Germany summons Syrian ambassador following spy arrests

Ferhad AhmaBy JOSEPH FITSANAKIS | intelNews.org |
The government of Germany has summoned the Syrian ambassador to Berlin after German counterintelligence officers arrested two Syrian nationals on espionage charges. The two men, believed to be employees of Syrian intelligence, have been identified as 34-year-old Akram O., a Syrian national, and Mahmoud El A., a German citizen of Lebanese descent. Both were arrested early on Tuesday morning, during a sting operation involving over 70 German counterintelligence operatives, who searched the suspects’ apartments. According to a statement by the German Federal Prosecutor’s Office, the two men are “strongly suspected” of having engaged “for years” in systematic surveillance against Syrian political figures in Germany, with particular focus on expatriate groups critical of the government of Syrian President Bashar al-Assad. The statement added that German authorities are investigating the apartments of six alleged accomplices, suspected of assisting the two alleged spies. According to media reports, the counterintelligence operation was authorized after Ferhad Ahma, a Syrian-born elected official of the Green Party, was severely beaten at his apartment on December 26, by two men posing as German police officers. The Green Party launched a complaint with German police, suspecting that the two thugs were in fact Syrian government agents trying to intimidate Ahma, who is known in Germany for his strong criticism of the al-Assad regime. In announcing the diplomatic protest, German Minister of Foreign Affairs Guido Westerwelle told journalists that “any apparent activity against the Syrian opposition in Germany is in no way tolerable and a violation of [German] law”. Read more of this post

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Why is Germany protecting Iraqi informant who lied about WMDs?

Rafid Ahmed Alwan

Alwan al-Janabi

By JOSEPH FITSANAKIS | intelNews.org |
German politicians in the state of Baden-Württemberg are questioning the protection given by German intelligence services to a notorious Iraqi informant, who lied about Iraq’s weapons program. Rafid Ahmed Alwan al-Janabi, known in intelligence circles as “Curveball”, arrived in Germany in 1999, where he applied for political asylum, saying he had been employed as a senior scientist in Iraq’s biological weapons program. Despite serious doubts expressed at the time by officials in Germany’s Federal Intelligence Service, the BND, and by some of their CIA colleagues, al-Janabi was given asylum in Germany. Moreover, information gathered from his testimony became a major source of the Bush Administration’s argument in favor of going to war in Iraq in 2003. Less than a year later, both the BND and the CIA concluded that al-Janabi had been lying about his alleged biological weapons role, and that he was in reality a taxi driver from Baghdad, who had used his undergraduate knowledge of engineering to fool Western intelligence. Read more of this post

News of CIA/Blackwater hit squad upset German government

Mamoun Darkazanli

M. Darkazanli

By JOSEPH FITSANAKIS | intelNews.org |
German politicians have finally caught up with the startling revelations of Blackwater founder and CEO, Erik Prince, who last month told Vanity Fair that he worked as a CIA spy, carrying out secret missions with the help of a Blackwater hit squad. The Vanity Fair article revealed that, among other targets, the squad planned to assassinate Mamoun Darkazanli, an alleged al-Qaeda financier living in Hamburg, Germany. But did anyone in Washington think to ask the German government whether it was OK for a Blackwater/CIA assassination team to run around the country, planning extrajudicial murders of alleged al-Qaeda members? Apparently no, says German newsmagazine Der Spiegel, adding that the revelation has upset members of German Chancellor Angela Merkel’s Christian Democratic Union, as well as opposition Social Democrats and Greens, who are now demanding a special investigation into the matter. Read more of this post

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