Josip Perković on the trial to Gospić group: Tihomir Orešković spy of FBI

First accused was earlier an American spy, in connection with FBI, engaged to collect for that service datas about Yugoslav consulate in Chicago – says, among others, in document from which was taken yesterday the sign of state secret, and which was written by Perković 

Novi list, Date of release:

27.8.2002. Section: Black chronicle

THE TRIAL TO GOSPIC GROUP FOR WAR CRIME TESTIFIED BY CHIEF IN WAR OF ADMINISTRATION OF SIS, IN MINISTRY OF DEFENSE, JOSIP PERKOVIĆ

Orešković spy of FBI

Reporting: Ico MIKULIČIĆ

RIJEKA – Tihomir Orešković was earlier an American spy, in connection with FBI, engaged to collect for that service datas about Yugoslav consulate in Chicago – says, among other things, in document from which was taken yesterday the sign of state secret. That confirmed yesterdays witness Josip Perković, one of the most powerful people in secret services in former state and leading organizer of secret services in independent Croatia. The document from which the sign was taken off, was written by him, and yesterday he explained how it was made.

– It was right after Josip Manolić asked from me to use my canals abroad and to check datas about Orešković and happenings in Gospić, because in New York Times there were released text with photos about murders of civilians. There was a doubt that someone gave them that photos, to spite Croatia – said Perković. Even from time of former state, I worked on questions of foreign emigration and name of Tihomir Orešković was appearing from time to time in reports about emigrants, but it was not specially prominent. He had worked for some emigrant radio station and he was close to Štedul’s people from HDP (Croatian Statehood Movement).

Nikola Štedul Australia

Nikola Štedul

Those days I met Štedul in Parliament and asked him about Orešković. He told me the story about engagement for FBI and added that Orešković was doing that with their approval and that he was useful to them – explained Perković. Later he realized that Manolić maybe took advantage of him because he saw the newspapers article in New York Times and found out that in the papers wrote that photos were from Serbian sources.

That Orešković’s engagement for FBI was connected with time of Yugoslavia, so the lawyer Bosiljko Mišetić wasn’t that anti-Yugoslav, and not anti-Croatian engagement and the witness confirmed it as an anti-Yugoslav activity. In document was mentioned another agent, but from Udba – Josip Orešković, with whom Tihomir had contacts, but it was not clear who kept who on the line. In report about Orešković’s activity was written by hand: «Check who had who on the line». On Orešković’s questions, Perković confirmed that after coercively departure from Gospić in 1992. Tihomir was in his service SIS (Military Counterintelligence Secret Service):

– The informations I got about you don’t need any further checking, we didn’t have indications that you had connections with any foreign service. If we had such indications, we would be put under control – and you have never been.

– Do you have informations that I worked for secret services of former state – asked Orešković, alluding on insinuations of some witnesses.

– No, I don’t have such informations – said firmly Perković.

On lawyer Škrlec’s question, the witness Perković said that was possible that Manolić misinformed him about the article in New York Times, maybe because he wanted Perković removed. Yesterday was lots of talking about famous meeting at Tuđman’s, held after some time from acknowledgement of crime in Gospić, and that was time when there were discussions about Orešković’s destiny and others arrested in Zagreb. The witness gave totally different description of meeting at president’s, than it were descriptions of Manolić and Reljić, who claimed that they were for processing, but the stream of Šušak and Perković overcame, who protected Orešković, named him for a soldier and asked to surrender to them and then liberated him.

Perković Tuđman Šušak Degoricija

Josip Perković as assistant defense ministers Gojko Šušak, together with President Tuđman was in Gospić month after the mass crimes and did nothing.

– It is not true. Nobody of them were for processing, on the contrary, it seemed to me that they were glad about decision to stop with that. We presented to President that Orešković is claiming that he has nothing to do with leading away the civilians. Tuđman said to us not to start a criminal proceedings if we don’t have evidences. The investigation would make problems, from inside and outside, what would do damage to Croatia, which was waiting to be recognized. He ordered to continue investigation silently and that Orešković doesn’t have to know about that. For organization of the investigation he named Manolić, but later on we didn’t get any directives.

-Why Tuđman didn’t order to Reljić to liberate Orešković – as a civilian police they were leading the investigation. It is not logic that you take him over and let him go, that means, why on that meeting was not the chief of military police, who is counterpart of chief of civilian police, and not you from the secret services – asked Škrlec. The witness replied that he probably was called personally by President or Manolić. To the lawyer it was not clear how Perković made informations about Orešković only with one meeting with Štedul on corridor, when he had such intelligence canals abroad, which he was using.

– Štedul had exactly those canals and good connections abroad. He was suitable source, he replied. On question of Norac’s lawyer, Perković said that his role in defense of Gospić was essential and positive. Yesterday was also heard witness Dara Pezelj, whose relatives were among missing ones, she said that she knew very little about disappearing and she seemed pretty scared.

spies Jarnjak Reljic Degoricija

Ivan Jarnjak, Smiljan Reljić and Slavko Degoricija (All three are in Yugoslavia were collaborators of the communist police, and “democratic” Croatia at the head of “democratic” police)

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Orešković became sick

Interrogation which lasted six hours of Josip Perković, overtired the first accused Tihomir Orešković. Around 15:00 he complained to the judge and went for examination, and he didn’t come back – his blood pressure was 190/120 and it was concluded that he was not in condition to participate in continuation of interrogation and the trial was delayed for the next morning, when he would continue with his proclamation.

Even cassette was not secret

The sign of top state secret was taken off also from the cassette on which was recorded interrogation of chief of police in Gospić of Ivan Dasović. In 1991. that was made by Smiljan Reljić and Marijan Benko. About that cassette there were lots of talks as a document for which many of highly positioned state functionaries claimed that it was their first cognition about crimes. Perković claimed that he heard for it for the first time one month ago in reports from that trial.

– Nobody ever has given to me that cassette or showed transcripts. After fact that was asked and approved the taking off the sign of state secret, it was almost sure that cassette would be heard on trial – and that was soon. Those informed ones claimed that it was very interesting and it opened question of role of different persons.

Avoided up to leading

Josip Perković anyway didn’t allow to be brought up to court in police escort, what was ordered by the judge because of not responding. He came alone on the trial. Unofficially, from people who participate in process, we heard that he came to Rijeka alone the day before and avoided coming of police on Monday morning to pick him up. Although he was one of the most important people of secret services who knew how the system was functioning, so probably the police didn’t mind that they didn’t have to accomplish such unpleasant role.

Perković came to courtroom in elegant blue suite, which quality could be seen from the distance. He was helping himself with also an elegant stick of dark color with golden pattern, he dumped, pulling one leg. He gave to the judge medical documentation which justified previous two absence from trial, and it was about illness of his back and spine. He was answering academically, professionally and complicated, always trying to turn the questions in his favor.[/box]

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