Friday, June 20, 2003

Not Doing Your Homework

Turning Gotovina is probably the most successful thing this government ever did. It represents major, probably decisive, propaganda coup in election year. General Gotovina – rallying point of every Croatian right-winger and justification for holly crusade against evil treacherous Yugo-Communists Račan (Racan) and Mesić (Mesic) – suddenly became major asset of those very anti-Croatian arch-traitors.

Of course, both Račan and Mesić now must fulfil their part of the bargain and at least give some impression that they would do anything in their power to prevent Gotovina from spending a single day in Scheveningen prison. The simplest way is to help ICTY chief prosecutor Carla del Ponte to see the error of her ways and drop the "absurd" war crimes indictment. While Gotovina is still at large, Račan and Mesić are conducting major media campaign, filling pro-government media with official Tudjman-era transcripts about former government's ICTY-related shenanigans and talking about newly found documents that would clear Gotovina of all charges.

Major contributor in this campaign is Nacional, the very magazine that spectacularly broke the story about Gotovina's turning. In its latest issue it published some documents that show how ethnic Serbs during Operation Storm in August 1995 weren't cleansed by Croatian troops (led, among others, by Gotovina) but by their own leadership. One of such documents is flyer containing special order signed by Milan Mrkšić (Milan Mrksic), commander-in-chief of Krajina Serb Army (currently sitting in Scheveningen prison awaiting trial for some other war crimes). The flyer ordered Serb civilians to leave their homes and retreat to safety using specifically named roads and routes.

If authentic, this document still wouldn't absolve Croatian generals from the stuff that led to ICTY indictments. Even if Krajina Serbs left their homes by their own will (or being co-erced by their leaders), that still doesn't explain what happened to those Krajina Serbs that didn't follow that order. Roughly some 677 Krajina Serb civilians, mostly elderly people, were murdered following Croatian Army take-over of "Krajina" and some of those murders, including brutal massacres of multiple families, took place weeks, and sometimes even months after the official ending of hostilities. In those few cases that actually went to Croatian courts, most of the defendants were Croatian Army soldiers.

However, it seems that people at Nacional, President's Office and Croatian intelligence services didn't do their homework. Because almost identical document has been published in Feral Tribune more than two years ago. In accompanying article, Feral reporters couldn't help noticing some strange details about the flyer – being written half in Cyrillic, half in Latin alphabet. Furthermore, Feral had sources within Croatian military claiming that the flyer had been delivered over "Krajina" by Croatian Air Force planes as part of black propaganda operation designed to destroy enemy's morale and logistics.

So, it is very likely that the attempt to clear Gotovina could very easily put only more dirt on Croatia, because if this flyer turns out to be forgery, this could prove that the ethnic cleansing was state-sanctioned. The dirt this time would not only be on Tudjman, Šušak (Susak) and other conveniently dead Croatian leaders, but on people who run today's Croatia and enjoy reputations of "liberal pro-Western reformers faithful to European values".


Post a Comment

<< Home