19.01.2007 – Eurasian Secret Services Daily Review

High alert for possible terrorist attacks lifted in Russia
Litvinenko was murdered by a killer with three false passports
Russian President’s aide says murders are a plot against Putin
Trial of US counterintelligence officer charged with killing Russian begins in Khabarovsk
Chechnya antiterrorism centre officers accused of robberies in Grozny 
Secret-files clergy scandal seen as impacting story of Polish Catholicism
Security Service of Ukraine hopes for productive cooperation with new Vice Premier
Security Council of Ukraine needs reforming, instead of abolition: security and defence expert
Poland’s Internal Security Agency detained Lech Walesa’s ex-office chief 
KGB continues pressure on Belarusian youth opposition activists
Investigation of Lithuanian state security officer’s murder to be continued
Croatian cabinet ousts official after she sought intelligence check-up dealing with NGOs
Latvia’s ex-KGB chief recalls destiny of human intelligence card file in his memoirs    

High alert for possible terrorist attacks lifted in Russia
The National Antiterrorism Committee of Russia lifted this morning the heightened alert announced by the Federal Security Service (FSB) Director and head of the National Antiterrorism Committee Nikolai Patrushev January 16, radio Ekho Moskvy reports.
Russian security and police units stood down and resumed routine operations today after warnings from an unnamed foreign intelligence service of possible terrorist attacks on the country’s public transportation system proved unsubstantiated, news agency RIA Novosti adds. Anti-terrorism policing was stepped up in the Moscow metro, and the FSB’s regional departments throughout Russia were put on high alert to forestall any attacks. Security was also reinforced at especially important military and state facilities, natural gas and oil companies. Organized trips of schoolchildren on public transport were cancelled until further notice.
The Antiterrorism Committee said over 500 suspicious items had been scrutinized in public places and security services and militia carried out more than 60,000 identity checks, with five people on a wanted list arrested, according to Ekho Moskvy.
RIA Novosti says police received and verified some 150 phone calls reporting suspicious facts. The enhanced security measures helped seize 10 kilograms of explosives in the Urals.

Litvinenko was murdered by a killer with three false passports 

Oleg Gordievsky  

AIA reported exactly a month ago that Scotland Yard investigators had some information about the possible killer of the Russian ex-security service officer Alexander Litvinenko, according to former agent of KGB in Britain Oleg Gordievsky. He told his version to Radio Liberty this week again.
Gordievsky said that, already in the first days of the probe, Scotland Yard detected some illegal visitor, who arrived in London from Hamburg under the forged documents November 1. The man, a professional killer, arrived in Heathrow under the forged EU passport to pass unnoticed. Then the killer changed the passport for another passport of the EU. He left the same night after Litvinenko’s poisoning (or perhaps, early next day), using the third passport, Gordievsky said, specifying the detectives have a photo of the possible killer taken by the airport’s surveillance cameras. His first passport was photographed as well.
Russian online paper Gazeta.ru wrote earlier that this man was mentioned in the papers, showed to Litvinenko by his Italian contact Mario Scaramella on November 1. A former spetsnaz member of the military counterintelligence, GRU, named Igor, 46, was mentioned in the dossier, allegedly delivered from Russia. His surname is not disclosed in interests of investigation.
Last month, AIA wrote, referring to the Italian newspaper Corriere della Sera, that an eventual name of the Russian Foreign Intelligence Service expert in covert operations might be Igor Vlasov. The British media outlets have reported that he is easy limps (after a car crash), perfectly knows English and Portuguese, and also the judo, has some passports and carries out functions of a professional killer. Later, owing to leakages, it became known that the suspect stopped in the beginning of November in one of the London hotels. Some editions believe that this person is involved also in the murder of the investigative journalist of the Russian Novaya gazeta, Anna Politkovskaya. It is not excluded that the man Gordievsky spoke about, and a certain Igor is one and the same person.
Gordievsky’s conclusions partly coincide with the version of Andrei Lugovoy and Dmitry Kovtun, who met with Litvinenko on the day he fell fatally ill, they had put forward in their justification. As it was found out later, radiation had appeared in places Kovtun visited in Hamburg, Germany. Kovtun and Lugovoy explained the polonium trace with the alleged fact that the real murderer of Litvinenko wished to bring them under suspicion and followed them. According to Gordievsky, the Scotland Yard inspectors have believed the both witnesses, Gazeta.ru says.
Meanwhile, Gibson Square Books, a British publishing house, is reissuing Litvinenko’s Blowing Up Russia, a controversial book and the first of a slew of planned editions that will carry the dead man’s anti-Kremlin allegations around the world, as The Associated Press puts it.

