The picture that proves ‘torture flights’ are STILL landing in the UK

Daily Mail | Jun 9, 2007

toture_plane
 
This flight was spotted landing at a UK airport – proof that ‘rendition ‘ flights are still taking place

The picture that proves ‘torture flights’ are STILL landing in the UK

By GLEN OWEN

The row over CIA ‘torture flights’ using British airports has deepened following fresh evidence that a plane repeatedly linked to the controversial programme landed in the UK just days ago.

The plane was logged arriving at RAF Mildenhall in Suffolk last weekend, and watching aviation experts said the aircraft, piloted by crew clad in desert fatigues, was immediately surrounded on the runway by armed American security forces.

Its registration number, clearly visible on the fuselage, identifies it as a plane which the European Parliament says has been involved in ‘ghost flights’ to smuggle terrorist suspects to shadowy interrogation centres abroad. Records show the plane is owned by Blackwater USA, a CIA contractor described as ‘the most secretive and powerful mercenary army on the planet’. An eyewitness, who previously worked as an RAF electronic warfare expert, said that as the plane – a CASA-212 Aviocar – taxied to a stop on the runway it was met by a US military Humvee.

The vehicle contained four US security policemen armed with M16 assault rifles, who accompanied the camouflaged crew to the airport terminal.

The man, who did not want to be identified, added: “I thought it was curious that they would give a civilian plane an armed guard.”

Another spotter, who took the picture of it landing, recorded it touching down at 4.36pm on Saturday.

The disclosure follows damning findings by the Council of Europe human rights organisation, which accused Tony Blair on Friday of colluding in a CIA operation to run secret prisons in Poland and Romania by allowing the agency to use UK airports.

The study was contradicted on the same day by a report from the Association of Chief Police Officers (ACPO), which concluded that there was no evidence to support the claims.

But the director of the human rights group Liberty revealed that ACPO had admitted it restricted its inquiry to a review of media reports on the issue.

She accused them of rushing out their ‘cursory’ findings as part of a politically-motivated ‘spin’ operation.

The US plane’s arrival was also logged by Touchdown News, a group of enthusiasts who record the movements of military aircraft at RAF Mildenhall and RAF Lakenheath.

The group said the plane used its civilian call sign when talking to air traffic control and took off again early on the morning of Sunday June 3, flying east.

A report last November by a European Parliament committee placed the plane – registration number N964BW – on a list of ‘companies and aircraft used by the CIA for extraordinary rendition flights’. The plane was previously registered with the Bolivian army, and has been pictured on the ground in the Afghan capital Kabul within the past year.

The American Federal Aviation Authority lists the plane as being operated by two companies, Aviation World Wide Services and a sister company, Presidential Airways.

The European Parliament report describes these as shell companies operating as subsidiaries of Blackwater USA, ‘an important contractor for the CIA and the US military’ which bases the planes in Malta.

Research by a further group, The American Centre for Media and Democracy, claims that flight-tracking internet technology shows the plane landed at least twice in the first six months of 2006 at Camp Peary, the US naval reservation in Virginia known as The Farm and widely alleged to be a CIA training facility.

Tracking technology shows that the plane was en route from Canada to Greenland two days before it was sighted at Mildenhall: the internet software does not extend beyond American airspace, but the expert explained that its route would be consistent with a refuelling stop in the Arctic – it only has a range of about 2,000 miles – followed by a further refuel in East Anglia, before heading to Malta.

n964bw_flight-path

From there it could ‘leapfrog’ from US bases in the the former Soviet states bordering Afghanistan on to Kabul.

A recent book on Blackwater by Jeremy Scahill, an American author, described the company as the world’s “most secretive and powerful mercenary firm”, carrying out quasi-military operations on behalf of the US government in Iraq, Afghanistan and within the US.

It was founded in 1997 by Erik Prince, a former elite Navy Seal and fundamentalist Christian millionaire who bankrolls far-Right causes.

This newspaper first cast doubt on the Government’s claim to have no knowledge of the CIA’s activities 18 months ago when we published pictures of three planes at Scottish airports which had been linked by human rights activists to rendition.

erik_prince

Erik Prince, founder of the Blackwater mercenary firm

Flight records showed the planes had been given landing rights by the MoD, despite there being no record of passenger lists or details of the purpose of the flights.

The Council of Europe dossier, compiled by Swiss senator Dick Marty, said the US had used Britain’s help to establish a “global spider’s web” of jails and airports to pursue a war on terror without rules.

It claimed the secret centres had been set up so it could use interrogation techniques amounting to torture which are illegal in the US.

These include “waterboarding” – the dunking of blindfolded suspects so they believe they are drowning – solitary confinement, shackling in confined cells and exposure of naked captives to extremes of heat, cold and noise.

