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A chapter from future book:
"Impartial or Imperial court at the Hague"

Just another scandal: Dead men walking!

By Petar Makara

The Wrong Turn

Most of us have made a wrong turn on a road. For three Serbs who made a wrong turn on a road close to Sarajevo, the mistake brought a fundamental, catastrophic change to their lives. It meant torture, unbelievable world-wide humiliation, horror. A hopeless life in jail spent in the hands of a merciless enemy.

On November 11, 1992, Sretko Damjanovic, 31, and his wife Nada Tomic, 46, were traveling in their Volkswagen Golf with their friend Borislav Herak, 21, in the divided city of Sarajevo. The civil war had already been ragging around the city for at least seven months.

In their secessionist demand to form a separate country and control the whole of Bosnia Izetbegovic's fundamentalists seemed quite unreasonable. The Muslims who were ruling class during four centuries of Turkish occupation never inhabited, as majority population, more than 15% of the territory of Bosnia. Those were then the only territories they could control militarily. In all of those they found themselves surrounded - under siege. Their war against the Bosnian Serbs would have been hopeless was it not for their Western guarantors who put intense diplomatic and military pressure on their behalf.

As the war ragged around them, the Serbian trio was traveling from one Serb-held suburb of Sarajevo to another, from Vogosce to Ilidza. After making the wrong turn they stumbled into a Muslim separatists' check point and were arrested on the spot. To make things worse, Mr. Herak and Mr. Damjanovic, were wearing Yugoslav military uniforms.

What a treat for the Islamist rulers of Sarajevo - not just Serbs - but Serbs in uniform! The prey seemed to be heaven-sent. The Muslim government desperately needed a scapegoat for the suffering endured by their population. Someone had to be blamed for the siege.


Propaganda blitz

Two weeks after their fatal turn, the world had not yet heard of Herak and Damjanovic, but behind the scenes an amazing propaganda campaign was being prepared. On November 26, 1992, the London "Evening Standard" was the first to show a photograph of Mr. Herak. The photograph was subtitled:

Serbian soldier Borislav Herak, 21, is held at gunpoint in a Bosnian army jail in Sarajevo. He is accused of killing 29 Moslems.

The next day all hell broke loose, as hundreds of Western newspapers and TV stations reported on Mr. Herak who, with Mr. Damjanovic, were soon to become the personification of cruelty. The news reports contained accusations horrible enough to boil the reader's blood.

And the reports had the intended effect.

The point of the propaganda campaign was to tarnish an entire people, the Serbs; to present them as mindless beasts, perpetrators of mass murder and mass rape. The goal was to make them worse than the Nazis themselves. The very top of the Bosnian Serb leadership was to be blamed. Supposedly they planned, they orchestrated, they ordered the carnage.

To simply quote here what the Western press was writing would only add to the astonishing injustice the propaganda accomplished. Instead, for a moment, let's turn the clock forward.


No witnesses and no bodies

More than THREE YEARS latter, on January 31, 1996, after the propaganda hoopla had receded and the damage was done, the Houston Chronicle, in a barely-noticed statement, on page 10, managed to utter the simple admission:

There are no witnesses to the killings Herak is said to have committed and no bodies of those thought dead have been recovered.

NO WITNESSES AND NO BODIES! In other words there was NO MATERIAL EVIDENCE. Indeed, no material evidence at all. It was all hearsay. A cruel fairy tale.

Still, the Western press did not want to dull the thunder of the anti-Serb propaganda. The New York Times did manage to acknowledge (on page 6):

The Bosnian Government has no witnesses to the killings and has recovered no bodies.

But this damning fact appeared deeply imbedded in a text with the accusatory title: "Symbol of Inhumanity in Bosnia Now Says 'Not Me' ."

The referenced "Symbol of Inhumanity" was Mr. Herak. Now, more than three years later, the New York Times, the media outlet that was instrumental during the 1992 anti-Serb propaganda campaign, admited there were no witnesses and no bodies. In 1992, they published all of the damning speculations about Herak. Now, when it did not matter any more, they could managa a single sentence, though it had to be followed by an obligatory "but":

But Mr. Herak and Mr. Damjanovic were seen at several detention camps by inmates who were later traded in prisoner exchanges...

