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Dodgy USAF jet and crew at Shannon

category clare | anti-war / imperialism | news report author Friday September 30, 2005 16:28author by Tim Hourigan - M.A.M.A. /Cosantoiri Siochana Report this post to the editors

No markings, no uniforms but garda protection

I was out at Shannon Airport yesterday being interviewed by the Sunday Tribune. You can read about that bit on Sunday though... here's what I saw as we were leaving the airport.
A gulfstream jet, with a strange registration, being guarded by Gardai, and two men in suits being whisked away.
Unmarked USAF jet protected with our taxes
Unmarked USAF jet protected with our taxes

Having finished her interview, and tasted both sides of "public relations" at Shannon, the journalist walked with me towards the bus stop, and I was pointing out the landmarks It went a bit like this "Over there is the hangar where the Pitstop Ploughshares did their disarmament action, and when Mary Kelly did her action, that plane was parked... over there..." and Lo, and behold...
Over in that same spot was a Gulfstream jet with a Garda van parked watching it, blue lights flashing away, and the Gardai sitting inside not being too nosey about the plane.
I had a look through my binocs and noticed the only visible markings on the plane 60206.
That's not a civilian registration. It would have a letter in it e.g. N379P, EI-CDG etc.
I took a few photos and then had another look through my binocs, just in time to see two men at, least one who looked middle -eastern in appearance, one in a black sports jacket and the other in a light grey jacket come down the steps of the plane, just as a grey van (Ocean Bridge Handling) arrived. It quickly whisked them away before I got a good photo. I have posted the clearest shot of the plane. I might be able to get something from the other shots later.
When I got to an internet cafe, I went looking for the plane,,, and it turns out... It's part of the US Air Force 89th Airlift Wing, based at Andrews Airforce Base (the same place they keep Airforce One) .
It's full registration is 86-0206.
The aircraft is listed as a C-20B of the 99th Squadron used for "Special Air Missions", hence their call sign "SAM" as opposed to the generic military call sign "REACH" that most of the troop flights use. The C-20 is the militarised version of the Gulfstream.

So who were the two dudes in civvies?
They weren't in Air Force uniform, and they weren't wearing reflective jackets like ground crew would do. Perhaps the Gardai took their details and asked their business as they had done to me earlier?

And why didn't the jet have Air Force markings?

click here to see another USAF C-20 WITH the markings.

A short time later, when I had left the airport, heading for Limerick and put the batteries back in the radio (airport byelaws etc.) I heard "SAM 9366" departing.

For comparison, here's the same jet with the same number in three different locations.




author by karen fallon - ............publication date Fri Sep 30, 2005 18:56author address author phone Report this post to the editors

nice one tim!
almost perfect timing that you were being interviewed at the same time. pity the guards didn't check it but i guess that would be asking too much.
on the plus side the U.N. is investigating the torture jet in quite q few countries now. i guess that was pretty much due to your dedication and hard work.

author by Michaelpublication date Fri Sep 30, 2005 18:59author address author phone Report this post to the editors

Great work Tim -- looking forward to that article in the paper (this Sunday, no?). Who were those dudes, and what were they doing getting out of an Air Force aircraft?

It could be just your run-of-the-mill aggressors passing through Ireland with the help of the Irish state, thus further implicating us in their crimes and insuring SNN a still higher place than ever on terrorist hit lists....Or it could be something worse than that.

author by Joe Publicpublication date Fri Sep 30, 2005 19:01author address author phone Report this post to the editors

The UN wouldnt be able to wipes its own arse without permission from the US first. Iraq pretty much proves that the US control the UN and even when they dont bully the rest into submission they still do what they like without the UN stopping them.

Whats the UN going to do? Give out to the US in strong language?

author by consciencepublication date Sat Oct 01, 2005 16:00author address author phone Report this post to the editors

Dear Senator McCain:

I am a graduate of West Point currently serving as a Captain in the U.S. Army Infantry. I have served two combat tours with the 82nd Airborne Division, one each in Afghanistan and Iraq. While I served in the Global War on Terror, the actions and statements of my leadership led me to believe that United States policy did not require application of the Geneva Conventions in Afghanistan or Iraq. On 7 May 2004, Secretary of Defense Rumsfeld's testimony that the United States followed the Geneva Conventions in Iraq and the "spirit" of the Geneva Conventions in Afghanistan prompted me to begin an approach for clarification.

For 17 months, I tried to determine what specific standards governed the treatment of detainees by consulting my chain of command through battalion commander, multiple JAG lawyers, multiple Democrat and Republican Congressmen and their aides, the Ft. Bragg Inspector General's office, multiple government reports, the Secretary of the Army and multiple general officers, a professional interrogator at Guantanamo Bay, the deputy head of the department at West Point responsible for teaching Just War Theory and Law of Land Warfare, and numerous peers who I regard as honorable and intelligent men.

