Czech Commies trained terrorists

One of the suicide pilots who performed the shocking attacks on the United States a month ago, Muhammad Atta, had reportedly visited Prague twice the year before and contacted here Iraqi diplomats. The presence of an international terrorist on the Czech soil is nothing new, though, as the former Communist Czechoslovakia used to have more than good relations with countries that are now know or suspected of supporting terrorism. Vladimir Tax reports.

The Czechoslovak Communist regime had bilateral treaties with other countries on cooperation and support of pro-democratic people's movements and resistance movements. While on this side of the iron curtain, these movements were seen as freedom fighters, the democratic part of the world considered many of them as terrorist organisations since their methods included hijacks of civilian aircraft, kidnapping, taking hostages, sending letter bombs, and the like.

According to the deputy head of the Czech Office for Documentation and Investigation of Crimes of Communism, Pavel Bret, these bilateral agreements were originally official and public, but later a number of secret supplements were signed, to specify concrete ways of cooperation.

The countries which Czechoslovakia had signed such agreements included Afghanistan, Algeria, Angola, Yemen, Laos, Libya, Sudan, to mention just a few. Mr. Bret explained what forms of support they enjoyed from the communist Czechoslovakia:

"They ranged from ideological support to material help in their fight against the so-called imperialism. Czechoslovakia provided advisors, weapons and training in guerrilla war, in fact they successfully bred terrorists."

Mr. Bret confirmed that Czechoslovakia as well as other countries of the former East Bloc hosted training camps where the resistance fighters, or terrorists, were trained in using weapons which these countries then supplied to the friendly regimes. Let's just mention the infamous undetectable plastic explosive Semtex, so popular with terrorist organisations around the globe.

However, Czechoslovak intelligence services themselves took part in what could be called acts of terrorism:

"Some of Czechoslovak intelligence services were focused on subversive actions in foreign countries, including participation in assassinations, assistance in delivering letter bombs, and so on... One of the well-known operations of Czechoslovak agents was a bomb attack on the Radio Free Europe headquarters in Munich, Germany."

The Office for Documentation and Investigation of Crimes of Communism has been investigating into the role Czechoslovak Communists played in supporting terrorism. Although Mr. Bret said there were several cases at different stages of criminal proceedings, no-one of the former Communist nomenclature has stood a trial as yet.