Pogledaj Full Version : Yugoslav Army's Central Intelligence Unit: Clandestine Operations Foment War

Željko Zidarić
12th-June-2012, 06:31 PM
Coalition for International Justice (CIJ)

Clandestine Operations Foment War

International Criminal Tribunal for Yugoslavia (ICTY)
Milosevic Trial - The Hague
Day 119, 11 November 2002

THE HAGUE - Sorting through Mustafa Candic’s testimony is a little like trying to determine the twists and turns of the spy network in which he was involved. Until quitting in early 1992 after the JNA became increasingly Serbianized, Mr. Candic (a Muslim) was one of four assistant chiefs of KOG, the Yugoslav Army’s central intelligence unit. He gave testimony before the ICTY on two days – separated by a 10 day hiatus due to Milosevic’s exhaustion.
Mr. Candic was on the inside of a vast military spy network that permeated military, civilian and governmental structures in the SFRY at a time of great uncertainty and flux. As nationalism increased, the federal army attempted to extend its power and preserve the federal republic (and the JNA’s existence), by securing collaborators throughout all sectors of society. At the same time, Milosevic was scheming to extend his power by promoting the disintegration of federal Yugoslavia, though claiming his goal was to preserve it.. Power shifts due to these machinations likely contributed to the confusing nature of Mr. Candic’s testimony, as he related both that the JNA resisted Milosevic’s bid for control and assisted him in it.

According to Mr. Candic, Milosevic built up the Serbian police and state security service to such an extent that it was a match for the JNA in terms of manpower and equipment. In effect, Milosevic had his own private army. That did not stop him from seeking to control the federal army, however. The witness recalled being present when General Vasiljevic, head of KOG, disclosed that Milosevic wanted JNA generals to sign a loyalty oath to him. “I never saw him [Vasiljevic] more angry. He was beside himself with anger . . . . He told us that Slobodan Milosevic allowed himself the gall to ask the generals of the JNA, Serbs, to sign a loyalty oath to him.” The General also informed him that General Stevanovic, Air Force Commander, had done so. Mr. Candic told the Court, “The Accused had no right to ask the generals or anyone else to sign a loyalty oath.” Milosevic was merely president of the Republic of Serbia at the time, with no authority over the federal army. That fact is Milosevic’s primary defense in the Croatia and Bosnia phase of the case. Candic’s testimony, however, shows his bid for greater power.

On cross examination, Milosevic demanded of the witness, “Since you’re a professional intelligence officer, could you believe such nonsense that the president of a republic could ask the generals of the Yugoslav Army over which he has no authority to sign an oath of loyalty?” Mr. Candic responded, “I’d known General Vasiljevic for ten years and what he said I accepted without doubt.” When Milosevic pressed him for evidence, he described how General Stevanovic took his commanders and walked out of a meeting when the head of the Air Force refused him permission to bomb targets (including a church) in Eastern Slavonia. The Court expressed its confusion over the example. While it was hardly conclusive of Milosevic’s control of the JNA, it showed dissension within the JNA leadership over the role of the JNA in the Croatian war.

Yet General Vasiljevic was also involved in covert operations designed to arm local Serbs in Croatia, at least that was what Major Cedo Knezevic, a friend and colleague, told the witness. In addition to KOG, regular military police and Serbian security police were also part of the operation, code named Breakthrough (Proboj). It would be carried out through collaborators and the SDS (Serbian Democratic Party) by distributing weapons Major Knezevic secured from depots of the territorial defense.

Major Knezevic took the witness to see three such depots which were half empty but nevertheless had enough weapons to arm 20,000 to 30,000 people. Mr. Candic later saw reports of the weapons distribution process that Knezevic typed and addressed to General Vasiljevic and the Security Administration. All those listed as receiving weapons had Serbian surnames.

At this point in Mr. Candic’s testimony, Prosecutor Geoffrey Nice produced and read part of a letter from Col. Dusan Smiljanic of the Republika Srpska military intelligence to General Mladic, dated October 16, 1994. The letter confirmed that 20,000 weapons had been distributed from “Ustashe” depots as part of Operation Breakthrough under Smiljanic’s leadership in August 1991. When Mr. Nice finished reading, the witness, never having seen the letter before, said he was “speechless” because it tallied 100% with what he’d seen.

Mr. Candic testified about another attempt to provide two truckloads of weapons to Serbs in Eastern Slavonia, which was thwarted when Colonel Rakocevic, his immediate superior, found out about it. He was angry and declared, “If war is to be waged it will be waged by the Yugoslav Army, not paramilitaries.” Weapons were then obtained from Arkan and the security service, through contacting RSK President Goran Hadzic.

Another segment of Operation Breakthrough appeared to have more success. Intended to arm the Serbian population in Northeastern Bosnia, a large amount of weapons were driven to Mt. Ozren near Tuzla and stored in abandoned mines. Eventually, these weapons were to be handed over to leaders of the SDS for distribution.

On cross examination, Milosevic suggested that the weapons were simply distributed according to old friendships. Mr. Candic denied it, stating that, in such case, the operation would not then have had an official name: Operation Breakthrough. Mr. Candic’s testimony shows that the JNA was extensively involved in operations to arm local Serbs in Croatia and Bosnia.

Mr. Candic disclosed other clandestine operations of the KOG. Operation Opera was the propaganda war. Using advanced technology, KOG operatives wiretapped conversations between HDZ (Crotian Democratic Union) members, then spliced them to make it appear they were telling Croats in Serbia to leave for an ethnically pure Croatia. This conversation was broadcast following a Serb attack on Croatians living in Serbia, forcing them to flee.

Operation Labrador involved terrorist actions inside Croatia, one of which was the mining of a Jewish cemetery in Zagreb. The purpose was to make the Croats look pro-fascist. After discovery, the collaborators of Operation Labrador were forced to flee to Serbia.

Another part of the disinformation campaign involved a television broadcast of corpses, described as Serb civilians killed by Croats. The witness believed they were in fact the bodies of Croats killed by Serbs.

These operations provide a glimpse into the shrouded world of intelligence services. They also show that in the former Yugoslavia, as in many states, information gathering is not the only activity of such services. They also act to misinform, to create a reality that serves the interests of their masters, in this case, a climate of fear that the Ustashe, the Nazi collaborators of WWII, had returned. In this way, KOG, the JNA’s intelligence arm, and possibly Serbian police helped create a war. While General Vasiljevic was in charge of KOG, the witness did not link him, the clandestine operations or arming of Croatian Serbs to Milosevic. It still remains for future witnesses to provide that all-important link. According to the prosecution’s pretrial brief, the next witness, C-036, may just do that. With his testimony looming, Milosevic has taken twice to his bed. Whether there’s any link is for the doctors