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Three US warplanes at Shannon

category international | anti-war / imperialism | news report author Saturday April 28, 2007 23:24author by Edward Horgan - Peace and Neutrality Alliance Report this post to the editors

Make US abuse of Shannnon airport an election issue

Saturday 28 April 2007 was a quiet day at Shannon. Relatively few civilian passengers going through (most civilian customers of Shannon have been attracted to Dublin airport over the past few years). The US military are once again increasing their use or abuse of Shannon airport, in a supposedly neutral state. Three US warplanes were present at Shannon, one North American US troop carrier, one US military executive jet, which could be carrying anyone from a US general guilty of war crimes in Iraq or Afghanistan or prisoners for torture to or from Guantanamo.
Now is the time to make Ireland's complicity in crimes against humanity an election issue.
US military executive Shannon 28 Apr 07
US military executive Shannon 28 Apr 07

As part of our ongoing monitoring of US military and CIA use of Shannon airport Edward Horgan and Conor Cregan went to Shannon airport on Sat 28 Apr 07. We arrived about 1230 pm and noticed a North American troop carrier at Gate 42 getting ready for take off. It later left the airport at about 1pm. Parked in the centre of the airfield, in the not-so-secure, secure area, being guarded by an Irish army patrol, was a US military executive jet. We drove up to the arrivals building and observed these aircraft from the upstairs viewing areas, and took some photos. As we were leaving, an Omni Air International US troop carrier arrived and proceeded to part at Gate 42.
Because of the ongoing serious misuse of Shannon airport by the US military and its suspected use also by the CIA for the possible transporting of prisoners to and from Guantanamo Bay prison, Edward Horgan went to Shannon Garda station, and requested that the two US warplanes still at the airport should be searched. The statement below was taken down by Garda Lena Standish.

Statement by Edward Horgan at Shannon Garda Station on 28 Apr 07.

I Edward Horgan of the above address request that OMNI Air International US troop-carrying aircraft presently at Gate 42 or thereabouts, and also a US military executive jet parked in the centre of the airfield, under Irish Army guard, should both be searched by Gardai as soon as possible for the following reasons:
1. to ensure that no prisoners are being unlawfully taken through Shannon airport by the CIA or others
2. to ensure that no dangerous munitions including depleted uranium are being transported through Shannon airport
3. to establish whether any US troops who may have been guilty of crimes against humanity in Iraq or Afghanistan may be on board these aircraft
4. to detain any US troops on board these aircraft because they are in breach of Ireland’s obligations under international laws on neutrality, particularly the Hague Convention V 1907.

I have been invited to make amendments and I do not wish to do so. This statement has been read over to me and it is correct.

Signed: Edward Horgan

Lena Standish Garda 31838H

Omni Air International US Troop Carrier Shannon 28 Apr 07
Omni Air International US Troop Carrier Shannon 28 Apr 07

North American US Troop Carrier Shannon 28 Apr 07
North American US Troop Carrier Shannon 28 Apr 07

author by Facts interfering with a god storypublication date Sun Apr 29, 2007 01:42author address author phone Report this post to the editors

There are so many inaccuracies and irelevancies in this "story" that it's difficult to know where to start.

1. "Relatively few civilian passengers going through (most civilian customers of Shannon have been attracted to Dublin airport over the past few years)."

OK, this is absolute tripe and nonsense. The facts here are:

2004 2.4 million passengers
2005 3.3 million passengers
2006 3.6 million passengers

Of these less than 10% are military (approx 330,000 in 2005, less in 2006)

This in no way could be represented as "most civilian customers of Shannon have been attracted to Dublin airport over the past few years." I can only assume that this blatant inaccuracy is a pathetic attempt to "spin" an angle that Shannon has become primarily a military airport. It hasn't. It is a largely civilian airport with a small military logistical capability.

2. Article 29.6 of the Constitution states: No international agreement shall be part of the domestic law of the State save as may be determined by the Oireachtas.
As a point of fact, Ireland has never ratified the Hague Convention 1907. (BTW you KNOW this, Ed. It was acknowledged by your legal team in your high court case.) Nor was it ratified for us by the Brits pre-independence. Therefore it does not form part of our domestic law. Why then do you think some unfortunate Guard in Shannon station has any role in enforcing it? You might as well ask her to enforce the rules of your local table tennis club.

