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Bard
09-24-2005, 05:56 PM
Updated: 06:48 PM EDT
Navy Secretly Contracted Jets to Fly Out Terror Suspects

http://aolsvc.news.aol.com/news/article.adp?id=20050924142609990025



SAN DIEGO (Sept. 24) - A branch of the U.S. Navy secretly contracted a 33-plane fleet that included two Gulfstream jets reportedly used to fly terror suspects to countries known to practice torture, according to documents obtained by The Associated Press.

AP
While the Gulfstream jets, shown above, came under scrutiny in 2001, what hasn't been disclosed is the Navy's role in contracting planes involved in operations the CIA terms "rendition."

At least 10 U.S. aviation companies were issued classified contracts in 2001 and 2002 by the obscure Navy Engineering Logistics Office for the "occasional airlift of USN (Navy) cargo worldwide," according to Defense Department documents the AP obtained through a Freedom of Information Act request.

Two of the companies - Richmor Aviation Inc. and Premier Executive Transport Services Inc. - chartered luxury Gulfstreams that flew terror suspects captured in Europe to Egypt, according to U.S. and European media reports. Once there, the men told family members, they were tortured. Authorities in Italy and Sweden have expressed outrage over flights they say were illegal and orchestrated by the U.S. government.

While the Gulfstreams came under scrutiny in 2001, what hasn't been disclosed is the Navy's role in contracting planes involved in operations the CIA terms "rendition" and what Italian prosecutors call kidnapping.

"A lot of us have been focusing on the role of the CIA but also suspecting that certain parts of the armed forces are involved," said Margaret Satterthwaite, a New York University School of Law researcher who has investigated renditions.

The Navy contracts involve more planes than previously reported - other news outlets totaled 26 planes; the AP identified 33 planes.

Italian judges have issued arrest warrants for 19 purported CIA operatives who allegedly snatched a Muslim cleric from Milan in 2003 and flew him to Cairo, according to FAA records cited by the Chicago Tribune, aboard Richmor's Gulfstream IV. The jet belongs to a part-owner of the Boston Red Sox, who told The Boston Globe that the team's logo was covered when the CIA leased the plane. Another case involves two men taken from Sweden to Egypt in 2001 aboard Premier's Gulfstream V.

Neither the CIA nor a Navy spokeswoman at the Pentagon would comment for this story. Officials at the Navy Engineering Logistics Office, or NELO, in Arlington, Va., didn't respond to messages requesting comment.

Joseph P. Duenas, counsel for the logistics office, declined to provide the contracts, saying they "involve national security information that is classified."

The secrecy surrounding the deals makes it unclear why NELO issued them, but one reason may be the office's anonymity - the agency is so buried within the Pentagon bureaucracy that some career Navy officials have never heard of it.

John Hutson, a retired rear admiral who was the Navy's Judge Advocate General from 1997 to 2000 and is critical of the Bush administration's detainee policies, said he was not familiar with NELO. Told of its activities, Hutson said NELO employees could be held liable if they knew the planes would be used for renditions. Human rights lawyers allege rendition flights violate criminal law.

The office has been around since the mid-1970s, according to a former employee who spoke on condition of anonymity because NELO's activities are secret. NELO operates under different names: it's also known as the Navy's Office of Special Projects and its San Diego location is called the Navy Regional Plant Equipment Office.

None of those names is listed in the U.S. Government Manual, the official compilation of federal departments, agencies and offices. A man who answered the phone at NELO's Arlington office refused to give his name or the agency's address, suggesting it may be classified.

In court documents filed in the case of a fired Office of Special Projects whistleblower, government attorneys described the agency's principal function as "the conduct of foreign intelligence or counterintelligence activities."

The AP learned of the airplane contracts through a Freedom of Information Act request that focused on a different subject - permits granted to all 10 aviation companies that let them land at any Navy base worldwide.

