aggressive attitude towards us, for no reason, and especially to Conor and told the member in charge to search us in the office. The member in charge (from whom we have received no statement), took our details and made notes of some of our property. I was given a copy of my rights and I asked to receive a visit from a friend, Tim Hourigan, who was at the station and I was told by the member in charge that he would speak to Tim and tell him that I wanted to see him. I was put in a cell, called in on occasionally by the MIC who I repeatedly asked to see Tim. No Tim. Later on I was joined by St John who was put in my cell. At about 7.30pm I was brought out to be charged under Section 33 of the Air Transport & Navigation Act, to which I replied under caution:

"I came to Shannon as part of a peaceful protest to highlight the ongoing use of Shannon Airport as a U.S. Military Airbase, to highlight the facilitation here of CIA torture jets, and to highlight the deal done by Minister for Injustice Michael McDowell with the CIA, giving them carte blanche interrogation rights in this country. I made this peaceful protest under Section 40 of the Irish Constitution and I expect those rights to be respected and vindicated by the law enforcers of this country."

I was then asked if I would like to make a phone call. I said I wanted to receive my visit first from Tim only to be told that he had just left and that the member in charge hadn’t had a chance to speak to him! This after repeated assurances all day that I could speak with Tim at the frist available opportunity. As it turns out, Tim had not ‘left’ but was just outside the station. Was fed shitty food late that night and following morning, brought to court for 11am.

author by Elainepublication date Thu Mar 30, 2006 23:01author address author phone Report this post to the editors

... and a brilliant report. Well worth waiting for. Congratulations on a fantastic action and an excellent outcome.

author by Fintan Lane - Anti-War Irelandpublication date Thu Mar 30, 2006 23:06author address author phone Report this post to the editors

Excellent action, great photos!! Well done all!

author by Edpublication date Fri Mar 31, 2006 01:19author address author phone Report this post to the editors

Fair play, we need more people like this putting their arse's on the line down at shannon!

author by Ciaron - Catholic Workerpublication date Fri Mar 31, 2006 01:30author address Down Under-Melbourneauthor phone Report this post to the editors

Good going. Great action, good report.

Latest Australian screw up inIraq is the shooting of an elderly professor Kay Juma 72, killed by an Australian security guard from the Unity Resources Group, which is run by former Australian army personnel. Proffessor Juma held a residents visa in Australa, his wife is from Adelaide.

I attended a film on Depleted Uranium last night in Melbourne. 3 bands good turn up, but even greater turnover...hardly recognised anyone form the Jabiluka '98 generation. China is poised to make huge uranium deals in Australia, the Labor Party Oppositin is poised to roll over and abandon any opposition to uranium mining and export. U.S. forcec are poised to continue the use of Depleted Uranium munitions in Australia. The net big one being Operation Talisman Sabre '07 at Shoalwater Bay, near Rockhampton, Queensland. I'm heading up their in the next few weeks to give anti-war talks at schoolsand churches. Keep on keeping on at Shannon. See y'all soon.
Lurve
Ciaron

Related Link: http://www.peaceontrial.com
author by Michaelpublication date Fri Mar 31, 2006 15:55author address author phone Report this post to the editors

Don't you clowns know that every time you get a dental x-ray in your local dentist's office that you probably have an apron lined with DU laying on your chest? And that a lot of commercial airplanes carry DU as ballast? You've probably flown on MANY planes that were loaded with a ton or more of DU -- have you grown a third head yet? Started getting blurry vision? Are you sterile? Hair falling out?

Will the left EVER stop using bullshit propaganda that is simply not true? You guys really need to get real and get a life -- and get a haircut, as long as I'm giving you advice. This old 70s Vietnam-era hooey is really too much.

Just out of curiosity, do any of you have real jobs? I don't mean "academia" or "the dole," but real honest-to-God jobs where you actually have to show up for work on a regular basis and produce? Just curious -- I don't see how a motley crowd like this could ever fit into an office or factory work floor!

You're all really just embarrassing to the rest of the civilized world.

author by Elainepublication date Fri Mar 31, 2006 17:43author address author phone Report this post to the editors

... what a fit of pique! Why the temper tantrum? Baby got a pain in his fang? Too many head x-rays? Did the nasty dentisty wentisty put a big heave DU lined apron on your little chesty westy? There there pet, you go and lie down til it passes.

And when you are feeling a little more civilised go and check out the links at http://www.indymedia.ie/article/74962

author by pat cpublication date Fri Mar 31, 2006 18:16author address author phone Report this post to the editors

i think you have too much trust in what scientists tell you about uranium. i remember years ago when arthur scargill was debating a representative of british nuclear fuels on whether coal or uranium was the cleaner fuel. the bnf guy had a uranium sample in a lead tube and was going on about how safe & clean it was. scargill produced a piece of coal and popped it in his mouth. he then invited the bnf guy to do the same with his piece of uranium. naturally he declined.

well mickey, if you like DU so much why not put your DU where mouth is?

author by Phuq Heddpublication date Fri Mar 31, 2006 22:48author address author phone Report this post to the editors

Don't you clowns know that every time you get a dental x-ray in your local dentist's office that you probably have an apron lined with DU laying on your chest?

