In black and white: Peinkiher, a man with a double life, plotted against Janša by secretly threatening other people and at the same time boasted about his friendship with Kučan

Foto: Matic Štojs; montaža, Urban Cerjak; Demokracija

Between 1993 and 1994, “Taksist” (taxi driver), which is the code name of Anton Peinkiher, actively plotted against Janez Janša and even told other people that their existence would be threatened if they did not topple him. One of these people was Radojčić, and he has disclosed some of Peinkiher’s “underground activities”. Peinkiher urged him to create a 4-page draft which would detail how to deal with the champion of the Slovenian Democratic Party (SDS). Of course, this would be achieved with the help of the press, especially Mladina and its journalist Svetlana Vasović Mekina, as well as anonymous pro-Kučan and pro-Drnovšek organisations, which would claim that Janša was smuggling weapons and make Slovenians fear that he was preparing a coup.

It is (not) surprising that the communists were even prepared to sacrifice themselves just to topple Janša. Radojčić’s plan included a starting point in which they would attack Kučan and Drnovšek as some sort of anonymous pro-Janša group. They would accuse Drnovšek of being a homosexual and Kučan of being a crooked former UDBA member and being heavily involved in the Hit affair with his financial frauds as well as having a love affair with a prostitute. Of course, they would then accuse Janša and people in his circle, claiming that it was exclusively members of the Right who were responsible for these attacks. And this was only the beginning of the scenario for toppling Janez Janša, who was Slovenian defence minister at the time. What is less known is that Radojčić was prompted into drafting this hellish plan by Anton Peinkiher, who has always been very close to Kučan.

Peinkiher is a man with a double life
Janez Janša also writes about Peinkiher in the complete edition of Okopi (“Trenches”), where he reveals that Radenko Radojčić, former archivist of the Central Committee of the League of Communists of Croatia and, between 1988 and 1992 under the code name Ljudevit, important employee, agent, and then official of the YPA security service in the area of propaganda activity as well as participant in the Labrador action, with which Belgrade attempted to collapse the political leadership in Croatia, was met at the Ljubljana airport by Tone Peinkiher, leader of the Intelligence Division of the Ministry of Defence, who was “a man with a double life, just like Radojčić”. In the chapter titled Depala vas, Janša revealed 20 years later that Peinkiher, using the code name “Taksist”, had been a secret collaborator of UDBA, which had been disguised as a criminal police. He continues: “He accommodated Radojčić in official lodgings of the Ministry at Rojčeva ulica in Ljubljana, and Radojčić remained there until 15 March 1994. Radojčić provided Peinkiher with 120 microfilms from the archives of the Yugoslav military security service KOS. Peinkiher did not inform his superiors about Radojčić’s stay, the contact between them, or the microfilms he had received.”

About half a year earlier, on September 1993, Peinkiher told Radojčić “that he was meeting with Milan Kučan and Mladina journalists, and he ordered him to prepare a plan for removing defence minister Janez Janša”. Radojčić agreed to Peinkiher’s suggestion to create a plan, and “for 20 years its implementation has been known in Slovenia as the Depala vas affair” [Okopi – the second complete edition was published in 2014].

Radojčić’s account confirms Milan Kučan’s statement
On 15 March 1994, Radojčić surrendered to Croatian authorities, and in the same year he was put on trial in Zagreb. At the hearing, he extensively and in detail described his activity at KOS and beyond, including his stay in Ljubljana and the tasks he had performed for Tone Peinkiher (Taksist), writes Janša, who concludes his thought with: “His statements, provided below, are entirely consistent with other documents that have been discovered in relation to the Depala vas affair and confirm Milan Kučan’s statement in Nova Gorica that ‘in order to defeat an opponent, all means have become permissible … ‘, even recruiting former KOS members.”

Peinkiher has great connections at Mladina
In the record of his statements in front of Croatian investigative authorities, Radojčić confesses that Graber Mustafa and Tone Peinkiher met him in Ljubljana after he had flown there with the Adria airline on 18 August 1993. “Of course, Peinkiher did not disclose his function, but later I found out that he was the leader of the Security Authority of the Ministry of Defence (VOMO),” he confesses and later reveals that, among other things, he also met Peinkiher at the flat where he was staying to exchange information. During his stay in Ljubljana, he found out that Peinkiher “had been born around 1962, had been captain in the YLA, worked for VOMO, probably also in some sort of eavesdropping centre, i.e. a centre for electronic reconnaissance.” He also reveals that Peinkiher “has good connections with the Slovene Intelligence and Security Agency” and communicates with Milan Kučan and people that are close to him. He also adds that Peinkiher has good connections in the editorial board of Mladina, which he determined when Peinkiher placed some contents from his work at VOMO in Mladina.

In the record, Radojčić returns to the night he spent in the flat of Mustafa Čandić since the latter told him that VOMO was very interested in Janez Janša, and even though at the time Janša worked as defence minister, he told him to “topple Janša”. They simply wanted to get any sort of evidence that “Janša was a military spy. He suggested that I should contact members of VOMO and set my strict requirements and conditions; they were to solve the problems concerning the status of me and Čandić, help with acquiring Slovenian nationality, help with the tasks, and also solve other existential issues. Tone Peinkiher, Saša Nacevski, and Božo [surname is not known] held conversations, or rather interviews, with me. These conversations did not take place in offices, but in public places, in cars, or in the flat that I had been assigned.”

Peinkiher asked Radojčić to prepare a draft for toppling Janša, or his “existence would be threatened”
He reveals that on the third day after arriving in Ljubljana, Tone Peinkiher asked him, whether he had any indications or information pointing to Vasiljević employing Janez Janša, whether before or after the proceedings at the military court in Ljubljana. He had already encountered such questions with Čandić, who had told him that he needed to “tell them everything. Peinkiher’s question was uttered in a suggestive manner”, and he expected all details concerning the matter. But the truth is “that I did not know anything about this, and Vasiljevič never gave me the impression that such a possibility existed. After this answer, Peinkiher said that Vasiljević had visited Janša in prison and talked to him for 3 to 4 hours. I could not confirm this possibility, and I could see that this disappointed him”. He adds that Peinkiher portrayed Janša as a far-right militarist who intended to militarise Slovenia and that Slovenian far-right groups were gathering around him. Allegedly, Janša wished to seize power in Slovenia, become the Slovenian Führer, etc. Peinkiher then asked him to prepare a draft for psychological propaganda operations which would help topple Janša, first as defence minister and later completely. Radojčić then also agreed to influence the media and political landscape of Slovenia. Peinkiher convinced him that if Janša was not toppled, his existence would be very threatened since Janša would chase away Peinkiher, who had opened Radojčić the door into Slovenia. It is therefore clear that Radojčić was involved in the mechanism for removing Kučan’s political opponents, and Peinkiher was the one who set it all in motion. Peinkiher’s role in this was not simply as a participant and informant, but, as he is portrayed by Radojčić, “one of the main actors in the whole conspiracy”.

J. G.