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No, I think we have even more reasons to be outraged... and every German government official who was complicit to this should be investigated and possibly prosecuted.

First in line would be Mr Schily but I wouldn't exclude anyone. Certainly not Schröder or Fischer, if they let this happen.

"Extraordinary rendition" is not a "law enforcement matter", it is kidnapping, period.

It's about time we get this straight.

Some of those "enhanced interrogation techniques" approved by the U.S. government like sleep deprivation and "waterboarding" are illegal and qualify as torture.

It'a about time we get this straight, too.

Torture is not only illegal, morally wrong, it's also pretty much useless. I recommend reading Friedrich Spee von Langenfeld, "Cautio Criminalis" (1631).

The argument that we don't need to follow the law because terrorists do not follow it either is extremly stupid. Which (alleged) criminal DOES follow the law?

We don't make laws and legal procedures to protect proven criminals, we make them to protect ourselves from unfair, secret, uncontrolled prosecution.

Secrecy kills freedom. Is that so hard to understand?

In NL begann heute der Prozeß gegen 15 Islamisten, die u.a. Atomkraftwerke angreifen wollten. Ich suche verzweifelt nach Nachrichten. Fehlanzeige. Es interessiert einfach nicht. Was hätte das für Deutschland bedeutet, wenn die Pläne umgesetzt worden wären?! Wir beschäftigen uns viel lieber mit "richtigen" News, die alle in Rage bringen: geheime CIA-Flüge. Die Wirklichkeit könnte uns erschrecken.

Do you remember when an abortion doctor was gunned down in 1998 by an "Army of God" activist? This activist wanted to saves lives. So he killed. Welcome to the principle of the vicious circle.

One of the major cultural achievements by many Western civilizations in the second half of the last century has been the abolishment of capital punishment. In contrast, the attempt by the Bush Aministration in the first half of this century at legalizing torture is a regression back to the Middle Ages. The result of this policy can currently be admired in Iraq. They sow the wind and reap the whirlwind.

Don't get too hysterical yet ladies - why don't you find out what your local police to do cop-killers or child rapists when nobody is looking

If you think you live in a world without "torture" you are only kidding yourselves

@Pogue Mahone
If shit happens that doesn't mean that shit is right, legal, or excusable

Did you respond on the other thread Q?

Do you understand how EITHER choice affects innocents

I did, look there

This fruitless debate might go on until somebody throws Gitmo the porn flic into the mass market... but there might be another approach. What has happened, has happened. What is going to happen, depends.

Europe wants the United Nations to adopt a definition of torture that is independent from the intentions of the perpetrators, and America wants the United Nations to adopt a definition of terrorism that is independent from the intentions of the perpetrators.

Neither goal can be achieved as a stand-alone complex, and neither side can prevent the UN censorship internet grab on its own. With the few votes it has in the General Assembly, the island of human rights in an ocean of sharia and other rogue codes is to small to allow for lame excuses such as the preventable crime or the legitimate resistance.

And as far as Germany is concerned, when the Antiimperialist Cell (August Hanning, Frank-Walter Steinmeier, Ernst Uhrlau) is attacked for collaboration with the CIA it shoulkd not be forgotten that their collaboration with Hisballah is far worse.

It is highly interesting that the previous Chancellor has been shown to be the major hypocrit that I and many others always suspected he was. What a blowhard !

Auch Heribert Prantl von der Süddeutschen kommt allmählich die Erhellung:

"Aber womöglich kann man sich die Erklärung auch selber geben: Es gibt eine eben offizielle, saubere Seite der deutschen Politik – die verurteilt den amerikanischen Krieg gegen den Irak, die lehnt die Beteiligung daran als verbotenen Angriffskrieg ab, die verurteilt die Folter, die führt einen Rechtsstaatsdialog (allerdings nur mit China, leider nicht mit den USA).

Und es gibt die inoffizielle, die unsaubere Seite der deutschen Politik: Auf ihr ist die hohe politische Übereinstimmung zu verbuchen, die darüber herrschte, dass die USA ihre umfangreiche Kriegslogistik, die sich auf deutschem Boden befindet, auch für den Irak-Krieg nutzen konnte. Und zu dieser dunklen Seite gehört die Duldung amerikanischer Praktiken auf deutschem und europäischem Boden, von denen jeder weiß, dass sie „eigentlich“ nicht geduldet werden dürfen."


