German sues for CIA extradition

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A German citizen has gone to court in an attempt to force his government to seek the extradition of 13 suspected CIA agents who allegedly kidnapped him.

Khaled al-Masri says he was abducted in December 2003, flown to a US detention centre in Afghanistan and tortured.

Mr Masri was released in May 2004 after his captors allegedly told him he had been mistaken for someone else.

In September, the justice ministry decided not to pursue arrest warrants issued for the suspected CIA agents.
A spokeswoman, Eva Schmierer, said the ministry had been told by Washington that any extradition would jeopardise "American national interests".

The new civil suit launched by German and US civil rights lawyers representing Mr Masri seeks to force the German government to reconsider the extradition requests it issued in January 2007.

Mr Masri said that he was angry that, four years after the incident, no government had recognised his ordeal.

"I just want the German government to acknowledge what happened to me," he told reporters.

German Chancellor Angela Merkel has said the US government has acknowledged making a mistake with Mr Masri.

However, in October the US Supreme Court dismissed Mr Masri's appeal against the ruling of lower courts not to hear his case on national security grounds.

'Salt pit'

Mr Masri says his case is an example of the US policy of "extraordinary rendition" - a practice whereby the US government flies foreign terror suspects to third countries without judicial process for interrogation or detention.

He says he was kidnapped in the Macedonian capital, Skopje, in 2003, flown to a secret prison in Afghanistan, nicknamed the "salt pit" and tortured there.

On his flight to Afghanistan, he says, he was stripped, beaten, shackled, made to wear nappies and drugged.

Mr Masri says he was finally released in Albania five months later after the CIA realised they had got the wrong man.
He told the BBC in February 2007 he had been "traumatised" by his experiences.

"A spokeswoman, Eva Schmierer, said the ministry had been told by Washington that any extradition would jeopardise "American national interests".

Fk you and your American National Interests.... wtf happened to his own nation protecting his own interests and their own people? Yet one more example.... Capturing people they assume are the bad guys they want, fly them off to some other country, beat the living hell out of them, torture and humiliate them.... and when it's all said and done what does he get? "Sorry, you wern't who we were looking for..." and drop him off in another country (Albania) ~ They didn't even have enough decency to send him back to his own country ffs.... fk'n american scum.... makes me sick.
He's been arrested before for Arson.


According to Die Welt Online (in German) the problem arose over a dispute over an iPod that El-Masri had bought at a METRO warehouse club store back in April in the Bavarian city of Neu-Ulm.[38] He claimed the iPod malfunctioned just hours after purchase. When he tried to return it, the store refused, and the situation escalated into a shouting match. El-Masri spat in the face of a female employee, and was barred from the store.

Doesn't sound very German to me. This story is obviously highly biased looking to demonise the west, he's Lebanese.

On May 17, 2007, El-Masri kicked in a door of the Metro store and used gasoline to start a fire. The fire caused over €500,000 in damages. Nobody was hurt. El-Masri was arrested near the scene of the crime. After arrest, a judge ordered him held in a psychiatric hospital for unknown reasons. On May 18, El-Masri's attorney, Manfred Gnjidic, conceded his client did burn down the store, but blamed it on his client's torture experiences and claimed that the German government did not provide enough therapy to him after his return from Afghanistan.[39]

I don't have any sympathy for criminals.


A German citizen has gone to court in an attempt to force his government to seek the extradition of 13 suspected CIA agents who allegedly kidnapped him.

Like that's gonna happen.


wtf happened to his own nation protecting his own interests and their own people?

He's lucky to have a German passport. In cases of national security, and in the interest of US-German relations the idea of even thinking of extraditing CIA agents is laughable.
None of the above justifies what the CIA did to him, and if he's a German Citizen, then Germany should have done something to protect him, regardless if he has commited petty crimes, or is just a plain jerk.... that's not justification for being hauled off to be tortured by a forign country, authorized by another forign country.

And if he started the above fire due to mental conditions that might be related to him being tortured, then that's the complete opposite of justifying him being sent off to be tortured. And it doesn't matter if he's Lebanese or if he's French... if he holds citizenship for Germany, he's a German Citizen and should have been protected as one.

