Croatian Counter-intelligence Agency (POA)
|U.S. role in Operation Storm in Croatia|
Croatian weekly Nacional came into possession of the famed POA 'presentation', which includes photo material, video recordings of meetings and audio recordings of conversations of British and American spies and their collaborator US espionage agent Christoper Looms, who was in frequent contact with Globus weekly journalist Gordan Malić.
But we said to him:
"We are honest men;
we are not spies"
(The Bible, Genesis 42:31)
In the centre of the POA investigation was Christopher Looms, a member of the investigative team for the ICTY Prosecution, whom POA claimed to be delegated as a member of the British intelligence agency MI6, covering that post to disguise his true post: spying in Croatia for MI6.
This was the topic of discussion in the TV show Otvoreno on Croatian TV (HTV), numerous other media have written about this, claiming that the presentation proves that POA was wiretapping Marija Kavain, Ivanka Toma and Davor Butković, journalists for Jutarnji List.
Here Nacional releases those complete sections which deal with Croatia, as another section deals with the work of British agents in BiH. Judging by the documents, Christopher Looms did not have a mandate for his activities in Croatia, and for that reason ended up the subject of a POA investigation. Well informed sources claims that there are 11 ICTY investigative teams in Croatia, with some 40 investigators, headed by Thomas Osorio, head of the Office for Hague Tribunal Affairs in Zagreb. All these investigators operate in Croatia based on the Constitutional law on cooperation of Croatia and the ICTY. Judging by this controversial presentation, Looms did not report a single one of his visits to Croatia to either the competent state bodies or the office of the ICTY Prosecution in Zagreb.
For that reason, POA began monitoring Christopher Looms' activities and
wiretapping his phone, which then uncovered his ties to
Globus reporter Gordan Malić and other agents who, judging by the documents, are also operating illegally in Croatia.
Information on the intelligence-media manipulations
aimed at discrediting the Republic of Croatia
Through ongoing intelligence activities, POA has collected a great deal of information which suggests that activities are unfolding
on the Croatian media scene and in the activities of certain international organizations (ICTY) and western states (Great Britain) which have the characteristics of an intelligence-media manipulation aimed at discrediting
the Republic of Croatia. Through continued and intensive intelligence activities within the framework of legal authority (within Croatia), POA has not received intelligence suggesting of the possible whereabouts of retired General Ante Gotovina in Croatia, and has confirmed that all initial information (including information received from foreign intelligence agencies or the ICTY) on the possible whereabouts of Gotovina are incorrect.
The focus of interest of the 'presentation' is a British MI6 spy
At the end of last week, Nacional came into possession of the Presentation on the intelligence-media manipulations aimed at discrediting the Republic of Croatia, which includes photographic material, videotapes of meetings and audiotapes of telephone conversations between British and American spies and their collaborators in Croatia.
Globus released parts of this presentation on 4 February, claiming that the controversial document proves that POA was illegally wiretapping journalists and state officials. Due to the many years of illegal wiretapping of Croatian journalists over the past decade, as well as the recent abuses by POA agents against reporter Helena Puljiz, this case has received first class media treatment. The Parliamentary board for internal policy and national security has met and formed a working group which began its investigation of this case and visited POA at the end of last week.
The overall operations of POA and other state bodies responsible for finding Gotovina have been followed by a series of media articles and public appearances by ICTY officials, as well as the position of individual western European government which are trying to prove the inefficiency, passiveness and obstruction of the Croatian security system in finding General Gotovina.
This correlation relates to the coincidence of activities of certain actors with political events on the international scene relating to the announced activities of the ICTY, and the repetition of this pattern several times over the past eighteen months.
POA has confirmed that members of western intelligence agencies (US and Britain) are collecting information from certain individuals from the Croatian executive government who are given half-truths or subjective information for their own self-promotion, which the intelligence agents are then presenting as fact to their agencies or organizations.
These western agents are then passing on this same information to other competent international institutions which deal with this issue in the territories of Croatia and BiH. In comparison to these activities, information is also being placed via certain journalists in the Croatian media. This thereby creates a synergistic effect on decision makers such that they receive virtually identical information from several agencies, which should be operating independently, i.e. compiling intelligence independently of one another, and this status is confirmed by the information in the Croatian press. All these campaigns intensify directly prior to political events important for cooperation between Croatia and the ICTY.
As such, initial theses, commonly founded on political positions and not on realistic situations, are confirmed several times over and therefore become the foundation for defining the official positions towards Croatia, i.e. the main arguments for the thesis of Croatias incorrectness towards the ICTY in the Gotovina case and the foundation for international political pressure upon Croatia.
These activities by identified members of international organizations (ICTY, SFOR) are primarily executed outside of the formal mandate, both in terms of content and territory (a portion of these individuals are not accredited to formally carry out duties related to Croatia). They are consciously and actively attempting to cover their contacts in Croatia, which confirms the intelligence nature of their activities, which is contrary to the provisions of the Vienna Convention on diplomatic and consular relations.
An overview of the intelligence-media campaign against Croatia
Through analysis of these parameters, POA has confirmed interesting contacts between Christopher Looms (born 19 June 1960), a formal member of the ICTY investigative team for the prosecutor, where he was delegated as a members of the British SIS agency (MI6), and Oscar Vera (born 25 August 1949), member of the US military intelligence service DIA, declared as a member of the Pentagon (US Department of Justice). According to POA information, he has been in BiH since 2000 when he participated in the investigation of the murder of Jozo Leutar, after which point he was appointed advisor to the commander of SFOR. An experienced agent who has operated for 25 years in the worlds greatest crisis points, Gareth Lungley (born 8 January 1971), is a member of the British SIS agency and first secretary of the British Embassy in Croatia. In 2003, he was in intensive contact with the remaining intelligence agents in the region and the Slovenian intelligence agency. His name is also on the list of MI6 agents released in 1999 on the staff intranet of the British Embassy in Croatia, Ranko Ostojić, former Police Chief and Gordan Malić, reporter for the weekly news magazine Globus. Within this group there are direct and indirect connects by which information and disinformation was placed and official documents of the ICTY and the Croatian state bodies (POA is in possession of a large number of data which proves the intensity and nature of the telephone contacts, as well as audio and video documentation on the personal contacts of these persons) in the Croatian media, as well as towards the ICTY and governments of western nations.
As an ICTY investigator, Looms frequently visited Croatia (he registered his stay 26 times in accommodation facilities in Croatia), but then, even as a member of the ICTY, he did not contact the Office of the Prosecutor in Zagreb nor did he report his presence to the competent bodies in Croatia.
POA detected his contacts with advisor to the SFOR commander Oscar Vera and Globus reporter
Gordan Malić. These contact are interesting for
security reasons as in terms of time and contact, they correspond to the official statements made by ICTY prosecution officials and the positions of individual western European states which have obviously been based on the tendentious claims compiled by individuals of the executive government of Croatia.
The contacts between Vera and Looms with Malić occasionally coincided with Malićs publication of exclusive information
in Globus, and their contact greatly coincide with the later negative stance expressed by the ICTY on Croatia. According to confidential information, Malić and Looms communicate via various telephone numbers (frequently including telephone booths), and they set up their personal contacts in a way such that they attempt to cover them, which suggests some form of agent relationship.
The contacts between Looms and Vera also suggest the coordinated activity contrary to the interests of Croatia. Through analysis of the activities of Oscar Vera in the territory of Croatia, we confirmed that he is frequently present in Croatian territory (though he is formally a member of SFOR, authorized in the territory of BiH),
such that from the end of 1999 to February 2004, he reported his stay in accommodation facilities in Croatia 119 times. It is interesting that Vera has shown interest for the activities of the Croatian security system in cooperation with the ICTY and that through private contacts with representatives of the Croatian executive government, he has attempted to compile confidential information. To that effect, Vera has used a large number of telephone numbers, as well as mediators in communications with individual persons.
This is particular relates to Veras relations with former police chief Ranko Ostojić and mentioned Globus reporter Gordan Malić.
POA confirmed that Vera was in personal contact with Ostojić through whom he obtained information on the functioning of the Croatian security system, and he also compiled Ostojićs assessments on the alleged involvement of the Office of the President and POA in protecting General Gotovina.
Other than direct contacts with Ostojić, contacts have been recorded with Vera and eljko Dolački (eljko Dolački is a former employee of the Office for combating organized crime, involved in media affairs.
Dolački was involved in the criminal investigation against Hrvoje Petrač and the so-called criminal organization, and he has been connected to former State Prosecutor Radovan Ortynski and alleged HIS collaborator Veselin Marinov. Dolački is still a police employee and is not only professionally but also personally tied to former police chief Ostojić) and Mario Bertino (born 6 March 1955, member of the Crime Police unit), member of the police and members of the informal special unit which was founded and run by Ostojić.
In addition to personal contacts during his meetings in Zagreb or the use of many telephone numbers, Vera also had indirect contacts with these individuals through his girlfriend Karmen Kardum (born 5 January 1973, from Rijeka, US citizen, speaks Croatia and is a translator for SFOR), who is employed as a translator in the SFOR headquarters in Sarajevo.
Ostojićs contact with the first secretary of the British Embassy in Croatia, Lungley, is also interesting.
Ostojić also used Lungley as a source for the same information compiled by Vera and Looms. In this described manner, the identical information stemming from one source (Ostojić, Vera) was repeated many times, and Looms then presented this information as credible, as it was compiled from several sources. Similar information was also officially submitted to the representative of the British intelligence in Croatia Lungley through his Ambassador in Zagreb, such that the British diplomacy through a formal source (Lungley), as well as through a second intelligence officer (Looms) had received the same information.
The impression of credibility of intelligence collected in this manner arrived from Veras activities in BiH, where based on his high position in SFOR he is able to disseminate information via the official bodies of the international community in BiH (SFOR, OHR, ICTY in BiH) and the US Embassy in Sarajevo (POA has reliable information that Vera also delivered information to the US Embassy in Sarajevo), which served only as a confirmation of the information that Looms and Lungley had independently received from him.
The second part of the intelligence-media operation directed at discrediting the Republic of Croatia includes the manipulations of media reports, such that the content and timing of the information placed in the Croatian media corresponds to announced international activities concerning Croatias cooperation with the ICTY. This was accomplished through the mentioned activities of Looms, Vera and Ostojić with Malić. Malić received exclusive information or copies of official documents from Croatian state bodies or the ICTY. Such access enabled the specific placement of certain content, and the timing of their release, which only further confirmed the credibility of the compiled information for international institutions (particularly the ICTY and in the countries already mentioned), and compromised the state administration in Croatia. POA is in possession of information that a portion of the information that Malić could not place in his newspaper, he passed on to Ivica Djikić of Feral Tribune, who published them there.
Through detailed analysis, we confirmed that
the alleged ties between these persons functioned at two levels:
1. activities which they intentionally carried out (compiling information for the needs of foreign policy of their home countries, ICTY, and placing specific information and disinformation in the media);
2. reactions to activities which cannot be controlled, concerning Croatias cooperation with the ICTY.
The case of the arrest of Ivica Rajić
(intentionally placed thesis in the media)
POA has irrefutably confirmed that the connection Ostojić - Malić - Vera - Looms functioned at the time of the arrest of Ivica Rajić at the request of the ICTY (5 April 2003), whereby we have confirmed information that during the realization of the action, Ostojić contacted both Malić and Vera.
Followng this action, which only confirms the political cooperation of Croatia with the ICTY, Malić published an exclusive article on the arrest of Rajiæ (Globus 644 of 1 April 2003 entitled Arrest of the suspect from Kiseljak MUP hid the arrest operation of Ivica Rajić from POA director Turek, fearing sabotage), in which the thesis was presented that the police independently had to carry out the operation of arresting the person wanted by the ICTY, due to the danger of sabotage on the part of POA in that operation.
This claim was later passed through the communications of representatives of the diplomatic core in Croatia and in other international organizations, and in September 2003, this was explicitly confirmed in the non-paper that Carla Del Ponte forwarded to the diplomats of the EU states and the US accredited in Croatia as preparation of her announced arrival in Croatia. Directly after this, Malić again repeated this thesis in his writing.
We must stress that the analysis of the telecommunications ties showed the intensive communication of Malić, Vera and Ostojić also existed directly before the release of the non-paper and the visit of Carla Del Ponte to Zagreb (6 October 2003).
Case of Pukanićs explanation
of the circumstance of his interview with Gotovina
(reaction to an independent event)
The second case which awoke exceptional interest of these persons was Ivo Pukanićs writing on the circumstances of the interview with Gotovina, in which he makes claims contrary to the version which Ostojić passed on to Vera and which were also placed in the public, on the involvement of the Office of the President and POA in saving Gotovina.
After the release of this article, we saw unusually intensive communications between Ostojić, Malić, Vera and Looms.
All the activities and parameters included in the POA analysis suggest that this is organized and orchestrated activity which includes intelligence and media manipulations of information, aimed at realizing certain political goals towards Croatia and the region, in order to create the conditions for political pressures on Croatia.
The schematic diagram of the communications between these actors indicates the flow of the information, as well as its final destination, which in full corroborates the real events in the Croatian media, as well as the reactions of the international politics towards Croatia.
All these noted facts were compiled by POA
at the level of operative evidence based on:
1. analysis of information,
2. statements by citizens-informants and confidential collaborators, some of whom are prepared to testify at the highest political levels,
3. analysis of telecommunications (telephone statements) which prove the communications between the actors,
4. audio recordings which prove the character of these ties and
5. video recordings documenting the contacts.
From all the above mentioned, it is evident that
these events relating to the ICTY and Croatia
over the past eighteen months have been unfolding
according to a single formula:
1. media campaign aimed at discrediting the efforts of the Croatian institutions
2. release of confidential materials in order to compromise state institutions
3. in statements by foreign officials they claim that General Gotovina is in Croatia, but not once has anyone given a precise location or area that he is hiding in
4. the time of release in the media coincides with
the statements by ICTY Chief Prosecutor Carla Del Ponte
This analysis has shown that all the necessary actors
in this classic intelligence-media manipulation have been identified:
a) agents (position) of foreign intelligence agencies in Croatia,
b) member of foreign intelligence agencies,
c) representatives of domestic media and
d) disinformation and resources they originate from.