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 Day 19

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Richmor Air's Rendition Flights

Kidnapping, Torture and the Red Sox

by RAYMOND J. LAWRENCE

On Sunday, September 11, the Schenectady Gazette featured several opinion pieces relating to the 9-11 jihadist attack in 2001. None of the pieces so troubled my sleep as the offering by Daniel T. Weaver, “Richmor Role Should Be Investigated.”

The reason the story has so troubled me is that he reports that the planes used in our government’s program of extraordinary rendition are housed right in my backyard in upstate New York. Richmor Aviation has been a government sub-contractor performing the task of delivering kidnapped bodies to various torture centers around the world.

Our government’s kidnapping and torturing of suspects (who may or may not have been guilty) is despicable, but as long as it was done far away from me I could put the fact somewhat out of mind. Now that the operations are in my neighborhood I can hardly avoid thinking about them. I have to say that I am grudgingly indebted to Daniel Weaver for bringing me face-to-face with reality.

“We were transporting government employees and their invitees,” said a spokesman for Richmor Aviation. That was cute obfuscation.

This story would not likely have been made public were it not for Richmor’s lawsuit against the middle-man contractor, Sportsflight Airways. It seems that Sportsflight failed to pay Richmor some million dollars it was due. So they went to court and the court record naturally has become public.

And for a twist of the knife I also learned that Richmor Aviation transports the Boston Red Sox baseball team for its road games. That’s not surprising because Philip H. Morse is the owner of both Richmor and part owner of the Red Sox. So the plane that ferries around the Red Sox is the same plane that ferried around the inert bodies of government invitees, who were bound, gagged, hooded, and dressed in adult diapers and jump suits after having had a dose of narcotics shoved in their rectums. And then delivered into the hands of torturers and waterboarders.

As a lover of baseball and the Boston Red Sox, especially when they are playing the Yankees, I will never be able to watch another game without thinking about the link between the Sox, kidnapping, and torture. I should not complain. Knowing the truth, however disgusting, is always better in the long run.

A surprising aspect of Weaver’s account is how little it has developed in the way of “legs.” As I scan the media I see few references to it. Except for the Boston Globe most of the news sources are off the beaten track. And beyond the Globe I am yet to find any further reference to the owner of Richmor, Philip Morse. After all is said and done, the buck stops with him. None of his underlings would have ventured into such a seamy world without his approval.

Alas, I no longer care whether the Red Sox win the championship. My mind is elsewhere.

RAYMOND J. LAWRENCE is an Episcopal cleric, recently retired Director of Pastoral Care, New York Presbyterian Hospital, and author of numerous opinion pieces in newspapers in the U.S., and author of the recently published, Sexual Liberation: The Scandal of Christendom(Praeger). He can be reached at: raymondlawrence@mac.com