News you may have missed #343

  • Taliban leader H. Mehsud reportedly not dead. Last February US and Pakistani officials claimed a CIA airstrike had killed Hakimullah Mehsud, the leader of the largest faction of the Pakistani Taliban. But it now appears that Mehsud is alive and well.
  • Analysis: Operation MINCEMEAT and the ethics of spying. The New Yorker‘s Malcolm Gladwell on operation MINCEMEAT, a World War II British deception plan, which helped convince the German high command that the Allies planned to invade Greece and Sardinia in 1943, instead of Sicily.
  • US DoJ announces FISA court appointment. Judge Martin L.C. Feldman, of the Eastern District of Louisiana, has been appointed to a seven-year term on the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance (FISA) Court, which reviews (and invariably approves) government applications for counterintelligence surveillance and physical search under the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act.

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News you may have missed #0277

  • Western officials say a CIA air strike has killed Hakimullah Mehsud. Mehsud was the leader of the largest faction of the Pakistani Taliban, and one of the handlers of Humam Khalil al-Balawi, the Jordanian who killed seven CIA officers last December in Khost, Afghanistan. Mehsud took over the leadership of the Pakistan Taliban last August, after another CIA air strike killed his predecessor, Baitullah Mehsud (no relation).
  • US citizen requests North Korea asylum. An unidentified 28-year-old American man who crossed into North Korea from China has allegedly sought asylum because he did not “want to become a cannon fodder in the capitalist military”. He apparently told North Korean officials that he “wants to serve in the North Korean military” instead.

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Taliban execute Mehsud’s family members on espionage charges

Baitullah Mehsud

Baitullah Mehsud

By IAN ALLEN | intelNews.org |
Four relatives of Pakistani Taliban leader Baitullah Mehsud were reportedly arrested last week by Taliban militants, who suspect them of having informed Pakistani and US intelligence about Mehsud’s whereabouts. Pakistani and US officials say they are almost certain that Mehsud was killed in an unmanned drone air strike (probably remotely operated by the CIA) earlier this month. Mehsud’s family members arrested by the Taliban include his father-in-law, Ikramuddin Mehsud, his son, Ziauddin Mehsud, his brother, Saeedullah Mehsud, and his nephew, Iqbal Mehsud. Earlier today, Pakistan’s Interior Minister, Rehman Malik, told reporters that the Taliban have executed Mehsud’s family members, listed above, after “confirming” their espionage activities. Read more of this post

Is Mehsud dead, and if so, who or what killed him?

Baitullah Mehsud

Baitullah Mehsud

By JOSEPH FITSANAKIS | intelNews.org |
There is confusion about the fate of Pakistan’s senior Taliban commander, Baitullah Mehsud. On August 7, the Pakistani military told the world’s media that an unmanned drone air strike (probably operated by the CIA) had killed Mehsud. The Associated Press reported that a Taliban commander in Pakistan, Kafayat Ullah, had confirmed that “Mehsud and his wife died in the American missile attack in South Waziristan”. Pakistani military officials said they were “reasonably sure” of the accuracy of these reports, but that they did not possess irrefutable “forensic evidence” of Mehsud’s death. Over the weekend, however, other Taliban leaders came forward to contest Ullah’s account. Read more of this post