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From Abu Ghraib to Shannon

category national | anti-war / imperialism | feature author Thursday October 26, 2006 17:01author by Deirdre Clancy & Fintan Lane - Anti-War Ireland Report this post to the editors

US Iraq Vets to Speak at Anti-War Rally at Shannon Airport

featured image

This week and next, Anti-War Ireland will host a series of events aimed at re-focusing attention on the continuing use of Shannon Airport as an important logistical stop by one of the world’s most dangerous and vicious military machines.

The campaign to demilitarise Shannon airport received a boost in July this year with the unanimous acquittal in Dublin's Four Courts of the five Pitstop Ploughshares activists (Deirdre Clancy, Nuin Dunlop, Karen Fallon, Damien Moran and Ciaron O'Reilly). It was a remarkable outcome to a lengthy legal process that began with their decommissioning of a US warplane in Shannon back in February 2003, and it highlighted the extent of anti-war sentiment in this country.

On Saturday, 28 October, anti-war activists are returning to Shannon with flowers and banners to hold a mock-funeral from the town centre to the airport in memory of the dead of Iraq, Afghanistan and the United States. Among those attending this first major protest at Shannon this year will be two of the acquitted Ploughshares – Deirdre Clancy and Ciaron O'Reilly – and three members of Iraq Veterans Against War – Joshua Casteel, Stephen Lewis and Tony Lagouranis – all former US interrogators at the infamous Abu-Ghraib prison in Baghdad. The US military veterans will also address a series of Anti-War Ireland public meetings around the country.

More info: Former Abu-Ghraib interrogators speak in Dublin | Maynooth meeting on Friday with US Iraq War vets | Shannon demonstration on Saturday | Cork bus to Shannon demo | Dublin bus to Shannon demo | Galway bus to Shannon demo | Cork meeting with Abu-Ghraib vets next Tuesday | Belfast meeting with Abu-Ghraib vets next Wednesday

This demilitarisation campaign has been ongoing since 2001. In late 2002 and early 2003, it became obvious to many Irish people that the pretexts for the proposed war of aggression on Iraq were bogus. Many were aware that the economic sanctions against Iraq had drastically undermined civilians in what had recently been a largely prosperous and culturally advanced society, and throughout the 1990s had served only to strengthen the repressive regime under which they lived. The idea that the same forces that were most robust in imposing those sanctions would now attack an already largely poverty stricken and vulnerable population, on the pretext of ‘decapitating’ the regime, seemed almost unbearable to think about and staggeringly hypocritical, given the history involved. One of the largest mass mobilisations ever seen in Ireland occurred, part of a massive day of global action. In Dublin, 100,000 people marched against the impending war and against Irish government complicity with the US war machine. Nonetheless, several governments utterly ignored the will of the people and went on to create or to be silently complicit in a bloodbath in Iraq. A recent Lancet report indicates that as many as 655,000 Iraqi men, women and children may have been killed in Iraq since March 2003, and the bloodshed continues.

Shannon airport, on the direction of the Fianna Fail/PD government, has facilitated this slaughter. It assisted the invasion forces in early 2003 and it continues to facilitate a brutal and unacceptable occupation that has been repeatedly rejected by the overwhelming majority of Iraqi people. Irish ‘neutrality’, if it ever truly existed, died at Shannon airport with the facilitation of the Bush war machine. Huge numbers of troops from a belligerent power have been allowed to pass through on their way to an illegal and unjust war.

As Irish people mobilised against the war in early 2003, it quickly became apparent that it was not just the usual suspects – the bedraggled peaceniks, lefty militants or earnest do gooders – who were angry. Moreover, with soldiers returning home to the US and Britain in body-bags, families (in particular the mothers of soldiers who died in Iraq) began to add their passionate voices to the mix. Among the most powerful voices to be raised against the war have been those of soldiers who went to Iraq, either inadvertently through their status as economic conscripts, or idealistically believing they were defending their country from terrorists, and came back determined to try to relate the horror of what they had been a part of, often at great personal cost.

Three of these soldiers are coming to Ireland to demand the demilitarisation of Shannon airport and an end to Irish complicity with the Bush killing machine.

Joshua Casteel (who has told his story in Ireland before), Tony Lagouranis and Stephen Lewis served together as interrogators at the notorious Abu Ghraib prison. Joshua and Stephen applied for conscientious objector status on ending a tour in Iraq. Joshua went on to become involved in the Catholic Worker movement in the US. Spc. Tony Lagouranis (Ret.) was a US Army interrogator from 2001 to 2005. He served a tour of duty in Iraq from January 2004 to January 2005. He maintains that interrogations throughout Iraq by US forces amounted to ‘a culture of abuse’. All three men were in the 202 military intelligence battalion, and all are now active members of Iraq Veterans Against the War, committed to speaking out about the abuses they witnessed.

