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"Christchurch shooter used commercial drone to spy on targets, court told"


Der zu lebenslanger Haft verurteilte rechtsextreme Attentäter von Christchurch habe bei der Vorbereitung seiner Tat kommerzielle Drohnen genutzt, um seine Opfer auszuspionieren, berichtet Ian Allen. "According to revelations made public during [T.'s] trial this week, the 29-year-old far-right militant planned his attacks for months, using sophisticated technology at every opportunity in the process. The prosecutors told the court that [T.] made use of a commercially available drone to film the grounds of at least one of the mosques, which he later attacked. He allegedly used the drone footage to study the entry and exit points of the building and to carefully map his arrival and departure. He also made use of Internet applications and databases to study maps and the buildings themselves, as well as visuals of the insides of the mosques, prior to launching his attack. According to the prosecutors, [T.] also studied Islamic religious customs and practices so as to ensure that the mosques would be packed with worshipers when he launched his armed assault."

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"Researchers find lost interview of MI6 officer who helped plan 1953 coup in Iran"


In Großbritannien ist ein Interview mit einem britischen Geheimdienstler entdeckt worden, der am angloamerikanischen Putsch gegen den iranischen Premierminister Mossadegh im Jahr 1953 beteiligt war. "(…) a team of researchers found the interview and the associated transcript while researching archival material for a new documentary on the overthrow of Mossadegh. The documentary, titled 'Coup 53', is scheduled for release this coming Wednesday, which marks the 67th anniversary of the coup. On Monday, the Security Archive at George Washington University released the typewritten transcript of Darbyshire’s interview. It describes how British intelligence worked systematically over several years to convince the United States to support the coup plans, and that British spies also found it difficult to secure the support of a reluctant Shah Pahlavi. According to Darbyshire, MI6 and the CIA tried to bribe Iranian parliamentarians, offering them money in exchange for defecting from Dr. Mossadegh’s party, thus eliminating its parliamentary majority. When that effort failed, the spies approached the Iranian military and proposed plans for a coup. In his interview, the late MI6 spy claims that the coup cost the British government £700,000. 'I know because I spent it', he says. He also claims that much of that money was smuggled into Iran in cash, concealed inside 'biscuit tins'."

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"Israel intel official says Bahrain and Oman could follow UAE in normalizing relations"


Eli Cohen, israelischer Minister für Nachrichten- und Geheimdienste, erwartet, dass Bahrain and Oman dem Vorbild der Vereinigten Arabischen Emirate folgen und bald vollständige diplomatische Beziehungen zu Israel aufnehmen könnten. "(…) on Sunday, Eli Cohen, Israel’s Minister of Intelligence and member of the country’s Security Cabinet, said the agreement between Israel and the UAE was likely to be the first of several similar deals. Speaking on Israel Army Radio, Cohen said that 'additional agreements' would follow 'in the wake of this agreement', and that 'Bahrain and Oman are definitely on the agenda'. The two Gulf countries are close allies of the United States and Saudi Arabia, which is one of Iran’s strongest regional rivals."

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"Turkish spy agency hid Islamist views of candidates for CIA-funded Syrian rebel group"


Die CIA hat bis 2017 bei der Rekrutierung für die vermeintlich moderate syrische Rebellengruppe Free Syrian Army (FSA) Joseph Fitsanakis zufolge mit dem türkischen Geheimdienst kooperiert. Die extremistischen Überzeugungen vieler Rekruten seien dabei von den Türken häufig verschwiegen worden. "Turkey’s spy agency systematically downplayed the Islamist views of men seeking to join a Syrian rebel group, which was supported by the United States Central Intelligence Agency on account of its moderate leanings. The United States began to fund and train the Free Syrian Army (FSA) soon after it was established in 2011. The group said its mission was to depose the Syrian President Bashar al-Assad and institute a Western-style multiparty democracy in Syria. (…) In 2017, the United States shut down the program, reportedly after a direct order was issued by President Donald Trump. Today the FSA is almost completely supported and funded by the Turkish state. Locals often refer to it tongue-in-cheek as the 'Free Syrian Turkish Army'."

