Norway enters into CIA ‘torture flight’ row
OSLO, Dec 8 (AFP) - A plane suspected of carrying out covert prisoner transports for the US Central Intelligence Agency flew from Oslo to Paris in July, the Norwegian aviation authority Avinor confirmed on Thursday.
Avinor stressed however that the aircraft may have been leased by others than the CIA.
“I can confirm that a plane flew from Oslo to Paris Le Bourget” on July 20, Avinor spokesman Ove Narvesen told AFP.
“But this kind of plane can be used by many others than the CIA,” he added.
According to Norwegian weekly Ny Tid, a Gulfstream III with the registration number N50BH arrived at Oslo’s Gardermoen airport on July 20 from Gander in Canada. It stopped over for several hours before flying on to Le Bourget.
The weekly said that the plane was used several times by the CIA and landed at the US naval base at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, where Washington has held hundreds of “enemy combattants” captured in Afghanistan at the end of 2001.
According to Norwegian and French media, the CIA may have used the Oslo and Le Bourget airports for flights transporting prisoners.
The US embassy in Oslo, questioned by the Norwegian foreign ministry, denied however that the Gulfstream III was used at that time by the CIA or any other part of the US administration.
On Wednesday, French Defence Minister Michèle Alliot-Marie said French airports were “apparently not” used by CIA planes transporting undeclared prisoners, but admitted that doubts remained concerning certain flights.
“There is a doubt concerning two civilian flights that travelled from Oslo to an eastern European country,” and which may have made stopovers in France, she said.
According to Narvesen, there were two passengers and two crew members on board the Gulfstream on July 20.
“As far as I know, this type of aircraft can also be rented to private people for completely different missions,” he said, adding: “It may be erroneous to draw conclusions.”
Reports of suspicious CIA planes secretly using airports have emerged in a number of European countries. The planes are believed to have flown suspected Islamic extremists to hidden prisons where they were possibly tortured.
Subject: French news