Monday, February 13, 2006

Spotlighting North Carolina's CIA Torture Conection

Below is the first of three useful articles I will post on the current CIA's involvement in torture, especially the connection to activities at an airport in Johnston County, North Carolina. There are protests every second Saturday (but maybe not in March, because of the March 18th anti-war demonstration in Fayetteville) against this near the airport (see the Independent Weely Act Now section for details).

There will probably be an article about this is the spring issue of Alliance! (probably coming out in April), and we have already published at least one article on the government's use of torture.

Another thing to look at is whether Lockheed's RTP offices (there are two listed in the phone book) are involved in supplying civilian interrogators, who might practice torture, for the government.

What Is AERO CONTRACTORS? Here's the rundown.
Saturday, 19 November 2005
by Clayton Hallmark
St. Louis Independent Media Center:

BREAKING SCOOP IN NORTH CAROLINA [Smithfield, North Carolina, Nov. 18, 2005] Tarheels won't be put under the boot heel of Big Brother. They were well represented among the 60 protestors of CIA torture flights out of Smithfield, NC. Fourteen protesters were arrested Friday for trespassing at the Johnston County Airport near Smithfield. They gathered to protest the use of the airport by a company that reportedly shuttles prisoners to torture and nonjudicial confinement for the CIA. Channel 5 (WRAL-TV) in Raleigh is doing a good job of covering the story.

The group targeted Aero Contractors Limited, a company located on the airport grounds. News organizations, including Indymedia, have reported that planes for secret CIA rendition (kidnap-torture) flights originate from the airport. Of course the CIA says that it does not conductrenditions.

THE CIA PILOT'S EMPLOYMENT AGENCY Aero Contractors, Ltd, is one of the real (as opposed to shell) companies tied to the CIA. It owns no planes, according to the FAA's registry database, but its operation in eastern North Carolina is perhaps th emain hub of the CIA airline. Another hub is the Camp Peary Naval Reservation, "the Farm" near Williamsburg, VA, which the CIA uses for training and other purposes. (Is this the "family farm" where the DCIA, Porter Goss, hopes to retire soon?) Still another is the Bob Sikes Field airport in Florida, which Tepper Aviation operates from as discussed later. And then there is Dulles Airport outside Washington, DC, which is a hub of government activity of all kinds.

All of those CIA prison plane flights that are so much in the news lately? Here is the typical flight plan: Johnston County, NC, to Dulles (to pick up CIA personnel), to Sweden (or some other country with a sizable Muslim population), to some destination in theMiddle East or North Africa -- one of the countries that torture as a part of interrogations.

AERO CONTRACTORS HISTORY Aero Contractors, Ltd, was founded in 1979 by the late (he "bought the farm" near Johnston County Airport in 2001), Jim "Peg Leg" Rhyne, who was one of the chief pilots of Air America, the CIA's airline of the Vietnam era [which I think has been tied to illegal drug smuggling up to the present], which has been succeeded by Aero Contractors and about a dozen other companies.

The current proprietor (president) of Aero Contractors is Stormin' Norman Richardson, an old hand at the "hospitality" business. Richardson once operated a truck stop (Stormin' Norman's) and apparently operates a Stormin' Norman's chicken-and-ribs joint in his home town of Kenly, NC. Richardson appears to be a figurehead at the company, more involved in his chicken-and-ribs business, since almost all public contact is with Robert W. Blowers, the assistant general manager, who has actually run the company since about 1994.

Dun and Bradstreet lists Aero Contractors' business as "aircraft rental with pilot." This company probably is the primary supplier of pilots for CIA-owned and-operated planes t has no planes of its own, but has claimed to lease them from Premier Executive Transport, a well known CIA front company (whose planes have been moved to other holding companies). As a supplier of planes to Aero and the CIA, Premier has been supplanted by the other shell companies shown in the CIA plane-ownership table

Aero Contractors has no website and does no advertising for business, apparently getting all it needs from the CIA, the military, and possibly other government agencies. It is, however, a real company with premises and about 80 employees. The company operates out a blue hangar at the south end of the 5500-ft runway, at the end of Charlie Day St., at Johnston County Airport (identifier code JNX) near Raleigh, NC. This fact makes the Johnston CountyAirport a hub, perhaps the hub, of CIA air operations. Its address is 3463 Swift Creek Rd, Smithfield, NC 27577.

