Spies for Tito and murderous Communist Yugoslavia infiltrated the BBC

Mitja Mersol 1974 Photo:njena.sl

According to Jack Grimston of the Sunday Times (25 March), and The Australian, newly released secret files in Slovenia (a former Yugoslav state) revealed that BBC World Service was infiltrated by a ring of informants run by the secret police of Communist Yugoslavia (UDBA).

The spies had the task of briefing Yugoslav Marshall Tito and his secret service on their Yugoslav and British colleagues and on dissident émigrés living in Britain.

One of the informants unmasked is Mitja Mersol, currently an MP in Slovenia, who worked as an announcer for the BBC World Service during 1970’s. His UDBA codename: “Linguist”

The secret files portray London as a fertile and active ground for covert cold war operations and maneuvering between Yugoslav agents and anti-Communist émigrés,

Jure Brankovic from the Slovenian Pop TV station reported on the secret papers as showing that UDBA received a stream of information from the spies at BBC from 1950’s to 1980’s.

The secret papers show that before Mersol started at the BBC in 1971, he was issued with a special camera by the UDBA to photograph documents and he was instructed in the use of a secret writing system.

Mersol gained the confidence of colleagues and émigrés, reporting back on topics such as their anti-Communist plotting, their love lives and who was in the pay of Scotland Yard.

The Sunday Times reports that last week Mersol said that he had worked in a way that had ‘harmed no one’.

Adding, “a man does many things in his life. Every man is a judge of his own actions and I have long ago drawn a line under what happened 40 years ago. We at that time lived in a different country, with a different system and in different circumstances.”

Mersol may not have physically harmed anyone but as a spy for one of the most murderous secret services in Europe (more murderous than the Soviet bloc’s one, as claimed by Dr. John R. Schindler, author of book: “Agents Provocateurs: Terrorism, Espionage, and the Secret Struggle for Yugoslavia, 1945 – 1990” )

It stands to logic and reason that he contributed to the information needed by UDBA to plan and execute assassinations, whether her knew what UDBA was up to or not. But in any case, the fact that UDBA was on a killing spree of Croatians and other anti-Communists living abroad  was public knowledge and public suspicion so it would seem highly unlikely that he himself did not know anything about UDBA’s operations.

Dr Schindler asserts that Tito was useful to the West, so UDBA crimes were mostly ignored, even when Yugoslav agents killed abroad, frequently.

The former communist regime in Yugoslavia has a terrible history of assassinations directed against its opponents. Between 1946 and 1991 the many UDBA assassinations and assassination attempts victims were mostly Croatian émigrés, although others were targeted. The attacks were usually carried out by small teams consisting of a trigger-man supported by a spotter and were always carefully planned. The attacks were often made as targets entered or left their homes since this was the point at which they were most vulnerable and where a case of mistaken identity was least likely.

The last known UDBA hit in Britain took place on 20 October 1988 when Nikola Stedul, a 51-year-old Croatian émigré, was gunned down outside his home in Kirkcaldy, Scotland. For various reasons, the attack did not go smoothly. Stedul survived it although he was severely wounded in the head. His assailant was arrested a few hours later at Heathrow airport and identified as one Vinko Sindicic—a Yugoslav known to Western intelligence services.

The entire incident demonstrated the bankruptcy of the Yugoslav system, Brian Gallagher wrote in 2003. Furthermore, the article written by Gallagher points to the fact that Sindicic made his way back to Croatia in 1998 and that charges against him for the murder of Croatian dissident Bruno Busic in Paris was thrown out in 2000 for lack of evidence.

No surprise there. In 2000, former Communists (Social Democrats) were in government and former communist Stjepan Mesic was the president. They weren’t going to bend over backwards to look for or produce evidence they may have known about as former high-ranking communists.

One can say that while many Croatian people won independence under Croatian Democratic Union (HDZ) slogan “Everything for Croatia” the antifascists within it (aka communists) operated under the slogan that came very close to “Everything against Croatia”.

Who knows what new documents and evidence of such Communist crimes will also see light of day and whether they will be processed in courts as they should. Whatever comes out of these revelations one thing is for sure: another flag of truth about why Croatians had no alternative but to free themselves from the oppression and prison that was Yugoslavia for them.  One can only hope that Mersol, having said that under Yugoslavia people lived under a different system and different circumstances, will take the matter further and enlighten the world some more about those circumstances. Ina Vukic, Prof. (Zgb); B.A., M.A.Ps. (Syd)

Read related blog on www.pengovsky.com

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