Lithuania recalls Austria ambassador over ex-KGB general’s release

Mikhail Golovatov

Mikhail Golovatov

By JOSEPH FITSANAKIS | intelNews.org |
The government of Lithuania has recalled its ambassador to Vienna, in protest over the release by Austria of a former Soviet intelligence official, who is wanted in Vilnius for war crimes. Last Thursday, Austrian authorities arrested Russian citizen Mikhail Golovatov, a former general of the KGB, who was stationed in Lithuania during the final years of the Soviet Union. Golovatov’s detention was facilitated by a European arrest warrant issued by the office of the Lithuanian prosecutor. The latter accuses Golovatov of authorizing crimes of war as head of Alpha Group —also known as Spetsnaz Grupp Alfa— a special forces unit within the KGB’s First Chief Directorate. On January 13, 1991, Alpha Group forces spearheaded a counterinsurgency attack on the State Radio and Television Building and the Vilnius TV Tower in the Lithuanian capital, in an attempt to quash the Soviet Republic’s growing secessionist movement. The latter had unilaterally declared Lithuania’s independence on March 11, 1990. The attack resulted in the death of 14 and the injury of over 700 people. During the past two decades, the Lithuanian state has sponsored an international campaign for the arrest of numerous officials who represented the Soviet security apparatus in Lithuania during the final months of the USSR’s existence. But, to Vilnius’ shock, Austrian authorities released Golovatov 24 hours after arresting him, arguing that the European arrest warrant issued by the Lithuanian prosecutor’s office was “too vague” to justify the former KGB general’s continued detention. Read more of this post

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Lithuania’s spy chief resigns over secret CIA prison probe

Malakauskas

Malakauskas

By IAN ALLEN | intelNews.org |
The director of Lithuania’s intelligence service unexpectedly resigned on Monday, reportedly in connection with a parliamentary investigation into a reputed CIA secret prison site in the country. IntelNews regulars will remember that last November ABC News cited CIA officials in alleging that the Lithuanian government provided the CIA with an unmarked building located in Lithuanian capital Vilnius, with the understanding that it would be used as a so-called black site for secretly detaining high-value al-Qaeda suspects. Lithuanian government officials denied the allegation, but promised to set up a high-level probe into the matter. But the members of the parliamentary committee that was established to examine the ABC News revelations soon found themselves shunned by Lithuanian intelligence officials. According to the committee head, Arvydas Anusauskas, the parliamentarians were offered ambiguous answers or no answers at all by Lithuanian secret service agencies. Read more of this post

Dozens of MI5 agents to testify in Real IRA trial

RIRA gunmen

RIRA gunmen

By IAN ALLEN | intelNews.org |
Over 30 agents of MI5, Britain’s primary domestic intelligence agency, will be anonymously giving evidence at a scheduled trial of three men arrested in connection with a Real IRA international gun smuggling operation. The men, Paul Anthony John McCaugherty, Dermot Declan Gregory, and Desmond Paul Kearns, all from County Armagh in Northern Ireland, were arrested after a yearlong infiltration operation by MI5, involving the use of informants and surveillance equipment. The latter resulted in nearly 90 hours of recorded conversations, which the court said will take “months to transcribe”. Additionally, 35 MI5 agents have so far applied to give evidence in court, their identity concealed behind screens. Read more of this post

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Lithuania also hosted CIA black sites, says ABC News

Dick Marty

Dick Marty

By IAN ALLEN | intelNews.org |
After Poland and Romania, the former Soviet republic of Lithuania has been identified by US information outlet ABC News as another European nation that secretly hosted CIA prisons after 9/11. ABC News reporter Matthew Cole says former CIA officials told him that the Lithuanian government provided the CIA with a building located in suburban Vilnius, the capital of Lithuania, with the understanding that it would be used as a so-called black site for secretly detaining high-value al-Qaeda suspects. The CIA reportedly used the building to detain up to eight suspects for over a year each, until December of 2005, when public rumors about the existence of the prison forced the CIA to abandon it. Read more of this post