Gibson report: British role in al-Qa’ida renditions exposed

MI6 agents in Afghanistan were told they were not obliged to intervene if they witnessed suspected terrorists being harmed by their American captors, an official inquiry into allegations Britain was complicit in torture has disclosed.

It also concluded that UK operatives “may have become inappropriately” involved in some cases of rendition of captives who were believed to be al-Qa’ida fighters.

Sir Peter Gibson’s investigation listed 27 areas he believed needed further inquiry, including whether the Government should have done more to obtain the release of UK nationals locked up at the Guantanamo Bay detention camp.

It suggested that the Labour minister Jack Straw should have asked more questions when he was Foreign Secretary about the UK’s possible involvement in activities in breach of the Geneva Convention.

Documents released by Sir Peter, a former High Court judge, showed an MI6 officer reported back to headquarters in London what he had seen as American officers interrogated captives at Bagram airbase, near Kabul, in January 2002.

A telegram he received in reply read: “It appears from your description that they may not be being treated in accordance with the appropriate standards. Given that they are not within our custody or control, the law does not require you to intervene to prevent this.”

He was reminded that the “Americans understand that we cannot be party to such ill treatment nor can we be seen to condone it”.

But the telegram made clear there was no automatic requirement to intervene if UK officers witnessed inhuman treatment of captives. It said: “If circumstances allow, you should consider drawing this to the attention of a suitably senior US official locally.”

No official complaint over the episode was passed to the American authorities and seven days later Tony Blair reassured MPs that detainees in the US detention camp of Guantanamo were being treated humanely.

Sir Peter said he wished he has been able to investigate further “whether in some cases, UK officers may have turned a blind eye to the use of specific, inappropriate techniques or threats used by others and used this to their advantage when resuming an interview session with a now compliant detainee”.

The inquiry was set up two and a half years ago by David Cameron but was heavily criticised by human rights lawyers who abandoned co-operation.

It was scrapped last year and responsibility for examining alleged complicity transferred to a parliamentary committee. Human rights groups denounced the decision as a “whitewash”.

Sir Peter on Thursday published an interim report setting out the reasons he believed his inquiry should be re-established.

In a damaging finding, he said: “A theme that runs through a number of the lead cases considered by the inquiry is whether treatment issues – such as sleep deprivation, hooding and media reports of waterboarding – were raised appropriately with the relevant liaison partner responsible for the detention and treatment in question”.

He said the inquiry had received papers suggesting that in “some instances there was a reluctance to raise treatment issues” for fear of harming relations with the United States.

The inquiry also found that while no formal request was put to the UK, records show the Government was aware that US officials were considering the use of Diego Garcia, an island in the British Indian Ocean Territory, for holding or transiting detainees between November 2001 and January 2002.”

The report said: “There is an issue as to whether the Government and the Agencies may have become inappropriately involved in some cases of rendition.”

Mr Straw told MPs on Thursday: “As Foreign Secretary I acted at all times in a manner which was fully consistent with my legal duties with national and international law. And I was never in any way complicit with the unlawful rendition or detention of individuals by the United States or any other state.”

Nigel Morris
Thursday, 19 December 2013

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© independent.co.uk

Britain’s MI6 linked to Libya torture scandal

Al Jazeera investigates how information gathered through torture of Gaddafi dissidents was used to track Libyans in UK.
Last updated: 18 Dec 2013 18:04

Intelligence extracted by torture in Tripoli’s notorious Abu Salim prison has been linked to arrests of Libyan dissidents in the United Kingdom, an investigation by Al Jazeera’s People and Power has revealed.

In this exclusive report, Abdel-Hakim Belhaj, the leader of the anti-Gaddafi resistance group, the Libyan Islamic Fighting Group (LIFG), explains that he and fellow leader Sami al-Saadi were subjected to torture by his Libyan interrogators, which forced them to give up the names of innocent residents in the UK.

Al-Saadi and Belhaj also claim foreign agents, including British agents, questioned them in Abu Salim prison. These allegations form the basis of a lawsuit against the British government.

According to Belhaj’s lawyers, the men and their families were pawns in a deal struck by Britain in 2004.

After Gaddafi’s fall, the role played by British intelligence agencies was discovered.

“When the rebels came to Tripoli they ransacked all sorts of buildings … associated with Gaddafi’s old regime,” said Al Jazeera’s Juliana Ruhfus, who was involved in the investigation.

“It was in the office of spy chief Moussa Koussa that they found a stash of documents that revealed, in startling detail, the collaboration between British and Libyan intelligence services.”

Belhaj says he was pressured by Gaddafi’s interrogators to give up information about Libyans living in Britain.

“Sometimes they would come to me with the questions and answers already done and force me to sign it. They would mention names to me and say that these people supported armed activities,” he said.

One of the men named under torture was Ziad Hashem, a Libyan who obtained asylum in the UK after Belhaj’s rendition. Hashem claims he was arrested in Britain without any charges: “We were just put in prison arbitrarily without any explanation.”

Hashem is part of yet another law suit against the British government. One of the things he is hoping to reveal is the flow of information between Libyan and British intelligence agencies which led to his detention.

The British government says it is committed to investigating allegations of mistreatment, that it stands firmly against torture and that it never asks any other country to carry it out.

But the dissidents accuse the British government of being complicit in their rendition into Gaddafi’s prisons, showing Al Jazeera documents from MI6 tipping off Gaddafi’s intelligence apparatus about their flight movements.

Libya: Renditions airs on People & Power on Al Jazeera English from Wednesday 18 December at 10.30pm London time (22.30 GMT) and is available online at aje.me/libyarenditions

 

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Copyright Al Jazeera

‘MI6 agent’ was spying on Iran oil shipping, officials claim

Iranian man arrested on charges of spying for British intelligence was passing on information on shipping operations to help impose sanctions, parliamentarians told

The Iranian man arrested for spying for British intelligence was helping foreign governments impose EU sanctions on covert oil shipping operations, parliamentarians in the country have been briefed.

An Iranian MP revealed the alleged MI6 agent was passing information on Iran’s shipping industries to its “enemies”, to be used in international efforts to cripple the sector.

Court officials in the city of Kerman said a suspect had confessed to holding 11 meetings inside and outside the country with British intelligence.

Alireza Manzari Tavakoli, an intelligence specialist in the Iranian parliament, was quoted on a news website claiming that the man handed over details of sanctions-busting activities. “We have received further information about the arrested individual that suggests that he has been involved in passing secret data on Iran’s shipping industries and the insurance covers on our oil tankers to the British intelligence services,” he said. “The EU could use them for imposing more sanctions on our shipping sectors.

“The arrested individual has also confessed to passing economic intelligence about Iran’s use of other countries’ flags in transporting its oil abroad. The information provided by this spy has been used by the enemies of the Islamic Republic to pass new and more sanctions on Iran.”

Britain’s role as the centre of the global maritime industry and leading insurance hub of the merchant fleet means London was pivotal to efforts to impose a virtual shutdown of Iran’s oil shipping through EU-wide sanctions.

