issue Fifty

 

      

 

  • Published 15 August 2007

     

Editor’s notes:

 

Eye Spy 50 carries several important features, including the recent suspicious death of Ashraf Marwan, a former Mossad agent in London, and why ‘defenestration’ as it’s called, has become one of the most popular methods of eliminating targets. The origin of the word ‘defenestration’ is routed in events that occurred in seventeenth century Prague; it’s here a few religious figures were thrown out of a castle’s window. Finding dead bodies on the pavement (which appear to have fallen from a great height) is also known as the “Prague Tradition”. Some investigators suspect that Marwan, who played a pivotal role in providing intelligence to the Israelis just before the 1973 war, was thrown from his apartment in the Mayfair area of London. He was just about to release a book on the war. We also have two features from our tradecraft series - the art of anti-surveillance, and ‘couriers’ - part two. Both prepared by specialists and edited by persons working in these areas - not to be missed. Before taking a look at the wider contents of Eye Spy 50, I would like to draw your attention to Eye Spy’s intelligence crests poster II. Slightly larger than our first poster, this stunning A2-size (25 x 18 inches) creation carries 90 newly sourced intelligence crests, seals and insignia from all over the world. Some are very rare. Printed in full colour on luxury heavy art gloss paper, the poster is free to readers (postage and packing nominal- see details in the pdf). It’s a unique product that truly reflects the international diversity of the intelligence world, and of course, is offered as a thank you for helping Eye Spy reach its 50th edition.

 

Mark Birdsall Editor

 

 

TOO HOT TO HANDLE

CIA Throw Away Family Jewels

 

CIA Director Michael Hayden has made public some of the documents revealing clandestine operations and dirty tricks that helped make the CIA one of the most feared intelligence organisations in the world. Some would argue little has changed, but Hayden wants a clean slate - a new beginning - and is determined to wipe away much of the agency’s sinister allure. Little in the ‘batched document’ release has come as a surprise - but what for it’s worth, and amongst other things, the agency admits liaising with mobsters to assassinate Cuba’s communist leader President Fidel Castro. Castro’s bodyguard, Fabian Escalante, once said that “agency hitmen” tried 634 times to end Castro’s presidency prematurely - assassination attempts that either failed or were thwarted. That figure is unlikely, but it is true agency representatives worked with serious Mafia gunmen and came up with an array of fiendish schemes to topple the Cuban leader. The more times they failed, the more bizarre and complex the planning and plots became. The first batch of papers is referred to as the ‘family jewels’ by agency veterans, and consists of almost 700 pages of responses from CIA employees to a 1973 directive from then Director of Central Intelligence Agency, James Schlesinger, who asked staff to report activities they thought might be inconsistent with the Agency’s charter. Eye Spy examines the papers and case files - assassinations, break-ins, corruption and dirty tricks and all.

 

THE SECRET ROLE OF COURIERS TRADECRAFT SPECIAL

 

In Eye Spy 49 we examined part of the role played out by intelligence operatives described as “couriers”. From static couriers serving in a corner shop and distributing or receiving messages, to experienced pilots delivering arms deep behind enemy lines, the role of an “intelligence courier” is multifaceted and diverse. The same can be said about those who ply their trade on behalf of terrorists.... EXTRACT: ...friends and associates to slip away and fight another day. By selecting a group member as a courier, terrorists believe they have more security. It’s one reason why MI5 and the FBI are increasing efforts to infiltrate terror cells - and it’s working. In the past 24 months, several major terrorist operations on either side of the Atlantic have been stopped because the authorities managed to place an agent inside the cell. Another method used to break into a terror cell is by “turning the courier”. Once identified, a courier is surveilled and his life-style examined. Investigators will examine the possibility that he could be turned. It’s a dangerous game for he may agree to help the authorities only to alert his colleagues in the terror cell. Other couriers will perform tasks regarded as “everyday occurrences” by ordinary folk. Filling an operational vehicle with petrol means terrorists need not travel, be caught on CCTV, make a financial transaction etc. Even mundane jobs such as handing in a film to a photo developer or securing an apartment to rent for a few months may be given to a courier. Secure Documentation: Couriers also travel to receive and pass-on orders for a specific task. Sometimes that involves written instructions or guidance. Al-Qaida has a tried and trusted global “network” of couriers whose “personnel” can move with impunity across continents if necessary. The network has no central command, no form, carries no identification - its members just exist. That makes it a difficult enemy to tackle.... Editor’s note: This is a particular revealing feature for it aptly displays why the UK government is hoping to introduce a 56-day “no-charge” holding period of persons suspected of terrorist activities. For example, defence lawyers may argue in court that on recovering details of a suspect’s flight ticket to a foreign destination, the security services have all the available information at hand. Wrong. Professional couriers may actually purchase two flight tickets - one of which will be a distraction. Confirming such a ruse takes a great deal of effort and time. From moving monies to purchasing goods, the role of a courier within a terrorist cell is extremely important. This article provides a glimpse of their work, and the efforts of counter-terrorism agencies charged with their capture.

