The mysterious collapse of Australia's Nugan Hand bank (SLYT) has long been a favorite subject of the espionage mythos, with its chairman's suicide, the disappearance of its former CIA co-founder Michael Hand, the bank's ties to the CIA, apparent drug money laundering... basically, talk of ties to every CIA conspiracy theory of the last 30 years... the stuff of legends. Except, of course, that Michael Hand has been found by Australia's 60 Minutes, living in Idaho Falls, where he runs a business manufacturing combat knives for the special OPs crowd. Here is the full 60 Minutes report.
Following a months-long investigation, the Department of Justice has announced the existence of a well-funded plot "conceived, sponsored and directed" by "high-ranking members of the Iranian government" to assassinate Saudi Arabian ambassador Adel Al-Jubeir on U.S. soil in conjunction with informants in Mexican drug cartel Los Zetas. The "Hollywood" plot, revealed in an afternoon press conference and described in a detailed 21-page complaint [PDF], is alleged to have involved an attack on the Saudi and Israeli embassies in Washington, D.C. One suspect, naturalized American citizen Arbab Arbabsiar, has been arrested, while co-conspirator and Quds Force member Gholam Shakuri remains at large. Iranian officials were quick to label the charges a "fabrication" intended to distract from America's economic troubles.
In the wake of Glenn Greenwald's post about the inhumane conditions of Bradley Manning's detention ("For 23 out of 24 hours every day -- for seven straight months and counting -- he sits completely alone in his cell"), Jeralyn at the criminal justice blog Talkleft offers a detailed argument that both the Uniform Code of Military Justice and relevant case law suggest that "Bradley Manning should not be in maximum security or solitary confinement." As the Justice Department tries to build a case against Julian Assange based on his contacts with Manning, what do we really know about the 22-year-old queer intelligence analyst being held at Quantico who says he leaked the Collateral Murder video and all those diplomatic cables? [more inside]
Scotland Yard thinks it knows who killed Bulgarian dissident writer Georgi Markov with a ricin-tipped umbrella on the streets of London 30 years ago this month. Police are hoping to press charges against the man known as Agent Picadilly, who received a secret medal for his services. Interest in the case was sparked by "Kill the Wanderer", a book by journalist Hristo Hristov, who gained access to the archives of the former Bulgarian security service. Bulgaria has extended its own investigation, just as the statute of limitations on the Markov murder was set to expire.