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IdentifierCreatedClassificationOrigin
06DUBLIN555 2006-05-18 17:08:00 UNCLASSIFIED//FOR OFFICIAL USE ONLY Embassy Dublin
Cable title:  

PUBLIC DEBATE ON RENDITION AND SHANNON CONTINUES

Tags:   PHUM EUN EAIR KTIA EI MARR MOPS 
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P 181708Z MAY 06
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					  UNCLAS SECTION 01 OF 02 DUBLIN 000555 

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E.O. 12958: N/A
TAGS: PHUM EUN EAIR KTIA EI MARR MOPS
SUBJECT: PUBLIC DEBATE ON RENDITION AND SHANNON CONTINUES



1. (SBU) Summary: A May 9 seminar on rendition and torture
hosted by Amnesty International Irish Section and the Irish
Centre for Human Rights focused on the USG's use of Shannon
Airport and the CIA's alleged practice of leasing civilian
planes to circumvent authorities. Debate at the seminar
highlighted lack of legal clarity on these issues, especially
in attempts to define "rendition" and "torture" within
contexts that differ from state to state. Seminar
participants concluded generally, however, that USG
diplomatic assurances did not relieve the GOI of
responsibility to investigate possible infringements of human
rights and international law involved in suspected
"extraordinary rendition" flights. During the seminar,
Manfred Nowak, UN Special Rapporteur on Torture, said
anti-war campaigner Edward Horgan failed to substantiate
claims about alleged transits by CIA rendition flights at
Shannon Airport. We forward highlights of the seminar in
case they might be useful. End Summary.

SHANNON AND ALLEGED CIA FLIGHTS


--------------------------





2. (SBU) On May 9, Amnesty International Irish Section and
the Irish Centre for Human Rights (National University of
Ireland, Galway) held a "Seminar on the Duties of Governments
Regarding 'Extraordinary Renditions'" at the National College
of Ireland in Dublin. Of the seven panelists, the most
noteworthy were Professor Manfred Nowak, UN Special
Rapporteur on Torture, Mona Rishmawi, legal advisor to the UN
High Commissioner for Human Rights, and Michael O'Flaherty, a
staff member of the UN Human Rights Council. While most of
the panelists sought to discuss "extraordinary renditions"
and its association with torture in a general manner,
discussions veered toward recent allegations pertaining to
the United States' use of Shannon Airport. The panelists
commented on the CIA's alleged practice of hiding its
identity behind private plane operators to exploit different
disclosure rules under the Chicago Convention for state and
civil aircraft. The panelists offered their view that states
allowing alleged CIA transit flights do not have the
authority to investigate the flights, because of a convention
clause that allows private, non-commercial flights to fly
over a country, or make technical stops, without prior
authorization or notification. These allegations have been
featured in Amnesty International's Report published in April
2006, "Below the Radar: Secret Flights to Torture and
Disappearance," with a follow-up report due to be released in
the next few months.

VARYING VIEWS ON RENDITION


--------------------------





3. (SBU) The following are highlights of the presentations
and discussions.

A) Manfred Nowak, UN Special Rapporteur on Torture, mentioned
that a key issue pertaining to illegal forms of rendition is
the possibility of violating an individual's basic human
rights on multiple levels ) before, during and after the
act. He expressed concern that the practice can lead to more
serious forms of mistreatment, including relocation to
detainment sites in third-party countries for interrogation
and torture. Nowak remarked that although there has been
some initial reporting on this issue by the Council of Europe
and the EU, government bodies are not doing enough. Nowak
also stated that many EU Member States have taken a "see no
evil, hear no evil" approach to the problem, and need to
investigate allegations of terrorist renditions and the use
of secret detention centers for interrogation and torture.

B) Mona Rishmawi, legal advisor to the UN High Commissioner
for Human Rights, noted that international law does not
prohibit the transfer of detainees, but rather regulates its
legality. Rishmawi added that there is difficulty in
determining its legality without any documentation about the
actual process. She believed it was the responsibility of
the state governments performing these flights to reveal
these practices in order to determine their conformity with
international human rights law.

C) Michael O'Flaherty, a staff member of the UN Human Rights
Council, claimed that Ireland was possibly complicit in
allegations against the USG through indirect assistance. He
also stated that the GOI has the obligation to investigate
activity at Shannon Airport regardless of economic
repercussions. O'Flaherty questioned the credibility of USG
diplomatic assurances to the GOI on this issue and
recommended requesting full airplane itineraries and rosters
from suspected aircraft as a possible measure of
investigation.


DUBLIN 00000555 002 OF 002


D) Colm O'Cuanacahin, Secretary General for Amnesty
International Irish Section, cited his organization's recent
research (from a nationwide sampling of 1,000 people from
March 7 to the 21, 2006), which found that 76 percent of
Irish people think that planes linked to rendition should be
checked.

E) Amnesty International Irish Section members mentioned that
their inquires to the DFA requesting copies of correspondence
between the GOI and USG regarding diplomatic assurances were
denied and said to be unavailable. According to the members,
DFA officials replied that they were aware of the public's
concern, but added that USG diplomatic assurances were
satisfactory. Amnesty International Irish Section believes
that the GOI should routinely check planes suspected of
involvement in renditions, as diplomatic assurances are not
enough to quell public concern.

NOWAK VS. HORGAN


--------------------------





4. (SBU) During a question and answer session, well known
anti-war campaigner and former Irish Army commandant, Edward
Horgan, made allegations regarding the situation at Shannon
airport, including a claim that a technician had seen a man
in an orange jumpsuit shackled inside a plane. Another
attendee stated that the Gardai (national police) have been
instructed not to board or search any CIA planes under any
circumstances. Manfred Nowak, UN Special Rapporteur on
Torture, responded that these were simply allegations and
that no substantial evidence regarding the situation at
Shannon Airport had been brought forth to date.



5. (SBU) Nowak later told the press that the proper way to
address these issues is through the forum of international
law and by working with NGOs to pressure state governments to
exercise their responsibility to protect basic human rights.
He also noted that he was surprised President Bush had said
he would like to close Guantanamo Bay. Nowak described the
United States as a democratic state with a long tradition of
championing human rights, and he believed that USG policies
on Guantanamo Bay and rendition were likely to change.

COMMENT


--------------------------





6. (SBU) We forward this for some flavor of continuing Irish
debate on rendition and alleged USG/CIA activity involving
Shannon Airport. Interestingly, the panelists were fairly
neutral in their remarks, in contrast with the passions that
normally characterize Irish public discourse on the issue.
The Irish press did not cover Nowak's sharp criticism of
Horgan, which was a highlight of the seminar. This lack of
coverage is consistent with past press reports on Horgan-like
allegations, which are usually carried without caveats,
analysis, or attempts at substantiation.


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