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

By LIBARDO CARDONA
FEBRUARY 22
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
(WAtoday.com)AUSTRALIA'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.

SB/AA

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.

Sunday, 8 February, 2009

Foreign spies bug British offices

By Rupert Hamer Defence
Correspondent, sundaymirror.co.uk
February 9, 2009
Spies from at least 20 countries are targeting British businesses to steal industrial secrets.

Spooks are bugging offices, intercepting phone calls and infiltrating corporations to gain commercial details worth millions.

Senior security sources say networks from Iran, Russia and China are "highly active" here. But other socalled allies such as France, Spain and Saudi Arabia are also involved.

A report leaked to the Sunday Mirror says medical advances, particularly in genetics, are one of the spies' main targets. It states: "Intelligence services ... are targeting commercial enterprises far more than in the past.

Pakistan's Khan on Mossad 'hit list'


February 9 2009
Israel's notorious spy agency, Mossad, plans to kidnap or kill Pakistan's famous nuclear scientist, Abdul Qadeer Khan and his colleagues.

A recently published book by Gordon Thomas on the history of Israel's spy service Mossad, writes that Israeli spies have traced the travel paths of Khan's associates to some countries, the Times of India reported on Sunday.

The book called 'Gideon's Spies' also records how Mossad moved these scientists and Khan from an earlier 'detain' list to a 'kill' list, Thomas added.

Thomas noted that in May 2003, Khan hosted six Pakistani nuclear scientists at his home in Rawalpindi.

Khan, at the centre of a nuclear proliferation scandal, was released by a Pakistani court ruling on Friday after five years of house arrest.

Meanwhile, Pakistani officials have barred US interrogators from a face-to-face confrontation with Khan, insisting the United States has been given full access to his revelations. Pakistan's Prime Minister Yousuf Raza Gilani said Sunday Khan's network has been broken and it no more exists.(Presstv.ir)
JR/MMA

Pak claims arrests of 3 RAW spies from Lahore

February 09, 2009
LAHORE (The News): Three spies of Indian intelligence agency RAW have been arrested from Baidyan, an area located in the outskirts of Lahore.

According to sources, Pakistans intelligence agencies after arresting these agents shifted them to an unknown place. Fake ID cards were recovered from the Indian spies in which the names of these agents appear as Muhammad Akmal, Sardar Ayhmed and Muhammad Umer.

Three ID cards, as many spy cameras, passports, photos of important religious figures besides maps of the major Pakistani cities have also recovered from their possession.

Saturday, 7 February, 2009

Hungarian charged with espionage

Saturday, 07 February 2009
A Hungarian man was taken into custody by Mali police after the end of the Budapest-Bamako rally last week. Race participant Viktor Letenyei decided to fly around in his motor-powered ram-air parachute after crossing the finishing line. Unfortunately he was seen filming while flying over the local US Embassy and was arrested by local police and secret service agents on landing.

Letenyei is now in prison facing espionage charges. The race organisers tried to gather information on the man, but all attempts failed and his family did not contact the rally. The Hungarian Ambassador in Morocco has already made contact with the local Interior Minister, who was asked to treat the case as high priority.(The Budapest Times)




















Resources

Friday, 6 February, 2009

Social networking websites make recruiting spies difficult

Social networking websites make recruiting spies difficult
Ken Munro
A social networking world makes it harder for the intelligence services to recruit a spy without a profile.

Imagine the scene. James Bond enters the HQ of a criminal mastermind intent on world destruction. Waiting for him are a host of henchpersons, all armed to the teeth.

“We've been expecting you, Mr Bond,” says the evil Blofeld, stroking his white Persian cat. “We saw your Twitter update.”

The UK's universities are a prime recruiting ground for our intelligence services. Clever, well-versed students apparently make excellent espionage agents.

Herein lies the problem: if you're planning on having a second identity for undercover work, it doesn't help if your photos, friends and real name are splattered all over various social networking sites. Try finding a student at a university who hasn't done just that.

The UK's intelligence agencies are worried. From schoolchildren on Bebo, through Facebook-obsessed young professionals, to well-networked CEOs on LinkedIn, having an online presence is a must in this day and age. But with the explosion of social networking sites, it has become virtually impossible to find recruits who don't have some sort of an online trail.

