Turkey ‘disclosed identities of Mossad spies’ operating in Iran

Israel and IranBy JOSEPH FITSANAKIS | intelNews.org
The government of Turkey disclosed to Iranian counterintelligence the identities of Mossad spies operating in Iran, according to the Washington Post. The newspaper’s associate editor, David Ignatius, cited “knowledgeable sources” on Thursday, in claiming that up to 10 spies were captured as a result of the Turkish disclosure. The alleged spies, who are all Iranian citizens, are said to have been operating inside Iran on behalf of Israel’s foremost external intelligence agency. Ignatius said the Turkish action, which appears to have been authorized by Turkey’s Prime Minister, Recep Tayyip Erdoğan, resulted in a “significant loss of intelligence” for the Mossad’s Iran office. Turkey and Israel forged strong bilateral ties in the 1990s and early 2000s. But they fell out in dramatic fashion in May of 2010, when Israel attacked a convoy of civilian ships in international water. The ships, known as the “Gaza Freedom Flotilla”, were carrying humanitarian aid and construction materials to the Gaza Strip. But Israel claimed that the ships’ pronounced intention to break the Israeli-Egyptian blockade of the Gaza Strip, was an affront to Israel’s national security and subverted Israeli political jurisdiction, expressed through the blockade. The attack on the flotilla by Israeli commandos resulted in the death of 10 Turkish civilians, one of whom was also an American citizen. Following the Israeli attack, Turkey recalled its ambassador to the Jewish state, terminated several joint military projects with Israel, and called an emergency meeting of the United Nations Security Council. Relations between the two countries, which reached a low point in May of 2010, have yet to recover. Read more of this post

News you may have missed #738

Gareth WilliamsBy IAN ALLEN | intelNews.org |
►►Pathologist says MI6 spy may have died alone. Leading British pathologist Richard Shepherd has told the BBC there is “credible evidence” that MI6 officer Gareth Williams died alone. Williams, a mathematician in the employment of Britain’s signals intelligence agency, GCHQ, was found dead in a padlocked sports bag at his home in Pimlico, London, in 2010. According to Dr. Shepherd, bags identical to the one Williams was found in, can be locked by someone inside the bag.
►►Turkey may indict Israeli officers Over Gaza flotilla raid. A prosecutor in Turkey has prepared indictments and recommended life sentences for four senior Israeli officers over the killing of nine activists aboard a Gaza-bound aid flotilla forcibly intercepted in international waters by Israeli commandos two years ago. The indictments, which have not been formally approved by the Turkish judiciary, could further strain relations between Turkey and Israel, which were once close but which deteriorated badly after the flotilla raid on May 31, 2010.
►►Czech secret services alarmed by drastic drop in funding. The BIS, Czech Republic’s counterintelligence service, is used to operating on Kč 1.149 billion (around US$60 million). According to the Finance Ministry’s plan, the agency’s budget will be reduced to Kč 911 million (US$45 million) in 2013. The news has prompted former interior minister and current member of parliament František Bublan to accuse the government of effectively leading to the spy service’s “liquidation”. But Finance Minister Miroslav Kalousek argues that all state institutions must cut back in order to help achieve a balanced budget by 2016.

News you may have missed #606

Gaza Freedom Flotilla raid

2010 Flotilla raid

►►N. Korea planned to trade nukes for full ties with US. North Korea in 2008 indicated it would retain its nuclear bombs until the end of the six-party talks as a final bargaining chip for attaining full diplomatic relations with the United States, according to US diplomatic cables leaked recently by the anti-secrecy group WikiLeaks.
►►Judge refuses to sanction CIA for destroying torture tapes. A federal judge won’t hold the CIA in contempt for destroying videotapes of detainee interrogations that included the use of a torture technique known as waterboarding, ruling instead that the spy agency merely committed “transgressions” for its failure to abide by his court order. The Obama administration has kept its promise to the CIA.
►►Turkey says NATO members will not share intelligence with Israel. Turkey has says it is certain that NATO member states will keep their promise of not sharing the Alliance’s intelligence within with Israel. Turkish-Israeli relations badly damaged last year, after Israeli naval commandos stormed a Turkish ship carrying humanitarian aid to Gaza to breach the naval blockade, killing nine Turkish civilians.

