US Military, Renditions and Shannon: The Wikileaks Cables from Dublin

Shannonwatch have reviewed all the US Embassy Cables released by Wikileaks and identified the ones from the Dublin Embassy that relate to the CIA/US military use of Shannon Airport. These are now available on our Wikileaks Cables page.

For convenience we provide a summary of the relevant part of each Wikileak cable. Click on the title to read this summary and to obtain a link to the cable itself. You can also click on a tag (for example 'rendition') to list all the cables relating to the tag.

Most of the significant details revealed by cables have already been well publicised. It is now widely known for example that our former Minister for Foreign Affairs Dermot Ahern was convinced that rendition flights were landing at Shannon, despite his public statements to the contrary. And it has become evident that our Taoiseach (prime minister) Bertie Ahern also suspected that the Bush administration was lying when it said there were no rendition flights going through our airport.

One thing that stands out in the cables is the repeated reference to Ahern and the Irish government's reliance on US government assurances that no rendition prisoners were brought through Ireland. Embassy officials also repeatedly noted that Ahern and others would not pursue inspections of suspected rendition aircraft. But notably there was never any confirmation from embassy staff - or the ambassador - that these reassurances could be relied upon.

This may be because we're only seeing a small number of reports from the embassy. Or it might be because they it wasn't their place to give such confirmation. Or they may have felt it was unnecessary. Or untrue.

Another notable feature of the cables is the number of times that Ireland's "steadfast support" for U.S. military transits through Shannon and Dublin Airports was documented. Almost every time it was referred to, the lack of support amongst the Irish public was also noted. Bertie Ahern was behind this steadfast support according to Ambassador Thomas C. Foley. But Limerick's Willie O'Dea was more than willing to take his share of the credit too. One cable reports that he was clearly pleased by recognition of his role in Government policy to allow US troop movements through Shannon.

Nonetheless the cables from Dublin show a nervousness amongst Americans regarding the use of Shannon for their troop and cargo movements, and amongst Irish politicians and officials regarding rendition flights. This is not surprising given that public opinion and international law was against both - and they all knew it.

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