"Air America"-The Sequel

Discussion in 'Diamond Lil's' started by bigbaddog, Jun 10, 2007.

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  1. *Extract from an article in *Mail on Sunday June 10th 2007*

    (Well......they get some of their stuff from RR & ARRSE!)

    The row over CIA 'torture flights' using British airports has deepened following fresh evidence that a plane repeatedly linked to the controversial programme landed in the UK just days ago.
    The plane was logged arriving at RAF Mildenhall in Suffolk last weekend, and watching aviation experts said the aircraft, piloted by crew clad in desert fatigues, was immediately surrounded on the runway by armed American security forces.
    This flight was spotted landing at a UK airport - proof that 'rendition ' flights are still taking place
    Its registration number, clearly visible on the fuselage, identifies it as a plane which the European Parliament says has been involved in 'ghost flights' to smuggle terrorist suspects to shadowy interrogation centres abroad.

    (According to the Press, operated by these Salty Dudes)

    The CEO of which is:

    "Black-Ops" stuff.....for real.
  2. We expect our politicians to lie but when the police and ACPO join the act and start to deny that CIA rendition flights have been using British civil and military airfields to transport prisoners for torture then we are in big trouble.

    Senior British officers knew that the invasion of Iraq was illegal from day one but bought into the lies when Goldsmith gave The Bliar a two line opinion. I wonder who will be the first military air-traffic controller to wake up one morning, look in the mirror and realise that what he is doing is not just morally wrong but also a crime??

    Ex-Navy chief 'took private legal advice on Iraq'
    By Kim Sengupta
    Published: 11 June 2007
    The head of the Royal Navy at the time of the Iraq invasion was so worried about the legality of the conflict that he sought his own private legal advice on justification for the war.

    Admiral Sir Alan West, the First Sea Lord, approached lawyers to ask whether Navy and Royal Marines personnel might end up facing war crimes charges in relation to their duties in Iraq. The extraordinary steps taken by Sir Alan - which The Independent can reveal today - shows the high level of concern felt by service chiefs in the approach to war - concern that was not eased by the Attorney General's provision of a legal licence for the attack on Iraq.

    The apprehension felt by the military commanders was highlighted at one meeting where General Sir Michael Jackson, the head of the Army, is reported to have said: "I spent a good deal of time recently in the Balkans making sure [the former Serb leader Slobodan] Milosevic was put behind bars. I have no intention of ending up in the cell next to him in The Hague."

    In the approach to the 2003 invasion, Lord Boyce, the Chief of Defence Staff, insisted that the Attorney General, Lord Goldsmith, provide an unequivocal written assurance that the invasion was lawful. He eventually received a two-line note from Lord Goldsmith on 14 March 2003 confirming the supposed legality of the war. It has since emerged that the Attorney General had twice changed his views on the matter prior to that note.

    Lord Goldsmith also wrote to Tony Blair on 14 March, stressing it was "essential" that "strong evidence" existed that Iraq was still producing weapons of mass destruction. The Prime Minister replied the next day, saying: "This is to confirm, it is indeed the Prime Minister's unequivocal view that Iraq is in further material breach of the obligations". The information he relied on for this had formed the basis of the now discredited Iraq dossier.

    On 17 March, Mr Blair presented what was described as Lord Goldsmith's opinion, presented on one side of an A4 page, to the Cabinet. The following day, Parliament voted for war.

    Sir Alan refused to comment on allegations that he had "gone private" to seek legal advice. However, a senior military source said: "The defence chiefs were aware of a rising degree of worry in all three services. Some of this has been passed to them through the padres. What was noticeable was the difference in attitude among the men and women compared to the Afghan war. There was genuine unease and it was the duty of the chiefs of staff, as the head of the services, to get clarification about whether they would be in breach of international law. There was also a degree of worry about the independence or otherwise of the government legal advice.

    "Admiral West approached lawyers ... on whether the impending action over Iraq was justified. It was a personal decision on his part and he felt this was necessary because of his duty of care towards people serving under him. He and the other service chiefs did not walk blindly into Iraq, they asked all the questions they could under the circumstances and with the ever-present caveat that they could not stray into the field of politics. At the end they were given Lord Goldsmith's assurance. The rest, as they say, is history."

