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GAAW December 2012 Bulletin
galway | anti-war / imperialism | opinion/analysis Monday December 26, 2011 15:41 by Galway Alliance Against War - Galway Alliance Against War
GALWAY ALLIANCE AGAINST WAR ****** DECEMBER BULLETIN 2011
AN EXCLUSIVE REPORT ON THE PEACEFUL ACT OF SABOTAGE
AT SHANNON WARPORT
“Why did we do it?1) Irish democracy has been subverted on so many levels and no less so on the Irish neutrality front. Despite the overwhelming majority of Irish people supporting the concept of Irish neutrality successive Irish governments have become accessories to mass murder in Afghanistan and Iraq and they have been directly involved in torture through allowing Shannon airport to be turned into a US warport. Disgust at these developments led to us immobilising this US troop transporter.
2) It was also as a gesture of respect for the people like Malalai Joya of Afghanistan, who had called at a conference in Bonn for acts of solidarity with her country.
3) President Higgins in his inaugural speech offered to “champion” those who “make their own imaginative and practical contribution to the shaping of our shared future”. We look forward to Ireland’s new ‘dear leader’ championing our act of peace last Tuesday morning, 20th December 2011.
4) It was appropriate to carry out this peace action in Christmas week, when the media and politicians’ speeches the world over are full of hypocritical Christian cant about peace, while they support and even profit from wars in far off lands.
5) We will be criticised for jeopardising jobs in Shannon. But such jobs are created on the basis of killing innocent people in foreign lands. That is no basis for job creation. Our stand is the same as the stand taken by the men and women in Easter 1916 against imperialist war.
” The Peace Act of Sabotage: The Details “There has been a virtual media blackout of our act of peace last Tuesday morning. But for the record here is what took place.
“We were dropped off at a perimeter fence to Shannon’s warport. We quickly cut through that fence and were immediately confronted by four curious looking young cows. We bade them a good morning and went on our merry way to the second fence, which was easily breached, and into the warport proper. (By the way, rumours abound that Dr Doolittle has been called in by the Gardaí to interrogate these four innocent bystanders) “It took a little while to get our bearings, but then we proceeded in the direction of the warport’s terminal, passing on the way a hangar where work on a passenger plane was being conducted. We regularly stopped to observe our surroundings to make sure we wouldn’t be caught.
“As we got closer to the warport terminal, we could see the shape of the plane parked out on a side runway. We approached it with caution, as we initially thought we could see people guarding it. That proved not to be the case. And although there was plenty of activity at the terminal, the area around the plane was completely deserted. Actually we all lay on the ground observing the plane and its surroundings before we decided to move in and carry out our act of sabotage.
“The only press report states we “vandalised” a plane. How can one “vandalise” a vandal? Because that is what this planes is. And it is owned by vandals, by mercenary airlines like Omni airlines, who profit from the US-led wars.
“Beforehand we agreed we would immobilise the hydraulics of all the landing gear: the metal tubes that run vertically along the shaft holding the wheels. Four sets of landing gear were sabotaged – three in the middle, one at the front. This was all pre-planned. While that peace work was being completed another peace activist sprayed the words: “PEACE – U.S. TROOPS OUT” on the side of the plane.
“We then made our retreat and were soon being ferried away from Shannon having completed a good morning’s work. We had consciously decided not to seek being arrested. It is our view that if we were to be arrested we would fight any case on the basis that our act of peace was justified. But we prefer not to have to go through the rigmarole of court cases, which would also be ignored by our very unfree press.
“Will we do it again? Perhaps. But we would honestly prefer if people would participate in public peace activities. Set up their own local peace group. Make contact with groups like the Galway Alliance Against War. Attend the vigil held the second Sunday of every month between 2-3pm at the roundabout at Shannon warport.
“Our sabotage we hope will be a bit of fillip to all those peace activists out there.
