Intelligence scandals: Briefbombs, poison and assassinations – Panorama

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By Michael Setzer 18 October 2018 – 19:00 o'clock Who looks today "Tagesschau", sometimes thinks like in a Netflix series: Spectacular intelligence cases such as those around the alleged murder of Kashoggi stir up the public. Is this phenomenon new? No: We recall cases from the past.

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Pure glamor and spectacle with secret agents like James Bond in the cinema. The real life is in almost nothing.

Photo: Twentieth Century Fox Home Entertainment

Stuttgart – Litvinenko, Skripal, Kashoggi – the news is now often more exciting than series in the streaming portals. One could easily get the impression that world politics and their entanglements are becoming ever more spectacular. The good news: That's not true, it has always been that way. Here are four spectacular cases from the past:

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1962: With old Nazis against the enemies of Israel Otto Skorzeny had probably negotiated a deal: In order to escape the prosecution and especially to be wiped out by the Nazi war crimes list Simon Wiesenthals worked the wanted Nazi criminals and former confidant of Hitler the Israeli intelligence service Mossad together. Skorzeny is said to have produced lists of German scientists and cover companies involved in the Egyptian missile program in the 1950s and 1960s, one of the greatest threats to Israel at the time. Through intimidation, letter bombing and murder, they should be "convinced" to cease their activities in Egypt. Heinz Krug, arms dealer and already working as a technician under Wernher von Braun on the German rocket program, proved to be advisory-resistant. Officially, Krug has been missing since September 11, 1962. What really happened in a forest near Munich that night is still unclear. There are reports of a kidnapping by the Mossad, but it also says that Skorzeny himself murdered Krug. Skorzeny died of cancer in 1975. At his funeral, his friends saluted with the Hitler salute.
1978: The assassination with an umbrella The writer Georgi Markov was a loud critic of the communist leadership of his native Bulgaria. So loud that he settled first in Italy and later in London, where he also worked as a journalist for the BBC. On September 7, 1978 Markov was probably the victim of an almost insane assassination: At the London Waterloo Bridge – he was just waiting for the bus – stabbed him a man with the tip of an umbrella in his calf, apologized and kept walking. Four days later, Markov was dead. Later, a capsule was found in his calf, in which traces of the neurotoxin ricin were detected. The ball was coated with frosting, so that the poison gets into the blood with a time delay and spread there. The attack on the dissident was perpetrated on the birthday of the then Bulgarian head of state Todor Zhivkov, allegedly with the help of the Soviet secret service KGB, who probably supplied the poison and the complex capsule technology. And who was the man with the umbrella? To this day, all traces point to the still submerged agent Francesco Gullino with the alias "Picadilly". However, other investigations doubt the theory of the individual assassin and meanwhile the umbrella as the actual murder weapon.
1986: US as weapons dealer – the Iran-Contra Affair Lt. Col. Oliver North called it "the ultimate covert operation". North was a Vietnam veteran, CIA agent and military adviser to US President Ronald Reagan and his deputy George Bush. Spectacular was the scandal that later went down in the history books as "Iran-Contra affair" – and North should have been the key figure: The US had secretly sold weapons to Iran despite a trade embargo, allegedly to relations with the country improve. Officially, even then the US was at war with Iran over the Islamic Revolution. Part of the proceeds should have been used to support the paramilitary Contras in Nicaragua in their fight against the ruling socialist Sandinista. The CIA tolerated that the Contras smuggled several tons of cocaine into the US, whose sales proceeds were invested in the fight against the Sandinista. Reagan said he did not know. Bush pardoned six men convicted of the affair as president. Oliver North's conviction never came into force due to procedural errors. In May 2018, the US arms lobby chose North as its new president. 1997: Dangerous pain in the mouth injected Chalid Maschal, political leader of the Palestinian terrorist organization Hamas, was to be killed by secret agents of the Mossad in Jordan. The plan: agents spraying him the painkiller levofentanyl in the ear – the substance is a hundred times stronger than morphine. First, the victim becomes uncomfortable, then gradually expire the organs, then it dies. Actually, everything is going according to plan, but Maschal's bodyguards seize the Mossad agents after the deed and hand them over to the authorities in Amman. A diplomatic disaster for Israel, as Jordan was not pleased to see that foreign intelligence services were killing in the country. The then US President Bill Clinton had to mediate quickly between Jordan's King Hussein and Benjamin Netanyahu, then Prime Minister of Israel. The result: Israel provided the antidote that saved Maschal's life. In exchange for Hamas leader Ahmad Yasin, who is imprisoned in Israel, Jordan releases the Mossad agents caught in the attack.
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