Norris: CIA 'using Baldonnel airport'

The CIA is using Baldonnel airport as a stop-over for planes carrying terror suspects, it was claimed today.

Independent Senator David Norris also told an Oireachtas Committee that the Defence Department was sending fuel bills from the Air Corps headquarters in west Dublin to CIA shadow companies in central Africa.

Mr Norris also branded US president George Bush and Secretary of State Condoleeza Rice as liars on the issue.

The Joint Oireachtas Committee on Foreign Affairs earlier heard submissions from the Mid-West Alliance against the War which claimed Shannon Airport was facilitating the stopover of CIA military planes carrying prisoners en route to alleged torture camps elsewhere.

Mr Norris told the committee: “There is now speculation that the CIA is using Baldonnel for these rendition flights and that the Department of Defence is sending bills for the fuel to CIA shadow companies at post office box numbers in Central Africa.

“This is the extent to which our involvement is mired further in this appalling filth.”

Mr Norris said Mr Bush and Ms Rice has misled the public on the rendition flights issue.

“George Bush and Condleeza Rice are confirmed, consistent and deliberate liars. They have lied and we know this perfectly well.”

Seanad leader Mary O’Rourke said: “There have been incidents of which we would not be proud as a country. The democratic process benefits from people questioning things. We’re not all cloned dolly sheep bobbing our heads up and down.”

The US Ambassador has been invited to appear before the committee, but Senator O’Rourke said she expected him to attend.

“He’s an employee of the State Department and he takes his orders and does his job,” she said.

Greens chairman John Gormley said George Bush was a puppet of a neo-conservative troupe in the White House.

“The war is continuing in Iraq with horrendous casualties, mostly the citizens of that country,” he said.

Senator Pascal Mooney said the removal of former Iraqi leader Saddam Hussein was a good thing and he pointed to the 80% voter turnout for the recent democratic elections in the country.

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