Flights suspected of CIA rendition missions made more than 70 journeys through Britain, government says
LONDON – Britain’s transport minister said Friday the government has found no evidence linking six aircraft, which made dozens of journeys through Britain, to the so-called “extraordinary rendition” program.Opposition lawmakers claim the six planes were used by the CIA to transfer terror suspects to third countries.Transport Secretary Alistair Darling said that the six planes made 73 flights through Britain since 2001 on journeys to Afghanistan, Jordan, Saudi Arabia and elsewhere.But he said the government had no evidence to support allegations that the flights were involved in the transfer of terrorist suspects.Darling was responding in a written reply to opposition Liberal Democrat foreign affairs spokesman Michael Moore, who requested details of landings in Britain of six planes.Darling said that since 2001, an aircraft with the registration N2189M landed or departed from British airports 10 times, N8183J used British airspace 12 times, N970SJ made two journeys through Britain, N129QS landed or departed five times, N368CE on 20 occasions and N85VM on 24.The six planes have been at the center of allegations about the transport of terrorist suspects by the CIA. Critics charge that in the “extraordinary rendition” program terrorism suspects are transferred to third countries where some allegedly are subjected to torture.Foreign Secretary Jack Straw told lawmakers earlier this year that the government had recorded only two cases since 1997 in which the United States had requested and been granted permission to transfer detainees via Britain.Both cases were in 1998 and involved suspects charged with offenses under U.S. law, the Foreign Office said.Vail, Colorado
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