About target BRUSSELS

THE PROJECT

targetBRUSSELS gathers information on the activities of Eastern European secret services in Brussels during the Cold War. The research is based on the intelligence archives of the former German Democratic Republic, Bulgaria, Czechoslovakia, Romania, Poland and Hungary.

'As Brussels has become an important centre of the western world, we have to prevent it from also becoming an important centre of espionage.’ The minutes of the Belgian cabinet meeting of 21 April 1967 leave no doubt: the Belgian government was very much aware of the espionage threat triggered by the relocation of NATO’s operational and political headquarters to Belgium the same year. 

Ever since, Brussels has become one of the world’s espionage hotspots. During the Cold War hundreds of spies from both sides of the Iron Curtain were involved in an intelligence war around the Belgian capital.

Secret services from several Warsaw Pact countries established spying activities inside Brussels, looking for information on international organisations and institutions, companies and individuals. Obviously, the NATO headquarters was one of the top targets. But also plenty of diplomatic representations and Belgian and Europan government administrations were on the target list of spies from the East.

targetBRUSSELS is made possible with the financial support of the Fonds Pascal Decroos, a Flemish foundation promoting investigative journalism; the Fonds pour le journalisme, a Walloon foundation promoting investigative journalism; and the Fonds voor Bijzondere Journalistieke Projecten, a Dutch foundation promoting investigative journalism. It is also supported by the Centre for Historical Research and Documentation on War and Contemporary Society (Ceges-Soma), a Belgian federal research institution on wars and conflits of the twentieth century and their impact on Belgium. 

Between 1/6/2011 and 29/09/2013 www.targetBRUSSELS.be has been visited by 15.190 unique users (according to GoogleAnalytics), resulting in 63.760 page views.

 

THE AUTHOR

targetBRUSSELS is a project by Kristof Clerix (°1978), who works as a journalist for MO*, a Belgian magazine on international affairs. Clerix graduated in 2000 as a Master in German and English Linguistics and Literature at the Catholic University in Leuven. In 2001, he followed a Master-after-Master year of Conflict and Development studies at Ghent University. In 2002, Clerix completed the MediAcademy, a journalism study with classes in Utrecht, Paris and London.

Clerix has been working as a journalist in Belgium since 2002. After two years freelancing for the Belgian daily De Morgen, he joined the team of MO*. Over the years, he has specialized in reporting on security topics such as terrorism, secret services and organised crime. As a journalist, he has reported from Albania, Armenia, the Baltic States, Bosnia, Brasil, Bulgaria, China, Colombia, Cyprus, the Czech Republic, France, Germany, Georgia, Hungary, Iceland, Ireland, Kosovo, Malta, Moldova, Morocco, the Netherlands, Nagorno Karabakh, Poland, Romania, Russia, Saint-Vincent and the Grenadines, Serbia, Slovakia, Slovenia, Transnistria, Turkey, Ukraine, the UK and the United States.

Through this link you can find over 120 articles on secret services that Clerix wrote for MO*.

In 2006, Clerix wrote a book on the activities of foreign secret services operating in Belgium (Vrij Spel, published by Uitgeverij Manteau). Two years later, the book was published in French (En toute impunité? Les services secrets étrangers en Belgique) by Editions Racine. In 2013, his second book Espionage. Target: Brussels was published. 

In 2005, Clerix won the Investigative Journalism Award for Young Journalists handed out by the Belgian-Dutch Association of Investigative Journalists. In 2010, he was awarded the European Young Journalist Award for Belgium, a prize by the European Commission.

In August 2013, Clerix joined the International Consortium of Investigative Journalists (ICIJ). 
 

THE TEAM

targetBRUSSELS is teamwork. Michael Svec, Alexenia Dimitrova, Magda Jekiel, Julie Reniers and Fejérdy Gergely contributed to translations and research.

 

Michael Svec works as a Russia specialist for the Czech daily Pravo. Pravo is the second biggest quality newspaper of the Czech Republic and has a centre-left line. 

 

Alexenia Dimitrova is one of Bulgaria’s leading investigative journalists and works for the country’s second largest daily, 24 Hours (24 Chasa). Dimitrova has been researching archives on secret services for over two decades, and has written four books on the topic: The Iron Fist (2005), The War of the Spies (2005), The King’s Secret Files (2009) and Murder Bureau (2010). 

 

Magda Jekiel works as a freelance translator in Warsaw. She grew up with Radio Free Europe and clandestine newspapers, as her parents were members of the Solidarnosc movement in Poland. 
 

Julie Reniers works in Brussels as a freelance journalist and translator (Czech-Russian-Dutch-French). She obtained a master degree in Slavic languages (University of Ghent) and in Development cooperation (ULB, Brussels).

 

Dr Fejérdy Gergely is associated professor of contemporary history at the Pázmány Péter Catholic University (Piliscsaba–Budapest) and senior research fellow at the Hungarian Institute of International Affairs. Fejérdy has specialised in Belgian Hungarian relations and is an accredited researchet ar the ABTL.

 

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