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Saturday, July 23, 2016

THE DAY OF THE JUGOSLAVIST - 1969 Yugoslav assassination in Australia


Life imitates art 
The day of the Jackal - The day of the Jugoslavist!
TEAM UZUNOV exclusive - we uncover a Yugoslav Intelligence (UDBa) assassination made to look like a  lovers quarrel in Melbourne, Australia, March 1969.

We discover Australian Security Intelligence Organisation (ASIO) documents which reveal a story within a story, a film noir that Quentin Tarantino would be proud of. In fact, a pot-boiler that has British author Freddie Forsyth written all over it…In his action thriller novel, The Day of the Jackal (1971)--a work of fiction woven around real life events, the assassination attempt on French President General Charles De Gaulle in 1963--the assassin deliberately picks up a man in a Paris gay bar, kills him and hides out in his flat (apartment), knowing the authorities would not look for him there. see link.

Njegoslav “Yago” Despot - art imitates life ?!
Two years before the Forsyth book came out, in 1969 - the mysterious murder of Melbourne private detective and lawyer Njegoslav “Yago Despot, 44 ! 
Despot, a gay Croat and his partner, Charles Hughes, 39, were found murdered, professional execution style, with both victims killed by a single bullet to the head. At the time the Victorian State Police had publicly ruled out a political motive, but the 1972 declassified intelligence reports by ASIO explored the Yugoslav intelligence connection.  

In early March 1969 Hughes’s pet dog, a collie, was noticed whimpering and acting in a distressed manner at the South Caulfiend home, in Melbourne’s east, shared by both men. A concerned neighbour raised the alarm with police.
Post mortem revealed they had been shot with a .22 calibre pistol or rifle fitted with a silencer.
One of the victims was found naked head down in an empty bathtub, the other in the lounge room. This suggests the killer or killers may have been known to the two victims.
ASIO managed to connect the dots and discovered that Despot had been pressured to spy for Yugoslav intelligence, which he declined and informed ASIO about it. He had earlier shared a house in St Kilda, Melbourne inner beach suburb with a mysterious stranger called Borivoj Viskovic, identified as an UDBa officer. 
Did UDBa murder both men because Despot refused to act as an informer? Was it a homophobic killing ? Homosexuality was outlawed in Tito’s Yugoslavia in 1959 and only decriminalised after the collapse of Yugoslavia. In Serbia it was 1994 and Macedonia in 1997. The motivation will probably remain unknown. The murder is still officially unsolved.

What we do know is Despot came from a large Roman Catholic Croat family and emigrated in Australia in 1959 at the same time as the Yugoslav communist authorities outlawed homosexuality. He was active in a migrant organisation in Melbourne called the Yugoslav Settlers Association, a front used by Yugoslav intelligence (UDBa) to monitor Croat, Serb, Macedonian emigres in Australia.

Just before his death, Despot was visiting a relative in his native Dalmatian coastal town of Zaostrog in Croatia, then under Yugoslav rule, but cut short his holiday to return to Australia. He had been pressured by the Yugoslav authorities to become an informer, which he refused. He may have been blackmailed over his private life, which Viskovic, having lived with him in the early mid 1960s, may have discovered details of.

By the sounds of it, Despot feared for his life. And having had an earlier friendship with a suspected UDBa officer, Viskovic, had to be silenced before he was able to reveal more. This remains speculation but the ASIO report (see below) from 1972 has outlined a strong circumstantial case, three years after the double murder.

UDBa, which was modelled upon Soviet intelligence, was known for using dirty tricks. One standard procedure pioneered by Soviet intelligence, once known as the KGB, was to take compromising photos of a target. In the 1950s, a clerk in the British Embassy in Moscow, John Vassall, a gay man, was plied with alcohol and then photographed in compromising situations with other men. He was blackmailed into spying for the Soviet Union. His cover was blown in 1961 after a Soviet defector revealed his identity. Vassall was convicted of espionage and spent 10 years in a British jail.
UDBa conducted a bloody campaign of murdering emigre dissidents, mainly Croat nationalists and separatists based in Western Europe. However, a number of Serb and Albanian nationalists were assassinated abroad.

