For gamle radikalere vekker historien minner: CIA driver sitt eget flyselskap som utfører oppdrag amerikanske myndigheter vil ha minst mulig oppmerksomhet rundt, som «renditions», utlevering av fanger til land hvor tortur er standard prosedyre. Dagens selskap heter Aero Contractors. Under Vietnam-krigen ble Air America legendarisk.
Some of the C.I.A. planes have been used for carrying out renditions, the legal term for the agency’s practice of seizing terrorism suspects in one foreign country and delivering them to be detained in another, including countries that routinely engage in torture. The resulting controversy has breached the secrecy of the agency’s flights in the last two years, as plane-spotting hobbyists, activists and journalists in a dozen countries have tracked the mysterious planes’ movements.
Aero Contractors har minst 26 fly, av dem er minst ti innkjøpt siden 2001. Rendtion-trafikken tiltrekker oppmerksomhet, og reiser spørsmål om brudd på folkeretten. Sverige fikk kritikk i den siste Amnesty-rapporten for å ha utlevert mistenkte til Egypt. Her virker det som Aero Contractors var involvert.
The authorities in Italy and Sweden have opened investigations into the C.I.A.’s alleged role in the seizure of suspects in those countries who were then flown to Egypt for interrogation. According to Dr. Georg Nolte, a law professor at the University of Munich, under international law, nations are obligated to investigate any substantiated human rights violations committed on their territory or using their airspace.
Det er tilfeller som dette som bidrar til å gi CIA og Bush a bad name:
Dr. Nolte examined the case of Khaled el-Masri, a German citizen who American officials have confirmed was pulled from a bus on the Serbia-Macedonia border on Dec. 31, 2003, and held for three weeks. Then he was drugged and beaten, by his account, before being flown to Afghanistan.
No public record states how Mr. Masri was taken to Afghanistan. But flight data shows a Boeing Business Jet operated by Aero Contractors and owned by Premier Executive Transport Services, one of the C.I.A.-linked shell companies, flew from Skopje, Macedonia, to Baghdad and on to Kabul on Jan. 24, 2004, the day after Mr. Masri’s passport was marked with a Macedonian exit stamp.
Mr. Masri was later released by order of Condoleezza Rice, the national security adviser at the time, after his arrest was shown to be a case of mistaken identity.
Det har vært flere tilfeller av uskyldige som er «forsvunnet».
The same Gulfstream has been linked – through witness accounts, government inquiries and news reports – to prisoner renditions from Sweden, Pakistan, Indonesia and Gambia
Aero Contractors er bindeleddet i det hemmlige nettverket som bekjemper terror. Her er det strange bedfellows. Som myndighetene i Sudan:
Most recently, flight records show the Boeing Business Jet traveling from Sudan to Baltimore-Washington International Airport on April 17, and returning to Sudan on April 22. The trip coincides with a visit of the Sudanese intelligence chief to Washington that was reported April 30 by The Los Angeles Times.
Spørsmålet er hvilken grad dette samarbeidet binder Washington i andre forhold, f.eks. når det gjelder Khartoums ansvar for Darfur. Eller i tilfellet Syria, hvor syrerne til en viss grad samarbeider mot Al Qaida, men samtidig tillater Baathister eksil i Syria og er møtepunkt for jihadister på vei til Irak. En merkelig konstellasjon.