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AMNESTY confirms that Shannon Airport has been used to facilitate the rendition of prisoners.

category national | anti-war / imperialism | feature author Friday March 14, 2008 12:57author by Edward Horgan Report this post to the editors

Amnesty Report

featured image
Faceless victims

Amnesty International says it has evidence that Shannon Airport has been used for so-called "rendition" flights by the CIA.

The human rights organisation says it has obtained flight records which show a jet operated by the US intelligence agency refuelled at the Co Clare airport in January 2004.


Amnesty's Irish branch says the evidence is unquestionable and it is no longer tenable for the Irish Government to accept US assurances that Shannon has not been used for illegal activity.


It is demanding that the Irish Government establish a proper inspection regime in Shannon to ensure that Irish territory cannot be used in this way in the future.


A small groups of peace activists have been highlighting this gross abuse of human rights and international law since January 2003 when we first became aware of CIA use of Shannon airport.
In the meantime the Irish government has been in gross breach of the UN Convention on Torture because when alerted to the possible use of Shannon for torture rendition, it failed to prevent this facilitation of torture and harrased and arrested several of those peace activists who were exposing it.

Errors were made in this initial report. These were corrected in later comments. I have edited the headline and story in order to remove these errors. 1 of indymedia.

author by MichaelY - iawmpublication date Fri Mar 14, 2008 11:22author address author phone Report this post to the editors

As anti war activists all over the world are gathering to protest against the continuation after 5 long years of the barbaric occupation of Iraq, the FF/PD and now unashamedly Green Government is in further shit following the Amnesty Report above. The anti war movement, the anti war activists in the Shannon area, the workers in Shannon, the European Parliament, a number of honest journalists - we all knew Shannon was used for torture flights.....now there is 'legal' proof. Where does Bertie and his ilk stand? After the collapse of the US stories re: torture flights in the UK, particularly Diego Garcia, have collapsed, is the Irish Government still going to insist that they believed, and continue to believe, the US 'assurances'? If this was a comedy when it all started it has gradualkly become a tragedy!!

The iawm and its supporters will be demonstrating tomorrow Saturday March 15th. We will assemble at 13.00 hours in front of the Garden of Remembrance. There will be speakers, stalls, we will march down O'Connell Street to TCD and back to the GPO and we will have a discussion meeting after the demo in the nearby Royal Dublin Hotel.

In 2003, before, during and after the massive anti war demo, the iawm predicted that tens if not hundreds of thousands of people in Iraq will be slaughtered as a result of the illegal invasion. We were told we were 'scaremongering' and 'exaggerating'. Relaity proved us wrong!! Well over 1 million Iraquis are dead, mostly civilians and about 4.7 million are internally and externally displaced. Deaths of US soldiers are now exceeding 4,000!!

It's time we said enough to warmomgering. It's time we told Bertie and his friends to stop spinning stories about their shananigans and take a clear decision to disengage.

See you all at the demo tomorrow.

We're still here - alive and kicking
We're still here - alive and kicking

No words necessary
No words necessary

author by CKpublication date Fri Mar 14, 2008 11:22author address author phone Report this post to the editors

So the American government lied and continues to lie to the Irish government.

author by .publication date Fri Mar 14, 2008 11:32author address author phone Report this post to the editors

LOCATION: home /
Amnesty International lifts the lid on CIA's secret prisons. Shannon used by those perpetrating torture

In a report published today (14/3/08) Amnesty International exposed the cruelty and illegality of the CIA programme of secret detentions and enforced disappearances – a program re-authorized by President Bush in June 2007. The report (Attached) is based on detailed research and exclusive interviews with Khaled al-Maqtari who was held without charge in secret CIA prisons for over two and a half years.

In the report Khaled al Maqtari describes a regime of beatings, sleep deprivation, upside-down suspension, intimidation by dogs, induced hypothermia and other forms of torture. Although he was released in May 2007 Amnesty International believes that at least three dozen prisoners are still held in the secret prison network.

Amnesty International Irish Section Executive Director Colm O'Gorman said: "For over two and a half years Khaled al-Maqtari was held in unknown locations and in complete isolation, without charge or trial or access to any form of due process. His statements include numerous allegations of torture and other forms of cruel, inhuman and degrading treatment.

"It is particularly shocking that Shannon Airport was used as a refuelling stop by the plane that took him from Baghdad, where he was initially arrested, to Kabul where he was incarcerated in a CIA ‘black site’ prison. There can no longer be any doubt that Shannon is being used by those involved in kidnapping and torture, dressed up as part of a war on terror.

“Recent revelations that the US used British territory to transfer kidnapped prisoners despite assurances similar to those given to Ireland that our territory was not being used to commit such gross violations of international law should be of very grave concern to the Irish Government.

“Ireland’s core values of respect for human rights and the dignity of the person is put at risk by our continued failure to ensure that we are not complicit in these crimes.”

Khaled al-Maqtari was detained by US army soldiers in Fallujah, Iraq, in January 2004. He was transferred to the infamous Abu Ghraib prison as an unregistered "ghost detainee".

While there he says he was subjected to repeated beatings, induced hypothermia and sleep deprivation by American and British interrogators. At one point he was suspended by his feet, with his arms still cuffed behind his back, and a pulley was used to lower him up and down while he was beaten by guards.

After nine days of interrogation in Abu Ghraib, Khaled al-Maqtari was taken by plane to a secret CIA detention facility in Afghanistan, were he was held for a further three months. Flight records obtained by Amnesty International corroborated that a jet operated by a CIA front company left Baghdad International Airport nine days after his arrest, heading for Khwaja Rawash airport in Kabul.

"This same jet, registered at the time as N379P, had left Shannon Airport on 20 January 2004 en route to Baghdad where it collected Mr al-Maqtari," Mr O'Gorman added.

"In essence, Shannon was used as a refueling stop by the individuals who 'disappeared' Mr al-Maqtari to Kabul. It is clear that Ireland serves as a staging area for these kinds of operations, which constitute some of the worst kinds of human rights abuses. We are calling for the Irish government to live up to its obligations under international law and put in place a robust system of monitoring the use of Shannon by planes known, or suspected, to be part of the US government's renditions programme."

While in Afghanistan Mr al-Maqtari says he was subjected to further torture and ill-treatment, including prolonged solitary confinement, beatings, the use of stress positions, sleep deprivation, exposure to extremes of hot and cold, prolonged shackling, sensory deprivation and disruption with bright lighting and loud music or sound effects constantly channeled into his cell.

In late April 2004, Khaled al-Maqtari and a number of his fellow detainees were transferred to another CIA "black site", possibly in Eastern Europe. He was held there for a further 28 months, before being sent to Yemen where he was detained until May 2007.

"At no point during his 32-month confinement was Khaled al-Maqtari told where he was or why. He did not have access to lawyers, relatives, the International Committee of the Red Cross or any person other than his interrogators and the personnel involved in his detention and transfer," said Anne FitzGerald Senior Advisor at Amnesty International, who interviewed Khaled al-Maqtari.

Khaled al-Maqtari is now back in Yemen, living with the effects of prolonged psychological and physical torture. He has not received any reparation from US authorities, who have yet to acknowledge his detention.

Amnesty International is demanding an end to the secret detention programme and for those responsible for torture and other abuses to be made accountable. Those currently detained should be acknowledged and charged with recognizable criminal offences or released.

The Irish Government must play its part by putting in place a system to monitor flights through Shannon and a regime of inspections to ensure that Ireland is not being used to facilitate kidnapping and torture.

Related Link: http://www.amnesty.ie/live/irish/article.asp?id=17857&page=00
author by paul o toolepublication date Fri Mar 14, 2008 11:46author address author phone Report this post to the editors

The Irish Govt is guilty of participating in Genocide which seems to be a palitable situation to most Irish politicians.
Even Mary O rourke 'the mammy of the seanad' is up to her tiny concience in it - she signed the paperwork on these flights and many more like them to allow the transiting of weapons and military personell..
As bertie hands over the bowl of shamrock in some sick pantomime on 'behalf of the Irish people' ..and recieves 'assurances' from the greatest liar of them all, there is a certain surrealism to it knowing now without reservation that both men are liars.
Bush lies to bertie, and bertie lies to the people of this god forsaken American AirBase Island.
And the church remains silent.
What a disgrace this country is, if anyone has an obligation to speak and act up it is the Irish, but our silence is kept right next to our credit cards.
How many more human beings have been kidnapped and tortured using Shannon we may never know. But now for sure, the lie is exposed and they can no longer take assurances from Bush that nothing is going on....For sure, For sure.

author by CKpublication date Fri Mar 14, 2008 12:07author address author phone Report this post to the editors

OP: "Amnesty International have announced that they have irrefutable evidence that a prisoner was taken through Shannon Airport in January 2004."
-This is not what Amnesty announced. Its report relates to refueling of the jet.

But it does say that the Irish govt. is in clear breach of international law.

author by Contrarianpublication date Fri Mar 14, 2008 12:38author address author phone Report this post to the editors

Eh, Shannon is now a refueling stop for a Baghdad to Kabul journey? Looked at a globe recently?? What Amnesty seem to be saying is that the aircraft refuelled at Shannon WITHOUT any prisoner on board, THEN went to Baghdad, picked up the prisoner and brought him to Kabul. Now, there's plenty there that can be legitimately criticized but, why oh why, do you feel the need to misrepresent this as a prisoner being transported THROUGH Shannon???

