Khalifa Murder Investigation Marked By Confusion, Unanswered Questions
By J.M. Berger
Authorities in Madagascar are investigating at least three Arab suspects in the murder of Mohammed Jamal Khalifa, a brother-in-law of Osama bin Laden, according to published reports.
U.S. and Philippines authorities have long alleged Khalifa was a top al Qaeda financier. A Saudi national, Khalifa consistently denied any link to terrorism and was never successfully convicted of a terrorist-related offense. He was killed Jan. 30 in Madagascar.
Two French-language newspapers in Madagascar, Midi Madagasikara and L'Express de Madagascar, have been closely following the murder investigation. Two additional articles appeared in an online journal, the Madagascar Tribune.
INTELWIRE could confirm few details from the reports, which conflict with each other and with information from other sources. But the articles, published in February and March, clearly reveal an investigation in flux and fraught with unresolved questions.
Khalifa was in Madagascar attending to business matters at a sapphire mine he owned there. According to reports, Khalifa was attacked by a group of 20 to 30 men. He was shot twice, apparently once in the chest and once in the back, reports said. He was also attacked with an axe, one report said.
A locally infamous bandit named "Dr. Olivier" was described as the leader of a 30-person gang of "dahalo," or bandits, that attacked Khalifa in Sakaraha, Madagascar, at the end of January. Olivier was reportedly shot in the back and killed while trying to flee from police in a dawn raid on Feb. 1.
When police searched Olivier's home, they found a newly issued passport and determined that many of his papers had been removed, reports said.
Initially, one report said, a member of Olivier's gang confessed to the crime and implicated the ringleader. However, the gang member described an attack by only six people, including Olivier. Other reports consistently indicated 20 to 30 assailants.
Few details from the newspaper reports could be confirmed by INTELWIRE. The reports themselves contain conflicting information. They also did not match up with at least one eyewitness account, according to a source close to the situation. That witness described the attackers as wearing military-style uniforms, the source said.
Other conflicts among the stories include the number of suspects identified by police, which ranged from three to 10, depending on which day and which newspaper was reporting. Three suspects were reportedly arrested within days of the murder.
As of March 13, the latest report, six people were said to have been arrested, in addition to the killing of Olivier.
At the time of the shooting, police reportedly found a safe in Olivier's possession. A laptop computer, two mobile phones and a suitcase or briefcase had been stolen during the attack on Khalifa, reports said. The reports did not indicate if any of the stolen items were in the safe.
"I think that it was pure and simple criminal act," said Albert Rakondravao, Director of the Criminal Investigation Department, told Midi Madagasikara in early February.
But around the same time, Khalifa's brother Malek began accusing local authorities of covering up a "a premeditated crime for political reasons" while still denying that Jamal Khalifa was involved with al Qaeda, according to a report in the Al Hayat newspaper.
"After I saw... the maneuvers by officials (in Madagascar)... I became convinced that the government of Madagascar sold Jamal's fate to international intelligence services," he told Al Hayat.
As the Madagascar newspapers revealed, the official investigation was indeed becoming dense and confused; the initial claims of a simple robbery soon came into question as the number of suspects expanded.
INVESTIGATION BECOMES MURKY
The investigation ground to a halt by Feb. 8 -- because three of the four suspects then identified by police were Arabs, reports said. The local police didn't speak Arabic, anonymous sources told Midi Madagasikara, and the investigation was essentially suspended while authorities sought a translator. One of the suspects was an interpreter, the report said, but investigators didn't trust him to accurately translate the interrogations.
A special task force was put in charge of the investigation, reports said, and police clamped down on the flow of information.
Toward the end of February, an additional mystery emerged. According to Midi Madagasikara, eyewitnesses identified a female suspect who the papers said was with Khalifa on the night of his assassination. One report said the woman had been shot in the foot during the attack and was initially taken into custody. Lacking any immediate evidence implicating her in the attack, she was released.
Later, investigators concluded from footprints at the scene that the woman had guided the assassins to Khalifa's room. It was unclear whether the early report that the woman had been wounded was true, or whether this account was consistent with the previous account. At one point, reports said, the woman was suspected of casing the location, and possibly providing weapons and ammunition used in the attack.
