issue Fifty two

 

      

 

  • Published 23 November 2007
     

     

Editor's Brief Notes:

Ever wondered about who the 'sources' and 'contacts' are when listening to your favourite news channel or reading the editorial of a national daily? And just how did a particular newspaper obtain an intelligence scoop? In this edition of Eye Spy we have a specially commissioned feature that takes us deep inside the world of media infiltration and psychological warfare. Reporting for Spies reveals the strange and often strained liaisons that exist between journalists, media tycoons, government ministers and spies. From lavish private dinner parties to small talk over a pint - this really is an 'eye opener'.

There's also a splendid and fascinating look at how MI6, using as many as 3,000 persons, infiltrated the American media in an effort to prompt the US joining with Britain against the Nazis. Simply astonishing. So too part two of Disguise Techniques - tricks of the trade. Here we examine the more subtle physical techniques used by those in the employ of intelligence and security services. We also reveal one substance that is simply beyond Hollywood and used by intelligence disguise artists for a totally realistic effect.

Coming just too late for Eye Spy 52, is America's latest National Intelligence Estimate (NIE) that concludes Iran's push towards a nuclear weapon stalled in 2003. It's not a view shared by many intelligence watchers and certainly not by the Mossad or the CIA. However, it comes at a time when the world's biggest NSA spy base - RAF Menwith Hill and its near-neighbour - RAF Fylingdales, have both been locked-in to the national missile defence shield. Menwith Hill is being upgraded with some quite amazing computers to chase intelligence on rogue nuclear states, while Fylingdales will give us all a few minutes more grace if an attack ever occurs. We have an in-depth article on the 'Eyes and Ears' of British efforts to assist the shield. And interestingly, or should that be ironically, the argument used to upgrade both facilities was the threat from.... Iran.

Have a very Merry Christmas

Mark Birdsall
Editor

A BRIEF REVIEW OF EYE SPY 52 FOLLOWS

UK EYES AND EARS
SECRET BASES ENHANCED

Two of America's most important top secret intelligence/defence facilities (both hosted by the UK), have recently attracted the attention of intelligence watchers... and CND... and Russia's spies. RAF Menwith Hill, the biggest communications and information collection centre in the world, and RAF Fylingdales sited in North Yorkshire, are now 'officially' joined at the hip by the burgeoning US Missile Defence Shield. A few hundred miles east, Poland and the Czech Republic have already agreed to site interceptor missile silo sites attached to the programme. It's a move that has infuriated Russia, and just weeks ago, led to the testing of a new type of bomb that the Russians claim will remove a small town. And while the UK insists 'there are no plans' to install interceptor bases on the mainland, defence sources say it is 'inevitable'.

It was just before Christmas 2002, that Eye Spy learned the US Government had formally requested that Fylingdales be upgraded to accommodate the new technology required to run the Missile Defence Shield. Without Fylingdales, the system would be seriously flawed. MILSTAR and SATCOM, two US military satellite communications systems were already sited at Fylingdales. The upgrading work at Fylingdales that started in 2003 is now complete, though passers-by won't see any difference, most of the work has been carried out behind closed doors and well away from the public gaze....

WALKING WITH THE NEW SHOEBOMBERS
AL-QAIDA CONTINUE TO USE AND DEVELOP THE SHOE BOMB

In late October, information gleaned from European intelligence agencies prompted the FBI and Department of Homeland Security (DHS), to issue internal memos to various front-line security forces. The FBI warned that a pair of specially converted shoes containing blasting caps, had been seized in Europe. Though the identity of the agency involved with the counterterrorism operation was not named, it has been confirmed the shoes were not worn by a person, but contained within luggage - indicating they were recovered during a routine search by security personnel. Security analysts told Eye Spy that by not wearing the shoes, the owner of the luggage could deny they belonged to him or her or that they were 'planted'.

Ever since British terrorist Richard Reid, the infamous 'shoe bomber' tried to down American Airlines Flight 63 to Miami on 22 December 2001, most airport security services have insisted passengers remove footwear as they pass through airport controls. In the US, a strict '100 percent X-ray footwear inspection policy' exists, but that's far from the case with some airports. News that al-Qaida has decided its operatives use the luggage hold is disturbing, though not surprising. Several intelligence briefings issued by various agencies warn that the group continue to refine their efforts to use converted footwear, but this is the first time real evidence has been acquired. It is believed the shoes were found in luggage carried on a bus.

