Thursday, September 04, 2008

Poland’s government knew all about ‘secret’ CIA prisons?

Radio Zet has alleged that top ministers in the previous Law and Justice government were shown a report back in 2006 detailing the existence of those illusive CIA prisons in Poland used to detain Islamist terrorist suspects.

The names who saw and authored the report will be familiar to regular readers of this blog.

The author was our old friend Roman Giertych, who was heading a committee on the activities of Poland’s secret services at the time.

His report, written sometime in 2006 - confirming allegations made by Human Rights Watch back in late 2005 - was seen by Zbigniew Ziobro, state prosecutor Janusz Kaczmarek and special services coordinator Zbigniew Wasserman.

Crucially, today’s allegations have neither been confirmed nor denied by the present state prosecutor, Marek Staszak.

My understanding of the evidence collected by the Council of Europe’s report - which supported the original allegations made by the NGO and the Washington Post - you can see here and here.

Government ministers, and former president Aleksander Kwasniewski have always denied the allegations, dismissing them as nonsense.

In May 2007, the U.N. Committee Against Torture called on the Law and Justice government to disclose information gathered by Poland’s parliamentary committee on the CIA prisons issue. Prime Minister Jaroslaw Kaczynski dismissed the request: “The matter is now closed,” he said. But if the parliamentary committee had had access to the report written by Roman Giertych - and is it not too dumb to presume that they had? - then he, the prime minister, knew of the existence of these places in Poland.

If Radio Zet’s information is correct then several politicians are, quite simply, telling naughty little fibs.

Even though the present Polish government announced that an investigation into the issue would be re-opened, Foreign Minister Radek Sikorski said this week:

"I have commented the issue as defense minister and I can take the responsibility for what I know and for what took place when I was responsible for military installations.

"I can once again categorically confirm -- during the time of the Kazimierz Marcinkiewicz and Jaroslaw Kaczynski governments, and also now, nothing like that has taken place in Poland."

So that is a flat denial, then. But we must look at Sikorski’s words carefully, however. He is stating that not since Law and Justice took office in November 2005 - Radek has been a minister in both the previous and present governments - have there been CIA prisons in Poland. But the reports following the initial allegations by Human Rights Watch stated that the prisons were closed down around the same time as the Law and Justice government won the election.

So maybe Sikorski is merely saying that there have not been any such prisons in Poland for the last three years. He is not saying there never have been.

The Council of Europe’s report quoted one US military intelligence source as saying: “Listen, Poland agreed top down…from the president [Kwasniewski], yes….to provide the CIA all it needed.”

If Radio Zet’s report turns out to be true then Giertych, Ziobro and ex-Prime Minister Jaroslaw Kaczynski are going to have a lot of explaining to do.


Anonymous said...

A-ha! Kaczynski was aiding and abetting the commie Kwasniewski to help the US run a secret gulag chain that McCain was opposed to because that's illegal and so is torture but now he thinks it's not such a bad idea, it seems, as long as only the US does it. I see it all clearly now.

Everything is illuminated -- also a wonderful movie with that Frodo kid and a Ukrainian gypsy punk from Gogol Bordello:

Anonymous said...

If I understand correctly, there was no CIA prison in Poland under the PiS or later under the PO. It was only during the administration of the former communist Kwasniewski (present stooge of the Russian ambassador) and the SLD. Has anyone actually come forward and said they were tortured in Poland or any one connected with Polish security services actually stated they saw someone being tortured?

Is this photo supposed to be a victim of the CIA prison in Poland? Or just something off the Internet from some other country.

Anonymous said...

I was tortured for an entire night after I ate some greasy placki po zbojnicku in Zakopane when the Kaczynskis were in power.

No matter who was in power when, Kaczynski recently said the case is closed. Thus he's a commie collaborator and should be thrown out of office immediately.

beatroot said...

It does appear that there was some facility where these islamist types, or suspected types were kept, not under PiS but SLD. Kwasniewski repeatedly denied there was any such thing. He, appears to be a liar.

If I understand it correctly it was closed dpown after the washington Post rumbled it.

But PiS knew about this.

