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World Briefs: Suspected Australian spy linked to wider espionage

- - Wednesday, July 25, 2012

Australia

SYDNEY — A Canadian naval officer arrested this year for allegedly leaking secrets may also have compromised top-level Australian, British and American intelligence, according to Australian security sources.

Jeffrey Delisle, a naval intelligence officer, was charged in Canada in January with communicating over the past five years "with a foreign entity, information that the government of Canada is taking measures to safeguard."

Canadian reports said Ottawa expelled four Russian diplomats in the aftermath of Mr. Delisle's arrest, although Moscow denied this.

On Wednesday, the Sydney Morning Herald, citing Australian security sources, said Mr. Delisle also allegedly sold to Moscow signals intelligence -- information gathered by the interception of radio and radar signals -- collected by the United States, Britain, Australia and New Zealand.

It said much of the information was more highly classified than the disclosures attributed to imprisoned Army Pfc. Bradley Manning, who is accused of releasing a vast cache of classified files to whistleblowing website WikiLeaks.

Germany

Environmental activist ordered rearrested

FRANKFURT — A German court has ordered environmental activist Paul Watson of the group Sea Shepherd rearrested, saying Wednesday that he skipped bail and apparently left the country.

The 61-year-old Canadian was first arrested May 13 at Frankfurt Airport on a Costa Rican warrant that claimed he had endangered the crew of a fishing vessel a decade ago. Mr. Watson was released days later on a $320,000 bond and ordered to report regularly to authorities while Costa Rica's extradition request was considered.

"His attorney now says that his client informed him by telephone that he has left Germany for an unknown destination," the Hesse regional court in a statement, noting that Mr. Watson failed to report to authorities since Sunday.

Mr. Watson's German attorney didn't respond to repeated telephone messages Wednesday. A spokeswoman for Sea Shepherd in the United States declined immediately to comment.

Shortly after his arrest in May the Sea Shepherd issued a statement saying Mr. Watson was filming a documentary at the time of the alleged incident, which took place in Guatemalan waters in 2002. The U.S.-based group said it encountered an illegal shark-finning operation run by a Costa Rican ship, the Varadero, and told the crew to stop and head to port to be prosecuted. The crew accused the Sea Shepherd of trying to kill them by ramming their ship.

Mr. Watson has a history of confrontations with whalers and fishermen.

He left Greenpeace in 1977 to set up the more action-oriented Sea Shepherd. The group has waged aggressive campaigns to protect whales, dolphins and other marine animals, prompting Japanese officials to labels its member terrorists and seek Mr. Watson's arrest for allegedly masterminding violent protests.

United Kingdom

Boy, 11, without papers flies alone to Rome

LONDON — The 11-year-old boy didn't have a passport, didn't have a ticket, didn't have a boarding pass, and somehow managed to get all the way from England to Italy.

Officials at Manchester airport and at the airline Jet2.com said Wednesday they were investigating how the boy got aboard the flight to Rome and wasn't detected until the cabin crew identified him during the flight.

The unusual incident took place Tuesday amid heightened security concerns during the run-up to the Olympics.

The Manchester Evening News quoted Sarah Swayne, a passenger on the return flight, as saying the boy didn't seem to be fazed by the fuss he had caused.

"He just sat there chatting away about how he'd been trying to run away from home," she was quoted as saying.

An undisclosed number of security staff and airline employees have been suspended following the incident.

"It's not technically a breach of security," airport spokesman Russell Craig told the BBC. "The boy posed no threat to the aircraft. He went through a security process."

Germany

Al Qaeda suspects face terrorism trial

DUESSELDORF — Four men accused of plotting a major attack in Germany on the orders of al Qaeda militants went on trial Wednesday facing charges of belonging to a foreign terrorist organization.

Authorities say the so-called Duesseldorf cell, named for the western German city where some of the accused lived, aimed to plant a homemade bomb against a target they had not yet determined.

"They planned to carry out a spectacular and startling attack," federal prosecutor Michael Bruns told the higher regional court. "The defendants wanted to spread fear and horror."

They face up to 10 years in prison if convicted.

Authorities believe Moroccan national Abdeladim el-Kebir, 31, served as the ringleader and received orders from an unidentified senior al Qaeda operative while attending a weapons training camp on the Afghanistan-Pakistan border.

Also in the dock are German-Moroccan national Jamil Seddiki, 32; German-Iranian Amid Chaabi, 21; and German citizen Halil Simsek, 28.

Police arrested three of the four men in April last year and the fourth in December after months of surveillance following Mr. el-Kebir's return from the militants' training camp.

They said the group had been experimenting with various chemicals to build their own bomb.

• From wire dispatches and staff reports