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Angela’s Betrayal

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The abduction and torture of Khaled El-Masri has presented the new German Chancellor, Angela Merkel, with her first major crisis. El-Masri, who is a German citizen, was snatched by the CIA and spirited off to a remote facility where he was abused and tortured for 5 months. He was finally released when the American spy-agency realized they had seized the wrong man. So far, the media attention has focused exclusively on the CIA practice of "extraordinary rendition" and on Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice's bland defense of torture. There's been virtually no criticism of Merkel's reaction to the incident or what it conveys about her close alliance with the Bush Administration.

Accompanying Rice at a press conference, Merkel offered a feeble explanation for the criminal kidnapping of a German citizen; "I'm happy to say that we have discussed the one case, which the government of the United States has of course accepted as a mistake."

"A mistake"?

That's it?

No wonder Washington was so enthusiastic when she defeated the antiwar candidate, Gerhardt Schroeder. It's clear now that Bush has a reliable ally in Bonn who will disregard the interests of her own people to serve the policy goals of the American administration.

Consider for minute, what would have happened if the "shoe was on the other foot" and German spy-agencies had abducted and tortured an American citizen only to admit later that it had "made a mistake".

The Bush administration would have cancelled Rice's trip immediately and cut off all diplomatic ties with Germany pending a thorough investigation of the kidnapping.

The case would have been presented to the United Nations Security Council to determine whether a breach of international law had taken place and what punitive measures needed to be taken to ensure future compliance with the rules governing national sovereignty and the protection of American citizens.

The Bush administration would have used its assets in the media to vilify the German leadership and to isolate them in the world community.

Then, Washington would have insisted that sanctions be placed on the errant nation; crippling sectors of the German economy and causing unnecessary suffering to the German people.

Of course, if it was an Islamic country that had committed the crime, Bush would dispense with the niceties and simply carpet-bomb the capital until the Marines had a chance to arrive and topple the existing regime.


Merkel's reaction to the abduction of El Masri proves that she is unwilling to defend German sovereignty, German citizens, or the basic tenets of international law. It shows that she believes that the US is free to operate with impunity whenever it serves their greater geopolitical interests. It confirms that her duties as a Bush-loyalist precede those as German Chancellor and that she will faithfully support American foreign policy objectives whenever possible.

The El Masri incident provides a window into the heart of Washington's newest satrap, Angela Merkel; a steadfast companion of George Bush and the new world order.
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Mike is a freelance writer living in Washington state.

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