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The Saker
A bird's eye view of the vineyard

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GAAW Bulletin January 2013

category galway | anti-war / imperialism | opinion/analysis author Friday January 11, 2013 15:52author by Galway Alliance Against War Report this post to the editors


3. STIFFING “BRITS”: The Media Hypocrites & The Continuity IRA



Shannon Peace Vigil
Sunday, 14th JANUARY 2013
14:00 until 15:00
Meet at small roundabout just before Shannon Airport

Mark the 11th anniversary of the opening of the shameful Guantanamo concentration camp by attending this vigil. Shannon Airport played a significant role in the illegal kidnapping and transporting of prisoners to Guantanamo. This prison camp is universally regarded as a place of torture and abuse, where human rights are routinely violated. In his first term as US President, Obama failed to fulfil his pledge to close this affront to human rights. It is vital that internationally the issue of Guantanamo is not allowed to be forgotten.
(Shannon’s role in the rendition of Khalid el-Masri: http://www.shannonwatch.org/blog/shannon-involvement-kh...ation )


Last November the Irish Republic was elected onto the United Nations Human Rights Council. GAAW believes this is an opportunity for the government to demand the closure of the Guantanamo prison camp, which is universally regarded as a place of torture and abuse, where human rights are routinely violated. We know that the government will not willingly raise this issue, so pressure needs to be applied. GAAW will be writing to Eamon Gilmore, the local and national media calling for government action could prove important this month as we mark the 11th anniversary of this torture centre being opened. And we propose that people should follow suit and contact the media and their political representatives to express their objections to this obscenity continuing to remain open.
While it remains in existence, it stains the reputation of the US and its supporters and denies justice to the prisoners still held there beyond the rule of law. The re-election of President Obama should have been the green light to its closure. Obama could end "this sad chapter in American history." (his words). His nomination of Chuck Hagel as Secretary of Defense is a hopeful sign - he is on record to have stated that "the military prison is why the US is losing the image war."

For more than 10 years we have shouted “STOP COLLUDING IN WAR” and the politicians have ignored our calls.
We have elected “anti-war” politicians into consecutive Irish Governments and they have failed to fulfil their commitment to peace.
We elected an apparently anti-war President and he has remained silent at the ever more brazen assault on Irish neutrality.
Our peace marches, our peace vigils and all the publicity campaigns have come to nought. The only conclusion we can draw is that it is time to develop other tactics to try to halt Ireland being part of the war plans of Washington.
At the recent annual general meeting of the Galway Alliance Against War it was agreed we shall diversify our tactics to include acts of civil disobedience. GAAW is, however, only a small, local peace group and we alone cannot stop the scandal at Shannon. This campaign will take the actions of other peace groups and individuals on this island, if we are to force the Irish Government to return to the traditional policy of Irish neutrality. We would therefore call on groups and individuals to work separately or collectively to stop Shannon being a cog in the US war machine.

