Rendition Circuit: 11-19 September 2002
Rendition of Unidentified Detainee to Egypt/Morocco (via Diego Garcia), Hassan bin Attash from Afghanistan to Jordan, and Ramzi bin al-Shibh from Afghanistan to Morocco
Between 11-19 September 2002, CIA renditions aircraft N379P completed a global circuit involving stops in several key destinations, including Diego Garcia, Egypt, Morocco, Afghanistan and Jordan. Along the way, the aircraft undertook multiple renditions, transferring detainees between several destinations. Specifically, it is likely to have rendered Ramzi bin al-Shibh from Afghanistan to continued CIA detention in Morocco, and Hassan bin Attash from Afghanistan to proxy detention in Jordan. As revealed here, this circuit is also likely to have involved the rendition of a detainee from Southeast Asia to Egypt, via Diego Garcia.
- Click here for more on Ramzi bin al-Shibh’s detentions and treatment
- Click here for more on Hassan bin Attash’s detentions and treatment
- Click here for more on N379P
N379P left its home base of Johnston County Airport (KJNX) in the evening of 11 September 2002, the same day that Ramzi bin al-Shibh and Hassan bin Attash were captured in Karachi, Pakistan. After stopping for about 90 minutes in Washington Dulles International Airport (KIAD), the aircraft flew to Athens, Greece (LGAV), arriving early in the morning of 12 September. It then stayed in Athens for 24 hours, potentially awaiting instruction as the handover of bin al-Shibh and bin Attash to the CIA was being negotiated.
In the morning of 13 September, instead of heading eastwards towards Afghanistan or Pakistan, it flew southeast, direct to Diego Garcia (FJDG), arriving in the late afternoon. At that point, the aircraft disappears from known records, only to reappear two days later, on 15 September, heading from Cairo, Egypt (HECA) to Rabat, Morocco (GMME). Where the aircraft flew between Diego Garcia and Cairo is unknown, although it is the only rendition-linked aircraft with known movement through Diego Garcia in September 2002. This is significant, as the British Government has admitted that a rendition flight with a detainee on board stopped over for refuelling on the island during September 2002. Given that it is unlikely that the aircraft was carrying a detainee from Athens to Diego Garcia, it is likely that it proceeded onwards from the island, picked up a detainee, and returned via Diego Garcia to North Africa.
Indeed, other rendition flights which are known to have stopped off in Diego Garcia en route to North Africa have all come from Southeast Asia (Indonesia and Thailand). Given the geographical location of the island, this is logical stopover for renditions from Southeast Asia to North Africa (whereas a stopover from Pakistan, Afghanistan or the Middle East en route to North Africa does not make sense). As such, it is likely that the first rendition in this circuit was of a detainee being transferred from Southeast Asia to Egypt. It is also likely, given the CIA’s statement that one of the renditions through Diego Garcia was of a detainee being ‘returned to his home country’, that the detainee was Egyptian or Moroccan.
Once in Egypt, N379P flew to Morocco on 15 September, and then onto Porto, Portugal (LPPR) on the same day. The aircraft stayed overnight in Porto, likely for the rendition crew to get some ‘rest and relaxation’ before their second successive rendition flight.
On 17 September, the aircraft flew direct to Kabul, Afghanistan (OAKB). Here, it picked up bin al-Shibh and Hassan bin Attash, both of whom had been transferred from Karachi to the Dark Prison in Kabul on 14 September. N379P then flew from Kabul to Amman, Jordan (OJAI), presumably with both detainees on board.
In Jordan, bin Attash was transferred to GID detention. There are conflicting accounts of bin al-Shibh’s fate at this point. One former detainee in Jordan has told Human Rights Watch that he was held next to bin al-Shibh in the GID facility in Amman during late 2002, where bin al-Shibh had discussed being tortured by the Jordanians. This would suggest that bin al-Shibh was taken off N379P along with bin Attash. However, authoritative research by the AP’s Adam Goldman has bin al-Shibh being taken from Kabul to all the way to Rabat on 17 September 2002, where he was held for six months before being transferred again, to Poland. This is more likely to have been the case, and the publication of the SSCI report in December 2014 provided confirmatory evidence of bin al-Shibh’s presence in Morocco up until February 2003 (see his profile for details on this).