AERO CONTRACTORS PLAYS GAMES WITH THE PLANES Interestingly, although the company has no planes registered, the Kinston (NC) Free Press newspaper reported that the "Smithfield charter plane company" was building a 20,000-square-foot, $2 million hangar at the Kinston Regional Jetport TO STORE *ITS* BOEING 737 BUSINESS JET! This apparently is a reference toTHE *CIA'S* (not Aero's) 737, Boeing serial number 33010, N-number 4476S (currently owned under the cover of the Nevada shell company Keeler and Tate Management, LLC, which shares an address and telephone with former U.S. Senator and Reagan "First Friend" Paul Laxalt).

In an article published on March 9, 2005, Aero's assistant general manager, Robert W. Blowers, told the Raleigh News & Observer that "Aero Contractors, which
leased the jets for about a year, in about 2002 or 2003, from Massachusetts-based Premier Executive Transport Services, Blowers said." The same article reported: "Aero Contractors let its leases with Premier Executive expire about a year ago, Blowers said. Aero Contractors no longer offers jets for its clients and instead leases turboprop planes, he said.


Though Blowers said that Aero let its jet leases expire about March 2004, the Goldsboro (NC) News Argus reported two months *after* that, quote, "...a 20,000-square-foot hangar is being built by Aero Contractors, an aircraft charter company. It will house a Boeing Business Jet 737-700 aircraft."\\u003den

Why build a hangar when you no longer have the plane (the CIA's 737)?

Including the 737 owned by the dummy Keeler and Tate, Aero Contractors operates about 20 planes, probably mostly drawn from the 27-plane roster of CIA planes (one of which is the Boston Red Sox executive jet) shown in the table, plus about 26 of its own, mostly small Cessnas. It also provides avionics modification and repair services as well as pilots.

PLANESPOTTER'S GUIDE TO AERO CONTRACTORS Planespotter hobbyists use high-power binoculars at the end of runways to record the comings and goings of specific planes at airports around the world, and post sightings and photos on websites like . For example searching that site for the CIA's 737, tail No. N4476S, you can find that it was in Prague this year and you can see a photo of it during a takeoff in Spain the day after the Madrid terrorist attack last year. The Prague sighting alone belies the claims that the CIA does not conduct prison plane flights to EasternEurope.

Planespotters monitor the radio transmissions to and from these planes around the world and at CIA hubs like the Johnston County Airport near Smithfield ,North Carolina, where they contact the airport on122.8 MHz and the Raleigh approach-and-departure controllers on 125.8 MHz. Sites like give the frequencies for the vast majority of the world's airports. Note: Reporting the sighting of airplanes is legal; reporting the*content* of radio transmissions is not. Merely listening to communications using an ordinary receiver that covers the aviation frequencies is legal and helps planespotters get photographs and record activities of desired planes. Of course the CIA says that it does not conduct renditions.

Since the runway at Johnston County is too short to accommodate the CIA 737, Aero Contractors operates that plane out of the Kinston Regional Jetport (identifier code ISO) near Kinston, NC (Lenoir county), which has an 11,500-ft runway. Aero Contractors stored the $50-million-plus aircraft outside at the North Carolina Global TransPark (GTP) site of the jetport, pending completion of the hangar. The GTP is a failed state-run industrial park for aviation-dependent
handful of employees at this location next to MountainAir Cargo, at the end of Jetport Rd (2780 Jetport Rd,Suite A, Kinston, NC 28504-8032), which may be theheadquarters of the management.

