The CIA has apparently been conducting “extraordinary rendition” operations in Europe and they have left a trail. Police in Italy, Germany and Sweden are in pursuit, according to the Washington Post’s Foreign Service.

The Italian probe is one of three official investigations that have surfaced in the past year into renditions believed to have taken place in Western Europe. Although the CIA usually carries out the operations with the help or blessing of friendly local intelligence agencies, law enforcement authorities in Italy, Germany and Sweden are examining whether U.S. agents may have broken local laws by detaining terrorist suspects on European soil and subjecting them to abuse or maltreatment.

More below the fold…
When you piss-off your best friends and kidnap their residents, you should do a better job of erasing your tracks.

Milan investigators, however, now appear to be close to identifying his kidnappers. Last month, officials showed up at Aviano Air Base in northern Italy and demanded records of any American planes that had flown into or out of the joint U.S.-Italian military installation around the time of the abduction. They also asked for logs of vehicles that had entered the base.

[snip – you should read the whole thing]

Flight logs also support Masri’s claim that he was flown out of Macedonia by U.S. secret agents. Aviation records show a U.S.-registered Boeing jet arrived in Skopje at 9 p.m. on Jan. 23, 2004, and departed about six hours later. Masri had provided German investigators with the same time and date.

The flight plan shows the aircraft was scheduled to go to Kabul, but later amended its route to include a stopover in Baghdad. The existence of the flight logs was first reported by Frontal 21, a news show on the German television network ZDF. A copy of the logs was obtained by The Washington Post.

The jet, with tail number N313P, was registered at the time to a U.S. firm, Premier Executive Transport Services Inc., that records suggest is a CIA front company. The same firm owned another aircraft, a Gulfstream jet, that has been used in other rendition cases, including the one in Sweden.

Imagine if British Intelligence was kidnapping Irish people with similar sounding names as, say, Jerry Adams, from the streets of Boston and hauling them off to to be tortured for their alleged ties to the IRA without the advice and consent of the FBI.

There is more on the plane and the company here written by a WaPo staff writer:

The story of the Gulfstream V offers a rare glimpse into the CIA’s secret operations, a world that current and former CIA officers said should not have been so easy to document.

Not only have the plane’s movements been tracked around the world, but the on-paper officers of Premier Executive Transport Services are also connected to a larger roster of false identities.

Each of the officers of Premier Executive is linked in public records to one of five post office box numbers in Arlington, Oakton, Chevy Chase and the District. A total of 325 names are registered to the five post office boxes.

An extensive database search of a sample of 44 of those names turned up none of the information that usually emerges in such a search: no previous addresses, no past or current telephone numbers, no business or corporate records. In addition, although most names were attached to dates of birth in the 1940s, ’50s or ’60s, all were given Social Security numbers between 1998 and 2003.
on Dec. 1, the plane, complete with a new tail number, was transferred to a new owner, Bayard Foreign Marketing of Portland, Ore., according to FAA records. Its registered agent in Portland, Scott Caplan, did not return phone calls.

Like the officers at Premier Executive, Bayard’s sole listed corporate officer, Leonard T. Bayard, has no residential or telephone history. Unlike Premier’s officers, Bayard’s name does not appear in any other public records.

Cross posted at dKos

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