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

Just another scandal: Dead men walking! (Part 2)

By Petar Makara

Back to Part #1.

The show trial

Anti-Serb propaganda campaigns went, for years, one after the other in relentless waves. Among the propaganda images presented in Western newspapers and on the Western TV were Serbian "concentration camps", Serbian "rape camps", Serbian mass murder and ethnic cleansing. Herak (and Damjanovic) case was prominent in that process.

Some three and half months after the Herak stories were printed in November 1992, it was time for a trial. It was time to rehash some of the stories, repeat some of the lies. In any case, the demonization of the Serbs had already been achieved by that time, as the picture of Serbs as bestial monsters was firmly set in the minds of the avid Western consumers of the media horror stories.

The intention of the Western public brain-washers was exactly to saturate mind of a common person with irrational hatred. Prepared this way the Western mind can watch, with ease, as the actual victim is put through otherwise appaling and unbareable pain and injustice. The implanted hatred works as a blind and as an anestezia. Common person is unable to recognize the obvious and blunt injustice perpetrated right in front of his or her own eyes.

There are two victims to this process: one is abused in front of the cameras while the other is sitting at home, in front of TV, watching and actually aproving the injustice perpetrated.

The televised Sarajevo court process against Herak and Damjanovic was illustration of such injustice. Only a very careful reading of multiple sources would provide one with a fuller picture.

This was a military court consisting of five judges and no jury. The motive of the prosecution was put clearly in the Western press:

Laura Pitter, UPI, March 12, 1993:

Military prosecutors read indictments against two Serbs accused of genocide Friday as the government opened its first war-crimes trials in connection with the ongoing ethnic conflict in the former Yugoslav republic of Bosnia-Herzegovina.

Military prosecutor... told the court the purpose of the trials against Boris Herak, 22, and Sretko Damjanovic, 31, was "to show the world what has been done here and that we can conduct this trial fairly and impartially." ...

[The prosecutor] said the majority of the indictments were based on confessions, but he could not provide ANY DETAILS about specific incidents in which the suspects were involved.

The prosecutor only would say he was charging Herak with 32 murders and 16 rapes, 12 of which also were supposedly murders. Damjanovic was charged with five murders and two rapes...

A third person, Nada Tomic, 47,... is being tried along with the two men on the lesser charges of hiding fugitives and stolen goods.

Hiding fugitives? The two Serbian soldiers were no fugitives, nor were they hiding. They were part of Bosnian Serb Army, on territory which the Bosnian Serbs considered free. But all three had to be lumped together and guilty together.

The defense expressed some doubts about the impartiality of the trial. (Same source as above):

[D]espite [prosecutor's] claim it would be fair and impartial, one of the defense attorney's charged he had not had adequate time to prepare a case.

[T]he lawyer for Damjanovic and Tomic, would discuss few details about the case but said he had only met with his clients for two half-hour sessions and never without a guard in the room. Three days before the trial he said he was planning on meeting Damjanovic for the first time without a guard.

We will see later that Herak's lawyer said the same.

So, how would you like this: You are a war criminal accused of genocide (among other things). They want to put you in front of a firing squad, but your lawyer is allowed only two half-hour conversations with you. And that always with an enemy guard present. Would you call it fair and impartial?

It was immediately obvious whose word was more important to the Western press (the same source):

[Herak's lawyer] Prpa read a joint objection by him and Maric [Damjanovic's lawyer] stating that the charges of murder and rape were not specific enough because they did not state the times, places or full names of the victims.

The judges adjourned the court and said they would hear the objections again Saturday. But [prosecutor] said after the proceedings the objections "won't hold up." He said a NEW LAW states that the defense in a military court during war time does not have the power to object to a military prosecutor.

Nice thing - if you can not make someone guilty by existing laws - you simply change the law.

Since Mr. Damjanovic would not cooperate with the prosecutor, only Herak and his purpoted confessions remained as evidence.

Chicago Daily Law Bulletin, March 12, 1993:

Herak and Sretko Damjanovic were captured Nov. 11 when they blundered into an enemy checkpoint. Damjanovic has not confessed to ANY of the five killings he is charged with.

Kurt Schork, Press Association Newsfile, March 12, 1993:

Damjanovic... has told reporters he was beaten and TORTURED into confessing.

