Czech Republic’s national intelligence agency, Security Information Service (BIS) in its annual report has highlighted increased proliferation concerns from Pakistan, a worry pointed out by a German government report earlier this year.
The annual report for 2019, released a few weeks back, lists Pakistan along with North Korea, Syria, Iran as “countries of proliferation concerns” who “continued their covert attempts to procure internationally controlled items.” The report explained, “The countries used less known or purpose-created companies and third countries for re-exportation and tried to disguise money transfers in order to avoid being traced back.”
The fact that “disguise money transfers” were used will raise the question at Financial Action Task Force (FATF) on Pakistan’s stated commitment to take action on shady financial transactions.
It, however, comes as no surprise, given Pakistan’s track record, especially with the infamous AQ Khan case who is called as “father of uranium enrichment project” in the country but has been involved in passing nuclear know-how to countries like Iran, North Korea, and Libya.
The report points to the role played by Chinese intelligence agencies– Ministry of State Security (MSS) and the Military Intelligence Department (MID) in the central European country.
It said, Chinese intelligence officers, use traditional covers such as diplomats, journalists, or scholars or use social media and “took advantage of the fact that Czech businesses are welcoming towards Chinese investors.”
Elaborating the modus operandi the report said Chinese entities in the Czech Republic – intelligence officers, diplomats, party officials “sought to find ways to influence public opinion, spread propaganda and present a positive image of the People’s Republic of China, using both overt and covert influencing of Czech media.”
Positive articles about China were “supposed to build a pro-Chinese environment and create new opportunities for Chinese expansion” and when they “reappeared later in the Chinese press, (they were) presented as the opinion of Czech mainstream media or even as the opinion of the whole Czech Republic.”
The report specifically points out that Czech academia was particularly under the radar of Chinese intelligence who used the garb of exchange programmes and research to expand contacts and get information on domestic and foreign policy, defence, technology, energy projects.