Wednesday 26th of January 2022

Spook speak


Another con from the master furphologist PM

From the ABC

Quality ASIO recruits 'hard to find'
An Australian terrorism expert says a lack of quality graduates will stymie the Federal Government's attempts to double staff numbers at the nation's top spy agency.
Prime Minister John Howard says the Government will seek to double the number of staff at the Australian Security and Intelligence Organisation (ASIO) between now and 2010.
The upgrade is part of efforts to prevent a terrorist attack in Australia.
Michael McKinley from the Australian National University's political science and international relations department agrees ASIO needs more people.
However, he says they will be tough to find.
"Perhaps not impossible but very rare in the current university system, which is actually producing graduates of lesser analytical capability in the area of political science and international relations," Dr McKinley said.
Dr McKinley says ASIO needs experts with backgrounds in politics, sociology and economic concerns that underpin terrorism.
He says it rare if not impossible to find such people from the current Australian university system.
"It's a problem that can be fixed with adequate resourcing of the university sector," Dr McKinley said.
"It's not just in the area of terrorism studies that it needs to be addressed but as many people have been pointing out - and as the Government keeps denying - the standard quality of graduate which is coming out of the Australian universities now is ... markedly less than it was say 10 or 12 years ago."

Tickets, please

Look, there's nothing to worry about. Those spooks are dumb, and I can prove it. I went walking with the dog yesterday. Both of us were traveling under assumed identities, and no-one stopped us to ask for our papers. And, this very morning, in the white heat of 'police state' furore, I bought a loaf of bread, using the alias 'jim blogs'. I got away with it, and will try something far more audacious at lunch time. I will walk to the shops without a ticket

Don't forget, Mr Ruddock is being advised, on the need for more ASIO staff, by 'competent authorities'. His advisers, I'm sure, have not been influenced by consultants working for paramilitary contractors, or mouthpieces for private armies.

All is sweet, and there will be no favourites. A crack-crazed goon, whose fourth langauge is Tok Pisin, will shoot you dead if you fail to obey a lawful hint, whether you are white, black, brown or brindle.

where's the intelligence .....

The Editor,

Sydney Morning Herald.                                                             October 17, 2005. 


So what if ASIO will double in size over the next five years (‘Islamic recruits to help spy force tackle terrorism at home’, Herald, October 17)? 


It won’t make the slightest difference, as long as intelligence agencies are headed-up by ‘political’ appointees, with no ‘intelligence’ credentials, who then ‘advise’ politicians with no intelligence.

blowing smoke from blairistan .....

In an attempt to legitimise his government’s draconian new anti-terrorist laws, John Howard claimed that they are ‘modelled’ on similar laws introduced in the UK.  


Talking of Blairistan ….. 


‘A powerful coalition of judges, senior lawyers and politicians has warned that the Government is undermining freedoms citizens have taken for granted for centuries and that Britain risks drifting towards a police state. One of the country's most eminent judges has said that undermining the independence of the courts has frightening parallels with Nazi Germany. 


Senior legal figures are worried that "inalienable rights" could swiftly disappear unless Tony Blair ceases attacking the judiciary and freedoms enshrined in the Human Rights Act.’ 


Judges Liken Terror Laws To Nazi Germany

The poisonous green bits on potato heads

From the SMH
Mission impossible: spying for liars

Patriotism suffers when political survival out-rates national interest, writes Warren Reed [forrmer spook].

WHILE many Australians overlook the Government playing fast and loose with the truth, some in intelligence find that a stimulus to betrayal.

When a government repeatedly lies and flaunts the fact that its political survival is more important than the truth, even than the national interest, a fundamental compact with the intelligence community is broken.

Thousands of people, mainly in Canberra, have access to classified material, whether they're intelligence gatherers, analysts, policy-makers or general readers. Many have regular access to Australia's most closely guarded secrets.

Some of these secrets we generate ourselves, while others come from allies such as the US and Britain.

Imagine putting your life at risk to gather intelligence, only to be told your report wasn't distributed because "it's not what the Government wants to hear". If you were overseas with the Australian Secret Intelligence Service, would you bother sending back a report off the Indian Prime Minister's desk briefing him on John Howard's key personality traits and how his ego could be stroked to win concessions for India?

How about another showing how New Delhi had Howard's own secret briefing for the Indian trip, with all Australia's strategies laid out, before Howard left home?

