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Commissioners unite to say Govt wrong not to check US planes

Citizen

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Ireland is a member of the pan European Council of Europe - the body established in the aftermath of World War ll to try to maintain agreed standards of behaviour within and between all European states. One of its achievements is the European Convention on Human Rights.

The parliament of the European Community - which is a body set up years later than the C of E and more limited in its membership - rents the hall in Strasbourg from the C of E for its meetings in that city.

Speaking in Dublin today the Council's Commissioner for Human Rights Mr Thomas Hammarberg has said US military flights through Shannon Airport should have been checked when it was obvious that the planes could have been used to transport people who have been abducted and who might face torture where they were being brought.

Torture is banned under the European Convention on Human Rights. Under the UN Convention against Torture Ireland is under a legal obligation to be proactive in ensuring that its facilities or employees do not assist those engaged in the crime of torture in any way.

http://www.rte.ie/news/2007/1130/rights.html
 


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Re: Commissioner says Govt wrong not to check US planes

Citizen said:
Speaking in Dublin today the Council's Commissioner for Human Rights Mr Thomas Hammarberg has said US military flights through Shannon Airport should have been checked when it was obvious that the planes could have been used to transport people who have been abducted and who might face torture where they were being brought.

Torture is banned under the European Convention on Human Rights. Under the UN Convention against Torture Ireland is under a legal obligation to be proactive in ensuring that its facilities or employees do not assist those engaged in the crime of torture in any way.

http://www.rte.ie/news/2007/1130/rights.html



http://www.rte.ie/news/2007/1130/rights.html
So if carrying US Soldiers who ended up being caught in Iraq and tortured does this apply ?
 

geraghd

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Could you be a little less vague in your post titles? I didnt know whether you were talking about the Commissioner of the Police in New York City of the Garda Commissioner. Then it turned out it was nothing to do with a law enforcement official.
 

Aindriu

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Shannon should not be used as a stop over by US forces for any reason sin é.
 

geraghd

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Aindriu said:
Shannon should not be used as a stop over by US forces for any reason sin é.
Not even to allow a medivac chopper to land? Well ok if thats how you feel...
 

Citizen

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Arresting the people who brought this to the attention of the public by their own voluntary efforts over years is not what the Commissioner would have expected as the state's response to his concerns.

http://www.politics.ie/viewtopic.php?t=29096

Nor is it clear (to me at least) how those arrests of the whisleblowers fits with the Programme for Government's language on rendition and the effective use of Garda resources at Shannon.

Bertie's call on us all to be active citizens might need a rewrite now too.
 

Helium Three

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The Taoiseach, Minister for Justice and AG will all exercise their right to remain silent in the face of this criticism from the Commissioner. People involved in law enforcement from the top of the hierarchy in Dublin right the way down to Shannon are abusing their discretion here.
 

soubresauts

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Helium Three said:
The Taoiseach, Minister for Justice and AG will all exercise their right to remain silent in the face of this criticism from the Commissioner. People involved in law enforcement from the top of the hierarchy in Dublin right the way down to Shannon are abusing their discretion here.
And why? Just to keep the Bush administration happy, it seems.

Of course nothing's easy when all three of the EU's big leaders are anxious to keep the Bush administration happy. Ditto Ireland's largest "opposition" party.

"Dreadful carry-on, this plane-spotting. As if the Limerick Gardai didn't have enough to do.

"Things have come to a sorry pass when Irish people can't learn to be nice to the CIA men, who are, to a man, absolute gentlemen (we have it on good authority). And some of those gurriers hanging around Shannon call themselves 'Green'! Lock them up, I say..."
 

Aindriu

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geraghd said:
Aindriu said:
Shannon should not be used as a stop over by US forces for any reason sin é.
Not even to allow a medivac chopper to land? Well ok if thats how you feel...
They wouldn't use a helicopter all the way from Iraq anyway as they don't have the range.

Let the use our British neighbours miltary airfields. RAF Brize Norton is setup as a passenger terminal specialising in military passenger jets.
 

evercloserunion

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So if carrying US Soldiers who ended up being caught in Iraq and tortured does this apply ?
We shouldn't be letting the US soldiers use our air bases going over there in the first place, but for different reasons. We are aiding and abetting an occupying force of another country, thus supporting the Iraq war, this is harmful to our neutrality. We also should not be allowing US soldiers to stop in Shannon on their way to commit human rights abuses, that would be the ECHR view of things. However we can't say that we shouldn't let US troops stop in Shannon on their way to Iraq for fear they might be tortured, as they are not going over there with the purpose/intention of being tortured. That would be like saying we can't let people go on holidays abroad for fear they might be kidnapped.
 