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"World can’t stop Iran from going nuclear, says former Mossad chief"


Shabtai Shavit, früherer Chef des israelischen Geheimdienstes Mossad, hat in einem Interview seine Überzeugung geäußert, dass der Iran nicht mehr an der Entwicklung eigener Atomwaffen gehindert werden könne. Er hält den Aufbau eines glaubwürdigen Abschreckungspotentials gegenüber Teheran deshalb für wichtiger. "He argues that the worst-case scenario is that Tehran will refuse to abandon its ambition to develop a nuclear arsenal. If Iran decides to pursue that goal with full speed, it would be very difficult — even impossible — for Israel to avert such an eventuality. However, the Jewish state could potentially deter Iran from using a nuclear weapon, he argues. For this to happen, Israel must recognize that Iran’s prime rationale 'is not necessarily: 'I want to have a bomb in order to drop it on Tel Aviv'', says Shavit. On the contrary, its prime rationale is to elevate its 'influence and status' in the region, primarily vis-à-vis Saudi Arabia, Turkey and Israel. Additionally, the regime in Tehran is seeking to develop nuclear weapons in order to attain what Shavit calls 'immunity' from a potential military attack by the United States. Once Israel recognizes that Iran is not necessarily intent on destroying the Jewish state, it can stop trying to prevent Tehran from building nuclear weapons, and seek instead to deter it from using them."

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"Analysis: British report into Russian meddling leads to uncomfortable conclusions"


Der am Dienstag veröffentlichte Russland-Report des britischen Parlaments halte abseits der üblichen parteipolitischen Interpretationen einige unangenehme Wahrheiten bereit, stellt Ian Allen fest. "It shows that, not just British, but Western intelligence agencies as a whole, remain incapable of combating online psychological operations from foreign state actors - primarily Russia - aiming to influence Western politics on a mass scale. This is ironic, because Western spy agencies used to be really good on Russia. In fact, during the Cold War that is all they did. Many years have passed since then, and many leading Western experts on Russia have either retired or died. (…) The British Parliament’s Intelligence and Security Committee’s report on Russia shows that the Internet, and social media in particular, have been major conduits of Russia’s psychological operations in Britain. (…) The report also shows that British spies have been so overwhelmed by this problem, that they don’t even know how to start tackling it. Doing so would take a fundamental rethinking of how to conduct intelligence in an increasingly networked and globalized world, where disinformation is quickly becoming a weapon in the hands of malicious state actors. This is completely uncharted territory, and no-one in the West is quite sure how to respond to these novel challenges."

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"Italian police seize largest amphetamines shipment ever found, bearing ISIS markings"


In Italien ist eine Lieferung illegaler Amphetamine im Wert von etwa einer Milliarde US-Dollar abgefangen worden. Joseph Fitsanakis zufolge sind die Drogen möglicherweise vom "Islamischen Staat" in Syrien hergestellt worden. "Italian police announced on Wednesday that it had made 'the largest seizure of amphetamines in the world', both in terms of quantity and street value. The latter is estimated at approximately $1 billion. Drug traffickers are rarely known to transport such large volumes of drugs in a single shipment, due to the risk of capture by the authorities. However, the lack of supply in Europe due to the coronavirus pandemic has prompted suppliers to take unusual risks, according to experts. (…) The drug is regularly given to Islamic State volunteers prior to battles and terrorist attacks, in order to help reduce their inhibitions, including susceptibility to fear, and to prevent them from feeling physical pain. Security agencies in the Middle East refer to the substance as 'the jihad drug'. It is particularly prevalent in Syria, which has become the global leader in the production of illicit amphetamines in the past decade. Italian police said the shipment was most likely intended for distribution by 'a consortium of criminal groups', who would then traffic the substance to illicit markets across Europe."

