News you may have missed #643 (Israel edition)

Mosab Hassan Yousef

Yousef/Joseph

►►Hezbollah uncovers more Israeli spy devices. Lebanese media reported on Friday that two people were wounded in a blast that occurred in the south of the country, between the towns of Srifa and Deir Kifa. According to some of the reports, the blast targeted espionage devices which were destroyed by Israel after being exposed by Hezbollah. This is not the first time such devices have been discovered in Lebanon: see here and here for previous such incidents.
►►PLO subpoenas Palestinian who spied for Israel. The Palestine Liberation Organization served Mosab Hassan Yousef, who says he is a former spy for Israeli domestic intelligence agency Shin Bet, with a subpoena in the United States last month. The Palestinian group says it wants his notes and details of his spy work for the Israeli government.
►►Analysis: The complex relationship between the Mossad and Israeli media. “Former Mossad chief Meir Dagan’s crusade this week against an Israeli strike on Iran took on a new dimension with his several media interviews. His campaign also reflects the Mossad’s attitude toward journalists, something along the lines of respect them, suspect them and use them. The degree shifts from one Mossad head to the next”. An enlightening analysis by veteran Israeli intelligence correspondent Yossi Melman.

WikiLeaks revelations keep coming, but few pay attention

WikiLeaks

WikiLeaks

By JOSEPH FITSANAKIS | intelNews.org |
Most Western news outlets are now focusing almost exclusively on the fate of WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange. Few are paying attention to the details of Assange’s rape allegations in Sweden, which have sparked an interesting —though limited— debate about possible links between Assange’s accusers and American intelligence. Even fewer are paying attention to the actual US diplomatic cable revelations by WikiLeaks, which keep appearing daily, mostly in British quality broadsheet The Guardian (The New York Times has largely lost interest at this point). One such revelation, published on Monday, concerns allegations by the Director of the Shabat, also known as Shin Bet (Israel’s internal security service), that Palestinian group Fatah asked Israel to attack rival Palestinian group Hamas, in 2007. The leaked cable claims Shin Bet director Yuval Diskin told US diplomats that Fatah, the secular Palestinian nationalist faction that controls the West Bank, was “demoralized” and “desperate” to halt the rapid rise of Islamic Hamas, which controls the Gaza Strip. Diskin further told US officials that Fatah understood it could only survive with Israeli support, and had thus directly “asked us [Israel] to attack Hamas”. Perhaps more importantly, the leaked cable appears to confirm intense speculation among some intelligence observers that Fatah is “actively gathering information on behalf of Israeli intelligence”. Read more of this post

Israel government extends document secrecy rule to 70 years

Mossad seal

Mossad seal

By JOSEPH FITSANAKIS | intelNews.org |
Researchers, academics and transparency advocates have criticized new Israeli government regulations that extend the classification period of state archives from 50 to 70 years. The measure was approved on July 11 by Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, following strong pressure by the Israeli intelligence community, led by the country’s General Security Service, also known as Shin Bet. Speaking to leading Israeli newspaper Ha’aretz, Israel National Archives Director Yehoshua Freundlich admitted that the move was designed to shield Israel “over [issues relating to its] adherence to international law”. He added that the new legislation was also a response to the rising freedom-of-information movement in Israel, led by such organizations as the Association for Civil Rights in Israel and the Movement for Freedom of Information. Read more of this post

News you may have missed #386 (Israel edition)

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News you may have missed #378

 

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News you may have missed #354

  • Germany arrests Libyans on spy charges. Two Libyans have been arrested in Berlin on suspicion of working as secret agents, spying on members of the Libyan opposition in Germany. The two, identified only as 42-year-old ‘Adel Ab’ and 46-year-old ‘Adel Al’, are being held in custody in Berlin, pending possible spying charges.
  • Israeli handler discusses relationship with Hamas spy. Israeli broadsheet Ha’aretz has aired a fascinating interview with ‘Captain Loai’, a Shin Bet operative who handled Mosab Hassan Yousef, son of a senior Hamas official, who was an informant for Israeli intelligence for at least a decade. Note the strong personal connection between handler and informant, which would be considered unprofessional in US intelligence culture.
  • Analysis: Iran’s murky link to al-Qaeda confounds CIA. It’s one of the enduring mysteries of the US ‘war on terrorism’: what will become of the al-Qaeda leaders and operatives who fled into Iran after 9/11 and have been detained there for years?

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Israel arrests prominent Arabs on Hezbollah spying charges

Omar Sayid

Omar Sayid

By JOSEPH FITSANAKIS | intelNews.org |
Israeli authorities have arrested two prominent Arab-Israeli political activists, accusing them of spying on behalf of Lebanese Shiite organization Hezbollah. The arrestees are Omar Sayid (or Sayeed), who campaigns on behalf of Israeli-Arab political party Balad, and Amir Makhoul, who heads Ittijah. This Haifa-based group, known as the Union of Arab Community-Based Associations, aims to combat alleged cases of discrimination against Arab-Israelis. Sayid was arrested by members of the Israeli police and intelligence agency Shin Bet on April 24, and Makhoul was arrested on May 6. But the Israeli media were not allowed to report on the arrests until late last Sunday, due to Israeli censorship laws enforced in “national security investigations”. Nevertheless, news of the arrests began circulating almost immediately on Arab electronic media outside of Israel, and the Israeli government was eventually forced to lift the gag order, upon learning that hundreds of Haifa residents were preparing a demonstration on Monday in support of the two arrestees. Read more of this post

