Independent Media Centre Ireland

Another CIA torture plane refuelled at Shannon.

category international | anti-war / imperialism | news report author Monday December 03, 2007 22:53author by Edward Horgan

N71PG at Shannon

A CIA controlled Learjet reg no N71PG was refuelled at dawn this morning at Shannon and made a hasty exit within the hour. It had been due two hours earlier, in the hours of darkness as usual.
Unlike the two other CIA planes recently refuelled at Shannon, Gulfstream N476LC refuelled on 30 Oct 07 and Gulfstream N478GS refuelled on 30 Nov 07, both of which were notorious torture rendition planes, we know very little about N71PG so far. Please carry out some research and try and dig up its CIA history. We should remember that when the now infamous N379P, known as the Guantanamo Express was first seen at Shannon and logged on indymedia by Tim Hourigan, we were not even aware of the CIA torture rendition programme. Such murky and gross violations of human rights are by their very nature very difficult to expose.
CIA Rendition Plane N71PG  at Shannon 3 Dec 2007
CIA Rendition Plane N71PG at Shannon 3 Dec 2007

When I arrived at Shannon airport to check on the latest CIA arrival at 07.55 am on Mon 3 Dec 07, it was already on the ground being refuelled, and located just in front of the security and fire brigade buildings. I phone Shannon garda station and spoke to Sgt Noel McMahon, and requested that he have this plane searched by gardai. He gave me the usual guff about needing concrete “proof” of prisoners on board the plane before gardai could search the plane. He even cited the fact that gardai could not search my home just on the basis of reports or complaints by neighbours. He is wrong of course. Gardai can get warrants to search private homes if there is reasonable suspicion of that house is being used for criminal purposes.
An example that has been reported to me occurred in December 2006. I am informed that an automatic pistol went missing from a US military or air force plane at Shannon. Gardai got a warrant to search the home of an employee at Shannon airport, and arrested the individual and held him for questioning for about 36 hours. The only concrete “proof” or “evidence” that a gun was missing was that a US soldier had reported that his pistol was missing. It has been reported that the US military have managed to “loose” over 100,000 weapons including very many automatic rifles in Iraq, that have probably fallen into the hands of insurgents, so one more pistol lost seems insignificant by comparison.
The crime of torture is far more serious than the loss or possible theft of one pistol. Yet the gardai need “proof that will stand up in court” that prisoners are on board the CIA planes at Shannon, before they will even look through the windows or doors of the plane. I have discovered separately that gardai at Shannon are being very careful not to be caught or photographed on protection duty on CIA planes at Shannon, in case they are accused of protecting tortures. However, they normally do protection duty on all US military planes at Shannon, in spite of the fact that more than half of the prisoners at Guantanamo were transported there on US military planes, rather than on CIA jets.

I now want to make an appeal.
We need volunteers to assist in the process of monitoring US military and CIA planes at Shannon airport. Our team of monitors has been successfully reduced by garda harassment and abuse of the courts system by gardai. These are the same gardai that are daily refusing to comply with the Criminal Justice (UN Convention Against Torture Act) 2002, by failing to investigate and prevent complicity in the crime of torture at Shannon airport.
I would also ask that comments and postings on this topic in indymedia be confined to the broader issues of the gross human rights abuses inflicted on prisoners under the US rendition for torture programme, and to the specifics of what is happening at Shannon. The airing of personal grievance against the justice systems in Ireland and elsewhere, should be kept for another forum or separate indymedia postings. The abuses inflicting on many of these prisoners include execution at the end of the torture process. The airing by individuals of their own lesser personal injustices distracts from our efforts to prevent the crimes of torture being facilitated at Shannon airport.

We need volunteers urgently to carry out research on the internet, and to engage in monitoring at Shannon airport on a more regular basis. Surely from a population of over 4 million people, it should be possible to find more that a few people to monitor and report on the crimes of torture.

