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USAF Hercules crew lodge at Limerick hotel

category clare | anti-war / imperialism | news report author Wednesday January 04, 2006 16:33author by Shannon Watch Report this post to the editors

Emergency Landing at Shannon Airport.

When a Hercules C 130 aeroplane bearing the markings of the US Air Force undertook an emergency landing at Shannon Airport on Friday 30 December, the crew of the aircraft, assisted by the American embassy, were accommodated as civilians at the South Court Hotel in Limerick.

When a Hercules C 130 aeroplane bearing the markings of the US Air Force undertook an emergency landing at Shannon Airport on Friday 30 December, the crew of the aircraft, assisted by the American embassy, were accommodated as civilians at the South Court Hotel in Limerick.

No precautions were taken to provide for the crew’s security on arrival at the hotel, and security measures later implemented by the Garda Síochána were inadequate to protect the crew, other guests and staff at the hotel.

This is despite the fact that the Hague Convention obliges Ireland to provide secure accommodation, that is to intern all foreign belligerent soldiers who arrive on its neutral territory during time of war.

The fact that this warplane was reported to have made an emergency landing, does not
alter the obligations on the Irish government to intern both the crew and the aircraft. Ireland is obliged to allow such aircraft in distress to make an emergency landing, but is equally obliged to refuse the aircraft and its crew permission to take off again.

Two local peace activists, former Irish Army commandant Edward Horgan and photographer Conor Cregan, were at the airport on Friday afternoon, conducting routine surveillance of aircraft thought to be involved in the transport of troops or cargo to Iraq, and checking if any CIA aircraft involved in the rendition of prisoners for torture were at the airport.

An ATA chartered aircraft carrying US troops to or from Iraq had earlier been parked at
Gate 42. The activists then noticed a fire engine on the runway. The Hercules aircraft, reportedly troubled by a fuel leak from one of its starboard engines, landed soon afterwards.

Several figures in sand camouflage uniforms appeared on the runway beneath the plane, talking to ground crew dressed in fluorescent yellow.

Concerned that this aircraft might be carrying prisoners abducted by American military or intelligence agents to an internment camp at Guantánamo Bay or elsewhere, Cregan and Horgan took photographs from the viewing station in the airport and from the roadway beside it.

A white bus marked "Lynch Hotels" picked up the crew from the airport, and later passed the peace activists as they made their way to Limerick. Out of curiosity, the activists followed the crew of the Hercules warplane to the South Court Hotel in Raheen, Limerick, and spoke to the crew members in the hotel lobby.

They counted twelve men and one woman, mostly middle-aged, probably members of the National Guard, or reserve soldiers.

The crew were now dressed in civilian clothing, but all were carrying bags made of military camouflage material, and no other security measures were manifest at this point.

The crew stood tense and alert as the peace activists advised them of their status as forces of a belligerent nation landing in a neutral country. Under the Hague Convention, Horgan advised them, Ireland was obliged to intern them for the course of the war.

One of them explained that they were only at Shannon because of an emergency, and that the US embassy had advised them that they were entitled to land under such circumstances. Horgan agreed, but pointed out that the Irish government was still obliged to intern them under the Hague Convention.

They were then asked if they had any prisoners on board.

The commanding officer appeared genuinely appalled at the thought.

After a brief, mutually polite exchange, Horgan withdrew, satisfied that this particular aircraft was probably not carrying suspected terrorists or "illegal combatants" from its wars in Afghanistan or Iraq.

The American officer asked whether Horgan thought there was any threat to the safety of his crew. Horgan suggested that the regular transit of troops and cargo through Shannon presented a threat of a terrorist attack at the airport.

On arrival at the hotel on Friday evening, an indymedia correspondent found a white car bearing the markings of the Garda Síochána parked in the car park, facing the main entrance. Two gardaí sat in the front of the car, but made no move to perform any security check.

The correspondent walked into the lobby of the hotel, deserted but for the receptionist, and asked whether there was a public bar in the hotel. The receptionist gladly pointed the way to the bar at the end of the corridor.

On strolling into the bar, the correspondent found the crew of the Hercules sitting at the bar, enjoying pints of stout.

Two of them engaged in amicable protests against Horgan’s suggestion that they should be interned under the Hague Convention. They railed against the suggestion that the regular passage of troops and cargo through Shannon was in breach of Irish law, and protested their involvement in humanitarian missions to demonstrate their innocence.

