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PlaneSpotters: Help Us Identify This Warplane's Mission 160050

category international | anti-war / imperialism | feature author Monday January 26, 2009 19:53author by Edward Horgan Report this post to the editors

Suspect plane at Shannon airport

featured image
The US War Machine grinds on with Obama Piloting?
or, is Bush NeoCon Policy on Auto-Pilot?

On Sunday 25 January 2009, what is probably a US Navy C-9B Skytrain logistics aircraft was photographed at Shannon airport in neutral Ireland, at about 11 am. Even though it had no obvious military markings, it was being guarded by an Irish army security patrol. The registration number it is obliged to display was incomplete. The only number it displayed was 0050. As far as we can establish its full aircraft registration number is 160050.

We are urgently seeking more information on this aircraft, and wish to thank those who have provided research so far.

This plane is probably part of VR-52 (Naval Reserve Fleet Logistics Support) at Willow Grove Naval Air Station, Pennsylvania. It's US Navy C-9B "Skytrain", due to be phased out in the near future.

It has come to our attention over the past year that old aircraft, some of questionable air-worthiness have been transiting through Shannon airport, both with the US military and civilian airlines contracted to ferry troops and munitions through Shannon to the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan. The civilian aircraft that have experienced mechanical trouble on these trans-atlantic flights include, OMNI Air, Kalita Air, and Murray Air. Old C130 Hercules military aircraft have also experienced mechanical trouble while making the US to Middle East trip via Shannon "neutral" airport.

Apart from the crimes against humanity that some of these aircraft have been involved in, they pose serious dangers to the civilians in the Shannon region.

Our concern with this plane is that even though it is a US Navy aircraft, it has been used for several years without the normal US Navy markings. This could suggest that it may be used to transport munitions of various types to locations that the US Government does not want the international public to be aware of.

We need assistance from anyone who has knowledge of this aircraft landing at other airports over the past year or two, especially whether it may have been to Israel in recent times.

We also ask the question as to why the Irish Army were guarding this aircraft when no army guard was placed on an OMNI Air aircraft at the airport at the same time with up to 300 US troops on board.
Did the Irish Army know what cargo was on board this aircraft? Did they care?
Did the Irish Government know what cargo was on board this aircraft? Did they care?

Where did this aircraft come from and where was it going to? If anyone out there as any information on this aircraft number 160050, please let us know.

email: shannonwatch[at]

160050 at Shannon 25 Jan 09
160050 at Shannon 25 Jan 09

OMNI Air troop carrier at Shannon 25 Jan 09
OMNI Air troop carrier at Shannon 25 Jan 09

author by Edwardpublication date Mon Jan 26, 2009 20:03author address author phone Report this post to the editors

On closer examination, an observant reader indymedia reader confirmed that there is a much smaller number a few feet below the number 0500, and that this number is 160050. This confirms that the aircraft in question is a US Navy C-9B Skytrain logistics aircraft registration number 160050. We still dont know why it is not carrying the normal US Navy insignia, why the Irish army are protecting it, what its cargo is, or what its mission is.

author by officer & gentlemanpublication date Mon Jan 26, 2009 20:18author address author phone Report this post to the editors

I always wonder at where they go & how they seem to take five days on average to make simple routes. You'd never run a low-budget low-cost airline with that kind of efficiency. Perhaps they go into a Bermuda triangle time warp..,

The Israeli air force took delivery of 4 Lockheed Martin F-16I Sufa via that USAF airport Lajes [ Terceira Isle US Air Force Base ] (which is in case you didn't know where Bush, Blair & Aznar made their infamous ultimatum to Iraq to surrender its WMD exactly 2,300 miles east of Washington and 900 miles west of Europe) in spring last year.

It's one of those places which is hard to keep an eye on. (as you know). But one chap does, his name is given on a the planespotter's website as only João Toste, but I reckon he's the same João Luís Toste de Azevedo who is a member of the MIT-Portugal project and works on Research in: Solid fuel combustion, Hydrogen generation, Heat transfer & that's how he gets to be so close to such a restricted airport taking snapshots for the plausible reason he's working on something there. his contact details in that case would be :

The plane also appeared in Spain & had mechanical problems as you suggest at its home base in Penn & only middle east connection popping up on quick spider search is Bahrain years back. It's markings have moved about from nose end to tail and sometimes only 050 is visible.

will ask around & be back with additions if any thing new.

author by ground hostess & ladypublication date Tue Jan 27, 2009 00:46author address author phone Report this post to the editors

1) it's not a CIA plane.

2) However, the CIA and affiliates are on record as using their flights on the rendition or black prison or immediate deployment of agents or analysts routes to move large amounts of narcotics. c/f including that one previousled linked back case on this site of the global indymedia network which gave information on an aircraft which had passed through Shannon and ended its usefulness crashed in the Mexican Yucaton desert with 4 tons of cocaine on board.

