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.

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Venezuela expels US diplomats as Hugo Chávez is pronounced dead

Hugo ChavezBy JOSEPH FITSANAKIS | intelNews.org |
The government of Venezuela moved yesterday to expel two American diplomats from the country, shortly before officially pronouncing the death of Venezuelan President Hugo Chávez. The expulsions are seen by some as attempts to curtail communication between United States officials and the Venezuelan opposition in the aftermath of Chávez’s death. In a speech televised live on Venezuelan television on Tuesday, Vice President Nicolás Maduro said US Air Force attaché Colonel David Delmonaco, who was stationed at the American embassy in Venezuelan capital Caracas, would be expelled. “Mr. David Delmonaco has 24 hours to pick up his belongings and leave this country”, said Maduro, who is widely reputed to succeed Chávez. He added that the American attaché had been engaged in efforts “to destabilize the country”, but did not elaborate on the allegation. Shortly afterwards, Venezuelan Minister of Foreign Affairs Elias Jaua told a press conference that a second US Air Force attaché, who remains unnamed, had been declared persona non grata and would be expelled from the country along with Delmonaco. Later on the same day, US government spokesman Colonel Todd Breasseale confirmed the diplomatic expulsions. He told journalists that the US was “aware of the allegations made by Venezuelan Vice President Maduro over state-run television in Caracas”, adding that he was in a position to confirm that “our Air Attache Colonel David Delmonaco, is en route back to the United States”. But the US Department of State said it “completely reject[ed] the Venezuelan government’s claim that the United States is involved in any type of conspiracy to destabilize the Venezuelan government”. Read more of this post

News you may have missed #761

Robert de La RochefoucauldBy TIMOTHY W. COLEMAN | intelNews.org |
►►US aircraft company owner charged with supplying Venezuelan military. Kirk Drellich, owner and president of SkyHigh Accessories in Florida, has pleaded not guilty to charges that he illegally supplied Venezuelan military contacts with pressure switches and cooling turbines, as well as other airplane parts. Court documents indicate that the aircraft parts were to be used for Venezuelan F-16 jets, attack helicopters and other military crafts. Prosecutors in Florida have filed charges (.pdf), stemming from violations of the Arms Export Control Act, on three other individuals who are supposedly involved in the conspiracy to export arms to Venezuela. Other defendants in the case include Alberto Pichardo and Freddy Arguelles, both former members of Venezuela’s Air Force, as well as Victor Brown, a local businessman.
►►Trial delayed again in Delisle espionage case. As previously reported on this blog, the espionage case against Sub-Lt. Jeffrey Paul Delisle, the Canadian navy intelligence officer accused of spying for Russia, has again been delayed. The attorney for Delisle requested an adjournment based on the governments disclosure of new documents and evidence in the case. The adjournment is expected to last until July 17.
►►Legendary WWII spy de La Rochefoucauld dies. Robert de La Rochefoucauld, a French national who became a legendary British spy, helping direct and organize the Free French forces in England and underground movements in France during World War II, has died of natural causes at the age of 88. De La Rochefoucauld’s exploits as a spy have all the makings of a movie. As a little boy, he met Adolf Hitler, and as a spy he twice escaped execution by the Nazi’s. He was a knight in the French Legion of Honor, received the Medal of Resistance from France, was widely herald for his exceptional service by the British and he is believed to have been the last remaining French member of Winston Churchill’s Special Operations Executive.

News you may have missed #729 (intel blunder edition)

Alleged Venezuelan 'spy crossword'By IAN ALLEN | intelNews.org |
►►US drones ‘incidentally’ spy on Americans. A leaked US Air Force document stipulates that a drone that happens to capture surveillance images of Americans may store them for a period of 90 days. The paper appears to justify spying on citizens, as long as it is “incidental”. The document accepts that the Air Force may not record information non-consensually; however it does state: “collected imagery may incidentally include US persons or private property without consent”. The report, dated April 23 was discovered by Steven Aftergood of the Federation of American Scientists and has been put online.
►►Indian intel blunder sparks anger in Pakistan. India’s Research and Analysis Wing (RAW) intelligence agency sparked outrage in Pakistan and self-deprecatory jokes in India itself last week, after it listed ordinary Pakistani shopkeepers as terrorists on a mission to attack some of India’s landmark institutions. RAW, which is considered India’s premier intelligence agency, issued an advisory to state governments in which it said that five trained militants from Pakistan’s banned Lashkar-e-Taiba group had sneaked into India with fake identities to attack a nuclear facility, oil refinery, seaport and defense academy. Within hours after photographs of the five men were released, a Pakistani television channel reported that two of the three men on the list were shopkeepers and one was a guard, all living in Lahore, and that none of them had ever left Pakistan.
►►Venezuelan spies face criticism over ‘crossword puzzle’ plot. Venezuelan government critics, and even some supporters, are ridiculing a Venezuelan state TV host’s allegation that a newspaper crossword puzzle may have had a hidden call for a plot to kill President Hugo Chavez’s elder brother. Intelligence agents questioned Neptali Segovia, the author of the puzzle, after state TV presenter Miguel Perez Pirela pointed out that Wednesday’s crossword contained the word “ASESINEN”, or kill, intersecting with the name of Chavez’s brother, “ADAN”. He noted they were below the word “RAFAGAS”, meaning either gusts of wind or bursts of gunfire.

