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AFIO Weekly Intelligence Notes #05-99, 3 Feb. 1999

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Two great speakers:

Morning Speaker (11:00 - 12:00) AFIO Member John Koehler, author of STASI: The East German Secret Police, will discuss his book and the role of STASI in internal repression and worldwide espionage (see book review below). John Koehler served as foreign correspondent for Associated Press in Berlin and Bonn for 28 years, and was an Assistant to the President under President Ronald Reagan. This will be terrific session. The author is willing to autograph his book.

Afternoon Speaker (13:00 - 14:00) : Professor Paul Goble (invited), will speak on the topic of - WHITHER RUSSIA - after the financial collapse a topic of highest importance. Russia today is in a state of severe depression (exceeding the depth of our depression in 1929) and has been compared to a corrupted financial derelict, with criminal gangs intertwined with government, and full of nuclear weapons. Professor Goble is, and has been, an expert on Russia. You are promised a fascinating, stimulating and enlightening presentation.

Reserve your place - send check for $26 (members) or $29 (non-members) to AFIO, 6723 Whittier Ave, Ste 303A, McLean, Va. 22101-4533. For further info, call 703 790 0320.


SUNKEN NORTH KOREAN SPY SHIP LOCATED - The wreckage of a small North Korean semi-submersible speed boat sunk on 19 December 98 was located by the South Korean Navy in mid-January. The speed boat had been spotted on 18 December by South Korean Coast Guard soldiers using infra-red surveillance devices. The following morning it was found by naval and air units, and, after it refused to surrender and opened fire on the pursuers, sunk. The South Korean Navy will launch recovery operations to raise the vessel from a depth of about 450 feet.

These type of speed boats usually carry up to six crewmembers and are used by the North Koreans for covert operations, including collecting intelligence and landing armed agents in the South. The boats are carried and launched by a "mother ship," disguised as a fishing vessel. The South Korean Navy's hunt for the mother ship failed.

This was the fourth known penetration by North Korean elements in 1998. In June a submarine was captured at sea; in July an armed North Korean frogman was discovered on a beach; and an attempted infiltration by speed boat was detected in November, but this one escaped back to the North. (Korea Herald 19 Dec 98 and 21 Jan 99; Inside China Today/European Internet 20 Jan 99) (RoyJ)

CUBAN SPY RING IN SPAIN - Five military members of the Spanish military intelligence agency CDIS ( Center of Defense Information and Studies) and a businessman, Jose Fernandez, have been charged with spying for Cuba, involving secret meetings in Miami between Spanish agents and Cuban handlers, money laundering and industrial espionage. Spanish intelligence chiefs were tipped off that something was wrong when microphones hidden in offices of suspected Cuban spies suddenly stopped working, pointing to a potential penetration of their counterintelligence service. Agents of the Cuban Ministry of the Interior's Directorate of Intelligence, which has Madrid as its main European base, indeed had managed to infiltrate CDIS.

Interestingly, Miami, Florida, was an important exchange and debriefing station for Cuban Intelligence operations in Spain, as Spanish individuals could travel there regularly without attracting suspicion. The accused spy Jose Fernandez helped set up enterprises as Cuban Intelligence fronts in Florida and elsewhere, including travel agencies such as Grupo Oasis (registered in Panama). A number of companies in Miami are reputed to be fronts for Cuban intelligence. Cuban Intelligence, incidentally, is said to be strapped for cash, like the rest of the Cuban economy, and suffering from poor morale. (Miami Herald, 31 Jan 99, courtesy Alan Fields) (RoyJ)

CIA INCREASES WESTBANK PRESENCE - CIA activities in the Palestinian self-rule area have reportedly expanded with the opening of CIA offices in Gaza, Hebron and Nablus. Further offices are planned in other West Bank cities and the Gaza strip, according to information attributed to Israel Radio. Palestinians who speak both Arabic and English may be employed in these offices. Palestinian security officials were said to be apprehensive about the increased scope of activities. The Wye river accord, currently held in limbo by Prime Minister Netanyahu, provides for a role by CIA in implementing the agreement, especially in controlling Palestinian terrorism. (Arabic News, quoting Israel Radio, Dec 19, 1998) (RoyJ)


MILITARY AND INTELLIGENCE BUDGET - The FY 2000 Military Budget Request for FY 2000 is $280.8 billion, and increase of $4.6 billion over the budget authority for FY99. This request, called "National defense" or "050" in the federal budget, includes the Pentagon budget plus the intelligence budget, the Department of Energy military (nuclear weapons) programs, and a few odds and ends. Some $6.6 billion of extra procurement money is allocated to National Missile Defense deployment.

MOSSAD PLAN TO ASSASSINATE SADDAM LEAKED - Operation Bramble envisioned killing Saddam on the night of November 7, 1992. Premier Yitzak Rabin had approved Bramble, and the final rehearsal took place in the Negev desert on 5 November. Unfortunately a live missile was mistakenly used in the exercise and five Israeli soldiers were killed. The operation was canceled.

The idea remained alive, however, and in 1998 the operation was revived - codenamed Bramble II (Siah Atad II), and approved by Premier Netanyahu . Special forces of the elite unit 262 began training to kill Saddam during one of his visits to his mistress, one of the few patterns of Saddam's movements that provided some regularity. Once they received information that Saddam was on his way about 40 soldiers would be flown to Iraq, and divide into two units. Ten soldiers would move within 200 meters of the relevant site; the other group would wait six miles away with special television-guided missiles, codenamed Midras. The forward group would target Saddam with a video monitor. At the right moment, the main group would fire three Midras missiles . After the firing the troops would immediately evacuate.

