Post by TsarSamuil on May 13, 2010 10:03:59 GMT -5
Russian spy jailed for sending secret army maps to US.
Bbc.co.uk Thursday, 13 May 2010 12:23
Russian spy jailed for sending secret army maps to US
A Moscow court has sentenced a Russian national to four years in prison for handing over state secrets to the US.
Gennady Sipachev was found guilty of sending classified Russian military maps to the Pentagon via the internet.
The maps can be used to make the targeting of US cruise missiles against Russian targets more accurate, Russia's security service officials said.
The court said that Sipachev had made a guilty plea bargain with prosecutors in exchange for a lighter sentence.
"Sipachev co-operated actively in the detection and investigation and also pointed to criminal activity by other individuals which helped prevent further damage to the security of Russia," said the court's ruling.
Sipachev was found guilty under Article 275 of Russia's criminal code - "state treason in the form of espionage". The charge normally carries a sentence of up to 20 years in prison.
The court said that Sipachev - whose age and occupation have not been disclosed - would be serving his sentence in a high-security prison.
Russia's security services (FSB) said Sipachev had first raised their suspicions in 2008.
The FSB said it later found that he had been sending top secret Russian military maps to a Pentagon's in-house intelligence service, which acted under the cover of a different organisation.
There has been no comment from the US on the issue.SS
Last Edit: Nov 30, 2010 12:20:46 GMT -5 by TsarSamuil
Top secret service chiefs gather in Russia to talk terrorism.
RussiaToday.com 05 June, 2010, 10:19
Some of the world's top spies are in the Russian city of Yekaterinburg in the Urals. They are taking part in a two-day conference attempting to work out how to stop terrorists across the globe.
It’s not every day you can see top secret service undercover officers uncovered and sitting at the same table with those who might perhaps be considered at times their adversaries.
But Russia has managed to gather secret agents from more than 60 countries under one roof in a demonstration of readiness to rise above differences in the face of a common threat.
The head of the United Nations’ Counter-Terrorism Committee – set up after the 9/11 attacks – says not only have terrorists' tactics changed, but so too have those of the security services.
“This whole issue has changed the mentality of a lot of us. There was a principle that we operated by – and that all intelligence organizations and governments worked by – which is to say the principle of ‘need to know’. You don’t give anyone information unless they need to know it. That has now been overturned,” said Mike Smith, UN Counter-terrorism Committee Executive Director. “And what we talk about now domestically and internationally is need to share.”
But “sharing” appears to be not so easy at times. Loopholes in national legislation can stand in the way of cross-border counter-terrorist operations.
“There are huge differences in legislation in different countries, so we're aiming at that terrorism and the threat it poses are understood equally everywhere,” said Joerg Ziercke, President of Germany’s Federal Criminal Police. “Many countries overprotect the exchange of information. Some countries have death penalties – others not. The same applies to the torture of terrorists. These differences create many problems in our work.”
Terrorist attacks continue to take place across the world. But behind the scenes, what successes do the security services enjoy in foiling plots?
“If we talk about figures, last year we prevented 86 terrorist attacks in Russia. In one operation we tapped 15 kilos of TNT which was headed to Moscow, and we arrested a man who was supposed to carry out 12 attacks with these explosives. And just days ago, we carried out a successful operation in Dagestan against the masterminds of the Moscow Metro bombings,” said Chief of Russian Federal Security Service, Aleksandr Bortnikov.
Compared to Russia, some countries have had much less experience in fighting terrorism, but they have also made it to the summit, well aware that the threat is international.
Even if a country has not been a victim of terrorists directly, it could at some point be their indirect target – as a safe haven for channeling funds or training new recruits.
Judging by the number of participants who were willing to take part in the summit in Yekaterinburg, it seems the understanding is there.
Post by TsarSamuil on Jun 23, 2010 10:50:42 GMT -5
Russia FSB bill sparks opposition.
By Richard Galpin BBC News, Moscow Wednesday, 23 June 2010 13:49 UK
The Russian government is pushing a bill through parliament that critics say would give the country's main intelligence agency, the FSB, powers similar to those once held by its Soviet predecessor, the KGB.
At the time, almost all opponents of the communist regime were ruthlessly silenced.
The bill has been described by Russia's top human rights official as one of the most dangerous pieces of legislation to be put before parliament - but the government says it is needed to tackle extremism.
Even now, holding anti-government protests is extremely risky for opposition groups.
One rally in Moscow on 31 May - like so many others before - was soon broken up by riot police, who arrested more than 150 people.