If you take a Delta Airlines commuter flight to Kinston (from Atlanta), you might get a glimpse of theCIA's 737 (N33010) on the ground, or of its Gulfstream V, N44982 (serial number 581). You might see any ofthe CIA planes (except the 737) at Johnston County, especially the planes of CIA aircraft holding companies Aviation Specialties and Stevens Express Leasing. This is because Aero Contractors is their main source of pilots. The CIA frequently changes the N-numbers. It also creates new companies as needed to provide cover, and plays a shell game with the shell companies, shifting the planes from one company to another. When the CIA-owned Gulfstream V heads overseas to snatch a victim, it takes off from the Johnston County Airport (JNX) at Smithville, NC, stops at the Dulles International Airport (IAD) in Virginia (near Washington, DC) to pick up the snatch team, and heads overseas. Frequently it stops at the Shannon Airport in Ireland for refueling.

For other jobs and other planes (the 737, forexample), there is sometimes a stop at the CAMP PEARYLANDING STRIP (W94), about 2 miles NE of Queens Lake, Virginia, before heading for Dulles. Camp Peary is just east of the route 143 Williamsburg exit ofInterstate 64. From Queens Drive in Queens Lake, youcan see the planes landing or taking off. If you happened to be "fishing" on the York River, you would pass within a few meters of runway 23 about a mile and a half north of the outlet of the Queen Creek. The landing strip is within the Camp Peary NavalReservation. All of this is in southeastern Virginia, just east of Williamsburg, a town famous for its historical restorations. The coastal plain of Virginia and neighboring North Carolina, a limited area with a width of up to about 100 miles, has most of the main centers of CIA aviation and other activities.

The CIA's Gulfstream, N44982 (ex-N379P), and other Aero Contractors planes except the 737 can operate out of the Johnston County Airport (JNX) in North Carolina. Other frequent visitors to JNX are the planes of CIA aircraft holding companies (see table) AVIATION SPECIALTIES, INC.; STEVENS EXPRESS LEASING, INC.; DEVON HOLDING AND LEASING, INC.; and CIA contractor (plane owner-operator) AVIATION WORLDWIDESERVICES / PRESIDENTIAL AVIATION. The JNX airport uses the following communications channels (frequencies arein megahertz, Mhz). Of course the CIA says that itdoes not conduct renditions.


The CIA airline's flagship, Boeing 737 N4476S, operates out of the Kinston Regional Jetport (KISO).Kinston uses these frequencies (megahertz, MHz):



Thursday, February 09, 2006

Triangle Marxist Forum study group information

The meeting on January 28th was very small, but a number of people said they were interested in this, so there will be a second meeting. What towns, venues, and times work for people who want to come? Unless I hear otherwise (here or by the local Alliance email), I am thinking of having it on a Saturday at the Center for Documentary Studies again, later this month or early in March.

My proposal for group is to start by following the eight thematic classes produced by Bill Bland of Britain's Communist League in the early 70's and some of Alliance's added suggested readings. After this we could either go deeper into some of the readings, look at modern issues like national questions in this country or why the USSR fell (what were the economic and political reasons?), or discuss non-Marxist, but possibly informative books like "What's the Matter With Kansas?" or whatever participants suggest.

The first course is on the evolution of society (the theory of historical materialism). The readings I propose are sections I and III of the Communist Manifesto (pages 482-496 and 506-517) , Sections I and II of Engels' The Origin of the Family, Private Property, and the State (pages 134-190), and Chapter 4 Section II (pages 105-132) of A Short History of the Communist Party of the Soviet Union (Bolshevik), a theortical section. I probably haven't read the Engels reading before, so that will be new to me.

Is this too much reading? Unless we focus on the readings, just reading the Manifesto might be enough for the discussion. The courses have a question and answer format focusing on basics, rather than directly focusing on readings. Alliance recommends the Marx2Mao site for readings these works online, which I am told is now available from a European mirror site. The Marxist Internet Archive might also be useful.