Saturday, October 09, 2010

BBC: What happened in Europe’s secret CIA prisons?

>BBC News, October 6, 2010

By Steve Swann Producer, Europe’s Secret Prisons
Szymany airport, Poland, where CIA flights arrived

The CIA used a secret prison in Poland to detain and torture its most important 9/11 suspect, a former top human rights official alleges in a new BBC documentary.

On 7 March 2003 a CIA Gulfstream Jet landed at a remote airstrip in north-eastern Poland. Human rights officials and campaigners are convinced that Khalid Sheikh Mohammed, one of the most senior al-Qaeda suspects, was on board.

American agents took him to a secret facility where, he says, he was tortured before being eventually transferred to Guantanamo Bay.

The secret transfer of CIA prisoners is said to have taken place in both Poland and Lithuania – a region where, only a generation ago, people were subject to arbitrary detention and torture at the hands of Communist secret police.

Now, seven years on, the full story of Poland’s secret detention site is emerging.

Dick Marty, the Council of Europe’s former Rapporteur on Torture, told the BBC: “If I use the judicial standard of proof – and I used to be a magistrate – then I say ‘Yes, Mohammed was in Poland. Yes, he was tortured.’”

Thomas Hammarberg, the Council of Europe’s Commissioner on Human Rights, said he now believed detainees had been subjected to “intense torture” and called for prosecutions.

Mastermind’s arrival


In the aftermath of 9/11, Khalid Sheikh Mohammed was one of America’s most wanted, accused of masterminding the attacks on New York and Washington. He was finally seized in Pakistan in March 2003 and flown around the world.
Khalid Sheikh Mohammed Khalid Sheikh Mohammed: Captured and moved around the world

The CIA’s Inspector General, the internal watchdog, has said he was subjected to “183 applications of the waterboard” in a single month, one of the so-called “enhanced interrogation techniques” then used by the CIA.

At the heart of the counter-terrorism programme launched in the wake of 9/11, believed to be codenamed Greystone, was a decision to use secret detention sites to hold what it termed “high-value detainees”.

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