Dear brothers and sisters of Ireland, your ambassador to the United States Anne Anderson spoke at the University of Virginia Tuesday afternoon.
After consulting one of your fine citizens named Barry Sweeney, I asked her this: "Since the U.S. government assures the Irish government that all U.S. military aircraft being refueled at Shannon are not on military operations and are not carrying weapons or munitions, and since the Irish government insists on this in order to comply with Ireland's traditional policy of neutrality, why does the Irish department of transportation almost daily approve civilian aircraft on contract to the U.S. military to carry armed U.S. troops on military operations, weapons, and munitions through Shannon Airport in clear breach of international laws on neutrality?"
Ambassador Anderson replied that the U.S. government at the "highest levels" had informed Ireland that it was in compliance with the law, and Ireland accepted that.
So, the highest level of the U.S. government says that black is white, and Ireland says "Whatever you say, master." I'm sorry, my friends, but with all due respect, my dog has a better relationship with me than you have with the United States.
We once had a former president named Richard Nixon who maintained that if a president does something it isn't illegal. Apparently, Anderson takes a Nixonian view of the Trump regime.
Now, I understand that most of you may disagree with Anderson's position, but she made very clear that she doesn't give a rat's rear what you think. During the course of her remarks she suggested that the ongoing French election and other recent elections were -- thank goodness! -- "containing the tide of populism." You, my brothers and sisters, are the populace. Are you properly contained?
I asked Anderson a follow up question. She had spoken in support of amnesty or some sort of better treatment for undocumented Irish immigrants in the United States. I asked her whether she realized that hatred of immigrants in the United States is fueled by all the warmaking, in which Shannon Airport and Ireland are complicit. I got a blank stare.
So I asked her whether Ireland couldn't help us out by being a model of peace. I got a look like she believed I just might have escaped from an asylum. She announced that she would be moving onto the next questioner. I'm sure John F. Kennedy, to whom she had devoted 90% of her remarks, would likewise have dodged such an inappropriate question.
Of course, Anderson had not mentioned Shannon Airport in her opening remarks at all, except to note that Saint JFK had taken off from there never to return. She took no pride in the Irish role in the endless wars that are ravaging the Middle East and threatening the earth. She preferred to pass over the whole subject in silence. But when asked about it, she simply said that anything the U.S. says is legal is legal, and left it at that.
Have yall heard some of the things that Donald Trump says are legal? If not, you're in for a real treat.
Those of us outside Ireland, and in particular those of us in the United States, have a pressing and urgent responsibility to lend all the support we can to our brothers and sisters in Ireland who are resisting U.S. wars.
Despite Ireland's officially neutral status and its claim to have not gone to war since its founding in 1922, Ireland allowed the United States to use Shannon Airport during the Gulf War and, as part of the so-called coalition of the willing, during the wars that began in 2001. Between 2002 and the present date, over 2.5 million U.S. troops have passed through Shannon Airport, along with many weapons, and CIA airplanes used to transfer prisoners to places of torture. Casement Aerodrome has also been used. And, despite not being a member of NATO, Ireland has sent troops to participate in the illegal war on Afghanistan.
Under Hague Convention V in force since 1910, and to which the United States has been a party from the start, and which under Article VI of the U.S. Constitution is part of the supreme law of the United States, "Belligerents are forbidden to move troops or convoys of either munitions of war or supplies across the territory of a neutral Power." Under the United Nations Convention Against Torture, to which both the United States and Ireland are parties, and which has been incorporated into very selectively enforced felonies in the U.S. Code since before George W. Bush left Texas for Washington, D.C., any complicity in torture must be investigated and prosecuted. Under both the U.N. Charter and the Kellogg-Briand Pact, to both of which the United States and Ireland have been parties since their creation, the war in Afghanistan and all the other U.S. wars since 2001 have been illegal.
The people of Ireland have a strong tradition of resisting imperialism, dating back even before the 1916 revolution of which this year is the centenary, and they aspire to representative or democratic government. In a 2007 poll, by 58% to 19% they opposed allowing the U.S. military to use Shannon Airport. In a 2013 poll, over 75% supported neutrality. In 2011, a new government of Ireland announced that it would support neutrality, but it did not. Instead it has continued to allow the U.S. military to keep planes and personnel at Shannon Airport, and to bring troops and weapons through on a regular basis, including over 20,000 troops already this year.
The United States military has no need for Shannon Airport. Its planes could reach other destinations without running out of fuel. One of the purposes of regularly using Shannon Airport, perhaps the main purpose, is very likely simply to keep Ireland within the coalition of the killing. On U.S. television, announcers thank "the troops" for watching this or that major sporting event from 175 countries. The U.S. military and its profiteers would hardly notice if that number dropped to 174, but their goal, perhaps their main purpose and driving objective, is to increase that number to 200. Total global dominance is the explicitly stated objective of the U.S. military. Once a nation is added to the list, all steps will be taken, by the State Department, by the military, by the CIA, and by any possible collaborators, to keep that nation on the list. The United States government fears an Ireland free of U.S. militarism more than we probably can imagine. The global peace movement should desire it more than we probably do, including for the example it would set to Scotland, Wales, England, and the rest of the world.
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