By Feb. 22, reports said, the woman had had vanished and was being sought by police. According to reports, the woman was an associate of another man, named Paul Fils, who had provided a Peugeot 405 used by Khalifa during the trip, and who was now also a suspect.MAKING ARRANGEMENTS
Khalifa's body was flown back to Saudi Arabia in early February on a Boeing 777 rented by the family, reports said. Nineteen people were on board the flight, including an ambassador from Saudi Arabia, reports said.
One report described a delegation that had been personally dispatched by Saudi King Abdullah. Passengers on the flight were met by government officials who conveyed regrets. The car that conveyed his body to the airport received a police escort.
Khalifa was licensed to operate the mine in 2000, reports said. The papers reported that the Muslim community in Madagascar spoke out to say that Khalifa had no connections to terrorism. Khalifa employed many in the region and the mining operation was valuable, reports said.
The CIA investigated Khalifa in relation to the attacks of September 11, according to the Madagascar reports, and CIA representatives went to Madagascar in 2001 to investigate the Saudi. A worker at the mine named Amin was also questioned by the CIA, according to reports. The CIA was persuaded Khalifa was innocent, or at least that no charges could be brought, and dropped the case, the newspapers said.
Another Madagascar newspaper, the Journal of the Island, reportedly took a much harsher view, arguing that Khalifa was a terrorist who had been treated with "astonishing leniency" by the CIA and FBI, claiming those agencies withheld evidence against the Saudi.
The Journal report, which quoted in other sources but not reviewed by INTELWIRE, appears to simply reiterate charges, long circulated in the West, that Khalifa founded businesses and charities in the Philippines which were then used to financing terrorist activities and the activities of the Abu Sayyaf Group in that country. Previously on INTELWIRE:
US, Interpol Tracked Khalifa Before KillingINTELWIRE Exclusive DocumentsKhalifa's Life-And-Death SecretsDossier: Khalifa Arrest and Deportation
This article was compiled from the following reports:
INTELWIRE is now part of the Multifaceted Media Group. Read more.
INTELWIRE has moved. New stories can be found at http://news.intelwire.com/. Please update your bookmarks.
Gaza Flotilla Official Was Foreign Fighter in Bosnia
Exclusive: U.S. Gave Millions to AQ-Linked Charity
Exclusive: Declassified Docs on Bhutto Killing
American Jihadists Threaten South Park Creators
In Saudi Arabia, A Significant Discussion on Takfir
Sovereign Citizens Give Props To Glenn Beck
The Growing Aafia Siddiqui Problem
Awlaki's Path To Jihad
Intelwire Social Media
Binladin Group Contracts With US Air Force
The Rumor Mill: Yayha Al Libi
'Pakistan Five' Struck From The Mold
Five American Jihadists Arrested in Pakistan
Hal Turner Court Records
David Coleman Headley
US Muslims Threatened Over Nidal Hasan
Convicting Khalid Shaikh Mohammed
A Key Failure In Understanding Nidal Hasan
AmericanJihadists.com is a new Web site in the INTELWIRE.com family. This site will start as a blog connecting to resources and documents on the subject of American citizens who take part in military jihad activities. The blog will give way in 2010 to a broader and more ambitious Web site that provides detailed source material from J.M. Berger's forthcoming book, "American Jihadists." I hope to have an update soon with details about the book release.
Contact J.M. Berger for more information
A Key Failure in Understanding Nidal Hasan
Was Nidal Hasan A Rational Actor?
Tarek Mehanna's Online Chat Sessions
Secret OKC Bombing Footage Released
Jihad Magazine In English Targets Americans
Abu Mansour, American Jihadist In Somalia
Al Qaeda Hits Yemen, As Predicted; Lessons
The 'Christian McVeigh' Straw Man
Date of Al Qaeda's Founding
ATF Raids White Supremacists in 3 States
Terror Plot Targeted Newburgh Air Base Where High-Value Al Qaeda Detainees Landed
Criminal Complaint, Luqman Ameen Abdullah et al.
