Posts Tagged ‘Security Service’

Shin Bet Warns Israel’s Ministers: Death Penalty for Terrorists Will Lead to Kidnappings of Jews Worldwide

January 3, 2018

Despite the warning, Netanyahu backed the bill in a preliminary Knesset vote: ‘A person who slaughters and laughs should be put to death’

Chaim Levinson Jan 03, 2018 5:12 PM

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, left, and Defense Minister Avigdor Lieberman at the Knesset, October 24, 2017.

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, left, and Defense Minister Avigdor Lieberman at the Knesset, October 24, 2017. Olivier Fitouss

UPDATE: Knesset gives preliminary backing to death penalty for terrorists bill

The Shin Bet security service has voiced its objections to the death penalty bill, which it suspects will trigger a wave of kidnappings of Jews around the world to use them in negotiations.

Shin Bet chief Nadav Argaman has shared his negative opinion of the bill with the inner security cabinet. The security service will be presenting its opinion to the cabinet when it convenes to discuss the bill, as Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said it would.

The bill received preliminary backing from the Knesset on Wednesday and still needs to pass three rounds of voting in order to become a law. Despite the warning, Netanyahu backed the bill and, in unusual remarks ahead of the vote, said that, “a person who slaughters and laughs should not spend his life behind bars but be put to death.”

The Shin Bet is predicting abductions of Jews not only in Muslim countries, but in the West as well. It also has other objections to the bill. In 2011, when some – including Central Command General Avi Mizrahi – were advocating the death penalty for Amjad Awad for murders of five members of the Fogel family in the West Bank settlement of Itamar, the Shin Bet objected and the idea fell through.

Ahead of the bill’s preliminary reading, Attorney General Avichai Mendelblit said in a private conversation that he is not bound by the cabinet’s position – and that is just one of many considerations. Mendelblit had also opposed the death penalty as chief military prosecutor, and his position has not changed.

Present military law allows the death penalty to be handed down for murder committed as part of a terror act, but it is conditional on the unanimous support of the sentence by the judges. Defense Minister Avigdor Lieberman, who sponsored the bill, proposes that an ordinary majority of judges should suffice to sentence a terrorist to death. The bill also bans leniency after a final death sentence has been handed down.

Chaim Levinson
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Putin professes high hopes for Ukraine summit — But European diplomats predict little chance of breakthrough

April 10, 2014


But diplomats predict little chance of breakthrough as four powers meet for first time since President Yanukovych fled

The Guardian

Putin Chairs Cabinet Meeting In Moscow

Vladimir Putin: ‘I hope that the initiative will have consequences, and that the outcome will be positive’ Photograph: Itar-Tass/Barcroft Media

Vladimir Putin said on Wednesday he hoped talks between Russia, Ukraine, the EU and US due next week would have a “positive” outcome, but warned that Ukraine’s interim government should not do anything that could not “be fixed later”.

The four-way talks, the first since the crisis, were announced on Tuesday night.

“I hope that the initiative of Russian foreign ministry on adjusting the situation and changing it for the better will have consequences, and that the outcome will be positive,” the Russian president told a televised government meeting. “At the very least, I hope that the acting [leaders] will not do anything that cannot be fixed later.”

John Kerry, the US secretary of state, and Sergei Lavrov, Russia’s foreign minister, discussed the meeting on the phone on Wednesday, according to the Russian foreign ministry. It said the two men had urged all sides to refrain from violence in eastern and southern Ukraine.

But diplomats said it was unlikely the talks would produce any major breakthroughs, given Russia and the west viewed the situation in Ukraine so differently, with both sides accusing the other of stoking tension.

“We don’t have high expectations for these talks, but we do believe it is very important to keep that diplomatic door open,” said Victoria Nuland, the US assistant secretary of state.

The situation in the east of Ukraine is tense, with Ukrainian authorities promising on Wednesday morning to end the occupation of administrative buildings by pro-Russian separatists within 48 hours, either by negotiations or force.

“A resolution to this crisis will be found within the next 48 hours,” said Arsen Avakov, interior minister, in Kiev, referring to the eastern cities of Luhansk and Donetsk where protesters remain in control of government buildings.

