Cyril Smith MP abused boys, Manchester police find (2012)

Police find ‘overwhelming evidence’ former Rochdale MP attacked vulnerable boys and CPS criticises 1970s decision not to prosecute

Police have acknowledged that the late MP Sir Cyril Smith repeatedly physically and sexually abused children at a Rochdale care home but escaped answering the allegations after prosecutors declined to put him on trial.

Smith, the Liberal and subsequently Liberal Democrat MP for the town, who died in 2010, was the subject of police investigations dating back to the 1960s.

In a statement, Greater Manchester Police said there was “overwhelming evidence” that he attacked boys, six at the Cambridge House children’s home in Rochdale, and two others.

Smith was secretary of the Rochdale Hostel for Boys Association, where he was accused of abusing vulnerable youngsters by spanking and touching them.

The announcement is the first official recognition that Smith went to his grave without answering for his alleged crimes.

In another statement, the Crown Prosecution Service said a decision not to prosecute made in 1970 by the then director of public prosecutions would not have been made today. The CPS said attitudes and the law had changed, but added that one factor that allowed Smith to escape trial was an assessment by the DPP in 1970 that “the characters of some of these young men would be likely to render their evidence suspect”.

The first investigation into Smith uncovered eight youths who alleged that Smith attacked them when they were teenagers, between 1961 and 1966. The descriptions of the attacks were similar and according to the CPS “were allegedly conducted on the pretexts of either a medical examination or punishment for misbehaviour”.

Greater Manchester police said: “The force is now publicly acknowledging that young boys were victims of physical and sexual abuse committed by Smith.”

The statements from police and the prosectors come ahead of new media revelations about Smith and the failure to prosecute him which were expected to surface on Wednesday.

Assistant Chief Constable Steve Heywood said: “If the same evidence was presented to the CPS today, there would have been a very realistic prospect that Smith would have been charged with a number of indecent assaults, and that the case would have been brought to trial.

“Clearly that is a bold statement to make but it is absolutely important for those victims who were abused by Smith that we publicly acknowledge the suffering they endured. Although Smith cannot be charged or convicted posthumously, from the overwhelming evidence we have it is right and proper that we should publicly recognise that young boys were sexually and physically abused.”

Police would pursue allegations that Smith was helped to commit his attack by other people who are still alive, but as yet such claims have not surfaced.

In 1998 and 1999, Greater Manchester Police passed two separate files to the CPS about Smith’s activities at Cambridge House, but on both occasions no further action was recommended.

Simon Danczuk, the Labour MP for Rochdale, who first raised allegations against Smith on the floor of the House of Commons, said the CPS had serious questions to answer over its failure to act in the past.

A Liberal Democrat spokesman said: “These allegations are abhorrent and should be taken very seriously.

“Clearly the party does not endorse any person proved to have been in incidents such as these. All allegations should have been investigated thoroughly with the authorities taking whatever action necessary.

“Any new allegations should be made to the police. The Liberal Democrats are not aware of any allegations being made to the party, and have never been involved in any investigations.

“The alleged incidents and the reported police investigations took place outside of the time Cyril Smith was a Liberal MP.”

Vikram Dodd and Rajeev Syal
The Guardian, Tuesday 27 November 2012 20.16 GMT

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© 2014 Guardian News and Media Limited or its affiliated companies. All rights reserved.

How MI5 and CIA Can Fight the Russian Threat

After years reorienting itself toward counter-terrorism operations and hiring speakers of Urdu and Pashto, MI5, Britain’s domestic security and counterespionage agency, is now looking for Russian-speaking intelligence analysts. Meanwhile, a contact of mine suggested that the Russia desks in several European intelligence agencies are hastily expanding, with agents and analysts being transferred in from other sections. Yesterday, they were reading reports on North African politics and scanning the Chinese press. Now they are poring over YouTube footage of Russian armor on exercises near the Ukrainian border.

All of a sudden, as talk of a new Cold War dominates opinion pages all over the world, Western intelligence and security agencies are rushing to regain capacities lost during the 1990s and 2000s. After all, those were the days of the “peace dividend.” During this period, Russia seemed at best a partner and at worst an irrelevance. But suddenly, the big, bad specter of al-Qaida and jihadi terrorism seemed the greater menace.

I remember talking to a veteran of the U.S. intelligence community, who had experienced two purges. First, as a Russia hand, she had seen her section decimated after the Soviet collapse. Having managed to reinvent herself as a specialist in dealing with transnational organized crime — especially the Russian mob — she then saw the best and brightest of her unit summarily transferred to counter-terrorism work after 9/11.

Now, the West is worried about the Russian threat again, and it is painfully aware of the deficiencies in its intelligence capacities in this region.

Paradoxically, Western security agencies themselves have been warning for years of an upsurge in the scale and aggressiveness of Russian espionage operations.

What’s more, there has been a steady stream of Russian espionage cases. Some were more Austin Powers than James Bond, such as the cell of Foreign Intelligence Service sleeper agents uncovered in the U.S. in 2010, best known for Anna Chapman. But others were very serious breaches of Western security. Jeffrey Delisle, a Canadian naval officer who offered his services to GRU, Russia’s military intelligence, had access to top-secret material from around the world. Herman Simm, a long-time Russian agent, was head of the Estonian Defense Ministry’s security department. And there are others in these categories.

Yet for all this, there seems to have been an unwillingness to take the security breaches seriously. The Chapman case — and how galling it must be for other, more professional members of the cell to have been relegated by posterity into mere extras in her story — was more the grounds for titillation and entertainment than serious consideration. Other incidents tended to be five-day wonders at the most in the media.
This was not because Western security agencies were not expressing their concerns. Indeed, back in 2010, MI5 issued a statement, saying “the threat from Russian espionage continues to be significant and is similar to the Cold War.” Rather, it reflected their political masters’ determination to classify Russia as a second-rate, has-been state. The other factor was the Western security agencies’ narrow focus on terrorism, as if ragged gangs of religious fanatics dodging drones from cave to cave halfway across the globe represented an existential threat to the Western order.

It has taken the Ukrainian crisis to change attitudes. Last month, I attended the Lennart Meri Conference on Baltic security in Tallinn. There, the mood was tinged with more than a little of the “told you so,” especially among representatives from Central Europe. To them, the “western West” had for years been content to underestimate Russian intentions and capacities and to rely on bromides about “partnerships” and “restarts.” The West is only now realizing its mistake.

Of course, the West has always spied on Russia and tried to counter its intelligence operations. But there is no escaping the damage done by nearly 25 years of neglect. Rebuilding counterintelligence assets, let alone agent networks on the ground and the analytic capacity at home, cannot be done quickly.

Meanwhile, we must remember that democracies in particular have a tendency to lurch from one over-compensation to another. The West was too quick to write Russia off in the miserable 1990s. Will it now go to the other extreme and consider Russia as an existential enemy in the 2010s? If so, this would clearly exacerbate tensions with Moscow even further. It would also likely mean that the West’s spies once again become obsessed with Russian military capacities.

The threat to Europe, though, is not that Russia will send its tanks into the Baltics, Poland or Romania. Even in its current emaciated condition, NATO is capable of delivering a devastating response to any Russian aggression in Europe. Nor is the problem that Russia’s unidentified special forces — aka “little green men” — will suddenly crop up in Estonia’s Russian-speaking city of Narva or among the Russian tourists in Karlovy Vary.

Rather, the problem is that Russia could try to render the West impotent. First, it could divide Western leaders over the issue of how to best deal with the Russian threat. Germany is perhaps the best example of a country already divided over the “Russian problem.” Russia could also infiltrate Western financial institutions through cyberwarfare or dirty money. The question is whether Western security agencies, as they desperately scramble to respond to the new perceived challenge after running down their Cold War capabilities, will simply seek to recreate these again. That would be a mistake. What is needed is not a revival of the old, but the creation of new capabilities to respond to a new era of diffuse, complex asymmetric competition.

Mark Galeotti is professor of global affairs at New York University.

By Mark GaleottiMay. 06 2014 20:45 Last edited 20:46

Find this story at 6 May 2014

© Copyright 1992-2014. The Moscow Times

Thatcher received warning about CIA’s activities in UK, secret file reveals

Paddy Ashdown raised fears in 1984 about clandestine approaches made by US agents but allegations were dismissed

Margaret Thatcher told Paddy Ashdown there was no need for an inquiry and no evidence of improper activity. Photograph: Barbra Walton/Associated Press

Margaret Thatcher was warned that the CIA did not always give sufficient advance notice when it carried out operations in Britain, a secret file released on Friday shows.

Paddy Ashdown, a Liberal MP, complained to Thatcher about the US intelligence organisation’s activities in the UK in November 1984.

Ashdown was worried about clandestine approaches made by US agents to British computer firms in this country and abroad to prevent eastern bloc countries obtaining western computer secrets by stealth.

“My subsequent investigations have led me to conclude that the CIA got the information on the UK companies in the course of an operation which, it seems, is still continuing,” he told Thatcher.

The prime minister sent back a letter dismissing his allegations. “There is no evidence of improper activity by the CIA or that the law has been broken,” she wrote. “As you are aware, there is close co-operation between the British and American authorities on the enforcement of multilateraly agreed exports controls, which is in the national interest.” She said there was no need for an inquiry, but would expect police to investigate if there were any evidence of the law being broken.

The files now make clear that this was not the whole picture. The Foreign Office subsequently asked MI5 to investigate Ashdown’s complaints. Their report back to Downing Street said: “The security service are as confident as they can can be that the CIA are not involved in activities in the UK as alleged by Mr Ashdown.

“There is an agreement between the British and American agencies that neither will undertake clandestine activies in the country of the other without specific agreement.”

But, the FCO note, continued: “The security service have told us that there was a small number of isolated cases in 1983 when the CIA approached British individuals with a view to seeking information about cases in which hostile intelligence services were involved in attempts to acquire illegally western technology, without adequate consultation in advance with the British authorities.

“These cases were brought to the attention of the CIA (and FBI) and the security service are satisfied that such cases are not recurring. They emphasise, however, that such incidents are not relevant to the allegations being made by Mr Ashdown which relate to pressure being put on British companies to divulge information about their trading activies.”

MI5, the FCO added, “do not believe that the CIA are involved in clandestine activities in this field and have no cause for complaint”. But just to be sure, the last letter in the file notes, the CIA had given a specific assurance that they were not involved in in the UK as Ashdown had suggested.

The documents do not make clear what the difference was between the small number of isolated cases identified in 1983 and Ashdown’s concerns.

Owen Bowcott, Friday 3 January 2014 00.01 GMT

Find this story at 3 January 2014

© 2014 Guardian News and Media Limited or its affiliated companies. All rights reserved.

British spies ‘knew of detainee abuse’

Aborted inquiry found that British spies knew detainees were abused, deprived of sleep and made to wear hoods.

The Obama Administration has repeatedly said it wishes to close the Guantanamo detention facility [AP]

British spies knew about detainee abuse but were told they did not have to intervene because they might damage relations with the US, a senior British judge has found.

The report, from Peter Gibson, comes from an inquiry intended to examine whether Britain was implicated in the mistreatment of detainees following the 9/11 attacks.

But it was scrapped earlier this year after Libya alleged that Britain was complicit in “rendition” – capturing people suspected of terrorism and transferring them to third countries without legal process.

Gibson found evidence that British spies had been aware of physical assault, sleep deprivation and the use of hoods.

“Officers were advised that, faced with apparent breaches of Geneva Convention standards, there was no obligation to
intervene,” he said in the report.

Britain had been reluctant to complain about the ill-treatment of detainees for fear of damaging relations with allies, including the US, the report said.

Allegations of torture

In some cases, British officials failed to raise objections about renditions when they should have, while ministers were unaware of the operations.
Britain’s MI6 linked to Libya torture scandal

After reviewing 20,000 documents, Gibson said he had found 27 issues that needed further investigation, including allegations of torture.

“Documents indicate that in some instances UK intelligence officers were aware of inappropriate interrogation techniques,” the report said.

“(The) government or its agencies may have become inappropriately involved in some cases of rendition.”

In response the British government said on Thursday that a parliamentary committee would take over from Gibson’s role and look at Gibson’s outstanding concerns.

Cabinet minister Ken Clarke said the inquiry’s findings showed Britain’s spy agencies had struggled to come to terms with the threat from armed groups after the 9/11 attacks.

Unprepared and inadequate

“It is now clear that our agencies and their staff were in some respects not prepared for the extreme demands suddenly
placed upon them,” Clarke told parliament.

“Guidance regulating how intelligence officers should act was inadequate, the practices of some of our international partners should have been understood much sooner. Oversight was not robust enough.”

The heads of MI5 and MI6, Britain’s domestic and overseas intelligence agencies, have repeatedly said they would never use, or encourage others to use, torture to gain information.

In November 2010, however, Britain agreed to make payments to 16 former Guantanamo Bay detainees in settlements over claims they were mistreated abroad with the knowledge and in some cases complicity of British spies.

Last updated: 19 Dec 2013 20:22

Find this story at 19 December 2013

Copyright Aljazeera

True Spies

Finally, three documentaries on MI5 and Special Branch called ‘True Spies’ that were shown on BBC2 in 2002 are now available in their entirety on Youtube. Each of them is nearly one hour long. They are very interesting and in the first one the SDS is discussed and the theft of dead children’s identities is brought up, 10 years before the ‘revelations’ about it in the Guardian!


This three-part series was broadcast on BBC Two during October – November 2002.


True Spies #1 ‘Subversive My Arse!’ 27 October 2002 

True Spies #2 ‘Something Better Change’ 3 November 2002 

True Spies #3 ‘It Could Happen To You’ 10 November 2002 

There is also a page on the BBC website here:

Spy warned of Omagh bomb weeks before blast

A SECRET email reveals that intelligence chiefs were told that Omagh was a prime target for a terrorist attack – weeks before the Real IRA bomb that devastated the town.
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The communique from FBI spy David Rupert warned that dissident republicans were in the final stages of planning a major attack, and identified Omagh as a likely target.

The confidential memo now forms a key part of a report commissioned by victims’ families who are campaigning for a full public inquiry into the atrocity. Relatives claim the dossier proves that authorities failed to share vital intelligence, which they say could have prevented the bombing.

Although the report was presented to the British and Irish governments more than a year ago, the families have not been told if an inquiry will be held.

The victims’ relatives said they would go to court if their calls are rejected. It is understood that legal action could begin within weeks.

Michael Gallagher (pictured), who lost his son Aidan in the 1998 massacre, said the lack of answers from the governments was prolonging the families’ agony. The families were particularly critical of Taoiseach Enda Kenny and Justice Minister Alan Shatter.


A spokeswoman for the Department of Justice in Dublin said Mr Shatter is still considering the report, presented to him by the group in July 2012.

The report draws on 4,000 emails from Mr Rupert, an American informant who infiltrated the Real IRA and Continuity IRA, and his MI5 handler. The huge tranche of emails are understood to provide detail on potential planning, locations and personnel for an attack in the weeks leading up to August 1998.

One of the emails identifies Omagh as being one of two likely targets. The note is marked secret and dated April 11, 1998 – four months before the bombing – and was sent by Mr Rupert to his handlers.

“Derry or Omagh would be 2 suspect viable targets,” it states.

Speaking in Omagh yesterday, Mr Gallagher said he was startled by the correspondence.

“We feel there was an enormous amount of intelligence available – that intelligence was not used properly. As a result of that we have had no convictions,” he said. He said that if a decision wasn’t made, or their calls were rejected, the families would launch legal action.

Adrian Rutherford – 09 August 2013

Find this story at 9 August 2013


Dark secrets Omagh bomb suspect Seamus McKenna took to the grave Lonely, chronic alcoholic who died penniless felt he was betrayed by Real IRA

In death, Seamus McKenna is an unlikely hero, a man who, according to the dissident Republican Network for Unity, had nobly spent his life “confronting partition and British rule in Ireland” and a man worthy of a paramilitary funeral this month.

In reality, his life was, by McKenna’s own admission, “a largely unhappy existence”. Not only was he very strongly suspected of driving the car bomb into Omagh that led to the deaths of 29 people and two unborn children in 1998, he was also a chronic alcoholic and a lonely, isolated man incapable of holding down work for more than a few weeks at a time.

