News you may have missed #825

Ben ZygierBy IAN ALLEN | |
►►Australian Mossad officer was facing 20 years in prison. Mossad operative Ben Zygier was facing 20 years in prison on “serious espionage” charges when he hanged himself in an Israeli prison, suggests a report published Wednesday by Australia’s Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade. The report is the first confirmation of the nature of Zygier’s indictment. Under Israeli criminal law, the only security-related crimes that carry a 20-year prison sentence fall under the heading of “serious espionage”.
►►MS-13 smuggles missile launchers and teams up with Zetas. Mara Salvatrucha, or MS-13, became El Salvador’s deadliest gang through force of numbers and the power of the handgun. Now if they weren’t deadly enough, the gang is transitioning into adopting heavier weapons while teaming up with Mexico’s Zetas. But according to a recent report, the gang is moving “away from a dependence on handguns via the acquisition of automatic rifles such as AK-47s, along with grenades, rocket propelled grenade launchers, and Light Anti-Tank Weapons”, or LAWs.
►►Secretive US anti-smuggling program marks one-year anniversary. A nascent and somewhat secretive US government anti-smuggling program is marking its first anniversary this week. It is called E2C2, shorthand for Export Enforcement Coordination Center, and 18 law enforcement and intelligence agencies use it to find links between their targets and other investigations. The E2C2 was created by presidential order in 2010, but the collaboration has evolved slowly. According to a Government Accountability Office report, the E2C2 opened nine months late, in part because of “some difficultly” between agencies over how the center would operate.

Documents show CIA had prior knowledge of 1989 Salvador murders

The 1989 José Simeón Cañas Central American University massacre

UCA massacre

The CIA and the US State Department had advance knowledge of the 1989 murders of six Jesuit clerics and two women by troops of the US-supported Salvadoran regime of Alfredo Cristiani, according to declassified internal US government documents submitted at a Spanish court. On November 16, 1989, a group of soldiers from the Atlacatl Battalion, a counter-insurgency squad created and trained at the US Army’s School of the Americas, entered the campus of José Simeón Cañas Central American University (UCA) in El Salvador and summarily executed six Jesuit clerics. They also shot dead two UCA staff members, a woman and her 16-year-old daughter. In the months that followed, pressure from several countries, including the US, forced the Cristiani government to try the Atlacatl Battalion leaders. But the Salvadoran court sentenced only two individuals, both of whom were released in a 1993 Presidential amnesty. Now the declassification of thousands of US government documents sheds further light on the UCA campus massacre and allegedly shows that US authorities in Washington and El Salvador had prior knowledge of the murders. Read more of this post

Russia claims discovery of secret US-Georgia armaments channel

The PAC-3

The PAC-3

Several Russian newspapers carried lead articles yesterday, describing the alleged discovery of a secret Washington-led project of supplying the Republic of Georgia with $100 million-worth of US weapons supplies. The articles cited “anonymous Russian intelligence sources” in claiming that the US is in the process of secretly providing Georgia with, among other things, a Patriot Advanced Capability-3 (PAC-3) advanced surface-to-air guided missile air defense system. If true, the allegations could raise eyebrows in Congress, as the PAC-3 cannot legally be exported by the US government without explicit Congressional authorization. But Russian media report that, according to secret documents acquired by Russian military intelligence, the US government plans to circumvent Congressional scrutiny by delivering the weapons to Georgia through a private exporter, Barrington Alliance Inc., headquartered in Chicago, of which little is known. Read more of this post

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