The second episode transcript
“While I was there, sometimes I attended, as an invisible witness, some very merry events, celebrations etc., but it happened also that a man got a stroke or that a man died, right in front of my ears, so I also attended the touchiest scenes within a house, to keep as a memory while I’m alive”.
Zoran Mijatović, chief of Belgrade secret service center 1993-1998, deputy to chief of State Security 2001: I joined the Service in November 1970, I joined like many other people used to- through a recommendation by the people from Committee.
Zoran Mijatović was employed in the Service for 30 years. He claims that every Service’s employee had to go through rigorous checking prior to employment, as a rule.
Zoran Mijatović: The checking is a long term process. It was necessary, as we used to say back then, and probably today, to have numerous sources. Individuals were checked through several data systems, ours, those of the police….
Vlada Nikolić was employed in the Service from 1982-1999. After the changes in 2000, he returned to work as a consultant to a new chief, Goran Petrović.
Vlada Nikolić, State Security agent 1982-1999, consultant to chief of State Security 2001: Even today, I frequently say I’m not ashamed of my Service’s days. So, many members of the Service can claim the same thing. 95% of the Service employees work in accordance to the rules and law, while one smaller part, selected under special criteria by the then ruling managerial officials, engages in shady businesses and does everything either without leaving any written traces or in a single written report just for the top officials.
Zoran Stijović, State Security long term agent: The first thing you learn on the course is to follow the procedure and legality in your work. No one can order you, regardless of professionalism, to do something illegal. You do have a professional option, and moral after all, to refuse, as a person, to execute an order.
After many months of research about endeavors of the secret services, their ways of operating, how and why they remained protected and excused from responsibility, we are able to finally present their mechanism of operating.
Out of 2000 employees in Security-Information Agency, one third or around 800 are agents. Currently the Service is engaged in intelligence and counter-intelligence activities. The agents collect fieldwork data, aided by informers, tap a wire, spy and follow subjects and submit information to analytical department, the most important part of the security service. Files and reports are made by the analytical department. And even though secret services are often very important mechanism within any country, in Serbia, due to inadequate control and power abuse, the services have often served the ruling politicians in clashes with political opponents. Abuse of power depends upon orders and the further usage of information. Despite of the technical options, the Service was mostly abused by ruling politicians, tycoons but also criminals. As a rule of the Service, most of the time, agent are not aware of each other’s work in contrast to their chief who knows about every agent’s task. When collected information are finally submitted to the analytical service, a chief of analytical service and chief of the Service are the only two persons within the Service but also the state, who know everything. Chief of analytical service then decides whether or not to submit the information further. Regardless of law regulations, the point is that even today, adequate control is missing. The Service’s agents, according to their own vocabulary, process individuals by close surveillance and wiretapping activities.
Zoran Mijatović, chief of Belgrade secret service center 1993-1998, deputy to chief of State Security 2001: While you are still a trainee, you will be placed in a surveillance or wiretapping sector. What am I, I have to admit, I was always very curious person and I said…I was thinking something, then I said: it’s much more interesting to listen other people conversations then to follow somebody all day long, I don’t know what that person is speaking about, or what he does, nor you have to know that, you only note down where that person was, what he did, it’s probably more interesting to hack a person.
Zoran Mijatović says it is not much of a success to hack a phone conversation, it is a success when agents manage to plant wiretapping devices into someone’s apartment, home or office.
Zoran Mijatović: At first I thought: here, I will satisfy my curiosity, then I realized it’s not that simple. You are an invisible man in someone’s office or in someone’s apartment, and whether you want it or not, you suffer a pressure from that other side you hear but do not see, and you witness a lot of things. While I was there, sometimes I attended, as an invisible witness, some very merry events, celebrations etc., but it happened also that a man got a stroke or that a man died, right in front of my ears, so I also attended the touchiest scenes within a house, to keep as a memory while I’m alive”.
The Service has informers in all segments of the society. They include journalists, politicians, prosecutors, judges, and analytics. They all make the Service’s network of informers. A book containing all the informers’ names, after October 5th was taken out, re-written and returned, thanks to Radomir Marković. Informers and the network are the subjects of the next Insider episode. Considering that the secret services in Serbia are mostly misused in political clashes, informers in these cases then serve to support a story proclaimed by the Service. This is performed in the following way:
Zoran Stijović, State Security Service agent: In an operational sense, the most important thing was to photograph a person, gather all possible information about that person, his/hers life, family members, inclinations, faults, temperament, and based on analysis on that person’s character, a weak spot was searched for. Then we searched for ways to place that information. Most often, it is done through that register, through those who are in media. There are people there especially for that purpose, connected with the Service, who are trained to place an intrigue and to do a follow up of particular story.
