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Series: OFFICAL SECRET

The first episode transcript

 

Zoran Stijović, long term agent in the State Security Service: The activities and role of the State security (SDB, Služba Državne Bezbednosti), not only after October 5th 2000, but also before October 5th, represent a septic tank, and discussing it is like throwing a bomb in that septic tank. The contents will slur over everything, me included and many others from politics and security services and everything else, but this is something we need to do. That tank has to be cleaned out and the story has to be told in full.

 Power, position, money, interest or individual personal vengeance were sufficient reasons for the state to decide, aided by secret services, who will live and who will die, for one whole decade. The regime’s political opponents were eliminated in the cruelest ways, and in the name of the state interests, they robed, smuggled and acquired wealth.

As it turned out, secret services were profitable companies for years. Using their own power and influence, the leaders of the Service have enabled to themselves, top politicians, and to various individuals closely associated with the governments, a fortune, villas, houses and apartments, under the excuse of patriotism. WhileSerbiawas deteriorating, sinking into poverty, apt officials were taking turns from one position to another. The system expanded. The network of associates was becoming broader while at the same time accomplices in crime were becoming more numerous.

The Service has associates within all professions. They include workers, professors, judges, prosecutors, journalists, intellectuals, priests, academicians and syndicates, hence they were able to stir up, in every moment, a mechanism for various actions, affairs and imputations. Even after the governmental changes in 2000, they have remained, despite some cosmetic make over, untouchable. They were capable of using the transitional period for new assassinations, to hide crime evidences, to create jail rebellions, to organize workers’ strikes, to found highly circulated newspaper, to consolidate their forces, and so show to the new government they are indispensable and important. In addition, many people from the Service could, by knowing too much, destroy lives of many top politicians, if they decide to oppose them. And so the circle was closed.

State security services are an important part of every country’ system for their role in

preserving and maintaining order and peace, and intelligence and counter-intelligence activities. InSerbia, however, during the Milošević’s regime, these services were made into a private army. They were totally subordinate to Milošević and Mirjana Marković, and the interests of Serbian Socialist Party and Yugoslav Left Party, that is, to their staying in power. In accordance with this aim, an armed unit Special Operation Unit (JSO)  was formed within the State Security Service, a unique such case inEurope. The representatives of Milošević’s regime decided to form this unit because they could not control easily the Army, a large system and hence not reliable for dirty business. Nevertheless, they used the services of loyal individuals at top positions in the Army and the Service, and through those, they used the entire state mechanisms for assassinations, robbery and smuggling. That is how the State Security, albeit a smaller system, acquired considerable more power and authorities than the Army.

Dušan Stupar, chief of Belgrade center of the Department of State Security, or secret police (UDBA) 1984-1987:  When OZNA (Department for people’s protection) was made, and afterwards Department of State Security and State Security, the main motto was the service is “a sword in the party’s hands”.

Aleksandar Vasiljević, chief of Military Security Service 1991-1992, chief deputy 1990-2002: Military service never engaged in assassinations, murders or dirty businesses.

Svetko Kovač, chief of Military-security agency: The fact that we are discussing things today proves we are not under protection.

Insajder: 2008?

Svetko Kovač: 2008. Secondly, you know very well that media reported a lot of things about the Military service and Military-security agency, so I don’t think we are protected in any way, and I also don’t think we should be protected.

The following Insider’s serial is dedicated to the secret services and their activities including surveillance, wiretapping, and preparations for murders and affairs. The serial will uncover whereabouts about the people who knew about the preparations of various murders, accomplices in those crimes, who is protecting them still today, as well as all about the entire mechanisms of activities, from  OZNA to State Security (DB), from Counter-Intelligence Service (KOS) to Military Security Agency (VBA)- everything which was until today, a top level state secret.

The State Security, that is, secret police, gained enormous power while back in 1945. The ruling government at the time, which had so-called “historical mandate” since it never ran in elections, was paranoid about counter-revolution. That is how OZNA, which served as a founding poll for military and civil services, from the very beginning, gained considerable authorities to protect the government. This implied a permit to eliminate all potential enemies of the government.

