25.01.2007 – Eurasian Security Services Daily Review

Georgian, US secret services intercepted illicit shipment of highly enriched uranium
Litvinenko’s murderer will die in three years, Gordievsky says
Polonium that killed Litvinenko worth thousands, not millions
Litvinenko’s co-author fears to attend book’s presentation in London
Russian Parliament specifies status of Foreign Intelligence Service agents and employees
Russia’s deputy FSB chief: Terrorists may enter Russia from Belarus
SBU Vice Chairman demands to toughen laws concerning foreign citizens in Ukraine
President Yushchenko to dismiss cabinet minister for assistance to Turkmen oppositionists, following SBU report
Sweden searches on Estonian islands for missing spies
President of Poland to publicize report on military intelligence officers reattestation on February 1
Macedonia set to pass a bill on lustration after 15 years of independence

Georgian, US secret services intercepted illicit shipment of highly enriched uranium

Vano Merabishvili  

Russian diplomats do not comment reports on interception by the Georgian and US security services of an illicit shipment of highly enriched uranium last year, radio Ekho Moskvy says. The New York Times reported today, referring to Georgian Interior Minister, Vano Merabishvili, that agents had arrested a Russian man carrying 100 grams of uranium into Georgia, smuggled from Russia’s North Ossetian republic via breakaway South Ossetia.
The Russian, Oleg Khinsagov, a shabbily dressed 50-year-old trader who specialized in fish and sausages, authorities allege, tried to sell a small amount of nuclear-bomb grade uranium in a plastic bag in his jacket pocket. He came to meet a buyer who he believed would pay him $1 million and deliver the material to a Muslim man from “a serious organization. The buy that took place last summer, it turned out, was a setup by Georgia authorities, with the help of the CIA, according to the paper.
Merabishvili said the Americans shocked them by taking the uranium and simply putting it “in their pocket”. Uranium in that form emits little radiation and presents little or no danger to its handlers. Neither US nor Georgian officials have publicized this operation. Richard J. Kolko, an FBI spokesman, confirmed that the bureau had taken part in the inquiry but declined to elaborate.
Authorities say they do not know how Khinsagov acquired the nuclear material or if his claims of access too much larger quantities were true, The Associated Press reports. He and three Georgian accomplices are in Georgian custody and not cooperating with investigators.
The authorities had previously reported that they had arrested a man in 2003 trying to cross the border between Georgia and Armenia with 170 grams of uranium. In addition to the two cases involving enriched uranium, Merabishvili said, Georgian authorities intercepted an illicit shipment of raw uranium, or yellowcake, in August 2006. The substance was being smuggled from the separatist region of Abkhazia and one man was arrested.
Georgian attempts to trace the nuclear material since the arrest and confirm whether the man indeed had access to larger quantities have foundered from a lack of cooperation from Russia. Russian authorities took a sample of the material but failed to offer any assistance despite requests for help from the Georgians, Merabishvili is quoted as saying.
According to a source of the Interfax news agency, the Georgian side had given a sample to Russian Nuclear Energy Agency, Rosatom, following its request. According to Rosatom’s spokesman, the sample, however, was of a minimal volume and it was is impossible to define a country of its origin. Rosatom had reportedly asked for one more sample, however, Tbilisi had kept full silence on the issue for almost a year, Interfax says. In its turn, the Russian Embassy in Georgia said it had no information on the Russian convicted of uranium smuggling, radio Ekho Moskvy reports.

Litvinenko’s murderer will die in three years, Gordievsky says 

  Oleg Gordievsky 

It was the ex-Colonel of the Soviet intelligence, who also had worked for the British MI6, Oleg Gordievsky, who for the first time voiced the version that a certain man with the Central Asian traits was the person who most likely poisoned Alexander Litvinenko. Moscow-based popular daily Moskovsky komsomolets (MK) contacted Gordievsky in London and got his comments.
First, speaking about the late ex-counterintelligence officer Litvinenko, Gordievsky said they had been friends for more than four years. One close expert who knew him well, had told that he was the person, who was obsessed by an idea, worked for this idea and all subordinated to this idea. The idea was – “to liberate Russia from disgrace, from the total influence of the KGB”. He was assured that the place of the Soviet Communist Party had been filled by the KGB men, and that it was even much worse. He considered they appropriate nation’s money, he knew details and tried to struggle against it as he could, says Gordievsky.
Asked about his source of information about the killer of Litvinenko, the ex-spy marked that nobody had told him any signs of the murderer. He says he learned about them from the German press and also retold these details to British journalists. Gordievsky, who reads also in Danish, Norwegian, Dutch, observed that practically all press of the region, including Luxembourg, had written on the Litvinenko case very much, and there had been numerous reports on TV. Therefrom, he says, many details had got in the British press. It was from Germany where the information came that Litvinenko’s murderer had been photographed by the cameras at the Heathrow.
Asked about his recent statement on the BBC that he disagrees with the version about a double poisoning of Litvinenko, Gordievsky calls the version of a first attempt “a pure invention, one more lie”.” If there was an earlier poisoning, he would have died two weeks earlier, before November 1”. The ex-spy emphasizes that there was simply a dress rehearsal of the murder, and those who spent it, were ostensibly decided to be made the victims of poisoning, too. “Actually they had received a very weak doze and will die only in five years. And the illegal, who had put the ampoule [in Litvinenko’s cup of tea], will die in three years”.
Speaking about Mario Scaramella, Gordievsky says he is not guilty. According to him, Litvinenko’s Italian contact “was manipulated by the well-known Limarev, who started to send him warnings: a murder is under preparation, do warn him, and ask for an appointment…” Gordievsky says it was a purely distracting action and Litvinenko had realized that Scaramella had brought him just some nonsense.
Asked by the paper whether the way to kill Litvinenko was not too expensive (according to some estimations, $10 million for an ampoule), Gordievsky suggests to look around and see many billion-worth enterprises. The known billionaire Roman Abramovich, says he, builds the greatest yacht in the world, almost a cruiser that may cost around a billion. Abramovich spends millions for Chelsey soccer team, and nobody wonders about it. “Thus, 10 million for a tablet to carry out an operative action is not so expensive.”
The paper pointed out that Andrei Lugovoy, a key witness in Litvinenko case, had categorically denied that there was a fourth person (Vladislav or Vladimir) present at a meeting in the hotel on the day Litvinenko fell fatally ill. The cameras at the hotel are said also having not fixed the killer. Gordievsky replies that the British do know what the cameras have fixed. He says he does not know why Lugovoy speaks so. “Probably, thus he is showing that it was him who murdered Litvinenko, that he is the unique candidate for the role of the murderer. He wishes to appropriate glory of the murderer to receive bigger pension”. Gordievsky reminds of the fact that when even a simple operation of the secret services with delivery of drugs, there is always an expert of the department engaged in poisons present. “Who would entrust a person without special preparation a substance in cost of 10 million? There should be specially prepared person, possessing knowledge, responsibility, tactics, and experience.” The ex-spy says the particular person started to train for the mission since the beginning of the last year, February-April. He also went to London went, was cruising everywhere and studied the situation.
Gordievsky believes Yevgeny Limarev was also involved in the scheme, as in fact everything begun with his letter. He says Limarev is an agent of the KGB who was advanced to Europe to work with Italian senator Paolo Guzzanti and Mario Scaramella, and he managed to achieve their trust. However Limarev Italians has not presented them any report in spite of the fact he received salary.

Polonium that killed Litvinenko worth thousands, not millions
Polonium-210, which Russia supplies to the United States, is worth no more than several tens of thousands of dollars, a source in the Russian nuclear section said, according to news agency RIA Novosti. The agency’s unnamed source refers to The Times of London that wrote in December that the killers of the former Russian FSB officer Alexander Litvinenko used more than $10 million worth of polonium-210 to poison him. The source told RIA Novosti that people giving such improbable figures for the cost of the polonium-210 that was used to poison Litvinenko had no real information. “The total cost of polonium-210, which Russia supplies to the United States, does not exceed several tens of thousands of dollars, and Litvinenko could have died of a considerably smaller amount of this radioactive isotope.”
A high-ranking source in the Russian nuclear agency told RIA Novosti in early December that the only reactor in Russia able to produce polonium-210 was shut down two years ago. He also reportedly said Russia has produced eight grams of polonium monthly from reserves that remain in stock following the reactor’s shut-down. “The eight grams we have produced cannot have disappeared in Russia, but we do not keep track of the material after selling it,” the source said.

Litvinenko’s co-author fears to attend book’s presentation in London
Yury Felshtinsky, who was the co-author of the poisoned ex-Russian security service officer Alexander Litvinenko in Blowing Up Russia: Terror from Within, has refused to go to London to attend presentation of the English-language edition of the book, Agence France Presse writes. Today’s resident of the United States, Felshtinsky was to arrive to the Britain’s capital tomorrow, The Financial Times reported, but he followed the security service’s advice and stayed at home instead. Felshtinsky will be in danger in London, the US security experts are sure. So the presentation and meeting with reporters have been put off for indefinite time, said the book’s publisher.
Blowing Up Russia: Terror from Within describes explosions of dwelling houses in Moscow and Volgodonsk happened in the fall of 1999, explaining who and for what purpose could have ordered those actions of terror.

