Eurasian Secret Services Daily Review

Russian intelligence has lost Iraq and had no wish to interrogate terrorists
Putin sending special Russian spy probe squad to Britain
Had Russian secret services any relation to Chechen ‘General’s’ death? 
Parliamentary commission in murdered journalist’s case in Ukraine to insist on examination of security officer’s recordings
Anti-corruption agency of Latvia finds spies in plain-clothes
Last head of KGB of Soviet Latvia still secretive in his memoirs
NGO suspected of terrorist contacts by Czech counterintelligence claims compensation

Russian intelligence has lost Iraq and had no wish to interrogate terrorists

Evgeny Primakov and Saddam Hussein  

In a review on Russia’s secret services in 2006, published in the Yezhednevny zhurnal magazine, its authors, Andrey Soldatov (editor-in chief of the leading Russian website dealing with security issues, and Irina Borogan, underline that the last year has been a very significant one. Probably, for the first time Russian secret services had collided with the present real international terrorism, ‘without any accompanying political tricks, as in the Chechen Republic”, the authors note.
The authors pay wide attention to the murder of Russian diplomats in Iraq last June. They call the following events a test that any of Russian secret services have failed so far. First the intelligence services showed that they did not have any information on regional terrorist groupings. It was unexpectedly found out that the positions, Russian intelligence had won during the Soviet period and supported by diligence of the team of [intelligence ex-heads] Primakov and Trubnikov in the 1990s, did not suit in the new situation with the Islamists as the key players there. The Russian intelligence, having good contacts in the environment of former supporters of Saddam Hussein in Damascus, could not prevent murder of diplomats and till now they are even unable to agree on return of their bodies.
Yezhednevny zhurnal marks that it was for the sake of these contacts when three years ago the Foreign Intelligence Service (SVR) of Russia got into a trouble that deprived Russian companies of any chances of oil business in new Iraq. Then the coalition troops found out in Bagdad the SVR certificates issued couple of months earlier to the old regime’s officers upon graduation from the Russian intelligence training courses.
Without their own informers, Russian secret services had done everything to lose the help of their foreign colleagues, the authors point out. Certainly, finally the Russian side addressed the American forces in Iraq, but one can hardly expect enthusiasm from the CIA when one week earlier those were Americans who by all the Russian state TV channels were named the probable murderers of the diplomats, Soldatov and Borogan underline. An opportunity to address the British intelligence in Iraq was lost after the openly silly ‘spy stone’ scandal that ended with nothing.
The murder of Russian embassy employees became a pretext for assigning to secret services of the right to liquidations abroad, the authors mark. The President had strengthened the effect, having ordered to find and destroy the terrorists. In spite of appreciation from the security forces, already in half a year, the order had sent sideways to the Russian special services. Even without preliminary results of the investigation of Litvinenko’s poisoning, Russian secret services got reputation of the death squads, carrying out orders of Russian President outside the country’s borders.
According to the review, if till 2006 the West was still confused, which of the Russian security services should be considered the successor of the KGB, as concerns the degree of influence and the scope of activity, now there is no doubt about the FSB’s carte blanche.
The law on counteraction to terrorism was passed, resulting in creation of the National Antiterrorist Committee (NAK). Thus the FSB acquired the right to supervise activity of other security services (including foreign intelligence) in the field of struggle against terrorism. Simultaneously it was necessary to give up the results of the started in the summer of 2004 of security forces reform, which foresaw the struggle against terrorism to be lead under troops of the Ministry of Interior.
In the annual report Patrushev, the FSB chief, declared that the initiative of the NAK had been very successful, referring to a number of liquidations. The authors admit that the security services had really got skilled to destroy insurgents: Maskhadov’s successor Abdul-Halim Sadulayev, Shamil Basayev and representative of Al-Qaeda in Chechnya, Abu Hafs, were killed. Unlike Chechen separatist leader Sadulayev, who was shot by Kadyrov’s men, and Basayev, who got undermined under mysterious circumstances, Abu Hafs was killed by the FSB officers elite division that carry out exact orders. Meanwhile, Abu Hafs, a Jordanian, was sent to the Chechen Republic by Abu Musab al-Zarqawi, the leader of al-Qaeda’s Iraqi branch.
Al-Zarqawi was killed in June by the Americans, but till then he had already managed to organize abduction and murder of Russian diplomats in Bagdad. Bosses of Russia’s secret services had evidently decided that al-Zarqawi’s personal envoy is not needed alive and is nothing to be questioned about, subsequently the bodies of Russian diplomats till now are in an unknown location.

