CIA Assassination and Rendition Plot in Germany?

Alex Newman
John Birch Society
13 January 2010

The German Parliament and criminal prosecutors will investigate allegations of U.S. Central Intelligence Agency plans to illegally kidnap and possibly even assassinate German citizens without informing the government, international press reported this week.

In an explosive story that was first uncovered and exposed by Vanity Fair in its current issue, and this weekend expanded upon by the German publication Spiegel, a former CIA agent and others revealed that the agency had illegal plans to “rendition” people suspected of supporting terrorism. “It was about grabbing people without the Germans knowing about it,” the German magazine quoted the ex-agent as saying. “We were planning stuff that was totally illegal.”

The “extraordinary rendition” program, originally developed in its current incarnation by the former President George W. Bush administration, involves kidnapping suspects and shipping them to other countries for torture, interrogation and detainment. Last year, as The John Birch Society reported, more than 20 CIA agents were convicted in an Italian court for involvement with just such an operation in Milan; kidnapping an Egyptian cleric and sending him via a U.S. air base in Germany to Egypt for four years of “enhanced interrogations,” eventually releasing him without charges.

In the Vanity Fair article which helped spark the most recent CIA scandal in Germany, controversial mercenary firm Blackwater (now known as Xe) was accused of sending a hit team to Hamburg to assassinate businessman Mamoun Darkazanli on behalf of the CIA. The execution of the dual German-Syrian national was aborted due to a “lack of political will,” according to the article.

Germany’s highest court ordered Darkazanli released without a trial after inspecting the evidence against him, but the U.S. government suspected that he supported Al-Qaeda. He is still reportedly monitored by the German government, but there was never enough evidence to convict him or even try him for any crime in Germany.

“It is hardly possible to express in words what I am going through at the moment, that a contract to murder was given out against me by officials,” Darkazanli told a German television station, noting that he was “speechless.” The revelations have sparked an uproar in Germany and across Europe, especially among Muslims.

The illegal rendition operations were eventually nixed by the CIA station in Germany, news reports explained. “We said ‘no’ because we were of the opinion that you just couldn’t do a thing like that in a friendly country where there were so many U.S. soldiers based,” the CIA source was quoted as saying by Spiegel, denying that the agency planned to assassinate people there. The CIA, as usual, has refused to comment.

Germany’s government has so far denied any knowledge of the alleged plot. But despite this, the domestic affairs committee of the federal Parliament plans to launch an inquiry later this month, committee chairman Wolfgang Bosbach announced.

“We will ask the current government what information they have about it,” he said, noting that the revelations were “stunning” and, if true, would have a “grave” effect on relations between the two nations. Other officials offered similar warnings.

Prosecutors in Hamburg have also launched preliminary inquiries to determine whether crimes were committed by the operatives. No suspects have been named so far, but if investigators determine that crimes were committed, that could change soon.

If European “intelligence” agencies were hatching plots to assassinate U.S. citizens within U.S. borders — no warrant, no trial, no jury — how would Americans react? A Green Party member of the German Parliament, Hans-Christian Strobele, wondered the same thing, blasting the German government for not taking tougher action.

“The fact is that the CIA can, for the most part, do whatever it wants here in Germany,” he said. “The secret prisoner transports after September 11 showed that — and no one dared to do anything about it. Try to imagine the opposite happening. Imagine if the BND [German secret police] were to carry out a hit job via a front company, say in New Orleans. It would be a shocking occurrence.”

If somebody is so guilty of criminally supporting terrorism that the U.S. government feels they need to be kidnapped, tortured or even assassinated, it seems like proving the case in a court of law should be relatively simple. But after all the proven revelations that have come out about the CIA and Blackwater, from secret prisons in Lithuania to drone attacks in Pakistan, this latest allegation is hardly surprising.

It is time for Congress to do its job and rein in these abuses. America hardly needs more enemies right now. And the disdain for the rule of law continues to worsen. The source cited in Spiegel even admitted that the CIA knew these operations were illegal. And it must stop. Otherwise, the terrorists may have truly achieved their objective — assuming they really “hate us because we‘re free.”

Alex Newman is an American freelance writer and the president of Liberty Sentinel Media, Inc., a small media consulting firm. He is currently living in Sweden and has spent most of his life in Latin America, Europe and Africa. He has a degree in foreign languages and speaks Spanish, French, Portuguese, German, Italian and a little Swedish and Afrikaans. In addition, he earned a degree in journalism from the University of Florida, with emphasis on economics and international relations.

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