Separately, the Washington Post newspaper has reported that mercenaries working for Blackwater were at the centre of an infamous firefight in Iraq in April 2004 when guarding the US headquarters in Najaf – despite never having applied to operate as a private security company in the country, The report said that in the battle, footage of which circulated on the internet, the troops had opened fire on Shia Iraqi civilians protesting outside, unleashing rounds so rapidly they had to pause every 15 minutes to allow their gun barrels to cool down.

In his book, Scahill claims that the Blackwater employees in the country are using ‘experimental ammunition’ made of ‘blended metal, which shatter on impact to create untreatable wounds’. Shami Chakrabati, the director of Liberty, alleges that 210 CIA flights carrying terrorist suspects for possible torture have entered Britain since 2001.

She called for a full investigation, claiming the ACPO probe was unsatisfactory.

“ACPO have admitted to me in a private letter that their investigation amounted to little more than a cursory review of reports on the issue – which they issued, 18 months after I requested it, to coincide with the Council of Europe’s report,” she said.

“Maybe now The Mail on Sunday has produced this photographic evidence they will conduct a proper inquiry.”

An ACPO spokeswoman said: “These planes could be empty – there is no evidence that prisoners were on board.”

She denied Liberty’s claim that their inquiry had been limited and driven by spin.

“There has been a full examination to see if there was any evidence to suggest criminal activity, and there wasn’t,” she said.

A Foreign Office spokeswoman said: “We have been through the records, and there is no evidence of detainees being rendered through the UK since 1997.”

No one at RAF Mildenhall was available for comment.

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33 responses to “The picture that proves ‘torture flights’ are STILL landing in the UK

  1. The CASA 212 story is likely to be nonsense; the plane is very short range and not suitable for flights “between the Middle East and USA”.

    Hoax, anyone?

  2. John Sandman

    Maybe a HOAX but let us calculate:

    The straight line distance between Narsarsuaq and Mildenhall Royal Air Force Base is approximately 1799 miles or 2896 kilometers.
    Source:
    http://www.findlocalweather.com/forecast.php?forecast=pass&pass=distances&dpp=0&pands1x=narsarsuaq&pands2x=egun&Find+distance=How+far+is+it%3F

    The maximum range of the plane:
    “While the basic CASA design remains, the AAD air transport team modified some of its specifications to cope with the unique Antarctic conditions and to give maximum support to the Australia science program. Extra fuel tanks were added to extend the range of travel from 1500 nautical miles to around 2300, taking the plane beyond the practical reaches of helicopters or ground traverses.
    Source:
    http://www.environment.gov.au/minister/ps/2004/psmr26apr04.html

    So with extra tanks the distance is no problem.

    However, I see in the Muslims as security threat NOT only to the United States of America.
    They do not adapt to other religions.

    Therefor I have fully sympathy how this people are treated!

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  4. John,
    The CASA’s range is in the neighborhood of 1000nm for the -400 series and 850nm for the earlier ones– just adding extra tanks is not a standard modification for civil aircraft, and the mods would need to be registered with the American FAA, which they are not. Meanwhile, an unrefueled trip to Kabul is over 3000nm.

    The question is not if this plane flew from the US to UK, which it clearly did, probably with a stop in Iceland for fuel. The question is if this aircraft is continuing to carry detainees. Being that Blackwater, the airplane’s owner, is a major US contractor, and clearly does a large number of missions for the US gov’t, that is not necessarily the case. Okay, so a Blackwater plane landed at a US military facility… this is not groundbreaking news. This photo proves nothing, except that Blackwater is still working for the US– which everyone acknowledges anyway.

  5. Oh, by the way:
    http://www.prnewswire.com/cgi-bin/stories.pl?ACCT=104&STORY=/www/story/06-14-2007/0004608404&EDATE=

    There’s a reason the link above to the Daily Mail is dead.

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  8. All the flight details seem quite irrelavent in light the actual existence of an organization like Blackwater. Take a closer look at Mr. Prince’s countenance and then think about that “blended metal” ordinance and then consider his spiritual pursuation (“Dominionist Christian”). Flight plans? Who cares? These people are nuts — and coming to a town near you any day now.

  9. Thanks God Blackwater exists. Damned liberals are too stupid and the government has too much red tape to actually do anything substantial. As far as I can tell, liberals and groups like MoveOn are just as bad as Al Qaeda, they’re getting soldiers killed every day.