Yugoslavia was a multi-ethnic communist federation made up of Serbs, Croats, Slovenes, Macedonians, Montenegrins plus sizeable populations of ethnic Hungarians and Albanians. It fell apart in 991 because of Serbian nationalism. 
From 1944 to 1980, it was ruled by Marshal Josip Broz Tito, a former Stalinist who broke with Moscow in 1948.

Yago Despot had no history of any kind of Croat nationalist activity but had been a popular figure in Melbourne community amongst the Croats, Serbs, Macedonians who had emigrated from Yugoslavia to Australia. 






UPDATE: 

Victoria Police Homicide Squad confirmed the double homicide is still a 47 year old cold case…
A Victoria Police spokesman released this statement to TEAM UZUNOV:
“The case is unsolved and is considered a “cold case’, although not currently active, which means that the case file is in storage, pending the receipt of any new information.

COLD CASE
The grave of Charles Alfred Hughes, buried along with his mother - his 1969 murder remains unsolved by VICTORIA Police. It is strongly suspected he was an innocent victim of the Yugoslav secret police (UDBa) in its war against emigre opponents of the regime living in Australia TEAM UZUNOV tracks down his last resting place…in Melbourne’s Springvale Botanical Cemetery, state of Victoria, Australia…(photos by Sasha Uzunov). We gave the grave a clean up.


UPDATE:

Homicide Squad - Victoria Police - spokesman releases statement over 1969 Yago Despot Cold Case murder:

"I have made enquiries with homicide and they won’t release the coroner’s report (because it is still an open investigation and has information in it that we would not want made public) Things like the exact calibre of the firearm used is an example, if we put it out publicly then we lose the ability to check informants/witness stories for genuine accuracy. ie. if someone knows something that has never been publicly released we know that the information is more credible.

"But to help you out I am authorised tell you that both men were killed at close range by a small calibre firearm. I have also been authorised to give you this extract from the Coroners Summary if it helps."

 ANOTHER UPDATE - National Archives of Australia releases 1969 ASIO report on Despot murder:

link here

The report was written by the ASIO Director General Charles Spry for the Prime Minister’s Department; it indicates the gravity of the matter.



Friday, July 15, 2016

MACEDONIA - BACK TO THE FEDERATION?




MACEDONIA - BACK TO THE FEDERATION? - United States supports Macedonia’s independence. by Sasha Uzunov.

During the unfolding crisis in Macedonia, as the tiny Balkan state tries to navigate the stormy political waters, some of Macedonia’s ruling classes have gone to the extreme of wanting to return to the “certainty" of the Socialist Republic of Macedonia, then a unit within federal Yugoslavia (1944-91), which if it were to be seriously implemented today would lead to de facto Serb federal control and certain civil war in Macedonia.

US EMBASSY BACKS MACEDONIA’S SOVEREIGNTY - doesn’t support call for Macedonia to return to defacto Serbian federal rule.

Mr Joseph Mellott a spokesman for the US Ambassador in Macedonia, Mr Jess Baily, gave the following statement to TEAM UZUNOV:

"For more than two decades, the United States has fully supported the Republic of Macedonia’s sovereignty, independence, and integration into the Euro-Atlantic community.”

Critics of the US, including pro Russian supporters in Macedonia, have accused the US government of trying to destablise Macedonia as part of a so called “hybrid war.” The argument goes that it is an attempt to force Macedonia to change its name to appease Greece and the push to remove VMRO-DPMNE Nikola Gruevski as part of that plot. Supporters of the US position argue that the demonstrations which have racked Macedonia for over year, beginning with the release of taped phone conversations detailing alleged corruption by Gruevski are simply a push for clean government.

However, TEAM UZUNOV, in its continued study of Serbian cultural hegemony in Macedonia, hopefully a future book in the offing, takes a look at the continued obsession with Yugoslavism in the country. For many Macedonians, genuine internationalism is often confused with Belgrade urban culture, hence the various contradictions, paradoxes - either intentional or unintentional.

