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Danish TV documentary details Greenland's role in CIA abductions

category international | rights, freedoms and repression | other press author Sunday February 03, 2008 19:29author by Coilín ÓhAiseadha - Self-Appointed Freedom Writerauthor phone 086 060 38 18 Report this post to the editors

Icelandic customs officials now search every international flight

A Danish documentary crew working for the national TV channel DR1 has detailed the movements of CIA aircraft that have repeatedly transited in Greenland and flown through Danish airspace in connection with the covert agency's widely condemned programme of abduction and torture. Having gained access to flight plans, duty payments, hotel registrations, catering invoices and crew lists, the documentary shows that the Greenlandic airport Narsarsuaq has played a particularly prominent role in the so-called "extraordinary renditions" programme.
In a related development, DR's news programme this evening reports us that the Icelandic customs authorities have begun to search all international flights, in response to media coverage of shady CIA transits.

The documentary about the suspicious CIA transits in Greenland was broadcast on Wednesday 30 January. A translation follows as a comment to this report.

An English translation of the report re Icelandic searches also follows.

author by Coilínpublication date Sun Feb 03, 2008 19:34author address author phone Report this post to the editors

Documentary: CIA aircraft transited in Greenland

30 January 2008 05.10 Inland Updated: 30 January 2008 10.27

The American intelligence agency CIA has for several years secretly used Danish airspace and Greenland (Danish territory) as a transit site for their aircraft. This is revealed in a documentary by the Danish TV channel DR1, entitled "CIA's danske forbindelse" (“The CIA’s Danish connection”).
The aircraft are suspected to be part of a secret prisoner programme, where terror suspects are illegally abducted by the CIA from European territory.
Several parties in the Danish parliament have demanded that the Danish government investigate whether the CIA has used Danish airspace or Danish airports in connection with the secret prisoner programme.
The government has hitherto rejected this on the grounds that the government does not have information that points in that direction.
Now DR’s investigations show that the CIA has used both Danish airspace and Danish airports.
The CIA has tried to keep the flights secret by having the aircraft operated by private firms, but the firms are in reality CIA cover companies.

CIA cover companies
The CIA has especially used the Greenlandic airport Narsarsuaq.
DR has gained access to flight plans, duty payments, hotel registrations, catering invoices and crew lists for a series of aircraft that have landed in Greenland.
DR documents that one of the companies behind several landings in Greenland is an apparently private firm by the name of “Stevens Express Leasing”.
But in reality the firm is a CIA cover company. This is the same company that has been responsible for several abductions in the CIA's secret prisoner programme, including the German citizen Khaled el-Masri.
Khaled el-Masri was abducted in 2004 and was detained in a secret prison in Afghanistan before being released.
The case has led the German public prosecutor to issue an arrest order for the CIA agents who were responsible for the abduction.

CIA bases
The European Council and the European Parliament have suspected 35 aircraft of being connected with the CIA's secret prisoner programme.
Flight plans from Greenland’s aviation authority show that one in three of the 35 suspected aircraft has landed in Greenland and even more have flown through Danish airspace.
DR’s investigations show that several of the aircraft are operated out of a little airport in Johnston County, North Carolina – which the CIA has used as a point of departure for its flights in the secret prisoner programme.
The flight plans also reveal that the aircraft have landed in the CIA’s secret training base in Camp Peary (Department of Defense training facility for covert operations beside the York River near Williamsburg, Virginia). Only aircraft associated with the American military can land in Camp Peary.

Finally the aircraft have ended at a long series of the destinations that the CIA is thought to have brought prisoners to. These are Egypt, Jordan, Romania, Uzbekistan, Azerbaijan and Afghanistan.
The USA's prisoner programme has meant that the citizens of other countries have been abducted and flown to secret prisons – without being brought before a judge and on American suspicion alone.
Here they have been detained illegally and in several documented cases subjected to torture.

DR has followed the tracks of a Gulfstream jet with the number N379P. The aircraft has flown in over Denmark 14 times. Six of the times, the aircraft came from or flew to Tashkent in Uzbekistan, which is one of the places where the CIA has sent prisoners.
N379P was operated by yet another CIA cover company, by the name of "Premier Executive Transport".
DR has succeeded in getting an interview with the former British ambassador in Tashkent, Craig Murray, who had first-hand knowledge of the CIA’s activities in Uzbekistan.
- The CIA had agents stationed in Tashkent and pretended they worked for ”Premier Executive”. But as ambassador I knew that they were from the CIA. I saw all the CIA’s information, because the CIA and MI6 exchange information, Craig Murray states.

