News you may have missed #778 (analysis edition)

Lieutenant-General Zahir ul-IslamBy IAN ALLEN | |
►►Some rules restrain Mossad’s work in Iran. It is widely believed that at least four assassinations of Iranian nuclear scientists in Tehran were carried out in recent years by Mossad operatives. The perpetrators were part of an elite unit within Israeli intelligence, called Kidon, founded in 1972 to avenge the killing of 11 Israeli athletes at the Munich Olympics, by any means necessary. But veteran Israeli intelligence correspondents Dan Raviv and Yossi Melman argue that the Kidon is not technically a ‘lawless’ organization; it has to comply with a set of “unwritten regulations” adopted by Israel’s secret agencies fifty years ago.
►►Are US and Pakistani spy agencies starting to get along? The relationship between the CIA and Pakistan’s Inter-Services Intelligence (ISI) agency has been at the core of Washington and Islamabad’s alliance for over a decade now. But over the past two years, as suspicions have grown, the two sides had become near adversaries. After months of relations languishing at an all-time low, Pakistan and the US may now be opening up a fresh phase of engagement. Following US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton’s recent apology for the loss of 24 Pakistani soldiers at a border checkpoint last November, NATO supplies are rumbling through again. Washington has also released funds for Pakistani military operations it had previously withheld. And, perhaps most crucially, the two fractious allies’ top spies are said to be talking again. New ISI Director Zahir ul-Islam (pictured) visited Washington for talks earlier this month.
►►Why the US isn’t arming Syria’s opposition –yet. Up until this point, the only thing the US has owned up to is providing humanitarian assistance and communications equipment to Syrian opposition groups. A report earlier this month revealed that US President Barack Obama signed a secret “finding” in July, which allows the CIA to take action in Syria, but does not include lethal support. In other words, the US won’t be sending in Seal Team Six to take down Assad any time soon, but it is training certain groups to handle and gather intelligence. Why is that?

British citizen among Mossad assassins intrigues investigators

Christopher Lockwood


Only a handful of the 33 members of an Israeli assassination squad, who killed a senior Hamas member in Dubai last January, carried non-fraudulent passports. Most of the assassins, who in all probability worked for Kidon, an elite assassination unit within Israel’s Mossad intelligence agency, used forged British, Irish, German, Australian, and other passports. Dubai officials investigating the murder of Hamas weapons procurer Mahmoud al-Mabhouh have identified at least one British citizen among non-fraudulent passport holders in the Mossad assassination team: he is 62-year-old Christopher Lockwood (photo), who helped facilitate al-Mabhouh’s assassination by transporting some of the Mossad members around Dubai “in a [rented] white minivan with tinted windows”. Read more of this post

Alleged Mossad agent arrested in Poland

Uri Brodsky

"Uri Brodsky"

Authorities in Poland have detained an alleged Israeli agent who may be connected with the assassination of a senior Hamas operative last January. German newsmagazine Der Spiegel quoted anonymous government prosecutors in Berlin, who said the man works for Israeli intelligence agency Mossad, and was arrested upon arriving in Poland on June 4. The alleged agent, whose travel documents identify him as “Uri Brodsky”, is wanted by German prosecutors for using a forged German passport to enter Dubai, United Arab Emirates, in January of this year. He then joined a team of Mossad assassins to kill Mahmoud al-Mabhouh, a Hamas weapons procurer, who was found dead in his luxury hotel room on January 20. Read more of this post

News you may have missed #353

  • Name of British Mossad agent handed to Interpol. Dubai police have identified another suspect in the January murder of Hamas operative Mahmoud al-Mabhouh, by Israeli intelligence agency Mossad. He is reportedly a 62-year-old British citizen, who is believed to be currently hiding in western Africa.
  • Russia jails man for spying for the US. Gennady Sipachyov, a Russian whose age and profession have been kept secret by Moscow, has been sentenced to a four-year sentence for allegedly emailing secret military maps identifying classified Russian military infrastructure to the US Pentagon in 2008. Earlier this month, a Russian court rejected an appeal by another alleged US spy, Igor Sutyagin.
  • Bulgarian government wants to copy CIA. Bulgaria’s Defense Minister, Anyu Angelov, has proposed the merging of intelligence services to create a mega-structure of the CIA type. Meanwhile, a panel investigating Bulgaria’s communist-era police files has exposed two of the country’s former counterintelligence heads as former communist state security agents.

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CIA ‘used fake British passports’ in kidnap operation

UK passport

British passport

British authorities are looking into allegations that a team of CIA agents made use of forged British passports during an abduction operation in 2003. The allegations surfaced last week in Spain, where a team of prosecutors is currently investigating the activities of 13 CIA agents (11 men and two women) who appear to have used the Spanish tourist resort of Majorca as a base for conducting various operations around Europe. Following the example of Italy, which last year convicted several CIA operatives for illegally abducting a Muslim cleric in Milan, Spanish authorities are now considering issuing arrest warrants for the 13 CIA agents. They are all believed to have been involved in the abduction and rendition of German citizen Khaled El-Masri. El-Masri was abducted in Skopje, Macedonia, in 2003, and later transferred on a secret CIA flight to a Syrian prison, where he says he was brutally tortured. He was later released without explanation, once US authorities realized they had the wrong man. Read more of this post

