Eurasian Secret Services Daily Review

German BND to investigate reasons of oil pipeline shut down
Second prominent Polish churchman, Dean of Krakow’s Wawel Cathedral, quits in spy scandal
Vatican says it knew nothing of Archbishop Wielgus’s past 
Slovak Archbishop, former Communist secret police collaborator, praises pro-Nazi priest’s rule in the 1940s
Cotidianul: “Spy” Stanchev ran his business from minister Seres’s office
Lithuanian President not going to hasten with nomination of next security service head
United States denied political asylum to Litvinenko family
British government delaying agreeing to Russian investigators request to travel to UK
British, Russians trying to track poison isotope dose that killed ex-security agent back to its source
Lawyer in Moscow says Russians cannot be involved in Litvinenko case

German BND to investigate reasons of oil pipeline shut down

BND chief Ernst Uhrlau  

Russia said yesterday it had been forced to shut down Druzhba pipeline because Belarus was siphoning off oil to secure payment in kind for a transit tariff Minsk imposed last week. The closure of the 4,000 km pipeline, one of Europe’s biggest, meant no Russian oil was being pumped along it to Germany, Poland or Ukraine. German foreign intelligence service (Bundesnachrichtendienst, BND) has promised to clear out the reasons of a suspension of supply of the Russian oil, online edition of the German weekly Der Spiegel reports.
The country’s foreign intelligence service chief Ernst Uhrlau will be respondible for carrying out the assignment of Federal Chancellor Angela Merkel, according to the magazine. «It is necessary to collect and analyse all the information on the conflict between Russia and Belarus to not admit recurrence of similar crises», Uhrlau is quoted by the weekly as saying.
Angela Merkel, the German Chancellor, told The Times last night that Germany will use its six-month EU presidency to improve energy security on the Continent. In her first interview with a British newspaper she signalled that she would take a harsher line towards Russia than her predecessor, Gerhard Schröder, who is now on the board of a German-Russian consortium constructing a gas pipeline linking Russian gasfields with Western Europe.

Second prominent Polish churchman, Dean of Krakow’s Wawel Cathedral, quits in spy scandal 

  Janusz Bielanski 

Poland’s Church-informant scandal claimed another victim yesterday when the dean of the royal cathedral in Krakow stepped down amid allegations he collaborated with Poland’s Communist-era secret police, a day after Warsaw’s new archbishop resigned after admitting he had cooperated with the despised agency, news agencies are reporting.
The Rev. Janusz Bielanski resigned as rector, or head priest, of Krakow’s prestigious Wawel Cathedral, the burial site of Polish kings and queens.
Catholic Information Agency says Rev. Bielanski submitted his resignation already on January 2, according to Robert Necek, spokesmans of the Krakow archidiecezium. In the latest issued dated Janaury 8, Polish version of the Newsweek accused Bielanski in collaboration with the SB. Bielanski has submitted his resignation to Krakow’s archbishop, Cardinal Stanislaw Dziwisz, “in connection with repeated allegations about his cooperation with the secret services” of the Communist era, said Robert Necek, a spokesman for Dziwisz. Dziwisz, the longtime secretary of the late Pope John Paul II, “accepted the resignation,” Necek added, not expanding on his future plans.
He added that Cardinal Dziwisz did not carry out private investigation in thecase of Bielanski’s past as there is a commission of historians appointed by the Pope’s Theological Academy.
The announcement of Bielanski’s resignation came a day after Stanislaw Wielgus, Archbishop of Warsaw only for two days, stepped aside in a dramatic announcement made during what was supposed to have been his installation Mass. Poland’s top bishop, Cardinal Jozef Glemp, came under criticism for defending Wielgus — a stance that put him at odds with the Vatican and many Polish faithful, Radio Polonia says.

Vatican says it knew nothing of Archbishop Wielgus’s past 
The Vatican did not know that Archbishop Stanislaw Wielgus had collaborated with Poland’s Communist secret police when Pope Benedict nominated him last month to the prestigious post of Metropolitan of Warsaw, Cardinal Giovanni Battista Re, head of the Congregation for Bishops, told Italian daily Corrierre della Sera.
Archbishop Stanislaw Wielgus resigned the day before yesterday after admitting that in Communist times he had been a collaborator of the secret police. Vatican spokesman, the Rev. Federico Lombardi, said Wielgus was right to go because his past actions had “gravely compromised his authority,” according to Radio Polonia.
Last month, the Pope defended Wielgus and the Vatican sent out a statement saying it had taken his past into account when it elevated the former bishop of Plock to the position in Warsaw, the radio reports. Cardinal Re said that Pope Benedict himself decided on the dismissal of the Archbishop. Unofficial sources add that the decision followed a telephone conversation with Polish President Lech Kaczynski.

