Wednesday, 25 November, 2009

Israel police 'arrest Mossad spy on training exercise'

24 November 2009
A trainee spy for Israel's secret service agency Mossad was arrested by Tel Aviv police while taking part in a training operation, media reports say.
The young trainee was spotted by a female passer-by as he planted a fake bomb under a vehicle in the city.

He was only able to persuade police he was a spy after being taken in by an officer for questioning on Monday.

The authorities have refused to comment on the story although Israeli media outlets have expressed their surprise

Mossad does not give uniformed police advance notice of training sessions
A trainee spy for Israel's secret service agency Mossad was arrested by Tel Aviv police while taking part in a training operation, media reports say.
The young trainee was spotted by a female passer-by as he planted a fake bomb under a vehicle in the city.

He was only able to persuade police he was a spy after being taken in by an officer for questioning on Monday.
The authorities have refused to comment on the story although Israeli media outlets have expressed their surprise.

'Just a drill'

Mossad does not tell local uniformed police about its training exercises.
The country's commercial Channel 10 said it hoped the agency's operatives were "more effective abroad", AFP news agency reported.
Niva Ben-Harush, the woman who reported the novice's suspicious behaviour to police, told Ynet News that 15 minutes after she made the call, Tel Aviv's port was closed and people evacuated.

She said police initially asked her to come with them and identify the suspect.
"But after a few minutes, they told me it was just a drill," she said.
Up to three agency employees were believed to have been suspended following the incident, Ynet reported.

It quoted the prime minister's office as saying it did "not respond to information about such activities undertaken by security agencies or attributed to them". (BBC)

Monday, 16 November, 2009

Alleged Pakistani spy arrested

NEW DELHI: A Pakistani national allegedly involved in espionage activities has been arrested at the Indira Gandhi International Airport here by the Special Cell of the Delhi police. Several defence-related and sensitive documents have purportedly been seized from him.

The suspect, whose identity has been kept a secret in the interest of investigations, was about to board a flight to Dubai when he was intercepted by the Special Cell sleuths on Thursday, following a tip-off by Central intelligence agencies. They checked his passport, purportedly issued from Lucknow, and found that it was obtained fraudulently.

Subsequently, he was interrogated in coordination with intelligence officials and Special Cell sleuths.

On checking his personal belongings, the police reportedly found several photographs and hand-drawn maps of an Air Force base near here and the Army’s Meerut Cantonment in Uttar Pradesh. Besides these, other security sensitive documents were also found, sources said.

Based on the findings, the Special Cell arrested the accused on espionage charges. During interrogation, he reportedlyclaimed that he was from Karachi in Pakistan. After being induced by Pakistan’s Inter-Services Intelligence to work as a spy against monetary compensation, he was trained and then sent to Nepal by air, from where he illegally entered the country through the porous Indo-Nepal border, sources said.

The accused disclosed that he had been staying in the Shahdara area of northeast Delhi for the past four years. According to sources, he managed to procure some identification documents — like a driving licence — showing him as an Indian citizen.

The police have so far not come across any evidence to suggest that the accused had earlier gone out of India through legal or illegal means. He remained in contact with his Pakistan-based handlers mostly through e-mail. He made calls using public telephones that are now being identified. Efforts are also being made to extract details of the e-mails sent by him.

The accused is being taken to different parts of U.P., including Lucknow, to identify the places he visited and also to track down his local contacts.

reported by Devesh K. Pandey (The Hindu)

Tuesday, 27 October, 2009

J&K: Journalist held for spying

Jammu, October 27, 2009
The Jammu Police arrested a journalist working for a local news agency on charge of spying for Pakistani agency Inter-Services Intelligence (ISI).

Farroq Ahmad Ganai, who worked for The News Agency of Kashmir, allegedly lived a double life. To the outside world, he was hard-working journalist with a nose for news. However, according to the police, Ganai was actually a spy working for the enemy.

He was also the editor-in-chief of a magazine, The Inner Voice. He had held the position for four years.

Ganai, who hails from Durru village in Anantnag, was taken into custody from his office at Jammu's Jewel Chowk on Monday. The police said he worked for Pakistan's field intelligence unit.

According to police, 42-year-old Ganai was spying for two years. He was living in Jammu for 20 years. He was arrested on a tip-off from the army's military intelligence.

Ganai worked as a strategic source for the ISI, passing on vital information. He allegedly passed on information about roads being built by the army, hydro-projects and railway tracks, bridges and potential targets in Jammu city.

Ganai had travelled to Pakistan on journalistic assignments and that is how he got in touch with the ISI. He allegedly used Internet to send information to his minders across the border. (Headlines Today)

'Indian spy' arrested in Pakistan

A man alleged to be an Indian spy has been arrested in Pakistan, a media report said on Tuesday.
This is the second arrest of an Indian spy in the last 48 hours. As per details, Rabi Gopal, 25, was arrested from Wagha border in the wee hours of Monday. Rangers’ personnel have claimed to recover important documents from his possession.

Earlier, another Indian secret agent named Giyan Chandar was arrested by the authorities from Kala Katai two days ago. It is also learnt that both the arrested were not carrying travel documents including passport.

The Rangers have handed over both the Indian agents to intelligence agencies for further investigation.The Pakistan Rangers on Monday swooped on the suspected spy from Wagha area near Bedian in Punjab province, the Daily Times reported.

Rangers sources said the man had been identified as Rabi Gopal. They added that "sensitive documents" and maps were seized from him.

The sources said Paal had no travel document or passport.(Source- Pakistani news papers)

Somali fighters execute 'spies'

Al-Shabab aims to topple the government and impose their own version of Sharia law in Somalia [EPA]
Gunmen from Somalia's al-Shabab fighters have publicly executed two young men they said had been spies for the government.

A senior member of the group in the port town of Marka said the teenagers had confessed.

They were executed in front of hundreds of people who were summoned to witness the event on Sunday.

"These two young men were involved in spying against our Islamic administration," Sheikh Suldan, an al Shabab official, told reporters in Marka 100km south of the Somali, capital Mogadishu.

"We have been holding them for three months. We investigated and they confessed."

Al-Shabab aims to topple the UN-backed government in Somalia and introduce its own version of Islamic law in the country.

Courts run by al-Shabab officials have ordered executions, floggings and amputations in recent months, mostly in the southern town of Kismayo, but also in districts of the Mogadishu held by the fighters.

Strict laws

The group have also banned movies, mobile phone ringtones, dancing at wedding ceremonies and playing or watching soccer.

Also on Sunday, al-Shabab closed ASEP, a local non-governmental organisation, in the town of Balad Hawa, near the Kenyan border and detained several of its members, according to local residents.

An al-Shabab source told Reuters news agency that the staff had also been accused of spying.

The US has said al-Shabab is a proxy force for Osama bin Laden's al-Qaeda group in the failed Horn of Africa state.

About 19,000 civilians have been killed in fighting since the start of 2007 while another 1.5 million have been forced out of their homes.

Which High-Profile War Correspondent Is a Spy?

Journalists are often accused of being spies. Military sources now say that one, currently working in a war zone, is in fact a real-life secret agent.

The sources, one recently retired and two current special forces soldiers (who did not want to be named for about 37 blazingly obvious reasons) have served in both Iraq and Afghanistan. In separate interviews they said that the correspondent has been blasted out of sticky situations by elite forces on more than one occasion, with loss of life, because of his military intelligence role. "We don't do that for just journalists," said one. "It's widely known [within the unit the source serves] that he is intelligence."

They did not know whether his employers are aware that the reporter moonlights as James Bond. They may not be - which is somewhat forgivable as he's probably a subterfuge professional. But one would assume his editors are curious as to why he gets extra care and attention from highly trained men with guns when he's in trouble. If there is some kind of tacit approval, it's a stupendous conflict of interest. Not to mention the extra risk the organization's other journalists on the ground would face if he was unmasked (which is the main reason we're keeping this item blind).

The fourth estate and the intelligence services have been linked before. (They're also connected because spies are well known for cutting eye holes in newspapers so they can secretly look at stuff while appearing to read.) If you've heard anything that corroborates, or indeed makes a mockery of, our information send it here. For example: maybe you've noticed that one of your colleagues turns up to work in an Aston Martin and rappels through a window to get to his desk.

As a bonus the retired soldier, a chatty fellow, also added that "Western governments" frequently circumnavigate their claim they don't negotiate with terrorists by hiring security companies to do it for them. A specialist for a firm that offers "K&R" – Kidnapping and Ransom expertise – confirmed off the record that the company had recently been employed in just such a capacity recently. He wouldn't specify which country. But I bet it's not Belgium.

Thursday, 3 September, 2009

15 of History’s Most Notable Spies

Ethiopian Review

News Forum
Posted by Mehret Tesfaye | September 3rd, 2009 at 2:24 pm |

A career in espionage is easily one of the most coveted of all childhood fantasies, due largely to the unending stream of spy movies, comics, books, and real-life stories we’re inundated with growing up. While James Bond is at the top of everyone’s list, in reality things can be a bit different; spies come in all shapes and sizes, and range from honorable to just plain criminal. Some are remembered for their daring and others for their half-witted desperation and lust for money, but one thing rides certain throughout the disparate stories they tell: It takes guts to be a spy. While the greatest spies will, by virtue of their success, never be known to us, these are the 15 most notable spies in our recent history. Regardless of their final motives or original intent, they’ve all earned their own version of immortality by contributing to our unending fascination with the shadowy world they’ve walked.