  10. Sorry friend, you have been deceived. Only your pride gets in the way of seeing the truth. Or maybe worse. The real traitors to the American Republic are those who sent our troops and mercs into Iraq based on UN resolutions and manipulated intelligence. They planned it for years before Bush even got into office (PNAC and Grand Chessboard) and Bush was ready to move on Iraq ten days after his first inauguration. You have been duped. I reach out to you and ask you to think and do some research before you make such categorical statements. Let the damned Liberals spout their Anti-American rhetoric. What is more important is that you see who the real perpetrators of anti-Americanism are: CFR (Cheney was a director of it!), Bilderberg, Skull and Bones, Masons, Knights of Malta, aristocratic secret societies etc. They are the ones who put Saddam into power (see Rumsfeld’s hanshake with Saddam) and they are the ones who originally staged every major war in the 20th century and in this one. They are the ones who gave China their economic and military capability. They are the ones who are setting up a North American Union, thus detroying our sovereignty. They are the ones who are tearing up our Constitution and Bill of Rights, and did you know that the military oath is to protect THE CONSTITUTION from enemies foreign and DOMESTIC? It is not about protecting the government or those who run it. It is about protecting the very basis of your independence and freedom. And do you know that these same bastards staged 9/11? If you don’t you need to start waking up and doing some damn research for a change. Please, don’t blindly follow the leader.

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  12. If this person could take a picture of the plane landing why not a picture of it being met by the humvee or a picture of someone bound being taken into the humvee.

    this story, although I agree with its basis, is just plane smelly.

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  14. You ought to have an easy form for forwarding your articles as does Truthout, News with Views, and others. One that does not require all that crap like STMP, etc., etc. because some of us go to internet shops and don’t have that info.

  15. Eric Prince and his Quixtar/Amway sister, Mrs. Dick DeVos give Christianity a bad name.

  16. There are a whole lot of unseemly, criminal and scandalous connections with BUSA operations chief, fmr Inspector Gen of the DoD Joseph E. Schmitz also, not to mention he is Opus Dei and a Knight of Malta. These are treasonous psychopaths working for organized crime, period. They have nothing to do with defending the US. Their only interest is in making boatloads of cash while they murder innocents and implement the New World Order enslavement of the masses.

  17. Who Would Jesus Torture?

    One of the more peculiar aspects of the views of most Conservatives on torture is their propensity for dubious scenarios. For instance: Suppose you knew for certain…Only God knows anything for certain. And if God has told you—for certain that someone knows where the bomb is—then why doesn’t He tell you where the bomb is—for certain. Are you saying God wants you to torture people?

    On closer inspection the favored Conservative scenario for torture reveals a curious conclusion. It begins: suppose we knew for certain that a certain man knows exactly where a nuclear weapon is and we also know for certain that torturing the man would reveal the information in time for us to disarm the bomb. For certain.

    Interesting scenario. Very instructive. Let us tweak the scenario a bit. Suppose you hit the terror cell that planted the bomb and everyone was dead except for one small, female child. The child is a true believer who is quite certain that you are an infidel. As I understand Conservative logic, most Conservatives would torture the child. This was recently reinforced by a certain Aryan on Aryan talk radio. We shall give the Aryan a code name: Wild Pig on His Knees. Wild Pig on His Knees was driven to read a letter from a waitress on the air. In the letter the waitress said that she hated children. Wild Pig on His Knees is one of the Gang of Three Aryans who populate the Conservative wing of Aryan Radio. This Gang of Three say what many Conservatives believe but fear to utter. Namely that they believe that Jack Bauer style torture should be the rule not exception against enemies of the United States and people they dislike or disapprove of. Wild Pig on His Knees is especially vocal in his denunciation of people who do not meet the Aryan ideal. He has repeatedly stated that certain people should not have the right to vote, have children or even to saved by firemen from a fire. Rather like Adolf Hitler, Wild Pig on His Knees believes he has the right to determine which human life is worthwhile and which is not. Or as he renders it: He believes he is the sole arbiter of who is stupid.
    While the words of Aryan Radio hosts such as Wild Pig on His knees seem outrageous enough, what is truly outrageous is how the Conservative government acts on those words. There are people that anyone who is either honest or intelligent would conclude have been tortured either by our government or by governments they were rendered to. Governments with a history of torture. It is instructive to note that all the victims who honest people believe have been tortured are of either a different race or a different religion than the President. Moreover, the only US citizens who have been held incommunicado in a manner inconsistent with the US constitution because they were suspected to be terrorists were of either a different race or a different religion than the President. Looks like an Aryan principle is involved here.

    But I digress. What is that surprising principle that we can garner from the way Aryans like Wild Pig on His Knees salivate over torture? First I thought the principle was that they would torture anyone even a small child to save their own hides. In fact, I went further down this road. Suppose you know for certain that torturing one innocent person to death would stop a nuclear bomb from going off or reveal the position of that bomb to you. If a conservative is in charge then that innocent will not see her next birthday.

