Court condemns Poland for secret CIA “Black Sites”

Warsaw (PMN)—The European Court of Human Rights (ECHR), Europe’s top human rights court, condemned Poland on July 24, 2014, for hosting secret CIA prisons, saying Warsaw knowingly abetted unlawful imprisonment and torture of two Guantanamo-bound detainees.

The Court ruled in favor of a Palestinian and a Saudi national, Abu Zubaydah, 43, and Abd al-Rahim al-Nashiri, 49, respectively, locked up in a U.S. “black site” for several months in Poland in 2002-2003 before being transferred to Guantanamo Bay, where they are still being held. More than a decade later, they have not as yet had a hearing before a U.S. judge.

The ECHR said in its rulings over the cases that the Polish government “enabled the U.S. authorities to subject the applicant to torture and ill-treatment on its territory.”

Their lawyers told the Strasbourg court the men were repeatedly tortured by waterboarding. The ECHR also found Warsaw guilty of allowing the men to be sent to places where they faced torture, further detention and “flagrant denial of justice.”

The government was ordered to pay about $135,000 in damages to each man.

Foreign Ministry spokesman Marcin Wojciechowski said that “Poland doesn’t comment on the court’s verdicts as we respect its jurisdiction.” Poland has three months to appeal the decision.

Poland’s president at the time, Aleksander Kwasniewski, was quoted by Polish news agency PAP as saying, “I respect the verdicts of independent tribunals, but I will not comment on them.”

Leaders of this NATO member have repeatedly denied knowing anything about the so-called CIA black sites. However, former Polish spy chief Zbigniew Siemiatkowski said in 2012 that prosecutors had charged him in connection with the probe.

An investigation into the detainees’ treatment was opened in Poland in 2008, but is still not concluded, a situation that has been condemned by the UN’s anti-torture body.

Human right organizations in Poland hailed the ECHR verdict, noting it was the first time a European Union (EU) member was found guilty of hosting secret U.S. jails. In Warsaw, Irmina Pacho of the Helsinki Foundation for Human Rights stated the verdict proves that “government policy aimed at sweeping the case under the rug is short-sighted.”

Poland is one of a number of European countries accused of having assisted the United States in its extraordinary rendition of suspected terrorists from the Middle East, Pakistan and Afghanistan to Guantanamo, in the wake of the September 11 attacks.

Source: Polonia Media Network

Fraternalist of the Year 2014

Polish Falcons of America wishes to congratulate this year’s Fraternalist of the Year recipient, Michelle Metcalf of Nest 163 Mocanaqua, Pa.

Michelle has served as the Nest 163 Instructress since 2011. During her term as Instructress, she has initiated zumba classes which meet twice per week, organized a walking team with Members ranging in age from one to 60, planned children’s holiday parties, and has held fundraisers for breast cancer research.

Through the sale of t-shirts, Michelle and the Members of Nest 163 donated $1,000 to the Susan G. Komen Foundation. They are currently raising money for Keystone Wounded Warriors.

Michelle has also served as chairperson of the area’s Toys for Tots program and has encouraged her community to raise money for fire victims. Following the burning of a home in Mocanaqua, Michelle, with the help of fellow Members, coordinated a spaghetti dinner at the Nest to collect donations for the family affected. Over $500 was given to the family.

Since 2012, Michelle has served as the District VII Secretary. In 2013, she held the position of Secretary at the District VII Convention.

Michelle is always willing to help with any and all projects in her community. She is the definition of a fraternalist.

Congratulations Michelle and thank you for your dedication to our organization!

Nest 104 announces 2014 scholarship recipients

The tenth annual Nest 104 Scholarships have been awarded. Three scholarships, valued at $2,000 each, have been distributed to Nest 104 Members. Please note that Nest 104 dues-paid ($10 per year) Members in good standing, as well as good standing Members of other District I Nests, are eligible apply for the annual awards.

Victoria Pietrucha, Nest 104
A cum laude graduate of James Madison (VA) University, Tori is currently pursuing a master’s degree in Speech-Language Pathology at Seton Hall (NJ) University. She has completed an internship in speech pathology at a local elementary school and will have two additional internships in hospital settings. She has done volunteer work with children at an orphanage in Nicaragua and is active in the National Student Speech Hearing Language Association, as well as Relay for Life. Upon completion of her studies, Tori will be a speech-language pathologist, focusing on children.

Christie Furman, Nest 104
Currently a sophomore at Lehigh (PA) University, majoring in Business and Marketing, Christie represented the state of New Jersey at a national business competition (DECA) in California. She served as president of her high school mock trial team and as a delegate for the University of Pennsylvania Model United Nations competitions. In addition, she was selected to receive gold, silver and bronze Girl Scout awards, has been a volunteer swim instructor at the YWCA, and has implemented a campaign to promote awareness of domestic violence (Shelter Our Sisters). Upon completion of her studies, Christie will pursue a career in marketing.

Pierce Guderski, Nest 104
Pierce is a senior at Chapman (CA) University, majoring in Business with a minor in Psychology. A founding member and philanthropy chairman, Pierce serves as Vice President of Programming for the Chapman Colony of Beta Theta Pi fraternity. He has worked as a summer intern with the Edward Jones financial advisory firm. Pierce plans to pursue an MBA and hopes to start a sports technology firm.

Nest 104 congratulates the 2014 scholarship winners. They are not only excellent students, but also significant contributors to their local communities and national organizations. We take pride in their accomplishments and wish them every academic and career success.

Stan Tafil, Pres.
On behalf of the Nest 104 Scholarship Committee

PFA Youth Blog: National Zlot (2)

My first and last Zlot as a youth Member
Written by Michele Zajkowski, PFA Future Leader (Nest 36, Southwestern Conn.)

The 2014 Zlot was my first and last Zlot as a youth Member and I couldn’t be happier with the outcome, from all of the activities, to team challenges, to the card games, and to the cardboard food at the dining hall. The week I was there was so fun-filled it flew by to where I wish we had a couple more days. Saying goodbye is the hardest thing to do when leaving. That is why we say, “See you soon.” At the end of the week and on the ride home, I realized how much Falcons has impacted my life. Falcons is my escape from reality. I get to run away from all the stress at work to a week of fun. Zlot also opened my eyes that my friends at home may never be by my side throughout my life, but my Falcons will always be there. That’s why I say Falcons are family. You never lose them.