US Senate Report on CIA Torture Shows its Time for the Irish Government to Act

Shannonwatch are appalled at the shocking revelations about CIA torture of detainees in the US Senate intelligence committee report released on Tuesday Dec 9th. Details of the methods used, the extent of the torture and the scale of lies and deceit from a government agency are even worse than was already known. Ireland's complicity has already been documented by other reports, but given this new information it is now well past time for a full investigation of the role played by Shannon in the brutal and illegal interrogation undertaken by the CIA in the past decade.

"Since George Bush authorised the use of torture after 9/11, Shannon Airport has been a part of the global torture networks operated by the CIA" said John Lannon of Shannonwatch. "This has been well documented by a range of international bodies but yet the Department of Foreign Affairs continue to pretend Ireland is not implicated in rendition or torture. They base this on assurances from the US government that no prisoners were transported through Irish territory. But we know now that the CIA and the US government lied about their torture programme."

 "It is very likely that prisoners were transported through Shannon because we know the oversight of US government and CIA aircraft has always been extremely lax there" said John Lannon.

"Even if prisoners weren't taken through Irish territory, the fact that the torture planes came through Shannon is enough to make Ireland complicit in torture."

"It is now time for the Department of Foreign Affairs and the Irish government to start living up to its responsibilities under the UN Convention Against Torture" continued the Shannonwatch spokesperson. "History will judge them very poorly when their failure to act on the many reports of suspect rendition planes made to the Gardai is examined."

Much of the torture report remains classified but it is nonetheless clear that the CIA used physically and psychologically harmful torture practices including waterboarding and sensory deprivation. These were so bad that they left one detainee "completely unresponsive, with bubbles rising through his open, full mouth".  The report also alleges instances of sleep deprivation, slaps and slamming detainees against the wall.

Shannonwatch have established that one man in particular Ramzi bin al-Shibh who is mentioned in the CIA torture report was moved from detention in Afghanistan to Morocco in Sept 2002 where he was tortured for 5 months. Their records show that the plane that transported him then landed for refueling at Shannon on it's way back to the US.

"That alone makes Ireland complicit in torture." said John Lannon.

In Feb 2003 Ramzi bin al-Shibh was brought back into CIA custody and a special torture plan was drawn up for him that became a template for other detainees. It included being kept naked in a freezing cold room with white lights and loud noise, being shackled in painful stress positions including being shackled to the ceiling, cramped confinement, sleep deprivation of more than 72 hours. He was kept in solitary confinement for more than two years and has been in Guantanamo Bay since 2006.

"The Irish State and its authorities were part of that process." said John Lannon. "We were part of the appalling human rights abuse that men like him are still being subjected to."

The CIA torture report will be probed by Scots police looking into claims that Scottish airports were used to transport terror suspects. Shannonwatch emphasise the urgent need for the Gardai to do the same.

Full US Senate Report is available here: http://www.intelligence.senate.gov/study2014/sscistudy1.pdf.

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