Poland and Romania marked as likely locations for CIA camps
Speculation is mounting on the possible location of camps where the CIA interrogates al Qaeda suspects in eastern Europe, with Poland and Romania being earmarked as the most likely spots.
The question on the exact location of the CIA facilities comes after a Washington Post report on Wednesday (2 November), which revealed that the US intelligence branch has detained top al Qaeda suspects somewhere in eastern Europe.
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US officials advised the Washington Post against publication of the names of the host countries for fear of terrorist reprisals against these states.
But Human Rights Watch, a leading US-based NGO, has identified Poland and Romania as likely locations for the camps, according to press reports.
"We have a high degree of confidence that such facilities exist in at least Poland and Romania", said Tom Malinowski, Washington advocacy director of the NGO, according to the FT.
Human Rights Watch referred to the flight records of CIA aircraft transporting prisoners out of Afghanistan as one piece of strong evidence.
Polish daily Gazeta Wyborcza also refers to "sources" earmarking Poland and Romania as the camp locations.
According to the paper, a CIA prison plane, the Boeing 737 N313P, landed in Poland in the north-eastern regional airport of Szymany in August 2003.
Both Poland and Romania are seen as staunch allies of the Americans, having offered full support for Washington’s military operations in Afghanistan and Iraq.
However, Polish military analyst and general Stanislaw Koziej said that Poland is an unlikely location, according to Polish paper Rzeczpospolita.
"Polish intelligence would not take such a risk. It would be impossible to hide", he indicated.
Mr Koziej, as well as security expert Andrzej Wik told Rzeczpospolita that a more probable site for CIA interrogation centres would be central Asia, where the US has military bases.
Meanwhile, Czech interior minister Frantiszek Bublan told aktualne.cz news agency the US approached Prague to build a camp, but this request was rejected by the Czechs.
Hungary, Slovakia and Bulgaria have denied involvement, according to UK newspaper The Times.
For its part, the US administration has refused to deny the existence of CIA camps in Europe.
President Bush’s national security adviser Stephen Hadley stated "The fact they are secret — assuming there are such sites — some people say that the test of your principles are what you do when no one’s looking. The president has insisted that whether it is in the public or in private, the same principles will apply".