Skip to comments.Nazis Rock on in Croatia
Posted on 06/23/2007 11:07:39 AM PDT by Bokababe
Received this morning from Simon Wiesenthal Centers Israel Director Efraim Zuroff (bold emphasis added): Wiesenthal Center Expresses Outrage At Massive Outburst of Nostalgia for Croatian Fascism at Zagreb Rock Concert:
Jerusalem The Simon Wiesenthal Center today expressed its sense of outrage and disgust in the wake of a massive show of fascist salutes, symbols and uniforms at a rock concert by popular ultra-nationalist Croatian singer Thompson attended by 60,000 people in Zagreb last night. In a letter sent today to Croatian President Stjepan Mesic, the Centers chief Nazi-hunter Israel director Dr. Efraim Zuroff noted the presence of Croatian dignities, including the Minister of Science, Education and Sports, at the event and called for the banning of concerts by singers like Thompson who glorify fascism and racism. According to Zuroff:
According to the Croatian media, the concert turned into a massive fascist demonstration with tens of thousands of people shouting the infamous Ustasha salute of Za dom spremni. In addition, numerous participants came wearing Ustasha uniforms and symbols. To make matters worse, in attendance last night were officials and members of Parliament, as well as the Minister of Science, Education [!!] and Sports.
Under the current circumstances, I believe that the time has come to prohibit public concerts by those who write songs of nostalgia for Jasenovac and inspire the show of Ustasha symbols, which constitute open and blatant incitement against all the minorities in Croatia.
(Excerpt) Read more at juliagorin.com ...
My goodness it's been years since I studied French at college. So, thank goodness for a daughter-in-law who is a former French teacher. HA!
We did have some interesting times over there and the food was good but expensive. Then we came home and found steak over here to be about the same price as there now. Talk about your sticker shock.
ALso had a BIG health issue for MONTHS before that trip over. However, The trip over and back did not kill me and We traveled on Air France. SO, as they say what don't kill ya makes ya TOUGHER.
Now I can come back here from time to time and "raise sand" with neo-nazis and islamo-fascists!!!!
While we were over there, we went to Normandy and visited my cousin's grave. Real sad and hard to do. He was killed in the invasion and the last time I saw him was 1942. He and my late brother were the same age.
Very glad that you are back & doing well again!
Yes, understand about the French. Moi aussi.I was a French Teaching Asst. in college and had gotten good enough at it back then that I actually dreamed in French.
But then I had no real occasion to use it for 30 years — until we went to Italy last year. I was trying to learn Italian while we were there and was doing pretty well, until we met this very nice French couple at a restaurant who spoke no English or Italian. So I trotted out my now “See Spot run” level, rusty French. Problem was, after we left the French couple, I was never able to get into the swing of speaking Italian again. Every time I searched for an Italian word in my brain, it could only find the French. It was really frustrating!
Good that you got a chance to visit your cousin’s grave. So many died there. We had a family friend who was there during the invasion. He died last year, but he had gone back for the 50th anniversary in the 1990’s and visited the graves of his friends. He said that it was an amazing trip.
“Now you are just lying, but nothing new here.”
I’m not lying about anything.
“You’ve spent the majority of this thread trying to downplay Thompson’s nazi revival fest, in effect, apologizing for it.”
Nonsense. 1) That isn’t the majority of this thread. 2) I said it was much ado about nothing - meaning the over-reaction here. 3) Correctly identifying that the reaction is much ado about nothing, or even the concert is much ado about nothing, is not defending anything.
“The other useless bandwidth you spent was trying to apologize for Stepinac, you are like FR’s own Baghdad Bob.
I didn’t try to defend Stepinac - I did SUCCESSFULLY defend Stepinac. That’s exactly why for post after post you and others here haven’t even attempted to refute what I posted. Now, either post evidence that I ever defended Nazis or simply shut up. I have been told to shut up by several others in this thread when I did absolutely nothing wrong. Stop implicitly or explicitly claiming that I am defending Nazis when I never once did so. NOT ONCE. EVER.
It’s time to put up or shut up. Which is it going to be?
Developments in the war crimes trial of Bosnian Serb Dusko Tadic from May 13-17, 1996.
Today we were transported from the academic, metaphysical gyrations of Dr. James Gow to the phantasmagorical account of Dragan Lukac, a senior security official in a northern Bosnian town.
But the differences between these witnesses did not mask the fact that they were called to serve the same strategic functions for the prosecution: to establish that this was an international conflict in order to prove “grave breaches” against Tadic, and to show that Tadic’s alleged crimes were part of a “widespread and systematic” attack on a civilian population, thereby constituting “crimes against humanity.”
If the Tribunal believes these two witnesses, then the prosecution will have little difficulty in hurtling these jurisdictional barriers. However, prosecutor Nieman has promised at least a dozen more witnesses on these same issues.
