Sunday, 29 September 2013

Swanning Around?

Egyptian man arrests swan on suspicion of spying

An Egyptian man has performed a citizen's arrest on a swan, taking it to police on suspicion of being a spy.

The suspected winged infiltrator was taken to a police station in the Qena governorate, 280 miles southeast of Cairo, amid increasing fears over foreign spies. Officials said the man suspected the bird was an undercover agent because it carried an electronic device.
Mohammed Kamal, head of security in Qena, said that officials examined the bird and the device, but found neither explosives nor a spying device. It was thought likely to be a wildlife tracker.
With turmoil gripping Egypt, authorities and citizens remain suspicious of anything foreign. Earlier this year, a security guard filed a police report after capturing a pigeon he said carried microfilm reels.
It is not just in Egypt that animals can be detained for spying.
In July a kestrel was detained in Turkey on suspicion of being an Israeli spy. In 2010 the country's authorities also faced scrutiny after Egyptian officials claimed they had sent sharks to kill tourists.
Saudi Arabi arrested a vulture in 2011, believing the animal to be working for Mossad, the Israeli secret service.
And far fetched as it may seem, some people believe that the CIA is actively exploring how to "recruit" animals into service.
"What the agency wanted was a remote-controlled bug that could be steered to within five meters of a target," wrote Emily Anthes in Frankenstein's Cat: Cuddling up to Biotech's Brave New Beasts, which was published in March.
"Ultimately, the insects would also need to carry surveillance equipment, such as microphones, cameras, or gas sensors, and to transmit whatever data they collected back to military officials.
"The pamphlet outlined one specific application for the robo-bugs – outfitted with chemical sensors, they could be used to detect traces of explosives in remote buildings or caves."

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