1994 State Department report on Gamaat, Al Qaeda
Criminal complaint re: Tarek Mehanna
Search warrant affidavit re: Tarek Mehanna
Archived copy of Tarek Mehanna's blog writings
Secret Service Timeline of OKC Bombing
Najibullah Zazi indictment
Affidavit in support of detention of Najibullah Zazi
Court documents, Bryant Neal Vinas
Indictment of Ousssama Ziade (Ptech)
Psychiatric evaluation of Aafia Siddiqi
Grand Jury Indictment of Aafia Siddiqui
Prosecutor's Letter to Judge re: Aafia Siddiqui
9/11 Commission Interviews on Pakistan
FBI 9/11 Documents, 1/2004 to end
The Secret 9/11 Briefing For World Leaders
New Oklahoma City Bombing Files
9/11 Commssion: State Department Secret Cables
FBI 9/11 Documents, 1/2003 to 12/2003
DoS: Exporting Terrorist Tactics From Iraq
9/11 Commission: Interview, Chas Freeman (DoS)
9/11 Commission: Interview, Tom Furey (DoS)
9/11 Commission: Interview, John Hamre (DoD)
9/11 Commission: Interview, Jamie Gorelick (DoJ)
9/11 Commission: Financing Task Force
9/11 Commission: Hijacker investigation
9/11 Commission: FBI Command Post
9/11 Commission: Jarrah investigation
9/11 Commission: Atta Investigation
Summary: Terrorist Interdiction Program (TIPS)
Summary: PISCES terrorist watchlist
9/11 Commission: Madeleine Albright interview
6/30/2002: FBI Lead Sheet, Dar Al Hijra
10/9/2002, FBI Report, Saudi 9/11 Links
Al Qaeda In America
The Siege at Mecca Sourcebook
Mohammed Jamal Khalifa Sourcebook
Ali Mohamed Sourcebook
Click to view all Sourcebooks
OKBOMB & The Order: Conflicting Data in FBI Docs
Behind the Rumsfeld-Saddam Handshake
Terrorists Add Strong Encryption To Toolbox
PATCON: The FBI's Secret War With The Militia
The 1994 Attempt To Kill Osama Bin Laden
U.S. Secretly Met Blind Sheik's Disciples
The Infiltrator and 9/11: Ali Mohamed
Jamal Khalifa: Life and Death Secrets
Secret Service Document Describes Missing Scenes F...
Oklahoma City Bombing Witness Linked to CIA, New F...
Bombing Investigation: ATF Raids White Supremacist...
Oklahoma City Bombing Videotapes Release May Be Im...
Terror Plot Targeted Newburgh Air Base Where High-...
OKBOMB and The Order: New Documents Don't Add Up
Jesse Trentadue Offers Reward In Brothers' Death
Trentadue OKC Lawsuits Expand To CIA, Add Demand F...
U.S. Had 'High Confidence' Of UBL Attack In June 2...
Al Qaeda Suspect Aafia Siddiqi Diagnosed With Depr...
