Viewing cable 03THEHAGUE2835, ICTY: AN INSIDE LOOK INTO MILOSEVIC'S HEALTH AND
Every cable message consists of three parts:
- The top box shows each cables unique reference number, when and by whom it originally was sent, and what its initial classification was.
- The middle box contains the header information that is associated with the cable. It includes information about the receiver(s) as well as a general subject.
- The bottom box presents the body of the cable. The opening can contain a more specific subject, references to other cables (browse by origin to find them) or additional comment. This is followed by the main contents of the cable: a summary, a collection of specific topics and a comment section.
If you find meaningful or important information in a cable, please link directly to its unique reference number. Linking to a specific paragraph in the body of a cable is also possible by copying the appropriate link (to be found at theparagraph symbol). Please mark messages for social networking services like Twitter with the hash tags #cablegate and a hash containing the reference ID e.g. #03THEHAGUE2835.
|03THEHAGUE2835||2003-11-12 16:04||2011-01-18 00:12||SECRET//NOFORN||Embassy The Hague|
This record is a partial extract of the original cable. The full text of the original cable is not available.
S E C R E T SECTION 01 OF 05 THE HAGUE 002835 SIPDIS NOFORN DEPARTMENT FOR S/WCI - PROSPER/RICHARD, EUR/SCE - GREGORIAN/MITCHELL, L/EUR - LAHNE, INR/WCAD - SEIDENSTRICKER/MORIN E.O. 12958: DECL: 1.6 FIVE YEARS AFTER CLOSURE OF ICTY TA... ", 12055,11/12/2003 16:26,03THEHAGUE2835,"Embassy The Hague",SECRET//NOFORN,03THEHAGUE2568,"This record is a partial extract of the original cable. The full text of the original cable is not available. ","S E C R E T SECTION 01 OF 05 THE HAGUE 002835 SIPDIS NOFORN DEPARTMENT FOR S/WCI - PROSPER/RICHARD, EUR/SCE - GREGORIAN/MITCHELL, L/EUR - LAHNE, INR/WCAD - SEIDENSTRICKER/MORIN E.O. 12958: DECL: 1.6 FIVE YEARS AFTER CLOSURE OF ICTY TAGS: PREL PHUM BK HR SR NL ICTY SUBJECT: ICTY: AN INSIDE LOOK INTO MILOSEVIC'S HEALTH AND SUPPORT NETWORK REF: THE HAGUE 2568 Classified By: Legal Counselor Clifton M. Johnson per reasons 1.5(b)-(d ) ¶1. (S/NF) Summary: The head of the detention unit of the International Criminal Tribunal for the former Yugoslavia (ICTY) provided Embassy legal officers and USG physician with details of Slobodan Milosevic's health status, daily regimen, legal and financial network, frame of mind, and contacts outside the Tribunal. Among many revealing details, this official -- who sees and speaks with Milosevic more regularly and closely than nearly anybody else -- provided information indicating that Milosevic's heart condition, while manageable on a day-to-day basis, is serious and not readily controlled by medication. At the same time the official discounted reports that Milosevic suffers from diabetes or, at least at present, depression. The official described a confident, engaged Milosevic who with his wife's assistance ably manages a web of legal and political contacts. Through his Belgrade legal advisers that rotate through the Hague he exercises control over Social Party of Serbia (SPS) activities and coordinates legal strategy with the amici curiae, friends of the court. Meanwhile, the accused's financial situation is precarious, necessitating a recent hat-passing exercise by the SPS in order to generate funds to pay household staff and the travel of his lawyers. End Summary. ¶2. (S/NF) Tim McFadden an experienced Irish prison warden and head of the ICTY's detention facility in Scheveningen, provided embassy legal officers and USG physician an unprecedented overview of Slobodan Milosevic's life and activities since coming to trail. McFadden, whom one ICTY Registry official described as ""the best of the best,"" is in a unique position not only to describe Milosevic's detention, as he sees the defendant and interacts with him on a daily basis, but also to assess him on a relative basis to other ICTY detainees. Moreover, McFadden is privy to the contents of Milosevic's monitored telephone conversations and visits as well as the reports of the physicians that have examined him. McFadden has had long experience in managing tough prisoners, as he managed a number of UK prisons holding Irish Republican Army detainees; another Registry official described ICTY detainees as ""pussycats"" compared to McFadden charges in the UK. Throughout the one-hour discussion, McFadden gave the impression of being fully and personally aware of all of the details of Milosevic's detention, though he noted that Milosevic remains a private man who does not generally share his thoughts. ---------------------------- Associates and Frame of Mind ---------------------------- ¶3. (S/NF) McFadden firmly rejected reports that Milosevic