B92: And that is synchronized?
Zoran Stijović: yes, it’s synchronized. After the first published information, various experts are called by the phone, “experts” for this or that area, medical doctors, psychologists, magicians, who knows what they are, and a story is being produced. Word by word. Then the story goes public, into one’s environment, neighborhood, whatever, and that targeted person is pressured into paranoia with the story, compromising him/her in front of the respective children…So, we look for a weak spot to build a story upon it. And there are entire teams working on this issue.
Srđa Popović, lawyer: Đinđić first became my client 39 years ago, now it’s 40. Even then he was spied on as a suspicious person, considered as an internal enemy. And I think that in the Service originated…that a man who is a subject of their analysis, suddenly became a premier and even more, a Premier who fantasizes about how to reform them. Well, I think they laughed about it, or at the moment when it appeared this could really happen, they then considered he does not deserve anything better than a bullet.
The secret services became mighty during the 1990’s due to the entire mechanism which created, supported and misused them. At the time of the wars, sanctions and poverty, the state was run by Slobodan Milošević and Mirjana Marković, who through Yugoslav left party had a crucial influence in emplacement and replacement of the Service personnel. During their regime, many people were assassinated while the state and its citizens had experienced several plunders.
After October 5th 2000, Milošević was accused for illegal…lot in Dedinje, while Mirjana Marković was accused for illegal assign of an apartment owned by the government of Serbia to the nanny of her grandson. Several years later, in “Saber” operation, it was discovered that Ivan Stambolić was assassinated and thrown into lime, while Milošević was accused of the murder. He was not trialed under domestic courts for he was already trialed in Hague. He died in Hague prison on March 11th 2006.
Mirjana Marković fled the country shortly before the Serbian prime Minister, Zoran Đinđić was killed. Today, she lives carefree in Russia, with her son Marko; both were given political asylum. After October 5th 2000, Marko Milošević offered money to the Zemun gang and Legija, to kill the Serbian Premier Đinđić.
During the wars and poverty, the family Marković-Milošević provided to their daughter Marija a TV station, Košava, to Marko aqua-park Bambiland, a bakery, free shops but also a possibility to engage in cigarette smugglings, confirmed later in the police secret investigation “Network”. Mirjana Marković was also involved in the smugglings, securing the business through the then chief of the State Service, Jovica Stanišić and chief of Customs, Mihalj Kertes. Mirjana Marković today writes books, promoted in Belgrade by Uroš Šuvaković and Hadži Dragan Antić, the former director of Politika, also a suspect in the operation “Network” for cigarette smuggling. He was not indicted though.
In 1998, Jovica Stanišić was replaced from his position due to still unclear reasons. Stanišić and his closest associate Franko Simatović Frenki are the creators of Special Operation Unit. Both are indicted in front of the Hague Tribunal, but are released pending trial. The commander of Special Operation Unit was Milorad Ulemek Legija, sentenced to many years of prison term for several murders.
After Stanišić, Radomir Marković from the Public Security became the chief of Service, without a single day of working experience within the Service. Previously, he became a family friend to the family, because his task was to take Marko hunting.
Uroš Šuvaković, an official in Socialist Party of Serbia, was appointed by Mirjana Marković and Milošević, as a man of trust, to work in the most important part of the Service, the analytical sector. Šuvaković remained in the position during all the political assassinations in the state, but his responsibility was never questioned. Today he lives carefree and writes columns.
At the time Stanišić was the chief of the Service, Zoran Sokolović was a Minister of the Internal Affairs. In 1997, he became a federal minister of police, while Vlajko Stojiljković over took his position. Loyal to the family, he remained minister of police until the end of their regime. After democratic changes, both Sokolovic and Stojiljkovic committed suicide.
At the time of the greatest clashes with the opposition, Milošević appointed Nebojša Pavković as chief of the Army. He is being trialed in Hague, and he is also accused as accomplice in the attempted murder of Vuk Drašković in Budva.
The spokespersons for Milošević’s and Mirjana Marković’s politics were Ivica Dačić from Socialist party of Serbia, Goran Matić and Ivan Marković from Yugoslav left party. Today, Ivica Dačić is a Minister of police in the government formed by Democratic party of Boris Tadić, while Goran matić and Ivan Marković are free citizens of this country. Regarding the disappearance of Ivan Stambolić, Ivan Marković stated: ”The state media did not report the disappearance of Ivan Stambolić for several days probably because this was an unimportant information to them”.