Come on Ed, the English language can only be distorted so far in pursuit of your anti-US agenda. Amnesty DO NOT SAY that there is irrefutable evidence of a prisoner being transported through Shannon. Can you at least admit that and then we can have a rational discussion as to whether the US should be allowed refuelling facilities in Shannon.

author by regreaderpublication date Fri Mar 14, 2008 13:33author address author phone Report this post to the editors

The CIA using Ireland to carry out these operations is bad enough, you don't need exaggerate and lie about this man being taken through Shannon. Stop shooting yourself in the foot.

author by Anti-Warpublication date Fri Mar 14, 2008 14:24author address author phone Report this post to the editors

Yes the movement is still alive and kicking, all 2-300 people that will show up that is.
Pure banality of tactics,an annual parade through the cty is a waste of peoples time.
In conjunction with a wide variety of tactics,including direct action,maybe it might make a small dent on Irelands support for the war machine but alas that is not the case.
Ive attended every single one up until now but alas I wont be there tomorrow as the lack of imagination and internal democracy in the IAWM have just drained me of any enthusiasm I had left for the IAWM.

author by dunkpublication date Fri Mar 14, 2008 14:52author email fuspey at yahoo dot co dot ukauthor address author phone Report this post to the editors

Ok, so might this give another little push to things?

In the audio interview on RTE, Colm O'Gorman, Executive Director of Amnesty's Irish section was asked by the RTE interviewer what can or should ordinary irish people do.

Might normal everyday people take action, and if so what, and more so how easy is it for people to know what to do, what is being done, how to get involved etc.....

Perhaps there is a chance now to lift things up again, is there talk of Euro court action against Irish state, I hope so, if so might that serve as a focal point to once again organise and take action?

So if someone, in Dublin say, hears this and feels outraged, will they call Amnesty and ask what can they do, will there be more coverage on national media about whats going on, will they walk in the "World Against War Demo - 5th Anniversary of occupation of Iraq" organised by IAWM, will they head down to the teachers club to the ANARCHIST BOOKFAIR and go to talks or workshops, will they be inspired to do more, will they have HOPE that change is possible??

After ROUTE IRISH, by Eamon Crudden, seems a lot of dishearthened people and overall negative depressing feeling of "we had a chance to change things, but we failed", is this the feeling there in ireland on the ground at the moment. If so, is it possible this can change?

My own views on how things can be changed are summed up in echoing micheal alberts sentiments: making the movement(s) sticky
http://www.indymedia.ie/article/85706#comment219677

After all the buzz there was, its seems from afar, with seomra spraoi while it was there, people talked with a very fresh attitude that things had changed at home, i wonder might this rendition claim by Amnesty serve as a catalyst to do something in relation to irelands complicity in the international illegal war and occupation in the east.

Good luck to one and all who are moved to take any action....

solidarity from Barcelona

Dunk

-------------------------- links:

Route Irish Documentary Film
http://www.indymedia.ie/route_irish_documentary

-------------------------- World Against War Demo - 5th Anniversary of occupation of Iraq
IAWM National March

Assemble 1pm, Parnell Sq, Dublin.

US Troops out of Iraq and Afghanistan
Don’t Attack Iran
US troops and torture flights out of Shannon
Justice for Palestine
5th Anniversary of occupation of Iraq…
END WAR, OCCUPATION
& IRISH COMPLICITY
http://www.irishantiwar.org/node/119
http://www.indymedia.ie/article/86614

-------------------------- Dublin Anarchist Bookfair 2008
http://www.wsm.ie/bookfair
http://www.indymedia.ie/article/85793

-------------------------- Ciaron O'Reillys views of things 5 years after F15
15.02.03 What was all that about then? The Rise & Demise of the Anti-War Movement!Where to Now Then?
http://www.indymedia.ie/article/86265

-------------------------- Amnesty and renditions on RTE

audio:
Morning Ireland: Colm O'Gorman, Executive Director of Amnesty's Irish section, discusses the findings of a new report on CIA detentions
http://www.rte.ie/news/2008/0314/rendition_av.html?2348...2,209

TV:
Will Goodbody reports that Amnesty International says a plane used by the CIA for rendition had landed teh day before in Shannon
http://www.rte.ie/news/2008/0314/rendition_av.html?2349...l,230

author by Edward Horganpublication date Fri Mar 14, 2008 16:41author address author phone Report this post to the editors

My initial news report above was not fully correct.
I took the information from the IOL website which I believed to be accurate. The particular piece that was incorrect was:

"It says the plane was transporting a man who was kidnapped in Baghdad and flown to a secret interrogation centre in Kabul before being moved to Guantanamo Bay."

http://breakingnews.iol.ie/news/ireland/mhojmhaukfgb/

This IOL report is as follows

"Amnesty says it has evidence of Shannon rendition flight
3/14/2008 - 7:27:33 AM
Amnesty International says it has evidence that Shannon Airport has been used for so-called "rendition" flights by the CIA.
The human rights organisation says it has obtained flight records which show a jet operated by the US intelligence agency refuelled at the Co Clare airport in January 2004.
It says the plane was transporting a man who was kidnapped in Baghdad and flown to a secret interrogation centre in Kabul before being moved to Guantanamo Bay.
Amnesty's Irish branch says the evidence is unquestionable and it is no longer tenable for the Irish Government to accept US assurances that Shannon has not been used for illegal activity.
It is demanding that the Irish Government establish a proper inspection regime in Shannon to ensure that Irish territory cannot be used in this way in the future."

It is now clear that the plane, which was Gulfstream N379P, was not carrying a prisoner when it refuelled at Shannon but was on its way to pick up this prisoner, in Baghdad via Larnaca in Cyprus. The report on page 12 of the Irish Times is the correct report.
I tried to verify the IOL report before publishing on Indymedia, but there was no information at that time on Amnesty Ireland website, and no response to phone calls to Amnesty in Dublin.

The facts of this incident are therefore less incriminating than indicated in my initial report.
However, facilitating torture, and failing to take all necessary steps to prevent torture are in direct contravention of the UN convention against torture.
My appologies for the above misleading report

author by Cynicpublication date Fri Mar 14, 2008 16:46author address author phone Report this post to the editors

Colm O'Gorman didn't he stand for the PD s in the election. I think that makes him a little bit hard to listen to on this or any issue with any seriousness. Anyhow the Green Party will sort it all out. They opposed the planned GNAW day of direct action and told us let them sort it out through regular politics, and we all trust them to deliver.

author by Sharon. - Individual .publication date Fri Mar 14, 2008 17:07author address author phone Report this post to the editors

Hi !

Our Bertie already sorted this one out - over a year ago :

http://11sixtynine.blogsome.com/2006/12/02/saturday-2-d...2006/

Thanks!

Sharon.

"US  Airplanes? I can't see any US airplanes...."
"US Airplanes? I can't see any US airplanes...."

Related Link: http://1169andcounting.blogspot.com
author by Coilínpublication date Fri Mar 14, 2008 20:25author address author phone Report this post to the editors

It is good to have further documentation of the role Shannon has played in the CIA's programme of mass abduction and torture, which is an unprecedented disgrace to the United States and a cynical insult to the value of freedom that Americans hold so dear. ("Give me your tired, your poor, Your huddled masses yearning to breathe free…”)

It is annoying that the editor of Independent.ie has published a misleading and apparently incorrect summary of the events reported by Amnesty, as follows:
"The human rights organisation says it has obtained flight records which show a jet operated by the US intelligence agency refuelled at the Co Clare airport in January 2004.
It says the plane, which refuelled at Shannon, was used to transport a man who was kidnapped in Baghdad and flown to a secret interrogation centre in Kabul before being moved to Guantanamo Bay. "
There is evidence that jets involved in the CIA's shameful torture programme have refuelled at Shannon many times on their way to or from the abductions, but Amnesty’s statement says that this plane did not pick up al-Maqtari until later, and says nothing at all about Guantánamo Bay.

I look forward to reading a full retraction and an apology.

I regret the nuisance I may have caused in my turn, acting in good faith to spread an inaccurate account of Amnesty’s news.

*****

However, even if we never find a plane carrying a victim of the CIA's torture programme on the tarmac at Shannon, we must go on protesting and demanding searches so that the CIA never in future does transit any of its victims through any of our airports, and so that detectives can be authorised to search for evidence of crimes of torture on board aircraft that may be returning from the scene of the crime. And we must ask the media to go on investigating and reporting on the CIA’s torture programme, wherever in the world the prisoners are held and tortured.

We could learn a lot from Iceland, as detailed in a recent report by the Danish national TV station:
"At one point the visits were so obvious that the Icelandic press directly confronted the CIA people in Reykjavik Airport. But the CIA people did not wish to answer the questions.
The increased Icelandic attention to the CIA aircraft has led to the Icelandic customs authority now take hold of all foreign aircraft that land in Iceland. A customs official physically goes through every aircraft that lands and checks what is in it."

(Find details of source here: http://www.indymedia.ie/article/86069 )

If this long-standing member of NATO can defy the CIA and strive to discover evidence of its torture programme, then so can an allegedly neutral country like Ireland.

Beir bua agus beannacht,
Coilín.

author by scooter - none publication date Sat Mar 15, 2008 13:08author address author phone Report this post to the editors

What TORTURE is US. online

http://torture-is-us.com/index.php

author by Edward Horganpublication date Sat Mar 15, 2008 13:15author address author phone Report this post to the editors

On Wednesday last a local elderly gentleman went for a quiet drink to the Clare Inn hotel about 6 miles from Shannon. He was confronted and affronted by over 100 US troops in full uniform who were staying at the hotel. He asked the manager whether they should be in uniform in a public place in Ireland, and the manager referred him to a garda who was 'doing security duty' for the US troops.
He described the garda as having an aggressive attitude towards his questioning of the US troops in uniform.