Russian Parliament specifies status of Foreign Intelligence Service agents and employees
Members of State Duma, the lower chamber of the Russian parliament, have unanimously approved the amendment to the Federal law On Foreign Intelligence. The law in an updated version forbids the intelligence officers to have the second citizenship, commits them to hand over finger prints and limits them in their political predilections, according to the governmental Rossiskaya gazeta.
The paper’s source in secret services named routine the norms, according to which all the employees of the Foreign Intelligence Service (SVR) will be subjected to obligatory dactyloscopic registration. An intelligence officer always has to give his fingerprints, however till now this procedure was not obligatory under the law. Professional intelligence officers scouts have concerned with greater interest to the amendments that precisely and unambiguously define restrictions on their political activity. Both military servicemen and the civil employees of the Foreign Intelligence Service are not allowed to participate in political parties, and also in public associations, pursuing any political aims. And, certainly, the intelligence officers are given up in the right to create such parties and the organizations themselves.
The agents and employees may engage politics only after their resignation. The updated law adjusts also such aspect as renewal of contracts. The decision on the conclusion of contracts with the servicemen, having reached age limit of stay on service, is to be taken by the head of intelligence, in accordance with the specifications, established by the President. Specifics of maintenance of employees by all kinds of contentment are also fixed in the law. Additional guarantees of legal and social support for them, and also for the family members are included in the amendments.

Russia’s deputy FSB chief: Terrorists may enter Russia from Belarus

Vladimir Pronichev  

The power structures represented by Deputy Director of the Federal Security Service (FSB) of Russia, head of the Boarderguard Service of the FSB, Vladimir Pronichev, got involved into the conflict of the “union state” members, Belarusian online site Khartiya’97 reports. In his yesterday’s speech at the Council of Federation, quite of a sudden, he attracted the senators’ attention to the transparency of the Russian and Belarusian border, calling it a “loophole” for terrorists. Russian-Belarusian “porous” border can be used by terrorists for penetrating the Russian Federation, as “it is virtually unguarded”, Pronichev said.
Judging by Pronichev`s tone the situation at the borderline with Belarus was, at that moment, the most aggravated issue, according to Khartiya’97. The oil and gas war between Russia and Belarus that broke out in late 2007, yesterday passed officially beyond the frame of a specifically economic conflict, the Vremya novostei comments today. “Boarder guards have recently prevented dozens of attempts of illegal penetration of Georgian nationals to Russia from Belarus. We do not exclude the possibility of this channel employment by terrorists and trans-boarder criminals”.
Khartiya’97 is quoting Anatoly Lebedko, leader of the Belarusian Civil Party, as saying the following: “Quiet period at the Russian- Belarusian front was temporary, and now a new advancement in the information sphere was made: every day someone declares something and this must impress the opponent. A hint was made to the Belarusian authorities that if they are eager to impose rent payment for land under the pipelines, Moscow may impose elements of borderline monitoring, which would be tangible to both countries’ nationals.”

SBU Vice Chairman demands to toughen laws concerning foreign citizens in Ukraine
According to Vice Chairman of the Security Service of Ukraine (SBU) Gennady Moskal, Verkhovna Rada, the Ukraine’s parliament, should accept the legislation that would protect national interests, online paper Obkom.net.ua reports. In his opinion, it is necessary to modernize ‘too soft and imperfect laws’ on the legal status of foreigners and on association of the citizens, accepted in the beginning of the 1990s.
“Ukraine has been becoming a double-exit courtyard for dishonorable visitors. There is no country of the world which has such a liberal law on the legal status of foreigners as we do. And after the signing the agreement with the European Union so will leave that in two years we shall accept everyone whom has not detained Nicolas Sarcozy (the French Minister of Interior and presidential hopeful who has become especially famous in Russia in the connection with the arrests of the Russian oligarchs in an elite resort in the French ski resort, Courchevel). We are not against hospitality, however how can a security service work in such situation?” Moskal asked. In his opinion, the Supreme Rada should not think of how to reorganize the SBU, but how to protect national security of the country.

President Yushchenko to dismiss cabinet minister for assistance to Turkmen oppositionists, following SBU report

