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Just a side note to this story: Yesterday, Khaled Al-Masri was charged by the district attorney in the city of Ulm with assaulting and seriously injuring a man. Al-Masri, who is unemployed, currently is training to be a truck driver. Apparently he didn't show up for training lessons on numerous occasions. When his instructor critizised his attitude, he attacked and beat up the man. The instructor had to be hospitalized for 3 days.

Al-Masri's attorney in a statement said that Al-Masri was "deeply sorry". The attorney also said that his "traumatization" (the alleged kidnapping by the CIA) was to blame for Al-Masri's violent behaviour.

And what term would you use in case german secret service agents would abduct american citizens and keep them for years in a dungeon in Syria?

Note from David: Read John Rosenthal's article quoted above. There was justified suspicion about Al-Masri's connection to radical Islam. Does international law prohibit Macedonia's government to arrest Al-Masri? Does international law prohibit the Macedonian government to hand over Al-Masri to the U.S.? Does international law allow the U.S. to keep people imprisoned during investigations? Does international law allow the U.S. to keep prisoners outside of the U.S.?
Admittedly, there was one illegal abduction of a German in the past. No protest known from the German government or the German media.
I'm inclined, too, to accept the breach of law in this case...

"Admittedly, there was one illegal abduction of a German in the past."

Aren't all abductions pretty much illegal?

Anyway, if we look hard enough, I'm sure we can find a more recent example of the abduction of a German citizen. (Btw, does anyone know what the status is with the arrest warrants for Osthoff's kidnappers?).

Hmmm, I see a pattern here...and it doesn't seem to involve arrest warrants:

Anatomy of a Hostage Crisis
http://www.spiegel.de/international/spiegel/0,1518,414958,00.html

One conclusion a person might make from this is that the CIA screwed up by not demanding a ransom.

My question was serious: How would you call german agents that abduct american citizens and keep them imprisoned in some dungeon far from the civilized world for several years, even when there was justified suspicion? And what do you think about how the american media would call it?

You could see it in the case of Murat Kurnaz that our governments don´t really care about arabian individuals of other nationality being kept in Guantanamo. The significant difference is that while Kurnaz has a residence permit in Germany since he was born here, unlike Al-Masri he is no german citizen.

I knew this would be the next topic.
Apart from the question of whether the alleged abductions took place and how this fits into international law. The question is one of selectivity and blame. The question is also one of the possible (or even probable) connivance of national secret services.
Milan has issued indictments for about 25 CIA agents (I've lost count). Did this really happen without the knowledge of Italian Police, Carabinieri (who are police but fully military, and often work side by side with US Forces in Italy), SISMI (military intelligence)? Why don't the Italian magistrates go after them?
And doesn't Italy have enough judicial problems of its own? Are they outraged by Americans not observing the rule of law? Italy, the country that regularly detains a record for appeals to Strasbourg. That took about twenty years to find Salvatore Riina, no.1 of Cosa Nostra, who was "hiding" in plain sight. That took another few decades to find Bernardo Provenzano, no. 2 or 3 of Cosa Nostra, who was hiding a few Ks from Corleone. Where Naples is so messed up that Prodi proposed sending the Army in (then he remembered what the Italian Army is like, and said, fuggedabboutit). Just to solve the problems of Venice and Porto Marghera would take most of their combined resources. But it's easier to come down to prosecuting CIA operatives, who will never come to "justice".
Poor Europe.

Let me answer the question, Gunter. See, we have soldiers in Afghanistan. When they or an allied government would pick up an American citizen who they think travelled to Afghanistan in order to kill our troops or kill some Afghans we are trying to help - then I hope that he would be "abducted" (=captured) to try and find out what exactly he was up to. You say it seems unlikely that an American citizen would travel to Afghanistan for some sightseeing when a war is imminent or has already started? I thought so as well in regard to "German" citizens.

Well, see, here's the problem.
EU deal secretly let in U.S. flights
BRUSSELS -- A previously unpublished document shows that the European Union secretly agreed in 2003 to let the United States use transit facilities on European soil to transport "criminals."
The revelation supports U.S. Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice's strong suggestion last week that so-called "rendition" flights were undertaken with the approval of other governments, despite denials by European officials.