Slovak Archbishop, former Communist secret police collaborator, praises pro-Nazi priest’s rule in the 1940s

  Jan Sokol 

Slovak Prime Minister Robert Fico distanced himself from the remarks of the Roman Catholic Archbishop Jan Sokol, who described the country’s authoritarian wartime rule by pro-Nazi priest Jozef Tiso as a “time of well-being,” and members of Slovakia’s ruling coalition clashed yesterday over this statement, news agencies are reporting from Bratislava.
In an interview broadcast last Tuesday on TA3 TV, Jan Sokol, Archbishop of Bratislava-Trnava since 1989, said about Tiso who ruled the country from 1939-1945: “I remember him from my childhood. We used to be very poor and under his rule, the situation greatly improved.” Sokol’s statement was sharply criticised by Slovak Jewish and Gypsy, or Roma, communities, journalists and intellectuals. Fico marked in a statement that “Tiso was responsible for the deportation of 70,000 Slovak Jews and for the crackdown on the Slovak resistance movement, he was the person who decorated members of (Nazi) SS”.
Last year, representative of the Institute of People’s Remembrance, Miroslav Lehky, announced that a month prior to his appointment as an archbishop Sokol was officially registered as an agent of the secret police of the then Communist regime of Czechoslovakia, Russian news agency Interfax adds, referring to a US daily Sun-Sentinel.

Cotidianul: “Spy” Stanchev ran his business from minister Seres’s office
The State Prosecutor’s Office of Romania has found new evidence on the relation between the Bulgarian charged with espionage, Stamen Stanchev, and the former Romanian Minister of Economy and Energy, Codrut Seres, who is also a suspect in the same case, Romanian newspaper Cotidianul writes.
A record of telephone conversations makes it clear that Stanchev vouched for the minister before partners, who doubted minister’s reliability, FOCUS News Agency reports, referring to the paper. The two were so close that they met every time Stanchev visited Romania, it notes. Most often the meetings were held in Minister Seres’s office. Sometimes Stanchev called his partners to give them instructions on what the minister had just told him, according to the paper.

Lithuanian President is not going to hasten with nomination of next security service head
President of Lithuania, Valdas Adamkus, is not going to hasten with nomination of the next head of the country’s State Security Department (VSD), online paper Penki kontinentai reports, referring to the President’s remarks to journalists in Kaunas, following ceremonies of rewarding him with regalia of the honourable citizen of the old capital of Lithuania.
President said it was not a matter of time, so it was necessary to choose the person who could provide assistance to the parliament and the government and would be capable to adjust the work in the agency. “Five or eight weeks in one or other direction – there is no difference, as it is important that there was a person who could be able to supervise and have comprehensive support of the authority», Adamkus is quoted by the online paper as saying.
At the same time, President Adamkus made an important remark, underlining that he was searching for the person who could provide effective work of the agency, however “the problem of the department’s head is a political, not a business problem». He said the VSD had been working well, there were qualified people, and the situation was created not because of powerlessness or lack of ability of the department but because of political contradictions.

United States denied political asylum to Litvinenko family

Marina Litvinenko  

Family of the poisoned former Russian state security service officer Alexander Litvinenko addressed the American authorities with the request for political asylum in the Unied States, however received official refusal. This was told by the widow of the ex-FSB Lieutenant-Colonel, who died from radioactive poisoning in London, in November, 2006.
Marina Litvinenko is in Israel now and she gave an interview to the Israeli newspaper Yediot Ahronot.
The interview on four full pages of the paper is describing private life of the late Alexander Litvinenko, his conflict with the former leadership of the FSB, the flight from Russia, and mostly – the poisoning and the last weeks of his life.
Almost all the information, voiced by Marina Litvinenko has been known already earlier, except for the story about the flight of the family from Russia in 2000.
According to Marina Litvinenko, her husband did not coordinate his departure with her. He had left Russia secretly, through the territory of North Caucasus. Further, under the insistance of her husband, Marina and their son Anatoly had purchased a tourist trip to Spain, and from there they had gone to Turkey where they were met by the father of the family.
In Turkey Litvinenko had addressed the United States embassy with a request for political asylum. According to Marina, the received refusal was motivated as follows: «As we are in the pre-election campaign process, we can not interfere in such delicate affairs».
According to advice of confidants of the disgraced Russian oligarch Boris Berezovsky, Litvinenko and his family arrived to Britain in November, 2000, and in May of the next year they received the status of political refugees there. Marina also told that a few weeks prior to the poisoning, her husband officially became a citizen of the United Kingdom.