Mata Hari

Born Margaretha Geertruida Zelle, Mata Hari is one of the most widely known names in history. Beautiful, scandalous, sexy and shrewd, this exotic dancer and courtesan is believed to have worked her way into the fabric of World War I as a double agent. Technically kept out of the fray by her Dutch citizenship at the time, she travelled between countries freely, and it wasn’t until a cracked German code was intercepted that she was pinned by French authorities for espionage. Doubt’s surrounded the entire affair ever since, but Mata Hari was executed by firing squad on these suspicions, and blamed for the death of 50,000 troops. She’s rumored to have said of herself, shortly before the end, “Harlot, yes, but traitor- never.”

Nathan Hale

American folk hero and revolutionary war centerpiece Nathan Hale is widely regarded as the first American spy. He could be called the patron saint of the CIA, and a statue of his likeness watches over Langley, even today. He’s the man who said the oft-quoted line “I only regret that I have but one life to give my country,” which keeps him in the same story-book category of heroes as Ben Franklin and the rest of the cadre of world-changers from that epic era. Hale, then a Captain in the Continental Army, spent only about a week behind enemy lines during the Battle of Long Island, but in that time he cemented his place in history by earning the respect of even his executioners.

Sidney Reilly

Way back in the ancient times, before MI6 and the CIA, there was Scotland Yard. And from this old-timey British spy-hub, there was a man on a mission, and his name was Sidney Reilly. A Ukrainian born Jew, born Georgi Rosenblum, Reilly would come to be known as the Ace of Spies as he swaggered his way across Europe and Asia in the name of Crown and Country. His entire life was shrouded in mystery while simultaneously flaunted and recorded for posterity. He is the basis for Ian Fleming’s creation: James Bond. Amazing that today, we don’t come across this extraordinary man’s name unless we’ve got our noses buried in history books.

The Cambridge Five

You’ve undoubtedly heard the phrase (or an analog) “the fifth man.” There’s an origin for every phrase, and for this one there is a spy story. While only four of the original group were ever discovered and captured, the group was always known to be five members at its core, and the Cambridge Five made waves during the great red-scare at the end of the second World War and into the 1950’s by spying for the Soviets in the UK. The four known masters of this spy ring were Anthony Blunt, Donald Duart Maclean, Kim Philby and Guy Burgess, showed above from the left and clockwise. The group was well placed in Royal SIS circles and even had posts in the USA. They were ratted out to be part of a ring of five men by then-fellow KGB operative and defector Anatoliy Golitsyn in 1961.

Aldrich Ames

Another double agent, Ames worked counter-intelligence for the CIA – a post he used to give up the names and locations of every American operative in range of the KGB. He was grabbed in 1994, along with his wife, when the FBI finally called shenanigans on his outrageous spending habits. He had been living the life of a rich man on a $60,000 a year salary, while his wife had been racking up $6,000 phone bills every month. He may not have been the most intelligent spy when it came to covering his tracks in the public sphere, but he did manage to pass an extensive polygraph examination at the height of his scrutiny, twice. Today, Ames is serving life in a federal prison, while two million dollars sits in an undisclosed bank account waiting for his unlikely release. Over two million more has already been seized by the US government.

Christopher Boyce & Andrew Daulton Lee

More widely known as “the Falcon and the Snowman,” Boyce and Lee were an unlikely duo that formed out of convenience and managed to punch a serious hole in the USA’s national security through their lo-fi efforts on behalf of the Soviet Union back in the 1970’s. Boyce was working for an aerospace company on contract with the US government at the time, and was given top-secret clearance. When he began collecting the information he “accidentally” came by, he decided to make a move on it. He started trafficking the intelligence through his friend, Lee, a drug-runner, through Mexico to the Russian embassy there. It wasn’t until his friend was later arrested by the Mexican police on an unrelated charge that a microfiche was discovered, and their jig was up. Boyce was captured some years later, after a string of bank robberies used to fund his endeavors to become a pilot so he could fly to Russia.

Robert Hanssen

Among the same ranks as Aldrich Ames, Hanssen was an FBI Agent who spent two solid decades spying for the Soviets and Russians before he was caught in 2001 to massive media attention. In fact, one of the most key pieces of information Hanssen ever leaked was only acted upon by his Soviet employers when Ames provided confirmation, leading to the execution of a Russian General who had successfully spied for the Americans for 20 years. Hanssen made millions in his spy role, beginning just three years after his first post with the FBI, and continued on to be the most successful of his peers until his luck finally ran out. Hanssen was no idealist, he stated himself that he only did it “for the money.”

Julius and Ethel Rosenberg

Making history by becoming the first civilians to be executed for espionage in the United States, the Rosenbergs had been accused and found guilty of divulging secrets of the atomic bomb to the Soviets in the early 1950’s. They were both put to death by the Sing Sing electric chair at sundown on June 19th, 1953 in New York. Scientists deplored their deaths, but they weren’t the only ones. Among others, Pablo Picasso and the Pope also condemned their executions. At the time there was great debate in certain educated communities as to whether the United States should have had a complete monopoly over nuclear weapons, and the Rosenbergs were a sympathetic case. They certainly weren’t the only ones trafficking this information, either. That being said, they kept their lips sealed through to the end.

Klaus Fuchs

Working concurrently to the Rosenbergs to get atomic bomb data to the Soviets, Fuchs was convicted in 1950 and sentenced to fourteen years imprisonment. They do things a bit differently in British courts, apparently. His confessions implicated a man who would just three years later become the chief witness against the Julius and Ethel Rosenberg. He is largely credited with playing the largest role of all spies in the USSR’s successful acquisition of nuclear bomb technology – at break-neck speed – something that had until that point baffled the American scientific and intelligence communities.

John André

Major John André was captured on a mission for British Secret Intelligence, in which he was attempting to purchase the surrender of West Point from American General Benedict Arnold. He’s been called the British Nathan Hale, and was compared to the American while in captivity. He was found to be so likable in this way that the American guards themselves befriended him.

Belle Boyd

She’s been called the “Cleopatra of the Secession,” and she gave information to Confederate General Stonewall Jackson during the war. Belle was turned against the Union army when a group of soldiers assaulted her mother and she was forced to fire upon and kill one in her defense. Since that moment, though she was later exonerated in court, she did not ever seem to get over the ordeal, and began eliciting information from the army officers using her feminine whiles. She would then ferry the information using slaves, as she was in Virginia at the time. Unlike most members of this list, Belle would die of natural causes in her old age while staying in Wisconsin.

Oleg Penkovsky

Known as “Agent Hero,” Oleg is credited with being responsible for the Cuban Missile Crisis. Oleg had been a Colonel in the Soviet GRU, and was supplying the Americans with information throughout the 1950’s and 1960’s. It was his information that allowed the analysts to find the silos and missile cargo in the low-resolution spy-plane photos. In 1963, he was tried and convicted of treason and espionage in Soviet courts, leading to his execution, though there is no known record of how this execution took place, but the old Russian way is a simple bullet to the back of the neck.

George Koval

Though he was born American, Koval was moved as a child and eventually resettled in Russia for an extended period. While there he was recruited and later sent back to the United States to acquire nuclear information, which he succeeded in doing. He went to school and secured a position as an engineer on the Manhattan Project, allowing him free access to boundless intelligence that he would report back to his Soviet overseers. After Koval’s death in 2006, (then) Russian President Vladimir Putin posthumously decorated him as a Hero of the Russian Federation.

Jonathan Pollard

Texan-born Pollard was sentenced to life in prison for espionage as a spy for Israel in 1987. He had been working as an intelligence analyst for the US Government. He worked for cash, diamonds, and heritage, and was even vouched for by Benjamin Netenyahu himself in an attempt to gain clemency or pardon after his capture. He was only discovered when a fellow employee had noticed him removing classified material from the work center.

Richard Sorge

A Soviet spy of the highest order, Richard Sorge is famed for his exploits during the second World War in both Germany and Japan. He was highly successful, but was ultimately captured by the Japanese and imprisoned there. In 1944, Sorge was executed by hanging in the prison he had spent the last three years of his life. During the Cold War, he and his likeness were ubiquitous icons of Soviet pride and nationalism due to his service and dedication throughout his career.

Deputy spy chief among 23 killed in Taliban blast

By RAHIM FAIEZ (AP) – 1 day ago

KABUL — A Taliban suicide bomber detonated his explosives as Afghanistan's deputy chief of intelligence visited a mosque east of Kabul on Wednesday, killing the Afghan official and 22 others.

The attack struck at the heart of Afghanistan's intelligence service and underscored the Taliban's increasing ability to carry off complex and targeted attacks.

The explosion ripped through a crowd in Laghman province just as officials were leaving the main mosque in Mehterlam, 60 miles (100 kilometers) east of Kabul. Two top provincial officials from Laghman were among the dead, and the blast destroyed several government vehicles.

A Taliban spokesman said a suicide bomber on foot targeted Abdullah Laghmani, the deputy chief of Afghanistan's National Directorate for Security. The spokesman for Laghman's governor, Sayed Ahmad Safi, confirmed Laghmani was killed.

The National Directorate for Security, or NDS, is headed by an ethnic Tajik, and the killing of Laghmani, a Pashtun, could further exacerbate ethnic tensions as the country counts the results of the Aug. 20 presidential election. With about half the results in, President Hamid Karzai, an ethnic Pashtun, leads Abdullah Abdullah, who is half Pashtun and half Tajik but is seen as a Tajik candidate.