Russian President’s aide says murders are a plot against Putin 

  Igor Shuvalov 

Igor Shuvalov, a senior aide to Russian President Vladimir Putin, has said the murders of investigative journalist Anna Politkovskaya and former state security service agent Alexander Litvinenko, both Putin’s critics, are part of an attack by powerful groups against the head of state, RIA Novosti reports.
“Polonium-Litvinenko-Politkovskaya are all linked together,” the news agency quoted Putin’s aide as saying in Berlin yesterday. “There are strong groups which have joined together to constantly attack the president’s line and him personally,” Shuvalov said. “None of these murders are in our interests.”
He also stressed that the murder of Politkovskaya was taken by the Kremlin as a provocative act and Putin had given the orders to solve this crime. “It is stupid to link this murder to the leadership of the country.” The Kremlin has said Litvinenko’s lucid deathbed statement accusing Putin of his death was nonsense.
However Shuvalov did not name the people who could be seeking to undermine Putin.

Trial of US counterintelligence officer charged with killing Russian begins in Khabarovsk
Preliminary court hearings began today in the city of Khabarovsk in Russia’s Far East in the case of Christopher Garner, a US national, charged with killing a relative of his Russian wife, news agency RIA Novosti reports.
AIA already wrote about the incident when a conflict flared up in September, 2006, between the defendant’s wife and her uncle over who would inherit the late aunt’s apartment, and Garner killed the man. In December 2006, Russian daily, Izvestia, wrote that it is the first case in modern Russia of a foreign secret service agent being charged with first-degree murder.
Referring to the local prosecutor’s office, the agency says the case is being heard with an interpreter, as well as US Embassy and Armed Forces representatives, as Garner served in a counterintelligence unit at Fort Bragg, North Carolina.

Chechnya antiterrorism centre officers accused of robberies in Grozny
A criminal case against antiterrorism centre officers in Chechnya accused of committing 21 robberies in Grozny has been passed on to the North Caucasus republic’s Supreme Court, RIA Novosti reported today, referring to security forces representative.
The participants of the group, which was active in Grozny between December 2005 and May 2006, attacked apartments at night. A total of 59 people have been identified as victims of the gang, with total damages estimated at more than 2 million roubles ($75,400), the agency says. Instead of checking passports they would burst into apartments and rob city residents of household appliances, jewels and cash, beating anyone who resisted, according to RIA Novosti.

Secret-files clergy scandal seen as impacting story of Polish Catholicism
The past is not always distant, a reality that was awkwardly apparent when Warsaw’s recently appointed Archbishop Stanislaw Wielgus – amid suggestions and initial denials of past cooperation with Poland’s Communist-era secret police – publicly resigned at a January 7 Mass originally intended to install him to one of the most visible and influential episcopacies in Europe, Our Sunday Visitor writes.
The paper underlines that memories of the cultural, political and religious repression inflicted by decades of Soviet-backed control still linger, while Communist domination of Poland officially ended in 1989.
Retroactive sorting of the events leading to Archbishop Wielgus’ resignation will continue for months to come. In the more immediate aftermath, however, an essential question prevails: What will be the impact upon the Catholic Church in Poland as that nation continues to grapple with the task of cleansing the bitter political legacy of communism? “Archbishop Wielgus’ conduct in the past years of the Communist regime in Poland has seriously compromised his authority, even with the faithful,” said Father Federico Lombardi, director of the Vatican’s press office, in a statement to journalists.
While acknowledging his “humble and touching request for forgiveness,” Father Lombardi said Archbishop Wielgus’ “resignation from the See of Warsaw and its prompt acceptance on the part of the holy father seemed an appropriate way to address the disorientation that has been created in that country.”
In the autocratic Communist Poland that existed from 1945 to 1989, both diplomacy and resistance were often required in order for the Catholic Church to survive, according to Our Sunday Visitor. Since the church was viewed as a rival to the state, the decision by any man to become a priest was regarded by Communist authorities as a political act, generating secret files, operatives assigned to spy upon pastors and prelates and tense meetings with party apparatchiks attempting to leverage threats and insinuations. The Sluzba Bezpieczenstwa – the Polish Communist equivalent of the Soviet Union’s KGB – was relentless in its harassment of the church, the paper marks.
“We are agreed that all bishops should ask to have their [secret police] files checked,” Poland’s bishops’ conference president Archbishop Jozef Michalik told journalists. Following Archbishop Wielgus’ resignation, the conference established new guidelines for future appointments: The ultimate decision in instances when a candidate for bishop may have collaborated with Communist authorities will now reside with the Vatican.