Essentially, this story boils down to:
I visited Shannon Airport today. I saw some airplanes (!) Two of them were civilian aircraft chartered to transport US troops in accordance with permissions granted by the Irish Government. One was a US military executive jet. Some prisoners or some war criminals or Shergar or Lord Lucan might have been on it. I would like the Guards to search it and check if they were.

author by Fred Johnstonpublication date Sun Apr 29, 2007 03:08author email sylfredcar at iolfree dot ieauthor address author phone Report this post to the editors

Shannon now has a permanent US military component there in the form of a military liaison officer who admitted in an interview with The Irish Times that he was, indeed, 'permanently' placed there. Somebody explain to me how this does not make Shannon at least in part a US military extension-area. No point, I suppose, then, to talk about the two US 'tank-buster' aircraft ('Warthogs' I think they're called) I spotted as I came in to land at Shannon last year, parked discreetly offside of the main runways. Unless, of course, the Irish Airforce has taken delivery of them, which I seriously doubt. So again, can someone tell me what reason we could possibly have, as Irish people, NOT to demonstrate?

author by A. Nonymouspublication date Sun Apr 29, 2007 03:55author address author phone Report this post to the editors

a-How does one determine on a chartered flight who happens to be a war criminal? do you have a dossier on the passengers? or will any american fill the bill? seems very hitlerite in nature that accusation?
b-you say the "general" who may be aboard is guilty of war crimes? and you know this how? simply because he's a officer, or just because he's an american?
c- by your logic, could not every irishman or women be considered pira members, since your tar all the yanks, that could work both ways boyo.
d- finally,i never realized ireland never entered into the hague conventions, what happens if the forces take a prisoner, surely there is some regulation that coincides with fair play treatment?

author by John Jefferies - Anti-War Irelandpublication date Sun Apr 29, 2007 07:00author address author phone Report this post to the editors

One foreign soldier or one prisoner en route to Guantanamo is one too many. Keep up the good work Ed.

author by Gerrypublication date Sun Apr 29, 2007 10:22author address author phone Report this post to the editors

And exactly what good work has he done?

Has One plane been stopped?

Turned Around?

One Soldier detained or Interned?

Obviously the Government has Okayed this, dont like it vote the rotters out.

author by CIA Watchpublication date Sun Apr 29, 2007 12:32author address author phone Report this post to the editors

It is likely that the CIA still regularly use Shannon airport.
Does anyone have further information on aircraft N154C seen at Shannon on 22 April 2007? It may be just an innocent executive jet, on charter or whatever, but far more monitoring is needed to expose misuse of Shannon airport

See New York Times Apr 28 2007

C.I.A. Held Qaeda Leader in Secret Jail for Months
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Published: April 28, 2007
WASHINGTON, April 27 — The Central Intelligence Agency held a captured Qaeda leader in a secret prison since last fall and transferred him last week to the American military prison at Guantánamo Bay, Cuba, officials said Friday.

Abd al-Hadi al-Iraqi, an Iraqi Kurd who is said to have joined Al Qaeda in the late 1990s and ascended to become a top aide to Osama bin Laden, is the first terrorism suspect known to have been held in secret C.I.A. jails since President Bush announced the transfer of 14 captives to Guantánamo Bay last September.

The Pentagon announced the transfer, giving few details about his arrest or confinement.

Mr. Iraqi’s case suggests that the C.I.A. may have adopted a new model for handling prisoners held secretly — a practice that Mr. Bush said could resume and that Congress permitted when it passed the Military Commissions Act of 2006.

Unlike past C.I.A. detainees, including the Sept. 11 plotter Khalid Shaikh Mohammed, who was held by the agency for several years after being seized in Pakistan in 2003, Mr. Iraqi was turned over to the Pentagon after a few months of interrogation. He appears to have been taken into C.I.A. custody just weeks after Mr. Bush declared C.I.A. jails empty.

N154C at Shannon on 22 Apr 07
N154C at Shannon on 22 Apr 07

Related Link:
author by CIA Watchpublication date Sun Apr 29, 2007 13:09author address author phone Report this post to the editors

Far more vigilance is required at our airports. See recent media report by journalist Pat Flynn. There is now reason to believe that Cork and Knock airports are being used regularly by the CIA. It would appear that our government has given a blank cheque to the CIA to use any Irish airports they wish without question, regardless of the criticism made by the European Parliament concerning CIA use of Shannon airport (147 CIA rendition plane landings etc.)

This report by Pat Flynn refers to landings at Cork airport on wednesday 25 April 07.

"Three suspected US military spy aircraft were forced to divert to Cork Airport yesterday (Wednesday) because they were unable to land at Shannon because of reported turbulence on the approach to the mid west airport.

