CIA told Schily about abduction

Old Europe is in a tizzy over finding out more and more details of how the CIA used European airspace and airports to shuttle abducted terrorism suspects to and fro for “innovative interrogation” in what some call a “gulag-like” system of “black sites” – secret prisons. Well, the GULAG it ain’t, but a scandal it sure is.

Now it looks like the CIA had an interesting collaborator in Germany: former Minister of the Interior Otto Schily, as the Washington Post reports:

In May 2004, the White House dispatched the U.S. ambassador in Germany to pay an unusual visit to that country’s interior minister. (…)

[Ambassador Daniel R.] Coats informed the German minister that the CIA had wrongfully imprisoned one of its citizens, Khaled Masri, for five months, and would soon release him, the sources said. There was also a request: that the German government not disclose what it had been told even if Masri went public. The U.S. officials feared exposure of a covert action program designed to capture terrorism suspects abroad and transfer them among countries, and possible legal challenges to the CIA from Masri and others with similar allegations.
Wrongful Imprisonment: Anatomy of a CIA Mistake – Washington Post, December 4, 2005; Page A01

Otto Schily is an interesting figure in German politics. As a co-founder of the Green Party, he is a key figure of the German left. He later “defected” to the Social Democrats, and built a reputation as the one-man law-and-order wing of the German left.

The issue of the CIA planes transporting abducted suspects, many of whom were innocent, could be a huge problem for Germany and other European countries, because they may violate the European Convention on Human Rights. If the German government was aware of these flights and human rights violations were perpetrated on these planes in German airspace or on the ground, than Germany is also implicated in these violations. and unlike the U.S. government, the German government does not assume it can violate human rights with impunity by waving the “9-11 wand.”

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