The legal position is that under the Hague Convention V on Neutrality, beligerent troops on their way to war are not entitled to transit through a neutral state, and that neutral state has an obligation under international law to arrest and detain such troops until the end of such war. Since Ireland has been repeatedly declared to be a neutral state by the Irish Government and its Taoiseach and ministers, then it is illegal for Gardai not to arrest and detain such US troops in uniform.
Indymedia readers will recall that Conor Cregan temporarily detained some US troops who were in uniform in Ennis on 23 June 2006.
http://www.indymedia.ie/article/76801

foreign troops in uniform on Irish territory are also in contravention of the Irish Defence Act 1954/60.
The Clare Inn hotel is owned by the Lynch group, and advertise their rooms at €35 pps. War profiteering is a popular hobby in the Mid West. Defence Minister Willie O'Dea made a handsome profit from the Iraqi oil shares he bought just before the Iraq war began in 2003 and sold them after the war. There seems to be no record of Minister O'Dea declaring this vested interest in the Iraq war when he voted in favour of Ireland continuing to grant the US military landing rights at Shannon, on 20 March 2003. The Dail standards committee also seem to have neglected to investigate this matter, even though it was well publisised in the Village magazine.
Perhaps a boycottt of the Lynch Hotel Groups is now in order. US troops have also been accommodated in other Lynch group hotels in the Mid West, including the South Court Hotel Limerick.

Lynch Group hotels include:

Breaffy House Hotel & Spa Castlebar / Breaffy Sports Hotel Castlebar / West County Hotel Ennis / Clare Inn Hotel Ocean Cove Hotel Kilkee / The George Hotel Limerick / The South Court Hotel Limerick / Haydens Hotel Ballinasloe.

How about a boycott of Shannon airport for as long as it continues to provide services and refuelling for US military and CIA aircraft?

author by Bazooka Joepublication date Sat Mar 15, 2008 13:54author address author phone Report this post to the editors

The Government keep saying that the Gardai have no power to routinely search planes landing at Shannon from abroad without reasonable cause to suspect that something illegal is taking place. We could argue that this reasonable suspicion already exists for any CIA/US military flights but the Government, along with senior Gardai who have close links to the FBI and their military friends who have close links to the CIA, would surely argue it does not. But what about immigration law? Do the Garda immigration bureau not have a responsibility to visually inspect all aircraft? Do Customs and Excise not have an obligation to visually inspect all aircraft entering Irish Airports from abroad, especially when so many of those CIA linked aircraft have been found transporting cocaine in other parts of the world?

Because of the close relationship cultivated by the CIA and FBI with senior Irish Gardai and military officers, it is understandable that these gombeen lackeys, and one might argue, traitors, provide cover for the US rendition and possible drug smuggling operation. The lackeys may feel that 'traitor' is too strong of a word but under the constitution, to conspire with a foreign country against the best interests of the Irish State is to be a 'traitor.' They will of course argue this is not the case. I wonder how they will be found?

It is not in the best interest of the Irish People to be implicated by our security forces in the illegal US war and it's barbaric kidnap and torture brutality.

It's time the Irish police and military woke up and started to show some courage and integrity instead of acting like a bunch of wallies who will do anything they are told by their US and British counterparts. History will not judge them kindly.

author by Contrarianpublication date Sun Mar 16, 2008 00:06author address author phone Report this post to the editors

Fair dues to Ed who has fessed up to a "not fully correct" initial report. Although it seems that the blame for the premature ejaculation of the erroneous story lies with a second hand report from an online news service. Yes indeed.

But what a bravuro performance from the Indymedia editorial collective team which sprung into action to save Ed's blushes. The editor claims that: "I have edited the headline but substantially left the story as is. 1 of indymedia."
Well, that depends on what you mean by "substantially .....as is." Does that include deleting the line "Amnesty International have announced that they have irrefutable evidence that a prisoner was taken through Shannon Airport in January 2004" and replacing it with the correct though less exciting material from Amnesty's website? I mean, if you can readily admit to editing the headline, why claim to have "substantially left the story as is" when it (the story) has been edited at least as heavily as the headline was.

Had the original story stood it would bear eloquent testimony to the unabated eagerness of some to see the world through a prism of extreme anti-US prejudice and to accept unquestioningly every anti-US allegation of whatever doubtful provenance. Couldn't have that though, could we?

author by William Joseph Donovanpublication date Sun Mar 16, 2008 00:29author address author phone Report this post to the editors

Since the final years of the Clinton era presidential executive orders have allowed for the practise of rendition and dark flights to substantially erode the constitutional safeguards placed on the Agency.
Any patriotic American must feel moved to correct both the Constitutional abuse of presidenial executive orders enabling secret agreements with foreign powers without the supervision of Congress as well as protect the CIA when faced with breach of its "Angleton protocols". If the CIA is broken or bent, split or compromised by criminal activity traceable through front companies & international air traffic - every American & citizen of the free world is at risk from rising cocaine & smack prices, fair trade coffee, fair trade copper, fair trade crude oil, fair trade wheat & fair trade budhism. It's happened before & no doubt it will happen again. Don't believe the "just coz you seem anti-american means you're really anti-american" propaganda Contrarian.

have a nice day.

author by CIA Watchpublication date Sun Mar 16, 2008 00:30author address author phone Report this post to the editors

The Irish Examiner also seems to have some suspicion that there may have been a prisoner on board the plane at Shannon judging by its report.
With so many CIA flights through Shannon between 2001 and 2008, it is almost inconceivable that many prisoners were transported through Shannon on their way to or from Guantanamo.

Irish Examiner 15 March 2008
Ahern rejects Shannon link to prisoner
FOREIGN Affairs Minister Dermot Ahern has rejected concerns raised by human rights group, Amnesty International, that United States security forces brought a tortured prisoner through Shannon Airport.
An Amnesty investigation into the arrest, detention and torture of Khaled al Maqtari revealed that a plane used to transfer him between two of the prisons where he was kept during his two and a half year ordeal refuelled at Shannon the day before.
Executive director of Amnesty’s Irish section Colm O’Gorman said it was also possible that Mr al Maqtari was already on board when the plane landed at Shannon in January 2004.

“We think there is a compelling case that he was on it,” he said.

Either way, Mr O’Gorman said the fact that Shannon was used by an aircraft involved in the practice of “extraordinary rendition” went against international humanitarian law.

“What that [the investigation] specifically tells us is that Shannon Airport is at the very least being used as a staging post for these kind of missions by CIA-fronted operations and that Shannon in this case was used as a fuelling stop,” he said.

Mr al Maqtari, a 31-year-old Saudi-born resident of Yemen, was arrested in the Iraqi city of Fallujah in January 2004 and was held for over a week in the notorious Abu Ghraib prison.

It was during his subsequent transfer to another prison in Afghanistan that the plane that stopped at Shannon was used. He was eventually released without charge late in 2006.

Mr Ahern said yesterday the Government was “totally opposed to the practice of extraordinary rendition”, but had assurances from the US authorities that no prisoners had been transferred through Irish airports.

“The assurances are of a clear and categoric nature, relating to facts and circumstances within the full control of the US Government. They have been confirmed at the highest level, including by President Bush to the Taoiseach and by Secretary of State Rice to myself.”

Mr O’Gorman said, however, that similar assurances had been given to the British authorities, but had been found to be false. He called for a proper inspection system to be put in place at Shannon to ensure planes were not carrying such prisoners or being used for rendition flights.

That call was backed by Labour leader Eamon Gilmore who said the US should have no objection to inspections if, as the assurances stated, they had nothing to hide from the Irish authorities.

Mr Gilmore said: “The failure to assert our right to check these planes leaves Ireland potentially complicit in the kidnap, detention and torture of people against whom no charges have been proven and who, in many cases, are totally innocent.”

author by Contrarianpublication date Sun Mar 16, 2008 00:36author address author phone Report this post to the editors

"The legal position is that under the Hague Convention V on Neutrality, beligerent troops on their way to war are not entitled to transit through a neutral state, and that neutral state has an obligation under international law to arrest and detain such troops until the end of such war. Since Ireland has been repeatedly declared to be a neutral state by the Irish Government and its Taoiseach and ministers, then it is illegal for Gardai not to arrest and detain such US troops in uniform."

Error #1
Ireland is not a party to the Hague Convention and has never ratified it. (As Ed Horgan's counsel admitted in the High Court in the Horgan v An Taoiseach case - presumably Ed is aware of this.)

The Hague Convention therefore does not form any part of Irish Law. (This is crystal clear from Article 29.6 of the Constitution which states "No international agreement shall be part of the domestic law of the State save as may be determined by the Oireachtas.")

It follows from this that the Hague Convention confers no powers whatsoever on the Gardai to arrest and detain persons who might be alleged to be in contravention of its provisions. In fact, were the Gardai to do this, they would be guilty of false imprisonment at the very least.

Error #2
"foreign troops in uniform on Irish territory are also in contravention of the Irish Defence Act 1954/60."

Ed omits to tell us that the Act also provides for an exception where the Government gives permission. The Government has confirmed in the Dail that such a permission exists. There is no illegality.

