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Report of Oireachtas Committee Debate on Extraordinary Rendition

category national | anti-war / imperialism | feature author Thursday December 20, 2007 08:30author by Seán Ryan Report this post to the editors

featured image
CIA Rendition Plane N71PG at Shannon 3 Dec 2007

A first-hand account of a meeting of the Department of Foreign Affairs Select Committee on Wednesday 19th December to discuss the issue of Extraordinary Rendition (the transport of abducted prisoners for the purpose of torture in another country) through Irish air-space.


I found myself in good company today as I made my way to Leinster House to attend the Debate on Extraordinary Rendition by the Department of Foreign Affairs Select Committee; I attended in the company of Conor Cregan and Edward Horgan.

At the Gates of the Dáil we met many protesters who’d gathered to have a last say before the Government took their seasonal break for Christmas. Many politicians who wanted to earn some ‘street cred’ and others with their ‘street cred’ well established, were to be found mingling with us the malcontents and proles.

As ever, the tireless Colm Roddy was to be found in his Guantanamo jumpsuit, with his plethora of signs spelling out Ireland’s complicity in Crimes against humanity. The seasoned activist was making the most of the last day and the fact that the politicians were out and about.

Eamonn Ryan, at one point came out the gates and literally ran across the road before anyone could shove a mic, a camera or a question in his face. I guess he was off to deal with the concerns of the fearless Shell to Sea activists, who’d scaled the walls of his office earlier. Happy Christmas Eamonn and way to go Shell to Sea - I think you got his attention.

John Gormley rode into the Dáil on his ministerial bike at one point. He was all kitted up in the latest of fashionable gear, and the black helmet completing his costume put me in mind of the creature designed by Giger for the ‘Alien’ films. I was tempted to remark to about the coincidence of the ‘alien’ having two mouths too, when he joined us some minutes later, having divested himself of the cycling gear in the Dáil - I held my tongue, reckoning that more important issues were the order of the day.

Ed Horgan greeted Mr. Gormley by way of informing him that Rendition flights were still landing and passing through Shannon. Mr. Gormley decided to play the thicko at this point by asking Ed if it had been proven that a person had actually been rendered through Shannon. I was sorry I’d not made the two mouths comment at this point. Ed followed up by ignoring Mr. Gormley’s answer by informing him that we were facilitating torture. At this point, I asked two questions of my own. I suggested to Mr. Gormley that the USA had admitted to Extraordinary Rendition and that it was considered a crime in Ireland. I said that the rendition planes passing through Shannon were evidence of this crime and that the State and particularly the Gardaí should treat them as such - I asked him if he agreed. Before he could fob me off, I asked him to comment in light of the fact, that even though there was no evidence of a kidnap victim on display, that there was plenty of evidence to prove that kidnap victims had crossed Irish airspace, I asked him if Ireland as a sovereign nation had anything to say or indeed to do with regard to this. He started to say something about our airspace being hard to control when he noticed two Tara protesters waiting patiently for his attention. He apologised for not having the time to answer anything whatsoever but that he had to try to make himself available to everyone (for what he didn’t elaborate on) he then turned and spoke to the folks from Tara and actively ignored us. Conor remarked that Mr. Gormley had never been so happy to see a Tara protester before (except when looking for votes that is).

Eventually we made our way into the Dáil. Mr. Woods the chairman of the Committee welcomed all who attended including, the Department of Transport, the Justice Department, a delegation from the Irish Human Rights Commission and various TD’s and Senators. Chairman Woods apologised on behalf of the few folks who were unable to attend.

Mr. Woods started the proceedings by informing everyone that members of the Dáil were covered by Dáil privilege and that everyone else was legally responsible for what they had to say.

Michael Woods then began to summarise the meaning of “Extraordinary Rendition” and was interrupted by an outraged Senator David Norris when he used the words: “allegedly abducted” as part of this definition. Mr. Norris pointed out to the chair that there was nothing alleged about rendition. He said that rendition was a fact and that there was no question with regard to the existence of it. Chastised and corrected, the chairman went on to say how repulsive the Government and he considered rendition to be.

The floor was given to the members of the Irish Human Rights Commission and they outlined their position with regard to the report that they’d produced. To summarise, they maintain that assurances from the US government, because they have no legal accountability attached, are not enough to ensure that the State has complied with its duties, both domestic and foreign, with regard to protecting human rights and ensuring that the State was not complicit in torture. They recommended that Ireland either ban all CIA and rendition related flights or that they instigate a competent and comprehensive policy of investigations and inspections of these planes. In particular Commissioner Suzanne Egan put forward most of the Commission’s findings and recommendations and did so in a reasonable and coherent manner.

Rory Montgomery batted for the beleaguered government. He argued that we were special with regard to our relationship with the US and that nobody else in Europe had had the quantity and quality of assurances from the US that we’ve had. He conveniently forgot that these assurances have no legal weight behind them and that if they are eventually found to be the shite that we know they are, that there will be no legal comeback with regard to them. He waxed poetical on the alleged seven inspections that the State had made with regard to suspicious flights in Shannon. He didn’t point out that none of these ‘inspections’ had included an actual inspection of a suspicious plane. He did however correct another speaker later on when the speaker assumed that ‘inspections’ had meant ‘inspections.’

It was very much the same with all the anti-recommendations speakers. Though Fine Gael’s Alan Shatter did single himself out in my book for special mention. Mr. Shatter began his rhetorical soliloquy by saying that Rendition is a horrible crime and that there are no excuses for it. He then excused this horrible crime by talking about 9/11 and saying that the US was afraid etc. He then went on to assassinate the characters of the activists, like Ed Horgan, Conor Cregan and Tim Hourigan who’ve brought this national disgrace into the light of day - though in fairness to Mr. Shatter he was not rude/or brave enough to mention names. Yup it’s all got to do with folks being anti-American. He said he’d never seen protesters at the Iranian embassy for example. Senator Norris interjected at this point to inform the assassin that he’d protested outside the Iranian embassy and that he’d not seen Mr. Shatter there.

Mr. David Norris was the hero of the day. He pointed out that the Government was not about ensuring human rights - it was about saving its own neck. He said it was “disgusting.” He demanded from Mr. Montgomery that they answer a question that he’d asked many times. He said that the evidence of a person being rendered through Shannon was a massive red herring and was being used by the State to avoid admitting its complicity in rendition. He asked that a direct admission by the State be given and that this admission consist of an agreement that rendition flights had refuelled in Shannon and that the State were aware of this and comfortable with it. He still awaits his answer, having been thrown the crumb that Ireland admits that at least four flights associated with rendition landed in Ireland. Mr. Norris defended both Ed and Conor to the Select Committee, having taken particular offence at the comments of Alan Shatter. Senator Norris informed those present that it was people like Ed Horgan and Conor Cregan who’d been responsible for this becoming an issue in the State to begin with. He demanded to know if arresting Mr. Horgan and Mr. Cregan were an example of the States efforts to ensure human rights abuses were not perpetrated in or facilitated by Ireland. There was no answer forthcoming on this - no big surprise there.

Mr. Michael D. Higgins put in an appearance after a short break around four o’clock. He apologised for not attending earlier, explaining that he had to take part in a vote on a motion issued by him in the Dáil. Michael D was a sea of calm to Senator Norris’ outrage and in patient tones pointed out to the Committee that the Government was acting in a very vague manner with regard to its exercise of its duties and laws. He said that the Government had been quick to point out to the world at large that the Government had laws to facilitate it upholding its national and international commitments, but that it had not pointed out that it had never exercised these laws. Michael D and Senator Norris both pointed out that they had had discussion with representatives of the Garda Commissioner. They had told the two politicians that they had not the power to search the suspect planes at Shannon. Both politicians demanded to know if the Attorney General had sent a letter to the Gardaí instructing them not to search planes. The State responded that the Gardaí might have been confused with regard to their duties as they are most certainly not allowed to search military or State aircraft. It was suggested that this might be what the Gardaí had meant when they dealt with the two politicians. So we still don’t know if the ‘letter’ exists for sure and we’re not about to be told any time soon.

Chairman Woods closed proceedings by declaring the meeting to be a fruitful one and wishing everyone a happy Christmas.

All in all, a good day. The State’s mask isn’t as solid as it was yesterday.

author by Edward Horgan - Citizen of Irelandpublication date Wed Dec 19, 2007 22:58author address author phone Report this post to the editors

Irish Human Rights Commission successfully defend their report on Extraordinary Rendition
Almost exactly two years ago Edward Horgan, Mary Kelly, Tim Hourigan, and Deirdre Morgan made a substantial written and verbal submission to the Joint Oireachtas Committee on Foreign Affairs on 20 Dec 2005. This committee met again on 19 Dec 2007 in a session with the Irish Human Rights Commission led by Dr Maurice Manning. The 2005 submission by the four peace activists dealt with two substantive issues, misuse of Shannon airport by the US military for the unlawful war in Iraq, and the misuse of Shannon airport by the CIA for the transport of prisoners for torture.
Relatively little was known two years about the extraordinary rendition programme, but subsequent reports by the EU TDIP Committee, The Council of Europe, and the UN Raporteur on Torture have helped to blow the lid off this covert torture programme that has tortured thousands of prisoners, and probably led to the deaths of several hundred of these prisoners who are now on the list of the mission, similar to the missing lists from the dictatorships of Argentina and Chile.

