In the first of a series of releases, Reprieve today highlights the corporations behind the extraordinary rendition of "high value detainee" Abu Zubaydah from Thailand to a secret prison in Poland on 5 December 2002.
The release is the first instalment of new evidence unearthed by Reprieve’s investigation "Renditions Inc." which tracks corporate involvement in kidnapping and rendition.
Seized in Pakistan in March 2002, Abu Zubaydah was transported to Thailand, where he became the guinea pig for the CIA's "enhanced interrogation" programme. After several months of torture he and another prisoner, Abd al-Rahim al-Nashiri, were transported to a CIA "black site" near Stare Kiejkuty, northern Poland.
Reprieve today releases a cache of documents showing, in detail, how this mission was paid for and organized. The documents show how:
- Private military contractor DynCorp Systems and Solutions arranged the trip for the US Government at a cost of over $330,000
- A Gulfstream jet, identified as N63MU and operated by First Flight / Airborne Inc. carried out the mission
- The round trip from Washington DC passed through Anchorage and Osaka, picked up the prisoners in Bangkok, and transported them via Dubai to the remote Szymany airfield in Poland, before returning via London Luton
- Trip planners Universal Weather and Aviation arranged logistics for the trip
Reprieve investigator Crofton Black said: "Renditions Inc. shows how the US Government relied on contractors for 'technically complex, mission-critical challenges' - such as transporting prisoners between secret locations, hidden from the spotlight of law. Ten years on, many of these prisoners have still not been charged with any crime, and many of these companies are still in business. But the extent of their involvement in torture and secret detention is becoming clearer, invoice by invoice. How much longer will ethical investors and business partners be able to maintain a relationship with these companies?"
Further mission documents will be released in the coming weeks.
Notes to Editors
1. For further information, please contact Katherine O'Shea in Reprieve’s press office:+44 (0) 207 427 1082 or see http://www.reprieve.org.uk/investigations/renditionsinc/.
2. Prime Contractor DynCorp organized renditions flights and associated missions on behalf of the CIA through their contractLT050602 with Capital Aviation. They paid brokers Capital Aviation and Air Marketing $339,808.83 for 52.3 flying hours, during which the prisoners were picked up in Bangkok and transported through Dubai to the remote Szymany airfield in northern Poland. The plane then returned to the USA via London Luton. Brokers Capital Aviation and Air Marketing shared brokering services for this trip. They located the plane, a Gulfstream IV with tailnumber N63MU, and paid its operating company, First Flight / Airborne Inc., for flying time and fees. Airborne Inc. charged them $4900 per hour for the use of the plane, and the brokers in turn charged DynCorp $5450.
Airborne Inc. / First Flight were the operating company for N63MU. They invoiced Air Marketing for their flying time and costs.
Universal Weather and Aviation took care of trip planning. As a series of invoices shows, they arranged refuelling, overflight permissions, landing permissions, ground handling services, communications and other fees. They passed these on to the operating company, First Flight / Airborne Inc., after adding an administrative fee.
A few months after this mission, DynCorp was purchased by Computer Sciences Corporation (CSC). CSC continued to organize renditions for the US government through a series of contracts between 2003 and 2006.
The abuse of Abu Zubaydah and al-Nashiri at the sites in Thailand and Poland was described in detail in the CIA's own internal “Special Review of Counterterrorism Detention and Interrogation Activities" (September 2001 - October 2003) by the Office of the Inspector General.
Abu Zubaydah's treatment in Poland is currently the subject of an investigation by Polish prosecutors. In April of this year, Polish media reported that the former head of the intelligence services, Zbigniew Siemiatkowski , was to be charged for his role in the treatment of prisoners by US officials on this site.
After 10 years incarceration in the CIA's secret prison network and in Guantánamo Bay, Abu Zubaydah has yet to be charged or tried.
3. Reprieve, a legal action charity, uses the law to enforce the human rights of prisoners, from death row to Guantánamo Bay. Reprieve investigates, litigates and educates, working on the frontline, to provide legal support to prisoners unable to pay for it themselves. Reprieve promotes the rule of law around the world, securing each person’s right to a fair trial and saving lives. Clive Stafford Smith is the founder of Reprieve and has spent 25 years working on behalf of people facing the death penalty in the USA.
Reprieve’s current casework involves representing 15 prisoners in the US prison at Guantánano Bay, assisting over 70 prisoners facing the death penalty around the world, and conducting ongoing investigations into the rendition and the secret detention of ‘ghost prisoners’ in the so-called ‘war on terror.’ Follow Reprieve on twitter: @ReprieveUK; if you were forwarded this release, sign up to join our press mailing list.