Sat, Nov. 22, 2008

RAF and Guantanamo

CK - Washington.   Was German due process afforded its RAF terrorists better or worse than the Guantanamo response to terror? That is one of the many questions The Baader Meinhof Complex movie generated at its East Coast premiere last night at the AFI in Silver Spring, Maryland.

Stefan Aust of the influential Der Spiegel magazine presented an eyewitness account of the Red Army Faction period and the making of the film. Unfortunately insufficiently prepared for explaining with proper legal terms matters such as detention, transcripts or due process, he inferred that German anti-terror authorities deviated from due process standards of the German legal system but not as badly as the Bush administration does with Guantanamo.

Overall, the film--which plays again on Sunday--places the state in the dock, without defense counsel, next to the terrorists. In the 1970s, American police seemed scarier than German police and some could remind foreign visitors of the Gestapo rather than the expected enlightened implementers of the famed American due process of the law. Much has changed in both countries, and Guantanamo is probably not the fairest contrast to German anti-terror policy of thirty years ago.

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