All three US veterans will speak on Saturday at the Anti-War Ireland demonstration in Shannon. Assembling at 2pm outside Lidl in Shannon town centre, the demonstration will take the form of a mock-funeral procession, complete with coffin, to the airport, where a rally will be held. Following the rally, participants will be asked to lay flowers across the entrance to the airport in memory of those who have died. We will be remembering the dead of Iraq, Afghanistan, the United States and others affected by the military aggression.

We are asking people to consider wearing black for the occasion and to bring flowers. The theme of the protest will be ‘Remembering the Dead’.

Anti-War Ireland is also hosting the former US Abu-Ghraib interrogators at a series of public meetings around the country. They will speak in Dublin, Maynooth, TCD, Cork and Belfast during their stay in Ireland. Details can be found in the ‘events’ section of indymedia or at AntiWarIreland.org

The Shannon demonstration will be the first major anti-war protest at the airport this year and Anti-War Ireland appeals to people to please make the effort to be there. It is unacceptable that an Irish civilian airport has been integrated into the US war machine. It is not acceptable that the Irish government has dragged Ireland into a war that most Irish people utterly oppose.

Come to Shannon on Saturday and make your voice heard against the presence in this country of the US war machine. Remember: 2pm, assembling at Lidl in Shannon town centre, next Saturday, 28 October. Please be there!

Related Link: http://www.antiwarireland.org
author by AWIpublication date Wed Oct 25, 2006 10:08author address author phone Report this post to the editors

The three former Abu Ghraib interrogators will speak in the ATGWU Hall in Dublin at 7.30pm on Thursday night (tomorrow). Free admission and all welcome!

They will joined on the platform by Goretti Horgan, representing the Raytheon Nine, and Colm Breathnach of Anti-War Ireland.

author by antiwarpublication date Wed Oct 25, 2006 11:01author address author phone Report this post to the editors

One of the former US Abu Ghraib interrogators will also be speaking at a lunchtime meeting in UCD on Friday. More details later!!!

author by anonpublication date Wed Oct 25, 2006 11:58author address author phone Report this post to the editors

Flowers are a good idea. We should present them to the gardai blocking the road as well. I wonder would they accept them?

author by infoshoppublication date Wed Oct 25, 2006 15:06author address author phone Report this post to the editors

Buses are running to the Shannon demo from Dublin, Cork and Galway. Might be more but that's all I could find for the moment. Book now!!!!

For info on buses and to book seats:

Dublin bus 087 0687899

Cork bus 087 9387566

Galway bus 087 7413741

author by Paul O'Donnellpublication date Thu Oct 26, 2006 20:58author address author phone Report this post to the editors

i understand that one of the above speakers is going to be interviewed on the Sky News Ireland bulletin at 10pm tonight. I don't normally look at Murdoch's channel, but will make an exception tonight.

author by anonpublication date Fri Oct 27, 2006 10:15author address author phone Report this post to the editors

They were on Drivetime, The Last Word and the Nine O'Clock News last night. Very good coverage and they were excellent on Shannon. Good public meeting last night too with about 100 folks.

author by number 14 - legalise freedom campaign.publication date Fri Oct 27, 2006 10:29author address author phone Report this post to the editors

Flowers are a nice idea to present to the Gardai. They cost about two euros a bunch in Lidl.

How about presenting a Copy of Bureacht to the Gardai?

They sworn an Oath to protect the Laws contained in it , something that can never fade. Only two euros fifty five cents at most Book stores.

author by Jacqueline Fallonpublication date Sat Oct 28, 2006 00:16author address author phone Report this post to the editors

It is bad enough that there will be US interrogators who tortured Iraqi citizens at this anti-war rally (and being applauded by those present), but now we have the ludicrous suggestion of giving flowers to members of An Garda Síochána - yes, the silly season has come early this year!

I would strongly advise against wasting your money on flowers for the Gardaí - you will probably be greeted with a punch in the face for your efforts! Gardaí will later say that they were attacked by menacing flower carrying protestors and all 'necessary' force had to be used to counteract the unlawful, unprovoked flower attack on An Garda Síochána. Don't waste €2.00 on flowers please, donate to an Iraqi charity for victims of US/British brutality instead.

As for 'Bunreacht na hÉireann', it is not worth the paper it was written on. Every right in it can be diluted at the whim of the 26 county government in the 'national interest'.

