by Nikola Vrzic

Several days ago, on March 12th, Serbia marked another – twelfth – anniversary of the assassination of Serbia’s prime minister Zoran Djindjic. The official narrative of Djindjic, as a reformer who was killed by criminals and Serbian nationalists, this year was confronted with evidence revealing the story as much more complex, with a strong presence of Western, primarily British and US secret services…

The official version of Djindjic’s death, established on a day of his assassination in 2003 and later confirmed by the court, says that Djindjic, pro-Western reformer, “the quisling of Belgrade” as Neil Clark called him in The Guardian on March 14 2003, was killed by members of (Belgrade suburb) Zemun criminal clan and “red berets”, Serbian secret police unit for special operations which had fought in wars in Croatia, Bosnia, and Kosovo. Criminals, the story goes, wanted Djindjic dead as they wanted to avoid their imminent arrest, while the “red berets”, allegedly supported by nationalistic circles in Serbian society (in the army, in political parties, Serbian orthodox church…), wanted Djindjic dead for his cooperation with The Hague Tribunal and, broadly speaking, betraying Serbian national interests by collaborating with the West.

Djindjic was killed as his motorcade came to the building of Serbian government. According to the official version, he got out of his car, walked (on crutches, he previously injured his left leg playing football) to the door which was closed, turned against the door in an attempt to open it himself by pushing it with his back, and at that point he was shot with a single bullet (which was never recovered). After Djindjic was shot, there was a second shot which injured Djindjic’s bodyguard Milan Veruovic and, piercing his body, ended in a stone wall next to the door where Djindjic was shot.

That is the official version.

This is where our investigation started.

In a recently published book “The Third Bullet. The Political Background of the Assassination of Zoran Djindjic” by Milan Veruovic, Djindjic’s wounded bodyguard, and the author of this article, journalist Nikola Vrzic, the official version of Serbian PM’s assassination is scrutinized through comprehensive analysis of all the evidence presented to the court, testimonies, police documents…, and, as a result, the book refuted the official version of Djindjic’s assassination both in terms of what really happened on March 12 2003, as well as regarding the political motives that led to his death. In short, conspiracy seems to be much, much wider, going beyond Serbia’s borders.

Both witnesses’ testimonies and material evidence show there were three, not just two bullets fired on that day, which means – to make a longer story short – there was another sniper; again, both witnesses and all the material evidence prove that Djindjic was shot by that other sniper, as he did not turn his back to the government building trying to open the door himself (with nine bodyguards around him) – the door, in fact, was open – but he was shot facing the government building, meaning, from exactly the opposite direction than officially acknowledged; Djindjic’s entry wound (33×20 mm), consistent with damages on his clothes, is significantly larger than Veruovic’s entry wound (6×7 mm), which also proves that they were shot from two different rifles of different calibers, with Veruovic’s wound being consistent with the caliber (diameter of a bullet) 7,62 mm of the only rifle that was, officially, used on March 12 2003; as far as that rifle is concerned, the comparison of Serbian police’s documentation with the documentation of German police (which examined the rifle afterwards) show strong indications that different rifle was planted instead of the one originally found; in a days after Djindjic was shot, a man from Croatia, with criminal contacts, was identified as possibly being one of the assassins, however, Serbian police did not even present his photograph to the witnesses and did not follow up on this lead, but, instead, directed the public attention to an innocent Belgrade man in order to divert the attention from the Croatian trail; furthermore, the police concealed the automobile used by the Croatian man, and this automobile – black “Volvo” 240 – belonged to one of Serbian security services…

To cut a long story short, the official version proved to be the official lie about Djindjic’s assassination.

Which leads to the crucial question – who is guilty for this lie? One answer is obvious: police who investigated the crime, prosecutors and judges who confirmed the false official version, despite all the evidence and testimonies suggesting the opposite. Above them, Djindjic’s successors in his party and Serbian government, who had provided strong political support for the false official version, actively participating in establishing this, i.e. their version of Djindjic’s assassination.