Possible misleading use of language #3
Then we have the elderly gentleman who was "confronted and affronted by over 100 US troops in full uniform." Well being affronted is a personal choice - being affronted by something doesn't make it wrong. Being CONFRONTED by over 100 troops is a different matter, though. We need to know more. Did they surround him? Block his passage? Aim weapons at him? Prevent him from entering the hotel? Threaten him? Or.......did they just ignore his arrival and get on with enjoying their own quiet drink - this seems far more likely IMHO. Now, that hardly counts as "confronting" the guy, does it?

author by Edward Horganpublication date Sun Mar 16, 2008 14:00author address author phone Report this post to the editors

Ireland is bound by what is known as customary international law. The Hague Convention is accepted by international lawyers as being one of the foundational documents on international laws on neutrality, and is backed up by further international conventions including the San Remo convention, the United Nations Charter and the various Geneva Conventions on War. Customary international law also includes laws that come into being by custom and practice by states, and have become accepted in a variety of ways including legal precedent and judgements. Accumulativley they go to make up the body of laws that constitute international law on neutrality.
On a more accurate reading of Horgan v Ireland you will find that while I lost the two constitutional arguments of the case, on Articles 28 and 29 of the Constitution, I won the argument on international law, and in particular the judge ruled that Ireland was in clear breach of international law on neutrality.
Some extracts for Judge Kearns ruling:

"(b) Neutrality
Nothing in the submissions of the defendants suggests that this court is inhibited or
precluded from, firstly, identifying a general principle of international law and then,
secondly, considering if and how it may operate in domestic law.

"(a) international conventions, whether general or particular,
establishing rules expressly recognised by the contesting States (b)
international Custom, as evidence of a general practice accepted as
law.

Without exhaustively requoting from the charters, conventions and writings
relied upon by the plaintiff in this case, I am satisfied that there does still exist in
international law a legal concept of neutrality whereunder co-relative rights and duties
arise for both belligerents and neutrals alike in times of war in circumstances where
the use of force is not 'UN led'.

1907 Hague Convention V is asserted to be declaratory of customary
international law. The various texts relied upon by the plaintiff certainly tend to
support such an interpretation.

Judge Kearns' finding on neutrality is explicit, and since it is the only such ruling in an Irish Court on the issue of neutrality, it become by default the current Irish law with regard to neutrality. The Irish Government had the opportunity to appeal this judgement to the Supreme court and the failed to do so.

"The court is prepared to hold therefore that there is an identifiable rule of customary law in relation to the status of neutrality whereunder a neutral state may not permit the movement of large numbers of troops or munitions of one belligerent State
through its territory en route to a theatre of war with another."

Further information or related matters can by had at this informative website by statewatck.org

http://www.statewatch.org/cia/documents.htm

Related Link: http://irishantiwar.org/users/dubsky/legal/Horgan-v-Ireland.doc
author by Contrarianpublication date Sun Mar 16, 2008 16:01author address author phone Report this post to the editors

Kearns J’s view of the Hague Convention is not the whole picture. While he says that the Hague V Convention DOES constitute customary international law, he also says this is NOT binding in domestic Irish law on the Government which retains, as an essential part of Ireland’s sovereignty, the sole right under the Constitution, to determine Ireland’s foreign policy. In other words, International law is not binding on the Irish Government and “the rule of international law must in every case yield to domestic law.”

Looking in more detail at Horgan v An Taoiseach, reported in [2003] 2 IR 468, Kearns J did state that: “The court is prepared to hold therefore that there is an identifiable rule of customary law in relation to the status of neutrality whereunder a neutral state may not permit the movement of large numbers of troops or munitions of one belligerent State through its territory en route to a theatre of war with another.”
However, he then went on to look at the incorporation of international law in Irish domestic law saying: “It now becomes necessary to consider how international law interacts with Irish domestic law. One may begin by saying that established principles of customary international law may be incorporated into Irish domestic law providing that they are not contrary to the provisions of the Constitution, statute law or common law.”
After considering previous case law he says: “One can only conclude therefore that principles of international law enter domestic law only to the extent that no constitutional, statutory or judge-made law is inconsistent with the principle in question. Where a conflict arises, the rule of international law must in every case yield to domestic law.”

At page 508 he looks at whether international law in incorporated into Irish law.
“Two issues arise for determination under this heading:-
(a) Does Article 29 confer individual rights?
(b) If so, do the provisions of Article 29 create binding rules whereby the executive is bound to act in accordance with generally recognised principles of international law once identified?”
And he concludes: “The overwhelming line of judicial authority on issue (a) is to the effect that no individual rights arise under Article 29 of the Constitution.”
At 509 he deals in details with the reasons for distinguishing between domestic law and international law,
“The court must nonetheless consider whether, in the event of its conclusion under (a) being found to be incorrect, the provisions of Articles 29.1 to 29.3 create binding obligations on the State whereby it must act in accordance with generally recognised principles of international law if and when same are identified.
Obviously the Constitution must be given a harmonious interpretation, so that consideration of this issue of necessity involves considering not merely Article 29 of the Constitution but those other provisions of the Constitution which bear on the topic. These include Article 5:"Ireland is a sovereign, independent, democratic State". Article 6.1 provides that "all powers of government, legislative, executive and judicial, derive, under God, from the people …" and Article 6.2 that"these powers of government are exercisable only by or on the authority of the organs of State established by this Constitution".
Article 15 provides that the sole and exclusive power of making laws for the State is vested in the Oireachtas and that no other legislative authority has power to make laws for the State. Article 28 provides that the executive power of the State shall, subject to the provisions of the Constitution, be exercised by or on the authority of the government. Under Article 28.4.1 the Government is responsible to Dáil Éireann éireann . Article 29.5.1 provides that "every international agreement to which the State becomes a party shall be laid before Dáil Éireann and s. 6 of that Article provides "no international agreement shall be part of the domestic law of the State save as may be determined by the Oireachtas".
These Articles demonstrate that the Government, and the Government alone, can exercise the executive power of government. Its freedom and discretion is limited only by those exceptions as provided for in the Constitution.”

He concludes at page 513,
“I have concluded therefore on this aspect of the case, that international law is only admissible in domestic law to the extent already indicated where in certain limited situations it may be availed of to determine private law claims, absent some contrary or conflicting provision of either the Constitution, statute law or common law. It may also avail other states in their dealings with this State on the international plane. It cannot, however, impose binding public law obligations on the executive towards its own citizens under Article 29 for all the reasons stated.”

author by Coilínpublication date Sun Mar 16, 2008 20:14author address author phone Report this post to the editors


Having apologised for misleading others about the facts of this case, I am intrigued to see that Amnesty's Irish section takes the line that al-Maqtari was on board after all:
**
Executive director of Amnesty’s Irish section Colm O’Gorman said it was also possible that Mr al Maqtari was already on board when the plane landed at Shannon in January 2004.
“We think there is a compelling case that he was on it,” he said.
**

If the case is so compelling, I think Amnesty must be _compelled_ to take action, and I see a few good options:
1. Bring the evidence to the attention of the Garda Síochána and international police authorities, and demand an investigation with view to criminal prosecution.
2. Use it to request a blanket injunction on CIA flights transiting at Shannon.
3. Submit it to investigators at the European parliament, special rapporteur for torture, etc.
4. Present the evidence to the media so that they can publish it for all to read.

Beir bua,
Coilín.

author by Edward Horganpublication date Mon Mar 17, 2008 00:22author address author phone Report this post to the editors

Contrarian above cites Judge Kearns on the applicability of international law to Ireland.

"He concludes at page 513,
I have concluded therefore on this aspect of the case, that international law is only admissible in domestic law to the extent already indicated where in certain limited situations it may be availed of to determine private law claims, absent some contrary or conflicting provision of either the Constitution, statute law or common law. It may also avail other states in their dealings with this State on the international plane. It cannot, however, impose binding public law obligations on the executive towards its own citizens under Article 29 for all the reasons stated.”

The point made here by Judge Kearns (and which I disagree with) is that individual citizens of Ireland, such as I, do not normally have recourse to remedy as a result of any breaches of international law committed by Ireland or the Irish Government.

Judge Kearns goes on to say that:
"it may be availed of to determine private law claims". Therefore, if I, or any other Irish citizen was damaged by this Irish abuse of international law, I could take a 'private law claim' against the Irish Government, and cite Judge Kearns judgement.

He also opines that:

"It may also avail other states in their dealings with this State on the international plane"
This is very significant. Judge Kearns ruled that Ireland was in breach of international laws that forbid neutral states to allow belligerent troops pass through its territory. Under international law therefore, a state such as Iraq, who is being attacked by troops and warplanes passing unlawfully through Ireland, is entitled to take all necessary steps to prevent the use of Shannon airport for any attacks on Iraq. It is important also to note that not only is the use of Shannon airport contrary to international law, but that the US war against Iraq is also in direct contravention of the UN Charter, and therefore is a far more serious breach of international law by the USA.
Therefore, Iraq, or the people of Iraq who are being attacked, even if Iraq has no effective sovereign government, are entitled to attack Shannon airport and make its runways unusable so that Shannon airport cannot be unlawfully used to attack Iraq.

There is a further aspect also to Judge Kearns' ruling above. The restriction on the applicability of breaches of international law not being 'admissible in domestic law' applies only to Irish citizens. It does not in my view apply to Iraqi citizens who are being attacked in breach of International laws. In addition, Iraqi citizens being killed or injured, or having their homes and property destroyed, also have recourse to private law or compensation from the Irish Government, for its part in the complicity of US unlawful attacks on Iraq. Ireland bears a small but significant proportion of the liability for the deaths of over one million Iraqi people, and for the injuries to well over 5 million people, and a proportion of the costs for billions if not trillions of dollars of property and infrastructural damage.