I have attended countless anti-war marches since this brutal invasion of Iraq began, but I'll not be attending this one, I have zero time for US interrogators former or present! I'll give this demonstration a miss, and will attend all future ones where these interrogators will not be present.

author by Bronterre O'Brienpublication date Sat Oct 28, 2006 01:25author address author phone Report this post to the editors

The Financial Times reports today that U.S. vice-president, Dick Cheney, in a radio interview, endorsed the use of 'waterboarding'.
Jennifer Daskal, advocacy director at Human Rights Watch, is quoted as saying that Republican Senators Warner, McCain, and Graham have stated publicly that legislation signed by Bush last week makes water boarding a war crime.
This shows the clear intent of the Bush regime to continue to violate U.S law, the U.S. constitution, and all standards of human decency.
The Irish Government by providing the U.S. war machine with the use of Shannon is complicit in the Bush regime atrocities.
Protest , protest, protest........

author by anonpublication date Sat Oct 28, 2006 03:27author address author phone Report this post to the editors

Fine Gael leader Enda Kenny today refused to clearly state if he would block US military planes from using Shannon Airport if elected taoiseach.

http://breakingnews.iol.ie/news/story.asp?j=199598202&p...989x8

author by Ciaron - Dublin Cathol;ic Workerpublication date Sat Oct 28, 2006 08:32author address author phone Report this post to the editors

J,thanks for not coming. With such a set of simple prejudices maybe it woul dbe best if you sat home and catch up on some reading.

The reality is that the presently there is more militant opposition and tension for the U.S. and British governments coming from within the militaries and militray families than out of the civilian peace movement in the west.

No matter how many ever decreasing marches and rallies of obligation Jacqueline safely strolled on - the serious risks are being taken and the resistance is coming from within the military, resisters and veterans. Even in terms of moderate protest and dissent, more is coming from the military elites than from socialists, republican, social democratic, green party eites in the west.

the fact that this is the first time there has been an anti-war demonstration (hopefully numbering in the hundreds) organised for Shannon this year is significant. That we are going down there with young men who tranisted through the airport to the invasion of Iraq is significant. That however few or many gather at the scene of the crime and shout "the emperor has no clothes, stop Irish involvement is a war that is illegal, immoral and unwinnable" is significant.

Related Link: http://www.peaceontrial.com
author by Dpublication date Sat Oct 28, 2006 18:38author address author phone Report this post to the editors

250 cops - 250 of us. Powerful imagery of Vets. carrying coffin.One spoke about frisking the dead in Fallujah. Sombre, serious vibe. All left glad they'd come.

author by Anti-Warpublication date Sat Oct 28, 2006 19:26author address author phone Report this post to the editors

More like 120-150.

Lots of cops all over the town.

As for the speeches - I was a little disconcerted by all the religious references.

author by Apublication date Sun Oct 29, 2006 08:41author address author phone Report this post to the editors

Disconcerting maybe, but hardly surpising.

The organised left in Ireland (libertarian/authoritarian/moderate/republican) abandoned Irish involvement in the war a long time ago as a point of organising. If you are looking for them, they are probably campaign surfing Mayo way.

Traditionally, faith based groups (Quakers, catholic Workers, rad and moderatate churchy types)are the ones focussed on anti-war activity in season and out (with or without a mass movement).

In terms of official speakers, Joshua Casteel is a catholic convert, not sure about the other two vets but they didn't use religious references, Ciaran O'Reilly is one of the Catholic Worker 5 who disabled the war plane at Shannon, didn't hear Ed Horgan use religious references assume he is a Catholic, Fintan Lane and Harry Browne are either athiest or agnostic.

The atmosphere of the demonstration itself was set by it being a symbolic funeral for those who had passed through Shannon and been killed in Iraq and those they killed in Iraq. It did have the vibe of pilgtimage to a site, memorial, ritual (carrying coffin, laying of flowers). My general impression was that most people felt good about it all.

The guy on the open mike who tried to conscrpt us into a decade of the rosary (shortend to a half) was a bit overbearing. But probably no more than the young SP trot giving his party pitch. If people wanted to rember the dead in their own traditons (Catholic, Muslim, Quaker, Pagan, athiest etc)...we could have taken turns around the coffin or spread out for a time.

author by Deirdre Clancy - AWIpublication date Sun Oct 29, 2006 13:35author address author phone Report this post to the editors

Going by the numbers on the buses and the others who came by alternative transport we had about 220 at the rally, which was more or less what was expected, given the way many have fallen away from active involvement in this issue, as was mentioned by A.

Two coffins were carried - one white, child's coffin and one normal sized one - the latter by the veterans and by Ciaron. These led the procession. Those attending the demo were very respectful of the chosen theme of a funeral procession, and the march part went off in a quiet, sombre fashion.