The Irish Human Rights Commission issued a landmark report on extraordinary rendition on 11 Dec 2007. Today, they were invited to present this report to the Joint Oireachtas Committee on Foreign Affairs at Lenister House.
Less that 24 hours previously Edward Horgan became aware of this committee meeting, and arranged to produce a written submission for this committee which was circulated to all the committee members before the meeting began.
The following is the text of the submission prepared by Edward Horgan and Conor Cregan.

Written Submission to Oireachtas Joint committee on Foreign Affairs

Date: Wed 19 December 2007

Submission by: Edward Horgan and Conor Cregan, acting in our capacity as individual citizens of Ireland, and acting in accordance with our duty to uphold the laws and the Constitution of Ireland.

Subject: Misuse of Shannon airport by US Government agents including the CIA for its so-called Extraordinary Rendition programme.

Dear Members of the Oireachtas,

1. The purpose of this written submission to your committee is to provide you with additional information, or sources of information so that your committee may be more fully informed on these matters of grave public importance. We also wish to ask your committee to investigate the matter of the misuse of Shannon airport for purposes associated with the possible rendition and torture of prisoners more thoroughly than you have done so far, or to cause these matters to be investigated effectively by the appropriate authorities whose duty it is to do so.

2. We have also attached a copy of the submission made to your committee on 20 December 2005 by four members of the Midwest Alliance Against the War, including Edward Horgan. A significant part of this submission dealt with our concerns about the misuse of Shannon airport by the CIA for transporting prisoners for the purpose of interrogation that involved torture in various locations and countries, including Guantanamo Bay prison in Cuba. We are very concerned that not only have the concerns that we raised two years about the refuelling of CIA aircraft at Shannon airport not been addressed, but that such CIA aircraft are continuing to use Shannon airport up to the present time.

3. Since we have had just a few hours to prepare this submission, it will of necessity be incomplete. However, we would particularly draw your attention to the attached document entitled Terminal Air: Data Browser, which gives a list of aircraft known to have been associated with the CIA, and possibly involved in the extraordinary rendition programme, and which have landed and been refuelled at Shannon airport between 13th January 2001 and 10th December 2007. Please note that most of these aircraft are already listed and reported on by the EU Parliament TDIP Committee report, and which has listed 147 landings at Shannon by suspected or known CIA rendition planes. The attached list is important because it lists additional CIA planes, and it includes landings by CIA planes as recently as 10th December 2007. This new list of aircraft includes total of 194 CIA related flights that have been refuelled at Shannon airport, up to 10th December 2007.

4. Statements have been made in the Dail, and elsewhere, by An Taoiseach, the Minister for Foreign Affairs and others, that the Gardai have actually carried out some investigations into the complaints and requests that specific planes be searched, made by Edward Horgan and other peace activists. It is our information that no such genuine investigations or searches have been carried out by the Gardai at Shannon airport. We have been very careful to avoid making spurious requests for such searches. Very occasionally some of the requests for plane searches that we make turn out to be aircraft not associated with CIA or the US military. One of the very few examples of this was a Boeing 747 Jumbo aircraft, which unusually, had no marking except its registration number. We asked for this aircraft to be searched because we were aware that Boeing 747 and 757 aircraft owned by Evergreen International and Polar Air are regularly using Shannon aircraft for the purpose of bringing US military logistics and munitions to Iraq and Afghanistan. The fact that this aircraft subsequently turned out to be carrying horses, has been quoted by the Minister for Foreign affairs and others in an apparent attempt to discredit the reports of CIA use of Shannon airport.

5. Those few of us who have been monitoring CIA use of Shannon have also been described by Government sources as “self-appointed” peace activists, as if this should be a term of ridicule. The truth is that we are “self-appointed peace activists” and have been carrying out this human rights monitoring work at very considerable personal expense, financially and in terms of our scarce time resources. We are not doing this because we enjoy doing it, but because those who are officially appointed and paid to ensure that human rights are protected in Ireland and that serious breaches of human rights are investigated, including senior Government ministers and the Gardai, have consistently failed to honour their responsibilities under Irish and international laws, in the matter of extraordinary rendition at Shannon airport.

6. Since our submission to this Joint Oireachtas Committee two years ago, substantial investigations have been carried out into so-called extraordinary rendition by several international organisations, including the European Parliament TDIP Committee, headed by Giovanni Claudio Fava, the Council of Europe Committee, headed by Senator Dick Marty, and the UN Special Raporteur on Torture, Mr Manfred Nowak. In all cases there was significant criticism of the Irish Government, and by direct implication, the Irish Departments of Foreign Affairs, Justice and Transport, for failure to investigate and prevent the possibility that Irish territory, especially Shannon airport, might have been used to facilitate, or be complicit in the crimes of torture.
More recently, the Irish Human Rights Commission (IHRC), headed by Dr. Maurice Manning, has issued its report ‘Extraordinary Rendition’ A Review of Ireland’s Human Rights Obligations, on 11 December 2007. We are pleased that this committee is meeting today with the IHRC committee to discuss this very important report.
We strongly recommend that each member of this Joint Oireacthas Committee on Foreign Affairs should read all these reports so that they will not have to rely completely on reports by ‘self-appointed’ members of civil society, such as Edward Horgan and Conor Cregan.

7. We are aware that the various reports listed above, especially the Irish Human Rights Commission report, have called for a regime of inspections on such CIA aircraft. While we would welcome any genuine system of inspections and investigation into the CIA misuse of Shannon airport, we are very concerned, due to our experiences and the information that we have so far, that any such inspections would be of a token nature only, and that only CIA aircraft known to be empty, or carrying “golfers” would in fact be searched.
In particular we are very concerned that Edward Horgan was informed by a Garda at Shannon airport on 30 October 2007, when we requested the searching of a known CIA controlled aircraft (N475LC), that the Gardai were not searching such aircraft because of instructions that the Gardai had received from the Attorney General’s office. Edward Horgan was also informed separately by a Detective Superintendent at Garda Headquarters that a letter of advice from the Attorney General’s office to the legal section of Garda Headquarters was in existence and that it was as a result of this letter of advice that CIA planes were not being searched.

8. Our concerns on these matters are not confined to CIA controlled aircraft. A recent investigation carried out by Stephen Grey for the Sunday Times has revealed that more than 700 prisoners were transported across European territory and air space to Guantanamo prison in US military aircraft. There have been over 1,000 landings of US military aircraft at Shannon airport (in contravention of the Hague Convention on Neutrality). We accept that not all, or even the majority of CIA aircraft being refuelled at Shannon are likely to have had prisoners on board, and that only a small proportion of the US military aircraft refuelled at Shannon may have been carrying prisoners. However, given the high proportion of CIA flights refuelled at Shannon compared to all other European airports, as recorded by the EU TDIP reports, it is inconceivable that some of these flights did not have prisoners on board.

9. It is important also to point out that even if no prisoners were transported directly through Ireland, the refuelling facilities at Shannon have played a crucial part in overall logistics of the US extraordinary rendition process. This makes Ireland directly complicit in the rendition of prisoners for torture.
The UN Convention Against Torture (UNCAT), and the (Irish) Criminal Justice (United Nations Convention Against Torture) Act, 2000, Section 3.b. states that:
A person … who … does an act with the intent to obstruct or impede the arrest or prosecution of another person … in relation to the offence of torture, shall be guilty of an offence and shall be liable on conviction on indictment to imprisonment for life.
Article 4.1. of UNCAT is of particular importance and relevance to the current situation with regard to the refuelling of CIA controlled planes at Shannon airport. It states as follows:
Each State Party shall ensure that all acts of torture are offences under its criminal law. The same shall apply to an attempt to commit torture and to an act by any person which constitutes complicity or participation in torture.
It is our clear view that the persistent failure by the Gardai, and by the Irish state authorities, to meaningfully investigate CIA rendition planes at Shannon airport, and the failure to prevent Shannon airport being used to facilitate torture outside the Irish jurisdiction, amounts to complicity in torture. This is particularly so since 20th December 2005 when this committee, and thereby the Oireachtas was informed that CIA planes were using Shannon airport as part of the extraordinary rendition programme.

10. The excuse has been given by the Irish Government that it is bound to accept the assurances given by the US Government that Shannon airport has not been used for extraordinary rendition, or for facilitating torture. This excuse is invalidated by the facts that the US Government and the US Houses of Congress have approved methods of interrogation such as so-called ‘waterboarding’ and other forms of mental and physical abuse, that the United Nations and international law experts have stated amounts to torture.

