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Search words: Shannon 2009

Peace Protest and US warplanes at Shannon airport

category international | anti-war / imperialism | news report author Sunday June 28, 2009 13:36author by Edward Horgan - Shannonwatch Report this post to the editors

Torture Remembered and condemned

On 26 June, Amnesty Ireland issued a special report "BREAKING THE CHAIN: ENDING IRELAND'S ROLE IN RENDITION". At the launch of the report, Colm O'Gorman Amnesty Director described as "barely credible" Green Party TD Ciaran Cuffe's statement that he did not believe that Shannon airport was being used by US flights involved in extraordinary rendition.
Meanwhile, business as usual at Shannon, with Omni air troop carriers, Hercules C130 warplane, and National (Murray) Air munitions plane at Shannon on 27 June 2009

Peace activists prevented from going to Shannon airport by token security
Peace activists prevented from going to Shannon airport by token security

Ten peace activists from Shannon, Limerick, Dublin, Galway, Westmeath and Germany, marched from Shannon town centre towards Shannon airport. A large and unnecessary force of gardai, using up to nine different Garda vehicles temporarily prevented the peace activists from going to the airport by erecting barriers supplied by a local contractor across the public road to the airport. The nonsense of this procedure was emphasised by the fact that one hour prior to the demonstration there was no Garda or airport police presence at the checkpoint on the approach to the airport, and less than one hour after the protest all this security had evaporated. The airport terminal building was wide open to any malicious or terrorist attack, as it is at most times and on most days. The vast amounts of money being spent on Garda and army security at Shannon is simply to prevent peaceful unarmed peace activists from publicising the complicity with crimes against humanity that is taking place at Shannon. Connor Cregan and Edward Horgan were forcefully prevented from walking along the public road towards the airport. The Gardai refused to give a reason for their actions. Garda Hallisey refused to tell me under what law he was preventing me from going to the airport, and referred me to his superiors, and said he was simply "Obeying Orders". I pointed out to him that under the Nuremberg criteria, obeying unlawful orders can be a capital offence.
We retired for a cup of tea at about 4.30 pm.
Because we were aware that warplanes, troop carriers and munitions transporters were due at the airport, a number of us drove to the airport after 5 pm. All the "special security" elements had gone home at this point. It would be interesting to find out just how many hours overtime they have all claimed for. They had abandoned their posts by 5 pm.

As I approached the airport I observed an aircraft owned by National Airlines (formally known as Murray Air) taking off from Shannon. As I was driving I was unable to get a photograph of this plane, but my information is that it was on a flight from its home base in Ypsilanti, Michigan, USA, to Baghram airbase in Afghanistan, with military cargo, that probably includes munitions. National airlines (Murray air) is licensed by the Irish Government to transport depleted Uranium munitions through Shannon airport, according to their PR spokesperson.
I then drove into the airport without being impeded by any Gardai or airport security personnel. As I entered, I observed one OMNI Air troop carriers at gate 40 and another OMNI troop carrier just landing (see attached photos. There was also a Hercules C 130 warplane parked in the central area of the airfield. This Hercules was being protected by an Irish Army security detachment. They were parked in their 4x4 vehicle less that 50 meters from the warplane, far too close to be in any position to prevent a terrorist attack on this plane or on any of the other several US military associated planes that were at the airport on that day.
The question must be asked also: Why do the Irish army provide a special security detachment for US military planes such as the Hercules C 130, but never provide similar security for the OMNI Air warplanes each carrying up to 200 US troops to wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, and why do they not provide security for the CIA planes that have been associated with the torture rendition programme that are still being refuelled at Shannon? Why are the Irish army at Shannon at all? Indeed, why are the US army allowed to transport an average of 500 armed US troops, large quantities of munitions and other military logistics through Shannon airport every day?
Why, and why, and why?
I phoned the Garda station at Shannon town, and spoke to Garda Sheridan. I requested that the Hercules C130 warplane be searched and investigated in case it was carrying prisoners or dangerous munitions. He informed me that he would refer my request to his superiors.
I was then joined by John Lannon and we approached the airport security officer in the terminal building. I repeated my request to him, to have the Hercules C130 searched and investigated by the Shannon airport security. He informed me that he would pass my request to his superior. I waited for half an hour, but there was no response in this time either from the airport security or the Gardai to my requests for search and investigation of the US warplane. I also spoke to Airport Police Inspector Jonathan Quinn, and offered to help with searching the US warplane, if he did not have the resources or authority to do so. He declined my offer. I had been at the airport for almost one hour at this time, and I had to leave for another engagement. I again phoned Shannon Garda Station and spoke to Garda Sergeant Noel McMahon, about my request to have the US Warplane searched. He said this would be referred to his superiors, and that there was a Garda patrol car on its way to the airport. I asked him if this Garda patrol would be searching the aircraft, and he said this would be a matter for a decision by his superiors. The Garda patrol car had not arrived by the time I left which was after 6 pm.
The Gardai and the Irish Army are reportedly spending millions of Euro each year providing special security for US military use or abuse of Shannon airport. Yet no effective security is being provided to protect the civilian airport users, or to prevent acts of terrorism. The only effect of the flawed security that is being provided is to harass peace activists who are highlighting and whistle blowing on the complicity with crimes against humanity that is ongoing at Shannon.