Actuarial experts can calculate the proportion of the liability that would accrue to Ireland (that is the Irish taxpayer). Clearly, the USA bears the greatest proportion of liability for the Iraq war, and Britain comes second. My estimate would be USA 80%, UK 10% and all other complicit states a total of 10%. Ireland comes high up on the latter complicit group, so I would estimate that the Irish share of liabiltiy would be in the region of between 0.5% and 1%, which is very small compared to even the UK %.
However, Joseph Stiglitz estimates that the cost of the Iraq war to the USA is well in excess of THREE TRILLION DOLLARS.
Given that this is based on the number of US casualties and the financial costs of the war to the US military and to the US economy, and does not include any calculated costs of the war to the Iraqi people.
Since the US has only lost just under 4,000 soldiers killed so far, and up to 1,000,000 Iraqis have been killed as a result of the unlawful US led war, actuarial liability for these deaths and injuries would have to be proportionally higher.
Likewise with the liability due to economic costs to Iraq and dammage to Iraqi property and infrastructure.
The costs of reparations therefore due under international law to the Iraqi people is very high indeed, and even at 0.5% proportion for Ireland, will come to very many billions of dollars or euro.

That would be in addition to the costs of repairing the bombed runways at Shannon, if the Iraqi people had the wherewithall to disarm the Shannon runways.

Thank you Contrarian for helping to elucidate these important points.
Edward

author by Donalpublication date Mon Mar 17, 2008 18:38author address author phone Report this post to the editors


I would imagine there were more dead US soldiers brought through shannon than any poloitical prisioners. But i dont really know ?

American is now in RECESION (sic) for years the euro has been climbeing higher than the dollar and breaks records every day and for years it still keeps going up ,against the dollar every day.
Now the people in America are in recesion bescause of there incredbly stupid goverment who have been spending absalutly colosal amounts of money on this war every day.

For some dead us citezins ?

aaahhhhhhhh !!!!!

The torture of there so called politcal prisioners in gutanamo is just the most ignorant and stupid behavior ever!

Why dont they go to pakistan and be helpfull
OR try and stop jewish poeple in Isreal geting blown up??
War is not an inteligent solution.

http://blog.myspace.com/index.cfm?fuseaction=blog.view&...33635

By the way our govermant is not much better !

author by Contrarianpublication date Wed Mar 19, 2008 15:56author address author phone Report this post to the editors

Ed,

Thank you for your kind comments - lets elucidate a bit more, shall we? I find your attitude to international law to be extremely odd. You seem intent on giving it a status it simply does not have, namely superior to and enforceable under Irish law. Case after case in the Irish courts has thrown out this concept - eg O'Leigleis, Dubsky, your own etc. Fair enough, you don't agree with Justice Kearns rulings on the incorporation of international law into Irish law. But until the Irish Courts rule differently, that stands as a definitive statement of what Irish law actually is. As distinct from what you may wish it to be. And, on the central point of whether a plaintiff can rely on international law before the Irish courts, Kearns is pretty clear:

“One can only conclude therefore that principles of international law enter domestic law only to the extent that no constitutional, statutory or judge-made law is inconsistent with the principle in question. Where a conflict arises, the rule of international law must in every case yield to domestic law.”

Note that he says "..in EVERY case..." (My emphasis) There is no hint whatsoever that this principle is restricted to Irish citizens or that foreign citizens would be treated differently. So it seems to me to be pretty pointless to go on from there and construct fanciful scenarios based on YOUR interpretation rather than his. In reality, there is NO chance of multi-trillion dollar claims based on international law obligations being accepted by the Irish courts. And even if there was, a simple one line Act of the Oireachtas could disbar such claims in line with the principle that international law must in every case yield to domestic statutory law. [And even without that, any such claims would probably fail on the doctrine of Irish sovereign immunity alone.]

[As an interesting aside, I note that the High Court in Horgan v An Taoiseach did not make any finding (nor was it asked to by either side!) as to whether the invasion of Iraq was illegal under international law. ]

On another note, I presume you now accept that the Gardai have no power of arrest based on an alleged breach of the Hague Convention. (This would after all be contrary to the arrestees constitutional rights to liberty and would constitute the statutory offence of false imprisonment - these laws supercede international law as per Kearns J)

author by Edward Horganpublication date Wed Mar 19, 2008 17:42author address author phone Report this post to the editors

Dear Contrarian
you write that:
"I presume you now accept that the Gardai have no power of arrest based on an alleged breach of the Hague Convention. (This would after all be contrary to the arrestees constitutional rights to liberty and would constitute the statutory offence of false imprisonment - these laws supercede international law as per Kearns J)"

You are incorrect in this statement:
Just to enlighten some further on the Hague Convention and on matters of neutrality.

First, a state does not have to declare itself to be neutral, with some exceptions (such as Finland and Austria after World War II, who had nuetrality imposed on them) declaring a state to be neutral is a privilidge that carries with it some responsibiilties, that is, such a state must abide by the responsibilities imposed on it under international laws on neutrality.
By declaring Ireland to be a neutral state, the Irish Government effectively and legally takes on the provisions of the Hague convention and other aspects of customary international laws on neutrality. I think you will aggree that An Taoiseach and other senior minister of the present and past Irish Governments have frequently declared Ireland to be a neutral state.

By declaring Ireland to be neutral, the Irish Government commits itself and its officials including the Gardai to implement international laws on neutrality, otherwise we are seeking the benefits of neutrality while evading its responsibilities.

Among the most important provisions of the Hague Convention V are Articles Two and Eleven.

"THE RIGHTS AND DUTIES OF NEUTRAL POWERS
Article 1. The territory of neutral Powers is inviolable.

Art. 2. Belligerents are forbidden to move troops or convoys of either munitions of war or supplies across the territory of a neutral Power.

Art. 11. A neutral Power which receives on its territory troops belonging to the belligerent armies shall intern them, as far as possible, at a distance from the theatre of war.
It may keep them in camps and even confine them in fortresses or in places set apart for this purpose.
It shall decide whether officers can be left at liberty on giving their parole not to leave the neutral territory without permission."

I think you will agree also that Ireland is very clearly, and flagrantly in breach of Art 2 above by allowing well over 1,000,000 US troops through Shannon airport, as well as a very large amount of munitions and war supplies.

A neutral power (Ireland) is obliged to intern all such troops [shall intern them, not may do so]
The state, Ireland, is obliged to direct its military and police forces to arrest and intern all such foreign troops that come on to its territory.

There is also another provision of international law, cited in Horgan v Ireland that states that all states who are not beligerants in a war, are presumed to be neutrals, and are therefore bound by the laws of neutrality. States are therefore presumed to either remain and be neutral in particular wars, or be considered to be beligerents.
Sitting on the fence is not an option.

In view of the above, the Gardai and the Irish Defence Forces are not only empowered to arrest US Troops on their war to Iraq, they are obliged to do so.

In default, because the Gardai are failing to intern US troops, Irish citizens such as Conor Cregan, have a duty as citizens to carry out such arrests or to assist the Gardai in so doing.
You will notice that no action was taken against Conor Cregan for his act of arresting US troops in Ennis Co Clare.

author by Seán Ryanpublication date Wed Mar 19, 2008 18:47author address author phone Report this post to the editors

Mr. Horgan is very correct in his answer to Contrarian as my quote below proves:

There is much interest in one element of Ireland's neutrality in the Second World War. As a neutral state, Ireland was bound by the terms of the Hague Convention to intern combatants finding themselves on its shores. This included naval crew members and airmen. There was much less chance of combatant ground forces finding themselves in Ireland outside of planed military action! The close presence of Britain and the shared border meant that this was a problem top most in Eamonn DeValeras mind at the start of the war. Indeed, in the very hours of September 3rd 1939, two RAF flying boats were too be found landed off the Dublin city coast. The first internment occurred on August 20th, 1940, when a Focke Wulf Fw200 Condor patrol bomber of the Luftwaffe crashed on Mount Brandon, Co. Kerry. The six man crew were at first held in Collins barracks in Cork, before on August 31st, they were transferred to a newly built camp in the Curragh Military Camp, Kildare.

The Camp, No. 2 Internment Camp, better known as 'K Lines' was situated within the Curragh military camp. It was built not far from the No. 1 Internment Camp, or Tintown, where IRA members were interned for the duration of the war. both camps were under the command of Commandant James Guiney of the Irish Army, however, being preoccupied with the Tintown camp, K Lines was run day to day by Lt. James A Kelly. Kelly could speak fluent German but had no experience of running an internemnet camp but learned as he went along! The Guards at the Camps were members of the Armies Military Police Service.


The above quote is taken from the University of Limerick's website. Check out link no. 7 on the bottom left-hand side of the following link: http://www.csn.ul.ie/~dan/war/eire.htm

Many liars in Government have sworn themselves blind that Ireland's so-called 'neutrality' has remained unchanged since it's inception. This has always been a lie. Even De Valera recognised that we were bound by the terms of the Hague Convention. Why has this changed and what facilitates it?

author by Contrarianpublication date Wed Mar 19, 2008 18:51author address author phone Report this post to the editors

Edward,

I have no problem at all accepting that Ireland is in breach of the Hague Convention (it being part of "customary international law" - woolly and all as such a concept is) However, as per the findings in Horgan v An Taoiseach, any obligation to abide by international law is not justiciable and hence unenforceable in Irish law. Similar findings emerged in many other cases from O'Leigleis onwards and this proposition must now be regarded as an established part of Irish law.

I presume it is accepted that Gardai (or anybody else, even Conor Cregan) can only detain a person if they have lawful reason for so doing. [That means lawful under Irish law and the Irish Constitution which they are bound to uphold] Otherwise the constitutional right to liberty prevails as does the statutory right not to be falsely imprisoned. Accepting for the purposes of argument that "international law" could, in certain limited circumstances, provide such a lawful reason, it would then be in conflict with the domestic constitutional and statute law. And the judgement in Horgan v An Taoiseach could hardly be more crystal clear on this point:
“ Where a conflict arises, the rule of international law must in every case yield to domestic law.”

