Friday, December 6, 2019

Russia, Lithuania and Norway exchange prisoners in rare three-way spy-swap

Frode Berg

A rare three-way spy-swap has reportedly taken place between Russia and two North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) members, Lithuania and Norway. Rumors of a possible exchange of imprisoned spies between the three countries first emerged in mid-October. However, all three governments had either denied the rumors or refused to comment at the time. It now turns out that the spy-swap, which international news agencies described as “carefully coordinated” was the result of painstaking negotiations between the three countries, which lasted several months.
A major part of the process that led to last week’s spy swap was the decision of the Lithuanian parliament to approve altering the country’s criminal code. The new code allows the president of Lithuania to pardon foreign nationals who have been convicted of espionage, if doing so promotes Lithuania’s national interest. The new amendment also outlines the process by which the government can swap pardoned foreign spies with its own spies —or alleged spies— who may have been convicted of espionage abroad. On Friday, Lithuanian President Gitanas Nausėda announced he had pardoned two Russian nationals who had been convicted of espionage against Lithuania, in accordance with the new criminal code. The president’s move was approved by the country’s multi-agency State Defense Council during a secret meeting.
Shortly after President Nausėda’s announcement, Sergei Naryshkin, Director of Russia’s Foreign Intelligence Service (SVR) said that Moscow would immediately proceed with “reciprocal steps”. The Kremlin soon released from prison two Lithuanian nationals, Yevgeny Mataitis and Aristidas Tamosaitis. Tamosaitis was serving a 12-year prison sentence, allegedly for carrying out espionage for the Lithuanian Defense Ministry in 2015. Mataitis, a dual Lithuanian-Russian citizen, was serving 13 years in prison, allegedly for supplying Lithuanian intelligence with classified documents belonging to the Russian government.
The two Lithuanians were exchanged for two Russians, Nikolai Filipchenko and Sergei Moisejenko. Filipchenko is believed to be an officer in the Russian Federal Security Service (FSB), who was arrested by Lithuanian counterintelligence agents in 2015. He had been given a 10-year prison sentence for trying to recruit double agents inside Lithuania, allegedly in order to install listening bugs inside the office of the then-Lithuanian President Dalia Grybauskaite. Moisejenko was serving a 10½ year sentence for conducting espionage and for illegally possessing firearms. Lithuania alleges that Moisejenko had been tasked by Moscow with spying on the armed forces of Lithuania and NATO. Along with the two Lithuanians, Russia freed Frode Berg (pictured), a Norwegian citizen who was serving a prison sentence in Russia, allegedly for acting as a courier for the Norwegian Intelligence Service.
On Saturday, Darius Jauniškis, Director of Lithuania’s State Security Department, told reporters in Vilnius that the spy swap had taken place in a remote part of the Russian-Lithuanian border. He gave no further information about the details exchange, or about who was present at the site during the spy-swap.

