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For what it's worth, there's been no mention of this in the US "mainstream" media either.

In recent weeks, we've had another earthquake near Sumatra, the Pope's situation, and Kofi Annan fighting for his politcal/professional life.

I am "shocked" that the media didn't find time to report on the abuses by the Syrians.

And remember, there is NO genocide in Sudan, either.

Reason, why German buenhombres are usually cool with such incidents of torture:

1) Syria is a dictatorship. Torture in dictatorships is normal and needs not be pointed out(aka is not worthy of getting our lazy ass up, unless the US of A is involved)
2) We shall not mingle with the internal affairs of another country (except, of course, that country is called USA).
3) We don't know much about Syria.
4) We shall not critizise Syria much, since Syria is against Israel.
4) It's not torture. It's local habit. Those "people down there" have been doing that for ages. Folklore, so to say. And folklore is cool, because it's a force against globalism and the "cultural imperialism" of the West (unless, of course, it's German folklore, which we find reactionary and fascist).

Then again we hear indignation and outrage about Spain selling chemical warfare agents to Venezuela.... what? no?
scoop on Barcepundit for the scoop.


@tn you left out one.

5) Syria's recently renamed Baath party is "socialist." (One can never speak ill of a socialist state.)

Death by torture pales in comparison to pyramids of naked men, dog leashes around the neck of naked men, and panties on the heads of prisoners. If the Syrian prisoners had died during a lap dance, that may have made the news.

@ Sock Puppet -- LOL!

@ Joe N. -- I hadn't heard about that one, thanks. Nice. Former head of state of Spain Aznar sent troops to Iraq in the belief that Iraq had WMD (among other things). Of course, after the March 2004 elections, the Socialist gov't brought the Spanish troops out. Now the Spaniards are selling chemical agents to that weirdo gov't in Venezuela.

Go figure!

You people entirely lack the correct perspective. The fact is that Syria's records on torture should be regarded as encouraging progress and evidence of moderation. As in 'Syrian torture deaths are down 35% on last year and have fallen more than 99% since 1972' Or whatever year that the late president Assad leveled the city of Hama in order to crush an insurrection.

It's clear that President Bashir Hassad and prominent members of his government ought to be invited to Bruxelles for a fete celebrating their achievements in this area and to be given a date for talks discussing Syria's entry to the EU.

Perhaps Spain should consider marketing their growing line of 'chemical munitions' to Syria as well as Venwzuela? While chemical weaponry has been proven ineffective against modern mobile forces (in Iraq) and are thus unsuitable for Spain to use against the US, they remain very effective against less mobile targets. Such as large crowds of demonstrators. King Assad II (er - President Assad) shares similar security issues with President Chavez concerning large crowds of demostrators, so I think him a possible customer.

As is China come to think of it. Who knows when another situation like Tieneman Square may arise. Chemical munitions are a much more cost-efficient way to 'soften up' a large crowd than tanks, don't you think?

I don't think that Venezuela is a real dictatorship - it is a left-wing regime, sometimes authoritarian, trying to imitate Cuba. But the referendum in 2004 was considered to be fair by the Organization of American States (OAS) and by fomer U.S. president Jimmy Carter.
Check AI's human rights report. Compare it to a report in 1996 - the worst that may be said about Chevez is that he failed to improve the human rights situation, compared to the right-wing government before 1998.

As far as I can see, the reports on torture of Kurds in Syria are almost all from the UK media. In other countries (including the US) the proportion of google hits on torture by the Syrian regime vs. rendition by the CIA is roughly the same as for Germany. While it is objectionable but also very natural that the Baath regime in Damascus is judged by far lower moral standards than a Western democracy, it would be intelectually dishonest to spin this more universal cognitive bias against the German media in particular.

Note from David: If I'd get a dollar every time someone posts a comment like this in our blog, I'd be rich by now.
According to Konrad, no criticism of German media is "intellectually honest" if U.S. or other country's media display the same bias as the German media.
That's not the position of this blog, I'm afraid. We feel free to criticize the German media for its faults. Period.
(I want my dollar now...)

David: you missed the "in particular". Cognitive psychologists call those double standards "status-quo bias" and regard them as a universal feature of human decision making (in particular editorial decisions on newsworthiness around the world). While it is important to call this failure of the media in general to our attention, this blog entry paints it as a problem of the German media in particular, which is highly misleading. Short: your point against the German media is well-taken, but, as becomes clear from subsequent postings, singling out the German press *in particular* (note that "media" and "journalism" always appear together with "German") deliberately puts people on the wrong track. It suggests that the bias is a sign for the moral bankrupcy of the German left. But if that bias also exists in the American media, would people want draw the same conclusion for the political culture in the US?

Note from David: Thanks for introducing me to psychology 101.
Our focus is on the German media. Period.
As to U.S. media: from reading U.S. blogs I get the impression that there is a massive left-wing bias in many media outlets. Check with Instapundit, LGF and others if you're interested in the topic.

Chomskybot proves a point socialists never criticize other socialists.

In the western hemisphere Hugo Chavez is considered to have stolen the referendum via massive fraud. Carter and his friends rubber stamped the governments results without auditing the ballots. Regardless of what links are provided this episode is seen as a blemish on former president Carter and his organization.

By any stretch of the imagination the human rights conditions in most of central and south America are poor. No European or north American would want to live under them. This is very true in Venezuela. That a “man for the people” like Chavez has not improved them speaks much about what he actually is.

Hugo Chavez is a total nut job.

If I had the chance I would hit Noam Chomsky with a dog feces filled pie BTW. Socialism is a preventable disease just like an STD.

