Reports Indicate European Union Countries Rendered People to CIA for Torture

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December 10, 2014
It appears that Poland, Romania and Lithuania hosted CIA “black sites”, which were effectively torture chambers, according to The Guardian. Evidence points to other European countries cooperating with the US spy agency in organizing covert rendition flights, including Britain, Sweden, Germany, Austria, Spain, Portugal, Belgium, Denmark, Finland, Iceland, Austria, the Czech Republic, Greece, Cyprus, Croatia, Bosnia-Herzegovina and Albania, The Guardian said.

MOSCOW, December 10 (Sputnik), Marina Elagina — There are strong indications that Poland, Romania, Lithuania and other EU allies of the United States were deeply involved in the CIA’s “enhanced interrogation” program and rendered terrorist suspects to the US spy agency for torture, UK’s The Guardian newspaper reported Wednesday.

The claim comes as the US Senate Intelligence Committee released on Tuesday a 525-page summary of a detailed investigation into CIA interrogation techniques that were used on alleged al-Qaeda agents in the wake of the 9/11 attacks on New York City and Washington, DC.

Despite being a brave attempt by the US government to come clean on its own human rights abuses, the report did not explicitly name nations involved in the unlawful renditions or those that also hosted the CIA’s “black site” torture camps in Europe.

In September 2001, US President George W. Bush signed a covert memorandum granting the CIA unprecedented counterterrorism authority, including the covert capture and detention of individuals. The same year, CIA agents started exploring the “possibility of establishing clandestine detention facilities in several countries,” according to the 2014 torture report.

“To encourage governments to clandestinely host CIA detention sites, or to increase support for existing sites, the CIA provided millions of dollars in cash payments to foreign government officials,” the summary said, adding that foreign governments were encouraged to “think big” in terms of US financial assistance.

Poland

All countries, who cooperated with a US Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) torture program, must investigate their role in a global network of human rights violations, Amnesty International has said.
© Sputnik/ Denis Voroshilov
US Global Partners Should Come Clean on CIA Torture Cooperation: Amnesty

In July 2014, the European Court of Human Rights (ECHR) ruled that Poland violated an international treaty to protect human rights by hosting secret CIA prisons on its territory. The case was filed by two CIA detainees, Abu Zubaydah and al-Nashiri, who claimed they had been tortured at a secret CIA facility in a Polish forest before being transferred to Guantanamo Bay. An investigation, opened in Poland in 2008, is still underway.

Romania

In 2012, al-Nashiri, a Saudi national accused by the CIA of masterminding the 2000 bombing of the USS Cole, lodged a complaint with the ECHR claiming he was transferred from the CIA’s secret prison in Poland to a “black site” in Romania, where US agents continued to torture him.

Swiss Sen. Dick Marty, who investigated unlawful CIA operations on behalf of the Council of Europe, confirmed in a 2007 report that such sites “did exist in Europe from 2003 to 2005, in particular in Poland and Romania.” Both countries have denied any involvement.

Lithuania

 

1015229439Abu Zubaydah, described by the CIA as the first “high-value detainee” to be captured and questioned by US intelligence in the wake of 9/11 attacks, was held in a secret CIA prison in Lithuania in early 2005, and filed a complaint against the country’s government in 2011.

According to ECHR records, the facility was purpose-built as a CIA detention facility with permission from “high-level Lithuanian authorities.” “The highest state authorities were aware of the CIA’s illegal activities on their territories,” the Swiss investigator said later in his report.

Sweden

To date, Sweden is the only country that has paid damages to the victims of its extraordinary renditions. In 2006, the UN Human Rights Committee ruled that Sweden helped CIA agents render asylum seekers to Egypt for torture in violation of the global torture ban.

In 2001, Swedish officials expelled Mohammed al-Zari and another Egyptian, Ahmed Agiza, to Egypt at the behest of the US spy agency. Sweden permitted the CIA to ship them to Egypt despite its knowledge that Egypt was a “torture state.”

Britain

The British government has so far prohibited any domestic inquiry into its involvement in the CIA’s global kidnap and torture operations, according to The Guardian.

A 2012 report by Human Rights Watch cited official documents unearthed in the Libyan capitol of Tripoli after the fall of Muammar Gaddafi’s government “showing a close degree of cooperation among the US, the UK, and other Western governments with regard to the forcible return and subsequent interrogation of Gaddafi opponents in Libya.” The Guardian said Mi6 agents were involved in at least two renditions to Libya alongside the CIA, during which male suspects were kidnapped together with their wives and children, aged 6 to 12.

