They Haven't Gone Away: U.S. Military Still Using Shannon
This is a repost of an article on Shannonwatch.org published 3 Feb 2014
As Margaretta D'Arcy continues to serve the sentence imposed on her by the Irish State for opposing the U.S. military use of Shannon Airport, the war machines continue to land at the airport. The State's heavy handed treatment of Margaretta was an attempt to silence opposition to the routine presence of these war machines; instead it has made Irish people more aware of their complicity in the human suffering that comes with war. Shannonwatch continues to demand explanations from the Irish government, not only for this ongoing involvement in illegal, unjustified and never-ending war, but also for the many years of cover-up of rendition flights through Shannon.
Between Jan 1st and Jan 22nd, we recorded 4 KC-10's and 5 C-130's at Shannon. The KC-10 is a military version of the DC-10 airplane which is operated by the U.S. Air Force. Its primary roles are transport and aerial refuelling of other military aircraft.
There was even a US Air Force KC-10 at Shannon on the very day on which the Gardai went to Margaretta's house and brought her to Limerick Prison.
One of the Hercules C-130's that landed at Shannon in January was a C-130J-30 Super Hercules, registration 06-1438. The Super Hercules has been used extensively by the USAF in Iraq and Afghanistan. According to the website of its manufacturers Lockheed Martin, it "offers superior performance and new capabilities, with the range and flexibility for every theater of operations and evolving requirements. This rugged aircraft is regularly sent on missions in the harshest environments, and is often seen as the first aircraft "in," touching down on austere landing strips before any other transport to provide humanitarian relief after natural disasters".
It's not known if the C-130J-30 that landed at Shannon on Jan 3rd was engaged in humanitarian relief or military operations because the Irish government either don't know or won't tell us. The Minister for Foreign Affairs claims that these aircraft are not engaged in military operations, but because he will not say what they are doing and because his assurances about them not carrying weapons have been shown to be untrue, it is difficult to believe him.
2013 Military Traffic
In 2013, the Department of Foreign Affairs granted permission for the landing of 541 foreign military aircraft at Shannon Airport. Not surprisingly, most of these were U.S. aircraft. We also know that approximately 45,000 armed US soldiers passed through Shannon Airport in the period from 1 January to 30 September 2013. And while both of these figures are lower than in previous years, they mean that Ireland is still directly implicated in the loss of countless lives, worsening humanitarian crises and global insecurity caused by U.S./NATO belligerence.
Margaretta D'Arcy has quite rightly demanded a "conversation with the State" about these matters. We wholeheartedly support her.