Army ‘confused ČT with Afghanistan’

Officers to be dismissed over Military Police raid on Czech Television, a source close to Defense Minister Alexandr Vondra says

Včera večer zajistilo ozbrojené komando Vojenské policie v prostorách zpravodajství ČT důkazy ve věci podezření ze spáchání trestného činu ohrožení utajované informace v případu Krejčík. foto: © ČTKČeská pozice

Včera večer zajistilo ozbrojené komando Vojenské policie v prostorách zpravodajství ČT důkazy ve věci podezření ze spáchání trestného činu ohrožení utajované informace v případu Krejčík.

Military police chief Vladimír Ložek and another three officers are likely to lose their jobs over the raid on public broadcaster Czech Television (ČT) in March, the daily Mladá fronta Dnes (MfD) reported Friday citing a source in the defense ministry. The Law and Order unit of the Military Police which conducted the raid was led by officers who were “cut-off from reality” or “inexperienced,” the source added.

The newspaper’s source, described as a colleague of Defense Minister Alexandr Vondra (Civic Democrats, ODS), said those who led the search of journalists’ offices by masked police wielding machineguns, “confused public television with Afghanistan, without realizing the political and social implications of such action.”

The defense ministry is conducting an investigation into the raid on March 11, during which the Military Police confiscated ‘The Law and Order unit of the Military Police has become a state where no one has been answerable for anything.’seven bags full of documents and computers after spending five hours on the premises of Czech Television in Prague. According to the MfD report, the investigation has not been completed, but changes to the leadership of the Military Police are almost certain.

Judge Kryštof Nový issued a search warrant for the Military Police to confiscate a single report prepared for Vlasta Parkanová, defense minister from January 2007 until May 2009, relating to the former head of military intelligence Miroslav Krejčík. The report, which according to Nový was still classified when passed to a ČT reporter, allegedly prompted Parkanová to dismiss Krejčík.

“I issued permission for the confiscation of one piece of documental evidence, perhaps also the folder in which it was contained or copies to be made, but certainly not for the confiscation of a whole office,” Judge Nový said after the raid, adding that he had lost all confidence in the Military Police.

“The Law and Order unit of the Military Police has become a state within a state, moreover almost unaccountable, where no one has been answerable for anything,” the source, who is reportedly informed about the progress of the investigation, said.

According to MfD’s source, the Chief of Staff of the Czech armed forces, General Vlastimil Picek, is to assume leadership of the Law and Order and Transport units of the Military Police. The investigative unit of the police will continue to report directly to the defense minister. These changes are to be included in the White Book currently being prepared by Vondra’s team, which is intended to serve as a roadmap for the ministry for the next 10 years.

See related article: Judge condemns TV raid he permitted