News you may have missed #880

Augusto PinochetBy IAN ALLEN | intelNews.org
►►Chinese military establishes cyberintelligence research center. The Chinese People’s Liberation Army (PLA) has announced the creation of a Cyberspace Strategic Intelligence Research Center. Experts say the Center will “provide support in obtaining high-quality intelligence research findings and help China gain advantage in national information security”. Its staff reportedly specialize in such fields as strategic theory research, intelligence studies, and technology management, among others.
►►Chile court says US had role in 1973 killings of Americans. A court ruling released late Monday said the commander of the US Military Mission in Chile at the time of the 1973 military coup gave information to Chilean officials about journalist Charles Horman and student Frank Teruggi that led to their arrest and execution just days after the coup, which brought General Augusto Pinochet to power. The case remained practically ignored in Chile until 2000, when Horman’s widow, Joyce, came and filed a lawsuit against Pinochet.
►►Opinion: Cyber tools are no substitute for human intelligence. A colonel in the Israel Defense Forces critiques “the increasing use of cyber tools as a central and sometimes exclusive role in the work of many intelligence agencies throughout the world”. He argues that “the documents exposed by Edward Snowden show how willing the Americans are to invest in technological systems to collect information and gather as much intelligence as they can using cyber tools”. But he warns that “this almost exclusive reliance on the collection and analysis of intelligence using technology comes at the expense of the human element as a basic component of intelligence-gathering”.

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Chile launches search for suspect in alleged Neruda poisoning

Pablo Neruda (right) and Salvador AllendeBy JOSEPH FITSANAKIS | intelNews.org |
The government of Chile has launched an official search for a United States suspect in connection with the alleged poisoning of celebrated poet Pablo Neruda. The Chilean literary icon, who was awarded the Nobel Prize in Literature in 1971, died on September 23, 1973. His death occurred less than two weeks after a coup d’état, led by General Augusto Pinochet, toppled the democratically elected Marxist government of Salvador Allende, a close friend of Neruda. The death of the internationally acclaimed poet, who was 69 at the time, was officially attributed to prostate cancer and the effects of acute mental stress over the military coup. Earlier this year, however, an official investigation was launched into Neruda’s death following allegations that he had been murdered. The investigation was sparked by a comment made by Neruda’s personal driver, Manuel Araya, who said that the poet had been deliberately injected with poison while receiving treatment for cancer at the Clinica Santa Maria in Chilean capital Santiago. Investigators are still awaiting the completion of a complex autopsy performed on Neruda’s remains, which were exhumed in April. But the Chilean government has already issued a search order for a medical doctor —or someone pretending to be a doctor— who was allegedly on Neruda’s bedside on the night of his death. The search was issued based on comments made recently by another medical doctor, Sergio Draper, who supervised Neruda’s hospital treatment in September of 1973. Dr. Draper told government investigators that he turned over his shift that night to a “Dr. Price”, a young doctor in his late 20s, who was with Neruda in the hours leading to the poet’s death. According to Rodolfo Reyes, a lawyer representing the Neruda estate, Dr.Price’s identity remains a mystery. Read more of this post

News you may have missed #826 (suspicious deaths edition)

Pablo Neruda (right) and Salvador AllendeBy IAN ALLEN | intelNews.org |
►►Key suspect in Russian spy murder refuses to cooperate. Andrey Lugovoi, who is now an elected official in Russia, says he will not talk even by video to British investigators about the poisoning of Alexander Litvinenko in London just over six years ago. The murder of former Russian spy Alexander Litvinenko in London in 2006, has never been solved and remains the subject of conflicting narratives and still-deepening intrigue over who may have killed him and why.
►►Exhumation of Neruda’s remains set for April. A court in Chile has set April 8 as the date for the exhumation of the remains of the Nobel Prize-winning poet Pablo Neruda, as part of an inquest into his death. The poet and leftwing activist died 12 days after a military coup replaced the socialist President Salvador Allende with General Augusto Pinochet. The poet’s family maintains that he died at 69 of advanced prostate cancer. But in 2011, Chile started investigating allegations by his former driver, Manuel Araya Osorio, that the poet had been poisoned.
►►Venezuela to investigate Chavez murder allegations. Venezuelan officials have said they will set up an inquiry to investigate suspicions that President Hugo Chavez was “murdered by foreign agencies”. Venezuelan Oil Minister Rafael Ramirez told the BBC the United States and Israel were to blame for Chavez’s death, and that he had no doubt that Chavez’s death was an act “similar to Yasser Arafat’s“. Earlier this week, the US expelled two Venezuelan diplomats following the expulsion of two American officials from Caracas.

