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Published:July 27th, 2007 05:26 EST
Eurasian Secret Services  Review

Eurasian Secret Services Review

By SOP newswire

A report by the Council of Europe says that secret prisons were run by the CIA in Poland and Romania from 2003 to 2005 to interrogate terror suspects, Polish Radio reports. Romania and Bulgaria strike back in the CIA prison scandal kindled again, when the second evaluation of Dick Marty, a rapporteur of the Council of Europe, was released in Paris. The second Council of Europe report, unveiled by the Swiss senator Marty, claims that the prison in northeastern Poland was part of a "global spider`s web` of detentions and illegal transfers of suspects after the September 11 attacks. According to the radio, a spokesman for the Polish Foreign Ministry has reiterated Poland`s denial of the existence of any secret prisons on the country`s territory.

He said the Polish side would like to know what kind of materials are at Dick Marty`s disposal. Senator Marty said that the CIA plan aimed to export the anti-terrorism fight beyond the borders of the United States in order to avoid the legal constrains imposed by American law.` According to Romanian daily Ziua, the document invokes obstruction by authorities and the Swiss author makes use of other information means, including two Ziua articles. Romania is described as a state accomplice to the US agency and accused of having obstructed the inquiry coordinate by the Swiss MEP by refusing to cooperate in the name of the secret of state and of a concept such as national security.

Ziua concludes that the Marty report lacks practical evidence. It is the first time that the document has also pointed to those responsible for it: in Romania, ex-President Ion Iliescu and his successor Traian Basescu, ex-presidency adviser for national security Ioan Talpes, former defense minister Ioan Mircea Pascu and ex-chief of military services Sergiu Medar. Iliescu and Talpes are accused of having hidden the `partnership` with CIA from the members of the Supreme Council for National Defense, as the latter were not to know about it. Mircea Pascu and Sergiu Medar are also claimed to have hidden important operations from significant military officials and officials they were subordinate to.

Romanian officials accused in CIA prison scandal deny involvement

According to daily Ziua, Romania`s former President Ion Iliescu commented the Council of Europe latest report on CIA secret prisons as "irresponsible fancy". He said he was surprised to hear it. "While a head of state, I received no information or request, " says Iliesku, marking that there could be no such activities without consent from state structures. As he had not known on any talk of any kind about such things, "it is aberration, all this is groundless ". Iliescu underlined that "it would have been unacceptable, had CIA dared do this without consent from Romanian authorities ". Sergiu Medar, ex-chief of the General Information Department in the Ministry of Defense of Romania and ex-presidency adviser for national security said all this were "chain speculations". He said the Military Information Department had never participated in any action related to the issues approached by Mr. Dick Marty in his report.

According to Medar, the report is "totally unprofessional ". Ioan Talpes, ex-presidency adviser for national security has said that the CIA planes landed in Romania on grounds of a NATO document. "Romania consented to the landing of CIA planes. When negotiating, it was done in keeping with a document signed by all the NATO states. " Simultaneously he stated that Romania could not know what was going on with those planes. Ministry of Defense of Romania has denied existence of CIA detention center at the Mihai Kogalniceanu airbase, Ziua writes, referring to the spokesman of the Romanian Ministry of National Defence. It is said that the airbase in the district of Constanta has never housed any Romanian or foreign detention center. The base was made available to all those interested in making such aspects clear and representatives of national and international press, parliamentarians and foreign experts paid visits. The statements concerning the existence of some CIA detention centres and flights of planes CIA rented in Romania were under the inquiry of the Romanian Parliament, ministry spokesman recalled. He marked that the special investigation committee report had said in Romania there were no secret US bases or facilities for sheltering detainees.

Czech Republic likely to have two intelligence services

Czech Republic will probably have two secret services, he intelligence and the counter-intelligence, instead of the current three, news agency CTK reports, referring to Interior Minister Ivan Langer. The government committee for intelligence services recommended this step to the Interior Ministry, according to Langer. As a result, the civilian intelligence UZSI (Urad pro zahranicny styky a informace) is to merge with the military intelligence and the civilian counter-intelligence BIS (Bezpecnostny informacny sluzba) with the military counter-intelligence. The intelligence reform plan should be completed this autumn, agency adds. The military intelligence and counter-intelligence services merged several years ago.

Langer formally presented Ivo Schwarz as the new director of the UZSI on June 7. The government appointed Schwarz to the post at the end of May. AIA reported earlier that Schwarz replaced Jiri Lang who temporarily headed the UZSI since last autumn when Langer dismissed Karel Randak from the post. Lang continues to be the head of the BIS.

