Don’t Forget Poland

As Marc Champion puts it, “The Council of Europe [yesterday] found the U.S. guilty of torture, illegal detention and administering unfair trials — and made Poland pay the penalty”:

That, in effect, is what happened at the council’s judicial arm, the European Court of Human Rights. The U.S. wasn’t on trial, of course, because it isn’t subject to the court’s jurisdiction. Poland, however, is. Call it the cost of being a loyal U.S. ally.

The case concerned two suspected terrorists the U.S. picked up — Abd al-Rahim al-Nashiri in Dubai and Zayn al-Abidin Muhammad Husaynin Pakistan — and took on a tour of so-called black rendition sites that ended with Guantanamo Bay, Cuba. Poland was among several European countries suspected of facilitating the air flights and providing detention locations at which the Central Intelligence Agency, alone, conducted the questioning.

The seven judges, who included a Pole, found that the Polish authorities did indeed help the CIA, should have known the men would be tortured and denied the right to a fair trial, and did nothing to prevent these things from happening. … The court ordered Poland to pay 100,000 euros ($135,000) in damages to each of the two, who remain imprisoned in Guantanamo.

Poland is like “Black sites? What black sites?”:

Despite overwhelming proof that the site was on Polish territory and that the CIA had operated there with the consent of Polish authorities, Warsaw has repeatedly and vehemently denied any knowledge of or involvement in the operation. The reactions Thursday were no different. “The ruling of the European Court for Human Rights in Strasbourg seems to be premature,” said Marcin Wojciechowski, a spokesman for the Polish Foreign Ministry. The domestic investigation is still underway, he said. Leszek Miller, who served as prime minister while the black site was up and running, said that the ruling is “unfair and immoral.” “I hope that the Polish authorities never pay out the amount because this money would fuel the accounts of terrorists and would be used to prepare other attacks,” he said.

Relatedly, Bai claims that the Senate may move to release the torture report on its own if Obama doesn’t. I hear it could finally arrive next month – while I’m on vacation.