Srđa Popović, lawyer: OZNA had a well developed network of informers, like it never had afterwards. I do remember it, in this same street where we are today, inTakovska Street, there was a man who was an informer to OZNA, and this was known to everybody, and he was very much afraid of. He was the absolute power in the street, people even were afraid of his children: “Don’t talk in front of them, watch out, Misha and Lilja, they could repeat it to their father”…So, a fear was present. Then Informative bureau (IB) came along, which posed a real danger, like Stalin’s fifth column, then they got totally unrestrained, because they were told everything needs to be wipe out, to attack even those cases which were the least suspected, just in case. That’s how it started.

 After OZNA, all until the fourth plenum of the Communist Party, until 1966, secret service was known as UDBA (Department of State Security). It was then transformed into State Security Service, which existed under that name until 2002, when it was transformed into BIA (Security-Information Agency). That’s how it is called still today. The Service did not start killings in the 1990’s but from the very beginning, while in 1970’s and 1980’s it organized and killed political emigrants abroad.

Later on, during the regime of Slobodan Milošević, the service assassinated political opponents in the country. The Service represents a closed system, persisting for decades in changeable form: even today the security services involvement in assassinations of political emigrants remains a top level state secret. Aleksandar Čortić, who was a deputy of Minister for Diaspora, has researched in the name of Ministry how the previous State Security Service dealt with political emigrants. The pattern of assassinations was almost the same. The political emigrants were killed in late night hours, when they were alone, from the ambush. Many were killed in their apartments. All were killed by cold weapons. The perpetrators were not discovered in any of the known cases, but these could have been only performed by professionals and well organized services, with money, logistic and protection of the state.

During 1970’s and 1980’s, all the republics of the formerYugoslaviahad their own services, as parts of the federal, conjoint Department of State Security (UDBA). Decisions were made at the top, so every republic, through the service, monitored emigrations abroad. Dušan Stupar was chief ofBelgradecenter of the Department of State Security at the end of 1980’s. Today, he is a director and owner of “Univerzal” company. This is the first time a former member of the Department of State Security speaks publicly about how the Service dealt with emigrants.

Dušan Stupar, chief of Belgrade center of the Department of State Security (UDBA) 1984-1987: Certainly, one of our priority tasks was to fight emigration and their gatherings, organizations and so forth.

Insajder: What do you mean by “fight”?

Dušan Stupar, chief of Belgrade center of the Department of State Security (UDBA) 1984-1987: The fight here means…

Insajder: To kill?

Dušan Stupar: Not only to kill, that would the last resort…Out task was to regulate their activities, their enemy activity towardsYugoslavia as a country, as a state, to neutralize. What to neutralize? This means to prevent them to organize better, to bring discord into their group. The Service used the last resort. Never alone, but with full agreement of the political factors…

Insajder: What are those “last resorts”?

Dušan Stupar: The last resort is what you’ve asked me about….

Insajder: A murder?

Dušan Stupar: We do not label it as a murder. We were…The Service has applied those means.

Insajder: And what it is called within the Service?

Dušan Stupar: To neutralize the enemy.

Insajder: Elimination?

Dušan Stupar: The elimination of enemy…as the last resort, when there was no other way.

Insajder: Do you think, looking from the present perspective, that there were a lot of wrong conclusions about who the enemy was?

Dušan Stupar: Absolutely not. Because we had a situation…The enemy emigration hijacked planes, killed our diplomats, organized well in order to be more efficient in this fight. There were diverse terrorist acts against our country, against our people, against our diplomatic and consular representatives. It is absolutely senseless to ask now some questions if we should or shouldn’t have done and so forth. The device was “an eye for an eye”. In the same way the emigration fought against our country, againstYugoslavia, the Service responded with adequate measures as well.

Aleksandar Čotrić, as deputy to Minister for Diaspora, has officially asked Security-Information Agency (BIA) and Ministry of Internal Affairs to provide archive data about possible involvement of the State Security in monstrous murder of Dragiša Kašiković and Ivanka Milošević in 1977. He never received an answer.

Aleksandar Čotrić, deputy to Minister for Diaspora 2004-2007: This murder hurt the most our emigrant groups. Dragiša Kašiković was an extraordinary activist, a member of Serbian National Defense, editor of their bulletin “Sloboda”. He was a writer, translator, painter, in short a knight of the Serbian political emigration inNorth America. He was killed after midnight, when he came to the office of Serbian National Defense, inChicago. A little girl was also killed then, Ivanka Milošević, she was only 8 years old, she was upstairs and drawn by noise, she came to the office, and was also killed. Dragiša Kasikovic had more than 60 stab wounds from a sharp object, and was massacred later by a hammer. This girl Ivanka shared the same destiny- she had more than 50 stab wounds. This was a message to the rest, to give up political activism against Broz’s regime, or they will share, along with their families, the same destiny as these two. The message was- Tito can reach you, wherever you are!

