French police officer charged in complex spy case involving Morocco, Algeria

Paris Orly AirportA French police officer has been charged with illegally sharing secret government documents in an espionage case involving France’s border police and diplomats from Morocco and Algeria. According to information published by the French daily Libération, the police officer supplied Moroccan intelligence with classified information about France’s border-control policies and procedures. He also gave the Moroccans information about the movements in France of Moroccan nationals and senior Algerian government officials.

According to the report by Libération, the police officer, identified only as “Charles D.”, was charged on May 31 of this year with corruption and violating secrecy rules. Court documents state that Charles D. gave away classified documents belonging to the Direction centrale de la police aux frontières (DCPAF), a directorate of the French National Police that is in charge of immigration control and border protection across France. He reportedly gave the documents to another man, identified in court documents as “Driss A.”, who worked at Paris’ Orly Airport. It is believed that Driss A. worked as director of the Orly branch of ICTS International, a Dutch-based company that provides security services in several European airports. It is also believed that Driss A. —a Moroccan-born French citizen— was secretly employed by the Deuxième Bureau, Morocco’s military intelligence service. It appears that the Moroccans compensated Charles D with free holidays in Morocco in exchange for his services.

Interestingly, when French counterintelligence officers raided Driss A.’s home in Paris, they found documents detailing the activities of senior Algerian government ministers during their official trips to France. The officials are identified in the documents as Algeria’s former Deputy Prime Minister Noureddine Yazid Zerhouni, Higher Education Minister Tahar Hadjar, and Telecommunications Minister Hamid Grine. The documents appear to have been produced by Algerian intelligence and given initially to the embassy of Algeria in France. No explanation has been given about how these documents fell in Driss A.’s possession. Some observers assume that Driss A., acting as a Moroccan intelligence operative, must have acquired them from a source inside the Algerian embassy in Paris.

Author: Joseph Fitsanakis | Date: 07 September 2017 | Permalink

Mossad had prior knowledge of Six-Day War plans, says Israeli ex-spy chief

first-post-hIsrael’s intelligence services had access to recordings of secret talks between Arab heads of state in 1965, which helped the Jewish state win the Six-Day War, according to the former director of the country’s Military Intelligence Directorate. The brief but important conflict, which is also known as the Third Arab-Israeli War, broke out on June 5, 1967, when the Egyptian, Syrian and Jordanian armies attacked Israel. But within hours the Jewish state had managed to decimate the assailants’ air forces, and went on to deliver fatal blows to its adversaries. By the end of the war, Israel’s territory had increased threefold and Israeli troops were in control of the West Bank, the Gaza Strip and the Sinai Peninsula, among other areas.

But according to Major General Shlomo Gazit, who directed Israel’s Military Intelligence Directorate in the 1970s, Israel’s victory was sealed in September 1965. At that time, a conference of Arab heads of state was held in Casablanca, Morocco, with the participation of senior Arab military commanders and intelligence chiefs. The centerpiece of the conference was a secret meeting where preparations were made for a war with the Jewish state. Participants discussed plans for setting up a joint Arab military command to coordinate the war and shared insights on the strength and state of readiness of their respective militaries.

Major General Gazit told the Israeli newspaper Yedioth Ahronoth that Morocco’s King Hassan II, who was mistrustful of his fellow Arab heads of state, invited the Israeli intelligence services to monitor the conference. Speaking to Yedioth Ahronoth’s military correspondent Ronen Bergman, Gazit said that a team of spies from the Mossad, Israel’s external intelligence service, and the Shin Bet, its domestic equivalent, arrived in Casablanca prior to the start of the conference. Acting on the King’s orders, Moroccan authorities designated an entire floor in the luxury hotel where the conference was held for the use of the Israelis. After the conference ended, King Hassan gave the Mossad copies of secret recordings of all closed-door meetings. These were promptly transcribed and translated into Hebrew by the Research Unit of Israel’s Military Intelligence Directorate, said Gazit.

According to the former spy chief, these transcripts produced “massive amounts of intelligence”. They were combined with other sources of information and crucially helped Israel anticipate the Six-Day War. Thanks to these recordings, said Gazit, Israel “was in full knowledge of how unprepared [the Arab forces] were for war”, especially the Egyptian forces, which were “in a terrible shape”. Israeli military commanders were thus certain that the Jewish state would prevail in an armed conflict with its Arab neighbors.