British government delaying agreeing to Russian investigators request to travel to UK
The British government has delayed agreeing to a request from Russian investigators which would allow them to travel to London to investigate UK-based Russian exiles they claim were involved in the case, The Financial Times writes today. British and Russian investigators probing the poisoning of the former Russian intelligence officer Alexander Litvinenko are pursuing conflicting lines of inquiries, the paper concludes. AIA also reported earlier that the Russian prosecutors had submitted a formal request for “legal assistance”, saying they want to question a number of exiles, including the businessman Boris Berezovsky and Akhmed Zakayev, an envoy of the separatist shadow government of Chechnya.
British police do not believe there is any evidence pointing to the involvement of Berezovsky and Zakayev and believe that the Russian demand for questioning is political, with no legal basis that would stand up in a UK court, the paper notes. British investigators are instead focusing their investigation on the suggestion made by Litvinenko himself and his friends that he was the victim of an international plot hatched from Moscow and involving either current or former KBG officers. A British police team investigating the Litvinenko case in Moscow returned to London just before Christmas after their visas expired and were not renewed.

British, Russians trying to track poison isotope dose that killed ex-security agent back to its source
Security forces in England and Russia have launched an international hunt to find the radioactive isotope used in the poisoning of a Russian ex-security service agent in December, United Press International (UPI) reports.
Scotland Yard is working with Russian law enforcement authorities to find the rare isotope polonium-210, one of the rarest and most valuable industrial products in the world, The Washington Post reported the day before yesterday. Its main industrial use is the removal of static electricity, but former Russian state security service agent Alexander Litvinenko died in December after ingesting it, apparently unknowingly.
Russian authorities believe he was murdered, the report said.
Ninety-seven percent of the legal production of one of the world’s rarest industrial products – the intensely radioactive isotope polonium-210 – takes place at a closely guarded nuclear reactor near the Volga River 450 miles southeast of Moscow. In an average year, about three ounces of the substance is made at the Avangard facility, a former nuclear weapons plant, then sold under strict controls to Russian and foreign companies that prize it for its abilities to reduce static electricity. Now an international investigation is trying to track the dose that killed Litvinenko back to its source. Detectives from Scotland Yard have said nothing about where the trail of evidence may be leading; Russian officials have been more willing to talk, saying that in Avangard production of the isotope is tightly audited and that illicit production of polonium-210 is technically possible at many of the world’s reactors. However, officials in the US and Russia fear more poisoning deaths if the substance gets into the water supply or food.
Detectives are trying to determine if the dosage that Litvinenko received was stolen or produced illegally, the The Washington Post reported.

Lawyer in Moscow says Russians cannot be involved in Litvinenko case
A lawyer to Andrei Lugovoy, one of the main witnesses in the former Russian Federal Security Service (FSB) officer Alexander Litvinenko poisoning case, insists that there are no grounds to day that Russian citizens may be involved as suspects, news agency ITAR-TASS reports.
Lawyer Andrei Romashov made the statement in connection with Western media reports claiming that there were grounds to suspect two Russian citizens in the case. He said he was deeply convinced that Russian citizens couldnot be involved in this case as suspects. Romashov told the agency he believed that “such publications in mass media might be connected with the need to fill the information gap of the post-holiday lull with a cloying topic.” He insisted that “this topic was certainly dead.” Simultaneously the news agency marks that Romashov declined to comment in allegations that several leading Russian entrepreneurs may be involved in the case.

Check Also

As Right-Wing Extremism Rises, Jihadism Still Persists

Six separate terrorist attacks took place in Europe between late September and late November of …