Well, well, what do you know? The AP is up to its usual shitty job of reporting about Romania:
The CIA paid Romania “millions of dollars” to host secret prisons, a rights lawyer said Wednesday as the European Court of Human Rights heard accusations that Romania allowed the agency to torture terrorism suspects in a secret renditions program under President George W. Bush.
Amrit Singh told the court on the opening day of the case that CIA prisons were in Romania from 2003-2005 with the government’s “acquiescence and connivance,” something authorities have denied.
Romanian government representative Catrinel Brumar countered that it takes more than “hints and speculation to establish the state’s responsibilities.” She said an investigation was ongoing.
That’s close to what happened at the ECHR, but not quite accurate.
For one thing, Catrinel Brumar had a bit more to say.
The [Romanian] government does not intend to challenge either the fact that a special detention regime was run by the CIA [in Romania] or the fact that the plaintiff was received the kind of treatment that he did under this program. These are all facts attested to in official documents. [But] Romania is not responsible for either his incarceration or the mistreatment that the plaintiff is alleging.
So yes, the guy was a CIA prisoner and yes, he was sent to a black site in Romania, but Romania isn’t responsible.
Another piece of information that’s missing from the AP report is that today’s hearings lasted just two hours and that tomorrow there will be more testimony.
The AP report also included this half truth:
The alleged presence of CIA secret prisons remains a sensitive subject in Romania, a strong US ally which at the time was seeking support from Washington to join NATO, something it did in 2004.
The CIA black site program ran from late 2003 until 2006 in Eastern Europe (including Romania) and was not disbanded completely until 2009. Technically, yes, Romania was still a candidate in late 2003 but it became an official member on March 29, 2004 based on a formal decision that occurred in November 2002 at the NATO summit in the Czech Republic.
Therefore, Romania was a) already sure it would become a NATO member by late 2003 b) was a full member by early 2004 and the CIA black site prisons in Romania were operated until 2006 and c) America had wanted Romania in NATO since 2000, so Romania didn’t have to do anything (related to the CIA) to “convince” America to let it join.
Furthermore, the plaintiff in this case (Al-Nachiri) was sent to the CIA prison in Romania from April 2004 to September 2006 after Romania had already officially joined NATO.
And let’s not forget that Romania was paid millions of dollars to host this shitty prison, which as I wrote about 2011 was inside a Romanian government office of an agency called ORNISS. So how could the Romanian government not be responsible?
But the denials have been fast and furious from Romania since the day the story broke:
September 2015 – Romania’s parliament again denied that the country hosted secret CIA prisons.
May 2015 – President Klaus Iohannis said, “I have no information about a CIA prison” in Romania.
April 2015 – Former President Basescu (in office from November 2004-2014) said there was no proof that a CIA prison existed in Romania.
December 2014 – Former President Ion Iliescu (in office from 2000 – Nov 2004) said he knew “nothing about a secret CIA prison”, later clarifying that he knew there was one somewhere in Romania, but didn’t know where.
December 2014 – Prime Minister Ponta said he had “no information whatsoever” about a CIA prison on Romanian territory.
September 2012 – President Basescu said, “There was never a CIA prison on Romanian territory.”
2011 – Senior ORNISS official Adrian Camarasan said the basement of the ORNISS building is one of the most secure rooms in all of Romania but Americans never ran a prison there. “No, no. Impossible, impossible,” he said in an ARD interview.
2008 – Romanian Senate concluded that there were no “so-called secret” CIA flights to Romania or CIA prisons in Romania.
Therefore, 12 years after the program began, all Romania has ever done is admit that yes, there was a CIA prison in Bucharest once upon a time, and yes it was in the basement of a Romanian government building, but the Romanian government has no responsibility whatsoever for allowing it to happen, despite the fact that someone in the government (and nobody knows whom) received millions of dollars of off-budget money from the CIA to allow it to happen.
Well, guess what? The ECHR isn’t in a playful mood. They just hit Poland with fines for their CIA prison, so it’s likely that Romania is going to lose yet another case.