MI6 archives reveal plans for WWII and Cold War black operations

Sir Stewart MenziesBy JOSEPH FITSANAKIS | intelNews.org |
Recently declassified British archives reveal a host of audacious plans for covert operations aimed at Nazi-occupied Europe during wartime and, after 1948, inside the Soviet Union. The plans, proposed by British intelligence officials, ranged from relatively innocuous psychological operations to assassinations of key political figures. The wartime plans were proposed in 1944 by Charles Peake, a British intelligence officer detailed to the headquarters of General Dwight Eisenhower. The iconic American military commander was in charge of plans for Operation OVERLORD, the allied troop landings on the beaches of Normandy in northern France. According to documents released last week by the United Kingdom National Archives, Peake’s proposal was entitled “Assassination Priorities for OVERLORD”. It contained an extensive list of senior German and French Axis officials that should be targeted for assassination in preparation for the D-Day landings. The hit list included “certain Germans in key positions in France”, notably Field Marshals Gerd von Rundstedt and Erwin Rommel. It also incorporated several senior members of France’s Nazi-controlled Vichy administration under Marshal Philippe Pétain. The proposal, however, was quickly shot down by no other than General Stewart Menzies, Director of the Secret Intelligence Service (known as MI6), who feared that intrusive covert actions by allied operatives would cause brutal reprisals against allied prisoners of war. Ironically, Menzies, known in government simply as “C”, drafted an ever more ambitious plan for black operations after the end of World War II, this time targeted at the Soviet Union. Read more of this post

News you may have missed #430

  • Russians arrested outside US power plant. Police in the US state of Georgia have arrested one Kazakh and two Russian citizens, who were carrying “a machete, shovel, wire cutters and ski masks”, outside Georgia Power’s Plant McIntosh, at 1:00 in the morning. Hmm….
  • MI6 spy could have climbed into sports bag before death. British detectives reportedly believe that someone else padlocked GCHQ and MI6 employee Gareth Williams into the sports bag where his body was found on August 23. But they remain open to the possibility that Dr Williams climbed into the bag as part of a sex game and then suffocated.
  • Tamils claim espionage behind Canada HQ break-in. The Canadian Tamil Congress believes that lists containing the names of hundreds of Tamil asylum-seekers were stolen from its Toronto headquarters by Sri Lankan government spies.

News you may have missed #428 (history edition)

  • US government study of Soviet-era spy services released. A historiographic blog has released a study by the US Federal Office of Criminal Investigations on Practices and Methods of East-Bloc Intelligence Services, which examines the spy craft and operations of Soviet-aligned secret services active in Germany.
  • Simon Wiesenthal worked for Mossad, claims book. A new book claims that famous Israeli Nazi hunter Simon Wiesenthal worked as an informant for Israel’s Mossad spy agency. Written by Tom Segev, the book, entitled Wiesenthal: The Life and Legends, claims that Wiesenthal gave the Mossad valuable information during Operation DAMOCLES.
  • UK spies did ‘very bad things’ in Cold War, says Le Carre. But even though they assassinated individuals and engaged in “a lot of direct action”, “decent humanitarian instincts came into play” in Western intelligence agencies’ operations, claims the former MI5 and MI6 spy and novelist. Raw Story‘s Daniel Tencer offers an interesting response.

Largest leak in US military history reveals Afghan war details



By JOSEPH FITSANAKIS | intelNews.org |
American, British and German military planners are scrambling to contain the political impact of a massive cache of classified reports from Afghanistan, which has been leaked by an anti-secrecy activist group. It has now become known that, several weeks ago, the group Wikileaks.org handed over a total of 91,731 classified incident and intelligence reports from the US-led occupation force in Afghanistan to American newspaper The New York Times, British broadsheet The Guardian, and German newsmagazine Der Spiegel. All three outlets agreed to examine the material, abiding by Wikileaks’ condition that they would wait until Sunday, July 25, to release it. All three news media published news of the leak almost simultaneously on Sunday night, (see here, here and here), and posted several of the files, which provide an unprecedented six-year archive (from 2004 to 2009) of day-to-day US-led military operations in Afghanistan. This unprecedented disclosure is believed to represent the largest public leak of classified material in US military history. Read more of this post

News you may have missed #362 (sex & politics edition)

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News you may have missed #312

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Iran arrests seven with alleged CIA ties


RFE/RL's old HQ

By IAN ALLEN | intelNews.org |
The Iranian government has announced the arrests of seven people linked to a US government-funded radio station, some of whom it says were working for the CIA. The arrests were announced on February 7 by Iran’s Intelligence Ministry, which said some of the seven detainees had been “officially hired by US intelligence agencies” and had gone through “a selection and training process in Dubai and Istanbul”, in sabotage and black operations. The radio station in question is Radio Farda, the Farsi-language arm of the US government’s Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty, which has been broadcasting to Iran from Prague, Czech Republic, its headquarters in Europe, since 2003. According to the Iranian government, the seven detainees participated in fermenting opposition protests that led to the demonstrations in Iran during Ashura, the Shiite day of mourning, on December 27, 2009. Read more of this post

News you may have missed #0261

  • Analysis: CIA has long struggled with ensuring safe interrogations. The debate within the CIA about how to handle agents in war zones surfaced in Iraq in 2003. There was a dispute about how to balance the safety of CIA personnel with the needs of intelligence gathering. The controversy went on for more than a year, but in the end, by 2005, CIA officers had generally stopped meeting agents in the “red zones” of Iraq, that is, outside secured areas.
  • Germany to probe CIA murder and rendition plots on its soil. German legislators will probably launch an investigation into claims that the US Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) plotted to murder an alleged al-Qaeda fundraiser in Hamburg, and that it placed agents in Germany to sweep up terrorist suspects without informing German authorities.

