The fifth episode transcript
After the opposition came to power in Serbia- those same people that were, for years, under the Service surveillance – it was easy enough to create an unstable political situation and conflicts within the parties, using affairs and intrigues to create a dispute within the ruling coalition. Jovica Stanišić and Radovan Marković sit on 600 kilograms of heroin. Heroin is an ideal means of payment…
Zoran Mijatović, in his book “Requiem for the state secret”, described how Šešelj in 1994 became an associate to the State Security Service, after the top state officials had forgiven him an attempted putsch against Milošević…
Fearing detention, jail, criminal prosecution but also fearing what would happen to their illegally acquired property and profitable businesses, the formal and informal centers of power, created in the time of Milošević’s regime, after October 5th have tried, and finally found their ways to approach the new governments. Since the beginning of 1990’s, when political parties were forming in Serbia, the State Security Service used an opportunity to form some of the parties according to its own needs.
The Service knew everything about the leaders not directly under its control, thanks to long term surveillance and wiretapping. Hence, the members of the Service had a clear picture about the innate characters of leaders, ways to approach a specific individual, and ways to destroy a particular person. After the opposition came to power in Serbia- those same people that were, for years, under the Service surveillance – it was easy enough to create an unstable political situation and conflicts within the parties, using affairs and intrigues to create a dispute within the ruling coalition. This was an inherited, proactive system of the Service, made to survive every government.
After the change of government, secret services, by creating a number of affairs, have managed to control the situation in the country. At the same time, the services, through its media, suggested to the public who has it right or not, who is honest and who is a criminal, who is a traitor and who is a patriot. These were the means used to create a milieu, which, at the end, assisted the assassination of the Serbian Prime Minister, Zoran Đinđić.
Srđa Popović, lawyer: This is a disorganized and non-existent state, and the one from 2001, or 2002, I believe in that period the state didn’t even exists, in that state no one did his/hers job right. I believe no one did his job except perhaps for the Department of State Security Service, in order to infiltrate once again into the ruling government.
At the time the government of Serbia was formed, on January 25th, a conflict between the premier, Zoran Đinđić and president Koštunica already existed. The impression was that Đinđić controlled the Service while Koštunica controlled the Army. However, later on, it turned out the practice was considerably different.
Radomir Marković remained as the chief of Service almost four months after the change, and this has resulted in the spoliation of documents and concealment of most traces regarding various crimes. The files containing data on the opposition leaders were taken out of the Service, the rebellions in jails and south of Serbia were created in order to show to the new government the Service has to be a firm fulcrum while Milorad Ulemek Legija was presented in public as a hero by the new government. Simultaneously, since the first days of October, Vojislav Koštunica as the president of Yugoslavia had the Army under firm control.
The members of the two service, State Security and Military Service, were in disagreement for decades; the two leaders with different political conceptions needed to approach and take on their respective positions.
Srđa Popović, lawyer: They are very skillful in threatening their masters, offering support to, how to say this, as young people would say…to hooked them up. And they become hooked up on the Department of State Security Service, for this appears as a very convenient. You have someone to work for you, and if necessary, to kill for you. That’s irresistible, and every new politicians who comes to power probably had an idea how to reform this, but once in power, he thinks: “Well, why, for they will serve to me now, that’s superb they are so untouchable, secretive and so powerful”.
The first decision by the Government of Serbia was to depose Radomir Marković from the position of chief of the State Security Service. Goran Petrović and Zoran Mijatović were appointed the top Service officials. The priority set by the new management of the Service was to solve unsolved murders from the 1990’s.
Zoran Mijatović, chief of Belgrade center RDB 1993-1998, deputy to chief RDB 2001: Goran Petrović deceived me- he talked me into going back to the Service, and since he had already deceived me, I started from the day one to work with him with my full capacities. After perhaps a couple of days, we made a list and the first changes we made were within the Service, we practically deposed all the department’s chiefs and the chief of the Belgrade Center.
In addition to Radovan Marković, several of his closest associates were deposed too: Branko Crni and Milan Radonjić, while Nikola Čurčić retired at his own request. On top, numerous criminal charges were announced for the high official of Milošević’s State Service, hence it appeared the system build by the Service for years will come tumbling down fast.
And while the new Service management attempted to reveal the crimes, Legija managed to appoint his close associate, Milorad Bracanović, security officer with Special Operation Unit, to the important position within the Service- that of chief of the 7th department. Bracanović served in Special Operation Unit in 1996, so he must have known all about the crimes committed by the Unit. Hence, after October 5th, from his new position within the Service, Bracanović was thus able to obstruct the investigation, mostly directed against Special Operation Unit.
Zoran Mijatović: The chief of that particular department knows about every person under surveillance on the territory of Serbia, not solely the Belgrade Centre. It is very important, when you appoint a certain person on that position, that such person is not only an experienced agent but also a man that could be trusted fully.
Interestingly enough, Zoran Mijatović, who was for five years one of the closest associates of Jovica Stanišić, and a chief of the Service’s Belgrade Center, knew very well who is Bracanović. He claims today, he and the new chief Goran Petrović, could not do anything against such decision made by Zoran Đinđić.