The leading man of the Serbian Radio and Television (RTS), an integral part of the entire mechanism in the regime of Slobodan Milošević, was Milorad Vučelić until 1995. He was also, according to the police operation “Network”, involved in the cigarette smuggling as a mediator between Stanko Subotić and Jovica Stanišić. He was publicly accused for stealing 40 million German marks, he was arrested in “Saber” operation while today he owns and edits journal “Pečat”.
Dragoljub Milanović, general director of RTS since September 1995, was sentenced in 2001 to ten years of prison due to his responsibility in the NATO bombing/killings of 16 workers in RTS. After he was arrested in “Saber” operation, it turned out he was helped to escape by the members of Zemun gang.
Milorad Komrakov was editor-in-chief of RTS informative program from June 1997-October 2000. The Hague Tribunal prosecutors mention him in connect with the accusations against Milošević, stating all editors of the state media were obligated to cooperate with the State Service.
Common to all these people- who made the main part of the Milošević’s mechanism of regime- and they had their own helpers, assistants who did the same- is that they had, along with the members of the State Service, participated, helped or publicly approved everything that, through the Service, Milošević’s regime had done. In return, the majority, as a rule, became rich even though they held positions which did not provide salary greater than several tens of German marks. They gained villas, houses, apartments. During that time, Serbia was deteriorating, its citizens became even poorer while the political opponents were spied, taped and monstrously killed.
The darkest period of the State Service usually refers to the period since 1998 until January 2001, when the chief of Service was Radomir Marković. This was, however, just the peak of the Service misusage thanks to individuals who led it and executed all orders by Milošević and Mirjana Marković.
Srđa Popović, lawyer: I think Jovica Stanišić made a greater impact, being at the position longer than Rade Marković. Rade Marković got in the spotlight because he fell with Milošević, while Stanišić was removed by Milošević and then he…At the end, in the last Act, Rade Marković remained on the scene, who I believe was not capable enough, or I think also was not even closely active as was Jovica Stanišić, nor he had an authority Jovica Stanišić had in the Service. Jovica Stanišić was held in high regard, still today by many people.
Zoran Mijatović, chief of Belgrade secret service center 1993-1998, deputy to chief of State Security 2001: Jovica held a meeting with everybody, and said there will be no more party speculations in the Service, that we cannot have party membership anymore, that we cannot support any party campaign: “If I find someone is a party activist, he will not have a job in the Service anymore”.
Jovica Stanišić became chief of the Service in December 1991; he was replaced seven years later. In March 1991, when SPO organized the first large rally against Slobodan Milošević’s regime, Stanišić served as a deputy to chief of Service. As a deputy, he had great authority. It turned out the State Service prior and during March 9th, when the rally was held, had a task not only to operationally monitor the events but also to confront with independent media. This was revealed, to the last detail, by Dragan Filipović Fića, who was a long term special operation agent in the Service. Filipovic fled the country during “Saber” operation, but still has published a book, wherein among other things, justified the assassinations of the Serbian Prime Minister, Slavko Ćuruvija and Ivan Stambolić.
And while the Army, by the order of the state top officials, confronted the demonstrators by tanks, the State Service armed members invaded “Studio B”. Filipović described in his book how he had, a few days before March 9th, elaborated a plan for forced entry into “Studio B” building. He formed a team of several Service’s agents while a group of SAJ members provided additional support. They were on alert for several days, and on March 9th he decided to force an entry into the television station because, as he stated, it was discovered by phone hacking that the station’s editor in chief told journalists covering the events he was not interested in ordinary reports, but in images showing spilled Serbian blood, which he wanted to broadcast into the air and to the world.
“We approached the building individually, mingling with the demonstrators, we carried the weapons in sports bags or hidden in our jackets. We gathered in front of the building entrance. Three agents, showing false journalists ID’s, called the security to open the door. The security was made easily cooperative under the weapon threat. An agent from our team knew how to enable elevator and for each backdoor we had adapted keys. We entered the site. The people were terrified seeing us with automatic weapons with integral bafflers. They though we came to kill them all. I told the director we will first stop the broadcasting and then search the rooms and documentations. He did not protest. During the search, Kojadinović constantly repeated we will not find what we are looking for. I made no comments regarding his claim. Earlier, we found evidence on another place that foreign capital is involved in financing his television. He asked if he could make a phone call. I allowed this, we were tapping his phone anyway. Then Lila Radonjić approached us, then the first lady of global propaganda. She concluded we are uninvited guests, but still guests, and asked if she could offer coffee and sandwiches to my men. While we were having coffee, she asked if we are going to kill them if the opposition takes the power. I told her that in that situation, I will try ty best to exit in the same way we got in, without much noise”.