The three RC-12 Guardrail ELINT/SIGINT spy planes were due to land at Shannon on a technical stop before continuing on to the United States via Keflavik in Iceland. However, when the pilot of a larger jet aircraft reported turbulence while landing at Shannon, the three RC-12’s opted to divert to Cork instead.

The wind at Shannon was well within safe landing standards yesterday however it was the reported turbulence on the approach to the airport which caused the RC-12 pilots difficulty. No other aircraft were affected by the conditions at Shannon yesterday.

The RC-12 Huron turboprop planes, variants of the popular Beechcraft Super King Air civilian aircraft, are used by the United States Air Force, United States Army, and the United States Navy. These aircraft are used for various duties, including embassy support, medical evacuation, passenger and light cargo but many have been modified with surveillance equipment for various missions.

The planes originated in Afghanistan and had refuelled in Wiesbaden, Germany and were due in Shannon yesterday Morning however, they diverted to Cork instead and were expected to continue their journey this morning (Thursday). The US based aircraft usually return to the States via Prestwick Airport in Scotland.

Last July, a suspected CIA jet believed to be involved in the secret rendition of prisoners and which is listed by Statewatch, the organisation which monitors state and civil liberties in the European Union, landed at Shannon Airport.

The Boeing 737-33A is listed by Statewatch as part of the CIA fleet, and has been the subject of questions in the British Parliament in recent months. The airplane slipped unhindered into Shannon on Saturday and according to local activists, “left an hour earlier without any queries from the local authorities.”

In August 2005, another aircraft known to be operated by the CIA also landed at Shannon. The twin propeller DHC-6 Twin Otter arrived from Spain and remained at the Co Clare airport for two days. Local anti-war campaigners reacted angrily to the incident."

If we allow these abuses of Irish territory and Irish airports to continue unchallenged, then we are all complicit in the crimes being committed by the US military and by the CIA.

author by Musclemanpublication date Sun Apr 29, 2007 15:44author address author phone Report this post to the editors

"If we allow these abuses of Irish territory and Irish airports to continue unchallenged, then we are all complicit in the crimes being committed by the US military and by the CIA"

So we (I presume innocent Irish men women and children) are fair game for Al-Qaeda then?

author by Edward Horgan - Panapublication date Sun Apr 29, 2007 17:25author address author phone Report this post to the editors

Mr Mussel-man asks "So we (I presume innocent Irish men women and children) are fair game for Al-Qaeda then?"

Innocent people, especially children are never fair game for unlawful killing. So far an estimated 262,000 children (under 18) have died in Iraq as a result of the US led war. This is about 40% of the total of 655,000 dead as per the Lancet Report in 2006. Iraq played no part in the 9/11 attacks on the United States, and Al Qaeda only came to Iraq in response to the US attack on Iraq.

In international law, a state such as Iraq that is unlawfully attacked by a state such as the US, in contravention of the UN Charter, is entitled not only to defend itself, but also to take military action against other states that are facilitating a war against its people. This would not allow Iraq (if it had a government) to kill innocent civilians in Ireland or elsewhere, but would allow Iraq for example to bomb the runways at Shannon airport to prevent this airport from being used by US troops to wage war on Iraq.

While Ireland would normally enjoy the protection of the Hague Convention as a neutral state to prevent such an attack, this no longer applies as from 20 March 2003, when the Irish Government effectively abandoned Ireland's neutal status. However, the Irish Government continued to claim "bogus neutrality" in spite of allowing over 1,000,000 US troops, and millions of tons of bombs and munitions through Shannon.

No one, and no state, is allowed to kill large numbers, or even small numbers, of innocent civilians, neither Osama Bin Laden, nor George Bush nor Willie O'Dea.
The deliberate killing, or the reckless causing of the deaths of, over 262,000 innocent children in Iraq is one of the most serious atrocities committed by democratic states since the Vietnam War.
Ireland's complicity in these deaths is the only such example of Ireland being involved in crimes against humanity since the foundation of the state.

