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Former Croatian minister confirms CIA's involvement in 1995 military operation
SOURCE: HRT1 TV, Zagreb, in Serbo-Croat 1730 gmt 20 Aug 01
[Translated from Croatian TV on 20 August, 2001, Monday]
Announcer: Today's issue of the US weekly 'Newsweek' carries a report containing information that has been surmised for years, but has never been officially confirmed. According to Newsweek's article headlined "What Did the CIA Know" the US intelligence service closely cooperated with Croatia, particularly in the preparation and during Operation Storm:
Reporter: The article says that in the mid-1990s the Americans helped the Croats by sending them images of the Serb forces' movements and weapons emplacements photographed by drones. The images were transmitted to an HQ near Zadar from where they were then forwarded to the Pentagon. According to top Croatian intelligence officials, copies were also sent to the headquarters of Ante Gotovina the Croatian general in command of Operation Storm. Miroslav Tudjman, the then head of the Croatian Intelligence Service, says in the article that the Croatian and American intelligence services had a de facto partnership. The then Minister of Foreign Affairs Mate Granic also knows about this cooperation:
Mate Granic: Of course I know, they cooperated well, these aircraft were also used. During the Kosovo operation Croatia also cooperated successfully as a partner of NATO and the USA.
Reporter: The article further says that the US officials have confirmed that the CIA had limited sharing of intelligence information with Croatia, but also insist American operatives did nothing that contributed to war crimes, nor did they know anything about planning for criminal activity.
These facts can be used for defence in the Gotovina case, the article further says. His defence counsel Luka Misetic says that there were many sets of eyes watching Operation Storm. No one there in the CIA saw there was a problem with war crimes. A former senior administration official says the White House had the usual scatter of information about individual incidents, but no evidence that the Croats were going out of their way to terrorize the Serb population.
Another issue is how to pressure the USA into opening their archives and forwarding documents to the Hague tribunal:
Mate Granic: The US is reluctant to give any of its intelligence reports - that has been our experience so far. As for whether it will give any documents now, it is up to the Hague tribunal and the USA.
Reporter: Gotovina's lawyer announced he would ask for this by subpoena. Roy Gutman concludes by saying that the US cannot wash its hands of it now, having been collecting evidence all the time and finally saying: We were not there.
Copyright 2001 BBC Reposted For Fair Use Only
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