FROM RUSSIA WITH LOVE MI5 TRACK CONTRACT ASSASSIN IN LONDON

 

While the war of words between Britain and Russia continues over the murder of Aleksander Litvinenko, tit-for-tat expulsions of suspected spies from both countries’ embassies have soured relations further. As the wrangling intensifies, some elements in Russia’s underworld have turned their attention to exiled Russian tycoon Boris Berezovsky. On 21 June 2007, Berezovsky was supposed to meet his end at London’s Hilton Hotel in Park Lane. Unbeknown to the media, a man had flown in to Heathrow Airport on 14 June with orders to kill the 61-year-old tycoon. However, MI5 had been tipped-off about the suspected assassin and were waiting for him to arrive. A team of MI5 watchers surveilled the target, believed to be accompanied by his young son, as he journeyed into London. One week earlier, Scotland Yard had been informed by overseas British agents that a hired hit man would make a determined effort to kill Berezovsky. The man, in his mid-thirties, was known to British Intelligence who quickly determined he would not try and hide his actions; he would simply kill President Putin’s most outspoken critic. If caught he would admit the crime, and serve his sentence. If successful he would disappear...

 

THE JACKALS HAVE LANDED

US INTELLIGENCE ‘PAINTS’ UNCONVINCING PICTURE

 

Six years have flown by since four hijacked airliners crashed into public buildings, smashed into the world’s most secret defence headquarters and fell from the sky in Pennsylvania. US warplanes launched to protect citizens from an expected ‘second wave’ - it never arrived. However, defence and intelligence analysts believe that the second wave is now coming... According to senior officials, al-Qaida has everything in place to strike once again - but Osama bin-Laden followers have demanded more than a car or truck bomb. The terror group, thrice thwarted by security services in the United States in the last eighteen months, are thought to have infiltrated vital services and organisations - and intelligence suggests operatives intent on carrying out suicide missions have already entered the country via America’s swiss cheese borders in the north and south. That the terror group will strike is an “inevitably” said one senior official. A National Intelligence Estimate (NIE) - titled ‘Terrorist Threat to the US Homeland’, suggests the terror group has “acquired most of the capabilities it needs to strike.” Training camps for al-Qaida recruits are now operating again; European intelligence suggests various routes into North America are being exploited; false identities and carefully prepared documentation - including previous “imaginary” employment created. Al-Qaida has been patiently planning - infiltrating supporters into well respected jobs, turning even the most ardent of loyal citizens who have resided in the United States for years. US National Intelligence Estimates are immensely important and reflect the consensus long-term thinking of senior intelligence analysts. However, what this NIE lacks is imagination and bravery. Perhaps still reeling from the CIA’s “positive” but incorrect assessment of Saddam’s terror weapons, analysts have sided on caution - maybe not wanting to concern ordinary Americans too much. The fact is, al-Qaida, in all its forms, is already in the USA.

 

THE ART OF ANTI-SURVEILLANCE TRADECRAFT FEATURE

 

At two recent high-profile terrorist trials in London, jurors were told that suspects “performed counter and anti-surveillance manoeuvres.” But what does this really mean, and how do both these elements fit within the tradecraft of surveillance? In this fascinating feature, one of the world’s leading surveillance trainers - Eye Spy consultant Peter Jenkins, explains anti-surveillance - the measures that you (or a target under surveillance) could carry out in order to identify or thwart a surveillance team.... EXTRACT 1: Anti-Surveillance and Counter-Surveillance are two entirely different disciplines which are often confused with each other or misunderstood - even by some operators within the industry. Let us first look Anti-Surveillance, a procedure that has three primary goals and is defined as the actions that a person carries out in order to: 1. Confirm that he is under surveillance 2. Identify by whom 3. Take a course of action.... EXTRACT 2: • The target frequently alters his speed by slowing down then speeding up... • On a motorway the driver may change his speed frequently from high to slow. Another anti-surveillance measure that can be problematic is if he comes off at an exit and then rejoins the carriageway... • He could pretend to break down on a motorway or road. At this point he will almost certainly lift the bonnet (hood), turn on the hazard warning lights and carefully monitor slowing or stopping vehicles....