Others were more apprehensive. One stood listening in stony silence. Another asked how Horgan had found them. Yet another sat on a stool and watched from behind the pillar in the centre of his table.

Finally, the crew’s commanding officer asked that they be left in peace to enjoy their pints.

The activists’ information is that the Hercules was on a return flight from the field of operations in the Middle East, probably as part of the support logistics for the United States’ war in Iraq.

The concerned peace activists point out that, as the plane found itself in an emergency situation, it was entitled to land, but was not entitled to take off again.

Article 11 of the Hague Convention states as follows: “A neutral Power which receives on its territory troops belonging to the belligerent armies shall intern them, as far as possible, at a distance from the theatre of war.”

None of the other US military aircraft, civilian aircraft chartered to carry troops, or aircraft involved in abductions by the CIA, are entitled to land at Shannon. By permitting them to land, Ireland is in breach of several different conventions of international law.


In addition, some news from Shannon:

The following motion was passed at Shannon Town Council on Tuesday, 3 January 2006:
“Shannon Town Council supports the calls from across the political spectrum, and from members of the public, for the investigation of the possible use of Irish airports by the United States administration for the purposes of transporting prisoners for rendition for torture through Irish airports.”

author by peacenikpublication date Wed Jan 04, 2006 21:01author address author phone Report this post to the editors

The US military machine is now sending over one thousand armed troops through Shannon airport each day, 7 days a week. That amounts to the total strength of the Irish defence force passing through Shannon every 10 days.
In spite of attempts to deny the casualty toll in Iraq, over 100,000 have died since 20 March 2003. Even Geoge Bush has admitted that over 30,000 have been killed. More than two thirds of those killed have been civilian non-combatants, and over 40% of those killed were Children.
Regardless of whether Ireland is in breach of the Hague Convention, or the UN Charter or whatever, we are complicit in unlawful mass murder.
The Irish enconomy had a record year in 2005 and is set for another record year in 2006. Not so for the Iraqi economy, but who cares?

author by Seán Ryanpublication date Thu Jan 05, 2006 04:53author address author phone Report this post to the editors

Excellent article.

Any ideas as to who footed the bills; the bar tab, transportation costs to the hotel and the hotel bill?

Chances are that none of the crew was carrying euros.

Something else that troubles me - how many emergency landings have occured at Shannon? And statistically speaking, how many more must happen before, something significant and of consequence happens?


Seán Ryan.

author by Brianpublication date Thu Jan 05, 2006 10:01author email green.socialist at yahoo dot ieauthor address author phone Report this post to the editors

This is a very well written piece. And of great interest. The government is failing in its international law obligations.

author by Aronpublication date Thu Jan 05, 2006 10:11author address author phone 0872895036Report this post to the editors

24hr Peace Camp taking place this Saturday, at Shannon. The bitchin kitchen will be cooking and we're bring a large marquee to sleep in. There will be a vigil at 4pm and the documentary film, BIg Plane, Small Axe will be shown. Please come and lend it your support. See news wire or upcoming events for more details.

author by roosterpublication date Thu Jan 05, 2006 16:08author address author phone Report this post to the editors

The solution then is simple, make a citizens arrest next time you meet one of these USAF personnel and then hand them over to the Gardai, who will then prosecute them under whatever law has been broken, if at all.

author by Duinepublication date Thu Jan 05, 2006 16:24author address author phone Report this post to the editors

Mo ghraidhn thú, a Cheannfort Edward Horgan !!!!
Maith an fear!

author by peacenikpublication date Thu Jan 05, 2006 18:08author address author phone Report this post to the editors

Hello A 10
thanks for the info on the 72 hour deadline. This particular Hercules C 130 was still at Shannon yesterday, so it had way over-run its 72 hour deadline!
It has been well known that Lynch's hotels have been accommodating US military crews for the past three years, but in the interests of the security of innocent hotel staff, peace activists have not highlighted this matter. Now that you A 10 have highlighed it, Lynch's hotels may need to review their security and emergency procedures.
a peaceful and a safe new year to all

author by redjadepublication date Thu Jan 05, 2006 18:31author address author phone Report this post to the editors


can you provide some sources, links etc to this 72hrs issue?
Is it confirmed they have been there longer than that?

cooking a feature up right now on this story (above)

author by redjadepublication date Thu Jan 05, 2006 21:22author address author phone Report this post to the editors

Battle of the River Plate
13 Dec 1939 - 17 Dec 1939
'...the [German battleship] Admiral Graf Spee fled for the
neutral port of Montevideo after sustaining heavy damage
from the lighter ships. Law of neutrality allowed the
Admiral Graf Spee to stay in port for only 72 hours.'