News you may have missed #671

Pablo Neruda (right) and Salvador AllendeBy IAN ALLEN | intelNews.org |
►►German ‘spies’ detained in Pakistan. Three alleged German spies have been detained in Pakistan by police and released to German diplomats, according to reports. The men were detained last Saturday in the northeastern city of Peshawar by officers who accused them of belonging to “an unauthorized liaison office of the German embassy”. A Pakistani official said counterintelligence authorities had been observing the three Germans “for months”.
►►Was poet Pablo Neruda murdered? Pablo Neruda, Chile’s Nobel Prize-winning poet, died exactly 12 days after the brutal coup that ended the life of his close friend, socialist President Salvador Allende. The official version was that he died of natural causes brought on by the trauma of witnessing the coup and the lethal persecution of many of his friends. But now Neruda’s body might be exhumed for testing to address long-simmering suspicions that the poet was poisoned.
►►Britain’s secret mission to beat Gaddafi. British efforts to help Libyan rebels topple Colonel Gaddafi were not limited to air strikes. On the ground –and on the quiet– British special forces soldiers were blending in with rebel fighters. The BBC’s Newsnight program has produced a report on the subject. The report includes information on E Squadron, which has not hitherto been discussed publicly. It was formed in 2007 to work closely with MI6, and is mainly involved in missions “where maximum discretion is required”.

German agency hired ex-Nazi mass murderer to spy on Cuba

Walther Rauff

Walther Rauff

By JOSEPH FITSANAKIS | intelNews.org |
A senior member of the German SS, the Nazi party’s Praetorian Guard, who was wanted for the murder of nearly 100,000 people, was hired by West German intelligence to spy on the communist government of Cuba, according to newly released papers. Colonel Walther Rauff, who held several intelligence-related positions in the Nazi state apparatus during the Third Reich, is mostly known for his work for the Main Office of the Criminal Technical Institute of the Reich. While there, he led the working group that designed the so-called gas vans, which used exhaust fumes to exterminate large groups of prisoners trapped inside a tightly sealed vault at the back, while the vans drove to designated burial sites. Nearly 100,000 people were killed in this way in Germany, Poland and the Ukraine, between 1942 and 1945. Soon after the end of World War II, Rauff escaped from an American internment camp in Rimini, Italy, and eventually managed to escape to Chile with the help of the Catholic Church. According to German newsmagazine Der Spiegel, it was in Chile that Rauff was hired by West Germany’s main foreign intelligence agency, the Bundesnachrichtendienst (BND). The organization approached Rauff in 1958, through Lieutenant Colonel Rudolf Oebsger-Röder, another former SS member, who was working for the BND under the alias O.G. Roeder. Der Spiegel, which accessed the BND’s folder on Rauff, says the former SS member was asked to use his Latin American contacts to infiltrate the communist government of the island of Cuba. At the same time that the BND was recruiting Rauff, he was under investigation by Germany’s Department of Justice, for complicity to mass murder during World War II. In 1962, the German government, which had no idea Rauff was working for the BND, successfully pressured Chilean authorities to arrest the former Nazi official. But he was soon released from prison, because a 15-year statute of limitation made his arrest illegal under Chilean law. Read more of this post

