Tag Archives: Shannon

Alpha Bravo Monitoring tweetz:

SAM29 USAF 92-9000 VC-25A out from Stansted, positioning to Shannon

Earlier…

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Shannon Radar tweetz:

Photos taken at Shannon in the past few days. RTE predict Trump will land at four.

Earlier: Shannon Watch

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A British RAF Hercules  at Shannon  Airport on December 29, 2016

The Carlow Nationalist writes:

British military chiefs are facing a dressing down over the unapproved landing of RAF aircraft at Shannon Airport.

The diplomatic spat was revealed after a Hercules transport plane landed at the airport on December 29 without seeking clearance from the Government in advance.

Foreign Affairs Minister Charlie Flanagan said: “The Government views breaches of the procedures set down for the granting of permission for such landings with the utmost seriousness. I have instructed my officials to discuss the matter further with the British Embassy with a view to ensuring that correct procedures are followed in future.”

The British Embassy in Dublin told Irish officials that the RAF Hercules landed in Shannon to refuel.

As Ireland is a neutral country, permission should have been sought in advance and assurances given that the aircraft was unarmed, carried no cargo of arms, ammunition or explosives and that it was not on an intelligence-gathering mission or a military exercise or operation.

British diplomats told Irish officials there had been a “communication breakdown”.

“The embassy has confirmed in writing that the purpose of the landing was refuelling, and that the flight was unarmed; carried no arms, ammunition or explosives; and was not engaged in intelligence-gathering nor formed part of a military exercise or operation,” Mr Flanagan added.

Unapproved landing of British military plane at Shannon Airport sparks diplomatic row (The Carlow Nationalist)

Previously: Meanwhile, In Shannon

Pic: Shannonwatch

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Last night Independent 4 Change TD Clare Daly, Dr John Lannon, of Shannonwatch, and Karen Devine, of the School of Law and Government at Dublin City University, spoke on Tonight with Vincent Browne.

They discussed the Turkey-EU refugee deal, the use of Shannon Airport by the US military, and the wars in Syria, Iraq and Afghanistan – the countries from which most of the refugees travelled to Europe last year.

Mr Browne read out sections from an email written by Hilary Clinton and published by Wikileaks – prompting Wikileaks to tweet the email during the show, above.

From the discussion:

Clare Daly: “[EU-Turkey deal] It’s effectively an agreement to facilitate mass expulsions of people. I mean we’ve had the very unusual situation whereby, internationally now, Human Rights Watch and Amnesty International – all of the organisations that deal with refugees have all come out, all of the NGOs, and been absolutely definitive that this is a breach in international law. We’re denying people their right to seek asylum because what’s being done is they’re basically being forced – Turkey will force them back, Turkey in return are being facilitated with financial inducements, with a greater access to EU membership and so on, when there’s very serious questions to be asked about the regime in Turkey.”

Vincent Browne: “They’re navigating because there’s too many muslims in Turkey and EU doesn’t want muslims and the former Pope Ratzinger, that fellah, he gave, remember his speech he gave about the threat of muslims to Europe.”

Daly: “There are two points, there are 2.7million refugees in Turkey, in appalling conditions, some held in detention centres, there’s been examples of Turkish guards, beating people back, imprisoning people, shooting people on a regular basis and the conditions are not in compliance with the safe passages and right to asylum that people have under international law and one of the points being made, by the NGOs, is the fact that Greece doesn’t have the staff available to process in a lawful manner the asylum application of individuals. So, essentially, what’s being done, has been to undermine the European context the international right to asylum for refugees and, as you said, they’re doing that against the backdrop that the EU itself has been responsible for facilitating the very circumstances that made these people refugees by the military intervention in their countries.”

Later

Karen Devine: “[In] academic literature, they talk about something called Fortress Europe and Fortress Europe is a name given to an idea that the EU wants to close its borders effectively to economic migrants or asylum seekers. The asylum seekers are very different from economic migrants. They’re not looking for a better job, a better quality of life, they’re looking to survive, they’re fleeing a war situation. And I suppose one of the problems here, when you look at the EU, how it functions, they can afford a budget of €50million a year for the CAP, they can come up with policies in environment, in transport, a lot of areas where it costs money. What they need to do is to pay serious attention and to adequately resource what has been happening over the last 3/5 years in the Middle East and they always knew that this problem was going to occur but they have not put in any policies to deal with it.”

