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Polish report Polish report
by Euro Reporter
2011-09-06 08:23:41
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Account for CIA 'black sites'

Commissioner for Human Rights at the Council of Europe Thomas Hammarberg is urging Poland, Romania and Lithuania to come clean regarding their alleged hosting of CIA “black sites” in the beginning of the 2000s. After the September 11, 2001 attacks, several countries collaborated with the CIA's counter-terrorism operations. Some, including Poland, are accused of having held detention facilities, or “black sites,” where the CIA conducted “enhanced interrogation” (including water boarding) on detainees.

Of the three Eastern European nations, allegations of Poland's involvement have been the most specific. A European Parliament report alleged that a CIA black site operated in Poland in 2002-2003, where rendition flights brought suspected terrorists Abu Zubaydah, Abd Al-Nashiri, as well as suspected 9/11 plotters Khalid Sheik Mohammed and Ramzi Binalshibh. Poland has never admitted to hosting the site, though it has launched an investigation.

Poland featured prominently in a 2004 “Special Review” of black sites by the CIA Inspector General, which pointed to multiple use of unauthorized interrogation techniques. The Human Rights Commissioner, while admitting that Polish officials were not involved in handling or interrogating any detainees, declared that “authorization was obviously given at the highest political level and some assistance provided by the intelligence services.”


Formal investigation launched over Walesa crash

At present there appears to be a considerable lack of clarity regarding blame for the crash. MEP Jaroslaw Walesa, who is due to turn 35, next week, collided with a Toyota while driving his motorbike from Gdansk to Warsaw. He was rushed to hospital in Plock, then air-lifted to the Military Medical Institute in Warsaw. Emergency surgery lasting over five hours was performed on his spine.

“The Toyota driver was questioned, but his initial testimony did not yield any information about the incident,” said Iwona Smigielska-Kowalska, spokesperson for the prosecutor’s office, in an interview with Polish Radio. She revealed that owing to a lack of witnesses, an expert will be appointed to study the evidence and hence clarify the course of the accident.

Walesa himself, still in intensive care, remains unfit to provide a testimony, although doctors at the Military Medical Institute have declared that his condition is improving. The MEP lost six litres of blood in the accident. Besides a broken pelvis, Walesa’s legs and arms were broken in several places. According to initial reports, the Toyota was parked by the side of the road, and when it pulled out into the highway, the vehicle collided with Walesa’s motorcycle.


Protests follow Jedwabne monument anti-Semitic attack

A march of unity in protest against recent acts of nationalist-inspired vandalism and arson in north-eastern Poland was held in Bialystok, the province capital, on Sunday. Late last week anti-Semitic graffiti was daubed on a monument in memory of Jews murdered by Poles in the small village of Jedwabne in 1941.

The incident last week, condemned by all main political parties in Poland and by Israel, followed neo-Nazi slogans being painted on the Jewish synagogue in the village of Orla, the destruction of property at the Islamic Center in Bialystok, the setting fire to a house of a Polish-Pakistani couple and the covering up with paint of signs in the Lithuanian language in the locality of Punsk, near the Lithuanian border.

"Let's put a stop to this mindless hatred," a statement by the march's organiser says. The march was attended by former foreign minister of Poland Wlodzimierz Cimoszewicz. Police suspect all the acts of vandalism are related. The Jewish Religious Community in Warsaw organized a meeting with residents in the town of Jedwabne, Sunday following the attacks. Community leader Piotr Kadlcik says his organization is hoping for a common condemnation and an open discussion on the extent of nationalist sentiment in the region. An invitation has been sent to the mayor and all school principals in Jedwabne.

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