On 4 October 2010 a U.S. drone along the Pakistani-Afghan border fired a missile. At least three people, all young men, died in the attack. But that wasn’t news. One of those killed was a German citizen. That was. Bünyamin E., 20 years of age, was alleged to have trained at a terrorist camp and was under investigation by the public prosecutor’s office in Dusseldorf. And yet, following his death, no one is investigating those who killed him, not the U.S. soldiers at the controls of the remotely piloted drones or their superiors.

German authorities find it hard to prosecute their allies in the war on terror if they kill or abduct German citizens, as happened in the case of the Hamburg-based Islamist Mohammed Zammar in autumn 2001. They suffer few twinges of conscience when they forward personal information to security agencies of other states – even when the persons under suspicion have never been convicted of any offence. The fate of E. Bünyamin shows what can happen in extreme cases when information on alleged terrorists is evaluated by foreign agencies: the U.S. army declared the 20-year-old a terrorist and more or less executed him without a trial.

Translated from the German by Anton Baer

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