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Google Earth fingers CIA rendition flights?

Lester Haines (reposted by DM) | 19.01.2006 21:52 | Anti-militarism | Repression | Technology | World

Here's a absolute beauty for those of you who like the skies above Google Earth filled with black helicopters: what exactly was going on at Glasgow Prestwick airport the day the Google sat passed over?

Google Earth photo
Google Earth photo

What we've got here is three USAF C-5 Galaxies sitting on an otherwise virtually deserted airport. Thoughfully, the local bus company has in one case nipped out to pick up passengers, as can be seen.

All of this caused a small flurry of emails from readers because the Scottish National party yesterday published a dossier: which it claims that so-called "rendition flights" had passed through Prestwick airport.

Specifically, the document "lists in detail the planes, dates on which they landed and 10 firms which allegedly operated on behalf of the CIA", as summarised thus:
Among the planes was a Gulfstream jet (Registration number N379P/N8068V) nicknamed the "Guantanamo Bay Express" and was reportedly used to transport suspects to the US prison on Cuba. That plane is listed in the report as having landed five times at Glasgow and Prestwick airports between 2002 and the end of 2004.

The report also lists details about a DC 9 airliner (Registration number N822US) which has been the subject of diplomatic inquiries by the Norwegian government and debate in the Canadian Parliament. The plane is listed in the report as having landed at both Glasgow and Prestwick airports in 2002 and 2003.

Naturally, the SNP is not very happy about any of this. Spokesman Angus Robertson MP said: "There is disquiet across Europe about this whole issue. This report gives worrying details about alleged rendition flights through Scotland. The planes in question have been subject to diplomatic and parliamentary inquiries in different countries. This report establishes that they did pass through Scottish airports."

So, has Google Earth given the SNP the ammunition it needs to go after the spooks? Sadly not. The aircraft in question are, our investigations suggest, carrying President Bush's personal fleet of limos and other assorted kit that the average US prez needs when attending a G8 summit. The images, therefore, were taken in July 2005 - the summit taking place on 6-8 of that month.

You can find more info about the quite astounding lengths the US went to in order to prevent Mr Bush getting a cap popped in his ass in a pre-G8 Scotsman piece.
As the paper notes: "Prestwick has been chosen as the main arrival airport for the world leaders because it is more difficult for protesters to get to than Edinburgh or Glasgow."

So there you have it. The huge security operation did not, however, stop crack teams of planespotters getting to Prestwick. Have a look here for a nice pic of one of Bush's limo delivery vehicles.

Related .kmz links

* Glasgow Prestwick airport:
* Galaxy number one
* Galaxy number two
* Galaxy number three
* Our all-time favourite black helicopter

Lester Haines (reposted by DM)
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Hide the following 3 comments

so basically

20.01.2006 02:19

-there were some US Air Force planes landing at prestwick airport,
-someone suggested they were used for extraordinary rendition,
-but they weren't,
-but here's some pictures of planes anyway.


bit more emphasis on renditions might work better, no?


20.01.2006 14:48

These planes are USAF planes, it says so on the wings,

also, what is a stagecoach bus doing on the runway? Military planes would not usually be allowed near a public bus/or why is this bus in the middle of the runway?

And why do these long distance USAf planes use Prestwick, when the yanks have USAF Mildenhall??????



21.01.2006 18:59

The Yanks DO Prestwick and have done so for years - previously it was the resupply airstrip for the Holy Loch base, then it's been a refuelling stop for military flights whenever they've been in the European or Middle Eastern theatres. So that in itself doesn't prove anything.

Likewise the secret runway you're all getting excited about is in full view of the A77 Ayr bypas and is seen by tens of thousands of people daily. But what really gets me is that it's not big enough for large aircraft - they use the main runway for that - and its miles away from the fuel depot.

I don't doubt rendition flights would step there; I just doubt these pictures.