Hearsay defended with more hearsay. They were SEEN by some unnamed inmates? Even if the inmates had been quoted, which they were not, their claims had to be regarded skeptically, given their adversarial bias against the Serbs.

As we shall see, despite stubborn bias of the Western media, the entire structure of lies against Mr. Herak and Mr. Damjanovic collapsed in a miserable scandal a year after no-witnesses-no-bodies revelation. But first, let's examine the initial case against Herak and Damjanovic.


To murder a little girl

Back to November 27, 1992. On that day the story of "genocidal Serbs" exploded - front page - everywhere in the West. The New York Times presented John F. Burns' Special Report on page A1, the front page, under the headline: A Killer Tale - A Serbian Fighter's Path of Brutality

In the very first sentence of his Special Report Mr. Burns said:

What Borislav Herak remembers most vividly about the sunny morning in late June when he and two companions gunned down 10 members of a Muslim family is the small girl, about 10 years old, who tried to hide behind her grandmother as the three Serbian nationalist soldiers opened fire from a distance of about 10 paces.

"We told them not to be afraid, we wouldn't do anything to them, they should just stand in front of the wall," said Mr. Herak, who is 21 years old.

"But it was taken for granted among us that they should be killed. So when somebody said, 'Shoot,' I swung around and pulled the trigger, three times, on automatic fire. I remember the little girl with the red dress hiding behind her granny."

Shocking, isn't it? No little girl should be killed, in any war. Let alone this way. But why should this account by a prisoner of war - even when printed by a reporter from a reputable newspaper - be taken at face value? When a captured American pilot was shown on Iraqi TV, it seemed natural for the American media to immediately deny anything he may have said. Of course, he was in enemy hands. He was forced to say whatever they wanted him to say.

But the Western media effortlessly assumed a double standard with respect to Herak: what applies to an American prisoner of war does not apply to a Serbian prisoner of war.

As far as we know, the little girl in Burn's story was never named. Such details are unimportant in creative journalism. Nevertheless, fictional reports like these were instrumental in shaping the public consent for subsequent Western involvement in the Balkans. When three year old Serbian girl Milica Rakic was murdered by NATO planes in their "humanitarian" bombing of Belgrade on April 18, 1999, her name was never mentioned in the Western press. Her death was not worth printing in the New York Times. She was a Serb and after press' demonization of people, any disaster that befell the Serbs seemed justified. Little Milica was only a collateral damage in a humanitarian mission.


The Furnace

But John F. Burns was not satisfied with dramatizing the murder of an imaginary girl. His Special Report seem to be competing with itself in gore:

In another incident with multiple victims, in July, Mr. Herak said, he saw 30 men from Donja Bioca, a Muslim village three miles northwest of Vogosca, shot and incinerated in a furnace at a steel plant at Ilijas, a town north of Vogosca.

Some of the men were alive when they were thrown into the furnace, he said.

Just to be sure the reader would notice it, this vignette had a subtitle: "Bodies in a Furnace."

Ah, the furnace! What Nazi would operate without a furnace? This fabrication was obviously intended to target the Jewish audience. Predictably, the Jewish community was outraged and energized by the Burn's report and soon played an important role in the orchestrated Serb-bashing. This is a crime, given the basic history of WWII.

It is common knowledge that the Serbian people suffered terribly at hands of Croat and Muslim Nazis (known as Ustasha) during WWII. Even the matter-of-fact research in the Britannica (Macropedia section, under Yugoslavia, WWII, editions 1971 to 1987) felt the need for a bit of emotion when describing the plight of the Serbs:

Armed resistance to the [Ustasha/Nazi] occupation began in BOSNIA, and there the Croatian fascists began a massacre of SERBS WHICH, IN THE WHOLE ANNALS OF WORLD WAR II, WAS SURPASSED FOR SAVAGERY ONLY BY THE MASS EXTERMINATION OF POLISH JEWS.

Moreover, the suffering of Serbs, as documented in countless Western books on the WWII Holocaust, is always tied to the slaughter of Jews and Roma (Gypsies). Such books rutinely use the phrase "Serbs and Jews" when talking about the mass slaughter. The countryside of the former Yugoslavia (Croatia and Bosnia in particular) is littered with common graves of Serbs, Jews and Gypsies.

