Friday, March 09, 2007

Poland's former prime minister denies report alleging Poland hosted secret jails

Poland's former prime minister Leszek Miller today denied a fresh report alleging EU and NATO member Poland had hosted secret jails for terror suspects operated by the United States Central Intelligence Agency (CIA), the Raw Story reports.

'Once again I refute that there were secret prisons in Poland,' Miller said Thursday, quoted by the Polish PAP news agency. 'Tony Blair never spoke with me about this because there was nothing to talk about,' he said.

Raw Story, a US-based internet news source quoted a confidential MI-6 British intelligence document which is alleged to have said British Prime Minister Tony Blair and Miller discussed plans for a short term CIA prison for terror suspect created in a top-security Polish intelligence compound in Stary Kiejkuty, northern Poland.

Blair is to have asked that Miller not inform cabinet ministers about the facility. The Raw Story report also alleges US plans for transporting terror suspects to Poland were drawn up in 2002 in meeting between Polish intelligence officials, then CIA head George Tenet and MI-6 chief John Scarlett.

In related News, Former Polish intelligence chief Zbigniew Siemiatkowski, who denied Raw Story's report on a secret CIA detention site Thursday, told Polish news agency PAP in 2005 that the agency had access to two internal zones at the Stare Kiejkuty training school, the Raw Story reports.

Siemiatkowski, Polish intelligence chief in 2002, suggested the information presented by Raw Story "could be part of the domestic political battle in the US over who is to succeed current Republican President George W Bush," according to the German news agency Deutsche Presse Agentur.

Polish newspapers seized on the story in Thursday's papers. Allegations of secret meetings held by Britain and the United States surrounding the detention of terror suspects - and an invitation from officials in the administrations of US President George W. Bush and British Prime Minister Tony Blair that Poland join the project in 2002 - were widely discussed on morning talk shows.

Former Polish Prime Minister Leszek Miller denied that Poland had housed any "secret CIA prisons" Thursday. US and British officials did not reply.

Raw Story sought comment from the Polish government three days prior to the report and received no response.

The White House did not respond to two calls placed for comment Tuesday.
CIA spokesman Paul Gimigliano declined to address specific allegations by British and Polish intelligence officials that the agency had operated a detention site at Stare Kiejkuty, a Soviet-era compound once used by the Russians. "The agency's terrorist interrogation program has been conducted lawfully, with great care and close review, producing vital information that has helped disrupt plots and save lives," Gimigliano said Monday. "That is also true of renditions, another key, lawful tool in the fight against terror."