Archive for the ‘spies’ Category

Cold War humanitarian program had covert side

December 28, 2008

In the locked attic of a German archive is a dusty file that harks back to a long forgotten chapter of the Cold War — a humanitarian endeavor that, it now emerges, also had a covert side.

Marked “Escapee Program,” it contains a list of thousands of names of people who, through cunning, bravery and luck, slipped through the Iron Curtain that divided Europe after World War II and found freedom in the West.

By ARTHUR MAX and RANDY HERSCHAFT, Associated Press Writers

President Harry Truman’s administration launched the program in 1952 to rehabilitate and resettle refugees from Eastern Europe, feting them as heroes who defied communist tyranny.

Recently declassified U.S. documents disclose that, from the start, the program went beyond giving them new lives and sought to use them for intelligence and propaganda. Some were offered money to be smuggled back to their home countries to gather information on Soviet military defenses and public attitudes toward the communist regimes that had replaced Hitler’s Nazi occupiers.

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Taliban kill two US ‘spies’ in Pakistan

December 21, 2008

Taliban militants have killed two Afghan men in Pakistan‘s troubled tribal belt, accusing them of spying for US forces operating across the border, officials said Sunday.

The executions were the latest in a string of similar killings in the rugged frontier region, a haven for Al-Qaeda and Taliban insurgents intent on destabilising both Pakistan and Afghanistan.

The militants dumped the bodies of the men, brothers from the neighbouring Afghan province of Khost, in the village of Shiratala in the troubled North Waziristan tribal district.


“Both men were shot dead,” a security official told AFP.

“They were spies. They had been spying for US forces,” said a note found near the bodies early Sunday, according to officials.

Militants have killed dozens of local tribesmen and Afghan nationals on charges of spying, mainly for the Pakistani government or US forces operating in Afghanistan.

Pakistan’s lawless tribal region has been wracked by violence since hundreds of Taliban and Al-Qaeda rebels sought refuge in the area after the US-led invasion of Afghanistan toppled the hardline Taliban regime in late 2001.