For years now "Guantanamo" has been the rallying cry for German journalists and politicians to denounce the U.S. government and Amerika in general as deliberate violators of international law. They also portray Americans as capriciously torturing and humiliating (presumably) innocent folks who simply suffered the misfortune of being at the wrong place at the wrong time.
You would expect that any chance to free the poor Guantanamo souls would be enthusiastically welcomed by these German self-proclaimed humanitarian experts. Certainly they would be more than willing to grant asylum to Guantanamo detainees - as they did in the case of millions of asylum applicants from all over the world in the last decades. The German Left, looking back on a proud history of hysterically bemoaning the cruel fate of each and every victim of "American imperialism", would, without a doubt, in powerful public demonstrations (candlelight vigils come to mind) request the immediate release of as many Guantanamo detainees as possible to the cherished land of social justice and humanitarian aid: Germany.
Wall Street Journal, April 24, 2006 (subscription only):
China's Gitmo Refugees
As a measure of Europe's true concern for the men held
at Guantanamo, we offer the story of 15 Uighur inmates
there. Captured in Afghanistan where they were for
reasons that remain unclear, the men are not
considered "enemy combatants" by the U.S. military,
which wants to release them.
Only these Uighurs can't go home to China. Beijing
brutally represses this Turkic-speaking Muslim
minority of some 8 million that lives in the country's
northwestern corner. The Chinese government considers
any Uighur who wants independence a "terrorist," and
these 15 Gitmo alums aren't likely to be welcomed back
with open arms.
Washington is looking for a third country willing to
grant these men sanctuary. Sweden, France, Germany,
Finland, Norway, Switzerland and Turkey are, according
to news reports, among the countries that have been
approached. You'd think that Europe, so critical of
U.S. detention policies, would jump at an opportunity
to shrink the size of the prisoner pool at Gitmo.
You'd be wrong. Not a single country offered to take
(...) America has provided shelter to the world's
oppressed for centuries, and assuming these men are
no threat, it could do so again. But the Uighurs are not America's problem alone. After all, they were picked up during the "good
war" -- good in the sense that Europe supported it --
Die Welt reported that the Bush Administration wants
Berlin to accept the men since Germany already has a
small Uighur community. Berlin rejected Washington's
request because it didn't want to offend Beijing,
according to the German daily. That's a fair guess as
to why other countries kept their doors closed too.
When we called the German government, their reply was
a curt "no comment."
Chancellor Angela Merkel has done much to repair the
diplomatic damage done by her predecessor Gerhard
Schröder. But even she found it necessary to open her
first visit to Washington in January with a call for
Guantanamo's closure. Ms. Merkel will be back in
Washington next month, giving her an opportunity to
show that she wasn't playing to the anti-American
gallery. Reserving 15 extra seats for her flight back
might do the trick. (emphasis added)
Germany's cold hearted reaction to the American government's humanitarian is not without precedent. The German government even refused the return of a German citizen from Guantanamo. In 2002, the U.S. government offered to send Murat Kurnaz, a German of Turkish descent, back to his home town of Bremen. Gerhard Schroeder's government, always eager to criticize the Bush administration for the neglect of human rights issues, politely declined because German authorities considered Mr. Kurnaz a threat to German security. To my knowledge, he is still detained in Guantanamo.
Ah well, let's move on to other topics worthy of German humanitarian concern. SUCH AS THE CRIMINAL ISSUES OF CIA RENDITIONS FLIGHTS OVER EUROPEAN TERRITORY TO SECRET TORTURE PRISONS!!! WE DEMAND THE TRUTH AND NOTHING BUT THE TRUTH, IN THE INTEREST OF THE SAD AND TRAGICAL FATE OF THE POOR AND INNOCENT VICTIMS OF AMERICA'S DISREGARD OF INTERNATIONAL LAW!!! NOW!!!
(sob, sob, sniff, sniff)