REPRESENTATIVES OF VETERANS for Peace from the US, UK and Ireland today attended a peace vigil at Shannon Airport to mark the anniversary of the beginning of the war in Iraq.
Veterans for Peace was founded in the USA in 1985, in opposition to US military intervention in Central America, and now has over 8,000 members.
Its objectives include bringing about a clearer understanding of the cost of war, in particular the US-led occupations of Iraq and Afghanistan, to close the School of the Americas and to counter military recruitment efforts in schools. They have also undertaken significant humanitarian projects in war zones such as Iraq and campaigns against torture.
Today anti-war group Shannonwatch said that Ireland’s record of promoting UN peacekeeping missions has been “tarnished” by the Irish government’s complicity in the CIA rendition programme by allowing planes to refuel at Shannon.
Last month, a report by the Open Justice Initiative showed that 54 countries, including Ireland, helped to facilitate the CIA’s secret detention, rendition and interrogation programme in the years after 9/11.
However the Department of Justice maintained that “no evidence of rendition” was found in any garda investigation into allegations involving Shannon Airport.
Shannonwatch said the peace vigil held today was one of the regular monthly vigils organised by the anti-war group.
“It also marks the invasion of Iraq by the US and its allies which began on 20 March 2003, and was undertaken on the basis of a lie about weapons of mass destruction that Iraq never possessed,” the group said. “Hundreds of thousands of people died as a result, including thousands of American soldiers.”
Shannonwatch said its vigils will continue for as long as Irish territory and airspace is being “misused to facilitate wars of aggression and human rights abuses.”