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Blackwater and CIA Renditions

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While Blackwater claims that “it is in effect an extension of the U.S. military because of its claimed status as part of the Pentagon’s ‘Total Force,’ Blackwater may actually have been far more intertwined with the workings of the military and intelligence agencies than it would ever let on.

 

Private Aviation Companies Render Prisoners Across the Globe

“The company [Blackwater] has multiple contracts with the U.S. government to provide pilots and aircraft. Information on the use of Blackwater’s planes by the government is difficult to obtain, but it has been well documented that U.S. intelligence agencies and the military have used private aviation companies to ‘render’ prisoners across the globe, particularly under the Bush administration ‘war on terror.’ Under the clandestine program, prisoners are sometimes flown to countries with questionable or terrible human rights records, where they are interrogated far from any oversight or due process. To avoid oversight, the government has used small private aviation companies – many with flimsy ownership documentation – to transport the prisoners. ‘Terrorism suspects in Europe, Africa, Asia, and the Middle East have often been abducted by hooded or masked American agents, then forced onto a Gulfstream V jet,’ wrote investigative journalist Jane Mayer in The New Yorker magazine. The plane has clearance to land at U.S. military bases. Upon arriving in foreign countries, rendered suspects often vanish. Detainees are not provided with lawyers, and many families are not informed of their whereabouts.’ While there is nothing directly linking Blackwater to extraordinary renditions, there is an abundance of circumstantial evidence that bears closer scrutiny and investigation.” Blackwater, 253.

 

Air America Used for Covert Ops

“From 1962 to 1975, the CIA used its secretly owned airline Air America (which simultaneously functioned as a commercial airline) to conduct covert or secretive operations that would have sparked even more investigation and outrage if made public… 

Private Aircraft Transport Prisoners to Secret Prisons Around the Globe

“Decades later, the Bush administration, waging a war many compared to Vietnam, clearly saw the need for a clandestine fleet of planes. Shortly after 9/11, the administration started a program using a network of private planes some began referring to as the ‘new Air America.’ The rendition program kicked into high gear, as the United States began operating a sophisticated network of secret prisons and detention centers across the globe, using the private aircraft to transport prisoners.   

Most of the planes alleged to have been involved in renditions under the Bush administration’s war on terror were owned by shell companies. In contrast, Blackwater directly owns its aviation division and has been public and proud in promoting its military involvement.

 

Blackwater Aviation

“Blackwater Aviation was born in April 2003, as the Iraq occupation was getting under way, when the Prince Group acquired Aviation Worldwide Services (AWS) and its subsidiaries, including Presidential Airways. The AWS consortium had been brought together in early 2001 under the ownership of Tim Childrey and Richard Pere, who ‘focused on military training operations and aviation transport for the U. S. Government…

 

Blackwater-owned Planes

Frequent Airports Alleged

To Be Implicated in Rendition

Program

“Blackwater aircraft have made stopovers at Pinal Airpark in Arizona, which used to be home to the Air America Fleet. After the public scrutiny forced the CIA to dismantle its fleet and sell the airpark, a company called Evergreen International Aviation, whose board included the former head of CIA’s air operations subsequently purchased it….

 

“…Blackwater-owned planes frequented many airports alleged to be implicated in the rendition program.” –Blackwater, 255ff.

 

“’Typically, the CIA [planes will fly out of these rural airfields in North Carolina to Dulles,’ according to the authors of Torture Taxi.

 

“A glimpse of the flight records of planes registered to Blackwater subsidiaries Aviation Worldwide Services and Presidential airways revealed numerous flights that follow these patterns and frequent CIA-linked airports.” Blackwater, 256,257. [Our emphasis.] There follows documentation of 8 such examples of such aviation pattern in Blackwater.

 

Uzbekistan: Key Destination for

Military and CIA Renditions    

“In addition, though Blackwater’s aircraft in Afghanistan flew normal circuits, the company was also charged with flying out of the country, including to Uzbekistan…Uzbekistan has been one of the ‘key destinations’ for both U.S. military and CIA renditions. Prisoners are alleged to have been brought there both for interrogation and repatriation from Afghanistan. Also, as it happens, Blackwater’s planes in Afghanistan operate out of Bagram, a known U.S. –run detention and torture facility. According to Blackwater/Presidential’s Afghanistan contract, all personnel ‘are required to possess a Secret security clearance.’…

 

“Black” Contract With CIA

“Company president Gary Jackson has been bold in bragging of Blackwater’s ‘black’ and ‘secret’ contracts, which are not publicly available or traceable; he claimed these contracts were so secret he could not tell one federal agency about Blackwater’s work with another. Under the war on terror, Blackwater’s first security contract was a ‘black’ contract with the CIA, an agency with which it has deep ties. And then there was this development: In early 2005 [February 4, 2005], Blackwater hired the career CIA spy many believe was responsible for jump-starting the Bush administration’s post – 9/11 rendition program: J. Cofer Black, the former chief of the CIA’s counter terrorism center.” –Blackwater, 257, 258.

 

Legendary J. Cofer Black: Close Access

“Since 9/11, few people have had the kind of access to President Bush and covert ‘war on terror’ planning as Ambassador J. Cofer Black. A thirty-year CIA veteran, Black was a legendary figure in the shadowy world of international espionage.” –Blackwater, 261.  Black played a central role in the capture of the famed international terrorist, “Carlos the Jackal” in Sudan. After 9/11, having been marked for death by Osama bin Laden, “he enthusiastically seized a key role in plotting out the immediate U.S. response.” Two days after 9/11 Black was in the White House Situation Room, there to brief the President on the kind of campaign he had prepared for since joining the agency in 1974 but had been barred from carrying out.

 

Black’s Covert Action Dreams Become Reality

“Black found himself in the driver’s seat with a Commander in Chief ready and eager to make Black’s covert action dreams a reality.” –Blackwater, 269. “That September, President Bush gave the green light to Black and the CIA to begin inserting special operations forces into Afghanistan.” –Blackwater, 269. Black told his men to bring back Bin Laden’s head ‘in a box filled with dry ice.” –Blackwater, 269.

 

“Tenet [Director of the CIA] and his counter terror chief, Cofer Black, were at Camp David on Saturday, September 15, laying out a plan to send CIA officers into Afghanistan to work with the local warlords against Al Qaeda. The director returned to headquarters late Sunday and issued a proclamation to his troops: ‘We’re at war.’

 


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