P23 - she shoots for Shell too you know!
Cork Shell to Sea activists paid a visit to the Irish Naval Service's ship the LÉ Aisling yesterday evening so that Shell's Navy is remembered for its role in the Great Oil and Gas Robbery.
The Irish Naval service ship LÉ Aisling had participated in Shell's occupation and despoliation of Glengad and Broadhaven Bay, providing armed floating security to the multinational corporation that is making off with Ireland's economic future and civic society. At 5p.m. Yesterday, Cork Shell to Sea sent a team by both land and water to protest their presence in the city during what was billed as the city's 'Culture Night'. A dinghy rowed up to alongside the Shell Navy ship, which caused some consternation on board the Aisling for a short time.
A pair of land-based activists took the ship tour to see what they could see, and to leave a letter of protest at the Naval Service's role in events in Mayo on the captain's desk. Copies were also given to the Aisling's crew by another friendly Shell to Sea volunteer. Copies of the letter have been sent by registered mail to the minister for defence Willie O'Dea and to commodore Frank Lynch, chief of the Naval Service.
The team also discovered that LÉ Aisling (and by extension the Naval Service one presumes) uses products supplied by Shell Oil. This does beg the question about what kind of relationship there is between Shell and the navy – does the navy get these products at special prices for 'services rendered'? Please remember too that the Naval Service turned up for Shell at no cost to the corporation – the cost of protecting Shell's ill-gotten interests is borne by Irish taxpayers, who will receive no benefit whatsoever and plenty of licensed pollution in return for their unwitting generosity. After nosing about on the ship for quite a while and gaining a photo-opportunity on the gangway, the Cork Shell to Sea team distributed the 'Someday Independent' and copies of the protest letter to the members of the public on the city quayside who were queueing for the tour of the Aisling. The public were interested and often sympathetic to the Cork Shell to Sea point of view, and the team remained at the quayside distributing leaflets until almost 8p.m., when it was past sunset and the Aisling's crew decided to end the public visit onto the ship.
This inclusion of the military in what was billed as a 'Culture Night' should open a debate over what Cork's (and Ireland's) establishment considers to be culture. The military the world over have historically been the advance guard of capitalism's and imperialism's mission of expropriation from the many to benefit the few, and armies and navies have been implicated in the destruction of both peoples and cultures for millennia. The Irish military share in this heritage whether they like it or not, and their participation on Shell's side in the Corrib gas dispute shows that they cannot escape being the helpmeets of capitalism's destruction of environments and communities. The presentation of machines of war in the midst of a cultural tableau serves to normalise the use of overwhelming violence in society, and passing off Shell's willing helpers as some kind of cultural attraction is certainly not telling the full story.
The personnel of the Aisling took leaflets from the Cork Shell to Sea team, and they should be thanked for their calm and proportionate response on the Cork quayside to the protest. They kept their cool in a situation that was perhaps embarrassing and uncomfortable for them. This is in stark contrast to Shell's other uniformed security service An Garda Síochána, whose ever-aggressive presence was thankfully mostly absent from the scene yesterday.