Thursday, November 03, 2005

Al-Qaeda in Poland? Gulp!


But they are not sneaking into the country under the noses of border guards. They are being brought here by the CIA!

EU Observer writes that speculation is growing that there are secret camps in Eastern Europe where crazed Islamic terrorists are being imprisoned. The EU Observer reports that:

“Human Rights Watch, a leading US-based NGO, has identified Poland and Romania as likely locations for the camps…‘We have a high degree of confidence that such facilities exist in at least Poland and Romania’, said Tom Malinowski, Washington advocacy director of the NGO”

Blimey! Human Rights Watch say that planes coming to and from Afghanistan show strong evidence that Poland could be one of the destinations. Gazeta Wyborcza is also quoting ‘sources’ that conform this. Apparently, in 2003, a 737 Boeing with the registration number N313P landed at an airfield in northern Poland, on route to Afghanistan.

The gossip is that the most likely place for a camp such as this is in Szymanow, about 120 kilometres from Warsaw, where there is an army base and an airfield with a 2 kilometers long landing strip, large enough to land a 737.

The Financial Times reports that: ”Poland's role, if confirmed, would be especially controversial, given that it has recently joined the European Union.”

Polish officials have been lining up to deny the allegations. The FT quotes Leszek Laszczak, spokesman for the Polish defense ministry:

"No people suspected of terrorist activities were held in military bases on the territory of the Republic of Poland, either as a result of an agreement with the US government or with any other institutions of the US."

Gazeta quotes former deputy defense minister, Janusz Zemke, as saying: "I don't know anything about planes or prisoners." And Zbigniew Siemiatkowski, liason officer to the CIA in 2003, said: " The USA has never proposed that we hold terrorists."

If the reports are true - and the US is not confirming or denying them, which probably means that they are – then what is going on in these places? Is Poland now home to the European version of Guantánamo Bay or Abu Ghraib? And how are they torturing the poor bastards? By force feeding them flaki?

The intrigue deepens and the plot will thicken...

20 comments:

Becca said...

It's worse than Guantanemo!
I despair.
This is the latest way the American authorities have found to avoid playing by the rules and do things their own, civilised, refined way. Urgh!

Gustav said...

I'm not so sure. You can't always fly suspects directly from Afghanistan to the US - sometimes you need a stopover, and if you've got prisoners, you need a place to hold them.

I'd like to see the HRW report. Got a link, anybody?

PS - Curse Blogger! You got to this one before me peter, but only because Blogger seemed to be having problems earlier this morning. Way to be on your toes. ;-)

beatroot said...

Yeaeh, I had probs with the blogger bugger too. But are we suprised about this. Poland has been bending over backwards to please US policy since 1989...and I do not honestly think that they would refuse anything that washington asked them too. Poland is indeed 'the girl who can't say no, she'll get in a terrible fix' (it's a song)

Gustav said...

I'm in complete agreement. Not a surprise at all - just posted about that as a matter of fact.

How long will Poland keep bending over for the US? With the Ducks in power, I think the answer is a long time. The question is then: How much will this hurt Poland's relations with the EU, and what will the consequences be?

beatroot said...

Good question. Bending over backwards is never an elegant position to be in, of course. But I don't think the EU can do much about it. The UK has been an off-shore base of the US since I can remember. And Poland is a member of NATO...so anything goes as far as defense is concerned. The real question is one of human rights. What is going on in these places? What rights have these guys? Are these places legal? Should people have access to the prisoners? What are they being held for? Wearing long shaggy beards in public places...?

Michael Farris said...

For what it's worth, the university student population I come across is not nearly so pro-US now as even five years ago. This is not to say they're anti-US at all but they're very pro EU and not at all interested in Poland acting on the US's behalf against the EU.

~JS said...

I see a few headlines and comments that aren't surprised that Poland is doing this, they use the "Poland was already home to such camps 60 years ago." implication -- Wow! This is such a degrading insult to those innocents who suffered horrendously in those WWII camps!

