New evidence culled from a court case involving CIA contractors has revealed flight paths through Djibouti that appear to indicate the country‚Äôs role as a hub of the CIA‚Äôs rendition network in Africa, according to documents released by the U.K.-based human rights group Reprieve and New York University‚Äôs Global Justice Clinic.
The documents could support the case of Mohammad al-Asad, a former CIA detainee who is suing the government of Djibouti for its alleged role in hosting CIA ‚Äúblack sites‚ÄĚ ‚Äď specifically the one where he says he was detained and tortured for two weeks between Dec. 2003 and Jan. 2004. A Senate investigation into the agency‚Äôs ‚Äúdetention and interrogation program‚ÄĚ had previously confirmed that several individuals had in fact been detained in Djibouti, according to two officials who read the still-classified report and who spoke to Al Jazeera.
Investigators behind the document release combed through contracts, invoices and letters put into evidence for a court case ‚Äď which involved CIA contractors and was separate from the Djibouti allegations ‚Äď and pieced together a series of rendition circuits, or flight paths, between 2003 and 2004. They include legs through Djibouti ‚Äď even though the Horn of Africa did not appear to be a convenient stopover between the United States and Afghanistan, the circuits' endpoints.
‚ÄúDjibouti was not on the way, it was a destination,‚ÄĚ said Margaret Satterthwaite, al-Asad's attorney and a professor at the Global Justice Clinic. ‚ÄúThat‚Äôs kind of a tell-tale sign of a rendition circuit.‚ÄĚ
The evidence also implicated private companies ‚Äď including Computer Sciences Corp. (CSC), DynCorp Systems and Solutions (which was purchased by CSC in 2003), Richmor Aviation and First Flight ‚Äď in the Africa rendition program for the first time.