THE OSI - OFFICE OF STRATEGIC INFLUENCE
A DIRECTORATE FOR PLANTING INTELLIGENCE?

Less than six months after 9/11, and as a direct response to terrorism, senior US defence and intelligence strategists met to consider establishing the Office of Strategic Influence. The directorate was intended to influence public opinion abroad by planting stories in the media and by sending out disguised literature, e-mails etc. It was the brainchild of Donald Rumsfeld... but does the OSI still exist?

BLACK SEPTEMBER
THE PHOTO INTELLIGENCE

Syrian government officials move quickly to dismantle and landscape an area in the remote north of the country following an Israel air operation that destroyed a suspected nuclear reactor...

Space Surveillance Photographs Reveal Syria's Secret Nuclear Weapons Site

The Mossad's extraordinary operation targeting a suspected Syrian nuclear weapons facility, has been the focus of much attention. Hesitant to confirm or negate the attack, Tel Aviv has allowed bits of information to leak to a wider intelligence audience, scientists and senior media correspondents. Denial is not a word that can be associated with this story.

As published in Eye Spy 51, the operation - code-named Black September - rendered a covert nuclear bomb research facility useless. The site was masked by tales that it was an agricultural test centre. However, Mossad agents had already penetrated Syria's top secret nuclear programme two or three years earlier after following Syrian officials to North Korea and learning of covert cooperation that could have resulted in Damascus being able to build one bomb every year. Other intelligence about the plant came from North Korea. Officials there are liaising with the United States about dismantling its weapons programme. The CIA also learned North Korea had been secretly assisting Syria with work on the bomb.

Once it was established Syria had moved to step-up its efforts to produce a nuclear weapon, Israeli spy satellites aided by similar CIA-operated space-borne surveillance centres, tried to establish the research site's whereabouts. Aided with intelligence from North Korea, cameras soon focused on activity in northern Syria close to the Euphrates River....

CIA AGENT CURVEBALL IDENTIFIED
INFORMANT'S IDENTITY REVEALED AT LAST

CBS's 60 Minutes programme has broadcast Bob Simon's two-year long investigation into the Iraqi WMD informant known as 'Agent Curveball'. The 'intelligence provider' is said to have been the central source of the CIA's 'powerful' argument that Saddam Hussein had a range of weapons of mass destruction, including chemical and biological.

According to Simon's painstaking research, the mystery man is Iraqi defector Rafid Ahmed Alwan. Prior to the programme, everything was known about the informant, his background, claims, nationality etc., except his name. Over six months ago, ABC News even acquired and published a grainy photo of Curveball - but didn't know his true identity.

The CIA's primary source about Iraq's WMD turned up in Germany in the late 1990s claiming asylum. To augment his case and make him a 'person of interest', he told police he had details of Iraq's WMD - in fact he said he was an engineer supposedly in charge of a factory at Djerf al Nadaf - manufacturing mobile WMD weapons. This intelligence was sent to MI6 and the CIA with a marker or caveat - the spy was 'crazy' and a 'congenital liar' according to his German intelligence handlers. It was also known he was an 'alcoholic' and almost certainly related to Ahmed Chalabi...

TRADECRAFT
REPORTING FOR SPIES
THE PRIVATE WORLD OF INTEL SOURCES AND INFILTRATION

In September the world's press reported on the separation of France's President Nicolas Sarkozy and his wife of 11 years, Cecilia. A flamboyant handsome couple, naturally the story captured the imagination of the public, but not so another small article concerning Sarkozy in Le Figaro. However, to the intelligence world this one was far more relevant. Sarkozy if you believed this piece, was once the fourth most important intelligence officer in the Mossad. It's comparable to saying Tony Blair was a very high-ranking CIA official during his tenure in Downing Street. Few broadsheets (if any) gave the article any credence. Now it's not that Le Figaro is a paper of low repute, it is not, but the claim was simply too momentous to believe. More importantly, from whence did it come?...

MEDIA GATEWAYS: Disinformation and psychological warfare are two of the intelligence world's most powerful tools. Undoubtedly some elements fall under the 'spy tradecraft' category. Used correctly, they can cause an avalanche of mistrust and confusion. However, because of the very nature of this type of tradecraft, it often relies heavily on a vulnerable media or journalist who believes they have been 'specially chosen' because of their standing. Perhaps there are many in the media who don't truly understand they have been selected because the intelligence world regard them as 'easy gateways'.