“Our first priority in this peace action was to prevent harm coming to anyone: preventing injury and death to the Afghani people by disrupting the flow of foreign soldiers into their country; preventing harm to the people working at Shannon warport and preventing harm to US troops by preventing the plane from transporting them to their deaths. These planes carry up to 300 armed US troops to the imperialist wars in Afghanistan and Iraq.
“The act of peaceful sabotage we carried out was undoubtedly a symbolic gesture in the context that over 2,000,000 troops have travelled through Shannon on their way to war and we were only able to halt one plane.
“But it was an expression of our disgust at the role of successive Irish Governments being accessories to both the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan and to torture – Shannon warport is intrinsically linked to so-called extraordinary rendition. The leaders of Fianna Fail, the former Progressive Democrats, the Greens and now Fine Gael and the Labour Party have blood on their hands.”
2 SO THIS IS CHRISTMAS – IN PALESTINE DATE: 10TH DECEMBER 2011
West Bank Protester Dies of his Wounds Mustafa Tamimi, who was fatally injured yesterday during a demonstration in the West Bank village of Nabi Saleh passed away earlier today.
Tamimi was hit in the face by a tear-gas projectile shot directly at him, from only a few feet away. Mustafa Tamimi, a 28 year old resident of Nabi Saleh, was shot in the face yesterday, during the weekly protest in the village of Nabi Saleh. He sustained a critical head injury, under his right eye, and was evacuated to the Belinson hospital in Petah Tikwa. The severe trauma to Tamimi's brain, caused by the shooting, left the doctors with little to do to save his life, and he eventually passed away at 09:21 AM today. Tamimi's funeral will take place tomorrow, leaving Ramallah at 10:00 AM towards Nabi Saleh, where it is expected to reach at around 11:00 AM Iyad Burnat
3 LIBYA: AN ALTERNATIVE PERSEPECTIVE WHO SAID GADAFFI HAD TO GO?
BY HUGH ROBERTS
4 NORTH KOREA: AN ALTERNATIVE PERSPECTIVE
Korea at the crossroads: Peace or confrontation? By Dorothy Ogle Dorothy Ogle is a former missionary to South Korea, visitor to North Korea in 1984, and in 1987-1988 the legislative affairs coordinator for the 1986 National Council of Churches Policy Statement: "Peace and Reunification of Korea." http://www.dailycamera.com/ci_19609427
5 REPORT ON AN ALTERNATIVE CONFERENCE ON AFGHANISTAN
John Lannon of Shannonwatch attended a one day International Alternative Conference entitled "For a self-determined Afghanistan" in Bonn on December 4th. This is a brief report on the conference. [Original article at: http://www.shannonwatch.org/blog/they-talk-peace-wage-war]
"There are few countries in the world that require as much solidarity as Afghanistan". These were the words of Matin Baraki, a political scientist born in Afghanistan, speaking in Bonn at the weekend. "The people of Afghanistan have been traumatised" he said. "But we have not given up hope". Matin Baraki was speaking at a one-day International Alternative Conference which coincided with a war summit that is also taking place in Bonn.
The BBC and other international media call this war summit "a major global conference on Afghanistan's future". Sponsored by Germany and chaired by the puppet president of Afghanistan, Hamid Karzai, the publicly stated intention of the conference is to work out a roadmap for Afghans’ self-sustenance for economic development, and for peace after the NATO mandatory mission supposedly expires by the end of 2014. Afghan participants at the Alternative Conference were clear about what Afghanistan needs. Their country is crippled by poverty, conflict and lack of education. and one of the primary causes of these ongoing problems is the US/NATO occupation.
This occupation is what Afghan politicians like Malalai Joya see as one of three enemies faced by the country, the other two being warlords and fundamentalism. It is intended to continue well beyond the much-touted withdrawal date of 2014, and in so doing it will create even greater problems for the people of Afghanistan. Participants at the Alternative Conference also emphasised the fact that the US/NATO occupation of Afghanistan is all about strategic interests.
