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CW5 Re-Trial Collapses

category dublin | crime and justice | feature author Tuesday November 08, 2005 18:22author by Anon Court Reporter Report this post to the editors

Probable Public Perception of Biased Judge, AGAIN

"The CW5's 2 main statutory defences to the charges were ruled out as 'inadmissible' this morning by Judge Donagh McDonagh, who was then rather suddenly forced to 'pull the plug' and send the jury home after his relationship with a certain Mr. Bush was revealed to the Court by defence counsel."

Remember this place?With the above words the Anon Court Reporter starts this, his 9th and last for this round, court report. Since it seems the judge forgot to order that the reasons for the collapse of the case be kept out of the media (as was done when the first trial collapsed) all the gory details are included in full. Also included below are links to Anon Court Reporter's exemplary day by day blow by blow reporting of the case

The CW5's 2 main statutory defences to the charges were ruled out as 'inadmissible' this morning by Judge Donagh McDonagh, who was then rather suddenly forced to 'pull the plug' and send the jury home after his relationship with a certain Mr. Bush was revealed to the Court by defence counsel.

Last Friday was the ninth day of this trial, and the DPP had made an application that the CW5s whole main defence of Lawful Excuse under the Criminal Damage Act 1991 (as amended in 1997) be ruled inadmissible and denied to the jury.

[This is the legal clause (section 6.2.c) which makes the action justifiable if done with the honest belief that one is acting to save life or property, even if the belief is mistaken]

First thing this morning (at 10:30am) Judge Donagh McDonagh gave his ruling on this: saying that their intent was clearly to cause damage, there was no question of recklessness, that the language in the applicable section is substantially similar to UK legislation, on which several authorities had been opened. But that while everyone in court accepted that they had acted with an honest belief (subjective), the objective test, i.e. whether they have a LAWFUL excuse, that is a question of LAW for the Judge to decide.

Judge McDonagh said the key question is Was it done to protect others? He said that Mr. Oxley, the RAF military expert witness called by the defence last week, had given no evidence SPECIFICALLY indicating that the CW5 action had saved / protected any PARTICULAR life or property (Mr. Oxley actually said that this would be completely impossible to know, due to the complex and miasmic nature of war, but that nevertheless, in purely military terms, an attack on such a supply plane of the aggressor would be legitimate and useful from the point of view of a defending force).

McDonagh continued to say that therefore the connection implied was too tenuous, nebulous and remote when viewed objectively and therefore he had decided it was not a LAWFUL excuse and the defence would not be available to be put to the jury.

The Judge further stated he would not direct the jury to enter a verdict of guilty.

McDonagh then went further to make a ruling on the 2nd statutory defence, i.e. Justifiable use of Force to Prevent Crime or a Breach of the Peace, or to protect property. This is contained in section 18 of the Non-Fatal Offences against the Person Act, 1997.

Neither party to the case had asked for a ruling on this matter, and the prosecution had seemed to concede its applicability, particularly in the light of the very frank testimony of Mr. Jimmy Massey, a former US Marine Sgt. who confessed under oath last week in the witness box to complicity in breaches of the Geneva Conventions for the protection of Citizens in time of War (by his 45-man platoon implementing shoot-to-kill orders against civilians, resulting in the shooting dead of 30 Iraqi civilians during a 3-month tour starting at the time of the land invasion in March 2003) and the fact that most of the CW5 defendants had in their own testimony steadfastly proclaimed their intention to prevent just such crimes, which they had foreseen. It had also been clearly established with Garda witnesses that such crimes are in fact triable before this very same Circuit Court, by virtue of the (Irish) Geneva Conventions Act, 1962, which brings prosecution of offences committed anywhere, anytime, by anyone, against this instrument of international law firmly within the jurisdiction of domestic law enforcement in this country.

These uncomfortable legal facts the Judge now proceeded to eliminate on the grounds that, reading the whole act in context, since it deals with non-fatal assault, threatening people with syringes, etc., the crime referred to be prevented has to be one of those mentioned in the other sections of the same act, and has to be territorial, (no reason was given for this, and much cogent argument had been presented to the contrary) and to read it any other way would be to do violence to the act. Therefore, it was very strongly implied (although not explicitly stated as such) that this defence was also to be denied them and not go to the jury either.

Apparently, the legalistic logic of Judge McDonagh seemed to imply that if Massey and his men had used a syringe instead of a M-16 on the Iraqi civilians, or maybe only assaulted as opposed to murdered them, then the Catholic Workers would be allowed to put this legal defence, of trying to prevent that crime, to the jury in Dublin.

There was then a short recess for the defence to digest this unpalatable news, an effective tabula rasa of the defences by the Judge.

There then followed a very vigorous defence application to recall Mr. Oxley to fill in the gap the judge had found in his evidence and used in ruling out the defence of Lawful Excuse. In making this application phrases such as, outrageous attack on justice, very unfair, and "putting procedure before the interests of justice etc., were directed to the Judge by the defence. The DPP opposed this application and the Judge deferred his decision, arranging for closing speeches to follow and ordering that the court break for lunch.

However, just before that point, Mr. Michael OHiggins, SC for Deirdre Clancy and Nuin Dunlop, addressed the judge to inform him that, A matter has been brought to our attention this morning and there may be an issue arise afterwards which will affect the course of the trial. I am awaiting further instructions.
Judge McDonagh replied I await with baited breath! and left for his lunch on the strength of this bon mot.

At 14:30 the court reconvened in the absence of the jury, who had not appeared in the morning at all.

Defence senior counsel Mr. Rod OHanlon, for Ciaron OReilly and Damien Moran, now proceeded to broach the mysterious issue mentioned earlier telling Judge McDonagh that it had come to the attention of the defence that he, Judge McDonagh, had attended the Bush inauguration in 2001 and been invited back in 2004, and that if this was the case there may be an application that he disqualify himself. At this point Judge McDonagh laughed aloud, and alone.

Mr. OHiggins then addressed him to ask for confirmation of the details supplied to the defence, namely that he (McDonagh) had attended, while a barrister, at a photocall in Heuston, Texas, in or around 1995 and been photographed posing beside the then-governor of Texas, George W. Bush, and had then subsequently been invited to and had indeed attended the Bush inauguration in 2001, and been further invited to the 2004 re-inauguration by Mr. Tom DeLay, but had been unable to attend due to a schedule conflict.

Judge McDonagh confirmed all this, saying, You are absolutely correct.

The defence then proceeded to make application that the Judge discharge the jury, due to the potential for a public perception of bias on his behalf against the accused given the fact that, in a certain sense, Mr. Bush, with whom the Judge would appear to be on friendly personal terms, is implicated at least indirectly in this case. It was further pointed out that if this were the position of a juror serving on the panel, that person would in all likelihood be excluded for cause shown if such information came to light at the time of jury selection.

The prosecution did not oppose this application, but did open to the Judge two authorities. Firstly, the House of Lords ruling in the Pinochet case, where the decision to extradite was overturned due to one Judge having an indirect connection to Amnesty International, who had joined to the proceedings for the purpose of making submissions, although not a party strictly speaking (Amicus Curiae brief). The other case was the Dublin Well-Woman Centre v. SPUC. The senior counsel for the DPP, Mr. Conor Devally suggested that these cases indicated it would not be necessary for the Judge in this case to either recuse himself or discharge the jury.

Judge McDonagh then took a short recess to consider his position, before returning at 15:05 and abruptly calling down the jury to dismiss them, thus collapsing the trial.

Tempests were very clearly written on McDonaghs face at this time and he did not offer the jury any explanation for this strange result, despite their obvious disappointment at having to endure 14 days of stress for no reason.