But if parliament passes the legislation now before it, increasing the powers of the FSB, then opposition activists may not even be able to leave their homes to take part in protests. 'Preventative terror'
The FSB would be able to summon individuals in advance for questioning, and warn them against what it calls extremist activity and the possibility of committing a crime.
If the warning is ignored it could lead to 15 days' detention.
"In the worst case it will not be crime prevention, it will be preventative terror against the opponents of government," says opposition activist Alexander Artemev, who is now in Moscow's Hospital No 29 after having his arm badly broken by police at the rally last month.
"You don't have to commit any crime in the view of the authorities. You just have to oppose the policy of current officials to [come]... under the umbrella of the secret services."
Visiting Mr Artemev in hospital is his mother Elena, who says FSB agents came to see her in December about her son's activities.
"They warned me I might have problems because my son is involved in politics," she says.
But she adds that she is not scared by the law.
"I would still not give the FSB any information about my son. We survived the great terror of 1937 under Stalin, we went through this already." 'Constitutional right'
In Russia's national parliament, or Duma, where the bill has passed its first reading, Vladimir Kolesnikov, a senior member of the ruling United Russia party, denies it would be used to target opponents of the government or journalists.
Instead it is needed, he says, to tackle the growing number of extremists in the country.
"Protesting is everybody's constitutional right. But when you are protesting you shouldn't have a grenade or knife in your pocket.
"And if you're about to put together a bomb, this is where an FSB officer will step in and say: 'Stop! You are one step away from committing a crime!'"
But there are many here who are deeply suspicious of this legislation - fearing it would be another big step back to the days of repression in the Soviet Union.
One of those opposed is former KGB agent Gennady Gudkov, now a prominent MP.
"It was one of the preventative measures of the KGB in the Soviet Union, but it is absolutely not normal now in modern conditions, because now we have several parties in the state Duma and different mass media which stand for different political points of view," he says.
Mr Gudkov believes the legislation as it stands is wide-open to abuse, because it is so vague.
His fears are shared by Allison Gill, director of the Russia office of Human Rights Watch, who says the law would "once again" give Russian authorities the ability to reach into the private lives of individual citizens.
"This legislation is a huge step back for Russia. It flies in face of everything [Russian President Dmitry Medvedev] has promised about modernisation and about bringing Russia into future," she says.
"Giving security forces this kind of control over lawful, civic activity is not a sign of a country that is trying to modernise."
Eleven suspects have been charged for allegedly carrying out espionage operations in the United States on behalf of Russia, the U.S. Department of Justice said in a statement on Monday.
"In total, 11 defendants, including the 10 arrested, are charged in two separate criminal complaints with conspiring to act as unlawful agents of the Russian Federation within the United States," the statement said.
Eight suspects were arrested on Sunday as allegedly being deep cover Russian agents in the United States.
Two other suspects were arrested for allegedly participating in the same Russian intelligence operation, while one of the suspects remains at large.
"Nine of the defendants are also charged with conspiracy to commit money laundering," the Justice Department said.
The charges were filed in U.S. District Court for the Southern District of New York.
The charge of conspiracy to act as an agent of a foreign government without notifying the U.S. Attorney General carries a maximum penalty of five years in prison, while the charge of conspiracy to commit money laundering carries a maximum penalty of 20 years in prison/
The U.S. authorities said the case was "the result of a multi-year investigation conducted by the FBI, the U.S. Attorney's Office for the Southern District of New York, and the Counterespionage Section and the Office of Intelligence within the Justice Department's National Security Division."
According to the complaint filed in the court by U.S. intelligence, some of the suspects were under surveillance since January and part of their correspondence with the Center in Moscow had been intercepted and decoded.
"You were sent to USA for long-term service trip. Your education, bank accounts, car, house etc — all these serve one goal: fulfill your main mission — to search and develop ties in policymaking circles in the U.S. and send intels," one of the intercepted messages allegedly said.
The FBI also reported observing various espionage techniques used by the agents to communicate with their handlers, varying from old-fashioned "drops" in parks and faked identification papers to hi-tech electronic encoding.
The evidence submitted by the FBI to the court indicates that some of the suspects were in contact with Russian "state officials," including diplomats from Russia's Permanent Mission to the United Nations in New York from 2004 to the beginning of 2010.
Officials from the Russian mission have refused to comment on the statement by the U.S. Department of Justice.
"We have no comment on this statement. We have no information regarding this case," a mission spokesperson told RIA Novosti.
The U.S. announcement came only a few days after Russian President Dmitry Medvedev's visit to the United States and may cast a shadow on the bilateral relations that have improved in the past year.