Zoran Mijatović, chief of Belgrade center RDB 1993-1998, deputy to chief RDB 2001: The Premier said: “Bracanović has to be the chief of the 7th department, and that’s it”. Goran Petrović told me about this.
B92: But, at that time, you already knew Bracanović was involved?
Zoran Mijatović: I didn’t know for sure he was involved, but the investigations will show, already after several days, we knew where to llok for the future killers, and if I look for future killers with Special Operation Unit, than it’s not normal to…or I search for an associate, who would help us, and he’s a security officer, in certain way knowledgeable on the Unit’s assassinations. It is impossible that a security officer, in charge for it, does not know what was happening, court will prove.
B92: And why you didn’t reveal it?
Zoran Mijatović: I asked Goran Petrović: “Goran, could you have refused it?” he said:” The Premier insisted, I could not refuse it, but we will continue to work, and prove at the end we are right about this”.
Srđa Popović, lawyer: Right from the start, the Service visited Đinđić, offering its service and scaring him at the same time. They advised him about the personnel within the Service, pretending they know people who are to be trusted. Everything was calculated so they appear as necessary. Legija was the one who insisted on Bracanović. Đinđić only cared about not turning Legija into an enemy. I think Legija went to see Đinđić, sent probably by Jovica Stanišić, who told him to go there, mingle around and see what was going on. Legija used it for personal advantage, for businesses he had with the Zemun gang.
The former State Service chief, Jovica Stanišić, made a contact with Zoran Đinđić prior to October 5th. Legija was Stanišić’s associate at the time. The details about the contact were revealed for the first time in Insider 2005 show, by one of the Đinđić’s closest associates, Vladimir Popović.
Insider, January 2005:
B92: What is then, the difference between Vojislav Koštunica’s contacts with Rade Marković and your contact with Jovica Stanišić? Why did you need him in the first place, and why you needed him to tell you what to do?
Vladimir Popović, Communication Bureau chief of the Government of Serbia, 2001-2003: At the time we had contacts with Jovica Stanišić, he was already retired for couple of years or so, so he did not have any operation power in that sense. Why it was important to have a conversation with the pensioner who knew many, many things? Well, it was important because you were given to rule the state wherein in the past 15 years, all the politicians, the opposition parties, everything what was happening- everything was performed by the order of that service. No one knew that after October 5th, we had to face an “inheritance procedure”, involving the state security services, Milošević’s politicians, and Milošević’s tycoons who in the previous 10 or so years, under the shield of war and patriotism on the territory of the former Yugoslavia, engaged in businesses. The principle in effect was:” war in Bosnia, tow vehicle on the road, lamb on skewer, female singer on the table, while I appear as a patriot on television”.
According to many testimonies, even after October 5th, Jovica Stanišić remained as a man in control of certain departments in the Service. Already at that time, Hague investigators have shown an interest in Stanišić, while later on, many investigations pointed out the former chief of Service was involved, among other things, with illegal money transfer to Cypress and cigarette smugglings. His assets are, according to some testimonies, worth hundreds of thousands of euros. The State Security Service was a profitable organization, and this is shown the best by the fact that after Petrović and Mijatović became the top Service officials, in Komercijalna Bank safe deposit box around 600 kilograms of heroin was found. No one was ever held responsible for this, except that the new government decided to burn the drug.
Miloš Vasić, journalist of “Vreme”: These 600 kilograms are very interesting for both Jovica Stanišić and Radomir Marković had sat on it from 1996 or 1997…There were two large confiscations of around 300 kilograms at the Bulgarian border Gradina. It was not destroyed. It is important why they sat on 600 kilograms of heroin. Heroin is an ideal means of payment, contrary to cash, bank transfers and for instance, fire arms. No serial numbers no biography. I am positive the Service did not keep that heroin to use it. From that amount, the entire Security-Information Agency could get high for the rest of their lives, for the rest of this century, for it’s totally pure product. Obviously, it was not intended for personal usage. For which usage was it? Why they were sitting on it, why they kept it?
The representatives of the government after October 5th, following the discovery of 600 kilograms of heroin in the safe deposit box in Komercijalna Bank, decided to openly destroy the drug, witnessed by journalists and cameras. However, criminal charge against the responsible ones who had kept the drug against all legal norms, was never filed. The Serbian Ministry of internal Affairs initiated an internal investigation determining the origin of the drug. In 2006, Miloš Vasić, journalist of “Vreme”, filed a criminal charge for felony of illegal keeping and indented commerce of narcotic drug as well of abuse of power against Mihalj Kertes, Jovica Stanišić, Radomir Markovic, Nikola Čurčić, Branko Crni, Radoslav Kandić and Milorad Ulemek.
Miloš Vasić, journalist of “Vreme: And what is happening? Suddenly it’s no one’s. It’s like: someone left a baby at your doorstep. Well, who was the last one to have a key? Well, Branko Crni was the last one to have a key. Well, he lost the key somewhere in his drawer. Com’ on please! That is, I don’t believe them at all, concerning this matter. I went nuts and wrote a criminal charge in two versions, the first, then the amended one, and I submitted everything to Special Prosecution Office, and publish in newspaper. No one acted upon the criminal charge. Who knows how much there is, this is a question to Braca Kertes and his customs, they used to seize large amounts, for this all comes from Braca Kertes, he’s the first suspect in my criminal charge, the first suspect, that is. Hey, Braca, why are you giving to your buddy Jovica and not to the court, to destroy it?