  Nikolai Rudkovsky 

President of Ukraine, Viktor Yushchenko, has been asking the government to consider a possibility of dismissal of Minister of Transport and Communications, Nikolai Rudkovsky, following an official investigation, daily Ukrayinska pravda reports, referring to the deputy head of the presidential secretariat Alexander Chaliy.
On January 23, President Yushchenko sent in resignation the country’s ambassador in Austria, Vladimir Yelchenko, for his assistance in issuing visas to representatives of the Turkmen opposition, who had gathered in Kiev right after the death of the Turkmen President Saparmurat Niyazov last month to discuss an opportunity of returning to the political life of Turkmenistan, online paper CentrAsia.ru writes.
Zerkalo nedeli writes that the Prime Minister has signed a directive on carrying out investigation concerning the minister’s actions: the member of the government is accused of damaging national security of Ukraine. The reason for the decision became the fact of inviting to Ukraine by Rudkovsky in December of the Turkmen oppositionists, former Deputy Prime Minister Khudaiberdy Orazov and the ex-ambassador of Turkmenistan in Turkey Nurmuhammed Khanamov. The paper marks that in Ukraine these ex-high-ranking officials, who in Turkmenistan have been accused of large plunders, not only sharp criticized the official Ashkhabad, but also called for overthrow of the current regime in Turkmenistan. The activities of Orazov and Khanamov were in detail reflected by the Ukrainian mass media. Turkmen Foreign Ministry even sent a rigid note to Kiev as these appearances in Ukraine were considered as an unfriendly action.
As it is said in the official report of the SBU to the Prime Minister, “Rudkovsky N.N. has personally addressed the heads of diplomatic missions of Ukraine in Austria, Bulgaria and Norway with a request to urgently, the same night”, to issue visas to Orazov, Khanamov and also to several more natives of Turkmenistan.
Rudkovsky alleged that the decision on entrance of these persons was accepted by the leadership of Ukraine, Zerkalo nedeli says. As it has appeared later, nobody did accept similar decision, and the arrival of Turkmen oppositionists became an unexpectedness for the political leadership of Ukraine: after numerous meetings with participation of the representatives of the SBU, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, National Security and Defense Council, its participants have found out that neither the government, nor the Ukrainian state has no relation to the arrival of the Turkmen oppositionists.

Sweden searches on Estonian islands for missing spies

Douglas DC-3  

The Swedish embassy in Estonia has organized searches of four Swedish intelligence officers who went missing in 1952, Estonian national daily Postimees reports.
Reconnaissance plane Douglas DC-3 with eight people onboard was brought down above neutral waters of the Baltic Sea by a Soviet fighter MiG-15. Subsequently Sweden recognized that the plane had been observing Soviet military bases and radar stations. In 2003 the fuselage of the plane was found out near the island of Gotska, with the bodies of only four persons in it. The destiny of the others, Bengt Book, Eric Carlsson, Bore Nilsson and Ivar Svensson, is unknown till now.
The Swedish side considers that bodies of the others could have been thrown out on coast of the Estonian islands of Saaremaa and Hiiumaa. If they had survived, is not excluded that the residents of the islands could hide them from the Soviet authorities.
In this connection, Dag Hartelius, the Swedish Ambassador in Estonia, has asked the islanders to inform if they know something about the missing Swedish officers. He also has applied for information to the State Archive of Estonia. The ambassador also noted that he had requested the information in Russia, however had not received any answer, and he had been refused to archives of security services where there can be some data about the missing, Postimees marks. 

President of Poland to publicize report on military intelligence officers reattestation on February 1
On the final day of his official visit to Turkey, President of Poland Lech Kaczynski told the press that on February 1 he will reveal a report from reattestation of servicemen of the Military Information Services (WSI-Wojskowie Sluzby Informacyjny), following the liquidation of these services, daily Rzeczspospolita reports. Initiated by President Kaczynski, the updating of the law that liquidates the Military Information Services, concerning the publicizing of the report, will be in force since January 31, 2007. The President told the press that on February 1, the report will be submitted to judgment of public opinion.
The names of the servicemen and agents of the WSI are to be included in the report, if their actions had violated the law or are not related to safeguarding of the state secrets and security of the troops. The document should also contain information about the cases, when the former servicemen of the WSI had turned to the created commissions on reattestation with the statements, if they had applied for a job in the new services – Military Counterintelligence Service (SKW- Sluzba Kontrwywiadu Wojskowego) and Military Intelligence Service (SWW- Sluzba Wywiadu Wojskowego).

Macedonia set to pass a bill on lustration after 15 years of independence
Fifteen and a half years after declaring the state independence, a motion for passing a bill on lustration entered in parliamentary procedure in Macedonia, news agency Makfax reports. The parliamentary legislature and legal commission has approved unanimously the motion for the draft-bill, tabled by Stojan Andov and Ristana Lalchevska from the Liberal Party. Their initiative was also backed by 88 out of 120 members of parliament.
In essence, the idea is to prevent current or former undercover collaborators of the ex-State Security Agency; transformed in today’s Security and Counter-Intelligence Department within Interior Ministry, to be appointed to high state posts. Besides offices in legislature and executive power, the draft-bill provides for prohibition to hold posts in judicial and media sectors, Makfax says.
At the latest session, some of the deputies requested for collaborators’ superiors to be included in the bill also, as well as to take into consideration whether information of vital state interest had been provided to the secret police, the news agency adds. 

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