Posts tagged "sting"

FBI arrests six British ‘hackers’ in ‘biggest ever’ undercover sting into global online fraud

  • They were among 24 people arrested across America, Europe, Asia and Australia
  • FBI described operation as ‘biggest of its kind’ to be launched against financial cybercriminals
  • They are accused of masterminding a global black market in ‘carding’ schemes
  • 11 people were arrested in US, while others were held in 12 other countries including Norway, Italy and Japan
  • The sting is believed to have saved over £131 million in illegal transactions

By Matt Blake

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The FBI has arrested six suspected British hackers accused of masterminding a global network of online fraudsters trading in stolen bank and credit card information.

They were among 24 suspects held across four continents yesterday following a painstaking two-year undercover sting, described as the biggest of its kind to be launched against financial cybercriminals.

The international gang is believed to have coordinated a multi-million pound internet black market trading in illegal hacking software and stolen personal information.

Swoop: The Brits were among 24 suspects held across four continents following a two-year undercover operation described as the biggest of its kind to be launched against financial cybercriminals

Swoop: The Brits were among 24 suspects held across four continents following a two-year undercover operation described as the biggest of its kind to be launched against financial cybercriminals

The operation foiled suspected fraudsters carrying out ‘carding’ schemes in America, Europe, Asia and Australia and protected more than 400,000 potential victims losing £131 million from debit and credit cards, the FBI said.

Authorities from 30 different countries are believed to have been involved in the operation.

A total of 11 people were arrested in the US, while suspects were held in 12 other countries including the UK, Norway, Italy and Japan.

All are accused of buying and selling hacking programs and stolen personal information online.

Credit card fraud: The arrests came after undercover FBI investigators set up a bogus website where fraudsters involved in carding schemes could buy and sell stolen information and programmes

Credit card fraud: The arrests came after undercover FBI investigators set up a bogus website where fraudsters involved in carding schemes could buy and sell stolen information and programmes

The arrests came after undercover FBI investigators set up a bogus website where fraudsters involved in carding schemes could buy and sell stolen information and programmes.

Manhattan US Attorney Preet Bharara said: ‘The coordinated law enforcement actions taken by an unprecedented number of countries around the world demonstrate that hackers and fraudsters cannot count on being able to prowl the internet in anonymity and with impunity, even across national boundaries.

‘Clever computer criminals operating behind the supposed veil of the Internet are still subject to the long arm of the law.’

News | Mail Online

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Posted by Gadget - June 27, 2012 at 6:59 pm

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MI5 betrayed Libya dissidents to Gaddafi spies in London sting: Secret documents exposed by the MoS trigger political storm

  • British spies supplied the Libyan dictator’s secret agents with intelligence, mobile phones and an upmarket London safe house
  • Experts say the explosive documents suggest breaches of the Geneva Conventions, the Human Rights Act and criminal law

By Robert Verkaik, Barbara Jones and David Rose

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MI5 betrayed enemies of Colonel Gaddafi given refuge in Britain in a covert joint operation with Libyan spies working on UK soil, documents obtained by The Mail on Sunday reveal.

Gaddafi’s secret agents were supplied by MI5 with intelligence, secure mobile phones and a luxurious safe house in the heart of London’s Knightsbridge.

The extraordinary revelations emerge from hundreds of secret documents unearthed from Libyan spymasters’ archives after the Gaddafi regime was toppled – with British military help – last year.

Shockingly, they reveal tactics of intimidation and coercion – and expose the British agents’ specific fears that their actions might be reported by the press in the UK.

Under pressure: Tony Blair with jack Straw in 2005, and some of the documents seen by the MoS, below

Under pressure: Tony Blair with Jack Straw in 2005, and some of the documents seen by the MoS, below

The documents disclose that MI5 betrayed the confidentiality that all refugees are promised when they apply for asylum, and told the Libyans that the targets could be threatened with deportation to Libya if they refused to co-operate.

