Did Janša Try To Plant Forged Documents In Patria Affair?

The Patria Affair had an interesting double twist this week. On Monday Delo daily ran an article claiming that Finnish investigators led by Kaj Erik Björkvist discovered that the 21 million euros, which were allegedly used to bribe a certain “J” (thought to be then-PM and current leader of the opposition Janez Janša) actually ended up not with Janša himself but with his Slovene Democratic Party (SDS) which used this money to finance their pre-election free weekly rags which were objectively reporting the events as seen by then-rulling SDS. In fact they were agit-prop papers of the worst kind. At any rate, the article by journalist Dejan Karba even quoted Björkvist confirming the money went to SDS and that a paper trail exists to prove it. Obviously all hell broke loose.

Patria APC, codenamed “Svarun” by the Slovenian Army (photo by Leon Vidic/Delo, source)

Media went into a frenzy, SDS went apeshit, denied everything and denounced Karba while Delo newspaper and its editor stood by its journalist even after (watch this) Björkvist denied giving the interview and in the end Karba said that it was actually he who gave Björkvist the incriminating documents which he allegedly got from a source within SDS.

This is where it gets interesting. Dejan Karba was a member of a huge crowd of journalists who descended on mainstream media from various politically biased news-organisations after Janez Janša won 2004 elections and set about “balancing” the media. Only weeks ago, when Janša was questioned by Björkvist, Karba (who reportedly majored in theology) managed to get a hold of a transcript of the questioning and pointed out parts which supposedly proved that there isn’t a shred of evidence against Janša. Since there are only two sources which Karba could have obtained the document from (Janša or Björkvist) there are no prizes for guessing who gave him the file. And as if that wasn’t enough, there was a short interview with Janša next to the article about the interrogation, explaining just what we were seeing (in case the message in the article didn’t get across).

So, Karba is Janša’s man. OK, no problem. Not entirely professional, but not illegal. And certainly not the only biased journalist out there. However, how can it be that only weeks later Karba becomes the centre of SDS’ vicious attacks on “unprofessional and politically motivated journalism”. Either Karba had an epiphany (pun very much intended) or this is a neat trick gone wrong, with SDS trying to do as much damage control as possible.

But to explain, we have to refresh our memories vis-a-vis an event which politically shaped Janez Janša. Depala Vas Affair. To cut a long story short, Janez Janša (back then the immensely popular and powerful defence minister) and his inner circle tried bring the fledgling Slovenian army under their complete control by discrediting other factors in civil control over armed forces, especially the nominal commander-in-chief and Janša’s arch-enemy, then-president Milan Kučan. Janša and his people tried to achieve this by planting forged documents about a coup d’etat being planned, whereupon the president would jump the gun, be exposed as acting on forged documents and be forced to resign.

Do you see where this is going? Admittedly, the following is pure speculation. But this thing with Karba has “Depala Vas Affair” written all over it. If we suppose for a moment that Karba and Janša are still on good terms, then it is entirely possible that the the documents on SDS-ran newspapers were forged in order to discredit Björkvist and that Karba brought tried to give them to the investigator, knowing quite well that they are forgeries. It was hoped that Björkvist would jump on the opportunity and build a case on those documents, which would at some point be exposed as forgeries, causing the investigation to collapse in one master stroke. Except it didn’t work.

Björkvist denied giving a statement to Karba, who later admitted that the investigator talked to him “off the record”. The fact that Karba published it anyway and named his source can only be interpreted and complete journalistic ineptitude (not impossible) or an attempt to provoke Björkvist into making a mistake. He didn’t make one and told Karba to deliver the documents to Slovenian police. Which of course Karba did not yet do.

Again, this is pure speculation. To date there is no information on whether documents Karba tried to give to Björkvist were genuine or not. But knowing Janša’ modus operandi and the fact that the investigation is apparently rattling his cage quite hard, Karba’s actions and subsequent article bear all the hallmarks of an attempted plant and/or double-cross. As the investigation centres more and more on Janša and his immediate circle, the former PM seems to react ever more instinctively, resorting to tested tricks.

Altough it should be said that the trick did not work at Depala Vas either, because Janša’s people screwed up the plant. Indeed, the only time such a deception worked was when it was used on Janša, while he was in army prison in 1988 during the JBTZ Affair. Go figure…

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Agent provocateur and an occasional scribe.

15 thoughts on “Did Janša Try To Plant Forged Documents In Patria Affair?”

  1. Mr. P: Very interesting article. Developments awaited with interest. As an aside, how strong are libel laws in Slovenia?

    Btw, I assume the last paragraph should read “that the trick didn’t work at Depala Vas either”?

  2. @Dr. Arf: I know what you mean, but I think the Pink Panther theme would be far more appropriate in this case 🙂

    @Adriaan: Big interest indeed. This can still go either way. Not sure about the libel laws, but definitely not as strong as in the UK. Why, did I write anything libeious, or are you reffering to the made-up quote?

    And yes, the last paragraph should read “the trick didn’t work”. Dully corrected. Thanks.

  3. hoho, zanimiv pogled na zadevo 😉 I like. in ja, Janši bi čisto pristajalo kaj takšnega…

  4. @Mr. P: Nowhere has libel laws like the UK (something which is due to be rectified by legislation, alledgedly).

    I only mentioned it since Mr. Jansa seems the sort to take offence wherever he can find it. Wouldn’t like to see my favourite Slovene blog (sorry Dr. Fil! – it was a close run thing) under an embargo.

