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.

US Department of Defence Provide Flight Data for Shannon - We Add Some Important Details

The US Department of Defence has confirmed that 12,154 military flights have gone through Shannon between 2001 and the start of 2011. These took 2,030,925 armed troops and 8,487 tonnes of military cargo through what is supposed to be a civilian airport.

The figures which were published by RTE based on a freedom of information request to the US authorities are in line with military flight data recorded and published by Shannonwatch. Both show that on average more than 3 US military flights pass through Shannon every day. Most of these are troop carriers operated by Omni Air International. They use an ageing fleet of DC-10's, many of which are more than 25 years old.

All Any Irish Government Has to Do is Ask ...

US Troops at Shannon - only there because the Irish government wants them there

An RTE News story published last Friday (13 August) confirms Shannonwatch recordings of over three US military flights a day passing through Shannon Airport. The report, which is based on data supplied by the US Department of Defence, sets the number of troops that passed through the airport from 2001 up to the end of last January at over 2 million. More significantly however, information received by RTE indicates that the US military would have been willing to withdraw from its use of Shannon Airport several years ago but the Irish Government did not want them to do so.

Mayor of Limerick Needs to Rethink his Strategy for Shannon Airport

In light of media reports that the Fine Gael Mayor of Limerick Jim Long welcomes the continued presence of US troops at Shannon Airport, Shannonwatch urge him and all local politicians in the mid-West to develop a more sustainable and enlightened strategy for the airport. Business that leads to ongoing human rights abuses, the bombing of civilians, and the widespread suffering of children in Afghanistan is not good business.

The Mayor’s comments made no reference to foreign policy or Irish neutrality, but instead seem to be based on the belief that the troops are a “lifeline to the airport”. He was responding to the passing of a motion by Dublin City Council supporting calls to terminate the use of Shannon Airport by the US military. According to the reports he sees this as an attempt “to downsize and downgrade Shannon”. In fact the motion proposed the exact opposite, as it called for the airport to be established as an international hub for the storage and distribution of emergency humanitarian supplies. This has the potential to provide a much more sustainable future for the airport, while promoting peace and development instead of conflict and suffering.

Dublin City Council Opposes Use of Shannon Airport by US Troops

Shannonwatch welcomes the passing of a motion by Dublin City Council supporting calls to terminate the use of Shannon Airport by US troops. The motion which was proposed by Cllr. Larry O’Toole of Sinn Fein at the request of PANA (the Peace and Neutrality Alliance) states

“That this Council supports the Irish Peace Movement’s campaign to terminate the use of Shannon Airport by US troops on their way to and from the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq and calls for Shannon Airport to be established an an international hub for the storage and distribution of emergency humanitarian supplies as outlined in the Programme for Government”