CIA Convictions Upheld in Italy - Its Now Time for Accountability in Ireland

The Italian criminal appeal court has upheld the conviction of 22 US CIA agents, one US pilot of a rendition plane and two Italian intelligence officials, all of whom had been convicted in connection with the kidnap of Muslim cleric known as Abu Omar, who was then transported to Egypt on February 17th, 2003, on Gulfstream 4 plane with tail number N85VM, where he claimed he was tortured (Paddy Agnew, World News, September 21st). It has been confirmed by independent investigations including Amnesty, the Council of Europe, the European Parliament and the UN Rapporteur on Torture, that this aircraft was refuelled at Shannon on February 18th, 2003 on its return journey to the US.

This plane had previously been refuelled at Shannon in another case revealed in New York court documents. On November 8th 2002 it arrived at Shannon from Washington, flew on to Dubai and Kabul, on a mission that is likely to have involved the rendition and alleged torture of Abd al-Nashiri (Seattle Times report).

Drone attacks boosting terrorism

The question of whether or not the US military or CIA are transporting drones (unmanned aerial vehicle) through Shannon Airport has been raised a number of times in recent years. Unfortunately we just don't know if they are, or ever have been, as there no transparency or accountability for what goes through. However it is worth reminding ourselves of the consequences of their use, and for that reason we have reproduced the article below from the Pakistan News Service.

It is also worth bearing in mind that President Obama has said that US drone attacks in Pakistan have "not caused a huge number of civilian casualties." This is of course because he uses the term "militant" to refer to all males of a certain age who happen to live, walk, or just be in a certain area. Its little surprise therefore that he can claim "civilian" casualities are low.

Its also not surprising that our mainstream news services under-report the actual casualties, because as the article below explains, drone killings are acts of premeditated murder.

More Warplanes Photographed at Shannon

On Saturday last (September 1st) there were two more US military aircraft at Shannon. One was a US Air Force Boeing KC-135R Stratotanker used for mid air refuelling of other military aircraft. Its tail number was 64-14839 c/n 18779.

The KC-135R was built in 1964, is operated by the Air National Guard in Illinois, and is probably based at RMS Ramstein [Ramstein Air Base], Germany.

The other one looked like a Boeing 737 and had no military markings but has been identified as a US Navy C-40A, with registration 166696. This is in fact a military derivative of the 737-700 commercial airliner. It has a main-deck cargo door that was modified by Boeing for troop and cargo transport missions. The C-40A is being phased in to replace the Navy's aging fleet of C-9B Skytrains.

The Non-Aligned Movement Conference in Tehran August 26-31, 2012

Peace and Neutrality (PANA) Press Release

2 Sep 2012

The Non-Aligned Movement represents the vast majority of the members states of the United Nations and the vast majority of the people of the world. It supported the right of Iran to develop nuclear power for peaceful purposes.

Yet the Israeli/US/EU axis (including Ireland) continues to impose totally unjustified sanctions on Iran as outlined in PANA's booklet; 'Some Facts About Iran's Nuclear Activities'.

Hardly a day goes by that Israel threatens to go to war with Iran and has been supported by Republican candidate for the US Presidency who will spends millions of dollars to ensure his election.

US Military Aerial Refuelling Tankers at Shannon

                A KC-135R refuels an F-15 Eagle (from Wikipedia)

For those of you interested in the two US Air Force aircraft photographed at Shannon on August 5th, here is some more information. They were Boeing KC135R Stratotankers, registrations 62-3500 and 63-7992. The aircraft are operated by the Wisconsin and Ohio Air National Guard respectively.

The KC135R’s are 50-year old aircraft, used to refuel fighter jets in mid-air. As such they not only show the close links Shannon airport has to actual combat fighting; they also highlight the type of safety risks that are being taken at a civilian airport which is not designed for military traffic.

Another Busy Morning on US Airbase Shannon

This photo was taken just after 7am on Sunday 5th August at Shannon. It shows two US Air Force planes parked near the terminal building, with what looks like a Garda or Airport Police vehicle in close attendance beside one of them.

While US troop numbers going through Shannon are down, the US Air Force and Navy continue to take their aircraft through the airport with little regard for the safety of the local population. Equally they show little regard for the neutrality and the years of peacekeeping effort that Ireland was once renowned for.