Phone Hacking Slovenian Way

If you by any chance thought Slovenia is some sort of rump quasi-democracy with a crackpot neolib government, then you have the wrong idea, mister! In fact, this sorry little excuse for a country has everything big guys have, although you’re allowed to go pas assez cher, mon fils.

In fact, in certain aspects we’re very much like the United Kingdom. Not only did we have an allowances scandal, we have a finance minister who is forced to do an epic U-turn on matters of state finances and as of recent, just like United Kingdom we also have out very own phone-hacking scandal.


The incriminating text message. Interestingly enough, the background is red (gasp!) (source)

Interestingly enough, about a month ago, an article appeared on Slo-Tech.si community (fairly good Google translate), detailing vulnerabilities of several Slovene mobile operators and provided proof of concept about hacking the entire GSM grid individual phone numbers and the possibility to fake text messages and phone calls.

Days ago several members of Christian democratic NSi, a junior coaliticon party, received abusive text (SMS) messages calling them traitors and saying they’ll burn in hell for their position vis-a-vis the red star symbol. As both readers of this blog know, it has been the semi-official position of this government that the red star is a symbol of the tyranical communist regime and occupator Yugoslav army which fought to quash the fledling Slovenian state in the 1991 War of Independence. As such, the goverment went, the red star should be outlawed or at the very least excluded from the collective memory and remembance, especially from any and all official celebrations of Slovenian statehood.

Nevermind the fact that the Partisan guerilla fighters liberated Slovenia in 1945 under the red star banner, making the one of the few home-grown armed forces to defeat the Nazi and Fascist armies, hell-bent on erradicating Slovenes from the face of the Earth. Nevermind the fact that under the red star banner Slovenia was able to claim Primorska region as its sovereign territory, previously held by Italy as booty for switching allegiances in World War I. Nevermind the fact that under the red star banner, Partisan units were considered a part of Allied forces in World War Two, helping hundreds of US, British and other airmen, downed on their sorties during bombing campaigns over Nazi Germany.

Never even mind the fact that today Heineken brewery is using a red star as a part of its logo or that Crvena Zvezda (Red Star) football and basketball clubs from Belgrade are doing the same, as are countless other companies around the world, including (but not limited to) Texaco, Macy’s and even the State of California.

And last, but ceratinly not least, the only military compound in the capital Ljubljana was recently renamed from Franc Rozman Stane (commander of Partisan forces, killed in an firing-range accident in 1944) to Edvard Peperko who was the first military casualty of the Battle of Trzin (outside Ljubljana), one of the largest fire-fights between the JNA (federal army) and Slovene paramilitary Territorial Defence in 1991. The fact that defence minister Aleš Hojs, who decreed the renaming is a member of NSi, which troubled itself to defeat the (admittedly ill-concieved) designation of a new Ljubljana avenue after the late Josip Broz Tito only adds gravity to the issue. Which is why plenty of hoopla was raised when days ago prominent members of NSi received those abusive text messages. But the twist is that Jernej Vrtovec, Matjaž Longar and Andrej Cimperšek got these texts either from each other’s phone numbers or (in case of Vrtovec) from their own alternative number.

Obviously all hell broke loose, Vrtovec, Longar and Cimperšek denied the possibility of simply sending texts to one another and a police investigation was launched while Telekom Slovenje conducted an investigation into phone hacking allegations. Well, guess what: turns out their phones were not hacked but rather various web-services were used to emulate any given phone number. That such a feat is possible in the first place speaks volumes of the security measures within this specific cellular network in the first place (edit: apparently, this is something local mobile operators can not block. Thx @gbozic). But even more importantly this sheds new light on a similar incident months before last year’s elections.

Back then Melita Župevc MP (previously, of SD now of PS) SAID a call was made to her mobile phone using her own phone number. Given the fact that Župevc was at the time head of the parlimanetary inquiry on financing pro-SDS free “newspapers” prior to 2008 elections, she cried murder, claiming that she was being threatened and pressured. Almost immediately she became the laughing stock of the political right wing, with some even insinuating she’s delirious and hallucinating. And when their phones get allegedly hacked, they raise living hell as if it never happened before.