 

ANATOMY OF OPERATION SEAGRAM

Insight 72 Hours

 

Suffice it to say that anyone who doesn’t know that al-Qaida attempted another bloody summer massacre on Britain’s city streets, must either have been in a coma or have just returned from a long stint of solitary confinement. Like previous attacks the story received massive publicity, thus we asked our consultants to focus on some of the least known facts and what, if any, are the implications for the public and the intelligence world alike. However, the timeline of events is also fascinating and reveals much about MI5’s and Scotland Yard’s ability to access and evaluate information quickly and precisely. Thursday 28 June: A website chat room frequented by supporters of al-Qaida posted a message from a regular contributor who goes by the name Abu Osama al-Hazeen. “Today I say: ‘Rejoice, by Allah, London shall be bombed’.” The message, uploaded on the El Hesbah site, was immediately read by GCHQ and NSA monitors. Unlike other jihad jargon (JJ), this message was specific and suggested al-Qaida had already concluded its preparation and was confident of success. Just days earlier, another al-Qaida website claimed 50 suicide bombers had been trained in Pakistan and were en-route to Western targets. With over 200 known al-Qaida sleeper cells and thousands of supporters in the UK, MI5 and the police knew if an attack had been finalised and authorised, it could originate from any one of the cells. How wrong they were. But in any event, perhaps Al-Hazeen’s message was simply rhetoric?... EXTRACT 1: ...as simple as a small [deleted by order] to trigger heat. The cell phone vibration mode is set to augment this part of the operation.” EXTRACT 2: The fact that ambulance staff noticed smoke in the Tiger Tiger-placed vehicle is another indication the mobile phones did trigger the detonator, but that the heat was simply not sufficient to ignite the vapours issuing from the propane gas canisters. As for al-Qaida’s use of charcoal, the reason behind this is to help increase the heat stakes. Interestingly, both propane gas and charcoal can be found together at any supermarket for use in barbecues and camp fire cooking. The Glasgow bombers purchased their gas at a local B & Q superstore, though both items are available even on the forecourts of many petrol stations EXTRACT 3: As for using the large SUV in the Glasgow attack, it’s likely the men believed its size and power would overcome the airport’s defences. It may have breached the glass, but interior security posts held firm. The failure to enter the airport’s concourse suggests the mens decision to attack Glasgow Airport was a last gasp attempt to kill. By now they would have realised their London bombs had failed and the mobile phones and forensics would lead MI5 straight to their door. The airport operation was done in haste - without proper reconnaissance - the men didn’t even have time to purchase nails. Had the terrorists visited and mapped out the airport properly, they would have probably selected a different opening. EXTRACT 4: All terrorist charges against Dr Haneef have since been dropped by Australian Police. He was deported after “irregularities” were discovered by investigating officers. Eye Spy has learned Australian Intelligence secured highly controversial information concerning a conversation between Haneef and another man on an Internet chat room site - details of which have not been fully released.... Editor’s note: This in-depth feature illustrates the complex nature of the attack, and the dark meticulous planning of al-Qaida. For those who still don’t believe the terrorist group was behind the London-Glasgow attacks - take time to digest the following text extracted from the banned Al-Qaida training terror manual located nearly six years ago in a camp controlled by Osama bin-Laden in Afghanistan. It was recovered by MI6 and CIA operatives.... ‘Place 12-13 full size [gas] cylinders in each Limo. A few should be sprayed yellow because yellow cylinders in the West signify toxic gas.... this will aid to spread terror and chaos when the emergency service teams arrive. Underneath and around the cylinders generously place some loose pieces of charcoal (that have been pre-soaked in petrol). Place a 10-litre petrol [?] containing nails next to each cylinder.’

 

THE PRAGUE TRADITION

SUSPECTED FORMER MOSSAD AGENT DEAD IN MAYFAIR

 