Please contact me at if you have time to spend either on research or monitory CIA and US military planes. If you can’t spare a few hours, then God Bless You.
Remember the story from the Nazi era, “when they came for me, there was no one left to protest on my behalf”.

N71PG parked at Shannon airport security
N71PG parked at Shannon airport security

Comments (29 of 29)

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author by YouTuberpublication date Tue Dec 04, 2007 12:43author address author phone

This part of the documentary 'Taking Liberties' gives more insight into the US rendition programme . Worth 10 minutes of your time. Insightful.

Generally the whole documentary is very good and can be viewed on youtube. A vision of were Ireland could be heading in the very near future.

author by softlabhennefpublication date Tue Dec 04, 2007 16:06author address author phone

See the evil, hear the evil, speak the evil:

author by Mary Kellypublication date Tue Dec 04, 2007 20:22author address author phone

brilliant short movies,cleverly crafted to show what we have signed up for by allowing lawless fascist governments in power. " Rendair! -the ultimate lowcost airline, on routes which include all the torture hotspots. We regret to announce you wont be able to watch the onflight movie, as you will have a bag over your head!...Why torture people at home when its cheaper to torture abroad?!"
Re a busload of women prevented from protesting at Fairford- "...they did'nt want any trouble to highlight what was going on in the base. The US military had said they were prepared to open fire should anyone breach the perimiter fence"

and Tony Blair who has " dismantled our basic liberties. Who is to blame for this seeming permanent state of fear? the government the police the media or us?
We are the democratic process, so we have to start behaving like we are..."
- " Everyone do the post 9/11 dance" great work. thanks for that link.

author by Joepublication date Tue Dec 04, 2007 21:20author address author phone

In the past few months two CIA linked planes were discovered carrying between them 9 tons of cocaine in Mexico. One of those planes was used to ferry kidnapped torture victims and had stopped at Shannon. Yet, the Gardai are directed not to investigate these planes who land and take off in the full knowledge they will not be inspected. Now, it is a well established fact that the CIA is a drug smuggling gang as well as a murder, kidnap, torture and terrorist gang so who are they allowed travel through Ireland uninspected? Because our government and senior Gardai are part of the same gang, is why. There is no other credible explanation.

author by Edwardpublication date Tue Dec 04, 2007 23:23author address author phone

This should be of interest to those with an interest in constitutional matters and human rights.
Constitutions should play a very important part in protecting human rights. However, the abuses of the US constitution and the Irish constitution have led to most serious abuses of human rights.


"The Most Important Case of the Decade" - Tomorrow! Take Action to Move Beyond Guantánamo!‏
From: CCR (
You may not know this sender.Mark as safe|Mark as unsafe
Sent: 04 December 2007 20:18:35

center for constitutional rights

Dear Edward ,

Tomorrow, December 5, the Center for Constitutional Rights will return to the Supreme Court for part III of what The New York Times has called "the most important civil rights case in 50 years." Please go to our website to learn more about the arguments and principles at stake in this Guantánamo case.You can also listen to the arguments in real time tomorrow on C-SPAN radio beginning at 11:15 EST.

In the lead up to this historic argument, CCR has been undertaking a major campaign to highlight the importance of this case. As part of this campaign we produced a television ad featuring actor and activist Danny Glover speaking about Bush administration's destruction of the Constitution. This ad was rejected by Fox News, their explanation being that we could "not document that Bush is in fact 'destroying' the Constitution." It is airing tonight in the DC area on CNN and MSNBC.

Read more and watch the video.

But the serious story behind the ad is CCR's historic case before the Supreme Court, which will in all likelihood determine once and for all whether there is a constitutional right to habeas corpus - that is, a fair hearing before a real court - for everyone detained by the U.S. government at Guantánamo.

Read more about Al Odah v. United States and Boumediene v. Bush here.

