Viceroy’s vendetta hurt anti-terror efforts?

Nebojsa Malic, June 23, 2004

According to a Washington-based intelligence newsletter Defense and Foreign Affairs, Bosnia’s viceroy “Paddy” Ashdown’s eagerness to support his late friend Alija Izetbegovic resulted in a major blow to anti-terrorism intelligence efforts on the eve of the Athens Olympics. Says DFA:

“Significantly, it was understood to be SFOR leadership which caused the Bosnia-Herzegovina ‘High Representative,’ Paddy Ashdown, to attempt a face-saving move in June 2004 which effectively reversed his decision of April 20, 2004, to arbitrarily remove the Head of the [Serb Republic] Secretariat for Cooperation with the [ICTY], Dejan Miletic.
Mr Miletic had been removed for refusing to sign off on a statement which essentially — at Ashdown’s insistence — accepted responsibility for the so-called ‘Srebrenica Massacre’ of 1995. The Secretariat had provided substantial evidence contradicting Ashdown’s totally unsubstantiated claims about the incident.
SFOR officials subsequently told the Office of the High Representative that this move had dealt a major blow to counter-terrorism intelligence in Bosnia-Herzegovina at a critical time.”

This is the only reinstatement of a public official ever sacked by any viceroy. The DFA continues:

“The restoration of Mr Miletic was a major slap in the face to Ashdown, but it also demonstrated to NATO officials in Europe and Washington that Ashdown was seriously interfering with the political and intelligence priorities in the Balkans.
One SFOR source told GIS: ‘Ashdown’s attempts to pretend that Islamist terrorism does not exist in Bosnia, and that it was not related to the September 11 [2001] attacks on the US, or the Madrid attacks, or Iraq, or the Olympics, has made the war on terrorism extremely difficult. His only concern is to protect his own reputation and his old Muslim friends who have turned out to be radical Islamists and not the democratic moderates he thought them to be. Ashdown is a big part of the problem’.”

(From the DFA daily briefing, Volume XXII, No. 99, 21 June 2004; full text here)




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