Soviet-era ruse tricked 'escapees'

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Running from 1948 to 1951, top secret "Operation Stone" created a number of false border posts near the Czech-German with an elaboration and attention to detail worthy of a film set in order to trick people into thinking they had made it to safety.

Once comfortable in what they thought was Germany a Czech secret policeman posing as an American intelligence officer would then ask them to write down all their contacts back home.

"It was human tragedy. These people were brought into areas which they thought were in the West," said Pavel Bret, from the Czech Republic's Centre for the Documentation and Investigation of Communist Crimes. "There were American flags, American uniforms, and they were also asked to give the names of people co-operating with Western intelligence. They still feel ashamed that they were tricked.

"But you cannot deny just how clever the operation was."...

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