News you may have missed #321 (CIA edition)

  • Uruguay ex-president sent to prison for 1973 coup. Declassified documents show that, at the time of the coup, Juan María Bordaberry told the US ambassador that “Uruguay’s democratic traditions and institutions […] were themselves the real threat to democracy”.
  • FSB ‘dropped the ball’ in Moscow metro bombings. Two Russian intelligence observers argue that Russia’s new strategy has shifted toward preventing coordinated actions by large groups of militants, which has come at the expense of taking measures to prevent individual suicide attacks, such as those of last Monday in Moscow.
  • Calls for expanded DoJ probe of FBI killing of Detroit imam. The US Justice Department is probing the killing of Detroit-area Islamic cleric Imam Luqman Ameen Abdullah, who was shot dead during an FBI raid shortly after being indicted on charges of conspiracy to commit federal crimes. The FBI said Abdullah was shot after he opened fire, but critics say he may have been targeted for assassination.

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US mosque says FBI informant responsible for shootout killing

Luqman Ameen Abdullah

L.A. Abdullah

By IAN ALLEN | intelNews.org |
Community relations between the FBI and American Muslim groups took a turn for the worse yesterday, after an African-American Muslim congregation in Detroit accused a Bureau informant of luring a Mosque member to his death. Luqman Ameen Abdullah, leader of the self-described Ummah Mosque in Detroit, was killed in a shootout with FBI agents on October 28, during a raid at a warehouse reportedly aimed at recovering stolen goods. But Mosque worshipers claim that Abdullah was led to the warehouse by a man going by the name of Jabril, who they say was an FBI informant. The man allegedly infiltrated the Mosque for several months leading to the shootout, but disappeared following the FBI raid. The FBI has admitted it employed three informants to spy on the group, but has refused to reveal details, and is now seeking a protective order to shield the informants’ identities. Read more of this post

New CIA TV ads try to recruit Arab-, Iranian-Americans

CIA ad

CIA ad

By IAN ALLEN | intelNews.org |
The CIA is preparing to launch two new television commercials in an attempt to increase Arab-American and Iranian-American CIA recruits. The commercials will specifically target US cities with significant Middle Eastern populations, such as Detroit and Newark. They will be premiered at a private screening on November 18 in Dearborn, Michigan, which is often described as “the heart of Michigan’s large Middle Eastern community”. The move follows a recent public-relations visit to Michigan by CIA director Leon Panetta, aimed at improving the tense relations between the US intelligence community and Muslim groups in the state. Read more of this post

Was woman convicted of hi-tech exports to Iraq victim of CIA plot?

Dawn Hanna

Dawn Hanna

By IAN ALLEN | intelNews.org |
The case of a Detroit woman convicted of exporting mobile communications equipment to the Saddam Hussein regime took an unexpected turn this week, after the man who mediated in the equipment transfer said he was acting on behalf of the CIA. A Detroit jury convicted Dawn Hanna last March for exporting the hi-tech equipment to Iraq, in violation of a US and UN-imposed embargo against the Saddam Hussein regime. The jury was apparently not convinced by Hanna’s claim that the purchaser of the equipment, who mediated in the transfer, had told her that the intended user of the hardware was the government of Turkey. But the case turned more complex this week, after Emad al-Yawer, a Jordanian businessman who mediated in the transfer, gave an interview to a Detroit TV station, in which he claimed he was working for the CIA when he facilitated the mobile equipment transfer. He told the station that the CIA intended to use the hi-tech equipment to track Saddam Hussein’s movements, in order to “send a smart bomb and blow him into smithereens”. Hanna’s parents point to this new, unexpected turn of events, and are requesting that the case be reopened. But the judge has so far refused to grant a new trial.

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More US Muslim groups allege FBI harassment

By JOSEPH FITSANAKIS | intelNews.org |
Less than a month after Californian Muslim groups accused the FBI of planting informants in mosques and Islamic centers, the Council of Islamic Organizations of Michigan said it has asked the US Attorney General to look into complaints of FBI infiltration of Islamic centers. The group, which represents one America’s largest Muslim populations, accuses the Bureau of engaging in a “fishing expedition” by approaching Islamic center worshippers and asking them to report on activities, including donations, taking place in mosques. In its letter to US Attorney General Erik Holder, the group said the FBI appears to be specifically targeting Muslim immigrants “with pending immigration issues”, asking them to work as informers in return for assistance with their immigration petitions. Read more of this post

Rare revelations on Detroit counterintelligence operations

Assistant Attorney Eric Straus, chief of the East Michigan District Criminal and National Security Division of the US Attorney’s Office, has given a rare interview discussing counterintelligence operations in Detroit. Among other things, Straus revealed that his Division has been monitoring alleged support for Hamas and Hezbollah among Detroit’s substantial Middle Eastern population, which is one of the largest in the United States. He also described military and dual use (i.e. civilian with potential military application) technologies as prime targets of international espionage in the Detroit area. Finally, he briefly commented on a number of counterespionage prosecutions against Iraqi spies, employed by the government of the late Iraqi President Saddam Hussein, operating in the Detroit area before 2003. He did not go into details on whether these were trained and accredited intelligence officers working for Directorate 14 of the Iraqi Intelligence Service (Mukhabarat), but hinted that most were not. The interview is available here[JF]