The revelations will cause a political storm. David Davis, the senior Tory MP, said they made clear that the 2004 operation to arrange the ‘rendition’ of former Gaddafi opponent Abdel Hakim Belhadj from Bangkok to Tripoli was ‘merely the start of a continuing intelligence saga’.

He added: ‘The documents seem to say that British agencies exposed people who had been given refuge here to the very people they had fled. This is an appalling betrayal of Britain’s obligations and traditions, apparently for reasons of realpolitik, not national security. What the documents reveal is coercion at best, and at worst blackmail.’

He said it was ‘essential’ that the Scotland Yard investigation into the case of Mr Belhadj – who is suing former Foreign Secretary Jack Straw for allegedly authorising  his kidnap and rendition – is extended to include the joint  MI5-Libya operations.

Experts in refugee law say the documents imply flagrant breaches of the Geneva Conventions on refugees, the Human Rights Act and the ordinary criminal law.

Lord Carlile, QC, the former reviewer of UK anti-terror laws, said the allegations were ‘serious’ and called for an inquiry.

Revelations: The documents were unearthed from Libyan spymasters' archives after Colonel Gaddafi was toppled with the help of British forces

Revelations: The documents were unearthed from Libyan spymasters’ archives after Colonel Gaddafi was toppled with the help of British forces

A senior former intelligence officer said it was ‘difficult to imagine’ that the joint operations were not sanctioned by Ministers and it was likely that the Home and Foreign Secretaries were involved, as well as the Prime Minister – at the time, Tony Blair.

But the then Foreign Secretary, Margaret Beckett, said: ‘I don’t think I knew anything about this. I certainly have no recollection of it.’ She thought that as an ‘operational matter’ it would not have needed ministerial authorisation.

Lord Reid, who was Home Secretary, failed to return phone calls asking for comment. A spokesman for Mr Blair said he had ‘no recollection’ of the operations.

The documents reveal meetings between the British and Libyan services in both Tripoli and London, and visits by the Libyan agents to make ‘approaches’ to their targets in London and Manchester in August and October 2006.

They make clear that the Libyans had at least some success, and that some of the refugees they approached did agree to co-operate.

MI5, the documents say, wanted then to turn the refugees into sources of their own, in the belief that the body to which they belonged – the Libyan Islamic Fighting Group – was linked to Al Qaeda, and a threat to UK national security.

But, according to the minutes of one meeting, MI5 also knew that its decision to do business with a regime that, despite having abandoned its WMD programme, was still torturing and murdering its opponents, was controversial and had to be kept secret.

Last night a security source defended co-operation with Libya, saying: ‘Many of Jihadist fighters picked up in Afghanistan after 2001 were Libyans. They posed a threat and had to be closely monitored.’

Special Investigation by Robert Verkaik, Barbara Jones and David Rose

As MI5 had promised, it had left nothing to chance. Waiting for the two Libyan intelligence officers as they got off the plane at Heathrow was Caroline, the charming Security Service operative they knew from her recent visit to Tripoli.

No need for the agents to wait in line at immigration: Caroline – whose full name, together with  that of other UK officers, The Mail on Sunday has chosen not to publish – met them ‘airside’, and they bypassed the usual formalities.

She was carrying two, prepaid, secure mobile phones, one for each of the Libyans, Colonel Najmuddin Ajeli and Ahmed Abdanabi.

Upmarket: MI5 accommodated the Libyan intelligence officers in a luxury serviced flat near Harrods in Knightsbridge, London

Upmarket: MI5 accommodated the Libyan intelligence officers in a luxury serviced flat near Harrods in Knightsbridge, London

Naturally, Caroline had organised transport: an MI5 car in which  she escorted them to MI5’s safe house – a luxury service flat at one of the best addresses in London, in the heart of Knightsbridge.

This was almost certainly in  Egerton Place, a brief stroll from Harrods, and less than a mile from St James’s Square, where WPC Yvonne Fletcher was shot by a  Libyan diplomat in 1984.