Meanwhile Dadkhoda Salari, the public prosecutor in the city of Kerman, has described the alleged spy as a 50-year-old man, with good university education and fluent in English, who has never held any government job. Iran’s Ministry of Intelligence agents had been monitoring his movements for the last two months.

Hardliners opposed to the current thaw in British relations with Iran could use the spying revelations to disrupt progress towards restoration of full diplomatic ties.

Conservative factions have already sought to secure the withdrawal of an invitation by Iran’s parliament to Jack Straw, the former foreign secretary, to fly to Tehran for a fence-mending visit.

The announcement of the case came just a day after Iran’s new non-resident envoy to Britain, Hassan Habibollah-Zadeh, held talks in London on his first visit since his appointment last month. Ajay Sharma, his British counterpart, broke a two-year freeze in diplomatic relations earlier this month when, following the temporary deal on Iran’s nuclear programme in Geneva, he visited the Tehran embassy that was looted by an Iranian mob in November 2011.

By Damien McElroy, and Ahmed Vahdat

7:10PM GMT 15 Dec 2013

Find this story at 14 December 2013

© Copyright of Telegraph Media Group Limited 2013

Iran claims to have captured MI6 spy

The alleged spy is said to have worked for British intelligence agency MI6 (pictured)

Iran says it has captured a spy working for British intelligence agency MI6 in the south-eastern city of Kerman.

The head of Kerman’s revolutionary court said the alleged spy had admitted being in contact with four British intelligence officers 11 times, both inside and outside the country.

He said the accused was now on trial and had confessed. The nationality of the alleged spy is not yet known.

The UK Foreign Office said it did not comment on intelligence matters.

Iran regularly claims to have captured spies working for foreign powers but in most cases the accused is released without charge months later.

According to a report from Iran’s conservative news agency Tasnim, the alleged spy was arrested after 10 months of intelligence work and had once had a meeting with British agents in London.

It quotes Dadkhoda Salari, the head of the Kerman court, as saying he is aged over 50, with an “academic education”. He is said to be fluent in English but does not hold an official post.

The news comes as Iran and Britain take steps to try to re-establish diplomatic relations.

Britain shut down its embassy in Tehran, the Iranian capital, in 2011 after it was stormed in a protest over British nuclear sanctions.
‘Constructive discussions’

Iran’s envoy to the UK this week made his first visit to London, during which he met officials at the Foreign Office.

The visit followed a trip to Iran earlier this month by the UK’s new envoy to the country – the first by a British diplomat for two years.

Non-resident charge d’affaires Ajay Sharma said he had “detailed and constructive discussions” about the UK’s relationship with Iran.

He also visited the site of the British embassy in Tehran to assess the damage following the mob attack two years ago.

Foreign Secretary William Hague has said relations between the two countries were improving on a “reciprocal basis”.

Thawing relations between Tehran and the international community have also seen a temporary deal reached over its nuclear programme.

Iran last month agreed to curb some of its nuclear activities in return for £4.3bn in sanctions relief, after days of talks in Geneva.

The country agreed to give better access to inspectors and halt some of its work on uranium enrichment for a six-month period.

14 December 2013 Last updated at 08:27 ET

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© 2013 The BBC

‘MI6 spy’ captured by Iran

Authorities say they have arrested an individual who has confessed to working for British intelligence
The British Secret Intelligence Services Headquarters in London Photo: EPA

Iran claims to have captured a British “spy” in a move that has threatened to cause a diplomatic crisis.

Officials in the country said a businessman in his fifties had been detained on suspicion of gathering intelligence “in all spheres” for the British security services.

They claimed he had confessed to meeting MI6 agents inside and outside Iran on 11 occasions.

Iran’s decision to publicise the arrest comes at a critical stage of diplomacy between the two countries, which broke off all official contact after the attack on the British embassy in Tehran two years ago.

Experts have said that the arrest and its announcement may have been driven by hardliners who oppose a deal to prevent Iran gaining nuclear weapons.

IRNA, Iran’s state news agency, reported that security forces had arrested an alleged spy working for the British Government in Kerman, a south-eastern province. The nationality of the arrested man, who is alleged to have “confessed” to espionage, has not been disclosed. There was no suggestion he is a British national. Spying in Iran carries the death penalty.

A Foreign Office spokesman said she would not comment on intelligence matters. Government sources said that the tactic of arresting local people on false charges of being British spies was something that happened “every few months” but that they were usually not publicised by the regime.

It was feared that the arrest could signal a determination among Iranian hardliners to unseat negotiations with the West, including last month’s agreement on the country’s nuclear programme. The “spying” charge could compromise diplomatic achievements, although Whitehall is understood to be treating the development with caution.

The nuclear deal led to the first formal contact between the United States and Tehran since they severed diplomatic ties over the 1979 hostage crisis, and was viewed as a crucial step towards avoiding a crisis in the Middle East.

Tehran is known to have used trumped-up spying allegations in the past to resolve internal disagreements. Dadkhoda Salari, the head of Kerman revolutionary court, said the alleged spy was a man with “business activities” who established a link with the British embassy in Tehran before its closure.

“The accused has had 11 face-to-face meetings with British intelligence officers, both inside and outside the country, and in every single meeting has passed to his MI6 contacts the specific information that they had asked him to collect,” said Mr Salari.

An Iranian news agency used this picture to illustrate the capture of the spy

“At the same time he has received certain instructions that would have enabled him to act against the interests of the Islamic Republic of Iran.

“He had been in touch with four intelligence officers and after receiving their instructions and training he has transferred their specific requested information to the country of their origin.

“This spy has been captured after many months of complicated intelligence operations and with the help of the almighty God.”

Mr Salari added that the man’s trial was already taking place and that he had “confessed” to all charges. The judicial spokesman said the accused had academic qualifications and spoke fluent English, and claimed he had collected intelligence “in all spheres” for Britain.

Tasnim news, an Iranian news website, claimed one of the man’s alleged meetings with British intelligence took place in London.

The announcement came a day after Hassan Habibollah-Zadeh, Iran’s new envoy to Britain, made his first visit to London. Mr Habibollah-Zadeh said that negotiations were under way to “resolve the existing issues”, so full ties could be restored. It is unclear what effect, if any, the arrest of the alleged spy would have in those negotiations.

Prof Ali Ansari, the director of the Institute for Iranian Studies at the University of St Andrews and a senior associate fellow of the Royal United Services Institute, said: “This probably has more to do with some of the more hawkish and hardline elements within the revolutionary establishment trying to put a spanner in the works of the rapprochement negotiations.

“The Iranian regime has done a fantastic PR job over the last couple of months selling the country as being ‘open for business’. But this news sours that, and suggests the old Iran is alive and well.”

He added: “Kerman is in the middle of nowhere, there’s no nuclear facilities there and all they do is grow pistachios. So what this man could be accused of doing there is a little strange.”

Britain shut its Tehran embassy after it was damaged in November 2011 by students protesting against Western sanctions.

In another high-profile incident, in 2007, Iran seized 15 personnel from HMS Cornwall who were on anti-drug smuggling operations in the Gulf, and held them for 13 days. Their detention gave Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, the then Iranian president, a public relations coup.