Aleksandar Vasiljević, chief of Military Security Service 1991-1992, chief deputy 1990-2002: The extremists, those who planted bombs alongside Adriatic beaches, post offices…These are all real life cases. It wasZagreb’s post office, a cinema inBelgrade, wardrobes, public transportation…Hence, that was an extreme group for preparation of and terrorist acts within the country. Selective decisions were made at the top level. And now, the public has learned such actions against the terrorists were performed by criminals. There was a selection of the people with criminal background, who were residing or mingling in environments where also the emigration acted, and by the top level decision, these eliminations were executed. The Military Service did not take part in this segment, but we had analyzed the emigration and prevented the activity within the units.

Dušan Stupar: Only the Federal Department of State Security Service (UDBA) used,for certain tasks abroad, some criminals.

Insajder: It is then that Arkan entered the picture?

Dušan Stupar: Among others, Arkan too.

Insajder: What does it mean, him being convicted or suspected of something?

Dušan Stupar: Arkan and those others who were affiliated with the Federal Service and who carried out those tasks for the Federal Service were from military families. Regardless of what they were doing, I’m not going into that. They were from military families and very patriotic, and they fought passed the Service abroad, against the emigration. Were they in Germany, or in London, or U.S.A…They privately, alone, attacked chetniks at their gatherings, and so forth, as patriots…I absolutely abstract their…

Insajder: So, it wasn’t important if a person was a criminal as long as he was a patriot?

Dušan Stupar: Absolutely. So, they, as patriots and as such, the Federal Service employed them for certain tasks abroad, only abroad.

Insajder: When you say “certain tasks”, you mean killings…

Dušan Stupar: Among other things, for killings too.

 

After Željko Ražnatović Arkan entered the Service, criminals started to work for the State Service, their number increasing in time, hence at the trial for the Serbian Prime Minister assassination, witness-collaborators revealed that the leaders of Zemun gang bragged about having free hands, enabled by the Service, to kill in and aroundBelgrade.

The official state secret about how many political emigrants were killed until 1980’s by the Department of State Security Service still remains unrevealed: both Security-Information Agency (BIA) and Ministry of Internal Affairs, at the request of Ministry for Diaspora about the involvement last year, responded their archives do not contain data or knowledge that the secret police ever participated in killings of the prominent political emigrants.

Srđa Popović, lawyer: Of course they have refused to provide the data. They were engaged in killings until recently. Did they kill Ćuruvija? Did they kill Đinđić? Did they kill Stambolić? Usually, they say “parts of the Department of State Security Service…Well, only certain people within the Service do the killing, not the entire Service, but only parts of the Service designated for such thing, but it’s not a surprise this still remains a top state secret, since the last time it happened in 2003. It’s a recent past and I think that Đinđić’s murder provoked fear among people since they realized- that parasite is still present. The parasite is still among us, it’s just its boss that is changing.  

 Zoran Stijović, long term agent in the State Security Service: These services should be serving the state, i.e., they should not be serving interests of politics or ruling party, but in our case in the last 50 years or so, it was the total opposite…You know that all until 1990 we were a single party state, so this was an extended hand of the party, and even afterwards, regardless of the introduction of multi-party system, that the Service, foremost its chiefs, have easily accepted the role in a mechanism serving the ruling party.

 In addition to emigration, the state had, through its secret services, battled also with the so-called inner-enemies within the country.

Dušan Stupar, chief of Belgrade center of the Department of State Security (UDBA) 1984-1987: Anarchist-liberals or just liberals, with techno-managerial structure. Now, speaking from this position, I can admit that at times, we were, as the members of the Service, in charge to battle these people designated as carrier of these activities, we were confused at times. For instance, neo-liberals with techno-managerial structure, a lot of people went down. We had a task to fight as the first category against the inner enemy. You had certain tasks regarding neutralization of their enemy activities.

Insajder: Why were they the enemy?

Dušan Stupar: Well, they were marked like that. And why the ruling system made a decision like that, it’s because of the evaluation. The Service was not supposed to think about if this was correct or not. The Service has to bring those people to court and to prove they are truly enemies.