But Mr. Herak stubbornly keeps to his side of the deal. He repeats his stories, slightly different versions but who would notice. Mr. Herak even demonstrates to the court his technique of slaughtering people. The one he learned on the pigs. The Western press dutifully reports the stories in all the gory detail.

The leader of the Free World is at the forefront pushing for a future model of punishment - an international model that is under its own control.

David Crary, the Associated Press, March 12, 1993:

Herak's name was included in a list released earlier this year by former Secretary of State Lawrence Eagleburger of potential defendants before a U.N.-organized war crimes tribunal...

Mr. Burns keeps his hand in the story, adding nice details. He tells us which American institution will be in charge of naming non-American war criminals.

John F. Burns, the New York Times he New York Times, March 14, 1993:

Borislav Herak, a 21-year-old Serbian nationalist fighter, took the witness stand at his trial here today and said that he killed and raped dozens of Muslims in Serbian "ethnic cleansing" offensives across Bosnia and Herzegovina last year.

Wow! Now it is all "across Bosnia and Herzegovina"! Remember the same Mr. Burns said three months earlier: "Herak's experiences were limited to a 10-mile stretch of territory immediately north of Sarajevo." It seems that Herak (and Burns) are ready to escalate yet again. But let us continue the above Burns' quote from March 14, 1993:

Mr. Herak is the focus of attention at the trial. After his arrest, his head was shaved, and he appeared for interviews in the green Yugoslav Army field jacket he had worn when, according to his account, he engaged in his six-month rampage of killing and rape.

For his trial, Mr. Herak has been allowed to grow his hair and to wear a tan jacket over a diamond-pattern sweater. But he retains the hunch-shouldered posture he had when interviewed in the Viktor Bubanj prison in November, and he appeared from today's testimony not to have changed his own perception of his activities... [All the gory details the New York Times have reprinted here we choose to omit.]

Mr. Herak's account, first published in The New York Times in November, caused the Serbian fighter to be named in December to a list of possible war criminals drawn up the State Department.

...Serbian nationalist leaders in Bosnia,... dismissed Mr. Herak's confessions derisively when they were first made. Senior Serbian officials, including Radovan Karadzic, the Serbian leader in Bosnia, also named by the United States to its list of possible war criminals, said Mr. Herak was a weak and "sub-normal" personality who had been coached into his confessions by his captors.

OK. Now we know that in New World Order the US State Department will judge who is a war criminal. A detail not mentioned here is that "the Serbian leader" is the elected President of Republica Srpska, the Serbian part of Bosnia and that he is a professional psychiatrist who spent decades in Sarajevo treating mental patients. But who cares about his professional opinion. He is just another Serb; another war criminal.

Mr. Herak continued his dance with death. Press Association Newsfile (Reuter), March 17, 1993:

A Serb man who has confessed to multiple rapes and murders in a Sarajevo war crimes trial today said HE WANTED THE DEATH PENALTY as punishment. Asked by his defence attorney if he realised he was facing execution, Borislav Herak, 22, replied: "Yes". "Do you want to be punished by death?" the attorney asked. "I guess so. Whatever the court decides," said the defendant...

In the mean time the US government is pushing all the buttons for more trials. (The same source, the same date):

The United Nations is setting up a war crimes tribunal for the former Yugoslavia, the first such court created since the Second World War.

In vain, Mr. Damjanovic resists. Press Association Newsfile (Reuter), March 20, 1993:

Damjanovic has withdrawn his signed confession, claiming it was beaten out of him by his jailers...

Both defence lawyers today asked for the accused men to be examined by a court-appointed doctor to check the allegations of beatings. The judge agreed, but Herak REFUSED TO BE EXAMINED. "There's no need for me to be examined," said the young Serb soldier whose self-incriminating evidence riveted the court's attention for two days.

A doctor who later examined Damjanovic outside the courtroom said he had FOUND SCARS IN SEVERAL PLACES CONSISTENT WITH HIS COMPLAINTS OF BEATINGS.

And also the Associated Press, David Crery, March 20, 1993:

Damjanovic and Nada Tomic,... have testified that they were beaten into false confessions and were CUT by their captors with KNIVES.

