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Szymany airport in Poland, allegedly used for covert prisoner transportation by the CIA in 2003 Poland.(AFP Photo / Piotr Placzkowski )
Warsaw has paid €230,000 to two former inmates of CIA "black site" prisons, which used to be on Poland's territory - a move that has raised questions in the country.
"Poland has fulfilled the ruling of the European Court of Human Rights," Deputy Foreign Minister Rafał Trzaskowski said on Thursday, RIA Novosti reports. He said that money had been sent to one victim's bank account. The other's share had been transferred to his court deposit, as he is under international sanctions.
The European Court of Human Rights ruled in July 2014 that Poland must pay compensation to the two terror suspects: Palestinian Abu Zubaydah and Saudi Abd al-Rahim al-Nashiri, who were held and tortured in CIA-run detention centers in Poland between 2002 and 2003. The court set this Saturday as the deadline for the payments.
The two men are now being held in America's Guantanamo Bay prison in Cuba. They are to receive €100,000 each for psychological damage, plus Zubaydah is due an additional €30,000 in court expenses.
Warsaw's decision to pay up raised questions in Poland. Opposition lawmaker Witold Waszczykowski, cited by AP, said: “I think we shouldn’t pay, we shouldn’t respect this judgment. This is a case not between us and them – it’s between them and the United States government.”
However, no US officials have been held accountable to date. The only other related ruling handed down by the European Court of Human Rights was to Macedonia. In 2012, it was ordered to pay €60,000 for the detention of a Lebanese-German, who was subjected to abuse by the CIA on trumped up terror suspicions.
Poland has been investigating allegations of secret CIA detention centers or "black sites" on its territory since 2008. In December 2014, Poland's former President Aleksander Kwaśniewski officially admitted that a secret CIA prison had existed at an airbase, where terror suspects were brought for torture and interrogation. He insisted, though, that Warsaw had no idea about the abuse happening at the site.
Kwaśniewski's statement came on the heels of a US Senate committee report on CIA activities. In August the same year, Barack Obama admitted for the first time that torture had indeed taken place in American custody after the 9/11 attacks.
The authorities should have expected to be held accountable sooner or later, criminology professor Ben Davis told RT. "The only people who have been betrayed in all of this are the ordinary people in all of these countries," he said. "The ordinary citizens who count on their governments not to torture people, to comply with their obligations in international law or domestic law."
Germany’s foreign intelligence agency has reportedly restricted intelligence cooperation with the US National Security Agency (NSA) amid a recent scandal over alleged joint spying by the two organizations against European officials.
According to German media reports, Bundesnachrichtendienst, commonly known by its acronym BND, started demanding that the NSA provide a justification for each online surveillance request this week.
Citing sources close to a German parliamentary inquiry into the allegations, national daily Süddeutsche Zeitung and other German media said the BND stopped sharing internet surveillance data with the American agency after it failed to provide the required explanation.
Such a rule had long been in place for phone and fax surveillance, which Berlin continues to share with the NSA.
Konstantin von Notz, the German Green Party ombudsman in the parliamentary committee investigating revelations of NSA spying by former NSA contractor Edward Snowden, welcomed the move, saying it was an acknowledgement that the operation was out of control.
“This is certainly a drastic step. It’s like pulling the emergency rip cord, because even in the year 2015, they’re still not able to control these search terms for internet traffic,” he said.
He also accused the government in Berlin of failing to protect German and European interests.
On April 30, a report surfaced that the BND had helped the NSA carry out “political espionage” on high-ranking French officials and the European Commission.
On Monday, German Chancellor Angela Merkel defended her country’s intelligence agency over its cooperation with the US to spy on EU countries and entities.
“In the face of international terrorism threats, they can only do this in cooperation with other intelligence agencies – and that includes first and foremost the NSA,” said Merkel during her first public comments on the spying scandal.
She said, however, that she would fully cooperate with a parliamentary investigation committee probing the accusations.
In 2013, Snowden blew the whistle on the agency, revealing that Washington had been conducting massive internet and phone data spying on “friendly countries and their leaders,” including Germany itself.
A federal appeals court ruled the National Security Agency’s controversial mass collection of Americans’ phone records is illegal.
The Second Circuit Court of Appeals said in a 97-page opinion Thursday that the laws used to justify the bulk data collection program “have never been interpreted to authorize anything approaching the breadth of the sweeping surveillance at issue here.”
The ruling by the three-judge panel in New York comes as Section 215 of the Patriot Act, which has been used as a basis for the NSA’s data collection, is due to expire next month and members of Congress are debating whether to renew the law, modify it, or let it die.
The court’s decision was in response to a lawsuit filed by the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) arguing the data collection program violates privacy rights of Americans.
A lower court judge had ruled the program was constitutional and the ACLU appealed that ruling.
The appeals court, however, did not say whether the NSA’s program violates the privacy rights of Americans because it was never properly authorized by existing law.
The judges also did not order the bulk data collection to stop.
In June 2013, Edward Snowden, a former NSA contractor, began leaking classified intelligence documents showing the extent of the NSA’s spying activities.
According to the documents, the agency has been collecting phone records of millions of Americans as well as foreign nationals and political leaders around the world.
US civil liberties advocates argue that the collected phone records could give intelligence agencies a road map to Americans' private activities.
"We looked at, 'Is there evidence that glyphosate causes cancer?' and the answer is 'probably.' That is different than yes… It is different than smoking and lung cancer. We don't say smoking probably causes cancer. We say it does cause cancer. At one point we weren't sure, but now we are."
"We don't know how IARC could reach a conclusion that is such a dramatic departure from the conclusion reached by all regulatory agencies around the globe."
“There are a number of independent, published manuscripts that clearly indicate that glyphosate … can promote cancer and tumor growth. It should be banned.”