WED, 06 APR 1994 17:34:41 GMT
In the night between Monday and Tuesday the Parliament of Slovenia, with 49 votes in favour and 39 against, decided to relieve the Minsiter of Defence Janez Jansa of office, a person who had, owing to the ten-day war in Slovenia and constant attacks against everyone who had once been in the League of Communists (in whose ranks he himself more or less successfully "swam"), and especially against President Milan Kucan, become the leader of a considerable part of the right faction. From the very beginning of the existence of the independent state of Slovenia, Jansa was its Minister of Defence. He established a new Slovenian Army, spent huge budgetary amounts on the best military equipment and weapons, started building an enormous edifice of a new Ministry of Defence in Ljubljana, known as the Pentagon - formed special units and an intelligence- counter intelligence service. At first, he employed former members of the territorial defence and members of the former YPA who had voluntarily, before or during the war joined the Slovenian Army, in different military institutions.
But, during the past two years a considerable number of those people started sliding down the personnel list, and Jansa's friends and ever younger and more obedient people started assuming the more important posts. He sourrounded himself by a multitude of young men from 22 to 30 years of age, who were handsome, young and strong, and nothing else. This gave rise to stories about various excesses on the part of his units, especially the intelligence and special ones. There were also stories about the illicit acts of soldiers, who secretly meddled in civilian affairs, which culminated when Jansa's special units violently attacked the civilian Milan Smolnikar, who had a year ago left his job in the special military brigade "Moris" where he was commander of a anti-terrorist unit. After the incident in Depala Vas, near Ljubljana, they first blocked him by cars, and after he locked himself in his BMW, they broke the windows on his car, entered it by force and beat him up. It was a group of Smolnikar's ex-colleagues from the "Moris" brigade that beat him up badly.
The event reached the public immediately, and that was the reason for calling Jansa to account, and later - a week later- for relieving him of office.
Everything started, but naturally only for the public, about a month ago, when the President of Slovenia, Milan Kucan at an event in Nova Gorica, where he was a guest, stated that some illegal intelligence services existed in Slovenia, which were tapping phones and shadowing some well-known politicians from the top state leadership, as well as some journalists. This fact was for the first time actually stated by Kucan, but before that, there was a lot of talk in Ljubljana about the existence of such organizations. In any case some journalists had actually complained that some strange things had been happening to them: the feeling that their phones were tapped, that their computers werebroken into, that papers had disappeared in mysterious ways in some cases, etc. This stirred up people even more because such things had not happened in Slovenia for decades. At least not on a larger-scale.
Utter confusion has been reigning in the intelligence field for a long time. In the past year there were several personnel changes at the helms of the Ministry of the Interior and the Intelligence Service. Reshufflings in the police resulted in the retirement of a large number of people too young to retire. People of 40 and a bit above that age had to leave service in their prime. Some of them were allegedly recruited by the military intelligence service - the VOMO - organized within the Ministry of Defense. Stories started circulating that numerous archives and documents on civilians had suddenly disappeared from the Archives of the Ministry of the Interior. It is difficult to say how much truth there is in this, for there are no official reactions even now, but only some from what are known as well-informed circles.
A genuine verbal war started after Kucan's statement. The loudest was precisely Janez Jansa and other representatives of the ultra right faction. They spoke against President Kucan and condemned him primarily for that part of his speech in Nova Gorica where he had stated that the mentioned secret organizations were prepared even for "disqualifications and liquidations". When a large part of the public demanded that this be elaborated and proof submitted of such claims, Milan Kucan said that he had received all data on the basis of which he had made the statement from the Ministry of the Interior and the Intelligence Service Sova and the official crime department.
He also said that the Prime Minister Dr. Janez Drnovsek and the President of the Parliament Herman Rigelnik, M.S. were informed of all the mentioned things. Prime Minister Drnovsek admitted that to be true, but after a talk with representatives of the police, the crime department and the Ministry of the Interior he assessed that there were certain indications of illicit acts taking place, but that situation was far from being so dramatic. And this at a time when all Ljubljana was talking in half whispers about some attempts at a coup de etat in the operation of the special military unit Moris. No official information was ever given about that action, but it did not bypass the attention of journalists.