Who would care? In today's heavily politicised Canberra, you'd be classified as some upstart, intent on embarrassing the Australian Security Intelligence Organisation and hence the Government.

ASIO's record for catching home-grown traitors is abysmal. No Robert Hanssens of FBI notoriety - now in an underground penitentiary in Colorado - for us. If you can't catch 'em, you don't have 'em. Great motto for a security service, but a sad legacy from management for ASIO staff to wear.

read more at the SMH opinion page....

"Governments R us"

From the New York Times

F.B.I. Is Seeking to Search Papers of Dead Reporter

Published: April 19, 2006
WASHINGTON, April 18 — The F.B.I. is seeking to go through the files of the late newspaper columnist Jack Anderson to remove classified material he may have accumulated in four decades of muckraking Washington journalism.

Mr. Anderson's family has refused to allow a search of 188 boxes, the files of a well-known reporter who had long feuded with the Federal Bureau of Investigation and had exposed plans by the Central Intelligence Agency to kill Fidel Castro, the machinations of the Iran-contra affair and the misdemeanors of generations of congressmen.

Mr. Anderson's son Kevin said that to allow government agents to rifle through the papers would betray his father's principles and intimidate other journalists, and that family members were willing to go to jail to protect the collection.

"It's my father's legacy," said Kevin N. Anderson, a Salt Lake City lawyer and one of the columnist's nine children. "The government has always and continues to this day to abuse the secrecy stamp. My father's view was that the public is the employer of these government employees and has the right to know what they're up to."

The F.B.I. says the dispute over the papers, which await cataloging at George Washington University here, is a simple matter of law.

"It's been determined that among the papers there are a number of classified U.S. government documents," said Bill Carter, an F.B.I. spokesman. "Under the law, no private person may possess classified documents that were illegally provided to them. These documents remain the property of the government."

Read more at the New York Times


Gus would suggests that "governments are us" so our paid pollies cannot and should not shroud themselves in secret acts and fudges — often above the law like little kings of tinpot islands... In order not to be found out, there is less and less in writing and whatever is in writing they do not read... Why write intelligence reports if our ministers "do not" read them... The incompetence or arrogance of the position, the mess in which they fudge our principles and ethics for an extra buck, while someone else suffers for it, is mind boggling.

And our little grocer wants more spooks...?

Glowing in the spy...

from Wikipedia


This isotope of polonium is an alpha emitter that has a half-life of 138.376 days. A milligram of 210Po emits as many alpha particles as 5 grams of radium. A great deal of energy is released by its decay with a half a gram quickly reaching a temperature above 750 K. A few curies (gigabecquerels) of 210Po emit a blue glow which is caused by excitation of surrounding air. A single gram of 210Po generates energy at the rate of 150 watts. Since nearly all alpha radiation can be easily stopped by ordinary containers and upon hitting its surface releases its energy, 210Po has been used as a lightweight heat source to power thermoelectric cells in artificial satellites. A 210Po heat source was also used in each of the Lunokhod rovers deployed on the surface of the Moon, to keep their internal components warm during the lunar nights.


Gus: It is very sad that people have such twisted minds as to poison a bloke with such substance that would not kill instantly but generate a horrible slow death. But then the US troops have used tons of "depleted Uranium" in their battlefields and the legacy of this will take a few years to come to fruition. But we are assured that it's all "safe"... Asbestos "was" safe too.

Depleted uranium
From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

Depleted uranium (DU) is uranium that has a reduced proportion of the isotope Uranium-235. It is mostly made up of Uranium-238. The names Q-metal, depletalloy, and D-38, which once applied to depleted uranium, have fallen into disuse.

Its high strength and density have made it a valued component in some technical applications, specifically in military projectiles. Such uses remain controversial, as U-238 is still radioactive.


Has anybody heard of...

From the Guardian

Yukos was once owned by the oligarch Mikhail Khordorkovsky, who is serving seven years in a Russian jail for tax evasion. His supporters say he was convicted as a result of a show trial orchestrated by the Kremlin.

The claims that Litvinenko had a dossier containing damaging information about the Kremlin echo separate claims he made to Svetlichnaja, who interviewed the former KGB agent earlier this year for a book she is writing about Chechnya.


Gus: I may be naive, but there is something that does not smell right in the case of the murdered former Russian spy...