British officers are also known to have interrogated Guantanamo inmates in Cuba and detainees at the Bagram military base in Afghanistan, while the UK government provided secret US rendition flights with logistical support, according to British daily.

Italy

Italy is the only country to have ever convicted CIA agents of abducting foreigners and sending them to a torture state.

In 2003, Americans snatched Egyptian cleric Abu Omar on the street in Milan and secretly transported him to Egypt, despite his official asylum status in Italy. In 2009, an Italian court found 22 CIA operatives, a US military official and two Italian spies guilty of the kidnapping and sentenced them each to five years in jail. All CIA agents were tried in absentia. None were handed over to Italy.

The court established that Omar was first brought to a US air base at Aviano near Venice, and then transferred to America’s Ramstein base in Germany, from whence he was flown to Egypt. The 2007 report of the Council of Europe established that the CIA performed some 1,000 rendition flights over Europe in the previous six years, using a web of European airports and US military air bases.

Germany

Germany was implicated in aiding CIA renditions in 2004 after a German national of Lebanese descent named Khaled El-Masri was mistakenly kidnapped in Macedonia by CIA agents and flown to a US detention facility in Afghanistan, prompting condemnation by the European Court of Human Rights. The German government denied its participation in the blunder.

According to a 2013 report by George Soros’s NGO Open Society Justice Initiative, a total of 54 foreign governments participated in CIA rendition operations in the wake of the 9/11 terrorist attacks on US soil. These countries hosted CIA prisons, tortured people, assisted America in renditions and provided information leading to secret arrests of alleged terror suspects.

Obama on Senate’s CIA report: “We tortured some folks”  – watch video

 

 

What You Need to Know About New CIA Torture Report

The US Senate Intelligence Committee is expected to release a long-anticipated 500-page summary of the report on post-9/11 torture practices used by the CIA, on Tuesday, December 9. The White House fears that the “potentially explosive” report could trigger violence against US citizens overseas.

Sputnik –  12/09/14

MOSCOW, December 9 (Sputnik), Ekaterina Blinova — The US Senate Intelligence Committee is expected to release a long-anticipated 500-page summary of the report on post-9/11 torture practices used by the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA), on Tuesday, December 9.

“Two years ago, the Senate Intelligence Committee completed its investigation into the detention and torture of detainees in CIA custody during the Bush administration. The report has been the subject of lengthy negotiations, conflicts and even legal threats between the committee and the CIA, and it has sparked intense partisan battles within the committee itself,” writes Dafna Linzer, Managing Editor of MSNBC.com, in her article “5 things to look for in the Senate’s torture report.”

The comprehensive report dubbed “CIA Torture Report” contains a 6300-page description of CIA interrogation techniques used against detainees including waterboarding, prolonged sleep deprivation, use of stress positions, mock executions, threats against children, use of power drills and etc. These methods have been qualified by human rights groups as inhuman torture practices.

As the CIA has expressed deep concerns regarding releasing the full document, the committee and the White House decided to publicize a redacted 500-page version. However, the White House fears that the “potentially explosive” report could trigger violence against the US citizens overseas. It led “the Obama administration to raise security precautions at US embassies worldwide,” the ABC News reports.

After the tragedy of 9/11, the CIA began a program to capture al-Qaeda members and detain them at secret prisons, also known as “black sites.” At these sites, the CIA operatives carried out interrogation techniques against prisoners, including Khalid Sheikh Mohammed, the alleged mastermind of the 9/11 attacks and his counterpart Ramzi bin al-Shibh, in order to learn more about al-Qaeda.

Only in 2006 did US President Bush publicly acknowledged the existence of the CIA secret prison network. Remarkably, prominent members of the Bush administration, particularly former Vice President Dick Cheney and former CIA Director Michael Hayden, insisted repeatedly that “torture works.” Dafna Linzer cites Cheney as saying that the waterboarding “produced phenomenal results for us.”

The report, however, proves the opposite, according to an official familiar with the document. It should be noted that in April 2012, the committee published a press release, which claimed that the “enhanced interrogation techniques” had not provided any valuable information leading to the finding of bin Laden, the infamous al-Qaeda leader. “The enhanced interrogation techniques produced zero actionable intelligence,” the committee has found.