The public disclosure of the fact that the Mossad had access to the content of the secret negotiations between Arab leaders in 1965 is not new. Bergman and his fellow author Shlomo Nakdimon revealed it in a 2015 article about the broader intelligence relationship between Israel and Morocco in the 1960s and 1970s. But the latest revelation highlights the significance of the secret recordings for Israel’s military posture during the Six-Day War. Indeed, Bergman reports that, after the end of the war, Meir Amit, who was the then director of the Mossad, drafted a letter to Israel’s Prime Minster Levi Eshkol, in which he described the Casablanca operation as “one of the greatest moments of Israeli intelligence”.

Author: Joseph Fitsanakis | Date: 17 October 2016 | Permalink

In change of policy, Russia and US begin sharing intelligence with France

Hollande and PutinThe United States and Russia, which have traditionally been cautious about sharing Middle East-related intelligence with France, have both announced that they will begin giving classified information to Paris. On Wednesday, France’s Defense Minister Jean-Yves Le Drian said at a press conference that intelligence shared by the US had been instrumental in enabling the French Air Force to intensify its air campaign against the Islamic State. Asked to respond to Drian’s comments, US Department of Defense spokesman Peter Cook said that the US Armed Forces had indeed “increased intelligence-sharing with France”.

French officials described that development as a “change in the US position”. IntelNews readers will recall that the United States and France limited their intelligence cooperation last summer, after it emerged that the US had spied on the communications of three French presidents, from 1995 to 2012. Paris scaled back drastically its intelligence cooperation with Washington following subsequent revelations that the National Security Agency had targeted the personal cell phone of Francois Hollande, France’s current head of state.

Also on Wednesday, Russian President Vladimir Putin instructed the Russian Armed Forces stationed in Syria to treat their French counterparts “as allies”. Putin reportedly told the leadership of the Russian military in Syria that they “must establish direct contact with the French and work with them as with allies”. This is a significant development, given that Russia is one of the few countries that continues to maintain an active intelligence-collection program on the ground in Syria. Unlike the US, France, and most other Western states, Russia has not closed its embassy in Damascus and is thus able to run networks of human sources throughout the country. The news of increased Russian intelligence-sharing with France came as Moscow announced//announced// on Wednesday that it was stepping up intelligence-gathering throughout the Middle East, according to Andrei Kartapolov, a senior official in the Russian Army’s General Staff.

Meanwhile, an unnamed Moroccan security official told Reuters on Wednesday that intelligence shared by the Moroccan intelligence services with their French counterparts led to a raid in an apartment in Paris in connection with the November 13 attacks there. Two people were shot dead or committed suicide and seven others were arrested during Wednesday’s dramatic raid in the Paris suburb of St. Denis.

Author: Joseph Fitsanakis | Date: 19 November 2015 | Permalink

News you may have missed #746

Jeffrey Paul DelisleBy IAN ALLEN | intelNews.org |
►►Germany charges alleged Moroccan spy. German Federal prosecutors on Tuesday said the suspect, identified only as Moroccan-German dual national Mohammed B., was spying for Moroccan intelligence on supporters of the POLISARIO Front, which seeks independence for the Western Sahara region. They say he was paid €22,800 for the work in 2011, and then falsified invoices to claim he had done work for Morocco’s state airline to disguise where the money originated. He was arrested in February but released from custody on June 5 after prosecutors say he admitted to the charges.
►►Delisle spy case in Canada adjourned until July 4. The case of Canadian navy intelligence officer Jeffrey Paul Delisle, who is accused of espionage, has been adjourned until next month, because his lawyer, Mike Taylor, says he needs more time to review information about his client. According to Taylor, much of the information he has received so far from the Canadian government has been redacted because of security concerns. Moreover, he said that the “voluminous” amount of information has to be vetted by several justice and intelligence agencies before it can be handed over to him, slowing down the process of moving the case forward.
►►Obama to deny Israeli calls for Pollard’s release. The administration of US President Barack Obama has indicated that it will reject any appeal by senior Israeli political figures to commute the life sentence of convicted Israeli spy Jonathan Pollard. “Our position has not changed and will not change today”, White House spokesman Jay Carney told reporters at his daily briefing last week. “Mr. Pollard was convicted of extremely serious crimes”, he said.