A) there is nothing such as "former" spies. Spies rarely go and live on holidays or retirement overseas — in "former" enemy territory — without a massive debriefing and, more often than not, a new passport or a death certificate.

B) most "reformed" spies often are used as double agent (see cartoon at the head of this line of blog) see also INTELLIGENCE COCK UPS?
and the full version of this posting (18 April 2005) By Gus Leonisky, re-posted 3 December 2006 because most of it disappeared

C) if such "dossier" existed, They actually could be highly embarrassing for the UK and the US governments, as the Yukos structure, it seems, was mostly manufactured by these governments to suck the daylight out of Russian income from oil.

Intelligence cock ups?... started with a note from J. C. Masterman Chair of the Double-Cross Committee and the author of "Double Cross":

"The use of double agents in time of war is a time-honoured method both of deception and of counterespionage. They have been used frequently and extensively in most wars and in many places: they will quite certainly be used again. Every spy who is sent into enemy territory or across the line must be alive to the possibility of capture and, in the event of capture, of saving his life not merely by full confession but by returning with message couched in a form approved and perhaps dictated by his captors." follow the link to the way the game is played...

wrong suspects?

In bed with Russophobes

The Litvinenko murder is being used by neocons in their campaign against Putin's national revival

Neil Clark
Monday December 4, 2006
The Guardian

Three weeks on, we are still no closer to knowing who was responsible for the death of the former Russian agent Alexander Litvinenko. The use of polonium 210 as a murder weapon could point in entirely opposite directions. It might suggest that the killing was carried out on behalf of the Russian security service as a public warning to others who might think of betraying it. But it could also be read as an attempt by President Putin's rich and powerful enemies to discredit the Russian government internationally. Whatever the truth, it has been seized upon across Europe and the US to fuel a growing anti-Russian campaign.


Gus: yeah... I have this funny feeeling as mentioned in the blog above in the C) section... 

phrase, missing from the latest manual

Military Is Expanding Its Intelligence Role in U.S.

James J. Yee, a former Muslim chaplain at Guantánamo Bay, Cuba, was suspected in 2003 of aiding terror suspects imprisoned at the facility, but the military’s espionage case against him soon collapsed.

Published: January 14, 2007

WASHINGTON, Jan. 13 — The Pentagon has been using a little-known power to obtain banking and credit records of hundreds of Americans and others suspected of terrorism or espionage inside the United States, part of an aggressive expansion by the military into domestic intelligence gathering.

The C.I.A. has also been issuing what are known as national security letters to gain access to financial records from American companies, though it has done so only rarely, intelligence officials say.

Banks, credit card companies and other financial institutions receiving the letters usually have turned over documents voluntarily, allowing investigators to examine the financial assets and transactions of American military personnel and civilians, officials say.

The F.B.I., the lead agency on domestic counterterrorism and espionage, has issued thousands of national security letters since the attacks of Sept. 11, 2001, provoking criticism and court challenges from civil liberties advocates who see them as unjustified intrusions into Americans’ private lives.

But it was not previously known, even to some senior counterterrorism officials, that the Pentagon and the Central Intelligence Agency have been using their own “noncompulsory” versions of the letters. Congress has rejected several attempts by the two agencies since 2001 for authority to issue mandatory letters, in part because of concerns about the dangers of expanding their role in domestic spying.

The military and the C.I.A. have long been restricted in their domestic intelligence operations, and both are barred from conducting traditional domestic law enforcement work. The C.I.A.’s role within the United States has been largely limited to recruiting people to spy on foreign countries.

spooks and spuds...

With an unusual display of impish delight, Mr. Crowe throws himself into the physicality of his character, a schlubby, tubby suburban dad whose near-parodic commitment to domestic routine contrasts amusingly with his professional fanaticism. Using a hands-free cellphone, Hoffman orchestrates elaborate schemes and double-crosses while going about his daily paterfamilias business: loading his kids into the minivan, helping his young son in the bathroom and tearing open a bag of Pepperidge Farm Goldfish crackers on the sidelines of his daughter’s soccer game.