When one people have suffered so much at the hands of the Nazis, as the Serbs did, one should be particularly cautious about comparing them to Nazis. When the press tailors its anti-Serb propaganda to the fears of the Jewish community in order to turn them against the Serbs - the other victim of the holocaust - it is not only irresponsible journalism it is an appalling crime.

As far as we know, John F. Burns has never repeated his charges that Serbs burned live people in a furnace. Indeed, the charges were never repeated by anyone. The front page story was for one-time use.

Back to Mr. Burns' "Special report." More gore:

[I]n early June, Mr. Herak said, he watched a Serbian unit called the "special investigation group" machine-gunning 120 men, women and children in a field outside Vogosca.

Mr. Herak said dump trucks had been used to transport the bodies to scrub land beside a railway yard at Rajlovac, near Sarajevo, where the bodies were piled in an open pit, doused with gasoline and set afire.

Of course, when the no-witnesses-and-no-bodies reality was revealed in 1996 all of Bosnia was under NATO occupation. Yet despite all the digging, no bodies and no human ashes were ever found to substantiate Herak's alleged confession. None. Ever.


Ethnic cleansing

Mr. Burns attempted to extrapolate from the Herak stories to generalizations on the entire civil war in Bosnia:

Although Mr. Herak's experiences were limited to a 10-mile stretch of territory immediately north of Sarajevo, his account offered new insights into the ways that tens of thousands of civilian victims of the war have died...

Indeed, Burns made sure that the Serb leadership was implicated:

In effect, Mr. Herak's story was the first account given by a perpetrator to outsiders of how the Serbian nationalist forces have carried out "ethnic cleansing."

This is the policy under which Serbian leaders seeking to carve out much of Bosnia and Herzegovina for an exclusive Serbian enclave have sanctioned the killing of large numbers of Bosnian Muslims and Croats and their forcible eviction from their towns and villages.

Let us say here that for the last hundred years, all Western maps that displayed the disposition of ethnic groups in Bosnia clearly show Serbs as being majority population in well over half of Bosnia. The Serbs wanted to carve out nothing. If Islamic separatists wanted an Islamic state under their own control, the Serbs did not want to be any part of it. They wanted to stay loyal to the mother country - to multiethnic Yugoslavia.

As far as the notion of ethnic cleansing is concerned, again without boring you with excessive historical detail, here is one reference to the most infamous twentieth century application of that concept:

Encyclopedia of the Holocaust, Vol 1, page 323, entry: Croatia, quote:

Croatia... established during WWII, that was in existence from April 1941 to May 1945. Its area... consisted of what are today the Federative Republic of Croatia and the Federative Republic of BOSNIA and Herzegovina...

... Shortly after taking control, the [Croat/Muslim Nazis known as] Ustasha, with the support of many Croats, EMBARKED UPON WHAT IT CALLED "THE PURGE OF CROATIA FROM FOREIGN ELEMENTS," which had as its MAIN purpose the ELIMINATION OF THE SERB MINORITY.

In a BRUTAL TERROR CAMPAIGN, more than half a million Serbs were killed, a quarter of a million expelled, and 200,000 forced to convert to Catholicism.

The Ustasha regime in Croatia, and particularly this drive in the summer of 1941 to EXTERMINATE AND DISPOSSESS THE SERBS, WAS ONE OF THE MOST HORRENDOUS EPISODES OF WORLD WAR II !!!

THE MURDER METHODS APPLIED BY THE USTASHA WERE EXTRAORDINARILY PRIMITIVE AND SADISTIC: thousands were hurled from mountain tops, other were beaten to death or their throats cut, entire villages were burned down, WOMEN RAPED, people sent to death marches in the middle of winter, and still others starved to death.
(End quote)

Did you notice who was a target of this very real ethnic cleansing? The Serbs. Does it not explain a bit how the Serbs slipped from being the largest ethnic group in Bosnia before WWII to a slight minority in these days? It is particularly disturbing to see the distortions of historical fact - in a quite Orwellian fashion - that labels the Serbs ethnic cleansers.

During the same the decade of 1991-2000, while the Serbs were being blamed for ethnic cleansing as if they had invented it, huge swaths of lands in the former Yugoslavia, that had been populated for centuries by an overwhelming Serb majority, were made Serb free.

