Over the years there have been many ex-military and secret service personnel that have written books and articles that talk about their work and the objectives of their bosses. Such disclosures are always most interesting when the subject matter is close to your heart and when you feel that the public perception needs to be altered.
Robert Baer is a former senior CIA officer and the author of many works about his former employers at the time of the administrations of Bill Clinton and George W. Bush. His publications have been a source of irritation to the current US authorities leading to his arrest on several occasions.
As a senior CIA operative, he worked in the former Yugoslavia from 1991-1994 and in the Middle East. He has participated in several documentaries on the National Geographic TV channel accusing Bush of making war for oil! The following interview with Robert Baer was conducted by Milos Cupurdija in Canada and highlights some of the public misconceptions about the events that tore up Yugoslavia.
When did you arrive in Yugoslavia and what was your first job?
I first arrived by helicopter with 3 other agents on 12 January 1991 in Sarajevo. Our job was to keep an eye on the supposed Serbian terrorists who were due to attack Sarajevo.
Who were supposed to be the terrorists and why would they be expected to attack Sarajevo?
They were given information about a group called “Serbian Supreme” and their plans to attack key buildings in Sarajevo with the desire that Bosnia would leave Yugoslavia.
Was there such a group, and what did you actually do in Sarajevo?
Such a group never existed and we had been tricked by our central command. We were tasked with warning people and spreading panic amongst the politicians in Bosnia . Basically we just filled their heads with the idea that the Serbs will attack. Initially we were taken with the story but eventually realised that we were spreading stories and fear about a group that did not exist.
How long did this operation last and what was it called?
For me it lasted for two weeks because then I received orders to go to Slovenia on another job. The operation continued for another month after and the code name was “Istina” which is exactly what it was not.
Why did you go to Slovenia?
There I was told that Slovenia was getting ready to declare its independence from Yugoslavia. I was given money, several million dollars with which we would finance non-governmental organisations, opposition parties and politicians all of whom were prepared to spread and incite amongst the population.
Given these propaganda activities what sort of opinions did you have of the CIA and what did your colleagues think?
Of course you do not refuse a task given to you by the CIA especially at that time when everybody was jumpy and given to paranoia. Many agents and high ranking officers had disappeared because they had refused to work on propaganda against the Serbs in Yugoslavia. I personally was shocked at the amount of lies being perpetrated by the CIA and the US politicians. Many CIA agents worked in propaganda but were not entirely aware of what they were doing as they would be involved with just one facet of the project and only those who could piece together the whole picture knew the aims of the work and they were the politicians.
So there was only propaganda against the Serbs?
Yes and no. The propaganda was aimed to divide the republics and to ensure that the states are separated from the mother of Yugoslavia. We had to choose a sacrificial lamb that could be blamed for everything. Someone who would be responsible for the war and the violence. Serbia was chosen because it is in some ways the successor of Yugoslavia.
Can you name the politicians from the former Yugoslavia that received money from the CIA?
Yes, although this is delicate. Stipe Mesic, Franjo Tudjman, Alija Izebegovic, many advisors and members of the government of Yugoslavia, and also Serbian generals, journalists and even some military units. For a time Radovan Karadzic was paid but stopped taking the help when he realised he would be sacrificed and charged with crimes in Bosnia. He was played by the U.S. administration.
You mentioned the financing and control of the media, how did this take place?
It is already known that some CIA agents were responsible for writing the official statement that news anchors would read. Of course the news readers did not know anything as they received their instructions from their bosses who received instructions from his boss who was our (CIA) man. There was one overall task and that was to incite hatred and nationalism through television and for differences between the people to really stand out.
Srebrenica which we are all aware of. Can you say something about that situation?
Yes, from 1992 I was in Bosnia again, but this time we had to train military units representing Bosnia, the new State which only just declared its independence. Srebrenica is an exaggerated story, and unfortunately many people have been manipulated by it. The numbers of the people killed there were all part of the political marketing. My boss who had previously been in the US Senate had several times told me that there would at some point be a big con in Bosnia. A month before the supposed genocide in Srebrenica he told me that this town would be known around the world and we were instructed to inform the media. When I asked him why he said I will see. We received an order that with the newly-formed Bosnian army we should attack the houses and people of Srebrenica. Of course the Serbs followed suit as they would have been incited and paid to do so also.
Who could it be responsible for the genocide in Srebrenica?
Simply the deaths in Srebrenica were due to the Bosnians, the Serbs and the Americans, us! But the blame for everything is laid at the feet of the Serbs. Unfortunately many of the victims were buried as Muslims and yet they were Serbs or other nationalities. A few years ago a friend of mine, a former CIA agent and currently working in the IMF said that Srebrenica was a product of an agreement between the U.S. government and politicians in Bosnia. Srebrenica the city was sacrificed because after the alleged crimes of Serbs, the America had a reason to attack.
Why do you think that Yugoslavia broke up and why did your government want to have its role in this?
Everything is clear, people who had quietly instigated the war and loudly shouted about the peace are now the owners of the companies that exploit a variety of mineral resources and the like in that land! Simply, they made slaves of you, your people are working for free and the products are going to Germany and America, they earn! In the end you have to pay to import what you have made yourselves and since you have no money you must take out loans. It’s the story with the whole of the Balkans!
You have not been active in Kosovo as a CIA agent, but was there some pressure from the United States?
Of course! Kosovo was taken for two reasons, firstly because of mineral and natural resources, and secondly, the Kosovo military base NATO! In the heart of Europe is their largest military base.
Do you have any message for the people of the former Yugoslavia?
I have. Forget your recent past it was staged and faked. You have been manipulated and they got what they wanted and it would be stupid for you to still hate each other. You have to be stronger and to show that you are aware what has happened and who was responsible. I sincerely apologise and this is why I have for a long time now been exposing the secrets of the CIA and the White House.
Robert Baer is currently promoting his new book “The Secrets of the White House”. Here are some of his previous publications:
October 10, 2012