Here is the EU Parliamentary Report. Interesting reading. Dick Marty basically says he can't get any cooperation from the gov'ts in question.

So, as far as I'm concerned, this is not much more than posturing.

@Gunter
And what term would you use in case german secret service agents would abduct american citizens and keep them for years in a dungeon in Syria?

Syria? How does the CIA get access to Syrian dententian facilities, dungeons or otherwise? (But good for them if they do).

Gunter my take on that is if the Germans found an American colluding with, say, the RAF I'm not going to be picky about how they grab his ass, where they put it, under what conditions or for how long.


These warrants are little more than cynical moral grandstanding to win points with the electorate from a government that has repeatedly demonstrated that supporting human rights and confronting real "thugs" in places like Iran and Sudan take a backseat to German trade interests.

Man muss hier der Fairness halber anmerken, dass die Staatsanwaltschaft keine andere Wahl hat, als gegen die angeblichen CIA Entführer zu ermitteln. Andernfalls würde sie sich nämlich wegen Strafvereitelung im Amt selbst strafbar machen. In Deutschland gilt nämlich das sogenannte "Legalitätsprinzip", das Strafverfolgungsbehörden dazu verpflichtet, ein Ermittlungsverfahren zu eröffnen, wenn sie Kenntnis von einer Straftat erlangen.

Es mag schon sein, dass das die Haftbefehle gut ins antiamerikanische Klima passen, aber in diesem Fall ist nach deutschem Recht kein anderes Vorgehen möglich.

"These warrants are little more than cynical moral grandstanding to win points with the electorate from a government that has repeatedly demonstrated that supporting human rights and confronting real "thugs" in places like Iran and Sudan take a backseat to German trade interests."

These warrants are the manifestation of the separation of powers. While our governments and secret services may haved worked together disregarding laws, the german judiciary branch does not.

"Syria? How does the CIA get access to Syrian dententian facilities, dungeons or otherwise?"

I don´t know whether the CIA has "access" to syrian facilities. This country simply came to my mind at first since german agents are reported of interrogating inmates there. You know, less regulation and stuff ;)

Take a look here for example:
http://www.tagesspiegel.de/politik/archiv/18.12.2005/2244213.asp

Wasn't Adolph Eichmann a German citizen kidnapped from one country and then tried and hung in another?

I know this might be rhetorical but what "international law" did the US supposedly violate? Aren't we really talking about treaty agreements between the US and Germany?

Note from David: Anyone here claiming the U.S. did abduct Eichmann?

When I read all of these stories about arrest warrants for CIA "agents," I'd like there to be a bit more clarity (I know, it's difficult from the MSM anywhere) about who they are really talking about. In intelligence terminology an "agent" is not what most people think it is. The person who works for the CIA (i.e. an American employee) is an "officer" or "operative" -- not an agent. An agent is someone who is run, controlled, handled and/or employed by a CIA officer. The same thing was true for the KGB (e.g. Aldrich Ames was a KGB agent even though he was employed as a CIA analyst). So what I haven't gathered from this story is if the arrest warrants were issued for actual CIA case officers or operatives, or were they issued for paid agents who were hired to do the dirty work? I would suspect that they are paid agents (and thus probably non-Americans). If they are really CIA officers, it certainly makes the CIA look like buffoons because there is no way that the identity of 13 officers should be known to prosecutors in Munich.

Here's some feedback I sent to their website about the article:
------------------------------------------
Re:

Munich to US: "Don't Send Your CIA Thugs out into Europe's Streets"

Dear Sir or Madam,

We wouldn't have to send our CIA heroes to Germany if Germany was able and willing to keep screaming jihadist murderers from using Germany as a base of operations to fly airplanes into targets in the USA. (Remember the Hamburg cell?)

Germany's cheap anti-American xenophobia and lukewarm interest in stopping jihadists from using German territory and resources to plot mass-murder abroad has turned many Americans (including me) from viewing Germany as one of America's strongest allies to viewing Germany as, at best, an opportunistic ingrate awash in childish anti-Americanism, and at worst, a strategic threat.

