French Spy at NATO HQ Spring of 1999
By Z. Petrovic Pirocanac
Interview with Former French Intelligence Officer Pierre-Henri Bunel
(Editing by CRG)
The Serbian public learned about Colonel Pierre-Henri Bunel (53), a French intelligence officer who worked in NATO HQs in Brussels, during the 1999 spying affair, when he spent ten months in prison because he had informed the Serbs about the military targets NATO intended to bomb. In 2001, Bunel was retired, and did not serve his full prison term, but has not yet been rehabilitated. Nowadays he works as an independent expert in the spheres of security and terrorist organizations.
E: What has lately changed in the Islamic theatre in the Balkan territory?
“Islamic terrorism in the Balkan was encouraged by the wars in Bosnia and Herzegovina (B&H) and the criminal attack on Yugoslavia. Washington had an interest in the destabilization of the Balkans, and the Islamists constituted a precious support for the US. In fact, in a protracted war situation, the local culture gets weaker. To create a new Islamic country out of Kosovo, would be a horrible blow, first for the Serbs, and then for anti-Atlantic [oriented] Europeans.
E: Thus, your thesis is that the Americans are islamizing the Balkans?
“Yes. Until someone points to the deadly character of the American presence in Europe, until the Europeans see the danger that threatens them through the islamization of the Balkans, we will watch Islamism poison the region.”
E: In your book, “War Crimes in NATO”, you mentioned the Serb victims in Sarajevo and the forged history of the Bosnian war.
“Unfortunately, years have to pass before the world admits that the mujahedins and Black Swans of [wartime Bosnia and Herzegovina (B&H) President] Alija Izetbegovic committed at least as many crimes as [assassinated Serb paramilitary leader] Arkan’s Serbs committed. Doesn’t anyone want to admit now that the Serbs there, more defended themselves than they were the attackers?”
E: Does such an opinion prevail in the French Army, which has been present in Bosnia more than a decade?
“During my trial, a French General, who was quoted in the indictment, appeared as a witness and defended me before the military court. That man, who commanded a multinational division in Sarajevo, said: ‘During the year when I was a commander there, we never had any problems with the Serb authorities or the Serb Army. The Serbs respected the agreement signed. I cannot say the same thing for the other groups. The [Bosnian] Muslims were the worst.'”
E: Can we expect a change in the conduct of the Western countries in their explanation of the causes of war?
“Yes, but not before the politicians, who were accomplices in these crimes, leave. Some of the French newspapers have already made a move. Some of them, like Marianne, have published how they were manipulated by NATO spokesperson Jamie Shea during the strikes on Yugoslavia. Though, the newspapers prefer to remain silent on the fact that the information released over several years was mere propaganda.”
E: Do you believe that France will open secret files one day, such as the one saying that your army informed the French President that the explosion in Sarajevo’s Markale market had not been caused by Serbs, but by Moslem intelligence services in cooperation with Lebanese factions?
“The French and British intelligence services worked together on that case. We had evidence that the Serbs could not be accused of shelling the Markale market in late August 1995 due to the firing place range.”
E: A photo taken by your secret service has been mentioned?
“Yes, it shows people heading to the Muslim zone immediately after the firing. However, between the Markale explosion in February and that in August 1995, President Mitterand was replaced by Chirac, who agreed that the Serbs be accused, and accepted the NATO air strikes proposed by the Americans, while the French Generals on the ground tried to prevent them.”
E: Why did that happen? Which interests were hidden behind Chirac’s decision?
“To sacrifice some pawns in a game of chess in order to save others, is called a gambit. When we opt for that, it usually shows that we are not in a good position.”
E: Do you have information of the Islamists’ presence in Kosovo?
“The Americans had provoked events in Kosovo, which they subsequently were unable to control. They started to support terrorist gangs that attacked Serb police stations and a refugee centre accommodating refugees from Krajina as early as April 1996. These terrorists are now out of their control. Not all of them, but some are.”
E: Why can they not be controlled?