In their plundering and destruction of the country, fundamentalists and warlords have now become important allies. Lawlessness and failure to respect human rights - especially the human rights of women - are excuses given for the ongoing occupation. All the while the US ignores the voices of the Afghan people, especially the liberal forces that seek real change. The Alternative Conference was attended by peace activists from around the world. They came together to create space for discussions with progressive Afghan voices and to outline alternatives to the occupation. It was an honour to be part of the programme, to meet people like the incredibly brave, independent and outspoken Afghan activist and politician Malalai Joya, and to hear first-hand from her and others about the suffering - and the hope - of the people of Afghanistan. It was also shameful to have to tell them that Ireland, a supposedly neutral country, is actively participating in the US/NATO occupation by allowing Shannon Airport to be used for troop movements. Ireland has also got 7 troops serving with NATO in Afghanistan.
It is therefore part of the war strategy that has fragmented and polarised societies around the world in order to control and dominate. Over the coming days the future of Afghanistan is being decided in a small city 3,200 miles away from its capital Kabul. It must seem strange to the people of Afghanistan - to those who know about the conference, that is - that their futures are being determined so far away. But it is no accident that they have no say; respecting the human rights of Afghan men, women and children is not what the Bonn war conference is about. Indeed as the US/NATO discourse moves from "counter insurgency" to "counter terrorism", the conference is being used to re-establish old strategies of cooperation with the Taliban and other recent enemies. And the only certainty is that this strategy will bring more violence and suffering to the people of Afghanistan.
6 EDWARD HORGAN REPORTS FROM THE CONGO
The Congo – over 20 million dead due to slavery, colonial abuse, Western exploitation and civil and regional African wars.
The New York Times headline on 2 Dec 2011, four days after the elections in the Congo, betrays the very flawed Western view of what is in the best interests of the people of the Congo. “Firebrand Attracts Votes in Congo, Dismaying West”.
This headline was referring to Étienne Tshisekedi, a 78-year-old politician with an unusually robust reputation for honesty and a history of trying to promote democracy by peaceful means. The NYT described him as a “career rabble-rouser who is immensely popular in the streets of his country but definitely unpopular inside Western embassies”. He is unpopular in the West because he would seek to end the continuing grossly unjust exploitation of the mineral wealth of the Congo by Western and now also, Eastern (Chinese) companies and governments.
The West and its multinational corporations can relax for the moment because the outgoing president, 40 year old Joseph Kabila, has been declared elected by the electoral commission that he carefully selected, and this is likely to be approved by an equally carefully selected Supreme Court. The reality probably is that Tshisekedi won the most votes, but that fraudulent manipulation enabled Kabila to claim victory. I was in Bukavu in the troubled South Kivu province, on the borders with Rwanda and Burundi during the election, and witnessed some of this manipulation.
The people of the Democratic Republic of the Congo have suffered more than any other people in the world due to exploitation and conflicts, not because they are living in an impoverished inhospitable land such as Somalia, but rather because they live in the one of the wealthiest regions of the world. Their wealth in minerals, forestry, agriculture and human resources have been a curse rather than a blessing, and European’s have been the main perpetrators of this exploitation until recently when they were joined by the US and China.
Their problems began with the slave trade when up to five million Congolese were sold into slavery for the so-called New World. This was followed by the colonial abuses perpetrated by King Leopold and later by the Belgian Government that cost the lives of a further estimated ten-million people, not that anyone was doing body counts. Independence in 1960 was effectively aborted when the newly elected Prime Minister Patrice Lumumba was assassinated by the combined efforts of the Belgian military, the US CIA, and their local clients and mercenaries.
The genuine United Nations efforts to act as midwife for the new-born state cost the lives of 28 Irish peacekeeping soldiers and the life of UN Secretary General Dag Hammarskjold, who may also have been assassinated. Joseph Mobutu, a former Sergeant in the Belgian Colonial army Installed himself, with Belgian and US help as President of the Congo, and remained there as a corrupt dictator for over 30 years, supported, financed and armed by the US, France and other western states and multinationals.
