2011 Document Diary

26th December 2011

'Report on Israel's theft of U.S. uranium set for Jan. release' - according to this story, the IRmep (Institute for Research: Middle Eastern Policy) have compiled a report into Israel's apparent theft of 269 kilos of enriched uranium from the Numec plant between 1957 and 1968.  The report, put together using documents obtained under the freedom of information act and official diaries, should be made available in January, as it is currently under final review by IRmep. 

22nd December 2011

According to a secret dossier seen by the Belfast Telegraph, 1 in 4 members of the IRA was working for the security services, and as many as 1 in 2 of their senior members.  Though the IRA employed a cell structure, as advocated in their traning manuals, this was largely ineffective as a means of resisting infiltration.  Indeed, if you think about it, five guys meeting in a room wearing balaclavas to remain anonymous is not the hardest target for infiltrators.  Because no one knows who anyone else is, they have no idea if the others are who they say they are. 

18th December 2011

Added new documents to the Training the Terror section of the archive as part of my Schooling the Americas article.

10th December

Added new documents to the World War Two section of the archive, both a link to MI5 documents on Eddie Chapman and a short dossier on 'Mutt and Jeff'.  All three men were double agents recruited by the Nazis but turned by the British.  These additions are part of my ongoing 'Overt Ops' article series.

1st December 2011

Wikileaks releases 'the Spy files' - a collection of documents relating to the private spying/intelligence industry.  From an initial look there's nothing particularly revelatory here, though I suppose it provides a useful push to the mainstream to talk about some of this stuff.  The private spying industry is extremely dangerous - as the British newspaper phone hacking scandal shows, private spooks are basically unaccountable unless someone catches them.  As such, they are the ideal proxies for malicious and covert people and institutions, in the same way that private 'security contractor' mercenaries are the ideal troops to fight dirty wars. 

25th November 2011

Suicide terrorist Joseph Stack's FBI case file.  Details the FBI investigation into the apparently intentional piloting of a small plane into a government building in Austin, Texas, in February 2010.

18th November 2011

Added Mohammed Junaid Babar document collection to the e-book series.  Babar is a 7/7-linked co-operator and probable double agent.  This collection has over 100 pages of unsealed court documents and security service files. 

16th November 2011

Iraq Inquiry report delayed for another six months in part due to the need to secure the release of numerous classified documents.  The report is expected to be a whitewash, and this latest delay points to strong resistance from the institutions who are supposed to have been investigated by this inquiry. 

13th November 2011

A US embassy cable, classified as Secret, detailing a conversation between US ambassador to India Timothy Roemer and India's then National Security Advisor MK Narayanan on the extradition of Mumbai massacre mastermind David Coleman Headley.  According to the cable, 'Ambassador Roemer sought Narayanan's commitment on behalf of the Indian government not request Headley's extradition.' Narayanan responded by explaining that, 'it was "difficult not to be seen making the effort," but that the government was not seeking extradition "at this time."'  Of course this document is from Wikileaks so it is uncertain exactly why it was leaked, but it does fit in with the aquiescence of the Indian authorities in the Headley/Mumbai case. 

8th November 2011

BBC's flagship Newsnight programme has obtained a dossier detailing surveillance undertaken by private detectives working on behalf of the News of the World.  BBC story here, the dossier itself is not likely to become publicly available.  This scandal gets even more like Watergate as time goes on. 

4th November 2011

British Business Secretary Vince Cable apologises after confidential documents were found in bins outside his constituency office, reports the BBC.  The papers included personal details of his constituents, and were collected over a period of 9 months by a local resident, before being handed over to local newspaper the Richmond and Twickenham Times.  Clearly when it comes to the privacy of ordinary citizens our political leaders could not give a toss, but when it comes to 200 year old cryptology manuals 'you can't be too careful'.

1st November 2011

Polish keeper was Communist Spy - Former Poland international goalkeeper Jan Tomaszewski was a Polish spy, according to documents published in Polish Newsweek magazine.  Tomaszewski has denied the allegations. 

31st October 2011

In a followup to yesterday's post, when searching for the oldest available declassified documents I came across a book called Cryptology: Instruction Book on the Art of Secret Writing written in 1809, over a century before the CIA documents.  The book, declassified by the National Security Agency's website, and available for download here, was finally made publicly available in June 2011, over two hundred years after it was written.  The book is in German so perhaps I am missing some nuances but there appears to be no reason for it to have remained secret for so long.

30th October 2011

Earlier this year the CIA 'declassified the US government's six oldest classified documents', dating from 1917 and 1918.  The files describe methods of secret writing and including a recipe for disappearing ink.  The documents themselves aren't hugely interesting, but the big question is why did it take nearly a century for these uncontroversial, relatively benign files to become available to us?  What does that say about the culture of secrecy within our intelligence services?  Indeed, a lawsuit filed back in the 1990s by The James Madison Project tried, and failed, to get a court to order the release of the documents.  (story)

26th October 2011

FBI FOIA release on Osama Bin Laden's brother-in-law Mohammed Jamal Khalifa, here.  Should be read in conjunction with the Intelwire dossier on Khalifa, here.  The big mystery about Khalifa is exactly when he left US custody - some records show him as still being in the hands of the US authorities when contemporary reports have him in Jordan successfully defending himself in court.  Did he strike a deal with the US authorities?  The main players in the Bojinka plot - Ramzi Yousef, Hakim Murad, and Wali Khan Amin Shah, were all tracked down and arrested while Khalifa was in US hands. 

22nd October 2011

CIA document collection on the Cuban Missile Crisis - over 300 pages showing the evolution of the crisis, and how the world came to the brink of nuclear war.  PDF version here, searchable html version here.  Among other things, this collection details how it wasn't until days after Kennedy and Kruschev struck a deal that the CIA actually started shutting down their covert ops groups inside Cuba. 

17th October 2011

Added Hansard reference to statement by NI Minister Owen Paterson on state collusion in the murder of Pat Finucane.  This is historic - an apology for state collusion in a politically-motivated assassination of an innocent citizen.  But of course there's still no proper inquiry. 

11th October 2011

Added new Northern Irish Criminal Justice Inspectorate's report into the independence of the Office of the Police Ombudsman to Covert Operations archive.