Former Polish president confirms existence of secret CIA torture prison

From World Socialist Web Site
By Konrad Kreft
18 December 2014

The Polish government has denied for years the existence of a secret CIA prison on its territory between 2001 and 2003 in the face of previous revelations.

The publication of the US Senate report on CIA torture, however, has not only proven the existence of the “black site,” but also the close collaboration between the Polish and American governments in barbaric and illegal practices.

US President Barack Obama called Polish President Ewa Kopacz the night before the report’s release “in order to forewarn the US ally of the publication,” according to Polish sources.

The following day, Aleksander Kwaśniewski, Poland’s president between 1995 and 2005, gave a joint press conference in the country’s parliament, the Sejm, with Leszek Miller, prime minister between 2001 and 2004. For the first time, the two social democrats from the Democratic Left Alliance (SLD) admitted that the CIA had operated a secret prison in Poland.

The approval of the clandestine facility, which reportedly operated between 2001 and 2003, was part of strengthening Poland’s ties to the US in line with the so-called war on terror, Kwaśniewski said. He claimed that the government asked the US to treat prisoners in accordance with Polish law. A memorandum drafted for this purpose was “informally” recognised by the US representatives, but not signed due to time constraints, he claimed.

The former president said the cooperation with the US accelerated after September 2001, as Poland responded under NATO rules to an attack on a fellow member nation.

Although Kwaśniewski said he was opposed to it, he admitted to having known about the torture, essentially acknowledging his complicity in these crimes. “Interrogations were unfortunately normally carried out secretly and on the verge of legality. But the goal of all of this was not torture for torture’s sake, but to obtain information we otherwise would not have gotten.”

The millions of dollars Poland received from the CIA was all legal, Kwaśniewski claimed. This had been paid not for making the secret location available, he asserted, but for other reasons. “The financing took place in accordance with the regulations of the Polish intelligence agencies, the Agencja Wywiadu and Agencja Bezpieczeństwa Wewnętrznego,” he said, adding, “The parliamentary committee for the secret services was informed about the financing.” Continue reading