Newspaper article St Louis Post-Dispatch (MO)

Ex-Leader: Poland Agreed to CIA Site, Not Torture

Newspaper article St Louis Post-Dispatch (MO)

Ex-Leader: Poland Agreed to CIA Site, Not Torture

Article excerpt

Ex-leader: Poland agreed

to CIA site, not torture

After denying the fact for years, a former Polish president acknowledged Wednesday that Poland had let the CIA run a secret prison on its territory but insisted that Polish officials did not authorize the harsh treatment or torture of its inmates.

Former Polish President Aleksander Kwasniewski spoke after a U.S. Senate report condemning CIA practices at secret prisons was released Tuesday in Washington. The report did not identify the host countries.

"The U.S. side asked the Polish side to find a quiet site where it could conduct activity that would allow to effectively obtain information from persons who had declared a readiness to cooperate with the U.S. side," Kwasniewski said. "We gave our consent to that." He said Poland demanded that people who would be held in the country should be treated humanely as prisoners of war, according to their rights.

Despite repeated Polish denials on the prison, Associated Press stories cited former CIA officials who said it operated from December 2002 until the autumn of 2003. Rights groups believe about eight terror suspects were held, including Khalid Sheikh Mohammed, 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.

Kwasniewski said Wednesday that the CIA prison was halted under pressure from Poland's leaders.

"Poland took steps to end the activity at this site and the activity was stopped at some point," Kwasniewski said on Radio TOK FM in Warsaw.

In 2008, Poland's center-right government ordered a probe into the reports. Government officials say the U.S. report could provide new evidence for the probe, which is still ongoing.

Mideast greets report

with a collective shrug

This week's revelations about the CIA have been met with a collective shrug in the broader Middle East, where they merely reinforced a long-held view of American brutality rooted in decades of conflict.

In the region from which nearly all of the targets of such methods hailed, the U.S. has warned of demonstrations or attacks in response to the report's findings but nothing immediately materialized.

For many in the Middle East, the report merely fleshed out the brutal images of America's War on Terror from a decade earlier the rows of orange-suited inmates at Guantanamo Bay and the naked detainees at the Abu Ghraib prison in Iraq, huddled before snarling dogs and stacked in crude human pyramids. …

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