Croatian secret services need lustration

So, new Croatian state didn’t act on lustration of agents of ex Yugoslav police and their collaborators, in the country, and those who acted abroad among emigration. At the beginning of the war, lots of former collaborators of SDS from emigrations and former collaborators of foreign secret services, CIA, BND, MI6, BND, French intelligence services. All of them Franjo Tuđman took in his service, knowing about their past and believing him, they were loyal to him.

[box type=”custom” color=”#000000″ bg=”#dd9933″ border=”#a5082f”]FIVE REPORTERS URGE INVESTIGATION INTO REPORTS THAT THEY WERE UNDER SURVEILLANCE BY POA ZAGREB, Feb 7 2005 (Hina)

– Five Croatian journalists on Monday sent a letter to the Croatian Journalists’ Association (HND), parliamentary committees on national security and human rights, and the Council for the Civilian Supervision of Intelligence Services, urging an investigation into an article from the Globus weekly saying that the Counterintelligence Agency (POA), led by its former chief Franjo Turek, had tapped their phones in 2003 and 2004 because they were suspected of participating in a media-intelligence campaign against Croatia.

Reporters Gordan Malić of the Globus weekly, Željko Peratović of the Vjesnik daily, Mario Kavain of the Jutarnji list daily and Ivica Đikić of the Feral Tribune weekly said their request referred to the article of February 4 headlined “Turek’s Presentation”, which contained POA documents which they said constituted a grave libel on their work.

The reporters said that a POA document, published in the article under the title “Information on intelligence-media manipulation aimed at discrediting Croatia”, covered their articles on investigations by the Hague war crimes tribunal, the functioning of security services etc., describing their work as “a premeditated, organised and coordinated campaign to disseminate misinformation jeopardising national security”.

The reporters warned that the document bore proof that some of them, including journalist and “Jutarnji List” editor Davor Butković, were placed under temporary surveillance by the POA in 2003 and 2004 and that Peratovic and Boris Pavelić of the Novi list daily were also believed to have been under surveillance.

“We have therefore concluded that during the term of its former chief Franjo Turek, the POA acted unlawfully against a number of Croatian journalists to construe the monstrous ‘Information on intelligence-media manipulation aimed at discrediting Croatia’ and depict our articles as dangerous for national security,” reads the joint request of the five journalists.

“Notwithstanding the dark past of our secret services, this kind of campaign against journalists is unprecedented,” reads the request.

The journalists urged the HND, the parliamentary committees and the Council for the Civilian Supervision of Intelligence Services to respond to the latest article considering that senior government officials have denied the existence of such a presentation or that the POA acted unlawfully in this case.

They also urged the HND to inform domestic and foreign public of their case and request a response from state institutions, as well as to press charges against those responsible for the case.

According to the Globus weekly, the POA stated that the said journalists and several foreign reporters were suspected of swaying the public opinion in Croatia in collusion with individuals from foreign institutions by disseminating misinformation about the whereabouts of General Ante Gotovina, who is wanted by the Hague war crimes tribunal.

The POA document read that by doing so the reporters were discrediting Croatian institutions, exerting pressure on Croatia and slowing down its integration into the European Union.[/box]

Journalists Peratović, Toma and Kavain in March 2005 are awaiting the hearing of the parliamentary commission. (Photo by Lana Slivar)

This is Željko Peratović’s integral interview for russian journalists Irina Borogan and Andrei Soldatov from and  The Moskow News about case Gotovina and croatian secret service

* What consequences Franjo Turek’s presentation in President’s office had for you and your colleagues? Could you work for media in Croatia? Which media do you work?