As the jury trooped out with much grumbling and shrugs of the shoulders, McDonagh very rapidly adjourned the case, the defendants to continue under the same bail to appear before him again on Friday at court number 8, and he then practically ran out of Court - the echos of defence counsel intoning Very good, milord bouncing off his back.

NB: This factual report is based on contemporaneous notes and observations made personally by the author in Circuit Court #23 today. Transmission Ends.

author by eeekkkkpublication date Mon Nov 07, 2005 21:57author address author phone Report this post to the editors

Enquiring minds want to know? It seems (surreally) convenient for a state that wants a conviction at all costs that a mate of Tom Delay and a regular in texas would be on the bench for this case in particular.

author by observer2publication date Mon Nov 07, 2005 22:14author address author phone Report this post to the editors


Related Link: http://radio.indymedia.org/news/2005/11/7592.php
author by Deirdre Clancy - Pitstop Ploughsharespublication date Mon Nov 07, 2005 23:28author address author phone Report this post to the editors

This is a fantastic rendition of this morning's events.

author by Elainepublication date Tue Nov 08, 2005 00:08author address author phone Report this post to the editors

Or a Thrilling Ride, as Dublin Bus would have it.

Prepare For A Thrilling Ride - Ciaron Addresses The Crowd At The Spire
Prepare For A Thrilling Ride - Ciaron Addresses The Crowd At The Spire

Buddhists, Moslems And Christians - Sheltering Under The Same Tree
Buddhists, Moslems And Christians - Sheltering Under The Same Tree

Liz Consults Iraqi Doctor Zahir
Liz Consults Iraqi Doctor Zahir

Paul And Colm Enjoying The Early Morning Sunlight
Paul And Colm Enjoying The Early Morning Sunlight

Martin O'Sullivan And Damien
Martin O'Sullivan And Damien

author by Elainepublication date Tue Nov 08, 2005 00:23author address author phone Report this post to the editors

that something was happening. Everybody crowded in to the small room leaving the banners taped to the ground and a Buddhist maintaining the vigil outside. Suddenly it was all over ( for a while ) and the Champagne corks popped, and no doubt are still popping, in Dublin tonight.

Banners Stuck To The Ground - Holders Ran Into Court To Witness The Unfolding Saga
Banners Stuck To The Ground - Holders Ran Into Court To Witness The Unfolding Saga

Five Get Deja Vu At The Four Courts
Five Get Deja Vu At The Four Courts

Damien Gets Interviewed
Damien Gets Interviewed

Hospitality In The Green Room - Cheers Ciaron
Hospitality In The Green Room - Cheers Ciaron

author by Charles Boylan - Wake Up With Co-Op! Vancouver BCpublication date Tue Nov 08, 2005 01:06author email charles_boylan at telus dot comauthor address author phone 1-778-772-8550Report this post to the editors

Good work all of you! Congratulations to an alert, vigilant defence team. Bravo. Look forward to interviewing Ciaron soon.

Charles Boylan

author by abihanusepublication date Tue Nov 08, 2005 01:20author address author phone Report this post to the editors

The president of the Circuit Criminal Court, Donegal man Michael White, allocated Judge Frank O'Donnell (ex-PD Candidate) for the March trial and Donagh MacDonagh for the farce that unfolded today. Frank was cunning enough in the first trial to order the media from reporting as to why he was discharging the jury and removing himself from the case at the request of the defendants through their counsel.

Maybe Donagh was so hungary for a sandwich or a pint this afternoon that after he had discharged the jury, he scurried into his chambers to defrock and possibly ring and inform Tom or George to close the cupboards and prevent any more skeletons from rattling his credibility.

But his belly was bigger than his brain, in that he forgot to order the mainstream media to shut their traps (which they are pretty good at doing) and not report the reasons for the mistrial.

So Judge Michael White may, after giving a few lashes of the cane to Frank and Donagh, haul in the rest of the available circuit criminal court judges back to the judicial classroom and ask them to lay bare whether they believe the Catholic Worker 5 receive lethal injection, an honorary vacation to Mountjoy B-Wing, incarceration in Green st. dungeons alongside Billy the Bowl, or fair trial! Huh, fat chance of the latter.......

Hope this helps answer the question posted.

author by Dockopublication date Tue Nov 08, 2005 02:38author address author phone Report this post to the editors

I am also impressed by this very good summary of the events of the day.

I was also in court throughout the day, but found the detail of the legal arguments too tedious to be easily summarised. I was perplexed by the logic of Judge McDonagh's application of objective criteria and interpretation of Mr Oxlee's testimony to rule against the defence of "lawful excuse".

Just one point where there seems to be a slight discrepancy: Although, as I remember events, the judge initially agreed without hesitation that he had attended a photo-call in connection with a barristers' conference he attended in Houston, Texas, in 1995, and that he had attended Mr Bush's initial inauguration, he subsequently stated that the defence counsel's allegations were "half right and half wrong", or some very similar phrase.

I think we must take him at his word when he says that the allegations are partially and not entirely true, but I cannot discern which details might be incorrect. Perhaps he would deny that Tom DeLay had invited him to attend this year's inauguration? Or perhaps he would deny that he had failed to attend?

Counsel for the prosecution kindly provided details of the two cases mentioned above, which he thought might be considered similar, but which he himself did not think were similar.

Although he asserted that he did not intend to tip the ruling one way or the other, Mr Devally stated that he thought that the judge's attendance at a presidential inauguration would be irrelevant, since such an event might be "attended by all ranks", including laypeople and officials. Here, he emphasised the word "all". If I believed this, I would be left perplexed as to why none of the many Americans of my acquaintance was invited. It is not that I do not know Americans of many different ranks, including former officers of the armed forces and intelligence services, university lecturers, doctors, teachers and translators. Republicans, Democrats and others.

Further, Mr Devally stated that he would differentiate between the cases, because, in the other cases, the judges had taken public positions on the broader political matters providing the context for the cases. But, he repeated, he did not want to tip the matter one way or the other.

The judge said that he would not permit his social life to be discussed openly, and invited the defence counsel to discuss the matter with him in his chambers.

And the rest is history.

The invitation to discuss his activities behind closed doors suggests to me that the judge's trips to the United States were not limited to professional activities, but included extraneous social activities - a mixture of business and pleasure that might indeed, dependent on the company he kept, give rise to perceptions of bias among those who might not know that he is above such weakness.

I later met a friend who was able to summarise the dramatic turn of events by which the jury was discharged, which he said he had seen on the news. Did anybody else see that?

author by Gary MacLennan - QUTpublication date Tue Nov 08, 2005 03:17author email g.maclennan at qut dot edu dot auauthor address 39 Denham Street Annerley Brisbane Qld. Australiaauthor phone (7) 3393 2626Report this post to the editors

Heartiest congratulations to all the CW5. Truly you are an inspiration each and everyone of you.

As for you Ciaron, I am delighted that my resolution to write to you in prison will not be put to the test (just yet!).

I am so pleased for you.

Will ring your father and chat over the good news with him.

Stay strong



author by Sen Ryanpublication date Tue Nov 08, 2005 04:15author address author phone Report this post to the editors

"Judge" Donagh, seems to be a bit of an idiot. At the very least that is. He could be a whole lot more or a whole lot less I suppose, but it all revolves around Donagh not possessing an intellect. Well at least the defence waited until Donagh had soiled himself somewhat with his perverted notions about the nature of what constitutes a threat, before pointing out that being a friend of the alleged war criminal might constitute a conflict of interest considering that the defenders were being tried for attacking property that was ultimately under the direction of the very same alleged war criminal.