This new case goes Beyond Guantánamo - we are directly challenging President Bush's unprecedented power grab, his use of torture in violation of domestic and international law, and his assertion that he can hold anyone indefinitely anywhere in the world on his word alone. The case also challenges the 2006 Republican Congress's attempt to clear his way with its passage of the Military Commissions Act.

In 2004, CCR won the first Guantánamo Supreme Court case - Rasul v. Bush - when the Supreme Court ruled that the men at Guantánamo have the fundamental right to challenge their detention.

Even though you're not in D.C. to see the arguments, you can still take action to make sure that our rights - and our Constitution - are rescued from the hands of the Bush administration, where they have been systematically shredded for the past seven years:

Send President Bush a copy of the Constitution (something he seems to have forgotten about);
Watch the controversial video with Danny Glover that was rejected by Fox News;
Watch other videos of Eve Ensler and Vanessa Redgrave speaking out against Guantánamo and forward them to your friends and family; or
Attend a local event tomorrow, check our calendar of events for actions near you.
We need your help to restore the damage done to our most basic rights: join us today and take action to Rescue the Constitution. Let's move Beyond Guantánamo.


To unsubscribe from this list reply to this email with "unsubscribe" in the subject line
Center for Constitutional Rights ll 666 Broadway 7th floor NY, NY 10012 ll 212-614-6464 ll

author by Edwardpublication date Wed Dec 05, 2007 00:11author address author phone

The number of the plane that crashed in Mexico with a couple of tons of drugs, seems to have been Gulfstream N987SA, but I can find no record yet of it being at Shannon. let me know if you find otherwise

author by Garypublication date Wed Dec 05, 2007 09:27author address author phone

I don't believe that the US is using Shannon to rendition prisoners though I believe that the US does rendition prisoners.
I believe that Ed Horgan and his friends are a bunch of powerless fantasists who wish that they could influence American foreign policy all the way from little old Ireland and drizzly Shannon. I believe that secretly they would love to have been born American so they could protest outside the steps of Capitol Hill like modern Jimmy Stewarts in Washington instead they have to make do with the Dail on a wet Kildare Street in boring old Dublin. The Iraq War, the Afghanistan War, the Darfur Genocide, Burmese dicatatorship, Socialism v American Imperialism in South American, Israe v Palestine etc etc. have practically nothing to do with Ireland.
The importance of Shannon to pen pushers in Washington is probably the same as some airfield on Easter Island.
I don't think neo-cons know or care less what Irish people think:
"There's an anti-war movement in Ireland? Really? Hmmm!" an lowly intern in the basement of the Pentagon might exclaim after skimming over indymedia in between searches for Barely Legal College Co-eds on google.
Wouldn't it be great if just once the Darth Vaders in Washington could notice us just once and oppress us Ed?

author by softlabhennefpublication date Wed Dec 05, 2007 11:03author address author phone

FAA-records (maybe not complete):

N987SA 10.10.2002 from Farmingdale, NY to Shannon
N987SA 20.10.2002 from Firenze, Italy to Shannon
N987SA 20.10.2002 from Shannon to Gander, NF
N987SA 14.07.2003 from Annecy, France to Shannon
N987SA 17.07.2003 from Edinburgh, UK to Dublin
N987SA 19.07.2003 from Dublin to Manston, UK

N987SA had suspected flights into Europe but at the moment there is no evidence of transporting prisoners. Flights to Guantanamo started all from US. But Operator of N987SA until 2005 was Presidential Aviation, which kidnapped Maher Arar in 2002 with plane N829MG.

All known flight data of N987SA:

Stories (in German) with deep links

author by Seán Ryanpublication date Wed Dec 05, 2007 19:11author address author phone

... that compels our need to search these planes/evidence.

In my opinion a lot of folk including our evasive (to put it mildly) government are under the impression or giving it out, that searching CIA torture planes would solely facilitate the Gardaí checking to see if prisoners were on board at the time of the search.

