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Viewing cable 05PARIS4749, FRENCH JUDGE SAYS C/T FOCUS IS ON "JIHADISTS TO

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Reference ID Created Released Classification Origin
05PARIS4749 2005-07-07 15:03 2010-11-30 16:04 SECRET Embassy Paris
This record is a partial extract of the original cable. The full text of the original cable is not available.
STATE FOR S/CT, EUR/WE 

E.O. 12958: DECL: 05/08/2014 
TAGS: PREL PGOV PTER FR
SUBJECT: FRENCH JUDGE SAYS C/T FOCUS IS ON "JIHADISTS TO 
IRAQ" 

REF: PARIS 479 

Classified By: A/DCM JOSIAH ROSENBLATT, FOR REASONS 1.4 B/D 

1. (S) Summary: Islamic/international terrorism 
investigating judge XXXXXXXXXXXX told Poloffs May 6 that his section's open-ended  investigation into potential "jihadists to Iraq" has become  their current priority. With two networks already 
discovered, French authorities fear that "jihadists to Iraq" 
is a growing problem not unique to France, and one that will 
affect other EU countries. XXXXXXXXXXXX also discussed the 
ex-Guantanamo (GTMO) detainees (with the news that one 
detainee may be released), the recent announcement of a GOF 
"white paper" on terrorism, and C/T resource issues and 
rivalries within the French government. End summary. 

--------------------------------------------- 
PRIORITY ON "JIHADISTS TO IRAQ" INVESTIGATION 
--------------------------------------------- 

2. (S) French press reported the arrests April 24 and 25 of 
six people in the Paris and Marseilles areas suspected of 
involvement in the recruitment and sending of potential 
jihadists to Iraq. This is the second network uncovered in 
France since an inquiry by the terrorism investigating judges 
into "jihadists to Iraq" first began in September 2004. In 
comparison to the first network (reftel), XXXXXXXXXXXX said two of 
the suspects recently arrested had significant, long-standing 
ties to Islamist circles. One of them, Said al-Maghrebi, had 
in the past recruited European Muslims to fight in  Afghanistan. XXXXXXXXXXXX said he believed that France, and Europe  in general, was facing only the beginning stages of attempts  to form networks to fight jihad in Iraq. As an example,  XXXXXXXXXXXX  said that GOF investigations into this most recent  network revealed that the suspects had significant ties to  other Islamists in England. The open-ended "jihadists to  Iraq" investigation is now the priority, said XXXXXXXXXXXX , based  on the premise that those going to Iraq not only endanger  Coalition forces and Iraqi stability, but upon return to 
Europe, might constitute a significant terrorist threat. 

--------------------------------------------- ----------- 
ONE EX-GTMO DETAINEE MAY BE RELEASED "BEFORE THE SUMMER" 
--------------------------------------------- ----------- 

3. (S) When asked about the status of the six ex-GTMO 
detainees currently in pre-trial detention, XXXXXXXXXXXX said his 
office was considering the release and dropping of charges 
against Imad Kanouni, one of the original four ex-GTMO  detainees transferred to French custody. XXXXXXXXXXXX said Kanouni  had never undergone military training in Afghanistan, and  though active in extremist religious circles, they had no  evidence linking him to terrorism planning. The continued  detention of Kanouni could damage GOF cases against the  others, said XXXXXXXXXXXX . He said his office depended  significantly upon its reputation within the French justice  system, which tends to give the terrorism investigating  judges the benefit of the doubt. (As an example, XXXXXXXXXXXX said  that the proof against recently convicted Djamel Beghal and  his accomplices, accused of plotting to bomb the US Embassy,  would not normally be sufficient to convict them, but he believed his office was successful because of their  reputation.) If they proceeded to trial with the information  they currently possessed on Kanouni, it would be clear that the judges had been holding Kanouni without sufficient  evidence. Therefore, XXXXXXXXXXXX and fellow investigating judge  Jean-Louis Bruguiere are in favor of his release. Although  he cautioned that a formal decision had not yet been made, XXXXXXXXXXXX said that Kanouni may be released "before the summer."  Turning to the eventual trial of the ex-GTMO detainees, XXXXXXXXXXXX said he was in favor of trying them separately to  avoid the spectacle of multiple defense attorneys arrayed  against one prosecutor. 

------------------------------------ 
GOF TO ANALYZE C/T IN A "WHITE BOOK" 
------------------------------------ 

4. (C) Prime Minister Raffarin announced on May 3 the 
long-rumored commencement of a GOF "white paper" on internal 
security and terrorism. Specifically, the goal of the white 
paper will be to analyze and report on the type of terrorism 
France might face in 2020 and the government's potential 
responses. The report will be written by the General 
Secretariat for National Defense (SGDN) in conjunction with 

SIPDIS 
the Ministry of Interior, and will be given to President  Chirac in early 2006. The paper encompasses six areas, all  of which are being led by different ministries and  individuals. Pierre de Bousquet de Florian, head of the DST  (France's internal security service), will lead a group  studying possible threats; Pierre Brochand, head of the DGSE  (France's external intelligence service), will study  terrorist threats to world stability; Jean-Michel Hubert,  vice-president of the general council on information  technology within the Ministry of Finance, spearheads a group director of Criminal Affairs within the Ministry of Justice, will lead a group studying the role of the legal system in combatting terrorism; Stanislas Lefebvre de Laboulaye, U/S  for Political Affairs-equivalent at the MFA, will study 
international C/T cooperation; and Francois Heisbourg,  director of the Foundation for Strategic Research thinktank  (an organization closely linked to the French government)  will lead a group studying the involvement of citizens and  public outreach to combat terrorism. Heisbourg already heads  an effort by the GOF to put online a publicly accessible  database on terrorism. When asked about the "white book,"  XXXXXXXXXXXX said he hoped it would result in the passage of  stiffer penalties for "terrorism conspiracy" charges, which 
currently carries with it a maximum prison sentence of ten 
years. A contact in the Interior Ministry told Poloff May 4  that the GOF hopes its white book will be taken up for  discussion by the European Union, with the goal of applying  many of its conclusions to the EU's counter-terrorism  approach. 

--------------------------------- 
C/T RESOURCE ISSUES AND RIVALRIES 
--------------------------------- 

5. (S) With the announcement in early April by Justice  Minister Perben that additional magistrates will be assigned  to counter-terrorism, XXXXXXXXXXXX said his section in the Paris  Prosecutor's office will likely grow from its current number  of five investigating judges to seven within the next year.  He said the investigating judges will also be given  additional support staff. Recruiting the investigating  judges has been difficult at first, said XXXXXXXXXXXX , given that  he and Bruguiere and the other veteran judges - Gilbert Thiel  and Laurence le Vert - have a distinct, more hierarchical, 
work environment than is usually the case in the French 
judiciary. XXXXXXXXXXXX also commented on recent press articles on  a renewed attempt by DNAT (the National Counter-Terrorism 
Division, a section of France's judiciary police) to wrest 
away from the DST that service's near-monopoly on Islamic 
terrorism investigations. Currently, DNAT focuses on 
Corsican and Basque terrorism investigations. XXXXXXXXXXXX 
believed that the DST would continue its primary role, given 
that it also is in charge of international liaison, and as 
such, it is the recipient of terrorism-related information 
from other countries, which is a key component of Islamic 
terrorism investigations. 

6. (U) Minimize considered. 
WOLFF