The US Embassy was contacted to clarify its position over contradictory and ambiguous comments over Serbian nationalism made by a leading Macedonian pundit Mr Borjan Jovanoski, who claims to be pro US, and his 2015 call on social media for the “return” of the Socialist Republic of Macedonia - a federal unit within Yugoslavia from 1944 to 1991 - but under Serbian hegemony. A call for the current independent Republic of Macedonia to return to the SRM would in effect mean defacto Serbian federal rule and provoke certain civil war in Macedonia if it were ever implemented. In effect it would lead to the partition of Macedonia between present day Kosovo and the Republic of Serbia. You have to ask why would 99.9% of Macedonia’s Albanians want to return to defacto Serbian rule? Why would a vast majority of Macedonians want to as well, when they voted for independence in 1991. That Borjan Jovanovski's proposal has slipped under the West's radar is alarming.



On 8 September 1991 Macedonia became independent from Yugoslavia after the earlier departures of Slovenia and Croatia. Serbian strongman Slobodan Milosevic started a war in trying to stop Slovenia and Croatia from leaving and with the intent of creating a Greater Serbia, which would include Macedonia. Milosevic became bog down in his wars in Croatia and Bosnia and had to let Macedonia reluctantly go as he couldn’t sustain a second or third front.

According to leading British journalist, Misha Glenny, the Socialist Republic of Macedonia within the Yugoslav federation had a bad human rights record.

You're trying to present a modern image to the world yet by calling for a return to the Socialist Republic of Macedonia which according to Misha Glenny, treated Albanians far worse than in an independent Macedonian state…you end up with a huge contradiction. It makes no sense. It doesn’t help promote inter-ethnic harmony. The SRM also mistreated Macedonian dissidents. Yugoslavia was after all a one party state. In 1959, Tito’s Yugoslavia outlawed homosexuality, which was only decriminalised in 1997 in an independent Macedonian state.

In 2001 an ethnic Albanian uprising occured in Macedonia as a result of the 1999 NATO war in supporting Kosovo breaking away from Serbia.

As for solving the name dispute with Greece, that is simply a fallacy. Leading Greek academic Spyrdion Sfetas, writing for a Serbian academic journal, Balcanica, in 2012, made Greece’s position clear over the Socialist Republic of Macedonia during the Karamanlis period in the late 1970s, post Junta.

Sfetas explains Greece refused to recognise a Macedonian minority in Greece because it would be implicit recognition of a Macedonian nation, the Socialist Republic of Macedonia in 1978-79.

The Greek formula was to recognise the Socialist Federal Republic of Yugoslavia via the capital Belgrade, and playing upon the old Serb-Greek relationship. The question remains how could the use of SRM possibly resolve the name dispute now? Its nonsensical to think that Greece would budge under any circumstance.


UNCOMFORTABLE TRUTHS - Both sides of Macedonian politics, the government of VMRO-DPMNE and the Opposition, SDSM. are to a large extent pro Belgrade. It’s stating the bleeding obvious.

In 2014, Macedonian Prime Minister Nikola Gruevski surprised a large number of people by announcing a joint embassy sharing agreement with Serbia.

The last time Macedonia “shared” any kind of diplomacy was when it was in Borjan Jovanovski’s SRM.

Gruevski, who was deposed as Prime Minister last year, has cultivated a close relationship with Serbian Prime Minister Alexander Vucic, a one time ultra Serb nationalist and disciple of madman Vojislav Seselj. Vucic maintains he is a “changed man.” You would think that as a way of outflanking Gruevski, SDSM would have a fresh foreign policy - say draw closer to Croatia, which is both an EU and NATO member, but Opposition Leader Zoran Zaev’s strategy is to copy Gruevski, to out-Belgrade the Belgradist.