By David Barrett, and Robert Tait, in Jerusalem

8:00PM GMT 14 Dec 2013

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© Copyright of Telegraph Media Group Limited 2013

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
Montage/Panther
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
Colourbox/Montage
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
Motage/Panther
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
dpa/Montage
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
AFP
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
Colourbox/Montage
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
Colourbox/Montage
„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
Motage/Panther
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.
USA – CIA, FBI, NSA, DEA
Montage/Colourbox
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
Motage/Panther
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
panther/Montage
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
AFP/Montage
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
Colourbox
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
Motage/Panther
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

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

MI6 ‘ghost money’ sent to Hamid Karzai amid massive Afghan corruption

Following reports the CIA gave millions of dollars to Afghan President Hamid Karzai, MI6 has said it sent “ghost money” to the country’s government. The donations have sparked claims the funds fuel corruption and are used to appease Afghan warlords.

UK Intelligence said the “bundles” of cash were channeled into special projects aimed at rebuilding the troubled nation, reported UK newspaper the Telegraph. However, Karzai previously stated the handouts from the CIA are an “easy source of petty cash.”

Karzai addressed claims of corruption over the weekend, categorically denying the handouts went to militant leaders and maintaining “the major part of this money was spent on government employees such as our guards.”

Money from the UK government was just a small portion of the multi-million dollar payouts sent by the CIA since 2001.

UK MPs have voiced their concern over the lack of regulation of funds that are channeled into the war-torn nation.

“Every effort towards a political fix in Afghanistan must be made and those efforts welcomed but whether or not the money is well spent is a matter that must also be considered,” Conservative MP and member of the Defense Select Committee told the Daily Telegraph. He added there “is plenty of evidence that Karzai and his clique do not have an interest in a peace settlement but instead have an interest in continuing the conflict.”

Furthermore, Karzai said some of the funds had gone towards bribing the country’s political elite, something that he described as “nothing unusual.”

The reports have given rise to accusations that funds have lined the pockets of Afghanistan’s warlords, given that many are believed to number among the country’s upper political classes.

AFP Photo / Aref Karimi

“It has been paid to individuals, not movements…we give receipts for all these expenditures to the US government,” Karzai said to press on Saturday. He has urged the CIA to continue the monetary aid that “has helped us a lot, it has solved lots of our problems.”

Both the CIA and US State Department have refrained from commenting on the reports.

The Afghan government has hitherto not specified the exact quantity of cash it receives from the CIA and MI6 every month because they are not permitted to disclose the figure. However, officials speaking to the New York Times said that the donations from the CIA amounted to tens of millions of dollars since they began following alliance force intervention in the country a decade ago.

Karzai received a barrage of criticism after reports of the foreign donations emerged, many fellow politicians regarding it as a betrayal to Afghanistan.

Published time: May 06, 2013 08:14
Edited time: May 06, 2013 20:21

Find this story at 6 May 2013

© Autonomous Nonprofit Organization “TV-Novosti”, 2005–2013

MI6 ‘handing bundles of cash to Hamid Karzai’

British intelligence is handing “bundles” of cash over to Afghanistan’s President Hamid Karzai for special peace projects despite warnings that handouts are promoting corruption at the heart of his regime.

MI6 officials have acknowledged that the organisation has made direct cash payments to their Afghan counterparts periodically over the 12 years Britain has been at war in Afghanistan.

Mr Karzai declared handouts from the CIA and MI6 are an “easy source of petty cash” for his government as it attempts to seal alliances with powerful regional warlords and secure defections from the Taliban.

The CIA support is believed to have amounted to tens of millions of dollars since 2001 while Britain has channelled a smaller fraction of that amount into “special projects” undertaken by Karzai’s officials.

MPs expressed concern that by simply handing over so-called “ghost money” to President Karzai and his lieutenants, British spies could not be sure that the money would not be lost to corruption.

Adam Holloway, a Conservative MP and member of the Defence Select Committee, warned that they could not be trusted even if the payments could be justified on the grounds that Taliban and other insurgents must be rewarded if they give up the fight against Nato troops.
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“Every effort towards a political fix in Afghanistan must be made and those efforts welcomed but whether or not the money is well spent is a matter that must also be considered,” he told the Daily Telegraph. “There is plenty of evidence that Karzai and his clique do not have an interest in a peace settlement but instead have an interest in continuing the conflict.”

As Britain draws down troop numbers before withdrawing at the end of next year, there are fears that the pressure to seek a deal with insurgents to stop or reduce attacks will see increasing amounts of secret cash spent in Afghanistan.

“We also need to know more about how and where any cash from the UK is being used – how it is being monitored, and what benefits it is actually bringing to the people of Afghanistan,” said Angus Robertson, the SNP MP and party defence spokesman. “It is enormously important to ensure that Afghanistan is as peaceful as it can be in the build up to withdrawal. The terrible roadside attack on Royal Regiment of Scotland personnel last week shows the terrorist threat is still a very real one.”

The revelation that Mr Karzai’s office is awash with cash from his allies has caused a furore in the Afghan parliament where Mr Karzai’s government has faced a barrage of corruption allegations.

“Accepting such money is a big insult to Afghanistan. All those who accepted the cash payments have betrayed the nation,” said Hidayatullah Rihaee, an MP from Bamyan province.

But Mr Karzai said the cash flow was vital to his grip on power and said he had begged the CIA station chief to continue making payments despite US political criticism.

“This is nothing unusual,” he said. “I told him because of all these rumours in the media, please do not cut all this money, because we really need it.”

He admitted that the money had been passed on to potential allies.

By Damien McElroy, Foreign Affairs Correspondent

5:39PM BST 05 May 2013

Find this story at 5 May 2013

© Copyright of Telegraph Media Group Limited 2013

The lost Briton of Guantanamo: He’s been cleared – but had a devastating secret about MI6 and the Iraq invasion which means he can never be freed

Shaker Aamer, 44, has been a prisoner for more than 11 years
He has been cleared twice for freedom but still not released
The US says he can only leave Guantanamo for Saudi Arabia
Aamer says he witnessed torture that led to bogus intelligence for Iraq

Guantanamo prisoner: Shaker Aamer with two of his children

The last UK prisoner at America’s infamous terror jail camp at Guantanamo Bay is guarding a devastating secret: he witnessed the torture of another detainee in an Afghan interrogation unit which led to the crucial, bogus ‘intelligence’ that sparked Britain and America’s invasion of Iraq.

Shaker Aamer, 44, a father of five from Battersea, South London, has been a prisoner for more than 11 years even though he has never been charged – and has twice been cleared for freedom by the US.

The Mail on Sunday can reveal that America wants to silence him permanently by saying he can only leave Guantanamo for Saudi Arabia, the country he left at the age of 17. But his lawyers say if he goes there he would be forbidden from speaking in public or seeing his British wife and children – and would end up in another jail.