Elite Russian spy unit used French Alps region as logistical base

Chamonix France

An elite group Russian military intelligence officers, who have participated in assassinations across Europe, have been using resorts in the French Alps as logistical and supply bases, according to a new report. The report concerns Unit 29155 of the Main Directorate of the General Staff of the Russian Armed Forces, commonly known as GRU. According to The New York Times, which revealed its existence of 29155 in October, the unit has been operating for at least 10 years. However, Western intelligence agencies only began to focus on it in 2016, after it was alleged that an elite group of Russian spies tried to stage a coup in the tiny Balkan country of Montenegro.
Unit 29155 is believed to consist of a tightly knit group of intelligence officers led by Major General Andrei V. Averyanov, a hardened veteran of Russia’s Chechen wars. The existence of the unit is reportedly so secret that even other GRU operatives are unlikely to have heard of it. Members of the unit frequently travel to Europe to carry out sabotage and disinformation campaigns, kill targets, or conduct other forms of what some experts describe as the Kremlin’s hybrid war. They are believed to be responsible for the attempt on the life of Sergei Skripal, a former GRU intelligence officer who defected to Britain. He almost died in March 2018, when two Russian members of Unit 29155 poisoned him in the English town of Salisbury.
On Wednesday, a new report in the French newspaper Le Monde claimed that Unit 29155 used the French Alps as a “rear base” to carry out operations throughout Europe. According to the paper, the information about the unit’s activities in France emerged following forensic investigations of the activities of its members by British, Swiss, French and American intelligence agencies. In the same article, Le Monde published the names of 15 members of Unit 29155, which allegedly stayed in various French alpine towns and cities between 2014 and 2018. The paper said that they traveled to France from various countries in Europe, such as Spain, the United Kingdom, Switzerland, or directly for Russia.
The alleged Russian spies stayed in France’s Haute-Savoie, which borders Switzerland, and is among Europe’s most popular wintertime tourist destinations. The area includes the world-famous Mont Blanc mountain range and the picturesque alpine towns of Annemasse, Evian and Chamonix. Several members of the unit visited the region repeatedly, said Le Monde, while others entered France once or twice, in connection with specific spy missions. It is believed that the reasoning behind their trips to the French Alps was to blend in with the large numbers of international tourists that travel to the region throughout the year. However, the unit also utilized several other areas in Eastern Europe as rear bases, including cities and towns in Moldova, Montenegro and Bulgaria, said Le Monde.

Tuesday, October 29, 2019

ISIS is expanding around globe despite Baghdadi death – carrying out ‘on average 10 terror attacks EVERY DAY’

ISIS is expanding around the globe despite elusive leader Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi's death - carrying out an average 10 terror attacks EVERY DAY, an expert warns.
While US President Donald Trump says that the shadowy group is "100 per cent" defeated, politicians and experts urge people to remain vigilant as ISIS "still has fighters".

 'We must remain extremely vigilant to mitigate the risk ISIS poses' say politicians and experts
General Sir Richard Barrons, former commander Joint Forces command – who led the UK Armed Forces until his retirement three years ago – told LBC that his death was a “significant moment in the campaign against ISIS".
He added that Baghdadi, “was their most iconic leader, and his death is a major blow to that organisation."
But, the expert added, we “should absolutely in no way think that this is the end of ISIS.
“It’s already a very distributed organisation, that claims something like 10 attacks around the world every day.
"So the death of Baghdadi in Syria is not going to affect what may now happen in the Philippines, or Nigeria, or elsewhere in Syria and Iraq.
“It still remains a powerful and very violent organisation that wishes us all here in the UK serious harm.”
And Republican Mike Rogers, who is on the House Homeland Security Committee, warned: "About 10,000 ISIS fighters remain in the region and will continue to carry out guerrilla attacks and seek new territory."

Russia Launches New Battle Ship to ‘Defend National Interests’ in the Arctic

Russia has unveiled a new combat icebreaker vessel in St. Petersburg on Friday which it says will help defend its national interests in the Arctic, the state-run TASS news agency reported.
The launch of the Ivan Papanin comes amid Russia’s rapid military and economic development in its strategic Arctic region. Earlier this month, over 12,000 troops took part in nuclear war drills across Russia’s Arctic. Russia has also said it obtained new data that supports its territorial claims in the Arctic.
According to Viktor Cherkov, an admiral at the state-owned United Shipbuilding Corporation responsible for the ship’s construction, the Ivan Papanin is “unique” for its versatility and will able to perform the tasks of a tugboat and patrol ship in addition to its role as an icebreaker.
“We wanted to create a ship that can give security to our fleet in the Arctic. At the same time it will be able to assist in scientific research. Overall the fleet will defend our national interests in the Arctic.”
The ship will be supplied with a portable anti-aircraft missile system and artillery installation and will act as a permanent base for a military helicopter.