3) i'm still doing my spider search & can find no link to Israel, Ed, & if this isn't a usual moving personel around or a juicier moving tech or chems around - the only wicked thing I could collect it to on a long shot would indeed not be a coke cartel manipulation op. (they don't need to move that shit to make a profit rather to correct wider geopolitical ramifications of their highprofile agency and budget colleagues in the DEA)................ jayzhez it could be the long expected smack opium tender flight. bog standard little plane with good coms which doesn't say "fancy five seater rap artist swagger" but instead says some overlooked middle ranking employees being transported back to hear new instructions. Sure your man Dennis Blair on top of the new Obama CIA is an ex-naval intelligence boyo.

author by Wondering Out Loudpublication date Tue Jan 27, 2009 16:41author address author phone Report this post to the editors

Obama has ordered the closure of the Guantanamo prison, the closure of other facilities worldwide, the end of torture and the end of military tribunals.
He is going to withdraw US troops from Iraq and the focus of American policy is the mend bridges with the Arab Muslim world and bring the Israeli-Arab conflict to an end with a two-state solution.
He is committed to leaving Iraq with a stable democratic government and to fighting the Taliban and Al-Qaeda which Bush never finished off.
Obama is also committed to reform and the spread of real democracy across the Middle East and the end to the nuclear arms race in the Middle East.

Obama has completely changed American foreign policy for the better.

There is no justification therefore in protesting against American planes at Shannon.

author by Seanpublication date Tue Jan 27, 2009 17:01author address author phone Report this post to the editors

What about the 18 people killed in Pakistan this weeken - on the direct orders of President Obama?

author by dontbelievethepropagandathepeoplearenotstupidpublication date Tue Jan 27, 2009 17:19author address author phone Report this post to the editors

US AirForce planes and Commerical planes from other countries had regularly refuelled at shannon airport from the the time shannon airport existed,they have also refuelled in places like germany ,syria ,egypt ,france ,isreal etc.

Shannon has been phased as of 2008..

There are a lot of media types on here whipping up a storm for the sake of it,and to be quite honest it is socially irresponsible and reckless!Planes have been damaged and what coherent message was sent out as a result of this??

My point is a plane (from the u.s.a or elsewhere) can refuel anywhere,shannon is not soley responsible for atrocities that take place all over the world!!

author by Wondering Out Loudpublication date Tue Jan 27, 2009 17:58author address author phone Report this post to the editors

Obama wants to defeat the Taliban and al-Qaeda who are based and active in Afghanistan and Pakistan.
You surely aren't suggesting that America and NATO withdraw from Afghanistan and allow the Taliban and Osama Bin Laden to take control again and plan another 9/11 style attack?
I think we can all agree that we are glad Bush is gone but Al-Qaeda were attacking the United States as long ago as 1993 when the first attempt to demolish the WTC was tried and failed, then there was the bombing of American embassies in Africa and attack on the USS Cole when President Clinton was ruling America responsibly by bringing peace to Ireland and stopping Milosevic's atrocities in Kosovo.

author by Edward Horganpublication date Tue Jan 27, 2009 20:06author address author phone Report this post to the editors

Amnesia is a dangerous thing. I visited Arlington Cemetery in Washington last week, partly to see the Kennedy graves, but I also visited the Vietnam War memorial,on Martin Luther King's US national holiday. The memorial wall contains the names of over 58,000 US soldiers killed in Vietnam, yet none of the three million Vietnamese who died as a result of this unlawful and unjustified war gets a mention. When President Barack Obama paid homage in his inaugural address the following day to the all those who died fighting for freedom he included those American soldiers who died in the Vietnam war – a case of amnesia?

“Wondering Out Loud” above is also suffering from selective amnesia.
The Taliban were the lawful government of Afghanistan recognised by the United Nations. This government was overthrown by the US led coalition in breach of the UN Charter. Osama Bin Laden did plan the attack on the US on 9/11, but the Taliban did not. The Taliban evolved from the Afghan Mujahadeen who were financed and armed by the CIA during their struggle for freedom against the Soviet Union. We forget, don’t we?
You credit President Clinton “stopping Milosevic's atrocities in Kosovo”. He did nothing of the sort. The Clinton administration presided belatedly over the Dayton agreement in Bosnia, having ignored the problem for 3 years while 200,000 were killed. The Kosovo war occurred in part because Kosovo was ignored in the Dayton Accord in 1995, and also because the Clinton administration deliberately manipulated the peace talks on Kosovo at Rambouilet in 1999, by insisting that NATO troops occupy other parts of Serbia in addition to Kosovo. The NATO bombing of Kosovo and Serbia, which killed thousands of innocent civilians, precipitated the Kosovo war and prevented a peaceful resolution, which was on the cards when the Rambouilet talks were scuppered by the US, so that NATO could be seen to justify its continued existence. But, we do forget, don’t we?