Mossad agent in Dubai assassination also wanted in New Zealand

Zev William Barkan


An Israeli Mossad officer wanted by New Zealand authorities is among five suspects recently identified and named by Dubai police in connection with the assassination of a Hamas official. The officer, Zev William Barkan, has been identified as a major suspect in last January’s assassination of Hamas weapons procurer Mahmoud al-Mabhouh, in a luxury Dubai hotel. In 2004, Barkan was one of three Mossad agents who engaged in an aborted attempt to acquire a New Zealand passport, using the birth certificate of Auckland resident Tony Resnick. New Zealand authorities managed to arrest Barkan’s two associates, Uriel Zoshe Kelman and Eli Cara, both from Israel; but Barkan and Resnick managed to escape arrest by flying to Sydney, Australia, before fleeing to Israel. The case caused a major –albeit temporary– rift in New Zealand-Israel relations. Read more of this post

News you may have missed #345

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News you may have missed #316

  • News videos on UK expulsion of Israeli ‘diplomat’. Commendable video-based amalgamation by of worldwide media comments on the recent expulsion of an Israeli intelligence officer by the British government. The expulsion was in response to the forging of British passports, employed by the Mossad in the killing of Hamas operative Mahmoud al-Mabhouh in Dubai last January.
  • How Khost suicide bomber lured CIA agents to their deaths. According to the CIA’s internal investigation of the killing of seven CIA officers by Humam al-Balawi, in Khost, Afghanistan, last December, the fatal explosion happened as the CIA officers had gathered around Balawi to present him with a cake as a present for his birthday.

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Breaking news: UK expels Israeli diplomat over Dubai assassination

Mahmoud al-Mabhouh


While Israel continues to insist that “there is no proof” of its involvement in January’s assassination of a top Hamas military official, Britain has announced the pending expulsion of an Israeli diplomat over the killing. At least 12 forged British passports were used by a Mossad hit squad, whose members traveled to Dubai, United Arab Emirates, to assassinate Mahmoud al-Mabhouh, on January 19. Announcing the decision, British foreign secretary David Miliband said that the high quality of the forged passports made it almost certain that “a state intelligence service” was behind the operation, and that London had “compelling reasons” to suspect Israel. He told the British Parliament that “such misuse of British passports is intolerable” and that the fact that it was perpetrated by an ally of the UK added “insult to injury”. Read more of this post

News you may have missed #304

  • Interesting history of former German embassy building in DC. When the State Department took the building over in 1945, officials found $3 million in American currency that was reportedly designated for espionage payments.
  • Number of Dubai killing suspects at 27. Another person has been added to the list of suspects in the January killing of Hamas leader Mahmoud al-Mabhouh, bringing the number of identified suspects to 27. Some say the number will exceed 30 before too long.
  • Robert Baer on Dubai assassination. Stepped-up surveillance technology may be tipping the scales in the cat-and-mouse game between spies and their targets. Former CIA operative Robert Baer on the Mossad’s recent Dubai hit and the current state of spycraft.

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News you may have missed #303

  • Don’t share telecoms data with US, Hezbollah warns Lebanon. Hezbollah has warned the Lebanese government against sharing telecommunications information with the United States. Apparently the US embassy in Beirut sent out a request for “very detailed information on the mobile phone service providers in Lebanon — the stations, the antennas, technical information”. The request probably pertained to Hezbollah’s privately-owned telecommunications network in the country.
  • Using intelligence from the al-Mabhouh hit. “While the 22-hour period depicted in the Dubai police surveillance video showcased the tactical capabilities of the various teams, it hardly tells the whole story. In order to pinpoint the location of al-Mabhouh on the day of his killing, the organization responsible for this operation would have had to have tracked al-Mabhouh for months, if not years”.

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Al-Mabhouh was drugged, not electrocuted

Mahmoud al-Mabhouh


Members of an Israeli assassination squad, who killed a senior Hamas official last month in Dubai, drugged him with a strong anesthetic before suffocating him to death, according to a new police report. Initial accounts of the death of Mahmoud al-Mabhouh, who was found dead in his luxury hotel room in the United Arab Emirates in the morning January 20, 2010, stated that he had been severely electrocuted, and then poisoned, before he was suffocated to death. But, according to Dubai Police deputy commander, Major General Khamis Mattar al-Mazeina, new forensic test reports suggest that, at the time of his death, the Palestinian official was under the influence of succinylcholine, a powerful muscle-relaxant and sedative, which is often dispensed to patients in emergency hospital wards, because of its rapid onset. Read more of this post

Australia investigates more alleged Israeli spies

ASIO Headquarters in Canberra


The Australian Security Intelligence Organisation (ASIO) is among a number of Western intelligence agencies investigating at least three dual Australian-Israeli citizens, who are suspected of being Israeli spies. Citing “two Australian intelligence sources”, the Sydney Morning Herald said that the investigation into the three suspects began last year and is not connected to the January 19 assassination of Hamas official Mahmoud al-Mabhouh in Dubai. At least three of the 26-member Mossad hit squad that killed al-Mabhouh used forged Australian passports to enter and exit the United Arab Emirates. Read more of this post

Ireland seeks Israeli spy who assembled forged passport data

Mahmoud al-Mabhouh


As the number of suspects involved in the assassination of Hamas official Mahmoud al-Mabhouh rose to 26 yesterday, Irish government sources said they suspect an Israeli agent in Dublin of orchestrating the acquisition of several Irish passports used in the assassination. Six of the 26 identified members of the Israeli hit squad who killed al-Mabhouh in Dubai last January used forged Irish travel documents to enter the United Arab Emirates from a variety of international locations. There are rumors in Dublin that at least three more forged Irish passports, which were utilized in the assassination operation, will soon be added to the growing list. According to Ireland’s Independent newspaper, the unnamed Dublin-based Israeli spy collected and collated most of the misleading information that was used to apply for the passports, under the names of real, living Irish citizens, all of whom have now been traced by Irish authorities. Read more of this post

News you may have missed #296

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