– I was not fired from «Vjesnik» (daily newspapers, still owned by Croatian Government), but I was under different pressures, not to write any more about possible asylums of fugitive General Ante Gotovina and not to do research on history of leading man of intelligence agencies in Croatia. There were threats from people who were close to fugitive Gotovina, that I will be beaten, and editorship of «Vjesnik» was holding against me that I was publishing unverified informations and speculations instead of facts. They told me that was the reason that lots of persons were complaining to the director of «Vjesnik» (among others, complain came from present director of POA) (counterintelligence service) Tomislav Karamarko. The editorship announced that I will be suspended, what meant that there were a sack on the horizon. Suspension and dismissal I avoided by my reasoned defence on the meeting with editorship, but also pressures, which I sent, not only Croatian, but also international institutions and associations for protection of human rights and journalist freedom.

My other colleagues were not under pressures in that way, because they work in private medias. But, they also stopped research about where were fugitive General Gotovina, because of general circumstances in Croatian politics and medias.

* I can’t understand which testimonies about your spying activity Franjo Turek presented?

– Turek’ s POA took photographs of my acquaintance Dragutin Frančisković when he met Haags’  investigators because of investigation of war crimes in Vukovar (and not because of Gotovina). Then, POA got list of mine and Frančišković’s telephone calls, from telecommunications operators T-HT and VIPnet, and concluded that we were communicating. In the same way they were proving that Frančišković were communicating with former director of police, Ranko Ostojić. Turek presented to the top of the state that Frančišković were communicating with investigators of Haag, Ranko Ostojić and me, that Ranko Ostojić is communicating with agent of MI6. After that, he draw a conclusion, that texts which I published in «Vjesnik» about General Gotovina, in fact, misinformations, which I got from MI6, by mediation of Ostojić and Frančišković.

There were no connection, of course. Because, the informations about possible asylums of General Gotovina, I was getting from several different sources (I wasn’ t talking only about Gotovina with Franciskovic, and I also didn’ t communicate with investigators of Haag or Ranko Ostojic.

So, Turek, supposedly only on the base of photographs and lists of phone calls, was proving to the top of the state, that my colleagues and me were working for MI6.

Colleague Gordan Malić, who recently published parts of that Turek’s original «Presentation», said that POA made also our dossiers on the base of tapping our phone calls and other methods of secret surveillance and reports of persons who know us and those informations which secret service had about us before. As those were mainly informations which were connected with our private lives, Turek didn’t present it to the top of the state at that time, because he couldn’t prove really no kind of conspiracy.

* Why you are free if the director of POA thinks you are the British spy?

– In the latest declarations, Turek said that persons in the top of the state, after he presented them our betrayal, had to decide whether we will be under criminal persecution. That is not true, also. If he had any real evidences about our cooperation with foreign secret service, he had legal right, himself or his service, to deliver criminal charges to State legal practise against us. It shouldn’t be decided by the people in the top of the state.

So far, in Croatia were only one trial for espionage in favour of some foreign service and it was against one Croatian citizen, Radenko Radojčić, who were accused that he, at the beginning of the war, worked for counterintelligence service of JNA (KOS, Yugoslav People’s Army), by planning and participating in sabotage actions in Zagreb.

Then Radojčić was put on trial in Serbia in 1992. and 1993., in the framework of Slobodan Milološević’s getting even with some generals of JNA (Yugoslav People’s Army), whom he didn’t need any more for his war plans. Among accused, together with Radojčić, there were a famous General, chief of KOS (counterintelligence service of JNA), Aleksandar Vasiljević, who is at the moment one of the witnesses on trial in Belgrade, for slaughter of Croatian civilian in Vukovar, and Haag court (ICTY) put him on the indictment as one of the 15 military, police and political individuals, who with cooperated with Slobodan Milošević in «criminal deed of agression on Croatia and Bosnia and Herzegovina». Court in Belgrade gave up the accusation against Vasiljević and Radojčić. Some time later Radojcic was enticed to come to Slovenia, by Croatian secret service, where he was kidnapped and secretly transferred to Zagreb. As I said, after organized trial, he was released in lack of evidence and he turned himself to the religion completely, he wants to become a priest of Serbian Orthodox church.

Besides that trial, after Croatian liberating action «Oluja» (Strorm), about ten Croatian citizens of Serbian nationality, were accused in investigative procedure that they, during the war, who lived on free area of Croatia, for cooperation with intelligence service of rebelled Serbs, but that case «has fallen» during investigation in the lack of evidence.