Important piece in the jigsaw puzzle
The CIA has among other things used Greenland to refuel their aircraft. DR cannot document whether there have been prisoners on board through Danish airspace, but according to the European Council’s information this is not the decisive issue.
According to Gavin Simpson, who has been a researcher for the European Council, each airport the CIA has used for their transports has been an important piece in the jigsaw puzzle to get the prisoner programme to function.
- If a system is to function, all elements are dependent on each other. Transits are just as important a part of the system as the destinations themselves, says Gavin Simpson.

Denmark’s role
DR has succeeded in discovering the names of several of the crew members who have operated the aircraft in Greenland. It turns out that the pilots have used false names and are associated with the CIA agents the German public prosecutor has found in the Khaled el-Masri case.
In London an organisation of lawyers represents the prisoners who have ended up in Guantánamo. In the broadcast, lawyer Clara Gutteridge from the organisation, known as Reprieve, is shown all of DR’s information.
- If Denmark had not let those aircraft refuel in Greenland, they might not have been able to commit illegal actions. So in that sense Greenland plays a vital role. And Denmark has thus been an accessary to the prisoner programme, concludes Clara Gutteridge.

Translated from an original article in Danish written by: Lars Munck Rasmussen

See original in Danish on DR's website:

author by Coilínpublication date Sun Feb 03, 2008 19:35author address author phone Report this post to the editors

CIA aircraft use Icelandic airspace

03 February 2008 16.46 Foreign Updated: 03 February 2008 18.05

Everything suggests that the CIA has also used Iceland’s airspace and Reykjavik or Keflavik airport in connection with illegal prisoner transports DR News says.
On Wednesday DR revealed how the CIA has used a Greenlandic - and thus Danish - airport as part of the intelligence agency’s sharply criticised prisoner programme.
According to the Icelandic foreign ministry it has happened more than 200 times that CIA aircraft have landed in Iceland.

Obvious visits
At one point the visits were so obvious that the Icelandic press directly confronted the CIA people in Reykjavik Airport. But the CIA people did not wish to answer the questions.
The increased Icelandic attention to the CIA aircraft has led to the Icelandic customs authority now take hold of all foreign aircraft that land in Iceland. A customs official physically goes through every aircraft that lands and checks what is in it.

See more on DR at 21.00 (this evening).

The above is an English translation of an original report, published in Danish on DR’s website:

author by Coilínpublication date Sun Feb 03, 2008 19:51author address author phone Report this post to the editors

The following report provides details of sources used in the DR documentary about Greenland's role in the CIA "extraordinary renditions" programme of abduction and torture:

CIAs hemmeligheder afdækket (CIA's secrets revealed)

See especially the following links:
Flyveplaner fra den danske flyvesikringstjeneste Naviair
(Flight plans from the Danish air navigation service Naviair)

Danske afgiftsbetalinger, registreret af Eurocontrol
(Danish duty payments, registered by Eurocontrol)

Rapporteringer fra Grønlands Luftfartsvæsen
Kilde: Aktindsigt hos Grønlands Luftfartsvæsen, "Mittarfeqarfiit"
(Reports from Greenland's aviation authority
Source: Freedom of information at Greenland's aviation authority, "Mittarfeqarfiit")

Flightplans FAA; rapporteringer fra Federal Aviation Administration
Kilde: Aktindsigt hos den amerikanske flyvesikringstjeneste, FAA
(Flight plans FAA; reports from the Federal Aviation Administration
Source: Freedom of information at the American air navigation service, FAA)

Landinger i Island
(Landings in Iceland)

There are some more very interesting links to be explored on the same page.

Please try this Danish-English online dictionary for a small number of free searches per day:

Please ask me if there is any particularly striking detail that you cannot figure out.

author by Coilín ÓhAiseadha - Self-Appointed Translator-Activists, Taxpayers and Voterspublication date Mon Feb 18, 2008 01:36author address author phone Report this post to the editors

Thanks to the very diligent Billy O'Shea for so kindly making this available to us in English:

CIA secrets revealed
The USA has operated secret prisons outside the country's borders, and has handed over prisoners to regimes known to utilise torture. A fleet of civilian aircraft has transported prisoners in all directions across large parts of the world. Some of these activities - including the kidnapping of citizens - have taken place in Europe, as the now comprehensive documentation shows.