Next day, August 10, 2006, the  joint operation between MI5 and the Libyan dictator Muammar Gaddafi’s External Security Organisation would begin. Meanwhile, Ajeli and Abdanabi were free to enjoy a night on the town.

Details of the two Libyans’ visit are contained in a new and extraordinary cache of documents, classified UK/Libya Secret, unearthed in Gaddafi’s archives after his regime was toppled – thanks in large part to RAF airstrikes – last year.

The documents reveal that collusion between the dictator’s security agency, a byword for torture,  brutality and murder throughout the Middle East, and its British counterparts was far greater than hitherto realised.

The case of Abdel Hakim Belhadj, who is suing the former Foreign Secretary Jack Straw for allegedly authorising his illegal ‘rendition’ from Thailand to prolonged torture in Libya in 2004, has already become notorious.

Serious as the Belhadj case is, however, in that instance the British supplied intelligence only about  his whereabouts: the actual rendition was done from a distant foreign country by the American CIA.

But the new documents disclose that for at least two years after that, MI5 and MI6 developed a close  and active working relationship with the Libyans.

It extended to flagrant breaches of the law that is supposed to protect political refugees, and ‘joint operations’ in which such people – whose families and friends were vulnerable to savage reprisals in Libya – were cold-bloodedly ‘targeted’ on British soil, where they thought they were safe, by the Libyan service, with direct assistance from MI5.

This breaks every convention of acceptable behaviour between  governments.

‘When you ask for asylum in Britain, the form you fill in promises that the mere fact of applying will be treated by the British Government as strictly confidential, since if it became known, your friends and family would be exposed to  persecution,’ a top QC and refugee law expert said yesterday.

‘But these documents suggest that not only was this rule ignored, but refugees were threatened with deportation if they refused to co-operate with the very regime they had fled – a core breach of both the 1951 Geneva Convention, and the Human Rights Act. It also appears they were coerced. Any Britons involved could also have committed the offence of misconduct in a public office.’

The documents contain a detailed narrative of the 2006 operation mounted by Caroline, Ajeli, Abdanabi and their colleagues. It began with a meeting in Tripoli on May 17, attended by X, an MI6 officer stationed in Libya (whom The Mail on Sunday has agreed not to name), Caroline from MI5, and the two  Libyans who came to London in August, along with others whose names are not recorded in the  meeting’s minutes – which were taken in Arabic by a member of the Libyan service.

‘We are here with you to share some co-operation and suggestions to work with your secret department,’ Caroline explained. Right from the outset, she abandoned  any pretence that asylum seekers should be protected.

According to the minutes, she said: ‘Target 2 could become a very good source and we can pressure him  to work for us because he’s not a British citizen.’ Another individual is identified as a possible target because he is ‘very emotional’ and would be deeply affected if any of his friends were to be arrested. The document records: ‘He could be a good source because he works in a library inside a mosque and he has close links to Libyan Islamic Fighting Group [then a banned group which operated as a political party opposing Gaddafi, and from whose ranks many of last year’s revolutionary fighters were drawn].’

After Caroline left Tripoli, plans were made for the August visit by the two Libyans. MI6’s officer X sent the details of its logistics in a memo to General Sadegh Krema, the head of the Libyan service’s external relations section, on August 8, the day before they left. As well as the safe house and the phones, MI5 would be providing lunch, and a series of meetings to formulate ‘operational plans’ for approaching their main target.

The Mail on Sunday is aware of the identity of this person, who was a member of the Libyan Islamic Fighting Group (LIFG) based in Didsbury, in Manchester, and an habitué of the Didsbury mosque, one of the main centres of anti-Gaddafi activity in Britain. We also have the minutes of the meeting held between the Libyans, Caroline, her colleague Tony and other MI5 staff at MI5 headquarters on August 11.

