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Rendition Circuit: 3-7 June 2003

 

Rendition of Walid bin Attash, Afghanistan to Poland, and Abd al-Rahim al-Nashiri and Ramzi bin al-Shibh, Poland to Morocco

 

On 5 June 2003, Walid bin Attash was rendered from Afghanistan, where he had been tortured for three weeks in a secret CIA prison, to Poland. The same aircraft, the CIA-owned Gulfstream V jet with registration number N379P, then transferred Abd al-Rahim al-Nashiri and Ramzi bin al-Shibh from Poland, where they had been held in the secret CIA prison at Stare Kiejkuty since December 2002 and March 2003 respectively. The two detainees were rendered to Morocco, where they continued to be held and interrogated in secret until their further rendition to Guantnamo Bay in September 2003.

Flight plans for this rendition circuit were filed by Jeppesen Dataplan, the company involved in organising the logistics for several other rendition flights. The flight plans in this circuit were filed with special designators, STS/STATE and STS/ATFMEXEMPTAPPROVED. The first of these was used to claim official status for the flights as a diplomatic or state aircraft, only one category below that of aircraft carrying Heads of State. The second designator was invoked to exempt the aircraft from normal flight rules, such as waiting for departure slots at airports.

Flight plans filed by Jeppesen for this circuit included several 'dummy flight plans', filed to disguise the flights into and out of Szymany, Poland.

 

 

Analysis

 

N379P left its home base of Johnston County Airport (KJNX) late in the evening of 3 June 2003, flying to Washington Dulles International Airport (KIAD). After almost two hours on the ground, the aircraft then flew to Frankfurt, Germany (EDDF), landing in the morning of 4 June. It stayed in Frankfurt for less than an hour, before flying to Tashkent, Uzbekistan (UTTT), landing in the early afternoon. Flight data released by the Polish Air Navigation Services Agency (PANSA) document the aircraft entering Polish airspace at 09:11 and leaving at 09:51.

There are no current records of the aircraft's movements from Tashkent. However, records held by The Rendition Project demonstrate that in the early hours of 5 June, Jeppesen filed a plan with Eurocontrol which had N379P leaving Kabul at 17:00 and flying to Warsaw, Poland (EPWA), and then another flight from Warsaw at 00:30 the next day, flying to Rabat, Morocco (GMME). Both of these plans were filed with the two special designators, STS/STATE and STS/ATFMEXEMPTAPPROVED.

Both of these flight plans were actually 'dummies', filed to disguise the true flights of the aircraft into and out of Szymany. Flight data released by the Polish Border Guard Office documents a landing by N379P in Szymany on 6 June, while flight data released by the Polish Air Navigation Services Agency (PANSA)  documents the flight entering Polish airspace from Kabul at 22:32 on 5 June, landing at Szymany at 23:00. This flight was filed with the Polish authorities with the STS/STATE designation. Once in Szymany, N379P stayed on the ground for just under 2 hours.

The flight from Afghanistan was likely to have carried Walid bin Attash, given that this matches with his testimony of transfer dates and flight times. Al-Nashiri and bin al-Shibh were loaded on to the aircraft while it was on the ground in Szymany. Analysis by Adam Goldman at the Associated Press has both detainees moved from Poland to Morocco on 6 June 2003, the very day that N379P made the trip.

According to the Polish flight data, N379P left Szymany at 00:58 on 6 June, again flying under the special designation STS/STATE. It left Polish airspace at 01:38, heading for Rabat, Morocco (GMME). The landing time at Rabat is unknown, but flight plans were filed by Jeppesen out of the airport early in the morning of 6 June, heading to Porto, Portugal (LPPR). The aircraft stayed in Porto for 24 hours, presumably for some 'rest and relaxation' for the renditions crew. In the morning of 7 June, the aircraft flew back to Washington and then Johnson County, arriving in the evening of that day.


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