Later – after a clip of acting Taoiseach Enda Kenny speaking in the Dáil about the EU-Turkey deal

Browne:The fact of the matter is that there’s a cap of about 72,000 on refugees coming in to Europe from now on and this compares to the million who went to Germany alone in 2015. So this is a massive change in Europe’s willingness to accommodate refugees from war that Europe had a significant part in fermenting and, of course, Ireland did to. And John you’re familiar with Ireland’s role in that because of the use of Shannon and facilitating American aircraft, military aircraft, going through there.”

John Lannon: “Absolutely, I mean it’s interesting there, first of all, to hear the language that Enda Kenny is using. He’s talking about irregular migrants, he’s talking about people smugglers, he’s talking about managing the flow. I mean what he doesn’t mention is that what in effect we’ve got millions of ordinary men, women and children that are fleeing from war with absolutely nothing because they don’t have time to take anything, bombs are being rained down upon them and, as you say, we’ve been part of that. You mentioned Ireland’s contribution.
Well Ireland’s contribution has, as you say, to give Shannon Airport over to the US military so that they could invade and they could occupy the countries from which the refugees are now coming. I’m talking about Iraq, Afghanistan, we’ve had Libya, now we have Syria. We’ve also got bombs raining down on Yemen now, killing hundreds of people, we don’t heard about that in the news. So, over the last 15 years, almost 3 million armed US soldiers have come through Shannon Airport. We claim to be a neutral country, we claim to respect conventions like the Hague Convention 1907, which says belligerants are not allowed to cross neutral territories on their way to war but we’re opening up our airport, a civilian airport, to them. We’ve got hundreds of military planes landing and taking off from the airport, we don’t know what’s in those planes. We’ve got, as I said, millions of armed soldiers coming through, we’ve got rendition planes, we’ve had coming through for years as well. We’ve got no oversight whatsoever of any of this.”

Browne: “And this is quite a change from the way it used to be. People say this was going on for years – no it wasn’t.”

Lannon: “It wasn’t, no.”

Browne: “We wouldn’t allow even overflights of military aircraft over Ireland. And there was an interesting case. This was quite some time ago where a helicopter, a British Army helicopter that was used to help reduce people who got into difficulties of the Donegal coast sought permission to land on a abandoned rock off Donegal, but within Irish territorial waters, and the Government of the day refused to allow the helicopter to land there because of our neutrality, remember that?”

Later

Daly: “Now we have a situation where aircraft are landing at Shannon almost twice daily. Some of the information sought and received by Shannonwatch last year, under Freedom of Information, shows the amount of permits sought for munitions to be transported, including materials that could go to form cluster bombs which we believe are being used in Yemen, US air refuellers which, we know, are refuelling the Saudis who, only a week ago, massacred over 100 people yet again. Did they come through or use Shannon, we don’t know because we allow them carte blanche to do whatever they want.”

Browne: “People might wonder what this has got to do with Syria. I came across a Wikileaks email written by Hilary Clinton in 2002 when she was Secretary of State in America. We can’t show you this properly, we can show you some of it on the screen but you won’t be able to read it I think.
But, what she’s saying is what Israel military really worries about, but cannot talk about, is losing its nuclear monopoly and it’s saying, she goes on to say, ‘It is the strategic relationship between Iran and the regime of Bashar Al Assad, in Syria, that makes it possible for Iran to undermine Israeli security’ and she goes on to say that, ‘it is the combination of Iran’s strategic alliance with Syria and the steady progress in Iran’s nuclear enrichment program that has led Israeli leaders to contemplate a surprise attack’ and then she says, ‘In short, the White House can ease the tension that has developed with Israel over Iran by doing the right thing in Syria’ which was to ferment or to assist in the war that dissident groups in Syria were waging against the Assad regime. And the American forces did not directly intervene there but they gave all military help and assistance, everything possible, to keep the war going. And no doubt, a lot of that military assistance came through Shannon.”

Watch back in full here

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From top: Results of a Red C poll; Independent TDs Mick Wallace and Clare Daly (centre), with Dr John Lannon (left) and Ed Horgan (right), of Shannonwatch at a press conference in Buswells Hotel, Dublin earlier today 

Independent TDs Mick Wallace and Clare Daly released the results of a Red C poll earlier today, which show over half the population don’t agree with Ireland’s current military relationship with the United States – which uses Shannon Airport to refuel.

Some 55% of those polled say they don’t believe that the Irish Government should allow the US to use the Limerick airport for military purposes.

Mr Wallace and Ms Daly held a press conference earlier today with Dr John Lannon and Ed Horgan, of Shannonwatch, at the Buswells Hotel, Dublin, to discuss the poll’s results.