If anything nasty has been gpoing on here then it is the duty of the Ziobros of this world to expose this. There is soemthing called International Law and these prisons and the rendition that they are a part of breaks that law. So who is gonna take the rap for this?

Anonymous said...

Exactly. It now sure looks like:

1.) SLD / Kwasniewski cooperated w/the U.S.

2.) PiS / Kaczynskis knew about it.

The whole bit has made it's way onto the featured headlines of Yahoo!

beatroot said...

Gazeta Wyborcza is saying that Khalid Sheik Mohammad was tortured while in the Szymany airstript thing..."100 times..."

The mind boggles....

Anonymous said...

So what, what can anyone do about it legally? It is very likely that no one Polish was even allowed to enter the building they used. At best it’s a legal quagmire that will go nowhere after all is said and done. Hearsay evidence is all anyone has here. The Russians do this all the time and their methods are a lot simpler after your interrogation is complete then you get a 9mm aspirin and the file is closed.

Eugene Markow said...

It doesn't matter whether Gazeta Wyborcza assumes there were CIA Prisons in Poland. Nothing is final until it is proven. If, indeed, they did in fact exist in Poland, it must have been covered up very well. Once the fact has been established and proven that the prisons existed in Poland, the question becomes, if anyone was actually tortured. Further, one must question, who did the torturing, Poles or Americans? Let's not jump the gun here and speculate. The truth will come out eventually.

Anonymous said...

Amazing how some folks automatically link and source all such claims to Gazeta Wyborcza: "whether GW assumes there were CIA prisons in Poland."

Also it seems very obvious now there was some kind of detention center and there was a cover up.

Does something that happened not "exist" until it is "proven"?

How is it proven? Do we need videotape or merely photos? DNA blood samples? Admission on the part of Kwasniewski that he gave the OK to the US to set up temporarty detention/interrogation centers on Polish soil? Admission on the part of Kaczynski he helped cover it all up?

Anonymous said...

So the US is less extreme than the Putinheads. Sorry, 57, that doesn't make me any happier about the use of torture.

Anonymous said...

Oh yea and what are the Kwasniewski fellow travelers over at Gazeta Wyborcza doing reporting something that casts aspersions on Kwasniewski?

beatroot said...

this story is a tricky one. All the information we are going to get is from journalists who have contacts with secret services, both in US and Poland. Not much is ever going to be official. So the likelyhood of "closure" on this story is not to be expected soon.

It's part of the disaster that has been the "war on terror". That Poland has been sucked into this is a little sad.

Poland is more and more becoming a player in a nasty little international power game.

beatroot said...

And Jan...the issue here is about the deception, if nothing else, by a whole political class.

Anonymous said...

ge'ez said... “So the US is less extreme than the Putinheads”

The US has used physical persuasion since the days of WW2; I understand that German high value POWs were physically interrogated. I can also tell you that anyone who fell into Polish hands in WW2 sang like a little birdy.

beatroot said... “All the information we are going to get is from journalists who have contacts with secret services, both in US and Poland”

That should have read all information and dis-information.

beatroot said... “the issue here is about the deception, if nothing else, by a whole political class.”

When in human history was deception absent from statecraft? Although the last two administrations in Poland didn’t authorize anything it is likely they chose not provide ammunition for another European anti-American propaganda fest.

I have to admit some of the American tactics are primitive if not childish, considering what methods the British used in their war against the IRA which were very sophisticated and effective.

Anonymous said...

“CIA Prisons' Just a Cover?” according to Gazeta Wyborcza. The current article has a former spook explaining why it was a cover for something else. No prisoners, no torture and nobody in trouble. Problem solved.

Anonymous said...

Poland: "Rich countries please come see us! We're desperate, without shame or dignity, and we'll blow dead bears for nickels."

beatroot said...

jan - that article meant cover for somewhere other than Kiejkuty secret service base, but still in Poland. He meant that when you have a known secret servive base then you get photos taken from space every 15 hours (the duration of a surviellence orbit) by spooks know where....

So he means still in Poland. Human rights abuse...all that stuff.

No problem?

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