German Role in Developing Soviet Nuclear Program Revealed in Newly Declassified Documents

Russia’s state nuclear firm Rosatom has declassified the personal files of German scientists involved in the Soviet nuclear program after World War II.
The Soviet Union tested its first atomic bomb ahead of schedule in 1949, an achievement largely attributed to German experts and Soviet espionage on the U.S. Manhattan Project. Stalin had awarded prestigious state prizes to German specialists in the late 1940s and early 1950s for their contribution to the Soviet atomic bomb project.
Rosatom’s newly declassified trove features special-purpose questionnaires filled out by six German scientists, one of which was completed by Nobel Prize winner Gustav Hertz
The trove also includes a declassified order by NKVD intelligence service chief Lavrenty Beria to move German special equipment to a Soviet lab dated May 15, 1945, less than a week after Nazi Germany’s unconditional surrender.
Pavel Oleynikov, a group leader at one of two centers for Russia’s nuclear program, detailed the role of German scientists in the Soviet nuclear program for the James Martin Center for Nonproliferation Studies in California.
“While the Soviets did not need the Germans’ help to build an atomic weapon, their contributions certainly accelerated the Soviets’ push to become a nuclear weapon state,” Oleynikov wrote in 2000. 
Rosatom has published a series of previously classified documents in the past week to commemorate next year’s 75th anniversary of the Russian nuclear industry.

British SAS heroes ‘took part in hunt and kill mission that saw ISIS chief Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi blow himself up’

ELITE SAS troops took part in the daring raid to hunt down and kill ISIS boss Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi.
American special forces descended on the terror chief’s Syrian bolthole on Saturday night, where he was hiding after the fall of the “Caliphate”.
 Al-Baghdadi at a secret location in an ISIS propaganda video earlier this year
Al-Baghdadi at a secret location in an ISIS propaganda video earlier this yearCredit: AP:Associated Press
 Rubble above the site of the tunnel where Baghdadi is believed to have blown himself up, in north-western Syria
Rubble above the site of the tunnel where Baghdadi is believed to have blown himself up, in north-western SyriaCredit: AFP or licensors
Donald Trump said the cowering killer died “crying, whimpering and screaming” along with eight of his henchmen after soldiers blasted their way into his compound in Idlib province.
And super troopers from the elite British unit also took part in the dramatic shootout, The Mirror reports.
A source told the paper: "The UK has an exchange deal which is long standing with the US special ­operations in Iraq, which mounted the mission.
"No doubt lessons were learned from previous operations."
The MoD cannot confirm or deny the presence of SAS soldiers in the raid, as it does not comment on Special Forces operations.
Eight choppers swooped on the terror compound over the weekend, ferrying the commandos to their target.
US aircraft, mostly twin-rotor CH-47 helicopters, had taken off from Al-Asad air base in western Iraq - with villagers noticing the helicopters hovering low on the horizon.
Mr Trump explained: "We flew very, very low and very, very fast. It was a very dangerous part of the mission."
An unidentified resident told the Associated Press: "We went out in the balcony to see and they started shooting, with automatic rifles. So we went inside and hid."
Next came a large explosion that Mr Trump - watching the action unfold in the White House Situation Room - said was the result of soldiers blasting a hole in the side of a building because they feared the entrance might have been booby-trapped.
Hearing the soldiers enter his compound, a startled Baghdadi fled into a network of underground bunkers and tunnels that snaked through the compound.
The stout, bearded militant leader wore a suicide vest and dragged along three children as he ran from the American troops.
He ignited his vest, killing himself and his three kids.
Trump said: "The thug who tried so hard to intimidate others spent his last moments in utter fear, in total panic and dread, terrified of the American forces bearing down on him."
No US personnel were killed and 11 children were rescued in the operation.
Baghdadi – who had led the murderous cult since 2010 when it was still an underground al-Qaeda offshoot in Iraq – had been the subject of an international manhunt for years and had a £19.4m ($25m) bounty on his head.

