24 January, 2013
‘From the zone I called NATO Headquarters and a special mission unit rushed in…’

Vakhtang Maisaia, arrested on espionage charges and released as political prisoner, recalls scandalous details of his case… He was interviewed by Irakli Aladashvili, military expert and employee of ‘MediaPalitra’.
Q. – Saakashvili declared that during the August war Maisaia was feeding the information on Georgian tanks’ location to the enemy…
A. – On August 7 – 9 of 2008, chiefs of Joint stuff Headquarters of Georgian
armed forces and heads of department were in Gori. Thus, I couldn’t be together with them. I’ll tell you where these accusations are coming from… When detaining me they checked my house and from the computer obtained materials of my future book that I was going to publish in English in autumn of the same year in London and Bratislava. The book was about Georgian-Russian war peripeteia. Discussion of some chapters of the book was held in London on December 16, 2008 at the Atlantic Council meeting of the Great Britain headed by Lord Robertson, Council Chairman, former NATO General Secretary; it was attended by many high-ranking politicians.
Some excerpts taken from this book were used to accuse me. As far as I know electric version of the book was destroyed on Saakashvili’s and Ugulava’s order.
After detention I was taken to the module building where besides the deputy head of intelligence there were Interior Minister Vano Merabishvili in person and his deputy Amiran Meskheli. The Minister put in front of me two works written in 2007, before the August war. One of them was about clan opposition inside the ‘National Movement’ and the second one was meant for the NATO Parliamentary Assembly dealing with Vano Merabishvili’s contacts with Belorussian KGB and heads of National Security Council. Victor Sheiman headed the National Security Council; he was the so-called ‘Grey Cardinal’, main support for Lukashenka’s authoritarian regime. In this work I also stressed that Belorussian authorities were actively involved in setting up of special services of post ‘Rose Revolution’ powers. Several Belorussian KGB advisors consulted Vano Merabishvili how to exert pressure on opposition parties, how to neutralize former high-ranks of top brass who shifted to opposition.
In the work it was also written that several groups of Georgian special task forces underwent special training on the base of Belorussian special task force ‘Almaz’. Lukashenko used concretely ‘Almaz’ to disperse the opposition rallies. At the same time ‘Almaz’ soldiers were sighted in arms smuggling together with Victor But who currently is imprisoned in USA.
Q. – You may not know this but I could be beside you on charges of Russian spy. But unlike the colonel who witnessed giving you secret information my friend, colonel too, endured two-month-long interrogation and threats of Akhalaia with a weapon in his hand in Defense Minister’s office and didn’t give false evidence against me. Besides, I was backed by ‘PalitraMedia’ Publishing House where I kept a video recording about my being innocent and in case I was imprisoned not to believe to my TV confession that would only be obtained through psychological and physical pressure…
A. – By the way, when interrogating me they asked about you too, whether you were supplying me with some information. I published articles in your magazine ‘Arsenal’ and we cooperated as military observers and analysts and there was nothing illegitimate in it; naturally, I wouldn’t testify against you.
Q. – If I’m not wrong, from prison you managed to send some information to NATO?
A. – Today I can say that with the help of a Gldani prison employee whom I used to know, I sent a special letter to NATO General Secretary in which I wrote about political pressure exerted by authorities on us and journalists. To protect this employee from deciphering I staged a small role – I knew that video cameras and eavesdropping microphones were installed in the room and to the lawyer who came to see me I gave another letter.
Then I tried to contact NATO representatives once again. On Saturdays we were allowed to place calls; the phone was of course eavesdropped. One Saturday I dialed NATO Headquarters’ number and as soon as I pronounced the first phrase in English that I was accused of being an agent of a NATO member state, the line was immediately cut. After some time a special mission unit rushed in. They took me up to the room and gave me the strictest warning that in case I tried again to call, they would destroy me. For three days after this incident the phones were off in order to incite mutiny against me. I was under permanent observation in the zone. Under my bed I even discovered a small-size electrical eavesdropping devise of Russian make.
Q. – As you declared it is written in your indictment about your cooperation in favor of special service of NATO member state Slovenia. So it seems that President Saakashvili’s team accused you of serving NATO but they were heading Georgia exactly to this alliance! If ‘classified’ is removed from your case will your complete innocence and the prosecutor’s guilt be proved?
A. – Yes, because it will be international scandal. These days I will send a special letter to NATO General Secretary Anders Fogh Rasmussen and say that I’m accused of spying not in favor of Russia but NATO special service. I’ll ask the leadership of North Atlantic Alliance to make due reaction.