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October 20, 2014 / 26 Tishri, 5775
At a Glance

Posts Tagged ‘intelligence’

Alerts Came after US Intercepted Al Qaeda Conference Call

Thursday, August 8th, 2013

The crucial intercept that prompted the U.S. government to close embassies in 22 countries was a conference call between al Qaeda’s senior leaders and representatives of several of the group’s affiliates throughout the region, the Daily Beast reports.

U.S. intelligence was afforded a rare glimpse into the communication between al Qaeda leader Ayman al-Zawahiri and the organization’s affiliates in Africa, the Middle East, and southwest and southeast Asia.

The Daily Beast has learned that the discussion between the two al Qaeda leaders happened in a conference call that included more than 20 al Qaeda operatives.

The Al Qaeda members included representatives or leaders from Nigeria’s Boko Haram, the Pakistani Taliban, al Qaeda in Iraq, al Qaeda in the Islamic Maghreb, the Uzbekistan branch and al Qaeda in the Sinai Peninsula.

“This was like a meeting of the Legion of Doom,” one U.S. intelligence officer told The Daily Beast.

Sen. John McCain (R-AZ) said, “This may punch a sizable hole in the theory that al Qaeda is on the run.”

“The core seems to be able to able to reconstitute itself. The core also seems to be able to coordinate and manage the affiliates,” the senator added. “There was a gross underestimation by this administration of al Qaeda’s overall ability to replenish itself.”

Female IDF Officer Upgrades Diet & Exercise

Wednesday, August 7th, 2013

Speaking at the International Women’s Conference sponsored by Stand With Us, IDF Officer Lieutenant Colonel Shirly Subul, a resident of Tel Aviv, said she had the aspiration to serve Israel in the armed forces since age 4. She currently serves in the IDF combat fitness department, where she has personally transformed the Lifestyle Branch, which is responsible for army athletics and encouraging Israeli soldiers to live a healthy life-style, into one of the most influential branches in the IDF.

She was a professional athlete as a teenager but put her athletic dreams on hold in order to serve the State of Israel. In March of 1993 she served in the intelligence unit and continued on to officers training course. Later on she served in the foreign relations department of the intelligence department. During the Second Lebanon War, Lt. Subul’s best friend Anat was murdered in a suicide bombing and she spent five weeks in an underground bunker as the head of the operations division. Her army career took a different direction when she transferred to the combat fitness department. There Lieutenant Colonel Subul sought to combine her passion for serving Israel with her love of athletics and sports.   

Lieutenant Colonel Subul places special emphasis on IDF commanders, believing that their physical condition has a great effect on the army as a whole. Subul is also known for whipping high ranking officers into better shape and has even put obese Israeli commanders on a six month program of diet combined with exercise. In order to keep Israeli soldiers in shape, she has organized four marathons and is planning a fifth. Subul also organizes swimming and bicycling sessions and has special programs for women.

Subul also has a BA in gender studies and sociology from Tel-Aviv University and was a pioneer in this field. As a female IDF officer, Lieutenant Colonel Subul emphasized that women serving in the IDF enjoy full gender equality, stating that 92 percent of the positions within the IDF are open to women, nearly 59 percent of Israeli women enlist to serve, representing 33 percent of the IDF’s manpower, and that the number of female IDF officers continues to rise. Israel is the only country in the world to have mandatory military service for women. “There are so many opportunities for women in the Israeli Defense Forces,” she claimed. Israeli women can be found in the artillery corps, armored divisions, infantry and intelligence units.

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Global Security Alert after Al-Qaeda Prison Escapes

Sunday, August 4th, 2013

The international police organization Interpol has issued a global security alert, urging increased vigilance for terrorist activity, following a suspected al-Qaeda connection to prison breaks in Iraq, Libya and Pakistan, among others, AP reported.

Interpol says the prison escapes have taken place in nine Interpol member countries over the past month. The organization is requesting its 190 member countries’ assistance in figuring out whether such events are indeed linked.

The full statement from Interpol’s alert reads:

Following a series of prison escapes across nine INTERPOL member countries in the past month alone, including in Iraq, Libya and Pakistan, the INTERPOL General Secretariat headquarters has issued a global security alert advising increased vigilance.

