PLAUSIBLE DENIABILITY – definition: “In politics and espionage, plausible deniability refers to the ability of a powerful player or intelligence agency to pass the buck and avoid blowback by secretly arranging for an action to be taken on their behalf by a third party ostensibly unconnected with the major player.”
by Sasha Uzunov
One of the main protagonists of the Western-sponsored ‘Colourful Revolution,’ Pavle Bogoevski announced his abrupt resignation from the Macedonian Parliament in a statement on Thursday. Pressure from Macedonian pundits and politicians – and, possibly, a quiet push from his Western diplomatic masters – in the wake of a drug scandal. In fact, the Voice of America even covered the story for damage control purposes.
Bogoevski has been taking a public pounding in the Macedonian media over a leaked telephone conversation published online, in which the left-wing revolutionary MP was allegedly ‘cutting a deal’ on a recreational cocaine purchase.
Bogoevski did not deny the authenticity of the recording, but denied that he was speaking about cocaine. Rather bizarrely, he also claimed that an unknown taxi driver must have been the guilty phone-tapper. The Western embassies responsible for building Bogoevski’s career have obviously remained stone-cold silent regarding the whole scandal.
As it has been reported that the anonymous leaker of the conversation was related with Russia, the West will probably dismiss this as more of the infamous “Russian interference” that supposedly helped scupper last September’s boycott on the American and EU-written Prespa Agreement to change Macedonia’s name to North Macedonia.
However, an intriguing new twist to the story emerged when Zdravko Savevski, another former Colour Revolution star and leader of the Levica political party, darkly implied that the leak could have been an ‘inside job’ carried out by rival factions within the ruling SDSM party. Savevski went on to criticise other former comrade revolutionaries turned parliamentarians like Ivana Tufekdzik and Irena Stefoska, daring them to resign in protest against PM Zaev’s alleged betrayal of their original revolutionary cause.
All in all, it looks like the high-minded ideals of the former leftist revolutionaries are now being realised for the farce they always were. Hypocritically, now that they are comfortably in power these people are happy to participate in the same old business-as-usual Macedonian politics long known for corruption, nepotism and racketeering. None of these age-old problems that the West and its local puppets blamed the VMRO-DPMNE government of Nikola Gruevski for have been improved. In fact the situation has only gotten worse as crime, violence and corruption are at all time highs in the all-new ‘North’ Macedonia.
PAVLE’S EXCUSE: THE FORGOTTEN PRESCRIPTION
Bogoevski, who emerged from nowhere to be elected to parliament in 2016, fresh off his success as a foot soldier for SDSM’s USAID/Soros-sponsored revolution, denied being a cokehead. Bizarrely, he claimed that he was actually referring to cannabis oil in the leaked conversation. And, even if the order was for cannabis, it would be illegal to purchase this drug on the black market- in Macedonia, an official doctor’s prescription is needed. Only after this was pointed out in media did Bogoevski decide to resign, stating that he had broken the law by not getting a prescription and thus essentially trying to bury the matter with minimum damage.
Farcically, prosecutors have stated that they can’t launch a probe into the matter, reported Republika: “since the reported cannabis oil has been used up, they have no evidence to prosecute Bogoevski, despite his statement admitting to the purchase.”
DISSENSION IN THE RANKS
As stated the Bogoevski blooper has roiled the ranks of the ruling SDSM party and Pavle’s Colourful Revolution crowd with internal debate over who occupies the moral ground in this case. The Republika piece cites lawyer Aleksandar Tortevski, who insisted that Bogoevski’s drug purchase “must be investigated, speaking before Bogoevski resigned. Tortevski said that even if it is just cannabis oil for his sick sister, as Bogoevski claims, that still leads to a year in prison for the member of Parliament, with his high political office considered as an aggravating circumstance.”
Another two high-profile pundits, actress-activist Irena Ristik and Branko Geroski, who has profited handsomely as a key local media puppet for the US, argued that the SDSM parliamentarian should face justice, as quoted in another story from the pro-opposition portal.
PAVLE BOGOEVSKI- A STATE SECURITY RISK IN THE MAKING? PLAUSIBLE DENIABILITY?
More seriously, the fact that Bogoevski was serving on the parliamentary commission for control of the intelligence services- which are being overhauled with Western assistance- has raised concerns over whether he could be trusted with sensitive roles and information after the cocaine caper. Since Zaev’s coalition with ethnic Albanian DUI began, dozens of hardened criminals have been released from prison (such as the alleged drug kingpin, Bajrush Sejdiu). Not surprisingly, the number of street crimes, robberies and assaults have skyrocketed too. It has long been common knowledge in Macedonia that SDSM’s 2016 revolution involved some of the ‘tough guys’ from the criminal underworld with ties to foreign elements. Anyone thinking that the young revolutionaries and the party they support have no contact with criminal elements is deluding themselves.
