Bioweaponry a concern
Chinese spies said to target
genetic engineering secrets
China is suspected of conducting industrial espionage against Icelandic firms in the areas of DNA decoding and medical research, according to a leaked State Department cable.
"It is believed that the Chinese are conducting industrial espionage in the areas of DNA
decoding and medical research in Iceland," wrote Ambassador
Carol Van Voorst in a 2009 report published on the Wikileaks site.
Over the past couple of decades, there has been a growing number of scholarly reports that speak of China’s beefed up prowess in economic espionage, according to experts.
Genetic engineering has become an area of ferocious competition, with private sector firms and governments alike hungry for the latest developments. Such knowledge is important for medical breakthroughs on the one hand and for research into biological weapons of mass destruction on the other.
Espionage on recombinant DNA research would not only give China advantages in the international pharmaceutical market but also, potentially, additions to its military arsenal. China's military modernization has become increasingly worrisome to policymakers.
(Cable is below.)
The Arizona shooter reportedly told a surprised college class that 6 and 18 are the same number. This is likely a reference to the fact that 18 = 6+6+6, which is a form of the demonic number much favored by adolescents and horror movies. So should we advocate curtailment of horror films on grounds that the disturbed might be incited? Or, maybe we should urge that the Bible, where the number is mentioned in the Book of Revelation, be removed from bookshelves...
09REYKJAVIK41 2009-02-26 15:03 2011-01-13 05:05 SECRET//NOFORN Embassy Reykjavik
R 261501Z FEB 09 ZDK
FM AMEMBASSY REYKJAVIK
TO SECSTATE WASHDC 3993
INFO CIA WASHDC
FBI WASHINGTON DC
S E C R E T REYKJAVIK 000041
DEPT FOR DS/TIA/ITA AND DS/IP/EUR AND EUR/NB
E.O. 12958: DECL: 02/17/2019
TAGS: ASEC PTER
SUBJECT: REYKJAVIK SEPQ RESPONSE - SPRING 2009
REF: STATE 13023
Classified By: RSO JON MOODY FOR REASONS 1.4 (C) AND (D)
Â¶I. (C) Demonstrations
Â¶A. (C) There is a religious community of Muslims, some of
whom might harbor anti-American sentiments. The community
numbers approximately 800 individuals and is comprised mostly
of European Muslims. In the past 12 months there have been
no known anti-American demonstrations led by the Muslim
i. (SBU) Yes, there have been two anti-American
demonstrations in the past 12 months.
ii. (SBU) Both demonstrations occurred in front of the
Chancery and CMR. (NOTE: The Chancery and CMR are co-located
at 21 and 23 Laufasvegur. END NOTE)
iii. (SBU) One demonstration drew 30-40 protesters.
Approximately 400 demonstrators participated in the second
iv. (SBU) The two anti-American protests in this SEPQ period
occurred in December 2008 and January 2009. Both were
related to Israeli military action in Gaza.
Â¶B. (SBU) Demonstrations are generally peaceful.
i. (SBU) There have been no violent demonstrations resulting
in damage or loss of USG property.
ii. (SBU) No demonstrations have penetrated our perimeter
Â¶C. (SBU) There has been a dramatic increase in
demonstrations against the Icelandic government since Post's
last SEPQ response. The primary cause is the current
domestic economic crisis. Demonstrations have also been
organized to protest military action, environmental issues,
salary/benefit disputes, soaring gas prices, and a NATO
i. (SBU) The majority of demonstrations occur in front of
the Prime Minister's office (approximately 700 meters from
the Embassy) and the Althingi Parliament Building
(approximately 550 meters from the Embassy). Since Post,s
last SEPQ response there have been approximately 57
demonstrations against the Government of Iceland. Most were
peaceful, some were heated, and a small number of protesters
were arrested. Several police officers were injured by
throwing rocks, none seriously.
ii. (SBU) The anti-government protests were huge compared to
previously seen protests. Since October Saturday
demonstrations have drawn between 3000-4000 participants.
The largest gathering was estimated at 10000 demonstrators
(approximately 3 percent of Iceland's population).
Non-economic protests were usually drew 30-50 persons (one
protest had 1 participant - an anti-NATO demonstrator man
banging a gong outside the Hilton. He was issued a traffic
citation for parking illegally.)
iii. (C) All demonstrations have been peaceful, to date.
The protests regarding the economic crisis have occasionally
become heated resulting in minor injuries and arrests. None
got out of hand and most of the damage and injuries were
caused by a small group of miscreants well-known to the
police and rumored to be in a turf war, with the police.
iv. (SBU) No demonstrations have resulted in damage to USG
II (SBU) Macro Conflict Conditions
Â¶A. (SBU) Iceland is not involved in an interstate or
Â¶B. (SBU) Iceland is not involved in an intrastate conflict.
Â¶C. (SBU) Iceland is not involved in an interstate or
intrastate conflict. The only US diplomatic mission is in
Â¶D. (SBU) Iceland is not involved in an intrastate conflict.