Whilst it is quite possible that a search might produce some poor kidnap victim, it is undeniable that these planes and the personnell who fly them have perpetrated crimes. That they have perpetrated crimes is beyond dispute, even Bertie and his clique have condemned rendition. I suggest that in all fairness, that the least action that must be done is to search the planes for evidence of the crimes we know to have been committed and evidence is a lot broader that just finding a kidnap victim, evidence that proves the kidnap is relevant too. Rather than that, we should seize these planes as evidence and hold any personnell as either witnesses or suspects. We have the obligation to enforce national and international laws, regardless to the US's flouting of them and our own government's wilful ignorance of them.

author by A10publication date Wed Dec 05, 2007 20:39author address author phone

are you going to find irrefutable evidence that this aircraft has been involved in these supposed crimes ???? Are you hoping to find a carelessly forgotten set of manacles??? A chap sitting there with no shirtand tight black pants and a black hood??? Do you honestly think that the CIA,or whomever is going to be that foolish and leave evidence lying around???

You can be double damn sure that the plane is sterile of all evidence returning here.If it is not a total
decoy to dupe the gulliable into beliving it is still flying terrorist suspects.Which it proably is,as the CIA has access to litterally hundreds of aircraft,and are proably flying the suspects merrily in another aircraft.

So you are going to create a diplomatic incident by arresting a US crew and impounding a aircraft on the "suspicion" that it might be involved in a crime and on the say so of a disgruntled ex comdt of the Irish army and his radical American hating friends ???Hmmm, I see a bunch of Irish illegal expatriates being arrested for suspicion of comitting terrorist activities in the US within 24 hours of this happening.Who has more to lose here the US or Ireland???That's right ..we do.

IOW ,get to read up more on procedure,due process of Irish and intl law,evidence and securing thereof,and maybe then it will sound more logical to us out here.

author by Seán Ryanpublication date Thu Dec 06, 2007 00:37author address author phone

Hiya A10.

I know more about procedure, due process and the gathering and securing of evidence than I care to.

With regard to the gathering of evidence which follows when a reasonable suspicion has been established and an investigation initiated, allow me to refer to two Supreme Court cases, Braddish v DPP and Dunne v DPP. Both these cases describe the roles of the Gardaí with regard to gathering evidence.

In Braddish we have the following established: "It is the duty of the Gardaí, arising from their unique investigative role, to seek out and preserve all evidence having a bearing or potential bearing on the issue of guilt or innocence. This is so whether the prosecution proposes to rely on the evidence or not, and regardless of whether it assists the case the prosecution is advancing or not."

In Dunne we are told exactly how much effort the Gardaí must lawfully expend in seeking out evidence before their duty is considered to have been done. This is described by McGuinness J. where it is pointed out that if a trial were to be prohibited on that basis that the Gardaí failed to seek out evidence : "it would have to be shown that any such evidence would be clearly relevant, that there was at least a strong probability that the evidence was available, and that it would in reality have a bearing on the guilt or innocence of the accused person..."

Are the torture planes landing in Shannon evidence? If Extraordinary Renditions have occurred and they have, these planes are evidence and it is the duty of the Gardaí to seek out, secure and preserve this evidence. It is also their duty to seek out, secure and preserve any evidence that may be contained on these planes, whether it be material like DNA that would prove an Extraordinary Rendition took place, or indeed that an attempt was made to wilfully clean the plane of any such evidence.