On the phone, and in his occasional surprise visits to Ferris in the field, Hoffman is fighting a war whose terms he lays out in a few set-piece speeches. The gist is that no one is innocent and that the ends justify the means. Deceit, torture, the sacrifice of non-American lives — all is permissible in the fight against a shadowy superjihadist named Al-Saleem (Alon Aboutboul), head of a network carrying out suicide attacks around Europe. The contradictions and unintended consequences of Hoffman’s tactics are borne by Ferris, who finds his credibility undermined, his friends and colleagues at risk and his life in danger.


This review, not too enthusiastic about the latest Crowe movie "Body of Lies", may have missed the point.

From real spies stories, one can make out spooks lead normal lives (Colonel Marcel Leroy, alias Leroy-Finville) without the strange fluff like those glorified in "True Lies" for example. Spies go to the office and then play the game, while at home the game is muffed in favour of ordinary family life unless there is a dire emergency. If this appear different from previous Hollywoodian version, then Hollywood got it wrong all along with too many fireworks... In the field things change and adapt according to the target and the intuitive whim of the handler... Then they can fill in the paperwork... And by end of days there is little glory... If the movie shows all this, then it has succeeded in showing the dichotomy of a true spy...

see toon at top...

blinded by distraction...

"With so much entertainment around us, we tend to learn less and less from reality"

Gustaphianian proverb

lost to the spooks?...

UK loses sensitive defence hard drive

The British defence ministry has admitted that a computer hard drive, containing the names and personal details of half the people serving in the country's armed forces, has disappeared.

The hard drive belonged to a contractor and was used by the firm to test computer equipment.

Defence officials have only just made the discovery and say the data could have disappeared weeks ago.

The incident is the latest in a series of scandals concerning confidential government documents, which have been lost or misplaced in recent years.

kidnapped anti-kidnapper...

US anti-kidnap expert kidnapped

A US anti-kidnapping expert who has negotiated the release of dozens of hostages in Latin America has been abducted by gunmen in Mexico.

Felix Batista, a Cuban-American from Miami, was kidnapped as he stepped outside a restaurant to answer a phone call in the northern city of Saltillo.

Drug gangs are blamed for hundreds of kidnappings in Mexico each year.

More than 5,000 people have been killed in drug-related violence between rival cartels this year.

Mr Batista is credited with negotiating the release of many kidnap victims.

thawing in the tropical sun...

Members of the US Congress have held a rare meeting with the Former Cuban President Fidel Castro, describing him as very engaging and energetic.

The event was his first known meeting with US officials since he underwent emergency intestinal surgery in 2006.

Mr Castro has not been seen in public since he was taken ill, and ceded power to his brother Raul last year.

Analysts say the meeting indicates an increased willingness on the part of Cuba and the US to resolve tensions.

The three members of the Congressional Black Caucus said the 82-year-old revolutionary leader asked how Cuba could help President Barack Obama normalise relations between the two countries.


toon at top has nothing to do with this but can be seen...

100 pound a week!...

from the Guardian

History remembers Benito Mussolini as a founder member of the original Axis of Evil, the Italian dictator who ruled his country with fear and forged a disastrous alliance with Nazi Germany. But a previously unknown area of Il Duce's CV has come to light: his brief career as a British agent.

Archived documents have revealed that Mussolini got his start in politics in 1917 with the help of a £100 weekly wage from MI5.

For the British intelligence agency, it must have seemed like a good investment. Mussolini, then a 34-year-old journalist, was not just willing to ensure Italy continued to fight alongside the allies in the first world war by publishing propaganda in his paper. He was also willing to send in the boys to "persuade'' peace protesters to stay at home.


see toon at top

spooked spooks..,.

From the Guardian

The intelligence reports fitted the suspicions of the time: al-Qaida sleeper agents were scattered across the US awaiting orders that were broadcast in secret codes over the al-Jazeera television network.

Flights from Britain and France were cancelled. Officials warned of a looming "spectacular attack" to rival 9/11. In 2003 President Bush's homeland security tsar, Tom Ridge, spoke of a "credible source" whose information had US military bracing for a new terrorist onslaught.

Then suddenly no more was said.

Six years later, Playboy magazine has revealed that the CIA fell victim to an elaborate con by a compulsive gambler who claimed to have developed software that discovered al-Jazeera broadcasts were being used to transmit messages to terrorists buried deep in America.

Dennis Montgomery, 56, the co-owner of a software gaming company in Nevada, who has since been arrested for bouncing $1m worth of cheques, claims his program read messages hidden in barcodes listing international flights to the US, their positions and airports to be targeted.

