Hungary, Slovakia and Bulgaria rushed to issue denials of their involvement.
But Frantisek Bublan, the Czech Interior Minister, said last night that the US had approached his Government a month ago about holding suspects on Czech territory, but Prague had refused.
Human rights groups point at Poland and Romania as two eastern European countries that have taken in America’s “ghost detainees”. They also claimed that the US was running out of countries willing to host its terror suspects.
And as expected, they use the flight logs from the now-infamous torture plane:
Tom Malinowski, the director of Human Rights Watch, told The Times that his investigators had tracked CIA aircraft transferring detainees from Afghanistan to airfields in Eastern Europe that are closed to the public and press, including two in Poland and Romania.
Mr Malinowski said that Human Rights Watch was “90 per cent certain” the CIA used Szymany airport in Poland.
“This is an obscure, rural airport which is very close to a Polish intelligence facility,” Mr Malinowski said.
He said the second major eastern European site was the Mihail-Kogalniceanu military airbase in Romania.
If proven, this will have major repurcussions. These are countries whose which remember what happened under the Soviets, and which will not tolerate their governments doing a dirty deal with the CIA to resurrect secret prisons where people are tortured. At the least, it will force an end to cooperation and a significant change in foreign policy. At the worst, politicians will be forced to resign, or even prosecuted. In Poland, the government is newly elected, and can easily claim clean hands; Romania's colaition government has no such excuse, and may disintegrate. Both may also have significant problems from the EU and Council of Europe. While the European Commission is being cautious, the European Parliament is already on the warpath. These countries will be facing consequences if they are shown to have cooperated with the US in this. Poland's membership was already in question as the new government wants to reinstate the death penalty; Romania had agreed to join the EU in 2007. They may be kissing that goodbye.
Meanwhile, I wonder whether the CIA are frantically evacuating?