. . . .

'courtsey of pitstop and other nutter groups breking into the place'

I wouldn't fret too much about this a10 - the Irish Media are doing their best to not let the world know. Notice how little Ireland is mentioned in the global and euro MSM press regarding the rendition planes and almost never regarding the hundreds of thousands US troops that have a duty-free pint at Shannon.

But no island is an island - the word's getting out.

author by Coilínpublication date Thu Jan 05, 2006 22:57author address author phone Report this post to the editors

While living in exile in Denmark a couple of years ago, I was delighted to meet some of the surviving members of the Danish resistance movement, particularly one of the "Churchill Gang" who as a teenager was involved in sabotaging trains transporting agricultural produce from Denmark to feed the troops of the Nazi war machine.

The Danish government collaborated with the Nazis. The Churchill Gang were imprisoned, no doubt labelled as "nutters" by the Danish politicians, and the Nazis conducted acts of terrorism in an attempt to discredit the resistance movement - a good example of terrorism as the invention of the power-abusing state.

"La terreur n'est autre chose que la justice prompte, sévère, inflexible." ("Terror is nothing other than prompt, severe, inflexible justice.") — Robespierre

While handing out leaflets for the Peace Watch outside the Danish house of parliament one day in February 2002, I met a little white-haired old lady who told me about being held and tortured by the Gestapo in the Shell building in Copenhagen.

"What do you think of this war on terror?" I asked her.

"I think we must stop it," she replied, without a moment's hesitation.

After the demise of the current regime of global terror and torture orchestrated by the United States and assisted by the collaboration of the Irish government, the "nutters" who broke into Shannon to protest and attempt to halt the war machine trundling into Mesopotamia will no doubt be held in the same esteem with which we now regard the old members of the Danish resistance.


author by Ron Kaylorpublication date Sat Jan 07, 2006 00:11author email mollys2 at comcast dot netauthor address author phone Report this post to the editors

To the little white haired lady....AMEN!

author by the magnificent lord rothschildpublication date Sat Jan 07, 2006 01:43author address author phone Report this post to the editors

It may well be that the crew were unlikely to have been carrying Euros but have yis never heard of credit cards ?

author by Seán Ryanpublication date Sat Jan 07, 2006 07:51author address author phone Report this post to the editors

I don't like credit cards but I'm familar with them.

But I don't think credit cards are an issue here, at least not credit cards belonging to the crew of the Hercules.

You'll remember from the article, that the crew had some dealings with the American embassy, in that it was mentioned that the embassy had given an ok to a landing due to an emergency. You'll probably also remember that there was an hotel bus waiting for the crew, to take them to their hotel. It's possible that the American embassy arranged this, or even Aer Rianta, or possibly our Government. It seems unlikely that the crew paid for it directly, unless somebody on the crew gave out credit card details to someone from their embassy, and this seems unlikely seeing that they were having an emergency at the time.

So I reckon you see my point. And in truth, I see yours, credit card transactions are easier to pursue. Which brings me back to my original question. Who footed the bills, us or US. And I'd like to add a further question.

What are the standing arrangements with our government, and with commercial entities, with regard to stranded members of the American war machine, in this country?

This last question is particularly important, remembering that the author of the article, and many subsequent posters, have pointed out that due to our actions, we are in breach of many conventions, and in my opinion we actively collude with the Americans in illegal wars and crimes against humanity.

And, why are these arrangements made in a covert fashion (Not locations etc. But financial and demographical details)?

I'm not being paranoid as such. I realise that we profit from Americas illegal activities, and I just want to know is this profit generated solely by America, or do we collectively dip into our pockets to grease the wheels or rather how much grease do we apply.

There's a shitstorm coming and I just want to know who's buying umbrellas.