MI5 justified its participation in these operations by asserting that the LIFG was a jihadist group with links to Al Qaeda, and hence a threat to UK security – although it is a  matter of record that the only  Libyan ever arrested or charged with any terrorist offence committed in Britain was not from the opposition at all: the sole example is Abdelbaset Al Megrahi, the Lockerbie bomber freed on compassionate grounds nearly three years ago when he was said to have three months to live. In 2004, the Special Immigration Appeals Commission ruled that the LIFG was only interested in opposing Gaddafi – not mounting terrorist attacks in Britain.

Be that as it may, MI5 knew that by working so closely with Gaddafi’s agents it was taking a risk. According to the minutes, one of the MI5 staff said: ‘The target person has the right to make a complaint or seek police protection. British intelligence must be careful how they approach a target because this individual could call on human rights or the press and cause a security scandal that exposes the co-operation between British and Libyan secret services.’

The minutes suggest that MI5 preferred to use the carrot, rather than the stick, in inducing the target to start giving up information about his associates: ‘We might allow him to visit his family in Libya, then return to Britain. We could offer to help clear his name with Libyan authorities. We could offer to help with citizenship or residency. This could open the door to his co-operation. We could enter his office frequently, do business with him and open the door to further conversations.’

But if that didn’t work, then they could resort to coercion: ‘Libyan operatives could ask him [the target asylum seeker] about problems at home in Libya or in Britain.

‘They offer to help in return for giving information we want about other targets. If he refuses, British police will arrest him and accuse him of associating with Libyan secret agents. He will be told that as a non-resident of Britain he could be deported if found guilty.’

A memo dated September 27 from officer X to General Krema makes clear that the August operation  had gone well, and suggests further activity against other targets in Didsbury. The Libyan agent Najmuddin Ajeli had ‘established contact’ with  members of the Didsbury mosque, and the next step would be ‘joint casework between our services’.

On October 14, Ajeli and Abdanabi flew back to Britain. Another unnamed MI5 officer, says a further memo, was due to meet them, though if there were any problems, they could call Caroline.

This time, the plan was to set up further meetings with the target in Didsbury, with the hope of introducing him to MI5. The Libyans were not to stay at the safe house, however, but at the five-star City Inn Hotel, which conveniently is next to MI5’s headquarters on the Thames.

There the documentary record ends. But former Libyan dissidents who are now supporters of the revolution say they know of several individuals who were approached by Libyan intelligence and MI5 while refugees in Britain, and threatened in the ways the documents suggest.

Gareth Peirce, the solicitor who acted for several Libyan refugees, said yesterday: ‘This has been  a common methodology. If you  think someone is vulnerable, facing deportation, you exploit that. It is  a common currency I have come across again and again.’

SPIED ON BY UK AGENTS WORKING FOR GADDAFI

Shaken: The accountant who was spied on

Shaken: The accountant who was spied on

A Libyan accountant who lived in England for ten years was spied on by British Intelligence working with Colonel Gaddafi’s tyrannical regime.

Granted asylum here in 2002 as a member of Libya’s opposition, he has discovered his mobile phone was monitored and information about him and his wife sent to Libya’s External Security

Organisation (ESO) in a sinister exchange that ended only with Gaddafi’s death.
He believes one phone conversation he had with fellow Libyan dissident Abu Bakr Ighrebel led to Ighrebel’s arrest, imprisonment and torture for five years in Tripoli’s Abu Salim detention facility.

The accountant, who lived in Pinner, North London, wishes to remain anonymous because of security fears for family members in Britain.

He was shaken to discover a file containing his personal information and a photograph, which he recalls submitting for his British passport application in 2002, among documents taken from the ESO building after Tripoli fell last year.

The Mail on Sunday has seen the file and had it independently translated. A series of internal memos written in Arabic by Libyan agents gives feedback on meetings with their British counterparts. One memo reports a conversation the accountant had in 2007 with Ighrebel, who sought advice about seeking asylum in Britain.

