issue sixty four
Published 13 October 2009
EDITORIAL: COMPASSION? GIVE ME A BREAK
When JSO agent Abdelbaset Ali Al Megrahi inserted a semtex-laden device into a piece of luggage destined for a US-bound aeroplane in December 1988, he was fully aware that he had sealed the fate of hundreds of innocent men, women and children - most returning home for Christmas with their loved ones. He was eventually tracked down, convicted and jailed for his actions. He is now free - on “compassionate grounds” (he is terminally ill) and is now enjoying what’s left of his life with his own family in Libya.
Many vehemently disagreed with the decision, including Robert Mueller - chief of the FBI. He vented his anger with an unprecedented letter to the Scottish Justice Minister who sanctioned Al Megrahi’s release. Lest not we forget, Mueller was central to the huge investigation that exposed the JSO’s involvement in the case. Former Scottish First Minister Henry McLeish said Mueller was “out of order” and that it was “none of his business”. McLeish is not just wrong... he is very, very wrong. Nearly 200 American nationals died on Pan Am Flight 103, that makes it his business to see justice done and the villains put behind bars - for good. Had such an occurrence happened over US soil with a British aeroplane - I would expect our own security officials to play an integral part in the investigation... and comment if necessary.
Though the decision to free Al Megrahi may not have been taken by a silent Downing Street, there are plenty of unanswered questions that remain. For example, throughout this sorry affair, Premier Gordon Brown not once said he disagreed with the bomber’s release, nor did he see fit to exert any pressure on ruling Scottish ministers in Edinburgh. Something is not quite right in this affair - but the truth will out.
The case features in this edition of Eye Spy, as well as a plethora of stories that will
undoubtedly be of interest to spy afficionados everywhere.
Mark Birdsall - Editor
LOCKERBIE’S PUPPETMAN: CONVICTED JSO INTELLIGENCE AGENT FREED
The only man ever convicted of the bombing of Pan Am Flight 103 over 20 years ago, was freed on 20 August 2009, despite massive opposition in the UK and USA. Abdelbaset Ali Al Megrahi, was an experienced field intelligence officer with the menacing JSO (Jamahariya Security Organisation - Libyan Intelligence), who along with several other operatives, was given the task of bringing down an American airliner.
On the evening of 21 December 1988, as passengers looked forward to spending Christmas with their loved ones in the USA, a semtex-laden bomb blew a football-size hole in the side of Pan Am Flight 103 as it journeyed to New York from London. The result was devastation over the Dumfriesshire town of Lockerbie. In a matter of seconds 270 people were dead, including 189 American nationals.
The shameful political skulduggery that went on before and after Al Megrahi’s release is covered in this feature - as is the huge investigation which led both British and American investigators to Colonel Gaddafi’s intelligence agency - an outfit undoubtedly responsible for the biggest terrorist outrage in Britain.
BLUNT: THE CAMBRIDGE SPY
KGB spy admits “biggest mistake of my life” - but shows no remorse towards British intelligence agents who died as a result of his treason
Anthony Blunt, a leading light in the infamous Cambridge spy ring died in 1983. A year later, the executor of Blunt’s Will, John Golding, entrusted the spy’s 30,000-word memoirs to the British Library. There was a caveat in his “gift” to the British people - his words must not be released for at least 25-years to the general public, save they cause embarrassment to living members of his family or closest friends. In mid-July 2009, they were indeed released and caused a flurry of media interest. A special feature on Anthony Blunt, one of the most notorious British Intelligence traitors who spied for the Soviets.
A TANTALISING SPY STORY: STORIES THAT MI5 HEAD WAS KGB MOLE WON’T GO AWAY
Though 25-years have passed since British intelligence officer and KGB spy Anthony Blunt passed on his memoirs to the British Library, the stories surrounding Soviet infiltration of MI5 and MI6 are just as relevant as they are enduring.