The blast killed Laghmani, the executive director of Laghman's governor's office, the head of Laghman's provincial council, two of Laghmani's body guards, and 18 civilians, said Sayed Ahmad Safi, the spokesman for Laghman's governor.

U.S. troops cordoned off the blast site, right outside Mehterlam's main mosque, which sits in a crowded market area. Safi said Laghmani was visiting the mosque to discuss plans to rebuild it.

Taliban suicide attacks frequently target high-ranking government officials. Militants have warned Afghans for years not to work as government officials, teachers, or in the country's armed forces.

The Taliban is made up of ethnic Pashtuns, and the targeting of a top Pashtun security official could serve as another warning for Afghans to avoid government employment.

Taliban attacks have spiked the last three years and insurgents now control wide swaths of territory, momentum that forced President Barack Obama to send 21,000 additional troops to the country this year.

U.S. military officials may soon ask for even more troops to be sent to the country, but American public opinion is starting to turn against the almost eight-year war as U.S. troop deaths have reached an all-time high.

The National Directorate for Security suffered a second attack in the country's north. An intelligence officer kidnapped a few days ago by Taliban militants in Kunduz province was found Wednesday hanging from a tree on the outskirts of Baghlan city, said Kabi Andarabi, the provincial police chief.

In other violence, four militants were killed overnight when a roadside bomb the

Saturday, 8 August, 2009

Peru's Defense minister denies alleged Peru espionage against Chile

August 3, 2009
Peru's Defense Minister Rafael Rey denied Sunday any participation of Peruvian Government in the case concerning Business Track, a company accused of telephonic and electronic interception to Chilean Army officers.

“I can ensure that the Peruvian Government has nothing to do with this,” he said after attending a Sunday mass which commemorated 30 years of APRA founder Victor Raul Haya de la Torre’s death.

Rafael Rey pointed out that he did not have official information and apologized for not making further comments, because he never talks about unofficial media reports.

On Saturday, Peruvian Minister for Foreign Affairs Jose Antonio Garcia Belaunde also denied that the Peruvian State has an espionage policy, noting that Business Track representatives must be subjected to investigation.

He added that drug trafficking and terrorism always represent danger, disagreeing with former presidential candidate Ollanta Humala, who days before said that Sendero Luminoso (Shining Path) and Tupac Amaru Revolutionary Movement (MRTA) do not represent any longer a danger for the country.

Friday, 15 May, 2009

US 'spy' appeal begins

An Iranian court last night started hearing an appeal by US-Iranian reporter Roxana Saberi, who was controversially sentenced last month to eight years in jail on charges of spying for the United States.

Saberi's lawyer Abdolsamad Khoramshahi said after the hearing that the Tehran court is expected to deliver its verdict "this week - within days,'' and voiced optimism over her fate.

He said closed-door session was held in a "good atmosphere - we are hoping that fundamental changes will be made (to the sentence).''

He said he had asked the court to release Saberi on bail, but that "the court has not decided.''

US-born Saberi, 32, was last month sentenced by a revolutionary court in Tehran to an eight-year jail term for spying for Iran's arch-foe the United States, causing deep consternation in Washington and among human rights groups.

She was initially arrested in January reportedly for buying alcohol, an act prohibited in the Islamic republic, and has since been detained in Tehran's notorious Evin prison.

A pale and gaunt-looking Saberi, wearing a dark blue chador and white slippers, was brought to the Tehran courthouse by three guards for the hearing, which lasted about four hours.

Saberi, a former US beauty queen, had launched a hunger strike on April 21 in protest at her sentence, taking in only water or sugared water, but she ended it after about two weeks after being briefly hospitalised in the prison clinic.

The sentence against Saberi was the harshest ever meted out to a dual national on security charges in Iran, and was issued just weeks after US President Barack Obama proposed better ties with Tehran.

"They gave us enough time to present our defence. They also gave enough time to my client to defend herself,'' Khoramshahi told reporters after the hearing wrapped up.

Saberi's father Reza, who was at the courthouse but not inside the courtroom, also voiced optimism about the outcome of the appeal.

"For the time being we cannot judge, but we have lots of hope and we think that they'll give us a better and quicker answer.''

Iran's official IRNA news agency quoted judiciary spokesman Ali Reza Jamshidi as saying he believed the ruling by the appeal court's three-judge panel ``will be fair and lawful.''

"I cannot predict whether Saberi will be acquitted or the same verdict will be upheld,'' he said.

Foreign Minister Manouchehr Mottaki has said that Saberi's appeal would be looked at "with justice and compassion.''

The United States has dismissed the charges against Saberi as baseless and called for her release. Obama has said that he was ``especially concerned'' about Saberi as well as two other US women journalists being detained in North Korea.

Judiciary spokesman Jamshidi brushed off Washington's concerns, saying Saberi's case had "been treated according to law in the preliminary stage.''

"If you want to look at what America says and what other countries want and listen to other governments we have to then put down pen and paper and sit back,'' he said.

Iran, which does not recognise dual nationality, has said Saberi had continued working "illegally'' after her press card was revoked in 2006.

Saberi has reported for US National Public Radio, the BBC and Fox News, and has lived in Iran for the past six years.


Monday, 20 April, 2009

Iran court to review Roxana Saberi's case

April 20, 2009 at 2:19 PM
TEHRAN, April 20 (UPI) -- Iranian-American journalist Roxana Saberi's espionage conviction will be reviewed expeditiously, the head of Iran's judiciary said Monday.
The ISNA news agency reported Ayatollah Mahmoud Hashemi Shahroudi, who runs the judiciary, announced through a spokesman that he had ordered the "careful, quick and fair consideration" of an appeal of the eight-year jail sentence imposed on Saberi, The New York Times said.

The announcement came a day after Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad urged the chief prosecutor in her case to review the matter.

Saberi, 31, who grew up in Fargo, N.D., and holds dual U.S. and Iranian citizenship, worked for National Public Radio and BBC. She was arrested in late January and sentenced to prison last week on charges of spying for the U.S. government.

Her father, Reza Saberi, said told the Times he was allowed to visit his daughter Monday for the third time in jail.

U.S. President Barack Obama said Sunday efforts would be made through diplomatic channels to ensure the journalist was treated properly. He also said he was certain she wasn't spying for the United States.

Meanwhile, Northwestern University's Medill School of Journalism in Evanston, Ill., announced Monday students will lead a rally Thursday to urge Saberi's release.

"The council felt we'd be remiss not to acknowledge this travesty," said Medill senior Shari Weiss. "We will march in solidarity with Roxana and journalists everywhere."

Saberi is a Medill alumna.

US Journalist 'Saberi' sentenced to 8 yrs in prison

By Edward Yeranian
18 April 2009

American journalist Roxana Saberi, who was charged with espionage against Iran, has been convicted and condemned to eight years in prison, after being tried behind closed doors. The father of the dual national Saberi, who confirmed the verdict, also says that she was "tricked" into confessing.

The Iranian court sentenced American-Iranian journalist Roxana Saberi to eight years in prison.

The 31-year-old Saberi, who is a dual American-Iranian citizen, has reported for National Public Radio and the British Broadcasting Corporation and was arrested in January. She was charged with "spying for the United States," and put on trial Monday. The U.S. State Department has rejected the spy charges as "baseless." U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton said Saturday she was disappointed by the sentencing and said the U.S. government would continue to raise concerns to the Iranian government.

Saberi's father Reza Saberi confirmed the sentence against his daughter, and argued that she had been "tricked" into confessing to what he called, "bogus charges." Her attorney says that he will appeal.

Reza Moini, of Paris-based Reporters Without Borders, says that his organization is protesting what amounts to a "sham" trial and that the charges don't even correspond with Iran's own penal code.

Moini says that the condemnation doesn't correspond with the definition of espionage in Iran's penal code, articles 501 and 502, and the charge of espionage doesn't fit Saberi's case, either. But, what's important, he argues, is that the court tried her behind closed doors so that she couldn't defend herself properly. The Islamic Republic, he says, has been using dual national journalists or scholars for six or seven years, now, to put pressure on other countries, especially the U.S.

Iran expert Ali Nourizadeh who runs the Center for Arab and Iranian Studies in London says that Iran has misread signals from the Obama administration that it will ignore Tehran's human rights practices, detaining Saberi and other dual nationals so as to win the release of Iranians it claims the U.S. arrested unfairly in Kurdistan, last year.

"The Iranian regime, at the moment, though the Americans invited them for talks, and Americans actually showed some leniency towards them by not mentioning the human rights issue in their statement," he said. "So, therefore, the Iranians took the message wrongly and they believe if they push and push, they can get their men released, those who were arrested in Erbil and Sulaimaniyah."

Nourizadeh insists that Saberi's case is political and that the Iranian government has no credible case against her.

"Roxana did not do anything wrong. She just did her job and she was doing it for several years and there was no complaint," he said. "But, this time they come just with the excuse that she didn't extend her license. Okay, she did not extend her license, and that would be punishable by a fine or three months imprisonment, not eight years."

The court ruling comes after recent diplomatic overtures by U.S. President Barack Obama to renew dialogue with Iran and after European Union foreign policy head Javier Solana invited Iran to a round table conference to discuss its controversial nuclear program.

