A human rights group asking for information from various countries on the use of CIA “rendition” planes to transport terrorism suspects reports that some countries have been less forthcoming than others – Iceland among them.
For those unfamiliar with the backstory, part of the War On Terror involved the CIA arresting terrorist suspects in other countries, and then transporting them to the US or other countries. Iceland had a hand in this as well, as reported in 2005:
On 16 November, a Casa CN-235 plane with the call number N196D landed at Reykjavík Airport at 13:57 on its way from Wick, Scotland, and departed at 8:00 the next morning. While the call number is linked to the company Devon Holding & Leasing, the New York Times recently brought to light that this is a front company for the US Central Intelligence Agency, and that these planes are being used to transport “enemy combatant” prisoners.
In a new report released by two human rights groups, it is being reported that some countries are downplaying or stonewalling their involvement in these CIA activities. The report lists different levels of compliance with their information request: Information Released, Information Not Held, Administrative Silence and Information Denied. Iceland falls under the category of Administrative Silence.
The report states in part that “It’s a shocking indictment of European complacency that, while the USA will gladly release over 27,000 records, Europe’s air traffic manager Eurocontrol won’t even release one. It’s equally unacceptable that countries such as Austria, France, Italy, Latvia, Romania, and Spain simply ignore requests for data relating to serious human rights abuses. … This report shows that there are no legitimate reasons why data about flights cannot be released.”
Friðþór Eydal, spokesperson for Isavia, which oversees operations at Keflavík Airport, told Vísir that the likeliest reason for the delay in response was that the initial request was sent to the wrong place. It had been sent to the Civil Aviation Authority, when it ought to have gone to the Ministry of the Interior, where it now resides.