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Gardai Give Back Ploughshares Hammers to Activists

category limerick | anti-war / imperialism | feature author Friday July 25, 2008 11:18author by Ciaron Report this post to the editors

featured image
$7,000,000 WMD for Peace

Ciaron O'Reilly writes: ''...Shannon Airport felt spooky. The last sight of the West by most of the 4,000 young Americans who passed through its small "departure" lounge to their deaths in Iraq. Spooky, too, as I reflected on an Irish society so integral to facilitating the killing yet so disengaged with the escalating and expanding war. Most U.S. troops in Iraq have passed through this small rural out of the way airport.

Spooky as I reflected on my own disengagement from the ongoing suffering. Have I, too, learned to live in an Ireland with the transit lounge for death that is Shannon Airport?...''

Related Links:
One hammer retrieved from Garda custody has been employed in over $U.S. 7 million worth of disarmament by five different ploughshares communities. It has been passed from the U.S. to England and on to Ireland. A second hammer employed by thePitstop Plougshhares at Shannon was also used in the ANZUS Ploughshares disarming of a B52 Bomber on the eve of the first Gulf War on Iraq in 1991

The activist history of the $U.S. 7 million ploughshares hammer as used by:

ANZUS Plowshares - Moana Cole, Susan Frankel, Ciaron O' Reilly & Fr. Bill Streit disarm B-52 Bomber at Rome Air Force Base, New York, USA, on eve of Gulf War 1 - Jan 1st.'91 Plane grounded for 2 months. USAF estimate damage at $U.S.100,000 - sentenced to a year in prison.

BAe Ploughshares - Chris Cole disarms European Fighter Aircraft, Hawk Strike Attack Aircraft & military equipment destined to East Timor & Northern Ireland at BAe Stevenage, Herts., England on Jan 6th. 1993.Police estimate £300,000. Sentenced to 8 months imprisonment.

Seeds of Hope/East Timor Ploughshares - Lotta Kronlid, Andrea Needham, Jo Wlson & Angie Zelter disarm BAe Hawk Fighter in Indonesian Air Force markings on eve of intended export to Indonesian military at war on East Timor at BAe Warton, Lancashire on January 29th. 1996. Police damage estimate £2,400,000. Indonesian government rejects that specific plane following action. Activists held on remand for 6 months in prison, acquitted by jury at trial in Liverpool July 1996.

Jubilee Ploughshares 2000 - Fr. Martin Newell & Susan Van Der Hiden disarm nuclear convoy vehicle at RAF Wittering, England on November 3rd. 2000. Police estimate damage at £32,000. Sentenced to one year imprisonment.

Pitstop Ploughshares - Deirdre Clancy, Nuin Dunlop, Karen Fallon, Damien Moran & Ciaron O'Reilly disarm U.S. Navy war plane at Shannon Airport in build up to U.S. invasion of Iraq on Feb. 3rd 2003. Plane changes course does not go to war theatre but returns to base in Texas for repair. Does not fly for 2 months. Irish Army deployed to Shannon. 4 U.S. companies transporting troops to build up for invasion of Iraq refuse to land at Shannon as sconsquence of action. U.S. military estimate damage at $U.S.2.5 million. Activists spend varied times on remand in Limerick Prison 1-3 months. Acquitted at third trial at Dublin's Four Courts August 2006.

• Read more of the full chronology Ploughshare Actions

Ph. Ciaron O'Reilly 087 918 4552

A collection of hammers and other objects that were used to disable a US Navy plane in 2003 were turned over by Shannon gardai to one of the activists who carried out the action.

Veteran anti-war direct actionist Ciaron O'Reilly will hold a press conference outside Shannon Airport 12 noon Wednesday July 24th., following the return of hammers used to disable a U.S. Navy war plane at the airport in Feb 03. He will bring the hammers and other reurned property to the press conference.

O'Reilly was one of the Pitstop Ploughshares group, who along with Deirdre Clancy, Nuin Dunlop, Karen Fallon and Damien Moran were charged with $US 2.5 million criminal damage to a U.S. Navy war plane at Shannon in the build up to the invasion of Iraq. The group were intially imprisoned on remand in Limerick before being put on trial three times at Dublin's Four Courts. They were eventually acquitted unanimously by a jury at the Four Courts in August 2006. The groups action is the subject of Dublin journalist's Harry Browne's forthcoming book "Hammered by the Irish - How the Pitstop Plougshares Disarmed a U.S. War Plane with Ireland's Blessing!".

O'Reilly is a veteran of three such Ploughshares actions in as many countries. Ploughshares actions take their inspiration from the Old Testament prophecy of Isaiah "to beat swords into ploughshares" and are attempts to disable military equipment employing hammers in an acts of nonviolent direct action. The movement began in 1980 by the Berrigan brothers and other radical Catholic pacifists. Some ploughshares activists have received sentences ranging up to 18 years imprisonment for such actions, while others have been acquitted by juries. Although perceived as a small radical component of the broader peace movement, ploughshares communities have attracted such notable counsel as former U.S. Attorney General Ramsey Clark, present Solicitor General for England and Wales Vera Baird, celebrated human rights lawyer Gareth Peirce and in Ireland they were represented by Hugh Hartnet, Michael Higgins and Brendan Nix.

