An amazingly weaselish editorial in Thursday's Wall Street Journal Europe (subs. req'd); the WSJ is unhappy that European countries are pursuing legal remedies against extraordinary renditions -- cases where their citizens or residents were plucked off the streets by US agents and moved to 3rd countries without any legal process. Notice the antiseptic language and insinuations --
In Germany as well, counterterrorism has been easily politicized. Back in 2003, Khaled al-Masri, a German national of Lebanese descent, was arrested at the Serbian-Macedonian border by Macedonian police. A terrorist suspect, he was handed over to the CIA agents, who moved him to Afghanistan. There he claims to have been interrogated also by a German intelligence agent. Berlin denies this allegations. A few months later, the Americans released him. The CIA hasn't commented on the case.
According to various leaked German intelligence reports, Mr. al-Masri had close contacts to radical Islamist groups. Since his return, he has made a career for himself on German TV shows as an innocent victim of American aggression.
The fact that al-Masri didn't meet even the CIA's flimsy criteria for getting dumped into Guantanamo Bay clearly cuts no ice with the Journal, which apparently knows a terrorist when it sees one (or at least sees his profile).
And there's the conclusion, an old standby of this crowd --
The Continent doesn't share America's perception of the threat from Islamic terrorism, nor its means of fighting it. We hope that Europeans don't soon find themselves missing these "CIA thugs."
One wonders what sense of "hope" is being used in that last sentence.
UPDATE 26 FEBRUARY: The WSJ returns to this topic in a Monday editorial (subs. req'd; alt. free link) --
It doesn't help that many Europeans embrace the preposterous legal notion of "universal jurisdiction," the idea that an ambitious prosecutor can indict and try anyone for an alleged crime committed anywhere in the world.
This is the climate in which, for example, a German court this month issued arrest warrants for 13 CIA agents allegedly involved in transferring a German-Lebanese terrorist suspect, Khaled al-Masri, to Afghanistan for questioning. It made no difference that Mr. al-Masri had been arrested in Macedonia.
For one thing, would American prosecutors be expected to ignore a crime committed against an American citizen in another country?