Revealed: How ‘Putin’s spy agency’ hit squad ‘including woman’ carried out whirlwind 30-hour Novichok mission by poisoning Skripals, ‘dumping nerve agent in park and fleeing on Aeroflot flight to Russia’

Revealed: How ‘Putin’s spy agency’ hit squad ‘including woman’ carried out whirlwind 30-hour Novichok mission by poisoning Skripals, ‘dumping nerve agent in park and fleeing on Aeroflot flight to Russia’

By Martin Robinson, Uk Chief Reporter For Mailonline

05:35 EDT 20 Jul 2018, updated 07:12 EDT 20 Jul 2018

  • Team of up to four Russian spies including woman sent to Salisbury to kill Skripals, report quotes MI6 source

• Novichok was smeared on Sergei’s front door and double agent and daughter fell ill on afternoon March 4 

• Hit squad linked to GRU military intelligence service may have flown in on March 3 and out again on  March 5

• British listening station in Cyprus may have intercepted coded message to Russia saying: ‘Package delivered’ 

• Aeroflot jet believed to have taken spies home landed in London on March 30 and UK agents searched cabin 

• Facial recognition software, 4,000 hours of CCTV and flight manifest helped ID them and their aliases 

• Dawn Sturgess died after finding discarded nerve agent in Salisbury park said to be hidden in perfume bottle 

This is the extraordinary 30-hour assassination mission to Salisbury that Britain believes was carried out by members of Russia’s feared military intelligence service specially trained to hunt down and punish traitors.

 

 

A team of up to four spies including a woman are claimed to have been sent to murder Sergei Skripal and his daughter Yulia – two agents to carry and administer the Novichok and two more as back up in case their comrades fell ill or failed.

Numerous security sources say the hit squad was probably made up of existing or former GRU agents not known to MI6 who may even have followed Yulia from Moscow to London on March 3.

Miss Skripal and her double agent father fell ill in Salisbury on March 4 and the assassins dumped the poison hidden in a perfume bottle in the Wiltshire city’s Queen Elizabeth Gardens where ill-fated couple Dawn Sturgess and Charlie Rowley found it four months later.

The team fled to Heathrow where they are believed to have flown to Moscow on an Aeroflot jet on March 5 – 30 hours after they arrived – shunning the usual circuitous spy route home via an airport in the Mediterranean, Scandinavia, Switzerland or Turkey.

 

The same day a British listening station in Cyprus is understood to have intercepted a coded message to Moscow that included the phrase: ‘The package has been delivered’ and said the team has ‘made a successful egress’.

An Aeroflot flight that landed in London on March 30 was boarded by UK’s border force for a ‘routine’ search – but MailOnline can reveal this is the same plane that could have carried the assassins home on March 5.

The inspection caused fury in Russia, whose diplomatic officials called it a ‘blatant provocation’, and its embassy in London was reportedly sufficiently concerned about the aircraft being examined to rush diplomatic staff to Heathrow.

Yesterday CNN reported that using facial recognition technology police and the secret services who pored over 4,000 hours of CCTV footage in Salisbury and UK airports identified the spies now wanted for the March 4 attack – and Dawn Sturgess’ murder.

Spooks also know the ‘fresh identities’ used to get back to Russia after cross-referencing their passport aliases with the commercial flight’s manifest.

This map shows how the assassins are believed to have escaped Britain. They poisoned the Skripals and are then thought to have dumped Novichok in a Salisbury park before fleeing to Heathrow to board a commercial flight to Russia as a coded message was then intercepted by an RAF base in Cyprus. This same plane was searched three weeks later when it returned to London, causing a further diplomatic row with Russia

This map shows how the assassins are believed to have escaped Britain. They poisoned the Skripals and are then thought to have dumped Novichok in a Salisbury park before fleeing to Heathrow to board a commercial flight to Russia as a coded message was then intercepted by an RAF base in Cyprus. This same plane was searched three weeks later when it returned to London, causing a further diplomatic row with Russia

Sergei Skripal gave secrets to the British and would settle in Salisbury near Porton Down before the assassination attempt on March 4

Sergei Skripal gave secrets to the British and would settle in Salisbury near Porton Down before the assassination attempt on March 4

This is the Aeroflot jet searched by British authorities several weeks after the poisoning, believing it was the one the assassins flew on 

This is the Aeroflot jet searched by British authorities several weeks after the poisoning, believing it was the one the assassins flew on

 

Security sources speaking shortly after the poisoning said investigators were examining the flight list for Mr Skripal’s daughter’s flight to the UK and believed the assassins  fled back to Moscow within hours of delivering the lethal agent.

Sergei Skripal was held for two years before being convicted of passing secrets to the British (pictured during his arrest in 2004) but would later be freed during a spy swap in 2010

Sergei Skripal was held for two years before being convicted of passing secrets to the British (pictured during his arrest in 2004) but would later be freed during a spy swap in 2010

It was also said at the time that spy agencies had ‘red-flagged’ an individual who arrived on a flight from Moscow the day before the Skripals were poisoned.

GRU agents are believed to have been chosen to carry out the mission.

Sergei Skripal was a colonel in Russia’s military intelligence until he defected to Britain.

Former members brave enough to speak out say that once a member of the GRU, it is exceptionally difficult to leave.

And those who do so to join foreign agencies are punished savagely.

Viktor Suvorov, a GRU officer who defected to Britain in 1978, said new recruits were shown a video of a traitor from the agency being burned alive in a furnace as a warning.

They also believe that traitors must face the “ultimate punishment” – death – and Vladimir Putin has previously said that it ‘always ends in a bad way’ for those who betray Russia.

Mr Skripal retired from military intelligence, often known by its Russian-language acronym GRU. He went on to work at the Foreign Ministry until 2003.

He was arrested in 2004 in Moscow and admitted he was recruited by British intelligence in 1995 and had provided information about GRU agents in Europe, for which he was paid more than $100,000.

Mr Skripal was one of four agents pardoned and released by Moscow in what was said at the time to be the biggest spy swap since the Cold War.

He was flown to the UK with another of the men freed by Russia in the exchange – analyst Igor Sutyagin, who was serving a 14-year sentence for spying for the US.

