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Profile: Mohammed Haydar Zammar

 
  

Positions that Mohammed Haydar Zammar has held:



 

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Mohammed Haydar Zammar actively participated in the following events:

 
  

March 1997: German Government Investigates Hamburg al-Qaeda Cell      Complete 911 Timeline

      
Mohammed Haydar Zammar.
Investigation of al-Qaeda contacts in Hamburg by the Office for the Protection of the Constitution (BfV), Germany's domestic intelligence service, begins at least by this time (Germany refuses to disclose additional details). [New York Times, 1/18/03] Telephone intercepts show that a German investigation into Mohammed Haydar Zammar is taking place this month. It is later believed that Zammar, a German of Syrian origin, is a part of the Hamburg al-Qaeda cell. [Los Angeles Times, 1/14/03] He later claims he recruited Mohamed Atta and others into the cell [Washington Post, 6/19/02] Germany authorities had identified Zammar as a militant a decade earlier. [New York Times, 1/18/03] From 1995-2000, he makes frequent trips to Afghanistan. [New York Times, 1/18/03; Stern, 8/13/03] German intelligence is aware that he was personally invited to Afghanistan by bin Laden. [Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung, 2/2/03] Spanish investigators later say Zammar is a longtime associate of Barakat Yarkas, the alleged boss of the al-Qaeda cell in Madrid, Spain. In 1998, Germany is given more evidence of his ties to Islamic militants, and surveillance intensifies. He is periodically trailed, and all his calls are recorded. [Stern, 8/13/03] It is not clear if or when the investigation ends, but it continues until at least September 1999. [Associated Press, 6/22/02]
People and organizations involved: Office for the Protection of the Constitution, Barakat Yarkas, Mohammed Haydar Zammar, Osama bin Laden, al-Qaeda, Mohamed Atta
          

August 1998: Germany Investigates Hamburg al-Qaeda Cell Member      Complete 911 Timeline

      
Mounir El Motassadeq.
A German inquiry into Mounir El Motassadeq, an alleged member of the Hamburg al-Qaeda cell with Mohamed Atta, begins by this time. Although Germany will not reveal details, documents show that by August 1998, Motassadeq is under surveillance. “The trail soon [leads] to most of the main [Hamburg] participants” in 9/11. Surveillance records Motassadeq and Mohammed Haydar Zammar, who had already been identified by police as a suspected extremist, as they meet at the Hamburg home of Said Bahaji, who is also under surveillance that same year. (Bahaji will soon move into an apartment with Atta and other al-Qaeda members.) German police monitor several other meetings between Motassadeq and Zammar in the following months. [New York Times, 1/18/03] Motassadeq is later convicted in August 2002 in Germany for participation in the 9/11 attacks, but his conviction is later overturned (see March 3, 2004).
People and organizations involved: Said Bahaji, Mohammed Haydar Zammar, Mohamed Atta, Mounir El Motassadeq
          

September 20, 1998: Al-Qaeda Operative Arrest in Germany Leads to New German Suspects      Complete 911 Timeline

      
Mamdouh Mahmud Salim.
Mamdouh Mahmud Salim, an al-Qaeda operative from the United Arab Emirates connected to the 1998 US embassy bombings, is arrested near Munich, Germany. [PBS Newshour, 9/30/98] In retrospect, it appears he was making one of many visits to the al-Qaeda cells in Germany. [Corbin, 2003, pp 147] US investigators later call him bin Laden's “right hand man.” [New York Times, 9/29/01] However, the FBI is unwilling to brief their German counterparts on what they know about Salim and al-Qaeda, despite learning much that could have been useful as part of their investigation into the US embassy bombings. By the end of the year, German investigators learn that Salim has a Hamburg bank account. [New York Times, 9/29/01] The cosignatory on the account is businessman Mamoun Darkazanli, whose home number had been programmed into Salim's cell phone. [Chicago Tribune, 11/17/02] US intelligence had first investigated Darkazanli in 1993, when a suspect was found with his telephone number [9/11 Congressional Inquiry, 7/24/03] , and German authorities had begun to suspect Darkazanli of money laundering for Islamic militant groups in 1996. Wadih El-Hage, a former personal secretary to bin Laden, is also arrested in the wake of the embassy bombings. El-Hage had created a number of shell companies as fronts for al-Qaeda activities, and one of these uses the address of Darkazanli's apartment. [Chicago Tribune, 11/17/02] Darkazanli's phone number and Deutsche Bank account number are also found in El-Hage's address book. [CNN, 10/16/01] The FBI also discovers that Darkazanli had power of attorney over a bank account of Hajer, a person on al-Qaeda's supreme council. [9/11 Congressional Inquiry, 7/24/03] Based on these new connections, investigators ask a federal prosecutor for permission to open a formal investigation against Darkazanli. An investigation reportedly begins, at the insistence of the US, though Germany has claimed the request for the investigation was rejected [Agence France-Presse, 10/28/01; New York Times, 1/18/03] German investigators also learn of a connection between Salim and Mohammed Haydar Zammar, who is already identified by police in 1997 as a suspected extremist. [New York Times, 1/18/03; Associated Press, 6/22/02]
People and organizations involved: Mamoun Darkazanli, Wadih El-Hage, Federal Bureau of Investigation, Germany, Mamdouh Mahmud Salim, Osama bin Laden, Mohammed Haydar Zammar, Deutsche Bank, al-Qaeda
          