According to defacto VMRO-DPMNE mouthpiece newspaper Republika, VMRO-DPMNE spokesman Naum Stoilkovski said at a press conference before Bogoevski’s resignation that Bogoevski “is a user of narcotics or psychotropic substances,” and one who “acknowledged that he was in contact with the criminal underworld – having in mind that he was trading on the black market, which is run primarily by criminal organizations. All this brings into question his credibility as a deputy in the Macedonian Parliament.”
As anyone familiar with the subject knows, intelligence services routinely recruit assets who have problems with drugs, relationships, family and so on. Bogoevski’s meteoric rise to power out of obscurity makes it not unlikely that he was recruited as a CIA asset. But if it was for being a cocaine user, what would that say about his own ability to help oversee the country’s intelligence services?
DAMAGE CONTROL FOR THE GOVERNMENT
While the potential drug addiction of an elected official is no laughing matter anywhere in the world, there’s little chance of Bogoevski being subjected to prosecution now that he has resigned. His role in bringing to power and then propping up the SDSM-led government of PM Zoran Zaev, when it made unpopular ‘reforms’ and changed the Macedonian name against the will of the people was vital, and as long as Zaev remains in power, Pavle is protected. Bogoevski has been openly defended by Zaev, who called the case “a personal matter” not worthy of public attention, according to web portal NetPress.
ENDING ON A HIGH NOTE? ‘RUSSIAN INTERFERENCE’ TIME
Whether innocent or guilty of buying illicit cocaine, Pavle Bogoevski is a valued commodity in himself to his Western sponsors, who have spent millions in the last few years on legitimising their own interference in domestic Macedonian affairs. While the cynical diplomats will no doubt cut Bogoevski and fellow colour revolutionaries loose at some point, that time has not yet come and it looks like they (through local proxies in the institutions) are seeking to rehabilitate Bogoevski’s reputation.
That’s why the prosecutor has announced a case will be opened to get to the bottom of who leaked the Bogoevski coke conversation. ‘’The case is in a pre-investigative stage,” reported Republika, citing officials. There are strong suspicions that the government team is going to turn to the tried-and-true “blame the Russians” verdict:
“On the orders from the prosecutor we are attempting to determine the owner of the profile on the Russian social network where the recording was uploaded, said prosecutor Saso Rajcev, turning the focus on the recording and not on the drug use by the SDSM member of Parliament.”
However, this line of investigation could lead to a Catch-22 situation for the government and for Bogoevski. Any such claim about “Russian interference” would also generate interest in the Western media with its eternal feeding frenzy for any allegations of ‘Russian interference’ in Macedonia- whether or not it actually exists!
For one previous example, recall October 2018, soon before a crucial parliamentary vote in which VMRO-DPMNE MPs claimed later to have been blackmailed by the Zaev government, the New York Times ran a hit piece claiming that Greek-Russian businessman Ivan Savvidis had been paying fans of Skopje’s F.C. Vardar to protest against the Prespa Agreement and name change.
The article whitewashed the fact that the majority of Macedonians had boycotted the referendum of 30 September simply because they objected to having their fundamental human rights violated by seeing their country’s name changed in an undemocratic fashion- not because Vladimir Putin somehow influenced them to go against Western policy.
The article also contradicts itself when trying to claim that social media opposition to the referendum was somehow Russian backed, claiming the presence of “hundreds of new websites calling for a boycott of the vote and Facebook posts urging Macedonians to burn their ballots — classic disinformation, Macedonian and American officials said, directed by Russian-backed groups.”
This scenario beggars belief as the whole purpose of a boycott is to not go to vote in the first place- by going to a polling station and taking a ballot in the first place, one is still counted as voting, whatever the voter chooses to do with their ballot. Since the point of the boycott (which was successful) was to keep the referendum turnout under the necessary threshold, the Times apparently did not consider basic logic when putting together the hit piece.
The future will show whether the Zaev government really wants to end the Bogoevski case on a ‘high’ note by attracting renewed international attention to a local matter and thus only add to the embarrassment. The glowing Western media coverage of “North Macedonia” as a “success story” under Zaev and recently-elected “pro-Western” president (and former American College Skopje professor), ‘Studious Stevo’ Pendarovski, has already run its course. It’s no surprise that high government officials like Foreign Minister ‘Slick Nick’ Dimitrov have been rumoured to be heading for the exits.
OPERATION MARSEILLE II? Who took down Pavle Bogoevski?
Our inbox is full of “tip offs”-one of the most colourful & its come from a long standing Croat Foreign Ministry source is Macedonia MP Pavle Bogoevski was “taken down” by Croat Intelligence (SOA) over his access to sensitive NATO documents.
Did the Croats take down pro-US Serb & Macedonia MP Pavle Bogoevski? Preemptive strike?
A Croatian Foreign Ministry source has told Team Uzunov blog / AlternateComms website that concerns were raised – in fact alarm bells went off – in Zagreb when in 2017 “anti-nationalist” Pavle Bogoevski revealed his refusal to protest against Serb President Alexander Vucic and Bogoevski’s frequent trips to Serbia to visit relatives.