A considerable problem for the Serbian, as well for the Yugoslav secret police from some 30 years ago, was a lack of financial assets needed for the Service’s work. In order to solve this problem somehow, it was decided to engage a part of police and military personnel into economic dealings abroad.

 Dušan Stupar: And the best personnel were chosen, who could do such a job, conditioned the state will have all the control and information about endeavors, all in the function of the state. And then the best Service personnel, the best among the best, were appointed as directors of companies founded by this decision. For instance, Hempro was founded like this, signed by Tito himself. Furthermore, Genex, Inex, Tehnopromet, Aca Čizmić, Univerzal, Rapid. Those were all the companies founded by this same decision, and led by personnel from the Service.

Insajder: All right, but Univerzal is one of he companies founded by the Service, so are you the company’s director at present because of your former employment with the Service or…?

Dušan Stupar: No, I accidentally came to Univerzal…It is true Univerzal belongs to the companies founded by the Service, and ran by the Service personnel. However, when I came in, those people were already retired, or went abroad to work, and I came absolutely accidentally to Univerzal, not connected in any way to my former employment with the Service.

Turning point for the Serbian history but also for the State Security Service was VIII session in 1987, when Milošević became firmly enthroned. Even then Milošević had, as a president of Central Committee, a considerable experience in using the secret service and media to fight political and ideological opponents. That was the beginning, and pretty much everything remained the same until this day, the questions about misusages of the Service and various affairs remaining open.

The famous spoof “Vojko and Savle” published in daily journal “Politika” still serves as a good example on how the Service and media abused the power for dirty political clashes. The background to the spoof had caused Dušan Stupar’s, chief of Belgrade center of the Department of State Security, resignation at VIII session, while for many even after so many years, it remained still a secret.

This was preceded by Memorandum of Serbian Academy of Sciences and Arts, which was at the end of 1980’s, albeit unfinished, published in media. This provoked one of the major political affairs. It is not known how the document appeared before public, since the document did not conform to the ruling Serbian politicians; namely, the document was used by other republics as a proof of grand Serbian aspirations.

Hence, the Croatian, Slovenian and the leading politicians of other republics and counties animadverted the Serbian political leaders for being inactive in fighting against Serbian nationalism and insufficiently criticizing the contents of the unfinished Memorandum. Memorandum was criticized the most by the party officials Dragiša Pavlović, president of Belgrade Committee and Ivan Stambolić, president of Socialist Federal Republic of Serbia, while Slobodan Milošević was reserved.

Dušan Stupar, the former chief ofBelgradecenter of the Department of State Security, speaks up openly for the first time about these events and the Service’s involvement.

Dušan Stupar: In all those public appearances, Ivica Stambolić harshly criticized Memorandum by Serbian Academy of Sciences and Arts, fighting so against Serbian nationalism, while Slobodan was not mentioned at all, nothing about Memorandum, and that’s how their conflict begun, Ivica gave him an order: “You cannot keep quiet, we are asked to stand out, and you keep quiet, you spoke here yesterday, you never said a word, there you spoke without saying a word”. Finally, Slobodan gave a speech in Bela Crkva, on the occasion of 7th July, and he also practically condemned the document, deceiving so Ivica Stambolić, pretending he was also on the same line fighting against Serbian nationalism, but he was actually preparing the party’s upheaval, to replace Ivan.

And while Memorandum was criticized by the top politicians,SerbianAcademyof Sciences and Arts refused to declare about the unfinished document.SerbianAcademyof Sciences and Arts held a special meeting, ending with the condemnation of the regime. Therefore, the Serbian political top decided to publicly compromise the most politically exposed academicians, aided by the Service. That’s how the famous spoof “Vojko and Savle” originated, published in daily journal “Politika”, and stirred up the public for a year. Later on, this event was one of the main arguments in the clash between Slobodan Milošević and Ivan Stambolić at VIII session.

Dušan Stupar: They officially asked from us to provide data about Pavle Savić, the then president ofSerbianAcademy of Sciences and Arts, and about Gojko Nikoliš. We provided the data, as asked for, to Slobodan Milošević, Buca Pavlović and Ivan Stambolić. And we simply, I gave the order to send the cross-section information to them, as they had asked for cross-section regarding various issues for some other people and so forth, that was a routine matter. All were sent to them, registered in our protocols and reports. Later on, it turned out that the one who gave….Since I was the chief of the Department of State Security Service then, it was I who gave the order. Nowhere was it mentioned that I had provided the same documents to Slobodan too, but only that I had provided the data to those two, and that they were to blame for it, even though I has sent the same thing to Slobodan…to all the three.

