Johnston County Airport: Stop what torture? | North Carolina | Indy Week
Pin It

Johnston County Airport: Stop what torture? 

For three years, the activist group N.C. Stop Torture Now has blanketed the Johnston County Airport with vigils, reports that CIA rendition flights may originate there and warnings about a half-dozen planes implicated in "torture flights" that are operated by a private carrier based there.

The group wants the county-owned airport to investigate. Start paying attention, members say. Adopt a policy against abetting torture. Call in the sheriff or the State Bureau of Investigation to help.

Airport Authority Chairman John Bullock's latest response,: Investigate what?

"We have no facts," Bullock told Stop Torture Now members who attended the authority's Nov. 17 meeting in Smithfield. Aero Contractors, the private carrier, he added, "is a good tenant, good client; they've been here for years."

At the authority's meeting a month ago, Stop Torture Now members distributed a thick packet of information, including accounts from The New York Times, the Los Angeles Times and The Washington Post, about the CIA's secret renditions and the role private air carriers, including Aero Contractors, play. According to the reports, terrorism suspects captured in countries where torture is outlawed are "rendered" to other countries—Egypt, Morocco, Afghanistan—where torture is practiced.

One case, involving a German citizen mistakenly arrested in Macedonia and tortured in Afghanistan, resulted in the indictment of three Aero pilots on charges of kidnapping by a German grand jury.

In another, the Swedish government agreed to pay $450,000 to an Egyptian citizen seeking asylum who was rendered back to Egypt, allegedly by Aero pilots, and imprisoned and tortured.

"Did you find [the information] compelling?" Allyson Caison, a county resident, asked Bullock.

"I found it interesting," Bullock said, smiling uncomfortably. "I'm not in favor of torture."

Ironically, the 30-minute meeting Monday was dominated by Airport Director Ray Blackmon's revelation that folks are driving too fast around the hangars, where airplanes have the right-of-way. Lest the county be sued for negligence if there's an accident, the authority voted to reduce the speed limit from 20 mph to 10.

"I was happy to hear Ray mention his concern about negligence and liability," Caison told authority members. She urged them to think hard, however, about the liability of allowing a company to use the airport in the commission of kidnappings and torture.

"Winds of change blew through this country on Nov. 4," she said. "There may soon be congressional and international investigations of the rendition program. Johnston County needs to get on the right side of history before these investigations shine the spotlight on us. At that point, it will be too late to claim we didn't know what was going on here."

Bullock said he asked the county attorney for advice but hasn't gotten any yet.

N.C. Stop Torture Now received an "Indy Citizen Award" for its work in 2007. Read the story.

Comments

Subscribe to this thread:

Add a comment

INDY Week publishes all kinds of comments, but we don't publish everything.

  • Comments that are not contributing to the conversation will be removed.
  • Comments that include ad hominem attacks will also be removed.
  • Please do not copy and paste the full text of a press release.

Permitted HTML:
  • To create paragraphs in your comment, type <p> at the start of a paragraph and </p> at the end of each paragraph.
  • To create bold text, type <b>bolded text</b> (please note the closing tag, </b>).
  • To create italicized text, type <i>italicized text</i> (please note the closing tag, </i>).
  • Proper web addresses will automatically become links.

Latest in North Carolina



Twitter Activity

Most Recent Comments

Pay to play is alive and well in NC...only time voters matter is at election...Then the lies begin.

by Tony Dockery on What’s Standing Between Rural North Carolina and Reliable Internet Service? (North Carolina)

Jackson is just another republican creep who likes his slave labor...I am not surprised by this....This is how they govern......The …

by Tony Dockery on The U.S. Department of Labor Hits a State Senator’s Farm with a Conspicuously Small Fine (North Carolina)

Who are Jackson Farming Company's customers? Seems like this is the only place to apply pressure.

by Donald Chartier on The U.S. Department of Labor Hits a State Senator’s Farm with a Conspicuously Small Fine (North Carolina)

I know how many feel. I live between Benson and Highway 210. The only internet available, except satellite, is CenturyLink. …

by Kitty Hegemann 1 on What’s Standing Between Rural North Carolina and Reliable Internet Service? (North Carolina)

Missed Dr. LUEBKE today at UNC. I know he would have introduced the President of the United States as they …

by bethlalonde@yahoo.com on RIP Paul Luebke, a Progressive Icon (North Carolina)

Comments

Pay to play is alive and well in NC...only time voters matter is at election...Then the lies begin.

by Tony Dockery on What’s Standing Between Rural North Carolina and Reliable Internet Service? (North Carolina)

Jackson is just another republican creep who likes his slave labor...I am not surprised by this....This is how they govern......The …

by Tony Dockery on The U.S. Department of Labor Hits a State Senator’s Farm with a Conspicuously Small Fine (North Carolina)

Most Read

© 2016 Indy Week • 201 W. Main St., Suite 101, Durham, NC 27701 • phone 919-286-1972 • fax 919-286-4274
RSS Feeds | Powered by Foundation