A doctor testified Saturday that Damjanovic and Tomic did have scars apparently made by a sharp implement several months ago.

Obviously this is but a circus where the defense is completely hopeless. The Associated Press (and no Western newspaper) scantly mentions (March 20, 1993):

[The two defense] attorneys are trying to make a case that the prosecution LACKS HARD EVIDENCE and has little to go on other than the disputed testimony of Herak...

Defense lawyers said the court should order a search of [Muslim] government-held areas to find the victims' bodies, which Herak says he could locate. The bodies should be exhumed and examined, the lawyers said.

But even this call for hard evidence is swamped with rehashed gore stories in the same article. Who cares for facts when blood boils and calls for revenge. Revenge for stories of one almost insane man.

The prosecution is allowed to bring anyone as a witness. Any silly story goes. Press Association Newsfile (Reuters), March 20, 1993:

A Muslim woman told today how one of the men facing a war crimes court had beaten her, made her lick his boots and bark like a dog. The presiding judge said the 33-year old woman, Muljia Berisa, was not in court because her recently-born baby was ill. Instead her sworn testimony was read out to the Sarajevo court. She identified 22-year-old Borislav Herak as one of the Serb soldiers who accosted her last May at a cafe outside Sarajevo where she had been taken after trying to get medical help. "They asked me to lick their boots and bark like a dog," Berisa said.

So the "witness" did not have to show her face in the court. It was OK. Muljia Berisa is an Albanian name. Remember the recent president of Albania with the same last name? Why should not Albanians - Muslims also - help their Muslim brothers in Bosnia?

This precedent that witnesses need not appear in court was to be repeated in the subsequent Hague trials. Indeed, it improved - even the names of those who accuse Serbs need not be revealed.

On March 23, 1993, The Associated Press reports:

The main defendant in Bosnia'a first war crimes trial was unhappy as a youth, became an alcoholic and slit his wrists four times, but cannot claim insanity as a defense, a psychologist has testified.

Dr. Boro Djukanovic said Serb soldier Borislav Herak, who has confessed to killing 30 war prisoners and civilians, had subnormal intelligence and schizophrenic tendencies, but was accountable for his actions.

The doctor's testimony on Monday was based on examinations that he and three psychiatrists conducted... on Herak...

Djukanovic said Damjanovic was beaten by his father during an unhappy childhood, and as an adult beat his father...

What a perfect victim was that Borislav Herak!

Well, no evidence, and no need for evidence. The words, and words only of a person of questionable integrity suffice. There seem to be more important goals involved here that render justice irrelevant.

Nothing is real. This is a circus of blood.

The military prosecution gets the last word. The Associated Press March 26, 1993:

Prosecutors requested the death penalty for two Serb war crimes suspects...

"The only logical punishment is execution," said prosecutor... in closing arguments. "They don't deserve to be among us."...

One of the charges against both soldiers is GENOCIDE, based on allegations that some of their civilian victims were killed during "ethnic cleansing" operations aimed at eliminating Muslims from Serb-dominated villages...

[The prosecutor] said there were moments - while listening to Herak's first confessions in November - he was so horrified he felt like killing the soldier himself.

It is only fair to let Mr. Burns read the final sentences. John F. Burns, The New York Times, March 31, 1993:

A military court today imposed sentences of death by firing squad on two Serbians found guilty... [The sentence] included a three-year prison term for Miss Tomic.

One of the defendants, Borislav Herak, a 22-year-old high school dropout whose confession to 35 killings and 16 rapes was the centerpiece of the trial, seemed unshaken as the death sentence was pronounced... [Gore details deleted.]

Another defendant, Sretko Damjanovic, 32 years old,... stared straight ahead at the panel of five judges as the death sentences were pronounced, and protested his innocence.

"I have nothing to say except thank you for this fair verdict," he said, his voice edged with sarcasm. "I know I have been unfairly condemned."

Mr. Herak maintained to the end the impassiveness that marked three weeks of testimony at the trial and months of interviews with Western reporters after he was captured with Mr. Damjanovic and a third defendant, Nada Tomic, at a Bosnian military roadblock in November. Asked by the presiding judge if he thought he deserved the death penalty, he answered, "Yes, I deserve it," then added in an even voice, "I would like to ask if I can have some cigarettes."

