shannonwatch's blog

The War on Terror Ten Years On

A brief war in Afghanistan is shortly to enter its second decade, seven years of war in Iraq have yet to bring a lasting peace, and Pakistan remains deeply unstable. Meanwhile, groups linked loosely with the al-Qaida movement make progress in Yemen, Nigeria, Algeria and the Horn of Africa.

This is one of the conclusions of a recent security briefing by Paul Rogers for the Oxford Research Group. The briefing says that it has become increasingly clear over the last decade that the United States and its partners must learn from the failure of the so-called 'war on terror'  by paying more attention to the underlying causes of conflicts, especially the factors motivating young paramilitaries to take extreme action.

Remember Eamon, 'Not knowing is not good enough'

Over the years Eamon Gilmore has spoken passionately about the lack of inspections of US aircraft suspected of being involved in renditions. In March 2006 he highlighted a Council of Europe statement that the European Convention on Human Rights can be violated through an omission to act. "Not knowing is not good enough" said Mr Gilmore. And a few months later he demanded to know if the Irish government was going to start inspections at Shannon.

Gilmore is now our deputy prime minister. He can ensure that those inspections take place. But in an outrageous change of heart last week he said that the government - his government - has no reason to call into question assurances received from the US authorities.

Ireland Continues to Turn a Blind Eye to Crime

Civilian passenger numbers are still falling at Shannon Airport which is now downgraded to Ireland's third airport after Dublin and Cork. Yet, there were four US troop carrying aircraft at Shannon yesterday (Sept 15th) at 9.30am, and several more since. They were carrying hundreds of foreign armed troops to and from a war zone in Afghanistan.

A member of Shannonwatch who was in the airport lounge at the time spoke with some of the troops. They were young men and women in desert camouflage uniform, on their way to Afghanistan.  From talking to some of them it seems many had been there before. But when asked if they thought their presence there was doing any good, most just shrugged their shoulders and said 'its a job'.

Remembering the Victims of 9/11 and the US War on Terror

Shannon, 11th Sept 2011

Ten years after the appalling 9/11 terrorist attack, the US remains locked in the ongoing cycles of war it started a month after the attacks. A total of 2,996 people died in the US on the day that changed the course of history. Since then the world has had to endure what the pro-war commentator Charles Krauthammer unapologetically calls a "massive and unrelenting American war on terror, a systematic worldwide campaign carried out with increasing sophistication, efficiency and lethality" (see today's Washington Post). This has resulted in hundreds of thousands of deaths, millions of displaced people, and countless victims of torture.

Private Companies Profiting from Torture Flights

A New York business dispute between two aviation companies has revealed how the U.S. contracted out their illegal and inhumane renditions to a network of private American companies. Court files show how these private contractors flew between the US, Shannon and other foreign airports, Guantanamo Bay and landing points near secret CIA-run prisons.

The companies included DynCorp, a leading government contractor that secretly oversaw a fleet of luxury jets, and Richmor Aviation. The latter operated the rendition plane N85VM/N227SV which landed in Shannon quite a bit between 2001 and 2005 and was involved in the rendition of an Egyptian cleric, Abu Omar. In addition the Seatle Times reports that

On Nov. 8, 2002, a Richmor Gulfstream, Tail No. N85VM, took off for Shannon Airport in Ireland, then to Dubai, in the United Arab Emirates, on a flight that paralleled the arrest that month of USS Cole bombing suspect Abd al-Nashiri.

Irish Government acted "to protect U.S. interests and property"

US interests at Shannon

Recently released cables from the U.S. embassy in Dublin show once again how little respect the Irish government had for national and international laws, Irish sovereignty and human rights. Protecting U.S. interests and property seems to have been their overriding concern, rather than the people being tortured and bombed by the CIA and U.S. military.