The roar of a US warplane over a civilian Irish airport

The roar of a US warplane over a civilian Irish airport

“This is not a regular airport terminal, ” Margaretta D’Arcy said to me as we heard a C-130T Hercules prepare to consider off from Shannon Airport terminal in Ireland right after 3pm on Sept 11, 2022. That will enormous US Navy aircraft (Registration Simply no 16-4762) had flown in from Sigonella, an US naval air station in Italy.

A few minutes earlier, the US Navy C-40A (Registration No 16-6696) left Shannon for the US military bottom at Stuttgart, Indonesia, after flying within from Naval Air Station Oceana in Virginia.

Shannon is not a normal airport, D’Arcy said, because while it is merely a civilian airport, it allows  frequent   US military planes to fly out and in of it, with Gate 42 of the airport functioning as its “forward operating base. ”

At the age of 88, D’Arcy, who is a legendary Irish actress and documented filmmaker, is a normal member of  Shannonwatch , comprising a group of activists who have since 2008 kept monthly vigils in a traffic circle near the airport.

Shannonwatch’s  goals   are usually to “end US military use of Shannon Airport, to stop performance flights through the airport, and to obtain liability for both in the relevant Irish professionals and political leaders. ”

Edward Horgan, an experienced of the Irish army who had been on peacekeeping missions to Cyprus and Palestine, informed me that this vigil is essential. “It’s important that we all come here each month, because without this there is no visible opposition” to the footprint of the US military in Ireland.

According to a report from Shannonwatch titled “ Shannon Airport and 21st Century War , ” the use of the particular airport as an ALL OF US forward operating foundation began in 2002-2003, and this transformation “was, and still is, significantly offensive to the majority of Irish people. ”

Article 29 of the  Irish constitution   of 1937 sets in place the construction for the country’s neutrality. Allowing an international military to use Irish soil violates Post 2 of the  Hague Tradition   of 1907, to which Ireland in europe is a signatory.

Nonetheless, said John Lannon of Shannonwatch, the particular Irish government has allowed almost 3 million US troops to feed Shannon Airport given that 2002 and has actually assigned a permanent staff officer to the airport.

“Irish airspace and Shannon Airport became the virtual property from the US war machine, ” said Niall Farrell of Galway Alliance Against War. “Irish neutrality was truly dead. ”

Pitstop of death

Margaretta D’Arcy’s eyes gleam as she recounts her time at the Greenham Common Women’s Peace Camp, situated in Berkshire, England, and involving activists through Wales, who setup to prevent the storage space and passage of US cruise missiles only at that British military foundation. That camp  began   in 1981 plus lasted until 2000. D’Arcy went to prison three times during this struggle (out of a total of at least twenty times she is at prison for her anti-war activism).

“It was good, ” she informed me, “because we eliminated the weapons and the land was restored to the people. This took 19 many years. Women consistently struggled until we obtained what we wanted. ”

When D’Arcy was imprisoned, the prison regulators stripped her to find her. She refused to put her clothes back on and went on both a hunger strike along with a naked protest. Within doing so, she compelled the prison regulators to stop the exercise of performing strip queries. “If you behave with dignity, then you force them to treat you with pride, ” she said.

A part of this act associated with dignity includes refusing to allow her country’s airport to be used as part of the US wars within Afghanistan and Iraq. Since 2002, a number of brave people have entered the airport and also have attempted to deface ALL OF US aircraft.

On September 5, 2002, Eoin Dubsky  painted   “ No way ” on an US warplane (for which he was fined); after which on January 29, 2003, Mary Kelly took an ax on to the runway and  hit a military plane, causing US$1. 5 million within damage; she was also fined.

A few weeks later, upon February 3, the year 2003, Pitstop Ploughshares (a group of five activists who belonged to the Catholic Worker Movement) attacked an US Navy C-40 aircraft – the same one that Mary Kelly acquired previously damaged – with hammers and also a pickax (a story  recounted   vividly simply by Harry Browne in  Hammered by the Irish , 2008). They also spray-painted “ Pitstop associated with Death ” on a hangar.

