On 23rd August we spotted that Mike Pompeo, who was described by the Washington Post a few days ago as the worst US secretary of state in history, stopped at Shannon on his way to Israel. He was going there to discuss the "normalisation deal" agreed with the United Arab Emirates (UAE) earler in the month. As our friends in the Ireland Palestine Solidarity Campaign said, this deal was an abandonment of Palestinian rights, intended merely to give diplomatic cover to Israel’s ongoing violations of those rights.
Pompeo was on US Air Force Boeing C-40B 01-0015.
On Sunday 30th August another Boeing C-40B, this time with registration 02-0042, landed at Shannon from Joint Base Andrews in Washington. It went on to Israel, and on Monday it left Ben Gurion International Airport in Tel Aviv, flew to Al Bateen Executive Airport in the UAE, and flew back to Shannon (arriving Tuesday 1st September). It left Shannon at 6.12pm on its was back to Joint Base Andrews.
On Aug 9th we reported on a suspicious Boeing 757 operated by the US Air Force Special Operations Command at Shannon. We highlighted that the plane, with registration 02-4452, appears to be used to support US special forces and CIA operations.
While the plane falls under the aegis of Air Force Special Operations Command, it is in fact operated by 486th Flight Test Squadron which the American Special Ops website describe as "highly secretive units, with little information publicly available about their activities". They have two aircraft, both of them are C-32B's or former Boeing 757s. One is 02-4452 which we photographed at Shannon on Aug 9th. The other is 00–9001.
Both of these very suspicious aircraft have been refuelling at Shannon over the past month.
Today, as Shannonwatch and its supporters gathered for the regular monthly demonstration against the US military use of Shannon Airport, a suspicious looking US Air Force Boeing C-32B (757-23A) sat on the tarmac at the airport. The plane, with registration 02-4452 is operated by the US Air Force Special Operations Command (AFSOC), and appears to be used to support US special forces and CIA operations.
On Saturday August 8th our friends in Galway Alliance Against War commemorated the fact that in August 1945, the United States detonated two nuclear weapons over the Japanese cities, leading to the deaths of up to 226,000 people.
The US perpetrators of the Hiroshima and Nagasaki atomic bombing are still busy promoting a nuclear arms race, and wars of aggression in the Middle East. On the same day as the horrific events of August 1945 were being remembered, at least two plane loads of US troops passed through Shannon Airport.
Both Shannon and Dublin airports have been busy supporting the US war machine this weekend.
At Dublin we had GainJet Aviation Boeing 757 SX-RFA flying from Benghazi in Libya to Dulles Airport in Washington DC on Sat August 1st. It also flew back from Dulles Washington to Benghazi, again with a refuelling stop in Dublin early on Sunday morning.
Last month Darren O'Rourke TD (Sinn Fein) asked the new Minister for Transport; Tourism and Sport, Eamon Ryan to outline the position regarding air traffic control fees for military flights using Irish airspace and airports. Like us, he wanted to know if fees are waived for military aircraft, and if so, what the cost of the waived fees has been over the years.
The Green Minister explained in his response that
The practice of exempting en-route charges for certain specified classes of airspace users, including military aircraft, derives from the exclusion of State aircraft from the scope of the 1944 Chicago Convention establishing the International Civil Aviation Organisation (ICAO). While the application of the exemption from charges is at the discretion of the State concerned, the policy and general practice at international level is to exempt such flights from charges. Ireland, in common with the vast majority of Eurocontrol's 41 member states, subscribes to this practice.
In other words, foreign military aircraft do not pay air traffic control charges as they overfly or land in Ireland. And that includes US military aircraft.
On Wednesday of this week (July 22nd) the Shannon Airport website showed four Ryanair planes as the only civilian passenger flights to and from the airport. There were probably a few cargo flights also and maybe a few chartered executive jets. All the rest were flights associated with the US military, including one US Air Force executive jet, number 01-0076. It later flew on to Presswick in Scotland and then to US air base in Ramstein in German.
There were at least four Omni Air US troops carriers.
Today at Shannon there were at least two aircraft refueled and providing support for US wars of aggression.
Omni Air N828AX carrying armed US soldiers arrived at Shannon at 08.15am using US military call sign CMB571 from Fort Worth TX Shannon and later flew on to Nuremberg in Germany and Constanta in Romania and is now returning across Europe.
This article was written by Roger Cole, Chair of the Peace and Neutrality Alliance (PANA)
“When I use a word,” Humpty Dumpty said, in a rather scornful tone, “it means just what I choose it to mean-neither more nor less.” “The question is,” said Alice, “whether you can make words mean so many different things.” “The question is,” said Humpty Dumpty, “which is to be master-that’s all”. (Alice in Wonderland)
For nearly 20 years Ireland has been a US Aircraft Carrier. Well over three million troops and an unknown amount of military equipment from the USA have landed in Shannon Airport to take part in the perpetual wars on Afghanistan, Iraq, Libya and Syria, and to help their ally Saudi Arabia.
Ireland is not a neutral state.