They just got a different tool to use than we do: They kill innocent lives to achieve objectives. That's what they do. And they're good. They get on the TV screens and they get people to ask questions about, well, you know, this, that or the other. I mean, they're able to kind of say to people: Don't come and bother us, because we will kill you. Bush - Joint News Conference with Blair - 28 July '06

Sunday, July 30, 2006

Revealed: Ireland blocked Prestwick US bomb flights

Blair and GBU 28 bombs

Sunday Herald

The two Israeli-bound cargos of US bombs that were expected to refuel at Prestwick Airport last night contained deadly, high-density uranium warheads which represent a serious safety risk to the airport.

The arrival of the bomb cargos at Prestwick has caused a storm of protest, with opposition MPs describing the use of the Scottish airport to re-arm the Israeli offensive in Lebanon as "completely unacceptable".

Anger over the flights was compounded after it emerged that the Irish government refused to allow the US administration to use Shannon Airport for similar shipments to Israel. Dermot Ahern, the Irish foreign affairs minister, said he would block any attempt by the US to transport arms through his country .

A spokeswoman for Ahern told the Sunday Herald: "Minister Ahern did say during the week that permission would not be granted if there was an application made to transport munitions of war to the Middle East."

The bunker-buster weapons, thought to be GBU28 bombs, are being supplied by the US to Israel in a bid to assassinate Hezbollah leader Hassan Nasrallah and other senior militia officials who may be hidden in tunnel networks in southern Lebanon.

The arrival of the first flight yesterday came less than a day after George Bush apologised to Tony Blair over the previous use of Prestwick Airport to refuel two planes carrying bombs to Israel.

Each of the 747 cargo aircraft that were due last night at Prestwick could carry up to 40 two-tonne models of the bunker busters or more than 80 one-tonne models of the laser-guided weapons with high-penetration uranium cores that can drive through rock or reinforced concrete before exploding at up to 5000°C.

Dai Williams, an independent weapons expert with a background in oil industry health and safety, warned the cargos are a major risk to Prestwick Airport. "These are the most horrendously powerful non-nuclear weapons on earth," he said.

The bombs, which can penetrate up to 40 metres underground, are being shipped to Israel via a US military base in Qatar.

Up to 10 more flights are needed to ship the other 400 guided weapons reported to be in the total consignment.

Despite a one-line apology from Bush over a procedural slip up on the first consignments of weapons through Prestwick, the use of the airport has created a rallying point for Scottish opponents of the war.

A demonstration led by Glasgow human rights lawyer Aamer Anwar is expected outside the gates of the airport today. Anwar says the Scottish Executive and Civil Aviation Authority are in clear breach of international law.

The SNP also sought to create mischief by calling on Jack McConnell to intervene, although aviation matters are a Foreign Office responsibility.

Liberal Democrat leader Sir Menzies Campbell said the flights this weekend were "adding insult to injury".

But Tony Blair defended allowing the US to use Prestwick. Speaking on an official visit to San Francisco he told Sky News: "In relation to the issues at Prestwick Airport, we should just apply the rules in the appropriate way, which is what we are doing.

"What happens at Prestwick Airport is not going to determine whether we get a ceasefire in the Lebanon."

And, speaking during a round of TV interviews he told the BBC: "There are procedures we have in place with this. If what people are saying is that we should impose an arms embargo on Israel or indeed on the US I think that would be very curious indeed. I think we should apply the principles we have got and apply them to all countries." Link