November 1, 1998-February 2001: Atta and Other Islamic Militants Are Monitored by US and Germany in Hamburg Apartment      Complete 911 Timeline

      
The Marienstrasse building.
Mohamed Atta and al-Qaeda operatives Said Bahaji and Ramzi Bin al-Shibh move into a four bedroom apartment at 54 Marienstrasse, in Hamburg, Germany, and stay there until February 2001 (Atta is already living primarily in the US well before this time). Investigators believe this move marks the formation of their Hamburg al-Qaeda cell [New York Times, 9/10/02; Los Angeles Times, 1/27/02] Up to six men at a time live at the apartment, including other al-Qaeda agents such as hijacker Marwan Alshehhi and cell member Zakariya Essabar. [New York Times, 9/15/01 (F)] During the 28 months Atta's name is on the apartment lease, 29 Middle Eastern or North African men register the apartment as their home address. From the very beginning, the apartment was officially under surveillance by German intelligence, because of investigations into businessman Mamoun Darkazanli that connect to Said Bahaji. [Washington Post, 10/23/01] The Germans also suspect connections between Bahaji and al-Qaeda operative Mohammed Haydar Zammar. [Los Angeles Times, 9/1/02] German intelligence monitors the apartment off and on for months, and wiretaps Mounir El Motassadeq, an associate of the apartment-mates who is later put on trial in August 2002 for assisting the 9/11 plot, but apparently do not find any indication of suspicious activity. [Chicago Tribune, 9/5/02] Bahaji is directly monitored at least for part of 1998, but German officials have not disclosed when the probe began or ended. That investigation is dropped for lack of evidence. [Associated Press, 6/22/02; Los Angeles Times, 9/1/02] It is now clear that investigators would have found evidence if they looked more thoroughly. For instance, Zammar, a talkative man who has trouble keeping secrets, is a frequent visitor to the many late night meetings there. [Chicago Tribune, 9/5/02; Miller, Stone, and Mitchell, 2002, pp 259-60; Los Angeles Times, 9/1/02] Another visitor later recalls Atta and others discussing attacking the US. [Knight Ridder, 9/9/02] 9/11 mastermind Khalid Shaikh Mohammed is in Hamburg several times in 1999, and comes to the apartment. However, although there was a $2 million reward for Mohammed since 1998, the US apparently fails to tell Germany what it knows about him (see 1999). [Newsweek, 9/4/02; New York Times, 11/4/02] Hijacker Waleed Alshehri also apparently stays at the apartment “at times.” [Washington Post, 9/16/01 (B); Washington Post, 9/14/01] The CIA also starts monitoring Atta while he is living at this apartment, and does not tell Germany of the surveillance. Remarkably, the German government will claim it knew little about the Hamburg al-Qaeda cell before 9/11, and nothing directed them towards the Marienstrasse apartment. [Daily Telegraph, 11/24/01]
People and organizations involved: Marwan Alshehhi, Mamoun Darkazanli, Khalid Shaikh Mohammed, Germany, al-Qaeda, Said Bahaji, Mohammed Haydar Zammar, Central Intelligence Agency, Mohamed Atta, Ramzi Bin al-Shibh, Zakariya Essabar, Mounir El Motassadeq
          

January 31, 1999: Germany Monitors Hijacker's Calls, Shares Information with CIA      Complete 911 Timeline

       German intelligence is tapping the telephone of al-Qaeda operative Mohammed Haydar Zammar, and on this date, Zammar gets a call from a “Marwan.” This is later found to be hijacker Marwan Alshehhi. Marwan talks about mundane things, like his studies in Bonn, Germany, and promises to come to Hamburg in a few months. German investigators trace the telephone number and determine the call came from a mobile phone registered in the United Arab Emirates. [New York Times, 2/24/04; Deutsche Presse-Agenteur, 8/13/03; 9/11 Congressional Inquiry, 7/24/03] German intelligence will pass this information to the CIA about one month later, but the CIA apparently fails to capitalize on it (see March 1999).
People and organizations involved: Marwan Alshehhi, Central Intelligence Agency, Mohammed Haydar Zammar, Germany
          

