The European court wants explanations on torture in Poland
The European Court of Human Rights required Poland to provide information on secret locations on its territory where CIA agents tortured terrorism suspects in 2002-2003. The demand includes clarifications on a secret agreement allegedly sealed between USA and Poland on secret detention of CIA’s captives on Polish territory. The judges reportedly want to know whether the then Polish cabinet of ministers knew about the “interrogation techniques” of the American agents and whether the presumed agreement between Warsaw and Washington included provisions that made torture in Poland possible.
The issue was so emotional it has been provoking a heated discussion in Polish media and political establishment. Support for American initiatives, including the invasion into Iraq in 2003, has been the backbone of the Polish foreign policy since the 1990s. It was this support that allowed the then American Pentagon chief Donald Rumsfeld to trumpet Poland in 2003 as the embodiment of his concept of “New Europe” (a loose group of mostly post-communist states of the old continent that supported the occupation of Iraq). As it now transpires, 2003 was the peak year of secret torture in Poland and Rumsfeld was the main architect of this practice. An interesting coincidence that gives a rather ominous tinge to the vision of Europe’s future prevalent among American neoconservatives of Rumsfeld’s type. Now Poles ask themselves more and more often whether their country should continue issuing Washington more and more blank checks, including the eventual deployment of anti-ballistic missiles near the Russian border. The blank check issued to CIA in 2002-2003 backfired badly.
“I am ashamed for Poland, I am ashamed for [Poland’s prime minister in 2002 Leszek] Miller. We were treated like a third world country, it is just a scandal,” said Janusz Palikot, the leader of Palikot’s Movement, the third largest faction in Polish parliament, which made fighting aggressive nationalism and human rights abuses in Poland the top of its agenda. However, not all Polish politicians followed in Palikot’s footsteps. Many view collaboration with the European Court of Human Rights as some kind of treason to the American ally and Poland itself. Rzeczpospolita, a conservative daily, quotes an unnamed representative of liberal Donald Tusk’s government as saying that “openness in this issue can be a threat to state security.”