    In the event, the advice Admiral West got from the lawyers was that the invasion could just about be justified due to Saddam Hussein's flouting of United Nations resolutions, although the question of how much time Iraq should be given to comply would have to be considered carefully.

    In April 2005, Mr Blair made public the full legal advice he received from Lord Goldsmith. It ran to 13 pages. The Attorney General warned that other UN nations could take Britain to an international court and that opponents could have obtained a court injunction to stop the invasion.


  3. Blackwater was formed in 1997 by Erik Prince a christian fundamentalist. Just before the killing of the 4 Blackwater employees in Falujah they had a web-site. On the site they were bragging that they could use frangible ammunition which is banned by the Geneva Convention and unavailable to US forces. One article written by a Blackwater employee bragged how he had shot a young Iraqi, hit him in hip and watched him 'bleed out' from the devastating injury caused by the frangible round. There was no mention whether the Iraqi had been armed.

    The web-site and article disappeared immediately after the Falujah incident as the Blackwater spin machine went into overdrive to portray the company as 'humanitarian'.

    In a bizarre twist Blackwater are now suing the families of the dead employees as a way to suppress what actually happened in Falujah.

    Here's the article:

    RALEIGH, N.C.--LAWFUEL - The Law Newswire - The families of four American security contractors are reaching out to the American public for help to protect themselves against the company their loved ones were serving when killed, Blackwater Security Consulting. Blackwater has now counter-sued the dead men’s estates for $10 million. The families are simply without the financial wherewithal to defend against Blackwater’s suit and are in jeopardy of losing their fight to discover the truth about the deaths of their loved ones, explained their attorneys, Callahan & Blaine, who have established a legal defense fund for the families.

    On March 31, 2004, the Blackwater contractors were burned, beaten, dragged through the streets of Fallujah and their decapitated bodies hung from a bridge over the Euphrates River. Following these gruesome deaths, the surviving family members looked to Blackwater for answers as to how and why their loved ones died. Blackwater refused to give the grieving families any information, and stated that they would need to sue Blackwater to get it, said Donna Zovko, mother of slain Blackwater contractor Jerry Zovko. In January 2005, the families filed suit against Blackwater.

    Blackwater files Counter-suit and Moves Case out of Court

    In an unusual change of tactics, Blackwater filed a counter-suit, seeking not only $10 million dollars, but also looking to silence the families and keep them out of court, explained Daniel Callahan, the families’ lawyer. According to legal documents, Blackwater claims that the mere fact that the families sued the company for wrongful death is a breach of the decedents’ contracts.

    Blackwater has demanded that its claim and the families’ existing lawsuit be handled in a private arbitration. “By suing the families in arbitration, Blackwater has attempted to move the examination of its wrongful conduct outside of the eye of the public and away from a jury,†said Callahan.

    Blackwater Assembles Legal Team

    Blackwater initially hired Fred F. Fielding, who is currently counsel to the President of the United States. It then hired Joseph E. Schmitz as its in-house counsel, who was formerly the Inspector General at the Pentagon. More recently, Blackwater employed Kenneth Starr, famed prosecutor in the Bill Clinton and Monica Lewinsky scandal. Cofer Black, who was the Director of the CIA Counter-Terrorist Center, was also added as a Blackwater Vice-Chairman.

    “Blackwater has spent millions of dollars and hired at least five different law firms to fight the families, rather than meeting and addressing the safety and well being of the mothers, wives, and children left behind,†said Callahan.

    Bummer :thumright:

  4. In Spain, this matter is not going to be swept under the carpet.
    All over Europe the movement for more information is growing.
    Smelly sticky stuff and fans will eventually be plugged into the 240v mains.
    The aircraft spotter at Palma de Mallorca airport with a decent camera is becoming something of a national hero.
  5. in my opinion this is unlikely to have been a rendition flight - the Casa 212 just doesn't have the range, it's designed for intra-theatre operations (typically from semi-prepared landing strips).
    it's unlikely to be used for long-range rendition purely because if you had to transport someone clandestinely would you use a plane that has to stop in 6 different countries between USA and the Gulf? or would you use a Gulfstream jet that can fly direct?
    the press don't know their arse from their armpits when it comes to details that don't fall in place...
  6. Well, at least proof that the aircraft landed at a UK airport.