NY Post ^ | 29 June 2010 | BRUCE GOLDING, ANDY SOLTIS and CATHY BURKE
A ring of 11 Russian moles right out of a Cold War spy novel was smashed yesterday — and among those busted was a flame-haired, 007-worthy beauty who flitted from high-profile parties to top-secret meetings around Manhattan.
Russian national Anna Chapman — a 28-year-old divorcee with a masters in economics, an online real-estate business, a fancy Financial District apartment and a Victoria’s Secret body — had been passing information to a Russian government official every Wednesday since January, authorities charged.
In one particularly slick spy exchange on St. Patrick’s Day, Chapman pulled a laptop out of a tote bag in a bookstore at Warren and Greenwich streets in the West Village while her handler lurked outside, receiving her message on his own computer, the feds said. A similar exchange occurred at a Midtown coffee shop at 47th Street and 8th Ave.
The FBI claimed the two were corresponding via a secret online network.
Last week, an undercover agent pretending to be a Russian official arranged a meeting to talk about the weekly laptop exchanges, pretending to be ready to send the sexy spy on a mission to deliver a fake passport to another female agent, according to the federal complaint.
As international special interest groups are vying for influence in the US government, the line between espionage and lobbying work is becoming dangerously vague.
The US Justice Department announced on Monday that 10 individuals were arrested on charges of working as “agents of a foreign government [i.e. Russia] without notifying the US attorney general,” a crime that carries a penalty of a maximum of five years in prison. Nine of the arrested individuals were also charged with money laundering.
Made to resemble some sort of powerful storm front blowing in from the east, US media reported that the arrested individuals worked in “deep cover” in Boston, Montclair, New York and Arlington. An 11th suspect has been detained by Interpol in Cyprus and released on bail.
The Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) says that it has been collecting extensive electronic surveillance of the suspects “for years,” yet, as CNN reported, the arrested individuals “were not directly involved in obtaining US secrets themselves.”
The obvious question is: what exactly did these individuals do to attract the attention of the US intelligence community?
One of the suspects is Vicky Pelaez, who has been a columnist for the Spanish-language “El Dario" newspaper for more than 20 years. Pelaez has covered a wide range of touchy topics, ranging from local and international politics to immigration issues.
Since one of the primary functions of a political reporter is to make connections and ask penetrating questions, was Pelaez singled out for suspicion by simply trying to do her job? After all, “infiltrating policy-making circles” is exactly what people in the journalistic and lobbying community do in order to fulfill the requirements of their respective jobs.
It is also the work of reporters and lobbyists to “learn about US weapons, diplomatic strategy and politics.” But simply asking questions about such subjects does not automatically make a person a spy. At least it should not.
Another one of the arrested individuals, Anna Chapman, was said to have “met with an individual purporting to be a Russian Government official in Manhattan, New York, at which she received a fraudulent passport,” according to the official criminal report.
Chapman, however, immediately went to the local police and gave them the passport.
CNN reported that Chapman never "fulfilled the mission" of delivering the fraudulent passport that the undercover FBI agent gave to her.
“She met an undercover FBI agent posing as a Russian who set up an urgent meeting asking her to deliver a passport,” reported Deborah Feyerick, a commentator with CNN. “This was her first person-to-person mission, but it [the passport delivery] never happened.”
Chapman was also arrested for apparently using her laptop computer inside of a New York City coffee shop at the same time that a Russian Government official was driving by in a minivan.
Moscow has already called the charges “contradictory,” and is demanding more information on the criminal proceedings from their US counterparts.
Then there is the case of Donald Heathfield and his quotation-marked wife Tracey Foley, and their two teenage sons.
Heathfield is the CEO of international consulting and management development firm Global Partners Inc., which Jeff Stein of The Washington Post described as “a beehive of cutting-edge technology firms with close ties to MIT and the Pentagon.” He also operates Future Maps, “a software system that helps map a picture of anticipated future events,” Wicked Local Cambridge reported.
Heathfield's Linked-in page shows his affiliation with over 30 professional alumni, business, academic and international relations associations.
Are some US-based groups getting too uncomfortable with Russians moving into such positions of influence?
Bad timing for a scandal
Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov on Tuesday provided a tongue-in-cheek comment over the curious timing of the arrests, while expressing his hope that the US side will explain their actions.
"They have not explained anything to us. I hope they will do so,” Lavrov, who is meeting with officials in Jerusalem, told a news conference. “The moment when all this was done was chosen quite smartly.”
Smartly, indeed. After all, just last week Russian President Dmitry Medvedev was in California, where he paid a visit to the hi-tech capital of Silicon Valley. There, he met with the leaders of various IT companies, while breaking ground on a number of ambitious virtual projects between Russian and US companies.