Aamer’s case is so explosive the Commons is set to hold an emergency debate on his case on Wednesday. A Mail on Sunday investigation has revealed:
Aamer has told his lawyer how British MI6 officers were present when he was brutally assaulted and interrogated at Bagram air base in Afghanistan – where he was known as ‘Prisoner No  5’.
He said MI6 officers were also in attendance when similar treatment was meted out to Ibn Shaikh al-Libi – who was then ‘rendered’ to Egypt and tortured into claiming Saddam Hussein’s Iraq was training Al Qaeda terrorists how to use chemical weapons. That was the vital confession used by President George W. Bush and Secretary of State Colin Powell to justify war – and which persuaded Tony Blair that Saddam had to be toppled. If Aamer’s allegation that British officials witnessed Al-Libi’s ill-treatment is true, it would imply MI6 either knew about or was directly involved in his rendition to Egypt – one of the darkest episodes of the so-called ‘war on terror’.

Imprisoned: A US Army MP holds down the head of a detainee at Guantanamo so he is not identified
The Guantanamo detention facility is close to meltdown. Last week dozens of soldiers in riot gear stormed its minimum-security section, Camp 6. They fired on inmates with rubber bullets because mutineers had blocked the lenses of CCTV cameras with towels, sprayed guards with urine, and refused to allow their cells to be searched. The inmates involved are now all in solitary confinement.
A hunger strike started before the action has now spread through the entire jail. Pentagon spokesman Lieutenant Colonel Todd Breasseale said 63 of Guantanamo’s 166 prisoners are now refusing food, up from 45 on Tuesday.

Aamer joined the strike in early February and has already lost several stone. Fifteen men are being force- fed through tubes inserted into their stomachs via their nostrils and four have been hospitalised.

Aamer’s back story is similar to those of many of the other nine British citizens and eight British residents who ended up at Guantanamo. Like them, he was caught in the chaos which followed the fall of the Taliban government in Afghanistan. Like them, he has paid a heavy price.

But there is a difference. All the others were released years ago, the first batch in March 2004.

Born in Medina, Saudi Arabia, Aamer studied in America and worked as a US Army translator during the first Gulf War. He moved to London where he continued translating and met and married Zin Siddique, a British Muslim woman.

They had already had four children and Zin was pregnant with their fifth when they went to Afghanistan – where Aamer worked for a charity – in the summer of 2001.

Prison life: Detainees at Camp Delta exercising. Shaker Aamer claims he has been abused by US soldiers during his detention at Guantanamo bay

Like other British Guantanamo detainees, he was captured by the Afghan Northern Alliance and handed over to the Americans – who were paying thousands of pounds in bounties for supposed Al Qaeda members.

After a short time at Bagram and Kandahar, he reached Guantanamo on February 14, 2002.

He has since become a high- profile figure – partly because of his fluent English – and he acts as a spokesman for the prisoners and led earlier protests and hunger strikes.

His lawyer Clive Stafford Smith, of human rights organisation Reprieve, says his actions as a figurehead cannot account for his failure to be released. Other such prisoners have been freed – including Ahmed Errachidi, a former chef in London. Errachidi was even dubbed ‘the General’ by his captors because of how he organised protests and resistance at the camp.

And the second of two tribunals which cleared Aamer was exhaustive. Established soon after Barack Obama became US President in 2009, its remit was to review all remaining Guantanamo cases. It involved not only extensive interviews between Aamer and officials from Washington, but input from all the US intelligence and security agencies as to whether he might be dangerous.

Mr Stafford Smith said their conclusion was unequivocal – he wasn’t a danger.

Yet neither Aamer nor his lawyers were told he had been cleared for release only to Saudi Arabia. Official disclosure of this critical fact emerged only six weeks ago when, after further talks with the Americans, Foreign Secretary William Hague wrote to Mr Stafford Smith.

Detainees wear orange jump suits at Guantanamo Bay in 2002, the year after Aamer was detained there. They cannot hear, see or smell anything

‘We remain committed to securing Mr Aamer’s release and return to the UK,’ he said. ‘However, it is our understanding Mr Aamer has only ever been cleared for transfer to Saudi Arabia.’

Even before the current wave of hunger strikes and protests, Aamer’s situation was wretched. In the high-security wing known as Camp 5, inmates spend 23 hours a day in cells measuring 6 ft by 10 ft, containing nothing but a toilet with a small built-in sink, a metal shelf bed with a thin mattress, and a few possessions such as a Koran and toothbrush.

Their recreation takes place in isolation – in a small unroofed area in the middle of the block. There is no association between prisoners: the only way they can communicate is by yelling down the corridor.

Now, however, conditions are much worse, with 24-hour solitary confinement. When Aamer asks for anything – even a bottle of water – he becomes a victim of what is known as ‘the Forcible Cell Extraction team’.

The team of six soldiers shackle his feet and arms behind his back and then lift him ‘like a potato sack’ – so that he cannot cause any trouble. It is a process Aamer finds ‘excruciatingly painful’ because of a long-term back injury.

Prisoner: Shaker Aamer has been a prisoner at Guantanamo for more than 11 years even though he has twice been cleared for freedom by the US

Jane Ellison – the Aamer family’s Conservative MP in Battersea who has been instrumental in securing this week’s Commons debate – said the US insistence on sending him to Saudi Arabia was ‘completely illogical’.

She said: ‘It would be disastrous for his family if he were sent to Saudi Arabia. Obama may not have been able to close Guantanamo, but I don’t understand why he can’t at least solve one small part of a very big problem by letting Shaker return to Britain.

‘It just doesn’t stack up. My feeling is they won’t let him go because he knows too much and if he spoke out it would just be too embarrassing – for some people in America, and perhaps also in Britain.’

So what does Aamer know that other prisoners don’t? Mr Stafford Smith believes it is linked to what was happening in Bagram in January 2002, just before Al-Libi was taken away by CIA agents from military custody and sent to Egypt. Aamer’s lawyer’s notes record he arrived in Bagram on Christmas Eve, 2001, and from the beginning, ‘British intelligence officers were complicit in my torture’.

There were, he has said, always at least two UK agents based there, and they witnessed the abuse he suffered: ‘I was walled – meaning that someone grabbed my head and slammed it into a wall. Further, they beat my head. I was also beaten with an axe handle. I was threatened with other kinds of abuse. People were shouting that they would kill me or I would die.’

Aamer told Mr Stafford Smith: ‘I was a witness to the torture of Ibn Shaikh al-Libi in Bagram. His case seems to me to be particularly important, and my witnessing of it particularly relevant to my ongoing detention  .  .  .  He was there being abused at the same time I was.

‘He was there being abused when the British came there. Indeed, I was taken into the room in the Bagram detention facility where he was being held. There were a number of interrogators in the room.’
GRIM REGIME OF US TERROR JAIL – AND KAFKAESQUE TIMELINE THAT DOOMED SHAKER AAMER

The Guantanamo prison in Cuba today bears little resemblance to the collection of open cages – known as Camp X-Ray – where prisoners were held when it opened in 2002.

Both they and their successor, Camp Delta, a collection of prefabricated sheds with hard roofs, have long been disused.