Let's look at the actions of Sgt. Jimmy Massey again. Jimmy says he was under orders to shoot civilians. Now before Jimmy goes to kill these civilians he is offering them threat. Had someone stopped him from actually killing these citizens they would have been covered by the use of justifiable force under the Non-Fatal Offences against the Person Act. I agree with Donagh here somewhat in that JImmy Massey no longer posed a threat to those he had already killed. However where Donagh and I part company is that I reckon that Jimmy at the point where he actually kills some of the people he has offered threat to, now constitutes a greater danger to the civilian population, in that he has now offered proof of his threat.

Anyways I don't want to dwell on the legalistic loopholes that we, from a National viewpoint can and will use, to justify the murderous and genocidal acts of the USA. I'm ashamed of my country enough as it is.

All I really want to do is to wish the five defenders (not defendants) well. And to offer my condolences that their struggle and attempted humiliation is far from over.

It seems that we have evolved a new democratic practice of dictatorship. Ie. we will be offered the same choice again and again until we choose what we are supposed to choose. For example remember the Nice referendum roundabout fiasco or maybe the "try and try again" methodology that was used to convict another defender, Mary Kelly.

But know this. The powers that be are ultimately cowards; you will be convicted, but your punishment will be minimal, probably a lot less punishing that the ordeal you currently find yourselves smothered by.

The little dog barks, it's true, but it is only because he is a cringing mongrel, who wants his master to think otherwise.

Our reversed democracy (ie. a system where it's "power from the people" as opposed to "power to the people.") is crumbling, and its wake will be the greatest party Ireland has ever known.

Keep the faith.


Sen Ryan

author by Who's the Mug?publication date Tue Nov 08, 2005 11:25author address author phone Report this post to the editors


Mug shot from when DeLay was arrested on conspiracy and money laundering charges.

Related Link: http://www.thesmokinggun.com/archive/1020051delay1.html
author by Curiouspublication date Tue Nov 08, 2005 11:26author address author phone Report this post to the editors

Why did the original judge remove himself from the case?

author by Responsepublication date Tue Nov 08, 2005 11:35author address author phone Report this post to the editors

First judge removed himself due to "perceived prejudice", do you notice a theme here. Can these people get a fair trial in such a servile state as Ireland?

author by Righteous Pragmatistpublication date Tue Nov 08, 2005 11:54author address author phone Report this post to the editors

The fact is that prior to the invasion of 2003 Iraq was a totalitarian dictatorship ruled by Saddam Hussein and now in 2005 Iraq is a constitutional democracy - millions of Iraqis have voted in January and October and will vote again next month in overwhelming numbers in support of democratic politics.

If George W. Bush had not defied the United Nations Security Council and chosen to leave Saddam in power millions of Iraqis would still be under Hussein's tyrannical rule.

I cannot for the life of me understand why the anti-war movement was were opposed to fighting a monstrous fascist dicator who killed more than three million people over more than thirty years of barbarism?

Would you rather see an entire nation still in chains just for the satisfaction of seeing Bush humiliated? Are you that politically shallow or are you completely psychotic?

author by guydebordisdeadpublication date Tue Nov 08, 2005 12:04author address author phone Report this post to the editors

There's more than one way to oust a despot, killing thousands of civilians and destroying the infrastructure U.S. style isn't entirely desirable.

What made the U.S. prioritise Iraq over any of the other despotic regimes in the wolrd?

Was it oil?


author by Timpublication date Tue Nov 08, 2005 12:14author address author phone Report this post to the editors

Sorry RP, no-one's bothered with you today...

The previous judge was smart enough to put a ban on the press reporting the exact reason for the collapse... so his behaviour, disgraceful as it was, was not reported.

The current judge must have forgotten to do it in his excitement.

It says that the state doesn't believe in it's own rhetoric about the rule of law.... they're afraid to allow a jury decide freely on this issue with the full facts in front of them. I was in court for most of the trial, and I think the jury got to hear an awful lot that the Irish public hasn't seen and heard, and how 5 people acting with no self interest, damaged part of the war machine that had already done so much harm to people in Iraq, and was about to step up several gears. The prosecutor was losing his attempts to paint the act as 'protest' instead of attempt to protect life, so the next thing was to try to deny the existence of Section 6 of the very act that the 5 were charged under, the bit where one can damage property if it is done to save life, and the jury had already heard an RAF logistics expert explain the circumstances how this action could be portrayed as doing that... so they had the objective test of what the effect was intended to be, and the simple decency, dignity, and bravery of the defendants on the stand showed the jury that they were concerned individuals motivated to save lives, not a bunch of unsophisticated hot-heads trying to make a political point.

The state has been denying so much about Shannon for so long and sticking to a bad hymn sheet, they're not willing to risk a jury of ordinary, unelected people to give a contrary opinion.

Fair play to the defendants and their legal teams!

author by Still curiouspublication date Tue Nov 08, 2005 12:30author address author phone Report this post to the editors

But does anybody know what O'Donnell's perceived prejudice was?

author by observer2publication date Tue Nov 08, 2005 12:59author address author phone Report this post to the editors

Apparently the connection between him and Bush, he met bush in texas in the 90's and was invited to his inauguration, could cause a "perception" in the eyes of an average person that he might, now only might, be a wee bit on the U.S side as far as imperialist occupation of soverign nations is concerned.

This is aside from his admission that he is a pilot with"some knowledge of 737's and C-30's!!!!!

Of course there is also the question of how he came to meet bush, what were the conferences? were thry about law or were they about how to correctly shake a brothers hand!

author by Kevin Manneringspublication date Tue Nov 08, 2005 13:13author address author phone Report this post to the editors

The court report from Anon Court Reporter was a brilliant job, well done whoever you are.
And well done whoever spotted the Bush connection and its legal significance. Can anyone spill the beans on who noticed it? When can we expect the next episode of this saga?

author by Just Thinkingpublication date Tue Nov 08, 2005 13:15author address author phone Report this post to the editors

Wasn't he awarded 90 grand for a libel case he brought against the Sun (I think they said he was a provo fellow traveller) and wasn't he the FF barrister in the Briscoe/Eric Byrne 5 or 6 votes either way stand off at one of the general elections?

author by Eoin Dubskypublication date Tue Nov 08, 2005 13:17author address author phone Report this post to the editors

The Pitstop Ploughshares 5 have been put through enough at this stage.

They're right when they say that the inconvenience caused by their bail conditions and impending/collapsing trials is nothing compared with what Iraqis are going through right now. Their action was done in the context of what's going on in Iraq, that's true.

But these collapsing trials must be judged in the context of Ireland and Irish law too. Someone else has brought up the Nice referendii, and the disgrace that it was.

The ICCL and everyone else who is interested in civil rights and justice in Ireland shouldn't stand for this punishment without conviction that's dragging on for almost three years now.

The PSP 5 must have spent thousands and thousands by now to get their witnesses and research together for each of these trials. Not to speak of the strain on their spirits.

The prosecution has had two test runs now. If it goes to another re-trial we'll see -- like the borg -- the prosecution fine tune their attack based on the defences and testimony that they now know will come up. That's the exact opposite of what's supposed to happen (defence shouldn't have to show their cards until they play them).

author by eeekkkkkpublication date Tue Nov 08, 2005 13:41author address author phone Report this post to the editors

they did jail time at time of the action and three years of having movements limited since. If another trial is scheduled for say 8-10 months time the vindictiveness of the state will be clear to all.

author by abihainsidenusepublication date Tue Nov 08, 2005 13:58author address author phone Report this post to the editors

As the boys and gals on Dorset st. say in the lead up to a match at Croke Park: This is the 'Official Program' or 'Official Pogrom'?

The following is interaction between counsel for the defendants and the judge is verbatim.


