Thu Dec 3rd, 2009 at 03:16:32 PM EST
After the terrorist attacks in the United States on 11 September 2001, the U.S. Central Intelligence Agency planned an assasination of an al-Qaeda financier. The CIA carried out this operation in Germany without the knowledge of the German government, but with the help of Blackwater and it's CEO Erik Prince.
"This program died because of a lack of political will," according to an anonymous source quoted in the article, "Tycoon, Contractor, Soldier, Spy", by Adam Ciralsky in the January 2010 issue of Vanity Fair.
Among the team's targets, according to a source familiar with the program, was Mamoun Darkazanli, an al-Qaeda financier living in Hamburg who had been on the agency's radar for years because of his ties to three of the 9/11 hijackers and to operatives convicted of the 1998 bombings of U.S. Embassies in East Africa. The C.I.A. team supposedly went in "dark," meaning they did not notify their own station--much less the German government--of their presence; they then followed Darkazanli for weeks and worked through the logistics of how and where they would take him down.
Working for Blackwater were Rob Richer, the second-in-command of the CIA's clandestine service and J. Cofer Black, the former chief of operations for the CIA's Counterterrorism Center.
Off and on, Black and Richer's onetime partner Ric Prado, first with the C.I.A., then as a Blackwater employee, worked quietly with Prince as his vice president of "special programs" to provide the agency with what every intelligence service wants: plausible deniability. Shortly after 9/11, President Bush had issued a "lethal finding," giving the C.I.A. the go-ahead to kill or capture al-Qaeda members. (Under an executive order issued by President Gerald Ford, it had been illegal since 1976 for U.S. intelligence operatives to conduct assassinations.) As a seasoned case officer, Prado helped implement the order by putting together a small team of "blue-badgers," as government agents are known. Their job was threefold: find, fix, and finish. Find the designated target, fix the person's routine, and, if necessary, finish him off. When the time came to train the hit squad, the agency, insiders say, turned to Prince.
Since 2002, the EU has restricted Darkazanli's assets and movement due to his alleged association with al-Qaeda and the Taliban of Afghanistan.
Darkazanli was arrested in October 2004 by the Germans, but freed nine months later after the Federal Constitutional Court of Germany because they ruled the "European Arrest Warrant violated German law". Darkazanli was fighting extradition to Spain where he was indicted for his alleged involvement in financing the 11 March 2004 Madrid train bombings.
The NY Times reported after the ruling that
An EU spokesman insisted the arrest warrant would survive the German court ruling. Spokesman Martin Selmayr said the ruling did not declare the warrant unconstitutional, but merely the German national law that implements it."From a first reading, it's a judgment that declares null and void the German implementation law, not the European arrest warrant," Selmayr said in Brussels.
He said the ruling was a blow to European anti-terror plans in the short term because the warrant will not apply in Germany until a new national law on implementing it is introduced. But in the longer term, he said, the ruling could strengthen the warrant by making clear the protection offered to suspects' rights.
As a consequence, Spain ended fast-track extraditions to Germany.
Darkazanli resides in Hamburg and "has never been tried in a court of law for the allegations leveled against him." He is still wanted by Interpol.
- How can the European Union legal system effectively work if member states refuse to honor extradition requests made by other member states?
- Has Germany passed a new law to implement the European Arrest Warrant?