Russia, with its rich pool of computer engineers, is in the process of building its very own Silicon Valley in an effort to keep its IT talent gainfully employed at home, while perhaps tempting Russians abroad with the new opportunities in the Motherland. Whether the United States perceives Russia’s ambitious program of modernization as an opportunity or a challenge remains an open question.
During the Washington leg of his US visit, Medvedev and US President Barack Obama gave reporters a memorable photo opportunity inside a Washington diner as the two men enjoyed a light-hearted, all-American meal of hamburgers and French fries.
Indeed, given the good-humored atmosphere between the two presidents, it looked as if the US-Russian “reset” was not just an empty slogan to hide deep divisions between Moscow and Washington. It was the real thing. Although this unfortunate setback on the reset may blow over like a brisk summer rain, it could snowball into something that neither country wants nor needs – especially as officials in both countries are getting ready to ratify the START arms reduction treaty.
Why the hysteria over “secret agents”?
In this particular case, the arrested individuals have been charged with “conspiring to act as unlawful agents,” as opposed to full-blown, Clancy-esque spying. According to US legal code, there is nothing illegal about “an agent of a foreign government” working in the United States, so long as the individual notifies the US Attorney Generals Office of their activities.
“This is kind of a gray area, because we do have the Foreign Agents Registration Act in the United States,” Wayne Madsen, an investigative journalist and former NSA analyst, told RT. “We have many lobbyists in Washington, DC, who act as ‘agents for foreign governments.’ Now, if that’s what these individuals were doing [lobbying] it’s going to be very hard to pin espionage.”
The American Israel Public Affairs Committee (AIPAC), for example, the largest and most powerful foreign lobby group now working in the US, employs hundreds of “agents of a foreign government” to represent the interests of Israel before the US Congress, yet few people would call them spies.
According to Section 951, Title 18 of the US Code, “Whoever, other than a diplomatic or consular officer or attache, acts in the United States as an agent of a foreign government without prior notification to the Attorney General…shall be fined under this title or imprisoned not more than ten years, or both.”
The amendment, however, also relieves the US attorney general’s office of all responsibility connected with its [hypothetical] failure to provide a copy of the registration to the US Secretary of State.
“The Attorney General shall, upon receipt, promptly transmit one copy of each notification statement filed under this section to the Secretary of State for such comment and use as the Secretary of State may determine to be appropriate from the point of view of the foreign relations of the United States.
“Failure of the Attorney General to do so shall not be a bar to prosecution under this section.”
In other words, the Attorney General could fail to notify the US Secretary of State as to the activities of a specific individual or group, yet bear no legal responsibility for the oversight. At this point, it would be the responsibility of the individuals to prove their innocence.
US Attorney General Eric Holden claims he never received such a notification regarding the arrested individuals. So now the question must be asked: did somebody fumble the ball – knowingly or unknowingly – as the Bush administration handed off executive responsibility to the Obama White House?
Now, Obama’s political opponents – and there are many – may be conspiring to sabotage the American president’s efforts to reset relations with Russia, which is integral to Moscow and Washington signing the START treaty. How much these new revelations will harm those efforts remains to be seen.
Gennady Gudkov, vice chairman of the Duma Security Committee, argues that this new spy scandal is possibly a provocation by the "anti-Obama" coalition, or co-ordinated activities on behalf of the American authorities. Based on those criteria, Russia should consider its response carefully, Gudkov said in his interview with "Ekho Moskvy" radio station.
Gudkov also stressed that this whole story needs to be thoroughly analyzed before any decision is made. Since US officials have only released bits and pieces of these 11 different stories, this seems to be excellent advice.
Finally, there are reports of a decrypted message from Moscow to two of the suspects, apparently reminding them that they were sent to the United States for "long-term service."
"Your education, bank accounts, car, house, etc. – all these serve one goal: fulfill your main mission, i.e., to search and develop ties in policymaking circles in the US and send intels back to center," the alleged document reads.
Such a message is strange to say the least. To suggest that these individuals, who allegedly received extensive training, needed a reminder from their handlers of their mission sounds more like poorly scripted fiction than true espionage. Even a civilian arm-chair observer can understand the inherent risk of dispatching a letter – even coded – that basically outlines the entire mission, not to mention outing the agents.
The big question on everybody’s minds in Moscow is: why now? Why did the FBI, after allegedly conducting “multi-year” surveillance of these individuals, wait until the Russian president was just exiting the United States to drop this stink bomb? Indeed, the timing of this scandalous news seems too “perfect” to be merely coincidental.
