Nearly 67,000 U.S. Troops Through Shannon Jan-March 08* Cops Spend 7 million on “Security”!

Irish Times April 11th. 2008
http://www.ireland. com/newspaper/ ireland/2008/ 0411/12078432914 13.html

Nearly 67,000 U.S. Troops Passed Through Shannon in January March 08

The numbers of U.S. troops going through Shannon airport in the first quarter of this year increased by almost 150% on the corresponding period last year.

Figures released by Shannon Airport Authority yesterday show that 66,667 U.S.S troops on 495 flights passed the airport between January and March – an increase of 144% on the 27,070 troops that used the airport’s facilities for the same period last year.

The figures show that 21,019  troop went through in March; 18,830 in February and 26,828 in January. If current troop levels are maintained for the remainder of 2008, Shannon Airport looks on course to exceed last year’s total of 262,816 troops.

Troop levels going through Shannon dropped through first half of last year, however, this trend was reversed after U.S. troop carrier Omni Air significantly increased the number of aircraft going through Shannon to 100 a month.

Another of the carriers that moves troops through Shannon, American Transair (ATA) was declared bankruptcy last week and ceased operations immediately.  its demise is expected to have minimal effect on the numbers of U.S. troops going through Shannon.

A spokesman for the Shannon Airport Authority said yesterday:  “The authority regrets thee difficulties ATA finds itself in as th airport had a long relationship with ATA that dates back to the 1980’s through charter flights and transit flights.”

It is understood the percentage of U.S. troops which Transair moved through Shannon was low and any money that might be owed to the authority as a result of its bankruptcy is also low.

Last year, the number of U.S. troops using Shannon as a stop-off passed the one million mark since the war started on Iraq.

The authority does not release the profits made from the U.S. troop traffic, but it is estimated it made 7 million euro last year through the troop business.  This follows
an estimated profit of 16.4 million euro from the troop traffic in 2006 and 2005.

Last December, Minister for Justice Brian Lenihan confirmed that that 7 million  euro had been spent on preventing incursions to Shannon Airport from anti-war activists over the past two years.  He said 4.69 million euro was spent on policing arrangements at Shannon last year.

Reflection on this State of Affairs
by Ciaron O’Reilly

This is interesting announcement by the government on the cusp of an escalation of the U.S. war effort and the setting up for an attack on Iran

“Last week’s congressional testimony by Gen. David Petraeus and Green Zone administrator Ryan Crocker set the propaganda stage for a Bush regime attack on Iran. On April 10 Robert H. Reid of AP News reported: “The top US commander has shifted the focus from al-Qaida to Iranian-backed ‘special groups’ as the main threat . . . The shift was articulated by Gen. Petraeus who told Congress that ‘unchecked, the special groups pose the greatest long-term threat to the viability of a democratic Iraq.'”………

http://www.counterp roberts04142008. html

The Irish government announces that it has spent over 7 million euro “on preventing incursions to Shannon airport from anti-war activists over the past two years. He said 4.69 million was spent on policing arrangements at Shannon last year.”

This seems a little excessive given the last demonstration at the airport involving over 100 people (2-300) was the Anti War Ireland/Catholic Worker/Iraq Veterans Against the War effort on Halloween 2006, some 17 months ago. The only one at Shannon in 2006 involving such numbers. There wasn’t any such effort in 2007 and none planned for 2008. This, of course, does not factor in the constant plane spotting ongoing since 2002 and smaller efforts including a monthly vigil now occurring.  To be honest, in Ireland we have an anti-war remnant not an anti-war movement!

The history of incursions into airside Shannon are also of increasingly distant memory….
Christmas 2001 Dubsky & others jump the fence
-mid-2002 Dubsky spraypaints windscreen of U.S. military plane
-Oct 2002 a group pull the fence and sit in airside.
-Jan 2003 Mary Kelly’s disarmament action
-Feb 2003 Pitstop Ploughshares

-March 1st Garda Spend 1 million euro on Stopping Libertarians Pulling Down Fence at Airport
Easter 2003 Catholic Worker potato planting on runway
-Haloween 2004 Catholic Worker Banshees reading the names of the dead on runway.

So this 7 million was spent after the last of these airside actions. Go figure?
It may indicate how severely humiliated the government was by the two disarmament actions happening in rapid succession at the time. That no way they can let it happen again to the point of getting jumpy
http://www.indymedi 85992

It may indicate although a lot of people have lost their lives in this war that Ireland continues to be complicit in – some have made a lot of money.

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