Poland Itself Must Investigate Secret CIA Prisons

Commentary by the editors of the Foreign Department of Gazeta Wyborcza on the report of European Council on secret CIA prisons in Poland

In the European Council’s report , there is no hard evidence of the existence of secret CIA prisons in Poland. Nevertheless, the accusations in the report are so severe that the Polish government cannot let them go unanswered. And it isn’t the European Council that it must answer, but the citizens of Poland. Yesterday, this is just what the European Commission recommended.

We are accused of torturing people in Poland. Denials by current heads of Security and the highest-ranking politicians will not suffice. It is obvious that the government cannot admit to anything that would expose our security forces and our alliances.

The issue should be investigated by a commission of independent factors, recognized as authorities both in Poland and – especially important – abroad. A good team would be, for instance, a commission consisting of three ex-Foreign Ministers, who were not in the government while the CIA prisons were supposed to be operating: Władysław Bartoszewski, Dariusz Rosati and Bronisław Geremek.

The commission should have access to all documents and people related to the investigation, and it should be up to the commission to decide what should be made public after the investigation is completed – so as not to compromise the alliances and security of Poland.

The commission should establish to what degree, in the years 2003-2005, Poland cooperated with CIA in transporting suspected terrorists. Was international law violated, especially the conventions protecting human rights and forbidding torture? Has this cooperation put the dignity and good name of Poland into question? Have Polish functionaries abused their prerogatives or transgressed the law?

Our national interest requires that Poland should defend its image as a country rule by law. Establishing such a commission would be a good weapon in this fight.

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