Any objective analysis of German-American relations over the past sixty years makes it difficult to conclude anything other than that when Germany needs America, Germany is a good ally (i.e., the Berlin Airlift, pledging New York as collateral for Bonn during the Cold War, immediate American support for German reunification), but when America needs Germany (i.e., the counter-jihad), Germany is not a very good ally.

I've sadly become convinced that it is necessary to dissolve NATO in the hopes that Germany will take security matters more seriously. If America and Germany were not sworn allies, perhaps we would be better friends.

Regards,

[name withheld for this post, but included in letter to editor]

North Carolina,
United States of America

Of course the US did not abduct Eichmann but the point was that this was not first time a German citizen had been taken from another country and deposited in a third.

.

Terrorism is not something that concerns the Germans or their government. What really concerns them is global warming which is perceived to be a much greater threat. One only needs to view the reporting on this by their M$M and the actions of their government to determine the real threat.

There really is a very simple and easy solution to this. Since the Germans, the historical defenders of human rights, seem to be very concerned about US operations against terrorism, then it would be reasonable to no longer share intelligence with them from sources and by methods which they so object to. Doing so would no longer offend them.

As many have pointed out this would have little effect in preventing terrorist attacks within Germany. There have been none and besides who would want to conduct such attacks given Germany has been both a planning and logistical base of operations against the US.

Time to get every American facility out of Germany and into a friendly European country or back home. We can defray some of the cost of the move with a tarrif on BMWs and a visa surcharge for German tourists.

@ redfern8

"Any objective analysis of German-American relations over the past sixty years makes it difficult to conclude anything other than that when Germany needs America, Germany is a good ally"

Be honest here, from the 1950s until 1990, the former West-Germany was not simply an ally, but a vassal of the US. As such, you don´t have much of a choice left.

"We wouldn't have to send our CIA heroes to Germany if Germany was able and willing to keep screaming jihadist murderers from using Germany as a base of operations to fly airplanes into targets in the USA."

Maybe it works differently in your country, but you can expect our judiciary branch to protect our citizens from any other foreign nation.
It is part of the concept of national sovereignty. In contrast to the US, Denmark for example has obviously understood this:

http://www.spiegel.de/panorama/justiz/0,1518,464212,00.html

Gunter,
This is the second time you have used the word "Vassals".
I am not even going to dignify arguing with you about that anymore. Being a Vassal sure gave you a lot of advantages, especially economically, didn't it?
Don't worry, soon you can say the same about Russia. Oh, I forgot, you won't, otherwise you wuld be pretty cold in the winter.
Withing my lifetimeand I am old, this anti americanism will bite you in the ass. There is only so much anyone can take.
You lready have one of the lowest "netto Einkommen" around and it is getting worse. I would absolutely vote for a total departure of troops and American companies from the "Vaterland". It would cost a lot of money if Germany had to start paying for a decent defense. We could bring many companies home tomorrow, if we changed our tax laws to the fair Tax that most Americans would vote for.
There is hope yet........

gunter

Do you seriously believe that the BND does not operate covertly as well? That's what spooks do, especially when there's a war on. That's why they operate covertly. It's the ugly underbelly of foreign affairs and every government does it. Once in a while it breaks the surface and everyone acts as if they are shocked for awhile. If this guy was truly 'an innocent,' then it's been a sad mistake that he had to go through this. If he has a good lawyer he can probably get a cash settlement. But the criminal process isn't going anywhere and everyone knows it.
This has nothing to do with Sovereignty or Vassals.

@ Gunter,

Okay, let’s see what the Merriam-Webster dictionary has to say about “vassal” . . .

“1 : a person under the protection of a feudal lord to whom he has vowed homage and fealty : a feudal tenant
2 : one in a subservient or subordinate position”

(see http://www.m-w.com/dictionary/vassal)

Using your logic, whatever good happened in West Germany (economic development, political freedom, newfound human and civil rights), all of the credit is due to the USA, not the hard work and sacrifice of West Germans. If this is truly what Germans believe, it seems to me that they would be a lot friendlier towards the USA.

As for “being honest,” I have close family members who spent some of the best years of their lives sleeping in frozen holes on winter maneuvers to prepare to defend West Germany from Soviet attack. How many Germans can say the same kind of thing about defending the USA? With the exception of a few AWACS crews after 9-11 and some very tough and brave German special forces operators in Afghanistan, few Germans have ever done anything meaningful to defend the USA.

