Friday, December 31, 2004

More on the torture plane and Bayard Foreign Marketing

The Oregonian has an article about Bayard Foreign Marketing, the front company used by the CIA to provide cover for their torture plane. Since the Washington Post story a few days ago, people around the world have been investigating the company's "owner", Leonard Thomas Bayard, without any luck:

Somehow, Bayard avoided the kinds of public record lists that include people who hold driver's licenses, own land, are registered to vote, have been married, divorced, killed or convicted. He or his company apparently pulled together the money to buy a multimillion-dollar Gulfstream V jet last month, yet they appear nowhere in federal corporate or regulatory filings.

His lawyer, Portland corporate attorney Scott Caplan, insists Leonard Bayard is a real person. If so, he's doing an awfully good job of hiding it.

According to the article, Bayard doesn't even have an SSN (I guess getting a fake one would have taken too long). The only evidence that he exists at all is a signature on a company filing with the Oregon state government.

Meanwhile, the aircraft itself (current tailnumber N44982) is now attracting extraordinary attention, so much so that the CIA has essentially given up on trying to keep it secret. There are obvious practical difficulties - the world is now aware of the practice of extraordinary rendition, and stories of hooded and chained prisoners in orange jumpsuits being herded onto planes in the middle of the night by masked Americans will be quickly reported along with the details of any aircraft used - but there is now also a complete lack of shame about what is going on. President Bush sees no problem with "disappearing" people and shipping them around the world to be tortured because Americans cannot legally do it themselves; given that, why should the CIA bother to hide things any longer?