Hammers away!

IssueMarch - May 2003
News by Urvi Makwana

“The US military have taken a right hammering this year.” So said one activist, commenting on the plethora of ploughshares type actions that have taken place so far during 2003.

At the end of January, Mary Kelly damaged a US military plane at Shannon airport, Ireland using a hatchet. It has been suggested that the value of the damage could be in the region of half a million euro. These planes were used to transport troops, weapons, ammunition and explosives to Kuwait and Qatar in advance of a military attack on Iraq..

The 50-year old was charged with causing damage to a US Navy airplane. She was initially remanded in custody but was later offered bail at e 5,000. However, after refusing to accept the bail offer she was again remanded into custody at Limmerick Prison.

Just a few days later, five members of the pacifist Catholic worker movement cut their way into Shannon airport and painted “Pit stop of death” on a hanger where a US Navy plane was under repair. They also began taking up a small part of the runway using household tools. In a prepared statement they said: “We come to Shannon Airport to carry out an act of life-affirming disarmament in a place of preparations for slaughter.”

Following recent actions it has been reported that the planes will no longer use Shannon and have been moved to Frankfurt.

As we went to press another Irish anti-war activist was found guilty after spray-painting a US airplane at Shannon airport in September 2002. Eoin Dubsky was fined e 1,000 and given a six month suspended prison sentence. He is appealing his conviction.

Also in February attempts were made by a 32-year-old Dutch woman to disarm US military airbases communications equipment at the Volkel airbase in the Netherlands. The woman, from the Peace Action Camp Volkel, took down three communication dishes using a sledgehammer (see photo on inside cover).