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"Spy report urges Israel to annex occupied lands now, in case Trump loses election"


Mitarbeiter des israelischen Ministeriums für Nachrichtendienste haben der Regierung in einem vertraulichen Bericht offenbar geraten, eine Annexion des Westjordanlands nicht zu verzögern, um einem möglichen Amtswechsel im Weißen Haus zuvorzukommen. "In its concluding section, the report appears to dismiss the conventional thinking that the annexation of the settlements will destroy even the remotest possibility of a peace settlement between Israel and the Palestinians. It report argues that 'after a period in which the international system acclimates itself to the annexation', the Palestinians and their supporters in the region will be compelled 'to return to peace talks', and even seek 'solutions and arrangements that aren’t affixed to the 1967 lines and primarily territorial aspects'. In its concluding section, the report suggests that the Israeli government would have more to gain by proceeding with the annexation as soon as possible, rather than waiting, because it is 'impossible to know how the US presidential election in November will unfold'."

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"Lax security behind greatest data loss in CIA’s history, internal report concludes"


Eine interne Untersuchung des größten Datenlecks der CIA-Geschichte habe mangelnde Sicherheitsvorkehrungen und ein falsches Sicherheitsgefühl für den Vorfall von 2017 verantwortlich gemacht, berichtet Joseph Fitsanakis. "The Vault 7 data leak occurred in the first half of 2017, when the anti-secrecy website WikiLeaks began publishing a series of technical documents belonging to the CIA. Once all documents had been uploaded to the WikiLeaks website, they amounted to 34 terabytes of information, which is equivalent to 2.2 billion pages of text. The information contained in the Vault 7 leak is believed to constitute the biggest leak of classified data in the history of the CIA. The Vault 7 documents reveal the capabilities and operational details of some of the CIA’s cyber espionage arsenal. They detail nearly 100 different software tools that the agency developed and used between 2013 and 2016, in order to compromise targeted computers, computer servers, smartphones, cars, televisions, internet browsers, operating systems, etc."

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"Spy agencies target biomedical secrets in worldwide race to find COVID-19 vaccine"


Joseph Fitsanakis zufolge liefern sich Geheimdienste derzeit weltweit ein Rennen um biomedizinische Geheimnisse, die zur Entwicklung eines COVID-19-Impfstoffs beitragen könnten. "Much like frantic efforts to secure personal protective equipment like masks and gloves, ongoing research to develop a vaccine against COVID-19 appears to be taking the form of a competition between nations. The country that first develops a successful vaccine to combat the epidemic is likely to emerge as a major power-player in a post-coronavirus world. The government of the United States, whose race to develop a vaccine for COVID-19 is reportedly codenamed Operation WARPSPEED, has warned its biomedical experts that foreign intelligence agencies may be trying to spy on their research. (…) According to the BBC, other Western governments, including those of the United Kingdom and Canada, have warned that foreign spies have become active in the field of biomedical intelligence, with attempts to steal scientific data related to COVID-19. In March, Canada’s Centre for Cyber Security warned that research and development data related to the pandemic may be targeted by 'sophisticated threat actors' operating online."

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"Mexican drug cartels distribute COVID-19 'care packages' to build community capital"


In Mexiko verteilen Drogenkartelle Joseph Fitsanakis zufolge Corona-Hilfspakete an die Bevölkerung, um ihren Rückhalt in den Städten und Gemeinden zu stärken. "One of the most well-organized 'care package' drives is being carried out by the Sinaloa Cartel. The criminal group’s leader, Joaquín Guzmán (known as 'El Chapo'), was arrested in 2016 and is currently incarcerated in a Super Max Federal Prison in the United States state of Colorado. (…) The Sinaloa Cartel has published videos showing community drives carried out by young people wearing facemasks bearing a stenciled rendition of Guzmán’s portrait — reminiscent of the silhouetted portrait of the Argentine Marxist revolutionary Che Guevarra. They are seen handing out cardboard boxes bearing Guzmán’s portrait and information about his company. The boxes reportedly contain hand sanitizer, oil, rice, sugar, salt, toilet paper, and other necessities. Dante Sorianello, the Assistant Special Agent in Charge of the Drug Enforcement Administration in San Antonio, Texas, said these campaigns by the drug cartels are designed to build 'community support', which the cartels then use 'as a buffer between them and the entities of law and order'."

