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US military planes criss-cross Europe using bogus call sign

February 20, 2006
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US military planes criss-cross Europe using bogus call sign – Sunday Times – Times Online

THE American military have been operating flights across Europe using a call sign assigned to a civilian airline that they have no legal right to use.

Not only is the call sign bogus — according to the International Civil Aviation Organisation (ICAO) — so, it appears, are some of the aircraft details the Americans have filed with the air traffic control authorities.

In at least one case, a plane identified with the CIA practice of “extraordinary rendition? — transporting terrorist suspects — left a US air base just after the arrival of an aircraft using the bogus call sign.

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During the time the plane was in the air, USAFE changed some of the flight plan timings and at the same time the registration changed. The aircraft metamorphosed into 40112E but continued to be a Learjet 35 and was still JGO 80 and a humanitarian, government and diplomatic flight.

While the Learjet was on the ground at Tuzla, an Ilyushin 76 was loading a cargo of 45 tons of surplus weapons and ammunition sold off by the Bosnian military and destined for Rwanda in defiance of a UN embargo.

The Ilyushin left Tuzla, flew over Italy and headed south in the direction of Africa. The American Learjet took off 55 minutes later.

In a report exposing arms trafficking to war-torn central Africa, Amnesty International has suggested that “US security authorities were engaged in a covert operation to ferry arms to Rwanda in the face of political opposition from the European Union?.

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A USAFE spokesman last week said American aircraft using the JGO call sign were performing “Joint Guard Operations? for the Nato/European peacekeeping mission in the Balkans.

However, inquiries have shown that the military operation called “Joint Guard? ended in 1998. They also show that none of the US aircraft deployed in it match ones using the JGO call sign.

A spokesman for the ICAO said: “Our records indicate that the designator JGO is still assigned to Jetsgo and the ICAO does not assign the same code to two operators.?

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