The spy swap took place on July 9, 2010 on the tarmac at Vienna’s airport and a Boeing 767-200 carrying the four agents was understood to have later touched down at RAF Brize Norton in Oxfordshire.

The returning Russian spies were greeted as heroes in Moscow. Mr Putin, himself a former KGB officer who served in what was then East Germany, sang patriotic songs with them.

But Mr Putin predicted a grim future for the man who had betrayed the Russian spies in the US, saying that he knew both his identity and location.

He said that a ‘Mercader has already been sent after him,’ referring to Ramon Mercader, the assassin who was sent to kill Leon Trotsky in 1940 in Mexico.

Mr Skripal was considered a traitor by Moscow at the time of the spy swap. He is thought to have done serious damage to Russian spy networks in Britain and Europe.

Police believe they have identified the suspected perpetrators of the attack on Russian former spy Sergei Skripal (pictured before the attack) and his daughter Yulia (pictured after the attack) using facial recognition technology and flight manifests

Army officers in hazardous material protective suits have entered Queen Elizabeth Gardens in Salisbury to collect an item for testing

Army officers in hazardous material protective suits have entered Queen Elizabeth Gardens in Salisbury to collect an item for testing

Today police were also searching the same park, where they believe Dawn and Charlie came across the Novichok in a perfume bottle

Today police were also searching the same park, where they believe Dawn and Charlie came across the Novichok in a perfume bottle

Police officers were today searching a stream which flows through Queen Elizabeth Gardens

Police officers were today searching a stream which flows through Queen Elizabeth Gardens

Police remain at Mr Skripal's home, where Novichok is thought to have been smeared on the front door handle

Police remain at Mr Skripal’s home, where Novichok is thought to have been smeared on the front door handle

Dawn Sturgess, 44, died last week,

Charlie Rowley, 45, is fighting for life in hospital

Dawn Sturgess (left), 44, died last week, and her partner Charlie Rowley (right), 45, is fighting for life in hospital after they found the Russian nerve agent in Amesbury, near Salisbury

How Putin’s GRU spy network casts a shadowy web of covert operations across globe

GRU was founded in 1918 after the Bolshevik Revolution

GRU was founded in 1918 after the Bolshevik Revolution

The GRU is believed by British intelligence to have been behind the Novichok attack on Sergei Skripal, who was a former colonel Russia’s military intelligence until he defected to Britain.

The agency, whose best known emblem is a bat hovering above a globe, was founded as the Registration Directorate in 1918 after the Bolshevik Revolution.

Revolutionary Vladimir Lenin insisted on its independence from other secret services and until the fall of the Soviet Union it was subordinate to the more famous and feared KGB, the notorious internal security service.

The KGB was ultimately succeeded by the FSB – the Federal Security Service of the Russian Federation run by Vladimir Putin, who a KGB officer for 16 years and later briefly the head of the FSB.

According to Yuri Shvets, a one-time KGB agent, GRU officers were referred to as ‘boots’ – tough but unsophisticated killers.

‘The GRU took its officers from the trenches,’ he said, while the KGB picked its agents – including Putin – from the USSR’s best universities.

The GRU trains agents and then sends them abroad as military attaches in foreign embassies, according to experts.

But once a member of the GRU, it is believed to be exceptionally difficult to leave. And those who do so to join foreign agencies are punished savagely.

Viktor Suvorov, a GRU officer who defected to Britain in 1978, said new recruits were shown a video of a traitor from the agency being burned alive in a furnace as a warning.

It is believed that GRU members are still  staffing Russian embassies and using their diplomatic posts as cover to spy on host countries.

That is why the Obama administration expelled 35 Russian diplomats as retaliation against the hacking of the Democratic Party just weeks before leaving office.

It is also why the British government expelled 23 diplomats on March 23 following the outrage in Salisbury. The US expelled 60.

Britain’s investigation into the poisoning has taken on added urgency after Dawn Sturgess, 44, died this month having supposedly coming into contact with the same batch of Novichok four months after it was abandoned by the Russians.

Searches have been carried out Queen Elizabeth Gardens for several days with some areas of the park covered by Army experts in hazmat suits and other areas examined by police in ordinary uniforms.

It comes as an inquest opens today into the death of Dawn Sturgess (pictured), who died this month after apparently coming into contact with the same batch of Novichok

It comes as an inquest opens today into the death of Dawn Sturgess (pictured), who died this month after apparently coming into contact with the same batch of Novichok

Yesterday Army experts in Hazmat suits and wearing breathing apparatus bagged up items found by a tree yesterday

It is thought the difference in clothing reflects the perceived level of risk of coming into contact with hazardous materials in different parts of the park.

The nerve agent was hidden in a perfume bottle, suggesting one of the assassins may have been a woman, and that Ms Sturgess sprayed the deadly substance onto her wrists after finding it in a park.

Her partner Charlie Rowley, 45, was left fighting for his life after also being contaminated by the chemical weapon.

It is understood mother-of-three Ms Sturgess was exposed to at least 10 times the amount of nerve agent the Skripals came into contact with.

Mr Rowley says that after finding the bottle, Ms Sturgess sprayed Novichok straight on to both of her wrists, the source said.

Investigators are working to the theory that the substance was in a discarded perfume bottle found by the couple in a park or somewhere in Salisbury city centre, most likely the park now being searched.

The Metropolitan Police, who are leading the investigation, have declined to comment on the latest claims.

But a source with knowledge of the investigation told the Press Association: ‘Investigators believe they have identified the suspected perpetrators of the Novichok attack through CCTV and have cross-checked this with records of people who entered the country around that time.

‘They (the investigators) are sure they (the suspects) are Russian.’

According to reports from US security officials, police have recovered grainy CCTV images of persons who inadvertently killed Dawn.

Counter-terror cops are closing in on identifying the suspects, thought to be from Mr Skripal’s former employers, Russia’s military intelligence service the GRU.

Police outside Mr Rowley's home in Amesbury, Wiltshire, on July 5 after he and Ms Sturgess picked up a perfume bottle containing the chemical weapon Novichok

Police outside Mr Rowley’s home in Amesbury, Wiltshire, on July 5 after he and Ms Sturgess picked up a perfume bottle containing the chemical weapon Novichok

A police officer stands guard over a cordoned off rubbish bin after Dawn Sturgess and Charlie Rowley fell ill in Amesbury

A police officer stands guard over a cordoned off rubbish bin after Dawn Sturgess and Charlie Rowley fell ill in Amesbury

Both Mr Skripal and his daughter, as well as Detective Sergeant Nick Bailey, of Wiltshire Police, made miraculous recoveries after being on the brink of death.