Friday, October 18, 2019

Russian Spies Are Recruiting MGIMO Students – Proekt

Russian intelligence services are actively recruiting students from the prestigious Moscow State Institute of International Relations (MGIMO), the independent Proekt online outlet reported in an investigation Thursday.
MGIMO is considered one of Russia’s elite academic institutions, training future government leaders and diplomats, as well as businesspeople, journalists and thinkers. Its alleged ties to Russia's secret services came into focus last year when Poland’s foreign ministry said it had fired hundreds of MGIMO graduates as part of a large-scale overhaul.
“It’s no secret that they recruit into the security agencies at MGIMO,” Proekt quoted an unnamed graduate, who reportedly attended a recruitment drive in 2010, as saying.
Another student recounted a 2015 meeting with a recruiter who drew attention to his “unique” knowledge of the Montenegrin language and urged him to think about “the future, the motherland and a career.”
Intelligence services around the world regularly recruit graduates from top diplomatic schools, prizing them for their language and analytical skills.
The Proekt investigation came ahead of President Vladimir Putin’s visit to the Gerasimov State University of Cinematography (VGIK) Thursday, where he called Russian students’ work abroad a “major soft power.” 
Putin also lauded MGIMO alumni’s “patriotism and fidelity to duty while protecting our country’s foreign policy interests” on the 75th anniversary of its founding earlier this week.

Russians accused of extremism cut wrists in court

Vyacheslav Kryukov (far left) and Ruslan Kostylenkov (2nd left) in court
Two Russians on trial for belonging to an anarchist organisation have slit their wrists in a Moscow courtroom.
The pair, Ruslan Kostylenkov, 25, and Vyacheslav Kryukov, 20, face extremism charges after being accused of belonging to Novoye Velichiye (New Greatness) group.
They were removed from the witness stand. Their condition is not yet known, Russian media report.
Both had called to be put under house arrest but had their request rejected.
When their request was denied, they reportedly told the courthouse: "This is an unfair trial" and "Glory to Russia, freedom of Russia, freedom of political prisoners."
They then slit their wrists.
Lawyer Alexander Lupashko said it was unclear how the pair had managed to get sharp objects into the courtroom.
"They were checked by dogs. I believe either a piece of glass or a piece of a blade was carried in there," he said.
The pair are part of a group of 10 young people facing trial on charges of creating an extremist organisation and seeking to overthrow President Vladimir Putin's government. The suspects include teenagers.
One alleged member of the group, Anna Pavlikova, 19, has already been charged. Her health deteriorated in prison and she was later placed under house arrest.
The prosecution's case largely relies on the testimony of an undercover policeman who infiltrated the group.
Human rights groups say the suspects were set up. Parents of the suspects say the group discussed everyday life such as school, work and in some cases, politics.

Thursday, October 17, 2019

Russia detains American diplomats for traveling to top-secret military site


Russian authorities detained three American diplomats because they allegedly tried to enter a highly secret weapons testing site in northern Russia, according to reports. The site in question is located near the northern Russian city of Severodvinsk. The city is home to a number of military shipyards and is thus restricted for non-Russians. The latter require a special permit to enter it.
In August of this year, Western media reported on a mysterious explosion that took place in a weapons research site located near Severodvinsk. The explosion allegedly happened during testing of a top-secret prototype rocket engine. Russian authorities revealed that five workers died as a result of the explosion, but denied media reports that the explosion had caused a radiation leak that had affected Severodvinsk. The Russian Ministry of Defense also denied allegations that a large-scale nuclear clean-up operation had been conducted in and around Severodvinsk. At the same time, Russian authorities restricted maritime traffic in the White Sea, on the shores of which Severodvinsk is situated.
On Wednesday, the Russian news agency Interfax reported that three American diplomats had been detained by authorities near Severodvinsk, allegedly because they tried to enter the city without the necessary permits. The diplomats were not named but are believed to be military attachés that serve in the United States embassy in Moscow. Interfax said the three were detained on Monday while onboard a passenger train. They were removed from the train, questioned and eventually released. However, they might still face charges of trying to enter a restricted area without permission.
The United States Department of State issued a statement claiming that the three diplomats “were on official travel and had properly notified Russian authorities of their travel”. A State Department spokesman said on Wednesday that the three diplomats’ travel plans had been authorized by the Russian Ministry of Defense. But authorities in Russia said that the three military attachés had been authorized to travel to the city of Arkhangelsk, which is located approximately 30 miles east of Severodvinsk. “We are quite willing to provide the United States embassy with a map of the Russian Federation”, the Russian statement concluded.
► Author: Joseph Fitsanakis