For example, in August 1995, NATO and its neo-Nazi Croat proxies cleansed, all the resident Serbs from one third of Croatia. That land was known in history books as "Military Frontier" (or Krajina). The Serbs had settled there, at invitation of the Habsburg emperor in 1578, decades before the "Mayflower" sailed in 1620 to the American shores.

The cleansing of the Serbs was preceded by Western propaganda campaigns, where, again in Orwellian fashion, the Serb residents of Krajina were called aggressors, land-grabbers, even conquerors. What is happening to the English language if people who were the overwhelming majority population for at least four centuries can be called conquerors on the land of their birth?

Such appalling distortion of fact should be insulting not only to Serbs, but to anyone decent.

After expulsion of the Serbs from the Krajina, NATO ethnically cleansed the Serbs from one half of Bosnia and from entire Serbian province of Kosovo.

Mr. Burns' article was instrumental in the shameless propaganda effort to tie the term "ethnic cleansing" to the Serbian people. Here is how he did it:

Mr. Herak, his head shaven by his captors, frequently used the Serbo-Croatian word "ciscenje," meaning cleansing, to describe his activities as a Serbian fighter...

Referring to the killing of the Muslim family at Ahatovici, for instance, he said Serbian commanders had described the Serbian operation in the village as "ciscenje prostora," or the cleansing of the region...

True - "ciscenje" means cleaning and "prostor" means space, or region, but when combined into the phrase "ciscenje prostora," the words have an easy and standard English translation, meaning "mop up operation." There is no other Serbo-Croatian phrase for this common military term. There is no "ethnic" in "ciscenje prostora." There were many mop up operations in the Bosnian war, but no Serbian leader ever ordered "ethnic cleansing". Yet here is Mr. Burns to place such a spin on the words of Mr. Herak, the prisoner of war.


It does not add up

Why should we believe Mr. Burns? Just because he was one of select Western journalists the Muslim jailers allowed to visit Mr. Herak?

Mr. Burns writes:

As he tells his rambling story now, in a room with potted plants at the Viktor Buban military prison here, Mr. Herak stands up from his steel chair, shuffles into the open part of the room in his green field jacket and laceless black army boots...

Rambling indeed. The numbers of people Mr. Herak admits killing and the number of people he claims to have seen other Serbs executing kept changing from interview to interview over time. The number of 120 men, women and children supposedly machine-gunned outside Vogosca was mentioned in Mr. Burns' original article but not repeated again. The same day, David Crary, of Associated Press, another interviewer a competitor to Mr. Burns, writes an article titled "Serb Soldier Tells of Slaughtering 20 After Hate-Mongering Training." He says:

[Mr. Herak] told how his unit gunned down 150 people, mostly women and children, in the village of Semizovac.

The 150 victims of Semizovac were never mentioned again. During trial, Los Angeles Times reported on March 14, 1993, that Mr. Herak talked about 150 villagers killed. But now it was not in Semizovac but in Ahatovici:

Herak said he later was sent with some soldiers from Serbia to the village of Ahatovici, near Sarajevo, with orders "to kill everybody and burn everything down."

He said about 150 villagers, including many children, were herded together and shot at close range with a machine gun. Some were still alive when they were dumped into a mass grave.

Nice touch - the "soldiers from Serbia." These words are to claim aggression by the Republic of Serbia against Bosnia.

Most Western articles agree that, in total, Mr. Herak had seen some 220 executions. It does not matter that it does not add up across the articles.

The number of murders and rapes Mr. Herak supposedly committed himself also changes. As you saw above it have started with Mr. Herak confessing to 20 murders...

The Associated Press, March 12, 1993:

The principal defendant, Borislav Herak, is charged with raping at least 12 women and murdering 30 war prisoners and civilians...

The same day, March 12, 1993, United Press International:

The prosecutor... was charging Herak with 32 murders and 16 rapes, 12 of which also were supposedly murders.

Two days later, March 14, 1993, the New York Times:

Mr. Herak,... is accused of 35 killings...

When one admits and volunteers gruesome stories presenting himself as a mass murderer then numbers may not mean much. The captors must have kept the record of ever multiplying stories so, by March 1997, the New York Times, page A3, says:

Mr. Herak confessed to a series of war crimes that included 42 individual killings, and 16 rapes that were followed by the killing of 11 of the women. He said he also witnessed the killing of 220 civilians during Serbian campaigns of ethnic cleansing.

