Saturday, September 27, 2003

[ELECTIONS 2003] Bugging "Scandal" Continues or Bugging "Scandal" Explained?

HDZ continues to shoot itself in the foot with the whole "bugging" brouhaha. The latest in the series of contradictory and unconvincing claims came from HDZ when they tried to counter media speculations about real reason why listening devices allegedly found in HDZ Sabor offices had been so tiny and apparently self-destructible, according to Vladimir Šeks (Vladimir Seks). Some columnist attributed those claims to Šeks' problems with alcohol.

HDZ reacted by releasing video of technicians founding some strange artefacts in that party's Sabor offices. No dates were available on the tape nor the press had any opportunity to see those devices for real. Instead they were presented with "copies of those devices", apparently bought in the nearest hardware store.

I'm not convinced and I doubt that Croatian public is going to be convinced either. In a lame attempt to score cheap political point, Sanader, who had been hailed as "modern" and "serious" politician has managed to lead his party to its biggest PR fiasco since 2000 elections. It is too hard to tell where this scandal would end and whether it would have any effect on upcoming elections. My guess is that the voters would have other things on their mind.

In the meantime, Feral Tribune published the story that offers some rational background for the story. According to Sanader, the story of wiretapping came from some opposition politicians who had seen part of their telephone conversations in police files. Those politicians are now believed to be DC leaders Mate Grani? (Mate Granic) and Vesna Škare-Ožbolt (Vesna Skare-Ozbolt). According to Feral sources, their conversations were recorded during police surveillance operation against Goran ?ehobaši? (Goran Cehobasic), Osijek businessman who has recently been arrested and brought to stand trial for bank fraud. ?ehobaši? was apparently very close to DC leaders and used to be their party's donor.


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