was suffering from depression noting that the accused has given ""no indication that he would be anything but defiant to the process"" of his prosecution and that he demonstrates only a ""limited inclination toward depression."" He noted that Milosevic's inability to see his son, daughter, daughter-in-law, wife and grandson, especially the latter two, causes him substantial unhappiness. On the other hand, McFadden said that Milosevic ""has a job that distracts and preoccupies so that he is not apparently inclined to depression."" He calls his wife, Mirjana Markovic, every morning, continuing what McFadden described as an ""extraordinary relationship""; Milosevic could manipulate a nation, he said, but struggled to manage his wife who, on the contrary, seemed to exert just such a pull on him. McFadden referred to a broad range of emotions and approaches that Mira Markovic deployed to goad or cajole Milosevic to take particular actions. When he failed to heed her advice, she was not beyond telling him that bad outcomes could have been avoided had he listened to her. Markovic served as a source of information, comfort, motivation, and strategy for Milosevic and he relied heavily on her guidance. When Markovic pressed Milosevic to do something he did not want to do, Milosevic rarely pushed back directly but simply never acted on the particular entreaty. McFadden referred back to the relationship a number of times in the discussion as the central one in Milosevic's life. McFadden made clear that Milosevic's blood pressure spike in September (ref) caused serious alarm at the Tribunal, driving registry officers to consider ways in which to reduce his stress and, as one contact had previously said, ""make him happy."" McFadden even described his proposal that the Registry find a way to bring Markovic to The Hague from Russia with some immunity from arrest (which the Deputy Registrar noted was not feasible), because McFadden believed so strongly that getting the two together could help keep down Milosevic's stress and perhaps his blood pressure. He added, however, that even that was a risk because ""she can be a very volatile person."" ¶4. (S/NF) In the absence of his wife, Milosevic himself has had to coordinate the various groups providing him with legal and other assistance, previously her domain. It appears that her absence has left a substantial hole in his ability to organize the various entities purporting to assist him. He tries to maintain what McFadden called ""functional contacts"" with the SPS and the Freedom (Sloboda) Association, but ""the Belgrade crowd doesn't get on with the internationals,"" a relationship that Markovic used to manage and coordinate. Previously, Markovic would keep him up to date on wrangling within the SPS and tell him who he needed to call to patch up feuds, solve conflicts, or provide political guidance to. Meanwhile, Milosevic's financial position has worsened considerably since the spring (i.e., soon after the assassination of Zoran Djindjic). Milosevic fell five months in arrear in paying his Belgrade household staff and was unable for a period to pay the air tickets of his rotating Belgrade advisers. Ultimately, the condition worsened to such a degree that the SPS was forced to ""to pass the hat"" to raise money on his behalf. The Registry believes his financial problems will worsen. In an interesting sidenote, McFadden said that his Belgrade contacts organized, and the Registry consented to, an evaluation of Milosevic's medical records by a group of physicians partial to him. The group concluded, following the review about 19 months ago, that his medical treatment (described below) met the requisite standard of care. ¶5. (S/NF) In the process of discussing Milosevic's contacts, McFadden illuminated the nature of the relationship among the so-called legal associates (Serb lawyers who have no courtroom privileges but enjoy privileged communications with the defendant), the amici and Milosevic. McFadden said that Milosevic believes that ""he is surrounded by fools"" both inside and out of the courtroom, though he added in an aside that this was a problem of his own making, as he had surrounded himself with ""fools"" throughout his career out of a fear of being challenged by more competent and intelligent advisors. Milosevic most relishes the opportunity to examine senior level witnesses of his level and is disdainful of the lower level officials and witnesses paraded before him by the prosecution. The two associates who have spent much of the trial in the trial chamber's public gallery (Zdenko Tomanovic and Dragoslav Ognjanovic) are, in McFadden's view, ""messenger boys"" to (unnamed) associates in Belgrade. McFadden knew little of Branko Rakic, the Belgrade lawyer/law professor recently added as Milosevic's third legal