Thursday, June 25, 2015

COMRADE TITO GAMES - Martin Trenevski

Martin "Jack Ryan" Trenevski: COMRADE TITO GAMES?
Our follow up to the Martin Trenevski story from last night… see link 

Sometimes reality is stranger than fiction but was Martin Trenevski, the Yugoslav intelligence operative under journalism cover in Australia, Yugoslavia's real life version of Tom Clancy's fictional CIA character Jack Ryan played by Hollywood star Harrison Ford….?

Some interesting similarities… Both academics and intelligence operatives; both with a wife in a professional career, lawyer, surgeon etc., and a young daughter.

Martin Trenevski – Macedonia’s recent Ambassador to NATO and his previous role as a Yugoslav intelligence officer under journalistic cover in Australia (1985-89).

- 16 year old Joseph Tokic shot and wounded in the neck by Yugoslav consular guard in Sydney during protest in 1988.

Australia’s Croatian community, including the Tokic family, deserves an answer:
By Sasha Uzunov.

Newly declassified Australian Security Intelligence Organisation (ASIO) files reveal that Martin Trenevski, a recent Macedonian Ambassador to NATO, was a Yugoslav intelligence officer under journalistic cover in the late 1980s and may have played a major role in a shooting incident during a Croatian demonstration outside the Yugoslav consulate in Sydney in 1988.

Trenevski arrived in Australia in early 1986 as the correspondent for the Yugoslav state news agency, Tanjug, modelled on the Soviet Union's TASS.

Sixteen old Josef Tokic was shot and wounded in the neck by Yugoslav consular guard, Zoran Matijas, in Sydney during the protest on Sunday 27 November 1988, two days before Communist Yugoslavia’s national day.

Over 1,500 Croats had gathered outside the Yugoslav consulate to protest at the rising level of Serbian nationalism within Federal Communist Yugoslavia, especially with the advent of Serbian republican leader Slobodan Milosevic.

Two NSW Police Special Branch officers, counter-terrorist specialists, were on hand, plus many Australian Protective Services officers from the Australian Federal Police, whilst at about the same time a large Macedonian protest against visiting Greek President Christos Sartzetakis took place elsewhere in Sydney.

A group of Croatian youths scaled a fence surrounding the Yugoslav consulate in the exclusive suburb of Woollhara and headed for the flagpole to take down the Yugoslav flag. Tokic was outside the Consulate gates and not part of the flag raiding party.

Consular guard Zoran Matijas then fired, what he claimed, was a warning shot in the air which hit Josef Tokic in the neck, who was rushed by ambulance to hospital and saved by emergency surgery.

The incident received worldwide exposure and condemnation of Yugoslavia.

It remains unknown if Matijas fired out of panic, out of a genuine fear for his life, or out of premeditation. Or if he had decided himself or had been ordered to shoot by the senior ranking intelligence officer, which would have been Trenevski, on the spot or by the order of the Yugoslav Consul-General, Stanojlo Glisic.

Australia's Foreign Minister Gareth Evans disputed the Yugoslav claim that the shot that hit young Tokic was a warning shot fired into the air that ricochet into him but a deliberately aimed shot fired horizontally with the intention to cause damage. 

Extract from The Canberra Times newspaper report , 2 December 1988. see link here
Senator Evans said that yesterday's decision followed evidence given to him by police that the bullet which injured Josef had not been fired in the air, as the Yugoslavs have claimed, but horizontally.
"We accept that some shots were fired in the air but the evidence that I'm aware of, on the basis of an oral briefing given to me today, is that the crucial shot was not in fact fired in the air but fired more or less horizontally," he said. "I wanted to be satisfied that there was strong prima-face evidence; I am so satisfied "
Senator Evans also disputed claims by the Consul-General, Stanojlo Glisic, that he had been attacked during the demonstration and that this had, in part, led to the shots being fired. Senator Evans said this claim was "not justified by any other evidence available to me".
Dr Cizelj said last night that he had been "unpleasantly surprised" over the ultimatum delivered by the Australian Government threatening to close down the Yugoslav Consulate in Sydney.
"I do think it could have been dealt with in a way which would achieve a better result," he said.
Dr Cizelj said at a press conference earlier yesterday that the shots had been warning shots and had never been directed at the crowd. He said initially that the bullet which ricocheted into Josef's neck had been from a shot fired into the ground, but later changed this to agree with the Consul-General's position that all shots had been fired into the air.
He said the event was "most regretable" and Yugoslav authorities were "very sympathetic to the Tokic family", but he stopped short of an official apology.