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"DHS warns of rise in attacks by violent extremists amidst COVID-19 pandemic"


Das Ministerium für Innere Sicherheit der Vereinigten Staaten (DHS) hat die Sicherheitsbehörden des Landes vor Extremisten gewarnt, die auf die staatlichen Einschränkungen in der Coronakrise gewalttätig reagieren könnten. "This is the third warning known to have been issued by the DHS in the past month about the potential of violence by domestic violent extremists, as America continues to battle the pandemic. The latest warning was issued on Thursday, April 23, in the form of a memorandum, which was communicated to law enforcement personnel throughout the US. The memorandum was marked 'unclassified/law enforcement sensitive' and was accessed by Politico, which reported on it on Thursday. It comes as a self-styled 'Liberate' movement is forming in several American states, which aims to pressure government officials to end lockdowns across the country. The memorandum states that 'recent incidents and arrests nationwide illustrate how the COVID-19 pandemic is driving violent actors — both non-ideologically and ideologically motivated — to threaten violence'."

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"US considers pulling CIA from Afghan front lines to help salvage Taliban peace deal"


Um das Friedensabkommen mit den Taliban zu retten, erwägt das Weiße Haus Joseph Fitsanakis zufolge derzeit, die in Afghanistan stationierten CIA-Offiziere abzuziehen. "The US had previously agreed to withdraw its troops from the country, but had ruled out pulling back CIA personnel - which are believed to number in the several hundreds in Afghanistan. A major reason for rejecting the Taliban demand is that the CIA supports, arms and trains several proxy forces throughout the country. These include the Khost Protection Force (KPF), a 6,500-strong unit of elite Afghan soldiers, which has a strong presence in Taliban strongholds like Ghazni, Paktia and Khost. These forces do not operate under the command of the Afghan government, but are instead directly controlled by the CIA. Reports in August of 2019 claimed that the CIA would retain 'a strong presence on the ground in Afghanistan', even if American troops were to leave the country following a peace deal with the Taliban. But this is now under review, according to US officials who spoke anonymously to The New York Times."

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"Satellite photos show nearly completed nuclear reactor in Saudi Arabia"


Neue Satellitenfotos deuten darauf hin, dass Saudi-Arabien kurz vor der Fertigstellung eines Atomreaktors steht. "This development is prompting concerns that the country may be inching closer to building nuclear weapons. The oil kingdom is a signatory to the international Treaty on the Non-Proliferation of Nuclear Weapons (NPT). But in 2011, in a document known as Vision 2030, the Saudi leadership announced that it would seek to 'diversify' its energy resources by building a series of nuclear reactors. (…) The photographs published by Bloomberg show that the construction project, which was initiated in April 2017, has progressed with uncharacteristic speed in the past three months, and is in all likelihood nearing completion. Notably the steer vessel, which will eventually contain the reactor’s nuclear fuel, is almost complete. Currently the oil Kingdom observes the International Atomic Energy Agency’s 'small quantities protocol', which exempts countries in possession of non-existent or negligible quantities of nuclear material from undergoing inspections. But once the KACST facility becomes operational, Saudi Arabia would be obligated to open it up to international inspectors."

