Lawsuit filed against Vision Airlines may uncover rendition evidence?

Vision Airlines is a U.S. government contractor doing work in Afghanistan and Iraq. The company is being sued now by employees who say it withheld millions in government hazard pay they earned for flying into war zones. The case was filed as a public record on Jan. 20. (Case 2:09-cv-00117-RLH-RJJ in the US District Court of Nevada PDF available here)

Three days later however Vision attorney Harold Gewerter requested that the case be temporarily sealed, which was agreed upon four days later by Judge Robert Johnston in the Federal Court. The case remains temporarily sealed until Johnston makes a final decision. Sealing the case, according to Vision attorney Harold Gewerter, is matter of protecting “confidential and classified information, wholly irrelevant to the ultimate claims of the plaintiff.” At its heart, this lawsuit is a payroll dispute.

The 28-page document sat open to the world for one week however, and some of the elements of the document which were open to the public for one week might confirm some of the alleged participation of Vision Airlines in the CIA’s extraordinary rendition programme, as documented in the 2006 report of Dick Marty to the inquiry of the European Parliament. (See p. 26 here on the use of Vision plane N368CE.)

The class action lawsuit alleges that at least 300 current and former employees were shortchanged when Vision decided it could “capture a financial windfall if it simply retained all the hazard pay … for its own benefit.” (par.38) The hazard in that hazard payi s explained clearly, as (par.10-11) “aircraft typically arrives under the cover of darkness which require all exterior and interior aircraft lighting (except for cockpit instruments) to be turned off,” which is a typical feature of a rendition flight as well.

In May 2005 Vision began providing air transport services, moving personnel and cargo twice weekly to and from Kabul Internationl Airport. (par.31) In addition to transporting cargo, Vision flew “diplomatic and other personnel” (par.33) to and from Kabul and Baghdad. A former Vision pilot, speaking on condition of anonymity, told the Home News that the passengers typically included CIA and State Department personnel along with employees of private security contractor Blackwater.

Since Vision has been a government subcontractor, the company has based its freight loading and unloading operation in different cities. For a time, goods were loaded and unloaded in Frankfurt, Germany. Then it relocated the operation to Bucharest, Romania in the fall of 2006 (par.44) from the Banesa International Airport. Vision moved then from Bucharest to Bratislava in Slovakia in the spring of 2007, (par.47) replacing its Boeings 737 by 767s. Throughout 2007 ‘Vision aircraft kept on trasnsporting ‘diplomatic and other personnel’ to and from Kabul and Baghdad. Since the spring of 2008 Vision operates from Bucharest again.(par.53): ‘the weekly flight schedule remained the same for the trips to Baghdad and Kabul’ as well as the ‘transport of diplomatic and other personnel’ (par.54-55).

The Slovak Spectator reported that a Vision Boeing 737, with registration number N-34315,along with two Boeing 767s, N-731VA and N-742VA, had been flying into Bratislava en route between Washington and the Middle East for at least two years, until they disappeared from Bratislave Aiport on 11 March 2008. “One source said that the Slovak intelligence service, the SIS, had been informed of the flights, as had current Prime Minister Robert Fico and former Prime Minister Mikuláš Dzurinda,” according to the Spectator.

On the 12th of March 2008 the Hungarian daily Népszabadság ran a picture of the N34315 at Budapest’s international Ferihegy airport  and claimed it was being used to ferry terror suspects from South Asia and the Middle East to the United States.

6 Responses

  1. Mathias:
    I find it interesting that you and so many others continue to feed the rumor barrel about extraordinary rendition operations. Not one word in these pilots lawsuit accused Vision Airlines of such operations.
    Instead, they fully disclosed how Vision Airlines transports government people, contractors and equipment. There is no conspiracy there, only an operation that an airline is moving people involved with rebuilding and structuring a war torn area. That is a far cry from torturing renditions isn’t it?
    Also, just because a lawsuit is filed in the USA does not make it legitimate. It may well be true, however, it may well be false. Don’t assume anything!

  2. Yes, indeed. You seem to be missing the point.
    If the word or phrase “rendition” or “rendition flights”, “torture flights” were used in open Federal Court it would be stricken from the record immediately.
    These are CIA operations, not your grand father’s whiskey running operation.
    Vision Airlines is not suing over making whiskey out behind the barn. Rendition flights are a very real operation and they are “torture flights”.
    Right or wrong, it is a fact.
    Do your home work before posting asinine statements.
    Also, operating a large aircraft over populated cities without navigation lights is illegal in and of itself and violates several Federal laws,
    not to mention running large aircraft without N tail numbers, also a violation of Federal law.
    The United States Government is running rogue operations and President Eisenhower warned of this before leaving the White House in early 1960.
    Welcome to the New Fourth Reich.

    • Asinine??? Really? I happen to work at Vision and have since the beginning. My statements are not asinine, but yours are. I pretty damned well know what we do and it does not involve rendition. Grow up, learn to recognize propaganda and enter into the real world moron! KMFA!!!

  3. Josie…you know not of what you speak. You say that operating large aircraft over populated areas w/o nav lights is illegal….it’s a combat zone….Federal laws have no bearing and you mention aircraft w/o N numbers…do you know the reg for the size of N numbers….probably not. As I recall they have to be 2 inches tall which is the same requirement for a Cessna 172 or a B-767….obviously a little easier to see on a 172 than a 767. Finally your allegation of “torture flights” is pure BS…..I have first hand knowledge of that fact! They haul folks and cargo….sorry to disappoint you.

  4. VISION AIR IS CIA ALL OVER..
    THERE USED TO BE EVERGREEN AIR IN THE 1980’S
    THERE WAS AIR AMERICA IN THE 1960’S
    SPECIAL CREWS ARE USED TO FERRY CLANDESTINE PEOPLE AND EQUIPMENT.
    LEGIT COMMERCIAL OPERATIONS USE PLAIN JANE PILOTS.
    EVIDENTLY, PLAIN JANE PILOTS WERE NOT PAID
    SAME SALARY AS THE SPECIAL CREWS.
    THERE ARE SOME IDIOTS IN CIA, REGRETFULLY.

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