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EU court says CIA ran "black site" at Stare Kiejkuty (and Corrente blast from the past in 2006)


The CIA ran a secret jail on Polish soil, the European Court of Human Rights ruled on Thursday, piling pressure on Poland, one of Washington's closest allies, to break its long silence about the global programme for detaining al Qaeda suspects.

The court said it had been established that the CIA used a facility in a northern Polish forest, code named "Quartz", as a hub in its network for interrogating suspected al Qaeda operatives rounded up after the Sept. 11, 2001 attacks. .....

Thursday's ruling was the first time that a court in Europe had said that the CIA operated one of the secret jails - often referred to as "black sites" -on the continent.

The court case was brought by lawyers for two men, Saudi-born Abu Zubaydah, and Saudi national Abd al-Rahim al-Nashiri, who are now both inmates at Guantanamo Bay, the U.S. military's prison on Cuba.

They alleged they were flown in secret to a remote Polish airfield, then transferred to the CIA-facility near the village of Stare Kiejkuty where they were subject to treatment they said amounted to [was] torture. ...

The court found Poland violated its obligations under the European Convention on Human Rights to prevent torture, ensure the right to liberty, and properly investigate allegations a crime had been committed on its territory.

The ruling from Strasbourg may have implications for other European states alleged to have hosted CIA prisons: similar cases have been lodged with the court in Strasbourg against Romania and Lithuania. ...

That I did not know.

The court ruling did not directly cover the United States, which is outside its jurisdiction. ...

Yes, that would be the Hague, where Bush and Obama should be dragged, in chains, whenever they leave the United States, just like Pinochet.

The administration of former U.S. President George W. Bush began the "extraordinary rendition" programme to deal with suspected al Qaeda operatives, many of them captured in the U.S.-led invasion of Afghanistan.

Keeping the detainees on foreign soil meant they were not entitled to the protection afforded under U.S. law. The Bush administration said that was important because it gave it more scope to interrogate [torture] the suspects and extract information which helped avert violent attacks by militants.

President Barack Obama signed an order ending the use of the CIA jails after taking office in 2009. Obama's administration has however declined to launch an investigation and has not prosecuted any U.S. officials for their role in the programme.

The U.S. Senate Select Committee on Intelligence is preparing to publish parts of a previously-classified report on the rendition programme which the committee chair has said uncovered shocking brutality against detainees.

That's the key point; how much of a whitewash will the Senate report be? To prepare yourself, I recommend you read the following posts, in their entirety:

The arithmetic: Were thousands from Bush's gulags disappeared? (11/20/2006).

How many inmates are being held in the Bush gulag at Stare Kiejkuty, Poland? (12/04/2006).

The Bush gulag: Where are the bodies? (12/05/2006).

(We did a lot of posting on this story, back in the day; so it's interesting to see it come alive. Those three posts give a good sense of the issues, however.)

Spoiler alert: The key questions are:

  1. How many people were processed through the black sites?
  2. Where are they now?

I'm glad that two people got a measure of justice before the European Court. But surely the black sites processed more than two. If so, where are they? Somebody should demand a complete accounting, because Stare Kiejkuty could be a lot worse than Gitmo.

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