11. We also wish to inform you that on 30 November 2007, a request was made by Edward Horgan and Conor Cregan to the Gardai to search a known CIA related aircraft N478GS that was due to arrive at Shannon airport, at 1.30 am. However, instead of searching the suspect aircraft when it did arrive, Gardai at Shannon arrested and searched Edward Horgan and Conor Cregan, without due cause. While we are very concerned at this serious breach of our civil liberties, our primary concern is that the gross breaches of human rights that are being facilitated by the CIA landings and refuelling at Shannon airport, are not being investigated or prevented. This is the clear duty of the Gardai, and the Irish Government under the United Nations Convention Against Torture, and the subsequent enabling Irish legislation, the Criminal Justice (United Nations Convention Against Torture), Act, 2002.

Thank you for reading this submission. If you wish to receive any further information on these matters please feel free to contact us as follows:
Edward Horgan, Edward.horgan@ul.ie, 061-330567, 085-1026631
Conor Cregan, conor_cregan@hotmail.com, 087-6981831,

Signed:
Edward Horgan

Conor Cregan

Date: 19 December 2007

author by Ciaron - London Catholic Workerpublication date Thu Dec 20, 2007 02:34author address author phone Report this post to the editors

Thanx Ed, Sean, Conor and y'all.

There is a international solidarity call out for Friday Jan 11th. for the closure of Gitmo. It is the 6th. anniversary of the original rendering of prisoners to that hell hole.

The callout is being made by the U.S. folks who did the walk to Gitmo Bay and later when on to DC last January to do NVDA at the Supreme Court (80 arrests).

There were anti-Gitmo demonstrations at both the U.S. Embassies in London and Dublin last January.

We will try to get it together in London. See what Damo can do in Polska!

You might wish to consider doing one at the U.S. Embassy and Shannon and keep the folks informed & updated who are heading to DC.

Check this link for background, further info, updates and specifics....

http://www.witnesstorture.org/node/717

Related Link: http://www.witnesstorture.org/node/717
author by Edward Horganpublication date Thu Dec 20, 2007 08:49author address author phone Report this post to the editors

There will be a peace camp at Shannon airport on the night of the 5/6 January which is the anniversary of the first peace camp that lasted almost five weeks in January 2003.
I suggest that this occasion be used to include a close Guamtanamo protest in solidarity with the worldwide Close Guantanamo day on Friday 11 January. It will be difficult for people to get to Shannon on a Friday. However, if there are enough people interested in protesting at Shannon also on 11 January local activists in the Mid West will facilitate this.
The continuning use of Shannon airport by the US military and by the CIA is reason enough for a permanent peace camp at Shannon if enough Irish people cared enough about other people's human rights to defend those human rights.

author by anonpublication date Thu Dec 20, 2007 20:12author address author phone Report this post to the editors

The report is particularly unclear in its treatment of the government positive obligations in the case where empty aircraft might travel through Irish territory either prior to or after an "extraordinary rendition"

but admits that aircraft have transited Ireland at least four times in close time proximity to alleged renditions.

Would these planes not have pilots and other personnel a board?
http://www.ihrc.ie/_fileupload/publications/IHRC_Rendit...L.pdf pg 137/8

author by Flightlinepublication date Thu Dec 20, 2007 22:39author address author phone Report this post to the editors

Indymedia lets us know the story of what happened at the Oireachtas Committee. Unlike the inkymedia, with one honourable exception being the Examiner today. Thanks Seán.

David Norris is a gem - that retort to Shatter must be the put down of the year.

Ed Conor and Tim should be put up for honorary knighthoods in England like Sir Bob and SIr Bono for services to mankind - the joke is that that is more likely to happen than them getting any respect much less recognition from this government. Shame. Self appointed activists abú!

author by karl roenfanz ( rosey )publication date Thu Dec 20, 2007 22:41author email k_rosey48 at hotmail dot comauthor address author phone Report this post to the editors

i have not herad of the politicians nameing any government appointed protesters.

author by Conor Cregan - (Self Appointed Peace Activist)publication date Fri Dec 21, 2007 02:32author address author phone Report this post to the editors

At approximately 12.40 am this morning one of the many planes used by the CIA in their “Extraordinary Rendition” programme landed at Shannon Airport. This plane a Gulfstream iv jet registered as N478GS refuelled and left within half an hour.
As I travelled to the airport to confirm this flight I spotted a Gardai Check Point about three hundred metres away from the entrance to Shannon Airport. I avoided this check point and took a different route to one of the observer areas at the industrial estate adjacent to the airfield. Pretty soon I was joined by two Gardai Patrol cars. I asked them to search the plane but didn’t hold out for a Starsky and Hutch style race to the airport by Shannon’s finest. After a few minutes one of the cars left with the other hanging around to keep an eye one yours truly.
The Gardai knew in advance when this plane was arriving and the significance of it landing at Shannon.

Why is An Gardai Siochana guarding this plane?

Rory Montgomery (Foreign Affairs Dept) boldly told the Foreign Affairs Committee that this plane and others may be chartered by civilians as well as the CIA.
The flight information of this plane states that this flight departed from Fayetteville Regional Airport North Carolina but this is a cover story. Fayetteville is connected to the US Air Force base Pope and the US Army Fort Bragg home to the US Special Forces. This plane is operated by Centurion Aviation Services who are licensed to land in US military bases worldwide. This is a ghost company set up by the CIA is well documented as being part of the CIA’s “Extraordinary Rendition” programme.

author by Edward Horganpublication date Fri Dec 21, 2007 09:40author address author phone Report this post to the editors

Very well done Conor, sorry I was not able to join last night. The outrageous behaviour of the Irish government on this issue corresponds with what is happening in Dublin Castle over the past few days - obfuscation and deceipt.
Well done also to the Irish Human Rights Commission.
Readers of Indymedia will recall that I gave the IHRC a hard time earlier this year, including calling on them to resign, when it appeared that they were not doing enough to address the CIA extraordinary rendition through Shannon. The IHRC report published on 11 Dec 07 makes it clear that they have put considerable effort into challenging the Government on this issue, and exposing the failure of the Irish Government to meet even its minimum obligations to protect the human rights of prisoners who may be 'rendered' for the purpose of being tortured.
Following the publication of the IHRC report, I sent the following letter to Dr Maurice Manning, and received an immediate acknowledgement and thank you note in response.

Dear Dr Manning,
I refer to my previous correspondence with the Irish Human Rights Commission, and to our telephone conversation on the matters related to the use of Shannon airport by the CIA extraordinary rendition programme. First, I wish to express my sincere thanks to the Irish Human Rights Commission for the very forthright report “Extraordinary Rendition: Review of Ireland’s Obligations” that it issued on 11 December 2007.
Secondly, you will recall that we had a difference of opinion on the extent to which the Irish Human Rights Commission was investigating the issue of extraordinary rendition at Shannon airport. A letter to me dated 17 May 2007 from the IHRC stated as follows:

“I regret to inform you that it has been decided not to accede to your request for an enquiry into ‘the alleged use of Shannon airport by U.S. personnel for the rendition of prisoners to other countries for the purposes of illegal detention and torture’ on the following ground:
An enquiry is not considered either necessary or expedient for the performance of the Commission’s functions under paragraphs (a), (c), (d) or (e) of section 8 of the Human Rights Commission Act, 2000.”

In my reaction to this letter, I called on the Irish Human Rights Commissioners to resign because I considered that the IHRC was not achieving what it should be achieving for the protection of human rights. I now accept that my call for resignations was an inappropriate reaction, that was influenced by the wording of the above paragraph, especially the word ‘expedient”. I now realise that this word was used in the legal sense of the limitations placed on the IHRC by the Human Rights Commission Act, 2000, and not in the more dismissive sense of everyday usage.
In so far as I may have offended the IHRC and/or its individual Commissioners, I wish to apologise for doing so. As a former military person, I should have been more careful not to ‘shoot the messengers’. The IHRC has very important roles to play, including the role of ‘messenger’, concerning serious human rights abuses that may be taking place in Ireland, or with direct or indirect Irish involvement.
In the meantime, the IHRC has issued its very important report on extraordinary rendition on 11 Dec. 2007, which clearly contradicts and answers the concerns that I expressed last May, that the IHRC might not have been doing its job. In the meantime also there have been further developments at Shannon airport. These is clear evidence that aircraft controlled or contracted by the CIA have been using Shannon airport in recent weeks, and that at least two of these aircraft had previously been very substantially involved in the rendition of prisoners to prisons where they may have been tortured.
The timing of this latest IHRC report was therefore important towards raising public awareness of these human rights abuses, and challenging the inadequate preventative measures by the relevant authorities within the Irish State.
I hope you and the other Commissioners will continue with the good work you are doing, and that you all have a happy and a peaceful Christmas.

Yours sincerely Edward Horgan Date: 17 December 2007

author by Coilín - Self-Appointed Citizens of Irelandpublication date Fri Dec 21, 2007 13:10author address author phone Report this post to the editors

Thanks for kicking off with an excellent overview of the events of the day, Seán.

And thanks, of course, to Conor, Ed, Tim and other self-appointed citizens for all your self-delegated efforts over the last six years to persuade the self-appointed fudgers, dodgers, excusers and buck-passers in the Dáil, Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Garda Síochána to do what they were appointed for: to stop crimes of torture at Shannon.