Continued Cross-Examination of James Gow
Defense counsel Alphons Orie attacked Gow’s position on both jurisdictional issues while simultaneously launching an assault on the professor’s accuracy. He began with questions about U.N. Resolution 757. (On May 30, 1992, shortly after the commencement of the spring offensive in northern Bosnia, the U.N. Security Council passed Resolution 757, calling for an embargo of Serbia and Montenegro. One of the articulated bases for this resolution was the refusal of Serbia to withdraw the JNA from Bosnia.)
Orie asked Gow if he knew what facts the security council had when it passed this resolution. Gow replied that he did not but he assumed that there had been a “reliable factual basis.” Orie then produced a fax of a Secretary General’s report, from which he read several passages that, if true, would contradict Gow’s testimony that the offensive was being masterminded from Belgrade. How would Gow respond to those, he asked? After some academic circumlocution, Gow was able to justify his prior testimony and offer his own interpretation of the Secretary General’s report. This series of questions would have gone further, but Judge Stephen became somewhat testy when Orie tried to read more passages from the report into the record.
Karadzic’s Infamous Speech
On October 14, 1991, Radovan Karadzic, the leader of the Bosnian Serbs, made a speech in the Bosnian Parliament in which he said, “You Muslims will drag Bosnia down to hell. You could face extinction.” During direct testimony Gow had guessed that this speech was made in March 1992. Gow readily admitted his mistake but said that the essence was the same. Orie, however, tried to get Gow to concede that there was a difference between language used in the heat of a debate about Bosnia’s self-determination (the earlier) and words spoken on the eve of what we know now to be the “ethnic cleansing” campaign (the later). Gow was adamant and insisted that the Serbo-Croation words Karadzic used mean, literally, “non-existence.”
Orie also fired a few shots at the professor over references during his testimony to a film called The Death of Yugoslavia, to which Gow was a consultant. Among other things, Orie focused on a section of the film in which some of Milosevic’s words seem to have been mistranslated. Gow did ultimately concede that point but claimed that as a consultant he was not responsible for the missed nuances.
Orie made a game effort of his first cross-examination. He did land some blows on a tough witness under difficult circumstances. But it is hard to believe that the Tribunal doubts that Serbia had a hand in northern Bosnia at least through May of 1992, or that there was a “widespread and systematic” ethnic cleansing campaign against Croats and Muslims in parts of Bosnia. All of which raises the question of why the defense bothered with this witness, since Tadic has entered an alibi.
The Direct of Dragan Lukac
In July 1991 Lukac, a Bosnian Croat, was a senior security official in the town of Bosanski Samac, in northern Bosnia near the Croat border. In today’s testimony Lukac outlined the process by which the Bosnian Serbs, led by the JNA and other personnel from Serbia, established a parallel security apparatus in his town and then proceeded in early April 1992 to arrest, beat and kill Croatian and Muslim men in his district.
Lukac’s testimony began matter-of-factly. But as he spoke, the tension in his voice suggested what was to come. He described how the JNA took all the weapons from the district’s arsenal, how they demolished 23 buildings and facilities. Though they tried, Lukac said, it was impossible to arrest anyone — in fact, the JNA used these incidents as a pretext for its continued presence, claiming to be concerned about “inter-ethnic” tension.
Lukac said he learned in December 1991 of the establishment of a Serb Parliament in Bosanski Samac, which constrasted sharply with his description of a delicately balanced power sharing among ethnic groups in the official Municipal Counsel and security forces.
On February 29, 1992, all of Bosnia was scheduled to participate in a referendum on Bosnian self-determination. One day earlier the JNA blew up the bridge over the Saba River to prevent Croatians from crossing the border to vote. Lukac went on to describe the mounting tensions and conflicts between the two factions.
Gunfire in the Morning
At 2:20 a.m. on April 17, 1992, Lukac was awakened by automatic gunfire. He tried to investigate but his phone was cut off. He realized that the JNA and the Serb paramilitary forces had taken Bosanski Samac. His own residence came under sniper fire and he hid out with a neighbor. He tried to escape but was arrested at a roadblock by a policeman wearing a beret and the Serbian “tri-color.”
After several days in detention Lukac and about 50 other Croats and Muslims were taken to a 12-by-6-foot room in the old weapon storage facility in Bosanski Samac. Shortly after his internment a Serbian called “Luka” — now known to be Slobodan Milkovic, subsequently indicted by the Tribunal — beat the new arrivals, including Lukac, with a truncheon. Lukac testified that the men were beaten regularly by their captors with rifle butts, metal pipes, batons and military boots. When Lukac asked why, he was told he was a “political prisoner.”
Sometime after May 7 all but four prisoners were loaded on trucks to be taken elsewhere. When Lukac inquired after the fate of the four left behind, he was told that they were to be used for a prisoner exchange. Lukac later learned that two of the men had been executed.
