WASHINGTON, Nov. 29 (UPI) -- South Korea's National Intelligence Service, or NIS, recently reported to the National Assembly that North Korea sent as many as 670 secret dispatches to the South over the last four years. Analysts believe that since the number only includes dispatches that were discovered the actual total is probably far higher.
In 2004 a representative of the National Assembly Intelligence Committee speaking on condition of anonymity said, "There were around 80,000 messages that we assume to be North Korean orders to spies and pro-North underground groups."
During the last four years the NIS has arrested 13 North Korean spies, Dong-A Ilbo news agency reported.
South Korea's controversial National Security Law imposes long sentences or the death penalty for loosely defined "anti-state" activities or espionage.
While most details about the NIS are classified, a 1998 investigation of the intelligence service by the Sisa journal estimated that it had 7,000 employees and an annual budget of nearly $700 million. On its Web site the NIS lists its mission as the "collection, coordination, and distribution of information on the nation's strategy and security."
Founded in 1961 as the Korea Central Intelligence Agency, the agency was renamed the National Intelligence Service in 1999. The agency was notorious during the Cold War for its ruthless actions against enemies on behalf of South Korea's anti-communist authoritarian leaders.
In light of recent bugging scandals of political leaders South Korean President Roh Moo Hyun's administration is proposing to reform the NIS.
Filipino National Security Adviser Norberto Gonzales has advised the government to abolish the Intelligence Service of the Armed Forces of the Philippines, drawing a swift response from the military.
During a press briefing in Camp Aguinaldo the armed forces deputy chief of staff, Lt. Gen. Samuel Bagasin, said that the armed forces could not afford to lose the Intelligence Service of the Armed Forces of the Philippines, or ISAFP, due to its extreme importance to the country's military. Bagasin said, "This (ISAFP) is part of our organization and we would ... oppose any move to dissolve the ISAFP. We still don't have an official stand on this (proposal), but we need ISAFP in so far as the armed forces operation is concerned"
The proposal to abolish ISAFP was made a research paper written by Jesuit Father Romeo Intengan of the Center for Strategic Studies. Intengan's recommendation was subsequently endorsed two months ago by National Security Adviser Norberto Gonzales, a reported longtime friend of Intengan, ABS-CBN news agency reported.
In February former Presidential Chief of Staff Gonzales was appointed National Security Adviser by President Gloria Mapacagal Arroyo to reorganize the intelligence community. If the Gonzales proposal is approved, the ISAFP's duties will be transferred to either the National Intelligence Coordinating Agency or the National Security Adviser.
According to the Manila Times, some analysts believe that the proposal is possible payback for the ISAFP allegedly leaking wiretapped conversations between Arroyo and a former election official that supposedly proved that she rigged the outcome of the 2004 national elections to opposition politicians. The charges plunged her administration into its worst political crisis.
ISAFP agent Sgt. Vidal Doble, who allegedly sold the tapes, is in military detention and under investigation for the incident.
Since 1991 Turkey has been rapidly expanding its relations with the Turkic republics of the former Soviet Union.
Turkey will supply military equipment worth $900,000 to the Kazakh Armed Forces under terms of an executive protocol signed on Nov. 28 during a Turkish military official visit to Kazakhstan. Kazakh Defense Ministry and Turkish General Staff officials signed the protocol, which was attached to the earlier Nov. 1 intergovernmental agreement on military assistance, Regnum news agency reported.
Turkey has already supplied $6 million in military assistance to the Kazakh Army. The Turkish armed forces provided their Kazakh counterparts with all-terrain vehicles and advanced communications equipment. Turkey also agreed to train 300 Kazakh troops.
Turkey has also concluded a similar agreement with Kyrgystan, allocating about $800,000 in military-technical assistance.
Turkish General-Lieutenant Yurdaer Oljan signed the agreement with Kyrgyz Deputy Minister of Defense General-Major Boris Yugai. The agreement builds on an earlier treaty on military assistance signed on Oct. 14 in Ankara.
An important feature of the new contract is Turkish assistance for maintaining military equipment transferred under the agreement.