I got to know him very well over the last two years. As an attorney in New York, I had discussed with some wealthy Irish-Americans the possibility of McKenna giving evidence against one of the accused in the Omagh case – the last-gasp attempt to finally win some convictions in the worst atrocity of the Troubles.

I first tracked him down to Simon Community-supported housing in Dundalk, where he had been living after splitting with his wife Catherine. I left a note under his door and he called me several hours later. In the window, I could see a pair of pants and a crinkled shirt drying in the living room and an empty can of beans and an unwashed plate on the table. Several of the men in nearby accommodation were long-term alcoholics who, like McKenna, would be homeless without subsidised housing.

I met him the next day, New Year’s Day 2011, at a Chinese restaurant in Dundalk.

He was wearing the khaki pants and chequered shirt that had been hanging in his living room and was wearing a smart pair of glasses. He looked nothing like his post-Omagh mugshot, when he was dragged into a police station still dressed in a building site woolly jumper and with unkempt, hopelessly outdated Seventies-style sideburns.

Over a meal, McKenna asked me why I had come all the way from America to see him. I said that I and many other people would be willing to help him out if he was willing to give evidence.

“About what?” “About events 13 years ago,” I said. “Events 13 years ago” needed no further explanation. “Ah … no, I don’t think I could do that,” he said, but added that he was willing to listen.

He was so nervous about any mention of the word “Omagh” that his hand would jitter and he would stumble to take a swig of his drink, so we used alternative phrases like “the thing that happened” or, as he preferred, “the civil action”. (He was the only one not found liable in a civil action taken by victims’ families against five of the bombers – the others included McKenna’s building company boss Colm Murphy and his workmate Seamus Daly.)

He told me that, as a result of the bombing, he had been barred, at least temporarily, from many of the pubs in Dundalk. “But not this one,” he said with pride, referring to the pub to which we had walked after our meal, as he ordered yet another pint of the Dutch lager he loved because, so he claimed, it gave a less severe hangover than Harp.

When he drank, he would open his mouth fully to meet the pint glass and take in a giant mouthful between his lips. If too much went in, he would blow some back into the glass before wiping his mouth and look at me through bleary, worn eyes.

He said that he could not give evidence on Omagh because it had taken him so long to rebuild a relationship with his family. I asked if his concern was security for his family or loss of esteem in their eyes.

“Loss of esteem,” he said bluntly. “I would give everything I have to bring my father back to life, I don’t want to lose my son.”

Although largely isolated, he found company in animals. His neighbour said McKenna left out bread for the wild birds in the winter and took great satisfaction in watching them eat it. “Sure who else would feed them?” McKenna said to me once.

Just when I was starting to enjoy his conversation, the depravity of Omagh would come back to mind. He had a habit of sitting sideways as he drank, and as he lifted his pint, it occurred to me that the hand in front of me is the one that allegedly changed the gears in a stolen Vauxhall that exploded in Omagh, killing the son of my friend Michael Gallagher, destroying three generations of the Grimes family, leaving Liz Gibson without a sister and permanently blinding Claire Gallagher, a talented young pianist.

“What do you think of the Omagh bombing?” I once asked in a pub in Dundalk in May 2011. “Do you think, like Padraig Pearse, that the blood of the people has to flow or do you think it was an atrocity?”

“I think it was a terrible thing,” he said. “But having said that, I would like to see British soldiers shot dead and I’d like to be the one pulling the trigger.”

“To what end?” I asked. “What better society can be created by killing more soldiers?”

“I don’t know,” he said, “but like I say, I’d like to be the one pulling the trigger.”

So much of his limited self-esteem was caught up in the republican cause that it was impossible for him to let go, and after a split in the Continuity IRA, he sided with the more militant Oglaigh na hEireann.

He wasn’t a boaster or a hard man like some IRA members, but he enjoyed a certain menace. “If you had approached me like this 10 years ago, you’d have been shot,” he told me over and over until I told him to shut up and deal with the present reality of his life.

When he was drinking, he made clumsy, pathetic moves on women. At closing time one night, the barmaid opened the door to let us out. “Ah, pet you’re great,” said McKenna, giving her a huge hug and refusing to let go, while pushing his body as close as possible to hers. She looked over her shoulder and grimaced at me. I told him we had to go. “Good girl,” said McKenna. “Good girl,” repeating it until I gripped his arm. “Jesus, great knockers,” he said to me as explanation for this excruciating scene.

The next morning, instead of joining my girlfriend and me at a local cafe for breakfast, he was already in the pub.

“Ye carry on, come over to the pub after,” he said. When we got there at 11am, he was already drunk, and leering all over my girlfriend, breaking off conversation with me to stare at her buttocks when she went up to the bar. He then asked her to come to his house to see “my wee dog. You’d like him. Come to my house any time,” he said, while wiping lager from his lips.

Despite the international outrage over Omagh, he soon got over his six-month-long self-pitying bender and was back building car bombs. In 2003, he was caught red-handed with some of the other suspects building a 1,000lb car bomb – twice the size of the Omagh bomb.

He found himself in Portlaoise jail with his old boss, Colm Murphy, who was in on unrelated charges and whom he found “quiet and very withdrawn, a bit odd really”.

Although he liked Murphy, he had nothing but disdain for Liam Campbell, the officer commanding of the Real IRA and the man who allegedly made the last of the vague warning calls on the day of the Omagh bombing. Campbell blamed McKenna for giving unclear details of the car’s locations to the rest of the bomb team. I asked McKenna directly why he didn’t like Campbell. “Why do you think?” he said bluntly.

Most upsetting for McKenna, and the other disaffected foot soldiers of the dissident terror groups, was the Criminal Assets Bureau investigation into Campbell, which revealed that he had more than €800,000 in the bank, a network of other payments to close associates, and at least five properties. (Not to mention 96 magnums of champagne found in his cow shed.)

“And we had nothing,” said McKenna. He said that he and now deceased Omagh suspect, Kevin ‘Kiddo’ Murray, and even Real IRA leader Michael McKevitt, realised too late that Campbell was using the Provisional IRA, and then the Real IRA, to disrupt security services along the border while he creamed off vast profits from smuggling. Their phoney war, which led to the deaths of so many innocent people, had been a giant scam.

McKenna admitted it one night, when he was preparing to walk to his sad little apartment. He could not afford a taxi and could only stagger home. “Campbell did us all in,” he said through sad eyes. “And we have nothing left. Nothing at all.”

By Sean O’Driscoll – 29 July 2013

Find this story at 29 July 2013


Intelligence on Omagh bomb ‘withheld from police’

Security forces had two agents in the Real IRA but did not share that information with Northern Ireland officers, report claims

The Omagh Support and Self Help Group report focuses on the role of two state agents who infiltrated the Real IRA. Photograph: Mike Mahoney/Reuters

MI5, the FBI and Garda special branch “starved” police in Northern Ireland of vital intelligence that could have prevented the Real IRA bomb that killed 29 people at Omagh in 1998, a damning new report on the atrocity concludes.

The investigation, commissioned by families of the Omagh victims, will show evidence that they claim proves that information from two key informers inside the Real IRA – one in the United States, the other in the Irish Republic – was not passed on to the Royal Ulster Constabulary.

The Omagh bomb was the single biggest atrocity of the Northern Ireland Troubles. No one has been convicted in a criminal court in connection with the bombing in the County Tyrone market town.

Ahead of the publication of the report in Omagh, the father of Aidan Gallagher, a young man killed in the blast, said access to new intelligence files proved that the FBI, the security services and the Garda’s crime and security branch (the Republic of Ireland’s main anti-terrorist unit) all withheld vital information.

Michael Gallagher, who has campaigned since the atrocity for a cross-border public inquiry, said: “All good policing is based on intelligence, especially prior intelligence before any criminal act is committed. In the case of the events running up to the Omagh bomb, it is now clear that the police in the north were starved of information. The security forces in America, Britain and the Republic had two key agents inside the Real IRA but did not share the information they were providing to the police in Northern Ireland.”

The Omagh Support and Self Help Group also demanded an inquiry into the explosion.

“There has been no full investigation into the circumstances surrounding the Omagh bomb. The inquest did not inquire into the intelligence, the criminal prosecutions did not lead to any convictions, and the civil action did not deal with the issue of preventability. The police investigation has been heavily criticised and the report highlights such concerns that the states [UK and Ireland] must now establish a full cross-border public inquiry,” a spokesperson for the group said, adding that failure to do so would be a failure to comply with obligations under article 2(1) and article 3 of the European convention on human rights.

“This report is compiled from a significant amount of information some of a sensitive nature which has come into the possession of the families,” the spokesperson said.

The report, compiled by London law firm SBP, aided by several retired security experts, focuses on the role of two state agents who infiltrated the Real IRA. They were David Rupert, an American who was run by the FBI, and Paddy Dixon, a convicted criminal who procured cars in the Irish Republic for the Real IRA for transporting car bombs into Northern Ireland throughout 1998.

Rupert arrived in Ireland in the mid 1990s and offered his services first to the Continuity IRA and later the Real IRA. The 6ft 5in, 20-stone bankrupt businessman with links to Irish Americans had been targeted by the FBI as a potential agent.

By the summer of 1997, Rupert became involved with British intelligence. An FBI agent took him to a hotel in central London, where he was introduced to an MI5 officer who called himself Norman.

Norman advised Rupert not to pass all his information to the Gardai and provided him with a PO box address and a secret contact phone number.

MI5 urged him to offer intelligence to the Continuity IRA about British army and police bases in Northern Ireland. Posing as American tourists awe-struck by the security installations, Rupert and his wife would stop at border crossing points such as Aughnacloy and take pictures and videos of themselves. According to the Omagh Self Help and Support group new intelligence files indicate Rupert was also aiding the Real IRA, including sending bomb component parts from America. It was Rupert’s testimony that helped convict the Real IRA founder Mickey McKevitt of organising acts of terrorism in 2003.

Dixon provided intelligence to a Garda handler on the Real IRA throughout 1998. He had a long-standing connection with a republican in south Co Dublin known as the Long Fellow. His handler suggested – under orders from senior Garda command – that his old agent reactivate his relationship with the Long Fellow, who owned a breaker’s yard in south Dublin where Dixon’s stolen cars were replaced and huge explosive devices were secreted inside the vehicles.

Over the next seven months Dixon would give the Garda vital insight into the Real IRA terror machine. Between February and August 1998 Dixon gave the Irish police force inside information on at least nine separate Real IRA attacks culminating in the bomb at Omagh.

The Omagh families claim the “starving of intelligence” coming from Rupert and Dixon was designed to bolster the pair’s credibility in the Real IRA’s eyes. However, the Omagh campaigners claim the new report will show that this was a lethal error of judgment in relation to the terror group’s final and most catastrophic attack in 1998.

Henry McDonald, Ireland correspondent
The Guardian, Thursday 8 August 2013

Find this story at 8 August 2013

© 2013 Guardian News and Media Limited or its affiliated companies. All rights reserved.

Skandale, Organisation, Geschichte NSA, Mossad und die verräterische Nackttänzerin – so spionieren die Geheimdienste

Eine Chronik der Geheimdienstarbeit: Von Meisterspionin Mata Hari bis zur Cyber-Spionage der NSA
Geheimdienste wie NSA, Mossad oder BND scheinen tun zu können, was sie wollen: Überwachen, ausspionieren, töten – ihre Methoden sind dabei nicht immer legal. FOCUS Online zeigt die interessantesten Geheimdienste der Welt, ihre Organisation, ihre Geschichte, ihre Skandale.
Die Enthüllungen des ehemaligen Geheimdienstlers Edward Snowden zeigen, wie zügellos und weit verbreitet heute abgehört wird. Dabei richtet sich die Arbeit der Geheimdienste nicht nur gegen Offizielle und Politiker. Auch ganz normale Bürger werden überwacht. Die Öffentlichkeit ist besorgt, Fragen nach der Kontrolle der Behörden drängen sich auf, die Menschen fordern Konsequenzen.

Dabei galten Geheimdienste schon immer als mysteriös und spannend. Doch die Realität ihrer Arbeit hat oft wenig mit den Meisterspionen a la James Bond oder „Mission Impossible“-Held Ethan Hunt zu tun. Die Behörden sammeln Daten, werten sie aus, informieren, desinformieren, verhandeln und tauschen. Ihr Netz haben sie über die ganze Welt ausgeworfen. Das zeigen nicht erst die Enthüllungen von Prism und Edward Snowden.

Eines der ältesten Gewerbe der Welt
„Spionage ist eines der ältesten Gewerbe der Welt“, erklärt der Historiker und Geheimdienstexperte Siegfried Beer im Gespräch mit FOCUS Online. Beer leitet das österreichische Center für „Intelligence, Propaganda & Security Studies“, kurz ACIPSS, in Graz. Das Wissen um den Feind sei für jeden Staat von entscheidender Bedeutung. Schon Alexander der Große, der makedonische Heeresführer, dessen Reich ungeheure Ausmaße annahm, verließ sich auf Spionage.

Das wurde ihm beinahe zum Verhängnis, wie Wolfgang Krieger in seiner „Geschichte der Geheimdienste“ zeigt: 333 v. Christus, bei Issus „berühmter Keilerei“, wurde Alexander falsch informiert. Seine Agenten sagten ihm, der Perserkönig und sein Heer seien noch weit entfernt – Tatsache war, dass sie aneinander vorbeimarschiert waren. Und Alexander so in umgekehrter Schlachtformation kämpfen musste – doch er siegte.

Eine Folge der Industrialisierung
„Organisierte, moderne Spionage gibt es aber erst seit etwa 130 Jahren“, erklärt der Geheimdienst-Experte Beer vom ACIPSS. „Großbritannien nahm eine Vorreiterrolle ein.“ Die Briten begannen in den 1870er-Jahren mit dem Aufbau eines Nachrichtendienstes: aus Angst vor den unterdrückten und rebellischen Iren. Das brachte die anderen Länder unter Zugzwang: Alle europäischen Großmächte des 19. Jahrhunderts gründeten ihrerseits nach und nach Geheimdienste.

„Die moderne Spionage ist eine Folge der Industrialisierung“, sagt Beer. Wegen der verbesserten Kommunikation, den schnellen Transportwegen und der beginnenden Globalisierung mussten die Regierungen umdenken. In den Weltkriegen und dem Kalten Krieg entwickelten sie neue Methoden, um ihre Feinde besser zu überwachen und sich entscheidende Vorteile zu sichern. Heute hat jedes Land eigene Geheimdienste. Nicht nur zur Spionage und Gegenspionage, sondern auch zur Sicherung eigener Daten. Und, vor allem nach 9/11, zur Terrorismusbekämpfung.
Geschichten aus Hunderten Jahren Spionage
Doch die Prism-Enthüllung ist nur eine in einer langen Reihe vergleichbarer Skandale. Seien es Spione, die überliefen, die gefährlichen Methoden des Mossad oder die Meisterspione des KGB. Seitdem es organisierte Spionage gibt, werden die verborgenen Tätigkeiten in regelmäßigen Abständen enthüllt. Und immer bieten sie genug Stoff für spektakuläre Geschichten. FOCUS Online stellt eine Auswahl der aktivsten und gefährlichsten Geheimdienste der Welt und ihre Methoden vor – und zeigt ihre brisantesten Skandale und berühmtesten Spione.
Deutschland – BND, BfV, MAD
In Deutschland sammelt unter anderem der Bundesnachrichtendienst Informationen
Organisation der deutschen Nachrichtendienste

Drei Nachrichtendienste teilen sich in Deutschland den Schutz der Bürger: Das Bundesamt für Verfassungsschutz (BfV) beobachtet das Inland, der Bundesnachrichtendienst das Ausland (BND), der militärische Abschirmdienst (MAD) kümmert sich um den Schutz der Armee. Die drei Behörden arbeiten großteils getrennt.

Geschichte des BND

Die Alliierten gaben 1949 die Struktur des Geheimdienstes in der Bundesrepublik vor. Dabei zogen sie vor allem die Lehren aus dem System des NS-Regiems: Die Geheime Staatspolizei, kurz Gestapo, hatte dort die Möglichkeit, eigenmächtig Verhaftungen durchzuführen. Das darf der Verfassungsschutz in Deutschland nicht. Die Nachrichtendienste haben generell keine polizeilichen Befugnisse.