With regards to Jacqueline and other comments from critics, I think it's hard to please everyone. The flowers were placed on top of the coffin, not given to the guards. This was a suggestion by one of the Indymedia contributors, not what we'd planned. But I would have no objections or problems if someone decided to do this. There is no better way of disarming (literally and metaphorically) those who are there to protect the war machine than to acknowledge our shared humanity. Flowers have been offered to troops going through Shannon before, and as far as I remember, some accepted them (I was banned from Shannon at the time, but I read about it on Indymedia). In my opinion, a consistent attitude of enmity and caricaturing of military and guards is only going to deepen the divisions. I heard someone use the phrase 'adolescent anarchism' yesterday in another context, and I can't help thinking such attitudes embody that phrase. They are human beings, and not all lefties and activists are totally perfect either - most of us are, or have been, complicit in some way or another by some level of participation in our current economic system and need to acknowledge that.

The three veterans have taken a courageous stance in going public on their opposition to the war. They have received abuse in the US about it from some fairly ruthless right-wing quarters and are regarded as traitors by many of their former comrades. I think it is very sad that some people would have the attitude displayed by Jacqueline. Given different circumstances, culture and family backgrounds, any of us might have found ourselves at an Abu Ghraib-type setting wrestling with our conscience. When conscience wins out and veterans become vocal, we should be actively supportive rather than become armchair critics. Many military have had to do time because of their objections to this war. They are the ones that the wider world takes seriously, because they have seen the horrors and know what they are talking about. If they oppose the war, they are the real deal - their motives are not ideological or part of an overall political agenda. This is why they are the most powerful anti-war advocates, in terms of convincing the wider world that what is happening is unacceptable.

There were two out of six speakers who made references to their religious beliefs. In the open microphone at the end, there was one out of about five speakers who referred to his religious faith, and he was as entitled to make references to his faith as the other speakers were to their affiliations. What matters is that - whether athiest, agnostic, Catholic, Buddhist, Quaker - we share a common goal regarding the use of Shannon and the war being waged on the Middle East.

Thanks to everyone who took the trouble to come to the demo yesterday and show that at least some have not forgotten Iraqi civilians or forgotten the importance of the campaign to demilitarise Shannon.

author by counterpublication date Sun Oct 29, 2006 14:02author address author phone Report this post to the editors

Whoever thinks there was 120 present (comment above) is either a troll or a cop. The 'religious references' comment is bullshit as well. At the end, during the open mike, a man said a few Hail Marys. Yeah, so what? That's diversity and that's what an open mike is all about. Others that availed of this were members of Socialist Youth, Cork AWI, the IAWM and a woman from Galway.

There was easily 250 people present and maybe more than that. Good demo, good rally.

author by W. Finnerty.publication date Mon Oct 30, 2006 12:40author address author phone Report this post to the editors

"As for 'Bunreacht na hÉireann', it is not worth the paper it was written on. Every right in it can be diluted at the whim of the 26 county government in the 'national interest'." (Please see above at: Jacqueline Fallon Fri Oct 27, 2006 23:16 )

Although I'm not a lawyer, I don't think the above statement is entirely correct?

As can can seen at the address below, every Bill must be signed by the Republic of Ireland President before it can become law in the Republic of Ireland:
http://www.oasis.gov.ie/government_in_ireland/governmen....html

Of course if the Governenment is in certain important ways a lawless bunch of thugs and bullies, and the President of the day is co-operating with them, and/or one of them perhaps (as appears to me to be the case in recent years), then I would agree that it really does not matter what the contents of 'Bunreacht na hÉireann' are - because the bullies will simply put themselves ABOVE the law, and everyone who gets in their way BENEATH it: as is happening at the present time in connection with a selection of very serious human rights and environmental issues which directly involve the Republic of Ireland.

Personally though, I don't see the present set of environmental and human rights difficulties as a reflection of any great weakness in 'Bunreacht na hÉireann'. While I would agree 'Bunreacht na hÉireann' is not by any means perfect, is is nonetheless widely regarded as one of the best written constitutions in the world.

In addition, there are of course facilities for "maintaining" Bunreacht na hÉireann (i.e. keeping it up-to-date and in line with the times), which relies entirely on the "constitutional referendum" process.

Perhaps the most worrying problem of all at present, is that Bunreacht na hÉireann is (in effect) being surreptitiously "maintained" in the direction of tyranny, without ANY constitutional referendums of the kind required by law: which, to me at least, looks like political and legal corruption at its very worst, and most dangerous.

Related Link: http://www.europeancourtofhumanrightswilliamfinnerty.com/PresidentMaryMcAleese17June2006/Email.htm
author by numberspublication date Wed Nov 01, 2006 16:56author address author phone Report this post to the editors

Complete B.S

I was there on the day and made a point of counting.
120-150 max!

author by gedpublication date Wed Nov 01, 2006 17:12author address author phone Report this post to the editors

I'm sure you were, cop.

