Showing posts with label Spy. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Spy. Show all posts

November 20, 2013

IKEA France Senior Execs Held Over Spying on Staff & Customers

IKEA France execs held over spying allegations

IKEA France execs held over spying allegations
© AFP

Two senior executives at IKEA France were being held by police Tuesday in a continued investigation over allegations that the Swedish furniture company illegally spied on staff and customers, officials said.

 
 
Officials say senior executives of IKEA France are in police custody over allegations that they paid for access to secret police files to spy on employees and customers.
French officials close to the case said IKEA France CEO Stefan Vanoverbeke and its finance chief, Dariusz Rycher, were apprehended Monday and questioned for a second day Tuesday.
The officials were not authorized to speak publicly about the case. Under French law the men must be freed within 24 hour or formally charged.
The investigation into the spying at the French subsidiary of the Swedish furniture giant began in April 2012 when satirical weekly Le Canard Enchaîné published emails between IKEA’s Paris office and a security company Surete International.
The emails revealed that IKEA was seeking access to police STIC files, kept in a database with millions of names and personal information about crime perpetrators, victims and even witnesses.
IKEA allegedly asked for information on employees, including union members, and a customer suing the company. Two unions have since filed complaints against IKEA, accusing them of spying on hundreds of employees and customers over at least five years.
In response to the investigation, IKEA France suspended and later fired its risk management director, a former human resources director, a former financial director and a former managing director. The workers were not named.
The company has also instituted a code of conduct in response to the investigation.
A former paragon of good social policy, IKEA has faced several years of bad press.
In 2010, employees at 23 of their 26 stores in France went on strike in hopes of better pay. In 2012, IKEA was criticized for removing images of women and girls from the Saudi version of its catalogue. Then, in September 2013, a book on IKEA revealed a bitter family feud in which founder Ingvar Kamprad was forced to hand over billions of dollars to his sons.
   FRANCE 24

November 19, 2013

Australia Caught With Their Hands on the Secret Jar of Indonesia”s MP


 

Responding  to Prime Minister Tony Abbott’s statement to Parliament that all governments gather information on each other.
Dr Natalegawa retorted: "I've got news for you. We don't do it."

Spies and friends


The spying revelations could not come at a worse time for the Coalition Government, writes Asia editor Catherine McGrath.
Indonesian MP Tantowi Yahya, a prominent member of the Indonesian parliamentary foreign affairs commission, agrees, telling Lateline that spying amounted to Australia treating Indonesia like an enemy.
"We don't expect to be treated like this, to be treated like enemies or countries that ... bring threat to your national interests," he said.
He continued: "We never consider Australia as a threat, and I would think that Australia would think the same way towards Indonesia. I mean, we have been good neighbours for years, for so long, there is no information that we cannot get from both sides.
"[If] Australia needs certain information from us, we are more than happy to supply [it]. But doing such wiretapping is something that totally unacceptable between the two countries who have been so good and so friendly in the past."
Dr Natalegawa says he has ordered the Indonesian ambassador in Canberra to return home to Jakarta as soon as possible.
"It's impossible for an ambassador in foreign country to do their duty in the midst of an unfortunate situation like this," he said.
We don't expect to be treated like this, to be treated like enemies or countries that ... bring threat to your national interests.
Indonesian MP Tantowi Yahya
"The summoning of the ambassador is not considered a light step, but it's a minimum step we can do to consolidate situation, and to show our firm but measured act."
Indonesia's powerful coordinating minister for legal, political and security affairs, Djoko Suyanto, is reportedly launching a review into all areas of cooperation between Canberra and Jakarta.
The ministry says it will contact Australian Foreign Affairs Minister Julie Bishop to let her know the issue will cause problems for the relationship. Indonesia is demanding Australia make an  fficial and public explanation" and "commit not to repeat such actions".
The revelations came amid already heightened diplomatic tension over claims that the Australian embassy in Jakarta was involved in general spying on Indonesia.
This is an unfriendly, unbecoming act between strategic partners. This hasn't been a good day in the relationship between Indonesia and Australia.
Marty Natalegawa
Indonesian presidential spokesman Teuku Faizasyah had earlier called on Australia to provide answers.
“The Australian Government urgently needs to clarify on this news, to avoid further damage," he said on Twitter.
"The damage has been done and now trust must be rebuilt."

