IRISH ANTI WAR MOVEMENT (IAWM)
PRESS STATEMENT – 19TH MAY 2011
On the occasion of President Obama Barrack’s visit to Ireland the Irish Anti War Movement announces:
· Anti War protest to oppose Obama’s wars next Sunday 22nd May at 2 pm at the G.P.O. on O’Connell Street.
· Speakers include Richard Boyd Barrett TD, Mick Wallace TD, Robert Ballagh, US and Bahraini speakers and others.
The statement noted the intention of the protest was to:
· Oppose the farcically named ‘War on Terror’ and the continued occupation of Iraq and Afghanistan
· Oppose the continued use of Shannon Airport as a US military base
· Oppose the detention of US soldier Bradley Manning and the indefinite detention of inmates in Guantanamo bay with no charge or trial.
· Oppose the interference of the US in the Arab revolutions
The Irish Anti War movement in a statement released today announced that they will be holding a protest on Sunday at 2pm to oppose the continued US military occupation and racist wars taking place in Afghanistan and Iraq.
Since Barack Obama’s inauguration in Jan 2009 over 2600 civilians have been killed in Afghanistan, many of them from drone attacks ordered by Obama. The UN says that civilian deaths increased to a record high last year. Obama must be held to account for his role in this senseless waste of life. Many officials in the US have admitted that the war in Afghanistan is unwinnable and that Karsai’s government is corrupt. During a recent speech Obama made it clear that even after the assassination of Osama Bin Laden the ‘war on terror’ is not over.
The IAWM statement noted that “US troops should be removed from Afghanistan and Iraq immediately and the people of these countries be allowed to determine their own future.”
The statement notes that the Anti War movement opposes the detention of the US soldier Bradley Manning under suspicion of passing classified material to Wikileaks. This material included footage of a US Apache helicopter firing on unarmed civilians in New Baghdad in 2007. 11 were killed. No charges were filed against American soldiers in the Apache helicopter, however Bradley Manning faces 52 years imprisonment. He has suffered torturous conditions during the year that he has been imprisoned including solitary confinement, denial of meaningful exercise, social interaction, sunlight, and was at times kept completely naked. The IAWM statement noted:
“The Irish Anti War Movement believes that the exposure of war crimes should not be an offense and the illegal pre–trial punishment already suffered by Bradley Manning should be enough legal basis for the US government to drop the case.”
The statement continued to note that the detention of prisoners in Guantanamo indefinitely without trial or charge by the US government was unacceptable. On his inauguration President Barrack Obama pledged to close this torture camp within a year of taking up office. Over two years later there are still 172 prisoners held at Guantanamo with no prospect of trial or release. Among these prisoners are an 89 year old Afghan villager with dementia and a 14 year old kidnap victim. On the 7th March this year President Obama signed an executive order authorising indefinite detention for those held at Guantanamo and approved further military commission trials for detainees there.
“The Irish Anti War movement notes the continued disgrace of Guantanamo and demands justice, dignity and human rights for the detainees.”
The statement further noted that the Irish Anti War Movement strongly opposes the continued use of Shannon as a US military transport hub. Barack Obama declared the end of US combat mission in Iraq in August 2010. However since then over 600 commercial airlines carrying troops and cargo have landed in Shannon. During the wars in Iraq in Afghanistan an average of 600 troops a day have passed through Shannon. The IAWM supports the campaign to terminate the use of Shannon airport by US troop in line with our neutral status.
Richard Boyd Barrett TD and Chair of the IAWM said:
"The whole world celebrated the election victory of Barack Obama believing it would bring an end to the disastrous era of George W Bush – an era which had resulted in such terrible suffering for the people of Iraq and Afghanistan. The joy felt by people in the US and across the world flowed precisely from the belief that Obama would halt the warmongering polices of Bush and bring to an end such obscenities as the CIA’s renditions (kidnap and torture) programme or the horrors of Guantanamo Bay. Obama has cruelly betrayed those hopes. He has continued the brutal war in Afghanistan, escalating it with continuous bombing of that impoverished country and neighbouring Pakistan – killing thousands more innocent people. The renditions programme continues and Guantanamo remains open. Worse than that, the US continues to support and arm vicious dictatorships in Saudi and other Gulf states that are brutally crushing popular movements for democracy, such as that in Bahrain. Obama has continued US support for Israel despite its on-going persecution of the Palestinian people and denial of their most basic human rights.”
Richard Boyd Barrett continued: “The Dispatches programme shown this week on RTE about the impact of the Iraq war on over 2 million Iraqi’s, who were forced to flee their homes and are now living in the most apalling circumstances as refugees, provided a shocking reminder of the consequences of US led wars and highlighted the abysmal failure of Obama to undo wrongs committed against the Iraqi people.”
“It is not out of any hostility to the American people that we feel obliged to protest during Barack Obama’s visit but precisely from a sense of internationalism and solidarity with innocent people who are suffering and dying as a result of Obama’s foreign policy – whether the victims of those policies be young US soldiers or innocent people in Afghanistan, Iraq, Bahrain, Palestine or elsewhere.”
For more information contact;
Richard Boyd Barrett TD, Chair Steering Committee IAWM. Tel. 086 781 4520
Michael Youlton, Co-Chair Steering Committee IAWM. Tel. 086 815 9487
Jim Roche, PRO Steering Committee IAWM. Tel. 087 6472737
Lola Hynes, Steering Committee IAWM. Tel. 086 822 8795