I was there, counted the marchers, and there was easily 250. I don't agree with the figure of 300, but your figure is a complete joke! What's your game, anyway?

author by :-)publication date Wed Nov 01, 2006 17:21author address author phone Report this post to the editors

'numbers' is either a cop, a troll or some class of an embittered activist. Anybody who walked that road on Saturday would know that a couple of hundred were present. Anybody who says otherwise has an agenda that is about trying to undermine the anti-war movement.

author by :-)publication date Wed Nov 01, 2006 17:35author address author phone Report this post to the editors

Let me simplify this: anybody who says that only 120 people were present at the Shannon demo is a liar. Then, you gotta ask what the purpose of the lie is. The choices are limited.

author by Puzzled??publication date Thu Nov 02, 2006 00:13author address author phone Report this post to the editors

Well lads, times are bad when your reduced to squabbling about whether it was 100, 200 or (gasp!) 300. Are we supposed to be impressed? Jaysus, you'd get a bigger turnout for a PD regional conference or an auld wans bingo session in a parish hall. The words "damp" and "squib" come to mind.

author by anonpublication date Thu Nov 02, 2006 00:43author address author phone Report this post to the editors

God, you're a laugh, troll.

Well, one thing we can settle on is that the 250 people there were 250 more than turned up for your pro-war counter-demonstration. For the laugh, why don't you try organising one of them some day? Who knows, you might get a few of those PDers to join you. Or maybe not. Fact is, you'd probably be standing there on your tod.

Funny how the trolls come out for certain threads. Anything to do with Shannon airport attracts them like flies to shit...or is it the other way around?

author by Ciaron - Dublin Cathol;ic Workerpublication date Thu Nov 02, 2006 10:42author address author phone 087 918 4552Report this post to the editors

Last time I was at Shannon, I was only with four other people and that seemed to have made an ($US 2.5 MILLION to be exact) impact.

The numbers last Saturday aren't a reflection on the folks who turned up. More of a reflection on the heavilly sedated, censored, housebroken, resigned consumer society/ colonised culture from which we spring. The heavy deployment of state forces is a good refelction on how seriously they take us. we just have to take ourselves that seriously and keep on keeping on.

The wars are already lost in Iraq (they have destroyed and partitioned the country, it doesn't exist anymore!) and Afghanistan (it is spilling over into a Pakistan, soon to be a failed state, God knows who will end up with the nukes!). The U.S. will leave Iraq and Afghanistan and Iraq as they left Vietnam - in a hurry pushing their expensve hardware off their aircraft carriers. The question is, can we raise a nonviolent resistance movement in the first world that will cut this war short and save millions of civilian and military lives.

First world white boys like "puzzled" confuse their cynism with sophistication let them drown in their post-modern irony.

Yesterday. Mike Shchorsh from "G.I. Hotline" (no not a dating service, but a network to help folks get out of the U.S. military), Violet form South Bend/Indiana Catholic Worker and I stood for an hour on O'Connel St with a "U.S. Military Out of Shannon". Most of the folks who engaged us & thanked us were non irish born....so yes puzzled points out, and embodies, that the culture here is pretty privatised, dumbed down and self interested at this point of its history. That's the playing field. We act-reflect, act again. keep on keeping on.

author by Puzzled??publication date Thu Nov 02, 2006 23:44author address author phone Report this post to the editors

Ciaron,

Is there something wrong with being white? I can't help it you know - I was born that way. Sad to see you think it acceptable to deride my views on the basis of my race and gender. (I mean, "white boy" ffs! SUCH a sophisticated argument) But then I think differently to you so I must be wrong, is that it? Just like all those folks who are part of "the heavily sedated, censored, housebroken, resigned consumer society" who didn't turn up to the self-congratulatory bunfest at Shannon. What precisely gives you the right to dismiss so sneeringly the views and attitudes of your fellow members of society? You seem positively De Valeraesque in your ability to look into your heart and devine what is best for the rest of us. Apparently you also reserve the right to yourself to put your views into action at whatever cost - laws are for other people presumably. And fair play to you - you are legally innocent having convinced an Irish jury to back you. (So was OJ, BTW!) But do bear in mind that other people have an equal right to have a point of view even if it differs from yours. And those points of view can be sincerely held and can be the product of careful intelligent consideration rather than being induced by sedation, censorship and the "privatised, dumbed down and self interested" culture we allegedly live in.