Clare Daly said:

A country with a policy of positive neutrality would not facilitate the massive, devastating displacement of tens of millions of people through wars whose only purpose is to keep the gears of the military-industrial complex oiled.”

“It would not find itself in a state of absolute moral abjection when it agreed to accept only the tiniest fraction of those made homeless and stateless by wars it had abetted. We need to put meat on the bones of our neutrality, to actively and vigorously work against war and destruction, against the arms trade, against the absolute devastation of so many lives in pursuit of imperial power and wealth?”

“Until we enshrine a policy of neutrality in our Constitution, and make it so that our neutrality is something that is real, positive, and active, we cannot and will not play that role”.

Mick Wallace said:

Since 2001, the US Military and their allies have been responsible for the deaths of over 2 million citizens in Afghanistan and Iraq alone. Mindless destruction of the Middle East region & beyond has seen the displacement of over 30 million people and an unprecedented refugee crisis in Europe today.

“It’s long past time that Ireland stopped facilitating this horror by refusing to allow Shannon Airport to be used for any military purposes. We need a change of direction – It should start with the new Government. It’s time for Ireland to work for peace, not war.”

Ed Horgan of Shannonwatch said:

Shannon airport has been used, or misused by the US military, with the approval of successive Irish Government’s since October 2001. In the meantime over three million armed US troops have transited through Shannon on their way to and from wars and military operations in Afghanistan, Iraq, Yemen, Syria and elsewhere.”

“In addition US military aircraft have transported unknown quantities of munitions and other war materials through Shannon airport but the Irish Government has been repeatedly denying that these aircraft are carrying weapons and munitions. Irish neutrality needs to be urgently restored to prevent Irish complicity in crimes against humanity”.

Dr John Lannon of the University of Limerick and Shannonwatch, said:

“Ireland’s failure to uphold national and international law at Shannon is shameful. The routine transit of armed troops to and from war zones is in contravention of the Hague Convention on Neutrality.”

“The authorities have failed in their responsibilities under the Convention Against Torture by not investigating rendition planes at Shannon. And they also turn a blind eye to the fact that the US military aircraft landing at Shannon are likely to be carrying people who are guilty of war crimes in Iraq, Afghanistan and elsewhere. Under the principle of international jurisdiction, these should be investigated and prosecuted.”

Earlier: Five Years

Previously: For The Record

Pic: Ailbhe Conneely

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Yesterday, during Leaders’ Questions, Independent TD Mick Wallace raised concerns about the US military’s use of Shannon Airport in light of the recent CIA torture report.

During his exchange with Taoiseach Enda Kenny, Mr Wallace said a former US marine will come forward with information in the New Year.

Mick Wallace: “Although there is always much talk about transparency here, as under the previous Government, secrecy seems to be the order of the day. Last week, I asked the Taoiseach about surveillance being carried out by the British Government’s communications headquarters, GCHQ, on cables in the Irish Sea. I asked whether the Government had sanctioned it; if so, under what legislation; and if not, what it will do to protect citizens’ rights. The recent report on torture by the CIA also involves much secrecy around Shannon Airport. The US Senate’s report on the CIA’s use of torture has made little of American assurances that military aircraft passing through Shannon Airport do not carry military arms. The dogs in the street know they do.
Given the extent of the report, it is pretty clear that Shannon Airport has been used for rendition flights as part of the torture programme. Normally, when talking about something that happened on Fianna Fáil’s watch, as this did, the Government is jumping up and down to kick Fianna Fáil around. I am surprised the Government is not seeking to investigate this. Given all the information that has come our way regarding Shannon Airport, rendition flights and the CIA torture programme, does the Taoiseach not think it is time we had a full investigation into everything that has happened in Shannon Airport since 9/11?”

Pat Breen: “Where is the evidence?”

Joe Carey: “There is no evidence.”

Pat Breen: “The Deputy tried his investigation when he jumped the fence.”

Niall Collins: “The Deputies opposite are very quiet. Do they not represent Shannon at all over there?”

Joe Carey: “The Deputy should stay off the runway.”

Ceann Comhairle Seán Barrett: “Quiet please.”

Enda Kenny: “The Ministers for Justice and Equality and Foreign Affairs and Trade have been in touch constantly with the authorities from the United States in respect of rendition. Deputy Wallace will appreciate that this matter has been the subject of discussion in this House many times in recent years. I am unsure as to the kind of full investigation he is talking about. Clearly, the relationship between the United States and this country, no more than many other countries, deals with those issues. If the Deputy is suggesting the Government is not being told the truth about every flight that goes through Shannon, I would like to hear some evidence of the Deputy’s proof of this. He states that every flight was carrying arms and weapons.”

