News you may have missed #568

Gareth Williams

Gareth Williams

►►Lebanon intercepts covert arms shipment bound for Syria. It looks like anti-Syrian Lebanese groups, allied with former Lebanese Prime Minister Saad Hariri, are smuggling Kalashnikovs and M-16s across the border to anti-government rebels in Banyas and other Syrian towns. The question is, where are these arms coming from? It is also worth noting that the Syrian army claimed last week that it has detained hundreds of Salafi fighters –including Afghans– with Lebanese documents.
►►Russian embassy cars seen near murdered MI6 officer’s flat. British paper The Daily Mail quotes an unnamed “former KGB agent who fled to London 12 years ago”, who says that he “logged two cars with Russian diplomatic number plates […] parked or driving close” to the central London apartment of MI6 and GCHQ officer Gareth Williams. The unnamed former agent says he noticed the vehicles around the time when Williams is believed to have been murdered in his apartment.
►►Indonesian intel reports on West Papua leaked. Hundreds of intelligence briefs from Indonesia’s elite special forces unit, Kopassus, have been obtained by Australian newspaper The Age. They include a detailed analysis of the separatist movement in oil-rich Western Papua. According to the Australian press, the reports “illustrate the level of paranoia in Jakarta about its hold over the resource-rich region”.

News you may have missed #478

  • Israel and Chile collaborated to spy on Iran and Venezuela. Documents released by WikiLeaks show Israel and Chile cooperated to spy on Iran as it developed bilateral links with Venezuela. A diplomatic cable from the US embassy in Santiago to the State Department in Washington, dated July 21, 2008, said Chile and Israel both expressed concern about growing ties as well as a potential Iranian presence on the border with Brazil, Argentina and Paraguay.
  • Korean spies broke into Indonesian delegation’s hotel room. Members of South Korea’s NIS spy agency broke into a hotel room of a visiting high-level Indonesian delegation to try to steal sensitive information on a possible arms deal, according to Seoul-based Chosun Ilbo newspaper. The report said the NIS officers left “after being disturbed by a delegate”.
  • High-ranking Libyan pilots defect to Malta. Two air force jets landed in Malta on Monday and their pilots, who said they are “senior colonels” in the Libyan air force, asked for political asylum. The pilots claim to have defected after refusing to follow orders to attack civilians protesting in Benghazi in Libya. Meanwhile, a group of Libyan army officers have issued a statement urging fellow soldiers to “join the people” and help remove Muammar Gaddafi by marching to Tripoli.

Emirates police says US, Israel, use BlackBerry to spy

Dahi Tamim

Dahi Tamim

By IAN ALLEN | intelNews.org |
The alleged use of encrypted BlackBerry communications by adversary intelligence services operating in the United Arab Emirates (UAE) is prompting local authorities to consider a nationwide ban on the popular phone. This was revealed late last week by Dubai Police chief, Lt. General Dahi Khalfan bin Tamim, who repeated a warning by UAE authorities that BlackBerry services in the country will be curtailed on October 11, unless the government is given access to BlackBerry’s encryption code by the manufacturer. Several other countries in the Middle East and beyond have made similar moves, including Lebanon, Syria, Saudi Arabia, India and Indonesia, all of which have cited security reasons for the ban. But Lt. General Tamim’s comments provide the first known connection between a threat to ban BlackBerry and its alleged use by rival intelligence agencies. Read more of this post

News you may have missed #300

  • Indonesian activists capture government spy. Activists of the United Indonesia Movement (GIB) have captured a military intelligence officer, identified only as E.S., who was allegedly spying on their plans to prepare an anti-government rally on Tuesday. Last August, the Indonesian government denied rumors it planned to begin spying on Mosques around the country.
  • Former Monaco head-spy recounts meeting with Prince Albert. Former FBI counterintelligence agent Robert Eringer, who until recently was spymaster to Prince Albert II of Monaco, recounts how he was appointed to lead the principality’s intelligence service by the Prince himself.

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Mystery surrounds arrest of renegade CIA agent in Indonesia

Bogor, Indonesia

Bogor, Indonesia

By IAN ALLEN | intelNews.org |
In January of 2008, a man with an American accent appeared at a passport office in the popular West Java tourist resort of Bogor, Indonesia, and applied for an Indonesian passport. But his inability to speak Bahasa Indonesia triggered the suspicion of passport officials, who subsequently discovered that his Indonesian birth certificate was faked. He was arrested on the spot, but it took nearly a year for Indonesian authorities to ascertain the man’s real identity: he was Bob Marshall, a 61-year-old American-born former CIA agent who allegedly went renegade on the Agency in 1974. For the past 35 years, Marshall has reportedly been cited in dozens of countries, operating a worldwide arms smuggling and check-fraud network. There are rumors at Interpol that Marshall has made use of no fewer than 40 passports during this time, some of which he acquired while working for the CIA. Read more of this post

