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Sunday, October 16, 2005

KGB in the UK

Nope it's not a tagline for one of those dodgy 80's films about communist take over. According to The Guardian Russian spooks will be taking part in anti-terrorist exercises on the streets of the UK.

The directors of the FSB, as the state security service is now known, concluded their first official visit to Britain on Friday, consolidating what their counter-terrorism chief called 'new co-operation on a daily basis' with British counterparts in the 'war on terror'.

The Home Office official in charge of counter-terrorist operations, Jeremy Grey, confirmed that the Russians would be returning in January to participate in the 'live exercises', in which security and emergency services will rehearse the circumstances of a terrorist attack.

This unprecedented visit by Britain's newest allies in the intelligence war co-incided with the bloodiest day for weeks in the North Caucasus region of Russia and followed the visit by President Vladimir Putin to London.

The increasingly close links between the British and Russian security apparatuses will anger human rights groups that have accused the Moscow government of atrocities in Chechnya.

The visit by the veterans of the bloody Caucasus conflict was co-hosted by the government and International Institute for Strategic Studies, which organised a seminar bringing the Russian visitors together with academics and experts on terrorism.

The Northern Ireland Office, the Home Office and the Foreign Office confirmed the Russian delegation had met senior officials in each department. A Foreign Office spokesman said the main purpose of the visit was to brief the Russians about the British experience of dealing with Irish Republican terrorism.

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