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Coronavirus: Bioterrorism or Not, Who Is the Winner?

Sajad Abedi

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Authors: Sajad Abedi and Mohammad Amin Zabihi*

It has been so long since the early instances of using toxins, chemicals, and diseases as agents of assassinations and/or even mass murder. There are numerous historical and even modern instances of using toxins in assassinations, or using contagious diseases in warfare without even knowing about the bacteria or virus. For example, (allegedly) the first registered event of such method goes back to 14th century when Tatar army, desperate to win after three years of siege, threw corpses of plague victims to the Caffa city[1], causing an outbreak of this disease within the city. But the most important part happened afterwards; some soldiers could manage to escape on boats – Caffa was a port city on the Crimea Sea – to Italy, unaware of the fact that they were already infected. Nevertheless, most of them died along the way, but infected rats and remaining bodies caused one the major waves of plague pandemic[2] all over the Europe.

The paramount point is that in our modern world, it is just a matter of hours to leave New York and land somewhere else, thousands of miles away, even before the first symptoms of your disease manifest itself. In fact, the most horrifying factor of any contagious disease could be its latent period.

On the other hand, considering the unprecedent pace of ever-growing biological technologies, many developed countries possess the ability to develop an intelligent virus equipped with customized features in order to remain unnoticed on the victim’s (vector’s) body for quiet a time, and only manifest itself after it infected a considerable number of surrounding people. More interestingly, such customized virus can be planned whether to disable a specific organ or to metastasize within the whole system of the host. Even more, it can be planned according to the genetic map of people within a given region.

Looking at the whole picture with broader perspective, it does not matter whether the agent is toxic, chemical, or biological. The capability to produce and employ a virus, bacteria, or toxin by malicious actors, namely terrorists or criminals, could bring disastrous results.As we witnessed such case during 1990s in Japan – the Aum Shinrikyo Cult.

In fact, if we are going to prevent such disasters, first we should find the potential actors who may resort to such actions, investigate the probable ways, and also understand the costs, benefits, motives, and risks of which for these potential actors.

Of course, terrorists and criminals are the first probable examples which may pop up in our minds, but looking more rigorously, state actors are also among the potential cases. In the case of Coronavirus outbreak, if one considers it as an instance of bioterrorism/biological-war act, the probability of participation of terrorist or criminal organizations seems to be low, due to the complexity of production process and the highly advanced technologies required to produce such virus at the first place. On the other hand, a terrorist organization typically claims the responsibility of such attack in order to earn the reputation, and a criminal organization may demand ransom prior to release the virus – otherwise it would not be beneficial, unless they already have the cure (vaccine/antidote) ready to sell. In any case, it doesn’t seem probable. 

Considering the fact that, in the case of a pandemic, finding the main cause and the zero patient in this complex, interconnected world is significantly difficult (if possible), state actors may resort to such options due to multiple reasons. They may try to initiate a hidden biological war against another country (countries), in order to cause economic interruptions, socio-political chaos, create power vacuum in a specific area, forcing another actor to leave a region, or just simply to enjoy the economic benefits of selling the vaccine or antidote to victims. Obviously, there will be some serious prosecutions and consequences in the case that some concrete evidence shows any tracks of participation of an actor – whether a sovereign state or even a pharmaceutical company; but in such cases, states usually start to throw allegations at each other anyway.

We are living in a world that any kind of news affect the open markets immediately; the more important the news is, the deeper it affects the markets. In this case – Coronavirus – we witnessed a serious drop in international stock markets –especially oil markets – all over the world, which coincided with Russia’s ambivalence approach regarding the cutting supply decision made by OPEC – and also Saudi Arabia’s reaction to the whole story. Altogether, these factors caused a serious drop in different markets which, in fact, started with the news of Coronavirus outbreak at the first place. Who gets the best use of such scenario? The oil and gas producers are the main victims, obviously; but if one (the alleged perpetrator) knows the whole story before it happens, he would sell at the highest price and buy at the lowest price again – after the price crash, president Trump ordered to stock up the US oil reserves.

