Friday, October 20, 2006

How planespotting uncovered CIA torture flights

The Village Voice has an excerpt from the book Torture Taxi: On the Trail of the CIA's Rendition Flights, which is fascinating reading. The hobby of planespotting--watching and recording information about planes that take off and land--led a few individuals to deduce that planes spotted at "Base Camp" in Nevada were being used by the CIA to transport prisoners to locations in eastern Europe and the Middle East. Individuals correlating data with each other over the Internet and comparing to flight logs and testimony from released prisoners yielded very specific results. Civil Air Landing Permit data was used to identify obscure companies with clearance to land anywhere they want, including restricted military bases--such as One Leasing, Richmor Aviation, Stevens Express Leasing, Tepper Aviation, Path Corporation, Rapid Air Trans, Aviation Specialties, Devon Holding and Leasing, Crowell Aviation, and Premier Executive Transport Services. The planes owned by some of these companies were found to be visiting military bases, Guantanamo Bay, Morocco, Romania, Poland, Afghanistan, and Iraq.

Jon Sifton of Human Rights Watch has conducted analysis of the resulting flight data to determine which stops were merely for refueling and which were for destinations--acute angles for inbound and outbound flights from a stop are indicative of a destination rather than a refueling stop, for example.

1 comment:

cowmix said...

A "Fresh Air" interview with an author that wrote a book on the same subject: