Guantanamo in Hamburg? The Mzoudi Terrorism Case

Friday, February 6th, 2004

Yesterday a court in Hamburg, Germany, found a 31-year-old native Moroccan, Abdelghani Mzoudi, innocent of charges that he had been involved in the Hamburg-based terrorist cell behind the September 11 attacks on New York City and Washington. Naturally, American officials are hardly pleased by this verdict. Turning first to the account you’ve all probably already seen in the New York Times establishes the basic facts here: presiding judge Klaus Rühle ordered Mzoudi acquitted not because he thought him innocent, but because not enough evidence had been presented to prove his guilt beyond a reasonable doubt. And that was partly due to the refusal by American authorities to make intelligence information available to the German prosecutors working for Mzoudi’s conviction.

What does the German press say? (more…)

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German Angst Before Group D

Thursday, December 4th, 2003

Today we finish up our look at the Euro 2004 Group D (“Group of Death”) reactions, this time out of the German press. And there’s certainly plenty there – aided by the fact that the German on-line newspapers, helpfully, don’t follow the practice of enclosing their articles behind for-pay barriers once they get the least bit old.

Die Welt probably has the most complete coverage, headed by an article eloquently entitled Ausgerechnet Holland, or “Of All Teams – Holland!”, complete with a photo at the top of German national team coach Rudi Völler looking very anxious. (more…)

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The Madrid Donor’s Conference for Iraq (German View)

Friday, October 24th, 2003

Yesterday marked the first day of the two-day Iraq donors’ conference in Madrid. I’ve chosen the German press as the prism through which to review events at and surrounding that conference; it usually gives good, comprehensive coverage, and what’s more, in this situation it represents a country which you suspect doesn’t want to be at that Madrid conference in the first place. (Germany’s delegation there is headed not by a political minister – the Minister for Developmental Aid, Heidemarie Wieczoreck-Zeul, might at least have been appropriate – but by her top civil servant, state-secretary Erich Stather.)

The Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung covers Madrid thoroughly, in two on-line articles, the lead one of which is entitled At the Construction-Site of an Iraqi Marshall Plan. (more…)

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“Love Rules”

Sunday, July 13th, 2003

Perhaps a solution to the Italo-German tiff that has been the subject of recent €S entries was there all along, in Bundeskanzler Schröder’s very backyard – if he could have only thought of it in time. But it’s too late now: the Love Parade, that yearly festival in honor of techno-music and “Love” generally held in Berlin’s Tiergarten kicked off on schedule yesterday despite past threats to its very existence from the Berlin municipal authorities. An emergency (federal German) government allocation for flying Italian opinion-leaders up to the German capital to take part might have worked wonders for relations between the two countries. As the on-line photographs accompanying German press coverage make clear, instead of “blonde beasts” they would have encountered quite a few “blonde beauties,” ready to party (or, indeed, even “blond breasts”), with no other thought than to “invade” their own city park, and to a techno beat. (more…)

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A Breakthrough for Germany at the SPD Congress?

Monday, June 2nd, 2003

Sorry, today I’m not going to cover the G8 summit on Lake Geneva, at Evian. From the press coverage you indeed get the impression, as Elisabeth Bumiller of the New York Times (registration required) puts it, of “a messy family reunion,” where the main thing people are interested in is who avoids whom, who smiles at whom, who shakes whose hand and how enthusiastically, etc. This even in the German press, as in Die Welt’s Versöhnlicher Handschlag (“handshake of forgiveness”), or the FT Deutschland’s Bush schenkt Schröder drei Minuten (“Bush grants three minutes to Schröder”). Then, on the other side of the police barricades, you just have whatever credibility the arguments of the “anti-globalists” retain being trashed along with the cars and shop-windows that are the target of that minority of demonstrators who see the occasion as another chance to have some violent fun and quite likely get away with it, since the police can’t bash or arrest them all.

Apparently the summit continues on into today, so the press coverage will likely merit a better look later on. German Chancellor Gerhard Schröder didn’t even make it out to the lake until late last night, but he had a good excuse: He was busy at a special congress of his Social Democratic Party (SPD), gaining party approval for an ambitious program of retrenchment of Germany’s welfare state that he calls “Agenda 2010.” That, as even the Guardian points out in today’s leader, is the sort of major development that merits attention. (more…)

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V-I Day in Germany

Thursday, April 10th, 2003

Yesterday (9 April 2003) apparently was, as The New York Times’ William Safire (registration required) put it, “V-I Day” – “Victory in Iraq Day.” So how did yesterday’s scenes of Iraqi civilian jubilation and statue-toppling go down in the press of our NATO allies who showed themselves rather reluctant to get involved in the program of Iraqi “regime change”? For today, a few observations from German sources: (more…)

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Rejoicing Needs to Be Learned

Saturday, April 5th, 2003

In the German Tagespiegel Malte Lehming offers an interesting commentary (“Jubel will gelernt sein” or “Rejoicing needs to be learned”) on why American expectations to be greeted as liberators by the Iraqi population were disappointed. (more…)

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