Although it seems pretty convincing, but is it really rational? What are the risks and costs? In reality, the pandemic of a dangerous virus – one like Coronavirus – equipped with a two-week latent period, in a high-populated country like China can cause sever problems in almost every corner of the planet; in fact, the bigger economy you have, the deeper your challenge would be. The implications of such outbreak are considerably wide: (1) it causes decrease in oil prices which will result in budget deficits in oil-dependent countries – like Russia, Iran, Saudi Arabia; (2) it interrupts the production process and consequently the sale chains – like China; (3) reduces the tourists travels which will consequently result in budget deficits in tourist-dependent countries – like Turkey and most of EU; (4) it causes sever socio-economic costs, especially for populated countries – like China, US, and Russia.

Altogether, if one state actor decides to initiate a biological war against another state, using a virus agent which has the potential to cause a global pandemic, it should consider the possibility of backfiring the same gun inside its own country in numerous ways. In an interconnected world like the one we are living in, such actions cause gargantuan reactions in different ways, one may not be able to predict all of them. Considering such costs and also the risk of being traced back and accused of committing such horrifying act, the possibility of state-sponsorship in these cases will be considered relatively low (but still possible). It is not like creating a computer virus – like Stuxnet – that may or may not blow back to your face; it is the matter of people’s lives. 

*Mohammad Amin Zabihi, MSc. Regional Studies, Allameh Tabatabaei University


[1] Nowadays it is Feodosia, Ukraine 

[2]Also known as Black Death

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Cybercrime effecting banking sector/economy of Pakistan

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Cyber-crime is not a conventional offence as its ramifications transcend borders.  It affects a society in different ways. The term “cybercrime” denotes any sort of illegal activity that uses a computer, cell phone or any other electronic device as its primary means of commission. The computer and electronic devices serve as the agents and the facilitator of the crime. Cyber criminals take full advantage of obscurity, secrecy, and interconnectedness provided by the internet and are able to attack the foundations of our modern information society. Breaching of cyber space is an issue of utmost concern for the banks and financial institutions. The menace of data theft is growing in magnitude with huge financial impact. As custodian of highly valuable customer information, banks have always been the favorite target of the cyber-attacks.

Moreover it is estimated that banks are more frequently targeted by the hackers than any other business organization. IT based financial solutions of the banks such as ATMs, mobile banking and internet banking are exposed to various forms of frauds including skimming and phishing etc. Affected banks may also witness decline in their share prices. Banking industry is more susceptible to the breach of cyber security due to its financial lure for the transgressors. In Pakistan, banking is increasing its user base at a brisk pace; the resulting threats are also multiplying. Financial services in Pakistan i.e. credit cards, accounts information and other, can also be acquired for theft or fabrication. During last few years Pakistan faced some serious cyber breaches in the banking sector. In 2018 it lost US $6 million in cyber-attacks as online security measures failed to prevent breach of security in which overseas hackers stole customer’s data.Data from 19,864 debit cards belonging to customers of 22 Pakistani banks has been put on sale on the dark web, according to an analysis conducted in year 2018 by Pakistan’s Computer Emergency Response Team, PakCERT.

However Cyber breaches of January 24 and January 30, 2019 included such data in large quantities pertaining to bank Meezan Bank Ltd. Gemini Advisory; a body that provides guidance with addressing emerging cyber threats stated that the compromised records posted between January 24 and January 30, 2019 is associated with a compromise of Meezan Bank Limited’s internal systems. Cyber security company “Group-IB”on  a February  22,2019  in advisory stated that money mules use the fake cards, to either withdraw money from ATMs or buy goods” that are later resold by fraudsters. Despite efforts of banks to eliminate ATM card fraud, criminals still find ways around security measures to acquire card data at the point of sale.