*Mr. Nix SC for Karen Fallon, defendant
*Judge Donagh MacDonagh
*Mr. Roderick O'Hanlon SC for Damien Moran and Ciaron O'Reilly, defendants
*Mr. Michael O'Higgins SC for Deirdre Clancy and Nuin Dunlop

Act IV Scene i:

MR NIX: I think my friends may have gone to the Library, my lord, to get a book.
JUDGE: Is the State Solicitor here?
MR NIX: No, my lord.
JUDGE: Very good. Guard, will you bring out the jury, please.

(In the presence of the jury)

JUDGE: Very good.
Ladies and gentlemen, matters have arisen in your absence, many matters have arisen in your absence. A matter has arisen in your absence which is pertinent to your service.

I am left with no option but to withdraw this case from you and to discharge you.
Thank you very much for your attendance.

I am sorry for keeping you closeted for so long up in your jury room.
I want to do no more than to thank you for your attendance and to bid you farewell.
The case is withdrawn from you.
Thank you very much.
I remand the Accused to Court 8, Friday, on the same terms as they are remanded before.
MR O'HANLON: May it please your lordship.
MR. O'HIGGINS: May it please your lordship.

NOVEMBER 11TH, 2005.

author by Relievedpublication date Tue Nov 08, 2005 14:35author address author phone Report this post to the editors

This second collapse raises serious questions about the appointment of both judges in the two trials. Was there politicial pressure brought to bear? We cannot say that at all with any knowledge, and I am most certainly not implying that it happened in any explicit manner. But, it does raise the issue which is central to this case: that it is highly political in nature. The legal and political establishment in Ireland could not countenance the implications of the CW5 defence. It is about keeping cosy with our 'allies' the US.

Certainly, I cannot believe the crass arrogance of the judge not to have considered his position when appointed. Did he not think it would be queried? Fantastic work by the defence team overall, their playing of this trump card was both necessary and crucial. And the judge recusing himself is a tacit admission that this is a politicised trial - it can hinge on one's political and moral beliefs. If he can see that his actions could be modified by his political beliefs, then one would have to conclude that the defence are right to insist that it is primarily a political/human rights based trial.

The defendants actions were motivated by concern for human rights and life. It was not a blind act of vandalism, and cannot be judged in those terms alone. I was dismayed to hear, initially, that the judge had ruled out this particular defence (i.e. lawful excuse) because it implied that the only grounds for the jury to decide upon were whether the disarmament had taken place or not. Clearly, it had, and clearly that meant only one conclusion: guilty. I was honestly shocked to hear his decision. It is so manifestly stupid!

Good luck to all of the CW5, I am hugely impressed with your bravery, stoicism and fortitude in the face of the whole devious machinery of the state.

author by Ivan Hpublication date Tue Nov 08, 2005 15:36author address author phone Report this post to the editors

Following his collapsing of the Catholic Worker trial yesterday, what do you think Judge Donagh McDonagh might be up to today? Resting? Thinking over his predicament? Wondering should he have mentioned at the beginning of the trial that he had links with Bush's circle?
Actually he's back in another court already:


Men sentenced over Duggan assault
08 November 2005 14:14
A tennis coach and a university student who left a man in a coma after attacking him on Dublin's Grafton Street are to serve three months in prison.
Stephen Nugent, 24, from Swords and 29-year-old Dermot Cooper from Stillorgan, both in Dublin, pleaded guilty to assault causing harm to Sligo librarian Barry Duggan in April 2003.
Judge Donagh McDonagh said the defendants had run off 'triumphant' after the assault on a 'puny man'.
However,Judge McDonaghaccepted that they had no previous convictions and were unlikely to come to the Attention of garda in the future.
He therefore imposed three-year sentences with allbut the last three months suspended.

author by Dave Donnellanpublication date Tue Nov 08, 2005 17:32author address author phone Report this post to the editors

The collpase of the CW5 trial brings the focus very much on the judiciary and the process by which judges are appointed to preside at trials. A question that emerges is either the judge knew at the outset of the trial that his association with the Bush administration compromised his position or he didn't.

If he did know why did he accept the job?
If he didn't know, how was it that a judge serving at this level would fail to notice such a salient fact?

The other question that emerges regards those responsible for the appointing of judges to preside at trials. In their case either they were aware of the conflict of interest in this case or they weren't.

If they were why they they appoint him?
If they weren't aware then does that not suggest that the whole process of appointing judges to trials needs to be looked at in depth in ensure such a waste of time and resources doesn't happen again. Not to speak of the further injustice to the CW5 who now have to endure yet another trial!

author by Eoinpublication date Tue Nov 08, 2005 17:51author address author phone Report this post to the editors

Two judges excused themselves from hearing my appeal in Ennis Circuit Court last year, sighting possible conflicts of interest. So it's not unheard of that judges at that level might put their hands up and say "I'd rather not, just in case".

The judges who wouldn't hear my appeal didn't say what their issues were -- I could only think of one of them and that my uncle used to pick on him in school.

There are judges who are honest (or just just smart?) enough to acknowledge that their position to judge antiwar campaigners in Ireland is compromised by their own interests and connections. Then there are those who think that it shouldn't matter.

author by Damienpublication date Tue Nov 08, 2005 19:33author address author phone Report this post to the editors

For all the solidarity from all we've encountered since this saga began. You have helped sustain us to remain upbeat and vigilant.

If you have free time please join us at the Spire from 9am this Friday morning November 11th where will continue remembering the Iraq war dead by walking to the Fourt Courts (Departure time 9.30pm).

We are unclear as to whether Court 8 will commence at 10am or 10.30am. or those of you who are interested in coming to Court 8 please be aware that it is a very claustrophobic atmosphere full of trial seeking barristers and Accused persons. At best you will probably get to stand at the door.

After you enter Morgan Place entrance on the quay (It's near the old main entrance), court 23 (where the trial took place, this will be on your left) but you gotta hook a right and enter the first door on the right. Court 8 is down the corridor as you approach the gents toilet.

A trial date will be requested by the DPP. Same rules will apply. Ajudge, courtroom, and court personnel will be required for 3 weeks, hence the unlikelihood that this trial will recommence pre-Christmas.
Nevertheless, Judge Desmond Hogan may feel that this saga has dragged on long enough and will do his best to fit it in if at all possible.

As Judge MacDonagh replied before lunch on Monday to comments made by Senior Counsel for the Defence, regarding infomation which may give rise to the collapse of the trial, ' I await with baited breath'.

author by abihaaulnusepuhonanotherthreadpublication date Tue Nov 08, 2005 19:39author address author phone Report this post to the editors

I spoke with 6 female members of the jury after the collapse of the trial. They were very friendly and wanted to know how the hell it had collapsed after two weeks. They were all very forthcoming regarding where they stood with the case pre-hearing the judges conclusive charge.

They all told me they had no doubts as to whether the testimonies vindicated the CW5 action. In addition one of the male members made a very affirming comment at the end to one of the defence barristers and gestures of sympathy and solidairty to all the defendants.

The final female member of the jury also made affirming comments to one of the female defendants.

The 4 other male members of the jury said goodbye to some of the support outside. Some of the female members of the jury said that 2 or 3 jurors were difficult to read as to where they lay with the case, but one female member of the jury was adamant she felt they would have given a not guilty verdict.

I acknowledge that the jury may have made these decisions just to be friendly or feeling like they had no other choice in order to extract information as to why the trial collapsed, but it was quite obvious to me at least that they were very sympathetic to the defendants plight.
They stayed around talking to supporters for about 5 minutes after the trial.

Nevertheless, if the judge had an opportunity to charge the jury as narrowly as he was planning to, then I guess some of the jurors would have had a predicament: follow my conscience or follow directions from a neo-con ass-licker (Although they wouldn't have known that information if the trial proceeded to that stage).

