FacebookTwitterGoogle+RedditEmail

F-16s Over Dublin

by

Just after noon on 30 August the peace of the skies over Dublin was shattered by the scream of military aircraft. We are not accustomed to the sounds of military aircraft flying at low level because the Irish military does not have such aircraft and because Ireland is officially militarily neutral and non-aligned.

The reason for this particular violation of our military neutrality? A game of football. Two US F-16s screamed by as the University of Central Florida Knights and Penn State Nittany Lions were about to start a game. To add insult to injury, US Marines paraded on the football grounds.

Despite initial reluctance, a spokeswoman from the Irish Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade finally conceded that this situation came to pass because the US authorities demanded (she said requested) ‘permission’ to fly the F-16s over Dublin. She insisted that strict conditions had been imposed – mainly that the aircraft would not be armed or carrying ammunition.

When I asked her who had inspected the aircraft to ensure compliance, she replied that the Irish Government accepts the assurances of the US authorities on these matters. This follows on the assurances given by US authorities that US aircraft stopping over at Shannon Airport were not engaged in so-called ‘extraordinary rendition’.

So far so ordinary. The fact is that the Irish Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade is just a sub-office of the US State Department and is widely recognised as such. On the question of whether the flyover was the result of a request or a demand is simply an academic point – Ireland is so compliant that the US doesn’t even have to make demands.

No matter what the issue, Ireland can be relied on to do its duty and unfortunately, there is nothing new about any of this. In 2006, I did a study of the position of successive Irish governments towards Cuba but, pick any issue you like and the evidence soon emerges of shameless, slavish attendance to US demands (requests).

However, nothing prepared me for what happened next: I phoned the Foreign Affairs Department to speak to the spokeswoman and I was put through to her answering service. I was directed by a female with a North American accent to leave a message. Thinking that the message was perhaps dictated by a resident spy (sorry) intern my naivety was shattered when, inquiring about the nature of the accent, I was informed that the entire answering service of the Department is served by this voice.

How nice it must be for our US friends not only to be received with open arms but, in the unlikely event of being put on hold, to be greeted by a familiar accent.

DECLAN McKENNA is a former Co-ordinator of the Cuba Support Group-Ireland.

May 05, 2016
David L. Glotzer
Welcome to Fortified Europe: the Militarization of Europe’s Borders
Adam Szetela
Beyoncé’s “Formation” and the Boutique Activism of the Left
Bruce Lerro
Lost at Sea: Left Liberals Have No Party
Paul Cochrane
Hot Air in the Saudi Desert: a Kingdom in Descent?
Brian Terrell
My Visit to a Las Vegas Jail
Judith Deutsch
The Military’s “Securitization” of Climate Change
Phyllis Bennis
Kunduz Bombing: Proof the Pentagon Should Not Be Allowed to Investigate Itself for War Crimes
Chad Nelson
When Compassion is Terrorism: Animal Rights in a Post-911 World
Dan Arel
Making Sanders’ Dream a Reality Through Political Activism
Kent Paterson
Ten Years Later: Reflections on the Legacies of Immigrant Spring
Serge Halimi
Why Firefighters are Against Free Trade
Andrew Stewart
Green Bernie or Green Party Machine?
Binoy Kampmark
Yuri Gagarin in Space: the Politics of Cosmic Discovery
Hayes Rowan
This Naming of Things
May 04, 2016
Kshama Sawant
It’s Not About Bernie: Why We Can’t Let Our Revolution Die in Philadelphia
Conn Hallinan
Baiting the Bear: Russia and NATO
Joshua Frank
Hanford’s Leaky Nuke Tanks and Sick Workers, A Never-Ending Saga
Paul Craig Roberts
TIPP: Advancing American Imperialism
Ted Rall
Hillary to Bernie Supporters: Don’t Vote for Me!
Eric Draitser
Hillary Clinton and Wall Street’s Neoliberal War on Latin America
Leslie Scott
The Story of Jill Stein: Putting People, Peace and the Planet Before Profits
Ann Garrison
Building the Greens Into a Mass Party: Interview with Bruce Dixon
Tom Clifford
Crying Rape: Trump’s China-Bashing
Lawrence Davidson
Getting Rid of Bad Examples: Andrew Jackson & Woodrow Wilson
Ellen Brown
Bank of North Dakota Soars Despite Oil Bust: A Blueprint for California?
Nelson Valdes
Is Fidel Castro Outside or Part of Mainstream Thinking? A Selection of Quotes
Jesse Jackson
Don’t Send Flint Down the Drain: Fix It!
Nathan Riley
Help Bernie Keep His Halo
Rivera Sun
Remembering Nonviolent History: Freedom Rides
Clancy Sigal
Rachel and the Isolationists: How Maddow Blew It
Laura Finley
Changing the Conversation About “The Woman Card”
CJ Hopkins
Coming this Summer … Revenge of the Bride of Sophie’s Choice
May 03, 2016
Gary Leupp
Hillary Clinton’s Foreign Policy Resumé: What the Record Shows
Michèle Brand – Arun Gupta
What is the “Nuit Debout”?
Chuck Churchill
The Failures of Capitalism, Donald Trump and Right Wing Terror
Dave Marsh
Bernie and the Greens
John Wight
Zionism Should be on Trial, Not Ken Livingstone
Rev. John Dear
A Dweller in Peace: the Life and Times of Daniel Berrigan
Patrick Cockburn
Saudi Arabia’s Great Leap Forward: What Would Mao Think?
Doug Johnson Hatlem
Electoral Votes Matter: Hillary Clinton or Bernie Sanders vs Donald Trump
Chris Gilbert
Venezuela Today: This Must Be Progress
Pepe Escobar
The Calm Before the Coming Global Storm
Ruth Fowler
Intersecting with the Identity Police (Or Why I Stopped Writing Op-Eds)
Victor Lasa
The Battle Rages on in Spain: the Country Prepares for Repeat Elections in June
Jack Rasmus
Is the US Economy Heading for Recession?
FacebookTwitterGoogle+RedditEmail