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Home / Press review / Archive / Press review | 10/12/2014



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US Senate condemns CIA torture

The CIA's interrogation tactics were 'far more brutal' than assumed said Dianne Feinstein, who presented the report. (© picture-alliance/dpa)


A US Senate committee on Tuesday presented a report on the interrogation tactics of the CIA that reveals how the intelligence service has tortured presumed terrorists since 9/11. Some commentators express shock and see countries in Europe as the CIA's accomplices. Others call the outcry hypocritical given that these practices were common knowledge.

De Standaard - Belgium

Torture makes Democrats barbaric

The report on CIA torture methods is a lesson in humility faced with the power of terror, the liberal daily De Standaard warns: "A constitutional state that gives its intelligence agency a legal basis for the arrest, unlimited detention and torture of suspects is no longer in control of the terrorist machine that it itself set in motion. Even in a country in which all democratic institutions function and all institutional guarantees are upheld, the limitation of basic rights leads to uncontrolled arbitrariness, violence and the abuse of power. ... The fact that the torture achieved nothing comes as a release, however. And perhaps it's the best way of preventing a government from once again trying to take the search for a 'forceful' answer this far. ... Those who torture accept the barbaric logic of the enemy." (10/12/2014)

El País - Spain

Monitor agents, close down Guantánamo

The left-liberal daily El País sees a unique opportunity for Obama to finally shut down Guantánamo: "If one thing has become clear it's the imperative need to put the CIA under the stringent control of a non-governmental agency. The US can't present itself as a pioneer of freedom as long as its most important globally active organisation is constantly committing atrocities. Any potential advantages the superpower gains from the unhindered activities of the CIA against terrorist suspects can't outweigh the damage they do to the country's reputation. President Obama will never find a better reason to close down Guantánamo. It was one of his first campaign pledges and six years later it has yet to be fulfilled." (10/12/2014)

The Guardian - United Kingdom

European states are CIA's accomplices

For the left-liberal daily The Guardian the torture report is just the start of an investigation process in which European states will also be called to account: "To this day the exact scale of European complicity remains unknown. This is because of the secrecy maintained for years by the US and its partner governments. Washington has never confirmed the location of secret CIA prisons nor named the governments that cooperated, and neither does the material just published. ... European states that took part in the CIA operation were complicit in violating fundamental human rights, the Geneva conventions and the UN convention against torture. None, with the exception of Sweden perhaps, has admitted to any wrongdoing. ... As the US embarks on a renewed effort to get to the truth, this could be a good time for Europe to come clean. (09/12/2014)

Mladá fronta dnes - Czech Republic

Criticism of secret service torture hypocritical

The CIA torture practices against presumed terrorists were well known to everyone in political Washington, the liberal daily Mladá fronta Dnes writes, showing little sympathy with the sudden outcry at the revelations: "Not only the current governing Republicans but also many Democrats voiced agreement that after 9/11 there could be no chumming up with terrorists. When the CIA informed Congress, including Democrats, of the results of the interrogations, no one raised their voice in protest. Until Obama banned torture in 2009 the accepted view was that it had saved many innocent lives. ... Unpleasant questions still persist: what to do when terrorists seize a plane full of people and try to use it as a weapon of destruction? Shoot it down, even if that means killing all the passengers on board? What a fine world we lived in when such questions didn't demand answers. But that world no longer exists." (10/12/2014)


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Süddeutsche Zeitung - Germany

Putin fears his own people more than Nato

More than 60 prominent German signatories signed the open letter "Another war in Europe? Not in our name!" published in German media on Friday. The left-liberal daily Süddeutsche Zeitung questions the assumption on the part of the signatories that Russia fears encirclement by Nato: "Vladimir Putin loves to tell his Western counterparts how Russia is being encircled and how Nato is menacing his country with its advances. ... The appeal shows that this seed has fallen on fertile ground in Germany. ... More than half the Russian population put Russia's becoming a world power over their own prosperity. They are not afraid, but they want to make others afraid. Vladimir Putin uses these feelings because he himself is afraid: the anti-Western rhetoric began in 2012 after hundreds of thousands of Russians protested against rigged elections. And it was radically sharpened during the Maidan protests in Ukraine. In truth Putin is less afraid of Nato than he is of his own people." (10/12/2014)