Putin sending special Russian spy probe squad to Britain
A team of Russian investigators is preparing to go to Britain to investigate the murder of former Russian Federal Security Service (FSB) defector Alexander Litvinenko, Russia’s general prosecutor said yesterday.
Russia expected full co-operation from British authorities as it investigated the death of Alexander Litvinenko, the RIA-Novosti news agency quoted Prosecutor-General Yuri Chaika as saying in an interview with Rossiya state TV channel. He said Russian investigators were preparing to travel to Britain in the nearest future to carry out their work. “We have established very good and constructive relations with British experts and signed a cooperation agreement with them,” Yuri Chaika said.
The Russian investigators planned to sit in on interviews and examine venues connected with Litvinenko’s murder, the prosecutor said.
Chaika also said Russian investigators would operate under the same constraints as their British counterparts in Moscow, able only to attend interviews.
Alex Goldfarb, a Kremlin critic and friend of Litvinenko, yesterday accused the Russian authorities of blocking the British investigation and pointlessly traveling to London. “This is nothing but a stunt designed to detract attention from Russia, a PR exercise to create an appearance of reciprocity,” he said by telephone from London, according to The Moscow Times.

Had Russian secret services any relation to Chechen ‘General’s’ death?
The question whether Russian secret services have had any relation to the murder in Berlin of Chechen ‘General’ Magomed Balaev occupies not only German security services but also Chechen refugees who live in the city and knew him, Berliner Zeitung writes in its today’s issue.
The 38-year-old Chechen activist who had lived since 2000 in Moabit district in Berlin was found dead last February in a Brandenburg wood. The police say the murder was connected with the organized crime scene. However, the German-Caucasian society chairman Ekkehard Maass has doubts about the official version, the paper notes. Maass does not exclude that the Russian Federal Security Service (FSB) had ordered the murder and let it look like a ‘usual crime’.
Three murder suspects, two Kazakh-born men and a German have been detained and accusation should be raised against them in the spring. According to the official version, Balaev had worked as a bodyguard for an arrested Elmar P., who had been allegedly threatened by Lithuanian car racketeers. Investigators say that Balaev received some smaller amount of money, however, persisted that about 100,000 euros had not been paid. Because of that Elmar P. ordered his murder. Public prosecutor Klaus-Michael Wachs told the paper that his office did not have clues for a political background of the case.
Still, Magomed Balaev was an enemy of the Russian state, Berliner Zeitung marks. In January, 1996 he had commanded a hostage-taking action in Dagestan. It was then when Chechen rebels took some 3,000 hostages in a hospital in the town of Kizlyar. During the search for Balaev his three brothers were killed by Russian security forces.
In Berlin, Balaev took part in rallies criticizing the war in Chechnya and Putin’s policy. The paper points out that he was killed two days before a rally at the Brandenburg Gate, planned to protest against the Russian policy. Shortly after the murder Chechens who wanted to join the rally received anonymous hate-mail and the threats showed effect. There were many Chechens, who stayed away the rally, according to Ekkehard Maass from the German-Caucasian society. He says the version of the public prosecutor’s office does not persuade him. How could Magomed Balaev work as a bodyguard when he was a small man who suffered from heavy tuberculosis? For what achievement should he receive 100,000 euros? These are only a few questions Maass and the Chechen community have doubts about, contrary to the police.
Except for his role in taking of hostages in Kizlyar and the new competence of the Russian secret services to make short shrift with the enemies of the Russian state even abroad, the investigators had seen no political dimension of this case as far, Berliner Zeitung concludes.

Parliamentary commission in murdered journalist’s case in Ukraine to insist on examination of security officer’s recordings

  Nikolai Melnichenko

According to online paper, ex-major of the State Protection Service of Ukraine, Nikolai Melnichenko, has arrived to Ukraine again. There is no precise information on his plans, the paper says, suggesting it may be connected with the statement of the American side that has stated readiness to render technical assistance in the next examination of the “Melnichenko tapes”.
The ad hoc Investigation Commission of the Ukraine’s parliament on the circumstances and the reasons of death of journalist Georgy Gongadze and finding-out of the reasons of delay in investigation of the criminal case will insist on thorough examination of the recordings, allegedly made in the office of the ex-President of Ukraine by his security officer Nikolai Melnichenko. This was announced by the press-service of the People’s Deputy of Ukraine, Vasily Silchenko, who is the Vice Chairman of the parliamentary commission. Gongadze disappeared in Kiev on September 16, 2000. In November of the same year in a wood near Kiev area a decapitated corpse was found, that, initially was thought by the experts as belonging to the journalist, however, the last conclusions show they might have been mistaking.
Silchenko, Yury Miroshnichenko, Secretary of the commission and Nikolai Zamkovenko, member of the commission, from the Ukrainian side and Mark Wood, embassy’s 2nd Secretary, Kent Longsdone, Adviser on political issues, and also Bryan Earl, Assistant to the attaché on legal issues, took part in a meeting between the commission members and US diplomats in the US Embassy last week, according to the statement. The US Ambassador, William Taylor, was also present at the meeting.
The American side, in particular, informed, that the materials submitted by the State Office of Public Prosecutor of Ukraine for further examination by the FBI experts, do not correspond to some conditions. Nevertheless, the FBI has examined the part of the recordings, concerning the sale of Kolchuga weapons system, and has confirmed their authenticity, writes.
According to Silchenko, the American experts «will render exclusively technical help», and the analysis will be spent within the framework of the current legislation of Ukraine and will help to establish the legal status of the recordings made by Melnichenko, and whether they may serve as direct evidence in the case.