Saturday, 18 April, 2009

Taliban-style justice for alleged U.S. spies

Friday, April 17, 2009 2:08 PM

By NBC News’ Carol Grisanti and Mushtaq Yusufzai

ISLAMABAD, Pakistan – "I was given $122 to drop chips wrapped in cigarette paper at al-Qaida and Taliban houses," confessed 19-year-old Habibur Rehman, just before the Taliban shot him dead for spying for the United States. "If I was successful, I was told, I would be given thousands of dollars," he said.

In a video released last week by the Taliban as a warning to other would-be spies, Rehman recounted how he was recruited to spy on the Taliban in North Waziristan and drop small transmitter chips on specific targets to call in CIA pilotless drone aircraft.

"I thought this was a very easy job," Rehman said in the video before he was killed. "The money was good so I started throwing the chips all over. I knew people were dying because of what I was doing, but I needed the money."

VIDEO: Alleged Taliban spy confession

The chips transmit a signal to a satellite overhead. The drones, armed with Hellfire missiles, are controlled and remotely piloted by the CIA in the United States, according to Pakistani and western military analysts. Once the signal is received, the drone takes off from Shamsi air base in southwestern Pakistan and collects data and intelligence to attack the chosen Taliban and al-Qaida target.

A U.S. official, who spoke to NBC News on the condition of anonymity about the Taliban allegation said, "People should recognize this for what it is … extremist propaganda."

President Barack Obama has stated that he considers the drone program an effective tool to target al-Qaida sanctuaries in Pakistan’s tribal areas along the mountainous border with Afghanistan. Nine out of 20 wanted al-Qaida operatives, who were on a list drawn up by U.S. official last year, have been killed by drones using intelligence provided from chips planted by Pakistani and Afghan tribesmen working as spies.

Taliban says on to strategy
The top Taliban leaders believe they now have successfully infiltrated many of the spy networks operated by the U.S. and Pakistani military in North and South Waziristan – but not all.

"We used to watch these planes, but we had no idea they were chasing us and taking pictures of our activities," said a senior Taliban commander in North Waziristan, who spoke on the condition of anonymity.

"In the early days of our jihad, our training camps were visible and people would come and go. We were not so concerned about the security of our locations, but that is all changed now. We abandoned all our old camps and re-located to new places," he explained.

The commander, who is close to Hafiz Gul Bahadur, a top Taliban boss in North Waziristan, said that 40 training camps have been moved because their Afghan friends, working for the Americans in Afghanistan, tipped them off about planned U.S. attacks.

"They told us the Americans had gotten pictures of our whereabouts and of our training houses and were planning to attack us through these unmanned planes," the commander said.

The commander said that once the Taliban had foiled their original plans, the Americans started paying Pakistani and Afghan citizens to identify their secret locations.

Taliban-style justice
"Finally, with the help of our sources in the Pakistani and Afghan intelligence agencies, we detained two Afghan tribesmen, who after five days of interrogation by our men, confessed to spying for U.S. forces in Afghanistan. They revealed other names and then we knew there were entire networks of spies operating in our areas," he said.

"Finally we busted one network of spies after another," the commander said and named some Taliban militants in their ranks who were operating as Western agents.

"Mullah Omar recently outlawed beheading of these traitors," the commander added. "Now we shoot them with AK-47 rifles, but only after we are sure of the charges against them."

A senior government official in North Waziristan, who also spoke on condition of anonymity because he feared for his life, said the Taliban have recently executed more than 100 alleged spies in North Waziristan.

Mohammed Nasir, who owns a general store in Miranshah, North Waziristan's main city, said that everyone is scared to death the Taliban will arrest them as spies.

"There is non-stop killing now of people accused of spying," said Nasir. "The government has no control – so the Taliban pick up people and try them in their secret courts. It is impossible to prove one’s innocence."

Before he was shot to death, Rehman said he did not know that he was spying for the United States, he just did it for the money. "I was told that if I could put a chip next to an Arab house, then I would get $12,000," he said.

Courtney Kube, NBC News Pentagon producer, contributed to this report.

Tuesday, 14 April, 2009

Trial of Iranian American journalist over

Behrouz Mehri / AFP/Getty Images
The dual U.S. and Iranian citizen has been in Tehran's Evin Prison since January and is charged with espionage.
Roxana Saberi has been in prison since January, accused of spying for U.S. intelligence. A judicial spokesman says she had her day in court Monday and can expect a verdict in the next three weeks.
By Borzou Daragahi
April 15, 2009
Reporting from Beirut -- The trial of an Iranian American journalist facing espionage charges is over and her fate rests in the hands of a judge who will deliver a verdict in the next three weeks, a judiciary official in Tehran told reporters Tuesday.

The spokesman for Iran's judiciary said 31-year-old Roxana Saberi, an American-born dual U.S. and Iranian national, had her day in court Monday.

"Apparently, the court has heard her final defense," spokesman Ali Reza Jamshidi told reporters, according to Iran's Mehr news agency.

Saberi is accused of collecting information from Iranian officials and passing it to U.S. intelligence services, authorities said last week. She and her lawyer, Abdul-Samad Khorramshahi, appeared Monday before a branch of Iran's Revolutionary Court, which tries politically charged crimes.

Iranian lawyers have frequently questioned the due process and transparency afforded defendants at the Revolutionary Court.

Jamshidi said the public and media would not be able to evaluate the evidence.

"Relevant documents exist in the case and the claimants can gain access to it in order to prepare their defense," Mehr quoted him as telling reporters.

Saberi was detained in January after living and working in Iran for six years as a journalist, at least two of them without accreditation. She was confined to Tehran's Evin Prison.

Her parents arrived in Tehran last week. A few days later she was formally charged with espionage, a weighty accusation that could mean years in prison for the Northwestern University graduate and former Miss North Dakota.

In addition to the Iranian contention that Saberi was a covert U.S. operative, analysts have described other possible explanations for the charges:

Journalists' work -- interviewing officials and sending reports -- might resemble espionage. Those monitoring her might have built up a body of circumstantial evidence, such as visits to embassies, ministries and calls to the U.S., that might appear to be spying.

Iran's domestic political scene can be vicious. One faction might be trying to use Saberi to undermine possible rapprochement with the U.S. by another faction.

Iran also might want a bargaining chip to trade for officials who have been arrested and held by the U.S. in Iraq as spies over the last few years.

Friday, 10 April, 2009

Dad in Iran till daughter free


TEHRAN, Iran (AP) — The father of an American journalist charged by Iran with espionage called on Iran Thursday to free her and said in an exclusive interview with Associated Press Television News that he will not leave the country until she's released.

"I demand them to release my daughter as soon as possible so that she can return to her normal life and continue her job," Reza Saberi said. "I will stay here until she is freed."

Roxana Saberi has been living for the last six years in Iran, working as a reporter for such organizations as National Public Radio and the British Broadcasting Corp. The 31-year-old freelance reporter was arrested in late January.

A judge announced Wednesday that she had been charged with spying for the United States, a far more serious development than earlier statements by Iranian officials that she had been arrested for working without press credentials — and her own assertion in a phone call to her father that she was arrested after buying a bottle of wine.

An investigative judge involved in the case told Iranian state TV that Saberi was passing classified information to U.S. intelligence services.

"Under the cover of a journalist, she visited government buildings, established contacts with some of the employees, gathered classified information and sent it to the U.S. intelligence services," said the judge, who under security rules was identified only by his surname, Heidarifard.

"Her activities were discovered by the counter-espionage department of the Intelligence Ministry," Heidarifard said.

Reza Saberi said he and his wife recently visited his daughter in Evin prison where she's being held.

"We were allowed to visit her for about twenty minutes. We talked to her. She was spiritually better than before. However, she was physically extremely thin and weak but she said she eats now and is going to exercise. This gave us the hope that she will become better," Reza Saberi said.

Saberi will stand trial next week, the judge said, though he did not specify which day.

The journalist grew up in Fargo, North Dakota and is a dual citizen of the U.S. and Iran.

"She is certainly an American national. She also came to Iran and received an Iranian ID card and passport and according to Iranian law, she is Iranian too. She is actually a dual citizen," her father said.

Copyright © 2009 The Associated Press. All rights reserved.

Muslims fear FBI is spying in mosques

By Dan Herbeck

A coalition of Muslim-American groups claims the FBI has been planting counter terrorism spies in mosques in some U. S. cities. Last month, 10 Muslim-American organizations threatened to stop working with the FBI on outreach efforts in the Muslim-American community.

Dr. Khalid J. Qazi, president of the Muslim Public Affairs Council of Western New York, said he is concerned about the situation and hopes the FBI provides some answers soon.

“[Muslims] are asking questions, wondering if there are moles spying on mosques throughout the country,” Qazi told The Buffalo News. “People ask me about it, and I have to tell them the honest truth — that I don’t know if it’s happening.”

The controversy has been growing among Muslim-Americans since February, when an Irvine, Calif., fitness instructor named Craig Monteilh told reporters that the FBI paid him to infiltrate mosques in several communities in Southern California during an investigation conducted in 2006-07.

Monteilh, a former convict, told the Associated Press that FBI agents had picked him up every morning for two weeks and took him to a building in Los Angeles where he learned some Arabic and learned about Islam. After that, he said, he infiltrated several mosques as an FBI informer.

He claimed that Ahmadullah Niazi, 34, of Irvine, offered to help Monteilh attend a terrorist training camp in Yemen or Afghanistan. Niazi was charged last month with perjury, misuse of a passport and other federal crimes. The FBI alleged that he is related to a bodyguard for al-Qaida leader Osama bin Laden.