Der BND ist als deutscher Auslandsgeheimdienst dem Kanzleramt unterstellt und wurde 1956 gegründet. Zu den Aufgabenbereichen gehört die Beobachtung mutmaßlicher Terroristen, der organisierten Kriminalität, illegaler Finanzströme, des Rauschgifthandels, der Weitergabe von ABC-Waffen und Rüstungsgütern sowie von Krisenregionen wie Afghanistan oder Pakistan. Dazu wertet der BND Informationen von menschlichen Quellen, elektronische Kommunikation sowie Satelliten- und Luftbilder aus. Er zählt etwa 6000 Mitarbeiter – vom Fahrer bis zum Nuklearphysiker. Wie viel Geld der BND für Spionage ausgeben darf, hält die Behörde streng geheim.

1950 wurde in der Deutschen Demokratischen Republik wohl einer der bekanntesten Geheimdienste der Welt gegründet: Das Ministerium für Staatssicherheit, kurz Stasi. Angegliedert an die Stasi war der Auslandsgeheimdienst Hauptverwaltung Aufklärung, die sich vor allem mit dem westlichen Bruder beschäftigte. Die Stasi mauserte sich zu einem entscheidenden Machtinstrument der sozialistischen Regierung. Sie unterdrückte Andersdenkende, warb sogenannte Spitzel an, inhaftierte Dissidenten – die Bevölkerung hatte Angst vor der Behörde. Das lag daran, dass die Behörde polizeiliche Befugnisse hatte. Bis heute läuft die Aufarbeitung über das Ausmaß der Stasi-Überwachung.

Spektakuläres über den BND

Deutsche Spione à la James Bond? Falsch. Beim BND sind Fremdsprachenexperten, Informatiker, Juristen, Biologen, Ingenieure und Islamwissenschaftler gefragt, keine Superagenten. Sie werden innerhalb von zwei bis drei Jahren zum Agenten ausgebildet – und dann als Tarifbeschäftigte, Soldaten und Beamten angestellt.

2006 erschütterte ein Bericht über die Arbeit des BND die Bundesrepublik: Im großen Stil hörte der Dienst Journalisten ab. Gerade in den Achtzigern war der Bedarf an Informationen besonders hoch, namhafte Autoren bei Zeitungen wie Stern, Spiegel oder FOCUS standen unter Beobachtung.
Welche Rolle spielte der BND im Irak-Krieg 2003? Hartnäckig halten sich Gerüchte, dass der Dienst einen Informanten hatte, der behauptete, dass der Irak Massenvernichtungswaffen und Biolabore besessen haben soll. Weiterhin haben Agenten des BND, so zeigt Alexandra Sgro in ihrem Buch „Geheimdienste der Welt“, angeblich strategische Informationen über irakische Verteidigungsstellungen und Truppenbewegungen an die USA weitergegeben. Die Bundesregierung hatte offiziell verlauten lassen, dass sich Deutschland aus dem Irak-Krieg heraushält – lässt sich dieser Status nach den Enthüllungen noch halten?
Türkei – MIT
Die Türkei hat nur einen Nachrichtendienst: den „Millî Istihbarat Teşkilâti“
Organisation türkischen Geheimdienstes

Der Millî Istihbarat Teşkilâti (MIT) ist der einzige Nachrichtendienst der Türkei. Er ist für innere Sicherheit und Spionageabwehr zuständig. Außerdem hat er die Pflicht, für den Schutz der Landesgrenzen zu sorgen. Der Geheimdienst untersteht direkt dem Premierminister und ist dafür verantwortlich, bedrohliche Gruppierungen im In- und Ausland zu beobachten. Dabei gibt es häufig gewaltsame Konflikte mit Anhängern der verbotenen Arbeiterpartei Kurdistans PKK. Denn diese kämpfen für die Autonomie der kurdischen Gebiete der Türkei.

Geschichte des MIT

Schon vor der Gründung der Türkei gab es Geheimdienste. 1913 wurde Teşkilât-I Mahsusa als erster zentralisierter und organisierter türkischer Nachrichtendienst gegründet. Er sollte die Aktivitäten von Separatisten eindämmen. Während des Ersten Weltkrieges erlebte die Behörde ihre Blütezeit und war militärisch und paramilitärisch aktiv. Das Ende des Krieges bedeutete auch das Ende des Geheimdienstes.

Sein Nachfolger war Karakol Cemiyeti, der Zivilpersonen und kleine Gruppierungen ab 1919 im türkischen Unabhängigkeitskrieg mit Waffen ausstattete. So gelang es, die Besatzungsmächte zu besiegen. Als die Briten im Jahr 1920 Istanbul besetzten, lösten sie auch den Nachrichtendienst auf. Danach gab es viele verschiedene Geheimdienste, die nie lange Bestand hatten. Bis 1965 der Millî Istihbarat Teşkilâti gegründet wurde.

Spektakuläres über den MIT

Wie Sgro in ihrem Buch „Geheimdienste der Welt“ schreibt, werden beim türkischen Geheimdienst nur schriftliche Bewerbungen angenommen, die per Post eingesendet werden – eine Vorbereitung auf die Spionagetätigkeit? Die frisch gebackenen Agenten bekommen ihren Arbeitsort dann per Losverfahren zugeteilt.

In den Neunzigern machten Berichte die Runde, der türkische Geheimdienst würde militante Separatisten bekämpfen. Allerdings nicht nur im eigenen Land, sondern auch in Deutschland. Dabei schüchterten die Agenten angeblich Oppositionelle ein, bedrohten Asylbewerber und kündigten Repressalien gegen die in der Türkei lebenden Verwandten an.
Ein anderes Ziel hatte laut Spekulationen sogenannter Experten der türkische Geheimdienst Mitte der 2000er-Jahre: Zu diesem Zeitpunkt war gerade die sogenannte Sauerland-Gruppe verhaftet worden. Sie plante offenbar einen Bombenanschlag in Deutschland, unterstützt von dem Türken Mevlüt K. – laut Medienberichten ein Informant des türkischen Geheimdienstes. Fakt ist: Er ist untergetaucht und wird per internationalem Haftbefehl gesucht.
Frankreich – DGSE
Frankreichs Geheimdienst DGSE
Organisation des französischen Geheimdienstes

Der französische Geheimdienst nennt sich „Direction Générale de la Sécurité Extérieure“, kurz DGSE. Spezialoperationen des DGSE müssen von oberster Stelle genehmigt werden: Seit 2009 darf sie nur der französische Präsident bewilligen. Wer eingestellt wird, entscheidet das Verteidigungsministerium. Schwerpunkt des Geheimdienstes mit Sitz in Paris: Terrorismusbekämpfung. Außerdem haben die Geheimdienstler ein Auge auf Länder, in denen Massenvernichtungswaffen hergestellt und vertrieben werden.

Geschichte des DGSE

Die Geschichte des DGSE beginnt mit Charles de Gaulle. Der spätere Ministerpräsident Frankreichs ließ 1940 aus dem Exil einen Geheimdienst zusammenstellen. Er sollte für die Widerstandsbewegung „France Libre“ gegen das NS-Regime spionieren. Nach dem Krieg wurde ein neuer Geheimdienst gegründet, der Service de Documentation Extérieure et de Contre-Espionnage (SDECE). Seine Aufgaben: ausländische Berichterstattung und Gegenspionage. 1982 löste ihn der DGSE ab.

Die Schwerpunkte des DGSE sind stark von Frankreichs Geschichte als Kolonialmacht geprägt. Denn zu seinen ehemaligen Kolonien pflegt Frankreich auch heute noch wirtschaftliche Beziehungen. Die Regierungen sollten also stabil bleiben. Wo Frankreich Fundamentalismus fürchtete, griff der Geheimdienst ein. So wie Ende der 1980er-Jahre in Algerien. Angeblich ermordete der DGSE 1992 den algerischen Präsidenten Muhammad Boudiaf. Und auch in Syrien könnte sich die Behörde 2012 eingemischt haben, Sgro. Agenten sollen dem syrischen General Manaf Tlass bei der Flucht geholfen haben. Der stand einst Machthaber Assad nahe.

Spektakuläres über den DGSE

Die wohl legendärste Doppelspionin überhaupt war für die Franzosen im Einsatz: Mata Hari. Die Nackttänzerin ließ sich zur Zeit des Ersten Weltkriegs von den Deutschen dafür bezahlen, französischen Militärs Geheimnisse zu entlocken. Gleichzeitig spionierte sie für die Franzosen in den von den Deutschen besetzten Gebieten. Die schöne Niederländerin wurde schließlich von den Franzosen zum Tode verurteilt, weil sie auch an Deutschland Geheimnisse verraten haben soll. Was genau sie wem erzählt hat, ist bis heute nicht bekannt. Erst 2017 wird der französische Staat die Akten freigegeben.

In den 1980er-Jahren kämpfte der französische Geheimdienst gegen Greenpeace. Die französische Regierung testete zu dieser Zeit im Mururoa-Atoll im Pazifik Atomwaffen. Greenpeace-Aktivisten wollten dagegen protestieren. Agenten des DGSE gelang es, auf dem Greenpeace-Schiff Sprengsätze anzubringen. Bei der Explosion starb ein Mensch. Bewilligt wurde die Aktion angeblich vom damaligen Präsidenten François Mitterand. Der Verteidigungsminister rechtfertigte das Vorgehen: Anders hätte man den Protest nicht verhindern können.
Großes Aufsehen erregte auch der Vorgänger des DGSE, der SDECE: 1965 verschwand Ben Barka, ein Marokkaner im französischen Exil – bis heute ist nicht geklärt, wer ihn entführt hat. Im Verdacht stehen französische Agenten. Sie hätten damit dem marokkanischen König geholfen und zugleich den Einfluss Frankreichs auf Marokko gesichtert. Bakra war in Marokko wegen Hochverrats verurteilt worden, weil er den König scharf kritisiert hatte. Er soll vom marokkanischen Innenminister getötet worden sein.
Brasilien – Abin
Brasiliens Nachrichtendienst heißt „Agência Brasiliera de Inteligência“
Organisation des brasilianischen Geheimdienstes

Der brasilianische Geheimdienst heißt Agência Brasileira de Inteligência (Abin) und ist dem Präsidenten unterstellt. Die Aufgaben umfassen Spionage- und Terror-Abwehr, Informationsbeschaffung und Schutz der Bürger.

Geschichte der Albin

Schon 1927 wurde die militärische Behörde Conselho de Defesa Nacional gegründet, die sich zunächst mit geheimdienstlichen Aufgaben beschäftigte. Nachdem die Folgeorganisation die Arbeit in den Wirren des Militärputsches von 1964 schon wieder einstellte und durch einen regimehörigen Dienst ersetzt wurde, bestand die Behörde bis 1990. Die Abin wurde 1999 gegründet und übernimmt seitdem die Aufgabe des In- und Auslands-Geheimdienstes – im Gegensatz zu seinem Vorgänger als zivile Behörde.

Spektakuläres über die Albin

Nachwuchsarbeit bei Zehn bis 15-Jährigen? Warum nicht, muss sich die Abin gedacht haben. 2005, so beschreibt es Sgro in ihrem Buch, habe eine Informationsveranstaltung stattgefunden, bei der Jugendlichen die Arbeit von Agenten nahegebracht wurde. Dieses Programm soll weitergeführt werden und sich in Zukunft verstärkt an Schüler und Studenten richten.

Es muss eine skurrile Situation gewesen sein: 1983 entdeckte ein Maler im Büro des damaligen Präsidenten eine Wanze mit aktivem Sender. Brasilianische Zeitungen machten schnell den Schuldigen aus: den Geheimdienst. Der habe sich derartige Abhör-Vergehen schon öfters zuschulden kommen lassen, so die Argumentation. Die wahren Hintergründe bleiben unbekannt.
Im Juli diesen Jahres kam im Zuge des weltweiten Abhörskandals heraus, dass auch Brasilien im Fadenkreuz der NSA stand: Millionen Emails und Telefonate seien abgehört worden. Nach Informationen der Zeitung „O Blobo“ ist Brasilien das am meiste ausgespähte Land Lateinamerikas.
Syrien – Abteilung für militärische Aufklärung
Syriens Geheimdienst ist in der Hand des Machthabers Baschar al-Assad
Organisation des syrischen Geheimdienstes

Etwas unübersichtlich stellt sich die Situation in Syrien dar: Fünf Behörden teilen die Geheimdienst-Aufgaben unter sich auf. Es gibt einen allgemeinen zivilen Nachrichtendienst, einen Nachrichtendienst der Luftwaffe, das Direktorat für Staatssicherheit sowie das Direktorat für politische Sicherheit im Innenministerium – in den Zeiten des Umbruchs ist aber vor allem eine Behörde wichtig: die Abteilung für Aufklärung. Sie unterstützt die militärischen Truppen und soll Dissidentengruppen zerschlagen – und soll dabei an illegalen Aktionen beteiligt gewesen sein.

Geschichte der Abteilung für Militärische Aufklärung

Die Gründung der Abteilung für Militärische Aufklärung datiert auf das Jahr 1969. In der westlichen Welt wurde der Geheimdienst allerdings erst in den 2000er-Jahren bekannt. Im Kampf gegen die Auswirkungen des arabischen Frühlings in Syrien koordinierte die Abteilung ab 2010 die Niederschlagung von Demonstrationen und die Diskreditierung der Rebellen.

Doch auch in westliche Staaten entsendete der Geheimdienst seine Agenten: So soll ein Deutsch-Libanese über mehrere Jahre hinweg Informationen über syrische Oppositionelle in der Bundesrepublik gesammelt und an den syrischen Geheimdienst weitergegeben haben. Und auch der BND hat offenbar gute Kontakte nach Syrien: Die Tagesschau berichtete im Mai, dass der BND-Präsident an einem Treffen mit syrischen Geheimdienstlern teilgenommen haben soll.

Spektakuläres über die Abteilung für Militärische Aufklärung

Wenig ist über die Arbeit des syrischen Geheimdienstes bekannt. Doch ein Name steht wohl in direktem Zusammenhang mit einer Aktion syrischer Agenten im Jahr 2011: Oberstleutnant Hussein Harmusch. Er rief in einem Internetvideo dazu auf, sich gegen die syrische Regierung zu stellen und setzte sich in die Türkei ab. Kurze Zeit später verschwand er spurlos. Was war passiert? Sgro schildert die Geschichte folgendermaßen: Am Tag seines Verschwindens traf sich Harmusch mit einem türkischen Agenten, der ihn mit dem Auto abholte, aber nach Eigenaussage wenige Minuten später wieder absetzte.

Mehr als zwei Wochen nach dieser Episode strahlte das syrische Staatsfernsehen ein Video aus, in dem Harmusch seinen Aufruf zum Widerstand widerrief. Experten erkennen einen tiefverängstigten Mann, sie gehen davon aus, dass er gezwungen wurde. Harmusch verschwindet daraufhin von der Bildfläche, bis heute weiß niemand, wo er ist. Nur die türkische Regierung äußerte sich noch einmal zu dem Fall: Sie ließ verlauten, dass der angebliche türkische Agent tatsächlich aus Syrien stammte.