Instead, prisoners are held in three large, concrete two-storey buildings – each ringed by concentric security fences, along Recreation Road, which leads along the Cuban coast to a beach.
Camp 5 and Camp 6 are for ‘ordinary’ prisoners, guarded by the US military.

The super-secret Camp 7 is run by the CIA and reserved for prisoners formerly held in its ‘black site’ jails in countries such as Poland and Thailand. They include some of the world’s most notorious terrorists – including Ramzi Binalshibh and Khalid Shaikh Mohammed, who face military trial as the alleged architects of 9/11.

Most of the remaining 166 detainees are said to be much less dangerous.

According to a survey by US lawyers, more than three-quarters of them were not captured ‘on the battlefield’ by Americans – but sold for huge bounty payments by the Afghan Northern Alliance or Pakistani tribesmen.

1996 – US-educated Saudi translator Shaker Aamer settles in London, marries Briton Zin Siddique.

Summer 2001 – Aamer takes family to Kabul and works for Saudi charity.

September 11, 2001 – Al Qaeda terrorists attack America.

November 2001 – Taliban regime falls.

December 18, 2001 – Ibn Shaikh al-Libi captured, taken to Bagram.

December 24, 2001 – Aamer handed to US troops by Northern Alliance; taken to Bagram.
Early January 2002 – Aamer allegedly abused with UK officials present and witnesses abuse of Al-Libi.

Mid January 2002 – Al-Libi sent by CIA to Egypt for torture.

February 14, 2002 – Aamer flown to Guantanamo.

October 2002-February 2003 – Bogus claims that Iraq trained Al Qaeda in WMD, based on Al-Libi’s tortured confessions, made by Bush and Powell.

2004–09 – All 17 other UK-based Guantanamo detainees freed – but Aamer kept at camp.
October 2006 – Al-Libi flown to Libya and jailed.

November 2008 – Obama pledges to close Guantanamo.

July 2009 – Al-Libi allegedly murdered in Libyan jail.

2007 and 2009 – Aamer cleared by US tribunals as safe to release but he is not freed.

February 2013 – Foreign Secretary reveals US will only allow Aamer’s transfer to Saudi Arabia, not UK.

April 2013 – Guantanamo close to meltdown with mass hunger strike and riot.

By David Rose

PUBLISHED: 00:04 GMT, 21 April 2013 | UPDATED: 10:24 GMT, 21 April 2013

Find this story at 21 April 2013

© Associated Newspapers Ltd

Ghost money from MI6 and CIA may fuel Afghan corruption, say diplomats

Failure of peace initiatives raises questions over whether British eagerness for political settlement may have been exploited

Hamid Karzai with the Finnish prime minister, Jyrki Katainen, in Helsinki. Photograph: Lehtikuva/Reuters

The CIA and MI6 have regularly given large cash payments to Hamid Karzai’s office with the aim of maintaining access to the Afghan leader and his top allies and officials, but the attempt to buy influence has largely failed and may have backfired, former diplomats and policy analysts say.

The Guardian understands that the payments by British intelligence were on a smaller scale than the CIA’s handouts, reported in the New York Times to have been in the tens of millions, and much of the British money has gone towards attempts to finance peace initiatives, which have so far proved abortive.

That failure has raised questions among some British officials over whether eagerness to promote a political settlement may have been exploited by Afghan officials and self-styled intermediaries for the Taliban.

Responding to the allegations while on a visit to Helsinki on Monday, Karzai said his national security council (NSC) had received support from the US government for the past 10 years, and the amounts involved were “not big” and were used for a variety of purposes including helping those wounded in the conflict. “It’s multi-purpose assistance,” he said, without commenting on the allegations that the money was fuelling corruption.

Yama Torabi, the director of Integrity Watch Afghanistan said that the presidency’s low-key response to the reports had “outraged people”.

“As a result, we don’t know what was the amount of money that was given, what it was used for and if there was any corruption involved. Money when it is unchecked can be abused and this looks like one. In addition, it can be potentially used to corrupt politicians and political circles, but there is no way to know this unless there is a serious investigation into it,” Torabi told The Guardian.

Kabul sources told the Guardian that the key official involved in distributing the payments within the NSC was Ibrahim Spinzada, a close confidant of the president known as Engineer Ibrahim. There is, however, no evidence that Spinzada personally gained from the cash payments or that in distributing them among the president’s allies and sometimes his foes he was breaking Afghan law.

Officials say the payments, referred to in a New York Times report as “ghost money”, helped prop up warlords and corrupt officials, deepening Afghan popular mistrust of the Kabul government and its foreign backers, and thereby helped drive the insurgency.

The CIA money has sometimes caused divisions between the various branches of US government represented in Kabul, according to diplomats stationed in Kabul, particularly when it helped give the CIA chief of station in Kabul direct access to Karzai without the US ambassador’s knowledge or approval.

One former Afghan budgetary official told the Guardian: “On paper there was very little money that went to the National Directorate of Security [NDS, the Afghan intelligence service], but we knew they were taken care of separately by the CIA.

“The thing about US money is a lot of it goes outside the budget, directly through individuals and companies, and that opens the way for corruption.”

Khalil Roman, who served as Karzai’s deputy chief of staff from 2002 until 2005, told the New York Times: “We called it ‘ghost money’. It came in secret, and it left in secret.”

One American official told the newspaper: “The biggest source of corruption in Afghanistan was the United States.”

Sources said the MI6 aid was on a smaller scale, and much of it was focused on trying to promote meetings between Karzai’s government and Taliban intermediaries, as was embarrassingly the case in 2010 when MI6 discovered a would-be Taliban leader in talks with Karzai was an impostor from the Pakistani city of Quetta.

The British payments have also been designed to bolster UK influence in Kabul, in what a source described as “an auction with each country trying to outbid the other” in the course of an often fraught relationship with the Karzai government.

Vali Nasr, a former US government adviser on Afghanistan, said: “Karzai has been lashing out against American officials and generals, so if indeed there has been funding by the CIA, you have to ask to what effect has that money been paid. It hasn’t clearly brought the sort of influence it was meant to.”

 

Karzai’s CIA cash has long precedent in Afghanistan – and a simple solution

30 Apr 2013

Nushin Arbabzadah: Afghans would have to back their own state in order to change foreign powers’ century-old system of buying leaders’ loyalty

29 Apr 2013

Afghanistan’s web of intrigue is a poor basis on which to rebuild a nation

27 Apr 2013

Small Wars, Far Away Places by Michael Burleigh – review

25 Apr 2013

Senator accuses US of ‘intelligence failings’ in tracking Tamerlan Tsarnaev

Hamid Karzai orders ban on ‘un-Islamic’ shows on Afghan TV

25 Apr 2013

President issues vague decree after clerics complain that many stations air programmes that are ‘counter to Islamic values’

Julian Borger, diplomatic editor
The Guardian, Tuesday 30 April 2013

Find this story at 30 April 2013

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

With Bags of Cash, C.I.A. Seeks Influence in Afghanistan

KABUL, Afghanistan — For more than a decade, wads of American dollars packed into suitcases, backpacks and, on occasion, plastic shopping bags have been dropped off every month or so at the offices of Afghanistan’s president — courtesy of the Central Intelligence Agency.

