Report finds Ireland facilitated illegal US rendition programme

Wed, Feb 6, 2013, 00:00

Ireland was one of 54 countries that helped facilitate the CIA’s secret detention, rendition and interrogation programme in the years after the 9/11 attacks, according to a new report.

The report by the Open Society Justice Initiative, a human rights advocacy group, said foreign governments aided the US counterterrorism offensive in various ways including by hosting CIA prisons on their territories; detaining, interrogating, torturing and abusing individuals; assisting in the capture and transport of detainees; permitting the use of domestic airspace and airports for secret flights transporting detainees.

Its Globalising Torture report identified 136 people who had been held or transferred illegally by the CIA, the largest list compiled to date.

It also provided new information about the CIA’s handling of both al-Qaeda suspects and innocent people caught up in its global counterterrorism network.

The report said Ireland permitted the use of its airspace and airports for flights associated with CIA extraordinary rendition operations.

Its evidence against Ireland was based on a number of sources including three high-level reports from the European Parliament, the Council of Europe and the United Nations, which expressed concern about the country’s “alleged co-operation” in the CIA rendition programme.

It also cited documents from a legal case brought by extraordinary rendition victims against Jeppesen Dataplan, a company that provided flight planning and logistical support services for CIA extraordinary rendition flights, and which indicated that Ireland allowed use of its airspace and Shannon airport for CIA rendition flights.

‘Moral cost’

US court records from another case involving Richmor Aviation, a firm that operated CIA extraordinary rendition flights, also show that at least 13 Richmor flights involving US personnel landed in Ireland between 2002 and 2004.

The report’s author, Amrit Singh, said: “The moral cost of these programmes was borne not just by the US but by the 54 other countries it recruited to help.”

Colm O’Gorman, executive director of Amnesty International Ireland, said: “It is undeniable that the Irish Government knew rendition flights transited Ireland and that they knew this breached the legally binding international convention on torture. Yet they did nothing.”