Mit welcher Grausamkeit der syrische Geheimdienst beispielsweise gegen Dissidenten vorgeht, zeigen Berichte aus dem Jahr 2012: Menschenrechtsorganisationen sprechen bei den Geheimdienstzentren in Damaskus von der „Hölle auf Erden“. „Human Rights Watch“ erfasste zahlreiche Fälle, in denen Familien ihre vermissten Angehörigen nur noch tot finden konnten: Mit Brandflecken und Blutergüssen übersät. Überlebende berichten von Methoden, die man aus dem europäischen Mittelalter kennt: Sie wurden an den Händen aufgehangen, dann wurden sie geschlagen und geschnitten. Oder sie wurden auf Kreuz-ähnliche Holzbretter geschnallt und von Häschern auf die Fußsohlen geschlagen. Andere berichten von Stromschocks im Genitalbereich und weiteren Foltermethoden.
Die Beobachtergruppe „Violations Documentation Center“ spricht von über 25 000 Syrern, die seit 2011 verhaftet worden sind. Weniger als ein Fünftel sei bislang freigelassen worden. Experten gehen allerdings von weiter höheren Zahlen aus: Sie sprechen von Hunderttausenden Inhaftierten.
Russland – KGB, FSB, SWR, GRU
Der FSB ist nur einer von Russlands Geheimdiensten
Organisation des russischen Geheimdienstes

Russland verlässt sich seit dem Zerfall der Sowjetunion auf diese Geheimdienst-Behörden: Den Inlandsgeheimdienst FSB, den Auslandsnachrichtendienst SWR, den Schutzdienst FSO und den Militärnachrichtendienst GRU. Die Aufgaben des SWR umfassen dabei Gegenspionage und Fernaufklärung, der Dienst umfasst rund 13 000 Mitarbeiter. Spannend ist aber vor allem der Inlandsgeheimdienst FSB, da er als Nachfolger des berüchtigten KGB gilt.

Geschichte des russischen Geheimdienstes

Die Wirren um die Abdankung des Zaren Nikolaus II. in der Februarrevolution 1917 forderten ein ganzes Land heraus: Eine provisorische Regierung wurde gebildet, die Oktoberrevolution brach aus, schon bald übernahmen kommunistische Bolschewiken die Macht. Der starke Mann Lenin regte die Gründung eines neuen Geheimdienstes an, um die Konterrevolution und Klassenfeinde zu bekämpfen.

Nach einigen Umstrukturierungen und dem Zweiten Weltkrieg entstand 1954 der KGB als eigenständiges Ministerium. Erst 1991, mit dem Ende der Sowjetunion, hörte er auf zu existieren – wobei der Geheimdienst in Weißrussland noch immer KGB heißt. Der sowjetische KGB arbeitete dabei sowohl nach innen als auch nach außen, dazu gehörten Gegenspionage, Auslandsspionage, Bekämpfung von Regimegegnern, Sicherung der Parteimitglieder. SWR und FSB wurden in den 1990-Jahren gegründet und teilen sich wiederum in eigene Büros und Organe auf.

Spektakuläres über den russischen Geheimdienst

Normalerweise sind es Geschichtsbegeisterte, die Geheimdiensten Verschwörungstheorien andichten. In den 80er-Jahren, so schreibt Sgro in ihrem Buch, war es allerdings der KGB selbst, der für Furore sorgte: Tüchtige Sowjet-Agenten setzten das Gerücht in Umlauf, dass die US-Amerikaner den HI-Virus hergestellt und aus Versehen freigesetzt hätten. Der Plan: die USA damit zu diskreditieren. Selbst die deutsche Zeitung „taz“ griff die These auf. 1987 entschuldigte sich der Staatschef Gorbatschow bei US-Diplomaten, die Zeitung brauchte 20 Jahre länger und entschuldigte sich 2010.

Unabhängig davon unterstanden dem KGB einige der berühmtesten Spione des 20. Jahrhunderts: Beispielsweise sorgte der Journalist Richard Sorge dafür, dass sich die Sowjets auf die deutschen und japanischen Angriffspläne einstellen konnten – weil der überzeugte Kommunist Dokumente weitergab. Aldrich Ames dagegen arbeitete eigentlich beim CIA, dort leitete der die Abteilung „Gegenspionage UDSSR“. Was niemand wusste: Ames spionierte für Russland. Er bekam Geld, die Sowjets die Namen von US-Spitzeln. Und dann wären da noch das Spionage-Ehepaar Rosenberg, der Doppel-Agent Heinz Felfe, der Atomwaffen-Physiker Klaus Fuchs und und und.

Wie im Kalten Krieg: Erst im Juli stand ein russisches Agenten-Ehepaar vor dem Gericht in Stuttgart. Das Ehepaar firmierte unter den Decknamen Andreas und Heidrun Anschlag. Auch wenn die beiden nicht als klassische Spione gearbeitet haben sollen, hatten sie wohl als eine Art Briefkasten gedient. Das Paar wurde 2011 von Beamten des BKA und der GSG9 aufgespürt und festgenommen, nachdem sie 20 Jahre lang unentdeckt geblieben waren. Derzeit verhandeln russische und deutsche Behörden über einen Austausch der beiden Russen gegen einen deutschen Agenten.
Dass auch der moderne russische Geheimdienst an traditionellen Methoden festhält, zeigt eine Meldung der russischen Zeitung „Iswestija“. Zum Schutz streng geheimer Informationen schreiben russische Geheimdienste auf Schreibmaschinen, nicht digital, auch handschriftliche Aufzeichnungen seien üblich. Besonders beliebt: das deutsche Modell Triumph-Adler Twen 180. Dabei hat jede Schreibmaschine eine eigene Signatur, so dass jedes Dokument der Maschine zugeordnet werden kann, auf der es geschrieben wurde.
Neuseeland – GCSB
„Government Communications Security Bureau“ heißt der Geheimdienst Neuseelands
Organisation des neuseeländischen Geheimdienstes

Neuseeland hat zwei Geheimdienstbehörden: Den Security Intelligence Service und das nachgeordnete Government Communications Security Bureau (GCSB). Das GCSB kümmert sich um die nationale Sicherheit, überwacht ausländische Datenströme, stellt Sicherheitssysteme für die Regierung zusammen – Einheimische und Zugezogene mit ständigem Wohnsitz dürfen dabei nicht überwacht werden. Die Behörde ist dem Premierminister unterstellt.

Geschichte des GCSB

Im Jahr 1977 wünschte sich der neuseeländische Premierminister einen Geheimdienst – vergleichsweise spät im Vergleich zu anderen Staaten. Schnell wurden Anlagen für die Überwachung in Waihopai und in Tangimoana gebaut. Bis dahin arbeiteten Angestellte des Auslands- und Verteidigungsministeriums an der Nachrichtenbeschaffung. Um besser reagieren zu können, baute die Regierung das GCSB auf.

Vor den Augen der Öffentlichkeit im Verteidigungsministerium versteckt, wurde die Behörde in den Anfang der 80er-Jahren zunächst nur der Politik vorgestellt. 1984 erfuhr die neuseeländische Öffentlichkeit von der Existenz des Geheimdienstes.Bis das GCSB aber eine eigene Behörde wurde, sollten noch mehrere Jahrzehnte vergehen: 2003, durch einen Erlass, wurde das GCSB als öffentliche Dienstleistungsabteilung eingerichtet.

Spektakuläres über das GCSB

Ausgerechnet ein Deutscher mit doppelter Staatsbürgerschaft – er hat auch einen finnischen Pass – wurde zum Politikum in Neuseeland: Kim Schmitz, auch bekannt als Kim Dotcom, geriet aufgrund zwielichtiger Online-Geschäfte in das Fadenkreuz des GCSB. Schmitz wurde im Januar 2012 aufgrund des Verdachts auf Urheberrechtsverletzungen sowie Geldwäsche verhaftet, doch bereits zuvor hörten neuseeländische Agenten Mr Dotcom ab – ohne Einverständnis der Regierung, allerdings im Auftrag der Polizei.
Die Auswertung von Emails und Telefonaten, so zeichnet Sgro in ihrem Buch „Geheimdienste der Welt“ nach, brachte die Behörde auf die Spur der meisten Mitangeklagten. Das Problem: langjährige Bewohner Neuseelands dürfen nicht bespitzelt werden. Das Ergebnis: Die gesammelten Daten waren illegal erworben, der Premierminister entschuldigte sich bei Schmitz und dem neuseeländischen Volk.
Österreich – HNA, HAA, BVT
Einer der österreichischen Geheimdienste, das Abwehramt
Organisation des österreichischen Geheimdienstes

In Österreich gibt es drei Geheimdienste: Der Auslandsnachrichtendienst ist das Heeresnachrichtenamt (HNaA oder HNA). Sein Gegenstück ist das Heeres-Abwehramt (HAA oder HabwA) als militärischer Inlandsnachrichtendienst. Beide unterstehen dem Bundesministerium für Landesverteidigung und Sport. Das Bundesamt für Verfassungsschutz und Terrorismusbekämpfung (BVT) ist die dritte Behörde.

Geschichte der österreichischen Geheimdienste

Militärische Nachrichtendienste gibt es in Österreich seit den Napoleonischen Kriegen. Napoleon veränderte damals mit seiner „Grande Armée“ die Kriegsführung, die Truppen waren beweglicher und agierten schneller. Die österreichische Monarchie musste darauf reagieren und begann, ein strukturiertes „militärisches Nachrichtenwesen“ aufzubauen. 1850 wurde der erste offizielle Nachrichtendienst in der österreichischen Monarchie eingerichtet: das Evidenzbüro. Ende des 19. Jahrhunderts überwachten dann die ersten „Geheimen Polizeiagenten“ hauptsächlich die öffentliche Sittlichkeit.

Diese Struktur änderte sich bis zum Anschluss Österreichs an das Deutsche Reich im Jahr 1938 kaum. Danach spionierte die Gestapo im Inland, der Sicherheitsdienst war für das Ausland zuständig und die Abwehr für militärische Spionage. Sie galten auch in Österreich als mächtiges Instrument der Nationalsozialisten. Eine der ersten Amtshandlungen nach dem Zweiten Weltkrieg war die Gründung einer österreichischen Staatspolizei. Erst 1955 gründete das Bundesheer einen militärischen Geheimdienst.

1972 wurde dieser in das heutige Heeres-Nachrichtenamt (HNaA) umgebaut. Zunächst beschäftigte sich dieses sowohl mit Auslandsaufklärung als auch mit Abwehr. 1985 wurde vom HNaA das Abwehramt abgespalten, weil das Heeresnachrichtenamt zu mächtig geworden war. Heute ist das Heeresnachrichtenamt vor allem im Einsatz gegen Terrorismus, Organisierte Kriminalität und irreguläre Migration.

Spektakuläres über die österreichischen Geheimdienste

Im Parlament ist ein ständiger Unterausschuss des Landesverteidigungsausschuss für die Kontrolle des Heeresnachrichtenamtes zuständig, die Parlamentarier sind aber auf strenge Verschwiegenheit vereidigt. Das HNaA soll eng mit US-amerikanischen Geheimdiensten zusammenarbeiten und vor allem in der Zeit des Kalten Krieges wichtige Informationen über Vorgänge in den Balkanstaaten an die USA weitergegeben haben. 1968 waren es österreichische Agenten des Heeresnachrichtenamtes, die als erste über den Einmarsch der Truppen des Warschauer Pakts in die Tschechoslowakei Bescheid wussten.
Das Stillschweigen rund um die Arbeit des Heeresnachrichtenamtes verlieh dem Nachrichtendienst zwischenzeitlich große Macht. Das ging so weit, dass sogar Verteidigungsminister ausspioniert worden sein sollen. Als Verteidigungsminister Friedhelm Frischenschlager das zufällig erfuhr, soll er so erbost gewesen sein, dass er im Jahr 1985 das Heeresnachrichtenamt reformieren und das Heeres-Abwehramt davon abspalten ließ. Die beiden Nachrichtendienste sind bis heute politisch verfeindet: Das HNaA wird der Österreichischen Volkspartei zugeordnet, das HAA den österreichischen Sozialdemokraten. Diese sollen sich seit ihrem Bestehen immer wieder gegenseitig ausspionieren.
Zwei der US-Geheimdienste: FBI und CIA
Organisation des US-amerikanischen Geheimdienstes

Über keinen Geheimdienst gibt es derart viele Informationen wie über den US-amerikanischen. Der Auslandsgeheimdienst CIA, die inländische Spionageabwehr FBI, die weltweit operierende NSA, die amerikanische Bundespolizei, die Drogenbehörde DEA und elf weitere Dienste bilden die sogenannte United States Intelligence Community (IC). Insgesamt sollen dort etwa 200 000 Menschen arbeiten mit einem Gesamtbudget von 30 Milliarden Euro.

Geschichte des CIA und der NSA

Mit Gründung des Amts der Marineaufklärung begann 1882 die offizielle geheimdienstliche Aufklärung der USA. Doch schon unter George Washington hatten Agenten in geheimen Operationen, Aufklärung und Spionage gearbeitet. Die bekannteste Einrichtung, die Central Intelligence Agency, wurde 1947 ins Leben gerufen. Sie ist die Folgeorganisation des Office of Strategic Services, das im Laufe des Zweiten Weltkriegs aufgebaut wurde. Das Ziel: Die Sammlung strategisch wertvoller Informationen, aber auch Sabotage und Spionageabwehr. Mit dem National Security Act übernahm die Behörde Aufgaben, die FBI-Chef J. Edgar Hoover zunächst für seine Agenten vorgesehen hatte. ACIPSS-Experte Siegfried Beer erklärt, dass die USA zwar sehr spät mit der Errichtung eines Auslandsgeheimdienstes begonnen haben, dieser heute aber zu den effizientesten weltweit gehört.

Doch eine andere Behörde macht derzeit Schlagzeilen: Die National Security Agency (NSA). Ihr Aufgabengebiet ist die weltweite, nachrichtliche Aufklärung. Die Wurzeln der Behörde reichen bis in die 40er-Jahre zurück, die offizielle Gründung datiert auf das Jahr 1952. Seitdem hält die NSA mit den technologischen Entwicklungen von Satellit bis Internet Schritt. In den Mittelpunkt einer weltweiten Diskussion über Datenschutz rückte die NSA, weil der Geheimdienstler Edward Snowden brisante Informationen über die weltweite Überwachung und die Kenntnisnahme europäischer Politiker von den Abhör-Programmen der Behörde veröffentlichte.

Spektakuläres über die CIA

„Bis in die frühen Siebziger hinein hatte die CIA weitgehend freie Hand“, sagt Beer. Und das nutzte die Agency voll aus: Waren CIA-Agenten am Attentat an John F. Kennedy beteiligt? Welche Rolle spielte die CIA bei den Anschlägen von 2001? Verdient die Behörde an weltweiten Drogen- und Geldwäschegeschäften? Für Verschwörungstheoretiker ist der US-Geheimdienst eine wahre Pandora-Kiste hanebüchener Geschichten. Dabei gibt es zahlreiche verbriefte Operationen: 1961 war die CIA beispielsweise an der Invasion in der Schweinebucht beteiligt, bei der Exilkubaner auf Kuba landen und die Regierung Castros stürzen wollten – und scheiterte spektakulär.
Viele weitere Operationen mit dem Ziel, Machthaber zu stürzen, wurden von der CIA angeleiert. In Afghanistan warben CIA-Agenten ab 1979 bis zu 100 000 Einheimische an, trainierten sie, unterstützten sie mit Waffen und Geld und schickten sie in den Kampf gegen sowjetische Truppen. Wohl einer der Hauptgründe für die gegenwärtige Stärke der Taliban in dem befreiten Land. Nicht immer nutzt die Agency bei ihren Operationen legale Mittel, Menschenrechtsorganisationen werfen der Behörde Verletzung internationalen Rechts und Folter vor.
Großbritannien – MI5, MI6
Großbritanniens MI5 und MI6
Organisation des englischen Geheimdienstes

Neun Behörden kümmern sich in Großbritannien um die Geheimdienstarbeit, organisiert im Secret Service Bureau. Am bekanntesten sind sicherlich der Security Service und der Secret Intelligence Service, kurz: MI5 und SIS oder MI6. Während sich der Blick des MI5 in das eigene Land richtet, kümmert sich der MI6 um das Ausland. Hinlänglich bekannt wurde der MI6 durch die Arbeit des wohl berühmtesten Spions James Bond, auch wenn dieser natürlich nur ein Roman- und Filmheld und kein echter Agent ist.

Geschichte des MI6

Ursprünglich war der MI6 für die Marine zuständig, als er 1909 gegründet wurde. Zunehmend spezialisierte sich der Dienst aber auf das Ausland, im Ersten Weltkrieg sammelten Agenten Informationen über das Deutsche Reich und kämpften gegen den Kommunismus in Russland. Nach der Machtübernahme durch die Nationalsozialisten arbeitete der SIS unter anderem an der Entschlüsselung der Geheim-Codes der Nazis.

