From the editor
FROM THE EDITOR - MARK BIRDSALL
EYE SPY MAGAZINE ISSUE 115
It's over a decade since former FSB officer and MI6 agent Alexander Litvinenko was assassinated in an audacious attack on the streets of London. In this case the deadly isotope Polonium-210 was used. British Intelligence was satisfied Russia was to blame, and the authorities, after an extensive investigation and inquiry, identified two prime suspects, both with Russian Intelligence threads.
Since then, the number of deaths attributed to Russian 'dark forces' has continued to rise, and at least 25 people have been identified who could have fallen victim to Kremlin-authorised sanctions. Most have been described as opponents of President Vladimar Putin or the state - politicians, business people, bankers, journalists, lawyers etc. However, a large number have either an intelligence/military background or threads to Russia's burgeoning intelligence community.
This leads me to Sergei Skripal, a former Russian intelligence officer who was attacked in March 2018 by unidentified assailants on the streets of Salisbury, England, along with his daughter Yulia. In this case, his attacker[s] chose to use a very rare and dangerous nerve agent from the Novichoks family - VX - the 'V' standing for Venomous.
Skripal was one of four MI6 and CIA intelligence people who were exchanged for around 11 Russian spies in the 2010 FBI operation codenamed Ghost Stories. He should have been safe, protected by an unwritten Code of Conduct adhered to by all operators in the intelligence world which is effectively a promise that no retribution will be taken against exchanged spies. However, for the last two decades there have been instances which it seems Russia, officially or unofficially has chosen not to follow.
In this information-packed edition, Eye Spy examines in meticulous detail, the story of the Skripal Sanction and a variety of theories, speculation and the implications of yet another breach of the Spy Exchange code. Was it really a sponsored attack, or are there other reasons?
We have several related features prepared by intel specialists and our Editorial which covers associated issues, including 'Poison - The Assassins Playground' and a fascinating overview of spy exchanges, and why this relatively new practise is important.
Just as revealing, we examine numerous deaths linked to the so-called 'Russian List', and provide evidence of its existence. This was of course first referenced by Eye Spy five years ago - and now world governments are taking it very seriously.
Away from the darker elements of the intelligence world, leaders from the two Koreas have engaged in talks. This liaison was brokered by the CIA. If the North agrees to halt its nuclear missile programme, then the back-channel people at Langley should be congratulated. And no doubt those living in this part of the world will be much safer.
This can't be said for the peoples of the Middle East. As trouble continues in Syria (with civilians yet again allegedly attacked with WMD), Iraq, Yemen and elsewhere, one intelligence 'gem' emerged recently - this connected to two old adversaries - Israel and Iran.
For the past decade, the Mossad have been involved in many operations targeting Iran's nuclear ambitions. From the alleged assassination of key scientists, to the interception of equipment from North Korea, the Mossad has done all it can to slow Tehran's quest for the ultimate weapon - a nuclear bomb. Parallel to these actions, the international community seemed to score a success two years ago, when Iran agreed to halt most of its nuclear work, and open up its facilities to inspectors from the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA), this in return for the easing of sanctions.
Organisations such as MI6, CIA and of course, the Mossad, have throughout remained deeply suspicious. Thus when Prime Minister of Israel Benjamin Netanyahu gave a press conference and discussed the outcome of a Mossad operation, the media and world governments listened intently. 'The Institute' had performed an operation targeting a warehouse in Tehran where many nuclear secrets were housed. And all eyes were firmly fixed on the content of the documentation - 100,000 pages. These proved Iran had sought to continue parts of its nuclear-bomb programme in secret. 'Deception and Lies' is another powerful feature in Eye Spy 115.
Enjoy this brief overview of what you can expect to find in this edition..
Mark Birdsall - Editor