All told, tens of millions of dollars have flowed from the C.I.A. to the office of President Hamid Karzai, according to current and former advisers to the Afghan leader.

“We called it ‘ghost money,’ ” said Khalil Roman, who served as Mr. Karzai’s deputy chief of staff from 2002 until 2005. “It came in secret, and it left in secret.”

The C.I.A., which declined to comment for this article, has long been known to support some relatives and close aides of Mr. Karzai. But the new accounts of off-the-books cash delivered directly to his office show payments on a vaster scale, and with a far greater impact on everyday governing.

Moreover, there is little evidence that the payments bought the influence the C.I.A. sought. Instead, some American officials said, the cash has fueled corruption and empowered warlords, undermining Washington’s exit strategy from Afghanistan.

“The biggest source of corruption in Afghanistan,” one American official said, “was the United States.”

The United States was not alone in delivering cash to the president. Mr. Karzai acknowledged a few years ago that Iran regularly gave bags of cash to one of his top aides.

At the time, in 2010, American officials jumped on the payments as evidence of an aggressive Iranian campaign to buy influence and poison Afghanistan’s relations with the United States. What they did not say was that the C.I.A. was also plying the presidential palace with cash — and unlike the Iranians, it still is.

American and Afghan officials familiar with the payments said the agency’s main goal in providing the cash has been to maintain access to Mr. Karzai and his inner circle and to guarantee the agency’s influence at the presidential palace, which wields tremendous power in Afghanistan’s highly centralized government. The officials spoke about the money only on the condition of anonymity.

It is not clear that the United States is getting what it pays for. Mr. Karzai’s willingness to defy the United States — and the Iranians, for that matter — on an array of issues seems to have only grown as the cash has piled up. Instead of securing his good graces, the payments may well illustrate the opposite: Mr. Karzai is seemingly unable to be bought.

Over Iran’s objections, he signed a strategic partnership deal with the United States last year, directly leading the Iranians to halt their payments, two senior Afghan officials said. Now, Mr. Karzai is seeking control over the Afghan militias raised by the C.I.A. to target operatives of Al Qaeda and insurgent commanders, potentially upending a critical part of the Obama administration’s plans for fighting militants as conventional military forces pull back this year.

But the C.I.A. has continued to pay, believing it needs Mr. Karzai’s ear to run its clandestine war against Al Qaeda and its allies, according to American and Afghan officials.

Like the Iranian cash, much of the C.I.A.’s money goes to paying off warlords and politicians, many of whom have ties to the drug trade and, in some cases, the Taliban. The result, American and Afghan officials said, is that the agency has greased the wheels of the same patronage networks that American diplomats and law enforcement agents have struggled unsuccessfully to dismantle, leaving the government in the grips of what are basically organized crime syndicates.

The cash does not appear to be subject to the oversight and restrictions placed on official American aid to the country or even the C.I.A.’s formal assistance programs, like financing Afghan intelligence agencies. And while there is no evidence that Mr. Karzai has personally taken any of the money — Afghan officials say the cash is handled by his National Security Council — the payments do in some cases work directly at odds with the aims of other parts of the American government in Afghanistan, even if they do not appear to violate American law.

Handing out cash has been standard procedure for the C.I.A. in Afghanistan since the start of the war. During the 2001 invasion, agency cash bought the services of numerous warlords, including Muhammad Qasim Fahim, the current first vice president.

“We paid them to overthrow the Taliban,” the American official said.

The C.I.A. then kept paying the Afghans to keep fighting. For instance, Mr. Karzai’s half brother, Ahmed Wali Karzai, was paid by the C.I.A. to run the Kandahar Strike Force, a militia used by the agency to combat militants, until his assassination in 2011.

A number of senior officials on the Afghan National Security Council are also individually on the agency’s payroll, Afghan officials said.

While intelligence agencies often pay foreign officials to provide information, dropping off bags of cash at a foreign leader’s office to curry favor is a more unusual arrangement.

Afghan officials said the practice grew out of the unique circumstances in Afghanistan, where the United States built the government that Mr. Karzai runs. To accomplish that task, it had to bring to heel many of the warlords the C.I.A. had paid during and after the 2001 invasion.

By late 2002, Mr. Karzai and his aides were pressing for the payments to be routed through the president’s office, allowing him to buy the warlords’ loyalty, a former adviser to Mr. Karzai said.

Then, in December 2002, Iranians showed up at the palace in a sport utility vehicle packed with cash, the former adviser said.

The C.I.A. began dropping off cash at the palace the following month, and the sums grew from there, Afghan officials said.

Payments ordinarily range from hundreds of thousands to millions of dollars, the officials said, though none could provide exact figures. The money is used to cover a slew of off-the-books expenses, like paying off lawmakers or underwriting delicate diplomatic trips or informal negotiations.

Much of it also still goes to keeping old warlords in line. One is Abdul Rashid Dostum, an ethnic Uzbek whose militia served as a C.I.A. proxy force in 2001. He receives nearly $100,000 a month from the palace, two Afghan officials said. Other officials said the amount was significantly lower.

Mr. Dostum, who declined requests for comment, had previously said he was given $80,000 a month to serve as Mr. Karzai’s emissary in northern Afghanistan. “I asked for a year up front in cash so that I could build my dream house,” he was quoted as saying in a 2009 interview with Time magazine.

Some of the cash also probably ends up in the pockets of the Karzai aides who handle it, Afghan and Western officials said, though they would not identify any by name.

That is not a significant concern for the C.I.A., said American officials familiar with the agency’s operations. “They’ll work with criminals if they think they have to,” one American former official said.

Mark Mazzetti contributed reporting from Washington.

This article has been revised to reflect the following correction:

Correction: April 29, 2013

An earlier version of this article misstated the job title that Khalil Roman held in Afghanistan from 2002 until 2005. He was President Hamid Karzai’s deputy chief of staff, not his chief of staff.

April 28, 2013
By MATTHEW ROSENBERG

Find this story at 29 April 2013

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MI6 ‘arranged Cold War killing’ of Congo prime minister

Claims over Patrice Lumumba’s 1961 assassination made by Labour peer in letter to London Review of Books
Ben Quinn

Congo premier Patrice Lumumba waves in New York in July 1960 after his arrival from Europe. Photograph: AP

Congo’s first democratically elected prime minister was abducted and killed in a cold war operation run by British intelligence, according to remarks said to have been made by the woman who was leading the MI6 station in the central African country at the time.

A Labour peer has claimed that Baroness Park of Monmouth admitted to him a few months before she died in March 2010 that she arranged Patrice Lumumba’skilling in 1961 because of fears he would ally the newly democratic country with the Soviet Union.

In a letter to the London Review of Books, Lord Lea said the admission was made while he was having a cup of tea with Daphne Park, who had been consul and first secretary from 1959 to 1961 in Leopoldville, as the capital of Belgian Congo was known before it was later renamed as Kinshasa following independence.

