News you may have missed #716 (analysis edition)

Mordechai VanunuBy IAN ALLEN | |
►►Kabul attacks show intel failures in Afghanistan. Dozens, possibly hundreds of people would have been involved in training, equipping and then infiltrating into the heart of Kabul the large number of insurgents who were prepared to fight to a certain death in the Afghan capital last Sunday. Yet neither Afghan nor foreign intelligence operatives appeared to have any idea that an unprecedented wave of attacks was about to engulf both Kabul and several other key locations around the country. So it seems that Afghan President Hamid Karzai may have a point when he says that the “infiltration in Kabul and other provinces is an intelligence failure for us and especially for NATO and should be seriously investigated”.
►►Report claims China spies on US space technology. China is stealing US military and civilian space technology in an effort to disrupt US access to intelligence, navigation and communications satellites, according to a report authored by the State and Defense Departments. The report (.pdf) argues China should be excluded from recommendations made to the US government to ease restrictions on exports of communications and remote-sensing satellites and equipment. Chinese officials have denied the report’s allegations, calling it a “Cold War ghost”.
►►The long and sordid history of sex and espionage. Using seduction to extract valuable information is as old as the Old Testament —literally— Whether from conviction or for profit, women —and men— have traded sex for secrets for centuries. The Cold War provided plenty of opportunities for so-called “honey-pot” scandals. Perhaps the most dramatic case of seduction in recent times involved Israeli nuclear technician Mordechai Vanunu. In 1986 he visited London and provided The Sunday Times with dozens of photographs of Israel’s alleged nuclear weapons program. But Mossad was on his trail and a female agent —Cheryl Ben Tov— befriended him (reportedly bumping into him at a cigarette kiosk in London’s Leicester Square). She lured him to Rome for a weekend, where he was drugged and spirited to Israel.

News you may have missed #414

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News you may have missed #411

  • Third Lebanese telecom worker charged with spying for Israel. A Lebanese prosecutor has charged a third state telecommunications employee with spying for Israel. Milad Eid, who worked at the state-owned fixed-line operator Ogero, is accused of “dealing with the Israeli enemy [and] giving them technical information in his position as head of international communications at the Telecommunications Ministry”.
  • Author Roald Dahl was British spy, new book claims. A new book by Donald Sturrock, entitled Storyteller: The Life of Roald Dahl, claims that children’s author worked for British Security Coordination (BSC), a 1940s secret service network based in the United States, and was ‘run’ from New York by Canadian industrialist William Stephenson.
  • Israeli nuclear whistleblower wants to leave country. Nuclear whistle-blower Mordechai Vanunu has been released from prison after serving a 10-week sentence for violating the terms of his parole by speaking to a foreign journalist. Upon his release, he asked that he be allowed to leave the country.

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Documents show Israel offered nukes to apartheid South Africa

Sasha Polakow-Suransky


Apartheid-era government documents unearthed by an American doctoral researcher reveal that the government of Israel offered to sell nuclear warheads to the racist regime in South Africa, and could possibly provide the first documentary evidence of the existence of Israel’s purported nuclear arsenal. Successive Israeli governments have followed what is often called ‘a policy of ambiguity’, refusing to either confirm or deny the nuclear weapons’ rumored existence. But the documents, which date from 1975, contain detailed minutes of meetings between senior Israeli and South African cabinet officials, including then South African defense minister P.W. Botha and then Israeli defense minister –and Israel’s current President– Shimon Peres. Sasha Polakow-Suransky, the American academic who requested the declassification of the controversial documents, says the Israeli government tried but ultimately failed to prevent the South African government of Jacob Zuma from releasing them. Read more of this post

News you may have missed #358

  • Ex-CIA analyst to lead US declassification center. Sheryl Jasielum Shenberger, who currently serves as a Branch Chief at the CIA Declassification Center, has been named as the first director of the recently established US National Declassification Center. The Center’s aim is to eliminate the backlog of over 400 million pages of classified records by the end of 2013.
  • Hamas expels Egyptian spy from Gaza. A senior Egyptian intelligence officer, who had allegedly “infiltrated the region to collect information on residents and the Hamas government” was arrested and expelled from Gaza on Monday.
  • Israeli nuclear whistleblower back in prison. More than six years after his release from 18 years in solitary confinement, Israeli nuclear whistleblower Mordechai Vanunu has been sentenced to another three months in prison for allegedly “contacting foreign agents”.

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News you may have missed #330

  • Pakistan released captured Taliban behind CIA’s back. IntelNews has not joined the chorus of commentators who have been claiming that the relationship between Pakistan’s Inter-Services Intelligence (ISI) directorate and the CIA has warmed up. It now appears that even as the ISI was collaborating with the CIA, it quietly freed at least two captured senior Afghan Taliban figures.
  • Kiwi activists accuse police of spying. New Zealand’s Peace Action Wellington has submitted an Official Information Act (OIA) request relating to domestic police surveillance, after accusing the police of “heavily spying on and running operations on protest groups”. It is not the first time that similar accusations have been directed against the country’s police force.
  • CIA suspected existence of Israeli nukes in 1974. Israel will neither confirm nor deny the rumored existence of its nuclear arsenal. But the CIA, which has kept an eye on Israel’s nuclear weapons project since at least the early 1960s, was convinced of its existence by 1974, according to a declassified report.

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News you may have missed #0003

  • CIA declassifies 1960 estimate report on Israeli nukes. The report, which is still heavily redacted, suggests a nuclear Israel would “be less inclined than ever to make concessions and would press its interests in the area more vigorously”. According to recent estimates, Israel has approximately 200 nuclear bombs and warheads.
  • Accused spies were planning to flee US, says Bureau. FBI prosecutors say the couple’s sailboat and maps of Cuban waters are evidence they planned to flee to Cuba. An entry on a personal calendar found at the couple’s home shows they planned to go sailing in the Caribbean in November, with no return date.
  • CIA defends Panetta’s remarks on Cheney. Director didn’t say that former US Vice-President Dick Cheney would like to see the US attacked, says Agency spokesperson Paul Gimigliano.
  • Senior al-Qaeda figure says he lied under CIA torture. Alleged al-Qaeda senior leader Khalid Sheikh Mohammed says pain he suffered under torture forced him to “make up stories” and falsely admit he was behind “nearly 30 terror plots”. Meanwhile, the CIA has released more torture transcripts after a lawsuit by the American Civil Liberties Union.

US Pentagon report acknowledges Israel has the bomb!

Ever since the early 1970s, the United States and Israel have maintained what nuclear proliferation experts call “a policy of ambiguity” on Israel’s nuclear weapons program. Namely, American and Israeli officials will neither confirm nor deny that Israel has nuclear weapons. The reason for this pretended vagueness is the 1976 Symington Amendment, which prevents the US from providing any economic or military assistance to countries “that deliver or receive, acquire or transfer nuclear enrichment technology”. Now, however, a declassified report by the US Pentagon has been found to confirm that Israel has a nuclear weapons arsenal. The US Joint Forces Command study (pdf), which was compiled last year by the US Army, includes Israel among the world’s nuclear powers. Read more of this post

Official history of Israeli spy services acknowledges US spying against Israel

American espionage conducted against Israel is hardly news. It is rare, however, that such operations –which are routine in nature– are acknowledged in official histories of intelligence institutions. Yet this is exactly what will happen this coming January, when a new official history of Israel’s intelligence services is published in Israel. Read more of this post

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