Press Releases

17 Dec. 1999
Peace Stabilisation Force
Coalition Press Information Office
Tito Barracks
Telephone: 00387-71-495638
FAX: 00387-71-495605
e-mail: cpic_mediaops@sfor.nato.int

Information Packet for Journalists

Operation Westar Preliminary Results

Background and Significance

Some of the computers, drives & illegal software taken by SFOR during Operation Westar. (37Kb)
WESTAR was a surge operation conducted by SFOR peace-keepers supported by the International Police Task Force (IPTF) on the 14th of October, 1999 in west Mostar, Bosnia and Herzegovina.

Westar accomplished its intent--
interrupt Anti-Dayton activities directed against the people of BiH.

This packet helps illustrate the documents, equipment, software, and other items of information taken by SFOR during the operation and analyzed to date.

Basis for Action

The General Framework Agreement for Peace (GFAP) charges SFOR with maintaining a safe and secure environment for the people of Bosnia and Herzegovina to allow the rebuilding of the country with the support of the International Community. SFOR learned of illegal operations being undertaken in Mostar that were subversive to the peace process and damaging to the people of Bosnia and Herzegovina and Croatia. SFOR was, therefore, compelled to act.

The forces participating in the operation came from throughout SFOR and in addition to soldiers and military police experts included a photographic team to properly document the event, and attorneys to ensure that we operated within the confines of the law and to safeguard the information.

SFOR's operation was deliberately planned and carefully executed to minimize risk to law-abiding citizens of Mostar. The operation concluded less than six hours after it started with no significant incidents.

News media kept informed

Stacks of boxes contain thousands of seized documents. (79Kb)

News media were kept well informed throughout various phases before, during, and after the operation. SFOR published three detailed news releases. News conferences were conducted in Sarajevo and Mostar, the day of and the day after the operation.

Two days after the event, then Commander of SFOR, Gen. Montgomery Meigs, conducted a special one-hour live interview broadcast from Sarajevo on OBN-TV with satellite and phone links to correspondents in Mostar and Banja Luka. Gen. Meigs answered questions called in from viewers throughout BiH.

SFOR's Deputy Commander, Lt. Gen. Charles de Monchy, conducted a telephone interview with EROTEL on Oct. 16. SFOR spokespersons have since replied to media inquiries. A written response from SFOR to misleading reports on the conduct of the operation was printed verbatim in Jutarnji List, the leading daily newspaper published in Zagreb.

The target of the operation was
not the Bosnian-Croat people.
It was anti-Dayton activities.

Overview of preliminary findings

Pirated software & pornograhic images on CD-ROMS. (30Kb)

During Operation Westar, SFOR seized 42 computers containing over 200 gigabytes of information (approximately 500,000 pages of text), data bases protected by sophisticated encryption software, and over 10,000 documents.

The many documents contain signatures that can be verified as authentic. Several examples have been chosen for public release and are included. In addition, SFOR has multiple equipment items and materials with which a secret intelligence service could influence financial transactions and other commercial activities. SFOR confiscated several CD writing machines, credit card readers, and the equipment needed to counterfeit telephone and credit cards.

The intelligence operations go well beyond what could be expected of national intelligence services.

There is clear proof of direct action
to disrupt the efforts of the international
community to support the peace process
and to obstruct justice
through anti-Dayton activity.

Illustration of uncommon criminality

The initial review of computer files and documents revealed the technology and ability to produce counterfeit credit cards and telephone cards. A credit card reader/writer, capable of capturing the information from an innocent individual's card and reproducing it on a counterfeit card was also confiscated.

One of the documents contained detailed instructions on how to counterfeit specific types of credit cards. SFOR has indications that the technology was being used to produce automated financial transaction cards from virtually any country in the world. The operators were apparently using this technology for significant personal gain.


Computer images of 150 cards (pictured right) were found along with the ability to transfer those images to blank cards. In addition actual blank cards with SIM chips were taken. SIM chips allow telephone cards to be repeatedly programmed and reprogrammed with varying DM amounts.

These cards were likely given to senior operators and sold to unsuspecting civilians making them in receipt of fraudulent cards and subject to prosecution.