So, we have a situation where the constitution and statute law guarantees liberty but international law imposes an obligation on the state to suspend that liberty. Clearly, the constitution and statute law win out. Hence neither a Guard nor a citizen can rely on international law to deprive a person of a constitutional right.

I presume the reason Conor Cregan was not charged with false imprisonment was that the US soldiers did not make a formal complaint to the Gardai. Maybe they saw it as a self-aggrandising stunt and treated it accordingly?

author by Contrarianpublication date Wed Mar 19, 2008 19:07author address author phone Report this post to the editors

I agree entirely that Ireland was (and possibly still is) bound by the Hague Convention. However, you must define what is meant by "bound." This does NOT mean "obliged to act under Irish law and compellable by an Irish court." Rather it means "obliged to act in accordance with the Convention if it wishes to avail of the reciprocal rights and protections accorded to neutral nations by the Convention."
Arguably it might mean "morally bound" but certainly not "legally bound." [I'm simply responding to a legal argument here, not a moral one.]

The discretion to be bound or not to be bound by (or to act or not to act in accordance with) any piece of international law is vested in the Executive under Article 29 and cannot be exercised by any other organ of State and certainly not by any individual citizen.

Certain pieces of international law are incorporated into domestic law by Act of the Oireachtas or by referendum (EU treaties.) This, of course, does give them force in domestic law and they may then be relied on in the Irish courts. Unless this is done, international law is an interesting curiousity, may even possess some moral authority but must "in every case, yield to domestic law."

author by Seán Ryanpublication date Wed Mar 19, 2008 22:40author address author phone Report this post to the editors

I don't remember reading about any German interned during the war, launching a Habeus Corpus application, or indeed anyone launching one on their behalves.

The internees, it seems, and indeed all other parties seemed to believe that Ireland was bound by the terms of the Hague Convention, and in a legal and lawful manner. Maybe it's time for any surviving parties to internment to sue Ireland for unlawful imprisonment? If this internment was not lawful under Irish law, surely it was an act of war under international law, or, if it were not that extreme an act, it most certainly violated many other international treaties and laws.

Whilst it may be true, that Ireland may pick and choose at its whim to follow or disregard international law, I think the argument should be looked at from the other side. Ireland, through DeValera was a declared Neutral. This Neutrality might be whimsical bullshit from an Irish legal perspective, however, I very much doubt that International law would give a fig, if push came to shove. Ireland could and indeed should be held accountable, under international law, from an international perspective. Afterall, it seems to me that many in our so-called Government like to boast that we follow international law.

Gobshites and con artists should not be allowed to both have their cake and eat it.

author by Contrarianpublication date Thu Mar 20, 2008 12:10author address author phone Report this post to the editors

Interesting point Seán, but it doesn't stand up to close scrutiny. You see the German internees were detained under an Act of the Oireachtas, the Emergency Powers Act, 1939. This made their internment perfectly legal under Irish law and therefore no issue of Habeus Corpus could arise. It is also a perfect example of how International law can be incorporated into Irish law so there is no conflict between the two. In other words, the Irish government, acting in accordance with the Hague Convention made explicit in Irish law the means to comply with the Convention's provisions. Even back in 1939 it was recognised that it wasn't just enough to say "oh, you're an belligerent combatant and we're detaining you under the Hague Convention." Instead, the Government used the Emergency Powers Act to achieve the same result. The critical point is that provision MUST be made in Irish law if effect is to be given to a principle of International law that conflicts in any way with any persons constitutional or statutory rights.

Going back to the issue of US troops in Ireland, it is clear they cannot be lawfully arrested under international law alone. They only way they can be lawfully arrested is for the Oireachtas to pass an act implementing the Hague Convention or otherwise giving an explicit power of arrest and detention in these circumstances. You may well argue that this SHOULD happen, but that is a moral argument and not a legal one. I am simply making the point that there is no lawful basis to for the Gardai (or Conor Cregan) to arrest or detain US troops.

author by Seán Ryanpublication date Thu Mar 20, 2008 12:33author address author phone Report this post to the editors

The emergency was supposedly lifted after the Good Friday Agreement. However, the supposed lifting of this, was woolly and ethereal in the extreme. For example, it has not been declared that we are no longer Neutral. In fact the opposite has been promoted.

Any troops wearing a foreign uniform in this country, in my opinion, can be arrested by the likes of Conor Cregan. The alternative is to shoot them on sight for presenting a clear and present danger to the Republic. I mean if Conor can get past their Garda enablers, how hard would it be for a well trained enemy of the US to take them all out and many of us with them? These foreign troops are not under the control of the Oireachtas. At the very least these troops should be forced to wear civilian clothes (And yup, if it happens, I'll still be bad-mouthing it). A belligerent army wearing its uniform in this country is a divisive spectacle that is bound to set Irish person against Irish person. To allow it is to go towards promoting a civil war.

If the Yanks can maintain an armed force in Ireland, why can't I do so, as an Irish citizen?

Our laws exist for good reason and our leaders searching for and exploiting loopholes is an act that borders on the treasonous.

author by Contrarianpublication date Thu Mar 20, 2008 13:35author address author phone Report this post to the editors

Seán,

Your opinion is just that - an opinion. It is not law and it does not confer rights of arrest on Conor Cregan or anybody else. Can I take it that by resorting to mere "opinion" you have run out of legal arguments that support the idea of arrest and detention of US troops?

Equally you are entitled to hold the rather interesting opinion that US troops should be shot on sight but this does not confer any lawful authority to do so.

And if it's considered treason to look for and exploit "loopholes" in the law, where does that leave the Shannon pitstop defendants?

author by Seán Ryanpublication date Thu Mar 20, 2008 13:49author address author phone Report this post to the editors

... a contradiction between the opinions I've expressed.

The possession of an opinion is a legal right. One might have noticed that I derrived my opinion from the law. It might have been more reasonable (and it would have certainly been more honest) to have offered one's counter opinion derrived from law, rather than an attempt to argue that my opinion was invalid, and that it was not the law.

The Ploughshares did not exploit a legal loophole. Lawful excuse is a well known and long established legal principle (even in Ireland). An opinion that suggests otherwise is neither based in law, nor is it coherent.

author by Contrarianpublication date Thu Mar 20, 2008 14:42author address author phone Report this post to the editors

Actually, I DIDN'T notice you deriving your opinion from the law. The only concrete law you've offered to support the idea of arresting US troops on Irish soil is the Hague Convention. You also suggested that this formed the basis for the internment of German troops during World War 2. I pointed out that German troops were actually interned under the Emergency Powers Act (now revoked) and not the Hague Convention per se. In response to this you simply declared that it was your opinion that US troops could be arrested by the likes of Conor Cregan. You have not (that I can see) advanced any real grounds for this opinion but I would be interested to hear any that you do have.

author by Seán Ryanpublication date Thu Mar 20, 2008 17:33author address author phone Report this post to the editors

First of all, I didn't say the Hague Convention facilitated, Conor Cregan's arrest of belligerent troops. It does facilitate it. But more importantly, I did say that these belligerent troops, constitute a clear and present danger to this State. It is every citizen's duty to be loyal to the State and to show fidelity to the Nation. Not only was it Conor's right to perform this arrest, it was his duty to do so. Furthermore, because these troops, represent such a viable threat, the arrest was the most peaceful option that was open to him. Irish people have a right to protect themselves, their property and the rest of us and our country. These troops are a weapon of mass destruction and we have a right to safeguard ourselves and our country from the implications that this leads to. Why don't you point out (in law) where I'm wrong in this. There are many other examples in law, that facilitate Conor Cregan's act, but this thread is not supposed to be about Conor Cregan and how he upheld the laws and dignity of Ireland. I suggest you start another thread where you show what Court has called the actions of Conor Cregan illegal and unlawful, your opinion on this matter holds no value if no Court has agreed with you, particularly so regarding law.

The internment of belligerents via the Hague Convention pre-existed the Emergency, the Emergency facilitated the recognition of the Hague Convention by Irish law, by suspending the normal course of action required to do so. The Emergency has supposedly been lifted as I've already said, but this does not mean that laws that have been recognised via it are now null and void. As I've also said, our leaders still refer to us as 'Neutral.' Why don't you point out in law where it specifically says that we now reject the Hague Convention. Or does your opinion differ from fact.

DeValera demanded the return of Ports from Britain as a part of Ireland's rights and obligations as a Neutral. Explain, using law how it is that Ireland can now and indeed in the past (before the lifting of the emergency) offer Irish airPORTS to a belligerent to facilitate their crimes against humanity. You demand much but you give nothing other than your opinion and I can't find anywhere to cash it.

author by Scepticpublication date Thu Mar 20, 2008 17:52author address author phone Report this post to the editors



The return of the ports occurred in 1938 following a process of negotiation before the policy of neutrality was adopted on the outbreak of hostilities in September 1939. That policy was in relation to that conflict and not any other.

In many respects even UN membership clashes with the very strict form of neutrality you seem to have in mind and which was never in fact Irish policy. If the UN effectively approves a war say the 1991 war to liberate Kuwait then no UN member can be neutral. This even applies to a non UN member under international law.

The current US operation in Iraq does have a UN mandate – accordingly troops in transit to or from there are about UN business. Neutrality has nothing to do with this. The troops are not “belligerent” nor “weapons of mass destruction”. This is your own rather hot headed hyperbole.

