Shannon Airbase Trial Ends for Two US Peace Vets

May 5th, 2022 - by ShannonWatch & World BEYOND War

Sentencing of Tarak Kauff and Kenneth Mayers


DUBLIN (May 4, 2022) — Shannonwatch are shocked at the imposition of a €10,000 fine on peace activists Tarak Kauff and Ken Mayers for taking a peaceful action against the US military use of Shannon Airport. Despite being acquitted on two charges of criminal damage and trespass, they were still found guilty of interfering with the operation, management or safety of the airport.

“This exceptionally punitive sentence is a move clearly aimed at discouraging peaceful objection to Ireland’s complicity in war,” said Shannonwatch spokesperson Edward Horgan. “By imposing such a heavy fine at the sentencing hearing on Wednesday 4th May,

Judge Patricia Ryan has effectively disregarded the lawful excuse Tarak Kauff and Ken Mayers had for entering the airport in March 2019, and sent a strong message that opposition to the war industry will not be tolerated. The Veterans for Peace sole aim was to end the cycles of killing that Ireland is complicit in, despite its claims to be neutral.”

Ken Mayers and Tarak Kauff were arrested on St. Patrick’s Day 2019, at Shannon Airport for going onto the airfield to inspect US military aircraft or cause them to be inspected. They carried a banner that said, “US Military Veterans Say: Respect Irish Neutrality; US War Machine Out of Shannon.”

Over three million armed US troops have passed through the airport since 2001 on their way to illegal wars in the Middle East, in violation of Irish neutrality and international law. Kauff and Mayers felt obliged to address the fact that the Irish authorities have to date refused to inspect the planes or to provide any information about what is on them.

There were three aircraft associated with the US military at Shannon at the time. These were a Marine Corps Cessna jet, a US Air Force Transport C40 aircraft, and an Omni Air International aircraft on contract to the US military.

The defendants, who are US military veterans and members of Veterans for Peace, have already spent 13 days in Limerick Prison in 2019 as a result of this peace action. Subsequent to that, their passports were confiscated, forcing them to spend a further eight months in Ireland.

The case was moved up from District to Circuit Court, where a jury trial was required, and  from County Clare, where the airport is located, to Dublin.

Kauff and Mayers are clear that their action was aimed at ending the devastation of war.

“Our purpose was in our own way, to put the government and the US military on trial for killing people, destroying the environment, and betraying the Irish people’s concept of their own neutrality,” said Kauff. “US war-making is literally destroying this planet, and I don’t want to be silent about it.”

Edward Horgan of Shannonwatch said: “No senior US political or military US leaders have ever been held accountable for war crimes committed in these Middle East wars, and no Irish officials have been held accountable for active complicity in these war crimes. Yet over 38 peace activists, including Mayers and Kauff, have been prosecuted for carrying out fully justified nonviolent peace actions at Shannon Airport in order to expose and try to prevent Irish complicity in these war crimes.”

Shannonwatch also notes that, in the course of the trial, not a single Gardai or airport security officer could point to a US military plane having ever been inspected for weapons while at the airport. Indeed, John Francis, chief of security at Shannon testified that he “wouldn’t be aware” if weapons or munitions were moving through the facility.

US warplanes were still being refueled at Shannon Airport while the trial was taking place.

“This peace action by Kauff and Mayers is a small but significant step towards getting some accountability for war crimes by the US and other countries, including recent Russian war crimes in Ukraine. The world and humanity are now on the brink of World War 3 combined with catastrophic climate change, partly caused by militarism and resource wars. Peace by peaceful means was never more urgent.” said Edward Horgan.

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(May 4, 2022) — Yesterday a jury at Dublin Circuit Court found two peace activists Tarak Kauff and Kenneth Mayers guilty of Interfering with the operation and safety of Shannon airport. On the same day, Tuesday 3rd May 2022,

Three US warplanes were refuelled at Shannon airport is breach of international laws. Two US air force Hercules C130 numbers 92-0551 and 92-6550 had arrived from Atlanta the previous evening and on Tuesday both flew on to Pisa in Italy.

Also on Tuesday, Eastern Airways number N706KW on contract to the US military arrived at Shannon airport from Prince Sultan air base in Saudi Arabia about 6.20 am, refueled and then flew back to the USA.

The refueling at Shannon of the two USAF WARPLANES was approved by the Irish Department of Foreign Affairs led by Minister Simon Coveney, and the Eastern Air aircraft on contract to the US military was approved by the Irish Department of Transport led by Minister Eamon Ryan. WHO ARE THE INNOCENTS IN THESE MATTERS AND WHO ARE THE GUILTY ONES?????

Ken and Tarak were sentenced at 11.30 today while the war criminals and those who facilitate war crimes at Shannon airport go free

Update from Ed Horgan at ShannonWatch
At the court today our peace activists supporters emptied their wallets and went to the local ATM cash dispensers and raised the necessary cask to pay the fine and then persuaded Ken and Tarak to allow the fine to be paid so they will be on their way home in the next day or so. The case got unusually good and positive publicity in Ireland so that was a bonus. How to held: A GoFundMe page has been created to help support Ken and Tarak’s activism.