A Mosque is Closed in Germany
The mosque served as a meeting ground for Islamist extremists and terrorists.
6:30 AM, Aug 12, 2010 • By THOMAS JOSCELYN
If U.S. authorities “repeatedly produced intelligence” on the pair prior to September 11, then why was nothing done? Again, we turn to the Joint Inquiry’s report. We learn that German authorities were less than cooperative.
“Considerable pressure was placed on foreign authorities in the years leading up to the September 11 attacks to target Darkazanli, Zammar, and other radicals,” the Joint Inquiry found. In fact, the “Joint Inquiry reviewed numerous documents describing efforts to pressure [REDACTED] authorities to act” but “these efforts were largely unsuccessful.”
It does not take much reading between the lines to figure out that the “foreign authorities” in question were the Germans. The very next paragraph reads:
Buried in this paragraph, the Joint Inquiry noted that German “law has since been changed.” With respect to the September 11 attacks, it was too little, too late. The Hamburg cell could plot the deadliest terrorist attack in history from German soil and, according to German law at the time, this was not illegal.
Incredibly, German law would interfere with the prosecution of Mamoun Darkazanli once again after the September 11 attacks. Spanish officials launched their own investigations into al Qaeda’s operations in Europe. Unsurprisingly, they found that Darkazanli was a major player. Spanish authorities found that Darkazanli was closely tied to Imad Yarkas, the head of al Qaeda’s presence in Spain and one of the top al Qaeda leaders in all of Europe prior to his arrest and conviction. They also found that Darkazanli had wired funds to Mustafa Setmariam Nasar, one of al Qaeda’s chief ideologues. Darkazanli was so high up in al Qaeda that Spanish Judge Baltasar Garzon deemed him al Qaeda’s “chief financier” and “permanent interlocutor and assistant” to Osama bin Laden in Europe.
Spain indicted Darkazanli for his al Qaeda role and wanted to try him. The Germans initially detained Darkazanli while he awaited extradition. Ultimately, the German high court determined that the EU arrest warrant issued by Spain contravened the German constitution. There would be no trial in Spain.
Darkazanli was set free.
Spanish officials and the FBI learned something else about Darkazanli. The Joint Inquiry explains:
The meeting referenced above remains one of the great unsolved mysteries of the September 11 attacks. Ramzi Binalshibh, the point man for the September 11 attacks, met Atta in Spain in July 2001. The meeting is remarkable, mainly because Atta had to leave the U.S. at a key juncture in the 9/11 plot – just two months before his day of terror. By leaving American soil, Atta was taking a big risk. It was possible that intelligence officials in Europe or the U.S. would become suspicious of his movements.
Why did Atta have to make this trip? We do not know for sure. And, as it turned out, Atta made the trip back and forth over the Atlantic unnoticed. Who did Atta meet with, exactly? Again, we do not know for certain.
The 9/11 Commission found that while “U.S. authorities have not uncovered evidence that anyone met with Atta or Binalshibh in Spain, Spanish investigators contend that members of the Spanish al Qaeda cell were involved in the July meeting and were connected to the 9/11 attacks.”