“The report is likely to blame CIA leaders for false portrayals of the value of the interrogations or for keeping details from congressional leaders and even the White House. Expect every named former CIA official to deny it. And expect to never know the truth,” writes Dafna Linzer and adds: “And don’t look for good guys – there aren’t any in this report.”

Poland Risked Lives of Own Citizens Hosting CIA Prisons: Lawmaker

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© Sputnik/ Igor Zarembo

December 10, 2014

Poland sacrificed the security of millions of its people for the sake of friendship with the United States when Warsaw agreed to host CIA prisons on its territory.

There are strong indications that Poland, Romania, Lithuania and other EU allies of the United States were deeply involved in the CIA's enhanced interrogation program and rendered terrorist suspects to the US spy agency for torture, UK's The Guardian newspaper reported Wednesday.
© Flickr/ Justin Norman

 

Reports Indicate EU Countries Rendered People to CIA for Torture

 

MOSCOW, December 10 (Sputnik) —Poland put the lives of ordinary Poles at risk when it agreed to host CIA prisons on its soil, Polish Sejm speaker told Sputnik Wednesday.”By making a decision to host CIA prisons on the territory of Poland, Leszek Miller [former Prime Minister] and Aleksander Kwaśniewski [former President] agreed to increase the terrorist threat to their own people. They risked the health and lives of millions of the Poles in the sake of friendship with the United States,” Andrzej Rozenek said.Rozenek’s comment comes after the release of the so-called CIA torture report compiled by the Senate Intelligence Committee, which included more than 500 pages of a detailed investigation into controversial interrogation techniques that were used by the CIA on alleged al-Qaeda terrorists, following the 9/11 attacks on Washington and New York.

Poland, Romania, Lithuania and other EU allies of the United States were deeply involved in the CIA’s “enhanced interrogation” program and rendered terrorist suspects to the US spy agency for torture.”Unfortunately, this is a situation when a gross violation of the Polish legislation is supported by such high-ranking officials as the president and prime minister. The report indicates the absence of democracy and human rights in our country,” Rozenek stressed.

He also expressed hope that “extensive conclusions will be drawn and all those responsible for torture in CIA prisons will be brought to justice.”

Earlier on Tuesday, Amnesty International’s counter-terrorism expert Julia Hall said that the United States and all of the countries that cooperated with it to transfer, detain and torture suspects, have an “international legal obligation to ensure full accountability for crimes under international law, including torture and enforced disappearances.”

According to Amnesty International, Italy, Lithuania, Romania, Sweden, Britain and Poland, which hosted a secret US prison at Stare Kiejkuty from 2002 to 2005, are among the countries that have cooperated with the CIA.

 

Torture report reveals how Poland objected to CIA’s secret jail on its soil – but became ‘flexible’ after being bought off with large cash payment

Admission: Former Polish president Aleksander Kwasniewski (pictured right, alongside former Afghan leader Hamid Karzai) today confirmed that Poland granted permission for a secret CIA prison in the country Read more: http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-2867879/CIA-paid-Poland-ease-qualms-secret-prison-Senate-report.html#ixzz3Ld1XSsqq Follow us: @MailOnline on Twitter | DailyMail on Facebook

Admission: Former Polish president Aleksander Kwasniewski (pictured right, alongside former Afghan leader Hamid Karzai) today confirmed that Poland granted permission for a secret CIA prison in the country  

U.S. President Barack Obama last night discussed the CIA torture report’s publication during a telephone call with current Polish Prime Minister Ewa Kopacz.

The heavily redacted report did not mention Poland by name, but documents relating to the site match other reports that identify them as originating in the Eastern European nation. Among these documents is European Court of Human Rights ruling relating to a CIA-run ‘black site’ in Poland.

By John Hall

The U.S. Senate Committee’s torture report has claimed Poland initially objected to the CIA’s secret prison on its soil but became ‘flexible’ after being bought off with a large sum of money.

After denying the fact for years, former Polish president Aleksander Kwasniewski today admitted that Poland had granted the CIA permission to run the secret prison, but insisted his officials had not authorized illegal treatment or torture of its inmates.

Human rights groups believe at least eight terror suspects were held at a Polish prison codenamed ‘Blue’, including Khalid Sheikh Mohammed – the self-proclaimed mastermind of the 9/11 attacks.

This morning former Polish president Kwasniewski admitted that the prison existed, but insisted that the secret operation was halted amid pressure from the country’s leaders.

‘Poland took steps to end the activity at this site and the activity was stopped at some point,’ he told Warsaw based Radio TOK FM this morning.