Braddish V DPP:-

Dunne V DPP:-

author by Edward Horganpublication date Thu Dec 06, 2007 10:24author address author phone

indentifying and publishing these items of legal research is valuable because it puts another piece of the jigsaw in place. There is unlikely to be any dramatic discovery of a prisoner bound and gagged at Shannon in the process of being rendered for torture. What we are likely to get in time is evidence that particular prisoners were taken through Shannon on their way to an from Guantanamo. These prisoners or their legal representatives then have the opportunity to sue the Irish government for its part and complicity in their torture. This also applies to cases where Shannon was used to refuel the CIA planes on their way to collect a prisoner, or on their return journey after having delivered a prisoner for example to a prison in Egypt, such as Hurgada. At the moment we are collecting evidence, and we do not propose to break into CIA planes at Shannon as A 10 seems to suggest. Our objective is to uphold the proper use of the rule of law, not to destroy the rule of law and Bush, Ahern and their cronies are doing.

author by Flightlinepublication date Thu Dec 06, 2007 13:22author address author phone

author by Seán Ryanpublication date Fri Dec 07, 2007 04:26author address author phone

"The same UN that failed the Iraqi people must now make mandatory US-UK reparations to Iraq and the allocation of Iraqi oil revenues for Iraqi refugees."

Dennis also says "I call for an international investigation of US atrocities, torture, murder of civilians, CIA renditions, use of gun slingers acting outside of any law, arbitrary imprisonment of thousands, use of depleted uranium, cluster bombing, and the genocidal destruction of cities and towns such as Falluja."

The former Assistant Secretary General has pulled no punches in what he's had to say and has dispensed with 'politically correct,' in what is rapidly becoming known to be an incredible and series of crimes against humanity without rival since the nazis during WWII, against the civillian population of Iraq. Mr. Halliday a well respected Ploughshares supporter, praised the group of direct action activists in Court (eventhough this testimony was not allowed before the jury), saying that he 'did the talking' but they 'did the walking.'

I think Mr. Halliday's words transcend both disciplines.

author by Seán Ryanpublication date Fri Dec 07, 2007 04:38author address author phone

No big surprise there. The surprise is that it's become public.

author by anonpublication date Fri Dec 07, 2007 13:38author address author phone

terminal air doesn't specify why n71pg is on its list, its not on which only list flights which have been directly connected with kidnappings, its probably there because it is Phoenix air group plane, who have permission to fly to US military airports and are involved in military research and cia travel. And it seems the Nordic council are concerned about its activites.
The planes used for rendition also used for drug smuggling perhaps all private plans at Irish airports should be searched.

author by Edward Horganpublication date Fri Dec 07, 2007 18:37author address author phone

Thanks Anon for the info on N71PG. you are probably right in your assessment. However, keep digging on all these planes, especially N478GS and N475LC. Our arrest at Shannon on 30 Nov, may indicate that we are causing some pain along the torture rendition perpetrators chain of command. Complicity is a gentle sounding word, but it specifically written into the UN Convention against Torture.

author by Flightlinepublication date Fri Dec 07, 2007 20:13author address author phone also has a running discussion on this [url=] here [/url]

author by softlabhennefpublication date Sun Dec 09, 2007 19:46author address author phone

Plane is coming again soon:

Planned flight (Time/Date =US) from FAA:

Hold the line !!!

author by Skywatcherpublication date Mon Dec 10, 2007 09:34author address author phone

N71PG which was in Shannon a few days ago was in Guantanamo Bay last night.

author by anonpublication date Mon Dec 10, 2007 10:43author address author phone well there you go.

author by Seán Ryanpublication date Tue Dec 11, 2007 11:39author address author phone

Despite the fact that Congress in Washington are getting their knickers in a twist about waterboarding and other forms of torture, it turns out that the CIA briefed many members of Congress (both Republicans and Democrats) back in 2002, giving descriptions of their 'harsh interrogation' methods. Included on the list of those in the know is Nancy Pelosi, House Speaker.

Another point of interest to be made, which completely seems to have evaded the Western Mainstream Media herd, is the fact that during 2005 the lawyers for Zacarias Moussaoui requested all information from the CIA, including tapes that related to his interrogation. His lawyers were alleging that Moussaoui had been tortured. The CIA claimed that there were no tapes at this time, in court. Interesting that it was at this time it was decided to destroy evidence.

Perversion of the course of justice and obstruction?