Pandora's box is well and truly opened, so how do you go about suppressing your online identity?

The problem for national security staff is that once these details are out there, it is well nigh impossible to remove them completely.

Facebook has famously left traces of former members who believed their records had been deleted, and merely ‘deactivating' has very little effect – your details could still be there for those with the right technological knowledge to see for all eternity.

For civilians, this is hardly more than an annoyance. For the security services, however, the wrong details in the wrong hands could be a matter of life or death.

Even more worrying is the ease with which ‘live' accounts can be hacked. The Twitter incident at the beginning of the year, in which 33 celebrity accounts – including that of Britney Spears – were hijacked and used to spread scandalous rumours about their owners through the forgotten password function, is a case in point.

On the same website, a phishing campaign hit hundreds of users – including Stephen Fry – by posting links to sites that could steal their login credentials through the account of Barack Obama.

Take from this what you will, but a good start would be to have a crack at profiling yourself online. Find out what's already in the public domain, so at least you know where you might start in wiping the slate clean.

I did this as a favour for MI5 recently, looking at the information available online about its director-general, Jonathan Evans.

The intelligence agency appears to have handled the information available about him rather well, feeding carefully considered snippets to the press. No doubt this policy was implemented after the depressing ‘outing' of a previous director-general's home address by a journalist some years ago.

Although I could find bits and pieces of value (school, university, a possible mother's maiden name etc), the online identity was being very well managed.

However, the biggest single defence of the latest head of MI5 has to be his surname. How many ‘Evans' are there in the world? It's like finding a needle in a stack of identical needles. It would have been somewhat easier if his surname were a little less widespread. ‘Manningham-Buller', for instance, would have been perfect!

You could consider becoming ex-directory, have yourself removed from the edited Electoral Roll, delete any social networking profiles (don't forget old Friends Reunited appearances). And Google yourself, to see where you pop up. Sadly, though, you'll struggle to remove yourself from the register of births, deaths and marriages. Men in Black makes identity removal look easy, but getting the proverbial white Persian cat back in the bag is harder than it seems.

Chinese visitors hit thousands of U.S. facilities for intel collection

February 9, 2009
China is one of 10 nations involved in "unrelenting" economic espionage against the U.S. government and the private sector, according to the annual report of the National Counterintelligence Executive, which is part of the U.S. Office of the Director of National Intelligence and is staffed by senior counterintelligence and other specialists from across the national intelligence and security communities.

The report, released in December, said that "businessmen, scientists, engineers and academics as well as state-run security services from a large number of countries continue to target U.S. information and technology, according to information compiled during the fiscal 2007 reporting period."

"The bulk of the collection activity, however, comes from denizens of a core group of fewer than 10 countries, which includes China and Russia," the report stated.

Kurdish Hacker Accused of Military Espionage

Turkish authorities claim he was working for a terrorist organization

By Lucian Constantin, Web News Editor

February 7, 2009
Local media in Turkey is reporting that a prosecutor is seeking a maximum sentence of ten years in prison for a man of Kurdish ethnicity who is accused of stealing military classified documents and passing them to the Kurdistan Workers' Party (PKK).

The PKK has been considered a terrorist organization in Turkey ever since 25 years ago, when the rebel group launched a military attack against the Turkish government, asking for the independence of Kurdistan. The Kurdish Land (Kurdistan) is a territory mostly inhabited by Kurds, which covers portions of Turkey, Iraq, Iran, Syria and Armenia, with only the Iraqi region currently being recognized as an autonomous entity.

The man, identified by the authorities only as R.Ç., was arrested in November 2008 on theft charges, but upon searching his personal computers the police discovered secret documents belonging to the Turkish General Staff, which oversaw the country's army, navy and air forces, as well as classified information from Turkey's National Intelligence Organization, Milli Istihbarat Teskilati (MIT).

During the investigation, the hacker admitted collaborating with the PKK, as well as its leader, Murat Karayilan, with whom he had been communicating directly. During a raid on his apartment, the Turkish investigators found numerous CDs and DVDs labeled as local and foreign cinema productions, but which contained classified information stolen from various organizations.

