[News] Huge stash of rendition documents reveal how the CIA covered its tracks

Anti-Imperialist News news at freedomarchives.org
Thu Sep 1 10:12:10 EDT 2011

Huge stash of rendition documents reveal how the CIA covered its tracks

A trove of new information about the 
international renditions business has today been 
unveiled by legal action charity Reprieve.

Over 1500 operational and legal documents, 
originally disclosed as part of a New York court 
case fought from 2007 to 2011, now offer the 
first comprehensive overview of how the CIA’s 
unlawful programme of ‘extraordinary renditions’ 
– otherwise known as kidnap - was structured and managed.

Reprieve’s evidence shows how:
    * A complicated billing chain obscured the 
ultimate end user of the flights -- the CIA
    * The US government used the same aircraft – 
tail number N85VM, owned by Liverpool FC owner 
Philip Morse -- for over 55 flights to Guantanamo 
Bay, Kabul, Bangkok, Dubai, Islamabad, Cairo, 
Baghdad, Djibouti, Rabat, Frankfurt, Ramstein, 
Rome, Tenerife, the Azores and Bucharest
    * The plane, a Gulfstream jet, frequently 
passed through British and Irish airports en 
route, including Shannon, Glasgow, Edinburgh and London Luton
    * Richmor executives used disturbing newspeak 
to describe the ghost prisoners that they were 
shuttling to torture sites, referring to them as "invitees"
    * All rendition flights were covered by a 
"letter of convenience" from the State Department
    * The CIA continued to pay millions to cover 
its its tracks well after its illegal 
rendition-to-torture programme was made public
The documents also add previously unseen detail 
to several notorious rendition cases, including 
that of Abu Omar, snatched in Milan in February 
2003 and rendered to torture in Egypt - a case 
which culminated in the in absentia kidnapping 
conviction of 22 CIA operatives by an Italian judge.

Reprieve’s Legal Director Cori Crider said:

  “These documents give us an unprecedented 
insight into how the government outsourced 
renditions, right down to the complicated 
paper-trail the CIA used to cover their tracks.

“When you see all these details, litigated for 
years in the open, the question that comes to 
mind is: why were Binyam Mohamed, Bisher al-Rawi, 
and all the other rendition victims denied their 
day in court? This case proves, once and for all, 
that the reason the government blocked the 
rendition cases was not to protect sensitive 
material. It was to avoid embarrassment.”

Notes to editors:

For further information please contact Donald 
Campbell or Katherine O'Shea in Reprieve’s press 
<mailto:donald.campbell at reprieve.org.uk>donald.campbell at reprieve.org.uk 
/ +44 (0)20 7427 1082 / (0)77 91 755 415 or 
<mailto:katherine.oshea at reprieve.org.uk>katherine.oshea at reprieve.org.uk 
/ 07931592674.

In an effort to diversify the planes available to 
it, the US Government sought, as early as 2002, 
private aircraft which could perform 
government-related operations under "certificates 
of convenience" issued by the State Department. 
The operations of one such plane - Gulfstream jet 
N85VM, managed by Richmor Aviation and owned by 
Philip Morse, also the owner of Liverpool 
football club - are copiously divulged in over 
1500 pages of documents, which have seen the 
light of day after Richmor Aviation filed a lawsuit for breach of contract.

Astonishingly, whereas in the case brought in 
2007 by the American Civil Liberties Union 
against flight planner Jeppesen for facilitating 
torture flights the government stepped in and 
used "state secrets privilege" to shut down 
proceedings, in this parallel instance no effort 
was made to cover up the incriminating stream of 
documentation which Richmor's suit entailed.

Flights were arranged by a Virginia-based private 
military company, Dyncorp, which later merged 
with the technology company Computer Sciences 
Corporation (CSC). Employees at Dyncorp/CSC 
located brokers, who in turn located flight 
operators with available aircraft and crews. The 
government - the ultimate customer - paid a 
reduced hourly rate for exclusive rights to the 
services of Richmor's N85VM, initially over a 
six-month period between June and November 2002. 
A working arrangement between the various parties 
continued through to 2005, however.

Trial transcripts make clear that some of N85VM's 
flights carried prisoners or - in the parlance of 
Richmor's owner - "invitees". Others took US 
government agents to Guantanamo Bay. Bundles of 
invoices reveal previously unseen insights into 
flights which can be connected with the rendition 
of Abu Omar as well as those of "high value 
detainees" Abd al-Rahim al-Nashiri and Hambali.

High-value detainee Al-Nashiri was captured in 
Dubai in October 2002. He was then taken to a CIA 
prison in Afghanistan. Between 8 and 11 Nov. 
2002, documents disclosed here show the N85VM 
flew from Washington DC to Shannon in Ireland, 
then to Dubai, on to Kabul, then back to Dubai, 
passing through London Luton and arriving finally 
back in Washington. Abu Omar, meanwhile, having 
been taken from Milan to a US military base in 
Ramstein in Germany, was flown on 18 February 
2003 on N85VM from there to Cairo; the plane then 
returned to the US via Shannon.

Although some data concerning the movement of 
N85VM had already been compiled, the documents 
disclosed here include considerable extra detail 
and some previously unknown destinations. 
Reprieve investigators are working to identify 
other prisoners who might have been connected 
with other, previously unknown flights documented here.

Reprieve logo
PO Box 52742
London EC4P 4WS
Tel: 020 7353 4640
Fax: 020 7353 4641

Reprieve is a charitable company limited by 
guarantee; Registered Charity No. 1114900 
Registered Company No. 5777831 (England) 
Registered Office 2-6 Cannon Street London EC4M 
6YH; Chair: Ken Macdonald QC; Patrons: Alan 
Bennett, Julie Christie, Martha Lane Fox, Gordon 
Roddick, Richard Rogers, Ruth Rogers, Jon Snow, 
Marina Warner, Vivienne Westwood

Freedom Archives
522 Valencia Street
San Francisco, CA 94110

415 863-9977

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