With suspected Al Qaeda involvement in several of the breakouts which led to the escape of hundreds of terrorists and other criminals, the INTERPOL alert requests the Organization’s 190 member countries’ assistance in order to determine whether any of these recent events are coordinated or linked.

INTERPOL is asking its member countries to closely follow and swiftly process any information linked to these events and the escaped prisoners. They are also requested to alert the relevant member country and INTERPOL General Secretariat headquarters if any escaped terrorist is located or intelligence developed which could help prevent another terrorist attack.

Staff at INTERPOL’s 24-hour Command and Coordination Centre and other specialized units are also prioritizing all information and intelligence in relation to the breakouts or terrorist plots in order to immediately inform relevant member countries of any updates.

August is the anniversary of violent terrorist incidents in Mumbai, India and Gluboky, Russia as well as in Jakarta, Indonesia. This week also marks the 15th anniversary of the US Embassy bombings in Nairobi, Kenya and Dar es Salaam, Tanzania in which more than 200 mostly African citizens were killed and 4,000 others injured.

In recent years, terrorist attacks focusing on diplomatic facilities in Afghanistan, Greece, India, Kenya, Libya, Pakistan, Peru, Saudi Arabia, Syria, Tanzania, Turkey and Yemen have also resulted in hundreds of casualties of all nationalities.

The US State Department has also issued a global travel alert in response to credible intelligence suggesting that Al-Qaeda and affiliated organizations continue to plan terrorist attacks between now and 31 August, particularly in the Middle East and North Africa. In addition to the US authorities announcing the one-day closure of more than 20 diplomatic missions on Sunday 4 August, the UK Foreign Office has also confirmed the closure of the British embassy in Yemen on 4 and 5 August.

Syria Moved Missiles Before Israeli Strike

Thursday, August 1st, 2013

Not putting all their eggs in one basket, Syria moved a number of their anti-ship cruise missiles before Israel allegedly destroyed their storage area in a July 5 attack, according to a report in the NY Times.

The report says that some of the Russian Yakhont missiles were removed from their launchers and the warehouse before the strike.

American intelligence reports that immediately following the strike Syrian president Assad set fire to vehicles and launchers to make it look as if more missiles were destroyed than actually were.

Both Israel and the US consider the missiles to be a serious threat to their ships in the region.

Russia recently also shipped SA-26 anti-aircraft missiles to Syria, along with technical experts.

In both January and May of this year, Israel hit other Syrian missile systems that they believed were headed for Hezbollah.

Hezbollah Spying on Golan Heights from Syria

Thursday, July 11th, 2013

The IDF is forming a new division to operate in the Golan Heights, which faces a new threat of Hezbollah terrorists and weapons that had been limited to the Lebanese border before Hezbollah leader Hassan Nasrallah sent his army to fight with Assad loyalists against Syrian rebels.

The new Golan division reflects the new situation in the Golan Heights, which now is on the border of clashes between Assad’s army and rebels and has been subject to frequent rifle fire and mortar shelling, usually accidental and sometimes intentional.

The military’s other four divisions are located along the border with Lebanon, in the Negev, next to Gaza and in Judea and Samaria.

Syrian President Bassar al-Assad has demanded for years that Israel surrender the strategic Golan Heights, but despite Syria’s being a declared enemy, Israel has enjoyed the advantage of a stable regime across the border. Stability usually is preferable to the unknown, especially if it is in the enemy’s court.

The rebellion in Syria more than two years ago created a nervous uncertainty in Israel, and Hezbollah’s recent move into the area has extended the area from which the terrorist organization can strike.

Nasrallah threatened earlier this year to turn the Golan Heights into a new front against Israel.

Israel has been preparing for a another attack from Lebanon ever since the end of the Second Lebanon War in 2006. Hezbollah has stockpiled tens of thousands of rockets and anti-tank missiles, most of them smuggled in from Syria, with Iranian and Russian trademarks.

