Terrorist Finance Tracking Program Re-Starts under Anonymous European Oversight
Who is the "EU Person?"
11:30 AM, Sep 20, 2010 • By JOHN ROSENTHAL
To take just one particularly revealing example, on June 3, 2003, French police arrested the German Muslim convert Christian Ganczarski, while Ganczarski was changing planes at Charles de Gaulle airport outside of Paris. The sting was reportedly organized in cooperation with American authorities. In February 2009, Ganczarski was sentenced by a French court to eighteen years in prison for his membership in the al Qaeda network and his role in planning the deadly 2002 Djerba synagogue bombing. Ganczarski was a free man in June 2003, because German law enforcement authorities had declined to arrest him: This even though they had his phone tapped and were listening in on April 11, 2002, when the suicide bomber, Nizar Nawar, called to ask for Ganczarski’s blessing shortly before the attack. After speaking with Ganczarski, Nawar is reported to have called none other than Khalid Sheikh Mohammed.
As discussed in my article “Germany’s War on the War on Terror” in the March 29 issue of THE WEEKLY STANDARD, two other major terror suspects, Mamoun Darkazanli and Reda Seyam, continue to live as free men in Germany to this day. Both men have been identified as al Qaeda financiers. But German authorities have never brought charges against them and, in the case of Darkazanli, have even refused to extradite him to stand trial in Spain.
Would a German “overseer” of the TFTP authorize American investigators to conduct searches on Darkazanli’s or Seyam’s current financial transactions? Or would he or she – like German judicial authorities – conclude that the “terror nexus,” as the SWIFT agreement puts it, has not been sufficiently demonstrated?
As it so happens, Judge Jean-Louis Bruguière, the investigative magistrate who conducted the French investigation of Christian Ganczarski, was also the author of a report endorsing the old TFTP and recommending its continuation that was submitted to the European parliament in January. As discussed in my March article, Judge Bruguière’s report was not sufficient to convince the virtual entirety of the German delegation to the parliament, which en bloc opposed the original SWIFT agreement.
Strangely enough, having put their faith in the unnamed European “overseer” of the TFTP, the europarliamentarians appear now to have lost interest in their advice and consent powers. Following the highly publicized vote in July, the Portuguese MEP Rui Tavares of the “European United Left” group took the floor to insist that the parliament should be involved in the appointment process of the “EU person.” It is not clear how this demand could be fulfilled in the case of an appointee whose name is to be kept secret. An e-mail to Tavares asking for comment has gone unanswered.
John Rosenthal writes regularly on European politics for both old and new media. More of his work can be found at www.trans-int.com.