Before he left the court, guards gave him several packs of cigarettes, which he stuffed into his jacket pocket.

Kill me but give me some cigarettes? Well the Muslim guards and their masters could be satisfied. The cigarettes were well earned. The job was well done. Back to Mr. Burns' article of March 31, 1993.

[T]he trial provided a catharsis for Muslims....

[It] struck a deep chord among the 380,000 residents of Sarajevo, about 80 percent of whom are Muslims. Through extensive coverage of the trial on radio and television, the defendants became, for many Muslims, symbols of the Serbian nationalist forces and their policy of "ethnic cleansing,"...

By the way, Sarajevo was less than 50% Muslim before the war began so the Muslims must have done some ethnic cleansing of their own.

The real masters of Bosnia, or any other place on Earth, had to use this occasion to show who is boss. Mr. Burns' article of March 31, 1993

The trial and its outcome were condemned by Lieut. Gen. Philippe Morillon of France, the United Nations military commander here...

General Morillon said he had told Bosnian and Serbian nationalist leaders that it was "not the time for them to take justice into their own hands." A better solution, he told them, would have been for the Bosnian Government to await the time when a war crimes tribunal that the United Nations plans to establish for the former Yugoslavia could place Mr. Herak and Mr. Damjanovic on trial.

So spoke a NATO general in a blue UN robe. A wolf in sheep's skin. He thinks that no aborigine should be involved in dealing out justice, not even the local proxy. It is up to the masters.

The model of how to colonize a land is clear:

  1. Destroy the economy of the place and bring despair and instability
  2. Find a local proxy, a local lever of destruction and use it.
  3. Help the proxy in every way:
    • Be its protector (safe zones)
    • Supply the proxy with weapons and training
    • Deny any advantage to the non-proxy party (here, for example, the no-fly zone was introduced so Serbs can not use the advantage they had in aviation)
    • Be a free propaganda outlet for the proxy (which is the topic of this analysis)
    • Bomb and destroy the non-proxy party
  4. Proclaim the proxy independent - when you know it is dependant on you in every way. Then bring your occupation troops to "help" bring peace.

Bosnia was not viable. Never in history of mankind was such a crippled place declared an independent country. Historically Bosnia was never an independent country. Those who were to govern the newly invented country were a minority in their own country. Muslims constituted only 44% of the total population and they were divided among themselves. One large group stayed on the Serbian side (on the side of multi-ethnic Yugoslavia) and was at war with the leading Sarajevo Islam fundamentalist faction that the West supported. Almost all of the more than 50% of Bosnia who were Christians (i.e. Serbs and Croats) did not want to be under Muslim rule. So the entity that the West recognized, and whose flag was raised in front of the United Nations - i.e. Sarajevo's Alija Izetbegovic's faction - did not have control of either the people or the land of Bosnia. At their highest point in the war they controlled at most 15% of the land!

Great! Here comes the master with a long experience in colonizing by force and declares that not even its proxy's juridical system is to be respected. As completely dependant and helpless proxy, Bosnia will be occupied militarily, exploited economically and humiliated in any shape and form the master desires. You, the proxy, should know that without us you would not last more than a week.

Again, this was only a model, but a precedent for the future; a successful experiment on how, in modern times, to destroy and then colonize a geographic area.

This explains how, only 4 days after the trial, on April 4, 1993 Mr. John F. Burns, who with his propaganda helped the common NATO/Bosnian Muslim proxy cause against the Serbs could flip it all around and even make fun of the proxy:

By most standards, it was a FLAWED TRIAL -- just one substantial piece of evidence, a confession by a man with a history of mental disturbance...

He effectively condemned his partner in the dock, Sretko Damjanovic, 32, who confessed but then recanted, saying he had been beaten. Unless saved by appeal or reprieve, the two Serbs could become the first soldiers in the Bosnian war to be legally executed.

