Controversial ex-Mossad chief ‘fighting for his life’ following operation

Meir DaganBy JOSEPH FITSANAKIS | intelNews.org |
An Israeli former intelligence chief, who has been voicing strong public criticism of Israeli calls for an all-out war with Iran, is allegedly “fighting for his life” following a transplant operation in Belarus. An announcement aired late on Tuesday by Belarusian President Alexander Lukashenko said Meir Dagan, who led Israeli covert-action agency Mossad from 2002 to 2010, had undergone a kidney transplant at a hospital in Belarusian capital Minsk. Lukashenko claimed that the former Mossad strongman, who was born in Russia, had decided to undergo the operation in the former Soviet republic after consulting with him personally. The Belarusian president claimed that, prior to traveling to Minsk for the operation, Dagan had asked American, German and Swedish doctors to perform it, but that they refused, allegedly because “no one wanted to carry out a liver transplant operation on a former head of the Mossad”. According to the announcement, the former Mossad Director was operated on over a week ago and initially seemed to be doing well. However, complications soon set in and he is currently “recovering in isolation”, while it appears that his body is not receiving the transplant well. Reputable Israeli newspaper Ha’aretz said that Belarusian media had directed several queries to hospital staff in Minsk, who apparently confirmed that an organ transplant had been performed on a patient who was a citizen of Israel. But they refused to give the person’s name due to patient confidentiality rules. It is not clear why Dagan had to leave Israel in order to undergo the operation, or why he failed to notify the Israeli embassy in Belarus. Israeli diplomats in Minks told Israeli media that they had no idea about Dagan’s medical procedure or even presence in the eastern European country. Read more of this post

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Belarus announces arrest of alleged Lithuanian spy ring members

Belarus and LithuaniaBy IAN ALLEN | intelNews.org |
The government of Belarus has announced the arrest of an espionage ring allegedly operating out of the Lithuanian embassy in Belarusian capital Minsk. It appears that the alleged ring consisted of at least one Lithuanian embassy official, identified only as “Mr. F” in Belarusian state documents, as well as an undisclosed number of Belarusian nationals. A brief statement published on the website of the Belarusian State Security Committee, the KGB, said that the Lithuanian official, who is said to be a military attaché at the embassy, was arrested along with several Belarusian members of the alleged spy ring. The arrests reportedly took place soon after members of the spy ring were caught in the act of exchanging information; the KGB press office added that “electronic equipment” and “spy gadgets” of an undisclosed nature were confiscated from the arrestees. Little is known at this point about the precise focus of the accused spies; the KGB claims that they were “engaged in efforts to gain information in the military sphere”. Media reports from Minsk suggest that the activities of the alleged ring were particularly focused on bilateral security arrangements between Belarus and Russia. Belarus, a former Soviet republic, is today one of Russia’s staunchest allies in Europe; since 1994, the country has been ruled by Russophile President Alexander Lukashenko, who often accuses other former Soviet republics —including Lithuania— of stooping to the West. Read more of this post

News you may have missed #427

  • Did Belarus KGB murder opposition activist? The death of Belarussian opposition activist and journalist Oleg Bebenin has thrown a murky light on both the circumstances of his demise and those who might be behind it. Some point the finger at Minsk’s modern-day KGB, whose leadership was reshuffled earlier this year by President Alexander Lukashenko.
  • Colombian agency behind domestic spying honey trap. Former Colombian detective Alba Luz Florez has revealed that she seduced a national police captain as a way of infiltrating the Colombian Supreme Court, during a 2007 domestic spying operation by the country’s scandal-besieged Administrative Department of Security.
  • Ex-MI6 worker jailed for trying to sell secrets. A British court has jailed Daniel Houghton, a former employee of MI6, Britain’s external spy agency, for trying to sell secret intelligence documents to the Dutch secret services. Interestingly, the Dutch notified MI6 after they were approached by Houghton, who has dual British and Dutch citizenship.

News you may have missed #0270

  • S. Korean court orders damages in alleged spy case. Lee Soo-geun was a senior North Korean government apparatchik, who defected to the South and joined its intelligence service in 1967. Later, however, when he attempted to flee to a third country, he was arrested by South Korean counterintelligence agents, charged with working as a double agent, and shot. But now a court in Seoul has concluded that Lee’s confession was extracted by force, and has ordered that damages be paid to Lee’s niece, who was imprisoned for allegedly helping him.
  • Belarus reshuffles KGB leadership. Last week, Belorussian President Alexander Lukashenko carried out a major reshuffle in the country’s State Security Committee (KGB), a surprise move which affected all KGB deputy chairs and regional department heads. Retired KGB lieutenant colonel Valery Kostka explains the reasoning behind the reshuffle.

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Belarus puts on trial members of alleged Polish military spy ring

By JOSEPH FITSANAKIS | intelNews.org |
Very little information has appeared in Western news outlets of an ongoing trial in Belarus of four army officers accused of spying for Poland. The four, all of whom are Belarusian, are accused by Belarus security officials of collaborating with Polish intelligence agents by providing them with classified data on Belarusian military technologies, as well as with information on Russia’s air defense system, of which Belarus is a partner. A fifth alleged member of the spy ring, who is a Russian military officer, is facing similar charges in Moscow. The four Belarusians were reportedly arrested several months ago by the KGB, Belarus’ intelligence service. The discovery of the alleged spy ring led to a major political scandal in Minsk, prompting the dismissal of KGB’s director, Stepan Sukhorenko, by Belarus’ longtime President, Alexander Lukashenko. If convicted of treason and espionage, the army officers could technically face the death penalty under Belarusian law.