Image via WikipediaA former president of the Baltic state of Lithuania has dropped a bombshell.
Rolandas Paksas says his impeachment in 2004 was linked to his refusal to allow the CIA to set up a black site for interrogating terror suspects on his country's soil.
Paksas made the jaw-dropping remark during parliamentary hearings into claims that at least eight al-Qaida terror suspects were held by the CIA at a secret site outside the capital, Vilnius between 2004 and 2005.
"When I was a president, I knew that there were people who wanted to bring terror suspects to Lithuania. I think that my principal disagreement to do this led to the subsequent anti-presidential campaign and impeachment,” said Paksas.
Paksas said in early 2003, Lithuania's former top spy, Megys Laurinkus, asked him if the CIA could transfer a few terror suspects to Lithuania.
According to Paksas, Laurinkus hinted so-called "foreign powers" (wonder who that could be?) would be pleased if the answer was affirmative.
Laurinkus has confirmed such a conversation did take place.
However, Paksas says he balked.
That's when his problems started.
About a half year later, Paksas was accused of illegally granting citizenship to a Russian businessman, Yury Borisov, in exchange for sponsorship of his presidential campaign.
In April 2004, Paksas was impeached. His successor was Valdas Adamkus, a Lithuanian who spent a good bit of his life in the United States, working for the postal service and serving in the U.S. army.
So, at the time the U.S. was said to have run a black site in Lithuania, a former U.S. army officer was at the helm of the country. How convenient.
In an exclusive for the Informant, John Perkin’s, author of "Confessions of an Economic Hitman," said while not familiar with the Paksas case, he wouldn't be surprised if it turned out to be true.
"It certainly sounds like things the CIA and economic hitmen do," he said in an email to the Informant.
News of the Lithuanian 'black site' was broken by ABC news.
Here's their report.
The Lithuanian government first denied, dragged its feet, before grudgingly giving into to look into the allegations.
Lithuania's spooks are apparently not too eager to help.
Povilas Malakauskas, director of the State Security Department, was less than cooperative with the parliamentary probe.
On Dec. 15 he resigned.
Lithuania was not the only eastern European country accuses of lending a hand to the CIA.
Poland and Romania were others as Human Rights Watch has reported.
In November 2005, Poland and Romania were identified as having hosted CIA detention centers. The Washington Post, citing U.S. government concerns,did not reveal the identities of the two countries, but referred to them generically as “eastern European democracies.” On December 5, 2005, ABC News reported that following the revelations of the detention centers in Poland and Romania, the sites had been closed and suspects had been transferred to CIA facilities in Morocco. The ABC story also reported that the 11 suspects detained in Poland had been subjected to harsh interrogation techniques.
The Council of Europe’s Parliamentary Assembly found that prisoners in these facilities were subjected to “interrogation techniques tantamount to torture.”