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Affairs: The Use Of A Man

16 May 1994 The public was informed in a brief announcement that the Service for protection of the consitutional order (SZUP, i.e. the Croatian Secret Service) ``made Radenko Radojicic, born in 1952 in Zagreb, available to the court.'' Military Prosecutor's Office charged Radojicic, together with officers of the former Yugoslav People's Army (JNA), Colonel Slobodan Rakocevic and Captain Cedomir Knezevic as well as civilians Slavko Malobabic and Sredo Vucanovic with a criminal offense committed in the socalled `Labrador' conspiracy and through the socalled `Opera,' a subversiveespionage conspiracy of the JNA AirForce, against the security of the Republic of Croatia. More specifically: mining of the Jewish district and cemetery in Zagreb on August 19, 1991, preparing and participating in ``the attack on Banske dvori with missiles of the former JNA AirForce,'' preparing the assassination of state officials and the like.

Those people whose job in JNA in 1990 and 1991 was to prepare ``a continuation of the liberation war on the temporarily seized territories'' of Croatia, according to the doctrine at the time, were considerably concerned by this news release. Radenko Radojicic was their man and, with no doubt, acted upon relevant instructions. Were the circumstances normal this would not be known nor would the `Opera' affair ever break open. The Croatian Service for protection of the constitutional order would never have to file such a charge nor would unfortunate Radojicic end up in prison.

The circumstances, however, are far from normal: instead of guarding the secrecy and operative safety of the JNA Secret Service and their informers the `Opera' case was opened in March 1992. What this affair, which later turned out to be a clumsy and stupid means in the struggle for power over the secret service of the new Army, brought both to the Service and to the Army is grave damage and its masterminds saw no benefits either. All of the accused in the `Opera' affair and around it, ranging from GeneralMajor Aleksandar Vasiljevic, the head of the Service, to Radenko Radojicic, a small field agent, were freed and pronounced innocent. General Bozidar Stevanovic and newlypromoted (at the time retired and activated) GeneralMajor Nedeljko Boskovic who inspired the affair have sunk and are retired now. On the other hand, the Military Prosecutor's Office has currently on its disposal charges brought against them because of abuse while developing the `Opera' affair.

Small fry were affected and Radojicic will have to bear the consequences the second time around. During the `Opera' affair Radojicic was illegally detained in a private prison in Belgrade for over a month, beaten and robbed to the skin (34,000 DM plus property). After being freed as innocent, he was thrown out on the street and forgotten. The state suffered even greater damage: the data that represent military and official secrets of a delicate nature leaked into the public in a propaganda campaign launched against General Vasiljevic and others from the Secret Service. The names of informers were revealed along with the whole networks, the ways the Service works, technical and other resources. That material, which was widely used by suspicious press, had been of utmost importance to Croatian secret services: only by reading the papers we were able to learn what we would have otherwise never been able to and also received confirmations or denials of things we only hinted at. The contents of the charge against Radenko Radojicic, as the Croatian news agency HINA interpreted it in its release on May 10, provides the best proof: all of this was widely debated in public trials around `Opera' and retold in detail in feuilletons (the Belgrade daily ``Politika Ekspres''). The only exception is a charge of an airraid on Banski dvori, which will be difficult to prove and still is short of making any sense ('Opera' could not have carried it out since it represented a department for psychological and propaganda activities of the AirForce Secret Service).

Branko Kostic, the acting President of the Socialist Federal Republic of Yugoslavia, announced the `Opera' affair. Its premiere in Zagreb was announced by Croatian President Franjo Tudjman. We all know how the Belgrade show ended. Considering the contents of the charges against Radojicic it is clear that they will be very difficult to prove. The only thing remaining is his admission and ``cooperation.'' In other words, his is in for another round of beating. In Belgrade Radojicic was beaten because of the ambitions Stevanovic and Boskovic cherished. In Zagreb Radojicic could take the beating so that Gojko Susak (Croatian Defence Minister) is saved and Manolic (former PM, now Croatian Assembly Speaker), Perkovic (high police official) and Boljkovac (retired general) are compromised. If he should admit everything, including Banski dvori and Duboki Jarak (to which the Croatian Interior Ministry already alluded at the end of April), even the explosions in Precko and Kruge, when he was already held by the Service for protection of the constitutional orderwho could blame him? Whom should Radojicic owe his loyalty? To the Service which he served faithfully and successfully and which beat him up, robbed him and threw him out on the street? That is why Radojicic went abroad in the end (last fall). It is not known how the Service for protection of the constitutional order got hold of him. But, one can guess: it employs the same people form the same school that had made former Yugoslav political emigrants ``available to the court.''
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