Lapse into Barbarism

BERLIN/STRASBOURG/WIESBADEN ( - In light of the recent government offensive to thwart a parliamentary committee of inquiry into police and secret service activities in connection with the war on Iraq, Professor Dr. Wolf-Dieter Narr, a political scientist in Berlin, warns of a breach of the constitutional consensus. There are processes in development, that could lead to a "German nightmare" known as the "Gestapo" - with the police and secret service having reciprocal access to personal data. "To a certain extent," the German security authorities give the impression of having gotten out of control, Professor Narr told German foreign, in a conversation about the BKA's (Federal Bureau of Criminal Investigation's) "torture outsourcing" and the BND's (Federal Intelligence Service) wartime espionage in Baghdad. "That is something that drives you mad in this country: how, with the stealth of a stalker, the distance to torture is being diminished," says Prof. Narr. Even in the course of the interview, new accusations against the BKA and the BND were being made known. Dozens of reports, from agents in the Iraqi war zone, were transferred to the USA by the BND, committing thereby multiple violations of international law, according to press releases. In his interim report on the European torture scandals, Dick Marty, special investigator of the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe, points to structural similarities between practices of the BKA and the methods of the CIA. Marty pleads for civil disobedience against the precept of official discretion and warns of a "lapse into barbarism."

Following the teamwork between the CDU/SPD government coalition and The Greens to thwart a parliamentary committee of inquiry, the German security authorities believe it safe to take the offensive. Those accusations are "preposterous", said Ernst Uhrlau, the new president of foreign espionage, in respect to his inauguration into office. Yesterday, in complete reversal of constitutionally established relations between the executive and the legislative, Uhrlau declared himself "prepared" to contribute information to the parliament. The tone derived from references to "cooperation", betrays the self-assessment of prominent functionaries of the security branch, which appear intended to push the parliament ahead of itself.

Power of Definition

Professor Narr, who taught at the Free University in Berlin and is chairman of the Institute for Civil Rights and Public Security finds that "the BND (...) with its more than 6,000 employees" alone because of the size of the institution, is subject to build up a dangerous "momentum."[1] Prof. Narr attributes only minor influence to the parliament, saying it doesn't even have "the chance of a chance to get in control." The members in the Parliamentary Control Commission (PKG), are required to have a high security clearance and are hardly capable of examining the reports of the security institutions "with the appropriate counter information", says Prof. Narr. "Within the so-called anti-terror domain, it is even worse, because many legal regulations are characterized by indeterminate legal terminology - it is formulated so vaguely that the administration always maintains the power of definition."[2]

Serious doubts

Professor Narr regards the war espionage, carried out by the BND in Baghdad, as the continuation of the long since well-known measures of support that the SPD-Green coalition government had undertaken during the assault on Iraq. Prof. Narr refers to a verdict handed down by the Federal Administrative Court in Leipzig. Last June the court found that the Berlin government had "reached and fulfilled agreements [with the aggressors] to grant them 'over-flight rights' to German airspace, to further use US installations 'in Germany' and the assurance of German "protection of these installations."[3] Beyond this, the war alliance could obtain the "deployment of German soldiers in AWACS aircraft" and thereby assure that their assault was protected on its flanks. "These support measures invoked and invoke serious doubts as to their being within the limits of international law," confirmed the judge in Leipzig.


Once again the German press suggests that the government had committed multiple violations of international law. According to these reports, during the aggression, BND headquarters has transmitted 25 messages from German agents in Baghdad to US officials.[4] With the BKA being implicated in what was taking place in the postwar Middle East and the torture being carried out there, accusations are also growing louder inside the BKA headquarters in Wiesbaden. As has been confirmed to by BKA employees, the official structures are interspersed with "Mafia-"like practices, which escape public oversight and allows a self-propulsion of the security structures to proliferate out of control.


The interim report of the special investigator of the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe, Dick Marty, reveals similarities between BKA practices and CIA methods. According to this report, the German Haydar Zammar was interrogated in Damascus by Syrian security officers - under threat of torture and presented with a written list, which the Syrians had received from US officials. Zammars responses were transmitted further after the "questioning", which took place in the absence of the Americans. The details of this procedure corresponds to the experiences of the BKA detective senior superintendent, Ralph Trede, who, likewise, had question lists submitted to a torture victim in Beirut, handed over to him from Germany, without himself being present during the interrogation.[5] In both cases the system of "outsourcing" becomes clear, in which the western investigator acts as the quiet client in the background, who solicits the services of the authorities of torture states, passes on catalogs of questions, but personally is not directly in attendance during the torture. The congruence between Marty's observations and activities testified to by the German BKA official, allows for the conclusion that German and American agencies proceeded according to a common program and coordinated their efforts. It appears as if the security authorities of the two countries had merged, a merger that is still in place and is a significant element for the need for secrecy.

Deaf, dumb and blind

That the German security officers, who personally interrogated Haydar Zammar[6], knew nothing of the torture being practiced in Damascus, is completely improbable, when considered in light of Marty's report. A former high-ranking CIA agent is quoted as having said that one has to be "deaf, dumb and blind," to seriously believe that the Syrians do not torture. "If you want them to be tortured you send them to Syria," confesses another former US operative in the Marty report: "if you want someone to disappear (...) you send them to Egypt."[7]

Civil Disobedience

Marty believes that the close cooperation of European security agencies with those of other powers, threatens the constitutional structures of the countries concerned. The torture complex is representing a danger to the "functioning of the rule of law state and its democratic foundation", writes a Swiss lawyer and calls for civil disobedience against the precept of official discretion.[8] Officials, aware of and opposed to the "outsourcing of torture" must finally break their silence. The disclosure of their knowledge is an "expression of their being conscious of their civil obligations and attests to their courage, and not a case of denunciation and betrayal." Otherwise the "despicable methods" used in the state's war on terror, is threatening the democratically constituted state with a metamorphic "lapse into barbarism."[9]

[1], [2] see also Interview mit Prof. Dr. Wolf-Dieter Narr
[3] Urteil des 2. Wehrdienstsenats vom 21. Juni 2005 BVerwG 2 WD 12.04. See also "Drehscheibe für den Krieg"
[4] BND-Agenten gaben Ziele in Irak an USA weiter; Pressemitteilung der stern-Nachrichtenredaktion 23.01.2006. See also The Results Were Deadly
[5] see also Täuschen und lügen, The Torturers and And Still Waiting
[6] see also Where is Haydar Zammar? and In Accordance With the Law
[7], [8], [9] Alleged secret detentions in Council of Europe member states; AS/Jur (2006) 03 22 January 2006

see also Alle Kräfte bündeln, "Abgrundtiefe Doppelzüngigkeit", Interview mit Sabine Leutheusser-Schnarrenberger and Außer Kontrolle