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<nettime> ivogram x8: ex-yu redux
Ivo Skoric on Mon, 21 Jun 2004 07:21:52 +0200 (CEST)


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<nettime> ivogram x8: ex-yu redux


     [digested  {AT}  nettime]

"Ivo Skoric" <ivo {AT} reporters.net>
     Croatia's Untouchables
     Murder in Montenegro
     Bus bombing
     (Fwd) Re: Transparency of Evil
     Croatian Pamela
     South East Europe Cooperation
     Serb Talibans

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From: "Ivo Skoric" <ivo {AT} reporters.net>
Date: Fri, 04 Jun 2004 12:27:46 -0400
Subject: Croatia's Untouchables

While in Montenegro organized crime style murers are still the order 
of a day, in Croatia the units fighting organized crime seem to be 
getting upper hand: former Croatia's #2 arrested for attempt to 
extort a bribe!
ivo
ps - just like my father, Granic also likes to hold his confidential 
meetings at Zagreb's pictoresque main cemetery Mirogoj: I guess that 
must be a generational trait, feeling the closeness of the last 
days...

------- Forwarded message follows -------
Croatia: High Society Arrests 

by Drago Hedl
3 June 2004

Following the detention and release of one of Croatia’s most
prominent politicians and an equally notable businessman, questions
arise about the extent of corruption. 

ZAGREB, Croatia--A former foreign minister and a prominent 
businessman
last month ended up in police custody in the wake of corruption
allegations but have subsequently been released. Although no charges
have been filed, the affair has nonetheless caused a scandal in
Croatia. Accusations of corruption are commonplace in Croatia, but
this marks the first time that such a high-ranking official has been
detained.

Mate Granic--the foreign minister from 1993 to 1999 under independent
Croatia’ s first president, the nationalist Franjo Tudjman--was
arrested on 7 May. He was suspected of seeking a bribe for his
mediation in a financial transaction.

At the same time, Darinko Bago--Granic's brother-in-law and the
president of Zagreb’s Koncar electronics consortium--was also
arrested. During Granic's mandate at the Foreign Ministry, Bago 
served
as Croatian ambassador to Bosnia and Herzegovina and to Bulgaria. 

On 10 May, an investigative judge from the County Court in Zagreb,
Kresimir Devcic, released the two, rejecting a request from USKOK--a
special body operating within the Justice Ministry set up to deal 
with
cases of organized crime--that the two men be kept in detention for a
month. Devcic also refused to launch an investigation against Granic
and Bago, arguing that the evidence presented by USKOK--including the
results of undercover police surveillance—was insufficient.

Upon his release, Granic charged that the whole affair had been 
staged
to defame him.

“I know who they are,” Granic said, referring to those figures he
accused of plotting against him, “but I'd rather not name them.”
Several hours later, he was admitted to a Zagreb hospital to undergo
an emergency angioplasty after nearly suffering a heart attack.

“I am shocked and aghast at the news [of Granic's arrest],” said
Vesna Skare-Ozbolt, the current justice minister and a close Granic
associate in the Democratic Centre (DC), at a press conference on the
day of Granic’s arrest. Skare-Ozbolt and Granic established the DC
together after leaving Tudjman's Croatian Democratic Union (HDZ), and
she recently took over the chairmanship of the DC from Granic.
“Nevertheless, the legal system must function regardless of the
[position] of the suspect,” Skare-Ozbolt added. 

“The rule of law should function, and no one is exempt from his or
her responsibility, but since I have been, for 15 years, connected in
various ways with this man who has been present on the public and
political stage, then it is a painful situation for me as well,
regardless of what the outcome of this affair may be,” Vladimir
Seks, the speaker of the Croatian parliament and Granic's former HDZ
party colleague, told the Zagreb daily Jutarnji list the day after 
the
arrests.