Leaked US cable reveals concern about China spying in Chile

WikiLeaks

WikiLeaks

By JOSEPH FITSANAKIS | intelNews.org |
A leaked US government document reveals strong concerns expressed by the US embassy in Santiago about Chinese intelligence operations in Chile. The document, classified “secret”, and dated August 29, 2005, was released by whistleblower website WikiLeaks. It contains a report sent by the embassy to the US Department of State, concerning Chinese intelligence collection activities in the South American nation. The report points out that the Chinese embassy in the Chilean capital is one of the largest in Latin America, with 22 employees, who are “all good Spanish speakers”. It also notes that Chinese news agency Xinhua maintains three full-time correspondents in Chile, who are “assumed [to be] involved in some kind of collection activity”. But the leaked document focuses mostly on alleged Chinese intelligence collection activities aimed at the Chilean military, which is heavily subsisted by the United States. It suggests that bilateral ties between the Chinese and Chilean military were significantly strengthened in 2004, when, during an official visit to China, the then Chief of the Chilean Army, General Juan Emilio Cheyre, adopted a Chinese proposal to establish a Mandarin-language training program for selected officers of the Chilean military, which became operational shortly after. Read more of this post

News you may have missed #485

  • Gaza engineer describes abduction my Mossad. Dirar Abu Sissi, who was abducted by Israeli spy agency Mossad from the Ukraine on February 19, has described details of his abduction in a report issued Monday by the Gaza-based Palestinian Center for Human Rights.
  • Gaddafi regime fed names of jihadists to the CIA and MI6. Diplomatic cables obtained by WikiLeaks paint eastern Libya as a fertile ground for radical extremism. One source told US officials in 2008 that for young men from Derna, a city east of Benghazi, “resistance against coalition forces in Iraq was an important act of ‘jihad’ and a last act of defiance against the Gaddafi regime”.
  • Investigators say secret CIA files could aid Chile. Chile’s truth commission has determined that 3,065 opponents of US-supported Chilean dictator Augusto Pinochet were killed in the 1970s. Most of these cases were investigated, and some 600 military figures and civilian collaborators have been put on trial. Now campaigners are trying to get the CIA to open its files on Pinochet.

News you may have missed #478

  • Israel and Chile collaborated to spy on Iran and Venezuela. Documents released by WikiLeaks show Israel and Chile cooperated to spy on Iran as it developed bilateral links with Venezuela. A diplomatic cable from the US embassy in Santiago to the State Department in Washington, dated July 21, 2008, said Chile and Israel both expressed concern about growing ties as well as a potential Iranian presence on the border with Brazil, Argentina and Paraguay.
  • Korean spies broke into Indonesian delegation’s hotel room. Members of South Korea’s NIS spy agency broke into a hotel room of a visiting high-level Indonesian delegation to try to steal sensitive information on a possible arms deal, according to Seoul-based Chosun Ilbo newspaper. The report said the NIS officers left “after being disturbed by a delegate”.
  • High-ranking Libyan pilots defect to Malta. Two air force jets landed in Malta on Monday and their pilots, who said they are “senior colonels” in the Libyan air force, asked for political asylum. The pilots claim to have defected after refusing to follow orders to attack civilians protesting in Benghazi in Libya. Meanwhile, a group of Libyan army officers have issued a statement urging fellow soldiers to “join the people” and help remove Muammar Gaddafi by marching to Tripoli.

CIA killed Chile Army commander, says Pinochet’s spy chief

Carlos Prats

Carlos Prats

By JOSEPH FITSANAKIS | intelNews.org |
The convicted former chief of Chile’s intelligence services during the dictatorship of Augusto Pinochet has accused the CIA of murdering the deposed leader of the Chilean army and former Vice-President of Chile, in 1974. General Carlos Prats González was a close political ally of Chilean President Salvador Allende, who was toppled by a CIA-assisted military coup in 1973, led by General Augusto Pinochet. General Prats managed to escape with his family to neighboring Argentina. It was there where, in 1974, he was killed along with his wife, Sofia Cuthbert, in a massive car bomb. A Chilean court has convicted General Manuel Contreras, who headed Pinochet’s feared DINA secret police, for the murder of General Prats and his wife. But Contreras, 81, who has been in prison since 1995, servicing over 100 years for several kidnappings and murders of anti-Pinochet dissidents, now accuses the CIA of the Prats murders. Read more of this post

