News you may have missed #711 (ex-spy edition)

Glenn L. CarleBy IAN ALLEN | intelNews.org |
►►Egypt ex-spy chief to run for President. Omar Suleiman, 74, announced his candidacy on Friday and collected around 72,000 signatures of eligible voters in one day, more than twice the 30,000 required. Hosni Mubarak’s former intelligence chief insisted that his bid for the presidency does not have the support of Egypt’s military rulers and accused Islamists of sending him death threats. Mr Suleiman, made vice-president by Mubarak in the last days of his three-decade rule, symbolizes that era’s tough security regime and poses a threat to Islamists, who were routinely harassed and arrested during Mubarak’s era, and to liberals, who spearheaded Mubarak’s ouster. But his candidacy might appeal to some Egyptians hoping for an end to political instability.
►►Ex-CIA officer says evidence in alleged case was flawed. Information from the US Central Intelligence Agency used by Canada to link accused Ottawa terrorist Mohamed Harkat to al-Qaeda was untrue, according to Glenn Carle, a retired CIA case officer who interrogated Harkat at secret CIA black site prisons in 2002. Speaking to promote his blistering memoir about the case, The Interrogator: An Education, Carle said that Harkat, who was thought to be Osama bin Laden’s main financial administrator, “wasn’t the senior member of al-Qaeda that we had assessed. He wasn’t even a member of al-Qaeda”. Yet as recently as 2010, Canadian Security Intelligence Service evidence and testimony before the Federal Court of Canada continued to point to Harkat’s relationship with Haji Pacha Wazir as evidence of Harkat’s ties to the bin Laden terror network.
►►Ex-KGB agent wins South Ossetia vote. Former senior KGB agent Leonid Tibilov has won a tense run-off to lead Georgia’s rebel pro-Russian region of South Ossetia, after two earlier polls ended in turmoil. Tibilov won 54.12 percent of the vote with all ballots counted against human rights commissioner David Sanakoyev’s 42.65 percent. The peaceful end to the election contrasts sharply with the angry protests that followed a November 27 ballot in which Alla Dzhioyeva, a female candidate who opposed the local administration was disqualified after coming out ahead in the poll. Dzhioyeva was then hospitalized in February after being interrogated and allegedly beaten by police following allegations that she planned to seize power.

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News you may have missed #0225

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Polish agency report refutes Russian link in shooting incident

On the evening of November 23, automatic gunfire erupted about 100 feet away from a motorcade carrying Mikhail Saakashvili, President of Georgia, and Lech Kaczynski, President of Poland. The latter was on a state visit to the former Soviet Republic. Nobody was hurt during the incident. Saakashvili was quick to blame Russian forces stationed in Georgia’s breakaway province of South Ossetia, saying at a subsequent press conference that Russian troops are manned with “unpredictable people [who] weren’t happy to see our guest and they weren’t happy to see me either”. Read more of this post

Nicaragua becomes second nation to recognize breakaway Georgian republics

Contrary to common belief, Russia is not the only nation to recognize the Georgian breakaway republics of South Ossetia and Abkhazia. Both republics declared their independence in the early 1990s while engaging in armed confrontations with Georgian government forces. Following the 2008 South Ossetia War, Russia extended formal recognition of both Abkhazia and South Ossetia, giving considerable boost to pro-independence voices in the two regions. On September 5, 2008, Nicaragua became only the world’s second country to formally recognize the two tiny republics of the Caucasus. On November 29, Georgia responded to Nicaragua’s recognitions by suspending diplomatic ties with the government of Daniel Ortega. In light of Dmitri Medvedev’s recent historic tour of Latin American capitals, it will be interesting to see whether the remaining member-states of the Bolivarian Alternative for the Americas (ALBA), namely Venezuela, Cuba, Nicaragua, Bolivia, Honduras, and Dominica, will also side with Russia in recognizing Abkhazia and South Ossetia. [JF]

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