So it certainly raised my hopes, that a jury of 12 Dublin residents were open to acquitting these 5 peacemakers after hearing expert testimony and the very moving testimony from the defendants themselves.

My prayers and thoughts are with you all this Friday. Hopefully you will have another trial before Christmas, or even better, the case will be dismissed altogether.

author by R. Isiblepublication date Tue Nov 08, 2005 20:29author address author phone Report this post to the editors

But in this Stan Goff piece in Counterpunch the truth-telling Marine sergeant comes out of the debacle well and the dirty machinery of the "journalists" is exposed. Goff makes the point that the next set of Abu Ghraib photos should be out soon. (Maybe in time for Christmas?). Speculation is running wild about who is delaying them and why (current bets are on the idea that it's the CIA keeping them back until they'll do most damage to the Bush crew).

Related Link: http://www.counterpunch.org/goff11082005.html
author by redjadepublication date Tue Nov 08, 2005 21:38author address author phone Report this post to the editors

America's best Investigative Reporter,
Seymour Hersh in July 2004 said:

"Some of the worst things that happened you don't know about, okay? Videos, um, there are women there. Some of you may have read that they were passing letters out, communications out to their men. This is at Abu Ghraib ... The women were passing messages out saying 'Please come and kill me, because of what's happened' and basically what happened is that those women who were arrested with young boys, children in cases that have been recorded. The boys were sodomized with the cameras rolling. And the worst above all of that is the soundtrack of the boys shrieking that your government has. They are in total terror. It's going to come out."

meanwhile, tofay, in George W Bush La-La Land... he says....

''President Bush on Monday defended U.S. interrogation practices and called the treatment of terrorism suspects lawful. "We do not torture," Bush declared in response to reports of secret CIA prisons overseas.''

author by Frank Cordaro - Des Moines Catholic Workerpublication date Tue Nov 08, 2005 21:49author address Iowa, USAauthor phone Report this post to the editors

Good golly!

The Ploughshares Witness that is going to last as long as this endless
criminal war!

Every time they drag you into court to be tried, your witness is
relived, retold and renewed! Having gone to enough trials myself, I
know your personal sacrifice is high - for every time you stand
before a judge and jury, you put your heart, your soul and your spirit
on the line....

My love, my heart, my gratitude and prayers go out to each and every
one of you.

Frank Cordaro

author by Mark Thomaspublication date Tue Nov 08, 2005 21:53author address London, Englandauthor phone Report this post to the editors


Good luck and good work.

Mark Thomas

author by Coiln hAiseadhapublication date Wed Nov 09, 2005 01:15author address author phone Report this post to the editors

Coverage of the mistrial on the Web:

Jury discharged in anti-war case

Trial collapses over claim judge was linked to Bush

Irish Times:
Trial of Shannon war protesters collapses for second time

Carlow People:
Case against Shannon anti-war protesters collapses again

Drogheda Independent:
Case against Shannon anti-war protesters collapses again [same as previous]

And not mainstream, but interesting nevertheless for presenting the story to British Christians:
Trial of Christians collapses after judge linked to US President


PS: I bet I'm not the only one to have a heightened sense of being intensely alive over the last couple of days. Being around people like the Pitstop 5 and their cunning counsel makes me aware of how weird and wonderful life is.

PPS: BTW, Mark Thomas, are you going to make this into comedy material? A pity you couldn't have been there yourself to see just how comical it was at times! - Particularly this very dramatic and almost farcical ending.

author by Carthagepublication date Wed Nov 09, 2005 06:41author address author phone Report this post to the editors

Excuse my plain English but has anyone actually demanded the resignation of this corrupt moralless moron of a judge?

Maybe my vision is a little limited but I can see only 2 possibilities:

1. He presided over the case in order to ensure a guilty verdict; or

2. He genuinely didnt realise that his history with bush was enough to ensure that he was unfit to preside over this case. If this is true then he is too stupid and incompetent to be allowed hold such an important position.

Either way, if any of us mere mortals was corrupt or incompetent in our jobs we would immediately be sacked. So why is this guy immune from the same treatment.

author by eoghanpublication date Wed Nov 09, 2005 10:25author address author phone Report this post to the editors

Pete Seeger - Keep your hands on that plough

'Took Paul and Silas, put 'em in the jail,
Had no one to go their bail.
Keep your hands on that plow, hold on.

Paul and Silas, they begin to shout,
Jail doors opened and they walked out.
Keep your hands on the plow and hold on-'

Great work pitstops,
much love.

author by Ploughshares Defencepublication date Wed Nov 09, 2005 14:09author address author phone 087 918 4552-for info or solidarity textsReport this post to the editors

This Friday the Pit Stop Ploughshares head back to the Four Courts to get a date for their third trial. Please join us if you can........

*8.30 am-Anti-War Vigil at TheSpire, O'Connell
*9.15 am-Peace Walk to Court
*10.00 or 10.30 am-Court 8 (will clarify exact court time later as a comment)

***Weather predictions are bad so bring wet weather gear.

Related Link: http://www.peaceontrial.com
author by R. Isiblepublication date Wed Nov 09, 2005 17:54author address author phone Report this post to the editors

Is at the centre of another controversy: he gave very lenient sentences (3 years with all but 3 months suspended) to two men that badly beat another man.

" Barry Duggan, a 37-year-old librarian from Sligo, suffered serious head injuries and was left comatose following the assault which occurred as he travelled up Grafton Street on his bicycle after a night out. Judge Donagh McDonagh described the injuries as "life threatening."" -- Irish Independent Nov 9 2005

In his summing up he also managed to insult the victim, describing him as a "puny man".

author by Eoinpublication date Wed Nov 09, 2005 18:59author address author phone Report this post to the editors

To be fair to the judge, there's no point in sending people to prison unless they're a threat to themselves and others. From the two weeks I just spent in Dublin, and what I heard of that case on RTE the other day, I think the problem is mostly drink-related. Remove the drunk/drink culture, and you go some way to removing the problem of these random acts of street violence at night.
Sure Judge McDonagh's friend, George W., is a case in point. He's been fine ever since he's been off the bottle.... wait a minute?!

author by dunkpublication date Wed Nov 09, 2005 19:32author address author phone Report this post to the editors

hope everyone is in good form, did people feel the 5 would have won?
wonder when this info came to light, was it there from the start, where it came from

in thinking about what denis halliday brought up in trinity, about everyone not doing enough:

anyway, just a little bit here from a rob fisk interview on democracy now
"These aircraft are flying through Europe. In fact, they're flying through Shannon Airport. I was giving a lecture in Ireland the other day, and I said, Why don't the Irish police go onboard these aircraft and unshackle these men and take them off in the interest of law and order? Because what we've got to now with the torture is that we are becoming the criminals. We are the criminals now."
printed text
and from vid film in links at top


author by Mark C - Teacherpublication date Wed Nov 09, 2005 19:38author address author phone Report this post to the editors

Good Luck with that comment Dunk, I mentioned the same thing (I was actually at the lecture) about two weeks ago and the thread seemed to generate plenty of emotion.

Note to A10: if you're going to comment either 1) don't, or 2) learn to spell and write.

