Irish police refuse to search US warplane, guarded by Irish soldiers
Today’s peace vigil at Shannon on 9 Jan 2011 was not a celebration but a commemoration of events that have been occurring over the past 11 years in Afghanistan and Iraq in which the United States waged unlawful and unjustified wars killing hundreds of thousands of people. It also commemorated and offered condolences on behalf of the many prisoners who were kidnapped, imprisoned without trial and in many cases tortured in Guantanamo and elsewhere. January 2011 also marks the 20th of the US led Gulf War in 1991, which led to the deaths of over two million Iraqi people in the decade up to 2001.
Shannon airport played a despicable role in all these events, and continues to do so today, as two US warplanes were present at Shannon, including a Hercules MC-130P 66-0216 special operations warplane, that was not on its first visit to Shannon, having refuelled here also in 2005, and probably multiple times in the meantime.
This type of aircraft is known as a Combat Shadow for the subversive roles that it played not only in war zones, but also on so-called special operations in other countries, that are frequently denied by the US Government.
This website, describes some this warplane’s missions. “The Combat Shadow flies clandestine or low visibility, single or multi-ship low-level missions intruding politically sensitive or hostile territory to provide air refueling for special operations helicopters. The MC-130P primarily flies missions at night to reduce probability of visual acquisition and intercept by airborne threats. Secondary mission capabilities may include airdrop of leaflets, small special operations teams, bundles and combat rubber raiding craft, as well as night vision goggles, takeoff and landing procedures and in-flight refueling as a receiver.”
Given that the US is currently engaged in many secretive missions involving assassinations and bombings by drone aircraft and special operations forces in Afghanistan, Pakistan, Iraq, Yemen, Somalia and elsewhere, this aircraft may well be involved is such operations. Yet it was being guarded today by a special detachment of Irish army soldiers, protecting possible war criminals. Given Minister Dermott Ahern’s for covering his arse rather than searching US military warplanes or torture planes, as revealed by WIKILEAKs, the current responsible ministers will also deny any complicity in these events. A request was made by Shannonwatch peace activists to the Gardai today to search this MC-130P warplane, but as usual they refused, and requested information to justify such a search. Our offers to search the plane to produce this information were declined, but we do intend to present a dossier of information on all such warplanes and CIA torture rendition planes that have visited Shannon since 2001 and that are still visiting Shannon on a regular basis.
We have been organising peace vigils at Shannon now for 10 years, and these vigils will continue for as long as Shannon airport and the Irish government are complicit in war crimes and torture.