Im Kalten Krieg versuchte sich die Behörde in der Anwerbung sowjetischer Offizieller oder an Staatsstreichen, über die Erfolgsrate schweigt sie sich bis heute aus. Seit 1994 sind die Zuständigkeiten im Intelligence Services Act geregelt. Auch die Überwachung von Telefonaten und Internetaktivitäten Verdächtiger gehört zur Aufgabe der Behörde. Könnten Sie ein MI6-Agent sein?

Spektakuläres über den MI6

Eine der bekanntesten und schillerndsten Personen in der Geschichte der Geheimdienste ist Thomas Edward Lawrence, auch bekannt als Lawrence von Arabien. Der studierte Archäologe begab sich 1914 offiziell zur Kartographierung in den Nahen Osten, unter der Hand ging es um militärisches Auskundschaften. Aufgrund seiner Erfolge und Fähigkeiten wurde er schnell vom britischen Geheimdienst angeworben – und integrierte sich derart gut in die einheimischen Beduinenvölker, dass er sie zum Aufstand gegen die Fremdherrschaft durch die Türken führte. Ganz im Sinne seines Heimatlandes. Noch zu Lebzeiten wurde Lawrence zum Mythos – und zu einem beliebten Gesprächsgegenstand der englischen Aristokratie.
Eine spektakuläre Mordtheorie geistert seit dem 3. August 1997 durch Großbritannien: Wurde Prinzessin Diana, die Ex-Frau des britischen Thronfolgers Prinz Charles, vom MI6 beseitigt? Sgro schreibt dazu, dass das britische Königshaus Angst vor einem muslimischen Schwiegervater des zukünftigen Königs gehabt hatte und Lady Di zu allem Überfluss auch noch schwanger gewesen sein soll. Diana war seit kurzem mit Dodi Al-Fayed zusammen, dem Sohn des Harrod-Geschäftsführers Mohamed Al-Fayed. Bis heute ist der Fall nicht aufgeklärt, Gerüchte über vertauschte Blutproben, eine überschnelle Einbalsamierung zur Vertuschung der Schwangerschaft und den Einsatz einer Stroboskop-Lichtkanone zur Blendung des Limousinen-Fahrers machen noch immer die Runde.
Spanien – CNI
CNI, das Kürzel des spanischen Geheimdienstes, steht für „Centro Nacional de Inteligencia“
Organisation des spanischen Geheimdienstes

In Spanien kümmert sich der Centro Nacional de Inteligencia (CNI) um Spionage-Dinge. Der Geheimdienst ist Teil des spanischen Verteidigungsministeriums. Seine Aufgaben umfassen die Informationsbeschaffung und Abwehr, aber auch wirtschaftliche Analysen und politische Risikobewertungen. Der spanische Ministerrat fungiert einerseits als Kontrollorgan, andererseits bestimmt er jährlich die Ziele der Behörde neu. Der CNI umfasst etwa 600 Mitarbeiter.

Geschichte des CNI

Die Wurzeln der Behörde liegen in der Zeit des spanischen Bürgerkriegs: 1935 gründete die Zweite Republik einen Geheimdienst, der – überrascht vom Beginn des Krieges – allerdings nie seine Arbeit aufnahm. Bis zu acht verschiedene Dienste arbeiteten bis in die 70er-Jahre gleichzeitig, zum Teil beschafften sie sogar dieselben Informationen.

Erst 1972 gründete sich der erste offizielle Geheimdienst in Spanien, der sogenannte Zentrale Dokumentationsdienst – noch unter der Diktatur des Generals Francisco Franco. Hauptzweck war der Schutz der Diktatur und die Aufdeckung von Umsturzplänen. 1977, zwei Jahre nach dem Tod des Diktators, wurde der Geheimdienst reformiert und dem Verteidigungsministerium angegliedert.

Spektakuläres über das CNI

„Sieben spanische Agenten im Irak getötet“ – diese Nachricht ging 2003 um die Welt. Mit einem Schlag verlor der spanische Geheimdienst praktisch alle Experten in dem Land. Und alles nur, weil die Agenten offenbar einem irakischen Doppelagenten zum Opfer fielen. An einem Samstag im November trafen sich vier dort stationierte CNI-Agenten mit ihren Kollegen, die sie ablösen sollten. Mit dabei: ihre Kontaktperson und Informanten – und ein Maulwurf, der die Spanier an Saddams Truppen verriet. Ein tödlich verwundeter Agent rief offenbar noch während des Hinterhalts bei der CNI-Zentrale an und flehte mit letzter Kraft: „Sie bringen uns um. Schickt Hubschrauber herbei!“.
Ein schwieriges Verhältnis hat der CNI zum spanischen Königshaus: Als sich König Juan Carlos in den 2000ern eine Geliebte leistete, musste Spaniens Geheimdienstchef vor dem Parlament antanzen und Auskunft geben – offiziell zum Schutz der Monarchie und des Wohl des Königs. Doch eigentlich ging es um die Frage, ob die „enge Freundin“ des Königs auf Staatskosten ausgehalten wurde. Die Befragung verlief allerdings hinter verschlossenen Türen und ergab nichts Erhellendes. Erst ein Mitarbeiter der Polizeigewerkschaft erhärtete die Gerüchte und so wurde das Verhältnis zum Politikum – ohne Beteiligung des CNI.
Israel – Mossad
Israels berüchtigter Geheimdienst Mossad
Organisation des israelischen Geheimdienstes

In Israel gibt es vier Behörden, die sich um nachrichtendienstliche Belange kümmern: Den militärischen Geheimdienst Aman, den wissenschaftlichen Nachrichtendienst Lakam, den Inlandsgeheimdienst Schin Bet und den – sicherlich am bekanntesten – Auslandsgeheimdienst Mossad. Das Hauptquartier des Mossad befindet sich in Tel Aviv, laut Schätzungen arbeiten in der Behörde etwa 1200 Geheimdienstler. Darunter aktive Agenten, die sogenannten Katsas, und freiwillige Helfer, die sogenannten Sjanim – organisiert in einem weltweiten Netz israelischer Spione. Der Mossad kümmert sich um die Sicherheit des Landes und des Militärs, gilt aber auch als operativer Arm der Regierung – Geschichten über Liquidierungen und Entführungen durch Mossad-Agenten gibt es seit jeher.

Geschichte des Mossad

Israel ist ein vergleichsweise junger Staat: 1947 teilte die UN Palästina in einen jüdischen und einen arabischen Staat – um einen Lebensraum für die Überlebenden des Holocausts zu schaffen. Für die arabische Bevölkerung stellten die Pläne jedoch eine Provokation dar: Einer der zentralen Konflikte des 20. Jahrhunderts war geschaffen. Kriegerische Auseinandersetzungen folgten, gleichzeitig arbeiteten inoffizielle Organisationen daran, arabische Aufstände zu vermeiden. 1949 gründete der damalige Premierminister David Ben-Gurion dann den ersten offiziellen Geheimdienst, zunächst dem Außenministerium zugeordnet, später Teil des Büros des Premierministers.

Spektakuläres über den Mossad

Wie Alexandra Sgro in ihrem Buch „Geheimdienste der Welt“ beschreibt, wählte der Mossad seine Bewerber besonders streng aus: Angehende Agenten mussten ihre Geschicklichkeit unter Beweis stellen, indem sie an gut einsehbaren Stellen Bomben platzieren sollten – ohne, dass sie dabei gesehen werden. Wer geschickt genug war, wurde Agent. Heute steht am Beginn lediglich ein medizinischer und psychologischer Check, die Ausbildung dauert drei Jahre – mit einem Stundenplan aus Ausfragen, Leeren toter Briefkästen, Durchführung von Anschlägen und die spezielle israelische Kampfkunst Krav Maga.

Doch das sollte nicht darüber hinwegtäuschen, dass der Mossad einer der effizientesten Geheimdienste weltweit ist, erklärt der Experte Beer. Eine der spektakulärsten – und ersten großen – Operationen des Mossads war die Gefangennahme des nach Argentinien geflohenen Nazis Adolf Eichmann. Er war als Mitglied des Reichsicherheitshauptamtes maßgeblich an der Deportation und Ermordung der Juden im „Dritten Reich“ beteiligt. Er tauchte in Südamerika unter, wurde allerdings vom Mossad aufgespürt und 1960 verhaftet. Nach einem neunmonatigen Prozess wurde er zum Tode verurteilt und 1962 hingerichtet.

Zehn Jahre später kam es bei den Olympischen Spiele in München zur Katastrophe: Eine palästinensische Terror-Gruppe ermordete elf israelische Sportler – die israelische Führung schwor Rache. Die Sonderheinheit „Caesarea“ jagte die acht Mörder über den gesamten Globus und vollendete die Hatz mit dem Mord an dem letzten Attentäter im Jahr 1979. Die Operation „Zorn Gottes“ ging in die Geschichte ein – wohl auch deshalb, weil ein Unschuldiger sterben musste. Mossad-Agenten töteten den Marokkaner Ahmed Bouchiki. Sie verwechselten ihn mit einem der palästinensischen Attentäter.
Und auch heute noch scheint der Mossad sehr aktiv zu sein. 2012 machte ein Medienbericht die Runde, wonach sich israelische Agenten Mitte der 2000er als CIA-Spione ausgegeben haben sollen, um eine Rebellen-Organisation zu Anschlägen im Iran anzustiften. Es war eine der „besonderen“ Methoden im geheimen Atomkrieg. Von 2010 bis 2012 wurden vier iranische Atom-Wissenschaftler ermordet – von Israel, so Beobachter.
China – Ministerium für Staatssicherheit
In China ist das Ministerium für Staatssicherheit als Geheimpolizei tätig
Organisation des chinesischen Geheimdienstes

Der Geheimdienst in der Volksrepublik China teilt sich in das Ministerium für Staatssicherheit und den Militärnachrichtendienst auf. Das Ministerium kümmert sich dabei um in- wie ausländische Belange und gilt als einer der größten Geheimdienste weltweit. Die Methoden wie Netzzensur, Verletzung von Menschenrechten und zum Teil gewalttätige Überwachung von Dissidenten zeigt, dass das Ministerium ein Dienst mit polizeilichen Befugnissen zu sein scheint.

Geschichte des Ministeriums für Staatssicherheit

Dass Geheimdienste nicht erst ein Phänomen der Moderne sind, zeigt das riesige Netzwerk von Geheimdiensten in der Ming-Dynastie. Die Agenten wurden von Eunuchen angeführt, zumeist einfache Männer aus dem Volk. Die Ming-Herrscher sahen sich im 16. Jahrhundert zunehmend bedroht durch die Macht der Geheimtruppen und ihren Führern. Alle Maßnahmen kamen schließlich zu spät, die große Ming-Dynastie zerbrach. Unter anderem wegen des Konflikts zwischen hohen Beamten und den aus niedriger Herkunft stammenden Eunuchen.

Im Jahr 1949 gründete die Kommunistische Partei den Vorläufer des Sicherheitsministeriums. Die Behörde sollte die Granden der Partei über weltweite Vorkommnisse unterrichten, basierend auf Nachrichten der Presseagenturen und einer limitierten Zahl Zeitungen und Bücher. Mit der Konsolidierung der Macht der Kommunistischen Partei wuchs auch die Aufgabe des Geheimdienstes, die jäh durch die Kulturrevolution unterbrochen wurde. In den Siebziger Jahren wurde die Arbeit wieder aufgenommen und die Behörde in kurzer Zeit massiv erweitert, bis sie 1983 in das Ministerium für Staatssicherheit überformt wurde – um alles abzuwehren, was dem sozialistischen System Chinas gefährlich werden könnte.

Spektakuläres über das Ministerium für Staatssicherheit

Die größte Bedrohung geht von Chinas Cyberspionage aus: Erst im Mai hatte eine US-Expertenkommission eine Liste von militärischen Projekten veröffentlicht, die vom chinesischen Geheimdienst über das Internet ausspioniert wurde. Darunter derart wichtige strategische Objekte wie das Patriot-Raketenabwehrsystem, Flugzeuge und Kriegsschiffe. Aber auch das Videosystem für Drohnen, Nanotechnologie, Nachrichtenverbindungen – der Schaden sei kaum absehbar, so die Kommission. Der Hintergrund sind offenbar die Modernisierungsbemühungen der chinesischen Armee.
Doch auch vor Ort scheinen chinesische Spione ihrer subversiven Tätigkeit nachzugehen: Etwa 120 Agenten arbeiten in den USA, Kanada, Japan, West-, Ost- und Nord-Europa als Geschäftsleute, Industrie-Arbeiter, Banker, Wissenschaftler, Journalisten.
Finnland – Supo
Der „Supo“, der zivile Nachrichtendienst, ist nur einer von Finnlands Geheimdiensten
Organisation des finnischen Geheimdienstes

In Finnland gibt es zwei offizielle Nachrichtendienste: Zum einen die „Suojelupoliisi“ (Supo), den zivilen Nachrichtendienst, und das „Pääesikunnan tiedusteluosasto“, den militärischen Nachrichtendienst. Die Supo ist ein Teil der finnischen Polizei und untersteht dem Innenminister, ihr Hauptquartier steht in Helsinki. Etwa 220 Geheimdienstler arbeiten dort an Terrorismus-Bekämpfung, Gegenspionage und allgemein der Bekämpfung von Verbrechen, die sich gegen die Regierung und die Politik richten.

Das „Pääesikunnan tiedusteluosasto“ dagegen untersteht dem finnischen Verteidigungsminister. Die Behörde ist mit dem Schutz des finnischen Hoheitsgebiets beauftragt. Ein zentrales Mittel für die Überwachung ist die Funkaufklärung: Sie sitzt in der zentralfinnischen Kleinstadt Tikkakoski.

Geschichte der Supo

Finnland litt schon immer unter seiner exponierten Lage: Über Jahrhunderte hinweg führten Schweden und Russland ihre kriegerischen Konflikte auf dem finnischen Festland aus, erst im 19. Jahrhundert konnten die Finnen die Fremdherrschaft abschütteln und zu einem eigenständigen Staat werden, obgleich eine starke Abhängigkeit zu Russland auch weiterhin bestand. 1917 rief Finnland seine Unabhängigkeit aus, eine tiefe Kluft zwischen rechten und linken politischen Kräften durchzog jedoch das Land.

Darin fußt die Geschichte der Geheimdienste: Rechte Kräfte gründeten eine Vorläufer-Organisation der Supo, um die „Roten“ zu überwachen. Nach dem Ende der Konflikte 1919 wurde die Geheimdienstarbeit dem Innenministerium unterstellt. Ab da lässt sich eine durchgehende Spionage-Tätigkeit bis in die Gegenwart verfolgen. Doch die politische Entzweiung brodelte weiter: 1949 wurde die Supo gegründet, um die mit Kommunisten besetzte Staatspolizei abzulösen. Die Organisation hat kein eigenes Einsatzkommando. Sie kann allerdings auf das „Karhu“-Team zurückgreifen, ähnlich dem amerikanischen Swat-Team.

Spektakuläres über die Supo

Eine der spektakulärsten Einsätze ist sicherlich Operation Stella Polaris: Im Zweiten Weltkrieg wurde Finnland erneut Dreh- und Angelpunkt östlicher und westlicher Machtinteressen. Einerseits verbündete sich Finnland zwar mit Nazi-Deutschland, andererseits fürchtete die Führung sowohl eine Invasion der Wehrmacht als auch der sowjetischen Truppen. Die Lösung war eine geheime Operation mit den Vereinigten Staaten: Mehrere finnische Spione setzten sich in das benachbarte Schweden ab und verkauften Informationen über das „Dritte Reich“ und die Sowjetunion an die USA.
1942, bei einem Besuch Heinrich Himmlers, spionierte der finnische Geheimdienst den damaligen Reichsführer SS aus – und rettete so wohl 2000 Juden das Leben, wie die Historikerin Janne Könönen 2002 herausfand. Die heimlich abfotografierte Liste mit den Namen einheimischer Juden wurde dem damaligen Staatspräsidenten ausgehändigt – dieser sprach sich vehement gegen eine Auslieferung der Juden aus und bewahrte sie so vor der sicheren Deputation in deutsche Lager.
Die schwierige Quellenlage
Das Internet ist voll brisanter Informationen über die Geheimdienste der Welt. Teilweise ist die Quellenlage mysteriös – und oft falsch. Behörden, die im Geheimen agieren, haben es natürlich an sich, zu den wildesten Verschwörungstheorien einzuladen, die Grenzen zwischen Wahrheit und Fiktion verwischen gerne. Doch es gibt auch seriöse und wissenschaftliche Ansätze – eine Übersicht:

Einen pragmatischen und sehr überblicksreichen Ansatz bietet das Buch „Geheimdienste der Welt“ von Alexandra Sgro, 2013 erschienen im Compact Verlag. Sgro fasst die wichtigsten Informationen zu bekannten Geheimdiensten wie MI6, BND, CIA aber auch unbekannteren Behörden wie Schwedens Säkerhetspolisen oder Griechenlands Ethniki Ypiresia Pliroforion zusammen und reichert die Berichte mit Geschichten zu den größten Skandalen und bekanntesten Spionen an.

