Excellent entry on Wikipedia about the plane spotting / rendition story.
And no, the Times was not first on the case, it was The Guardian back in March, 6 months beofre Murdoch’s The Times.
Anyway, here is a link to the Wikipedia entry:
N44982 – Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
And in case it gets taken away, here is a copy:
From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia.
The executive jet with the tail number N44982 (formerly N8068V, N379P and originally N581GA) is rumored to be a US Department of Defense prisoner transport, also known as “Guantánamo Bay Express”. The craft is rumored to be a transporter of suspected terrorists to undisclosed locations for either extraordinary rendition or into the CIA prison system.
- We were able to chart the toing and froing of the private executive jet used at [an abduction in Sweden] partly through the observations of plane-spotters posted on the web and partly through a senior source in the Pakistan Inter Services Intelligence agency (ISI). It was a Gulfstream V Turbo, tailfin number N379P; its flight plans always began at an airstrip in Smithfield, North Carolina, and ended in some of the world’s hot spots. It was owned by Premier Executive Transport Services, incorporated in Delaware, a brass plaque company with nonexistent directors, hired by American agents to revive an old CIA tactic from the 1970s, when agency men had kidnapped South American criminals and flown them back to their own countries to face trial so that justice could be rendered. Now “rendering” was being used by the Bush administration to evade justice.
- Robert Baer, a CIA case officer in the Middle East until 1997, told us how it works. “We pick up a suspect or we arrange for one of our partner countries to do it. Then the suspect is placed on civilian transport to a third country where, let’s make no bones about it, they use torture. If you want a good interrogation, you send someone to Jordan. If you want them to be killed, you send them to Egypt or Syria. Either way, the US cannot be blamed as it is not doing the heavy work.”
The first public mention of the Gulfstream appeared six weeks after 11 September 2001, when a Pakistani newspaper reported that a Yemeni citizen, Jamil Qasim Saeed Mohammed, a 27-year-old microbiology student at the University of Karachi, had been spirited aboard the plane at Quaid-e-Azam International Airport by Pakistani security officers in the early hours of 23 October 2001.
The executive jet with the tail number N379P was again brought to public attention by Swedish TV4’s documentary, “The broken promise”, aired 17 May 2004. The documentary claimed that the expulsion of two men – ordered by the Cabinet – to Egypt on 18 December 2001 was carried out by hooded US agents. The plane booked by the Swedish Security Police (SÄPO) was cancelled when another plane arrived – N379P – a Gulfstream V executive jet supplied by the firm (Premiere Executive Transport Services, Inc.) which works exclusively for the US Defence Department.
Later on when the Gulfstreams’ log books came into the journalist hands the wider scope became clear:
Analysis of the plane’s flight plans, covering more than two years, shows that it always departs from Washington DC. It has flown to 49 destinations outside America, including the Guantanamo Bay prison camp in Cuba and other US military bases, as well as Egypt, Jordan, Iraq, Morocco, Afghanistan, Libya and Uzbekistan.
Witnesses have claimed that the suspects are frequently bound, gagged and sedated before being put on board the planes, which do not have special facilities for prisoners but are kitted out with tables for meetings and screens for presentations and in-flight films.“
The Central Intelligence Agency has declined to discuss the plane. But one retired CIA officer said that he understood the Gulfstream had been operated by the Joint Special Operations Command, an interagency unit that organizes counterterrorist operations in conjunction with the CIA and military special forces.
Other speculations point towards the Strategic Support Branch.
Hobbyist plane spotters reporting the planes whereabouts somewhat conforms with the flight logs.
On September 22nd, 2003 the plane flew directly from Kabul, Afghanistan to the Szymany airport in Poland, which is reportedly the nearest airport to one of the Polish intelligence service training bases. The following day it arrived in Romania, from where it departed to Morocco and ultimately Guantanamo Bay, Cuba.
In November 2005, Canada announced it was investigating the reports that the plane had landed in Eastern Canada without permission
N379P was originally N581GA. It became N379P in 2000 when it was acquired by Premier Executive Transport Services and later in December 2003 it became N8068V. On 1 December 2004 it was renamed N44982, and ownership was transferred to Bayard Foreign Marketing of Portland, Oregon.
- Aircraft Type: Fixed Wing Multi-Engine
- Manufacturer Name: GULFSTREAM AEROSPACE
- MFR Year 1999
- Model: G-V
- Engine Type : Turbo-Jet
- Engine Manufacturer: BMW ROLLS Classification Standard
- Engine Model: BR 700 SERIES Category Transport
- Registered Owner:
- Name: PREMIERE EXECUTIVE TRANSPORT SERVICES INC
- Street 339 WASHINGTON ST STE 202
- City: DEDHAM State MASSACHUSETTS
- Zip Code: 02026-1815
- County: NORFOLK
- Country: UNITED STATES
- “Guantánamo Bay Express” for sale since November 11. 2005!
- N8068V FAA
- N44982 FAA
- FAA Registry
- US accused of ‘torture flights’ (Times Online)
- Gulfstream N379P becomes N8068V (Intellectual Captital Group)
- No landing permission needed for US military jet(archives.tcm.ie)
- Guantanámo Bay Express uses Shannon Airport (Indymedia)
- Aircraft used for al-Qaeda suspects landed at Shannon (.sbpost)
- Mystery man handed over to US troops in Karachi *Free Republic
- Expulsions carried out by US agents (Statewatch)
- A Scandal in Sweden (Zmag)
- Information Clearing House
- 04 27 December washingtonpost article
- CBS: CIA Flying Suspects To Torture?
- CIA sends terror suspects abroad for interrogation (CNN)
- CIA secretly jets suspects overseas for interrogation (AFP)