Showing posts with label International Espionage. Show all posts
Showing posts with label International Espionage. Show all posts

March 8, 2014

US Puts Pressure on Israel to Stop Killing Iran’s Nuclear Scientists

President Obama and Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu hold a meeting in the Oval Office of the White House in Washington, Sept. 30, 2013.  AFP/GETTY IMAGES  
Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu flew to Washington -  arrived on Sunday (March 2), to prepare for talks with President Barack Obama at the White House on Monday - its clear that there are several points of friction between Israel and the United States.
The two countries are allies, but their leaders often differ on the details of key issues: Israel's peace talks with the Palestinians, America's nuclear talks with Iran, how to approach political turmoil in Egypt, what might be done to limit Syria's horrible civil war, and a broader issue of whether the Middle East sees President Obama as a powerful, influential leader.
 Recently, as I sought to update a book I co-wrote about the history of Israel's intelligence agencies, sources close to them revealed that they felt pressure from the Obama Administration - more than a hint - to stop carrying out assassinations inside Iran.
Although Israel has never acknowledged it, the country's famed espionage agency - the Mossad - ran an assassination campaign for several years aimed at Iran's top nuclear scientists. The purpose was to slow the progress made by Iran, which Israel feels certain is aimed at developing nuclear weapons; and to deter trained and educated Iranians from joining their country's nuclear program.
At least five Iranian scientists were murdered, most of them by bombs planted on their cars as they drove to work in the morning. Remarkably, the Israeli assassins were never caught - obviously having long-established safe houses inside Iran - although several Iranians who may have helped the Mossad were arrested and executed.
In addition to strong signals from the Obama Administration that the U.S. did not want Israel to continue the assassinations, Mossad officials concluded that the campaign had gotten too dangerous. They did not want their best combatants - Israel's term for its most talented and experienced spies - captured and hanged.
President Obama - much to the discomfort of Israeli officials - is pursuing negotiations with Iran. The United States is one of the P5+1 nations, continuing to talk with the Iranians about rolling back some of their nuclear potential.
Sources told us that Netanyahu has now ordered the Mossad to focus on hunting - inside Iran and elsewhere - for evidence that the Iranians are cheating on the commitments they made in their interim agreement with the P5+1 last November.
Prime Minister Netanyahu and President Obama will also discuss progress - said by all concerned to be limited, but not non-existent - in Israel's talks with the Palestinian Authority which began last year. Secretary of State John Kerry has had many frustrations in his chosen role as mediator: not least, the harsh criticism of Kerry voiced by some members of Netanyahu's coalition government who distrust the peace process and feel that giving up any of the West Bank would be needlessly dangerous for Israel.
Dan Raviv, Washington-based host of radio's CBS News Weekend Roundup, is co-author of Spies Against Armageddon: Inside Israel's Secret Wars, which has a new updated edition published on March 2


JTA) — The Obama administration pressured Israel to stop assassinating Iran’s top nuclear scientists, according to a CBS News report.
Israel’s Mossad intelligence agency ran an assassination campaign for several years, during which time at least five Iranian scientists were killed, most by bombs planted on their cars, national correspondent Dan Raviv reported Saturday on the CBS News website.
“Remarkably, the Israeli assassins were never caught — obviously having long-established safe houses inside Iran — although several Iranians who may have helped the Mossad were arrested and executed,” Raviv wrote.
His report was published a day before the book Raviv co-authored, “Spies Against Armageddon: Inside Israel’s Secret Wars,” was coming out with an updated edition.
“Recently, as I sought to update a book I co-wrote about the history of Israel’s intelligence agencies, sources close to them revealed that they felt pressure from the Obama Administration — more than a hint — to stop carrying out assassinations inside Iran,” he wrote, without elaborating.
Raviv, citing sources “close to” Israel’s intelligence agencies, reported that Mossad officials decided that the campaign had become “too dangerous” and decided to pull out before any of their spies were caught and killed.
Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has ordered the Mossad to concentrate on finding evidence that Iran is violating the interim agreement it signed with the world powers in November, Raviv reported.

December 14, 2012

Should The Biggest Gay Hero of WW2 Be Pardoned? Does That Makes Sense to You?Who Would Do The Pardon?

Forward thinking ... Oscar Wilde, one of the first prose poem innovators in English.
Tens of thousands were convicted under the same law as Turing, dating back to Oscar Wilde and earlier. All were victims of the same injustice. Photograph: Corbis
alan turing pardon stephen hawkingI have posted about Stephen Turing many times. I knew what he had done, before I knew who he was. I just thought that he was just a wonderful patriot and scientist. It didn’t even hit me that he never married. After all I was single and in the closet, willing to give everyone a pass. 
It wasn’t until the last decade that I learnt about him. As the gay movement advanced we start getting all these stuff that’s been buried because if you are a monster you can’t show good things about us. The monster is come out of the closet and he and she is part of your family and everyone’s family near or far. The Guardian makes a wonderful case of wether pardoning someone who never did anything wrong but save millions of lives for his country, England and the USA. If you think about it you know what Im talking about.                                                                            

Do we have the right to pardon Turing?

