Viewing cable 09VILNIUS660

09VILNIUS6602009-12-08 15:09:00 2011-08-30 01:44:00 CONFIDENTIAL Embassy Vilnius

DE RUEHVL #0660/01 3421509
P 081509Z DEC 09
C O N F I D E N T I A L VILNIUS 000660 
E.O. 12958: DECL: 12/08/2019 
Classified By: Ambassador Anne E. Derse for reasons 1.4 (b) and (d). 
¶1.  (C)  SUMMARY:  During Ambassador Derse's introductory 
meeting with him, Seimas Committee on National Security and 
Defense Chairman Arvydas Anusauskas said his committee's 
members unanimously agreed that they would not allow their 
investigation into an alleged CIA prison in Lithuania to harm 
relations with the United States.  He also said the 
investigation was being done primarily for domestic reasons. 
Anusauskas welcomed the new American strategy on Afghanistan, 
and the Ambassador thanked him for Lithuania's steadfast 
partnership there.  Anusauskas said Lithuania wanted NATO 
members to speak with one voice on Russia and make Russia 
honor its commitments, and expressed concern that Russia is 
increasing its hold over media in Lithuania and neighboring 
countries.  End summary. 
¶2.  (C)  The Ambassador paid an introductory call December 4 
on Arvydas Anusauskas, chairman of the Seimas Committee on 
National Security and Defense.  That committee is in the 
midst of an investigation into allegations first made by ABC 
News that Lithuania hosted a CIA prison for terrorism 
detainees in 2004-05.  Anusauskas opened the meeting by 
asking the Ambassador what effect the investigation would 
have on bilateral relations.  The Ambassador noted only that 
it is our policy not to comment on intelligence matters. 
Anusauskas then explained that "the committee members all 
agree that the Euro-Atlantic relationship is crucial, and 
this investigation can do no harm to the Euro-Atlantic 
relationship."  He also said that the committee members all 
understood that cooperation between the United States and 
Lithuania was important, and that the investigation was being 
done primarily for domestic reasons.  "It is to see if 
Lithuanian laws were violated, because if these things did 
happen, they should have happened with political consent." 
Anusauskas said the investigation was supposed to end in two 
weeks, after which the full Seimas will hold hearings, but he 
said the committee members were uneasy about the timeline 
because they still had many witnesses to interview. 
¶3.  (C)  Anusauskas said Lithuania welcomed the new 
Afghanistan strategy and increase in troop levels.  "What we 
need in Afghanistan is a turning point, so many more good 
things can happen," he said.  The Ambassador agreed, saying 
that the new strategy was designed to equip the Afghan 
government to exercise greater control and legitimacy by 
helping it to provide increased security, services and 
economic development to the people.  Anusauskas said the 
Lithuanian-led PRT in Ghor Province would welcome a presence 
by the Afghan national army.  "Now there is not a single bit 
of the army there because the situation is seen as 
stabilized," he said.  "With a stronger military presence, 
the local government would be stronger and better able to 
¶4.  (C)  Anusauskas also lamented the fact that budgetary 
constraints have limited Lithuania's power to expand its 
civilian development efforts in Afghanistan, and wondered 
whether aid from other countries might help to ease 
Lithuania's burden and "to compensate Lithuania for its 
losses and expenses at a time of financial crisis."  He said 
that Lithuania has had to decrease its participation in other 
NATO missions to focus its meager resources on Afghanistan. 
"I'm not saying that the 20 million dollars that goes for the 
Afghanistan mission is unbearable, but it is important, 
especially because we must take a political stance now and 
explain to the public the importance of our NATO actions." 
¶5.  (C)  The Ambassador told Anusauskas that the United 
States greatly appreciated what Lithuania has been doing in 
Afghanistan, particularly in light of its budget 
difficulties.  She listed several areas in which the USG has 
assisted Lithuania, including that USAID has provided 6 
million USD for construction of a runway at the Chaghcharan 
airport; the United States is sending an agricultural 
specialist to Ghor in December; and the USG has provided 
heaters and some other aid at a hospital the Lithuanians are 
renovating in the province. 
Russia and NATO 
¶6.  (C)  Anusauskas said that the recent shift in missile 
defense plans has become more and more clear to Lithuania and 
in his opinion is making Europe more secure.  He said the 
Baltic states "continue to be safe," but also continue to 
worry about Russia.  "We want larger NATO partners to take 
account of smaller partners -- and here I am speaking of 
France -- because their trying to find friends in Russia 
seems to be a dangerous development for us.  Our interaction 
with Russia is, and NATO's interaction with Russia should be, 
(directed toward) making Russia honor its commitments." 
¶7.  (C)  Anusauskas said Lithuania's political contacts with 
Russia are much more numerous than they were four years ago. 
"But this doesn't mean we have fewer problems in our 
interactions.  We try to settle them, but new ones crop up 
all the time."  Because Russia is not a WTO member, he said, 
it feels free to discriminate against countries such as 
Lithuania on trade matters.  "I stress that we are a NATO and 
EU border country.  This is important.  This also translates 
into effort with the general public to make sure they have 
pro-democratic thinking.  People are ready to turn away from 
democracy, so the situation in Lithuania is tense." 
Russia and media 
¶8.  (C) Anusauskas said it was unfortunate that most aid for 
democracy development in Lithuania has ended, especially 
because Russia has recently been pouring money into 
propaganda efforts.  Russia has allocated millions of 
dollars, he said, "to get into the information space of the 
Baltic states.  They want to be on the air, get their 
programs disseminated, make an impact on the minds of our 
people.  Russia is comfortable with its investments in the 
Lithuanian media market, and, unfortunately, Western 
investors have almost entirely left."  He said the Russian 
efforts have been increasing for the past five years and have 
been "particularly intense" this year.  "What we see 
happening is information attacks in Lithuania, where 
previously we saw information attacks in Russia. Then they 
were shaping Russian public opinion, and now they're trying 
to shape Lithuanian public opinion in line with Kremlin 
standards."  He said, "If our media could get support from 
other democracies, it would be easier to resist the influx of 
information with anti-Democratic values from the East." 
¶9.  (C)  Anusauskas said Lithuania tries to help neighboring 
countries such as Belarus. "We should never forget who our 
neighbors are.  Democratic development and citizenship 
development are very important in our neighbors and in our 
own country."  The Ambassador thanked Anusauskas for 
Lithuania's efforts to carry democratic values and freedom to 
neighboring states. 
¶10.  (C)  Comment:  Anusauskas, insistence that the domestic 
focus of the investigation into the alleged prison will not 
harm Lithuanian-American relations is optimistic.  The 
appearance of the story in September already caused the new 
President to block the GOL,s earlier agreement to resettle a 
Guantanamo detainee.  On Russia, Foreign Affairs advisor to 
the President Darius Semaska recently noted GOL concern that 
Russian interests had purchased the major media group in 
Latvia, which controls several important publications in