Eighty-ninth edition of the N&O column / Spooks newsletter

(Date: Sat, 04 Dec 2004 11:10:03 +0000)

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Intelligence news

Cuba

The following is a quote from N&O #78:

"In mid-October we heard, that a citizen from Cuba, called "Pedro", was charged with spying and arrested (probably by the USA?) for 15 years in prison in Matanza (Cuba?). - Since these days, the "irregular presentation" of V2/2a increased. We hope, that we get more info for the next N&O edition."

I am afraid that this was based on a misinterpreted joke. Sorry about that :-)

Russia

FSB Reform: Changes Are Few and Far between

By Andrei Soldatov (www.agentura.ru - special to The Moscow News)

The three months that President Putin gave the Federal Security Service (FSB) to reform itself are coming to an end. Vladimir Putin signed off on a decree launching the reorganization of the FSB on July 11, 2004, but the subsequent course of tragic events apparently shifted the focus away from the reform.

Under the July decree, the FSB director is allowed to have only one first deputy (the head of the Border Service with the rank of first deputy) and two deputies. In addition, FSB departments were abolished and replaced with services. According to informed sources, the organizational and T/O changes in the FSB have already been made, as have all the principal personnel appointments. This is what is known as of right now.

Many of the FSB subdivisions got away with just a facelift. For example, the structure responsible for the FSB's personnel policy only lost the word "department" in its title, emerging as the Organizational and Personnel Service. Even its chief is the same - Yevgeny Lovyrev.

Aleksandr Bezverkhny, head of military counterintelligence, whom this past June the President personally congratulated on his promotion to the rank of colonel-general (a three-star general), also kept his position. Ditto for Aleksandr Bortnikov who this past summer replaced Yury Zaostrovtsev as head of the Economic Security Department, now the FSB Economic Security Service. Vladimir Anisimov and Vyacheslav Ushakov, who in the fall of 2003 was appointed state-secretary, remain FSB deputy directors. The FSB first deputy director is still Sergei Smirnov, who is widely tipped as the next FSB director should Patrushev become deputy prime minister. Viktor Komogorov stays on as head of the FSB think-tank - the Analysis, Forecasting, and Strategic Planning Service.

The Counterintelligence and the Border Services have also retained their bosses: Oleg Syromolotov and Viktor Pronichev have kept their respective positions. It is noteworthy that reform of the regional structure of the latter department is still in progress: The FSB Border Service is moving from the linear principle of border protection to point/area protection. What this means in practice is that instead of the ten regional border directorates that Russia has today there will be seven (according to the number of the federal districts); each will have two or three territorial directorates.

The most far-reaching changes have been made at the FSB's antiterrorism subdivision - the Department for the Protection of the Constitutional System and the Fight against Terrorism.

First of all, the new structure got a new boss: Aleksandr Bragin. His entire experience in combating terrorism is limited to his brief stint in Moscow. He was appointed to the FSB central office in June 2003, as deputy head of the Counterterrorism Department. Prior to that he led the FSB Chelyabinsk Oblast Directorate and displayed unshakable loyalty to the President. Thus, in an interview with the Yuzhnouralskaya panorama daily, on May 25, 2000, Bragin said, in particular: "I voted for him. In my time, I had participated in a number of working conferences that he chaired as FSB director. He - Vladimir Vladimirovich Putin - was always distinguished for a highly objective, pragmatic and at the same time, humane approach to issues at hand."

Bragin hails from Saransk, prior to Chelyabinsk serving for years in Mordovia, a region that is far away from the south of Russia.

Furthermore, the Department for the Protection of the Constitutional System and the Fight against Terrorism now has a new subdivision: the International Terrorism Control Directorate. It seems that this innovation comes in response to the ongoing search for an external enemy. Perhaps, it has never occurred to anyone before to create what is, essentially, an "internal" security service - a subdivision on fighting international terrorism. Presumably, this directorate will be responsible for "wiping out militants abroad," the task that Vladimir Putin set in the wake of the Beslan hostage drama.

This directorate is now headed by Major General Yury Sapunov with the status of deputy chief of the service, who was moved to Moscow from Astrakhan where he was chief of the FSB Astrakhan Oblast Directorate. Before his appointment to the Astrakhan Directorate, he was first deputy of the FSB's famous Current Operations and Coordination Directorate for the North Caucasus (OKU). The directorate is famed for its relentless use of force in the Caucasus. The OKU comprises a special task service that locals have dubbed "death squads."

All the indications are that FSB tactics in the North Caucasus will not undergo any serious change. The regional Antiterrorism Operation Headquarters (ROSh) is still under the command of an FSB official, although the ROSh is formally part of the Interior Ministry structure. True, as of September 16, this is no longer Rear Admiral Yury Maltsev (who, a year ago, was moved from the FSB Directorate for Coordination of Counterterrorism Operations to the Interior Ministry with the rank of deputy minister), but Arkady Yedelev.

Before his appointment to the ROSh, Yedelev was head of the OKU where Yury Sapunov was serving. Despite the apparent similarity of the names of the two FSB directorates, these are two distinct structures. Even so, the similarity of their names reflects the FSB's general problems in the Caucasus both in conducting special operations and in coordinating them.

Aleksandr Zhdankov, who headed the antiterrorism department before Bragin, is still with the FSB. Moreover, he has received a very important post in the new structure as head of the FSB Control Service, formerly the FSB Inspectorate - in effect, its internal counterintelligence agency. This directorate served as a springboard for at least one federal minister: Before he became RF interior minister, Rashid Nurgaliyev was in charge of it.

Just before the Beslan hostage drama, Zhdankov was opportunely moved to another subdivision. This is why he did not have to come to the hostage contingency headquarters and formally has nothing to do with the tragedy.

The FSB Investigation Directorate will most likely be headed up by its current acting chief, Yury Anisimov. Anisimov's appointment marks the end to a bizarre story with the directorate's leadership, which was rather unpleasant for the special service. The fact is that after Sergei Balashov (he supervised the Edmond Pope case), the Investigation Directorate was briefly headed by Viktor Milchenko, who, to the horror of FSB personnel officials, happened to hold a Ukrainian passport. It is still a mystery how Milchenko had landed this key position not being a Russian citizen.

Thus far the changes in the Federal Security Service (except for the appearance of T/O fighters with Osama bin Laden) has admittedly been, rather, cosmetic. The key figures in the FSB leadership have stayed in their places while the general principle of its organization has remained virtually unchanged.

True, this is only logical: Nikolai Patrushev has been FSB director since 1999. For five years now the principal objective of the service itself, as well as of its head has stayed immutable - to serve as the main buttress of support for the President. Presumably, they have done a good job in this respect.

FSB structure (main divisions) after reform:

Services:

Directorates:

(Source: Agentura)


Federal Security Service (FSB) chief Nikolai Patrushev has said in an interview with NTV that some ten members of al-Qaeda are operating in the North Caucasus. “We know them in terms of intelligence, and we’ll take measures to neutralize their activities, either by destroying them or by detaining them and putting them on trial”, Patrushev told the television channel.

(Source: American Foreign Policy Council)

Iran

Iraqi intelligence chief Muhammad al-Shahwani claimed on 14 October that 27 staffers at the Iranian Embassy are conducting espionage, and that they recruited the assassins of 18 Iraqi intelligence personnel, RFE/RL quoted Al-Sharqiyah television as reporting.

Iran also finances five radio stations and certain newspapers, that are used to gather intelligence for Iran's Islamic Revolution Guards Corps. In addition, another document found showed that Iran has provided $45 million for militias affiliated with Iraqi political parties.

In Prague, the Czech News Agency reported that Iran, North Korea and several states of the former Soviet Union are among foreign intelligence services most frequently observed at work in the Czech Republic.

(Source: RFE/RL)


Iran will launch its first spy satellite in March or April 2005, Uzi Rubin, head of the Defense Ministry department responsible for ballistic missile defense, has predicted, the Israeli newspaper Ha'aretz reported on 18 October.

Russian ballistic missiles, adapted by expatriate Russian experts, will serve as the basis for the satellite launcher, Rubin said. The Russian experts have advanced Iran's ballistic capabilities by significantly improving the accuracy of its Shahab-3 missile. That missile reportedly has a range of over 1,250 miles and can carry a one-ton warhead.

Iran is developing three satellites. Two weigh 20 to 60 kg and are expected to be launched mainly as a test. The third weighs 170 kg and is to carry a telescopic camera for espionage purposes. That is the one that Rubin expects to be launched next spring, Ha'aretz said.

(Source: Ha'aretz Daily)

Japan

BEIJING, Nov. 9 (Xinhuanet) -- Japan Defense Agency is studying the possibility of adding an electromagnetic wave detecting system on the East China Sea to strengthen collection and management of intelligence from China as well as supervision over Chinese warships and jets, People's Daily Online said.

The Agency decided earlier to build a station on Miyako Island of Okinawa County to intercept and handle communication signals of Chinese warships and aircraft, which will be put into operation in 2008. Since the China-Japan dispute over resources of East China Sea surfaced, Japan has enhanced all kinds of military deployment in this sea area and the two countries conducted consultations at the end of last month.

The Agency believes that a station on Miyako Island is not enough, and another one must be added at a southwest island to intercept and decode the rivalry's radio communication signals, Xinhuanet quoted Japanese newspaper Sankei Shimbun as saying.

(Source: Xinhua)


An 82-year-old South Korean resident of Japan who has been arrested and is believed to be a former spy for North Korea kept in a notebook a record of his trips between Japan and North Korea in 1973 on a spy ship, Osaka police said. Shuichi Shin, a resident of Osaka, was arrested on suspicion of illegally entering Japan via Kansai airport near Osaka in May 2002.

In the notebook entries in Hangul, the Korean script, Shin wrote about what he learned during espionage training in North Korea, illegal departure and entry between Japan and North Korea in November and December 1973, and his suffering on the ship in rough seas, according to the police. The entries stopped in 1988, the police said.

In November 1973, Shin left Japan for North Korea on a spy ship without obtaining reentry permission, and reentered Japan illegally the following month aboard the vessel, the police said.

Shin has denied the allegations, the police said.

(Source: Kyodo News)

USA

WASHINGTON (Reuters) - The USAF quietly has put into service a new weapon designed to jam enemy satellite communications, a significant step toward U.S. control of space. The so-called Counter Communications System was declared operational late last month at Peterson Air Force Base in Colorado Springs, the Air Force Space Command said.

The ground-based jammer uses electromagnetic radio frequency energy to knock out transmissions on a temporary and reversible basis, without frying components, the command said.

The system is operated by the 76th Space Control Squadron, a unit created in 2001 to explore technologies for controlling space, Brig. Gen. Larry James, vice commander of the Space and Missile Systems Command told the conference. The Air Force Space Command said the system was built from off-the-shelf commercial equipment, and made up an antenna, transmitters and receivers that can be loaded into a trailer and moved from place to place. Three such systems had been delivered since late last year, the command said. The program's budget for fiscal 2005 totaled $6.2 million, according to the Congressional Research Service.

Citing "operational security" concerns, military officials declined to discuss how the jammer worked but equated it with traditional Air Force electronic warfare weapons that have been used since World War 2 to deceive, disrupt, deny, degrade or destroy targets.

(Source: Reuters)

Myanmar

YANGON October 23 — The ruling State Peace and Development Council enacted a law repealing the National Intelligence Bureau Act, effectively abolishing the National Intelligence Bureau with immediate effect, the state media reported. The NIB, established in 1983, is an umbrella organization of all intelligence departments, including military intelligence, the criminal investigation department, bureau of special investigation and police special branch.

(Source: Kyodo News)

Israel

On October 7th, a series of explosions rocked resorts along Egypt’s Red Sea coast, killing at least 35 and injuring hundreds of others in attacks widely believed to be directed at Israeli tourists. Following a massive investigation, the Israeli government has concluded that the bombings were carried out by al-Qaeda. And it has tasked the country’s premier foreign intelligence organ, the MOSSAD, with a new priority: tracking and eliminating elements of the Bin Laden terrorist network. The new tasking, which appears to take precedence over the agency’s current area of focus, Palestinian terrorist organizations, highlights the gravity of the perceived threat posed by al-Qaeda to the Jewish state.

(Source: American Foreign Policy Council)

China

A new ZY-2 satellite was launched on Nov 6. The ZY-2 is a low orbit digital imaging spacecraft used by the Chinese government, probably for both civilian and military reconnaissance purposes. (Source: Jonathan's Space Report)

France

The French spy satellite Helios 1B has been taken out of service. In mid-October the orbit of the satellite was lowered, taking it out of the path of Helios 1A and future successors. (Source: Jonathan's Space Report)

Bulgaria

A Romanian journalist was arrested in Russe, Bulgaria on suspicion of spying on Bulgaria's border facilities. Customs officials said they found two cameras on the reporter, one of which was miniature and was fixed on his eyeglasses.

He had entered Bulgaria's territory through the Danube Bridge that connects Russe with the Romanian Danube River bank. Mr Buhnic has filmed vendors in duty-free shops, who allegedly sold cigarettes in amounts exceeding allowed limits, the TV said.

(Source: SFA and BNN via Agentura)

Ukraine

By signing a decree Ukrainian President Leonid Kuchma has created a Foreign Intelligence Service in Ukraine. The Ukrainian president's press service told Itar-Tass that the new structure had been formed with an aim to turn the intelligence into a more effective instrument to protect national interests. Oleg Sinyansky has been appointed to head the new service. The Foreign Intelligence Service has been created on the basis of the intelligence department and the intelligence units of the regional bodies of the Ukrainian Security Service as a separate state body. It will carry out intelligence in the political, economic, military, technological, scientific, information and ecological spheres, take part in the struggle against international organized crime and terrorism as well as to protect Ukraine's institutions and citizens abroad. The Foreign Intelligence Service will also be responsible for implementing and coordinating intelligence programs. The creation of the Foreign Intelligence Service will require amendments to 23 Ukrainian laws.

(Source: ITAR-TASS via Agentura)

Greece

Yannis Korantis, a career diplomat currently serving as ambassador to Belgium, has been named head of Greek intelligence and will take up his new post next month, Public Order Minister Georges Voulgarakis announced.

Korantis, 56, succeeds Pavlos Apostolidis, himself a former ambassador who led the EYP intelligence service for six years. He served in several diplomatic posts, including Belgrade, Washington, Strasbourg, Saudi Arabia and Brussels.

(Source: Turkish Press.com. via Agentura)

Pakistan

President Gen. Pervez Musharraf on Sunday appointed a new chief for Pakistan's powerful spy agency after his predecessor was appointed chairman of the joint chiefs of military staff. Lt. Gen. Ashfaq Pervez Kiyani was appointed director general of the Inter-Services Intelligence agency to replace Gen. Ahsanul Haq, the army's public relations department said. Haq was recently promoted to the rank of four-star general and appointed chairman of the joint chiefs of military staff to replace Gen. Muhammad Aziz Khan, who is retiring on Oct. 7.

Before becoming head of the ISI, Kiyani was the top army general in Rawalpindi, a city near the capital Islamabad where the army is headquartered. His former post was given to Lt. Gen. Salahuddin Satti.

(Source: Associated Press via Agentura)


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Unid stations | Military stations | Stasi
Memory lane | Intelligence profile : Palestinian authority
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