For instance, I believe that American military force has overwhelmingly been a force for good in the last 100 years or so. American industrial and military power was the primary motive force that simultaneously defeated Nazi totalitarianism and Japanese imperialism. Later, that same military and industrial strength was instrumental in containing Communist totalitarianism and creating the conditions for its ultimate implosion. Others may disagree - its a free country, still. Now America is facing up to a third totalitarian challenge to liberal democracy - this time its Islamic fundamentalism and its desire to create a worldwide Caliphate under Sharia law. Not that the US is perfect of course and it has blotted its copybook from time to time, but on balance it can hold its head high.

author by Monkeypuzzledpublication date Fri Nov 03, 2006 00:01author address author phone Report this post to the editors

You'd be better off sticking to asinine one-liners, Puzzled. Trying to whitewash the record of the US state by glibly noting that they've "blotted their copybook from time to time" exposes you as a callous white boy indeed. If you had bothered to examine the crimes committed by the US and its allies all over the world, from El Salvador to Vietnam, from Colombia to Iraq, and see things from the point of view of their victims, you might not be so quick to cheer on American tanks. 650,000 dead and counting - another triumph for the land of the brave I guess

author by Puzzled??publication date Fri Nov 03, 2006 00:14author address author phone Report this post to the editors

I wasn't being glib, just acutely aware that US crimes are not exactly short of exposure on Indymedia and therefore not in need of highlighting by me. Instead, I was simply trying to point out that there is another side to the story. Liberal democracy, a la the United States, is not perfect - its just better than any other system that's been tried.

author by Claritypublication date Fri Nov 03, 2006 12:59author address author phone Report this post to the editors

If you call what presently exists in the U.S. a liberal democracy - you are no liberal nor democrat. read some Gore Vidal. If you are, like he is, an authentic liberal democrat join his call to the U.S. to abandon empire and return to being a republic.

author by Monkeypuzzledpublication date Fri Nov 03, 2006 13:25author address author phone Report this post to the editors

No, you were being glib, and now you're trying to backpeddle. You didn't simply "point out that there is another side to the story". You claimed that America's role in the world had been overwhelmingly positive and dismissed its crimes as "blotting their copybook from time to time".

Imagine a hard-line communist twenty years ago assuring us that the role of the Soviet Union in the world had been overwhelmingly positive, because it made by far the biggest contribution to the defeat of Hitler (and I'm afraid this is the historical reality – it was the USSR that broke the Third Reich, not the USA. Even on the western front, there were as many British and Canadian troops in the Normandy landings as US ones) and supported national liberation movements in the Third World when they fought against imperialism. Then dismissed the purges, famines, show trials, the occupation of Eastern Europe, the invasions of Hungary and Czechoslovakia, as "blotting its copybook from time to time".

You'd denounce them as an apologist for terrible crimes, and rightly so. The same goes for anyone who so lightly dismisses the atrocities in countries like El Salvador (some "liberal democracy" in action there!), Vietnam, Colombia and Iraq. As I said, 650,000 and counting – some blot.

author by Liam Donohoepublication date Fri Nov 03, 2006 19:14author address author phone Report this post to the editors

Dear Puzzled,

The source and cause of your confusion is all too obvious.
However kindly desist from using this board to broadcast your foolishness.

In the meantime some moral clarity might help e.g.:

OJ Simpson was accused some time ago of an attempted double-murder.
Ciaron was accused of hitting some piece of metal with a mattock.
One of his cohorts carried a symbolic inflateable hammer.
And your point is?

"Your " opinion is enshrined in the Irish government's tacit support for the American Iraq war machine. So, ostensibly, it's a majority view. However Ciaron was already aware of it, I'm sure.
You really didn't need to repeat it. Or did you? Are you so insecure in your "opinion" that you have no other course other than to try to come on an internet board and laugh risibly at those who stand up for what they believe in, no matter how "unpopular" it is?

By the way "white" was not a derogatory term, last time I heard it used.
It's a descriptive noun used for the colour that reflects the most sunlight.
I am sorry for you that Ciaron upset you so much in this instance.

Liam

author by Puzzled??publication date Fri Nov 03, 2006 20:38author address author phone Report this post to the editors

Ah but Liam, which is it? Now, you, apparently are unhappy that I 'laugh risably at those who stand up for for what they believe in, no matter how "unpopular" it is?'

But..... Deirdre and/or Fintan, the OPs, state baldly that 'It is not acceptable that the Irish government has dragged Ireland into a war that most Irish people utterly oppose.'

So, if most Irish people utterly oppose the war, how can the anti-war position be "unpopular"? And can it REALLY be the case that most Irish people utterly oppose the war, but only 300 (tops) can manage to turn out to this "first major protest at Shannon this year?" It is that inconsistency at which I smile :-) I totally respect the right of the anti-war movement to have and express their opinions. I'm simply challenging the claim that "most Irish people" are with you and "utterly oppose" the war. Sorry but I'm afraid 300 people do not qualify as a "major protest".

author by factoidpublication date Fri Nov 03, 2006 20:48author address author phone Report this post to the editors

Over 100,000 people marched in Dublin against this war in February 2003. there were other protests with tens of thousands. Opinion polls since have shown that a majority of Irish people still oppose the war on Iraq. Yet, after the invasion occurred, this opposition became passive and people lapsed into a fatalism. Numbers at demos went down dramatically and the then dominant anti-war group - the IAWM - like a one-trick pony kept focusing on marches in Dublin. Shannon took a back seat, even though that was where the US war machine was at.