The impact of a single, successful cyber-attack can have far-reaching implications including financial losses, theft of intellectual property, and loss of consumer confidence and trust. The overall monetary impact of cyber-crime on society and government is estimated to be billions of dollars a year. While, the banks in Pakistan claim that they have insurance policies, they do not seem much interested in securing their system and the public remains highly affected by such attacks. There is growing sense of distrust in the online banking. Several banking organizations fail to provide proper insurance to their customer. That is why people are more comfortable in keeping their money and reserves at home rather than banks. This is one of the major factors that add to country’s severe economic decline.

Pakistan needs to develop its cyber capabilities infrastructure and should invest in the youth to build a cyber security force of young experts. Simultaneously, there is a need to focus on artificial intelligence, block chains and software robots as suggested by Chief Technology Officer Huawei (Middle East and European Union) Jorge Sebastiao in the recent international seminar on Global Strategic Threat and Response (GSTAR). Establishing a stronger cyber infrastructure will provide stronger security guarantees to the IT enabled services especially to the banking systems of Pakistan. This will in turn enhance the economic growth and security. Furthermore, the transnational nature of cyber-crime makes cyber-security a global challenge and, hence, demands collective and collaborative measures at the international level with flawless and strong legal and cyber policy framework.

In this regard, Pakistan’s cyber-law provides for ‘international cooperation.’ It has the membership of the International Multilateral Partnership against Cyber Threats (ITUIMPACT) and participates in Asia Pacific Security Incident Response Coordination Working Group (APSIRC-WG). However, cyber-security does not appear to be a priority on the country’s agenda for international dialogue and agreements.  Pakistan needs to review the Prevention of Electronic Crimes Bill which will contribute mainly to increase the security of banking systems.

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‘Da Cui Yun’ – False Flag Operation

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“Customs detains Karachi-bound ship in Gujarat: Report”

February 3, 2020, the tragic day of sheer propaganda where India claimed Ship was carrying a dual-use autoclave in it. Indian customs officials detained a ship bearing a flag of Hong Kong and bound for Port Qasim in Karachi. The officials seized the ship as it was carrying an autoclave — a pressure chamber that is used for launching ballistic missiles.

India accused that the autoclave has been certified as a “dual-use” item. India wrongly ascertained that their examination has proved that the item can be utilised for military application. Whereas the authorities from both sides (China and Pakistan) firmly denied any such application of the item this was claimed to be utilised for Ballistic missiles. Pakistan’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs (MOFA) has confirmed that the item or the autoclave was a heat treatment furnace casing system which has numerous industrial applications. MOFA also cleared that the item was correctly declared in the relevant documentation and this item is not listed in any international export control list.

This is not the first time, of course, where in the backdrop of major events that happened in New Delhi where President Trump was expected to arrive in India and Islamabad’s resorts to tackle the FATF issue, India has started highlighting another fake incident where they captured Chinese ship carrying suspected cargo to Pakistan fearing wrong estimates of nuclear proliferation in the region.

Such were the headlines features that occupied the front pages of Indian newspapers and were displayed as news tickers on all Indian news channels. The practice remains to linger till date while the fact remains that the authorities in New Delhi have failed to come out with any hard substantiation regarding the incident. The Indian authorities started to blame Pakistan right off the bat while the Indian Defence Research and Development Organisation (DRDO) still engaged in a battle of how to go ahead with such folly.

New Delhi once again is brewing the anti-Pakistan curry in its witches’ cauldron by persistently accusing Pakistan. The recent News coverage shows that only few Indian sources have started raising the issue of Chinese ship involving it with a larger interest of blaming both partners for Indians own aspired goals.

For maligning Pakistan’s repute in the international arena, India has never ever spared a moment from blaming Pakistan over insubstantial grounds. This can be further understand by analyzing the major past events that happened in India i.e.   From unrest in India to the chaos in Karnataka and the Mumbai attacks etc. Pakistan has been apprehended with unjustifiable accusations for every incident of restlessness in New Delhi. New Delhi not only contends Pakistan but also convinces other major players in the international arena to think the same. In the meanwhile, whenever proof has been claimed from New Delhi, their government has always nose-dived to produce any in front of international statutory bodies.