SEEDED AND DENIABLE STORIES: Most government offices recognise that using a prestigious news outlet is preferable and adds credibility to a story. But tabloids also receive the odd 'gem' - especially if reputations need blackening. Yet the relationship between the media and power-broker is never simple - just ask the White House Communication Service. President Bush's administration has for some time faced a hostile press. How a story is portrayed often depends on the political leaning of an editor, owner or station. When an official (source) speaks to a journalist (contact), it's usually 'off the record', but the very fact they are speaking is a clue that information or intelligence is being imparted. What's delivered (story) may be a prompt or a steer or a 'wink' that the journalist has been chosen especially to present or reveal a crucial story. If the media outlet has an embedded intelligence operative, it makes it easier to push the story into the public domain....

LUNCHES WITH SPOOKS: In the 1990s, David Rose was the UK's left-leaning Observer newspaper home affairs correspondent. He found himself caught in the 'never never' world of 'sources, contacts and deniability'. Of his dealings with the secret world of intelligence, Rose said:

'Every national paper and broadcasting outlet has one - and usually, only one - a reporter to whom each agency will speak, provided they observe the niceties [Eye Spy emphasis]. For these favoured few, there will be access likely to grow as the journalist proves his or her 'worth', along with considerable perks.

'One of the things that made me uneasy about my lunches with MI5 and MI6, which usually took place at very expensive restaurants....

Everything you need to know about this special tradecraft and more....

THE NETTLETIP AFFAIR
JEAN CHARLES DE MENEZES' SURVEILLANCE

The Metropolitan Police has been found guilty of breaching health and safety laws over the shooting of innocent Brazilian Jean Charles de Menezes in Stockwell tube station. Scotland Yard Commissioner Sir Ian Blair refused to resign as judge issued a £175,000 fine. Surveillance and firearms officers will not face prosecution...

Throughout the case at the Old Bailey court house, Scotland Yard officials defended the actions of an elite surveillance and firearms team caught up in the shooting of Brazilian electrician Jean Charles de Menezes. He was mistaken for escaped 21/7 London suicide bomber Hussain Osman - MI5 code-name Nettletip.

The Metropolitan Police had denied breaking health and safety laws at the Old Bailey court house where a jury has been privy to intimate details.

Sir Ian insisted it was an 'isolated breach performed under extraordinary circumstances,' and gave his backing to all the officers involved in counter-terrorism. Ronald Thwaites QC, for the Metropolitan Police, told the jury that Mr de Menezes was shot dead because he reacted as officers 'expected a suicide bomber to behave.' He said that the fact that Mr de Menezes had a forged stamp in his passport and had taken cocaine 'could be relevant to why he reacted in the way he did when he was stopped.'

Eye Spy looks at what really went wrong and the special Scotland Yard firearms unit CO19

DIANA INQUEST
THE 'MI6' SPY WITH 'POINTY SHOES'

Ten years after the death of Princess Diana, 36, her lover Dodi Fayed, 42, and chauffeur and suspected MI6 agent Henri Paul, the final inquest has started at London's High Court. The jury of six women and five men selected by ballot will decide if she was killed unlawfully, or if it was a simple tragic accident. In any event, it will not stop the conspiracy theorists.

MI6 OPERATING IN PARIS: It has been suggested that agents hired by MI6, and overseen by two officers were somehow responsible for the crash. Lord Justice Baker did confirm MI6 members were operational in Paris during the summer of 1997, but that they had 'bigger fish to fry other than tracking Diana.'

The spy theory cropped up again when witness Jacques Morel spoke via video link from Paris. He said he stepped on the boot of someone emerging from the tunnel just after the crash. The conversation between London and Paris was surreal. 'So you don't want to talk about the man whose foot I stepped on?' said Morel. 'Not really,' replied the barrister. 'It's very important,' said Mr Morel, who explained the sore foot inside 'pointy boots' belonged to an MI6 agent. He contends he spoke with Mohammed Al Fayed just hours after the crash. Mr Fayed, according to Morel said: 'I knew they were there. They're the bastards that did it, the secret service.'.....

LITVINENKO'S PRIVATE MI6 VISION
SECRET SIGNALS

The murdered former FSB officer Aleksander Litvinenko, privately held ambitions to work for MI6, according to former KGB intelligence officer and double agent Oleg Gordievsky. However, diplomatic sources and persons close to the intelligence community, believe he had already been recruited as an agent. It's another twist in the on-going saga of this case; its drama, plot-line and intrigue has even caught the imagination of Hollywood scriptwriters, though this latest revelation will mean more work for the editors.