I sincerely hope that Shannon airport will not be attacked, because no precautions have been take at Shannon to prevent "collateral damage" to civilians in the event of explosions at Shannon. Most military airports are designed so that the main buildings are shielded by blast barriers from the main runways. This is why the militarisation of Shannon airport during a ongoing war in Iraq is such an irresponsible act by our Government.
When the politicians come to your doorstep over the next 3 weeks ask them when will Ireland start paying reparations for the deaths of 262,000 Iraqi children.

author by Macpublication date Sun Apr 29, 2007 19:58author address author phone Report this post to the editors

Thats a Larf, better chance of seeing pigs fly then someone cratering Shannons Runways. And the Neutral bits? rubbish, Shannon was a Transit point for War Material & Personnel in World War II as well from the USA & Canada to Britain . Switzerland allowed Germany & the Allied countries to use it when needed. Sweden sold Ore to the Germans, allowed Armed Germans to transit through to Denmark, etc.

Neutrals, absolute rubbish your histories show you to be in fact anything but.

author by Northern Lightpublication date Tue May 01, 2007 18:06author address author phone Report this post to the editors

Listen you jackasses, give over the calculated, devious attacks on Ed's actiions and convictions. You know that the recent EU report into extrordinary rendition condemns the Irish government for its role in flight stopovers. Ed is right to pursue the matter and you know it. It's a pity you don't go down to your respective garda barracks and do the same!


Related Link:
author by MichaelY - iawmpublication date Tue May 01, 2007 18:56author address author phone Report this post to the editors

Continue the good work Ed
Pledge in our website
Contact us if you want to help

Not too many words Necessary
Not too many words Necessary

author by Shannonpublication date Tue May 01, 2007 21:24author address author phone Report this post to the editors

I have found five interesting threads from other web sites that may ( or may not) shed some light on the nature of the commercial interests behind Shannon Airport and the American Military, Irish Industrialists and the Irish Government. Your comments on this bizarre linkage are welcome - if only as a sanity check for me...

The first story, by blogger Dr Ben, explains the scale of the military contracting services to the US govt supplied by Irish company Omega Air owned by friend to prominent PD and FG politicians Ulick McEvaddy.

The second link is to military services websites operated by Omega Air (see below)

The third link is a web page that tells the curious story of an alleged stolen aircraft that was brought through shannon airport by Omega Helicopters director and aviation head Michael Ryan with what seems to be an agenda of swapping it with the US government for military helicopters. There are alleged links to the Russian Mafia. ( See below)

The fourth link is curious. The Irish company registered as the owners of the alleged stolen aircraft has two stockholders Renmount Ltd and Northcote Ltd. These same two companies turn up on documents published on the EPA web site as the only stock holders in the company that owns the illegal landfill at Whitestown in Co. Wicklow

The fifth link is the media reported assopciation between Louis Moriarty accused of profiting from illegally dumping waste at whitestown and Bertie Ahern Taoiseach.

Read on....


The Omega Men
Jan 15th, 2007 by Dr. Ben

Politics can be one hell of a flying circus. Ulick McEvaddy, businessman and recent appointee to the Board of Knock Airport, has confirmed that he will discuss letting the US military use Knock Airport at its next board meeting in March. The issue is already the subject of great controversy with regard to Shannon Airport, but Mr. McEvaddy said that he sees no reason why US military planes should not land at Knock.

It appears to be a simple case of economics – one worth millions to the airport and Mayo in general - but Mr. McEvaddy is not only one of the most recent appointees to the board of Knock Airport, he is also joint head of a company that plans to be the largest supplier of civilian aircraft to the US Navy. Mr. McEvaddy also has strong links to Fine Gael, as well as to Charlie McCreevy and Mary Harney (some background can be found in this Sunday Business Post article)

Mr. McEvaddy, in a July 2006 interview with Dow Jones Newswires also made it clear that he sees a civilian role in War. ‘Nations don’t go to war without the public anyway’ he told Rebecca Christie of Dow Jones Newswires (see below). ‘If you look at the historic scenarios – Vietnam, Korea – there were as many civilians in theater as there were soldiers.’

Mr. McEvaddy’s military business interests have not been picked up by the Irish mainstream media. As such, we reproduce below the Dow Jones Newswire article that discusses Omega Air, and its plans to be the biggest supplier of civilian aircraft to the American military. But first, a small part to highlight what I believe to be the greatest conflict of interest between Omega Airs business plans, and the future military use of Knock airport.

In June 2006, McEvaddy’s company, Omega Air, made an unsolicited bid to supply the US Air Force with sixty DC-10s that have been modified as in-flight refuel tankers. The idea was to convince the air force of the economics of the deal by going ahead and acting as if “its terms will be too good for the Pentagon to refuse.” McEvaddy’s said in the summer of 2006, ‘We’re building on risk. If they [the US air force] like it, we think they’ll use it.” The Irish Independent (Reg needed) recently reported that “together with his brother Desmond, Mr. McEvaddy has spent the last 22 years building up his US aviation business, Omega Air.