Ed notes:
"The UN Convention Against Torture (UNCAT), and the (Irish) Criminal Justice (United Nations Convention Against Torture) Act, 2000, Section 3.b. states that:
A person … who … does an act with the intent to obstruct or impede the arrest or prosecution of another person … in relation to the offence of torture, shall be guilty of an offence and shall be liable on conviction on indictment to imprisonment for life."

So we could say that those members of the Garda Síochána who arrested you at the airport recently are guilty of a crime under the Irish torture legislation. You might use this in your defence - if the DPP makes the mistake of prosecuting you.

---

Let us be perfectly clear that the TDIP Committee has established that specific CIA aircraft have transited at Shannon on their way to and from specifically documented extraordinary renditions. Here are two examples:

N379P
A gang of hooded CIA agents abducted two Egyptian asylum-seekers, Mohammed el-Zari and Ahmed Agiza, from Stockholm Bromma Airport on 18 December, 2001. The CIA agents strapped the two prisoners to mattresses on board Gulfstream V jet N379P and took them to Cairo, where they were tortured for several months.
N379P abducted Binyam Mohammed from Pakistan to Morocco on 21 July, 2002. The plane landed at Shannon on 22 July and flew back to Washington the day after.

N313P
A Boeing 737 registered as N313P transited at Shannon on 16 January, 2004, and carried Binyam Mohammed from Morocco to Afghanistan on 22 January. After five months in prison here, he was transferred to the US concentration camp at Guantánamo Bay, where he is still being held.
N313P was also used to abduct a German citizen, Khaled el-Masri, from Macedonia to Afghanistan on 24 January, 2004 – just two days after Binyam Mohammed was abducted and eight days after landing at Shannon. El-Masri was tortured in Afghanistan and released in Albania after four months.

---

The Garda Commissioner and every ordinary member of the Garda might be so kind as to consider the following questions:
If a witness had seen Madeleine McCann being bundled into a car registered as N379P or N313P, would the Garda refuse to search it on its arrival at an Irish port two days, two weeks or even two months later, or would the Garda in fact search this and all other vehicles registered to the same driver?
Are you afraid that the CIA will deliver all prisoners and can successfully remove all traces of blood, hair, mucus etc. before landing at Shannon?
Are you in fact colluding in crimes of torture by letting CIA planes transit at Shannon?
If you are being prevented from doing your job of investigating crimes of torture, what's the point of pretending?

John Gormley and other Government politicians might please consider this question:
Do you understand the concept of being an "accessary" to a crime?

And the people at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs might like to consider the following question:
What will you do if an Irish citizen is kidnapped by the CIA while on holiday in Pakistan or Macedonia or Morocco and tortured in the Dark Prison in Kabul or interned in the US concentration camp at Guantánamo Bay?

I look forward to more progress in the New Year,

Best,
Coilín.

author by Ciaron - London Catholic Workerpublication date Fri Dec 21, 2007 17:23author address author phone Report this post to the editors

London Catholic Worker has commited to organising a presence at the U.S. Embassy on Friday Jan 11th. Last Jan 11th. Amnesty International and another London anti-Gitmo group also had a presence at the embassy. We will check out what they are up to this year.

John from my Irish mailing list has got back to me interested in a presence at the U.S. Embassy in Dublin. He was involved in the vigil last Jan 11th.

Folks organising around a peace camp at Shannon the weekend prior to Jan 11th are open to a presence on Jan 11th if there is the interest and energy.

Organisers in the U.S. have expressed enthusiasm for the prospect of a presence at London/ Dublin embassies & Shannon on Jan 11th. Once times are nailed down they will include these events in the media and movement outreach they are doing inthe U.S. leading up to their demonstrations and NVDA in D.C. on Jan 11th.

For more background and updates check the following link

Related Link: http://www.wittnessagainsttorture.org
author by Don.publication date Sat Dec 22, 2007 01:23author address author phone Report this post to the editors

Great guy, very intelligent, has done alot of great work for this country, has the record for getting bills passed while in opposition, did excellent work in relation to condoms in Ireland, but I do hate it when he speaks of foreign affairs.

Please not its Fine Gael policy to search for rendition flights.

author by Shannon CIA watchpublication date Sat Dec 22, 2007 17:27author address author phone Report this post to the editors

The following story needs confirmation and the full text of what Willie O'Dea said on RTE radio would be valuable.

A worker at Shannon reports an interesting story of CIA flights, which arrive with brazen regularity; during last week, an RTE crew waited patiently at the airportb to see what they could see and were shuffled about. Lo and behold, so the story goes, a flight touches down, a man is led down the steps then un-handcuffed and permitted to walk about the airport lounge taking pictures and buying Duty Free. Turns out to be an Arab-German, released from wherever he was held and is now being flown back home to Germany. He says he will give his story to German media. RTE films it. Following day, RTE drags TD Willie O'Dea into the studio and questions him about detention flights; naturally, he denies any take place, especially through Shannon. Then the interviewer tells him they have it on film. He goes ballistic, and goofs up, shouting that if the flights are stopped it will cost us millions, jobs, you name it. I don't know if anyone else has news of this story, but unsurprisingly, the newspapers did not report it after the RTE radio piece, which went out publicly enough.

author by anonpublication date Sun Dec 23, 2007 07:30author address author phone Report this post to the editors

You heard the program what time of the day was it, what program was it drivetime or morning Ireland?

They some other release in the past weeks other then the 3 UK guys

http://apnews.myway.com/article/20071213/D8TGAHC81.html

Dec 12, 10:33 PM (ET) The U.S. announced Wednesday that it has sent 15 prisoners from the Guantanamo Bay prison back to their home nations.

The military transferred 13 men to Afghanistan and two to Sudan, the Department of Defense said in a statement. Their names were not released.

http://www.defenselink.mil/releases/release.aspx?releas...11555

Don't see any with German connection.

I don't see any record for Willie O'Dea being on RTE radio last week not even for Chad.

http://re-frame.info/blog/index.php/2007/09/01/how-a-war-far-away-can-change-your-behaviour-close-to-home/

author by Seán Ryanpublication date Sun Dec 23, 2007 16:21author address author phone Report this post to the editors

Seems that Dermot Ahern didn't always take the line the Government is taking presently about searching suspicious planes in Shannon.

On the 30th of November 2006:

"Dermot Ahern, Minister for Foreign Affairs, Ireland. − Well as far as I am aware, and it was the position of Ireland, that obviously the issue of ‘black sites’ would be roundly condemned. In relation to the issue of Abu Omar, the information about that particular flight was provided, after examination by our Department of Transport, at least a year and a half after the event, that it did transit through Shannon Airport in and around the time of the alleged abduction of Abu Omar. That is a fact. In relation to the issue of whether that plane continued to fly into Shannon Airport, yes, of course the Irish Government would expect that it would be subject to suspicion and subject to examination by the Garda Síochána. Again, I would go back to the point that it is not a matter for the Government to intervene."
http://66.102.9.104/search?q=cache:lWNkZUsoCL0J:www.eur...gl=ie
(My thanks to the poster on politics ie who posted this link and info)

Ahern says the above whilst still hiding behind US assurances. It's an act of obvious and wilful hypocrisy.

If the Gardaí are supposed to take these matters into their own hands, why was the report from the Commission needed in the first place?

Why haven't the Gardaí taken matters into their own hands - who or what is stopping them?

The existence of the alleged letter from the Attorney General seems a very plausible possibility to me. And it appears all the more plausible each time a CIA plane lands in Shannon and is allowed on its secretive way without investigation.

No offence to the Commission, they've done a fine job - my criticism is for the Government. It seems that the Commission's report is just an excuse to restart a very old argument and to be seen to be concerned, whilst doing absolutely nothing constructive towards ending our complicity in the crime of Extraordinary Rendition.

author by Shannon CIA watchpublication date Sun Dec 23, 2007 16:28author address author phone Report this post to the editors

More information is comming to us on the recent CIA planes through Shannon. It now appears that they were not carrying "golfers" but Guantanamo prisoners, from Guantanamo back to their home countries, on so-called release. Some are being genuinly released after over 4 years captivity, and these are mainly prisoners arrested on false grounds including mistaken identity. Most of the others are being repatriated to countries such as Saudi Arabia, Jordan and Eqypt where they are most likely to be further tortured and imprisoned.

The following information has appeared in todays Fayetteville Observer. Its a story about Centurion, probably a CIA front company, and Shannon gets a mention as one of the key European airports in the Spiders Web of torture rendition.
Centurian owns the two Gulfstream 4 planes N475LC and N478GS, that have been landing recently at Shannon airport, and causing concern to Horgan and Cregan. N478GS was the one that crashed in 2004 in Romania near a CIA black site prison. It was last seen at Shannon on 20 December 2007.

http://www.fayobserver.com/article?id=281222

Here is a quote from todays FAYObserver article.

