issue Fifty Five

 

      

 

  • Published 13 June 2008

     

 

Contents:

 

Editor’s Brief Notes:

 

According to some notable intelligence watchers, Russia’s SVR (foreign intelligence service) has an extremely secret unit called Zaslon (SHIELD). Zaslon consists of about 300 agents who are active abroad. Their work is not always centred on intelligence gathering... sometimes they are linked to puzzling and shadowy incidents - like the killing of former FSB officer Alexsander Litvinenko in London in 2006. And now the name Zaslon has been raised again in connection with another happening - one year on from the Litvinenko affair. Former KGB Colonel Oleg Gordievsky told journalists that following a meeting with a GRU (Russian military intelligence) officer at his UK safehouse, he was poisoned - probably with Thallium. He was hospitalised for two weeks but survived. Special Branch did not investigate. However, after a furious Gordievsky - the highest ranking KGB official ever to defect to Britain - contacted former MI5 Director-General Eliza Manningham-Buller, the police are again involved. One person who knows Gordievsky very well is Eye Spy Associate Editor Glenmore Trenear-Harvey. He has written an important piece for this edition of Eye Spy about President Putin’s “Find and Destroy” Edict and the incident involving Gordievsky.

 

Gordievsky, who was smuggled out of Russia in a daring MI6 operation in the mid-1980s, says he was third on the list for assassination. This is a story not to be missed.

 

OF INTEREST: Had Gordievsky died, it’s possible the poison may never have been detected. In Russia, the SVR would have described this event as MEASLES. It’s a rarely used intelligence term for an assassination operation so cleverly performed the authorities would put it down to natural causes or an accident. This phrase is but one of a number that feature in a fascinating article - The Language of Spies.

 

There’s also an interesting look at probably the world’s first-ever organised spy rings and intelligence gathering, as former police officer Mike Finn examines the deadly Ninja and the women called Kunoichi who often played the “Matahari role”.

 

We have an exclusive tradecraft feature from surveillance expert Peter Jenkins. He discusses the problems of surveillance on the London Underground and beneath the surface in general.  

 

END NOTES: Eye Spy 55 features spy cases and intelligence operations from around the world; the MI5 stargazer who said he could predict Hitler’s demise; the Jackal of Red Square and the plot to assassinate Putin. And of course, we dissect the al-Qaida Trans-Atlantic sky plot that could have killed as many as 2,000 passengers. And there’s lots more in this information-packed edition.

A brief overview of Eye Spy 55 follows...

  

Mark Birdsall

Editor

 

THE RED SQUARE JACKAL

An assassin in the heart of Moscow

 

Police raided a recently rented apartment overlooking Red Square just hours before President Putin was due to give a speech on 2 March at midnight. One man was arrested and amongst a small arsenal of weapons recovered - a high-powered British sniper rifle. Eye Spy discovered this man had started his journey in the US and wended his to Moscow via Europe. He is described as a “jackal” and was scheduled to leave the flat on... 3 March. What was he planning? 

 

 

LANGUAGE OF SPIES

THE PHRASES OF INTELLIGENCE AND ESPIONAGE

 

When terrorists bombed London in 2005, some intelligence commentators used the words “Clean Skins’ to describe the men who had avoided the “Police Radar’ and were basically “Unknowns’. Eye Spy looks at a few words and expressions used in the intelligence world... some well known and others forgotten or rarely spoken today...

 

CIA SPY RING BROKEN?

SPY GAMES IN BELARUS

 

Belarus still operates an old Soviet-style KGB secret service. In recent months they have allegedly monitored a ten-strong CIA-FBI spy ring... at least that’s according to KGB Major-General Yuri Zhadobin (pictured). Eye Spy examines the background of this state-produced news story.