>>>“Maybe it works differently in your country, but you can expect our judiciary branch to protect our citizens from any other foreign nation. It is part of the concept of national sovereignty.”<<<

Yes, I’m pretty sure it works differently in my country. In my country, people are mature enough to understand that sovereignty involves responsibilities, as well as rights. For example, during the 19th Century, a group of Irish nationalists used the American state of Montana as a base of operations to cross the border into Canada, kill some British soldiers, then return to Montana. The American government promptly arrested the terrorists and turned them over to the British government. Then the American government paid reparations to the families of those British soldiers who were killed. Obviously, the German government never even considered doing anything similar with the Hamburg cell after 9-11.

It’s hard to take German complaints about violations of sovereignty seriously when American government officials face criminal complaints in Germany for “crimes” alleged to have occurred in other nations. (http://www.dw-world.de/dw/article/0,1564,1413907,00.html). By claiming jurisdiction over foreigners for their actions in other countries, Germany is, in fact, following Iran’s example of issuing death warrants for Salman Rushdie (a British subject) for the use of magical realism in modern fiction (in another country).

Regards,

Redfern 8

PS – I appreciate the link, but unfortunately, I don’t speak German. I wish I did, but I just speak English and Spanish.

Walter,

Your reasoning is sound but it does not go far enough. The US should remove all forces from Europe.

It is obvious many nations in Europe see the US’s present as both a danger and unwanted. Members of the “chocolate summit” find NATO to be inconvenient when they actually have to make a contribution of their national treasure.

Germany and france would prefer the EDSF as the framework for their mutual security. This is why you continue to see their joint efforts to undermine NATO. They should have little trouble convincing other current NATO members that REAL security lies with them. One only needs to look at history to see how they have provided security for Europe.

Every American should work with the french and Germans to help them realize the goal of having EDSF stand up and to stand down NATO>


@ redfern8

I guess the second definition of your dictionary fits here. We lost a war and have been splitted up and governed by the occupying powers, as they are called here.

"As for “being honest,” I have close family members who spent some of the best years of their lives sleeping in frozen holes on winter maneuvers to prepare to defend West Germany from Soviet attack."

I would argue that they have spent these years preparing to defend the american area of influence, but I know this this is too hard for most americans to admit. They may have believed personally to defend Germany, in contrast to those that were responsible for their deployment.
Just imagine if the front line of the iron curtain had been a few hundred kilometers to the east: Then they probably would have believed to defend Poland and Czechia, although it would not have mattered for those that sent them there.

"few Germans have ever done anything meaningful to defend the USA."

Be honest: Would you like to see America being "defended" by germans the way americans "defended" Germany? Probably not, who enjoys being occupied.

"It’s hard to take German complaints about violations of sovereignty seriously when American government officials face criminal complaints in Germany for “crimes” alleged to have occurred in other nations."

That´s a point. I´m excited to see whether this kind of jurisdiction will remain. My personal guess is that it was created in the mind of some idealist to make the world a better place by ensuring german jurisdiction ;)

"The American government promptly arrested the terrorists and turned them over to the British government."

Yeah that proves the difference. The link I quoted above is about the following: Recently, a danish member of the SS was found guilty for murder of a danish journalist in Kopenhagen in 1943 by a danish court. He is living in Germany. So Denkmark demanded extradition. But he has become a german citizen in 1956. So he was put on trial in Germany, and the court found him guilty of just manslaughter and not of murder. And since the manslaughter has prescribed, the danish request for extradition was denied.

While the danish minister of justice is reported to have regretted this result, she also expressed respect for the decision of the german judiciary. This is what I mean by respecting national sovereignty.

Gunter,

I would have preferred that the Soviets had all of Germany.

del.

Note from David: Folks, Gunter had his 15 minutes of fame in this blog. Now it's over, as far as it concerns my postings. I allowed his comments in here to prove the re-emergence of old German attitudes of sneering, cold and ungrateful attitudes vis-a-vis the U.S, coupled with typical German arrogance and expressions of superiority.