So from 20 confessed murders, Mr. Herak had progressed to 42.


One look into Mr. Herak's mind

Forget the numbers. It is the story that sells. Back to the huge and pivotal propaganda article of Mr. Burns (NYT, November 27, 1992, page A1):

Almost immediately, [after being captured] Mr. Herak began telling investigators of his gruesome experiences as a Serbian fighter, including one incident in which he used a six-inch hunting knife to cut the throats of three captured Muslim men who were Bosnian soldiers...

He described details of the killings without any apparent emotion... [We have cut out the gruesome details from Mr. Burns' article.]

[H]is account was offered in a matter-of-fact manner, and always with a keen attention to detail. As he shifted between one killing and another, and between rapes, the young Serb gave the names of many of his victims. He described where they were killed, what they were wearing, and what they said immediately before they died...

It is quite puzzling this avelange of self-accusation. Is Mr. Herak so stupid as not to understand that the gruesome self-accusation would bring him nothing but a certain death sentence? Here is what Mr. Burns saw when trying to peek into the dark corners of Mr. Herak's mind (the same article: NYT, November 27, 1992):

Now, under Article 41 of the old Yugoslav criminal code, he [Mr. Herak] faces death by firing squad for offenses that include genocide, mass murder, rape and looting. His trial, expected to begin next month, could make him the first person to be executed legally for crimes committed in Europe's most brutal conflict since 1945.

Mr. Burns continued:

Throughout much of his account, which was given partly in the presence of prison officials and partly with nobody from the Bosnian Government or Army present, Mr. Herak appeared almost nonchalant...

Is something wrong, seriously wrong, with this man? (Ibid):

[E]ven the threat of execution seemed not to hold his attention for long. "I am sure that I am guilty, and even if I am sorry, I will be executed," he said at one point. "They will stand me in front of a wall and shoot me."

Later, he said he would like to be exchanged for Muslim prisoners held by the Serbian forces. On another occasion, he suggested that he should be freed to fight on the Bosnian [Muslim] side.

"I don't suppose that's possible," he said. "But if it's possible, I'd like it."

In the same date report (November 27, 1992), Associated Press writer David Crary tells us that Mr Herak told him:

"For what I did, the only thing they can do is shoot me. Even if they sentenced me to 20 years in jail, I would ask to be shot."

So, in the same day, Mr. Herak wanted to be exchanged, shot and to fight on the Muslim side.

For now, it will seem unrelated, but let us quote a bit more from Mr. Crary's article:

A few days ago, [Mr. Herak] received a visitor... It was his father, who looked at him, said nothing, then left.

In Mr. Burns' article Borislav Herak's father seemed much more talkative:

Among those who appear satisfied that Mr. Herak is telling the truth [sic!] is his father, Sretko Herak,... who is one of... Serbs who have remained in Sarajevo [under Muslim control] during the siege.

Milica Herak, his wife,... was visiting Belgrade, the Serbian capital,... in April, and Borislav Herak's decision in late May to flee across a bridge in central Sarajevo into the Serbian-held district of Vraca left the older Mr. Herak, who is 55, alone.

When this reporter arrived at the two-story home in the Pofalici district, Sretko Herak invited him in, then quickly burst into tears.

Referring to a tape-recorded confession by his son played on Sarajevo television on Tuesday night, Mr. Herak said: "I could see that he was frightened, but I believe he was telling the truth. Now I am ashamed to look people in the face because my son has thrown dirt on his family..."

Sretko Herak said: "I would be happier if he had simply killed me, and gone to prison for it. Now, I am alive and tortured by what my boy has done to innocent people."

Let us not play amateur psychiatrist and try to understand the family dynamics here. The most important point is that captive soldier's father was in the hands of the Muslim enemy too.


Trained on the pigs

The reporters' exaggeration becomes more obvious as the gory details are presented again and again. The exaggerations get to be almost funny. But the reader's mind becomes too numb by horror to notice.

Let us get back once again to Mr. Burns' November 27, 1992 article:

Mr. Herak also recounted being taken to a small farm outside Vogosca... and shown... how to wrestle pigs to the ground, hold their heads back with their ears and cut their throats.