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"Spain ‘shifts to a war economy’ and calls on NATO for help with COVID-19"


Das von der Corona-Pandemie hart getroffene Spanien hat die "Kriegswirtschaft" ausgerufen und die NATO offiziell um Unterstützung gebeten. "On Tuesday afternoon, NATO’s Euro-Atlantic Disaster Response Coordination Center (EADRCC) said it had received 'a request for international assistance from the Armed Forces of Spain in their response to the global pandemic'. The EADRCC said in a press statement that the Spanish military had asked its 'international partners […] to provide assistance to the Ministry of Defense of Spain'. Spanish media reported that the request included '450,000 respirators, 500,000 rapid testing kits, 500 ventilators and 1.5 million surgical masks'. Meanwhile the Spanish military helped convert an ice ring in Madrid’s popular Palacio de Hielo mall into a makeshift morgue, in order to accommodate the projected surge in deaths due to COVID-19 in the coming days. The Spanish capital has suffered over 30 percent of all coronavirus-related deaths in the past week."

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"Analysis: No, the coronavirus was not bioengineered. The rumors are false"


Nach wie vor hält sich das Gerücht, dass der Coronavirus biotechnologisch hergestellt worden sei. IntelNews hat in diesem Beitrag wissenschaftliche Informationen zusammengetragen, die für eine natürliche Herkunft des Erregers sprechen. "(…) it appears, from genetic and biochemical analysis, that SARS-CoV-2 started in bats, moved to pangolins, and then to humans. It is unclear whether the evolutionary changes that gave rise to the SARS-CoV-2 variant changed once it entered pangolins from bats, or whether it entered humans and continued evolving into the strain we see today. While the evidence indicates that it is highly unlikely that the virus was bioengineered, it is impossible to determine whether it entered humans in its present form, or evolved once it crossed the species barrier."

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"COVID-19 poses unprecedented operational challenges for America’s spy agencies"


Die US-Geheimdienste müssen sich bei ihrer Arbeit den neuen Bedingungen der Corona-Pandemie anpassen, berichtet Joseph Fitsanakis. "America’s Intelligence Community is facing unprecedented challenges as it tries to adjust to the coronavirus pandemic. These challenges are affecting every aspect of the intelligence cycle, including collection and dissemination functions. Moreover, spy agencies are hurriedly redirecting their analytical resources to combating COVID-19, thus slowing the pace of work on other areas of national security, according to Time magazine. (…) the COVID-19 pandemic is affecting human intelligence collection, which involves the use of case officers to recruit foreign assets in order to extract information in accordance with national security directives. Countless case officers stationed around the world are currently finding it difficult to operate in cities that are either empty or under lock-down mandates. Their assets are also limited in the work that they can do, while it is expected that many will be infected by the coronavirus. One consolation to American intelligence agencies, said Time, is that their adversaries’ operations are also being hampered by the same pandemic."

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"Militaries around the world scramble to contain impact of COVID-19"


Die Coronavirus-Epidemie mache weltweit auch den Militärstreitkräften zu schaffen, berichtet Joseph Fitsanakis. "Military forces around the world are scrambling to contain the impact of COVID-19 on military readiness, as the virus continues to infect troops and commanders at an alarming rate. On Tuesday, the Polish government announced that General Jaroslaw Mika, who serves as general commander of Branches of the Armed Forces, had tested positive for the coronavirus. General Mika is believed to have contracted the virus during a military conference that took place in the German city of Wiesbaden, where North Atlantic Treaty Organization commanders gathered to plan an American-led military exercise. Also on Tuesday, the United States Department of Defense said that the commander of the US Army in Europe, Lieutenant General Christopher Cavoli, participated at the Wiesbaden conference, along with several other US Army staff members. They are currently being tested for exposure to COVID-19."

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"US unable to trace $716 million worth of weapons given to Syrian rebels"


Das US-Militär kann einer internen Pentagon-Prüfung zufolge nicht erklären, was mit Waffen im Wert von über 700 Millionen US-Dollar geschehen ist, die an die Rebellen in Syrien geliefert wurden. "(…) an audit by the Pentagon’s Office of the Inspector General, which was released to the public on Tuesday, shows that most of the CTEF weaponry’s whereabouts cannot be verified. The reason, according to the audit, is that officials with the Special Operations Joint Task Force – Operation Inherent Resolve, failed to maintain detailed lists of all military equipment given to Washington’s allies in Syria between 2017 and 2018. Officials did not have a centralized depository facility for dispensing the equipment, and no documentation was kept during the operation, according to the audit. Consequently, thousands of weapons, weapons parts and other military hardware were exposed to 'loss and theft', says the Pentagon report. There is no speculation in the report about where the missing weapons may have ended up, nor is there any indication that they may have fallen into the hands of the Syrian government, the Islamic State or Iranian-backed Shiite paramilitaries that are active in the region. However, the report notes that the Syrian battlefield is awash with American-manufactured weaponry."

