The story of Pavel Přibyl keeps getting curioser and curioser.
Přibyl is Prime Minister Stanislav Gross’ chief of staff. He was also the person who gave the orders to send in riot police against protesters in 1989. After the Velvet Revolution, a law was approved that said ranking Communists would be barred from high government positions.
Regular readers of this blog know that I really want to believe Stanislav Gross is not a swine. I really want to believe he will do right by this country. This latest controversy obviously does not work in his favor. Here’s the latest story from ČTK, translated by me.
PRAGUE – Government chief of staff Pavel Přibyl allegedly gained his security clearance despite opposition from the secret services and some employees of the National Security Office (NBÃš). The clearance, which allows people to read secret documents, was granted to Přibyl only in 2000, after the intervention of then-NBÃš chief TomÃ¡Å¡ Kadlec, Czech Radio said referring to several independent sources.
Kadlec did not comment on Czech Radio’s story, saying he was too busy. Civic Democrat Vice Chairman said that if the accusations are true, it would mean Prime Minister Gross and his people “are threatening the Czech Republic’s security system.”
In January, 1989, Přibyl led the police units who took part in breaking up demonstrations, and his naming to the chief of staff position has spurred waves of opposition. After criticism from some well-known personalities and politicians, the Prime Minister promised to investigate Přibyl’s past. In defending Přibyl’s continuance as chief of staff, Gross used the argument that after 1989, Přibyl passed background checks by civic commissions that looked into the past of Interior and Justice Ministry employees.
According to information in Friday’s LidovÃ© noviny, it is highly unlikely that evidence against Přibyl will be found at the Interior Ministry. Documents relating to January 1989 are missing from their archives. “Materials from the emergency corps’ [document archive] fund are not there at all,” said Jan FrolÃk, who heads the archive and dossier services for the Interior Ministry. He added that some information could be in the archives of the Prague or Central Bohemian offices of the [Communist-era] Public Security.
According to FrolÃk, confirmation of whether Přibyl’s platoon was on VÃ¡clavskÃ© nÃ¡městÃ during the demonstrations will also be hard to find. “We can find locations only to the battalion level, and not lower,” FrolÃk said, adding that lists of members of Přibyl’s platoon cannot be found either.
UPDATED 14:08 200804: For you translation buffs out there, ČTK’s English translation can be found here.