Wednesday, January 30, 2008

Book says Canadian MP, think tank members spied for the Soviets

It would be surprising, since was reportedly one of the more strident anti-communists in Ottawa in the 1980s. But that's what a new book alleges.

OTTAWA -- A publisher has cited legal considerations in halting Canadian shipments of a book that alleges a former Conservative MP from Calgary was a paid informant for the Russian intelligence service.

It is the latest controversy to flare up over Comrade J, American journalist Pete Earley's account of espionage in the early years of the post-Cold War era.

The volume is based on the recollections of Sergei Tretyakov, who spied for Moscow in Ottawa and subsequently at the United Nations before defecting to the United States with his family in 2000.

The book alleges Alex Kindy provided information that wound up in numerous spy cables in return for thousands of dollars in cash. It says Kindy, codenamed Grey, was recruited in 1992 by Vitali Domoratski, a vice consul actually working in counter-intelligence for the Russians from their embassy in Ottawa.

Kindy, 78, did not return Earley's telephone calls or respond after being sent copies of Tretyakov's account. There was no answer late Tuesday at his Calgary home.

Lynn Kyba, Kindy's assistant from 1984 to 1993, said there was no way the MP would have spied for the Russians.

"He was a dedicated Canadian,'' she said in an interview. "It just doesn't fit.''

"Of all the things you'd say about him, that's not one.''

The book has been greeted with skepticism in other quarters. The International Atomic Energy Agency dismissed Tretyakov's allegations that he enlisted the co-operation of a Canadian nuclear expert working with the outfit in Vienna.

In a statement Tuesday, legal counsel for publisher Penguin Group's U.S. division said the company had temporarily suspended shipments to Canada "to allow time to evaluate the legal ramifications, under Canadian law, of speculations about the book that have arisen in the Canadian market.''

This does not apply to the many copies already available in Canadian stores.

Comrade J says U.S. intelligence officials told Earley that Tretyakov, who served in Ottawa from 1990 to 1995, recruited five trusted contacts in the Canadian capital who provided him with classified military and political information. The material included details of U.S. and Canadian efforts to track Soviet submarines in the Arctic.

But the biggest Canadian fish was allegedly reeled in by Domoratski, one of Tretyakov's officers at the Ottawa embassy.

The Ukrainian-born Domoratski is said to have met Kindy, whose parents hailed from Ukraine, at a reception. The two soon became friends.

Earley, a former Washington Post reporter, acknowledges that Kindy -- a strident anti-Communist -- was an unlikely mark for the SVR, the post-Cold War successor to the Soviet Union's ruthless KGB.

However, Domoratski reportedly thought Kindy was vulnerable because he needed cash for his re-election campaign.

Kyba, who ran Kindy's 1993 campaign, disputes the notion he was hard up for money. "He did not have any problems at all. None at all.''

Kindy, a physician, was born in Warsaw, Poland. The father of three children was first elected to the House of Commons in 1984, winning the Calgary East riding for the Progressive Conservatives.

He won the Calgary Northeast riding in 1988 but was booted from the Tory caucus in April 1990, along with David Kilgour, after they voted against their own government's introduction of the widely hated Goods and Services Tax.

Tretyakov says Kindy accepted Russian cash in a series of meetings in 1992 and 1993.

The book quotes Tretyakov as saying Moscow was interested in getting Kindy to discuss "various intrigues inside the Canadian Parliament and government. This was intimate information about his colleagues and also details about international maneuvers that were going on.''

When Domoratski returned to Moscow, his replacement in Ottawa was supposed to become Kindy's new handler, the book says. But the MP refused to speak to him.

Canadian Security Intelligence Service spokeswoman Manon Berube said CSIS was aware of the book, but declined comment on the allegations. "We don't discuss specific cases or situations.''

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