In the past 15 years at least 1,000 refugees have been granted asylum in Germany because they gave German intelligence and police notes and information, according to a Freedom of Information request by the German Linke Party.
Many of the interrogations were made in collaboration with the military intelligence service of the United States, the Defense Intelligence Agency (DIA). In 2005 — the year of the bombings in Sharm al-Sheikh, London and Bali — 121 fugitives from a number of countries were interrogated by agents with a strong interest in Africa and Asia.
(Tweet: Asylum from BND: Refugees can stay if they cooperate with special services. Where are they from?)
Many of those interrogations took place around the time covert actions and drone attacks by the US Air Force and CIA began in Yemen, Pakistan and Somalia. The German Government denies that the military intelligence was used to track down targets for American drones in the Middle East and Africa. However, reports from the former US drone pilot and whistleblower Brandon Bryant suggest otherwise.
According to the documents, the domestic intelligence Protection of the Constitution are still performing "in some cases event-related contact recordings with asylum seekers." However, lawmakers in Germany have criticized the interrogation-for-asylum policy for leading to inaccurate or fabricated military intelligence.
"It is amazing to what extent and state authorities pressured refugees. [I find it] highly suspect, if intelligence services, customs and police seeking protection promise residence permit in the event of cooperation, especially so that the quality of the information obtained is highly questionable," said Martina Renner, the lawmaker from the Linke Party who sits on the NSA Committee of the German parliament and who tabled the Freedom of Information requests.
The news comes amid criticism from human rights groups that US drone strikes in Yemen, Pakistan and Somalia are killing for civilians than enemy targets. The US has been carrying out a drone strike program on targets in the Middle East since the 9/11 terror attacks in 2001.
An investigative project by the Bureau of Investigative Journalism, Forensic Architecture (a research project based at London's Goldsmiths University) and New York-based Situ Research, reveals that in Pakistan, domestic buildings continue to be the most frequent target of drone attacks. According to a report from The Intercept, nearly 90 percent of people killed in recent drone strikes in Afghanistan "were not the intended targets" of the attacks.
Lawmakers in the Linke Party say the intelligence-for-asylum program is flawed, in that asylum seekers will tell the intelligence agents what they want to hear. The most famous example being the man known as "Curveball" who, in the run-up to the US-led invasion of Iraq in 2003, provided agents with false information about Saddam Hussein's chemical weapon program.