News you may have missed #603

Syed Ghulam Nabi Fai

Syed Fai

►►Turkey has names of Israeli soldiers who attacked Gaza Flotilla. According to Turkish media, government officials succeeded in amassing the list of 174 names of officers and soldiers involved in the 2010 MV Mavi Marmara attack, by planting intelligence agents inside Israel. Turkish government officials have denied the reports.
►►Ex-MI5 chief to hear deportation case of alleged spy. A British judge has ruled that Sir Stephen Lander, former director of MI5, Britain’s domestic intelligence service, can help to decide whether Katia Zatuliveter should be deported from the UK for allegedly spying for Russia. Zatuliveter, a Russian citizen who worked as an assistant to former British Member of Parliament Mike Hancock, may be deported on the basis of espionage evidence gathered by MI5.
►►Analysis: Pakistan’s spy plot to influence Washington. Syed Ghulam Nabi Fai came to the US on Saudi money with hopes of helping people in the disputed Indian territory of Kashmir. But he found himself spending millions on behalf of Pakistan’s notorious Inter-Services Intelligence and, now, under arrest. An excellent article by The Atlantic‘s Kim Barker, Habiba Nosheen, and Raheel Khursheed.

New Gaza flotilla organizers accuse Mossad of sabotaging ships

Gaza Freedom Flotilla raid

2010 Flotilla raid

By JOSEPH FITSANAKIS | intelNews.org |
International organizers of a new fleet of ships that is preparing to sail for the Gaza strip, in a bid to challenge the Israeli embargo, have accused Israeli intelligence services of secretly sabotaging two of the vessels. The first announcement emerged on Tuesday from the crew of the Juliano, a Swedish/Norwegian ship harbored in Piraeus, Greece. The organizers, who said that their technicians had documented the results of the sabotage on video, claimed in a statement that “hostile divers had destroyed the [ship’s] propeller house and cut the propeller shaft”. A day later, Irish organizers onboard the MV Saoirse, which is currently docked in Turkey, told Reuters that the vessel experienced major technical damage as it was sailing for refueling to the harbor town of Göcek. The ship was eventually inspected by a marine engineer, who confirmed that it had been sabotaged. Speaking to Irish media, former Irish rugby international Paul Trevor Hogan, who is one of the activists onboard the MV Saoirse, said the damage was “identical [to that of] the Swedish boat and you don’t need to be Sherlock Holmes to figure out who is behind this”. Another member of the ship’s crew, Irish Member of the European Parliament Paul Murphy, called on the government in Dublin to expel the Israeli ambassador to the country. Read more of this post

New Israel intelligence unit spies on Western leftwing groups

Israel, Palestine

Israel, Palestine

By JOSEPH FITSANAKIS | intelNews.org |
Israel’s Military Intelligence has set up a new unit tasked with infiltrating and monitoring Western leftwing organizations that criticize Israel’s policies on the Palestinians. The unit, whose name remains unknown, was reportedly established earlier this year by the research division of Israel’s Military Intelligence Directorate (MID). It has been given the sole task of targeting Western groups that routinely criticize Israeli policies, campaign for economic boycott or divestiture from Israel, and try to bring war crime charges against senior Israeli government officials. Israeli daily newspaper Ha’aretz quotes “senior Israeli officials and [MID] officers” who claim that these worldwide campaigns “delegitimize Israel and question its right to exist”. They also suggest that there are links between organizations lobbying worldwide against Israel’s policies on the Palestinians and “terror groups”. The paper reports that the new unit was set up in the wake of the official Israeli investigation into the bloody events of the Gaza Freedom Flotilla in June of 2010, when Israeli commandos killed eight Turkish and one American citizen in international waters. Read more of this post

Lebanon charges PKK Kurds with spying for Israel

PKK banner

PKK banner

By IAN ALLEN| intelNews.org |
Lebanese authorities have detained three alleged members of the Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK) on charges of spying for Israel. The three arrestees, whose names have not been released to the media, were reportedly arrested last week by Lebanese military intelligence forces in Jounieh, a town located on the Mediterranean coast, about 15 kilometers north of Beirut. The arrests form part of a wider Lebanese counterintelligence offensive that has netted over 100 alleged Israeli agents in Lebanon since April of 2009. But news of the detentions have inflamed an ongoing discussion in Turkey about alleged covert links between Israeli intelligence agencies and Kurdish separatists operating in Turkey, Iraq and Syria. Read more of this post