Days later, Mr. Herak said, he used what he described as "this skill" to cut the throats of three Muslim men captured fighting for the Bosnian Army near Donja Bioca, the village outside Vogosca.

We will skip here the detailed York Times account of how he was supposedly slaughtering those imagined Muslim men.

Trained on the pigs!? Idiotic. And expensive. Are other soldiers, let us say American ones, trained in the "art" of murder? Quite probably yes. Such is the "job." Were they trained on pigs? Not likely. So, what is the purpose for such tales? Was it to sneak the notion that these ugly racists known as Serbs do not distinguish between pigs and Muslims? What else would they print in the democratic press?

But do not be fooled. For this job Mr. John F. Burns got no less than a Pulitzer prize! The article we are talking about went round the globe and was reprinted a few times. For example, The Houston Chronicle printed it on the same day. The London's Guardian, on December 3rd, 1992, etc. In the Guardian the title was: "Slaughter in the name of Serbia!"


Competition in Serb-bashing

Mr. Burns was not without competition for that Pulitzer prize. As mentioned above Mr. David Crary of the Associated Press was also interviewing Mr. Herak at the Muslims army jail. He also mentions pigs. He also had a story about how Mr. Herak was thought to hate Muslims by the Serb authorities:

The hate stories were constant, he said - the Muslims... threw Serb babies to lions in the zoo.

It is a bit too much, wouldn't you say? Even if coming from primitive people like Serbs. This story was, as we know, repeated only once, and that in the Irish Times, on September 15, 1995 during NATO's deliberate bombing of one party in the civil war - the Serbs. The operation was nicknamed - "Deliberate Force." Then, maybe, it was again time to recycle Serb-bashing and say few more nasty things against the Serbs. Then it turned out that the story of Serbian children and zoo was not a story at all - it was a tape. Quote from Irish Times:

They [the Bosnian Serb Army, Herak included] were shown propaganda films by the Bosnian Serb army. One which he saw maintained that Bosnians were feeding Serb children to the lion in Sarajevo zoo.

While Mr. Burns was harping on the Serbian motives in becoming slaughter machines, Mr. David Crary in his long article never mentioned that Muslims may have some motives in the war. Mr. Crary's mistake was to mention this in his article of November 27, 1992:

For propaganda purposes, Bosnian officials make prisoners available for interviews. Prisoners say they are speaking freely, but it was impossible to determine if they have been pressured.

Mr. Burns tried to avoid the mistake of casting doubt on our allies, the Bosnian (i.e. Muslim) officials:

Asked repeatedly if he had been put under pressure to talk, or promised a lighter sentence or relief from harsh treatment for confessing, [Mr. Herak] said he had not.

At one point, when this reporter asked to see his upper body, he pulled up his shirt to show that he had not been bruised.

Immediately he slips in adding:

But he appeared deeply frightened, and asked after one long session if a visitor would seek the prison governor's assurance that the guards, mostly Muslims, would not beat him once he had finished telling his story. The governor, Besim Muderizovic [a Muslim], gave assurances that he would not be harmed.

Why in the world would Mr. Herak be harmed when he had said everything the Islamic fundamentalist ears wanted to hear? He said everything that "neutral" reporter from NATO country could and did gladly print.

Obviously, the Muslim officials presented only the prisoners who were willing to say whatever they were told, so they would be allowed to live one more day. We should also remember this detail that Mr. Burns asked Mr. Herak to take of shirt. How did Mr. Burns get the idea? Why did Mr. Burns not interview Mr. Damjanovic, the other Serbian soldier captured with Mr. Herak? He obviously knows about him and mentions him in the article. Why didn't he ask Mr. Damjanovic to pull up his shirt? We will get answers to all those questions.

Obviously Mr. Damjanovic was not nearly as compliant as Mr. Herak. Mr. Burns says:

After investigators confronted him with statements by Mr. Herak... implicating him in the Ahatovici killings, Mr. Damjanovic is said to have replied: "Is that what he said? If you put me in a cell with him, I'll kill him."

Actually, as we will see later, Mr. Damjanovic and his wife Nada Tomic, together with Mr. Herak, have all signed statements, in front of their Muslim "investigators." All three texts were supposedly consistent with each other. Not a difficult thing to do. But two weeks after the trio was caught, Mr. Burns and other Western reporters were left with only Mr. Herak to interview.

