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Rendition Circuit: 14-20 February 2005

 

Possible rendition of High-Value Detainees, Morocco, Romania and Lithuania

On 18 February 2005, a Boeing 737 with registration number N787WH flew between known secret prison destinations in Morocco, Romania and Lithuania, the day after a second aircraft - a Boeing 727 with registration number N724CL - also flew between Morocco and Lithuania (stopping in Jordan en route). Both of these flights were likely carrying 'High Value Detainees' (HVDs) for continued detention and interrogation in the Middle East and Eastern Europe, and were chartered by the CIA through its contract with Computer Sciences Corporation (CSC). In particular, Abu Zubaydah's legal team believes that he was onboard one or other of these flights, and was taken for further secret detention in Lithuania throughout 2005 and early 2006.

N787WH is operated by Victory Aviation / Victory Air Transport. Baseops International provided trip planning services for this circuit, filing flight plans and arranging other logistical details.

 

 

Analysis

N787WH took off from its home base of Fort Lauderdale-Hollywood International Airport (KFLL) in the early evening of 14 February 2005, and flew to Baltimore (KBWI) where it landed and rested overnight. In the morning of 15 February, the aircraft left Baltimore, and flew cross-Atlantic, landing in the Azores (LPAZ) in the mid-afternoon. According to an additional submission filed to the European Court of Human Rights in the case of Abu Zubaydah v. Lithuania, the aircraft filed a flight plan from the Azores to Munich (EDDM) which had to be amended shortly thereafter because of snow. Instead, N787WH flew to Salzburg, Austria (LOWS) at some point on 15-17 February (having potentially made an overnight stop in the Azores).

From Salzburg, the aircraft flew to Malaga, Spain (LEMG), landing mid-afternoon on 17 February and staying on the ground until the early hours of 18 February. It then flew the short distance to Rabat, Morocco (GMME), where it stopped for just over two hours. It is here that High-Value Detainees - including possibly Abu Zubaydah - would have been loaded onboard. From Rabat, N787WH flew to Romania, filing what was probably a 'dummy flight plan' to Constanta (LRCK) while actually landing in Bucharest (LRBS), the location of the CIA black site in the country.

N787WH stayed on the ground in Romania for several hours, potentially while detainees were loaded on and off the aircraft. It then took off in the afternoon of 18 February, filing a flight plan to Gothenburg, Sweden (ESGG). Flight data released by the Polish Air Navigation Services Agency (PANSA) documents the trip planning company Baseops International filing an 'urgent short notice request' for permission for N787WH to overfly Polish airspace, ostensibly en route from Bucharest to Gothenburg. However, flight data released by the Lithuanian Civil Aviation Administration charts the aircraft landing in Vilnius, Lithuania (EYVI) at 18:03. Any detainees still on the aircraft in Lithuania would have been taken off before it left at 19:31, heading for Copenhagen (EKCH).

After an overnight stop in Copenhagen, the aircraft flew back to Baltimore, via Gander International Airport, Canada (CYQX), and then onwards to Fort Lauderdale, landing in the early hours of 20 February 2005.

 

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