For that answer, we must go to the very tip of the iceberg of US political circles, to the very individuals behind the scenes and calling the shots in America. Who are these individuals? For starters, there is America’s extremely powerful lobbying community, which has one real objective: to sway US foreign policy, which has become dramatically militant over the last decade.
Russians may not fully appreciate this unique part of the US political process, which relies much more on special-interest spending than on any "general will" of the people.
It is these deep-pocketed groups who fill the campaign war chests of American politicians, and it goes without saying that they do not donate their money without expecting some sort of favors in return. And with big global issues on the front burner – not least of all the question of what to do with Iran, which some argue is trying to acquire nuclear weapons – many people could be accused of “infiltrating US foreign policy circles.”
So there is the possibility – however difficult to prove – that one of these powerful lobby groups called in one of their political debts – at Russia’s expense.
Indeed, those “special interests” who now enjoy the ultimate legal power of influencing US politicians in order to support specific legislation, not to mention foreign policy directives, will not stand by idly as Russians attempt to make their voice heard in Washington. It is possible that other foreign lobbies will go to great extremes to reinforce the image of Russians as “spies” in a smear campaign that will make it politically unattractive for US politicians to “do business” with America’s growing Russian community.
But in the end, what this “spy case” proves is not that the Cold War winds have returned, but that the American people must work to regain control of their political system, which has become too financially dependent upon the legal or illegal “agents of foreign governments.”
The only political lobby that should be permitted to influence the halls of Washington should be “We the American People.” All others need not apply.
Moscow and Washington say they hope FBI arrests of alleged Russian agents will not affect relations between the two. The controversy comes just after a meeting between the U.S. and Russian Presidents. Former MI5 officer Annie Mashon says an inside game among U.S. intelligence agencies could be behind the timing of these arrests.
Russia’s President Dmitry Medvedev has signed into law a bill expanding the powers of the Federal Security Service (FSB). The new legislation will come into force after it is officially published.
Earlier this month, the bill, which was harshly criticized by the public and human rights groups, was passed by the Russian parliament’s lower and upper houses – the State Duma and the Federation Council.
According to Medvedev, the amendments to the legislation were performed under his direct order.
The new FSB bill allows the heads of the agency’s bodies or their deputies to issue warnings to citizens on actions that could lead to committing crimes, the preliminary investigation of which refers legally to the competence of the FSB.
If “sufficient and confirmed” information is obtained, FSB bodies will submit letters to a corresponding state agency or to the management of a company requiring a mandatory clearance of the reasons and conditions allowing the fulfillment of the threats to the security of the state.
Disregard for an FSB officer’s legitimate order by officials carries a fine or an administrative arrest of up to 15 days. But the provision does not concern private individuals. The Duma made corresponding amendments in the Law on the Federal Security Service and in the Code of Administrative Offences.
Many human rights activists and politicians have criticized the bill. “There is no indication of a fight against or prevention of terrorism in it, and it is of no benefit to anyone,” Interfax quoted Yabloko party leader Sergey Mitrokhin as saying. The liberal party is not represented in the parliament.
“No social groups will benefit, except the governing oligarchic elite, which is clinging to power and to the wealth which power brings,” Mitrokhin said.
Leonid Gozman, the co-chairman of the Right Cause party believes the bill will give the FSB the official go-ahead to put pressure on citizens. “We take make a big step way from democracy toward a police state,” he noted.
The president needs to maintain “a balance of forces at the top,” Gozman said. However, he told Interfax the legislation “to some extent, contradicts what [Medvedev] has been saying and doing over the past few months.”
The Memorial human rights group asked the president on July 15 to veto the bill. The group described the legislation as “partly pointless and partly dangerous to public freedom.”
Waz.euobserver.com ALEXENIA DIMITROVA 30.07.2010 @ 09:21 CET
SOFIA - Bulgaria's Communist-era security agency, the dreaded Committee for State Security, maintained a top secret unit in charge of kidnapping, discrediting and killing of Bulgarian émigrés around the world long before the notorious assassination of writer Georgi Markov in London in 1978, it can be revealed.
The secretive Cold War structure, dubbed "Service 7" was set up in mid-1963 and by 1972 was engaged in at least ten covert operations against Bulgarians who had fled Communism and settled in Italy, Britain, Denmark, West Germany, Turkey, France, Ethiopia, Sweden and Switzerland.
The revelations surfaced after an investigation by 24 Chasa, one of Bulgaria's top-selling dailies, of nearly 5,000 pages of recently declassified archives from the former Communist intelligence service, the First Directorate of the Committee on State Security.
The records, written between 1964 and 1972 and once marked as "top secret" detail operations against people whom the regime saw as its enemies and given code-name such as "The Black", "Lackey", "Traitor", "X", "Hamlet", "Betrayer", "Blind man", "Ox" and "Widower ".