But let us keep the main goal in mind. In 1993 the non-proxy force, the Serbs, were alive and fighting. So Mr. Burns uses even this occasion to bash the Serbs, including their democratically elected leadership:

But there was an uneasy feeling among many in the courtroom that these two were serving, in effect, as substitutes for the men they consider the REAL VILLAINS of "ethnic cleansing" -- men like Radovan Karadzic, the Bosnian Serb leader; Ratko Mladic, the Bosnian Serb military commander, and their mentor, Slobodan Milosevic, President of Serbia. All three continue to meet Western negotiators who are attempting to end the war, even as their names sit atop a list of potential war criminals the United States has handed to the United Nations for consideration by the war crimes tribunal that the Security Council has voted to convene.

Well, Herak or not, the political and military leadership of the Serbian people is guilty by default. Guilty by the fact that they stay as the only obstacle to occupation by the friendly, democratic nations.

So, what happened to Mr. Herak? Was he simply shot? No way. His services seemed to be priceless. The West had (and has) a need to revamp the anti-Serb propaganda at any minute. So, his stories were, though in far less frequently, repeated, embellished, changed, boosted.

As time passed it became safe to present Mr. Herak as a human being. Here is a story two and half years later after the death sentence was pronounced. Mark Brennock, the Irish Times, September 15, 1995, headline: Multiple rape was ordered "to boost morale", A Bosnian Serb rapist and killer spoke to Mark Brennock in Sarajevo yesterday:

"I raped five Muslim girls, then I killed them," Herak Borislav (24) told me. To be precise he almost decapitated them with a knife.

He is a thin, gentle mannered and withdrawn young man. My Muslim translator said she found him handsome. He has a clear, sallow complexion with dark lines under his brown eyes...

He agreed to talk to me, but caught my eye just once as we talked...

Herak had NEVER before said he used to DECAPITATE his female victims. That's something new. More new stuff is added but we do not know what to believe any more. The same article:

His father was an alcoholic and rarely at home. His mother sometimes worked as a prostitute. When Borislav was 10 he came home one day to find her in bed with another man. His father used to beat her and kick Herak. She ended up in hospital several times with her injuries. She ran away from home with Herak roughly 30 times...

"I asked to be executed but I think they give me mercy and leave me in prison instead. I can't stand to be in prison any more. I have been here three years..."

His father visits him sometimes...


Mr. Herak recants - I didn't do anything

Then something snapped in Mr. Herak. He could not wait any more to either be murdered or freed. That may not be a surprise. The surprise is that the New York Times published it, January 31, 1996, page A6. The text by Kit Roane was entitled: Symbol of Inhumanity in Bosnia Now Says 'Not Me.'

Thin and pale, Borislav Herak does not fit the picture of the rapist and killer he confessed to being nearly three years ago. He is quiet and subdued, an ex-store clerk residing in a 6-by-12 foot prison cell.

He shocked the world, after his arrest by Bosnian forces in early 1993, with his meticulous, deadpan accounts of systematic murder and rape, wielded by the Serbs as deliberate tactics of war.

Now, as he appeals the death penalty imposed on him after his conviction by the Bosnian Government for crimes against humanity, he has changed his tune.

"It was a mistake," he said simply, lighting a cigarette under the watchful gaze of a guard. "I was forced to speak against myself and my comrades in the Serb republic. But I DIDN'T DO ANYTHING." ...

Dozens of journalists made pilgrimages to the regional jail in Sarajevo to hear his grisly accounts of abducting women from Serb-run prison camps near Sarajevo, raping them, then dumping their lifeless bodies along nearby hills. Other times, he recalled the "ethnic cleansing" of Muslim villages, where his commanders encouraged him to rob and then kill the inhabitants.

At least some of those interviews were out of earshot of Bosnian guards, and his accounts -- which effectively indicted Bosnian Serb leaders for pushing their troops to commit terrible acts -- were widely seen as credible...

Now Mr. Herak protests his innocence, saying that the tales of conquest and monotone recollections of brutality were a result of BEATINGS AND THREATS by his prison guards. They were looking for a scapegoat to the ills that had befallen their nascent country, he says, and knew that Mr. Herak, who is slightly retarded, would provide the vessel.

"I was tortured, forced to confess," he explained, hunching over his bunk. "I was given 60 pages to learn by heart and recite. I was afraid for my father, afraid they might kill him because of me."

"I said what I did to survive," he added. "Otherwise he and I WOULD HAVE BEEN DEAD IN A DAY. BUT I TALKED AND HERE I AM STILL ALIVE."

