Wednesday, May 18, 2005

THE ONE AND ONLY FAUSTA, of The Bad Hair Blog, has kindly sent the translation of the Libertad Digital article I mentioned in the post below; I decided to put it in a separate, brand new entry so that it doesn't get buried at the end of the previous post. Thank, Fausta, for the translation!

Here it is:
The Kalaji family and March 11: from cell phones, to translations, to the van in Alcalá

While on Monday we found out about the mysteries surrounding knapsack #13 of the terrorist blasts, this Tuesday [Spanish daily] El Mundo reveals surprising new information on the March 11 investigation. The cell phones in the knapsack bombs came from a store owned by Maussili Kalaji, a Syrian officer in the [Spanish] national police, who went from Al Fatah to working as bodyguard for [magistrate] Garzón. The cards in those phones led to the apartment in Leganés. Kalaji’s sister translated The Tunisian’s conversations, and his ex-wife was one of the police officers who first arrived to the van in Alcalá.

Maussili Kalaji, 46-yr old Syrian, has an extensive background. As a youth he was a member of Al Fatah, which back then was one of the most important terrorist groups in the Middle East. Kalaji trained in weapons and explosives in one of the Al Fatah campgrounds. During his tour of the Soviet Union he perfected his training as a secret agent.

According to journalist Antonio Rubio, Maussili Kalaji’s journey in our country starts in 1981 when, having just arrived in Spain, he obtained political refugee status. In 1984 he received Spanish citizenship “for services rendered” to this country, supposedly from information he gave to the secret services. Five years later he joined the National Police’s basic service. After that he rose meteorically in the Fuerzas de Seguridad (Security Forces).

From the basic service he progressed to the Comisaría General de Información (General Information Office), and from there to the Unidad Central de Información Exterior (UCIE), (Central Exterior Information Unit) -- the Unit which later would investigate the March 11 (3-11) explosions. From there he transferred to the Judicial Police Brigade and the [police’s] Minor’s Unit. Lastly, Kalaji ends up as bodyguard for Baltasar Garzón, the National Audience’s (the highest court dealing with terrorism, Supreme court excepted) Magistrate.

According to El Mundo, in 1989 the Syrian-Spaniard took part in a very important operation against Islamic terrorism in the port of Valencia, which uncovered a shipment of explosives camouflaged as tin cans. Baltasar Garzón himself praised this operation on his testimony at the March11 Commission. A year later, Kalaji received a public commendation from the Minister of the Interior. Apparently, it was an informant, Mohamed Arabi, who alerted the police about the shipment coming from Lebanon. The eight detainees from the operation were members of Hezbollah, and four of them were Iraqis. The explosives would have been used in attempts against American, French, Kuwaiti, and Saudi Arabian embassies in Europe.

That same informant, Mohamed Arabi, took part in November 2001 on the Operación Dátil (Operation Date), during which were detained the people accused that are now on trial for their participation in 9-11 attack in the USA. The cell’s leader is, Abu Dada, which whom agent Kalaji was on friendly terms. During Operación Dátil the informant Arabi was arrested, but thanks to Kalaji’s intervention before Judge Garzón, Arabi was set free.

On to March 11 La Razón broke the news to the media in the middle of the 3-11 investigations. The cell phones used in the knapsack bombs came from a store owned by a policeman. The phones were purchased at a shop owned by Indian citizens, and in Kalaji’s business the phones’ internal codes were reset so they could be used by other phone services. When this fact was discovered, agent Kalaji was taken to Canillas station for a deposition. As reported then, once it was established that his shop only did something considered routine in that type of store, and not illegal, the Syrian-Spaniard was free.

The family coincidences don’t stop there. As it turns out, agent Marisol Kalaji, Kalaji’s wife, was one of the police officers that had access on 3-11 to the van in Alcalá. If, thanks to the cards sold in the policeman’s store, the GEO [Spain's police elite squad, like SWAT teams] found out about the Leganés apartment – where the Islamic terrorists later died in an explosion –, thanks to the discovery of the Kangoo van there was access to the Koran tapes, which strengthened the Islamic leads over the ETA.

Once the Islamic terrorists blew themselves up in Leganés, agent Kalaji asked for leave from the Madrid Judicial Brigade. Right now he’s on leave due to depression, even when some who know Kalaji have said, according to El Mundo, that the policeman has been separated by his supervisors because he’d become an uncomfortable witness for some in charge at the Comisaría General de Información (General Information Office), of whom Telesforo Rubio is director. The statements that Kalaji, who had been watched by his fellow officers and the CNI [National Intelligence Center, the Spanish equivalent to the CIA], made to judge Juan Del Olmo remain secret by judicial decree.
As you-know-who would say: developing...