German commandos arrest couple ‘spying for Russia’

Russian and German flags

Russia & Germany

By JOSEPH FITSANAKIS | intelNews.org |
Members of an elite German commando unit have arrested a man and a woman, on suspicion of having spied for Russia for over two decades. A statement issued by the German prosecutor’s office does not name the couple, nor does it explicitly identify them as Russian spies. It says simply that they are “suspected of having worked in Germany over a long period of time for a foreign intelligence agency”. But an article in Germany’s leading newsmagazine, Der Spiegel, identifies the couple as “Andreas A.” and “Heidrun A.”, and claims that the two have spied for Russian intelligence since at least 1988. The newsmagazine reports that the suspected spies were caught separately in the towns of Balingen and Marburg, located in the states of Baden-Wuerttemberg and Hesse respectively. It also suggests that the two were apprehended by members of Germany’s GSG-9, the elite counter-terrorism and special operations unit of the German Federal Police, and that the woman was actually caught in the act of listening to a coded radio message. Both were found to be in possession of forged Austrian passports, as well as —apparently fake— birth certificates stating that they were born in Argentina (Andreas) and Peru (Heidrun). Following the Spiegel article, Germany’s Federal Prosecutor confirmed that two people had indeed been arrested on suspicion of espionage activities on behalf of a foreign country. If a Russian connection is established, it will be the first international espionage case linking Russia and Germany since the latter’s reunification in 1990. If they are followed by convictions, the arrests could constitute a much needed success story for the German intelligence community, whose reputation has lately been damaged by several unsavory media stories. Read more of this post

Canada memos decry use of Canadian passports by Russian spies

Canadian passport

Canadian passport

By JOSEPH FITSANAKIS | intelNews.org |
In June of 2010 media headlines were dominated by news of a Russian spy ring in the United States that was busted by the Federal Bureau of Investigation. On June 27, eleven people, all sleeper agents of the SVR, Russia’s Foreign Intelligence Service, were arrested in early morning raids across several US states. The arrestees, who included media sensation Anna Chapman, were later exchanged for four alleged CIA agents serving time in Russian jails. What is less known however, is the fact that four of the members of the busted spy ring were claiming to be Canadian citizens. SVR operative Natalia Pereverzeva was caught using a forged Canadian passport under the fake name ‘Patricia Mills’. Two other SVR officers, Andrei Bezrukov and Elena Vavilova, were claiming Canadian nationality under the forged names Donald Heathfield and Tracey Foley. A fourth alleged member of the spy ring, ‘Christopher Metsos’, was apprehended in Cyprus, after using a forged Canadian passport to enter the Mediterranean island. He later disappeared, having skipped bail. Now, sixteen months after the arrests of the Russian spies, The Canadian Press has acquired several hundred pages of memoranda and internal emails from Canada’s Department of Foreign Affairs and International Trade (DFAIT). Substantial portions of the documents, which were acquired through Canada’s Access to Information Act, remain censored; but The Press reports that they show that employees of DFAIT’s Passport Canada office held “urgent meetings and high-level briefings” in the days following the FBI arrests, in order to address the revelations concerning SVR’s illegal use of Canadian passports. In the documents, Canadian officials opine that the use by Russian spies of forged Canadian travel documents poses a “troubling threat to the integrity of Canadian [passports] and identity security”. Read more of this post

News you may have missed #476

Ex-CIA agent and anti-Castro militant on trial in Texas

Carriles in 1962

Carriles in 1962

By IAN ALLEN | intelNews.org |
A former CIA agent and militant anticommunist, who is idolized by America’s anti-Castro Cubans, but is considered a terrorist in parts of Latin America, has gone on trial in Texas. Luís Posada Carriles, 82, known as “the bin Laden of the Americas” by his detractors, gained notoriety for his self-confessed participation in a string of bombings of hotels in Havana, Cuba, in 1997. He is wanted by the governments of Cuba and Venezuela for his alleged role in the dramatic 1976 midair bombing of Cubana flight 455, which killed all 73 crew and passengers onboard. The United States government has placed Carriles on trial for lying about his militant activities to US immigration officials, after arriving here in 2005. Specifically, Carriles faces 11 charges of perjury, obstruction and naturalization fraud, which he is said to have committed at a 2007 immigration hearing in El Paso. At that hearing, he allegedly denied under oath his participation in the 1997 Havana bombings, and failed to report being in possession of a fake Guatemalan passport, which he had used to enter the United States two years earlier. Read more of this post

News you may have missed #464 (Mossad edition)

British citizen among Mossad assassins intrigues investigators

Christopher Lockwood

Lockwood

By JOSEPH FITSANAKIS | intelNews.org |
Only a handful of the 33 members of an Israeli assassination squad, who killed a senior Hamas member in Dubai last January, carried non-fraudulent passports. Most of the assassins, who in all probability worked for Kidon, an elite assassination unit within Israel’s Mossad intelligence agency, used forged British, Irish, German, Australian, and other passports. Dubai officials investigating the murder of Hamas weapons procurer Mahmoud al-Mabhouh have identified at least one British citizen among non-fraudulent passport holders in the Mossad assassination team: he is 62-year-old Christopher Lockwood (photo), who helped facilitate al-Mabhouh’s assassination by transporting some of the Mossad members around Dubai “in a [rented] white minivan with tinted windows”. Read more of this post

Ireland not to recall passports following Mossad forgeries

Forged passports

Forged passports

By JOSEPH FITSANAKIS | intelNews.org |
The government of Ireland has decided against recalling millions of passports issued before 2005, following the discovery of several forged Irish passports used by Israeli intelligence agency Mossad. At least seven of the Mossad operatives who took part in last January’s assassination of senior Hamas military official Mahmoud al-Mabhouh in Dubai, used forged Irish passports to enter and exit the United Arab Emirates. An official investigation into the affair by the Irish government uncovered an extensive Israeli document forgery network in Ireland, and led to the expulsion of an Israeli embassy official from the country. But Irish government officials, tired of the long history of forged Irish passports used by intelligence agencies around the world, flirted with the idea of recalling all Irish passports issued before 2005, when sophisticated security features were introduced. Read more of this post