In his recent report on secret abductions and torture at the hands of US government agencies, the special reporter of the Parliamentary Assembly of the European Council added details to last year's findings. Therefore, among other things, Marty can reconstruct how Khaled el-Masri, a citizen of Germany, was deported from an Afghan torture prison on May 28, 2004 to Albania. El-Masri later reported that he was afraid that he would be murdered during the clandestine transport. Germany is still refusing to expose the true extent of the German agencies' involvement.
Secrecy and Security
According to Marty, the former "Red-Green" German government coalition under Gerhard Schroeder (SPD) and Joseph Fisher (The Greens) cooperated systematically with the US secret services, particularly the CIA. The special reporter presented evidence using the case of the torture victim, el-Masri, and also details about the basic cooperation between the government agencies. According to US secret service circles, without the complicity of Washington's allies, particularly its European partners "we wouldn't have even dreamed of" creating a global network for kidnappings, abductions and assassinations of terror suspects. One of the many details deals with the imposition of civilian/military despotism in air travel, in as much as it pertained to US machines: "civilian aircraft on government duty landing at military airfields; military cargo planes registered under civilian operators; and civilian agents and contractors travelling on military travel orders." Marty quotes an insider as saying "unsavoury disputes over jurisdictional issues" have to be avoided at all costs. Accordingly the European allies - including Germany - assured the US "physical security for its personnel" and "secrecy and security of information" at the highest levels.
October 4, 2001
The USA and its allies used NATO structures for their conspiracy against constitutional precepts. According to Marty, the criminal engagement was sealed October 4, 2001, as NATO, at the demand of the USA, agreed on a set of measures "in the war on terror." The subversive nature of the agreement can be seen in NATO's admission, that this agreement "was no formal document (...) signed by the member states" but rather "an internal decision." That the agreement will remain secret was confirmed to Marty in a correspondence with the military authorities in Brussels. The European Parliaments' special reporter, who was deprived of pertinent information, concluded that NATO's "internal decision" created the prerequisites for the CIA's abduction flights. It was endorsed by the German government. It was only a matter of weeks after the NATO meeting Oct. 4, that Murat Kurnaz was kidnapped in Pakistan, shortly thereafter also the German Haydar Zammar.
According to German intelligence service experts, Germany is playing an exceptional role in the US "War on Terror." Besides the long years of intelligence agency cooperation and the use of military airbases in Germany for the abductions, Washington is benefiting from the CIA's Command Headquarters in Frankfurt/Main. The "administration in the metropolis on the Main River, with its approx. 200 employees, has for years been the forward base for US foreign intelligence gathering for the Near East" according to the intelligence service specialist, Erich Schmidt-Eenboom. "In this function it is also the command center for the illegal abductions of terror suspects all across Europe as well as out of and into Arab states." The coordinates of the abduction headquarters in Frankfurt are known to the services and therefore to the Chancellor's Office.
Brought to Justice
Marty noted differences in the way individual countries handled abductions and torture at the hands of states. As he recalled to mind, in September 2002, on his way home, the Canadian, Maher Arar was kidnapped in New York deported to a Syrian prison where he was tortured. The Canadian security forces supported the CIA in the preparation of their crime with "absolutely unfounded" (Marty ) accusations of Arar. His liberation and return was deliberately delayed by Canadian officials. Even afterwards, Arar was submitted to numerous harassments aimed at saving face of the security administrations. The media was fed unexplained "information leaks," allegations implicating and discrediting the torture victim. Canadian public opinion resisted these defamation attempts and imposed the convening of an inquiry commission. After a thorough and transparent investigation, the commission ruled to render Arar material compensations and psychological support. In Canada there is hope, according to the special reporter, that measures will be taken against other state crimes and that the guilty will be brought to justice.
Marty noticed that in Germany there is a very different approach to abductions and torture and the hands of the state: the security officials and government bodies abetted these CIA's crimes. The special reporter mentions by way of example "some very questionable aspects concerning certain decisions made by the former trustee of the German secret services," the "current foreign minister" (Frank-Walter Steinmeier). In addition he reminded of the campaign waged in the gutter press against the liberated victims of torture, Khaled el-Masri and Murat Kurnaz, who could not be found guilty of anything. Still in January 2007, the German media was up in arms about el-Masri: "How did this Lebanese get to be a German?," in May it was: "Why are we letting ourselves be terrorized by his ilk?" Marty concludes that these campaigns have "evidently been successful," pointing to the "latent Islamophobia" in German society. In fact, the earlier sympathy with German torture victims has diminished, but the facts pertaining to the current German foreign minister's complicity in the abduction has not dampened his popularity. Steinmeier's standing in opinion polls rises steadily. Neither el-Masri nor Kurnaz have, until now, received reparations and el-Masri has been refused the necessary psychological care.
In light of the nearly six years of ongoing dramatic developments, Marty calls for a "renewed appreciation of the legal and moral quagmire into which we have collectively sunk as a result of the U.S.-led war on terror." Marty renewed his appeal, that he issued in January 2006, to no longer tolerate the systematic grave violations of human rights. At that time he warned that we are threatened by nothing less than "sinking into barbarism." Berlin is well on its way.