Criticisms of Serbian nationalism, as a result, have largely been muted in Macedonia by both sides. In 2014, in an outburst reminiscent of a Jihadist hate preacher, the head of the Serbian Orthodox Church, Archbishop Irinej blamed gay people for causing the massive floods ravaging Serbia and other parts of the Balkans. Such views outlandish views found fertile soil in Macedonia via the powerful state controlled Serbian tabloid media which, which even Borjan Jovanovski acknowledges, yet no Macedonian LGBT activist held a protest outside the office of Irinej’s representative in Macedonia, Zoran Vraniskovski. In effect, Serbian homophobia was given a free pass in Macedonia.

A year later, the Serbian High Court rehabilitated the controversial World War II leader Draza Mihailovic, a rival of Marshal Tito, an advocate of a Greater Serbia who in 1943-44 sent an army known as the Vardar Chetnik Corps (VCC) into Macedonia to destroy Macedonia’s Partizan resistence movement, an unofficial alliance of Macedonian communists and nationalists who had banded together to fight the German and Bulgarian occupiers. The VCC was wiped out by the outstanding leadership of Macedonian Partizan commander Hristjan Todorovski-Karpos.

Neither the supporters of the Macedonian government nor the Opposition protested outside the Serbian Embassy in Skopje over the Mihailovic move.

Earlier this year, when the diminutive Croat Member of the European Parliament Marijana Petir arrived in Skopje to lend her support to Gruevski, she was set upon within a second by protestors. Yet no protests have ever been held in front of the Serbian Embassy in Skopje over the lengthy and deep relationship between Gruevski and Vucic. see link 



Misha Glenny - link here

SITTING ON TWO CHAIRS?

Gruevski mouthpiece, the bombastic TV host Milenko Nedelkovski, who says he is a Macedonian patriot, has associated with ultra Serb nationalist headcases with links to Milorad Dodik, the paranoid ruler of the statelet, Republika Srpska in Bosnia-Hercegovina. Dodik has created a whole routine ranting about the “evil West” but spends a small fortune in paying US lobbyists.

Milenko show in Belgrade !

When a Polish documentary film about ethnic Macedonians in Greece was shown at the European Parliament, neither Milenko nor Borjan attended nor even publicised the film. But their focus has been more on developments in Belgrade. It tells you of the extent of Serbian cultural hegemony when a Macedonian “patriot” Milenko Nedelkovski and a Macedonian “internationalist” take different paths but have the same cultural destination - Belgrade !


This obsession with Serbian cultural hegemony in Macedonia is actually counter-productive: first it tells the world that Macedonians are not serious about their independence gained 25 years ago; and secondly it creates a polarised society - pulled in two directions: Belgrade and Pristina, with no middle ground to tie Macedonians and Albanians together.

Some Macedonians have in recent times confused Macedonian patriotism with Serbian nationalism over a fear of Albanian separatism in Macedonia, event though the major tenent of Serbian nationalism is clearly anti-Macedonian - Macedonians are regarded as South Serbs or as an exotic form of Serb much like Montenegrins !

The 2001 ethnic Albanian uprising in Macedonia had the unintended consequence of letting Greater Serb nationalists such as Vojislav Seselj and Slobodan Milosevic off the hook in the eyes of some Macedonians. However, a large body of Macedonians can see that a Greater Serbia mania feeds a Greater Albanian mania and vice versa. Instead of critiquing Serbian cultural hegemony, which Macedonian “internationalists” themselves indulge in, the easy and lazy option has been to pin the blame on alleged “ultra Macedonian extremism.”

American writer Chris Deliso has explaind that by their very nature Macedonians are generally submissive and have to be prodded into action. This tallies with Serbian cultural hegemony in Macedonia…and with the observations of Misha Glenny.



CAN MACEDONIA SURVIVE?

Macedonia will soon celebrate 25 years of independence - can Macedonia survive as an independent nation-state or will it be torn apart by three cultural polarities pulling and pushing the country - The Pristina, Belgrade and Sofia axis - Albanian separatists, Belgradists and Bulgarianists?

Can Macedonia's elite cut its addiction to Serbian cultural hegemony or will this addiction cost Macedonia its very independence?

You have both sides in Macedonia's political bloc, SDSM and VMRO-DPMNE who still look towards Belgrade for "guidance"

There is a Vrhovist faction (pro Bulgarian faction known as Supremists) also gaining a toehold in Macedonia.