Secret documents show Australia targeted highest-ranking politicians

The top-secret documents are from Australia's electronic intelligence agency, the Defence Signals Directorate, now called the Australian Signals Directorate.
The surveillance targets also included vice-president Boediono, former vice-president Yussuf Kalla, the foreign affairs spokesman, the security minister, and the information minister.
A number of intercept options are listed and a recommendation is made to choose one of them and to apply it to a target – in this case the Indonesian leadership.
The document shows how DSD monitored the call activity on Mr Yudhoyono’s Nokia handset for 15 days in August 2009.
  "One page is titled "Indonesian President voice events" and provides what is called a CDR view. CDR are call data records; it can monitor who is called and who is calling but not necessarily what was said.
Another page shows that on at least one occasion Australian intelligence did attempt to listen in to one of Mr Yudhoyono's conversations.
But according to the notes on the bottom of the page, the call was less than one minute long and therefore did not last long enough to be successfully tapped.
Another of the names on the surveillance list was Hatta Rajasa, who was state secretary at the time of the spying and is now Indonesia's coordinating minister for economics.
"When I was the state secretary there were talks that shouldn't be made public," he told journalists.
"We have our own transparency law on information and there is no need to tap. State secrets are protected by the law and it shouldn't be made public.
"If the tapping were true, you know very well that it isn't good, it is not right. As I said, we need to clarify with the coordinating minister for legal, political and security affairs and I must not overreact."
By Indonesia correspondent George Roberts of http://www.abc.net.au

November 14, 2013

Spy Found Inside Duffel, Naked Decomposing. Finding’s : “An Accident”

Gareth Williams
Gareth Wyn Williams, the MI6 intelligence worker whose naked and decomposing body was found in August 2010 stuffed into a zipped and padlocked gym bag. Scotland Yard on Wednesday revised his suspected cause of death from "unlawful" killing to likely the result of an accident that occurred when he was alone.(Agence France-Presse / Getty Images / August 25, 2010)

Life is better than fiction. There we have a dead British spy in the conditions described above and whose diagnosis was changed from Foul play to an Accident. Now my dear reader let your imagination run wild because no matter how bad sand witty your thoughts might be I can’t believe that it will actually describe the truth of this event and other we just don’t  hear about.
Scotland Yard on Wednesday reversed a coroner's finding of foul play in the 2010 death of British spy Gareth Williams, concluding that an accident was likely responsible for the death of the code-breaker whose naked, decomposing body was found stuffed inside a zipped and padlocked gym bag.
London Metropolitan Police investigators had undertaken a review of evidence in the case 16 months ago, after initial restrictions on homicide detectives' access to details of Williams' intelligence work were lifted by the British secret service, MI6.
Deputy Asst. Commissioner Martin Hewitt told journalists in London that investigators only had access to Williams' work files and colleagues after the coroner's conclusion in April 2012 that his death was likely "criminally mediated."
"On balance, it is a more probable conclusion that there was no other person present when Gareth died," Hewitt said, according to the Daily Telegraph.
The body of the then-31-year-old intelligence operative, who at the time of his August 2010 death was on temporary duty in London from his listening post in Cheltenham, was found in the empty bathtub of his apartment after he failed to show up for work for a week.
In its account of the new cause-of-death report, the Telegraph noted that investigators had been able to interview 27 of Williams' MI6 colleagues and review the cases on which he was working only after the secret service conducted its own confidential probe.
"It is highly unusual for us to be able to go into those organizations and to have open access to personnel files, to vetting files and to all the other aspects of Gareth's work, which we have been given, and which allows us to draw the conclusion that I am convinced that Gareth's death was in no way related to his work either current or previously," Hewitt said.
The deputy commissioner conceded, however, that uncertainties remain and that a definitive ruling on Williams' cause of death may never be reached.
The revised assessment immediately prompted speculation that authorities were attempting to obscure some embarrassing or sensitive issue in the death.
The BBC quoted its internal affairs correspondent as saying the findings that Williams was likely alone when he died as a result of an accident "were likely to fuel theories of a successful cover up by the intelligence agencies."
The Daily Mirror's website posted "10 questions which are still unanswered more than three years after Gareth's death." The mysteries cited included why Williams' MI6 colleagues failed to inquire about his absence from work for a week, how the door to his apartment came to be locked from the outside after his death, whether the heat was turned on in the apartment to accelerate the body's decomposition and preclude certain forensics tests, and why there were no fingerprints found on the bathtub.
Sky News reported that two contortion experts working on the earlier inquest tried 400 times to lock themselves into a similar bag and failed. Shortly after the earlier probe ended, though, an army sergeant was able to demonstrate that it was possible to zip oneself into such a bag from the inside in the cramped position in which Williams' body was found, Sky reported.
Williams' family issued a statement after the revised cause-of-death report, saying the verdict of Medical Examiner Fiona Wilcox more "accurately reflects the circumstances of Gareth's death."
“We are naturally disappointed that it is still not possible to state with certainty how Gareth died and the fact that the circumstances of his death are still unknown adds to our grief," his family stated.

