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5 Mar, 2019 02:13

Guantanamo express: Scottish police finish probe into CIA ‘torture flights’ & rendition stopovers

Guantanamo express: Scottish police finish probe into CIA ‘torture flights’ & rendition stopovers

Police in Scotland have filed their final report into a probe of CIA “rendition stopovers” during the early years of the War on Terror, looking into at least six secret flights. The report’s contents remain secret, however.

Lord Advocate Frank Mulholland, Scotland’s chief public prosecutor, ordered the probe back in 2013. His successor James Wolffe has been asked by politicians to report on the investigation’s results.

“The previous Lord Advocate had committed to investigating this matter. The current Lord Advocate must now outline where that investigation is – and where it is going,” said Liam Kerr, a spokesman for the Scottish Conservatives.

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The rendition flights transported terrorism suspects to and from secret detention sites where they were subjected to what is euphemistically known as “enhanced interrogation techniques,” or torture. On their way back to the US, they frequently made stopovers on UK territory, including Scotland.

Scottish territory was a “vital part” of the program, Dr Sam Raphael of the research group The Rendition Project told the Glasgow-based Daily Record. “The question remains: Can those involved in these serious crimes be brought to justice?”

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In 2014, the Record revealed that police were looking at at least six stopovers, at Prestwick and Glasgow airports. Another 13 possible rendition flights had landed at Aberdeen, Inverness and Wick between 2004 and 2006, according to researchers.

One of these flights, the paper reported, was transporting the 9/11 terrorist attack suspect Khalid Sheikh Mohammed, who was taken from Afghanistan to Poland for interrogation in March 2003.

The CIA-owned N379P Gulfstream V jet had stopped at Glasgow Airport after dropping Mohammed off at “Detention Site Blue” in Poland, according to the Rendition Project. Chief Constable Iain Livingstone testified to Scottish lawmakers that US officials had refused permission to board the plane on that occasion.

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That particular plane had made almost a dozen known rendition flights, and was dubbed “Guantanamo Express,” according to the Daily Record. It was eventually sold to Australia in 2006.

The true extent of CIA’s rendition and torture program remains unknown to this day. In December 2012, the US Senate Intelligence Committee finalized a report on the program that took five years to compile and cost an estimated $40 million. A 525-page excerpt of the report, containing the executive summary and key findings, was made public in December 2014; the full document is still classified.

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