Irish Government Minister's Complicity in Torture

The Irish Peace and Neutrality Alliance (PANA) and Shannonwatch express their concern and outrage at information concerning former Foreign Minister Dermott Ahern’s meeting with former US Ambassador Foley in 2007. The information which is revealed in a released Wikileaks cable relates to the use of Shannon airport for rendition of prisoners to Guantanamo and elsewhere, where many of them were tortured.

In a reported meeting, Ahern had been “quite convinced” that the United States had operated “at least three flights involving [prisoner] renditions” through the airport, stopping there to refuel before traveling back to the United States. Yet Dermot Ahern, Brian Cowen, and Bertie Ahern were all happy to publicly declare that they accepted the word of the United States Government that no such flights had occurred. In so doing, it is likely they have been guilty of knowingly misinforming the Irish people, given that they either knew or should have known that Shannon airport was used extensively to refuel CIA and other rendition flights.

In this cable Ambassador Foley states that: ‘Ahern noted that he had "put his neck on the chopping block" and would pay a severe political price if it ever turned out that rendition flights had entered Ireland or if one was discovered in the future. He stated that he "could use a little more information" about the flights’. Ambassador Foley stated that he believed: “Ahern seemed to be fishing for renewed assurances from the Ambassador that no rendition flights have transited Ireland, or would transit in the future.” It is noteworthy that no such renewed assurances were given, indicating that the US embassy may have information to the contrary. Ahern was clearly far more concerned to protect himself from putting “his neck on the chopping block” and paying a “severe political price if it ever turned out that rendition flights had entered Ireland or if one was discovered in the future”.

The Government of Ireland and its ministers have solemn legal international obligations to prevent torture and crimes against humanity. They have failed to live up to these obligations and have put all their efforts into preventing the truth on these matters from the Irish public, so as to protect their own political necks. This makes the Irish Government and its particular ministers complicit in torture under the UN Convention Against Torture, and complicit in other crimes against humanity.

Link to Wikileak cable: http://www.wikileaks.ch/cable/2007/12/07DUBLIN916.html

For more information email shannonwatch@gmail.com or contact  087 8225087 / 086 3539911.

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