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Not Guilty - Shannon Five war resisters acquitted on all charges

category ireland / britain | imperialism / war | news report author Thursday August 17, 2006 22:25author by Sovietpop and others - WSM - personal capacity Report this post to the editors

Just before the start of the war against Iraq in 2003 five Plougshares activists gained access to Shannon airport where US war planes were being refuelled. Using hammers and axes they damaged one of these planes. Loyal to George Bush the Irish government has been dragging these activists through the courts but late last month a jury ruled that the actions of the defendents were justifiable as they acted to preserve life in Iraq. These are reports and statements from the WSM on the trial.

WSM Statement released after the verdict

Workers Solidarity Statement on the Pitstop Ploughshares 5
Thursday July 27, 2006

The Workers Solidarity Movement congratulates the Pitstop Ploughshares 5 on their victory in court, and congratulates the jury who delivered a verdict which placed a greater value on Iraqi lives than on US warplanes.

A jury of ordinary people, hearing evidence from both the state and the defendants decided that the five brave women and men are not guilty of any offence.

The crime is the war in Iraq. The crime is allowing Shannon Airport to be used by the US military. Refuelling of US warplanes at Shannon should stop at once.

The government has treated with contempt the massive opposition to Ireland's participation in this bloody war. It's now up to all of us to organise for mass action at Shannon to stop it being used as a pitstop by warplanes.

We send our solidarity to anti-war activists everywhere, and to the trade union and progressive secular forces in Iraq who oppose both the occupation and the brutal sectarian forces.

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Not Guilty; Shannon Five acquitted on all charges
Wednesday July 26, 2006
by Sovietpop

Scenes of great joy and relief at the Dublin Four Courts as the Catholic Workers/Pitshops ploughshare five were acquitted of all charges.

In a statement after the verdict the five said 'The jury is the conscience of the community chosen randomly from Irish society. The conscience of the community has spoken. The government has no popular mandate in providing the civilian Shannon airport to service the US war machine in it's illegal invasion and occupation of Iraq.

In 1996 in Liverpool the Jury acquittal of the four 'ploughshares' women contributed to the end of arms exports to the Suharto dictatorship in Indonesia and the independence of East Timor.
The decision of this jury should be a message to London, Washington DC and the Dail that Ireland wants no part in waging war on the people of Iraq. Refuelling of US warplanes at Shannon Airport should cease immediately."

For more reports see www.indymedia.ie

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This report from just before the verdict gives more of the background

Dublin: Jury in Shannon War Plane Case Considering Verdict
Wednesday July 26, 2006
by sovietpop - wsm

Three and a half years ago, 5 members of Catholic Worker/Pitstop ploughshares damaged a US warplane stationed at Shannon Airport in Ireland.

The states first two attempts to prosecute them for criminal damage collapsed as both judges had to disbarr themselves in circumstances which questioned their impartiality

The third trial has just finished with the jury withdrawing to consider its verdict. .

In summing up on Friday, council for the defence was reported as saying to the Jury

“Three years later, the events of 2003 have faded. In that year we were in the eighth year of the Celtic Tiger. There was a great fear of going back to the bad times - economically - that we had come through. It became clear in the debate of the time that what the Government was doing (in letting the US military use Shannon) was based on their fear that (US) Companies would get up and go and the economy would regress. The economy was the important factor.

If you disagree with this viewpoint, fair enough; but if you agree, you then begin to understand how we can see 1.5 million people die and take no action to prevent it.

The Germans who stayed silent during the Holocaust were not bad people. The Irish who didn't get angry were not bad people - they were just people who were wrapped up in their own business

When you do something, as the defendants did, you don't know whether or not the effect will gather the force of a tsunami. History has shown that people who go against the grain make a difference.

Rosa Parks got on a bus and set off a chain reaction. Black people were marching all over America. So much so that their feet were sore, but their souls were resting.
…..
[The defendants] are not seduced by the glossy magazine lifestyle. They are imbued with great courage. When they heard that over 500,000 small children had died because of sanctions they reacted. They said ‘No, we are bound to do something about this’.

Their actions were worthwhile if the jurors are now or ever will be affected.

It is an enormous privilege for you to have served on this jury.”

Shannon airport continues to be used to refuel US military planes including planes used to transfer people to Guantenmo.

Related Link:: http://www.peaceontrial.com/

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