III. (S/NF) Host Country Capabilities
Â¶A. (C) The police (Logreglan) are well-trained and
professional. All police attend the national police academy
with a comprehensive curriculum. The current number of
police officers in Iceland is 780 (1 police officer for every
409 citizens). A newspaper article on 12 February 2009
claims the Metropolitan Police (Reykjavik) is in dire
financial straits. Costs relating to the demonstrations are
piling up with no funds to cover them in the budget. The
Police Commissioner is fearful that police officer positions
will be cut to offset those expenses. Such a cut will be
detrimental to a police force that has only 20-25 officers on
patrol during any shift.
Â¶B. (SBU) Icelandic police have been trained by US agencies
in various areas including customs/border/port security,
cyber security and computer crimes, hostage negotiation,
crisis management, and several others. The training has been
effective. The RSO notes evidence of the training in his
interactions with the police. There has been no training
since Post,s last SEPQ response.
Â¶C. (C) No evidence of corruption has been observed or
Â¶D. (S/NF) Iceland does not have an intelligence service.
The National Security Unit (NSU) within the National
Commissioner's Office handles threat information analysis.
The NSU is comprised of three individuals. The NSU is too
small to undertake any type of intelligence gathering role
and responds to threats as they arise, such as threats
against Icelandic officials, demonstrations/protests, and
"extremist" groups. The NSU is not a tradecraft or covert
group. There are no terrorism-related examples, but the
NSU's investigative and analytical capabilities have been
demonstrated through operations in varying fields of law
enforcement such as organized crime (OC), counterintelligence
(CI), and counter-narcotics (CN). GRPO maintains liaison
with the NSU.
Â¶E. (SBU) Law enforcement agencies, including the NSU, have
been very cooperative with US Embassy requests for
information and support.
Â¶F. (U) N/A
Â¶G. (SBU) All planned requests for support were fully
completed in a timely and thorough manner. All impromptu
requests for support were responded to within minutes.
Â¶H. (C) The overall assessment of security at the major
airport in Iceland is excellent. Screening is comparable to
US standards and perimeter security is well-organized and
implemented. There are direct flights into and out of the
US. The Transportation and Security Administration (TSA) is
closely involved with the security requirements/standards at
Keflavik International Airport (KEF). The Keflavik Airport
Authority changed hands on 1 January 2009. Security
responsibilities are now handled by a private limited company
owned by the government. The current Director of Security
was the Acting Airport Managing Director prior to the change.
Â¶I. (C) The customs and immigration controls at KEF are
effective. The Sudurnes Police District, the district
responsible for the airport, has a high success rate of
intercepting contraband and suspect travel documents. The
police monitor passenger manifests prior to aircraft arrival
(Advanced Passenger Information - API) and compare the list
against several databases, including Interpol and Europol.
The police possess a fraudulent document lab at the airport
that deals with the fraudulent travel documents. Although
the numbers of events and personnel are relatively low, their
effectiveness is high. As of 1 January 2009, the customs
authority now falls under the Ministry of Finance but is
currently still operationally-controlled by the Sudurnes
Police Commissioner. This change-over is a work in progress.
Eventually the Commissioner will have no responsibility or
oversight of Customs at Keflavik.
Â¶J. (C) Border patrol forces are effective. Police and
customs interdict narcotics on a somewhat regular basis. The
police do recognize the possibility that their borders could
be infiltrated by rogue individuals using small seacraft and
thus rely upon the Icelandic Coast Guard (ICG) for patrolling
the waters. The ICG has made severe cuts to their personnel
and have limited their activities to rescue operations and
training necessary to maintain proficiency operating their
helicopters, aircraft and vessels.
Â¶I. (C) Anti-American Terrorist Groups
Â¶A. (C) There are no known indigenous anti-American terrorist
Â¶B. (U) N/A
Â¶C. (U) N/A
Â¶D. (U) N/A
Â¶E. (U) N/A
Â¶F. (U) N/A
Â¶G. (U) N/A
II. (C) Other Indigenous Terrorist Groups
Â¶A. (C) There are no known other indigenous terrorist groups
Â¶B. (U) N/A
Â¶C. (U) N/A
Â¶D. (U) N/A
Â¶I. (S/NF) Transnational Terrorism Indicators
Â¶A. (C) There are no known foreign terrorist groups in
Â¶B. (U) N/A
Â¶C. (C) The host government is not sympathetic to foreign
terrorism groups in general.
Â¶D. (C) Within the Muslim community and others outside the
Muslim community, there might be a small number that support
the actions of terrorism groups against the US. The numbers
or make-up of possible supporters are not known. Any support
to foreign terrorism groups is not overt.
Â¶E. (S/NF) The Russians and Chinese have established
diplomatic missions in Reykjavik. There are no indications
that these two countries are actively pursuing intelligence
operations against the USG. It is believed that the Chinese
are conducting industrial espionage in the areas of DNA
decoding and medical research in Iceland.
Â¶F. (S/NF) There are no indications of hostile intelligence
services in Iceland with the intent or aim to conduct
potential anti-American attacks. (NOTE: Iran, Iraq, Syria,
Serbia, Sudan, etc. do not have diplomatic missions in
Iceland. The 14 declared, diplomatic missions in Iceland are
the US, Danish, Swedish, French, German, Indian, British,
Chinese, Russian, Polish, Canadian, Finnish, Japanese, and
Norwegian. END NOTE)
Â¶G. (S) There are no indications that weapons or explosives
are readily available to potential hostile terrorist
elements. There are approximately 52,000 firearms registered
with the National Commissioner,s Office.