Two of the hammers returned by the Gardai had been used by O'Reilly and the ANZUS Ploughshares group on New Year's Day 1991 when they disabled a B-52 Bomber after breaking into an upstate New York U.S. Air Force Base on the eve of the first Gulf War. O'Reilly served 13 months in a variety of U.S. prisons for that action. One of the hammers being returned has been used on five occasions by various ploughshares groups in the United States, England and Ireland racking up $US 7 million in damage to military equipment destined to contribute to wars in Iraq, East Timor and nuclear weapon systems.

O'Reilly stated, "Since we acted five years ago at Shannon Airport over 1 million Iraqi's have been killed in the war we tried to stop. Also 4,000 young Americans soldiers, most who passed through this small departure lounge at Shannon Airport have also been killed and returned home in body bags. Another 20,000 U.S. soldiers, most who passed through Shannon, have returned home with amputations, loss of mind and other injuries from which they will never recover. In the past five years this small civilian airport on the west coast of Ireland has become the central U.S. military hub to refuel its troop movements to the war zone.

The hammers, bible, koran and photos we recovered from the Gardai today are in the truest sense "property", what is proper and nourishing of human life. The military equipment that passes through Shannon is anti-property that has destroyed the very infrastructure that sustained life in Iraqi society. President Bush's war escalates in Iraq and Afghanistan, it expands into Lebanon, Somalia, northern Pakistan and soon possibly Iran. The relevant response in these times is nonviolent resistance and solidairty with those who resist whether they are from civil society or within the military itself."

More info, interviews etc
Phone Ciaron O'Reilly
087 918 4552

 #   Title   Author   Date 
   Hammer with the Peace Sign = $7,000,000     Virsli Lover    Thu Jul 24, 2008 11:27 
   2pm today     virsli lover    Thu Jul 24, 2008 11:30 
   Party     Drinker    Thu Jul 24, 2008 12:29 
   Put them to good use     Mark C    Thu Jul 24, 2008 12:49 
   Moneyspinner     Thing    Thu Jul 24, 2008 13:05 
   Report Back: Ploughshares Hammers Returned     Ciaron O'Reilly    Thu Jul 24, 2008 22:50 
   .     CC    Fri Jul 25, 2008 00:01 
   Very Good Report     Mark C    Fri Jul 25, 2008 08:19 
   Mainstream media watch     Mediawatch    Fri Jul 25, 2008 10:02 
 10   Glad they were given back     Deirdre    Fri Jul 25, 2008 10:15 
 11   Acquittal anniversary     Damien Moran    Fri Jul 25, 2008 11:55 
 12   The struggle for JUSTICE must go on     Edward Horgan    Fri Jul 25, 2008 15:57 
 13   Response     Ciaron    Fri Jul 25, 2008 17:55 
 14   Well done Ciaron and bunch! You have valuable relics there.     kangaroo justice    Fri Jul 25, 2008 19:07 
 15   The price of principle     Miriam    Fri Jul 25, 2008 21:37 
 16   We need positive actions not negative reasons for doing nothing     Edward    Sat Jul 26, 2008 17:04 
 17   agree with Edward     anti-war activist    Sun Jul 27, 2008 11:46 
 18   Near FM Interview 5.30 pm Sunday     Near FM    Sun Jul 27, 2008 12:46 
 19   Ploughshares Communities Presently Awaiting Trial - in Need of Our Solidarity.....     Ciaron    Sun Jul 27, 2008 17:28 
 20   ....whoops Swedish Plowshares     Ciaron    Sun Jul 27, 2008 17:31 
 21   MC Hammer cant touch this     Saoirse    Mon Jul 28, 2008 03:20 
 22   So many dead - so few images?     Statin the Obvious    Mon Jul 28, 2008 07:13 
 23   Edward     Miriam    Tue Jul 29, 2008 05:29 
 24   maybe we need to calm down a little     anti-war activist    Tue Jul 29, 2008 08:11 
 25   Valid criticism always useful     Edward    Tue Jul 29, 2008 09:18 
 26   Comment     Joe Soap    Tue Jul 29, 2008 10:12 
 27   Prestwick is not a viable option     Lemuel Gulliver IV    Tue Jul 29, 2008 10:17 
 28   From memory......     Ciaron    Wed Jul 30, 2008 08:41 
 29   Not welcome at Mildenhall either!     Lemuel    Wed Jul 30, 2008 10:14 
 30   WOCESTER MASS. - Judge denies necessity defence motion by Catholic Worker Movement     Worcester CW    Wed Jul 30, 2008 17:52 
 31   Judge says "It's about Time!" to Catholic Workers Attempting to Arrest Karl Rove for War Crimes!     Frank    Fri Aug 01, 2008 05:01 
 32   LINK- Recent Photos of Liberated Hammmers on Flickr     Kevin    Thu Aug 07, 2008 18:44 
 33   Sept 18 "Hammered by the Irish" gig, archiving dissident memory, the Milwaulkee 14 etc     Ciaron    Sun Aug 24, 2008 08:24 
 34   More on Milwaukee 14, Where are They Today? & Anti-War Resistance in Milwaukee Today!     Milwaukee 14-then & today!    Mon Aug 25, 2008 06:57 

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