The experience has earned Mr. McEvaddy invaluable contacts in the US, contacts which he now hopes to use to lure American airlines to his home turf.” No mention was made in the Indo’s article of Mr. McEvaddy unsolicited attempts to create a business deal with the US air force.

Below is the full article by Rebecca Christie of Dow Jones Newswire.
Irish Investor Hopes To Make Big Mark On US Tanker Market

By Rebecca Christie
July 13, 2006

WASHINGTON (Dow Jones)–A pair of well-heeled Irish investors are taking on
big defense companies in the race to sell flying gas stations to the U.S. Air

Irish investor Ulick McEvaddy has little U.S. name recognition, but he is one
of the richest men in Ireland and a well-known developer there. He and his
brother Des are active in Irish politics - sometimes controversial - and were
recently involved in efforts to build a new terminal at Dublin International

The brothers also own Omega Air. Officially based in the U.S., the company
owns a fleet of cargo, passenger and military aircraft, including a Boeing Co.
(BA) 707 tanker on lease to the U.S. Navy. Last month, they announced plans to
make a bigger play for U.S. business with a pledge of up to 60 modified DC-10s.

Ulick McEvaddy says he doesn’t see Omega in direct competition with Boeing Co.
and Northrop Grumman Corp. (NOC), which want to sell the Air Force new planes.
Instead, Omega wants to offer fuel by the gallon as an “interim solution,” and
free up military-owned aircraft for other missions.

Air Force officials have been skeptical that civilian-owned aircraft can fit
in with a combat force. But Omega already has bought 20 DC-10s for the project,
in a gamble that its terms will be too good for the Pentagon to refuse.

“We’re building it on risk. If they like it, we think they’ll use it,”
McEvaddy said during a recent visit to Washington.

Omega’s business model is to buy, own and operate its tankers, and it aims to
sell the Air Force tanking services for at least a decade. The planes would be
dedicated to the Pentagon, avoiding the complications of part-time use, and
Omega plans to hire ex-Air Force pilots and crew.

Air Force Concerns

However, senior Air Force officials say they have yet to see how the planes
would save money. Air Force Secretary Michael Wynne said the Air Force should
weigh whether hiring tanker services could hurt the military’s flexibility and
training opportunities.

McEvaddy says the Air Force’s concerns are misplaced and that the Omega DC-10s
will be very similar to its own larger KC-10 fleet, and that it would have the
option of using its own pilots and crew. Citing a Defense Science Board study,
McEvaddy said he expects the Air Force would pay about $10 to $12 per gallon for
Omega’s tanking services, compared to the $17.50 per gallon cost of using
military crews.

Many of Omega’s ex-Air Force staff may choose to stay in the Air Force’s
reserves and could be called up as needed without even changing planes, McEvaddy
said. He said the planes could support combat missions even using civilian

“The old bogey is always how do we know we can rely on you in war?” McEvaddy
said. “Nations don’t go to war without the public anyway. If you look at the
historic scenarios - Vietnam, Korea - there were as many civilians in theater as
there were soldiers.”

To illustrate this point, McEvaddy recalled a phone call from his brother, an
accomplished lawyer and pilot who never served in the military, during the first
Gulf War. When queried on how to handle an incoming scud missile attack,
McEvaddy offered the following advice: “I said, make sure the airplanes aren’t
in the same place on the ramp and get into the bunker, Des!”

Unsolicited Bid

Omega has significant experience with the unsolicited bid. The company won its
Navy contract after volunteering a proposal, and it also has offered planes to
the U.K. in case the Ministry of Defence’s main tanker plan doesn’t work out.
Industry insiders say the company has even approached U.S. intelligence agencies
about tanking services for detainee transfers, to reduce dependence on foreign
air fields.

McEvaddy wouldn’t discuss any rendition-related overtures. But he did serve as
an intelligence officer during 10 years in the Irish Army.

Omega Air established itself by dealing in used Boeing 707s, a passenger plane
that is a close cousin of the Air Force’s aging KC-135 fleet. But McEvaddy has
been planning a tanker push for many years, based around the idea of a cargo
plane that could load fuel pallets when needed and head off to war.

The first Omega DC-10 tanker is scheduled to make an appearance at next week’s
Farnborough International Airshow in England. In the long run, McEvaddy hopes
Omega’s tanker services will appeal to the NATO alliance and other U.S. allies,
but the planes can be converted back to cargo planes if there aren’t takers.