"Centurion may work for Special Ops, but within the last 3 months itineraries of both N475LC and N478GS include Dulles, in a couple of cases breaking journeys between Shannon and Fayetteville that could easily be accomplished in a single hop. My guess is they are dropping off CIA teams. Flight logs for both planes to follow today."

The Chicago Tribune article by John Crewdson on the crash of N478GS is at this link.

http://www.redorbit.com/news/business/655460/elusive_je....html

author by Seán Ryanpublication date Sun Dec 23, 2007 17:34author address author phone Report this post to the editors




Women jailed in Iraq from CBS news 22/12/2007.

author by Coilín - Association of Self-Appointed Citizens and Tax-Payerspublication date Mon Dec 24, 2007 15:03author address author phone Report this post to the editors

"One of Centurion’s Gulfstream IVs — tail number N478GS — has landed at Guantanamo Bay at least four times ..."
http://www.fayobserver.com/article?id=281222

How might a detective in the Garda Síochána verify this?

It seems plausible, given the fact that Centurion has landing permits for military bases:
"Aircraft N478GS and N475LC belong to the company Centurion Aviation Services.
This company is relevant, within the framework of CIA flights, as a beneficiary of the so-called "landing permits" in the US military bases all over the world. The Civil Aircraft Landing Permit (CALP) authorizes aircraft to land on US military bases worldwide."
- From the TDIP Committe's working document no. 8:
http://www.europarl.europa.eu/comparl/tempcom/tdip/work...n.pdf

We must ask whether this is a civilian aircraft at all, or whether it is in fact registered and serving as a military plane, though bearing civilian livery.

What powers and procedures does the Garda Síochána have to view flight logs for foreign military aircraft landing at Shannon, and to search them in cases where there is prima-facie evidence that they may have been involved in crimes of abduction, unlawful imprisonment and torture?

Best,
Coilín.

author by Edward Horganpublication date Mon Dec 24, 2007 15:54author address author phone Report this post to the editors

As far as I can recall it was stated at the Joint Oireachtas committee on Foreign Affairs on 19 Dec 07 by Rory Montgomery that US Military aircraft refueling at Shannon have effective diplomatic immunity. We will have to wait until the transcript of this JOCFA is published on the Dail Committees website to confirm who exactly said what.
It that is the case legally, then that is another very important reason for banning US military planes as well as CIA planes from Shannon.
The errosion of Irish sovereignty by US abuse of Irish neutrality at Shannon is becomming more serious, as the legal and diplomatic implications are exposed.
Ireland has knowingly devolved some of its sovereignty up to the European Union. Some of this sovereignty devolution is beneficial, some of it not. However, at least the Irish people had a chance to vote on such matters in Referenda, thanks to individuals like Crotty and McKenna. The handing over of Irish sovereignty with regard to Shannon airport and Irish airspace to the US military and the CIA was done by slight of hand by An Taoiseach probably by a secret agreement with the White House on 16 March 2002. This is a far bigger scandal than what is being investigated by the Mahon Tribunal

author by Seán Ryanpublication date Mon Dec 24, 2007 17:56author address author phone Report this post to the editors

It was Mr. O'Riordan who used the word "immunity." He did so after Mr. Montgomery gave the floor to him to answer as to whether the Attorney General had written to the Gadaí instructing them not to search CIA planes. He said:"I think possibly some confusion might arise from the fact that state aircraft which are - such as foreign military aircraft - there's no power for anyone to inspect them or search them or enter them - because they have sovereign immunity..."

It's obvious that CIA planes are not "state aircraft," and how this "confusion," is supposed to have come about I cannot conceive.

It ought to be pointed out too that the planes that ferry US troops are commercial aircraft and in essence are no different than the planes operated by the CIA. The Gardaí also have the power to enter these aircraft if an when a suspicion arises. War Crimes already committed in Iraq and Afghanistan already cover any search that the Gardaí might choose to initiate in the future.

This 'immunity' stuff is another red herring I reckon. But rather than give the Gardaí and the Government elbow room to manoeuvre, it does the opposite and shows them to be grasping at ethereal straws.

author by Wearypublication date Tue Dec 25, 2007 16:26author address author phone Report this post to the editors

The US are using Shannon to rendition detainees.

We are pretty much agreed on that.

But at the moment there is nothing anyone in Ireland who wants to do anything to stop who has any power to do anything about about it.

Bertie and co are turning a blind eye.
The gardai are not searching these planes.
The Irish mainstream media are not publicising rendition through Shannon so few Irish people hear about this story.
There are no mass protests in the streets of Dublin that would make the government uncomfortable and experience from 100,000 people marching in 2003 shows that the government can easily ignore them even if they occur and still be returned to power as they were in this year's election!

Trepassers into the airport face immediate arrest and the government has decided that to avoid publicity any cases against saboteurs will be quietly dropped - Mary Kelly and co were celebrities for a while after hatcheting a plane but after their case was thrown out of court (FF pulled a few strings) the incident disappeared from the news.

Ed Horgan is documenting tail numbers as evidence for some hypothetical trail of the perpetrators of this whole rendition operation one supposes.

Realistically is Ed Horgan going to appear on US TV giving evidence against the high and the mighty?

The big shots have it all tied up.

It is utterly hopeless.

author by Apublication date Tue Dec 25, 2007 18:33author address author phone Report this post to the editors

"Trespassers into the airport face immediate arrest and the government has decided that to avoid publicity any cases against saboteurs will be quietly dropped - Mary Kelly and co were celebrities for a while after hatcheting a plane but after their case was thrown out of court (FF pulled a few strings) the incident disappeared from the news."

The cases of Mary Kelly and Pitstop Ploughshares "were not thrown out of court".

Mary Kelly went to trial three times in County Clare.
First trial hung jury.
Second trial collapsed.
Third trial convicted and sentenced to a suspended sentence that remains acrive.

Ploughshares acted autonomously of Mary Kelly and also went to trial three times.
First trial collapsed when the judge acted illegally.
Second trial collapsed when judge admitted, when confronted by the defence, his connections to President George W Bush.
Third trial was a unanimous acquittal.

The mainstream media lies (the ploughshares had assualted and hospitalised a Garda, Garda testifies three times under oath that defendants had "comforted him", that the Ploughshares cost the Irish taxpayer $U.S.2.5million bill picked up by the Pentagon as expected).

Censorship around all things Shannon has been the story from the get go.

Moves are afoot to take the resistance to Washington DC and U.S. embassies on the 6th. anniversary of Guantanamo opening -January 11th.
Check following website
www.witnesstorture.org

They count on your cynicism and despair. Don't deliver it to them.
We all grow weary those who are serious about resisting war and torture in tha face of Irish complicity and apathy. How much more weary are the people in Iraq and rotting in Guantanamo?

http://www.wittnessagainsttorture.org

Related Link: http://www.wittnesstorture.org
author by Edward Horganpublication date Wed Dec 26, 2007 00:13author address author phone Report this post to the editors

The struggle against torture and crimes against humanity goes back to 1945, and one of the original campaigners was a Holocaust Survivor called Raphael Lemkin. This work will go on for very many years to come. Justice demands that we continue this work, and not give up when the going gets tough.

Some of what 'Weary' writes above is reasonably true, but the efforts of peace activists at Shannon are not A WASTED EXERCISE and far from being UTTERLY HOPELESS we are confident that our efforts will achieve some long-term justice.

"The US are using Shannon to rendition detainees." This is true, and in recent weeks there are indications that the US have been rendering some prisoners back through Shannon to their home countries, on so-called release -only this is not release - it is what is known under the UN Convention Against Torture as Refoulment of prisoners to countries where they are likely to be tortured.

"But at the moment there is nothing anyone in Ireland who wants to do anything to stop who has any power to do anything about it."
Wrong - a small few of us are building up evidence of Irish complicity in the US extraordinary rendition torture programme. We have presented some of this evidence to the Oireacthas Joint Committee on Foreign Affairs, on 20 Dec 2005 and again on 19 Dec 2007. I have presented a large amount of this evidence to the EU TDIP Committee in April 2006 and to the Council of Europe. I have presented the same dossier of evidence to the Garda Commissioner Noel Conroy, who has recently retired, and to the Inspector General of the Garda Siochana, Kathleen O'Toole. I made a submission to the Irish Human Rights Commission. This is not a pointless exercise. It is laying the groundwork for further developments. Several thousand prisoners were 'rendered' by the US government or its agents. Very few have been released so far, but the trickle of releases is growing. In time each person released may take a legitimate case for wrongful imprisonment and for torture, not only against the US Government, but also against all the other governments who have been complicit in their kidnapping, imprisonment and torture.
Ireland ranks very high in the category of complicit states, just behind Rumania, Poland, Portugal, Spain and Britain, in a European context. Canada has just paid out $10.5 million dollars to Prisoner Mahar Arar because of indirect Canadian complicity in his torture.

"Bertie and co are turning a blind eye." This is true and contravenes the UN Convention Against Torture (UNCAT)

"The gardai are not searching these planes." This is true and contravenes the UN Convention Against Torture (UNCAT)

"The Irish mainstream media are not publicising rendition through Shannon so few Irish people hear about this story."
This is only partly true, and media reporting on this issue is increasing partly because of the efforts by "self-appointed" peace activists, but also because there is growing concern about Irish complicity in torture.