    So what's the problem with moving prisoners around in order to effectively interrogate them, there are probably fewer trained interrogators than there are subjects so it's bound to happen.

    If, OTOH, it can be demonstrated that they're not being interrogated in an effective manner then one would question the usefulness.
  7. Ninja_Stoker

    Ninja_Stoker War Hero Moderator

    Interesting line in bullshit, my good person, welcome to RR.
    1) The strip it took off from may well be semi-prepared- making a gulfstream, at source problematical.
    2) The aircraft described, requires a fuelling stop before it's cargo is transferred or moved elsewhere.
    3) If you are an apologist for illegal actions such as this, then Fcuk off before I get rude.
    4) If you're just trying to be helpful, my first sentence remains extant, especially the "welcome"
  8. True the Casa does not have a great range, but were not a lot of those subject to rendition taken to Morocco, well within the range of the aircraft if leaving from southern europe.
    The U.S. would have the good sense not to have these people tortured on its' own soil; better by far to use a so called ally for the purpose.
    It's a stinking, dirty, filty business and I hope the spirit of the EU will prevail and dig the dirt on this.
  9. sorry, wasn't being an apologist - i couldn't care less, to be honest - what i meant was that prisoners weren't likely to be being transferred through the UK in it. i agree that it or similar aircraft (PC-12's maybe) could be used in the Gulf region though. whatever...
  10. "We're just in the *Stopover* Zones (Presumably so passengers can stock up on tax free fags and booze)

    "Flippin' 'eck!....they've got more routes than me!"
  11. I like the 'Secret Detentions' bit..and all nicely published on a map....

  12. What's the problem?? Well let's first stop calling it effective interrogation and start calling a spade a spade - it's called torture.

    People are being kidnapped within Europe and flown to various destinations to be tortured. Some of the torture sites are on European soil. Some of the people who are kidnapped are innocent of any crimes. Some of the people who are kidnapped are innocent of any crime in the country that they were kidnapped in.

    The action of kidnapping and the transits of UK airspace and airfields for the purpose of transporting human-beings to be tortured is illegal.

    Report: CIA illegally abducted suspects
    Published: June 11, 2007 at 11:12 AM
    WASHINGTON, June 11 (UPI) -- A new report from a European council says it has evidence Poland and Romania hosted secret CIA jails where alleged terrorists were abused and tortured.
    The report from the Council of Europe -- a consultative body created in 1949 to promote human rights and bind European governments more closely together -- says Abu Zubaydah and Khalid Sheik Mohammed, now held at Guantanamo Bay Naval Base, were both secretly held in Poland. The secret facility in Romania held alleged terrorists of lesser intelligence value.

    U.S. President George W. Bush confirmed last year there were secret CIA prisons for alleged terrorists, nearly a year after the Washington Post reported their existence. Their exact locations and how they operated has not been extensively described.

    "Large numbers of people have been abducted from various locations across the world and transferred to countries where they have been persecuted and where it is known torture takes place," the report states.

    It says the United States used broad powers granted by an Oct. 2, 2001, agreement from NATO to grant U.S. aircraft blanket overflight and landing rights throughout NATO and nine other countries to move the prisoners around secretly.

    "We believe we have shown the CIA committed a whole series of illegal acts by abducting individuals in Europe," states the report. "The fact that the measures only apply to non-American citizens is just as disturbing; it reflects legal apartheid and an exaggerated sense of superiority.

    "These are the terrible consequences of what in some quarters is called 'the war on terrorism,'" it states.


    I am ashamed to say that Britain needs to begin to follow the examples of Italy and Spain and begin to investigate and prosecute the people who have committed these crimes including the British authorities and politicians who have been complicit in aiding and abetting these illegal activities.

  13. Whilst being very much against torture, kidnapping etc, lets get this into some perspective. Countries all employ secret intelligence services, much of their work in one way or another is on the face of it illegal, spying in other countries is breaking their law. Many countries have kidnapped people they 'would like a chat with' many countries have tortured people, including this one, these things do go on and bleating about the Shrub will not change this.