Rats jumping from the sinking ship and lots of backstabbing be the order de jour methinks.

author by Reflectionspublication date Tue Dec 11, 2007 17:56author address author phone

When it's all said and done, a lot gets said and fuck all gets done.

author by softlabhennefpublication date Thu Dec 13, 2007 19:31author address author phone

N71PG recently visited Guantanamo:

39308 12/14/07 3:45 AM N71PG LJ36 2 CYQX GANDER INTL EGSS STANSTED
39302 12/13/07 3:45 AM N71PG LJ36 2 CYQX GANDER INTL EGSS STANSTED
39203 12/3/07 5:30 AM N71PG LJ36 2 CYQX GANDER INTL EINN SHANNON

author by Kent - USpublication date Sat Dec 15, 2007 04:19author address author phone


This aircraft is an air ambulance aircraft. It visits EINN quite often transporting patients between the US and Europe for treatment. Phoenix Air does have several contracts with NATO and the US government, however, the bulk of their flying is in air ambulance and air cargo...

Related Link:
author by Seán Ryanpublication date Sat Dec 15, 2007 15:39author address author phone

"US President George W Bush has threatened to veto a Bill that bans the CIA from using waterboarding, mock executions and other harsh interrogation methods which the White House has permitted during the war on terror.

No comment, other than to say, I'm not surprised.

author by Favour for a friendpublication date Mon Dec 17, 2007 13:21author address author phone

This text received-
"Fine Gael wants Irish Human Rights Commissioner & Minister for foreign Affairs to explain CIA abductions to
Oireachtas Committee- Irish Times, Page 7. (no link available).
Please share"

That shared, here's the science bit- FF have been in power too long. Bertie and Dermott Ahern have both denied
the veracity of reports published on this Newswire of known and identified rendition flights- they know the law
and they know how many Ministers are needed to establish 'secrets'-so that the appalling nature of the decisions
they have taken- in the 'national Interest' will be released long after their respective deaths. The standard
archive period is 50 years.

author by anonpublication date Sat Dec 22, 2007 16:26author address author phone
A curious by-product of this traffic through Shannon has been the theft of an automatic pistol from one of the aircraft, allegedly by one of the Service-air workers, who clean out the planes and the toilets on the stop-overs. Several workers in the company have been detained and interrogated by Gardaí but, so far, the gun has not turned up. One of the suspects has links with a gang in one of the areas of Limerick publicly associated with criminality and there is apprehension the gun may turn up in a future murder or attempted murder.

author by anonpublication date Sat Jan 05, 2008 16:36author address author phone

all companies and personnel involved in rendition should be banned from Ireland irrespective of what they happen to doing on one flight or the next. even if it is a sick solider, prisoner or civilian they can plan and use a legit company.

05-Jan-2008 St Johns Int'l (CYYT) Shannon (EINN)
28-Dec-2007 Colorado Sprgs Muni (KCOS) Cartersville (KVPC)
28-Dec-2007 Biggs Aaf (Fort Bliss) (KBIF) Colorado Sprgs Muni (KCOS)

It has a lifeguard notifier
Lifeguard Flights
Lifeguard flights are for missions of an urgent medical nature and the call sign is utilized when a flight requires expeditious handling. Air Traffic Control will expedite the handling of aircraft using a lifeguard prefix to their flight identifier.

There seems to be Phoenix Air group (US) and Phoenix Aviation(UAE), maybe there are two different companies that have nothing to do with each other, but both are named in the amnesty report interchangeably and I would expect the people behind terminal air who researched the Torture Taxi book not to mix them up. Again Stephen Grey who only refers to actual rendition flights doesn't list any phoenix company. I'm open to correction. Phoenix Aviation is linked to Vicktor Bout the notorious arms dealer, what would that be doing at US military bases.
Phoenix Aviation is linked to the kidnap of a Khalid Rashid a Pakistani national out of South Africa by US/Pakistani agents in mysterious circumstances possibly to Guantanamo


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