Lithuanian leader ‘impeached’ for refusing CIA

Lithuania‘s former president says he was impeached because of his refusal to let the Central Intelligence Agency set up secret prisons in the country.

Rolandas Paksas made the remark during a parliamentary hearing into claims that at least eight al-Qaeda terror suspects were held by the US Central Intelligence Agency at a facility just outside the Lithuanian 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 explained that in spring 2003, the then-head of Lithuania’s State Security Department (Valstybės saugumo departamento), Mečys Laurinkus, asked him if it were possible to allow the CIA to transfer some terror suspects to the country unofficially.

According to the former president, Laurinkus hinted that a positive answer would please foreign partners. Paksas said, however, that he had refused to take that option.

Laurinkus has confirmed that he held such a conversation with Paksas.

“I informed Mr. Paksas about the present situation and about the possibility of such a request which could be received by Lithuania,” he said.

However, the former security head said that he did not want to link the conversation with Paksas’ impeachment and his following resignation in 2004.

Around six months after Paksas refused the proposal, he was accused of illegally granting a Russian entrepreneur, named Yury Borisov, in exchange for sponsorship of his presidential campaign.

In April 2004, the former president was impeached by the parliament.

Political analyst Wayne Madsen told Russia Today that coincidentally, after his impeachment, Paksas was replaced by a former US army officer.

“Rolandas Paksas was impeached by the Lithuanian parliament. He was replaced by the ex-president Valdas Adamkus,” he said.

“Adamkus is a former US army officer who went back to Lithuania, became president of the country, replaced president Paksas… and of course then any interest in doing anything about investigating the CIA ‘black site’ [prison] in Lithuania disappeared,” Madsen said.

Reports of a secret CIA prison in Lithuania first emerged in an ABC report last August.

Lithuanian officials initially denied the claims, but the country’s president later called for a full probe, which is expected to come to an end in a week.

On Monday, the chief of the country’s Security Service Povilas Malakauskas resigned after allegedly refusing to provide information to investigators about his department’s involvement in the CIA program.

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