KGB makes public excuses
Belarusian KGB issued a formal denial of documents published by an international hacker group Anonymous. The documents imply that Belarus could be involved in supplying weapons to Pakistani terrorist groups.
The fact that the KGB reacted to the scandal around the probable cooperation of the Belarusian authorities with the international terrorist network, increases suspicions against Belarus. KGB’s entry into public debate also indicates its weak position, implying it has no other means to influence the situation.
Analysis of the documents made public by Anonymous, only a small part of which applies to Belarus, casts doubts about them being fake. Otherwise, we are talking about very large-scale falsification of thousands of electronic documents. However, the reaction of the Belarusian diplomats and security agencies in this regard makes suspicions against Belarus stronger.
From the diplomatic point of view a joint response of the Foreign Ministry, KGB and the military industry of the State Committee of Belarus to an anonymous hacker group is totally asymmetrical, and unprecedented. In March 2011 the UN accused Belarus of supplying two military helicopters to the Ivory Coast. Following the reaction of the Foreign Ministry against such accusations the issue was finally resolved and the UN had to apologize.
Finally, the scandal has revealed a serious hole in the structure of information security of Belarus. Anonymous say the documents they made public were obtained from hacked servers of the Italian Cyber-Police. If confirmed, the Belarusian secret services will be responsible for leaking confidential government information to hackers as well as to their Italian colleagues.
The most likely consequence of this internal scandal would be the resignation of Foreign Minister Sergei Martynov, whose name appears in one of the published documents. However, it could happen at a later stage, when the resonance of the scandal goes down.
Last week, Belarusian Foreign Minister Makei participated in the foreign ministers’ meeting of the Eastern Partnership and Visegrad Group initiative hosted by Warsaw. The Belarusian FM emphasized Belarus' interest in cooperation in the transport sector, which could be due to Belarus’ desire to export electricity surplus after Belarus finished construction of the nuclear power plant in Ostrovets. Minsk expressed concerns about Warsaw’s stance on the Belarusian NPP, as it refused to buy electricity from Belarus and supported Vilnius’ protest on this issue. Following accusations by the Belarusian leadership and the state media against western states, including Poland, of training "nationalist militants", Minsk did not agree on the visit of the European Parliament deputies from Lithuania and Germany to Belarus and to the NPP construction site near Ostrovets in particular. In addition, the Belarusian authorities have stepped up efforts to enforce education in Russian in Polish-language schools in Grodno and Vaukavysk. Should a rift in Belarusian-Polish relations persist, the Belarusian authorities are likely to step up the pressure on the Polish-speaking minority in Belarus.