From the Limerick Post in Ireland:
Former US interrogators for rally
ANTI-War Ireland is holding a demonstration in Shannon on Saturday, October 28, and among the speakers will be three former US interrogators at the infamous Abu-Ghraib prison.
The three – Joshua Casteel, Tony Lagouranis and Stephen Lewis – will be calling for the ending of the US military stopover at Shannon airport.
Assembling at 2pm outside Lidl in Shannon town centre, the peaceful protest will march to the airport where a rally will be held.
The procession to the airport will take the form of a mock-funeral and the theme will be ‘Remembering the Dead’.
This will be the first march to the airport this year.
According to Dr Fintan Lane, a spokesperson for Anti-War Ireland, a significant turnout is expected and buses will be run from Dublin, Cork and Galway.
Dr Lane said: “The invasion of Iraq in March 2003,and the ongoing occupation, have caused absolute carnage and the death toll continues to mount.
Alongside the hundreds of thousands killed are many more who have been maimed for life – innocent men, women and children who have been horribly mutilated by George W. Bush’s war machine. …
Polls have shown that the overwhelming majority of Iraqi citizens want the US and their allies to leave now.
Within the United States, opposition to Bush’s policy of aggressive imperialism has also continued to grow and increasing numbers of US Iraq war veterans are speaking out against the war in which they participated.
Many of these former soldiers are active in an organisation called Iraq Veterans Against the War (IVAW)”.
The three former interrogators are all members of IVAW and were members of the 2002 military intelligence battalion, and served together at Abu-Ghraib, where they were involved in interrogating Iraqi citizens plucked from the streets and their homes by US snatch squads.
All three were disturbed by what they witnessed in Iraq and consequently, became staunch opponents of the war.
“The fact that three members of the same military unit are speaking out against the occupation of Iraq sends a powerful message that should be listened to.
Many of their fellow soldiers who passed through Shannon airport have since returned home in body bags.
From the Google cache of Dear Kitty ModBlog:
From the Irish Examiner:
UN investigating use of Shannon by CIA ‘torture plane’
The United Nations is reportedly planning to investigate the use of Shannon Airport by the US military as part of the Bush administration’s “war on terrorism”.
Reports this morning said the Government’s decision to allow the US to use the airport would be scrutinised as part of an inquiry into the alleged torture of suspected Islamic militants.
The inquiry centres on an aircraft allegedly used by the CIA to transport detainees to countries where they can be tortured on behalf of the US without any legal ramifications.
Irish peace activists have claimed that the aircraft frequently lands at Shannon, but complaints to Gardaí have failed to lead to any inspections of the plane.
This morning’s reports said Ireland could be found in breach of international law if it were found to have failed to act to prevent torture.
See also Indymedia Ireland.
- Two detained over security breach at Shannon Airport over US drone strikes in Pakistan – VIDEO (irishcentral.com)
- Kosovo privatisation enriches NATO warmongers (dearkitty1.wordpress.com)
- A Year After US Troops Withdraw from Iraq, Fog of War Thickens (newamericamedia.org)
- FLASHBACK: Iraq war: U.S. soldier throws his medals and stars, “I’m no longer the monster I once was” (sott.net)
- Asking: Whatever Happened To The Chilcot Inquiry Into The War In Iraq? (stirringtrouble.wordpress.com)
Posted by: “firstname.lastname@example.org” email@example.com
Sat Oct 28, 2006 1:01 am (PST)
Small NC Town Faces Big Moral Dilemna
Now they’ve been told, by their own home town paper:
Citizens of the sleepy little town of Smithfield North Carolina now face a tough choice.
Will they demand an investigation into the use of the Smithfield airport to fly “prisoners” out of the country to be tortured – or will they just keep their eyes down and pretend they “know nothing”?
The issue of torture flights out of Smithfield NC has finally reached the pages of the “Smithfield Herald”.
Smithfield’s dirty secret is out now, and the citizens there have to decide, as people have in other troubled times – will they blindly support torture if ordered by the leader of their country, and will they support the use of their home town to enable torture of other human beings.
Or will they pretend that they don’t know, or expect someone else to take a stand for them?
Now that they know about it, what will they do?
What will the local churches say?
12 lawmakers not of the Smithfield area have called for an investigation, at the behest of the Stop Torture NC group.
Lawmakers call for probe
Oct 27, 2006
Twelve members of the N.C. House of Representatives have asked the State Bureau of Investigation to probe Smithfield-based Aero Contractors.
In a letter to SBI Director Robin Pendergraft, the 12 lawmakers, none of them from Johnston County, claim that Aero, under the direction of the CIA, “has flown persons detained in various countries, including the United States, to other countries.” “There,” the letter continued, “the suspects were held incommunicado and tortured, using methods that would not have been legal in the United States….”
“But it seems pretty clear that Aero has been involved with the CIA rendition program,” Luebke continued. “And if that’s the case, then Aero would appear to be in violation of the North Carolina conspiracy statute. That would be something for the Attorney General’s Office and the SBI to look into.”