Radikal - Turkey

Baghdad allies with Kurds and helps Europe

The Iraqi central government in Baghdad has reached an agreement with the Kurdistan Regional Government in Erbil over future oil exports from the Kurdish Region of Iraq. All parties stand to benefit, the liberal internet paper Radikal believes: "With this agreement both the Kurds and Baghdad will fill their pockets. In signing the document, the Kurds are not only giving their word that they will share the revenues from oil sales with Baghdad, they are also renewing their alliance with Baghdad. That means they're committing themselves to putting their own dreams of independence on the back burner for the moment. For the US and Iran, which are both opposed to an independent Kurdistan, that is good news. Even Europe can benefit from this situation. If Baghdad and Erbil join forces and cooperate over energy, it can help to cover Europe's gas demands and reduce its dependency on Russia." (10/12/2014)

Weekendavisen - Denmark

Greenland must grow up

Greenland, which is part of the Kingdom of Denmark and is currently financed by the latter, must reform itself after its parliamentary elections on November 28, the conservative weekly Weekendavisen demands: "Greenland's political class must get its act together and reform the country's society. The economy must be boosted and the major state-owned companies privatised. Furthermore primary schools must focus more on conveying knowledge and less on the ethnic policy [presenting Greenlanders as belonging to an independent nationality] that currently dominates the education ideology and seriously neglects the children. The government must also make it worthwhile to have a job. Greenlanders must realise that it is the state's over-protectiveness that has got them into the situation they are now in. Sooner or later Greenland must find its way back to normal." (10/12/2014)


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Il Sole 24 Ore - Italy

Samaras faces Europe with a vital question

The announcement by Greek Prime Minister Antonis Samaras that he will move the presidential elections ahead from mid-February to mid-December has caused a crash on the Greek financial markets. Since the opposition left alliance Syriza wants to see the election fail, Athens also risks early parliamentary elections. Greece is facing Europe with a choice on its future, the liberal daily Il Sole 24 Ore believes: "If Alexis Tsipras's radical left alliance Syriza wins the early parliamentary elections in February, Europe may have to decide whether to take a step in the direction of a fiscal union or to look on as the first of the 18 member states exits the monetary union. ... Athens is forcing the Eurozone to take a hard look at itself. What type of union does it want to be? A community of states ruled by solidarity, or a group of economies forced together by treaties and troika envoys who monitor compliance to the agreements that have been signed?" (10/12/2014) - Greece

Panicking hedge funds give Greece hope

If some hedge fund representatives are panicking at the prospect of the left-wing alliance Syriza winning the elections in Greece this can only be good for the country, the web portal Protagon writes: "The hedge funds will leave the country no matter what government is elected. And the sooner they leave, the better. But don't we need their investments? Not necessarily! The hedge funds never make long-term investments, that's not their task. They want to buy a few cheap shares and hope that the price will rise so they can sell them at a profit. After that they will turn their attention to other countries and no longer be interested in what they have left behind. ... So let the hedge fund representatives panic. Their panic is our hope." (08/12/2014)

Der Standard - Austria

Threat of watered-down FTT

There is now the danger that the Financial Transaction Tax which is to be introduced in eleven EU member states will be substantially watered down in its final version. According to reports France in particular has been awkward about its implementation. Yet the basic idea behind the tax was good, the left-liberal daily Der Standard comments: "The European Commission originally proposed a model with which the eleven willing states could have recorded and taxed practically any financial transaction they wanted to. The message behind it was: capital may be able to flow freely these days but it won't escape regulation and taxation because from now on we're cooperating on an international level. If individual governments like that in Paris now obstruct the tax they are demonstrating how little they have learned from the financial crisis." (10/12/2014)