US Special Forces secrets could fall into hands of Russians as Kurds side with Syria

Yekîneyên Antî Teror‎

American defense officials with knowledge of Special Operations Forces activities in Syria are concerned that their secrets may fall into the hands of the Russians, as the Kurds switch their allegiance to the Moscow-backed Syrian government. Members of the United States Special Operations Forces and the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) have had a presence in Kurdish-dominated northern Syria since at least 2012. Following the rise of the Islamic State in 2014, the Americans have worked closely with the Kurds in battling the Islamist group throughout the region.
Throughout that time, US Special Operations Forces have trained members of the Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF), a political and military umbrella of anti-government Syrian groups, which is led by the Kurdish-dominated People’s Protection Unit (YPG) militias. Until recently, the SDF and the YPG were almost exclusively funded, trained and armed by the US through its Special Operations Forces units on the ground in northern Syria. US Special Operations Forces were also behind the creation in 2014 of the SDF’s most feared force, the Anti-Terror Units. Known in Kurdish as Yekîneyên Antî Teror‎, these units have been trained by the US in paramilitary operations and are tasked with targeting Islamic State sleeper cells.
As of this week, however, the SDF and all of its US-trained militias have switched their allegiance to the Russia-backed government of Syrian President Bashar al-Assad. The dramatic move followed the decision of the White House earlier this month to pull its Special Operations Forces troops from norther Syria, effectively allowing the Turkish military to invade the region. According to the American defense news website Military Times, US Pentagon officials are now worried that the SDF may surrender to the Russians a long list of secrets relating to US Special Operations Forces’ “tactics, techniques, procedures, equipment, intelligence gathering and even potentially names of operators”.
One former US defense official told The Military Times that SDF “may be in survival mode and will need to cut deals with bad actors” by surrendering US secrets. Another source described this scenario as “super problematic” and a symptom of the absence of a genuine American strategy in the wider Middle East region. The website also cited US Marines Major Fred Galvin (ret.), who said that Special Operations Forces tend to reveal little about themselves and their capabilities when working with non-US actors. However, this is uncharted territory for them, said Galvin, since “we’ve never had a force completely defect to an opposition like this before”.
► Author: Joseph Fitsanakis 