News you may have missed #393

  • US warns Turkey against Gaza flotilla probe. London-based Arabic-language newspaper al-Hayat claimed on Saturday that US President Barack Obama told Turkish Prime Minster Recep Tayyip Erdogan that an independent inquiry into the Free Gaza Flotilla massacre “could turn into a double-edged sword” against Ankara.
  • US experts doubt North Korea sunk South Korean ship. A new study by US researchers raises questions about the investigation into the sinking of the Cheonan, a South Korean navy ship, which went down last March, killing 46 sailors. International investigators have blamed a North Korean torpedo, raising tensions on the Korean peninsula.
  • Nixon-Kissinger dialogue raises CIA assassination suspicions. A loaded dialogue between President Richard M. Nixon and his trusted national security adviser, Henry A. Kissinger, dating from 1971, appears to confirm that the CIA had a role in the 1970 assassination of Chilean army commander-in-chief Rene Schneider.

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Analysis: Israel Suffers Strategic Blowback in Flotilla Raid

Gaza Freedom Flotilla raid

Flotilla raid

By JOSEPH FITSANAKIS | intelNews.org |
Speaking before a parliamentary committee about last month’s Israeli raid on the Gaza Freedom Flotilla, which killed nine and injured over 60 international volunteers, a senior Israeli intelligence official warned  that “[e]vents [like this] are likely to go out of control and the situation could deteriorate to extreme scenarios”. The official was no other than Meir Dagan, director of the Mossad, Israel’s foremost external intelligence agency. As I explain in an article published yesterday in Daily News Corner, to some extent, Dagan’s “extreme scenario” has already materialized. The raid’s outrageous death toll has further-worsened Israel’s deteriorating relations with Australia and has caused the outright termination of the Jewish state’s diplomatic contacts with several non-Western countries that used to be among its closest international friends, such as Turkey, South Africa, Ecuador and Nicaragua. More importantly, the flotilla attack has even stigmatized Israel’s relations with the United States, a development that fits into the broader pattern of steadily worsening US-Israeli relations in recent years. It is no coincidence that, on the day after the raid, Mossad chief Dagan said that “Israel is gradually turning from an asset to the United States to a burden”. Read article →

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Israeli Navy insiders deplore Gaza flotilla raid

Mike Eldar

Mike Eldar

By JOSEPH FITSANAKIS | intelNews.org |
A day after a former Mossad officer described last week’s Israeli raid on a fleet of Gaza-bound aid ships as “stupid”, former and current Israeli Navy insiders have strongly criticized the bloody operation. Speaking from Israel, Mike Eldar, a 20-year veteran of an elite Israeli Navy special missions unit, said the only explanation for the Israel Defense Forces’ attack on the Gaza Freedom Flotilla was “stupidity [and] super egos”. He was echoing the words of former Mossad case officer Victor Ostrovsky, who last week described the raid as an act that was “so stupid it is stupefying”. The operation, carried by the IDF’s elite Shayetet 13 amphibious unit, resulted in the deaths of nine and the injuries of over 60 flotilla passengers. Elgar added that the botched raid’s result “made no sense”, considering that there must have been Mossad agents on board the ships, and that the IDF “had at least two weeks to prepare, with lots of practice”. Read more of this post

Analysis: Israel’s Flotilla Raid Involved Espionage, Sabotage

MV Mavi Marmara

Mavi Marmara

By JOSEPH FITSANAKIS | intelNews.org |
The intense worldwide debate about last Monday’s Israeli raid on the Gaza Freedom Flotilla has concentrated relatively little on the operation’s intelligence facets. As I explain in an article published yesterday at Daily News Corner, this is puzzling, considering that the intelligence aspects of the attack are largely responsible for its bloody outcome. The Gaza-bound ships had drawn minor international attention prior to the first media reports of the raid in international waters by the Israel Defense Forces (IDF). But the effort by the Israeli security services to prevent the flotilla from reaching its intended destination did not begin in the Mediterranean Sea. It started several months before the fleet of ten vessels was even chartered by the Humanitarian Aid Foundation (ÍHH). Indeed, despite the revered image that is often projected by the Israeli security services, faulty intelligence may be at the root of the debacle on the MV Mavi Marmara, the Gaza Freedom Flotilla’s largest ship, where IDF commandos killed nine and injured over 60 passengers and crew. Read article →