Oleg Gordievsky, who was recently awarded the honour 'Companion of the Most Distinguished Order of Saint Michael and Saint George' (CMG) 'for services to the security of the United Kingdom', was speaking to refute allegations that Litvinenko was indeed an actual an MI6 agent.

A number of new reports in the British and Russian press state Sir John Scarlett - 'C' - first 'tapped' on Litvinenko's shoulder when he was in charge of MI6's field station in Moscow....

DISGUISE TECHNIQUES - PART TWO
SECRETS OF THE SPY TRADE

Eye Spy continues its in depth look at how the intelligence world utilise this special tradecraft...

SELECTED EXTRACTS

Dressing up is an intelligence term used to phrase the actions of persons utilising uniforms to perform tasks in plain sight. In Eye Spy's look at how the security services perform undercover operations (infiltration), we provided many examples of how, by donning a certain uniform or garment, the operative can blend-in to the environment. It's also a skill adopted by the police, and sadly, with increasing success, by criminals. Take for example an incident which occurred in November 2003. A gang of Bosnian thieves used NATO uniforms to rob a security van. The hoodlums wore uniforms of the NATO Stabilisation Force, or S-For, complete with insignia. The robbers even set up a check-point based on the real thing. Their planning was meticulous, and because NATO check points were a common sight in the country, no-one, including the security guards, suspected anything was untoward - until they were robbed of about £750,000 ($1.5m). Even the getaway van was a clone of the S-For trucks and carried its logo....

Performing such operations requires the person to wear a disguise and not spend time changing their physical appearance. In the case file cited above, the gang wore NATO headgear and balaclavas which masked their faces - the disguise was in the uniform already.....

For agents involved in undercover work (long or short-term), most police, security services and intelligence agencies have trained personnel - the 'backroom boys' and a wardrobe full of 'gear'. This is when the classroom training really comes into its own - the earlier research into behaviour (see part one Eye Spy 51) and the many different characters and personalities that surround us. It's also the one time that acting and dress wear alone might not be enough to help the disguise or deception. Enter the true disguise expert. With a little help from cosmetics, a person can be made to look older (sadly taking years off an operative is more difficult - though not impossible), injured, strong or weak, rich or poor. Combined with everything else it is possible to effectively create a new person - complete with a unique personality and lifestyle.

Some operatives will spend time with each other and study personality, facial expressions etc. and 'absorb' the detail. An aggressive operative may study a passive person. Others will spend time people watching - studying the type of person that they might encounter during an operation.....

MI6 AND CIA 'ALL OVER RUSSIA'
OLD FOES LOCK HORNS

Nikolai Patrushev, director of Russia's Federal Security Service (FSB), has accused MI6 and the CIA of 'using agents to meddle in Russia affairs' and creating a 'climate of protest' prior to presidential elections in Russia next March.

'They are trying to influence acts of protest and the mood of protest in Russia in a way that is favourable to their leadership,' Patrushev told the Argumenty i Fakty newspaper in an interview. Patrushev said MI6, in particular, was using the former Soviet satellites of Poland, Georgia, Latvia and Estonia to generate unrest. 'The CIA and SIS continue to attract their partners and several others to work against Russia,' he said. 'American and British special services exert serious influence on the these states and some other countries in Eastern Europe.'

Russia's intelligence services have been forced on the offensive by events surrounding former KGB man Aleksander Litvinenko and journalist Anna Politkovskaya, both murdered in recent months. Though the FSB has denied any involvement in Litvinenko's death one year ago, five officers belonging to some of its....

THE BRITISH SECURITY COORDINATION
MI6 OPERATIONS IN THE UNITED STATES OF AMERICA

The British Security Coordination (BSC) was a hugely influential and powerful covert intelligence directorate based in Midtown Manhattan in the Rockefeller Center (it was initially based in Wall Street). Overseen by the UK Government through several MI6 officers and liaison staff, the BSC ran hundreds of covert operations under the noses of Washington. Established in 1940 on the orders of Winston Churchill, its initial role was, in effect, to run British interests in the Americas and help secure US assistance on a wide range of subjects. Headed by Canadian businessman and entrepreneur William Stephenson (code-name Intrepid -assigned by Churchill himself), historians also accept the BSC had an ulterior objective - to make sure the United States entered the war.

The BSC's several front companies and, a subtle but clever undercover programme with several media personalities, assured good publicity for the UK. Ultimately there were many 'prompts' from the BSC to US 'friendly editors' to run stories piling pressure on the public to help get America to physically join with Britain in the war against the Nazis. Besides infiltrating the media, unions and public service organisations were also targeted.....