Und vielleicht versteht Prantl eines Tages den Unterschied zwischen China und den USA! Aber das ist noch ein langer Weg.

In ferner Zukunft kann Prantl auch mal darüber nachdenken, warum der Irakkrieg kein unmoralischer Angriffskrieg war. Aber dazu muß sich wohl erst ein Selbstmordattentäter in seiner Lieblingskneipe in die Luft sprengen, daß er sich betroffen fühlt.


http://www.sueddeutsche.de/,tt1m2/ausland/artikel/658/65593/

Das war die url zu dem Artikel: Ein Abgrund (American Way der Terrorbekämpfung)

One should keep in mind here that everything that has been hysterically reported by the German media about CIA torture camps and complicity by German officials has yet to be proven. If I remember correctly, one such reported camp in Kosovo already turned out to be a false alarm. I suspect the whole story will eventually more or less fizzle out. Maybe a few questionable detentions and some international cooperation that the former German government kept quiet so as not to incite its rather excitable base.

That said, if the rumors have some truth to them then I have to agree with Querdenker. An international cartel of governments in the leading Western democracies, disagreeing publicly on policy, but routinely cooperating in the kidnapping and transportation of people across international borders would be intolerable.

That, in turn, said, I have no faith in the ability of the United Nations with regard to the matter. Quite the opposite. I believe that if given enough power, the United Nations would eventually be brazenly worse -- and claim the whole time that it is for everyone's good. Fuzzy declarations about human rights and definitions of torture are fronts for individuals and governments who wish to preach one thing while practicing another.

There are clearly some questions regarding the apprehension, detention and treatment of terror suspects that need to be addressed. The proper forum for this is public discussion and action by the elected representatives of democratic countries. If the People of Germany consider sleep deprivation to be torture, then they should make it illegal. If the people of the United States do not consider sleep deprivation to be torture, then that decision must be respected by the Germans as long as the U.S. government does not violate the German law within Germany. Allowing the United Nations to decide what is appropriate or inappropriate in this respect would, in my estimation, be little different than allowing the Islamofascists to dictate our laws based on their convoluted sense of right and wrong.

Okay. I rambled a little bit there, but the previous commenters all make valid points that I both agree and disagree with and I was kind of pondering them all aloud.


@beimami
I read about the Kosovo camp and thought it was true. Where can I find more information that it was a false alarm? Thank you.

@beimami - I hope I left no doubt that the goal of an universal rejection of torture does depend on the United Nations' capability to live up to its ideals which is still to be seen. But obviously national laws against torture are not always sufficient to restrain the external conduct of nations, so they can only be regarded as a transitory solution on the way to such an universal standard.

@Gabi

I'm referring to rumors that it was a "secret CIA detention facility", for which there is to my knowledge, no evidence. That the U.S. military runs a KFOR detention center there was apparently never denied and has been confirmed by the U.S. government.

http://www.spacewar.com/news/terrorwar-05zzzzza.html
http://www.breitbart.com/news/na/051126190632.nznph46z.html
http://www.rferl.org/featuresarticle/2005/11/80A9788B-35BC-430B-8CEF-77065D0B72DF.htmlhttp://www.rferl.org/featuresarticle/2005/11/80A9788B-35BC-430B-8CEF-77065D0B72DF.html


@FranzisM

Well, it would come back to the question of just who gets to determine what constitutes torture and who should conduct proceedings against those who violate laws regarding rules of conduct. I personally am opposed to the usurpation of law enforcement duties by supranational agencies in democratic countries.

Matters of law, especially criminal law, should in my opinion be handled on a local or national level - a matter for the People and their elected representatives. I believe differences between nations regarding the proper methods for detaining, transporting and treating terror suspects can and should be handled through international dialog. It is the shrill and hysterical demonization of the US that we see in the international press that is currently making such a dialog nearly impossible.

Turning over not just law enforcement, but law-making, to such an organization as the UN would in my mind be like curing an earache with beheading. Note that I have no fundamental issue with the idea of the United Nations as a vehicle for international discussion and coorperation.

But I am always open to well-reasoned arguments. I try to argue forcefully when I present my viewpoints, but I do read and think about what others write.

What about the German version?