The cross-section information means the Service had files about the two academicians, but only the most important data about these persons were sent to the politicians. For years, it remained a secret who, from these Service information, had made so-called spoof with seemingly invented but recognizable individuals. It was clear to everybody that Vojko Nikolić was Gojko Nikoliš, academician, madam Argo was Misses Margo, Nikoliš’s wife, and Savle Pavić was Pavle Savić, academician. In the spoof published by “Politika”, Savle is retired, honorable, modest and decent man, having nothing but a small apartment, scientific awards, medals and a hunter’s rifle. Contrary to this character, Vojko, also retired, is prominent thanks to the legend he created for himself. The essence of the spoof is about Nikoliš whose wife is French, allegedly an associate to the Service, hence all the Nikoliš’s keys disappeared along with a suitcase with diplomatic papers. He is presented as neurotic, inclined to suicide. Gojko Nikoliš, as cited in the book by Slava Đukić, was chosen as a target since he was, on the special meeting, one of the harsher critics of the regime.

Nikoliš, a famous general, Spanish fighter, physician, academician, hero and writer was a genuine nuisance to the regime. In the spoof, he is presented in opposition to Pavle Savić, an honorable man, long term president of theSerbianAcademy, a long term friend to Nikoliš. The spoof writer presented them in opposition to each other because at the Academy meeting they engaged in harsh discussion, later regretted by the both men. The spoof originated based on this incident, and still represents a shameful event in the history of journal “Politika”, which texts influenced theBelgradeprinted media in the past several years.

After the spoof was published in “Politika”, the public got stir up. “Politika”’ journalists wrote a petition asking for resignation of, the then editor of “Politika”, and apology to the Nikoliš family. Slobodan Milošević allied with Minović. Minović refused to reveal who had ordered the spoof, changing statements about identities of people who ordered and wrote the spoof.

Živorad Minović, director of company Politika 1986-1995, editor in-chief of “Politika” journal 1985-1991: It wasn’t that I didn’t want to reveal, but that I didn’t know myself, but the truth is that I spoke to the stuff in “Politika”, we discussed what I was told in the city committee.

For the first time, Živorad Minović publicly speaks up about what and why had happened. Even today, he claims he wasn’t aware of the content of the spoof so he had published it without reading it first since an order came from the city committee, specifying the spoof must be published. In addition, he claims that Ivan Stambolić called him regarding this publication, as well as that he had read the spoof only after it was published. So, still today, he denies witnesses’ claims he was knowledgeable about everything, so helping Milošević in this way.

Živorad Minović: The real truth is that the events were unfolding outside printed media, while what was happening within media was just a reflection of the relationship between the two political groups…How to say this, in the midst of discussion about the spoof, who to blame, who is responsible, who published it and so forth, I had several meetings with Ivan Stambolić and he told me several times, I wrote down this in a book, in a diary: “the origin of spoof is not to be revealed, not for anything”. It served Milošević to defend “Politika”, so that due to the spoof the journal does not end up with someone else.

Dušan Stupar, chief of Belgrade center of the Department of State Security (UDBA) 1984-1987: The spoof served well to accuse Ivan Stambolić and Buca Pavlović. Just before VII session, Slobodan had asked me to accuse the two in front of everybody, at the session, to say they are the creators and authors of the spoof “Pavle and Savle”, and he promised me and offered a position of Minister of Internal Affairs after the session. I said that besides what I know, I cannot attack them…What for would I attack them? So, I resigned. I saw that Stevanović for writing the spoof, since Žika Minović was absolutely involved in the entire preparation and so on, so he was then given…Since he was also used in this situation, since probably he wasn’t aware what will follow later and how the spoof will be used. As a writer, he got a task to elaborate these data and he, in some artistic vision, he made it, and they loved it. When things started to unfold into an affair, then probably, to satisfy him, since he grasped it only later what they actually did, then they gave him “NIN” award.

This is the first time that Dušan Stupar publicly proclaimed who in fact had written the spoof. Vidosav Stevanović, the spoof alleged writer, in a written statement to Insider, however, argued this is not true and that he will file a suit.

