'Forest brothers' in the CIA archives - Western aid to the resistance

Take note – story published 6 years ago

The enormous cache of formerly classified Cold War-era documents released by the US' Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) early this year also describes Latvia's 'forest brothers' - a resistance movement to occupying Soviet power following World War II. Some of these documents also probe the role both the CIA and the Soviet security agency KGB played within the movement. 

Part of these documents of the 40s and 50s could be described as rather generic analytical reports, while some were reports by secret agents or retold such reports. 

There were but a few documents marked 'Top Secret', notes LSM's Russian-language service. Far more are labelled 'Secret' or otherwise classified. 

This series of reports focuses on the role the CIA played inside the resistance movement, what were the agency's goals and how it went about acquiring contacts within the Latvian resistance.

One of these reports describes a plan to airdrop a container of money and equipment to help the resistance movement. 

#1. Outline plan for the project code named ZRLYNCH

This document outlines how the CIA established contacts with the Latvian resistance movement in Sweden and planned to channel funds into the Latvian movement. It saw the resistance Latvia as an opening to the "penetration of the Soviet Union proper".

#2. Monthly project status report from July 1951

The report reveals that agents are trained in Germany for purposes of aiding the resistance movement. 

"Latvian Operations Team of Alfreds Launags and Arthurs Linde, both of the Latvian Contact Group of the LRM, have arrived in Germany. Facilities are already established to begin training indigenous agents."

"A third member of the Contact Group of the LRM [name blanked] is spotting for recruits in Sweden and advising his colleagues in Germany as required."

It also mentions an attempt to contact one Valdemārs, who was infiltrated into Latvia with the help of the Swedish secret service.

Interestingly, the document says that Valdemārs together with Alfreds Launags devised a cryptographic system to circumvent Swedish control.

#3. Budget considerations

This document asks for approval of the AECOB project that was a vehicle for foreign intelligence (FI) operations into and within Soviet Latvia.

"As originally anticipated this project called for a total expenditure of $134,950.00 for fiscal year 1953. This sum included $82,500.00 for the FI aspects and $52,450.00 for the P&P (Propaganda and Plans) aspects."

#4. Airdropping money for the resistance movement

"It is requested that Project AECOB be amended to provide for the approval of an additional allotment in the amount of $60,000."

"It is intended to utilise this sum as operational currently which will be included in a container along with operational supplies to be infiltrated into the Latvian SSR by aircraft."

"The container of operational currency and equipment is being provided as support for our internally recruited and legally living assets who will constitute our long term mechanism for the gathering of intelligence from the Latvian SSR through REDSOX operational methods."

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