Covert CIA planes landed at German airports
4 April 2005, BERLIN - Two aeroplanes alleged to have been used by the CIA to transport terror suspects for questioning landed several times at German airports in 2004, according to a report in the Tagesspiegel newspaper.
4 April 2005
BERLIN - Two aeroplanes alleged to have been used by the CIA to transport terror suspects for questioning landed several times at German airports in 2004, according to a report in the Tagesspiegel newspaper.
The claims are based on remarks to the newspaper by the British journalist Stephen Grey, who has access to detailed flight schedules of both planes. Grey claims that Frankfurt is the most important transport node for the planes in Europe.
However the German Federal Ministry of the Interior has denied any knowledge of German airports being used by the CIA for transporting suspects.
Such transporting of suspects is known as 'extraordinary renditions'. Former CIA officials have confirmed that extraordinary rendition programmes do exist. According to the New York Times, US president George W. Bush has approved the programmes.
Under 'extraordinary rendition', terror suspects are generally transported to countries such as Egypt, Jordan or Syria to be interrogated. Several released detainees have claimed to have been tortured.
Grey claims that the CIA uses two planes, a Gulfstream 5 and a Boeing 737, which are registered as private aeroplanes in the USA. Until recently, both planes were registered as belonging to a US firm which the Boston Globe and Washington Post newspapers claim is a CIA front. Since the papers published their accusations, the two planes have subsequently been registered with two different owners and given new registration numbers.
According to the Sunday Times, the Gulfstream jet was witnessed in at least two cases in which terror suspects were illegally transported to different countries. The public prosecutor in Munich is investigating the case of Khaled Al Masri, a German of Lebanese origin, who is alleged to have been forcibly taken from Macedonia to Afghanistan, where he was held for four months and interrogated. Both Grey and the ZDF television show 'Frontal 21' have independently discovered that the details of Al Masris' statement coincide with the flight schedule of the Boeing 737 in question.
Grey claims that the Boeing 737 landed at least 23 times in Frankfurt in the last two years, with the Gulfstream jet landing there at least 50 times in the last three years. 'Plane Spotter', a magazine for 'planespotting' enthusiasts, has also seen the two planes in Frankfurt. Apparently the planes use the part of the airport which belongs to the US military.
According to Grey, the Boeing 737 arrived at Frankfurt from Baghdad on or around 14 June 2004 and flew to Washington on 15 June. Plane Spotter reports also seeing the plane on 15 June in Frankfurt, as well as on 13 December 2004.
Grey claims that the two planes also landed separately in Ramstein, Munich and Stuttgart. Stuttgart airport company Flughafen Stuttgart GmbH confirms that the Gulfstream jet, registered at that time under the number N8068V, landed in Stuttgart early in the morning of 21 July 2004 and took off again around midday on 22 July.
[Copyright Expatica News 2005]
Subject: German news