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The secret prisons in which individuals were held and tortured by the CIA and its counterterrorism allies did not exist in isolation from one another. Rather, they formed part of a global network of detention facilities, connected to one another through hundreds of ‘rendition flights’ by civilian aircraft, operated by or on behalf of the CIA. These aircraft were used to transfer prisoners, interrogators and other US officials between prisons, in flights undertaken without public acknowledgement and entailing multiple violations of international law.

Identifying the aircraft involved in the RDI programme, and tracking their movements through the collection of flight data, has been crucial to establishing the connections between prison sites, to mapping the evolution of the programme over time, and to revealing the fate and whereabouts of those held within the programme.

The Rendition Project has worked with a number of organisations to compile the world's largest public database of aircraft and companies associated with the RDI programme, and to track the movement of CIA aircraft as they travelled between secret prisons. The Flight Database currently contains flight data on over 120 US-registered civilian aircraft, as well as some military flights into Guantánamo Bay. In total, the current version of the database contains over 11,000 individual flights, many of which have been logged by more than one source of data. Of particular importance have been the results of a Freedom of Information project by Access Info Europe and Reprieve, that has unearthed significant new flight data on renditions aircraft. This has not been integrated before now, and sits in our Database alongside data from Eurocontrol, Council of Europe and European Parliament investigations, and a range of other sources. As the project develops, new data will be integrated as it is released into the public domain.

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Rendition Research Team - © University of Kent
University of Westminster University of Kent E.S.R.C