McEvaddy has been courting the Pentagon steadily. The company sold the U.S.
military used 707s for its Joint Surveillance Target Attack Radar System, a
Northrop Grumman Corp. (NOC)-designed spy plane commonly known as Joint STARS.

Also, the U.S. Navy recently announced plans to renew the tanker-services
contract it launched with Omega five years ago. Navy pilots say the Omega plane
has been reliable and easy to work with, and Omega is now preparing a second
plane to join the project.

To make further inroads, McEvaddy has met with staff from Sen. John McCain’s
office to discuss the tanker project. McCain, R-Ariz., has been a longtime
critic of the Air Force’s tanker hopes, and his approval is seen as an essential
element of any successful tanker plan.

When the Air Force asked aerospace companies for tanker information in late
April, in the first stage of seeking bids, it invited a wide variety of
proposals. The Air Force solicitation asked for information on new planes,
tanker services and also possible overhauls of the existing fleet.

U.S. Alliances

Omega and U.S. engine-maker Pratt & Whitney, part of United Technologies Corp.
(UTX), have said they could join forces on a re-engineering proposal for the Air
Force’s current tanker fleet. Pratt & Whitney acknowledges the alliance, but
says it is willing to work with the Air Force on its own as well.

“If Omega does get into the tanker business, we would be interested in working
with them, depending on what airplanes and what engines they need,” said Bill
Begert, a retired four-star Air Force general who is now Pratt & Whitney’s
vice-president for business development and international programs.

While Begert says there aren’t any teaming arrangements at present, Omega and
Pratt & Whitney do have a standing relationship. The two companies hope to
secure a long-sought contract to re-engine the 19-plane Joint STARS fleet, and
it won an initial competition.

The project was shelved during a budget debate, but the team now appears on
track to secure its victory at long last. The Air Force wouldn’t name its
prospective winner, but a spokesman said the service has a candidate in mind and
will offer a sole-source contract this summer unless it receives another
proposal at the last minute.

If the Air Force warms to Omega’s tanker offering, the company will buy
another 40 DC-10s to add to its bid.

Financing won’t be an issue, McEvaddy says, citing the brothers’ long-term
banking relationships. The brothers also aren’t overly concerned about
short-term returns on their aircraft investments. “We don’t have shareholders to
worry about where the bottom line is the most important thing. We can take
long-term views,” McEvaddy said.

Item 2 Link s to Omega air web pages

Item 3 The stolen aircraft through Shannon

Home from the wars: the odyssey to Pensacola

BW-372's owner of record was now an Irishman named Michael Ryan, who supposedly bought it at auction, had the fuselage cut into two pieces, and flew it out of the country on a Russian transport plane. (I'm told that there was no such auction.) The photo at left was posted on rec.aviation.military by a passer-by who spotted BW-372, apparently on its first morning in Ireland. The plane was under what looks like burlap sacking, with the Finnish Air Force identification number showing through. Soon afterward, the photographer was threatened with legal action, and he removed his picture from the internet. I kept it up, however, figuring that it was honest journalism, and no lawyers came after me.

The trail of tears: Michael Ryan's story
BW-372 was the subject of frantic interest for three months. Then it left the country in very odd circumstances--flown first to Cork Airport in Ireland, thence to Shannon (where the photograph above was taken), and finally to Dublin. As for its exact location, a fair guess was a hangar near Dublin Airport belonging to a pair of companies doing business as VAP. The owner of record is sometimes identified as Michael Ryan as an individual, and sometimes as the Irish Millennium Corporation of County Tipperary.
In March 1999, Mr. Ryan gave a deposition in the U.S. District Court in Lincoln, Nebraska. After eighteen years with the Bank of Ireland--in that country, in the U.S., and in Britain--he went into the real-estate business, and by November 1990 he was working for a company called Irelesto PLC. (Maybe something to do with "Ireland east"?)

Irelesto was set up to sell Russian aircraft and spare parts in partnership with a Russian bank called SBS Agro, at one time the second-largest in the country. The bank's president, Ryan said, was Alexander Smolensky, who was identified by Newsweek as one of "Moscow's most powerful oligarchs." The "oligarchs," the newsmagazine reported, may well have been linked to a money-laundering operation that sucked $7 billion out of Russia from 1996 to 1998--"the law-enforcement equivalent of Myst, the famously opaque computer game" (Newsweek, Feb. 20, 2000).