 

 

HORIZON THREATS

Britain injects funds into new counterintelligence efforts

 

The British Government has announced the creation of two new intelligence and advisory committees that will exist to monitor and combat “horizon threats” to the UK. This is in direct response to new figures that show thousands of al-Qaida operatives and supporters in 200 terror cells are formulating 30 operations in the UK. Prime Minister Brown also announced that more monies are being given to the security services. Though he was not specific, it is believed some of the money will be used by MI6’s specialist research laboratories to create a new generation of eavesdropping technology and upgrade existing systems at Britain’s huge GCHQ (Government Communications Headquarters) listening centre in Cheltenham. Other monies will be directed towards counter-terrorist technology, through the Joint Terrorism Analysis Centre run by MI5. Brown naturally left out the detail. However, sources believe wiretap technology and general equipment will be upgraded.

 

“Many of these networks and individuals share an ambition to cause mass casualties without warning. Some are willing to use suicide attacks and have aspirations to use chemical, biological and radiological weapons.”

 

THE SPY WHO NEVER WAS

RUSSIA, MI5 AND THE STING IN HENRY’S BAR

 

Eye Spy provides the background to a strange case that occurred recently involving a former British Army territorial soldier and police charges of espionage and bomb-making. Peter Hill denied the charges but admitted contacting the Russian Embassy and meeting with a Russian agent called “Andrei” in Henry’s Bar on Greek Street, Leeds. Andrei just happened to be an undercover MI5 agent....

 

 

STRANGE BUT TRUE

THE GROSVENOR SQUARE REBEL

 

In March 1968, tensions were high as tens of thousands of Vietnam war protesters gathered in Trafalgar Square, London. A group of about 8,000 broke away from the main gathering and headed towards Grosvenor Square - and the US Embassy. A bloody battle between protesters and police ensued and both sides blamed each other of using excessive force. Eye Spy looks at some surprising members who were present that day... including today’s most senior spy in the UK.

 

INSIDER TRADING

THE US SAILOR - SPY AND TERRORIST

 

A former US sailor has been found guilty of passing vital information on US warships in the Gulf to an al-Qaida operative in London. Intelligence sources say Hassan Abu-Jihaad, formerly known as Paul R. Hall, 31, could have been part of a wider cell paving the way for an attack similar to that on the USS Cole in October 2000. The Cole was on a refuelling stop in the port of Yemen when an explosion badly damaged the ship resulting in the deaths of 17 naval personnel...

 

 

FEUDAL INTELLIGENCE GATHERING

SECRET AGENTS OF JAPAN’S FEUDAL ERA       Part One

 

Mike Finn has produced an enduring article about some of the world’s earliest spies and spy rings. In this important feature Finn takes us back thousands of years to the time of Sun Tzu and 500BC and notes how much of this written work is still applicable today. 

 

EXTRACT: A document that became the cornerstone of warfare and strategy, written in China around 500 B.C. was called the “Art Of War’ (Sun Tzu). The first the Western world heard of this document was in 1772 when it was translated by a French missionary in Peking, called Father Amiot. To avoid confusion it is worth mentioning that around 400 B.C. a relative of Sun Tzu, called Sun Bin also wrote a document called “The Art Of War’. This manuscript was discovered in 1972. However, the recommended reading at the best military academies throughout the world has been the work by Sun Tzu.

 

Sun Tzu deals with many aspects of warfare, but in respect of intelligence gathering, chapter 13, called “Kan’ tackles this subject, as well as the structure and deployment of secret agents. Even today the precepts of this formula are reflected in intelligence structures. Sun Tzu maintained that the foreknowledge needed to assure victory, could only be obtained through people who knew the condition of the enemy (not by guesswork, or divination). He listed five kinds of spy best suited to obtain this type of information.... 

 

TERROR IN THE SKY

UK-USA TRANS-ATLANTIC BOMB PLOT

“An attack so deadly that if successful would have

had a truly global impact” - Peter Wright QC

 

The trial has started of an alleged British al-Qaida terrorist cell that planned a sophisticated operation which could have resulted in the deaths of over 2,000 people. Eight men - the core of the cell - are accused of scheming to blow-up at least seven trans-Atlantic flights to destinations in North America.

