News you may have missed #664

Hakan FidanBy IAN ALLEN | intelNews.org |
►►Iran nuclear defector’s family spared deportation from Canada. Family members of a top defector who worked for Iran’s nuclear energy program have been temporarily spared deportation from Canada, after claiming they will be tortured by Iran’s secret police. The defector, his daughter and mother, have not been identified in media reports. The names of their lawyers were not made public either.
►►Turkish spy services to be “among world’s largest”. Turkey commemorates the 85th anniversary of its National Intelligence Organization, known as MİT. The agency’s undersecretary, Hakan Fidan (pictured), told Turkish media that within the next two to three years, they aim to become one of the largest intelligence services in the world, and that they are “synthesizing the CIA-FBI model”.
►►Analysis: New rules for CIA drones in Pakistan. The current pause in CIA drone strikes in Pakistan (55 days and counting) is now the longest during Barack Obama’s presidency. The break in drone strikes was enforced by Islamabad after NATO killed 24 Pakistani soldiers in November. The break coincided with a major policy reappraisal by Washington, and it has given Islamabad room to refocus on its own strategic needs. In the coming weeks CIA drone attacks are expected to resume in Pakistan. But according to leaks and hints, there are likely to be far fewer strikes, and far fewer casualties.

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Turkish spy agency in secret Oslo talks with Kurdish PKK

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By JOSEPH FITSANAKIS | intelNews.org |
The war between the Turkish state and the Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK), which culminated in the early 1990s, has flared up again, ever since the creation of the US-protected Kurdish autonomous zone in northern Iraq. Currently, the Turkish military is technically at war with the PKK, a leftist secessionist movement that aspires to create a Kurdish homeland comprising mostly of territories in Turkey’s Anatolia region. But a leaked audio recording posted on the Internet last week shows that senior Turkish intelligence officials have been participating in secret talks with the leadership of the PKK, since at least 2010. Several Kurdish news agencies published the recording of one such secret meeting, involving the leadership of Turkey’s National Intelligence Organization (MİT). The recording features a frank discussion between, on the one side, the head of MİT, Hakan Fidan, and its deputy director, Afet Güneş; the two are heard deliberating with Sabit Ok, Zübeyr Aydar and Mustafa Karasu, all of whom are senior PKK officials and wanted dead or alive by the Turkish state. A voice of an apparent mediator —marked by a distinct Scandinavian accent— can be heard speaking at the beginning. The mediator mentions that the meeting is the fifth installment of a series of encounters called “The Oslo Talks”. According to Turkish daily Hürriyet, the mediator appears to be a government official from Norway, which probably hosted the secret meeting(s) somewhere in its capital city. Shortly following the mediator’s introduction, Fidan is heard saying that he is acting as a “special envoy of […] prime minister” Recep Tayyip Erdoğan. The leaked recording disappeared from Kurdish websites soon after it was posted, and some Kurdish media sources said that it had been aired by “anonymous hackers”. Read more of this post

News you may have missed #406

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News you may have missed #375 (analysis edition)

  • Analysis: Israel worried by new Turkey spy chief’s defense of Iran. Israel’s defense establishment, which maintains ties with Turkey’s national intelligence organization (MİT), is concerned over the recent appointment of Hakan Fidan as head of that organization, and the implications of that appointment vis-a-vis Turkish relations with Israel and Iran.
  • Analysis: How the CIA bolstered radical Islam during Cold War. The CIA’s battle with communism during the Cold War allowed radical Islamists to gain a foothold in Europe, according to a new book by Pulitzer Prize-winning author Ian Johnson, entitled A Mosque in Munich: Nazis, the CIA and the Rise of the Muslim Brotherhood in the West.

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News you may have missed #361

  • FBI linguist jailed in leak probe. The Obama administration’s crackdown on government whistleblowers continued on Tuesday with the jailing of Shamai Leibowitz, a former FBI contract linguist who disclosed classified information to the media.
  • Yemen sentences alleged Iranian spies to death. Two members of an alleged Iranian spy cell operating in Yemen were sentenced to death on Tuesday. The Yemeni government accuses Iran of arming the Shiite so-called Sa’adah insurgency along the Yemeni-Saudi border.
  • New Turkish intel chief has big plans. Among the changes that Hakan Fidan, new chief of Turkey’s National Intelligence Organization (MİT), intends to spearhead is “starting a separate electronic intelligence organization like the American NSA or the British GCHQ”.

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News you may have missed #334

  • Analysis: Split up the CIA, says veteran officer. A 15-year CIA veteran, who goes by the pseudonym Ishmael Jones, reveals in a new book that the Agency now has only “a handful” of non-official-cover officers, i.e. spies not affiliated with a US diplomatic mission abroad. In The Human Factor: Inside the CIA’s Dysfunctional Intelligence Culture, Jones argues the CIA should be broken up and its pieces absorbed by other US intelligence agencies.
  • Turkey appoints new intelligence director. It is expected that Turkey’s National Intelligence Organization (MİT) will soon be headed by Dr. Hakan Fidan, who will replace Emre Taner. MİT’s reputation has recently been severely hit by the involvement of some of its personnel in the notorious Ergenekon affair.

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