And how does this document bias the West, when it's specifically identifying what "the West" actually did to him? It's not demonize the West, the West does it juts fine on their own.

This whole situation reminds me of the Arar case..... and regardless of this guys' past or present crimes he may have commited, those crimes were not the reasons why they picked him up.... and regardless if they were, they claimed at the end that they got the wrong guy, so therefore any of those crimes are irrelevent in this situation, he was abducted, tortured, drugged, humiliated and then sent on his way..... I don't see anything yet that clears this problem.
lone wolf
Is he a German citizen for convenience - like a certain fifteen-year-old from Gitmo is Canadian? Ships aren't the only things that false-flag
Quote: Originally Posted by lone wolfView Post

Is he a German citizen for convenience - like a certain fifteen-year-old from Gitmo is Canadian? Ships aren't the only things that false-flag

That's exactly where I was going. A lesson Canada, Germany, the UK, Sweden, Denmark, France and Spain should learn a bit more about.
Quote: Originally Posted by AndemView Post

That's exactly where I was going. A lesson Canada, Germany, the UK, Sweden, Denmark, France and Spain should learn a bit more about.

Well if you guys don't like the system, change it... until then, abide by the rules and proceedures that the countries enacted for their citizens and uphold them for their own national security, not some other forign country's security. If you have a citizen who broke the law, then your country should deal with them.

Regardless, it still doesn't justify the kidnapping, drugging, torturing and beating of this guy for whom apparently was the wrong guy they were looking for in the first place and didn't do anything. But with the expressed mentalities above, I assume that since these people like Omar, Arar, and Khald here are Muslims I guess it doesn't matter as much as if it was a citizen who was white or Christian.

Not to mention, Omar was born and raised in Canada and is as much a Canadian citizen as myself or anybody else born within Canada.... not some kid who squeezed through the system just to get a "Get out of Jail Free" card as some here think. Regardless of his family's and his own faith beliefs, he's still a Canadian Citizen... and anybody who comes to our countries and goes through the proper procedures and processes to become a Citizen of our countries, makes them a Citizen of our countries plain and simple.... not some second class citizen to be tossed around in secret detention camps around the world to be beaten and tortured for fun..... no wonder why there's such hate towards our ways of life..... we tolerate, put up with, ignore, and excuse this sort of thing when it is done to people who are different from us.... and to me, there's no justification for it.

Oh, and not only is Omar a bad example of this as being born and raised in Canada, but he's also considered a Child Soldier and should be treated as such.... that is if they can actually prove he threw the grenade they claimed he did, and not the guy they killed who was alive at the time of the throwing.

And also with Arar and this guy Khald... is that they both never did anything to justify them being kidnapped as they were and tortured in secret and were later released because they were actually just ordinary citizens who posed no threat to any nation whatsoever.....

The bigger problem here is not just that everybody is turning an uncaring eye towards these people because they're "Not Truly German" or "Not Truly Canadian" but the biggest problem is that our societies seem to be accepting this sort of thing as the norm and allow it to go on...... who is to say they won't start doing the same thing to anybody else later on down the road? Maybe yourself? Maybe someone you care about?

Oh, but they don't threaten our countries and they never pose a risk, one would say..... well neither did any of these people.... they were taken away for all I could gather, was because of how they looked or their names.... racial profiling.

Frig people, we're tollerating the exact same things our nations supposivily fought to get rid of over 60 years ago.... how screwed up is that?

It was all done to the Jews.... it was all done to the Japanese.... and yet, everytime we look back and shake our heads at those times and to swear never again.... we just seem to not see the exact same things we're doing now which are almost exactly the same. I guess we just have to treat every culture and group of people like absolute crap and dogs until we finally learn that if we're all supposed to be equal, then we should all be treated that way.
lone wolf
There is a big difference between people who immigrate because they want to better their lives in another country and those who are running away from trouble in their own. Some come with hopes and dreams. Some come with chips on their shoulders and thoughts of getting even in their hearts.
When Israeli Mossad are allowed to use Canadian documentation to escape responsibility for their actions....."false-flagging" isn't unique to any particular nationality. How many Americans do you suppose tell people they meet in Europe and elsewhere that they're "Canadian".....

