Tag Archives: Tom Clonan

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Map of Golan Heights

Tom Clonan, in the Irish Times, writes:

“As Islamist rebels step-up attacks on the UN and intensify their military campaign within what they term the “southern front” on Syria’s Golan Heights, the risks to Irish troops are escalating.”

“This raises serious questions about the ongoing viability of the UN mission in the area. The original Undof (United Nations Disengagement Observation Force) was created 40 years ago. The original UN Security Council Resolution 350 mandates an international force to monitor a zone of separation between Israel and Syria.”

“The original mandate did not envisage a vicious civil war in Syria and does not cater for the reality of today’s de facto armed conflict in the area of operations. In short, regional events have overtaken the mission’s design and rationale.”

“All stakeholders in this rapidly evolving conflict – Assad’s Syrian forces, the Israeli military and Islamist resistance groups – have a track record in killing Irish peacekeepers. Fifty per cent of our casualties in Lebanon were inflicted by the Israelis and their proxies. The remainder of our casualties there were inflicted by Islamic resistance groups such as Hizbullah and Palestinian militias. Syrian troops shot dead an Irish army officer, Comdt Thomas Wickham, on Golan in 1967.”

“In deciding whether or not to extend the deployment of Irish troops to this volatile situation – or indeed to rotate more troops into the area in September – the Irish Government needs to consider this risk.”

Analysis: Irish peacekeepers’ position at Golan in line of fire (Tom Clonan, Irish Times)

Pic: Wikipedia

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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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TomClonan

Dr Tom Clonan, security analyst with the Irish Times, author of Whistleblower, Soldier, Spy and lecturer in Dublin Institute of Technology

Limerick Leader reports:

“Dr Tom Clonan, security analyst with the Irish Times and lecturer in DIT, said at a panel discussion on journalism and ethics at the University of Limerick last week that there has been an “explosion of communication gatekeepers and media managers” seeking to deflect and control the mainstream media.

“In many cases journalists are mouthpieces for the establishment,” he said.

“If we are to get to get grips with the ethics of journalism there needs to be a fundamental root and branch audit of how the industry carries out its business, because aside from the code of conduct and the product that you read, there is a hidden curriculum within journalism in Ireland and there are rules to the game that outsiders are not aware of.”

“He argued that there is “an unspoken problem in Irish journalism about relationships with sources who are far too powerful”.

FIGHT!

Ethics in journalism discussed at UL conference (Limerick Leader)

Previously: Bugs, Moles And Hacks

Pic: Dublin Institute of Technology

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[Tom Clonan, top, and Stalker by John Stalker (1988)]

 

” I’d invite you to think about this. Simon O’Brien is a former commander in the London Metropolitan Police, so he’s a very experienced person with, very au fait with intelligence gathering and with policing in general. And last year it got to the stage, that because of their beliefs that they were being surveilled, they were carrying out their most sensitive meetings in cafés on Capel Street.”

“…[They believed they were under surveillance in their own building] And [Mr O’Brien] outlined one test that they carried out with this company Verrimus where it was suspected that O’Brien’s landline, his own landline was actually bugged from his office. So they carried out a confirmation test at one o’clock, in the morning.

“And, basically, the way this test works is, if the phone is bugged, and you carry out this electronic test, then the phone will ring immediately. They carried out the test at 1am and the phone rang immediately. Now that means one of two things. It means the phone was bugged or it means that, at exactly 1am, at precisely the moment they carried out the test, somebody, somewhere, accidentally rang Simon O’Brien’s personal landline.

“…From my perspective it would appear to be part of a concerted attempt to play down these, this very, very serious issue, to dilute its import and again, in my own experience,  as a whistleblower in the Defence Forces, drawing attention to sexual violence against women, the first response by the military authority to that time was to shoot the messenger. And I’m seeing exactly the same dynamic here.

“You know it was done with the Garda whistleblowers, questions were raised about their ethical probity, and you know, had they gone through the correct channels, and we’ve had some very, very disturbing transcripts of recordings where one of the whistleblowers was effectively threatened. So this is all part of a pattern of denial, muddying the waters.

“The journalists are now all jumping on this notion of a mole within GSOC, that released this report to a journalist. And, yes, that’s an interesting sub-section to this but the most important thing here is, serious questions have been raised about the security of GSOC and that needs to be investigated by an independent, extrajudicial expert in order to restore public confidence in GSOC and in An Garda Síochána.”

I’ve heard journalists, my fellow journalists talking about documents being sexed up and, you know, basically, following the Government spin and repeating it and collaborating with it, extending the Government’s spin on this.

“They should go to the library and take out John Stalker’s book and by the time they’ll have got to the end of the first chapter, where John Stalker describes his meetings with John Hermon, that they might think again about supporting Government spin in this regard. An independent expert investigation is needed, not a High Court judge from Ireland – a policeman or an intelligence expert from Ireland.”

Dr Tom Clonan,Irish Times Security Analyst, and former Irish army captain who blew the whistle on the sexual harassment of female soldiers in the Irish army speaking with Pat Kenny yesterday morning on Newstalk.

Meanwhile, read an excellent round-up and analysis of events by Michael Clifford, of the Irish Examiner, here.

John Stalker?

Listen back here (Part 1)

Previously: Shame Sheet Different Day

Pic: Dublin Institute of Technology