State prosecutors probe alleged plot to kill Greek prime minister

Kostas KaramanlisBy JOSEPH FITSANAKIS| intelNews.org |
Government prosecutors in Athens have opened a criminal investigation into an alleged plot to kill the Prime Minister of Greece in 2008, which was reportedly uncovered by Russian intelligence. In June of last year, Greek media claimed that the country’s National Intelligence Service (EYP) had been briefed by the Russian Federal Security Service (FSB) about the assassination plot. According to the Russian briefing, the plot, codenamed PYTHIA, was hatched by the intelligence agency of “a country allied to Greece”, and was targeted at conservative Prime Minister Kostas Karamanlis, who governed Greece from 2004 to 2009. The Russians claimed that Operation PYTHIA was purportedly aimed at preventing Athens from signing on to a series of energy deals with Moscow, including the ambitious South Stream pipeline project, which aims to connect Russian gas fields to the European energy market. On Wednesday, court official Nikos Ornerakis told a press conference in Athens that, based on preliminary investigations, Greek prosecutors considered the case credible and had filed a felony count of conspiracy “against persons unknown”. The Associated Press, which reported on the story, spoke to former Ambassador Ioannis Corantis, who headed Greece’s EYP intelligence service during the discovery of the alleged assassination plot. Ambassador Corantis confirmed that the EYP had indeed been briefed on Operation PYTHIA “by an official of the [Russian] FSB”, and that the briefing concerned a suspected assassination plot against Prime Minister Karamanlis. Read more of this post

Russians ‘uncovered plan to kill Greek prime minister’

Kostas Karamanlis

K. Karamanlis

By JOSEPH FITSANAKIS | intelNews.org |
A Russian counter-surveillance team operating in Athens in 2008 confronted a foreign team from “a country allied to Greece”, which planned to kill Kostas Karamanlis, then Greece’s Prime Minister. The revelation, published in the current issue of Greek weekly newsmagazine Epikera, is allegedly based on a Russian briefing contained in a classified document authored by the Greek National Intelligence Service (EYP). According to the document, the assassination plot was code-named Pythia and was hatched by the intelligence agency of “a country allied to Greece”. It was aimed at preventing Athens from signing on to a series of energy pipeline deals with Moscow. The 19-member Russian counter-surveillance team mentioned in the EYP document had allegedly been set up a few months earlier by the FSB, Russia’s primary foreign intelligence agency. The team was deployed after the Russians realized that that Prime Minster Karamanlis’ telephone calls with Russian leader Vladimir Putin were being intercepted by foreign spies, at least two of which were allegedly British citizens. According to the Epikera article, between April 20 and 25, while shadowing the Greek Prime Minister in the Nea Makri area, just north of Athens, a four-member Russian counter-surveillance team faced off two spy operatives of “a country allied to Greece”. Read more of this post

Analysis: An Economic Security Role for European Spy Agencies?

Economic espionage

Economic spying

By JOSEPH FITSANAKIS | intelNews.org |
Last February, Spain’s intelligence service began investigating alleged suspicious efforts by foreign financial speculators to destabilize the Spanish economy. According to newspaper El País, the Spanish government asked the country’s Centro Nacional de Inteligencia (CNI) to probe links between speculative moves in world financial markets and a series of damaging editorials “in the Anglo-Saxon media”. There are indications that the National Intelligence Service of Greece (EYP) is following in the CNI’s footsteps. In February, when Athens and Brussels began to realize the magnitude of the financial crisis threatening the European common currency, several news outlets suggested that the EYP was cooperating with Spanish, Irish and Portuguese intelligence services in investigating a series of coordinated speculative attacks on money markets, most of which allegedly originated from London and Washington. Read more of this post

More on unfolding Turkish-Greek espionage affair

By JOSEPH FITSANAKIS | intelNews.org |
Further information has been made available on an unfolding espionage affair in Turkey, centering on three Turkish citizens charged with collaborating with Greek intelligence services. The three, identified only as İ.Ş. (38 years old), N.H. (65), and A.H. (42), were arrested on Friday by Turkish police forces in the cities of İzmir and Bodrum, in what appeared to be a synchronized operation. Turkish authorities charged the three with “giving Greece information on state secrets and military installation plans, military vehicle activity and military exercises”, for which they were allegedly paid around US$ 500.00 per photograph. It is worth noting that the three arrestees do not appear to know each other, and seem to have operated individually, hand-delivering intelligence to officials of Greece’s State Intelligence Service (EYP) during one-day trips to Greek islands located off Turkey’s Mediterranean coast. Read more of this post

News you may have missed #0106

  • North Korean succession rumor mill now silent. Rumors circulated last summer by South Korean intelligence sources, that Kim Jong Il was on his deathbed and was about to be replaced with his son, Kim Jong Un, have gone quiet, after the health of the “Great Leader” appears to have miraculously improved. Some now believe Pyongyang may have deliberately fed those rumors to discern reactions among senior North Korean officials in Kim John Il’s circle.
  • UK government issues apology for treatment of gay cryptanalyst after 57 years. British Prime Minister Gordon Brown has said he is sorry for the “appalling” way World War II code-breaker Alan Turing was treated by British authorities for being gay. In 1952, Turing was prosecuted for gross indecency after admitting a sexual relationship with a man. Two years later, he killed himself. He is most famous for his code-breaking work at Bletchley Park, also known as Station X, during WWII, where he helped create the Bombe that cracked messages enciphered with the German Enigma machines.
  • Ex-chief of Greek secret services to stand for far-right party. Yannis Korantis, who was axed two months ago from his post as chief of Greece’s State Intelligence Service (EYP), said he will stand for extreme-right party LAOS in next month’s parliamentary elections. Notorious neo-Nazi Dimitris Zafeiropoulos, who recently joined LAOS, said he would also stand for the party in Patras, in the northern Peloponnese. LAOS entered parliament for the first time in 2007, with 3.8 percent of votes and 10 parliamentarians.

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News you may have missed #0054

  • Stasi files reveal covert war against Western musicians. Files kept by the former East German secret police indicate that they were worried about rock concerts held within listening distance of East Berlin neighborhoods by Michael Jackson, Pink Floyd and Bruce Springsteen, among others.
  • Greece arrests Muslim minority member for ‘spy photos’. The man was arrested last weekend on charges of spying for Turkey, following the confiscation of hundreds of photographs from his home, most of which depict Greek military facilities. Greece’s State Intelligence Service (EYP) had been monitoring his activities for nearly a year.
  • Head of Bulgaria’s national security agency resigns. Petko Sertov, director of Bulgaria’s State Agency for National Security (DANS) has handed his resignation, allegedly after Bulgaria’s “American partners were said to have lost faith” in him.

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