13 DAYS OF OCTOBER
THE MOST DANGEROUS 2 WEEKS IN MANKIND'S HISTORY

The Cuban Missile Crisis began on 16 October 1962 - the first of the Thirteen Days of October. On that day, President John F. Kennedy was informed that a U-2 mission flown over western Cuba two days earlier had taken photographs of Soviet nuclear missile sites. The event was a watershed for the intelligence community (IC) and the Central Intelligence Agency, in particular. It demonstrated that the technological collection capabilities so painstakingly constructed to monitor the Soviet Union had matured to give the IC an unmatched ability to provide policymakers with sophisticated warning and situational awareness.

Rumours of Nuclear Missile Deployment in Cuba: After the Soviet Union began supplying Cuba with conventional arms during the summer of 1960, rumours about a nuclear missile deployment on the island began emanating from Miami's Cuban community. Despite an extensive array of assets targeted at Fidel Castro's regime, US intelligence could not substantiate the reports. And not for a lack of trying: the CIA deployed 'collection teams' and conducted technical operations; the US military's intelligence services and the FBI reached out to sources; the government had twice-a-month U-2 flights; the IC monitored official and nonofficial third country sources, travellers, and media reports. The IC concluded that the expatriates were trying to provoke the United States into taking military action against Castro....

A splendid feature prepared by CIA historians and supported by some very rare photographs...

INTELLIGENCE, COUNTERTERRORISM
MI5 CHIEF SAYS 4,000 AL-QAIDA OPERATIVES IN UK

Director-General of MI5, Jonathan Evans, in his first major speech since taking office in April 2007, warned that al-Qaida recruiters are 'grooming' British youngsters as young as 15. 'As I speak, terrorists are methodically and intentionally targeting young people and children in this country. They are radicalising, indoctrinating and grooming young, vulnerable people to carry out acts of terrorism,' he said in an address titled Intelligence, Counterterrorism and Trust to the Society of Editors in Manchester. He also said valuable funds were being used to stop increased Russian and Chinese spying. These are monies he would have liked to have injected into terror group surveillance. As for young people and terrorism, his comments were direct: 'This year, we have seen individuals as young as 15 and 16 implicated in terrorist-related activity,' he said. Mr Evans, 49, further warned that MI5 now had 2,000 suspected terrorists under observance, though the Security Service believe the UK is host to as many as 4,000 active al-Qaida operatives. 'We suspect that there are as many again that we don't yet know of,' he admitted. It is a staggering number considering the manpower and effort required just to launch a single surveillance operation.


EYE SPY 52 BEST OF THE REST

MOSCOW THEATRE SIEGE
FSB customised animal knockout gas: Finally the FSB reveal what was used to disable over 40 Chechen terrorists who stormed Moscow's Dubrovka Theatre...

MOSSAD AGENT'S DEATH
Mystery deepens: Ashraf Marwan 'fell' to his death from his Mayfair apartment in London in June 2007. Now an eye witness connected to Marwan has provided new information on two suspects...

ON HER MAJESTY'S POSTAL STAMPS
Bond stamps his mark on Royal Mail: Details about an exciting and highly new set of stamps featuring the imaginary MI6 spy

YOUTUBE UNDER OBSERVANCE
Security officials target al-Qaida who are using the popular website

SAUDIS PROVIDED INTEL ON 7/7
Saudi Arabia's King Abdullah on a state visit to Britain maintains his intelligence service did notify Britain about the London bomb plot

TOPOFF 4
Acting with intent: Fifteen thousand US security and emergency service staff participate in huge exercise

RED NOTICE FOR IRAN'S JACKALS
Interpol eyes former Iranian spy chief: Interpol has put former Iranian intelligence chief Ali Fallahian, Mohsen Rabbani (pictured), former cultural attache at Iran's embassy in Buenos Aires and Ahmad Vahidi, a former leader of Iran's Revolutionary Guards on its most wanted list. The worldwide police organisation say the men, along with two other Iranians and a Lebanese militant, are wanted for their involvement in the 1994 bomb attack on a Jewish centre in Argentina.

PREDATOR TO REAPER
Britain's Ministry of Defence purchase the Predator for surveillance operation in Afghanistan

OVER-THE-COUNTER POLONIUM-210
Just how easy is it to purchase the material that killed former FSB officer Aleksander Litvinenko?


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