When Macedonian elite members from opposing sides and who hate each other - Borjan Jovanovski and Milenko Nedelkovski share the same cultural addiction, Belgradism, then that doesn't leave Macedonia in a secure position.

Recently, an Albanian politician Tahir Veliu visited Macedonia preaching a Greater Albania, which would include a slice of Macedonia and would mean the end of Macedonia. see link here

There was silence from Levica (Leftists) and Colour Revolutionists who proclaim they are against "foreign interference;" there was silence from Borjan; there was silence from Milenko - meaning that a deliberate Pristina (Tirana) - Belgrade cultural polarity is being pushed in Macedonia. Add the Bulgarianists into the mix, taking advantage...

The problem isn't so much an "ethno-Macedonian nationalism" - which the West has misread - but the three way cultural polarity or axis that is pulling, pushing Macedonia. The solution is to navigate these treacherous waters and remain independent.




Tuesday, July 12, 2016

JNA DOWN - Slovenia’s brave fight for freedom

1991 - We have an Mi-8 down, JNA chopper is down…. JNA bird is down..
JNA helicopter brought down in Slovenia's fight for freedom.. 
JNA = Yugoslav People’s Army.

25 YEARS OF SLOVENIAN INDEPENDENCE
by Sasha Uzunov 

On the 25th of June 1991 Slovenia and Croatia both declared their independence from Yugoslavia, and ultimately opened up the door for Macedonian independence on 8 September 1991.

Slovenia had become disenchanted with rising Serbian nationalism in Yugoslavia and matters came to head with the advent of Serb strongman Slobodan Milosevic, with his plans for a transformation of communist Federal Yugoslavia into a more centralised state, under tighter control by Belgrade and later of a Greater Serbia.


Top: Ante Markovic (the last Prime Minister of Federal Yugoslavia - 1989-91. Bottom left: General Veljko Kadijevic, Federal Defence Minister; Slobodan Milosevic; Vlado Kambovski.

MACEDONIAN “BELGRADIST” - YUGOSLAV JUSTICE MINISTER KAMBOVSKI

In 1990 - Slovenia was warned in the Federal Yugoslav parliament by the then Justice Minister, Vlado Kambovski, a Macedonian, with the possible threat of violence if it dared secede.

"The government will ''undertake energetic steps to protect reforms and objective, common interests of all peoples and nationalities'' in Yugoslavia, Kambovski said without elaboration.”

Kambovski was doing the bidding of Milosevic and gave him the legal “cover” he would later use, when he ordered JNA tanks to invade Slovenia on 26 June 1991, a day after Slovenia declared independence.

In December 1991, Yugoslav Prime Minister Ante Markovic resigned whilst Kambovski stayed on until June 1992, almost a year after his home republic of Macedonia declared its independence in September 1991... By staying on until June 1992, Kambovski in effect was agreeing with Milosevic's policies and behaviour. Kambovski did not resign in June 1992, his position ceased to exist as SFR Yugoslavia ceased to exist, meaning he stayed on till the last minute… Why Kambovski was never indicted by the War Crimes Tribunal in the Hague remains a mystery

Markovic, later testified as a witness in Milosevic's trial at the Hague in 2003:

Ante Marković, who was Prime Minister of Yugoslavia from March 1989 until his resignation in December 1991, said that this was the first time in the past twelve years that he had made public his views on these events.

In his subsequent testimony against the former president of FRY, Yugoslavia’s last premier Ante Marković said that during the 1990s Milošević was ‘obviously striving to create a Greater Serbia. He said one thing and did another. He said that he was fighting for Yugoslavia, while it was clear that he was fighting for a Greater Serbia, even though he never said so personally to me.’

Testifying about military activities in 1991, he described the attack on Slovenia of 26 June for which some hold him responsible. He insisted that he was not responsible for it, and that as prime minister he had no control over the JNA. The Slovenian president Milan Kučan informed him about the attack by telephone, while the Yugoslav minister of defence Veljko Kadijević told him: ‘Since we knew you wouldn’t agree, we didn’t bother to ask you.’



