Photo by Josep Manchado
This photo of the Boeing 737 jet used in the CIA kidnapping of Khaled El-Masri was taken in Mallorca, Spain on January 23, 2004. The plane was used later that day to transport El-Masri from Macedonia to Afghanistan.
Since at least 2001, Jeppesen Dataplan, Inc., a subsidiary of Boeing, the world’s largest aerospace company, has provided direct and substantial services for the United States’ so-called “extraordinary rendition” program, in return for undisclosed fees.
In legal papers filed on May 30, 2007, the ACLU charged that Jeppesen provided direct flight services to the CIA that enabled the clandestine transportation of Binyam Mohamed, Abou Elkassim Britel and Ahmed Agiza, to secret overseas locations where they were subjected to torture and other forms of cruel, inhuman, and degrading treatment. The company was also responsible for assisting in the transport of German citizen Khaled El-Masri, whom the ACLU is representing in a separate lawsuit.
Publicly available records demonstrate that Jeppesen, based in San Jose, CA, facilitated more than 70 secret rendition flights over a four-year period to countries where it knew or reasonably should have known that detainees are routinely tortured or otherwise abused in contravention of universally accepted legal standards.
According to a recent story in The New Yorker, a former Jeppesen employee reported that a senior Jeppesen official had stated during a board meeting: “We do all of the extraordinary rendition flights – you know, the torture flights. Let’s face it, some of these flights end up that way.” (Jane Mayer, Outsourcing: The C.I.A.’S Travel Agent, The New Yorker, Oct. 30, 2006.)
The services provided by Jeppesen have been crucial to the functioning of the extraordinary rendition program, according to the ACLU lawsuit. Jeppesen operates one of the largest aviation trip-planning services in the world, and has been one of the main providers of flight and logistical support services to aircraft used in the program.
Jeppesen’s participation in the rendition flights has included furnishing aircraft crew with flight planning services including itinerary, route, weather, and fuel planning; responsibility for the preparation of flight plans; facilitation of customs clearance and arrangements for ground transportation, catering, and hotel accommodation for aircraft crew upon landing; and provision of physical security for aircraft and crew.
Just as important as the provision of these services, Jeppesen’s role as coordinator with virtually all public and private third parties has permitted the CIA to conduct its illegal activities below the radar of public scrutiny and beyond the reach of the rule of law. In short, without the assistance of Jeppesen and other corporations, the U.S. extraordinary rendition program could not have gotten off the ground.
Among the 15 aircraft serviced by Jeppesen are a Gulfstream V aircraft formerly registered with the Federal Aviation Administration as N379P and a Boeing-737 aircraft formerly registered with the FAA as N313P. The ACLU lawsuit charges that Jeppesen provided essential flight and logistical services to these two aircraft for all of the CIA flights involving the rendition of terror suspects.
For more information on Binyam Mohamed v. Jeppesen Dataplan, Inc. and El-Masri v. Tenet, go to www.aclu.org/rendition
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