One case in particular never fails to generate debate - that of MI5 Director-General Roger Hollis. According to former MI5 man Peter Wright and his book - Spycatcher - Hollis was “undoubtedly a Russian spy”. But MI5’s own web site - is adamant this is an untruth: “In 1981 allegations were published (reference Spycatcher) that Sir Roger had been a Soviet secret agent. These were investigated and found to be groundless.” In another MI5 web section - ‘Myths and
Misunderstandings’, reference is made to the Trend Inquiry of 1974 that “cleared Hollis of that suggestion”. And this was confirmed when KGB Colonel Oleg Gordievsky defected to Britain years later.
News of the release of Blunt’s memoir also sparked interest from across the Atlantic. A friend of Soviet defector Igor Gouzenko recalled how Hollis was “put in the frame” and still maintains the MI5 head was a KGB mole. These and other claims, including his supposed journeys through Hyde Park to meet his KGB handler examined by Eye Spy. Plus a look at the ‘House of Secrets’ - the 30-year residence of Hollis.
AFGHANISTAN TO NEW YORK: US TERROR OPERATIVE REVEALS AL-QAIDA SECRETS
A US-born al-Qaida supporter who travelled to Afghanistan to wage war against US troops, has revealed intimate details about several terror cells and ‘players’ in Europe. Some of the information imparted by Bryant Neal Vinas, a New York-based man who converted to Islam, has relevance to terror cells in Britain and Europe - more specifically Belgium, France and Germany.
Vinas, 26, who now goes by his new names - “Ibrahim” or “Bashir al-Ameriki” - was detained by the security services in Pakistan in November 2008. He recently pleaded guilty in court to launching a rocket attack on a US base and other terrorist-related offences. More interestingly, he provided valuable intelligence to the CIA and FBI, on how he discussed with al-Qaida planners, returning to the USA and attacking transportation routes in New York and surrounding areas.
INFILTRATED: MI5 SEEK TO IDENTIFY TERROR INFILTRATORS
It takes a very long time for applicants to be successful in their quest to secure a job with most leading intelligence services. If you have your heart on setting foot in Vauxhall Cross or Thames House, the respective headquarters of MI6 and MI5, and opt to go through “normal channels” such as the Services’ respective web sites, you should expect to wait months (an average of six) for confirmation of a job. In between, there are interviews and tests. In times of heightened national security, it’s possible that time scale is reduced. However, since the rise of al-Qaida in Britain, MI5 has used all its prowess to recruit agents to infiltrate al-Qaida sleeper cells that were forming throughout the country - some more menacing than others - but all keen to cause mayhem.
New reports from intelligence watchers suggest the Service has identified at least four persons who managed to progress through a number of selection barriers.
SLEEPER CELLS: FBI DISMANTLE NORTH CAROLINA TERROR CAMP
US security services have charged three members of the same family in connection with the running of a “jihadi training camp” in rural Caswell County, south of North Carolina’s state capital, Raleigh. Daniel Patrick Boyd, a building contractor and his two sons, Zakriya, 20, and Dylan, 22 are alleged to have created a terrorist training facility and produce operatives prepared to attack targets in foreign countries, including Jordan and Israel. Four other persons have also been charged. All but one are US nationals. An eighth is being sought at time of publication. The operation code-named ‘Triangle Terror Takedown’ in reference to three areas of North Carolina connected to the case - Raleigh, Durham and Chapel Hill, was concluded following a lengthy investigation.
This is just one of several investigations into Al-Qaida’s growing presence in America.
THE MYSTERY CARGO: RUSSIAN INTELLIGENCE PERFORM THE PERFECT RUSE
No doubt the strange journey of cargo vessel Arctic Sea will one day be made into a block-buster movie, but before then, the serious documentary makers will have their say. The 4,000-tonne, Maltese-flagged Finnish-chartered ship “dropped off radar” shortly after passing through the English Channel on 28 July. Unbeknown to a watching world - Russia was working with various intelligence services and monitoring its journey. Indeed, it has since transpired that the FSB created a ruse to fool those who had taken over the ship - making them think they had made good their escape. It’s believed Russia sought NSA assistance and that a spy satellite was used to locate the ship and pass tracking data back to Moscow - this throughout the ship’s entire journey.
News snippets about Arctic Sea’s “mystery disappearance” were given out in the knowledge that the hijackers would be watching or listening to news reports on television and radio.