Mossad chief comments on policy of assassinations in rare interview

Yossi Cohen

Yossi Cohen, the chief of the Mossad —Israel’s main external intelligence agency— said he has authorized “more than a few” assassinations during his tenure and warned that more may be on the way. Cohen, 57, who took command of the Mossad in 2016, spoke last week to Mishpacha, a magazine aimed at ultra-orthodox Jews. His comments were covered widely by Israeli media over the weekend.
Cohen was asked to respond to recent allegations made by the Iranian government that Israel worked with “Arab countries” to assassinate General Qassem Suleimani, the head of the Quds Force, an elite paramilitary unit in Iran’s Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC). Suleimani claimed that several individuals were arrested last month in connection with the alleged plot. He also said that Israel tried to kill him and Hassan Nasrallah, leader of the Lebanese Hezbollah group, in 2006.
The head of the Mossad told Mishpacha that Suleimani had not “necessarily committed the mistake yet that would place him on the prestigious list of Mossad’s assassination targets”. However, “he knows very well that his assassination is not impossible” because “the infrastructure he built presents a serious challenge for Israel”, said Cohen. Regarding Nasrallah, Cohen said that the Hezbollah strongman “knows we have the option of eliminating him”. When asked why the Mossad had not exercised that option, Cohen said he preferred not to answer.
In regards to Hamas, the Palestinian militant group that controls the Gaza Strip, Cohen admitted that the Mossad has been behind a string of assassinations of Hamas officials around the world in recent years. “If there is one target that we eliminate without hesitation, it is Hamas officials abroad. [These range] from local agents to those who manage acquisitions of weapons pointed towards Israel”, said Cohen. He added that there had been “more than a few assassinations” in recent years, but not all were admitted to by Hamas. “The enemy has changed tactics. It is not quick to attribute assassination to us, for its own reasons”, said the Mossad chief.
► Author: Joseph Fitsanakis 

Friday, October 11, 2019

US and Saudi Arabia ‘suffered intelligence blackout’ during Iran drone strikes: sources

Saudi Aramco

Saudi Arabia and the United States suffered “a total and embarrassing [intelligence] failure” in the lead-up to the drone strikes that shut down half of the kingdom’s oil production last month, according to Israeli sources. In the early hours of September 14, missiles struck two refineries belonging to the world’s largest crude oil processing facility in eastern Saudi Arabia. The facilities, which belong to Aramco, Saudi Arabia’s government-owned oil conglomerate, were forced to cease operation so that repairs could be carried out. This drastically reduced Saudi Arabia’s oil production by close to 50 percent, which amounted to a 5 percent drop in global oil production. By Monday morning, global oil prices had seen their most significant one-day surge since the 1991 Gulf War.
Soon after the attacks, Saudi and American officials accused Iran of having launched the missile strikes. But according to Breaking Defense, Riyadh and Washington suffered “a total and embarrassing [intelligence] failure” in the hours prior to and following the attacks. The US-based website cited a number of anonymous Israeli sources, who said that officials in Tel Aviv were surprised by the lack of intelligence in the US and Saudi Arabia about the missile strikes. The Israelis told Breaking Defense that Saudi intelligence agencies “had no idea Iran was planning to attack the kingdom’s oil facilities […]. It seems that the Americans were also in the dark [or that possibly] Washington […] did not share the data in time with the Saudis”, they added.
The above information was allegedly discussed at an emergency meeting of the Israeli defense cabinet on October 6, which included a briefing on the attacks by the Mossad, Israel’s main external intelligence agency. According to the Israeli sources, Mossad officials were quickly able state with high confidence that the missiles had been launched from military bases in southeast Iran or by Iranian militias in Iraq. It was only following an examination of missile fragments that Saudi and American intelligence officers were able to point the finger at Iran, according to Aahron Ze’evi Farkash, former director of the Israeli Military Intelligence Directorate.
Breaking Defense also said that Israeli intelligence analysts were impressed by the precision of the weapons systems used in the Iranian strikes. Additionally, the specific targets of the attacks were selected with the help of “very accurate intelligence”, said the Israeli sources.
► Author: Joseph Fitsanakis

Concerns about mass breakouts of jailed ISIS fighters if Turkey invades northern Syria

