The progressive translator

The purpose of this blog is to provide a forum, a clearinghouse, where progressive translators and other interested persons may discuss issues of concern, including, but not limited to, political aspects of translation, translation theory, the policies and structure of the ATA, and activism at the local group level.

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Ken Kronenberg is a German translator specializing in medicine, patents, and 19th- and 20th-century diaries and letters. The views and positions taken by guest bloggers are not necessarily those of Ken Kronenberg or the Progressive Translator.

Sunday, October 29, 2006

The German government 'knew about CIA torture cells' -- shortly after 9/11

A short item in the British newspaper The Independent, on October 26 that was reprinted in the New Zealand Herald, reports that the German magazine Stern quoted a leaked German intelligence report showing that two of its agents and a translator had visited the US Eagle Base in Tuzla, Bosnia -- shortly after 9/11. The Germans had been asked to assist. While there they saw a torture victim, a 70-year-old terrorist suspect whose "injuries meant that he had to be given 20 stitches to the head wounds he sustained." According to the report, the American interrogator "appeared to be proud" of his actions.

Stern said the German agents had also been given access to documents confiscated by the Americans which were "smeared with blood". One agent was said to have compared the actions of the US interrogators to Serbian war criminals during the break up of Yugoslavia. "The Serbs ended up before the international court in the Hague for this kind of thing."

The two German agents and their translator had been asked to appear at the base to assist the Americans in interrogating suspects and to help evaluate confiscated material. However, according to the leaked report, they informed Germany's Federal Prosecutor of what they had witnessed and left the base shortly afterwards.

Eagle Base was set up in 1995 as part of the Dayton Peace Accords, in part because Bosnia had become a haven for Afghani mujahedin involved in plotting terror attacks.

Everyone can agree on the need to bring those responsible for the 9/11 atrocity to justice; however, it is clear that torture was being used immediately after -- and that translators were needed to do the job effectively.

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