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by W. Small
Saturday, May. 24, 2003 at 8:44 PM
The Pit Stop Ploughshare Community in Ireland received a pardon from "acting" President Martin Sheen on May 23 just in case the Irish government does not grant the peace activists a fair trial.
In Ireland today, the "Pit Stop Ploughshares" Community received a presidential pardon from Martin Sheen. Sheen, who plays the U.S. President on the television series the "West Wing", gathered with Deirdre Clancy, Nuin Dunlop, Karen Fallon, Damien Moran and Ciaron O'Reilly in the Tipperary town of Borisokane in the Irish midlands and delivered a statement granting a presidential pardon to the five peace activists. The five await trial preceedings at Kilrush Circuit Court beginning June 24th on criminal damage charges carrying maximum ten year prison sentences. The charges arose from their nonviolent disarmament of a U.S. Navy war plane at Shanon Airport on February 3rd. (See www.ploughsaresireland.org). Fifty thousand troops passed through the civilian airport on their way to the recent war on Iraq. Three U.S. airlines transporting U.S. troops and munitions withdrew from Ireland following the ploughshares disarmament action.
Martin Sheen made the following statement:
"The action of these brave and commited young people at Shannon sprang from the command of the prophet Isaiah to"beat swords into ploughshaeres and study war no more", in compliance with the gospel of the nonviolent Jesus as well as the Nuremburg Principles.
As Christians, we are never asked to be successful. We are asked only to be faithful, and although their action has clearly jeopardised their future, their moral courage in speaking out at this dark time is a powerful inspiration to peace-loving, nonviolent people everywhere.
As a fellow Catholic peace activist I am compelled to support them in their struggle for peace and social justice and their efforts to gain a fair trial with a Necessity Defence, which has thus far been thwarted.
For some time, I have observed with growing alarm the current U.S. administration, whose legitimacy was questionable from the start, in its darkly chartered course where every legitimate opposition has been met with condemnation or intimidation.
It appears now that the war on Iraq was a foregone conclusion. From September 2001 to September 2002, the U.S. government moved from legitimate protection to illegitmate paranoia when it declared a new first strike policy, including nuclear first strike, against any nation it percieved as a threat. Contrary to its stated intentions in Iraq, this war has only served to further destabilise an already destabilised Middle East.
As a patriotic Irish-American, with a deep love for both of my countries, I urge the Irish government, which still enjoys the highest level of moral ascendancy in the eyes of the world, to grant these brave young patriotic peace activists a fair trial by permitting their Necessity Defence on moral grounds supported by the Nuremburg Principles.
And if that doesn't fly, in accordance with the power stated in me as the "acting" President of the U.S. I hereby grant full pardon and amnesty to these so-called "Pit Stop Ploughshares".
A press conference by Martin Sheen and the "Pit Stop Ploughshares" five followed the statement.
More information, photographs, video footage:
087 918 4552 (mobile/cell phone)
00 353 87 918 4552 (mobile/cell phone, calling from outside of Ireland)
01 406 44 66
00 353 1 406 44 66 (landline calling from outside of Ireland)
Background information on Pit Stop Ploughshares at: www.ploughsaresireland.org
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