Czechs opens first foreign espionage files

26th May 2006, Comments 0 comments

26 May 2006, PRAGUE - The Czech government Thursday opened a small window to the world of Soviet-era espionage by releasing more than 1,500 pages of sensitive documents and photos from the former communist Czechoslovakia. The secret police reports, letters and memos about Prague's foreign spy operations were made public for the first time and posted on the internet by the government's Office of Foreign Relations and Information (UZSI). The material covers the period 1945 to 1990, shedding light on cloak-an

26 May 2006

PRAGUE - The Czech government Thursday opened a small window to the world of Soviet-era espionage by releasing more than 1,500 pages of sensitive documents and photos from the former communist Czechoslovakia.

The secret police reports, letters and memos about Prague's foreign spy operations were made public for the first time and posted on the internet by the government's Office of Foreign Relations and Information (UZSI).

The material covers the period 1945 to 1990, shedding light on cloak-and-dagger activities that began before the communists formally took control in 1948 and shortly after the regime fell in the 1989 Velvet Revolution.

Most of the documents describe spying efforts that targeted exiled Czech dissidents who lived in western Europe, and the Czech National Security Corps' (SNB) cooperation with Russia's KGB or Soviet satellites such as Bulgaria and Poland.

Photos in the archive were taken during a 1988 meeting of world communist leaders in East Berlin, a 1983 ceremony where Czech leaders signed a spy agreement with the KGB, and other formal gatherings.

One of the most interesting photo sets was snapped by a spy's hidden camera in 1969 while tailing a defector on the streets of Vienna.

Czech historian and author Pavel Zacek praised the release, but said mountains of important documents and microfilms are still locked up in government files.

For example, Zacek said there's nothing in the materials about what he says was Czech spy infiltration into the parliament, or Bundestag, of the former West Germany during the 1960s.

"Less than one per cent (of secret police archives) have now been released," Zacek told Deutsche Presse-Agentur dpa. "There could be hundreds of thousands of pages still in the archive."

He said the government "is on the right way," but should publicize more material now that more than 16 years have passed since the end of communism in Prague.

"We are looking for more information about communist institutions, and more about what they did against democracy," Zacek said.

DPA

Subject: German News

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