associate, but his initial impression was that he was contributing a more methodical, ""legal and logical"" approach to Milosevic's defense and cross-examination preparations. As a result, McFadden expected Milosevic's organization of his defense to improve. ¶6. (S/NF) In contrast to his courtroom disdain of the amici, McFadden said that Milosevic is in fact ""fond"" of them. Moreover, his public distancing of them actually masks the fact that his legal associates regularly liaise with the amici to discuss and coordinate defense strategy and questioning of witnesses. (Comment. Milosevic's adept and hereto unknown coordination with the amici is a striking demonstration of his abilities and methods. By using his Belgrade advisers to liaise with the amici in secret he is able to maintain the optically favorable appearance of a single man defending himself against an unfair and powerful international process. At the same time, he takes full advantage of the legal resources the amici offer and ensures that key technical legal points in his defense are covered so that he can focus on tending to the more political aspects of his defense. The fact that senior prosecutors on the Milosevic team are wholly unaware of this cooperation (as were we) underscores Milosevic's ability to work effectively behind the scenes, through third parties, and leave few fingerprints. End comment). The Registrar noted that, as helpful as the amici might be to Milosevic now, he does not expect the amici to continue in their current role during the defense case. Their departure would be a significant blow to Milosevic's defense unless he finally decides to accept legal counsel or is at least able to beef up his legal support from Belgrade. --------------- Physical Health --------------- 7.(S/NF) McFadden noted that Milosevic's medical records from the former Yugoslavia indicated a long history of hypertension (high blood pressure) that was difficult to control especially when Milosevic was stressed or excessively fatigued. He said that during the past summer a number of things happened that put Milosevic under increased stress and caused excessive fatigue, including the build up of stress from court appearances and trial preparations, his wife's legal problems that caused her to flee to Russia, the need for Milosevic to give increased time and attention to disputes and problems within the SPS Party (that would have formerly been handled in part by his wife), financial difficulties, and his gradual loss of attention from media. All of these factors appear to have contributed to the increase in Milosevic's blood pressure. Physicians consistently found Milosevic had a diastolic blood pressure above 120 mm mercury (normal should be below 90 mm mercury). Despite treatment with high doses of six medications his blood pressure remained dangerously elevated until the trial schedule was reduced to three days a week. (Note. The only information we have about his medications is that he was near the maximum dose of beta blockers and was also taking a medication that has to be stopped intermittently because of dangerous side effects. End note). Milosevic is now on four medications. ¶8. (S/NF) A reduced trial schedule had been recommended by Dutch physicians (including Dutch cardiologist, Dr. Paul Van Dykman) last year but was rejected by the Court until Milosevic's blood pressure could not be controlled with standard medications. His long history of hypertension has caused mild heart damage (identified by Serb physicians before he was apprehended and transferred to The Hague) but physicians have seen no evidence of a heart attack, stroke, or kidney damage. Three exercise EKGs have been normal and Milosevic will continue to have an exercise EKG twice a year according to McFadden. The last hypertensive episode ended about 6 weeks ago. ¶9. (S/NF) McFadden reports that Milosevic's hypertensive episodes have not correlated with adverse events at the trial or with the appearance of certain witnesses. They have seen no evidence that he is using his blood pressure problems as an issue to slow or otherwise affect the trial. Moreover, Milsoevic understands that he has potentially lethal health problems and is a compliant patient. The only two physician recommendations he has refused are (1) to take sedatives recommended by his doctors to lower his blood pressure and (2) to undergo invasive procedures to look for underlying causes of his hypertension and evidence of end organ damage in the brain. He is allowed to cook for himself, which limits control of his diet, but he nevertheless appears to be following a salt restricted diet. ¶10. (S/NF) In contrast to previous reports that Milsoevic has diabetes, McFadden stated that there is no evidence in his medical records for this diagnosis and all of his blood sugars