The Muslim Brotherhood in Austria, Part 5

Many thanks to Gary Fouse for translating this article from Der Standard:

Operation Luxor

Proceedings against Austria’s alleged Muslim Brotherhood leader dropped

In the operational search warrant, he was considered “the leader of the Muslim Brotherhood in Austria”. More than two years later, the investigations against A.S. have been thrown out.

by Jan Michael Marchart
January 6, 2023

On November 9, 2020, when hundreds of heavily-armed police officers stormed rows of apartments all over Austria, A.S. was surely the most prominent among the suspects. In the nearly 200-page thick order for the raids in the so-called Operation Luxor against suspected members of the Muslim Brotherhood and the alleged leader of the Hamas terrorists, A.S. was considered the leader — literally as the “leading member of the Muslim Brotherhood in Austria”. That was what the formerly anonymous informant whispered to investigators.

More than two years later, these accusations lie in ruins. The investigations of the Graz State Prosecutor’s Office against A.S. — among others, for terrorist association, terror finance, and money laundering — have been dropped. That comes from a ruling by the Higher State Court in Graz, which Der Standard has accessed. Once again, lack of evidence. Up until now, more than twenty proceedings have been dropped — in all, almost 100 accused. “The rule of law has proven its worth,” says the lawyer for A.S., Andreas Rust.

The ruling also puts Chancellor Karl Nehammer (ÖVP) under pressure. The State Prosecutor’s Office is indeed in charge of Operation Luxor. However, as the Turkish interior minister tried to make political capital of, Nehammer put himself in the media spotlight next to armed Cobra officers. After the investigative breakdowns surrounding the jihadist terror attack of November 2, Nehammer was criticized. Not the least of which, because of the long-planned Operation Luxor raids, an interview* with the later terrorist, K.F. (Kujtim Fejzulai) was postponed.

“Narratives inhibited as much as possible”

In its decision, the Higher State Court is now systematically picking the investigators’ work apart. Essential information in Operation Luxor goes back to an anonymous informant, who is himself accused. According to the files, he described the alleged leading circle of the Muslim Brotherhood in Austria to intelligence services in June of 2020. And at its head, accordingly, was A.S.

For the court, it was “not clear” how the anonymous informant could know all this. “Because the foundation for any of his knowledge — sensory perception, assumption— was… not clarified,” the decision states. On the contrary. Since access to Operation Luxor was far off in the future at that time, the investigators asked their informant no questions concerning how he himself came into contact with the Muslim Brotherhood. That was recorded by the intelligence service itself in an internal report. And: “Narratives from him on this topic were inhibited as much as possible.”

Accordingly, the court also maintains that it is not clear where the informant got his information or who gave it to him. In addition, based on his own statements (“ I can’t say exactly because when I came to Austria, I was told that by several people within the Muslim community”), it appears that some of his statements could be mere hearsay. It is also curious that the State Prosecutor’s Office compromised their informant a year ago in their own files. A short time later, he was involved in a fight.

Three other informants who named A.S. as a member of the Muslim Brotherhood or placed him indirectly with the Brotherhood were not taken seriously by the court. The statements of one prosecution witness consisted “mostly of assessments”, those of another “almost exclusively of assessments and conclusions,” and the statements of the third in the group were “only assessments and suppositions,” the decision found.

“Collection of mere indications”

The court went into more detail concerning Z. This source placed A.S., among others, close to the Muslim Brotherhood for investigators. Z. Claimed that A.S. told him that he had belonged to the Islamist movement originating in Egypt origin for 16 years. In the ruling, there is now criticism that the investigators asked no “control questions” that could have verified the accuracy of this claim.

After Z. laid out his allegations publicly in an interview with eXXpress, since taken offline, he was convicted of defamation, at least in the first instance.

Roughly speaking, the court took these statements by the three witnesses to be “a collection of mere indications, whose accuracy is not verifiable due to a lack of more meaningful corroboration, rumors and assumptions from sources that can no longer be corroborated, as well as their interpretation and further dissemination in the form of conclusions and suppositions that are not subject to testimony — concerning either witnesses or co-accused.”

Aside from that, two years after the Operation Luxor raids, the court found “no underlying basis” in the investigative files that would fuel the suspicion that A.S. “took part as a member in a terrorist association (especially Hamas), criminal organization, or subversive connection relative to Austria, otherwise supports such associations in any way, or finances terrorist activities.”

Operation Luxor took place one week after the jihadist terror attack on November 2. The operation, however, had already been planned long before the attack. Of the almost 100 accused — naturally, partly individuals, partly organizations — nobody was imprisoned. As of now, nobody has been charged, either.

*   The German term used, Gefährderansprache, refers to a police interview of a suspected dangerous person, as a form of warning. Kujtim Fejzulai was the author of the terror attack in Vienna in November 2020.
 

One thought on “The Muslim Brotherhood in Austria, Part 5

  1. Re: “Operation Luxor took place one week after the jihadist terror attack on November 2. The operation, however, had already been planned long before the attack. Of the almost 100 accused — naturally, partly individuals, partly organizations — nobody was imprisoned. As of now, nobody has been charged, either.”

    While it is theoretically possible no criminal activity was uncovered by the operation, an equally-likely explanation is that this was a bit of “security theater,” after the neologism coined by computer security specialist and writer Bruce Schneier in his book, “Beyond Fear.” And what is security theater, you ask?

    “Security theater is the practice of taking security measures that are considered to provide the feeling of improved security while doing little or nothing to achieve it”… which is a quote directly from Schneier’s book.

    This episode also reflects, does it not, the propensity of higher authorities in places like Austria, to protect privileged minorities such as Muslims? Which is to say they are being protected at the policy-making level, and not by mid-level functionaries per se. The police may round up suspects, but if the local law-enforcement and judicial apparatus refused to charge them or retain them (probably on orders from even higher up the chain of command), then the suspects will walk out of there as free men.

    Even if it netted precisely zero arrests or convictions, the fact that Operation Luxor took place at all can be held by the authorities as evidence that the Austrian government takes the problem of Islamic terrorism and jihad seriously.

    A neat bit of disinformation and propaganda, that…. the ordinary Austrian, preoccupied with his career, family, and other concerns, and who does not have much of an opportunity to study the issue in detail, is thereby convinced that the problem is in good hands and being handled properly, and promptly turns his attention elsewhere. He may notice on a different occasion that nothing seems to ever get done about the problem of Islamic migrants coming into his country in ever-greater numbers, but will he connect that observation to bits of theater like Operation Luxor?

    It might seem like one is making the proverbial mountain out of a mole-hill to delve into this in such detail, but the larger significance of such bits of security theater is that similar “events” (which are actually non-events) are being staged all over western and northern Europe, in nations ranging from Great Britain to France to Holland and on to places like Sweden.

    These nations all have large numbers of police and security forces of various kinds, but if they are not allowed to pursue thugs, criminals and terrorists and arrest them when called for, then they may as well not exist at all.

    And so it goes, the slow-motion conquest of Old Europe….

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