Related Link: http://www.indymedia.ie/newswire.php?story_id=72527&search_text=rOBERT%20FISK
author by Zelda, Shannon Bansheepublication date Wed Nov 09, 2005 20:18author address author phone Report this post to the editors

Sending all good wishes to the CW5, your continuing valient and thoughtful actions are an inspiration. It is just over a year since I sat with Elaine at the end of the runway watching a plane take off towards Iraq. On that cold dismal night we felt very close to the horror of war and were moved as we read the names of some of those killed. Our action was just a small memorial to what was going on, how much better to have stopped a plane as the CW5 did. Since we got off with probation and they did something better they can only deserve the thanks of everyone.
The Judge like all the rest of his kind needs to remmember to "Judge not lest thou also be Judged" I doubt they will find anyone fit to Judge the CW5, just a lot of us happy to admire them

author by cathpublication date Wed Nov 09, 2005 20:24author address author phone Report this post to the editors

have just seen video clip and at least 2 of defendants seem disappointed that jury would not be given chance to make a finding etc etc; if the aim is to get to a verdict rather than postpone then why does the defence counsel keep using the tactic of objecting to the judge?

author by R. Isiblepublication date Wed Nov 09, 2005 21:11author address author phone Report this post to the editors

You will see that the judge was making some very surprisingly limiting rulings about what could be considered as evidence and what couldn't. Possibly an indication of extreme bias on his part. The jury would have had to decide whether to use "Jury nullification" and ignore his instructions and follow their consciences or else to make a decision within a very narrowly proscribed framework (created at the whim of the judge who appears to have substantial ties to the prinicpals behind the war that is killing people that the CW5/PSP tried to save).

It makes sense that the defence counsel would be suspicious about the fitness of such a judge and would feel that their clients weren't getting a fair trial.

author by Responsepublication date Wed Nov 09, 2005 21:18author address author phone Report this post to the editors

Chances are if the trial had stopped at that point before closings it would have been a hung jury or maybe an acquittal.

The trial wasn't going to stop there, it was going to stop with closings where only one side would have had a closing and a judge with a long relationship with the Bushmeister on their side and the defendants stripped of their legal defence.

So where the jury would have gone at that point is anyone's guess. The judge must have been confident enought to let a lot of evidence in during the trial and stripping the legal defence and charging the jury narrowly would have done the trick.

The way this trial collapses exposes the corruption at the basis of Irish society. How he could sit there for two weeks holding the fate of these five in his hands only to scamper on the 10 th day when the facts were put before him....says a lot.

Bravo to the defendants for pointing back to the ongoing crimes at Shannon. Hopefully there steadfastness will motivate all of us to address the issues rather being passive specatators of the tribulations of these five.

author by J.H.publication date Thu Nov 10, 2005 01:35author address Duluth, Mn USAauthor phone Report this post to the editors

A group of 15 people - including Army
veterans, advocates for the homeless, Catholic Workers and two people who have traveled to Iraq on humanitarian missions - attempted to nonviolently shut down Army recruiting operations in Duluth today.

Between 8:30 and 9 am, police arrested four men who refused to leave the doorway to the recruiting office: Michael Latsch and Kurt
Greenhalgh of Duluth; and John LaForge and John Heid, former Duluthians now living in Luck, WI. Latsch, LaForge and Greenhalgh were cited for "obstructing a
public sidewalk" and released with a preliminary court date of December 22. Heid was charged with "obstructing a public sidewalk" and "obstructing the legal process" and transported to St Louis County
Jail. He'll be arraigned tomorrow in Duluth District Court.

The activists argue that military recruiters regularly misrepresent realities of military life - from the reasons for the war in Iraq, to the near certainty of seeing combat, to the after-effects of post-traumatic stress and addiction.

"For many people, this office represents the first step on a road to mental anguish and homelessness," said Michael Latsch, a volunteer at a local hospitality house for homeless men. "Recruiters won't
tell them about the horror of combat, and the
government won't take care of them when they can't forget it."

Latsch points out that Veterans' Administration studies indicate that between 30% and 40% of adult homeless men in the US are military veterans.

The demonstration was the second recent attempt by antiwar activists to disrupt Army recruiting through nonviolent civil disobedience. On November 1st, three
men and four women were arrested after sitting in the office doorway and refusing to allow recruiters to enter the building. They will be arraigned on December 21 in Duluth.

author by Eoin Dubskypublication date Thu Nov 10, 2005 16:12author address author phone Report this post to the editors

I don't see how the trial can re-start after what happened in court. The defendants have been forthright and honest throughout the trial and the 32 months on bail and remand before then.

Meanwhile the state, and now the courts, have behaved disgracefully. First the government spread black propaganda, alleging that a Garda had been attacked and hospitalised by the group. Then odious bail conditions were imposed to limit their movements and freedom of expression. Three of the five are expats, but must sign on once a week at their local Garda station... or else. And now the final insult -- a highly connected Bush-supporter was appointed to judge their retrial, following a trial which collapsed because the previous judge "might" be perceived to be biased -- enough is enough!

To paraphrase a statement which the Pitstop Ploughshares 5 wrote on the hanger at Shannon: The travesty of justice stops here!

author by Noelie Prosecuttipublication date Thu Nov 10, 2005 16:21author address author phone Report this post to the editors

Time to cut your losses, Bertie. Don't tempt fate, it might be your turn in the dock, soon enough.

author by Publopublication date Thu Nov 10, 2005 16:58author address author phone Report this post to the editors

Cross-party support for Shannon protesters
By Kath Kyle Last updated: 10-11-05, 15:20

Five cross-party TDs and a Senator today joined together to demand the criminal charges faced by five anti-war protesters be dropped.
The trial of the five, who are accused of damaging a US Navy plane at Shannon Airport, collapsed earlier this week after defence lawyers suggested the judge had been invited to both of President George W Bush's presidential inaugurations and attended the first one in 2000.

It is the second time in six months that a mis-trial has been declared in this case on the basis of "perceived bias". The first trial was also abandoned when Judge Frank O'Donnell withdrew it from the jury on the sixth day of the trial.

Five TDs - the Labour Party's Joe Costello; John Gormley of the Green Party; Aengus O'Snodaigh, of Sinn Fin and Independent TDs Tony Gregory and Finian McGrath have joined Senator David Norris in signing a statement which questions whether a fair trial is now possible.

"Despite the presumption of innocence being a pillar of a democratic society, the ongoing punishment of these five peace activists through strict bail conditions and the threat of future incarceration is a disgraceful criminalisation of peaceful dissent," the statement says.

All the signatories welcomed the opportunity to show their solidarity with the protesters and Mr McGrath commended them as the Rosa Parks of 2005. "They are not criminals and should not be treated as such," he said

Mr Costello said he had been in Shannon during the summer and it was "flooded" with US soldiers. "We are not just providing fuel for planes but welcoming and hosting soldiers on Irish soil," he said.

Mr O'Snodaigh condemned the treatment of the protestors and said it was a "scandal" they were put on trial in the first palace. "It's scandalous it continued and a bigger scandal that judge in this case actually took on the case - it's all been an absolute waste of tax-payers money."

When questioned about whether they would support the same kind of direct, perhaps illegal, action in the future, Mr Gormley said that he thought that if lives were going to be saved and property was going to be saved then the action was indeed justifiable. Although he added that he was not in a position to urge anyone to take any kind of action.

Mr O'Snodaigh said that he supports direct action and that in this case the war in Iraq was a clear breach of international law and Irish law, which the State is not willing to apply. He went on to say that perhaps if other people throughout the world took the same action "the US may have thought twice about going to war and continuing the war in Iraq."

The five accused, who have pleaded not guilty to two counts each of causing damage without lawful excuse to a US naval aircraft have been remanded on continuing bail until this Friday.

Related Link: http://www.ireland.com/newspaper/breaking/2005/1110/breaking53.htm
author by Ploughshares Support Grouppublication date Thu Nov 10, 2005 19:30author address author phone Report this post to the editors

Press Release - Politicians Demand Abandonment of Shannon 5


'Politicians Demand Shannon 5 Trial Be Abandoned'

The collapse of the Shannon 5 trial in the Four Courts this week, due to the acknowledgement of presiding Judge, Donagh MacDonagh, that he attended the inauguration of President Bush in 2000, raises serious questions that a fair trial is now possible in this case. It is the second time in six months that a mistrial has been declared in this case on the basis of "perceived bias".

