The European Parliament and CIA Flights

The Christian Science Monitor, an American newspaper with a solid team of foreign reporters, addresses the European Parliament’s investigation of CIA flights and prisons in Europe.

The article makes two main points. The first one, which I find pretty interesting, is that the European Parliament seems to be consciously bypassing national parliaments and officials. The EU Parliament is investigating something  that Europeans themselves — but not necessarily their respective national governments — want investigated:

The [EU Parliament’s] allegations have so far created few official waves, coming as they do as European governments mull their own responses to international terrorism – and after reports late last year had already prompted a round of transatlantic diplomacy. But the response does indicate that the US has a black eye not so much with European governments, but with European publics. And it also hints – as the report alleges – that at least some European governments not only knew of the flights and transfers of suspected terrorists, but also cooperated with them.

European governments and security forces, the piece makes clear, are urgently aware of the risk they face from Islamist terrorism. I’ve been surprised to see more press coverage of European anti-terror tactics (especially in France) in the English-speaking press than in the European press. Generally, the coverage is neutral or even positive, as in "Even though France has millions of Islamic citizens, it has had no terrorist attacks on its soil. That’s not by chance, it’s the result of a successful security policies. Here’s what they are — marvel at their un-French harshness!"

I didn’t see a single article on this topic during my stay in France, and I’ve seen only one in Germany, although it’s possible I’ve missed something. I often wonder whether, if Europeans received daily coverage of their own governments’ aggressive anti-terrorist policies (including surveillance, infiltration, detention, and deportation), that would change their attitude toward the fact that their officials tacitly consented to the CIA’s actions…

2 thoughts on “The European Parliament and CIA Flights

  1. Actually there is German press coverage of topics like surveillance, infiltration, detention, and deportation of suspected persons and groups.

    And there is a public debate if certain parts of the government’s anti terror policy is really necessary, e. g. the ideas of German minister of defence, Franz Josef Jung, who wants to enable the military forces to act inside Germany by a constitutional amendment.

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  2. I don’t think it would change much. Most people in Europe are against those tactics whether they are used by the US or European states, and in my experience from living in the UK, continental people don’t have the same sense of “let’s all join together and show our support for our leaders now that there is trouble” attitude that I’ve witnessed in anglo-american people (generalization, obviously). For an example, consider that the Madrid train bombings didn’t create a wave of national unity but the opposite, and although there were other issues if they had any effect on the elections it was a damaging one for the party in government at the time.

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