All three were treated at Salisbury General Hospital, where Charlie is now being cared for.

The perfume bottle could support the theory that a woman was involved in the initial hit by up to six people against Sergei and Yulia Skripal in Salisbury on March 4.

Ms Sturgess’ inquest will be opened today in Salisbury and the hearing is expected to be adjourned to allow police inquiries to continue.

On Wednesday, a fingertip search of Queen Elizabeth Gardens in Salisbury was carried out.

The park and other locations in Salisbury and nearby Amesbury were cordoned off last month after the exposure of the couple to the nerve agent.

Searches of properties could last months after 400 items were recovered, officers warned, while waste and litter will be removed as part of the sweep of public areas.

Last week counter-terrorism detectives revealed they had found a small bottle containing Novichok at Mr Rowley’s home in Muggleton Road, Amesbury.

They are trying to establish where the container came from, and how it came to be in his house.

A team of international experts from the Organisation for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons (OPCW) was called in to independently verify this.

They have finished collecting samples which will now be analysed at two OPCW labs before the results are reported back to the UK.

Public Health England said the risk to the public remains low but it continued to ‘strongly advise’ not to pick up any unknown ‘strange items’ such as syringes, needles, cosmetics or similar objects made of materials such as metal, plastic or glass.

A timeline of the key developments in the Salisbury poisoning case

2010 – Sergei Skripal, a former Russian military intelligence officer jailed for spying for Britain, is released and flown to the UK as part of a swap with Russian agents caught in the United States. He settles in Salisbury.

March 3, 2018 – Yulia Skripal arrives at Heathrow Airport from Russia to visit her father in England.

March 4, 9.15am – Sergei Skripal’s burgundy BMW is seen in suburban Salisbury, near a cemetery, where his wife and son are commemorated.

March 4, 1.30pm – The BMW is seen driving toward central Salisbury.

March 4, 1.40pm – The BMW is parked at a lot in central Salisbury.

A police officer stands guard outside the Zizzi restaurant where Sergei and Yulia had lunch before they collapsed in a nearby park

A police officer stands guard outside the Zizzi restaurant where Sergei and Yulia had lunch before they collapsed in a nearby park

March 4, afternoon – Sergei and Yulia Skripal visit the Bishops Mill pub.

March 4, 2.20pm to 3.35pm – Sergei and Yulia Skripal have lunch at the Zizzi restaurant.

March 4, 4.15pm – Emergency services are called by a passer-by concerned about a man and a woman in Salisbury city centre.

Officers find the Skripals unconscious on a bench. They are taken to Salisbury District Hospital, where they remain in critical condition.

March 5, morning – Police say two people in Salisbury are being treated for suspected exposure to an unknown substance.

Detective Sergeant Nick Bailey was among the first police officers on the scene and was himself hospitalised

Detective Sergeant Nick Bailey was among the first police officers on the scene and was himself hospitalised

March 5, afternoon – Wiltshire Police, along with Public Health England, declare a ‘major incident’

March 7 – Police announce that the Skripals were likely poisoned with a nerve agent in a targeted murder attempt.

They disclose that a police officer who responded to the incident is in serious condition in a hospital.

March 8 – Home Secretary Amber Rudd describes the use of a nerve agent on UK soil was a ‘brazen and reckless act’ of attempted murder

March 9 – About 180 troops trained in chemical warfare and decontamination are deployed to Salisbury to help with the police investigation.

Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov says Moscow might be willing to assist with the investigation but expresses resentment at suggestions the Kremlin was behind the attack.

March 11 – Public health officials tell people who visited the Zizzi restaurant or Bishops Mill pub in Salisbury on the day of the attack or the next day to wash their clothes as a precaution.

March 12, morning– Prime Minister Theresa May tells the House of Commons that the Skripals were poisoned with Novichok, a military-grade nerve agent developed by the Soviet Union during the Cold War.

March 12, afternoon – Public Health England ask everyone who visited Salisbury town centre on the day of the attack to wash all of their clothes and belongings.

Officers wearing chemical protection suits secure the forensic tent over the bench where Sergei and Yulia fell ill

Officers wearing chemical protection suits secure the forensic tent over the bench where Sergei and Yulia fell ill

March 14 – The PM announces the expulsion of 23 suspected Russian spies from the country’s UK Embassy.

March 22 – Nick Bailey, the police officer injured in the attack, is released from hospital.

March 26 – The United States and 22 other countries join Britain in expelling scores of Russian spies from capitals across the globe.

March 29 – Doctors say Yulia Skripal is ‘improving rapidly’ in hospital.

April 3 – The chief of the Porton Down defence laboratory said it could not verify the ‘precise source’ of the nerve agent.

April 5, morning – Yulia Skripal’s cousin Viktoria says she has received a call from Yulia saying she plans to leave hospital soon.

Dawn Sturgess died in hospital on July 8

Dawn Sturgess died in hospital on July 8

April 5, afternoon – A statement on behalf of Yulia is released by Metropolitan Police, in which she says her strength is ‘growing daily’ and that ‘daddy is fine’.

April 9 – Ms Skripal is released from hospital and moved to a secure location.

May 18 – Sergei Skripal is released from hospital 11 weeks after he was poisoned.

June 30 – Dawn Sturgess and Charlie Rowley fall ill at a property in Amesbury, which is eight miles from Salisbury, and are rushed to hospital.

July 4 – Police declare a major incident after Ms Sturgess and Mr Rowley are exposed to an ‘unknown substance’, later revealed to be Novichok.

July 5 – Sajid Javid demands an explanation over the two poisonings as he accuses the Russian state of using Britain as a ‘dumping ground for poison’.

July 8 – Mother-of-three Dawn Sturgess, 44, dies in hospital due to coming into contact with Novichok.

July 10 – Mr Rowley regains consciousness at hospital, and later tells his brother that Dawn had sprayed the Novichok onto her wrists.

July 19 – Police are believed to have identified the perpetrators of the attack.

