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Rendition at Shannon?

The chief inspector of the Garda Siochana Inspectorate indicated (“Irish Timesâ€?, 8th November) she will examine the findings of forthcoming Irish Human Rights Commission report on US “renditionâ€? through Shannon airport. She then remarked that

… you can count on me being on the human rights bandwagon.

She appears to be saying that if she gets evidence of US rendition through Shannon the Garda Siochana will take action. Of course she may not be actually saying that; her phrase

… if we think it appropriate at any time in the future to look at that we will… policing is all about human rights.

is not the fullest form of commitment possible on such an issue.

Furthermore she is unlikely to have to face any dilemma in the future on the issue.

On 7th October 2004, Dermot Ahern the Minister for Foreign Affairs told the Dail,

The Government has no information to indicate that prisoners are being transported through Irish airports to and from Guantanamo or elsewhere.

The reason for this is that, as he went on to say,

Furthermore, the US authorities have confirmed to our Embassy in Washington that they have not been using Irish ariports for this purpose and that they would not seek to use Irish airports for this purpose in the future without seeking the authorisation of the Irish authorities.

In fact the record of the Garda Siochana on the issue is not without merit.

However, the US record on the avoidance of reprehensible behaviour on the point is not good.

In United States v Alvarez-Machain ([1992] 504 U.S. 655), it transpired that US agents had kidnapped the accused in Mexico and flew him to the US to face criminal charges there. The US Supreme Court disregarded the relevance of international law generally and decided the issue in favour of the US state on an interpretation of the Extradition Treaty between the US and Mexico. (The Mexican view was well known; they had lodged several diplomatic protests with the US).

In addition the US Government, through Theodore B. Olson has argued that

…notwithstanding their rarity, extraterritorial law enforcement actions without public cooperation by foreign governments are sometimes critical to the administration of justice and national security.

Well, he didn’t actually claim it was lawful, but the idea that what the US government tells the Irish government must be accepted in good faith is dead in the water.


  1. I saw some footage once of Donald Rumsfeld singing ‘Danny Boy’.

    It was an extraordinary rendition.

  2. An Garda Siochana are not the world police. We dont arrest US agents for kidnapping someone in Afghanistan.

    If they kidnapped someone in Ireland An Garda Siochana would have authority to act.