Until nations are prepared to hold America accountable for its crimes.....
Praxi... thank you so much for putting some clarity of logical thinking into this case.I'm 100% behind you!!

I just need to picture myself as an immigrant and therefore automatically a second-class citizen when it comes to me needing help, because I was labeled "a threat", "a German", a Nazi!", or anything else.

Andem, this case reminds me very much of Kurnaz, the young boy from Bremen, who spent, like Omar, years in Guantanamo. How Germany wound itself like a guilty snake to avoid admitting their Afghan soldiers mishandled him and gave dubious papers about Kurnaz to the Americans, which resulted in him being tortured and brought to Guantanamo. How Steinmeier screwed around and tried to shove all blame from his screw-up to the fact no evidence of German mishandling existed, albeit they all of a sudden discovered they had "lost" all data for the time of Kurnaz's incarceration in Afghanistan.
I was soooo disappointed about Germany's handling of the boy. The tiny fact he had not yet his German citizen paper he had applied for, the fact he was born in Germany, raised there, went to school and finished his apprenticeship as a shipbuilder there... all didn't matter... he was a Turk!!! Turkey was responsible for him!!!

Praxius has put the finger right on the sore spot.... racism!!!! Germany hates the Turks!!!
Last edited by dancing-loon; Jun 11th, 2008 at 09:06 AM..
Here is how it happened...and I hope you will all read it!!

'They beat me from all sides'

A German car salesman says that a year ago he was kidnapped in Europe, beaten and flown to a US-controlled jail in Afghanistan. Now the German government is collecting evidence to back up his story. James Meek hears Khaled el-Masri's account of life in America's secret offshore prison network
  • James Meek (external - login to view)
  • The Guardian (external - login to view),
  • Friday January 14 2005
  • Article history
A man is walking alone along a mountain path in the darkness. He is carrying a suitcase. He seems frightened, tired and confused. He has long hair and a long beard, but they are untidy, as if he did not grow them voluntarily. He turns a bend and meets three men carrying Kalashnikovs. The man shows them his passport. It indicates that he is a German citizen, born in Lebanon, called Khaled el-Masri. Using poor English, he tells them that he does not know where he is. They tell him that he is on the Albanian border, close to Serbia and Macedonia, and that he is there illegally since he doesn't have an Albanian stamp in his passport.

The story that el-Masri tells them by way of explanation, on this evening in late May 2004, is extraordinary: a story of how an unemployed German car salesman from the town of Ulm went on a New Year's holiday to Macedonia, was seized by Macedonian police at the border, held incommunicado for weeks without charge, then beaten, stripped, shackled and blindfolded and flown to a jail in Afghanistan, run by Afghans but controlled by Americans. Five months after first being seized, he says, still with no explanation or charge, he was flown back to Europe and dumped in an unknown country which turned out to be Albania.

What really happened? With no way to prove his story, el-Masri's account remains in the balance, a terrifying snapshot of America's "war on terror". It is certain that he returned home to Ulm from Albania in May 2004, and that he was taken off a bus from Germany at the Macedonian border on New Year's Eve 2003. The only person who has offered a clear explanation for what happened in the five months in between is el-Masri himself. Yet that may change.

The German authorities are now taking his allegations very seriously. They are subjecting a sample from el-Masri's hair to radioisotope analysis, which can reveal, down to a particular country, the source of a person's food and drink over a period of time.
Discussions are also under way about bringing to Germany two men whom el-Masri has identified as being with him in the Afghan prison, and who were also subsequently released. The fact that the German authorities do regard Ulm as an area of potentially dangerous radical Islamic activity - a number of premises were raided and alleged Islamic activists were arrested on Wednesday - only emphasizes the concern that Germany has over the el-Masri case.

So far the US authorities have neither confirmed nor denied el-Masri's story, although German investigators first requested information about the case in autumn. The FBI office in the US embassy in Berlin did not return calls yesterday.

On Tuesday the Guardian was the first European news organization to interview el-Masri, at the Ulm offices of his lawyer, Manfred Gnjidic. In a conversation lasting more than four hours, el-Masri conveyed a powerful impression of sincerity: if his story is not true, he must be an actor of genius.