February 17, 1999: Germans Intercept al-Qaeda Calls, One Mentions Atta's Name      Complete 911 Timeline

      
Said Bahaji, computer expert for the Hamburg cell.
German intelligence is periodically tapping suspected al-Qaeda operative Mohammed Haydar Zammar's telephone. On this day, investigators hear a caller being told Zammar is at a meeting with “Mohamed, Ramzi, and Said,” and can be reached at the phone number of the Marienstrasse apartment where all three of them live. This refers to Mohamed Atta, Ramzi Bin al-Shibh, and Said Bahaji, all members of the Hamburg al-Qaeda cell. However, apparently the German police fail to grasp the importance of these names, even though Said Bahaji is also under investigation. [Associated Press, 6/22/02; New York Times, 1/18/03] Atta's last name is given as well. Agents check the phone number and confirm the street address, but it is not known what they make of the information. [Der Spiegel, 2/3/03]
People and organizations involved: Said Bahaji, Ramzi Bin al-Shibh, Mohamed Atta, Mohammed Haydar Zammar
          

Summer 1999: US Intelligence Links Zammar to Senior bin Laden Operatives, Fails to Share Information      Complete 911 Timeline

       Around this time, US intelligence notes that a man in Hamburg, Germany, named Mohammed Haydar Zammar is in direct contact with one of bin Laden's senior operational coordinators. Zammar is an al-Qaeda recruiter with links to Mohamed Atta and the rest of the Hamburg terror cell. The US had noted Zammar's terror links on “numerous occasions” before 9/11. [9/11 Congressional Inquiry, 7/24/03] However, apparently the US does not share their information on Zammar with German intelligence. Instead, the Germans are given evidence from Turkey that Zammar is running a travel agency as a terror front in Hamburg. In 1998, they get information from Italy confirming he is an Islamic militant . However, his behavior is so suspicious that they have already started monitoring him closely. [Stern, 8/13/03; 9/11 Congressional Inquiry, 7/24/03]
People and organizations involved: Germany, Mohamed Atta, Italy, Mohammed Haydar Zammar, Turkey
          

September 21, 1999: German Intelligence Records Calls Between Hijacker and Others Linked to al-Qaeda      Complete 911 Timeline

       German intelligence is periodically tapping suspected al-Qaeda operative Mohammed Haydar Zammar's telephone, and on this day investigators hear Zammar call hijacker Marwan Alshehhi. Officials initially claim that the call also mentions hijacker Mohamed Atta, but only his first name. [New York Times, 1/18/03; Daily Telegraph, 11/24/01] However, his full name, “Mohamed Atta Al Amir,” is mentioned in this call and in another recorded call. [Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung, 2/2/03] Alshehhi makes veiled references to plans to travel to Afghanistan. He also hands the phone over to Said Bahaji (another member of the Hamburg cell under investigation at the time), so he can talk to Zammar. [Stern, 8/13/03] German investigators still do not know Alshehhi's full name, but they recognize this “Marwan” also called Zammar in January, and they told the CIA about that call. Alshehhi, living in the United Arab Emirates at the time, calls Zammar frequently. German intelligence asks the United Arab Emirates to identify the number and the caller, but the request is not answered. [Der Spiegel, 2/3/03]
People and organizations involved: Mohammed Haydar Zammar, Central Intelligence Agency, Said Bahaji, Mohamed Atta, Marwan Alshehhi, United Arab Emirates
          

May 22, 2000: German Intelligence Place Two Hijacker Associates on a German Watch List      Complete 911 Timeline

       By early 2000, German intelligence monitoring al-Qaeda suspect Mohammed Haydar Zammar notice that Mounir El Motassadeq and Said Bahaji, members of al-Qaeda's Hamburg cell with Mohamed Atta, regularly meet with Zammar. [9/11 Congressional Inquiry, 7/24/03] In March 2000, Germany's internal intelligence service had placed Motassadeq and Bahaji on a border patrol watch list. Their international arrivals and departures are to be reported immediately. On this day, Motassadeq flies to Istanbul, Turkey, and from there goes to an al-Qaeda training camp in Afghanistan. Unfortunately, the border patrol only notes his destination of Istanbul. Bahaji does not travel, and when he finally does the week before 9/11, it isn't noted. [Der Spiegel, 2/3/03]
People and organizations involved: Said Bahaji, Mohamed Atta, Office for the Protection of the Constitution, Mohammed Haydar Zammar, Mounir El Motassadeq
          