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"Swiss neutrality 'shattered' as leading cryptologic firm revealed to be CIA front"


Die Enthüllung, dass CIA und BND mit Hilfe des Schweizer Unternehmens Crypto AG jahrelang andere Staaten ausspioniert haben, habe in der Schweiz Schockwellen ausgelöst, schreibt Joseph Fitsanakis. "Switzerland is reeling from the shock caused by revelations last week that Crypto AG, the world’s leading manufacturer or cryptologic equipment during the Cold War, whose clients included over 120 governments around the world, was a front company owned by the United States Central Intelligence Agency. (…) Some news outlets have opined that the traditional Swiss concept of political neutrality has been 'shattered'. Meanwhile, a Swiss federal judge has opened an investigation into the revelations, as the Swiss parliament is preparing to launch an official inquiry. Switzerland’s Prime Minister, Simonetta Sommaruga, said on Sunday that the government would discuss the issue 'when we have the facts'."

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"ISIS is tenacious, well-funded and quickly reasserting itself, new UN report warns"


Ein neuer Bericht des UN-Sicherheitsrates warnt vor dem erneuten Erstarken eines gut finanzierten "Islamischen Staates" im Nahen Osten. "The Islamic State remains committed to its goals and continues to utilize ample funding sources, according to a new report by the United Nations. The report warns that the militant Sunni group, which was previously known as the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS), is quickly reasserting itself in the Middle East. (…) The report recognizes that the Islamic State has suffered significant defeats in the field of battle, which have shattered its once formidable military and logistical power. Despite these setbacks, however, the militant group remains 'tenacious and well-funded', with much of its financial income stemming from sound investing practices in business opportunities throughout the Middle East, says the report. Meanwhile, its armed units in Syria continue to sell protection and carry out extortion, now even during daylight hours, it adds. The group’s steady funding even allows it to continue to provide monthly pensions to close family members of its dead fighters."

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"Assessing the implications of Iran’s missile attack on Iraqi military bases"


Joseph Fitsanakis bezeichnet den iranischen Raketenangriff auf zwei Militärstützpunkte im Irak als weitgehend "symbolische" Aktion. Der Angriff könne allerdings auch als möglicher Auftakt eines regionalen Konflikts betrachtet werden, der immer unausweichlicher erscheine. "The fact remains that, if Iran’s leaders truly wanted to cross the point of no return, they could have attacked American diplomatic facilities in over a dozen countries in the region, including Iraq, Israel, Jordan, and many others. (…) However, none of this should be seen as evidence that Iranian leaders have decided against the option of escalating their conflict with America. As Suzanne Maloney of the Brookings Institution noted on Monday, the Iranians are known to make strategic use of patience, which means that the White House should 'not expect immediate retaliation' of any magnitude. (…) The most likely scenario is that Iran and the US will continue to confront each other with violent tit-for-tat actions in Iraq, while making sure not to cross the line that would lead to an all-out regional war. However, the brazen assassination of Soleimani, a media celebrity and the most popular public figure in Iran, has changed the rules of the game. It is now difficult to see how the hostile forces that have been unleashed in Iraq, Iran and the United States can be restrained."

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"Year in review: The biggest spy-related stories of 2019"


Joseph Fitsanakis und Ian Allen haben in einer dreiteiligen Artikelserie die interessantesten Geheimdienstberichte des vergangenen Jahres zusammengestellt. "Since 2008, when we launched intelNews, it has been our end-of-year tradition to take a look back and highlight what we believe were the most important intelligence-related stories of the past 12 months. In anticipation of what 2020 may bring in this highly volatile field, we present you with our selection of the top spy stories of 2019."

