New allegations are coming up regarding Germany being part of the US-run global gulag in the current "war on terror," where Islamist suspects are flown around the world, held, interrogated and tortured in secret detention centers.
In an interview I conducted last May with Islamist lawyer Montasser al-Zayat, he said Egyptian cleric Abu Omar was beaten up in a US base in Germany, following his kidnapping in Milan by CIA agents, but stressed his client was not interrogated there:
â€œHe was handcuffed, and blindfolded with a piece of cloth. The plane had flown for about an hour and half, when it landed in unknown location. But he was sure it was a non-civilian place. And it was a very cold place. He felt he was taken to a hall of a vast space. They stripped him off his clothes, and dressed him in blue overalls. They took the blindfold off his face. He saw in front of him a big number of people, wearing special forcesâ€™ fatigues. They were all dressed in black, and masked, without exceptions. All of them were masked. They were carrying guns. Then, they wrapped his face, all of it, with a sticking bandage. It was very tight. He said when he arrived in Egypt, and as they took the bandage off, his facial hear, moustache and beard were plucked off his face. Before they board him on another plane, they photographed him in the overalls. â€˜Then they wrapped my face with sticking bandage, and put me on another plane,â€™ he said.â€�
You also say he was beaten in that base which he thinks in Germany?
â€œI am a precise person, and that is why I enjoy credibility. Iâ€™m saying what my client is saying, and nothing more. He says â€˜I was beaten.â€™ But he didnâ€™t tell me how he was beaten. I assume this was to pacify him. In Egypt, he said, â€˜I was tortured.â€™ Thereâ€™s a difference that I can understand well. â€˜Torturedâ€™ is different from â€˜beaten.â€™ In these places (Italy and Germany) he received punches.
â€œIn the place where he thinks it was the American base in Germany, Iâ€™ll read to you what he said: â€˜I was beaten. I found a number of persons, masked, dressed in special operations fatigues. They photographed me. They beat me. Then they put me in other clothes, and wrapped my face in a sticking bandage. And then, they took me and put me on board of a plane.â€™â€�
If it's true terror suspects were held and interrogated in Germany, then the German intelligence must have been let in on what's going on. It's hard to imagine the US conducting such activities without "someone" at least in the German intelligence knowing about it, if not aiding the operation like in the Italians' case.
The new allegations put forward by a British legal group representing Gitmo detainees is suggesting, however, the same base Abu Omar was held in might have been used for interrogating terror suspects like Khaled Sheikh Mohamed.
This is could well snowball into another political scandal, similar to the one that followed the disclosure that German BND agents aided the invasion of Iraq by supplying the Americans with coordinates of targets on the ground and Saddam's plan to defend Baghdad, despite Berlin's official anti-war position.
I book I recommend on extraordinary renditions of Islamist suspects is Stephen Grey's:
Ghost Plane: The True Story of the CIA Torture Program