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23 December, 2008

Dark secret of new EU president

Sent to me by Robert Eringer

Dark secret of new EU president

By Robert Eringer

December 20, 2008 12:00 AM

The European Union will have a new president in 12 days. Unfortunately, he was a long-term communist collaborator who may still be under the influence of Russian Intelligence, knowledgeable sources within the intelligence community have told The Investigator. Vaclav Klaus, 67, is President of the Czech Republic, which will rotate to leadership of the EU on January 1.

This is the first time a former Soviet-bloc country will lead the EU -- an irony compounded by Mr. Klaus's opposition, earlier this decade, to Czech membership in the political and economic union of 27 countries and almost 500 million Europeans.

Renowned for his arrogance, the prickly Mr. Klaus is no Santa. Often referred to as Europe's rudest politician, he is more like The Grinch. Such audacious behavior, perhaps, helps him mask a 46 year-old secret.

We can reveal exclusively that Mr. Klaus, while a 21-year-old student at the University of Economics, Prague, in 1962, was recruited by Czech counterintelligence officers and put to work as a spy against democratic reformers with whom he studied and later worked. For five decades he has concealed a murky past of betrayal and deception.

Codenamed "Vodichka," Mr. Klaus is said to have been "an avid and willing informant" who reported on the political reliability of his classmates -- two of whom were expelled because of the information he provided.

For his cooperation, Mr. Klaus was allowed to travel abroad on research projects --first to Italy in 1966, and three years later to Cornell University in Ithaca, N.Y.

Mr. Klaus is understood to have reported to Czech intelligence officers on the activities of Czech opposition groups within the United States during the aftermath of the "Prague Spring" rebellion.

In 1970 Mr. Klaus starred in "Operation Rattrap," staged by Czech counterintelligence with the assistance of Soviet KGB advisers. Mr. Klaus was publicly named as an "anti-socialist malcontent" and "purged" from the Economic Institute. Its purpose was to pose Mr. Klaus as a "victim" of the regime so he could continue to penetrate dissident circles as a deep-cover mole. The ruse was successful and Mr. Klaus effectively monitored opposition activities and reported dissident intentions, succeeding also in establishing a personal relationship with underground leader Vaclav Havel, who would become the Czech Republic's first democratically-elected president in 1993.

Mr. Klaus was officially "rehabilitated" by the state in 1987 to allow him to join the Economic Forecasting Institute of the Academy of Sciences -- "a nest of counterrevolution," in the minds of Czech counterintelligence officials, who wanted it infiltrated. Again, Mr. Klaus was their man. Successfully planted within its ranks, he informed on the activities of other members while further building his reputation as a subversive.

But in the 15 years before that, Mr. Klaus had been permitted a career at Czechoslovak State Bank -- most unusual for true critics of the communist regime. He also enjoyed travel privileges, which were practically impossible for genuine dissidents.

Mr. Klaus entered politics in 1989 as a member of the Civic Forum party and got appointed Minister of Finance. Three years later he became prime minister.

One of Mr. Klaus's first acts as a state official was to track down the operational file kept on him by Czech counterintelligence -- and shred it. However, unbeknownst to him, a duplicate "Red File" had been dispatched to Moscow, in October 1989, for safekeeping. It remains in the archives of the Russian Foreign Intelligence Service (SVR).

Mr. Klaus was instrumental in pushing Civic Forum to the right, and the so-called Klaus-wing of the party became the core of the Civic Democratic Party, which he has led since its founding.

In December 1997 Mr. Klaus was forced to resign as prime minister due to complicity in a political funding and corruption scandal stemming from a secret Swiss bank account in his name containing $5 million -- exposed at the time as secret donations in exchange for special favors.

Just over a year later, Mr. Klaus began a series of secret meetings with the SVR's Resident (station chief) in Prague.

An SVR officer told The Investigator, "We opened an operational file on Klaus under the codename 'Kolesnikov,' and did not rule out the possibility of a recruitment attempt (on the basis of possessing his file and being privy to his darkest secret)."

It is unclear whether Mr. Klaus's political career was resurrected with SVR assistance, but crystal clear that Mr. Klaus has since established an unusually close relationship with Russian supremo Vladimir Putin, who one year ago this month rewarded Mr. Klaus -- a fluent Russian speaker -- with the Pushkin Medal, ostensibly for promoting Russian culture.

