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German Ex-Minister Under Fire Over CIA Abduction

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  • Greg Cannon
    http://www.dw-world.de/dw/article/0,2144,1801715,00.html 05.12.2005 German Ex-Minister Under Fire Over CIA Abduction Germany s former interior minister, Otto
    Message 1 of 1 , Dec 5, 2005
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      http://www.dw-world.de/dw/article/0,2144,1801715,00.html

      05.12.2005
      German Ex-Minister Under Fire Over CIA Abduction

      Germany's former interior minister, Otto Schily, is
      facing pressure by opposition politicians to reveal
      his knowledge about the abduction of a German national
      by the US intelligence service.

      Greens parliamentarian Volker Beck said that Schily,
      who left office Nov. 22, should tell the legislature
      what he knew about the abduction.

      "We will question the government on this and push for
      a clarification," Beck said.

      According to a report published by The Washington Post
      -- and contrary to Berlin's claims --the former German
      government had been informed about at least one case
      of a CIA abduction of a terror suspect.

      In May last year, Daniel Coats, the then United States
      ambassador in Berlin, told Schily that Khaled el-Masri
      -- a German citizen -- had been wrongfully held by the
      CIA but would soon be released, according to the
      report.

      El-Masri was abducted by the American intelligence
      agency in 2003 and spent 5 months in a prison in
      Afghanistan.

      German public prosecutors such as Eberhard Beyer have
      started to look into the case of Khaled el-Masri,
      issuing arrest warrants against 22 people allegedly
      involved in the abduction.

      "These agents were operating on German soil which
      automatically means they committed their crimes under
      German jurisdiction," Beyer said. "That is why we've
      started legal investigations on grounds of coercion
      and deprivation of liberty rights."

      Schily, a Social Democrat, has so far not commented on
      the case. A spokeswoman for the interior ministry,
      which is now led by conservative Wolfgang Schäuble,
      said she could not speak for the previous regime.

      Will Rice talk in Berlin?

      Deputy Foreign Minister Gernot Erler (SPD) said he
      understood that governments do not want to reveal
      details about the fight against terror, but added that
      the public has a right to "at least know what the
      legal situation was and whether national and
      international laws were adhered to."

      In an interview with public broadcaster RBB, Erler
      added that expected US officials to inform their
      German counterparts about allegations regarding secret
      CIA flights transporting terror suspects across German
      air space. The United States airbase in Frankfurt
      allegedly was the hub of clandestine CIA operations,
      which have triggered a public outcry in Europe.

      But Erler said it wasn't clear whether such
      information would become available during US Secretary
      of State Condoleezza Rice's visit to Berlin late
      Monday and Tuesday.

      Hadley denies allegations

      In an interview for CNN on Sunday, US national
      security advisor Stephen Hadley gave a first
      impression of the type of answer Europeans can expect.

      "The terrorists threaten all of us," he said. "This is
      a threat really to the civilized world. We need to
      cooperate together to deal with this terrorist threat.
      That cooperation is characterized by three things:
      One, we comply with US constitution, US laws and US
      treaty obligations. Secondly, we respect the
      sovereignty of those countries with whom we are
      cooperating, and three -- we do not move people around
      the world so that they can be tortured."

      Merkel with Bush in February in Mainz,
      GermanyBildunterschrift: Großansicht des Bildes mit
      der Bildunterschrift: Merkel with Bush in February in
      Mainz, Germany

      German Chancellor Angela Merkel, who is trying to get
      German-US relations back on a more friendly footing,
      has said that she believes the Americans will clear up
      the case.

      "The new German government will do everything in its
      power to work for close, genuine and trusting
      relations with the United States," she said. "That's
      why I'm also fully convinced that the American
      administration will do everything to dispel European
      concern and clear up allegations of illegal CIA
      activities as quickly as possible."
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