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Georgian paramilitaries posed as election observers, say Ukrainians

Viktor Yanukovych

V. Yanukovych

By IAN ALLEN | intelNews.org |
Ukraine’s largest political party has accused the nearby nation of Georgia of sending to Ukraine a team of paramilitary operatives disguised as international election monitors. Vladyslav Lukianov, who represents Ukraine’s Party of Regions in the country’s parliament, has given to the press ten names of Georgian paramilitary agents who allegedly performed “law enforcement operations” in Ukraine, while supposedly monitoring last Sunday’s Ukrainian elections. It appears that three more Georgians, who were arrested on Saturday in Donetsk, reportedly did not possess identity papers or travel documentation, and are so far refusing to speak to Ukrainian security officials. To further complicate the issue, an allegedly wiretapped conversation between Georgian President, Mikheil Saakashvili, and an unidentified woman surfaced in the Ukrainian news media last week. Read more of this post

News of CIA/Blackwater hit squad upset German government

Mamoun Darkazanli

M. Darkazanli

By JOSEPH FITSANAKIS | intelNews.org |
German politicians have finally caught up with the startling revelations of Blackwater founder and CEO, Erik Prince, who last month told Vanity Fair that he worked as a CIA spy, carrying out secret missions with the help of a Blackwater hit squad. The Vanity Fair article revealed that, among other targets, the squad planned to assassinate Mamoun Darkazanli, an alleged al-Qaeda financier living in Hamburg, Germany. But did anyone in Washington think to ask the German government whether it was OK for a Blackwater/CIA assassination team to run around the country, planning extrajudicial murders of alleged al-Qaeda members? Apparently no, says German newsmagazine Der Spiegel, adding that the revelation has upset members of German Chancellor Angela Merkel’s Christian Democratic Union, as well as opposition Social Democrats and Greens, who are now demanding a special investigation into the matter. Read more of this post

Blackwater CEO admits he was CIA agent

Erik Prince

Erik Prince

By JOSEPH FITSANAKIS | intelNews.org |
The founder and CEO of private security company Blackwater has revealed he worked as a CIA spy and carried out a number of secret missions before being fired by the Obama administration. Erik Prince, who heads Blackwater Worldwide, recently renamed Xe, gave a rare interview to Vanity Fair magazine, in which he revealed that his relationship with the CIA was not only that of an operations contractor, but also that of an asset, that is, a spy. Prince’s revelation will not surprise seasoned intelligence observers; as I commented last August, it had become increasingly difficult to distinguish any operational demarcations between the CIA and the company formerly known as Blackwater. However, the mercenary company’s leading role in controversial CIA plans to assassinate high-level foreign officials was seen as a step too far by the new CIA leadership of Leon Panetta. Read more of this post

News you may have missed #0151

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News you may have missed #0129

  • Romanian communist spy boss dead at 80. General Nicolae Plesita, who directed Romania’s Securitate during the country’s communist period, has died. While heading the Securitate’s foreign intelligence service, from 1980 to 1984, Plesita hired the Venezuelan-born operative Ilich Ramirez Sanchez, known as Carlos the Jackal, to assassinate Romanian dissidents in France and bomb the US-owned Radio Free Europe offices in Munich, in 1981. In 1998, Plesita revealed that he had orders from the Romanian government to find temporary shelter for Carlos in Romania after the RFE bombing.
  • Settlement reached in DEA-CIA spying dispute. A tentative settlement has been reached in a lawsuit brought 15 years ago by a former US Drug Enforcement Administration agent who accused a CIA operative of illegally bugging his home. In a court filing, lawyers for the government and the DEA agent said they “had reached an agreement in principle to settle the underlying litigation”. See here for previous intelNews coverage of this case.
  • Federal judge denies request for CIA secret documents. Hundreds of documents detailing the CIA’s defunct overseas secret detention program of suspected terrorists, including extreme interrogation methods have remained secret after U.S. District Judge Alvin K. Hellerstein on Wednesday refused to release them “in order to protect intelligence methods and sources”. The ACLU argues that the CIA secret program was illegal under international and US law, that it involved the torture and deaths of some inmates, and therefore should not be shielded from public view.

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Comment: Daring US Raid in Somalia is Risky Policy

Saleh Nabhan

Saleh Nabhan

By JOSEPH FITSANAKIS | intelNews.org |
The political aftereffect of a recent raid by US Special Forces in southern Somalia may be more significant than its outcome. The operation, which took place in the early hours of Monday, killed a number of al-Qaeda-linked militants and captured at least two, according to local witnesses. Unnamed US officials said that among the dead is Saleh Ali Nabhan, a 30-year-old Kenyan al-Qaeda operative who is said to have participated in the 2002 attack on an Israeli-owned resort in his homeland, among other acts. Read more of this post

Comment: Blackwater’s role in CIA ops runs deep

Blackwater/Xe HQ


By JOSEPH FITSANAKIS | intelNews.org |
North Carolina-based military and intelligence contractor Xe had a major role in the CIA’s rumored post-9/11 assassination program and is active today in the Agency’s Predator drone strikes in Afghanistan and Pakistan. The New York Times and The Washington Post cited “government officials and current and former [Xe] employees” in revealing that the CIA worked briefly with Xe –formerly known as Blackwater– in the context of a top-secret program to locate and murder senior al-Qaeda leaders. According to The Washington Post, Blackwater’s role in the operation was far from consultative, and included “operational responsibility for targeting terrorist commanders [and awards worth] millions of dollars for training and weaponry”.  The New York Times alleges that Blackwater’s central role in the operation was “a major reason” in CIA director Leon Panetta’s decision last June to inform Congress about the program, which CIA had kept hidden from Congressional oversight for seven years. Read more of this post

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