24 Chasa came across the papers by chance in a batch of documents the National Intelligence Service had released under a new law declassifying former State Security archives. The files carried the acronym OM - in Bulgarian "ostri meropriatia", which translates as "sharp measures" in English.
"We need to execute a death sentence. At first glance, it seems a tough and dirty job, but for us it is noble," then interior minister Angel Solakov said on 1 July, 1970 referring to a plan to kill a Bulgarian émigré. "I don't know whether one day we would be asked to liquidate for instance Papandreou. Now we get smaller tasks, but we should gain some experience."
It is unclear to which of the Papandreou political dynasty in Greece he was referring. Andreas Papandreou, father of current Greek prime minister, George Papandreou, at the time was living in exile in Paris as the country when the country was ruled by a military junta and his own father, George Papandreou Sr., a former prime minister, had died in 1968, a year after the army's coup d'etat.
Mr Solakov's comments quoted in one of the reports undermine the idea held until now that the Communist ruling Politburo had only authorised the so-called "sharp measures" after 24 July, 1973, when it approved a secret resolution on the issue, dubbed "B8".
The archives also disprove a 1999 statement by Communist-era intelligence chief General Vlado Todorov that his service had never been involved in killings.
The Service 7 activities were guided by a set of "basic principles", dated 10 March 1964 and approved by then minister of the interior, General Diko Diko. These principles allowed for kidnapping or "eradication". Their targets were identified as "traitors of the motherland, who caused major damage, and develop hostile activity, " according to a document from 1967.
Upon its creation, "Service 7" had only four officers. In a report dated 7 October, 1964, its chief, Colonel Petko Kovachev, called it "our small subdivision" and insisted on more manpower in view of the increasing workload. By 1967, the unit employed 39 agents. In a memo to the State Security chief dated 30 September, 1967, Colonel Kovachev suggested that the work of the unit be discussed at the highest possible level and improved with help from the "Soviet comrades".
This was not the first time when the service sought help from the KGB, the Soviet spy agency. Assistance was sought for also from the other "fraternal special services" of the former eastern bloc. The Bulgarians were interested mostly in methods of work and the latest weapons and poisons – in particular those without taste, colour or odour and with a delayed effect.
The victims were supposed to be put to sleep and poisoned, according to the unit plans and reports from the late 1960s and the early 1970s.
A leading research unit in Bulgaria, including the interior ministry hospital, the Medical Academy Pharmaceutical Faculty - a leading drug manufacturer - and the State Committee on Science and Technology were involved in developing sophisticated poisons.
The killers were sought among regime loyalists. They were specially trained. In one of the documents, among the discussed executioners was one code-named Piccadilly – the alleged murderer of Bulgarian writer Georgi Markov in London in 1978 – the case known as the "Bulgarian umbrella". He was also involved in an operation in Italy against another Bulgarian émigré.
The first operation of Service 7, dubbed Libretto, was aborted although targeted Blago Slavenov, a prominent Bulgarian émigré organization leader, who had fled to Italy in the late 40's. The plan envisioned that a friend of Mr Slavenov's would ask him to do some translation in a corner somewhere on board a Bulgarian ship in the northern Italian port of Trieste where agents would kidnap him and forcibly bring him back to Sofia.
Mr Slavenov, who died in 1996, caught wind of the trap and rejected the offer, his daughter Elza told 24 Chasa. According to the archives, the operation against him included three collaborators, two Bulgarian intelligence officers and drugs produced with the assistance of the Bulgarian interior ministry hospital.
Although the plan failed, the agents' reports described it as a first and very useful experience. They later sent to Mr Slavenov a female agent, who was supposed to seduce him on a trip to Vienna, but this trap did not succeed either.
Ms Slavenova said her father knew he was being targeted by the Communist regime and was very cautious. He used to go out and come back at different hours, shifted his daily routes and changed several times his locks.
Mr Slavenov returned to Bulgaria only after the fall of the Berlin Wall in 1989. Despite all the actions against him and all his fears throughout the years, he still very much loved his country and wanted to die there. In 1996, he was buried in his native village not far from Plovdiv, in southern Bulgaria.
Another target, Traicho Belopopski – a former Bulgarian intelligence officer who had escaped to the United Kingdom in the early 60's and had subsequently been sentenced to death by the regime in 1964 - was found alive and well by 24 Chasa in New York in 2006, long before the Service 7 files surfaced.
At the time, Mr Belopopski was afraid to talk. However, in private correspondence, he mentioned that many years ago, his father had visited him in London and brought him a piece of salami. Knowing the methods of his former colleagues, Mr Belopopski tossed the food to a street dog. It immediately died in agony.
