Here we have an issue which refuses to die; every time it raises it’s head it becomes somewhat more dangerous, both to the US and UK governments.
The UK’s support for the CIA‘s global rendition programme after the September 11 terrorist attacks on the US was far more substantial than has previously been recognised, according to a new research project that draws on a vast number of publicly available data and documentation.
Evidence gathered by The Rendition Project – an interactive website that maps thousands of rendition flights – highlight 1,622 flights in and out of the UK by aircraft now known to have been involved in the agency’s secret kidnap and detention programme.
While many of those flights may not have been involved in rendition operations, the researchers behind the project have drawn on testimony from detainees, Red Cross reports, courtroom evidence, flight records and invoices to show that at least 144 were entering the UK while suspected of being engaged in rendition operations.
While the CIA used UK airports for refuelling and overnight stopovers, there is no evidence that any landed in the UK with prisoners on board. This may suggest that the UK government denied permission for this. In some cases, it is unclear whether the airline companies would have been aware of the purpose of the flights.
Some 51 different UK airports were used by 84 different aircraft that have been linked by researchers to the rendition programme. Only the US and Canada were visited more frequently. The most used UK airport was Luton, followed by Glasgow Prestwick and Stansted. There were also flights in and out of RAF Northolt and RAF Brize Norton.