No You Can’t: Why Shannon Airport should be Open to Business but Closed to War

Public Meeting: Park Inn Shannon Airport Hotel, 1 May 2010, 2.30pm.

Former Staff Sergeant Jimmy Massey will be among the speakers at a public meeting entitled ‘Why Shannon Airport should be Open to Business but Closed to War’ organised by the justice and peace organisation Afri in the Park Inn Shannon Airport Hotel on Saturday, May 1st beginning at 2.30pm. John Lannon of Shannonwatch will also speak and the event will include a film presentation by Afri board member and film maker Muireann de Barra.

Jimmy Massey entered Iraq as part of the initial invasion force in March 2003 and returned as an outspoken opponent of the war having witnessed – and in some cases participated in – the killing of innocent civilians. During a single 48-hour period, he says, he saw as many as 30 civilians killed by US soldiers at roadside checkpoints.

The brutality of the US military’s actions transformed his view of the occupation and changed him for life. Horrified and unable to reconcile himself with what he was witnessing he began to speak out. Labelled as a conscientious objector by his commanders he won an honourable discharge from the Army.

Afri together with Jimmy Massey and Shannonwatch are appalled by the continuing use of Shannon Airport as a staging post for the war in Iraq and now the war in Afghanistan. President Barak Obama publicly thanked Taoiseach Brian Cowen for allowing Shannon to be used as a war-port in the ongoing wars in Iraq and Afghanistan. Our message to President Obama and Brian Cowen is: NO YOU CAN’T continue to implicate Ireland in the deaths and destruction being wrought in Iraq and Afghanistan through the provision of Shannon Airport to US troops.

Afri also re-iterated its call on new Minister of Defence Mr. Tony Killeen to withdraw the seven Irish soldiers serving with NATO in Afghanistan. Afri made its call in the light of the recent NATO offensive in Marjah which resulted in over 50 civilian deaths at the hands of NATO forces.

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