News you may have missed #709

Famagusta portBy IAN ALLEN | intelNews.org |
►►North Korea defector sentenced for assassination plot. The man, only identified by the Seoul Central District Court by his surname, Ahn, was sentenced on Thursday after being found guilty of plotting to kill Park Sang-hak, a leading anti-North Korea activist, last September. When apprehended, Ahn —a former member of the North’s special forces— was carrying a black torch that was actually a gun capable of firing a projectile around 30 feet and a bullet coated with a poisonous chemical. Another weapon that he was carrying was disguised as a fountain pen that could fire a bladed projectile, while a second ballpoint pen concealed a poison-tipped needle.
►►Russian arrested in Cyprus for alleged espionage. Media in the Turkish-controlled part of Cyprus are reporting an alleged “espionage incident” at the port of Famagusta. The incident concerns a crewmember of the Russian cargo ship Natali 1, which is docked there. Police authorities say they arrested the Russian national, identified as Nanec Hikov, after he was caught taking photos of Turkish warships. Photographing or filming in the port area is strictly forbidden by Turkish occupation authorities. The Russian Embassy has been informed and the sailor remains in custody.
►►Mystery deepens over death of UK intel expert in China. Last week, the British Foreign Office confirmed that it had asked China to open a fresh ivestigation into the November 14 death of British businessman and intelligence specialist Neil Heywood . The Foreign Office said other businessmen in Beijing had suggested there may have been foul play. Diplomatic sources suggested that the Foreign Office had acted on information given by Wang Lijun, the former police chief of Chongqing, where Heywood died, to the United States consulate in Chengdu, in February.

News you may have missed #657

Israel and IranBy IAN ALLEN | intelNews.org |
►►Israeli company exported Internet-monitoring hardware to Iran. Israel bans all trade with its enemy, Iran. It turns out, however, that Israeli Internet-monitoring equipment has been finding its way to Iran for years, through Denmark. An Israeli company shipped the equipment to Denmark, where workers stripped away the packaging and removed the labels, before forwarding it to Iran. Now Israeli trade, customs and defense officials say they “did not know” that the systems were ending up in Iran.
►►Court decision revives NSA lawsuits. The 9th US Circuit Court of Appeals has ruled that the case of Jewel v NSA, which claims that after the 2001 terrorist attacks the NSA began large-scale monitoring of digital traffic, with the assistance of AT&T and others, can proceed. At the same time, the court denied leave to continue on a linked case against AT&T, for aiding and abetting the surveillance. The court upheld the 2008 Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act (FISA) revision, voted for by the current president, which grants the telecommunications companies retroactive immunity from any actions carried out during the period.
►►Czechs charged with espionage in Zambia sent home. Three Czech citizens, who were detained in Zambia on October 12, 2011, and charged with espionage, have returned home, the Czech Foreign Ministry said Sunday. A ministry spokesman declined to give any details on the return of the three Czechs, who were arrested after they were found taking pictures near military sites.

News you may have missed #555

IARPA logo

IARPA logo

►►US spy agencies want to use photos to trace people. In announcement for its new Finder research program, IARPA, the US intelligence community’s research arm, says that it is looking for ways to “geolocate images” by extracting data and metadata from the images themselves and using this to make guesses about where they were taken.
►►Norway to reassess domestic intelligence gathering. Norway’s main domestic intelligence agency, the Police Security Service (PST), is facing questions over whether its focus on Islamic radicalism caused it to miss a rising threat from far-right extremists, such as Anders Behring Breivik, who killed 77 people on July 22. But PST Director Janne Kristiansen says it would have been hard to stop Breivik even if more attention had been focused on far-right groups.
►►CIA pulls second station chief from Pakistan. For the second time in seven months, the CIA is replacing its station chief in the Pakistani capital of Islamabad, citing “medical reasons” for the move. Last time this happened, Read more of this post

Georgia charges photojournalists with spying for Russia

Irakli Gedenidze

Irakli Gedenidze

By JOSEPH FITSANAKIS | intelNews.org |
Three well-known Georgian photojournalists have been arrested and charged with conducting espionage on behalf of the Russian Federation. They include Irakli Gedenidze, Georgian President Mikhail Saakashvili’s personal photographer, as well as Giorgi Abdaladze, who works for Georgia’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs. The leader of the alleged spy ring is Zurab Kurtsikidze, who works for Frankfurt-based European Pressphoto Agency. All three were arrested in early morning raids last Thursday, during which their homes and offices were searched by Georgian counterintelligence officers. A Georgian government statement issued the following day stated that the searches uncovered confidential information about the daily itinerary of Mr Saakashvili, as well as a classified diagram of the Presidential office. According to the statement, the classified documents were secretly accessed and photographed by Gedenidze and Abdaladze, who then passed them on to Kurtsikidze. He in turn turned them over to the GRU, the Main Intelligence Directorate of the Russian Defense Ministry. Along with the statement, Georgian government prosecutors released surveillance recordings of telephone exchanges between the three photographers, in which they are heard discussing payment arrangements in return for classified documents surrendered to the Russians. Read more of this post

Files reveal previously unknown UK-Soviet diplomatic scuffle

Aubone Pyke

Aubone Pyke

By JOSEPH FITSANAKIS | intelNews.org |
A previously unknown fracas between two British diplomatic officials, their wives, and a team of Soviet intelligence agents, has been revealed in declassified British government reports. The documents, which were released last weekend, show that two employees of the British embassy in Moscow were detained, along with their wives, allegedly for photographing a Soviet military installation. The British diplomats were Lieutenant-Commanders Ian Clapham and Aubone Pyke, who was the embassy’s assistant military attaché. Escorted by their wives, the two officials were allegedly taking a tour of Leningrad (now St. Petersburg), in February of 1979, when a group of “about 25” Soviet intelligence agents rapidly approached them. The agents proceeded to confiscate a cameral belonging to Pyke, after rapidly pulling down his trousers, an old trick aimed to prevent a suspect from running away. Read more of this post

News you may have missed #0194

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News you may have missed #0054

  • Stasi files reveal covert war against Western musicians. Files kept by the former East German secret police indicate that they were worried about rock concerts held within listening distance of East Berlin neighborhoods by Michael Jackson, Pink Floyd and Bruce Springsteen, among others.
  • Greece arrests Muslim minority member for ‘spy photos’. The man was arrested last weekend on charges of spying for Turkey, following the confiscation of hundreds of photographs from his home, most of which depict Greek military facilities. Greece’s State Intelligence Service (EYP) had been monitoring his activities for nearly a year.
  • Head of Bulgaria’s national security agency resigns. Petko Sertov, director of Bulgaria’s State Agency for National Security (DANS) has handed his resignation, allegedly after Bulgaria’s “American partners were said to have lost faith” in him.

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