Scotland sees Nordic spy agencies as post-independence models

United Kingdom and IrelandBy JOSEPH FITSANAKIS | intelNews.org |
Government administrators in Scotland, which may soon become independent from the United Kingdom, are looking to possibly model their intelligence agencies after those of Scandinavian countries, according to sources. An agreement for an independence referendum, to be held in September 2014, was struck last year between the devolved Scottish Government and the British state. According to the agreement, residents of Scotland, which has been ruled by English-dominated Britain for over 700 years, will be asked whether they agree that the territory should form an independent country. In January of this year, Nicola Sturgeon, Deputy First Minister of Scotland, told the Scottish Parliament’s Committee on Foreign Affairs that an independent Scotland would have to build a domestic intelligence agency to combat security threats such as terrorism, organized crime and cyber attacks. Sturgeon, who is also Deputy Leader of the pro-independence Scottish National Party, opined that, even though a Scottish intelligence agency would serve the interests of the Scottish government and people, it would inevitably maintain “very close intelligence sharing with the rest of the UK”. But Committee members opposed to independence warned Sturgeon that Scottish intelligence agencies would have to prove that they were reliable and safe before they struck intelligence-sharing arrangements with British and American organizations. It appears that, in response to such criticisms, Scottish civil servants have initiated contacts with intelligence experts abroad, in an attempt to replicate the intelligence-agency model of Nordic countries. Read more of this post

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Would UK, USA, share intel with independent Scottish spy agencies?

United Kingdom and IrelandBy JOSEPH FITSANAKIS | intelNews.org |
Scotland plans to set up its own security and intelligence agencies if its people vote in favor of independence from the United Kingdom in 2014, according to policy planners. But critics contend that it might be some time before Scotland’s spy organizations are trusted by their sister intelligence agencies in Britain and the United States. The Scottish National Party (SNP) which won an absolute majority in the Scottish Parliament in the 2011 election, has put forward a plan for a referendum proposing Scotland’s full independence from the UK, to be held in late 2014. On Monday, the Scottish Parliament’s Committee on Foreign Affairs met in Edinburgh to conduct an official inquiry into the possible foreign policy implications of an independent Scotland. Nicola Sturgeon, the SNP’s Deputy Leader and Deputy First Minister of Scotland, told the Committee that an independent Scotland would have to build a domestic intelligence agency to combat security threats such as terrorism, organized crime and cyber attacks. She said the agency would serve the interests of the Scottish people and the Scottish government, but would maintain “very close intelligence sharing with the rest of the UK”. According to Sturgeon, given that Scotland shares “an island with the rest of the UK”, a Scottish domestic security service would inevitably find itself “sharing intelligence and sharing our response to some of these threats”. She also suggested that an independent nation of Scotland would have the option to establish an “external security service” modeled on Britain’s MI6, also known as the Secret Intelligence Service. But Committee members opposed to independence directed heavy criticism against the minister’s plans, arguing that the financial cost of replicating existing UK intelligence and security structures would be colossal. They also warned Sturgeon that Scottish intelligence agencies would have to prove that they were reliable and safe before they struck intelligence-sharing arrangements with British and American organizations. Read more of this post

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.

British citizen among Mossad assassins intrigues investigators

Christopher Lockwood

Lockwood

By JOSEPH FITSANAKIS | intelNews.org |
Only a handful of the 33 members of an Israeli assassination squad, who killed a senior Hamas member in Dubai last January, carried non-fraudulent passports. Most of the assassins, who in all probability worked for Kidon, an elite assassination unit within Israel’s Mossad intelligence agency, used forged British, Irish, German, Australian, and other passports. Dubai officials investigating the murder of Hamas weapons procurer Mahmoud al-Mabhouh have identified at least one British citizen among non-fraudulent passport holders in the Mossad assassination team: he is 62-year-old Christopher Lockwood (photo), who helped facilitate al-Mabhouh’s assassination by transporting some of the Mossad members around Dubai “in a [rented] white minivan with tinted windows”. Read more of this post

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

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

UK activist reveals police attempt to recruit her as a paid informant

By JOSEPH FITSANAKIS | intelNews.org |
The London Sunday Times has aired a brief interview with Matilda “Tilly” Gifford, a British environmental activist who last week accused British police officers of trying to recruit her as a paid informant to spy on protest groups. Gifford, whose activist pursuits have repeatedly brought her to the attention of British police, was approached by two unnamed police officers at a Strathclyde Police station in Glasgow, Scotland, and was asked to perform undercover work on behalf of law enforcement. Unbeknownst to the police, however, Gifford was recording the recruiting conversation using a concealed mobile phone. With the help of fellow activists, Gifford secretly videotaped a subsequent meeting with Strathclyde Police officers, who had been led to believe she was genuinely interested in participating in undercover work. Read more of this post

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