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.

More articles by:
Weekend Edition
July 29, 2016
Friday - Sunday
Michael Hudson
Obama Said Hillary will Continue His Legacy and Indeed She Will!
Jeffrey St. Clair
She Stoops to Conquer: Notes From the Democratic Convention
Rob Urie
Long Live the Queen of Chaos
Ismael Hossein-Zadeh
Evolution of Capitalism, Escalation of Imperialism
Margot Kidder
My Fellow Americans: We Are Fools
Lewis Evans
Executing Children Won’t Save the Tiger or the Rhino
Vijay Prashad
The Iraq War: a Story of Deceit
Chris Odinet
It Wasn’t Just the Baton Rouge Police Who Killed Alton Sterling
Brian Cloughley
Could Trump be Good for Peace?
Patrick Timmons
Racism, Freedom of Expression and the Prohibition of Guns at Universities in Texas
Gary Leupp
The Coming Crisis in U.S.-Turkey Relations
Pepe Escobar
Is War Inevitable in the South China Sea?
Norman Pollack
Clinton Incorruptible: An Ideological Contrivance
Robert Fantina
The Time for Third Parties is Now!
Andre Vltchek
Like Trump, Hitler Also Liked His “Small People”
Serge Halimi
Provoking Russia
David Rovics
The Republicans and Democrats Have Now Switched Places
Andrew Stewart
Countering The Nader Baiter Mythology
Rev. William Alberts
“Law and Order:” Code words for White Lives Matter Most
Ron Jacobs
Something Besides Politics for Summer’s End
David Swanson
It’s Not the Economy, Stupid
Erwan Castel
A Faith that Lifts Barricades: The Ukraine Government Bows and the Ultra-Nationalists are Furious
Steve Horn
Did Industry Ties Lead Democratic Party Platform Committee to Nix Fracking Ban?
Robert Fisk
How to Understand the Beheading of a French Priest
Colin Todhunter
Sugar-Coated Lies: How The Food Lobby Destroys Health In The EU
Franklin Lamb
“Don’t Cry For Us Syria … The Truth is We Shall Never Leave You!”
Caoimhghin Ó Croidheáin
The Artistic Representation of War and Peace, Politics and the Global Crisis
Frederick B. Hudson
Well Fed, Bill?
Harvey Wasserman
NY Times Pushes Nukes While Claiming Renewables Fail to Fight Climate Change
Elliot Sperber
Pseudo-Democracy, Reparations, and Actual Democracy
Uri Avnery
The Orange Man: Trump and the Middle East
Marjorie Cohn
The Content of Trump’s Character
Missy Comley Beattie
Pick Your Poison
Kathleen Wallace
Feel the About Turn
Joseph Grosso
Serving The Grid: Urban Planning in New York
John Repp
Real Cooperation with Nations Is the Best Survival Tactic
Binoy Kampmark
The Scourge of Youth Detention: The Northern Territory, Torture, and Australia’s Detention Disease
Kim Nicolini
Rain the Color Blue with a Little Red In It
Phillip Kim et al.
Open Letter to Bernie Sanders from Former Campaign Staffers
Cesar Chelala
Gang Violence Rages Across Central America
Tom H. Hastings
Africa/America
Robert Koehler
Slavery, War and Presidential Politics
Charles R. Larson
Review: B. George’s “The Death of Rex Ndongo”
July 28, 2016
Paul Street
Politician Speak at the DNC
Jeffrey St. Clair
Night of the Hollow Men: Notes From the Democratic Convention
FacebookTwitterGoogle+RedditEmail