Time magazine’s ‘creepy’ Putin-Trump cover is what media subversion really looks like

Time magazine’s ‘creepy’ Putin-Trump cover is what media subversion really looks like

Published time: 19 Jul, 2018 17:20

© TIME

712

Staring out from the front cover of this week’s ‘Time’ magazine is a striking, unsettling picture of Vladimir Putin and Donald Trump morphed into one. The hidden, yet unsubtle messaging behind the image is equally unsettling.

Time describes the image as “meaning to represent this particular moment in US foreign policy, following the pair’s recent meeting in Helsinki, Finland.”  However, what it really represents is the way that a major US media outlet wants its readers to see these two men.  As strange and creepy figures who are in some way linked.

TIME

@TIME

TIME’s new cover: Trump wanted a summit with Putin. He got way more than he bargained for

https://

ti.me/2zRJayx

 

6:22 AM – Jul 19, 2018


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The publication cannot write a story which backs up allegations that the two presidents have some kind of conspiratorial relationship, but it can print an image which insinuates it, demanding your attention and entering your subconscious. If investigators want a textbook example of how the media attempts to subvert and influence, then look no further.

How many other morphed images of world leaders has Time featured on its famed front page?  None. There is no Trerkel, no Macrump not even a Tru Jong-Un. With these leaders there is no conspiracy to sell and no bandwagon on which to jump.

The US is still wrestling with the reality of Trump as president and claims of election interference. The mainstream constantly debates how it was allowed to happen at all, and here Time wants to provide the answer in one unsettling picture. It must have been Putin, the two are so close they could be one person the image suggests, they’re two sides of the same coin.

RT can exclusively reveal that the two do, in fact, have extremely serious connections: they both currently find themselves as the leaders of the two biggest nuclear powers on Earth. That is an incontrovertible fact and, as Trump said in Helsinki, he decided to take a political risk by meeting Putin in an attempt to reduce tensions. In America’s current political climate that is more than enough to get you an insidious Time magazine front page.

The idea is not original. German news magazine ‘Der Spiegel’ did the identical thing last year by morphing the two men on its cover page. The aesthetic was less psycho warfare horror movie, and more Soviet schtick.

Mathieu von Rohr

@mathieuvonrohr

New @time cover vs March 2017 @DerSPIEGEL cover

9:14 AM – Jul 19, 2018


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Der Spiegel’s headline was at least more transparent in what it was trying to say ‘The double regent: how much Putin is in Trump?

Time’s simple ‘The Summit Crisis’ is short and ambiguous enough that the reader has more time to let the hidden meaning of the image settle in.

Has it worked?  You only have to look on Twitter to see the words people are using to describe the front page: “Creepy,” “nightmare,” “scary” and “chilling.” Time magazine: mission accomplished.

Broke dropkick’ another player in alleged Vaucluse dark web syndicate (Australian Silk Road)

Broke dropkick’ another player in alleged Vaucluse dark web syndicate

 

By Sally Rawsthorne 19 July 2018

Eastern suburbs friends Chaim Goldstein and Dov Tenenboim have a lot more in common than their education at a prestigious Sydney college and luxury travel around the globe.

Now in their 30s, they attended the exclusive Moriah College together and have remained close ever since – Mr Tenenboim even helped Mr Goldstein with his boutique denim business, which has since collapsed.

But police allege the relationship goes much deeper – that Mr Goldstein is a player in the alleged dark web drug syndicate run by Mr Tenenboim, the alleged kingpin, from his luxury Vaucluse apartment.

Dov Tenenboim and Chaim Goldstein.

Photo: Supplied

Police will allege in court that when officers from Strike Force Bergmark swooped on Mr Goldstein in Bondi in May, he was in possession of 54g of ketamine and half a kilogram of amphetamines.

He was charged with one count of suppling an indictable amount of a prohibited drug and two counts of supplying a commercial volume of a prohibited drug.

Mr Tenenboim, who police allege was the ringleader of the alleged dark web syndicate that conspired to import drugs from Europe via the postal system, was arrested outside the Vaucluse apartment he shared with his fiancee in June.

Alleged drug supplier Chaim Goldstein.

Photo: Facebook

Court documents obtained by the Herald show Mr Tenenboim was allegedly ordering packages of drugs to locations across the eastern suburbs.

He was also charged with onselling the drugs in 300 gram units over a number of months. Following his arrest, in which police allegedly found two grams of cocaine and one gram of MDMA on him, officers raided his Diamond Road apartment.

Dov Tenenboim was arrested in Diamond Bay Road in Vaucluse.

 

Officers seized bitcoin worth $350,000 and $69,685 in cash suspected to be proceeds of crime, plus a diamond ring, mobile phones and computers.

Mr Tenenboim described himself as an “elite hacker” in binary code on the Facebook page that also boasted of his luxurious travel, including business-class flights and trips across the globe.

Like his school friend, Mr Goldstein appeared to live the good life before his arrest.

Picture promoting alleged drug supplier Chaim Goldstein’s denim company Billycock.

Photo: Facebook

The self-described “broke dropkick” 33-year-old lives in an apartment just a moments’ stroll from Bondi Beach.

 

 

He founded boutique denim company Billycock, which folded in 2016 after producing a series of controversial video clips featuring people being murdered for their jeans.

Mr Goldstein’s online profile shows him at the Pier One Hotel, the Qantas first-class lounge and the Hilton Hotel in Tel Aviv at various times.

On Wednesday, he wore a dark suit as he attended Waverley Local Court with his father to apply to vary the bail condition dictating that he report daily to the police station.

Magistrate Michael Barko refused the application for less onerous conditions, telling him he was “lucky to be walking the streets of Sydney”.

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“If he’d been before me [for his first appearance], he wouldn’t have had bail.”

Mr Goldstein will next appear at the Downing Centre on August 29.

Dark web drug lord’ and elite hacker was ‘aided in plot to traffic millions of dollars in cocaine and MDMA’ by his elite private school mate

‘Dark web drug lord’ and elite hacker was ‘aided in plot to traffic millions of dollars in cocaine and MDMA’ by his elite private school mate

By Josh Hanrahan For Daily Mail Australia

23:10 EDT 19 Jul 2018, updated 23:11 EDT 19 Jul 2018

• Two Sydney mates are charged with being involved in a dark web drug syndicate

• Computer expert Dov Tenenboim, 33, is alleged to have been syndicate kingpin

• Chaim Goldstein, who went to private school with him, is also allegedly involved

• Police allege the international syndicate brought drugs into Australia via post 

A computer expert charged with running an international drug syndicate via the dark web, was allegedly aided by his best mate from an elite private school.