Lte's remember that fi you want to make comparisons you need to replace the word Nazi with Terrorist, not innocent children, aged, and women! Soem of these bloggers and journalists are just shameful at their lust to further find trash on USA...goign to any length...

And also a purely utilitarian argument could justify secret camps....you tend to save more innocent lives when the terrorists don't know which country to bomb in orer to free their comrades...unfortunately, in their glee to smear USA again, the media is putting many innocent lives at risk...

we need to think critically about this...what justifies all this press without any facts...?

~JS said...

And about the pro-eu position of students...well sure, eu countries love to suck away all the talented poles into their own economy, and if polish students want to abandon their country for higher pay (brain drain), more power to them...but let's also remember that only 3 eu countries even accept poles as employees -- how's that for eu solidarity?

as usual, young people are rather pragmatic, unreliable when it comes to loyalty...except to Number 1...of course...

beatroot said...

But let's get a few things into perspective. This 'story' is a strange one, and I would be suspicious of it. Nobody who knows the area thinks that this is true.

But say it is true. It would be a sensible thing for the US to have secret camps to keep 'terrorists' out of the way somewhere.

Washington knows that its policy of locking up people without charge, torturing them, denying them access to lawyers - or anyone else for that matter - and keeping them there indefinatly, is not a particularly popular one throughout the world, and not even very popular at home in the US.

So what better place to put a camp such as this than Poland - where governments seem almost as willing to do what they say, and ask no questions, as they are in the UK?

Becca said...

The HRW report didn't have a link this morning - maybe there's one around now. But the fact that these camps exist comes from the Washington Post article rather than the HRW report.
I'm with you Beatroot, the real question is the human rights one. The fact that the CIA can torture prisoners in 'black sites'where they are given no legal aid and no visitors is appalling.
I don't think the intention of journalists and bloggers is to'find trash' on the US at all costs; the Washington Post article was quoting high ranking security officials.

Bialynia said...

If this is true then I think you're missing the big story, which is that Poland is being referred to as an "Eastern European" instead of "Central European" nation. The Poles will be up in arms! Then again I would guess Ukraine before Poland for a secret prison. Poland can't keep a secret.

beatroot said...

Still nothing about this on Human Rights Watch web site. Strange.

I found an interesting article about HRW here

http://web.inter.nl.net/users/Paul.Treanor/HRW.html

It's all part of the American Dream

Friedrich Ost said...

Don't you think that there might be a link between the appearing of this information in Western newspapers and the fact that the new Polish government is about to shut down the WSI (military intelligence agency)? WSI was suspected of having a bit too much of influence in Poland's political (but not only) life. I think that this is just a little warning from the guys from WSI for PiS's government: "Watch out, if you treat us badly, we will treat you much worse.".

beatroot said...

Well, there is a new angle on all this. Thanks Fred. These agencies that he talkes about have long been a target of the type of people who are in government now.

StefanMichnik said...

...and vice-versa. Those people in power have been a target of those agencies!:)

Anonymous said...

I am from Poland. I get sick when i listen to the current politcal leadership speak. These people are creating laws against the freepress. However, i do not care about the rights of islamic terrorist. I think the following link describes my viewpoint best: http://www.freerepublic.com/focus/f-news/1117749/posts

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STASZEK said...

in my opinion that dosen't even matter they were Terrorist after all I mean they're guilty even without a trial so whats this idiocy with Human rights Terrorist's don't Acknowledge the existence of Human rights they can simply kill people becuse they like it ! Becuse they think their Gods weapon so I think your arguments are pointless

The other matter is that from the news here in Poland we have informations that Polish personel wasn't allowed there while this planes were there (the Goverment of Poland may actually not know what was in this planes as the Us officials told them thats the matter of US security) So accusing 'Ducks' is pointless becuse in my opinion they simply didn't know !
(And if a goverent didn't know its hard to call it hosting !! isn't it ?)

In my opinion these planes could land in Poland to refuel and the prosecution of the terrorist (temporary) continued in Poland untill the planes were ready to and the terrorist's were taken to Guantamo Bay

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