Despite the presumption of innocence been a pillar of any democratic society, the ongoing punishment of these five peace activists through strict bail conditions and the threat of future incarceration is disgraceful criminalisation of peaceful dissent.

Since they acted to save life and property at Shannon Airport on February 3rd 2003, tens of thousands of innocent Iraqi civilians have been killed as well as over 2000 US soldiers. Countless more lives have been scarred forever with emotional and physical injuries due to this disastrous imperialist misadventure in Iraq.

We call for the charges of criminal damage to a US Navy plane bound for the theatre of war in Iraq and the threat of imprisonment on the five peace activists to be dropped. We demand the Irish government be a true friend to the U.S.A and withdraw the services of Shannon Airport as a pitstop for their war machine.

We hope Ireland's traditional role as a force for peacemaking and nonviolent conflict resolution
throughout the world can be redeemed despite the compromising of our netrality on a daily basis by allowing a belligerent force (the U.S.) engage in a war deemed 'illegal' by Kofi Annan, 'immoral' by world religious leaders, and 'unwinnable' by military experts.

Joe Costello (Labour TD, Dublin Central)
John Gormley (Green Party TD, Dublin South-East)
Aengus O'Snodaigh (Sinn Fein TD, Dublin South Central)
Finian McGrath (Independant TD, Dublin North Central)
Tony Gregory (Independent TD, Dublin Central)
David Norris (Independent Senator, University of Dublin)

For more information contact 087 9638398


Related Link: http://www.peaceontrial.com
author by tjpublication date Fri Nov 11, 2005 05:23author address author phone Report this post to the editors

hey all,

after meeting robbie sim at the st. patricks 4 trial here in the usa, i've gained interest in the shannon events. sadly today, i return to catch up on the events regarding this bozo judge and can only say i'm in shock!!!

the strength the defenders have despite all they've endured is staggering. my words simply cannot describe the admiration i have for you all. despite my disbelief at what has transpired, do know: cause and effect is a powerful law. peace be with you all, your efforts are NOT going unnoticed.

~ tj (upstate, new york - usa)

author by corbyeirepublication date Fri Nov 11, 2005 11:16author address author phone Report this post to the editors

"Individuals have international duties which transcend the national
obligations of obedience ... Therefore [individual citizens] have the duty
to violate domestic laws to prevent crimes against peace and humanity
from occurring.": The Nuremberg Tribunal 1945-1946.

author by Cpublication date Fri Nov 11, 2005 14:03author address author phone Report this post to the editors

They're back in court today? how is it going/how did it go?

author by redjadepublication date Fri Nov 11, 2005 14:17author address author phone Report this post to the editors

Eight more months!!!

Is the Irish Court system so incompetent?

author by Media Watchpublication date Fri Nov 11, 2005 15:27author address author phone Report this post to the editors

Date set for anti-war protesters' third trial
11/11/2005 - 13:47:11

Five anti-war protesters accused of causing millions of dollars of damage to a US military plane in Shannon were today facing a long wait for their third trial.

The second trial against the Pitstop Plough Shares activists collapsed earlier this week amid allegations that Judge Donagh McDonagh who was hearing the case had links to President George W Bush.

Today, Judge Desmond Hogan set a trial date of July 5 2006.


author by Ya basta - Ya bastapublication date Fri Nov 11, 2005 15:56author address author phone Report this post to the editors

Dear Redjade,

YES. The courts are that incompetent. Enough is enough is enough.

author by Ciaronpublication date Fri Nov 11, 2005 17:25author address author phone 087 918 4552Report this post to the editors

Pit Stop Ploughshares scored a date for their thrid trial today.....July 5th. 2006.

Defendants are joining the Afri crew at the "Cat & Cage" bar, Drumcondra tonight Fri Nov 11th. 9 pm.
Music by Dejimbe
Poetry Reading by Donal O'Kelly

So drop up if you wish to connect post-trial etc

Related Link: http://www.peaceontrial.com
author by parsed wordspublication date Sat Nov 12, 2005 18:24author address author phone Report this post to the editors


Madam, - Dermot Ahern says that he accepts the statement by the US authorities that they "had never secretly transported suspected terrorists through Shannon Airport".

The devil is in the detail of the word "secretly".

I have never heard or seen reports of inspections by Irish authorities of any US aircraft passing through Shannon.

It can, therefore, be claimed that it was not done secretly.

That does not mean that it was not done.

- Yours, etc,

DERMOT TREACY, The Maple, Grange Hall, Rathfarnham, Dublin 16.

author by aaapublication date Sat Nov 12, 2005 19:04author address author phone Report this post to the editors

I read that thought it was weird, they haven't checked the planes in any way shape of form.

author by redjadepublication date Sat Nov 12, 2005 21:16author address author phone Report this post to the editors

"had never secretly transported suspected terrorists through Shannon Airport".


yeah and as Bill Clinton said: "I never had sex with that woman"
But is oral sex, sex? The meaning of is, is?

'Never secretly'
• Secret from whom? The public or the Irish Gov't

'suspected terrorists'
• Who suspects? Or does Dermot Ahern think proof was provided?

and finally....

'through Shannon Airport'

• OK, what about Baldonnel in Dublin? or Knock International Airport? Somewhere else?

author by Ruthpublication date Mon Nov 14, 2005 22:33author address author phone Report this post to the editors

On November 9, 2005, Lana Jacobs was sentenced for her part in an act of civil
disobedience at the ROTC building (Crowder Hall) on the University of Missouri-Columbia campus. Associate Circuit Judge Larry Bryson, imposed a $500 fine, suspending $450, and ordered her to pay restituion of $27 and court costs.

He also placed her on two years of unsupervised probation under the following terms and conditions: 1) to report any arrests to the court within 48 hours, and (2) to pay restitution, court costs and the unsuspended portion of the fine (a
total of $193.50.)

Lana Jacobs went to trial October 20, 2005. She was charged, along with her husband Steve Jacobs, with second degree property damage for digging a symbolic grave on the ROTC lawn as part of an action protesting the continued war in
Iraq. While admitting to digging on the lawn of the ROTC building, she raised the affirmative, statutory defense of "claim of right" at her trial.

Under Missouri law, a person who would otherwise be guilty of certain crimes,
including property damage, may not be convicted if she has a good faith reasonable belief that she has a legal right to undertake the property

Far from seeking to avoid accepting responsibility for her actions, Mrs. Jacobs and her expert witness, Bill Wickersham, who provided the court with background on the international humanitarian and war law as a foundation for Mrs.
Jacobs' beliefs, were able to focus attention on the reason behind her actions. Exercising her constitutional right to a trial, and her constitutional
right to present all available defenses to the court, Mrs. Jacobs provided compelling testimony in her own defense.

Mrs. Jacobs presented evidence that she believed that she had the right to take the action that she did because of her understanding of the duties
imposed on all persons through the Nuremburg principles as adopted by the United Nations,
and which are contained in a treaty to which the United States is a signatory, and which has been ratified. She also expressed her personal moral and religious beliefs that this action was necessary because her attempts at less extreme forms of protesting the Iraq war had failed to stop the killing.

Both defense witnesses eloquently provided the court with crucial context testimony in hope that the court would understand that this was not merely a
reckless act in which public property was slightly and temporarily damaged, but an action which flowed from Mrs. Jacobs' deep-seated belief in the
sanctity of life. By placing her actions in appropriate context, the court was placed in the
position of considering her claim of right defense. It was clear from the evidence that she possessed a good faith belief that she had the right, even the obligation, to perform this action.

