The Slatest

Ex-President Admits Poland Hosted CIA Torture Site


Dmitry Neymyrok/Reuters

After years of denials, former Polish President Aleksander Kwasniewski acknowledged Tuesday that a CIA “black site” prison operated in his country after Sept. 11. From the Associated Press:

Despite the repeated Polish denials, The Associated Press had published stories on the prison, citing former CIA officials who told the AP it operated from December 2002 until the autumn of 2003. Human rights groups believe about eight terror suspects were held in Poland, including Khalid Sheikh Mohammed, the self-proclaimed mastermind of the Sept. 11 attacks.

Kwasniewski was in power from 1995-2005 but like other left-wing government leaders of the time, he denied the site’s existence until now.

A July ruling by the European Court of Human Rights determined that the United States tortured detainees at the site, located near a village called Stare Kiejkuty. Kwasniewski says that Polish leaders did not agree to allow torture on their soil and that the facility was closed after the country’s government put pressure on the United States. The Senate report on torture released Tuesday does say that at some point Polish officials raised concerns about the site, but that those concerns were mitigated by a transfer of money. From Reuters:

The host country’s government then refused to accept the planned transfer of new detainees, who the report said included Khalid Sheikh Mohammed, the alleged mastermind of the Sept. 11, 2001 attacks on U.S. cities.

“The decision was reversed only after the U.S. ambassador intervened with the political leadership of Country [] on the CIA’s behalf. The following month, the CIA provided $[] million” to the country, the report said, blacking out the amount of money handed over.

“They betrayed the Polish constitution for money,” a representative of the Warsaw-based Helsinki Foundation for Human Rights told Reuters.