Stephen Hawking is right to say that Alan Turing deserves to be pardoned, but do we deserve to pardon Alan Turing?
Stephen Hawking and a number of his peers have signed a letter that appears in the Telegraph today, calling for the government to pardon the legendary mathematician and computer scientist, Alan Turing. Turing, a major force in cracking the German naval Enigma code, was charged with gross indecency in 1952 for the crime of committing homosexual acts, ejected from GCHQ and subjected to a hormone 'treatment' – chemical castration – that left him impotent. The father of computer science died two years later aged just 41. Although he received a formal apology from Gordon Brown in 2009, a petition calling for a pardon was denied earlier this year.
"…successive governments seem incapable of forgiving his conviction for the then crime of being a homosexual," the letter argues. "We urge the prime minister to exercise his authority and formally forgive the iconic British hero."
Pardoning Turing is one of those ideas that seem so obviously right it's scarcely worth giving them a second thought. He was a hero and genius whose life was ruined by the state's bigotry and prejudice, and no one in their right mind would suggest that he deserves anything less than a full pardon and a grovelling apology. And yet while I'd like to see it happen, there are at least three questions I can think of that are worth a bit of thought.
The first, and most obvious: why only Turing? Tens of thousands of people were convicted under the same law, dating back to Oscar Wilde and earlier. All of them people were victims of the same injustice, and the scale of that injustice was the same whatever their achievements, whether they happened to be Alan the mathematician or Bill the coal-miner. Addressing this only for those who happened to be public heroes is a shallow, insincere and grossly unfair act that just compounds the problem – pardon all of them, or pardon none, but don't imply through your actions that some are more 'deserving' of 'forgiveness' than others.
Second: why do it at all? It's difficult to see what pardoning Turing would really achieve, for him or for the cause of equality more generally. The man himself won't know much about it: even if heaven existed it's doubtful they would let something as vile and depressing as The News in, and of course if the Christians are right he won't be in heaven anyway. We cannot 'make it up' to him: the damage inflicted on his mind, body and career cannot ever be undone.
On the other hand his legacy is unquestioned, and his reputation as one of the great British heroes is secure. His conviction has entered history as a stain not on his character, but on Britain itself; an important reminder for future generations of what we did, and what we mustn't do again. Perhaps this is unfair on my part, but the conspicuous political act of publicly expunging that stain – as if it would somehow 'undo' the crime – feels uncomfortably like a self-serving gesture, a way of drawing a line under an embarrassing period in our history and moving on as though everything were fixed. The trouble is I'm not entirely convinced we should move on.
Which brings me to my third question: who would pardon him? David Cameron? On behalf of the British government? We live in a country that gives political power to a church riddled with bigotry, where the battle for marriage equality is still being fought, and where homophobic bullying is endemic in our schools. We have entire sections of industry – notably Premier League football – in which no gay man can reveal himself for fear of what might happen. Our dominant political party is riddled withmembers making homophobic statements, and in Cabinet we have both a chancellor who referred to a gay MP as a "pantomime dame" and a Lord Chancellor and Secretary of State for Justice who claimed that it's acceptable for B&Bs to turn away gay couples.
I could run through examples like this all week, but the point is this: I'm not sure that the British government have earned the right to pardonAlan Turing. Not as long as the attitudes that led to his persecution are still very much with us, and entrenched in that very same government.
The language of Hawking et al's letter is remarkably clumsy; its plea that the government should 'forgive' Turing carelessly implying that he did something to be forgiven for. In reality, it is the government who should be seeking forgiveness from Alan Turing, but that of course has been impossible for more than half a century, and no amount of symbolic gestures will change matters. A pardon for Turing and his peers would be welcome, but if politicians are serious about atoning for past sins then they should ask what they can do for homosexuals today. There's no shortage of places for them to start.

October 13, 2012

Renault Planned for Employees' Suicide

Renault sacks number two amid industrial espionage debacle
By Luke BROWN (video)

FRANCE 24   

More than a year after French carmaker Renault found itself embroiled in an industrial espionage scandal, new documents show that the company had prepared statements in the event that the three employees blamed in the case committed suicide.

More than one year ago, French carmaker Renault found itself embroiled in a high-profile industrial espionage scandal. Three executives were fired, but the case turned out to be bogus, and in a desperate attempt to put the whole sordid affair behind them, the company issued a public apology to its former employees.
It appears, however, that the story is far from over. New documents have emerged showing that Renault had prepared statements in the event that the scandal drove the three employees concerned to kill themselves.
Executives Michel Balthazard, Bertrand Rochette and Mathieu Tenenbaum were dismissed from Renault in January of last year on suspicions that they had leaked information on the company’s electric cars to rivals. Although wrongly accused, the three found themselves at the heart of a very public scandal, with little recourse to defend themselves.

Apparently aware of the possible consequences, Renault’s communications director took action. Two statements were prepared in the event of the “inevitable” – one for a botched suicide attempt, the other for a successful one.

Strain on executives      
The documents, which French radio station France Info published on their website Friday, showed that Renault was not only fully aware that the strain of the situation might drive its employees to suicide, but also its apparent acceptance of what it saw as a certainty.Written in dry, clinical terms, the two statements varied little in their content. The first, which was to be issued in the event of “option 1”, in other words a failed suicide attempt, read: “One of the three executives laid off on January 3, 2011, attempted to end his life on (date).”


The second, or “option 2”, was only slightly modified: “One of the three executives laid off on January 3, 2011, ended his life on (date).”
The statement then went on to convey the company’s regret over the tragic incident.
“The entire company has been deeply shaken by the gravity of what has happened… Ever since the beginning of the case, Renault has sought to protect its executives’ identities out of strict respect for those concerned. Faced with this upsetting event, we intend to maintain our position and make no comment…”
In the event of an actual death, an additional line was to be added, saying “our thoughts are with Mr. XXX’s family”.
All that was left to do was fill in the appropriate blanks.
A company spokeswoman said on Friday that Renault communications staff who prepared the press releases were simply doing their job. "We had to prepare for different scenarios within a crisis communications framework."

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