“Because the political goal of some of them is to create an Albanian state. As such, they represent a problem for the occupying forces in Kosovo, since Kosovo’s independence is out of question at the moment. On the other side, American propaganda does not want to risk a political battle with the anti-globalists, who pick on any pretext to fight against the US.”
E: It means that, if the Kosovo Albanian nationalists are denied independence, local Albanians will join the Chechens and Kurds in their anti-globalist views.
“Correct. That is why it is better to present them as elements of Al Qaeda. However, do not forget that Al Qaeda has nothing in common with the picture that American propaganda has created. By spreading false information, they have created a new threat, [namely the illusion of a group] which can easily be held responsible, because this threat actually does not exist. Thus, in Kosovo there is no Al Qaeda, rather there are mafia terrorist groups that have local political goals.”
E: The question is how they can be so financially powerful if Al Qaeda does not exist?
“They are supported by the hard-line wing of the Islamic Conference Organization. If there is some appearance of political and financial coordination, it exists there and at the Islamic Development Bank. But, since these groups are also partners of powerful US businessmen, they [ the US] cannot openly accuse them. That is why there is an interest in labeling it [these groups] Al Qaeda.”
E: How far has your 1999 spying affairs gone?
“I still have to wait. If you allow me to say, it should not be forgotten that I served as a security fuse for the protection of politicians, some of whom were still in power. That means that, according to the French judicial system, I am still indicted for treason. However, it does not bother me, since treason can sometimes be the only resource of an honest man. To stand up against NATO, especially at the order of my superiors, is not treason in my eyes. In this context, I was able to realize on many occasions that the French intelligence services do not consider me as a traitor.”
E: The Bondsteel base in Kosovo is located on the strategic Cvijic line which controls the entire region. Will the Americans stay there for ever? Will they always side with the ethnic Albanians, against the Serbs?
“The Bondsteel location was not chosen accidentally. This garrison of the occupying forces is located along the line of a strategic pass between the Black Sea and the Adriatic, as well as on the southeast-northwest line which is a bit like a diabolical diagonal. If the Americans want to stay in this strategic location, it is necessary to separate Serbia from Montenegro. They also have to put the Europeans to sleep. They are entirely devoted to this task, and we are all targets of the Americans.”
E: Let us say that your decision to provide the Serbs with important information before the 1999 war was not your own action. Let us say that it was your professional duty and that you were sacrificed at that time?
“It is true that I followed orders of the French authorities. Considering the conduct of my General, who kept saying that France would never allow the bombing of Yugoslavia, General Jovan Milanovic agreed to get in touch with him. However, it is known that it was me, and not the French General, who attended that meeting. French intelligence officers learned about my meeting with Colonel Milanovic. They understood that, if Milosevic heard about the French General’s claims, he would refuse to give in to NATO’s demands. Then, it was concluded that Yugoslavia had to be bombed. For that reason, in early September 1999, I was asked to make it clear to Milanovic, if he contacted me again, that France would actually let Belgrade be bombed.”
E: Therefore, France’s attitude was contrary to that of its General in NATO?
“Yes. France decided to follow the orders of the EU and NATO policy. The only way to avoid a blood bath was to clearly present Milosevic with France’s new position. To achieve this, the only solution was to provide the information to Milanovic.”
E: What type of information was it?
“That information could not disrupt the bombing plans, but it could help in assessing the extent of the [planned] damage [destruction] that the Americans intended to carry out in the event of air strikes. The information was true, but not dangerous. After my meeting with Milanovic on 1 October 1998, he reported to Belgrade.”
E: Do you know what happened with the information after that?
“Milosevic was dissatisfied with the reports he was receiving to the extent that Milanovic was removed and was given an office without a telephone when he returned to Belgrade. Taking into consideration my sympathies for the Serbs, I accepted this mission, since it seemed to me that the bombing could be avoided.”
E: Did you meet Milanovic again after that?
“With great pleasure we met in Belgrade during my visit in 2003. I respect him and have friendly feelings for him. Milanovic himself told the French daily Le Figaro in December 2001, immediately after my trial, that I had just performed the job of an intelligence officer, like himself. He added that he would not have had confidence in me if he had considered me as a traitor of France.