The CIA took the information seriously, working with Montgomery at his offices and paying him an undisclosed amount of money. The "intelligence" Montgomery claimed to have found was passed on to the White House and homeland security where it kickstarted an alert that bordered on panic.

According to Playboy, Montgomery's claims caused the cancellation of British Airways and other flights supposedly mentioned in the codes.

Some officials were not at all surprised to hear the allegation that al-Jazeera was involved. The then defence secretary, Donald Rumsfeld, later vilified the station for "vicious, inaccurate and inexcusable" reporting of the US invasion of Iraq.


Rummy would have known the meaning of vicious, inaccurate and inexcusable lies, wouldn't he?. see toon at top.

triple agent... one master...

The suicide bomber who killed seven CIA agents in Afghanistan was an al-Qaeda triple agent, US media reports say.

He is said to have been a doctor from Jordan who was arrested by Jordanian intelligence a year ago.

He was then reportedly recruited by the Jordanians and CIA - who thought they had successfully turned him - and given a mission to find al-Qaeda leaders.

He is believed to have been working undercover in Afghanistan for weeks before detonating a bomb at a CIA base.

The attack at Forward Operating Base Chapman was the worst against US intelligence officials since the US embassy in Beirut was bombed in 1983.


see toon at top.

with facebooks like these...

In a busy internet cafe in the centre of Gaza City, lots of people, mostly young, are typing and clicking away.

Some of them are engrossed in the world of Facebook. "I use it 10 hours a day," says Mohammed who owns the shop. "I have over 200 Facebook friends."

But Hamas, the Islamist movement that controls the Gaza Strip, believes the population's love of social networking websites is making it easier for Israel to recruit spies.

Israel has long maintained networks of informers in the West Bank and Gaza in its effort to derail the activities of militant groups.

Historically, collaborators have often been killed if discovered, and this week Hamas announced it would execute anyone caught acting as an agent for Israel.

Personal problems

Facebook "is a big, big thing that the Israelis use", says Ehab al-Hussein, a spokesman for the Hamas-run interior ministry.

"Many people don't have security sense. They go on the internet and talk about all their personal problems such as with their wives or girlfriends," he says.

Israel's intelligence services can then contact people by telephone, e-mail or using existing Israeli agents in Gaza, and use the information to pressure people to become spies.


see toon at top...

10 of yours for four of ours...

From the BBC

The US is deporting 10 people who spied for Moscow in exchange for four people convicted of espionage in Russia.

A judge in New York ordered the immediate deportation of the 10 after they pleaded guilty to spying for a foreign country.

More serious money laundering charges against them were dropped.

Russian news reports say President Dmitry Medvedev has pardoned the four Russian prisoners.

State news agency Itar-Tass named them as:

  • Igor Sutyagin, a nuclear scientist jailed in 2004 for spying for the CIA
  • Sergei Skripal, a Russian military intelligence officer convicted of spying for the UK in 2006
  • Alexander Zaporozhsky, a former employee of Russia's foreign intelligence service jailed for espionage in 2003
  • Gennadiy Vasilenko

Mr Medvedev's spokeswoman, Natalia Timakova, was quoted that all four had submitted a plea for pardon admitting their guilt.


spook diplomacy... See toon at top...

deal before deed...

White House Envisioned Spy Case Swap Even Before Arrests


This article was reported by Peter Baker, Charlie Savage and Benjamin Weiser and written by Mr. Baker.

WASHINGTON — On a Friday afternoon in mid-June, President Obama sat down with advisers in the Oval Office and learned that the F.B.I. planned to round up the largest ring of Russian sleeper agents since the cold war. After discussion about what the agents had done, the conversation turned to the fallout: what to do after the arrests?

In that moment was born a back-to-the-future plan that would play out four weeks later, a prisoner exchange with surreal and even cinematic overtones as Russian and American airplanes met on a sunny tarmac in the heart of Europe on Friday to trade agents and spies much as had been done during a more hostile era.

From the first time the president was told about the case on June 11 — 16 days before the Russian agents were actually arrested — a swap emerged as an option that could resolve a potentially volatile situation without undercutting Mr. Obama’s effort to rebuild Russian-American relations. The Russian spy ring would be broken, the Americans would secure the release of four Russian prisoners and both sides could then put the episode behind them.

