Blog Flux Directory Subscribe in NewsGator Online Subscribe with Bloglines Blog directory
And, yes, I DO take it personally: Aero Contractors = Air Torture...?
Mandy: Great blog!
Mark: Thanks to all the contributors on this blog. When I want to get information on the events that really matter, I come here.
Penny: I'm glad I found your blog (from a comment on Think Progress), it's comprehensive and very insightful.
Eric: Nice site....I enjoyed it and will be back.
nora kelly: I enjoy your site. Keep it up! I particularly like your insights on Latin America.
Alison: Loquacious as ever with a touch of elegance -- & right on target as usual!
"Everybody's worried about stopping terrorism. Well, there's a really easy way: stop participating in it."
- Noam Chomsky
Send tips and other comments to: /* ---- overrides for post page ---- */ .post { padding: 0; border: none; }

Saturday, August 26, 2006

Aero Contractors = Air Torture...?

sounds like it...

Torture at CIA secret sites is illegal. So too is the practice of the CIA transporting suspects to other countries where torture tactics are commonplace.

To expose and halt such goings-on, members of Stop Torture Now and Code Pink gathered last November at a rural airport in Smithfield, N.C., about 40 miles from Raleigh. Their target was Aero Contractors, a charter airline company. The activists insist that from this bucolic setting and another small airport in Kinston, N.C., called Global Transpark (GTP), Aero runs “torture taxis”—secret rendition flights for the CIA.


Aero’s planes stop first at Dulles or at CIA facilities in Virginia to pick up flight plans, then fly to Ireland to refuel, and from there to countries such as Britain, Italy, Sweden, Pakistan, Germany, Bosnia, Macedonia, Morocco and Turkey to collect the suspects. On the final lap, they deliver the human cargo for interrogation to countries such as Egypt, Syria, Jordan, Afghanistan and until last year, Uzbekistan—all cited in U.S. State Department reports as having unclean hands when it comes to human rights.

The flights have been documented by Amnesty International and the Council of Europe (COE) Parliamentary Assembly on Human Rights in 2006 reports. To verify the dates and routes, investigators have used a global network of “plane spotters” who stake out positions near runways where they photograph Aero take-offs and landings, and they write down the tail numbers of the otherwise unmarked craft. They then match the numbers with airport and aircraft logs obtained through Freedom of Information Act requests.

why hasn't this come to a halt...? why is our government still pretending it isn't happening...? why are they still trying to hide it...?
Why the front companies? To maintain deniability about renditions and secret prisons, the CIA contracts with Aero to fly the planes. As part of the ruse, the craft are registered as “owned” by shell companies: None list boards of directors, phone numbers or e-mail addresses. Their only identifications are post office box numbers. Moreover, the names change nearly every year. Thus, the Boeing 737 that Aero “leases” were “owned” by Stevens Leasing Company in 2001, “sold” to Premier Executives in 2002, and “re-sold” to Keeler and Tate Management in 2004. Each time, new tail numbers are painted over the old, to make the planes harder to track.

Also, the CIA uses civilian charter airlines because, under international law, private companies don’t need to reveal the nature of their trips to the countries where they refuel or fly over, while military planes must declare the names of their crews, flight plans, passengers and cargo. As a civilian charter, Aero is not asked for this information.

Another clue: According to Amnesty International, Aero has “CALP” rights (Civil Aircraft Landing Permits)—enjoyed by just 10 other charter companies—which allow it to land at U.S. military bases around the globe.

plausible deniability, my ass...
The U.S. government flatly denies it engages in torture. In December 2005, Secretary of State Condoleeza Rice stated, “The U.S. does not permit or condone torture…or transport detainees from one country to another for the purpose of torture.” She added, “where appropriate, the U.S. seeks assurances that transferred persons will not be tortured.”

Mounting evidence, however, suggests the contrary. Indeed, in the “global war on terror,” torture is very much on the table. Amnesty International, the Council of Europe and Human Rights Watch describe case after case of terror suspects held incommunicado in secret detention centers, tortured, and kept out of the reach of the International Red Cross, lawyers or human rights groups. The United Nations human rights panel is also convinced of the abuses and demanded in July that the U S. close its secret prisons.

and we wonder why the rest of the world is turning its back on the u.s... does our government really believe that the citizens of other countries don't KNOW what's going on...? cuz if they do, they're sadly mistaken... most of those folks know more, sometimes quite a BIT more, than folks in the u.s...

(thanks to guest columnist, barbara koeppel, at robert parry's consortium news...)

Submit To Propeller

And, yes, I DO take it personally home page