Adam Gonzalez Commenting on the writers column:

October 27, 2013

Should Russia’s Spy Resurgence Worry Europe?


As the fallout from the latest revelations over the surveillance activities of the US National Security Agency (NSA) tests diplomatic ties between Washington and allies including France and Germany, should Europe also be worried about a rise in Russian espionage?
French daily Le Figaro reported Friday that, according to intelligence experts and diplomats, Russia’s intelligence agencies have stepped up their activity under President Vladimir Putin to a level not seen since the height of the Cold War.
Russian intelligence is particularly active in the former Soviet republics, especially those with an eye to joining the EU or NATO, a diplomat posted in the region told the newspaper.
“In Georgia, officers of the [former] KGB have been placed in security structures,” said the diplomat. “In Ukraine and Belarus, the penetration of Russian intelligence services is very deep - local KGB are controlled by Moscow.”
But the effects of a reinvigorated Russian intelligence operation have also been felt further west. Indeed, in Brussels, home to the headquarters of NATO and the EU, officials from several eastern European countries, especially Hungary and Bulgaria, have recently been quietly removed because they were working for Russia, a European diplomat told Le Figaro.
Allegations of harassment and assassinations
After the fall of the Soviet Union in 1991 and with it the end of the KGB, Russia’s intelligence operations went through a period of dormancy.


But Putin, himself a former KGB officer, has sought to strengthen the organisation’s successor agencies, the Federal Security Service (FSB) and Foreign Intelligence service (SVR), since coming to power in 2000.
Recent years have also seen a number of high-profile cases of alleged Russian espionage activity in the West. These include the assassination of former KGB agent Alexander Litvinenko, poisoned with polonium in London in 2006, as well as claims ofharassment by FSB operatives of foreign journalists and diplomats.
And just this week, the FBI opened an investigation into Yury Zaitsev, the head of a Russian government-run cultural exchange programme based in Washington, over allegations he tried to recruit young Americans as intelligence assets.
Russia taking inspiration from the NSA?
But it is in the area of electronic surveillance that Russia now seems to be focusing its espionage efforts.
"They have kept a real expertise in electronic eavesdropping," an unnamed intelligence expert told Le Figaro.
Russia already has its own version of the NSA’s PRISM surveillance programme, known as SORM, that allows intelligence services to monitor internet traffic but, as yet, does not require providers to record information
However, in the wake of the NSA revelations and Russia’s decision to grant NSA leaker Edward Snowden asylum, Russian authorities seem to have been inspired to emulate their American counterparts by further bolstering the country’s electronic surveillance operations.


Russian daily Kommersant reported earlier this week that under an order drafted by the Communications Ministry, internet providers would have to install equipment that would record and save all web traffic for at least 12 hours and grant the security services exclusive access to the data.
If implemented, the order would give the FSB access to stored data including phone numbers, IP addresses, account names, social network activity and e-mail addresses.
‘PRISM on steroids’
Furthermore, an investigation by two Russian journalists, Andrei Soldatov and Irina Borogan, in conjunction with the UK’s Guardian newspaper revealed earlier this month that the FSB is planning to launch an extensive surveillance operation at next year’s Winter Olympics in Sochi.
The operation will provide security services with near total access to the electronic communications of both spectators and athletes at the Games.
Major amendments have been made to telephone and Wi-Fi networks in the region to allow for easier monitoring by SORM, the journalists’ investigation revealed.
Furthermore, SORM will be upgraded with a controversial technology known as deep packet inspection (DPI), which allows intelligence agencies to filter content by particular keywords.
Ron Deibert, a professor at the University of Toronto and director of Citizen Lab, which co-operated with the Sochi research, told the Guardian that the upgrades to SORM will see the surveillance programme resemble "PRISM on steroids”.
“The scope and scale of Russian surveillance are similar to the disclosures about the US programme,” he said.
By Sam Ball (text)

October 26, 2013

“France Also Snoops on US” } Ex French Spy Boss

Paris also snoops on US, says ex-French spy boss

Paris also snoops on US, says ex-French spy boss
© AFP

Spying on allies is all in a day’s work, the former head of France’s domestic intelligence agency (pictured) said on Thursday, following reports that the US National Security Agency recorded millions of French phone calls.


