Comment: Bin Laden’s Alleged ‘Magazine Stash’ May be CIA PsyOp

Osama bin Laden

Osama bin Laden

By IAN ALLEN| intelNews.org |
Rumors of an alleged discovery of “a stash of pornography” in Osama bin Laden’s hideout in Pakistan have spread like wildfire since Friday, when Reuters published an “exclusive” report on the subject. The report, written by Mark Hosenball and Tabassum Zakaria, cites “current and former US officials […] who discussed the discovery […] on condition of anonymity”. According to the allegations, “[t]he pornography recovered in bin Laden’s compound in Abbottabad, Pakistan, consists of modern, electronically recorded video and is fairly extensive”. The report was almost immediately picked up by several news outlets, including The New York Times, which notes that the disclosure “will be welcomed by counter-terrorism officials because it could tarnish [the al-Qaeda founder’s] legacy and erode [his] appeal”. Indeed. It appears that only Danger Room‘s Spencer Ackerman thought it wise to air a brief disclaimer to the effect that the “welcomed disclosure” may in fact be “a CIA information operation”. He has a point. Read more of this post

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North Korean defector emerges in Austria after 15 years

Kim Jong Ryul

Kim Jong Ryul

By JOSEPH FITSANAKIS | intelNews.org |
A defector, who was once a member of North Korean leader Kim Jong Il’s political protection team, has suddenly emerged in Austria, 15 years after faking his own death. Kim Jong Ryul is an East German-trained engineer who returned to North Korea in 1970 to work for Kim Il Sung, whose government tasked him with translating nuclear documents and making secret trips to the West. However, on October 18, 1994, while on a government-sponsored trip to Bratislava, Slovakia, he disappeared without trace. The North Korean government presumed he had been killed. But Kim had actually entered Austria, where he lived for 15 years as a defector. On Thursday, he gave a press conference in Vienna to promote a book about his life, written by journalists Ingrid Steiner-Gashi and Dardan Gashi, who based it on over 80 hours of interviews with Kim. Read more of this post

News you may have missed #0163

  • South Korean ex-spy master dies. Lee Hu-rak, who has died at age 85, headed the Korea Central Intelligence Agency, a predecessor of today’s National Intelligence Service, from 1970-1973. He was best known for brokering the signing of a historic 1972 peace document with North Korea, after an unprecedented secret trip to Pyongyang, during which he met North Korean leader Kim Il Sung.
  • Spy like us. How a mild-mannered Baltimore antique dealer became one of the FBI’s best undercover agents.
  • Bulgaria quits plans to disband State National Security Agency. Bulgaria’s government has made clear it does not plan to suspend, but just to “streamline”, the operations of the scandal-prone State National Security Agency DANS.

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North Korean ex-spy meets Japanese abductee’s family

Kim Hyun-Hee

Kim Hyun-Hee

By IAN ALLEN | intelNews.org |
Relatives of a Japanese citizen abducted thirty years ago by North Korean agents have held a meeting with a North Korean former spy, who told them their relative is still alive. Yaeko Taguchi was among 17 Japanese citizens kidnapped by North Korean intelligence operatives in the 1970s and 1980s, and forced to familiarize North Koran spies with Japanese language and culture. The North Korean government, which has admitted conducting 13 of the 17 kidnappings, claims that Taguchi was killed in a car accident in 1986. But on Wednesday, Kim Hyun-Hee, a North Korean former spy who now lives in South Korea, told Taguchi’s son and brother that Taguchi was “her language tutor at a spy school in the North” and that she believes the Japanese woman is still alive. Read more of this post