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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