The prison is thought to have operated from December 2002 until autumn 2003. Kwasniewski was in power from 1995 until 2005, but has always denied the site’s existence until now.

Detainee: Human rights groups believe at least eight terror suspects were held at a Polish prison codenamed 'Blue', including Khalid Sheikh Mohammed (pictured) - the self-proclaimed mastermind of the 9/11 attacks Read more: http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-2867879/CIA-paid-Poland-ease-qualms-secret-prison-Senate-report.html#ixzz3Ld2NvmiF Follow us: @MailOnline on Twitter | DailyMail on Facebook

Detainee: Human rights groups believe at least eight terror suspects were held at a Polish prison codenamed ‘Blue’, including Khalid Sheikh Mohammed (pictured) – the self-proclaimed mastermind of the 9/11 attacks

Global: At its height, the CIA program included secret prisons in countries including Poland, Afghanistan, Thailand, Romania and Lithuania - locations that are referred to only by color-themed codes in the report

Global: At its height, the CIA program included secret prisons in countries including Poland, Afghanistan, Thailand, Romania and Lithuania – locations that are referred to only by color-themed codes in the report

According to a ruling by the Strasbourg-based European Court of Human Rights  the CIA operated a facility near the village of Stare Kiejkuty in north east Poland.

It is one of a network of sites around the world where Al Qaeda suspects were held and subjected to interrogation techniques that human rights groups say amounted to torture.

The CIA torture report, which was published yesterday by the Senate Select Committee on Intelligence, described how seriously the rendition programme strained relations with Poland – a North Atlantic Treaty Organization member and one of Washington’s staunchest European allies.

People close to the Polish authorities at the time say Poland felt an obligation to protect its relationship with Washington, even as it knew hosting the facility was open to legal challenge.

‘The agreement to host a CIA detention facility in Country created multiple, ongoing difficulties between Country and the CIA,’ the report said. All direct mentions of the name of the country were blacked out, but other details matched those already known to relate to the East European country.

Divisions: Polish officials were also said to be disappointed not to have been given more warning of the 2006 acknowledgement of the detention programme by then U.S. President George W Bush (left)

Divisions: Polish officials were also said to be disappointed not to have been given more warning of the 2006 acknowledgement of the detention programme by then U.S. President George W Bush (left)

The CIA torture report said the Poland proposed drawing up a written memorandum of understanding defining the CIA’s roles and responsibilities at the facility, but the agency refused.

Poland’s government allegedly then refused to accept the planned transfer of new detainees, including Khalid Sheikh Mohammed.

The torture report claims that decision was only reversed after the U.S. ambassador to Poland intervened on the CIA’s behalf. The following month, the CIA allegedly provided several million dollars to the country. The exact figure was deliberately blacked out on the document.

The report did not name the representative who intervened, although the American ambassador to Poland at the time was Christopher Hill. A woman who answered the telephone in his office at the University of Denver, where he now works, said he was not immediately reachable.

After the money changed hands, officials speaking for the country’s political leadership indicated Poland ‘was now flexible with regard to the number of CIA detainees at the facility and when the facility would eventually be closed,’according to the report.

Years later, Polish officials became ‘extremely upset’ when details of the detention programme began to emerge from U.S. government sources, the report claimed. The officials were also said to be disappointed not to have been warned of George Bush’s admission of the programme in 2006.

Controversy: Chained detainees are seen arriving at Camp X-Ray on Guantanamo Bay ahead of interrogation about their suspected involvement with terrorist groups including Al Qaeda or the Taliban

Controversy: Chained detainees are seen arriving at Camp X-Ray on Guantanamo Bay ahead of interrogation about their suspected involvement with terrorist groups including Al Qaeda or the Taliban

Adam Bodnar, vice-president of the Warsaw-based Helsinki Foundation for Human Rights, said of the Polish authorities at the time: ‘They betrayed the Polish constitution for money, to a great extent, and all the values that are associated with the Polish constitution.’

The Polish constitution states that no one can be subjected to torture, or cruel, inhumane or degrading treatment.

Bodnar said the diplomatic tensions outlined in the report explains why Obama telephoned the Polish Prime Minister on the eve of the report’s publication.

The two leaders ‘expressed hope that the publication of this report will not have a negative effect on Polish-U.S. relations,’ according to a statement from the Polish prime minister’s office.

Senior U.S. administration officials confirmed the subject of the Senate report came up during Obama’s call with Kopacz.