The opposition is there; the active interest is not. The question for anti-war activists is how to move people beyond passive opposition. No easy task for any section of the movement.

author by Puzzled??publication date Fri Nov 03, 2006 20:56author address author phone Report this post to the editors

Hi factoid,

OK thats a reasonable proposition that is consistent with the facts. But if the opposition to the war is so passive then its hardly fair to say that most irish people "utterly oppose" it. To my mind utter opposition involves something a lot stronger than that. Perhaps Irish people are really not that unhappy with the war after all?

author by factoidpublication date Fri Nov 03, 2006 21:22author address author phone Report this post to the editors

When marches that size occur and repeated opinion polls show that the majority of Irish people are...emm...utterly, completely, totally opposed to the war, then I think that has to be accepted. The passivity probably has something to do with the fact that Irish people aren't dying in Iraq. Whatever the reason, it's a reality. Ask any Irish person if they oppose the war, and they'll answer in the affirmative. Ask them to get down to Shannon or even into the city centre for an anti-war march and they'll shrug. There's a feeling of powerlessness. Don't know if it can or will be overcome, but it's there. the feeling seems to be that it's somebody else's problem. This is why Irish complicity at Shannon has to be highlighted first and foremost by the anti-war movement. Blattering on about Blair and Bush and their impending electoral misfortunes is of no interest to Irish people. Shannon and Irish involvement has to be highlighted more than it currently is if the passive opposition is to be mobilised. Don't know if that's possible but that should be the project of the anti-war movement.

author by W. Finnerty.publication date Sat Nov 04, 2006 14:41author address author phone Report this post to the editors

It's all very well talking about useful things the United States armed forces have done in the past. I personally have no objections to that, and I actually believe there may well be a considerable amount of truth in such claims.

What about the "here-and-now" though?

What about the present Commander-in-Chief (President George W. Bush)?

What about articles such as the one at the following address ("How the Bush Boys do business"):
http://empireburlesquenow.blogspot.com/2005/04/web-mast....html

If the extremely serious allegations involving corruption on a truly MASSIVE scale being made at the above address are untrue, why is it that nobody is being sued for libel (i.e. "the publication of defamatory matter in a permanent form, as in a written or printed statement").

Neither the Moscow Times nor American journalist Chris Floyd would be hard for lawyers acting on behalf of members of the Bush Family to contact I imagine?

Closer to home, and allowing for his know connections with the "Bilderberg Illuminati", it seems to me the most influential (and consequently most dangerous) government supporter of the "Bush Boys" at present is Minister for Justice Michael McDowell TD.

With the above in mind, an e-mail was sent last Wednesday to a selection of human rights organisations, lawyers, and law societies.

This particular e-mail was sent in an effort to try to ensure that those involved have the opportunity to find out what Minister for Justice McDowell is really like, as opposed to the completely false image of him the Illuminati "Media Barons & State Broadcasters" are portraying him as - for the purpose of duping voters into keeping him in power through the "ballot box" of an outrageously corrupt and semi-lawless plutocracy: which is all being very cleverly dressed up to look like healthy "democracy and the rule-of-law", for "fast food" type consumption by the millions who are being successfully hoodwinked in believing such dangerous falsehoods.

A copy of last Wednesday's e-mail can be found at the following address:
http://www.europeancourtofhumanrightswilliamfinnerty.co...l.htm

As in the case of the "Bush Boys", there is no sign (that I know of) of Minister for Justice McDowell suing me for libel regarding the statements I have made about him at the above address. Nor will there be I believe: because what I have said about Minister for Justice McDowell is all true - every single word of it.

Similarly with regard to injunctions which could be easily be got through the courts by Minister McDowell (were I telling lies) to compel me to remove such material about him from the Internet; so far, there is no sign of any injunctions either. As Minister for Justice McDowell is himself an experienced lawyer, that seems to me to make things look all the much worse for him?

More general information on the "ways and means" of the "Illuminati Groups & Cliques" can be found at the top of the page address below:

Related Link: http://www.europeancourtofhumanrightswilliamfinnerty.com/
author by Rich capitalist - Nonepublication date Tue Nov 07, 2006 14:31author address author phone Report this post to the editors

Ouch to this....
"for the purpose of duping voters into keeping him in power through the "ballot box" of an outrageously corrupt and semi-lawless plutocracy: which is all being very cleverly dressed up to look like healthy "democracy and the rule-of-law", for "fast food" type consumption by the millions who are being successfully hoodwinked in believing such dangerous falsehoods. "

Ask our Polack guest workers if they preferred the other type of hell. Now that Limbo has been officially abolished...

