Local News

Group Wants Business Kicked Out Of Kinston Industrial Park

Posted May 2, 2006

— Protestors descended Tuesday on the offices of a local company they claim has ties to the war on terror.

It is not the first time the group called Stop Torture Now has picketed Aero Contractors, which is based in Smithfield. They claim the company is linked to the torture of prisoners, and they took their message to the Global Transpark in Kinston on Tuesday.

"We would like the Global Transpark authority to investigate Aero Contractors, and if they find they're participating in torture, we want them to terminate the lease and evict them," said protester Christina Cowger.

Several news agencies around the world have linked Aero Contractors to secret CIA flights in which suspects are reportedly abducted and tortured around the world.

Last November 14 members of the same grass roots group were arrested after they refused to leave Aero Contractors property in Johnston County. On Tuesday, they protested inside the Annual Global Transpark Board of Directors meeting.

Deputies told the group they had to put down a large sign if they wanted to stay in the meeting. Instead, protestors lined the room wearing shirts with their message.

Vice Chairman Gene Conti agreed to give members a chance to speak at the end of the meeting. They argued to be heard first.

"We want it on their agenda," said Cowger. "We want them to talk about it. We think that torture can't wait."

Aero Contractors is not commenting, but more than a year ago officials told WRAL they had government contracts, at least one classified. The company said they had indeed leased the planes in question, but for domestic flights only.

The Stop Torture Now group did get the chance to voice its concerns to the Global Tranpark Authority on Tuesday. They said afterward they would keep up the fight until local leaders have more answers. The board did not discuss the issue or take any action.

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