German Police Memo: Masri a “Partisan of Military Jihad”

Posted by John Rosenthal

Several English-language media, including, for instance, the Financial Times, reported last week that German authorities have the names of at least three of the American agents involved in the alleged “kidnapping” of Khaled Al-Masri. Masri is the German citizen of Lebanese ancestry who is at the center of the controversy over the CIA “renditions” program. The 22 September Financial Times report was titled “Germany Pressed to Arrest CIA Team”. 

Just two days earlier, however, the German edition of the paper, the Financial Times Deutschland (FTD), published a report titled “German Police were Shadowing Al-Masri” [link in German], which gives reason to wonder whether it is not rather Al-Masri that Germany should be arresting. Citing an unpublished memorandum of Germany’s Federal Bureau of Criminal Investigations (BKA), it notes, among other things, that Masri had been kept under surveillance by the German police and at least since October 2003 was considered to be a “partisan of military jihad.” Note that October 2003 was some three months before Masri’s alleged “abduction” by the CIA in Macedonia. Here some translated excerpts:

According to a classified BKA-Memorandum in possession of the FTD, Al-Masri is supposed to maintain “numerous contacts to dangerous persons [Gefährdern] and accused suspects [Beschuldigten] in the domain of Islamist terrorism.”…The BKA-Memorandum cites an internal document from the Bureau of Criminal Investigations of the state of Baden-Württemberg: “At the latest from October 2003, Al-Masri was known within his milieu as a representative of a fundamentalist line in Islam and partisan [Befürworter] of military jihad.”

The FTD article notes only that Masri was placed under surveillance in Germany upon his return to the country in 2004, following his alleged abduction. But as the last cited detail suggests and as has previously been indicated elsewhere in the German press, he appears in fact to have already been under surveillance before his “disappearance.” Thus an article in the current edition of the weekly Stern [resume; link in German] concludes that “already starting in Summer 2002 Al-Masri was under more intensive police surveillance than hitherto known.” The Stern article likewise cites an unpublished BKA memo — presumably the same one as the FTD.

Regular readers of Trans-Int will know that these are not the first revelations in the German media suggesting Masri’s connections to Islamic extremism. Why did the Financial Times not consider such information to be of interest for its English-speaking readers? For earlier revelations on Masri that have gone unreported in the traditional English-language media, see the new Trans-Int dossier: the “Khaled Al-Masri File”.

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