  5. Such writing is a good illustration of the media space in Slovenia. The author is affiliated with a private radio station. To get the frequencies and perhaps some advertising money from the government owned companies, people must go over the edge of good taste in smearing Janša.

    Did you also name your dog Janša? Or is this not a requirement any more?

    This is speculation on speculation, full of factual error.

    1) The cited paper in Delo did not mention 21 million EUR. You are just using the pretext to keep repeating an accusation.
    2) The free weekly was no better no worse than the free weeklies published all the time. Maybe not so cleverly worded but no more insulting than the free and not free media in Slovenia.
    3)Name a dozen of that “crowd who descended on mainstream media”. Make it two dozens, since you wrote “huge crowd”.
    4) Mainstream is not not mainstream, but leftist. The left monopolizes the media space in Slovenia. Leftist or anarcho-liberal, not liberal. They suppress other voices from being heard in quite a non liberal fashion.
    5) The account of “Depala vas” is, to put it mildly, inaccurate. It was Kučan who was looking for ways to remove Janez Janša by forging documents and presenting an intelligence professional as a civilian to be arrested by the army counter intelligence. This arrest of “civilian” was then the pretext to remove Janez Janša from the defense ministry.

    … the list could go on.

  6. Yes, of course, Dark Lord of the Sith, you’re absolutely right. The author of this article is calling a spade a spade, merely for the sake of obtaining benefits from the government. It’s all a leftist conspiracy because, clearly, you know this blog well enough to know there are several articles published here with the sole purpose to praise and give accolades to the left wing government.
    Surely, a blatantly uncritical piece like last week’s ‘Open Letter To Borut Pahor’ is plenty of evidence that this is the sole intent of the author.

    If you would have stuck to your ‘factual error’ case without seeing red (pun intended) every time a right wing politician with his hand in the cookie jar is caught (usually with his pants down at the same time), you may just have been plausible and credible as an opponent. Instead, like you’ve done here before (don’t think a new moniker fools any regular visitor of this blog) under a different guise, you choose to use slander, mistaking it for sarcasm and eloquence in the process. If the proponents of the political right in Slovenija can’t even have enough common decency to argue without having to resort to such tactics (paranoia much?), they hardly make a credible source. But then, the right traditionally is the political side that sees enemies everywhere, especially where there are none and wheel and deal with the credo that ‘it ain’t a crime if you don’t get caught’.

    Get over yourself, man, and come back when you can show some respect for people who disagree with your political stance, and have some real arguments to back it up instead of the same old game of projection onto your so much hated political left. Oh, and some self criticism towards your political ideology and who represents it might not be such a bad idea. Or is that too leftist and non liberal for you?

    P.S. : As a person respectful towards animals, I would never, ever give an innocent beastie a name that has so many negative connotations attached to it.

  7. @Darth Vader:

    Before I blow your Death Star to pieces using nothing but my light-sabre and toothpicks, you should perhaps read the post again.

    My post is speculation and I readily admit it (unlike some of the more rabid members of Janša’s flock who will quote stuff as facts regardless of whether it bears any relation to reality). This speculation is based on Janša’s previous actions in similar situations. That’s all there is to it.

    Having said that, your comment leads me to believe that the post apparently struck an unnerving chord with some people. Because while the conjecture I make in this post is speculation, the facts on which it is based are quite firm. Not that you point out any factual error in it, but I guess that would be asking too much…

    1) The article may not have mentioned the 21 mil specifically, but allegations that such a bribe was given to J are under investigation. That is a matter of public record. Nowhere did I say that Janša did in fact take the money

    2) To say that the short-lived pro-Janša free rags (Slovenski tednik and Ekspres) were comparable to any other Slovenian newspaper in any way, shape or form either shows that you do not what you’re talking about or are being deliberately misleading. They were written under aliases, published by straw companies, publishing started a month or so before elections and not a single issue was printed after the elections.

    3) Why exactly should I name names? The point is not in names but rather in lack of competence. That said, there are journalists who are members of that same crowd but are competent and trustworthy. Karba, unfortunately is not one of those. That’s why he’s in such shit today.

    4) Mainstream is mainstream, regardless of whether it’s left or right. The fact that you understand “mainstream” in left/right terms shows that you see media only as serving political needs (yours or that of your competition), which speaks volumes

    5) The account of events at Depala vas is very much accurate, thank you very much. Whether or not it corresponds with the way time flows in your universe is, of course, another matter

    And, for the record, the radio station I’m “affiliated with” failed to obtain a frequency under three consecutive governments (Drnovšek, Rop, Janša, we were always “second best”) so any fear that I’m writing this blog to advance the interests of the company is entirely misplaced. If that were the case, I’d be writing good things about JJ until 2008.

    I write this blog purely out of enjoyment, because I like to think outside of the box and because there are things that need to be said but for all intents and purposes cannot be said in the media.

    Which is my final swing with my trusted light-sabre. Blogs are not media. Especially this blog is not. Therefore the above post can not be any illustration of media in Slovenia. It is only an illustration of my opinion. Anything beyond that is – well – pure speculation :mrgreen:

    May the force be with you!
    (Oh, and you will have another drink)

  8. @Adriaan: My humble little couch makes it to second place? I’m thrilled! And worried that the list is two-long 😛

    @Darth Vader: Frequencies? Hilarious if it weren’t sad. To make speculations, it’s good to get at least *some* facts straight. Your failing to bother to check information so readily available makes reading the rest of your writings a waste of time.

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