Vlada Nikolić, agent RDB 1982-1999, consultant to the chief of RDB 2001: The story about the drugs found in Komercijalna Bank safe deposit box is the best example showing what the Service was in the last phase of Milošević’s regime. It is amazing that an official, state agency seizes some drugs, and instead of destroying it, they had kept it for unknown purposes.
B92: To sell it?
Vlada Nikolić: Probably, there’s no other explanation. It’s good that the drugs was destroyed, a good move by the new government, but why there wasn’t an additional investigation, I don’t know.
And while the new management of the State Security Service was working transparently on crimes committed by the Service, the top officials of the Milošević’s Military Service remained on their respective positions. The conflict between Đinđić and Koštunica became more obvious. In March 2001, after Slobodan Milošević’s arrest, the political conflict became acerbated by the conflict between the two services, the Military and Civil. In this time period, both Services made public accusations about mutual wiretapping.
Žarko Korać, vice president of the Serbian Government 2001-2004: I believe this was done by Pavković, he purposely told Koštunica we are wiretapping him, in order to enhance the power of the Army, and I don’t know, in contrast to Zoran Đinđić, whose office was checked for microphones and other tapping devices, this is called anti-diversion and anti-intelligence….This should be done in a systematic way, this is a job by Intelligence part of the Service…well, I think that Koštunica’s office was checked against like very two months or o, in the Palace of Federation…that’s unbelievable. There was no wiretapping, this was nonsense, but the Military Security Service proclaimed it on purpose, to put a pressure on Koštunica so that they could…They were, if you remember that night with Gradimir Nalić, they were drinking, all of them got drunk, and requested to make a forceful entry into that building next to London, four-wire type cable and other nonsense, we to dig into, to wiretap Koštunica, these are just plain nonsense, unbelievable. In fact, Pavković got them all sober, because he understood then, as he said, it was enough and he said: “Do you have a written order?” Because he realized he will be hold responsible one day for it.
In June 2001, hidden from the public, an affair called “four-wire cable” broke out, with potentially harmful consequences regarding the conflict. Namely, Vojislav Koštunica’s associates had suspected the president’s cabinet was wiretapped, hence they requested from the Army to intrude into the offices of Communication Bureau of the Government of Serbia. Aco Tomić, already in good terms with Koštunica, was at that moment a deputy of chief of Military Service. Pavković decided to call the retired general Aleksandar Vasiljević, to help things out.
Aleksandar Vasiljević, chief of Army Security Service 1991-1992: Firstly, I asked the data to be checked, where did they come from, how they can be so loud, then everything came out: a shaft, cable chamber was opened on the street, there was this cable, this was secured by the police, outside on the streets, and supposedly, for sure this was wiretapping center and Beba Popović was behind it. I argued these were not reliable data, the situation was already too serious to introduce “Kobra” into it, in the middle of the night, in the downtown Belgrade, to intrude into the building, while objectively, it could not be confirmed if that center exists or not. I asked who could provide more details about the data, and who gave that information in the first place. I was told it was Mister Nalić, I believe he was Koštunica’s consultant, he was supposed to have more details. Then I said to general Pavković: “Call Nalić, so we can discuss things further with him, perhaps he knows more about the issue” he said:” How can I call him now, it’s 2 am”. Then I said:” Well, if you can call a general at 1.30 am, you can call a consultant at 2 am”. And so he was called. They asked that the Army intruded the building.
B92: And who are “they”? Did Koštunica asked for it?
Aleksandar Vasiljević, chief of Army Security Service 1991-1992: When Nalić came to the office, he said: “What! You haven’t done it yet?” Then Pavković reacted, he was a master to include a range of people: “We have discussed the issue here, and so we decided the issue still needs an additional confirmation, an operative investigation and afterwards we will decide what do to”. Nalić then said: “But, the President ordered it!” Pavković said further: “I will inform the President about this, about the reasons for delay”. Then Nalić said: “No, I will inform the President”. And then they entered into somewhat difficult discussion, but at the end, general Pavković reported about it.
This has however, remained as a secret all until general Pavković got deposed from the position of Army Headquarters chief, in 2002. After his disposition, he informed the public about the affair involving wiretapping. A parliament poll meeting was held without Koštunica’s associates and generals. Aleksandar Vasiljević reveals today that it was already known at that time that the action against alleged wiretapping was discussed firstly between the then deputy chief of the military Service, Aco Tomić and President Koštunica, without the knowledge of the Military Service’s chief. This was, according to Vasiljević, inadmissible for a service.
Aleksandar Vasiljević, chief of Army Security Service 1991-1992: I think the Army acted in a reasonable way, regardless someone had tried to misuse certain individuals for- what was the connection between the President of the state and deputy to the chief of Service?
After the wiretapping affair, aimed to arrest officers of the Government of Serbia, Aco Tomić was appointed chief of Contra-Intelligence Military Service, by the order of president Koštunica. This was against all rules and regulations. Nebojša Pavković, then the chief of Army headquarters, knew nothing about it. Later on, Pavković claimed that Tomić was appointed despite his contrariety. Afterwards, after Aco Tomić became the chief of Military Service, the Government of Serbia, due to frequent misbehaviors, superannuated the until then untouchable Milorad Ulemek Legija.
Zoran Mijatović, chief of Belgrade center RDB 1993-1998, deputy to chief RDB 2001: Firstly, Legija burned down a nightclub. I came in first on that day, not by helicopter but by car, when Legija told me his fellows from the Unit behaved foolishly, during the night they se the nightclub on fire, fired shots everywhere. Then I called Goran Petrović, and I told him what Legija had done, and he said: “It’s good you told me about this, I will write him a written suspension”. That’s how Goran is, Goran did it. That was legija’s first mistake after which he was suspended, we took him official ID and weapons.
After burning down the nightclub, Milorad Ulemek Legija made his next incident in the club “Stupica”. In June 2001, at Svetlana Ražnatović’ birthday party, Legija gun fired in the air and then broke a jaw to a police officer who came, with a patrol, to intervene. Since Legija was formally a member of the State Service, no member of the police forces was allowed to arrest him; instead, the police informed Zoran Mijatović, then the deputy to the Service’s chief about the incident.
Zoran Mijatović: When I came to the spot that morning, it was like five Carlos were in the park. The club “Stupica” was surrounded by police forces, at least 10 vehicles of Special Operation Unit, many from the police service, they were…Only mine thrower was missing, and I saw Legija drunk for the first time, he was really drunk. I saw Legija and his buddy Veljkovic, when he saw me he immediately lower his head and then the story goes: “I asked from a police officer to handcuff him. The officer was reluctant to do it, and when I said to him, ‘give me handcuffs, I’ll do it’, then he thought, \maybe this is a senior officer’” and then the story started to unfold. Legija did not resist at all. He went to the city Police. There was a report made, he and Veljkovic sang songs the whole day until they got sober, some partisan songs.
Branko Veljković, arrested along Legija in that incident, was suspended only several weeks ago; he worked as an agent in the Security Information Agency for man years. On June 20th 2001, after three days of his arrest, Legija was released from jail; he resigned from the position of chief with Special Operation Unit, and terminated his employment with the Ministry of Internal Affairs. However, he remained a very important man, still influential within the Unit. From that moment on, Zoran Đinđić, the Premier, gained Legija and Military Service as the opposition; the Military Service was led by security officer Aco Tomić. Only eight days after Legija’s retirement, the Government of Serbia, by a special decree, extradited Slobodan Milošević to Hague, causing a public conflict between Koštunica and Đinđić.
Zoran Đinđić, the Premier addressed the public: With this decree, we are saving the future of our children. I ask of you to understand this difficult but the only proper decision in this moment.
Reaction by Vojislav Koštunica, the president of Socialist Republic of Yugoslavia: Cooperation with Hague Tribunal, albeit necessary, is reduced to simple extradition of the accused, without any protection of the citizens or finally, protection of the state’s own interests.
The extradition of Slobodan Milošević to Hague Tribunal was a very clear warning to the closest associates of the then chief of Army Headquarters, Nebojša Pavković: they would have to account for their deeds. Due to the publicly proclaimed attitude, Koštunica, Yugoslavian President, was the most important reliance to the group of generals.
Tensions around extradition to Hague Tribunal heightened with publishing of the false lists containing names of Special Operation Unit members, supposedly next to be arrested. These false lists were released to media by the Military Service, enhancing even more the existing conflict between Special Operation Unit and the government. According to the testimonies of close Đinđić’s associates, even Jovica Stanišić, the former chief of the Service, in anguish of Hague Tribunal, approached the cabinet of Vojislav Koštunica.
At the same time, tabloids- strikingly established and closed down- already declared Zoran Đinđić as a criminal. This campaign started in a journal “Panorama”, published in Bjeljina. Bratislav Grubačić was behind this journal, editor of VIP bulletin. According to Čedomir Jovanović’s book, the police found the publishing of the journal was financed by Jovica Stanišić. Bratislav Grubačić denied such allegations several times. Furthermore, Čedomir Jovanović claimed Momir Gavirilović, agent in the Service, was also one of the journal founders. Gavrilović was killed on August 3rd 2001, after a visit he paid to the Koštunica’s cabinet. Koštunica’s consultants immediately tried to explain Gavrilović was murdered after he had brought evidence regarding the Government’s involvement in criminal. An investigation was initiated, but the representatives of the cabinet argued there was no evidence. On the other hand, Đinđić’s associates claimed this was a set-up by the Service.
Miloš Vasić, journalist of “Vreme: Gavrilović is the only serious, unsolved story of the utmost importance, since his murder was a detonator for the already prepared explosion, which will break apart Democratic Opposition of Serbia for good. Until this is solved, we will not be able to find out much more about the possible political background to the Đinđić’s murder.
Because of Gavrilović’s murder, Democratic Party of Serbia withdrawn from the Government of Serbia and Democratic Opposition of Serbia fell apart. According to Insider accounts, this was the exact aim by those who wanted, by sacrificing Gavrilović, to create a total chaos in the state.
Momir Gavrilović was a member of the State Security Service and associate to the former chief Jovica Stanišić. Their cooperation date from the Croatian wars, wherein Gavrilović was an agent with alias of captain Perić. Branko Važić, another member of the Service, drove him to Koštunica’s cabinet; Važić held a high position in the Service when Jovica Stanišić was its chief.
According to unofficial information from the Service, this murder was intended in order to break apart Democratic Opposition of Serbia. Conflicts within the ruling coalition were already there but for the definite break-apart, an additional trigger was needed. All the details point out this murder could have been planned by someone who had good connections within the Service, and who was involved for many years in ways, by which to control the situation in the country. The plan succeeded, for Democratic Party of Serbia decided very soon to withdraw from the Government of Serbia.
Zoran Đinđić, the Serbian Premier: If you behave like opposition, but participate at the same time in the ruling of this country, that’s hypocritical. Therefore, I’ve asked from Democratic Party of Serbia to either prove their serious accusations or to withdraw them in public.
Vojislav Koštunica: We decided to withdraw from the republic government.
So, Democratic Party of Serbia withdrew from the Government, while simultaneously the fall of 2001 experienced constant rallies on the streets of Belgrade. The Service played a role as well. Throughout October 2001, Independent Syndicate, led by Milenko Smiljanic, made blockages, asking for formal changes within the Labor Law. Smiljanić also asked for changes within the government, announcing a rally with half a million people in Belgrade. Syndicates were very interested in achieving their own rights- and this was unusual, because in all those years during the Milošević’s regime, when the state was deteriorating constantly, they had never said a word. According to Vladimir Popović, Stanišić then offered to the Zoran Đinđić’s government to help in soothing out the labor protests.
Insider, January 2005:
Vladimir Popović, Communication Bureau chief of the Government of Serbia, 2001-2003: Demonstrations were held on a daily basis, in front of the Government of Serbia building. And, then, he called me: “I hear you have a problem with these syndicates. That’s all Koštunica’s. This is all done by the Army, the Army is doing it all”. I said: “Well, what can I do, we’ll manage somehow”. He then said: “Do you want me to help you out?” I asked: “How can you help out?” He said: “I can help with this Smiljanic guy, he’s ours”. I asked: “Whose is ‘ours’”, He said: ‘Ours, what’s wrong with you. Do you want me to call him, he was my teacher in the school, mine and to some others, Kertes, Panko”, and I didn’t know which school they attended. He continued: “Do you want me to call him, to help you?” All information and data were like this one.
Parallel with the labor protests, members of the Serbian assembly discussed the Labor Law. At the same time, Vojislav Šešelj used every opportunity to create a chaos in the assembly, claiming at press conferences that Zoran Đinđić’s government is mafia-like organization. Previously, in august, Dušan Mihajlović, Minister of the Police, offered an award for information regarding 221 unsolved murder cases. Šešelj so, used every opportunity, as a political leader, to point the investigations into the wrong directions. For instance, he claimed that Slavko Curuvija was murdered by Zoran Davidovic Canda and Branko Jeftovic Jorga; he accused a businessman Stanko Subotić of ordering assassinations of Radovan Stojicic Badza. Moreover, he accused the chief of the Service, Goran Petrović and Zoran Mijatović of murdering Momir Gavrilović, asking 900.000 from the state as a reward. Zoran Mijatović, in his book “Opelo za državnu tajnu” (Requiem for the state secret), wrote that in 1994 Šešelj already was an associate to the Service, because the state top officials had forgiven him an attempted putsch against Milošević.
“Requiem for the state secret”:
“When Šešelj, in his political confrontations, started to use the materials created by the Belgrade Center, it was clear to me what has happened. Šešelj has become an associate, either to Milošveic or to Stanišić. I was detest and abhorred by it. This recruit Šešelj will pay back in an ugly way both to Mislosevic and Stanišić, but also to the Serbian people. On one occasion only, I asked Stanišić why was Šešelj given access to our material. He answered: “That’s how the politic is at this moment”.
For years, Šešelj had used his party press conferences and his assembly speech to reveal lot of data about murders and mafia. He wrote more than hundred books, relying on his informer Laufer, that is, the State Security Service. Two weeks prior to the assassinations of the Serbian prime Minister, Šešelj voluntarily went to Hague. At the farewell rally, he said Serbia would soon be cover in blood. A journal “Identitet”, owned by the Zemun gang, published on the front cover, based on Laufer, i.e., Šešelj, Đinđić is a target to a “freelance shooter”.
Žarko Korać, vice president of the Serbian Government 2001-2004: Three events are a key here. I will repeat this as long as I live. The first key event is when Milošević was extradited to Hague. This was in June, when Koštunica publicly, on television claimed the government of Serbia is gangster organization, that it broke the Constitution and laws. One day we will discuss what was happening before that. The second event, it was during the summer, at the end of that summer: Democratic Party of Serbia withdrew from the Government, withdrawn its ministers and its vice president.
B92: Because of Momir Gavrilović was murdered?
Žarko Korać: Yes, that is a separate subject. And finally, the third event was a rebellion by Special Operation Unit, when Koštunica gave a famous statement that bakers demonstrate in white robes, what do I know, fishermen with fishing sticks, and it’s normal that Special Operation Unit demonstrates with weapons.
In November, when the interest of Vojislav Koštunica became matched with those of Vojislav Šešelj, Jovica Stanišić, Milorad Ulemek Legija and Zemun gang, Special Operation Unit begun its protest in the downtown Belgrade. They were all against cooperation with Hague Tribunal.
Zoran Mijatović, chief of Belgrade center RDB 1993-1998, deputy to chief RDB 2001: That Monday, the Unit came in front of Sava Centar, I also came and asked to talk with Gumar, and Zvezdan Jovanović was there too, I pulled him out of a transporter. I said everything I said to Gumar, I don’t want to repeat myself. I said and asked him the basic- why is he here, what does he want? And he then told me they want Duško Mihajlović to resign, and that they want a ratification of the Law on Hague.
At that moment, only the Yugoslav Army could conciliate the protest. Koštunica, chief commander of the Army, however, publicly justified the Unit’s rebellion.
Aleksandar Vasiljević, chief of Army Security Service 1991-1992: I absolutely believe there was a need to clear up that situation, and to show to the public what the Army really represents, and to that Unit too, which was building an image, some image of being the strongest one, perhaps even in this part of Europe.
B92: OK, but do you think it was wrong because the president of the state did not require the solution to the situation from the Army?
Aleksandar Vasiljević: I do believe it was the wrong this to do. I also think the premier, mister Đinđić, could had initiated and asked for the Army involvement.
B92: But Aca Tomić promised to Legija that the Army would not interfere in the rebellion. There is the official note, we have reported about it, written by Momir Stojanović.
Aleksandar Vasiljević: This is what happens when individuals in the Service rise above their own profession and position they are suppose to respect, and perform honorably. I don’t know what kind of assurance it was for Special Operation Unit that “The Army will not interfere”, just because the chief of administration said so. Who is chief of administration anyway to decide about it?
Žarko Korać, vice president of the Serbian Government 2001-2004: I am the witness to this. I mean, I am the witness. I mean, this is for history, me being the witness. I went to the Ministry of Internal Affairs, as the government’s vice president, and I went there, and I sat down. Dušan Mihajlović was there, Sreten Lukic, a general, was there sitting on the other side of the table, then Goran Petrović, so chiefs of the state administration and public security, the three of them. Dušan kept writing something. I wondered what the hell he’s writing about so much, he was constantly writing something, while I was sitting and we were all waiting for Đinđić. I am the witness to that conversation, I already said so in your show, when Zoran asked the most logical of all questions a man can pose, and really, even those who don’t think good of him, I’ve never heard anyone saying he was stupid. So, he was more than clever, and he asked the most logical question: “General, if they start moving towards Belgrade, if they head on to the Government, do we have a unit that can stop them?” And Sreten Lukić responded: “Mister Premier, there is no such unit”, I remember he added: “I can try to defend, with an automatic gun, the government, but we don’t have such unit”. The Police wouldn’t fire at them. And then, I remember, Dušan Mihajlović formulated the famous interpretation: “Premier stood up, and left the office swiftly”. He didn’t get up, he sat there for a while, so this isn’t true. So, this was the state of the affairs with the Police, I am only a witness to this historical event, that general Lukić said what he did. Zoran Đinđić said, I remember vividly, like it happened today, “Well, then this is something else. Now we will have to deal with this situation differently”. I was of course present at the Government meeting, that afternoon. We were all sitting, the late Premier, the Government’s secretary, Maja Vasić, then me, and he sent me a written message on a piece of paper, “I am going to Kula tonight. Legija and his crew are there, and I want to talk with them”. Then I said to him, I don’t like to refer to a man that cannot…But this is really the truth. I said to him, in shock, I looked at him and said: ‘You will get yourself killed over there, are you nuts?” “No”, he said, that’s what he told me, “No, they won’t kill me, I am going there”.
The Service wiretapped all the participants in the protest. “Vreme”, weekly journal, later published the transcript of the conversation from November 9th 2001, during the armed protest of Special Operation Unit. The conversation was between Dušan Spasojević Duća, the Zemun gang leader and anonymous man, assumed to have been in a direct communication with the Unit. From the conversation, it appears Spasojević could control some media in addition to participation in the requests for resignation of the top officials in the Service.
A conversation recorded when Zoran Đinđić left to Kula to negotiate:
“-Call the guy and tell him to say to the man there’s no chance to give in. They should not give in. So, there’s no chance to give in, the man will be refused. Only a pussy would betray now. They have to fulfill their requests. There’s no force but Koštunica, only if he orders.
- You mean, to stop the protest? He won’t do it.
- -Probably, they are coming to Belgrade tomorrow. And they will not give in until this one does not give up. So, let him know, that is, Koštunica. Tell him the man went there. But don’t do it over this phone”.
Žarko Korać, vice president of the Serbian Government 2001-2004: From that moment on, Zoran Đinđić realized this needs to be solved by a compromise, which at the end, will cost him his life. From this moment on, Zoran Đinđić is defeated. It’s another thing completely that a clever and capable politician won’t acknowledge his own defeat, but pretends there wasn’t any. He managed to save then only Dušan Mihajlović, for they had insisted on Mihajlović’s resignation. Then, Zoran Đinđić said: “If they will appoint and change ministers in the Government, then I’m not a premier any more”.
Zoran Mijatović, chief of Belgrade center RDB 1993-1998, deputy to chief RDB 2001: The Minister held a meeting that night, and in front of all of us present there was a report saying the protest was triggered because of some omissions during the arrest of brothers Banovićs. This is totally untrue, a big lie. The Minister was skilled in politics, he had brought many people in. I said to him, immediately afterwards, when the meeting ended: “Mister Minister, I am the former deputy to the chief”, and during that night, I resigned.
Milorad Bracanović was appointed deputy to the new chief of the Service, Andrija Savić. That is how Legija managed to accomplish what he failed on October 5th- his guy became the leading official in the Service, then Security-Information Agency.
Vlada Nikolić, agent RDB 1982-1999, consultant to the chief of RDB 2001: Bracanović’s appointment to the very important position in the Service, made in fact that Legija became the chief of Service. This is so because Legija was Bracanović’s boss all the time, both formal and informal. It is known that complicity is the strongest bond between people. They bonded strongly by working together in the Unit, they only know how and why, and Legija tried the whole time to appoint Bracanović to the top position in the Service. He finally made it happen, by the rebellion.
And after Bracanović and Savić overtook the State Security Service, Zoran Đinđić, immediately following the armed rebellion by the Unit, established Council for State Security. Zoran Janjušević became a member of this Council. Right after the rebellion, supported by claims he had experience, he also became Đinđić’s guy in charge of connection between Security-Information Agency and the government of Serbia. His previous appointments included bankruptcy administrator of shipyard, the premier’s consultant, all by the suggestion, according to Insider sources, by Filip Cepter. He became involved in the premier’s security issues after he had claimed working experience as an agent in National Security Service of the Republic of Srpska. However, the employees of Security of Republic of Srpska and local media claimed Janjušević was a driver of the chief of the Republic Srpska State Service.
In the key moments, when Security-Information Agency, with Bracanović and Savić as the top officials, is led by Legija’s orders, Janjušević was in charge to monitor the work by the Agency and to maintain contacts between Security-Information Agency and the premier. Janjušević created myths about himself, allegedly being experienced in wiretapping, so he became as easy target for accusations. He maintained a daily contact with Bracanović and Savić. He had access to all reports by Security-Information Agency. Janjušević was a witness in the trial for Đinđić’s assassination. He refused an interview with Insider.
Zoran Stijović, long term agent of RDB: It is very clear that by appointing Bracanović to the top position in the Service, the Service itself became an instrument of the Zemun gang. This was testified by many witnesses during the trial, and that’s a subject, I know for sure…I’ve heard from many people who witnessed the trial, several witnesses openly talked how the Zemung gang members had under control all affairs in the state, such as control of the meetings by Council for national Security, they knew for instance what Korać discussed at a meeting, they laughed at his account in Schiller Street when he requested the police arrest of the Zemun gang.
Zoran Stijović, who had investigated the spoliation of the Service documents and interrogated Radomir Marković, was deposed several months after Savić and Bracanović took their positions within the Service. Vlada Nikolić, who returned to the Service in 2001, left after Goran Petrović was deposed. The State Security Service changed its name into Security-Information Agency; the Government of Serbia became accountable for the Agency instead of the Serbian Ministry of Internal Affairs. Bracanović deposited several hundreds of agents, appointing to the top positions within the Agency people who had distinguished themselves during the Milošević’s regime.
Zoran Stijović, long term agent of RDB: This is the story about formation of the Security-Information Agency and its parting with the Serbian Ministry of Internal Affairs, used for a classic case of retaliation against all those people who dared to clarify affairs from the past and to ask questions about the role and responsibility of the State Security Service for everything that has happened to us in the previous time period, for the national defeat and tragedy we experienced as a state and people.
Vlada Nikolić, agent RDB 1982-1999, consultant to the chief of RDB 2001: Then, the Law changed, and the new one gave an opportunity to the then top officials to depose or hire who ever they want. And that was how Bracanović in late 2002 made a purge within the Service.
Rade Bulatović, consultant for security to the Yugoslav president Vojislav Koštunica, nevertheless, called Bracanović and Savić top appointments in the Service a patriotic victory.
Rade Bulatović’s annotated text published in “Nin”, March 28th 2002:
“Today, there is no antagonism between Counter-Intelligence Service and Department of the State Security Service. After the governmental change, all misunderstandings were out passed, while the especially positive advancement was achieved by appointing Andrija Savić. Savić’s appointment corresponds to the beginning of process of depoliticization within the State Security Service. Counter-Intelligence Service, through operational work, provides data important for Department of the State Security Service. “
This text by Rade Bulatović, after Bracanović and Savić took their positions within the Service, practically confirms the fact Zoran Đinđić from that moment on, did not even have a control over the State Service. Both the State and Military Services so sided with Vojislav Koštunica.
Srđa Popović, lawyer: When Čeda Jovanović stated: “We had a power in Nemanjina Street”, when Đinđić said: “We though we had a power during the day. When we go home, to sleep, we knew they could take us anytime they want”. When Mićun tells how he and Đinđić chatted: “Well, they could now come by helicopter and take us out”. So, he managed, I believe, very wisely to create some impression of power, and to create an impression, as he could, that he could do it, he has someone’s support, but this was just an illusion”.
Zoran Stijović, long term agent of RDB: He was, in my opinion, an idealist, for he didn’t pay too much attention to the organization of the state administration, for he underestimated the power and significance of the State Security Service, and I think this has cost him his life.
At the same time Milorad Bracanović started to create the Service according to his own likings- to depose agents investigating crimes from the past regime- another office was created: the Administration for Fighting Organized Crime (UBPOK). The chief to this Administration, a part of the Serbian Ministry of Internal Affairs, was Radovan Knežević. The members of the Đinđić;s government only later on found out he was close with Bracanović. In late 2002, it became known the Administration, led by Knežević, did nothing regarding surveillance of the Zemun gang, or regarding any of the gang’s alleged felonies.
Žarko Korać, vice president of the Serbian Government 2001-2004: In that time period, the Zemun gang became the most powerful group involved in drug dealings for they had a support by “Red Berets”, that is, Ulemek Legija. This gang eliminated its entire gangster, criminal opponents, and at one moment, the gang probably established itself as the most powerful gang in the Balkans, perhaps within Europe as well. At the same time, within the Police, you have a newly established office, that of the Administration for Fighting Organized Crime, led by a man who for the entire year did nothing, in the same year the gang became so influential. General Knežević was the chief of the Administration for Fighting Organized Crime for more than a year, I think. There’s not one…
B92: You are talking about 2002?
Žarko Korać: That’s right. There’s not one piece of paper, a file, nothing. The question is what was that man doing as the chief there…
B92: Right, but another question is who appointed this man to the position? I believe it was the Government, isn’t that so?
Žarko Korać: He was appointed by the Government, by whose suggestion? That’s very interesting.
B92: Well, who suggested him for the position?
Žarko Korać: I don’t know, you have to ask Dušan Mihajlović.
Knezevic was deposed after the Government of Serbia initiated a fight against organized crime.
During the time the Security-Information Agency was led by Andrija Savić and Milorad Bracanović, while Aco Tomić headed the Military Service, every effort was made to discredit the Government formed by Zoran Đinđić. The conditions made will later lead to the assassination. That was how it happened that two bombs were set in the building seating the head office of Democratic Party of Serbia. The bombs were set, according to court, by two members of the Zemun gang, whose boss was in reality Milorad Ulemek, therefore, Milorad Bracanović as well.
At that time, Ulemek was already deep in the conflict with the Government formed by Đinđić; the public was not aware of this fact for the campaign against Đinđić proclaimed he was a criminal. An impression was created that the bombs were set by criminals of Zoran Đinđić, in order to retaliate to Koštunica.
Žarko Korać, vice president of the Serbian Government 2001-2004: Koštunica demanded at some point, namely, his precious Military Security Service placed a camera in his party in the street…We knew that, still within the Army there were people who were fond of us…In the cash register, he has a cash register in his party, in Braće Jugovića street, when the bomb was set off, the Zemun gang set of that bomb onto his offices, and there’s a cash register there, I assume an empty one, perhaps a bottle of brandy and old newspapers, what a cash register has within a party? Nothing. And then the camera…That we want to break the cash register and steel some secret data. What secret data from Democratic party of Serbia! Unbelievably, a camera was then set there, we laughed about it for a month, after some people from the Army told us: “Here, we are placing a camera to record how you break in during the night”. Can you imagine that idea? Us, coming during the night to break in the cash register!
On February 4th 2003, the former state was reconstituted as a political union called the State Union of Serbia and Montenegro. Vojislav Koštunica, at that moment, lost all the power. Zoran Živković was envisaged as the new minister of defense. This implied that after the formation of the new federal government, Zoran Đinđić, for the first time since 2000, would take over the Military Security Service.
Srđa Popović, lawyer: Well, that was a huge problem. There were people in the Army and in the State Security Service, especially in the security departments, who were afraid to take responsibilities for their deeds during the 1990’s wars. They considered Đinđić’s commitment to cooperate with Hague Tribunal and the West as a direct threat for their own existence. This fact somehow gets out of sight, like in every conspiracy. Various participants have various motives, but at one point, they come to have a common goal. The goal here was to get Đinđić out of the way, and now some argue : “that was because of Hague, or because of fighting against organized crime, or because he wanted to take over the Army, or because he unseated Koštunica from the parliament and all other functions…”. Well, no, these all should be taken together into an account. There was not just one motif prevailing, like they met on some assembly and decided they want to kill Đinđić and provided the explanation. Well, no, they are assessing each other, for they are very cunning people, quick to realize how is a potential ally, without many words spoken.
Zoran Đinđić was killed on March 12th, in front of the building seating the government of Serbia. He was killed by the members of Special Operation Unit, the unit created by the State Security Service and members of the Zemun gang. The security services, both military and civil, had prepared the conditions by creating conflicts and affairs. At the same time, the top officials in the State Security Service never assessed the premier’s security.
Zoran Stijović, long term agent of RDB: A serious problem is this official information by the Security-Information Agency- the Agency, or the state top officials, never came across a data, information, or hint, which would point out that the premier’s security was compromised in any way. This speaks about absolute incompetence…The whole city talked about it. Everyone knew he was a moving target.