In former Socialistic Federative Republic of Yugoslavia there were lots of trials for espionage to domestic people, and lots of strangers were exiled from the country under accusations that they were spies.

So, new Croatian state didn’t act on lustration of agents of ex Yugoslav police and their collaborators, in the country, and those who acted abroad among emigration. At the beginning of the war, lots of former collaborators of SDS from emigrations and former collaborators of foreign secret services, CIA, BND, MI6, BND, French intelligence services. All of them Franjo Tuđman took in his service, knowing about their past and believing him, they were loyal to him.

And Josip Perković, last chief Croatian part of SDS (Service state security – UDBA) all them hired in SIS. Perković was controlled and government them.

But, even during the war, there were interactive conflicts of different fractions in Tuđman’s government, so each others were accusing for collaborating with SDS or foreign secret services.

In that way, Tomo Sedlo, who came to Croatia from Germany (Frankfurt), was accused for being collaborator of SDS, BND and KGB. He was authorized in 1991. by Franjo Tuđman, to represent Croatia in Moscow (Croatia was not recognized, and didn’t have ambassador in Moscow jet). Sedlo showed me his photographs with minister of foreign affairs of Russian Federation, Andrei Kozyrev, took in Moscow in 1991., and he was claiming that he knew him from before.

Dinko Dedić, Mladen Schwartz, Milan Dorič and Nikola Štedul in Scotland, 1986. Milan Dorič was a secret agent of Yugoslavia, Germay and Austria. Dinko Dedić is suspicious that he worked for ASIO (Australian secret service)

For Nikola Štedul, emigrant leader of Croatian Movement for Statehood, who was shot in Scotland in assassination attempt by agent of SDS Vinko Sindičić (more sources says on order of Josip Perković, chief Croatian SDS) who was sentenced on 15 years in prison in Great Britain, opponents were claiming that he was exiled from Australia as KGB agent, to get a shelter in Scotland, where his wife was from and where he started to work more seriously for MI6.

When he came to Croatia, Štedul formaly worked in Ministry of defense of Croatia in logistics, that was, in black market in weapons from abroad. In the same time, the people from his party, like Tihomir Orešković, who came back to Croatia from USA, and for whom was rumors that he even in Yugoslavia worked for counterintelligence service of JNA (KOS – Yugoslav army), and in USA for CIA, were commanders on Croatian battlefields and in several independent testimonies and documents, they were mentioned as participants or even organisators of war crimes or drugs black market, stolen cars.

Tihomir Orešković and Mirko Norac, who was also the member of Štedul’ s party Croatina Movement for Statehood, and one period even Štedul’ s bodyguard, were sentenced recently in Rijeka, first one on 15, and the second one on 12 years in prison, because of war crimes in Gospić in 1991. on local Serbs, and it was found out that during their authority there were killed several Croatians who were against their crimes.

Tihomir Orešković, before he was arrested in 2000., declared that he worked for FBI in USA, and against Yugoslav SDS, and when he was on trial in Rijeka, several witnesses , former chiefs of Croatian secret police (Josip Manolić, Smiljan Reljić, and Josip Perković), said that there were some informations that he worked for CIA in America.

Even about emigrant history of former Croatian minister of defense, Gojko Šušak, who lived in Canada till 1990., were a shadow of suspicion. Namely, it is difficult to explain how he managed to stay free in the seventies, being highly positioned member of Croatian National Resistance, radical emigrant organisation, which organised bomb-attacks on Yugoslav embassy in USA, and sent bomb-letters those Croatian emigrants who didn’t want to pay their racketeering, when was known that FBI and Canadian authority arrested most of his party colleagues, several of them were sentenced to forty years in prison, and today they are in USA in prison. On his funeral in Zagreb was American minister of defence, William Perry, as the only foreign statesman, who declared that he was a friend with Šušak when he was in America. In Canada Šušak was formally owner of fast food restaurant and lecturer of Croatian language in evening school for immigrants and it seemed impossible that Perry was friend with a person of that status.