The permits list planes operated by the companies and a contract number issued by NELO. The numbers provide some details about the contracts, including when they were issued, but do not say when they expire. In the documents the AP reviewed, contracts were issued in 2001 and 2002 and were cited on landing permits issued in 2004. The NELO contract numbers also appear on permits issued in 2003 and 2004 that allowed seven of the companies to buy fuel at military bases worldwide.

The permits list 31 planes under NELO contract other than the two Gulfstreams. They include a small Cessna; three huge Lockheed Hercules cargo planes; a Gulfstream 1159a; a Lear Jet 35A; a DC-3; two Boeing 737s; and a 53-passenger DeHavilland DH-8 photographed by plane spotters in Afghanistan.

Ownership of the planes is shielded behind a maze of paperwork and elusive executives.

James J. Kershaw is listed as president of three of the companies, located in Massachusetts, Tennessee and North Carolina. Two other companies share the same vice president, Colleen Bornt. Extensive public record searches could not locate either of them.

Record searches also failed to turn up information on Leonard T. Bayard, whose firm bought Premier Executive Transport Services' Gulfstream. The address of Bayard's firm is the Portland, Ore., office of attorney Scott Caplan.

Asked if his client is a real person, Caplan replied: "No comment."

Associated Press writer Rukmini Callimachi in Portland, Ore., contributed to this story.


09/24/05 14:23 EDT

momahedger
09-24-2005, 06:01 PM
as I have always said, civilians do not want to know how the information is gotten from terrorists. they just want results. people complain that it is taking too long to find Osamen. :thud to get results you cannot be mr nice nation. unfortunately. :ohwell

it also has to be remembered that these contracts would have been done by higher ups. and the mere mention of CIA explains it all.

it is unfortunate but do we want to know the truth from people who would rather kill us than to look at us? who even kill their own people or do we want to always be mr nice guy. :cool I am not sure what to say.

Peregrina
09-25-2005, 12:06 AM
between gitmo and abu-grhaib prison, the US has sunk to the level of the people who flew the planes into the twin towers and the pentagon.

just because we can do things - kidnapping, torture, starvation - does not mean that we should.

momahedger
09-25-2005, 04:15 PM
between gitmo and abu-grhaib prison, the US has sunk to the level of the people who flew the planes into the twin towers and the pentagon.

just because we can do things - kidnapping, torture, starvation - does not mean that we should.
you are right and that is why I said I did not know what else to say, but sometimes when you deal with dirt you have to get a little bit dirty. not that it is acceptable but that how do you deal with people who have no sense of the value of life of anyone who believes different from them?

I could not live with the knowledge of having to try and break these people to gain information. the cia has been given this challenge so what can they do?

we are not dealing with people who just do not like america, we are dealing with people who want to kill us all. :stonekick

that is why I am not shocked that these things go on and just want to point out that the navy is being used by the cia to get a job done not that the navy condones or sort this job out. :ohwell

Peregrina
09-26-2005, 12:37 AM
I see your point, moma, but does that make it right? oddly enough, there are all sorts of things I will condone as long as someone in power has the guts to stand up and say 'this is wrong, I know this is wrong, but we have no choice.' it's kinda like, as long as they take responsibility for their actions, at least I can assume they thought it all through, maybe agonized over their decision before doing it. the idea that they just blithely do these things because they can, just makes me weep.

momahedger
09-26-2005, 09:12 AM
I see your point, moma, but does that make it right? oddly enough, there are all sorts of things I will condone as long as someone in power has the guts to stand up and say 'this is wrong, I know this is wrong, but we have no choice.' it's kinda like, as long as they take responsibility for their actions, at least I can assume they thought it all through, maybe agonized over their decision before doing it. the idea that they just blithely do these things because they can, just makes me weep.

I agree with what you have said. there should be some remorse and there should be responsibility. and it should not be done easily. but, if you watched e ring, I will say that though it is not real, part of it is probably close to the truth. a world that is far different than what most of us would want or be comfortable in. and I cannot imagine what it would be like to be married to a CIA agent. somehow I do not think that they are all like Ryan in Clear and Present Danger. :ohwell