Local News

Human rights group wants NC to probe alleged 'torture flights'

Posted January 19, 2012
Updated January 20, 2012

— North Carolina human rights group is calling on state officials to investigate and stop alleged CIA missions originating in Johnston County that involve illegal torture.

North Carolina Stop Torture Now delivered a University of North Carolina School of Law report Wednesday to the governor, attorney general and others that claims the Central Intelligence Agency relies on Smithfield-based Aero Contractors Ltd. to provide planes and pilots to transport prisoners overseas from the Johnston County Airport for secret interrogation using torture techniques.

"We would like the state to enact a public policy that recognizes that there is no place for extraordinary rendition in the state or in any of its political subdivisions," UNC law professor Deborah Weissman said. "We would like the state to take all actions to cease facilitating, in any way, shape or form, companies that are complacent in extraordinary rendition and torture."

The 67-page report says the so-called "rendition flights" by the company and its employees violate laws against torture by aiding and abetting.

It includes an affidavit from a Moroccan-born Italian who said that he was captured in 2002, had his clothes sliced off him, was dressed in a diaper and torn T-shirt and dragged aboard a small plane operated by Aero.

He was taken to Morocco, he said in the report, where he was interrogated for more than eight months and endured severe beatings and torture, including threats of having his genitals cut off.

The report also includes a similar account from a Yemeni man who said he was also blindfolded, dressed in a diaper and put on an Aero plane to Afghanistan. He said he was kept in a cold cell for three months, was deprived of sleep and was forced to listen to rap and Arabic music for 24 hours a day for a month.

For years, North Carolina Stop Torture Now, as well as lawmakers, has asked the state and attorney general to investigate the claims. In 2007, eight activists were arrested at the airport while trying to deliver "citizens' arrest" warrants for three pilots.

CBS's "60 Minutes" first reported about the flights six years ago, finding that terrorism suspects from around the world were transported to other countries and tortured. The TV news magazine said the flights began in North Carolina.

Aero Contractors has previously denied any involvement in the flights.

108 Comments

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  • gunny462 Jan 20, 1:51 p.m.

    "OH! That makes everything okay….. WooHoo2You"

    Yes, yes it does

    Next!

  • Lightfoot3 Jan 20, 12:22 p.m.

    "their names ended up on a list that made the CIA want to talk to them. so i'd say they were probably running soup kitchens to feed the homeless." - motorboater342


    And we've had babies and ancient grandmas on the no fly list. Did they work at the same soup kitchen as these guys?

  • kermit60 Jan 20, 10:18 a.m.

    Amazing how many ignorant people take the word of a terrorist like it was spoken by God. Hey didn't you that terrorists didn't attack the WTC. I know this because they said so. Sounds stupid doesn't it.

  • motorboater342 Jan 20, 10:11 a.m.

    "How were the two men mentioned in the article making us unsafe? What specifically did they do?"

    their names ended up on a list that made the CIA want to talk to them. so i'd say they were probably running soup kitchens to feed the homeless.

  • falcatta Jan 20, 10:04 a.m.

    UNC law professor Deborah Weissman said. "We would like the state to take all actions to cease facilitating, in any way, shape or form, companies that are complacent in extraordinary rendition and torture."

    WRAL writer - did she, perhaps, say "complicit" rather than "complacent" and you heard incorrectly?

  • mep Jan 20, 10:01 a.m.

    Well I "guess" we could stop interrogating suspected terrorists all together. We just need to be prepared for additional terrorist attacks on US soil. It only took 19 men to make a co-coordinated attack on 9-11 that cost nearly 3000 lives and did an estimated $2 TRILLION dollars. Can we really afford that again? I'm glad there are those in our govt willing to make the hard decisions that keep me and my family safe.

  • dollibug Jan 20, 9:56 a.m.

    HUMAN RIGHTS??????????

  • dollibug Jan 20, 9:55 a.m.

    CORRUPTION AND COVER UP.....it this yet another FORM of it...right here in North Carolina....WHO IS IN CONTROL of SUCH AS THIS????????? ANYONE????? is anyone really paying any attention to what is going on in this STATE????

  • wasone Jan 20, 9:46 a.m.

    Where on earth did you get "Torture Flights"! This company makes Mercy Flights, helping people all over the the world!

  • gallbury Jan 20, 9:40 a.m.

    I am assuming that you are not going to print my comments for being too inflammatory; yet, you printed numerous posts made by inflamed conservatives who actually embrace these crimes against humanity. SHAME ON YOU!! I have always believed this to be a dissenting forum, but, in all honesty, I guess I failed to take into consideration Wral's extreme conservative agenda, and political inability, to judge and print those opinions fairly and accurately. It is, undoubtedly, media prejudice, such as is demonstrated by Wral, that continues to set the state of North Carolina back a century or two by continuing to promote senseless and aimless bigotry among it's readers and responders. But then, you are "Capitol Broadcasting" home of former vice-president Jesse Helms who actually did whistle Dixie everywhere he went. And, as cliche' as it may sound, the censors employed by Wral didn't fall far from the tree. You have a very bleak future ahead of you because you have accepted a limited venue of v

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