Testimony was only taken for half a day today because of a closed morning session in which this trial chamber addressed matters concerning Zdravko Mucic. Mucic is charged with offenses committed when he, Zejnil Delalic and Hazim Delic held “positions of superior authority” in Celebici camp in central Bosnia. Celebici was jointly administered by Muslims and Croats; its inmates were Serbs.
Today began on the same note that sounded yesterday’s recess. Judge McDonald pressed prosecutor Nieman to streamline his case. Nieman repeated his claim that with his legal burden and the lack of precedent, he had to present all of the proofs available. Apparently in an earlier letter to the Court he identified 14 “policy” witnesses he intended to call, of a total of 88 “certain” witnesses. The “policy” in question is presumably ethnic cleansing.
Today we completed the testimony of two of those “policy” witnesses, Dragan Lukac and Sulejman Tihic. Once again, the defendant was never mentioned, but the prosecution moved ever closer to showing that this was an international conflict and that there was a “systematic and widespread” assault on “protected persons.” The defense chose not to cross-examine either witness.
Word of Lukac’s dramatic testimony had obviously reached the outside world — the press corps quintupled overnight. Those who came hoping for a rerun of yesterday’s tale of murder, mayhem and carnage in northern Bosnia got their money’s worth.
The Lukac Saga Continues
Yesterday ended with Lukac telling how he and other prisoners were taken from Bosanski Samac to Birtcko, another northern Bosnian town, in trucks on May 2. From Birtcko they were transferred to Bjalina, a nearby military facility. When they arrived they were confronted with two armored personnel carriers and two tanks. One Muslim prisoner was singled out for no apparent reason and shot by the tank’s machine gun.
Lukac was then taken to the gym and beaten and kicked all day.
On May 3 Lukac and six other political prisoners at Bjalina were taken by helicopter to a military facility outside of Belgrade, Serbia. (Also on the helicopter: three prisoners from Bosanski Samac and a coffin draped with Serb flags.) In prison cells there, the inmates were forced to stand from 5 a.m. to 10 p.m. They were also forced to sing Chetnik songs and kiss the picture of Draza Mihailovic, a World War II Serbian hero. With considerable emotion Lukac explained that he was forced to make the sign of the cross the Eastern Orthodox way (with three fingers), rather than the full-hand method used by Roman Catholics.
Lukac was returned from Serbia on May 23, where he was held in and about the police station in Bosinski Samac until he was exchanged for Serbian prisoners on September 4, 1992, in a location on the Zagreb-Belgrade motorway under the supervision of ICRC and UNPROFOR. At the time of his release he was 55 pounds lighter than his pre-detention weight, and he had sustained a fractured skull, broken ribs and missing teeth.
Muslim and Croat Alike
The next witness on the stand was Sulejman Tihic, a Muslim lawyer and judge from Bosanski Samac. He too saw the construction of a parallel Serbian security structure in 1991 and early 1992. He also heard the sound of weapons at 2 a.m. on April 17, 1992 and saw his town occupied by Serbian forces.
Tihic was slighter in build than Lukac and spoke with more emotion. But for those and other minor differences in detail, his testimony and Lukac’s were identical.
Both frequently resorted to words like “indescribable” and “unspeakable,” and each said from time to time that what they had experienced could not be envisioned by one who had not been present. Ironically, though they had to have known each other before April 17 and appear to have taken the same helicopter ride with the Serbian corpse from Bjalina to Serbia, neither mentioned the other during testimony.
When firing began on April 17 Lukac joined a Muslim neighbor. One would think that Tihic’s luck would have been better since he sought sanctuary from a Serb friend. However, after one day Tihic and his Serbian protector were arrested. Tihic went to the same T.O. facility where he was also beaten by Luga (aka Milkovic). Again, he and other prisoners were beaten badly and forced to sing Chetnik songs. At one point Tihic thought he had arranged to purchase his freedom for 20,000 Deutsch marks, but the money was taken and he remained a prisoner.
Eventually Tihic too followed the trail to Birtcko. He later learned that the troops there were prepared to beat his group as they alighted from their trucks but decided that they looked too badly injured to beat, he said. Then they went from Birtcko to Bjalina, where, upon disembarking, their captors “singled out somebody and shot him.” It is impossible to know whether this is the same individual about whom Lukac testified or whether it was standard operating procedure to shoot one prisoner from every lot on arrival.
At Bjalina, where Tihic stayed for six days, he was beaten. Tihic was also forced to clean toilets with this hands. Despite the lack of detergent he was required to get the toilets white in order to avoid more beatings.
