Russia's "Peace Loving" Spy Tactics
Funded by Our Foreign Aid
BRUSSELS (Reuter) - Belgium expelled four Russian diplomats and arrested five other people yesterday after security forces blew the lid off a Moscow-linked spy ring that has wrenched the country out of post-Cold War complacency.
The arrests follow dawn raids by police and security forces at about 20 places across Belgium Friday and the subsequent expulsion of four Russians — two embassy diplomats and two trade officials.
"I've arrested five today for breach of Belgian external security ... that's to say, espionage activity," said Belgian state investigator Bruno Bulthe.
Bulthe said three industrialists, a journalist and a civil servant had been arrested — all apparently Belgians.
Nine others, including a soldier, were released after all-night interrogation since the huge security sweep, dubbed "operation Glasnost."
Exposure of the espionage network sparked bitter Belgian criticism of Russia and a warning the incident could hurt Western commitment to a large aid package for Moscow.
Belgian officials did not spell out whether the spying was still going on when the expulsions and arrests took place. But their statements made it clear the spy network carried on after the breakup of the Soviet Union.
"I was not the only one to believe that after the fall of the Berlin Wall and the breakup of the Soviet Union, we had put an end to this kind of activity," Foreign Minister Willy Claes told Belgian radio. The expulsion of the Russians is believed to be the first from a Western country since the Soviet Union broke up in December.
Since then, the old Soviet KGB has been split into two parts — internal security and foreign intelligence — but remains under Moscow control. Other states of the ex-Soviet Union have their own security services.
The Belgian news agency Belga said the spy ring had supplied Moscow with high technology information of military use and may have served Moscow from as early as 1967.
Claes said the fact that money was still being spent on spy operations would make it hard for governments to persuade their people that huge sums of Western cash were needed to help Russia and the other former Soviet states. A Western aid package of $24 billion was announced last week.
Richard F. Star, former U.S. Ambassador to the Mutual and Balanced Force Reduction negotiations in Vienna, wrote recently in the Wall Street Journal that the Soviet Union (or CIS) has grain supplies in abundance; that they have stored at least 362 million metric tons of grain (much of it obtained from the West) in underground nuclear blast/fallout shelters. University of North Carolina economist Steven Rosefielde asserts that these supplies could feed the entire population of the former USSR for 3-4 years. There are also other large grain stockpiles in 87 cities across the Soviet Union so that total grain reserves could be well in excess of five years. These reserves are presently under the control of the Russian military and the (new) KGB.
(ED. NOTE: the U.S. by way of contrast, has only 30-45 days of grain reserves. Consider: If the new, revitalized Russia should ever attack America, its people would eat during the conflict which followed, and Americans would not!)