Germany's Die Tageszeitung newspaper has a frontpage story today about fellow blogger Omar Abo-Namous and his wife, who got a late night visit from the police during their honeymoon in a village in Lower Saxony. Omar is Ph.D student in Hannover and has hosted the German version of the fifth Carnival of German-American Relations. (GM Roper hosted the English version.)
Apparently eight policeman were ordered to put their kevlars on and check out the newlyweds, because a "concerned citizen" got suspicious to see a "middle-eastern" looking couple arrive in the village "without an automobile" at night. Yeah, right, Al Gore's Inconvenient Truth convinced Al Qaeda to go "green" and use public transport. (Please, excuse the pun.) And since the oil price is so low, Saudi Arabians cannot afford to donate any money to charities with Al Qaeda ties. So the poor terrorists have to go by bus and train.
When should a concerned citizen get really concerned? In her New Year's address, Chancellor Merkel calls upon everybody: "We need a culture of closer inspection, not looking away." She was referring to many shocking cases of child murder, abuse and/or neglect, but the dilemma is similar. Omar's honeymoon, however, was not ground for a police visit, but that happens, when fear of terrorism is too big.
Omar explains in his blog Too Much Cookies what happened in October: Terroristen auf Flitterwochen ("Terrorists on Honeymoon"). He also writes about today's Die Tagezeitung article taz: Terror im Liebesnest, which covers the investigation and what some locals say. Unfortunately, it is all in German so far.
The struggle between counterterrorism and civil liberties increased on January 1, 2008, when a new law for the mass retention of internet and telephone connection data (Vorratsdatenspeicherung) went into effect. DW World reports that "more than 30,000 Germans have filed a mass lawsuit, marked by protests, against a controversial law that allows the storing of telephone and Internet data for up to six months as part of efforts to combat terrorism."
Some related articles: Dialog International writes about "Muslims in Germany."
The AFP News Agency reports that "Belgium was on 'maximum' alert for possible New Year's Eve attacks." And Reuters reports that the Dutch police arrested three men on New Year's Eve suspected of planning an imminent attack. Welcome to 2008!