"There are no mass protests in the streets of Dublin that would make the government uncomfortable and experience from 100,000 people marching in 2003 shows that the government can easily ignore them even if they occur and still be returned to power as they were in this year's election!" This is very true, but it was also true of Hitler's Germany. Just because democratic Ireland is in gross breach of international and Irish laws by being complicity in torture and crimes against humanity does not make it right. There will be some days of reckoning ahead. It may take months or years or even decades.

"Trespassers into the airport face immediate arrest and the government has decided that to avoid publicity any cases against saboteurs will be quietly dropped - Mary Kelly and co were celebrities for a while after hatcheting a plane but after their case was thrown out of court (FF pulled a few strings) the incident disappeared from the news." This is partly true. Mary Kelly's case is being appealed and the 5 Catholic Workers were acquitted by a Jury in Dublin by a UNANIMOUS verdict. The importance of this verdict is known to the Irish Government, but not fully appreciated by the Irish people. The verdict was not appealed by the State.

"Ed Horgan is documenting tail numbers as evidence for some hypothetical trail of the perpetrators of this whole rendition operation one supposes." Ed Horgan is doing a lot more than this and will continue to do so.

"Realistically is Ed Horgan going to appear on US TV giving evidence against the high and the mighty?" Yes if that is what it takes, but don’t make any such presumptions. This issue is not about individual peace activists - it is about exposing and preventing torture and other crimes against humanity. While we may be few in Ireland we are part of a growing international network of individuals and groups who are campaigning for justice and the rule of law.

"The big shots have it all tied up." Not true - they thought they had.
The US and the French lost in Vietnam, in the 50s, 60s and 70s.
The USSR lost in Afghanistan in the 1980s,
The US and the UK have lost in Iraq, but it will take about two years for the extent of this loss to become clear. Most of the loss has been borne by the Iraqi people.
The US and the UK are loosing in Afghanistan, but it will take almost a decade for them to realise the full extent of this loss. The British especially are very slow learners in Afghanistan.
Bertie Ahern did not look quite so big at Dublin Castle last week.

"It is utterly hopeless." Wrong - Hope springs eternal. There may not be any dramatic successes at Shannon, but there were some worried people at the Joint Oireachtas Committee on Foreign Affairs (JOCFA) on 19 Dec 2007, and they were worried for good reasons. Much of the arrogance of the past seems to have gone. Now questions are being answered much more carefully. Civil servants are starting to cover their backs.
There is a lot of work to be done and much more help is needed.
We especially need far more frequent monitoring at Shannon, and we need more frequent formal written requests to the Gardai at Shannon to have all US military aircraft, all chartered US troop carriers, and all known and suspected CIA aircraft being refuelled at Shannon searched. In spite of comments at the JOCFA on 19 Dec that US military aircraft at Shannon have diplomatic immunity, there is no known legal basis for this assertion, particularly as these aircraft have been in breach of the Hague Convention on Neutrality and customary international laws on neutrality.

May all indymedia readers and contributors, and especially the indymedia backroom volunteers who keep this vital news and discussion link working, have a very peaceful and torture free 2008.

author by Counterpunchpublication date Wed Dec 26, 2007 06:47author address author phone Report this post to the editors

Interesting article by Cockburn on rendition (similar torture techniques) in another time ( a century ago) in another place. And resistance to rendition springing from an unlikely source (reminds one of the fine recent resistance of David Hicks U.S. military lawyer/advocate Mori!).......

http://www.counterpunch.org/patrick12252007.html

Related Link: http://www.counterpunch.org/patrick12252007.html
author by Seán Ryanpublication date Wed Dec 26, 2007 18:16author address author phone Report this post to the editors




When will the Irish Government realise that by offering their unconditional and unwavering support for the madman Bush and his henchmen, that they are or were supporting neither the US nor the American people?

It is not the self-appointed peace activists who are or who act in an anti-American fashion, despite the rhetoric and obfuscation of people like Mr. Shatter, it is those who only listen to the minority (that's rapidly shrinking).

How long will it be I wonder before those of the herd-mentality in Leinster House begin to follow the lead of decent human beings like David Norris and Michael D. Higgins in condemning Bush for the anti-democratic and anti-humanity piece of scum that he is.

The media in the US have scented the blood in the water; the end is nigh.

author by anonpublication date Fri Dec 28, 2007 04:00author address author phone Report this post to the editors

The only thing to do is to ban the charter/aircraft companies from using our airports and if they claim they don't know who is using their planes for what, or that its stopping rich gits and golfers from flying then this might make em check more. As we know Jeppensen Boeing who charter the flights know what they are doing and consider themselves uber patriot for kidnapping and torturing people.

There are dozen companies listed in the IHRC and European reports that are shell companies or regular contractors for the CIA. I don't care if they also transport Ozzy Osbourne about the place. Four specific aircraft and companies involved in rendition listed below.

The problem with the IHRC report is the mixed between accepting the governments word on
the issue at one point and then not on another. How can you work on the basis of laws that the perpetrator your investigating writes?

The is good reason to criticise the IHRC what use is human rights commission if it can't investigate the facilitation of the invasion. http://www.indymedia.ie/article/82629

You can't accept that the governments abhors extraordinary rendition, while the continue to
trivialize it, and question its existence, the policy is to ignore it not abhor it, because its the United States.

The government response highlights the commissions use of strong informal language but the IHRC uses that language because of the reprehensibleness of the Kidnap and torture and
its overflows into their discussion of Ireland's part of it, the governments response tries to separate it all out based on "but you can't prove that is happening in Ireland or that we could know it is happening".

The gardai investigation seems to be only asking the airport staff about the flights and looking at the provided log information it doesn't even go as far as checking let alone searching.

Then there's the 'not every CIA flight is a rendition flight line', well this is the organisation that brought you Abu Gharib who abuse and tortured and beat and molested people, you go find the pictures of that that nobody wants to look at. Should such a organisation get a free ride? Or CACI the private contractors who carried out the interrogations and abuse. The IHRC doesn't even broach this subject. The focus should be on the organisation the personnel the pilots carrying out these crimes not the aircraft.

Dermot Ahern said there was enough suspicion of plane associated with the Omar rendition and 3 others for the Gardai to have proper legal reasons to investigate the plane, but he say the gardai chose not to for some unknown reason.

that it did transit
through Shannon Airport in and around the
time of the alleged abduction of Abu Omar.
That is a fact.
In relation to the issue of whether that plane
continued to fly into Shannon Airport, yes,
of course the Irish Government would
expect that it would be subject to suspicion
and subject to examination by the Garda
Síochána. Again, I would go back to the
point that it is not a matter for the
Government to intervene

www.europarl.europa.eu/comparl/tempcom/tdip/reports/20061130_en.pdf

Simon Coveney did raise a lot of question in the EP about the issue but was more precise and functional about his questions basically performing the role of opposition because he knows that he would have to make excuses for co-operating with kidnap and torture if he was in government as would Maurice Manning if he was still a FG TD, and as now the Greens do so.

Fights, aircraft and companies Dermot Ahern agrees are suspect.
Aircraft identified by Amnesty International as involved in specific CIA “rendition”
operations

N313P A Boeing 737-7ET aircraft registered by Stevens Express Leasing Inc., then
by Premier Executive Transport Services. Later re-registered as N4476S by Keeler
and Tate Management. This plane took a German citizen called Khaled al-Masri,
who was kidnapped in Macedonia, to Afghanistan in January 2004. It appears to have
stopped off at Shannon en route to Macedonia. Amnesty has recorded that it landed at
Shannon 23 times and at Dublin twice between 2002 and 2005. Minister for
Transport Martin Cullen TD said in a written answer in the Dail recently that it had
landed 14 times at Shannon.

N379P A Gulfstream V executive jet owned by Premier Executive Transport Services
and later re-registered as N8068V and then N44982. This plane was nicknamed the
“Guantanamo Bay Express” because of the frequency of its trips there. It was used to
take Ahmed Agiza from Sweden to Egypt. Amnesty has recorded that it landed at
Shannon 22 times. Minister Martin Cullen said it had landed 12 times at Shannon
under the registration number N379P and three times as N8068V.
N829MG A Gulfstream III owned by Mark J. Gordon Aviation and then by S & K
Aviation LLC, which re-registered it as 259SK. This plane took Maher Amar, who
had joint Canadian/Syrian citizenship from New York to Jordan in 2002, from where
he was transferred to Syria where he was tortured. It has also made a lot of trips to
Guantanamo Bay. Amnesty has recorded it as landing twice at Shannon. Minister
Cullen gave no figures for it.

