Monday, January 09, 2006

Merkel:Criticizes US

Spiegel Online reports Days before her inaugural visit to the United States, German Chancellor has criticized the US detention without trial of terror suspects held in Guantanamo Bay.....

SPIEGEL: The US government feels it is legitimate to hold prisoners under water until they believe they are drowning. Is this acceptable to you?

Merkel: There was a similar debate in Germany over the 2002
kidnapping of Jakob von Metzler, the banker's son. The issue then was whether it is legitimate to threaten or use torture to save the life of a child. The public debate showed that the overwhelming majority of citizens believed that even in such a case, the end does not justify the means. That is also my position.

What about to save 1,000 children? How about 1,000,000?
SPIEGEL: Do you agree with Interior Minister Wolfgang Schäuble's view that in the fight against terrorism, it is necessary to use information that may have been obtained through torture?

Merkel: Not in a criminal proceeding.
We are not seeking to sue terrorists, or even arrest them and send them to prison.
Information obtained under dubious circumstances cannot play a role in legal proceedings in a constitutional state. But everything that's available must be taken into account in threat prevention. What do you do when other countries' intelligence agencies give you information and you aren't entirely certain about its source? Simply ignore it? That's impossible. We have a duty to guarantee the safety of our citizens.
So you don't want us to use torture to protect our citizens, but if we do use it, and learn something that will protect German citizens, you would be happy to use it.
SPIEGEL: In the interest of threat prevention, can German officials be sent to the prison camp at Guantanamo Bay to interrogate detainees?

Merkel: An institution like Guantanamo in its present form cannot and must not exist in the long term.
What business is it of yours? And do you think they would be treated better in a Middle East prison?
We must find different ways of dealing with prisoners.
You can lock them up, let them go, or kill them. What other alternatives do you suggest? And if you don't want us to lock them up in Gitmo, do you want us to let them go so they can try to kill us (or you) again (many that have been released from Gitmo continue with jihad), or would you prefer that we just kill them?
As far as I'm concerned there's no question about that.

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