Now that makes PERFECT sense. Mr. Herak was only 21 when he was caught. He was young and he knew he wanted to live. As the mass graves of Serbian civilians were found in Muslim controlled Sarajevo, graves of people who posed no threat to the Muslim government, it is more than obvious that Mr. Herak would not last a day in Muslim hands as a common soldier.

Maybe Mr. Herak was not that dumb after all. Maybe he was abused in childhood and knew he would not be able to endure any torture anyhow. Better talk BEFORE the torture than AFTER. As quoted before, this article of New York Times manages, at last, to give the BASIC FACT:

The Bosnian Government has no witnesses to the killings and has recovered no bodies. BUT Mr. Herak and Mr. Damjanovic were seen at several detention camps by inmates who were later traded in prisoner exchanges...

Mr. Damjanovic also confessed before his trial, and also retracted the confession. And, as Mr. Herak is now doing, he also complained of being beaten and stabbed by guards.

But Mr. Damjanovic is not rallying to Mr. Herak's side. ...Mr. Damjanovic professes his own innocence... "I'm someone who's clean. I never hurt anybody in my life. I want them to send me to The Hague to prove it."

"Let Herak talk if he wants, but it's ALL LIES," said Mr. Damjanovic, his bald head peeking out from under a gray knit prison cap. "Now he says he didn't do anything. Well, that is a guy that I know pretty well. He's not really clean, if you know what I mean. He never was..."

In the above text the phrase that Herak is "not really clean" was translated word for word from Serbo-Croatian, but in the context the phrase means: "He is not sane."

The same text gives us an answer to a very important question: Why are Herak amd Damjanovic alive at all? Why did not the Muslims execute them? Here is the quote from the above New York Times article:

The Bosnian Government, which captured the pair after Mr. Herak took a wrong turn near Sarajevo and ran into a Government roadblock, has been slow to press forward on the death penalty, hoping that international war crimes investigators will find enough evidence to charge the two men separately in The Hague, a Government official said. The international war crimes tribunal would not comment on the case.

These people are still assets in the anti-Serb propaganda show. Perhaps Herak could be used in Hague Tribunal show trial? Maybe Big Brother can find some evidence... Actually, Mr. Herak would like that. (The same article):

"I didn't say anything [about the torture] then because of the way things were," he said, noting that the prison now has civilian guards. "I never thought I would get out of jail.

"Now the war has ended," he continued, "... The circumstances are different and I want my case heard."

He added: "If I go to The Hague, I'll tell them I'm 100 PERCENT INNOCENT."

The Houston Chronicle adds on the same day, January 31, 1996, page A10:

Nearly three years after confessing to a rampage of killings and rapes, Bosnian Serb soldier Borislav Herak has recanted and now claims that his grisly testimony before a Bosnian court was beaten out of him.

"I was tortured, forced to confess," said the 25-year-old high-school dropout from a bunk in his cell. "But I was really just a simple soldier on the front line. I NEVER KILLED ANYONE." ...

[S]ilence is in marked contrast to the encyclopedic tales of conquest and monotone accounts of brutality Herak provided visiting journalists during his trial and in the months that followed, accounts that often held discrepancies from one telling to the next. He now says these flubs are yet another example of how he was framed.

"I was given 60 pages to learn by heart and recite, but my memory is not so good so sometimes I made mistakes,'' he said hunching over his bunk. "I confessed to things I didn't do and brought a death sentence on myself. I thought I would never get out anyway."

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

Gaunt and pale, Herak has spent most of the war in his 6-by-12 foot cell, visited only by his father, war crimes investigators from The Hague, and a dribble of reporters.

Stickers showing Barbie dolls in different poses and chocolate wrappers paper his one cabinet. Light beams in through a single window...

It is important to notice that Mr. Herak recanted his testimony on January 1996. This is NINE MONTHS EARLIER than a similar case, on October 25 of the same year, when yet another Serb, this one in the Hague Tribunal jail, recanted on his story as a key witness of the prosecution. He was known as witness "L." That is the next story in this book. When the two stories are compared it is more than clear that the Hague inquisition learned a great deal from its Sarajevo Muslim predecessor. Exactly the same methods were used.

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Last revised: March 26, 2002