US expels Venezuelan diplomat over cyberespionage allegations

Livia Acosta NogueraBy JOSEPH FITSANAKIS | intelNews.org |
The United States has ordered the immediate expulsion of the head of the Venezuelan consulate in Miami, over allegations that she helped coordinate a cyberattack against US government targets in 2008. The diplomat, Livia Acosta Noguera, was declared “persona non grata” (an unwelcome person) by the US Department of State last Friday, and was given 72 hours to leave the country. State Department officials refused to discuss the reasons for Acosta’s expulsion. But the BBC said that the expulsion order was prompted by a letter sent last month to US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton by four members of the US Congress. The letter’s authors reportedly raised concerns about a documentary aired in December by Univision, a US-based Spanish-language broadcaster, titled “The Iranian Threat”. According to reports, the documentary alleged that Acosta was part of a multinational team of diplomats from Venezuela, Iran and Cuba, who, while stationed in Mexico in 2008, helped orchestrate a cyberespionage operation against US targets. The alleged operation was aimed at computer servers belonging to the US government computer, including some at the Department of Defense, the National Security Agency, the Central Intelligence Agency, and the White House. Computer servers at several nuclear power plants across the US were also reportedly targeted. The documentary exposé, which later appeared in print in US-based Spanish-language newspaper El Nuevo Herald, included allegations that Acosta is in fact a member of the Bolivarian Intelligence Service, Venezuela’s foremost external intelligence agency. Read more of this post

CIA bank accounts used to funnel oil deal money, court documents claim

CIA HQ

CIA HQ

By JOSEPH FITSANAKIS | intelNews.org |
Court papers in a bizarre lawsuit involving $258 million in missing funds from an international oil deal, appear to show that the funds were channeled to dormant CIA bank accounts with the help of an Agency employee. The case is being ignored by US media, but has attracted attention in the Irish press, because an Irishman, Ed O’Neill, is the primary defendant in the lawsuit. O’Neil was the main consultant broker who helped facilitate a 2008 oil deal between involving NIB Petroleum of Venezuela and Russia’s Gazprom, both of which sold oil to Turkey’s UP Petroleum. Among O’Neil’s tasks was ensuring that six consulting companies were paid a total of $258 million for helping facilitate the complex deal. The Turkish company, UP, paid the funds to O’Neil, but they never arrived to the six companies. The latter are now suing O’Neil for the missing money. But Irish quality broadsheet The Independent, says it has seen copies of the court papers, filed in the US state of Illinois. According to the documents, O’Neil told his clients, who were awaiting the money, that he was having trouble wiring it to them, and that he had enlisted the assistance of a friend of his, by the name of Carlos Jesus Navarro, who was a CIA operative. According to the testimony of the plaintiffs, O’Neil told them that Navarro had access to several dormant CIA bank accounts, which could be used to wire the money around the world. With Navarro’s alleged help, the funds were then transferred to banks in Luxembourg, Lichtenstein and the island of Guernsey, before making their way to the Cayman Islands. From there they were transferred to Germany’s Commerzbank, and finally to a Bank of America branch in New York City. The money was supposed to be transferred one last time to the plaintiffs’ bank accounts in Chicago; but this last transfer never took place. Read more of this post

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.

Revelations continue in ex-CIA agent’s trial in Texas

Luis Posada Carriles

Carriles

By IAN ALLEN | intelNews.org |
A United States government informant testifying at the immigration trial of a former CIA agent has described how he was smuggled into the US from Mexico onboard a luxury boat. It was believed that the former agent, Cuban-born Luis Posada Carriles, had arrived in the US from Honduras in 2005 using a forged Guatemalan passport. But Gilberto Abascal, an anti-Castro Cuban exile who has been an informant for the FBI since 1999, has told a court in Texas that Carriles was smuggled into Miami on a 90-foot luxury yacht, which carried him from Mexico’s Isla Mujeres to a waterfront Cuban restaurant. Abascal told the court that Carriles disembarked the yacht using a small speedboat, before the yacht’s owner, Santiago Alvarez, reported to US Customs in Miami. Remarkably, Carriles’ smuggling went according to plan, despite the fact that the Miami Chief of Police was among the restaurant’s patrons at the time of the speedboat’s arrival. Carriles is a militant anticommunist who is idolized by America’s anti-Castro Cubans, but is considered a terrorist in parts of Latin America due to his self-confessed participation in a string of bombings of hotels in Havana, Cuba, in 1997. Read more of this post