Well shoot, could someone else read the Spiegel link in regards to Soren Kam and find out if this refusal to extradite was the first or second time that an EU Extradition Warrant was in violation of the German Constitution? My HS German simply isn't good enough to make any sense of the article.

http://www.spiegel.de/panorama/justiz/0,1518,464212,00.html

Pat Patterson, although I'm not sure of the timeline regarding the Kam case in particular, I do remember something about Germany making it very clear - last year I believe - that Germany took the view the EU extradition treated violated German sovreignity.

Good for Germany. As far as I'm concerned, EU members are far too negligent of their sovreignity.
Having said that, I'm not sure if an extradition treaty between the two countries could not have been brought to bear (probably not, given the death penalty considerations.

But there is an interesting article in today's Washington Post.

In Another CIA Abduction, Germany Has an Uneasy Role

But there has been an awkward silence and no prosecutions in the parallel case of another German citizen, Mohammed Haydar Zammar, who was also covertly abducted in a CIA-sponsored mission after the attacks of Sept. 11, 2001. The difference: German agents were directly involved in the Zammar case, providing crucial information to the CIA about his travels and making a secret trip to Syria to interrogate him after he landed in prison there.

If you have time, read the rest. Fascinating.

Well, wiedersehn, Gunter. You made great target practice.

>> Germany making it very clear - last year I believe - that Germany took the view the EU extradition treated violated German sovreignity.

Quite the opposite seems to be the case. The Spiegel article says that the first extradition request in 2005 was rejected because Kam had become a German citizen. However, Germany had to change its extradition policy in order to comply with EU standards. Now, the only reason for him not being extradited seems to be that a German court decided he was guilty not of murder, but "only" of manslaughter. The difference is that the latter has a period of prescription after which extradition is not allowed anymore. The decision does not mean that extradition to EU countries is considered unconstitutional - although it may be, but that would not be the first time our constitution has to be "reinterpreted" a little because the EU says so.

Note from David: Folks, Gunter had his 15 minutes of fame in this blog. Now it's over, as far as it concerns my postings. I allowed his comments in here to prove the re-emergence of old German attitudes of sneering, cold and ungrateful attitudes vis-a-vis the U.S, coupled with typical German arrogance and expressions of superiority.

I must say that I am surprised by the amount of attention that Gunter got until now. As far as I am concerned, David's characterization of Gunter couldn't be more accurate. I have only one word to express what I felt the few times when I read his posts: repulsion. Not dislike or disagreeement, just plain repulsion.

The internet exposed me (and everyone else) to a multitude of characters, definitely many more than it would be possible in real life. Most are regular, but interesting people, some are very knowledgable, while others are, well, just despicable. The internet made me more aware of the latter, more than I would have been otherwise. I know they exist and they are amongst us, but I am just happy that DMK doesn't tolerate them.

Thank you, Mir. I stand corrected.

Mir-Thanks, I knew that Denmark attempted to extradite Kam twice but as I said I couldn't figure out if the article was referring only to the second attempt. In the US Kam could have been stripped of his citizenship(for lying on his citizenship application) and then either extradited or deported.

There is something that struck me as odd about the article. Many (most?) of the articles in the international edition of spon are translations of German articles. This one seems to be an exception, I was unable to find a German original. Is it targeted at the international readers only?

@WhatDoIKnow
I know they exist and they are amongst us, but I am just happy that DMK doesn't tolerate them.

I never saw the comment that got Gunter banned, so I am unable to form an opinion specific to Gunter.

But David makes an important point:

I allowed his comments in here to prove the re-emergence of old German attitudes of sneering, cold and ungrateful attitudes vis-a-vis the U.S, coupled with typical German arrogance and expressions of superiority.

Those views should be available and I'm very glad David and Ray make them so. Not because I find them tolerable but because I need to know about them and to be able to hone my arguments.

I never saw the comment that got Gunter banned, so I am unable to form an opinion specific to Gunter.

I don't think it's just about Gunter's last comment, it's about his entire presence. I am also happy that DMK allows those views, and I am even happier that it doesn't allow them indefinitely.