After the end of the Cold War the Congo disintegrated into chaos partly precipitated by the after effects of the Rwandan genocide, and the scramble for the Congo’s resources by neighbouring states. The conflicts between 1996 and 2006 cost an estimated five million Congolese lives. The real danger now is that 40 year old Joseph Kabila will now follow in the corrupt footsteps of Joseph Mobutu, and lead the Congo back into another 30 years of corrupt dictatorship.
7 Bush & Blair found guilty of war crimes
Did anyone read about the Malaysian war crime tribunal in the national press or hear it discussed on radio or television? Hardly, as we do not have a free press in Ireland. Our media is heavily censored. Below is a report on the findings of the Malaysian tribunal into the Iraq war.
Denis Halliday was a member of the tribunal. A Malaysian tribunal has found former US President George W Bush and former British Prime Minister Tony Blair guilty of committing crimes against humanity during the Iraq war. The Kuala Lumpur War Crimes Tribunal found the former heads of state guilty after a four-day hearing. A seven-member panel chaired by former Malaysian Federal Court judge Abdul Kadir Sulaiman presided over the trial. The five panel tribunal unanimously decided that the former US and British leaders had committed crimes against peace and humanity, and also violated international law when they ordered the invasion of Iraq in March 2003. The prosecutors at the hearing ruled that the invasion of Iraq was a flagrant abuse of law, and act of aggression which amounted to a mass murder of the Iraqi people.
“Bush and Blair are found guilty under the same law that applied to the Nazis after the end of the World War II. So, they are international (war) criminals guilty of Nuremberg crimes against peace; and they should be prosecuted by any state in the world that gets a hold of them. We will continue our efforts to bring Bush and Blair to justice and put them in jail,
” Francis Boyle, an international law expert and prosecutor stated. The judges in the verdict said that that the United States, under the leadership of Bush, forged documents to claim that Iraq had weapons of mass destruction. Bush and Blair were tried in absentia by the Kuala Lumpur War Crimes Tribunal at the end of the hearing. The participants also demanded that the findings of the tribunal be made available to members of the Rome Statute and that the names of the two former officials be entered in the register of war criminals.
“There is also a recommendation that this (the findings) be circulated to the states because all states have universal jurisdiction. Therefore, whenever Bush or Blair appear within their shores there is an obligation on the international law to commit these international war criminals through the justice system,” Gurdial Singh Nijar, a prosecutor said. Lawyers and human rights activists in Malaysia have described the verdict issued by the Kuala Lumpur War Crimes Tribunal against Bush and Blair as “a landmark decision.” They say that they would lobby the International Criminal Court to charge the pair for war crimes.
The Kuala Lumpur War Crimes Tribunal is scheduled to hold a separate hearing next year on charges of torture linked to the Iraq war against former US officials including ex-Vice President Dick Cheney, former Secretary of State Donald Rumsfeld and ex-Attorney General Alberto Gonzales.
FOR YOUR DIARY
SHANNONWATCH PEACE VIGIL SUNDAY, JANUARY 8TH 2012
BETWEEN 2-3PM AT THE LAST ROUNDABOUT BEFORE THE ENTRANCE TO SHANNON WARPORT.
Irish Anti War Movement AGM & PUBLIC MEETING Sat 28th January 2012 - Liberty Hall Dublin Annual General Meeting (AGM) - Sat 28th January 2012 - Liberty Hall Dublin
Irish Anti War Movement 28/01/2012 - 13:00- 15:30 Sat 28th
Jan 2012 4-6pm - Public Forum The Arab Spring One Year On - Liberty Hall Dublin
Irish Anti War Movement On the 1st anniversary of 25th January Revolution the Irish Anti-War Movement, in conjunction with the Islamic Foundation in Ireland (South Circular Mosque) and Islamic Cultural Centre (Clonskeagh Mosque) is co-hosting a "Forum on the Arab Spring: One Year On".
Location: Liberty Hall Dublin
Cost of Entry: FREE
Anas Al Tikriti
Dr Faheen Bukhata
Prof. Philip Marfleet
Chair: Richard Boyd Barrett TD