By Margarita Bogatova
The issue of the CIA secret prisons in Poland is back on the agenda. Warsaw’s Appeal Prosecutor’s Office has transferred the case into the existence of CIA secret prisons on the Polish territory in 2002-2003 to Krakow’s General Prosecutor’s Office. Experts see it as an attempt to level down the escalating scandal.
The scandal around the CIA secret prisons broke out in February 2005 following a Washington Post publication. According to the newspaper, the CIA was keeping the most dangerous terrorists of Al Qaeda in the so-called “black sites”: secret prisons operated by the CIA in the countries of Eastern Europe such as Poland and Lithuania. In August 2008, the Polish authorities launched an investigation into the possible existence of such prisons in the country. Nevertheless, the government continued to deny the existence of CIA secret prisons in Poland. Vladimir Bruter, an expert of the International Institute of the Humanitarian and Political Studies, explains that for the President and the Prime-Minister admitting the fact that foreign prisons are located in the country would mean admitting a breach of law.
“Juridically, it contradicts with the Polish legislation and every person who allows such activities on the territory of Poland without having special permission is a criminal and should be prosecuted. Politically, Poland sees itself as an ally of the US and obviously could not ignore America’s request if such a request were made. That means that some people obey the law and some people are law to themselves.”
The prisoners of the black sites are presumed to be victims of psychological pressure and tortures such as a water torture, sleep deprivation and other sophisticated methods of interrogation, banned by the UN convention on human rights. The US used their allies in order not to break the law on its own territory, Bruter continues.
“In my opinion, these secret sites were rather transit camps than imprisonment camps. They existed because there were no opportunities to accommodate the prisoners in compliance with the law. That is why the US used the territories of East European countries.”
In February 2009, Barack Obama ordered to close all the CIA prisons but his order was not observed, and which could not be ignored by the public. The Guantanamo prison is still functioning on Cuba. If the existence of black sites in Lithuania, Poland and other countries is confirmed it will affect the image of the US president who is hoping for reelection, the expert on US Felix Burdzhalov says.
“The existence of the US prisons in other countries is illegal and of course it will affect Obama’s image. But we should remember that Obama’s authority is limited in this respect. He has not managed to liquidate the Guantanamo camp because he is under pressure of the US military. Whatever his intentions are he has to be under their thumb.”
This week the book “Hard Measures” by CIA agent Jose Rodriguez has been released in which he justifies tortures of prisoners of those secret camps. The book has drawn a public response and discussions. It has also drawn attention to the Eastern European counties, which could break the international law and deceit their citizens in order to please the US.