Monday, January 12, 2004
Wednesday, January 14, 2004
Friday, January 16, 2004
Wednesday, January 28, 2004
Wednesday, February 11, 2004
Friday, February 20, 2004
Monday, February 23, 2004
Wednesday, March 10, 2004
Monday, March 15, 2004
Tuesday, March 16, 2004
Wednesday, March 17, 2004
Friday, March 19, 2004
Tuesday, March 23, 2004
Thursday, March 25, 2004
Sunday, March 28, 2004
Tuesday, March 30, 2004
Wednesday, April 07, 2004
Thursday, April 08, 2004
Sunday, April 11, 2004
Monday, April 12, 2004
Tuesday, April 13, 2004
Friday, April 16, 2004
Tuesday, April 20, 2004
Thursday, April 22, 2004
Saturday, May 01, 2004
Sunday, May 02, 2004
Thursday, May 06, 2004
Friday, May 07, 2004
Sunday, May 09, 2004
Monday, May 10, 2004
Tuesday, May 11, 2004
Thursday, May 13, 2004
Friday, May 14, 2004
Saturday, May 15, 2004
Tuesday, May 18, 2004
Thursday, May 20, 2004
Friday, May 21, 2004
Tuesday, May 25, 2004
Wednesday, May 26, 2004
Thursday, May 27, 2004
Tuesday, June 01, 2004
Thursday, June 03, 2004
Saturday, June 05, 2004
Thursday, June 10, 2004
Saturday, June 12, 2004
Monday, June 14, 2004
Wednesday, June 30, 2004
Saturday, July 17, 2004
Thursday, July 22, 2004
Friday, July 23, 2004
Tuesday, July 27, 2004
Monday, August 02, 2004
Saturday, August 07, 2004
Sunday, August 08, 2004
Tuesday, September 07, 2004
Friday, September 10, 2004
Sunday, September 26, 2004
Saturday, October 02, 2004
Monday, October 04, 2004
Sunday, October 10, 2004
Tuesday, October 12, 2004
Wednesday, October 13, 2004
Wednesday, November 17, 2004
Friday, December 03, 2004
Sunday, December 05, 2004
Friday, December 17, 2004
Tuesday, December 21, 2004
Friday, January 21, 2005
Tuesday, January 25, 2005
Thursday, February 03, 2005
Tuesday, March 01, 2005
Thursday, March 24, 2005
Wednesday, March 30, 2005
Friday, April 01, 2005
Wednesday, April 06, 2005
Thursday, April 07, 2005
Wednesday, May 04, 2005
Thursday, October 20, 2005
Tuesday, October 25, 2005
Thursday, November 17, 2005
Monday, December 26, 2005
Saturday, December 31, 2005
Thursday, January 05, 2006
Friday, January 13, 2006
Thursday, January 19, 2006
Wednesday, February 08, 2006
Thursday, March 30, 2006
Monday, May 08, 2006
Tuesday, May 09, 2006
Saturday, June 03, 2006
Monday, June 05, 2006
Thursday, June 08, 2006
Friday, June 09, 2006
Tuesday, June 13, 2006
Friday, July 28, 2006
Sunday, July 30, 2006
Tuesday, August 01, 2006
Thursday, August 03, 2006
Thursday, August 10, 2006
Thursday, August 17, 2006
Tuesday, August 22, 2006
Sunday, August 27, 2006
Saturday, September 02, 2006
Sunday, September 03, 2006
Sunday, September 10, 2006
Monday, September 11, 2006
Tuesday, September 19, 2006
Thursday, September 21, 2006
Friday, September 22, 2006
Wednesday, September 27, 2006
Thursday, September 28, 2006
Saturday, September 30, 2006
Sunday, November 05, 2006
Tuesday, November 07, 2006
Wednesday, November 08, 2006
Monday, November 13, 2006
Tuesday, November 14, 2006
Monday, November 20, 2006
Tuesday, November 21, 2006
Friday, December 01, 2006
Monday, December 04, 2006
Tuesday, December 05, 2006
Thursday, December 14, 2006
Saturday, December 23, 2006
Sunday, December 24, 2006
Tuesday, January 02, 2007
Wednesday, January 03, 2007
Sunday, January 14, 2007
Friday, January 19, 2007
Wednesday, January 31, 2007
Friday, February 16, 2007
Thursday, February 22, 2007
Wednesday, March 14, 2007
Sunday, March 18, 2007
Tuesday, March 20, 2007
Thursday, March 29, 2007
Thursday, April 12, 2007
Tuesday, April 17, 2007
Wednesday, May 30, 2007
Thursday, June 14, 2007
Tuesday, July 17, 2007
Wednesday, July 18, 2007
Friday, July 20, 2007
Sunday, August 12, 2007
Monday, September 17, 2007
Monday, October 08, 2007
Saturday, February 02, 2008
Monday, February 18, 2008
Tuesday, February 19, 2008
Thursday, March 20, 2008
Tuesday, August 05, 2008
Thursday, September 11, 2008
Friday, November 07, 2008
Tuesday, November 11, 2008
Sunday, November 23, 2008
Friday, March 20, 2009
Thursday, May 21, 2009
Thursday, June 11, 2009
Friday, June 26, 2009
Tuesday, September 01, 2009
Tuesday, October 06, 2009