Thursday, November 03, 2005

Black Site Flights

After yesterday's revelations in the Washington Post that the CIA was keeping detainees in "several Eastern European democracies", today has seen an unseemly scramble of mutual accusation. Anyone familiar with recent politics could have prepared a shortlist of ex-communist states closely allied with the US that might have been candidates, but the exact degree of complicity is surprising. First up, Human Rights Watch accused Poland and Romania of being the culprits. They based the accusation on details they apparently have of a flight by the notorious 737 bizjet, N313P, to Szymany airfield in the Masurian Lakes. I'm not clear what the basis of the Romanian allegation is.

However, as both countries have troops in Iraq and the USDOD has talked a lot about basing in either Romania or Bulgaria, it would make a degree of sense. The Poles kicked off a denial storm when the presidential spokesman stated that no al-Qa'ida detainees had been held in Polish military bases (note that he didn't issue a total denial). This was followed up by the specifics from HRW, and a denial of any knowledge of such activities from Romania.

Next to deny were Hungary and most other countries, with Estonia saying they were "fairly certain" there were no detainees on their territory. Then it got gnarly. Denmark said an aircraft with prisoners on board had passed through its airspace en route to Hungary. The Hungarians denied even harder. And the Czechs, meanwhile, said they had been asked to hold prisoners but had refused. However, the dread N313P (now N4476S) has been photographed in Prague. It may be worth remembering that the Chalabi Boys trained at Taszar airbase in Hungary before the invasion of Iraq, or it may not.

The EU has said it wants to investigate, but seeing as the Justice commissioner is Franco Frattini, a close collaborator of Silvio "What intelligence? Iraq? Where's that?" Berlusconi, I'm not confident.

Although googlers for various aircraft regs have driven traffic through the roof, I currently have no information on any VB aircraft in the places concerned, although anyone who can shed light on Boeing 727 P4-MMG, s/n 18368, now with "Larvelon International" of Aruba and formerly of "International Development Group" and the "Mohamed al-Mojil Establishment" is welcome to do so. The German who googled for "women fart fas fetisch" and arrived is less welcome. Getting back on-topic, according to the original report there have been secret prisons in 8 countries. Afghanistan, Thailand and Cuba we know about. Poland, Romania, and who?

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