 

Dov Tenenboim, 33, was arrested last month when a team of heavily armed tactical police officers swooped on his apartment in the luxury Sydney suburb of Vaucluse.

Tenenboim, a self-proclaimed ‘elite (computer) hacker’, was charged with 45 counts relating to the alleged syndicate, which police believe imported drugs from Europe.

But it was alleged in court this week it was revealed that Tenenboim’s friend Chaim Goldstein, his classmate at the prestigious Moriah College, was involved as a partner in the international smuggling ring, the Sydney Morning Herald reports.

“Dov Teneinbom (pictured) is alleged to have been the kingpin of an international drug syndicate”/>

Dov Teneinbom (pictured) is alleged to have been the kingpin of an international drug syndicate

“His mate Chaim Goldstein (pictured) is also alleged to have been involved”/>

His mate Chaim Goldstein (pictured) is also alleged to have been involved

“Tenenboim, a self-proclaimed ‘elite (computer) hacker’, was charged with 45 counts relating to the syndicate

Tenenboim, a self-proclaimed ‘elite (computer) hacker’, was charged with 45 counts relating to the syndicate (Stock image)

Prior to their arrests both Tenenboim and Goldstein bragged on social media about their lavish lifestyles.

Both regularly flew in style to top international destinations, while Goldstein owned his own clothing business ‘Billycock’ before it folded in 2016.

It’s alleged that Tenenboim and his best mate Goldstein, used postal services to get the drugs from Europe into Australia.

S

A joint taskforce between the Australian Border Force, Australian Federal Police and interstate police worked together to track suspicious parcels.

It’s alleged the parcels were delivered right across the country to not only NSW but  also Victoria, Queensland, South Australia and Western Australia.

When police swooped on the apartment Tenenboim shared with his fiancee on June 8, they allegedly found drugs including cocaine, MDMA and methylamphetamine.

“Prior to his arrest, Goldstein (pictured) owned a failed clothing business and regularly flew in style to international destinations”/>

Prior to his arrest, Goldstein (pictured) owned a failed clothing business and regularly flew in style to international destinations

“Police swooped on the apartment Tenenboim shared with his fiancee on June 8 (pictured) and allegedly seized close to $350,000 worth of Bitcoin, $69,685 in cash, mobile phones, computers and a diamond ring”

Police swooped on the apartment Tenenboim shared with his fiancee on June 8 (pictured) and allegedly seized close to $350,000 worth of Bitcoin, $69,685 in cash, mobile phones, computers and a diamond ring

Officers also allegedly seized close to $350,000 worth of Bitcoin, $69,685 in cash, mobile phones, computers and a diamond ring.

Appearing before Waverley Local Court on Wednesday, Goldstein was refused bail.

Magistrate Michael Barko told Goldstein he was ‘lucky to be walking the streets of Sydney’ following his initial arrest.

‘If he’d been before me [for his first appearance], he wouldn’t have had bail,’ he told Goldstein.

Goldstein will next appear at the Downing Centre on August 29, while Tenenboim is due before Waverley Local Court on August 8.

“Officers also allegedly found drugs (pictured) including cocaine, methylamphetamine and MDMA”/>

Officers also allegedly found drugs (pictured) including cocaine, methylamphetamine and MDMA

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Vaucluse: Chaim Goldstein – a ‘broke dropkick’ who was a player in alleged dark web syndicate

Mossad Says It Helped Foil an Iranian Terror Attack in France

A police car in Paris in June. Francois Mori/AP

Mossad Says It Helped Foil an Iranian Terror Attack in France

The Mossad gave Germany, France and Belgium crucial intelligence information about the planned attack, which led to arrests of a cell headed by an Iranian diplomat

Chaim Levinson

19.07.2018 | 23:34

The Mossad said to have thwarted an Iranian plot to attack a gathering of Iranian dissidents in a Paris suburb in June. On Thursday, Israel lifted censorship on the publication of the operation.

The Mossad gave Germany, France and Belgium crucial intelligence information about the attack, which led to arrests of a cell headed by an Iranian diplomat.

The opposition rally was due to include a speech by U.S. President Donald Trump’s lawyer, Rudy Giuliani.

According to news reports, Mossad agents tracked down suspects in several countries.

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu alluded to the operation in a speech he gave in July: “I call on the leaders of Europe: Stop funding the very regime that is sponsoring terrorism against you and against so many others. Stop appeasing Iran.”

The reason for the censorship is unknown and it’s not clear why the Israel’s intelligence agency changed its position Thursday evening to lift the censorship to publish the report.

Zuckerberg defends Facebook users’ right to be wrong – even Holocaust deniers

Zuckerberg defends Facebook users’ right to be wrong – even Holocaust deniers

CEO explains decision not to censor conspiracy theories but says the platform will try to ‘reduce distribution of content’

Sam Levin in San Francisco and Olivia Solon in Menlo Park

Wed 18 Jul 2018 18.37 EDT

First published on Wed 18 Jul 2018 16.00 EDT

 

Mark Zuckerberg defended the rights of Facebook users to publish Holocaust denial posts, saying he didn’t “think that they’re intentionally getting it wrong”.

In an interview with Recode published on Wednesday, the CEO also explained Facebook’s decision to allow the far-right conspiracy theory website Infowars to continue using the platform, saying the social network would try to “reduce the distribution of that content”, but would not censor the page.

Zuckerberg’s comments came the same day that Facebook announced a new policy pledging to remove misinformation used to incite physical harm.

The CEO’s remarks to Recode have reignited debates about free speech on the social network at a time when Facebook is continuing to face scrutiny over its role in spreading misinformation, propaganda and hate speech across the globe.

How Facebook flouts Holocaust denial laws except where it fears being sued

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Last year, the Guardian reported on internal Facebook moderation documents which suggested that the company flouted Holocaust denial laws except in countries where it was likely to be sued or prosecuted.