A detailed report on the incident can be found at this link which reveals that the Yugoslav consulate had refused to respond to APS's repeated requests to enter the compound and bolster the security before any of the protesters had jumped the fence and trespassed, which is puzzling. By the time the APS were allowed in, the situation had calmed down and there was no threat, when the shooting occurred.

An ASIO report revealed that two NSW Police Special Branch officers, Bruce Mohr and George Georgiou who were on duty during at the Yugoslav Consulate noticed a man, fitting Martin Trenevski's description, who had ordered Yugoslav intelligence officers, Milos Bogicevic and the Stanojle Glisic, the Consul-General and (SID officer - Yugoslav Foreign Ministry intelligence unit) to stop talking to the police officers.

Mohr observed that this as yet unknown individual outranked the two Yugoslav officers.

Mohr, was later shown photographs but couldn't identify Trenevski in the mugshots but on later seeing him on television believed it was Trenevski

THE BELGIAN ALIBI - play acting ?

After the shooting and the huge political fallout as a result, Trenevski came up with a "Belgian Alibi." In a telephone conversation, intercepted by ASIO, between Trenevski and the Yugoslav Ambassador Dr Boris Cizelj, an ethnic Slovenian, Trenevski claimed he had received a tip off from an unnamed Belgium journalist.

The Belgian journalist told Trenevski that the Belgian Consul had observed some suspicious characters loitering near the Yugoslav Consulate.

Trenevski then concluded that the Croatian demonstration and resulting shooting was caused by a premeditated plot by Croats.

The Australian authorities did not buy it and closed the consulate down, with the diplomatic staff including the shooter Zoran Matijas were ordered to leave the country.

The Yugoslav consulate in Sydney was reopened in 1990 with Miodrag Ilickovic (see link) taking the reins as Consul-General but by 1991 Yugoslavia ceased to exist as a federal state with war breaking out and Slovenia, Croatia, Macedonia and Bosnia declaring their independence.

THE DISTURBING QUESTION - did Trenevski give the order to shoot?

We know from ASIO documents in his file that Trenevski was aware that his phone calls were being bugged by ASIO, which noted he was speaking in code. Therefore, it is within the realm of possibility to ask why the need to let ASIO know, via the bugged phone calls, of the Belgian alibi? Was he covering his tracks? Did he give the order to Zoran Matijas, the Consular guard to shoot?

ASIO made a note of Trenevski meeting with Matjas a year before the shooting.

About a fortnight after the shooting, on 6 December 1988, ASIO put out an alert on Trenevski to be monitored for suspected espionage / terrorism.

Within four months of the incident, he left the country in March 1989 about a year short of his planned four year tour of duty as the Tanjug correspondent. We can only speculate that ASIO where onto him and he decided to leave Australia.

UPDATE- EXCLUSIVE - National Archives of Australia.

The Australian Security Intelligence Organisation (ASIO) has released the declassified secret file on Zoran Matijas, the Sarajevo born Yugoslav Consulate guard in Sydney, Australia, the man named as the shooter of Croat-Australian teenage protestor Josip Tokic in 1988.

The file reveals the incredible amount of deception employed by the Yugoslav government and its diplomats, including the Yugoslav Ambassador to Australia, Boris Cizelj, a pro-Belgrade Slovene, over the shooting incident and the cruel “joy” they felt in shooting young Josip, who was standing outside of the Consulate on the footpath with no intention of trespassing…

Also, when the Australian government closed down the consulate and expelled the staff because Matijas and his gun were not handed over to Australian police for investigation, two major Yugoslav intelligence (UDBa/SDB) officers, Milos Bogicevic and Nebojsa Vujovic, were also expelled and their major intelligence operation in Australia closed down !

ASIO noted that they were running agents, informers, in Australia.

link to file: 

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