    Of course we should challenge them when they het caught, if we can we should prosecute, but never believe that we will stop it, and never suggest that your own country is above these things.
  14. Ah...the torture-lite rationale. "I disagree with torture except in the following cases........"

    Some countries do indeed kidnap opponents; it is a completely different scenario when a sovereign nation [which I presume that the United Kingdom still remains] assists a foreign nation to commit crimes on it's own soil.

  15. No I don't agree with torture in principle, just recognise that it does happen, and I made the point if the guys get caught then they should be prosecuted. I would add that if you actually have evidence of what you suggest out Mr Salmond wants it because he would really like to rub Blairs nose in it before het retires
  16. How did the Geneva Convention become so blurred to some.. did the US not sign and ratify these conventions...but to play the Devils' advocate, it doesn't seem like the "other" side is playing by the same rules either, I know two wrongs don't make a right, but someone should be taking the high road...
  17. The understanding of the Geneva Conventions was [unfortunately] never blurred. The United States decided that they didn't apply to the actions of the United States. Imperial Hubris. The decision to ignore the protocols was taken at the highest levels of the US political establishment and it is why I keep boring the arses of everyone on RR by banging on about Bush, Cheney, Gonzales and the neocons.

    It's good to play Devil's Advocate but we should always remember that we need to hold ourselves to a higher standard than terrorists because at the end of the day we will only defeat them by our ideas, behaviour and philosophy. Military actions will only ever buy us some time to implement this real war.

    This article is very slightly off thread but it concerns Brent Scowcroft who is one of the most forward thinking of the US politicians and the lead up to the war on terra. It is worth a read especially for anyone who is surprised at the 'unexpected' mess that we are in.


    Scowcroft Vindicated, Congress and White House Shamed

    by Ralph R. Reiland
    Ten days before the vote in the U.S. Senate to authorize a preemptive war against Iraq, a 90-page classified version of the National Intelligence Estimate, containing numerous qualifications and dissents on Iraq's weapons capabilities, was made available to all 100 senators.

    It was the most comprehensive analysis by America's intelligence agencies. Only six of the senators read it.

    "Senators were able to access the National Intelligence Estimate at two secure locations in the Capitol complex," explain Jeff Gerth and Don Van Natta in the June 3 issue of the New York Times Magazine. "Nonetheless, only six senators personally read the report, according to a 2005 television interview with Sen. Jay Rockefeller, Democrat of West Virginia, then the vice chairman of the intelligence panel."

    Nevertheless, on Oct. 11, 2002, the Senate voted 77-23 to give George W. Bush the authorization to launch a war against Iraq.

    Two months earlier, on Aug. 14, seven months prior to the U.S. invasion of Iraq, the CIA sent a classified, six-page report to the White House, titled "The Perfect Storm: Planning for Negative Consequences of Invading Iraq," highlighting the potential downside of removing Saddam Hussein from power.

    Among other things, the CIA's analysis, according to a report about prewar intelligence recently released by the Senate Select Committee on Intelligence, warned that a U.S. invasion could result in al-Qaeda taking "advantage of a destabilized Iraq to establish secure safe havens from which they can continue their operations."

    The CIA also warned that a U.S. invasion could produce anarchy in Iraq, reduce European confidence in U.S. leadership, expand Iran's influence in the region, destabilize Afghanistan and Pakistan, and bolster Islamic hostility toward the United States.

    On Aug. 15, 2002, the morning after the White House received the CIA's words of caution, the Wall Street Journal published "Don't Attack Saddam" by Brent Scowcroft, national security adviser in the administrations of Gerald Ford and George H.W. Bush.

    Acknowledging that Saddam Hussein was "a menace" who "brutalizes his own people" and "launched war on two of his neighbors," Scowcroft contended that "an attack on Iraq at this time would seriously jeopardize, if not destroy, the global counter-terrorist campaign we have undertaken."