 

Zuckerberg, who has also come under fire for Facebook’s role in election interference efforts and the company’s misuse of personal data, reiterated his commitment to allowing abhorrent content on the platform in the latest interview.

 

 

He said Holocaust deniers were “deeply offensive”, but “I don’t believe that our platform should take that down because I think there are things that different people get wrong. I don’t think that they’re intentionally getting it wrong … It’s hard to impugn intent and to understand the intent. I just think, as abhorrent as some of those examples are, I think the reality is also that I get things wrong when I speak publicly.”

Zuckerberg said offensive speech can cross a line and face removal when it is harassing or endangering people: “We are moving towards the policy of misinformation that is aimed at or going to induce violence, we are going to take down … If it’s going to result in real harm, real physical harm, or if you’re attacking individuals, then that content shouldn’t be on the platform.”

Platforms like Facebook and YouTube have faced intense scrutiny for allowing the far-right commentator Alex Jones to continue to host his Infowars site, which most infamously has spread the false claim that the Sandy Hook mass shooting that killed 20 schoolchildren was a hoax.

That content, Zuckerberg said, would be removed if it was abusive towards an individual: “Going to someone who is a victim of Sandy Hook and telling them, ‘Hey, no, you’re a liar’ – that is harassment, and we actually will take that down.”

Zuckerberg also faced repeated questions about his feelings on Facebook’s influence in Myanmar, where hate speech has exploded on the platform, with some linking killings to content on the site. He did not answer directly, but said: “People use tools for good and bad, but I think that we have a clear responsibility to make sure that the good is amplified and to do everything we can to mitigate the bad.”

After publication of this story, Zuckerberg issued a statement clarifying his Holocaust remarks, saying: “I absolutely didn’t intend to defend the intent of people who deny [the Holocaust]. Our goal with fake news is not to prevent anyone from saying something untrue – but to stop fake news and misinformation spreading across our services.”

If something false were to spread, fact checkers would rate it false and the post “would lose the vast majority of its distribution” on the newsfeed, the statement added.

On Wednesday, Facebook told reporters at its Menlo Park headquarters that it would be taking down misinformation used to provoke physical harm, rather than just de-ranking it in the news feed.

An anti-Facebook protest in London. Photograph: Facundo Arrizabalaga/EPA

The announcement was spurred by outbreaks of anti-Muslim violence in Sri Lanka. One of the triggers for the violence was posts spreading misinformation about the Muslim community. The situation escalated to the point that the Sri Lankan government temporarily blocked Facebook’s services in March after misinformation inciting violence remained online for days after it was reported.

 

The company said it was working with civil society groups to better understand how misinformation spurs local tensions but that it had yet to draw up clear criteria for what constitutes violence, and which other countries apart from Sri Lanka would be the initial focus of the policy.

“At the moment we are starting the work in countries where we’ve recently seen instances where misinformation has been perceived to contribute to physical violence offline,” explained Facebook’s Tessa Lyons.

Facebook said that last month it had removed content falsely alleging that Muslims were poisoning food intended for Buddhists after local partners indicated it could incite violence.

The policy would eventually be implemented globally, the company said.

In his interview, Zuckerberg was also asked about the Cambridge Analytica data scandal, which the Guardian first reported in 2015. In March, the Observer and the Guardian revealed that millions of Americans’ personal data was harvested from the site through an app and improperly shared with Cambridge Analytica, a political consultancy.

The death of truth: how we gave up on facts and ended up with Trump

 

In the interview, the CEO noted that the Guardian “initially” alerted Facebook to the work of Aleksandr Kogan, the academic researcher who harvested the data, saying: “And when we learned about that, we immediately shut down the app, took away his profile, and demanded certification that the data was deleted.”

Facebook, however, did not suspend Kogan and the associated company until March of 2018, despite the Guardian’s reporting several years prior. A spokesperson later said that Zuckerberg had misspoken when he claimed the company “immediately … took away his profile”, admitting that this removal had not happened until this year.

Five years after whistleblower Edward Snowden fled the US for Moscow, there’s growing evidence the Russians are getting fed up with him too (as his girlfriend reveals glimpses of their secret lives) 

 

  • This month marks fifth anniversary of Edward Snowden’s escape from Hawaii
  • He revealed almost all US telephone firms handed the NSA their phone records
  • But now, it appears even the Russians are becoming tiresome of Snowden 
This month saw the fifth anniversary of Edward Snowden’s escape from his Hawaii home to Moscow via Hong Kong, having committed the largest leak of top-secret intelligence data in history

This month saw the fifth anniversary of Edward Snowden’s escape from his Hawaii home to Moscow via Hong Kong, having committed the largest leak of top-secret intelligence data in history

Do you remember convicted MI6 traitor and Soviet agent George Blake, who escaped over the wall of Wormwood Scrubs in London, where he was serving a 42-year sentence? He fled across Europe and has lived in Russia ever since.

Blake, who got away in 1966, now spends his time in a Kremlin-provided dacha — or country house — at Kratovo, not far from Moscow. He also has an apartment in a quiet street in the centre of the capital. These locations are not state secrets.

Last year, on the eve of his 95th birthday, Blake paid tribute to the SVR, the foreign intelligence service successor to the Communist-era KGB. ‘I believe that you will serve our common cause selflessly and courageously,’ he declared in a statement delivered via the state-approved media.

Compare and contrast Blake with former American National Security Agency contractor and CIA operative Edward Snowden, who betrayed American and British intelligence on an industrial scale.

Snowden, of course, would never describe himself as a Russian spy. Nor would his many millions of adoring liberal supporters. Rather than the ‘traitor’ the U.S. authorities have declared him to be, Snowden is a ‘hero’ or a ‘whistleblower’.

He claims his actions were not a betrayal of his country but a public service; a light shone on the massive surveillance capabilities and abuses of the American and British secret states.

This month saw the fifth anniversary of Snowden’s escape from his Hawaii home to Moscow via Hong Kong, having committed the largest leak of top-secret intelligence data in history. The scale and impact was astounding, and the reverberations continue to this day.

In co-operation with The Guardian and Washington Post newspapers, Snowden revealed that almost every telephone company in America had been providing the National Security Agency (NSA) with their customers’ phone records.