Analysis: Inside the US-Israeli intelligence relationship

US embassy in Tel Aviv, Israel

US embassy, Israel

By JOSEPH FITSANAKIS | intelNews.org |
Yossi Melman and Dan Raviv, authors of Friends in Deed: Inside the US-Israel Alliance, have produced a lengthy, well-researched and up-to-date essay on US-Israeli intelligence relations. The essay, which appears in the latest issue of Tablet, carefully examines the highly complex subject of the CIA’s associations with the Mossad and Shin Bet. The fact is that, despite their unquestionable alliance Israel and the US have for years been among each other’s primary intelligence targets. Melman and Raviv correctly remind us that, by as early as 1954, US officials at the US embassy in Tel Aviv had already discovered several microphones in the office of the ambassador. Two years later, US counter-surveillance experts uncovered electronic bugs at the Tel Aviv residence of a US military attaché. Since then, the use of bribes and even women by the Shin Bet to lure US embassy guards has been frequent –and mostly unsuccessful. Read more of this post

Son of senior Hamas official was Shin Bet informant

Mosab Hassan Yousef

Yousef/Joseph

By JOSEPH FITSANAKIS | intelNews.org |
The son of a senior Hamas official, who moved from the Gaza Strip to the United States in 2007, has said he was an informant for Israeli intelligence for at least a decade. Mosab Hassan Yousef, who legally changed his name to Joseph after converting to Christianity, is son of Hamas parliamentarian Sheikh Hassan Yousef. He told Israeli newspaper Ha’aretz that he was turned by Shin Bet, Israel’s domestic intelligence service, in 1997, after serving a year in an Israeli prison. The newspaper also spoke with Joseph’s Shin Bet handler, a “Captain Loai”, who said the Hamas official’s son was the agency’s most prized Hamas informant, and was given the operational alias GREEN PRINCE. Read more of this post

Mossad has long history of assassination operations

Mahmoud al-Mabhouh

Al-Mabhouh

By JOSEPH FITSANAKIS | intelNews.org |
The recent assassination of Hamas military official Mahmoud al-Mabhouh has sparked a public debate about the history of the Kidon (formerly known as Caesarea), Mossad’s elite assassination unit. Several participants in this debate frequently mention the infamous Black September killings of the 1970s (operation BAYONET), which exterminated almost every original member of the Palestinian group that perpetrated the massacre of the Israeli athletes in the 1972 summer Olympic Games in Munich. In reality, however, these operations were not conducted by the Kidon, but by a separate unit outside Mossad’s operational structure, created specifically for this purpose. The same applies to other extrajudicial assassinations of Palestinians in the Occupied Territories, which are usually perpetrated by the Israel Defense Forces (IDF) and Shin Bet, Israel’s domestic intelligence agency. Read more of this post

News you may have missed #0278

  • Israelis arrest two alleged Hamas informants. Israeli security service Shin Bet says 24-year olds Murad Kamal and Murad Nimer were recruited by Hamas in Saudi Arabia and Turkey.
  • Descendant of Richard Sorge’s accomplice receives Soviet-era award. An updated report on the 81-year-old niece of Yotoku Miyagi, a Japanese accomplice of famous German-born Comintern spy Richard Sorge, who has been awarded the Soviet Order of the Patriotic War medal in a ceremony at the Russian embassy in Tokyo, Japan. The medal was originally granted in 1965, but Miyagi was unable to collect it, as he had been executed by the Japanese, along with Sorge, in 1944.

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Is CIA collaborating with Palestinian spy agencies?

West Bank

West Bank

By IAN ALLEN | intelNews.org |
A British newspaper has alleged that Palestinian security agencies in the West Bank are working with the CIA so closely that CIA officials “consider them as their property”. London-based quality broadsheet The Guardian said that CIA agents routinely advise and supervise the work of the two main security agencies of the Fatah-aligned Palestinian National Authority, namely the General Intelligence service and the Preventive Security Organization. The trouble with this arrangement is that both services have been documented to resort to severe torture of West Bank members of rival Palestinian group Hamas, which has controlled the Gaza Strip since 2006. And the CIA has had more than a little trouble with torture in recent times. So is the CIA guiding overzealous Palestinian National Authority security agents in extracting intelligence by torturing Hamas sympathizers? Read more of this post

News you may have missed #0219

  • Kennedy considered supporting 1963 coup in S. Vietnam, documents show. New audio recordings and documentation unearthed by George Washington University’s National Security Archive, show that US President John F. Kennedy supported a military coup against the US-backed South Vietnamese regime of Ngo Dinh Diem, even though he recognized the planned coup had no chance of a political success. See previous intelNews coverage for more Vietnam War-related declassified items.
  • Speak Farsi? Israel’s Shin Bet is interested. Israel’s Shin Bet internal intelligence agency is advertising jobs for speakers of the Iranian language Farsi. Israeli intelligence agencies appear to have similar problems with those faced by their US counterparts.

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News you may have missed #0206

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South Africa busts Shin Bet operation, expels Israeli agent

El Al logo

El Al logo

By JOSEPH FITSANAKIS | intelNews.org |
The South African government has expelled an Israeli intelligence agent posing as an airline worker, after the discovery of a major Israeli undercover operation at the Oliver R. Tambo International Airport in Johannesburg. The operation was uncovered by Carte Blanche, South African television’s most respected investigative news program, based on testimony by Jonathan Garb, a former guard at El Al, Israel’s national airline, who became a whistleblower after being fired from his job. Garb told Carte Blanche that El Al offices in South Africa and around the world have acted as fronts for Shin Bet, Israel’s General Security Service, for a long time. He also told the program that Shin Bet officers in Johannesburg used their El Al employee cover status to infiltrate the airport and gather information on black and Muslim South African travelers to Israel. Read more of this post

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