Anti-corruption agency of Latvia finds spies in plain-clothes
Juta Strike, Deputy Head of the Bureau for Struggle and Prevention of Corruption (KNAB) of Latvia, has made a rather unexpected statement on air of a TV program Kas jauns? (What’s on?) of the Latvian Public Televison (LTV), online paper reports.
Strike announced that the agency had found out a professional complete set of techniques for listening telephone conversations at the disposal of a private person. The Bureau for Protection of the Constitution (SAB) had been immediately informed about the fact, though the counterespionage agency denies this fact.
Rumors that certain private persons, not only security services, have been engaged in interception of telephone conversations in Latvia, had been exciting business and political elite of the Baltic country for a long time. However only in 2003 they received some official acknowledgement. Then Prime Minister Einars Repse came out with an assumption that his telephone conversations with Minister of Justice Aivars Aksenoks could have been intercepted. During the check-up of this information, Janis Kazocins, SAB head, admitted probability that someone “had listened” to the Prime Minister, but these had not been security services. According to the SAB’s Director, “the guilty is not named because of lack of proofs”.
Daily Telegraf views the case ironically, paying attention to contradictions between security agencies’ positions, and underlining that the Deputy Head of the KNAB, Strike, told the LTV that her agency not only knew about the tricks of private traders but also had found eavesdropping equipment during the search at a certain private person’s disposal. The paper stresses that the discovered equipment was not a homemade product but high-tech expensive techniques for operative activity. Strike said the SAB was informed by her agency about the find, however the counterespionage service stated that it had not received such information and asked the KNAB to explain Strike’s statement, Telegraf writes.

Last head of KGB of Soviet Latvia still secretive in his memoirs

Johansons (L), Moscow colleague, predecessor Zukuls, Kim Philby in Riga  

Extracts from the memoirs, written by the last Chairman of the State Security Committee (KGB) of the Latvian SSR, Edmunds Johansons, are printed in today’s issue of the Riga-based daily Telegraf. The paper will be printing a series of the fragments this week.
In the preface Johansons say the readers should give up their hope that personalities of spies, agents, informants and authorized representatives of the Communist-era secret service would be revealed in the book. In the first part of the today published extracts, the author comments on the problem of the KGB card files left in Latvia after the collapse of the Soviet Union.
According Johansons, the truth is behind those who speak that the find of a person’s name in the ‘KGB sacks’ (Latvian media description for the card files) does not mean yet that the given person had cooperated with the KGB. Reliable documentary proofs are in the Russian Federation archives, he marks.
Johansons asks, whether it is correct today to condemn the agent who did not afford to give incorrect or false information to the authorities and observed laws of that time? “Is it correct to condemn an agent, whose information had allowed to neutralize a criminal grouping and to punish the guilty according to the Criminal code?” The ex-KGB chief considers that if the agent had slandered a fair person, it is possible even today to subject such an ex-agent to criminal prosecution.
To prove the sins of the agent, it is necessary to examine his personal and working files, Johansons notes. He says he has no imagination, in which cities of Russia they are stored at present, he knows only that they are stored in several locations.
The KGB card file itself is not a proof of collaboration, as it has even personal signature of an agent, writes Johansons. According to him, to prove the fact of collaboration, a hand-written text is necessary; nine of each ten cards can be original, and the tenth is false.
The data about the agent, presented by the operative staff officer, cannot serve as acknowledgement of his cooperation with the KGB, the author adds. “At times the operative staff member could create a temporary file on any person, for the reason to not allow his candidate to be re-recruited by other security service or other division of the KGB”.
Johansons stresses that since 1991, the ‘KGB-sacks’ had became a source of huge problems for the young security services of independent Republic of Latvia, as people did not wish to cooperate with the services being afraid that later, owing to some political tricks, they would lose the originally weak guarantees of nondisclosure. Politicians in Latvia till now have not answered the question what to do with those agents and staff members of the KGB who had continued to work for the benefit of the nowadays independent state, Johansons concludes.

NGO suspected of terrorist contacts by Czech counterintelligence claims compensation
The Czech branch of the European non-governmental organization TWRA (Third World Relief Agency), suspected of contacts with terrorists by the BIS counterintelligence service, claims compensation from the Interior Ministry that has refused to register it, the daily Lidove noviny writes.
Jiri Rubek, the association’s lawyer, told the paper that a respective request for compensation had been already submitted to court.
The BIS annual report released on its website in 2004, says that it monitored places from where terrorists could be financially supported in 2003, and it also took note of an attempt to register in the Czech Republic the TWRA European NGO that claims to work as a humanitarian organization, but is suspected of terrorism, news agency CTK writes.
Lidove noviny says that the suspicion of TWRA’s links to terrorists was for the first time mentioned by CIA, which pointed out that TWRA’s branch in Vienna was probably connected with the bin Ladin family that provided money for the NGO.
Rubek, however, insists that the Czech and Viennese TWRA have nothing in common. Last year the court approved the TWRA’s complaint against the Interior Ministry over the refusal to register it. Now the organization demands compensation from the ministry.
Mohamed Abbas, an influential member of Prague’s Muslim community, sought TWRA’s registration for the first time in 1996, Lidove noviny says. 

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