Asked about the case, one of the high-ranking ex-intelligence officers, Colonel Dimo Stankov, denied that that an operation had been planned against Mr Belopopsky and that the latter had been sentenced to death.
"We tried to have him back by sending his father and his brother-in-law to persuade him to return, but when they failed, we gave up," Stankov said.
The Service 7 files however confirmed that Mr Belopopski was indeed a target under two code-names "The Black" and "Mavrov". He survived by moving to the United States where he married for a third time. His first wife and daughter, who remained in Bulgaria, never saw him again.
Another target, code-named "Traitor" and "Nick", Colonel Nikola Kostov, was ex-chief of Bulgarian counter-intelligence before Communism. Communist secret services had been seeking for him for 20 years in France and Italy after he fled Bulgaria in the mid-1940s.
Two paid under-cover agents dubbed "Chavdar" and "Journalist" discovered his location in 1973 and "a sharp operation" was promptly ordered, however the report on the operation and Colonel Kostov's personal file of some 1,000 pages appear to have been destroyed. Witnesses in Italy told 24 Chasa that he died there in 1974 – months after the operation against him was launched, according to the archive.
*Alexenia Dimitrova, a 24 Chasa journalist, has recently published The Murder Bureau, a book describing a total of ten cases of covert foreign operations of the Bulgarian Communist-era secret services against dissident émigrés.
Broadening FSB powers won’t harm citizens’ rights – chief.
RT.com 11 August, 2010, 17:54
The head of Russia’s Federal Security Service (FSB), Aleksandr Bortnikov has assured that the recently adopted law expanding the body’s powers does not infringe citizens’ rights and freedoms.
The amendments to the Law on the FSB were passed by President Dmitry Medvedev in July and sparked harsh criticism among the community. The legislation allows the body to issue warnings to citizens on actions that could lead to committing crimes.
On Wednesday, Borntikov met with Russian media representatives to give explanations on the new rules and to ease public concerns.
“The point of the amendments is to warn a citizen while one is at the stage of preparation for the crime. The law describes in detail the mechanism of the control of the legality of the actions of officials who issue a warning,” he said, writes Interfax.
Bortnikov underlined that the warning does not lead to any loss of rights of a citizen. Any person who believes that the FSB warning was groundless can contest the decision at the court, he added.
The FSB chief also said a decree to approve the regulations to enforce the law will be drafted soon. He noted that the regulations will be posted on the body’s official website for public debates.
Top Russian Spy’s Body Washes Up 'After Swimming Accident’
Telegraph UK ^ | 31 Aug 2010 | Andrew Osborn
The body of one of Russia’s top spies has washed up on the Turkish coast after he disappeared close to a sensitive Russian naval facility in neighbouring Syria.
Major-General Yuri Ivanov, 52, was the deputy head of Russia’s foreign military intelligence arm known as GRU which is thought to operate the biggest network of foreign spies out of all of Russia’s clandestine intelligence services.
His badly decomposed body was found washed up on the Turkish coast by local fishermen earlier this month after he disappeared in the Syrian coastal resort of Latakia further south. The Russian army’s in-house newspaper, Red Star, did not report his death until last Saturday when he was quietly buried in Moscow.
The circumstances of his death are reminiscent of a John Le Carre novel and have therefore fuelled theories that he may have been murdered in Syria and his body then thrown into the Mediterranean where it drifted for days.
According to the Kremlin, he was on holiday in Syria and died in a tragic swimming accident. However, other reports have suggested he was on official business and the location where he is reported to have disappeared was only about fifty miles from a strategically vital Russian naval facility in the Syrian port of Tartus which is being expanded and upgraded to service and refuel ships from Russia’s Black Sea Fleet.
The facility is Russia’s only foothold in the Mediterranean Sea, and Mossad, Israel’s national intelligence agency, is know to be concerned that Moscow will use the upgraded facility as a base for spy ships and electronic espionage directed at the Middle East. The port is also close to the Turkish port of Ceyhan, a terminal for the Baku-Tbilisi-Ceyhan oil pipeline which is seen as a lifeline for Georgia, against whom Russia fought a short war in 2008.
Gen. Yuri Ivanov, 52, deputy head of GRU, the Russian military's overseas intelligence arm of Russian military, was found dead in mysterious circumstances.
Post by TsarSamuil on Sept 22, 2010 14:41:14 GMT -5
Russian parliament moves to expand official secrets list.
The lower house of the Russian parliament on Wednesday adopted amendments to the Official Secrets Act enlarging the list of information that constitutes a state secret.