Turkey ISIS

Officials in the United States, Europe and the Middle East have warned that thousands of jailed members of the Islamic State could escape from Kurdish-controlled prisons in northern Syria if Turkey invades the region. For more than two years, the area has been controlled by American-supported Kurdish militias, who were instrumental in helping Washington defeat the Islamic State —also known as Islamic State of Iraq and Syria, or ISIS. But the growing strength of the Kurdish forces has alarmed Turkey, which views Kurdish nationalism in the region as a bigger threat than Salafi jihadism. Ankara has repeatedly threatened to invade northern Syria and disarm the Kurdish groups, which it sees as terrorist.
The continuous presence of American troops in northern Syria has served to dissuade Turkey from invading. Yesterday, however, the White House surprised observers by announcing its sudden decision to pull its troops from northern Syria. Washington’s unexpected move drew criticism from Kurdish commanders who spoke of betrayal, as well as by members of both political parties in Congress. Security officials also expressed fears that Turkey’s focus on the Kurds could allow ISIS to regroup in northern Syria. A statement issued by the White House on Monday said that Turkey would assume control of over 10,000 captured ISIS fighters who are currently being held in Kurdish-administered prison camps in northern Syria. But experts said that the wider Kurdish-controlled region of northern Syria, which Turkey intends to capture, is home to dozens of prisons with over 60,000 captured ISIS supporters in them. What will be the fate of these prisoners under Turkish control?
Security observers have repeatedly accused Turkey in the past of turning a blind eye to ISIS, whose members fought a prolonged and bloody war against Iraqi and Syrian Kurds from 2016 to 2018. There are no guarantees that the Turks will not utilize a resurgent ISIS to suppress Kurdish nationalism in the region. In fact, some experts, including retired American generals, warned on Monday that a Turkish invasion of northern Syria would give ISIS “a golden chance to regroup”. There are concerns of mass breakouts of ISIS members from Kurdish-controlled prisons in Syria, amidst the widespread chaos caused by a Turkish military onslaught. Such breakouts have been encouraged by ISIS leaders, including Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi himself. Escaped prisoners would most likely join the nearly 20,000 estimated ISIS fighters who are still at large in Iraq and Syria, thus contributing to a potentially catastrophic regeneration of the militant Sunni group, according to experts.
► Author: Joseph Fitsanakis 

NEVER SAY NEVER Aliens DO exist and we are not alone in the universe, says Britain’s former top spook

 Sir John explained that due to the infinite size of the universe there most be other life forms out there
Sir John explained that due to the infinite size of the universe there most be other life forms out there.

THE former-head of MI6 has stated that he believes aliens exist - a view that's supported by more than half of Britain.
Sir John Sawers, 64, is certain extraterrestrials are out there due to the infinite size of the universe.
The Warwick-born ex-spy said it would be "extraordinary" if life only existed on earth and is adamant that we can't be alone.
He was the Chief of the Secret Intelligence Service from 2009 until 2014.
Sir John told the Daily Star: "I think it would be extraordinary if in an infinite solar system that planet Earth was unique.
“I think we should go forward on the assumption that nothing on this planet is unique."


Around 52 per cent of Brits believed intelligent life exists elsewhere in the solar system, according to a YouGov survey in 2015.
We fell below 56 per cent of Germans and 54 per cent Americans.
Brits over the age of 60 were found to be more skeptical of extraterrestrials existence with 45 per cent not sharing the belief.
Whereas a whopping 59 per cent of 18-24-year-olds did.


A smaller number of us also think that humans are not technologically advanced enough to communicate with aliens.
Meanwhile a fifth of Brits believe the government have covered up dealings with beings from outer space.
Sawers claims came just over a month after astronomers discovered a planet where life could have existed.


Water was spotted in the atmosphere of K2-18b, a planet two times the size of earth, scientific journal Nature Astronomy wrote.
It's located within a safe distance of a star and around 111 light years away, or 650 million million miles away, from earth.
K2-18b is too far away to send a probe but in 10 years it's hoped that telescopes will be able to see more of it.
Then they will look for gases that could support an atmosphere for living organisms.
Professor Stephen Hawking was among believers and before his death in March 2018 backed a new project to track them down.
The Breakthrough Initiative aims to discover if we are alone, if there are other habitable worlds out there and if so, how can we get there.
Earth circles one star among of hundreds of billions in a galaxy that is among hundreds of billions others, in a possibly infinite universe, they wrote.
Prof. Hawking called the search for extraterrestrial life "the most exciting quest in 21st century science".