Wondering Out Loud asks: “You surely aren't suggesting that America and NATO withdraw from Afghanistan”? Yes I am, and yes they will, defeated, just as the British were repeatedly over one hundred years ago, and as the USSR was in the 1980s, and as the US was in Vietnam in the 1960s, and again in Iraq so recently.
I am not a supporter of Al Qaeda, or any other terrorists including state terrorism. However, all the attacks you mentioned by Al Qaeda, including the USS Cole, and 9/11, killed less that 4,000 people. The death toll in Iraq and Afghanistan in revenge for these attacks have caused the deaths of well over one million people.
About 250,000 of those deaths were innocent children.
Ah but yes, we do forget, don’t we, you see, they were not our children.

The troll above who calls itself “dontbelievethepropagandathepeoplearenotstupid” claims that “US AirForce planes and Commerical planes from other countries had regularly refuelled at shannon airport from the the time shannon airport existed,they have also refuelled in places like germany ,syria ,egypt ,france ,isreal etc. ..”

This is historically and factually incorrect. No US airforce planes were refuelled at Shannon between 1939 and the 1990s unless they were on emergency type landings or involved in state visits. Unarmed US soldiers going home on leave from garrison duties in Germany were transported through Shannon provided they were not involved in any war, or even in any training exercises. This fully complied with international laws on neutrality.
You claim that it is “socially irresponsible and reckless! Planes have been damaged and what coherent message was sent out as a result of this?? My point is a plane (from the u.s.a or elsewhere) can refuel anywhere,shannon is not soley responsible for atrocities that take place all over the world!!”

Willie O’Dea, Timmy Dooley and other Irish politicians have been making this point in an equally incoherent manner.
The argument is that it is in Ireland’s economic interest to refuel US warplanes, and anyway, if we did not benefit from it, some other country would.
First of all, when the costs of security are included, the Irish taxpayer has been at a net loss due to US military use of Shannon airport.
Secondly, the argument that if we did not do it someone else would, is that same as arguing that the Irish State should get involved in the very profitable industry of selling cocaine and other deadly drugs to school children, because if the state does not do it, then the gangs of criminals would benefit from it instead.
Drug dealing in Ireland only kills a relatively small number of children. Irish complicity in the Iraq war has helped to kill 250,000 children.
But we must forget all this, in the Irish national interest. Its called pathological amnesia.

author by Coilínpublication date Fri Jan 30, 2009 16:07author address author phone Report this post to the editors

Wondering Out Loud wrote:
"Obama has ordered the closure of the Guantanamo prison, the closure of other facilities worldwide, the end of torture ..."

Actually, President Obama has not gone quite far enough to put a complete stop to crimes of torture associated with the CIA’s extraordinary renditions programme, particularly the torture of prisoners transported to other countries for “interrogation”.

The European Parliament’s TDIP has documented several such cases, including the following three:
1 & 2. On the night of 18 December 2001, a team of hooded CIA agents flew into Stockholm Bromma Airport, took custody of two asylum-seekers, Ahmed Agiza and Muhammad Zery, and took them to Egypt, where they say they were subjected to electric shock and other torture.
3. The same Gulfstream jet, registered as N379P, carried Binyam Mohamed from Islamabad to Rabat on 21 July 2002
* * * * * and REFUELLED AT SHANNON AIRPORT the next day. * * * * *
Mohamed is still being held at Guantánamo Bay, where he has told his lawyers that he was tortured by scalpel cuts to his private parts while in Morocco.

While President Obama’s decision to close all centres of torture established under Mr Bush’s command is a good and necessary step, it is not clear to me whether the new anti-torture law proposed by Senator Dianne Feinstein will provide for the investigation and prosecution of agents who render prisoners for torture under other regimes.


Also Irish justice minister Dermot Ahern leaves something to be desired when he says that “Ireland would, of course, be prepared to play its full part in any common action being taken by the EU” to receive former prisoners from Guantánamo Bay (Irish Times p. 11, January 22).

What if the EU never agrees to "common action"?

The Irish government has failed to institute searches of CIA aircraft transiting at Shannon Airport, even after NATO member Iceland has introduced routine searches for prisoners on board all international transits, as reported by the Danish national TV channel DR on 3 February 2008. (Island forsøger at stoppe CIA-trafik: )

Mr Ahern now needs to go the extra mile to compensate for Ireland’s failure to intervene, by making an unconditional commitment to Ireland receiving released detainees.

Bringing the EU on board is the NEXT step, but the Irish government can hardly speak with conviction in Europe if it does not set its own precedent.

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