MILAN KUCAN RISES TO THE OCCASION: 

DIGNITY IN THE FACE OF FEAR - "The right to dream." 26 June 1991 - President of Slovenia Milan Kucan made a simple but dignified and moving speech delivered against a backdrop of tension, fear, and impending invasion...from the more powerful Federal Yugoslavist armed forces in its bid to crush Slovenia's right to independence. Even now when you watch the video, you can feel the earie tension, the calm before the storm.

President Kucan:

"With a birth a man acquires the right to dream. With work we acquire the right to advance one's life dreams.

"Yesterday we combined both for the Slovenes who once dreamt of this and for future generations who will build a new world.

"Now we shall enter a family of free, independent nations.

"We cannot understand how this can intimidate anyone because we offer everyone our open hearts and a welcoming hand."

GAVRILO PRINCIP - the bullet that started World War I ! ZORAN DERNOVSEK - the rocket that ended Yugoslavist rule and opened the door for Macedonian independence.

Gavrilo Princip remains a controversial figure - the teenage Bosnian Serb who assassinated Austrian Archduke Franz Ferdinand on 28 June 1914 in Sarajevo - some regard him a hero, others a misguided, angry naive terrorist manipulated by Serb nationalists. In terms of Macedonian history, Princip is a very marginal figure at best. The onset of World War I didn’t change Macedonia’s situation - it remained partitioned by Serbia, Greece and Bulgaria and devasted by the Balkan Wars of 1912-13.

But the Princip narrative, which is largely a Serbian-Yugoslavist one, still gets emphasis in Macedonia, whilst Zoran Dernovsek, the Slovenian soldier who fired the rocket on the 27 June 1991 which opened up the path for Macedonian independence, for the first time in a millennium, is largely ignored.

One proponent of the Princip-Yugoslavist narrative in Macedonia is Balkan Insight reporter Sinisa Jakov Marusic who in a “collective effort” with other Balkan Insight reporters focused on Princip’s tenuous link to Macedonia but oddly left out Slovenia, which was at the time of World War I, under Austro-Hungarian rule. Princip’s assassination had an enormous impact upon Slovenia. see link


Meet the brave man, Zoran Dernovšek, who helped end Belgrade's Federalist rule in Slovenia and who opened the door for Macedonia's independence.

For some strange reason Macedonia's media - both government and opposition - are obsessed with Vojislav Seselj, Alexander Vucic, Srdja Popovic, Zoran Vraniskovski, Ceca, Gavrilo Princip and so on.

Dernovšek, a Slovenian Territorial Defence soldier, brought down one of the two JNA choppers and averted a massacre of Slovenian civilians.



His account:

"Mi-8 was the first aircraft of Yugoslav Army brought down in wars in Yugoslavia.

"It was hit and brought down on 27th June 1991 at 18.35 close to the village Ig (Mah) near Ljubljana (capital city of Slovenia), just about 5 seconds prior it opened fire on Training camp of Slovenian Territorial Defence and village itself. The destroyed helicopter was lead chopper of three Mi-8 fully armed helicopters with the mission of destroying the training camp and the Ig village by rocket attack and by deploying airborne special forces of Yugoslav Army from Niš, Serbia.

"It was a clear case of self - defence act where about 4,500 people were saved from certain death or injury.

"Next hit down was Gazelle Sa-341 at 19.20 in the same day, close to parliament building in capital city of Ljubljana.”

The Ten-Day War (Slovene: desetdnevna vojna) or the Slovenian Independence War (slovenska osamosvojitvena vojna), also the Weekend War (vikend-vojna) was a brief war of independence that followed the Slovenian declaration of independence on 25 June 1991. It was fought between the Slovenian Territorial Defence (Slovene: Teritorialna obramba Republike Slovenije) and the Yugoslav People's Army (YPA). It lasted from 27 June 1991 until 7 July 1991, when the Brioni Accords were signed.

YUGOSLAV ARMY COLONEL - Aksientijevic: as soon as the rocket hit, Yugoslavia was finished. source: BBC documentary.