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Secret CIA flight to Colombo

1 September 2011 03:43 pm - 5     - {{hitsCtrl.values.hits}}

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A private jet hired by the CIA to transport terror suspects in rendition flights had touched down in Sri Lanka in 2003 during such a mission, an AFP news report from Washington said yesterday.

The matter has come to light during a billing dispute in New York which has revealed details of secret CIA rendition flights that transported terror suspects around the world following the September 11 attacks.

The AFP report said The Washington Post described one such rendition flight that took place on August 12, 2003, when a Gulf Stream IV aircraft carrying six passengers took off from Dulles International Airport near Washington and flew to Bangkok.

Before returning four days later, it touched down in Afghanistan, Sri Lanka, the United Arab Emirates and Ireland, and appears to have coincided with the capture of Indonesian Riduan Isamuddin, a suspected terrorist.

The Washington Post, one of a handful of media outlets alerted to the public court documents by a London-based rights group, said they include flight logs and logs of phone calls to CIA headquarters and officials.

The Post said on its website late Wednesday dozens of rendition flights -- to locations including Bucharest, Baku, Cairo, Djibouti, Islamabad and Tripoli -- were organized by Sportsflight, a one-man aircraft business on Long Island, which secured a plane from Richmor Aviation, which is now suing Sportsflight for breach of contract.

Details including the costs and itineraries of numerous CIA flights have therefore become part of the court record in a proceeding held in an almost empty courtroom, the Post said.

Richmor billed at a rate of $4,900 an hour for the use of the plane and earned at least $6 million over three years, according to the invoices and other court records, the Post said.

It accounted for a small percentage of the total flights, the Post said, suggesting that the Central Intelligence Agency spent tens of millions of dollars to use private planes to transport suspects for interrogation.

Britain's Guardian newspaper, also tipped off to the case, cited court documents late Wednesday as saying that Sportsflight agreed to make the Gulfstream IV executive jet available to fly at 12 hours' notice.

“The client says we're going to be very, very busy,” it quoted Sportsflight as telling Richmor, according to court documents.

The same documents quote Richmor President Mahlon Richards as saying “We were transporting government personnel and their invitees.”The Post said the papers were brought to its attention by the London-based group Reprieve, which advocates for prisoners' rights and focuses on Guantanamo Bay, where the United States has held high-profile terror suspects since 2001.

The Post described one such rendition flight that took place on August 12, 2003, when a Gulfstream IV aircraft carrying six passengers took off from Dulles International Airport near Washington and flew to Bangkok.

Before returning four days later, it touched down in Afghanistan, Sri Lanka, the United Arab Emirates and Ireland, and appears to have coincided with the capture of Indonesian Riduan Isamuddin, a suspected terrorist.

The entire journey cost $339,228.05, the Post said.

Isamuddin, the alleged planner of the 2002 terror attacks in Bali, Indonesia, was captured in Thailand and would spend the next three years being flown between secret prisons, the Post reported.

The Gulfstream IV was identified publicly in 2005 after it was used in the capture and rendition of a cleric in Milan who was flown to his native Egypt, where he says he was tortured.

It may have also been used in the rendition of senior Al-Qaeda militant Khalid Sheikh Mohammed, the mastermind of the September 11, 2001 attacks, who was later waterboarded 183 times in a single month, the Guardian said.

  Comments - 5

  • Concerned Friday, 02 September 2011 06:41 AM

    Has it taken off after landing in 2003 or is it still here!!

    Razvi Friday, 02 September 2011 06:42 AM

    War help from USA? no, no please leave us alone, we can fight our own war.

    PRAD Friday, 02 September 2011 09:08 AM

    US is allowed to do anything to crush terror against them anywhere in the world and any which way they need.
    However, we we genuinly crushed most deangerous group of LTTErs then, this rule is not apply by USA. We are not against the US actions on terror, But we are against duplicity of their policies.

    faqi Friday, 02 September 2011 12:37 PM

    TMA- The US took stern and strong measures to destroy the LTTE . Via the FBI , it broke the backbone of the LTTE International network supplying arms and weapons . In the same way, it was America’s Pacific Command which located the movements of Prabhakaran and its leaders in the Wanni through its Satellite images and transmitted the information to the SL Forces. The SL Security Forces were able to trace Prabahakaran’s whereabouts without any trace of doubt only after the Pacific Command’s report was forwarded to them.

    Prof. Rohan Gunaratna: "Despite futile LTTE attempts to buy over agencies:US played decisive role in dismantling LTTE" networks.

    TMA Friday, 02 September 2011 04:35 AM

    Anything wrong with that? If this friendship continued USA wud have directly helped us in the war


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