Defenestration is a word not used by many journalists. When it is spoken or published, people tend to make a bee-line to a dictionary or reference book. However, it is quietly mentioned in the corridors of Scotland Yard and other agencies by officers examining unexplained deaths - the sort involving a mystery fall from a balcony, a ship’s deck, a hotel window or multi-storey car park. The word originated after an incident which occurred on 21 May 1618, when three of archduke Ferdinand’s regents (two Catholic priests and a secretary) were thrown out of a window of Prague Castle by Protestant radicals. Defenestration has since been described as the “action of throwing out of a window”. In the four centuries that have passed, many assassins have “upheld” the “Prague Tradition”, but it is not always possible to associate such incidents with criminality or terrorism.... Like Aleksander Litvinenko, the recent death of Egyptian billionaire Ashraf Marwan has been linked to the ‘underbelly’ of the intelligence world. Marwan, the son-in-law of the late President Gamel Abdel Nasser, was found dead on the pavement beneath his fourth-floor flat in Carlton House Terrace, in the affluent Mayfair district of London. Police, who were called at 1.40pm by residents on 27 June, are treating his death as “suspicious” and “unexplained”. According to Marwan’s colleagues, he was working in his office at the time and the only other person in the flat was his maid. Colleagues and friends believe he would not have committed suicide. Marwan, who had lived in the apartment for over 20 years, recently said he feared he would be assassinated after he was named in 2004 as a double agent who assisted Israeli intelligence during the 1973 conflict with Egypt and Syria. According to sources, he was writing his memoirs that threatened to reveal much about Arab-Israeli espionage and his role in the affair. Friends say Marwan was more than half way through his book - titled October 1973. No details have emerged about the manuscript’s whereabouts, but copies are supposedly in the possession of detectives from Scotland Yard and Marwan’s solicitor. Egyptian officials have rarely commented on the spy allegations, first raised by Vanity Fair writer, Harold Bloom in his book...

 

CLANDESTINE COMMUNICATIONS SECRET WORLD OF SPIES AND RADIO

 

British radio expert Paul Beaumont takes a candid journey through the history of radio communications and espionage and examines if radio is still an important ‘spy tool’. In the age of the superfast computer, hyper links and modern gadgets, readers may be surprised by Paul’s conclusions - a journey to your local radio shop may be necessary after reading this splendid feature. EXTRACT 1: Strange as it may seem today - communications were already considered “advanced” in 1854, the time of the Crimean War and flourishing empires; Morse messages were routinely sent via a system of repeater stations that enabled generals and tacticians to communicate with the front line - all from the comfort of their offices in great cities such as London and Paris. The telephone arrived in Britain around 1878 and, whilst Morse messages were already being sent far and wide along specially manufactured cables and repeater systems, the GPO (General Post Office) busily extended its monopoly throughout the British Empire. The early undersea cables were thought to be secure, but although commercial users encoded their messages, the overland cables, as was soon realised, were open to ‘tapping’. It took events in 1861 during the American Civil War for the military to recognise that ciphers needed to be used to protect messages against attempts to intercept them. The telegraph requirement for sending messages over wires is much like that required for wireless, or in its modern idiom, radio. All you need at each end is a transmitter and receiver, or, if you are just intercepting, a receiver. During World War One the allies employed Earth Current Transmitters (ECT) that produced currents of good magnitude that allowed a message to be sent via probes hammered into the soil. Unfortunately the Germans were very adapt at intercepting these messages, as well as certain radio messages. This often resulted in a horrendous loss of life for the allies due to poor radio security or lax radio procedures where the encryption was concerned. German communications were hard to intercept as they sent a mass along undersea cables; the allies answer was to dredge them to the surface where they were cut, forcing the German military into greater use of radio which allowed intercepts to be made. EXTRACT 2: ...this same information was passed to MI5 which made enquiries, referring to Goleniewski by his MI5 code-name ‘LAVINIA.’ Goleniewski in turn referred to Houghton as “Lambda 2” having originally mistaken Houghton as Huiton. Gordon Lonsdale lived in an apartment block called the ‘White House’ situated near London’s Regent Park at the junction of Albany Street and Euston Road. In this apartment, Lonsdale received his instructions from Moscow on a Bush commercial radio receiver. The transmissions were generally the same as those later used by Geoffrey Prime. Previously, in 1958, MI5 had used a common effect of radios to detect what frequencies the Russian Embassy might be listening to - the same method used by television licence detector vans. They code-named this technique RAFTER. RAFTER was employed against Lonsdale. But not before the contents of Lonsdale’s bank safety deposit box had been X-Rayed, physically examined and photographed. As Lonsdale tuned-in to his scheduled message, MI5 technicians sat on the other side of a wall in another apartment, and after detecting the signal from Lonsdale’s receiver noted the frequencies. With frequencies in hand, Lonsdale’s fortnightly messages were monitored and most referred to Houghton - code-name ‘SHAH’. On 7 January 1961, Special Branch officers arrested members of the Portland Spy Ring; Houghton, Gee and Lonsdale were in the act of passing secrets near Waterloo Station, London. The Krogers were arrested in their Ruislip bungalow... e-Bombs

 

TRANSIENT ELECTROMAGNETIC PULSE DEVICES - TEDS

 

