CIA torture in Poland


ZBIGNIEW SIEMIATKOWSKI may yet end up with the dubious honour of being the only person in the world to face legal proceedings over the torture programme carried out by America’s Central Intelligence Agency—and he is not even American. The former head of Polish intelligence was at the helm of his country’s spy agency when the Americans asked for, and received, permission to hold prisoners on Polish soil in 2002. That has made him the target of a slow-moving, top secret Polish investigation, now in its seventh year. The newspaper Gazeta Wyborcza reported two years ago that he was being charged with violating Polish and international law in allowing the CIA to interrogate prisoners at a secret facility in Stare Kiejkuty, a town in northern Poland.

Just what went on in the villa there during 2002 and 2003 was revealed in graphic detail by the report on CIA torture released by the American Senate on Tuesday. Although the report had country names redacted, the phrase “Detention Site Blue” correlates with Stare Kiejkuty, where five prisoners were held. Khalid Sheikh Mohammed, accused of being one of the planners of the September 11th attacks, was waterboarded as soon as he got to the site. The treatment was so brutal that a medical officer noted: “We are basically doing a series of near drownings”. Abd al-Rahim al-Nashiri, a Saudi suspected of being behind the October 2000 bombing of the USS Cole in Yemen, was kept in a “stress position” with his hands above his head for more than two days, threatened with a mock execution and a power drill and told his mother would be..

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