CIA helping Turkey, Saudi Arabia, smuggle weapons into Syria: sources

Turkish-Syrian borderBy JOSEPH FITSANAKIS | intelNews.org |
A growing team of United States Central Intelligence Agency personnel is currently in Turkey overseeing a multinational effort to secretly deliver weapons to Syrian anti-government rebels, according to The New York Times. Quoting “American officials and Arab intelligence officers”, the paper said last week that the weapons are being smuggled into Syria primarily through the Turkish border. The financial cost of smuggling into Syria such weapons as antitank explosives, rocket-propelled grenades, and automatic rifles, has so far been covered by the governments of Turkey, Qatar and Saudi Arabia, according to the article. The funds are partly required to bribe members of what The Times describes as “a shadowy network of intermediaries”, which reportedly includes forces loyal to the Syrian Muslim Brotherhood. The latter is a Sunni group that is widely viewed as the most dominant of the anti-government factions that make up the rebel side in the ongoing Syrian uprising. The paper quotes an “Arab intelligence official”, who says the CIA contingent in Turkey “is trying to make new sources and recruit people” along the porous Turkish-Syrian border. But its presence in the volatile region, which has been constant for “several weeks”, according to The Times, is also aimed at keeping the smuggled weapons out of the reach of Syrian anti-government forces that are allied with militant Islamist groups, including al-Qaeda. The article notes that American support for the Syrian rebels has been minimal, when compared with that in Libya in 2011, mostly because of staunch Russian support for the government forces of Syrian president Bashar al-Assad. Read more of this post

CIA hid terrorism prisoners from US Supreme Court

CIA HQ

CIA HQ

By JOSEPH FITSANAKIS | intelNews.org |
The Central Intelligence Agency purposefully concealed at least four terrorism detainees from the US legal system, including the Supreme Court, according to an exclusive report by the Associated Press. The news agency has revealed that the CIA secretly transported the four to Guantánamo Bay Detention Camp on Cuba in 2003, two years before it publicly admitted their capture. It then secretly transferred them again to other sites in its black site prison network in various countries around the world, just three months before their prolonged stay at Guantánamo would entitle them to legal representation. While at Guantánamo, the four prisoners, Abd al-Nashiri, Mustafa al-Hawsawi, Ramzi Binalshibh and Abu Zubaydah, were kept at a facility known as ‘Strawberry Fields’, which is detached from the main prison site at the bay. By hiding the four, the Bush Administration managed to keep them under CIA custody while denying them legal representation for two years longer than allowed by US law. It also concealed their detention from national and international human rights monitoring bodies and from the US justice system, including the Supreme Court. Read more of this post

CIA killed Chile Army commander, says Pinochet’s spy chief

Carlos Prats

Carlos Prats

By JOSEPH FITSANAKIS | intelNews.org |
The convicted former chief of Chile’s intelligence services during the dictatorship of Augusto Pinochet has accused the CIA of murdering the deposed leader of the Chilean army and former Vice-President of Chile, in 1974. General Carlos Prats González was a close political ally of Chilean President Salvador Allende, who was toppled by a CIA-assisted military coup in 1973, led by General Augusto Pinochet. General Prats managed to escape with his family to neighboring Argentina. It was there where, in 1974, he was killed along with his wife, Sofia Cuthbert, in a massive car bomb. A Chilean court has convicted General Manuel Contreras, who headed Pinochet’s feared DINA secret police, for the murder of General Prats and his wife. But Contreras, 81, who has been in prison since 1995, servicing over 100 years for several kidnappings and murders of anti-Pinochet dissidents, now accuses the CIA of the Prats murders. Read more of this post

News of CIA/Blackwater hit squad upset German government

Mamoun Darkazanli

M. Darkazanli

By JOSEPH FITSANAKIS | intelNews.org |
German politicians have finally caught up with the startling revelations of Blackwater founder and CEO, Erik Prince, who last month told Vanity Fair that he worked as a CIA spy, carrying out secret missions with the help of a Blackwater hit squad. The Vanity Fair article revealed that, among other targets, the squad planned to assassinate Mamoun Darkazanli, an alleged al-Qaeda financier living in Hamburg, Germany. But did anyone in Washington think to ask the German government whether it was OK for a Blackwater/CIA assassination team to run around the country, planning extrajudicial murders of alleged al-Qaeda members? Apparently no, says German newsmagazine Der Spiegel, adding that the revelation has upset members of German Chancellor Angela Merkel’s Christian Democratic Union, as well as opposition Social Democrats and Greens, who are now demanding a special investigation into the matter. Read more of this post

Coalition requests disbarment of government lawyers behind CIA torture

John Rizzo

John Rizzo

By JOSEPH FITSANAKIS | intelNews.org |
Yesterday I wrote about John A. Rizzo, the CIA Acting General Counsel who is preparing to step down from his post despite being termed “the most influential career lawyer in CIA history”, according to The Los Angeles Times. The reason behind his sudden early retirement is the discovery earlier this month by several anti-torture critics in Congress that he gave the CIA legal advice in support of the Agency’s “enhanced interrogation” program. But the controversy over Rizzo’s role in the torture scheme is likely to stay with him even after he leaves Langley. Yesterday, the Velvet Revolution, an activist network of over 120 groups, issued formal requests with the New York and DC bar associations to disbar Rizzo and two other government lawyers behind the CIA torture program. Read more of this post