Over the years, numerous former military and secret service employees have written books about their jobs and goals of their governments. Robert Baer is a former senior CIA officer. He wrote many books about his former employers at the time of Bill Clinton and George W. Bush administrations.
He worked in the former Yugoslavia from 1991 to 1994. He also participated in several documentaries on the National Geographic, where he accused Bush of the war for oil.
Robert Baer was interviewed by reporter Milos Cupurdija in Canada in 2012. The interview highlights some of the public misconceptions about the events that tore up Yugoslavia and led to horrific war.
Baer said at the beginning of the interview he arrived in Sarajevo by helicopter with three other agents on January 12 1991. He said that their jobs had been to keep an eye on the supposed Serbian terrorists, suspected of preparing an attack on Sarajevo.
He said that they had information about a group called “Serbian Supreme” and their plans to attack key buildings in Sarajevo with the aim to make Bosnia leave Yugoslavia.
However, he said, such a group has never existed and he and other agents were tricked by their central command. They were actually given the task to warn people and raise panic amongst the politicians in Bosnia. They, as he said, basically just fill their heads with the idea that Serbs will attack. Eventually, they realized they were spreading stories and fear about a group that did not exist.
The operation was called “Istina” (The Truth) which is exactly what it had not been, he said. He was given another task and left Sarajevo after two weeks for Slovenia on another job. The operation in Bosnia continued for another month or two.
When asked why he was going to Slovenia, he said that he was told that Slovenia was getting ready to declare its independence from Yugoslavia. He was given money, he said, several million dollars, with the aim to finance nongovernmental organizations, opposition parties, and politicians, all of whom were ready to spread and incite amongst the population.
He said he could not refuse the task from the CIA, especially at the time when everybody was jumpy and given to paranoia. Many officers and agents disappeared because they refused to work on propaganda against Serbs in Yugoslavia, Baer said. He added that he had been shocked with the amount of lies CIA and the U.S. government perpetrated. Many of the agents who worked on the propaganda were not entirely aware of what was going on, as they were doing it like they were involved in just another project. Only those who could piece together the whole picture, Baer said, knew the aims of the work and they were the politicians.
Baer said that the propaganda was not entirely against Serbs. It was aimed to divide republics and to ensure that the states are separated from Yugoslavia. He said that a sacrificial lamb was needed to be blamed for everything, someone who would be responsible for the war and the violence. He said Serbia was chosen because in some way it is the successor of Yugoslavia.
When asked to name some of the politicians who took money from the CIA, Baer said that this is delicate and named Stipe Mesic, Franjo Tudjman, Alija Izetbegović, many advisors of the government of Yugoslavia, and some Serbian generals, journalists and military units. He said that Radovan Karadzic was also paid for a while, but when he realized he would be sacrificed and charged with war crimes in Bosnia, he stopped taking the help. Baer said Karadzic had been outplayed by the U.S. government.
Baer said it is already known that some CIA agents were responsible for writing official statements news anchors would read. News readers did not know anything as they received their instructions from their bosses, who received their instructions from their boss – CIA man, Baer said. The overall task was to incite hatred and nationalism through television and for differences between the people to really stand out, he added.
When asked about Srebrenica, Baer said that from 1992 he had been in Bosnia again. This time, he said, they trained military units representing Bosnia, the new state which only just had declared its independence. Srebrenica is an exaggerated story, he said, many people have been manipulated by it. He said the numbers of people killed were part of political marketing. His boss, he said, had previously been in the U.S. Senate and told him several times that at some point there would be a big con in Bosnia. Only a month before Srebrenica happened, said Baer, his boss told him this town would be known around the world and agents, Baer among them, had been instructed to inform the media. When Baer asked why he was told he will see. After that they received an order to attack houses and people of Srebrenica with newly formed Bosnian army, Baer said. Serbs followed as they had also been paid and told to the same thing, Baer said.
Baer said that the deaths in Srebrenica had been due to Bosnians, Serbs, and Americans, but the blame was laid at the feet of Serbs. He said that many of the victims had been buried as Muslims and yet they were Serbs or other nationalities. He said that few years back, a friend of his, former CIA employee, currently working in the IMF, had told him that Srebrenica was a product of an agreement between the U.S. government and Bosnian politicians. Srebrenica was sacrificed because after the alleged crimes of Serbs, America had been given a reason to attack.
When asked what was the reason to break up Yugoslavia and why would the U.S. want to have its role in the whole situation, Baer replied that the reason is obvious, as the people who quietly initiated the war and loudly shouted about the peace are now owners of the companies that exploit variety of mineral resources and the like in the countries of former Yugoslavia. He said that they simply had created slaves through the war, because now people are working almost for free and the products are going to Germany and the U.S., so they earn a lot. In the end, he said, countries of former Yugoslavia have to pay to import products they made themselves and as they have no money, they take out loans. This is the story with the whole Balkans, he said.
When asked about Kosovo and the involvement of the U.S. government, Baer said that Kosovo had been taken for two reasons, first because of mineral and natural resources, and the second reason was NATO military base in Kosovo – the largest military base in the very heart of Europe.
Baer had a message for the people of the former Yugoslavia – he said that they should forget their recent past as it was staged and faked. He said all nations of the former Yugoslavia had been manipulated and those behind the war got what they wanted. It would be stupid for the people to still hate each other, he said. He added that people should now be stronger and show that they are aware of what had happened and who had been responsible.
Baer apologised and said that exposure of the secrets of the CIA and the White House was his way to say “Sorry”.