Administration officials said Friday that the arrests were not made for the purpose of making a deal and that no decision about a swap was made until after the agents were in custody. But they described a fast-moving sequence of events after the arrests in which both sides scrambled to reach an agreement, even to the point of Russian officials’ offering money and other benefits to encourage one of their sleeper agents to consider the deal.

The officials described the episode as perhaps the most serious test yet of the new relationship, as well as a sign of its enduring complexity.

By Friday afternoon, the 10 Russian sleeper agents arrested in American cities and suburbs were flown back to Moscow, while four men released from Russian prisons were taken from the transfer point in Vienna to London. Two of them, Igor V. Sutyagin and Sergei Skripal, got off there, and the remaining two, Aleksandr Zaporozhsky and Gennadi Vasilenko, flew on to Dulles International Airport just outside Washington. The children of the sleeper agents all left with their parents or were preparing to join them, officials said.

The lawyer for one of the freed Russians called it “a historic moment” that she had long suspected would come. “It has to do with the relations between the two countries, and with political games going on at the top,” said the lawyer, Maria A. Veselova, who represented Mr. Zaporozhsky, a former Russian intelligence agent. “It is always connected with these chess games.”


see toon at top...

both side of the spooks and the abc...

From Gerard Henderson


The concern here is that Scott has not been able to deliver the diversity on the public broadcaster that he promised in 2006. Consequently, the ABC is unlikely to project the values of Australia any time soon.

The documentary I, Spry, which will screen on ABC1 on Thursday, demonstrates the problem. Written, directed and produced by the filmmaker Peter Butt, I, Spry is a leftist account of Sir Charles Spry (1910-94), who was director-general of the Australian Security and Intelligence Organisation between 1950 and 1969. Put simply, Butt does not like Spry or Western intelligence services. In his director's statement, Butt labels Spry as alcoholic and declares that his view of the world was "out of step with an open, healthy democracy''.

Reviewing I, Spry for The Weekend Australian on Saturday, the normally astute Graeme Blundell demonstrated that he had adopted the Butt line. Blundell maintained that the film "documents the way ASIO evolved from a bumbling group of amateur spies into a subversive organisation beyond government scrutiny".

This is complete mythology.

In the 1950s Spry and his colleagues at ASIO oversaw the defection of the Soviet embassy operatives Vladimir Petrov and his wife Evdokia. The Petrovs were perhaps the most significant defectors from the Soviet Union during the Cold War.

ASIO established that there was a Soviet spying operation in Australia led by Wally Clayton, who was a member of the Communist Party.


As usual. Gerard is entitled to his opinions, whatever wrong they are...:

Reply from the producer of "I, Spry":

In his syndicated Fairfax column Gerard Henderson (November 2) reproaches the ABC for daring to broadcast my ‘unbalanced’ documentary I, Spry this Thursday.

On the contrary, the ABC should be congratulated for commissioning a film about the history of the highly secret organisation. In earlier times, ABC staff faced official repercussions for daring to investigate other Australian institutions, such as the RSL. One only needs to look at the ASIO file of Four Corners presenter Allan Ashbolt to appreciate the perils of free speech.

Research for I, Spry is based on the final reports into the Hope Royal Commission, which are damning of Spry’s era as Director General of ASIO. Spry’s own testimony at the commission form the basis of the film.

Henderson makes extraordinary claim that: “Butt does not like Spry or Western intelligence services (there is no criticism of any other intelligence service) and asserts that the program is soft on Communists.”

Ironically, a review by the Communist Party of Australia suggests the program smears all “Communists as Soviet spies”. I take both criticisms by two extremes of Australia’s political spectrum as a badge of honour and a proof of balance.

I do not dislike Spry, as Mr Henderson suggests, rather I see him as all too human. I intentionally avoided his personal life and covered only those aspects of his character that impinged on his work. Indeed, every ASIO officer I spoke to recalled his alcoholism. One officer witnessed him wandering the corridor drunk and incoherent: “He loved the bottle and it loved him.” The Royal Commission heard similar stories from ASIO officers.

Ironically, in the 1960s alcoholics in the public service - along with homosexuals, gamblers and drug addicts - were prevented from access to classified material due to their “Character Weaknesses”. ASIO officers could see the hypocrisy. Alas Mr Henderson cannot.