I have a personal, and totally irrelevant, opinion on Gunter: he's bad vibes. I never got that from, say, Jorg or Amelie, or anyone else lately, no matter what they said. But I got it a lot from Gunter. Does it sound too new-age-ish? Sure it does, that's why I live in Southern California :-)

A thug is a thug, street or armchair variety, no matter whether it works for the CIA or BND or any other conspiracy. Couldn´t find a better term to express the damage the existence of these spy entities is causing to political legitimacy.

Still, some spy entities also send thugs that leave blood on the streets.* This apearantly has not happened in the Khaled al-Masri case.

Gunter -

My question was serious: How would you call german agents that abduct american citizens and keep them imprisoned in some dungeon far from the civilized world for several years, even when there was justified suspicion? And what do you think about how the american media would call it?

Well I do not have an example which exactly fits your model scenario, but how about this American complaint against a situation in Germany?

The Church of Scientology, which operated eighteen churches and missions, remained under observation (as it has been since 1997) by the federal and seven state Offices for the Protection of the Constitution (OPCs), out of concern that the Church's teachings and practices are opposed to the democratic constitutional order or violate human rights. In deciding whether to observe an organization, OPC officials collect publicly available information, mostly from written materials and from public events, to assess whether a "threat" exists. In addition, OPC staff and law enforcement officials also directly approached Scientologists for information, a practice many find a form of intimidation and harassment. More intrusive observation methods are subject to legal checks and would require evidence of involvement in treasonous or terrorist activity.

The Church of Scientology appeal of a November 2004 Cologne court ruling, which stated that OPC observation was justified and could continue, remained before the Higher Administrative Court in Muenster; a decision was not expected until 2007. In recent years, however, many state OPCs have opted to stop their observations of Scientology; exceptions included Baden-Wuerttemberg, Bavaria, and Hamburg, which remained particularly stringent. Despite this reduced observation, the federal OPC's 2006 annual report concluded that the original reasons for initiating observation of Scientology in 1997 remained valid, although it noted that Scientology had not been involved in any criminal activity. Scientologists contended that OPC observation was harmful to the Church's reputation and continued to seek redress through the courts.

Several states published pamphlets about Scientology (and other religious groups) that detailed the Church's ideology and practices. States defended the practice by noting their responsibility to respond to citizens' requests for information about Scientology as well as other subjects. While many of the pamphlets were factual and relatively unbiased, some warned of alleged dangers posed by Scientology to the political order, to the free market economic system, and to the mental and financial well being of individuals.

The German treatment of Hubbard cult members is termed a "restriction on religious freedom" by the U.S. State Department.

I'm not sure I understand what your problem is with this, Ray. Do you think it's acceptable for any country to abduct citizens of another, outside normal legal processes? What about if Iran abducted American citizens from Germany, for example? If this is what happened (and the law was broken), the judiciary has a duty to hold those responsible to account. And obviously (as someone else has pointed out already), you're conflating two separate branches of government.

Note from David: Ray will most likely directly respond to your comment. If I may throw in my opinion: if a German travels to Macedonia - as Mr. Al-Masri did -, gets arrested (because he is suspected of terrorism) and is handed over to American authorities who decide to bring him to an American prison in Pakistan - where's the breach of law? I asked that before and didn't get an answer: is it prohibited to arrest German citizens in countries outside of the EU?
Please respond.

David: Not being well-versed in the finer points of German (or even Macedonian) abduction law, it's difficult to answer your question - and I suspect you are little better off than me in this respect. That said, there are plenty of examples of laws that have extra-territorial effect.

From what I can gather, you've kind of misrepresented the situation above. Yes he was arrested. But then he was released, and *then* snatched by CIA "black renditions" teams. The way you describe it, it sounds like he was arrested by Macedonian authorities and then legally extradited into US custody. That isn't what happened. And he was abducted to a prison in Afghanistan according to reports, like this one from NBC news.

You didn't answer my question: if Iran abducted US citizens from Germany, or Macedonia, or wherever, presumably you'd be OK with that?

My point is not really whether or not the law was broken in this situation (although let's be honest: kidnap generally is regarded as illegal in most jurisdictions). I just don't understand why you're so upset at this, when what the German judiciary is doing is essentially defending the rights of German citizens.

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