'Secret' CIA Flights Interrupt German Charm Offensive

The new Government of Angela Merkel had hoped to set a more friendly tone for German-U.S. ties, but reports of possible abductions and secret CIA flights through German airspace and using German bases have thrown a monkey-wrench into the plan. According to this editorial from Germany's Financial Times Deutschland, an amicable request for information is more than reasonable.


Translated By Khave W. A. Colthurst

November 28, 2005

Original Article (German)    

Angel Merkel: U.S. Charm Offensive Interrupted

The new chancellor wanted to usher in a more comfortable tone in German-American relations. She wanted to again give the U.S. Government the feeling that Germany is a good friend. 

Scarcely has Angela Merkel taken up office, than the Americans are involved in a scandal involving clandestine CIA abductions, adding unanticipated difficulties to any attempt at establishing normal relations. The CIA is suspected of misusing U.S. military bases in Germany as well as the E.U. for the abduction of Islamic fundamentalists who were later tortured and detained there.

The [German] government has not been forthcoming. Nothing has been proven, nor can the accuracy of every report be taken for granted. Whether E.U. governments were aware of any torture is yet to be determined. The abductions committed by the CIA, on the other hand, have been an open secret.

In order to clarify matters, it's only reasonable for the E.U. to officially request an explanation from the U.S. – an explanation which is past due. In the war on terrorism, the United States’ NATO allies have expressed their discontent with the alleged Human Rights violations at Guantanamo. With regard to the Iraq War, even though the Schroeder government gave the appearance of opposing U.S. policy, it nonetheless permitted the use of German Air Space …

Condoleezza Rice and German Foreign Minister Frank-Walter Steinmeier Met
Tuesday. Rice 'Acknowleged' Concerns Over Secret CIA Prisons and Flights.

European foreign policy has always been dualistic. On the one hand, the U.S.A. is central to its decision-making, and discussions center on bilateral ties, oftentimes yielding to pressure which from any other nation would be unheard of, let alone accepted or tolerated, yet on the other, it just brushes Big Brother off ...

On this occasion, the Federal Government together with the other E.U. governments must demand an explanation simply to preserve their integrity. Those who strive to preserve Human Rights on a global basis cannot afford an affirming silence, when suspicion hangs over the actions of the Americans and their alleged human rights violations. The newly elected Minister of the Interior - Wolfgang Schauble - has with foresight already indicated that there are red lines for the Merkel Government that may not be exceeded. Even for intelligence services, the ends do not always justify the means.

Minister of Foreign Affairs Frank-Walter Steinmeier can hardly avoid asking critical questions of U.S. Secretary of State Condolezza Rice when he meets with her on Teusday. It will be a test of his newly minted diplomatic skills as he presents accusations that are still unsubstantiated … In an atmosphere of conviviality, potential conflicts can be openly discussed, and when it concerns matters of mutual interest, an open exchange is welcomed.

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