News you may have missed #847

Abdel Baset al-MegrahiBy IAN ALLEN | intelNews.org |
►►Secret letter shows arms deal behind Lockerbie bomber release. An email sent in 2008 by Sir Vincent Fean, the then British ambassador in Tripoli, details how the release by Britain of Lockerbie air disaster bomber Abdelbaset al-Megrahi, was linked to a commercial deal. According to The Daily Telegraph, the email specifies that al-Megrahi would be released once Libya “fulfilled its promise” to buy an £400 million air defense system.
►►Is the US ramping up a secret war in Somalia? The US has expanded its secret war in Somalia, stepping up assistance for federal and regional Somali intelligence agencies that are allied against the country’s Islamist insurgency. It’s a move that’s not only violating the terms of an international arms embargo, according to UN investigators, but it also shows that Washington’s signature victory against al-Qaeda’s most powerful African ally may be in danger of unraveling.
►►Indonesian government ‘angry’ at alleged Western spying. The Indonesian government has reacted strongly to revelations in the Australian media that the country’s President and senior diplomats were spied upon during the 2009 G20 conference in London. The revelations appear to be based on leaks on intelligence-gathering techniques by US whistleblower Edward Snowden.

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News you may have missed #736

Abdel Baset al-MegrahiBy IAN ALLEN | intelNews.org |
►►Convicted Lockerbie bomber dies. Abdelbaset al-Megrahi, a former Libyan intelligence officer who was the only person ever convicted in the 1988 Lockerbie bombing, died at home in Tripoli Sunday, nearly three years after he was released from a Scottish prison to the outrage of the relatives of the attack’s 270 victims. He was 60. Scotland released Mr. al-Megrahi on Aug. 20, 2009, on compassionate grounds to let him return home to die after he was diagnosed with prostate cancer. Anger over the release was further stoked by subsequent allegations that London had sought his release to preserve business interests in the oil-rich North African nation, strongly denied by the British and Scottish governments.
►►Federal appeals panel to hear CIA leak case. A federal appeals panel in the United States will hear the case of ex-CIA officer Jeffrey Sterling, who has been charged with leaking classified information about Iran’s nuclear program to New York Times reporter James Risen. Prosecutors say Sterling was a key source in Risen’s 2006 book, State of War. They are also challenging the court’s decision to strike two government witnesses and allow disclosure of the identities of covert CIA operatives to Sterling’s lawyers.
►►New study of British Empire’s spies published. British newspaper The Guardian has published a review of William Beaver’s newly published book, Under Every Leaf: How Britain Played The Greater Game From Afghanistan to Africa. Much of the book concerns the creation in the mid-1850s of the British War Office Intelligence Department. According to the review, the book does much to restore the “missing dimension” to Britain’s military-imperial history between 1855 and the creation of her modern intelligence agencies in the early 1900s.

Declassified documents reveal US-Libyan spy war in Malta

Libya and Malta

Libya and Malta

By JOSEPH FITSANAKIS | intelNews.org |
A batch of declassified CIA reports from the late 1980s point to the Mediterranean island-nation of Malta as a major battlefield between American and Libyan intelligence operatives. According to the reports, which date from between 1988 and 1991, Malta served as a “primary launching point” for Libyan intelligence and paramilitary units on their way to Germany, Britain, and other countries in Western Europe. Most of the reports, which number over 250 pages in total, contain intelligence from a CIA informant named Abdul Majid Giaka. Referred to as “P/1” in the CIA documents, Giaka was a Libyan employee of Libyan Arab Airlines stationed in Malta. In 1988, however, he walked in the American embassy in the Maltese capital Valetta, and offered to work as an agent-in-place for the CIA. In exchange for his services, he requested regular financial compensation, as well as a promise of eventual relocation to the United States for him and his Maltese wife. Eventually, the intelligence collected by Giaka formed a major component of the prosecution’s case in the Lockerbie bombing court hearings. Giaka’s testimony directly led to the conviction of Abdelbaset al-Megrahi, a Libyan intelligence officer, who was released from a British prison in August of 2009 on compassionate grounds and is now in Tripoli. The declassified documents show that, in return for Giaka’s services, the CIA arranged a fake surgery for him in 1989, in order to help him secure an exemption from serving in the Libyan armed forces. The CIA’s initial assessment of Giaka was that he was dependable “intelligent, serious and fairly well composed”. Later, however, Giaka’s CIA handlers began questioning his commitment after he started appearing with new information only when in need of money. Read more of this post

Gaddafi’s son employed former spies’ firm to research PhD thesis

Saif al-Gaddafi

Saif al-Gaddafi

By JOSEPH FITSANAKIS | intelNews.org |
One of Libyan ruler Muammar al-Gaddafi’s seven sons employed a firm staffed by former British intelligence agents to carry out research for his PhD thesis. Saif al-Islam al-Gaddafi, 37, who is seen as the leading candidate to succeed his father, recently submitted his doctoral thesis at the London School of Economics, where he was a PhD candidate for four years. A preliminary note in his thesis, which is now available at the Senate House library of the University of London, reveals that he employed the Monitor Group, a research and consultancy company that includes at least two well-known former British spies among its ranks, to conduct interviews required for his thesis. Read more of this post

News you may have missed #0102

  • NSA helped UK arrest convicted bomb plotters. Email correspondence intercepted by the US National Security Agency in 2006 helped lead to the arrest and conviction of three Muslim militants, who were planning attacks in Britain. IntelNews learns that this case was brought up by American intelligence officials who recently threatened to terminate all intelligence cooperation with the UK, in reaction to the release from a Scottish prison of convicted Libyan bomber Abdelbaset al-Megrahi.
  • Bush Administration tried to alter “enforced disappearances” international treaty standards. The aim of the global treaty, long supported by the United States, was to end official kidnappings, detentions and killings like those that plagued Latin America in the 1970s and 1980s, and that allegedly still occur in Russia, China, Iran, Colombia, Sri Lanka and elsewhere. But the documents suggest that initial US support for the negotiations collided head-on with the then-undisclosed goal of seizing suspected terrorists anywhere in the world for questioning by CIA interrogators or indefinite detention by the US military at foreign sites. So the Bush Administration tried to alter the language of the treaty from 2003 to 2006, reveals The Washington Post.

