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Monday, January 16, 2006 

As Ever, Follow The Money

P. O'Neill over at Best of Both Worlds asks a question:
"Secret treaties between Republic of Ireland and USA?

In the Dail today, Michael D. Higgins referred to two treaties between the USA and the Irish Republic that are listed on the US State Department's website but were never presented before the Dail. Given the sensitivity of the Shannon airport issue and the general erosion of the republic's neutrality, this is a source of concern. The line from the government is that these are administratively focused and don't tie the country in any hitherto unknown GWOT fashion.

But one of them sounds dodgy. Here are the relevant pages from the State Department's website, which list the name of the treaties, but not their text.

[text of treaties]

The former looks especially suspicious. Everyone knows that it's only 300,000 troops, but nothing else, passing through Shannon, right? [...]"
We may perhaps be of some assistance.

We reckon that Ireland's probable complicity in the kidnapping of suspects for torture abroad ought to be the most pressing political issue in this country today. So in the hope of spreading a little light on the matter, we're going to push at the boundary of copyright law, just this once. From The Phoenix (subs. req.):
"VOL. 23, No. 23, December 2 2005

SENATOR David Norris has been vocal in the Oireachtas about the Bush War in Iraq and the use of the gas-and-go base at Shannon. But distressingly, he has been pointing his finger in the wrong direction. Perhaps he should pay more attention to Goldhawk’s revelations.


Norris and his Oireachtas allies should target Defence Minister Willie O’Dea and ask if the Defence Forces Director of Intelligence, Col. John Maloney, keeps a record of the number and other details, from whatever means available, of all foreign war planes and civil aircraft being used by foreign military forces flying over and landing in the State.

In recent times, the Military Intelligence Directorate (G2) has been expanded, with its Air Intelligence Section, based at Baldonnel, taking a particular interest in Shannon. Much of its concerns are about how US personnel and equipment there can be defended against threats from Holy Warriors. However, the Air Intelligence Section is privy to hush-hush information about the Yanks and their operations, including the name of an Irish-registered but US owned company which sends remittances to the Department of Defence in Dublin for certain services rendered and materials provided, over and above the Shannon refuelling arrangements. These services are for some of the more secretive flights that come in and out of Shannon and also Baldonnel – with the latter increasingly providing refuelling and service facilities for US aircraft as Goldhawk has noted several times.

It’s here Norris should start his questioning of Willie O’Dea, asking what payments are made, and if the Minister can give details of the services provided. While he’s at it, the Trinity Independent senator may care to ask how often the US military attaché visits Defence Forces HQ and has lunch in the Officers Mess at McKee Barracks and if the frequency of such visits, traditionally once-monthly, has increased recently. He might also ask how these visits by a foreign military representative compare with visits from military representatives of our sister countries in the EU, eg, France, Germany and Italy. "
Which should at the very least give rise to questions over this Government's honesty in leveling with the Irish public.

Here's the meat, though:
"VOL. 23, No. 24, December 16 2005

GOLDHAWK has obtained information which indicates that the CIA is using Baldonnel (HQ of the Irish Air Corps) for re-supply flights by the controversial Gulfstream and other aircraft including Beechcraft, Boeing and McDonald DC9 jets used in the special renditions programme. Payments for facilities obtained, including supply of aviation kerosene, are billed by the Irish Department of Defence to the DAO (Defence Attaché Office) at a Post Office Box rented by the US Embassy in Accra, Ghana. At least two accounts have been sent to this address by the Department of Defence in Dublin in respect of flights into Baldonnel by the Gulfstream G3 on July 15, 2005. The Gulfstream was back again on August 9 and on August 10 at Baldonnel.

Obscurely tucked away in West Africa, Ghana is an interesting place in the CIA scheme of things. The Americans run a “training centre” (known as KAPKTC) in Ghana for what they describe as “soldier- statesmen”. US training officers there are described as “the point of the spear ... serving with distinction on all fronts in the global war on terrorism.”