Security Service of Ukraine hopes for productive cooperation with new Vice Premier
Security Service of Ukraine (SBU) hopes for productive cooperation with the newly appointed Vice Premier of Ukraine Vladimir Radchenko, Press Secretary of the SBU Maryna Ostapenko announced in Kiev, online paper ForUm reports.
“We hope that our cooperation will be productive because Radchenko is a man, who traversed the path from ordinary policeman to the SBU head, he even has experience of working in Interior Ministry,” the paper is quoting the Press Secretary as saying. She underlined that the SBU is pleased that such a person will head law enforcement body, as Radchenko knows all needs and problems of such strictures as nobody else does.
Vladimir Radchenko was appointed a vice Prime Minister on January 12, ForUm adds. In different time Radchenko headed Ukraine’s Security Service, Interior Ministry and National Security and Defence Council of Ukraine.

Security Council of Ukraine needs reforming, instead of abolition: security and defence expert 
Recently in Ukraine the opposition between security and defence departments among themselves, and inside of these organizations has become aggravated. President Viktor Yushchenko is implementing mass personnel rearrangements in the Security Service (SBU) of Ukraine, while the government appoints the people in the Ministry of Interior contrary to the presidential decrees, and the parliament has been trying by a corresponding bill to abolish the National Security and Defence Council (SNBO).
News agency Regnum interviewed an expert on security and defence issues of the International Centre of Perspective Researches, Igor Chumak.
He said the competition between security and power departments in Ukraine had never stopped. Security Service of Ukraine, the Ministry of Interior and the State Office of Public Prosecutor compete among themselves most strongly, according to Regnum.
The new appointments in all security agencies of the country will not be promoting conflicts at a public level though conflicts, naturally, will not disappear, the agency says. The appointees have worked in the area even earlier, it is not a new team, and they have both wide experience of work in security departments, and a sufficient field for finding of compromises among themselves that competition on to bear on public.
Chumak says the role of the new Vice Premier Vladimir Radchenko will be very ‘thin’. As the SBU, according to the law, submits to the President and regarding its staff it is formed according to his decrees, Radchenko’s role is to level those threats that can arise from the SBU to members of the government of Ukraine.
Vladimir Radchenko is a good professional who is known in the SBU from the positive side and who has a high level of personal contacts with operating officers of the security service, Chumak notes. Radchenko always has been trying to observe a neutral position and separate himself from the influence of political forces that would allow him to take a median position on the post. He will coordinate actions of the Ministry of Interior, the SBU, border guards, Office of Public Prosecutor in carrying out of political tasks of the government, to implement reforming of the law enforcement agencies and has good contacts, influence and respect among the security forces.
The expert estimates the draft bill recently registered in the Ukrainian parliament on levelling the role of the SNBO very doubly. It unique role of “coordination of state agencies in the sphere of national defence” concerns, in fact, practically all spheres of a life in Ukraine. In the world practice such bodies are created in general during the moments of crisis situations, in extreme crisis or wartime, and Ukraine already has it, the expert marks. He agrees that ordinary citizens do not see these strategic initiatives much, however they do work. The council has also a serious enough intellectual strategic potential with several institutes. Chumak summarizes that the SNBO needs reforming, to write its functions and tasks more precisely, but not to be abolished, and it may join the presidential secretariat, as the draft law says.

Poland’s Internal Security Agency detained Lech Walesa’s ex-office chief 

Mieczyslaw Wachowski  

Poland’s ABW (Agencja Bezpieczenstwa Wewnetrznego – Internal Security Agency), Internal Security Agency, has detained Mieczyslaw Wachowski, one-time head of the office of ex-President Lech Walesa, Radio Polonia reports. The former presidential aide was arrested for two months following accusations of corruption and embezzlement. Poland’s chief prosecutor Janusz Kaczmarek has justified the detention as Wachowski faces a long prison term if found guilty. Kaczmarek told Polskie Radio 1 that prosecutors have strong evidence against the former presidential top aide.
Witnesses’ testimonies were supplemented with other evidence, including secret documents found at Wachowski’s home, which should not have been in his possession. The chief prosecutor said this is not a case with a political context.
The investigation was launched after prosecutors were notified by persons allegedly harmed by Mieczyslaw Wachowski.
The Prosecutors Office in the city of Lodz, which for several years has been conducting a probe over corruption charges against Wachowski admitted that two years ago Wachowski was briefly detained in connection with the same case in the wake of a complaint filed by a Lodz businessman.
Lech Walesa has called the arrest a “hunt” but added that he would refuse assistance to his former collaborator if he has indeed broken the law, radio says.

KGB continues pressure on Belarusian youth opposition activists
Online paper Khartiya’97 reports on examples of pressure by the State Security Committee (KGB) of Belarus agents on opposition youth activists.
January 16 Vasil Lepesh got a call from a person who introduced himself as a representative of Minsk and Minsk region KGB directorate. He invited Vasil to meet and talk, however refused to tell what would be the topic of their conversation. Lepesh replied, he would consult with his lawyer first, and the agent warned him that in case he would not come, he would be officially summoned to the KGB.
Lepesh says that he felt attention of the security services earlier, when at the Teacher’s Training University he was asked by the dean of his faculty to regularly write explanation notes on his participation in various protest actions and because of Tankisty newspaper published by the university students. During the presidential election of 2006 he was detained and arrested for three days.
Lepesh believes the phone call from the KGB was connected with his last detention on December 22 when the police dispersed a Christmas party organized by Ales Mikhalevich, deputy chairman of BPF Party. Mikhalevich and Lepesh were sentenced to five days of arrest for “disorderly conduct”, opposition paper Viasna writes.
Yevgeny Ivanyuk, student of Belarusian national Technical University told Viasna he had been interrogated by a KGB agent. He was asked to write an explanation note why he was a member of the opposition leader Alexander Milinkevich’s initiative group during the presidential election campaign. At the same time several men of the university’s security service examined Ivanyuk’s room in the university dormitory. They seized a CD with the candidate’s speech and examined the files in his PC. Other day Ivanyuk was invited to the rector’s Office where he met a KGB agent Sergey, who showed him a student opposition newspaper and claimed that he had distributed it among the students. He later suggested that if Ivanyuk collaborates with them he would be offered help with his studies.
On December 22, Ivanyuk was detained for participation at an oppositionist Christmas party, and on January 12 he was asked by the faculty dean to write an explanation about this case, according to Viasna. To escape from meeting with KGB agents who visited the dormitory that night he stayed at his friends.’

Investigation of Lithuanian state security officer’s murder to be continued 
The half-forgotten hero of the 1990s, the first Defence Minister of Lithuania, Audrius Butkevicius, has testified the Commission on the covered by secrets murder case of Lithuanian security officer Juras Abromavicius (1997), online paper Penki kontinentai reports.
There are no doubts, that the Lithuanian Conservatives will name his testimony squaring of accounts or revenge for the active role which they, and mostly their leader Vytautas Landsbergis, have played in driving away Butkevicius in 1997 from his parliamentary seat, the paper notes. The ex-Defence Minister connected his revelations about Abromavicius death with his role in investigation of activity of the Lithuanian volunteers in the crucial early 1990s. Butkevicius said Vytaytas Landsbergis, the then Chairman of the parliament (Supreme Council) very much wanted that security and military structures submitted personally to him. Thus did the rate on volunteers, in every possible way accompanying their vanity and inspiring them feeling of an elite units’ superiority over usual militaries. A lot of UZI automatic machine-guns was transferred to the volunteers, passing the Defence Ministry under Butkevicius.
He recollects that before the withdrawal of the Soviet troops from Lithuania, in 1993, arms started to vanish at the volunteers. Being afraid of provocations, Butkevicius had ordered to concentrate the weapons in particular places and to appoint the managers. He thinks it was on this ground friction had arisen between him and volunteers, in particular, their commander Jonas Maskvitis. Butkevicius recalls that when the volunteers send away in the woods he had demanded their new chief A.Pangonis to convince them to return but he had told he needed to consult with Landsbergis who had refused to address the volunteers.
In the commission, a former volunteer, Kristina Sudziene, claimed that the order on Abromavicus murder was given by Stanislovas Adomonis, on pension at present. The same has been confirmed, referring to a defence forces major, also Butkevicius. In his opinion, Abromavicius had found information that volunteers had made explosion on a bridge according to a particular order, not under their own initiative; he had told about it three days prior to the murder. One of his reports appeared on the table of the then Defence Minister Ceslovas Stankiavicius, however he did not pay attention to it.
Nevertheless, Butkevicius has not dared to name the person, who, in his opinion, had killed Abromavicius, having declared that it is covered by the terms of the Prosecutor’s Office reference.
Chairperson of the commission, Loreta Grauzhinene, has refused to make comments on Butkevicius’ testimony, having noticed that interrogation of witnesses has been too politized. She only noted that 20 persons is planned to be interrogated by the commission. Vytautas Landsbergis, currently the member of the European Parliament, is to be questioned at the following session of the commission. She also said the commission obviously will cope with the case till February 1, and it is necessary to ask for prolongation of its powers.