Co-sponsoring the letter were Reps. Linda Coleman, Deborah Ross and Jennifer Weiss of Wake County; Alma Adams and Earl Jones of Guilford County; Larry Hall of Durham County; Martha Alexander of Mecklenburg County; Melanie Goodwin of Richmond County; Verla Insko of Orange County; William Wainwright of Craven County; and Winkie Wilkins of Person County….
I call them the “Titanium Twelve” for their stronger than steel backbones.
Weiss said she and the other House members became involved after anti-torture group Stop Torture Now asked for their help. “I feel that as a representative, it’s my obligation to act when there are grave concerns,” she said. “Although the Johnston County Airport and Global TransPark are not within my district, they do receive state funds.” (Aero also flies out of Global TransPark in Kinston.)
Finally, someone in our government has the courage to help the US regain its moral compass.
But not Leo Daughtry, who is a state representative of the Johston County area.
Rep. Leo Daughtry of Smithfield, whose hometown houses Aero’s headquarters, said this week he was unaware of his fellow lawmakers’ appeal to the SBI. But had he known, the Smithfield lawyer said, he “would not have gotten involved because I don’t have any reason to criticize the CIA or whoever it is that is behind such matters.”
“I don’t know what relevance the General Assembly has toward the CIA,” Daughtry said. “The CIA is a federal agency, and the matter of renditions is a federal issue. I see the controversy sort of like the members of the General Assembly being critical of the war in Iraq. While we might be interested to read about it in the newspapers, there’s nothing we can do about it.”
“When members try to take action like this, it seems to me they are simply politicking,” Daughtry said.
Wrong Representative Daughtry. Politicians tend to avoid making waves if they can. They know how easily people can be blinded by false patriotism to support such horrible things as torture. It takes guts to stand up to torture.
Politicians know, by studying the tragic history of the human race – that normally decent people have easily been persuaded to torture, maim, starve and or kill their own kind, when their leaders have ordered it. Going against those leaders has often been risky and unpopular.
After reading this blog, maybe you will call or email Rep Daughtry and ask him to join the Titanium Twelve Lawmakers in regaining America’s moral compass, one town at a time, starting with Smithfield.
Meanwhile, ask your representative to join in the effort to stop torture flights from NC.
November 29, 2006
Flog Is My Co-Pilot
Boeing is alleged to be a travel agent for torture.
By Rick Anderson
Since 2003, human-rights investigators and news media reports have
described a Boeing Business Jet as one of the most-dreaded planes in the
Central Intelligence Agency’s clandestine air force. The modified 737-a
model rolled out in Renton in 2001-was built for executive fun and
comfort. But it is alleged to be the flagship of the CIA’s “extreme rendition”
squadron, ferrying suspected terrorists to secret agency prisons or
countries where the U.S. is said to outsource torture.
The use of this jet, with a 6,000-mile flying range and plush customized
cabin, has until now been Boeing’s only connection to the prison airlifts. But
a British author and an ex-prisoner’s attorney say that records uncovered
by Spanish investigators show Boeing has a more direct role-planning and
organizing the flights through a unit of its Seattle commercial airplane
Boeing won’t confirm or deny the claim. But the Spanish documents, and
an investigation by Amnesty International and the Council of Europe,
indicate Boeing was making arrangements for as many as 1,000 rendition
flights through 14 countries by four CIA planes, including that notorious
Boeing Business Jet.
“Travel agent for the CIA seems the right words,” Stephen Grey says of
Boeing’s role. A British author, he has written about prisoner rendition and
the CIA’s global torture program in his new book, Ghost Plane, in which he
has documented about 90 rendition flights. (Amnesty International
estimates “hundreds of victims” wound up at CIA “black sites.”)
The Bush administration has acknowledged transfers of Al Qaeda suspects
to Guantánamo Bay but has denied the U.S. engages in torture-transfer
flights. Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice said in 2005 that the United
States “does not use the airspace or the airports of any county” for such
purposes. Senate Democrats, who take control in January, are promising a
According to Grey and others, a wholly owned Boeing subsidiary called
Jeppesen Inc. cleared the airways and runways for the CIA, providing
landing and navigation assistance, scheduling flight crews, and booking
hotels for them. Jeppesen is a unit of Boeing’s Seattle-based Commercial
The cargo of prisoners includes many who say they were tortured and
others who claim to have been mistakenly abducted and abused. One
detainee, Khaled el-Masri, a German of Lebanese decent who is suing the
CIA and aviation companies under the Alien Tort Statute for alleged Fifth
Amendment (due process) violations, says he now plans to add Boeing to
Masri “was injected with a drug and chained to the floor of the plane,” says
his attorney, Ben Wizner of the New York ACLU. “I don’t think anybody
would hold Boeing responsible for manufacturing the plane. However, the
emergence of [Boeing’s flight-assistance role] changes all that.”