Hundreds of pirated and/or unregistered computer software programs were discovered on the computers and CDs. The value of this software, if legally purchased would be over 20,000 KM.

Additionally, nearly one gigabyte (approximately 5000 images) of
pornography was discovered. The quantity of software indicates that it too was likely to be sold to raise funds to either support illegal operations or for the personal financial gain of the operators. The pornography files were organized into a sophisticated database categorized by sexual fetish.

Digital card reader and blank cards. (43Kb)

In SFOR's judgment, made clear by the enormity of the information, Operation Westar revealed a concerted effort to aggressively monitor and selectively sabotage the rebuilding of Bosnia and Herzegovina through activities that are clearly Anti-Dayton. These activities, both ongoing and planned, are now damaging the economies of both BiH and Croatia and providing significant funds to those involved.

Impersonation of police

SFOR has information obtained during Operation Westar indicating that two foreign agents illegally impersonated police officers, maltreated females whose freedom had been unlawfully deprived, while extracting statements under duress.

The females were also filmed without their consent or knowledge. The agents had illegally identified themselves as Inspectors of the Police and interviewed 16 women at a detainment facility.

Interviews probed for personal weakness that could be exploited, dealing explicitly and in detail with the financial situation of each woman. Foreign agents were particularly interested in those women whose partners either worked with Americans or had access to SFOR bases.

SFOR found digital imagery taken by the foreign agents of false Croatian papers, presumably for one of their agents. SFOR also found digitally created identity cards identifying a member of the foreign agency as a member of the MUP.

Illustration of attempts to subvert the peace process in BiH

No less than four blatantly anti-Dayton operations were discovered.

Common threads of these operations were:

  • Surveillance of International Criminal Tribunal for the Former Yugoslavia (ICTY) investigators and other personnel from the International Community (IC) and the Stabilization Force (SFOR);
  • Recruitment of individuals with access to many IC organizations and SFOR, which involves intimidation and coercion of ordinary BiH Croats.

Operation PUMA - Target ICTY

Puma targeted 30 ICTY investigators in Livno conducting an inquiry about individuals allegedly involved in war crimes. The Puma goals were "(to) install technical equipment for following and observing (the ICTY), following and observing the arrival and assignments of the Hague Investigative Team, following and observing the radius of movement of the team, verify information of the individuals who work as interpreters for the Hague Investigative Team, and attempt to get the same individuals to work with us…" Some of the surveillance techniques used were tapping of phone lines and monitoring of radio signals.

Operation MUNJA - Target IC

This operation also directed foreign intelligence agents "to install equipment for surveillance and monitoring the work of the international organizations." The list of targets included Office of the High Representative (OHR), Office of Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE), UN High Commission for Refugees (UNHCR), Stabilization Force (SFOR), International Police Task Force (IPTF) and Merhamet.

Operation GROM - Recruit Operatives

The goal of this operation was to place staff working for the International Community under surveillance, with the aim of recruiting them as sources against the IC. Specifically targeted again were OHR, OSCE, UNHCR, SFOR, ICTY, IPTF, ICRC and ICG.

Operation PANTHER - IC Surveillance

Panther was based on the inaccurate and insulting premise that "…members in International Organizations … are doing intelligence work to be used in international politics, and used in the interest of their home countries' national service."

The agents would then put the international community under surveillance to: "uncover the roles of all international organizations and their contribution in putting pressure on; observing and analyzing all operative actions carried out by the international organizations towards Croats in the territory of BiH; (pay) special attention in observing international organizations who work with embassies from Islamic countries." The same international organizations and their heads were to be targeted, and then put under "continual observation."

The Way Ahead

Operation WESTAR was a success. SFOR confiscated materiel and information that clearly indicated criminal acts violating the laws of BiH. SFOR will provide the appropriate authorities the necessary material for these institutions to decide on possible prosecution or other actions and initiatives in the interest of justice.

SFOR wants to emphasize that only a part of the materiel and information confiscated has been evaluated as of today. SFOR will decide, pending the results of the continued work, which further actions will be taken on this issue.

 [ Go to SFOR Press ]  [ Go to Homepage ]