UK army interpreter convicted of spying for Iran
An Iranian born British translator, Cpl Daniel James, has been charged of spying for Iran. However, Tehran has denied such allegations few days ago.
LONDON (AP) - A former British army interpreter was convicted of espionage Wednesday after sending e-mails to an Iranian diplomat while serving in Afghanistan. Iranian-born Cpl. Daniel James, whom prosecutors depicted as an eccentric character who fantasized about being a hero, was found guilty of communicating information to an enemy. The jury continued to deliberate on two other charges relate to a USB memory stick that contained secret NATO documents and a count of misconduct in public office. His sentencing won't take place until the verdicts on those charges are finalized. In 2006, James was stationed in Afghanistan, where he acted as interpreter for former Gen. David Richards, the then-NATO commander in the country. James, 45, who was born in Iran but moved to Britain as a teenager, denied the charges. He also told the court he was a Voodoo priest and had used black magic to protect Richards from the Taliban. Prosecutors said James, a former salsa dance instructor, was heavily in debt. They also said he was a fantasist and «something of a Walter Mitty character.» The description refers to a character who fantasized about being a hero in a story by the late American author James Thurber. Prosecutors said James began sending coded e-mails after meeting an Iranian military attache in late August 2006. One read «I am at your service,» prosecutors said. «The defendant's loyalty to this country wavered and his loyalties turned to Iran, the country of his birth,» prosecutor Mark Dennis told jurors during the trial. «He turned his back on those with whom he was serving in Afghanistan and sought to become an agent for a foreign power. During the trial, James denied that charge, saying, «nonsense. I am still loyal to Britain. I am still a soldier.» The Defense Ministry said he will be discharged from the military. James said his e-mails were an attempt to set up a deal for Afghanistan to buy gas from Iran, and believed that any arrangement could benefit the U.S. by reducing energy prices. He said the e-mails weren't a code, but rather an attempt to sound «sexy and important. James joined the British army reserves in 1987, and was called up to serve a tour in Afghanistan in March 2006. Two months later, he was appointed translator for Richards, who was then the overall commander of the International Security Assistance Force in Afghanistan.
Corp. James said he had been 'set up' by the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) because Americans were angry that Gen. Richards sought a peaceful strategy to deal with the Taliban rather than adopting the US approach of attacking the insurgents. The revelation about James' alleged spying charges came at a time when Tehran was pressing Britain not to release the only surviving culprit involved in a 1980 terrorist attack on the Iranian Embassy in London. Original source at PressTV