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Polish report Polish report
by Euro Reporter
2010-09-28 08:18:24
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Jobless rate inches down to 11.3 percent

Poland's jobless rate declined for the eighth straight month in August, to 11.3 percent, the Central Statistical Office said Friday. The office said some 1.8 million people in this nation of 38 million were registered as jobless in August.

That is a slight decline from 11.4 percent the month before. The country's unemployment rate has been steadily falling since February, when it reached 13 percent.

Unemployment tends to decline in the summer due to seasonal jobs in construction, farming, forestry, tourism and transport. Poland's unemployment rate peaked at 20.7 percent in 2003 as the country struggled to make the transition from a communist to market economy.


Prosecutors to investigate 'CIA torture'

Poland has launched an investigation to establish whether a Saudi man accused of terrorism was tortured at a “secret CIA prison” reportedly located in Poland. The man in question, Abd al-Rahim al-Nashiri, is suspected of planning the 2000 USS Cole bombing. Earlier this week, Mr al-Nashiri's attorney in Poland, Mikolaj Pietrzak, requested that Polish prosecutors investigate his client's detention and treatment by the CIA.

Prosecutor Jerzy Mierzewski informed the Associated Press that al-Nashiri's treatment would indeed be probed, but under the aegis of a broader investigation into Poland's role in America's now-defunct global network of secret detention camps. Mr al-Nashiri claims “he was tortured in an incredibly cruel manner,” Mr Pietrzak told Agence France-Presse. “We are seeking the identification and punishment of the perpetrators,” he added. The prosecution is likely to focus in particular on whether torture was actually used against Mr al-Nashiri during his alleged detention in northeastern Poland.

A declassified special review by the CIA's Inspector General revealed earlier in September that a CIA agent known as “Albert” had used questioning techniques unauthorized by the US Justice Department to extract information from Mr al-Nashiri. Albert fired off rounds from a semi-automatic weapon right next to Mr al-Nashiri's head, and “wielded” a bitless drill near the prisoner, the AP, which accessed the files, wrote. Mr al-Nashiri is currently being held at the Guantanamo Bay detention camp in Cuba. He was apprehended in Dubai in November 2002 and was allegedly transported to a secret prison in Poland in December 2002, where he was interrogated until January 2003. Representatives from all Polish governments since that time have either denied, or avoided commenting on, the camp's existence. Nevertheless, a number of sources – including the New York Times, the Washington Post and a 2007 report by the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe – all claim that there was a “black site” in Poland used by the CIA to interrogate suspected terrorists.


Poland unhappy with Russia's Smolensk investigation

Polish authorities are disatisfied with Russia's investigation into the April plane crash in Smolensk which killed President Lech Kaczyński and 95 others. Edmund Klich, Poland's representative to the Russian investigation authority says Poland has not received vital information about Smolensk airport – where pilots attempted to land the presidential plane in foggy conditions– or the protocol followed by its personnel. “There is a feeling of a certain deficiency, because we haven't received many things that we have wanted to have,” Reuters quoted Mr Klich as saying.

Poland would particularly like to get its hands on information which would help show whether the flight should be classified as military or civilian, a detail which could be important in determining who was responsible for the decision to land. Russia classified the flight as civilian, according to Klich, meaning the crew or others in the plane were responsible for the decision to land. Poland, though, considers the flight to be military, meaning the airport's ground crew has more responsibility, a source close to the investigation told Reuters. Mr Klich suggested that the missing documents could offer insight into what decisions affected the accident and the circumstances surrounding it.

“I don't look at those [missing documents] from the point of view of blame, I look at them from the point of view of a decision's influence on the occurrence of the accident or the circumstances that could have affected the accident,” Mr Klich said. Muddying the waters further, daily Gazeta Wyborcza reported last week, without naming sources, that the control tower at Smolensk airport actually radioed Moscow to request permission to forbid the plane from landing. Moscow reportedly replied that despite the conditions the plane should be given the green light to attempt a landing. Moscow said: “Maybe they'll make it” (“może im się uda”), according to the daily. Moscow was afraid, Wyborcza wrote, that a diplomatic scandal would ensue if Lech Kaczyński was not present at the Katyn commemorations, to which he was traveling.

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