Arctic Sea sailed from Finland with its Russian crew enroute to Algeria and should have docked on 4 August. Officially carrying about one million pounds worth of timber, she was boarded by a group of armed men. This much is known - but from here the story starts to get murky...
BANNED: 21st CENTURY SPYCATCHER CREATED
Andy Hayman was the UK’s most senior policeman in charge of the UK’s counter terrorism policy and operations. He was at the heart of the country’s response to al-Qaida operations in Britain, helping to put at least 50 terror operatives behind bars. Little doubt then that his book - The Terrorist Hunters - co-written by Margaret Gilmore, previously BBC Home Affairs Correspondent and now RUSI Senior Research Fellow - caused much interest in the intelligence world when it was set for release on 2 July.
But just hours before the 372-page book was due to go on public sale, the publisher was hit with a government injunction that effectively banned any outlet in the UK from selling the work. However, dozens of copies did get sold in shops and via Internet outlets.
OPERATION PATHWAY: MI5 CRACK CODED COMMUNICATIONS
Details of why MI5 were so keen to detain a large number of men in the Manchester area in April are starting to emerge. Following an inadvertent error by New Scotland’s Yard counter-terrorism chief - Bob Quick, the Security Service brought forward the end game of an operation code-named Pathway. Though officials from MI5’s northern section spent over eight weeks searching properties in the area, and dug up woodland in the middle of the night some three miles north of the city centre, nothing untoward was found. However, MI5 were so convinced that something was afoot, the suspects, mostly visiting students from Pakistan, were detained and handed over to the UK Border Agency for deportation. It was no secret that MI5 had acquired intelligence that prompted the raids, some of which its analysts suggested the men planned an Easter Holiday bombing campaign.
CODE? - “About my Girl friend. As I told you about Huma’s affair. Nadia is still waiting for my response. She is very loyal and She has created a place in my heart....
MIND CONTROL PRINCIPLES: IN THE INTELLIGENCE CYCLE PART 1 (NEW SERIES)
Former police officer and expert witness Mike Finn takes a serious and objective look at mind control and manipulation in the intelligence game...
The mind is the centre of our awareness, our thoughts, feelings, attention, and volition. Research that has been directed towards control of an individual through the process of controlling the mind in some way, has two main perspectives (a). to develop new technologies directed at controlling the mind (b). to develop countermeasures as methods improve.
This series of articles is not about the development and structure of mind control research organisations (enough has been written on that subject). These articles deal with the very foundation of the principles, and show how frail and vulnerable the brain is in the face of scientific advancement.
AUSTRALIAN MILITARY BASE TARGETED: ECHELON PROGRAMME OUTS AL-QAIDA CELL
Australian security services foiled a major suicide attack on a military base on the outskirts of Sydney. Intelligence officials say four men - Australian nationals of Somali and Lebanese descent, intended to kill as many troops and civilians serving at Holsworthy Camp as possible. Unbeknown to the terrorist plotters, Australia’s intelligence services via the global interception system known as ECHELON - had been intercepting text messages and cell phone calls which exposed their plans.
THE VIDEO MAN: US-BORN TRAITOR PROVIDES AL-QAIDA WITH 60 WASHINGTON DC RECONNAISSANCE VIDEO CLIPS
Ehsanul Sadequee, 23, was a player in a worldwide network of persons keen to create a group called Al-Qaida in Europe. However, like many terror plotters who use the Internet to communicate with colleagues... even in code, he was “outed” following an anti-terrorist investigation by a number of foreign intelligence services, including MI5.
Sadequee used various web sites and a chat room hosted by a known al-Qaida operative in London, to relay his warped vision of the world. Yet he was keen to play more than just a “bit part”, and together with a colleague, Syed Haris Ahmed, started to tour the US capital and film prominent buildings and monuments. These were then sent via the Internet to contacts in England, North Africa and Asia. Full report...