This government, despite facing a daunting task of handling the financial, economic and social crisis brought about by the 2008 crash, is making it its business to rewrite history and chase ghosts. Not only by banishing the red star wherever it sees one, but also by renaming army instalations which held the names of prominent Partisan leaders and screaming bloody murder when someone (perhaps even one of their own) does unto them what they laughed at when it was done unto others.

In fact, if you think Slovenia is a rump quasi-democracy with a crackpot neolib government, chances are, you’e not that far off.

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Constitutional Court Nixes Tito Street

In a highly anticipated decision, Slovenian Constitutional Court declared null and void a controversial decision by the Ljubljana City Council to name a newly-built avenue running along the Stožice Stadium after Communist leader of former Yugoslavia Josip Broz Tito. Plaintiffs, the Christian-democratic party Nova Slovenija, claimed that naming the street after a man led the regime which systematically trampled human rights and conducted post-war massacres goes against human dignity and is thus unconstitutional. The court went along with this argument and repealed Article 2 of the city ordnance in question.


This is no longer Tito Street (source)

Pengovsky said all along that Ljubljana could well do without Tito street, although the historic role of Josip Broz is both positive and negative and that mayor Zoran Janković was needlessly stirring the pot with this issue. While not totally unexpected, the ruling (and the logic behind it) can become extremely important, because it sets a new standard in determining what is allowed and what is not. On one hand we can expect a mass of petitions to have other streets and squares which still bear Tito’s name to be renamed (cases in point being cities of Koper and Velenje), but on the other hand this should open the doors to petitions to rename other streets named after controversial historical figures. The Pope John Paul II Street in Ljubljana comes to mind (to give an example at random).

Furthermore, the Constitutional Court is also expected to rule on whether to allow the referendum on the new Family Code, which will basically be a referendum on allowing same-sex marriage and adoptions (with certain limits). We’ll see if the court will recognise the “constitutional guarantee of respect for human dignity” when it rules on that issue.

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A Good Day To Die (Is EU Following In Yugoslavia Footsteps?)

Comrade Tito died on this day in 1980. Thirty-one years later the death of Josip Broz Tito is little more than a moment in history. Yugoslavia is no more, wars between nations have largely been subdued if not permanently ended and save Slovenia, which has made good use of the “congestion of history” in the late 80s and early 90s, most of the ex-YU countries are at different stages of what is lovingly knows as “Euro-Atlantic Integration Process”. But just exactly where are they headed? Back to where they once already were?


Lep Dan Za Smrt (A Good Day To Die) by Dan D

The main difference between the EU and Yugoslavia can be described using Marxist terms: The neglected German philosopher postulated that every society first needs to establish an economic infrastructure upon which it builds the social superstructure. Yugoslavia under Tito and later went in the opposite direction. It first established the superstructure and then attempted (and failed spectacularly) to adapt the economic infrastructure accordingly. In this respect the EU is much more of a Marxist project than Yugoslavia ever was I know some of you are rolling under the table in a spasm, foaming at the mouth after reading this, but it’s true.

Today, the part of EU which has money is pumping shitload of cash and guarantees into the part of EU that has none. Some EU members are talking about scrubbing the Schengen treaty and reinstituting border checkpoints when they see fit (“special circumstances” cited by France and Italy being the broadest of excuses this side of Jupiter). And, lest we forget, places like Hungary and Finland are making people nervous by either passing constitution that would make 19h century blush or bringing anti-Europe fundamentalists within inches of actually running the country. Not to mention the fact that right-wing nationalists are flourishing all around Europe as well.

What was once Yugoslavia saw this film already: the developed republics (mostly Slovenia) were pumping money into the bottomless pit that was the rest of Yugoslavia without hope of ever seeing it again, borders were drawn, re-drawn and fought over, all the while most of the republics succumbed to the spell of nationalist movements and the charisma of its leaders, including (but not limited to) Slobodan Milošević and Franjo Tuđman.

Historically, every multi-national entity Slovenia (or any other ex-Yu republic) was ever a part of, disintegrated in blood-shed. And to continue with Marxist theme, history tends to repeat itself. First as a tragedy and then as a farce.

BTW: The music video above is by Slovene band Dan D and is using images of Tito’s funeral as a backdrop to what is possibly one of their best tunes, even though it is a cover as the song is originally by Niet.

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