The hacker obtained the documents by installing spyware on computer systems from the affected institutions, the authorities explained. When questioning him regarding how this was achieved, he pointed out that the malicious applications had been served through various adult content websites regularly visited by army members and workers.

The Kurd also told the authorities that the connection between him and the PKK leader had been established with the help of an unnamed terrorist friend living in France. He will face prosecution in the Turkish province of Diyarbakir, on accusations of “consciously and willingly aiding a terrorist organization.”

“This conflict may have started at the dawn of the computer virus era, but it seems more and more common today for combat and espionage to spill over onto the Internet,” Graham Cluley, senior technology consultant at Sophos, notes, and we have also reported several incidents involving South Korea blaming its northern communist cousins for spying on it with the help of the Internet.

Talibs kill two more alleged US spies

Figure of villagers killed on spying charges has crossed 14

February 07, 2009
MIRAMSHAH: Amid continuous flights of the CIA-operated spy planes over various parts of the North Waziristan Agency, two more tribesmen were killed by the Taliban militants here on Friday morning on charges of spying for the US forces across the border in Afghanistan.

Taliban militants dumped bullet-riddled bodies of two aged local tribesmen at Razmak Adda in Miramshah Bazaar, and left a letter in which the residents were warned not to remove them before noon.

Later, when the deadline ended, family members and relatives of the two tribesmen shifted the bodies to a Miramshah village.The slain men were identified as Aslam Pir and Khan, an employee of the Wapda.

The Taliban also stopped local tribesmen from offering funeral prayers for the two alleged US spies and warned them not to bury them in any graveyard within the tribal region. The militants stopped villagers of Miramshah from digging graves in the village graveyard for the two tribesmen. The villagers were forced by Taliban to stop digging graves and sent back to the village, complained relatives of the slain men.

They said the two men were later secretly buried. Khan was buried unceremoniously in Darpakhel village near Eidgah while Aslam Pir was laid to rest in the mountain of Sarbanki village near here.

Four US spy planes again intruded into the Pakistani airspace and were seen flying over various towns of the restive tribal region. Meanwhile, three mortar shells fired from Afghanistans Khost province landed in Dandi Kach area near Spinwam Tehsil. (Source-The News)

Foreign spies flock to Siberia

February 6, 2009
The counter intelligence service of Novosibirsk region has recently noticed an increase in activity by Asian-Pacific countries in Siberia. Dozens of foreign spies and agents have been discovered in the region in 2008, according to the FSB.

The FSB press service refused to go into precise details of any espionage, but announced that due to the efficient work of Russian counter intelligence dozens of professional state-secret hunters had been detected in Siberia in the past year.

The head of the regional FSB, Sergey Savchenkov, said some of the spies had been seeking top secret information throughout the region and had used all possible means to get confidential data from Novosibirsk scientists.

The high level of interest from foreign secret services may have been caused by the successful work of Siberian researchers. Speaking on Thursday, the deputy envoy of the President in Novosibirsk underlined their potential.

“Dozens of scientific centres are working on hundreds of scientific developments for all branches of the economy, which have huge potential in the social, economic and intellectual development of Siberia”, he said.

The head of the Siberian department of the Russian Academy of Sciences, Aleksandr Aseyev, says the past year was a successful one. Notable results were achieved in the field of oil and gas geology, nanotechnology, the creation of new materials and hi-tech equipment, chemical biology and other spheres of scientific research.

Scientists at the Institute of Nuclear Physics of Novosibirsk played an important role in construction of the Large Hadron Collider in the European Organisation for Nuclear Research in Geneva. Huge magnets for the underground ring of the LHC were made in Europe with the participation of the institute.

“The security service’s main objective is to know when a spy has arrived. But he may not necessarily reveal himself so that his activity could be stopped. Our problem is to find and register foreign agents and spies before they transfer secret data abroad,” said Savchenkov.

He added that some of the foreign agents had been deported from Russia and some refused entry visas. (Russiatoday.com)

Thursday, 5 February, 2009

More to spy birds: Poaching rare birds for Pakistan?