Spy activity heats up in Berlin, recent arrests show

Syrian embassy in BerlinBy IAN ALLEN | intelNews.org |
During the Cold War, Berlin was considered one of the world’s paramount intelligence hotspots —a gathering place for spies from Western Europe, the Soviet bloc, America, and beyond. But recent developments in the German capital show that the city’s illustrious espionage heritage is far from over. On Wednesday, German authorities announced the arrest of a 56-year-old man on charges of spying on Western Saharan opposition activists operating on German soil. The man, who has been identified only as “Mohammed B.”, is reportedly a German-Moroccan dual citizen, and the statement by the German prosecutor’s office hints that he is an accredited intelligence officer. According to the official press release by the prosecutor, Mohammed B. was arrested for operating as an unregistered agent of the Moroccan intelligence services. His main targets appear to have consisted of activists involved with the POLISARIO Front, the main political vehicle of the Western Saharan independence movement, which seeks to separate the territory from Moroccan control. POLISARIO, along with its military wing, the Sahrawi People’s Liberation Army, was founded after 1975, when Morocco unilaterally annexed the former Spanish colony. A police spokesman in Berlin said German authorities searched Mohammed B’s apartment, as well as businesses and houses belonging to “two other suspects”, who do not appear to have been apprehended. The arrest took place exactly a week after the German government summarily expelled four Syrian diplomats, whom it accused of engaging in “activities incompatible with their diplomatic status” —code language for espionage. Read more of this post

News you may have missed #322 (Netherlands edition)

Bookmark and Share

US, UK spy agencies on alert after unprecedented court decision

Binyam Mohamed

Binyam Mohamed

By JOSEPH FITSANAKIS | intelNews.org |
British and American intelligence agencies have been placed on alert following an unprecedented ruling by a British court, which forces the British government to disclose CIA documents in its possession. The documents relate to the case of Binyam Mohamed, an Ethiopian resident of Britain, who says he was severely tortured with the collaboration of the CIA and British domestic intelligence agency MI5, after he was renditioned to Morocco. Last February, two British judges overseeing Mr. Mohamed’s case revealed that the British government kept “powerful evidence” secret after being threatened by the US that it would “stop sharing intelligence about terrorism with the UK”. In July, it emerged that US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton personally threatened the British government that Washington would stop collaborating with London on intelligence matters if evidence in Mr. Mohamed’s case was publicly released. Read more of this post

Spanish spies remain active in UK territory of Gibraltar

Gibraltar

Gibraltar

By IAN ALLEN | intelNews.org |
The British Crown has ruled Gibraltar since the early 1700s, but Spain has never ceased to claim national rights over the territory. Today, la Cuestión de Gibraltar (the Gibraltar question) is as critical an issue in Spanish-British relations as it has been for over 300 years. A recent article in Gibraltar’s English-language Panorama news site reminds us that, even though the two countries are NATO and European Union allies, Spanish intelligence agents remain active in the territory. It is true that the Rock is frequented by agents of Spain’s Centro Nacional de Inteligencia (CNI), who are mostly concerned with assessing economic and political life in the British possession. The article lacks sources, but its views are probably not far from the truth, considering Gibraltar’s immense geostrategic significance. Read more of this post

News you may have missed #0167

  • DAS official confirms Colombia spying on Ecuador. An official of Colombia’s DAS intelligence service has admitted Colombia “had an informant in the Ecuadorean security forces”. The revelation comes days after Venezuelan officials claimed they had uncovered Operation SALOMON, a joint Colombian-US espionage operation against Ecuador.
  • Clinton meets Libyan ex-intelligence chief. While attending a regional-development conference in Morocco, US secretary of state Hilary Clinton met briefly with Libyan Foreign Minister Musa Kusa. Kusa, who served as Libyan leader Muammar al-Gaddafi’s intelligence chief during the 1990s, was expelled from Britain in 1980 for his alleged involvement in assassinating a Gaddafi opponent in London. Clinton has a talent for meeting with controversial foreign spies.
  • Ex-Yugoslav secret agent arrested in Germany. German authorities have arrested a man with Croatian and Swedish citizenships, identified only as “Luka S.”, who allegedly participated in the 1983 murder of Stjepan Durekovic, an exiled Yugoslav dissident living in Germany. Another accomplice in Durekovic’s assassination, identified only as “Kronoslav P.”, was jailed in 2008.