Documents leaked by Snowden also uncovered the existence of a surveillance programme under which the NSA used clandestine court orders to access personal data via tech giants such as Google and Facebook.

There have been no TV interviews, not even with Russia’s English language propaganda organ RT to mark the latest landmark

The agency intercepted hundreds of millions of text messages around the world each day and by deploying another previously unknown computer tool was able to see what anybody had done on the internet.

Most embarrassing, diplomatically, was the bugging of more than 100 world leaders, including German Chancellor Angel Merkel.

Snowden also provided evidence that GCHQ — Britain’s NSA equivalent — had tapped fibre optic cables around the world to collect vast amounts of private internet data.

The intelligence was shared with the Americans and gained with the collaboration of companies such as BT and Vodafone.

In the U.S., Snowden’s leaks led to some reforms in the law — the end of bulk telephone data collection for example — and a greater transparency from the intelligence services in relation to state surveillance.

But senior politicians from all sides and spy chiefs in Washington and London expressed horror at the damage Snowden had inflicted on Western intelligence, not to mention risking the lives of agents.

For their tools, methods and networks were laid bare to hostile foreign powers and terror networks which, they insisted, were the real targets of the surveillance.

Masterspy of Moscow: George Blake in 2015
George Blake, who got away in 1966, now spends his time in a Kremlin-provided dacha — or country house — at Kratovo not far from Moscow. He also has an apartment in a quiet street in the centre of the capital. These locations are not state secrets

Then and now: George Blake, who got away in 1966, now spends his time in a Kremlin-provided dacha — or country house — at Kratovo not far from Moscow. He also has an apartment in a quiet street in the centre of the capital. These locations are not state secrets. Pictured: (left) Blake now (right) Blake in 1966

Their fury was only sharpened by Snowden finding sanctuary with one of those hostile powers; a resurgent old foe which happened to be among the most dictatorial and surveillance-heavy states on the planet.

So what has happened to Mr Snowden? One thing’s for sure: the TV cameras focusing on the World Cup are unlikely to spot him. Since he first came to Russia, Snowden’s profile has become even more secretive, to the extent he is almost invisible.

Young Russians are as eager as their Western counterparts to post pictures of celebrities they have spotted in the street on social media. It never happens to Snowden.

His appearances over the internet using the Skype video system — so often beamed to foreign-held conferences on subjects close to his heart — have dried up. He is tweeting less frequently.

Snowden and his girlfriend Lindsay playing video games. When asked where they live Miss Mills said she does not 'discuss locations' 

Snowden and his girlfriend Lindsay playing video games. When asked where they live Miss Mills said she does not ‘discuss locations’

Lindsay Mills (pictured) — who has described herself as a ‘world-travelling, pole-dancing super hero’ — offers perhaps the most intriguing commentary on their secret lives 

Lindsay Mills (pictured) — who has described herself as a ‘world-travelling, pole-dancing super hero’ — offers perhaps the most intriguing commentary on their secret lives

Lovers of the flower here tell me the Moscow season was over three weeks ago. But in the Urals and Siberia they’re still in bloom

Lovers of the flower here tell me the Moscow season was over three weeks ago. But in the Urals and Siberia they’re still in bloom

When he gave a fifth anniversary interview this month to his old collaborators at The Guardian — in which he claimed to have ‘no regrets’ — it was conducted by telephone, rather than face to face. (His first anniversary interview with the same paper took place in person in a Moscow hotel room.)

There have been no TV interviews, not even with Russia’s English language propaganda organ RT to mark the latest landmark.

Indeed, all the signs are that his relationship with his hosts has begun to sour.

While his permission to stay in Russia was extended last year to 2020, it’s interesting that Snowden recently used social media to criticise ballot fraud in the March 2018 poll which saw Mr Putin elected president almost unopposed for a third term. He has also used Twitter to rail against the Kremlin’s operations to suppress free speech.

There is even a rumour going around state media circles that he has been sent to Perm, a city in the Urals which is most famous — or notorious — for its gulag prison camps during Soviet times.

It has been dismissed by some as no more than a dark joke, except for one thing: last week Snowden’s long-term girlfriend, an American dancer and photographer called Lindsay Mills, posted a picture on Instagram of her smelling a blooming lilac.

Lovers of the flower here tell me the Moscow season was over three weeks ago. But in the Urals and Siberia they’re still in bloom.

In whichever corner of this vast nation Snowden has made his home, if he really was the wide-eyed free speech activist he claims to have been, his exile in Russia must have become increasingly difficult for him as Putin sought to re-establish Russia’s power at home and abroad.

Russia’s nefarious military adventurism in Ukraine, Crimea and Syria may well have given this supposed idealist pause for thought. Not to mention the double poisoning of the Skripals in Salisbury earlier this year. Meanwhile, in Russia, opposition activists have been beaten up, arrested, jailed, or even killed in mysterious circumstances.

So does Putin’s pet spy, who will celebrate his 35th birthday today, feel like the walls are closing in on him?

Shortly after Snowden fled America, a former CIA chief predicted that he would also end his days there ‘isolated, bored, lonely, depressed…and alcoholic’.

Snowden does not drink and seems devoted to girlfriend Lindsay. She has joined him in Russia having been unaware at the time, he says, of his intention to cause a haemorrhage of Western intelligence. But isolated he certainly is.

All you need to know about Edward Snowden and the leaks

In the early days of his exile, a number of obviously stage-managed photographs of Snowden, enjoying ‘everyday life’ in Moscow, were released to the world’s media.

There was Snowden at the supermarket, in the audience at the Bolshoi Theatre, or gazing across the Moscow river. Life wasn’t so bad outside the clutches of evil capitalist American, was the subtext.

A 2014 film documentary called Citizenfour offered another tantalising glimpse of Snowden’s apparent cosy domesticity. The silent footage of the spy making pasta with his girlfriend, who had joined him in Moscow that July, could only have been shot with the approval and co-operation of Putin’s security services.

Observers here doubt the flat in which the scene allegedly took place was really their home. There were rumours that he lived in a modest one-bedroom furnished flat provided by the state. But nothing has been substantiated.

Lindsay Mills — who has described herself as a ‘world-travelling, pole-dancing super hero’ — offers perhaps the most intriguing commentary on their secret lives. Her Instagram account dates back to before Snowden cut and ran from Hawaii. The photographs are mostly self-portraits, the scenes often rural; some were clearly taken outside Russia since she can travel freely, unlike her boyfriend.