October 27, 2001: Zammar Arrested, Detained by US in Syria      Complete 911 Timeline

       Suspected al-Qaeda operative Mohammed Haydar Zammar travels from Germany to Morocco. Not long after, perhaps in December, he is arrested by Moroccan police with US assistance. Although he is a German citizen and under investigation by Germany, German intelligence remain unaware of his arrest, and only learn about it from the newspapers in June 2002. He is sent to Syria, where there are formal charges against him. Zammar reportedly now claims he recruited Mohamed Atta and others into the al-Qaeda Hamburg cell. [Washington Post, 6/19/02 (B)] It is widely suspected that the US arranged for Zammar to be sent to Syria so that he could be more thoroughly interrogated using torture. The Germans are angry that the US has been submitting questions for Zammar and learning answers from Syria, but have not informed Germany of what they have learned [Daily Telegraph, 6/20/02; Christian Science Monitor, 7/26/02]
People and organizations involved: Germany, Mohammed Haydar Zammar, Syria, Mohamed Atta
          

November 2001      Torture in Iraq, Afghanistan and elsewhere

       Mohammed Haydar Zammar, who holds joint German and Syrian citizenship, is arrested in Morocco, where he is reportedly interrogated by US agents. Zammar is suspected of having served as a recruiter for al-Qaeda. [Amnesty International, 8/19/2003; Washington Post, 12/26/2002]
People and organizations involved: Mohammed Haydar Zammar
          

June 2002      Torture in Iraq, Afghanistan and elsewhere

       With help from the US, Mohammed Haydar Zammar, a German and Syrian citizen suspected of being a top al-Qaeda member, is taken in secret to Syria. When the German government learns of the arrest and transfer, it strongly protests the move. After his arrival in Syria, according to a former fellow prisoner, Zammar is tortured in the Far' Falastin, or “Palestine Branch,” detention center in Damascus. [Human Rights Watch, 6/2004; Daily Telegraph, 6/20/2002; Washington Post, 12/26/2002] The center is run by military intelligence and reportedly is a place “where many prisoners remain held incommunicado.” [Washington Post, 1/31/2003] His Syrian interrogators are reportedly provided with questions from their US counterparts. [Human Rights Watch, 6/2004] This is alleged by Murhaf Jouejati, Adjunct Professor at George Washington University, who tells the National Commission on Terrorist Attacks Upon the United States that, “Although US officials have not been able to interrogate Zammar, Americans have submitted questions to the Syrians.” [9/11 Commission Report, 7/9/2003] In the “Palestine Branch” prison, Zammar is locked up in cell number thirteen. According to Amnesty International, the cell measures 185 cm long, 90 cm wide and less than two meters high. Zammar is said to be about six feet tall and now “skeletal” in appearance. [Amnesty International, 10/8/2004]
People and organizations involved: Mohammed Haydar Zammar
          

February 18, 2003: Al-Qaeda Member Convicted in Germany      Complete 911 Timeline

       Mounir El Motassadeq, an alleged member of Mohamed Atta's Hamburg al-Qaeda cell, is convicted in Germany of accessory to murder in the 9/11 attacks. His is given the maximum sentence of 15 years. [Associated Press, 2/19/03] Motassadeq admitted varying degrees of contact with Atta, Marwan Alshehhi, Ramzi Bin al-Shibh, Said Bahaji, Ziad Jarrah, and Zakariya Essabar; admitted he had been given power of attorney over Alshehhi's bank account; and admitted attending an al-Qaeda training camp in Afghanistan from May to August 2000; but he claimed he had nothing to do with 9/11. [New York Times, 10/24/02] The conviction is the first one related to 9/11, but as the Independent puts it, “there are doubts whether there will ever be a second.” This is because intelligence agencies have been reluctant to turn over evidence, or give access to requested witnesses. In Motassadeq's case, his lawyers tried several times unsuccessfully to obtain testimony by two of his friends, bin al-Shibh and Mohammed Haydar Zammar—a lack of evidence that will later become grounds for overturning his conviction. [Independent, 2/20/03]
People and organizations involved: Germany, Ramzi Bin al-Shibh, Mounir El Motassadeq, Mohammed Haydar Zammar, Ziad Jarrah, Zakariya Essabar, al-Qaeda, Said Bahaji, Mohamed Atta, Marwan Alshehhi
          

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