Ex-CIA agent and anti-Castro militant on trial in Texas

Carriles in 1962

Carriles in 1962

By IAN ALLEN | intelNews.org |
A former CIA agent and militant anticommunist, who is idolized by America’s anti-Castro Cubans, but is considered a terrorist in parts of Latin America, has gone on trial in Texas. Luís Posada Carriles, 82, known as “the bin Laden of the Americas” by his detractors, gained notoriety for his self-confessed participation in a string of bombings of hotels in Havana, Cuba, in 1997. He is wanted by the governments of Cuba and Venezuela for his alleged role in the dramatic 1976 midair bombing of Cubana flight 455, which killed all 73 crew and passengers onboard. The United States government has placed Carriles on trial for lying about his militant activities to US immigration officials, after arriving here in 2005. Specifically, Carriles faces 11 charges of perjury, obstruction and naturalization fraud, which he is said to have committed at a 2007 immigration hearing in El Paso. At that hearing, he allegedly denied under oath his participation in the 1997 Havana bombings, and failed to report being in possession of a fake Guatemalan passport, which he had used to enter the United States two years earlier. Read more of this post

Three more Latin American countries recognize Palestinian state

Israel, Palestine

Israel, Palestine

By IAN ALLEN | intelNews.org |
Three more Latin American countries officially recognized the state of Palestine last week, prompting harsh diplomatic responses from Israel and the United States. The recognitions were announced by the governments of Brazil, Argentina and Uruguay, which make up the majority of Mercosur, a South American common market area modeled after the European Union. All three nations said they officially recognized a Palestinian state based on internationally established borders prior to the 1967 Six Day War, during which Israel illegally occupied the West Bank and Gaza. The official recognitions were immediately endorsed by Riyad al-Maliki, Foreign Affairs Minister of the Palestinian National Authority (PNA) in the West Bank, who said that the PNA expected Paraguay —Mercosur’s fourth member— to follow suit early next year. The new recognitions by Brazil, Argentina and Uruguay follow earlier similar moves by Nicaragua, Venezuela, Costa Rica and Cuba. Diplomatic observers expect Palestine to soon be officially recognized by the vast majority of Latin American nations, with Colombia, Peru and a handful of Central American states being the few exceptions. Read more of this post

More underreported WikiLeaks revelations

Julian Assange

Julian Assange

By JOSEPH FITSANAKIS | intelNews.org |
As the world’s media shift their attention to the consequences of the WikiLeaks revelations for its founder Julian Assange, as well as the reactions of American officials, the leaked diplomatic cables keep coming in, almost on an hourly basis. Some of the least noticed revelations include a 2009 dispatch from a US diplomat in Tel Aviv, which appears to confirm the close secret relations between Israel and the United Arab Emirates, despite the fact that these two countries have no official diplomatic connections. Another diplomatic cable reveals that Iranian intelligence officials approached their Canadian counterparts in 2008 and offered to share with them “information on potential attacks in Afghanistan”. Perhaps not surprisingly, the Canadians reacted guardedly, with Canadian Security Intelligence Service Director Jim Judd stating that his agency had “not figured out what they [the Iranians] are up to”. Read more of this post

News you may have missed #401

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News you may have missed #350

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News you may have missed #328 (breaking)

  • Breaking: Real IRA admits NI MI5 base bomb. The Real IRA has admitted it was behind a car bomb which exploded shortly after midnight local hour, outside the Palace Barracks army base, in Holywood, County Down, which houses MI5′s Northern Ireland headquarters. Police said no warning was given.
  • Venezuela releases 4 of 8 alleged spies. Four of the eight Colombians arrested by Venezuela on espionage charges last week have been released, after a judge found there was not enough evidence to take them to trial. Meanwhile Venezuelan president Hugo Chávez has said that the alleged spy ring used “secret or semi-secret codes”.
  • Analysis: Security services will determine fate of Kyrgyz uprising. Unlike the 2005 so-called Tulip Revolution, this time the anti-government protesters in Kyrgyzstan are armed. But the real question may be whether they have the support of (and control over) the Internal Security Services and the military.

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Colombia, Venezuela, silent on alleged spy arrests

DISIP agents

DISIP agents

By IAN ALLEN | intelNews.org |
Caracas and Bogota are remaining silent on the arrests of eight alleged Colombian spies in northwest Venezuela. Eight people, members of a factory-owning family in Barinas, were charged with espionage last week, after Luis Carlos Cossio, 52, was allegedly caught photographing a telecommunications tower belonging to DISIP, Venezuela’s premier intelligence agency. Cossio, who is a dual Venezuelan-Colombian citizen, was arrested on Tuesday, along with his relative, Santiago Giraldo, 21. Two days later, Venezuelan counterintelligence agents raided the family’s factory in Barinas, arresting six more members of the same family. Colombian media report that at least two of the detainees, Cossio and Cruz Elva Giraldo, served in the same Colombian military unit in Medellin, namely the Colombian Army’s 4th Brigade. Read more of this post

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