So far, the FBI has refused to confirm or deny reports that Monteilh had been hired to infiltrate mosques.

Qazi said the lack of a public explanation by the FBI is a concern to him and other American Muslim leaders who have been working with law enforcement agencies since the terrorist attacks of Sept. 11, 2001.

In January 2007, Qazi’s organization received a community leadership award from the FBI for maintaining a dialogue with law enforcement and for organizing public meetings on airline profiling, border policies and other issues.

“Those of us who are working proactively with law enforcement, the FBI needs to give us a reason for what happened in this case in California,” Qazi said. “So far, they are giving us no explanation, so we have nothing to tell people in our own community about what happened.”

Last month, the American Muslim Task Force on Civil Rights and Elections accused the FBI of “McCarthy-era tactics” that are “detrimental to a free society.” Qazi is a board member of the Muslim Public Affairs Council, which is part of the task force.

He said the Muslim Public Affairs Council asked the national FBI office last month for an explanation of what happened in the California case but so far has not received one.

Have federal agents ever infiltrated any mosque in Western New York?

Qazi said he does not know. “I think people in any religious faith would be upset if they felt they were being spied upon,” Qazi said.

Daniel Bodony, a Buffalo FBI spokesman, said he could not comment on the California case. But he said he was not aware of the Buffalo FBI office ever sending informers into a mosque, church or any other religious institution.

“Unless there was some specific criminal activity that we were investigating, which was going on inside the mosque or church, it is something we would avoid at almost all costs,” Bodony said. “We would never send informants or undercover agents into a mosque or church just to fish for information, or to infringe on any person’s First Amendment rights.”

But one law enforcement expert said the FBI might have legitimate cause to investigate activities at a religious institution.

“If they had information about someone at a mosque or church being involved with terrorism, they would have an obligation to investigate,” said Robert Heibel, director of the Institute for Intelligence Studies at Mercyhurst College in Erie, Pa.

Heibel, a retired FBI agent, noted that a man who spoke at a Lackawanna mosque was one of the main recruiters of the “Lackawanna Six,” the men who wound up in prison for taking part in an al-Qaida training camp in Afghanistan.

In 1995, Sheik Omar Abdel- Rahman, a Muslim cleric from New York City, was sentenced to life in prison for conspiring to destroy the U. N. building and other landmarks in that city.

Prosecutions also have targeted racist criminal gangs tied to churches, Heibel noted.

“Should the FBI give attention to potentially dangerous religious extremists?” Heibel said. “In a case like that, the agents aren’t targeting a religion. They’re targeting a potential lawbreaker.”

Iran charges US 'spy' journalist

April 9, 2009
Iranian prosecutors have charged an Iranian-American journalist with spying, a move likely to further strain Tehran's relationship with Washington.

Hillary Clinton, the US secretary of state, said on Wednesday that the US was "deeply concerned" about the news and called for Roxana Saberi's immediate release.

"We are deeply concerned by the news that we're hearing," Clinton said. "We wish for her speedy release and return to her family."

Saberi has been held in Tehran's Evin prison since she was detained in January.

Clinton said that the US, which is embroiled in a long-running dispute with Iran over the country's nuclear programme, had asked Swiss diplomats in Tehran for the "most accurate, up-to-date information" on Saberi.

Accused of spying

Abdolsamad Khoramshahi, Saberi's lawyer, said that the journalist had been informed of the charges against her and was to appear in court next week.

Khorramshahi said he could not comment on the accusation of spying as he had not been allowed to see the legal papers.

Saberi, an American citizen whose father is Iranian, has lived in Iran for the past six years and has reported from Tehran for the BBC and for America's National Public Radio.

Iranian officials said at the time of her arrest that the US-born journalist was working in Iran with expired press credentials.

Hassan Haddad, Iran's deputy prosecutor for security issues, said that Saberi had confessed to taking part in espionage activities, Iran's English-language Press TV said.

"She has been charged and a branch of the Revolutionary Court is reviewing her case now," Isna, the Iranian news agency quoted him as saying, referring to the Iranian court that deals with security issues.

The judge in the case told Iranian state television: "Journalism for this accused ... was a cover to collect information and intelligence and transfer them to America's intelligence service."

The television gave only the judge's last name, Heydarifard.

'In good spirits'

On Monday, Saberi's parents, Reza and Akiko, who both live in the US, were allowed to visit their daughter for about 30 minutes at the prison in Evin - their first visit since she was detained.

The two said that "Roxana was in good health and in good spirits", Khoramshahi told the Associated Press news agency.

They have appealed to Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, Iran's supreme leader, for their daughter's release.

Last week Clinton said that the US had given a letter to Iranian officials during a meeting in Europe, seeking Iran's help in resolving the cases of Saberi and of two other Americans detained in Iran.

Tehran denies receiving any such letter.

Saberi's case is likely to be dealt with by a "revolutionary court", which usually presides over matters involving state security.

Under Iran's penal code, the crime of spying can carry the death penalty.

Wednesday, 11 March, 2009

Dye another gray: UK spies getting older

LONDON (AP) — When 007 hits 65, should he be deep-sixed?
No, say British intelligence chiefs, who want their older officers to keep working, even if it means Her Majesty's secret service has spies who hobble in from the cold.

Lawmakers disclosed Thursday that veteran intelligence operatives are being asked to keep working after their usual retirement date to tackle an unrelenting threat from terrorism.

Britain's veteran spies — like all senior government staff — must step down at the age of 65, according to government policy — but are instead being kept in their posts as exceptions to the rule.

In testimony to lawmakers published in a new report, the head of Britain's overseas intelligence agency MI6, John Scarlett, said the knowledge and skills of veterans is crucial to his agency's work.

"We need their experience. ... Having retirement age as your major mechanism for moving people in and out of senior levels is not a good ideal," Scarlett told Parliament's Intelligence and Security Committee in a hearing last year.

The committee of lawmakers takes evidence in closed-door sessions and releases partial accounts of the meetings. The panel's latest report was released publicly Thursday.

Authors of the report said most staff of MI6 — or the Secret Intelligence Service — still leave their posts at 65 but exceptions are being made for senior officers. The report redacted evidence in which Scarlett told lawmakers the exact age of his oldest intelligence staff.

"This is the second successive year that the committee has raised concerns regarding the Secret Intelligence Service's policy on retirement age," the report said. "We remain concerned that the service's policy still does not seem fully to meet its business requirements. This should be dealt with as a matter of urgency."

MI6, like Britain's domestic spy agency MI5, has undergone a huge recruitment drive since the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks on the U.S., and the July 2005 transit network bombings in London.

In their report, committee members said Britain faces an unprecedented threat from terrorism.

"Al-Qaida and related terrorist groups have shown an exceptional level of ambition and willingness to carry out indiscriminate terrorist attacks, and the threat they pose is likely to persist for a considerable time," the report states.

In response to the committee's report, Prime Minister Gordon Brown's office said a government review will decide in the next few months whether to allow the service to continue employing spies past their 65th birthdays.

Britain's Cabinet Office said a mandatory retirement age of 65 is supposed to apply to all top-ranking civil servants, without exceptions.

Patrick Mercer, a lawmaker and former soldier who worked in military intelligence, said an exception must be made for senior spies.

"It's vital that people with that level of expertise are kept within the services, I don't think we should be pensioning off that amount of skill and wisdom," he said.

British pair charged in 'industrial espionage' row

March 9, 2009
David Brown
A leading British manufacturer has been caught up in an industrial espionage row after two engineers used a mobile telephone to photograph a secret piece of equipment at an American factory.

The photographs are alleged to have been used by Wyko Tire Technology in Dudley, West Midlands, to manufacturer a specialist tyre machine for a Chinese company.

Engineers Clark Roberts and Sean Howley are alleged to have tricked their way into the Goodyear factory in Kansas to take seven photographs of machinery used make large “off the road” tyres for earth moving equipment, it is claimed.

The pictures were emailed to two Wyko employees at the factory in Britain and were used to manufacturer a similar piece of equipment for the Haohau South China Guilin Rubber Company based in north east China. The contract with the Chinese company was worth $1.2million.

Ireland: Boston Scientific denies espionage will hit Irish plant
Mr Roberts, 46, and Mr Howley, 38 - both employees of Wyko Tire Technology Inc in Greenback, Tennessee - have been charged with 12 offences relating to the theft of trade secrets and wire fraud. They face a maximum sentence of 150 years in prison and a fine of $2.75million (£2million).

The US Department of Justice claims the two engineers tricked their way into the Goodyear factory in Topeka in May 2007. Mr Howley is alleged to have taken the pictures while his colleague acted as “look out for Goodyear employees”.

The US Department of Justice said that both men have denied the charges and are due to stand trial in May in Knoxville, Tennessee, following the investigation by the FBI.

Wyko Tires is part of Wyko Group, one of Britain’s largest suppliers of engineering components. Wyko was bought by Eriks for £139milion in November 2006 and is being rebranded under the Dutch company’s name. Eriks was unavailable for comment.


Spies get professional training from actors

Monday, 09 March 2009
KR News
Intelligence service operatives are being given hands-on training from actors to prepare them for foreign missions

Students with the Danish Defence Intelligence Service (FE) have been receiving tips and instruction from trained actors according to Finn Hansen, the new FE Director.

While the FE does not have the same visibility and high profile of its domestic counterpart, the Danish Security and Intelligence Service (PET), Hansen opened up to Politiken newspaper about some of the more unusual methods employed by his foreign and military intelligence service.

