Probe confirms CIA black jails in Lithuania

Talk of secret jails have been a hot topic in Lithuania and the head of the domestic intelligence agency has already resigned.

Probe confirms CIA black jails in Lithuania

The U.S. Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) ran a secret prison in Lithuania and al Qaeda suspects may have been held there, a parliamentary probe in the Baltic state found on Tuesday.

Talk of secret jails have been a hot topic in Lithuania and the head of the domestic intelligence agency has already resigned. U.S. broadcaster ABC news reported in August that Lithuania was the third European country after Poland and Romania to host secret CIA jails.

"The sites existed, it was possible to cross the Lithuania border, and planes landed," Arvydas Anusauskas told reporters as he presented the findings of a probe launched in early November by Lithuanian lawmakers.

Anusauskas, the head of parliament's national security and defence committee, said the investigation found the domestic intelligence service opened two detention centres in cooperation with the CIA.

"We have identified the sites. The first project was developed from 2002. In response to the wishes of our partners and the conditions that were imposed, the site was meant to host one person. The second site was created in 2004," Anusauskas said.

He said that the parliamentary probe had concluded that Lithuania's two presidents over the period were "not informed, or only informed superficially" about the sites.

Top officials were not informed about the jails, and there was no political approval, he said. The committee said it could not exclude that people had been held if the first, smaller jail.

Anusauskas told a news conference CIA flights entered Lithuania but it had not been possible to determine who had been on board.

The investigation found five planes related to the CIA landed in Lithuania in 2003-2006, and that domestic intelligence officials prevented customs and border guards inspecting them.

The Lithuanian parliament launched the probe after the US channel ABC alleged that the ex-Soviet republic had hosted a so-called CIA "black site", or secret interrogation facility, for a handful of captives, up to 2005.

ABC cited unnamed former intelligence officials and records of flights between Afghanistan and Lithuania. The move, ABC was told, was a trade-off for Washington's unbending support for Lithuania's 2004 admission into NATO.

ABC News said the secret CIA prison operated near Vilnius airport from early 2004 to late 2005 and that CIA planes flew into Lithuania with top level al Qaeda suspects.

Some CIA staff are reported to have said the use of overseas detention centres was designed to circumnavigate U.S. law.


Agencies

Last Mod: 22 Aralık 2009, 14:43
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