N85VM A Gulfstream IV owned by Assembly Point Aviation Inc. and operated by
Richmor Aviation. Re-registered as N227SV. This plane was involved in transporting
an Egyptian cleric called Abu Omar to Egypt after he had been kidnapped by CIA
personnel in Italy in February 2003. It flew to Shannon afterwards. Amnesty has
recorded it as landing 30 times at Shannon and once in Dublin. Minister Martin
Cullen said it had landed 19 times at Shannon.

ps nothing to confirm German-Arab released through Shannon.

author by anonpublication date Fri Dec 28, 2007 06:34author address author phone Report this post to the editors

411 N982RK 25.05.2004 USA Hudson, NY USA Washington, DC
412 N982RK 26.05.2004 USA Washington, DC Ireland Shannon
Marty N982RK 26.05.2004 Ireland Shannon Cyprus Larnaca
Marty N982RK 27.05.2004 Cyprus Larnaca Afghanistan Kabul
Marty N982RK 28.05.2004 Afghanistan Kabul Albania Bezat-Kucova
Marty N982RK 28.05.2004 Albania Bezat-Kucova Bosnia Sarajevo
Marty N982RK 28.05.2004 Bosnia Sarajevo Czech Republic Praha
Marty N982RK 29.05.2004 Czech Republic Praha Iceland Keflavik Iceland=overflight ?
Marty N982RK no data Iceland Keflavik USA Washington, DC
413 N982RK 29.05.2004 USA Washington, DC USA Hudson, NY

German government complicity in CIA abductions: The case of Khaled al-Masri
http://www.wsws.org/articles/2007/jun2007/khal-j30.shtml
In the new report, Marty writes: “Today I think I am in a position to reconstruct the circumstances of Mr. al-Masri’s return from Afghanistan. He was flown out of Kabul on 28 May, 2004 on board a CIA-chartered Gulfstream aircraft with the tail number N982RK to a military airbase in Albania called Bezat-Kuçova Aerodrome. We have obtained primary data on this extraordinary homeward rendition from three separate sources
http://assembly.coe.int/CommitteeDocs/2007/EMarty_20070...o.pdf

'They beat me from all sides'

A German car salesman says that a year ago he was kidnapped in Europe, beaten and flown to a US-controlled jail in Afghanistan. Now the German government is collecting evidence to back up his story. James Meek hears Khaled el-Masri's account of life in America's secret offshore prison network A man is walking alone along a mountain path in the darkness. He is carrying a suitcase. He seems frightened, tired and confused. He has long hair and a long beard, but they are untidy, as if he did not grow them voluntarily. He turns a bend and meets three men carrying Kalashnikovs.

The man shows them his passport. It indicates that he is a German citizen, born in Lebanon, called Khaled el-Masri. Using poor English, he tells them that he does not know where he is. They tell him that he is on the Albanian border, close to Serbia and Macedonia, and that he is there illegally since he doesn't have an Albanian stamp in his passport.
...
It was to be more than a week before el-Masri finally got out of the prison; the German told him one of the obstacles to his speedy release was the Americans' determination not to leave any evidence that he had ever been there. He was flown to Albania in what he thinks was a small passenger jet, blindfolded and in plastic handcuffs.

http://www.guardian.co.uk/usa/story/0,12271,1390256,00.html

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Khalid_El-Masri

# The real names of two of the pilots on the El-Masri rendition flight were revealed in June 2007, in the (German language) proceedings of netzwerk recherche (NR), a German association of investigative reporters, as Eric Robert Hume (alias Eric Matthew Fain), and James Kovalesky. For several months previously, both U.S. and German newspapers had been dropping heavy hints as to the pilots' true identities.[26][27] In July 2007, SourceWatch identified the third pilot on the El-Masri flight as Harry Kirk Elarbee, on the basis of an automated search of the FAA airmen database and corroborating information previously published in the press.[28]

The CIA pilot with the alias 'Kirk James Bird' is wanted in Germany on charges of kidnapping and causing serious bodily harm to Khalid El-Masri, a German citizen of Lebanese descent.[1]
http://www.sourcewatch.org/index.php?title=Harry_Kirk_E...Feb07

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Aero_Contractors_(US)

--

http://www.softlabhennef.mynetcologne.de/CIA-Flights/N9...K.htm
other plane and personnel stopped off here when they first kidnapped him from Macedonia
N313P A Boeing 737-7ET aircraft registered by Stevens Express Leasing Inc., then
by Premier Executive Transport Services. Later re-registered as N4476S by Keeler
and Tate Management. This plane took a German citizen called Khaled al-Masri,
who was kidnapped in Macedonia, to Afghanistan in January 2004. It appears to have
stopped off at Shannon en route to Macedonia. Amnesty has recorded that it landed at
Shannon 23 times and at Dublin twice between 2002 and 2005. Minister for
Transport Martin Cullen TD said in a written answer in the Dail recently that it had
landed 14 times at Shannon.

SO Ireland is deeply involved in giving kidnappers and torturers free passage through their airports committing crimes people now wanted in numerous countries for those crimes.

author by anonpublication date Fri Dec 28, 2007 06:44author address author phone Report this post to the editors

http://www.ireland.com/newspaper/frontpage/2007/1228/11....html
Lemass authorised aircraft searches during Cuban crisis

Then taoiseach Seán Lemass authorised searches of Cuban and Czech aircraft passing through Shannon after the Cuban missile crisis in 1962 at the request of the United States. Details of searches were secretly passed on to the US authorities for the following eight years, writes Stephen Collins , Political Editor

Mr Cremin said Mr Lemass rang him to record that he had told the ambassador the aircraft would be searched and if any "warlike" material was found, Ireland would consider refusing rights of transit.

"We will supply such manifest data as becomes available in respect of future flights and are prepared to make available similar data in respect of a reasonable past period, going back if necessary to the initiation of the service," Mr Lemass told him.

Dail debate 6 Oct 05 Use of Shannon Airport by the US Military
http://www.greenparty.ie/en/dail_seanad_assembly/in_the...itary

Mr. D. Ahern: We accept their[USA's] word like we accepted the word of any other country in regard to such transiting. Did we stop any of the Russian planes transiting through Shannon when they were going to Cuba for many years? We did not because we accepted that the conditions under which they were flying through Shannon has been put in place. In the case of the US which has given huge amounts of financial support to this country, are we to turn around and deny what US officials, speaking on behalf of a sovereign government, have told us? We would not do so. If the Deputy was on this side of this House with some of the parties to which his party is cosying up, is he saying he would adopt a different attitude to not only accepting the US Government's word but to continuing to allow what is happening through Shannon?

author by Edward Horganpublication date Fri Dec 28, 2007 23:28author address author phone Report this post to the editors

The full transcrip of the Oireachtas Joint Committee on Foreign Affairs debate 19 Dec 07 is now available at
http://debates.oireachtas.ie/DDebate.aspx?F=FOJ20071219...age=5

It needs careful analysis especially in the light of todays revelations that An Taoiseach Sean Lemass ordered the searching of Cuban and Czech aircraft passing through Shannon in 1962, just after the Cuban Missile crisis.

Foreign Minister Dermott Ahern clearly misled the Dail 0n 6 Oct 2005 when he asked and replied: "Did we stop any of the Russian planes transiting through Shannon when they were going to Cuba for many years? We did not ... "
It is not yet clear whether Russian planes including Aeroflot, were searched in addition to the Czech and Cuban planes. Additional research will need to be done into the released documents from 1962. It would not make sense in the context of the Cuban missile crisis not to include the Russian planes in these searches. It is possible that some of the information from the released documents is being witheld "in the national interests".
Whether the minister knowingly misled the Dail in 2005 will be more difficult to establish. The information that Lemass had ordered the searching of the Cuban and Czech planes was available to the Ministers departmental advisers in 2005.

Interestingly also, when I got a High Court order of 'discovery' for all relevant documents in the Horgan v An Taoiseach, Ireland, et al, in March 2003, I received a very large dossier of documents concerning what should have been all relevant information on the transit of foreign troops, aircraft, munitions, etc through Shannon airport and Irish airspace, between 1945 and March 2003. While I have not had a chance yet to go through all these documents again, I have no recollection of any documents relating to the searching of Cuban and Czech planes. These documents just released on the searching of Cuban and Czech planes were very relevant to our case, so if they were knowingly withheld from my legal team, and from the High Court, well, it raises a few questions?

Related Link: http://debates.oireachtas.ie/DDebate.aspx?F=FOJ20071219.xml&Node=H3&Page=5
author by Seán Ryanpublication date Sat Dec 29, 2007 00:57author address author phone Report this post to the editors

Surely documents from 1962 should have been released in 1992 (30 year rule)? National Archives Act 1986:- http://www.nationalarchives.ie/PDF/NAA1986.pdf

Even if they started the clock in 1970, when the inspections ceased, they should have been released in 2000.