More sources, German (Erich Schmidt Eenboom, «Der Schattenkrieger»), Belgrade (Marko Lopušina) and Croatian (Tihomir Orešković on trial in Rijeka) claimed that Josip Manolić, longtime chief of all Croatian secret services, and by middle of sixties, highly positioned politician of Yugoslav secret police in Croatia, and Josip Boljkovac, first minister of police in new Croatia, in time of Yugoslavia became agents of BND. Erich Schmidt Eenboom said in his book that present Croatian President Stjepan Mesić, in time of socialism in Zagreb had conntacts with one German agent of BND.

Political opponents of Hrvoje Šarinić, longtime chief of Tuđman’s President Office and for a short time, the President of Croatian Governnment, unofficialy were saying that he was a French and former Yugoslav secret service agent. Šarinic was, by the end of nineties, honoured with French legion of honour, which is public information.

The fugitive General Ante Gotovina, who was accused by Haag court (ICTY) for war crimes in 1995. within the military action «Oluja», has French nationality which he got in 1979., as a member of Legion of foreigners. Le Monde (Piotr Smolar) was writting in the beginning of 2004. that Gotovina was hiding on the south of France for a short time, in autumn 2003.

From all informations that I have given here, we can conclude why Croatian government never accused not one Croat and not even suspected to be a foreign spy, that is, collaborator of some foreign secret services. That accusations were always half-official, just like our case, or unofficial, like this interacting accusations of different fractions in Croatian government during nineties.

However, half-official and unofficial accusations for citizens who have no political power, and in this case us, represents serious problems in work, but also life.

* Why did you and your friends become the target of POA? Are there any political reasons?

– Turek had personal reasons to accuse us, and they are for other colleagues like those I mentioned on my web page. All of us, more or less extensively or persistently, wrote about his unclear and negative rolle as SZUP agent, present POA (counterintelligence agency) in Gospić 1991. Political reasons are in fact that President Stjepan Mesić, who since 2002. had direct control over POA (counterintelligence agency), through his advisor for national security, Željko Bagić, in 2003. personally engaged in case of fugitive General Ante Gotovina. That year in June, Gotovina was, although he was in escape, gave an interview to weekly papers «Nacional». Serious sources publicly claimed that the interview was organized by POA and Gotovina and  Ivo Pukanić, the owner and the journalist of «Nacional», talked in Zagreb. President Mesić, after that interview, publicly called Gotovina to come to his Office, that nobody would arrest him and he would get organised conversation with Haag investigators (ICTY). Gotovina, through «Nacional», uttered a sound, and greeted the President’ s idea. Gotovina’s coming to President’s office has failed, because, against it was Haag prosecutor, by not giving guarantees that Gotovina would have possibility of defense in freedom. After that, weekly papers «Nacional», in organisation of President’ s advisor Bagić, and chief of POA, Turek, started search on British embassy in Zagreb and MI6, and accused them that they were directly responsible because Gotovina’ s gentleman surrender failed, that is possibility to defend himself in freedom.

Mesić’s biographer Ivica Đikić and me on the promotion of the book “Homeland Reverse”

The biographer of President Mesić, colleague Ivica Đikić, in Mesić’s biography said that Željko Bagić and President Mesić made a deal, which was certified in one office of public notary, in case of failure of mentioned operation with Gotovina, all responsibility went to Bagić,that is, that he wouldn’ t publicly charge Mesić that he was behind that illegal engagement. Đikic transfered the thoughts that Mesić engaged around Gotovina, because, if he managed to make Gotovina to surrender and defend himself in freedom, most of voters of political right side in Croatia, to whom Gotovina was an idol, would vote for Mesic. There is one more unofficial interpretation of Mesić’s engagement about Gotovina, which says that Mesic got into all that because of connection with a person for who it is claimed that is a chief of Croatian maffia, Hrvoje Petrac, to whom EU prohibited enter on its area, because of help Gotovina in escape. Otherwise, EU put on its black list also Željko Bagić. We, the journalists, accused of being MI6 agents, wrote also about this circumstances of Gotovina’s interview, Bagić, Turek, Pukanić, Petrač and Mesić’s engagement around Gotovina, and here you must look on political reasons for accusations against us.

