Dear Vets and Supporters:
I thought I would give you an update on what is happening at Shannon Airport. As some of you know, I flew to Shannon to meet up with Ed Horgan and other activist in Ireland who are forming the second international chapter of VFP. Also flying in to support Ed and his cohorts where Ben Griffin, founder of VFP London and Gene Marx, chair of the national membership committee of VFP.
Briefly, Ed and his group of activist have, since 2003, been holding protest/vigils at Shannon airport in opposition to the use of the airport by US military as a stop over for the transportation of troops and materials in support of the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan. His opposition is based on the Ireland's constitution, its history of neutrality and the Irish Defense Forces constructive participation in peacekeeping missions around the world, primarily through the United Nations. On March 20, 2003, the government of Ireland authorized the US to use Shannon in connection with the US led invasion and occupation of Iraq. Since then about 2.2 million US troops have transited through Ireland. Ed's group also opposes the use of Shannon for the CIA's secret rendition of prisoners to those countries around the world that are willing to torture on behalf of the US.
On Saturday, March 9, we began a demonstration outside of Shannon airport. Several uniformed members of the airport security showed up and told us we could not display signs or demonstrate at the airport. Lead by Ed Horgan we moved inside the airport and managed to display briefly a banner and a VFP flag. The airport security called for help from the Guardia, the police. They threatened to take our VFP flag and banners and arrest Ed, so while they dragged Ed to the police car we exited they airport. With Ed's promise to leave, we all departed the airport for a Guinness.
On Sunday, March 10 a bitterly cold raining (almost sleet) day, we again appeared at the Shannon airport. This time the Guardia and the airport security were out in force. They pounced on us as soon as with displayed the VFP flag. Gene managed to take some video and pictures as the police surrounded us took our names and address and threatened to take our flag and banners unless we left. So we began a mile plus walk to join demonstrators out of the airport gate. With a police car and uncover security trailing us we joined about 10 others who stood waiting are arrival in the rain. Under the watchful eye of the police, we continued our demonstration. There are some pictures attached I hope you can retrieve them.
Tues night, Gene and I will speak at the University of Limerick about the mission of VFP, the importance of International chapters in our fight against militarism, costs of war and drones.
Ben Griffin is doing some fantastic things in London. I will brief you on that at the next meeting
Best to all,
Slideshow of photos taken by Barry and Gene