According to Ryan's deposition, the vice-president of SBS Agro was Valery Zakharenkov, who handled the bank's aircraft enterprise in Ireland. As now organized, it does business as a pair of companies called VAP Group Ltd. and VAP Aviation Group Ltd.. Each, for all practical purposes, is solely owned by Zakharenkov, though Ryan serves on the board of directors. So the most likely resting place for BW-372 is at VAP's hangar-warehouse on Collinstown Cross Road at Dublin Airport.

A rummage through Irish corporate records showed that Millennium Developments Ltd. has its office at 38 Percy Place in Dublin. President is Leslie Ryan, secretary is Michael Ryan, both living at The Rectory, Danohill, Tipperary. The stock appears to be owned by two other companies, Northcote Ltd. and Renmount Ltd., both to be found at 41 Central Chambers, Dame Court, Dublin. (Sounds like a law office. The stock was transferred by the Ryans.) Michael Ryan is also a director of four other companies, some with names associated with BW-372: VAP Group Ltd., VAP Aviation Ltd., Rockets Castle Freight Management Ltd., and Omega Helicopters Ltd. (This stuff is hand-written, and I did a bit of guessing.)

The trail of tears: Gary Villiard's story
Gary Villiard, who was largely responsible for recovering the aircraft, told me that the owners had indeed "relocated" the plane, and that he himself was neither an owner nor a partner of the new owners. Still, I once emailed Mr. Ryan, and his reply came to me on Mr. Villiard's email account! In the same U.S. District Court, there was this confusing dialog on the matter, between attorney Clarence Mock and Mr. Villiard:
Q. Did you receive any financial remuneration from VAP related to the Brewster Buffalo?

A. Have I received any?

Q. Are you owed any?

A. No.

Q. Have you received any?

A. No.

Q. Did you have any financial interest in the Brewster Buffalo recovery from Karilla [sic]?

A. Yes.

Q. What was that?

A. I had a 50 percent interest in the aircraft.

The negotiations begin
In January 2002, BW-372 was shipped to the United States, to be housed in a crate at the shorefront in Mobile, Alabama. Meanwhile it was offered for sale for about $1 million in various trade-a-plane venues, including the online auction house eBay. The National Air & Space Museum was also interested, but NASM has no money to spend nor planes to trade. So the clincher party was always the Museum of Naval Aviation at Pensacola—the same outfit that had originally asked Marvin Kottman to look for a Brewster fighter to add to its collection.
The deal was to swap the plane for three Lockheed P-3 Orion patrol planes that the navy had declared surplus (much as, in 1940, it had declared BW-372 surplus so that it could be sold cheap to Finland with 43 of its brethren). The Brewster's owner could then recoup his expenses—and presumably turn a bit of a profit—by selling these planes on the used-aircraft market. Despite the fantastical chain of companies that supposedly owned BW-372 over the past six years—the most recent being Vintage Holdings—that would be Gary Villiard, with whatever partners he had acquried during the Brewster's odyssey.

In the winter of 2001-02, this promising note appeared on the Commerce Business Daily website: "The Naval Inventory Control Point (NAVICP) Philadelphia is proposing to acquire a Brewster Buffalo (F2A-1) on behalf of the National Museum of Naval Aviation (NMNA) through the Navy's museum exchange program. In exchange, the NAVICP will trade three (3) stricken P3 aircraft currently located at Davis-Monthan Air Force Base in Tucson, Az. The exchange will proceed on or after 06 Dec 2001."

I called the contract officer in Philadelphia, and he confirmed that the Buffalo in question was BW-372. As far as he knew, the plane was still in Ireland, and still belonged to the Millenium corporation, meaning the banker and entrepreneur Michael Ryan who emerged as the plane's owner soon after it was spirited out of Russia. "There are issues to be worked through," the contract officer said--very tactfully, I thought.

After nearly three years of periodic phone calls, we were probably equally delighted that, on August 19, 2004, Steve was finally able to say "I can confirm" that BW-372 was in Pensacola. Interestingly enough, after all the hoo-hah about VAP, Michael Ryan, and Irish Millennium Corp. (see below), the plane's owner turned out to be_surprise!_Gary Villiard.

The museum's director has hinted that the plan is to display BW-372 in its original warpaint, though it seems to be far from settled how much restoration will be done at this time. The fuselage arrived in two pieces, each of which is presently resting on a jig. The engine at this report was still crated, with the propeller wrapped around it as a result of a water landing while it was still turning over. The machine guns are missing--apparently the asking price was too high!