From Bjalina to Serbia outside Belgrade he was taken by the helicopter. There he stood from 5 a.m. to 10 p.m. and sang “Chetnik songs and kiss[ed] the picture of Draza Mihailovic, a World War II Serbian hero.” He was also beaten until his urine turned red and was forced to beat other prisoners as they were forced to beat him. He saw an American and Croatian prisoner there who were beaten badly and forced to “take their penises in each other’s mouths.” He saw another man who had apparently shot several Serbs endure an “unimaginable beating.” Then “Judge Tihic” was forced to “sentence” the man, after which the man was shot.
Tihic was also forced to lie to ICRC representatives (when they weren’t being watched by guards they were vulnerable to informers). The captors used electric batons — possibly cattle prods — to persuade Tihic and Ized Izetbegovic, a cousin of Bosnian president Alija Izetbegovic, to make propaganda videotapes for the Serbs to give to the BBC. His injuries on release were similar to Lukac’s. En route to the prisoner exchange which resulted in Tihic’s freedom, the bus would stop periodically to allow Serb JNA personnel to get on and beat the captives.
“Apres Moi Le Deluge.”
There is no evidence that Marshal Tito ever said these words. However, this fear guided his actions for much of his reign and clearly dominated the last years of his life. But Tito could not find a way to posthumously hold off the flood waters of resurgent nationalism.
James Gow testified about the changes Tito made in the Constitution of 1974 and of his maintenance of careful ethnic balance among conscripts and the general staff of the Yugoslavian national Army (JNA). We also know that he periodically purged the Communist Party of nationalist elements. These steps were attempts to counteract the anticipated effects of ethnic rivalry after his death.
We now know that he failed. Shortly after his death the Yugoslav pot began to simmer, stirred by committed nationalists and opportunists. The pot finally boiled over at the 14th Extraordinary Congress of the Yugoslav Communist Party in January of 1990. This fractious gathering saw Slovenia and Croatia make their preparations for departure. The Congress also marked the end of the communist party’s monopoly of political power and paved the way for multi-party elections.
The elections which took place in April 1990 reflect one of the great ironies of the current Balkan quagmire. They also provide the backdrop for understanding the witnesses who testified today. The elections gave power to nationalist elements backing Tudjiman in Croatia and Milosevic in Serbia. However, they apparently had a different impact in Bosnia-Herzegovina. Each of the five policy witnesses called so far has testified that after the elections, power sharing arrangements were deftly structured in Northern Bosnia, disturbing political and security positions among competing groups.
The Croat Dragan Lukac and Muslims Sulejman Tihic, Isak Gasi, Fadil Redzic and Ibro Osmonovic all testified to the parceling out of key positions based on their respective electoral successes of the competing elements. Each testified that this delicate balance was subsequently upset by the increased presence of the JNA in the region.
The JNA build up resulted from the use of Northern Bosnia as a staging area for the JNA incursion into Croatia in June of 1991 and its withdrawal in November. Today, the witnesses described in the detail the role of the JNA in insuring that Bosnian Serbs obtained a virtual monopoly on weapons by the spring of 1992. This action destroyed the balance of power which had been constructed after the April 1990 elections.
And What Kind of Uniforms Were They Wearing?
The prosecutor, U.S. Air Force Col. Brenda Hollis, asked each witness to identify personnel distributing arms to Serbs, manning roadblocks, committing atrocities or guarding camps. The descriptions ranged from “JNA” and “JNA reserve” to a wide selection of military haberdashery styles. Almost all of the variations on the season’s camouflage line adorned with matching insignia or caps or one of another of the paramilitary united linked to Serbia.
Each of the witnesses had sufficient military experience to be able to identify units, uniforms and insignia. For instance, Gasi, a world class canoeist, had been a “driver, a simple soldier in a traffic unit” in 1977-78. This enabled him to identify JNA vehicles when they were used to transport prisoners as well as JNA small arms, uniforms and insignia. His travels throughout the country as an athlete as well as his sojourn as a student in Serbia in 1979 wee offered by the prosecutor to explain his ability to recognize Serbian accents and slogans amongst his captors and occupiers of his town.
Fadil Redzic had the most impressive credentials for the prosecution’s purpose today. He received a reserve commission in 1966 as an artillery officer in the JNA and served with the JNA reserve until forced out with other Muslim officers in December of 1991. He said he saw JNA troops removing weapons from the reserve arsenal and redistributing them to Serb civilians. He said that none were given to Muslims.
Redzic also was familiar with senior military officers in the region and indicated that by the winter of 1991 the entire command structure of his 359th Brigade consisted of Serbs.
Rounding out the trio of witnesses was Osmonovic, a mechanic from Vlasenica who had served in Montenegro as part of a reconnaissance in 1984-85. He too identified uniforms, insignia and weaponry in a manner supporting the prosecution’s theory that the JNA participated directly in the April/May 1992 attack on Muslims and Croats, and supplied, supported and guided actions of the paramilitary units which committed atrocities and manned the camps.
The court was in recess.
The court was in recess.
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