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.