All the C.I.A.'s men - a "black site" prison in Poland
After 10 years yet another information about secret CIA prisons in Europe came up. Leszek Miller, who was a Polish prime minister while the "black site" has been used, denies everything. But the fact, that the CIA has tortured prisoners of war in the Stare Kiejkuty village, is no longer an open secret and Polish authorities will have to reckon with some serious charges.
"It sounds like a Hollywood movie scenario" - said Miller in the TV interview. And so the story written by Adam Goldman, The Washington Post reporter. It all started in early 2003 when two CIA officers arrived at the headquarters of Polish intelligence in Warsaw with $15 million crammed into a pair of large cardboard boxes. There they met with Col. Andrzej Derlatka, deputy chief of the intelligence service. They concluded a gentleman's agreement under which the Poles will rent an old villa in Stare Kiejkuty to Americans. CIA needed a quiet facility to interrogate al-Qaeda suspects during the ongoing War on Terror. Americans have applied to Poles the old rule "don't ask, don't tell" - Polish intelligence did not know what was going on in the establishment, because they were only letting into the dining room, but they did not want to know. The villa in Stare Kiejkuty was the most important element of the "black site" prison system created by the CIA after the attacks of 9/11 (they were also in Romania and Lithuania).
poland - a country for rent
We, Poles, are sending a wonderful message to the world - that we are some kind of banana republic, which can be easily used by any foreign country with big money. Jacek Protasiewicz, MEP from the Civic Platform (the ruling party) said - "money, as I understand it, were reimbursement for adapting the building for U.S. intelligence. It is good that Americans have paid, and not us. Because if Americans have needs in Poland, they have to pay for it".
It is interesting that nobody knows anything. Polish authorities and public opinion are shocked, although articles on the topic have been published in "The Washington Post", "The New York Times" and "The Wall Street Journal". A former vice prime minister, Roman Giertych, said that these illegal activities are a crime against Poland. The Minister of Foreign Affairs, Radosław Sikorski, does not comment, because the case is under two investigations.
The foreign one is conducted by The European Court of Human Rights in Strasbourg regarding Abd al-Rahim al-Nashiri. He was accused by Americans to be part of the terrorist attack on the USS Cole in 2000. The CIA has tortured him, because the officers could not agree as to the role he played in the attack. In May 2011 al-Nashiri filed a case against Poland with the European Court of Human Rights, which this year will give a ruling. If Poles lose it, they will face serious consequences.
The domestic investigation has been conducted since 2008 in Warsaw, but in February 2012 the case was transferred by Attorney General, Andrzej Seremet, to the office in Kraków, because, for him, the area is more familiar. According to the Polish media, investigators were ready to apply for the State Court for then Prime Minister Leszek Miller. The case went to Kraków to have been discontinued.
What's eating poland
But what Polish journalists do not notice is their own defeat. It was American media who have discovered the truth about the network of secret CIA prisons in Eastern Europe. Stare Kiejkuty is only three-hour drive from Warsaw. But it appears to be too much. Politicians have denied any knowledge about secret CIA operation and the duty of the fourth estate is continuous demanding the truth. But Polish journalists preferred their cushy jobs in Warsaw, while covering another meaningless political wrangling. But this is PR, not a journalism.
The War on Terror involves constant discharging of the blame on so called "rotten apples". In this case Polish authorities blame the United States. Yes, Americans have used us as an ally, but we only splayed out our hand in the welcome gesture. Poles rented the villa thus getting rid of any bad conscience - and so they wanted the whole responsibility to fall on the U.S. For $15 million the state's independence was sold, and the money was enough to lose interest on who is coming to the country. Americans just wanted a place where they can do everything that they are ashamed to do at home. Polish officers were so pleased with themselves, that they did not notice, while determining price list, that the rates in this sector revolve not around millions, but billions of dollars. Thanks to the "black sites", Poland has become just another potential target for terrorist attacks.
Leszek Millers' denial means one of two things. He is either a cynical liar and wants only to save his own skin or he really had no idea what was going on around him. And I am not sure which of these things is worse.