* Why the target was MI6 – not CIA, not BND, but British intelligence. Does it mean Croatia has special relations with UK?

Britain is the loudest criticize of Croatian cooperation, that is, noncooperation with Haag court (ICTY) in case Gotovina and that’ s why is a target of MI6. Britain is conditioning Croatian approaching to EU by arresting Ante Gotovina and insist the most on claims that some parts of government help him in hiding. Croatian nationalists explain that with historical closeness of British and Serbian politics (British queen Elizabeta II was godmother to Serbian king Aleksandar, who was born in London, where his father Petar, during 2. world war was in refugee). Britain and France gave a big influence on constituting first Yugoslavia after First World War, when on the head of that country came Serbian king Petar I, who became Yugoslav king.

By the same logic, the Russians are great friends with Serbs, so there are no special evidences that Russian external politics is against in any way, to the enter of Croatia to EU, and to give preferential treatment to Serbia and Montenegro. French external politics is on the same positions as German, when we talk about Croatian cooperation with ICTY, that is, it can prone to one eye, what is opposite to thesis that French are historical friends of Serbs, and enemies of Croats.

The fact is, that Britain in Croatia and also Bosnia and Herzegovina and Serbia and Montenegro, in latest years, more then Germany, France or USA, engaged on questions of war crimes and organized crime, giving the authoroties of those countries, with their consent, professional help in education and training of policemen, giving them, brobably, intelligence services. But all that was operating under knowledge and interactive agreements, that is, understanding with governments of those countries, and not in the way as claimed by Željko Bagić, Franjo Turek, or the owner of «Nacional», Ivo Pukanić.

Germany, that is, BND, were engaged about Croatia at the beginning of the war, when new members of Croatian secret police, went to Pullach near Munich on training, where were headquarters of BND. CIA officialy made effort around Croatia in 1993., when in Croatia was established Croatian intelligence service (HIS), today Intelligence agency, and the chief at that time was Franjo Tuđman’s son, prof.dr. Miroslav Tuđman. HIS, that is, OA (eng. IS) is external intelligence agency, but its engagement till 2000. was oriented on internal plan, supervision and directing of SZUP, present POA and Safety informative service (SIS), military counterintelligence service, present name VSA, – Military safety agency. Since 1993. the influence of BND in Croatia started to weaken, and CIA started to grow, and its highest point reaches in help of planning action «Oluja» (Storm). It is all connected with external political priority of Croatian governments, till 2000. when on the top of the state was Tuđman, and from 2000., when executive authorities was devided between Premier Ivica Račan, who leant very much on his social democratic, that was, laburist partner Tony Blair, and President Mesić, who was at first, big friend with British, and when he got bigger and wider international sympathies, the friendship easily cooled off, but with USA, too.

Since the end of 2003. premier is Ivo Sanader, reformed leader of former Tudjman’ s HDZ, who is making efforts to renew connections with USA, and who are mostly supported by European conservative parties, at the head is German CDU and CSU, and austrian ÖVP, but he mustn’t disregard the influence of Britain on European politics.


Aleksandar VasiljevićAndrei SoldatovAnte GotovinaBoris PavelićCroatian Journalists' AssociationDavor ButkovićDragutin FrančiškovićErich Schmidt EenboomFranjo TurekGordan MalićHrvoje PetračHrvoje ŠarinićIrina BoroganIvo SanaderJosip ManolićJuraj NjavroKOSMario KavainMilan LevarRadenko RadojčićRanko OstojićSmiljan ReljićTomislav KaramarkoTomo SedloVesna BosanacWilliam PerryYugoslav People's ArmyŽeljko Peratović
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