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Wednesday, November 22, 2006

Rendition investigation watch: Khaled Al-Masri

John Rosenthal from in on top of the possible investigations to be conducted by the new Congressional majority into the "extraordinary rendition" controversy. In simple terms, this form of "rendition'" is "involves the sending of untried criminal suspects, suspected terrorists or alleged supporters of groups which the US Government considers to be terrorist organizations, to countries other than the United States for imprisonment and interrogation."

One man with a complaint about the practice is Khaled Al-Masri, about whom John has couple of interesting links. The first, here, questions the truthfulness of el-Masri and the second, here, reports:
A German Muslim whose detention and torture by the CIA prompted an apology from Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice will be granted a visa to come to the United States, although he might still be refused entry.
"Khaled el-Masri was found inadmissible to the United States on the basis of ... terrorist activities, and issued a visa on the basis of a waiver from the Department of Homeland Security," a State Department official told United Press International.
The official declined to comment further, saying that the details of visa decisions were confidential.
***
Mr. el-Masri, a German citizen of Egyptian origin, said in a lawsuit last year that he was stopped at the Macedonian border in December 2003 while on vacation, and handed over to U.S. officials, who beat and drugged him, and took him to a secret prison in Afghanistan, where he was detained without charge and subjected to "coercive interrogation" for five months.
His case has become a lightning rod for European criticism of the United States over secret CIA prisons and other practices, including secret imprisonment of terror suspects without trial.
***
Two federal officials confirmed at the time that Mr. el-Masri's name was on the secret U.S. watch list of known or suspected terrorists, the Terrorist Screening Database.
One of them told UPI that there was a high-level dispute last year between the State Department and another agency, which had originally "nominated" Mr. el-Masri to the list.
"State wanted him taken off," said the official, adding that the dispute had risen to what he called "a high level" within the agencies involved.
This could get interesting. Fasten your seat belts...

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