@konrad:

"Short: your point against the German media is well-taken, but, as becomes clear from subsequent postings, singling out the German press *in particular* (note that "media" and "journalism" always appear together with "German") deliberately puts people on the wrong track."

Not to speak for David, but my understanding is that this site "singles out the German press *in particular*" because it is a site *about the German press.* One might as well criticize the Biased-BBC blog for "singling out" the British press, no pasaran! for "singling out" the French media, or timeswatch.org for "singling out" the New York Times. In each case, focusing on the media of a particular country, ideology, or news organ is the raison d'etre of the site itself; and your objection to this article's focus on the German media therefore seems to be, in reality, an objection to the idea and purpose of this blog itself.

You might be right that it's really "important to call this failure of the media in general to our attention," but in that case it would be better if someone started a blog to accomplish that, rather than try to re-make or re-direct this blog from what it does into something you'd rather see it do.

"But if that bias also exists in the American media, would people want draw the same conclusion for the political culture in the US?"

People do and have. The blogs dedicated to pointing out bias in the American media, and drawing from it conclusions about the political culture in the US, are numerous.

Just for the record (hope you can open those links to notes about syrian torture from german newspaper taz).

http://archiv.taz.de/ar/2004/07/06/a0174.ext/search/textBox?Name=askZ0znjq&Start=6

http://archiv.taz.de/ar/2004/07/01/a0138.ext/search/textBox?Name=askdtzFvo&Start=7

Chom: "I don't think that Venezuela is a real dictatorship - it is a left-wing regime, sometimes authoritarian, trying to imitate Cuba."

Sock Puppet has already chewed on you a bit, but I want to add something here.

Just to set the record straight, ANY country that is trying to imitate Cuba is a dictatorship by default. Just come here to Florida and ask any of the Cubans who are still leaving Cuba at the rate of about 3000 per year. Mass arrivals (20 or more at a time) of Cuban refugees don't even get into the local news any more because it's so common.

David, great article :). I'm very curious about this item about the news items you found:

"the US government is accused of sending prisoners suspected of terrorist activity to countries such as Syria or Egypt where torture seems to be an accepted investigative method"

I can't begin to understand how any rational person could possibly think that we would send prisoners to Syria, of all places, for interrogation... no matter what the reason. I can believe that we might send prisoners to Egypt or Pakistan for interrogation (Clinton set that up as a policy back in the '90s), but Syria??? This is so completely ridiculous it defies analysis. As if the US would actually believe anything the Syrians claimed to have extracted from the prisoners...

This is no different making a claim that, during WWII, we sent prisoners to the Japanese to be interrogated. If that had ever happened, would we have been able to trust the Japanese to return a report with vital information supporting the war effort... against Japan? Please! The Syrians are behind sending terrorists into Iraq to "liberate" them from... the US! What sort of b.s. would they put into a report from a prisoner interrogation? And there's actually people out there who believe the CIA would believe anything from those reports?

I think the news media has finally found its way into Fantasyland! I don't understand how anyone with an IQ over 70 could believe this crap!

when torture will have become normal habit in the us, german media won't report that either. so, it's just a question of time until the biased reporting in german media vanishes, but as long as they have this done by their fellow dictatureships, it will be mentioned from time to time in the media.

to mamapajamas:

check the web for the following keywords: 'torture by proxy flights'
and afterwards check your own IQ

@ naja

Your direct and personal insult is not useful or warranted. You should check your humility quotient as well as your own intelect before engaging your hands and typing such insulting rubbish. You could have easily stated you opinion with out a direct and perrsonal insult. Now your own intelligence qoutient is questionable.

The US is almost in a state of war with Syria. To think they would be sending persons there for questioning is plain silly. Does the US send criminal suspects and illegal aliens to their country of origin from time to time? Yes. Do law enforcement agencies share information across national borders? Yes everyday. Nothing to see here, same old “stuff” different day. Move along.

This whole story of rendition is whole cloth from the Arab press, “Human Right Organizations (actually Socialists and Chomskyite haters of the USA.) and, the rabid left.

Relying solely on a “web search” for information is ignorant. Rarely do you find the actual facts on many subjects, instead you usually find commercial products, spin, opinion presented as fact and, outright propaganda. Most of it very slick and well done (just like the MSM) but not even remotely true. It used to be you could do a web search and get to the facts. However every since political activists and commercial hacks found they could game the search engines, the results of web searches have become less and less useful.

Stories of this Gulfstream jet and what it does are in the class of the notorious "black helicopters." Better tighten your aluminum foil hat too.

Sock Puppet, thanks for watching my back :).

Naja, as SP and I have pointed out, the entire notion of the US sending prisoners to Syria for interrogation is utterly ridiculous. Egypt or Pakistan, yes. Syria, no. What I was saying in my message, and SP reinfoced, is that they are our ENEMY, and nothing they could produce from an interrogation could possibly be believable. Period. It goes without saying that if this were happening at all, the Syrians would be sending us bad information. Even the CIA is bright enough to know that.

Quoting Jimmah Carter is a good laugh. Former President Carter has finally lost all the few marbles he had and now should be kept on a leash with a muzzle at home by his wife where he can be fed, watered and kept from doing any more harm. That he would approve the Venezuelan election is proof of his complete mental breakdown. In 1979 he made a speech and chided the world that it had to learn to live with communism. Then the Pope went to Poland and made a much better speech (three to be accurate). From that day forward, Communism was doomed, never to rule the world as promised by Nikita Kruchov.

Actually Jane - the day that doomed Communism was Nov 2, 1980 :)

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