You go on a good deal about the Republic and the Nation. Is it the actual extant Irish Republic you revere and purport to defend? Or is it a more mystical Republic? Part of loyalty to the actual Irish Republic would be respecting its laws and democracy. Including in respect of Government decisions you personally might disagree with.

author by Seán Ryanpublication date Thu Mar 20, 2008 18:07author address author phone Report this post to the editors

I am not obliged under any law, Irish or otherwise, to respect the Government or its decisions. I'm obliged under law to respect the laws and Constitution of Ireland, according to Irish law.

The Governement are also bound to respect Irish law and the Constitution.

I have said that facilitating US belligerent troops constitutes a threat to this nation and nobody has proven otherwise. This is to invite the US war/genocide onto Irish soil. If this were to happen our Constitution would be subverted. Now, if a violent act that subverts our Constitution is considered an act of treason. Who is it that is more likely to be considered a traitor, he who invites the violent act or he who seeks to prevent it?

Hyperbole my arse, try moving beyond the rhetorical and into reality.

author by Contrarianpublication date Mon Mar 24, 2008 23:07author address author phone Report this post to the editors

Up until Seáns most recent post or two, this had been a reasonably civilised and enlightening discussion. However, we now appear to be descending into territory where rational argument based on legal reality has been replaced with, well, lets take a look. Sean says:

"But more importantly, I did say that these belligerent troops, constitute a clear and present danger to this State. It is every citizen's duty to be loyal to the State and to show fidelity to the Nation. Not only was it Conor's right to perform this arrest, it was his duty to do so. Furthermore, because these troops, represent such a viable threat, the arrest was the most peaceful option that was open to him. Irish people have a right to protect themselves, their property and the rest of us and our country. These troops are a weapon of mass destruction and we have a right to safeguard ourselves and our country from the implications that this leads to. "

and then adds: "Why don't you point out (in law) where I'm wrong in this."

Well ok, do we REALLY need the law to figure out why it's such a bad idea to allow any citizen to determine what other persons constitute "a clear and present danger to this State" and take action against them? This would be a charter for fascists and racists to target and victimise any group that they don't approve of. For example, and while conscious of not feeding trolls or trying to engage with nonsense, lets just replace the words "belligerent troops" with the words "illegal immigrants." Now see how the paragraph reads:

"But more importantly, I did say that these illegal immigrants, constitute a clear and present danger to this State. It is every citizen's duty to be loyal to the State and to show fidelity to the Nation. Not only was it Conor's right to perform this arrest, it was his duty to do so. Furthermore, because these immigrants, represent such a viable threat, the arrest was the most peaceful option that was open to him. Irish people have a right to protect themselves, their property and the rest of us and our country. These immigrants are a weapon of mass destruction and we have a right to safeguard ourselves and our country from the implications that this leads to. "

Now it should be clear why this is such a wrong view and you don't even need the law to show why.

Incidentally Sean's reasoning is strangely reminiscent of one George W Bush who has no problem at all with defining a class of people as "a clear and present danger to the state" and locking them up. No need for law or due process or any of that oul nonsense at all. Just let any citizen decide which group of persons are a clear and present danger to the State and they can be locked up because "we have a right to safeguard ourselves and our country."

author by Mark Cpublication date Fri May 16, 2008 18:36author address author phone Report this post to the editors

Below is the text of an email I received from the Department of Foreign Affairs regarding extra-ordinary rendition at Shannon.

It appears that Bushie et al. have "assured" us that Shannon is/was not used for extra-ordinary rendition flights. I hope these assurances didn't come in the same breath as those that said there were WMDs in Iraq, or that Saddam had links to Al-Qaeda.

________________________

Dear Mr. Conroy,

The Minister for Foreign Affairs, Mr. Micheál Martin T.D., has asked me to thank you for your recent letter, which was passed to him by An Taoiseach and to respond on his behalf.

The Government is completely opposed to the practice of extraordinary rendition. As the Programme for Government makes clear, 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.

Our concerns in relation to this matter have been made clear to the highest levels of the US Government, including by An Taoiseach to President Bush, and Minister Ahern to Secretary of State Rice. The Government has received specific assurances from the US authorities that no prisoners have been transferred through Irish airports, nor would they be, without our permission. The Government is confident that under international law it is fully entitled to rely on these assurances, which are of a clear and categoric nature, relating to facts and circumstances within the full control of the US Government.

Where An Garda Síochána has suspicions about a particular aircraft, they have full powers to board and inspect that aircraft. Beyond this existing, fully adequate power, there are serious questions over the effectiveness, practicality and reasonableness of an inspection regime, such as that called for by Amnesty. The position of the Minister for Justice, Equality and Law Reform on this issue was set out in the Dáil in an adjournment debate on 29 November 2007. Moreover, in cases investigated by the Gardaí to date, no evidence emerged justifying any subsequent legal action. I would note that no other EU Member State has introduced such an inspection regime. The civil aircraft which it is proposed to search under this regime are in fact chartered to different users on an ongoing basis.

In relation to the Amnesty International report to which your letter refers, it is important to be clear that Amnesty International does not contend that Shannon was used for the alleged rendition of Mr Al-Maqtari. The case raised by Amnesty relates to a particular individual who may have been transferred in January 2004 from Baghdad to Kabul on a plane which had earlier passed through Shannon. Indeed, no evidence has ever been produced, nor any concrete allegation made, that any person has ever been subject to extraordinary rendition through Ireland.

Yours sincerely,

Sinéad Ryan
Private Secretary
Pp Danielle Kelly

_________________

Mark.

PDF Document PDF of Government Response 0.25 Mb

author by Mark Cpublication date Wed Jun 11, 2008 11:56author address author phone Report this post to the editors

Below is my response to the Department of Foreign Affairs to the email I posted above, with the Department's response back, and my subsequent response.
_________________

Dear Ms Kelly,

Thank you for you response to my letter regarding the use of Shannon Airport by the US Military for the purposes of extra-ordinary (or for any purposes to facilitate war).

I am shocked to hear that the government are willing to accept the "assurances" of the US Government fully and without question. Surely, it would not be too much to ask the Gardaí to check even some of the military planes that land at Shannon Airport for illegal articles - prisoners in shakles, US Marines with weapons, chemical weapons, etc.

As a teacher I constantly tell my students to question what they are told, to check hypotheses, and to not take what I tell them as Gospel truth. I think this is a noble skill to foster in young people. I also think the same should be done by our government in relation to US "assurances", especially when we take cognisance of other "assurances" by the Bush régime - for example, when we were "assured" that Saddam Hussein had weapons of mass destruction or when we were "assured" that Saddam Hussein had links to Al-Qaeda.

I hope the government does the right thing in this regard and drastically re-thinks its policy of the non-checking of military aircraft at Shannon.

Again, thanks for your reply; I await your next.
Regards,
Mark Conroy.

_____________

Dear Mr. Conroy,

The Minister for Foreign Affairs, Mr. Micheál Martin T.D., has asked me to thank you for your recent letter following up on previous correspondence and to respond on his behalf.

There has been much debate around the question of assurances and therefore it is necessary to be clear what we are talking about. The US Government has given to the Taoiseach and to the previous Minister for Foreign Affairs, Mr Dermot Ahern T.D., unqualified assurances that clearly set out a factual situation in relation to which it has full knowledge and control: quite simply that no detainee has been or would be transferred through Irish territory as part of the US extraordinary rendition programme. There is no ambiguity nor is there any room for legal interpretation or debate about these assertions. If any evidence were to emerge that the assurances are not being complied with the Government would deal immediately with the situation. I would add that similar high-level and categorically factual assurances have not been given to other European states.

As the Government has repeatedly made clear with regard to inspection regimes, in the case of aircraft of the type said to be involved in extraordinary rendition, these are not considered to be State aircraft, and there is no impediment to their being searched. The Garda Síochána already have full authority to search civil aircraft in any circumstances where they have reasonable grounds for suspecting illegal activity, such as extraordinary rendition, and to carry out any necessary investigations. Beyond this existing, fully adequate power, there are serious questions over the effectiveness, practicality, proportionality and reasonableness of any inspection regime, whether random or, as has been otherwise proposed, in relation to specific aircraft. Moreover, given that at most the allegations are that such aircraft passed empty through Ireland it is impossible to see how, even if such aircraft had been identified and searched, the outcome of such searches would shed any particular light on the matter. In the cases investigated by the Gardaí, no evidence emerged justifying any subsequent legal action.

The Government's approach to the subject of extraordinary rendition is one of continued engagement with the United States. This approach has allowed us to raise our concerns in an early manner (both bilaterally and in an EU framework) to receive considered responses, and ultimately, the Government believes, to fulfil our obligations under international law and domestic law in the most comprehensive way possible.

Yours sincerely,

_______________

Sinéad Ryan
Private Secretary

pp Jennifer Mc Cartney

_______________

Dear Ms McCartney,

Firstly, a lesson in punctuation: please stop putting a full-stop after the r in Mr; this is something that is used in American English not Oxford English or Hiberno-English. We have enough influence from the States as it is without adding to it. "Mr. Conroy" should read "Mr Conroy" and I will thank you for ensuring same, or else simply call me Mark.

Next, thank you for your reply - a not very prompt one, but I expect nothing less from our government. I am still baffled at the government's stance of accepting 'assurances' from the American government in this matter. You are telling me that we have been given 'unqualified assurances that clearly set out a factual situation' - how can we know what the 'factual situation' is if there is no investigation of the situation and never will be. We random breath-test people to see if they are drink-driving - just in case they have been - surely the same could be done with planes suspected of being involved in extra-rendition (or even normal rendition if going to Guantanamo Bay, since it is an illegal detention centre, condemned even by the so-called United Nations (as if all the nations of the world were ever 'United'), even on a token basis to lend the government position some semblance of credibility.

