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Press Review

DW staff (als)July 10, 2007

German Interior Minister Wolfgang Schäuble is under fire for suggesting a security policy that would allow the indefinite detention and "targeted killing" of terror suspects, and a ban on Internet and mobile phone use.

Schäuble's proposals have stirred controversyImage: Montage DW/AP

Cologne's daily Kölnische Rundschau was pragmatic about Interior Minister Wolfgang Schäuble's suggestions. "If it were up to Schäuble, a wave of new laws would roll over us. But new laws do not make us safer. They would also not have prevented the terrorist attacks in New York, London and Madrid. Suicide bombers do not allow themselves to be intimidated by threats, or deterred by cell phone prohibitions or threats of possible detainment. Improving the capacities of police, on the other hand, would be one viable alternative…," the paper wrote.

The Berlin-based Berliner Morgenpost was more understanding in its commentary. "Interior Minister Schäuble wants to sensitize what he calls carefree citizens to the dangers of international terrorism. That is neither alarmism, nor scare tactics, but quite simply a confrontation with reality. But his latest approach seems rather fishy even to his colleagues in his own political party. It's a good thing that Schäuble wants to minimize the risk of terrorist attacks. However, rather than challenging the conditions in a state ruled by law by making far-fetched proposals and suggesting that terrorist activites could be comprehensively deflected, he should clearly admit that at least a minimal risk will always remain in an open society. A state that must not only guarantee its citizens' security, but also their rights of freedom, must be willing to willing to bear that risk."

The mass-circulation Bild tabloid partially defended Schäuble: "Everyone is familiar with the three monkeys who see no evil, hear no evil, say no evil. The Social Democrats, The Left Party and the (liberal) Free Democratic Party (who all oppose Schäuble's proposals) are like the three monkeys. They do not want to see, hear nor say anything about what international terrorism means for Germany's democratic and constitutional state. That's why they are trying to put a muzzle on Schäuble. Yet the challenge exists; it is not an invention. It's not our domestic security experts who are blowing a fuse, but the suicidal radicals under the cloak of Islam. One can -- and should -- debate over whether every idea of Schäuble's is a solution to the problem, or whether instead the baby is being thrown out with the bathwater. But it is scandalous to insinuate that the interior minister wants to create a police state. It is not Schäuble who is going astray, but all those who imply that of him, and who actually only want to avoid entering into difficult debates.

Mannheim's Mannheimer Morgen reflected on Schäuble's approach over the years. "Schäuble was always considered a level-headed politician with depth. He never had the image of being a reckless taskmaster who goes through life with a whip in his hand. That someone such as himself is now seriously proposing such ideas shows just how far boundaries have been pushed. One could critically reflect over and discuss his suggestions in the past. One can now only shake one's head over his latest proposal."

BKA Terror Bahn Ermittlungen Hauptbahnhof Köln
Terrorists attempted train bombings in Germany last yearImage: AP
Deutschland Verfassungsschutzbericht Wolfgang Schäuble
Interior Minister SchäubleImage: AP