Another, written at the ESO and dated December 16, 2007, reports the British as telling the Libyan agents: ‘We do not think you should take any action towards the Libyan user of this phone number because it may expose our operation monitoring this individual.’

The accountant said: ‘Libyan agents wrote back claiming I had been in Sudan working with Osama Bin Laden and that I had been seriously ill and Bin Laden had paid my hospital bills. This is totally untrue.’

News | Mail Online

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Posted by Gadget - April 22, 2012 at 8:58 am

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Syria: President Bashar al-Assad jokes with human rights champion Sting

By Simon Neville and David Williams

Last updated at 6:30 PM on 25th February 2012

He has championed human rights causes around the world for more than 30 years.

From displaced tribes in the Brazilian rainforest to earthquake victims in Haiti, Sting has supported them all.

So he will no doubt rather forget the time he spent laughing and joking with brutal Syrian dictator President Al-Assad.

Pictures have emerged of the pop star, who has been an ambassador for Amnesty International since 1981, meeting Assad in Damascus.

Friendly: Sting and his wife Trudie Styler are pictured chatting to President Assad and his British-born wife Asma in Damascus in 2008

Friendly: Sting and his wife Trudie Styler are pictured chatting to President Assad and his British-born wife Asma in Damascus in 2008

The 60-year-old musician and his wife, Trudie Styler, 58, joined the president and his British-born wife, Asma, in the Syrian capital in the winter of 2008.

Assad’s ruthless crackdown on the city of Homs has left hundreds dead, with American-born Sunday Times journalist Marie Colvin among the latest victims.

Last night a friend of the singer explained how the couples met: ‘Trudie and Sting were on holiday in the Middle East in 2008 when they were invited to meet President Assad and his wife Asma.

‘At that time, Assad was relatively new to power and regarded as Westernised and, so, a potentially democratising influence in the Middle East.’

However, a spokesman for the pair insisted they were now ‘disgusted’ by the brutality of his military regime.

Laughing: The brutal dictator and Sting share a joke during a meeting in in Damascus

Laughing: The brutal dictator and Sting share a joke during a meeting in in Damascus

He said: ‘Naturally Sting and Trudie abhor what’s happening in Syria now and what Al-Assad is doing to his own people as well as his murderous attacks on journalists.’

At the time of their visit, Amnesty International was scathing about the Damascus regime.

In its annual report on Syria it said hundreds of political opponents had been arrested and tortured ‘with impunity’.

The photographs of Sting and Assad – which have been posted by a fan on the singer’s Facebook page – emerged as Foreign Secretary William Hague said Britain is to recognise the Syrian opposition as a ‘legitimate representative’ of the country’s people.

Killed: Sunday Times journalist Marie Colvin, right, and French photographer Remi Ochlik, left, died after a make-shift media centre in Homs was hit by a rocket during sustained shelling of Homs

Russia, previously a key ally of Assad, has backed calls for an urgent ceasefire in Homs. A United Nations report also accused the Syrian regime of crimes against humanity.

It found evidence that army snipers had killed and targeted small children, women and other unarmed civilians.

It added: ‘Fragmentation mortar bombs were also fired into densely populated neighbourhoods.

‘Security agencies continued to systematically arrest wounded patients in state hospitals and to interrogate them, often using torture, about their supposed participation in opposition demonstrations or armed activities.’

It is not the first time that Sting has been linked to a brutal dictator. In 2010, he was paid up to £2million to play a concert in Uzbekistan, which was organised by the regime of Islam Karimov.

At the time Sting was accused of being a ‘hypocrite’ by former British ambassador to the country, Craig Murray. However, Sting insisted: ‘The concert was organised by the president’s daughter and I believe sponsored by Unicef.’