ARC OF POWER

In his time as foreign minister, Granic ranked above current Croatian
Prime Minister Ivo Sanadar when the latter was the assistant foreign
minister. He had a reputation for being a moderate member of 
Tudjman's
HDZ and was reputed to be in constant conflict with the rabidly
nationalistic faction headed by the then-Defense Minister, Gojko
Susak. After Tudjman’s death in 1999, with HDZ in a clear losing
position in the run-up to elections, Granic gained the HDZ nod to run
in the presidential elections. As it turned out, Granic--having been
advised to distance himself from HDZ--ran as an unaffiliated 
candidate
in his pre-election campaign. However, he was defeated in the first
round of voting. 

Granic was the first to acknowledge the defeat of HDZ in the
parliamentary elections in 2000. He would later say that it was very
important to concede on the evening of election day because there 
were
forces within HDZ that were not ready to withdraw from their 
positions
easily. It was exactly those forces, he maintained, that induced him
to leave HDZ and found DC. Several moderate HDZ parliamentarians
joined him in the effort.

However, due to the DC’s rather vaguely defined policy and its
attempts to position itself between HDZ and the leftist coalition
headed by then-Prime Minister Ivica Racan, DC never managed to 
attract
a significant number of followers. His party was mocked as “HDZ
lite.” 

The parliamentary elections in November last year were a debacle for
Granic. His party won only one seat in parliament, and at the end of
the last year, Granic withdrew from the position of DC chairman,
leaving it to Skare-Ozbolt.

There were rumors that he might be granted an ambassadorship, given
his foreign affairs experience and his acquaintance with Sanadar, but
no appointment materialized. 

A medical doctor by profession, Granic had most recently been working
on founding his own company to provide consulting and mediation
services. His financial affairs have been the subject of much
scrutiny, and media reports have offered his financial problems as
motive for the alleged affair.

At the beginning of April, the weekly Feral Tribune published
documents showing that Granic's wife took out a 20-year mortgage in
the amount of 160,000 euros ($196,000) in 1997 for the construction 
of
a villa in Zagreb. Sanader, the current prime minister, served as
guarantor for the loan. The monthly payment necessary to service the
debt amounts to nearly 1,400 euros ($1,711) until the year 2017. The
figure represents three times the average salary in Croatia. Since 
his
departure from parliament and the DC, Granic has been unemployed as
his company has not yet started to function. 

CATCH AND RELEASE

On 17 May, USKOK countered the 10 May County Court order by lodging 
an
appeal with the Supreme Court.

“We believe that we have collected sufficient evidence to support
our reasonable suspicion that a crime has been committed,” USKOK
head Zeljko Zganjer told the press on 17 May.

Two days later, Jutarnji list published the leaked contents of the
confidential police audiotapes of several of Granic's secret 
meetings.
The recordings seemed to implicate Granic in a possible corruption
case but indicated that he stopped short of completing the
transaction. 

Jutarnji list is the second largest daily in Croatia. Owned by a
Croatian businessperson and the German WAZ media empire, it has 
broken
many of Croatia’s corruption scandals, although its journalistic
standards have sometimes come into question.

The leaking of the transcripts to Jutarnji list became an affair in
itself. Given that it is illegal to disclose confidential evidence,
the case triggered condemnation from the judiciary. While he cannot
comment on the Granic and Bago case, Supreme Court President Ivica
Crnic does not rule out that the leaking of the transcripts 
represents
a form of pressure on the Supreme Court. He doesn’t think the media
always show enough responsibility in such cases. According to Crnic,
those who sue or find themselves sued often manipulate the media “
to the extent the media allows them.”

“The public needs to know as many facts as possible. Nevertheless,
confidential information should not be leaked as long as the state
institutions in charge don’t decide about them. Any other way of
conducting [judicial processes] ... would bring into question the
dignity of all judicial bodies. All those who fail to keep judicial
secrets should be thrown out ... of the state as well as judicial
institutions,” Crnic told the Rijeka-based Novi list daily.

