Croatia: Journalists wiretapped

The special working group of the Parliamentary Committee for Internal Affairs and National Security is opening an investigation today over Croatian Counter Intelligence service (CIS). The principal cause for the investigation is the recent public address of five journalists who were the subject of secret treatment of the CIS during 2003 and 2004, under the allegation that they have deliberately published wrong information about Hague fugitive general Gotovina in order to obstruct Republic of Croatia to enter the European Union. (11-FEB-05)
 

The special working group of the Parliamentary Committee for Internal Affairs and National Security is opening an investigation today agains the Croatian Counter Intelligence service (CIS). The principal cause for the investigation is the recent public address of five journalists who were the subject of secret treatment of the CIS during 2003 and 2004, under the allegation that they have deliberately published wrong information about Hague fugitive general Gotovina in order to obstruct Croatia to enter the European Union. (11-FEB-05)

 

The special parliamentary working group was formed after five Croatian journalists, Gordan Malic, Zeljko Peratovic, Ivanka Toma, Mario Kavain i Ivica Djikic, have sent an official request to the Croatian Journalist Association, Civic Committee for the Oversight of the Secret Services, Parliamentary Committees for National Security and Human Rights to examine the allegations from the text published in newsweek magazine Globus, in which the author Gordan Malic claimes that the CIS was conducting a secret operation against the above mentioned journalists, accusing them of “media-intelligence operation against Croatia”.

 

Namely, mentioned news article brings a document called “Information about media-intelligence manipulation aiming to discredit Croatia” which was presented in March 2004 to the President Mesic, Prime Minister Sanader, Minister of the Judiciary Skare-Ozbolt and Minister of the Internal Affairs Mlinaric by Franjo Turek, former director of the CIS. In short, the document of the CIS accuses the journalists of planned and coordinated misinforming, which prevented respective bodies from arresting general Gotovina.

– In my opinion the reason why the authorities in charge didn´t react upon the receival of the report from the CIS is because they were only concerned with how the report is going to look like to Carla del Ponte. said Zarko Puhovski, the Chairman of the Croatian Helsinki Committee.

 

According to the CIS, except from journalists, several higher state officials also participated in the “media-intelligence operation against Croatia”. Judging by the documents published in the media, the CIS permanently wiretaped Ranko Ostojic, the former Head of the Croatian police in charge of arresting general Gotovina and former spokesperson of the Ministry of the Interior Zinka Bardic.

 

The Civic Committee for Oversight of the Secret Services and the Parliamentary Committee for Internal Affairs and National Security will decide in the coming days whether the secret listening to the above mentioned Croatian citizens was illegal or not. However, the latest affairs related to the work of the CIS, including the “Puljiz affair”, has raised serious questions about the overall situation of the Secret Services and the way they function in Croatia.

 

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