Israeli sources said the operation was canceled because the schedule for the attack coincided with the American and British bombardment of Iraq, and because Ariel Sharon and Yitzak Mordechai doubted the accuracy of Mossad's information. Who knows? The alleged plan is likely to be shelved now that it has been leaked. Or is it? (The London Times, 17 Jan 99) (RoyJ)


STASI: The Untold Story of the East German Secret Police, by John O. Koehler, 480 pages, Westview Press 1999, ISBN 0-8133-3409-8. Drawing on his own extensive experience as associated Press Bureau Chief in Berlin during the Cold War, interviews with former STASI officers as well as victims of oppression, STASI documents and US intelligence sources, Koehler recounts tales that contribute to understanding but sometimes read like Hollywood spy thrillers. He reviews Stasi activities within East and West Germany, ranging from internal repression to international espionage, terrorism,and clandestine operations, extending as far afield as Latin America and Africa.

Recommended (RoyJ).

The New Face of War, by Robert Chandler (Colonel, USAF ret) , AMCODA Press, McLean Virginia, 465 pages, $33.00. Discusses US strategy in the face of "weapons of mass destruction" - - - a threat of undoubted validity, but which appears to absorb a disproportionate amount of Pentagon oratorical and theatrical energy that somehow seems excessive. Chandler recommends the creation of a global reconnaissance-strike complex to meet the challenges of WMD proliferation. (RoyJ)

Silent Running: My Years on a World War II Attack Submarine, by James F. Calvert (VADM, USN ret), John Wiley & Sons, New York NY, 282 pages, $16.95. This book takes its place alongside "Blind Man's Bluff: The Untold Story of Submarine Espionage," the "Hunt for Red October," and movies like the German film "Das Boot," in bringing alive the hazardous mission and special courage of submariners in a readable and accessible format. Admiral Calvert's memoir, of course, is not fiction. It deals not only with his wartime missions in the Pacific, but with the bureaucratic political battles within the Navy, where submariners were perceived at the time as threats to the dominance of the surface navy. For those interested in sea warfare, recommended. (RoyJ)


The AFIO San Antonio Chapter, together with the Center for the Study of Intelligence and the World Affairs Council of San Antonio, is sponsoring a luncheon on 10 February featuring Douglas J. MacEachin, former Deputy Director for Intelligence at CIA and currently a Senior Fellow at Harvard's John F. Kennedy School of Government. The topic will be MacEachin's latest book, Japan: Signals Intelligence the A-Bomb Decision. Place: Hyatt Regency Hotel on the riverwalk, 123 Losoya Street. Reception 11:15, Luncheon and lecture 12 noon. Members and guests are invited. Members $25 by reservation. Non-members and Guests $35. Call 210 308 9494, or call AFIO Chapter President Henry Bussey (210) 490 5408, email

A Counterrorism and Security Seminar organized by POSSE (Police Officers Survivors Services Endowment) will be conducted at the Atlanta North Central Marriott Hotel on April 1921, 1999. Other than high ranking US Government speakers, the former director of CI for the KGB, General Victor Budanov, will present his assessment of Russia's criminal and terrorism situation. For more info, contact POSSE c/o MIC, tel 703 527 8000 or email and reference AFIO.

Travel Intelligence - for those contemplating a swim in the rivers of the Amazon basin, beware of the Vandellia Cirrhosa -- also informally dubbed the Urinophilus Diabolicus -- a tiny translucent catfish that is able to follow a stream of urine to its source, anchor itself into place by flaring sharp spines along its gills in the most intimate part of the human anatomy, and not only cause exruciating pain, but stay in place irremovably -- except by surgery. Ouch! (Audubon Jan-Feb 99, p. 104) (RoyJ)


Security Project Officer wanted, to advise senior managers on development, implementation and monitoring of Department of State programs (Local Guard and Residential Security), including conducting on-site reviews and travel to foreign posts. Contact, reference folder E-4.


Colonel Andre Dewavrin, DSO, MC, who under the pseudonym Colonel Passy headed General de Gaulle's wartime secret services in London, died on December 20th in France at the age of 87. One of the first of his compatriots to answer the rallying cry of general De Gaulle after the fall of France in 1940, he was entrusted with the task of building up Free French intelligence operations and running them from London.

The British Special Operations Executive (SOE) had a section "F" for operations in France, under orders of the British Chief of Staff. Colonel Dewavrin persuaded SOE to set up a parallel sectton "RF" that was purely Gaullist, and headed by himself. "RF" sent over 550 agents into France, even more than "F". No wallflower, Andre Dewavrin parachuted into France in the spring of 1943 to accomplish a special organizational mission.

His Bureau Central de Renseignements et d'Action (later renamed the Bureau de Recherches et d'Action a Londres) became an essential cog in the Allied war machine, gathering information from occupied France and coordinating the Resistance campaign. He left behind a record of three volumes of lively and sardonic war memoirs, including "2e Bureau, Londres" and " 10 Duke Street"(both in 1947) and "Missions Secretes" (1951).

AFIO members: Your encouragement and participation is the basis for AFIO's success. We need each and everyone of you in fulfilling our educational mission of building of a public and leadership constituency for a strong and healthy US intelligence capability.

Each member, contributing to the mission according to his or her capability, is vitally important. If you can, recruit a new member or associate member in'99.


WINs contain commentaries researched and produced by Editor and AFIO Executive Director Roy Jonkers

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