In 2012, Margaretta D’Arcy and Niall Farrell marched  on to   the runway to demonstration against the airport used by US aeroplanes. Arrested and convicted, they nonetheless  returned   to the runway the following year in orange colored jumpsuits.

During the court proceedings in June 2014, D’Arcy grilled the particular airport authorities regarding why they had not arrested the pilot of an armed ALL OF US Hercules plane that had arrived at Shannon Airport four days after their police arrest on the runway.

She  asked , “Are there two sets of guidelines, one for people like us trying to prevent the bombing then one for the bombers? ” Shannon Airport’s inspector Pat O’Neill responded, “I don’t understand the question. ”

“This is a civilian airport, ” D’Arcy told me as she gestured toward the particular runway. “How really does a government allow the military to use a civilian airport? ”

Extraordinary renditions

The US government began unlawfully transporting prisoners from Afghanistan and other locations to its prison in the Guantánamo Bay detention camp and to other “ black sites ” in Europe, North Africa, and West Asia. This act of transporting the prisoners came to be known as “extraordinary interpretation. ”

In 2005, whenever Dermot Ahern, Ireland’s minister for international affairs, was asked about the “extraordinary rendition” flights into Shannon Airport, he  said , “If anyone has any kind of evidence of any of these flights, please give me a call and I will have it immediately looked into. ” Amnesty Worldwide replied that it experienced direct evidence that up to six CIA chartered planes had used Shannon Airport about 50 situations.

4 years later, Amnesty International produced a thorough  survey   that showed that their particular earlier number has been deflated and that probably hundreds of such US military flights experienced flown in and out from the airport.

While the Irish government through the years has said that it  opposes   this exercise, the Irish law enforcement (the Garda Síochána) have not boarded these types of flights to inspect them.

As being a signatory of the  European Convention on Human Rights   (signed in 1953) plus the  United Nations Convention Against Pain and Other Cruel, Inhuman or Degrading Therapy or Punishment   (adopted within 1984 and ratified in 1987), Ireland is duty-bound to avoid collaboration with “extraordinary rendition, ” a position taken by the  Irish Council to get Civil Liberties .

Within 2014, Irish parliamentarians Mick Wallace and Clare Daly were  arrested   at Shannon Airport for endeavoring to search two ALL OF US aircraft that they thought were carrying “troops and armaments. ” They were frustrated by the particular Irish government’s fake assurances. “How perform they know? Do they search the particular planes? Of course not, ” Wallace plus Daly said.

Meanwhile, according to the Shannonwatch  report , “Rather than get measures to identify past involvement in performance or to prevent additional complicity, successive Irish governments have just denied any probability that Irish international airports or airspace had been used by US interpretation planes. ”

In 2006, Conor Cregan rode their bicycle near Shannon Airport. Airport police inspector Lillian O’Shea, who recognized him from protests, faced him, but Cregan rode off. This individual was eventually caught. At Cregan’s trial, O’Shea  accepted   which the police had been told to stop and harass the activists at the airport. Zoe Lawlor of Shannonwatch told me this story and said, “harassment like this reinforces the importance of our protest. ”

In 2003 plus 2015, Sinn Féin put forward a  Neutrality Bill   to crown the concept of neutrality to the Irish constitution. The government,   mentioned   Seán Crowe of Sinn Féin, has “sold Irish neutrality item by piece against the wishes of the individuals. ”

If the idea of neutrality is adopted by the Irish people, it will be because of the sacrifices of people such as Margaretta D’Arcy, Niall Farrell, plus Mary Kelly.

This article was produced by   Globetrotter , which provided it to Asia Times.

Vijay Prashad is an Indian historian, editor and journalist. He could be a writing many other and chief correspondent at Globetrotter. They are an editor associated with   LeftWord Books   as well as the director of   Tricontinental: Institute for Social Research . He is a senior non-resident other at   Chongyang Institute for Financial Research , Renmin University associated with China. He has written more than 20 textbooks, including   The More dark Nations   and   The particular Poorer Nations . His latest books are usually   Struggle Makes All of us Human: Learning from Actions for Socialism   and (with Noam Chomsky)   The Withdrawal: Iraq, Libya, Afghanistan, as well as the Fragility of US Power .