The State Duma passed in the first reading a bill that classifies information related to anti-terrorism activity as officially secret, including measures to protect vital infrastructure and potentially dangerous installations.
It also lists information related to the means, methods, sources, plans and results of anti-terrorism activity, as well as the monitoring of organizations and individuals involved in terrorist activity.
In its advisory opinion, however, the State Duma Legal Department noted that some of the bill's definitions need clarification - for example, the concept of "protection of critical installations" and "potentially dangerous elements of infrastructure."
As concerns the means, methods, sources, plans and results of anti-terrorism activity, such information is, as a general rule, the result of intelligence or counterintelligence activity and therefore already constitutes an official secret, the department said.
Post by TsarSamuil on Sept 26, 2010 9:57:15 GMT -5
Právo: Russian ambassador in Prague dismisses spying allegations.
Prague, Sept 23 (ČTK) - The allegations about Russian spies in the Czech Republic are nothing more than media hype and a reaction to political propaganda, outgoing Russian ambassador Alexei Fedotov told the paper Pravo yesterday.
Fedotov called the information on Russian spies "fiction" and "myth."
"When we broached the issue and sometimes they did it themselves, many serious Czech politicians simply laughed at the news," Fedotov said.
"Other phoned me to apologise," he added.
Fedotov also dismissed the notion that Russia was using its deliveries of raw materials to Europe for political pressure.
"We do not use energy raw materials in our foreign policy. This is a purely commercial affair. We resolutely dismiss its politicisation," Fedotov said, adding that the Czech Republic could rapidly find alternative sources for Russian deliveries.
Fedotov spoke highly of President Vaclav Klaus's contribution to the rehabilitation of bilateral relations after the fall of the Soviet Union.
Fedotov said Klaus was an "architect of the eastern course of Czech policy."
Pragmatism is a base and dominant feature of Russian-Czech relations, Fedotov said.
Fedotov has been Russian ambassador to Prague since April 2004.
He will be replaced with Sergei Kiseljov, 63.
The police will investigate the case of alleged Russian spy Robert Rachardzo, who was linked to Czech military senior officers, the daily Mlada fronta Dnes (MfD) wrote in August.
The paper reported that the spy affair was behind the recent discharge of three generals from the Czech military.
Post by TsarSamuil on Oct 13, 2010 19:51:49 GMT -5
Belarusian spy to remain beind bars.
PAP 13.10.2010 15:13
The District Court in Warsaw has refused a repeated appeal to release Belarusian Sergei M., who was sentenced to five and a half years in prison for spying against Poland.
Sergei M. has been imprisoned for almost four years now and has the right for an early release because he already served more than half of the sentence.
Judge Marcin Lochowski found that the Belarusian’s rehabilitation is running smoothly, but it must be continued. “There is no reason to think that the offender would not commit a crime again,” the judge commented.
It is the second time that the court has refused to release Sergei M. The Belarusian’s lawyer, Magdalena Bentkowska filed the first motion in January, and did not hide her amazement that her client was not released, saying that she will file another motion in six months.
Caught in a trap?
In September 2009, the District Court in Warsaw sentenced 43-year-old Sergei M. to five and a half years in prison for trying to acquire classified documents about the Polish Foreign Ministry.
Sergei M. was arrested in Lithuania in November 2006 and extradited to Poland a year later.
While announcing the sentence the court revealed that in 2005 Sergei M. tried to recruit the Polish consul in Minsk, Krzysztof G., offering him money in exchange for classified information to be passed on to Belarusian intelligence.
Sergei M. wanted to receive a list of the Polish Foreign Ministry’s employees with their telephone numbers, a list of people who were to go on diplomatic missions, details about Foreign Ministry’s secret office, including a list of its employees and the layout of rooms, as well as Foreign Ministry’s files on Russia and Belarus.
During a meeting in Prague, Sergei M. paid Krzysztof G. 740 euro for a promise to provide him with the requested information. Sergei M. claims he is innocent and fell victim to Krzysztof G.’s provocation.
According to the weekly Polityka magazine, Krzysztof G. used to work for the Polish communist secret service and later was recruited by the State Protection Office which used him as bait. As Polish consul to Belarus, Krzysztof G. consciously played a game with Sergei M. and asked him to come to Lithuania, where the Belarusian spy was arrested.
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Jan 10, 2020 14:27:01 GMT -5
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Mar 15, 2020 10:48:19 GMT -5
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Apr 19, 2020 4:29:09 GMT -5
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May 18, 2020 9:10:02 GMT -5
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Jun 20, 2020 3:10:01 GMT -5
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Aug 30, 2020 13:48:17 GMT -5