The spoof “Vojko and Savle” and the events surrounding it were produced by the Secret Service, which obediently had played its role in the political confrontation of the two drifts within Communist Party in 1987. Dušan Stupar, as the Service’s chief, was indirect participant in the affair, which he acknowledges, but he tries to blame others for his share of the blame.

“Stupar’s claim that I am the writer of the spoof is a slander, that is, untruth, a claim without any foundation therefore I will file a civil and criminal suit against him. Dušan Stupar’s claim that I was given NIN award because of this spoof is totally absurd and nonsense. This claim without a foundation and sense is offensive not solely towards me but also to NIN, NIN award and all the honorable members of the jury”.

Živorad Minović was appointed as director of “Politika” after VIII session, but he says it was not a reward for his involvement in publishing the spoof.

Živorad Minović, director of company “Politika” 1986-1995, editor in-chief of Politika journal 1985-1991: The spoof is not the reason for my rewarding. I became “Politka” director after VIII session when the previous director was removed but this wasn’t connected with the spoof.

Today, Minović says he is responsible for everything that had happened, but also that he likes to explain it in a different manner.

Živorad Minović: I prefer to use words “I regret”…well, responsible is the right word too, in a way. I regret because I was editor-in-chief and my journal published it.

 In order to save his soul, as he says, Minović, due to everything that had happened, decided in 1991 to open up his newspaper for the opposition. Zoran Janjaćković, chief of the State Security Service at the time, started to visit Politika on a daily basis.

Živorad Minović: Those visitations appeared, at first glance, as friendly, polite conversations. It was necessary to wait what he will say at the end, and at the end he always used to say: “You have to be careful about your environment, you are surrounded by opposition. Your assistants collaborate with opposition and there are rumors you are affiliated with the opposition too”. After several of those visits, I called Slobodan Milošević, he was president of the republic, and I protested about these visitations by the chief of State Security. I told him these conversations are informative conversations, which did not make any sense. He gave me a strange answer to everything I told him: “Well, you know what? Give him someone else to talk to. Don’t talk with him anymore”.

The same principle of affairs creating through the Service and media remained until today. Even then Milošević realized how much power there is in media, so he did everything possible to take over “Politika”, and he succeeded. This was the beginning of shill journalism and talking points by the orders of the Milošević’s regime.

 Živorad Minović, director of company “Politika” 1986-1995, editor in-chief of “Politika” journal 1985-1991: I know that “Politika” was set up after “Vojko and Savle”, there were two issue regarding Vuk. A column “Echo and reactions”, a feuilleton appeared by an alleged member of SPO (Serbian Renewal Movement) board, but he was in fact planted from the police inside, into the board, and me made the feuilleton about SPO, against SPO and Vuk Drašković. When the first part got published, Drašković called me and I immediately blocked further publishing of it. Later that night, when he got the first print of “Politika”, Milošević called me, again and said: “Why was this feuilleton on SPO and Vuk Drašković shut off”? I answered: “It was impeded because it was written by the State Security and the city committee”. He again said, in his characteristic style: “You are again joking with me”. That was his comment. So, things were as they were, and after several days I got replaced from the position of editor-in-chief. Milošević personally called me and said: “From now on, you are no longer editor-in-chief of “Politika”. Aleksandar Prlja will be editor-in-chief”.

Živorad Minović however remained “Politika” director all until 1995. Today he claims he didn’t dare to leave this position because at that time it was dangerous to confront Milošević and Mira Marković in any way.

Slobodan Milošević and Ivan Stambolić met in 1960 atLawSchool. Their long term friendship dates back to this time. In January 1986, thanks to Stambolić’s help, Milošević was appointed as president of Serbian CKSK (Communist Central Committee). Only a year later, Milošević reckoned with his long time friend.

Excerpt from the book by Slavoljub Đukić: “After the triumphal VIII session, when things got settled down, there was one more task for Slobodan Milošević, not so difficult but unpleasant: a replacement of his closest friend from presidential position. He surrendered easily. Milošević won the battle in the beginning; there was no real political confrontation. Docile and with an inclination to compromise, Stambolić was mentally unprepared for political fight. Prior to the session, when his family members tried to persuade him that he is next in line after Pavlović, he responded: ‘That is impossible! I was closer to Slobodan than to my own brothers!’ Such opponent was an easy prey for Milošević”.

