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I-N-S-I-D-E the CIA's Prisons, Torture Planes, Rights Abuses

The European Commission said last week it will investigate published reports that the CIA set up secret jails in Eastern Europe to detain high-profile terrorism suspects. The Commission says the governments of the EU's 25 member nations will be informally questioned about possible human rights violations. News media reported also that the group Human Rights Watch "claims records and other evidence point to POLAND and ROMANIA as countries that allowed their territory to be used by the CIA to jail top suspected al-Qaeda captives." We report that HRW knows that from tracing the movements of CIA planes and WE PROVIDE A LIST OF THE 28 PLANES, 7 SHELL COMPANIES, AND SEVERAL CIA-RELATED COMPANIES. We have learned that there are other secret CIA prisons in Bulgaria and Ukraine.

IF YOU DO NOT SEE THE GRAPHIC (table), this site must not support graphics. To see it, go to

The European Union reacted to a Washington Post report that the Central Intelligence Agency has set up a network of secret prisons in eight countries, including one in Afghanistan, code-named "the Salt Pit."

The report cited U.S. and foreign officials as saying the CIA has been hiding and interrogating some of its most important al-Qaida captives in a Soviet-era compound somewhere in Eastern Europe.

The HRW report clarifies earlier reports in the mainstream media. In the linked article, Dana Priest declined to name the countries, planes, and companies.

How does Human Rights Watch know about the secret jails? Planespotters, that's how. The aviation enthusiasts follow the travels of planes, take photos, and post the photos and locations to websites like , , www.JetPhotos.Net and .

A Boeing 737 "leased" by the CIA to transport prisoners departed from Kabul, Afghanistan, and made stops at remote airfields in POLAND and ROMANIA before continuing on to Morocco and then to Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, according to HRW. So POLAND and ROMANIA are two of the several Eastern European countries earlier reports only alluded to. We can be sure that planespotters soon will identify the rest.

Not to be paranoid, but even HRW is not an unmitigated blessing. "Human rights" can be a shibboleth used to justify military intervention by the United States. In the case of the republics of the former Yugoslavia it certainly was. As for Iraq, now that the Niger Forgeries and other Bush Administration lies that misled us into Iraq have been exposed, getting rid of Saddam Hussein in the name of "human rights" has replaced WMD as the excuse. The idea is: Free 'em: Dead or Alive.

The accompanying table shows the CIA shell companies and the planes they own, including the 737, which has the FAA-assigned tail number (N-number for US planes) N4476S. At least three of the planes, marked with asterisks, are used for "rendition" (kidnap-torture) flights. Naturally the tail numbers are changed when the planes' use for torture flights to secret prisons is revealed.


The 737, which is the flagship of The CIA Airline, is not really leased by the CIA. It is owned by a CIA shell company, Keeler and Tate Management, LLC. Like other CIA shell companies, it has no employees, no business premises, and no website. In lieu of these, it has a CIA-contracted lawyer who provides a mail drop, registers the company with the state and the planes with the FAA, and interfaces in other necessary ways with government agencies and the public. The lawyer provides many of the legal services needed by a normal company, including a place to serve legal papers and court documents on the company.

The address of Keeler and Tate is 245 E. Liberty St., Suite 510, Reno, Nevada 89501 (Washoe county). The corporation information provided to the Nevada secretary of state lists the resident agent as Steven F. Petersen, an attorney whose address and phone number are the same as Keeler and Tate's.

The only company officer listed is Tyler Edward Tate of the same address. Some newspapers have tried to track down CIA shell company directors and have found that they almost always are fictitious persons, and once in a while figureheads -- misguided, or misled, persons who lend their name in the name of patriotism. Tracing the officers of the shell companies is a futile exercise. Basically, the only real people working for the shell companies are the private attorneys.

The address of Keeler and Tate and of the lawyer Petersen is shared by Lexalt Group West, the law firm of Paul D. Laxalt and Peter D. Laxalt. Paul D. Lexalt is a former Republican senator from Nevada. His law firm specializes in "political public relations services." So does Petersen's, which has the same address and phone number.

Laxalt, the former US senator whose address and phone number are used by the owners of the CIA's 737 prison plane, was a close friend of Republican icon Ronald Reagan. When Reagan was president, Laxalt was referred to as the "First Friend." The Ghost of the Gipper is with us.

Besides the shell companies, there are at least four CIA "proprietary" companies that actually have operations, employees, and premises. These companies provide flight crews, full-service operation of cargo planes, avionics, or an owner-operator function.

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