Hansen said that spies, or the preferred term of intelligence gatherers, often complete their tasks through electronic surveillance or via open sources, but sometimes it is necessary for them to travel undercover in Europe, Africa or Asia.
As a result, FE employs trained actors to educate operatives in how to feel at home in different situations and create trust with their sources in order to obtain vital information.

‘The intelligence gatherers have to live in a role and we think that actors have the necessary practical expertise to show our intelligence gatherers how to communicate information. We do everything we can to minimise the risk to our intelligence agents and we have never lost a person in the service,’ said Hansen.

Jens Arentzen has taught acting for more than 20 years, and while not connected with FE, he said he can understand why the intelligence service would employ actors.

‘There are many professions, where it’s simply not enough to read a book or manual; where you must be tested in realistic environments,’ said Arentzen. ‘A pilot can neither fly nor land without first having used a simulator. In the same way, it’s sensible that spies practice in advance as to how they will act when they are standing alone in Beirut.’


Pak spy sentenced to seven-year jail

Chandigarh (IANS): A Pakistani national was sentenced to seven years' rigorous imprisonment after an Indian court convicted him for spying.

The court here also slapped a fine of Rs.14,000 on Abid Mehmood.

The 27-year-old was arrested from Sector-34 of Chandigarh in February 2003. Abdul Wahid, an Indian national accompanying him at that time, was also arrested.

Chief Judicial Magistrate Kanchan Mahi sentenced Wahid to seven-year jail and to pay a fine of Rs.4,000.

Mehmood is from Liakatpur district in Pakistan, and lived there with his parents and elder brother, said a police official.

According to the police, Mehmood lived in Chandigarh, posing as Nihal Chauhan and claiming to be a native of Muzaffarnagar in Uttar Pradesh. The police recovered a fake voter identity card, bogus sports certificates and a digital camera from him.

"The police also recovered documents and maps containing information about infantry battalions, armoured units, artillery regiments and other sensitive information regarding the military deployment and air defence regiments in the country," the public prosecutor told the court.

Initially, Mehmood said he was a software engineer and he had gone to Nepal before returning to India. Later, however, he confessed before the police that he had secret documents related to India's defence.

Monday, 9 March, 2009

Calif. case highlights FBI's use of mosque spies

Muslim-American organizations demand inquiry after informant exposed
March 6:Former Secretary of State Madeline Albright joins the Morning Joe gang to evaluate Hillary Clinton's early performances as the top U.S. diplomat.

SANTA ANA, California - The revelation that the FBI planted a spy in a Southern California mosque was explosive news in a Muslim community that has long suspected the government of even broader surveillance.

Muslim-American organizations have demanded an inquiry. Some say the news has rattled their faith in American democracy.

Despite the reaction, former FBI agents and federal prosecutors say spying on mosques is still one of the government's best weapons to thwart terrorists and that the benefit to national security is likely to far outweigh any embarrassment to the agency.

"What matters to the FBI is preventing a massive attack that might be planned by some people ... using the mosque or church as a shield because they believe they're safe there," said Robert Blitzer, the FBI's former counterterrorism chief.

"That is what the American people want the FBI to do," he said. "They don't want some type of attack happening on U.S. soil because the FBI didn't act on information."

One of the most-heralded U.S. terrorism convictions, for example, grew out of the work of an informant who spent months inside a New Jersey mosque and derailed a plan to blow up New York City landmarks. Radical Egyptian cleric Omar Abdel Rahman was sentenced to life in prison in 1995. He was also the spiritual leader for the men convicted in the 1993 bombing at the World Trade Center.

"A lot of what happened was planned in the mosque," said Andy McCarthy, who was lead prosecutor on the case. "The recruiting went on in the mosque, a lot of the instruction went on in the mosque, we even had gun transactions in there."

California case comes to light
In the California case, information about the informant who spied on the Islamic Center of Irvine came out last week at a detention hearing for a brother-in-law of Osama bin Laden's bodyguard, an Afghan native and naturalized U.S. citizen named Ahmadullah Niazi.

Niazi, 34, was arrested Feb. 20 on charges of lying about his ties to terrorist groups on his citizenship and passport applications. He will be arraigned Monday in U.S. District Court in Santa Ana.

FBI Special Agent Thomas J. Ropel III testified at the hearing that an FBI informant infiltrated Niazi's mosque and several others in Orange County and befriended Niazi. Ropel said the informant recorded Niazi on multiple occasions talking about blowing up buildings, acquiring weapons and sending money to the Afghan mujahadeen.

Niazi has not been charged with terrorism and it's not yet clear if the FBI was focused on anything beyond his activities. Neither the mosque nor any other of its members have been charged.

A 46-year-old fitness instructor told The Associated Press last week he was the informant. Craig Monteilh of Irvine said Niazi talked about blowing up buildings and discussed sending Monteilh to a terrorist training camp in Yemen or Pakistan.

Monteilh said his tenure as an informant ended after Niazi and other members of the Islamic Center of Irvine reported him to authorities. A Muslim advocacy group has demanded a federal investigation into whether Niazi was arrested because he refused to become an FBI informant after telling the agency about Monteilh.

Muslim leaders suspected infiltration
Local Muslim leaders say they had suspected since at least 2006 that the FBI was trying to infiltrate the Islamic Center and other Muslim organizations.

Some community leaders, worried that they were being watched, filed a Freedom of Information Act request with the FBI in 2006 seeking surveillance records on themselves. They are still engaged in litigation over the request, said Shakeel Syed, executive of the Islamic Shura Council of Southern California.

"We suspected this was happening," said Syed, who suspects his home and office phones are wired. "What these guys have done is create an environment where every person begins to suspect the other and with the infighting and inward suspicion, the community becomes it's own victim."

A spokeswoman for the FBI's Los Angeles bureau, Lourdes Arocho, had no comment.

Former FBI agents, however, said that although the law places almost no constraints on the use of informants, the agency takes sending an informant into a mosque very seriously and imposes a higher threshold for such requests.

Agents would have to have credible and specific information about criminal activity inside a mosque or being committed by a mosque member before sending a plant in, said Steven Pomerantz, former assistant director and chief of counter terrorism for the FBI.

Such a request would also be approved by the highest-ranking agency officials, former agents said.

"You just wouldn't go sending informants willy nilly into mosques just to determine what was going on," Pomerantz said. "You have to have some articulable reason or basis to do that."

Taliban kill Pakistan US 'spy': security official

PESHAWAR, Pakistan (AFP) — Taliban militants shot dead a man in Pakistan's restive northwest tribal belt after filming him confessing to spying for the United States, an official said Monday.

The bullet-ridden body of local tribesman Tahir Khan was found dumped on Monday in a bazaar in Wana, the main town in the semi-autonomous South Waziristan tribal region, a notorious hub of Taliban and Al-Qaeda militants.

"Khan, who was kidnapped 10 days ago, had multiple bullet wounds on his body," a security official told AFP.

A DVD found with the body showed Khan confessing to spying and passing on information that led to a series of US missile attacks in the region.

A note found on the body said: "All those spying for the US will suffer the same fate," according to the official.

Almost every week, militants kidnap and kill tribesmen, accusing them of spying for the Pakistani government or US forces operating across the border in Afghanistan, where Taliban fighters are leading an insurgency.

Pakistan's rugged tribal regions have been wracked by violence since hundreds of Taliban and Al-Qaeda rebels fled across the border to escape the US-led invasion of Afghanistan in late 2001.

Washington says Pakistani tribal regions, where security forces are battling Islamist militants, have become a safe haven for Islamist militants.

Foreign spies killed border guard officers: Khaleda Zia

6 Mar 2009 (Times of India)
DHAKA: Bangladesh's former Prime Minister Khaleda Zia has alleged that "foreign spies hired from outside" killed the officers and their family
members during the mutiny by Bangladesh Rifles (BDR) troopers.

She said: "I don't believe any Bangladeshis were involved in this killing. The killers were hired from outside and entered the Pilkhana headquarters in BDR uniform."

Addressing a mourning procession organised to pay homage to the killed officers on Thursday, she demanded to know if any of the spies were from "within the present government".

Political analysts said this was a new twist to the Sheikh Hasina government's conspiracy charge and the role of "vested interest", amidst speculation that the mutiny could have been triggered by the government's move to try those involved in "war crimes" during the 1971 freedom movement.

The government is perceived to be targeting top leadership of Jamaat-e-Islami, an ally that shared power with Zia during 2001-06.

The new BDR chief, brigadier general Mohammed Mainul Islam, on Tuesday cited video footage of the mutiny to say "outsiders" wearing BDR uniform had taken the lead in the killing of nearly a hundred officers February 25-26.

The investigations into the two-day insurrection have yielded some clues, media reports said on Friday citing officials, but not naming them.

Citing telephone records of some suspects, the investigators said the February 25 massacre might have been planned "at least two months back", The Daily Star said.

The officials claimed to have gathered and studied last two months' phone records of the suspects.

The move could have been triggered by the new government taking office on January 6.

"Most likely the networking between them had begun much before that. Further investigation will shed light on that," said a high official of a law enforcement agency, requesting anonymity.

The government has held six leaders of the mutiny - all of them non-commissioned officers of the BDR. They have been remanded to custody on court orders and were being interrogated.

Twenty-two more BDR troopers were charged on Thursday, while search teams seized more arms and ammunition from inside the BDR headquarters at Pilkhana in the outskirts of the national capital.