Hezbollah is gathering intelligence on the IDF in the Golan Heights, according to Reuters, quoting an Israeli source. “It is not at an alarming level now but we understand their intentions,” he said.

Adding to Israel’s concerns are the heavy presence of Al Qaeda and other jihadist groups fighting alongside the rebels. Whichever side wins, Israel loses, assuming that the same instability that replaced Hosni Mubarak’s regime in Egypt will be the case in Syria.

“We know they are busy now but once it ends they will turn their guns on us,” the military source told Reuters. “We’re not waiting for an attack. We’re building the border fence; we have sent up tanks, more regiments, field intelligence … and increased observations.”

For what it’s worth, the United Security Council on Wednesday called on Hezbollah to end its involvement in Syria.

“The Security Council calls upon all Lebanese parties to recommit to Lebanon’s policy of disassociation, to stand united behind President Michel Suleiman in this regard and to step back from any involvement in the Syrian crisis,” the Council said.

The United Nations did not name Hezbollah, due to Russian objections, but Hezbollah clearly was intended.

Given the previous failures of the international body to live up to its commitment to disarm Hezbollah after the Second Lebanon War, Wednesday’s statement can safely be discarded.

Second ‘Prisoner X’ Identified as Palestinian Authority Arab

Wednesday, July 10th, 2013

An Israel court partially lifted a gag order Wednesday on the case of a second “prisoner X,” held in secret in a high-security prison, and identified him as Wael Abu Reda of Gaza. He is charged with committing “crimes against the security of the country.”

Australian media earlier this year exposed the secret incarceration of a an immigrant from the country who worked for the Mossad and hanged himself in prison. Security officials arrested him after he carried out an unauthorized mission that crippled a Mossad attempt to return three dead bodies of Israelis killed in the First Lebanon War and also exposed one of the intelligence agency’s most important agents in Lebanon.

The Australian, Ben Zygier, was thrown into the highest security cell in Israel, in the same area of the cell of Yigal Amir, who assassinated Prime Minister Yitzchak Rabin.

Like Zygier, Abu Reda disappeared mysteriously. He had last been seen in Egypt last month. The gag order on details and background of his arrest remains in effect for at least 10 more days.

His wife, Amani Abu Reda, told the Bethlehem-based Ma’an news agency last week that her husband disappeared during a visit to Egypt for medical treatment. The International Committee of the Red Cross informed the family that he was the in custody of Israel.

In Hebrew: ‘Intelligence Agency’

Friday, May 31st, 2013

סוֹכְנוּת בִּיּוּן Yesterday we saw some information about הַמּוֹסָד- the Mossad.

Today we’ll look at the general term for intelligence agencyסוֹכְנוּת בִּיּוּן.

The Hebrew word for agency is סוכנות, most recognizably in the Hebrew name of The Jewish Agencyהַסּוֹכְנוּת הַיְּהוּדִית, or simply הסוכנות- The Agency. A סוֹכֵן(male) or סוֹכֶנֶת(female) is an agent, so סוכנותmeans agency. This term comes from Biblical Hebrew.

The word for intelligence in the context of an intelligence agency is בִּיּוּן. This word comes from the Biblical root ב.ו.נ (b.w.n) or ב.י.נ (b.y.n), internalization.

You may recognize this root in the word for to understandלְהָבִין. But whereas in להבין, the root is plugged into the active-causative הִפְעִיל verb form, in ביון, the root is plugged into the active-intensive פִּעֵל form yielding the verb לְבַיֵּןand its noun form ביון.

So what do לבייןand ביון mean, specifically? In mathematics there is a concept called interpolation, which involves estimating the location of various data points within a range – a precise, sophisticated game of connect the dots. Which is exactly what an intelligence agency – a סוכנות ביון- does – it “connects the dots” in a real-life political, often international scenario to create a plan of action.

You may be familiar with the word מוֹדִיעִין, also referring to intelligence (as well as to a city situated between Tel Aviv and Jerusalem), as in חֵיל הַמּוֹדִיעִין- the IDF’s Intelligence Corps. In that phrase, intelligence refers to gathering information rather than interpoling, so מודיעין, of the root י.ד.ע meaning knowledge, is used.

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