According to one paper, the Irish Government wanted to stop the inspections in 1964, but the US said otherwise and had their way until 1970. So much for sovereignty. http://www.caribbeannetnews.com/news-5202--5-5--.html

This material should have been offered to Ed when the High Court allowed him his discovery, especially since the 30 year limit had well elapsed by 2003. Even if I'm wrong with regard to the 30 year rule applying here, these papers should still have been provided to the Court to see if the Court ruled them privileged. Only the Court has the right to rule material privileged; the State doesn't. One should remember that the Taoiseach was a named defendant in this case and that it is the Department of the taoiseach who suspends the 30 year rule for certain documentation, there is no question of the State not being aware of the existence of these documents, since the 30 years had elapsed and it is from that point a wilful act that prevents them being released. Even if the Court had ruled this material privileged (my recollection of the transcript says it didn't, but I'm open to correction) the existence of the files would have been established, even if their contents remained a mystery. Check out SHELL E AND P IRELAND LIMITED -v- PHILIP McGRATH, JAMES B. PHILBIN, WILLY CORDUFF, MONICA MULLER, BRÍD McGARRY, PETER SWEETMAN: "Category 1(u): The plaintiff has put on affidavit a much more convincing argument than the response of the Minister to the second and fifth defendants, dealt with at E below, that the plan of development is not relevant. In particular it has been averred on its behalf that the plan of development did not entitle the plaintiff to carry out any work, that it was a precursor to subsequent applications for statutory consents including the s. 40 consent for the onshore pipeline. Notwithstanding that, I am not satisfied that one can infer that it is not relevant. Therefore, I am ordering discovery of it. If its relevance remains in issue the document will have to be looked at. The plaintiff also asserts that the document is commercially sensitive and confidential to the plaintiff. Even if this is the case, it is still discoverable unless the plaintiff can establish that it is privileged. Obviously, if the plaintiff can not establish privilege, a mechanism will have to be put in place to protect its commercial sensitivity." http://www.courts.ie/Judgments.nsf/09859e7a3f3466968025...ument

Where are the files that were handed to the US embassy? Since Ireland was recruited as a spy for the US shouldn't we know what information the US considered important to it's own investigation into arms shipments and possible war-mongering? I wish to know this information as I consider it important to be able to compare the magnitude of what was considered to be evidence to be handed to the US with what good folks like Ed Horgan, Conor Cregan and Tim Hourigan have handed to our Government, not to mention what has been offered by various bodies like the EU and Amnesty.

author by anonpublication date Sat Dec 29, 2007 02:32author address author phone Report this post to the editors

http://www.labour.ie/press/listing/119884554957890.html

The Government must drop its belligerent response towards democratically-elected politicians, NGOs and ordinary citizens who've repeatedly highlighted this issue and address their belligerence against human rights abuses, and acknowledge that by "looking the other way", they have been complicit in the abuse of human rights.

they should be checking the troops transports and military planes too.

author by Scepticpublication date Sat Dec 29, 2007 11:40author address author phone Report this post to the editors

The Government is not “belligerent” towards Shannon protestors – they can protest and seek publicity all they like. As for NGOs some of them at least are pretty unrepresentative. How many does Ed Horgan speak for other than Ed Horgan and a few others? As for Joe Costello he is a bit of a loose cannon in Labour who was often contradicted by Rabbitt, the then leader, in his time. Costello was a fringe radical, concerned with prisoners’ rights, who came into the bosom of party late in life when the climate for his particular brand of radicalism cooled a good deal. He never had a good word to say about it before then. One need not be unduly swayed by his pronouncements on this issue.

author by G.D.Flynn - International Republicanpublication date Sat Dec 29, 2007 12:54author email flynnfacultasliterum at hotmail dot comauthor address 188 burghsliussingel 3086 vg Rotterdamauthor phone Report this post to the editors

Well Sceptic we meet again,since we dont know WHO you are, or WHO you represent, then WHO or WHAT do you speak for ? WHERE are your Credentials ? you appear to speak for many on these issues, and no one knows if you represent a consortium? are based in LONDON ? at SHELL? at the COURTS of EIRE? or a fund manager of a Political Party ? or an arms firm? or an Airport Manager?or a CIA operative ?or MI6 ?
Mr Ed Hogan has a lot of supporters,in the Czech Republic, the Polish Republic,as well as Denmark,Sweden, and Holland as well as The Republic of Eire.
As you dismissed the followers as Cranks, even the Republic of America are now looking into all of this as I write,maybe you are from the local police ?
Your arguments are shallow, your reasoning tainted,and your logic flawed.
At least have the Decency,Common Courtesy,Good Manners, and Courage to say who you are before you descry others. "Those who excuse themselves, accuse themselves" Jon Stuart Mill.
Yous Respectfully, G.D. Flynn.

author by Seán Ryanpublication date Sat Dec 29, 2007 16:49author address author phone Report this post to the editors

I think Skeptic is being very obtuse. To my knowledge, Mr. Horgan doesn't claim to be an elected or otherwise representative. He speaks his mind and does so because his conscience would not allow otherwise. Nonetheless, what he has to say is very representative of the vast majority in Ireland, and there is not set of statistics that say otherwise, though there are many that agree that this is the case.

The State is being very belligerent towards both the letter of the law and with regard to representing the needs and wishes of those who elected them. Again there are no set of statistics that show otherwise, other than the fact that they were indeed elected. This hardly proves that they function though. I'm sure some opinion polls can be pointed to with the shrill shreiking accompanying them and supposedly indicating my 'lack of understanding.' To do so would of course be leading away from what is a very specific argument. Moving the goalposts is a way of life for the appeasers - so be it - it doesn't contradict what's been said.

With regard to Anon's posts: I couldn't agree more. I wish that those who disagree, worked as hard and provided as much evidence to substantiate their viewpoints. Disagreement is fine but it doesn't substitute for either debate or evidence.

author by Seán Ryanpublication date Sat Dec 29, 2007 23:23author address author phone Report this post to the editors

In my comment above titled: "Immunity from reality," I attribute a quote to a Mr. O'Riordan. I should have attributed it to Ken O'Leary. My apologies to any fictitious person I may have offended. My apologies too to any readers confused by my introduction of a fictitious participant to the debate. Mr. O'Leary was at an angle to me and I couldn't read his name, I misheard his name and hence my mistake.

author by anonpublication date Thu Jan 03, 2008 21:40author address author phone Report this post to the editors

President David norris Is right in there from the off taking the chairman up on the word alleged.

EP recommended a ban on cia aircraft (or inspection).
The report, “deplores the stopovers in Ireland of aircraft which have been shown to have been used by the CIA, on other occasions, for the extraordinary rendition of Bisher Al-Rawi, Jamil El-Banna, Abou Elkassim Britel, Khaled El-Masri, Binyam Mohammed, Abu Omar and Maher Arar and for the expulsion of Ahmed Agiza and Mohammed El Zari”. It considered, at paragraph 25, “that, in the absence of a system of random searches, a ban should be imposed on all CIA-operated aircraft landing in Ireland”.

Again Rory Montgomery describes the planes going through Shannon empty, must be some of there drone planes we hear about although I thought most small aricraft with have pilots and personnel on them.

"the European Parliament report identified just four occasions, the most recent in early 2004, when aeroplanes that may have been involved in extraordinary rendition operations elsewhere passed empty through Ireland a number of days before or after the alleged operation.
"


FG Billy Timmins agrees it is ridiculous to put the burden of proof on watchful citizens, and wants more inspections of private aircraft ,but weakly accepts assurance from the US.
it is imperative we ensure it does not happen in our jurisdiction. We have received assurances on this from a friendly nation, and I respect them, but to deal with the concerns of some people we should increase the number of spot checks and take a more proactive approach.

Norris calls the gorvernment response sleazy and disgusting. asks
"Does the Government accept that planes participating in an unbroken rendition circuit were refuelled at Shannon Airport on a number of occasions?"

Self appointed defender of Washington and Israel Alan Shatter.
We have a unique group of peace activitists here who are obsessed by everything the United States does. In this area, they are entitled to look at it, but the day we see them protesting outside the Iranian Embassy against the violation of human rights or protesting about what the Russians were doing killing people on the streets of London or the day.

As soon as we find out that Iran is transporting thousands of troops invade another country for dubious reasons through Ireland you can bet we would be protesting outside there embassy until then we'll be outside the US embassy.

Doesn't want to chase kidnappers too hard...

Deputy Alan Shatter: What we do not do is assume that every time that car is driving around town it is engaged in bank robberies or that every person who drives it is engaged in bank robberies. A conclusion is reached that planes were involved, therefore, those planes going through Shannon were involved.

If the car was never searched and driver never detained and questioned, then answer is yes.

Daraigh OBrien FF, Senator Ormond and Rory O'Hanlan add nothing but take and repeat the government line.

Dominic Hannigan calls the investigations so far a farce.
"When such doubts exist, it can only be done by an independent, investigative regime. The seven cases cited are almost farcical. They do not constitute a checking regime. They have more in common with the Keystone Cops than a 21st century law-enforcement agency."

Suggest inspections on planes that have form, perhaps by another agency other then the Gardai.

Airports rep Ken O’Leary misleads the committee by talking about not being able to search state aircraft which these private contracted CIA movements are not.

Both Dermot Ahern and Rory Montgormery say that level of reasonable suspicious is reached on 4 planes but have not done anything about it. Thus the problem is not legal but political.

Of course of you saw these kidnappers driving another car and they hadn't been questioned yet wouldn't you stop that car and detain them too.

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