Mr. Putin paid a rare state visit to the Czech Republic only after Mr. Klaus succeeded Vaclav Havel as President in 2003. (Mr. Havel led the "Velvet Revolution," which brought freedom to Czechoslovakia). While hosting Mr. Putin, Mr. Klaus' submissive behavior was described by Czech journalists as "borderline sycophancy."

Ever since, Mr. Klaus's support for the Putin regime has been strong and unwavering. For example, when the European Union vehemently condemned Russia's invasion of Georgia earlier this year, Mr. Klaus sided with the Kremlin. "The responsibility of Georgia," he declared, "is unexceptionable and fatal."

An active critic of same-sex couples and the green movement, Mr. Klaus has called global warming a "false myth" and referred to Nobel Prize winner Al Gore as "an apostle of arrogance."

So no surprise that the Czech president took umbrage last week when the EU sealed a plan to cut greenhouse gas emissions by 20 percent. "This is scandalous," he said, upset that French President Nicholas Sarkozy (current EU President) managed to push it through before his term expired. Mr. Klaus had hoped to quash it. "Oh God," proclaimed the Austrian daily newspaper Die Presse in reference to EU leadership, "Vlaclav Klaus will come next."

Indeed. This Euro-skeptic's imminent arrival as EU chieftain bodes not well for European unity -- or the world.

The opinions in the column are Robert Eringer's and not necessarily the newspaper's. Readers may write Robert Eringer c/o the News Press. P.O. Box 1359, Santa Barbara 93102. Or if you have a story idea for The Investigator, contact him at State if your query is confidential.


  1. I'm really not surprised at this. The socio-economic model we've had of the world in the past is falling apart. Now it appears a commie collaborator will be head of the E.U., but how does that compare to a member of the Hitler Youth being Pope?

    Perhaps we all need to take out some time to SCREAM!

  2. Czech President’s relationship with security services uneasy
    The Business New Europe has devoted an article to Czech President Vaclav Klaus, stressing that looking back at Klaus' historical track record of unambiguous support for Russia, one can't help but wonder exactly whose interests he best serves.
    Klaus puzzle begins in 1969, according to the online magazine. After doing a stint at Cornell University in Ithaca, New York, he willingly returned home to a Czechoslovakia that was being crushed by Soviet tanks. The new pro-Soviet government labelled Klaus, "an anti-Socialist malcontent" and purged him from the Economic Institute in 1970. But his fortunes soon reversed and he was given a position in the Czechoslovakian State Bank with permission to travel abroad – an unheard of privilege for true dissidents at the time.
    Ever since, Klaus has frequently shown himself to be sympathetic to the Russian cause, The Business New Europe marks. It says most unsettling is the consistent allegations of Klaus’ ties to Russian organised crime. The Czech weekly Respekt published an article in 2003 claiming Klaus had criminal ties to the Russian mafia, quoting Czech security service (BIS) officials and police investigators. According to the report, Klaus was linked to Alexander Rebyonok, a Russian-born, Karlovy Vary-based businessman, who moved to Czechoslovakia in the 1970s and supervised Soviet uranium mining operations in the Karlovy Vary region. Following the collapse of communism in 1989, Rebyonok went into the private sector and currently runs several companies including the Imperial Hotel in Karlovy Vary, where Klaus and his wife Livia are frequent guests. BIS officers repeatedly warned the couple that the hotel is a hornet's nest of Russian gangsters and intelligence officers.
    Klaus' relationship with the Czech security service has always been uneasy. Two ex-BIS directors complained in an interview with The Business New Europe that they warned Klaus on several occasions of the wave of Russian organised crime spreading through the Czech Republic during the mid-1990s when he was prime minister. "Klaus became hysterical, saying there was no such problem and threatened to disband the service because he considered it to be a waste of taxpayer's money," two BIS officers who didn’t want to be named told the online magazine.
    The president's ties to Russian organised crime go back to the early 1990s. Klaus's ODS party failed to tax cooking oil imported en masse into the Czech Republic from Hungary and sold at pumps as diesel fuel. The entire scam made billions of dollars and was allegedly organised by Ukrainian/Israeli gangster Semen Mogilevich. Czech investigative journalists, BIS officials and police investigators have claimed that Klaus' political party, ODS, funnelled its cut of the scam to accounts in Switzerland and used the monies to fund re-election campaigns in 1996. Evidence of this surfaced in 1997 when the ODS had considerable problems accounting for anonymous donors contributing large sums of money to their 1996 election campaign from Switzerland. At the time, the Czech press identified at least one Swiss account held by Klaus that held some $5m.