News you may have missed #453

  • France accuses Iran of violence at Tehran embassy. A diplomatic standoff between France and Iran has ensued, after Paris accused Iran’s security services of committing “unacceptable acts of violence” on French diplomatic personnel at the French embassy in Tehran. The alleged incident happened as guests gathered at the embassy for a traditional Persian music concert. Iranian plainclothes security forces and uniformed police stopped about two-thirds of 130 invited guests from entering the building, and an unknown number of people were seen being taken away in unmarked vans.
  • CIA picks Air Force general to lead military ops office. The CIA announced Monday that it has chosen an Air Force Lt. Gen. Kurt A. Cichowski, who has extensive experience in Predator drones, to head its military affairs office. In 2009, Cichowski called the CIA drone assassination program a “phenomenal […] success”.
  • Aussie spies spooked out by student filmmakers. Three media students filming a tourist site near the controversial new headquarters of Australia’s spy organization, ASIO, in Canberra, prompted a late-night police check, apparently over security concerns.

News you may have missed #420

  • Nokia and Siemens deny helping Iranian spying. Isa Saharkhiz, a one-time reporter for the Islamic Republic News Agency, is suing Nokia Siemens Networks in US federal court, claiming the companies facilitated his capture and torture at the hands of the Iranian government. The European-based consortium denies the allegations.
  • New Aussie spy agency HQ ‘on time and on budget’. The new ASIO $606 million  (USD $540 million) headquarters in Parkes, Canberra, is progressing on time and on budget, with completion scheduled for mid-2012. Meanwhile, the 270 construction workers on site have been vetted for security clearance, must pass security checkpoints each day, and have signed papers not to discuss anything that happens on site.
  • US Pentagon spends big on outsourced spy imagery. The production and maintenance of US spy satellites used to be in government hands, but now this critical aspect of national security is routinely outsourced. The National Geospatial-Intelligence Agency (NGA), the Department of Defense’s operator of military spy satellites, recently awarded $7.3 billion in contracts for its EnhancedView commercial imagery program.

Israeli envoy ‘in alarm’ after Australia expels Mossad agent

Yuval Rotem

Yuval Rotem

The Israeli ambassador to Australia, who was in Israel on business, expedited his return to Canberra yesterday, immediately after Australia announced the expulsion of Israel’s senior Mossad representative in the country. Israeli newspaper Ha’aretz reports that ambassador Yuval Rotem decided to cut short his trip to Israel “in alarm”, as the “escalated crisis” between Israel and Australia appears to be deepening. As intelNews readers read on April 14, Australia had announced the pending expulsion after official investigations by Australian law enforcement and intelligence authorities revealed beyond doubt that the Israeli spy agency Mossad had forged at least four Australian passports. The passports were among several Western identity documents employed by Mossad agents in targeting Hamas official Mahmoud al-Mabhouh, who was assassinated in a luxury Dubai hotel last January. Read more of this post

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