Flight data logged by aircraft with air traffic authorities form an important source of information when attempting to build a picture of the illicit transfer of detainees around the world. We have constructed here a comprehensive repository of flight data in the public domain. This data has been compiled via a number of routes, although much of it has been released by a range of public air traffic authorities in response to requests filed under Freedom of Information (FOI) legislation. We are currently are in the process of integrating this data into one, searchable database which will be published in due course.
Initial investigations were carried out by two major European intergovernmental inquiries during 2005-2007: one by the Council of Europe and the other by the European Parliament. Between them, these inquiries compiled a significant amount of flight data from Eurocontrol and national air traffic authorities, which allowed for the scope and extent of the renditions flight network to be appreciated for the first time.
Governmental inquiries in individual countries, either by the executive or legislative branch, have also unearthed or compiled data of flights entering their airspace or landing on their territory. In some cases, these investigations are mandated by formal parliamentary resolutions or executive decree (e.g., the Seimas Committee in Lithuania). In other cases, they have been driven by interested members of parliament acting individually (e.g., Ana Gomes MEP in Portugal) or in small groups (e.g., the APPG in the UK).
Occasionally, court cases have resulted in the release of documents which reveal operational details of CIA-linked aircraft. In one case, the operating company Richmor Aviation, which managed aircraft involved in the renditions programme, sued the aircraft broker SportsFlight Air Inc for breach of contract. SportsFlight had acted on behalf of the CIA through another contractor, DynCorp. During the court case, more than 1500 pages of documents were ordered to be released, and are now in the public domain. The documents include detailed information on aircraft circuits, including for flights known to have carried detainees. Working with Reprieve, we are currently analysing these documents, and will post our findings in due course.
Several nongovernmental organisations (NGOs) have conducted investigations of their own. These have involved a range of investigative methods, including the filing of FOI requests, on-the-ground investigative work, and the receipt and analysis of confidential information. NGOs that have played a key role in sourcing renditions flight data include: Access Info Europe, Amnesty International, Helsinki Foundation for Human Rights, Open Society Justice Initiative, Reprieve, and Shannonwatch.
Lastly, investigative journalists have either worked to compile lists of suspicious flights (e.g., Stephan Grey), or have been briefed on particular flights by unnamed current and former US officials, which they have then published about.
Explore the data collected by this range of investigators, either by exploring the menu on the left, or clicking below:
- Marty Investigation, Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe (PACE)
- Fava Investigation, European Parliament
- Inter-Ministerial Working Group, Denmark (IMWG)
- Seimas Committee (Parliament, Lithuania)
- Ana Gomes (MEP, Portugal)
- Foreign and Commonwealth Office, UK (FCO)
- Access Info Europe (Spain)
- Amnesty International (various)
- Helsinki Foundation for Human Rights (Poland)
- Open Society Justice Initiative (various)
- Reprieve (UK)