However, there is no clear picture of the total number of the casualties and the extent of pilferage of arms and ammunition during the BDR rebellion, New Age newspaper said.

Chinese spies infiltrating US businesses

February 28, 2009
Jim Kouri
The almost legendary MI5 British counterintelligence service is said to be deeply concerned over an increase in spying by Chinese operatives in the United Kingdom. Although intelligence experts aren’t certain how widespread the problem is, they believe the espionage is rampant and a serious consequence of the global economy.

MI5 suspects upwards of 15 foreign intelligence services are working within the UK and are a threat to the United Kingdom’s interests, and the primary focus of their counterespionage efforts are the Chinese and Russians.

In the United States, the FBI is suspicious of Russia, Iran, and North Korea but have focused mostly on the Chinese. The feds estimate that the are over 2,600 Chinese front companies in the US.

The foreign intelligence threat within the United States is far more complex than it has ever been historically. The threat is increasingly asymmetrical insofar as it comes not only from traditional foreign intelligence services but also from nontraditional, non-state actors who operate from decentralized organizations.

Intelligence collection is no longer limited to classified national defense information but now includes targeting of the elements of national power, including our national economic interests. Moreover, foreign intelligence tradecraft is increasingly sophisticated and takes full advantage of advances in communications security and the general openness of US society.

In short, the foreign intelligence threat is more challenging than ever. In the fall of 2003, the Foreign Counterintelligence Program had investigations involving dozens of countries that focused on hundreds of known or suspected intelligence officers who were assigned to enter or travel within the United States. These investigations spanned all 56 field offices.

In order to meet these challenges, the Foreign Counterintelligence Program is being redesigned to become more nationally focused and directed. Through a more centralized program, the FBI will ensure its ability to establish priorities, be more proactive, and better engage other intelligence community agencies so that cooperation in important cases is immediate and seamless.

A centralized program will also ensure that infrastructure issues will be consistently addressed and coordinated in order to ensure workforce expertise, that staffing matches the articulated foreign intelligence threat, and that a sufficiently broad and reliable intelligence base is developed. From this foundation, the Foreign Counterintelligence Program will be positioned to achieve its strategic objectives and ultimately reach its goal to prevent harm to the United States through foreign intelligence activity inimical to US interests.

During the past year, the Foreign Counterintelligence Program has been invigorated by the introduction of a new and innovative National Strategy for Counterintelligence and a program plan, both of which are proactive in emphasis. At the same time, additional resources were introduced to the program. To enhance counterintelligence workforce expertise, a new four-week Counterintelligence Operations course was developed.

All special agents assigned to the Counterintelligence Program are required to successfully complete this course. Computer-based distance learning courses are also available to all personnel on a variety of counterintelligence topics. A counterintelligence training course for midlevel and executive managers was also initiated, covering topics in both the tactical and strategic areas of counterintelligence management.

The FBI plays an essential role in the US government’s counterintelligence efforts and has the responsibility to produce domestic foreign intelligence in support of other members of the intelligence community.

The FBI also has the responsibility to oversee the integration of domestic law enforcement and intelligence efforts to address intelligence threats in support of Director of Central Intelligence imperatives. The counterintelligence strategy involves centrally managed, proactive, and nationally directed initiatives, with prioritized and strategic objectives that support DCI imperatives, overseen by experienced headquarters managers.

Success for the Foreign Counterintelligence Program will be reflected in the extent to which the FBI agents are able to: identify the objectives, the assets, and the operations of foreign intelligence services operating in the United States; disrupt the operations of those foreign intelligence services; and change the behavior of targeted institutions and individuals to minimize opportunities for their exploitation.

Government support of critical national research and development initiatives in a large number of agencies and involving thousands of government contractors must be protected. Compromise of these initiatives by those hostile to the United States would do irreparable harm. The FBI must effectively meet its responsibility to assess the threat against those projects and, with other Intelligence Community agencies, initiate operations to counter the threat.

Critical National Assets are any information, policies, plans, technologies, or industries that, if stolen, modified, or manipulated by an adversary would seriously threaten US national or economic security. The FBI has a major role in identifying threats to Critical National Assets and assessing their overall vulnerability, especially in the areas of economic espionage, academic research, and private sector research and development.

As the remaining world superpower, the United States is targeted from nearly every corner of the globe. The FBI will focus its counterintelligence resources on those countries and non-state actors having the greatest potential to harm US interests, and will work to gain a greater understanding of the threats they pose. Specifically, the FBI will examine threats related to terrorism, espionage, weapons proliferation, national infrastructure, US government perception management, and foreign intelligence activities.

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Tuesday, 3 March, 2009

Israeli Arab accused of planning to spy for Hezbollah

Israeli Arab accused of planning to spy for Hezbollah

By Eli Ashkenazi

An Israeli citizen suspected of being a prospective Hezbollah spy was indicted yesterday on charges of contact with a foreign agent.

Ismail Saleiman, a 27-year-old man from the Jezreel Valley town of Hajajra, is suspected of being in contact with a Hezbollah operative and planning to spy on Israel for the terror group. Advertisement

Police and the Shin Bet security service arrested him February 5, but the incident was placed under gag order until yesterday, when Saleiman was indicted in the Nazareth District Court.

Saleiman's lawyer, Smadar Ben-Natan, said yesterday her client never had any intention of causing damage to Israel's security.

"The person from Hezbollah initiated contact with him when he was in Mecca and pestered him," she said. "The main story here is how Hezbollah is tripping up Israeli Arabs who travel to Islamic holy sites."

Saleiman had been due to begin collecting information for Hezbollah about military bases in Israel five months after his return to the country, as long as his ties to the group were not exposed by then, according to an arrangement the indictment states Saleiman reached with a Hezbollah representative known as Abu Qassam.

According to the indictment, Saleiman agreed to work for Hezbollah during a meeting with Abu Qassam in Saudi Arabia, while Saleiman was on pilgrimage to Mecca about six months ago. The charge sheet states that Abu Qassam came up to Saleiman and his friends and asked them if they were from Israel. The same day, he allegedly arranged a meeting with Saleiman, during which he recruited him after asking about the suspect's religious beliefs, attitude toward the Second Lebanon War and ability to collect information in Israel.

Saleiman is accused of giving Abu Qassam, who said he was a Palestinian living in Lebanon, his phone number and e-mail address, and the two allegedly agreed that they would exchange only seemingly innocent emails.

However, Saleiman did not reply to three e-mails Abu Qassam sent, initiating contact only in the wake of the war in Gaza, the indictment states. At the time of Saleiman's arrest, Abu Qassam had not responded to the e-mail.

Ben-Natan emphasized that Saleiman is charged only with contact with a foreign agent, and added that the indictment "notes that the agent attempted to initiate contact with [Saleiman] several times, and the accused did not respond."

Thursday, 26 February, 2009

Taliban kill 'US spy' as 'gift to Obama'

February 26
MIRANSHAH, Pakistan (AFP) — Taliban militants beheaded an Afghan in Pakistan's lawless tribal region after accusing him of spying for the United States, local police said Thursday.

The 35-year-old man was kidnapped one week ago and his body found Thursday in Razmak some 65 kilometers (43 miles) south of Miranshah, the main town in North Waziristan, an official said.

"He was slaughtered overnight. His headless body was put on the roadside, police official Munir Khan told AFP.

A note found on the body of the man, identified as Shafiq Gul, said he was "spying for the US".

"Whoever spies for the US will face the same fate. This is a gift to (US President Barack) Obama," the note said.

Islamist militants frequently kidnap and kill local tribesmen and Afghans, on alleged charges of spying for the Pakistani government or for US forces, who are battling a Taliban-led insurgency across the border in Afghanistan.

Pakistan's rugged tribal regions have been wracked by violence since becoming a stronghold for hundreds of Taliban and Al-Qaeda rebels who fled across the border to escape the US-led invasion of Afghanistan in late 2001.

The new Obama administration is conducting a comprehensive strategy review in its war against Islamist extremists in Afghanistan and Pakistan.

Monday, 23 February, 2009

Colombian prosecutor orders search of spy agency

BOGOTA (AP/FAX40) — Colombia's chief prosecutor ordered a search Sunday of the headquarters of the country's domestic intelligence agency over allegations some of its agents eavesdropped on prominent journalists, Supreme Court judges and opposition members.

The interior minister, meanwhile, said President Alvaro Uribe had been among the wiretapper's chief victims.

Prosecutor Mario Iguaran ordered two prosecutors to probe the DAS agency, which answers directly to Uribe, after Colombia's leading newsmagazine reported the interception of e-mails and phone calls through at least the end of last year.

"We need to know who ordered the interceptions and who is utilizing the information," Iguaran told reporters.

One of his top deputies, Omar Zarabanda, told The Associated Press that the two prosecutors were inside the headquarters of the DAS, or Department of Administrative Security, on Sunday evening seeking evidence.

Earlier Sunday, the DAS's new director said he had accepted the resignation of the agency's deputy director of intelligence, Capt. Jorge Alberto Lagos. Felipe Munoz, who took office last month, called the resignation "an administrative measure."

The DAS has been plagued by scandal under Uribe. His first director, Jorge Noguera, is in jail on criminal conspiracy charges for allegedly colluding with far-right death squads, including providing them with lists of union activists to target for assassination.

In all, 33 members of Congress, most of them Uribe allies, were ordered jailed on criminal conspiracy charges by the Supreme Court for allegedly benefiting from ties with the far-right militias.

