The best and worst wedding trumpet player ever.
From top: A US military aircraft at Shannon Airport in July 2013 and, above, Whistleblower, Soldier, Spy by Tom Clonan, retired army officer, lecturer at Dublin Institute of Technology and Irish Times security analyst.
You may recall a post from last week concerning Margaretta D’Arcy and her appearance on Tonight With Vincent Browne, which was being hosted by Dearbhail McDonald.
Ms D’Arcy’s appearance followed her recent imprisonment in Limerick Prison – for refusing to sign a bond stating she would not enter restricted areas of Shannon Airport, on foot of her arrest for protesting at the airport on September 1, 2013.
During their discussion, Ms McDonald asked Ms D’Arcy if she had definitive evidence that US military planes flying in from the US carry weapons. Ms D’Arcy said she didn’t but she said there was no definitive evidence to prove the opposite. She then appealed for the Irish government to inspect the planes.
Readers may wish to know that during her court hearing at Ennis District Court on June 24 – in relation to her September 1, 2013 arrest – there was evidence given by Dr Tom Clonan, Irish Times security analyst and author of Whistleblower, Solider, Spy in which he stated he saw weapons on a US military plane in Shannon.
Dr Clonan’s testimony, and that of others, went largely unreported in the national media.
Much of Dr Clonan’s testimony is contained in his book, Whistlebower, Soldier, Spy, which includes an account of his visit to Guantanamo Bay, where he became the first journalist to get US Army officials to admit — on the record — their intention to execute prisoners and to admit that they force-feed detainees who are on hunger strike.
In the book, he also recounts his experience of being the first Irish journalist to interview US troops in Shannon Airport and, indeed, to board one of their planes.
On Ireland’s ‘neutrality’…
“In 2002, ‘neutral’ Ireland is providing troops, vital logistics and air support and material support for the war in Afghanistan. We are, whether the general public realises it or not, at war. In an unprecedented move, the American military at US Europe Command Headquarters in Stuttgart assign a permanent staff officer to Shannon Airport. Shannon is officially a ‘virtual’ US airbase. In 2002, NATO designates its army in Afghanistan the ‘International Security Assistance Force’ or ISAF. On NATO’s official ISAF website, Ireland and the Irish flag is listed as a member of the ‘coalition of the willing’ who are participating in the Global War on Terror in NATO’s first war on the Asian continent.”
On the costs incurred by the Irish taxpayer…
“The Irish taxpayer is paying up to €10,000 per day for the en-route navigation costs and air traffic control management of thousands of US high-altitude bombers, refuelling aircraft and other airborne weapon systems travelling through Irish airspace. In other words, the Irish taxpayer is making a direct financial contribution to the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan. Under a European Union agreement, ‘Eurocontrol’ to which Ireland is a signatory, the Irish government has agreed to pay the navigation fees and air traffic control levies for US military aircraft passing through our airspace. Since 75 per cent of all European-US air traffic passes through Irish airspace, this presents the Irish taxpayer with a significant bill. Figures obtained from the Irish Aviation Authority reveal that in 2004 along, €3.6million in navigation fees for US military aircraft heading to or from the battle space in Iraq and Afghanistan had been charged to the Department of Finance.”
Having quite the day.
Slightly Bemused writes:
Thought this might be of interest. The report (below) states 54 countries have ‘assisted’ in rendition flights. Depending on your source, there are 193-196 ‘countries’ in the world, making 54 a sizeable percentage.
On page 83, the section on Ireland starts. it ends with “In June 2011, the U.N. Committee against Torture stated that it was “concerned at the various reports of [Ireland’s] alleged cooperation in a rendition programme, where rendition flights use the State party’s airports and airspace,” and that it was “also concerned at the inadequate response by the State party with regard to investigating these allegations.””
To misquote someone else, it hasn’t gone away, you know