have been normal. Milosevic,s cholesterol and other lipids have been normal. His weight has been stable since he lost 12 pounds when he was first brought to The Hague. He has not been observed to smoke much; in a recent conversation with McFadden, he claimed not to have smoked in four days and to have no desire to do so. His only request, McFadden said, is for a glass of red wine, but alcohol is strictly forbidden in the detention unit. ¶11. (S/NF) Milosevic is said by McFadden to have a nearly photographic memory, saying that he has ""never met a man with his memory."" He said that a ""very important"" detainee, whom he would not identify, warned McFadden early in Milosevic's detention that Milosevic has a very good memory that would ""come back to bite""; with a laugh, McFadden said it had. McFadden has seen no evidence of any deterioration in Milosevic's memory or other mental capacities. He remains, McFadden said, as ""narcissistic a person"" as when he arrived in The Hague. On the other hand, unlike other detainees who constantly complain, Milosevic is cooperative and always accepts McFadden's decisions, often responding, ""at least I asked."" In general, moreover, Milosevic believes strongly in his own powers and thinks that he is ""winning"" in the courtroom, an attitude that reinforces his currently stable health. ----------------------------------- Daily Regimen and Prison Activities ----------------------------------- ¶12. (S/NF) Milosevic's routine varies depending on whether court is in session. Thus, on the three days of court proceedings per week, a typical day begins around 0700 with a wake-up call; after he gets ready, he calls his wife around 0730 and leaves for court by 0800. The court sessions run from 0900 to approximately 1400, with two twenty minute breaks. After court, he returns to the detention center, where he has a meal and is allowed one hour of outdoor exercise (McFadden noted that he will walk for a full hour, ""sun, rain or hail""). Following the hour of exercise, he meets with legal advisors, reads the court transcripts, and otherwise prepares for the next court appearance. In the evening, he will typically read a book (he is an avid reader, especially of ""rubbish"" and potboiler thrillers like Grisham, and he prefers to read in the original English). On days when he is not in court, he may sleep later, sometimes until 0930 or 1000, have additional exercise time, attend ""creativity class,"" visit with his legal associates, have an afternoon nap, listen to Sinatra discs, and perhaps watch one of the DVD's that a privileged visitor (i.e. most likely his Belgrade lawyers) have smuggled in to him. ¶13. (S/NF) Milosevic has access to a laptop computer but is not allowed on the Internet and cannot use E-mail. His access to the outside world is via phone calls or visits. He is allocated 75 euros per month for phone use, but can make an unlimited number of calls beyond that as long as he pays for the calls -- something he has consistently been able to do. He is allowed an unlimited number of free calls to recognized legal associates on a special detention unit phone. All of his phone calls and visits, except those with the recognized legal associates, are monitored. ¶14. (S/NF) Within the detention community, Milosevic is well liked and respected by other prisoners. Many of them take care to monitor his health and encourage him to watch his own diet, McFadden said. He has refused to see a psychiatrist individually but does participate in the group sessions with the other prisoners on his floor, which are monitored by the detention unit. The psychiatrist who conducts these sessions tells McFadden that she has seen no evidence that he is depressed or has any other significant clinical problem. ¶15. (S/NF) Comment: Slobodan Milosevic's health surely puts him, in McFadden's words, at ""higher risk of accident"" than similarly situated persons of his age who do not suffer hypertension. Yet his health seems to have stabilized for the time being, particularly since the trial chamber's decision to go to three days per week. Whether Milosevic can maintain such a schedule will be tested when the defense case begins (perhaps not before September 2004). Some in the Registry and in the Office of the Prosecutor speculate that the courtroom schedule will be further reduced to one day a week in order to allow Milosevic two days of defense preparation and, as the doctors have ordered, four days of rest. The end of the trial seems ever more distant when put in this light. Even with his health stabilized, the impact of the move to the defense phase will cause further pressures of a financial and legal nature which could in turn trigger a downturn in his health. For now, however, Milosevic remains comfortably on top of his game. End comment. SOBEL