You tell me there is no 'room for legal interpretation or debate'. Well doesn't that just tell you lots about living in a democracy? There is always room for interpretation (language by its very nature is subjective and interpretative) and certainly always room for debate; it is one of the founding principles of living in what we call 'the free world'.

You tell me further that the aircraft suspected of being involved in exrta-ordinary rendition 'are not considered to be State aircraft'. This is an even greater reason for them to be searched. The presents wars in the Middle East are being privatised and contracted out to companies like Blackwater (taking away from the idea that the actors in wars are supposed to be state agents) and we see how that is turning out. If private individuals and companies can now sign up to wage war, where does that leave us in terms of what we might called 'terrorism'? It just goes to prove that the distinction between legitimate power and terrorism do not exist. You might find this appropriate if, for example, there is ever a popular uprising in Ireland against the government.

The situation as it stands in Shannon Airport is not a sound one, and nor is the government's.

Regards,
Mark Conroy.

author by not a lynne truss fanpublication date Wed Jun 11, 2008 22:14author address author phone Report this post to the editors

IMHO starting a letter to a civil servant with a complaint about grammar is a surefire way of being labelled a crank and undermines the very cogent points you go on to make. It will not enhance your chances of getting any kind of reasonable response and to be brutally honest makes you look anal. Sorry but it needs to be said.

author by Mark Cpublication date Thu Jun 12, 2008 15:45author address author phone Report this post to the editors

I accept your point. It does look like I'm nit picking, but I am beyond the level of care when it comes to this matter with our government.

Also, I am right to point out faults in punctuation being made by government agencies. If you don't believe me, have a look at the case of Roger Casement: hanged by a comma.

That said, this is getting off the point of this thread, so we'll leave it there (please).

Mark.

Related Link: http://www.reviewjournal.com/lvrj_home/2006/Dec-17-Sun-2006/opinion/11436687.html
author by Mark Cpublication date Mon Jun 30, 2008 11:10author address author phone Report this post to the editors

Below is the text of the government's reply to my last email regarding the above. Below that is my reply to the government.

Mark.
________________________________________________

27 June 2008

Our Ref: POL080611

Dear Mr Conroy,

The Minister for Foreign Affairs, Mr Micheál Martin, T.D. has asked me to thank you for your letter of 11 June 2008 regarding the use of Shannon by US aircraft, and to assure you that your concerns on the issue have been noted.

Yours sincerely,

_______________

Sinéad Ryan
Private Secretary
pp Jennifer Mc Cartney

__________________________________________________

Dear Jennifer,

How disgusted I am with such a reply. I think it is the lowliest reply that you (personally, as a representative for the Minister for Foreign Affairs, and/or on behalf of/for the government) could send to someone. It is a total fob-off and does not wash with me.

I never really believed that the government represented the people and listened to and acted upon our concerns. I think the reply that you have just sent to me from the Minister for Foreign Affairs proves this dictum.

Oh, how great it is to know that my concerns have been 'noted', indeed 'assured' that my concerns have been 'noted'. It seems the current correspondence with the Department of Foreign Affairs is built upon assurances: the Bush Administration's 'assurances' that Iraq had (and wished to use) WMDs; the Bush Administration's 'assurances' that no flights related to the practice of extra-ordinary rendition have used Shannon Airport; the Minister for Foreign Affairs's 'assurance' that my concerns have been 'noted' (not acted upon, of course - and you might tell the Minister that I have 'noted' that).

Has the Minister really asked you to thank me for my letter (which I did not send: it was an email (and we do have to be careful with language remember))? I would hazard a guess that if I was to call the Minister for Foreign Affairs and say to him: "Mr Martin, it's Mark Conroy here. What are your thoughts on my 'concerns' that I have been 'assured' that you have 'noted'?" I would be greeted with a blank - an absolute blank.

The government is not listening to the voices of the people.

Regards,
Mark Conroy.

author by Scepticpublication date Mon Jun 30, 2008 12:42author address author phone Report this post to the editors

“The government is not listening to the voices of the people.” – Mark Conroy

You are not the people. You are one of a minority that has strong feelings on this issue. Quite likely a very small minority.

“Below is the text of the government's reply…” – Mark Conroy
It is a letter on behalf of the Minister for Foreign Affairs – not the Government itself. – and all you are doing is nit picking about the contents of a standard reply.

“please stop putting a full-stop after the r in Mr; this is something that is used in American English not Oxford English or Hiberno-English.” – Mark Conroy

Not true – in an address it is common in English practice to use the suspension mark. Any letter from an Irish official source follows this as best practice.

author by Mark Cpublication date Mon Jun 30, 2008 16:05author address author phone Report this post to the editors

"You are not the people. You are one of a minority that has strong feelings on this issue. Quite likely a very small minority."

I don't think I am one of a minority. Even Bush himself is looking to get out of Iraq. Most people are not happy with the war. I am the people as much as a crank like you.
______________
"It is a letter on behalf of the Minister for Foreign Affairs – not the Government itself. – and all you are doing is nit picking about the contents of a standard reply."

The Minister for Foreign Affairs is a representative of the government. His reply is the government's reply. Responsibility for it has been delegated to him. I deserve more than a standard reply since this is my third reply to the government's standard replies. A standard reply would only work here if all replies to the government's first standard reply were identical.
______________

"Not true – in an address it is common in English practice to use the suspension mark. Any letter from an Irish official source follows this as best practice."

Be very careful. I'm not nit-picking. I get quite frustrated at people who cannot use punctuation properly (certainly our government should be able to properly punctuate a letter). The use of a full point (or full stop or period) in the abbreviation of a title is unnecessary if the abbreviation is made of of the first and last letter of the original word. So, for example, Mister becomes Mr, Sister becomes Sr; if the abbreviation is not made up of the first and last letter, then the full point is needed: so, Professor becomes Prof. and so on.

As my guide for this, I use the Modern Humanities Research Association Style Book: Notes for Authors, Editors, and Writers of Theses. My version is the 1999 one (have a look at page 19-20 if you will). This is the style book that I used for eight years studying English Literature and related topics in college. It's stood me well so far.

So, before you try to correct me on my use of punctuation, perhaps you should go and do a beginner's course in English as a foreign language or something similar.

However, this is getting off the point of this thread (as I said in my reply to "not a lynne truss fan") so perhaps we could leave it there. If you wish to continue, I suggest you write a story for indymedia.ie outlining your reasons for thinking that punctuation is not important, or why you would prefer people to mis-punctuate their writing, or why misinformation (such as that you provided about full points) may be deemed a moral act.

Regards,
Mark Conroy.

author by Scepticpublication date Tue Jul 01, 2008 15:44author address author phone Report this post to the editors

You letter was on the Shannon issue, not Iraq – certainly only a minority of the population feel as strongly as you do on this – something that is well known in the Department. Departments get letter from cranks and malcontents all the time. They cannot be giving them substantive replies or at least more than one as such people will never be satisfied.

Casement was hanged for armed rebellion and consorting with the enemy in time of war. I don’t think a comma had a whole lot to do with it.

Irrespective of you manual I think you are plain wrong about the suspension point after Mr. Any official letter will follow this convention and even if it were an Americanism which it is not the Irish civil service would still be entitled to its own house style of writing. In any case you will have to pull Amnesty up on its flawed grammar too. See the linked letter and the period after Mr. I presume you will be busy writing a letter of protest to Mr. O’Gorman soon.

Related Link: http://www.amnesty.org/en/library/asset/AMR51/103/2004/en/dom-AMR511032004en.html
author by not a lynne truss fan - Politics before pedantry alliancepublication date Tue Jul 01, 2008 19:35author address author phone Report this post to the editors

Mark,

If you want to be taken seriously, then you should be asking yourself whether your writing style is likely to achieve that end. Certainly you do make valid and reasonable points that deserve consideration and an answer from our Minister for Foreign Affairs. But when you go on about punctuation and grammar, the 'crank alert' warning will sound loudly in the civil service mind. It just will. This serves only to devalue the points you are making. You will do yourself and the worthy cause you espouse a favour by dropping the nit-picking.

On a different point. {Jeez, pun my soul; we're on a roll, now.} The purpose of language is to convey a thought. Correct grammar and punctuation helps do this. There are many rules that are universal or almost so; the correct use of "it's" and "its" is a good example. Equally, there are cases where opinion is divided and more than one usage is acceptable. Some folks use 'Mr' without the period; other folks insist that only 'Mr.' will do. Either is acceptable. Admittedly, the omission of the period is becoming increasingly common and perhaps, in time, this will become the standard and only acceptable usage. But for now, Mr. Conroy, live and let live!

PS The University of Birmingham style guide recommends 'Prof' rather than 'Prof.' if one really must abbreviate a professor's title.

author by Mark C - Re Not a Lynne Truss Fanpublication date Tue Jul 01, 2008 22:26author address author phone Report this post to the editors

Hi NALTF,

Thanks for your thoughts. I appreciate them, and I mean that sincerely. I wouldn't normally be so nit-picky; it's just that I've received so many copy/paste replies and standard replies etc from the government that I felt like being a bit off with them (plus what I was saying was correct).

I appreciate also your courtesy. It's not something you often find with someone who doesn't agree with you. Thanks.

Hopefully, that will leave that point where it is since it is getting way off the point of this thread.

Regards,
Mark.
P.S. If you want a copy of the MHRA Style Book, they have made the latest version of it available free (as a pdf) on their website.
http://www.mhra.org.uk/Publications/Books/StyleGuide/do...shtml

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