From the beginning of the 1990’s, independent media, oppositions leaders and non government sector all became “foreign mercenaries“ and betrayers in the eyes of the top officials and State Security Service. They were spied and taped for many years. In the former Yugoslavia, in addition to the introduction of multi-party system, the beginning of the 1990’s was characterized by wars and clashes. The secret services had a considerable role also in these events. The former Yugoslavia had the federal state service while every republic had its own state security. By reference to this, the Serbian State Security had no businesses at the territories of the other republics.
However, when the first armed conflicts in Krajina and Slavonija errupted, Jovica Stanisisc already had the network of the State Security Service in place. At that time, the Army service appeared as a nuisance, being a larger and more widespread system, which could had insight into the Service doings.
Without any doubt, 1992 is a peak of Stanišić’s career. At that time, armed forces under his and Milošević indirect and direct command, had under control around one third of Croatia and fourth fifth of the Bosnian territory. The cost of success, measured in taken human lives was terrible, but that measurement was never used. It was paramount that Serbia is peaceful, opposition mostly patriotic, while war loot, either as cars, luxury goods, gold and foreign currency, smoothly arrived to Serbia, escorted by people having official ID’s. Additionally, Stanišić had managed, through an affair “Opera”, to eliminate all of his major competitors from Army Counter-intelligence Service, and to replace them with loyal men.
The affair “Opera” and “Labrador” were directed towards the then chief of Counter-intelligence Service, Aleksandar Vasiljević. These affairs, as well as “Stit” operation, will be the subject of the subsequent Insider episodes. In 1992, Vasiljević was removed from his position, and then arrested. It all started when Milošević called a meeting for the first time, and when Vasiljević, as the chief of the Army Service, refused to deliver information to him separately.
Aleksandar Vasiljević, chief of Military Security Service 1991-1992, deputy to the chief 1999-2001: The essence of the conversation was that we do some daily information, and that he would like to read a copy, if that’s possible, to get the information, to read, so see how that looks like and what it is. I told him he’s already getting a copy every day. He said: “No”. Then I said:” All daily information we submit to Serbian Ministry of Internal Affairs, to federal Ministry of Internal Affairs and to Montenegro Ministry of Internal Affairs”. “But I would like to know anyway, in a case something is hidden from me”. I said: “We work every day, even for May 1st we work”. “But I would like you to give it to me”. And what was the essence of this conversation? That information had four parts, the fourth being problems and state of the affairs within the Army (JNA). That segment, the fourth parts, we were not submitting outside the Army and I didn’t want to provide that information.
After this event, Aleksandar Vasiljević clashed with the then chief of the Service, Jovica Stanišić.
Aleksandar Vasiljević: Probably around April 1992, the State Security Service, without notifying the Army officials, arrested a retired colonel, who was a security officer in the office of admiral Mamula, and also a considerable amount of time in the office of general Kadijević. They performed the operation in secrecy and we had an interest to clear some thing up with that man. I had information about his whereabouts, that he should return by plane from abroad, so I asked for help at the airport, in order to do this part jointly.
B92: You wanted to bring him in?
Aleksandar Vasiljević: Yes, yes, yes, he was under investigation, but then I was told “we’ve already arrested him”, so I jumped “How?”
B92: And who told you that?
Aleksandar Vasiljević: The chief of the State Security Service, Jovica Stanišić, told me. I said to him: “How could you have arrested him when he was under our investigation and he was…All the problems associated with him date from the period he held that function”. And then he said: “The Military Service will not do anymore what it did so far, you’ve work along five lines, and I didn’t know about it”. I said: “Do you want to bring things back to the old days of OZNA, when the third squad of OZNA was in charge for the Army?” “Well”, he said, “that’s how’s gonna be”. And I said: “No, it won’t”. And that how we clashed. And the end, it was his final “It will be, it will be”. Since then, it’s a finale actually, the trend was to dismiss the top officials within the Department of State Security Service, who were not, I can say it openly now, cooperative regarding the political options active in Serbia at that time.
At that time, Milošević obviously decided to dismiss the then top officials in the Army and military Service, since they belonged to official ruling management he had inherited from Yugoslavia, while the wars have already started.
Aleksandar Vasiljević, chief of Military Security Service 199101992, deputy to the chief 1999-2001: I believe that, at that time, we were already unsuitable. My deputy was Tumanov Simeon, a general, Macedonian by origin and Yugoslav by self-determination, that bothered them, we got retired because of it. So, around 70 generals, while I was accused of arming Muslims, giving away as a gift some 100 protection vests, that I was a mediator in “Red Flag” (Crvena Zastava) giving weapons to the Muslim Ministry of Internal Affairs, that I was given, as a bribe, a car “Mazda”, that I was, on my own, releasing war criminals, Vesna Bosanac, stranglers from Split, exchanging them, and perhaps given money for this.
B92: And you were free of all charges?
Aleksandar Vasiljević: That I was…Not yet, there are more things I’m accused of. I am accused of ruining “Kanal” operation, an operation suppose to prevent weapon import by PLO from Romania to Yugoslavia. I was clear of all accusations in the first round, 25 witnesses gave their testimonies, called by court and prosecutor. When they gave their testimonies, I was supposed to bring in some new witnesses on behalf of my defense. However, I accepted the witnesses as true, as my own witnesses, and everything they had said as genuine. I had no other witnesses.
Instead of Aleksandar Vasiljević, Nedeljko Bošković became appointed as chief of Military Service, and in this way, the military Service became subordinate to the State Security Service. According to unofficial sources, Bošković had, later on, introduced his son-in-law, Vanja Bokan into the business of cigarette smuggling. Two years ago, for Insider, Bošković stated he had nothing to do with the smuggling business and that as the chief of Military service he had not participated in this business in any way.
Nedeljko Bošković, Military Security Service until 1995, consultant to Montenegro Minister of Police until 2004: I knew, informatively, what was going on with the business of cigarettes smuggling. I was not involved in the business in any way, I could not be involved in any way, for this was against my character, against my beliefs, against my upbringing. And as afar as Vanja Bokan is concerned, I didn’t not introduce him to the business, nor could I have done so, because I was far away from these schemes.
B92: What was the nature of your contacts with Jovica Stanišić?
Nedeljko Bošković: Jovica and I had a very good cooperation. We were really good friends, but we never associated privately, in official communication we were close, in various information…We shared information relevant to both sides, both services and we had a really good communication and on good terms.
Aleksandar Vasiljević, chief of Military Security Service 199101992, deputy to the chief 1999-2001: Nedeljko Bošković was promoted on May 11th in the rank of general, it’s interesting that he and the commander of air forces, general Stevanović, were not guarded by military police anymore. Both were guarded by Red Berets, some were quite known, I don’t want to mention any name in specific, which are active.
B92: Well, why you don’t want to reveal the names?
Aleksandar Vasiljević: I beg you pardon?
B92: Why you don’t want to reveal the names?
Aleksandar Vasiljević: Well, I am not sure how interesting that would be. Nedeljko Bošković was guarded at that one time period by Legija. Well, from the Šešelj’s trial in Hague and a trial to Zvornik group held here, in our War Crime Court, the information came out Legija was arrested on April 8th in 1992, on a Muslim barricade in Zvornik with Military police ID, from military post 5000 Pančevo.
Later on, Milorad Ulemek Legija became a commander of Special Operation unit, a unit within the Service whose chief was Jovica Stanišić. A decision to form a unit which will be sent to the war zones was reached already in 1991. Since Yugoslavia still was not disintegrated at that time, the unit was not suppose to have a formal contact with Belgrade, and since Serbia officially was not in war, there was a need to secure additional assets, aimed for enrichment of individuals in power and for the war zones.
“We have firm trust in Dafiment Bank, it does not need advertisement because the majority of our co-citizens know about it, hence tonight we are celebrating, without any restraint, a jubilee of the bank, which proves that even in difficult economic times, a lot can be accomplished in one year”.
The case of Dafiment Bank is a symbol of Serbia’s economic fiasco, and one of the largest scams undertaken by the regime and the Service against the Serbian citizens. Three billion of German marks went through this bank. 150.000 citizens got defrauded in a year and a half. 450 000 million German marks ended with the organizers of this scam.
Dafina Milanović was not accidentally chosen as a person who took orders and hence bore the responsibility. Less known to the public is that Dafina Milanović in 1979, as a treasurer of Mornar club, due to illegal gains, was convicted to a 11-moth sentence in jail, suspended for 4 years. In 1988, as a chief of accounting in the companies “Slavija” and “Plastika”, again due to illegal gains, she spent eight months in investigative prison, and she was later convicted to 2,5 years of prison but she never went to serve the jail time.
In 1991, Dafina Milanović was presented in public as a banker, while media under the regime influence called her “Serbian mother”. When she started to work, she had promised castles in the air to the citizens of Serbia, without an economic logic, while interest rates within her bank went up to 150%. In the state burdened by wars, Dafina allegedly only invested, paid off retirement money, built fast tracks, metro station near Vuk, business center in Slavija, invested in new parking system, credited state enterprises, dressed and shoed “Knindžas” and “Tigers”.
According to insider’s information, in 1992, the State Service estimated Dafina Milanović and her husband intended to move some money abroad, outside of the country, in order to star a new business. The secret service spied on and hacked Dafina’s phones all the time. At the same time, from the scam they took money for their additional fonds. Since money withdrawal from the country was not in the state’s best interest, according to the available information, a method, similar to the case on Ibarska highway was applied, when four members of SPO got killed. Namely, Dafina’s husband, son and daughter allegedly died in a car crash in Hungary. The state wanted her to lose her family so she could, having no other choice, continue to work. She was not allowed to go to Hungary and see for herself what had happened. Even after her family died, she still claimed Slobodan Milošević is a genius.
“I am sure he is a unique man in this world. He received me in his office, two or three weeks after my tragedy. We had never had any contact before. He asked me about the situation and if I could go on. I saw he cared about it very much and I promised I will go on”.
Based on the reconstruction and information Insider came to, after her family died, Dafina Milanović was in daily contact with top officials from the Service and politics. When she had informed them she will go to a short trip to Hungary, they had approved it. However, in order to prevent her from going out of the country, the Service’s members intercepted her near the border, and took away her passport; they ordered her to return to Belgrade. Since then, Dafina Milanović was in some kind home custody, under constant surveillance of the State Security. In the beginning of 1993, when most of the money was gone and the citizens realized the scam magnitude, trying it pull out their investments, everything came tumbling down, while the money was gone. The bank was closed in May.
In 1999, Dafina left the country, with the State acquiescence. She was arrested in Germany in 2002. Regardless of the doubts involving the top officials and State Service, after October 5th, only Dafina Milanović was accused. In 2004, she stood the trial for defraud of only 19 million of German marks. The trial lasted until her death, in September this year.
Zoran Mijatović, chief of Belgrade secret service center 1993-1998, deputy to chief of State Security 2001: As the chief of the Belgrade centre, I was not involved in any way in illegal activities, businesses, cigarette smuggling, and no one asked from me, as the centre’s chief, no one said: “you, Mijatović, you should enable tobacco smugglings, drug smugglings, money smugglings etc. “. Jovica Stanišić never addressed me with any kind of similar request. If he had done so, I thank him for not asking it from me, I thanks him for releasing mortgage from the Belgrade centre regarding these issues while he was still in power.
Dušan Stupar, chief of Belgrade center of the Department of State Security, or secret police (UDBA) 1984-1987: Cigarette smuggling was present in all eastern services since WW II, probably even until today. The services engaged/ dealt with it, all state security services engaged/ dealt with that issue.
B92: What do you mean?
Dušan Stupar: Well, they dealt with it, they had its departments engaged in this issue and which were…That was one of the sources…
B92: As a regular business?
Dušan Stupar: As an additional source of income, used to fund secret fonds of the Service.
B92: I understand, but smuggling is a felony, and if you have a state security service engaged in smuggling?
Dušan Stupar: You know what, it actually wasn’t the way you are implying, it wasn’t a real smuggling. It wasn’t smuggling then. I’m talking about Russian, Bulgarian, Romanian, Hungarian and our federal service. This was not done by the Serbian service, or the Department of state security, not the Croatian service. This was done by the federal service. What they did in fact, they just enabled transit of goods through our territory.
And while some people claim that Jovica Stanišić was the generator of organized crime, others claim that during his mandate, the Service had employed only professionals while influence of politics was strictly banned. Nevertheless, everybody agrees he was the major authority as the chief of the State Security Service.
And while assassinations are mostly connected with the period when Marković was the chief of Service, the fact remains that in the beginning of the 1990’s, assassinations became everyday event.
In 1990, Andrija Lakonić was killed in “Nana” nightclub, and the rumor was, as reported by media, he was killed due to his loud public bragging about working for the federal state service. After this assassination, other ones followed in the streets of Belgrade. Apparently, a conflict ending in murder became a routine between criminals, while perpetrators always remained unknown. While Jovica Stanišić was the chief of Service, several people got killed, among other Radovan Stojičić Badža, chief of Public Security, and Zoran Todorović Kundak, secretary general of Yugoslav Left Party.
According to Insider’s information, Mirjana Marković asked from the state service to spy on Zoran Todorović Kundak, that is, to put him under surveillance. He was on the phone, when he got killed, and this is all recorded and kept in the Service. However, no one initiated the investigation until today. The fact remains that mostly all killed people were previously under the surveillance by the Service.
The period wherein Jovica Stanišić was the chief of Service will be remembered also by the official inclusion of Special Operation Unit into the Service: the unit was formed in 1991 and participated in the wars while in 1996 it became an integral part of the Service. Later on, in cooperation with the Zemun gang, they had organized kidnappings, rebellions and assassinations.
Vlada Nikolić, State Security Service agent of RDB 1982-1999, consultant to chief of Service 2001: A number of the members of State Security Service at that time were not aware that Special Operation unit exists at all. A number of the members of State Security Service found out about it at the same time the public became aware of its existence.
B92: How’s that possible?
Vlada Nikolić: Yes, it’s possible, because they were set apart, in Kula, they had their own management, suitable for the top officials within the Service, and they hadn’t, we had not have any contact with them as the members of the Service nor we were aware they existed.
Zoran Mijatović, chief of Belgrade secret service center 1993-1998, deputy to chief of State Security 2001: I found out that the Service is preparing to form, not that it already had, Special Operation unit in 1996 and I found out about it when Jovica Stanišić called me and my deputy, Milun MIljković, to see him, and he told us he had an intention to form some unit, and he labeled it Special Operation unit, if I remember correctly, he intended to form armed unit for the focus of the Yugoslav crisis will soon be transferred to Kosovo and that it was absolutely necessary regarding what awaits us in Kosovo, so we are to form such a unit. And then he said: “Mijatović, personnel department will send some fifty check-ups for some people and you will have to perform check-ups too, and you have to mark only those reports you and Milun find negative”. For example, one of the men who received a negative report was Legija. When that report came in, the deputy and I put a huge “N” on an envelope containing the report. I didn’t know who Legija was, for me it was just another negative report. It was established that the person served in Foreign Legion . Then I said, or my deputy said: “well, this one will not be employed in the Service”. So, then when we first attended the inspection of the Unit, when all chiefs of various centers came to see how it looks like, I looked around and I saw a man who had a rose tattoo on his neck, I remembered that report, I pushed my deputy and said: “Milun, is that the one we have made a negative report about and sent it to Jovica?” He said: “Yes, boss, if I remember correctly, based on his rose tattoo”.
Jovica Stanišić, however, told a completely different version to the Hague Tribunal investigators: “In 1996, Ulemek transferred to the state security service. He applied for the job, and I was persuaded by some people that he was a professional and that he will professionally lead the Unit”.
Zoran Mijatović, chief of Belgrade secret service center 1993-1998, deputy to chief of State Security 2001: Frenki came to see me, and told me: “You know, you haven’t invested much time in those check-up reports. You have probably seen, through the reports what is in there, but it’s a combative unit, and you should understand they are not agents, this is a bit different”. Which was all true, this was different. He said: ”I have men in the unit who previously were engage in, and it could be they would do it again, in some criminal activities, etc, and I, since this is a half-military unit, I have to behave like within the Army ,I need an officer in charge of security who will control the members in the unit”. And then he employed Milorad Bracanović as the security officer.
Milorad Barcanović was appointed, after October 5th, for chief of 7th administration, in charge of wiretapping. After the Special Operation unit rebellion in 2001, a compromise was made and Bracanović got appointed as deputy to chief of the state security service, at that time already named Security-Information Agency, which is in fact the most important position within the Service. A deputy to chief of Security-Information Agency is in realty the first agent who receives all information. Bracanović however, misused the position by delivering information to the Zemun gang about the Government preparation to fight them. In the court trial for the assassination of Zoran Đinđić, Serbian prime Minister, he was a witness, not the defendant.
Srđa Popović, lawyer: That Service never experienced a reform. It was…The same people go from position to position, some die, some leave but no one ever retrospectively asked how the Service functioned, what it did and what it should not have done.
Zoran Mijatović, chief of Belgrade secret service center 1993-1998, deputy to chief of State Security 2001: We did not deal with the opposition.
B92: You didn’t?
Zoran Mijatović,: No, we didn’t.
B92: And who did?
Zoran Mijatović, I don’t know who dealt with the opposition because we didn’t do so.
B92: The state Service didn’t deal with the opposition?
Zoran Mijatović,: No, no.
B92: But wait a minute, we saw how they took out wiretapping devices from the apartment of the Draškovićs family, for instance?
Zoran Mijatović: Well, those devices were removed from the Drašković’s home, but Vuk Drašković was not under surveillance as opposition. Vuk Drašković was filed under person belonging to a category of internal extremism and terrorism, and after we had finished data gathering, all legal conditions were satisfied to file him under extremism and terrorism category. The thing that Drašković was at that time the opposition leader, that didn’t change a thing in the essence of our elaboration.
“ I moved in here at the end of 1994, they told me that just prior to the move, some wiretapping devices were placed in. Three of such devices were in walls, they removed two, but they cannot approach the third one except to demolish a fireplace. They said they will cut off the cable from the outside and so unable the third device. I am, nevertheless, sure that the whole house is full of wiretapping devices”.
B92: You said Drašković was under surveillance, so I assume that also other opposition leaders from that period were under surveillance for the same reason?
Zoran Mijatović: Vuk Drašković was under surveillance even before he became SPO leader. So, he was in that category, of inner enemy etc. You are again basing your question on the data reported by media, surrounding Đinđić etc. They were under surveillance by the services.
B92: What do you mean?
Zoran Mijatović: Under the surveillances by the foreign information services.
B92: As a potential danger for the country?
Zoran Mijatović: It was not about danger, but I only said they were under foreign services, considering it still has not…Those files are not placed, “state secret” clearance is not in effect yet, there’s no sense of me talking about it now, but since we are already discussing thing, Đinđić was never under surveillance as opposition, as far as I know, never.
In those years the Service didn’t monitor only people suspected of extremism and terrorism, who, according to the Service estimation, were mostly the leaders of the then opposition. The service probably monitored all foreigners coming to the country.
Zoran Mijatović: “Doctors without borders” were here in 1996. This organization was led by Kushner. We did Kushner. When Kushner arrived, he was an agent for French Intelligence service. Please, when he came here, he was an agent. Afterwards, he moved to Kosovo, they left us, moved to Kosovo. Kosovo will be attacked next. Today, that same Kushner is a Minister of Foreign Affairs, and I congratulate him, and he also, as a Minister is not close to the president of French Republic, they are not from the same party, but unfortunately, here he…When he was born in Serbia, when we found out, he wasn’t born as a Minister of Foreign Affairs. We all have our prehistory, we all have, how I would call it, our own check-ups.
Everyone who had a contact with foreigners was proclaimed, as a rule, for betrayer and foreign mercenary. The state top officials thought so and spoke so through the state media while the Service accepted it as a political attitude which should be supported and justified. However, when the opposition, which leaders were proclaimed as betrayers, won local elections in 1996, Mijatović claims the Service, regardless of the relationship it had towards the opposition, then, by the order of Jovica Stanišić, behaved, during the stolen elections, in neutral way.
Zoran Mijatović, chief of Belgrade secret service center 1993-1998, deputy to chief of State Security 2001: We knew right away that elections were stolen, and that knowledge was not needed by the election committees, but we knew. And when the opposition started to organize rallies, to fight for its rights, I cannot say right now, but the Belgrade centre and me are the greatest democrats since the war. There were cases when we overstepped our authorities, sometimes excessive force etc. I think about rallies, in general. Those are huge problems. People are the same, in our company, as in any other. There are normal people, but there are some who slipped through, a psychopath or junky, then we have a problem. In December, Jovica called me and said: “Mijatović, when it comes to the opposition rally, we have to behave in a restrained manner regarding possible repression. So, repression is not to be applied when someone wants to fight for his own right, for his own victory in elections”.
According to printed media, but also according to what Stanišić had said to the Hague Tribunal investigators, this was one of the first conflicts between Milošević and himself. His accounts before the Hague investigators were published by Šešelj, in his book, reported by magazine “Vreme”. Considering that Stanišić never publicly declared his opinion, this is perhaps the only way to find out about his opinion regarding the conflict with Milošević.
“There are several important moments when we were in conflict. So, especially after the Dayton agreement, during the election crisis in 1996-1997. during the crisis with Montenegro. So, in 1997-19888, and around Kosovo. It was about, it is about, essential concept differences of our service, that is, mine and his differences. We thought that the Kosovo crisis should be solved first and foremost by political devices”
Stanišić said to the Hague Tribunal investigators he had seen Milošević for the last time in 1998, in White Palace.
“Also, there was a conversation which ended like this: Watch what you are doing. I told him: You watch what you are doing, you are overstepping the Constitutional and legal authorities. That was literally the end”.
Afterwards, Radovan Marković was appointed as the chief of Service, who as he claimed himself, was ordered to kill the former chief of the Service, Jovica Stanišić.
“So, they have prepared data about my doings and whereabouts, around my home. They were waiting for a chance to kill me. I found out about it even 20 days before elections, I went out of the house. They were looking for me at several different places and couldn’t reach me. A conformation this was all true, is given by the former chief of the Service, Rade Marković, who prior to going to jail, asked to see me and told me he had got the order to kill me”.