Seán Ryan

author by Concernedpublication date Sat Jan 07, 2006 14:16author address author phone Report this post to the editors

Interesting read...take care because one day you might be in need as well...

author by Illiteratepublication date Sat Jan 07, 2006 15:38author address author phone Report this post to the editors

The name of the author of this post has been changed as it was in breach of editorial guidelines. Comments on editorial policy are not permitted anywhere in posts. Please read the editorial guidelines. Deliberately breaching these and then moaning about it convinces only yourself that you're a martyr. To anyone else it looks duplicitous and foolish. - 1 of IMC Ed
I can ansewr you that one pretty quickly.The Us govt paid for it.And a pretty miserable allowance do they give their personel .$60USD for room and board per night per service person.Why do you think they are stuck in the skankiest hotel chain in Ireland?[Lynchs]Any drinks,or other expenses the crew has to pay from their own pocket.And no there is nothing covert or secret about it.The US govt will always take the cheapest option when billeting their troops.So they obvisouly found the lousey Lynch hotels the cheapest option.Belive it or not the US govt does still have to justify to it's taxpayer citzens how the tax dollars are spent[.Unlike our lot who would hog it up in the five star hotels and tell us eff all as to where our money went.]
BTW the US embassy does not give permission for emergency landings.If it is an emergency landing ,the plane captain has full authorithy to land wherever as safe as possible.

author by Seán Ryanpublication date Sun Jan 08, 2006 23:06author address author phone Report this post to the editors

Don't get me wrong. I have nothing personal against American soldiers, I know many of them and the parents of many of them. And I realise that in many ways, that they too should be considered victims in all this, their parents and others included.

It is not my contention that the American government wouldn't try to shaft what has always been cannon fodder. Of course they do, other than using them as cannon fodder, they screw them financially, God help anyone injured or inflicted with disability, they shaft their families financially too, whether the soldier be on duty, injured or dead.

I agree with you, and I apologise if you felt that what I've said previously is not in agreement with what I've just said.

It is my contention also, that our government would have no problem with exploiting these for the most part kids either. And if Aer Rianta can do it on the cheap they will.

I didn't mean to suggest that one of these three parties was not a degenerate stain on humanity, I just wanted to know was it was verified as to which one was responsible for carrying the lead as Ireland drifted yet again further from internal and international treaties.

This $60 per person per night - it is probable that this is not paid to cannon fodder before emergencies, I suppose with the idea that it might be hard to pry it from the hands of a bereaved loved one and because it would indicate an ability to predict the future.

So isn't it possible that this money is spent on the behalf of enlistees?

And is it not possible that this spending includes the negotiating power of a powerful third party, like our government or Aer Rianta.

I'm not trying to establish some conspiracy theory, I'm simply trying to figure out what exactly is going on.

As for the permission bit. I'm sorry if I didn't elaborate on this, but I was mainly referring to the article stating this. Maybe I used the word "permission" ambiguosly, but again I was referring to the article and not adding new knowledge. The report states that the crew was in contact with its embassy and that the embassy had told them that they were entitled to land at Shannon, maybe it's the crew that didn't know where they were entitled to land in emergencies. It is possibly further example that most people, especially Americans and especially the Irish government, are not aware that we have constitutional and international obligations. And just in case, I don't mean to suggest that ignorance is a viable excuse, or in the case of governments and business entities, that this ignorance isn't an act.



author by Geraldo Revera - Hilton Hotelspublication date Mon Jan 09, 2006 00:22author address author phone Report this post to the editors

Perhaps the american military would be welcomed in your neighboring nation. Pick a Brit type.

author by Edward Horgan - PANApublication date Mon Jan 09, 2006 13:40author address author phone Report this post to the editors

Just for the record, a number of photos of the crew members of the US Hercules C 130 war plane that spent about a week at Shannon airport, were taken by me while I was investigating the presence and purposes of this aircraft at Shannon. As soon as I established that this aircraft was at Shannon due to an emergency landing, I deleted these photos from my digital camera, because they were not relevant to this ongoing debate and investigations. I was also concerned for the personal safety of these individuals, who like most of the US service men and women involved in the Iraq war are pawns on the bloody chessboard of international relations.
However, we are compiling a list of US military commanders, and US government officials who may have been complicit in war crimes, and other crimes against individuals in Iraq and Afghanistan, and we will be seeking the arrest and indictment of these individuals. Some Irish individuals may also be on this list.

author by Edward Horgan - PANApublication date Thu Jan 12, 2006 18:26author address author phone Report this post to the editors

Hercules C130 mentioned in the above reports is pictured here at Shannon airport on 30 December 2005, after it allegedly made an emergency landing.

Grounded Warplane at Shannon
Grounded Warplane at Shannon

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