Pro-Soviet radicals planned to kill Gorbachev in East Germany, book claims

Mikhail GorbachevA group of German radicals planned to assassinate Soviet Premier Mikhail Gorbachev in East Germany in 1989, thus triggering a Soviet military invasion of the country, according to a new book written by a former British spy. The book is entitled Pilgrim Spy: My Secret War Against Putin, the KGB and the Stasi (Hodder & Stoughton publishers) and is written by “Tom Shore”, the nom de guerre of a former officer in the British Secret Intelligence Service (MI6). The book chronicles the work of its author, who claims that in 1989 he was sent by MI6 to operate inside communist East Germany without an official cover. That means that he was not a member of the British diplomatic community in East Germany and thus had no diplomatic immunity while engaging in espionage. His mission was to uncover details of what MI6 thought was a Soviet military operation against the West that would be launched from East Germany.

In his book, Shore says that he did not collect any actionable intelligence on the suspected Soviet military operation. He did, however, manage to develop sources from within the growing reform movement in East Germany. The leaders of that movement later spearheaded the widespread popular uprising that led to the collapse of the German Democratic Republic and its eventual unification with West Germany. While finding his way around the pro-democracy movement, Shore says that he discovered a number of self-described activists who had been planted there by the East German government or the Soviet secret services. Among them, he says, were members of the so-called Red Army Faction (RAF). Known also as the Baader Meinhoff Gang or the Baader-Meinhof Group, the RAF was a pro-Soviet guerrilla group that operated in several Western European countries, including Germany, Belgium and Holland. Its members participated in dozens of violent actions from 1971 to 1993, in which over 30 people were killed. Among other attacks, the group tried to kill the supreme allied commander of the North Atlantic Treaty Organization and launched a sniper attack on the US embassy in Bonn. The group is known to have received material, logistical and operational support from a host of Eastern Bloc countries, including East Germany, Poland and Yugoslavia.

According to Shore, the RAF members who had infiltrated the East German reform movement were planning to assassinate Soviet Premier Mikhail Gorbachev during his official visit to East Germany on October 7, 1989. The visit was planned to coincide with the 40th anniversary celebrations of the formation of the German Democratic Republic in 1949, following the collapse of the Third Reich. Shore says he discovered that the assassination plot had been sponsored by hardline members of the Soviet Politburo, the communist country’s highest policy-making body, and by senior officials of the KGB. The plan involved an all-out military takeover of East Germany by Warsaw Pact troops, similar to that of Czechoslovakia in 1968. But Shore claims that he was able to prevent the RAF’s plan with the assistance of members of the East German reform movement. He says, however, that at least two of the RAF members who planned to kill Gorbachev remain on the run to this day. The RAF was officially dissolved in 1998, when its leaders sent an official communiqué to the Reuters news agency announcing the immediate cessation of all RAF activities. However, three former RAF members remain at large. They are Ernst-Volker Staub, Burkhard Garweg and Daniela Klette, all of them German citizens, who are believed to be behind a series of bank robberies in Italy, Spain and France in recent years.

Author: Joseph Fitsanakis | Date: 11 September 2018 | Permalink

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News you may have missed #562 (East German Stasi edition)

Stasi emblem

Stasi emblem

►►Archive photos show East German spy service disguises. While sifting through the archives of the East German secret state police, the Stasi, Berlin-based artist Simon Menner unearthed a series of images used by the organization for an internal course called The Art of Disguising. He reproduced the photos and has put them on display in a new exhibition entitled Pictures from the Secret Stasi Archives.
►►Former German leftwing radical was Stasi informant. In the 1960s and 1970s, Horst Mahler was a leader of the German left and a lawyer for the militant-left Red Army Faction. Now he is a member of the radical right, sitting in jail for denying the Holocaust. But he has reportedly verified reports that he also worked as an informant for East Germany’s secret police, the Stasi, from 1967 to 1970.
►►Thousands of Stasi informants still unidentified. Fifty years after the construction of the Berlin Wall, thousands of West German spies for the former East German Stasi secret police have yet to be identified, according Read more of this post

News you may have missed #0101

  • Red Army Faction member was on German spy service payroll. German media report that Verena Becker, a former member of the militant student organization Red Army Faction, who was arrested last week in connection with a murder committed thirty years ago, worked as an informant for the German secret services.
  • Pakistanis worried about US embassy expansion. In a rare article in the English-speaking press, The Washington Post examines the Pakistani population’s opposition to the planned expansion of the US embassy in Islamabad.
  • A.Q. Khan tells all about Pakistani nuclear program. Recently released from house arrest, the father of the Pakistani nuclear bomb has given an interview to a Pakistani television station, in which he reveals that Pakistan was able to detonate a nuclear device within a week’s notice in as early as 1984.

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W. German cop behind fatal 1967 shooting was a spy, documents show

By JOSEPH FITSANAKIS | intelNews.org |
On June 2, 1967, West German police opened fire on leftist students demonstrating against a visit to Berlin by the Shah of Iran. One of the shots fired by the police killed student protester Benno Ohnesorg. His killing was dubbed in Germany “the shot that changed the republic”. It had a major role in radicalizing the West German student movement in the late 1960s and early 1970s and directly sparked the creation of the militant student organization Red Army Faction –also known as the Baader-Meinhof Group. But a group of researchers working at Germany’s Office of the Federal Commissioner Preserving the Records of the Ministry for State Security of the German Democratic Republic (BStU), led by archivist Marianne Birthler, now claim they have discovered that the West German police officer who fired the shot that killed Ohnesorg was actually an East German spy. Read more of this post