I was unfortunately sick the last few days, and during the time off from work recuperating I watched some DVDs. One of them was the film ‘Rendition’ that covers the US practice of ‘extraordinary rendition’ – basically the outsourcing of suspects to countries willing and able to torture, as well as the extradition of suspects across borders without due process.
I had long been wary of the possibility of the US using Bermuda as a handy refueling site for just these ventures, as we are already extensively used by them for refueling there official military vessesls as seen in the build up to the invasions of Afghanistan and Iraq.
Just a little searching reveals that Bermuda, that is L. F. Wade International Airport, has been used by the US at least eight times just for this issue of extraordinary rendition. It doesn’t detail much other than the code for the two planes involved and the number of times either one landed here. [See pages 40-41 for the Gulfstream III plane N829MG-N259SK and pages 42-43 for the Gulfstream IV plane N85VM-N227SV.]
There is no way to tell whether our people were aware of the nature of these flights. I find it doubtful that the workers refueling these flights were aware of their nature, and I find it doubtful that anyone in the Bermuda Government was similarly aware. But I do believe the British were aware of the flights and their purpose – The Guardian has interesting article related to this…
There is also no way of telling if Bermuda has been used for more such flights (for example in official US military planes) or since the time of the report in question (or even if the report was able to detail all such flights).
The report also lists a number of companies, including CIA front companies involved in the rendition process (the Bush regime is very much in favour of privatisation you see, and small private jets draw less suspicion than large military aircraft).
If I were an investigative reporter in Bermuda I would go ahead and investigate whether any of these companies are registered or based or otherwise connected to Bermuda. [Notice the subtle hint?]
I reiterate my call once more that as long as Bermuda allows US military vessels to enter Bdian ports, and as long as we allow such rendition flights to enter our territory, or as long as Bda based companies are involved in war profiteering (including mercenary activity in Iraq) we are compicit in the war crimes of the Americans.
If the Government won’t do anything about it, perhaps the Unions should take a page out of the South Africans’ book and refuse to service any such vessels and transactions.
No more blood on our hands!
Further interesting reading:
Focusing primarily on Diego Garcia and the Turks & Caicos ‘Enforced Disappearence, Illegal Interstate Transfer and Other Human Rights Abuses Involving the UK Overseas Territories.’
Some research on the planes used by the CIA for rendition flights, along with a few references to Bermuda: ‘Contribution to the Rapporteur: Research on the Planes Used by the CIA.’