These successors of Zoran Djindjic, it should be noted, are among the most pro-Western political forces in Serbia.

And this brings us to the, possibly, crucial aspect of the story. West’s involvement in the events preceding Djindjic’s assassination, as well as after it, in the establishment of the false official version, is profound.

Based on public documents, Serbian police and secret service documents, court testimonies, US diplomatic cables revealed by the WikiLeaks, we can be certain that:

– CIA’s agents in Hungary helped in arranging the protection of the crucial “protected witness” Ljubisa Buha Cume, former boss of Zemun criminal clan, who started the chain of events that led to Djindjic’s murder. British intelligence service also played its part in protecting this man, by arranging his transfer from Turkey to Slovakia when Zemun clan’s hitmen were after Buha.

– CIA had its agent inside the Zemun clan, Cedomir Mihajlovic (alias Igor Baruh). British service, according to court testimonies, also had the clan under the surveillance, and even had the information they were about to assassinate Djindjic – this according to Vladimir Popovic, former Djindjic’s associate with whom Djindjic parted in the fall of 2002.

– This man, Vladimir Popovic, who came to the government building exactly 5 minutes after Djindjic’s assassination and who can be regarded as the creator of the official version, was accused by former Serbian secret police chief Jovica Stanisic for being recruited by the British intelligence. Stanisic said this in the statement to the Serbian police when he was arrested. Popovic himself, in his court testimony, spoke about his contacts with British intelligence.

– UBPOK, Serbian police unit that conducted the investigation, was created shortly beforehand under the British auspice.

– Anthony Monckton, who was revealed as the MI6 agent in Serbia, also participated in the investigation, according to The Sunday Times and The Guardian.

– Special prosecutor Jovan Prijic, the author of the indictment based on the false official version, enjoyed political protection from then US ambassador in Belgrade Michael Polt, EU high representative Javier Solana and other Western diplomats, which was revealed when the government of Vojislav Kostunica tried to remove Prijic from the office. Eventually he was removed, however, on a condition to remain leading prosecutor in Djindjic’s case.

– US diplomatic cables, revealed by WikiLeaks, showed that US embassy in Belgrade, supervising the trial, was in constant contact with the presiding judge in Djindjic case, even consulting with him about who will, among Zemun clan members, become a protected witness, i.e. collaborator of the prosecution.

– Finally, German intelligence, during Djindjic’s lifetime, conducted a security check of his places of work and residence, which could mean that they knew exactly from which locations his life could be threatened. Their report was never presented to the Serbian authorities. Germans also officially participated in the investigation of Djindjic’s assassination.

And then, there is also Djindjic’s policy. Even though he was brought to power in Serbia with Western help, by the beginning of 2003, from being part of the solution when he was removing Slobodan Milosevic, he became part of the problem, endangering pax Americana in the Balkans by demanding Kosovo to remain part of Serbia and to immediately start negotiations on Kosovo’s final status, which was strongly opposed by both the US and the EU. He demanded Serbian police to return to Kosovo, according to the UN Security Council’s Resolution 1244. He threatened with the independence of Serbian republic in Bosnia in the case of Kosovo’s independence sponsored by Western powers. He refused to hand over the archives of Serbian police and army to The Hague Tribunal, refusing also to extradite Serbian generals which were about to be indicted by the Tribunal.

Before he was killed, Zoran Djindjic had been labeled as a “new Slobodan Milosevic” for his confronting the West.

After his death, this Djindjic’s policy of confronting the West was completely overturned by his successors, who made every attempt to make the public forget about Djindjic’s clash with the West prior to his assassination. Furthermore, Western engineering of Serbian political scene accelerated in the years following Djindjic’s death, eventually resulting in total consensus in Serbia’s parliament on country’s EU integrations.

Last, but not the least, after Djindjic’s death every party in Serbia held the power at some point. During this turmoil, everything could change but two things: Serbia continued to approach NATO – this also started after Djindjic’s assassination – and nobody dared to publicly question the official version of the murder of Zoran Djindjic. There must be a strong reason for this.

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