Sir, – While I was happy to see your prominent coverage about my husband Tarak Kauff and Ken Mayers getting arrested at Shannon Airport ("'Surprisingly Humane': Elderly US veterans arrested at Shannon describe their prison stay", News, March 30th), I was disappointed that there was barely a reference to why these two members of Veterans For Peace risked arrest and spent nearly two weeks in jail without bail. There is no mention of the fact that the US uses Shannon Airport to refuel military flights, in direct violation of Irish neutrality, and that a US military-contracted aircraft was in fact on the tarmac the morning they were arrested, which was confirmed by the arresting officer at their arraignment.
Since 2001, Shannon has been a pitstop for flights of US soldiers, weapons, and munitions to its illegal wars in the Middle East and for rendition flights carrying prisoners to US torture sites. Millions of troops have flown through “neutral” Ireland on their way to the US-created and supported murder and mayhem in Afghanistan, Iraq, Yemen, Somalia and other places. The Irish Government is thus complicit in the war crimes and atrocities committed by the US military. Authorities have turned a blind eye to the situation, and Ken and Tarak were trying to get local police to enforce Ireland’s neutrality and inspect the aircraft. Tarak and Ken were treated well in prison and made friends among the guards and other prisoners, many of whom supported their action and encouraged them to “keep protesting”, and I hope they can also be given a fair hearing in Ireland’s leading newspaper as to the important motivations for the actions that landed them in jail. – Yours, etc,
Woodstock, New York.