Israel accused of spying on Turkish fighter-pilot communications

Turkish Air Force F-16sBy JOSEPH FITSANAKIS | intelNews.org |
Authorities in Turkey have reportedly initiated a classified program to encrypt communications between Turkish fighter pilot trainees and their ground command centers, after it emerged that their conversations were being intercepted by Israeli intelligence. The allegations were aired earlier this week by Turkey’s Habertürk newspaper, which said that Israeli military intelligence had managed to “wiretap” (sic) for over a year radio exchanges between the Turkish pilots and their ground instructors. The Ankara-based newspaper claims that the Israelis had specifically targeted the 3rd Main Jet Base Group Command, in Konya, in Turkey’s Central Anatolia region. Konya, the birthplace of Turkey’s Minister of Foreign Affairs, Ahmet Davutoğlu, hosts one of the country’s most active naval bases, where hundreds of pilots undergo initial training in flying F-16 fighter jets. Upon completing their training, they are required to undergo intensive combat readiness training, before entering the ranks of the Turkish Air Force (TSK) as full fighter pilots. According to Habertürk, the aim of the Israeli interceptors was to uncover “details about the TSK’s training programs and flight strategies”. The paper claims that the discovery of the Israeli communications interception program prompted Turkish engineers to begin developing software specifically designed to encode communications between fighter jets and ground command facilities. Read more of this post

Who is behind mystery spy devices dropped over Syria?

Radio transmitters found in Afrin, SyriaBy JOSEPH FITSANAKIS | intelNews.org |
On December 14, residents of a small town in northern Syria reported seeing unidentified aircraft circling overhead, and dropping several small items attached to mini-parachutes. Two days ago, one local resident, Adnan Mustafa, posted on Facebook several photographs of some of these items, which were found scattered around the area. The gadgets, pictured here, look suspiciously like surreptitious listening devices. Residents say the question is: who dropped them, and why? The devices were found in the hills around Afrin, a predominantly ethnic-Kurdish town 20 miles south of the Syrian-Turkish border. Local townsfolk said the flight patterns of the planes observed on December 14 resembled those of previous sightings of Turkish aircraft, which routinely invade Syrian airspace before returning to the Turkish air base in Incirlik, about 100 miles north of Afrin. Syrian newspaper Al-Hakikah (The Truth), which supports the opposition Syrian National Council for Truth, Justice and Reconciliation, said the suspected spy gadgets weigh about 90 grams each and bear “Made in Germany” labels, as well as “GRAW DFM-06” inscriptions. Graw is a Nuremberg-based German company that produces radiosondes, small radio transmitters used in weather balloons, that measure various atmospheric parameters and transmit them to fixed receivers. But Al-Hakikah reports that the devices found in Afrin seem to transmit GPS coordinates, and appear to have been modified to intercept radio communications. Some suspect that the devices are aimed at eavesdropping on the communications of Syrian government troops and of Syrian Air Force planes, which are engaged in an increasingly bloody conflict against the opposition Syrian National Council. Read more of this post