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Turks & Caicos: R&R Has Taken on a Whole New Meaning

Turks and Caicos Islands News
by Julie Schwietert Apr 6, 2009

So, let’s say a flight crew has been tasked with the mission of a long-haul flight. The distance alone makes the trip stressful, so the crew’s bosses–who are always looking out for their employees–decided to plan ahead and order a layover in the Turks and Caicos, an island chain in the Caribbean.

Sounds good so far, both for our hypothetical crew and for theT&C economy, which will benefit a bit from the layovers– there are several of them, 23 to be exact–planned.

But the story gets a bit sinister with this twist: those planes landing at Turks & Caicos’ Providenciales Airport are alleged to be involved in the transportation of terrorism suspects who were ordered to be detained indefinitely at the US base in Guantanamo Bay, Cuba.

According to a March 13, 2009 article in the Turks and Caicos Weekly, more evidence has recently come to light that confirms the Turks and Caicos were used as an R&R layover spot for CIA officials “to relax and kickback after their dark missions” between 2001 and 2005.

Rumors about T&C’s use as a rest and refuel spot started to swirl last summer, when the international NGO Reprieve presented an executive report in which the organization blasted the UK government with a series of allegations about the use of another British holding, the island of Diego Garcia, as a “processing [and service] center” for “high-value detainees.”

The Reprieve report also mentioned the role that the Turks and Caicos may have played–perhaps unbeknownst to local officials–as a fun-in-the-sun stopover for stressed CIA crews:

“Turks and Caicos may have been used as a luxury ‘rest and recovery’ spot and planning hub for agents en route to or from illegal rendition operations or Guantanamo Bay.”

While the Obama administration has alluded to a number of policy and practice changes with respect to detainees, it appears there’s a lot more the general public still has to learn about the scope of the Bush administration’s “War on Terror,” as well as allied nations’ complicity in supporting Bush’s redefinition of “justice.”

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