Sunday, June 10, 2007

Torture Flights Still Land In UK, Despite Official Denial

By Cernig
The picture above is of a plane that has been identified by the European Parliament as involved in 'ghost flights' to smuggle terrorist suspects to shadowy interrogation centres abroad. It is in the process of landing at RAF Mildenhall in Suffolk last weekend. Immediately upon landing, it was surrounded by armed guards, say witnesses.

This despite the official claim by UK police chiefs just the other day that there is no evidence CIA rendition flights have ever used UK airports. That's because, as the director of Liberty revealed, the Association of Chief Police Officers limited themselves to a review of media reports in a deliberate attempt to spin the evidence.

The Daily Mail followed up on the plane's ownership and other details. Can you guess who it belongs to?
A report last November by a European Parliament committee placed the plane - registration number N964BW - on a list of "companies and aircraft used by the CIA for extraordinary rendition flights". The plane was previously registered with the Bolivian army, and has been pictured on the ground in the Afghan capital Kabul within the past year.

The American Federal Aviation Authority lists the plane as being operated by two companies, Aviation World Wide Services and a sister company, Presidential Airways.

The European Parliament report describes these as shell companies operating as subsidiaries of Blackwater USA, "an important contractor for the CIA and the US military" which bases the planes in Malta.

Research by a further group, The American Centre for Media and Democracy, claims that flight-tracking internet technology shows the plane landed at least twice in the first six months of 2006 at Camp Peary, the U.S. naval reservation in Virginia known as The Farm and widely alleged to be a CIA training facility.

Tracking technology shows that the plane was en route from Canada to Greenland two days before it was sighted at Mildenhall: the internet software does not extend beyond American airspace, but the expert explained that its route would be consistent with a refuelling stop in the Arctic - it only has a range of about 2,000 miles - followed by a further refuel in East Anglia, before heading to Malta.

From there it could 'leapfrog' from US bases in the the former Soviet states bordering Afghanistan on to Kabul.

A recent book on Blackwater by Jeremy Scahill, an American author, described the company as the world's "most secretive and powerful mercenary firm", carrying out quasi-military operations on behalf of the U.S. government in Iraq, Afghanistan and within the U.S.

It was founded in 1997 by Erik Prince, a former elite Navy Seal and fundamentalist Christian millionaire who bankrolls far-Right causes.
That just figures. That a supposed Christian (Bush) could hand another supposed Christian (Prince) a contract to profit from carting people around the globe to be tortured. Their hypocrisy knows no bounds.

Hat tip on this story goes to WW at The Agonist, who has the link to a full hour long BBC documentary on the CIA illegal rendition program in Europe.
Nearly every second is compelling. Eyewitness accounts with airport personnel in Poland, tracking of CIA Aircraft N379P, accounts of attempts to frame Padilla, face time with Dick Marty, interview with former head of the CIA in Europe Tyler Drumheller, details of the Masri rendition and more, much more, compiled into typical BBC style.

It's simply the most strikingly undeniable report I've ever seen to date. You probably already know the story of CIA renditions in Europe is blowing open. Denials all over the place, lawsuits, reports that the program has simply moved to Ethiopia, Morocco, Kyrgyzstan, elsewhere.
As WW says, you won't see anything like this from the tame US media.

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