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The secessions of Croatia and Bosnia also provide an important backdrop for the Kosovo conflict. Specifically, the U.S. demonstrated a willingness to intervene heavily to significantly influence the outcome of Yugoslavia’s disintegration. Former U.S. ambassador to Croatia Peter Galbraith claims that the U.S. supported Croatia’s war of secession against Yugoslavia, and allowed large-scale military operations such as Operation Storm to be carried out. "Even before Operation Storm," explains Galbraith, "the United States pursued a strategy that helped create the opportunities we exploited." Galbraith had decided to end the civil war in Bosnia by backing the Croatians.
In my policy messages back to Washington, I urged that we reward Croatia’s cooperation by […] (2) looking the other way in the face of Croatian (and Bosnian) violations of the arms embargo […] and, (4) supporting Croatia’s desire for closer relations with the West.
Though Washington’s approval of Operation Storm resulted in ethnic cleansing and murders of Serbs – at least 200,000 were displaced, Galbraith felt that U.S. diplomatic maneuvering led to an acceptable conclusion of the civil war. While Galbraith failed to mention NATO’s tactical air support of Croatian forces and training of Croatian forces through Military Professional Resources Incorporated [MPRI], Galbraith elaborated the position that it was acceptable to back one side in an internal conflict. "Humanitarian intervention" proponent Michel Ignatieff would later mirror this logic.
The first publicly known Western plan to assassinate President Milosevic was drafted in 1992. Richard Tomlinson, a former British MI6 employee, later disclosed the plan. His task as an MI6 agent was to carry out undercover operations in Eastern Europe while posing as a businessman or journalist. Tomlinson frequently met with MI6 officer Nick Fishwick. During one their meetings, Fishwick showed Tomlinson a document entitled, "The Need to Assassinate President Milosevic of Serbia." Three methods were proposed for the assassination of Milosevic. The first method, Tomlinson recalled, "was to train and equip a Serbian paramilitary opposition group," which would have the advantage of deniability but an unpredictable chance of success. The second method would employ a specially trained British SAS squad to murder President Milosevic "either with a bomb or sniper ambush." Fishwick considered this more reliable, but it lacked deniability. The third method would be to kill Milosevic "in a staged car crash." (5) Seven years later, on October 3, 1999, the third method was employed against the leader of the Serbian Renewal Movement, Vuk Draskovic, when a truck filled with sand plowed into his car, killing everyone inside except for Draskovic. The temperamental Draskovic had been a major factor in the chronic fragmentation of the right-wing opposition, frustrating Washington's efforts to forge a unified opposition. (6)
During NATO's war against Yugoslavia, a missile struck President Milosevic's home on April 22, 1999. Fortunately, he and his wife were staying elsewhere that evening. Pentagon spokesman Ken Bacon was quick to announce that "we are not targeting President Milosevic." What else would a missile striking Milosevic's bedroom at 3:10 AM be? (7)
In November 1999, members of an assassination squad, code-named "Spider," were arrested in Yugoslavia. According to Minister Goran Matic, "French intelligence was behind" the Spider group, whose aim was the assassination of President Milosevic. Planned scenarios included a sniper attack, planting an explosive device alongside a route they expected Milosevic to travel, planting an explosive in his car, and organizing 10 trained commandos to storm the presidential residence. The leader of the group, Jugoslav Petrusic, had dual Yugoslav and French citizenship. Matic claimed that Petrusic worked for French intelligence for ten years. During interrogations, Petrusic said that he had killed 50 men on orders by French intelligence. Matic announced that one of the members of Spider was a "specialist for killings with a truck full of sand" - the same method used against Draskovic the previous month.
U.S. planning for the 1970 election began in June, 1970, when the Forty Committee met on Chile and Richard Helms promised John McCone $400,000 of CIA funds to assist the anti-Allende news media.54 The CIA also contributed $1 million to Allende's opponents.55 Allende's election went to the Chilean congress sitting as an electoral college, where an additional $350,000 was paid out by the CIA in an attempt to buy votes.56
After Allende's victory, Nixon, Kissinger, Helms, and John Mitchell met on September 15, 1970. Helms came from that meeting with the impression that "Nixon wanted a plan for action that would include a military coup and a broad-based destabilization effort that would 'make the economy scream.'" Helms' notes of the session read, "Not concerned with risks involved. Full time job -- best men we have."57 An additional $6 million was spent over the next three years,58 including $1.5 million to rightist candidates in the March, 1973 congressional election.59 The grand total of $8 to $11 million spend by the CIA since 1970 may have been worth $40 to $50 million after being funneled through the black market.60
On the day that Helms received his instructions from Nixon, the owner of El Mercurio, wealthy Chilean businessman Agustin Edwards, conferred with top officials of the Nixon administration.61 The El Mercurio network consists of newspapers, radio station, ad agencies, and a wire service; it dominates the Chilean media in audience, size, and prestige, and includes the three principal newspapers of Santiago and seven provincial papers.62 In the seven-month period from September 9, 1971 to April 11, 1972 the CIA spent $1.5 million on El Mercurio,63 but the funding also preceded and followed this period. El Mercurio may have been the recipient of almost half of the total CIA expenditures in Chile since 1970.64 In addition to the sort of ads that were used successfully in the 1964 campaign, CIA funding also sponsored mailings before the election on forged Popular Unity stationery to hundreds of thousands of voters. These mailings asked voters to list household goods and indicate whether they would be willing to share with the poor after the election.65 The CIA even purchased a radio station for the right-wing.66 The El Mercurio network was used by the CIA to "launder propaganda, disinformation, fake themes and scare stories which were then circulated through 70 percent of the Chilean press and 90 percent of the Chilean radio. The USIA and the Inter-American Press Association (IAPA) in turn circulated these stories all over the world."67 CIA agents at El Mercurio included Enno Hobbing, Alvaro Puga, and Juraj Domic.68