Billing Dispute Opens Unexpected Window on Secret CIA Kidnapping Flights
Friday, September 02, 2011
One problem with entrusting the secret transport of detainees to private companies is that the process may end up spilling information about clandestine operations, if issues of money arise.
This development now plagues the CIA, whose contractors involved in the Bush administration’s extraordinary rendition program have been squabbling over billing matters in a New York courtroom.
Rendition is the practice of bypassing due process to seize a suspect in a foreign country and transport him to another country where there is a warrant for his arrest. Extraordinary rendition is the practice of seizing a suspect and transporting him to another country for interrogation, even though he is not wanted for a crime.
Included in the court records are pages of itineraries and invoices that paint a picture of where Bush-era black-ops flights went and when.
For example, the court filings revealed that some CIA rendition flights traveled to Shannon, Ireland, Glascow, Scotland, Bucharest, Romania; Baku, Azerbaijan; Cairo and Sharm el Sheik, Egypt; Djibouti; Islamabad, Pakistan; Damascus, Syria; Amman, Jordan; Rabat, Morocco; and Tripoli, Libya.
Some details provide specifics, such as on August 12, 2003, a Gulfstream IV aircraft with six passengers flew from Dulles International Airport in Washington, DC, to Cold Bay, Alaska, then onto Osaka, Japan, and finally Bangkok, Thailand.
On the way back, the plane visited Afghanistan, Sri Lanka, the United Arab Emirates and Ireland. The Washington Post surmised from this information that the plane may have transported Indonesian terrorist Riduan Isamuddin (a.k.a. Hambali), who was captured in Thailand before spending three years in various CIA secret prisons. He is currently being held at Guantánamo Bay.
The companies involved in the billing dispute regarding the covert flights were the aircraft brokerage firm SportsFlight Air, which organized extraordinary rendition flights for DynCorp, and Richmor Aviation, provider of small jets. DynCorp, as it turns out, was the main contractor in charge of secret flights.
The Washington Post, the Associated Press and the British newspaper, The Guardian, published stories about the court-exposed documents only after the London-based legal charity, Reprieve, got wind of what was going on in the Columbia County case between SportsFlight and Richmor.
-Noel Brinkerhoff, David Wallechinsky
Court Case Reveals Details of Secret Flights (by Stephen Braun, Associated Press)
N.Y. Billing Dispute Reveals Details of Secret CIA Rendition Flights (by Peter Finn and Julie Tate, Washington Post)
Mundane Bills Bring CIA's Rendition Network into Sharper Focus (by Ben Quinn and Ian Cobain, The Guardian)
Appeals Court Gives Bush and Obama 6-5 Victory in Right to Torture Case (by David Wallechinsky and Noel Brinkerhoff, AllGov)
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