Croatian cabinet ousts official after she sought intelligence check-up dealing with NGOs
The Croatian government yesterday ousted Jadranka Cigelj, its official in charge with cooperating with nongovernmental groups, after learning she had planned to run security checkups of their activists, the International Herald Tribune writes. Cigelj, who headed the Office for Associations, had asked NGOs to fill out questionnaires about their personal data. Details from the questionnaire were not made public, but it reportedly included questions deemed private, the paper says.
Prime Minister Ivo Sanader said at the Cabinet session, that the no one in the government knew about or sought such a questionnaire, adding that Cigelj abused her position, according to The Associated Press. In her turn, Cigelj insisted she “did all according to the law.” She planned to send data gathered through the questionnaire to the security service for a check-up. According Cigelj, this is a regulation from the late President Franjo Tudjman’s time of the early 1990s, when he repeatedly cracked down on NGOs, insisting their criticism of his authoritarian rule was in fact anti-Croat activity.

Latvia’s ex-KGB chief recalls destiny of human intelligence card file in his memoirs 

  Edmunds Johansons 

In the last pat of the series of extracts from the memoirs of the last Chairman of the KGB of Soviet Latvia, Edmunds Johansons, published by the Riga-based daily Telegraf, the author turns back again to the affair of the so-called KGB sacks or the card file of the KGB collaborators.
In 1991, there was an unexpected turn in destiny of the KGB documents that after viewing had to be either transferred to Latvia, or destroyed, Johansons writes. While visiting a district KGB branch, Deputy Chairman Janis Trubins called him and told that a member of parliament Linards Mucins with a group of the armed people had arrived at the main office of the KGB of the Latvian SSR. He said Mucins was demanding to give out to him the card file of the KGB human intelligence, the so-called “KGB sacks”. He could not show any documents confirming his powers and official character of his requirements, and obviously intended to take away the card file by force.
Johansons writes that he realized that in case Mucins would be given nothing, even armed confrontation could start. In the desperate situation nothing else could be done except to draft a report of withdrawal of the cards, superficially, without recalculation of card file. All the cards were thrown in sacks, which were even not sealed up on the place, the KGB premises. The sacks were taken away and had thrown into a room in the Supreme Council building.
Today it is difficult to tell, how many cards were gone, Johansons says. “From my own experience I know, who, for instance, should necessarily be among the persons included in the card file, but it appears that there is no trace of this or that person there”. The ex-KGB general marks that he has grounded suspicions, though it is difficult to tell in what particular way, many of the card file papers had disappeared from those sacks.
Johansons admits that there was an opportunity of destruction of the card file, despite of the USSR KGB chief’s imposed ban. In some offices of the agency the employees were engaged in doing so with some files; at that time a lot of from the content of the sacks was gone. According to Johansons, he had always insisted that the destiny of this card file should be solved during negotiations between the Russian Federation and Republic of Latvia.
Johansons repeatedly emphasizes that the contents of the card file does not give any legislative grounds for charges and the further remedial actions. There was no signature of the agent fixed on cards, proving his consent to cooperation. The card was made without the knowledge of the person, without his personal file and represented an ordinary operative document. There were no personal and working files of agents in Latvia. Johansons adds that in the card file there were also the so-called ballast, cards of inactive agents who did nothing for the KGB and were included in the list just for bureaucratic statistics.

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