Srebrenica: US, UK had a ‘Deep Throat’ in Belgrade

For the second time in 20 years, former Dutch defence minister Joris Voorhoeve has said that “at least two allied nations” had prior knowledge about the 1995 Serbian onslaught against the UN-protected ‘safe areas’ in eastern Bosnia. He did not identify them, but, as was the case in 2005, the public broadcasting company that aired his story has said the two are the United States and the United Kingdom.

Voorhoeve 2015

Joris Voorhoeve

In a documentary aired on Monday, Mr Voorhoeve said a lot less than in 2005. However, he did add a hitherto unknown detail: according to him, the source of  the ‘prior knowledge’ was an important Serbian informant in Belgrade.

Here’s a translation of what Joris Voorhoeve said this week:

About 1.5 months after the fall of the enclave, by the end of August, I received a document from an allied intelligence service. It stated: “we have an important Serbian informant who told us by the end of May: ‘We Serbians will conquer the three eastern enclaves in Bosnia in a few weeks’ time.’ ” So, there was an ally with a certain degree of prior knowledge.  

I then asked the Ministry (of Defence, HdV): “find out who else may have had prior knowledge.'”The answer was that at least one other ally had knowledge about the Serbian plans. (…) This was not information about the mass murders, it was about the Serbian plans to conquer the enclaves. (original Dutch audio: click here

The presenter of the documentary then says: “This document shows it were the British and American intelligence services that knew about the Serbian plans. Information they did not share with The Hague, even though Dutch peacekeepers protected the enclave.” Shown is part of a document with a large part whitened out (see picture). It was signed by Brigadier J.F.C.  Knapp, who had become the head of the military intelligence service MID (now called MIVD) on 28 June 1995.

Document Srebrenica generaal Knapp

The text of this document says:

SUMMARY/CONCLUSIONS

20. The MID did not have prior knowledge nor concrete indications about an imminent large-scale attack against the enclave with the intent to conquer it.

Representatives of the CIA and DIS* told the MID after the fall of Srebrenica explicitly they had had confirmed data.  Likewise, the British and American political side denied there had been prior knowledge. 

This document denies there was US/British ‘confirmed prior knowledge’, while the makers of the documentary are adamant the two DID have such knowledge. It’s possible that Joris Voorhoeve told them so, as seems to have been the case in 2005. But doing so on the record would mean he breaks the Dutch secrecy laws to which he is still bound and could well end up in court.

The TV documentary did not address the question WHO the ‘important Serbian informant’ was. But it must have been a very important intelligence asset. Important enough not to risk destroying his or her cover by informing the Dutch government about the upcoming Serbian offensive. Also, as a declassified intelligence report shows, the UN military were aware of the offensive before it materialized. Or at least General Rupert Smith, the UNPROFOR commander in Bosnia was. A key paragraph of this document, dated 1 June 1995, by the US Interagency ‘Balkan Task Force‘. intel 2

The question is of course: did Rupert Smith keep this information to himself, or did he share it with his subordinates in Bosnia, in particular with the commanding officers of UNPROFOR ‘Sector East’? I have never come across information which could confirm that.  For the uninitiated, the US and UK have a particularly close intelligence cooperation governed by the ‘United Kingdom – United States of America Agreement’ (UKUSA). In principle, intelligence they gather is not shared with allied services, with the exception of the other members of the ‘FiveEyes‘: Australia, Canada, and New Zealand.

Milosevic Stojicic

Jovica Stanišić (middle)

As to the identity of the source in Belgrade, that is anybody’s guess. But there is an obvious candidate:  Jovica Stanišić, in 1995 head of Serbia’s secret service SDB (the successor of the notorious UDBA). The CIA has gone on the record to say that Mr Stanišić has been their agent in Belgrade during eight years. See for instance this article by the Los Angeles Times. As wingman of Serbian leader Slobodan Milošević, he had access to virtually all information of relevance to the US/UK.

*DIS = Defence Intelligence Staff  (military intelligent service of the UK)

Klik hier voor de Nederlandstalige versie van dit artikel

Over Hans de Vreij

Dutch journalist. Former correspondent in Brussels, Geneva, Prague, East Berlin.
Dit bericht werd geplaatst in (former) Yugoslavia, Verenigde Naties en getagged met , , , , , , , , , , . Maak dit favoriet permalink.

Geef een reactie

Vul je gegevens in of klik op een icoon om in te loggen.

WordPress.com logo

Je reageert onder je WordPress.com account. Log uit / Bijwerken )

Twitter-afbeelding

Je reageert onder je Twitter account. Log uit / Bijwerken )

Facebook foto

Je reageert onder je Facebook account. Log uit / Bijwerken )

Google+ photo

Je reageert onder je Google+ account. Log uit / Bijwerken )

Verbinden met %s