STIFFING “BRITS”: The Media Hypocrites & The Continuity IRA

The Irish media are having a field day over the recent statement by the CIRA that Irish recruits to the British army are “legitimate targets”. The rank hypocrisy of the “outrage” expressed by these media outlets cannot be ignored. They have consistently turned a blind eye to Ireland’s role in the deaths of well over a million innocent people by the US military in Iraq, Afghanistan, Pakistan etc., but they become extremely exercised over this threat. This is just another example of how unfree the Irish media remains.
However, we condemn both this threat by the CIRA as well as the decision of some foolish young Irish people to join any imperialist army that will see them invade another country and subjugate its people. If the CIRA really see themselves as anti-imperialist then they should be advocating to their supporters that they involve themselves in peaceful activity to stop the scandal that has seen Shannon airport being transformed into a US imperialist base over the past 11 years.
Alas, our experience of the CIRA’s political wing, Republican Sinn Fein, does not fill us with confidence that they even grasp the political significance of what is happening at Shannon. Some years ago when GAAW attempted to mark the anniversary of the opening of Guantanamo by donning the statue of Liam Mellows with an orange boiler suit, it was the great heroes of RSF who led the opposition to our solidarity action. Quite appropriately, on the day, they were joined by the local Fianna Fail gombeens and the Gardai. It was clear they had no comprehension of the anti-imperialism of Liam Mellows and how he had consistently opposed Ireland playing any role on the side of imperialism.
“Stiffing Brits” it seems is the sum of their understanding of anti-imperialism – fortunately, they are pretty hopeless at this!
Recent news from the peace monitors at Shannon indicates that the CIA and its paramilitary offspring, the Global Response Staff, are frequent visitors to the warport. One of Shannonwatch’s monitors wrote to GAAW last week informing us that he had photographed CIA and GRS planes “at Shannon twice in the past months; twin engine turbo props being guarded on both occasions by the Irish army.”
Another peace monitor commented on these sightings: “there is a CIA's "Special Activities Division" which has a whole range of light aircraft, turboprop transport planes and jets available to them, mostly operated by front companies. Their job is to fly covert missions in support of CIA operations. And since they were allowed to use Shannon for renditions its almost certain they are still using it…..
I was also told there was a Hercules with Irish army protection at the airport last week (Wednesday 19th December) - must have been carrying some "sensitive" cargo...”
As we know from the Shannonwatch pamphlet in 2011 there were over 1,300 flights carrying weaponry through Irish airspace or Shannon. With the increasing use by Washington of drones in Central Asia and the incessant beat of NATO war drums over Syria, Iran and Northern Africa, the flow of troops and weaponry will continue unabated through Ireland in 2013.
Troop Flights Through Shannon Down in 2012 but on the Increase Again
Wed, 02/01/2013 - 23:26 by shannonwatch
The number of US troop carriers using Shannon Airport was down in 2012 compared to previous years. In 2011 there was an average of over 80 troop flights a month but in 2012 the numbers recorded by Shannonwatch ranged from a low of 13 in July to a high of 72 in April.
But while all the summer months saw relatively low numbers of troop carriers at Shannon, their frequency began to increase again towards the end of the year.
Even though the number of civilian aircraft carrying US troop was down, the number of US military aircraft landing at Shannon did not change in 2012. On average 24 of these used Shannon every month, including Hercules c-130's and mid-air refueling tankers.
Read More: http://www.shannonwatch.org/blog/troop-flights-through-...again

Subsequent to two GAAW activists going airside at Shannon in October, four peace activists were arrested – Edward Horgan, John Maguire, Niall Farrell & Margaretta D’Arcy – by detectives from Shannon weeks later. Ironically, the arrests were on the basis that “criminal damage” had been caused to the perimeter fence at Shannon warport. The detectives concerned refused to discuss the very real on-going criminality taking place at Shannon by the US military en route to commit mass murder. So far there has been no summons issued concerning the peace action in October.
Meanwhile the desktop computer of GAAW’s PRO and 2 DVDs of GAAW peace activities from the past decade remain in Garda custody since the raid on Niall Farrell’s home back on June 7th 2012. We can only conclude that this is an attempt to harass our PRO. Two laptops belonging to members of the Farrell household have been returned. One of these laptops appears to have been damaged and a complaint has been lodged with the Ombudsman.
Another complaint sent to the Garda Ombudsman after the raid on the Farrell home was deemed by this body admissible for a “Mediation or informal resolution” process. There were two separate complaints accepted for this: that Det. Sgt Kevin O’Hagan had not allowed the Farrells to read the search warrant. And that one of Farrell’s children and her friend had been verbally abused because of their membership of Sinn Fein. The Farrells agreed to the “Mediation or informal resolution” process, but the Gardai refused. And why wouldn’t they? Refusal means that the complaints will be investigated by Garda Superintendent – in this instance, Supt Gerry Roche of Ballinasloe. Farrell’s daughter has refused to participate in this “investigation” deeming it a farce. An understandable reaction.
It is worth noting that a previous complaint made by a GAAW member was against a Garda Superintendent - Kelly of Salthill station – for an alleged assault. (And despite numerous witnesses – including one discovered by the Ombudsman investigator – confirming an assault on our colleague had occurred – the Superintendent’s word was accepted) So there is little optimism in the GAAW ranks that a Garda Superintendent investigating “one of his own” will prove favourable for the Farrell family.

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