06DUBLIN1020

Classification: 
CONFIDENTIAL
Subject: 
EMERGING CONSTRAINTS ON U.S. MILITARY TRANSITS AT SHANNON
Created: 
5 Sep 2006
Released: 
22 Jul 2011
Summary: 
Long cable - and confidential. Government of Ireland (GOI) is supportive of US military transits at Shannon but has informally begunn to place constraints on US operations there. Refers to public opinion of US actions in Middle East, renditions and acquittal of Pitstop Ploughshares. GOI has asked for more "cumbersome notification requirements for equipment-related transits in the wake of the Lebanon conflict." The new requirements expand the interpretation of what "munitions of war" means and are designed to give more latitude on allowable transits. Ambassador thinks this is in response to public criticism ahead of the 2007 general election. Goes on to give specific details of troop numbers, equipment flights, profit for the airport etc. Refers to Pitstop Ploughshares' acquital as demonstrator of public opinion and GOI support and security at the airport. Questions the legality of Pitstops acquittal, assurances quoted by GOI in face of criticism, Noel Treacy's dismissal of calls for inspections after military prisoner transported though Shannon (see Dublin 709). The Deptartment of Transport now want prior notification for non-lethal military articles; it used to be just troop transists with weapons, hazmat, and actual weapons/munitions. Followed from Department of Foreign Affairs oral decision to forbid US munitions to be carried to Israel during the Lebanon conflict. DFA did not notify the Ambassador before telling the media. Mentions a DHS deportation of foreign nationals through Shannon in late 2005 that they denied because they were afraid people would consider it a rendition. Mentions the Apache helicopters going to Israel which hadn't been listed as munitions of war. Ambassador said the extra work involved would make it more cumbersome to shop goods and there was the possibility that the US would pull out of Shannon as as transit hub. Finishes with a general discussion on the nature of Irish neutrality and public opinion adding pressure to GOI. Inadvertent breaches of weapons and uniform policies, denial of transitting prisoners and military equipment are met with scrutiny. Intends to keep onto the departments about this "novel interpretation" of munitions. Wants instructions of how to handle situation, if new paperwork is feasible and wonders if there is an option to take civil case against Pitstop Ploughshares or to present a bill for repairs to GOI.