CIA UNDER OBSERVANCE: NEW US INTERROGATION UNIT LEAVES CIA OUT IN THE COLD
US government officials seem intent hanging out the CIA’s “dirty washing” in public. Besides disputes over who picks the Agency’s overseas Station Chiefs, and questions raised over its foreign based terrorist ‘holding stations’, now its interrogation methods and a non-existent “assassination” programme have been called into question. The latest affair relates to the Agency’s worldwide search of al-Qaida terrorists and their associates who attacked America in 2001...
THE SECRET SERVICE: 100 YEARS OF MI5 AND MI6
In our special year-long series covering the 100 year history of MI5 and MI6, Eye Spy analyses the most intensive espionage debacle suffered by the Services. This
splendid feature looks at the Soviet spies, moles and agent provocateurs who plied their trade for decades in Britain and America. Along the way, we reveal several important London spy sites. This is the Cold War story of Russian Infiltration...
From 1909 THROUGH 1945, MI5 and MI6 had performed well against a plethora of adversaries. The Services had evolved into separate entities that seemed well placed to confront numerous emerging issues, such as problems in the Middle and Far East. There was one threat, however, that would test the resolve of Britain’s secret services to the full - the Soviet Union. For the next four decades or so, Britain and its primary ally, the United States, would wage a secret war both at home and abroad that would see its spies pitted against one another. It didn’t help one jot that Russia had already placed several key spies within British Intelligence in the shape of the ‘Cambridge Spy Ring’.
Eye Spy examines a period of inner suspicion that changed forever the spying game... and the traitors who sent dozens of British agents to their deaths
EXTRACT ONE: When ‘Captain Black’ of the War Office entered a posh apartment in Bentinck Street, London, little did he know he was about to make the biggest mistake of his life. ‘Black’ was in fact Guy Liddell, head of MI5’s counter-espionage branch and one of the Service’s most experienced officers. He had been invited to the apartment by Victor Rothschild, a top Cambridge scientist and fellow MI5 man who was keen to introduce his former French teacher. That man was Captain Anthony Blunt and his host was recommending him to the Security Service.
The date was June 1940, and is significant in that Liddell had inadvertently recruited a top Russian asset who would go on to spy and recruit for Moscow for years. Another room at the same address was owned by an equally interesting character - Guy Burgess.
EXTRACT TWO - HOMER VISITS NEW YORK: Whoever HOMER was - his name kept appearing in VENONA transcripts and was linked to Britain’s Foreign Office. Similarly, analysts discovered that every two weeks HOMER visited New York. Another message in September 1944, discussed a close pregnancy. The MI5 net was closing on Donald Maclean. MI5 watchers surveilled him across London and tapped his telephone, but that one piece of evidence that could trap the spy was never forthcoming. Nevertheless, MI5 were convinced Maclean was KGB. In later years, Philby wrote that Moscow agreed to get him out of London before he could talk - just in case he revealed the identity of his associates.
In Moscow, a plan was hatched that would enable Maclean to flee the UK in the summer of 1951. Guy Burgess was tasked with travelling to London to help arrange his departure, however, he was working abroad. The KGB arranged that Burgess should receive three speeding tickets in one day infuriating his superiors back in Whitehall. The plan worked and he was recalled for breaching his diplomatic privileges. Back in England, MI5 were working with the FBI to set up the...
CHECKMATE: COLD WAR CRYPTIC MI5 POSTCARDS
In 1963, Graham Mitchell, Deputy-Director of MI5 and Roger Hollis, Director-General, became the prime suspects in an investigation to “out” further KGB spies from within the Service. Mitchell in particular was high on MI5’s spycatching list, but like Hollis, information that tied him to the Russians was spurious and inconclusive.
Now, an intriguing discovery has been made by a former member of Mitchell’s household staff. A series of cryptic messages typed on eighteen postcards and mailed to Mitchell from Frankfurt, West Germany in 1950, have caused much excitement in the spy world.
The postcards were sent by a British intelligence field agent, who besides including seemingly ordinary sentences, typed numerous chess moves. To a casual eye, they represent little more than a chess game being played out over a great distance between friends; to those working in intelligence, they are most certainly disguised correspondences....
