The network of private American companies involved in the CIA's "extraordinary rendition" of terrorism suspects has been exposed by newly disclosed court documents.
More than 1,700 pages of court files in a business dispute between two aviation companies reveal how integral private contractors were in the US government's secret flights.
They shuttled between Washington, foreign capitals, the US military base at Guantanamo Bay and, at times, landing points near once-secret CIA-run overseas prisons. The companies ranged from DynCorp, a leading government contractor that secretly oversaw the flights, to caterers that unwittingly stocked the planes with fruit platters and bottles of wine, the court files and testimony show.
A New York-based charter company, Richmor Aviation Inc, which supplied corporate jets and crews, and a private aviation broker, SportsFlight Air, which organised flights for DynCorp, have been engaged in a four-year legal dispute. Both sides have cited the government's programme of forced transport of detainees in testimony. The companies are fighting over $874,000 awarded to Richmor by a New York state appeals court to cover unpaid costs for the secret flights.
The court files paint a sweeping portrait of collusion between the government and the private contractors.