Tuesday, May 18, 2004

Do we know who the enemy is?

While the EU spends many billions of euros to set up security, intelligence and satellite systems that would compete with NATO or American ones, and negotiate with such unlikely allies as Communist China and Terrorist Syria, an older and more insidious problem has raised its head again.

According the the Czech Intelligence Service (BIS), the Russian foreign intelligence service (SVR) is spreading its tentacles through the Czech Republic and some of the other new members of NATO and the EU.

BIS estimate is that about half the staff of the Russian embassy in Prague work for the SVR. There is fear of further expansion of the network.

“Sources in the BIS have told JID [Jane’s Intelligence Digest] that the SVR has invested billions of Czech currency into purchasing property in the Czech Republic including hotels, casinos and other lucrative businesses in Prague, as well as in the Western Bohemian spa town of Karlovy Vary, which has become a known haven for Russian organized crime gangs, as well as SVR operations.” [As quoted in MosNews]

While there has been a recognition that much of the organized crime, on the rise in western Europe, stems from the former Soviet republics, there is a lack of focus on the well-known and frequently proven nexus between crime gangs, former KGB officers and present day security services. Nor does there seem to be much investigation whether this network takes in now, as it certainly did in the past, terrorist organizations.

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