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"Denmark arrests 22 in counter-terrorism raids, allegedly with help from Israel"


In Dänemark sind in der vergangenen Woche 22 Terrorverdächtige verhaftet worden. Ian Allan berichtet, dass der israelische Geheimdienst Mossad die dänischen Behörden unterstützt haben soll. "Danish police said they were involved in the final stages of a plot to carry out attacks 'in Denmark or abroad', but have provided no specific information, except to say that the attacks were “thwarted” while they were well underway. (…) Among them are four men between 21 and 25 years of age, and a 38-year-old woman. All were remanded in a court in Copenhagen on Thursday and Friday of last week. A sixth individual, aged 28, was remanded to custody separately from the other five. (…) Danish police said on Monday that 16 of those arrested last week have been released, but remain suspects in the investigation. The remaining six suspects all pleaded not guilty to charges of terrorism on Saturday. They will remain in prison on pre-trial custody while the authorities continue to investigate the alleged terrorist plot."

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"Trump thought Erdoğan was 'bluffing' about invading Syria, sources claim"


Einem auf anonymen Insider-Informationen basierenden Bericht zufolge soll US-Präsident Trump vor seiner Entscheidung für einen Truppenabzug aus Nordsyrien davon überzeugt gewesen sein, dass die Türkei einen Einmarsch in Syrien nicht wagen würde. "The Axios report claims that, until last week, the White House thought that 'Erdoğan would never actually go through with his long-threatened Syria invasion', because doing so would be detrimental to Turkish interests in the region. Based on that conviction, President Trump finally decided to call Erdoğan’s bluff by pulling American Special Forces troops out of northern Syria, in the belief that Tukey’s response would amount to nothing further than a few airstrikes and small-scale cross-border incursions. That belief was behind the White House’s surprise decision to suddenly pull its troops from northern Syria, according to Axios’ sources."

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"Mossad chief comments on policy of assassinations in rare interview"


Der Chef des israelischen Geheimdienstes Mossad hat sich in einem Interview ungewöhnlich freimütig über Attentate gegen identifizierte Feinde Israels geäußert. "[Yossi Cohen, the chief of the Mossad,] was asked to respond to recent allegations made by the Iranian government that Israel worked with 'Arab countries' to assassinate General Qassem Suleimani, the head of the Quds Force, an elite paramilitary unit in Iran’s Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC). Suleimani claimed that several individuals were arrested last month in connection with the alleged plot. He also said that Israel tried to kill him and Hassan Nasrallah, leader of the Lebanese Hezbollah group, in 2006. The head of the Mossad told Mishpacha that Suleimani had not 'necessarily committed the mistake yet that would place him on the prestigious list of Mossad’s assassination targets'. However, 'he knows very well that his assassination is not impossible' because 'the infrastructure he built presents a serious challenge for Israel', said Cohen."

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"Concerns about mass breakouts of jailed ISIS fighters if Turkey invades northern Syria"


Viele Beobachter fürchten Joseph Fitsanakis zufolge, dass tausende gefangene IS-Kämpfer nach einer türkischen Invasion Nordsyriens fliehen und den Kampf wieder aufnehmen könnten. "A statement issued by the White House on Monday said that Turkey would assume control of over 10,000 captured ISIS fighters who are currently being held in Kurdish-administered prison camps in northern Syria. But experts said that the wider Kurdish-controlled region of northern Syria, which Turkey intends to capture, is home to dozens of prisons with over 60,000 captured ISIS supporters in them. What will be the fate of these prisoners under Turkish control? Security observers have repeatedly accused Turkey in the past of turning a blind eye to ISIS, whose members fought a prolonged and bloody war against Iraqi and Syrian Kurds from 2016 to 2018. There are no guarantees that the Turks will not utilize a resurgent ISIS to suppress Kurdish nationalism in the region."