The battle damage is said to be extensive, including the entry wound from one bullet that pierced the leading edge of the port wing and exited out the trailing edge. The kill markings on the tail are visible (including a biplane), along with the "Farting Elk" emblem that was unique to the 2nd Squadron of the LLv 24 fighter group. See the photo of the Brewsters at left, as well as Tal Donaldson's portrait on this site. On BW-372's nose is the lynx emblem worn by all of Llv 24's Brewsters.

In the last week of August, BW-372 was being de-greased and cleaned up. One possibility seems to be that it will simply be treated to preservative measures, re-assembled, and restored as is, perhaps as early as this autumn. The battle damage will remain. (This might be a goodwill gesture to the Finns who so badly want the plane to remain in Finnish Air Force warpaint.) The long-term restoration plans are still very much up in the air.

Fourth Link. From the EPA Web site. Document linking the Whitestown Dump shareholders to the company which brought in the allegedly stolen aircraft through Shannon Airport .

Fifth link

One of the stories linking Louis Moriarty, accused of illegal dumping in whitestown, with Bertie Ahern

author by Shannon CIA Watchpublication date Tue May 01, 2007 21:58author address author phone Report this post to the editors

We need a lot more good investigative work like this to expose some of the corruption and complicity that goes on behind the scenes in the militarisation of Shannon and Ireland's complicity in the Iraq and Afghan wars.
We have heard very little over the last few years on Minister Willie O'Dea's Iraq Oil Shares and his West African diamond shares. I wonder just how much of a profit did he make on these? The Village Magazine was the only media outlet to publish this item. Willie O'Dea suported US military use of Shannon airport in the Dail vote on 20 March 2003 without declaring a vested financial interest in that he stood to make a profit on Iraq oil exploration shares purchased before the war, and according to the Village, sold after the overthrow of the Iraqi government at a huge profit.
He is also reputed to have purchased shares in diamond mining in West Africa around the time that Irish Troops were being deployed to Liberia, while he was Minister for Defence. Purely coincidential of course.
Should these picadellos be election issues? No, they should have been firing issues.

author by Karapublication date Mon May 07, 2007 16:50author address author phone Report this post to the editors

As the last two blogs seem to show links between shannon air magnates and PDs FF FG and labour no wonder this is firmly NOT an election issue!

author by John Cpublication date Tue May 08, 2007 10:27author address author phone Report this post to the editors

For anyone wondering why LAB FG FF PD are ignoring Shannon in policies read the posts above!!!!!

It seems that key people in all may be compromised by their friendships...

author by Mariettapublication date Thu May 31, 2007 03:15author address author phone Report this post to the editors

There cannot be the least doubt that the CIA are beavering away here in Ireland - propaganda of other kinds has worked its way into the gullible, and greedy, minds of some Irish entrepreneurs. Soon Galway's Salthill Airshow will take off again. Local newspapers - two of which, the Galway Advertiser and the Galway Independent - are sponsors of the show, are carrying ads and heavy-duty press releases, while refusing to publish letters against the warshow; there is no problem, apparently, publishing the utterly false attendance figures of 100,000. Nothing like those numbers ever attended the festival. This year the US Thunderbirds display group - boasting its F-16s can be converted to battle-readiness in a very short space of time - will join the brand-new Eurofighter over Galway Bay. There's a competition to see who will attend a 'gala' ball at which you can meet the pilots and the US Ambassador to Ireland, who previously was no stranger to working in the hot sands of Iraq, will be visiting too. In case the gradual militarisation of the 'festival' has been missed, there's a paragraph on the Airshow's website inviting the setting up of stalls at the show (none selling food, however, the merchants of Salthill wouldn't approve) which feature any old military gear, medals, and the rest - but presumably no photos of what F-16s can do to mud-walled villages. The US Thunderbords, who are on a Europe-wide propaganda tour, specifically asked Salthill's organisers if they could be a feature of the festival and naturally Salthill's burghers grovellingly accepted. Galway City Council, which is unable to supply clean water to its citizens, chipped in €15,000 to the festival. There has been no questioning of the constitutionality of using Irish air-space to display the performance capabilities of US or indeed British or Dutch combat aircraft; that is, there is no Irish politician with the balls to do so. Meanwhile, Salthill slowly, behind the backs of the money-jingling Councillors of Galway city and the merchants of the Promenade, turns into a military hardware display show.

author by wageslavepublication date Thu May 31, 2007 22:24author address author phone Report this post to the editors

I'm curious as to exactly where that 15000 goes. Anyone know (perhaps from previous year info)?

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