    There was "scant evidence to tie Saddam to terrorist organizations, and even less to the Sept. 11 attacks," argued Scowcroft. "Indeed Saddam's goals have little in common with the terrorists who threaten us, and there is little incentive for him to make common cause with them."

    Additionally, "There is little evidence to indicate that the United States itself is an object of his aggression."

    Continued Scowcroft, accurately, as it turned out: "The United States could certainly defeat the Iraqi military and destroy Saddam's regime. But it would not be a cakewalk. On the contrary, it undoubtedly would be very expensive – with serious consequences for the U.S. and global economy – and could as well be bloody."

    The fall of Saddam, advised Scowcroft, "would very likely have to be followed by a large-scale, long-term military occupation," a state of affairs "certain to divert us for some indefinite period from our war on terrorism."

    Additionally, given the "virtual consensus in the world against an attack on Iraq at this time," the U.S. would be caught in "a virtual go-it-alone strategy," making our "military operations correspondingly more difficult and expensive."

    An American attack, warned Scowcroft, might well "swell the ranks of the terrorists" while simultaneously causing "a serious degradation in international cooperation with us against terrorism."

    Those weren't the only top-level warnings regarding a U.S. invasion of Iraq. President George H.W. Bush, after the 1991 Gulf War in which Iraqi forces were pushed out of Kuwait, explained why U.S. forces didn't continue on to Baghdad and topple Saddam. "It would have been disastrous," said Bush. "America in an Arab land, with no allies at our side."

    Similarly, Dick Cheney, secretary of defense during the Gulf War, said in 1992: "The question in my mind is, how many additional American casualties is Saddam worth? And the answer is, not that damned many."

    Two questions. The first one is for Mr. Cheney, the same one as 15 years ago: How many additional American casualties is Iraq worth? The second is for each of the senators now running for president: Are you one of six out of 100 senators who bothered to read the National Intelligence Estimate before the vote to send American troops into Iraq, and, if not, what was it that you were doing that you considered to be more important than reading those 90 pages?


    The important thing to understand about this NIE is that the British had access to it and to it's conclusions and yet still The Bliar chose to commit British Forces to a ground was in Iraq.

    Bummer :thumright:
  18. Seaweed

    Seaweed War Hero Book Reviewer

    I understand that the Geneva Convention only applies to uniformed members of an armed force employed by a recognised state, and that it therefore does NOT apply to terrorists ("unlawful combatants"), who are outside its protection and have no claim to its provisions.

    Law is what it is, not what individuals would like it to be.

  19. Your first paragraph is absolutely wrong but your last line is hilarious. President Bush chose [unilaterally] to decide that the Geneva Conventions did not apply. This is why pretty much the entire world and most of his own political establishment are against him on this.


    This is a comment on the 2006 SCOTUS ruling:

    As I predicted below, the Court held that Congress had, by statute, required that the commissions comply with the laws of war -- and held further that these commissions do not (for various reasons). I have not yet read the complete opinions, but from what I've seen of not only the Stevens majority, but also the Kennedy and Breyer concurrences (see Orin Kerr with the relevant AMK and SGB excerpts here), it is hard to overstate the principal, powerfully stated themes emanating from the Court, which are (i) that the President's conduct is subject to the limitations of statute and treaty; and (ii) that Congress's enactments are best construed to require compliance with the international laws of armed conflict.

    Even more importantly for present purposes, the Court held that Common Article 3 of Geneva applies as a matter of treaty obligation to the conflict against Al Qaeda. That is the HUGE part of today's ruling. The commissions are the least of it. This basically resolves the debate about interrogation techniques, because Common Article 3 provides that detained persons "shall in all circumstances be treated humanely," and that "[t]o this end," certain specified acts "are and shall remain prohibited at any time and in any place whatsoever"—including "cruel treatment and torture," and "outrages upon personal dignity, in particular humiliating and degrading treatment." This standard, not limited to the restrictions of the due process clause, is much more restrictive than even the McCain Amendment. See my further discussion here.

    This almost certainly means that the CIA's interrogation regime is unlawful, and indeed, that many techniques the Administation has been using, such as waterboarding and hypothermia (and others) violate the War Crimes Act (because violations of Common Article 3 are deemed war crimes).


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