I just wonder is the German version of Der Speigel carrying the same article as the English language one? Or will they at all? Goes against their grain and fictional weltanschauung, I would think. Can't admit they were wrong about their elite leaders after all.

I have not checked yet.

Thanks, for the article. This website continues to impress me as a voice of reason and clear thought.

Beimami thanks for the excellent comments/responses.

Fascinating what governments do inside versus outside their countries, is it not? However, it falls under the category of 'there are few rules among nation states' at least not like there is within states. That is because everyone would have to give up their sovereignty if they wanted the same laws/rules to apply. Very few will do so unless they are truly united and similar in their views. Mostly they will ultimately be afraid of their neighbors trying to take advantage of them.

Just look at the history of the United States, forming a union and giving up sovereignty to a federal governement, when they originally were states in their own right, was very difficult and took many years, from around 1760 to 1791. It followed through two changes in constitution, from none, to having just discussion groups, to the Articles of Confederation (similar to the EU - and the European countries are having the same problems the US did with it's Articles - maybe worse since there are major cultural/social/political/legal/language issues as well), to the Constitution, and finally to the various Admendments to it (even with these it fits on 5-10 pages).

The UN has turned out to be no such forum.

Thanks, and keep up the good work!

Thanks, beimami!

@Gabi

I live to serve.

@Querdenker:Some of those "enhanced interrogation techniques" approved by the U.S. government like sleep deprivation and "waterboarding" are illegal and qualify as torture.

Sleep deprivation is "torture"???? Can I have the bratty kid next door arrested and tried for torture, since he blasts his stereo system all day during the summer, while I work nights and sleep days (and he knows it!)? Yes... perhaps I'll do that. Sounds like a plan to me. (rolling eyes)

And it is illegal according to whom? Some local court in Weisbaden?

@Querdenker:Torture is not only illegal, morally wrong, it's also pretty much useless.

Uhhmmmm... that depends on what your goals are. For finding out information, sleep deprivation is extremely effective. A skilled interrigator KNOWS when the prisoner is lying. The prisoner is tired and confused, and eventually things slip out. Once that threshold has been reached, they start spilling everything.

During the Vietnam War, we were warned to NEVER take the "confessions" of captured GIs seriously. The Vietnamese used really serious torture, and it was assumed that ANY prisoner would eventually break. Even Sen McCain admits that he broke under torture (then turns around and says doesn't work! What an idiot!). Even elite organizations like the Navy Seals and Delta Force assume that they will break if captured, and are submitted to sleep deprivation and waterboarding during training to prove that point. They are asked to only hold out long enough for the main body of their unit to move their position.

Furthermore, the instance of training for elite military units are the ONLY known instances of "waterboarding" that have ever ever been connected with the US. That is just one more accusation that yet remains to be proven. It was done to trainees because it was a typical SOVIET method.

"One should keep in mind here that everything that has been hysterically reported by the German media about CIA torture camps and complicity by German officials has yet to be proven."

My view exactly beimami, and I am surprised that people can see any positive in this. Some flights by the CIA that may or may not involve prisoners have immediately been called torture flights and this just because the CIA is involved. That this irrational anti-Americanism now flicks back onto Uncle Gerhard gives a little Schadenfreude true BUT the general mood isnt going to change. There isnt going to be a new framework to this debate on the war on terror and international security. Uncle Gerhard will himsef be accused of being "American" or being too influenced by Washington. This is not a question of rational debate and the Weltanschauung remains the same: The new Germany is good, the old liberators the true fascists and the influence of the USA on Germany being the evil. That Saddam was the torturer and the murderer is forgotten entirely and plays no role in the debate at all. For one side torture means Saddam, for the other it means Gitmo. For one side scandal means Oil for food, for the other its Haliburton etc etc. I personally see no reason for cheer and expect no change in attitudes: The Americans will still remain the bad guys because the debate isnt a rational one.

But despite my disagreement I still gave Medienkritik a vote!

@beimami, clanRichter - This is a blog, so I don't think the background noise of the mass media can really be an obstacle to frank dialogue. Every now and then nations tend to show that they are bitches, but then again this is a blog and I place my bets on the belief that I will be just as capable to bypass that part of the drama as you are.

