News you may have missed #444


Russian intelligence arrests, extradites fmr Kyrgyz interior minister

Moldomusa Kongantiyev


If there were any doubts that Russia is aggressively courting the new interim government in Kyrgyzstan, they were dispelled earlier today with the announcement that Russian authorities arrested the Central Asian republic’s former interior minister. Kyrgyzstan’s National Security State Service (NSSS) announced that Moldomusa Kongantiyev was arrested on Sunday in Moscow, by agents of Russia’s Federal Security Service (FSB), and will be extradited to Bishkek, where he will face charges of using state repression against demonstrators. Kongantiyev had escaped to Russia in mid-April, after he was abducted and viciously beaten by Kyrgyz opposition demonstrators, who released him after his family paid a significant amount of money as ransom. IntelNews hears that Kongantiyev suspected that Moscow planned to extradite him to Kyrgyzstan, and that some of the supporters of the deposed regime in Russia offered to hide him. But their attempt to smuggle him out of a hospital in Moscow, where he was receiving medical care, was thwarted by the FSB, after a tip from  NSSS. Read more of this post

News you may have missed #331

  • CIA deputy director to step down. The Agency has denied it for months, but now the longtime rumor that its powerful deputy director, Stephen R. Kappes, was planning to resign has came true. Jeff Stein reports that “recently, grumbling about Kappes from within the CIA and without, on issues ranging from his nit-picking management style to his ties to the old order, has gotten louder. And now, apparently, Kappes has heard enough”.
  • US eyes cash deal for Kyrgyzstan base. How will the recent coup in Kyrgyzstan affect US-Kyrgyz arrangements on the Manas Air Base? A lot will depend on oil purchase deals between the US military and Kyrgyz autocrats.
  • Court case may reveal IRA spy’s role. Freddie Scappaticci, an IRA spy alleged to be the British army agent ‘Stakeknife’ could be forced into court by the wife of another IRA informer, who claims she suffered nervous breakdown after being kidnapped by him.

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News you may have missed #328 (breaking)

  • Breaking: Real IRA admits NI MI5 base bomb. The Real IRA has admitted it was behind a car bomb which exploded shortly after midnight local hour, outside the Palace Barracks army base, in Holywood, County Down, which houses MI5’s Northern Ireland headquarters. Police said no warning was given.
  • Venezuela releases 4 of 8 alleged spies. Four of the eight Colombians arrested by Venezuela on espionage charges last week have been released, after a judge found there was not enough evidence to take them to trial. Meanwhile Venezuelan president Hugo Chávez has said that the alleged spy ring used “secret or semi-secret codes”.
  • Analysis: Security services will determine fate of Kyrgyz uprising. Unlike the 2005 so-called Tulip Revolution, this time the anti-government protesters in Kyrgyzstan are armed. But the real question may be whether they have the support of (and control over) the Internal Security Services and the military.

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Kremlin dismayed after US retains Kyrgyz air base



The recent decision by the Kyrgyz government to halt the eviction of US forces from the Manas air base has been hailed as a foreign policy success for the US government, and a rare defeat for Russia’s resurgence. Russian foreign ministry officials admitted earlier this week that the Kyrgyz reversal was a setback for Moscow’s plans and hinted that the Kremlin had been deceived by the government of Kyrgyz President Kurmanbek Bakiyev. As intelNews reported last February, Kyrgyzstan had announced that it would expel US forces from Manas, which experts have described as the “primary logistics hub” for the US military’s operations in Afghanistan. The decision of the Kyrgyz government came soon after it received an unprecedented $2.2 billion in Russian loans and aid. But President Bakiyev changed his mind after the US government agreed to “triple its rent for Manas”, and –it appears— cease its criticism of Kyrgyzstan’s rapidly deteriorating human rights record. Read more of this post

US uses Kyrgyz base to spy, say Russians

Rossiya TV

Rossiya TV

Just as US officials entered one last round of negotiations to avert the scheduled evacuation of the Manas Air Base in Kyrgyzstan, Russian television has accused the US Pentagon of secretly using the base to spy on Moscow and Beijing. Government-owned Telekanal Rossiya aired during primetime last Sunday a documentary titled “Base”, which alleged that signals intelligence (SIGINT) is the Pentagon’s primary operational focus at Manas. Footage aired in the documentary showed several windowless buildings located around the perimeter of the Manas Air Base, said to contain components of a “multi-channel, multi-functional system of radio-electronic surveillance […] which controls entire Central Asia, parts of China and Siberia”. Read more of this post

Tajikistan charges Kyrgyz army officer with espionage

An officer of Kyrgyzstan’s Special Forces who was arrested in neighboring Tajikistan last August has appeared in court in Tajik capital Dushanbe, charged with espionage. The Kyrgyz officer, Muhammadin Salimzoda, who is an ethnic Tajik, was allegedly in Tajikistan to attend his daughter’s wedding, when he was arrested by Committee of National Security (CNS) agents. He then essentially disappeared until last January, when the Tajik authorities finally confirmed his arrest and imprisonment. Salimzoda has now appeared in court, charged with spying for Kyrgyzstan and attempting to incite insurrection against the government of Tajikistan. Kyrgyzstan’s premier intelligence service, which is also called Committee for National Security (CNS), has rejected Tajikistan’s espionage allegations and claims that Salimzoda is not an officer in the Kyrgyz Special Forces. The Tajik government has refused to comment on the case. Kyrgyz-Tajik relations have been especially tense ever since the dissolution of the Soviet Union in 1991, and the two countries’ intelligence agencies have frequently been at loggerheads with each other since then.