The Ljubljana "Delo", whose leadership is very inclined to Janez Jansa first wrote about it. May we just remind that the director of the Delo bought from the Ministry of Defense - and fora lot of money at that - the house of a former high officer of the former YPA. But, the Delo represented Action Ljubljana as an innocent drill of the special military units. And people were a bit upset, but nevertheless reconciled to things. All that until Monday, March 21.
The "Mladina", a paper which has always closely followed various events, especially in the army, came out that day. In the former, Yugoslav army and the current Slovenian one. Several years ago Jansa was their reporter, and later, during the trial of the so-called "foursome" their protege, while today precisely the Mladina criticizes him the most and calls him to task.
In that issue the Mladina carried the story about the incident in Depala Vas, and disclosed some new elements in the so called "Operation Ljubljana". Namely, the Mladina got hold of some documents from Jansa's - now already former - Ministry, which confirmed their earlier information that military intelligence had the task of tailing i.e. controlling some of Mladina's journalists. The journalists of that paper, in a special text, where they also publish the fascimiles of those documents, claim that up to the moment when they got hold of those papers they had begun to doubt their sanity and thought that they had succumbed to paranoia. Namely, they write that they had started noticing people standing for hours on the entrance to their offices, cars in front of their houses with lights out and unknown drivers in them, etc.
The mentioned document confirmed their suspicions and shed light on some other things as well. Namely that Moris document, signed by Darko Njavro, Montenegrin by origin, and a man responsible for security in the military brigade Moris, contains the names of some officers of the former YPA, who were under 24 hour surveillance, and Njavro reports on the tail on Drnovsek's personal bodyguard. The document even mentions the order of Minister Jansa for the media to be controlled. Namely, apart from the "Delo" and the national television, Jansa did not exactly enjoy any strong support from them.
All those articles and some other stories in the last ten days of March heightened tensions in Slovenia. Public opinion polls show that most Slovenians were not on Jansa's side, but that a considerable number were. But new stories, new arguments, new evidence, drove the former defense Minister crazier and crazier every day. He started losing his nerve and several days before he was relieved of office his statement grew worse and worse. First he admitted to the attack of the Moris unit on Mr. Smolnikar, justifying it by the fact that Mr. Smolnikar was allegedly a spy, who had been selling classified documents of the Ministry of Defense to a "secret intelligence service". Several days later we learned that Jansa had "detected" the employee of the Ministry of the Interior, Drago Kos, who had allegedly, (like Smolnikar) incited employees of the Ministry of Defense to illegal acts.
Only a day before he was removed from office, Janez Jansa stated that no one had beaten Smolnikar. Smolnikar himself was to blame because he had locked himself in his car before Jansa's men and they were forced to take him out of the car. The wounds on his head and the concussion were the result of Smolnikar's having "wriggled out of the grasp of the authorities and hitting a tree"! And since the whole Slovenia saw the police photos of Smolnikar's car after the incident, and all the broken windows, the story started spreading through Ljubljana that perhaps there was no tree at all, but that Smolnikar had in despair started banging his head on the windshield, breaking first the glass and then his own head too!!!
Joking aside, the sequel was not exactly comic. Prime Minister Janez Drnovsek took a long time deciding what to do. When he submitted the proposal to the Parliament for the removal of Janez Jansa, the people had already started gathering in Ljubljana. Several thousand people (8,000 at most), ardent supporters of Jansa, gathered first at Tromostovje and then in front of the Parliament buidling demanding that the Prime Minister revoke his proposal, and on pickets and by whistling demanding the resignation of the entire Government, primarily President Kucan. There were various slogans - "Kucan - Staljin, Drnovsek - Beria", Kucan - Slobo" and "Long live Jansa", or "We want Jansa". Whether they liked it or not, the Parliament had passed a no confidence vote in Jansa at the moment when there were only several hundred people in front of the building.
After that Jansa decided not to retain his deputy seat, which he was entitled to according to the election results. The toppled minister has evidently decided to cross over to the opposition and continue his political work in the street. Some are awfully afraid of that, but there is probably no reason for fear. Namely, the Slovenians are not a people who like meetings and various street revolutions. Most, namely, wish to live as quietly as possible, in their flat or house, and think about how to earn as much money as possible. In addition, the political institutions are already at such a level that a return to the streets would mean definitive exit from Europe, into which Slovenia has already made its first steps.