Poland’s in Trouble…

Let our journalists help you make sense of the noise: Subscribe to the Mother Jones Daily newsletter and get a recap of news that matters.

So the Washington Post reported today that detainees in U.S. custody are being held in secret facilities around the world, including in a “Soviet-era compound” somewhere in Eastern Europe. Um, where in Eastern Europe? The Financial Times follows up:

A leading human rights group on Wednesday identified Poland and Romania as the likely locations in eastern Europe of secret prisons where al-Qaeda suspects are interrogated by the Central Intelligence Agency….

Poland’s role, if confirmed, would be especially controversial, given that it has recently joined the European Union.

Yeah, breaking the law never goes over well. Meanwhile, here’s a thornier legal question: did the president break the law by authorizing these secret prisons? It’s not clear. It is illegal for the government to hold prisoners in secret facilities within the United States. That’s why they hold the detainees abroad. But at least in Poland, which is part of the European Union, it’s illegal to deny prisoners the right to a lawyer and defense against allegations of law-doing. Says the Post:

Under U.S. law, only the president can authorize a covert action, by signing a document called a presidential finding. Findings must not break U.S. law and are reviewed and approved by CIA, Justice Department and White House legal advisers.

Looks dodgy, but maybe just barely within the law. This from the president who said in his first inaugural: “We must always ask ourselves not only what is legal, but what is right.”


Headshot of Editor in Chief of Mother Jones, Clara Jeffery

It sure feels that way to me, and here at Mother Jones, we’ve been thinking a lot about what journalism needs to do differently, and how we can have the biggest impact.

We kept coming back to one word: corruption. Democracy and the rule of law being undermined by those with wealth and power for their own gain. So we're launching an ambitious Mother Jones Corruption Project to do deep, time-intensive reporting on systemic corruption, and asking the MoJo community to help crowdfund it.

We aim to hire, build a team, and give them the time and space needed to understand how we got here and how we might get out. We want to dig into the forces and decisions that have allowed massive conflicts of interest, influence peddling, and win-at-all-costs politics to flourish.

It's unlike anything we've done, and we have seed funding to get started, but we're looking to raise $500,000 from readers by July when we'll be making key budgeting decisions—and the more resources we have by then, the deeper we can dig. If our plan sounds good to you, please help kickstart it with a tax-deductible donation today.

Thanks for reading—whether or not you can pitch in today, or ever, I'm glad you're with us.

Signed by Clara Jeffery

Clara Jeffery, Editor-in-Chief

payment methods

We Recommend