Upping the Ante

So sue me! (source)

A shocker! Contrary to my expectiations, PM Janez Janša went ahead and actually filed a suit against his predecesor Tone Rop. The date is obviusly not a coincidence, as Janša seems to be on a brink of a breakthrough in negotiating a settlement of several Slovene-Croatian disputes. This settlement (if sucessful) wil have been achieved with Croatian PM Ivo Sanader, with whom (according to Rop claims) Janša has coordinated border incidents in the Bay of Piran just prior to Slovene 2004 elections, when he got elected as PM and replaced Tone Rop in office.

Also, the filing of the suit comes only days before Iztok Podpregar, former top Slovene spy, who broke the news of allegend Janša’s involvement in the incidents to Rop, is due to testify before the parliamentary committee overseeing the intelligence services. Podbregar is expected to be quizzed especially about the supposed eavesdropping on Janša and Sanader.

Janša’s move could mean any number of things: If the dispute with Croatia is settled, the question of his involvement would suddenly become less important. Not because his alleged actions would be any less… how shall I put it… deplorable, but simply because it would become so last Tuesday and noone would care to open issues that were barely closed.

On the other hand it could be that Janša is running scared and is trying to bluff his way out of a very bad predicament. Namely -if Rop’s allegations are true (as hinted at by the German secret service) than Janša has nowhere to hide and can only hope that the other fellow will blink first. Knowing Rop, this is not likely to happen.

And thirdly, it could be that Janša is only covering his bases. If the deal with Croatians does not go through, he can still try to pin it on Rop, saying that the latter undermined Slovenia’s negotiating positions by his claims.

Anyways, the ball is now in Rop’s court. As Janša is filing a private suit, the burden of proof lies with Rop, meaning that in order to win the case, Rop must prove beyond a shadow of a doubt that his allegations are correct. Short of producing the transcripts and/or several strong material witnesess, I fail to see how that can be done. So I asume Rop’s got his bases covered – why else would he play such a dangerous game?

But the sad part is that we now have two people, who – each in his own time – were (are) the most informed and powerful men in this country are due in court to decide who knew what and when. Again…. this is not you calling your neighbour a cunt and him calling you a pussy, but about two prime ministers, one basically accusing the other of high treason. This is impeachment stuff, and not a matter for a disctrict court.

Only in Slovenia, ladies and gentlemen, only in Slovenia

UPDATE: Hours ago PM has replaced three ministers and Director of SOVA. See my comment @ 4:41 pm for details.

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Agent provocateur and an occasional scribe.

16 thoughts on “Upping the Ante”

  1. Let us not forget that the German BND has no official government-based expert on itself 🙂 and that dr. Ulfkotte was speaking as himself … So who knows whether BND really heard/has anything…

  2. Point… As a political scientist, however, I am most intrigued by the fact that the battle has moved from political to judicial arena. Or has it?

    Peharps the court battle is (in refference to von Clausewitz) only a continuation of politics using different means.

  3. Well, as said it might be possible, that it might be hard for Rop to prove his accusations. This might offer a possibility to JJ to shut Rop’s “unpleasant mouth” without getting too dirty. For this it wouldn’t be too important, which of them is telling the truth.

    The other thing is, that Rop lost elections against Janša and might be pissed of and wants revenge. So, if I got this (and others) right, the evidence was already there before the lost elections. Remarkable, that Rop waited until now to use it to launch it against JJ. So, without me knowing any of the two good enough, maybe it’s also Rop that wants to fuck a rival?

    Is there any proof, that the German secret service tabbed the (maybe or may not be made) phonecall? If it was the Slovene service who did, JJ might be powerful enough to sack some people responsible for this. So, maybe one of the owls thought it might be safer for his payroll to claim, someone else overheard the call and passed it to Slovenia. Even better if there’s a strawman confirming it.

  4. Exactly: The main question is, why did Rop wait until now, but also – why would he lie about it? Being a former PM himself, he must know how easy is to rebuff false claims. Especially where secret services are involved. I know that

    Rop has a short temper and revenge may indeed be a motive, but why on earth would he wait three years to tell a lie? Even the truth will be difficult to prove (as I said, short of actual transcripts, I see no other admissible evidence), meaning that it is near to impossible to get away with a lie.

  5. Yeah I’ve been trying to slowly decipher the news for the past day. I watched a clip of Rop on vest and–while I know things could get lost in translations–the guy didn’t look nervous.

    I know JJ is trying to call Rop’s bluff with the lawsuit, but why would he be so eager to do so if he had nothing to hide? False accusations get shrugged off every day, why would he trouble himself with legal action in a busy election cycle and in the middle of fun negotiation time with Sanader? Unless, of course, Sanader is leaning on him to do it as a show of good faith, but again that points to Sanader having guilty conscience (or sensitive about Rop hurting his feelings…).

    I am coming in just a few days to get a seat a bit closer to the action, but if the shit really hits the fan before I get there, can someone with a telephoto lens get a nice big close-up on JJ’s shocked face?

    What a mess, but I wish someone would do the same over here. Now that’d be cause for celebration! I’d grab a chair and a very large bucket of popcorn. 😉

  6. Have there been any other disputes between those two besides the current issue? Or did Rop expect something from JJ which wasn’t fulfilled? Or is Rop trying to get something from JJ? If it would have been only to save his place in the office, would it have been wise or stupid for Rop to accuse Janša during the past elections? There would have been much less to lose (but more important: also much less to win) if Rop would have accused JJ right after lost elections.

    When will the coming elections be anyway?

  7. I like point no. 3 and offer an extra one. Pt.4: these guys are actually woking together for a common objective, hidden to our ignorant glances.

  8. Just to let y’all know: during today’s cabinet session PM Janez Janša has accepted resignations (i.e.: forced them to resign) of three ministers: Andrej Bručan (health), Janez Božič (transport) and Jure Zupan (higher education) which come from parties SDS, SLS and NSi respecitevly. Also replaced is Director of Slovene intelligence agency SOVA Matjaž Šinkovec.

    This is a massive cabinet reshufle, the likes of which Slovenia has never seen (or rather: has always a part of a collapse of the government). The ministerial resignations are obviously an attempt at pacifing the parties of coalition, as well as further removing people who have direct knowledge of his alleged involvement in the ongoing spy scandal.

    The PM is tying up loose ends and is running for cover.

    I’d say that as of now the second option is more likely.

  9. Admittedly, this was a surprise… The individual resignations would not have been all that dramatic, but having them en masse is very hardcore…

  10. I’m still chewing on that one… So far he hasn’t chickened out… It could be just a tease. It also goes against Rop’s nature. I guess it also depends on the actual content of testimony of Podbregar before the committee.

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