Unfortunately, truth and logic are what lacks in the Indian investigations. We have observed that 26/11 has been proved a false flag by none but New Delhi’s own Intelligence agencies be fooled themselves. There are various books, interviews and articles that have thoroughly described the sham, that ‘claims’ regarding 26/11 actually are. ‘Who killed Karkare’’ and ‘Betrayal of India- Revisiting the 26/11 Evidence’ by Elias Davidsson are among the notable books published.

Nevertheless, a number of questions arises to one’s mind where important facts are going to be overlooked as similar to the trial of the Mumbai attack i.e. ambiguities in the investigation procedure, no provision of proof beyond reasonable doubt against Pakistan blaming, differences in the witnesses’ confessions, etc. and most importantly this all event questions that before any investigation and without any evidence why India started blaming Pakistan immediately with unfounded accusation of proliferation. Indian version in every case was totally concocted, based on deceit and outright lies.

Lastly, India must refrain from acting so recklessly and irresponsibly to just pick out their biased side of the story and fuel to the already present hatred towards Pakistan.

Rather than tirelessly blaming Pakistan, New Delhi needs to secure her own domestic environment. While there is an urgent need by Pakistani media of countering such fake allegations of India and Indian media with rationale and logic. There is also a need of taking such issue to international forum by Pakistan where India continuously mudslinging Pakistan to harm its sovereignty or international standing. In the end if India appears unable to provide the concrete proofs of such incident then they must be penalized for their every fake accusations.

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The Turkish intelligence

Giancarlo Elia Valori

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The Turkish Secret Service, namely Milli Istihbarat Teşkilati (MIT), was founded by Mustafa Kemal Ataturk in 1925. However, only in 1985 – in a phase of great transformation of Turkish domestic policy – the Service was given its current name, the National Intelligence Office, and was also placed under the Prime Minister’s leadership and political cover (which is fundamental, unlike what currently happens in Italy).

 Since the 1950s – when Turkey’s role became essential – in NATO’s Eastern Flank, MIT has had very sound relations with CIA. Nevertheless, MIT has never had an effective and stable network of agents and collaborations with the European intelligence Services, while it has always had good relations with the Russian Agencies; obviously, after 1992, with Azerbaijan, and even with the Singapore Services, as well as with all the Middle East intelligence services.

 Obviously one of MIT’s primary and institutional goals is the penetration/control of the Kurdish PKK, born from a “Maoist” organization based in Ankara, which – after the military coup in 1971 – reorganized itself into a Marxist-Leninist political party, which obviously had a military arm that became predominant after 1984, as well as a strictly political and semi-visible network.

 Another MIT’s institutional target is Fethullah Gûlen’s organization, namely Hizmet.

 A vast religious-political network which initially supported Erdogan’s party, the AKP, but then became its worst enemy.

Hizmet (the “Service”) is a community that had its origins in the cemaat, a traditional Sufi organization typical of Anatolia, but later – in the phase of the Turkish economic boom, born with the regime of Turgut Ozal, Prime Minister from 1983 to 1989, and then President of the Republic from 1989 to 1993, the year of his death – became a great network for business.

 In that second phase, Hizmet became a solid economic power -although we must not forget its humanitarian role – and, according to some analysts, it later became a Parallel Yapi, a “parallel structure”.

 The three tiers of Gûlen’s organization are sapiential and cultural at the highest levels, but they presuppose a precise and almost military organization at the lowest levels, operating in universities, newspapers, media and production structures.

 An “Islamic Calvinism” – as it was defined – with the primary idea of making the dream of an all-pervasive and, above all, “political” Islam come true, albeit with charity and benevolence.

  It is no coincidence that Gûlen’s movement is outlawed by the Gulf monarchies, by Pakistan and by the Organization of Islamic Cooperation, while the EU and the USA do not consider Hizmet a terrorist organization.