 
France spies on the US just as the US spies on France, the former head of France’s counter-espionage and counter-terrorism agency said Friday, commenting on reports that the US National Security Agency (NSA) recorded millions of French telephone calls.
Bernard Squarcini, head of the Direction Centrale du Renseignement Intérieur (DCRI) intelligence service until last year, told French daily Le Figaro he was “astonished” when Prime Minister Jean-Marc Ayrault said he was "deeply shocked" by the claims.
“I am amazed by such disconcerting naiveté,” he said in the interview. “You’d almost think our politicians don’t bother to read the reports they get from the intelligence services.”



On Monday, French daily Le Monde published a story based on leaks from NSA whistleblower Edward Snowden, alleging that the NSA had recorded 70 million phone calls in France in a 30-day period from December 10 to January 8 this year.
‘Deep disapproval’
The following day French President Franços Hollande called his US counterpart Barack Obama to express "deep disapproval of these practices, which are unacceptable between friends and allies because they infringe on the privacy of French citizens".
But for Squarcini, who was questioned in 2011 over surveillance of journalists investigating alleged illegal campaign funding for former president Nicolas Sarkozy, spying on allies is all in a day’s work.
“The French intelligence services know full well that all countries, whether or not they are allies in the fight against terrorism, spy on each other all the time,” he said.
“The Americans spy on French commercial and industrial interests, and we do the same to them because it’s in the national interest to protect our companies.”
“There was nothing of any real surprise in this report,” he added. “No one is fooled.”
Spying on Merkel a ‘compliment’ to Germany
On Wednesday, it was German Chancellor Angela Merkel’s turn to put in a call to the White House following reports that the US had snooped on her personal mobile phone.
But Merkel, and Germany, should look upon such intrusion as a “compliment”, former CIA operations officer Joseph Wippl told AFP.
"Chancellor Merkel is important. If the NSA was not surveying her communications, it was only because it was unable to do so," he said.
“How could the NSA not want to listen in on the person rated by Forbes as the second most powerful person in the world after President Obama?”

By Tony Todd 
france24.com

September 20, 2013

A Young,Lonesome, Gay US Airman-1983 Cold War- JeFF Carney Gave Away The Secrets


Jeff Carney in uniform and the Berlin Wall


Hundreds of spies betrayed their countries during the Cold War, often motivated by ideology, or financial reward. Jeff Carney was different - he was a lonely, gay US airman who dreamed of a new life in East Germany. Years later, he sees parallels between his story and that of Chelsea, formerly Bradley, Manning.
It was the middle of the night in April 1983, when Jeff Carney approached Checkpoint Charlie. His steps grew shaky and he began to sweat.
As he stepped across the painted white line that separated East and West Berlin, he thought he was safe. He thought he was going to live in the east. He couldn't have been more wrong.
East German border guards took him to a small bare room with a cheap desk, a couple of chairs and a German-English dictionary.
"My intent when I went over that white line that night was not in any way to become a spy. My intent was simply to get away," he says.