6 Feb 2009
Dhanesh Patil, TNN
THANE: The Anti Poaching Unit, the vigilance wing of the forest department, and a Mumbai-based NGO, has trapped a group of people for dealing with wild birds illegally. What's shocking is that the birds recovered belong to the same species that have been earlier used by Pakistan as spies. So what seemed like a case of the forest department trapping people to save the rare species of birds has now assumed a new dimension. The Intelligence Bureau is reportedly looking whether this case is linked with Pakistan. The accused are now in police custody.

The case began with founder of PAWS, the NGO, Sunish Subramanyam registering a complaint against the website oxl.com, where the wild birds are placed for sale. The Thane forest department took the lead and arrested two youths - Farhan Anwar Khan (24) and Mohammed Siddiqui Sayyed (25) aka Javed - and seized their vehicle, a Santro on Jan 31. The department trapped these people near Santa Cruz airport. After interrogation, the duo revealed the name of Ashpak Yasin Mohmin (30), the main seller of these birds. The department then trapped Ashpak at Crawford Market on Feb 4. He has a shop there and he undertakes the illegal activity of selling rare species of birds from here.

"We received a complaint against this illegal activity following the complaint regarding the website. Zeroing in on this, we trapped the three accused. The Schedule I Part III of Wildlife Protection Act 1972 says that the birds belong to rare species and there is a ban on their sale. The duo asked for a price of Rs 12,000 for each bird thus violating the Wildlife Protection Act. The most important thing is that these birds fall into Schedule I, making them rare species, and hence their conservation is most important for us," said Assistant Conservator of Forests Satish Phale.

Sources said that the forest department had earlier laid two traps to nab the accused, but they failed. Finally, they called the officials at Santa Cruz airport and managed to nab them on Saturday night. The forest department and PAWS team had posed as decoy customers. After getting enough information from the accused, they trapped them.

The sources also claimed that these are the same birds which are used by Pakistan as spies after giving rigorous training. These birds found in northern part of the India and are a rare sight in this area. It is now claimed that there is a chain of people selling such birds. The Intelligence Bureau is now believed to be scrutinising the matter and trying to ascertain whether these men are also linked with the espionage network.

Tuesday, 3 February, 2009

Italian doctors tell govt: "We are not spies"

Mon Feb 2, 2009
ROME, Feb 2 (Reuters) - The charity Doctors Without Borders (MSF) and several medical associations held a candle-lit rally outside Italy's senate on Monday against a draft bill that would let Italian hospitals report illegal immigrants to the police.

The law currently prohibits hospitals from notifying authorities about patients -- whatever their nationality or legal status -- except when they suspect a crime has been committed, for example if the patient has gunshot wounds.

But the anti-immigrant Northern League party, as member of Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi's government, wants to change that. It has proposed an amendment that would allow medics to report "clandestini" immigrants to authorities.

Senators are due to vote on the proposal on Tuesday.

With the slogan "We are doctors and nurses, not spies", MSF has launched a petition against the measure, arguing it would deter sick illegal immigrants from seeking treatment.

Associations grouping Italian doctors, surgeons and nurses have joined the appeal.

"Due to lack of information, immigrants are already more reluctant than others to go to hospital," said Andrea Pontiroli, a spokesman for MSF in Italy.

"We think this amendment would make them even more scared and reluctant, posing a serious threat to their own health but also increasing the risk of contagion," he said.

State hospitals in Italy provide free emergency treatment to anybody seeking it, without asking for proof of identity. (Editing by Dominic Evans)

RAW officer trapped taking bribe by CBI

(PTI)
Tuesday, February 03, 2009, (New Delhi)
In a first of its kind incident, a senior RAW officer was arrested by CBI for allegedly taking the bribe of Rs one lakh from a Chennai-based manufacturer.

Dr A S Narayan Rao, working as a scientist in the technical division of RAW, was arrested by CBI from a hotel in Karol Bagh last night when he was allegedly taking the amount from the manufacturer, CBI sources said.

Rao had allegedly demanded Rs eight lakh as a bribe for clearing the export licence of the Chennai-based firm. Rs one lakh was the first installment of the bribe amount.

This is possibly for the first time that a serving officer of RAW -- an organisation responsible for gathering external intelligence -- has been arrested by the CBI, sources claimed, adding that searches were conducted and documents pertaining to the Chennai-based company seized.