Shocking Report from Wikileaks - State Organs used to enforce loyalty and silence the Opposition

Quite revealing but hardly surprising is a report from Wikileaks which expose the fascist methods of Gruevski’s Regime to enforce loyalty inside his party and silence the Opposition. According to the report the current FYROM’s government have been “misusing official position” against members of the political elite in FYROM. Highly publicized arrests, detentions or investigations of current and former ministers, party members, and the opposition have put pressure on the political elite in FYROM to refrain from challenging or criticizing the Gruevski’s Regime, a fear-mongering campaign devoted to scaring FYROM’s citizens that is now in full swing.

1. (C) SUMMARY: Over the past month, it appears that Prime
Minister Gruevski and his VMRO inner circle have used the
judicial and policing arms of the state to enforce party
discipline and quell dissent, which has contributed to an
increasing climate of fear. The government has been using a
catch-all corruption charge of "abuse of office" or "misuse
of official position" against members of the political elite
in Macedonia. Highly publicized arrests, detentions or
investigations of current and former ministers, party
members, and the opposition have put pressure on the
political elite in Macedonia to refrain from challenging or
criticizing the Gruevski government. We have also heard
complaints from non-governmental organizations whose members
have been called in by the police for "informative talks" on
their actions. Moreover, these tactics can be sold to the
Macedonian public as the government's valiant efforts against
corruption, which helps maintain public support for these
abusive actions. 
Friends Become Enemies of the State: Trenkoski and Besimi
2. (C) One recent high profile arrest was of Georgi
Trenkoski, former manager of the Macedonian Health Fund and
ruling VMRO-DPMNE party member. Trenkoski had the reputation
for being one of the cleanest bureaucrats in the Macedonian
Government and was given a "gold star" award for excellent
management in 2007. In July, he resigned from his position on
principle, disagreeing with Gruevski,s current policies. He
is also an alumnus of the U.S. State Department's Ron Brown
Fellowship Program and has close ties to the international
community. On 3 November, he was publicly arrested on charges
of "misuse of official position" and accused of authorizing
the payment of a pharmaceutical company twice for the same
shipment. Trenkoski told the Ambassador before his arrest
that he had been threatened with legal action by the PM,s
Chief of Staff Martin Protoger. Protoger hotly denied this to
us. The arrest occurred on the street with press
"conveniently" nearby--it was evident that select "government
friendly" media were tipped off ahead of the arrest. The
papers condemned Trenkoski as corrupt and ran with the story
immediately after he was picked up by police. 
3. (C) In a 10 November meeting with the Ambassador, fellow
Ron Brown alumni and close associates of Trenkoski informed
the Ambassador that the entire event was politically
motivated and engineered by the Prime Minister for the sake
of punishing Trenkoski for speaking out of turn even though
he did so privately. They firmly believed that Trenkoski was
innocent and that the charges were meant as a message, not
only to him, but to others who might consider crossing the
party. They claimed Gruevski was making an example out of
Trenkoski and that he was using his political power over the
judiciary to bring &trumped up8 charges against political
4. (C) Another notable case is the recent allegation against
Minister of Economy Fatmir Besimi for the previous
government's decision to sell shares of Skopje,s
publicly-owned transport company. (Besimi held the same
position in the 2002-2006 SDSM-DUI government.) A preliminary
investigation into the legality of the sale was opened in
2007, but did not lead to any arrests or charges. Allegations
in the case resurfaced 7-8 November against Besimi (and
former SDSM Finance Minister Popovski), almost four years
after the event in question. Both Besimi and especially
Popovski enjoy reputations as clean politicians, a relative
rarity here. In a 12 November meeting, Besimi told us that he
sees clear political motives for this case, mainly to ruin
his reputation, to reduce his effectiveness in seeking reform
in the energy sector, and perhaps to pressure DUI leader Ali
Ahmeti to fire him or force his resignation. He is determined
not to resign, but if indeed criminal charges are brought
against him, he feels he would have to do so as he could not
carry out his duties effectively. Besimi told the Ambassador
on 23 November that he thought the current threat had passed,
but he noted that government investigators are always
snooping around his ministry and collecting data that VMRO
can use against him. Popovski was questioned for hours by a
plain clothes police officers, but no charges have been
levied as of 25 November. 
Let's Not Forget the Opposition
7. (SBU) In addition to enforcing discipline in the party and
governing coalition, Gruevski also uses his control over the
judicial and policing functions of the state to attempt to
silence the opposition. The arrest and detention in August
2008 of SDSM Vice-President and Strumica mayor Zoran Zaev,
was an early indicator of the government's tactics. Although
Zaev won reelection in March 2009, in the last two weeks, he
is one of five members of the opposition SDSM party that have
been charged with this same &abuse of office/misuse of
official position charges8 for corruption. On 4 November,
the government floated allegations in the press that former
President and current SDSM leader Branko Crvenkovski and his
cabinet used thousands of denar of state money for personal
use during his time as president. The SDSM spokesperson
publicly accused the government of using the judiciary to
attack its political opposition and create a psychological
climate of fear among the public against questioning or
criticizing the government. 

Related posts: