At the recent International Conference Against US/NATO Military Bases (held on November 16-18, 2018, in Dublin, Ireland), David Swanson, Director of World BEYOND War, noted that when:
“last year the Irish Ambassador to the United States came to the University of Virginia, [he] asked her how allowing U.S. troops to use Shannon Airport to get to their wars could possibly be in compliance with Irish neutrality. She replied that the U.S. government “at the highest level” had assured her it was all perfectly legal. And she apparently bowed and obeyed. But I don’t think the people of Ireland are as inclined to sit and roll over on command as their ambassador.”
In fact, in February 2003 the Irish Times reported:
“The Army has been called in to provide security around Shannon Airport after five peace activists broke into a hangar and damaged a US military aircraft early this morning. It is the third embarrassing security breach at the airport where US military planes are refuelling en route to the looming war with Iraq.”
One anti-war activist Mary Kelly was convicted of causing $1.5m in damage to a United States navy plane at Shannon airport.
She attacked the plane with a hatchet causing damage to the nose wheel and electric systems at the front of the plane.
In the aftermath, it took until Friday 25th February, 2011, when the Court of Criminal Appeal in Dublin overturned the conviction against Mary Kelly for criminal damage to a US military aircraft at Shannon Airport on 29 January 2003.
This weekend’s conference in Dublin included speakers: Dr. Aleida Guevara, Member of Cuban National Assembly, Cuba, Aengus Ó Snodaigh TD, Sinn Féin Defense Spokesperson, Ireland, Clare Daly TD, Dail Eireann, Ireland, Mairead Maguire, Nobel Peace Prize Winner, Northern Ireland, Silvio Platero, President, MOVPAZ, Cuba, Ann Wright, Veterans For Peace, CODEPINK, USA and Chris Nineham, Vice-Chair, Stop the War Coalition, UK.
The conference was organised by the Global Campaign Against US/NATO Military Bases which itself is a coalition of peace organisations from around the world. The organisers are deeply concerned by the constant “threat of war that permeates the present Global atmosphere.”
Their main raison d’etre is outlined on their website and is summarised as follows:
“The increasingly aggressive and expansionist actions of US/NATO forces in violation of international law and the sovereign rights of all nations, the raging wars in the Middle East, the expansive militarization of the African continent via AFRICOM, the burgeoning arms race devastating the national treasuries, the bellicose language replacing diplomatic negotiations, the economic crises facing country after country, and the destruction of the global environment through war and unfettered exploitation, and their impact on public health, have all created crises that, unless checked by popular opposition, can lead to unimaginable catastrophe and war.”
They call on people all over the world to mobilise in their millions to unite for peace. The conference in Dublin is the organisation’s first initiative to kick-start this campaign and was hosted by the Irish organisation Peace and Neutrality Alliance (PANA).
You can watch the entire conference here.
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Caoimhghin Ó Croidheáin is an Irish artist, lecturer and writer. His artwork consists of paintings based on contemporary geopolitical themes as well as Irish history and cityscapes of Dublin. His blog of critical writing based on cinema, art and politics along with research on a database of Realist and Social Realist art from around the world can be viewed country by country here. He is a Research Associate of the Centre for Research on Globalization.
Featured image is from http://nousnatobases.org