He wrote: “I mentioned the uproar surrounding Lumumba’s abduction and murder, and recalled the theory that MI6 might have had something to do with it. ‘We did,’ she replied, ‘I organised it’.”

Park, who was known by some as the “Queen of Spies” after four decades as one of Britain’s top female intelligence agents, is believed to have been sent by MI6 to the Belgian Congo in 1959 under an official diplomatic guise as the Belgians were on the point of being ousted from the country.

“We went on to discuss her contention that Lumumba would have handed over the whole lot to the Russians: the high-value Katangese uranium deposits as well as the diamonds and other important minerals largely located in the secessionist eastern state of Katanga,” added Lea, who wrote his letter in response to a review of a book by Calder Walton about British intelligence activities during the twilight of the British empire.

Doubts about the claim have been raised by historians and former officials, including a former senior British intelligence official who knew Park and told the Times: “It doesn’t sound like the sort of remark Daphne Park would make. She was never indiscreet. Also MI6 never had a licence to kill.”

guardian.co.uk, Tuesday 2 April 2013 01.23 BST

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MI6 organised execution of DRC leader Lumumba, peer claims

British spies admitted helping to organise the detention and execution of the first prime minister of the Democratic Republic of Congo in the 1960s, a peer has claimed.
British spies admitted helping to organise the detention and execution of Patrice Lumumba the first prime minister of the Democratic Republic of Congo in the 1960s, a peer has claimed. Photo: AP

Baroness (Daphne) Park of Monmouth, who was the senior MI6 officer in the African country at the time, said she had “organised it”, according to the Labour peer Lord Lea.

Independence leader Patrice Lumumba was arrested, tortured and executed just months after becoming the first democratically elected prime minister of the DRC in 1960.

Although rebel forces carried out the killing, it has long been claimed that foreign intelligence agencies played a part.

Belgium, from which Lumumba won independence, apologised in 2002 for having some responsibility by failing to prevent his death, while in 2006 documents showed the CIA had plotted to assassinate him but the plot was abandoned.

However, Lord Lea of Crondall, claims he was told by Baroness Park herself that MI6 had also played a role.

He made the revelation in response to a review of a book by Calder Walton in to British intelligence in the London Review of Books.

Lord Lea wrote: “Referring to the controversy surrounding the death of Patrice Lumumba in1960, Bernard Porter quotes Calder Walton’s conclusion: ‘The question remains whether British plots to assassinate Lumumba ever amounted to anything. At present, we do not know’ .

“Actually, in this particular case, I can report that we do. It so happens that I was having a cup of tea with Daphne Park – we were colleagues from opposite sides of the Lords – a few months before she died in March 2010.

By Tom Whitehead

6:46PM BST 01 Apr 2013

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MI6 told to reveal truth behind Lumumba death

Patrice Lumumba was the first democratically elected Prime Minister of Congo AFP/Getty Images

MI6 should open its archives to reveal the truth behind Britain’s alleged involvement in the assassination of African leader Patrice Lumumba in the 1960s, the author of a new book on intelligence said yesterday.

Michael Evans, Francis Elliott and Charles Bremner
Last updated at 12:25AM, April 3 2013

Find this story at 3 April 2013

© Times Newspapers Limited 2013

Patrice Lumumba: 50 Years Later, Remembering the U.S.-Backed Assassination of Congo’s First Democratically Elected Leader

This week marks the 50th anniversary of the assassination of Patrice Lumumba, the first democratically elected leader of what is now known as the Democratic Republic of the Congo. Lumumba’s pan-Africanism and his vision of a united Congo gained him many enemies. Both Belgium and the United States actively sought to have him killed. The CIA ordered his assassination but could not complete the job. Instead, the United States and Belgium covertly funneled cash and aid to rival politicians who seized power and arrested Lumumba. On January 17, 1961, after being beaten and tortured, Lumumba was shot and killed. [includes rush transcript]
Transcript

This is a rush transcript. Copy may not be in its final form.

JUAN GONZALEZ: This week marks the 50th anniversary of the assassination of Patrice Lumumba. He was the first democratically elected leader of what is now known as the Democratic Republic of the Congo. The Congo had been a colony of Belgium since the late 1800s, which ruled over it with brutality while plundering its rich natural resources. Patrice Lumumba rose as a leader of the Congo’s independence movement and, in 1960, was elected as the first prime minister of the country.

AMY GOODMAN: Lumumba’s pan-Africanism and his vision of a united Congo gained him many enemies. Both Belgium and the United States actively sought to have Lumumba overthrown or killed. The CIA ordered his assassination but could not complete the job. Instead, the United States and Belgium covertly funneled cash and aid to rival politicians who seized power and arrested President Lumumba. This is how it was reported in a Universal Studios newsreel in December of 1960.

UNIVERSAL STUDIOS NEWSREEL: A new chapter begins in the dark and tragic history of the Congo with the return to Leopoldville of deposed premier Lumumba, following his capture by crack commandos of strongman Colonel Mobutu. Taken to Mobutu’s headquarters past a jeering, threatening crowd, Lumumba — Lumumba, but promised the pro-red Lumumba a fair trial on charges of inciting the army to rebellion. Lumumba was removed to an army prison outside the capital, as his supporters in Stanleyville seized control of Orientale province and threatened a return of disorder. Before that, Lumumba suffered more indignities, including being forced to eat a speech, which he restated his claim to be the Congo’s rightful premier. Even in bonds, Lumumba remains a dangerous prisoner, storm center of savage loyalties and equally savage opposition.

AMY GOODMAN: On January 17th, 1961, after being beaten and tortured, the Congolese prime minister, Patrice Lumumba, was shot and killed.

For more, we go to Adam Hochschild. He’s the author of King Leopold’s Ghost: A Story of Greed, Terror, and Heroism in Colonial Africa and the forthcoming book To End All Wars: A Story of Loyalty and Rebellion. He teaches at the Berkeley Graduate School of Journalism, is co-founder of Mother Jones magazine, had an op-ed in the New York Times this week called “An Assassination’s Long Shadow.” Adam Hochschild is joining us from San Francisco.

Explain this “long shadow,” Adam.

ADAM HOCHSCHILD: Well, Amy, I think the assassination of Lumumba was something that was felt by many people to be a sort of pivotal turning point in the saga of Africa gaining its independence. In the 1950s, there were movements for independence all over Africa. There was a great deal of idealism in the air. There was a great deal of hope in the air, both among Africans and among their supporters in the United States and Europe, that at last these colonies would become independent. And I think people imagined real independence — that is, that these countries would be able to set off on their own and control their own destiny economically as well as politically. And the assassination of Lumumba really signaled that that was not to be, because, for Belgium, as for the other major European colonial powers, like Britain and France, giving independence to an African colony was OK for them as long as it didn’t disturb existing business arrangements. As long as the European country could continue to own the mines, the factories, the plantations, well, OK, let them have their politics.

But Lumumba spoke very loudly, very dramatically, saying Africa needs to be economically independent, as well. And it was a fiery speech on this subject that he gave at the actual independence ceremonies, June 30th, 1960, where he was replying to an extremely arrogant speech by King Baudouin of Belgium. It was a speech he gave on this subject that I think really began the process that ended two months later with the CIA, with White House approval, decreeing that he should be assassinated.

