Nur al-Cubicle

A blog on the current crises in the Middle East and news accounts unpublished by the US press. Daily timeline of events in Iraq as collected from stories and dispatches in the French and Italian media: Le Monde (Paris), Il Corriere della Sera (Milan), La Repubblica (Rome), L'Orient-Le Jour (Beirut) and occasionally from El Mundo (Madrid).

Thursday, November 17, 2005

Part IV: Extraordinary Renditions

Tail number sightings.

There has been a rash of complaints from our allies concerning the violation of their sovereignty by the United States as reported by Le Monde:
  • On November 15, Norway demanded clarification from the US Embassy in Oslo concerning the stopover on its territory of a CIA prison flight. The weekly Ny Tid reported sighting a US-registered aircraft bearing a tail number known to be associated with aircraft leased by the CIA to ferry suspected Islamist terrorists to underground prisons. The Gulfsteam-III landed on 20 July 2005 at Oslo's international airport, Gardermoen.
  • The Swedish news agency TT reports that the government of Sweden has demanded "complete details" from its civil aviation authority concerning the landings of at least two CIA prison planes in 2002 and 2005. One of the aircraft had made several trips to Guantanamo. Swedish Prime Minister Göran Persson confirms that the CIA prison-planes used airports of Stockholm, Örebro and Malmö.
  • The Moroccan weekly, Le Journal hebdomadaire, reports that an ex-government security agent has informed them that the CIA has been running a torture "subcontracting" operation with Marocco since 2002. The agent also reports that the US brought in prisoners for "enhanced interrogation" on at least 10 occasions.
  • The District Court of Zweibrücken, Germany, has started an investigation into a CIA flight which landed at Ramstein air base in February carrying Abu Omar, who had been kidnapped off the streets of Milan, Italy. The prisoner was then put aboard another aircraft, a Gulfstream, for an "extraordinary rendition" to Egypt.
  • The District Court of Munich, Germany, has opened an investigation of the CIA kidnapping of a German national of Lebanese orgin, Khaled Al-Masri, who was then "rendered" to Afghanistan. He has since been released.
  • In Iceland, television station Stöd 2 reported on Friday that CIA airplanes have landed in Keflavík and Reykjavík at least 67 times since 2001. According to prime minister Halldór Ásgrímsson, the Icelandic government did not know about the flights. Stöd 2 compared information from the Icelandic Flight Authority on stopovers of airplanes in Iceland with information on the airplanes' registration numbers, owner history and current owners. According to the report, airplanes operated by CIA front companies often change registration numbers and move between companies. One airplane that has landed nine times in Iceland, a MacDonald Douglas 82, was registered to the US Ministry of Justice before being registered to CIA front company Alameda Corporation.
  • According to the Danish National Broadcasting Service an Learjet-35 registered to Path Corporation and thought to be a CIA prison-plane landed in Copenhagen on March 7th of this year and continued on to Iceland and Canada.
  • Baltic News Agency BNS affirms that two CIA-chartered aircraft, a Boeing and Gulfstream-5, traversed Lithuanian airspace "dozens of times between 2001 and 2003" on its way to Poland and Afghanistan. Lithuanian air traffic officials referred to the Gulfstream-5 as the Guantanamo Express.
  • An Estonian newspaper confirms that a CIA-chartered Boeing with tail number N313P landed Tallinn on 11 janvier 2003. The Estonian government has denied the presence of a US underground prison on its territory.
  • The weekly Portuguese magazine Focus reported yesterday that a CIA-chartered Boeing and a Gulfstream have been photographed at Oporto and Tires airports near Lisbon.
UN Special Rapporteur on Torture Manfred Nowak (Professor of Constitutional Law and Human Rights at the University of Vienna and Director of the Ludwig Boltzmann Institute of Human Rights) demands that the European Union conduct an inquiry "at the highest levels" into the range the accusations. An investigation in member states by the Council of Europe has been announced.


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