News you may have missed #417

  • US Senators question Chinese telecom hardware bid. Senior Republican senators have called for an investigation on whether US national security will be compromised by the Chinese telecommunications company Huawei seeking to sell equipment to Sprint Nextel, which provides services to the US military and law enforcement agencies.
  • Pakistan environmental chaos causes security concerns. The catastrophic floods in Pakistan, which have displaced millions of persons over the last several weeks, when combined with the other socioeconomic and political stresses on Pakistan, have the potential to further weaken an already weak Pakistani state, according to a new US Congressional Research Service report.
  • Russian base in Armenia to stay through 2044. Russia has secured a long-term foothold in the energy-rich and unstable Caucasus region by signing a deal with Armenia that allows a Russian military base to operate until 2044 in exchange for a promise of new weaponry and fresh security guarantees.

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News you may have missed #416 (Iran edition)

  • Israel not to attack Iran in 2011, say US sources. The Obama administration, citing evidence of continued troubles inside Iran’s nuclear program, has persuaded Israel that it would take roughly a year for Iran to complete a “dash” for a nuclear weapon. US officials say the assessment has dimmed the prospect that Israel would pre-emptively strike Iran within the next year.
  • Iran launches first spy drone. Iran has launched a domestically made long-range high-altitude drone, called Karrar, according to state media. Hamed Saeedi, managing director of Farnas Aerospace Company, which is in charge of the project, said plans are under way to produce additional drones and unmanned choppers.
  • Iranian tried for espionage collapses in Armenian court. Behnam Bagheri, an Iranian citizen being tried in Armenia on charges of spying for Azerbaijan, collapsed in court in Yerevan on August 19 while delivering his defense speech, according to reports. In a similar case in October of 2009, Armenia charged one of its own officers with spying for Azerbaijan.

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Thatcher’s son was informant for South African spy service

Sir Mark Thathcer

Sir Mark Thathcer

By JOSEPH FITSANAKIS | intelNews.org |
The son of Britain’s former Prime Minister, Margaret (now Baroness) Thatcher, has admitted turning informer to a South African intelligence agency, in connection to a coup plot in central-west Africa which he was accused of having helped finance. In 2004, Sir Mark Thatcher was arrested by members of an elite anticorruption squad in South Africa, for his alleged role in a failed coup against Teodoro Obiang Nguema Mbasogo, the longtime dictator of energy-rich Equatorial Guinea. Several South African and European mercenaries, including Simon Mann, a British former Special Forces officer, and Nick du Toit, a South African arms dealer, were arrested in Zimbabwe during the planning stages of the failed coup. It soon became understood that the plotters wanted to replace Obiang with exiled opposition leader Severo Moto Nsa, probably in return for access to lucrative oil contracts. Read more of this post

News you may have missed #0153

  • More on Nozette’s 2009 mystery trip abroad. The affidavit of Stewart David Nozette, who was arrested last Monday for attempting to sell classified US government information to an undercover FBI agent, reveals that “[o]n or about January 6, 2009, [the scientist] traveled to a different foreign country”, carrying with him two thumb drives, which he failed to bring back with him. Where did he go, and why?
  • Armenia charges former army officer with spying for Azerbaijan. Armenian Army officer Gevorg Airapetian and a “foreign national” were arrested in a “special operation” by Armenian authorities earlier this week, and charged with spying for Azerbaijan. Some suspect Russian involvement, believing the Azerbaijanis to have acted as intermediaries between Airapetian and Moscow.
  • US spy chief Blair calls for spy cooperation. Director of National Intelligence (DNI) Dennis Blair called Wednesday for a better-coordinated effort within the US intelligence community. But he said nothing about recent reports that intelligence officials shut down a Web-based unclassified e-mail system, which had been heralded as an important step in information sharing between members of the US intelligence community.

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