According to reports from corruption watchdog group Transparency
International and the media reports--as well as conventional wisdom
within the country--Croatia remains a place struggling with high
levels of corruption. Even high political officials are considered
susceptible, although the number of people officially charged with
corruption is relatively small. Granic is the highest-placed former
government official to be so accused. And although he was arrested
months after his withdrawal from politics, his political allies are
still painting the arrest as a form of political reprisal. 

Adding fuel to the fire, reports in the Croatian media claim that if
the case is ultimately pursued after an appeal to the Supreme Court
and ends up in trial, witnesses for the prosecution could include the
former mayor of Zagreb, Milan Bandic, and Neven Mimica, a former
European integration minister in the previous Ivica Racan government
and retired chair of the Koncar supervisory board who is now an
independent parliamentarian. 

Bandic and Mimica confirmed to the press that they had heard about 
the
case of alleged bribery from Granic and Bago even before their 
arrests
but refused to speculate on the credibility of the case.

Details of the case remain sketchy. What can be deduced from a scanty
police press release published after Granic and Bago had been 
arrested
is that Vladimir Delonga--a former president of one of the 20 firms
belonging to the Koncar umbrella--wanted to sell his shares of that
firm. Since the shares do not trade on the Croatian stock market, 
they
could be traded or sold only within the Koncar holding company 
itself,
which Bago heads. Granic, the police claim, volunteered to act as a
negotiator for the transaction but wanted to sell the shares at a
price higher than the actual one and in return wanted a commission of
approximately 80,000 euros ($98,000).

Delonga, according to the police, reported the conversation as an
attempt to extort a bribe. He agreed to cooperate with police,
attending the next meeting with Granic wearing a recording device. 
The
two met at the famous Zagreb cemetery Mirogoj, where Tudjman was
buried in 1999. Interestingly, Granic in interviews long before the
arrest had mentioned Mirogoj as a place he often chose for
confidential discussions when he suspected that he was being watched
by Tudjman's secret services.

On the day in question, police say that it was raining and the two 
men
were standing under one umbrella, making the recording of their
conversation of excellent quality. Their conversation is distinct and
clearly heard, and the police say it provides sufficient evidence to
hold both Granic and Bago.

There is no legal deadline for the Supreme Court to rule on the case. 


“Therefore, the Supreme Court will be able to impartially and 
calmly
examine the case and make the final ruling then. ... I say to all
those who ‘cheer’ for one side in court cases to calm down and 
let
the courts perform their legal and constitutional duties,” Crnic
said.



Drago Hedl is an Osijek-based editor with Feral Tribune.
------- End of forwarded message -------Ivo Skoric
1773 Lexington Ave
New York NY 10029
212.369.9197
ivo {AT} balkansnet.org
http://balkansnet.org

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From: "Ivo Skoric" <ivo {AT} reporters.net>
Date: Fri, 04 Jun 2004 14:00:39 -0400
Subject: Murder in Montenegro

Who killed Dusko Jovanovic and why?

Jovanovic was an editor and journalist of anti-inependence 
Podgorica's daily Dan, and a former defender of policies of Slobodan 
Milosevic. He had a record as a politically motivated muck-raker. And 
he particularly annoyed Djukanovic's government by re-publishing the 
condemning series of stories on Montenegro's pro-independence govt 
being involved in cigarette smuggling and trafficing in people from 
Croatia's newspaper Nacional. He was killed a couple of days ago in a 
well executed gangland murder reminiscent of the Al Capone times 
(machine guns fired from a car, no silencers).

By chance or design, the police came to the scene quickly, yet the 
clues proved to be confusing and contradicting. So far, only two 
young athletes - whose uncle, the former reigning world tae-kwan-do 
champion, was himself killed by an anti-independence gunmen a few 
years ago (hence the revenge motive) - were taken into custody. But 
they - locals with good knowledge of escape routes - might have been 
used only as drivers, while the gunmen might be outsiders.