“For those who want dialogue, we propose talks and a political solution. For the minority who want conflict, they will get a forceful answer from the Ukrainian authorities,” he said.

A group of pro-Russian protesters calling themselves the Army of the Southeast were occupying the security service headquarters in Luhansk. Members of the building’s defence who identified themselves as former Berkut (special police) officers from other regions, said they would not fire first but if attacked would fight back until Russian forces arrived.

The Kremlin has said it is prepared to intervene as in Crimea to protect ethnic Russians in other parts of Ukraine, amid reports of a Russian troop buildup along the border.

The masked commander said the security service building’s defence included him and 42 other former members of the elite Alpha division of the now-disbanded Berkut, who were known as former president Viktor Yanukovich’s shock troops during the Euromaidan protests in Kiev. He said the former president, who fled to Russia in February, had betrayed them.

A few hundred demonstrators stood in the square in front of the building, protesting against the new regime in Kiev, which many said had been installed by the US government.

Tatiana Pogukai, a spokesperson of the Luhansk division of the interior ministry, told the Guardian that a group of security service and law enforcement officials and politicians continued to negotiate with the occupiers, who are demanding a referendum on “the region’s economic independence from Kiev”.

Kiev has claimed the protesters are directed by Russian security services, and, on Tuesday, Kerry accused Moscow of stirring up unrest, possibly as a pretext for Crimea-style military intervention.

There are concerns about the new government in Kiev, but support for actually joining Russia is not widespread among the population, unlike in Crimea.

In Moscow, Putin met the cabinet on Wednesday and discussed possible economic responses to Ukraine. Gazprom, the Russian gas monopoly, says it has not received any money for March gas deliveries to Ukraine and still has a $2.2bn (£1.6bn) debt outstanding. Kiev has said it will pay the debt but has protested at an 80% increase in gas prices announced last week.

Putin said it was possible that Russia could make Ukraine pay up front for deliveries of gas, but he instructed the government to wait until “further consultations” with Kiev before introducing the measure.

The gas dispute is another way for Moscow to put pressure on Kiev, and is likely to be another issue at the talks next week, which will be the first four-way meeting since Viktor Yanukovych fled Ukraine and the new government was formed.

Since then, Russia has annexed Crimea, and Kiev and Moscow have been engaged in a bitter war of words, with both sides accusing the other of sponsoring terrorism.

The Kiev government claimed it had evidence that Russian security services were behind the violence that left more than 100 dead in Kiev in February, while Russian security services say they have arrested a number of Ukrainians acting on official orders and planning terror attacks inside Russia.

Snowden Leaks, Publication of Secrets Caused “Enormous Damage” and Handed Terrorists the “Gift” to Attack

October 9, 2013

Intelligence:  The leaks of thousands of GCHQ files by CIA spy Edward Snowden have caused “enormous damage” and handed terrorists the “gift” to attack the UK  “at will”, a  “guidebook for terrorists” — the new head of MI5 has warned.

Andrew Parker, the director general of MI5

Andrew Parker, the director general of MI5 Photo: MI5/PA
Tom Whitehead

By , Security Editor

Andrew Parker, the director general of the Security Service, said the exposing   of intelligence techniques, by the Guardian newspaper, had given fanatics   the ability to evade the spy agencies.

It comes at a time when the UK is facing its gravest terror threat, including   from “several thousand” Islamist extremists who are living here and want to   attack the country, Mr Parker said.

He used his first public outing since taking over at MI5 to launch a scathing   attack on the Snowden leaks.

It is feared around Whitehall that the revelations have resulted in a    “guidebook for terrorists” while there is frustration that the American is   being heralded as some kind of heroic whistleblower.

Pictured: One of many Guardian front pages sharing secrets with the world

Sources find it incomprehensible that exposing spy agency techniques for   tracking terrorists has been argued to be in the public interest.

Leaks from Snowden are known to contain at least 58,000 GCHQ files and it is   feared there could be many more.

It also unclear whether foreign states have had access to the documents and it   is understood the Guardian continued to expose the information despite pleas   from the Government not to reveal intelligence techniques.

It is believed to be the worst leak of British intelligence files and to have   caused the greatest damage.

