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Warsaw and Washington tried to 'close' CIA prison in Poland issue

PR dla Zagranicy
Peter Gentle 04.09.2011 19:14
A December 2005 cable released by Wikileaks shows that US and Polish governments tried to coordinate a stance on allegations that Poland was the site of a secret CIA prison holding al-Qaeda terrorist suspects.

Khalid Sheikh Mohammed claims he was held, and tortured, in Poland

The cable, numbered 4030 and marked “confidential” from Ambassador Victor Ashe to the then secretary of state Condoleezza Rice, gives an overview of the foreign policy expected from the newly elected Law and Justice (PiS) minority government ahead of the new foreign minister, Stefan Miller's trip to Washington the following week.

In a section towards the end of the long cable, dated 13 December 2005 – part of the latest batch released by the whistle-blowing organisation - Ambassador Ashe writes that “Meller's staff expects that the renditions and "CIA prisons" issue will continue to dog the Polish government, despite our and the Poles' best efforts to put this story to rest.”

President George W. Bush later admitted the existence of the prison network in 2006, though not their locations. CIA director Leon Panetta said in 2009 that the prisons were no longer in use.

Allegations that the CIA had been operating a covert prison in north east Poland where they kept terrorist suspects had first been made by Human Rights Watch and the Washington Post the month before the cable was written and was a story still featuring heavily in the Polish media and abroad.

“In response to sustained media pressure, PM Marcinkiewicz announced December 10 that his government will order an internal probe 'to close the issue,'” Ambassador Ashe's cable continues.

“Meller anticipates being asked about renditions by the Polish press while in Washington, and the MFA has asked that we remain in close contact to coordinate our public stance,” the short section on the CIA prison issue concludes.

The 4030 cable is headed by Wikileaks: “This record is a partial extract of the original cable. The full text of the original cable is not available.”

Since the original allegations were made six years ago, detainees have claimed in law suits that they were taken to Poland, among other places, and tortured.

The current prime minister Donald Tusk ordered Poland's chief prosecutor to investigate the allegations but the US government has refused to give assistance to the probe.

Members of the former Law and Justice government and its Democratic Left Alliance (SLD) predecessor have claimed no knowledge of a CIA prison housing international terrorist suspects.

Last week it emerged in a long-running court dispute between two aviation companies in the US that Washington had outsourced contracts to private firms to move 'renditioned' terrorist suspects around the globe.

DynCorp was the major benefactor of the contracts, which laid on luxury jets to the CIA, with State Department markings on the planes to give them cover, to transport al-Qaeda suspects from prison to prison. (pg)

see cable here

tags: cia prisons
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