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Germany

German Secret Service Cleared in Iraq Affair But Doubts Remain

A parliamentary enquiry cleared the German secret service on Wednesday of charges that it helped the United States military during its strikes on Iraq.

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German agents were charged with identifying targets in Iraq for US military missions

The enquiry panel found that there was no indication two agents of the German foreign intelligence service (BND) had helped US forces achieve their military objectives in Iraq in 2003.

German media had claimed BND agents helped the US by sharing military information with them, despite Germany's opposition to the war in Iraq.

After the presentation of the report of almost 300 pages by the parliamentary control committee (PKG), the ruling coalition parties of the Christian Democratic Union (CDU) and Social Democrats (SPD) announced that the results exonerated the government and that there would therefore not be another enquiry into the affair.

Government gets adequate vote to avoid probe

The coalition fended off calls for a parliamentary enquiry by securing the necessary two-thirds majority vote within the Bundestag.

BND soll Amerikanern im Irak-Krieg geholfen haben

The US hit a target thought to hold Saddam Hussein before the war

PKG chairperson Norbert Röttgen from the CDU said that both BND agents left in Baghdad just before the start of the war would not have contributed military intelligence to US forces. SPD representative Olaf Scholz added that "there is now no more to examine."

The report, which was presented in a closed session on Wednesday, will be made public on Thursday.

However, while the government closed the book on the allegations, the report was opposed by members from the three opposition parties, including the Greens, who formed part of the coalition government in 2003 when the alleged incidents took place.

Greens representative maintains belief in allegations

The representative of the Green party in the PKG, Hans-Christian Ströbele, held a very different view from the government: "I say, quite unambiguously, that two Federal Intelligence Service employees in Baghdad identified military targets and that Germany passed that information onto the United States," he stressed.

Khaled el Masri wurde von der CIA entführt

The committee saw no complicity in the abduction of Khaled al-Masri

The enquiry body also decided that German secret services had not taken part in detaining Khaled al-Masri, a German of Lebanese origin seized by the CIA in Macedonia in 2003, and that German security services had not taken part in the illegal the examination of terror suspects in Syria and Guantanamo Bay.

Al-Masri believes a German policeman interrogated him in Afghanistan during his custody.

A court in Munich is still investigating whether the government knew sooner than it admitted that the CIA had wrongfully detained al-Masri.

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