CHINA’S US SPACE SPIES: SPIES AMIDST AMERICA’S SPACE AND AVIATION INDUSTRY
In recent years, China’s spy agency has managed to secure numerous US defence secrets - many associated with the US Navy, including entire operational and missile systems. Now its attention is focussed on space and aviation. The FBI has mounted a major security and advisory programme to alert contract companies and insist upon tighter security. However, the primary threat still exists.
The scale of the problem, which this feature covers, was evident in the recent case of Dongfan Greg Chung, a Boeing engineer of 30 years. Chung, using at least one point-of-contact Chinese spy, passed on details about the Space Shuttle and several key US aeroplanes - including the B-52 and F-15.
There is deep concern within the US intelligence community, other ‘Chung’s’ are still operational.
SEVEN CIA PARAGRAPHS: US-UK INTELLIGENCE SHARING THREATENED
A powerful feature and commentary surrounding the long-time intelligence sharing agreement between Washington and London.
Some intelligence analysts believe the liaison and goodwill that exists between agencies such as the CIA and MI5, is threatened by the wording of just seven CIA paragraphs contained in an official document relating to former Guantanamo inmate and terror suspect - Binyam Mohamed. He has launched legal action against MI5 and has accused the Service of “colluding” in his torture. Some of his legal supporters want the content of a US intelligence paper read in court - which is counter and contrary to the intelligence agreement between the US and UK.
If this paper is indeed aired in public, the damage to the relationship could be chatostrophic - especially coming on the back of Downing Street’s decision not to criticise the release of the Lockerbie bomber - Al Megrahi.
• Within the feature - a fascinating sidebar on the MI5 files covering the Beatles song-writer - John Lennon and his support of the IRA and opposition to US forces in Vietnam.
LETTER FROM FORT MEADE - COLOSSUS: A SURVIVING FRAGMENT OF THE ORIGINAL MACHINE
The NSA’s National Cryptologic Museum recently received a wonderful surprise donation from the family of the late Lieutenant General William E. Odom USA who served as Director of the National Security Agency and Central Security Service [NSA/CSS] from May 1985 until succeeded by Vice Admiral William O. Studeman USN in August of 1988.
General Odom was a 1954 graduate of the US Military Academy at West Point, New York. He was a career Army officer who was also a serious scholar of international relations and a leading authority on the Soviet Union. He was military assistant to Zbigniew Brzezinski, President Jimmy Carter’s national security adviser and became NSA/CSS Director during President Reagan’s second term.
When he retired from NSA in 1988, he was presented with a parting gift by his British counterpart, GCHQ Director Sir Peter Marychurch who himself retired in 1989. At a retirement ceremony held in Cheltenham, Sir Peter presented General Odom with a unique gift: a component part of the world’s first programmable digital computer, Colossus. It was believed that all ten Colossi that saw service during...
UNDERCOVER BOOK RELEASES: THE LATEST INTELLIGENCE AND ESPIONAGE BOOKS
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THE VIRGINIA ASSASSIN
US-born al-Qaida operative sentenced to “extended life” for President George Bush assassintion plot
HONOURING THE CODEBREAKERS
GCHQ release details of commemorative badges issued to those who served at Bletchley Park codebreaking centre and its satellites
POISON, KGB SPIES AND THE MEDIA
A former KGB officer and now UK newspaper owner comments on a suspected attempt on his life
CIA MAN SEES TRIPLE
A CIA whistleblower reveals that the Agency’s overseas “terror holding sites” were built to identical specifications to confuse and disorientate prisoners
007 - A GOOD RECRUITING TOOL
A former MI6 ‘C’ reveals why the silverscreen image of James Bond is good for the Service
DISAPPEARING MI6 NEWS
A fascinating report on MI6 appeared momemtarily on the Internet - but then disappeared... but not before Eye Spy caught a fleeting glimpse!
CIA CHIEF THREATENS TO WALK
More White House interference results in CIA Chief threatening to resign...
SON OF KGB DIES
The son of one of Britain’s most notorious spies has passed away...
THE MAN WHO COULD HAVE CHANGED HISTORY
A look at the spy William Goldin - or to use his real name - Alexander Orlev
YURI MODIN - THE KGB’s LONDON AGENT RUNNER
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