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December 4, 2006
A Norwegian tip-off
Craig Whitlock of the Washington Post reports very disturbing news from Oslo about a terror suspect eluding the CIA, thanks to an apparent tip-off by a Norwegian official:
Two months after he helped kidnap a Muslim cleric in Italy, records show, an undercover CIA officer boarded a flight to Norway on another secret mission. Two other U.S. spies followed a few weeks later and checked into the same hotel.
Shortly after the agents arrived in the spring of 2003, an Islamic militant living in Oslo known as Mullah Krekar received a warning from an anonymous Norwegian official, according to Krekar's lawyer. The message: Krekar, then head of a Kurdish insurgent group, was a CIA target and should watch his back.
The spies left Norway by the end of the summer, according to records of their travels compiled by European investigators. If the CIA was planning to abduct Krekar, like other Islamic radicals it had secretly apprehended in Europe after the attacks of Sept. 11, 2001, those plans were quietly abandoned. The full report is complex and quite interesting. Mullah Krekar was once a semi-ally of sorts, when opposing the rule of Saddam. But he reportedly threw in with bin Laden. In Norway, he has become something of a celebrity, and obviously enjoys some support within the government. Yet, Whbitlock also reports:
Norwegian immigration officials have tried for years to kick Krekar out of the country. Citing classified evidence, the government first declared Krekar a threat to national security in 2003 and ordered him deported.
He has appealed to the courts, where he has lost repeatedly. On Nov. 22, an appellate court upheld the government's decision, declaring, "Reasons exist to fear that the plaintiff has links with terrorist activities and groups."
But chances are remote he'll have to leave Oslo anytime soon.
Financed by oil revenues, Norway has created a PC paradise of sorts, a small (in population, if not scenery) nation where the left can afford to indulge many of its illusions. Of course, American courts have their faults, too. But this particular episode is both frustrating and dangerous. Islamic radicals must have quite a hearty laugh over the fecklessness of infidels when viewing this case. Hat tip: Ed Lasky
Under Norwegian law, no one can be deported to a country where he or she could face torture or the death penalty. Judges in Norway have ruled that Iraq is such a place and will probably remain that way for years.