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CIA furious over UK-Libyan bomber release deal

Al-Megrahi

Al-Megrahi

By JOSEPH FITSANAKIS | intelNews.org |
The CIA has threatened to stop sharing intelligence with UK spy services in protest over the recent release from a Scottish prison of a Libyan intelligence agent convicted for the 1988 bombing of Pan Am flight 103, according to a British newspaper. Abdelbaset al-Megrahi, who is now back home in Tripoli, was released by British authorities on August 19 on compassionate grounds, after medical tests allegedly showed he is suffering from terminal cancer. Many observers, including former CIA agent Robert Baer, voiced suspicion about the reasons behind al-Megrahi’s release, while several British newspapers, including The London Times, alleged that the release was part of a lucrative oil exploration deal between British Petroleum (BP) and the Libyan government. Now an article in British newspaper The News of the World claims that the CIA leadership has vowed to terminate intelligence cooperation with the UK over the Libyan’s release. Read more of this post

Ex-MI6 spy at center of Lockerbie prisoner release deal

Sir Mark Allan

Sir Mark Allan

By JOSEPH FITSANAKIS | intelNews.org |
A British former intelligence official has been identified as having had a major role in the recent release from a Scottish prison of a Libyan intelligence agent convicted for the 1988 bombing of Pan Am flight 103.  Abdelbaset al-Megrahi, who is now back home in Tripoli, was released by British authorities on August 19 on compassionate grounds, after medical tests allegedly showed he is suffering from terminal cancer. Many observers, including former CIA agent Robert Baer, voiced suspicion about the reasons behind al-Megrahi’s release, while several British newspapers, including The London Times, alleged that the release was part of a lucrative oil exploration deal between British Petroleum (BP) and the Libyan government. Now The Sunday Mail has identified Sir Mark Allen, a former senior intelligence official who works for BP, as “the driving force” behind al-Megrahi’s release. Read more of this post

Lockerbie bomber’s release was part of UK-Libyan oil deal, says paper

Al-Megrahi

Al-Megrahi

By JOSEPH FITSANAKIS | intelNews.org |
Negotiation difficulties between British Petroleum (BP) and the Libyan government over an oil exploration deal were resolved soon after London decided to authorize last month’s release of a man convicted for his role in the 1988 Lockerbie air disaster, The London Times said on Sunday. Former Libyan intelligence agent Abdelbaset al-Megrahi was released on August 19 by British authorities on compassionate grounds and is now in Tripoli. The paper says that documents in its possession show that the decision to release al-Megrahi was the culmination of a two-year-long negotiation between the British and Libyan governments, as well as regional authorities in Scotland, where al-Megrahi was imprisoned. Read more of this post

Libyan’s release prevented “explosive” appeal hearing, says ex-CIA agent

Robert Baer

Robert Baer

By JOSEPH FITSANAKIS | intelNews.org |
As intelNews anticipated, Libyan intelligence officer Abdelbaset Ali Mohmed al-Megrahi was released last week by British authorities. Al-Megrahi, who allegedly has terminal cancer, was convicted in 2001 for his role in the Lockerbie air disaster, but has now been allowed to return to Libya in order to die in his homeland. But former CIA agent Robert Baer has repeated charges that the Libyan prisoner was released so at to prevent his legal team from filing an appeal, which Baer believes would have proven beyond doubt that Iran, not Libya, was behind the 1988 bombing of Pan Am flight 103. As The London Times has reported before, al-Megrahi’s legal team is in possession of several US government documents on the case, including a report by the US Defense Intelligence Agency (DIA), which says that the attack was “conceived, authorized and financed” by Ali-Akbar Mohtashemi-Pur (alternative spelling: Ali-Akbar Mohtashamipur), Iran’s Minister of Interior during the early years of the Islamic Revolution. Read more of this post

News you may have missed #0075

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Document reveals US spies saw Iran behind Lockerbie bombing

Al-Megrahi

Al-Megrahi

By IAN ALLEN | intelNews.org |
A US intelligence report available to the lawyers of a Libyan former intelligence agent convicted for his role in the Lockerbie air disaster blames Iran, not Libya, for the attack. Abdelbaset Ali Mohmed al-Megrahi, who intelNews hears will be released from jail on compassionate grounds, had instructed his legal team to present the document in court if his release appeal failed. Al-Megrahi is one of two Libyans jailed for their alleged role in the 1988 bombing of Pan Am flight 103, which killed 270 people. But the report, produced by the US Defense Intelligence Agency (DIA), says that the attack was “conceived, authorized and financed” by Ali-Akbar Mohtashemi-Pur (alternative spelling: Ali-Akbar Mohtashamipur), who served as the Iran’s Minister of Interior during the first years of the Islamic Revolution. Read more of this post

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