He broke down in sobs as he described the moment he was abducted by masked men and put on a plane, excused himself to vomit as he recalled the filthy water he was given to drink in jail, and brightened as he described the hours before his return to Germany. Often he would pick up a pen and sketch the layout of a room or building.

If true, the abduction would add to our understanding of a pattern of US behaviour frightening in its implications both for America and for the rest of the world. The former director of the CIA, George Tenet, told the US 9/11 Commission last year that even before September 11 the US had abducted more than 70 foreigners it considered terrorists - a process Washington has declared legal under the label "extraordinary rendition".

An investigation by the Washington Post last year suggested that the US held 9,000 people overseas in an archipelago of known prisons (such as Abu Ghraib in Iraq) and unknown ones run by the Pentagon, the CIA or other organisations. But this figure does not include others "rendered" to third-party governments who then act as subcontractors for Washington, enabling the US to effectively torture detainees while technically denying that it carries out torture.

El-Masri's ordeal began, he says, when he decided to escape, for one week over New Year, the stress of living in a single room in Ulm as the unemployed father of a family of six. On a friend's recommendation he bought a cheap bus ticket to Skopje, capital of Macedonia, intending to find a hotel when he got there.

The bus left the borders of the EU and crossed Serbia without incident. Then, at the Macedonian border, at 3pm, el-Masri was called off the bus. Now 41, he has lived in Germany for 20 years, the last 10 as a citizen. "I didn't feel bad," he says. "I just thought it was a mistake."

He was taken to a room with a table and chairs where four men whom he took to be Slavic searched his luggage and questioned him in poor English, asking him about links to Islamic organizations. Several hours later, flanked by armed police, he was driven to a city he assumes was Skopje and escorted to the hotel room where he was to spend the next few weeks. "I asked if I was arrested," says el-Masri. "They said: 'Can you see handcuffs?'"

El-Masri was kept prisoner in the room for 23 days; Macedonian civilian police were constantly present, and he was subject to repeated interrogations about his links to Islamic organizations - he says he has none - and about the mosque in Ulm where he worships.

After about 10 days, a Macedonian Mr Nice appeared. "He said it was taking a long time, too much time - let's make an end to it, and let's make a deal. 'We have to say you are a member of al-Qaida ... then we'll put you on a plane and take you back to Germany.' I refused, naturally. It would have been suicide to sign."

But el-Masri was accused of having been to a terror training camp in Jalalabad, of having a fake passport, and being in reality a citizen of Egypt.

On the evening of January 23, he was handcuffed, blindfolded, put in a car and told he was going to Germany. He was driven to a place where he heard the sound of a plane, then heard the voice of one of the Macedonians saying he would have a medical examination.
"I heard the door being closed," says el-Masri. "And then they beat me from all sides, from everywhere, with hands and feet. With knives or scissors they took away my clothes. In silence. The beating, I think, was just to humiliate me, to hurt me, to make me afraid, to make me silent. They stripped me naked. I was terrified. They tried to take off my pants. I tried to stop them so they beat me again. And when I was naked I heard a camera." El-Masri breaks down as he recalls the moment when the men carried out an intrusive **** search.

He was dressed in a nappy, a short-sleeved, short-legged suit and a belt. His feet were shackled and his hands were chained to the belt. His ears were plugged and ear defenders placed over them and a clip put on his nose. A hood was put over his blindfold. With his arms raised painfully high behind his back, he was driven to an aircraft where he was thrown down on to a bare metal floor, chained and bound, and given an injection. He was dimly aware of a landing and takeoff and a second injection before the plane landed again and he was put into the boot of a car.

El-Masri arrived in what he later found to be his cell by being pushed violently against the wall, thrown to the floor, having feet placed on his head and his back and having his chains removed. The cell was to be his home for the next four months. From the graffiti on the wall - in Arabic script, but not Arabic - and the Afghan dress of the guards, he deduced that he was in Afghanistan. There was nothing in the cell except a blanket, a filthy plastic mat and a bottle of tainted water so vile that the memory of it makes him literally gag.

