State responsibility

The furor surrounding the alleged abduction and interrogation of Pakistani immigrants by domestic and foreign intelligence services once again gave the impression of a country mired in anarchy. Last summer’s incidents will wind up, at some point, in Greece’s courts. Regardless of the accuracy of the allegations, the latest controversy exposed the absence of what is commonly understood as a state and intelligence service. A single incident, however trivial, was enough to prompt withering criticism. The 9/11 terrorist attacks in the US essentially threw the global political scene for a loop and Western political leaders into disarray. The Western world was faced with a highly unconventional threat. The means to combat it were unconventional as well. In an attempt to grapple with this new threat, American and European leaders adopted a set of measures which effectively strengthened the hand of security forces and violated the sanctity of private data. US President George W. Bush (with the consent of the Democratic opposition) declared his country in a state of war, hence legitimating the administration’s dubious policies. But European publics, Greece’s in particular, were left with the impression that nothing really had changed. Faced with major deadlocks, primarily in the economy, and used to a style of decision making that pays little heed to public sentiment, European leaders kept silent over the ever-tightening police measures. The ball was now in the court of the media on both sides of the Atlantic. But the media alone cannot build a political system. That is the business of politicians. In the name of democracy and the right to information, the media have contributed to the dismantling of state structures. It’s up to the politicians to restore them.