No Comment — December 22, 2009, 10:53 am

Lithuania Fesses Up To Its Black Sites

The likely location of a CIA black site in Lithuania was first the subject of speculation in a piece that ran at this site, “Inside the World of Dusty Foggo.” When ABC News took the story mainstream, Lithuanian officials rushed to offer formal denials. Under pressure from European authorities, however, Lithuania’s parliament opened a probe. Today, the existence of not one but two black sites, operated with the knowledge of the Lithuanian government, is acknowledged by the parliamentary report.

This finding had been widely anticipated after Povilas Malakauskas, the head of the Lithuanian intelligence service, resigned last week without offering an explanation. Arvydas Anušauskas, the head of a parliamentary committee that issued today’s report, acknowledged that the spy master’s resignation was “partially connected” to the probe.

Agence France Presse reports:

“The sites existed, it was possible to cross the Lithuania border, and planes landed,” Arvydas Anušauskas told reporters as he presented the findings of a probe launched in early November by Lithuanian lawmakers. Anušauskas cautioned that it was not possible to say with certainty if any suspects were actually brought to the Baltic state for interrogation. “Regarding the ‘cargo’, I can’t confirm anything, because Lithuanian authorities could not carry out the usual checks, so what was being transported was unknown,” he explained.

That “cargo” probably included prisoners who were tortured in CIA custody, potentially including Khalid Sheikh Mohammed, who was waterboarded repeatedly at a black site that stocked water with labels giving an internet address ending in “.pl” for Poland. Polish bottled water is readily available in Lithuania.

The Lithuanian parliamentary inquiry reports, of course, that the Lithuanian president and other senior officials were unaware of what went on at the site. That explanation isn’t very convincing. To learn what went on there, they only needed to read the daily press, like the Washington Post, which provided accounts on the goings-on at black sites from December 2002. Lithuanians were on notice that torture was practiced at the sites, in violation of Lithuania’s criminal law. What did they do about it? They welcomed it, apparently.

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