 

EXTRACT: Intelligence sources believe plotter Sarwar was the link man between the British cell and al-Qaida’s leadership. Just four weeks before MI5 and Scotland Yard launched a joint counterterrorism operation on 9 August 2006, UK agents had followed Sarwar to Pakistan. Here he allegedly met with senior terrorist commanders to discuss final preparations of the trans-Atlantic plot. Many of the telephone numbers of his contacts were written in code, and have almost certainly been decoded by now. 

 

Three of the intended suicide bombers had also travelled to Pakistan. MI5 learned that they simultaneously applied for new British passports to conceal visa stamps on their old ones - just in case this aroused suspicion when they tried to board the aircraft. The men all wrote to the authorities claiming that they had lost them....

 

Sarwar meanwhile, was charged with two more important tasks. He was the “custodian” of six pre-recorded suicide videos made by the gang. The tapes were found at two locations - in his garage roof in High Wycombe, Buckinghamshire, and concealed in the boot of his car. Sarwar was also made responsible for acquiring sufficient quantities of hydrogen peroxide - the primary component of the liquid explosive bombs. The court heard he purchased over 40 litres - this would be “distilled” to make a denser concentration....

 

The background and much more in this truly worrying case.

 

 

THE NEW RECRUITERS

Unique methods being deployed to attract the “right stuff”

 

In days gone-by some of the brightest students were given a “tap on the shoulder” by professional spy recruiters. That still happens, of course, but in an attempt to reach out to tomorrow’s potential spooks, agencies such as GCHQ and even Israel’s shadowy Shin Bet, are using innovative methods, including inserting adverts in computer games and allowing agents to “blog”. Eye Spy looks at the “New Recruiters” who believe they have found ways of “connecting” with computer-savvy students.

 

FAIR GAME

FEATURE FILM COMING ABOUT OUTED CIA OFFICER

 

Hollywood filmmakers Warner Brothers have announced that they are to produce a spy thriller based entirely on Valerie Plame’s book - Fair Game: My Life as a Spy, My Betrayal by the White House. The company bought film rights to the book last year. Plame’s CIA career ended when she was outed in a shadowy political drama involving the White House, newspaper journalists, and dirty tricks. However, things might not go smoothly for the film as it has to pass through the watching eyes of the CIA’s powerful Publication Review Board (PRB)...

 

For the record, Plame’s role is being played by Nicole Kidman.

 

MOSCOW’S SPY VICE

CIA AND MI6 “CONTACTS” ARRESTED IN RUSSIA?

 

The FSB has detained two “professional businessmen” in Moscow who were allegedly carrying business cards that belonged to CIA operatives and intelligence contacts supposedly linked to MI6.

 

The men were arrested on 12 March after police entered BP’s Moscow headquarters. Ilya Zaslavsky, 29, a middle-management executive at TNK-BP, the country’s third biggest oil firm, and his brother Alexander, 33, who does not work for the company, were charged with espionage. Both men have joint US and Russian nationality. Eye Spy investigates this interesting case that could have wider implication for foreign oil companies being squeezed out of Russia by Moscow.

 

CHINA AWAKENING

BEIJING OLYMPICS TARGETED

 

China’s security services have thwarted two major operations by two gangs associated with al-Qaida. In one plot, terrorists schemed to hijack an airliner and the other involved attacking the Olympic Games itself. It is understood a third plot has already been disrupted. With tensions already high over events in Tibet, these are worrying times for officials in Beijing as al-Qaida looks to carry out a major attack in front of billions of watching sports fans this Autumn.