    Is that all there is I asked myself? Is this where torture ends? Then I realized something. All of our enemies now know that as long as Conservatives are in charge torture as a means to extract information is in effect. The only thing more certain that is that lying about torture is also in effect. Conservatives lie about torture in two ways. First they try to redefine torture. For Conservatives there is one and only one reason to redefine torture. Conservatives want to get away with torturing people. The second form of lying that conservatives do about torture is denial. To hear this type of lying just walk up to the nearest administration official and ask them if they are torturing anyone. Let the lies begin.

    Ok, so our enemies know that Conservative equals torture and that the conservatives now hold the executive branch of government. How will our adversaries behave? Given what are enemies say they believe, they would be more than willing to sacrifice their own to prove a point. So one might imagine that our adversaries would send out cells each of whom is certain they know the correct location of a nuclear device. Each member or the cell is sworn to secrecy not to reveal the information even under torture. Conservatives believe their Nazi derived means of torture are fool proof and would work on anyone. If the Conservatives are right then after the cells are discovered the false locations would be revealed. All of the locations would be under surveillance by human and electronic means. So the revelation of the locations would be confirmation that information has been extracted by means of torture. One can imagine that our adversaries might let this happen many times before coming to a conclusion. What conclusion would that be? Why don’t we let Conservatives tell us what that conclusion would be or what our enemies would do next? Conservatives believe themselves to be so good at predicting the future. If you say you know for certain that a certain man knows where the bomb is and you furthermore know for certain that torturing him will reveal the location then you are saying you can predict the future. Why Conservative prognosticators must be almost as good as those global warming types who tell us we must live in cold caves and eat grass because they can predict exactly what will happen 1000 years from now. Even though we can’t accurately predict the current hurricane season.
    It would not surprise me if conservatives tried to say something like: you’re giving our enemies ideas they would not otherwise have had. If so, this would betray either the ignorance or the stupidity of Conservatives. Let’s see, the most recent movie I have seen wherein a group of people were deliberately fed false information so that could reveal it under torture was the DaVinci code. Given some the religious implications in the DaVinci Code, Conservatives may have been forbidden to watch it. Let’s try something more benign. In Star Wars, under duress, one of the characters reveals false information about the location of the rebel base. Not ringing a bell yet Conservatives? Let’s get old. Really old. Remember the Trojan Horse? The concepts: put something into the enemy camp that appears to be one thing but is actually another. Okay, okay. Conservatives only understand one thing. Remember in the Bible when Abraham passes off his wife as his sister and when the king finds out he says: are you trying to get me condemned to hell for committing a sin without being aware of it?

    So we can safely say we have the torture President and he is head of the Torture Party. Let’s replace Hail to the Chief with the sounds screams. Let’s change the names of government agencies to names like Ministry of Pain and Ministry of Fear. The names of the Presidents men could become Torture Czar, Torture Lord, or Minister of Pain. And as long as I am indulging in low humor wherein nothing I say bears any resemblance to anyone or anything living or dead. Let me say as a joke, a parody, a farce, that as sure as there were nukes in Iraq and that’s what our men and women are getting maimed and killed there for; I am just as certain he said, facetiously, nudge, nudge, wink, wink—that every adult male conservative in the country knows exactly where every gram of illegal and contraband radioactive substances are on the face of earth. Yes he said, straining to haul a one ton block of salt with his tongue firmly planted in his check, I am absolutely certain that any adult male who happens to conservative know exactly where each and every one of the illegal and dangerous contraband nukes are…How do I know this you ask? Why that information is classified. If I told you I would have to….

    Finally, let us note in passing that if you want torture you must vote for conservatives in both the congress and for the presidency. Only conservatives are soothed to sleep by the screams of the damned. It probably reminds them of where they will spend eternity. No liberal or progressive will torture people. Only conservatives enjoy inflicting pain and suffering on their fellow human beings—and lying about it.

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  20. One photo of a plane over an unidentifiable terrain does not make much of a case.

    However, the privatization of our infrastructure, prisons, military and intelligence should scare the bejeezus out of everyone. So should surveillance of citizens without warrants. Who will protect us from being labeled “extra-legal” threats, when the real threat is perhaps political, but not a physical threat of any kind? Right now American citizens are put on watch lists without their knowledge and harrassed while trying to board flights, without a way to question it or have it justified or reviewed. No oversight, no accountability equals unchecked power. How far away are we now from having citizens “disappeared”?

    Absolute power corrupts absolutely.

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  26. Umm, they have a US mil contract flying all over Afghanistan. It’s not secret. And if it was Humvee and military members and humvees wouldn’t meet them on the runway. What load of bull this article is. The funniest thing is that all these people buy it.

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  32. Hopefully this has stopped by now.

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