Two Omni Air troop carriers at Shannon 27 June 09
Two Omni Air troop carriers at Shannon 27 June 09

US hercules C130 warplane with Irish army escort, Shannon 27June09
US hercules C130 warplane with Irish army escort, Shannon 27June09

author by old codger - pensionerpublication date Sun Jun 28, 2009 15:31Report this post to the editors

All protesters are becoming more aware of just how corrupt our country is. There is no semblence of democracy in Fianna Fail's Ireland
As Ireland has become the new occupied state of SHELLEIRE it is up to the true patriots of OLD IRELAND to rescue it from the criminals that have betrayed us.
The fight has to be taken against the instigators of this treasonous crime.
Up to this point in time we have been peacefully trying to stop Shell and neglecting to bring the protest to the politicians that are the main enemy of democratic Ireland. The disgracefull allowance of American military use of Shannon is but another example of the treachery of the Fianna Fail green government.
If the Eircom takeover involving the Israeli company goes ahead it will be another nail in the coffin for a free independant Irish nation.
These people do not fight by the queensbury rules they fight dirty, and we should folow their example.
WE have to change tactics= Don't give them warning when we plan an action
Start a campaign of action country wide to harrass the Gardai who no longer honour their attestation oathes (TO PROTECT THE HUMAN RIGHTS OF IRISH CITIZENS) they no longer represent the ordinary people they are obliged to protect but now represent the criminal politicians and their multinational friends instead.

Fianna Fail in particular have betrayed the citizens of Ireland and have led us to financial ruin. They commit the crimes knowing that they will not be punished for them. the TAXPAYER WILL.
The opposition play a game of pretense and do not have the courage to stop the ongoing crime, so it is now up to the people to change this. WE HAVE TO PUNISH THEM.
CALL MEETINGS TO PLAN A NEW CAMPAIGN AND KEEP THEM PRIVATE= by word of mouth only. If we need to use mobile's we need an agreed code. This will require a lot of effort and planning but we have no choice anymore.

VOTE NO TO LISBON

author by John Lannonpublication date Sun Jun 28, 2009 22:58Report this post to the editors

A formal request to search the Hercules plane was made to the Gardai at Shannon Garda Station around 6.30. Shortly after Edward had to leave, two Gardai informed me - as they always do - that they could not search the plane without "evidence". They even went as far as to say it would be “a human rights abuse” to do so; I reminded them of the far more serious human rights abuses that were being condoned and which they were turning a blind eye to at Shannon airport.

As the only way to get the Gardai to even acknowledge the request was to have it submitted in writing at the station, I went there to do so. Not surprisingly, I have not had the courtesy of a call from Shannon Gardai since making my request. Amnesty note that it is impossible to ascertain what sort of investigations have been carried out by the Gardai into reports of suspicious aircraft, as there is a virtual blanket exemption for them from requests which touch on ‘state security’ issues under Freedom of Information Acts. But my guess is that the US military or navy don’t get asked many questions by the Shannon Gardai.

Nonetheless the importance of making these requests cannot be overstated. They are not vexatious or self-indulgent; rather, they are one of the few things we can do in the absence of any system to identify aircraft that are using Irish airports to effect renditions.

Earlier in the day, a copy of the Amnesty report was presented to Inspector Tom Kennedy at the entrance to the airport. Inspector Kennedy was reminded of the evidence that already existed of Shannon’s involvement in illegal renditions, and of the Gardai’s responsibilities for the detection and investigation of criminal acts. Let us hope that he takes note of the report’s calls in the report for clear and agreed criteria for inspections, and pushes for them, so that he can one day tell the people of Shannon that he helped stop the illegal and immoral torture flights and the transportation of deadly weapons through their town.

The Amnesty report published this weekend mainly covers the use of planes masquerading as civilian aircraft that have been part of the US rendition programme. These have been documented regularly at Shannon, with suspicious aircraft continuing to land there (see http://www.shannonwatch.org/flightreports.htm). However it is known that US military aircraft have also been used for renditions; in August 2008, for example, the New York Times said that the US military had secretly handed over more than 200 militants to the intelligence services of Saudi Arabia, Egypt and other countries, nearly all in the past two years (http://www.nytimes.com/2008/08/28/washington/28detain.html)

As the sightings of known CIA-associated planes has decreased at Shannon over the past few months, there has been an increase in military aircraft landing there. If these planes are not searched now, will we find out in another 2 years that they were probably carrying prisoners too?

author by paul o toolepublication date Mon Jun 29, 2009 16:04Report this post to the editors

Last year 7 milion euro of tax payers money was used to secure shannon Airport form anti-war activists from repeating the embarassment caused the government when two US warplanes were immobilised in 2003,(the same one twice acatually),
Bertie Aherne lied when he said that !,5 million in damage was done to the US warplane damaged by Mary Kelly the first time,the real figure was closer to 70,000 euro, or dollars but who cares.. The catholic workers were accused of 2.5 million...which was never contested in their last trial because the jury acquitted all unanimously....
With a death toll in Iraq now at 1.2 million directly from the war and another 1 million because of the war and the continnueing death toll to soar endlessley for 40 years if you are to believe Tont Bliar abd GW bush, the irish government and its allies in opposition will not lift a finger to prevent, slow down or stop altogether, this attrocity in its tracks...
Bertie Aherne said it would be seen as a hostile act to close Shannon to the US military........
I believe he is a daily communicant......

The opposition support the silence, so do the church. The indifference shown to innocent lives being taken in Iraq with Irelands help is astonishing, You would think the majority of Irish citizens have turned sociopath.......definately passive facists....

 
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