Brutal: Mounting evidence is showing soldiers fighting for Assad's regime have targeted innocent women and children with relentless shelling and sniper attacks

Brutal: Mounting evidence is showing soldiers fighting for Assad’s regime have targeted innocent women and children with relentless shelling and sniper attacks

Protest: Demonstrators have not been prevented from taking to the streets after the savage crackdown by state troops. Here a crowd holds a doll which reads 'Bashar killed me'

Protest: Demonstrators have not been prevented from taking to the streets after the savage crackdown by state troops. Here a crowd holds a doll which reads ‘Bashar killed me’

News | Mail Online

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Posted by Gadget - February 26, 2012 at 2:58 am

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Paedophile with HIV, 30, caught in police sting after he arranged online to have sex with three children

  • Steven King jailed for four years
  • Boasted how he had raped a 13-year-old boy

By Daily Mail Reporter

Last updated at 6:36 PM on 26th November 2011

A paedophile with HIV who arranged online to have sex with three young children has been jailed after not realising he was talking to an undercover policeman.

Steven King, who worked in the accounts department in a solicitors’ office, made the two hour journey from his home thinking he was going to abuse the children aged five, six and 10.

The sick 30-year-old also bragged to the undercover officer that he had already raped a young boy aged just 13 years.

Jailed: Steven King was locked up for four years after the police sting

Jailed: Steven King was locked up for four years after the police sting

In a twisted message he told the policeman: ‘Any age, younger the better.’

King was jailed for four years after admitting arranging the commission of child sex offences and two further counts of possessing indecent images.

The judge, sitting at Southwark Crown Court, was told how King began talking to the undercover officers in July this year when the officer claimed to have three young children.

During the online chats the defendant revealed how he had previously raped a 14-year-old, who he later claimed was just 13.

On July 19 he said ‘any age, younger the better’. in a message and told the officer he was willing to travel the 80 miles from his home in Southampton to London in order for the pair to meet.

Sting: King met an undercover police officer at Waterloo Station, who he thought was going to allow him to abuse children

Sting: King met an undercover police officer at Waterloo Station, who he thought was going to allow him to abuse children

When they met at Waterloo Station on July 27, King confessed that he wanted to abuse the five-year-old boy and six year old girl.

A second meeting was arranged when the paedophile believed he would be taken to the undercover officer’s home and be allowed to abuse the children.

On August 2, King was arrested and in interview confirmed he planned to go to the policeman’s home and sexually assault the children.

He said he had lied about abusing children in the past during his conversations with the undercover officer.

When he was arrested he was in possession of flavoured condoms and some toys for the children.

A number of items were also seized from his home, including a laptop, USB stick and external hard drives, which contained indecent images of children.

King of Southampton, Hampshire, was jailed for four years.

Speaking after the sentencing Detective Chief Superintendent Reg Hooke, head of the MPS Child Abuse Investigation Command, said: ‘The plotting of child abuse over the internet is a sickening crime and one that poses a serious and ongoing threat.

‘Officers from the Met’s Paedophile Unit conduct operations, such as the one that caught King, on a weekly basis.

‘Luckily, this time, King’s appalling intentions remained just that. The result reflects the Met’s continued commitment to fighting child abuse in all its forms.’

News | Mail Online

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Posted by Gadget - November 27, 2011 at 1:59 am

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Sting operation aims to protect pedestrians

Sting operation aims to protect pedestrians
Police on the Peninsula spent the day issuing tickets to drivers who did not stop for pedestrians.

NASA Stops Work on James Cameron’s 3D Camera for Mars Science Laboratory
Work has stopped on an alternative version of the instrument, with a pair of zoom-lens cameras, which would have provided additional capabilities for improved three-dimensional video.

NASA Stops Work on James Cameron’s 3D Camera for Mars Science Laboratory
Work has stopped on an alternative version of the instrument, with a pair of zoom-lens cameras, which would have provided additional capabilities for improved three-dimensional video.

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Posted by Gadget - March 26, 2011 at 8:38 am

Categories: Electronics   Tags: , , , ,

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