US threatened Indonesia with war during 1999 East Timor crisis

William Cohen

William Cohen

By JOSEPH FITSANAKIS | intelNews.org |
The Clinton Administration threatened to go to war with Indonesia in 1999, if Jakarta resisted an Australian-led plan to grant independence to what was then Indonesia’s province of East Timor. The revelations were made by former American and Australian military officials quoted in a new book titled The March of Patriots: The Struggle for Modern Australia. According to Pentagon official James Schear and Dr. Ashton Calvert, the late Director of the Australian Foreign Affairs Department, US Secretary of Defense William Cohen met with Indonesia’s President Bacharuddin Jusuf Habibie and Defense Minister General Wiranto, and told them that Washington would retaliate militarily if Jakarta contested the planned deployment of an Australian-led UN force in East Timor. Read more of this post

News you may have missed #0090

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News you may have missed #0083

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News you may have missed #0082

  • The spy who prayed. Profile of As’ad Said Ali, deputy chief of Indonesia’s National Intelligence Agency, who is actively involved in Nahdlatul Ulama, Indonesia’s largest Muslim organization.
  • Shadowy Turkish group used journalists as spies. Ergenekon, a shadowy ultranationalist network with strong links to the Turkish armed forces, which planned to topple the Turkish government, used journalists to spy on its high-profile targets, according to court documents.
  • CIA sacked Baghdad station chief after deaths. The CIA removed its station chief in Iraq and reorganized its operations there in late 2003, following “potentially very serious leadership lapses” that included the deaths of detainees in US custody.

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News you may have missed #0078

  • Indian police claims busting of Pakistani spy ring. Punjab Police claims to have arrested a member of a spy ring allegedly handled by Pakistani intelligence (ISI). The arrestee was reportedly trying to leave India for Pakistan at the time of his arrest.
  • Iraq intelligence chief retired before major blasts. Mohammed al-Shehwani, the head of the Iraqi National Intelligence Service, went into retirement days before huge bombings in Baghdad killed almost 100 people in the deadliest day of violence this year.
  • Backlash over plan to spy on Indonesian mosques. Indonesian religious leaders are warning that the Indonesian National Police’s plan to monitor religious sermons during Ramadan will offend and anger Muslims, and be viewed as a repeat of tactics employed during the hated Suharto regime.

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Australian ex-intelligence agent tried for leaking documents

Bali bombings

Bali bombings

By IAN ALLEN | intelNews.org |
The trial has begun in Australia of a former intelligence agent accused of conspiring to leak classified documents to the press. The prosecution is accusing James Paul Seivers, a former surveillance expert with the Australian Security Intelligence Organization (ASIO), of photocopying secret intelligence reports about the 2002 Bali bombings in Indonesia, and leaking them to the Australian press, with the help of his co-tenant. The secret reports, which had been compiled a few weeks before the Bali bombings, contained warnings by American intelligence agents that jihadist groups in Indonesia were preparing large-scale attacks on popular tourist nightspots. The leaked documents were published in the Australian press and led to strong criticism of Australian intelligence authorities; the latter were widely seen as having failed to prevent the bombings, which killed over 200 people, among them 88 Australian citizens. Read more of this post

Researchers discover gigantic cyberespionage operation

Ronald Deibert

Ronald Deibert

By IAN ALLEN | intelNews.org |
A team of Canadian researchers claims to have discovered a large cyberespionage ring located mainly in China. The researchers say the ring has managed to infiltrate nearly 1,300 mainly government and corporate computers in at least 103 countries around the world. The report, entitled Tracking GhostNet: Investigating a Cyber Espionage Network, was compiled after a ten-month collaboration between Ottawa’s SecDev group and the University of Toronto’s Munk Centre for International Studies. Although the report concludes that the cyberespionage ring is located mainly in China, it specifically rejects claims that GhostNet is inevitably a Chinese government operation, saying that there is no evidence that Beijing is behind the operation. University of Toronto associate professor Ronald Deibert suggested that the operation could potentially be the work of non-state pro-Chinese actors, or could be conducted by a profit-oriented group that sells the acquired information to whoever offers it the highest monetary compensation. “It’s a murky realm that we’re lifting the lid on”, said Dr. Deibert: “This could well be the CIA or the Russians”. Read more of this post

Indonesian court clears former spy official of human right activist’s murder

In 2004, Indonesia’s most renowned human rights activist, Munir Said Thalib, was poisoned during a flight to the Netherlands. He was traveling aboard a plane operated by Garuda, Indonesia’s state carrier, when he consumed arsenic that had been clandestinely dispensed into his in-flight meal. A few months ago, Pollycarpus Budihari Priyanto, an off-duty Garuda pilot who was sitting next to Mr. Munir during his fatal flight, was given a 20-year prison term for poisoning the activist. During the court case, however, it was revealed that the convicted assassin had engaged in frequent telephone communication with General Muchdi Purwoprandjono, then Deputy Director of Indonesia’s State Intelligence Agency, commonly known as BIN. Read more of this post

Obama’s choice for DNI ignored Timor massacres

It has emerged that US President Elect Barack Obama intends to nominate retired US Navy Admiral Dennis Cutler Blair to succeed Mike McConnel as Director of National Intelligence (DNI). What most news outlets are not reporting is that in 2000 Blair led a group of Pentagon officials who were determined to maintain close relations with Indonesia’s military establishment, despite its documented involvement in horrendous massacres in East Timor. Read more of this post

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