The list of people that would have a motive to kill him is pretty 
long and includes many people in Montenegrin government as well. His 
brother says he can name exactly 5 people who wanted Jovanovic dead. 
At an opposition march held to honour Jovanovic's memory on May 29, 
protesters shouted "Milo - murderer" as they passed government 
buildings in Podgorica. Djukanovic maintains that the 'other side' 
killed him with intention to destabilize Montenegro's government. The 
government called foreign forensic experts, and announced a 1 millio 
euro award for information leading to arrest of the killer, with 
minister of interior tending in his resignation pending failure to 
solve the murder case. 

Out of three cars mentioned by witnesses - VW  passat, VW golf, and 
BMW M5 SUV, the cheapest one (golf) was recovered by the police wit 
copious amounts of evidence - including guns. But the fact that the 
car was left to be found, suggests that it might be there to take the 
investigation on the wrong track. Interstingly - and that is reported 
in Croatia's Nacional - bmw had license plates from Novi Sad, and 
could be traced to private eye agency Gvozden in Vojvodina that 
employs many former infamous Red Berrets - hired guns that killed 
journalists before.

That lead could take to Vojvodina's leading organized crime figure 
Stanko Subotic Cane (whose security is provided by Gvozden). He used 
to be involved in cigarette smuggling operation and he was named as 
one of 5 people who would want Jovanovic dead, by Jovanovic's 
brother. Apparently, with loss of his political connections in 
Serbia, Subotic was trying to legitimize his crime revenues by buying 
a string of hotels on Montenegrin coast (as the US crime figures used 
to in 1950s in Las Vegas after Castro took over Havana). Jovanovic 
run a story on Subotic-Djukanovic connection just 2 days before his 
death. 

ivo

Sources:
http://www.pcnen.cg.yu/
http://www.iwpr.net/

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From: "Ivo Skoric" <ivo {AT} reporters.net>
Date: Fri, 11 Jun 2004 11:37:17 -0400
Subject: Bus bombing

This time it is not Greyhound in the US but Nis-Express in Serbia..
That Ejupi dude must have been a great pain for Americans managing to 
escape from their largest European military base, Bondsteel, and 
evade CIA for about 3 years.
ivo

Bus-bombing suspects arrested in Tirana (RTS)
Three Kosovo Albanians charged with terrorism have been arrested in 
Tirana, the Albanian Police spokeswoman Ediira Teferichi announced. 
According to the Albanian Police, Florim Ejupi (25) is responsible 
for murdering a NATO soldier alongside with 11 Serbs by activating an 
explosive device under the Nis Express bus in the village of Livadice 
near Podujevo in February 2001. Ejupi is also connected with murders 
of one international and one local KPS policeman, as well as for 
wounding two police officers in March 2004. The other two, Faik 
Saciri (22) and Xevat Kosuni (36), for whom the German Police has 
released international warrants a couple of months ago, are also 
charged with murders and terrorist actions, the Albanian daily 
Gazette Schiptare reported. The Albanian Police made the arrests at 
UNMIK Police request and the three Kosovo Albanians are currently 
held in custody, waiting for UNMIK Police to send files of the 
arrested persons to Interpol Office in Albania for the procedure of 
extradition to start. The daily writes that the group headed by 
Florim Ejupi was located with the assistance of the CIA, whose agents 
have been intensively searching for Ejupi, because he had succeeded 
to escape from detention in the US military base Bondsteel. The 
Albanian Police says that Ejupi and Saciri are members of the 
Albanian National Army (ANA).-----------------------------------------
----------------
Ivo Skoric
19 Baxter Street
Rutland VT 05701
802.775.7257
ivo {AT} balkansnet.org
balkansnet.org

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From: "Ivo Skoric" <ivo {AT} reporters.net>
Date: Sun, 13 Jun 2004 11:09:25 -0400
Subject: (Fwd) Re: Transparency of Evil

------- Forwarded message follows -------
I married one of those women (in black) that you saw in Belgrade. 
That is quite correct comparison (Vietnam - Bosnia). There is indeed
disturbingly high similarity in behavior of Americans vs. the rest of
the world to the behavior of Belgrade Serbs vs. the rest of former
Yugoslavia: in both cases the former treat the later as their
backyard, not as their neighbors. Milosevic (and Saddam) are mini-
imperialists. Ordinary people are the most dangerous. They still do
not believe mass killings, rape, and torture camps ever happened in
Bosnia, particularly not at the hands of Serbs.  They may as well 
vote for Bush here as they are for Milosevic there for years. ivo



On 9 Jun 2004 at 14:50, Franke Wilmer wrote:

hey ivo -- it is little consolation to live in a desolate place in 
the
mountains (like montana).  societies that refuse to examine their own
capacity to do harm and their history of doing harm are condemned to
repeat such harm-doing.  this is surely one of the darker chapters in
our history.  but in each dark chapter we never, at the time, saw it
that way (slavery until the mid-19th century, genocide of indigenous
peoples mostly in the 19th century, imperialism and imperialistic 
wars
in the 20th century...)

this all feels like the most dismal failure of all of the things i
have spent more than half my life trying to be a force for --
tolerance, compassion, recognition of our interchangeability,
knowledge that the oneness of our humanity is not an ideal but the
most real thing there is, with the most real consequences for our
failure to understand...unaware of the ubiquity of our inhumanity is
the same thing as being unaware of our common humanity.  you cannot
treat others inhumanely without damaging or losing your own humanity,
without dehumanizing yourself.

we celebrate "Martin Luther King" day and have no idea (not being
reflective anyway) how he tried to teach us exactly that.  i am sad,
even depressed, too, by my  sense of failure as a teacher.  the
majority of americans have little understanding of democracy, how
essential criticism and collective self-reflection are to it, nor how
the gang in the white house now is destroying both democracy and the
rule of law...depressing that people are not raging in the streets.
but they are getting better at math and science.

but hey, i am spoiled, like most Americans, particularly white
Americans, by how little we have had to fight.   i keep remembering
two impressions from my first trip to Belgrade in the spring of 1995.

one was the small number of people (women in black) who stood on
Republika square protesting the war an hour every wednesday at 4. 
they
had to get up and fight every day for years against anti-democratic
forces...and they are still struggling.  but they struggled.  and 
they
thought about democracy all the time, as people do when they are
deprived of it.

the other impression was how oblivious "ordinary" people in Belgrade
seemed to be about the atrocities going on not so far away in Bosnia
and how their govt was implicated, and i remember thinking that if 
you
were outraged about Vietnam (as i was in the 1960s) and you were a
visitor to the US during that time, the war in Vietnam would have
appeared just as distant to Americans then as the war in Bosnia (and
Croatia) was to the people in Belgrade 30 years later...as Iraq is
now.
  it becomes normalized very quickly. when a frog is dropped into a
  pot
of boiling water it screams.  but if you put it in a pot of cool
water
and then turn the heat on slowing, it never even sees death coming.
most americans are not even seeing the loss of democracy, or the
connection between Abu Ghraib, Git-mo, the Patriot Act and the loss 
of
democracy.

finally, i remember protesting the vietnam war.  and i remember how
popular the war was until thousands of body bags started coming home.
so i do not delude myself about people opposing a war until they
perceive themselves at risk of losing something, though i do think
there was more criticism and protest in advance this time around.
cause for hope?

sorry  this is so long...thanks for being there to talk to...
franke

On Wednesday, June 9, 2004, at 10:23 AM, Ivo Skoric wrote:

  Yet there
> is nothing that we can do to change this, except to get out of the
> way of the predictable wave of vengeance, and go live somewhere in
> desolate mountain ranges, perhaps, with no internet. Pretty
> depressing. ivo
>
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* * * * * * * * * * * *
"When the power of love overcomes the love of power the world will
know peace."
                - Jimi Hendrix, American musician and songwriter

Franke Wilmer
Professor and Department Head
Political Science
Montana State University
Bozeman, MT 59717

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------- End of forwarded message -------

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From: "Ivo Skoric" <ivo {AT} reporters.net>
Date: Fri, 18 Jun 2004 12:44:00 -0400
Subject: Croatian Pamela

Croatia (and Serbia + Slovenia) got their own Tomy Lee & Pamela 
Anderson video tape legal drama. Judged by this story both media 
people and lawyers have established pretty good transfrontier 
cooperation between formerly fighting countries of former Yugoslavia.
ivo

SINGER SUES KURIR

ZAGREB, June 7, 2004 - An agent representing Croatian singer Severina
Vuckovic has told Beta news agency that he will press charges against 
the Serbian tabloid Kurir.

The charges will allege that the daily published pictures from a 
stolen private videotape with erotic content. Lawyer Anto Nobilo said 
that, through Belgrade lawyer Igor Pantelic, he would press charges 
against Kurir, which published a collection of photographs from the 
controversial tape.

Nobilo also warned that similar action would be taken against any 
other media company which attempted to commercially exploit the 
private recording belonging to Vuckovic. He explained that his 
office, through lawyers in Slovenia and Serbia-Montenegro which the 
tape had already reached, had already laid the ground to bring 
charges against a number of television stations in Slovenia and 
several newspapers which had published content from the controversial 
tape.

The tape in question is a private video recording of Vuckovic 
engaging in sexual intercourse with her former partner, Milan Lucic.  
The singer claims the tape was stolen two years ago, together with a 
video camera, from her private apartment.

---------------------------------------------------------
Ivo Skoric
19 Baxter Street
Rutland VT 05701
802.775.7257
ivo {AT} balkansnet.org
balkansnet.org

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From: "Ivo Skoric" <ivo {AT} reporters.net>
Date: Sat, 19 Jun 2004 18:22:28 -0400
Subject: South East Europe Cooperation

http://www.gay-serbia.com/article.jsp?id=1399&src=1&date=1

This interesting movie is about to be produced and distributed in all 
countries of former Yugoslavia. It features a multi-ethnic gay couple 
- Serb and Bosniak - trying to leave war-time Sarajevo and go to the 
West. They get stuck in a Serbian village on the outskirts of 
Sarajevo, where the Serb is forced to go to the war, while Bosniak is 
forced to stay behind, waiting for him as his bride. Serbian 
homosexual is played by a Bosniak who presently runs a TV show in 
Croatia, while the Bosniak homosexual is played by a Croatian actor 
from Mostar. In a spectacular revival of the 'brotherhood and unity' 
the cast is joined by well known ex-Yugoslav star actors of various 
ethnic backgrounds (Serbian, Croat, Bosniak): Mirjana Karanovic, 
Nermin Tulic, Rade erbedija, and Branko uric. Is Yugoslavia back? 
No. But movie making is an expensive art, and the new countries are 
simply to small to support each their own Hollywood, so we may see 
similar transfrontier co-operation in film industry of ex-Yugoslav 
statelets in the years to come, benefiting from the similarity of 
language.

ivo---------------------------------------------------------
Ivo Skoric
19 Baxter Street
Rutland VT 05701
802.775.7257
ivo {AT} balkansnet.org
balkansnet.org

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From: "Ivo Skoric" <ivo {AT} reporters.net>
Date: Sat, 19 Jun 2004 18:22:27 -0400
Subject: Serb Talibans

http://www.danas.co.yu/20040614/kultura1.html

Drama about deliberate destruction of Bosniak historic gravestones at 
the Military Museun in Belgrade, by two high ranking Serb army 
officers in charge of their protection, continues. Two colonels are 
discharged, but there is no official report about the damages. And 
the overwhelming feeling is that the Military Museum is simply in a 
very bad shape, under atrocious leadership, with possibly other 
artefacts being missing and/or destroyed.

ivo---------------------------------------------------------
Ivo Skoric
19 Baxter Street
Rutland VT 05701
802.775.7257
ivo {AT} balkansnet.org
balkansnet.org

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