• December 14, 2014


It was revealed this week that the Lord Advocate of Scotland, Frank Mulholland, has instructed police to analyse the recent CIA report on torture to see if it can assist their ongoing enquiries into the use of Scottish airports for rendition.

Police Scotland started their enquiries last year after research revealed that airports including Edinburgh, Glasgow, Prestwick, Inverness and Wick had been used to refuel aircraft used by the CIA to take victims to places of torture.

Sadly, earlier calls by the Celtic League, a decade ago, to (then) Strathclyde Police to investigate rendition were rebutted and the force continued its evasiveness until just prior to its merger into Police Scotland.

In correspondence to the League DOI in 2013 they said:

“Further, and crucially, this force has previously considered its position in relation to this matter and determined that there was no evidence at that time of any crimes having been committed within the Strathclyde area. Moreover, I can advise that there is an absence of any new information to support an assertion of the commission of any crime, punishable by domestic law, while an aircraft was landed in the Strathclyde area.”

These words may come back to haunt them.

The much redacted CIA report released last week has given a new impetus to those campaigning to ensure that those in the British government who provided support to the CIA torture network should be brought to justice.

There have also been renewed calls in Ireland for that countries shabby role in the rendition torture network to be investigated.

Once again calls by the Celtic League a decade ago for action by Irish authorities fell on deaf ears. Although Irish police at Shannon did speak with the League and were apparently ‘enquiring’ into the issue no actions resulted.

The Department of Justice in Ireland were equally indifferent and in correspondence in 2005 said:

“Notwithstanding the foregoing, it is understood that, in accordance with the 1944 Chicago Convention on International Civil Aviation, there is no requirement on the part of civil aircraft to seek permission to land for technical stops such as refueling purposes. Thousands of such aircraft pass through Ireland every year, and members of the Garda Síochána are fully entitled to search these aircraft if they have a reasonable belief that a crime is being committed on board.

Finally, I would wish to point out, that in December 2005, the Minister for Foreign Affairs received confirmation from US Secretary of State Rice of the assurance that had previously been received from the US authorities, namely, that prisoners had not been transported through Irish airports or airspace, nor would they be, without permission from the Irish authorities.”

Again, given what has since come to light these words may come back to haunt the Irish government.

In addition to possible political culpability in both Britain and Ireland the dereliction of duty by police services should also be the focus of enquiry.

J B Moffatt (Mr)
Director of Information


(Please note that replies to correspondence received by the League and posted on CL News are usually scanned hard copies. Obviously every effort is made to ensure the scanning process is accurate but sometimes errors do occur.)


The Celtic League has branches in the six Celtic Countries. It works to promote cooperation between these countries and campaigns on a broad range of political, cultural and environmental matters. It highlights human rights abuse, monitors all military activity and focuses on socio-economic issues

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