Instead of resolving my concerns, the approach for clarification process leaves me deeply troubled. Despite my efforts, I have been unable to get clear, consistent answers from my leadership about what constitutes lawful and humane treatment of detainees. I am certain that this confusion contributed to a wide range of abuses including death threats, beatings, broken bones, murder, exposure to elements, extreme forced physical exertion, hostage-taking, stripping, sleep deprivation and degrading treatment. I and troops under my command witnessed some of these abuses in both Afghanistan and Iraq.

the rest of the letter:

author by Zoomlenspublication date Sat Oct 01, 2005 21:10author address author phone Report this post to the editors

You can see the tail number more clearly in this cropped version

Close up of the tail section
Close up of the tail section

author by A10publication date Sat Oct 01, 2005 22:09author address author phone Report this post to the editors

Would you mind PRINTING for us thickos what the REG IS???????Even your cropped image is impossible to read !!

author by eeekkkkkpublication date Sat Oct 01, 2005 22:13author address author phone Report this post to the editors

"only visible markings on the plane 60206"

author by Mary Kellypublication date Sun Oct 02, 2005 12:55author address author phone Report this post to the editors

for keeping your eyes open recording the covert dual use of Shannon, and for maintaining this long vigil while the state turns blind eye.
The scales need to be ripped off peoples eyes re US military use of Shannon and other Irish civilian airports.

Shame on Ruairi Quinn and other politicos who feebly mention it now and then.

All power to your sharp eyes Tim!

author by A10publication date Mon Oct 03, 2005 20:57author address author phone Report this post to the editors

The number needs to be visible for a small thing called PROOF.You know that bothersome thing to make a fantasy FACT???
Second the reg does not corrospond to either a civvie or military reg.

author by ellapublication date Tue Oct 04, 2005 05:25author address author phone Report this post to the editors

There is a lot of intrique here. It sure is a long way from Canadas First Division which explains to the world our position ought to be scrap the war machine and its manufacturey and thus to freeing the people. Workers unite the world, not destroy it.

author by Timpublication date Tue Oct 04, 2005 12:42author address author phone Report this post to the editors

I admit, that I'm new to digital cameras, and seem to have merely cropped rather than zoomed, but that can be fixed soon enough. I promise to read the manual next time...

Meanwhile, the Sunday Tribune did, in fact print an enlarged version of this photo in which the number 60206 was very clearly visible on the tail. And if you check the links to airliners.net you'll see the same number listed on an unmarked jet which the planespotters at Fairford, in Poland and in Texas all describe as US Air Force, and the zianet link shows a marked USAF jet with the number 60201, (shortened from the full reg 86-0201, just like the jet pictured above, which has a full reg 86-0206),

author by Timpublication date Wed Oct 05, 2005 22:50author address author phone Report this post to the editors

Then I'm gonna punch the computer.
I cropped it and resized it, so it should be at least 260 wide.

The Tail and the Garda van
The Tail and the Garda van

author by Spotter1publication date Fri Nov 04, 2005 14:56author address author phone Report this post to the editors

All of yeer facts are wrong. That a/c is a US governent jet. Do not get silly notions that private biz-jets arriving in Shannon are carrying people being tortured.

There is no airport by-law stating that airband scanners are illegal on airport premises. If you are that afraid use some headphones.

author by Insightpublication date Tue Oct 17, 2006 23:39author address author phone Report this post to the editors

Spotted these planes at Jeffco Airport in Broomfield, CO, USA today - 17 Oct 2006. Three unmarked vehicles with antennae all over dropped off several "suits". Departing, one used the callsign "SAM 60206" which is the tail number, the other used "SAM 0789" - the tail number on that plane was 60403.

author by Jimbobpublication date Fri Aug 29, 2008 09:16author address author phone Report this post to the editors

by Spotter1

All of yeer facts are wrong.

Oh really? That should be easy to test.

That a/c is a US governent jet.

The article states that is a US military jet, belonging to the airforce and not a civilian jet. So where exactly are the facts wrong?

Do not get silly notions that private biz-jets arriving in Shannon are carrying people being tortured.

of course they wouldn't be. Teleporters are used. The torturers, and the torture victims get from A to C without ever passing through , the planes are empty and just used to claim mileage expenses.
We should of course ignore the the fact that a civilian registered jet, N379P, was witnessed by a Swedish policeman being used to abduct two men, who were then tortured in Egypt. We should also ignore the fact that this jet and others suspected of similar acts have been spotted in Shannon, by Ed Horgan, Tim Hourigan, and Conor Cregan. All that evidence, and logic stuff, it's so dull, don'cha think?

There is no airport by-law stating that airband scanners are illegal on airport premises. If you are that afraid use some headphones.

Let me point you towards,
S.I. No. 425/1994: AIRPORT BYE-LAWS, 1994.

4.1. Each of the following is hereby prohibited:
(21) monitoring air traffic control, or airport or airline operational frequencies in the State, with radio receiving or recording equipment or using television cameras or other photographic equipment the use of which in the opinion of Aer Rianta is likely to be contrary to the interests of security;

author by Fred Johnstonpublication date Fri Aug 29, 2008 14:55author address author phone Report this post to the editors

The CIA have feet on the ground, as they say, in the Republic. That in itself isn't news. This will have been by agreement, of course, with the government of the day. It is possible that the two 'suits' being guarded by our guardians were secret service or CIA and no, we shouldn't be looking after them if all things were just, as clearly such people are not here to bring roses, but to facilitate in some way the covert workings of an imperialistic White House. I have said before that any member of the Gardaí who starts asking questions around landings at Shannon can start looking for a transfer or will get handed one smartish. The real culprits in all of this are the knee-bending, bowl-of-shamrock-totin' government of the Republic of Ireland.

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