Only a central government aspiring an universal standard can properly translate moral absolutes such as the legitimacy of body politics into legal compromises that can practically deal with a situation. Federalism, and the proportional representation it translates to in compromise-making, are good to decide which consensual risk one is willing to take, but unsuitable to decide what is morally right or wrong. In the exceptional situation of anarchy when the vacant place of the central government must be claimed by nations acting on behalf of an anticipated supranational rule of law, the validity of their claim is sustained by their adherence to the golden rule, in form of a code of conduct in dealing with the anarchy that anticipates as much as anyhow possible the future order that is going to replace it. Hence the suspension of the Geneva convention for unlawful combatatants is an external state of emergency that can only be justified under the rules of conflict but not legitimized under those of peace.

As it has been pointed out in the other thread on torture, the choice is not between liberty and security but between liberty in security or anarchy without either. We come to this choice because the original anarchy in the international system increasingly penetrates the sovereignty of nations. The terror war is not only a conflict between nations, it is the concept of national sovereignty itself which is undergoing a transformation. The challenge is to find the minimum possible set of powers to be given to the emerging supranational central government to preserve the maximum possible amount of the classical national sovereignty we are used to.

When it comes to an attempt to illustrate this by means of analogies from American history, there is an important distinction to be made. Though they are parallel processes, the nature of the European unification is quite different from that of the democratization of the United Nations. The first is a project to reconcile fragmented cultural heritages and reestablish common nationhood, the latter just a transformation of a trade association for executive power into a legitimate central government. America experienced the first in the independence war and the latter in the civil war. It is the United Nations where a confederacy of tyranny requires to be broken up and led into renaissance, and Europe which will have to declare its independence from the blue-helmed nanny that was instituted after its suicide attempt, not the other way round. Separate seats on the Security Council for America and Europe will be sure, even when separate seats for England and France will be as absurd as for Prussia and Bavaria, or Arizona and Virginia.

But you see yourself how much difficulties Europe still has to live up to the competition for a constitution that is worth the name. The perception that the statements the d'Estaing draft was without alternatives announce an opportunity to propose alternatives still needs some time to sink in by its own weight. As a standalone project, such an European revolution certainly would only again replace one oligarchy with another, but in coincidence with the establishment of supranational government we have a chance to reestablish common nationhood that can pe proud of its founders rather than wallow in distinction from other cultures. Old as it is, Europe requires that lame nanny to become truly professional, only then it can become independent from the floating internationalism of the post-suicidal nanny house. Treated as individual entities, most of the European nations are tired and bitchy, but in a continental union there is an intrinsic goal worth reclaiming sovereignty for, and which other options do we have other than the onwards getaway?

@FranzisM: It is the United Nations where a confederacy of tyranny requires to be broken up and led into renaissance, and Europe which will have to declare its independence from the blue-helmed nanny that was instituted after its suicide attempt, not the other way round.

This is a very profound comment. I can not begin to explain my complete, utter contempt for the UN. They have been busily trying to turn themselves into an unelected World government, and are indeed already regarded as a World government in too many places (such as Europe). This aparent inability to question the motives and veracity of the elitists in the Secretariat in NYC is a seriously dangerous situation that threatens to lead to a world empire led by unelected "intellectuals" with questionable ideas and a memory span of approximately two weeks. Europe needs to do exactly what you say and get away from the nannies.

Hopefully, US UN Ambassador Bolton will continue shaking things up in the Secretariat :D.

Oooop... punched the "post" button too soon. I only wanted to add:

Hopefully, US UN Ambassador Bolton will continue shaking things up in the Secretariat :D. However, most of us here in the "red" states are of the opinion that it's way past time to call in the bulldozers and shove the Secretariat into the East River.

@LC Mamapajamas - For Bolton to be successful it is not all that bad if his counterparts have bulldozers in their minds. To see how far the diplospeak is disengaged from reality, take for example this Security Council Statement on the Rafah crossing:

"Updating the Council on events on the ground since his last briefing on 20 October, he noted that, two weeks ago, the Government of Israel and the Palestinian Authority reached an Agreement on Movement and Access. ... Those efforts had received the strong support of the United States Security Coordinator, Lieutenant General William Ward, whose successor, Lieutenant General Keith Dayton, would soon be on the ground. ... He said he had also seen, with great admiration, the determination of the United Nations system on the ground to improve the situation."

I don't know how far the ground is away from the office window of the Secretary General, but somebody needs to continously remind these shallow science fiction diplomats that they are not sitting in a friggin' space station!

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