News you may have missed #393

  • US warns Turkey against Gaza flotilla probe. London-based Arabic-language newspaper al-Hayat claimed on Saturday that US President Barack Obama told Turkish Prime Minster Recep Tayyip Erdogan that an independent inquiry into the Free Gaza Flotilla massacre “could turn into a double-edged sword” against Ankara.
  • US experts doubt North Korea sunk South Korean ship. A new study by US researchers raises questions about the investigation into the sinking of the Cheonan, a South Korean navy ship, which went down last March, killing 46 sailors. International investigators have blamed a North Korean torpedo, raising tensions on the Korean peninsula.
  • Nixon-Kissinger dialogue raises CIA assassination suspicions. A loaded dialogue between President Richard M. Nixon and his trusted national security adviser, Henry A. Kissinger, dating from 1971, appears to confirm that the CIA had a role in the 1970 assassination of Chilean army commander-in-chief Rene Schneider.

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Suspects arrested for 1981 poisoning of Chilean ex-president

Eduardo Frei

Eduardo Frei

By JOSEPH FITSANAKIS | intelNews.org |
A Chilean judge this week charged several people connected with the Augusto Pinochet dictatorship, of complicity in the 1981 murder by poisoning of former Chilean President Eduardo Frei Montalva. With the help of the CIA, Frei, a conservative centrist, became Chile’s elected leader from 1964 to 1970. In 1973, he supported the Augusto Pinochet junta movement against Chile’s elected President, Salvador Allende, but soon became disillusioned and opposed the military regime’s widespread human rights abuses. In November 1981, Frei checked into Santiago’s Santa Maria Clinic for a routine hernia operation. It was there, according to the court indictment, that several doctors connected with the Pinochet junta systematically poisoned the former Chilean President with thallium and small doses of mustard gas, which eventually killed him. Read more of this post

News you may have missed #0211

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Analysis: The role of spies in Latin America

Latin America

Latin America

By IAN ALLEN | intelNews.org |
These days it’s a full-time job keeping up with intelligence news coming out of Latin America. In recent weeks alone, there were major spy scandals involving the busting of an alleged Colombian espionage ring in Venezuela, the acknowledgment by Bogotá that it spied on Ecuador, and the ongoing high-level intelligence scandal that some say may cause recalls of diplomats between Chile and Peru. So what is going on in Latin America? How widespread is espionage in the continent and is it on the rise? The BBC’s Juan Paullier has consulted several regional and international experts for his well-written analysis on the subject. Read more of this post

News you may have missed #0191

  • Peru-Chile spy dispute deepens. Not only was senior Peruvian Air Force officer Victor Ariza Mendoza, who was arrested in Lima last Saturday, a spy for Chile, but there were six other individuals involved in the ring, according to Peruvian authorities. Peru has even asked Interpol to get involved in the affair.
  • UN-Iran in secret nuclear negotiations, says paper. The London Times has alleged that the UN’s International Atomic Energy Agency is secretly negotiating a deal to persuade world powers to lift sanctions against Iran and allow Tehran to retain the bulk of its nuclear energy program, in return for co-operation with UN inspectors.
  • Analysis: The real spy war between CIA and DNI. For months, the CIA and the office of the Director of National Intelligence fought an intense and acrimonious turf battle over covert action oversight and access to White House officials. Now new details are emerging about deeper and more sensitive conflicts between the two agencies, including which agency is responsible for oversight of the CIA’s controversial and classified Predator drone program.

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News you may have missed #0188

  • India arrests Pakistani ‘spy’ carrying documents at airport. The Delhi Police says it arrested a Pakistani spy just as he was set to board a flight to Saudi Arabia, carrying with him a set of vital documents on Indian defense installations. The man was reportedly using a fake passport bearing the name “Aamir Ali”.
  • Hezbollah claims infiltration of Israel. Lebanese militant group Hezbollah says it has infiltrated the security services of Israel and obtained vital documents regarding military activity, by “taking pictures and copying sensitive documents”.
  • Spy arrest causes major Peru-Chile diplomatic row. A senior Peruvian Air Force officer was arrested in Lima on Saturday, on charges of spying for Chile. The spying affair caused the Peruvian delegation to pull out of an Asia-Pacific summit in Singapore on Sunday.

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