Other accounts rendered by the Irish Defence Department for facilities provided at Baldonnel have been sent to an even more obscure place – the DAO, Suite 1600, Santa Clara, California. This is only a partial address. A net search on Suite 1600, Santa Clara brings up a link to Paul Puri & Associates, a criminal defence law firm, licenced in Santa Clara County, but with an address at Suite 1600, 580 California Street, San Francisco.

It is probable that DAO in this case stands not for Defense Attaché Office but rather Defense Accounting Office, of which there is one in nearby Moffett Field, a former US naval air base.

According to its website, there are two long runways and substantial other accommodation there which once housed more than 5,000 military on a 2,000 acre site. “Moffett Federal Airfield (MFA) is currently operated by the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA),” it reads. “NASA has continued the tenant program begun by the Navy, hosting several other organizations at MFA including the Naval Reserve, the California Air National Guard, and Onizuka Air Force Base. Currently, NASA is continuing to operate MFA as a restricted federal airfield.”

Irish Defence sources say that several of this year’s US transits through Baldonnel have given their destinations vaguely to Air Traffic Control as “Orange County, California”, while others have listed San Jose (which happens to be adjacent to Moffet Federal Airfield) as their destination. The cleverness of using Baldonnel is that CIA flights are camouflaged by regular flights on US army, navy and air force operations. Local costs incurred by such “regular” aircraft, (unlike those which have accounts sent to Ghana or an obscure address in California), are billed by the Irish Department of Defence to DAO (Defence Attaché Office) Dublin, which is the address of the Defence Attaché at the American Embassy in Ballsbridge.

Some Defence Force members are convinced that there exists a secret protocol between Dublin and Washington (agreed over a bowl of shamrock during a St. Patrick’s Day White House bash) which allows the US unfettered access to Irish air space and vital refuelling facilities. There are a number of precedents. The best-known is the secret arrangement by which de Valera kept quiet about the building of the hush-hush US Naval Radio Station at Clooney Park, Derry, in 1941, before the Americans entered the Second World War, and the over-flying of neutral Donegal by Allied warplanes during the Battle of the Atlantic. "
Therein lies the story of P. O'Neill's protocols.

Let's just hope that we don't soon have to raise the cry: "Free Goldhawk!":
"VOL. 24, No. 1, January 13 2006:


G2 presently is attempting to discover who leaked information to Goldhawk about CIA flights using the Air Corps base at Baldonnel (see The Phoenix16/12/2005)). At the same time the military spy service has turned a blind eye to what is going on at the west Dublin aerodrome. This is why Minister Willie O’Dea can say he has no knowledge of the strange billing arrangements for “special” US flights which refuel at Baldonnel. He hasn’t – because G2, in keeping with its long established tradition, refuse to look for it – preferring instead to witch-hunt for the source of Goldhawk’s information.

To assist Willie to find information not provided by G2, Goldhawk suggests he contact PO Box 194 at 13 Independence Ave, Liberation Circle, Accra, Ghana. If he asks for “the Company Representative” (aka CIA Station Chief) he may learn why that address was given by the commander of a US military aircraft which made a hush-hush landing at Baldonnel in July. The flight was one of scores of such refuelling stops at Baldonnel in recent times. "
Does anyone still doubt that Ireland has been sucked into the ethical and legal black hole that passes for this US Administration's so-called governing? We hope not.

"Libel"-Richard Waghorne
"Attack blog"-Damien Mulley

About me

  • An early-thirties male Irish technologist living and working in Dublin, I'm a former (recovering) member of both Fianna Fáil and the Roman Catholic Church.

    I'm not a member of any political party these days, but my opinions can be broadly categorised as 'lefty' and republican. I am also a former member of the Irish Defence Forces.

    Please feel free to check out the FI Fie Foe Fum group blog, where I was once a regular contributor, and the Cedar Lounge Revolution, where I can usually be found in the comments.

    (This blog and its contents reflect only my own personal opinions as a private citizen, and not those of any other person or organisation.)



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