Schwarz told journalists that he wants the intelligence service to communicate less than now as he wanted "to return to the idea of a secret service". Langer also said he ordered that the documents of the former communist intelligence service be handed over to the current archive of the Interior Ministry`s armed forces, CTK writes. The handover of the documents, done within the ministry`s Open Past project, is to end in October. Langer said that only exceptional documents concerning the country`s foreign and security interests would remain secret, news agency adds.

Czech intelligence reveals communist StB`s largest misinformation campaign

The former communist secret police (StB) launched the probably most extensive misinformation operation in 1964 when several boxes with WW2 confidential documents discrediting important Western personalities were "accidentally" uncovered at the bottom of a Czech lake, news agency CTK reports today, referring to the Czech civilian intelligence website. The documents were to prove that a number of personalities in Western countries were Gestapo informers and war criminals. However, those were the StB officers who placed the empty boxes to the lake and later released documents from the StB and Soviet KGB archives. The plan dubbed "Neptun" was masterminded after the StB learned that the public Czechoslovak Television (CT) planned to shoot a documentary about the exploration of a lake in the Sumava mountains. This locality was connected with rumors saying that the Nazis hid cases with stolen treasures and confidential documents there. In June 1964, communist intelligence officers put several specially adjusted empty boxes to the bottom floor of the lake.

In early July divers with the TV crew arrived and found the boxes along with other war "souvenirs" and explosives. Among the divers there was also the then StB expert in misinformation campaigns Ladislav Bitman, naturally, under cover. He navigated the other divers to the place where he hid the boxes. StB archivists then selected what documents would be "the newly discovered" in the lake. The StB wanted them to include information about the collaboration of mainly Germans with Gestapo. Some documents were directly sent from the KGB that backed up the plan. Then interior minister Lubomir Strougal even announced beforehand that complete lists of Gestapo collaborators had been found, CTK marks. Though the StB was not able to show everything it promised beforehand, the operation fulfilled its goal. It triggered a campaign to open the questions of the past of German politicians and the limitation of war crimes.

National Security Agency in Bulgaria will eliminate paperwork and lack of coordination, experts say

The planned establishment of the National Security Agency of Bulgaria will eliminate the major flaws of the current security services: the overwhelming paperwork and related delays, the lack of coordination, and the unnecessary duplication of functions, Sofia-based Capital writes. In its turn, former intelligence chief Brigo Asparouhov says in an interview to the daily Trud that the Security Agency will be the Prime Minister`s "ear". The battle against corruption should be waged competently and in a coordinated way, and this is how he sees the role of the Agency. "I do not mean moving services under its umbrella, what I mean is coordination, information and analytical activities, forwarding information about corrupted practices in the high echelons of power to the Agency," Asparouhov is quoted by the Trud as saying.
Proposal on the creation of a National Security Agency of Bulgaria that will bring under one roof the special services of the foreign, defence and finance ministries, was expressed at a surprise news conference on June 2 by Bulgaria`s Prime Minister Sergei Stanishev. His move was interpreted by many observers as a direct blow to the executive authority of Interior Minister Rumen Petkov who later said that taking the counterintelligence service out of the Interior Ministry system would be a mistake.

Transnistrian State Security Ministry`s positions staggered by rivals " news agency

News agency Moldpress in its commentary pays attention to the current situation of the Transnistrian State Security Ministry. After the presidential election of Moldova`s breakaway Transnistria republic, held last December, it became clear that its leader Igor Smirnov has staked on the less politicized police bodies, which, instead, are more devoted to him, the agency says. Transnistrian State Security Ministry meanwhile is considered as one of the most corrupted, has no political ambitions and Smirnov is said by the agency as having more trust in his Interior Ministry that is reportedly trying to corner their rivals by all possible means. State Security Ministry`s head, Vladimir Antyufeyev, who has been holding this office for years, has turned almost invisible, the agency comments. His interviews have disappeared from the Transnistrian press, particularly after Antyufeyev`s failed attempt to have the editor-in-chief of the local television, Maksim Sazonov, dismissed, attempt undertaken through the youth corporation Proryv. There are rumours in Tiraspol that this attempt stemmed from the disappearance of feature reports about Proryv`s activity from the local television broadcasts, which triggered a decrease in the popularity of this once privileged organization. Smirnov is concerned about the fact that Proryv has not accepted to join the pro-presidential coalition so far. It seems that this is exactly why the position of the State Security Ministry " Proryv`s true patron- has shaken, Moldpress concludes. The dismissal of Svetlana Antonova from the office of Transnistrian deputy information technologies minister can be regarded as another failure of the State Security Ministry, Moldpress writes. For many years, she has been in charge of the "ideological activity " in the state media. Agency considers that decisions to dismiss Svetlana Antonova and to maintain Maksim Sazonov in the same office have been taken at the highest level. According to the agency, Smirnov`s crew has started the process of cleansing the security ministry`s people from the strategic positions.

British authorities still waiting for Russia` s response on murder suspect trial

Britain said today it was still waiting for a response from Russia over the extradition of the main suspect in last year`s murder in London of an ex-security agent and Kremlin critic Alexander Litvinenko, saying talk of a trial in a third country was speculative, news agency Reuters reported. The Sunday Times said in the latest issue Downing Street was drawing up a compromise plan to try the key suspect Andrei Lugovoy in a neutral third country. Russia has publicly dismissed the extradition request, with President Vladimir Putin rejecting the demand as "foolish". Russia`s constitution prohibits the extradition of Russian citizens, officials say. Trying Lugovoy in a third country could help break the deadlock between Russia and Britain over the Litvinenko case, which is one of a number of issues damaging bilateral relations, however, first signs of Russian reaction is negative again.

Britain said today it was still waiting for a response from Russia over the extradition of the main suspect in last year`s in London of an ex-security agent and Kremlin critic , saying talk of a trial in a third country was speculative, news agency reported. said in the latest issue Downing Street was drawing up a compromise plan to try the key suspect in a neutral third country. Russia has publicly dismissed the extradition request, with President Vladimir Putin rejecting the demand as "foolish". Russia`s constitution prohibits the extradition of Russian citizens, officials say. Trying Lugovoy in a third country could help break the deadlock between Russia and Britain over the Litvinenko case, which is one of a number of issues damaging bilateral relations, however, first signs of Russian reaction is negative again.

British prosecutors have requested the extradition of Russian Andrei Lugovoy to face charges for poisoning with radioactive polonium-210, straining relations between London and Moscow.

`Litvinenko File` traces spy`s life, author may be in hiding after naming likely killers

Daily Deseret Morning News has published in its book review section an article by Dennis Lythgoe describing the new book on the former Russian KGB officer Alexander Litvinenko, The Litvinenko file: the Life and Death of a Russian Spy written by Martin Sixsmith. The Litvinenko File is about the title agent`s life and death, a thoroughly intriguing detective story tracing Litvinenko`s decision to leave Russia and defect to England, through his public, vituperative criticisms of Putin and his repressive regime, until he was finally poisoned to die a slow and horrible death over 28 days last November. The author, Martin Sixsmith, is a British native and Oxford graduate who also obtained graduate degrees from Harvard and the Sorbonne. For almost two decades he was employed by the BBC as an international correspondent stationed in Moscow, Washington, Brussels and Warsaw. The paper marks that Sixsmith performed an impressive search for people and evidence that would help him discover the killer " and finally concluded that it was done by one of a few Russians whom he named " but not under direct order of Russian President Putin. Sixsmith interviewed Andrei Nekrasov and Yuri Felshtinsky, both key friends of the late Russian security officer. But his most important interview was with Boris Berezovsky, a friend of Litvinenko`s and also a hated enemy of Putin`s government, Lythgoe notes.

Berezovsky was close to the top of the government at the time Putin assumed power " so some sources speculate that Berezovsky`s defection made him a bigger prize for Russian assassins than Litvinenko, he writes. Lythgoe refers to their evaluation that maybe Litvinenko was like "Trotsky`s dog," a term dating back to the Stalin era when people close to Stalin protege Leon Trotsky were assassinated as a way to scare Trotsky. However, Litvinenko, while hospitalized, accused Putin of ordering his murder, which, if true, would be the first time a Russian defector has been punished while living in a country other than Russia.

Although Sixsmith has chosen not to accuse Putin directly for the murder, he has narrowed the list of potential killers to a handful that include Andrei Lugovoy, the man now charged by the British. Perhaps that is why Sixsmith could not be located by his publisher over a period of three weeks so the author of the review could not interview him. Sixsmith appears to have gone into hiding " suggesting that he may have made himself into a "Trotsky`s Dog" by writing this book, the paper concludes.