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Neutrality

Peace Activists Criminalized While War Criminals Go Free

Judge Patricia Ryan sent a clear message to protesters objecting to illegal U.S. military flights through Shannon Airport today by fining the Shannon Two 10,000 euros after they were convicted of interfering with the operation, management and safety of the facility. On May 3, the jury found Tarak Kauff and Kenneth Mayers not guilty on the two charges of criminal damage and trespass at Shannon airport, but guilty of the unusual charge of interfering with the airport operation, management or safety, which was added to the case two years after the fact. Mayers and Kauff had pleaded not guilty to all charges. Ken Mayers and Tarak Kauff were arrested on St. Patrick’s Day, 2019, at Shannon Airport for going onto the airfield to inspect U.S. military aircraft or cause them to be inspected.

Shannon Two: Guilty Of Interfering With Airport Operations

Dublin, Ireland - A mixed verdict came down in the case of the Shannon Two today. They were found not guilty of the charges of criminal damage and trespass with intent to commit an offense, but they were convicted, by a vote of 10-2, of interfering with the operation, management, and safety of an airport. That charge was added two years after the original charges. They have to surrender their passports until they are sentenced. Tarak Kauff, 80, and Ken Mayers, 85, went onto the airfield at Shannon Airport on March 17, 2019, to inspect any aircraft associated with the U.S. military that were at the airport. There were in fact three planes there at the time—a Marine Corps Cessna jet, and an Air Force Transport C40 aircraft, and one Omni Air International aircraft on contract to the U.S. military that they believed carried troops and weapons through the airport on their way to illegal wars in the Middle East, in violation of Irish neutrality and international law.

The Trial Of Kenneth Mayers And Tarak Kauff: Day One

Kenneth and Tarak arrived back from the USA to attend their trial on Thursday 21st April. When they arrived at Dublin airport they were quizzed by an immigration official, who commented: “when you here the last time you caused some trouble, is there going to be any trouble this time?” Our two peaceful Veterans For Peace responded that they were just back for their trial and that all their activities are intended to prevent trouble and conflict rather that cause trouble. That seemed to convince immigration that it would be OK to let them in to The Republic of Ireland, even if the term Republic is a bit of a misnomer these days given our membership in an increasingly militarised European Union, NATO’s so-called Partnership For Peace, and our virtual hosting of a U.S. military base as Shannon airport.

Irish President Confronted In New York By Veteran’s Families Over Neutrality Violation

New York City - Irish President Michael D. Higgins was on WNYC’s Brian Lehrer Show this morning. He spoke compassionately at length about immigration and migration and refugees. The last caller, who was included because she was calling from Dublin (audio below), asked him why the Irish government allowed the U.S. to violate its neutrality with its military flights through Shannon to the very wars that were creating those refugees. And she also asked about the case of two U.S. military veterans who had been held in Ireland since March after nonviolently protesting those flights. While he ducked around the neutrality question, he said that he was “familiar with the case” of the veterans and, although he could not interfere, he would “bring it to Government’s attention.”

US Veterans Held In Ireland For Protesting US’ Violations of Neutrality

Ireland has been a neutral nation since the 1930s, meaning it doesn't join military alliances and under numerous treaties is not supposed to assist other countries in military endeavors. However, the United States regularly violates Irish neutrality by flying troops, weapons and military supplies through Shannon Airport. We speak with Tarak Kauff, Ken Mayers and Ellen Davidson, all members of Veterans for Peace, about an action Tarak and Ken took in March to protest the US' violations. They were arrested and held in jail for 12 days for a minor offense and since then have had their passports seized and are not allowed to leave Ireland. It could be many years before they face trial. Listen to their story and what their current walk across Ireland to raise awareness of Ireland's participation in wars.
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