It's more likely to be lead actually. And the health problems that occur from DU exposure seem to be as a result from when it is particulate dust, not when it's in a solid lump (like the keel of a ship). But unless there is a mandatory and plausible mechanism to make sure that any DU that is incorporated into "civilian" uses is recycled and not subjected to procedures which release ingestible DU then it's a good idea to keep it safely stored. DU seems to be just waste from the nuclear power industry (the unsuccesful, dangerous, white elephant foisted on us so that the UK, US, France, Pakistan can have WMDs) which they can't afford to store so they're trying to fool us into accepting as a product.

You might want to educate yourself about why DU is considered to be a hazard before exposing your ignorance. Read the link below and don't post anything until you've assimilated everything that you can from Google searches.

Related Link: http://www.cadu.org.uk/
author by Phuq Heddpublication date Fri Mar 31, 2006 22:55author address author phone Report this post to the editors

Depleted uranium from radiation shields melted in French foundry
Three or four radiation protection shields made from depleted uranium have inadvertently been melted in a foundry of Budin company at Aubervillers (Seine-Saint-Denis). Assuming they were made from lead, the shields were melted to recover lead. On May 19, 2003, the recovered metal was further trucked to the Metal-Blanc company at Bourg-Fidèle, where its radioactivity was discovered upon arrival.
The shields had originally been used with cobalt-60 high-activity radiation sources. At least six such radiation shields had been provided to Budin in January 2003 by the metal recycling company Debus at Villejuif (Val-de-Marne).
As a result, the Budin workers had unknowingly been working in a contaminated working place for more than six months.
(Le Figaro Feb. 25, 2004; CRIIRAD Feb. 24, 2004)

Related Link: http://www.wise-uranium.org/dviss.html#AFFAIREDEBUS
author by Northern Lightpublication date Sat Apr 01, 2006 17:26author address author phone Report this post to the editors

you raise a number of points which portray a very limited view of the type of society we should all live in. For a start your equating academia with "non productivity" is particularily dubious given the research time spent by academics in devoloping new ideas in the world of engineering, science, business, computing and sociology. Was Albert Einstein a waster? Would you have "put him to work"? I guess he would have been a prime canditate for "getting ones haircut" too?

About "dolers", many musicians, who I have no doubt you hum and bop to, have spent time on the dole devoloping their talents. Tax and productivity are not the only ways to contribute to society. You sould research the concept of social capital.

As for work, it has to be said that if you work for someone else you are a subordinate. Yes there are a lot of subordinates out there. If you follow conventional Christian docterine about us all being God's subordinates then you should have no problem justifying this situation to yourself. If you take the traditional anarchist viewpoint of "No Gods, No Masters" then such a situation does not equate with personal devolopment and empowerment. Of course entrepeneurs, the self employed and musicians have greater degrees of personal freedom than the employed though all are essentaially "wage slaves".

As for productivity one has to ask "producing what"? Consumer goods? Alcohol? Arms? Do you think people should question the type of products they are involved in producing? I would infer from your piece that you want a world with people

+ working in jobs without questioning the impact of their work
+ paying tax to a government that facilitates the use of Shannon by the US Army and has no problem ploughing up Tara.
+ all having the same clothes and hair fashion
+ not engaging in research in third level institutes
+ not quetioning the type of society (Ireland) that has more golf courses than playgrounds

The reality of the situation Michael, is that people with your attitude have never chaged the World for the better. There would be shades of fascism in your ideas. Is that what you really want? You can always change your mind though. We are not bigots. You are welcome to join the revolution anytime. We won't ask you to grow your hair. All you have to do is break free!

author by Coilínpublication date Mon Apr 03, 2006 11:43author address author phone Report this post to the editors

BTW, have we now established that we all have a constitutional right to engage in peaceful protest at Shannon Airport? More details of the court's rulings on this and related points, please?

Thanks for the detailed coverage! Great pics from CCTV! Any chance of some moving pictures from that source on here?

Your big fan.
Coilín.

author by Niallpublication date Wed Apr 05, 2006 00:00author email info at cosantoiri dot orgauthor address author phone Report this post to the editors

Court rulings were minimal and irrelevant if anything Coilín.

If you have any thoughts or advice on civil proceedings and methods yourself, please email them to above address, FAO myself.

To us, our constitutional rights to protest at Shannon have never been in doubt. It's just that the State will get away with acting illegally, immorally and unconstitutionally etc if we let them and don't stand up to them.

This Government is the enemy of the people of Ireland.

See Sean Ryan's most recent piece below called 'A Right to Protest'.

Related Link: http://www.indymedia.ie/article/75227
author by Niallpublication date Wed Apr 05, 2006 00:44author address author phone Report this post to the editors

and APO's Brian Casey and Tom Burke to confirm, refute or argue against anything I've said in the article.

I welcome your comments.

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