Mihail Kogalniceanu Air Base

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The Mihail Kogalniceanu Air Base is a U.S. military base located near the Black Sea city of Constanza in Romania. [1]

Romania joined NATO in 2004 and the European Union in 2007. [2] [1]

2003 Invasion of Iraq

"US soldiers used the Mihail Kogalniceanu airbase as a hub to send equipment and 7,000 combat troops into Iraq during the early stages of the invasion in 2003, and temporarily kept up to 3,500 American troops there." [3][4]

Scotland's Sunday Herald reported March 2, 2003, that

"...close to a thousand US soldiers landed at Mihail Kogalniceanu air base over the past few days. [Romanian presidential spokeswoman Corina] Cretu said that half a dozen giant C-130 Hercules transport planes and up to a dozen MH-46 helicopters are ferrying arms, technical material and urgent military supplies from Germany to the 'temporary' US war base on Romanian soil. Romanian military police have thrown a defensive cordon around the base.
"The officers of the US advance party have turned three storeys of Hotel Savoy in the neighbouring Black Sea resort of Mamaia into their billet, but to assure their safety Romanian military police have erected steel barriers and set up several checkpoints on all the approach roads. Romania's Supreme Defence Council also announced that Bucharest is sending hundreds of nuclear, chemical and biological warfare decontamination specialists, as well as military police units and a complete field hospital.
"The US has now been given carte blanche 'for the utilisation of Romanian air space, as well as all the necessary military and technical infrastructure, if military action against Iraq becomes unavoidable'. US Seabees are to start work soon on the 'extension of the runways, infrastructure' and military capabilities of the Kogalniceanu base."

April 2, 2003, was the "grand opening" of the Base/Post Exchange at Mihail Kogalniceanu "in support of Operation Enduring Freedom". [5]

By July 2003, "U.S. contracts [had] already paid for Romanian crews to resurface and widen two roads and build landing areas that can accommodate large American troop carriers." [6]

Extraordinary Rendition

According to a June 2006 report in Scotland's Sunday Herald, a fax intercepted by Swiss intelligence has revealed that the base is the site of a secret CIA prison:[7]

"The fax, datelined November 10, 2005, 8.24pm, was sent by the Egyptian foreign minister, Ahmed Aboul Gheit, in Cairo, to his ambassador in London. It revealed that the US had detained at least 23 Iraqi and Afghani captives at a military base called Mihail Kogalniceanu in Romania, and added that similar secret prisons were also to be found in Poland, Ukraine, Kosovo, Macedonia and Bulgaria.
"...The fax, intercepted by Swiss intelligence, indicates that Egypt has such proof. It is headed: 'The Egyptians have access to sources which confirm the existence of American secret prisons'.
"Its shocking contents would never have been uncovered if it hadn’t been for a conscientious surveillance officer with the Swiss secret service, stationed at an eavesdropping centre in Zimmerwald, south of Berne. On November 16, six days after the fax was first sent via satellite from Cairo to London, the officer intercepted it using the Onyx eavesdropping system. The officer marked their personal coded identifier, wbm, on the page and put the information down in a COMINT SAT report. The intercepted fax was given the reference number S160018TER00000115."

Human Rights Watch Report: November 2005

The November 7, 2005, Human Rights Watch "Statement on U.S. Secret Detention Facilities in Europe" stated:

"The records show that the N313P plane landed the next day, September 23, 2003, at the Mihail Kogalniceanu military airfield in Romania. The flight records indicate that the plane flew on to Morocco the same day, and then to Guantanamo Bay. The Department of Defense, which releases information about all detainee transfers to Guantanamo, released no statement about a transfer to Guantanamo around this date.
"According to our research, the United States has been using the Mihail Kogalniceanu airfield in Romania for operations in Iraq and Afghanistan since 2002, and the base has been closed to the public and journalists since early 2004. Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld visited Romania and the Mihail Kogalniceanu base in October 2004. The N313P plane also flew from Kabul to Timisoara airport in Romania on January 25, 2004."

U.S.-Romanian Treaty December 6, 2005

The December 6, 2005, treaty signed by Romania and the United States "on the regulation of a 'permanent American military presence' on Romanian soil" [8] "was ratified recently, the Bucharest Daily News reported. Three instruction shooting ranges and an air base are to be used by the US Army in Romania, but the military facilities are still to be administered by the Romanian authorities, as their legal owner, according to the agreement treaty on the military bases signed by Romania and the US ...

"The document indicates four military facilities: Smardan, Babadag, Mihail Kogalniceanu, and Cincu, which are to be used by NATO forces or NATO partners only after the Romanian authorities approve the operations. On judicial provisions, the agreement states that Romanian laws must be taken into account, but allows the US forces to initiate various actions like construction works and changes to the surroundings. The military facilities allow the US troops to initiate training programs for artillery, infantry, and air bombing exercises. The Smardan military facility is the largest, with a surface area of about 8,500 hectares. It can accommodate over 600 soldiers. The Babadag camp has 2,700 hectares and can host about 250 soldiers. The Mihail Kogalniceanu aerodrome has a length of 3,500 meters and will be used for air exercises, while the Cincu shooting range will mainly be used for the training of infantry." [9]


Related SourceWatch articles


  1. Romania, Europa, accessed March 2008.


Articles & Commentary




  • "Romania Offers U.S. Choice of Sites for Bases," Reuters (stopthenato.org), February 3, 2004.
  • Photo, DefenseLink.mil: "Romanian Minister of Defense Ioan Mircea Pascu escorts Secretary of Defense Donald H. Rumsfeld and military officials on a tour of Mihail Kogalniceanu Air Base in Constanta, Romania, on Oct 11, 2004. DoD photo by Master Sgt. James M. Bowman, U.S. Air Force." Press arrows for more photographs in series.