Auf der wissenschaftlichen Seite schreibt der emeritierte Professor Dr. Wolfgang Krieger in seiner Monographie „Geschichte der Geheimdienste. Von den Pharaonen bis zur CIA“, 2010 in der zweiten Auflage bei C.H. Beck erschienen. Wie der Titel vermuten lässt, beginnt Krieger seine historische Suche nach den Wurzeln der Spionage in der Antike und verfolgt sie bis in die Gegenwart. Die aktuellsten Entwicklungen zu Snowden und der NSA fanden dabei aufgrund des Veröffentlichungszeitpunktes nicht in das Buch. Spannend: Trotz allem schreibt Krieger über Bürgerrechtsverletzungen, versteckte Kooperationen der internationalen Geheimdienste und „Whistleblower“.

Das „Austrian Center for Intelligence, Propaganda & Security Studies“ (ACIPSS) ist eine wissenschaftliche Plattform unter der Ägide von Professor Dr. Siegfried Beer. Das ACIPSS bietet Tagungsberichte, wissenschaftliche Studien und Interviews zu aktuellen Phänomenen – wie beispielsweise zum Abhör-Skandal. Außerdem beschäftigt sich das Center mit der Geschichte der Geheimdienste im europäischen Westen sowie den USA.

Von FOCUS-Online-Redakteur Julian Rohrer , FOCUS-Online-Autor Johannes Ruprecht und FOCUS-Online-Autorin Lisa Kohn

Find this story at Augustus 2013

© FOCUS Online 1996-2013

Spy agencies win millions more to fight terror threat

Britain’s intelligence agencies will emerge as the biggest winners from the Government’s review of public spending, The Telegraph can disclose.
MI6, MI5 and Government Communications Headquarters will see an increase in their combined £1.9 billion budget

MI6, MI5 and Government Communications Headquarters (GCHQ) will see an inflation-busting increase in their combined £1.9 billion budget, underlining the Government’s concern over the growing terrorist threat following the Woolwich attack.

Police spending on counter-terrorism will also be protected and will rise in line with inflation.

The percentage increase in the budgets of the intelligence agencies – at more than three per cent in addition to inflation – will be the largest of any item of government spending including the NHS, schools and international development.

It will lead to the agencies receiving about another £100 million in funding annually from 2015.

Local councils are also expected to emerge as winners with increased funding for elderly social care. Money from the ring-fenced NHS budget is expected to be diverted to help fund care homes and home visits for frail pensioners.
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George Osborne will on Wednesday unveil the Government’s spending plans for the 2015-16 financial year following months of Whitehall wrangling.

The Spending Review, which will cut a further £11.5 billion in public expenditure, is regarded as especially sensitive as the cuts will be implemented just weeks before the next general election.

The biggest losers will include the Business department, the Culture department, the Home Office and the Justice department, which are expected to each lose about eight per cent from their budgets.

The Ministry of Defence will see its budget cut by about £1 billion, although this will not involve further reductions in front-line troops.

Mr Osborne is also expected to set out plans for long-term caps on welfare spending and other areas of government expenditure which are not tightly controlled.

The Chancellor will detail proposals to divert the money saved from Whitehall spending to fund long-term infrastructure projects such as widening major roads.

He is expected to say: “Britain is moving from rescue to recovery. But while the British economy is leaving intensive care, now we need to secure that recovery.

“We’re saving money on welfare and waste to invest in the roads and railways, schooling and science our economy needs to succeed in the future.”

The intelligence agencies have recently faced criticism that they are struggling to deal with emerging threats, amid suggestions that MI5 and MI6 could have done more to prevent the murder of Drummer Lee Rigby in Woolwich. One of the suspects had attempted to travel to Somalia and both were known to the intelligence services.

GCHQ’s activities have also come under scrutiny following accusations that it may be abusing its power in secretive projects with the United States to monitor internet traffic.

The Chancellor is understood to have contacted the heads of the three agencies last Friday to inform them of their spending increases. MI5, MI6 and GCHQ have seen their budgets fall in real terms by more than 10 per cent since 2010 and there were fears that they would face a further round of cuts.

A Whitehall source said: “This has been one of George’s personal priorities. It is vitally important we look after these budgets and they were settled last week with agreement at the very highest level.”

Mr Osborne and the Prime Minister are understood to believe the agencies need more resources to tackle the growing terrorist threat from sub-Saharan Africa and Syria, and the rising problem posed by cyber terrorism.

In the wake of the GCHQ snooping row, William Hague, the Foreign Secretary, praised the agencies’ work and cooperation with US counterparts.

Speaking in America, he said “we should have nothing but pride” in the “intelligence-sharing relationship between Britain and the United States”. He added that both countries’ intelligence work operated “under the rule of law” and “only exists to protect” people’s freedoms.

Mr Osborne confirmed on Tuesday that the NHS and schools budgets would continue to rise.

Money is also expected to be diverted from the health budget to local authorities to fund social care. Norman Lamb, a health minister, recently warned of an impending crisis in social care as councils struggled to fund enough places for ailing pensioners.

Last week, council leaders warned Mr Osborne that street lights may have to be switched off and libraries closed unless NHS funding was diverted to help pay for elderly care.

They said the amount of money spent on social care has been cut by a fifth in less than three years and they were preparing to reduce budgets further.

Mr Osborne agreed for £2 billion to be transferred from the NHS to the social care sector in his previous Spending Review, but councils said much of the money has gone on propping up the system because of the ageing population.

Ministers are also expected to set out the entitlement criteria for state help. The Government has pledged to cap the maximum bill that anyone faces for social care at £72,000 from 2016, and the details of how this will work are to be announced this week.

Earl Howe, a health minister, was asked about the growing problem in social care, with hospitals often forced not to discharge elderly patients who are infirm but not ill because they have nowhere to go. He said there would be “more news” about increased funding for social care on Wednesday and sources confirmed that the social care budget would rise after several years of cuts.

Danny Alexander, the Chief Secretary to the Treasury, also hinted that the Government may speed up the introduction of its community budgets programme, which is designed to make public sector services share operations.

He urged MPs to “listen carefully” to the Chancellor’s statement for more news after being asked about the programme’s national implementation.

By Robert Winnett, Political Editor
10:00PM BST 25 Jun 2013

Find this story at 25 June 2013

© Copyright of Telegraph Media Group Limited 2013

MI5 feared GCHQ went ‘too far’ over phone and internet monitoring

Amid leaks from NSA whistleblower Edward Snowden, senior intelligence source reveals worries were voiced in 2008

GCHQ taps can intercept UK and US phone and internet traffic. Photograph: EPA

Senior figures inside British intelligence have been alarmed by GCHQ’s secret decision to tap into transatlantic cables in order to engage in the bulk interception of phone calls and internet traffic.

According to one source who has been directly involved in GCHQ operations, concerns were expressed when the project was being discussed internally in 2008: “We felt we were starting to overstep the mark with some of it. People from MI5 were complaining that they were going too far from a civil liberties perspective … We all had reservations about it, because we all thought: ‘If this was used against us, we wouldn’t stand a chance’.”

The Guardian revealed on Friday that GCHQ has placed more than 200 probes on transatlantic cables and is processing 600m “telephone events” a day as well as up to 39m gigabytes of internet traffic. Using a programme codenamed Tempora, it can store and analyse voice recordings, the content of emails, entries on Facebook, the use of websites as well as the “metadata” which records who has contacted who. The programme is shared with GCHQ’s American partner, the National Security Agency.

Interviews with the UK source and the NSA whistleblower Edward Snowden raise questions about whether the programme:

■ Exploits existing law which was passed by parliament without any anticipation that it would be used for this purpose.

■ For the first time allows GCHQ to process bulk internal UK traffic which is routed overseas via these cables.

■ Allows the NSA to engage in bulk intercepts of internal US traffic which would be forbidden in its own territory.

■ Functions with no effective oversight.

The key law is the Regulation of Investigatory Powers Act 2000, Ripa, which requires the home secretary or foreign secretary to sign warrants for the interception of the communications of defined targets. But the law also allows the foreign secretary to sign certificates that authorise GCHQ to trawl for broad categories of information on condition that one end of the communication is outside the UK.

According to the UK source: “Not so long ago, this was all about attaching crocodile clips to copper wires. And it was all about voice. Now, it’s about the internet – massive scale – but still using the same law that was devised for crocodile clips. Ripa was primarily designed for voice, not for this level of interception. They are going round Ripa. The legislation doesn’t exist for this. They are using old legislation and adapting it.”

The source claimed that even the conventional warrant system has been distorted – whereas police used to ask for a warrant before intercepting a target’s communications, they will now ask GCHQ to intercept the target’s communications and then use that information to seek a warrant.

There is a particular concern that the programme allows GCHQ to break the boundary which stopped it engaging in the bulk interception of internal UK communications. The Ripa requirement that one end of a communication must be outside the UK was a significant restriction when it was applied to phone calls using satellites, but it is no longer effective in the world of fibre-optic cables. “The point is that this is an island,” the source said. “Everything comes and goes – nearly everything – down fibre-optic cables. You make a mobile phone call, it goes to a mast and then down into a fibre-optic cable, under the ground and away. And even if the call is UK to UK, it’s very likely – because of the way the system is structured – to go out of the UK and come back in through these fibre-optic channels.”

Internet traffic is also liable to be routed internationally even if the message is exchanged between two people within the UK. “At one point, I was told that we were getting 85% of all UK domestic traffic – voice, internet, all of it – via these international cables.”

Last year, the government was mired in difficulty when it tried to pass a communications bill that became known as the “snoopers’ charter”, and would have allowed the bulk interception and storage of UK voice calls and internet traffic. The source says this debate was treated with some scepticism inside the intelligence community – “We’re sitting there, watching them debate the snoopers’ charter, thinking: ‘Well, GCHQ have been doing this for years’.”

There are similar concerns about the role of the NSA. It could have chosen to attach probes to the North American end of the cables and documents shown to the Guardian by Edward Snowden suggest that key elements of the Tempora filtering process were designed by the NSA. Instead, the NSA agency has exported its computer programs and 250 of its analysts to operate the system from the UK.

Initial inquiries by the Guardian have failed to explain why this has happened, but US legislators are likely to want to check whether the NSA has sought to bypass legal or policy requirements which restrict its activity in the US. This will be particularly sensitive if it is confirmed that Tempora is also analysing internal US traffic.

The UK source challenges the official justification for the programme; that it is necessary for the fight against terrorism and serious crime: “This is not scoring very high against those targets, because they are wise to the monitoring of their communications. If the terrorists are wise to it, why are we increasing the capability?

“The answer is that you can’t stop it. It is a self-fulfilling prophecy. The more we develop communications technology, the more they develop technology to intercept it. There was MS Chat – easy. Then Yahoo chat – did that, too. Then Facebook. Then Skype. Then Twitter. They keep catching up. It is good for us, but it is bad for us.”

It is clear from internal paperwork that GCHQ has created systems to restrain the use of this powerful tool and to ensure that its use complies not only with Ripa but also with the 1998 Human Rights Act, which requires essentially that the use of the data must be proportional to the crime or threat investigated. Defenders insist that the mass of data is heavily filtered by the programme so that only that relating to legitimate targets is analysed.

However, there are doubts about the effectiveness of this. First, according to the UK source, “written definitions for targeting and filtering are very elastic. They are wide open to interpretation.” The target areas defined by the Ripa certificates are secret.

Second, there is further room for interpretation when human analysts become involved in using the filtered intelligence to produce what are known as “contact chains”. “Here is target A. But who is A talking to? Now we’re into B and C and D.” If analysts believe it is proportional, they can look at all the traffic – content and metadata – relating to all of the target’s contact.” GCHQ audits a sample of its analysts’ work – believed to be 5% every six months – but even the statistical results of these audits are also secret.

Beyond the detail of the operation of the programme, there is a larger, long-term anxiety, clearly expressed by the UK source: “If there was the wrong political change, it could be very dangerous. All you need is to have the wrong government in place. It is capable of abuse because there is no independent scrutiny.”

Nick Davies
The Observer, Saturday 22 June 2013 20.18 BST

Find this story at 22 June 2013
© 2013 Guardian News and Media Limited or its affiliated companies. All rights reserved.

Woolwich suspect’s brother ‘harassed and threatened by MI6 and MI5’

The brother of one of the men charged with the murder of Drummer Lee Rigby in Woolwich has claimed he was “harassed and threatened” by the British security services.

Michael Adebolajo’s younger brother, Jeremiah, 26, said he met MI6 intelligence officers numerous times while he was working in Saudia Arabia and was quizzed by MI5 early last year on a trip home to London.

He described a series of meetings, at the British Embassy in Riyadh, at airports and at other locations which he says he felt compelled to attend. At one stage, he claims he was stopped from flying on holiday so he could attend a meeting.

Mr Adebolajo, who cannot discuss his brother’s case for legal reasons, says he was first approached by MI6 early in 2011 when he was teaching English at the University of Ha’il in Nejd.

The approach from the British Embassy asking him to attend a meeting to discuss “life in Saudi Arabia” came a few weeks after his brother had been arrested in Kenya near the Somali border and deported to Britain.

During the meetings he was questioned about his brother-in-law James Thompson and asked about two other men who he was told had travelled to Yemen in advance of a terror attack on the UK.

Mr Adebolajo told The Times: “They were never openly aggressive, but they were always implicitly threatening. There was never the understanding that if I wanted I could stand up and say, that’s enough. There was always the understanding that that I have to co-operate or I would lose my job and I don’t know what else.”

He said the officers, who admitted they were from the security services, were particularly interested in the two men who had travelled to Yemen but denied their claims that he had been in contact with them.

“They were always looking for my knowledge and dealings with the two main indivuals they had shown me. They asked me biographical stuff, what mosques did I go to, do I pray, that sort of thing. Like they were trying to build a profile of me.”

When Drummer Rigby was killed on May 22 in Woolwich, Mr Adebolajo says he recognised his brother from a video posted online. He contacted his parents and said: “My Dad was so upset, distraught.”

Michael Adebolajo will next appear in court alongside co-defendant Michael Adebowale, 22, of Greenwich, south-east London, for a preliminary hearing on June 28.

Justin Davenport, Crime Editor
20 June 2013

Find this story at 20 June 2013

© Evening Standard Limited

Woolwich murder, the MI6 connection: Younger brother of Michael Adebolajo ‘was paid thousands to spy in Middle East’

The younger brother of one of the men accused of murdering Drummer Lee Rigby was paid thousands of pounds by MI6 as part of spying operations in the Middle East, The Mail on Sunday has discovered.

Jeremiah Adebolajo, who uses the name Abul Jaleel, was also asked to help ‘turn’ his brother, Michael, to work for MI5, who were already aware of Michael’s close links to extremist groups.

The claims are made by the Adebolajo family and a well-placed source who contacted The Mail on Sunday.

Jeremiah Adebolajo, 26, who works as an English teacher at a university in Saudi Arabia and returned to Britain this week, is to be questioned about his brother by Scotland Yard counter-terrorism detectives today.

Government sources have already confirmed that Michael Adebolajo was known to MI5. Last week it was alleged that he rebuffed efforts by the security service to recruit him as a spy.

