Mon 9 Sept: Catholic Worker Ciaron O’Reilly provides a speed bump on Obama & Kerry’s Highway to Hell in Syria
As the New York Times comments on Pfc. Manning’s contribution to our understanding of how Syria acquired chemical weapons…
Syria’s top leaders amassed one of the world’s largest stockpiles of chemical weapons with help from the Soviet Union and Iran, as well as Western European suppliers and even a handful of American companies, according to American diplomatic cables and declassified intelligence records
…and Norman Solomon tells us What the Assault on Whistleblowers Has to Do With War on Syria…
Without whistleblowers, the mainline media outlets are more transfixed than ever with telling the official story. And at a time like this, the official story is all about spinning for war on Syria.
…London based Manning supporters from the Catholic Worker gather outside the Foreign Office in London to protest the visit of U.S. Secretary of State (Foreign Minister) John Kerry.
If they come for the innocent without stepping over your body, cursed be your religion and your life – Phil Berrigan R.I.P., WW2 combat veteran, Plowshares movement founder & anti-Vietnam War resister.
VIDEO: Ciaron O’Reilly makes statement on meeting of U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry and British Foreign Minister William Hague at the British Foreign Office behind him, before attempting to block armoured limousine of Kerry as he exits the criminal conspiracy [ Clip 1 | Clip 2 ]
Report from the action
Ciaron O’Reilly is based at Giuseppe Conlon House, Harringay, London – a Catholic Worker project that acts as a hub for nonviolent anti-war resistance and solidarity. Ciaron served 13 months in U.S. prisons for his role in the ANZUS Plowshares disarmament of a B 52 Bomber at upstate New York Griffis A.F.B. on the eve of the 1991 U.S. Gulf War.
In response to the increased use of depleted uranium munitions, Ciaron served 5 months in a Darwin/Australia prison for disabling uranium mining equipment at the Jabiluka mine site. In 2006 he, along with four others who comprised the Pitstop Ploughshares, was acquitted of charges of $2.5 million criminal damage to a U.S. warplane being refuelled at Shannon Airport Ireland en route to the invasion of Iraq. For the past three years, he has been a key solidarity organiser for both Julian Assange and Pfc Manning persecuted for the explosure of U.S. war crimes in Afghanistan and Iraq.
On Monday, with other London and Oxford Catholic Workers and friends, Ciaron was participating in an anti-war vigil at the Foreign Office London as U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry and British Foreign Minister Hague met around the upcoming war on Syria. He made his move to nonviolently block the armoured limousine of John Kerry. He had been previously detained in Belfast for throwing a replica coffin bearing the name of U.S. soldier Casey Sheehan under the armoured limousine of George Bush Jr.
Wearing a sign “Don’t Bomb Syria, Help the Refugees”, Ciaron sprinted through a gap in the police line before being tackled to the ground, taken to Charing Cross police station and held until the U.S. Secretary of State/Vietnam former peace activist Kerry left British airspace.
On release from Charing Cross police station, Ciaron stated
At Giuseppe Conlon House, I live with refugees from Syria, Iraq, Afghanistan, Sri Lanka and multiple African wars. At our house and elsewhere, I live and work with combat veterans of war. These issues are not abstractions to me. A lot of the time we feel overwhelmed and paralysed, we don’t know what to do against such huge forces of death.
We know that “Not in our Name” is useless, they don’t need our names and endorsement any more to kill, invade and
occupy. We do know, as a faith based radical Christian community that nonviolent resistance is the flipside to the hospitality we offer war refugees. We know that if Obama, Cameron, Abbot, Kerry, Hague, Lockheed, BAe want to get to their next targeted victims, they have to get through us to get to them! That is why I tried to place my body nonviolently in front of John Kerry’s armour plated limo.
I discovered at the police station that the armed security unit in charge of the Secretary of State’s vehicle was under orders to accelerate in such a scenario. I have nothing against the uniformed police officers and plainclothes counter-terrorist officer who tackled me to the ground and prevented me from being roadkill in this drive to war. I know there will be a lot of roadkill over the months and years ahead in the Middle East. I don’t see my health and life as any more significant than those Arab children who are about to be butchered by our weapons.
My advice to anyone considering a similar action is to throw your body across the windscreen and do not kneel in front of the vehicle as I was planning to do. Remember those in the vehicle are armed and fearful people. Remember Londoners Charles de Menezes and Ian Tomlinson; sometimes these fearful and armed people kill when they get confused and don’t mean to kill. It doesn’t take much to kill someone unintentionally and you’re dead for a very long time.
At times, when I feel overwhelmed by the task in front of us in these coming days I think of the Judy Small lyric “Because we can do little, we do nothing at all” as these rich and powerful people prepare to kill the poor and vulnerable. We must do what we can and stand in solidarity with our resisters. Free Assange, Manning and Snowden, End their wars!
Other media reports
AFP (30 secs) Interview with Ciaron O’Reilly. More here.
Back in the day, John Kerry was a Vietnam Veteran against the war.
Raising funds for Manning family’s prison visits
The Independent, Monday 09 September 2013
Exclusive: WikiLeaks source Chelsea Manning’s Welsh relatives helped by ex-prisoner to fund trips to visit her in Kansas prison
Ciaron speaks to Dissident Island Radio on 6th September 2013