A Christmas shot of the pair told the world they were taking on 'Japanese tradition of KFC Christmas chicken' in 2016

A Christmas shot of the pair told the world they were taking on ‘Japanese tradition of KFC Christmas chicken’ in 2016

Arty Linsday Mills often posts #self portraits' when she is not uploading images of herself and her boyfriend from their hideaway 

Arty Linsday Mills often posts #self portraits’ when she is not uploading images of herself and her boyfriend from their hideaway

Lindsay has posted images from various locations since she is still free to travel, although her boyfriend is not 

Lindsay has posted images from various locations since she is still free to travel, although her boyfriend is not

Artistic and acrobatic: Mills, a dancer  has been dating Snowden since 2009 — four years before his famous leak

Artistic and acrobatic: Mills, a dancer has been dating Snowden since 2009 — four years before his famous leak

In love: The pair appear to be smitten in Instagram posts uploaded by Lindsay who appears to be living with Snowden 

In love: The pair appear to be smitten in Instagram posts uploaded by Lindsay who appears to be living with Snowden

The 2014 documentary Citizenfour revealed athletic Lindsay was living with Snowden. It is believed she regularly returns to the US

The 2014 documentary Citizenfour revealed athletic Lindsay was living with Snowden. It is believed she regularly returns to the US

Her first comment on the controversy dates from June 10, 2013, around the time Snowden was identified as the whistleblower. She wrote: ‘I have lost my compass and find myself adrift in a sea of chaos. Goodbye my friends. I’ll see you when the waves calmly set my vessel back on dry land.’

Her next post did not appear until October that year, after which she went silent again until March 2015.

The following month she appeared to be back in the States, posting a picture of a house flying the Stars and Stripes with the message: ‘Happy Easter…from the surveillance blimp #America.’

September 2015 saw her in Russia and posing with a chocolate bust of Lenin.

A year or so later, she posted a rare picture of herself with Snowden together on a boat. There was another portrait of the couple that Christmas; Snowden and Mills feeding each other KFC nuggets. Moscow has a dozen of the American fast food outlets. ‘I love you!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! One hero & princess!’ one fan posted in response.

The most recent photograph of the couple was posted on her Instagram account on Valentine’s Day this year. She and Snowden were on a sofa playing a video game. But where? ‘I don’t discuss my locations,’ she has told one of several inquiring followers.

A more recent post suggested unhappiness. Accompanying another self-portrait of Mills, 33, a verse spoke of being ‘constricted from root to canopy’ by an ‘unstoppable force whose mission is to slowly squeeze her brilliance…until the light fades and only a shadowy shell remains’.

And Snowden himself has begun to turn his social media guns on the Kremlin.

When Putin won a resounding victory in the Russian presidential election in March, Snowden tweeted: ‘The ballot-stuffing seen today in Moscow and elsewhere in the Russian election is an effort to steal the influence of 140+ million people. Demand justice; demand laws and courts that matter. Take your future back.’

Lindsay Mills an American dancer and photographer is the long term girlfriend of Snowden 

Lindsay Mills an American dancer and photographer is the long term girlfriend of Snowden

Mystery location: Linsday Mills has posted images of her and boyfriend Edward Snowden online but does not give away where they are

Mystery location: Linsday Mills has posted images of her and boyfriend Edward Snowden online but does not give away where they are

Moscow was only supposed to be a temporary refuge, or so the Snowden camp say. He was holed up in one of the city’s airports for weeks while he sought asylum elsewhere in the world.

But with America desperate to get their hands on him, no one wanted such a diplomatic nightmare. And so he remains trapped. In 2016, Snowden asked to be granted a pardon by the outgoing President Barack Obama. His appeal was rejected.

For all President Donald Trump’s unfathomably close ties to Mr Putin — he has just called for Russia to be readmitted to the G8 group of leading nations — the runaway spy seems just as unlikely to receive clemency from his administration.

Snowden has ridiculed Trump’s intellect, while the President has called him a traitor. Mike Pompeo, Trump’s Secretary of State, has gone further in the past and called for Snowden to receive the death penalty.

Last year, when still head of the CIA, Mr Pompeo spoke contemptuously of ‘the worship of Edward Snowden, and those who steal American secrets for the purpose of self-aggrandisement or money or for whatever their motivation’.

Britain takes a similarly unforgiving view. GCHQ director Jeremy Fleming said earlier this month about his organisation’s mission to keep the UK safe: ‘What Edward Snowden did five years ago was illegal and compromised our ability to do that, causing real and unnecessary damage to the security of the UK and our allies. He should be accountable for that.’

Britain takes a similarly unforgiving view. GCHQ director Jeremy Fleming said earlier this month about his organisation’s mission to keep the UK safe: ‘What Edward Snowden did five years ago was illegal and compromised our ability to do that.' Pictured: GCHQ in Cheltenham, Gloucestershire 

Britain takes a similarly unforgiving view. GCHQ director Jeremy Fleming said earlier this month about his organisation’s mission to keep the UK safe: ‘What Edward Snowden did five years ago was illegal and compromised our ability to do that.’ Pictured: GCHQ in Cheltenham, Gloucestershire

This week, a UK security source told me: ‘It’s still unclear if he was working for the Russians from day one; if they got him to do their bidding unconsciously; or if he’s just naive. But it’s obviously ironic that he talks about privacy and human rights from Moscow.’

Here in Russia, independent observers are gloomy about Snowden’s prospects. Aleksandr Golts, a respected expert on military matters, told the Mail: ‘Edward Snowden is a lost man.

‘I do believe that he was sincere when he exposed all the information, but in the end, he became just a toy in the hands of the [Russian] security services, which squeezed all the information out of him. And later used him as an example to show that there’s no freedom [in the West].’

‘Snowden is a hostage of circumstance. It is out of his control now.’

Snowden told The Guardian earlier this month that when he committed the data leak: ‘There was a sense of finality. There was no going back.’

The British traitor George Blake made the best of his new home, but then he was an ardent Marxist. For all his growing disillusion with Moscow, will Edward Snowden still be in Russia when he celebrates his own 95th birthday?