In his first speech since becoming head of MI5 in April, Mr Parker did not   specifically name Snowden or the Guardian.

But he said: “It causes enormous damage to make public the reach and limits of   GCHQ techniques.

“Such information hands the advantage to the terrorists. It is the gift they   need to evade us and strike at will.

“Unfashionable as it might seem, that is why we must keep secrets secret, and   why not doing so causes such harm.”

He said the details of what capabilities the spy agencies have is their    “margin of advantage” over the fanatics.

“That margin gives us the prospect of being able to detect their plots and   stop them. But that margin is under attack,” he said.

He said reports from GCHQ were “vital to the safety of this country and its   citizens”, adding: “We are facing an international threat and GCHQ provides   many of the intelligence leads upon which we rely.”

Mr Parker said the UK is already facing its most complicated and unpredictable   terror threat and that it was “getting harder” for his agents to protect   against the diverse dangers.

With the spread of an al-Qaeda threat to more and more countries, the continue   danger of Irish terrorism, the emergence of the lone wolf fanatic and   advances in technology and cyber warfare, MI5 is now “tackling threats on   more fronts than ever before”, he said.

In the speech to the Royal United Services Institute in London, Mr Parker   said: “Our task is getting harder. The threats are more diverse and diffuse.

“And we face increasing challenges caused by the speed of technological   change.”

And he warned: “It remains the case that there are several thousand Islamist   extremists here who see the British people as a legitimate target.”

Among those are Britons, numbering in the low hundreds sources say, who have   travelled to Syria, which is now a hotbed of extremism and terror groups,   and since returned home.

The spy chief said: “For the future, there is good reason to be concerned   about Syria.

“A growing proportion of our casework now has some link to Syria, mostly   concerning individuals from the UK who have travelled to fight there or who   aspire to do so.”

While the threat of a large scale terror outrage may have diminished it has   not been removed, he said, while there is a growing risk of smaller attacks   or individuals acting on their own.

Since 2011, a total of 330 people have been convicted of terrorism-related   offences in Britain.

There is also the threat to Britons around the world, such as the attack on   the In Amenas gas facility in Algeria and the recent Westgate shopping   centre outrage in Nairobi, Kenya.

“Overall, I do not believe the terrorist threat is worse now than before. But   it is

more diffuse. More complicated. More unpredictable,” he said.

There have been one or two major terror plots in the UK every year since 2000   and that pattern is “unlikely to change”.

And it was impossible to protect the public 100 per cent, he said, adding    “life is not the movies”.

He said, because of its nature and terrible consequences, there was an   expectation that there should be “zero” attacks but no crime can have such a   target.

In a clear defence of any potential intelligence failings by MI5, Mr Parker   also stressed there was a difference between “knowing of someone and knowing   everything about them”.

“The idea that we either can or would want to operate intensive scrutiny of

thousands is fanciful,” he said,

“This is not East Germany, or North Korea. And thank goodness it’s not.”

He also made a defence for extended powers to monitor modern communications,   the subject of recent controversy, saying “we cannot work without tools”.

He said the idea that the agencies would use such powers to monitor everyone’s   private lives was “utter nonsense”.

Explaining why he made a public speech, he said it was important for spies to   occasionally step out of the shadows to explain to the public the threats   they face.

Henry Porter, a columnist at the Observer, the Guardian’s sister newspaper,   said Sir Andrew was “wrong” to suggest leaks have put lives at   risk.

He said that he has lost confidence in the Intelligence and Security   Committee, the body of MPs and peers which oversees the security services.

Mr Porter said: “He’s wrong [to say The Guardian put security at risk].   The people who released and let go of these documents were the NSA in   America. That’s where these leaks took place.

“What we have done is shown how much surveillance we are under.We don’t   have sufficient oversight. I don’t have that confidence because of the   behaviour of the intelligence and security committee over the last few   months, which has steadily come out in favour of the intelligence services.”

Snowden, 30, was a CIA analyst based in the US National Security Agency, who   provoked one of the biggest intelligence leaks in American history.

He used his position to access and steal thousands of classified documents on   US and related British spy programmes.

The leaks were revealed in a series of articles in the Guardian newspaper in   June.

He fled the US and is currently being sheltered in Russia.