Gus: I know where my money is on this one... I remember the Petrov affair — from reading and watching docos about it — and as far as spy stories go it was a bit of a low ranking fizzer...

And the sad part of Mark Scott's regime resides in a few ways things are now made in the ABC. The journalism standard has been lowered below zero, especially for its 24 hours news and online services. Suddlenly a plethora of new green-horns has come in, "knowing everything and the craft inside out" ... and of course making a mess of it... As well due to budget restrictions, some of these mostly UNTRAINED bods are prepared to work for pitance on contracts and have little TA when they go on travel. On top of that form of prostitution, the inquisition of the ABC, a "secret" department (possibly reporting to ASIO), run by a certain Mr X (his name is mentioned on this site but I forgot where), is enforcing the rule that reportage has to be "balanced" no matter what, even if it means reporting some crap or lies and passing them as a valid opinion. Thus the truth never gets a chance, as, usually, the interviewed porky spruikers are more adept at telling stories that those telling a plain truth on an even footing...

Many respected journalists are defiant and fight the ABC inquisition with massive documentation and irrefutable evidence, but they often put their job on the line while doing so. Thank Atheon (the god of atheists) for the unions...

Kids (possibly, I'm getting too old) seem to present the 24 news without ever had any knowledge of who Whitlam and Gorton were, and less so of course Mr Spry... Who?... Some of these novices were barely 12 when the country went to war on Iraq, on Howard's whim and lies... All this is water under the bridge, of course, and lets start to bland everything up. Add a few puns and voilà, we've got the main news bulletin on ABC1...

Sad, soggy and sick. See toon at top.


A newspaper in Moscow has named the Russian intelligence agent it claims helped America break up a Russian spy ring last summer.

The paper, Kommersant, says a Col Shcherbakov of the Russian foreign intelligence agency had been working for the Americans.

Ten Russian sleeper agents were arrested and sent back home, in the biggest spy swap since the Cold War.

It was the biggest US-Russian spy scandal since the end of the Cold War.

Col Shcherbakov had a senior role in Russia's foreign intelligence agency, Kommersant says; his job: to plant moles in the United States, secret agents deep under cover.

But at some point the colonel changed sides.


Gus: one has to realise that, in the game of "double-cross" deception which spying is all about, one can never be sure of anything, even we should wonder that komrad Shcherbakov may have been instructed to "change the guard" so to speak. Doing so he would have implanted moles deeper in the US system, while giving a bit of bit of ballast as to appear as a genuine double-agent. Remember double-agents work on both side of the fence and are "well catalogued, managed and accepted" for their double-dealing... Been there done that, seen it before...


See toon at top...

a killer contract...

A contract killer has been dispatched to assassinate the Russian double agent who betrayed Anna Chapman and nine other spies in the United States this spring, according to reports in Moscow.

"We know who he is and where he is," a high-ranking Kremlin source told the reputable Kommersant newspaper.

"You can have no doubt – a Mercader has already been sent after him."

Ramón Mercader was the KGB-hired Spanish communist who was sent to kill Leon Trotsky with an icepick in Mexico in 1940.

The traitor was reportedly identified as a Colonel Shcherbakov, an officer of the SVR (foreign intelligence service) who headed the S directorate of the service's US department, which controlled the ring of sleeper agents, including Chapman.

Shcherbakov is thought to have fled Russia three days before the president, Dmitry Medvedev, visited Barack Obama on 24 June, when the two leaders ate hamburgers together at a diner in Virginia.

"After that, the Americans, worried that we would suspect a betrayal and start pulling our agents from the US, began to arrest them," said the Kremlin source.

The agents, who had been living apparently innocent suburban lives in New York, Arlington and elsewhere, were detained by the FBI in late June and convicted of conducting long-term "deep-cover" surveillance on behalf of Russia.

The 10 were later sent to Russia in exchange for the release of four men jailed there for alleged espionage on behalf of the CIA and MI6.

Speaking shortly after the agents' return to Moscow, Russia's prime minister, Vladimir Putin, said the traitor who had betrayed them had been identified.

"It was the result of treason," he said, predicting a grim future for those responsible. "It always ends badly for traitors: as a rule, their end comes from drink or drugs, lying in the gutter. And for what?"


Gus: is this part of the make-believe of double-cross? see toon at top...


