Tuesday, February 06, 2007
Chicogo Tribune queries Mazury-Szczytno rendition
The Chicago Tribune has an inquiry into Mazury-Szczytno International Airport, a former military facility that happens to be near a Polish intelligence training complex where European investigators suspect the CIA maintained a secret interrogation and detention facility.
A Gulfstream V with tail number N379P, took off from Washington's Dulles International Airport on July 27, 2003, and flew to Frankfurt, Germany. FAA records next show the plane taking off from Tashkent, Uzbekistan, on July 31, bound for Glasgow, Scotland, and then back to Dulles.
How did the Gulfstream get from Frankfurt to Tashkent, and where did it stop during the four days in between?
The partial answer is Szymany, where Polish aviation records indicate it landed at 2:58 a.m. on July 30 after a flight from Afghanistan.
A more complete flight record is available for a Boeing 737 with tail number N313P. It flew from Tashkent to Kabul, Afghanistan, on Sept. 21, 2003, and then to Szymany on Sept. 22, landing at 9 p.m. It stayed on the ground for 57 minutes before taking off for Baneasa Airport in Bucharest, Romania, an airport that, according to the Marty report, "bears all the characteristics of a detainee transfer or drop-off point."
It then continued on to Rabat, Morocco, and Guantanamo Bay, the report said.
The registered owners of both planes appear to be CIA front companies. Previous attempts by the Tribune to contact the owners produced a trail of non-existent people at unlikely addresses, or law firms that did not want to discuss the nature of their interest in aviation. Both planes have been involved in rendition cases documented by the Tribune, other media and EU investigators.
Another Gulfstream, this one registered to an upstate New York charter company called International Group LLC, flew on Dec. 3, 2002, from Dulles to Anchorage; the next day it flew from Anchorage to Kansai, Japan, according to FAA logs. The log for the following day, Dec. 5, is blank. But on Dec. 6, the plane flew from London's Luton Airport back to Dulles.
Records provided by Jurczenko indicate that the Gulfstream was in Szymany on Dec. 5.
International Group LLC is an established charter company, charging customers $5,600 an hour to fly them to such places as Las Vegas, Hawaii and Bora-Bora in the South Pacific.
"We've moved some pretty high-profile people, including some former U.S. presidents," said Steve Marchionda, International Group's owner.
Marchionda acknowledged that his company's plane landed at Szymany but said the probable reason was to take on fuel. He said the plane had no passengers on board when it arrived at Szymany or when it left.
The CIA sometimes uses front companies to charter aircraft from commercial or private owners. A Gulfstream registered to Phillip Morse, a partner in the Boston Red Sox, was used in one rendition that has resulted in the indictment of 25 current and former CIA operatives by an Italian prosecutor.
Przewlocka, the former airport manager, said that when the mystery planes would land at Szymany, they usually were greeted by two military vans with shaded windows. She said the vehicles had government license plates that local people associated with the intelligence base at Stare Kiejkuty.
She recalled that on one occasion, an ambulance came with the vans. On another occasion, a landing was attended by "a lady who said she represented the American Embassy," Przewlocka said.
"She stood in front of the building and stared at the aircraft. When the two vans went past her on the way out, she turned aside. It was like she didn't want to see them," she said.
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