"My intent when I went over that white line that night was not in any way to become a spy. My intent was simply to get away," he says.
 "I requested to speak to representatives of the East German government and when they came to me they weren't just any representatives, they were the men in the leather jackets so to speak. They were spies."
This was not the reception he had expected. Carney was 19 and had just returned to his posting at Marienfelde in Berlin after a trip home.
His family's problems depressed him - he had joined the Air Force at the age of 17 just to get away - and he spent the evening drinking alone in Berlin, ending the night at one of the city's gay bars.
Carney also hated his job. He felt unwanted and resented the military's ban on homosexuality.
There was nothing ideological about his decision to defect - it was an impulsive move. He thought he would be welcomed with open arms and given a new home in the east.
"I was foolish enough to believe that these people might actually be interested in me as a person. We know today that that's not correct - I was only worth what I had access to," says Carney.
    The East Germans ordered him to go back to his job and become a spy. If he didn't, his commander would be informed where he had been that night.
"To say I was disappointed was an understatement," he says. In his newly published book, Against All Enemies, he writes that he had "sold his soul and now had to commit, for better or for worse".
So Carney's life as a spy began.
The US Air Force had hired him because of his language skills - his job was to listen to East German communications and translate what he heard. Although Carney did not hold a high rank, as a linguist he worked in an environment where sensitive information was discussed.
He smuggled classified documents out of the listening post in his boots and trousers giving them to his handler "Ralph", or leaving them in an ammunition box by a tree in the forest at Eiskeller, on the north-west edge of Berlin.
His contacts called him Uwe - and gave him a camera hidden in a can of Lipton Iced Tea to photograph military papers.
Although he handed secrets to the East German secret police, the Stasi, he argues that he did not betray the American people because "betraying your country and betraying your government are two different things".
He says he helped to maintain world peace and that he never handed over anything that would harm the US.
Pages from Carney's book, Against All Enemies, showing blacked out text

The US National Security Agency has blacked out some parts of Carney's book
One day he heard about a US manoeuvre designed to make Soviet forces think they were being attacked. By monitoring the Soviet response to the emergency, the US would gather priceless information about their electronic communications.
But Carney says it was possible that "something could have gone wrong". If the Soviets really believed they were being attacked, lives could have been lost.
Carney decided it was time for drastic action. He booked a plane ticket to Mexico and turned up at the East German embassy unannounced, demanding they contact Berlin.


Carney sees some similarities between his story and that of Chelsea, formerly Bradley, Manning


He was smuggled out of Mexico and taken to Cuba, then on to Prague and finally to the German Democratic Republic (GDR).
He was given a new name, Jens Karney, an East German passport and somewhere to live.
His first place was a one-room apartment in a high-rise block with nothing but a black-and-white television and the complete works of Lenin translated into German.
It was far from perfect and he later realised the flat was bugged. In his autobiography he writes, "I was often lonely, but I was never alone".
He himself was given work listening to bugged conversations.
But when the Berlin Wall came down, things changed again. The Stasi unravelled and he took a job as a train driver on the Berlin subway.
Passport under the name of Jens Karney
In time, the Americans caught up with him. They seized him in the middle of a street in broad daylight in 1991, and flew him back to the US, where he was sentenced to 38 years in prison. That was reduced to 20 years after he co-operated in debriefings.
Carney served nearly 12 years behind bars and now lives with an adopted son in Ohio. He is unemployed and uses his time to paint.
He sees echoes of his own story in that of Chelsea, formerly Bradley, Manning - the US soldier sentenced to 35 years for leaking classified documents to Wikileaks.
Bradley Manning  in uniform


"When I look at Manning's case I see some similarities - age, experience level, first time overseas, faced with huge responsibility, top secret security clearance at a very young age," says Carney.
Both also struggled with their sexual identities, and were obliged to keep this part of their life secret from the military.
"The differences are, of course, that we are now in the age of computers, while then we lived in the age of paper and pencil," says Carney.
Now approaching 50, he has had plenty of time to think about what he describes in his book as "a long, insane journey that never seemed to stop".
He stands by his actions but "at an emotional level there is a lot of regret because I know what I did hurt people," he says - referring to his family and former colleagues.
So, if he could go back 30 years would he do it differently? No, he says.
"If I was faced with the exact same constellation of events, then I would probably make the same decisions."
Jeff Carney spoke to World Update on the BBC World Service.

How much damage did he do?

Carney compromised Canopy Wing, a highly classified plan designed to disable Soviet communications in the event of hostilities. Part of Nato's strategy was to rely on electronic warfare to deny the airwaves to the Soviet command-and-control structure, thereby handicapping the front-line forces' ability to send or receive orders. It was a highly sophisticated scheme that would render the adversary electronically "blind".
After Carney's defection a damage assessment exercise was carried out. This would have assumed that all the material he had had access to was compromised. Damage control would have included replacing or upgrading Canopy Wing. One estimate of the financial cost of this breach of security, and the new investment required, amounted to $14.5 billion (£9.2bn).
Nigel West, author of the Historical Dictionary of Cold War Counterintelligence

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