Michael, 28, was discharged from hospital on Friday and was yesterday charged with the murder of Drummer Rigby and attempted murder of two police officers on May 22 in Woolwich, South London.

Now it has emerged that MI5’s sister agency, MI6, had targeted Jeremiah, a married teacher based at the University of Ha’il.

MI5 and MI6 work closely together on counter-terrorism operations. MI5 focuses on home security, while MI6 targets threats from overseas.

A document seen by The Mail on Sunday details concerns raised by Jeremiah’s family about MI6’s alleged harassment in April last year.

In it, Jeremiah’s sister, Blessing Adebolajo, 32, who works as a human resources assistant in London, says her brother was approached by MI6 while he was working at the University of Ha’il – an important strategic location in the Middle East because it takes only one hour by plane to reach 11 Arab capitals.

Jeremiah Adeboljao was working at the University of Ha’il in Saudi Arabia when he was approached by MI6

Complaint: A redacted copy of the allegations made by the Adebolajo family

A friend of Jeremiah has confirmed her account.

The friend said: ‘They asked him about Michael and asked him to help “turn” him to work for MI5.

‘They also told him to go to certain hotels, order a cup of tea and wait for his contact.

‘On these occasions he was handed £300, and was paid to fly first-class and stay in five-star hotels.’

The document, prepared by case workers with the charity Cageprisoners, says Blessing approached the East London charity for help because she was worried about the harassment and intimidation of both her brothers by the security and intelligence services.

She says MI6 bought a ticket so Jeremiah could fly to an Intercontinental hotel in another Middle East country (believed to be the United Arab Emirates) and that he was given local currency worth more than £1,000.

She also alleges Jeremiah told her that he was interrogated about specific people and was shown pictures of himself with named individuals taken in the UK. But Blessing told Cageprisoners that Jeremiah had ‘strongly’ rejected MI6’s offer to work as one of their agents.

Blessing Adebolajo says her brother Jeremiah was approached by MI6 and asked to become an informant

As a result of this rejection, his sister says he was ‘intimidated’ until he was finally told that he would be stopped from leaving the UK.

The friend said that two years ago Jeremiah was approached by UK security officers when he was held at Heathrow on his way back from Saudi Arabia.

During the interview, he was warned about what happens to Muslims who don’t help the Government and was shown documents that confirmed people he knew were being held in prisons throughout the world.

Police and security services are under huge pressure to explain what they know about Adebolajo and his alleged accomplice, Michael Adebowale. Despite warnings stretching back ten years, Michael Adebolajo is said to have been considered ‘low risk’ by MI5. He was photographed at high-profile protests – even standing next to hate preacher Anjem Choudary.

He was arrested in Kenyan 2010 over his alleged plans to travel to Somalia to join terror group Al-Shabaab before being returned to the UK. Jeremiah married Charlotte Patricia Taylor in 2008 at Sutton Register Office in Surrey.

Shortly afterwards the couple are believed to have left for Saudi Arabia where Jeremiah found work teaching. The University of Ha’il is one of Saudi Arabia’s most progressive education establishments and was established by Royal Decree in 2005. It consists of five colleges – Sciences, Medicine and Medical Sciences, Engineering, Computer Science and Engineering, and a Community College – and has more than 16,000 students.

By Robert Verkaik
PUBLISHED: 21:02 GMT, 1 June 2013 | UPDATED: 21:03 GMT, 1 June 2013

Find this story at 1 June 2013

© Associated Newspapers Ltd

UK pays price for MI5 courting terror

The brutal murder of an off-duty British soldier in broad daylight in the southeast London district of Woolwich raises new questions about the British government’s national security strategy, at home and abroad. Officials have highlighted the danger of “self-radicalizing” cells inspired by Internet extremism, but this ignores overwhelming evidence that major UK terror plots have been incubated by the banned al-Qaeda-linked group formerly known as Al Muhajiroun.

Equally, it is no surprise that the attackers had been seen earlier on the radar of MI5, the UK’s domestic counter-intelligence and security agency. While Al Muhajiroun’s emir, Syrian cleric Omar

Bakri Mohammed – currently self-exiled to Tripoli in northern Lebanon – has previously claimed “public immunity” due to murky connections with British intelligence, compelling evidence suggests such connections might still be operational in the context of foreign policy imperatives linked to oil and gas interests.

Security services and the Woolwich suspect
Despite being proscribed, Al Muhajiroun has continued to function with impunity in new incarnations, most recently under the banner of Izhar Ud-Deen-il-Haq – run under the tutelage of Bakri’s London-based deputy, British-born Anjem Choudary.

Almost every major terrorist attack and plot in the UK has in some way been linked to Choudary’s extremist network. The Woolwich attack was no exception. Anjem Choudary himself admitted to knowing one of the attackers, Michael “Mujahid” Adebolajo, as someone who “attended our meetings and my lectures”.

Adebolajo was a regular at Al Muhajiroun’s Woolwich High Street dawah (propagation) stall, was “tutored” by Omar Bakri himself, and had attended the group’s meetings between 2005 and 2011.

According to intelligence sources, both attackers were known to MI5 and MI6, which is concerned with foreign intelligene, and had appeared on “intelligence watch lists”, and Adebolajo had “featured in several counter-terrorist investigations” as a “peripheral figure” for the “last eight years” – suggesting his terrorist activities began precisely when he joined Al Muhajiroun.

In particular, credible reports suggest he was high on MI5’s priority for the past three years, with family and friends confirming that he was repeatedly harassed by the agency to become an informant – as late as six months ago.

In this context, the touted “lone wolf” hypothesis is baseless. For instance, while the recently convicted “Birmingham 11”, sentenced last month for their role in a bombing plot in the UK, had access to al-Qaeda’s Inspire magazine and Anwar al-Awlaki’s video speeches, they had also attended al-Qaeda terrorist training camps in Pakistan. This could only happen through an established UK-based Islamist network with foreign connections.

Al Muhajiroun is the only organization that fits the profile. One in five terrorist convictions in the UK for more than a decade were for people who were either members of or had links to Al Muhajiroun. Last year, four Al Muhajiroun members were convicted at Woolwich Crown Court of planning to bomb the London Stock Exchange.

Inspired by Awlaki’s teachings, the plotters had also been taught by Choudary’s longtime Al Muhajiroun colleague, ex-terror convict Abu Izzadeen. But this is just the tip of the iceberg.

MI6’s terror Network
In 1996, Omar Bakri founded Al Muhajiroun with Anjem Choudary. According to John Loftus, a former US Army Intelligence Officer and Justice Department prosecutor, three senior Al Muhajiroun figures at the time – Bakri, Abu Hamza, and Haroon Rashid Aswat – had been recruited by MI6 that year to facilitate Islamist activities in the Balkans.

The objective was geopolitical expansion – destabilizing former Soviet republics, sidelining Russia and paving the way for the Trans-Balkan oil pipeline protected by incoming North Atlantic Treaty Organization “peacekeeping” bases.

“This is about America’s energy security”, said then US energy secretary Bill Richardson: “It’s also about preventing strategic inroads by those who don’t share our values. We’re trying to move these newly independent countries toward the West. We would like to see them reliant on Western commercial and political interests rather than going another way. We’ve made a substantial political investment in the Caspian, and it’s very important to us that both the pipeline map and the politics come out right.”

On February 10, 1998, Bakri and Choudary issued and signed a “fatwa” – a religious ruling – titled “Muslims in Britain Declare War Against the US and British governments”, which warned that the governments of “non-Muslim countries” must “stay away from Iraq, Palestine, Pakistan, Arabia, etc or face a full scale war of jihad which will be the responsibility of every Muslim around the world to participate in” – “including the Muslims in the USA and in Britain” who should “confront by all means whether verbally, financially, politically or militarily the US and British aggression”.

The same year, Bakri was one of a select few to receive a fax from Osama bin Laden in Afghanistan outlining four objectives for a jihad against the US, including hijacking civilian planes.

Public Immunity
In 2000, Bakri admitted to training British Muslims to fight as jihadists in Palestine, Kashmir, Chechnya or South Lebanon. Recruits were “learning firearms and explosives use, surveillance and other skills” and “would be expected to join a jihad being waged in one country or another”. That year, he boasted: “The British government knows who we are. MI5 has interrogated us many times. I think now we have something called public immunity. There is nothing left. You can label us … put us behind bars, but it’s not going to work.”

Labour Party MP Andrew Dismore told parliament the following year about a month after 9/11 that Bakri’s private security firm, Sakina Security Services, “sends people overseas for jihad training with live arms and ammunition”, including training camps “in Pakistan and Afghanistan”, and even at “many different sites in the United Kingdom”.

Hundreds of Britons were being funneled through such training only to return to the UK advocating that Whitehall and Downing Street be attacked as “legitimate targets”. Though Sakina was raided by police and shut down, Bakri and Hamza were not even arrested, let alone charged or prosecuted.

It later emerged that the US’ Federal Bureau of Investigation had flagged up the unusual presence of Al Muhajiroun activists at Arizona flight schools in the US in the summer preceding 9/11, many of whom had terrorist connections, including one described as a close bin Laden associate.

The London bombings
In 2003, two Al Muhajiroun members carried out a suicide bombing in Tel Aviv, Israel. That year, authorities began tracking an al-Qaeda ringleader in Britain, Mohammed Quayyum Khan. By 2004, the surveillance operation uncovered a plot to plant fertilizer bombs around the UK, prepared by a cell of 18 people, most of whom were Al Muhajiroun members who had studied under Bakri and Choudary. Quayyum Khan, like the latter, remains free.

The 7/7 bombers, also Al Muhajiroun members, were connected to both terror plots – Mohamed Sidique Khan had been friends with the Tel Aviv bombers, and had even travelled to Israel weeks before their suicide attack. Khan went on to learn to make explosives in a terrorist training camp set up by Al Muhajiroun’s British and American members in northern Pakistan.

A year before 7/7, Bakri warned of a “well-organized group” linked to al-Qaeda “on the verge of launching a big operation” against London. Then just months before the 7/7 bombings, The Times picked up Bakri telling his followers in Internet lectures: “I believe the whole of Britain has become Dar al-Harb [land of war]. The kuffar [non-believer] has no sanctity for their own life or property.” Muslims are “obliged” to “join the jihad… wherever you are”, and suicide bombings are permitted because “Al-Qaeda… have the emir”.

Entrapment gone crazy
The strange reluctance to prosecute Al Muhajiroun activists despite their support for al-Qaeda terrorism seems inexplicable. But has Britain’s support for al-Qaeda affiliated extremists abroad granted their Islamist allies at home “public immunity”?

In early 2005, shortly before the July 7 London bombings, the Wall Street Journal’s Pulitzer Prize winning journalist Ron Suskind interviewed Bakri after he was told by an MI5 official that the cleric “had helped MI5 on several of its investigations”.

Suskind recounts in his book, The Way of the World, that when asked why, Bakri told him: “Because I like it here. My family’s here. I like the health benefits.” Bakri reiterated this in an interview in early 2007 after his move to Tripoli, Lebanon, claiming, “We were able to control the Muslim youth… The radical preacher that allows a venting of a point of view is preventing violence.”

Suskind observed: “Bakri enjoyed his notoriety and was willing to pay for it with information he passed to the police… It’s a fabric of subtle interlocking needs: the [British authorities] need be in a backchannel conversation with someone working the steam valve of Muslim anger; Bakri needs health insurance”.

Why would MI5 and MI6 retain the services of someone as dangerous as Bakri given the overwhelming evidence of his centrality to the path to violent radicalization? On the one hand, it would seem that, through Al Muhajiroun, MI5 is spawning many of the plots it lays claim to successfully foiling – as the FBI is also doing.

On the other, the strategy aligns conveniently with narrow geopolitical interests rooted in Britain’s unflinching subservience to wider US strategy in the Muslim world.

The not-so-new great game
Little has changed since the Great Game in the Balkans. According to Alastair Crooke, a former MI6 officer and Middle East adviser to EU foreign policy chief Javier Solana, the Saudis are mobilizing Islamist extremists to service mutual US-Saudi interests: “US officials speculated as to what might be done to block this vital corridor [from Iran to Syria], but it was Prince Bandar of Saudi Arabia who surprised them by saying that the solution was to harness Islamic forces. The Americans were intrigued, but could not deal with such people. Leave that to me, Bandar retorted.”

This region-wide strategy involves sponsorship of Salafi jihadists in Syria, Libya, Egypt, Lebanon, Yemen, and Iraq. Praising Obama’s appropriation of this policy, John Hannah – former national security advisor to vice president Dick Cheney – rejoiced that the idea was to “weaken the Iranian mullahs; undermine the Assad regime; support a successful transition in Egypt; facilitate Gaddafi’s departure; reintegrate Iraq into the Arab fold; and encourage a negotiated solution in Yemen.”

The strategy’s endgame? Petro-politics, once again, is center-stage, with the US-UK seeking to dominate regional oil and gas pipeline routes designed, in the words of Saudi expert John Bradley “to disrupt and emasculate the awakenings that threaten absolute monarchism” in the Persian Gulf petro-states.

The seeds of this clandestine alliance with Islamists go back more than six years, when Seymour Hersh reported that the George W Bush administration had “cooperated with Saudi Arabia’s government, which is Sunni, in clandestine operations” intended to weaken the Shi’ite Hezbollah in Lebanon.

“The US has also taken part in clandestine operations aimed at Iran and its ally Syria,” wrote Hersh, “a byproduct of which is ‘the bolstering of Sunni extremist groups’ hostile to the United States and sympathetic to al-Qaeda”. He also noted that “the Saudi government, with Washington’s approval, would provide funds and logistical aid to weaken the government of President Bashir Assad, of Syria.”

In April 2007, the Lebanese Daily Star reported that the United States had earmarked US$60 million to reinforce Interior Ministry forces and Sunni organizations identified as “jihadists”.

Did Omar Bakri benefit from this? Having settled in Lebanon, Bakri told one journalist at the time, “Today, angry Lebanese Sunnis ask me to organize their jihad against the Shi’ites… Al-Qaeda in Lebanon… are the only ones who can defeat Hezbollah.”

And last year, Bakri boasted, “I’m involved with training the mujahideen [fighters] in camps on the Syrian borders and also on the Palestine side.” The trainees included four British Islamists “with professional backgrounds” who would go on to join the war in Syria. Bakri also claimed to have trained “many fighters”, including people from Germany and France, since arriving in Lebanon.

That Bakri appears to be benefiting from the US strategy to support Islamist extremists in the region is particularly worrying given the British government’s acknowledgement that a “substantial number” of Britons are fighting in Syria, who “will seek to carry out attacks against Western interests… or in Western states”.

With the EU embargo against supplying arms to Syrian rebels lifted this month after UK Prime Minister David Cameron’s pledge to support the rebels – some of whom are al-Qaeda affiliated Islamists with links to extremists at home – the question must be asked whether Britain’s security services remain compromised by short-sighted geopolitical interests rooted in our chronic dependency on fossil fuels.

Unfortunately the British government’s latest proposals to deal with violent radicalization – Internet censorship, a lower threshold for banning “extremist” groups – deal not with the failures of state policy, but with the symptoms of those failures. Perhaps governments have tacitly accepted that terrorism, after all, is the price of business as usual.

Dr Nafeez Mosaddeq Ahmed is an international security expert who writes for The Guardian at his Earth Insight blog. He is the author of The London Bombings: An Independent Inquiry (2006). His work was used by the Coroner’s Inquiry into the July 7 2005 bombings in London and the 9/11 Commission.

May 30, ’13
By Nafeez Mosaddeq Ahmed

Find this story at 30 May 2013

© Copyright 1999 – 2013 Asia Times Online (Holdings), Ltd.
© Copyright 2013 Nafeez Mosaddeq Ahmed

MI5 allegedly applies for secret court session after informant sues for being denied protection

Former IRA mole accuses Home Office of cover-up and claims he was denied medical treatment after being shot by IRA hit team

MI5 has allegedly applied for a controversial secret court hearing after being sued by a former IRA mole who claims he has been denied medical treatment after being shot in a reprisal attack.

Martin McGartland, originally from west Belfast, has been credited with saving the lives of 50 police officers and soldiers in Northern Ireland as a spy within the IRA providing intelligence to the special branch of the Royal Ulster Constabulary.