“There was a fear that Bogoevski could take NATO papers with him and be blackmailed into handing over those documents to Belgrade. In all probability, it may have not happened but we simply couldn’t take the chance.”
Croatian Intelligence (SOA) has a small footprint in Macedonia.
Serb intelligence (BIA) has a bigger team in Macedonia than Russia (GRU) and Croatia (SOA) combined but is largely quiet and was put out of business in Macedonia by the CIA after the Milosevic regime fell in Serbia in 2000.
Macedonia is CIA turf. This has been confirmed by the El Masri CIA rendition scandal in Macedonia in 2003.
Whatever the veracity of such a Croat claim regarding Bogoevski, and we remain sceptical, what is not in doubt is certain circles in Zagreb have made it clear they feel uncomfortable with certain people in Macedonia, with links to Serbia, having access to confidential NATO documents.
One person who has genuine motive to take down Pavle Bogoevski is deposed Macedonian Prime Minister Nikola Gruevski who fled the country earlier this year to escape jail time over corruption. He is now in Hungary, granted political asylum by good buddy Hungarian PM Viktor Orban. This is a Hollywood on-the road comedy of the highest order in its own right. You can read more here.
It is feasible that a Gruevski’s supporter or operative in Macedonia deliberately recorded Bogoevski making the phone call ordering some wacky substance of sorts.
Bogoevski was one of the leading faces of the Colour Revolution who opposed Gruevski’s rule over claims of corruption and authoritarianism. But surprisingly the Colour Revolution didn’t touch Gruevski’s long time political ally, Albanian extremist Ali Ahmeti over corruption. There were no protests over the WWII Albanian Nazi collaborator statues built in Macedonia post 2001 war and supported by Ahmeti. Paint was only thrown at Macedonian statues.
Bogoevski and other leading Serb activists in Macedonia involved in the 2016 Colour Revolution such as Borjan Jovanovski, Ivana Tufegdzik refused to protest at the Serb Embassy over serious allegations that Serb leader Alexander Vucic was involved in money laundering on behalf of Gruevski.
THE GAY ACTIVISTS WHO REFUSE TO PROTEST AGAINST HOMOPHOBIA! Ethnic bias undermining Macedonia’s LGBT movement’s credibility?
Likewise, Bogoevski, Jovanovski, Tufegdzik who also claim to be supporters of Gay Rights (LGBT) in Macedonia also refused to protest against Serb homophobia. One of the backers of the Colour Revolution in Macedonia was controversial radical Serb nationalist Priest Zoran Vraniskovski, aka Bishop John (Jovan) who critics say was parachuted into Macedonia by the Serb Orthodox Church on behalf of Greece, to stir up trouble and cleverly use lawfare to drag Macedonia through the international courts over “human rights.”
In 2014 Vraniskovski’s boss, the Primate of the Serbian Orthodox Church Irinej launched a bizarre and nasty attack on gay people by blaming their sins for causing the massive killer floods in the Balkans. There was universal condemnation over the senior Serb cleric’s homophobic attack but largely silence from Gay activists in Macedonia. The Serb Orthodox Church still claims “jurisdiction” over the Macedonian Church which declared its independence in 1967. No protests were held in Macedonia outside the office of Zoran Vraniskovski by Gay activists. In fact, the reverse happened. They embraced him for the 2016 Colour Revolution despite his leader holding nasty homophobic views.
The question now remains is Macedonia’s LGBT movement being used by the West to push a hidden agenda rather than combat actual homophobia? And perhaps this explains the West’s support of Pavle Bogoevski.
Another supporter of Bogoevski has been ex Netherlands Ambassador to Macedonia, Ms Simone Fillipini and when asked recently about Bogoevski she didn’t really defend him directly:
Mini Q & A with Ms. Simone Fillipini, ex Netherlands Ambassador to Macedonia-
Sasha Uzunov: I wanted to ask you some questions related to Macedonia, especially as you were the former Netherlands Ambassador to Macedonia.
Q1: During your time as Netherlands Ambassador you remained silent over Albanian Neo-Nazism in Macedonia, in particular, the WW2 Albanian Nazi collaborator statues that have been built in Macedonia by pro-US Albanian leaders. Could you explain why?
Q2. You have been very supportive of Serb gay and “anti-nationalist” activists in Macedonia such as Borjan Jovanovski, Pavle Bogoevski, Ivana Tufegdzik who all refuse to protest against Serb nationalism and [Serb] homophobia but have attacked Macedonian identity. Isn’t their behaviour contradictory, [ethnically] biased…?
Ms Simone Fillipini: “I left Skopje in 2011. What I did or didn’t as an Ambassador is not relevant at this Moment. By the way, I totally stand for what I’ve done during my posting and the issues of equality, tolerance, and respect for diversity and diverse opinions are very close to my heart. The world would be a much better place if we could stop digging into the past and start working on making today’s societies peaceful, inclusive and prosperous. I don’t like nationalist agendas of any kind, I love openminded and progressive politics with integrity striving for inclusion and better life of all citizens, whoever they are, whatever their background is or their sexual orientation.”