Wallace: “I did not say they all were.”

Richard Boyd Barrett: “He said “some””.

Kenny: “The Deputy might explain to me what sort of investigation he is talking about, because there have been claims about this in the House on many occasions previously. They all were investigated and down-to-earth—–”

A Deputy: “Like HIQA.”

Kenny: “—-and all of them were discussed in the House in respect of the truth of the matter and transparency.”

A Deputy: “The Taoiseach means the Government asked the Americans.”

Kenny: “Perhaps Deputy Wallace has some information I do not have.”

Wallace: “I have plenty of information about it.”

Harrington: “Share it.”

Wallace: “WikiLeaks has revealed a considerable amount in the past couple of years regarding the same subject. Amnesty International also has done so.”

Breen: “There is no proof Deputy.”

Barrett: “Please.”

Wallace:If the Taoiseach thinks not enough information has been brought forward already, I expect to have a former United States marine come forward in the new year who has passed through Shannon on a regular basis. He will give evidence to the fact that Ireland is in breach of international law in respect of things that have gone on in Shannon and how the United States has used the place.

Finian McGrath: Deputy Breen should be worried.

Wallace: “Given the assurances the United States has provided to different people around the world about what it does and does not do and given the extent of the CIA torture programme, has it any credibility left in this area? Since the events of 11 September 2001, the United States has completely contravened human rights law. It has abandoned it and has lost its moral value in this area.

Barrett: “A question please.”

Wallace: “Torture is illegal.”

Carey: “It is torture being in here listening to the Deputy.”

Wallace: “The murder of innocent civilians in foreign countries is illegal. Unwarranted surveillance of the Irish public is illegal in this State. Is the Government really serious about doing things differently than its predecessor? I ask because some transparency is needed on this entire area.”

Barrett: “Sorry Deputy, you are over time.”

Wallace:If Members bring more evidence to the Taoiseach in the new year, would he consider establishing an independent investigation on what has gone on at Shannon?

Kenny: “I thank Deputy Wallace. He asked whether the Government will do things differently than before and he has evidence of this even within the past fortnight. On foot of the new information that came forward in a recent television programme, as well as other documentation, the Government made a decision in respect of reopening the case with regard to what are known as the hooded men where torture was involved. Obviously, as Deputy Wallace is well aware, that original decision had implications for other cases around the world. I do not have any information about the former member of United States marines of whom the Deputy speaks but if that person is coming forward and is making available information of which the Government is not aware, obviously it will be happy to hear that information from the person involved. Moreover, the Minister for Foreign Affairs and Trade will take that up directly with the American authorities. Last week, I dealt with the question of the cables, their ownership, the requirement for High Court judges and the fact that unwarranted surveillance is not legal and clearly, the Government would take a serious view of that. Of course, there is the question of major companies requiring information to be had or in issues of criminal activities where, under conditions, that information can be made available. Our country always has tried to measure up to the highest standards in respect of international law and if Deputy Wallace’s contact has information that is not available to the Government, the Department or to the authorities, the Government will be glad to hear it in the new year.”

Transcript via Oireachtas.ie

Previously: For The Record

Facilitating Torture

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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.”

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The Guardian’s Alex Godfrey recently blogged his fascinating research into the origins of the painting by Tommy DeVito’s mother in Scorcese’s Goodfellas.

You remember the scene.

The painting used in the movie was created by Goodfellas co-writer Nicholas Pileggi’s mother based on a 1978 photograph in National Geographic magazine of ‘river nomad’ and former banker John Weaving and his dogs Brocky and Twiggy on the Shannon.

Did you know this? We did not know this.

It’s a fascinating story, well told.

READ ON: Whaddya want from me? (mrgodfrey)

(H/T: Cohen Hand)

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( The AC-130, which the Americans are using for “special operations” in southern Afghanistan. One like it landed in Shannon)

And the craic.

 Mr  [Eamon] Gilmore said he was aware that a US plane armed with a fixed weapon landed at Shannon Airport in the period prior to September 2013.

He said the case was raised at the highest possible level with the US Embassy.

An official there said it was an isolated incident that had taken place as a result of an administrative error, he said.

The minister said assurances were given that steps had been taken to prevent any recurrence.

 

Armed US plane landed at Shannon Airport without permission (RTE)

A Killer Comes Calling (Indymedia)

Pic: India Times