Munoz's immediate predecessor, meanwhile, was forced to resign in October after leading opposition Sen. Gustavo Petro was leaked documents showing that one of her subordinates had ordered he be spied on.

Interior Minister Fabio Valencia denied to the AP on Sunday that Uribe ordered the DAS to illegally eavesdrop on anyone. He said Uribe had himself been "one of the principal victims" of the alleged espionage ring within the DAS.

Valencia said that among the phones tapped by what he described as "a small group of criminals in the DAS" was that of Uribe's private secretary as well as some of the president's close advisers.

Wiretapping scandals are nothing unusual or new in Colombia.

All the country's illegal armed groups — drug traffickers, paramilitaries and rebels — regularly engage in it as well as foreign intelligence services.

In May 2007, Colombia's police chief and the head of police intelligence were forced to retire over the illegal interception of calls of opposition political figures, journalists and members of the government.

And last year, a judge sentenced four cashiered members of an anti-kidnapping unit to 11 years in prison each for the unauthorized wiretapping from 1997-2001 of at least 1,600 phone lines in Medellin. Among their targets were human rights activists, several of whom disappeared and were never found.


Associated Press writer Frank Bajak contributed to this report.

Spy chief to become new head of ASIO

Michelle Grattan
February 22, 2009
('S chief spymaster is expected to become the nation's top spycatcher.David Irvine, director-general of the Australian Secret Intelligence Service (ASIS), our overseas spying agency, is tipped as new head of the Australian Security Intelligence Organisation (ASIO).

ASIO'S current chief, Paul O'Sullivan, a former foreign affairs adviser to John Howard, is to take up the job of high commissioner to New Zealand. This is a post Mr O'Sullivan was set to get some years ago, but other bureaucratic changes intervened to prevent it.

ASIO's tasks include counter-espionage, as well as gathering intelligence to head off other security threats.

Mr Irvine, 62, who has headed ASIS since 2003 and last year had his contract renewed, has had a distinguished foreign affairs career. He was ambassador to China in 2000-03 and also served as high commissioner to Papua New Guinea. Among his postings have been two in Indonesia.

Friday, 20 February, 2009

Lebanese arrest man on spy charges

February 21, 2009
WASHINGTON (JTA) -- Lebanese authorities reportedly arrested a man on charges of spying for Israel.

Marwan F., a gas station proprietor, was arrested in Nabatiyeh, a southern town in Lebanon that is a stronghold of the Hezbollah terrorist movement, Al Akhbar, a Lebanese newspaper reported this week.

According to the newspaper, Israel recruited Marwan F. in Paris in the mid-1990s to report on the movement of Hezbollah militiamen and on its bases.

Marwan F. is the latest in a number of alleged Israeli spies arrested in recent years in Lebanon.

Ali and Yousef al-Jarrah, two brothers who lived in the Bekaa Valley, remain in custody for spying as far back as 1983, when Israel allegedly recruited Ali al-Jarrah after he was imprisoned briefly by Israeli forces during the first Lebanon war.

Vienna, one of the spy capitals of the world

VIENNA (AFP) — Twenty years after the end of the Cold War, Vienna remains a spy haven, swarming with foreign agents who think nothing of killing in broad daylight, while the Austrian authorities turn a blind eye, experts say.

Vienna formed the backdrop to Orson Welles's legendary spy thriller "The Third Man" in 1949, but even today it remains a hive of secret service activity.

"Austria is still a favourite place for agents. They're frequently known to the authorities, but rarely hindered. Everything is handled courteously and diplomatically. There's a long tradition in that," said Siegfried Beer, director of the Austrian Centre for Intelligence, Propaganda and Security Studies (ACIPSS), at the University of Graz.

In the latest addition to a growing list of cases that look unlikely ever to be resolved, a Chechen dissident, Umar Israilov, was gunned down in broad daylight in the Austrian capital on January 13.

Others cases include the 1989 killing of Abdul Rahman Ghassemlou, the head of a Kurdish opposition group in Iranian Kurdistan; and the attempted kidnapping in October 2008 of Kazakhstan's former intelligence chief Alnur Musayev. Both were living in exile in Austria.

"Austria is a textbook case for this sort of operation that always remains unresolved. As soon as there is any sort of political link, the authorities start acting very strangely," said journalist Kid Moechel, an author of a book on the subject.

For Peter Pilz, defence expert for the opposition Green party, "some regimes such as Russia and Iran enjoy a freedom to do as they please in Vienna that they would never enjoy elsewhere."

"Quite simply, the Austrian authorities don't want to jeopardise their country's economic interests," the parliamentarian told AFP.

He accused the Interior Ministry of trying to "cover up" the murder of Israilov, who had repeatedly asked for special police protection before he was gunned down while out grocery shopping last month.

Vienna, whose geographical position makes it a point of contact between East and West and North and South, has one of the highest densities of spies in the world, experts say.

It is home to international groups such as the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA), the Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC) and the Organization for Security and Co-operation in Europe (OSCE).

In all, at least 17,000 diplomats are based in Vienna, equivalent to around one percent of the city's population, according to official figures obtained by AFP.

"Around half of these have links to the secret services," said Beer.

Politician Pilz asserted that Vienna is also "a hub where it's very easy to buy arms or hide or launder money."

However, the advent in recent years of hundreds of thousands of refugees in Austria, including around 20,000 Chechens, is providing new impetus for secret service activity.

"Every embassy watches its nationals very closely, particularly members of minorities," said Moechel.

Beer said: "Embassies such as the Russian or the Chinese embassies are growing rapidly."

According to some estimates, Russia has at least 500 secret service agents in Vienna, many of whom monitor Chechen exiles.

Austria has admitted to working with Russia's FSB intelligence service -- the former KGB -- in the fight against terrorism.

And, according to the three experts, Vienna also collaborates with the secret services of a number of other countries, sometimes to the chagrin of the United States.

Occasionally, officials overstep the mark: the interior ministry confirmed this week that it had suspended two police officers who had been trying to find out the whereabouts of Rakhat Aliyev, the former son-in-law of Kazakh President Nursultan Nazarbayev.

Aliyev, the former Kazakh ambassador to Austria, has been convicted in his home country of kidnapping and murder.

But he has always maintained his innocence and Vienna refused to extradite him in August 2007 on the grounds that he would not be given a fair trial at home. Officially at least, his current whereabouts are unknown.

In its annual report, the interior ministry acknowledged that "Austria will remain a field of operation for foreign services, as is seen in the very large number of agents." But the ministry did not provide any concrete figure.

Thursday, 12 February, 2009

Israel sentences two Druze for 'espionage'

Pooja Agrawal
PressTv: February 11
Israel has convicted two Druze residents who had been secretly kept in detention since 2007, claiming they passed information to Syria.

Two Druze residents have been convicted of espionage for Syria over claims that they had contacted two Syrian officers during the 33-day Lebanon war and provided them with military information, the Israeli daily Ha'aretz reported.

According to the daily, the Israeli media had been banned from publishing the story of the two Arabs and only on Thursday was the ban finally lifted.

Nazareth District Court sentenced Yusef Shams to four years in prison and his relative, Ata Farhat, to three years behind bars, the report added.

Prosecutors allege that the two were in contact with the Syrian officers from June 2006.

Yusef Shams is a businessman who used to export apples from the occupied Golan Heights to Syria.

Israeli officials claim that during his work trips to Syria, Shams passed information about the Israeli army activities regarding the Golan Height to the Syrians.


Tuesday, 10 February, 2009

8 suspected R&AW spies arrested in Pak

Chandigarh, February 10, 2009
Pakistan has arrested eight people on suspicion of spying for Indian intelligence agency Research and Analysis Wing (R&AW) on the basis of their mobile phone interception, according to online portal Geo News on Tuesday.

The arrests were made from Abbotabad, Mirpur and Rahimyar Khan. According to the Pakistan intelligence agencies, the suspected spies were traced through mobile phones.

While suspected RAW agents, Muhammad Sharif, Ghulam Mahmood and Mir Abdul Ghafoor were captured from Abbotabad, others namely Fida Hussain, Abdul Saboor and Abdul Sattar were arrested in Rahimyar Khan.

The nationality of the arrested person was not disclosed by the intelligence agencies

Japan abductee's family to meet ex-NKorea spy

February 10, 2009
SEOUL (AFP) — The family of a Japanese woman abducted by North Korea in 1978 will meet a former Pyongyang spy in a bid to clear up the mystery over what happened to her, South Korea's foreign minister said Wednesday.

"The meeting will probably take place in the near future," minister Yu Myung-Hwan told a press conference, adding details are still being worked out.

He was speaking after talks with his Japanese counterpart Hirofumi Nakasone.

Japan is pressing North Korea to give details about the fate of Yaeko Taguchi and other Japanese kidnapped by the communist state in the Cold War era.

The former spy, Kim Hyun-Hee, was sentenced to death by Seoul for blowing up a South Korean airliner in 1987 but later pardoned. She lives in South Korea and has renounced her homeland's regime.

Kim has told local media she wants to meet Taguchi's relatives and the Tokyo government has also been seeking a meeting.

The North has said Taguchi, who was 22 when she was abducted, died in a car crash in July 1986. But Kim, who took Japanese lessons from Taguchi, said she was alive until at least 1987.

Japan has refused to provide aid to North Korea under a six-nation denuclearisation deal until it provides answers about the abductions.

North Korea admitted in 2002 to some kidnappings and allowed five victims to go home, but Japan contends that several more are being kept under wraps.