Thursday, March 08, 2007

C.I.A. Secret Detention and Interrogation Conducted in Polish Training Camp Dating Back to Soviet Era

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Raw Story reports that American and British authorities approved the use of a site in Poland, which was used during the Soviet era to train Polish intelligence officers, to detain and interrogate foreign nationals accused of being terrorists. The compound is one of the secret U.S.-run "black sites" where detainees were taken after being abducted by American authorities or locals working with American authorities:

The CIA operated an interrogation and short-term detention facility for suspected terrorists within a Polish intelligence training school with the explicit approval of British and US authorities, according to British and Polish intelligence officials familiar with the arrangements.

Intelligence officials identify the site as a component of a Polish intelligence training school outside the northern Polish village of Stare Kiejkuty. While previously suspected, the facility has never been conclusively identified as being part of the CIA's secret rendition and detention program.

Only the Polish prime minister and top Polish intelligence brass were told of the plan, in which agents of the United States quietly shuttled detainees from other holding facilities around the globe for stopovers and short-term interrogation in Poland between late 2002 and 2004.

According to a confidential British intelligence memo shown to RAW STORY, Prime Minister Tony Blair told Poland's then-Prime Minister Leszek Miller to keep the information secret, even from his own government.

“Miller was asked to keep it as tight as possible,” the memo said.

The complex at Stare Kiejkuty, a Soviet-era compound once used by German intelligence in World War II, is best known as having been the only Russian intelligence training school to operate outside the Soviet Union. Its prominence in the Soviet era suggests that it may have been the facility first identified – but never named – when the Washington Post’s Dana Priest revealed the existence of the CIA’s secret prison network in November 2005.

Reached by telephone Monday, Priest would not discuss the allegations in her article beyond her original report.

CIA spokesman Paul Gimigliano would not confirm or deny any allegations about the Polish facility. He maintained the rendition program was legal and conducted “with great care.”

“The agency’s terrorist interrogation program has been conducted lawfully, with great care and close review, producing vital information that has helped disrupt plots and save lives,” Gimigliano said Monday. “That is also true of renditions, another key, lawful tool in the fight against terror.”

“The United States does not conduct or condone torture, nor does it transfer anyone to other countries for the purpose of torture,” he added.

Outright lies. There is no way the C.I.A.'s secret detention and interrogation program could have been conducted "lawfully," because secret prisons, secret detention centers, secret sites where no one knows what goes on outside of the people running the sites are illegal under international law. It is just absolutely, unequivocally, utterly prohibited to hold human beings in secret detention. So nothing that happens inside those secret prisons is being conducted lawfully. No one knows for sure what goes on in those black sites. No one knows for sure whether detainees are tortured or not -- although several former detainees have testified that torture does go on -- and that is, of course, precisely why such places are illegal.

As for Mr. Gimigliano's line about the U.S. not renditioning detainees to countries notorious for torture for the purpose of having such detainees tortured, Patrick Leahy's response to that toxic sewage is definitive:

Senator Leahy blasted Alberto Gonzalez at todays briefing over the treatment of Maher Arar, a Canadian citizen who was detained and sent to Syria, where he was regularly tortured for almost a year before being released uncharged. ...
[...]
Leahy: "We knew damn well if he went to Canada he wouldn't be tortured. He'd be held and he'd be investigated. We also knew damn well if he went to Syria, he'd be tortured. And it's beneath the dignity of this country, a country that has always been a beacon of human rights, to send somebody to another country to be tortured." [Emphasis in original.]

I don't know how men like Gonzales and Gimigliano sleep at night. I don't know how any of the people who know these things are going on and allow them to go on and then lie about it, sleep at night. I can tell myself that they are evil men who have allowed their lust for power to overcome every impulse of humanity they might once have had, but it doesn't help me understand how they sleep at night.

I don't suppose I ever will understand that.

1 comment:

Chief said...

The time is long past to impeach Bush, Cheney and the AG, Gonzalaz.

Impeach = removal from office. Can't pardon someone who does not hold the office.

Too bad it will never happen