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Rendition Circuit: 23-28 August 2004


Rendition of Laid Saidi, Afghanistan to Algeria


On 26 August 2004, Laid Saidi was rendered for a second time from Afghanistan, where he had been held in secret detention for 15 months, to Algeria, where he was handed over to Algerian authorities and eventually released. This rendition followed an earlier attempt to transfer Saidi to his country of origin: believing that he was Tunisian, in June 2004 the CIA had rendered him from Afghanistan to Tunisia before realising their mistake and taking him back to Afghanistan. This second circuit was carried out by a different aircraft, the CIA-contracted Gulfstream IV jet with tail number N308AB, which was contracted as part of the overall outsourcing of rendition flights to private aircraft operators. Prior to landing in Afghanistan to pick up Saidi, the aircraft made a tour of other secret prisons locations, landing in both Romania and Morocco, and potentially moving detainees between them or into Afghanistan.





N308AB left Washington Dulles International Airport (KIAD), in the early afternoon of 23 August 2004, and flew cross-Atlantic to Prague (LKPR), landing in the evening that day. It stayed on the ground here for 24 hours, leaving in the evening of 24 August and flying to Constanta, Romania (LRCK), landing at 20:59 GMT. After 90 minutes in Romania, where the CIA had a functioning black site, the aircraft flew direct to another CIA secret prison location, landing in Rabat, Morocco (GMME) at 03:03 GMT on 25 August. The aircraft was in Morocco for 90 minutes again, during the early hours of 25 August, potentially while one or more detainees were loaded on or off.

From Morocco, the aircraft flew to Dubai (OMDB), landing in the early afternoon of 25 August, before heading to Kabul, Afghanistan (OAKB). While in Kabul, any detainees from Romania and/or Morocco may have been taken off the aircraft, and Laid Saidi was almost certainly loaded onboard.

The aircraft, with Laid Saidi and potentially other detainees as well, left Kabul in the afternoon on 26 August, and flew to Amman, landing in the early evening and stopping for about 90 minutes for refuelling and possibly to take off detainees bound for Jordanian prisons. It then flew to Houari Boumediene Airport, Algiers (DAAG), landing in the early hours of 27 August for just over an hour while Saidi was taken into Algerian custody. From Algiers, N308AB flew to Tenerife South in the Canary Islands (GCTS), where it stayed for over 24 hours, presumably while the crew and rendition team got some 'rest and relaxation'. From Tenerife, the aircraft flew back across the Atlantic to Washington, leaving in early morning and landing mid-afternoon on 28 August 2004.

The company Baseops, which provides logistical support to the US military, was responsible for paying handling, landing and overflight charges for this circuit. These came to $72,613, and this was charged to the aircraft operator Prime Jet LLC, along with $18,000 in overnight expenses for five crew, and $23,687 in "Baseop charges" (including weather services, catering, flight planning, hotel reservations, and profit). The bill for these expenses was passed, in turn, from Prime Jet to AirMarketing Services, the broker which had sourced the aircraft on behalf of SportsFlight Air.

AirMarketing then charged SportsFlight $116,500 for these expenses, and added $255,780 for the 52.2 hours of flying time made as part of the circuit (at the agreed rate of $4900 per hour), as well as a commission of 2.5%. SportsFlight then took this bill and passed it up to Computer Sciences Corporation, inserting their profit margin (which came through charging a higher hourly rate, at $5450). This total bill of $437,410 is reflected in the 'subcontract task order modification' between CSC and SportsFlight/Capital Aviation. This authorised the payment of 54 hours of flying time ($294,300, $5450 per hour) plus $143,110 of 'mission specific costs', as a modification to Subcontract S1007312 (part of the 'classified' prime contract).


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