JUAN GONZALEZ: And, of course, for most Americans, who — we’re not, perhaps, as familiar with African colonialism, since that was basically a European project throughout the 19th century — the role of Belgium and the importance of the Congo as really the jewel of Africa in terms of its wealth and resources — how did the Congo suffer before Lumumba came to power?

ADAM HOCHSCHILD: Well, the story really begins, in the modern era, in 1885, when — or 1884 to ’85, when all the major countries of Europe led — preceded by the United States, actually; we were the very first — recognized the Congo not as a Belgian colony, but as the private, personally owned colony of King Leopold II of Belgium, a very greedy, ambitious man who wanted a colony of his own. At that point, Belgium was not sure that it wanted a colony. Leopold ruled this place for 23 years, made an enormous fortune, estimated at over a billion in today’s American dollars. Finally, in 1908, he was forced to give it up to become a Belgian colony, and then he died the following year. And the Belgians ran it for the next half-century, extracting an enormous amount of wealth, initially in ivory and rubber, then in diamonds, gold, copper, timber, palm oil, all sorts of other minerals. And as with almost all European colonies in Africa, this wealth flowed back to Europe. It benefited the Europeans much more than the Africans.

And the hope that many people had when independence came all over Africa, for the most part, you know, within a few years on either side of 1960, people had the hope that at last African countries would begin to control their own destiny and that they would be the ones who would reap the profits from the mines and the plantations and so on. Lumumba put that hope into words. And for that reason, he was immediately considered a very dangerous figure by the United States and Belgium. The CIA issued this assassination order with White House approval. And as was said at the beginning, they couldn’t get close enough to him to actually poison him, but they got money under the table to Congolese politicians who did see that he was assassinated, with Belgian help. It was a Belgian pilot who flew the plane to where he was killed, a Belgian officer who commanded the firing squad.

And then, the really disastrous thing that followed was this enthusiastic United States backing for the dictatorial regime of Mobutu, who seized total power a couple years later and ran a 32-year dictatorship, enriched himself by about $4 billion, and really ran his country into the ground, was greeted by every American president, with the sole exception of Jimmy Carter, who was in office during those 32 years. And he left the country a wreck, from which it has still not recovered.

AMY GOODMAN: Adam Hochschild, I want to play a clip of the former CIA agent John Stockwell talking about the CIA’s plans to assassinate the prime minister of the Congo, Patrice Lumumba.

JOHN STOCKWELL: The CIA had developed a program to assassinate Lumumba, under Devlin’s encouragement and management. The program they developed, the operation, didn’t work. They didn’t follow through on it. It was to give poison to Lumumba. And they couldn’t find a setting in which to get the poison to him successfully in a way that it wouldn’t appear to be a CIA operation. I mean, you couldn’t invite him to a cocktail party and give him a drink and have him die a short time later, obviously. And so, they gave up on it. They got cold feet. And instead, they handled it by the chief of station talking to Mobutu about the threat that Lumumba posed, and Mobutu going out and killing Lumumba, having his men kill Lumumba.

INTERVIEWER: What about the CIA’s relationship with Mobutu? Were they paying him money?

JOHN STOCKWELL: Yes, indeed. I was there in 1968 when the chief of station told the story about having been, the day before that day, having gone to make payment to Mobutu of cash — $25,000 — and Mobutu saying, “Keep the money. I don’t need it.” And by then, of course, Mobutu’s European bank account was so huge that $25,000 was nothing to him.

AMY GOODMAN: That was former CIA agent John Stockwell talking about the CIA’s plans to assassinate Lumumba. Juan?

JUAN GONZALEZ: Well, Adam, I’d like to ask you — you were in the Congo shortly after Lumumba’s death. Could you talk about — we have about a minute — could you talk about your personal experiences there and what you saw?

ADAM HOCHSCHILD: Yes, I was there. I was just a college student at the time. And I wish I could say that I was smart and politically knowledgeable enough to realize the full significance of everything I was seeing. I was not, and it was really only in later years that I began to understand it. But what I do remember — and this was, as I say, six months or so after he was killed — was the sort of ominous atmosphere in Leopoldville, as the capital was called then, these jeeps full of soldiers who were patrolling the streets, the way the streets quickly emptied at dusk, and then two very, very arrogant guys at the American embassy who were proudly talking over drinks one evening about how this person, Lumumba, had been killed, whom they regarded, you know, not as a democratically elected African leader, but as an enemy of the United States. And so, of course, I, as a fellow American, they expected to be happy that he had been done away with. There was something quite chilling about that, and it stuck with me. But I think it’s only in much later years that I fully realized the significance.

AMY GOODMAN: Adam Hochschild, I want to thank you very much for being with us, author of several books, including King Leopold’s Ghost: A Story of Greed.

Friday, January 21, 2011

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Quiet Sinners: Empire of Secrets: British Intelligence, the Cold War and the Twilight of Empire by Calder Walton

It’s pretty obvious why British governments have been anxious to keep the history of their secret service secret for so long. In the case of decolonisation, which is the subject of Calder Walton’s book, revelations about dirty tricks even after fifty years might do irreparable damage to the myth carefully cultivated at the time: which was that for Britain, unlike France, say, or the Netherlands, or Belgium, the process was smooth and friendly. Britain, so the story went, was freely granting self-government to its colonies as the culmination of imperial rule, which had always had this as its ultimate aim – ‘Empire into Commonwealth’, as the history books used to put it. If for no other reason, the myth was needed in order to make ordinary Britons feel better.

Letters

Vol. 35 No. 7 · 11 April 2013

From David Lea

Referring to the controversy surrounding the death of Patrice Lumumba in1960, Bernard Porter quotes Calder Walton’s conclusion: ‘The question remains whether British plots to assassinate Lumumba … ever amounted to anything. At present, we do not know’ (LRB, 21 March). Actually, in this particular case, I can report that we do. It so happens that I was having a cup of tea with Daphne Park – we were colleagues from opposite sides of the Lords – a few months before she died in March 2010. She had been consul and first secretary in Leopoldville, now Kinshasa, from 1959 to 1961, which in practice (this was subsequently acknowledged) meant head of MI6 there. I mentioned the uproar surrounding Lumumba’s abduction and murder, and recalled the theory that MI6 might have had something to do with it. ‘We did,’ she replied, ‘I organised it.’

We went on to discuss her contention that Lumumba would have handed over the whole lot to the Russians: the high-value Katangese uranium deposits as well as the diamonds and other important minerals largely located in the secessionist eastern state of Katanga. Against that, I put the point that I didn’t see how suspicion of Western involvement and of our motivation for Balkanising their country would be a happy augury for the new republic’s peaceful development.

David Lea
London SW1

Bernard Porter
Harper, 411 pp, £25.00, February, ISBN 978 0 00 745796 0
[*] Cambridge, 449 pp., £25, December 2012, 978 1 107 00099 5.

Find this story at 21 March 2013