Lighten up, folks, nobody cares what we think. Send in Borat - or copy him - and you'll get much more reaction.

author by Fred Johnstonpublication date Tue Nov 07, 2006 14:50author email sylfredcar at iolfree dot ieauthor address author phone Report this post to the editors

I'm sure the previous commentator meant to say 'Polish,' and not the ghetto East Side New York racist derogative that he used. It's interesting how short a time it takes for this sort of language to surface. To answer another commentator - I would be delighted to know more, as would many people, about what happened on September 11th and who was behind it, so if he'd wish to enlighten us . . . . .

I don't know why there has to be immediate opposition when the same truths surface over and over, truths that are then labelled as 'PC' and dismissed. Has anyone given thought to the death sentence imposed on Saddam and the hypocrisy involved? Recall what happened when an arrest attempt was made on the murderer Pinochet in the UK? Maggie Thatcher had him 'disappeared' back home.

Likewise the butcher of Saabra and Chatila got away with it, as did Henry Kissinger over his bombing of Cambodia. We knew what Saddam was when we sold him our beef. When Rumsfeld shook his hand, the US and Britain - and Germany - were selling him everything from mustard gas to deadly toxins and the wherewithal to reproduce them. When thousands of Iranians were gassed the UK and USA looked the other way. Robert Fisk's London Independent article for November 6th (yesterday) is frightening.

Now let's debate about some of the issues it raises. And no more racist remarks, please.

author by anti-Stalinistpublication date Tue Nov 07, 2006 16:15author address author phone Report this post to the editors

Ramsay Clark, who was a witness for Mary Kelly in her trial, was a defence lawyer for Sadaam Hussein at his trial. He had to be thrown out of the court when the sentence on Sadaam was announced. Read about it here. http://www.allheadlinenews.com/articles/7005410658

Ramsay Clark is closely associated with the US-based World Workers Party, who strongly and uncritically support the North Korean regime.

Though of the left myself, I don't think there's any point denying some on the left here are simply little Sadaam Husseins who never actually made it to power.

Related Link: http://www.workers.org/2006/world/iraq-1116/
author by Ciaron - Catholic Workerpublication date Tue Nov 07, 2006 16:27author address author phone Report this post to the editors

Unlike yourself, Ramsey Clarke was in power. He replaced Bobby Kennedy as Attorney General of the United States. It was under his watch that the death penalty was nixxed as unconsitutional. Clarke has always had a strong position against the death penalty and will defend anyone facing execution. It doesn't mean he agrees with their actions or politics.

I examined Ramsey Clarke as a defence witness in my trial in Syracuse New York in '91. He was an eyewitness to indiscimate U.S. bombing of the first Gulf War. he had also witnessed the indiscriminate nature of U.S. bombing in Panama, Grenada and Vietnam.

Clarke's office later helped raise $50,000 bail for me at the end of my year sentence. The office also helped find immigration lawyers to work pro bono on my deportation case. this doesn't make Ramsey Clarke a Catholic Worker!

Instead of executing Saddam, it would be more beneficial to expand the inquiry and ask him about the support he received from Rumsfield, the Reagan and Bush administrations in the '80's. Human sacrifice/death penalty will be what we get instead of a full investigation to how Saddam came to power, who supported him and whose interests did he serve.

Mainstream legal opinion views what has taken place in the Green Zone as way dodgy. The timing of its verdict, a couple of days before the mid term U.S. elections dogier still.

author by anti-Stalinistpublication date Tue Nov 07, 2006 16:53author address author phone Report this post to the editors

Clark's group the World Workers Party does support the North Korean regime. Check their website. And he did support Milosevic. See at the link below what he had to say at Milosevic's funeral.

Related Link: http://edition.cnn.com/2006/WORLD/europe/03/18/milosevic.funeral/index.html
author by anti-Stalinistpublication date Tue Nov 07, 2006 16:55author address author phone Report this post to the editors

Ramsey Clark, a former U.S. attorney general and longtime Milosevic supporter who is now on Saddam Hussein's defense team, was also in the crowd.

"It is critically important to remember his struggle to preserve Yugoslavia," he told AP. "He became president at a time of greatest crisis. Everyone knew his health was failing but he was not granted proper medical care. Amid the struggle, his heart gave up."

author by Liam Donohoepublication date Wed Nov 15, 2006 19:23author address author phone Report this post to the editors

Thanks for taking the time to reply to my post - genuinely.
Being - and not as you have reflexively and mistakenly assumed, an individual with my own thoughts and opinions and not part of any particular grouping, I am more used to being ignored.

So your attention, however brief it may turn out to be, nonetheless flatters me.

Allow me to point out the use of quotation marks in my previous remarks however.
These are commonly used in written speech to denote irony.
I am sorry that you seem to have taken me literally in this instance.

I see that others have taken the considerable trouble to try and explain some of my views to you better, for which I am grateful. I remain confident and trust that you are "Puzzled" no more.

Regards,

Liam

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