 

LONG ARM OF THE CIA

US AFRICAN EMBASSY BOMBERS “REMOVED”

 

In the late 1990s, terrorists attacked two US Embassies in Africa killing hundreds. Since then, the CIA has embarked on a global hunt for the perpetrators - a chase which has been likened to Mossad’s hunt for the Munich Olympic terrorists who killed several Israeli athletes.

 

News have slowly filtered out that the CIA has finally caught up with two of the masterminds. In one case a terrorist was killed by a cruise missile launched from a US Nuclear submarine...

 

TRADECRAFT

UNDERGROUND SURVEILLANCE

PERFORMING SURVEILLANCE BENEATH THE SURFACE...

 

Eye Spy’s surveillance consultant Peter Jenkins, explains why conducting surveillance on the Underground or beneath the surface requires subtle changes in conventional procedures and techniques.

 

EXTRACT: The London Underground (Tube) is a vast mazy 250 mile-long train network used by a staggering three million people every day. It is the easiest and quickest mode of transport in London. With over 250 stations, a person can travel virtually anywhere in the capital and bordering counties without using other forms of transport.

 

Because of this, targets of surveillance can frequent locations quickly and disappear on the underground system. It is necessary, therefore, that surveillance operators adopt certain procedures unique to this situation and environment.

 

The primary problem facing any surveillance team operating on the Underground is poor communication with colleagues on the surface. At best it is limited, but more often than not it is non-existent. However, while conventional radios do not allow you to talk to surface operators, they do work very well with colleagues beneath the surface.

 

“Problems can escalate when the target manoeuvres to get off the train. It may be difficult for an operator to talk on the radio, especially if he is surrounded by commuters.”

 

 

MI5, HITLER AND THE STARGAZER

HOW A BOGUS ASTROLOGER FOOLED UK INTELLIGENCE

 

A newly released batch of MI5 documents was opened by the National Archives that shows Louis de Wohl, a fraudulent Hungarian “nobleman”, who also advised Britain’s shadowy Political Warfare Executive (PWE), could help the Allies defeat Germany. De Wohl, who came to Britain in 1935, could also boast that his research paper on German psychology had previously been sent to the Vice-Chief of the General Staff. With this in mind, and his self declaration of being the “modern Nostradamus”, to ignore his advice would be foolish, so MI5 listened, especially when he claimed he could foretell how Hitler would fall. Eye Spy looks at some of the people who listened... and some who didn’t.

 

 

FAMOUS CODEBREAKERS HONOURED

POLES WHO CRACKED ENIGMA GET NSA MUSEUM ACCLAIM

 

The breaking of the Enigma cipher during World War Two is one of the most significant cryptanalytical actions ever performed: it led to the now famous work at Bletchley Park [BP] in England and contributed, in an inestimable way, to the Allied victory in that conflict. The ability of one side to read the most secret communications of its enemies while keeping its codebreaking successes to itself was, and still is, one of the greatest achievements of military and political history. But the Allies did not do this alone... it all began with the Poles!

 

World authority on cryptology, David Hamer, looks at a new exhibition at the NSA’s National Cryptologic Museum (NCM) dedicated to codebreakers Marian Rejewski, Jerzy Rozycki and Henryk Zygalski....

 

 

INTERNAL AFFAIRS

MI5 ASKED TO MONITOR TERROR CELL “INSIDE” SCOTLAND YARD

 

At least four police officers in Britain’s biggest police force are reportedly being monitored by MI5 over alleged ties to al-Qaida. According to sources close to Scotland Yard, the men, who all work at different stations in the capital, have been passing “secret information” on police operations to other terrorists in the group.

 

THE RALEIGH SPY CONFERENCE - REVIEW

MYTHS OF COLD WAR SPY CASES SHATTERED

 

Cold War spy history got some sharp corrections in late March from CIA veterans during a conference in Raleigh, North Carolina. The fifth assembly of the Raleigh Spy Conference, hosted by Raleigh publicist Bernie Reeves, was devoted to “CIA’s Unsolved Mysteries:  the Nosenko Defection, Double Agents, and Angleton’s Wilderness of Mirrors.” In an unprecedented, bold effort to illustrate for a lay audience some of the best-hidden, most complex, and least understood levels of counterespionage, CIA veterans and informed investigative journalists set out to correct oft-repeated misunderstandings and distortions that had become conventional wisdom in the public press.

