by Sasha Uzunov
Waiter, there's a fly in my soup..a hidden bug in my kebap (cevapcici)...!
Dr Georgi Trajkovski, the Yugoslav diplomat believed to be the mastermind behind a dirty tricks campaign to discredit Australian-Croats and Macedonians during the 1970s loved to “entertain” his unsuspecting victims by getting them to come to one of his favourite restaurants in the city centre of Melbourne and hold impromptu interrogation sessions.
According to recently released files kept by the Australian Security Intelligence Organisation (ASIO), Trajkovski's favourite eatery was the Golden Grill restaurant in Exhibition Street, Melbourne.
Trajkovski, Yugoslav Consul General in Melbourne between 1975-79, would no doubt have tucked into the Golden Grill's offering of traditional Macedonian and Balkan cuisine of grilled meats known as kebapi (cevapcici), sarma (sauerkraut stuffed with rice and pork mince), corba (soup) and so on as he tried to squeeze information out of his guests.
The Yugoslav diplomat, originally an ethnic Macedonian from Aegean Macedonia, now in Greece, also liked his alcohol. ASIO documents reveal the Yugoslav Ambassador scolding Trajkovski over his consumption of too much duty free alcohol.
Both ASIO field agents and desk bound analysts were bamboozled by Trajkovski's bon vivant lifestyle, his uncouth peasant manner and underestimated his ability to infiltrate and undermine local Croat and Macedonian groups. Perhaps they are like the antagonists in the 1992 action film “Undersiege” starring martial artist Steven Seagal, who underestimated Seagal's character Casey Ryback, a Navy SEAL turned chef, by dismissing him as “he's only a cook!”
But Trajkovski, a married man with a son and a daughter, despite speaking haltingly in English, was fluent in Italian, the international language of romance. ASIO documents reveal him trying to serenade an attractive Italian widow without much success but then asking a diplomatic colleague to find him a 30 year old female companion.
MILAN LOZANKOSKI – fellow gourmand & informer?
One of his alleged informers within the Macedonian community in Melbourne during the 1970s, according to the ASIO documents, was Milan Lozankoski (1932-2010), the then owner of New Europe (Nova Evropa) Restaurant in High Street, Preston, Melbourne, but now under new management.
An ASIO wiretap on the 18 April 1977 recorded this telephone conversation:
Milan from Nova Evropa asks to speak to Trajkovski. The secretary tells him he won't be back till Thursday. She asks Milan why he does not come to see them (at the Yugoslav Consulate in Hawthorn, Melbourne). Milan replied that it is in the interest of both sides that he is not seen entering the consulate...
...Milan invites Trajkovski to come to Nova Evropa, but to let him know beforehand, as he wants to be there personally – there are things which can be shown and others which cannot. Trajkovski wants to have a long talk with Milan soon.
ASIO notation on the transcribed phone wiretap reads: Milan seems to be an informer.
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