Well, in time, we will also see that the methods of "investigation" were a bit medieval. In medieval times actually the term "inquisition" was preferred over the term "investigation."


The mass rape!

Mr. Burns' article has all the elements needed to present the Serbs as Nazis. There is mass-murder, a whole family slaughtered, ethnic cleansing, even a furnace. In copying the Nazi style Mr. Herak was supposedly ordered to kill some Muslims simply because they "were working poorly." For others there was no food to feed them... All of this is your regular every-day life in some German Nazi concentration camp of WWII. The supposed murders described by Mr. Herak were readily printed by Mr. Burns, in all the gory details. The only excuse Mr. Herak offered was a standard Nuremberg Nazi excuse - he was ordered to do it.

Despite it all, it seems that it was not enough for the Western propaganda machine that Serbs should be simply equated with the Germans of WWII. The Serbs had to be painted as worse than Nazis. This is how mass rape was invented. It is out of scope of this analysis but the mass-rape propaganda was proven to be just another anti-Serb propaganda hoax.

But here we had a Serb ready to talk and he have given his own contribution to the mass-rape propaganda campaign. We will again skip the gory details and quote only parts of Mr. Burns' article (the same Pulitzer winning article of November 27, 1992):

Mr. Herak said the "commander" of the prison for Muslim women established in the motel was a Serbian fighter... 

[The commander] had established "a system" for the Serbian fighters raping and killing the women. "It was always the same," Mr. Herak said, describing how he and his companions were encouraged to go to the motel by Serbian commanders who told them that raping Muslim women was "good for raising the fighters' morale."

Mr. Herak even gave some names, first names:

Mr. Herak identified the women he had attacked -- Emina, Sabina, Amela and Fatima among others, the youngest of them teen-agers, the oldest about 35 -- and... the "prison commander," had told them: "You can do with the women what you like. You can take them away from here -- we don't have enough food for them anyway -- and don't bring them back."

Mr. Herak said this was understood to mean that the women should be killed. He described how he and a companion had attacked Fatima...

By the way names like Emina, Fatima and Sabina are among the most frequent names for Bosnian Muslim women. But what a beautiful way to attract yet another Western activist group to the anti-Serb lynch mob. Here, obviously the group targeted by the propaganda was women activists.

Here is more from the same Burns article:

He said that he went to the motel once every three or four days, and that although Serbian fighters routinely took the women they raped away and killed them, there were always more women arriving. "It was never a problem," he said. "You just picked up a key and went to a room."

Mr. Herak's account of the rapes was among the tape-recorded sequences shown on Sarajevo television.

Makes you scream, doesn't it? Who cares a damn whether there is ANY truth to it. Hey, the reputable New York Times has printed it. Front page. They would not dare lie to such a degree. Right?

The story of mass rapes was repeated so many times by so many different (reputable) Western newspapers that it simply had to be truth. Right?

Why did we say - Never again!? Was it not Hitler's Minister of Propaganda Mr. Goebbels who said that if you repeat a lie s sufficient number of times it becomes a truth. A Big Lie has a better chance according to his master:

"The broad mass of people... falls victim to a Big Lie more easily than to a small one"
(Hitler, "Mein Kampf," Vol I, ch. 10).

Western women are not heartless. The Big Lie eventually worked. Still, in late 1992 the New York Times editors felt that the story needed additional boost. Ten days after Mr. Burns' article was published, on December 7, 1992, the editorial page of the magazine said (page A18):

Although those Muslim women who shored up the spirits of Mr. Herak and his companions are now dead, many others survived. Thousands of them,... are crammed into refugee camps and hotels in Croatia.

Some are pregnant, and all have suffered physical and emotional battering. Treating their physical injuries is difficult enough in an area swamped with refugees; treating their psychological damage is out of the question. "No one here cares about the women," said Biljana Kasic, a Zagreb feminist and political scientist. "There is no social consciousness on this issue."

Ms. Kasic's group, the Autonomous Women's House, has asked for a revision of the Geneva Convention to designate rape as a war crime. Meanwhile, the Bosnian battles continue, and so does the "morale-raising."

The invitation to Western women organizations to join the anti-Serb crusade is clear and open.

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Last revised: March 26, 2002