 

US-ISRAELI SPY WARS

NEW INITIATIVE TO FREE ISRAELI SPY?

 

According to press reports in Israel, officials in Tel Aviv have started investigating a new way to secure the release of Jonathan Pollard, a Jewish US citizen who was jailed for passing thousands of classified documents to Israel.

 

From May 1984 to November 1985, Pollard, a civilian intelligence officer in the US Navy, gave his handler, Aviam Sela, a senior IAF officer working for Lekem - a secret intelligence outfit in the Defense Ministry, materials about US activities in the Middle East.

 

 

FBI-SCOTLAND YARD LIAISONS

BUREAU CHIEF IN KEYNOTE LONDON ADDRESS

 

FBI Director Robert Mueller recently flew into the UK to deliver a keynote speech on countering the global threat of terrorism. He also discussed the unique relationship that exists between UK and American security services.

 

 

EYE SPY 55 BEST OF THE REST

 

RED SEPTEMBER

Super spy agency to be launched in Russia

Details of the emergence of a new intelligence agency born from the investigative arms of several existing services has been revealed in Moscow.

 

END GAME

21/7 London plot mastermind dead

Reports from Washington confirm the terrorist who orchestrated the 21/7 London transit bombings - Abu Ubaida al-Masri is dead.

 

DIANA INQUEST

No conspiracy... no cover-up

The jury at the inquest of Diana, Princess of Wales, has concluded she and Dodi Fayed were killed unlawfully. However, they found no evidence the authorities were involved.

 

7/7 SCOUT TEAM

Targets included London Eye

Three men have gone on trial in the UK accused of supporting the 21/7 terrorists. A court heard the men “scouted” for targets.

 

INTERROGATION

CIA responds to New York Times “torture” feature

In a remarkable move, the CIA publicly responded to a New York Times feature on the agency’s interrogation methods.

 

EYE ON SOUTHCOM

Cuba’s spooks monitor American command and bases

As the presidential election draws ever closer, Cuba’s reconnaissance of US military activity, especially in Florida, has increased. Castro believes any US operation against Cuba will be orchestrated by Southern Command.

 

IRAN’S BOMB CHASE

Central Intelligence Agency chief, Michael Hayden, has gone on the record saying it is his personal belief Iran is determined to acquire a nuclear device.

 

RESTAURANT INFORMANT

Four FBI agents and a UK counterterrorist officer were injured by a bomb at a restaurant popular with Westerners in Islamabad.

 

PENTAGON AND GOOGLE

Military officials have banned Google from showing detailed photographs of its bases.

 

 

EVENT LONDON

UK man “primed” to become London suicide bomber

A Briton has told how 9/11 mastermind Khalid Sheikh Mohammed tried to recruit him as a suicide bomber to attack London. During the “terror summit”, the terror leader, now in custody in the United States, also targeted the US Embassy in Qatar and formulated plans to assassinate King Abdullah of Saudi Arabia.

 

FARC CHASES DIRTY BOMB

Authorities in Colombia say a computer recovered from a senior FARC guerrilla shot dead by the army, showed the group had acquired uranium. Intelligence officials believe the group are intent on building a “dirty bomb”, either for use in the country... or to sell on.

 

 

UNDERCOVER BOOK RELEASES

The latest intelligence and tradecraft books

 

SPECIALIST EQUIPMENT

NEW PRODUCTS

Eye Spy’s regular feature showing some of the most popular equipment available to the trade and public alike. From personal security to high-end transmitters for specialist tasks, you will find the latest products and some firm “industry standard” favourites here. 


 

Issue 55

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