The tension between the AKP and Gûlen’s movement initially arose with the Gezi Park movement in June 2013, when Hizmet’s leader polemicized against the too heavy hand used by Erdogan’s government with students.

Later some investigators notoriously linked to Gûlen’s movement publicly accused the sons of some Ministers, without even sparing Erdogan.

 The attempted coup in July 2016 led Erdogan to accuse Gûlen’s movement of having entirely organised and directed it.

 That was not true, but it was the best idea to justify Erdogan’s scrapping of the Turkish Armed Forces and, previously, of the hidden network called Ergenekon.

 Hakan Fidan, the Head of the Turkish intelligence Services, was completely involved in those designs of the AKP State and its President Erdogan, of whom he has always been a loyal, but intelligent executor, even though he had a rather complicated career in the intelligence Services: he was Head of MIT (and hence Undersecretary of State) from 2010 until 2015, but on February 7, 2015, he resigned to run for elections, obviously in the AKP ranks.

 A month after the acceptance of his candidacy as parliamentarian, Hakan Fidan resigned again – this time at political level – and immediately returned to his previous post as Head of MIT.

 He also participated – sometimes almost alone – in the very secret peace negotiations between the Turkish government and the Kurdish PKK, held in Oslo in 2009, but then Fidan organized above all the smuggling networks – not only the oil ones – between Iran and Turkey.

Hence the news -already public at the time – according to which Hakan Fidan met with Qassem Suleimani, the commander of the Al Quds Force of the Iranian Pasdaran, in Tehran in 2014.

 The meeting took place in a parking, away from prying eyes and, above all, from any possible operative of the Turkish Embassy in the Iranian capital.

 The meeting between the two Heads of their respective intelligence Services took place during Erdogan’s State visit to Iran at the end of January of that year.

Therefore various reliable sources stated that Hakan Fidan was in fact an asset, a source and hence an agent of influence of the Iranian intelligence Services in Turkey.

In that capacity, he allegedly met Soleimani to report to him confidential data on the Turkish Government and on Erdogan’s real intentions at the time, and, above all, during the war in Syria.

A great business for Turkey and, in any case, a phase in which the country redefined its geopolitical coordinates – successfully for the time being.

 In fact, Hakan Fidan was also the subject of checks and investigations by the Turkish counter-espionage, especially at a time when it had discovered and exploited some operational intelligence networks in Turkey linked to the Pasdaran.

Hence Hakan Fidan’s double loyalty was verified: the specific intelligence unit of the Turkish Police was in fact able to record the transmissions and communications of the Al Quds Force, especially those of General Sayed Ali Akber Mir Vakili, who was heard by the Turkish CS for having received the recording of a confidential meeting of the Turkish Government directly from Hakan Fidan.

 But, obviously any intelligence agent never says anything about his sources on the phone or by any other means.

 What if Hakan Fidan was used also by his government to come to an agreement with Iran?

What if Hakan Fidan was really Erdogan’s instrument to arrive at a collaboration with Iran on Syria and, above all, in the framework of the Astana talks and of the future Iranian oil and gas networks towards the Mediterranean?

Certainly Vakili was well trained to avoid being identified or heard, but the Turkish police operatives had planted a bug in Mir Vakili’s car, driven by his trusted man, Hakki Selgiuk Sanli, a Turk with extensive criminal experience, who was also the key man in setting up the Turkish network of the Al Quds Force in the 1990s, under the orders of Iranian General Nasir Takipur.

 Sanli was arrested on May 13, 2000 and sentenced to 12 years and 6 months of prison, due to his participation in a terrorist organization linked to Iran, which aimed at carrying out attacks against Turkish and American targets.

Sanli, however, was released in 2004, with an amnesty signed by Erdogan’s own government.

Finally, the recording from the bug in Mir Vakili’s car gave all the coordinates of Hakan Fidan’s passage of confidential information on Turkey to Iranians.