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"Tens of thousands of ISIS members are re-radicalizing inside Kurdish prison camps"


Ein Bericht der Washington Post hat auf die bedenklichen Zustände in kurdischen Gefangenenlagern in Syrien aufmerksam gemacht, in denen zehntausende Anhänger des "Islamischen Staates", darunter viele Frauen und Kinder, festgehalten werden. Joseph Fitsanakis berichtet, dass die Lager in der Praxis nicht von kurdischen Kämpfern, sondern von radikalen weiblichen Insassen geleitet werden. "They continue to follow the strict rules of the Islamic State and impose brutal punishment on those women and children who do not follow these rules. Women who speak to people from outside the prison camp, including journalists and lawyers, are later beaten and tortured; some have even been executed as a form of punishment, said The Post. Many of the Kurdish guards have also been attacked by the women and have been stabbed with makeshift weapons or had their arms and legs broken by them. Islamic State paraphernalia, including black flags and pro-ISIS banners, are regularly confiscated from inmates. The latter have even managed to smuggle video messages to the outside world. In one such video message, a group of veiled al-Hawl inmates are seen holding the banner of the Islamic State and urging the group’s male members to 'light the fire of jihad and free us [women] from these prisons'. The women in the video call themselves as “women of the mujahedeen” and issue a warning against 'the enemies of Allah': 'you think you have imprisoned us in your rotten camp. But we are a ticking bomb. Just you wait and see', they say."

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"US offensive cyber campaign disabled Iran’s strike capabilities, say sources"


Die Iranischen Revolutionsgarden haben sich einem Bericht der New York Times zufolge immer noch nicht von den Cyberangriffen der USA vom 20. Juni erholt. "The attack allegedly degraded the IRGC’s ability to strike at oil tankers and other ships in the Persian Gulf. (...) The June 20 cyber attacks were not meant to be permanent but their effects have endured much longer than was expected, according to the paper. It cited claims by anonymous senior American officials that the IRGC is 'still trying to repair critical communications systems and has not recovered the data lost in the attack'. It is also worth noting that, according to US sources, Iran did not escalate its own cyber attacks against Western targets in retaliation to the American cyber campaign against the IRGC. However, according to The Times, some American officials have expressed doubts about the wisdom and long-term impact of the cyber operation. They claim that the cyber attack gave the Iranians the opportunity to collect valuable information about US cyber capabilities. It also allowed them to detect and fix their vulnerabilities so that they are now better able to defend against future cyber attacks. Lastly, the attacks neutralized IRGC communications networks, which the US had penetrated and was collecting vital intelligence from, they argue."

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"In unprecedented move, US plans to block undersea cable linking US with China"


Eine Regulierungsbehörde der US-Regierung hat von der Konstruktion eines 8.000 Meilen langen Unterseekabels zwischen den USA und China aus Sicherheitsgründen abgeraten. Joseph Fitsanakis hält den Vorgang für "beispiellos". "According to The Wall Street Journal, the panel fears that the $300 million undersea cable project may facilitate Chinese espionage. The Justice Department-led panel is known as Team Telecom and consists of officials from several American government agencies, said the paper, citing 'individuals involved in the discussion' about PLCN. Never before has the US blocked the construction of an undersea cable, reported The Journal. (...) If the PLCN project is blocked, therefore, it will be the first such case in the history of the Internet in America. The paper said that supporters of the PLCN argue that it would give American government regulators more control over the security of Internet traffic before it even reaches US territory. Additionally, PLCN investors claim that the completion of the project will provide American companies with broader access to consumers in Asia. Google, Facebook, Dr. Peng Telecom and the US government declined to comment on the news report."

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Innerstaatliche Konflikte

Vom Kosovo nach Kolumbien, von Somalia nach Süd-Thailand: Weltweit schwelen über 280 politische Konflikte. Und immer wieder droht die Lage gewaltsam zu eskalieren.

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Zahlen und Fakten


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