The NewStandard ceased publishing on April 27, 2007.

CIA ‘Torture Taxiâ€TM Protest Leads to 14 Arrests

by Brendan Coyne

Nov. 23, 2005 – Demonstrators angered over reports that the Central Intelligence Agency has been shuttling suspected terrorists around the world for interrogations gathered at a North Carolina airport last week to demand an end to the Agency’s use of the airstrip.

The protest, which reportedly involved around 60 people from across the country, resulted in the arrest of fourteen participants for allegedly trespassing on the grounds of Aero Contractors Ltd., a company the New York Times identified as a "major domestic hub of the [CIA’s] secret air service." It took place at Johnson County Airport, Aero’s home base.

According to the News and Observer, the fourteen arrestees hung a sign accusing Aero of running a CIA "torture taxi," prior to sitting in a circle and praying. The protesters are associated with the Center for Theology and Social Analysis (CTSA) and came from St. Louis, Chicago and nearby Raleigh, North Carolina.

In a statement on its website, the Center said it took the action because: "Aero Contractors provides charter planes and pilots to the CIA for their ‘extraordinary rendition’ program, whereby teams of CIA agents snatch terror suspects somewhere on the planet and fly them to countries where they have a great chance of being tortured, or directly to Guantánamo or another secret US prison for interrogation and torture."

The group also delivered a three-count "indictment" to Aero, alleging that the company engaged in "torture and conspiracy to commit torture," violated the US-signed international Convention Against Torture, and broke "the international covenant on civil and political rights."

Copies of the mock indictment were delivered to Johnson County Council members and the airport’s manager while the fourteen arrestees awaited release from the county jail.

Other groups participating in the protest included Voices in the Wilderness and Stop Torture Now, which is affiliated with CTSA.

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The NewStandard ceased publishing on April 27, 2007.

Brendan Coyne is a contributing journalist.

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