The prisoner flights, launched by the Clinton administration to transfer
foreign suspects to trial in the United States, became a darker undertaking
following 9/11. George W. Bush approved what critics say amounts to the
kidnapping of foreign nationals, some flown to countries such as Morocco
or Egypt, known for abusive interrogation techniques. Others were taken to
a system of CIA prisons in Afghanistan and Europe, or the U.S. compound
in Guantánamo, rights groups say.
In his book, Grey cites documents showing Boeing made travel
arrangements for the CIA flights. He does not specifically name Boeing, but
in a phone conversation last week with Seattle Weekly, Grey confirmed
that Spanish government documents he obtained name Jeppesen’s
International Trip Planning unit as rendition flights planner.
Boeing bought the Denver-based company, then called Jeppesen
Sanderson, in 2000 for $1.5 billion from the (Chicago) Tribune Co., whose
mixed portfolio includes the Los Angeles Times and the Chicago Cubs.
John Hayhurst, then a Boeing vice president here, hailed Jeppesen as
“another enduring global brand” for Boeing’s business roster. Boeing later
bought two related companies and expanded the Jeppesen unit, offering
electronic mapping and navigation services to airline, general aviation, and
government customers along with flight and trip planning.
Spain’s largest newspaper, El Pais, last year reported that Jeppesen was
named the CIA’s flight arranger in investigative documents compiled by
Spanish police. More recently, The New Yorker magazine noted the
connection, reporting “it is not widely known that the [CIA] has turned to a
division of Boeing, the publicly traded blue-chip behemoth, to handle many
of the logistical and navigational details for these [rendition] trips.”
On its Web site, Boeing boasts: “From Aachen to Zhengzhou, King Airs to
747s, Jeppesen has done it all.”
But what, exactly, has it done? How deep is Boeing’s involvement in the
rendition flights? The company won’t specifically say. From Chicago
headquarters, Boeing spokesperson Tim Neale points out that flight
planning is done for “thousands and thousands of customers each year. It’s
done on a confidential basis, and unless a customer authorizes us to
comment, we can’t.”
He adds: “Jeppesen’s flight planning process is to provide the route that is
going to be followed, how much fuel is needed on board, where they will
stop, and how many people will be on board, for weight reasons.
“We don’t necessarily know very much about the purpose of a flight
because that information isn’t necessary to create a flight plan. What
somebody’s going to do when they get off is not part of that plan.”
It’s not publicly known how much Boeing, the nation’s No. 2 defense
contractor, earned from the flights. The CIA, a stand-alone agency, does
not reveal its contracts and agency work can be billed through other
government departments, including the Pentagon. Jeppesen has done $7.7
million in defense contracting since Boeing bought it in 2000, based on a
review of Pentagon records.
Grey says he plans to soon post on the Internet “assorted aviation
documents including Jeppesen planning data” that confirm Boeing’s role
(Update: Grey posted the flight logs today at http://www.ghostplane.net.). The
documents include, he says, a 2004 Boeing-arranged flight on the Boeing
jet from Morocco through Spain and on to Afghanistan, which coincides
with the Masri case.
Masri was mistaken as an Al Qaeda suspect and arrested by Macedonia
officials on New Year’s Eve 2003. In a Virginia federal lawsuit filed against
ex-CIA Director George Tenet and others, Masri says he was “forcibly
abducted” in Macedonia and handed over to U.S. officials. He was beaten,
drugged, and eventually flown to a CIA prison in Afghanistan, he says. Five
months after his abduction, the suit notes, “Mr. El-Masri was deposited at
night, without explanation, on a hill in Albania”-and that was two months
after U.S. officials realized they made a mistake, the suit says.
The lawsuit was thrown out earlier this year, not because it lacked merit but
because it could lead to disclosure of state secrets, a federal judge ruled.
Masri is appealing and Wizner, his attorney, was scheduled to make his
arguments this week before a Virginia appeals court.
“Obviously,” says Wizner, “before we can add Boeing to the suit, we have
to get it reinstated. It’s a real hurdle-the CIA is, in effect, claiming
immunity, that they’re never liable in such cases.” He’s buoyed by three
federal court rulings in recent months that rejected similar government-
secrets argument-all of them cases involving challenges to warrantless
eavesdropping authorized by President Bush.
“If the el-Masri suit can continue, we would try to develop evidence that
people within Jeppesen were aware that detainees were being subjected to
human rights abuses on these flights,” Wizner says. “If we can show that,
Boeing should by all rights be a defendant.”
Anger in Ireland as Margaretta D’Arcy is jailed
Protests erupted in Ireland when anti-war activist and prominent Irish writer Margaretta D’Arcy was sentenced to three months in prison on Thursday of last week.
She was found guilty of trespassing at Shannon airport on a protest against rendition.
Margaretta is 79 years old and suffering from cancer. The court offered to suspend the sentence if she signed a bond committing to not break the law or enter unauthorised zones at the airport for two years.
She refused to comply.
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