What makes a special forces operator turn peace campaigner? That will be one of the main questions answered at a public meeting tomorrow at 8pm, by Ben Griffin, a former SAS member, who, after serving three months in Iraq, refused to return to combat in Baghdad.
Griffin, who had been a member of the British Paratroopers before joining Britain’s Special Forces, had already seen action in Afghanistan while a member of the SAS. Although an experienced soldier, what he witnessed in Iraq turned him against war. Since his departure from the British army, Griffin has become active within the peace movement in Britain and founded the ex-serviceman’s group Veterans for Peace, of which he is the chair.
Chairing the event will be GAAW spokesperson Niall Farrell, whose sister Mairéad was unlawfully killed by the British SAS in Gibraltar, along with two other unarmed IRA volunteers. “I think the story Ben Griffin has to tell needs to be heard in Galway and Ireland, so Irish people realise Ireland is collaborating via Shannon airport in a war of terror in foreign lands," he said.
Mr Farrell added: “Usually when a soldier is described as a hero it is for some so-called “valiant deed” on the battlefield. Ben Griffin is a hero in the true sense of the word. Irrespective of the consequences he spoke out against the evil that is at the heart of Washington’s 'war on terror'. In that way, he fulfilled one of the main Nuremberg Principles, which states: '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.' Unfortunately, Ben is one of the very few real heroes to emerge from the 15 year long 'war on terror'."
The meeting is organised by the Galway Alliance Against War and takes place in Richardson's, Eyre Square. Admission is free and all are welcome.