He is suing MI5 and the Home Office for failing to support him after he was attacked and repeatedly shot by an IRA hit team who tracked him to a safe house in North Tyneside in 1999.

Mr McGartland has told The Independent that solicitors acting for the Home Office, the government department responsible for the Security Service, have applied to have the matter dealt with by a Closed Material Procedure (CMP) hearing.

At CMPs, due to come into force shortly with the introduction of the Justice and Security Act 2013, claimants must be represented before the judge by special advocates who have been cleared for security. Such a hearing would mean that neither Mr McGartland or his lawyers were able to attend.

Labour, which says CMPs deviate from the “tradition of open and fair justice”, has called for the use of such closed proceedings to be limited unless a judge agrees a fair verdict cannot be reached by any other means.

The Law Society president, Lucy Scott-Moncrieff, has also raised objections to CMPs on the grounds that they undermine the essential principle of justice that all parties are entitled to see and challenge all the evidence placed before the court.

CMPs are seen by the Government as a way of bringing before a judge information which, for security reasons, cannot be revealed in open court.

Mr McGartland said that funding for treatment he was receiving for the post-traumatic stress disorder he suffered after the assassination attempt had been stopped. He claimed the secret hearing was designed to cover up the Home Office’s failure to meet its duty of care, rather than to protect genuine state secrets.

“This is being done despite my legal case against them being related to their removing funding for my medical treatment, which they were funding after my 1999 shooting,” he told The Independent. “They removed the medical funding even after they were supplied two medical reports stating that I required a further three to five years of treatment. That resulted in a serious deterioration in my condition and it also led to my now requiring round-the-clock care, help and support. In other words MI5 are going to use CMP solely to cover up their own embarrassment and wrongdoing and not, as the Government has been claiming, in cases that relate to ‘National Security’.”

Ian Burrell
Monday, 6 May 2013

Find this story at 6 May 2013


Intelligence chiefs and special forces plot Sahara mission

Action against al-Qa’ida in North Africa could last decades, PM warns

The West faces a decades-long battle to defeat al-Qa’ida in North Africa, David Cameron warned today, as he signalled a dramatic shift in the UK’s fight against terrorism.

The heads of MI5, MI6, GCHQ and the Chief of the Defence Staff will gather on Tuesday to begin planning Britain’s response to the burgeoning terror threat from Saharan Africa.

Britain will offer money, military co-operation and security training to African states to head off the advance of Islamist radicalism.

Special forces are understood to be preparing to hunt down the jihadist leader behind the siege and hostage killings in Algeria, Mokhtar Belmokhtar.

Britain will use its chairmanship of the G8 to focus militarily and diplomatically on the Sahara region, following the hostage crisis which claimed the lives of up to six Britons. One Middle East expert likened the long-term impact of the atrocity in Algeria to the 9/11 attacks.

Following the end of the four-day stand-off at the BP gas plant at In Amenas, Algerian forces discovered 25 more bodies and took five militants alive. The death toll had previously been put at 23 hostages and 32 captors.

Three Britons have been confirmed among the dead and another three are feared to have been killed during the siege, which ended with a shoot-out on Saturday. Tonight 46-year-old Paul Thomas Morgan was the first British victim to be named by the Foreign and Commonwealth Office.

Kenneth Whiteside, an engineer from Glenrothes in Fife, and Garry Barlow, a BP systems supervisor from Merseyside, are also understood to be among the dead. Another UK resident was also believed to have been killed.

Twenty-two other British nationals have arrived home, many with chilling stories of how they evaded capture by jihadists belonging to an al-Qa’ida splinter group styling themselves Those Who Sign In Blood.

Alan Wright, from Aberdeenshire, told of how he hid in an office for 24 hours before joining Algerian workers who cut their way through a perimeter fence and fled.

Mr Cameron will update MPs on the attack today and hold a meeting of Whitehall’s emergency Cobra committee to consider the implications of the attack.

French forces – with support from Britain – are attempting to oust insurgents from northern Mali, amid fears that neighbouring countries including Niger and Mauritania could fall under their influence.

As the French Defence Minister, Jean-Yves Le Drian, described the hostage-taking as an “act of war”, Belmokhtar was reported to be “ready to negotiate” in return for an end to the action in Mali.

Last night Mauritanian news website Sahara Media said Belmokhtar had claimed responsibility in the name of al Qa’ida for the hostage-taking in a video. He had said: “We in al Qa’ida announce this blessed operation. We are ready to negotiate with the West and the Algerian government provided they stop their bombing of Mali’s Muslims. We had around 40 jihadists, most of them from Muslim countries and some even from the West.”

A BP spokesman would not comment on reports in Algeria that Belmokhtar’s men had infiltrated the gas plant as drivers, cooks and guards working on short-term contracts.

Mr Cameron spelt out the scale of the challenge posed by al-Qa’ida-affiliated groups operating in the region. “It will require a response that is about years, even decades, rather than months,” he said. “And it requires a response that is painstaking, that is tough but also intelligent, but above all has an absolutely iron resolve. And that is what we will deliver over these coming years.

“What we face is an extremist, Islamist, al-Qa’ida-linked terrorist group. Just as we had to deal with that in Pakistan and in Afghanistan, so the world needs to come together to deal with this threat in North Africa… We need to work with others to defeat the terrorists and to close down the ungoverned spaces where they thrive with all the means that we have.”

The Government has not ruled out giving extra help to the French-led operation in Mali.

However, Whitehall sources said the terrorist threat in the region would ultimately be best tackled by diplomatic means. Britain is to beef up its presence in nations where the UK historically had a limited presence and to liaise more closely with Paris over the challenges faced by the traditionally Francophone area.

Abdelasiem el-Difraoui, an al-Qa’ida expert with the Berlin Institute for Media and Communications Studies, told a French newspaper that the hostage-taking would for France make as “a huge bang as strong as September 11”.

The French Government distanced itself from suggestions among other nations caught up in the hostage crisis that Algeria’s response was “heavy-handed”.

President François Hollande said: “When so many hostages have been taken and when the terrorists are ready to murder them in cold blood, I think the Algerian approach was the best one.”
Britons in the desert

Garry Barlow: Semtex was strapped to his chest

Garry Barlow, 49, was a systems supervisor for BP Exploration Algeria, Statoil and Sonatrach JV. He lived in the Mossley Hill area of Liverpool with his wife Lorraine, and sons Scott, 17, and Paul, 15.

He had been working in In Amenas since October 2011, and had worked previously for Addax Petroleum and Shell EP on the west coast of Central Africa.

He was captured with some of his colleagues including 29-year-old project services contracts administrator Mark Grant, who is believed to have survived the ordeal.

Initial reports suggested Mr Barlow was safe and well and was being repatriated by the Foreign Office, but he is now thought to have died as Algerian troops tried to regain control of the compound.

The last his wife heard from him was a message in which he said: “I’m sitting here at my desk with Semtex strapped to my chest. The local army have already tried and failed to storm the plant and they’ve said that if that happens again they are going to kill us all.”

Paul Morgan: Former soldier died fighting

The first British victim of the Algerian hostage crisis was described last night as a “true gentleman” who “loved life and lived it to the full”.

Paul Morgan, 46, from Liverpool, a former soldier with the French Foreign Legion, reportedly “went down fighting” when the bus he was travelling in was attacked by the kidnappers last Wednesday.

His mother Marianne and partner Emma Steele, 36, paid tribute to him: “Paul died doing the job he loved. We are so proud of him and so proud of what he achieved in his life. He will be truly missed.”

Kenneth Whiteside: Shot as army stormed compound

Kenneth Whiteside had been living in Johannesburg with his wife and two daughters but was originally from Glenrothes in Fife.

An Algerian colleague at the plant is said to have witnessed the BP project services manager “being shot” by his captors as commandos stormed the compound.

The 59-year-old was educated at Auchmuty High School and studied engineering at Glenrothes Technical College between 1970 and 1974.

Friends posted tribute messages on his Facebook account on Saturday. Steward Goodwin in South Africa wrote: “How will we understand this? My heartfelt condolences go to the family and friends who are trying to come to terms with this senseless murder.”

Billy Hunter wrote: “We’ll always remember him and his bagpipes.” “It’s hard to understand such senseless waste of life,” added Joe McMahon.

Nigel Morris, John Lichfield
Monday, 21 January 2013

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Royal Navy submariner admits meeting ‘Russian spies’

Petty officer gathered secret coding programs and met two people he thought were Russian agents, court hears

Edward Devenney admitted discussing information relating to the movement of nuclear submarines. Photograph: Gaz Armes/ MoD Crown Copyright/PA

A Royal Navy submariner was caught trying to sell secrets to Russia in a sting operation led by the security services, the Guardian understands.

Edward Devenney, 30, pleaded guilty on Tuesday to collecting secret coding programs used by the British and attempting to pass the classified information on to Moscow.

Devenney, who is formerly from Northern Ireland, was a submariner on HMS Vigilant, a Trident nuclear submarine, when he decided to pass on secrets to the “enemy”, it is understood. The submarine – one of four that make up the UK’s nuclear deterrent – is normally based at Faslane in Scotland but had been refuelling at Devonport dock in Plymouth when Devenney’s activities raised the suspicions of his senior officers.

Devenney’s motivation, it is believed, was unhappiness with his situation and a degree of anger towards his employers after being passed over for promotion, rather than an issue of ideology or money.

A prolific tweeter, his behaviour raised the suspicions of his senior officers and over a period of months an undercover operation was carried out.

This led to Devenney contacting two people he believed were from the Russian secret service and discussing information relating to the movement of nuclear submarines with them. However, he was in fact talking to British agents.

Devenney was arrested and charged under the Official Secrets Act. He appeared at the Old Bailey in London and pleaded guilty to gathering details of encryption programs in breach of the act.

The charge related to collecting information for a purpose prejudicial to the safety of the state between 18 November 2011 and 7 March 2012. The information was described in court as “crypto material” – or codes used to encrypt secret information – which could be useful to an enemy.

Devenney also admitted a charge of misconduct in a public office in relation to a meeting with two people he believed were from the Russian secret service. He admitted meeting the two individuals and discussing the movement of nuclear submarines with them. He denied a further count of communicating information to another person. The Crown Prosecution Service would not pursue this charge, the court heard.

Sandra Laville, crime correspondent, Tuesday 13 November 2012 13.15 GMT

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© 2013 Guardian News and Media Limited or its affiliated companies. All rights reserved.

Eight years for submariner who took secret photos in ‘disgusting’ betrayal

Threat: Edward Devanney took photographs on board HMS Vigilant

A Royal Navy petty officer was jailed for eight years today after taking mobile phone pictures in the top-secret communications room of a nuclear submarine and planning to pass information to the Russians.

Edward Devanney secretly photographed canisters holding code systems used throughout Britain’s armed forces, which are normally locked in a safe.

Such a security breach could have jeopardised any chance of British submarines operating undetected by the enemy, the Old Bailey heard. Navy chiefs still do not know how he was able to open the safe and take the photos undetected.

Mr Justice Saunders told him: “You were prepared to betray your country and your colleagues. It needs to be understood by those who may be tempted to pass on secrets that long sentences will follow even unsuccessful attempts.”

Devanney rang the Russian embassy 11 times and later made contact with two men called Dimitri and Vladimir he believed to be enemy agents. He told them he was disillusioned with the Navy saying: “I’m just a bit p***** off with them. I know it’s petty but I just want to hurt them.”

Paul Cheston

12 December 2012

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© 2012 Evening Standard Limited

Nuclear submariner tried to pass secrets to Russians to ‘hurt’ Royal Navy

A disillusioned Royal Navy submariner betrayed his country by trying to pass nuclear sub secrets to Russian agents because he wanted to “hurt” the Navy.

Petty Officer Edward Devenney was jailed for eight years yesterday for breaching the official secrets act after being caught in an elaborate MI5 sting operation.

He spent three months in contact with men who he thought were two Russian spies but were actually British agents, the Old Bailey heard.

He continued with his plan, done in revenge for not being promoted, despite having suspicions and even told one: “Your accent sounds remarkably fake, like British intelligence”.

A communications engineer, he offered highly sensitive details of the movements of nuclear submarines and of a previous secret operation.

He also photographed top secret code information that could have caused “substantial damage to the security of the UK”.
The case last night also raised questions over Royal Navy security because Devenney had been able to access the code material from a locked safe.

He was also allowed to remain in his sensitive post despite having problems with drink and depression after being charged with rape, for which he was later acquitted, and had been warned he would be sacked after showing signs of erratic behaviour such as going absent without leave.

Passing sentence, Mr Justice Saunders said: “This is a very serious case. The defendant was prepared to betray his country and his colleagues.”

Devenney, 30, from County Tyrone, had been a “blue-eyed boy” with a promising future in the Royal Navy, which he had served loyally for more than ten years, the court heard.

Lord Carlile QC, defending, said his career went “awry” in 2010 after he was charged with alleged rape, for which he was acquitted.

He began drinking excessively and became depressed and the following year asked to be removed from a promotion training course for 12 months.

However, he later decided he had been treated badly by the Navy and wanted to “hurt” them, Mark Dennis, prosecuting, said.

In November last year he began calling the Russian embassy in London, including 11 calls on one day shortly after a 12 hour binge drinking session.

At the time he was stationed on the nuclear submarine HMS Vigilant, which was in Plymouth undergoing a refit.

The following month he was contacted by a man called “Dima” who claimed to be from the Russian embassy.

A week later another man called Vladimir called claiming to be a colleague of Dima.

A series of phone calls and text messages were exchanged in which Devenney said he was “****** off” with the Royal Navy and that they could “help each other”.

In January, it was arranged he would meet Vladimir at the British Museum in London and the pair then met Dima in a nearby hotel room.

During the secretly filmed meeting, Devenney offered details of a previous secret operation by HMS Trafalgar, a hunter killer submarine, and various movement dates of two nuclear submarines.

Such advance notice could allow an enemy state time to set up equipment to record the sub’s unique signature information which would have meant it could have been tracked anywhere in the world, the court heard.

Two days after first contacting the Russian embassy, Devenney also managed to get into a locked safe on board HMS Vigilant and take three photographs of part of a secret code for encrypted information.

The pictures were placed on his laptop but he never passed them on or even mentioned them during his later meeting with the “Russians”.

Devenney pleaded guilty to breaching the Official Secrets Act by gathering classified information and misconduct by meeting the supposed spies.

The judge said he was passing a deterrent sentence because “those who serve their country loyally must know that those who don’t will receive proper punishment.”

By Tom Whitehead, Security Editor

5:15PM GMT 12 Dec 2012

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© Copyright of Telegraph Media Group Limited 2013

MI5 arrests Royal Navy petty officer for trying to spy for Russia

An member of the British Royal Navy has been arrested in a counterintelligence sting operation, after trying to sell top-secret government documents to people he believed were Russian operatives. Petty Officer Edward Devenney, who has been in the Royal Navy for over a decade, was arrested earlier this week while meeting with two MI5 officers posing as Russian spies. Originally from Northern Ireland, Devenney, 29, appears to have been motivated by disgruntlement against the Navy, after his planned promotion to commissioned officer was halted due to financial austerity measures imposed on the military by the British government. According to the court indictment, Devenney contacted an unnamed “embassy of a foreign country” in London, offering to provide classified information in exchange for money. It is unknown at this point how exactly MI5, the British government’s foremost counterintelligence organization, became privy to the content of Devenney’s communication with officials at the unidentified embassy. What is known is that, after several messages were exchanged between the parties, Devenney arranged to meet two people he believed were Russian government employees. In reality, the two individuals were MI5 officers, who were able to film the clandestine meeting. Devenney was apparently arrested on the spot, having first announced that he wished to “hurt the Navy” because his promotion to a commissioned officer had been “binned” by the British government. He also shared with them classified information, which British government prosecutors say he collected meticulously between November 19, 2011, and March 7 of this year. The information consisted of cryptological material, including encryption codes for British naval communications, operational details about the now decommissioned submarine HMS Trafalgar, as well as “the comings and goings of two nuclear submarines”.

November 15, 2012 by Joseph Fitsanakis 5 Comments


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