Diário Económico - Portugal

Portugal going back to pre-crisis habits

Many statistics indicate that Portugal has finally emerged from its crisis. But the rising consumption could also mean that six months after exiting the bailout programme the mistakes made before the crisis are being repeated, the liberal business daily Diário Económico comments: "The troika is gone. The economy is no longer in a downwards spiral. The unemployment rate is falling more quickly than anyone had predicted. ... Is the crisis over? According to some statistics, yes. They suggest we're back to 'business as usual'. Car sales for instance have risen by almost 35 percent. ... Private consumption hasn't gone up as quickly since 2010. ... There are two explanations for this trend: one is that the crisis is indeed over. The more pessimistic is that we are once again sowing the seeds of our misfortune." (09/12/2014)

Rzeczpospolita - Poland

The Economist ruining Poland's reputation

While the Polish government is predicting an economic growth rate of 3.3 percent for 2014, the British business magazine The Economist has lowered its prognosis for the country from 2.7 to 2.6 percent. The conservative daily Rzeczpospolita is annoyed at what it sees as undue pessimism: "This isn't the first time the magazine has been far off the mark: in April 2009 it only put out a single projection for the entire year, and it was the most pessimistic on the entire market. According to the magazine, Poland's GDP was set to drop by 3 percent in 2009. In the end it rose by 1.6 percent, leading then prime minister Tusk to describe us as an 'island of happy souls'. ... It's incomprehensible why The Economist still publishes such negative forecasts for Poland. The magazine wields enormous influence and is read by many decision makers around the globe." (10/12/2014)


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De Volkskrant - Netherlands

Social rift helps right-wing parties

The gap between the elite and the rest of the population is growing in the Netherlands according to a study published by the Netherlands Institute for Social Research (SCP). Right-wing populists always know how to exploit such trends, columnist Sheila Sitalsing warns in the left-liberal daily De Volkskrant: "Hatred of foreigners and of the elite: this is the breeding ground of the [right-wing populist] Party for Freedom. Geert Wilders knows exactly which areas offer high potential for exploiting hostility and vengefulness. ... Now this study has shown that no one wants to belong to the elite. Even the representatives of the elite do their best to play down their status. ... They all say that the elite has long since ceased to be an impregnable fortress. But the respondents, the 'average citizens', take a different view. ... It's inevitable that an elite exists. But it's saddening that a growing number of people believe that it's no longer possible to climb the ladder through honest work." (10/12/2014)

Dnevnik - Slovenia

Slovenia must guarantee human rights

In recent months Slovenia has been called on by both the United Nations and the EU Commission to introduce a system for actively guaranteeing human rights in the country rather than just dealing with the problem on a case-by-case basis. The left-liberal daily Dnevnik joins in the call: "Saving the world starts with saving an individual, it's true. But the state can't afford to deal with every single case. The EU Commission has already initiated a preliminary investigation into failures to comply with several directives on equal treatment and equal opportunities. ... If Slovenia doesn't find a systematic solution to the problem of protecting human rights it could end up costing the state one and a half million euros. Human rights have at least one good quality that also benefits the state. It's easy to calculate revenues and expenditures. It's always cheaper to prevent the abuse of rights than to clean up once the damage is done. The price of human lives is very high." (10/12/2014)

Krónika - Romania

Hungarians reject Romania's national holiday

The Orthodox priest and journalist Eugen Tănăsescu is appalled that so few members of the Hungarian minority took part in Romania's Great Union Day celebrations. The Romanian daily Krónika, which is published in Hungarian, defends the Hungarians: "Brimming with nationalism the Orthodox priest was so enraged that he called for all those who don't treat Romania's national symbols with the respect they deserve to be deprived of their Romanian citizenship. ... Perhaps he should think about why Romania's national holiday is so repugnant to the Hungarians. If he took the trouble to ask the Hungarians he would learn that for them December 1st stands for Romania's broken promises [of 1918, on autonomy rights for Hungarians] and the marginalisation of the Hungarians who are not treated as citizens with the same rights as Romanians by the Romanian state." (06/12/2014)

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