 Mir Vakili, for example, told Sanli he had spoken with Hakan Fidan (codename “Emin”) and he had learned of a scandal that was mounting in Erdogan’s government at the very beginning of the Gezi Park protests.

 Erdogan, in fact, immediately wanted to crack down hard on the Gezi Park revolt, while Deputy Prime Minister Bulent Arinç wanted to come to a negotiation with the occupiers.

 Arinç, in fact – who was acting on behalf of Erdogan who was travelling to Africa – had already tried to reach an agreement with the insurgency leaders. Nevertheless, the President returned from his African tour and, after six hours of insults, he stopped Arinç’s attempts. However, it was Fidan himself who revealed to his Iranian contacts how Erdogan was particularly harsh on them too, of whom he suspected some heavy hand in the riots in Turkey at the time.

 Mir Vakili and Hakan Fidan often saw each other in Turkey, especially in a well-known café in the centre of Ankara’s Ĉukurambar district, an area where there was a large amount of Islamists considered “radical” by Western banal standards.

 Erdogan also thinks that Gűlen’s network has something to do with AKP’s growing distance from Islamism, which Westerners always foolishly define as “moderate”, which would lead to a rapid downsizing of that party and hence to the end of Erdogan’s power.

Inter alia, it is now ascertained that Hakan Fidan had already organized some meetings between Mir Vakili, Erdogan himself and the then Foreign Minister Ahmed Davutoglu, who developed his “zero problems with neighbours” policy.

 And again, it was Hakan Fidan who provided security cover for Mir Vakili, when he came to Ankara with his family and some friends for shopping. Fidan even provided a State plane to the Pasdaran General, so that he and his friends could go back safely to Tehran.

In all likelihood, this shows that – in his relations with the Islamic Republic of Iran -Hakan Fidan has the government’s full support and, more importantly, President Erdogan’s personal support.

However, which is the origin of Hakan Fidan’s interest in Shiism, to which he probably belongs?

 The Head of the Turkish intelligence Services studied Shiite tradition and symbolism especially when he was a very young volunteer non-commissioned officer in the Turkish forces.

 It was at that moment that he was noticed by the Iranian Al Quds Force, a military structure dealing with special missions, intelligence and unconventional operations abroad.

Later it was Erdogan who studied him and then decided to appoint him, at first, as Director of the Agency for Support to Development (TIKA), then as Undersecretary of State and, in 2010, as MIT Director.

 The lawsuit concerning the Head of the Al Quds Force in Turkey, Mir Vakili, for his relations with Hakan Fidan, was initiated when a criminal offence was reported by an anonymous person on August 8, 2010.

 In fact, it was a 54-year-old woman, Kamile Yazicioglu, who had escaped from his partner, who informed the counterintelligence of the fact he had worked, for many years, for the Iranian intelligence and she brought to the police’s attention documents that proved it.

 She repeated her testimony in the appropriate fora, in sittings dating back to March and April 2011.

 This led to the beginning of a careful, three-yearly analysis of Ms. Yazicioglu’s partner by Turkish counterintelligence.

 The casewas coded 2011/762 by Turkey’s bureaucracy.

 It turned out, almost immediately, that Ms. Yazicioglu’s partner was in direct contact with Hakan Fidan.

 Furthermore, the lady’s partner had had problems with the police because he had taken part in the “Night for Jerusalem”, an anti-Zionist demonstration in favour of the application of Koranic law in Turkey – a street movement that had taken place in Ankara, Sincan district, at the end of January 1997.

 On that occasion, there was a fiery speech by the Iranian Ambassador to Turkey.

 Yazicioglu was also responsible for education and culture in the Sincan district. He organized a Shiite religious event, which was one of the reasons why the Armed Forces “closed down” the government in 1997, thus putting an end to it.

 In fact, the Turkish military structures sent some tanks to show Sincan to what extent the Islamist initiative had been disliked by the Turkish Armed Forces’ leadership.

 In that case, Yazicioglu was sentenced to over three years of prison for having supported a terrorist organization.

 After his release, he moved to Istanbul, where he was not noticed until 2008, when he was reactivated by the Iranian intelligence.

 Moreover, Yazicioglu had maintained excellent relations with the murderers of the journalist, Ugur Mumcu, and of the university Professor, Muammer Aksoy.

 The fact is that, according to many testimonies, Hakan Fidan remained in close contact with the Iranians’ informant and met him several times.

 Both Fidan’s son and Yazicioglu’s son were enrolled at the Bilkent University of Ankara, and they were used as channels of communication between the two.

 Yazicioglu’s partner always proclaimed she had always had close relations with MIT, and in any case she had several passports hidden in her house, as well as copies of reports written by her husband for the Iranian intelligence Services.

The primary task entrusted to her husband and her son by Iran was to supervise the Nuclear Research and Training Centre in Čekmece, Istanbul, probably sitting in a car to report remarkable data on a map, possibly with some explanatory notes.

 The Turkish operative had also drawn the escape routes and the confidential entrances of that Nuclear Research and Training Centre – a sign that he knew it well and from inside.

 A job as labourer of the intelligence Services, however, which certainly did not allow to have access to the top managers, as it happened to Yazicioglu with Hakan Fidan.

 Ms. Yazigioclu also stated before the Turkish CS that her former husband had satellite photos of the US Consulate in Istanbul and of the Israeli one.

Never underestimate an angry wife. The files found in Yazicioglu’s house also concerned confidential military maps of the Adana and Gaziantep provinces – now very important for the issue of migrants from Syria – and a series of personal files of public figures, including those of some government members as well as senior leaders of the ruling party, the AKP.

Another document found at Yazicioglu’s house – again thanks to Ms. Yazicioglu’s help – concerned the names of young Turks included in some terrorist organizations linked to the Pasdaran, especially young people who expressed strongly anti-American and anti-Semitic views.

 The documents seized also concerned the methods of reporting and meeting with the Iranian agents, as well as a video of the Turkish police showing a meeting between Yazicioglu and the current Head of the al Quds Forcein Turkey, Naser Ghafari, who had the cover of political attaché at the Consulate General of Iran to Ankara.

In May 2019, however, also Bashar el Assad revealed he had direct contacts with Hakan Fidan in Tehran, but also on the Kassab border, where the Syrian leader expressed his willingness to meet Erdogan as soon as possible.

In an interview with the Turkish journalist Mehmet Yuva, Assad stated he wanted to cooperate with Turkey, and also maintained that Syria did not deal with Turkey only indirectly – through Russia or Iran – but also through direct meetings in various external fora.

 Moreover, Erdogan knows very well the U.S. “federal case” regarding an Iranian executive called Reza Zarrab, who had been operating for years to avoid or manipulate U.S. sanctions against his country.

 Zarrab bribed many Turkish Ministers and officials, including some members of Erdogan’s family.

 Probably, the mechanism put in place by Zerrab provided Erdogan’s family with vast wealth, in addition to other sources of income.

As noted above, it was precisely Mir Vakili who informed us – through Zerrab – that there were problems with the Turkish State bank, Halkbank, and made us read about the relations between Zerrab and the then Turkish Economy Minister, Zefer Caglayan.

The Minister himself enabled Zerrab to move the funds for foreign operations without any problems, promising the Halkbank executives substantial commissions on transfers.

Mir Vakili also informed – per tabulas- of the fact that there was another Iranian operative behind Zerrab’s operations.

 As proven by documents, after the appointment of Hakan Fidan as Head of MIT, Erdogan himself met the Head of the Iranian network in Turkey – who, at the time, was again Mir Vakili – to discuss the Iranian oil operations through Turkey and to proceed to a possible alliance between Iran – that Erdogan has often called his “second home” – and the Turkish commercial and political elites.

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