Turkey, Iran, offer warship protection for Gaza flotillas

Recep Tayyip Erdoğan

Tayyip Erdoğan

By JOSEPH FITSANAKIS | intelNews.org |
Close aides to the Turkish Prime Minister’s office have disclosed that Ankara is funding a new fleet of ships to sail to Gaza under protection by Turkish warships. Iran’s Revolutionary Guards Corps have also offered warship protection. The office of Turkey’s Prime Minister, Tayyip Erdogan, is now actively assisting the Turkish-based Humanitarian Aid Foundation (ÍHH) in fundraising for the acquisition of a new fleet of ships to carry humanitarian aid to the Gaza Strip. Last Monday, an ÍHH-funded flotilla bound for Gaza was raided in international waters by the Israeli Navy, which diverted the ships to Israel after killing nine and injuring over 60 passengers. According to reports from The Associated Press and Agence France Presse, Mr. Erdogan plans to be among the passengers of the new flotilla, which will be escorted en route to Gaza by Turkish warships. Meanwhile, reports from Iran’s government-aligned Mehr News Agency indicate that the country’s Islamic Revolutionary Guards Corps (IRGC) have offered their warships as protection for future aid ship convoys to the Hamas-controlled Palestinian territory. Read more of this post

News you may have missed #367 (Gaza flotilla edition IV)

  • Flotilla raid dead include US citizen. One of the nine people killed in an Israeli commando raid on a flotilla of ships heading for Gaza this week was a United States citizen of Turkish descent, according to officials in Turkey and Washington. Still no response from the White House or the US State Department.
  • South Africa, Ecuador, Nicaragua recall envoys from Israel. Ecuador President Rafael Correa says he has recalled the country’s ambassador to Israel following the deadly Israeli Navy raid on a Gaza-bound flotilla. The Ecuadorian Foreign Ministry said the ambassador would leave Tel Aviv immediately. Meanwhile, Nicaragua has suspended all of its diplomatic ties with Israel. South Africa has also recalled its ambassador to Israel. A South African Foreign Ministry spokesman said the move marks “a low point in relations” between the two countries.

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Israel abducts American survivor of USS Liberty bombing onboard Gaza flotilla

USS Liberty

USS Liberty

By IAN ALLEN | intelNews.org |
Among nine US citizens abducted in international waters by Israeli troops on Monday was a survivor of the attack on the USS Liberty, an American intelligence ship that was napalm-bombed by the Israeli Air Force in 1967. US Navy veteran Joe Miduras, of Corpus Christi, Texas, was among the nearly 700 civilians from 40 different countries, who were illegally abducted by the Israeli Defense Forces following a bloody raid on the Gaza  Freedom Flotilla on May 31. The 67-year old veteran was a soldier onboard the Liberty, an unarmed US National Security Agency communications surveillance vessel, when it was napalm-bombed in international waters by Israeli jets during the fourth day of the 1967 Six-Day War. Although the ship did not sink, Israeli jets machine-gunned the Liberty lifeboats carrying American servicemen, ultimately killing 34 and seriously injuring over 150 US crew members. Read more of this post

Israel becoming a burden to the US, says Mossad chief

Meir Dagan

Meir Dagan

By JOSEPH FITSANAKIS | intelNews.org |
The director of Israeli intelligence agency Mossad has publicly stated the agency’s concerns that Israel is gradually turning from an asset to a burden for American foreign policy. Speaking before the Israeli Knesset’s Foreign Affairs and Defense Committee, Meir Dagan said it was obvious to him that “Israel is gradually turning from an asset to the United States to a burden”. The former Israel Defense Forces (IDF) commander, who has led the Mossad since 2002, remarked that every year since the end of the Cold War there are progressively “fewer Israeli assets in the US”. The importance of Israel in US foreign policy was “greater when there was conflict between the blocs”, said the Mossad chief, “while this year there has [again] been a decrease” in Israel’s significance. He went on to lament the 2008 election success of US President Barack Obama, which was “a declaration that [the US] was adopting a softer approach and did not want to use force to solve conflicts”. Read more of this post