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Extent of CIA rendition flights revealed in new research

Posted Friday 24 May 2013

The Rendition Project team has secured invoices which show which countries have been involved with the transfer of prisoners.A new University-hosted database has tracked more than 11,000 flights by 120 plus aircraft linked to rendition, secret detention and torture carried out as part of the US-led ‘war on terror'. Rendition involves terror suspects being transported from around the globe to secret prisons for 'enhanced interrogation'.

The database includes profiles of the aircraft used to move detainees from site to site, as well as more than 50 companies involved in operating these aircraft. It also enables users to search for and view underlying data using an interactive map showing rendition flights. Flight data underpinning the database is collated from more than 40 separate sources.

Dr Sam Raphael from Kingston University heads The Rendition Project team.The database is the latest addition to The Rendition Project, funded by the Economic and Social Research Council (ESRC). Its release has been heralded by the Guardian newspaper as a 'groundbreaking research project which sheds unprecedented light on one of the most controversial secret operations of recent years'. The Rendition Project is led by Dr Sam Raphael, a senior lecturer in international relations at Kingston and Dr Ruth Blakeley, senior lecturer in international relations at the University of Kent. The research team has been working closely with Reprieve, a UK-based legal action charity which has led the way in investigating secret prisons and representing victims of rendition and torture.

"The data we have amassed provides the most comprehensive picture to date of the nature, scope and evolution of the CIA's rendition programme," Dr Raphael explained. "The project team has obtained invoices and air traffic data which demonstrate which countries, and which companies, were involved with the extra-legal transfer of prisoners."

Much of the information was obtained through Freedom of Information legislation and the associated website is designed to become a clearing house for the information released through these efforts.

The Rendition Flights Database, produced in collaboration with The Information Lab, can be viewed here.

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