Intelligence analyst Kevin Coleman examines an emerging technological menace that threatens everyone... Transient Electronic Pulse Devices may sound like a phrase plucked out of the future - but TEDs launched against individuals and unprepared nations could prove more destructive than any terrorist weapon known today. Eye Spy takes a look at this chilling and secret subject... EXTRACT 1: An explosively-pumped flux compression generator (EPFCG) is a pulsed-power supply that magnetically derives its energy from an explosion. EPFCGs are the most popular power sources for transient electromagnetic devices because of this simplicity. These devices are relatively simple weapons built of readily available components that cost between $600 and $1,000. When used in a TED device, the output pulse of any of these configurations is directed to a wave shaper or guide and then to an antenna. A frequency converter which turns the lower frequencies into microwave range can be placed between the electromagnetic pulse generator and the antenna that increases the destructive nature of this weapon. An Assassins Dream? It is not known for certain, though suspected, that at very short range the pulse may severely injure or even kill humans due to microwave heating effects in the body. As the basic technology and design continue to advance, the ability to disrupt communications, computing platforms and destroy electronic components is increasing....

 

THE JULIUS CAESAR CIPHER CIPHERS AND CODEBREAKING

 

Renown cryptologist David Hamer presents two fascinating features. First a look at an early substitution cipher - dubbed Julius Caesar - and then an examination of a former secret Swiss machine called NEMA. Fascinating stuff! One of the early examples of a simple substitution cipher is that used, according to legend, by Julius Caesar and known naturally enough as the Caesar cipher. It is a very simple concept called a monoalphabetic substitution in which once a ciphertext [Ct] letter has been selected to represent a given plaintext [Pt] letter that relationship is continued throughout the rest of the substitution process: in other words if Pt ‘A’ is replaced by Ct ‘N’... then every Ct ‘N’ decrypts as ‘A’. A very simple example of this simple Caesar shift was used in the movie ‘2001: A Space Odyssey’, when the shift of each letter in the name of a central ‘character’, the computer named ‘HAL’, by a single position in the alphabet will reveal ‘IBM’. Another, perhaps trivial but amusing, example will occur if you take the French word ‘OUI’ and ‘Caesar shift’ each letter by ten positions to produce the English word ‘YES’... amusingly and coincidentally combining decryption with translation! Monoalphabetic ciphers appear regularly as ‘puzzles’ in some daily newspapers. In the middle part of the sixteenth century French diplomat and amateur mathematician Blaise de Vigenère, expanding upon earlier work by others, developed the polyalphabetic substitution system that bears his name. It relies upon the principle of using a number of alphabets to perform the substitution of each letter in a plaintext by a different ciphertext letter....

 

ASSASSINATIONS FEW FORENSIC CLUES

 

Assassinations involving ‘falls’ are not uncommon - and are often committed because they are difficult crimes to detect. Forensic evidence can of course be found, for example, evidence of a struggle, scratches, cuts and bruises not consistent with simply falling onto a pavement. However, using this killing method negates the use of weapons and poisons which can provide clues. In many cases of “suspected suicide falls”, detectives will try and uncover a deep-rooted psychological problem - this may be provided for by a health problem, a failed marriage, the death of a partner, a collapsed business venture, money problems etc. They will also examine other factors - did the victim have enemies? - was he or she involved in organised crime? Espionage and defenestration are two words which rarely appear on the same page - though it’s likely this is because few reporters understand the meaning of the latter. A classic case where the two are intermingled can be found in the desperate plight of suspected British intelligence officer Dennis Skinner. In June 1983, Midland Bank officials in London were....

 

LOCKERBIE AND ‘PUZZLEPIECE’

CONVICTED AGENT SET FOR RELEASE

 

A Scottish judicial body has announced that Abdelbaset al-Megrahi, a Libyan national serving 27 years in prison for his part in the catastrophic bombing of Pan Am Flight 103, could be innocent. The airliner fell from the sky in December 1988 after a bomb exploded in the cargo hold. Now investigators are ‘back-engineering’ some of the vital evidence used in the case.... including intelligence from an agent code-named ‘Puzzlepiece’

 

THE LITVINENKO WAITER TEA “SPRAYED” WITH POLONIUM-210

 

The waiter who served green tea and drinks to Aleksander Litvinenko and “friends” at the Millennium Hotel in London, believes he was deliberately distracted while the lethal substance was sprayed into the tea-pot. Litvinenko died a few weeks later - he death sparking an international row between the UK and Russia that recently led to tit-for-tat expulsions from embassies in Moscow and London.... Red Dawn Rising More on the escalating espionage activities of Chinese agents in the United States.



 


Issue 50

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