Meanwhile at the main spook factory...:

The Icelandic government has become the latest Nordic country to open an inquiry into whether its citizens are being spied on by the US embassy.

Norway, Denmark, Sweden, and Finland are already investigating whether US embassies are acting illegally.

The allegations began when Norwegian TV claimed protesters were photographed and their names added to a database.

The US says it runs a legal counter-surveillance programme in response to security threats to its embassies.

Although US embassy officials in Reykjavik have denied any espionage is taking place, Iceland's ministry of justice says it has asked the national police commissioner to carry out a fact-finding inquiry.

The ministry said it was responding to revelations in Scandinavia "that US embassies conducted surveillance inside the countries without permission from state authorities".

US officials say they stand ready to discuss the matter "in government to government channels".

East African attacks

US State Department spokesman PJ Crowley explained in Washington earlier this week that counter-terrorism measures related to attacks on US embassies in Kenya and Tanzania 12 years ago in which 250 people died.

"We have acknowledged that we have a programme around the world where we are alert for people who may be surveilling our embassies because we recognise that they are potential targets of terrorism," he said.

But the report on Norway's TV2 channel claiming that hundreds of Norwegians had been monitored by former police and armed forces personnel alarmed neighbouring countries.

Sweden's Justice Minister Beatrice Ask has claimed that people linked to the US embassy in Stockholm have performed surveillance since 2000 without fully informing Swedish authorities.

this was no ordinary case...

Ex-C.I.A. Agent Goes Public With Story of Mistreatment on the Job


WASHINGTON — In many ways, the personal injury lawsuit looked routine: In late 2001, a government employee and his family sued the agency he worked for, saying it had placed them in a mold-contaminated home that made them sick and required nearly all their possessions to be destroyed.

But this was no ordinary case. The employee, Kevin M. Shipp, was a veteran Central Intelligence Agency officer. His home was at Camp Stanley, an Army weapons depot just north of San Antonio, in an area where the drinking water was polluted with toxic chemicals. The post includes a secret C.I.A. facility.

Declaring that its need to protect state secrets outweighed the Shipps’ right to a day in court, the government persuaded a judge to seal the case and order the family and their lawyers not to discuss it, and to later dismiss the lawsuit without any hearing on the merits, Mr. Shipp said.

More than half a decade later, Mr. Shipp is going public with his story. He contends that the events broke up his marriage and destroyed his career, and that C.I.A. officials abused the State Secrets Privilege doctrine in an effort to cover up their own negligence.

Jennifer Youngblood, a C.I.A. spokeswoman, denied any wrongdoing by the agency. “The C.I.A. takes great care to help protect the health and welfare of its employees,” she said.

Mr. Shipp recently completed a memoir filled with unclassified documents that he said backed up his assertions. He says that he submitted the manuscript to the agency for the required prepublication review but that it blacked out swaths of information, like accounts of his children’s nosebleeds, strange rashes, vomiting, severe asthma and memory loss.

Citing a confidentiality agreement he signed with the government, Mr. Shipp would not discuss where the secret facility was located, what its purpose was, which agency he worked for or what his duties were.

see toon at top...

the spy has gone to the cold...

British espionage writer John le Carré has died aged 89, following a short illness, his literary agent has said. 

The Spy Who Came In From The Cold, and Tinker, Tailor, Soldier, Spy author died from pneumonia on Saturday night. 

Jonny Geller described him as an "undisputed giant of English literature" who "defined the Cold War era and fearlessly spoke truth to power". 

"We will not see his like again," he said in a statement. 

Mr Geller said he represented the novelist, whose real name was David Cornwell, for almost 15 years and "his loss will be felt by every book lover, everyone interested in the human condition". 

"We have lost a great figure of English literature, a man of great wit, kindness, humour and intelligence. I have lost a friend, a mentor and an inspiration."

A statement shared on behalf of the author's family said: "It is with great sadness that we must confirm that David Cornwell - John le Carré - passed away from pneumonia last Saturday night after a short battle with the illness.

"David is survived by his beloved wife of almost 50 years, Jane, and his sons Nicholas, Timothy, Stephen and Simon.

"We all grieve deeply his passing. Our thanks go to the wonderful NHS team at the Royal Cornwall Hospital in Truro for the care and compassion that he was shown throughout his stay. We know they share our sadness." 

The statement said his death was not Covid-19 related.



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