News you may have missed #391 (Russia-US spy swap edition II)

  • Expelled spies to experience life in changed Russia. Like those before them, the sleeper spies who were deported to Russia last week in one of the biggest espionage exchanges in decades will probably miss the United States, picket fences and all. But what perhaps most distinguishes this affair from its cold war precursors is what awaits these Russians in their motherland.
  • Past Russian spies have found post-swap life gets a bit sticky. While life in Moscow may be duller than New York, Boston, New Jersey, Seattle and Washington, DC, where the 11 Russians charged last week allegedly lived as long-term, deep-penetration agents, it won’t be too bad, either, if their predecessors’ experience is any guide.
  • Life a nightmare for spies returning to Russia, says Soviet dissident. Vladimir Bukovsky, 67, a Soviet dissident exiled to Europe in a 1976 prisoner swap, says the Russian spies expelled from America to Russia last week “will go from living affluent lives with real freedom, to living under constant surveillance by the Russian secret services”.

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News you may have missed #0115

  • China says US intelligence report shows Cold War prejudice. The 2009 US National Intelligence Strategy (.pdf) report singles out Iran, North Korea, China and Russia as nations with the ability to challenge US interests. But government-owned China Daily newspaper says the report is “stuffed with outdated pride and prejudice” and “reflects typical Cold War and power politics mentality”.
  • Somali suicide bomber lived in the US. After Shirwa Ahmed, a US citizen of Somali descent who last October became history‚Äôs first known US-born suicide bomber, another Somali-American, who lived in Seattle, has been identified as one of the participants of a suicide bombing that killed 21 peacekeepers in Mogadishu last week. US officials have been warning for almost a year about the strange phenomenon of the “disappearing Somali youths” from their US homes.
  • UK spies used Monopoly sets to help WWII prisoners escape. British secret services embedded escape tools and maps in Monopoly game sets distributed by humanitarian groups in care packages to imprisoned British soldiers during World War II. The article contains some interesting photographs.

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