Government Denying Presence of US Military Plane at Shannon

Over the last few weeks it has come to our attention that the Irish government may not know what US military planes are coming through Shannon.

Here's a photograph of a US Marine Corps KC-130J Hercules, registration 168073/QH, at Shannon on October 1st 2014. It is a mid-air refuelling tanker and its primary purpose is to refuel other US Air Force planes.

The Irish government Minister with responsibility for US military landings at Shannon is Minister for Foreign Affairs and Trade Charlie Flanagan. Here's what he said on October 7th when Clare Daly TD asked him for his views "on a Hercules C130, registration number 16/8073 being in Shannon Airport on 1 October 2014 at 9 a.m":

"The Shannon Airport Authority has confirmed that no aircraft matching this description landed at Shannon airport on 1 October 2014."

Naming the Dead: US Drone Attacks in Pakistan

Over the past decade more than 2,500 people have been killed by CIA drone strikes in the tribal areas of north west Pakistan according to the Bureau of Investigative Journalism. Many of those who have been killed have been described as militants by media reports and officials. About a fifth of the dead are described as civilians. But little more is known about the majority of those that have been killed.

Terrorism laws raise questions about Shannon stopovers

Letter from Shannonwatch's Edward Horgan, published in today's Irish Examiner.

The Minister for Justice Frances Fitzgerald announced additional terror offences in the Seanad on October 7 and expressed concern about the "recruitment and training for terrorist activities".

This decision is welcome. Terrorising people is a very serious crime, especially when the tools of terrorism including horrific killings, torture and most serious abuses of women and children.

The Islamic State, in Iraq and Syria, is guilty of all these crimes but it is not alone. Saudi Arabia is reported to have executed at least 26 people in August by publicly beheading them. Drone strikes by the US have killed more than 2,400 people in the past five years, almost half of whom were civilians, causing terror in Pakistan, Afghanistan, Yemen, Somalia and elsewhere.

Shannonwatch Welcomes Oireachtas Petitions Committee Visit to Shannon

Shannonwatch welcomes the visit to Shannon Airport by the Oireachtas Joint Committee on Public Service Oversight and Petitions. The visit which took place on October 2nd was a follow-up to a petition by Shannonwatch earlier this year. The petition called for the Government to investigate the use of Shannon Airport and Irish airspace for the transit of US armed troops, munitions and other war material, as well as for the refuelling of CIA-associated aircraft involved in extraordinary rendition.

During their visit to Shannon, representatives of the Committee met with members of the Gardai including Chief Superintendent John Kerin and with airport officials before meeting again with Shannonwatch. They were informed that about 40,000 US troops had gone through Shannon so far this year. However Shannonwatch understands that airport officials said that US troops were not essential to the economics of Shannon Airport as they contribute relatively little, and that civilian passengers contribute far more with shopping, car parking and so on.

More Ministerial Half-Truths about Neutrality and Shannon

This is what neutrality and non-participation in military alliances looks like at Shannon

Today (24th Sept) Clare Daly TD asked the Minister for Foreign Affairs and Trade Charlie Flanagan if he would specify in detail the arrangements that allow the facilitation of the US military on actions that contravene Irish neutrality and the Hague Convention and were not mandated by the United Nations. It was a written parliamentary question, and it got the following uninformative reply:

Ireland's policy of military neutrality is characterised by non-participation in military alliances. This policy has been underpinned by a set of complementary values which includes the protection of human rights; support for development; and the promotion of disarmament and the elimination of weapons of mass destruction.

Is Ireland Backing the Bombing of Syria?

On Sept 1st 2014 the Minister for Foreign Affairs Charlie Flanagan said "the invasion of Ukraine is against international law & must stop" (RTE News). He made no reference to role of NATO as one of the root causes of the Ukraine conflict.

On 22nd September 2014, the United States and its allies launched air strikes in Syria using warplanes, armed drones, and Tomahawk Cruise Missiles.

On Sept 23rd 2014, the same Minister for Foreign Affairs Charlie Flanagan stated in relation to the bombing in Syria, that "people will not be surprised. With regard to the air attacks targets need to be particularly precise, and of course innocent civilians need to be spared".