Milošević first demanded Stambolić’s resignation. However, Ivan Stambolić, as described in the book by Slava Đukić, decided to make things more difficult for himself by allowing the Serbian Presidency to democratically decide. He surrendered his top position and distanced himself from the daily politics; in addition, he became a president of Yugoslav Bank for international and economic cooperation. Prior to the turning point session, Stambolić recruited the members of the Presidency who were favorable of him to vote for his resignation. Out of 12, 6 members voted in favor of his resignation, including Slobodan Milošević.

Milošević then begun to establish control over media and the State Security Service. Until the end of his regime, those were the two power arms he extensively relied upon.

Dušan Stupar, chief of Belgrade center of the Department of State Security (UDBA) 1984-1987: The Service…It is efficient as much as it is aloud to be so. If you give direct and particular orders and tasks to the Service, it will successfully perform it.

B92: But usually, this is reduced to political opponents?

Dušan Stupar: But you cannot accuse the Service for anything we are discussing right now. The Service does what it is told to do, what it’s tasks are, it just executes.

Milošević again used the State Service to confront Ivan Stambolić in 2000. This time it was not about political confrontation, but about murder.

In the end of 1980’s, Stambolić became a potential enemy for Mirjana Marković and Slobodan Milošević. He was killed in 2000 and thrown into lime. The cause for kidnapping and assassination were elections in 2000. The elections were scheduled for September 24th, on the exact day when 13 years earlier the VIII session was held, which brought a total breakup of the former friends and party comrades, Slobodan Milošević and Ivan Stambolić.

Prior to the elections in 2000, Stambolić had contacts with the opposition, with a possibility of him becoming a presidential candidate in front of Democratic Opposition of Serbia. His connection with Democratic Opposition of Serbia, and a possibility that after 13 years he could become again a counter-candidate against Slobodan Milošević, this time on presidential elections, was a betrayal not to be forgiven.

According to Insider’s information, Milošević’s Service followed and wiretapped Ivan Stambolić on a daily basis, preparing so for kidnapping, that is, assassination. This however, remained as a secret until today. In contrast with other assassinations where Milošević’s Security Service was involved, this murder was presented as kidnapping. They didn’t kill Stambolić while he was jogging in forest, but had designed everything so that it appeared as kidnapping or disappearance, since in the case of kidnapping the investigation is not led by homicide department.

At the same time, the representatives of Yugoslav Left Party and Socialist Party of Serbia, on press conferences, stated: “Ask Mrs. Stambolić where her husband went”. Nothing further was discovered until “Saber” operation three years later, when this monstrous crime was revealed. Based on court data, what follows is a reconstruction of the kidnapping and murder of Ivan Stambolić.

“We are judging over the organization made for killings, that is, a unit of the State Security Service made to kill, but what is happening with the organization and its parts, which were, or still are, in economy, justice, police, media, politics, which fears to be discovered and so supports these defenses of the accused and maintains them in a misapprehension everything will be solved favorably on its account? Nothing will be solved favorably. On the contrary, they will be marked along with their respective family members for ever, and let me repeat once again, this is not hero’s ruling since heroes do not kill someone from behind, tied up, alone and powerless. They are strong when in a group while individually, individually they are afraid. Of what? Of losing property, favors, benefits. It this moment, no other institutions in the country defends the country as this court does. Your responsibility is thus even greater, but you should not be afraid of it. On the contrary, history noted the evil and so expects the answer. The response of this court should not be doubted later. Everything which is not an adequate answer to the evil of Slobodan Milošević regime will be judged by history”.

After this closing remark, which among other things, accused Slobodan Milošević and Mira Marković for ordering murders of their political opponents, the prosecutor Mioljub Vitorović was replaced, that is, his mandate was not extended. So, in the name of the state, he was practically punished.

Today, Mirjana Marković lives inRussia, where she was given a political asylum. Slobodan Milošević died in Hague prison.

These following individuals are convicted of killing Ivan Stambolić and sentenced to prison terms:

Radomir Marković - 15 years of prison;

Milorad Ulemek Legia and Branko Berček- 40 years of prison;

Nenad Bujošević- 35 years of prison;

Leonid Milivojević and Duško Maričić- 30 years of prison;

Nenad Ilić- 15 years of prison;

Milorad Bracanović- 2 years of prison.

 

OFFICAL SECRET