Flight plans
Air transport has been the key to revealing the secret CIA prisoner programme. Some of the aircraft were owned by the CIA, others by cover companies, and others again by companies known to work for the CIA.

The aircraft have transported prisoners, agents and interrogation officers in all directions through European airspace and onwards to the secret prisons.

As soon as an aircraft enters another country's airspace, it and its route must be registered in the relevant country. As a result, it is possible to obtain public access rights to the records on the aircraft kept by the national aviation authorities.

Each plane bears an identifying number on its tail, for example N379P, which acts as a kind of number plate. "N" is the international designation for US aircraft. The airports themselves are also labelled with special airport codes.

With the help of this link - - these codes can be translated to airport names. BGBW, for example, is the code for "Narsarsuaq" in Greenland.

Flight plans from the Danish air navigation service Naviair

Danish charge payments, registered by Eurocontrol

Reports from the Greenland Aviation Authority
Source: Public access rights to the Greenland Airport Authority, "Mittarfeqarfiit"

FAA flight plans: reports from the Federal Aviation Administration
Source: Public access rights to the US Federal Aviation Administration, FAA

Landings in Iceland

The Council of Europe and the European Parliament
· The European Parliament's working documents

The Council of Europe and the European Parliament decided in 2005 to set up special investigation committees to investigate the CIA's secret kidnappings. These committees have had access to confidential sources in both the CIA and European intelligence services, and have examined thousands of flight plans relating to European airspace. The investigators have concluded that there is proof that the CIA - without court orders - has kidnapped people on European soil, and has sent them to secret prisons where they have been subjected to torture.

The European Parliament's white paper

The latest report from the Council of Europe

Research behind the European Parliament's report
Source: Research report for the European Parliament

Report of the Swedish ombudsman
The Swedish government has deported two Egyptians to their home country, where they were in all probability subjected to torture. The Swedish ombudsman has established that the Swedish security service, SÄPO, illegally handed over Mohammed al-Zery and Ahmed Agiza to US CIA agents at the airport in Stockholm.
Sweden: Report of the Swedish parliamentary ombudsman.

The Danish Parliament
In Denmark, the parliamentary opposition has called for an investigation into whether Denmark has played a role in the CIA's secret prisoner programme. The Danish government has rejected this demand.
B24 - bill submitted to Danish parliament

The response of the Danish Minister of Transport and Energy to Section 20 questions on the flights
Italian investigative judge

In Italy, an investigative judge has brought a court case against 26 CIA agents accused of playing a part in the kidnapping of the Egyptian Abu Omar. Abu Omar had been granted political asylum in Italy, but, according to the indictment, he was seized by the CIA in 2003 and taken to Egypt, where he was detained and tortured for more than three years without charge or sentence.

TRIBUNALE DI MILANO; the case against 26 CIA agents

Source: the court in Milan. The present warrant, consisting in 210 pages, was translated into English by Alessandro Bygate and Nicole Hazzan, two language consultants and interpreters, acting on assignment as appointed by the undersigned Deputy Public Prosecutor, Dr Armando Spataro Milano, November 5 2005

Canadian court of inquiry
The Canadian subject Maher Arar was arrested by the CIA in September 2002 when the plane landed temporarily in New York's John F Kennedy airport. He was detained for two weeks without contact to a lawyer, a judge or his family, and was then transported for interrogation and torture in prisons in Jordan and Syria.
In October 2003 he was released by the Syrians and could return to his family in Canada - 374 days after being detained by US police in New York.
In September 2006 he was cleared of all suspicion by a court of inquiry set up by the Canadian government. In January 2007 the Canadian government gave him a formal apology and awarded compensation of 10.5 million Canadian dollars.
The USA has not apologised in any way. On the contrary, the USA has retained Maher on its surveillance lists, which amongst other things means that he cannot travel to the USA or through American airspace.

Danish original written by: Jacob Mikkelsen and Dines Boertmann

author by Mary Kellypublication date Mon Feb 18, 2008 07:43author address author phone Report this post to the editors

Coilin thanks for your commitment.

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