The North Carolina Commission of Inquiry on Torture (NCCIT)—which counts as one of its Commissioners INSCT Research and Practice Associate David M. Crane—has published Torture Flights: North Carolina’s Role in the CIA Rendition and Torture Program.
The report presents NCCIT’s investigatory findings on the issue of whether individuals or business entities located in the state of North Carolina, and acting out of its territory, participated in the US Government’s CIA-led torture program during the President George W. Bush Administration.
The report’s sobering finding is that they did.
The connection between North Carolina and the government-sponsored torture of the era is clear, write the authors. Aircraft operated by at least one local company—flown by North Carolina pilots out of North Carolina airfields that were subsidized by North Carolina revenues and subject to a measure of North Carolina regulation—were engaged in the transport of dozens of captive individuals to multiple foreign sites, some managed by US officials, others by foreign governments, to be tortured.
Torture Flights not only documents North Carolina’s connection to torture, it helps illuminate one of the least known aspects of the CIA’s infamous “Rendition, Detention, and Interrogation” program, the rendition element.
According to the authors, the “torture taxi” system that transported prisoners relied on a network of private contractors that were engaged in this activity, both important cogs in the machinery of torture.
“There are many dark corners that need to see the light of truth related to America’s so called War on Terror,” says Crane. “This import report shines that light of truth.”
Furthermore, the report demonstrates to state officials across the country how illegal activity at the federal level may come to implicate state actors in potential liability.
“Indeed, because the commission of torture or conspiring in the commission of torture is a crime in North Carolina (as it is in every state), it would be surprising if North Carolina state authorities would not now launch their own investigation to determine whether or not state laws were broken or whether evidence relevant to open investigations in other countries should not be sought,” suggest the authors.