Bookmark and Share

US Looks Away from Worsening Philippines Rights Record

Lumbera

Lumbera

By JOSEPH FITSANAKIS and IAN ALLEN | intelNews.org |
Just days after Filipino prizewinning poet and dramatist Bienvenido Lumbera caught a Naval Intelligence Security Force agent spying on him outside his home, another Filipino intellectual has come forward with allegations of government spying. Pedro “Jun” Cruz Reyes, professor of creative writing at the University of the Philippines in Diliman, Quezon City, said he has been the subject of surveillance investigations by government agents since 2006. Such incidents are not a new phenomenon in the Philippines. In 2005, the US State Department noted in its annual human rights report that the Philippines National Police was the country’s “worst abuser of human rights” and that government security elements often “sanction extrajudicial killings and vigilantism”. However, the report adds that these practices are utilized “as expedient means of fighting crime and terrorism”, which may explain why no discernable action has been taken by US authorities to prevent them. In an article published today in The Foreign Policy Journal we examine the recent record of US-Philippine relations. Continue reading at The Foreign Policy Journal

Bookmark and Share

British police investigating secret services in torture cases

MI6 HQ

MI6 HQ

By IAN ALLEN | intelNews.org |
Britain’s attorney general has asked London’s Metropolitan police to investigate the role of the country’s external intelligence agency in the torture of a foreign detainee. MI6, also known as the Secret Intelligence Service, is the second British intelligence organization to be investigated by police, since MI5, the country’s main domestic intelligence service, is already under investigation for its alleged role in the torture of Binyam Mohamed. An Ethiopian resident of Britain, Mohamed said he was severely tortured with MI5’s collaboration, after he was renditioned to Morocco. According to MI6 sources, the police investigation into SIS activities is not related to the Binyam Mohamed case, but rather to a yet unnamed foreign detainee of an unnamed country. The MI6 investigation marks the first time in British history that the two main arms of the country’s intelligence establishment, MI5 and MI6 are the subject of simultaneous police investigations.

Bookmark and Share

Arab Israeli accused of spying for Hezbollah

Gabi Ashkenazi

Gabi Ashkenazi

By IAN ALLEN | intelNews.org |
Israeli authorities have indicted an Arab Israeli for spying on the country’s military chief, on behalf of Lebanese group Hezbollah. In the indictment, presented earlier this morning, 23-year-old Rawi Sultani is accused of having informed Hezbollah of his membership in the same fitness club as Lieutenant-General Gabi Ashkenazi, in the town of Kfar Saba, as well methods of access into the club. Sultani is said to have attended a pro-Hezbollah summer camp in Morocco in the summer of 2008, where he allegedly told Hezbollah operatives about his proximity to Ashkenazi. Israeli authorities accuse Sultani of having travelled to Poland, several months later, where he met another Hezbollah operative with the purpose of supplying him with information about security arrangements at the fitness club, as well as Ashkenazi’s training routine. Sultani’s defense team denies the charges, and claims that the 23-year-old Arab citizen of Israel did not realize he was volunteering the information to agents of Hezbollah.

Bookmark and Share

Dutch double agent called “modern-day Mata Hari” in prison

Malika Karoum

Malika Karoum

By JOSEPH FITSANAKIS | intelNews.org |
Malika Karoum, the 33-year old intelligence operative who has been described as the “modern-day Mata Hari” is in prison in Egypt, a Dutch news magazine has revealed. Karoum, a Dutch citizen of Moroccan descent, joined Holland’s General Intelligence and Security Service (AIVD) in 2004, and worked as an undercover agent investigating Islamist groups operating on Dutch soil. In 2006, AIVD sent Karoum to Dubai, United Arab Emirates, to aid an international investigation into money laundering with possible Islamist links. But Dutch intelligence sources say that Karoum, whose apparent cover was working as a real-estate agent, began “subcontracting” herself to Egyptian and United Arab Emirates intelligence services, and eventually utilized her real-estate cover to enter the murky business world of property development in Dubai. Read more of this post

Mystery surrounds conviction of alleged Belgian spy in Morocco

Belliraj

Belliraj

By JOSEPH FITSANAKIS | intelNews.org |
A court in Sale, Morocco, has sentenced to life a Belgian national of Moroccan origin, who Belgian media claim was a “golden informant” for the Belgian secret services. Moroccan authorities arrested Abdelkader Belliraj, 50, in early 2008, and charged him with a plethora of criminal offenses, including armed robbery, money laundering and arms smuggling. More importantly, Belliraj is accused of participating in at least six killings carried out in Belgium by Abu Nidal in the 1980s and early 1990s, supplying arms to the Algerian Islamic Salvation Front, and leading a militant group aiming to overthrow the government of Morocco. Interestingly, however, in March of 2008, Belgian newspaper De Tijd reported that Belliraj had acted as an invaluable informant for Belgium’s State Security Service (SV/SE) and had recently supplied information that helped foil a bomb attack in a Western European country. Read more of this post