Thursday, 19 November 2009

ABC Reveals Site of Secret CIA Prison in Lithuania

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CIA secret prisonABC News revealed the location of an abandoned secret torture prison run by the U.S. Central Intelligence Agency about 20 miles northeast of the Lithuanian capital of Vilnius in a November 18 report.

ABC News investigator Brian Ross commented that “for many of the residents of this former Soviet state, it's all too reminiscent of the KGB's secret prisons.” The Lithuanian prison was in operation for more than a year during 2004 and 2005.

The ABC report also noted that the CIA also had constructed secret prisons in Poland, Romania, Thailand, Morrocco, Afghanistan, and other countries. This node of the CIA's global secret prison archipelago was initiated by a CIA front company registered in Washington, D.C., under the name Elite, LLC.

The prison was a former elite riding stable 20 miles northeast of the Lithuanian capital Vilnius; it was described as a “building within a building” by locals. ABCnews.com reported that “as many as eight suspects were held for more than a year in the Vilnius prison.”

The Lithuanian government continues to keep a non-committal attitude with regard to its investigation into whether or not the prison in fact existed. Last August, Lithuanian President Dalia Grybauskaite said that "If this is true … Lithuania has to clean up, accept responsibility, apologize, and promise it will never happen again."

But on November 19, Foreign Minister Vygaudas Usackas told the Baltic News Service as he announced a state trip to Armenia that "there are more important things in Lithuania than spending two days denying the gossip of ABC journalists." Usackas called the ABC Report “rumours and wild tales,” but much of the report was backed up by a simultaneous report by the Washington Post.

The Washington Post also reported that the Lithuanian parliamentary inquiry into the prison was proceeding. "The committee has all rights and tools to ultimately clarify the situation and to either confirm or deny any allegations of the transportation of detainees by the Central Intelligence Agency of the United States and their detention on the territory of the Republic of Lithuania," Arvydas Anusauskas, chairman of the National Security and Defense Committee, told the Post.

Lithuania and other European countries have been encouraged by a 2007 Council of Europe resolution to reveal "the existence of a 'spider's web' of illegal transfers of detainees woven by the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) in which Council of Europe member states were involved.”

Photo of CIA secret prison: AP Images

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