Unfortunately, despite compelling testimony
from both Mr. Wickersham and Mrs. Jacobs, the Court found Lana Jacobs guilty of the crime charged, a class B misdemeanor. While disappointed in the verdict, Mrs. Jacobs accepted the verdict, and has no plans to appeal.

Although she was prepared for incarceration or to perform community service, the court imposed neither. At her sentencing hearing, Mrs. Jacobs attempted to make the following statement, although a sustained prosecution objection
prevented her from completing her statement to the court.

Sentencing Statement of Lana Jacobs:
"In a world where euphemisms are used to describe evil ,the need to clarify our vocabulary is also the way to clarify our actions. Our government
uses the word interrogation to mean torture. We use die with dignity to mean euthanasia. We use womens choice to mean killing babies. We use the word justice to justify capital punishment. All of these are forms of murder. War is particularly couched in terms of national security and patriotism.

"The common theme of all of these is the mind game that allows us to take life. Life is the province of God, not us. It is this simple: we are
not allowed to kill one another. It is the responsibility of all of us to prevent the intentional killing of humans. It really is that simple. I will
continue to speak for life at all levels."

Following Lana's conviction, the State dropped pending charges against
Steve Jacobs.

author by Margaretpublication date Tue Nov 15, 2005 22:47author address author phone Report this post to the editors

Today's Counterpunch, the American political newsletter, contains an article by Harry Browne on the collapse of the trial

Jimmy Massey, the American war veteran who fought in Iraq and testified at the trial has been in the news in the US quite a bit this week and last. He seems to be the subject of a smear campaign aired on CNN and based on other newspaper articles by reporter Ron Harris.

More on this story at Counterpunch:

Yesterday Democracy Now aired a debate between Jimmy Massey and Ron Harris. You can listen, watch or read the show transcript here:

Massey was a US Marine staff sergant that was involved in the initial invasion and subsequent occupation of Iraq. He has been speaking out about the civilians killed by his company in talks, interviews and in his book which is currently only published in French.

Not directly linked to the trial but relevant all the same is an interview with a former US Army Interrogator that worked in Iraq (aired today on Democracy Now). It's a good read/listen as it talks about why he thought the Geneva convention didn't apply to him and why, even thought he thought some of the interrogation tactics were questionable, he himself used force/torture.


author by Susanpublication date Wed Nov 16, 2005 10:13author address author phone Report this post to the editors

The 52 year old ploughshare activist Turi Vaccaro has been sentenced to 6 months prison last thursday (27th of october. He also has to pay
750.000 euro's compensation to the ministry of defence of the Netherlands. If he doesn't pay he will have to do another 360 days in prison. His lawyer Meindert Stelling is considering an appeal.

Turi disarmed two F-16's, on the 10th of august, that
were stationed at Woensdrecht airforce base in the south of the Netherlands.

More information can be gotten from

Turi's Supportgroup: steungroepturi@hotmail.com

author by Joan - Granny Peace Brigadepublication date Wed Nov 16, 2005 18:42author address author phone Report this post to the editors

I came across your item about the Vermont grandmother on trial for allegedly blocking traffic when she was protesting the war.

I am one of 18 grandmothers arrested and jailed on October 17 last month when we tried to enlist in the Times Square (NYC) Recruiting Center, and, refused admission, sat down in front. Yesterday, November 15, we had our court appearance on a disorderly conduct charge. Do you want to run a story about us? Let me know, and if you do I'll give you further details.

Joan Wile
Founder/Director, Grandmothers Against the War
and member Granny Peace Brigade

author by Frank - Voices for Creative Nonviolencepublication date Wed Nov 16, 2005 18:52author address author phone Report this post to the editors

The Winter of Our Discontent: February 15 to March 19, 2006
End the War Against Iraq. Act for Justice for Iraqis.

2000 U.S. soldiers lay dead in Iraq. Tens of thousands of Iraqis lay dead as a consequence of the occupation. 300,000 Iraqi children under 5 years of age suffer from acute malnutrition. Hundreds of billions are spent to wage war. Hundreds of billions are stolen from waging life in the U.S. and Iraq. Our country chooses to fund
war-making while failing to adequately fund the Common Goodschools, health care, housing, water, living wages, and jobs-whether in the
U.S. or in Iraq.

On February 15, 2003, millions of global citizens took to the streets, trying to prevent the U.S.-U.K. invasion of Iraq. It was the largest prewar antiwar mobilization ever seen in history. It was the birth of a new global superpower-a popular movement committed to peace and justice.

On March 19, 2003, the U.S.-U.K. invasion of Iraq officially began.
Let This Now Be the Winter of Our Discontent

We call upon people to travel to Washington, D.C. between February 15 and March 19, 2006 to press for an end to the U.S. occupation of Iraq and an end to all forms of economic and military warfare against Iraq.

We call for the following actions to take place in Washington, D.C., along with local actions around the country, during the Winter of Our Discontent:

1) Lobbying Congress to end all forms of economic and military warfare against Iraq as well as to make full payment of war reparations for the damage our country inflicted upon Iraqis over
these past 15 years of economic and military warfare.

2) Fasts and vigils, including a 33-day fast and fasts of shorter duration.

3) Civil disobedience / nonviolent resistance at those places which represent and at which decisions are made concerning economic and
military warfare against Iraq. These include the Pentagon, the Blight House (a.k.a. the White House), the U.S. Capitol, the International
Monetary Fund and the World Bank. In local communities around the U.S., actions should occur at Congressional offices, federal
buildings, Military Entrance Processing Stations and recruiting stations, weapons contractors and at companies profiting at the expense of the Iraqi people.

Demands of the Winter of Our Discontent

1) An end to the U.S.-led occupation of Iraq, with immediate withdrawal of all U.S.-U.K. military forces.

2) Payment of war reparations by the U.S. to Iraq for the damage inflicted by the past 15 years of economic and military warfare against Iraq.

3) The unconditional cancellation of the remaining $33 billion in war reparations charges which the United Nations imposed on Iraq
following the Saddam Hussein regime's 1990-91 invasion and occupation of Kuwait. Note that nearly all individual claims have been paid and
the remaining claims would be mostly paid to other governments and state-owned enterprises.

4) The unconditional cancellation of the odious debt incurred by the regime of Saddam Hussein.

5) No internationally forced privatization of Iraq's state-owned enterprises, especially its oil resources and oil wealth.

6) Respect for basic human rights and workers' rights as per international law.

What You Can Do

1) Endorse the Winter of Our Discontent. If you endorse as an individual, please advise us if there is an organization title or affiliation which you would like us to use for identification purposes

2) Secure the endorsement of organizations with which you are affiliated.

3) Commit to traveling to Washington, D.C. during the Winter of Our Discontent. Please advise us which actions you will participate in (lobbying, fasts / vigils, civil disobedience / nonviolent resistance) and the dates you will be able to participate in D.C.

4) Organize your organization, friends, and colleagues to travel to D.C. to participate in the Winter of Our Discontent. Please let us know who will be traveling to D.C. so we can coordinate with you (or who the key contact person will be).

5) If you are not able to travel to D.C. during the Winter of Our Discontent, please consider organizing actions in your local area during this time period. Please advise us what forms of action you'll organize, dates of the action(s) and location of the action(s), as well as who the contact person will be.

6) Distribute this call to action far and wide.

For more information
Jeff Leys
Voices for Creative Nonviolence
1249 W Argyle St #2
Chicago, IL 60640
Email: jeffleys@vitw.org
Phone: 773-878-3815


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