droghedasouth

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RedStar1916 said:
So if carrying US Soldiers who ended up being caught in Iraq and tortured does this apply ?
We shouldn't be letting the US soldiers use our air bases going over there in the first place, but for different reasons. We are aiding and abetting an occupying force of another country, thus supporting the Iraq war, this is harmful to our neutrality. We also should not be allowing US soldiers to stop in Shannon on their way to commit human rights abuses, that would be the ECHR view of things. However we can't say that we shouldn't let US troops stop in Shannon on their way to Iraq for fear they might be tortured, as they are not going over there with the purpose/intention of being tortured. That would be like saying we can't let people go on holidays abroad for fear they might be kidnapped.
Firstly, they are not using our air bases. Baldonnel is too small and Gormanstown is tiny. Shannon is a civilain airport.

Secondly, there has been a UN mandate in place for years since the the US-led coalition took ever Iraq. Whatever you thought of the original invasion, we are obliged under international law to assist the US-led forces.

We are not under any obligation to offer facilities to CIA aircraft - Governments do that out of choice. Personally, I find the torture of captives by the US to rank above capital punishment as an enormous stain on the honour of the USA. However, whatever about other legs of flights that these aircraft have been engaged in, no one has ever offered any evidence that any rendition prisoner ever passed through Shannon.
 

Helium Three

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Well drogheda south if you don't look you won't find seems to be the Commissioner's point. There is no paper trail so without looking in the plane 'tis a variation on the old line about 'will we get a receipt? will we ....?'

And if the background evidence is strong enough to raise a reasonable suspicion that our US friends have temporarily misplaced their sense of what constitutes torture and kidnapping we are obliged to look even though we might not like what we find.
 

Helium Three

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UN Commissioner for Human Rights Louise Arbour has said that accepting mere diplomatic assurances from the US on rendition flights is not good enough.

It is not undiplomatic, she says, to do random searches to make sure that diplomatic assurances are followed through right down the chain of command.

She was interviewed on RTE's This Week today


Arbour is a former Canadian Supreme Court judge and Chief Prosecutor in the International Criminal Court. She knows a bit about international law.
 

michael1965

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The US is a long standing friend of Ireland. I don't see any reason not to accept their assurances.

It's worth comparing the situation with the policies relating to visits of US navy ships. Ireland has a policy of not allowing ships with nuclear weapons.The US has a policy of never confirming or denying which of its ships have nuclear weapons on board. The result is the (amicable) outcome that US navy ships don't visit this country.

Why should it be different for US assurances on rendition?
 

Fionn_McCool

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droghedasouth said:
However, whatever about other legs of flights that these aircraft have been engaged in, no one has ever offered any evidence that any rendition prisoner ever passed through Shannon.
But there is evidence that the CIA planes have passed unhindered and uninspected through Shannon. We are in breach of international law by aiding and abetting in acts of torture when we allows the CIA ‘rendition’ flights to land at Irish airports.

Merely giving permission for the flights to refuel while en route to the Middle East to collect a prisoner constitutes a clear breach of international law.

The legalities are dealt with here -
Torture by proxy : International Law applicable to “Extraordinary Renditions”
http://www.nyuhr.org/docs/APPG-NYU%20Br ... 0Paper.pdf

.
 

Citizen

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geraghd said:
Could you be a little less vague in your post titles? I didnt know whether you were talking about the Commissioner of the Police in New York City of the Garda Commissioner. Then it turned out it was nothing to do with a law enforcement official.
The thread started with a reference to the Council of Europe's Human Rights Commissioner. Now the UN Commissioner for Human Rights has added her authority. If the new Garda Commissioner could make it a hat trick that would be a wonderful start to his new role.

It would also be entirely consistent with the Programme for Government:

Extraordinary Rendition
The Irish Government is completely opposed to the practice of extraordinary rendition.

1. The Government will prioritise effective enforcement of a) Criminal Justice (United Nations Convention Against Torture) Act, 2000 b) The Geneva Conventions Acts 1962-1998

To that end the Government will encourage and support An Garda Siochana in the investigation and enforcement of these Statutes. It will do so by making resources available for specialized training in the provisions of those Statutes to members of An Garda Siochána and by other means as may be required by An Garda Siochana in order to ensure effective protection for the dignity of all persons within or passing through the State.

We will ensure that all relevant legal instruments are used so that the practice of extraordinary rendition does not occur in this State in any form.
 

Helium Three

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Isn't it a bit weird that we can have the top human rights people in the UN and in the Council of Europe drawing attention to what Ireland needs to do to uphold basic international norms of civilised behaviour and there is not a peep out of our own political class? Of any stripe.

Why the silence?
 


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