El-Masri soon discovered that the prison, though technically Afghan, was run from behind the scenes by the US. His first encounter with an American was with a masked individual who spoke English with what el-Masri believes was an American accent. He had a Palestinian translator. The American took a blood sample and photographed el-Masri naked again.
"I asked him if I could have fresh water," said el-Masri. "And he said: 'It's not our problem, it's a problem of the Afghan people.' I said: 'Afghanistan doesn't have planes to kidnap people in Europe and bring them here, so it's not the problem of the Afghan people.'"

By whispering through the door, and exchanging messages on pieces of toilet paper, el-Masri found out a few details about his fellow prisoners: two Saudi brothers of Pakistani origin who had been imprisoned for two years, two Tanzanians, a Pakistani, a Yemeni, and several Afghans. (Mr Gnjidic says two of the prisoners have been traced but he didn't want to identify them for fear of putting their lives at risk.)

El-Masri says the first of many interrogations was carried out by a masked man with a south Lebanese accent, with seven or eight silent observers in black masks listening in. "He said: 'Do you know where you are?' And I answered: 'Yes, I know, I'm in Kabul.' So he said: 'It's a country without laws. And nobody knows that you are here. Do you know what this means?'"

Repeatedly, he would be asked the same questions, challenging his identity, accusing him of attending terrorist training camps. Some of the interrogators, el-Masri believes, were American.

After about a month, el-Masri met two unmasked Americans who other prisoners referred to as "the Doctor" and "the Boss". The Doctor was a tall, pale man in his 60s with grey collar-length hair. The Boss was younger, with red hair and blue eyes, about 5ft 10in, and wore glasses.

Then, in March, el-Masri and the other prisoners began a hunger strike. After 27 days of starvation, he was taken in chains one night to meet the Americans and a senior Afghan. Near to hysteria, el-Masri said they had to let him go, put him before a US court, let him speak to somebody from the German government, or watch him starve to death.
The Boss told him he had to get Washington's permission to help him, but was clearly angry, saying: "He shouldn't be here. He's in the wrong place." "I had the impression that the Doctor thought I wasn't guilty, and had sent a report saying so even after the second interrogation," says el-Masri. Yet he was taken back to his cell, where he continued his hunger strike.

Conditions in the cell improved, with a bed and a new carpet, but he was barely able to move. On the 37th day he was force fed chocolate-flavoured nutrients through a tube stuffed up his nose. El-Masri began to eat again and the Americans brought him fresh water and promised that he would be released within three weeks.

They brought a native German speaker to the prison. "I asked him: 'Are you from the German authorities?' He said: 'I do not want to answer that question.' When I asked him if the German authorities knew that I was there, he answered: 'I can't answer this question.'" (Hofmann, the prosecutor, says the German security services do not admit to any knowledge of an agent visiting el-Masri in prison.)

It was to be more than a week before el-Masri finally got out of the prison; the German told him one of the obstacles to his speedy release was the Americans' determination not to leave any evidence that he had ever been there. He was flown to Albania in what he thinks was a small passenger jet, blindfolded and in plastic handcuffs.

When el-Masri got back to Ulm, he found his wife and four children had disappeared. They had returned to Lebanon. He traced them, brought them back, and told his wife his story.
"It was a crime, it was humiliating, and it was inhuman, although I think that in Afghanistan I was treated better than the other prisoners. Somebody in the prison told me that before I came somebody died under torture. Those responsible have to take responsibility, and should be held to account."

Hofmann and his investigative team now have two tasks: to find evidence supporting or disproving el-Masri's story and, if they can show it is true, to work out who to charge with kidnapping. But how do you charge a government? "For the moment," says Hofmann, "I have to believe the story, because there is no evidence that it is not true." (external - login to view)
While reading this account my mind flashed back to our troops in Afghanistan, handing their prisoners over to the Afghans, where some were tortured. Who can say it isn't the Americans still behind the prison, as el-Masri found out?
Harper's gruffy and secretive response to our questions regarding these prisoners could suggest he knows very well who runs the prison.

Macedonia most likely got paid good $$$ for their "services"!!!

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