China denies claims it gave green light to Myanmar military coup plotters

MyanmarCHINESE GOVERNMENT OFFICIALS HAVE denied claims that Beijing consented to, and even supported, the coup that took place in Myanmar on Monday. The Southeast Asian country’s armed forces seized control of key government installations in the early hours of Monday, before announcing that parliament had been dissolved. Hundreds of politicians, including Myanmar’s State Counsellor Aung San Suu Kyi, have been arrested, and the fate of many of them remains unknown. The military claims that the general elections of November 8, 2020, which gave Aung San Suu Kyi’s National League for Democracy party 61 percent of the vote, were fraudulent.

Responding to a question by a reporter during a press conference on Wednesday, Wang Wenbin, a spokesman for China’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs, denied that Beijing had anything to do with the coup in Myanmar. “Relevant theories are not true”, he said. Observers have pointed to the meeting that took place in January between Chinese Foreign Affairs Minister, Wang Yi, and Senior General Min Aung Hlaing, who now heads Myanmar’s military government. China is also Myanmar’s largest trading partner, representing over 30 percent of Myanmar’s total trading volume. It is believed that Myanmar’s economy could not survive a systematic economic boycott by China.

But Beijing has been hesitant to decry the coup. On Tuesday, the 15 members of the United Nations Security Council met in New York to consider issuing a joint statement condemning the military takeover of the government in Myanmar. Several news outlets reported that the Russian and Chinese representatives effectively blocked the statement by “asking for more time” to consult with their respective governments. On Wednesday, the Chinese government expressed anger following these reports, stating that it was “baffled and shocked by the leak of internal documents under discussion at the Security Council”.

Author: Joseph Fitsanakis | Date: 4 January 2021 | Permalink

Analysis: How the CIA bedded down in Burma

Burma

Burma

By JOSEPH FITSANAKIS | intelNews.org |
It is a story that was largely ignored when it surfaced last year: since 1994, US Drug Enforcement Agency (DEA) officer Richard A. Horn had been claiming that CIA agents illegally wiretapped his conversations while he was stationed in Burma. It appears that, at the time, the US diplomatic representation in Burma and the CIA station in Rangoon were at loggerheads with the DEA. The latter, represented by special agent Horn, had a policy of publicly commending the Burmese government for its significant efforts to end the vastly lucrative illegal drug trade in the country. But the diplomatic leadership at the US embassy in Rangoon, supported by the CIA, felt that their inroads with the Burmese military junta, which has controlled the country since 1990, were being obstructed by the DEA. Read more of this post

News you may have missed #0289

  • UK spies worry about human rights lawsuits. Intelligence officers at Britain’s MI5 and MI6 are allegedly being diverted from counter-terrorism work to sift through thousands of documents relating to former terrorism detainees, who are suing the security services for breaching their human rights. The article makes it look like it is the torture victims’ fault for pursuing their rights. But in reality, MI5 and MI6 should have known better than to allow and participate in extralegal torture.
  • Bangladesh arrests alleged Burmese spies. Bangladesh coast guards have arrested eight citizens of Myanmar on suspicion of spying. Photographs of Bangladesh Navy warships and security installations were found in their possession, according to the country’s police chief.

News you may have missed #0211

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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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Lawsuit halted in 15-year-old CIA wiretap case

Judge Lamberth

Judge Lamberth

By JOSEPH FITSANAKIS | intelNews.org |
A lawsuit against an alleged illegal wiretap operation by the CIA, which was initially filed 15 years ago, was put on hold late last week by a US federal appeals court. The court imposed the temporary hold in an apparent disagreement with US District Judge Royce Lamberth, who last July said CIA attorneys committed fraud in alleging that US national security would be threatened if details of the lawsuit were openly discussed. Judge Lamberth ruled that the CIA had kept the case secret for years in order to avoid embarrassment. But the appeals court appears to have accepted the CIA’s claim that discussing the case openly will reveal operational secrets and harm US national security. A simultaneous decision by the appeals court to order the government to grant security clearances to lawyers on both sides of the argument probably means that the case, which briefly surfaced last July after Judge Lamberth’s decision to reveal it to the public, will disappear once again under the “state secrets” clause. Read more of this post

News you may have missed #0071

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Does this satellite image show a Burmese nuclear facility?

Click for larger

Click for larger

By JOSEPH FITSANAKIS | intelNews.org |
Amateur satellite imagery observers say they have discovered a suspicious structure deep inside Burma’s thick jungle, which may be part of Rangoon’s rumored secret nuclear military program. The images, obtained through Google Earth, show a large structure, measuring 82 by 84 meters, which some say fits the requirements of a secret nuclear facility. The structure is located in central Burma, near the small jungle town of Pin Oo Lwin. Interestingly, this region, near Mandalay, is precisely where two Burmese defectors (one of whom is now dead) told two Australian researchers that they thought the Burmese army was building “a nuclear research and engineering center”. The two researchers, Phil Thornton, a journalist based in Thailand, and Desmond Ball, strategic studies expert at the Australian National University, published their claims earlier this month in The Sydney Morning Herald.

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News you may have missed #0044

  • Attorney behind CIA lawsuit gives interview. Brian C. Leighton, the attorney representing former Drug Enforcement Agency officer Richard A. Horn, who claims that CIA agents illegally wiretapped his conversations, has given an interview to The Merced Sun-Star.
  • Germany accuses China of industrial espionage. A senior German counterintelligence official has said Germany is under attack from an increasing number of state-backed Chinese spying operations that are costing the German economy tens of billions of euros a year. Similar claims were made in May.

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Judge accuses CIA of fraud in 15-year court case

Judge Lamberth

Judge Lamberth

By JOSEPH FITSANAKIS | intelNews.org |
A 15-year old lawsuit against the CIA unexpectedly resurfaced yesterday, after a US federal judge accused the CIA attorneys of fraud and warned the former and current CIA leadership of serious legal sanctions. US District Judge Royce Lamberth said the CIA misled him on several occasions by falsely claiming that the “state secrets” clause applied to the case, which three consecutive US administrations have tried to bury. The case was filed in 1994 by retired Drug Enforcement Agency (DEA) officer Richard A. Horn, who claimed that CIA agents illegally wiretapped his conversations while he was stationed in Burma. It appears that, at the time, the US diplomatic representation in Burma and the CIA station in Rangoon were at loggerheads with the DEA. Read more of this post