The group that is trying to stop this company is called “STOP TORTURE NOW” and the company that they are going after is called Aero Contractors, Ltd. Here is what the ACLU had to say about Aero Contractors:
“Aero Contractors, Ltd., headquartered at the
The Charlotte Observer had this to report about the Aero Contractors and their operations inside North Carolina:
I have only been in contact with the group STOP TORTURE NOW by email. Since I am on the far side of the state from
As Barbar Zeiter further states in the Charlotte Observer:
“Several N.C. organizations have been asking Gov. Mike Easley, the N.C. General Assembly and Global TransPark leaders to have the state SBI examine the Aero situation. Evidence gathered by the N.C. chapters of Code Pink, Peace Action and Stop Torture Now reveals that our tax dollars are being used to provide sites where state and national laws and the Geneva Convention are being broken, through CIA flights from our soil.”
How the torture and rendition flights are organized is reported by Consortium News:
“Aero’s planes stop first at Dulles or at CIA facilities in Virginia to pick up flight plans, then fly to Ireland to refuel, and from there to countries such as Britain, Italy, Sweden, Pakistan, Germany, Bosnia, Macedonia, Morocco and Turkey to collect the suspects. On the final lap, they deliver the human cargo for interrogation to countries such as Egypt, Syria, Jordan, Afghanistan and until last year, Uzbekistan—all cited in U.S. State Department reports as having unclean hands when it comes to human rights.”
“the CIA uses civilian charter airlines because, under international law, private companies don’t need to reveal the nature of their trips to the countries where they refuel or fly over, while military planes must declare the names of their crews, flight plans, passengers and cargo. As a civilian charter, Aero is not asked for this information.”
Besides the group STOP TORTURE NOW, there are several other groups involved: Code Pink in
“We believe the people of
I second that opinion!
The group tried at first to get Senator Dole to take action on Aero, but this produced no results. They then contacted Rep. Etheridge, but there was no interest from that office to take any actions. They then contacted Governor Easley to attempt to stop the torture flights by Aero Contractors, but that attempt did not produce results either. Currently, they are lobbying the NC House to attempt to address this issue through them, and now have over 12 legislators signed on to a letter to the Director of the State Bureau of Investigation. The letter reads in part:
“We write as concerned State Representatives to ask you to investigate the actions of Aero Contractors, a contract air carrier that uses the facilities of the state-funded Global TransPark
Aero Contractors has been identified in the media as a participant in the CIA-sponsored "rendition" program, which has flown persons detained in various countries, including the
, to other countries. There, the suspects were held incommunicado and tortured, using methods that would not have been legal in the United States . President Bush, on September 6, 2006, acknowledged that such "renditions" had occurred. United States
It appears that Aero Contractors, in flying suspects to overseas torture sites, violated North Carolina and federal laws concerning conspiracy to commit torture
(See especially the New York Times article of May 31, 2005). If this is the case, Aero should no longer be permitted to be a client of the GTP Authority.”
I am very proud that NC legislators are stepping up to try to stop this hideous practice of “disappearing” people into a legal black hole that produces torture, murder, misinformation and a whole host of freedom-destroying activities. I am very proud that they are attempting to hold a company operating out of
The STOP TORTURE NOW group have been working on this issue for well over a year, and have tried various approaches to various elected officials. They have held numerous protests and have had several arrests during the protests. I will continue to follow their work and wish them total success.
The website for contacting NC House Representatives is HERE.